My Thoughts · Spain · Travel

Just How Much Did the Moors Influence Spain?

Lin and I with Alhambra in background
Lin and I with the Alhambra in the background

Our trip from Barcelona to Valencia, Granada and then Seville expanded my knowledge of the Moorish presence in Spain. We headed south along the coast and drove a couple days. As we traveled, I marveled at the sights. My awareness of the Moorish influence in Spain grew as I saw their presence!

Day 3: March 2, 2020

Our day started out rainy in Barcelona, and we face a two-hundred-mile drive to Valencia.

We stopped for lunch at Peñíscola on the Mediterranean coast. The hilltop castle was used for the filming of the movie, “El Cid.” Some of us braved the cold windy day and walked up to the castle winding our way through the narrow streets. I bought an expensive souvenir there—a deck of playing cards for twelve dollars. Hard to explain!

As we drove, Brad entertained us with facts about Spain, specifically about Catalonia and the Catalan dialect. He told us about Franco winning the Spanish Civil War in 1939. Franco trained Juan Carlos to follow him, but when he died and Juan Carlos took over, he said that Franco was wrong and organized the states as they are known now.

Brad also explained why Catalonia wants to leave Spain. He shared an interesting comparison of Shakespeare and Cervantes and told us about the “anti-pope.” His narrative helped make the day go by quickly.

Our day ended at Valencia. It is noted for “The City of Arts and Science,” “a cultural and architectural complex” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Arts_and_Sciences

I didn’t feel well, so I napped while my husband, Lin, and friends toured the complex and took pictures. Valencia is also known for paella and we had an extraordinary dinner seeing paella made by a master chef at La Cigrona restaurant. I recovered in time to eat!

Another claim to fame for Valencia is the fallas—celebrations that last from March 1 – 19, “a traditional celebration held in commemoration of Saint Joseph. . .. The term Falles refers to both the celebration and the monuments burnt during the celebration. Each neighbourhood of the city has an organised group of people, the Casal faller, that works all year long holding fundraising parties and dinners, usually featuring the noted dish paella, a specialty of the region.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falles

Day 4: March 3, 2020

Because of the planned seat rotation, Lin and I sat up front on the right-hand side of the bus and had a clear view ahead—it was awesome because this was another drive day to Granada to see the Alhambra. Again, Brad shared his knowledge of the area we were traveling through.

In preparing for our time in Granada and the Alhambra, Brad shared that the Arabic world arrived in Granada in 711 and captured it in twenty years. Three faiths, Jewish, Christian and Islam, lived side-by-side here for many years.

The Moslem control was defeated in 1492 at the Battle of Granada, the “Reconquista.”

“The Battle of Granada was a siege of the city of Granada. It was fought several months and lead to the surrender of Granada on January 2, 1492. The forces of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile fought against the armies of the Muslim Emirate of Granada.

This relatively small campaign was of enormous consequences because Granada was the last outpost of Al-Andalus in Spain and its fall meant the end of 780 years of Muslim control in the Iberian Peninsula.”

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Granada

In 1492, the sultan gave the keys of the Alhambra to Ferdinand and Isabella. Brad talked about the Arabic triangle in Spain: Granada, Sevilla and Toledo.

When we arrived in Granada, we drove immediately to the Alhambra for a two-and-a-half-hour tour—exhausting but exhilarating! Our touring group split into two groups, and our guide was Elena, a knowledgeable and personable woman.

The Alhambra is “a palace and fortress complex. . . constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Nasridemir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. After the conclusion of the Christian Reconquista in 1492, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella (where Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition). . ..”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhambra

Washington Irving’s presence at the Alhambra

Washington Irving wrote his “Tales of the Alhambra” here.

I had no idea of the extent of the Moorish influence in Spain. This palace took my breath away. The mosaics inside and the Islamic calligraphy graced numerous walls. The sheer size spoke volumes as to the position this palace played throughout Muslim and Spanish history.

The Alhambra

Situated on a hill, the fortress’ protection and presence commanded the area.

As we were walking back, Elena told us to go to the Zara store not far from our hotel for great prices on women’s clothing, so I made note of that!

After our tour through the Palace and the Generalife, a walk through gardens to the Summer Palace and walk back, I was exhausted. So we headed to our hotel and napped. We ate dinner at the hotel, then Lin and I walked to the square a few blocks away and took pictures of Queen Isabella and Columbus.

Day 5: March 4, 2020

During the morning, Lin and I chose to do an optional tour to the Albaicin neighborhood which used to be the Moslem Quarters of Granada that we could see from the Alhambra the day before. This fascinating walking tour wound us around through narrow streets with beautiful balconies covered with flowers and our guide, Elena from the day before.

Acorn – Welcome

She shared how many of the houses had acorn statutes as welcome signs to visitors.

“The traditional type of house is the carmen, consisting of a freestanding house surrounded by a high wall that separates it from the street and including a small orchard or garden.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albaic%C3%ADn

The beautiful doors fascinated me as we wandered through the narrow streets, so I took several photos.

Elena shared that one of the ways the Moslems showed they had converted to Christianity was the image of the Virgin Mary on their walls. They were desperate to show their conversion after the Reconquesta.

After this tour, our group stopped for a break and I bought Washington Irving’s book, “Tales of the Alhambra.” Next we visited the Royal Palace and saw five crypts: Isabella and Ferdinand, Prince Charles, the Handsome and his mother, Joanna, the Crazy and Miguel. We were not allowed to take pictures in the Royal Palace.

Gula con gambas
Gula con gambas

Afterwards, we ate lunch in a small street café and I split “Gula con gambas” with Mary Beth. It was a delicious shrimp and noodle dish. Then we shopped at Zara’s, finding some great buys.

We spent the afternoon traveling through olive country to Seville. We stopped for a break and bought olive oil souvenirs. Brad shared an English tourist joke. What’s ABC?  “Another Bloody Church.”

We settled in our hotel in Seville and for an optional excursion, we went out to dinner, sampling delicious Spanish food in a seven-course meal. A singer, a friend of Brad’s, entertained us, then we had a memorable end to the night—a carriage ride back to our hotel, stopping at the Plaza America for pictures.

One of the horses in a carriage next to us was a black, high-spirited Andalusian, beautiful prancing and gorgeous body!

We visited two beautiful cities and saw so much in three days, my head is still reeling! I’m glad I have this blog to go back and peruse my pictures and remember–ah!!!

~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~THINGS ARE BOOMING! I HAVE 227 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  It will be published by MID-APRIL! You, too, can pre-order this amazing story! You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

~Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft for digital or paper copies of all my books: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

My Thoughts · Spain · Travel

Barcelona, A Two Day Whirlwind Tour of the City of Mystery

Barcelona, a city of mystery and mystique! We had two glorious days in Barcelona to discover its hidden wonders. Lin and I explored narrow streets which looked like alleys, saw breathtaking cathedrals and learned about an architect with a dream. Two action-packed days in Barcelona officially started our “Insight Vacations” in Spain, and I fell in love with Barcelona!

Day 1 – February 29, 2020

On our first day of our official “Insight Vacations” tour, we woke up early at 6:15 a.m., adjusting to the time change. Our group planned to meet downstairs at 8:15 a.m. to buy Hop-On, Hop-Off tickets at the desk and tour Barcelona on our own. Everyone showed up and purchased their tickets, except our faithful leaders, Jerry and Mary Beth—they slept in. I loved the group’s response—total acceptance.

Again it was a walk to Diagonal Street, “Avinguda Diagonal (Catalan pronunciation), in Spanish La Avenida Diagonal is the name of one of  Barcelona’s broadest and most important avenues. It cuts the city in two, diagonally with respect to the grid pattern of the surrounding streets, hence the name.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avinguda_Diagonal

 But this trip was leisure stroll, and we caught the bus to go down to the port because Jerry and Mary Beth had been here thirty years ago and wanted us to see the area where they stayed. The Hop-On Hop-Off bus provided a Barcelona guide book and ear buds to listen to the recorded tour guide’s comments as we passed sights. Lin and I wanted upstairs on the top of the open-air bus. Initially I had some problems with the sound but figured it out.

The whole idea of the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus ticket was to see the whole city and then go back to the specific places that caught our eye—we ended up not doing that.

Our grouped stayed on the Red line until the port, passing many amazing sights, but then we left the bus about 11:15 a.m., agreeing to meet back at 12:15 p.m if we were going to continue with the group (who went on to have lunch together and tour the rest of the city on the bus). Lin and I opted to stay down by the port. We first took pictures of the Christopher Columbus (Colon) Monument.

Colon Monument ( Christopher Columbus)

“The Mirador de Colom, also known as the Columbus Monument, is an impressive pillar dedicated to the explorer Christopher Columbus in Barcelona with an observation deck at the top. It stands 197 Ft (60 m) tall and sits at the end of La Rambla, very close to the city’s port.”

https://www.introducingbarcelona.com/mirador-de-colom

Narrow street in the La Rambla Disrict

After that, a flea market caught our eye, and we wandered through it. From there we headed towards La Rambla and then down alley-like streets so charming and alluring. Bicyclists rode by us as we meandered down narrow streets with hanging flower baskets—so picturesque. Needless to say, we didn’t make it back by 12:15 p.m

One more narrow street tempted Lin, so I waited and watched people, one of my favorite pastime in foreign countries. People of all ages on bicycles surrounded me. Lin and I reunited and went shopping. Then we had a delicious lunch outside at the Casa Lola restaurant “in the heart of the La Rambla Catalunya”  in the brisk, cool air, sampling “tapas” which

“. . .are at the very heart of Spanish lifestyle and culture. Everywhere in Spain, you will find lively, noisy bars serving small plates of superb flavours and local delicacies.

It is essentially a style of eating rather than a form of cooking. Tapas mean sociability, friends and family.”

https://www.eyeonspain.com/spain-magazine/all-about-tapas.aspx

Lin Enjoyed La Tapas!

 Our lunch consisted of shrimped with garlic and pepper, patatas bravas (a potato dish but not like our potatoes), and a pasta salad with shrimp, crab and pineapple—can you tell Lin and I like shrimp!

After lunch, we hopped back on the bus and hopped off to see the Basilica of St. Maria del Mar “. . . a church in the Ribera district of Barcelona, Spain, built between 1329 and 1383 at the height of Principality of Catalonia’s maritime and mercantile preeminence. It is an outstanding example of Catalan Gothic, with a purity and unity of style that is very unusual in large medieval buildings.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria_del_Mar,_Barcelona

We paid the $7.50 to enter and what a delight it was! I had a big disappointment though. After our trip to Costa Rica, I took my Canon Rebel in to be fixed and thought it was, but at this point, it repeated the behavior from before—so frustrating. I could still take pictures but had to turn it off and on after each shot!

