Cozumel

Our last stop on the cruise was Cozumel. We sat by the beach, was served lunch, and relaxed. It was a nice end to our cruise. The water wasn’t as clear as we had expected, but we were still able to go in and swim.

This is the view of the ship docking. The lamps were still on because it was still pretty early in the morning. I wanted to see the sunrise and watch the docking, so while husband was still sleeping, I got up and made my way to the top floor. I realized I could only either watch the sunrise or the docking because the sunrise was on one side and the docking was on the other. I decided to watch the docking.

Once we got off the ship, we took a short bus ride to the beach resort and found a nice spot right by the water. In the photo, husband and I were in the water taking a photo of where we sat. I believe the third or fourth umbrella in the front there (right to left) was ours.

Here’s the view directly in front of where we sat. That’s an inflatable water slide. I believe you have to get on a jet ski to get over to it. We didn’t bother with that. It was nice relaxing by the water and that’s all we really wanted.

We had a great time on this cruise. The cruise members were super friendly and the food was pretty good. The best part, of course, was just getting away from the every day and relaxing.

One thing I always enjoy about cruising is how beautiful the cruise ships are. When we arrived at the Cozumel port, two Carnival ships also arrived. Husband and I were having breakfast when we saw the two ships.

We ate quickly and went to the top floor because I knew they were going to have to “spin” and I wanted to capture it. The first boat pulled in bow first but the second one spun around.

This was probably the most exciting part of our vacation for me…lol.

We’d love to go on another cruise next year. We don’t have anything set in stone yet but we’d really love to go again.

Costa Maya

Our second day on the cruise, we arrived in Costa Maya. We took the tour to see the Mayan Ruins. It was a one hour bus ride to the location and then about an hour walking around the ruins and listening to our tour guide.

We had a pretty large group of people on our tour but there were other tour groups there as well. The people in the photo were all from our group. Behind me was another tour group waiting for their turn.
Our tour guide said areas like this with overgrown trees on top of rocks were Mayan pyramids that have not been excavated but will be.

It was extremely humid on the tour. We were told that it was rain season and that it had just rained and that it was going to rain again. The roads were dry so it was hard to tell but there were moments when rain misted.

I learned so much about the Mayan people on this tour. Our tour guide was Mayan and it was interesting when he spoke Mayan to us. It sounded like he was speaking Chinese. He said the Mayans migrated from China and that’s why their language was very similar.

Costa Maya was enjoyable, aside from the humidity.

Port of Galveston

The cruise we took in late July was out of Port of Galveston in Galveston, TX. We stayed at the Harbor House Hotel which was walking distance to the cruise check-in building. We were at the hotel for one night and had time to eat at two restaurants, watch an oil tanker come through the waterway, and watch the sunset with the cutest tugboat in the view.

View from our hotel room. We ate lunch at the restaurant in the building behind the bus.

Our room in the hotel.

Front of the hotel.
Walking along the port.
The back of the hotel.
The view during dinner at a restaurant that was walking distance from the hotel.

Watched an oil tanker as it came through and docked.

Sunset. This little tug boat looked much bigger in person.

Embarking the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas.

At our muster station. We were required to simply go to our station before the ship left the dock. Someone was there to scan our card and then we were done. We watched the rest of the drill information on our phones. It was very simple and quick compared to pre-COVID (on a different cruise line).

The main pool area.

Main pool area with the movie screen in view. During cruising out at sea, they played “Dune” and “King Richard.”

Top deck.

Our cabin.

Cabin bathroom.

Leaving port.

Going toward Costa Maya, Mexico. We were out at sea for one full day before arrival. You can see all the oil tankers waiting to come into port. We counted over 20 tankers. Most of them were not in view.

More photos to come…

May’s Playlist 2022 and Ramblings

Last weekend, went to grab donuts and coffee and couldn’t resist taking a photo of the clouds. Aren’t they something? If you’re curious as to why the road looks rough and uneven, it’s because they are repaving it. May usually feels like a forever month because of that extra day, but it pretty much flew by this year. I guess I should accept that as I/we get older, time starts to feel as though it’s moving faster. I remember wishing for the time to pass quickly. Now, I’m always aware that I only have so much time in a day to get things done, and there’s never enough time.

