Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Travel Tuesday

Greeting from the Big Apple! We're here on our sisters trip--with just a couple sisters.
It was an early flight, but unlike my trip from hell a couple weeks ago, this one was actually nice. There were only 47 people on the plane. Not only did I have a full row to myself, there was no one in the row in front of me or in back of me. Total peace. I actually was able to put my seat back. I never do that if someone is sitting behind me--which is always! I slept nearly the whole way. Added bonus, beautiful sunrise.
Apparently, January is the best time to go to New York. Maybe even a little eerie. The streets are not as crowded as usual. We walked right in the Stardust Diner. Usually, there's a line around the block. It's my favorite way to start our trip. With all the singing and dancing, you really feel like you are on Broadway. It gets me in the mood! There are so many talented people who work there--just waiting for their shot.

This was Sharon's first time. So we strolled 5th Avenue, stopped in St. Patrick's Cathedral, went to Rockefeller Plaza and watched the skaters, browsed the Kate Spade store, went in the M&M store, stopped at Carlos Bakery (Janet's pick--something to do with the Cake Boss show--I'm not familiar with that), a quick stop at Starbucks and then back to the hotel for a rest. 

Dinner was at Carmine's where we ordered a salad and spaghetti and meatballs. It was easily food for 6. We need to remember that when ALL of us girls (my girls and granddaughters) come in June. I always forget how much food it is. The prices are pretty darn good too--with drinks (non-alcoholic), tax and tip, it was $35. Pretty darn cheap for NYC!

We walked around Times Square so Sharon could experience the brilliance of the lights. The weather was perfect--about 48 degrees. In fact, I was too hot in my coat, but it's the only one I brought. 

Our step total for the day was 15,446 for a total of 6.5 miles. Not bad for a first day!

Today, we're going to The Edge! I've never done that and am excited. If you are afraid of heights, it's not for you. We'll be standing on a glass platform 100 stories above the street. I am not afraid of heights. At least I don't think I am. We'll see today!

Oh, and what's up with the picture above? It looks like I don't have any lips. I need to remember to re-apply my lipstick once in awhile. I tend to only do it when I put on my makeup in the morning. 

PS Happy "heavenly birthday" (I hate that term, but "it is what it is"--some people hate that term!), to my brother, Ronnie who would have been 70 today. Or maybe it was yesterday. After 50 years of his birthday being on the 31st, he insisted that mom made a mistake--his birthday was actually the 30th. I never bought it. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Monday Mystery

I'm not sure if this is a mystery. It all looks pretty dead to me. That very hard winter freeze we had is very unlike Nashville. -4 degrees has taken it's toll--that's for sure.

All of this is supposed to be green all winter.
These are English laurels--which I love. 
My garden girl said she thinks all the ivy is dead too. 
And what we went through to get these "green giant" arborvitaes planted---I do hope they make it. It will be quite an ordeal to replace them--not to mention the expense.
It all looks like a big mess. I didn't even take a picture of the 6 huge camellias out front---dead, dead, dead, dead, dead and dead! 

The nurseries around here are going to make a fortune this year. I just hope we're able to get all the new plants we need. It's going to be a rough couple years as we assess the damage.

And another thing, I'm pretty sure our fish are dead too! 

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Something for Sunday

I thought this was so interesting. I love the break-down so that it makes more sense.

There are approximately 7.9 billion people on earth. If you divide it down to 100 persons, and then condense it further into various percentage statistics, the resulting analysis is relatively much easier to comprehend.

Out of 100 people (keep in mind, these numbers are the same as percentages):

11 are in Europe

5 are in North America

9 are in South America

15 are in Africa

60 are in Asia


49 live in the countryside

51 live in cities


75 have mobile phones

25 do not


30 have internet access

70 do not have the availability to go online


7 received a college education

93 did not attend college.


83 can read

17 are illiterate.


33 are Christians

22 are Muslims

14 are Hindus

7 are Buddhists

12 are other religions

12 have no religious beliefs.


26 live less than 14 years

66 died between 15 - 64 years of age

8 are over 65 years old.


Think about this - If you live in your own home, are able to eat full meals & drink clean water, have a mobile phone, can surf the internet and went to college, you are in a miniscule percentage of the population and are a highly privileged person this day. 

(This equates to being in the less than 7% category)

Amongst 100 persons in the world - only 8 will live or exceed the age of 65!


Saturday, January 28, 2023

Scrapbook Saturday

I did this layout for Karolyn for our "round robin" this month. 
This was my AYM layout. This was our last page for our album--"The Music of our Life" for 2022. 
This is the "round robin" layout that Karolyn did for me.
I've started some extensive planning for our scrapbook retreat in February. I'm working on an entire Christmas album. This is going to be an end page for the album.
And this is the title page.

