Sunset on the Rocks

Hi everyone,

I recently had surgery that I’d planned for a long time and am just uncomfortable sitting at a desk. Now that the holidays are upon us, I’ll be taking time off until next year.

Hope you’re all doing well…here’s a recent shot of sunset at the beach.

Happy Holidays!


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Rise Mohave Lantern Festival

As stated previously, I went to a lantern festival in the Mohave Desert outside Las Vegas. Rise Mohave happens every year and my son and his girlfriend had raved about it. Now I see why…it was truly magical.

After about a half-hour bus ride from Las Vegas, we got to the desert just before sunset. The weather was perfect! It had rained the day before, so I was a little worried the event would be cancelled. The sky was crystal clear, thankfully.

Here’s the sign that everyone posed in front of:

And from behind:

The whole thing was beautifully organized. We had assigned spots and were given tatami mats to sit on. I got tired of sitting on the hard ground, so luckily they had a tent where you could sit on benches for a break.

This was also where you could write on your two lanterns. People wrote all kinds of stuff–things that they were grateful for, people they wanted to pray for and negative stuff they wanted to go up in flames. It was pretty emotional, I have to say.

Oh, there was live music too, which was a nice touch.

When it was completely dark, we were told to light our lanterns, which was the hard part. I think my son lighted most of the lanterns near us because it was a struggle! There’s a little wax square at the base of the lantern and you have to hold a flame to it for several seconds. All this while the wind is blowing and you have to worry about the lantern collapsing and burning! Somehow we managed to not burn any of ours. 🙂

It helps to stand the lantern on the ground once it’s lit, and then wait a few minutes until it’s ready to float.

And then they’re off! It was soooo beautiful, made me teary-eyed. Everyone was so happy and awed by the sight of the lanterns in the night sky. I was so happy to be with my son and his girlfriend too. They made the entire trip extra-special for me.

Here’s a short video I shot on my iPhone….

If you’re planning a trip to Vegas in the month of October, check out Rise Mohave.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Life is So, So Short

I’ve been away from the blog because I lost a dear friend I’ve known nearly my whole life, with no warning. She was healthy, and too young to die. I am still processing what happened and it’s been nearly three weeks now. What a reminder of the brevity of life.

I flew back to the Midwest to say goodbye, and thank heaven she was still alive when I got there. My friend wasn’t conscious, but I just wanted her to know I was there. She died the following day.

After so many years in Southern California, I wasn’t really prepared for a snowfall in October. This is how it looked the afternoon before I left:

It quickly progressed to this:

My flight home connected through Salt Lake City and we flew right over the Great Salt Lake….

And then the city itself, which I hadn’t seen since I was around ten years old.

Before all this happened, I went to Las Vegas with my son and his girlfriend for a Lantern Festival in the Mohave Desert. I’ll share those photos next time.

Carpe diem, everyone….


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Peaks from Above

Oh, I meant to get this in before October, but then I caught the flu and didn’t feel like doing much of anything. Seems kind of early for flu season….

I flew up to Oregon for a long weekend and took the shots below from the plane. I had a short layover in Seattle, which was experiencing terrible air quality due to fires. At first I thought it was fog. That made it really nice to climb up for this view….

Pretty sure this is Mt. Rainier. So glad I had a window seat for a change.

I had almost forgotten about Mt. St. Helens until I saw the caldera. They’re both so beautiful.

I’ll post more photos from Oregon in the future.


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Market Haul

My husband and I are really enjoying the local farmers markets. Here’s what looked good last time:

I prefer my beets pickled, so have never cooked them. Now I’m curious as to how they taste.

Aren’t these peaches gorgeous?

I like the way the vendor packaged these vegetables.

The colors in these plums are so pretty. They’re really sweet too.

A closer look.

Crazy cucumbers.

These onions are huge. As you can see, they’re as big or bigger than a full head of broccoli.

Don’t the leaves on these radishes look like lace?

There weren’t a lot of flowers at this market, but the sunflowers looked great.

Plenty of succulents.

I am really going to miss these tomatoes. The ones in the grocery store are so tasteless in the winter.

So, I’ve decided to take the rest of August off. I have a small trip planned, but mostly I just need to recharge the batteries. See you in September!


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Bergen from Above

When I was putting this post together it dawned on me that I really like funiculars and sky trams. I’ve taken them in Paris, Chamonix, St. Thomas, Palm Springs and now Norway. They never disappoint. A quick trip and you’re up in the clouds with stunning views.
In Bergen we decided to take the Fløibanen funicular up Mount Fløyen and loved it.

This is where we stood in line for at least an hour. Luckily it was a beautiful day.

This building was across the street. I love the color and roofline.

On the way up. The trip is 2,769 ft (844 m) long, covers an altitude change of 991 ft (302 m) and takes just six minutes.

Such a lovely place. I wish we could have spent more time there.

The view out towards the sea.

Lille Lungegårdsvannet or Smålungeren is a small five-acre lake in the city center.
The sides were straightened and it was artificially made into an octagon shape.

I was surprised to see houses so close to the funicular, but even more surprised to see these guys:

I did a little research and found out that they are cashmere goats and called “Fløyenguttene” (the Fløyen Boys). The nine billy goats were born in 2011 and were bred to clear vegetation.

At Fløibanen’s upper station you’ll find Fløien Folkerestaurant with a lovely terrace. We had just had lunch so just bought ice cream cones.

The view from the other side.

There were paved walkways on different levels so everyone could appreciate the views.
So glad we had good weather, because Bergen is allegedly the rainiest city in Europe, if not the world!

Great weekend, everyone!


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Living His Best Life

Yup, that’s Yuri all curled up on the guest room bed. I’m so glad we have air conditioning, as it’s been hot and humid here all week. This Siberian would really suffer without it.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Bergen Preview

I was surprised to see that I only had two posts on our trip to Norway. But then I remembered it was the year my brother died. The trip just got kind of lost in the shuffle. I’ll be posting about Norway in the near future, but for now a brief glimpse of Bergen….

I loved the old shops and colors in Bergen and took a lot of photos. More to come soon.

Great weekend, everyone!


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When Travel Plans Get Twisted

I was supposed to leave on Monday for Israel after months of planning and making reservations with three girlfriends. But then one of our friends suddenly became very ill and was admitted to the hospital. It was, in a word, surreal. How someone can go from healthy to dangerously sick is incredible. Waiting to learn if she was all right last weekend was excruciating. Suddenly the trip didn’t matter one bit. We just wanted her to be OK. Thankfully she is doing better, but was in the hospital nearly a week.

I was so shocked at what happened, I didn’t even have time to be disappointed about missing the trip. We briefly considered going with just two or three of us, but it wouldn’t have been the same. Part of traveling with friends is how much fun you have together sharing similar experiences. We can always plan another trip.

I can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance. This illness came out of the blue and was totally unexpected. Be sure to check benefits on your credit card too, because it may provide travel insurance. In our case we were covered by both the card and a separate policy. Oh, and something I didn’t know: most insurance companies consider illness of a traveling companion a valid reason for cancellation.

So, I’ll be around this summer until I make a trip to Oregon in August.

In the meantime, here’s an image of the beach I took recently to brighten your day.

Great weekend everyone,


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One Lovely Farmers Market

When we went to the Farmers Market last week, I was struck by how beautiful everything looked. So glad I had a camera with me. Enjoy….

I’ve never cooked beets–I like them pickled in a jar–but these look good to me.

We didn’t buy all this, but what we did bring home tasted as good as it looked.

This is the last blog post for a few weeks, as I’m going to be traveling. See you back here in July.

Great weekend, everyone!


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