Monday, October 10, 2016

What Was My Favorite Cruise?

That is not only very difficult for me to answer,
it is downright impossible.
But today I am reminiscing about one of my 
favorite-of-all-times-ever cruise moments!

Only people who really love cruising and the ship
itself love trans-Atlantic crossings.
That would be me.
So things fell into place for me to be able to be
on board when the Anthem of the Seas
moved from sailing out of London (Harwich)
to sailing out of the United States (New York).
That meant several days at (a very rough) sea
with no port stops, but that was fine with me!

All for this--just click on--

and this!

Passing Lady Liberty

I wish I could have do-overs on this experience,
but it was truly once in a lifetime.
This was all taking place at 5:00 A.M.
on November 4, 2015.
I had no idea that so many passengers would 
get up that early.
If I had, I would have been up at 4:30 so I
could snag a place by the rail, although
I love my picture of the flag waving on the
movie screen
and of the couple waving flags,
both obviously taken from my position in
the ship's crowded middle!

I will have more confidence next time in my
videotaping ability with my little iPhone.
I have searched YouTube today for videos
of this event, and mine are the best I found!

Be sure to see the helicopter circling over us
(first video).
There was also a ship or ships spraying 
streams of water for our arrival.
And the beautiful is for the Northstar
which rises 330' above the ship!
I got to ride it up, but the seas were too
rocky for it to swing out over them
as it is able to do!

I have gotten so excited today remembering
this experience that I have spent hours
figuring out how to share it!

"So, what have you been doing today, Linda?"
"Wrestling my computer into submission!"
(Or it wrestled me.)

Monday, October 3, 2016

TSA Pre Enrollment: Deal or Dud?

I have been fingerprinted, submitted my passport,  
and have forked over my 85 bucks.
And now...I have a Known Traveler Number.
Will that make my travel less arduous?

Pardon me if I'm pessimistic.
It was standing room only at the TSA Pre Check
sign-up desk.
And I had an appointment!
They were collecting $85 from everybody
 and his/her dog.

It just so happened that Susan flew to New York
very early the same morning I signed up.
Even though she qualified for the TSA pre-check line,
it was so long that she got in the shorter regular line!

So, you may call me "Debbie Downer," 
but my prediction is this:  the TSA will collect
tons of fees from all of us,
then fail to put enough personnel in the
pre-check lines to truly expedite our travel.

There are some other advantages,
like being able to keep on shoes and light jackets.
My age qualified me for that anyway.
And you can leave your computer in your bag.
I never carry my computer.
And you don't have to put your 3 ounce bottles
in a separate plastic bag.
That one is okay!

I'll be happy to eat my words if I find myself wrong.
This is one time I hope to be.

I'm smilin' at the airport cause I
had survived the security line!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Michael Bublé Almost Live in Concert!

All except five of you missed something really good
last night!
While this concert lacked the thrill and excitement
of seeing Michael Bublé in person, it
gained the comfort of peaceful, air-conditioned,
uncrowded surroundings
at AMC Theatre, The Parks.

It was actually more than a concert, although
we got to hear some of his best performances.
***  G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S.  ***
It also presented a fascinating behind-the-scenes
look at what (and whom) it takes to put on
these spectacular shows.
The glamour and excitement of being a part of
the orchestra and crew is certainly
tempered by the hardships of the travel required.

I would love to go to one of his concerts now.
I feel like I know many of his crew rather personally!
I would be almost as interested in seeing 
Michael's bodyguard in person as M. himself!

Seeing what it takes to pack these productions
up and move to the next location was 
so fascinating!  
It seems like it took 15 trucks, and at one time
we saw all loaded on a ferry!

Michael Bublé himself is shown as
unassuming, humble, and genuinely interested
in and concerned for his staff.
Somehow that's how I had him pictured,
and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

I was spellbound from start to finish!
While this was advertised as a "one night only"
event, surely it will eventually be shown again!
It will be a shame if only 
Brandy and Tyler Burkey, 
Donna and Dave Dupree,
Becky Leffler and I,
and not too many more, are the only ones
who get to enjoy this fabulous production!

