Monday, March 30, 2009

CREATING KEEPSAKES CONVENTION

I was so busy, last week, blogging about my fantastic cruise that I didn't have time to tell you all about the CKC here in Louisville this past weekend! It started on Thursday night and went through Saturday. I didn't even find out about it until Wednesday!! I don't know what rock I'd been under!!. Anyway, I went on Friday. I didn't have time to sign up for any classes, and they were probably all closed anyway, BUT, I did have plenty of time to shop!! I shopped for about 5 hours straight! It was pretty good. Booth upon booth. Of course, there were lots of things that I had no use for, like stenciling and kits, but I still managed to spend quite a few bucks!




I think this is where I spent the most money. This booth, Creek Bank Creations, sold fantastic chipboard products that they laser cut themselves. Their trick? Fat is where it's at. All their chipboard is thicker so it won't warp.

I love this booth too...The Paper Loft


Now, I need to hunker down and USE all this stuff!
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Thanks for stopping by!
Peggy

Sunday, March 29, 2009

GOODBYE CRUISE - SUNDAY, MARCH 15TH

So, Sunday, March 15 was disembarking day. Time to go home. Back to reality. Time to say goodbye to my sister! We had a great time together! Her flight was scheduled to leave San Juan at 2:45; mine at 4:45. So, I signed up for an excursion, with friends, to the Bacardi Rum factory. For $28 they took my luggage, I got the tour, and they dropped me off at the airport! DEAL!


This is San Juan as we entered the port

Arriving at Bacardi's front gates

Some of the vintage advertising on display

The BAT logo of the company..where the bat comes from is another story!
The pavillion is where the after tour free drinks were. The red building is part of the factory tour.

Yes, believe it or not, I did not turn down the free drinks! The red one is Bacardi Razz mixed with orange and cranberry juices! YUM! The other was a Rum Punch - just ok. If you know me, you know that I really don't drink...I'd rather eat my calories than drink them.

Got to the airport around 1:30 to big delays! By the time I got to my gate I met up with some friends. My sister's plane was also delayed but she was on her plane. The final result was that we were delayed because of the Space Shuttle's take off in Florida so we had to get new flight patterns and more fuel. So, by the time I arrived in Philly, my connection was long gone. Called Steph, she picked me up and I spent the night with her. The funny thing was that my sister arrived in Philly at the same time I did!! Saw her at baggage claim!
Even though I didn't make it home until Monday afternoon, this was such a fantastic trip!! VERY memorable. Can't wait to go away with my big sis again!


Thanks, all, for stopping by and seeing just a few of my cruise pics. I went with an 8 gig memory card and nearly filled it!

Now, to scrap my cruise journal!
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Peggy

Friday, March 27, 2009

GOOD MORNING ST. THOMAS!

Our last port of call...St. Thomas! This was also our last stop on our Jewish Heritage tour. But, first...this is the view we woke up to as we stepped out on to our balcony!! Just beautiful!! And, this is just part of the panoramic scene!!

This is the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas, another with a sand floor, founded in 1796. Not quite as old as the one in Curacao, but mighty old, indeed. After several fires, this final building has been standing since 1833. Amazing history!!

We were getting ready to have our Saturday morning service, but before starting the rabbi was nice enough to give us a brief history of the congregation and showed us the array of Torah in the ark. Two in particular stand out.

First is the one in the tan colored casing. It is a rare Asian Torah in a circular wood casing...fascinating!!

Second is the one just to its left in the photo. It is a Holocaust Torah; one that was confiscated and catalogued by Hitler. If you look closely you may be able to see the numbers scratched into the top of one of the wooden scroll handles. This was extremely emotional!!



While Torah is usually laid down to read, this Asian one in the wooden case is just opened up and is read standing up. That's me, with one of the rabbis standing behind me, called up to the Torah, as an honor. Several of us had that opportunity. This was emotional as well for me, and in this pic I am wiping my eyes.

Here we are outside the synagogue walking up the hill to the social building, where the congregation has activities. This shows just how steep the hills are.

A photo of the outside of the synagogue from the balcony of the social building...What scenery!!

Services and tour over, Michelle and I hit the shops for one last chance to spend what little money we have left!! About 99% of the shops are jewelery shops!!

"Tomorrow", Sunday, we disembark back in San Juan. Michelle went directly to her plane. I, on the other hand, had one more opportunity to visit for a while.

More tomorrow.
Thanks for stopping by.
:0)
Peggy

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Is it St. Maarten, or St. Martin??

Well, it depends on if you're on the Dutch side or the French side! Our excursion was on the Dutch side and then we went over to the French side for lunch.


This little video shows Roxy, one of the boat hands (and bartender) entertaining us on board on our way back to shore. You can hear how windy it was!
video


They really should have canceled this excursion. The waters were rough and all churned up. There was zero visibility looking down. The hardest part was swimming back to our catamaran. I looked down and saw rock and coral and started to panic. Swimming back against the current wasn't getting me anywhere. I finally calmed myself down, layed down in the water and just let my flippers do the work. It wasn't easy and I probably burned a whole lot of calories, but I made it back to the boat and I felt quite sick afterwards. I felt better in about 20 minutes.



