BASIC PARENTING

Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, July 21, 2018

Let me tell you a story about a young man. First a little background, I was sitting around having coffee with my best friend and we were on the subject of basic parenting. Which is pretty simple and easy to understand, a parents job is to support and protect their child. Support entails emotional support, love and financial support when they are growing to adulthood. My friend told me that any parent who thinks that they are somehow owed a payback from a child is basically nuts. A parents job does not get payback, if they have great children, who are great people that my friend is payback of the best kind. It is not like they asked to be born. Being a parent is not so easy, and it is riddled with mistakes, believe me I am the queen of big mistakes.
 
Back to the story of the young man. A wonderful, kind and talented young man was driving down the road in his car, when out of nowhere another car broadsides this young man. Of course, as luck or bad luck would have the person had no insurance. This means dealing with his own insurance company, who as a minor lead that responsibility to the parents. This young man was at doctors for his injuries and in the end, months and months later finds that he is permanently injured. In all the months that passed since the accident, this young man was without a car and spent much time just waiting for all doctor visits and insurance back and forth to be over.
 
In the end a settlement had been agreed upon, by the child's father. Whom, I might add, was hardly there as a parent when this wonderful young man was growing toward adulthood. This parent thinks for some reason that he is owed part of this settlement. I don't know what excuse any parent could use to take something away from a child who will be forever in pain, and as life goes on, even worse pain from the injuries of that day. What kind of person would profit from the injury of their own child. Who even thinks that way! What did this parent do to be entitled to any settlement on the back of a child, when this wonderful child was the injured party, who I am certain could use this small yet important settlement to get on with his young life. This young man will always be reminded of that day the car slammed into him and the day his parent took away the value of his injuries for himself.

RENOVATION #2

Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, June 10, 2018

Currently working on the kitchen, still waiting on some more cabinets to arrive, the house is in such disarray that I can't even show the living room, even though it is completed. Thought you might enjoy a couple of pics of almost completed jobs.
 
I call this my seaside room, colors of the ocean and that feeling of peace.
 
Next is the pantry construction, I love this room even though I really only do laundry here.
 
Pantry beginnings
 


Pantry/Laundry Room almost done.

Just adding a few more cabinets certainly makes a world of difference in storage space. Now I have more storage than I know what to do with.
Master before
Master After

I feel like I am in a seaside cottage, so peaceful and fits my taste. My house definitely needed an upgrade and it helped with my happiness factor.
 Can't really show my completed kitchen but watching the process has been fun. Since there is lots of progress by far.

 Dinner time in the old kitchen

Kitchen after partial demo

The new floors are already in, most of the cabinets are here. Spent the day waterproofing them with this thick rubberized paint. Perhaps it will save it from casual water damage for a long time. This is fun for me, except the part that leaves me without a kitchen. My refrigerator is in my living room, I must admit it's a good location for convenience sake. I can't wait to be finished, and perhaps I can begin on my backyard and doing some art work. Will keep you updated to the progress. Saying a big thank you to my family a.k.a The crew.  
 



GRADUATION OF A GRAND

Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, June 10, 2018

Grandchild #2, has made it through High School. Samuel is ready for the next steps in his life. I don't envy him, I recall that excitement and yet I don't think that I would go back if I could. All the things that go through a young mind, where do I start first has to be the question. Then again, a young person that has just come to the end of the first quarter of their life, has so much more to experience. I don't think that when I was that age I thought about the future.
Now, the kids are expected to have it all figured out before they graduate. What road they will take, or what path is next is already in their minds. Career, a place to live, a job, all expected to be figured out. Seems like a lot to expect from an 18 year old. I am still trying to figure it out!
The crazy thing is Samuel has managed to arrange a place to live, the college he will attend, and a possible job in another city, far from home. That takes bravery and guts, which Grandchild #1 has already done. I guess its not much of a stretch to know that Grandchild #2 can accomplish the same thing. With the help of family the sky is the limit.
 
