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Anita Latte

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Posts posted by Anita Latte

  1. I read along and keep tabs on everyone but haven’t been posting much…life feels a bit scattered right now. Melody, I feel for you and Les with all your medical issues and have been thinking good thoughts towards you and your recovery and your ability to continue to enjoy life through all your trials. We’ve had some medical issues in our family as well and I find that concentrating on the reasons why life is worth living to be the best motivation for regaining health. I think you have that well in hand…I’m so glad to read about your good progress after your recent surgery. Same for you Laurie and your DH…


    This is what motivated me to post today… Laurie, I’m dealing with a misuse hip injury. I’m pretty sure it’s related to my ACL deficient knee and wreaking leg strength and compensation patterns when doing household chores etc…and I’ve been doing physical therapy for my hip and focusing on my own life motivations and goals. I’ve entered several programs available through our health insurance and have had to write out my motivations and goals and mobility as I age is always my main focus. One of my trainers recommended the YouTuber Kaisafit. She specializes in mobility exercises. Laurie, I would recommend you check her out. 

    When you search her channel, search for beginner in the name of the videos. Some are True Beginner and targeted toward people who are just starting to do these types of exercises. There are several videos but I found the walking warm for true beginners to be a good 20 minute nutshell of how to work with a more mature body that doesn’t quite move the way it used to and needs to be put through a series of movements to get joint fluid flowing and ready the body for what used to be everyday movements that seem to have more impact than in previous years. It’s hard to recognize that our bodies need a little more TLC to do what we used to easily jump into doing without prep.


    I’m currently in Seattle visiting DH. DS is back in Florida. It’s just a visit and I’ll be on the red eye on Sunday night. Nothing much else has changed. We’re dealing with a split personality household on separate coasts and in separate quadrants. I love the PNW though…having grown up in the SF Bay Area…this area has such a feeling of home for me from childhood memories…even though it isn’t the same place…


    I spent some time at Canaveral National Seashore and was playing with the camera I had bought for my birthday trip to Fairbanks. DH and I had gone there for our own personal Easter sunrise service…and were eaten alive by the no see ums OMG. I went back within the week (DS had gone back to the UK for a friend’s wedding and DH was back in Seattle) as part of an almost 2 week time I had home alone. It felt like the first real vacation I’d had in years. No one asking me what there was to eat etc. Just me and what I wanted to do. I had a great time. UCF was having its celebration of the arts and I went to a few performances among other things. I did apply my Seashore admission fee towards an America the Beautiful pass…so last weekend DH and I went camping at Olympic National Park and went to Sol Duc Hot Springs. 

    I know we all like photos…I’ve been trying to make mini albums. Here are links to 2 I recently made. If you click on the first photo to be able to see comments, you can read my comments on each photo to have a sort of narration:




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  2. IDK what types of activities you enjoy, but since you are driving down from Atlanta...you might even take a look at staying anywhere along the coast. I lived in Cobb County for 5 years and I've done the ATL to FL drive many times even after leaving there. You can avoid the turnpike if you decide to opt out of Orlando...and just take 10 over to 95. And there are several things that are of interest along the 95 corridor.


    For instance, if you decide that you really want to do leisurely driving, maybe take a look at St Augustine and what there is to do there. It's the oldest city in the US. There are historical sites there. It's supposed to be a cute old town area, very cultural. You could go down a bit more into the Daytona Beach area. There's the Bandshell that has free music concerts in the summer. Mostly tribute bands, but you also don't have to be in the bandshell to enjoy the music. You can be on the beach.


    I've recently developed an interest in lighthouses. There's a lighthouse at Ponce de Leon. There's also a lighthouse on Cape Canaveral. The Ponce de Leon one has various activities, including a nighttime walk to the top of the lighthouse. Personally, it's next on my list. I've been to the one at Cape Canaveral; it's on site and so you have to have your tour arranged in advance because you have to have your ID cleared 48 hours prior to your tour so that you are cleared to go on the base. So that's a sort of special thing to do. I did the cheapest tour they offer and it was a wonderful outing. I would recommend going earlier rather than later...that lighthouse heats up in the Florida sun and just get hotter as the day progresses. Hanger C is awesome as well and is part of the least expensive tour.


    If there is going to be a launch around your time of being here, I would recommend taking a look at the thread talking about that. If the Courtyard Marriott in Titusville/KSC is a recommended view point, you might stay there. IDK what the pool situation is there though. 


