It’s Not Safe Here!

If you have more than one child, you realize they are all different with different needs. Well, my daughters taught me this.  At the time, it wasn’t funny, but years later I can look back on it and laugh. My daughter was about six years old, a time when kids enjoyed spending the night over a friends’ house. I didn’t always let her spend the night with friends, but this night, I decided to let her go. I made sure the parents were home, and that I could reach them in case of an emergency.

Anyway, my house phone rang about midnight. Phone calls this late can be really scary. I wondered if it was my Mom telling me someone was ill, or worse yet, someone had died. I was almost afraid to answer the phone since it was so late.

“Hello?” I said with both fear and guarded anticipation.

“Mom? It’s me”, my daughter whispered in a soft, fearful voice.

Now I was really starting to get concerned. “What’s wrong? Are you ok?”, I asked concerned.

“Can you come and get me?”, she asked.

“What’s going on?” I couldn’t imagine why she needed me to come get her now. Why couldn’t it wait until the morning?

“Its’s not safe here. I want to go home.”

Well I didn’t expect that comment, but I couldn’t ignore my daughter. She sounded scared which concerned me. I asked my daughter why she thought it wasn’t safe, and she kept saying please come get me, and that she would tell me when she got home. All the mystery made me even more worried!  I knew I needed to protect my child so I asked to speak to her Friend’s Mom.  My daughter told me she was not near her.  This was my signal to leave as soon as possible to go save my daughter!

I rushed to get dressed, and drove to the house.  Fortunately, the house was in the neighborhood, just a couple blocks up the road.  When I arrived, I rang the doorbell and waited for someone to answer.

“Hello, I’m so sorry to wake you,” as I watched a very sleepy Mom trying to figure out why I was at her door.

“Hey Deb, is something wrong?  Come on in.”

I walked across the threshold into my friend’s home. “I’m sorry but my daughter called and said she wanted to come home.  I don’t think she’s feeling well.”

I looked around and noticed my daughter was peering around the corner, already dressed with her bags in her hand.  She was ready to go!

“Let me go get her.  I didn’t realize she wasn’t feeling well”.  As the Mom turned, my daughter quietly came from around the corner in full dress ready to go.  She didn’t utter a word.  It was as if she was being released from captivity.

“Again, I’m sorry for the late intrusion.  I’ll call you later today and let you know how she is doing.”  I reached for my daugher’s arms to comfort her when I noticed she was halfway to my car!  “Bye! Talk to you soon”, I waved as I rushed to the car to let my daughter in.

It was as if my daughter was under a spell.  Her arms held her bags tightly.  Her body was tense and motionless.  I put the back of my hand across her forehead to see if she had a temperature.  She felt normal, so I started the car and headed home.

When we arrived, my daughter scurried out of the car and ran to the door waiting impatiently for me to open it.  I responded by quickly coming to my daughter’s side and opening the door to our home.  She rushed in and went to her room, quickly yet gently closing the door behind her.

“Are you ok?”  I asked trying to hold back all the other questions I wanted so desperately to ask.

“Can we talk in the morning?  I just want to go to sleep.  I’m tired.  Thanks for coming to get me.  Love you!”

I took my concern and my questions to my bedroom and tried my best to fall back asleep.

I could see the sun shinning through my bedroom window as I gradually awakened. When I opened my eyes, my daughter was in my bedroom looking down at me with a smile.

“Are you feeling better?” I asked looking hopeful.  “Please tell me what happened last night.  I could barely go to sleep last night worrying about it.”

My daughter took a deep breadth while gaining enough courage to tell me what happened.  She lifted her head and looked directly into my eyes.

“Thanks so much for coming to get me.  Casey and I were about to go to bed when her brother knocked on the bedroom door.  Jason came in and said there were flying worms in the house!  I was so scared!  Mom, I can’t stay in a house with flying worms!”

I did my best to hold back the laughter!  I suppose I would be afraid of flying worms too!!

 

Between The Dashes

2018 – Celebrating Family

As we get older, we realize just how precious life is, and how short it can be. Sometimes we get so busy with our own lives that we don’t take the time to let our family know how much we love them.