 
All my Grandchildren are amazing people, Shyanne, Samuel, Maxwell, Jasmine and Jonathan. The most exciting part of everything they will do is just a plus, they have accomplished already in their lives the most important of all successes. They are wonderful people, they are good, loving, and caring people. Their families are most important to them, so as anyone could see, they have accomplished in their youth what most people only dream of becoming. I have never had dreams of monetary success for my children, because to me that was never the most important thing. When everything that is valued in todays society disappears what do most people have left? I know that if that happened in my family, we would still have each other and who we are.  I am so proud of my little tribe, I worship the ground they walk on, and I don't think that anyone could feel loved more than I do.
 
 
More graduations in the future. I hope that I can see them all, come hell or high water I will be the proudest one in the room.
 


RENOVATIONS

Written by Captain Mary on Thursday, May 31, 2018

It has been over a year since I began the renovation on my home. The last time it was even painted was in the 90's. I would love to show a ton of before and after pictures, but I haven't quite got to the after completely. My craft room is finished, my laundry/pantry room is almost finished, my two guest rooms are finished (adorable I might add). The master room is finished and I just love being in a coastal cottage. The main room, is so close, but I have spent so much time and effort in putting pictures on the wall I don't think I will ever finish.
 
Craft Room
 
Most of the work is detail stuff, the main work is thanks to my daughter and  her wonderful husband, whom has no limits on their skills. I have some fantastic Grandchildren who are hard workers, they don't even take breaks unless I have food. It is a great time to spend with these gifts of mine. Being a grandmother definitely has its perks. NOTE TO SELF: Never pay them until you are finished for the day.
Getting the house ready for my retirement so that I can begin a new stage in my life. I hope to have time to paint pictures and enjoy the memories of a life well lived. I am reducing my work load so that I can do some of these renovations, but I feel like I am letting down my customers. I know that I will get over it.
Currently living without a kitchen, its not that bad. I do miss cooking a little bit, eating out of cans and making sandwiches get boring fast.
I guess as each room is completed I will post the pics, wish me luck and less rain, can't spray paint in the rain.
 


FAMILY CANOE TRIP 2018

Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, March 31, 2018

PEACE RIVER
 
 
We have tried and tried to gather the family together for an adventure. We have come up with ideas and each one had failed because of one reason or another. Thanks to Monica who put together an idea that everyone could manage to come together. A canoe trip along the Peace River in central Florida, camping in that primitive way. Tents and pee pee in the woods, washing in the river, living out of coolers and limited supplies. A central location for everyone and a weekend in nature.  The weather was just perfect, except maybe the first night that dropped down into the 40's, it took awhile for me to crawl out of my very cozy sleep bag and my tiny tent the next morning.

 
We canoed up river to find a spot to support all 20 of us. Canoes were stacked with supplies and people, because our primitive still included steaks and sausage and or course a generous supply of alcoholic beverages. The daytime was jumping into canoes, paddling up river to go fishing or hunting down the fossilized shark teeth that are all over the river. The kids found ropes hanging out of trees to swing into the cold water for a splash. Definitely fun to watch, as some of the landings didn't go as perfect as they had anticipated.  

 
In the evenings we shared laughter and stories, and some warmth. The kids seem to embrace the adventure, from climbing trees, gathering firewood, knocking each other out of the canoes, and just paddling around. It was so nice to see everyone away from electronic devices, even though we still had service they stayed away from their social media and embraced the wilderness. There was three of the group who had never tent camped and they were great, I think they would do it again.
 
Still close to civilization, yet far enough away to enjoy the hawks fishing along the river, bats hanging in the Spanish moss waiting night time and, of course, those cute little alligators peaking out of the waters surface. A weekend of personalities and peace along the ancient river.
I think we are all in for next year.


MURPHY'S WRATH

Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, February 25, 2018

A long, long time ago in a land far away, who am I kidding, in my childhood. I grew up with lots of phrases, "People who live in glass houses, shouldn't throw stones", "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth", well that one took me awhile, does a gift horse have different teeth!. My favorite one was, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong", this phrase is commonly known as Murphy's Law. This guy Murphy lives with me most of the time, but he left my side to attack with Wrath my dear friend.
 
