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 My FABULOUS Vacation!

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carolineingalls
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PostSubject: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:42 pm

Howdy everyone! Well it's rotten to be home!!! I'm never one for getting homesick on vacation and this was certainly one of those times!!! We got home earlier today and I'm trying to stay awake as long as possible to get me back onto our time zone! We had an unforgettable trip and thanks to Savannah for keeping you all updated.

As she said, New York was very hot and sticky. It didn't bother me as much as the kids but the excitememnt of seeing all the sites they'd only seen on movies made up for it! We stayed a few minutes walk away from Times Square which was incredible to see, especially at night. We took a bus tour first and then visited the Empire State building, Rockefeller Centre, Ground Zero which was very moving, especially as the last time I was there, Phil and I had been up to the top of the World Trade Centre. We also went up the Statue of Liberty, visited St Patrick's Cathedral, New York Central Library, Grand Central Station, Wall Street, China Town and Little Italy, Statten Island and Brooklyn and probably a lot more I can't remember!!! Of course Christine and I squeezed in some shopping too, mostly for gifts, but we loved the shops!

After 5 days in The Big Apple it was on to San Francisco. Christine wasn'y sure what to expect here but like me, fell in love with the city as soon as we arrived. It was so much cooler than New York and more like the temperature we're used to here in Ireland. Not so crowded and manic either which was great. I telephoned Karen once we'd settled into her hotel and the first thng she said was, "Welcome to California" which I thought was so sweet. The morning after we arrived we had a bus tour of the city which was absolutely amazing. All those hills! Wow! The bus driver was SO good and apart from being a fountain of knowledge about the city had a great sense of humour. We crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge which was such a thrill and I just loved the sight of all those houses carved out in the hills. We went to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 which were both buzzing with activity and then went for an afternoon to Alcatraz which was very moving. We spent a day with Phil's niece and her husband. They took us out to lunch and then on to Lombard street, the world's windiest! We rode on the cable cars and went to the cable car museum to learn the history of these incredible vehicles.

Monday we spent with Karen! She was going to come to San Francisco on the train to meet us but I suggested we met halfway, which was Berleley, where she was born. It was a good way for us to see a bit more and meant she didn't have to make a half hou journey on our behalf. She said she'd pick us up at the train station in Berkeley and that she'd be driving a grey ? I was so excited I didn't hear what type of car it was so when we arrived we soent a few minutes scouring every shade of every grey car which stopped outside the station!!! Eventually her Grey Toyota Priius pulled up with her frantically waving at us from inside and when she stepped outside the car I just lost it! I think I cried for Ireland and received the longest hug I've ever had in my life. The kids and Phil just stood back and left us to it. They knew what this meant to me. When I DID manage to pull myself together I introduced her to the rest of the family and then we all piled into the car and went to a small, friendly restaurant run by Karen's friend, also called Karen, for brunch. She chatted to the family, all the time holding my hand and reaffirming to me what an amazing lady she is. She introduced us as 'her friends from Ireland' which touched me a great deal and then proceeded to pay for brunch which wasn't what we'd planned at all. When we were leaving the restaurant, her friend Karen gave us a big bag of pastries and cookies to keep us going for the day! What a lovely lady and so much like her name-sake. Karen then took us on a trip around Berkeley and because Christine was interested in the University, which Karen has attended in her student days, she showed us around some parts of it. While having coffee later, Christine noticed she had an i-phone and commented on it, probably because she wants one herself! Karen handed hers over for Christine to try out and I just thought I was living a dream! We got on to talking about technology and she commented on how easy it is to be able to 'write' with a computer as she was jotting down her memories. I asked if it was for publication and guess what? She too is writing a book, though it's just in the very early stages. She's read the books written by the 2 Melissa's and Alison and said they were 'okay'. I told her about our Forum and she stills finds it fascinating that people continue to watch the show in great numbers. I gave her Savannah's portrait and she was SO touched. She gave me a beautiful green scarf and some lovely photographs, one which said"..........at last! Thanks for coming to see me." It was MY pleasure Karen. Believe me! Finally we had to say goodbye and again I started bubbling!!! I got a kiss and another long hug and also the promise that she is planning to come to Ireland with a friend sometime in the not-too-distant future. What can I say? I was emotionally drained but at the same time ecstatic and will never forget that first hug at the train station.