In this church, I started a tradition I tried to continue throughout our tour—I bought a candle and lit it for my loved ones. I had no idea how many churches or cathedrals we would visit!

Again, we hopped on the bus again and went to the Barcelona Cathedral where we only took pictures outside. I bought three precious bracelets there. It was here we realized we were running out of time, so we stopped for gelato and some relax time before we rushed back to our hotel for our evening activities. We were able to sneak in a nap!

 Our tour group met downstairs at the hotel—all 39 of us—with our tour guide, Brad Dick. He handed out bags and information, then we boarded our bus for the first time to go to dinner as a group. Our group split up and sat at different tables to meet our companion-travelers. We sat with a couple from Singapore and enjoyed a traditional Spanish meal with a wide variety of small plates. What a nice introduction to our tour group!

Lin and I ended the evening when we returned to the hotel with a walk to the neighborhood “farmacia” (drug store) to buy him Dramamine in case he got motion sickness when we moved around the bus from the seating chart.

What a fascinating first day in Barcelona!

Day 2 – March 1, 2020

Lin and I selected an optional excursion for the morning to Montserrat, an 11th century Benedictine monastery, 38 miles northeast of Barcelona. A local tour guide, Santiago—Santi for short—joined us and pointed out highlights on the trip in Barcelona and then in the countryside.

Montserrat is built up on the side of a mountain, so we took a narrow road that zigzagged back and forth to arrive at this breathtaking place.

Montserrat’s history has mystery to it: “It is not known exactly when Monks first came to Montserrat and began to build a Monastery. However, it is believed that in the ninth century four of the Chapels were built on Montserrat Mountain. . .”

https://www.montserrat-tourist-guide.com/en/attractions/montserrat-monastery.html

My Picture of the Black Madonna & Christ Child at Montserrat

Santi led us on a tour of the outside then we went inside to see the venerated Black Madonna. Afterwards we were given time to explore, shop or grab a bite. I went inside the church and zoomed in on the Black Madonna from the sanctuary, but I got a great close up when I walked by!

Gaudi’s La Casa Mila

We returned to Barcelona, picked up the rest of our tour group and Santi started a tour of Barcelona with a look at one of Antoni Gaudí’s houses, La Casa Mila. Before this trip, I had never heard of Gaudí—maybe that shows my ignorance, but after visiting Barcelona and his creations, I’m in awe of him and his vision.

Antoni Gaudí “. . .was a Catalan architect known as the greatest exponent of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí’s works have a highly individualized, one-of-a-kind style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his main work, the church of the Sagrada Família. Gaudí’s work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoni_Gaud%C3%AD

Also we drove by Gaudí’s La Casa Batlló, but I didn’t get a good daytime photo of it.

Our next stop was Gaudí’s most famous creation, La Sagrada Família, “. . .a striking example of Gaudí’s unique Art Nouveau architecture and is filled with religious symbolism and meaning. Eight of the intended 18 towers have been built, which rise to over 100 meters. The towers represent the Twelve Apostles and each one bears the name and statue of its apostle.”

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/spain/barcelona-sagrada-familia

I can not put into words what this structure is like—massive outside with spires, color and small scenes from Jesus’ life, but we as I entered this sacred place, light exploded through stain-glass windows. Santi told us the orange and red on one side depicted the warmth of the south, and blue and green on the other side was the cold from the north. I was speechless! The light streaming through the windows colored the whole inside of the cathedral—it was sensory over load! I couldn’t believe the inside size!

Gaudi’s Workshop

We left through what will become the new entrance which depicts the passion of Christ. To the side was a small workshop where Gaudí worked for over forty years, dedicated to the completion of his dream.

Afterwards we had a 45-minute lunch break, so part of our group gravitated across the street to small pizza place for lunch. Our next stop on the city tour was the Gothic area of Barcelona, and we revisited the Barcelona Cathedral and the area where Lin and I had been the day before. A gigantic crowd mobbed the area—some sort of walking donation. We returned to the hotel and rested—I was exhausted from our long day of touring, and it wasn’t over!

I thoroughly enjoyed our evening tour, returning to some of the places we had seen during the day and the day before. We returned to the Palau Nacional, the National Palace, “. . .a building on the hill of Montjuïc in Barcelona. It was the main site of the 1929 International Exhibition.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palau_Nacional

I captured the evening view of the palace and then the city from the palace—breathtaking view! I bought a copy of a children’s book about Gaudí in Spanish, Los Sueños del Gaudí, “The Dreams of Gaudí” and look forward to reading it.

On our drive up Montjuïc hill, we passed by the Poble Espanyol museum, the Spanish town with tall figurines of a Spanish man and woman. Then our tour continued on to the “Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys,” originally built for the 1929 International Exposition and used as the main stadium for the 1992 Olympics.

From there we ventured down to the Olympic Village by the pier for a delicious seafood and cheese dinner. We finished this feast with Crema Catalana for dessert, a Spanish delicacy, similar to Crème Brûlée.

We ended the evening driving by Gaudí’s two houses, La Casa Batlló and La Mila lit up at night. Gaudí’s architecture took on a eerie feeling at night! As we drove back to the hotel, Lin and I lamented about all the attractions in Barcelona we missed and vowed to come back—it had been a glorious day!

Our two days in Barcelona started this trip off right!


~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE 213 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  It will be published in the next monght! You, too, can pre-order this amazing story! You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

~Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft for digital or paper copies of all my books: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

My Thoughts · Spain · Travel

Can You Do Spain in Nine Days?

Spain in nine days! Barcelona, Valencia, Granada, Seville, Cordoba and Madrid! I reveled in the mystery of this gorgeous country and its people, the cathedrals, Don Quixote and La Mancha, Gaudi’s creations and the Moorish influence. Yes, we did it, and it was magical!

Again, I want to share my travel experiences with you. I will group them together in about four blog posts, so off to Barcelona we go!

February 27, 2020

Lin and I woke before dawn at 2:30 a.m. Again, like the night before we flew to Costa Rica a month or so ago, I had trouble sleeping in anticipation of this big trip. We left the house at 3:15 a. m., drove to Jerry and Mary Beth Gilbreath’s, dropped off our vehicle and drove to the airport together.

Our flight left at 6:00 a. m. for Atlanta, GA.  In a way, this was a working vacation for me—I needed to finish the last two chapters in Marshall Flippo’s biography, so I took my iPad loaded with Scrivener and worked anytime I could, like on the flight to Atlanta.

We had a sizable layover there, so we grabbed a delicious meal then scooted off to a table in a coffee shop near our gate to play Cribbage with the ladies playing the gents, and the ladies skunked the guys!

While we were in Atlanta, I downloaded a novel about Spain, Winter in Madrid, by C. J. Sansom. Our tour director, Brad Dick, had suggested a list of three books, so I downloaded one and Lin did another.

Our flight to JFK passed uneventful, and I started my book about Spain and worked on my iPad. We had limited time at JFK but squeezed one game in, and the guys won. While we were waiting for our flight and while playing, Lin obsessed about pizza but didn’t get any.

Then we boarded the plane for Barcelona leaving at 5:37 p.m. We were delayed an hour but still arrived on time. They served a delicious dinner, and it was a bumpy ride. I worked again on my iPad then watched the movie, “Judy” and loved it. I did sleep a little.

February 28, 2020

Then the cabinet lights came on, and we lost six hours from New York City! How shocking! As we neared Barcelona and the Spanish coast, we photographed a beautiful sunrise. We moved through customs easily and got our Passports stamped and gathered our luggage. Lin and Jerry exchanged dollars into Euros, and we found the man from Insight Travels, our tour company, who take us to our hotel.

While driving I practiced my Spanish with him and did pretty well. When we arrived at the Meliã Hotel, our room wasn’t ready, so we questioned the desk clerk, and he gave us directions to a place to eat breakfast. As I listened to the clerk talk to someone, I realized he wasn’t speaking Spanish, so I asked him. He was speaking Catalan, a dialect of the region, Catalonia. As we traveled Barcelona, I noticed signs in both Spanish and Catalan.

Interestingly, we found out that Spaniards do not eat a breakfast like we do, so that narrowed down the choices. After a short walk, we did find a lovely place, El Fornet, and enjoyed a delicious breakfast and coffee. We rambled around the area and went back to the hotel–our rooms still weren’t ready, so we went to the bar and played more Cribbage. The guys won, so we were even then, and that ended our Cribbage game in Spain–we were way too busy!

Finally, our rooms were ready, so I unpacked and slept hard for several hours.

We were traveling with a group with many arriving at different times. So, early evening, we met downstairs and walked to El Patio restaurant for our first group dinner. Some in the group thought it was “the death march” because we were told it was just 10 minutes from the hotel–NOT! Lin and I feasted on scallops and clams and reconnected with a couple from Maine who used to live in Albuquerque. We walked back to the hotel afterwards, and I hit the bed exhausted and never turned over.

SUMMARY OF OUR TRIP

Sagrada Familia

We spent three nights in Barcelona because we elected to come in a day early and loved having that extra day. The highlights of Barcelona were a city tour, a drive to Montessarat (an 11th century Benedictine monastery with a black Madonna), the Sagrada Familia, the Barcelona Cathedral, a Roman Wall and the Royal Palace.

After that, our driving tour began, and we followed the sunny Costa Dorada and stopped at Peñiscola where El Cid was filmed. Then it was on to Valencia for the afternoon. I wasn’t feeling well, so I didn’t photograph the arts and science complex, but Lin and two friends did. That evening we enjoyed “paella.”

The next day we headed to Granada and visited the Alhambra, a 13th century Moorish citadel. The following morning, we did a walking tour of the Albaicin Quarter, “the oldest section of Granada, with its narrow-cobbled streets and cármenes (Moorish-style houses).” https://www.britannica.com/place/Albaicin

Flamenco Dancers Thrilled Me!

That afternoon we traveled to Seville and spent two nights. We visited the Alzacar and had two special dinners there: one sampling a variety of Spanish specialties with live music and the other while watching Flamenco dancers! Two memorable nights! The first night in Seville we had a carriage ride to our hotel with a stop at the Plaza America! The second one we saw the Flamenco dancers.

The next travel day we stopped in Córdoba and saw the Mosque/Cathedral, and then it was on to Madrid for two nights. The next day was jam-packed. We visited the Prado in the morning and then drove to Toledo and toured the city and cathedral there.