My friend called to tell me about the eruption and flood of that ever wonderful thing we call indoor plumbing. As the flood waters began to rise from the most horrible places, it left behind a river of paper and you know. On the beautiful polished wood floors and the Spanish tiles my friend ran with dozens of towels trying to stop this unpleasant eruption. That is hardly the worst part, the guy who came to fix it didn't know how to turn off the house water because the handle was missing. Hello, pliers!!! This is the guy who is going to fix your problems. Oh Murphy, please be gentle and go away. After 3 days and countless workers, the problem has some resolve, never heard of removing the toilet to snake the pipes? Well now what does she do with all those towels, throw them in the washer would be my solution. That is a great idea until Murphy strikes again and breaks the washing machine. In the meantime the waterfall in the pond stops working, and the regular guy couldn't seem to fix it. Of course not, that would be too easy.
Well, somehow my friend got her waterfall working again, I guess she didn't need the service man after all. That is one issue taken care of, no the plumbing isn't fixed. The cable finder had to come and mark the underground lines, he wasn't all that bright either. With a little supervision he took care of the marking, before the backhoe arrives to dig up the entire yard that is. When did the plunger stop fixing these little problems?
 
My beautiful friend finally called enough service people to get someone out to the house to look at the washing machine. Still waiting for the part to come in. If all that wasn't enough, she finally was able to get out of the house and rejoice at the thought of doing something beside dealing with her new friend Murphy, even going to work would be a pleasure.
 
No, that would be too easy, leaving for work she is driving away and hears a thump, thump, thump. You guessed it, Murphy was in the passenger seat and put a big nail in her tire. After a week of the Wrath of Murphy she was finally able to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and a good nights sleep. Now everything seems so much better after a week of what can go wrong, did go wrong. Things like these may overwhelm most people or at least pull chunks of hair out of your head, not this woman, I call my friend. Days like these are absolutely what makes the good days so good. Like BBQ, everything tastes better. Here is to time away from Murphy or learning to live with him.
 

WEEKEND WITH GRANDKIDS

Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, February 24, 2018

 
 
A couple of years ago, I decided to change up birthday gifts for my grandchildren. I got tired of the card that gets tossed and the money that really doesn't mean much, or gifts that are not used. What I decided to do is each time a birthday came along for my grandchildren, I would give them a day with me. More like a gift for me, but it is a chance for us to get to know each other without all that electronic stuff. I get to find out about who they are, in turn I get to tell them amazing stories of the old days.
Our day usually ends up as a weekend, but that works for me too. This past weekend was Jazzy's birthday weekend, we started with the movies, a great time there. Then Jazz decides she would like manicure, pedicure time. I was all for that since it has been months since I had that treat. Jazz then decides that we should hang around the house and watch movies, so I opened the sofa bed, per her instructions and we laid around watching some great movies. It was almost time for dinner and my beautiful granddaughter wanted to have her cousin join us for dinner. So down to Homestead we went to capture another grandchild, Max, who is suppose to assist me the next day in the yard anyway.
We arrive at the restaurant and, of course, there is a wait of 25 minutes. I suggested we walk outside with our electronic buzzer and wait for our table. Max looked at me and said "What are we going to do for 25 minutes", I replied, "Talk". I began the conversation and it seemed like only 5 minutes had passed and our table was ready. Dining with the grand's is always an opportunity to embarrass them, I like to talk with our server, I guess we joked so much that he forgot a lot of things. In the end we had an amazing dinner with great conversation. It surprises me how young people see the world and wonder about the opportunities life has to offer.  My grandchildren are not the entitled type so they actually think about important things, like the current school system. They were both homeschooled and are finding their first year back to the public school system a bit of a bore. They told me that it is hard to socialize with some of the kids because and I am quoting "The kids my age are stupid". The grandkids said that the other kids in their grade level still don't know how to read in high school and we have to pay the price with ridiculous homework that we have already mastered. They both agree it is a waste of their time. It is nice to see that they can recognize this and more importantly they want to be challenged. The school they attend is a Charter School, which one would think should be better. Enough of the rambling, that's a whole new subject.
After a great dinner we headed home and all plopped down on the sofa bed watching movies. The next morning I couldn't get anyone up till noon. Good to see how relaxed they are, I remember sleeping late on weekends. Didn't get any yard work done, but we had a great day full of fun and conversation. My son came by later to pick up the kids and we had a pizza party. Just seems like these spontaneous moments are the best of all. I can't wait for the next birthday celebration. Is there a point to this story or a moral we can take away. Yes there is, anything can be replaced except these wonderful people we call family. I am so lucky!

