Tears of Joy w/Lou 2/25/14

OKAY FOLKS, OUR TRIP TO GRAEAGLE THIS MONTH WAS CANCELLED DUE TO BOTH DRIVERS BEING ILL. WE ARE GOING TO RESCHEDULE FOR A LATER DATE. IN THE MEANTIME:
SOME OF THE TASTE TESTING COMMITTEE DROVE TO COLUSA, CALIFORNIA A FEW DAYS AGO TO DINE AT Roccosbarandgrill.com. CAROLEE ORNBAUN, ONE OF THE OWNERS OF ROCCO’S MET US UPON OUR ARRIVAL. NOW, CAROLEE MANAGED SEVERAL CHEVRON STATIONS IN THE GREATER SACRAMENTO AREA. DURING HER CAREER AT CHEVRON, SHE HAD THE PLEASURE OF MEETING RICK CLEMO (SHE CALLS HIM CLEM). AS SOME OF YOU KNOW, RICK DELIVERED CHEVRON FUEL PRODUCTS, (BULK FUEL) ALL OVER NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AND NEVADA. AND, AS SOME OF YOU KNOW, RICK AND HIS LOVELY WIFE GAIL HAIL FROM DOWNTOWN DOWNIEVILLE. I WON’T TELL YOU HOW MANY GENERATIONS THEIR FAMILES HAVE BEEN IN SIERRA COUNTY, BUT, LET’S JUST SAY, THEY LOOKED FOR GOLD WHEN THE TREES WERE SPROUTING NEW. ANYWAY, CAROLEE INVITED RICK AND GAIL TO ROCCO’S FOR A MEAL. AS I MENTIONED, WE ARRIVED AND MET CAROLEE AT THE FRONT DOOR AT 546 MARKET STREET IN DOWNTOWN COLUSA. THE BUILDING HAS BEEN THERE SINCE THE 1860’S AND JUST REAKED WITH HISTORY. WE WENT DOWN ON A SUNDAY AND AS YOU MAY KNOW, PRIME RIB IS USUALLY SERVED ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHTS. WELL, RICK PULLED SOME STRINGS AND WE HAD THE CHOICE OF PRIME RIB. NOW, IT’S NOT JUST PRIME RIB, IT’S ROCCO’S SLOW-SMOKED PRIME RIB. I HAD CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP THAT WAS AMAZING. CAROLEE BROUGHT OUT A WHOLE LOAF OF SOURDOUGH BREAD SMOTHERED WITH BUTTER AND GARLIC. CAN YOU SAY TEARS? HOLD ON, I’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN. WITH MY PRIME RIB I ORDERED A BAKED POTATO….LOADED. AND IT WAS LOADED! WE HAD A CHOICE OF A 16 OUNCE OR A 26 OUNCE PIECE. SINCE I’M WATCHING MY FIGURE, I HAD THE 16 OUNCE. AND OF COURSE, IT COMES WITH VEGI’S. THE MEAL ARRIVES AND I DIG INTO THE PRIME RIB. I CAN’T EXPLAIN THE EMOTION THAT CAME OVER ME WHEN I BIT INTO THAT PRIME RIB. SMOKED, TENDER, DONE TO PERFECTION. TEARS STREAMED DOWN MY FACE. THAT WAS THE MOST AMAZING FLAVOR! WE CONTINUED OUR MEAL AND ATE UNTIL OUR EYES WERE POPPING OUT. BUT WAIT, THAT’S NOT ALL FOLKS. CAROLEE TELLS US OF THIS DESSERT THAT HER HUSBAND MADE. GEEZ, REALLY? DO WE HAVE ROOM. AH, BUT OF COURSE, THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR DESSERT. HE MADE BREAD PUDDING TOPPED WITH JACK DANIELS CARAMEL SAUCE. LET THE TEARS CONTINUE. USING OUR BETTER JUDGEMENT WE DECIDED TO SHARE DESSERT. ABSOLUTLY AMAZING! WE HAD TO CALL A TOW TRUCK TO HAUL US OUT OF THERE. CAN YOU SAY WADDLE? HAVE I SOLD YOU YET ON ROCCO’S?
SO, HERE’S THE DEAL

SATURDAY, MARCH 14TH
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON’T WANT TO DRIVE, WE WILL TAKE THE VAN(S). DEPARTURE FROM DOWIEVILLE WILL BE 10AM. TRAVEL TO COLUSA ARRIVING AT ABOUT NOON. GOOD TIMING, HUH? WE WILL STOP AT THE COLUSA CASINO FOR LUNCH (IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE FOOD) AND FOR THOSE WHO MAY WANT TO GAMBLE, WE WILL LEAVE YOU THERE. FOR THOSE WHO MAY WANT TO TOUR HISTORICAL COLUSA, WE WILL DEPART FROM THE CASINO AND TAKE A SELF DRIVING TOUR OF THE AREA. AFTERWARDS, WE WILL EXTRACT THOSE WHO ARE GAMBLING AT THE CASINO AND ARRIVE AT ROCCO’S AT 5:00 PM FOR DINNER. THE COLUSA CASINO IS 5 MINUTES FROM ROCCO’S. I HAVE TRIED TO SCAN THE MENU FROM ROCCO’S TO ATTACH TO THIS ANNOUNCMENT WITHOUT SUCCESS. SO, YOU CAN GO TO WWW.ROCCOSBARANDGRILL.COM TO VIEW THE MENU.
NOW, YOU MUST LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT TO JOIN US ON THIS ADVENTURE BEFORE MARCH 8TH SO I CAN LET CAROLEE KNOW. I’M PRETTY SURE YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS ONE.
ROCCO’S………..COLUSA………..MARCH 14TH

Food with Lou 1/28/15

Okay folks,

It’s time to eat. Yep, it’s all about the food. Mark your calendars’. February 7th, Saturday, Graeagle California. Coyote Grill!

One of our “designated food officers” have reported back with information that Coyote Grill is serving Prime Rib on Friday and Saturday.

You know the drill. Van ride from Downieville leaving from the Senior Center at 3:30 pm sharp. $15 per person for the van ride. They do not have a website, so I could not find a menu. It’s prime rib, so why do you need a menu?

Thanks Barb!

RSVP me 289-3341 before February 3rd so I can call  our reservations in.

Lou

Magic with Lou 1/14/14

Madame HOUDINI

Magic you say?
Then you are going to want to join us for an evening of “Magique”. No, not at the slot machines, or the tables, but at the Eldorado Showroom.
The art of magic has been dominated by men for centuries. Only a handful of strong, talented female magicians have ever succeeded in the highly competitive field of grand illusion. For the first time in the United States, audiences will see one of the most glamorous and successful performers in the world of magic when Madame Houdini (Hellevi Woodman) takes the Eldorado Stage.

When, you ask?
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Show starts at 8:00 pm
Food you ask?
Silly, it’s always about the food
Buffet dinner at the Eldorado Buffet
How much you ask?
$45.72 per person show tickets (VIP) and dinner
You must get you own room reservation. I have seen prices on the internet from $37.99 to $89.99 plus taxes, per night.
So, to make your show and dinner reservations you must call Michele Williams at 775-786-5700 x 7770
Room reservations
1-800-879-8879

The usual trip information from Downieville:
Leave the Senior Center at 10:00 am sharp. Stop at Bordertown for lunch and light gambling, then on to the Eldorado for an arrival time about 3:00 pm. Now, Jack Marshall told me if we beat he and Linda to Bordertown, he would buy our lunch. Right Jack? You all can check with Jack to confirm.

So, let’s get magical and join us on the 20th at the Eldorado!
See you all then.

