Sunday, November 18, 2018

Metamorphosis for Erik!

Erik had been letting his hair grow long, but suddenly was done with it and invited Kate to come over and cut it.

It didn't take long before half of his hair was gone.

Kate had fun giving him a mullet. But in the end, it all worked out fine!

It's nice to see them work together. And I loved the metamorphosis we witnessed!

A funny aside: Sylvia wasn't around when this was going on. The next morning they went to school with different friends, so she never saw him. At school, she was very surprised when someone said "Your brother cut his hair!". She was like "Huh, what?" until she saw him and got it.

It is nice that they have outgrown the "random hair cuttings" of childhood and now actually can do functional ones :D

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Yuck Yuck Yuck! Not Ready for Winter!

Today we woke up to our first snow of the season. Yuck yuck yuck.

Sylvia and Erik walking down the snowy driveway on their way to school

I am sooooo not ready for winter!
Today I will snuggle in at home, writing my blogs I guess. I did finish my post about the New Hampshire state house in my capitols series.

Our backyard this morning, snow covered

And I wrote an article on how to get an easy $50 bonus and help with managing your money.

So it's not like I won't have anything to do to amuse myself, but I just do not like snow!
OK, whine done for the day. Back to drinking tea and catching up on travel stories.

How is the weather where you are? I hope it's better than here!

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Throw Back Thursday: Votes for Women!

Facebook reminded me of the election two years ago, when Qate wasn't voting age yet, but she did feel strongly about it.

I thought this would be a good one to post for Throwback Thursday, especially since a record women of women got voted in in this last election!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Exploring Victoria!

We are having a great time learning more about Canadian history and the first Nations. Sharing some pictures with you all, more stories to follow once we are home .

We visited the legislature, getting us one step closer to visiting all the Canadian capitals. We even had lunch in the parliamentary restaurant. It was a much fancier lunch than any of the American capitols we have visited so far.

The royal BC museum is extensive and informative. So much so that we weren't able to see all of it in one day. That will be a good excuse to go back there some day. The exhibition about the first Nations was very interesting, as was the one about the founding of British Columbia.

Time and money permitted us to either do a high tea at the Empress, or to watch whales in the Salish sea. Naturally, that was an easy choice, we went whale watching!

We saw a bunch of humpback whales, including a baby. It was fun to see them feed, lots of shallow diving. Most exciting was when we saw one lunge feeding, that was a behaviour I hadn't seen before.

The whales were joined by many sea birds, I saw my first rhinoceros auklets and common murres, as well as tons of Brandt cormorants. Such a lovely day on the water, even if it was freezing cold. Since I don't have pictures yet, go check out the awesome pictures of our whale watching in Quebec.

Instead of tea, we had a martini at the Empress hotel, at their bar Q. After studying the menu, we went with spicy nuts which was the most affordable choice. We sipped our drinks very slowly, so we could hang out longer without having to buy another expensive drink :)

Yes, we like Victoria, go visit it!
Have you been to Victoria? What was your favourite thing to do?

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Fun Ferry From Seattle to Bremerton

Today we were in our way to Pioneer Square for the Seattle Underground tour when my body decided it was done walking. And my bladder was overactive and Starbucks came to the rescue .This is Seattle after all .

We did some research on the underground tour, and although it sounded interesting, it also sounded too much for a gimpy girl like me. Maybe a harbour cruise would be better. Yeah, sounded good too but more than 80 dollars was a lot of money
What about ferries?

It didn't take long to discover the Bremerton ferry, which gave us a pleasantly misty ride to Bremerton. We had a great lunch overlooking the harbour and then we visited the USS Turner Joy

Looking forward to writing a post about her, so much history, she was active in the Vietnam war in Tonkin.

Took the ferry back to Seattle and saw two seals swim next to us;;;

What an unplanned, totally awesome day and this ferry was only 8 dollars round trip, so very affordable!

Have you taken any fun ferries? From where to where?

Friday, October 19, 2018


I had never been here, had no idea what to expect but am totally in love with Seattle now!

We bungee jumped off the Space Needle.

We visited the very first Starbucks!

We bagged another state capitol.

And we discovered another liberty bell on our way back to Seattle, in Tacoma!
Too tired to write more now, but it will happen in good time, I promise.

Life is good!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

We Voted!!

Since we are going to be out of town early November, we applied for absentee ballots. We had to wait a bit till they were printed, but we voted last Friday!

Statue of Liberty at Sunset with Vote Like Your Right Depend on It caption

After we voted we drove to the New York State Capitol and admired that building. There will be a post about it some day.

