12/06 - 12/07

We are getting into the colder weather here but so far we’ve only had snow flurries. I miss having a garage; I try to remember to start the car a few minutes before I have to leave for work so it can defrost the windows.

Got our Christmas decorations up now. We bought a 32” artificial tree with fiber-optic lights. I set it up on the table and put a few ornaments on it. We also have several Santa figurines doing various cooking activities – BBQing, doing dishes, baking cookies, etc. I hung the small ones up from hooks over the couch and set the larger ones out on any available surface. The Nativity scene, of course, is out – it’s by the driver’s seat area. I put the little tree Mom gave me outside the door and hung a red wreath on the front of the RV.  

I finally rented a carpet cleaner. I had to clean the carpet at least four times before the water quit being black, but eventually it did get cleaner.

Sunday was a busy day at church. We went to the 10:30 morning service, and after the service the church had its Christmas lunch. It was really good – baked ham, fried chicken, with lots of side dishes like salads, mac-and-cheese, corn, etc and lots of desserts. Then in the evening a vocal group came to sing at the church. They are a family of parents, 4 daughters and one son-in-law. The music was sort of southern-gospel, with a strong bluegrass sound. Afterwards everyone went to the large kitchen area, where several ladies had setup coffee, apple cider, punch, and every cookie imaginable. Randy had worked all day Saturday with Aaron and I was busy with the carpet, so we contributed some store-bought cookies for that.

11/05/08 A new RV

We have made some changes!  After we left Mom’s house over the weekend, we spent a day with Theresa and Tom Haller, then went to Sherrard to visit Lonnie and Chris for a day. We had a great visit, but both mornings we had to jump-start the RV. That problem continued, and at one point the RV wouldn’t go over 50 miles per hour – which is bad news on the freeway. Randy put some additive in the gas and it seemed to help, but by then we had decided to either get a different RV or stop RVing. Our RV felt like it was always on the brink of breaking down. And when we traveled in it, we realized it didn’t have enough space for full-timing. Full-timing is a combination of traveling and staying put, and when we traveled in that RV, everything was unbearably cramped; there was no way to organize it. Plus we still have a few things in storage that we could not fit into it.

So we stopped at every RV lot on the way home. We looked at lots of them, some new and some used. The new ones are simply outrageously priced. As Randy says, “the new-car smell isn’t worth that kind of money.”  We found a couple we liked, but there was always something that indicated we shouldn’t buy yet. Then when we stopped at Lovell RV in Columbia and we found one we liked. From the outside it looks similar to our old RV but inside it is laid out better. It has more cabinets and a full refrigerator. The windows are double-pane. It has a slide-out in the living room, just like our old RV, but it also has a slide-out in the bedroom. It’s four years newer than our old RV and it feels more solid. The only things I didn’t like about it were the things Randy had updated in the old RV, like faucets and flooring. This new one could use that, too but we are going to try to avoid major changes for awhile.  

11/24- 11/30 Thanksgiving, the City Museum and St. Louis Zoo

It’s really getting cold now. In this RV park we have to walk the dogs from our RV to outside the gates every time they need to go outside. We used to be able to just let them out into the back yard on their own – I miss that! Randy and I are both getting colds.  

Last week Randy took the RV back to Lovell’s RV so they could do some work on it. They needed to replace the ice-maker in the refrigerator and had to order one, check the bay-heater, washer and a leak in the bedroom. The RV service department works on a first-come, first-serve basis and Randy wanted to have our RV there when the doors opened at 7:30 am. So he drove it to Columbia on Wednesday evening and I stayed with Aaron and Dezina. Dezina fixed lasagna and cannelloni for dinner and we had a really nice visit. 

The only thing that doesn’t seem to work right in the RV now is the washer/dryer. They tested it and said it worked, but it only works with hot water.  

We have been storing our shoes in a plastic shoe rack that hangs over the bathroom door, but the bathroom in this RV is so small that the rack has to hang on the outside of the door, which puts it in the path between the kitchen and the bedroom. So Randy built a frame on both sides of the bed to hold our shoes.  