Lou & Joyce Saga Part II 11/19/14

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hello from the middle of the Atlantic,
As you know, I got up early this morning. Decided since I have some down time, I would update the day at 4:43 pm.
Off to breakfast with Mary. John decided to sleep in. Judy and Pat also decided to sleep in. Had to wake them at 8:15am. They joined us a short time after meeting with Mary. John arrived a short time later. Had to get to the Pantheon Theatre by 10am for the Gaelic Rhythm Dance Show. Belinda Murphy produces this show with 6 dancers performing. I’m not much for watching someone dance. However, I just wanted to get up and start dancing. These folks are the most amazing performers you will ever see. Two of the guys have won world champion titles for their dancing. Simply amazing! Richie Hayes, the little comedian who is multi-talented, came into the act and performed some songs and dance. He sang and danced to Sing ‘in in the Rain along with other 40’s tunes. The guy is so talented. He share with us that he is one of 22 children in his family. Yes, I meant to write 22. He told us that they were so poor growing up, he didn’t have any toys to play with, so his mother told him to cut out his pants pockets to play. Being one of the younger children, all he got was hand-me-down’s for cloths. He has three older sisters. He didn’t get laughed at too much. Anyway. The dancers finished off their program by doing “RIVERDANCE” Absolutely perfect. Another standing ovation.
Off to our next show. Keith doing his cooking show. He made Irish stew. We all got to taste some. Really good. If you go to www.celticthunder.com you will find his recipe Barbara Seley, I expect you to have tried this recipe by the time we get home. In fact, feel free to have some prepared when we get home. It is really good. While Keith was cooking he answered questions from the crowd. Real laid back and casual. Told some funny stories about traveling across America. He put on a good gig.
Took a breather in the dining room waiting for our next event. This would be, having tea with Sharon Brown. Sharon is the Producer of Celtic Thunder. So, we had tea, which was amazingly good for some reason. Along with the tea, we had tarts, scones and other pastries that were unknown to us. Really a good flavor. While partaking in our tea, Sharon comes to our table, sits down and asks us who we are and where were from. And the conversation continues. She wanted to know who our favorite performers were, besides Celtic Thunder. We shared our thoughts and opinions with her and generally had a great visit. Now, this is where you should pay close attention. Before departing she tells us that Damian McGinty will be touring with the BEST OF CELTIC THUNDER SHOW in the spring. For those of you who don’t have your tickets for Modesto, you had better get them soon. You don’t want to miss “Damo”. For those of you who don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, Damian is one of the original members of Celtic Thunder who left a couple of years ago to play on GLEE, the television series. He was 13 when he joined Celtic Thunder in 2007. Damian will be appearing as a special guest on the tour. Guess that was the surprise we were all told earlier. Well dang, what a pleasant surprise! Another fun story she told was how she discovered the new Emmet. It seems her son met Emmet at college and brought him home (New York City), don’t know if I mentioned earlier, but new Emmet attends Julliard. Anyway, he brings Emmet home. Sharon was working on the computer and her son introduced him to her. Son told her that Emmet wanted to audition for Celtic Thunder. She stopped what she was doing and told him, okay, sing. He looked confused. No music? He says. She tells him look, I’m busy, sing now or forget it. He did. Apparently he passed. She said she was floored by his performance. I tell you folks. This guy has got one incredible voice! She left, another gentleman came to our table and sat down. He introduced himself as Bill Davis. He is a production consultant and works with Sharon Brown. He asks us questions pertaining to the cruise and the performers and then goes into general chit-chat about Ireland and our visits. Really nice man. I’m impressed that they do this. What good marketing. We leave that venue and continue to the photo area to view our mug shots from the cruise, place our order and back to our cabin.
Off to the Celtic Thunder Mythology Show. Everyone excited, but yet curious about how they will sound without George. The show starts and goes off without a hitch. There is an obvious absence without the “Big Guy”. The guys stop, come to the front of the stage, you could hear a pin drop. Everyone know what was coming. They begin to tell some of the antics and stories with George from day one. Each one refraining from losing it. Still, you can hear a pin drop. The only thing you hear is sniffling, not a dry eye in the house. Keith tells a story about being at the funeral and the priest tells everyone about George’s desire to talk to everyone. Keith tells about how frustrated the other guys would get with George, because he would stop and begin conversations with everyone along the way. Keith said he and the boys believe George has not yet made it to heaven because he stopped at the Pearly Gates to talk to everyone coming in. That of course, got a huge laugh from the audience. Still, not a dry eye in the house. The boys tell us that they feel it only proper to honor George by dedicating George’s favorite song by singing to us. They throw off their jackets and perform “LIFE WITH YOU”. Yes, another standing ovation. They did his song justice. Yet, another emotionally draining performance. Worth every tear.
After the show, it’s off to dinner, remember, it’s all about the food. No buffet tonight. We’re going to have real food, Villa Romo it is. Nice dinner. I had Prime Rib, baked potato and a salad, as did Joyce. Judy and Pat had Turkey Medallions and vegies. Dessert was chocolate cake with ice cream. Wonderfully delicious! Off to pick up our photos.
We were going to see Celtic Comet (Old Emmett and Colm) perform. My body was telling me, oh no you don’t, it’s time to sleep and we needed to get our suitcases packed and ready for departure at 7am. Suitcases packed and outside the door and off to bed. I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.
Woke at 5am and up to peek outside to see where we were. Of course I would know this because I know every waterway in Miami. What was I thinking? I could see we were coming into Port, but that was about it. Back to bed for a few minutes to reflect on the last few days. It went by very fast, but what fun! I would recommend this kind of therapy for everyone. Stay tuned for that teaser.

034
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hello All,
Today’s blog is being sent today as we decided to make today a “lite” day. We are still trying to “recoup”. With that said. Joyce is starting to fight a cold. I’m sure she will win. Sitting here watching the news and seeing a large part of the country is experiencing very cold temps. Yeah, we are experiencing that too. Not! 82 degrees today. Couldn’t ask for anything more. Anyway. We agree to do a “Ho-Ho” bus tour around Miami Beach and the surrounding area. Off and riding. We visit areas our friend Oscar took us last year, along with other areas not seen. Loads of fun. Back to Little Havana and a stop at a Cuban restaurant for a snack. Joyce and I share an Empanada, which is similar to a Pastie. Real good! Considering going back there for lunch tomorrow. Through Cocoanut Grove, Coral Gables in areas Oscar didn’t take us. Nice tour. Back to South Beach to call it a day. Was a short, but easy day. Time for dinner now. Not sure what Joyce is feeling like doing, but stay tuned.
Later!
Hello Folks,

We decided to stay close to the Colony for dinner. So we dined at the ellegent JOHNNY ROCKETS! Joyce  had the chicken club and I had the Miami Squealer. I’m pretty sure I’ll be squealing all night. It was an excellent sandwich. Joyce came down with the chills and began shaking so much, she had trouble getting the sandwich where it was supposed to go. I sent Joyce back to the room, while I dashed down to Walgreens to get a basket full of drugs. I return and Joyce is snuggled up to her pillow in the prone position on her bed. Poor thing, nothing worse than being sick while on vacation. Well, I guess she will be laying in bed tomorrow, while I’m laying on the beach. Isn’t that just terrible? She will be fine in a couple of days and we’ll be back hitting the pavement. Feel free to email her and wish her a quick recovery. mt.raine@yahoo.com . I’ll let you all know tomorrow what a miserable time I had sitting on the beach. I’m guessing I”ll get what she has, so I had better be careful, huh?

Okay, That’s it for now.

Lou

First and foremost, let me report that Joyce woke up this morning! Sounds like a cold to me, but I’m no doctor. She reports it’s a head cold.

I sent a blog last night, it appears it didn’t go. so I have attached it to this one. Someone can let me know if this one went.

Received an email from our Aussie Friends Mary and John. They are in Clearwater, Florida to see the first Celtic Thunder Christmas Show of the tour. Feel free to REPLY TO ALL and tell them Not To Worry About Us. I’m sure they will enjoy every minute of the show.

