Sunday, December 31, 2023

Happy New Year!

 Jim and I are very fortunate to be healthy, to have each other, to have a passion for our work, and to be able to travel. Life is good.

What a year! 2023 saw us travel to Indonesia for a dive trip, London for a Google Product Experts Summit, RVing up and down the east coast to Jim's High School reunion and back, and the Bahamas twice, once with friends for diving with Hammerhead sharks and again for a Toastmasters convention. 

We've slowed way down in going to RV rallies and teaching. We only did 2 little ones this year, one in Georgia and one in Florida. Still have a lot of fun RVing and teaching our seminars, we don't plan to ever quit completely. We did stay home for a good stretch this summer, enough for Jim to get a new hip and learn how to use it. Although, it didn't take any time at all. He was at the hospital at 7am and home by 2:30. He used his walker for all of 2 days before he felt just fine. Now he's a bionic geek!

We've replaced RV Rallies with our YouTube channel for teaching. This year we blew past the 10,000 subscribers milestone. If you haven't seen one of our live-streams, check it out. Jim has learned a LOT about using studio production tools for making it look really good.

Now we're home in Fort Lauderdale for the holidays and resting up before taking a Hawaii Cruise for Jim's 70th birthday in January. We have 13 people going all totaled, some family and friends and some Geeks on Tour friends. 

Best wishes for a Happy Holiday and a Fun New Year. 

Thursday, December 28, 2023

December - home for party month

 Another concert! Also at The Parker. This one is The Fab Four - a Beatles Tribute band. They were really fun. See the photo album for some video.

Then came the USA Dive Club Christmas party in Delray. It's about an hour drive, so we took advantage of the special rate to spend the night at the hotel where the party was held. Any excuse to feel like we're traveling!

We've been partying, and diving, with some of these people for nearly 40 years. Still going strong!

For the Christmas day event, things were back to normal with Jim's sister, Debbie, hosting. 

For New Year's Eve - a real treat! Marie invited us to her house and we decided to take the Van and sleep in her driveway.

It was a delicious dinner, fun company, and fun to sleep in her driveway. We had to be home for a morning Zoom call, so we woke up and left early - allowing us to see sunrise on New Year's Day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

November recap

 At the beginning of the month we were still on our way back from New Jersey. We arrived back at Chloe's Big Mill B&B just in time to celebrate Halloween with her! What a hoot.

Then out to dinner at Sunny Side Oyster Bar - the real deal.

Then we got back on the road and stayed at the beautiful Fort McAllister State Park in Georgia. Then on to Florida and a quick visit with Diane and Andy who have moved back to Florida after several years in California. The last time we saw them was in San Juan Capistrano when their daughter, Elizabeth was about 8 and climbing all over the jungle gyms. Now she is 15? and an award-winning goalie on a soccer team.

They live in Melbourne, not far from Robin Werling - so we stayed in Robin's driveway for the night and headed home the next day. We had to get home in time to attend the Graham Nash concert at The Parker on Nov 6 - a reservation Jim made as my birthday present.

But that still gave us time to go to our favorite "date-night" restaurant (Cooper's Hawk) for dinner on my actual birthday!

We did it! We hosted Thanksgiving!

Jim's sister Debbie, always hosts holidays, but we decided to give her a break this year. We got out the folding tables and set them up in the living room to accomodate 10 people. Good to know - that's about the limit to fit comfortably inside our place. Jim made a corned ham - he bought a fresh ham and corned it himself. 

Friday, October 27, 2023

19,000 steps and Winston Churchill

We needed a day of relaxation. I wanted to walk in the park, and meet up with an old friends, Vivien, later at a pub. 
I love the parks in London! Our hotel was just a couple of blocks off of Kensington gardens/Hyde Park. As soon as you step thru the gates and leave the street behind, you are enveloped in nature and peace. We did some walking the first days we were here, then progressively more stressful. By Thursday, I wanted more of the park so we made no appointments for the day, just planned to walk. Maybe check out the museum of natural history or science. As we started walking thru the park, I felt the same peace we had on our first day. 

We strolled past the Royal Albert Hall and statue and on to Kensington Palace, then it was time to find the Castle Pub and meet up with Vivien. I've known Vivien from Fort Lauderdale since the 90s. She is UK born and bred and still spend half her time in London

It was fabulous to see her again and learn some more inside info about London. 
We were able to catch an underground for the last stretch back to our hotel and my legs felt like rubber by then. No wonder! According to my Apple watch, I had walked 19,000 steps or 7.5 miles. It's been many years since these legs and feet have carried my that far!