Thanksgiving weekend: Wednesday night we drove to Theresa and Tom’s. Randy got up at 5:30 the next morning and pretty much stayed in the kitchen all day! We had turkey and dressing, potatoes and gravy, green beans almandine, pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. Tom’s family brought some additional side dishes, and it was a great meal. I drove over to visit Mom and brought her back to Theresa's for dinner. 

Theresa and Tom wanted to spend the weekend with us, so Friday we all drove back to St. Louis. We had lunch at Rigazzio’s on “The Hill” then drove around to a few places that seem unique to St. Louis, such as local Italian grocery stores, and finally ended up at the zoo, where they put up Christmas lights every year. The animals weren’t out because it was cold and dark, but it wasn’t too cold to walk around and enjoy the lights. We went into the penguin exhibit, and of course the penguins love the cold weather just fine, so they were playing and swimming around. We also went on a 3-D movie-ride, where you go into a small theater, strap into a chair and put on 3-D glasses. When the movie started, it was about a ride down a glacier, and the chair moved around, simulating the bumps and turns on the screen.  Between the chair moving and the 3-d glasses, it was so much fun that we went on it twice!

Saturday Randy fixed omelets for breakfast, then we started driving around to some of our favorite St. Louis places.  We went to the bakery for cookies, to a meat market, a sausage market, a Mexican bakery, and to Soulard’s produce market.  Theresa and Randy bought something at every place! 

In the afternoon we went to the City Museum - not sure how to describe that place. It’s not really a museum, it’s a big 7 story building that was bought by a guy who owns a demolition company. Whenever he finds something interesting in the building he’s demolishing, he buys it, brings it to his building and figures out a way to integrate it into what is already there. It’s simply amazing. There are tunnels and mazes that go everywhere – behind walls, under the floor and between the different stories. The walls and ceilings are covered with interesting stuff, and the most of the floors are detailed mosaics. There is a tiny working shoelace factory, a huge pipe organ, and a big fish tank with fish and turtles. We crawled through a mesh tunnel outside the building into the shell of an old aircraft, then slide down a slide to get to the ground. Inside the building there is a slide that is 7-stories tall – we went down that, too. We spent hours and hours there and I’m sure we didn’t get to see and do everything.    

Earlier we had bought stuff to fix for dinner, but after the City Museum we were too tired to bother so we went to Fitz’s for dinner.  

Sunday I surprised everyone by fixing breakfast - eggs and some pastries.  During the night it had rained a bit and we found out our bedroom ceiling still leaked around the air condoner vent, so Randy and Tom worked on that. Then we took Theresa and Tom to the Tile Shop, where Randy and Aaron get most of the tile they use in their jobs - the tile there is so beautiful. Afterwards we went to Cabelos, a huge hunting-and-camping store, with about 50 mounted antelope, deer, moose, etc. all over the store.  

9/19/08 Balloon Glow!

We went to the Balloon Glow today - it was wonderful! We got there early and discovered they didn’t have a place to park and lock up the bikes, so we walked around with our bikes, but that was OK. There was a really big crowd there; some families brought blankets and picnics, the rest of us bought snacks from the vendors. We talked to some of the folks working with the balloons about how they controlled them and watched them fill the balloons. As dusk fell, all of the hot-air balloons were filled. Of course, as soon as the balloons were filled, the air inside them started to cool down. So the balloon owners kept re-heating the air. There are two heater vents that push hot air up into the balloon – one generates a lot of very hot air and the other one heats air but it doesn’t push it as hard. That second vent actually causes a bigger flame, and it’s what causes the balloon to “glow” at night. There might have been 20 hot-air balloons up in the park that evening, and as the owners warmed the air to keep them up, balloons all over the park glowed. Sometimes just 3-4 were glowing, and sometimes 10 or more at a time. It looked simply amazing!  

09/18/08 Free Concert at Forrest Park

We rode over to Forrest Park today for a free concert. On the way over there, as we entered the park, we saw a large, beautiful deer standing by the bike path. She stood there watching us until we were about 10 feet from her. Then she flipped her tail up, causally took 4-5 big leaps towards the brush and stopped under some trees, where she relaxed and started grooming herself. She wasn’t at all bothered by us. She was probably 20 feet from us when we rode by – so beautiful! When we got to where the concert was, we sat on the grass to listen to the orchestra. It was just wonderful. And after the show they set off a lot of big, amazing fireworks just across the pond from us. That was a really enjoyable evening.  