    Since you'll have a car, there is a lovely scenic drive on North Merritt Island. There is a fee for it, but it's not much. Black Pointe Wilderness Drive. It's wonderful for bird watchers especially if you are into that. You creep along and you can stop and observe at several points along the way. Plenty of other nature experiences you could pursue around Titusville/Merritt Island if you are into that sort of thing. Historic Downtown Titusville also has a cigar bar.

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  3. On 4/16/2024 at 5:54 AM, little britain said:

    There is a 4 hour window on that site… does that window ever narrow closer to the date (📅) or do we just wait for 4 hrs??  Thanks 


    Generally speaking, and I've only been on the Space Coast for a few years now, they try to hit the beginning of the launch window. As Capt BJ said, there can be a hold in the countdown to launch. They can sit there with 30 seconds left on the countdown for however long is needed to get a "go for launch" from whichever of the 200 (give or take) people that need to give a go to get to the point of go, so long as the window of opportunity is still open. We went to see the first night launch in however many years (long time) when we first moved to Florida...and there was a delay...and they knew there would be a delay in advance...and they let people know.


    There are many sources that will start coverage a couple hours before the launch. Florida Today is generally a decent source because generally space related news is free where other news may be past a paywall. If it's a SpaceX launch, they have their own channels for getting info out there. It's pretty easy to stay in the know actually. And well before hand you can see how the weather is affecting the launch...they'll say something like the weather forecast is (fill in the blank)% go for launch...and that may be updated as we get closer to actual launch.

  4. Where to watch really depends on which launch pad the launch is from. I have found this site to be very good for offering advise on the best locations for each launch:



    I’m on the north side, right across from KSC if you have any questions about up here.


    I highly recommend a night launch if there is one. Especially if you can see the water in the foreground of your view.

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  5. If you’re interested in kayaking, there are many kayak rentals in and around the Indian River Lagoon. A great place to kayak is Thousand Islands in Cocoa Beach. I know there are tours there but not sure if the timing works but I imagine you could arrange something. The main issue with PC as a port stop is that to truly enjoy the area, you need a vehicle.


    Merritt Island around KSC is a wildlife refuge and there are many nature related things to see. Again, if you have a vehicle, you could do the Black Pointe Wilderness Drive which is a one way car trail, if you will, through many different habitats for birds especially. If you’re a bird watcher it’s a wonderful drive. There is also a nature center/visitor center that is undergoing reconstruction after the hurricane damage to the boardwalks but if it were finished, it’s pleasant to walk and see more of “natural Florida”. Driving out to Haulover…there’s a Manatee Observation Deck…went out this weekend and saw a couple manatees…as the weather/water warms, there will be more. I usually see dolphins etc around too.


    There’s are quite a number of conservation lands and properties around. Enchanted Forest in Titusville is lovely and takes you through 5 distinct ecosystems. There’s Sam’s house at Pine Island. Sometimes there are events at such places.


    IDK if the Canaveral Lighthouse has tours that late in the day. That must be set up in advance because you have to be cleared to go onto the base 48 hours before the tour. Maybe contact them and see if they have started trying to get the PC as a port crowd. Maybe if you can get a minimum number on your roll call or something, they’ll do a tour for your group. If you could do that, it would be such an interesting thing to do. I loved it. Ask if you’d be able to see inside Terminal B (or whatever they call it) where all the historic rockets are. 

    And speaking of rockets, have you checked the launch schedule? The ship itself, top deck would be a good launch viewing location.


    Out towards Christmas, FL there are more walking/hiking opportunities. Fort Christmas Historical Park is great if you’re a history buff…there’s a reconstruction of part of the old supply fort that was built during the Seminole Wars. There are several historic cabins that you can tour. There’s are collections of things…one house has kitchen appliances and tools from way back in the day. The Orlando Wetlands is out there too…that’s basically a man made area that helps naturally filter water before it hits the St John. There are trails woven all throughout and sometimes there’s a tour shuttle that goes around.


    At the St John’s on highway 50, there are airboat tours. 

    You do really need a vehicle to properly enjoy the area though.



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  6. Laurie, I think that green color is fabulous! Sooo pretty. I really like the contrast of the blue green stone with the veining that seems to match the color of the dress...with the kind of rosy metal dangle...I really like those a lot. They remind me of a scarf that I have. 


