Journey Down the Nile – Day 8

Well, tonight we sail into Luxor and dock for the last time. We will remain here for the next three days. I, along with almost everyone on the boat, am sitting here on the top deck watching the sun fade away and twilight transition into an Egyptian night sky filled with stars. 

It’s strange to be so excited to see Luxor and yet, so sad to be saying goodbye to the Nile with its date palms and houses floating by as we pass along the neighborhoods. I will carry with me the sounds of the little ones waving from the shore, cheering us on, yelling “I love you!” at the top of their lungs, hoping and praying that we will wave back before our boat disappears in the distance.

We visited the Temple of Hathor today (pronounced “HAT-hore). She is the Egyptian cow goddess…the one the Israelites made a golden idol of when stranded in the desert. I have a natural affinity for Hathor. She is a mother goddess, a goddess of love who nurtures and cares for everyone. She also happens to be very cute in the carved images on the walls in the temples. When depicted as a cow she wears a lovely headdress and when pictured as a woman she has a very round open face and big cow ears…making her look a little like the princess from the movie Shrek.

Her temple today was breathtaking. Built loooooong after the temples we’ve seen earlier in the week that were erected around 5,000 B.C. This temple is new…only built about 2,000 years ago. The carvings are so crisp, the hieroglyphs are detailed and crammed absolutely EVERYWHERE in the temple: on the walls, the ceilings, the three-story columns. And the colors of the ceiling are vibrant blues: both light for day, and indigo for night. 

I won’t lie, this was my favorite day so far. I feel like I finally acclimated to the heat (100+ today), and the walking wasn’t so hard either…at least to a certain extent. 

And then we came back to the boat to have a leisurely lunch, a shower, an afternoon nap and then wake to swimming and Afternoon Tea. It’s been a little slice of heaven.


Isis (the goddess with the big wings) and the god Osiris fell in love.

Seth (also called Setan…guess where we got the name Satan from.) was a mean-spirited, evil god who was very jealous of his brother Osiris because HE wanted to marry Isis as well. So he decided to kill Osiris. (But he way, Setan ended up marrying Isis’ sister instead.)

Seth (Setan) had a special coffin built exactly the size of Osiris (like the gold sarcophagus that you see of King Tut’s on the Discovery channel) and called all the gods together saying “If anyone can get into this coffin and it fits, I will give it to you.” Some of the gods gave it a try but when Osiris laid in it, Seth quickly closed the lid and threw the coffin into the sea.

Isis was so in love with Osiris that she went searching for him all over…and her sister went with her trying to help. Eventually, they found the coffin and Isis opened it and rescued Osiris.

Seth, not to be dissuaded, tried again, this time cutting Osiris into 14 pieces and scattering them all over the world. Again, Isis came to the rescue of her beloved. She and her sister were able to find 13 of the 14 pieces of Osiris (still missing his male member…yikes). So she went to the gods, asking them to make him a new one which they did…out of mud. Then Osiris was made whole. 

Isis made love to him in order to bring him fully back to life, and then she gave birth to Horace (the god with the head of a falcon). Horace, by the way, is the Egyptian god who brings order out of chaos. 

Later after he had grown a bit, Horace decided to take revenge on Seth and challenged him to battle. In that battle he lost an eye and the gods made for him a new one in order to reward his bravery (the eye of Horace). As a result, the eye of Horace is the symbol in Egyptian folklore of protection.


Tomorrow we wake at 3am for our sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings. Tomorrow afternoon we will get an escort to take us shopping for Egyptian gold and silver. It’s a strange sensation to be so excited about what comes next and yet longing so desperately to hold onto the moment at hand. Time feels just so precious right now. 

Journey Down the Nile – Day 6

Love this photo of me taken by another member of the group in the tomb of Ay


Today we went to visit Amarna. The city built by Pharaoh Akhenaten as a “New Beginning” because he wanted a temple, a palace and an entire city of his followers to worship at his feet as he took the Egyptians many different gods away (Hathor, Isis, Anubis, Horace etc…) and replaced them all with one god…the Sun God Ra (i.e. Akhenaten himself). 

Needless to say, under his egotism  (for example, he insisted that none of his subjects could look him in the eye…that they should in fact, double over at a 90 degree angle whenever he or his wife, Nefertiti passed by), his neglect and total lack of response when his own kings were being slaughtered by the Hebrews, upon his death not only did his city collapse and all the Egyptian gods return en masse, but the citizens under his reign chiseled away the images and names in every painting or carving of both Akhenaten and Nefertiti (except for one image in one man’s tomb (the tomb of Ay). I suppose they forgot that one.


If you want a little palace intrigue, Akhenaten’s mother, Queen Tiya (pronounced Tee-ya or Tee) had been the much younger wife of the Pharaoh Imotep. Upon his death, she moved to Amarna to live with her son Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, at which time all mention of Nefertiti stops…and all the images become those of Akhenaten and his mother, Queen Tiya. 

