Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On the way home...

"I have found the flight from Aukland to LA is 3 movies, 5 hours of sleep, and two meals." -Jennifer, hotel manager of Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand

I met Jennifer in the hall of our hotel in Queenstown. I asked her who the manufacturer was of our mattresses at the hotel...they were like sleeping on clouds. I loved them a lot. Anyway, she did not know. Our conversation quickly went to where are you from, how long have you been here, and what have you done. That's when she told me her opinion of the flight from there to LA. She is exactly right. It was sort of sad leaving New Zealand, but on the other hand, I am ready to get back home.

I did not know that almost all plant and animal life in New Zealand was imported. The people who came to New Zealand killed out most of the natural vegetation, and planted what they wanted, and brought in the animals they wanted. So there are no snakes or predators...just one poisonous spider which, it seems, no one ever sees. They have a lot of sheep that are mostly used for the meat rather than wool. Cattle ranching is fairly new, and they just started with the Red deer brought in from Russia. It was interesting to see the deer in groups with a very low fence keeping them in. Our tour guide said they do not know they could jump the fence. On our last day there, we had venison which had no game flavor, because the deer are not wild.

I thought I'd post some photos of the last couple of days of the countryside.

See the one cow in the lower left corner?
Sheep, clouds, mountains, and one cow
Isn't this gorgeous.

Okay, I am not part of the scenery, but I am on the bus.

In the middle third to the right there is a herd of red deer in the picture below.

I am in the LA airport waiting the 7 hours before we leave for Albuquerque...it is almost worse than the 13 hour flight overnight. I was very fortunate to have no one in the other two seats on the long flight. I spread out across the 3 seats and had a pretty nice bed. I will be so happy to be home and see my "honey". It was his birthday yesterday. I have plans to celebrate his birthday weekend with a Tim tam slam, and he has not decided on the flavor of cake yet. I have many more pictures to share as I get them sorted out. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tim Tam slam...and animals...

It has been so fun seeing the different animals here. We went to a koala park where they had all kinds of exotic animals. Right away we got to see a koala up close and personal.

These little critters are so sweet. They are a perfect example for how what you eat affects you. Their diet of eucalyptus leaves only makes them extremely low energy. They sleep 18-20 hours a day. They have only one set of teeth, so when the chewing of the leaves wears down their teeth, they can no longer chew, and basically starve to death. They are easily stressed which affects their health as well. They don't eat when stressed. We could pet, but not hold them because of how it stresses them out.

I was surprised at how little the kangaroos were. There are some taller and larger ones, but not where we were. They, too, are surprisingly gentle. We bought food to feed them...their teeth felt weird scrapping your palm, but they did not bite.


One of the experiences our tour guide said we had to try was a "Tim Tam slam". Tim Tams are a local "biscuit", sort of like our kit kat, only better. To experience this, one bites the top and bottom corners off, places it in a hot drink like hot chocolate or coffe or tea. Then you start slurping as if it were a straw. When the chocolate starts to melt you throw the biscuit in your mouth, bite down, and you experience a chocolate eruption in your mouth. Holly and I went to experience this...

Our Tim tams, and hot chocolate...

It was weird... At first I did not think the drink would come up since the biscuit is solid, but finally it did.

Sort of messy...and it looks like we might be snorting coke, but we are NOT...just chocolate..

Holly showing the bitten off ends...


Drink it all up! So amazingly good.
Well, we are in the airport getting ready to fly to New Zealand. Good 'ay as they say here..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Australian trip...Cairns...

Holly and I are off to Austrailia.
The worse part of going somewhere is getting there. This is a first to me...first time I have ever gone international for so great a distance. It took 34.5 hours to get here with the longest time of air travel being 13.5. Longest layover was in LA which was 7 hours. What made it bearable was the airline...New Zealand Air. There were good movies to watch, music for listening, blankets, and pillows. The service was incredible. Right away we are served with water, followed by a wonderful meal, then coffee, tea, soft drink, or wine. This flight left LA at night, so one can sleep...hopefully. Before lights were dimmed, beverages were again offered. We got breakfast served before landing. There were 8 pilots. I guess so they can take turns flying.
We had a layover in Auckland, then another 5.5 hour flight into Cairnes. On this flight I had all three rows to myself, so I stpread out on all three. More movies, another meal...it was great.
We were told not to sleep when we arrived...it was around noon here. We are a block from the ocean. There were a ton of Pelicans.
We went out last night to experience the cuisine. We were told to try bugs which are not real bugs,but are a small lobster... Really ugly looking, but they taste wonderful. We have gone to visit an aboriginal village, crocodiles, snorkeling, and viewing the coral reef in a glass bottom boat. To day we are off to Syndney which will be a 3.5 hour flight. I am surprised that Austrailia is almost as large as the USA. The people here are funny, and wonderful. Even though they speak English, I have trouble understanding them. Right away we had to have maintenance come help us turn on lights, TV, and air conditioning.

 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Twins...Dad Ride...

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."- Prob. 16:3

Teaching God's word to our children is best treasure one can give their child.  It can also be the most challenging endeavor as well.  Jordan has been working on scripture memorization with Sawyer and Tate.  She has asked me to help with this exercise by sending a scripture each month for them to memorize.  So since they love getting mail, I try to send something that will be fun for them to get, and they will know it is mail specifically for them...from their Mimi.
 First envelope...Who wouldn't want to get this in the mail?

Another envelope...

Here is an example of the scripture verses...
I haven't sent this scripture yet...I make several at a time and put them aside for later.

