Only in America — well, …

Sometimes it pays off to grow old!  Here are some places that will give you a discount when you ASK for it, and are over 55-years-old.  I received this email from a retired friend: 

Maxine Sayings (6) Maxine 2 

“Finally an advantage to getting old! 

As I was waiting in line behind an older gentleman at Wendy’s recently, I heard him ask for his senior discount. The girl at the register apologized and charged him less. When I asked the man what the discount was, he told me that seniors over age 55 gets 10% off everything on the menu, every day.

This list may not only be useful for you, but for your friends and family, too.
Dunkin Don uts gives free coffee to people over 55. If you’re paying for a cup every day, you might want to start getting it for free.
YOU must ASK for your discount!

Fontana's dinners (2)

RESTAURANTS:
Applebee’s: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby’s: 10% off (55+)
Ben & Jerry’s: 10% off (60+)
Bennigan’s: discount varies by location (60+)
Bob’s Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee (55+)
Chili’s: 10% off (55+)
CiCi’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Denny’s: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members (55+)
Dunkin’ Don uts: 10% off or free coffee (55+)
Einstein’s Bagels: 10% off baker’s dozen of bagels (60+)
Fuddrucker’s: 10% off any senior platter (55+)
Gatti’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)
Hardee’s: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: 10% off (55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off (55+)
KFC: free small drink with any meal (55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off (50+) Cousin Cathy, How’s that?
Long John Silver’s: various discounts at locations (55+)
Mc Donald’s: discounts on coffee everyday (55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)
Shoney’s: 10% off Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak ‘n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (62+)
Taco Bell : 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off (55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off (50+)
Village Inn: 10% off (60+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy’s: 10% off (55+)
White Castle : 10% off (62+) This is for me … if I ever see one again.

Wooden vessel

RETAIL & APPAREL:
Banana Republic: 10% off (50+)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month (50+)
Belk’s: 15% off first Tuesday of every month (55+)
Big Lots: 10% off
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days (55+)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
Clarks : 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 10% off (55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kmart: 20% off (50+)
Kohl’s: 15% off (60+)
Modell’s Sporting Goods: 10% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday (55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off (55+)
Stein Mart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month (55+)

Fruit plate (6)

GROCERY:
Albertson’s: 10% off first Wednesday of each month (55+)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday (50+)
Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)
Food Lion: 6% off every Monday (60+)
Fry’s Supermarket: free Fry’s VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday (55+)
Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off every Tuesday (60+)
Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kroger: 10% off (date varies by location)
Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday (50+)
Publix: 5% off every Wednesday (55+)
Rogers Marketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)
Uncle Guiseppe’s Marketplace: 5% off (62+)

Chiang Mai - Butterfly Hotel & our rooms (130)

TRAVEL:
Airlines:
Alaska Airlines: 10% off (65+)
American Airlines: various discounts for 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations
Southwest Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
Rail:
Amtrak: 15% off (62+)
Bus:
Greyhound: 5% off (62+)
Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50+
Car Rental:
Alamo Car Rental: up to 25% off for AARP members
Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members Best Western: 10% off (55+)
Budget Rental Cars: 10% off; up to 20% off for AARP members (50+)
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off (50+)
Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members
Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members Holiday Inn: 10%-30% off depending on location (62+)
National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members

Over Night Accommodations:
Cambria Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Clarion Motels: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Econo Lodge: 20%-30% off (60+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 10% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group: various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites: 10% off with Mature Traveler’s Discount (50+); 20%-30% off (60+)
Marriott Hotels: 15% off (62+)
Motel 6: 10% off (60+)
Myrtle Beach Resort: 10% off (55+)
Quality Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)

IMG_8807

ACTIVITIES & ENTERTAINMENT:
AMC Theaters: up to 30% off (55+)
Bally Total Fitness: up to $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa, FL: $3 off one-day tickets (50+)
Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)
Cinemark/Century Theaters: up to 35% off
U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas: 30% off Ripley’s Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket (55+)
SeaWorld Orlando , FL : $3 off one-day tickets (50+)

CELL PHONE DISCOUNTS:
AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $29.99/month (65+)
Jitterbug: $10/month cell phone service (50+)
Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+).

