Cruising the Mexican Riviera on the Crown Princess in a Mini-Suite

I’m having so much fun creating videos from my iPad (far easier than iMovie on my Mac desktop), so I’m uploading some of my favorites to YouTube. This was an early celebration of our 20th Anniversary cruise in April, 2016, but then we cruised again on the actual anniversary in August – that video will be posted next.

#Mexico #cruising #Princess #CrownPrincess #MexicanRiviera #cruises #minisuite

Waiting for Rope Drop

The main difference between our situation and the “Arizona” guy mentioned in the previous post, Leaving Las Vegas – Did We Miss Our Opportunity?, is that I’m assuming he moved back to where he was from. The hardest part about leaving Las Vegas (30 miles from the California border) is that it usually means a move to Florida, moving me 2500 miles from my home state of California. And I always get homesick.

Watching Fresh Baked “Disney” videos reminds me of who I am and who my people are, and I start to get homesick before we even leave. It would help if I could find more Californians in Florida because as soon as somebody finds out I’m from California, they shut down. And then I shut down. It’s hard for me to make new friends in Florida. In California, I feel surrounded by friends and family just because that’s who they are to me – I grew up there.

Plan B is to ask for a transfer to the Florida office, but we’re just not sure we want it or if they would grant it. We’ve done that a couple of times in the past and it worked out temporarily. Maybe if we were more sure of what we really wanted, we’d go for it. We’d prefer the perfect opportunity to tap us on the shoulder.

In the meantime, our Disneyland Food & Wine trip is coming up and we’re still discussing whether we invest in an AP or take it one trip at a time, taking a wait and see attitude about our future. Rich called it this morning when he said, “We’re waiting for rope drop.”


T Minus 1: Part 2

I couldn’t sleep last night so I went downstairs to watch Dr. Zhivago, wondering if I would like it any better than I did when I saw it with my friends in the ’70s. Don’t know why we saw it then, had it just arrived at one of those discount movie theaters or was it some kind of revival?

Anyway, I didn’t like it all, and I certainly did not have a crush on Omar Sharif, like so many of my friends, all older girls, so maybe that was it. And I still don’t like it, but it was something to have on in the background while I comforted Skipper and Shadow and myself.

Skipper and Shadow sat with me, but Skipper was clearly in a lot of pain. I could see it in his eyes as he plastered my face with kitty kisses in quite an urgent fashion. That breaks my heart. I so want to take his pain away from him.

Then he settled down on his side of the couch and Shadow sat on my lap. He also needed some reassurance and love.

I picked up the iPad and searched on grief sites and moving, etc. to try to gain some insight into what we should be doing going forward. Is this really a good time to move from the house they know and love and where Lovey lived?

I mostly found information about people choosing to move after a loss because they didn’t want to be reminded of their son or daughter, etc. That was not recommended or any other big decision during a time of grief.

Also, pets and kids need their regular routine. To move during grief sounded like a bad idea for all of us.

But what about a move that’s already planned or desired before the loss? That sounds like a bit of a different situation. I found one site about a family who’d moved and then “the dog died.”

That’s what had happened to us with Buddy (our cat) the last time we moved to Orlando. Was that a lesson to be learned? Back then I remembered explaining why we were moving back west, “When bad things happen, I don’t want to be far from home.”

Is this a warning not to leave? But what about when the grief has passed, and it’s summer and we’re dying to get out of here? Would we regret not catching the train that could have taken us to a new place? We already turned down the trains leading to the SF Bay Area and SoCal. There might not be another train.

I returned Lovey’s white wrap to the bed and the green wrap, the last place she’d sat, back to the couch. It feels good to see her things on display.


Lovey and Shadow on her white wrap on the bed


A normal day for Lovey – enjoying her white (creme-colored) wrap on the bed


Lovey, August 10, 2016


Lovey, September 24, 2016

We were cleaning the carpet and had moved some of the furniture, but when she saw her kitty stool on top of the chair, she had to sit there – lol!


Lovey, October 7, 2016


Lovey, December 13, 2016

When she wasn’t on her bed or snuggling with one of the other kitties, she was sitting on a lap.


Lovey, February 8, 2016

Lovey on the green wrap on the couch on her last day of her life (you can see how thin she’d become) next to her Skipper on the leopard wrap, peacefully sleeping with his Lovey nearby.

I had so hoped I could fatten her up with snacks and other treats, although she retained a healthy appetite until the last 2 days of her life. The diabetes, while seemingly under control, was working against her, and she slowly slipped away from us, although it seemed like it was shockingly sudden. But it all seemed to escalate after the dental work on January 9. Our wonderful vet had deemed her healthy enough to undergo the work, and had recommended it for her overall health, but sometimes I wonder… but you can’t second guess yourself – she got to crunch on her favorite dry food and snacks again and it’ll only interrupt the grief process by questioning everything.

