Monday, March 19, 2012

"Trip" Report

I can't believe I've forgotten to give you my "trip" report!!


I haven't fallen completely down, so that's good!!

This is definitely a whirlwind trip. We’re seeing it all. Yesterday started the tour of Jesus’ teachings and miracles.

I don't remember exactly where this was. The problem is that I've taken so many pictures (and have already ordered 87 from Walgreen's) that I can't remember all of these churches. I'll have to go through the itinerary to refresh my memory.
This is a view of Jerusalem from the Garden of Gethsemane. It's a walled city and I loved it.
Today we had a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Linda and I didn't' really want to go as we're not all into boat rides. It was only an hour and it seemed to go by pretty fast. Butch made us smile for this picture. When we got back on the bus, we found out that the reason it went by so fast is that it was only actually 40 minutes long---okay by me. Since it was so cold, they shortened it.

Now, I have to say that Linda is absolutely telling the truth about how hot she is all the time. She has worn nothing but flip flops every day and never even a jacket. You see her here in just a blouse. I'm in my coat (I put the hood down for the photo), have a scarf on and here's the "kicker"---I have another jacket underneath! It was cold and windy.
This was yesterday, but this is the jacket I have on under my coat above. I brought 3 pashminas with me, but on the 2nd day out, I was so cold (and forgot to throw a pashmina in the back pack) that I had to buy another one. The guy wanted $25.00 for it. Butch got him down to $6.00.
We had lunch here. It says it's an "Oriental" restaurant, but it wasn't. It was middle Eastern like every place we've been to. They have a set menu.
Here is the salad part of the meal---served family style. The only thing I liked was the hummus---and I have to say, I'm getting pretty tired of it. I've been living on it.
This was really good---St. Peter's fish and "chips." This is the actual name of the fish---supposedly named for St. Peter because this is what he caught when Jesus told him to cast his net.
 This was our dessert---dates. They look pretty disgusting, but tasted pretty good.
 Just Butch.
 I really liked Capernaum---where Jesus lived during his ministry.
The ruins of the town where Jesus lived---Capernaum. 

That's it for now.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"The Bible Comes Alive!"

That's what they should change the name of our pilgrimage to. To see all the places that we've heard about all our lives is unbelievable. We are following Jesus' life and hear the stories and scriptures at each stop. It is truly inspiring. I feel very good. We have made friends with all 29 people in our group. The only thing left to do with them is to sing "Kum bi yah!" Maybe tomorrow.
We had lunch at this restaurant. They served exactly 2 sandwiches---nothing else---just 2 sandwiches---no chips or fries, just the sandwich. You had your choice of the "falafel" which is garbanzo beans crushed with spices, rolled into balls and deep fried served in a pita---or---the "shawerma" which is chopped chicken in a pita. As far as I was concerned, there was only one choice. That would be the chicken. It was just blah. I thought it would be like a gyro, but it wasn't. The people that got the falafel said it was pretty good. Still, I needed some chips on the side.
This is the difference between a $20,000 vacation and a $4,000 pilgrimage. There must be some sort of poverty thing associated with it. Only kidding. Just our luck, there happened to be a marathon being run the day we were to check out of our hotel in Jerusalem. All the streets were closed. Our bus couldn't get to us, so we had to schlepp our luggage to the bus---a 15 minute walk in the drizzle.
That's our hotel with the 2 towers in the distance. That's how far we had to walk. Don't think I made it seem further by just taking the photo---no, I used the telephoto lens to get it the exact distance from the bus! It was far---some downhill and some uphill.
 Camels are a pretty common sight---for the tourists to ride. They really are huge animals.
There were a lot of baptisms taking place in the Jordan River. See all the mud? Our priest---there in the black vest---just blessed us with the water.

Just one other thing. I found out that when people are rolling huge carts full of stuff and they need people to get out of their way, the universal word that everybody recognizes is "BEEP BEEP!"

Friday, March 16, 2012


I've learned one hebrew word and this is it. Of course I would remember it as it stands for "remember" or "memory." Sounds like a page title to me.

