Thursday, March 19, 2015

Virginia Beach

We planned a late winter/early spring trip this year that will involve 8 weeks and 8 different locations not counting any overnights we need while traveling.

Two of the weeks we're away are because we're using 2 free weeks that we got from that came along with cruises.  Last year we did the transatlantic and Baltic and this year we're doing the Western Caribbean.  We originally were going to head straight to Florida in March but then found out that Brittany was getting married March 28th in Maryland, the day after we were going to come back from the cruise so we had to make some changes.  How we put this whole package together is amazing.

We didn't want to drive all the way south and then fly back north so the first thing we did was change the date of our cruise and we were even able to get the same cabin.  We found a place in Virginia Beach for the first week then a week in Williamsburg, VA before going to the wedding.  I have to admit that I wasn't looking forward to our first two weeks.  The winter was so cold and the idea of heading not so far south where it wasn't that warm either did not appeal to me.  I would have preferred to stay home and be cold.  Plus we had to pack for 3 different trips and I HATE packing, or rather deciding what to pack.

A couple of days before the trip I started looking at the reviews of the places we were staying for those weeks on trip advisor and then I was even less ecstatic about going because the place in Virginia Beach had so many negative reviews.  Nevertheless, we were able to get packed, had more room in the Highlander than I thought we would and left home only 1/2 hour later than our 8:00 AM planned departure.  I packed sandwiches so we barely had to stop.  In fact, for the 14 hours it took us to get here I only made 2 bathroom stops.  Can't believe I did that especially with 2 cups of coffee in the car.  There was an accident on 64 - the only way to get to VB so we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for about 15 minutes.  It would have been a lot longer but we got off to get gas.  Good not only for a way to kill time but also for not running out on the bridge or in the tunnel.  We checked in and unloaded the car and ate leftover car food.  My first reaction was that I did not like this place but the next morning and ever since I've had nothing bad to say about this place.

We're in a great location at 33rd St right on the beach.
From our balcony (which we're not using because it's too cold) off the living room we have sunrises over the ocean.

From our balcony off the bedroom we have beautiful sunsets.

From our floor (7) we can look down to the pool on 4.

Sunday, our first full day here, the weather was pretty nice, around 60 and there were lots of people out.  You can ride horses on the beach.

This looks like a good way to walk your dog.
 King Neptune is a photo op spot.
On Monday we walked and walked along the beach boardwalk and then came back along the street to check out the stores.  Walking down Laskin we went to Farm Fresh and Starbucks!  The weather app said it was 71 today but the temperature really never got above the 50s - at least where we were.

Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana is a military airport located in Virginia Beach and is the only Master Jet Base on the East Coast. NAS Oceana's primary mission is to train and deploy the Navy's fighter/attack squadron-the F-14 Tomcats and the F/A-18 Hornets. Two H-3 Sea King helicopters also are assigned to NAS Oceana for search-and-rescue duties. Pilots stationed at NAS Oceana fly approximately 219,000 training operations each year (see more here) and on Monday they were doing touch and go training the entire day.  I was so impressed with these jets flying overhead I tried taking pictures of them flying overhead.  Every time I would try to take a picture I never could see anything through the camera screen but I just took the pictures anyway.  All but 3 of the many I took had the jets in them.  The sound is kind of soothing.

When we came back we went into the super warm pool.  It felt so good.
There are always ships going by.  This is super zoomed.
On Tuesday it was really in the 70s - notice short sleeves, so we walked 4 miles round trip on the boardwalk.
The annual Shamrock Marathon is coming up this weekend and the boardwalk is part of the route for some of the other races.  Workmen were busy setting up tents and facilities.

After walking we went to play golf and the temperature hit 83 degrees.

 On Wednesday the temperature dropped 30 degrees and we were able to get our picture taken without any other tourists.  So glad I took my gloves and fleece headband.
 We finally walked to the end of the boardwalk.

 This truck got stuck in the sand.  Hope he got out.

 No one was on the beach.
 No one was eating outdoors either.

