Happy New Year, 2018!

Before I can start a new chapter, I have to review the old one for a moment. Wow, what a year!!! I think, I’ve never done so much in one year before, than what I’ve accomplished in 2017.

  • In January, I’ve got my US citizenship. Nine months after applying for it, I took the oath on the 12th. What an exciting moment in my life.
  • In February, a couple of ladies and I started a new community garden. Now, we can grow food for people in need. And we can enjoy it, because it is drama free.
  • In March, my maternal grandmother passed away. Unfortunately, it would have happened sooner or later. It’s a part of life, and it has to go on. ~ We also had a hail storm. I’ve never seen hail this big. Our cars got a few dents from that storm.
  • In April, Kevin had to go on a business trip in Long Beach, CA. He used the opportunity to go to Downtown Disney in Anaheim for an evening. ~ My friend Janet visited with her husband and son from Germany. We had such a fun day at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • In May, Sara had her dance recital. She got a trophy for that. ~ Kevin and I saw U2 live in concert. They performed in the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It was on my bucket list for the last 14 years.
  • In June, Kevin and I went to the musical “Rock of Ages” at the Casa MaΓ±ana in Fort Worth. The guy, who played “Stacee Jaxx” flipped a thong at me. I’m still laughing. That was hilarious. ~ We also went on a trip to New York. I saw my long-time school friend Katja in Ohio after 30 years, again; we visited Kevin’s highschool friends in Niagara Falls, he hasn’t seen for 24 years; we went to Canada, New York City, and saw the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
  • In July, Finley passed away. I still feel sad of his passing. But I also believe, he’s in a good spot, hanging out with our dog Ranger. They both earned their wings for sure.
  • In August, Sara went back to RCJ Machado to practise Jiu Jitsu. Since Katelynn is very busy with her school band, we needed an activity for Sara. She started Jiu Jitsu in 2015, took a two year break, and then went back again.
  • In September, we got our floors done in our house. Those old nasty carpets and laminated floors went out. And a brand new tiled floor came in.
  • In October, Kevin and I saw the Bret Michaels Band live in concert at Lava Cantina in The Colony. Bret is sooo sexy. I’m still drooling. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰
  • In November, Kevin and I went to see Jeff Dunham’s show in Wichita Falls. He is a great comedian. Walter, Peanut, Achmed & friends are just awesome.
  • In December, we went to California. Santa brought tickets to go to Disneyland. We had a beautiful time with family; went to the beach in San Diego; checked out Hoover Dam; visited the Grand Canyon, again; and therefore avoided some of the cold weather in Texas. We just came back home, two days ago.

Yep, it was a busy and amazing year. I’ve knocked out three items on my bucket list in the first half of 2017.

After posting 400 blogs, I can close this book and start a new one. May 2018 be as awesome as the previous year. Kevin and I plan to see P!nk live in concert in May. P!nk is on Kevin’s bucket list. He always wanted to see her, since he listened to her music and watched her first video. Let’s see, how that show will be.

I wish all my followers a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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In Memory of Finley, when he celebrated New Year’s Eve.

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Happy New Year!

Travel Journal, Day 4: In Canada For Father’s Day

June 18, 2017Β  πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

Kevin and I decided, we make a day trip to Toronto, Canada for Father’s Day. I hadn’t been outside the US for the past 13Β½ years. And I always wanted to visit Canada. With our passports in gear, we crossed the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls. After passing border control, we were in Ontario. I’ve noticed I haven’t been around all these blue traffic signs with Kilometers written all over them, for a very long time. It was interesting to see those around, again. It felt a little bit being in Germany with an American landscape. I think that describes the border area of Ontario the best.

Driving along the Queen Elizabeth Way, I enjoyed the view of Lake Ontario. I spotted a place named Lake House Restaurant. It had a sign, saying something about Mediterranean food. It had me right there. And I said to Kevin, I’d like to try out this place by the lake. When we were inside, it was busy. But it took less than five minutes, before we were seated. The receptionist gave us a table on the terrace with a perfect view out on Lake Ontario. The weather was gorgeous. I smiled at Kevin and said: “I can see, why they call it ‘… Mediterranean …’. Look at that beautiful view! It reminds me a little bit, when I was at Costa Dorada in Spain 30 years ago.” Kevin and the girls ordered burgers, and I had the Pan-seared Rainbow Trout Salad. It was so delicious. Being with my husband and our girls at the perfect place, with perfect weather, enjoying perfect foods, made me very happy. I was in heaven. I think it was more my special day, instead of Kevin’s. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

After a perfect meal, we drove to Toronto. We decided to stay on a beach outside of the city of Toronto. It looked very busy the closer we came toward the city. And we really wanted to avoid the heavy traffic. Arriving at the beach, the girls picked some stones to stack them next to the water. We saw a guy kayaking in the waves. It was very windy. And it was a good way to practice kayaking for wild water rafting. Mother Duck was swimming along with her one dozen ducklings. They had a really good line together, until a wave pushed them apart. The ducklings were quick, swimming to the shore. And their mother followed them. She decided, it was enough paddling in the waves for the moment. The little ducklings cleaned themselves, while Mother Duck had a watchful eye over everything.