Mary and John…….Don’t worry about us!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Greetings from the Colony,
As I mentioned this morning, Joyce woke up, not feeling good though. I was able to get her out of bed to get her to eat something around 11:00 am. Ate at an eatery just two doors down from the Colony. Not sure of the name, but it was all organic. Joyce had organic fruit with organic bacon along with an organic Latté. I had organic French toast with organic syrup and fresh organically squeezed orange juice. I felt so organic. After our organic breakfast, Joyce went back to the room to rest.
I began an organic walk down Ocean Drive to the end, left turn (that was for Judy) and ended up on the beach. Another beautiful in South Beach. Walked the path back up to 7th street and took a break just to do some reflecting. What a beautiful beach and ocean. The water is so clear. Not too many people on the beach. Nice break. Back to the room to check on Joyce. Things were picking up along Ocean Drive. I guess the lunch crowd. Joyce is fine, in bed, resting just as she should. I didn’t want to bother her, so I took off to walk around the city.
Up Ocean Drive, over to Collins drive taking in the Art Deco buildings along the way. Lots of construction going on in the area. I continue up Collins Drive to Lincoln Road. I think I have described Lincoln Road in other blogs. In case I didn’t, this is the outside mall district which has no vehicle traffic on it. Mostly outlet stores and upper end stores. I end up being drawn into Haagen Dazs again, but just get some water. Sit outside consuming the water and enjoying people watching. I felt as though I was in Europe. Lots of foreign languages spoken as they walk by. A fellow and a lady walk out of Haagen Dazs and sit next to me. They were speaking some sort of Latin. If I had to guess, maybe from Puerto Rico. The guy asks me if I would take a picture of he and what I assume, is his mother. Of course I do. They thanked me and we were back on the road. Several shops and then a restaurant, continued that way to the end. As I turn to walk back to other side, I notice A Pottery Barn and next to it, I notice a Williams-Sonoma. I begin frantically looking for Pottery Barn Teen and Pottery Barn Kids. Dang, I don’t see either. Maybe it’s tucked on one of the side street. You see, my nephew’s wife, Autumn, works for the company that owns these places and I’m sure I could talk her into transferring to South Beach with Brian and the girls. I’m pretty sure they would like it here. I know I would love visiting them. What do you think kids? I can start looking for a house for you, maybe Coral Gables, maybe right here in South Beach. Hummm. Anyway. I step into Williams-Sonoma just to look. I’m greeted by three of the friendliest associates. I end up having lunch served to me. Organic, yes organic, it’s “O” day, organic turkey stuffing covered with turkey gravy with a side of cranberry sauce. For dessert they served me Pumpkin cake with chocolate-pecan frosting on it. That was awesome! I walked around the store and find a new thing I haven’t seen before. A spice for mashed potatoes. Interesting spices and an interesting way to put it into mash. Of course, I felt since they fed me lunch, the least I could do is purchase something. Yep, the marketing strategy worked as planned. Oh well, worth it. I thank them and its back on the road. Continue back up to Collins Drive, turn right (sorry Judy), down to 7th street enjoying the scenery along the way. Back to the Colony to check in on Joyce. Walked about 6 miles total. I really needed that walk, felt good to get some exercise. Back at the room I check on Joyce. She slept the whole time I was gone. I sit down and before you know it, I fall asleep. Just a short one. Watch the new and get Joyce going so we can eat. It’s all about the food!
Joyce, still unable to navigate too far, we choose to dine at the elegant Johnny Rockets again. This time I brought my glasses so I could read the menu. I notice they have deep fried pickles. Decision made, another Miami Squealer and an order of deep fried pickles. Geez, those things are good. Have a great meal, while Joyce just doesn’t have much of an appetite. She has some of her chicken salad and the rest is “take-away”. We do some people watching after dinner then back to the room. That’s it for another day. Tomorrow out to the beach for some “toes in the water, ass in the sand” therapy. Providing Joyce is still feeling poorly. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Okay Folks,
This one won’t be long. Kind of “Saturday Lite”. We are awakened around 4am by some moron pressure washing the sidewalk near our room. Really? Couldn’t wait until 8am? Joyce is getting better. I could understand what she was saying. She kind of lost her voice yesterday. Both of us hungry, so off to breakfast. I notice my throat was dry and thought, uh oh. After breakfast I dash down to Walgreens and get drugs. On my way back to the room, I decide to extend my walk. I get to Collins Drive and 12th street and notice a Miami Beach Police vehicle parked at the intersection with its emergency lights on. As I get closer, I notice what appears to be a large body lying in some bushes near the intersection. I saw a female human standing over the large body who was wearing green “scrubs”. Before I reached the intersection I see five other patrol cars arrive. I think to myself, geez, six patrol cars for a medical emergency. Guess MBPD had a slow day. I didn’t hang around to see the finale. Back to the room to down the drugs. Joyce was feeling good enough that we decided to book a “Ducktour” of Miami. Didn’t go so well. Made the call, they never called back. I emailed, still haven’t got a reply. Guess it wasn’t meant to be. Joyce decides to hang out in the room and I take off to the beach to “Put my toes in the water and ass in the sand”, which I did. Water temp 78 degrees. 81 degrees on the beach. The beach is beautiful. The cleanest beach I have ever seen. End up staying on the beach for about two hours. Walk back to the room. Notice the traffic on Ocean Drive is quite heavy, along with foot traffic. Must be Saturday. Let the partying begin! Get back to the room. Joyce tells me that she just got back. She walked down to Oceans Ten, which is a club on Ocean Dr and 10th Street. She seemed to enjoy.
Off to dinner. We stay at the hotel. Chicken Parmesan for Joyce and Skirt Steak for Lou. Back to the room and settle in for the evening. That’s it folks. Like I said, “Saturday Lite”. Stay tuned.
Joyce and Lou

Sunday, November 16, 2014

UN DIA EN LA HABANA,
Those would be my first Cuban words used and understood! I’ll give you a chance to figure it out and will share the English version later in the blog.
It seems folks on Ocean Drive party 24 hours on Saturday/Sunday. I fell asleep last night and was awakened at 3 am with someone tap dancing in the room over ours. Well, not really tap dancing, but you can use your imagination and figure out what they were probably doing. I got up to the check the time and tinkle and could still music and human voices coming from the front of the hotel. That seemed to stop at 5 am. Yeah, that was short lived. The Water Pressure Moron started the washer and was washing the sidewalk. I hate to think what it was. Finally stopped just before sun up. I fall back to sleep and wake up at 9am. Joyce is still snoring. Well, time to wake her, so the television goes on. She wakes eventually and we get ready and out the door. Off to breakfast at the Organic Russian Restaurant. I had eggs benedict, Joyce had a bagel and bacon. Finished breakfast a little after noon. I guess most would call that Sunday brunch.
Joyce feeling and sounding much better this morning. She wants to do some shopping, so we decide the Lincoln Street Mall is the place. I hail a cab, in we jump and we are off. Again a safe driver, I think? And down Collins Drive we go. Do you know taxi drivers in South Beach are required to drive Mach 1 on either the middle of the street, or the other side of the street. It’s obvious that this guy wants to get us there really fast. And that he did. I wonder if my travel insurance covers maniac taxi drivers. Either way we got there. Drops us near where Joyce needs to shop, so no complaints. Joyce and I do some shopping and head to the Duck Tours Headquarters right across from the store. Perfect. We book our tour on the Duck Boat that happens to be an amphibious vehicle. Off we go seeing some things we have seen before, but enjoy places we haven’t. Drove city streets for some of the tour, then into the water for some. Very interesting experience. I learned that the water between Miami Beach and Miami was once a marsh. In the late 1800’s, early 1900’s the marsh was dredged to make it deeper and the muck and sand was placed where Miami Beach currently sit. Miami Beach is built entirely on fill from the marsh. This along with several of the islands between Miami Beach and Miami. The old marsh had only three inches of water before the dredging began. We exit the water and get back on the terra firma. Finish the tour going down Ocean Drive and of course hearing of a couple of big movies that were made there. Movies to include Scarface, and The Birdwalk. Ocean Drive is packed as per usual. Finally get back to the drop off, its 5pm. You know what that means? Yep, it’s all about the food. I talk Joyce into walking a short distance down Lincoln Road to a Cuban Restaurant I checked out the other day. I finally arrive at HAVANA 1957. We are seated in what appears to be a jungle in the middle of the mall. Felt as though we were in a Cuban forest. Hence, UN DIA EN LA HABANA. I asked our awesome waiter what that meant. He goes through the term word by word. ONE DAY IN HABANA. With the Cuban music playing in the background, it really did feel as though we were dining in Havana for the day. What a great atmosphere!
Okay Carol Marshall, this is where you need to pay attention. We started with appetizers. Got the CUBAN COMBO which consisted of, Ham Croquettes, bite sized pork chunks, plantain chips, fried yucca, potato balls stuffed with beef, and tamal stuffed with seasoned pork. My God! They were amazing. It came with two dips, one being some sort of citrus butter with some sort of spice in it. The other was something like a ranch dressing, avocado combo. We are not really sure what was in it, but it was amazing. Since we were making complete pigs of ourselves, we ordered dinner. Yes, the appetizers would have been enough, but, what the heck. Joyce orders PALOMILLA A LA PLANCHA. Translated, Traditional Cuban grilled thin steak. Cooked on the grill, topped with onions in Cuban Mojo. Served with moro rice and boiled yucca with Cuban mojo. I order ESPECIALIDAD DE LA CASA, which is a family roasted chicken in Cuban gravy, served with white rice, black beans, salad, and sweet plantains. We got our dinner. Joyce had tears rolling down her eyes. Geez, what’s up? I begin eating, tears start down my eyes. Nope, not because its spicy, Cuban food is not spicy, but, because it is the most wonderful food. The flavor is simply fantastic! I have never had such flavorful black beans. The chicken has the most amazing flavor. Those sweet Plantains, oh, those sweet plantains. It makes tears roll down your face. The problem is, this is just too much food. Three pieces of chicken, a cup of rice, four plantains, a cup of black beans and a green salad. I could only eat two pieces of chicken and couldn’t finish the beans and rice and didn’t touch the salad. Pat Laughlin, I think you would have enjoyed this meal, minus the green salad. You can go to www. Havana 1957.com for a complete menu. When you log on, go to the Lincoln Drive option for the menu. We finished and paid the bill. Our awesome waiter could see the pain we were in after eating that meal, he told us we could stay as long as we wanted at our table. So, we did. People watching is so fun. This mall was loaded with folks shopping/looking.
As we walked down the mall, we came upon a painted mime dress completely white and made up as Elvis Prestley, playing his songs while holding a white guitar. A couple of kids getting their pictures taken by their parents. Was really cute. We walked further and came upon three street dancers doing acrobatic dances. Twirls, spinning on their heads, doing flips, etc. Really, really great moves. Large crowd gathered to watch. What fun! On the Washington Street and hail a taxi. This guy was trained by the first guy. But, we made it back safe and sound. I didn’t even wet my pants this time.
So, there we go, another Sunday night in South Beach. Off to the room to settle in for the evening. Stay Tuned!
Joyce and Lou