I have some photos we got taken together, Just have to suss out how to post them here for everyone to see!

Oh and I've to send her Savannah's address as she wants to say a personal thank you for the beautiful portrait! What a lady!


Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and Los Angeles to follow!!!





"To change your life takes a lot of courage and energy. It's not for wimps." Karen Grassle. April 2006
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bethandmanly
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:49 pm

Awesome news, Maureen. I am so thrilled for you. It sure sounds like you lived your dream. I can only imagine what it was like meeting her in person and spending the day with her. Just absolutely wonderful. I'm so glad your trip to the US was so memorable.


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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:05 pm

If you need help with posting the pictures, I'd be glad to, Maureen. You can email them to me, and I'll post them.

I'm SO THRILLED for you that your trip, and especially your meeting with Karen, went so beautifully! What an amazing experience!! And I can't wait to see pictures!! Thanks for telling us all about it!
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pamh36
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:07 pm

Wow, Maureen!! What an exciting and amazing trip you had. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experience here, and especially reading about your meeting with Karen. I can only imagine how much that meant to you. She sounds like such a special lady. Thank you for taking the time to share the details of your trip with us.


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Rob
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:13 pm

Thank you for the report, Maureen! Enjoyed every minute of it. Glad to hear you had such a good time over here!
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:35 pm

glad u had a awesome time
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Vanesa
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:28 am

You are really lucky, Maureen. I hope I could be you and see all these beatiful places. I dn't really care about N.Y.C, since too big cities were never of my taste, but for sure I'm a little jealous of you since you've spend a whole day along with Karen Grassle, one of my absolutes LHOTP idols.

Hot is very bothering...(I'm really happy now, since in Argentina we are in winter and cold is lovely for me), but you've seen so great and unforgetable places that I bet that hot was not so important at least! Smile

Vanesa.


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Debbie
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:05 am

Wow, it sounds like you had an amazing time! :)
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Lori
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:48 am

Sounds like a great trip. I can't wait to hear about the rest.


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Amy
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:06 am

Maureen, I am beyond happy for you that you were able to live out your dream! I absolutely loved reading all the details of your trip----you are quite a writer and need to write a book yourself! Wink THANK YOU for sharing so much of this with us---I almost felt like I was there!....almost. Wink And oh my goodness, I had goosebumps and teared up reading about your first meeting with Karen. She does sound like an amazing woman, but then again, so are YOU! It sounds like she was just as thrilled and excited to meet you and your family. yes I'm glad your trip to the U.S. was such a fantastic experience!! Can't wait to see the pics!! Applause
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:23 am

Maureen, your trip sounds absolutely amazing! You'll always treasure your time spent with Karen. How exciting! I'm looking forward to seeing your pictures.


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Carol
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:45 pm

That was so amazing Maureen! I got excited reading about your meeting with Karen!

I can't wait to read more about your trip and to see those pictures! Smile dancegirl


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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:48 pm

SO COOL MAUREEN!!! Glad you are back home safe and sound and glad the trip was so special to you...... Thumbsup



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LIWnut
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:08 pm

Maureen, as one who has alos met Karen I can picture the scenes that you described for us. She is a really beautiful soul and I am so glad that your dream came true. I'm glad to hear that Karen may travel to Ireland, how cool.
It will be interesting to read another LHOP cast member book. I can't wait.
Looking forward to seeing your pictures.


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Vanesa
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:40 pm

I'm excited thinking about the nice photos you took, Maureen. Hope we may see them here quite soon. batEyes

And I'm also excited about Karen's book! I'm praying for she finish it quickly. I don't know if I should be able to purchase it...but if some of you reads it, you may tell me later what is about. grinsmiley

Vanesa.


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carolineingalls
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:49 am

Thanks everyone for your kind comments and for sharing in my happiness. Will get the pictures of Karen posted soon.