When my Mom and her sister married, they moved to different areas within the United States for various reasons; however, every year they met at the same time at their parents home during the summer in Mobile, AL. This not only gave everyone an opportunity to meet other family members, but also spend time with my first cousins. Over the years, we felt like we were raised together even though it was for a short time during the summer months. As we got older, the summer rendezvous stopped, and we grew apart with the exception of attending family reunions every two years. The reunions stopped, and our lives convened only during funerals. Then everything stopped when our ancestors were no more.

As the first cousins’ children got married, we started to come together again. Before we knew it, my Mom was 80 years old, and her sister was 83 years old! Time waits for no one!

So, here we are this year, celebrating 60th birthdays and 55th birthdays! Not all of us that grew up together made it this far. We lost a few in our generation along the way, but this month we celebrate.

We celebrate God and how far He has brought us.

We celebrate family and how just getting together takes us back to where we left off during our childhood with so many amazing memories!

 

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Alaskan Cruise – Inner Passage – Princess Cruises, May 2017

Source:  Princess Cruises

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I need to share my Alaskan Cruise with you!  In May 2017, the Family and I went on a 7 Day Alaskan Cruise, Inner Passage. We decided on Princess Cruises because this cruise line has been the # 1 cruise line for Alaskan cruises over the past 10 years by Travel Weekly!

Alaskan cruises are generally May thru September, with May being the cheapest.  Our schedule allowed us to cruise in May, so we decided on the 13-20 May 2017 cruise out of Seattle, Washington (https://www.princess.com/learn/cruise-destinations/alaska-cruises/roundtrip/seattle/index.jsp). Based on our past cruise experience, we book our flights to arrive a day prior to the cruise to avoid any mishaps that flight delays or cancellations may cause.  Unfortunately, our flight departure times were changed, and we had only two options, depart extremely early or evening.  We decided to go with the evening flights which did not allow much time for sightseeing.  Following was our cruise itinerary:

Day 1 – Depart Seattle, WA

Day 2 – At Sea

Day 3 – Juneau, Alaska

Day 4 – Skagway, Alaska

Day 5 – Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Day 6 – Ketchikan, Alaska

Day 7 – Victoria, British Columbia

Day 8 – Arrive Seattle, WA

We cruised the Inner Passage on the Ruby Princess which has a guest capacity of 3080 persons (or 1542 guest cabins), a crew size of 1200, a total of 19 decks and was recently refurbished in December 2015.  The cabins were 220 sq. ft. as compared to Carnival (230 sq. ft.) and Royal Caribbean (164 sq. ft.).  The service was awesome, the food phenomenal, and the ship very relaxing. I think the cruise prices were comparable to other cruise lines, but Princess is a leader in this location!

Source:  Princess Cruises – Ruby Princess

In addition, Princess had enrichment programs on board to add to the overall Alaskan experience such as visits/presentations by:

  • The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion Libby Riddles
  • A Lumberjack
  • Sled Dogs/Puppies
  • Gold Rush Klondike Festival
  • Fresh Alaska seafood throughout the cruise as well as cooking your own catch
  • National Park Rangers and naturalists
  • Alaska storytellers and authors

When we arrived in Junea, we did a dog sled excursion.  It was one of our most memorable experiences!

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Empty Sled and Dogs

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Sled Dogs Aligned and Ready To Go!

Before coming on the Alaskan cruise, I did a lot of research to determine what to pack.  Everything I read talked about dressing in layers.  We decided to leave our winter coats home, but bring sweaters, jackets, heavy socks, winter gloves & hats, and rain attire.  Overall, the weather was mild and varied between the 50-60°F.  There were many comments about the lack of rain during our visit because there is generally lots of rain in May.  What I was not prepared for was the Glacier Bay National Park!  I was raised in Chicago, so I was familiar with cold weather.  However, it was literally freezing in Glacier Bay!  The Ruby Princess ships’ log says the temp was 46.4°F, but it felt much colder than that!  The layers, gloves, hats, etc. did not allow me to get warm!  I could feel the cold to my bones!  I have never felt a cold like I did when viewing the glaciers!  Following are a some facts and a couple of pics:

  • In 1750, Glacier Bay was a massive single glacier but due to higher average temperatures and lower average snowfall amounts over the last several centuries it has been transformed into what is now a 65 miles (105 km) fjord with many smaller glaciers.¹² (see notes below)
  • There are 1045 glaciers identified in Glacier Bay National Park.
  • There are more than 50 named glaciers in the park including Grand Pacific (2 miles wide by 35 miles long), Johns Hopkins (1 mile wide by 12.5 miles long), Margerie (1 mile wide by 21 miles long), and Lamplugh (.75 miles wide by 16 miles long).
  • 7 of the glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park are tidewater glaciers.

