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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Cherries are Back

Is anyone else thrilled that cherries are back in season? I love them, could eat a bucketful. My Norwegian grandmother lived in Oregon, and had a Queen Anne cherry tree in her yard. I’d never seen cherries that were yellow and red, but they were fantastic. Both my mother and grandmother warned me that I’d get sick if I ate too many, but I never did. I loved that time in Oregon and cherish those moments with my grandmother.

One time I spied Queen Annes in the grocery store (back on the East Coast) and couldn’t wait to get home and try them. What a disappointment. They were mushy and tasteless. I think they’re just too perishable to hold up for long. Nothing like eating them off the tree. Same with fresh figs!

Then the other day, we went to the local Farmers Market and they had Queen Annes, although they called them “Rainier.” I did a little research and learned that these cherries only grow in Michigan, Oregon and Washington. Some say Rainier cherries are sweeter than Queen Annes, but others can’t tell the difference. I may have to try them after all, but kind of like keeping my old memories intact.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Sweet Jasmine

Every year I look forward to jasmine blooming. The scent is downright intoxicating and we’re lucky enough to have it growing up to our balcony. Whenever there’s a breeze we get a strong delicious whiff.

I had never lived in a climate warm enough for jasmine, so didn’t know how amazing it was.

Here it is on the balcony. I was surprised to learn that jasmine is part of the olive family.

The skies have been so blue lately!

Here you can see the individual flowers. The only downside? I’ll be sweeping those blossoms for months. So worth it, though.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Kilauea Before it Erupted

While reading the news about Kilauea, I suddenly realized I was there last year! I can hardly believe it’s the same place now. As you’ll see below, it was just an opening in the ground with a bit of smoke and a tiny flame. Now the volcano is sending ash and smoke 30,000 feet (9144 m) in the air. You guys, that is higher than Mt. Everest. I feel bad for the people who have lost their homes and are breathing noxious fumes.

Here are some shots I took at Volcanoes National Park which includes the Kilauea Caldera….

When I read “You are standing inside one of the world’s most active volcanoes,” it didn’t really faze me. I feel differently now.

You can see how barren it is around the caldera. It must be so much worse now.

Right before we left, there was more smoke and you could actually see flame. We also cruised by the volcano at night on the ship, but it was too far away to photograph.

This is Lua Manu Crater. It’s approximately 330 ft. (100 meters) in diameter and 125 ft. (38 meters) deep and was formed about 200 years ago.

Right now the park is closed until further notice. Norwegian Cruise Line, which we used last year, is circumventing the Big Island and spending an extra day on Maui.

Great weekend, everyone….


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Guess Who Turned Four?

I could hardly believe it when the vet said Yuri was turning four this month. I still think of him as an almost-two-year-old. We didn’t have a party or anything, but I did get him some new toys and extra treats that day.

Took this one with the iPad…still can’t get over his intense stares.

Great weekend, everyone!


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South Rim of the Grand Canyon

When we drove from the Phoenix area to Flagstaff and then the Grand Canyon, I was a tiny bit concerned the altitude would bother me, but I had no problems at all. Good thing, considering elevations average 7000 feet (2134 m) above sea level at the South Rim where we were. The North Rim opens May 15. I didn’t realize they closed it in the winter because of heavy snow.

What surprised me the most was that you can practically drive to the edge of the Grand Canyon. There’s just a low stone wall with an occasional railing.

Normally, heights bother me, but the canyon didn’t faze me at all. I think because it looks kind of surreal. But one place you won’t find me: the glass walkway on the Western Rim….

via grandcanyonwest

Just looking at this photo creeps me out. You can actually see the bottom of the Grand Canyon from the walkway and it’s 2000 feet down.

These views were enough for me….

This is Hopi House, built in 1905 so tourists could observe Hopi artisans at work and purchase their goods. It’s still a gift shop today.

The Hopi and their ancestors are called Ancestral Puebloans because they lived in permanent, multi-level stone pueblos. They have inhabited the Grand Canyon area for millennia.

El Tovar Hotel, also built in 1905. Famous guests included Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, playwright George Bernard Shaw, author Zane Grey, and telegraph inventor Guglielmo Marconi. You can eat lunch there with great views of the canyon.

I took this one with my iPhone, so the colors are a bit different.

I want to return in the near future and shoot the canyon at sunrise and/or sunset. It’s supposed to be even more beautiful then.

Great weekend, everyone!


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I Never Get Tired of Tulip Magnolias

Even though we don’t get them in California, I have a lot of tulip magnolia shots to remember them by. Here’s one of my favorites:

And is anyone else watching Dr. Foster on Netflix?


Each episode pretty much leaves me with my mouth hanging open. It’s about a doctor in England going through a tough divorce after learning that her husband was cheating on her. Having been through a painful divorce, I know that it can make you a little cuckoo. But this woman takes it to another level. The actress who plays the doctor, Suranne Jones, is brilliant.

I’m still working on the Grand Canyon post and hope to have it up next week.

Great weekend, everyone!


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So Last Weekend I Saw the Grand Canyon

And it didn’t disappoint….

Will upload more photos next week.

Great weekend, everyone!


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