    Welcome back Melody! Can't wait to hear all about your cruise. Y'all have cruises planned...I'll admit that I was looking at Alaska cruises out of Seattle. Just because... Nothing that I would really book at this point but man, I was seeing deals out of Vancouver for the first of the season cruises. DH doesn't have enough vacation time in the back to do something like that. I did see a long weekend cruise that basically was 4-days cruising right around there. I think the ports were literally Vancouver, Victoria, somewhere further down the Pacific coast of Washington state and back to Seattle. I don't recall the price...but it wasn't that cheap yet...


    I'm headed back to Seattle next week...flying Alaska Airlines for the first time.

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  7. Aw Melody...that is rough business with Les. It's awful to have health issues at any time but especially before your big long awaited travel. I hope that y'all can enjoy your vacation if you are still able to go. Once on board, it would seem to be a nice place for some pampering and some relaxation and a bunch of rest while not having to feel the pressures of home life and all the chores of daily living there. Hugs.


    Laurie...I really, really like that rug and the way it feels in the room. You have a lovely mix of patterns in that photo and I find that very appealing. I'm kind of laughing to myself over that photo because you are doing such a good job of mixing your patterns and yet for your clothing, I know you gravitate more toward solids. What a funny thing. That's very much what I like to do with the fabrics in my house. I'm very much a mix it up and coordinate rather than match kind of decorator.


    My life has fairly crazy of late...


    We went to the family farm in Huntsville AL for Thanksgiving. Pretty much all of DH's family except for one niece was there. It's not an old established farm, it's a newer venture of my youngest SIL, her DH and their 2 kids and my MIL/FIL. They bought it several years ago and have been having a good time exploring the world of rural living. They started with chickens and an ambitious garden...the garden is rough but the chicken family has expanded and they've gotten into goats. They are all about the goats and over Thanksgiving were having a go at their first breeding...very fun to visit but man, oh man...too much work for me! LOL.


    On November 27, the Monday following Thanksgiving, DH and I flew to Seattle for the first time in our lives (like to go beyond the airport), rented a car and moved into a studio apartment that we rented sight unseen...the decision for the apartment was all pretty much on my shoulders. DH trusts me...and I did my darnedest to research the heck out of Seattle to choose a place that we could 1. afford...2. be safe...3. have a decent commute for DH and even hopefully, 4. ENJOY. And I'm happy to report that all my moving has paid off in that I can confirm that I do know how to pick a good home for us. Except for the fact that DH is basically living alone in Seattle...he's quite happy with the little place I picked...460 sq ft studio with a full kitchen (including dishwasher), in unit laundry, a huge (for the studio) walk in closet, and garage parking. WHEW.


    It also happens to be exceedingly walkable with a walk score of 98? There are 4 grocery stores within 15 minutes walk...the nearest shows 800 ft away when you get directions from the apartment. I am comfortable walking all around there as well...just very pleased.


    We don't know what exactly will be happening over the course of this year. We have a one year lease on the studio. DS is applying for grad schools...the last applications due yesterday...and so we wait to see what's happening with him. Meanwhile, I'm dealing with the house...regardless of what we do with it, we're reluctant to sell though not enthused to have it be a rental but also recognizing that it's not a place that we left alone for any length of period of time...anyway, no matter what...there's projects to finish...plenty of regular maintenance...and it's always a good idea to regularly go through stuff and really sort out what you need and deal with the rest. DS must take anything he considers his with him to grad school...and he'll be welcome to take quite a bit of furniture as well...his bed set, his desk, etc...and many other choices as I'm not sure any of this furniture is truly worth moving one of the longest moves you could do in the lower 48.


    I was in Seattle from 11/27 to 12/10. Most of that time was spent setting up the apartment. I found the cherry Goodwill where they get a lot of palettes from Target. Not sure what exactly that merchandise is but I found a bunch of it...we have 4 checked bags of things like household linens, a few plastic kitchen items, some silverware and utensils, good knives...but dishes, glasses, cookware, furniture...that was all purchased in Seattle. I had 4 shopping carts full from Goodwill...buying dining chairs, lamps, a floor fan (no air conditioning in Seattle), etc.


    We did some explorations but I haven't sorted through the photos to be able to share. I will though. For never having gone to Seattle before...it feels very much like my childhood home which was the SF Bay Area. It's hard to describe the way people are in different places...but let's just say that the terrain and the people...the overall feel of the place...I hadn't connected with that part of me that loved where I grew up in a long time. I was quite sentimental about it all. We're giving DH the freedom to have time at the job and have it prove to be all that it should be before we permanently relocate...so I'll say that if we do continue moving forward...I'm actually THRILLED with the idea of the move. 


