Last June we took the trip of a lifetime to France and Spain. Snapped all these photos with the iPhone, except for the lavender shot in the last photo, bottom right. (Lifted that one from a postcard ) I used two apps to enhance and organize the pictures into collages: Camera+ and Diptic. Had so much fun putting these photos together . . . hope we can get to Provence again sometime!
Category Archives: Travel
Last week Ron and Jenna and I were in Ireland. Our friend (and Ron’s longtime employee) Ursula married an Irishman, Johnny, so we were lucky enough to go to the wedding and see the beautiful country of Ireland as well.
It took 33 hours to get there because of a delay due to the Iceland Volcano Ash, but once in Ireland, we had a grand time. We started the week with the Irish wedding, which was a blast. Ursula looked gorgeous, and Johnny looked quite cool with his braided mohawk.
Boy, do the Irish know how to have a good time! The wedding started at 2:30 pm, and was going strong when we snuck out at midnight, exhausted. Johnny told us the wedding would go until 5 am! I secretly pointed the camera through Ron’s arm to get this shot of all the empty beer glasses.
After a fun wedding and a good night’s sleep, we took off in our rented car to see the countryside. We used one guidebook the entire trip,
Hi All! I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in the past week. I was in San Diego caretaking my Grandma Helen. I LOVE visiting Grandma– she’s so interesting with all her old stories. And I always have a grand time in San Diego. I stay at my Uncle and Aunt’s KILLER place on Mission Bay. Here’s the view from their balcony.
Visiting San Diego is especially great because I get to see my old friends from high school. Here’s a pic of some friends I hadn’t seen in 34 years! We had a wonderful time at Casa de Pico. Fabulous margaritas. We closed down the place!
I also get to see my brother Kenny and his family. I ADORE each and every one of them! Kenny’s wife Heather is pregnant with their SIXTH child! This pic is of Heather and daughter Skylar.
Along with the amazing people and incredible weather, I love San Diego because of its history and charm. Balboa Park has some incredible architecture. Check out the Casa de Prado Theatre.
And I LOVE the old houses and lovely streets in Mission Hills, near Old Town. Mission Hills is a beautiful neighborhood, with Craftsman and Spanish Colonial style houses– no tract homes here! It's especially sentimental to me because I grew up in this neighborhood. My dad bought this house in 1970, for $40,000 bucks.
It’s actually two stories. You’re looking at the 2nd story. The first floor is down below on the canyon. Here’s a pic of the canyon.
Gosh, I wish Dad had kept that house. It’s worth SO much more than $40 grand now. The house directly across the street is for sale for $1.2 million. They just lowered the price from $1.7! (sorry, I don’t have a good pic of it.)
But here’s the house three doors down, to give you an idea how lovely the homes are in Mission Hills.
And here’s a charming Craftsman on Hermosa Way:
Makes me want to move back to San Diego! Maybe when my husband Ron retires in about 15 years. Seriously. I’d love to live in either Mission Hills or the neighborhood of Kensington. Check out these ADORABLE Spanish Colonial houses in Kensington!
Isn’t that so charming? The Spanish Colonial homes in this area were built between 1920 and 1930. Note the tile around the doorway on this home.
And this one. I just love it. Nothing huge, but dripping charm and quaintness.
When can I move in?
Now, if San Diego makes you swoon, wait till you see my next post! We’re heading to Ireland today, and will be gone for a week. We’re attending a wedding of one of Ron’s longtime employees, who is marrying an Irishman. Thrilled to see Ireland! I’ll try to post to this blog while we’re in Ireland, but it may be difficult– if so, I will share pics when we get back next week.
In the past two posts I’ve talked about my dad, Ben Gibbs, as part of the Grandparents Series in At Home with Cheri. Today is the final installment about my dad’s life– but not the last you’ll hear about him! In a future post, I plan to share some of his thought-provoking philosophies on politics and economics.
Ben Gibbs: Career Success, Marriage, and Parenthood.
Ben’s hard work in UC San Francisco Medical School paid off. After graduating, he entered the Navy and did a rotating internship at Naval Hospital, San Diego, where he was selected as the most outstanding intern. After one year aboard a Navy submarine tender, he returned to NHSD for his surgical residency.
Here is Ben at about that time.
Ben spent several more years as a Navy surgeon, serving on the staffs of Portsmouth Naval Hospital, a few months aboard the USS New Jersey, and finishing out his military career as head of vascular surgery, Naval Hospital, San Diego. His Navy career took place during the Vietnam War. After his twelve years of active duty he entered private practice in 1972, but remained in the Navy reserve, retiring as Captain, USNR around 1980. During both his Navy and civilian practice he participated in teaching at UC San Diego, being appointed as Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery.
