Day 10. And 11. And 12, Really.

On Day 10 of our trip, which was a Thursday, we had another leisurely morning since there wasn’t anything left to visit or do. As such, AJ and I slept in until 7 a.m. again, went down to the beach again, walked along the boardwalk again, chilled out in the room for a while, and then had some lunch at an outdoor cafe. At 2:45 p.m. we arrived back in the hotel lobby where we met up with our bus, which was to take us to the airport in Eilat for a flight to Tel Aviv.

At the airport it took our entire group almost 2 hours to get through security and then another 30-45 minutes for our flight to be ready for boarding. Then … continue on, dear reader!

Day 9: Finally a Vacation Day!

Because of the over-active trip to Petra the day before, AJ and I opted to have a relaxing day on Day 9, rather than heading to Egypt to go to Mount Sinai.

Sleeping is was glorious. We both woke up on our own around 6 a.m., but then fell back asleep for another hour or so. We then got up for the day and eventually made our way down to get some breakfast. We discovered we were not the only ones who opted not to go to Mount Sinai, as we saw a few folks from our group in the dining room as well.

After breakfast we headed outside to go touch the Red Sea (upon doing this, I informed AJ that we had touched … continue on, dear reader!

Day 8: The Big Day – Our Visit to Petra

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this, but this trip was not for the weak. Every day we had to be down in the dining room by 6:30 a.m. in order to be on the bus no later than 7:30-7:45 a.m. to begin our day of touring. And then we’d be on the go all day and wouldn’t get back to the hotel until 4:30-5 p.m. It was non-stop every day.

So imagine our horror during dinner the evening before, when Ezer stood up and said, “For Petra we need to be on the bus by 7:10.”

Ugh. Seriously?

Yes, seriously.

The Jordanian border in Aqaba was only a few minutes from our hotel in Eilat, but we were told that the border crossing would take … continue on, dear reader!

Day 7: The Day Jaynee Finally Wore Shorts

Day 7 was a great day. I got to wear shorts! Woo!

No, but seriously, it was a great day, for real.

It was Monday, and we were a week into our trip. After packing our bags in preparation for changing hotels again, we had breakfast that morning with the very first people we met while at the airport in D.C. the week prior, before hopping on the bus to head to Masada and the Dead Sea. That sounds like a light itinerary – but let me assure you – it was not. Masada is NO JOKE. And we spent a lot of time on the bus as we drove from Jerusalem to our final destination in Eilat, on the far southern end of Israel.… continue on, dear reader!

Day 6: I Hate My White Pants Now

So the morning of Day 6 I woke up praying that my white pants were dry (I had washed them in the sink the night before – my second time washing them in the sink with shower gel during the first week of the trip). They were, so I put them on, along with a peasant blouse, thinking that I’d be appropriately dressed to go to the Temple Mount.

Lon had told us that we would go to Temple Mount, but that there was no guarantee the leaders in charge would open it up to visitors – sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Fortunately, we were told they WERE opening it up to tourists, so we quickly began making our way through security. At some … continue on, dear reader!

Day 5: Really? Only Day 5? It Feels Like We’ve Been Here Forever

I think Day 5 ended up being AJ’s second favorite day of the whole trip. When going through the pictures that I took (which we did several times to remind her of places we had been throughout the trip), it was this day that she commented on with such happiness until we reached Petra on one of the last days (that was her favorite day).

On Day 5 we started by visiting the Garden of Gethsamane, where we got to see olive trees that date back to the time of Christ. AJ was fascinated by these trees and spent many minutes just staring at them in disbelief. They really were interesting trees:


Then it was off to the Israeli Museum and the Shrine of the continue on, dear reader!

Day 4: Arriving in Jerusalem

Friday we were up and hit the road early. We spent some time in the ruins of an old Kursi church that dated back the time of Empress Helen, the mother of Constantinople, and the one responsible for many of the churches built on holy sites around Israel and other parts of the middle east. Then we drove to the ruins at Bat She’an, where I took a great picture of AJ in the excavated amphitheater from the year 200 AD:


The city was destroyed by a massive earthquake in the mid-700s, and the ruins they have uncovered are extensive. AJ and I walked around quite a bit, admiring just how much has been uncovered.


From Bat She’an we began driving south through the … continue on, dear reader!

Day 3: Just Getting Warmed Up

So I mentioned in my post a couple days ago that I packed light since I knew I could do laundry at our hotels. I wore jeans for my two travel days, two pairs of shorts and a pair of white pants. On Day 2, our tour guide mentioned we needed to wear long pants, so I wore my white pants. Upon arriving at the end of Day 2, our tour guide mentioned we needed to wear long pants the following day (it is because sites maintained by the Franciscan orders had dress codes). No big deal, I thought. I can get away with wearing these white pants two days in a row.

Day 3 started with breakfast at the hotel, where we continued meeting … continue on, dear reader!