    I'll share some photos later. This week is DS's birthday...can y'all believe that he is turning 23?!? DH arrives today to spend the rest of the week with us. We met in AZ at my parents home for the holidays. And I spent a long weekend with him back in Seattle before flying home Jan 8. So so far we haven't had too long a period without seeing each other...but the dry spell is about to kick off after Sunday as DH won't be back here until mid February when he is coming for a dentist appt LOL...and I won't be visiting him in the meantime. The year will just be a play it by ear kind of thing as far as all that goes.


    The only other travel we are thinking about is a trip to Glacier National Park with DS this summer before he heads off to grad school. It's something he really wants to see and we were very disappointed to have to cancel our trip we had had planned a couple years ago. 

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  8. It's nice to have DS home for sure...we're having a good time together...


    We were not contemplating a move...it's just that the new job that DH took last year with a start up hasn't been going well. They did a reorganization in late spring and DH's boss decided to leave and the effects of that...well...it just made for an unhappy and rather unstable feeling work situation. DH looked and looked here but he wasn't getting any response...there weren't too many really good opportunities...it's harder as you get more responsibility to move around and keep your seniority level of leadership. I opened up the job search to the west because I would enjoy being closer to my parents in AZ...and this is what happened lol.


    We have a lease finalized on a studio apartment. We're flying out 11/27 and moving in that same day. It'll be the equivalent of camping in our own apartment until the end of year holidays. We'll all meet in AZ...DH flying...DS and I driving. Holidays...DS will fly back to FL and then DH and I will drive to Seattle. It's how we're moving the car out there and also how we will be moving a bit more of life's conveniences...more wardrobe and things like a TV...believe it or not I have such a stock pile of cleaning products here...LOL...maybe a trash can? Just things that can add up if you have to buy them for a second residence but that you kind of need...


    Anyway...that's the current plan...still something of a work in progress on the how...but we know that we need to get a vehicle out there because the rental fees are a budget killer. Looked into shipping the car but it's basically a break even situation, and with the holidays... trying to deal with the timing of it all is problematic. And then we miss out on being to move more things out to Seattle.


    I haven't looked at cruising in a while but definitely one thing that I will probably try to sort is another Alaska cruise. Through the years I have seen incredible deals on Alaska cruises, especially last minute but I haven't been able to take advantage being on the opposite coast...that and deals on just flights up there...I would love to go anywhere there was a decent deal and just enjoy Alaska...

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  9. 6 hours ago, SoloAlaska said:

    Thanks. I have big duffle bags from cabelas I bought on sale a while back that I use the same way. They hold up so well during airline travel. 

    I travel with an international refillable stove but the issue of traveling with empty canisters is something I’m looking into. I could always buy a canister in country however which is an option. The one thing is with your husbands new stove the canisters can’t be purchased in some countries. I forgot about the wood burning stove option, back to doing more research.


    im currently making my own baffled down camping quilt. It’s ultralight weight and I can use it as I travel as a blanket as well. No more bulky sleeping bags.

    We’ve been looking into sleeping quilts in lieu of sleeping bags. Here in our warm weather we were able to just use down blankets…it’s not a rumpl blanket but a similar and less expensive brand. We’d need heavier ones for colder weather…and it’s something I’d like to get but man they ARE expensive. Did you purchase a pattern? Did you make up your own?


    When we researched the whole stove situation…it was quite clear that there could be no residue of fuel in the canister…which wouldn’t be as much of an issue on the outbound side with a fresh canister but calculating the fuel and the purchase and usage and then cleaning and disposing etc etc. We looked into rentals but that was cumbersome for just a couple nights…but that’s something that might work too. The wood burning stove did work well enough but it’s not nearly as compact.

  10. On 9/15/2023 at 12:03 PM, nannaBcruisin said:

    I’m the one you see coming on board with 4 suitcases 🤦🏽‍♀️ How do you condense? How much of what do you bring? I’ve seen women with only one carry on please tell me how you do it. 

    I think the effort is more or less easy depending on how you wear clothing at home. I think if you regularly rewear clothing and have habits of airing it out and dealing with spot stains (or not caring) and brushing off your clothes…wear fabrics like merino wool that lend themselves to fewer washings…then you generally have an easier time of it because you might wear only 2-3 pairs of pants all week…like myself…and so there’s not the worry about lack of clothing choices when not at home. I read a long time ago that the hardest treatment most adults do to their everyday clothing is washing it…the friction of laundry is more wearing than anything so the fewer washes you can get away with, the longer your clothing may last. We started measuring wearing clothes in hours vs days because of frequent clothing changes (yard work vs exercise vs post work vs work etc). So we have a whole system for dealing with the not quite clean and not quite dirty clothes.

