Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekend of theatre

I've been such a social butterfly this weekend.

On Friday, Left Brain and I went out to eat at Dublin Square where we ran into our neighbors, Ed and Carol.  We also got to meet their friends Rick and Nancy who also live in the valley.  Fun people.  Then we went to the La Crosse Community Theater to see "Leaving Iowa".
It was opening night and there were a couple of glitches, but the performers pulled it off nicely.  I was so looking forward to this play and felt it was a little lackluster.  Maybe my expectations were too high.

On Saturday I made a rare appearance at shul and then cleaned up things in the yard, putting away the lawn furniture and trimming back the burning bush in the front of the house.  I drained the hot tub and scrubbed it out and refilled it with fresh water.  Then I subjected my hands to the cold water of the pond and cleaned out the pump and filter and got the waterfall running again.  I like to run it as late in the season as possible.

Saturday night I went with Beth to see the performance of Jekyll & Hyde at the Muse Theater.  I hadn't planned to attend this as the story was not of real interest to me, but Beth wanted to go and I was curious to see the job Sheryl did on the costume design.  It was the same night as the Halloween Ball so many people were dressed up for the event, some gorier than others.

I was blown away by this musical!  The lead singers were incredible.  Steven Marking plays Henry Jekyl/Edward Hyde), Erin Schockmel plays Emma and Jill Iverson is Lucy.  The set design and lighting were wonderful, the performance high energy, and the sound system perfect.  It was like being at a Broadway performance right here in La Crosse!

The Muse Theatre is located on Avon Street in La Crosse in a former church that Vicki and Don Elwood have refurnished and created a hidden jewel.

The play continues through November 19th and information can be found on their website at  If you have never been to this venue before, please give it a look.  You won't be disappointed.

Sunday brought me brunch with Laurel (a fellow artist and valley girl) and then off to see Puss & Boots at Valley Square Theater.  Once seated we were joined by my friend, Beiver. Okay, this isn't quite the same type of theater, but it counts as three days in a row of theater attendance.  Cute movie and it was interesting that the majority of viewers were adults instead of children.  I guess I'm not the only one that likes talking animals.

The afternoon was spent delving into more of my potato masher dolls and finishing up some angels for the Bling show at the Pump House the first weekend of December.  They will be photographed tomorrow and bagged up to be ready for sale.

The only thing not accomplished this weekend was any kind of cleaning or cooking.  But I can live with that.

Long Live the Queen of Drama

Friday, October 28, 2011

Madness in a bathroom stall

Why do they do this?  What members of the public need the toilet paper this low?

You know what I'm talking about.  You settle into a bathroom stall at your favorite restaurant or store and when it's time to do the paperwork it's located in a huge plastic cylinder three feet wide and about six inches from the floor.

If the previous occupant didn't leave a paper trail to find it you have to reach up into the mouth of the plastic monster and feel around for the end of the paper....cause you sure can't look up in there unless you're laying on the ground.  And at this point you are in no position to go anywhere.

So you find yourself doubled over (easier now after losing 30 pounds, but still..) and stretching your right arm across your body and up at an unnormal angle to reach inside for the tissue you so desperately need.

And then you manage to get a hold of it and pull, only to have to feel it snap off with a teensy little piece of fluff that you know is not sufficient for the job "at hand".  So you venture in again and again.

I feel like I'm in a gym class or attempting some kind of yoga pose such as downward facing anxious dog.

Oh, did I mention it's one of those stalls that you have to walk into and close the door behind you as you face the stool because there sure isn't any room to turn around and do this.

So, here you are...doubled over, arm across the body and stretching upwards and your head inches (or touching if you're tall) the door.  Now picture this for a vertically challenged woman such as myself and as you desperately lean forward your feet are leaving the floor.

Is it just me that fears the next step?  I always have visions of being in just this predicament and going forward into a front somersault off the toidy.  And with the door so close being wedged upside down between the door and the toilet.  With my pants off.

What would one do?  Do you ask politely for someone else in the room to open the door so you can continue rolling out and come to a stand flourishing a fist full of toilet paper held overhead pronouncing "ta da!"?

This is why when in this situation I am overcome with hysterical giggling, because this is the image in my head, albeit not a pretty one.

So when you see someone walking out of the bathroom trailing toilet paper on their shoe, don't be so quick to laugh.  You have no idea the battle that she has just been through!

