Can I do this again?

I really liked Killarney.  It was easy to navigate around town and I enjoyed the shopping district, but we move on. Next stop … Ennistymon, County Clare. What great scenery we saw along the way.  We stopped in a neat village called Adare.  After wandering around a bit, we went into Pat Collins Bar for some lunch.  Marie and I began a love affair with the soup we ate in Ireland!  I had vegetable soup, blended.  I promised myself I was going to blend my soup from then on, but so far I haven’t honored that promise since being home.

We arrived at Ennistymon late afternoon. Since it was a relatively small town, we headed straight to the hotel.  Falls Hotel and Spa was nice enough for us to stay put. We had a  beautiful room in a beautiful hotel and the bathroom was extraordinary. How often do you say or hear that?  But, we were very impressed. From now on, all bathrooms will be held to that standard. Large, dark wood, ceramic tile, chrome … just impressive.

When we arrived, the place was full with locals watching a finals Irish soccer match.  Dublin won. By the time we registered and got our bags in the room, the match was over and the bar had emptied out. We missed an opportunity to talk soccer … or Trump with the locals.  So we followed our normal routine … hit the bar for our afternoon libation.  Marie had her drink of choice — Irish coffee, while Jim and I  stayed with wine and scotch.  As we sat and enjoyed the view of the falls and the town in the distance, a  sheep dog came bounding into the corral to herd the donkeys back to their barn. The donkeys weren’t really having any of it.  Mostly they were hiding under a little bridge. The sheep dog evidently decided the hell with it because he just went back to the barn and laid down. Kinda like dealing with your kids … whatever! Marie then headed out to climb over rocks and hills to take pictures. Jim and I sat and drank our adult beverages and watched her.

After breakfast the next morning, we loaded up and headed out.  Next stop?  Oughterard. I did receive instruction from the bartender in how to say it, but I’m wasn’t always successful. The “ough” is sort of like “auk”.

We took the scenic route via the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. More beautiful scenery. Ireland is packed full of beautiful sights.  The Cliffs are self explanatory.  The Burren is what it sounds like … barren. It’s limestone without any soil cover.  After all the green grass, it was such a stark contrast. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to explore much of it.  It was best experienced by bicycle or walking.

As we exited the Burren, we stopped in Ballyvaughan for lunch. We saw a neat looking place sitting on the water and decided it would be a great place for lunch.  Monks Bar & Seafood Restaurant. Once again, we loved every spoonful of the most wonderful soup. Yum. Yum.

After our delicious lunch and some silly picture taking, we got back in the car to head up to Oughterard. We missed a turn in Galway, but managed to get it corrected and reached our destination without further issue.  As I was reading off the highlights of things about Oughterard, we discovered part of The Quiet Man (old John Wayne movie) was filmed here. This got Jim really excited as he loves movies … old ones included. This became a “must see.”

We stayed in a really nice B&B with extremely nice and helpful hosts — Carrown Tober House.  We deposited our bags and after asking where The Quiet Man bridge was, we went in search of it. We found it, with a minimal number of wrong turns, as well as a mini bus of tourists from Minnesota. We all took turns getting our pictures.  Jim was sooo excited.

We went back to town for some liquid libation and some local interaction. We chose a place because of its thatched roof … Powers Thatched Restaurant and Bar. Turned out to be the right choice. Once again, we were on the receiving end of barbs about the President we elected. We definitely saw a pattern here. We had some great laughs with one bartender and when his shift ended, we were subjected to the same comments from the next one. (We laughed with him.)  Isn’t this a neat looking place?

 

Next stop … Cong.  This will be on our way back to back to Dublin for our last night.  Having learned about that part of The Quiet Man was filmed in this town, Jim had Pat Cohan’s Tavern on his must-do list.  After a tasty lunch at Puddleducks Cafe we walked up the street to have a drink at Cohan’s. What? What?  It can’t be!  Closed on Tuesdays?  No!  It can’t be. Not only was it closed, but shutters were across the inside of the windows and we couldn’t see in.  Bummer. Oh well.

On to Ashford Castle so Marie could take some more castle pictures.  Wow!  Really impressive.  And expensive.  People with lots of money … lots of money … like movie stars, etc … get married here.