MASS SHOOTINGS

Written by Captain Mary on Monday, February 19, 2018

I don't know that taking sides on an issue like this is going to change anything. All it does is cloud the real issue. Our children, friends, family and people are at risk everyday with our generations outlook on life. So many things can contribute to all this violence, all we can do is try to figure out how this all began! We should be looking for a real solutions.
When I was growing up, pretty much everyone I knew had a gun of some type in their home. In my home I never saw the thing, but I was told what could happen if I got near it. I had a very close knit family and Mom and Dad were definitely in our business. We had conversations everyday, come rain or shine, it was held at the dinner table. I know some of you out there must remember that. The worse things I would try to get away with was skipping school, that ended up with my mother getting permission from the school to sit in all my classes with me. I got the message. We were a community, that watched everyone's kids, I didn't get away with anything, because my mother already knew what I did before I got home. The thing was, there was no cell phones, no internet, just those crazy dial phones or one of the neighbors taking a walk to your parents house with the report. We did try to sneak around but we always knew there was a chance of getting caught, so we never tried anything too stupid, because the punishment would be far worse than the crime. I learned quickly that if my parents asked if I did something wrong, and I tried to lie, they never asked a question that they didn't already know the answer to. So, I would not only get in trouble for what I did, but added a lie to it. That was always our biggest rule, never lie, you will get caught.
We had respect for our parents and any adult, we never talked with an attitude to anyone just to be a smart ass. We learned self-respect, what we did in public was a direct reflection on our family and our self. The funny part is back when I was growing up there wasn't cameras looking to capture these moments, there was real people who cared about you. Your community, your neighbors and even if your friends thought you were crossing a line they would tell someone. Not because they were a rat, but because they cared about you.
It seems like I am getting off track, but what I am hoping for is to see families and communities come back together. Not after a tragedy happens but before one does. Talk with your neighbors, you live with these people, they are part of your life. Look out for them too, even if some of them are not the best neighbors. We all deserve to live in a safe happy world. Communication is not that hard, not with texting or some other social media outlet, but face to face. Smile at someone who waits on you, wave to people and smile, be part of the world in a positive way.
I can't begin to know what kind of pain survivors are feeling and their anger. I know they have to talk to heal and we have to be there for each other. There is no one who hasn't felt the loss of someone whom they loved dearly, I have lost and the comfort I feel is when my family came together and we supported each other and we talked and talked. I have never felt alone in this world. What could have been so tragic turned into a family coming together for each other.
All this rambling seems so corny, but I really love my family and friends. I remember one thing that my parents said to me the entire time I was growing up which I remember with such clarity. "The only thing I want for you, is for you to be happy". It is not as easy as you think, but well worth the effort. 

HORROR STORIES IN LIFE

Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, February 04, 2018

Last night I went to the movies to watch "Winchester", a horror flick. I like horror movies for the excitement, much of them don't get me too excited, seems like I am always expecting something different. This story was based on actual events and on a real historical haunted house. Without giving away the story it is a must see! I mean jumping out of your seat and chill bumps kind of movie. A movie made from a real life attraction.
 
 
I guess the surprises of the movie were still in my brain as I entered the grocery store. What I thought was a regular day shopping for food turned out to be something else. Most of the time when I am shopping I am on auto-mode, not really paying attention to what is going on around me. I was casually standing by the cooler doors, just gazing in to see what peeked my interest. Just as I began to reach to open the door, the door next to me began opening on its own. I stepped back and just looked, suddenly an arm outstretched then a leg from the inside of the cooler. That was all I could see, no body, I jumped and shouted "What the F...k!". Then climbing out of the cooler along the side of the shelving a young lady emerges. By then I must have jumped out of my skin. A lady standing nearby started laughing and the girl who slipped out of the cooler was apologizing for scaring the sh...t out of me. If I didn't have a heart-attack on the spot I must be in pretty good shape. The lady who laughed thanked me for making a joy out of her day and the cooler girl just stood smiling. These are the times when a person can't help laughing at themselves.  