Long Live the Queen of the Throne

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A change of supper plans

Left Brain and I are seldom on the same wave length.   He tells me how we need to be on the same page and I keep reminding him that we're not even in the same book.

A case in point.  When I unload the car I pile everything by the backdoor stairs and then bring it into the house from there.  He was helping me carry things into the house from the store.  Such a sweet man.

We were both putting things away and I didn't miss it until it was time to fix supper.  Where on earth could that salad be?  I gathered up an incredible salad at the salad bar and put it in it's own plastic bag to make sure it stayed upright on the trip home.  I remember placing it carefully right next to the trash can.....ooooooh.

I need to explain that when I scoop out the kitty litter box I often toss the plastic grocery sack out the back door .....right next to the trash can.  Left Brain had assumed it was a bag of kitty doo doo and tossed it into the trash can.

When I went back out to the scene of the crime to check, sure enough...there it was.  However, it was still intact.  The carryout container didn't spring open (a miracle) and there was nothing wrong with it.  It was just a bit scrambled up.

Supper that night was a "tossed salad".

Long Live the Queen of Dumpster Diving

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cell phone rudeness

Grrrrrr.  this makes me so mad!
Cell phones are a part of our daily existence and most of us are aware of the proper etiquette involved.  But it seems some have not gotten the memo, or feel it can't possibly pertain to them...they who are "special".  I'd add "you know who you are" but I really don't think they do.

I had the pleasure of observing enforcement of "please silence your cell phone" recently.  We were gathered in a cluster waiting for the docent to begin her presentation and the sign to turn off the cell phone was front and center on the desk.  Hard to miss.

She began her speech, which was very interesting and then the dreaded phone began to ring.  Now, this can happen to anyone...and most are quick to reach in and silence the noise and look a bit chagrined.  Not this lady, she blissfully ignored the ringing in her purse like someone trying to pretend it wasn't their expulsion of gas that is stinking up the room.  It rang...and rang...and rang.

You could see a brief glimmer of frustration on the docent's face as she pondered how to handle this.  She apparently decided the person was clueless as to how to stop the ringing and continued with her spiel to allow her to save face.   And the phone rang...and rang...and rang.

I'm thinking of adding this intercom so I
can summon Left Brain when I need him.
My G-d!  How many rings until the voice mail picks up!  And the phone rang ...and rang...and rang.  Apparently it was set for about 15 - 20 rings.  Finally there was the distinct bling indicating she had new voice mail.

Now, what would you do in this circumstance?  I think it's safe to gander most people would be glad it stopped ringing and wait until later to check the message.  But no...not her!  She brought the phone up to her ear and was listening to the message.

Now the docent was appropriately rankled.  The audience was spellbound , the history lesson she was trying to impart to us forgotten as we watched the drama unfold.  And yet she remained polite as she asked "Would you like to take that outside?"

This is where the lady (I don't know her name, so I'll just call her Ima Important) responded with "No, this is fine" accompanied by a condescending little smile.  Apparently she was offended by the docent interrupting her call.  That did it.

The audience turned back to the docent as if in a tennis game to see what the next play would be.

The docent very calmly and professionally responded to her declined offer with "No, really...I must insist that you take the phone  outside."  It was all I could do not to applaud.   Although I was curious to see if she would have actually responded to the call and started to talk on the phone.  It wouldn't have shocked me at that point.

Long Live the Queen of Cell Phone Etiquette 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New England continued

We visited a maple farm in Vermont I loved the image of this little red headed boy playing on the tractor with all the fallen leaves.

It's a much better picture after removing the road behind it and the little blond brat swinging a stick at him.  Now it looks serene.

Again with the small view.  

I was very taken with the odd growth on this tree.  

I believe it's some sort of mushroom and appeared to have watery dots on it.

Any way it was very odd and I was attracted to it, which explains a lot about my relationship with Left Brain.

No offense honey.

Finally, these are not usually my sort of photos, but in the spirit of the Divine Miss M I had to take some waterfall shots.

What can I say, these are just pretty pictures.  

Do they tell a story?

Maybe...maybe not.

But I do enjoy the sound of water, it's very soothing and calm.

This is something especially needed when on a bus trip with forty people.  

A little moment alone in nature to clear your brain.

Not that my brain needs much clearing.  

It seems to have some sort of automatic clearing of files because I can't seem to remember anything anymore.

