Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Miracle on the Hudson


I have finally seen the movie, Sully.
It was shown on my last cruise, out under the stars
by the pool,
but I just couldn't miss another activity first 
and was too late to get a chaise!
I had to resort to shelling out some $$s for it here at home!
Oh, wow! I watched it last Saturday night and
couldn't wait to watch again on Sunday afternoon.

If, by chance, there is anyone left out there 
in the sound of my voice who
hasn't seen this movie, you have a treat in store.
This is one of the stories of our lifetime,
made even better because it had such a 
beautifully perfect ending.

One thing of which I made particular note.
It was only 24 minutes from the time the plane
touched down on the Hudson 
to the time all passengers and crew were rescued!
(A good thing since the air temperature 
was only 19 degrees and the water 41 degrees.)
The first time I teared up in the movie was when
a rather gruff ferry boat captain radioed in amazement
that he had just spotted a passenger plane in the river
with people on the wings!
He was the first to arrive to help, in as little 
as 6 minutes, I believe.
The actions of the rescuers--ferry boat captains,
Navy divers, first responders, the Red Cross 
and so many others--made me cry some more.

As for that touchdown, here are a few facts from
the captain himself when asked by Charlie Rose
"What could have gone wrong?"
Sully said,
"If we hadn't had the wings exactly level, 
it would have spun us around.
The aircraft might have broken apart.
If we had landed with too great a rate of descent,
the airplane may have broken apart and
wouldn't have floated long enough for the
rescue to take place.
If we had misjudged the height at which to begin
the landing, even by a fraction of a second..."

The investigation into the "water landing" 
(not "crash" insisted Sully) took 15 long months, 
although I didn't realize that from the movie.
This had to be horrendous for Sully, even though he
was hailed as a hero by the masses.

When we were in New York recently, I kept
looking at the Hudson and wondering in what
area the plane had come to rest.
I have since realized that it was near the area of the
Intrepid Air, Sea, and Space Museum.
At least once our cruise ship was parked next
 to the Intrepid--I took pictures of it from our deck.
I wonder if there were cruise ship passengers
who witnessed this miracle in person.

One thing that makes me sad about the story is
that Captain Sully credits only his years of training
 and skill for this landing.
He does not wish to be called a hero, but he also
gives no credit a higher power--
the Creator who gave him his brilliant mind
and the perfect recall of his skills to save lives.
Nevertheless, I do...and this will be the
picture etched indelibly in my mind when I remember
the Miracle on the Hudson.

"For you, O Lord, have made me glad
by what You have done.
I will sing for joy at the work
of Your hands."
Psalm 92:4

Friday, March 10, 2017

Is I Is or Is I Ain't...Blessed?

I have no earthly idea how or why this title
took root in my mind for these serious thoughts.
But it did.
Now is there anyone else out there who remembers
"Is you is or is you ain't my baby?"
I know...probably not!

A blog post showed up on my Facebook 
page a month or so ago.
I took particular interest, since I had been
debating whether or not to reply,
"I am blessed,"
when presented with that oft asked question,
"How are you?" 


I shared the article on my Facebook page, but only 
dear Shari Bower and a couple of her friends 
shared my depth of interest.

Knowing that you may not wade through the
entire article (but I hope you will,) I am going to share
my feelings on some parts.

{1.} I have been convicted that a reply "I am blessed"
to the question, "How are you?"
could easily be misinterpreted.
As you know, I am usually overdressed for almost
any occasion(!), makeup enhanced to the best
of my ability, perfectly coiffed, etc. 
So a reply claiming blessing could easily be construed 
to mean that I am bragging of my material blessings.
That pretty much horrifies me!

{2.} Saying "I am blessed" might seem to indicate
that in some way I am deserving of what I have.
I am not. No way. Nada. 
I deserve absolutely nothing.
Even the fact that my life has not always been as easy
as it is now does not mean I am deserving
of anything. It is NOT "my turn."