Senior Hair cut menSenior Hair cut

MISCELLANEOUS:
Great Clips: $3 off hair cuts (60+)
Super Cuts: $2 off haircuts (60+)

NOW, go out there and claim your discounts – – – and remember —

YOU must ASK for your discount — no ask, no discount”

Posted in Round the World Trip | 1 Comment

Vases, Bowls, and Magic–yes, they’re for sale, too!

Bowls, $25 – $75

Vases, $25 – $125

Goblets, $55 – $95

Glass Pebbles, $15-25 (can be sand etched with customized lettering)

Plates, $25 – $45

Linked Hearts, $35 (set of 2)

Glass, $25 – $35

Bottle, large, $75 (can be sand etched with customized lettering)

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It’s too quiet! What I’ve been up to lately …

OK, so I’ve been a bit mute on the world front – BUT busy!  Here are some of the “projects,” though I’m skipping the boring stuff – like paperwork, phone calls, meetings, long distance driving …  Hover over the picture for the captions. 

Enjoy this little diversion from your own busy day!

Trying on the Angry Bird blanket for sizeJamil - one of our couchsurfers - making dinnerJuly 4th - Watching fireworks from the RWC harbor in the dragon boat!Moffett Field's blimp hangar being disassembled for hazard cleaningCamping at San Luis ReservoirBuying our house in Palo AltoFremont Dragon Boat Race 2012 - the line up in an early morning raceGlass Pumpkin making at PALY for the Fall saleDuck Tape project - flip flop repair after Pepper's Chewing ProjectAmy's stash of Duck TapeGlass pour of a cog - prototype for Eric JacobsonReunion with Ying Chen, Jialiang (John)!!!  12 years since we last saw each other!Reunion with Ying Chen & John - Amy and Angelina with Ying Chen's & John's grandkidsMy kids in the back of Yaris - That's what they look like when all squished into the back!LightWave Karaoke NightPainting by Amy and Jeannie at Greg'sCamping at Los Oso by Santa Barbara - enroute to our campsite ... we had to cross this.  We let the bicyclist go firstRoasting dinner over the campfire - what a life!Pepper taking a peep.  She took to camping instantly.Horseback riding on the trails in the hills of Santa Barbara - what views!  What dust!  What expense!The bandit we met along the wayLast campfire dinner before Gymnastics camp at Woodward!  Dessert of Blueberry Muffin in OrangesPepper AFTER a swim in the shallow muddy river - she went in unprompted all by herself.  Swims like an otter!The cabin-mates at Woodward!View of Boron - where the temperature hit 107F as I went through, NOT stopping, even for Pepper to pee!The temp at Boron while passing through at 5:45 pmSD Gaslamp Hostel - my private room.  Bunk by Ikea.  Really friendly staff, and musically talented, too!SD Gaslamp Hostel back patioGaslamp Museum park - Pepper posing by a bronze statue of Bum, the SD adopted dog in the 1800s.  Pepper thought it was real, and barked at it before settling down.Chocolat restaurant in Hillcrest - some Moo tables as their mascot is a Hereford cow!Sleeping Angry Bird Geoff! (with green hair)My wood project - ready for oiling - shelf for hand blown glasses!Sand Cast Hot Glass - "Undersea flotsam"Sand Cast Hot Glass - "Algae flower"Sand Cast Hot Glass - "Fossilized DNA"

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Hodi 2!

Amy w Hodi, first found - about 4 weeks oldHodi first found - about 4 weeks oldHodi at about 8-months-old

It must be our Puppy Karma to help abandoned puppies… A month ago, a stray dog was found and the armload was carried inside by Joan, the Executive Director at BAGI (Bay Area Glass Institute).  I was blowing glass and couldn’t address her question of whether we’d lost a dog or not.  When I was finished with my slot, I went over to look at what was found.  Joan said that she’d bring the dog home but her cat was bigger than the dog!  Now, what I’d seen was about a medium-size dog, so I asked her what kind of cat she has! 

She showed me the dog, and the terrified little guy (oops, it’s a gal, we learned later) cowered and preferred to be UNDERNEATH things – like bushes, desks, etc. and was very scared of people.  Due to its coloring – black, grey, and white underneath, I thought it was an older dog, already greying.  Its actions spoke of neglect, possible abuse, and constant surveillance of predators or danger.  It was so small, and I understood how Joan’s cat COULD be bigger than the dog! 