I've been sorting, organizing, printing, journaling and making titles. I have a lot I want to accomplish, so I have to be prepared. I will be.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

About Africa...

I'm really going to make this brief since it's so far after the fact now.
One of my favorite things was the “boat people”—the name we gave for those people that follow the ship in a canoe and yell “hello” “hello” trying to get someone’s attention. Then they started throwing the goods up and the negotiating began. It was a little annoying as they kept it up until 10 p.m. Butch said he wished we’d have bought something from them just for the experience of it. But, when we were enjoying our cocktails on the top of the ship, we didn’t have money with us. They had some pretty tablecloths. We weren’t able to open our drapes because of them, but then we weren’t in our stateroom very much anyway. 
My most favorite sites were the Valley of the Kings and the Avenue of the Sphinxes. I wish that all two miles of the sphinxes were unburied as I think it would have been fun to walk the entire two miles.
Another favorite was our own private guard. He stuck close to the 4 of us at the markets. Butch said it was because I’m not careful enough. Actually, he was the guard for our whole group but since we were the only ones shopping, he stuck with us. I prefer to think he took a liking to us. He didn’t speak any English, but he was able to make it clear to me if I was venturing somewhere I shouldn’t. 
Another section of the Avenue of the Sphinxes. Just amazing.

I loved ALL of the side trip demonstrations: alabaster making, herbs and spices, perfume, tea, rug making (similar to what we already saw in Turkey), and papyrus which I got picked to make it. They let me keep it. Believe it or not, it has not dried out yet! I thought I would use it in my scrapbook for my journaling, but it's too coarse. I think I'll print on a transparency and then add it over the top of the papyrus.
The tombs of the kings were so colorful---as if they were just painted. It was unbelievable that they were thousands of years old.
Stephanie and Nicky went for the full experience. They rode the camels, hiked, bent over into a pyramid, and smoked a hookah. We passed on all of that.
At the sphinx.
Steph and Nicky "walk like an Egyptian!"
The pyramids were unbelievable. You cannot imagine how huge they are. Let's put it this way, when Stephanie and Nicky walked in one, they walked, hunched over the length of a football field and that was only halfway! As I said, huge!

And now for my observations:
1. All the food seemed to have cumin in it—even the tuna salad that was a cross between tuna and potato salad combined. One day I had what I thought was a tomato salad. Turned out to be sweet potato salad—cold, cooked sweet potatoes with mayonnaise. I really liked it. All the salads were good—very unusual—beets and corn salad—good, cucumbers with yoghurt, calamari and potatoes, corn and carrots, beets and pomegranate, broccoli with tuna—all cold and most with mayonnaise.

2. Traveling with your kids—doesn’t matter how old they are--they revert to kids: “Mom, do you have (insert any of the following: a kleenex, money, Equal, etc.).  Dad, do you have any bandaids?”

3. Everyone in Egypt smokes—and not just cigarettes! They have hookahs everywhere. I don’t know if you call them hookah bars or what. But, the entire country is smokey! 

4. There are cats and dogs everywhere.

5. Everybody yells at each other like crazy! Traffic is mass chaos. There are few stop lights—and people don’t pay attention to them anyway. Our tour guide said the stop lights and signs, as well as speed limit signs, are just suggestions! The roundabouts have every mode of transportation all piled in together—scooters, bikes, horses and carriages, motorcycles, cars, and even tractors. It’s a sight to see. Everybody going any which way in any direction. Just chaos. Honking and yelling. Then, people just cross the street anywhere they want—-even the highways! There are no crosswalks, none! It was crazy seeing people and families crossing 3 or 4 lanes of high-speed traffic! It made me a nervous wreck. I even saw a family of 5---yes, 5--dad, mom, and 3 kids hanging off of ONE bike. I've never seen anything like that.

6. It’s hard to believe that Egypt is the oldest civilization, yet living in this overcrowded, dirty, chaotic rubble! It just seems like it should be more advanced than that! Oh, and one thing I learned in geography class (okay, social studies today) when I was in “college” for those 3 semesters, 95% of the population lives within 5 miles of the Nile! Outside of that, it’s a completely brown, desolate, godforsaken place! I witnessed it. I think I only want to go to pretty places after this!

7. The only time I want to be walking in sand is barefoot at the beach. Definitely NOT with shoes on and near ankle deep! I have a personal aversion to getting sand in my shoes!

8. Our tour guide offered the best merchandise deals. He would take the goods from someone--including a kid and then hawk them on the bus. He sold a boatload (or I guess I should say “busload”) of those for the guys. He sold scarves, maps, and pictures too. Actually, it was pretty nice NOT to have to do the “haggle” dance! It’s kind of hard to be harassed by overzealous merchants every day, everywhere! 