Long Live the Queen of the Serene

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall colors of New England

The "paddle boat" cruise on the lake provided some wonderful fall colors. 

I say that with quotes as being raised on the Mississippi River I know the difference between an authentic paddle boat and a fake one with boat motors.

But, fake paddles or not, it did provide a stunning view of the fall colors.

We had the pleasure of a man buzzing around our boat with his glider.  Left Brain was very jealous as he would love to have something like this.  He has many "flights of fancy".

He sees things in "big picture" mode and I tend to view the world in macro.  

Here's some ivy growing in the cracks that made me smile.

It was a perfect day with blue skies and fluffy clouds that I learned were cirrus clouds and indicate an upcoming change of weather.  This is the plus of traveling with a meteorologist.  

She had her mother on the trip with her and we loved the stories told of her as a child who was always fascinated by the weather.

Apparently she would climb up on the metal roof and watch the storms coming in, even though her mother tried to explain why it was not a good idea to be standing on metal while lightening is flashing in the sky.

I loved this image of her totally blissed out by the approaching storm front.  Since it was a tad blurry (being on a moving boat will do that) I altered it with a watercolor filter, but you can get the feeling by her expression that here's a woman doing exactly what she was meant to be doing.

Long Live the Queen of Nature Lovers

Photos from the Castle in the Clouds

Is it because I'm getting older that I appreciate tours of old buildings and ways of living? 

It's a bit upsetting that some of these antiques are still within my memory.  

What does that say about me?

Never means I'm vintage.  

I can recall having my grandmother prepare toast for me in one of these.  

This may be where I learned to appreciate the taste of burnt toast.

The guest room was lovely and I can just imagine having sweet little room like this and a maid to deliver my breakfast to me.

The only fault I could find with staying here as a guest is the lack of WI-FI.

But, I could overlook that...for a few days.

Maybe a few hours.

This is the intercom system to summon the maid.  

I wonder if I could get Left Brain or She Devil to wear a little uniform and come when I called.

Nah...I didn't really think it was realistic to expect that either.

The bathrooms were surprisingly modern considering the day and age.

There were several full bathrooms like this throughout the castle with a multi-jet shower system in each one.

I loved the sign explaining the bathing precautions for women back in that day. 

It seems that since we were so delicate and frail it was not advised to bath very often and certainly never to use a shower such as this.  Only a manly man could withstand such water blasts without peril of destroying their delicate systems.  It brought back memories of providing the written excuse not to put on my one-piece blue gym suit when afflicted with "my visitor".

Oh those where the days......

Long Live the Modern Queen

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bonus post today to catch up on photos from out east

 In Boston I enjoyed the combination of old buildings and new buildings and how they worked to blend them together.

One of my favorites was the image of the old church reflected in the modern glass construction of the skyscraper across the street.

The memorial in this church yard has over 6,000 dog tags hanging to reflect the men and women who have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Both beautiful and eerie.

This is the Old Ironsides in Boston.  

We didn't tour the boat but rather stopped to use the bathroom facilities near it. 

It's the first time I've ever had to remove items for x-ray like in the airport to use a bathroom.

Long Live the Queen of Boston

Map reading is not my forte

This is a scenario inspired by David, one of the people on my bus trip.

As we gazed at the roaring waters of Niagara Falls we were trying to imagine what would possess someone to pack themselves into a barrel and attempt going over the edge.

I believe it's just bad map reading skills.  It made me recall the time I was navigating (something Left Brain never lets me do anymore) and when we were thoroughly lost he asked me to point out where on the map we were.

I indignantly handed over the map and showed him exactly where we were.  You can imagine my surprise when he gently informed me that the road I had been so diligently following and guiding him on was actually a river.   

Oooops.  Hey, it could happen to anyone!  Right?  Okay, maybe not.  I understand now why I have been replaced with a Magellan GPS System.

Long Live the Queen of Map Skills

Friday, October 21, 2011

Photos from the trip out east

I finally got my photos off Left Brain's PC and worked on them last night.

I tend to ignore the sights most people are photo-graphing and see things differently.

This is a lovely monarch butterfly taken at Central Park in New York City.  

We stopped at a beautiful old church during our drive and I loved the gargoyles and characters adorning the building. 

Stone carving fascinates me and I just can't imagine the hours, days, years it must take to create these ornate buildings.  

Since I'm born under the sign of Leo the lion, I enjoyed this fellow the most.