The weather was cool, but we lucked out with no rain. Our tour guide entertained and educated us with his knowledge and humor and made bus rides enjoyable. There were twelve from our group and a total of 39 in the tour. What an exceptional bunch to travel with. We had people from the USA, Canada and Singapore–couldn’t have been better!

Our wonderful Spanish trip ended the next day with a long travel day home, but I will savor the memories forever!

SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!

Next week, I will take you through our Barcelona adventures down narrow streets that looked like alleys and more! I will show off some of my great photos of amazing places–get ready! Barcelona is amazing! I want to go back!


~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE 213 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

~Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft for digital or paper copies of all my books: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

Costa Rica · My Thoughts · Travel

Extreme Costa Rica: Snorkeling & The End!

Me Enjoying Pipas!

Our extreme Costa Rica experience was almost over! Snorkeling, shopping and a fabulous birthday celebration ended this amazing trip. We landed at Coco Beach at the Hotel El Colono, a beautiful tropical facility for the last four days.

Day 11 – January 17, 2020

The morning began with breakfast besides the luscious swimming pool before we left for an adventure. Enrique had told us the day before they had a day at the beach planned for today—the name of the beach in English was “The Poor Man’s Underwear Beach”—conjures up quite an image!

We piled into the van with Lucy directing, “Lin, get into the van” and greeting each one as we climbed in. We stopped at a Subways for sandwiches to take with us. Some people opted to go to a supermarket for their food. Lin squeezed in ice cream from the Pops ice cream shop, and away we went.

What an adventure with a change in plans—not “The Poor Man’s Underwear Beach” but La Playa Las Prisas and I didn’t get the translation down for that, and my translation app says “The beach in the rush!” Oh, well!

The Brahmas fascinated us!

We stopped at a roadside stand selling sandias (watermelons) and refreshing pipas drinks (coconut), and across the road was a herd of Brahmas which fascinated many of us. The young man running the stand allowed us to use visit the garden behind the stand and then to use the bathrooms in the house on the property. Again a wonderful serendity along the way!

As we drove there, we wove our way over a rough, rocky dirt road with several cars in front of us, but I wasn’t disappointed when we arrived—a beautiful beach, wave crashing and lots of locals in family and friend gatherings around us! It couldn’t have been better! It felt like Costa Rican life at its best!

After lunch, several enjoyed a dip in the ocean or a walk along the beach. Victoria warned us not to pick up seashells because they would confiscate them at customs—I have a jar of shells I’ve gathered over the years in our second bathroom, so that was a bummer.

Leisure and laid-back is how I would describe this day. Next to us, a woman engaged the day from a hammock, and we made eye-contact, such an easy thing to do. She offered her hammock to me for a relaxing swing, so I climbed aboard—I love hammocks.

Later I asked to take a picture of her group, and they jumped up enthusiastically, then Liz danced a little in the sand with one of the guys. After I took their picture, they took ours! What a playful, fun atmosphere!

We left this slice of paradise about 3:30 p.m. with sand in my shoes and my heart which means I will return someday!

From there we drove to Tamarindo, a hustling beach town for the sunset. Our group parked ourselves at outside tables at a restaurant and did our own things. Some walked the beach, others shopped and others relaxed at our table. beause it was an opportunity to check email. I thoroughly enjoyed photographing the pelicans diving for their dinner and the horses and riders as they passed by!

I kept hearing this strange sound, and Enrique explained it to me as a Guanacaste yodeling, “Grito,” so I found the yodeler and he was eager to have our pictures taken.

As we waited for the sunset, I saw some young girls positioned their hands in a heart in an angle so it captured the sun, so I joined them and they took my picture. The sunset took your breath away—a truly tropical sunset.

Afterwards we enjoyed fire dancers down the beach. I talked to William, our driver, in Spanish and we shared some deep private issues in our lives. It was amazing.

During the evening, a trio came out and entertained us with live music which is always a treat. The evening ended with Pat singing her heart out with them—I forgot the tune, but it was a blast.

Day 12 – January 18, 2020

The next day began with breakfast by the pool and a fun time with Victoria’s family and close friends who came to join in the celebration of her birthday that night.

Afterwards, Lin and I wandered down to the beach, shopped, and I enjoyed a “sandia drink.” A young Costa Rican girl, Tatianna, sold me an ankle bracelet, and I immediately lost in the surf as I was walking the beach. I searched a little and realized what a futile effort, but I went back to Lin and told him. I decided to go up the beach once more to see if I could find her, but I didn’t.

When I got back to Lin, Tatianna had come by in my absence, and he replaced the lost ankle bracelet for me. She was still in the area, so I gave her another hug.

Lin had parked himself at a restaurant with a gorgeous view of the beach, so I joined him there. A guy behind us name Will complimented us on our relationship because I had asked Lin when he wanted me to return when I went searching for Tatianna. Will serenaded us and truly became an ambassador for Costa Rica!

After more shopping on our way back to the hotel, we joined the group to go to a country club to spend the afternoon. We swam, ate Greek food, swam and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.

We returned to our hotel to prepare for the evening’s festivities—Victoria’s birthday party at her aunt’s house, and what a party it was! They served delicious food out on the front patio. We danced the cumbia and the salsa. I dance with Lin; I dance with Victoria! We all danced together—the Latin way of enjoying dance and music! I called a short square dance tip to demonstrate to our newfound friends our much-loved pastime. We sang “Happy Birthday” to Victoria, then she brought up everyone who was having a major birthday this year, and we sang to them! What a great evening!

Day 13 – January 19, 2020

Again a delicious meal besides the pool of rice and beans, eggs and lots of fruit. I had to fill up for sure.

A group of us went for one last shopping spree. I needed a long-sleeved shirt to wear snorkeling. Somehow Lin left me, so I shopped alone and had a marvelous time. When I got back to the hotel, I transferred my pictures to Jerry’s laptop as a backup.

Our last afternoon adventure had arrived—a ride on a catamaran to snorkel with dinner and drinks on board and a guaranteed gorgeous sunset. So away we went, having to be tendered from the beach out to the catamaran which held about seventy people. During the trip out to where we snorkeled, we saw pelicans and dolphins. People opted to sit outside or in the cabin.

Lin decided he didn’t want to snorkel, so I went with Greg and saw some fish, but not the variety everybody else did. My stamina from being sick the last year hampered my ability to do much, plus I felt bad with Lin alone on the boat. When I got back, he wasn’t there! Some in the group encouraged him to get in the water, and he waved at me from on the beach.

By being on the boat, though, I got great pictures of each one of our group as they came back—Monica was the first in the water and the last one back.

We ate our delicious dinner as we cruised, and then the crew hoisted the sail for a quiet, peaceful journey. Clouds hung over the western sky, and some bemoaned our chance for a beautiful sunset, but what a sunset we got with the clouds and boats on the water.

We returned to our hotel deeply satisfied with a day on the ocean. We had a little ceremony giving Enrique and William each a gift from the group. They provided us an amazing twelve days I will never forget, so I felt they deserved it. For some of us, it was a teary time!

Day #14 – January 20, 2020

I hate departure days, but this one especially! We had melded as a group, and it was hard to say goodbye. Lin and I organized our bulging suitcase and went to breakfast. The van left for the airport for the first wave; we were on the second wave.

Marian and Lucy had extended their stay, so they weren’t leaving, so Marian rode to the airport with each group.

Our last trip in the van! We drove to Liberia and flew home with an uneventful return. This trip changed my life forever with the “!Pura Vida´!” attitude of the Costa Rican people and the gorgeous country they have.

Lorana, Victoria’s best friend, asked me if I would ever come back. My response, “Not if, but when!”

!Pura Vida!


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE 211 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

~Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft for digital or paper copies of all my books: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

Costa Rica · My Thoughts

Extreme Costa Rica – Zip Line Adventure & More

Group picture before we did zip line
Zip Line Adventure, Costa Rica 2020

During this section our trip to Costa Rica, I had anticipated zip line, visions of soaring over the canopy of the rain forest within the shadow of Arenal volcano, and I wasn’t disappointed. Each day when I came out of my room in La Fortuna, my eyes turned to Arenal to capture a clear picture, but I never did. I was raised about twenty-five miles from Capulin volcano in New Mexico, so I have volcano-loving in my blood!

Day 8 – January 14, 2020

The day started with a unique breakfast to us in New Mexico—eating delicious food outside, but that was a highlight during this whole trip for me.

Lin on one of the bridges at Mistico Hanging Bridges
Lin on one of the bridge!

Our destination for the morning was Místico Hanging Bridges in the foothills of Arenal volcano. I ended up not taking my Canon Rebel camera because of possible rainy conditions but used my iPhone, and it did rain!

Enrique telling us about the rain forest
Enrique Sharing His Limitless Knowledge about the Rain Forest!

Again, Enrique shared his knowledge of plants and animals along the way and referred to his trusty bird book! He pointed out “Walking Palm Trees” that fascinated me.

Waling Palm Tree
Walking Palm Trees

Throughout our hike, we crossed sixteen bridges over the rain forest. Here’s a map of the park:

https://www.misticopark.com/mistico-map

Some longer bridges swayed with the people’s weight and movements, and that was a little alarming. It ended up being a four-hour hike, raining off and on, and my shoes hurt for the first time on the trip.

Eyelash Viper
My Photo of an Eyelash Viper

Standing on one of the bridges, Enrique spied an Eyelash Viper curled up in a tree a safe distance from us—how amazing. I was so glad it wasn’t close to us!

“The eyelash viper, known for its beautiful ‘eyelashes’, is also well-known for its aggression and lightning fast strikes.
An eyelash pit viper bite contains a dose of hemotoxic venom, capable of killing adult human beings and large mammals. Their bright colors help them camouflage in bushes, berries and fruits. 
Mostly found in central and South America, this snake can be highly aggressive and fatal when their survival is under threat.”

https://www.aboutanimals.com/reptile/eyelash-viper/

After our unbelievable trek through the rain forest, we ate a late lunch at the Smithsonian Observatory:

“The Smithsonian Rooms at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa are named after the U.S. Smithsonian Institution scientists who began coming to the area in the 1970s to study the Arenal Volcano. Our lodge was originally built to accommodate the groups of scientists, students and occasional tourists who visited Arenal and La Fortuna, Costa Rica.”