Someone was nice enough to take a pic of me with my underwater camera...there certainly wasn't anything underwater worth taking pics of!

Michelle with a great background - she didn't venture in the water. It was actually chilly and overcast.
Michelle had a favorite pizza place over on the French side, that we searched and searched for. She finally had to call her husband (still in NJ) to get the location (next to Hagen Das!). That cinched it...the local children knew right where it was!! GREAT stuff! VERY thin, very light sauce, great cheese!!

Friday night means Shabbat services, even on board. Our Rabbis conducted services for our group as well as another dozen or so passengers. It was neat to meet other people from our country and others too. (our rabbis are 1)on the far right in the jacket and 3rd from the left wearing the tallit (prayer shawl)

We also had some GREAT shows on this cruise. VERY professional! Broadway type reviews, ice shows and fantastic comedy!

Another great day aboard Royal Caribbean's the Adventure of the Seas!
Thanks for stopping by.
:0)
Peggy

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

DAY AT SEA!!

Finally a day to relax! But, first, my sister and I just HAD to go to the scrapbooking class. This was the first time that my sister got to play with a crimper...she's hooked! We also got lots of neat ideas and they gave us cut outs including the Royal Caribbean logo!!

Part of this cruise was to get in a couple of seminars with Jewish content. This one about Christopher Columbus was SO fascinating!! I wish I could share the entire content with you all...such compelling evidence about the Jewish roots of a Franciscan Monk!!

Of course we had to save some time for sun. We had late dinner seating so we had plenty of time to lay around. Unfortunately, it was so overcast we had to chase the sun around and finally ended up on the upper deck and had to fight the wind as well.

This was our second formal night so we just had to mug for some more pics.


Boy, I'd love to have another "sea day" right about now!
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Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

THE ISLAND OF CURACAO - ANOTHER HERITAGE STOP

Shopped at Effy - a great jewelery store where we both made purchases


This is a rather large, display version of the local Chichi figures. The small figures, usually about 2-3" tall, are made by a local female artist and then distributed to other local women who paint and decorate them; then return them to the artist who then sells them. The proceeds go to help the women on the island. Michelle and I bought several! I love woman-to-woman causes!


After some serious and fun shopping in Curacao, Michelle and I met up with our group at the Congregation Mikve Israel-Emmanuel Synagogue...the oldest congregation in the New World - founded in 1651. This synagogue we visited was consecrated in 1732!

Very interesting, and it has several theories, This Sephardic (Hispanic) synagogue has a sand floor!


One theory is that during the Inquisition, when it would have been a death sentence to be found out you were a Jew, sand was put up in the attics of homes where Jews could practice their religion in secret...it muffled sounds!!! So, for some reason, the practice continues. Sadly, the congregation is quickly shrinking.
View of the city from the ship as we were leaving port So, this was Wednesday. Back aboard ship we had a great show and a midnight Adult Game show called Quest! Hilarious!!
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Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 23, 2009

ARUBA BABY!!!!

First port was Aruba. We had heard that it was always breezy on the island but windy was more like it. It sounds nice but it gets old pretty fast. Four of us took the Best of Land and Sea Excursion.

This short video was taken aboard the catamaran just as we were setting sail. You can hear the wind blowing!!
video
The sea part was actually the first part..this was our cutie captain, Julian.

Julian liked to steer with his feet!

Michelle and me aboard our catamaran as we sailed past our cruise ship

Here we are again, in the wind, after the sea part of the morning
This lighthouse was one of the stops on the Land portion

This is Casibari Rock...another one of our stops. There was a warning about climbing to the top. Michelle and I stayed behind

We passed this pretty cemetery

The landscape was just covered with these huge cactus!!

Shopping Time!! I tried on these sapphire guards to go with my mother's diamond wedding band...She had always worn guards like these but they were lost. I now have the ring with gold guards and was thrilled to find these sapphire guards. NO, I didn't buy them! But now I know what to look for as they can be hard to find. This sure brought back memories!!
More tomorrow!
Thanks for looking!
:0)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

LONG VACATION!

This was an amazing cruise. First of all, it started out as an idea of our (married) Rabbis to cruise to the Caribbean to visit Jewish heritage sites like oldest synagogues in the New World. Then I mentioned it to my sister and she thought it sounded great too. So, we went together within the bigger group. We all met up in San Juan and had time to take a little tour before boarding the ship on Sunday.


In this photo, Michelle and I are standing in front of the ark in the synagogue in San Juan...not very old; only about 46 years old. The rabbi there gave us a little tour and a talk about the congregation's history. We fell in love with the Torah coverings!
These covering were all hand stitched and embroidered! Right up my alley. Beautiful colors and fabrics!!

Thanks to Michelle's "advanced age" (I'm right behind her!) we got very nice upgrades! This was our cabin...beautiful, lots of storage room and a nice balcony! They did come and separate our beds before the evening was out.

Monday was a sea day

and our first of 2 Formal Nights

This was our whole group

One of our cute formal night ship photos

I will try to post more about our cruise tomorrow and NOT bore you with too many photos!
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Thanks for stopping by