This is a woman dressed in period costume at Sturbridge Village.

I could identify with her pulling the weeds, a job I can't even seem to get enough of.  Not that I enjoy it so much, but there always seems to be a need for more pulling than hours in the day.

At least I don't have to do it dressed in a skirt and apron, so I should be grateful of being able to wear jeans and old shirts that can go into the washing machine.

These girls were enjoying their day at the village parading around with their dresses and umbrellas.

After getting permission from their mother to photograph them I had them line up by the old barn.  They seemed pleased to be asked and I forget that children generally like to have their photos taken and be in the center of attention.  What a great place to play dress up!  It made me almost want to get into a corset, actually...that sounds like a horrible idea.  Wow.  I almost went over the edge there for a minute.

Long Live the Queen of Elastic Waist Sweatpants

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What was that?

Please don't get me wrong - we really do love our grand kids, we just weaken fast.  

After returning from our trip out east we immediately took possession of two wiggly giggly granddaughters for three days.  Maybe it was because we hadn't yet recovered from the trip that we were dragging our butts going into the visit.

When asking them what bedtime was (we were hoping for something early) we were told it was 9:00 on nights without school the next day.  Uh oh.  Then I asked the younger one what happens if our bedtime was before theirs and she smiled that devilish imp grin and assured us that that would be just fine.  Nope.  I don't think we dare to close our eyes first here.

The visit was fun and the costume turned out cute and much appreciated.  The older one is trying to teach me how to make friendship bracelets.  I'm hoping my friends are not waiting for these anytime soon, as it's pretty slow going.

I made a quick run to Weight Watchers for the bad news before the parents arrived.  After a two week bus trip involving lots of food and yummy desserts I feared the worst and was pleased to see only a 1.8 pound gain.  It's like dodging a I feel I can go on.

We enjoyed a quick lunch with the parents as they came to gather them up and promised to check calendars for the next get together soon and talked about Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving?  Where did this year go?  I can't believe it's time for that again.

Our brains were thinking about all we needed to do when they left and after careful consideration we decided to just sit in silence and read and recover.  Tomorrow is soon enough to jump back in.

Quiet is such a lovely thing.  Laughter and chatterbox kids are grand and I like the sounds of family in my house.  But when it comes down to just She Devil, Left Brain and me - this is what rocks our world.

Tomorrow I will have a lady lunch with a dear friend and then Saturday we have a bus trip to the cities to see Le Cage aux Folles with the garden group.  Left Brain graciously declined our son's offer of joining him Sunday for the Packer - Viking game as it was just too much.  I guess we really are getting old.

Long Live the Silent Queen

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Enjoying the grandkids

Taking a little break in posting on the blog due to a short visit from the grand kids.  They arrived Tuesday and leave tomorrow on Thursday, so we're packing it all in.

We saw Dolphin Tale on Tuesday in 3D.  I'd seen it before but not in 3D.  It's a very sweet movie, but not sure the 3D effects added that much to it.

Today was spent forming a Halloween costume for Kiersten who wants to be a minion from Despicable Me.  I wanted to get some photo ideas so I googled minyan and didn't think she really wanted to go as a group of ten Jewish men and tried the other spelling.  Luckily there was a You Tube video on one version we liked.  After a visit to Hancock Fabrics I dove into the project all day today.  Emily will be Harry Potter and has most of what she needs, so she was easy.

We did take one break to visit Hobby Lobby, one more stop at Hancock for more supplies, lunch at Panera and then into Family Video to pick out a movie for tonight's movie.  After much deliberation we chose Rio and enjoyed it immensely.

The kiddies are down for the night and Left Brain has baseball alternating with other shows, so I will complete this post and head to bed to read for a while so I can be rested and ready for tomorrow.

In the morning we will do a final fitting of the costume and take photos of how it worked out.  So much to little time...and littler energy.

Long Live the Queen of Exhaustion

Monday, October 17, 2011

Home sweet home!

We arrived home this afternoon and it feels so good to be back!

While Left Brain unloaded the car I ran to the grocery store to stock up on basics and rescue She Devil.

The lady at the vet went downstairs with me to help pack up her stuff.  It appears they were even more excited to see her leave than I was to have her home.

She told me about the death defying attempts to administer her shots, sometimes having to wrap her in a towel to subdue her.  I smiled and picked up my cat and cradled her like a baby in my arms and gave her a kiss on the nose.  Her jaw dropped and she said "I wouldn't have believed that you could do that unless I saw it myself".  She has such a reputation there.