I was so busy with writing and trying to get my hands at doing more crafting that I didn’t get a chance to listen to anything different other than my default playlist of Enigma and writing music. Husband and I did go see the movie, Top Gun: Maverick and we both enjoyed it. The soundtrack was nostalgic and excellent. Afterward, I told him that returning to civilian life felt a bit slow and boring, but that I enjoyed it. The speed of those jets was a serious adrenaline rush and I don’t think that kind of life would ever be for me. It’s very different for sure, but you know, maybe it’s just the age thing.

Anyway, the one song I did listen to a few times was Meet Me Halfway but Kenny Loggins. He’s also the singer of the song Danger Zone, which was played in the 1986 Top Gun movie as well as the new movie release. Meet Me Halfway was a song played in the 1987 movie called Over the Top, which I haven’t seen yet.

My daughter is on summer break now. She finished 9th grade and will be starting 10th grade come fall. She’ll be taking classes for her driver’s permit this summer. Once she passes, she’ll be able to drive with me or her dad in the car with her. Then come her 16th birthday next year and she’ll be able to test for her driver’s license. Strangely, she doesn’t want to drive.

Hope you all enjoy your summer.

February 2022 Playlist

The photo was taken of my oldest daughter ten years ago. Can you believe that? She’s going to be 20 in a few days here.

February has been a busy month with trying to decide which method of bullet journaling (bujo) to go with. I’ve been trying to get down from about four notebooks to just two. I really enjoy making my own using dotted line notebooks, so I think I’m going to continue doing that, and doing more of it.

These were the main songs I listened to while bujo-ing.

“A Girl Like You” by Edwyn Collins. This song came out in 1994 and I remember listening to it during my college days. I think I heard it on “Lucifer” and it brought back memories.

“To Build a Home,” by The Cinematic Orchestra. First heard this song while watching “So You Think You Can Dance,” some time ago. The lyrics are a bit sad but beautiful, nonetheless.

“Lost Without You,” by Jaci Valesquez. Heard this song sometimes in the later 90’s early 2k’s and had it on repeat for awhile.

Steamboat Springs Weekend Trip

Last weekend, our oldest daughter was celebrating her two-year anniversary with her boyfriend in Steamboat Springs and we needed to get some Christmas photos for the year so we decided to join them up there. They had gone up before we did and stayed in a B&B. We stayed at a La Quinta about five minutes from them.

The drive to Steamboat was about four hours. There was a bit of snow as we approached the Eisenhower Tunnel.

Down the other side of the tunnel is steep and curvy. I’ve been down this road many times but each time, I’m always so nervous.

When we got closer to Steamboat, it snowed.

A few minutes before reaching Steamboat, the snow stopped and disappeared.

Where we stayed.

The view from the back window of our hotel room.

We didn’t have time to do too many things. Our one full day there, we had breakfast with our daughter and her boyfriend, and took photos. Then, they went their way, and we went ours. Husband, our youngest daughter, and I went to a hot springs which husband and I loved, but daughter didn’t so much. The sulfur was too strong for her. The sulfur started to burn my eyes eventually so we left. We had lunch and then went to watch Eternals at a really small theater (it’s really small compared to the AMC near our home, but not nearly as small as the one in Craig when I went with our daughters some years ago). Daughter and I liked Eternals. Husband thought it was too long.

It was a nice little getaway to a small ski town. Everyone was friendly and the view was beautiful and peaceful.

Chasing the Northern Lights

The day before Halloween, husband, our youngest, and I went on a road trip to Wyoming to see if we could get a good view of the Northern Lights. From what we learned, the massive solar flare would glow far enough to reach parts of Colorado. We thought we’d go further north for a better chance at seeing it.

It was a four hour drive, which wasn’t bad. The main road was straight and flat, which made the trip easy. A few years ago, it took us at least five hours to get to Ouray, Colorado, but we went through twisty roads and mountains which made the ride longer. Husband and I have been to Wyoming before. We went to Jackson Hole in Teton National Park to see Dr. Wayne Dyer at a speaking event. That was so long ago, and we didn’t stay very long either. It was also on the west side of Wyoming. This time we went straight north.