Joan and Karyn at BAGI took the dog to the shelter to see if it had a microchip, find out it’s age, and type of dog.  The San Jose Shelter said no microchip, no calls for a lost or missing dog, the dog was 6-months-old (based on the teeth), an unspayed female, and a Wire-Haired Dachshund mix.  We guessed Terrier was most likely part of the mix based on the spring of the pup (man, can she JUMP!), ears, nose and face.  That same evening, Joan passed the pup to me to take home after wood shop class.  It was just after Amy’s 12th birthday (March 16), so Amy considered it a birthday gift!  Ha ha!Puppy Pix (82)Puppy Pix (68)

Anyway, the first thing we did was give the pup a bath!  With great delight, we discovered that she’s black and WHITE underneath, not tan or brown!  The sink water attested to this discovery.  Poor thing had to have at least one paw on the sink edge during the bath. 

Now for the naming of the pup!  “Lucky,” of course came up and was promptly dismissed, though it WAS close to St. Paddy’s Day!  “Monet,” “Van Gosh,” “Renoir,” were considered due to the white at the tip of the tail that looked like paint.  The pup absolutely did not respond to any of these.  “Pepper” came about because of her fur color, and stuck pretty well, though “Shadow” came close because the pup STUCK close to us wherever we went! 

At the dog run in the park next door, she is usually the smallest dog there, and keeps herself up with the Big Dogs!  She can even outrun several of them on those stubby little feet of her’s.  For the first two days we had her, she made no sound, not even a whimper.  Then some dog across the apartment complex barked, and she barked back!  We were shocked to hear her!  She weighed just under 7 pounds then, and at the first vet check up weighed 7.6 pounds a week later.  Now she weighs about 8.1 pounds – an each and every .1 pounds is immense for her!  (Can you imagine if we were as concerned about our weight down to the .1 pound?)  Rabies was the first immediate shot, and just recently she got her Parvo-distemper vaccine. 

It’s been over a month since Pepper’s moved in with us, and now we can officially adopt her.  She has an appointment to be spayed this Thursday.  She’ll be microchipped and registered then, too.  So, … now we can say, …

“We have a DOG!”

Posted in Glass, Kids, People, Photos, Puppy, Sri Lanka & India | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Curse of the Fast Thinker

– thoughts during the course of a day

Feb 25, 2012

It’s a Saturday night, and I have only myself to entertain. In the prison cell of my apartment, I sit in isolation, buffered by the empty air around the building, the distance of friends who are themselves too busy to be with me, and the realization that there is no one who cares enough about me to want to do something with me – whether spiritually, physically, or emotionally.  It takes an enormous amount of momentum to move me outside and go see a movie.  I’m glad I did, but returned back to the inertia of the apartment cell, eventually opening my 513-piece jigsaw puzzle and getting the edges done before going to bed.  Well, at least I’m not boring myself!

TinTin and Snowy  BTW – The movie Adventures of Tintin is pretty good!

March 1, 2012

I have so many projects and ideas that are fantastic, but I just don’t have the time, resources, or team-building abilities to make them all happen! I wish there were more of me. I don’t want to be one who just “watches what happened.” I want to be one to MAKES things happen!

I face mundane as well as Atlas-heavy burdens, and my thoughts return to my trip around the world. It seems so long ago, and yet, the feeling I had while traveling lingers within me, keeping me wondering… what would happen if I just left? And didn’t return to here?

What is it that is weighing me down while staying in one place? Is it a mental prison that chains me to here? Is it the routine-ness, the predictability, the carpooling, the rush-rush of daily tasks, the irritability of the predictable, or the results that haven’t gone my way in this routine environment? Is it the thought – or knowledge – that there IS more “out there?”

What a luxury to say, “I lost half a million dollars!” I grew it from a good but not grand amount of inheritance to over a million, and in about as many years, bits and parts grew wings and began taking off in surprising directions, but not back to me. Is it because I’m not very good at tending to what I have? Is it from my view of money as a game that makes it seem unreal? And yet, my stomach swoops with joy when I “win,” and churns in agony when I “lose.” My heart is weighed down when I know the next step is the loss of more money. 