{3.} The article makes it appear that if one calls
 their material possessions blessings that he or she
is supporting a "prosperity gospel"--
the belief that God rewards faith in Him with
material blessings.
I do not believe this at all. I believe that
preachers who tell listeners this are
false teachers, of whom we are warned in the Bible.
Nowhere does God promise us material
prosperity in return for our faith or obedience.

{4.} In the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12)
Jesus spells out who He calls blessed.
He lists the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek,
 those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and
those who are persecuted because of righteousness.
I get this, and I earnestly want to be included
in this group.
I just don't think this is an exclusive group--
that these are the only people God blesses.
Though I am not always merciful, pure in heart,
etc. etc etc., I believe God greatly blesses me daily.

{5.} How has he blessed me?
First and foremost,
 He has saved me from my sinful state.
He sent His perfect Son, Jesus, to die for my sins.
He provided a way for me to live forever--
just by accepting and believing and trusting in Him.
I am His, and He is mine.
There is no blessing to compare with this.
But I believe I have been blessed in approximately 
one billion other ways:
By being born in the USA; by my fabulous family
and friends; by health, including every breath I breathe; 
and by material things, just to name for starters.
But...please refer back to {2.}

So, "Is I Is Blessed?"  "Yes, I most definitely is."
How will I be answering that common question,
"How are you?"
I believe I will go with the blog author's suggestion
and answer, "I am grateful."
Because I most definitely am. 


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Linda, You Are Ridiculous!

Last Thursday my doctor put a steroid injection
in my right knee.
Yes, the most needlephobic person in the world
asked to be stuck! You know it must have been bad!

After a day or two I realized that a miracle had occurred.
I could walk without pain--even up and down stairs!
It was a huge relief.

So yesterday I decided to strike out for my
favorite shopping center--Northpark in Dallas--to shop!
I hadn't done that in a very long time.

The traffic was horrible, but I made it safely.
I spent a long time sniffing around for bargains
and found some I thought were great.
I had parked right outside Dillard's, so I
took my purchases to my car.
Too bad I didn't get in and drive home.

Instead, I remembered how I had always loved
eating at the Neiman Marcus tearoom.
By then my feet were hurting a little 
(one must wear cute boots in Dallas, you know),
but my knee was absolutely fine.
So I struck out slowly!

When I entered Neiman's I was greeted by a
cosmetic saleslady.
She "misted" my face with something from somewhere
exotic that starts with a "B."
It was a miracle for the skin (of course.)
I had been intending to buy some kind of mist
(because Madeline recommends!)
I interrupted her story about the Prince who
discovered this miracle and asked how much.
I told her I was too hungry to think and she said
she would be waiting for me after lunch!!!

In my entire long life I have never had a worse lunch.
Tortilla soup that was like tortilla mush.
Chicken salad that was big hunks of chicken,
a few tiny pieces of celery, and mayo. 
With a piece of bacon.

But...the server was sooo nice!
She kept asking me how my lunch was,
so you know what I said...delicious.
I finally asked for a to go box and contemplated
how I was going to get out of that store without
seeing the Prince's mist pusher.
Only one way out--and there she was, waiting.

I told her $90 was too steep for me to try mist.
Did she have a smaller size?
Well, darn! She said she did.
She said she had seen one "downstairs" and 
took off to go get it.
I waited and waited and felt more and more foolish.
Finally, I decided to make a break for it.
Carrying my horrible lunch, I dash into the mall.
I I run in Williams-Sonoma or just
keep plowing ahead?
Is she pursuing me yet?

And then I felt the horrible, terrible, no good feeling.
I'm goin' down.
I fell hard on...yes, my right leg.
As it was hurting like heck, I remember thinking...
(this is unbelievable!)
"at least she can't see me down here!!!"

Two lovely young people stopped to help me.
I sat there just a minute and then was able to get up
with their help.
I walked pretty painlessly back to my car,
stopping at the first trash can to deposit my lunch.

This morning my left wrist hurts more than my leg.
My knee is fine.
And the Neiman Marcus server thinks I loved my lunch.
And I don't know what the cosmetics salesperson
thinks, but I got away!