After paying the boarding fee for 10 days $365 and some odd change, I packed her up and we went home.

We had salad for supper and our yogurt and fruit bedtime snack to get back into normal routine.  I can only guess what my weight is going to be!

Long Live the Queen of the Homefires

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ending our Eastern Adventure

Sorry about the lapse in the blog – too tired on Friday to post the blog.   So, here we go to catch up a bit…

Friday, October 14th:  We had a lovely included breakfast at our hotel and then headed out for another adventure.  Shortly after the bus pulled on to the ferry crossing from Grand Isle VT to Cumberland Head (Plattsburgh) NY the ferry took off and we were on our way.  Upon exiting the ferry we drove to Massena NY for a break stop in a mall.  This was a pretty sad little mall with lots of empty spaces to rent and not a lot of people, but they did have a food court and restrooms that met our needs.

The Queen's new island get away
We arrived in the afternoon for a narrated cruise of the 1000 Islands, a series of islands inhabited by the very wealthy with some pretty impressive homes. 

I was particularly drawn to this one and decided it was just perfect for me.  She Devil's deluxe cat castle is right on the shore.

One actually had the main house in the US and a small footbridge that lead to a small guest house in Canada.  Oh the fun of being on the international boundary.  It reminds me of the time I needed to relieve myself and was able to do it right over a marker…oh well, too much information.

Left Brain's new island home

Since Left Brain does like spending time in the Coping Cabana, I purchased a little island home for him also.  I am not totally without a heart!

As we were on our cruise we watched the storm front move in and a wall of water as the rain poured down.  This was especially fun since we are traveling with a meteorologist who could explain the storm to us. 
Katie Green, keeping an eye on the weather
You can’t dampen the spirit of our group.  This group of Texans set out to have a good time and it takes more than a storm to dissuade them.  They were just hoping that it was raining back in their home area also.

Along with many interesting factoids on this trip we learned that this is where Thousand Island dressing came from.  Apparently an inspired guide came up with the concoction when they realized they did not have any dressings for the salads to be served so they mixed up some catsup, mayo, horseradish and such and “tad a” a new salad dressing was born.  Necessity truly IS the mother of invention. 

We arrived that night at the Hilton Garden Inn located in Watertown NY that had been open for a whopping 18 days.  We were their first bus group…we felt so honored.  It is a beautiful facility and the staff was eager to make a good presentation.  I finally had a good margarita there and we sat down to enjoy a nice meal and conversation.  I had internet but was too tired to put together the blog.  It might have been due to the marguerita also.

Saturday, October 15th:  There was another included breakfast that they tell me was very good but I was feeling the need to stay back in the room and munch on my cheerios and sip a $2 diet Pepsi.  We drove a fair distance that day and had to all get off the bus to go through customs.    I made the remark that I sure did hope that my arrest warrant wasn’t still active, which drew some concerned looks.  Someone asked why some people didn’t go through and had to wait on the side and it was explained that they may have been on the “watch” list.  She seemed concerned and I reassured her that she’d know if she was on the list…which I think made her wonder more about me again.  I did manage to get a border guard with a sense of humor.  When asked if I was the tour guide I replied that I was just the lowly wife of the driver.  “Never say you’re lowly” he replied.  So I looked at Left Brain and proclaimed that my status had been elevated.  To which I heard the guard say “just like my cholesterol”.   

After being dropped off in the wind and rain near Niagara Falls we scooted into the visitor center for shelter and food for lunch.  I immediately bypassed the cheap burger options, I wanted a place I could sit comfortably for an hour or so until the bus came back to carry us to the hotel.  I found a nice place with tables by the windows overlooking the waterfalls and soon there were others in my group.  The waiting list was about 20 minutes and was mostly for groups of 2 and 3.  Sensing that they would not release the tables for eight to small groups I asked to be put on the list for six people.  Then they asked if we were eating or just having drinks and I asked her which answer was the right one.  She said eating, so we took that option.  We were seated immediately.  One cup of French onion soup and a coke... $13.  The view … priceless.   