We stayed at a Holiday Inn in Casper where our daughter did homework while husband and I watched some T.V., and stepped out a few times to see if we could see the northern lights.

Unfortunately, we were not able to see the Northern Lights. We checked between 8pm and 10:30pm with no luck. It was just way too cloudy.

The next morning, we headed home. The car was slightly iced over. It was pretty cold. The roads were wet but not icy, although smaller roads might have been icy. It snowed part way while we were on the road.

The view above was in front of the hotel. There was nothing in Casper. I’m not sure if it’s all farm land, but there was a lot of empty land for miles and miles.

Even though we didn’t get to see the Northern Lights, this short road trip was well-needed. For some reason, I felt as though I could breathe better in Wyoming. I was also extremely relaxed. We stopped in Cheyenne on our way home for lunch and I fell in love with that city. I’d visit it again and stay a little longer. It’s not quite a small town. It’s a city, but a tiny cute one.

20th Anniversary

I created this watercolor card for husband following a tutorial on YouTube.

Husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary in Chicago, IL. We spent a couple of days in the city and made sure to have dinner at Giordano’s—the restaurant where we realized we liked each other, and so sat together. We thought we’d found the actual restaurant that we were at, but we learned that about a decade ago, that restaurant was demolished. I believe when we were there back then, there were only about three Giordano’s in the area. This time there were about eight. I can’t remember if the Giordano we first went to was the very first one built, but learning of its demise was a little sad. Nevertheless, it was a nostalgic experience to be in a Giordano’s in Chicago and remember old times.

Here’s a brief story about how we met.

THE MEET BEFORE THE MEET

It was the summer of 2000 and I decided to take a summer class to try to finish college sooner. There was a guy in the class who sat in the front middle row seats. He would always turn around and chat with the girl who sat behind him. I sat in the second seat in the row next to the door so just turning my head to the left, I could see everyone in the class.

I had just had a breakup with a guy I thought was “the one,” so I wasn’t looking for another relationship. I knew no one in the class and just wanted to be done with it.

We had to do a presentation in the class and a sign-up sheet was passed from the other side of the room. When it got to me, the only spaces available were first and second. I wrote my name in the second space knowing I’d have to go first. But to my luck, another student showed up on the day of presentation and went first. It helped my nerves, but still, I went second.

After a few other presentations, the professor called on the student who was always turning to chat with the girl behind him. He called the student’s last name a few times, but no answer. So, he went on to the next student. I remember thinking, “Who misses their presentation? It’s like 80% of our grade.”

***The student who missed his presentation is now my husband. Even though we were in the same class together, neither of us had any interest in each other or knew we existed. Later, husband said that he had also gone through a bad breakup and so he too wasn’t looking to be in a relationship.***

THE MISSED MEETS

It was fall 2000 and I decided that I was going to join the computer club. It would be good for networking and would also look good on my resume and job applications. I contacted the president of the computer club and said I was interested in joining. A few days later, I saw my name as a new member along with a list of others in the welcome email. I was ecstatic. In one of the emails, the president said she was looking for new officers since all the previous officers graduated. I ignored a couple of those emails thinking I’d never qualify as an officer. Every time the president sent a group email, she’d mention that they needed new officers and she’d list the positions that needed to be filled. Webmaster was one of the officer positions that I was interested in, but as mentioned, I didn’t think I’d qualify. More emails went out and the webmaster position was still not filled (the student in the position was finishing up his last semester so needed to hand it over). I decided to apply for it. If I didn’t get it, it was no big deal.

I ended up getting the webmaster position. I found out when the president listed the officers in an email and my name was next to the title. In this email, the president also mentioned that the club was going to a conference in Illinois, hosted by a university there, and if anyone was interested, to reply. I thought only certain special students got to go. I was a newbie and didn’t think it pertained to me, so I ignored it. The next email I got, the president listed all the people going to the conference and my name was on the list. I thought maybe she put me down by accident because I never responded to those emails. I had planned to email her to tell her she had my name on the list by mistake, but a part of me also said, “I’m sure she’ll catch her mistake.”