Good Morning From Sticky Miami!

I now know why Elizabeth Thorpe chooses to summer in Downieville. Yesterday was 87 degrees with a ridiculous amount of humidity. I had to peel my cloths off at the end of the day. Literally! Yuk.

Well, I was on my last sentence of the blog last night when everything disappeared off the screen. That made me so happy! I was tired and sticky so I gave up and went to bed.

Not much to report, as yesterday was our last full day in Miami. Time to head home and get cold. Hum, maybe humid isn’t so bad. Well, we got a slow start yesterday for the obvious reason. Had breakfast at Johnny Rockets. Don’t laugh, it was one of our best breakfasts since arriving in Miami. Joyce just wanted to stay close, so I took off on a walk. Joyce did some shopping close by and I ended up at Best Buy and TJ Max. Had to get some headphones for the ipod. One of those things I forgot at home. Anyway, got those next door to TJ Max. Really, it was excuse to stay in a cool building. Started back toward the hotel with a brief stop here and there to browse. Arrived at room 204 and found that Joyce had not yet returned. Dropped my goods off and headed toward the beach to try and find Joyce. Looked several locations with no luck. Headed back toward the hotel and had to stop for a break as the old “dogs” were barking for a break. You see, with sweaty feet, the blisters begin to form causing a fair amount of discomfort. Therefore, “Barking dogs”. Continued back to the room and found Joyce absent, still. If she is not back by 5, I’ll ring her on her cell. Well, shortly thereafter, she arrived. Seems she was at the beach watching a volleyball game. I guess I didn’t look good enough. Watched some news and decided it was time for dinner. Yes, Its all about the food!

Off to the Palace on 12th and Ocean. We order the Palace Flatbread. Ended up being a really good choice. Super tasty. Sort of like a pizza, only square. While dining, we are entertained with a Drag show. Yep, right in front of us. Good God! I have never seen 4 inch eye lashes and her hair. I have never seen such tall hair. I was expecting to see one of those aircraft beacons on the top. Ended up being quite entertaining. Got the attention of everyone walking by. The faces of the elderly once they realized what it was. I about wetting myself laughing. Good times. Time to call it a night, head back to the room with periodic stops for the “barking dogs”.

On schedule, at 5am the pressure washer guy is out doing the daily duty. Eh, sleep is over-rated. Time to get the blog out and then to pack. Efficient Joyce did her last night. I chose to do mine this morning. No since rushing. So, maybe an update at the airport. Plane allegedly departs at 12:20 pm EST. Back to LAX for a short 1-1/2 hour layover, then back to Sacramento, allegedly at 6:15 pm PST. So, stay tuned.

Greetings All,

Just a very quick update on todays travel. Arrived almost 30 minutes early. I’m surprised, considering all the bouncing around the south we did. Took off on time from Miami. Bounced all the way to Lufkin, Texas. About midway, the bouncing got pretty bouncy. I was listening to my ipod for a distraction. Just as we hit some heavy stuff, Judy Collins came on singing “Amazing Grace” Not sure that was a good thing or not. Guess it was, as we made it through that. Thank you Judy C. Thank you Grace, your Amazing! Oh, and thank you God! Leveled our for awhile, but somewhere over New Mexico, it started again. It was hit and miss all the way to LAX.

Just enough time to grab a snack, email family and friends and get ready to board. Warm here in LA, 75 or so. Our friends Judy and Pat are whine-bagging about 18 degrees in Pennsylvania. Should have stayed in Florida sillies! Our other Aussie friends emailed today telling us they made it home and the show is Clearwater, FL was good. They are planning on coming to one of our Celtic Thunder parties. No, we don’t have lives, deal with it.

The schedule board show us arriving early in Sacramento. Really, twice in one day. Stay tuned. Board shows 6:03 pm instead of 6:15.

So, there you go. We’ll see everyone in Sierra County soon. The rest of you, later!

Lou and Joyce, The Bouncers

Travels with Lou & Joyce 11/12/14

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Okay Folks,
Off and running!
Joyce and I arrived in Sacramento at 3:00 pm. Next leg of our adventure is our flight tomorrow from Sacramento Airport. 7:05am departure to LAX for our exciting 4 hour 15 minute lay over. Who Booked this flight? Oh, that’s right, me. From LAX to Miami, Florida for our meeting up with Celtic Thunder and all those cruiser fans! Yep, 4 days on the MSC Divina cruising the Bahamas. I just love this time of year!
Trying out this new blog feature on Windows.
Stay tuned for further blogs along this trip which will last until November 18th.
Got my toes in the sand!
Lou

11/6/14 Just a quick update from LAX. Hum, this place has some of the most interesting people. I’ll leave it at that.

Departed Sacramento at 7:05 this morning. Nice flight…….well mostly. We get into the air and our flight attendant decides to introduce us to the new, in training flight attendant. That would be Linda. Linda is so new that today is her first flight. Okay? Linda begins to share safety instructions. I’m not sure I’m feeling safe while she explains this as she is reading from her queue card. She can read just fine, but she’s not very convincing with what we need to do in case we crash. We get through all of that and actually have a nice flight. Had a beautiful landing. Flew over Santa Barbara. How do I know, you ask? I could see Steve Felix in his yard waiving as we flew over. Landing good. Took 30 minutes to taxi to the terminal. Seems they ran out of parking spaces for the plane and had to wait for the next available. Finally parked and got off. Next stop, American Airlines gates.

Easier said than done. It’s only 2 miles from the United gate. Really? We hoof it over to terminal 4…..20 minutes later we arrive. WHAT? we have to go through security again, yep. Fine. We had TSA pre check in Sacramento, so we flew right through. Nope, we couldn’t be so lucky. We had to strip down…….well, okay, we had to take our shoes off. What a pain. Sent my carry on through the x-ray. In the meantime, I had to do the full body scan. Just as soon as I got inside, the dumb thing broke. Something about re-calibrating. I knew I had a special body……broke the machine. Back through the metal detector. Whew! Met on the other side by TSA informing me that I had a laptop computer in my carry-on. Duh. Well, wee need to scan that separately. No problem. She tells me to pick up my carry-on bag when it comes out the x-ray machine. No problem. Bag comes through, she says all yours and I split. What she said, which I didn’t hear apparently, was get you bag and wait for the laptop. Joyce and I take off because we had not had breakfast yet and we were starving. (I chose NOT to get a muffin in Sacramento. We know what happens when I have a muffin on a plane). We dash off and find an acceptable place to eat. I reach inside my carry-on and discover…..no laptop. CRAP! I say in English. I tell Joyce to go ahead and eat and try to get back through TSA. I ignore every “Do Not Enter” sign to get back. I see on of the TSA guys that I saw first time through. I explain I have to laptop. He goes to the “secret” drawer and asks we to describe it. Black and square and it has DELL on it. Turns out I’m the only idiot that walked off without my laptop. He pulls my laptop from the “secret” drawer. Whew, again!