Jordan sent me this video of Tate saying the first verse they memorized... he needed a little help, but I think he did a super job.  It blessed me so much.  
video

The DAD RIDE:
Luke put together a weekend get together with all the boys, and their Dad for his birthday.  This adventure has been in the makes for about a year.  It is hard to find a time when all 5 of them can get away from work.  Zach drove from Texas here, and rode with Ian, and his dad.  Luke flew into Denver, Mark picked him up, and they drove to the said meeting place... Buena Vista, CO...Warren's old stomping grounds when he was a boy...for the "Dad Ride."  Luke made all the arrangements, sent out an itinerary of all the activities, and cooking assignments for all the meals.  Warren did not do any cooking.  Warren had the best time, and was so pleased with the adventure.  I have a few photos, but more will be coming later as they come in from the boys.

Zach and Dad ready to leave on the adventure...

Living room of the house they stayed in...

Looks pretty nice!


The bikes...they had 4 bikes, and one sag wagon driver...

Loaded down...

Zach and Luke

Mark

The gang...I requested they do a selfie

sight-seeing

The ride starts...

Hmmm.  Is Mark giving orders?

Photo time...yeah.

Good more photos...

Ian and Mark
That's it for now.  I am glad they went, but I am glad they are all home safe and sound, too.  Thank you guys for giving Warren the best birthday present of all...your time.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Remembering Tom Norcross...my brother...my friend...

"There's no other love like the love of a brother...
there's no other love like the love FROM a brother."- Astrid Alauda

My grandparent's house in the background.  It sat on Lake Michigan...we had our own beach.  Menonminee, MI

Such love...
I have been "going with the program", as Tom would say, for 30 years now.  It is hard for me to believe it has been that long since I lost my dear brother; yet it seems like only yesterday.  I find it interesting that this year I have crossed paths with many who were so much a part of his life...our lives.  September found me in the home of his youngest, daughter, Jennifer.  We reminisced with many stories about Tom.  So great, and so much fun!

Tom, daughter, Melissa; Mara, his wife; his youngest daughter, Jennifer
I was reminded by her of some of Tom's silly sayings that had the ability to immediately deflate the tension, or worry in a situation.  When we were lost, he'd say, "We'll just seek our destination by the way of the Navajo."  When we were troubled, he said, "We'll just cancel the worry."  He was pretty happy, go lucky, and a lot of fun to be around.

As teenagers, we bought, and shared an old '56 Chevy from our Dad.   We used jet fuel as gasoline for the car thanks to Tom.  He worked at the airport.  When doing preflight checks on a plane, the fuel line had to be drained to make sure all the air was out of the line.  Rather than dump the fuel on the concrete, Tom drained it into a Coke bottle, and then put that fuel in our car.  It was so nice since it helped our pocket book by not having to buy so much gas.

Anytime we were together, he always quizzed my about the "idiot" lights on the car dashboard. (Generator and Oil lights).  He'd ask, "What would you do if this light came on?"  One time, while I was driving back to College, a light did come on.  I was trying to remember which light it was that you had to stop right away, or you could keep going.  I did figure it out right, and it saved me.

For a couple of kids (teens and early 20's), we traveled together a lot...in an airplane.  Tom was the pilot.  Sometimes I'd take over flying, and he'd take a little cat nap.  He'd always tell me what heading to stay on before he'd doze off.  When he'd wake, he would ask where we were.  I never knew.  I only knew that I'd kept it on the heading I was told to.  I am terrible with directions...it kept me from getting my pilot's license.  There are no road signs up in the sky, and I was afraid I'd get lost.  Tom would try to show me how to navigate, but I was, and still am,  pretty hopeless when it comes to directions.

I am the sole survivor of our little family.  Our mother died, at 27 years.  Our Dad at 64 years.  Tom was 32 years.
Our mother, and Tom

Me, Tom, and our Mom

Our Dad, and Tom

Tom, Dad, and me

Tom, me, and Dad.  This was the '56 Chevy that we drove as teenagers.  It was like driving a tank.

Me, Tom, and our dog...we had 2 Collies actually.

This was taken in Menominee, MI


Oh my goodness.  I can remember what fun times we had with this little car.  When we were too big to sit inside, we would drape our legs over the sides, and push each other.  

Add caption

Cowboy Tom


He flew my family to Texas so they could come to my Wedding.
Tom, Jennifer (daughter), our Dad (F.S. Norcross III), Melissa (daughter), Me, Warren, Pat and Bob Norcross (my dad's brother and wife...so our uncle), seated Mara (Tom's wife), Terry (half-brother)
He and Mara were there when my first son, Mark, was born.
Mara, Mark, Tom

 Tom had this dog, Bart, who flew with him all the time.  In fact, Tom and Bart were inseparable.  If you needed to locate Tom, you asked, "Have you seen the pilot with the dog?"
Tom and Bart

Tom on the wing of the Lear Jet he flew

At one time, Tom was the youngest pilot with the most ratings.  He would call me at all hours of the day, or night telling me he was passing overhead, or to see if I wanted to go to a concert, or a ride.    

He could be so thoughtful, and so frustrating.  I was terribly mad at him for dying.  I know it is not rational thinking, but he was so much a part of me, and my life.  I felt abandoned.  I was mad at God as well for taking him from me.  They say time is healer, and it is true to a certain extent...but sometimes the scar tissue that is left from the wound, still hurts.  I think the stories help make things better.  Memories are good.  At the Balloon Festival, I saw many who knew us both.  We shared stories about Tom.  Doug and John Ranson, who I have not seen in years, both came into my life just a few weeks, and days ago.  We swapped a lot of stories,too.  I think these encounters were "handfuls on purpose" dropped into my life at this time, because God knew I would need them...as a healing balm...specifically this year. 30 years...today...I remember.  I will never forget.
Thomas Allen Norcross
July 16, 1952- Oct. 4, 1984

 
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