Glacier Bay National Park – Margerie Glacier (1 mile wide, 21 miles long, and 350 ft high of which 100 ft is under water) – View From Our Balcony!

Zoomed picture of Margerie Glacier.   The ship is not allowed to get too close to the glacier just in case some of the glacier falls away and creates high waves!

Lessons Learned:

1. Choosing a cruise line – Most cruise lines do Alaskan Cruises so do your homework and decide on your priorities.  If excursions are your priority, then the cruise price can be cheaper leaving you more money for off ship activities. If the cruise ship is your destination, then make sure you pick a cruise line that offers on board activities that you enjoy!

2. Type of cruise and locations – There are a variety of Alaskan cruises.  Options include cruise only, land and sea cruise, Glaciers cruise, Tracy Arm Fjord cruise, etc. Departure locations vary as well to include Seattle (WA), Vancouver (British Columbia), and Alaska.

2. Transport between pier and airport – Most cruise lines provide transportation for a fee.   We used the cruise line bus transportation and there were some draw backs.  The “Greyhound” type bus waited until it reached capacity which took an unusually long period of time.  Also, the airport drop off location was an extremely long way from the airport check in.  The only thing that saved us was my Mom needed a wheel chair, and we accidentally stated our flight departure was soon.

3. Pre-cruise activities – Before purchasing your flight, consider doing some pre-cruise excursions or venture out on your own.  If the cruise departure location is a place you’ve never been, this is an opportunity to do some sightseeing!

4. Post – cruise activities – This is another opportunity for sightseeing or visiting family.

Between The Dashes

Notes:

  1. “Climate Change”. National Park Service. 2016-01-15. Archived from the original on 2015-11-19. Retrieved 2016-01-15.“History and Culture”. National Park Service. 2016-01-15. Archived from the original on 2015-12-19. Retrieved 2016-01-15.

July 2017 – Western Caribbean Cruise On Carnival Cruiseline

In July 2017, we decided to go on a cruise with our daughter who lives in Chicago. When other family members heard about it, the number of attendees grew.  As the cruise drew near, some dropped out, but in the end, there were a total of 8 of us across 4 cabins.

We picked a 4 day Western Caribbean cruise going to Key West and Cozumel, roundtrip from Miami, FL on the Carnival Victory.  The cruise was amazing! The ship was renovated in 2015, and the ship and cabins were roomy and well decorated.  There were lots of activities on board starting with the Sail away party.  I never noticed this activity on previous Carnival cruises, but it’s so worth going!  On the top deck, the combination of the cruise director, cruise staff, a DJ, cruisers, line dancing, and lots of food and drink make for an awesome start to any cruise!

Some of the other activities included Karaoke which is a must for any cruiser that loves music!  Carnival went all out for this activity!  I have a video of my sister singing “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugar Hill Gang.  This was the song in the day!  She had the entire audience clapping, shouting, dancing and singing with her!  Now, when I look for cruises, my husband always asks, “Is there karaoke?”  He doesn’t want to go if it’s not on the itinerary.

The other question he asks, “Is there a Guy’s Burger Joint?”  These burgers need to be on your bucket list!  The first time we learned of these burgers, we had them daily for lunch!  They are amazing!!  Make sure to check the dining options before you book because this burger joint is not on all Carnival ships yet.

We did one excursion in Key West.  We needed an activity for all ages so we did the trolley tour.  Of course, we had to try the conch fritters!  Oh la la!!

Now I must mention the casino.  It doesn’t really matter if you are going to win or not, you have to go through the casino to get to the restaurants, pools, etc.  As you walk thru the casino, the slot machines and the table games are calling your name.  The casino is saying, “You can win big money with me!”  The waitresses are offering free drinks (especially if you are a “repeat offender”), and there is an oldies but goodies band playing your favorite melodies.  So, you gotta stop and spend some time!  There is even a dance floor in the casino!

The food on the ship is very good.  My daughter doesn’t think it’s as good as Princess Cruises, but it’s hard to beat fresh seafood on an Alaskan Cruise.  There are so many onboard activities, and Carnival is all about having fun!