He has written papers on general surgery and vascular surgery topics. His interest in carotid artery surgery led to his eventual focus in that area, resulting in some landmark papers which may have influenced in that specialty.
Ben’s personal life was rockier than his medical career. He married his high school sweetheart, Carol Norman, at 22. He and Carol had three children.
In 1967 Carol died. This was devastating, as daughters Cheri and Laurie were just six and four, and son Kenny was two. At the time Ben was in the Navy, and shortly after Carol’s death he was transferred to Portsmouth, Virginia. Before moving across the country Ben married Donna Marie Wentz. They had two boys, Christian and Trey.
That marriage ended in divorce and Donna passed away in 1980. He then married Natalie Hubele, and that marriage also ended in divorce. He looks back on those days as difficult, but informative. He may not have been entirely at fault for the failure of those three marriages, but he willingly accepts some of the responsibility for poor choices.
In 1996, Ben married for a fourth time, to Jean Thielen, and acknowledges it was the best decision in his life.
Their happiness partially reflects his growing maturity, but he still gives Jean most of the credit. They have a daughter, Sarah, 13, who came along as a late and unexpected blessing.
As a dad, Ben took his kids on lots of camping trips, particularly to Cottonwood Cove at the Colorado River. As mentioned in the last post, he has a life-long love of flying, having learned to fly in his teens. He and the kids would pile in the plane and fly to a remote desert area with no automobile access and a dirt runway, and camp on the river shore. At night the wild burros would come to the water and disrupt the sleeping family, lined up in a row under the stars in their sleeping bags. Ben would reassure the kids not to worry. “They’re more afraid of you than you are of them.” There were also numerous trips to Baja California, flying in to beach landing strips, camping, and fishing from a Zodiac. And motorhome trips to the Colorado River and Bitterroot River in Montana.
Eventually, he would own a vacation log cabin on the same river.
Ben is proud of his kids. “They are all great communicators. Youngest daughter Sarah plays the piano and shows great poise when she performs at church. Daughters Cheri and Laurie are eloquent public speakers. Son Kenny is the Singing Fireman of Los Angeles, and sings the National Anthem at ballgames. Son Christian, a musician and music writer with several CD’s, was in the Broadway musical “Passing Strange”. Son Trey writes poetry, showing talent, humor, and sensitivity. I have interesting kids. The fact that all my kids are so talented makes me question their paternity,” he says, tongue in cheek. “A man never knows for sure.”
When asked how he wants to be remembered, he says, “I’ve written some pretty good philosophical articles in letters to my friends and kids. Most discuss the importance of individual responsibility and libertarian philosophy. I try to ask questions and have people come to my way of thinking on their own. As a result, I’ve been persuasive.”
When asked how life today is different from when he was a child, Ben has a lot to say. “Life was very different. We had no concept of television. Most people had only a radio. We had one bathroom, and clothes were washed by hand or in a ringer washing machine. We had ice boxes rather than refrigerators. The ice man would come to put ice in the icebox. When I was in high school we got a black and white TV. We would watch I Love Lucy, Ronald Reagan’s Borax show, Ed Sullivan, Sergeant Friday, Bonanza. Today, even the poorest among us have a TV, a refrigerator and a washer and dryer. The level of poverty has constantly risen. When I was a kid, the poor had nothing to eat. Today’s poor would have been considered middle class when I was a kid. But in today’s standards, I would have been considered poor as a kid. And my dad would NEVER have thought of accepting food stamps. He had pride and believed that hard work led to success.”
Like his dad before him, Ben’s hard work has paid off. Today he lives on two acres with a small vineyard in Walla Walla, Washington. He enjoys pruning the grapes, making wine, investing in the stock market, philosophizing with friends, traveling and visiting family, and spending time with his wife Jean and daughter Sarah. He has made a difference in the field of medicine and to those around him by sharing his philosophies. He has had, and continues to have, a fulfilling life.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Ben Gibbs. In an upcoming post I will share some of his political philosophies– which are bound to get you thinking!
Day four of our New York City vacation. Carnegie Hall day! We slept in (still on West Coast time) and at 11:30 AM went across the street to the Ben Ash Deli to have brunch. The sandwiches are out of this world huge. Here’s a shot of the club sandwich Ron ordered.
And here he is trying to eat it.
Tummies full, we headed out toward 5th Avenue. Our first stop was the Lindt Chocolate Shop. They have an ENTIRE wall of chocolates, floor to ceiling!
Spent a pretty penny on chocolate, then headed back to the “Avenue.” (Don’t I sound just like a Manhattan local? Props to me!) We didn’t have a lot of time as Jenna had to be at the hotel for a 2 PM dress rehearsal, so when we passed the Shoe-Shine Man on the street corner, we hesitated. But her boots needed polishing, so Jenna stepped up on the platform and had her first on-the-street shoe shine experience.