We are looking for ways to re-furbish the RV. We both don’t think the desk is working as well as it should – there isn’t much space for legs when we sit down. And we don’t have enough pantry space. And I want to paint the bathroom and bedroom, and find a way to hang pictures. So we are in a re-design phase again. Nothing new about that!

09/1/2008 Tour of Missouri Bike Race

Randy is checking the seals around the RV door and windows. I’m considering if I can use Metro again, instead of driving to work. Adding Metro travel time onto a 10-hour day seems like a lot, but I’d prefer not to drive this winter so I may try it.

We haven’t done any bike riding for a couple of weeks, but Sunday we went downtown to watch some other bicyclists in the “Tour of Missouri” bike race. The race is scheduled for 8 days, and each day the riders cover a certain number of miles. Each day everyone starts at the same time and place, and bikes the same route. The officials keep track of who wins each day and the time it took them to complete the route that day. The race winner will have the overall best time for all 8 days, so even if someone doesn’t come in first every day, he can still win the race. Sunday they raced from 2:00 pm to about 4:00 pm. The route they took was all on the streets, so the police set up roadblocks along the way to keep traffic off the route. In order to get the right number of miles in, they raced around the same route 5 times. We found a spot to watch them and cheered them along every time they passed by.  I think the leader at that point was someone who had raced as part of Lance Armstrong’s team in the last Tour de France. This race is not for amateurs!

Trout fishing and the Midnight Ramble - 08/09/08

Friday we spent the weekend in Montaug State Park in Missouri, about 120 miles south-west from St. Louis. Drove down on Friday and came back Sunday. The purpose of the trip, besides spending some time together, was trout fishing. The state park has a trout stream that is stocked with fish from a fish hatchery that is also inside the park. The stream where the trout live is about 2-3 feet deep and flows pretty smoothly. It’s possible to fish from the banks but most people wade into the stream to try to find the best spot. Randy and I did, too; that was where waders would have come in very handy - that water was cold! We both used regular fishing poles and fishing flies. Trout, apparently, don’t eat worms. However, they weren’t interested in our fishing flies either because neither one of us got a bite. Later Randy used his new trout fishing pole. The fishing line is four lines of different thickness, with the strongest line at the reel and the thinnest line at the hook. So you have a strong line at the reel, which ties onto a thinner line, which ties onto a thinner line, which ties onto a very thin line. And at the end of the very thin line you put a very tiny fishing fly, which is supposed to look like a very tiny bug. And you flick that long line over the water, where the light weight of the very thin line lets you get it pretty far out into the stream. But the trout still weren’t impressed and we did not have trout for dinner. We had a great dinner though – hot dogs cooked over a campfire, corn on the cob, and s’mores. Can hardly beat that! 

For some reason that is not clear to me now, Randy and I signed up for the “Moonlight Ramble” bike ride in St. Louis. The ride is literally done in the moonlight – it starts at one minute after midnight, in the wee hours of Sunday morning. It’s a 17 mile ride but we bicycled a mile from our RV the starting point and back at the end of the ride, so it was more like 19 miles for us. Aaron and Dezina rode it also, so Saturday evening they came over to our place and we all went out to dinner together before the ride. We found a nice place called the Stables and had some really good pizza. Then around 10 pm we went downtown where the ride starts. The ride has occurred every year for about 45 years, so it’s pretty famous in St. Louis. There were lots of vendors so we walked around, looking at bike stuff, and I started getting very, very tired. I’m used to going to bed around 9! Around 11:45 pm we got back on our bikes and wheeled over to the starting point. This year there were about 10,000 bikers in the ride, so although the ride officially started at midnight, the organizers started groups of people off separately to avoid a pile-up. We were in about the 5th group to get to go, so we didn’t actually start the bike ride until 00:30 am on Sunday morning. The route was mostly a big loop - we rode through North St. Louis, went west to Forrest Park, and then back downtown. The ride is supposed to be pretty flat, and I guess it was, mostly. But there were a few hills, and one hill I just couldn’t get up. I had to stop and walk the bike up.  Randy could bike up, of course, but he waited for me at all the hills to be sure I was OK. We were biking in the main streets the whole time. The roads were all well lit, and there wasn’t any danger because there is safety in numbers - and 10,000 is a pretty big number. Plus there were police cars at most intersections to be sure there were no accidents. We finished the race by 2:00 am, so we were riding 1 ½ hours. Randy could have done it faster but he waited for me and Dezina. Then we biked back to the RV park where Aaron and Dezina had left their car. Randy needed to be at church in the morning because he writes the church’s checks (payroll, bills, etc). So we got a few hours of sleep, then got up and went to church.  But later that day I took a long nap!