“The Smithsonian Rooms at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa are named after the U.S. Smithsonian Institution scientists who began coming to the area in the 1970s to study the Arenal Volcano. Our lodge was originally built to accommodate the groups of scientists, students and occasional tourists who visited Arenal and La Fortuna, Costa Rica.”

https://www.arenalobservatorylodge.com/en/rooms-rates/smithsonian/

I enjoyed arroz con camarones for lunch – rice with shrimp! I added a guanabana shake and coconut flan—what a decadent meal but I enjoyed it to the max!

Our group at the Smithsonian Observatory with Arenal volcano in the background
Our group at the Smithsonian Observatory with Arenal Volcano in the background

The view from the observatory deck was breathtaking but cloudy so we didn’t get a clear shot of Arenal volcano, probably the best place to photograph it! We were so close to it there! We ventured out on the deck when it wasn’t raining then ducked back inside. Coatimundis and turkeys wandered around on the lawn below the deck and we took lots of pictures.

On our travels that day, we stopped at a waterfall, but I didn’t go down—the four-hour hike did me in, so Liz and I had a nice visit. We picked up Victoria, got our bathing suits and went to La Paz Waterfall Gardens “The Springs Resort & Spa” for a lovely soak in the many pools and a relaxing evening.

A topic of conversation all day centered on our activity the next day: the zip line. We had some in our group who definitely decided not to go, but a couple people wavered all day, so us veteran zipliners gave speech after speech trying to entice them. Who would go? Who would not? We enjoyed a late dinner at the spa and ended a wonderful day and anticipated another highlight of this trip—zip lining across the rain forest the next day.

Day 9 – January 15, 2020

 Zip line day was finally here, and it was a rainy day, but, hey—we were in the rain forest. Three newbies of our group decided to go, and I loved seeing their expressions after each zip line–totally enjoyment and awe!

Lin and I had done a zip line in Juneau, Alaska in 2007 and the equipment was totally different. We wore heavy gloves and used our hands on the cable to break the ride. It was much simpler this time!

Our fun-loving group immediately clicked with the crew at Sky Tram Adventures, laughing and teasing as we had the harnesses and equipment put on. We rode up the hill in a small tramp and received training before we started.

The rules were simple:

  1. Lean back and knees up
  2. When the line wiggles (by one of the employees watching you come into the platform), spread your legs as you come into the landing platform to break
  3. If you stop before the platform, turn around go hand over hand back

So away we went! There were seven zip lines, and the first one was short and easy to practice on. On the next one, it seemed to go on forever and it rained, but my glasses protected my eyes. I traveled really fast on that line and also burned the nail on my right-hand thumb because it was too close to the pulley! I learned where to put my hands and had no more problems afterwards. Then next one, I did some crazy antics: I broke too quickly and then started wiggling my legs. After that, I just let it go and went like a bullet! The workers on the platforms really stopped us!

A couple of people rented cameras mounted on their helmets, so, thanks to Liz, here’s what it really looks like: https://youtu.be/73OjUH09L50

The employees’ shirts said, “Xperience Creator,” and they certainly did it! We had so much fun with Pepe and Juan.

Flying above the canopy of the rain forest, seeing Lake Arenal and the Arenal volcano over my shoulder and enjoying the sight overwhelmed me!

As a group, we bought our pictures that Sky Tram Adventures took and some are included in this post.

That evening after our action-packed day, we returned to The Springs Spa for another great soak and social time with our group. My zip line adventure met all of my expectations.

Day 10 – January 16, 2020

After breakfast, Lin, Marian and I opted not to go on the chocolate factory tour—it was a hard choice, but instead we returned to downtown La Fortuna to shop and enjoy the local flavor.

Lin had square danced on the plaza in 2001 when it was dedicated, so we took pictures of him standing next to the plaque. The church, San Juan Bosco church interested me, so I visited it and took lots of pictures.

After shopping, I topped the day with a guanabama ice cream cone from Pop’s and our time in La Fortuna’s plaza ended.

After our group returned from what was a fabulous tour a chocolate factory, we left the hotel and traveled around the lake, heading towards the beach in a four hour drive. We saw coatimundis a long the side of the road and beautiful lake scenery. We stopped at Lajos Restaurante for lunch on the lake. A short distance from the restaurant, we stopped at a German Bakery for delicious German sweets.

As we drove Enrique continued his instruction about the area we were driving through: We took a shortcut on a rough road and cut off fifteen miles, driving through cattle country. We experienced a change in climate heading towards the dry western side of Costa Rica. We drove along the peninsula of the gulf of Nicoya.

Enrique shared a story of the area: Costa Rica supported Taiwan in the United Nations, so they built a bridge over the gulf of Nicoya, named the Friendship Bridge. Six months later, continental China wanted support from Costa Rica and built a soccer stadium which took one thousand Chinese to build. The bridge became the Ungrateful Bridge.

Sadly Enrique shared the itinerary for the last four days of trip. It hit me—we’re on the last leg of our fabulous trip! Oh, my God!

Then we arrived at our hotel on Coco Beach, Hotel El Colono, and ate dinner at Papa Gallo (Father Rooster), an outside restaurant. It was Victoria’s birthday, so we started a three-day celebration of this big event.

Sometime along the way, Lucy began an enjoyable directive as we loaded the bus, “Lin, get on the bus! Jerry, get on the bus!” This became our mantra for the rest of the trip as we loaded and unloaded the bus . Also, sometime during our adventure, Marian named us the “Dirty Dozen, and we applauded her for our nickname

Whew! We just enjoyed three action-packed days in the rain forest of Costa Rica, and I didn’t want it to end!

Costa Rica · My Thoughts

Extreme Costa Rica: Mawamba and Our Animal Adventure

Welcome to Mawamba Lodge, Torteguero, Costa Rica

We headed towards Mawamba to enjoy three days of animal adventures. That sounded so African—what did it mean? Dennis, our guide, told us its meaning but I forgot (and didn’t jot it done in my journal) It didn’t matter! What a tropical paradise!

Day 5 – January 11, 2020

Excited about this mysterious place, we got up at 6:00 a.m. We checked out and had breakfast, then it became a waiting game. The large greyhound-type bus finally arrived at 9:30 to take us from Guapiles to the canal to catch a boat to travel the canal to Torteguero, the quaint little town and home of the Mawamba Lodge.

We wove our way through the countryside—only two ways into Torteguero: boat on the canal or plane! A youngster in the seat in front of Lin and me serenaded me the whole drive. His name was Mati, and we ran into him and his dad often during our stay.

On the bus ride, Dennis explained the different excursion packages offered to the lodge guests.  Our package included all meals, a boat ride to the Torteguerro National Park that afternoon and a walk around the luscious grounds of Mawamba Lodge the next morning. Lin and I both wanted to do the two optional excursions: the early morning wildlife boat ride and the evening jungle walk.

Arriving at the muddy bank of the canal at La Pavona, we gathered our backpacks, and now I realized the brilliance of Victoria’s suggestion to downsize to a backpack. The mud made roller bags useless!

When we got seated in our boats, we all donned life preservers for the ride on the canal to Torteguerro and Mawamba. Dennis, our guide, pointed out any animals he sighted a long the way: crocodiles on the banks, cranes, and blue herons. I didn’t have my zoom lens on my camera, so I missed the chance to get close up shots of these animals. We had our first sighting of a JC lizard, a Jesus Christ lizard, but I got a better picture later!

“Thanks to super speed and specially-designed feet, the basilisk lizard can run on water. . .an ability that makes it deadly to insects, and has led people to call it the “Jesus Christ Lizard.”

ttps://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/00000144-0a2a-d3cb-a96c-7b2fc1020000
Brahma Grazing

Brahma cattle grazed above us in pastures. I kept looking for more animals which would be my stance for the next three days. This amazing canal ride ended, we gathered our bags, met as a large group from the boats, got the room keys and wandering off to find them. Our group was scattered.

As we approached our room, a hammock hung on the porch, welcoming us there. We were a duplex with lovely neighbors. I loved the spacious rooms. The windows opened up wide with the loud Caribbean Ocean pounding on one side and the quiet courtyard on the other.

After settling in, I realized I had forgotten to bring any bras to change into—oh, well! I just went el natural!

We wandered through the tropical grounds at the Mawamba Lodge and found the open-air cafeteria. Our group sat at a table that became “Ours” for every meal. The buffet provided a variety of choices, and again I enjoyed the tropical fruit.

After lunch, we rode a boat to the Torteguero National Park office and purchased passes. Then Lin and I and our friends from Albuquerque walked down the mains street of the village of Torteguero and shopped. Because they don’t have any cars there, the street is really a narrow path.

The Main Street of Torteguero

Because we signed up for the evening jungle excursion, I searched for long pants because I hadn’t brought any with me in my backpack, and I found a pair. Mosquitoes love me, and I worried about getting bit. We enjoyed a coconut water drink as we walked the main street of Torteguero. We watched a group of men playing a dominoes game, and this usually docile game was loud and rambunctious!

Caribbean Sea

On our way back to Mawamba, we walked along the beach and saw the Sea Turtle Conservancy. I loved seeing the waves crashing on the North Caribbean coast—the power and magic of the sea!

When we got back to the lodge, we donned our swimming suits and met our friends at the pool. My little singing friend from the bus, Mati, joined us with his dad, and we enjoyed his enthusiasm for the water.

After a shower, our group ate dinner then sat outside at the bar talking and looking at each other pictures.  It started raining before we left, so we got wet getting to our rooms, but I welcomed the sound of the rain as I fell asleep that night.

Day 6 – January 12, 2020

The day began early with us waking up at 4:45 a. m. and out the door at 5:00. In my excitement and drowsiness, I forgot my glasses, so I had to return to our room in the dark to get them. Needless to say, I had trouble finding our room because of dark and poor lighting, so I went up the stairs to a room to see if it was ours—it wasn’t!

As I came down the stairs, the rough soles on my water shoes caught on the cement and pole vaulted me into the walk. I landed hard on my left breast and jammed the thumb on my right hand and a toe—ouch!

I did find our room and my glasses, but what a way to start the day!

Dennis was our guide, and the early morning boat excursion overflowed with animal sightings: blue herons, egrets, spider monkeys, Capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, toucans, more JC lizards, blue herons and iguanas! Whew!! Dennis told us there are so many iguanas, there comes a time he doesn’t even point them out!

We returned to the lodge in a downpour, so I was soaked! And it was only eight o’clock! The group ate delicious breakfast, then Dennis led us on a tour of the grounds, identifying all the beautiful tropical flowers, and we saw a toucan and a couple gigantic resident iguanas!

 After lunch, we had another boat excursion and this time, Lin and I sat right up front. And again, we relished the abundance of animals: egrets, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, tiger heron, and blue heron.