Very fancy staircase in the New York State Capitol
The Million Dollar Staircase in the New York Capitol
Everybody, go out and vote!
Vote like your rights depend on it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New York City!!!

After an patient advisory board meeting in Morristown, we decided to tag on two days in New York City.

Statue next to Penn Station in NYC

Some history here. After I moved to the USA in 1994, I always wanted to visit New York City some day. The excitement, the buildings, everything about it sounded like a great place to visit. But life happened and the thought of going there by myself with seven children was just a bit too much. So once the kids got older I would take them to Montreal or Washington DC, but New York City was too scary.

Typical New York City, busy, tall buildings, everything lit up

We had great times, but New York City always was somewhere in the back of my mind. Until I met Tom! He had been to New York City many times and he had Hilton Honors points, so it did not take long before we planned our first visit to New York City and had a fabulous time.

Tall building, lots of lights in New York City

This time was not different! The city still overwhelms me, but I also love to visit and bask in the busy buzz of so many people, such tall buildings. We used this visit to do our research to find out whether the Staten Island ferry has the cheapest beer in New York City.

Karen enjoying a glass of red wine in the village

We checked out two Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants. We walked and birded in Central Park. We went to the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) and saw my favorite van Gogh painting.

Starry night painting by van Gogh in the MOMA

We walked and we walked and we walked and there was much whining and gnashing of teeth because my body did not particularly WANT to walk when I wanted it to (the joys of multiple sclerosis :p ) Grateful for a husband who is willing to be my cane when my body is being stupid.

Tom and Karen in Bridges Bar

We went to a rooftop bar, not as high as the one in Singapore, but still fun to look down on Times Square. We saw the Columbus Day parade with Italian Americans! We enjoyed every moment and were grateful to be in New York City once again, especially with free hotel stays and and our flight paid for.

Central park, fallen down tree and surrounding trees

Have you ever been to New York City? What is your favourite thing to do there? Share with us in the comments!

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Discovering the Rich History of Morristown

We unexpectedly found ourselves in Morristown, NJ. I have to admit that I never had heard the name, but it turns out to have a lot of historically relevant events connected to it .

Hamilton, Washington and Lafayette statues, talking together

We "met" Hamilton, Washington, and Lafayette right on the green! They were discussing aid of French tall ships and troops being sent by the king of France for our young nation.

Church in Morristown

Picturesque churches and more history than we could take in on our short visit.

Another church in Morristown

There even was a statue of "Buddy", the first seeing eye dog. I particularly loved this because we raised a Guiding Eyes for the Blind puppy, Giant .

Statue of Frank Morris and his guide dog Buddy

I am looking forward to writing a more extensive article on Morristown for Our Carpe Diem, but wanted to give y'all a flavour of our unexpected fun history finds!

Yet another church in Morristown

Have you ever been to Morristown? Do you know other places where you can find a statue of Hamilton? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly...

The Good

Next week, we will go to New York City for two nights. As you might know, we rarely pay for hotels since we have a lot of Hilton honor points. As you also might know, hotels in New York City are expensive. We looked around and the cheapest was a Hilton Garden Inn close to Time Square for only 46,000 points.

Statue of Liberty with beautiful sunset

We also noticed a new Hilton hotel, The London NYC, at a better location, but it was 95,000 points. This is a Conrad hotel, and we had a really good experience at a Conrad in Singapore last year so we would love to stay there. Still, we didn't want to spend that many points.

New York City skyline with thunderous clouds above it

Luckily I remembered that we still had some free weekend night certificates from our Hilton Ascend American Express card. It didn't take long to call Hilton Honors and get one of these applied to the London NYC. Together with points for Monday night, we saved more than $1,000. Looking forward to staying there!

The Bad

We used to have two cars, but in January, one of the kids totalled one of them... She was fine, the other driver was fine, but the car was not. Since we had talked about becoming a one car family anyway, we shrugged and moved on and hoped for the best. Of course we realized that at some point that one car might become too costly to repair, and we could be at that point. We will find out soon, keeping our fingers crossed we can limp along with this one for a bit longer.

Two of our girls looking out over the ocean on a wintery day

The Ugly

One of the indignities and annoyances of my multiple sclerosis is regular check ups on my overactive bladder. Yesterday I had one of these not-fun-at-all checkups and found out that my bladder was not performing like it should. As a result, I get to go on an additional medication. That is all good and well, but the ugly and scary part was that they stated that the next step would be to inject botox into my bladder, to paralyze the overactive muscle... I haven't researched it yet, but the thought of it scares me. Meanwhile I am supposed to mostly cut out, or at least severely limit tea and coffee. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
Tiger heron snatching a baby crocodile
I don't want to give up my favorite drinks!