Church Baptism

We attended the Ivy Heights annual picnic. Their picnic isn't just lunch, they take the whole afternoon. It was at a lake-side park with lots of activities like canoes, water trampoline, volleyball, a waterside and for the bid kids, paddle-boats. Those white legs of mine practically glow!
Someone cooked hot dogs and hamburgers and everyone else brought a dish (Randy brought a chili-and-cheese dish). And two people who attend our church were baptized in the lake. What a lovely day!


Last night Manna seemed to be “leaking” – leaving a little wet spot behind her wherever she sat. It didn’t smell like pee but whatever it was, we didn’t want a mess in the house. So we put her in the bathroom shower for the night. The shower is big enough to hold a litter box, a folded towel for a bed, and the food-and-water dish but Manna meow-ed all night long. She was unhappy with the situation and wanted to make sure we knew it!  I am soooo tired today.  But at least I don’t have to listen to “meow…meow…meow…meow…meow…” all day. Randy gets to deal with that. He’ll have to figure out if she’s better or if she needs to go to the vet.

My work schedule is officially four 10-hour days now. Turns out it’s not that hard to work a little more during the day, and getting Friday off is certainly worth it.  

We still don’t have definite plans of when we will hit the road. Randy has contacted a realtor to sell the restaurant building. Plus he would like to wait until the economy is a bit stronger before we start using our savings to live on. So we have started talking about what to do if we stay in this area during the winter. Sunday we drove over to look at another RV park where we might move to, on the Illinois side of the river. The park is a bit nicer than the one we’re at now – the concrete pads are much more level than the blacktop we are parked on now. And some sites have a small section of grass beside them, which would be nice during the winter. If we stay were we are now, we would still have to walk the dogs outside the park gate to do their business, even in the snow. If we have a site with some grass next to it, they could just use that spot. There is also a MetroLink train station at the other RV park, which I would like. Now that I’m working 10-hour days, I am not using MetroLink anymore. At our current RV park I have to catch a bus to get to the train station, then take the train to work; with all the bus stops and extra time to make connections, I spent about 50 minutes to get to work and the same amount of time to get back home. That amount of time on top of working 10 hours is more than I want to do. If I can catch the MetroLink train at the new RV park and ride it straight through to work, it won’t take as long. And I won’t have to scrape snow off the car or drive in snow!

07/13 - 07/25

7/13/08 Wasn’t sore from the ride, but tired. Randy had to get up early to cook a pancake and sausage breakfast at the church. Later we went to Aaron and Dezina’s for dinner. She cooked ribs and potato salad – really good. Dezina and Randy are always comparing cooking techniques. Aaron and I just enjoy the good food.

7/17/08 Randy needed to put new tires on the RV, so we packed up the house. After I left for work, Randy and John took the RV out to get the new tires mounted and fill it up with gas. Unfortunately that day I missed the bus and drove to work, and got a ticket for running a red light. I say it was yellow, but I can’t prove it, so I will have to pay.