Cruises are really a value, especially if you can take advantage of the off season.  We had so much fun, and there’s hardly any planning involved.  Another plus for booking cruises.  We plan to do an annual family cruise.

I’m interested in your family traditions for vacations.  Feel free to leave a comment!

Between The Dashes

27 Oct 2016 – Miami Auto Museum At The Dezer collection

This auto museum was the bomb!!  There are so many one of a kind cars, motorcycles, bicycles and so much more!  I’m finally getting the time to share.  Feel free to comment and let me know if you enjoyed this post!

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Flintstones Movie, 1994

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Flintstones Movie, 1994

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9 Oct 2016 – Answers to Interview Questions 21-25 (Mother)

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Alice’s 80th Birthday (front row, center) – Tampa, FL in August 2015

 

It’s been a long time since I published Mom’s interview questions so you can find the prior ones at the end of this post.  I learn so much about my family history by doing the interviews.  For now, lets focus on the last five questions.  Enjoy!

  • Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
    • Not really other than when I got married, divorced and purchased a home. LoL
    • I was not mentioned, but my boyfriend, and ultimately, father of my children, was in the Mobile Register all the time while playing football.
  • Who were your friends when you were growing up?
    • Sugar (real name was Hermine) and her sister, Punch – These friends lived across the street from my Grandma Laura’s house.  Sugar and Punch had tuberculosis, which was highly contagious at the time, so I was told not to go over to their house.  In spite of her illness, I continued to visit until Sugar called me and told me not to come over.  Tuberculosis almost wiped out their immediate family.
    • Alice (friend in college).  When Alice came to our home during a college break, I was 16 years old at the time and in my first year of college.  All my friends, even Yanetta who was younger, went to the Elk’s Club.  However, I could not attend.  My mother was very strict, and she told me if I went to the Elk’s Club, I would not be able to be a Debutante.  I told her I did not want to be a Debutante, but it didn’t matter.  I could not go.  I thought my mom was the meanest person alive!
    • Yanetta (pictured above, front row, right) – We went everywhere together.  The movies, parties, and fights…yes I said fights!  Check out this story 10 Aug 2015 – The Ditch for details on how we became fighting buddies.
    • Francis – He was a friend and a relative.  See my post on Francis at 23 Nov 2015 – Cousin Francis 
  • What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
    • Brookley Air Force base would periodically have air drills.  This was in preparation for an attack on the United States.  During the drills, all the lights, both inside and outside the home, were required to be turned out.  The siren generally started about 11 pm.  The thought process was that the enemy could not see it’s target in the dark.
    • My mother worked at Brookley; however, she lost her job because someone went to the foreman and told him that she did not need a job because her husband worked.  Mom was fired shortly after that incident.

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7 Oct 2016 – The House Party On South Side of Chicago

In 1964, my family moved to Chicago, Illinois in an effort to make a better living.  Our first home was in a third floor apartment on the South Side of Chicago at 68th and Harper.  We lived in the midst of the Black Stone Rangers’ neighborhood. 

The Black Stone Rangers originated on the south side of Chicago, around 65th and Black Stone Avenue, four blocks away from where we lived.  The Black Stone Rangers were estimated to have more than 23,000 members.  Years later I asked my mother about the Black Stone Rangers, and she said they had a bad reputation with the police and the FBI, but they actually tried to help people.  

Eventually, my parents purchased their first home, still on the south side of Chicago, near 93rd and Jeffery. When Eva and I attended James Bowen High School, we convinced our dad to let us have a house party.  Eva and I were very excited.  My mother helped plan the party.  She made sure we had enough food and drinks.  I remember my mother frying chicken and making potato salad.  We decorated the basement of our new home.  The basement was a finished, full length basement with a full length bar, a kitchen with all the works, and a half bath.  The bar lights could be dimmed gradually.  Everything was going very well.  Eva knew a lot of people, so people came from everywhere.

Around 9:30 pm, my dad told my mother he saw someone smoking in the house.  My dad said he was not going to have anyone smoking in His house.  Then, my dad said someone spiked the punch with alcohol.  Next thing we knew, our father threw everyone out of the house and the party was over in a matter of about 30 minutes.  It was our first and last house party we had at our home. 

Years later, Eva and I would remember this house party.  It was held during a time when house parties were the going thing in Chicago.