We watched several skinny little lightweight kids standing up on the barrier with their hands up in the air having their photos taken, right next to the sign warning people NOT to do this.  Yikes!  It was already windy enough to turn the umbrellas inside out – one slip backwards and there’d be an empty seat on their bus.  I ventured out afterwards for some photos of the waterfalls in the wind and rain and then hurried back in.  After one more trip dashing through the elements to get on the bus, I was able to enjoy the comforts of the hotel.

We enjoyed a lovely farewell dinner at the Skylon Tower.  This award winning revolving dining room towers 775 feet above the falls and the elevator is on the outside providing a birds eye view of the area.  After dinner we drove past the falls again to see them with the lights and then our fearless leader, Jane, presented us with gifts and prizes as she said farewell to us.  Tomorrow will be an early start for the airport as we all prepare to go back home.  They will fly to Texas and we will drive the bus back to Wisconsin.  As much as I love traveling, I am excited about being home again.
Hang on She Devil!  We're coming!
Long Live the Queen of Niagara Falls

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A drizzly Vermont day

Today's adventure is called "Taste of Vermont" and I understand why now...we are eating our way through the state!

Since morning generally starts with coffee, we visited the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor Center for a presentation on their process and were treated to samples, a catalog and a mug to take with us.  These people are valiantly going on in a warehouse location after the hurricane destroyed their showroom.  They are actively involved in the Fair Trade movement and although it was a short visit, it was very pleasant.

Next we went on to Ben & Jerry's for a tour of their facility.  I love this corporation, not just for the delicious product but the ethics involved in both the treatment of the animals and laborers.  They constantly give back to the community in many ways.  We were able to see a film and watch some of the production process and then had a sample of ice cream.  Many of us proceeded to the gift shop and to buy an ice cream cone for the ride.

We had an unscheduled surprise stop at a cider mill and were able to watch the pressing process and visiting ....yes....another gift shop.  They seem to have them everywhere!

I regret having had the ice cream cone - it was incredible, but our next stop was at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe VT.  We had a HUGE buffet of food and desserts and then listened to a presentation by the great granddaughter of Maria.  We were fortunate to be able to view a documentary of Maria as she revisited the old homestead and talked about her marriage to the Captain.  I've got to buy the movie now and watch it with the kids when they come.  We were all singing "the hills are alive...." as we left.

We got back to the hotel about 4:00 and the shower felt good as I cleaned up to be ready for an early departure tomorrow.  Tonight we'll go see Money Ball at the theatre across the street.

Long Live the Queen of Ice Cream

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Landed in Vermont

Lake Winnepesaukee
I'm catching up with my blog postings now that we've landed for a two night stay and have wireless internet again. They told us to ask at the front desk for a card with the ID and password to access it and I approached the man with a wink and tilt of my head when I said "I'm here for the secret code" and winked again. He just stared at me. Then I added "they said to ask for access to the internet here" to which he asked "Do you have a computer?". Hmmm. Why would I want access to the internet if I didn't have a computer? Oh well, he finally gave it to me (somewhat begrudgingly) and I raced upstairs while Left Brain took the bus to add fuel to it.

Mitt Romney's "lake home"
Let me back up a bit and fill you in on what we're seen so far. On Tuesday we took a paddlewheel cruise on Lake Winnepesaukee (I can actually SAY it now) and we viewed beautiful fall colors and extremely expensive overpriced homes priced in the billions.

My only hope of living here would be to get the gardener position and hopefully a small servant's quarters. While we were touring the lake we had a man in a glider buzzing around us and giving us a small aerial show.

Then we had a tour of Castle in the Clouds, a spectacular mountaintop setting with views of Lake Winnepesaukee and the hills and mountains beyond.

It was beautifully restored and charming to walk through.

They also have a Belgium horse named Zeus who holds the title of being the largest horse in the world measuring in at 21 hands high and 3000 pounds. 

A horse is a horse ...of course of course...unless that horse is the famous Mr Zeus
He was a big boy and a beauty.  They brought him out so we could meet him and pet him.  This entails an extra charge of $1 a person to see him, and I imagine the fees help to feed this beast.  I could probably fertilize my garden with just a day's worth of deposit from him.

After checking into the Inn at Mills Falls in Meredith NH we went to a Thanksgiving dinner at the Hart's Turkey Farm Restaurant where everyday is Thanksgiving. It was like a cross between an Inn and a B&B - absolutely charming with a fireplace in the lobby and coffee, cider and cocoa available 24/7.