    I think there’s also the influence of whether or not you express yourself through your clothes, style, fashion. Do you dress one way because you’re in a certain mood or whatever? I don’t really know about this and am just talking from seeing and reading what other people do. But it seems to me that there are people in the world that have a personal fun moment as they look at their clothes and figure out what to wear…influenced greatly by how they feel that day. They need choices. I’m very practical and dress from shoes up and my choices are almost completely weather dependent. I have the thing I like when I need a warmth layer, etc, and I’m the person that has the same pair of pants in multiple colors…so even when I have choices…it’s not the same as others I’ve observed.


    I’m getting the impression that your personality and relationship to your clothing isn’t one that lends itself to being very streamlined. For certain travel, it would be beneficial to have less luggage for sure but it could be very challenging for you. I would recommend that you figure out what your FAVORITES are. Are you the kind of person that has more than one pair of black pants for instance? More than one short sleeved dress? However you can group and sort your clothing, figure out the one you reach for first in each category when all your laundry is done. I might suggest to you to pack ONLY favorites and see how that worked for you as a start. You could have favorite solid short sleeved, favorite patterned short sleeved, etc. Set these aside and see how they work together. You’ll want more tops than bottoms usually…but that would be my recommendation to you to begin figuring out how to streamline.


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  11. 19 hours ago, SoloAlaska said:

    Haha my trick for my knitting is to use cube style project bags. They pack much better in my carry on and luggage. I bring 1-2 knitting projects, 1-2 embroidery projects, and 1-2 quilting (epp) projects. The embroidery fits in a Yazzi cube for all the tools and thread I may possibly need and a flat project bag (or ziplock). The Epp project fits in a flat project bag. Usually all of my crafty stuff is in my personal item when I travel along with a couple of emergency snacks, water bottle, headphones, earbuds, charging bank, cables, travel documents etc.


    My crafting is essential for my travel since it’s part of my business and I travel to get inspired in designing new products and am starting to write my first book. So I also carry some rechargeable photography lights for taking good wip photos. 

    I also always pack magnetic hooks but don’t bother with the other “cruise essentials”. Next year I will probably also bring a green screen, more lighting, a microphone, and a embroidery hoop holder. I’ll need a carry on plus the medium sized suitcase to accommodate all the work supplies for longer cruises.


    Eventually I hope to cruise for 3 months a year with 1 suitcase, 1 hiking backpack, and 1 carry on. That would contain everything for my work for 3 months, all my cruise stuff, plus all my camping gear. Yep you read that right that includes a tent, sleeping bag, stove, blow up mattress, hiking poles etc. for multi week hikes.

    When we cruised Alaska we spent 4 nights on land after disembarking in Seward. We love backpacking and couldn’t imagine going to Alaska without spending any time in the wilderness, but I didn’t want to deal with potential inclement weather and a tent situation so we rented a public use cabin. It was about a mile hike to the cabin and we still needed to pack everything but a tent. So yes, on our cruise we had our backpacking backpacks, sleeping bags and mats, stove, etc. I wanted to share two things with you…


    First, I recommend this duffle for packing your backpack:




    We didn’t want to expose our backpacks to the rigor of airline travel…also, we often have things strapped to the outside, like hiking poles…also, I was concerned that something packed away too deep in a pack would look suspicious and so I didn’t want to fully pack the packs so it would be easier for security to locate whatever. These duffels worked great. We’ve used them several times and they have held up…using them also to help move my son overseas for college (we packed them with linens, pillows, blankets, towels, etc.). Worried about some reviews I’d read about the zippers opening, we did use tiny s-clip type caribiner-like fasteners to keep the separating zipper pulls together.


    Also, we had purchased a wood burning stove for cooking as dealing with stove fuel was problematic for our trip. (Our then backpacking stove used a refillable white fuel canister). It worked well enough.



    More recently, DH and I got this stove:



    which is fantastic if you can acquire the fuel for it wherever you are going. It’s the tiniest thing and yet was stable enough for our pots.

