Saturday, July 30, 2011

What Happens on a Cruise Stays on a Cruise!

Earlier this month, I went on my first ever cruise!!   Several months ago, my dear friend and former boss, Leona, asked me if I would like to go on this cruise with several people that I worked with through the years in Gilbert.  She was able to get a great deal for this seven day cruise--the only catch was that I had to join AARP.  Now I know how old I am, but I have dragged my feet on joining this organization and I am not yet retired!! Anyway, because it was in July, I figured it would be okay to go.  My "old" friend, Mary Larson was my roommate which was great for me.   

I flew from Phoenix to New Orleans on Saturday, July 9.  We were all staying in the same hotel that night.  I was able to spend some time in the French Quarter with Jill and George.  We had a great time!!

Sunday we all met out front and went down to the pier to get on the ship.  It was very interesting how they got everyone on board the ship in a fairly timely manner!

Since I don't get car sick, I figured I wouldn't get sea sick--wrong!!  The first night I was a bit queasy and it continued into the second day.  Got some meds and some wrist bracelets and was much better.  However, I couldn't look at the ocean with the boat moving.  That also went away--thank goodness.

The first day was spent at sea.  On Tuesday we arrived in Costa Maya, Mexico.  It was beautiful.  I decided not to do anything that day, but just walk around. 

Wednesday we arrived in Routan, Honduras, another beautiful place.  We did a tour of the island and saw some of the native dancers perform.  

Thursday was spent in Belize.  Mary, Judy, Tom and I went to a private beach and spent the day swimming and relaxing.   The water was great!!!

On Friday, we arrived in Cozumel.  The ocean there is absolutely gorgeous.  The shopping in Cozumel is suppose to be the best.  We walked around all of the shops.  I actually bought a very nice ring for myself and one for Kerri for her birthday.  I really  like Cozumel and would love to go back and spend some time there.

Saturday was another day at sea.  We arrived back in New Orleans early Sunday.   Since my flight wasn't until late, several of us went on a tour of New Orleans.  We saw the horrible destruction that happened with Hurricane Katrina.  They are STILL recovering.  The houses that they are now building are very interesting.  They are kind of on stilts.

Speaking of recovering, I am still recovering from a week of fun!!  It was back to work on Tuesday and it is has been BUSY.  However, it was great to get completely away--no phone and only one day of email.  

It was wonderful spending the week with such great old friends.   Thank you, Leona and Sam, for all that you did.  Leona really outdid herself.  Each morning we had a newsletter!!!  

It was great spending time with Mike and Dottie, Judy and Tom, Jill and George, Nancy and Wally, Brad and Liz, and some of Wally's and Nancy's friends. I had so much fun. 

Going on a cruise is definitely worth it and I hope to have another opportunity to do this in the future!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Cabin in the Chiricahaus in the Aftermath of the Fire

The Coronado National Forest has been closed since the Horseshoe II fire started May 8.   This fire was officially over this past week and is one of the five worst fires in Arizona history.  I have been anxious, yet apprehensive about going up to the cabin.

Friday I was able to get a special permit from the Forest Service to go up and do clean up, etc.  So Kerri, Cameron, Teresa and I drove up to Cave Creek today.  The drive from Douglas looked much like it does every summer before the monsoons start up.  One would never know that a horrific fire took place very near.
As we drove into the canyon, everything looked fine.  The only noticeable difference is that we saw a lot of deer.  Usually we don't see them until dusk.  Two stood at the side of the road and looked at us.  We had the pugs and I was expecting some barking.  Maybe they sensed the sadness for their fellow animals trying to survive.   We also wanted to be very careful with them up there as there could be animals other than deer who may not be as okay to see them!

Everything in the forest is extremely dry.  Trees had dead leaves and there are a lot of fallen, dead leaves on the ground  and absolutely NO water in the creek.

As we turned off on the South Fork road, I was really dreading what we would find.  Once again, deer were there.  And you could tell that there had been a fire.  However, not like I thought it would look.  I was in northern Arizona after the Rodeo-Chedeski fire and it was no where as bad as that.  But it is so dry and I have never seen it as dry.  As we continued on the road, you could tell there had been a fire, but would never know that it was such a horrible fire.

Approaching the cabin and going across the bridge, there was a huge pile of logs that had been cut right on our property.  The cabin looked great, except for the incredible dryness.  Across the road and up the mountain, it was obvious that there had been a fire.  The fire went all the way up the mountain, but it didn't burn everything.  My greatest concern will be what will happen when the rains come.  We have been worried about the creek, but I think there is going to be some changes made when the water comes down the mountain across the road.
We stopped at the Portal Store.  It was actually a bit busy, which is good.  I wanted to give them some business.  They have great lip gloss and candles made by a local artisan.  I also found a beautiful pair of copper earrings with hummingbirds that I bought.

So now we are in a holding pattern waiting for the much-needed monsoons and what may happen then.  I am just so grateful that the cabin was spared and that everything looks as though a little rain and mother nature will take care of the problems.  

The Chiricahuas are one of the most beautiful spots on earth in my opinion.  I love going up there.  This cabin has been in our family for 50 years and the memories that I have of the many visits can never be erased by fire or water.  I just want to continue to make memories on my favorite spot on earth--God willing!