Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A day at the beach

 Today we all loaded up and drove up the road to Napili Beach.  It's a beautiful sandy beach where the waves are not as strong as some places because it's like a cove.  We swam, snorkeled, watched the turtles and had a picnic lunch.  It was a beautiful day and perfect for our first sunny day in paradise!

We came home and discovered that a turtle had come out of the water to rest on the beach just in front of our condo.  Apparently he comes out every other day or so.  What a great chance to see them up close - though not too close.  It's illegal to touch them and most people say keep a distance of at least 6 feet.  Sounds fair to me.

Friday night we grilled steaks and burgers on the grills out in front of the condo.  Ken and Delvin were the grill masters and it was fun to watch them enjoying one another.  It was a wonderful day and a lovely evening.

Hawaii 2015...Let the adventure begin!

Delvin and I kicked off 2015 with a trip to Maui, HI with a few of the special friends I made when I volunteered for the Red Cross in Biloxi, MS following hurricane Katrina.

On January 7th we flew to San Jose on Southwest and stayed at the Wyndham Garden San Jose Airport.  It was a short night as we arrived at the hotel at midnight and had to catch the 5:30am shuttle but at least we were able to get a few hours of sleep.  Our shuttle driver was Ron and he was very friendly and gave us some suggestions of things to do in Maui - mainly visit the Maui Brewing Company which is just up the street from our condo.  We boarded Hawaiian Airlines and headed for Maui.  The flight was a bit bumpy but the service was fabulous.  They gave us breakfast - fresh fruit, cheese & crackers and a chocolate - followed by coffee & tea and then rum punch and chips.  They are the only US airline that still does a meal service.  It definitely helped pass the time!  We had a couple of hours to kill before Diana and Diana arrived from California so we drove around and enjoyed the views!  We picked up the girls and headed for the condo (Makani Sands just north of Lahaina).  We checked in and unloaded our bags and then headed to the local grocery store for some supplies.  Ken and Susan arrived about 8pm and we enjoyed our first meal together of salmon and vegetables.  It's going to be an awesome week!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Four years later...A new life...a new adventure

The last time I posted on my blog, I was single and unemployed.  It's amazing how much life can change in four years.  To catch up quickly - in February of 2011 I met Delvin who would become my husband in 2012 and I acquired two step-daughters, one son-in-law and one granddaughter among other family members.  In 2013, our second grandchild was born.  I am now a wife, a step-mom and a grandma and I have three jobs - Office Coordinator for the Covenant Network, Office Manager for Nothing By Chance and The Transgender Institute.  Life really couldn't be any different nor any better!  Let the adventures begin...again!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A brand new year

It has been way too long since I have posted on my blog! It's hard to believe how much has changed. It was a painful fall - changes in the job led to a job ending. The church/pastor asked me to resign so they could hire a full time youth director. After ten years of faithful service, it was hard to believe that I could be so "disposable." However, it's a new year with new opportunities and I cannot dwell on the past. I have started a new job at an amazing B&B in Pleasanton, KS. They want to train me to be the Assistant Innkeeper and be able to run the place when they are away. I'm very excited about it but since it doesn't pay enough to live on, I am currently looking for a flexible part time job that will coordinate. I have applied at Starbucks, Borders, Olive Garden, Apple Store, Penzeys, Mad Science, Jenny Craig, Hillcrest Covenant and probably others I can't even remember. So far, I haven't heard a peep from anyone. I'm hoping it's due to the craziness of the first of the year but since we are now at the 10th, that excuse is wearing thin. Time to come up with some other options. However, today I am going to sit in front of the fire and enjoy the SNOW!! First good snow this winter and it's about time! The penguins are happy at last - and so am I! Here's to a blessed 2011!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Covent Garden & 39 Steps

