Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving in Yosemite - 2005

I happen to be very lucky....    My Aunt Lena & Uncle Ole live in a town called Oakhurst, which is just outside Yosemite National Park.    Have you been there?    It's spectacular.    I get to go there almost every year.

This year, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Aunt Lena, Uncle Ole, & I went into the Park.   We had a lovely breakfast at the Wawona Hotel.

The Wawona was one of the first hotels in the Yosemite area (way before it was a National Park).     In fact, there's been a hotel in this area since the 1860s, although the current structure was built in 1879.    It's just a beautiful building, inside and out.   And such a cozy place to have a nice brunch before starting a day in the park.  This time of year, it's COLD - well, at least for this Southern California girl!    I didn't get too far into the park before I wanted to be back by that big cozy fire...

Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Wawona schoolhouse holds a fundraiser to raise money for the school  (yes, there's still a one-room schoolhouse operating right there in Wawona!).   It's a little craft fair, featuring local artisans.   I bought a quilt there that I just love.   It's backed with flannel, so it's soooo cozy for lounging on my couch on a cold winter day.

We had a nice day in the park, then headed home for some yummy Thanksgiving leftovers.    On Saturday morning, before Mel & I had to head back south, we went for breakfast at the Tenaya Lodge.    This is just outside the park gate - a really cool hotel up in the mountains.   There's often snow there, even this time of year!    The Christmas decorations are great.    I love the big fireplace in the lobby.   It's a great place to curl up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.   Ole, Lena,  & I had a little bit of fun playing around the Christmas decorations....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

England & France - November 10-11, 2005

Mel's cousin Karen brought me to London and Paris!   It was a long plane ride and I was cooped up in a camera bag, but when I got out - what a sight!!   My first view of the famous Eiffel Tower!   It's soooooo tall!   I even got to go all the way to the top.   That was quite a hike for these short legs.  (Now if only Karen had remembered to take a picture of me...  Oh well, maybe next time).
Next stop - the Champs Elysee and the Arc de Triomphe.  It was really cool to see them at night time - all lit up.   It's a beautiful sight.  I was really glad we weren't driving in that traffic though!

And now for a little culture....  Karen brought me to the Louvre - the famous museum.  Here I am with some really big, old statues.   There's so much art in this museum, it's overwhelming.  But I was glad to see it.

Here I am among the big rocks at Stonehenge.

These stones have been here for a long, long time, but no one knows why they were put here.  They're very orderly, so there was definitely a reason.

I've been to England before, but this was my first trip out to Stonehenge.   Thanks Karen for taking me!!!

Upland Fire Rocks! September 23, 2005

Note:   In California, we have horrendous annual firestorms that destroy thousands of acres of land and often hundreds of homes.   Our Firefighters work tirelessly to put the fires out and keep our homes safe.  They are amazing and deserve all of the respect in the world.   The day I spent with Upland Fire Department was more than memorable, it was an honor.

Mel’s brother Dave took me to his fire station and showed me around.   It was sooo cool!   I got to ride in the truck – I even went on a call!    

Code 3 – Yee Haw!

I like these firehouse guys – they even do their own cooking!   They’ve got a nice kitchen with everything you need to make a healthy dinner – although I think Dave didn’t pay attention to my likes & dislikes – here I am with all his mushrooms – Yuck!!

Cooking my favorite(?) food with the firemen

I got to hang out in the fire truck while the guys handled the call.   It’s a nice cozy place to check everything out.

I got to do some training with the other fire dudes.   Here I am with Craig Warren (Paramedic-Engineer), Bill Rozinka (Engineer), Jeff Schneider (Firefighter- Paramedic), and Ryan Gardy (Firefighter-Paramedic).   They’re showing me how to use the Jaws of Life.    I like hanging out with all these cuties.    I could get used to this….  

Well, it’s been a long, exciting day, and I’m all tuckered out.    Better get my rest so I can be ready for tomorrow’s duties…..