We’d all been anticipating seeing a sloth and we saw two: Victoria spotted one on the excursion, and there was one on the Mawamba grounds.

A Sloth Sighting–Yahoo!

 It sprinkled a little, but I didn’t want the peaceful ride down the canal to end! I marveled at the high canopy of the trees—one of the beauties of Costa Rica!

At 5:30 p.m., we struck out on the Jungle Night Walk. Again, we took a boat but this time to a specific area which had raised concrete walks above the watery jungle we walked through. How amazing! People had iPhones out taking pictures. I took my Canon Rebel, but it didn’t work well in the dark. I hesitated using my new iPhone 11 because I was afraid I would drop it. We saw spiders, some poisonous and a variety of frogs. Dennis, our great guide, had everyone turn off our flashlights to experience the sounds and darkness of the jungle—it was incredible!

The day ended with a lovely dinner. Then afterwards, several of us got into the pool and relaxed after our action packed day. They kicked us out at 9:00 p.m., so it was back to our room for a shower. I found a strong Wi-Fi signal and checked my email and posted my pre-written blog for the week.

What a delightful, animal-filled day we had!

Day 7 – January 13, 2020

I hated to see our time at Mawamba end! This was a travel day, so we were up at 7:00 a.m. We packed and had breakfast. After breakfast, Lin and I went to the miniature pineapple bush on the grounds that Dennis showed us the day before to see if we could see any baby iguanas he said live there—no luck!

We took our backpacks to the boat, loaded up and started out for La Pavona. We traveled just a short distance out and Dennis realized he forgot his phone, so we turned around quickly and retrieved it.

A Canal Sign

 The boat ride on the canal back to La Pavona proved uneventful with no anima sightings. These canals are the highways in this part of the world, and this familiar-type sign really depicted that! When we got to La Pavona, we waited awhile for our bus, so we sampled local goodies!

When the bus arrived, quickly Lin asked me to take both of our back packs. He gets car sick sitting in the back of the bus, and Dennis helped him get on the bus first. In the confusion, I grabbed the two backpacks and took off. Thank God, Victoria grabbed my water, and Lucy collected my purse!

Then the bus drove us to Rio Danta Restaurant, an affiliate of Mawamba, and Enrique and William greeted us there. We ate lunch, jumped into our familiar van and headed towards La Fortuna, a three-hour drive. It felt so good to be with Enrique and William again.

As we drove, Enrique shared some vital information: this was his 1076th trip to La Fortuna! Then he shared his knowledge about Mt. Arenal which used to be an active volcano. It was inactive when he was a child, but it had a massive eruption in 1968 and was active for about 45 years. This made the city of Fortuna a big tourist attraction. He shared that around Fortuna is the most typical rain forest.

He reminded us of the three elements of a Costa Rican town: soccer field, school and church!

 In 1974, Costa Rica built a dam for hydro-electric energy that drains into the Pacific Ocean. It not only provides 40% of the electricity for the country but helped the people on Pacific side of Costa Rica which is the driest part.

Enrique’s dialogue continued with so much information. He noted that he’s seen a lot of change in his lifetime. He also warned of a possible papaya shortage in Costa Rica because of my husband’s voracious consummation on this trip!

As we traveled, we noticed fields divided by lines of trees, so we thought farmers planted them to define their farms. Enrique corrected this assumption: the farmer puts a piece of wood into the ground with barbed wire on it, and the wood grows! So much water!

Enrique pointed out a pineapple plantation as we passed it, and said out of the top exports of the country: coffee, bananas, pineapples and sugar cane, sugar cane is the only native!

As usual, Enrique had planned a great stop where we shopped and saw lots of iguanas!

We checked in at Hotel Sierra Arenal, a small beautiful hotel, ate dinner together downtown and spent the evening shopping around the square at La Fortuna.

Another fantastic three days in Costa Rica!

Costa Rica · My Thoughts · Travel

Extreme Costa Rica: Highlights of Our First Four Days!

Lin and Larada at the La Paz waterfall, Costa Rica
Welcome to Costa Rica from Lin and me at the La Paz Waterfalls in the rain!

The travel blog posts for our Costa Rica trip will be highlights instead of daily journals. 

Day 1 – January 7, 2020

I was anxious to go Cost Rica! After months of anticipation, I spent a sleepless the night before our departure, too excited. I rose to the demands of the next day, and we had a lovely leisure travel day. We flew out of Albuquerque, NM, arriving in Houston, TX at 12:25 p.m. On the flight, I worked on a book project whose deadline was crunching me. A couple from Albuquerque accompanied us, so we had lunch and enjoyed ample time before our flight to San Jose at 5:25 p.m.

While we waited, Lin and I played a Cribbage hand to show our friends the game. We knew the Colorado contingency of our tour had the same flight to San Jose and wondered where they were. Right before boarding, they arrived at the gate. Again, I worked on the flight to San Jose.

When we arrived, we easily went through customs and were greeted by the organizer of our tour and our guide, Victoria and Enrique. They whisked us off to the hotel. When we arrived there, I thought Lin and I would stay there, but Victoria told us, “You’re going to my mom’s house!”

See, Victoria is my husband’s ex-wife, and she knew Lin and her mom wanted to see each other, so away we went and what a welcome we got. We spent the rest of the evening visiting.

Day 2 – January 8, 2020

I started the second day with an education on how a Costa Rican shower works, but Lin forgot to give me vital information, so the water stayed hot. I was quick in and out!

We started our day with a delicious breakfast, featuring an abundance of native fruit. Enrique picked us up, and we drove to the hotel to gather the rest of the group. We met our driver, William, who kept us safe throughout the trip and quickly became a major part of the group.

On our drove to the Waterfall Gardens, we had a Costa Rican serendipitous moment: we saw a traditional ox cart and driver who posed for pictures for us! The colorful cart and his pride fascinated me.

On our drive, Enrique shared his knowledge of the history of Costa Rica and some philosophical statements: “Time is not important. The weather is the same,” and “Let’s wait until the clouds of the day clear off.”

He noted  

  • Spain forgot them for three hundred years. They never had to fight for independence, but that left them “an abandon child.”
  • The coffee industry received its boost when the Pope okayed it.
  • Their last revolution was in 1948, and they have no army.
  • They have nine active volcanoes, and Volcano Poás is erupting now.
  • Thirty percent of Costa Rica is national parks which has preserved it and gave rise to the eco-tourism boom.
  • Enrique shared a Costa Rican term, “mejenga” which is an informal pick-up type soccer game.

Our next stop was a coffee plantation to relieve ourselves, grab a cup of rich Costa Rican coffee and learn about how coffee is grown and produced. Enrique, our guide, had wonderful stopping points throughout our tour, starting with this one.

The winding road reminded Enrique of a local sentiment: “You can see your own license plates.” We soon saw what he meant.

Our next stop, the Waterfall Gardens, is a wildlife refugee center where they rehabilitate animals and return them to the forest. We saw a variety of native animals like toucans, sloths and macaws, but the highlight for me was the blue Morpho butterflies. Some in our group gently place their finger next to the docent’s, and this stunning creature moved over. The enclosure where the butterflies live is a verdant rich garden.

Blue Morpho Butterfly
The Blue Morpho Butterfly

“As its common name implies, the blue morpho butterfly’s wings are bright blue, edged with black. The blue morpho is among the largest butterflies in the world, with wings spanning from five to eight inches. Their vivid, iridescent blue coloring is a result of the microscopic scales on the backs of their wings, which reflect light. The underside of the morpho’s wings, on the other hand, is a dull brown color with many eyespots, providing camouflage against predators such as birds and insects when its wings are closed. When the blue morpho flies, the contrasting bright blue and dull brown colors flash, making it look like the morpho is appearing and disappearing.”

https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/species/blue-butterfly

Being introduced to this butterfly early helped because we saw it in a variety of places.

After seeing animals, we had a delicious lunch of native food and again fruit was the focus for me. During lunch, the rain started—it ended up to be a wet afternoon. We continued through the refugee seeing white faced monkeys, scampering around and playing in their enclosures.

We saw another type of monkey that Enrique did a unique trick with; he had attached a mirror in his bird book, and he attracted one monkey over to him. The mirror fascinated the monkey.  Enrique told us about a time he did that with another monkey, and the monkey tried to turn the page in his book—how about that!

I am so sad because I took a picture of a jaguar there, but it didn’t come out. This regal creature curled up like my cat, stretched, arched his back and curl up again!

 From there, we hiked in the rain. Victoria told us to bring our rain ponchos, and I misunderstood her, thinking she was talking about the next day, but I bought one in the gift shop. It became a regular part of my daily backpack gear.

We saw the beautiful La Paz Waterfalls (Lin and my picture at the beginning), but I had to take a break, because being sick the last few months my stamina lagged. I loved how our newly formed group ignored the rain and participated!

 From there, we drove to Sarchi, the cradle of Costa Rican art craft. We visited an old ox cart factory and bought souvenirs because we had been advised this was a great place to purchase them.

Lin and I went a little overboard, buying two beautiful leather rockers and a replica of an ox cart. Lin had been anticipating the ox cart purchase for months.

The day ended with a lovely dinner in a roadside restaurant and back to the hotel to drop off the group. I had the first of many guanabana shakes with dinner. Guanabana is a delicious tropical fruit.

A tradition started on our ride back to the hotel—Greg started telling stories of accidents and near-miss events, and these stories continued for days.

Because of the wet day, Victoria and I brought group members’ tennis shoes back to her mom’s house and tried to dry them in the dryer. We overloaded the dryer so it stopped working, so, I dried mine and Lin’s with my blow dryer. Victoria dried some of the groups with a blow dryer, too!

Day 3 – January 9, 2020

 Again, my morning started off with shower excitement. This time I had a cold shower. It was at this point that Lin realized he forgot to tell me the key to showering—turning the knob all the way went to cold water. 

We ate another delicious breakfast, teeming with fruit. Afterwards we took pictures and loaded up the car and drove to Enrique’s house where his daughter fed us delicious homemade tamales. The rest of the group met us there, and we put our luggage in a second van which followed us whenever we changed lodging.

Then we took the Pan-American highway south. It was built during World War II to link the North American continent and was paved in the late 60’s. The highest point is in Costa Rica.

Enrique told us it was summer there now and the less rainy season–hard to believe after getting soaked the day before. He entertained us with a story that ended with “My great-grandfather told me, and he didn’t lie.”