What happens once I lose all that I had grown? Ironically, it seems a huge Atlas-sized world is lifted, and I can see Anything is possible in front of me! Odd. One would think I would be more despondent.  But I look at those who came to the States with nothing, and have been brave, diligent, and living every minute in growing something they didn’t have when they started. But, even odder, once grown, it eventually becomes a burden to control, tend, continue! It reminds me of an example a monk we met in Taos, NM, Casey (or KC) told us.

Gold Cup saucer filligree

He picked up a gold tea cup that someone left as an offering in front of the Buddha we stood before.

“This teacup brings me enjoyment because it is beautiful. When someone gives it to me, I am happy to have such a beautiful and precious thing. Every day, I admire it and am happy. Then someone else gives me ANOTHER gold teacup. Marvelous! I am doubly happy now, and every day am able to admire and enjoy the teacups. I can share the enjoyment now. Then later, someone else gives me ANOTHER gold teacup! Wow, what luck! I can have MORE people share the enjoyment. Then I receive MORE gold teacups, and clear a space to store so many. Eventually I can have a party with so many teacups!

Gold Cup saucer filligreeGold Cup saucer filligreeGold Cup saucer filligreeGold Cup saucer filligreeGold Cup saucer filligreeGold Cup saucer filligreeGold Cup saucer filligreeGold Cup saucer filligreeGold Cup saucer filligree

“But, after the party, I must still clean, dry, and put away so many teacups. I need more space because I have so many. It becomes a chore owning the teacups, and I begin to worry that maybe someone will TAKE one of my precious teacups! I become possessive, and wary of people who come visit me. I guard the teacups as they are desirable, and I don’t want to lose even one! After a while, my life is not as carefree and happy as I was BEFORE I received the first teacup, because I am so busy tending to the many I have, being careful not to chip or break any, keeping them safe, and not using them so often in case I lose, chip or break any.

“My life has changed – but though I am in possession of such beauty, am I truly richer? Happier?

Instead of KEEPING all my possessions, What if I SHARED them instead, and everyone can be as “rich” as I am?  Those who hoard can keep all those damn teacups!  (It’s tough to release, isn’t it?)

JKL's suitcase BEFORE (1) IMG_5727 

As for the question:  “How much do we really need?” during our travels, we lived out of a rolling suitcase and backpack of clothes, medicines, books, electronics. Chris was able to jettison even more than what we carried, and pared himself down to just a large backpack – and NOT a traveling framed backpack either. Just a large regular backpack. Of course, we didn’t carry a sleeping bag, pots or pans, single cooking grill, dishes and utensils for camping, and truly living like a vagabond.  We slept in hostels, a much cheaper way to go than hotels by two- to more-fold. Plus, the hostels’ best feature was the chance to meet OTHER travelers, which hotels do not offer.

Our life most certainly was simple, since we had no schedule, just occasional home schooling for Amy, updating our blog site, and what the current location had to explore. If we ran out of money, our plan was to find a temporary “under the table” kind of job like restaurant work (me), fix bicycles / juggling / entertaining (Chris), or gymnastics (Amy). 

We met some travelers who did just that and went from place to place, working enough to live, and then move on. That brings up the question: “Why move on?”

What draws a traveler to … travel? Explore someplace outside of where they normally live? Keep moving? I can give the “witty” flip answer, “Because,” or the usual answer, “To get away,” but those would answer the first two questions, but not the third necessarily. For the consummate traveler, I believe it’s Curiosity. The wonder of meeting and understanding new and different cultures, situations, peoples, customs, foods, society…

What’s the gain someone traveling would receive?

An open mind, flexibility, knowledge of various solutions to the same problems, excitement, adventure, exploration of the “unknown,” problem solving, quick reflexes, dealing with a variety of people and their temperaments , economic levels, and cultural personalities.

What am I giving up without staying in one place and calling it “Home?”  (It’s OK to make comments here …)

A friend, Naima Shea, sent me a link to a fellow traveler, Jodi of Legal Nomads, who’s been on the road since April 2008 when she quit her position as a Canadian attorney working for 5+ years in NYC, and took off to do what her heart had planned for her since childhood.  What better time than the present!  When IS a good time to take off from the comforts and routine of our world – NOW.  Why wait?  Many had asked her why she quit and took off.  She has a few blogs that answer that question and comments – and many comments were centered around how courageous she was to simply quit without a concern about money to keep her going. 

Isn’t it an interesting correlation – Money = Security? 

