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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lake time again

Hello my friends!  We spent the last few days at the lake and had amazingly beautiful weather for April. Last night it rained a bit during the night, which we need desperately so I have no complaints about it at all.  The days have been sunny and beautiful and so I'm a happy, happy girl.  :-)  

Obviously Chloe and her lake neighbor, Mattie, love it there too.  You can see how content they are  in this picture.  Chloe happily shares her blanket with Mattie as they look out over their domain.
Dennis pulled Larry and Nita's new, (to them), camper out on Saturday.  It's actually a 2000 model.  For a 15 year old camper it looks really nice doesn't it?  It was very wll maintained.  It had to be hand pulled by a dolly into the spot since, although you can't see it in this photo, the front of the camper is at the top of the hill overlooking the lake.

That's Laurie, our neighbor on the other side of us in the picture.  She's been my lake buddy the past few days when Dennis was at work.  We  have our flowers all planted and where you see the carpet remnents to the right of the camper door, we'll be putting sod in sometime in the next few weeks.  Those are the back stairs for our camper that you also see by the door.  Dennis will build them a set of their own when he gets back from his trip next week.  He's going to Nebraska to see his Mom and do some work around the house for her.  
Pretty "volunteer" flowers behind our trailer.
Aren't they gorgeous?  We've transplanted them into our flower garden and they are doing very well.
Two of our neighbors have these beautiful tulips that were blooming this morning.
Unfortunately they are missing the blooms as neither family has been out yet this spring.
My view this morning.  Aahh!  My happy place.
One last cruise picture.  This was the night that Lisa won the Princess Pop Star contest onboard.  From left to right, Lisa's mom, Tia, Me, Brittney, (her sister), Lisa, Dave from the cruise staff, and Nita.  There was some amazing talent in this contest and we were happy that Lisa won.  We met this family on the cruise and became pretty close.  A lovely, lovely family.  The cruise staff was wonderful and very friendly.
Blossoms on the flowering pear tree in our front yard.  So  pretty and delicate.  Look at that blue sky behind them.
My latest project.  A sock yarn blanket.  I'm trying to use up all of my odds and ends of sock yarn with this blanket.  If any of you have any tiny, little balls of sock yarn you don't know what to do with, I'm your girl!!!  I'd love to have it.  As much as I have, I know it won't be enough to finish a blanket.
While Dennis is in Nebraska next week, guess where I'm going?  To Portland to see Taci, Teresa and Gracie!  I know they just had lunch without me a few weeks ago, but they have graciously said that they will meet again just for me!   My Hubby and the girls don't want me driving the 12 hours round trip so I've gotten a hotel room for the night.  I see a trip to IKEA in my immediate future. :-)  I'm so looking forward to seeing my girlfriends.  I am so grateful that this little blog has brought these wonderful women into my life.  The only thing better is if each and every one of you could join us.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?

I hope you're all having a wonderful day and enjoying spring wherever you may be.

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establihes their steps." Proverbs 16:9

Blessings,
Betsy

Friday, April 24, 2015

One last cruise post.

Happy Friday everyone!  It is SO good to be home.  Gosh, I miss Dennis when I'm gone.  He was so busy while I was away though, that I don't think he even noticed!  Just kidding.  Mandy says he was really lonely.  He has had meetings Monday-Thursday evening last week and this week after work, so I probably could have gone on a two week cruise and he wouldn't have noticed the difference.

So without further ado...here are the last few pictures I have to show you.  All of my pictures were taken with my Iphone so the quality and telephoto opportunities were limited but they still are good enough to remind me of the great time I had which, to me, is the reason for pictures anyway, right?

This was the chairlift from the pier area to the beach at Mahagony Beach in Roatan, Honduras.  We did pay extra to be able to ride the chairlift but the view was worth it.  It was also so hot and humid that avoiding that long, long walk back uphill to the ship was lovely.
This is at the pier in Roatan as the ship was leaving port.  A lot of the workers from the shops and the beach came to see us off as we were the last ship to leave this port for the season.  It's too hot and humid and the ships are now heading to Alaska and the Mediterranean.  They cheered and waved us off.  It was really quite moving when you realize that the people on these cruise ships provide their entire livelihood.  They are truly grateful to the people for coming to Roatan.
A sign.  Pretty self explanatory!  :-)
On Friday night the cruise staff had a talent show for us.  We were given balloons to blow up and toss around like beach balls while we waited for the show to start.  This wasn't a professional show by any means.  We had a prep cook that sang, as well as one of the engine room mechanics that also sang.  The ships doctor played the piano and sang "I AM" a wonderful song about God.  It was so much fun.  There were slip ups and wrong moves and it was a happy, happy evening.

