Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean Sea’

Fortunate In 2014 & Looking Forward To 2015

Happy Holidays, my friends, it’s my favorite time of the year.  I love the sights and sounds, the music, and the fact that I get to catch up with my dear friends.

Christmas 2014

I hope 2014 was a great year for you, but more importantly, I hope 2015 is even better.  May you be blessed with good health, good fortunes, love, and happiness!

It was a fun year for us.  I’ll get to that, but first let me update you on our lives.

I’m nearing the end of my two-year contract as the morning meteorologist for the CBS affiliate here in the Quad Cities.  While I love what I do, I’m not sure how much longer I want to get up at 1 a.m. for work five days a week.

Ray is still the Planning and Economic Development Director for the city of Moline.  He’s been there nine years and loves what he does.  But, were both eyeing his semi-retirement and Gretel’s high school graduation in five years to move to a warmer climate.

Yes, Gretel is now an eighth grader and a teenager!  She wants to be a movie director when she grows up.

Anthony Gretel Ray

My sister, Tammy, is still living in the Quad Cities.  She’s been here for three years and while she’s happy, I can definitely see her return to Tennessee to be closer to her two granddaughters one day.

Tammy

It’s been almost three years since we lost Miss ABBA and we still don’t have a dog.  However, I hope that changes in the next year or two — if we travel less.  We did quite a bit of traveling this year.

ABBAFashionShowJan2012

We got away to Las Vegas for a few days this summer and saw Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in concert.

OliviaShania

While there, we also saw two Cirque du Soleil shows, “The Beatles LOVE” and “Michael Jackson ONE”.  Both were simply amazing with the theatrics, the acrobatics, and, of course, the fantastic music.  I’d highly recommend seeing one of these shows when you’re in Vegas.

Other concerts we enjoyed this year were Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan in Clinton, Iowa

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

Cher and Cyndi Lauper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Cher 2014 311

Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull in Chicago, Illinois

Enrique

We also saw my favorite ’80s band, Erasure, in Chicago, the next night!

Erasure

We spent a few days in Branson, Missouri, on a summer vacation trip for Gretel and her friends, Zoe, in June, and I accompanied Ray on a conference to beautiful Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada, in September.  I got to sight see while he worked.

Ottawa

And, then in October, we went on the big vacation to celebrate my 50th birthday!

Yes, the big 5-0!  I’ve always wanted to go to Tel Aviv, Israel, and when we were booking the trip, it took us through Paris to sit at the airport for a few hours.  We thought, “why not stay a few days since we’re already going to be there?”  So, we cut Tel Aviv to four nights and stayed in Paris three nights.

Paris Birthday

For my birthday, Ray bought a package deal that included a Seine River dinner cruise, a visit to the Eiffel Tower (the view from the top at night was incredible), and a cabaret show at the world-renowned “Moulin Rouge”.  Since we were on Paris time, I actally turned 50 sipping champagne as the show girls (and boys) performed at the “Moulin Rouge”!

Paris was incredible, but Tel Aviv, on the Mediterranean Sea, was so beautiful and the religious history surrounding the city was mind-blowing.

Ray Anthony Old Jaffa

Old Jaffa, just miles away, is more than 4,000 years old.

And, we had a yard sale this summer and started saving change and a few dollars to go on a holiday cruise to the eastern Caribbean in early December with Tammy and Gretel.

Eastern Caribbean

Needless to say, we didn’t buy many presents for each other this Christmas.  The trip was the present.

It been an enjoyable year and we’re definitely looking forward to see what 2015 brings!

As you start to take down the holiday decorations and winter sets in, I hope that you’re looking to the new year for bright new adventures, good health, and much happiness.

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate” in 2015.

Anthony

 

 

 

 

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50th Birthday Plans Revealed!

A milestone birthday is coming up for me in less than two months.  I’ve been living my life planning on this for almost 50 years now.

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

My mother didn’t get that opportunity and my father barely made it.  She died at 47 (in 1990) and he passed away at 55 (in 1987).

So, what’s a few wrinkles and a head full of gray hair?  I never had a six-pack stomach, so as I get old/older, I don’t have to worry about losing that.  And, I can’t be all that disappointed that I have to work a little harder to keep the slowing metabolism in check.

AP 1st Birthday

While I definitely love cake, even that boring white cake for my first birthday in 1965 (Happy Birthday Crystal!), there’s a chance that I won’t have a cake this year — unless I have it early or late.

Since you only turn 50 once, Ray and I decided to make both of  our “nifty fifty” birthdays memorable.  Last year, he celebrated with a Danube River cruise that allowed us to spend a day in Zurich, Switzerland, and to visit Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Since then, we’ve been saving our pennies (okay, mostly dollars) to make another international trip to celebrate my 50th.

However, the second part of that trip may now be in jeopardy due to missiles, bombs, bullets and bloodshed.  While we’re not changing the itinerary just yet, a back-up plan is being considered.   More on that shortly.

When we started planning the trip, it was going to be an overnight flight from the United States to the Mediterranean destination of my dreams with a plane transfer and four hours of sit-time in Paris, France.

Dreams of wine, cheese, and pastries began filling my head.

Pastries

At that point, we decided instead of spending seven nights on the Mediterranean Sea, we could spend three nights in Paris and hit two continents!

Picnic

So, now I plan on spending my birthday sitting in a park having a picnic of wine, cheese, fruit, bread, and pastries in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower — rain or shine!

eiffel-tower-at-night-with-moon

While Ray and I each paid for the trip, I already know what my birthday present is from him — a Sunday evening that includes a three-course dinner cruise on the Seine River, a one-hour visit to second floor of the Eiffel Tower to look out over Paris, and an evening at the world-renowned Moulin Rouge!!!

Now, about my original 50th birthday destination spot before Paris crashed the party!  I’ve always wanted to visit Tel Aviv, Israel, the fifth most visited city in the Middle East on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea

Tel Aviv is known for its dynamic atmosphere and famous 24-hour culture earning it the nickname, “party capital”.

It’s also known as “The City That Never Sleeps”, “The Bubble”, and “The White City” (for the more than 4,000 buildings built-in a unique style from 1930s German-Jewish architects and, yes, the buildings are white!).

Tel Aviv

Since Tel Aviv is Israel’s financial capital and is compared to New York City, it’s also nicknamed “The Big Orange”, because of the famous Jaffe (now a part of Tel Aviv) orange — a very sweet, almost seedless fruit similar to the Valencia orange.

We booked this trip back in January, but once the Israel-Gaza conflict started back in early July, which has led to bombings and missile strikes that have claimed more than 2,000 lives, mostly in Gaza, we thought about choosing another destination.

However, Tel Aviv is still the safest city in Israel and we’re still going.

So, that is how I plan on spending the last days of my 40s and the first few days of my 50s.

In the words of French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement, Victor Hugo, “forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age”.

Anthony