AND … the Piece de Resistance?  Some of the buildings here were used in the movie. The  one with the red porch is the one Maureen O’Hara lived in with her dad, I believe.  My memory isn’t what it used to be.  It was fixed up, the red porch not being there when the movie was made.

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We were happy campers when we got back in our car.  This last day was definitely a good one.  Onward to Dublin for our last night.

Lest you think it was smooth sailing from here, think again.  We did not leave Ireland without stress.  Heck, we didn’t even get to our hotel in Dublin without stress.  We managed to get into Dublin during rush hour.  With no GPS or even a great city map.  Not that a map of any type would have helped much. Coming into town we planned to head to the airport because the directions I had for the hotel had easier directions from the airport. BUT … we missed the airport exit off the freeway or whatever they call them there. Hence our foray into downtown Dublin at 5:30 p.m. Marie had her phone GPS on, but the phone signal couldn’t keep up with our need to make decisions on turning or going straight ahead.  Street signs aren’t on posts at the corners like in the U.S.  They are on small signs on the corners of the buildings, so you need to get rather close. Yikes!

We had discussed getting gas near the airport so we wouldn’t have to do it in the morning, but obviously that wasn’t happening. Basically, we were going wherever traffic was taking us. At one point, Marie’s GPS got us heading in the right direction but couldn’t keep up. Oh boy!  And don’t forget, I’m the navigator in the back seat because I’m a lousy passenger. Can you visualize the three stooges in the car trying not to scream, yell and smack each other in the head? It took all the control we had.  Or at least I had. (Pat on the back for us all.)

All of a sudden we were in the vicinity of our hotel, The Croke Park Hotel right by the Croke Park Stadium. Thank you, Jesus.  Whoops, we went the wrong way on a one way street. Hallelujah! There it was! We parked that damned car and never felt so happy to be somewhere in our whole lives.

As per our normal pattern, we checked in and put our bags in the room. Woo … nice room. And once again, nice bathroom. I continue my love affair with bathrooms! Staying in better hotels than Holiday Inn Express will do that for you. After our unplanned adventure in Dublin rush hour traffic, we went looking for the bar. Found the restaurant instead. Good enough. Double duty.  We ordered our drinks and then our dinner from a very nice waitress from Nigeria. Feeling sated and relaxed, we headed up to our room to organize our bags and hit the bed.  We had a very early flight out of Dublin … 6:50 a.m. And we needed to fill up the gas and return the car. Not to mention check in and get through security. We all set our phones and iPads for 4:00 a.m.

The next morning, we stumbled around getting ourselves ready. When we checked out I verified the directions to get to the airport.  Now bear in mind, it was pitch black outside when we left. We were told to make a right turn and then head straight until we got on M50.  Well, the straight part of it ended and we had to choose, left or right. We chose left and came onto a freeway.  Yay … M50.  We’re doing good.  When we got to the toll booth, we needed to pay.  But the sign in our car clearly stated we weren’t to pay the toll on the M50. Well, this wasn’t the M50, it was M4 or 1 or 6. It was something not the M50.

We managed to get to the airport and were so stressed we decided the hell with filling up the gas.  Let them do it.  We got to the car rental return place and WHAT? It was gated shut and wouldn’t open until 6 a.m. It was 5:30 a.m. There was a sign that said we could take it to someplace across from the terminal and leave it.  But after driving around twice, we couldn’t find it and ended up back at the rental return. At that point it was 10 minutes until they opened , so we parked in front of the gate and waited. Jim reminded us that he was right when he pointed out where we were to leave the car.  And he was right, I had to acknowledge. We should have listened.  But when do two women listen to one man, I ask?

We made it through check-in and security in time to make our flight. Okay!  We made it! We were flying back to Paris on Aer Lingus to get our flight back to JFK on Air France, then onto Raleigh on American. Well surprise, surprise. Air France canceled our flight and we were going to be leaving 4 hours later. We could have slept longer!  We were now going to miss our connection in JFK to Raleigh. Marie got our missed flight out of JFK changed to the following morning while I found a hotel to stay in that night. And I learned that if you use different airlines that wasn’t scheduled by one of them, you are on your own.  Air France did give each of us an 11 Euro voucher for lunch vs. the $250 we were paying for a hotel room by JFK.