9. Being an elderly person (gosh, I hate saying that) with balance issues, I stumble and trip on just about anything. There are many tripping hazards on the ship AND in the ancient city with uneven stone pavement full of holes here and there. I stumbled through the whole country!

10. The dust—unbelievable. The streets are just dirt in many places. We were told to wear masks on the horse and carriage ride because the dust it so bad. It’s true. I felt like I was choking a lot and always drinking water to clear the dryness out of my throat. My shoes and dark pants were covered in dust.  The dust covers everything! All of the palm trees, bushes and what little landscaping there is--is covered in dust. I couldn’t believe all of the markets and food places with food just sitting out in the open with no coverings! Even loaves of bread, just sitting on racks. The cafe tables and chairs are just sitting in the dirt. I guess the people are just used to it. I couldn’t live here!! Considering Tanzania was like this, I’m beginning to think it’s ALL of Africa! Just full of rubble, dust, and trash.

When I got home, I washed everything I brought including ALL shoes and packing cubes. If I could have fit the suitcases in the washer, I would have washed them too!

We had a great time and many new experiences. But, been there, done that, don't need to go back. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

What I buy Wednesday

Today, I'm recounting what I bought in Egypt. Keep in mind, I had no intention of buying anything. Anything Egyptian is not exactly my style. Plus, I don't need anything. Just goes to show, you can pretty much bet, I'll find something I can't live without!! And I did.
Let's start at the top and go clockwise around. Scarves--so many! I bought 3 of these--one for each of the girls. I think they will look cute wrapped around their waist over a swimsuit. A little boy was selling them for $5.00 apiece. 

The plastic container contains lemon tea. I had no intention of buying tea---I'm a tea snob, you know, and prefer English tea. But this one smelled so good and is supposed to make you feel better if you are sick. I had it last week. It did make me feel better, but actually, any tea makes me feel better when I'm sick! 

Another scarf--this one is square with tassels on the corners. I liked that it reminded me of the African blankets we bought in September. Plus, believe it or not, I don't have this shade of blue.

We always like to pick up an ornament when we travel. We have so many that several years ago, I decided we wouldn't do that anymore. I just couldn't quit in the long run. I do regret not having ornaments from a few trips--which I can't even remember at the moment.

Those alabaster trays---we went to an alabaster shop. The demonstration was so interesting. But, everything in the shop was so expensive that I didn't buy anything. Instead, I bought these in one of the markets. The turquoise ones are going to the beach. Lately, we've been picking up little things for the condo from our travels--like a hand-painted fish from Rivello, Italy on the Amalfi coast. Or, the conch shell from Key West. These pretty trays will be a nice addition. The little one will go on the nightstand for people (me) to put their jewelry in. The cream one will go in our guest room here at home.

Sterling silver Kartush bracelet. I came home only knowing two words from Egypt. Kartush is the name for all of the ovals you see in hieroglyphics. Each one represents the name of a king or queen. Only kings or queens can have a kartush. This queen got her own with her name in hieroglyphics. Oh, and the other word I learned--Rameses II--apparently he was the most important king. I don't remember what he did or anything else about him.

And then, for the big splurge---although not nearly as big as Steph's splurge! 

We went to a carpet-making demonstration. Butch and I went to our first demonstration in Istanbul, Turkey. I had every intention of buying a rug. But my sister, Jeanne warned me to NOT buy there, but wait until we went to the market. Well, the day we were to go to the market, I went for tea first at some palace. Cutting to the chase, it ended up being so late, that I missed my opportunity to go to the market. 

That leads to Egypt. I didn't intend to buy a carpet, but fell in love with the process and unique-ness of these rugs. The "makers" (many of whom are kids learning the trade) are unbelievable at how fast they can go. This is the one I ordered--4x6--still, despite how fast it looks, it's going to take 3 months to make.
I bought it for the front door. I have to admit, I'm sort of nervous about that--you know how I'm obsessing about my white carpet. But then, I reminded myself that I had my needlepoint rug at the front door for 20 years and it was just fine. I'm just not going to obsess about it. I want to enjoy it--that's why I bought it. Oh, and to justify the splurge, I told Butch that it could be his birthday present to me!!! As if I need an excuse!

Now for Stephanie and Nicky's big splurge. They are doing a remodeling project of their master bath and redecorating their master bedroom. Steph decided on a big rug--8x10 for her bedroom. 

Then, I said, "You know, why would you have the most expensive rug you own in your bedroom? Kinda like the beautiful Austrian chandelier that I ended up moving from my master bath to the dining room--so everyone could enjoy it!" So, they are going to put it in their living room. Her rug arrived yesterday, so I can't wait to see it.

As it turned out, I came home with quite a few "souvenirs" but I love them!