Don't get me wrong.  The nightly song and dance performances by the ships dancers were Broadway quality in my opinion.  I have no idea where they store all of the sets that were used.  A cruise is worth it just for the myriad of entertainment opportunities that are onboard.  When you consider your room, all the food you could possibly imagine consuming and the unbelievable entertainment, a cruise is fantastic value for your money.  I sound like an advertisement.  I'm so sorry.  I just can't believe how much fun I had.
Has anyone seen the move "The Three Amigos" with Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short?  It's one of Dennis' favorite movies.  When I saw this sign from the ship I had to take it for him.
Smack dab in the middle of the restaurant is this bathtub.  I've wanted a claw foot tub ever since we had to leave ours in the first house we owned.  It's the only tub long enough for my legs.  So here it is.  Do you think I can take it home with me?
A very nice lady took this picture of Nita and I.  Unfortunately the "P" was cut off of Puerta Maya. It's still pretty though.  This was also at Cozumel.  We were supposed to swim with the stingrays in Cozumel, but ended up canceling that excursion because of the heat.  It was unbelievably hot this day.  We only stayed in town for a couple of hours and then went back to the ship to swim.  Nita lay by the pool to read while I went back to the room and showered.  Then I found a quiet spot on the very tip top of the ship in the Skywalkers lounge.  No one was there and I knitted and watched the people in the port.  One of my favorite activities is people watching.
It was SO hot Nita decided we needed to ride back to the ship.  It also helps support the local young men who pedal the rickshaws.
Isn't this a gorgeous picture of our ship, the Emerald Princess?  Can you believe it's an Iphone photo?
This year is the 50th anniversary of Princess Cruise Lines.  The ship on the TV series "The Love Boat" was a Princess ship.  Did you know that?  I sure didn't until this week.  There was a big balloon drop in the Piazza the last night of the cruise.  Fun.  There were papers inside some of the balloons for really nice gifts.
Since Nita is an Elite cruiser because of all of her cruising, I was able to attend the Captains Gala with her as her guest.  This is Captain Marco Fortezze.  I actually was able to meet him several times throughout the week.
This is Nita's husband Larry's favorite dessert on the cruise and he made me promise to order it at least once.  He has one every night.  This is a soup size bowl filled with whipped cream, banana's and ice cream and it's called "The Volcano".  It is actually on the children's menu and the other people at our table were laughing when I ordered it.  I could only eat less than 1/2 of it but it was delicious.  I didn't gain any weight while cruising either.  That was a shock considering how much I ate.  I walked a LOT though and I think that helped a lot.
Almost back to Houston.  I saw lots of these oil rigs or platforms.  I'm not sure what they're called.  Happy to be headed home to Dennis, but sad to see the cruise end.
These three young ladies are Tia, (on the left end by me), and her two daughters.  Also Dave from the cruise directors staff and Nita.  This family adopted us and found us everywhere we went.  The young girls seemed to enjoy hanging around with us.  Brittney, the youngest actually cried Saturday night when we said goodbye.  She was hugging me and didn't want to let go.  How sweet is that?  It's been a long, long time since I've been around such genuinely respectful and graceful young women.  Her sister Lisa, won the ships Princess Pop-Star contest, (like the American Idol).  She has a wonderful voice.  The competition was tough so it was nice to see her win.  Their Dad took this picture. 
And so here we are.  Back to my normal life.  Tonight we're headed to the lake for the weekend.  It's supposed to be cool and rainy. Perfect for snuggling in at the trailer and reading, etc.  Dennis needs this day to unwind.  He is giving the sermon on Sunday morning too so he'll have some quiet time to study.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend doing exactly what makes you happy and content.

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1

Blessings my friends,
Betsy

Monday, April 20, 2015

Home Again, Home Again!