Checking in the next morning, we found that only 2 of us could get on the flight.  One had to be on stand-by. They had already checked Marie and I in.  Jim was the one who’d have to wait for the next flight out unless someone gave up their seat.  No one did. So Marie gave up her’s to Jim, and got an $800 voucher.  Jim and I arrived back in Raleigh, took a short nap, grabbed Marie’s other suitcase and clothing she left at my house and we drove back to the airport to meet Marie.  She had to fly out to Denver for a wedding a few hours later. Success.

With all we went through the last day, I’d do it again in a minute. I’m not sure I would choose Air France again. They did the same thing to us when we flew over to France. But, I guess all the airlines do things like that nowadays.

And remember when we dropped off our car and figured they could fill it up?  This was a economy car.  I would estimate the size about like my Honda Civic with a 14 gallon gas tank. Well, it cost me $80.

 

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Au Revoir, Paree, it was great! But, Eire calls.

It was mixed emotions on my part to actually leave Paris.  But we had a week to spend in Ireland and looked forward to some new adventures there.  I had been there before, but would be seeing a few new places. So we loaded our bags into the taxi and took off for Charles De Gaulle airport. Wow! Huge airport and half the population of the world was there. Or so it seemed. Long, long, long line to show our passports.  Then long, long, long line to go through security. But, I’d rather they be thorough than not.

The terminal itself was very nice.  Good stores … expensive stores.  And nice eateries.  Not to mention the lounge to rest our weary feet. Anyone need a nap?

lounge in CDG

But, alas, no time for a nap now. Where were these when I needed one?

Two hours later — Hello Dublin!  We got our cab and began the drive to the hotel.  Our cab driver was a riot!  As soon as we got in our seats, he wanted to know what the heck was wrong with Americans? And then he started in on Trump. We couldn’t argue with him because we shared his views.  The world’s watching and we had to accept the fact that we were a laughing-stock. A country to be made jokes about. Clearly not on a path toward making America great again. Sad.

Dublin.  Hmmm … not a favorite city.  Don’t get me wrong.  There were plenty of historic sites and history here. My favorite being the Old General Post Office where the Easter Rising of 1916 began. I’ve had a fascination with that event from Irish history for quite a few years. And with Michael Collins, but he didn’t enter into much that occurred at the Post Office. More about him later.

Next would be Trinity College and the Old Library, not to mention the Book of Kells. I loved the library. All that was needed was a recliner and I could live here. Well, and a bathroom too.Paris...Ireland2 003 (640x402)

Why didn’t I care much for Dublin?  It felt crowded to me.  Lots of buses and people.  And too many Americans, it seemed.  Going into pubs or restaurants, all around us —  Americans.  I wanted to get to know locals, not people from my backyard.

The last night, we walked to the corner and entered a restaurant/bistro — Copper Alley Bistro. We were the first ones in there and began to question our decision.  There was music playing in the background and lo and behold a song by Eros Ramazotti came on.  Okay — now I loved this place. One of my favorite singers.  Turned out the owners or managers were Italian. And our food was wonderful.  We enjoyed every forkful as we did our drinks and desserts.  As we were eating the place got very busy.  Glad we arrived when we did.  We definitely recommend this place.

The next morning, we took a taxi to pick up our rental car … a Skoda. Some compact model that used diesel fuel. Marie did a fantastic job of driving us out-of-town.  After all, this was left lane driving with the steering wheel on the right. I am confessing to one and all that I am the worst passenger.  I truly am.  I know it.  And I apologize for it.  I rode in the front left side because I was navigator. That put me front and left looking close up to all the rock walls, etc.  There was a lot of grabbing the dash, pushing of my imaginary brake, hand going to the roof … you get the picture, I’m sure. Thankfully both Marie and Jim allowed me to remain in the car. I’d have tossed my butt out. I did direct her off the M6 or M9 or whatever it was into the lane of oncoming traffic.  Luckily, there was no oncoming traffic at the time. Yikes!

After several days, I decided I wanted to ride in the back. My nerves just couldn’t take it anymore.  This was a small car, after all.  When Jim rode in my former seat, I did hear an intake of breath several times.