On Thursday, just to do something different than walk on the Boardwalk with 4 layers on we went to the Lynnhaven Mall.  It's a huge mall and we walked around the whole things as well as through the anchor stores and some others that I wanted to check out.  The last store we stopped into before we were ready to leave was the Apple store.  We couldn't believe how empty it was compared to the one in Victor.  We left a couple of hours later.  I had a new MacBook Air and Larry an iPhone 6.  We had no intention of buying anything but at least it wasn't something we didn't need.  I still had my Macbook from 2007 which was so-o-o slow and frustrating and Larry had a 3GS.

Today, Friday, is our last full day here and it's cold and rainy but we have our new toys.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Falling Apart?

With only 10 days left before we were leaving for 8 weeks things started going.
First a bridge in my mouth got unglued.  Fortunately I was able to get into the dentist the next morning and have it glued back.

The hard drive on our iMac is in a non repair state but that will have to wait until I get back to get a new one since I probably wouldn't have had it back before we left so it might as well sit at my house than in a repair shop.  I'm going to take it to the place in Pittsford, Fixingfox, where I took my memory to have installed after I couldn't get it to stay in when I tried to do it myself.  This time I'm not even going to try to do it myself.

And then I all of a sudden was getting a little desperate about my hip and would have gotten another cortisone shot if I could have gotten an appointment but I couldn't.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Amazon delivers on Sunday??

I almost forgot to order the bug spray and lotion that was recommended by fellow cruisers on Cruise Critic for our upcoming Western Caribbean trip that will take us to some buggy places.  I ordered it on Friday from Amazon and since we have a Prime membership was informed that it would be delivered on Tuesday.

Today we went over to see Marge and Darren.  We wanted to see the work they've been doing to create 2 new bedrooms and a bathroom and drop off the quilt I made for the baby that will be born while we are gone.  After we drove into the driveway Larry went to check on what was happening with the huge ice mounds that have started melting on the roof above our kitchen by our front door.

He came into the house with a package in his hands from Amazon and it was for me.  I couldn't imagine what it was unless I ordered something that I completely forgot about and of course I didn't like thinking about that - you know, that Alzheimer's worry.  And when did it get deliverd, no one delivers on Sunday.

I opened the package and sure enough, it was my bug stuff.  I went to the computer to look up the tracking information and sure enough, found this:
Sunday, March 8, 2015 10:46 AM, Webster NY US               Delivered

So then I had to Google "amazon delivers on sunday" and found out that they do!!

Have I been living under a rock??  It started in LA and NYC in 2013 so if I knew it I just let it go in one ear and out the other because it didn't apply to me and maybe I heard about it for Christmas but thought it was just for Christmas.  But in Webster?  In March?  Is this a good thing or necessary?  I was fine with my package coming on Tuesday but OK that it came on Sunday.  It's a good thing thought, that Larry went to the front door because otherwise it could have sat there for days.  Found two interesting articles about the situation.

This one explains it's existence.  Click here.

This one is from the point of view of a postal worker.  Interesting read.  Click here. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

south of the border chicken bake


  • 3 cups (24 ounces) enchilada sauce (I like salsa better)
  • 18 corn tortillas (6-inch), cut in half ( I use 16)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 1/2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups shredded plain rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese 
  • 2 medium scallions, chopped 
  • Sour cream, for serving


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole pan.
Pour 1/2 cup enchilada sauce onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread around with the back of the spoon. 
Arrange about a quarter of the tortilla halves on top of the sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup corn, 1/2 cup beans, 1 cup chicken, 1 cup cheese and 1/2 cup sauce top of the tortillas. Top with another layer of tortillas, and repeat layering with the same ingredients and tortillas 2 more times. After the last layer of tortillas is placed, top with the remaining 1 cup chicken and 1 cup enchilada sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheese on top.
Bake covered in the oven until hot and the cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle chopped scallions on top and serve with sour cream.
Tip: Rinsing canned beans can reduce their sodium by as much as 40%.

Makes 16 servings @ 7 PP
5 PP if use light cheese