7/18/08  Randy was talking to one of the RVers in the park who likes to bike and wants to see some of St. Louis, so Randy agreed to bike over to Soulard’s market again on Saturday, to guide him around. Peggy, the other guy's wife, and I decided to bike along. We got there almost too early – some of the stands were still opening up for the day. But it was interesting, and they couldn’t believe the great quality and price in the market. When we got ready to leave, Peggy’s bike had a completely flat front tire. Peggy and I stayed at the market while the guys biked back to the RV park and brought the car to pick up us and our bikes. Later that afternoon Randy and I biked to Forest Park again. That’s about 13 miles, and although it was still very hard, it wasn’t quite as hard for me as it was the first time.  

7/20/08 Randy read about a local church named St Stanislaus that was going to have a Polish sausage lunch on Sunday. It’s a few blocks away so we walked, but boy, was it a hot day! Lunch was really good - Polish sausage, beets (neither of us liked those), sauerkraut and really great chocolate cake. Afterwards it was just too hot for a bike ride, so we got in the car and drove around, and I bought a pack to put on the back of my bike. It’s a metal frame sits over the back tire, and a pack that looks like those insulated lunch bags that snaps onto the frame. So I can carry protein snacks, sunscreen, water, etc when I bike.  

7/25/08 Spent the weekend with Mom, Kathy and Ruth. 

7/12 Tour De Donut!

Randy and I did the “Tour de Donut” bicycle ride today. Wow, was that hard - it was 32 miles long! They have free doughnuts at two stops along the route and for each doughnut you eat (and keep down), you can subtract 5 minutes from your ride time. I ate one doughnut at each of the two rest stops just because of it’s expected, plus who am I to turn down free doughnuts? Aaron, Dezina and Jacob did the ride with us. At one point Jacob's bike had a problem which Randy was able to fix. Then Aaron and Jacob pushed ahead while Randy stayed with Dezina and me to make sure we were OK. Randy talked Dezina and I through the rough spots, and about halfway through when Dezina decided to stop, Randy stayed with her until Jordan could pick her up. Then Randy caught up with me (easily) and finished the course; unfortunately it took me about 4 hours. But at least I finished!

July 5 - 8

7/5/08 Saturday we got our bikes out and rode to Soulard’s market, which is a mile or so from the RV park. On the way back we biked through the pretty Lafayette park and stopped at a coffee shop. St. Louis sets off fireworks on Saturday also, so in the evening we biked down to the riverfront for a better view than we got from the RV park. It was lovely, resting in the Arch park and watching the fireworks overhead.

7/6/08 Sunday we went to church, then had a great lunch of fried chicken at Moonlight. We organized our remaining stuff in the trailer, then went on a 12 mile bike ride.  

7/7 Getting a few tomatoes from our two potted tomato plants now. We also have chives, rosemary and mint in pots.

7/8 We've never been to America’s Incredible Pizza yet so we went there for dinner – a pizza buffet with the old “Flipper” movie.

07/04/08 Ballon walkers

Today Randy and I were part of the group from Enterprise who volunteered to be balloon walkers in the St. Louis 4th of July Parade. Our group was assigned to walk the Blue Angel helium balloon in the parade. The underside of a parade balloon looks quite different than the top!
The weather was perfect – sunny but not too hot and, very importantly, no windAfterwards Randy and I had lunch at Guido’s on the Hill, where we enjoyed an excellent deluxe salad and sangria. The owners are an Italian man and his Spanish wife, so the menu includes both Italian and Spanish food. Later that evening we joined friends in the St. Louis RV Park to watch fireworks from the 2nd-story office patio. There was one building that blocked some of the lower fireworks, but we had a pretty good view of the rest.

Cruise to Cozumel and Progresso - Chitzen Itza is very cool

2/8/08 Friday – Met Aaron and Dezina and drove in their van from 6 am to 7 pm, from St. Louis to New Orleans.  To kill the time we watched DVDs of Scrubs and Frasier.  We wanted to have lunch at Corky’s in Memphis; the GPS couldn’t find it so we drove back and forth around the area until we finally just asked directions.  Corky's was great as usual.  Drove on to New Orleans and the GPS could not find our Queen and Crescent hotel either, so we missed it a couple of times.  After we checked in Aaron and Dezina drove over to see their friends.  We walked around looking for a place for dinner.  Kay Paul’s had a long wait, so we ended up at Pierre Maspero’s.  Had stuffed pistolettes, BBQ shrimp po’boy with baked potato salad and Crescent City sampler – everything was great!  Simple food prepared just right.  Walked over to Café Du Monde for coffee and beignets, and took the extras back to the hotel.  