Our first stop was Kinsale, by way of Waterford to pick up some crystal. Kinsale, we could have done without. It was a small town on the water, but extremely crowded.  Too many cars.  Streets too narrow.  Street signs almost non-existent. This was September and I can only imagine what it must be like in the summer. We finally found the B&B we were staying at by accident, I should admit. Scratch Kinsale.  I have since found people either love it or hate it.

We found this wonderful old church on our way to our next stop…. Killarney, County Kerry.

We were driving through a town called Macroom.  Michael Collins (remember from my Dublin opening?) was outside of this place at a crossroads called Beal na Blath when he was ambushed and killed.  I really wanted to see it, so I was watching for a sign but we were heading around a curve when I saw it, and there was no place to turn around. Sad. This was true of most of the roads we drove on.

We were staying at Muckross Riding Stables B&B in Killarney. When we got there, we kept seeing signs for Muckross House and thought that was where we were staying. Not!  We stopped by a horse and buggy lot to ask if this was the right place and when told that no one stayed there, we decided to seize the moment and take a horse and buggy ride to the castle.  What a treat! The horse’s name was Joey. I don’t know what the driver’s name was but I do know he was having a nip or two when no one was looking. But, he had been doing this for 30 years, so I’d have been nipping too.  The only issue?  It was cold and drizzly.

Since we had no idea where our B&B was …obviously not what we just saw … one of the buggy drivers gave us directions.  Boy, look at this place!  There were horses and cows, too. I guess that’s why it was called Muckross Riding Stables. We could have ridden the horses had we so desired, which I did not. This was a neat place and the breakfast was wonderful. Between Paris and Ireland, Marie and I couldn’t get enough of the bread. Yum … yum.  The Irish bread was heavy and dark. And moist. I ate bread a lot.

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How neat was this?  This was definitely not Holiday Inn Express. We spent our day in Killarney and I believe … but I might be wrong about this … that Marie bought the city out of Irish wool sweaters. She chose to have them shipped which made us very happy as her suitcase weighed at least 100 pounds, I think.

I could continue on with this but I don’t want your eyes to glaze over, so I’ll continue in my next edition. This ends our fourth night out of seven. We were loving Ireland!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it wrong to write about having fun?

With all the distressing events in our world right now, I feel frivolous writing about the fun I’ve been having. But … I need the diversion.  So bear with me.

Just one month ago, my friends, Marie from California and Jim from South Carolina, arrived at my house in North Carolina to begin our adventure to Paris and Ireland.  After months of planning, endless emails, calls and texts, we were going to find out if all the arrangements and plans were going to work out.  We already had our flight in the morning to NY changed to an earlier time by the airline.  This would make our layover longer, so what the heck?  We’d just head into Manhattan for a few hours. Not so fast.  After checking our bags which included our rain gear, it started to rain.  Scratch that plan.  Then our flight to Charles De Gaulle in Paris got delayed by 3 hours. We managed to get our flight changed to Orly airport at our original time. We then did what self-respecting travelers do, we headed to a cocktail lounge.

Finally … we arrived!  Gay Paree! Hello Paris!  Glad to be here.  My favorite city.  We proceeded to the apartment we rented for the week.  This was one of my big worries.  Was it going to be as portrayed in the pictures?  It was!  It was in a building that was built in the 1800s. And we loved it. Lugging the suitcases up winding narrow stairs to the third floor wasn’t particularly fun and I’m glad I packed light.

Now that’s a bathroom with some reading material!

I’ve been told by my fellow participants that I walked their legs off the first day.  Sorry guys!  My enthusiasm for walking around Paris got the best of me. Since this was not my first trip to Paris, I was the tour guide. Ha! The rest of the days we traveled by Metro, which generally involved a lot of stairs … up and down. At least I didn’t subject them to that the first day! It was very exciting when we encountered an escalator to take us up.

And then, another day of small complaints about all the walking … Louvre, Tuileries, Place de la Concorde to Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. But, we stopped again for another drink at a cafe. Well, truth be told, we stopped for several drinks at several cafes.

The thing that made me sad … during my prior visits, you could walk right up and under the Eiffel Tower.  Now there were barricades and security to go through. The world is not changing for the better. But the view of it still makes your heart stop. And at night when it lit up and the twinkle lights came on, it was absolutely charming.  What a beautiful sight.