Day 2: The Day of the Weird Dance Party

On day 2, I quickly realized just how jam packed this trip was going to be. This would not be a resting vacation in the slightest. On day 2, we went to Menza Christi, Capernaum, the Mount of Beatitudes, a viewing of the “Jesus Boat,” a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee – and all this BEFORE LUNCH (which admittedly was late – around 2:30 p.m.)

This is what actually started the day:


That is the sunrise over the Sea of Galilee as seen from the hotel dining room. Simply gorgeous. The land on the horizon is Golan Heights, a large swath of land that separates Israel from Syria.

After breakfast, the entire group group (about 150 people) boarded the buses to travel … continue on, dear reader!

Day 1: Where Did October Go? To Israel, That’s Where!

And just like that it’s November. Sheesh, time is flying by. Next thing you know I’ll be talking about Christmas decorations on the house.

But first up, I can tell you that after my work project went live, work remained busy for a couple weeks and then I spent a week getting my stuff parceled out because it was time for me to go on VACATION. Back in April, my sister had called me to gauge my interest in accompanying her mother-in-law on a two-week trip to Israel and Jordan. Apparently her bucket list included going to see Petra in person, and this trip included a side trip to Jordan in order to do just that. Unfortunately, she was unable to travel by herself due … continue on, dear reader!

Where Did Our Vacation Go?

Can you believe it? We’re back from vacation more than a month and I still haven’t closed out the stories!

Ready for a fast track? Here goes!

July 5: Walked the Brooklyn Bridge with the kids, then hopped over to Chinatown where Cootieboy had another meltdown in a Chinese ice cream shop. I had a taste of the dulian-flavored ice cream and it was surprisingly delicious. We then all began walking towards Little Italy but Denis quickly determined it was a "walk to nowhere" since everyone was in a pissy mood, so we opted to head downtown to wait for our entrance time for the 9/11 museum. By the time we got there, CB had calmed down, Denis had calmed down, and everyone was back … continue on, dear reader!

This Ain’t Guiliani’s New York Anymore

Say what you want about Rudy Giuliani (and opinions vary regarding both his professional and personal lives), but when he was Mayor of NYC (1994-2001), it was a safer and cleaner place to live than it had been for a couple decades.

Cut to July 3, 2016. Denis and CootieBoy have left for CitiField to see the Mets play ball for a few hours. CootieGirl and I trek into Manhattan to wander around Times Square for a while before heading to a Broadway play for which we had tickets. The subway ride was uneventful, and CG was happy to know that between she and CB, she was the first child to actually set foot in Manhattan (even if he was the first to ride the … continue on, dear reader!

When Leaving for Vacation Becomes Chaos and Confusion

Last week my family went on a much-needed vacation. This year we decided we’d head to NYC to see Denis’s family, and also to take the kids around the city they were too young to remember when we moved to SC. Since last summer when we booked the airfare, CootieBoy, in particular, has looked forward to this trip like no other.

It was iffy from the get go. We intended to leave for the airport by 5 a.m. to make our 8 a.m. flight. Unfortunately, when I set the alarm for 4 o’clock the night before, I set it for P.M., not A.M. I woke up on my own and looked at the clock and hollered in a panic, “Denis! Get up! It’s 5 o’clock!” … continue on, dear reader!

Facebook Fast About To Begin!

My latest Facebook Fast begins later this week. It’ll go until my birthday in mid-June. I think that’s my longest one yet! As such, I suspect you will see me posting here much more often during that timeframe.

First up, my daughter. CootieGirl turned 13 years old this past weekend, y’all. THIRTEEN. How is that possible? She asked me to wake her up at the time she was born, which all these years I thought was 3:21 a.m. But on Sunday morning (a few hours after waking her at 3:21 a.m. to wish her a happy birthday), I pulled out her birth certificate, only to see her birthtime listed as 2:58 a.m. Oh well. I was close. We had a low-key day – no parties … continue on, dear reader!

This Year’s Vacation Brought to You By the Word “Sunburn”

The family and I just got back from a week’s vacation in Hilton Head Island. Our new tradition is to go to a different beach – a couple years ago we hit Myrtle Beach, SC for a long weekend, then last year the kids and I went to Topsail Beach, NC while Denis recuperated from knee surgery. This year we all went to Hilton Head Island for a full week of sun and fun. It was much needed and very much appreciated to get away for seven straight days.

We arrived at our 2-bedroom condo rental last Saturday afternoon and settled in for the night, and hit the beach on Sunday morning. Five hours later we all returned to the condo with sunburns. Denis was … continue on, dear reader!

Doctor Who, Captain Jack and California Dreamin’

And we’re back! First let me say that our trip to California was a whirlwind of FUN. The kids had an amazing time and are officially sci-fi convention addicts. They want to go to next year’s convention AND want to have a full range of cosplay stuff in their suitcase when we go.

Wednesday: We drove to my sister’s house in NoVA to spend the night. It was a long drive, so we got there very late, but got to enjoy breakfast with the family and the kids got a little bit of cousin time.

Thursday: My sister drove us to the airport where my kids got to experience a lot of firsts. The most notable was their first time on a plane. We flew … continue on, dear reader!