No Place Like Home

Re-posted from 2013.

I love to travel, experience different cultures, see how the rest of the world lives. There are many fascinating places I want to visit before I become too decrepit in mind, body or spirit to pack my suitcase. But I also enjoy vacationing in the good-old-USA. Even northern California offers so much that I sometimes wonder why I venture anywhere else.

Recently, I went to Spain, where my godson Eric is a college exchange student in San Sebastian. Talk about a picturesque place. He lives just a couple blocks from La Concha Beach, with golden sand like superfine sugar.

La Concha Beach

La Concha Beach

Continue reading

Vacation Time!

vacation time

It’s not often I get an opportunity to take a vacation. Too many animals, too much to do, never enough time. Well, this time I said pshaw! to all that then called my sister to come pet sit my menagerie of eight. She actually loves it. I know, strange, huh? Next thing I knew I was in Charleston, South Carolina with Sharon, who dropped her hubby off for a boys week of golfing.

Sharon and Jim Ireland

Ready to tee off

Well, you know what they say, don’t you? While the cat’s away, the mice will play. And boy did we play.

mice dancing

Continue reading

Mykonos, Here We Come!

Thursday, 9 p.m.

So we’re sitting at SFO waiting for our flight to Greece to take off. And waiting. And waiting. Who knows, we might still be waiting when you read this. Actually, I think it’s miraculous we’re still planning to board the plane for Mykonos and a week-long spay/neuter mission for abandoned animals on the island.

It’s almost comical what we’ve been through so far. But we’re on a mission, literally and figuratively. Nothing will deter us. Besides, when 4 strong-willed women get their minds made up, it’s a losing proposition to think those minds can be changed.

Still, we are definitely getting a hint that we’d best stay home. We’re preferring to believe it’s a test of our devotion to our cause and not that this plane will vanish into the ocean minutes after take off. No, I’m afraid we have other plans. 
Here’s what’s testing us:

All our printers stopped working this week except Pat’s, but her cell phone wouldn’t receive texts; Pat’s toilet broke, then mine too; Lisa was late arriving to my house for a ride to the airport because of an accident on the bridge; our area has 55 mph winds so our plane is delayed 4 hours; I bought an $18 sandwich moments before Air France gave us meal vouchers. 

This morning, customs in Athens rejected all our medical supplies we mailed weeks ago and are being sent back as we sit here. So we have no surgery kits. We ordered them today from Athens at double the price. It’s a mystery whether we’ll get them by Monday. Then we learned air traffic controllers are on strike in Paris where we’ll be changing planes. Oh joy. 

Friday, 11:30 p.m.

Made it to Paris 22 hours after leaving home. Now don’t get me wrong; it gets better. The ATM appeared to accept my card (twice) but I received no cash. Who knows, I could be out $1200 at this point. We then waited 2 hours in line at the airport to get a connecting flight but instead got vouchers for a hotel stay. Trouble was, 3 of us were sent to one hotel and Lisa to another, which we flatly refused. 
We have no change of clothes, as they couldn’t locate all our bags, so we received t-shirts and toiletries. Had to call the front desk when the lights in my room wouldn’t work. Turns out I’m supposed to insert my key card into a slot on an inside wall. Being it was pitch black, how was I supposed to see the slot? I’m dizzy, dead tired and not wearing glasses. I was lucky to still know my name. 

Saturday, 8:00 a.m.

Slept a couple hours then snuck Lisa into the hotel restaurant for the complimentary breakfast. Tried boarding the plane at 7:00 a.m. for Athens but my ticket was repeatedly refused at the kiosk. Turns out they’d changed my seat, which the computer didn’t recognize. So now I’m writing this on our 3 hour flight, which will be followed by a 3 hour boat ride to Mykonos.

It’s been a challenging 33 hours so far and the thought did pass my mind that we’re somehow being tested on this trip. But we’re all still smiling and haven’t wavered in our goal to help as many unaltered and starving animals as we can, no matter the challenge in finally reaching them. 

After all, we are 4 strong-willed women on a mission. 

4:00 p.m. 

Landed 5 hours ago. Pat’s luggage still hasn’t arrived. 

Stuck at the Paris airport 22 hours after takeoff

Passport Hell

passport

My passport expired.

Now, that may not seem like a big deal to you and to be honest, it didn’t to me either. But this week I discovered I couldn’t have been more wrong. Little did I know what was in store simply renewing my passport book. And how silly of me to think it would be easy.

I’m planning to visit Greece in May when my nonprofit goes to Mykonos to help sterilize the multitudes of unaltered cats and dogs on the island. So when I noticed my passport had expired, I thought I’d just print out the proper forms and mail them to the Passport Processing Center. Sounds easy, right?

Greece man with cats

Continue reading

Back to My Reality

reality

Vacation is over. It’s now back to my reality:

  1. Trapping feral cats to halt their baby-making capabilities reminiscent of Octomom and her 14 kids.Octomom and kids
  2. Playing tennis in my ongoing attempt to serve an ace before I die. Accomplishing that feat is so far fetched, it likely would result in my opponent having a heart attack from the sheer absurdity of it. So let’s skip this one, shall we?
  3. Continuing to manage 7 animals…like stopping Jack from pouncing on Savannah, cleaning up after Oliver’s hairballs, keeping Nellie from eating poop in the backyard and trying to get Tippy to sit anywhere but in front of my monitor. tippi blocking computer
  4. Enjoying time spent with friends. Oh wait! That’s what I was doing on vacation. Hmm…appears I have a pretty nice life. Gotta love retirement…

Continue reading