One afternoon when we were heading back to our apartment, we stopped at a cafe a few blocks away for a drink.  We did this a lot.  A lot. As we were sitting there at a table outside watching the people walk by, this creature jumped out and very loudly greeted us. He was one of our favorite remembrances of the trip.  What a delightful man.  So we had wine and pizza … a great Bordeaux, one pizza with olives and anchovies and the other with tomatoes and basil, but not like we get back home. We had so much fun with this waiter, who couldn’t speak English, that we went back on our last night just to eat the same pizzas, drink the same wine and say good by to this very funny guy. I wish we had thought to get a picture with him.

I asked Jim what his favorite part of Paris was and not discounting the beauty of the architecture, the, churches and museums, he felt exactly as I did … sitting at the cafes drinking some wine and watching the people. The difference doing it there rather than a big city in the U.S. — it was quiet! The drivers were attentive and courteous. The people were fashionably dressed. I marveled at the cut of the suits or pants and jackets the men wore. Very impressive. And most of them were lean.  They do a lot of walking. A lesson for us, perhaps.

While drinking our wine, we ate a lot of charcuterie.  I believe I had a platter everyday. There were variations, but the cheeses, sausages and pork were wonderful. And lets not forget the bread that came with it.

charcuterie-plate

On our next to last night, we took a dinner cruise on the Seine.  This picture sums up how Jim and I felt about the week we had there. And for those of you wondering, we felt safe.

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It’s blurry, but clearly shows our joy.

On to Ireland … catch you later.

 

 

 

How Do You Do It?

This is a question I’ve been asked a few times, most recently last night. A long time friend called after reading my recent blog post about my travels wanting to know that very thing. Her feeling was that I had a lot more money than she realized.  Well, I didn’t ask how much she thought I had, but I did respond that it wasn’t that I had a lot … it was that perhaps I chose to spend mine differently.

Back in the 60s when we bought our first house, I remember realizing that if someone got a new television delivered you could rest assured that there would be televisions being delivered up and down the street. And over the years, I’ve found that to be true with cars, houses, clothes … whatever.

That was just not my thing.  While I enjoy walking into friends homes that are nicely decorated with all the newest trends and I think about redoing my home, I then equate that money as better spent on trips. Or take clothes, for instance.  I don’t recreational shop.  I’ll shop twice a year for myself.  Going into summer because the previous years stuff is usually pretty worn having been washed so much. And going into winter if I’ve gained weight or lost weight.  Winter clothes don’t need replacing that much. Not to mention it helps to be old and not care about the current fashion.

When I had to replace my car, sure I loved those really cool SUVs.  But, wow! Those price tags.  So I got another Honda Civic. I still fantasize about tooling around in one of those cars.  Remember, I lived in Southern California for a long time and learned you are what you drive. I’m not quite sure what my Honda Civic says about me.

When Jim and I are together, we might go out to eat once a week.  We don’t do it most days. When I’m by myself, I like to go to Chipotle.  I get one of their bowls and I can get two or three meals out of it.

So go ahead … call me cheap.  I know I am. Jim keeps forgetting that I’m cheap. Or he chooses to forget when he’s proposing another trip.  Does my carpet need to be replaced?  Yeah. But that Viking River cruise down the Rhine is such a better way for me to spend my money.

My daughter laughs at me because I won’t throw away the tissue paper from gift bags.  I iron it and reuse it. Plastic ziplock bags?  Yep … wash those and reuse them.  Then there’s those lightweight produce bags. Good for lots of things too.

When I grocery shop I don’t buy just anything, I generally buy what’s on sale. I rarely buy steak.  But I do buy canned tuna a lot.  I buy whatever laundry detergent is the cheapest that week.  I do buy loads of fruit though.  It’s a shame the things good for us cost the most, isn’t it?

Are you getting my drift? It’s not how much we have, it’s how we choose to spend it.  Travel is at the top of my list right after my essential needs. And since we are retired, we can take advantage of all the great deals on travel.  We can go on short notice or during off seasons.  We’re going to Tuscany for 8 days including room, car and flight for $800 each.  But, it’s in February. It’ll be cold but it will be cold here too.  So why not? I’ve never been to Tuscany.  I want to see it and feel it. And February is such a dreary month.