Back to join Joyce for Brunch and my $17 breakfast burger. It was good, but really? $17? Now waiting for our 1:50pm flight to Miami. The board shows its on-time. $10 says it won’t be. Actually, the plane is parked right outside the gate. We’ll see.

Stay tuned. Lou and Joyce

11/7/14 Hello Folks,

First, let me apologize for not updating last night upon our arrival. I kinda got tired when we arrived. So, I went to bed like a good boy.

I started to email all of you and just as soon as I started, Our friends we met last year on the cruise, Judy and Pat came to our hotel to meet with us. So, I didn’t finish.

Now, for the update. Left LAX on time, flight was mostly smooth allowing me to cat nap a couple of times. It’s hard to sleep when the plane hits bumpy roads along the way. Nothing major, but east New Mexico and west Texas seemed to have some unsettled air. So we did some small bouncing for a short time.

Arrived at Miami airport 12 minutes early. Great! yeah, well not so. Just as soon as we set down, the pilot advises us that they have been advised by the tower that there are no parking spaces available at the gates. So, we get to sit on the the shoulder of the runway and wait for one to open. Don’t you think someone would have planned parking a little better? 20 minutes later we get to park. Just as we park, we meet two ladies seated in front of us. Being the trained observer that I’am, I notice an accent as they speak. Australia? I say, yes they tell me. I ask, your destination? They say, “The Bahamas”. Oh, I say, We will probably will see you there. Are you going on the Celtic Thunder Cruise? they ask. Why, yes we are I say. Great, us too. Okay, see you on the ship. They advise us that they just finished thier 36 hour flight from Australia. I tell Joyce, okay, no more complaining about our 4 hour layover, we had a pretty good day compared to those folks. She agreed.

Collect our luggage, step outside for a taxi and are hearded down the sidewalk to an awaiting taxi. Get in, sit down and were off and running. I’m sure the driver was trying to make it to the speed the plane traveled to get us to Miami. My God! I’m not sure the tires ever hit the pavement. He was a safe driver, but drove very fast! Got to the hotel in less than 10 minutes. Usually 15-20 minutes. We slide in to registration and checked in. Of course, we all know, it’s all about the food. Joyce and I throw our baggage into the room and dash back down to the cafe to grab a bite before it closes at 11pm. It’s 10:40. Whew! Just made it. Actually our meal was good and it hit the spot. Back to our room. I begin to produce the blog when my body said, no you don’t, I’m done for the day. Well, I have been up since 4am and only slept 3 or so hours. Who am I to argue with my body. Off to bed and right to sleep at 11:30. Slept til 8am, turned on the TV in an attempt to get Joyce going. Nope, she was out for the count. Finally, 9:30 she comes to life. I hit the shower and we are off and running. Breakfast and off to the computer to get the blog out. Just started when Judy and Pat call. We’re in the lobby they say. Great! meet us in the cafe.

Judy tells us that somewhere between the airport and the hotel, she looses her wallet with all their cash and credit cards in it. Geez, not good. Guess they got the credit cards cancelled and printed new cash for the cruise. Great! back on the cruise!

11:00 am in the cafe we begin getting caught up since we last saw them last year. Great visit and lots of laughs. We realized it was time to head to the Hyatt to get ready for the Welcome Party which starts at 3:30. This is where we get our photo with “The Boys” taken. IT WAS SPECTACULAR! They came into the room and the crowd goes wild! (if you think I’m too much into Celtic Thunder, you should attend one of these things. I don’t even register on the meter). The guys take thier places for photos and the party begins. Rob Thomas, the Irish comedian is the Master of Ceremony along with another comedian who is vertically challenged (about 5′, maybe) They introduce a band from Ireland that is on the cruise with us. They play traditional irish music. They were just GREAT! While they are playing, folks are in line to have thier photo taken with the boys. All of the other performing acts were walking around the room introducing themselves to all of us and helping to get this party started. David Munro, the musical director for Celtic Tunder, stopped by our table. We took a group photo with him. (I’ll send it in aonther blog) What a nice man…..and funny too! The Gailic Rthym Dancers help with getting folks in line for photos. One of them a very young man, 15 or so who appeared nervous about this whole thing. Yeah, we took care of that. He is a very nice kid. I’m sure he isn’t sure what to think about all this Celtic Thunder crazyness. Joyce and I make it to the boys. Say hi to the guys, get the photo taken and back to the party. Keith has let his hair grow and it is down past his shoulders. Everyone agrees, he needs to cut it. We’ll see. Back to the party. They throw several rubber Beach balls out to the audience to liven things up. Of course, that didn’t take much. Rubber balls flying everywhere. What a blast!

The band stops playing and Rob introduces the Celtic Thunder Band. Opens it up to a Q&A session and of course, lots of questions. Good laughs and horse play. Time to end the party and leave. Probably the best thing they could have done to start this cruise!

Back to the hotel to get ready to eat. It’s all about the food!

Celtic Thunder fans have taken over the Courtyard Marriott and the Hyatt Regency Hotels. Crazy fans everywhere!

We walk to the Bristle District of Miami to find a place to eat. What do we find? Finnigans Pub! It’s Irish, you know! Sit down and order. Judy and Pat tell us about fried pickles, which is on the menu. Huh, never heard of them. They order them for an appitizer. WOW! Amazing stuff. Really, Really Good! For pub food, it was really good. Joyce some sort of grilled chicken, Pat had a burger, Judy had a Rueben and I had skirt steak. Excellent. Made pigs of ourselves and walked back to the hotel for a Warm chocolate chip cookie sundae. Yeah, Yeah, Frank, I’m on vacation, one sundae won’t kill me. Besides, I split it with Joyce.

While enjoying our sundae, I tell Joyce, Gee, don’t those folks at the other table look like John and Mary, who we met on last years cruise? She agrees, Pat, in his usual bashful way, yells, JOHN. He and Mary see us and join us for dessert. John and Mary are from Austrailia. They too, decided to do the cruise again. They decided to extend the Holiday by stopping in Las Vegas for a few days, on the New York City for a few days, down to Miami for the cruise, back to Clearwater FL for the Celtic Thunder Christmas Show and back home. We visit and laugh until 11pm at which time I had to excuse myself to get this blog sent out to all of you.

So, for all of you who talked about going on this cruise for the last year and decided not to go….I won’t mention any names Barbara ,Joyce, Rick and Gail, you really blew it! This looks to be a most amazing, most musical, most nutrious, most entertaining Celtic Thunder event ever! The energy going on here is something I have never seen before. We still don’t know who the suprise entertainment is at Thunder Bay, but, there has been some speculation as to what it might be. Damian McGinty has posted on his facebook page that his tour with Ethan Bortnick just ended and he is enroute to Miami. Hummmm, ya think? Stay tuned

I won’t be blogging until we get back to Miami on Wednesday. I will attach my daily blogs to an email then. There will be four days of blogs, so plan on spending some time when you get it. So, until then.

Lou and Joyce, The Crazy Celtic Thunder Bloggers

11/8/14 Okay, the day is half gone.

Had a few minutes this morning just to let you all know that we are enjoying 70 degrees at 8:45 am. I just love Miami! A little humid, but not bad.

I hope most of what I emailed last night made some sort of sense. Along with being on a natural high and, being Butt tired after a busy day, I wasn’t sure what I wrote made sense. Anyway.

It’s Bon Voyage. Will update on Wednesday when we arrive in South Beach. Yeah, Ocean Drive, on the beach with my toes in the sand. I just love the Zac Brown Band!

Tootles, Lou and Joyce

11/9/14 OOOOOOMMMMMMMMGGGGGGGGG! This ship is amazing! It has flush toilets!  And so much more. Were never going to want to go back to any other cruise line. Great Food Too! Checked in early….cause we could. Stood in line with the boys and the bands. So down to earth! Lots more people on board. Quite a few from Australia…….Love those Aussies!