I made it home at 1:00 a.m. this morning.  A few hours late and a few airline changes later because of flight delays, etc., but home none the less.  The same cannot be said of my luggage.  It remains flying around the country somewhere or another.  Nita's suitcase is hopefully keeping it company and they will decide to return home to Spokane in the near future!  Goodness I missed Dennis.  I don't think I'll do that again, although I LOVED cruising so much I have already put a deposit down on the next cruise.  Now I just need to talk him into going with me!

Here is a quick recap of the first part of the week and then I'll do a follow-up with the second half later in the week.

We stayed Saturday night in Houston.  It was pouring down rain the entire time we were there and we ended up literally running next door to get a taco at Taco Bell for dinner instead of walking to a nice Chinese restaurant we had been told to try.  We still got soaked but we just went back to the hotel and put our jammies on while the clothes dried.

Here is the view of our stateroom.  We had an outside balcony which was wonderful to sit on to watch the view and docking the ship, etc.




Notice the queen size bed.  We were supposed to have twin beds.  When we reminded the room steward he quickly took care of it and within a couple of minutes, viola, there were two beds instead of one.  I was face-timing with Dennis when thesteward brought my life jacket to me before the drill you're required to attend.  When he realized I was talking to my husband, he took the phone and told Dennis that he would take very good care of me all week and personally make sure I was at the proper life boat if the situation warranted it! Very funny, but also very nice.  I can't believe the amazing service everyone on board provided to us.

Tiny bathroom and shower, but adequate.  My bathroom at the camper is actually bigger!

Of course I found a knitting group on board and Nita, (on the left), even brought her crocheting!  She's never done that before but did for me.  :-)  There were 10 other women that met each morning at 9:30 when the ship was at sea.  That's Nita my cruise-mate on the left.

Sorry this is a bit blurry.  This lady with me is from New York City.  We enjoyed each others company a lot.  We met in the Skywalker lounge which is on the 17 floor aft, which I learned means rear of the ship.  The view up there was spectacular.

The Piazza.  Oh. My. Goodness.  This was the central meeting area with boutiques and the International Café there.  It is 3 floors high.  Beautiful day AND night.

Another view of the grand staircase.

The champagne waterfall.  Yes.  Your's truly did go up and pour champagne but I didn't drink any.  I really don't like the taste of champagne at all.  I believe there were 750 champagne glasses in the waterfall.

My dessert one night.  Ooh la la!  How fancy.  Going to the lake and having somemores will be quite a difference won't it?  Ha!  Would you believe I only gained 2 lbs. this week?  I think some of that was water retention from flying too.  I walked and walked and walked everyday and didn't feel one bit of guilt for the food I ate.

Having a cup of tea on the balcony one morning.  It was SO HOT and HUMID.  Oh my!  I had my hair back most of the trip.  Not a flattering look but it was a matter of survival. 

Beach day in Roatan.  This was so much fun.  I have never seen water like this, even in Hawaii. A clear aquamarine color that is indescribable.

The beach.

Another beach view.  Look at that water.  Those aren't shadows.  That's the bottom of the ocean.  The water is that clear.  And warm.  It was like taking a warm bath.  Lovely.

The next two pictures were taken from our bus in Belize City, Belize.  We were on our way to take a ride in an airboat.  I couldn't believe the abject poverty we saw.  This house was a mansion and beautiful compared to most.  The average hourly wage is $1.50/hour.  Until 3 weeks ago gas was over $9.00 a gallon.  Just imagine.  Working all day just to buy a gallon of gas to go to work! 


It was a humbling bus trip.

Soldiers with machine guns driving around in these trucks everywhere.  The yellow building looks really nice because it is in the tourist area.

The view from my hidey hole where I would go during the day to knit when I needed a few minutes of alone time.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I don't think most people even knew this small pool existed.  There were so many pools and hot tubs around the ship, but most people used the two big ones on the pool deck.
Thank you to all, who prayed for me this week.  I so appreciated it.  My wish is for everyone of you to experience what I did this week.

I'll be back later this week for a final installment.  :-)

Many blessings to you all,
Betsy

Saturday, April 11, 2015

In Houston

Nita and I are in Houston, Texas and will board the Emerald Princess tomorrow.  We have stops in Roatan, Cozamel and Belize.  Poor Dennis and Larry.  They have to stay home and take care of things there.