Shadow is hanging out on the loveseat in my studio where he and Lovey snuggled together. Maybe it’s his way of being close to her, remembering happier times.


Lovey and Shadow snuggling on the Disneyland wrap on the love seat in my studio


Lovey and Shadow hug each other on the love seat

Shadow and Skipper are back to wrestling the way the “Burmilla Boys” do. I’m thinking that they’ll bond even more, and maybe they’ll be up for a new adventure.


Shadow leaning into his “Big Daddy” Skip

Thanksgiving in Margaritaville Trip Report Wrap-Up

Okay, so that’s a wrap for another trip report! In the meantime, we need to figure out how to get our videos from my iPhone to Youtube without going through the WordPress App because we have now run out of space. The iPhone to YouTube stopped working after the last upgrade so I don’t know if that has anything to do with it or I need to figure out how to fix it.

Another possibility is to upgrade our WordPress account for more storage and a few other handy tools. Another idea is to archive reports onto another blog to free up some room here. We’ll give it some thought and let you know how we’ve solved this problem.

Thanks for reading the report – we really appreciate the “likes” to let us know that you’re reading it.

Here are the direct links to each post:

Pre-Trip Report

Day 1, Travel Day

Day 2, Part 1: Tampa

Day 2, Part 2: Tampa

Day 3, Sea Critters and the Beach

Day 4, Part 1: A Bit of Hawaii

Day 4, Part 2: Disney Springs and Wilderness Lodge

Day 4, Part 3: Artist Point

Day 5, Wild Night in Orlando and Frenchy’s on Dunedin Causeway

Day 6, Part 1: Thanksgiving (Pool and Beach)

Day 6, Part 2: Thanksgiving (Dinner)

Day 6, Thanksgiving Extras (Private)

Day 7, Finale and Travel Day

Thanksgiving in Margaritaville, Day 7: The Finale and Travel Day

Today was travel day and we were trying to decide how to best spend it. Our flight wasn’t until 4:50 p.m. but we had to be out of the cottage by 10 a.m. I asked Rich if we should explore the Ruskin to Riverview area (they were building tons of new homes in the area) or do something that would leave a more positive impression because we already knew we weren’t that much in love with the Ruskin/Riverview areas.

Our other two possibilities was to hang out on the Causeway and enjoy the Gulf views for several hours or check out the Wesley Chapel area where several new shopping centers had been built since we’d lived in neighboring Land O Lakes. We chose to check out Ruskin/Riverview, including driving over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

I was awake until one thirty a.m. and slept for an hour. Then I finally went back to sleep until eight. Got up and had coffee and cereal. We finished packing and cleaning the room. We checked out out at ten am per the rules and drove over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Beautiful and thought we might be able to live here. Stopped at Ruskin and finally got to tour the Lennar New Jersey plan in Ruskin. We loved it but there was no community pool.

We were getting hungry so we stopped at Mickey Ds in Riverview. We both had colds by this time and a Big Mac would be the comfort food we would need. Then we drove to the airport.  We dropped off the rental car and stopped at RumFish for drinks. MaiTai for Rich and Ruby Snapper for me.

Then we went to the gate to wait. Rich got us a Pumpkin Latte at Starbucks and we boarded at 4:20. We left Tampa Airport at 5:50 EST and arrived about 25 minutes early at 7:30 PST. The trip home was terrible. We’re already not big fans of flying, especially these days, and Southwest was horrible. They only offer you Fritos or Cookies or Vending machine crackers and fake cheese for a 4.5 hour flight. We were exhausted and coughing our heads off the entire time. We did get the Exit row, which was nice for Rich’s legs, but those planes are notorious (we found out later) for having super uncomfortable seats in the exit rows. My butt was numb after about an hour.

We had a great vacation and it was exciting to see Florida again. We’re no closer to knowing whether we would accept an opportunity to move back there or not. I’m at an age where I really enjoy the comforts of home and feeling at home – I’m not as adventurous as I once was. So it would really be hard to move back again. Part of me wishes it wasn’t so and maybe it isn’t entirely, but for now, being home, especially when you’re sick, is exactly where I want to be.

We didn’t get to spend as much time in Orlando as we may have wanted to, and we didn’t get to Caddy’s on the Beach, which was at the top of our list. I guess we’ll just have to go back again.

So for now, it’s good-bye Tampa Bay – good-bye Sunshine Skyway Bridge – I hope we get to see you again.


