NOT this week’s photo challenge: Just the Sea and Sky

These pictures were taken from the veranda of our Starboard Side stateroom aboard the Crystal Serenity on the way to and from Alaska.  The sea is never the same from one moment to the next, and neither is the sky.  We sailed through a variety of conditions, from bright and sunny to foggy.  I enjoyed capturing the changing sea and sky.



See that black spot in the above picture.  It’s an Orca, or Killer Whale, but that’s all I saw.





Pottermore, Are You There?

Hello, Harry Potter fans.  Are you a member of the New Pottermore?  Have you been sorted into your Hogwarts House?  How about your Ilvermorny House?

Funny, but I have been sorted, in both places, to Houses with Serpents.  Yes, I’m Slytherin at Hogwarts, and Horned Serpent at Ilvermorny.

Slytherin House Crest
Horned Serpent

And just this past weekend, I discovered my Patronus.  J.K. Rowling says in her essay about Patronuses that the animal you get isn’t necessarily what you like, but what you are, inside.  So Arthur Weasley’s Patronus is a weasel, but Ron’s is a terrier!

I feel a kinship to the Weasley Family, because my Patronus turned out to be a Stoat.  Many of you have no idea what a Stoat is, and I was unsure, so I learned about it.  A Stoat is a relative of the weasel, is found all over the world, and when it puts on its white winter coat, it is known as the Ermine.  Interesting connections!  My Patronus gamboled around me, and just looked cute and playful.  Isn’t he cute?  They do have sharp teeth, and are good hunters.

My Patronus, a Stoat.

Quote of the Day

This was the “Opening Shot” in today’s Daily Shot newsletter from Ricochet.

“Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” ― Mark Twain

Witness, our Owner, Her Highness the Lady Kikyo.

Warm Cat
Kikyo, keeping me warm while I read
Kikyo, on her window perch
Our cat, Kikyo, on her window perch

Photo Challenge…Quest…For My People

I am a Jew.  In 2007, I went to Israel with Michael Medved.  For me, it was a quest, to see where my people originated.

Walls, Masada
Walls and room, Masada, Israel

At Masada, dozens of my ancestors committed suicide, rather than submit to being conquered by the Romans.  I felt very close to them when we went there.  Those were My People.

Wailing Wall
People pray at the most powerful symbol of enduring Judiasm.

This is the Western Wall, all that remains of the Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 CE.  These are My People.

Visions of Victoria (B.C.)

When we got married, in October of 2003, my husband and I decided to go to Victoria, British Columbia, for our short honeymoon.  Hubby had lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1980, and he had never been to Victoria, which is just a few hours away, north of us.  So I contacted Clipper Vacations, who run the Victoria Clipper catamaran and had them do a honeymoon package for us.  They booked us the hotel we wanted (Inn at Laurel Point), and all the normal touristy stuff people do in Victoria.  We went on a tour of the famous Butchart Gardens, had High Tea at the Empress Hotel, and a bus tour of the town.  And we spent the next couple of days just walking all over town and admiring the scenery from our wonderful hotel balcony which had a view of the Inner Harbour.  Every couple of years since then, we have returned to Victoria, stayed at the same hotel, and explored more of the area of Vancouver Island when we went by our own car.  There are many ways to get to Victoria, and we have taken all but one.  You can, of course, take the Victoria Clipper, which drops you right at the waterfront.  You can take the Coho, the Black Ball Line car ferry from Port Angeles, Washington on the north Olympic Peninsula, about an hour’s trip across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  You can take the Washington State Ferry, which leaves from Anacortes and wends its way through the beautiful San Juan Islands before landing at the town of Sydney, a few miles from Victoria.  Or you can drive to Vancouver, B.C., and take the BC Ferry from Tsawwassen.  Lastly, you can take a float-plane on Kenmore Air, which drops you right in the Inner Harbour (the only way we haven’t gone).

Herewith, a selection of the many beautiful sights of Victoria, British Columbia.

Harbour Air Plane landing at Sunset, Victoria Inner Harbour

The above photo taken from our balcony at the Inn at Laurel Point.

BC Ferry, making its way through the Gulf Islands
Water taxi, and tall ship. Victoria Inner Harbour
Pond and Garden, Inn at Laurel Point
Boats at Marina, Victoria

Below are some of the beautiful sights at Butchart Gardens, outside Victoria.

Seen in Japanese Garden
Japanese Garden Path
Walls of Garden
Valley Garden

On the way back to town…

Coastline, near Oak Bay
Houseboat dwellings, Victoria Harbour

So if you’re trying to find a pleasant, peaceful, beautiful place for a weekend getaway, or a honeymoon, you can’t find a nicer place than Victoria, B.C.  Especially,now that your US dollar goes farther!


Songs on the Death of Children. In his book The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, Michael Walsh opines that the German Romantic Movement of the late 19th and early 20th Century, foretold the decline of Western Civilization. Two stories in the news today perhaps reflect how far we have fallen. Both stories are horrifying.

Dad Admits Killing Daughter Who Beat Cancer is a story from New York. Reason? Kid hogged all the attention.

Belgium sees the first case of a minor being granted Euthanasia.

And the stories are on the same page of the same news site. Civilization? Not so much these days.

We must Never Forget…September 11, 2001


On that day, worldwide Radical Islam escalated the ongoing war on the United States of America (and the rest of Western civilization), the nation that has been a beacon of hope and prosperity for over 250 years.  For the past eight years, we have ignored that war, and turned our backs on Christians and Jews everywhere who have been murdered in the streets of Paris and Jerusalem, and even in their beds.  And the current administration undermines the USA, freeing dozens of terrorists from Guantanamo to return to the jihad they wage against us.

We must never forget those who perished on September 11, 2001, in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.  May their lives not have been in vain.

Long Live The United States of America!

And a big Thank You to Michael Ramirez, whose work honors them, and us.

At The Edge: The Sea…Photo Challenge


Over the edge of the Promenade Deck on the Crystal Serenity is the Sea.  The Inside Passage from Canada to Alaska.  The water temperature is a pretty steady 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so you don’t want to fall overboard.  But watching the water go by is hypnotic, and very relaxing.