This morning (Oct 12th) we had breakfast at the Waterfall Cafe where there is a raging waterfall right outside the window of the cafe. This was followed by a scenic drive through the Franconia Notch and a break at the Flume Gorge Visitor Center.

The bus had just dropped us off for a short hike at the Basin Walk a little ways down the road when we discovered we had left two people at the Visitor Center. OOOPS. We commenced our hike while Left Brain doubled back to pick them up.

At one of our scenic walks I met a group from Israel and it only took five minutes to deplete all my knowledge of Hebrew. Sorry Rabbi. But it was nice to wish someone a Chag Sameach.

We arrived at Montpelier VT for our next two night stay and they turned us loose to find lunch. I enjoyed my first pizza since April. I have been a bit afraid of eating pizza while on Weight Watchers, but with all the walking and stairs climbed felt it was safe. It feels so good to be able to hike around with my backpack full of camera gear and not even feel like I'm struggling at all. To have the use of my body back again is priceless! I hope I'm walking enough to balance our the ice cream and cookies I've been ingesting.

After lunch we all piled back into the bus for a visit to the Morse Maple Farm and what a hoot! The man giving the presentation had us in stitches with his comedic dialogue and perfect timing. While waiting for the check out I met a group from England who have a tour guide from Texas. They confided to me that they don't know what he's saying half the time. Since I'm the lone star Wisconsin traveling with a bus full from the Lone Star State I could certainly understand. Whenever I'm at a loss for how to respond to them I just say "Ya sure...ya betcha".

Part of our package with the hotel contains two movie tickets for across the street, so I'm hoping I can talk Left Brain into going with me to see Money Ball. We are able to sleep in tomorrow with a 9:00 departure, so it seemed like the best night to see a movie to me.

Long Live the Queen of Vermont

Monday, October 10, 2011

East trip continued

Sunday, Oct 9th, we spent a couple of delightful hours at Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum of life in the 1790's and 1840's.  I just love these kinds of things and walked around the complex examining the old homesteads and pondering a life long gone.  The volunteers at this museum are dressed in costume of the time and demonstrating blacksmithing, dying wool yarn, pressing apple cider, running the wool carding, and too many things to mention.

It is extremely kid friendly with places for the children to try their hand at playing the games their ancestors would have played.  They were jumping rope, tossing and catching rings and rolling hoops.  It does the heart good to watch youngsters running and batteries needed!

We arrived at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge for a two night stay.  What a lovely room!  With a view overlooking the harbor...but most importantly - free WIFI.  I'm hoping the next places have internet so I can continue to post to the blog.

My photos have been disappointing to me and I'm using Left Brain's computer which only has my old version of Elements 5 on it and with no mouse.  I feel so lost!  So, unfortunately I am not posting too many photos.  Now if I could just get better at taking GOOD photos that don't need a lot of touching up!  Maybe this will push me to shoot better.

Monday - Oct 10th

We did a city tour of the Boston area and saw the Old North Church, Paul Revere's home, the Freedom Trail, Boston Common and Old Ironsides.

We went to Quincy Market for lunch and since Left Brain wasn't able to park any where I picked up a sandwich for him and then found some incredible curry chicken and chicken tikka masala for lunch.  YUM!  Eat your heart out Karen!

Afterwards we went tot he JFK Presidential Library in Boston and dropped off our group.  I've been though here before so opted to hang back and sit on the concrete sidewalk in the shade by the bus with my my hubby.  We got to enjoy the quiet for about an hour and a half while reading our Kindles and just having some downtime.

The group went out for a seafood dinner and we just stayed in and had supper at the little bar downstairs and now he's watching football while I catch up with the blog.

Tomorrow we continue heading north to New Hampshire.  I'll try to do better photography!

Long Live the Queen of the Road 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The trip to The Big Apple

Thursday:  Oct 6th

Flight to Chicago and Newark went without incident, my favorite way to travel.  The first night accommodations were at the plush Howard Johnsons.  I could tell what the room might look like from the trash decorating the yard and the missing lock on the back door from the latest robbery that eliminated our opportunity to do the laundry that night.  No need to use your room card for entry when there’s a gaping hole where the lock used to be.  The room did not disappoint my expectations.  It had a lovely red striped carpet that mostly laid flat leading to a balcony with a patio window….thank goodness for being on the fourth floor.  The walls were papered in some sort of red design that did not accommodate the bedspreads.  One wall was green for no apparent reason but was perhaps an attempt to calm the senses?  It was a bit like sleeping inside a commercial for acid reflux.  But there was no sign of bedbugs and roaches.  I imagine the constantly flashing lights on the wall kept them at bay, and as annoying as they were I was glad to have them.  Needless to say I did not look under the bed since there was no smell of decomposition. 