Thanks Dave!!!   What a great day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mom's Week - 2005

Mel's mom comes out every year for a visit.   I love it, because we do all sorts of neat and interesting things that can be found right here in town and close by.

This year, we went first to the King Tut Exhibit at the LA County Museum of Art.
It was exciting to see all of those artifacts, but a little strange too.   Most of the items had been taken out of pyramids (graves) to protect them, and it felt like grave robbing to see them on display.    It was a very dark exhibit also - this was very much a culture of death and it seems to me that it would be hard living your life always planning for your death.    It definitely lacked the hope that we followers of Jesus Christ have.

After the exhibit, we went to lunch in Pasadena and enjoyed wonderful Argentinian cuisine at the Gaucho Grill.
Mel, Me, Ole, Lena, Mom & Rog

Can you tell Ole is an accountant?

We walked around some fun shops in Pasadena and even saw some mugs that we just had to have!  I think the picture looks just like Uncle Ole!

When Aunt Lena & Uncle Ole come to visit, we always eat well.   There aren't many good places to eat where Ole & Lena live, so they love to go out when they come here....

Here we are with Mom & Mel at King's Fish House in Calabasas

And with Claudette & Kermaine at Buca Di Bepo in Encino

We also had a fun day at Knott's Berry Farm!
Going to Knott's Berry Farm is just like taking a step back into the old west.  The park has several "lands," but the best part is the old Ghost Town.   We even got robbed by train bandits!
Fortunately, Uncle Ole came to the rescue and scared them off!

And of course, we had to have lunch at Mrs. Knott's famous Chicken Dinner Restaurant!
Boothill Cemetery was creepy - we even posed in a coffin!
If you placed your foot on one of the graves, you could feel a heart beating!

There was a big old wagon on display too.   It was soooo big, we could barely climb up to the top of the wheel!

Bartender!   We'll have a Sarsaparilla please!

Oh!   And we had a celebrity sighting!

And finally - whenever Mel's mom is here, we always do lots of shopping.....

I've got to talk to Mel about focusing on what's really important......

Mediterranean Cruise - Last Days - August 5 & 6, 2005

Some pictures from Sorrento, Capri, and Pompeii

I hope you enjoyed the highlights of my summer 2005 Mediterranean adventure.   After arriving at the Civitavecchia port, we traveled by bus to the airport in Rome and flew back to Los Angeles.  I had so much fun visiting Italy, Croatia, Greece & Turkey...  I would love to go back.  I explored lots of fabulous places, enjoyed a wonderful ship, made new friends, and have memories that I'll always treasure.

Mediterranean Cruise - Santorini Greece - August 3, 2005

In Santorini, I enjoyed the Kamari black sand beach...

And ran into my friend Roscoe!  We took a wonderful tour of the area with a great guide named Manolis.

AUGUST 4, 2005 -
Finally, a day at sea!    Who knew cruising could be so exhausting?   I think I'll relax by the pool....

Mediterranean Cruise - Rhodes, Greece - August 2, 2005

Being exhausted from all the hiking and climbing of the past few days, in Rhodes I decided to take it easy.

I took a panoramic bus tour of the island and we stopped in the city of Lindos.   Rhodes has beautiful beaches and gets an average of over 3,000 hours of sun each year...  It's a popular vacation destination, even among Greeks!

Mediterranean Cruise - Kusadasi Turkey - August 1, 2005

In Kusadasi (koo-SHA-dacy), I visited the ruins of the stadium at Ephesus...  where the Apostle Paul preached his letter to the Ephesians.  This is a place of major significance to Christians around the world.

Mediterranean Cruise - Mykonos Greece - July 31, 2005

The Greek island of Mykonos is very rocky, with beautiful blue seas and very strong winds.  

See how it almost blew me off my feet near the windmill??   

One of the most well known and often photographed landmarks it the blue domed church.   A simple image which boldly proclaims "Mykonos!"


Mediterranean Cruise - Athens Greece - July 30, 2005

Here I am at the restored 1896 Olympic Stadium