Monday, January 15, 2018

New Year New Goals

Happy New Year!

This past year has been full of extremes.  What I mean by that is that I had days full of adventure and travels and days of boredom and melancholy.  I started the year with health issues that affected my workouts.  I spent way too much time on social media instead of enjoying my surroundings.  I really felt like I lost a year when it came to daily productivity.  Which then affected how I viewed my world. My gratitude was skewed for lack of a better word.  I was like a three-year-old, knowing what the right thing to do is and deciding to do the opposite, just because I could.  The whole year flew by and I felt I had nothing to show for it.

To recharge my battery, I finally decided to take those pesky vitamin supplements that I always avoided despite taking the time to fill up the weekly pill boxes.  I eliminated sodas completely. I continue to eat clean and exercise. I completed my annual checkup with my doctor and started reading books again.

My first project to make my home clutter free and organized is to tackle all the greeting cards I have received over the years.  I won't call myself a hoarder, however, I do find it very difficult to throw out cards, birthday, mothers' day, holidays, etc.  You get the picture.

I began with holiday cards.  I plan on hanging these on my staircase for the family to view.  I had a great time looking at all the family holidays cards we have received over the years.  I love the cards with family pictures and blurbs on what happened that year.

This past year we did not send out Christmas or New Year's Cards.  But I am hoping with my new birthday present (Cannon Rebel Camera), I will have some great pictures to compose a worthy holiday card.

I'm hoping that all who read this have a fabulous new year.  For those who sent us cards this year, a heartfelt thank you for thinking of us.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

20 Years and Counting Chapter 4

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
August 29, 30 and 31st.

Mannheim                  Koblenz
Speyer                        Cologne

Heidelberg Castle as backdrop for our selfie

The Largest Wine Barrel (Heidelberg)

The Castle has an amazing balcony that overlooks the town and Philosopher's walk, a prestigious area of this college town.  Steffi Graff owns a home here. You can spot some of the homes across the Neckar River, hillside.

Heidelberg's Monkey on the Old Bridge
 You can read about this monkey here.

The river cruise offered various tours for its guest.  It went from Active to Regular, and Easy tours for the older crowd.  We did the Active and Regular tours depending on the town.  Most of the time we were bike riding along the countryside.

John was having such a fun time.  I haven't seen him relaxed like this in many years.  It was a true vacation for both of us.  We only had two other riders with us on this trip.

A Counts home that now is a venue/winery

I could write endlessly about all the fun places we visited and history lessons we learned on this trip. But what really made our trip enjoyable is spending quality time with each other and meeting some really nice people.  Many couples were our age and were celebrating either birthdays, retirement, or like us Anniversaries.

The night of our true anniversary date we made reservations at the Chef's table.  We shared this special evening with 3 other couples. One from Oklahoma, Karla and David, and a couple from Washington D.C., Tracy and Susan.   The dinner usually takes about 2 hours max.  We were laughing so hard and enjoying ourselves that we spent 3.5 hours dining.  Those poor waiters!

My only regret is that we didn't take a picture of our table.  These folks made our anniversary oh so very special!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

20 years and counting Chapter 3

Monday, August 28, 2017,  Strasbourg

As John and I are enjoying new cities our own city is being bombarded with rain for 4 straight days. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.  Houston underwent a horrible deluge of rain from Hurricane Harvey.  Many creeks surround Houston and its suburbs and when 50 inches of rain fall these creeks overflow, and overflow, and overflow.  

By day two we upgraded our phone plan to keep in contact with everyone back home.  Harvey made the world news and everyone in every country asked us how our family and home were once they found out we were from Houston.  It was surreal.

Only one person in our family took in water.  Luckily she only received inches of water and not feet, like many others.  It was still hard to enjoy ourselves without thinking of all the water our poor Houston was receiving.

Back to Strasbourg.....We woke in this city and opted for a bike tour.  Unfortunately, so did 26 other riders.  And some of them should not have been on bikes.  It was a busy bustling city and I would not recommend a bike tour here.  We didn't get to see everything we wanted to see and decided to go back after lunch into the ship to further explore the city.

The great part of this city was it was very bike friendly in some parts. It actually had a meter to register how many bikes came in and out of the Cathedral area.

Cathedral of Notre Dame de Strasbourg
We climbed up the 332 steps to see the city view and it was worth every step.
The city is behind us.  We are a park across from city buildings that were both occupied by German and France.
As much as I enjoy history, I know very little of European history.  For example, many cities along the Rhine for the past 75 years have been properties of France and Germany.  Which explains how many cities in France have German sounding names.

Strasbourg Astronomical Clock

One of the Four Towers that made up a defensive block, built in the 13 century
Another fascinating fact according to the tour guides is that very few places fly Germany's Flag. According to them, Germany is still very ashamed of what they did in World War I and II and try to 1) never forget and teach its lessons to today's' children and 2) not take national pride since they feel that is part of what encouraged them into the WWII.

We had the best time speaking to locals and learning their way of life.  Such beautiful landscapes and bridges throughout this city.

We were very fortunate to have missed Harvey and come back to a city on the mend full of amazing stories full of grace, kindness, love, and giving.