We traveled through Cartago with Enrique sharing a story about how San Jose took being capitol away from Cartago. Lin flagged a “Pops” (pronounced Popes) whenever we passed one, and we were told it has the best ice cream in the world!

As we traveled, Greg continued relaying his stories of accidents: scuba, RV, motorcycle and snowboarding events. At one point after a motorcycle accident, a bystander asked, “Is he dead?”

After rising in elevator, we left the Pan-American highway and wove our way into the Savegre Valley on a dirt road, ending up at the Savegre Hotel, an oasis in the forest, for two nights.

From the sumptuous menu, I selected Trout Almandine for lunch, and then we took a long treacherous hike to waterfalls again—water and waterfalls are a major feature of Costa Rica. At various rocky spots, the men in the group helped me. After the hike, we met in the bar for refreshments, then a hilarious scene happened. We all got on our iPhones and AirDropped pictures to each other.

We had spacious rooms there, but it was cold, so Lin and I turned on our portable heater before we left for dinner. Dinner for me was grilled trout—delicious food. After dinner and social time, we returned to our room–talk about cold. The little heater didn’t do the job, so I slept in my warm-ups.

Day 4 – January 10, 2020

We were up at 4:45 a.m. to go on the quetzal bird watching tour—I first heard of this bird 40 years ago on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. In all my numerous trips there, I never saw one, so this excursion excited me more than any of the others.

Quetzal Bird
Quetzal Bird

We had a little problem with this excursion, but Enrique handled it. Melboni, our guide, joined us in our van and off we went to the first place, an avocado tree where the quetzal birds frequented.

I was so disappointed. I have cataracts and eye issues, so I never saw one with the naked eye, but our guide had a high-powered binocular where we could see them, and he could take photos on our iPhones.

So, the drill became: the guides for the different groups helped each other, and when a bird was sighted, they shared the location on a walkie-talkie. Then all the groups ran back and forth. It was hilarious to participate in and watch!

When we returned to the hotel, we ate, showered and packed. Enrique had gotten us an extra excursion, so we drove up the hill to Batsú which was a garden the hotel owner’s son made to attract birds. We saw hundreds of humming birds and many other birds.

Afterwards we ate lunch and left. We divided our group up with three people going in the luggage van because of the incline coming up. The Savagre Hotel was at 7100 feet and the main road went up to 9800 feet. We headed towards the Caribbean slope and Guapiles.

Ater we picked up our three travelers, we stopped for relief and refreshments. The camaraderie of the group started to solidify with people sharing their goodies. It rained for most of the four hour trip to Guapiles. We played twenty questions with a person sharing two truths and a lie, and that entertained us for miles.

When we arrived at the Hotel Suerre, we quickly went to our rooms to repack our bags because Enrique and William were going home with our big luggage while we went to Torteguero. Victoria had suggested we take only a backpack to Torteguero because we traveled there on a boat.

After turning over our big bags to Enrique and William, we ate a late dinner, showered and went to bed early—delighted with our trip so far and looking forward to our next adventure!

Have you ever been to Costa Rica? What was your experience? I’d love to hear from you!


~ Take a look at my website, http://www.laradasbooks.com/

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

~Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft for digital or paper copies of all my books:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

Costa Rica · My Thoughts · Travel

I’ve Fallen in Love Again!

me on the beach at Tamarindo
Me on the beach at Tamarindo–trying to make a heart around the sun! Arthritic fingers don’t work!

            We just returned from a trip of a lifetime—two weeks in Costa Rica, and I’ve fallen in love again—with Costa Rica and its people. It was perfect with twelve people in our tour. We traveled in a van, and our luggage followed in another van whenever we moved to a new hotel.

            Enrique Dodero, a Costa Rican native, guided this group that lovingly became known as “The Dirty Dozen.” His knowledge was endless about his country, history, animals and more. He carried a worn book about all the birds in Costa Rica, and he knew the names of so many.

            Victoria Zempel, a native of Costa Rica, organized the group from the USA with people from Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Georgia. Most of us didn’t know each other before the trip but became a cohesive, agreeable group that grew into a family!

            She originally planned this trip for some church friends, but it didn’t work for them. Victoria was ready to throw up her hands and forget it—after several months of planning with Enrique.

            Her husband, Greg, stopped and suggested, “Call your friends. I bet you could get a group together,” and that’s how this adventure happened! Thank God for the couples that it didn’t work! After we confirmed the trip, there was a space open for one other couple, and we invited friends from Albuquerque who came and enjoyed the trip.

           The couple days we spent time around San Jose seeing sights near there. Then we drove to both coasts—the wet and humid Caribbean and the dry and hot Pacific. We also saw the mountains of Costa Rica.

            Here’s our awesome itinerary:

  • January 7 – flew into San Jose
  • January 8 – visited Waterfall Gardens and Sarchi
  • January 9 – drove along the Pan-American highway going south to Savegre Lodge and took an amazing hike to water falls
  • January 10 – went on Quetzal bird watch. Drove to the Caribbean slope to Guapiles
  • January 11 – 13 – went to Torreguero by boat and stayed at Mawamba. Enjoyed three different excursions seeing so many animals on the canals
  • January 13 – drove to La Fortuna
  • January 14 – stayed in La Fortuna. Saw Arenal Hanging Bridges. Arenal Volcano was cloud-covered. Visited “The Springs Resort,” a beautiful place with lots of hot water pools in the middle of the forest
  • January 15 – stayed in La Fortuna. Experienced the Arenal Sky Tram and Zip Lines—unbelievable experience soaring over the canopy of the rain forest in the rain. Returned to “The Springs Resort” and soaked some more
  • January 16 – drove around Arenal Lake to El Coco Beach on the Pacific side
  • January 17 – stayed at Coco Beach and drove to La Playa Las Prisas. Afterwards drove to Tamarindo—beautiful sunset
  • January 18 – stayed at Coco Beach. Enjoyed shopping and the beach. Went to Country Club and swam and had Greek food. Celebrated Victoria’s birthday with food, dancing and laughter
  • January 19 – stayed at Coco Beach. Shopped and went on catamaran and snorkeled. Delicious meal and then breathtaking sunset on the ocean
  • January 20 – sadly flew out of Liberia home

I was asked at the end of the trip what was my favorite part. It was hard to answer. We saw so much, but I did come up an answer: the Quetzal bird watching tour!

I’ve been going to Mexico and Central America for forty plus years, and I first learned about the Quetzal bird in Mexico, studying Mayan folklore and mythology.

“The Quetzal bird of Central America (Ket-zal) and the rattle snake shared the position of most revered creatures by the ancient Maya. The feathers of the iridescent Quetzal were used in Royal costume and ceremonial garb for kings and priests. The Quetzal symbolized the movement of Creation and the will of the Creator come to earth. As the Serpent moves side to side on the ground, the Quetzal flaps and glides through the jungle. That is it moves up and down in it progression. The Maya knew that Creation moves from Day to Night or Creation to Destruction in a wave like pattern.”

http://www.mayanmajix.com/quetzal.html
Quetzal bird near Savegre Lodge, Costa Rica
Quetzal Bird we saw!

On this trip, I finally saw a Quetzal bird after forty years! What an experience that was!

Larada & Lin soaked on the hike along the Rio La Paz to the waterfalls
Larada & Lin soaked on the hike along the Rio La Paz to the waterfalls

It rained and rained the first day, and we were soaked as we hiked. We saw the beautiful Caribbean ocean where it was humid and wet. The Dirty Dozen traveled through the mountains where I was cold. Heading towards the Pacific Ocean coast, the climate changed to hot and dry!

This group spent several hours in our faithful van with laughter and lots of stories. Our driver, William, kept us safe and sound on a variety of road conditions. We rode in a boat in the Torteguero Canals seeing crocodiles resting on the shore. As we walked in the rain forest/jungle at night, the sounds overwhelmed me. We soared above the canopy on zip lines. Some of the group had the opportunity to ride in a ox cart. This experience went beyond and above my expectations!

We saw so many animals: macaws, toucan birds, iguanas, sloths, monkeys, crocodiles, eyelash viper and coatamundis. I’m sure I forgot some!

So, over the next couple weeks, I will share my Costa Rican love affair with you! I won’t do it day-by-day but give you the highlights! Have you ever been to Costa Rica? What was your experience?


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

~Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft for digital or paper copies of all my books: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

Marshall Flippo · My Thoughts · Writing

How Do You Cut Any of Marshall Flippo’s Stories?

Scissors to cut stories

If you knew Marshall Flippo, you know he wiled you with his stories and he had many—not surprising with the longevity of his 91 years! So, after 40+ hours of interviews, stories galore and 258,000+ words, I faced the dilemma of cutting some of his stories as I prepare the manuscript to be published, but which ones?

Early on in this project, Flip told me he wanted to tell stories about his caller/cuer friends and include them in his biography—an interesting reflection of him. He saw himself through his relationships.

So, originally, we made a list of seventy-one names of callers, cuers and dancers, and it was amazing to listen to how he listed them. After Flip identified the names that came to him easily, he geographically traveled the United States and added to the list, saying, “northern California, northern California. Around and Around. I thank I’ll have a funny story for each one of them.”

That was the criteria—a funny story! So he eliminated some of the names based on that criteria.

Next, he moved to those who called frequently at Kirkwood Lodge where he called for six months out of the year for 42 years. Then Flip moved to his home state of Texas to add more names. Next, he went to “around St. Louis, and oh, Memphis, Memphis, Memphis!”

Regularly he instructed me on how the chapters should be set up, “That’s going to be quite a few in a chapter—headline like Gary Shoemake. The next one would be Ken Bower.”

As we progressed down the list, Flip moved west to Reno and Mesa. Then he jumped back east to Chicago, then East Coast, North Carolina, and then down the East Coast, Alabama and Georgia.

At this point he emphasized, “Put Georgia down thar. I have a story about Georgia.” Be ready for this hilarious one included in the book. He returned to Texas and listed his mentors and dear friends there. He headed to East Texas and then New Mexico, over to Arizona. Then he went south and northwest.

Quickly Flip announced, “I’m down in Houston again.” He added from San Antonio, Amarillo, Lubbock. This went on for weeks!

After we compiled this list, we went back through it, and Flip told his stories, crossed off some names and added some. Again, I saw the importance of relationships to this man.

When Flip first stated he had a list of callers he wanted to tell stories about, with a snicker, he added, “I have another list but it’s short: Callers I’ve Slept With!” I gasped when he said that but laughed when he told me the story. You’ll have to look for who that is in his biography.