Turns out, it wasn’t a mistake. All the officers were going to the conference. The club had enough funds from past fundraisers to cover flight, hotel, food, etc., for all the officers—all seven of us. Since I didn’t reply that I didn’t want to go, she kept me on the list.

There were club meetings at least once a week and I’d gone to one or two but not everyone was there all the time, which was typical. I’d always miss at least two or three of the officers when I was there. The president told me that all the officers had met each other already except me, and that she wanted me to meet all of them at the next meeting where she was going to go over the conference itinerary. I made a promise I’d show up but that I couldn’t stay until the end because I worked. She said the officers are usually there early anyway so it wouldn’t be a problem.

I showed up to the meeting and mingled with the president and the webmaster (whom I’d already met and trained with previously). The other officers showed up a few minutes later and we got introduced and acquainted. The president then told me the treasurer was going to be a little late because he had to go make a deposit at the bank. So, I waited as long as I could before I had to leave. I ended up missing the treasurer.

THE MEET

The day we were to fly out to Illinois, I nearly missed the flight. I can’t remember exactly how late I was, but I had already accepted that I was not going to make this trip, so I was probably about half an hour late. I decided to try to make the gate anyway, just in case. To my luck, our flight was delayed by about an hour or so.

As I walked toward the boarding gate, and the group, I saw a few officers I recognized. We greeted each other, and then the president introduced me to the treasurer. While waiting to board, I took a seat across from the treasurer and another officer. They were classmates too, so they were talking to each other. I’d see the treasurer glance at me every so often. It made me nervous. I thought I had a booger hanging from my nose, so I kept rubbing my nose and hiding my face. ***Later, husband told me he kept staring at me because he liked me.***

We stayed in a hotel in Oakbrook Terrace where the university that was hosting the conference was. I got a room to myself which was across the hall from the treasurer and classmate’s room. We were there for about four days and three nights.

One evening, the group decided to take the train to Chicago to have dinner at Giordano’s. When we arrived at the restaurant, the waiter took us down some stairs and into a corner booth. It was a bit dark (as we both remembered it) and old looking. The food was good, but what I remembered most was sitting next to the treasurer who made an effort to sit next to me in the booth.

***

A couple of months into our dating and as I was cleaning my apartment bedroom, I came across a research paper I had written from a class I took the summer before. I had gotten a B on the paper because I forgot to underline a title or something. I showed the paper to my now boyfriend and said, “I wrote this for a class I took last summer. We had to research the topic, write the paper, and then present it to the class.”

He took the paper from me and stared at it, thinking. Then said, “I remember taking this class. I believe it was the same summer. I recognize the professor’s name. We must have been in the same class.” He started to laugh.

I said, “Did you happen to miss the presentation for this paper?”

He said, “Yeah. I hated that class and avoided it as much as I could.”

“Did you sit in the middle row and kept turning around to talk to that cute girl behind you?”

“I think so…”

[You all know how that conversation ended….LOL]

The weird thing about all this is that I ended up working for the university that hosted that conference, but not in the way you would think. After the boyfriend and I got married and had our first daughter, I was looking for part-time work and found a position in the paper for a receptionist for a graduate school. I applied and got the position. I later learned that the university that hosted the conference bought out the graduate school just before I had started, which meant I’d be working for that university.

The universe works in mysterious ways.  

Vacation Photos Continued: Hotel and Japanese Tea Garden

Above is a view of the coast when we drove down to Big Sur. We pretty much ended up in the town/camping grounds of Big Sur and didn’t get much of the rocky coast so we returned to San Fran.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency. It was an excellent hotel. The kids loved everything about it.

View out the window of our room. We could see the Bay Bridge, which was a nice surprise.

Same view during the night.

View out the window of our floor’s hallway.

We also saw the Mozilla Firefox building as we drove to one of our destinations. I thought it was way cool because I use Firefox as my browser.

On the day we returned home, we had some time in the morning so we went to check out the Japanese Tea Garden. It was beautiful! We ate at the deli inside the garden. The Matcha cheesecake and Jasmine tea were delicious! It was the perfect ending to our trip.