Her boots have never looked better!
We raced back to the Wellington Hotel, and dropped Jenna off with the choir. Here’s Jenna with her friend Julianna before the show.
It was just Ron and me now, with several hours to kill before dinner at six. I’d been wanting to see the American Museum of Natural History, but my family’s not big on museums. Ron really didn’t want to go, but I dragged him along anyway. The animal dioramas are amazing. Here are the lions:
Here is a pronghorn antelope:
Here’s Ron while I was enjoying one of the most amazing museums in the world:
Actually, at this point in the day I was pretty tired too, and wanted to rest also. We didn’t stay long at the museum, and grabbed a taxi to get back to the hotel and give our sore feet a break. (We West Coasters aren’t used to all this walking!) Rested up a bit and got dressed for dinner and the Carnegie. I was looking forward to meeting an old friend of mine from high school and college who I hadn’t seen in over 30 years, Tim Knotts. Tim and his wife drove to Manhattan from New Jersey to meet us for dinner at the Porterhouse Restaurant. We also met my brother Christian and his wife Andi and son Cassius. Dinner was great, but a bit rushed as we didn’t want to be late for the show. Good thing we got to the Carnegie when we did, as the Valencia Vikings Choir was first up. We got there just in the nick of time! Jenna looked wonderful on stage, and the venue is amazing. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but here’s a shot of Carnegie Hall on the front of the playbill.
The Valencia Vikings Choir is heads and shoulders above the rest, and I’m not being biased. They are one of the premier choirs in the nation. Here is the write-up on the Choir in the Playbill.
Of course the choir kids are talented, but the Vikings Choir wouldn’t be where they are today without the direction of Christine Tavares. Christine has had a tough year, and is in the process of getting divorced. But she still manages to care about each and every one of the choir kids, and coax amazing sounds out of them. She is an incredible musician and teacher. Here is what the Playbill says about her:
The evening was over too quickly, as was the trip. We had to be up early the next day for our flight home. I love coming home after being away– it was heaven to sleep in my comfy bed after several nights on a hard, lumpy one. The dogs and cat went crazy when we walked in the door– they must have missed us as much as we missed them! When I unpacked Jenna’s suitcase (she had a lot of homework so I did her the favor) Oscar climbed in. He must have thought we were leaving again, and wanted us to take him along this time.
But even though the vacation in NYC flew by, we made memories of a lifetime. We had a great time with family and friends, toured Brooklyn and Manhattan like locals, enjoyed an incredible Broadway show, and ate at some fabulous restaurants. And the vacation was capped off by a lovely jazz concert at Carnegie Hall and seeing our daughter on stage.
I can’t imagine it getting any better than that.
We’ve been in New York City since Tuesday morning, and we’re here because our daughter Jenna is singing with the Valencia Vikings high school choir on Friday night, April 9, 2010 at Carnegie Hall. It’s been a great few days. First stop? Central Park. Our mission? To find Balto, the statue of the sled dog who traveled miles through snow and sleet to bring diphtheria medicine to kids and families in Alaska in the 1920s. The animated movie was a favorite of Jenna’s several years back, and we ALWAYS hunt for the Balto statue when we have the good fortune of visiting NYC and Central Park. We always seem to get lost hunting for Balto, but we did eventually find him, and got some good pics.
April in New York City is a great time to visit. The flowers and trees are in full bloom. GORGEOUS!
I’m glad Jenna likes H&M, because you get A LOT of clothes for the money. She looked so cute today, in her ruffled H&M mini-skirt, black tee, leggings and boots. Here she is in the outfit sitting next to Ron at the 92nd street park on the Upper West Side of NYC. We made a special trip to this little park because it was featured in one of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. The park is where the two main characters meet for the first time.
On Wednesday we headed to Brooklyn to meet up with my brother Christian, his wife Andi, and their six-month-old son Cassius. Cassius is a doll, and we were SO happy to finally meet him! He has the sweetest personality, and is really curious about the world around him for such a little guy! Check out his big, adorable, amazing eyes.
Christian and Andi’s apartment has a lot of character, and is a “railroad” apartment, where all the rooms are in one row from front to back. They are casual, hip people– Christian is a musician and Andi is a professor teaching acting. They know how to entertain– comfortably and casually. Here’s the cheese platter Christian threw together in a couple of minutes. It was PERFECT!
It was cool to see Brooklyn, as it has some neat neighborhoods and some pretty streets. Like in Central Park, there are lots of flowers and trees in bloom, and the brownstone buildings are unique, historic, and interesting to see. So different from our suburban world in Southern California.