Always involved in the layout of his biography, Flippo later requested I separate out the stories and have a section at the beginning of the book, “Before Marshall Flippo was born in Tuscola, Texas,” identifying the callers who have passed away and had helped him, so these people and their stories hold a premier place at the beginning of his biography.

So, back to my dilemma of cutting stories—I’m still deciding which stories will be in the book, and which will land up on the website, but it doesn’t matter because if you purchase his biography, you’ll have access to all of them.


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

~Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft for digital or paper copies of all my books: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

Holidays · My Thoughts

2020 is Larada’s Year!

Happy New Year! 2020 is here and I’m ready! 2019 was a hard year for me health-wise, so I’m ready for a change, and Lin, my husband, and I have dubbed 2020 as my year!

Yesterday, I started the new year off with a Cribbage game with Lin during breakfast, and he won. We jumped into the Rose Bowl parade—a tradition Lin and I both enjoy.

Since I have been in recovery, I try to attend a meeting on New Year’s Day, and I did yesterday. It was a glorious celebration of life, and exactly what I needed. Afterwards, I bought some black-eyed peas to serve for our lunch for good measure to start the year off right, southern style.

After our late lunch and between football games, we played two more Cribbage games, and I won. I started off the year ahead 2 -1. For years, LIn and I have started each morning off with a couple Cribbage games during breakfast, and he has beat me over the last two years like crazy. Three years ago, after losing a lot, I told him, “You win more than I do.”

He denied it, saying, “No, you win as much as I do!”

So, to prove my point, I created a spreadsheet of wins and losses, and he has been relentless: in 2018, he beat me by 43 games, and 2019 wasn’t much better. He beat me by 44 games.

We played this morning, and in 2020, I’m already ahead—I’ve won 4 games and he’s won 2! Yahoo! So I’m keeping track again this year!

Yesterday, after my wins, my wonderful day continued with cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer. Because I was sick a lot of last year, I kept bypassing this chore. But I felt it was a good way to bring in the New Year, and metaphorically it felt right—cleaning out the old to make room for the new!

After some relaxation time, I worked on my current project, the Marshall Flippo biography and assigned ISBN numbers to the different versions I will publish. I also investigated Ingram Sparks, a self-publishing company I’m using to publish the books and e-books.

My biggest goal of the year is publishing this biography. I’ve been working on it for two years, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The manuscript is with the editor right now. I’m busy doing behind the scene work because I self-publish my books, so I design the cover, adjust the pictures and lay the book out, so I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I see that it is going to get done. The release date is April 6, 2020 at the annual CALLERLAB Convetion in Reno, NV.

Here’s my favorite Facebook cartoon as we face this new year! Yes, I plan to take advantage of all 365 opportunities ahead of me–how about you?

Yes, I started 2020 in a fulfilling way, and it promises to be fantastic. I hope your start to this new year was as a great as mine!


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~40% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE–All Digital Copies of my books are yours at a reduced price. PRICE GOOD UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~30% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE-All Paper Copies discounted until January 6, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Albuquerque · Christmas · Holidays · My Thoughts

Why Celebrate Twelve Days of Christmas?

You hear this song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” every holiday season many times, and it’s a mystery what it means. Let’s look at a possible explanation.

The Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas, has strong liturgical ties to the Catholic and the Anglican church which is my church, the Episcopal church. I cherish the celebratory nature of stretching the Christmas season out for twelve days instead of one day only. I mean, we work so hard preparing for it, it should be more than twenty-four hours!

“The 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian theology marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day).”

https://www.vox.com/2015/12/25/10661878/12-days-of-christmas-explained

Another explanation for this song is based in the Catholic church: “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as one of the “catechism songs” to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith – a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head – or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I’m not aware was ever practiced anywhere else. ” https://www.catholic.org/advent/advent.php?id=2

I love this song and idea that Christmas lasts for twelve days, so when the rest of the world takes down their decorations and folds away their favorite Christmas leggings, I continue enjoying my decorations twinkling and wearing my colorful Christmas outfits.

Here’s the traditional words of this favorite song:

The 12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me:
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me:
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me:
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me: 
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree. 

http://www.chiff.com/home_life/holiday/christmas/12-days-lyrics.htm

Listen to the traditional song for a moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fe11OlMiz8

I live in New Mexico, so here’s a regional humorous take on this familiar song:

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS LYRICS (NEW MEXICO STYLE)

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me….
A roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Red and Green chiles
And roadrunner in a piñon tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Four hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
10 pork tamales
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
11 biscochitos
10 pork tamales
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
Five turquoise rings!
Four hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
12 farolitos
11 bisochitos
10 pork tamales
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree…

https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/12dayschristmas-79060/

Take this information to heart and keep celebrating Christmas until January 6 this year, and you will be in the real spirit of Christmas, then next year when you first hear this Christmas carol, remember my blog and plan on twelve days of celebrations.


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~40% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE–All Digital Copies of my books are yours at a reduced price. PRICE GOOD UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~30% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE-All Paper Copies discounted until January 6, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Christmas · My Thoughts · Writing

How about our Christmas Letter?

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is writing our annual letter. Here’s our Christmas letter–enjoy!

Lin & Larada's Newsletter

NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~40% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE–All Digital Copies of my books are yours at a reduced price.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Cats · My Thoughts

Do You Own a Pet?

My pet, Jesse with a Christmas bow
Last Christmas, Jesse with a bow!

The answer for me is a resounding “Yes.” I rescued a Siamese silver tip cat ten years ago, and his name is Jesse. At the time, I was going through a divorce from my third husband. We had a dog I loved, and the Ex got the dog, so I yearned for a pet.

Petless, I floundered. Friends said I needed to get a cat instead of a dog because I traveled a lot and they’re easier to leave. One afternoon, one of my colleagues who pushed this idea repeatedly, called me and said, “Where are you?”

“I’m leaving a training and will be back at the office in about thirty minutes.”

She proclaimed, “Your cat is here!”

When I got there, she ushered me out a side door outside, and I saw this compassionate lady’s work: she had food and water out. She lured the cat with treats out of the bushes, and I was smitten.

The night before I had left the office late after doing a teacher’s training, and as I closed my door, I heard that eerie Siamese cry. I stopped to see where it was coming from, but it stopped, so I went home. I guess it was this cat.

But wait a minute! As an adult, I had never owned a cat! I was a dog person! I have had dogs my whole adult life—a cat??

We admired this sad, scared animal. She urged me, “Take him home tonight!”

My immediate response, “No, way! I’ve got to think about it,” so I went home catless, and felines ran through my dreamed all night.

After my restless night, I succumbed the next day, and this enthusiastic cat lady helped me buy a litter-box, scoop and cat food, and home I went with my new companion. I named him, Jesse, a name I was almost given as a child.

After he settled down and l examined him, I realized he had recently been cared for and wasn’t a stray. I waited until Saturday and took him to VetCo to see if he was chipped. He was! The veterinarian called the chip place, got the owner’s name and called them, then they called me and relinquished ownership of him to me! Jesse was officially mine.

Over the years, Jesse has been an angel for sure. He has made me laugh. He used to like to do late night antics after the lights went out like throwing my shoes around the bedroom and walking all over me.

Since Lin and I married, he’s not allowed in the bedroom because Lin has cat allergies, so needless to say, Jesse doesn’t wake me up with those crazy cat behaviors, but he loves to meow first thing in the morning! Lin and Jesse have a meow fest to start the day!

At first, Jesse wasn’t a lap kitty which I preferred, but I had shoulder surgery in 2012, and his instinct told him I needed extra love and care, so now he takes up residence in my lap anytime I’m relaxing in front of the TV, and I love it. In fact, he’s such a habitual kitty, he parks himself on the arm of our loveseat in anticipation of TV time.

In 2015, Jesse was diagnosed with feline diabetes. He was so sick at the time. Normally he weighed around 20 pounds—fat cat, but he lost down to 13 pounds! At first, we changed his food to diabetic cat food and that helped some, but then the vet added insulin and now has increased the dosage to 3 units twice a day.

Jesse loves our Christmas tree and hides under it whenever he can. After I add gifts under there, he gingerly steps over the packages to get out of his hiding place.

As Lin and I prepared for future travel plans next year, I texted my pet sitter about watching him. She is so conscientious about Jesse’s care. She related her concern about me leaving him during the winter with the possibility of a snowstorm and her not able to get him his insulin shot! Wow! So, we’re coming up with contingency plans. What an awesome pet sitter for sure!

My pet, Jesse relaxing
Jesse Curled Up & Sleeping!

I love this 16-year-old senile fat cat! He’s gained up to over 16 pounds now, and we have managed his diabetes. He’s aging before my eyes, sleeps curled up in a favorite place and moves slower. He loves the sunshine and follows it wherever it is during the morning. In the morning, I make sure I’ve given him his shot before he trudges upstairs to the loft to find his beam of sunshine. Often in the evening, Jesse meows at me like “It’s time for my insulin.” I wonder–does he know?

He’s just precious! I’m a committed pet owner through and through!

What are your feelings about pets? Cats? Dogs?


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Christmas · Christmas · family · Grief · My Thoughts

Christmas Traditions or Not?

            Do you have repeated Christmas traditions in your family? We did—my Mom, Dad and I! During my lifetime, I often helped Dad shopped for Mom’s Christmas gift over the years, but this one was special.

Mom & Me in the mid-1980’s

In the mid-1980’s, Dad asked me to pick out a dress alike for Mom and me and started a tradition that continued while he was alive and after he died for seventeen years until Mom’s death.

Any time we wore of outfits alike with Dad, his chest swelled, and he smiled a lot and made a point of letting everyone around him know the history of this tradition—he was so proud!

            When Dad died, Mom whispered to me in her grief, “You don’t have to buy our look-alike outfits for Christmas anymore.” We both sobbed. I shook my head, and I never wavered. I continued this heartfelt idea.

            Our first outfit was a dress, then during the years Dad was alive I bought us dresses. After he died, I bought us a variety of outfits: slacks and sweaters, warm-up suits and dresses. One problem I faced when I bought slacks was my Mom’s height. She was short; I’m short, too, but she was shorter.  So, I always had to buy her petite size slacks so she didn’t have to cut them off. Often that forced me to have to look hard for outfits in two different departments or I would buy petite for me and just deal with shorter slacks than I preferred!

            So, we wore our outfits together proudly and often explained why we were dressed alike. We always gave Dad the credit for starting this tradition.