Thanksgiving in Margaritaville, Day 6, Part 2: Thanksgiving

Originally, we had reservations at Columbia on Clearwater Beach for Thanksgiving. But we really didn’t want to be tied down and it seemed a bit formal for our taste. We just wanted to pop into a beach bar for Thanksgiving. But when we called around, most places were closed. In fact, every place we called was closed. But we’d seen a sign about somebody being open earlier in the week so we thought we’d just fake it.

We had our usual nap and when we awake, we figured it was time to head out to see where we could eat. We figured if all else failed, we’d pop into Walgreen’s and get some pasta – I was really craving that.

So we headed out and passed by this place called Toucan’s. People were sitting outside having a drink and the hostess standing in the open door asked if we’d like a seat. We thanked her and walked on by. And then we both realized at the same time how fun that looked so we walked back and asked if we could get some take-out. She said, “Sure. Just order at the bar.”

Well, the bar looked so fun, we decided to sit down and have a drink. Rich ordered up a Margarita for each of us, and we hung out there and enjoyed hanging out with families and couples and singles all having a great time eating, drinking, and watch sports on TV.

Eventually, we asked the bartender for a menu and the Linguini with Clams really stood out for us, so we ordered some takeout. On the way out, we stopped to enjoy our last sunset in Margaritaville. It was so gorgeous. We knew how much we’d be missing this.

We headed back to the resort, weak in the knees by the amazing aromas coming from that takeout box. We couldn’t wait to dig in. I poured us each a glass of wine and we had the most amazing Thanksgiving dinner. From the morning sunrise to the morning walk on the beach to the morning swimming in the pool to the Thanksgiving cocktails and seafood past, it was the perfect day! This is how we like to spend Thanksgiving.

Originally, we got the idea for this trip because we were reminiscing about that first Thanksgiving in Florida when we’d just arrived in Tampa Bay. That restaurant is no longer there in Dunedin, but we’d had such a fabulous time eating seafood on Thanksgiving that we wanted to make it our tradition. It’s been 10 years since that Thanksgiving, but we never forgot it and thought it would be such fun to try to re-create it in Florida one more time.









Thanksgiving in Margaritaville, Day 6, Part 1: Thanksgiving

I woke up at dawn feeling compelled to open the door, inhale the fresh Florida air, and watch the sun rise over the Bay. The emotional roller coaster ride continued each day and Florida wasn’t feeling quite as much like home as I’d hoped. In Tampa, we held out hope that maybe Orlando was our place. But in Orlando, I couldn’t wait to get back to Tampa. Does that mean the door is shut on living in Florida again?

And then that morning I woke up thinking, “I don’t think I can choose to never feel this again.”

So I quickly got dressed and walked over to the dock. A couple passed me and the woman said, “Happy Thanksgiving”, which was nice. I sat down and watched the sun rise and breathed in the wonderful Florida air that I had missed. The weather had been warming each day and it was feeling like the Florida I remembered.

I scurried back to the room to see if Rich was up because I didn’t want him to miss this. He was a little slower going but he did get up, made us some coffee, and we took it and a banana nut muffin back to the dock. We saw there enjoying the view, taking more pics and video.

After a while, we returned to the cottage to shower and get dressed and then walked to the beach. We walked all the way to the pier, down the pier, and then back down the beach. Along the way, I dipped my feet in the water – very nice! I love this!!

It was a glorious morning. The beach was absolutely gorgeous. I do think it’s a bit more stunning than my southern California beaches but it lacks that feeling of home that Newport and Huntington Beach give me. I think the California vs. Florida choice is the choice between adventure and home. I want both.



The day was really warming up so we returned to the resort and decided to sit out by the pool. One woman was out there when we arrived but she soon left. Well, here it was Thanksgiving morning and it was so nice out, we decided to change into our swimsuits. I think it reached close to 80 that day.

So, Rich went back first to change and when he returned, I changed. It was simply glorious outside! The pool was fabulous! This is the life!!

By Thanksgiving, it starts to get cold in Las Vegas, cold, meaning about 50 degrees during the day and maybe 39 or so overnight. We’d had a pretty warm fall late this year but on travel day, we had our first cold day. When we arrived in Florida, it was unusually cold but after a couple of days of that, it began to warm up and felt more like the Florida we know and love.

Another couple joined us out by the pool and we swam and enjoyed the sun and the warmth and the music. We sat out for awhile and then got back in for a final swim. Eventually, it was time for lunch. Rich remembers us having Beach Eats leftovers (and he has a very good memory), but I wrote that down for last night. I’m wondering if this was the day we had the Stouffer’s pizza we’d picked up at CVS – anyway, one or the other last night and one or the other today for lunch.