The old Emmett had very large hair. Not sure if it’s the humidity or what. Short chat with Ryan at the beverage bar (ice tea). What a nice fellow. Anyway. Just thought we would share this moment. We are being paged for our fire/rescue drill. Talk later.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Well, yesterday was an absolute blast. Shuttled from the hotel to the port. Got there early, which was good as we were able to stand in line with the boys during check-in. Very entertaining to watch. Check-in ran very smooth. They told us to go right to the buffet to enjoy a meal, as our rooms won’t be available until 3pm. Who are we to argue? Met up with Judy and Pat and John and Mary. As you would expect, the meal was fantastic. Service is amazing. Those Italian’s really know how to put on a meal.
Joyce and I head to our room. (12093) The room is bigger than the one last year. The balcony is the size of a football field. The only problem is, we get our lights to go on. I call 99 to have them show us what we’re doing wrong. I get canned music and stay on hold for eternity. Music switches to another language, so I give up. Lights are over-rated. Time for our rescue drill.
That took all of 10 minutes. Dropped our life vests back at the room and off to the SAILAWAY PARTY. Meet with Mary and John, and Judy and Pat. They tell us that there are about 3600 humans on this cruise, we saw every one of them at the party. We were also told that folks from the Moody Blues Cruise were given an opportunity to sail with us at a reduced rate. Boy, do they stand out among the Irish. But they seem to be enjoying themselves. I don’t think they knew what to think of us THUNDERHEADS. They just kind of, stood in the background and observed. I’m sure they will be visiting their mental health care professional when they return home. I mentioned in a previous blog that the comedians name was Rob Thomas. I’m getting my musicians mixed up with the comedians. His name is actually Mick Thomas. He and the vertically challenged comedian whose name I can’t remember “MC’d” the party. Crazy energy from the get-go. So many great acts this year, The Kildares, Gaelic Storm, The Gaelic Rhythm Dancers, The Young Dubliners, Chloe Agnew (from Celtic Women), Paddy Cole and His Jazz Band, Sandra O’Hara, Mick Thomas, not to mention events and activities. No sleep here. Just as the party is ending, the engines on the most amazing ship start up, anchors pulled up, tie downs released and we are off and sailing. What would one do after an amazing start like that? Yep, to our first show. Dueling Pianos with David Munro and Shamus Brit and the short comedian. (I promise, I’ll get his name down soon) I tell you, David and Shamus can play that piano. They started playing when they were 3 and 4 years of age and now in their 50’s. David was trained classically and Shamus was trained original Irish music. Man, could they play that ivory. And of course, we had no idea the short comedian could sing. What a voice! Finished the show with HEY JUDE. The whole group joined in and closed with a bang. Turns out “Shorty” started his career singing and went over to comedy. He does well with both.
What to do now that we have 1-1/2 hours until the next show. Yep, “It’s all about the food” Off to the buffet! On our way we come across Belinda Murphy teaching, or should I say, trying to teach a group of Americans how do dance fine-tuned. She and Gaelic Rhythm were doing the dance class. Everyone actually did well. The Moody Blues folks must have thought they were on another planet. Off to the buffet. Pizza seemed to sound good for me, so that’s what I had. Others ate healthy. After dinner, it’s off to the Gelato bar for some CHOCO-ORANGE. Boy was that good. Eat your heart out Gail Clemo! Some of the best I have ever had. Off to the Pantheon Theatre for our first “big” show. This year we have assigned seating, so no lines. Terrible seats again. Center stage, fourth row. I tell you, I don’t know how we do it, but we do seem to be very lucky. Best seats in the house. Did I mention we were there to see Ryan and Neil perform? Oh, and did they perform! Songs from their Acoustically Irish album and a couple from their newly released album. They brought the house down!!! Standing ovation and an encore. They were so taken back by the response. Man, do they have their show fined tuned! GREAT MUSIC! Of course, everyone leaves the theatre walking 3 feet off the ground. Another break before the next show. Back to the buffet. Calm down, we didn’t eat, had a glass of ice tea and visited, then off to the next show.
Emmett O’Hanlon is the newest member of Celtic Thunder. This is his solo show. We haven’t heard him sing yet, so we were curious. Emmett is trained classically in New York City. This is his first appearance in front of the Celtic Thunder fans, so he was very nervous. His first song was MARIA, from West Side Story. He brought the walls down! That eased his fears and went on to sing The Impossible Dream. Last time I heard that song was when Jim Nabors sang it years ago. Man, Emmett nailed it perfectly. Went on to sing some opera numbers, He continues to shock the crowd. I think he has been accepted into the Celtic Thunder “fold”. 24 years old and an absolute perfect voice.
11:30 pm. Time to call it a night. I tell Judy, we don’t have lights. She explains that to activate the lights, you put the “Do Not Disturb” in the slot and that will turn the lights on. Really? I have never heard of that? Back to the room to give it a try. Huh, sure enough it works. Off to bed, lights out.
Woke up this morning docked in Nassau. Time to shower and off and running. Busy schedule again. Stay tuned! Lou and Joyce

