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:

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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:

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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.

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

On Meeting New People

It is here in my talk of my trip to Israel that I will comment on some of the folks with whom we traveled.

20161031_134026As I said in a prior posts, during meals you could sit with whomever you wanted. But our bus rides were color coded. AJ and I were on the blue bus, with a tour guide named Dan. Dan was outstanding. His historical knowledge was on display during our entire 12-day trip and he knew a lot. When someone had a follow-up question to something he said, he always knew the answer. It was clear that he had been doing this tour for a long time (he said he was in his tenth year leading tours around Israel). He was warm, … 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:

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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!

And Just Like That It’s Over

It’s 2:00 a.m. and my big project at work is officially over. I don’t know what I’ll do with my time over the next couple of weeks. The funniest thing is that I will REALLY miss the Excel workbook I’ve been using for this project – that thing was a beast.

I’m currently at my office, sitting in the support center helping with whatever they need, which frankly, isn’t much (which is good). Our project "went live" at midnight and other than a couple hiccups, it has gone well thus far.

I’ve learned a lot from this project – the best thing is that I’m really good at tactical and operational project management. It’s definitely my wheelhouse.

The other most notable thing I’ve learned is … continue on, dear reader!

“Don’t Leave”

Back in July, I wrote about my amazing boss, and how she was (*sob*) leaving me to go work elsewhere within our vast organization. The good news is that I still get to see her from time to time since she has a weekly meeting in my building, so she’s not completely gone. She has also Skyped me during the workday a couple times just to check in and see how everything is going.

In July I also wrote about the promotion that I received, and how even though my work won’t change much, I’ll be reporting to my old boss’s boss and dealing in much higher level work.

Things have been going well in my new role thus far. The big project that I’ve … continue on, dear reader!

School’s Back In Session!

lego schoolHave I mentioned that school is back in session? YAY for the kids becoming engaged in society again after a three-month hiatus!

Earlier this week I went to meet the kids’ teachers. They are in 7th and 8th grade this year. Somehow they ended up with a bevy of teachers who are anti-homework, or at least anti-homework every night.

CootieBoy ended up having all of the teachers CootieGirl had last year, save one. He was happy about that because he knew all his teachers would be nice thanks to CG’s gushing over them last year. CG didn’t recognize any of the teachers on her list, but came home the first day gushing about her math teacher ("he’s hilarious!") and one other teacher ("she’s funny but … 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!

Van Gogh and Nintendo and Fireworks, Oh My!

July 4, despite being a holiday, was a busy vacation day for the Cootie clan.  After a late morning (thanks to some work-related stuff I had to do), we hit the subway and headed to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.  Upon walking in, the kids were not enthused, but I was determined to see everything, even if I had a whiny CootieBoy to contend with (“I don’t know ANY of these artists and I don’t WANT to know any of these artists!”).  We wound our way through the halls where I got to see Warhol, Monet, Rothko, Matisse, Picasso, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Lichtenstein, Pollock, Degas, Magritte, Wyeth, Mondrian, Johns, and Cezanne.  CB complained the whole time until eventually he came into a room and declared, “Finally! … continue on, dear reader!