And I am oh so aware of my ridiculosity.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mixed Reviews on TSA Pre Check

My Sam of all trades took me to the airport
in my car for my recent flight to Newark.
He dropped me right at the proper entrance, A-11,
remembering at the last minute to get the car
keys from me!

I checked in, then looked for the Pre Check line.
There was none.
I was told that the nearest was A-21, 10 gates away!
Here was the line for regular check in.

It turned a corner, so there was no way to tell 
just how long it was.
I was so frustrated, when my phone rang.
It was Sam.  My car was saying it didn't detect a key.
He was close, so he came back and got
another key I found in my purse.
I climbed in, 
and he drove me to A-21, the gate with Pre Check.
Then it was quick, but...
I had to limp back 10 gates to board! 

The return from Newark was slick.
We clear customs at the cruise terminal--a breeze.
There was no line at the TSA Pre Check at
the airport.
I so enjoy being able to carry a small bottle
of perfume and other liquids without
having to do the ziplock bag thing.
And the line moves faster because no one
has to take off shoes or light jackets.

I would definitely not want to be
without the Pre Check qualification.
Surely next time I'll have a better
experience at DFW. 



As it turns out, there is only one TSA Pre Check
gate in each terminal except Terminal D.
My very frequent traveler daughter-in-love
recommends that it is easiest to always go to the
Terminal D30 Pre Check,
then take the SkyLink to wherever you need.
Terminal C is the ABSOLUTE WORST, as they
arbitrarily close it off and on throughout the day.
So, here are the Pre Check Gates:
A21, C20, D22 and D30, E18.

We all thank you, Terri!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Cruisin' With Cold Feet

It left on January 2nd from New Jersey.
It was on the Anthem of the Seas
a most spectacular ship.
I could get a single balcony room--rare!
It was for 12 days, so it was a bargain!

I decided that even a bargain 12 day cruise
 was just too long.
My usual dog sitter could not keep Charleigh-Girl.
The weather?  It's January!  What if it's terrible? was too late to cancel.
So, alas, I must make the best of it.
(Secretly, I think I was glad I had forgotten to 
take insurance!)

Before I left I was upgraded to a larger balcony room.
My friends Bobye and Adelene agreed to come
here and stay with C-G.
The weather was exceptionally mild.
And so I went--still apprehensive about the 12 days.

I went a day early to be sure I made it.
Leaving the Marriott Airport Hotel in Newark
to head for the ship!
My first view!

 Okay, I am a little excited.

Maybe even more than a little.

 That's Lady Liberty in the center of the picture
from the Solarium of the Anthem.

And at 1:00 sharp we could get into our rooms.
And my luggage was already there!

This room was much larger than my single room
would have been, but...
the trade off was that it had a "partially obstructed view."
Which I considered more than partial.
Here we are getting ready to go under the
Verrazano Bridge from my stateroom.

My Diamond+ status (ahem) entitles me to use
this wonderful place all the way aft on Floor 12.
There is a fancy espresso machine available 24/7,
and there are extensive appetizers and drinks every
night before dinner.

Reading John Grisham's latest,
The Whistler.
Contentment personnified.

Our first port was San Juan, Puerto Rico.
I took a overview tour.
I tend to forget that Puerto Rico is part of the U.S.
(I could use my cell phone there!!!)
This was the old fort,
which I had previously only seen from a ship
sailing away at night.

I could have seen more if I had climbed that steep
ramp, but I decided it wouldn't be lady like.
Yes...that was the only reason.

Absolutely loved getting to take this beautiful shot
of the Anthem and the Breakaway
as I returned "home" at dusk in San Juan.

Approachingt the North Star for my ride!
It is descending.
The arm ascends almost straight up.

St. Maarten 
 From 330' above the ship!

We stopped in Antiqua, but I stayed on the ship.
The adults only solarium was virtually empty,
so I took advantage and spent most of the day there.

Fabulously enjoyable!

 My prize winning shot of the trip was taken in
What could be more exciting than thinking
"It's waiting out there just for me to get back on board!"

Some fun spots on the Anthem...
This is a food truck whose
cab is outside!

and the rest inside!
my dog!
Oh my, I don't think it looks very good,
but it was.  And messy.