2/9 Saturday – Discovered that Beignets do not keep well over night.  We walked down to the dock area to find where the ship would be.  Then Aaron and Dezina met us downtown and we went looking for breakfast.  Café Du Monde was too busy to get a seat so we went elsewhere for omelets – they were just OK, not very good.  Walked through the shopping district of the French Quarter.  The guys got pralines.  Checked out of the hotel and went on board the Fantasy cruise shihp.  Got handed a drink as if it was a welcome-aboard freebie, then asked to sign for the charge, so we handed the drink right back.  Had lunch on the Lido deck – burger and fries.  We walked around the whole ship.  For dinner we had steak, tilapia and chocolate melted cake.  Randy and I got in the hot tub, and later went to the 10:30 show, which included singers, dancers, the entertainment host and a comedian. The singers were excellent – found out later they were married.  Our cabin was inside and near the back.  It was quiet, and very dark when the lights were turned out – excellent for sleeping.

2/10 Sunday – day at sea.  Breakfast in the dining room.  Sunbath.  Workout and walk around the track on the upper deck.  Dress dinner – lobster.  The evening show was a tribute to various musical styles.   The boat rocked during the night, but not too bad.  

2/11 Monday – Had room service for breakfast.  At Progresso we got on the bus to Chitzen Izta for a 2 hour drive.  The land we drove past was very poor, with dilapidated buildings, some with ruined thatched roofs or no roofs.  The driver’s name was Manual.  The bus guide Andre was very proud of his Mayan past – his father was full Mayan, his mother was part Spanish.  He said that almost all Mexicans are "mixed blood" like him.  He didn’t have much use for the Spanish of the past.  He told us most Mayan books were burned.  Three known remaining books are on astronomy, algebra and rituals, and are in various European countries.  He said that Orientals, Mayans, Alaskans, some Africans and some American Indians share physical traits which indicate a common history – short, stocky body type, straight black hair, no body hair, but most important - they share the Mongolian spot – a green/purple spot that looks like a bruise at the base of the spine at birth, which disappears as they grow up.   Eventually the bus stopped at a ‘rest stop’ which was really a shopping stop, and it was only about 5 minutes from the ruin site.
At the ruin our tour guide was Felip.  I loved how he worked to give is a great tour with extremely limited resources.  He had several carefully folded pictures from National Geographic which he used as visual aids during his recitation.  He brought paprika from him mother’s back yard to help us understand how the buildings were colored red, eons ago.  He shared coco beans (also from his mother’s back yard) and sea salt for us to taste, explaining that it used to be used as currency.  He shared a natural gum substance (not sweet) for us to taste, explaining that it was used by natives to generate salvia because water was scarce.  He explained that "Chitzen" means mouth of the well and "Itza" is the name of the family that owns the land.   The buildings are from the decline period, which included human sacrifice.  The main monument is in the middle of a flat bare plain. 
Until recently people were allowed to climb the pyramid, but now it’s roped off, either because some tourists fell, or because of damage to the structure.  

Scattered around this structure and up to the forest line are other buildings, including a ball field. The ball field includes a couple of stone porch-like areas up at the top of the wall.  One has a bas-relief sculpture of a man with a beard; this is hard to explain because the local people did not have any body hair.

There is a wall that is filled with bas-relief sculptures; very creepy . . . but I like them.
I found the wall decorations to be fascinating.
A sack lunch was provided on the way home – ham on pretzel-like bread (pretty good), chips, apple, and something similar to a Ho-Ho, plus water.  Our bus guide said that Cozumil is the Spanish mis-pronunciation of the Mayan word which means Land of Swallows.  Back at the port we walked through the gift store before getting back on the ship and Dezina bought a beautiful multi-colored bracelet.  We had a late lunch on the Lido – grilled sandwiches and fries.  This might be when Aaron and Randy discovered the great goat-cheese pizza, which became a staple for them for the rest of the cruise.  We looked through the ship photos, then showered and napped.  Went through the shopping area on the ship to look at jewelry and booze; Randy bought booze.  Dinner included a duck appetizer, Mahi Mahi and Beef Wellington.