Monday, November 10, 2014

Good Morning Everyone,
I’m writing to you all this morning from our balcony as the sun rises in the east. It’s peeking through the clouds making it the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen. I can see Thunder Bay from a distance. So I know we will be coming into port very soon. It is about 73 degrees at 6:30am. Could one ask for any more? I have decided I’m going to stow away on the ship and just ride until next year. I’m sure no one would mind.
It’s time to give you an update from yesterday’s events. We woke up way too late and were already in port at Nassau. Judy and Pat decided not to wait for us and went to breakfast. We almost missed breakfast. Ran into John and Mary to make sure all was well……it was. Joyce decided it was time for a massage to relax her already relaxed self. She stayed on board, while Judy, Pat and I took off for a walking tour of Nassau. First stop, The Straw Market. This is where the local folk sell hand made goods from the island. T-shirts and baseball caps. Just kidding. Well, they do sell lots of those, but also handmade stuff. I ended up buying a t-shirt. Everyone told me that you can barter with these folks. So, barter I did. Really? Barter a t-shirt? Yep, she told me $15, I gave her the stink eye, she said $13. I felt silly bartering for a t-shirt, so I paid the $13 and we were both happy.
We walked across the street, which happens to be the Main Street in town. We noticed a lot of local police presence. Upon asking “whas-up”? We were told that it was Police Officer’s Memorial Day in Nassau and a parade was coming through. Wow! Good timing. Sure enough, here comes two motorcycle officers followed by several marching bands, local organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, The Red Cross, etc. From very young to quite mature. What a treat! Took some photos and enjoyed the parade. Wasn’t expecting that one.
Continued our walk taking in churches, hotels, lots of jewelry stores and assorted tourist shops. Finished with stopping at Burger King for a drink. (They don’t have Carl’s Jr Dang it) Back to the ship. That’s when I noticed, geez, that is a huge ship we are on. Higher and longer than any other ship at port. Don’t know if I mentioned what a beautiful ship this is inside. Back through security and on to the ship. Fun day at Nassau!
Got back to the room and no Joyce, She must be at her massage. I decide it’s time to post our autograph sign on the door of the cabin. We Thunderheads do this as the boys lurk in the night going up and down the rows of cabins signing whatever you post on your door. Yes, I know, we need to get a life. But, the boys are happy to do it. Get that done and head for deck 14, pool, food and drink. Walk for a while unable to locate anyone I know. Back to the room to find her looking like rubber. Apparently the massage worked. She says she is so relaxed, she is going to take a nap. No, I haven’t been pushing her too hard, that’s what a one hour massage will do. I go back to D14 and grab a lounge chair and proceed to fall asleep. They are working us hard, so we need some down time. Was awakened by some music on the pool stage. It’s FULL SET warming up for their show. Judy walks by, so I grab her and we sit a visit. The band starts their performance. Traditional Irish music. These guys are really good. As I listen, it takes me back to Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland listening to the bands there. What a nice sound. They finish the show and it’s time to get back to the room to get ready for the big night.
Don’t think I’ve mentioned, but tonight is Black-Tie night. Everyone dresses to the 9’s, go to a CELTIC THUNDER show and then to dinner. Meet Judy and Pat, (by the way, John and Mary are in the Red group, so we only see them every now and then). This show is the Christmas show. Pat really gets into Black Tie night. He wears his Kilt, as do many other men. We grab our terrible seats and the show begins. IT’S VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING! The boys come out and they are absolutely “in Sync”, perfect. I’m not going to tell you what all they did, because I want to encourage all of you to try to attend the Christmas Symphony Tour starting right after the cruise. I will tell you this. Emmett O’Hanlon absolutely brought the house down with O Holy Night. He got a 5 minute standing ovation. This ship was shaking because of the applause and yelling. This kid can sing like nothing I have ever heard! When he started, you could tell he was nervous, by the time he finished and heard our response he looked so “at ease” and happy. Again, folks, even if you have to travel thousands of miles, you will NOT be disappointed in this show. It would be the best thousand miles you traveled. I guarantee it! The show continues with Keith singing Messiah and knocking it out perfect. Ryan sang, Christmas in Donegal, which happens to be my favorite. Knocked it out perfect! So, enough of that. Again, see the show! I was exhausted from emotion when the show finished. On to dinner……It’s all about the food!
We decide to head to Flannigan’s which was offering a traditional Irish meal. We arrive and met with “do you have reservations?” No, the paper said we don’t need them. We’re told that only applies to after 9pm. It’s 8pm. What? Sharon’s going to hear about this. We left angry. We end up at another restaurant that is absolutely packed. They fit us in and end up sitting with a lady and her niece from Iowa. Lady is a nurse in the ER and the niece is a secretary at a motorcycle center and John Deere dealer. Nothing Runs Like a Deere! Both are real nice. The lady is so excited about sitting with us at our table, she knocks her water glass over and spills water all over Joyce. Joyce was complaining about the heat. Careful what you ask for. Dinner was good, service was slow, I’m sure because of being slammed. Got to get that fixed.
After dinner we head to the karaoke area and listen to Emmet Cahill and the short comedian, which by the way, his name is Richie Hayes. They get things going and others sign up to sing. Lots of fun. We wanted to see Mick Thomas do his comedy gig, so off we go to the Black and White lounge. His show is hilarious! Even had the old farts laughing. He is going to be on Conan O’Brien soon, so stay tuned. I think you all will enjoy his humor. Funny, funny guy.
After the show we are thirsty and head off to where? Yep, the buffet for a glass of ice tea. We are met with a ridiculous amount of dessert choices and ice tea. We grab both and head off to a table to enjoy. What a night! Midnight, we are beat but feeling a natural high. Folks, I can’t even begin to tell you how relaxing this is. Crazy busy doing things, yet feeling so relaxed. Guess you can’t tell what a terrible time were having. We’ll tough through it though. Off to beddy bye.
The ship has dropped anchor and I see the island off in a distance. They tell us they have this surprise for us when we get there. Anticipation. Can we wait? Stay tuned!
Lou, Joyce and the 3600 other passengers onboard.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Good Morning Folks,
Another fine morning off the balcony of the MSC Divinia. 6:00 am, woke early to see another spectacular sunrise, and to charge the battery on the laptop. Just at daybreak, another cruise ship passes on the water. What a beautiful sight! Water a little choppy, but not too bad. 70 or so degrees.
Time to share yesterday’s events. Started the day with breakfast, cause, “It’s always about the food”! Met Judy and Pat and Mary and John. After breakfast we go to Deck 7 to get our ticket to head to “THUNDER BAY”. Seems as though the seas are a little choppy, so it’s taking longer for the boats to load and depart. We wait and we wait and we wait. Joyce, Mary and John decide the day is wasting, so they choose not to go, but instead, decide to hang out at the pool. The three “Diehards” wait it out and finally get called to board the shuttle boats. Only a 3 hour wait. As we are loading, we are met by Belinda Murphy and other Celtic Thunder band members. They tell us that is quite nice but the Boys have already performed. Plenty of food though. Well, as long as there is food, we’re in! Off we go for the 5 minute ride to shore. Arrive on the island. Very nice white sand. Check out several shops and on to lunch. After lunch we decide to “Put our toes in the water and our ass in the sand”. I just love that song! Anyway, hangout on the beach, enjoy the warm sea water and take in the views. Time to return to the ship. All aboard!
Get back to the room to find Joyce lounging……which is what she is supposed to be doing. Time to get ready for the Chloe Agnew show in the Pantheon Theatre. Chloe is a former member of Celtic Women. Chloe is out on her own now and just became a citizen of the USA. She lives in Los Angeles and is working on her solo career. She has got an amazing voice. About halfway through the show, she has Emmett Cahill come out to join her. For a couple of duets. Absolutely beautiful. Chloe finishes her show with “You Raise Me Up”. What a great voice and a beautiful women.
Off to dinner. Light one for me. Too much food. After dinner we decide to go to the Karaoke bar and watch some amateur performers. Some were really good! Always fun to watch humans make fools of themselves. After Karaoke, David Munro and Shamus Bret begin their “1 Piano, 4 hands” gig. We stay for that for a little while. Word got out these guys are good, so the place was packed. Time to shuffle off to the Pantheon for the Keith Harkin show. Calm down Petra. This a solo show with Keith, David Bakay (guitar player for the Celtic Thunder Band, and Declan the Drummer from the band) Keith plays most of his songs from his recent album and a couple from his new album which is set to release late spring, early summer. Real good songs. I’m sure Petra will enjoy all of them. Keith talked a little about his song writing and the fact that the boat he owns in Long Beach, CA is for sale. Has been in London, England working on the new album. In between all of that, he has time to surf. Busy boy. Two observations I noticed was his love for country music, (did several country numbers) and how touched he was by the passing of George Donaldson. He tells of a song he wrote, kind of for George. Apparently, he was doing his US gigs when he received word that George had passed away. He wrote this song and tried to sing it during his show and couldn’t finish it. You can tell “The Big Guy” had a spot in his heart. Okay, enough of that. Keith as usual put on a great show.
We head toward the Black and White lounge to see Emmett Cahill’s show and are met with a ga-zillion people in line to see it too. It was apparent this place was going to fill fast. So we decide to head to the pool stage to see the ending of the Gaelic Storm show. DID YOU HEAR US? My god! These guys had the whole ship rocking back and forth. I’m sure you could hear the music and excitement in California and maybe even Idaho. This band is simply amazing. They tour the U.S. often. If you get a chance to see them, do it! You won’t be sorry. Traditional Irish music with a twist of party. My God! Just can’t say enough. Finishing song, they did a Congo Line around the pool deck with almost everyone in line. What a hoot! Joyce had had enough, so she retired for the night. Pat, Judy and I decided to stay and listen to the Young Dubliners perform. Well, they are a “New Age” Irish group with a hint of Traditional Irish. Not really my cup of tea so we decided to retire for the night.
Today is filled with lots of shows and activities so stay tuned!
The Gang

11/12/14 Made it to shore this morning about 6am. Thank God! My arms were getting tired. At the Hotel, can’t check in til 1 pm. Having breakfast and checking emails. Staying at the Beautiful COLONY on Ocean Drive, South Beach. Probably low 70’s. I just love it here!

It’s funny, there are lots of folks walking down the sidewalk from the Cruise Ship.

Okay, just wanted to check in and let you know we are back on shore. I’m going to be putting out a couple of blogs later today. Stay tuned.

Lou and Joyce and Judy and Pat (yeah, they decided to tag along with us)

Forgotten Flag Raisers 10/1/14

Our local Veterinarian, Dennis Spence has informed Ingrid Larson of an event happening in Grass Valley on Saturday, October 18th that involves his son, Dustin. The event is a film that was made by Dustin called “FORGOTTEN FLAG RAISERS”. It is a story about the Marines that raised the first flag on Iwo Jima during WWII. Again, this film will be shown on October 18th at 7PM at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building Auditorium and admission is FREE!

We thought it would be fun to travel to Grass Valley and enjoy a fine meal at Sergio’s Café, then attend the event. So, I will make the necessary arraignment’s with Sergio’s Café. We will take the van(s) for anyone who wants to travel that way, or you can take your own vehicle. $15 per person on the van. You must RSVP me for Sergio’s by October 12th so I can make the reservations. I have attached the flyer for the show for more information.

Look forward to seeing all of you in Grass Valley.