WHAT IS RETIREMENT AFTER ALL

Written by Captain Mary on Monday, January 29, 2018



 
I am of age to retire and yet I can't stand the thought of not getting up and going to work. On the other hand I can't stand getting up and going to work. A world of confusion and chaos its how I live. That is what keeps me going. My energy is that of an old lady, oh wait I am an old lady! I have my mind full of clutter these days, thoughts spinning out of control where I have no single thought. The only way to keep focused is to have my head-set on. These thoughts interrupt my sleep and make me pretty cranky. Something to work on!
 
 
The big holidays are over and the family seems smaller, not larger. Loosing people along the way, even though they have lived amazing lives. Still seems like I have a missing piece in my heart. It makes me think that our lives are so important, and I have embraced each chance to explore and experience everything I wanted to. I must say that I am a lucky person. I have everything a person could want. I don't mean the stuff, like TV's, fancy cars, a big house, because those things have absolutely no meaning in the big scheme of things.
New Year's is when we make resolutions. Last year was to spend more time with family, that was rewarding and better than anything else I could imagine. This year I may not take my retirement seriously, I think I will let my work subside in time, most of my customers are celebrating 20 years with me and I can't just walk away from them. They have become my family and I don't plan on letting them go away.
I am taking more time for myself, I don't mind not going to work everyday. This year I need a resolution that could beat more time with family. I would like more time with family in exotic locations or even familiar locations, I want more laughter and more hugs. I don't think anyone can get enough of love.
I am going to start with a new "Bucket List", this is in addition to the good family stuff. I have gone to Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Bahamas, numerous countries in Europe, Caymans, Bonaire, Aruba, South Pacific Islands, all 50 states of the U.S., and other destinations. So where do I start my list? I imagine I have made my goal of never living with regret or passing up an opportunity. I think the next adventure on my list should be a Cruise Around the World. Perhaps I will complete all the continents around the world that way. I want to get creative again, that is why I have been blogging more. I hope everyone who sees my posts enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them.

IN MEMORY OF MY PARENTS

Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, January 27, 2018

It has been over a year now since my father has gone to the other side. I know that he is here in my heart. After the pain of such a loss subsides, I can feel the joy that both my parents gave to me. Missing them is remembering them.
 
 
This is always how I want to remember them. I can't tell them how much they made me who I am, because in this picture I wasn't even a thought in their minds. Years pass and tears subside but I think about them everyday. All I can say is thank you for the time you gave me and for giving me a family that will forever keep you in their hearts.


28 DAYS, A SOUTH PACIFIC ADVENTURE

Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, January 27, 2018


While fresh in my mind, even though my mind isn't so fresh anymore, I want to tell you about my last trip. A big one, 28 days at sea, crossing the Pacific Ocean with my sister Cheryl and her husband Joe. Planning for more than a year this trip was already paid for and only needed money for the fun stuff. This is the way to do it. Boarding "The Emerald Princess" after my flight to LA., excited and yet only a couple of hours away from departure. Cutting it close my friends is the way I go. As all great adventures, it starts with a thought or should I say a dream. I have a Bucket List, which has gone through a lot of completions in the years. I put down in my mind where I would love to go and basically I go. On my list I wanted to complete all 50 states of the USA, this trip would allow that check mark on the Bucket List and Bora Bora was on my list also. Check and check again.

I started by what is always an opportunity in my book. In the mail I got the specials for upcoming trips with Princess Cruises. As I looked through the specials I see, for an amazing price, the destinations on my Bucket List. I proceed to call my favorite travel agent, Cheryl, and tell her to check out this special and book me on it. I didn't care about anything at the time but going on the next adventure. A couple hours later my sister calls back and announced that "WE" are booked. Much to my amazement, WE, she told me "That one of the destinations was also on her list, like hell I was going without her". Much to my happiness I now have a couple of partners in the adventure of a life time, once again. I keep saying that and I am blessed to have it happen time and time again. After 14 months or so of planning the trip is here.