Here are a few things I want to remember:
1. the Church of the Nativity is the oldest church in the Holy Land. I am blown away by all the churches here.

2. And another thing. I always thought of the Holy Land as "ours" (meaning Catholics). Turns out, we are a small minority here. In fact, only about 5% of the people here are Christians. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher---Jesus' tomb, place where he was prepared for burial and Mount Calvary---where he was crucified---are all under this roof. Each of these areas is controlled by a different religion. There are about 30 chapels within this church. The Franciscans (the only Catholics here) have the---darn, I've already forgotten what part of this church they control. So much information---interesting, but too much to remember!

3. All the hotels have holy names: Notre Dame Hotel, The Christmas Hotel, Mt. Zion and one that sounds just right for kids---the Holy Family Hotel.

4. I've forgotten everything else I wanted to remember.

Here's some other stuff:
I like this presentation of honey straight from the comb. I didn't try it though. I don't really like honey.
These four bowls all looked about the same. I finally figured out they are (from left to right), sour cream, cream cheese, whipped cream cheese and cottage cheese. I was looking for whipped cream.
Everywhere you go, you feel like you are in ancient times. This is the dining room of our hotel.
The Notre Dame Hotel---where we stayed for 4 nights.
Here's the group from Nashville---Christ the King. There are 29 people on this pilgrimage---most are from Memphis.
Butch has been using this backpack since the 1980's. I'd say he has gotten his money's worth out of it. I love that he carries it so I can stick my stuff in too. Another thing---he's so good about looking out for me. He reminds me when there's a step, takes my arm, let's me use his shoulder going down stairs so I don't have to touch the handrail, and calls my attention to potholes and uneven pavement. It's probably more for his benefit than mine. He'd rather not be embarrassed by my propensity for falling!
Somebody needs to report this to Starbucks. The logo is almost a "knock-off" too.

Also, there's a Holy Rock Cafe. I couldn't take a picture of that as we were doing some prayer stuff when I spotted it.
We had a crappy lunch here at the Bethlehem University---although everyone else seemed to like it.
It seemed funny seeing all the "scarved" students sitting around. It is a Christian school with a large Muslim population.
This is where Jesus' Ascension took place. I thought it was appropriate that there was a dove in the upper window.
This was probably my most favorite thing so far---The Garden of Gethsemane---where Jesus prayed before he was arrested. These olive trees are supposed to be from His time. They were really neat to look at---all old and gnarled. Wait, that's sort of how I feel! I'm getting a work-out for sure. Add the bad food, I must be losing weight. On a  positive note---no problems with my hives. I'm down to 5MG of the prednisone. I'm going to try to go off of it when I get home. As added insurance, I was blessed today at the Jordan River. We also renewed our Baptismal vows.
The streets of Jerusalem are exactly like you imagine them---narrow with shops solid on both sides. I wish we'd had time to go exploring on our own. I did get a little shopping done in Bethlehem---think Christmas presents!!
Of course, Linda would make friends with a cat in Jerusalem. This is the Upper Room where the Last Supper took place and Jesus appeared to His apostles after His Resurrection.

We're doing a lot of really fun stuff and have seen every place you've heard about in the scriptures. It's been really good for the spirit.

Notice all the proper use of capitalization in reference to the Lord? Looks like I'm a pretty good Catholic after all!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I have a lot to report. But I have slow internet and sometimes it all comes up in Hebrew---which, of course, I can't read. Hopefully, our next hotel (which will be Thursday) might have better access. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this----in case you are worrying about the state of affairs here.

3 Israelis with machine guns boarded our bus today. We were at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Our tour guide said that was unusual as they just normally wave us through. We all had to show our passports and then they let us go. Later we found out there was some serious stuff happening around here.

I don't know what land they are fighting for---it's all rocky and seems useless to me!!!

Good stuff coming.

Okay, one more thing. So remember when you went on bus rides as a kid---the songs you sang? "100 bottles of beer on the wall"----or "oh here is to the bus driver the bus driver, the bus driver?" Well, today we sang 2 songs---"Adeste Fedelis" and "Silent Night." I'm like---"Christmas songs---what the?" Then I remembered, we were on our way to Bethlehem and they wanted to get us in the mood....