I don’t have many wants, otherwise. I don’t golf, work out at a gym, go out to lunch, gamble, smoke, get my nails done. Jim once asked me what I would buy if I won the lottery.  After thinking for a while I told him I’d buy a new car.  (This was before I had to buy a new car.) What kind?  Another Honda Civic. (Which was exactly what I bought.)  What?? Not a Cadillac or Jaguar or Mercedes?  No.  A Honda Civic.  And I’d buy better brands of clothing… better quality stuff … like from Dillard’s, instead of Kohl’s, Belk’s or Macy’s. And maybe a pair of leather boots.  I can’t bring myself to spend the money on them even though I really want them. I don’t need them.

Definitely El Cheapo, here.

 

Western Pennsylvania World War II & Steelworkers Tribute

My memories of growing up in Pittsburgh are of seeing the mills at night with the orange and yellow glow lighting up the sky along with the smoke coming out of the stacks. It always seemed otherworldly to me.

My dad was a mechanic working on all the heavy equipment.

Steel Mill, Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania earned international fame as the Steel City and for generations the steel produced here created many of America’s buildings, bridges, memorials & monuments. Steel mills and factories lined the railways and river ways of communities throughout the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania. The steelworkers soon garnered a reputation for being tough as nails with a solid blue-collar work ethic they adopted from their immigrant parents from countries around the world. The daily life of a steelworker involved the constant banging thunderous explosions of steel on steel, fumigating smoke & dust, overhead cranes & chains, searing temperatures from molten steel & pulverizing flames & flashes that could blind a man. The city became a melting pot of people from all over the world seeking the freedoms denied in their homeland. The mills provided them the  opportunity to make a better life for their families and…

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My Heart Cries for Houston

So, all this heartache happening in the Houston area has been occupying my thoughts this past week.  I just can’t imagine being in that situation.  To that extent as well.

Like you, I’ve been keeping up with the news and find that sometimes when the newscaster is talking to the people who’ve had to be rescued, I find tears finding their way down my cheeks. So sad. So many people who’ve lost everything.

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Eventhough I’ve never been in that situation, I can certainly feel for those people. Unlike our great leader who is still talking about the crowd size. I did see G.W. Bush talking to some athletes and how I wish he was still our President.  He had heart.  He was a good person. I miss him.  I never voted for him, but he was real. I should have appreciated him more when he was President.

I’ve been reading a lot about it too.  A good bit of it on Facebook.  You know that major news source for many people.  And I have to say many of the comments make me sick. Too many of us have become ugly. Not everyone. Not by a long shot. I’ve been seeing and reading about many heroes. But I can’t help but wonder what the mothers of the ugly ones would say.

This flood is not a black and white issue.  It’s a human issue. And it’s a government issue.  Development should not be approved in areas that should be left vacant.  You see this all over the place, not just in Houston. I saw it the last time I was in Southern California.  They were in a terrible drought, but what used to be scrub brush on hills, were now houses and land being leveled for more houses. And it happens in coastal North Carolina.  The sand keeps disappearing with bad storms and people who’ve built right on the water start carrying on that their house is in danger of falling apart. Too bad, I say.  Shoulda had more sense.  If you were smart enough to earn enough money to build or buy that house, you should have had enough sense to know one day it would get knocked over. Locals know not to be on the first row.  Be on the second or third row.

Quite a number of years ago, my homeowners insurance increased rather considerably from one year to the next. I hadn’t had any claims, so it stymied me.  I decided to call my agent to inquire why this was so.  I was told that the homeowners on the coast had such high insurance liability that the Insurance Commissioner from this great state of NC ruled that the costs would be equalized over the entire state.  Say what? WTF??  I had to pay higher insurance premiums because someone from New Jersey built a 10 bedroom, 8 bath house right on the water to rent out to tourists and I was supplementing that house? The premium has never come back down so I guess I’m still supplementing.

So I blame our planning commissions and city and county governments for approving development where it shouldn’t be. It seems many feel inclined to blame the Mayor of Houston.  But I’m not sure he should be blamed.  He did tell people if they didn’t evacuate, they should write their names and Social Security numbers on their arms with permanent marker so they could be identified later. And no one expected rainfall and storm surge like that.