It was time to leave Toronto. We still wanted to see the Niagara Falls from the Canadian site, before we would enter the US again. A thunder storm began to rumble in Niagara Falls. Kevin found a parking spot close to the falls. Time enough to capture some photos at the falls, but it started to rain and got to wet to go all the way to the Horseshoe Falls. That’s okay. It is one of many excuses to visit, again. πŸ˜‰

Back in the USA, we met with Lisa, Jackie and her daughter in the Longhorn restaurant. Jokingly I asked my husband at the bar: “What do you mean? We came all the way from Texas to New York, just to eat in a Texas restaurant? …” Since I said it out loud, some people started laughing at the bar, too. Lisa and Katelynn had a wonderful time talking about hobbies and future education. Lisa complimented us later, that we did a really good job raising our girls. Jackie agreed with Lisa’s statement. And it felt really good to hear that.

It was time to say “Good-bye” to everyone in Niagara Falls. I wish, we could have stayed a little bit longer. But Kevin, the girls and I had to go back to the hotel. The next morning we were on the road, again. I was excited to go and see a place I could mark off on my Bucket List, soon. The place’s name is New York City or The Big Apple.

… to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 3: From Ohio To New York

June 17, 2017

Waking up to the smell of German-style pancakes, bacon and fresh brewed coffee was great on Saturday morning. Katja’s husband had fixed breakfast for all of us. The kids had eaten already and were outside catching frogs in the pond. It gave Kevin and me the opportunity to get cleaned up, before we would hit the road again. But before we left, we spent some time outside to look at the farm, the life stock and the frogs. Of course, we had to capture photos for our online albums. Before we left, Katja and her husband said we were welcome to visit again. We definitely have to repeat that. But next time, we’ll fly to Ohio. πŸ˜‰ After getting directions, how to get back to I-71 faster, we were ready to leave for New York.

After we passed Cleveland, we soon entered Pennsylvania. For the girls, this was a new state. Kevin and I have been traveling through Pittsburgh many years before. I’ve noticed a lot of vineyards along I-90. But the grapes were still teeny-tiny. East of Erie, Pennsylvania we made a stop at a park and had some homemade sandwiches. We all needed to stretch our legs, and the park was leading to a beach at Lake Erie. Katelynn and Sara couldn’t wait to get their shoes and socks off to get their feet wet in the water. When it was time to get out of the water, Kevin had to carry Sara to a shaded area. The sand got hot due to the sun baking it.

Soon, we entered New York (State #31). The whole toll road adventure began right at the border. Oh boy! New York state really knows, how to pull money out of people’s pockets. πŸ˜‰ Buffalo was only an hour and a half away. Once we arrived there, I was really excited to see the Niagara River. On the east side of the river is the USA; on the west side is Canada. After we crossed Grand Island, we made it to Niagara Falls (USA). We got a hotel room 1500 feet from the falls. When the helicopter landed and the pilot turned it off, we could hear the water falling. But we had to keep watching the falls for later that evening. First Kevin got some sodas and waters, so we could meet with his high school friends in the Oppenheim County Park. Jackie arrived with her daughter shortly after I managed to drag that heavy cooler across the field. I was glad, we had the first gazebo. Christine rolled in with her boys, minutes later. And she brought snacks. Oh my, her Texas dip was so great! I couldn’t stop eating it with some chips. Delicious! All the girls and the boys had a blast in the splash zone and at the play ground, while Kevin enjoyed talking about the good ol’ times, when they all were in high school. When Lisa finally arrived, she had some stories to tell as well. I can’t count, how many times I laughed so much, I had watery eyes. When the sun set and dusk crept upon us, we decided to go to the falls.

Walking from the hotel to the falls, the falling of the water became louder and louder. After walking over a little hill, the Niagara Falls were in sight. Both, the American Falls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls looked very impressive. They reminded me once again, how small we really are as human beings. It’s very humbling seeing all this water falling 167 feet deeper to the lower part of the Niagara River, which flows from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. What makes the Niagara Falls very attractive in the dark hours are the different colors of light, that illuminates the water. It is so pretty to see it change colors every several seconds.

The evening turned out to be great. We made arrangements with Lisa and Jackie for dinner on Sunday. Kevin and I had plans to go to Toronto that day. And then we would have a nice meal in a Texas restaurant, after we come back into the US. Yep, we traveled all the way to New York to eat Texan food. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰ But I’ll write more of that, tomorrow.

… to be continued …