A whole lot of "churchy" stuff!!! And ya' know, I'm not the best Catholic. There sure are a lot of holy people around here---and Jews! Or am I supposed to say "Jewish people." I mean no disrespect---but they have those long pigtails in the front.

Fun, food---BAD---and you know how you shouldn't mess with my food. Food details coming too!! And pictures.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Daylight Savings Time

It's that time---we "spring forward" and lose an hour of sleep tonight. We went to 4:30 Mass today, so we won't have to worry about that in the morning. Plus, we're getting ready to go to the Holy Land for 12 days. Am I packed? No. In fact, I was joking with my friends on Friday night that I'd only need an hour to shower and throw all my stuff together. That really works for me. Why? Because I have a list!!! You know I'm a "list--er." I make lists for everything. Kind of like my timelines---I live by them.

Linda called me on Tuesday to ask if I had my list made. That struck me as funny as she and David are the world travelers. Why she would need my list, I don't know. Later, Butch asked me the same thing. I figured I better get the list started. Actually, I do like to make my lists days ahead. That way, if I forgot anything, it usually comes to me.

Stephanie is taking us to the airport around 10. We're flying through JFK in New York. Once we leave there, it's a 10 hour flight. I'm hoping my hives don't flare up this trip. We'll see. At least I have plenty of prednisone.

I do intend to share my trip here. The schedule is jammed packed---not really how I like to travel. I'm hoping to have some time to download my pictures as we go along. I'll post a few good ones---assuming we have internet access and it's half-way fast. One of the hotels has listed:
"Complimentary internet access available for a minimal fee." Well then, it's not COMPLIMENTARY! That means FREE. If they are charging a minimal fee, then it's not free!

It's 11 p.m. and I'm about ready to go to bed. I am reading the BEST book and can't wait to get back to it. I always read about 15-30 minutes in bed at night. Anyway, this book takes place in Virginia in the late 1700's. It's called The Kitchen House. Sandy recommended it. It's about slavery and the slaves relationships with their white masters. Some of the slaves worked in the "big" house and managed the detached "kitchen" house. This put them a notch above the "field" slaves. Anyway, it is fabulous and very quick. I just started it on Monday and am almost halfway. This is my 7th book since January 1st. Christmas is when I got my Kindle. I love it. It's going to be especially great for this trip---no big books to weigh down my luggage.

Here are a few layouts I did at the scrapbook retreat in Barry, IL that I tried to download last weekend.
I stamped with a pale yellow paint that I brushed on bubble wrap to make the corners. The yellow ruffle is seam binding that I bunched and stapled. The lettering is stickers. I love when I get the chance to use vintage button cards.
"Where it all Began" is the title of this page about my grandparent's 25th wedding anniversary. I'm about 4 years old in the pictures. The little dark-haired girl is my mom---I think she's about 5 in this photo.
"Full House" is a collage of family photos. The one on the left is by a professional photographer we hired for mom's 75th birthday.
"Family Matters" is another page of random photos---no particular story---just lots of photos.
"It's all about the hunt" is a layout about geo-caching. This one is for Elizabeth's album since she loves geo-caching. Speaking of Elizabeth---for 5 years old, she's pretty darn smart. When we were there a month ago, she said to me, "grammy, I have a loose molar." I asked her what a molar was and she really knew. Now my question is this: Where in her little life would she have heard the word molar and actually know what it is? She hasn't even lost a regular tooth yet. By the way, it wasn't loose.

Okay, I'm off to bed. It will be Monday (hopefully) when you hear from me again. I hope we have a good trip!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Layouts form our weekend...

Quite a few layouts to share as there were 6 people scrapbooking. Mindy only did her AYM layout. I only finished a couple because I left some important things at home that kept me from doing as much as I would have liked.

 "Hair to dye for" is the start of Stephanie's layouts.

 "Girls just want to have fun!" starts Sandy's layouts.

 Marci's layouts start here with "Summerfield Vacation."

 Bridget's layouts start here with "Seven."