 

Between The Dashes

Jun 2016 Western Caribbean Cruise – Oasis of the Seas

The girls (Mom, Daughter and I) cruised 4-11 Jun 2016 to Haiti, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico.   This was our first cruise.   Lessons learned:

1.  Don’t start your cruise on your travel day.  We discovered that even with insurance, if your flight is delayed or anything happens that makes you miss your ship, the best the insurance can do is fly you to the next port.  This will shorten your cruise, and in our case by 2 days.  I don’t know what other compensations are available, but the cruise ship waits for no one!  So this time we flew a day early, spent the night in a hotel that provided travel to the port as well as pick you up when you return.   You have a choice of going directly to the airport or do more excursions before boarding your plane.

2.  Remember to pack sundries because they cost lots of money while on the cruise.  Examples of things to bring are:

  • Sea bands or motion sickness meds
  • Over the counter meds for tummy issues, colds, pain, etc
  • Your favorite snacks unless you know you can get them on the cruise.  Examples includes nuts, chips or your favorite treat.
  • Sunscreen, insect repellant

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13-14 May 2016 – Food That Tastes So Good!

We celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary by visiting the Shenandoah area.  Besides seeing the sites, one of the other treats was the fabulous food we tasted along the way.  Below are some of the highlights:

 

Joe’s Steakhouse In Front Royal, VA

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Scallops Beurre Blanc – pan seared sea scallops with shallot, mushrooms and tomato in a beurre blanc sauce

 

 

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Stuffed Haddock with crab and cream cheese, finished with a light tomato-basil cream sauce, brown rice and mixed veggies

 

Claire’s At The Depot in Warrenton, VA

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Mediterranean Lamb Chops on a Bed of CousCous – the chops were cooked with fresh herbs grown in their own garden!

 

 

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Claire’s At The Depot Herb Garden

 

 

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Southern Shrimp Salad – Yummy!

 

 

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Aunt Beatty’s Decadent Chocolate Cake – for the chocolate lovers!

 

21 May 2016 – Shenandoah, VA

My husband and I haven’t done a weekend getaway in a while so we decided to go someplace we’ve been talking about for at least 10 years – Luray Caverns!  Following are just a few treasures.  If you love nature, the caverns should definitely be on your bucket list!

Some history:  Cold air rushing out of a limestone sinkhole atop a big hill west of Luray, Virginia, blew out a candle held by Andrew Campbell, the town tinsmith, on the morning of August 13, 1878. So began the discovery of Luray Caverns.

Campbell, three other men, and his 13-year-old nephew, Quint, were exploring the area, looking for a cave. With the help of local photographer Benton Stebbins, the men dug away loose rocks for four hours before, candle in hand, Campbell and Quint slid down a rope into the cave. They could scarcely believe what they saw. The party had discovered the largest series of caverns in the East, an eerie world of stalactites and stalagmites seen by the light of a candle.

Luray Caverns, Luray, VA – in this section of the caverns, the water collected provides a mirror image of the structure above!

 

 


 


 

Debra & Al Saletta Luray Caverns 13 May 2016

 

Not only did we visit the caverns but we checked out some local attractions.  Following are pics from our visit to the Meems Bottom Covered Bridge in Mount Jackson, VA.  First, a little history:

One of the best-known covered bridges is the 204-foot single-span Burr arch truss known as Meem’s Bottom Covered Bridge in Mount Jackson. The Meem’s Bottom Bridge was constructed in 1892-93 from materials cut and quarried nearby for the massive arch supports and stone abutments, which extended 10 feet below the riverbed.  It was deeded to the Highway Department in the 1930’s in return for assuming its maintenance.  This long span over the North Fork of the river carried traffic for more than 80 years before being burned by vandals on Halloween 1976.  After salvaging the original timbers, the bridge was reconstructed and eventually undergirded with steel beams and concrete piers. The bridge was reopened to traffic in 1979 and is still in operation to date.  One of the many stops along the Wilderness Trail in Shenandoah County! (Source:  http://www.virginia.org/listings/OutdoorsAndSports/HistoricMeemsBottomCoveredBridge/)

 

 

 

 

We also toured the Route 11 Kettle Chip factory.   If you like potato chips, you’ve got to try these!

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Route 11 Potato Chips, 11 Edwards Way, Mount Jackson, VA  22842 540-477-9664