Security = Comfort, Safety, Home?

Well, maybe for most that would be the Equation of Life.  Of course, there are so many other aspects of Life that influence how we choose what we do.  

What action that is you would do that is on the “edge” or outside your comfort zone – something that you wouldn’t NORMALLY do?  What’s on that Bucket List of your’s?

[NOTE:  Don’t go and give me “I’d clean my house,” “Prepare my finances so my family is secure,” “Do my taxes” kind of answer!  We’re working OUTSIDE of the BOX of Comfort here … ‘C)]

Happy Mind Traveling

Posted in Cost of things, Food, Hostels, Kids, Medical, People, Random Thoughts, Round the World Trip | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Year of the Water Dragon!

Gung Xi Fah Cai!    Year 4706!

The Chinese horoscope for a Black Water Dragon during this year reads as follows:

“Although Dragon is the master in 2012, but this period will bring him a lot of problems that need to be addressed on the go. Such confidence of all signs of the zodiacal circle places greater responsibility on Dragon, and he just cannot stay away from affairs, and remain indifferent to common work. A representative of this zodiac sign will be inclined to take upon his mighty shoulders a lot of work, and is at risk of even overestimating his own strength, and not cope with high ambitions and plans.

Under a certain activeness, Dragon will be a winner, he is a triumpher that will pave the hard but right path to success. This zodiac sign will always be in the thick of things, in the spotlight of any company, especially there where creative collective affairs and mass cultural activities are planned.

In the field of communication, Dragon will be able to establish many contacts, make friends and create a partnership, but his extrovert nature may attract around unworthy and dishonest people carefully concealing their true colors. Difficulties in 2012 may be seen as a kind of training simulator for the development of skills, there will be many of them, but they are all of them are not too severe, and are unable to affect the overall business management. With his love for slogans, banners, and carnival masks, Dragon should however not get involved in external attributes, but should try to give maximum attention to depth, the essence of work, its objectives and planning.

Dragon’s wisdom will help him get rid of unnecessary arrogance, aggression, and excessive ambition, while his ability to communicate and be honest can help him find friends and trusted work partners.

In early 2012, Dragon will be full of vigor, his energy will be practically inexhaustible, this will allow him work actively and cope with influx of affairs. But Dragon must remember that at the end, there may come a nervous exhaustion, which will weaken his power and abilities. There is no need to provoke problems – he should be alert, and also take care of his health.

Spring is Dragon’s favorite time. It is during this period that he will take significant decisions and sharply turn his life if this has become necessary. Dragon’s aggression, his dictatorship, excessive arrogance will be a mistake this period for these qualities can lead to conflict and rejection of Dragon in a team.

In summer, Dragon will receive a very handsome dividends for his work started in this 2012. Dragon who is an employee may seek a higher position, while Dragon who is a businessman – not a very active partnership of associates.

The fall of 2012 will be a calm period in Dragon’s life. If a representative of this zodiac sign previously chose the correct direction, then during the fall period, he will be able to afford a vacation, relax, take stock of 2012. In autumn, it is important to correct the errors in his activities and communication that were previously made so that such errors do not become an obstacle in planning for activities for the next 2012.

Dragon who is a spouse, will focus on improving his/her home. He/she would be happy to buy gifts and necessities for the family, helping friends and relatives. In spring, relationship with a partner may be strained because of Dragon’s orientation only to activities, but this time can be used effectively to calm sorting out of his/her relationship with a partner after problems that emerged.

In early 2012, a single Dragon may meet his/her love, and successfully develop and strengthen the relationship throughout the year.”

From http://www.gotohoroscope.com/2012/chinese-2012-horoscope-dragon.html

For your own horoscope for this year, click at the bottom of the website on your animal year.

Health, Wealth, Happiness, and Love to everyone!

Jeannie

"May every breath you take give you a bountiful return!"

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OK, we’re BACK in the US of A!

Erin & Will's wedding

Wow, this one didn’t get posted – catching up now!  Dated June 21, 2011:

This is week 2 since we’ve returned, and are still laptop-less.  We’re using Chris’ OLD, OLD  Dell laptop, the one that’s missing an “h” key, and the “r” key is flaky.  The plus side is that Angry Birds in loaded on it now with Google Chrome for those of you who like games.

