Vacation Begins

It is 1:40 p.m. on Sunday, July 14, my husband and I are packed and ready for our flight to London. We are relaxing and waiting for the hands of time to tell us to head to the airport. Ding, a text message arrives saying our flight is on time. That’s good news, we smile. Ding, a new text arrives three minutes later. Your flight is delayed one hour. You will arrive in Dallas at 8:00 p.m. What?! That can’t work, our flight to London leaves at 8:10 p.m. We no longer smile.

Panic sets in, breathing is difficult, something must be done. I call the airline. All operators are busy, would you like us to call you back? Absolutely! Seven minutes of heart palpitations before the phone rings. A pleasant voice asks, “What can I help you with today?” I explain the problem. She begins to search for a solution. It seems that the 1:30 flight has been delayed until 3:30. The voice on the line asks, “Can you get to the airport to make that flight?” Absolutely!

Turn the hot water heater to vacation mode, set the thermostat on hold, dump the leftover milk, what have we forgotten? Load the bags into the neighbor’s car and off we go. We arrive at the airport by 2:30. Breathing is returning to normal. There seems to be a slight issue with the boarding pass, but the person behind the desk assures us, we are on the flight. As we stand at the counter another couple wants to get on this flight, but they are denied as this plane is full. I breathe a small prayer of thanks to the person who was able to book us. We must be the last ones to board the plane. Slowly the plane backs away and we are on our way to see new parts of the world from a cruise ship.

Many sleepless, uncomfortable hours later we arrive in London. We have purchased the transfer to the port from the cruise line. This helps to ensure that the boat won’t leave without us. The cruise line representative tells us the bus will be here shortly. Two hours later we board a bus for a two hour ride to the port.

We drag our tired bodies off the bus into the terminal thinking this will go quickly because no one else is there. This is not to be. They have disconnected all but two computers, so we must stand in line to get checked in. All I want to do is find my cabin to collapse, but that must wait. The ship is in the process of the muster drill. Attendance is mandatory. We are beyond tired and hungry, but we make it through the drill hauling our carry-on bags behind us. Finally, we make it to our cabin. A shower revives me and I am ready for whatever adventures lie ahead.

Fortunately our first day is a sea day, so we can rest up and be ready for the ports ahead. I will give you the details and share photos from this trip next week. But here is a taste of some of the sights to come. Can you guess where this is?

Everywhere you looked, water was falling from the tops of the mountains.

Everywhere you looked, water was falling from the tops of the mountains.

Color of Summer

After the All Write conference, I knew I needed to get back to my friend Trek. She was a new friend that entered my life last August (you can read about her here). We’ve gotten together many times in the past months. She even went along to California. She loved rolling along the level bike paths of Irvine. We both wish those paths could be in our neighborhood.

Once life calmed down, Trek and I hit the road again. As I pedaled along I thought about all the color spring had brought along my route (read about that here). Inwardly I sighed remembering all the bright spots that lined the road. I was settling in for a journey of shades of green, but what was that ahead of me? An orange trumpet vine announcing that spring is not the only season with color. Summer has its own vibrant colors. All you need to do is look carefully. The more I looked, the more colors I noticed. It amazes me when fragile little plants push their way through blacktop.

The next day I returned with my camera. The ride took a bit longer as I pedaled, stopped, snapped. Just as I was getting back on the seat I would see another plant or a better view of a previous plant. Pedal, stop, snap. Here are a few colors for your viewing pleasure along my biking route. Enjoy!

Trumpet vine announces summer is here!

Trumpet vine announces summer is here!

Close up of the trumpet vine. The flower is really orange not pinkish.

Close up of the trumpet vine. The flower is really orange not pinkish.

These purple-bluish flowers line the road.

These purple-bluish flowers line the road.

This is Common St. John's-Wort.

This is Common St. John’s-Wort.

This is butterfly weed. I think it is too pretty to be called a weed.

This is butterfly weed. I think it is too pretty to be called a weed.

Prairie roses seem to grow along every kind of fence or even in ditches.

Prairie roses seem to grow along every kind of fence or even in ditches.

I see Brown-eyed Susan plants as I scan the fields.

I see Brown-eyed Susan plants as I scan the fields.

Milkweed is a favorite place for Monarch butterflies to lay their eggs. I guess the leaves are tasty to the caterpillars.

Milkweed is a favorite place for Monarch butterflies to lay their eggs. I guess the leaves are tasty to the caterpillars.

This fuzz ball is a Sensitive Briar. It will fold up its leaves when touched. It is related to the Mimosa tree.

This fuzz ball is a Sensitive Briar. It will fold up its leaves when touched. It is related to the Mimosa tree.

This little plant has quite the thorns. I guess you are  supposed to look, not touch.

This little plant has quite the thorns. I guess you are supposed to look, not touch.

Although there is no flower, one would be wise to recognize this plant, poison ivy. Unfortunately I am seeing a lot of this as I pedal along.

Although there is no flower, one would be wise to recognize this plant, poison ivy. Unfortunately I am seeing a lot of this as I pedal along.

These plants are the tip of the color wheel I pedal past each day. There are so many more and each time I seem to notice another one that wasn’t there yesterday. Isn’t nature interesting?

More Slicers Met

I have found the perfect way to make my heart happy and put a smile on my face. Are you curious? Do you want to know how you can achieve this level of joy? It’s easy. All you have to do is meet someone that you’ve known for several years. Let me explain . . .

Last Wednesday I had the privilege of meeting two more Slicers. Michelle and Judy were heading to Branson to pick up their future in-law at the airport. Judy had the marvelous idea of contacting me to see if I was available. Absolutely I was available!

Through email we decided to meet up at the Branson Landing shopping area right outside the Bass Pro Shop. As I walked toward the entrance, I scanned the people looking for a mother, daughter, and two small twin daughters. No one seemed to fit the bill until I saw a lady step out of the store. Immediate recognition was in her face. She knew who I was, which then let me know who she was, it was Judy.

Hugs and introductions were the first order of business. Then we headed back inside the shop where the girls watched the fish for a bit. This allowed the adults time to talk. Once again, the familiarity of knowing our stories brought us together as friends.

We wandered about the shopping area looking for a place for lunch and giving the little girls a chance to stretch their legs. The giant ice cream cone sign caught their attention, but first we stopped for hamburgers and fries.

Unfortunately, the day became hotter and hotter as we looked for a shady spot to sit and visit. The fountains were entertaining for a while. However, the girls enjoyed crawling in a rocket ship, a car, and boat even more. When did those mini rides get so expensive? They used to be a quarter, but now you need four quarters to make them go.

Ice cream was a cooling treat as the afternoon heated up. Shortly after that treat we needed to say good-bye so they could get to the airport. But before we parted a quick picture was in order.  We snagged a young man as he came out of Bass Pro to snap our picture with our phones.

What a joy it is to get to meet the person behind the words! Thanks for a fun time Michelle and Judy!

michelle judy