    You weren’t asking for input but I just thought I’d share…it’s a great goal you have…


  12. Thankfully, I haven’t had to move more than twice in one calendar year…not counting the time we voluntarily went “homeless” and couch surfed friends and family with all our stuff in storage while we waited to hear about DH’s job prospects after graduating grad school…but that’s totally different. My longevity record is 4 years…occurring 3 times in my lifetime…and I had hopes that FL would beat that…ah well…it sort of will but not really because officially we’ll be in transition and possibly changing residency before plans for our house are finalized. Such is life.


    I think we’ll enjoy Seattle. DH and I are more west coast than east coast…I have likened my life so far to a typewriter…the story beginning in California and with just one slight return from Texas to Arizona…I’ve steadily marched across the states…and now we’re hitting a hard return…crank and pull on the handle *ding!*…back to west coast. I think distance wise going catty corner across the lower 48 is about as long a move as you can do…

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  13. @slidergirl LOVE that hoodie!! I appreciate a good hoodie...one of the things that I like about a zip up hoodie is the fact that I can partially zip it up...my bust line is out of proportion to my shoulders and so things that fit my bust are generally sloppy and add additional pounds that I seriously don't need added OR if it fits the shoulders, too tight on the bust...and it does that get stuck thing above the bust line when you lift your arms. The zipper helps because I can just zip up to under the bust...

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  14. Hello Ladies!


    It has been so long since I have posted but I have been reading along and mostly enjoying everything...Melody...so sorry to hear about your trip to Boston...my belated condolences to you and Les. And also some of your continuing health challenges...but also I thought there were some successes in there...anyway...glad to read your healing...


    Laurie...loved seeing all your photos from Harmony. I can empathize about weight, or more actually, body shape...and having some wardrobe struggles because of that. I feel like, looking at your photos...I didn't see ANY angst...you and DH look SO HAPPY and relaxed. I just took another look at your photos and seeing them almost makes me want to cruise with DH JUST so we could get some updated couple photos...I think you have some real winners and that is such a wonderful memory trigger to have.


    I also enjoy seeing your house projects...it's inspiring because we have our own house projects still very much in progress...it can feel overwhelming over here...more on that in a second...


    MARGARET!!! OMG...Norway is definitely on my to do list. It has been for a long time...IDK how accurate my family knowledge is but according to what I know I'm just about half Norwegian...and not only because of that...but also because in general, that type of landscape is soul soothing for me...I SO enjoyed all your photos and hearing about your trip. I'm so glad that you did get to see the aurora...I'm almost shocked that the ship would turn the lights down/out for you to see them...I would have thought in today's world that the safety issues of that would have overruled...and I'm so thankful on your behalf that the master of the ship let it happen. What a wonder. Where we were when we saw the NL...there was still some city lights...it wasn't perfectly dark...and I'm just imagining being on the dark water and how amazing that must have been. I get the disappointment in the photographs because you couldn't use your tripod but all the same...I would say that my photos of the aurora aren't the best, but the result has been that my memory of the event is stronger and my memories aren't getting overridden by the photographs.


    Has anyone else had that happen? Where your memory is almost reduced to the photograph...and you can vividly remember the photograph more...that still-life representation of an event more than the picture reel of action memory? 


    Anyway...so enjoyable to read along...especially with the stress of my life at this moment...


    So...it will likely not come too much of a surprise for me to share that we are MOVING. Once again. Sigh. This one is going to be a doozy...because we will eventually be relocating to the Seattle area. It will take time...because our house is no where near ready for others to be occupants...and that's fine in a way because DS is home and he needs a place to live while he sorts out graduate school, which he is applying to for next fall admission...and who knows where he will be accepted? No sense in moving all his stuff AND him to Washington...so DS and kitty will be home bodies in Florida while DH starts his new job on 11/29...


    We're starting the new phase together. Flying out on 11/27 and I will be there until 12/10. We'll be together again for Christmas and New Year's/DH's Bday (Jan 1) and then back together again for DS's Bday (Jan 17) and after that it will all depend on whether or not DH is really needed here to help with projects vs I travel to Seattle area to be with him...


    Here's the insane thing...except for the airport twice...and a road trip with Mom when I was a child and have impressions more than memories...I've never been to Washington. LOL. 


    I've located a decent enough studio apartment though...and I think it's a safe enough area. I've been studying crime maps, real estate, AirBnBs, local businesses, where the tent camps are, local community blogs, local YMCAs, traffic patterns, and everything else that I can possibly think of to try to sort out a living accommodation that we can afford as a two household family. OMG. I've done the best that I can do and I'm pretty confident in my choice. Waiting to hear about our application and should hear early this week. 