We left San Francisco in a hire car and drove to Las Vegas. It was quite a journey but the one good thing is we didn't get lost, mainly because Christine was navigating!!! I have no sense of direction and reading maps is a non-starter! Christine says I'd get lost even with a map and compass and she's not far wrong!!!

Las Vegas was a sight to behold! The first thing that struck us, apart from the lights, was the heat! Very hot but not in the same uncomfortable way as New York. We stayed in the Monte Carlo complex which was prenty much in the centre of The Strip and like all the other hotels was like a small village in itself with a food court and shopping mall. Phil plays the odd game of cards but we're certainly not gamblers. It was fun though to walk through the different casinos in the different hotels and watch the pro's at work!

As most of you know, I'm an Osmonds fan and have been since my teens! Donny and Marie were playing at the Flamingo so we walked along one night to see if we could get tickets. Just my luck! They were on vacation for a week! You couldn't make it up!

We spent a few hours every day by the pool and then went walkabout in the afternoon, did some shopping and enjoyed the lights at night.

We then headed to Grand Canyon for 2 days via the Hoover Dam. Our first night at Grand Canyon we watched the sun set. What a beautiful sight which I'll always remember. The next day we got off the bus at nearly every view point and took hundreds of photographs. It was even better in reality than on any pictures or television screens. We left Grand Canyon and then headed to Los Angeles, where we were to stay with Phil's sister Kathleen and her husband Gerry for the next week.

We got lost on the way in to LA had to do what most men hate! Phone and ask for directions grinsmiley After tempers getting even more frayed we finally found our way and were welcomed with open arms! Kathleen lives 5 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles and 10 minutes from Hollywood so it was a fabulous spot to be based in. We went to Santa Barbara, Venice and Malibu beaches, passed by the road where Michael Landon lived and Cindy still does, visited Ventura and on the Wednesday spent the day at Universal Studios where they were filming an episode of Desperate Housewives. We did the bus tour of the studios and then went on all the rides. That was a fun day. Thursday we went to Graumann's theatre and the Holywood Walk of Fame, Griffith Park Observatory and the Hollywood sign and then saw Beverley Hills, Rodeo Drive and Mulholland Drive. We also went to see where Los Angeles originated. Hard to believe such a huge sparawling city started out so small. There was a 2 day carnival on at the Peublo in LA with lots of rides, dancing and singing and all kinds of market stalls which we enjoyed our last day there and finished off with a meal in Chinatown.

I SO didn't want to come! I never get homesick on vacation and this was definitely no exception. If I had the finances I would definitely opt to live in California. I just love the climate and the sun is definitely good for the spirits! Every step of the way was so much fun and apart from New York, we found everyone so warm and friendly. We'll definitely be back, hopefuly in the not-too-distant future and who knows, I'll maybe be knocking on a few of your doors along the way. grinsmiley




"To change your life takes a lot of courage and energy. It's not for wimps." Karen Grassle. April 2006
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pamh36
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:08 am

It sounds like you packed so much into your trip, Maureen. I'm so happy you were able to do and see so much while you were here.


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Lori
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:15 am

I'm so glad you enjoyed your vacation.


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Amy
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:05 pm

I still can't believe all you managed to fit into that amount of time Maureen! You probably needed another vacation to recoup from your vacation! Laughing I am thrilled that you had such a wonderful time....I would love to visit California one day too! Thumbsup
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ChristinaAL
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PostSubject: Re: My FABULOUS Vacation!   Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:56 pm

Amy wrote:
I still can't believe all you managed to fit into that amount of time Maureen! You probably needed another vacation to recoup from your vacation! Laughing I am thrilled that you had such a wonderful time....I would love to visit California one day too! Thumbsup

Me, too! It sounds like you guys were definitely busy! I'm sure your vacation is one you all will definitely remember forever. Especially meeting Karen! She sounds like an incredible woman, and I teared up too when reading about when you first met her. I'm so happy for you! What an awesome experience, thank you for sharing such vivid details of it with us. It's so exciting that Karen's writing a book too. With so many of the actors from Little house writing autobiographies recently, it's cool to get so many different opionions and perspectives. If only Matt L would write one... loveheart LOL!




"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
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