Here we are in our hotel tonight. I've knitted 2 baby hats today so I'm not shirking on my duties.  :-)
See you all next week.
Blessings,
Betsy

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sailing Away

Happy Thursday everyone.  Things have been busy around here this week.  I've been packing, but not real sure what to take since I've never been on a cruise before.  I'm just taking similar things as I would to Hawaii.  I figure anything I absolutely have to have and have forgotten I would probably be able to get on the ship, right?

This is what happened at our house on Monday.  Fun times.
Before it was all said and done we had a couple of inches on the grassy areas.  It was all gone within a few hours but it was a sad fact that winter is still trying to have it's way with us.
We hadn't been back to the lake since we left Sunday morning, so this morning I drove out so I could run the furnace for awhile and check things out.  I took a hike to the lake and it was beautiful there.  This was about an hour ago.  Pretty, pretty.
The beach still has lots of pine cones and pine needles.  It will be all cleaned up by the opening date of May 1 though.  The maintence guys at the park are hard workers.  They were mowing the grass when I was there this morning.
The log cabin blanket is progressing slowly but it is growing.  I will most likely be working on this for years.
I made a couple of baby hats on Monday for the twins at church who have outgrown their newborn hats.  Unfortunately I didn't think to take a picture and Dennis gave them to their Grandpa on Monday evening so the babies could get them quickly.  Based on the snow above, you can tell that hats are still needed for babies.

I also made this crocheted sweater this week for World Vision Knit for Kids.  It's the crochet pattern they provide and I just adapted the yoke a bit with some front post double crochet to jazz it up a little.  They provide a knit and a crochet pattern and prefer that the sweaters be made with their patterns.  It's kind of a blah pattern but it works well and will keep a child warm and that's what counts.  You can find out more about Knit for Kids on World Visions website.  If you're interested in helping the most helpless around the world, I encourage you to check it out.  There are SO many organizations that need things for children.  I wish I could knit and crochet faster.

Funny thing.  The wall the sweater is hanging on is a dark blue and the sweater is pastel blue.  What's up with the color on my camera?
Here's a closer look at the yoke.
I've been told that I won't have access to the internet after Sunday morning for a week so I'll try to read your blog and comment whenever I can.
Blessings,
Betsy

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Resurrection Day!

I hope you all had a wonderful Resurrection Sunday, celebrating our Risen Lord.  He is worthy of all of our praise and adoration.

Here's little Miss Piper all dressed for church this morning.  Mommy texted me this picture.  She's wearing the sweater I made for her last year.  I made it big so she would get lots of wear out of it.
Ice...not frost...ice on my windshield at the lake last Thursday morning.  It was 17 degrees.  Yuck.
Hail fell there on Wednesday.
But it was a beautiful day yesterday and Dennis and I filled an old sheet three times with pine cones from our camping spot and hauled them down the road to the big burn pile.  This was a LOT of pine cones-it was a full size sheet and was heaped full.  The  picture doesn't quite do it justice.
Tonight snow is predicted at the camper but I came home anyway.  I hope all is well there and hopefully the pipes won't freeze, but I have to use this week to get food ready for Dennis and my clothes packed for the cruise. Nita and I leave on Saturday morning and will spend the night at a hotel in Houston before boarding the Emerald Princess on Sunday.

I made nine more burial pouches while at the lake.  I'm done.  I can only do so many of these before depression sets in and I think I've met my limit.  They are pretty though don't you think?  I hope they give the grieving parents some comfort.  It's the only way I can make them, having hope that they help the family.
Five more baby hats for the hospital.
It's been a good day and would have only been better if our children would have been here.  Our day started with waking up at the lake in time to drive home and change clothes for church.  We had a wonderful breakfast at church with our church family.  We celebrated the Resurrection of our Saviour with a wonderful time of singing, communion and teaching.  Then lunch with Larry and Nita at Wendy's.  We came home and unpacked from the lake, started laundry and then went to Neal & Jenny's house to have a wonderful ham dinner with them and three of their adult children.  Star lives in Seattle and wasn't able to be here.  Their family is our family and we are very grateful to be included in their family fun.  Our kids all grew up together and we enjoy catching up on their lives.

I hope you have all had a happy day too and were able to spend time with your family or friends.

"Jeesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.  Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26

Blessings,
Betsy