    And that's what's been happening with me...

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  15. I’m not sure that Blue Bus and other tour operators for Mendenhall have received their allotments for 2024 yet. I’m not familiar with the entirety of the process but I do know that there is a finite number of entrances to Mendenhall that tour operators are allocated. The shortage this year happened because, in the past, when tour operators like Blue Bus and others have run through their permit numbers there has been a redistribution of permits but that didn’t happen this year because of the high visitor numbers.


    They’ve now been having issues with the city bus running at capacity because tourists have been riding it to get to Mendenhall and so locals waiting at bus stops have been passed because there wasn’t room to pick them up. The city bus is expected to make some changes over winter to help rectify the situation. And you’re correct that the city bus doesn’t go on site and so the city bus drop off is 1.5 miles away. And if you take the city bus, there is a sign advising you that it could be 4-5 hours of bus riding round trip.


    The unfortunate part of the deal is that later season people who had purchased tickets in advance for Blue Bus had their tickets cancelled because of the lack of redistribution. So even with advance tickets, that wasn’t a guarantee of being able to get there. July 2023 was just about the time that the tickets ran out so even if you are able to buy advance tickets, I would have a backup plan in case there is a repeat of this year’s shortage.


    Understand that Mendenhall is Federal property and any commercial operation requires a permit to go onto said property. They pay a permit fee and then they are given however many of 517,650 total visitors “passes” on commercial tours. This is the annual limit based on an environmental analysis of the area. So if there are that many commercial visitors before your visit… I suppose it will depend on if the tour operators decide on a different tactic with their allotment and may choose to limit the visitors to hope to spread availability throughout the season but I would venture to say that the laws of supply and demand will say that the prices will go up significantly and demand will then naturally go down and hopefully the tour operators can still make a decent living in the few months that they work during the cruise season.


    This limit is set for commercial tour visitors. It does not limit personal visitors. But keep in mind that taxis and Ubers, etc are commercial operations and they also will drop off passengers in their designated area which is before hitting Federal land. I think that’s closer than the city bus but it’s still a quite a distance if you have walking challenges. So if you have people in your party that are unable to walk such a distance, then you will need personal transportation to visit. I read about someone having a very good experience using personal car share in Juneau, I think it’s called Turo. That may be something to consider if your party is large enough and ticket prices are high enough. They were able to coordinate with the owner to have pick up and drop off be near the pier.

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  16. I think you need to properly donate them. Donate them if you can clean them first and they are otherwise in wearable condition. Take them to a proper donation place and don’t leave them where they may be work for someone else to deal with, otherwise they will likely end up in the trash. I don’t mean to sound negative in my bluntness but having known people who deal with donations, many donations can feel like people discarding a problem and not actually giving a blessing. So please read my response in the matter of fastness that I intend. It’s a brilliant idea for dealing with baggage for an international flight home.

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  17. 2 hours ago, slidergirl said:
    • I forgot to mention this:  on a FB group for woolx & wool& clothes, someone mentioned that a "spritzer" made of unflavored vodka and a little water sprayed on your wool things will refresh them after a hot day or you actually stunk up your pits.  Then, a bunch of people said they knew this and did it.  Well, I never knew it!  Sound like a good travel tip!!

    I learned that here on the boards but I can’t recall which thread. There was someone that worked on costumes for stage productions…or ballet? And they would use this to refresh the costumes because the fancy costumes couldn’t be laundered in a normal fashion but would be worn night after night…I haven’t tried it yet…I actually didn’t remember it til you mentioned it!

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  18. You look so happy and relaxed in that photo! I love the pose and what y’all are wearing! 

    We had such fun on Harmony. I’m one of those people that doesn’t really have absolute favorites…my faves are all situation dependent…but I can get in such a mood and think that Oasis class ships are just what I’m in the mood for. I’ve been on Allure and Harmony. I may appreciate them more now that I live closer to the coast. I haven’t read much about the up and coming Utopia of the Seas…but down here we are getting blasted by commercials for it and man, every time DH and I are like…cruising is such fun. We haven’t been on a cruise since Feb 2020.

  19. 18 hours ago, 1st4our25th said:

    Yes, we will be driving our own car. Don't mind driving maybe up to 20 minutes from the hotel, but I'm sure we won't want to be in the car much after a 9 hr drive so that's why I was looking for something close. 