This will be a brief post as it’s still a bit awkward to blog directly on WordPress.  I really have kudos for Windows Live Writer.  It did make blogging and posting so much easier.  Not enough plusses, however, to buy MS stock however.

Our return began at the Dusseldorf International Airport – where we headed to the gate and bumped into – of ALL people – the Shelefs!  They were last seen by us in Tel Aviv, Israel a couple of months before!  Amy saw someone who looked like Shir and called out to her (it was Shir’s hair!), and when the girl in pink turned around and looked up – they were in a BFF embrace!  Tzvia, Reuven and Ron were nearby, and it turned out that we were all on the same flight.  The Shelefs were returning to the States, too!  They’d just packed up the week before, and spent their last night doing the final packing!

We were welcomed at the San Francisco International Airport by Chris and Mark, holding

Tzvia, a Friend / Restaurant Owner, and Reuven

a Welcome Back sign as we exited the Baggage Claim, Passport and Customs areas!  Massive noise and picture-taking ensued.  THEN the Shelefs exited!  MORE noise and picture-taking!!!

The first days back, we immediately plunged into — shopping!  Amy had outgrown most of her clothes, and even sadly gave up her favorite purple long-sleeved shirt (dedicated to her good friend Ellie!).  We shopped for fancy clothes to wear to Erin & Will’s wedding (pix on another post), daily wear,  shoes,  and stockings.  Next were the electronics – iPhone, Motorola Flip-Out phone, MacBook (Amy), MacBookPro (Chris), a color wifi network printer, and all the other little gadgets we needed.  Then, the next few days were spent with families, friends, sleepovers for Amy, and working with my mom, a master flower designer, on Erin & Will’s wedding flowers.  It was a truly poignant and fun wedding, befitting the couple very well.  Amy anticipated the colors by dying her hair bright neon purple three days before the wedding (I did the paint job)!

Geoff, Amy and Berlin At Erin & Will's wedding Jun 2011

This week Amy’s Technology and PE camp began (TAPE), and she’s learning about applications to create presentation works on the MacBook.  It goes from 9-noon M-F, and her gymnastics practices are TTh 2:30-6:30 pm.  That leaves me with lots of time to blow glass at PALY, work on my blog (once I get my Vaio back it’ll be easier), drink coffee, meet up with people, and plan out what to do next.  Suggestions gladly taken!

Currently, Amy and I are living at the Mountain View Navy Lodge till the end of the month.  July 1st, the Navy Lodge will close down for renovation, so we’ll be vagabonding again – well, maybe not.  I rather like having a kitchen no matter how small or infrequently we use it!  So, am considering a residence inn like Ramada’s or Marriott’s for the two weeks we have before moving into a 2-bdrm Cupertino apartment.  Yes, it does allow dogs or cats, and not more than two of them, thank goodness!  The Cupertino middle school is ranked and rated by parents highly.

Pros and cons of an apartment -

This one’s on the 3rd floor – a definite Con.

Fitness center in complex – a definite Pro!

A small green park lawn across from front of complex – Pro (green) and Con (small)

Two parking spaces – def Pro!

Smaller than we are used to for a home (1165 sf) – Con

Two bedrooms are on opposite sides of the unit – Pro

Fireplace – Pro (ambiance) and Con (small, cute)

Not much of a backyard – def Con (poor Hodi!)

We tried for a number of days to find something in Palo Alto, but the homes were either too small, run down, or not a great location.  The rents were all around $3,200 – 4,000 / month.  I actually saw one that was as low as $2,350 / month, but included the landlord’s high school son to stay with us.  That wasn’t a problem, since we typically host visiting students anyway, but the house was awkward to get in and out as it was on a main street (Middlefield Road).  Craigslist gave us the most number of hits, but even then it was only four listings at a time.  Real estate and rental agents just didn’t have anything that fit our criteria, though it was pretty basic – 2+bdrms, 1.5+baths, garage or carpark, at least 1,000 sf, and some place for a puppy.

Our Welcome Back party at Kathleen’s house, my sister, who graciously offered and helped us setup.  Alas, it was less than a week’s notice and too soon for most people, but we still got quite an attendance – especially the younger students around Amy’s and Isabelle’s ages!  They asked some really good traveling questions!  We hope to have another Round the World party once we’re settled down in our new place.  Stay tuned!

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