I think they need to hire Brandy and me to
be their publicists!
Not nearly enough people knew about this!

Friday, September 16, 2016

An Epiphany to Share With You

Friends...I had this epiphany (a Judge Judy word)
today that I feel I must share with you.
Just an insightful vision.

Say your car needs some gas, so you decide to stop
at the QT to fill up.
And say you devise a great plan to
1. Start the gas to pumping, and whilst it is doing so,
2. Run in to the convenience store to get
some Fritos and a Dr. Pepper, 
so that
3. You can then stop at Sonic for a corn dog.
Great, huh?

But I'm hearing a warning buzzer in my brain.
What if your car's gas tank is on the passenger
And you get back in with your Fritos and DP
on the driver's side?
What might you forget???

Well...just in case that might happen to one of you,
the hoses are detachable now, lessening the
liklihood that you will be responsible for
burning the whole place down.
The embarrassment level, unfortunately,
would still be about the same, I would guess.

You're welcome for my epiphany.
It is most helpful for me, too, since some days
I fear I am on a slippery slope and might,
just possibly,
do something like that.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Seven Words I Hate To Hear


I know the "Girl" part is a stretch, and
I may not actually scream,

Now I have friends who refuse to check out
their own groceries.
Maybe they have the right idea.
I don't think I have ever completed a transaction
of more than 3 or 4 items without hearing
 those hated words.

And while I'm on the subject, aren't you supposed
to be able to put heavy stuff in your cart
after you check in out anyway?
There's some kind of "Skip Bagging" button.
Maybe I'm being old and dense, but
I'm never been successful at getting it to work.
No--not me.
I've got stuff stacked and teetering on top of stuff 
on every surface available, trying to avoid hearing
those 7 dreaded words.

So one might wonder why I keep finding myself
in those self-checkout lines.
Well, I'm just so busy, you know,
that I can't wait in those long checker lines.
(I always picture Jack rolling his eyes
when I say something like that!)

No.  It's impatience.  Pure and simple.
Oh, and determination, too.
I'm determined to beat that faceless voice!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Are You Ready to Guess The Price Of My Bargains?

I love Gene Allen's Gifts!
We are so blessed to have Connie and Becky and
all the other sweet employees--and the store--
 here in Arlington!

This was my third (annual, I hope)
brown bag sale.
I was at the Little Road store door at 10:00 A.M.
on Monday morning.
I tried to find some bells to put on, but I'll have
to look for some before next year!

It works like this.
For $25 you can fill a big brown grocery bag
as full as possible from the sale area only.
There's also a small $10 bag.
But not for me. 

(Just in case you've forgotten what a brown paper
grocery bag looks like.)

Now it doesn't hurt that I've always considered
myself an efficient packer, if I do say so myself
and, of course, I do.
I surveyed the items and calculated how to fill
my bags with maximum effectiveness!
(It's a wonder they welcomed me back this year!)

I filled 4 bags.  Becky had to put one of them
in a plastic sack. My stuff was bustin' out!
(I leave my pride at the door!)

Here are pictures of my fabulous loot!
You can click on them for a better look!

I realize you can't tell much from these shots.
I can see so much better here in person!
The table to the right is kid stuff, and the table
on the left grown-up stuff.

Here's a little bit about what I got.
There are 14 gorgeous scarves which do not
show up well in the pictures.
(Some are hanging over the window shade cords!)
There are 5 tee shirts over the back of that chair,
ironically green and gold and UT orange themed!
There are 4 very nice wooden jewelry boxes,
2 great scarf, hat, and glove sets,
and 6 electric candles, one set of 3 w/remote!
And lots of miscellaneous treasures!