Now standing on the deck of my ship, for what will be my home for nearly a month. It starts to sink in, I am on my way. Finding my sister and our room was the first part of business and the days ahead is the next. Thinking this is great, 4 days at sea to find my way around the ship and see what she has to offer. I don't know about you but time always speeds up when you are on vacation! Finding my favorite spots to hang out and finding the Casino were well established after our sea time.

On Friday the 13th, October 2017 we land in Hilo, Hawaii. Our 50th state on my list, check! Just coming into port your eyes, ears and senses are on overload. Off on our first excursion, I am going on a separate place, which I had hoped was going to end with a Helicopter ride, the weather ended that little dream. Oh well, too much to see in meanwhile.
 
 
Much of the foliage was familiar, yet because of the rich soil and beautiful weather the plants looked like they were on steroids. Enjoying the splendid landscape and some mushy trails, the group stopped along the Cliffside to enjoy a BBQ of native foods. Special in everyway, I had no idea at the time that each location the ship embarked would be better than the last. Our next destination was only a short cruise away, by the time we wake up in the morning we will be in Honolulu, Hawaii. From here on in I will be joined with my cruise partners on excursions. Cher and Joe selected this hike up to Diamond Head Crater, much to my surprise, the difficulty would earn us a certificate of completion.
 
 
Atop the summit of Diamond Head the city of Honolulu looks so small. It was a brutal climb but well worth the amazing vistas. Back to the ship, minus my reading glasses, somewhere in the crater lies my glasses and my vision of seeing anything close. Finding another pair will be part of my future adventure. Getting old sucks. Our next stop close by is Maui,(Lahaina) definitely a place to enjoy the water.
 

morning was a snorkel trip, but due to rough weather we had to go to plan B, which was in a cove protected by the waves, the underwater world was a bit murky, but the trip back gave us an opportunity to see whales and dolphins, which was an unseasonal gift. A great crew and despite the discomfort made us feel right at home. The evening was a delight of dancing and traditional Luau, we ate and loved getting together at a social event much like the native Hawaiians do. I do understand why people love going to this destination, the people are amazing and the scenery is never ending. Formed by volcanos it's hard to imagine that such turmoil of Mother Nature could turn out so beautiful. The next destination on our route will bring us to Kauai, (Nawiliwili), like I said each spot gets better and better.
 

 The beauty of this place is breathtaking. We traveled around the island from one beautiful spot to another. Mostly with our mouths wide open. Waterfalls, cliffs, landscape, blowholes and lookouts beyond our dreams.

 The next day will be on the far side of the big island, Kona. Another location full of beautiful landscape, river cruise, fern grotto and always local entertainment.
 
 
  The destination after 4 days at sea will be Pago Pago, American Samoa. While waiting to arrive at our next destination we enjoyed the art actions and my countless hours in the Casino, not doing too bad. I am a light weight when it comes to gambling, some people we met spent a fortune in that place. In the casino the noise and excitement is a special place even if your loosing, to live where possibilities are abundant. So much to do on the ship, it didn't seem like there would be enough time, between my visit to the spa (which were countless) and casino, art sales and just hanging out with the amazing people we met. The parties on the ship and just relaxing under the stars watching movies on the deck, time flew. Of course, trying not to miss the crazy drinks and happy hours that become part of our days at sea was part of this well rounded itinerary.

Gentle breezes and blue skies, almost daily dose of rainbows, how does it get better? Did I mention the food on the ship, well, I had no complaints and I am picky. The specialty restaurants were amazing and diverse, from steaks to pots of crabs, yum was the word of choice.

The beautiful small island of Pago Pago, was a treat in spite of it being a Sunday. In general the people do not participate in work on this day, that is their family day and church. Since they only get about 4 ships a month to their port, they were so gracious to give us the privilege of welcoming us in spite of their customs.
 