Becky and I decided to meet for lunch at Covent Garden. I have rushed through it a few times but I thought it would be fun to spend some time there. We walked around until we found a little pub that looked perfect called "The Globe". They had lunch specials that sounded tasty so we went in. It was probably my favorite of all the pubs so far - it was smaller than most but had a quaint and cozy atmosphere. It seemed like the hangout for older British men which I think is a sign of a good pub. The food was delicious - I had Steak & Ale Pie and Becky had the lasagna. We explored the Julilee market and I picked up a pub sign to take home. When we had thoroughly scoured the market, we headed over to the Seven Dials area. It's a fun little area just north of Covent Garden with a variety of shops. We looked around there for a while and then headed towards Leicester Square to meet Shaunda and the boys.

We had a "booking" (a.k.a. reservations) at TigerTiger just off Piccadilly for dinner. Shaunda and David have a "tasteLondon" card that gets them 50% off all food at a variety of restaurants. it's a great deal! I had a sirloin steak for 7.50 pounds. Even at an exchange of 1 pound to $1.50, it's a good deal for a steak. Everyone seemed to enjoy their meal - despite the fact that David's giant prawns came complete with eyeballs!

After dinner we headed around the corner to the Criterion Theatre to see the play "39 Steps." It was first a book and then made three times into a movie - the most famous by Alfred Hitchcock. Four actors play 139 roles and it was hilarious! I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to others. The boys hit their stopping point by the time it was over so David took them home via a different tube stop so they could catch a cab and Shaunda and I walked home from the Wanstead station. We tried to take pictures of the various show posters on the wall along the escalator but it was really hard to get a decent picture. Oh well - I guess I'll just have to live with my memories. I can't believe my time in London is almost over. Two days left and so much to do...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fat Tire River Thames Bike Tour


I had to get moving a little earlier than normal today so I decided to treat myself to a traditional English breakfast out. Shaunda directed me to a little Caffe (Pronounced "Kaf") on the main street and it was yummy. I was waiting in the tube by 9:30 and as soon as the clock switched to off-peak, I jumped aboard! I'm trying to be as frugal as possible! I took the tube to Waterloo station where I met the Fat Tire tour guide. It was Matt - same guide as the last tour. Yay! I picked Margaret Thatcher to ride today. We started our tour at the London Eye - previously called the Millenium Eye - and then worked our way east along the Southbank. What a cool area!! I'm going to have to come back and walk so I can stop and see all the things we were biking past. We stopped for lunch at the Burrough market where I had a sausage roll. We met up at the pub and had a cider before we got back on the bikes.

The view of the Tower Bridge from the southbank is absolutely beautiful - especially near the Haymarket area. I was thankful for an opportunity to get a group shot. We had a fun group - a pair from St. Louis, a mother/daughter pair from Australia, a married couple from just outside Oxford who had received the tour as a gift from their daughter, and another man.

I think biking across the Tower Bridge might be the most awesome thing I have ever done! We rode in formation taking up the entire lane because it was too narrow for cars to pass - so we just didn't let them. Matt said we weren't doing something right if we didn't get honked at at least once. Unfortunately, we busted tail to get across and I didn't hear a single honk. It was AMAZING! At the Tower of London we caught the clipper (boat) which took us up river to the Embankment Pier. We had to wait about 15 minutes so I had enough time to call Jo and wish her a happy birthday. It made my day to talk to my sister!!

We biked through Covent Garden and the West End and then headed across the Westminster Bridge where we had a fabulous view of Big Ben and Parliament. We stopped plenty of times along the way for Matt to share pieces of information. I learned a lot - though I doubt I remember much of it.

Shaunda called not long after the tour ended to let me know that the Central line was "suspended due to a person under the train." Ick! I decided I might as well explore the southbank now so I walked from the Eye to the Tower Bridge taking photos of all the elephants and enjoying the various shops. The best part is just people watching.