I love how so many streets have buildings with stairs out front where you can sit and relax and watch people walk by.
There’s even this gorgeous park, Marine Park, that has a view of the Manhattan skyline, along the Hudson River. It was about 85 degrees in Brooklyn yesterday, so lots of sunbathers took advantage of the warm weather and nice view.
Today we had another great day walking around the Garment District of Manhattan, but the highlight was having dinner at Maze, a restaurant by Gordon Ramsay. The food, as you would expect, was exquisite. A fantasy for the taste buds! And after dinner we went to see Ron’s client Kelsey Grammer star in La Cage Aux Folles on Broadway. The show was so much fun, hilarious, and well done. Kelsey played the part of Georges, who owns a transvestite club in France. After the show we went backstage to see Kelsey. Jenna was thrilled to meet him, and when he found out she was singing with her choir at Carnegie Hall, he was impressed. “It takes a long time to get there,” he said. Here’s a shot of Jenna and Kelsey backstage.
What a night! After the show, as we were walking back to the hotel, a nice pedestrian took a shot of the three of us, happy and beaming from the incredible evening.
And we haven’t even gotten to the most important day of the trip– tomorrow at Carnegie Hall! Can’t wait to tell you all about it! Thanks for joining us for the Carnegie Chronicles. Stay tuned!
We all got up early this morning, ready for a long flight across the country. Destination, JFK Airport, New York City. It’s an exciting trip for us, because this Friday, April 9th, our daughter Jenna is singing at Carnegie Hall with the Valencia High School choir. The choir is amazing, and the director gets the kids in some great venues– last June they sang at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy. Ron and I were fortunate to go to Italy and it was a thrill to hear the kids sing in such a magnificent setting. The choir sounded like angels. It was a highlight of our family’s life and a memory we will cherish always. So we have been eagerly anticipating this trip to New York and the choir’s Carnegie Hall performance.
Since we’ve been to New York with Jenna several times before and done all the touristy things, she opted to travel independently from the choir and stay in the hotel with Ron and me, and meet up with the choir kids for rehearsals and the big performance. Jenna and I planned to arrive in NYC today and spend the next couple days shopping and exploring Central Park (the Balto statue is a favorite). Ron would fly out on the Red-Eye on Tuesday night and meet us Wednesday morning at the hotel. (He’s a CPA and it’s close to April 15th, so he’s working Monday and Tuesday).
All went smoothly in the morning. We had to be out the door at 8:30 am, but Ron and Jenna were up early and even made chocolate chip pancakes. The coffee smelled great as I headed down the stairs. Love that husband of mine! The bags were packed. We got out the door on time. Drove an hour to LAX. Kissed Ron goodbye and watched him drive off. (He planned on getting a few hours of work in, then meet his mom for Easter lunch.) Got the bags checked in and went through security no problem. The security gates always stress me out– having to take off shoes, unload the computer, get through the metal detector without being frisked– but this time it was easy and stress-free. It was relatively quiet at LAX at 9:30 AM on Easter Sunday. Yay.
A few minutes later Jenna and I were seated comfortably at American Airlines Gate 39, with an hour and a half to spare before boarding. I was happy for the long wait actually, as it would give me more time to explore my new iPad (which I got yesterday, the day it launched, and will tell you more about in a future post.) Jenna grabbed a $20 out of my purse and got us some pretzels, water, and the latest Teen Vogue for her to read. We settled in.
At 9:50 AM I was absorbed in my iPad, but was distracted by Jenna cocking her head listening to an announcement. It was hard to hear, but sure enough, the man on the speakers said “Flight 40 cancelled.”
Checked the ticket, and saw it was our flight. So I made a mad dash for the ticket counter. Found out the flight was cancelled because of mechanical problems. All Sunday flights to New York were full. So we’d have to wait until Monday. It took another 45 minutes but we got tickets on the Red Eye to New York, arriving Tuesday morning. We’re only missing one day in New York.
The only big glitch is that our checked bags were routed to JFK, so we don’t have our clothes– hopefully they’ll be waiting for us when we get to the airport Tuesday morning! And luckily Jenna listened to Miss Tazares, the choir director, and packed her choir dress in her carry-on. That move saved us a LOT of drama!
Ron came back to the airport and picked us up, and we were able to meet his mom and a couple of her friends for Easter lunch. It was a lovely day, the restaurant is on a lake, we sat outside and they played Italian music; it was almost as good as being at Lake Como in Italy! Much better than spending Easter in an airplane.
Luggage snafu aside, I like to look on the bright side– two fewer nights in NYC means we save a boatload of $$$ on the hotel– which pays for my new iPad! Whoo hoo!
Coming up the next post of @ Home With Cheri: Exploring New York. (Hopefully!)