            When Mom passed away, getting rid of our look-alike outfits broke my heart! I couldn’t imagine seeing them on someone else. Then I had a brainstorm! I shipped them off to a girlfriend in Virginia, wanting her to have them, and I didn’t have to see them again. In fact, those outfits were the first of Mom’s clothes to go!

I did continue wearing mine, celebrating the connection to Mom. This tradition blessed my heart for many years. Do you have anything like it in your family? Share yours with me!


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Christmas · Christmas · My Thoughts

My Hair Was on Fire!

My childhood holiday experience included activities at our Community Church. Here’s a poem from my book, A Tumbleweed Landed, recognizing the place that church had in my life.

Branson Community Church

The Branson Community Church
small and quaint.
 
People that touched my life
Maynard Bowen,
Walt Graham
Ministers of God, who took the time for me.
The Loudens
The Gilstraps
The Smiths
The Warners
The Cummins
Mabel Survant
Mrs. Jamieson
 
Sunday School teachers
and family friends who let me sit with them,
singing my songs out loud
when I couldn’t even read.
Beautiful old hymns and singing.
They loved me, taught me,
and encouraged me.
A safe place to be on Sunday morning,
and a nice place to meet God.
 
Youth group on Sunday night
games and talking about God
Youth group picnic and campouts at the Gilstraps
and the annual Christmas programs.
 
One year, at the Christmas program
I was an angel
with the other young girls.
Donned in our white robes, wings, and haloes,
we walked in a straight line
carrying lit candles.
The girl behind me got too close
and caught my hair on fire!
Our teacher quickly handled the situation, and
I wasn’t burned.
The program went on.
 
Copyright©2014, Larada Horner-Miller

NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Christmas · My Thoughts

Bobby Pins & Christmas Ornaments?

Bobby pins and Christmas ornaments? What’s the connection? My Grandma Horner was ahead of her time! She used bobby pins to hang her glass ornaments up on a Christmas tree decades before someone invented those great little ornament hangers we all know!

My Christmas decorations resound with memories! Here’s a few of my favorites:

Grandma Horner’s Glass Ornaments with Bobby Pins

Grandma's Christmas Ornament with Bobby Pin
One of My Grandma’s Glass Ornaments with Her Bobby Pin

When Grandma Horner died, I waited until all the other grandchildren went through her belongings to make my selections. I chose her Christmas ornaments—three boxes of vintage ornaments which I had seen yearly on her Christmas tree. When I took them out to hang them the first year, I noticed her use of bobby pins as hangers! And I’ve kept those precious bobby pins attached to many of them every since!

I’m sad to say several ornaments broke one year when my Christmas tree toppled over! But I still have about fifteen I hang every year.

Santa Claus Dollar Bill

My Dollar Bill with a Santa Face
My Santa Dollar Bill

As a beautician, I received tips as a part of my pay, and gladly so! I had regular customers who came in every week and were like family to me. In 1979, I received a surprising tip from one of my clients, Tex White: a dollar bill with a Santa Claus glued on the face of it–it looked real!

Forty years later, I giggled as I placed it on my tree this year, remembering the joke that Tex had pulled on me with this dollar bill! I had never seen anything like that! Every year, it’s one of my favorite ornaments to decorate my tree.

Wooden Cut Out Ornaments

A Sampling of My wooden ornaments
A Sampling of My Wooden Ornaments

About 1974, in the first couple years of marriage, we had little money and no decorations for our tree, so I bought a set of wooden cut-out decorations and hand painted each ornament. Each year since then, I’ve enjoyed adding those simple ornaments to my tree and remembered how I felt when I finished with the numerous decorations.

Colorful paint spotted my hands, and I gathered up the newspapers every night when I finished and set the painted pieces on the porch to dry. I continued this routine for several evenings proud of the dazzling set when I finished. I painted Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, Frosty the Snowman, an angel, Soldier, dove, and many other Christmas figures.

This year, I placed these ornaments near the bottom of my tree because I have a cat, Jesse, who loves to hide under the tree. If he knocks one off, it’s safe and won’t broke!

Santa Claus & Mrs. Santa Claus (Plaster Craft)

Mrs. Claus & Santa Claus (Plaster Craft)
Mrs. Santa Claus & Santa Claus

My Mom loved to do crafts, so I inherited her interest in working with my hands. I couldn’t afford ceramics when I was a young married woman, but I found plaster craft. I truly enjoyed the handicraft, so I did my Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus in the mid-70’s. I love their whimsical expressions: Santa’s wink and her focus on her knitting!

For many years, I stored this precious couple in my guest bedroom closet, up on a shelf safe and sound. I was so afraid something would happen to one of them, but 40 years later, they still look perfect even though he’s yellowed some.

Christmas Tree (Plaster Craft)

My Christmas tree (Plaster Craft)
My Plaster Craft Christmas Tree

After my success with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the next year I moved on to a lighted Christmas tree. The original tree was small, so I bought an extension to make it bigger!

I keep the small colored bulbs in a zip lock bag and enjoy putting them on the tree, making sure I spread out all the colors. This is another item I have kept stored safely, so it looks pristine!

Since Lin and I married, we put this tree up in our bedroom, and it’s a pleasant light to go to bed and see!

Latch Hook Noel

My Latch Hook Noel Hanging
Latch Hook Kit I Made

I thoroughly enjoyed latch hook for many years. I bought the kits, finished the pattern and created ways to hang them. For Christmas, I did this Noel hanging and also a Christmas wreath. These two decorations adorned my living room and hall way.

As you can see, the majority of my decorations I either made myself or inherited. I have never wanted a perfectly trimmed Christmas tree; I prefer one loaded with ornaments and memories!

How about you? What are your favorite Christmas decorations?


A Colorado Country Christmas with Santa Claus
My NEW Christmas Chapbook

~ NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Marshall Flippo · My Thoughts · square dance

Who Was Bob Osgood in Marshall Flippo’s Life?

Marshall Flippo and Bob Osgood enjoyed an amazing working relationship for many years. Bob, the visionary, and Marshall, the new hot caller made quite a team.

Bob published and edited the square dance magazine, Sets in Order, from 1948 – 85. Flippo’s name first appeared in Sets In Order November 1958 in the “Round the Outside Ring” article for calling at the Permian Basin Festival. “The Auctioneer,” Flippo’s first smash hit, also first appeared in the same issue in the “On the Record” section, listed as a new release.

From then on, readers saw Flippo’s name regularly, whether in reports about where he was calling around the United States or a review of his newest released song.

Flippo’s name appeared repeatedly with song after song being reviewed and lauded in Sets in Order, and Bob noticed this! After Bob hired Flip in 1964 to call at a week and a weekend event at Asilomar, California, he actually saw Flippo in action. Flippo’s skilled calling prowess and his popularity with dancers drew respect from Bob, and their relationship deepened.

“. . .his personal appearance tours throughout the country have given a real ‘lift’ to thousands of dancers,”

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order, (August 1965):33

Bob wrote this in an ad in his Sets in Order magazine, August, 1965 issue.  Flippo’s years of tours touched many lives, his popularity increased, and Bob watched Flippo’s successful calling career grow.

So, Bob started a series called DIALOG in Sets in Order magazine in February 1968 and stated, “This month we inaugurate a new series of dialogues directed to those people who have a desire to call square dances.”

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (February 1968): 12

First of all, Flippo and Frank Lane teamed up with Arnie Kronenberger and did two interviews for Sets in Order magazine in May and June 1968 on “How Does One Go About Learning to Call?” Bob Osgood wrote in the May issue, the focus: “If you have never called before, then there must be a thousand questions running through your mind. We’ve tried to anticipate some of these, and we’ve brought together several outstanding callers to field the answers for you.”

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (May 1969): 19

Then the second interview on this topic in the June 1968 issue focused on “Last month we asked this trio of experienced callers several questions having to do with memorizing calls and with sight calling. This month we question them on a variety of related subjects including some hypothetical questions a beginner caller might be expected to ask. We start of by trying to get some opinions.  

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (June 1968): 19

In the third interview, Frank and Flippo teamed up with Bob Page, longtime friend who Flip worked yearly with at Asilomar, in the DIALOG article titled “Leadership In Square Dancing.” This article focused on “Calling a square dance is only a portion of the caller’s many responsibilities. He is looked up to as a “leader” and there are many opportunities for the caller to evidence good judgment, to develop sensitivity and to provide the type of activity that the dancers hope to receive. We asked three nationally known callers a series of questions and we think you will be interested in their frank replies. We began by asking, “What do you consider the caller’s responsibilities in a club run by the members themselves?”

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (April 1969): 19

Finally, the fourth interview saw Frank and Flippo back with Bob Page and the title of the DIALOG article was “BuildingDancer Reaction.” Bob Osgood introduced it with “Being able to work with people — with human beings — to impart to them your ideas, to encourage them to follow your instructions and suggestions, is just about as basic to square dancing as it is possible to get. Only the caller who naturally gets on well with others or who specifically trains himself to do so, can really do the job successfully. This month we question three well-known callers on this subject and the first thing we asked them was how to “lift” a group that seems disinterested, that seems to have no spark.”

Bob Osgood, Sets in Order (June 1969): 19.

You can see that Bob identified Flippo as one of the leaders in the square dance world at this time and respected what he had to say. He felt this so much, he asked Flip to write a chapter for a book he published about square dancing, The Caller Text which took 36 years to write.

This dynamo duo loved and respected each other and touched so many with across the country and the world. Enjoy the four articles below.

Here’s the four DIALOG articles from Sets in Order

  1. “How Does One Go About Learning to Call?”
  2. “How Does One Go About Learning to Call?” Second Part
  3. “Leadership in Square Dancing”
  4. “Building Dancer Reaction”

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~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 10, 11 & 12 – Cork, Ireland, Back to England & Home

            Our 12 day British Isles cruise was drawing to a close with stops at Cobh, Ireland and back to Portland, England. On July 31, 2019, we docked at Cobh in County Cork, Ireland, famous for being the last port Titanic saw before its disaster.

Cork County Excursion

Our last excursion in Ireland, Kinsale Village & Countryside Villages, left the ship at 8:30 am, so we up early and to breakfast.

Annie Moore Statute, Cobh, Ireland
Statute of Annie Moore and her 2 brothers!

In our walk to the tour bus, we passed a famous statute of Annie Moore.
           

“Annie Moore was born in 1877 in Cork City and left Queenstown (Cobh today) on the SS Nevada on 20th December, 1891 with her 2 brothers. On 1 January, 1892 (her 15th birthday), Annie was the first immigrant to be processed at the newly opened Ellis Island centre in New York.”

From Legend in the Heritage Center, Titanic Experience Cobh