2/12 Tuesday – Had breakfast in the dining room with Aaron and Dezina, and met Norma and Aileen.  At Cozumel we had to take a tender boat ashore.  There was a long wait to get on the tender, and a longer wait on the tender.  We met a couple of guys on their first cruise – Clint and David, cousins.  Clint had been adopted when he was 2 weeks old.  He said he was Mexican, but he was as tall as David and didn’t look like the locals at all.  Aaron and Dezina went for a tour on a submarine.  Randy and I walked around looking at all the stores.  Randy bought some beer and I bought a couple of earrings.  We had agreed to meet Aaron and Dezina at Margaritaville for a late lunch.  We had to ask directions to Margaritaville and the guy who directed us there gave us a card for a free calamari appetizer.  And the calamari was so great that we ordered a second plate.  To go with the calamari we had margaritas, a daiquiri and a nacho volcano.
Randy and Aaron swam off the dock.  Dezina went out too but she slipped and hurt her shin - her operation left her without much tolerance for alcohol.  After lunch we walked around again, then shopped at the $1.00 shop while waiting for the tender.  Got back around 4:40 and took a nap.  Dezina wasn’t feeling well, so after dinner Aaron joined us for the show – a magic act and comedian.   Then we walked around to the back of the ship and talked.  Terri and Bob joined us to check out the midnight Mexican buffet.  I just got some chocolate cake.  

2/13 Wednesday – day at sea.  Breakfast in the dining room again, where we met Mary, who raises chickens.  Attended the de-embarkation talk.  Randy went for a massage so I lay out for a few minutes, then went in for lunch where I sat with Terri and Bob - ham and cheese on the Lido.   Aaron and Dezina joined me outside after lunch, but it was very windy and too cool to lie out for very long, so we got in the hot tub, where Randy joined us later.  Afterwards we went shopping and I bought a link bracelet.  Took a shower and attended the Return Guest reception with Terry and Kathy.  Later at dinner we shared our champagne (from Carnival for setting up the cruise) and Terry’s (he won at the hairy chest contest).  Later that night we packed up.

2/14/08 Thursday – back in New Orleans.  It took a long time to get off and through customs.  Then we could not get back into the building to use the restroom or wait for Aaron and Dezina.  Eventually everyone got out of customs, and we took Terry Disher’s bottles, so he wouldn’t have to take them on the plane.  We checked back into the Queen and Crescent, then had lunch with Aaron, Dezina, Bob and Terri at Pierre Maspero’s – stuffed pistolettes, seafood platter.   Then we all walked around shopping.  Eventually Bob went back to the hotel.  The rest of us continued to shop – mostly looked at artwork.  Went to Acme Oysters for dinner – it was great!  Oysters and smoked sausage sandwich.  

2/15 Friday – Terri and Bob were sleeping late, so Aaron and Dezina joined us on a walk to Café De Monde for coffee and beignets.  There was a gospel jazz singer who was very good, so we bought his CD and asked him to autograph it.   We walked across and down the street for breakfast, which was very good – omelets, grits, bacon.  Listened to a live band at the restaurant.  Afterwards we walked around shopping again in case we missed something - we didn't.  Bought some coffee, etc.  Made it back to the hotel just in time to check out.  Drove back to Corkys’ in Memphis for dinner, then home.  We watched every episode of the first season of Frasier on the way home.

01/09/08 Financial Peace, Body Worlds

Yesterday Randy taught the first class in the Financial Peace series at the Ivy Heights Church of God; we had a good turnout and it went really well.  Afterwards Aaron, Dezina, Jordon & his girlfriend Becky met us as Applebee’s for some fun conversation and half-priced appetizers.

Today Randy went to see Body Worlds 3 at the Science Center. I did not really want to see a bunch of skinned bodies; I had another kind of body image in mind. I went to Ideal Image for a little hair removal.