Archive for July, 2013

Is it Harmful to Watch 8 Continuous Hours of The Cutest Puppies on TV?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2013 by drycreekherbs

It may be. But I watched…and took tiny naps too. Then I went to bed at 8:30. Hours and hours of chillin’ but still my blood pressure is high. I am bettin’ the ranch I will be on blood pressure medicine next visit to doctor….I am supposed to be keeping a log which in itself causes it to go up…that and I am a chunker and not currently exercising.

I keep thinking about what to write about the cruise. I know when friends ask, “How was the cruise?” They mean, “Answer with good or bad.” They do not want a commentary. Especially Stephanie! Also I don’t think I can capture the essence. The best serenity came when I was roused from sleep during a massage. The therapist told me to keep my eyes closed while she raised bed to a sitting position… she had raised the shade directly in front of me. OMG. It was like I was suspended over the water and could see endlessly this amazing sunset. Shazam.


I like to think about this. You meet people and like the saying goes, “Pass like two ships in the night.” You KNOW they will never think of you again, but you also know you will remember them. That would be Alexander, or Sasha as he is known. He was a giant (6’7”) and physically looked like my perception of a Brighton Beach Mafia enforcer. He wore jeans with lots of bling on the pockets and shirts in jewel tone colors. He knew everyone wherever we went. He double-parked the black, Mercedes SUV in the very front of every major attraction and stayed parked there the entire time we were gone. If he didn’t, it didn’t matter because he was a beacon and so easy to locate. I am just not telling this right. He was influential in his own right, I think. During one of our afternoons with him and our guide, Belinda and I asked if we might get tickets for Swan Lake…. The tour service made it happen, and thank you God, Sasha was our driver. Len and James opted out of the ballet…but once again, Sasha took us to the front door and parked and there he was when it was over. We tipped him grandly and he deserved every Ruble. Actually we gave him dollars, which are much preferred. You can’t just get yourself out and about in Russia if you are American. I think that’s it. Sort of like Cuba. Anyway, I will remember Sasha.

I loved this trip. We did all kinds of tours: Hydrofoil, bus, train, car, subway, etc. Private car tours are the best. Babs’ tip.

IMG_7191.jpgI will just post favorite photos and maybe think of stories later. I think though it will be hard to capture it all. My favorite photos are of plain people… mostly when they are unaware. I especially like the exhausted tourist in the Hermitage and the bored security guard at Peterhof (Petrodvorets).IMG_6966.JPG IMG_6933.JPGIMG_7138.jpg

The cathedrals and castles throughout the Baltic Sea area were magnificent and it is just impossible to pick the best. We did visit the house where Rasputin was murdered.


I think I may now be a pacifist. Seems like it is leadership that likes warring not the plain folk. Sweden, Denmark, Russia, and Germany all just invading one another and killing…then there is the US. We asked Iriana, one of our Russian guides, who was the most well thought of leader—her answer, “Stalin.” Hmmm.

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NOT NOW–My Stinkin’ Computer is Sick

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23, 2013 by drycreekherbs


We have been home 5 days and I haven’t been able to write about the cruise…and now that I have the time, the computer is so sick it has to go on sick call at the Apple Store tomorrow for who knows how long! I could so easily forget something. So, in a very tiny nutshell: It was great. Perfect weather–mostly cool in the high 60s and low 70s. One day about 81. The sea was like glass but for the one day we were ‘on the sea’ for an entire day…then James said the waves were about 8-10’…I have seen too many ship wreck movies. I never felt even queasy. Belinda caught some nasty bug somewhere along the line that left her totally incapacitated for about a day and a half. So sick she had to go to the ship doctor. She is amazing and a real Viking Queen — she just kept going, watching the rest of us eat and drink to excess! I think it is a blessing we cannot read other’s think bubbles—but I THINK Belinda and James enjoyed the trip as much as we did.

I will write about these things when I get the computer back from the shop.

  1. There really might be a limit to how many beautiiiiiiiful palaces you can see in 18 days.
  2. Oceania is a great cruise line. The Marina is the largest of their fleet but small by most cruise lines. Only 1,500 passenger capacity.
  3. Len was a prince among men to go full throttle on this trip….the pent house stateroom for example.
  4. Private tours really are the way to go. Next time not so many cruise line excursions
  5. Spa treatments on board were magnifico. Getting pummeled, soaked, buffed, and steamed all loverly.
  6. There may also be limits to how much food I can eat. I treated myself like a duck getting stuffed for a future in foie gras.
  7. I took clothes I didn’t need only because the weather turned out to be more pleasant than anticipated. No fleece needed.
  8. We missed Diego a lot. Diego, however was quite happy staying at J & J’s ranch. He came back a better behaved dog…we are hoping they will let him come back for Doggie Play Days! J says it was a successful visit because nothing was broken and nothing died…..Pretty close though!
  9. Len needed to use a cane sometimes; I needed James or Belinda to lean on for most stair climbing, although Belinda said she thought I was much stronger than last year.
  10. The third day, I swallowed my crown, as in front tooth. Made me cranky for an hour but I decided to not be nuts. More on this later. Few toothy smiling photos.
  11. Len and I took lots of photos….Len was the big winner by count. Not that we are in the least bit competitive, but I believe mine are more interesting. He would challenge that.
  12. Favorites: St. Petersburg. Least favorite, Gdansk.
  13. We never did get to practice our recently learned two step.
  14. Weight gain about 6 pounds.
  15. Hair ugly the entire trip.
  16. Came home to incomplete remodeling…..grrrrrr.
  17. Computer wants to die so will quit for now.
  18. Photos later.