We dined at the Tick Tock Diner down the street and enjoyed a wonderful Greek salad and spinach pie.  It was super yummy and was a great way to end the day.

Friday:  Oct 7th

Today is our … “free day” bus driver style in New York.  We walked over to the I-Hop and had the fit and healthy breakfast of turkey bacon, fake eggs and two pancakes.  It was listed as under 600 calories …or at least until I added the butter pecan syrup.   Then we found a Laundromat and read our Kindles while he caught up on his laundry.  It was a nice Laundromat with some comfy chairs and a little deli next door where I managed to find some caffeinated beverages to start out my day.  From there we did a test run to La Guardia airport since this was one he had not yet been to.  We managed to find our way there and out again and our next mission was to find a place to park a bus for four hours until they came in. While cruising about through the sea of humanity known as downtown Manhattan we watched as an ambulance tried to get through to a person lying in the street.  I’m guessing he was trying to cross the street it didn’t go well.  It’s amazing to watch bicyclists weave their way in and out of traffic.  Not an area for a casual stroll or faint of heart. We drifted about until we found an open spot big enough for us to park, which is no easy feat and we managed to sit for about an hour and half in one spot before they asked us kindly to leave.  Then we found another area to perch until the phone call came that they were in.

After picking them up at about 6:30 we managed to make it back through the Friday night traffic to the Sheraton for our next two night stay.  Our dinner was scheduled for 8:00 and she called to assure them we were on our way.  We pulled up in front of the hotel but had to unload into traffic, never an ideal situation, but managed to get everyone safely off the bus and into the hotel.  The poor little bellhop almost fell over when he saw the amount of luggage.  These guys really earn their keep as well as Left Brain who has to crawl into the belly of the bus and pull them out.  Then Left Brain took off in search of a parking spot for the night and they went into the dinner.  I waited until the last of the luggage was taken inside and stood on the street for quite a while watching for him to return until I finally went in to start eating.  This probably sounds cold, but we hadn’t eaten since breakfast and my fast for Yom Kippur starts tonight so I wanted to get filled up well to carry me through and it may take them a long while to find parking.  He returned about 45 minutes later to eat and rest for the night.  Supper was wonderful with a very tasty salad and bread and then a course of roast chicken, mashed potatoes and asparagus.  But the dessert was just delightful.  I had to go get my camera to take a photo of it.  It was as artistic as it was tasty.  Ah.

Our room is spacious and beautiful but internet was too expensive, so I wrote about our adventures and waited to post them until the next stop.  It feels wrong not to be in a synagogue and I’m sure there are some nearby but I need to take the first tour to get to the second part of the day and was not able to stay back alone.

Saturday:  Oct 8th

We departed early for a city tour with a step on guide.  He provided more facts and figures than I could possibly ever remember as we learned about downtown New York.

Then we went to Pier 17 where I walked about in the sunshine and had a chair massage in the food court area.  It was longer than I would have liked to spend there and wished I had opted to spend the time in the bus with Left Brain reading.  Then we were off for a harbor cruise and although it was pleasant, I’d done it before and was again missing my time with my husband.  It’s awkward to travel alone on these trips.  Everyone is in pairs or small groups and it feels lonely being the odd person out that doesn’t fit in.  Oh well, it’s just for a day.

After dropping them at the hotel I stayed with Left Brain to park the bus and walk back to the hotel.  These walks are more interesting as you see the behind the scenes lives of the everyday worker.  We went past the horse barn where the carriage horses are stabled and we found a little corner cafĂ© with outside seating available for supper.  I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup and he had a pastrami sandwich on rye.  With a beer and soda added to that the bill was $50.  Welcome to New York.  I would have loved the margarita but when the price appears the same as the number of points, it’s a no deal.

Then we walked to the theatre to watch Sister Act and had a very enjoyable evening of music and laughter.  Then it was back to the room to unwind and pack for tomorrow’s departure.

That's it for now.  We finally got internet to allow me post although the photos seem to be in strange spots and I can't figure out how to move them, so just deal with it....okay?

Long Live the Queen of Motorcoach Travel