The light was just perfect at this time of day (about 6pm) for the Tower Bridge. The blues seemed to stand out even more than usual. I decided to walk across the bridge again and even though it wasn't quite as exhilarating as biking, it was still pretty spectacular. I checked at the tube station at Tower Hill and it seemed the Central line was running again. How do they clean that up so fast? I stopped in Wanstead and picked up some fish & chips to take home. I was absolutely exhausted but I was afraid I was going to end up leaving London without ever having fish & chips and that would just be wrong! We had an enjoyable dinner with the family and then David helped me look for cars again on the internet. It was another successful day in London!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Changing of the Guard and Jersey Boys

I couldn't leave London without seeing the Changing of the Guard! One of my favorite experiences when we were in London in 2006 was the walking tour of the Changing of the Guard. I caught the tube to St. James Park and came out on Mall just as the band was starting their march down the street towards the Palace. It was awesome! I couldn't get as close as I would have liked but it was fun to watch none the less.

I met a really nice group from Henderson State University in Arkansas. I enjoyed watching the processionals even if I couldn't see the actual changing of the guard.

I enjoyed the walk from Buckingham Palace over to Piccadilly Circus and then down Regents Street. I stopped in Hamleys just to check out the world's largest toy store - and I was NOT disappointed!! Upon entering the store, they give you the biggest shopping bag I've ever seen! I know I couldn't fill it but I did manage to find some gifts for some of my favorite friends - both young and old.

I stopped by Desigual to pick out a birthday present for my sister. I found a dress that I really thought she would like! I enjoyed walking down Oxford Street again and watching all the people. When I got to Covent Garden the British Red Cross folks were out talking to people and I enjoyed visiting with one young lady. We decided we should do a house swap like in the movie "Holiday." What fun!

I met Shaunda at Leicester Square and we had a wonderful dinner at Ruby Blue. I had a salmon steak - probably the healthiest meal I've had in London so far. We had tickets to Jersey Boys that evening and it was fabulous! It is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. We walked out of there dancing - I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I didn't have anything specific planned for the day so I headed over to Baker Street with the intention of hanging out in Regents Park. I decided to try to travel by bus today and it took me about an hour and a half to get to Baker Street. By the time I got there, it was significantly chillier so I decided to check out the Sherlock Holmes museum instead. The line was HUGE so I went to a pub on the corner (The Volunteer) and had lunch first. I had the best Bangers & Mash that I have had in this city. The best part was they only had two bangers left and they usually serve three so I got 2 pounds off my meal. I didn't need more than two anyway!

The museum was very cool!! I got a chance to sit and visit with Dr. Watson. I heard him speak at least three languages while I was there so there is no telling how many he actually knows. I felt like I had stepped back in time and it made me want to go read some of the stories that I missed! The only one I really remember is the Hound of the Baskervilles.
I walked down Baker Street to Oxford Street and then over to Marble Arch where I worked my way through Hyde Park. I absolutely LOVE Hyde Park! It is one of the most peaceful, beautiful places that I have ever been. When I lived in London in college I used to run every morning in Hyde Park and we could run for 45 minutes and never hit the same sidewalk twice. There is no place like it in the world!
I met Shaunda & David and the boys, along with their friend, Rich, and my friend, Becky, at the Chicago Rib House for dinner. We thought we'd see how well they do ribs in London. I must say it was better than I expected. The atmosphere was great and the good was quite good. It may not be quite as good as KC BBQ but who can, really? It didn't hurt that we got 50% off with a TasteLondon card. Yay!
After dinner, David headed home with the boys (via tube) and Shaunda and I walked through the city before trying to figure out how to get home by bus. We walked along the park to Buckingham Palace and then down The Mall to Trafalgar Square. London is absolutely beautiful at night. Most places are lit up and the traffic is lighter. It was a perfect night for a walk.
By the time we reached Trafalgar we were ready to sit down for a while. Unfortunately, the buses were packed so there was no sitting for this ride home. We had to take three different buses and it took us almost two hours to get home. Definitely not the most efficient way to travel but it was an adventure and we all like a good adventure.