Friday was our last day and we wanted something memorable, so we booked a guided tour of Westminster area and the Churchill war rooms. It was spectacular. We learned so much. Did you know that, after being the hero and saving the UK from defeat by Germany, Winston Churchill lost the election for prime Minister? I think that is just bizarre. 
All in all, I think Churchill is someone I would have liked. A good person.

The war rooms were extensive with lots of displays, exhibits, and commentaries about the life and times of Winston Churchill. We loved it. It was a very fitting end to our visit to London. Makes me want to see the movie The Darkest Hour s week as any others that chronicles the life of this man. Meanwhile we got one step further into orientation of London, setting just how close are Big Ben, Westminster Palace/houses of parliament, Westminster Abby, 10 Downing Street, houses of civil service. At one point I took a quick video showing a busy of King Charles 1 on one side of the road starting at Oliver Cromwell on the other side. They were Arch enemies - quite a story.

We did a bit more walking, stopped in to our local pub, Leinster arms, for our one main meal of the day. We felt quite content with our 2 weeks in London, lots of learning, lots of sightseeing, lots of walking. We didn't get to see a show even though we booked a ticket for the Abba experience 😞 
We started out wondering if we could really fill 9 days all just in London. We ended up feeling like there wasn't enough time to do everything.
Good stuff

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The not-so-perfect tourist day in London

Not that it was bad, just a let down after that perfect day yesterday. We put the national gallery on the beginning of our list again. Grabbed the nearest Hop on-Hop off bus and made it there to see a line that was a block or two long. The museums in London are all free, the only cost is your time. The line moved quite well, only took 15 minutes then we were in. Weather was ok, meaning not raining, and there was a musician playing lovely songs.

I'm just not much of an art connoisseur, I mean they were impressive and old and when I stopped to read the description beside each painting I learned interesting stories but art galleries are just not my thing. Jim was a bit better, appreciating some of the artists names, but all I really wanted to see was the portrait gallery and we learned that it was in the building next door. Of we go 
That line was not so long, we still had to let them inspect our backpacks, no biggy.
King Charles III, William and Kate, were impressive. Women, lots of women. It occurs to me that some of what I like about British culture comes from the fact that they have had women leaders as role models. Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Thatcher. 

Wandering around these huge buildings takes a lot out of you! It's pub time. Right across the street, we see a likely dark wood Establishment - ??  We're in Covent gardens now. This was the quietest pub yet, I almost felt the need to whisper. They didn't have a Stout, and they didn't have small plates. I decided to be adventurous and ordered a curry after asking if it was spicy - oh no she said. Well I guess I have a different definition of spicy than anyone else. I could eat about half of it.

Next we wanted around Covent gardens. Large plazas with entertainment going on, outdoor restaurants with an opera singer! He had a helper gathering tips, when I said I had no cash, just a phone, he said "I too have a phone, how much would you like to give" I said 2 pounds and tapped his phone. Sure enough, $2.46 charge was posted to the credit card linked to my Google Pay . Then came the Covent gardens shopping areas - like swap shop. We bought a London magnet. As we continued walking, Jim noticed a sign for -6- the musical theatre performance that we had tried to book tickets and failed. Why not ask at the ticket counter? Nope, all sold out, but it's we come back at noon tomorrow there's a good chance we could pick some up. Sorry too much work. Keep on walking. Savoy theatre and sunset strip - 2 seats for tomorrow night $150 each. Nope 

Walk thru Savoy, had to circle around twice and ask directions 3 times to find the back door. Now we're back at the Thames it's after 4 pm and we're tired. Let's find our HOHO bus, across the river we go. Aha, there's our bus, good timing - nope that's a red line, we need blue. Keep going, see another bus stop and bus, ask the driver but he says no, we stop service son, you're better off at the next stop and he points and gives vague directions. We keep walking, my feet are sore, my knee is sore. It's really getting cold. Jim is in horse-to-the+barn mode and I'm trying to keep up. We finally get on the right bus, relax and put on the headphones for more commentary. Cool, this is going on the one part of the route we haven't been, so we are learning everything the big bus has to teach. It's almost 7:00 before we get home. 
What are we going to do tomorrow?