More Fun with Lou 10/1/14

HOLIDAY – OFF BROAD STREET

CAN YOU HAVE TOO MANY CHRISTMAS SHOWS?
NOPE!
MARK YOUR CALENDER’S
OFF BROADSTREET THEATRE PRESENTS
HOLIDAY-OFFBROADSTREET
A NEW MUSICAL COMEDY BY JOHN DRISCOLL
NEVADA CITY
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2014  2:00 PM
AFTER THE SHOW WE WILL DINE SOMEWHERE IN NEVADA CITY OR GRASS VALLEY. NOT TO WORRY.  SINCE WE WILL BE DINING AFTER THE SHOW, MAYBE WE CAN GET TO BASKIN-ROBBINS BEFORE THEY CLOSE!
THOSE WISHING TO RIDE THE VAN, WE WILL DEPART FROM THE SENIOR CENTER AT 12 NOON AND THE COST OF $15.00 PER PERSON.
YOU MAY PRE-PAY ME $24 PER PERSON FOR THE SHOW. I MUST HAVE YOUR MONEY BY NOVEMBER 19TH. NO MONEY, NO TICKY.
THE VANS FILL QUICKLY…..NO DILLY-DALLY
LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING ALL OF YOU ON THE 7TH OF DECEMBER!

Christmas with Lou 10/1/14

CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND

WHAT? CHRISTMAS ALREADY? YES FOLKS, IT’S TIME TO PREPARE FOR THE ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SHOW AT THE ELDORADO RENO. I HAVE BEEN WORKING ALL WEEK TO GET BOOKED FOR THIS SHOW AND IT SEEMS SOME CONVENTION HAS THE NERVE TO BOOK OUR SHOWROOM AND SEATS FOR DECEMBER 2ND AND 3RD. SO, WE HAVE TO GET SECONDS ON SEATS. ROW “L”. I’M STILL TRYING TO GET US CLOSER, BUT DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH. SO HERE WE GO.
Christmas Wonderland
When:
DECEMBER 3/4, 2014
Location:
Eldorado Showroom
Ticket Price:
$51.13 Buffet Dinner & Show
For Tickets Call:
(800) 648-5966
1-775-786-5700 X7770 MICHELE’S DIRECT LINE
HOTEL RESERVATIONS: 1-800-879-8879
We’re ringing in the holiday season with one of London’s biggest Christmas shows. From the producers of “Spirit of the Dance,” the Eldorado Showroom presents “Christmas Wonderland” – a holiday extravaganza of pure Christmas magic Guests will be taken on an unforgettable Christmas journey filled with tradition in this glittering, dancing and singing seasonal spectacular. “Christmas Wonderland” is an enchanting holiday show with a dazzling cast, beautiful costumes, breathtaking scenery and the highest kicking chorus girls this side of the North Pole.
The audience is invited to sing along to Christmas classics including “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Chestnuts Roasting,” “O Holy Night” and many more. Get into the holiday spirit

IF YOUR RIDING THE VAN, WE WILL LEAVE THE SENIOR CENTER AT 10:00 AM SHARP. THE USUAL STOP AT BORDERTOWN FOR LUNCH AND LIGHT GAMBLING, THEN ON TO THE EL DORADO FOR 3:00 PM CHECK-IN. DINNER AT 5:00 PM AT THE BUFFET AND ON TO THE SHOW.
SO, GET YOUR SANTA SUITS AND MISTILETOE READY. IT SHOULD BE A GREAT SHOW!

Spectra W/ Lou 9/10/14

SPECTRA

SPECTRA IS THE SECOND MISCHIEVOUS EXCURSION INTO THE SPECTRUM OF LIGHT AND FIRE FROM THE PRODUCERS OF ILLUMINAIRE. THIS SHOW HAS A MORE EDGY, RAW, EUROPEAN FEEL. BRINGING IN ELEMENTS OF LIVE PERCUSSION, THE NEW BERLIN STYLE CIRCUS AS WELL AS POWERFUL LASERS AND EFFECTS. THIS COMBiNATION OF FABULOUS COSTUMES, AERIAL ACROBATICS, EXOTIC CONTORTION AND UNIQUE BLAZING FIRE PERFORMANCE WILL APPEAL TO ANYONE WHO ENJOYS A FUN SHOW WITH A HIGH VISUAL IMPACT.
THIS IS WHERE ELEGANCE IN DANCE MEETS WITH WILD OF CIRCUS, WHERE TRADITIONAL SHOWS ARE INVERTED AND STEAM IS THE FUEL OF LAUGHTER.
A DAZZLING DISPLAY OF LIGHT AND FERVER OF FLAMING PASSION.

WHEN: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, DEPARTING ON OCTOBER 1
WHERE: EL DORADO HOTEL – CASINO, RENO, NV.
PRICE: $51.13 PER PERSON BUFFET DINNER AND SHOW
YOU KNOW THE DRILL,
DEPART FROM THE SENIOR CENTER IN DOWNIEVILLE AT 10:00 AM SHARP, TRAVEL TO BORDERTOWN FOR LUNCH AND LIGHT GAMBLING, THEN ON TO THE ELDORADO TO CHECK-IN AT 3:00 PM.
CALL 1-800-648-5966 AND ASK FOR MICHELE WILLIAMS OR YOU CAN CALL HER DIRECTLY AT 1-775-786-5700 X 7770 TO MAKE YOUR DINNER AND SHOW RESERVATIONS.
IF YOU WANT TO RIDE THE VAN, YOU MUST MAKE YOUR VAN RESERVATION WITH ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Lou –  jim58_1999@yahoo.com

Christmas Tripping w/ Lou 9/30/14

CHRISTMAS WONDERLANDUnknown WHAT? CHRISTMAS ALREADY? YES FOLKS, IT’S TIME TO PREPARE FOR THE ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SHOW AT THE ELDORADO RENO. I HAVE BEEN WORKING ALL WEEK TO GET BOOKED FOR THIS SHOW AND IT SEEMS SOME CONVENTION HAS THE NERVE TO BOOK OUR SHOWROOM AND SEATS FOR DECEMBER 2ND AND 3RD. SO, WE HAVE TO GET SECONDS ON SEATS. ROW “L”. I’M STILL TRYING TO GET US CLOSER, BUT DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH. SO HERE WE GO.

Christmas Wonderland
When:
DECEMBER 2/3, 2014
Location:
Eldorado Showroom
Ticket Price:
$51.13 Buffet Dinner & Show
For Tickets Call:
(800) 648-5966
1-775-786-5700 X7770 MICHELE’S DIRECT LINE
HOTEL RESERVATIONS: 1-800-879-8879
We’re ringing in the holiday season with one of London’s biggest Christmas shows. From the producers of “Spirit of the Dance,” the Eldorado Showroom presents “Christmas Wonderland” – a holiday extravaganza of pure Christmas magic Guests will be taken on an unforgettable Christmas journey filled with tradition in this glittering, dancing and singing seasonal spectacular. “Christmas Wonderland” is an enchanting holiday show with a dazzling cast, beautiful costumes, breathtaking scenery and the highest kicking chorus girls this side of the North Pole.
The audience is invited to sing along to Christmas classics including “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Chestnuts Roasting,” “O Holy Night” and many more. Get into the holiday spirit

IF YOU.RE RIDING THE VAN, WE WILL LEAVE THE SENIOR CENTER AT 10:00 AM SHARP. THE USUAL STOP AT BORDERTOWN FOR LUNCH AND LIGHT GAMBLING, THEN ON TO THE EL DORADO FOR 3:00 PM CHECK-IN. DINNER AT 5:00 PM AT THE BUFFET AND ON TO THE SHOW.
SO, GET YOUR SANTA SUITS AND MISTLETOE READY. IT SHOULD BE A GREAT SHOW!

Visit Apple Hill w/Lou 9/10/14

fuji-smIt’s that time of year. Apples, Pumpkins, Apple Juice, Crafts, Fresh Pie, and loads of fun. Our annual adventure to Apple Hill will be Monday, October 6, 2014. Will leave the Senior Center at 9am, travel to Placerville for lunch, (It’s always about food) and on to Apple Hill. This is an “All Day-r” so be prepared. http://www.applehill.com

You must let me know as soon as possible so we can determine how many vans to take. The van does fill fast, so don’t “dilly-dally”. $30 per person for the van ride.

Email to : jim58_1999@yahoo.com

Don’t be part of the “over the hill” gang, come along and have some fun.

Lou The travel planner

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