 
The people never worry about tourist taking over their island, for all the land is owned by family groups. They have their own gardens and each enjoy a life of peace and serenity. Only in dreams we wish this could be like America. This American island, isn't anything like America. A couple more days at sea before I get to check off yet another place on my list. You guessed it, Bora Bora, French Polynesia.
 

Snorkeling with sharks and rays who sometimes get under foot. The waters were crystal clear and the temperature was pretty good once the afternoon sun warmed it.
 
 
Who wants to leave this place, or you kidding me!  They will have to grab me kicking and screaming to get me back on the ship. Up steep roads to the top we made our way around by 4X4 vehicle. Each panoramic view better than the last. A couple more days at sea for me to savor the beauty that is now burned into my brain. Time for us to tell stories and have more fun with our friends, drink and dine till we drop. The next location on our tour through French Polynesia will be Papeete, Tahiti. The next morning we cross between beautiful reefs before we come to a stop. Hanging over our balcony rail, seeing a busy, bustling city. Perhaps a bit surprised at how commercial it was, yet there has to be a hub for supplies to the other islands.
 
 
Once we boarded our 4x4 vehicle we moved away from the hustle and bustle to see the interior of this beautiful island, with waterfalls, rock stacking, eels and so many other amazing sights.

Our last but not least stop along the islands of the Pacific lies a small gorgeous island called Moorea.
 
 
Cruises are definitely a place to see and get a taste of your dreams. Hoping to come back another day and spend all the time you can. Last of our on shore port of calls we begin our 8 day sea voyage. A little sad, but excited because now we can get ready for Halloween, spend time with friends and melt away any stress we might have. Personally I don't think I can find any stress. Catching up on those things I want to do on the ship, shows, trivia and so much more. Couldn't get bored without making an effort to do so. Sorry no effort just go with the flow.
 
Halloween now on the horizon, Cher and myself decide to make a day of it. We brought our costumes with us. So much fun to see the whole ship decorated the staff in costume. There was dancing and fun beyond fun. 
 
 
The mood on the ship was one of joy and our home away from home was virtually perfect. We traveled 11,531 statue miles in 28-Days. It seemed like a blink in time once we landed and we had to say good-bye to our wonderful friends. As the motto of Princess Cruises says "Come Back New". A trip of a life time over and now I feel so renewed I can't wait until my next adventure.

WHERE HAVE I BEEN?

Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, January 27, 2018

I can't believe it has been more than a year and a half since I posted anything to my precious blog. So much has happened and I don't know where to begin. So perhaps I should start with my last vacation.

A trip to Europe with family. I love so much traveling with family, in the end they will always be the most important. My travel agent sister, Cher, hooked up the family with a cruise around the Mediterranean. In attendance was my son Jason, my granddaughter Shy Anne. My sister Cher and her daughter Elise, and my brother Charles and his family, Mel, Connor and Haley, along with some friends.

As all trips begin, we start at the airport and begin the adventure there. All the family members were on different flights with us meeting up cruise day in beautiful Barcelona, Spain. My granddaughter was a bit nervous, her first overseas flight, that she managed to use up all her barf bags and some. I felt so bad for her, after we landed first in Portugal, each flight after that was a breeze. It was so exciting to get the opportunity to have so many of us together for a week.

My life is about travel and experience. When I get the opportunity to share this with my family it only makes it better. My granddaughter, Shyanne, wanted to go to Europe as her gift from me for her graduation. It took awhile to get there, but this was to be her first trip out of the country. Shyanne got to experience people, places and things that changed her life. I now have this in common with her and enjoy sharing these stories and experiences with her. My son, on the other hand, did not want to go to Europe, he thought it would be without our usual adventure. My son, Jason and I tend to go on more nature based trips, this one is out of the box. It didn't take long for Jason to see what I was so excited about. Now when we talk about this experience its a different story. We fell in love with people and the sheer social experience of a culture that is without the crap we have in the USA.
Our trip began in Barcelona, Spain, then on to the cruise ship, that would take us around the Western Mediterranean. Our first stop would be Sicily, a little island from which our heritage began. So much to see and do, and we wanted to do it all.
From ancient ruins to the amazing food. We tried to get it all. Our next stop Naples, Pompeii, where the sheer age of everything and the volcanic remains of a once thriving metropolis was exposed for us. We were lucky enough to catch a taxi that took my group and my brothers group everywhere and anywhere we wanted to go. We spent what seemed like hours in Pompeii, I imagined what it would be like back then in ancient times. Basking in the bath houses, walking along the cobblestone streets gazing into the shops and being part of this historical place. Which now lies under tons of volcanic dust, still waiting to be unearthed.
The Amalfi Coast and Sorento was breathtaking and one of those places that you have to be there to explain what it was like. The beauty and feeling of this seaside village was what dreams are made of.