There are bumper cars
that travel around this multi-purpose surface.
(Basketball, roller skating, etc.)

Our last port was St. Kitts.
I took a very pleasant ride on a train older than I am!
It was double decked, and I sat on the top in the
very back.
It traveled through what were once sugar cane
plantations, but the stunning views of the
coast were the best part.
I took approximately 1000 pictures, but I promise
I culled them down to just a few.

 Is it just me, or do these tracks look like those of
an electric train set?
Their beaches are volcanic black sand.
Somehow I don't think Jack Stovall would have
deemed this very safe.

But I made it and would recommend it!

I always checked on my room service breakfast card
that it was for ONE (1) person.
 That's oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins,
Danishes, raisin bread, coffee, and milk.
I asked for the raisin bread, but I meant in place of
the Danishes, not in addition to!
And two cups. Always two cups.

I got my hair done!
This may be the ultimate luxury to me.

My delightful tablemates for dinner.
From left: Wayne, Elaine, Sue
We ate together every night except one and
 had the best time!

So, I may have begun this trip with cold feet,
but this is the way it ended!

Do I really have to get off?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Christmas Cactus

It's missing from my photos, you may have noticed. isn't Christmas yet.
Here it is, and it is trying.

There is one bud, right in the center of this picture,
that I expect to be bloomed out
every morning. may be waiting for Christmas Day!

I inherited this ginormous cactus,
and I feel unworthy to be its caretaker.
(Obviously, I am--unworthy.)
At least I have rotated it this year so that
all the buds are not on one side!
I tried giving it some food.
It is too big to put in a dark closet.

I think according to Sandy Smith and Linda Tucker
I didn't ignore it enough.
Theirs are already blooming and thriving 
on neglect, they have told me.
And I don't know how Paula Howell treated hers--
pampering or neglect--
but she claims hers is blooming profusely!

What do you think?
Will she bloom by Christmas Day?
By Easter?

I'll let you know in glorious color
(I hope)!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Please Peak At My Christmas Wonderland!

My Christmas decorations have not changed
much over the years.
But...some of you may not have been my Facebook
friends when I showed pictures in the past.
I am, therefore, using that excuse to repeat!

Welcome to what to me feels like
 Christmas wonderland.
**And don't forget you can click on the pictures
to make them larger.**

This is my view from my recliner.

The reason for season and the most cherished
of my Christmas things.
Jack bought this beautiful Lenox nativity set for me.
(Thanks to Santa's helper, initials SLSM!)

The table is set and ready.

The fireplace, etc.
The little candle lit ceramic houses are probably 
at least 40 years old.
The backdrop for them was "new" 17 years ago.

These are ferris wheels on the left...

and merry-go-round horses on the right...

Yes, it is.

New pillows
(to look good but annoy you
 when you try to sit on the sofa.)

And the tree.
I've noticed that all trees tend to look much alike in
amateur photographs.
Since I can't even take credit for decorating this one,
may I say it is c'est magnifique in person.

 This candleabra is a L & J Stovall antique.
I bought it, thinking it was the most beautiful thing ever.
It hung in our first house in Burleson over 50 years ago.
 My decorator made the arrangement and changes
it out with the non-Christmas version every year.

This stunning angel is a newer addition.
(Found by Susan and her mother-in-law, Shirley!)
Talk about hard to photograph!

The gorgeous poinsettia behind the fountain is a gift
 from Linda and Dan Phillips.
 and flying above...

Remember The Market?
This foxy couple came from there and are right here
to greet guests every year!

 Some new things this year:
These cups are great, as long as you're right handed!
(Their noses can be a problem for lefties!)
 The "JOY" is new; the flaming
plum pudding is a treasure of long standing!

I've saved my best new Christmas item until last.
If you want to see it, just

Click Here

Thanks for indulging me by sharing in my
I truly wish every one of you could be here 
in person!
You'd find me sprawled out in my recliner
dying of fatigue.
No, no.  Just kidding!

Merry Christmas!