Left As A Cruise Ship, Come Back As A…

Another in a series of stories from my recent travels on my first cruise ship adventure (see the previous post to understand this link).

I had no expectations as I boarded the Grand Princess which was docked at Pier 27 in the San Francisco Bay. After the rough start before checking in, all I was looking forward to was a week of fun and relaxation. As a recovering technologist, I was glad to know that once we embarked on the open ocean, we would not have any cellular coverage!

In fact, I vowed that even though we would dock at a few ports where I could obtain cellular coverage, I was determined to simply delete junk email messages and read the rest of the messages when I returned home. For those of you who truly know me, this was a hard thing to commit to but I knew that this had to be the right decision if I was going to sincerely enjoy this family cruise!

Before the cruise, I exercised regularly to achieve my desired weight because I was warned about the voluminous amounts of food that would tempt even the most disciplined of souls.

On the morning of the departure, I weighed myself to establish the baseline weight.


The answer should be obvious – I wanted to see how much weight I would gain even though I was determined to eat well.

As the maître de stated, “We leave as a cruise ship – we return as a

Continue reading “Left As A Cruise Ship, Come Back As A…”


Rough Start To Our Vacation

(this is the first of a series of stories from our recent cruise adventure)

Packing our suitcases, checking our list of necessary items for the trip, trying to stay healthy, and arranging for drop-off and pick-up transportation. All this for the start of our first cruise down the Pacific Coastline on the Grand Princess!

Excitement grew as each day drew closer to our embarkation date of April 1. Nothing was going to deter us from our wonderfully planned voyage. I was exceptionally excited as this would be my family’s first cruise ever! Finally, we could see what this cruising-lifestyle is all about.

Saturday morning arrived. We had to wait for my older son and his wife to arrive so that we can carpool together into San Francisco. Last-minute preparations and the loading of suitcases into the car with some extra room for their luggage.

My phone buzzed – it was my son calling probably to let me know they were almost here. Upon answering my phone, I heard the words that would deflate my enthusiasm.

Dad, we have a problem.

Continue reading “Rough Start To Our Vacation”

Haunted By A Sciuridae…

During our recent trip to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, we were amazed by the different blooms that welcomed us to its natural playground. Devoid of many tourists, the pathways were peaceful. Strolling along the paved routes, we stumbled upon a squirrel.

It was kind enough to pose for a “welcome” photo opportunity so I snapped it.


Continuing our exploration of the massive garden, we noticed something… Continue reading “Haunted By A Sciuridae…”

Reflections and Angles…

In a few days, I will be moving into that next age group on those surveys and categories!

No longer will I be in the 45-55 age group.

What does this mean for me?


Do I get to add an extra maximum speed limit corresponding to my age?


Many have said that I do not look that old – in fact, some have mistaken me for a much younger man until they look closely at the short gray hairs scattered throughout my scalp (why do you think I keep my hair short).

Just when I feel the urge to go into that next age group kicking and screaming… Continue reading “Reflections and Angles…”

Are We Ever Satisfied With Our Puzzle?

In my geographic area in Northern California,  the weather has been warming up recently. Depending upon the GPS coordinates, it has been in the mid-80’s to low-90’s with pollen floating everywhere. Spring is in full bloom here!!!

It was only a few months ago that people were complaining about the dreary weather and how they were looking forward to Springtime climate, new growth, and new beginnings.

My area can experience a spectrum of temperature within a matter of months, and if you live in San Francisco, in one day (here’s a fun progression of the Golden Gate Bridge in a span of 24 hours more or less)!

GG_Bridge_Early_Morning  GG_Bridge_Commute  GG_Bridge_DayTime

GG_Bridge_Fog  GG_Bridge_Evening

Then comes the famous trumpet sounds of…

Continue reading “Are We Ever Satisfied With Our Puzzle?”

The Rendezvous…

Strawberry Valley Mt Shasta

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting the needs of my wife with a quick rendezvous at a location we had never been to before. She endured a few days of prolonged care-giving that expended her energy both physically and emotionally. She was looking forward to returning home but dreaded the long 10+ hours of driving (if she drove straight home).

So she invited me to an impromptu overnight that would require me to Continue reading “The Rendezvous…”

To Be Free Like A Bird

P1020354 (4)

Ever wonder what it must feel like to be a bird flying through the air, manipulating the wind for the desired flight patterns, and to soar without a care in the world? It must be wonderful to take to the skies with the flapping of the wings and seeing the world from high above. Their unobstructed views must be spectacular while their eyes capture breathtaking pictures of life.

I may be over-simplifying the life of a bird as I am sure they have their own stresses to deal with such as feeding their young (not to mention themselves) and watching out for their own natural enemies. To think that it all began in an egg Continue reading “To Be Free Like A Bird”

Life Is Like A Bowl Of…

I want to begin this post with a HUGE disclaimer – I am not a chef by any stretch of the imagination!

I love to cook but lack the patience to properly learn “how to” do it well. Instead, I enjoy creating recipes as I experiment with the meals though no two meals are ever exactly the same. It is a paradox for me as I enjoy planning yet have a “no limits” type of personality within me.

Life is very similar to the way we cook (in my humble opinion). Some follow a recipe with full trust that the dish will manifest into the same creation of the chef who penned those instructions. Others will use the recipe as a guideline to create the dish with a unique outcome. Still, others choose to simply “make it up” based on their emotions given what is available for immediate use (who knows if a new dish will be born of this creative effort?).

Sometimes, I tend to be the latter chef in my own kitchen. Food is food after all and I enjoy cooking freely and experimentally. I often make mistakes but simply chalk it up to learning how “not” to cook or prepare something for consumption. Such was the case this past weekend. Continue reading “Life Is Like A Bowl Of…”

The Long Ride Home…

Driving along Highway 5 in California (especially between Southern and Northern California) can be a pain in the “you know where” (due to the long hours of sitting in traffic). Given the two-lane roads in both directions, this has contributed to the traditional “are we there yet?” type of car ride. It’s better in the summer time too (sarcasm).

My drive home from SoCal was no different this year except that delays can reach one-and-a-half hours as trucks had to rev up their engines to advance into the one-lane road to freedom. So what did I learn from this trip? Continue reading “The Long Ride Home…”

Lost My Wallet (part 2 of 2)

Sometimes God answers our prayers in a slow manner or causes us to wait for His answers. Other times, He answers rather quickly. We all prefer the quick answers yet what seems important to us is rather trivial to Him. He wants us to trust in Him – not on our own efforts.

Well, after my prayer of hoping my wallet would be found, I received a text message from Chris (see part 1 of this story). She asked what time we would arrive back at the SP for the Awards Dinner. In my response, I informed her that I had lost my wallet and do not know where it could be. She asked how she could help me. I replied and told her that I had already contacted the SP security team and they recommended that I contact my company’s front desk registration team. I told her that I do not know “who” I can contact about this.

I prayed once more about my situation and tried to stop my brain from receiving negative outcomes. Immediately after this prayer, my phone vibrated – it was Chris. I wonder why she was calling me… Continue reading “Lost My Wallet (part 2 of 2)”