We walking through the beautiful shops and took pathways, whose never ending turns would lead us to this beautiful view and beach. A little seaside place where your imagination would take you away. The town of Sorrento offered up the same magic, with streets full of the gathering of Italians speaking with their hands. Maybe I didn't understand the words but I understood the smiles and beauty of everything this place offered. There are so many beautiful pictures that were taken there I would need another blog to fit them all.
Our next destination would be Rome. The place where we experienced the most ruins and historic places. The size of the Gods and what they built showed in what we could only imagine. Our group shuffled off to see just a taste of this vastness they call Rome.
 
Florence and Pisa is next on our itinerary. We got on a train and began our adventure.
The white marble of the Tower of Pisa was much more beautiful than any photograph that you will see. We had to almost run to catch the last train to our ship. It was exciting and stressful at the same time. It was definitely worth the effort.

Our time on the ship wasn't without a ton of fun. That was the time we could spend with the rest of our group of family and friends. Each time we hit a port, our group went in different directions. We had fun, maybe too much fun while on the ship, talking about the adventures of the day. Everyone with a different tale of their excursion around beautiful Italia. Another excursion is in our future before we venture back to Barcelona, Spain. Our next stop is the seaside village in France, Marseille.

We began walking the streets into the open fish market, where the days catch was displayed on tables. The live octopus wriggling about on the tables, along with strange species of fishes I had never seen. The language as people spoke was so beautiful. I found while traveling if you learn a few words of the language, the local people are much more receptive to your presence. I also learned that most places don't really like Americans, so the thing to do is not act like an arrogant American and just be part of the fun. We sort of lost our group and myself, Jason and Shyanne ended up off the beaten path away from all the places that the tourist visit. Sitting along the streets under our umbrella we ordered our meal. Knowing what ever we ordered would be grand, I noticed that food without chemicals and additives never left me bloated, everything was always made fresh. While here there is never a rush to get away from your table, because the table was yours for the day if you wished.
 There was one last excursion and my small group decided to stay on the ship and relax. The rest of our gang would be heading toward America and we needed a day of rest for our next week. Me, Shy and Jason were heading to Ireland, for a little taste of rest and drunken debauchery. Sad to say good-bye to the beauty of what we had just seen our trip was only half way over.

We stayed the night and another day in Barcelona so that we could really enjoy this city. It would be the first experience for Jason and Shy staying at a hostel, and it was not a good one. Without getting into too many details, we were glad when it was over. Off to Ireland on a short plane ride, arriving in Dublin and into our next shot at a hostel. Which ended up being fantastic, with friends and fun. We walked and walked. It's just what the natives would do!. The most fun about Ireland is definitely the people. The weather is wet and cold, but ignored by the big smiles you see on every face you pass.
 The Malahide Castle was beautiful and we had complete access, because it was closed, but they don't lock the doors. We laid on the grass, we explored the queens garden and chased rabbits all over the place. A beautiful day. Another day we enjoyed cliff walking in the rain and eating at amazing restaurants along the waters edge. Watching sea lions as they begged for hand outs when the fishing boats unloaded their catches. Shopped at fish markets, just to see what it is we would be eating. We enjoyed days in Ireland and mostly enjoyed each others happiness. So much to see and we only touched a small part of this part of the world we call Ireland. Our adventure soon to end still gives us a bit of a layover in Barcelona once again. We went to our favorite little restaurant and found a friend we met previously on our trip. Just enjoying the last days of this journey, I wish that my life was full of these journeys, especially when I get to share them with the people I love most in this world, FAMILY!