    I've also heard good things about Papa Vito's. Anyone have any input on that?

    I knew Papa Vito’s had come up in conversation before. It’s briefly mentioned as being a popular choice in this older thread…and there’s a few other restaurant recommendations not yet mentioned:




    You haven’t mentioned approximate time or the day of week…my only concern would be the wait times at the port restaurants…which can be really long…which doesn’t sound like an awesome way to spend your evening after a road trip…however, if you’re down with grabbing a drink or two and/or walking around the area a bit, I know Rusty’s takes your phone number and calls you when your table is ready…the others might as well. I don’t think any place is worth waiting an hour for and I’ve done that personally at the port…when the wait was longer than expected.


    A PP said to be flexible and just see who has availability when you get there and that’s a good idea. I didn’t look at the map exactly but saw Papa Vito’s is Cocoa Beach…and there’d be a bunch around there for entertainment too…and/or just stretching out your legs walking around after your road trip.


    And wanted to add…I know I always get my fish blackened at Rusty’s…and my fish tacos at Fishlips too…so Grillz isn’t the only place with grilled seafood. 

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  20. I like all 3 for different reasons…though I’ve only had lunch at Fishlips…


    Grills can be handy because the deck dining is first come…or grab where you can when you can. There are a few smaller tables and several larger tables…big squares that seat 8…and if you are vigilant and/or willing to ask to share, you can find a seat even on a busy night. The live music is usually decent but it can be loud. People will dance. It’s a party atmosphere and my favorite thing to eat there are the burgers. For being near the water…not much water view actually. Stage is close to the street entrance and there’s a bit of marina right there. If you get a table in the normal restaurant and sit outside, there might be a bit of a better view but it’ll still be through the boats.


    Fishlips has a small bar side outside area that is always open…in inclement weather there’s a larger area behind plastic like coverings. Not sure if it opens up but probably does. It’s on the second story so you’re up higher than the other 2. They have the best fish tacos IMO. Again, only eaten there for lunch…and for the fish tacos…because we end up going there if that’s what we want. Sun can be rough because only umbrellas for shade and only a few. 


    Rusty’s has the best outside deck IMO. It has a great shade structure up high and feels more spacious than the others. Also has live music but it’s usually a single person. Grills can have a band…but it can be loud as well if you are too close… it seems easier to get further away from the stage though. They have a decent early bird special before 6 pm with a smaller portion and one side. Also they’ll take $2 off a dozen oysters or have a break on the peel and eat shrimp. We always end up spending way more money at Rusty’s…and on a busy night, the wait can be rough. 

    All 3 will see cruise ships sail right past if they are leaving from the West/North terminals. 


    We’ve also had happy hour at Rising Tide. Really good special on apps and on tap beer. Food was very very good but it’s not on the port water. There’s a pond in the middle of the port and there’s a deck outside next to it. Best selection of draft beer at the port but can be hard to go to if you really want to be waterside. Also felt like the portions were small for the price but the food was probably better than the others…it’s just hard to pick over the others’ because of the lack of view.


    Not as familiar with other restaurants closer to the port…


    If you want to hit a beach for a walk, go to Cherie Downs.  And be easy to park there…and there’s a bathroom. Other beach access parking in Port Canaveral is free but you have to pay to park in Cocoa Beach beach access parking lots.

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  21. In addition to Kennedy Space Visitor’s Center…depending on the day…

    Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Tour

    The Cove (restaurants, parasailing, helicopter tours, turtle education, etc)

    Kayaking tours…Thousand Islands during the day, bioluminescence sunset and later)

    Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum

    Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science

    Sands Space History Museum

    Police Hall of Fame

    Wizard of Oz Museum

    American Space Museum and Space Walk of Fame, and Space View Park

    Brevard Zoo

    Florida Tech Botanical Garden

    Air Boat tours on the St John’s River

    Fishing Charters

    Boat Rentals (many commercial companies and several get my boat boats)

    Enchanted Forest, Sam’s House at Pine Island Conservation Area, Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center and hiking trails, Black Pointe Wildlife Drive, and many other Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL)

    Numerous shooting ranges, local breweries, historical sites, random places to dolphin and manatee watch, go shopping in historical “old towns” or “downtowns”…


    But, like most US ports…you will likely need a car to fully enjoy the area…or plan ahead with the local cab service (54 cabs), or make use of the local buses, if that works for your plans (321 Transit), or use Uber/Lyft because there aren’t any local area shuttles.

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