One of the items of which I am most proud is 32 pairs
of children's short socks from a company called 
"notes to self." 
They have positive words on the bottom--
words like "perfectly made," "awesome,"
"smart," and "blessed."
(Grandparents--we should have bought these socks!)
I got a few pairs of tiny ones--birth to 3 months.
Although most of the items I purchased will go to 
Mission Arlington,
those will go to the Arlington Pregnancy Center!

Then there are games!  That tall stack on the
kids' table is Xoom Cubes, for age 6+--14 of them!
I also got 12 Xoom card games, and 7 very special
Some of these are going to the three schools in
which our church will have volunteer mentors
this year through KidsHope USA!

I feel obliged to be honest here.
I am not entirely unselfish.
I'm hearing some of the items call my name.
One of those boxes of Sweet Shop candy may no
longer be suitable for gifting.
You know, expert bow maker that I am, that
the ribbon may end up with me.
Oh, and some of those electric candles flicker.
I've always wanted the flickering ones...

I only got to the one Gene Allen's this year.
I had an appointment at 12:00 and
one at 1:30 that day. Bummer!
  Next year I'll plan better!

So...take a guess at the original cost of these
items for which I spent $108, including tax!
I meticulously (yes, that's me) added up the
prices on the tags.
This year I realized that I should include the
tax which would have been paid on the
full purchase price, so that I did!

Please send me your guess on my Facebook page.
Whoever gets the closest to "the actual retail value"
(Price is Right talk) including tax,
will win a $50 gift certificate, compliments of
yours truly, Bargain Hunter Extraordinaire, to
the fabulous Gene Allen's Gifts!!!

In order to give everyone a chance to guess,
I will not determine a winner until
Monday, Labor Day, evening!

"May the best guesser win!"

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Look What I Got Today!

I certainly have plenty of time to grocery shop now,
and a huge selection of times at
 which to do so.
Know when I choose to go?
Almost never.
My cupboards are bare, much to the dismay of
my children and friends.
My "joke" is that only a lack of three things will
get me to the supermarket:
dogfood, heavy cream for my coffee, or t. paper!

 Monday night in a roundabout way I discovered
 Amazon PrimePantry.
Once I got rollin' it was midnight before I 
stopped shopping.
Notice I didn't say "finished" shopping.
I was just too tired to continue.

For reasons I'm not completely clear on, my
shipping was free.  Usually it is $5.99 per box.
(I think ordering 5 of certain items qualified me
for free shipping but I did not take time to
try to figure out which ones.)
My box arrived by 1:00 P.M. today.
It was HUGE, but only sparsly filled by my stuff
(and LOTS of filler!)

Several of the items I ordered have back stories.
That Jello is sometimes hard to find for
my famous Cherry-Coke salad!
Sams had no Woolite last time I was there.
The Keurig coffee is Starbucks Verandah
blonde roast, very $$ when I can find it.

As far as prices go, I think they will be the
same or less.
But...I rarely grocery shop, so I'm not sure.
I know the toothpaste I ordered was cheaper
than CVS (and sometimes they're out.)

Now please don't give me a hard time about the
fact that there's not much to eat here.
(That means you, J, T, S, R, M, S.)
This was just an experiment.
I have already ordered again!

One of the disadvantages I see is that it takes
quite a bit of time to go through all of the
options.  I think there were 85 pages of food items.
I got to Page 40 something the first night,
then I couldn't get back to that point the second.
Of course, you tech wizards probably would
not have that problem.
And I know I will get faster.

I'll tell you it was pretty great to drag that
box in this morning, still in my pj's.
I just hope this will be of help to some of you!


P.S.  I was already an Amazon Prime member.
I think that is $95/year for LOTS of benefits.
(Many of which I don't know how to take 
advantage of!!!

P.P.S. There will need to be some refinement
to my "grocery" shopping.
I had to stop at Taco Bell on the way home
from choir to get something to eat.