And you shouldn’t blame the people who are poor and had no resources to go anywhere.  If you live paycheck to paycheck or welfare payment to welfare payment, you don’t have the financial wherewithal to go to a hotel. You take your chances and hope for the best.  I read this was a 1 in 1000 year rain. Who would have ever expected 50+ inches of rain? I’m 65 inches tall.  That’s just 15 inches more. I measured my head … I really did and it was 11 inches.  Only my head would be out of the water … just barely!

I hope our esteemed leader gives up on his idea of the stupid wall.  Spend it on some needed infrastructure. Maybe visit the Netherlands and see how they keep the North Sea out of their country. But I heard on the news this morning that contracts have been put out for prototypes of walls.  Someone needs to tell him that around San Diego and Arizona, they tunnel under the wall and come out on the U.S. side in a building.  I used to have hope that Congress would have some balls to do what’s right, but I’ve given up on hoping that.  It ain’t gonna happen. And let’s reconsider that climate change just might have played a part in all the weather events we’ve had around the world recently.  What can it hurt? It’s either that or God is really pissed. He’s not liking what He’s seeing, I’m sure.  All this hate.

Maybe tax reform that Trump proposed will be that we all pay more taxes and stop driving $60,000 vehicles.  Wearing $200 sneakers.  Don’t need those $1500 high heels. You know the ones with the red soles.  But I’m thinking those reforms are going to make it better for the people who just want to accummulate more wealth.  I’m worth more than you … see, Forbes says so.  We desperately need help in getting our priorities straight. We’re really screwed up. We want everything, but don’t want to pay for it.  Well, we don’t mind paying for our wants, we don’t want to pay for our needs.  And we certainly don’t want to pay for someone else’s need.  Like I don’t intend to get sick and don’t want to have to buy insurance because somebody else might get sick.  It’s not fair!  Why should I pay taxes for schools?  I don’t have anyone in school. Get my drift?

So we don’t want to pay higher taxes.  I get it.  But we keep having these weather related disasters,  which climate change is NOT causing.  <wink>  But how much will it cost us in tax dollars for Houston and the surrounding areas? And now it looks like another hurricane may potentially hit us again.  What do you think the answer is? Should we be going the Ark route?

 

 

Trying to Fit it All In!

This blog is about being happy in Murrells Inlet. Well, truth be told, I now live in Raleigh, but I don’t know how to change the name. And I have been having fun! I’m working hard at spending my children’s inheritance. Don’t tell them I said that.  They may be waiting for me to kick the bucket to get their hands on those credit card balances I haven’t used up.

I did help Jim install artificial grass in his yard.  Boy, I don’t ever want to do that again! It looks nice, though. My knees are all bumpy and bruised from crawling around on that stuff.  And at my age, I don’t need bumpy, rough knees.  Eww………

Two weeks ago Jim and I went on a cruise (Royal Caribbean to the Bahamas) with my kids and grandkids.  What fun!  Spending.  Spending.  My husband and I always traveled with our kids when they were young and I’ve missed traveling with kids.  They bring such a different perspective to the adventure.  One of the highlights for Shane was going back to the cabin at night, getting under the covers and watching television.  Hey, he doesn’t have a television in his room at home, so this was a big deal!

todd.lila.shane at dinner on bahamas cruise (640x360)

Todd, Lila & Shane at dinner.

lainie and me dinner on cruise 2 (360x640)

Lainie and me at dinner

I hate to see them growing up. But, I do have to say … I hope we get more opportunities to do more family travel. I’m not sure how much they got out of it, but I sure am glad we did it. I need to put my adventure cap on and figure out something to do next summer.  I know it won’t be a cruise. Not that this one wasn’t good, I’m just not a cruise person eventhough I seem to do a lot of it.  Why is that?  We have two scheduled for next year! What’s wrong with this travel program? Lila is now attending high school with a standard calendar and this will be Shane’s last year in a year round calendar.

Jim and I … and my friend Marie … are getting ready to head to Paris and Ireland next week. I did finally get all the papers printed we need to take…vouchers … boarding passes … apartment entry code and address. Not to mention nagging Jim to get his act together.  And nagging.  And more nagging.

Image result for paris

 

Can’t wait for this one.  I haven’t been to Paris in 14 or so years.  And I was last in Ireland when G.W. was President and everyone wanted to know what we thought of him as President.  I can’t wait to hear what they’ll want to talk about this time.  Should be a riot! Until next time …………..