Just to add a little more fuel to the fire, Queen Tiya had a daughter during that time period. So Egyptologists try very hard NOT to ask the question…who’s child was this — that was pictured at the feet of Akhenaten and Queen Tiye in so many carvings and paintings? Not only is Akhenaten rumored to have fathered a child with his own mother, but also there is evidence to support that he also had sexual relationships with his sister and daughters. Ewwww…

Visiting Amarna is almost heartbreaking. You see such beautiful detailed images, but they are all of soldiers doubled over chasing Akhenaten’s chariot into battle, unable to look ahead due to the “reverence” they should hold for their Pharaoh. Not only captives are subservient in these images but EVERY normal Egyptian as well. 

Many Christians carry an image of Akhenaten as the Pharoah who tried to bring God into Egypt taking it from polytheism into monotheism. But remember, HE was the one he wanted them to worship as Ra…not the Christian God we know today.

In the city of Amarna, back at the end of the 1890s, about 350 clay tablets were found in the ruins of the administration office of the ancient city. They were in perfect condition, and gave a record of everything that was happening in the world at that time. It’s a treasure trove of detailed accounts of King Saul and the slaughter of the Egyptian kings under the reign of Akhenaten. Egyptologists dream of discoveries like that…It’s a miracle of a find.

Thanks to those tablets, scholars were able to synchronize world events. As a result, we now know exactly what kind of Pharaoh Akhenaten was.

Image isn’t everything. The truth always finds its way to the light.

Journey Down the Nile – Day 5

View of the NIle from our cabin window


Lazy day today as I am not feeling well. Thought I could power it out, but today was a 5-hour day in the heat of two desert locations, and I found myself out of breath just walking downstairs to breakfast. So as a result, I will miss Beni Hassan and the southern tombs of Tel Amarna. Leon is enjoying it all alone, if you can call it alone when he’s on a bus with 30 other people.

I did however manage my first swim on the boat (and before you begin to wonder, NO…there will not be any photos of me in my swimsuit). It’s just now about 10am and already over 90 degrees even here on the Nile. I’m guessing it’s well over 95 where Leon is, so I think I made the right choice.

I know this was an ambitious adventure for us to undertake when you factor in the heat, the dry air and all the hiking, but if anyone asks me whether they should try to visit Egypt, I would say “Absolutely. Just make SURE to go in November, December, January or February. September is NOT remotely easy.”

The people on the boat couldn’t be nicer. They are always buzzing around trying to find work to do (which I am sure with 65 guests on board is not difficult). 

I find it funny that they run over to take your salad or dinner plate to the table so you don’t have to carry it the 20 steps from the glorious buffet, but we are horsing our way up and down sandy desert mountains in the heat for hours at a time. The duality of that is something worth pondering.


There are no educational tips today per se…just some thoughts if any of you are considering a trip to Egypt.

1. Cruising down the Nile from Cairo to Luxor is a great way to explore the country and feel like Cleopatra at the same time…remember, she cruised this same river all those thousands of years ago.

2. I had no idea how to pack. I would say for women bring long, flowing dresses with short sleeves made of feather-light material (see the slideshow at the end of this post for photos of our sweet Anita…she is always dressed so beautifully). Also important is a great pair of walking shoes that give you tons of support for hiking up and down sandy desert hills (but that you feel somewhat cute in) — and then maybe a couple of very light-weight t-shirts and a pair of linen pants. For men, buy about three pair of cargo pants that have zippers at the knee so they can convert into cargo shorts if it gets really hot. Also, men, bring smart wool t-shirts that are made especially for a tropical climate and get a size larger so they kind of hang rather that feeling tight against your skin.


– Ladies: Only a couple of lightweight scarves. (You will want to buy more while here.
– a pair of sandals to wear on the boat
– At least 45 SPF sunscreen (at least 2 large tubes of the stuff)
– A Sun hat with netting on the sides for each of you…hopefully with a string at the neck so that when the wind kicks up you can make sure it doesn’t fly away.
– A Swim Suit for each of you and ladies a cover up that is basically a dress –  knee length or longer. Remember this is a Muslim country…you want to avoid things like tank tops, spaghetti straps and shorts.
– A folding fan for the woman to keep in a VERY small, lightweight travel bag
– A backpack for the guys to carry bottles of water 
– A mini-electric fan (the tiny hand held ones they sell on Amazon) for when it really gets hot.
– At least three nice Hawaiian style short sleeve shirts and a pair of linen dress pants for the men to wear for dinner on the boat
– At least three nice outfits for dinner on the boat for the women.
– A lightweight jacket for each of you – one that will go with your dress clothes for dinner on the boat.


Go in November, December, January or February if you possibly can so you can avoid the heat


We had a Whirling Dervish come on board last night to perform. It’s the second time I’ve ever seen one in action, and I will say, it amazed me as much this time as the first. I don’t know how they can do it and not pass out. 


I know this is a short and relatively uninteresting post, but this is just a diary after all. I don’t feel interesting today, just exhausted and sore all over. I think I vacation better on my own schedule rather than being part of a scheduled tour. That way when I feel interested and physically great, I can do more…when I need to rest a bit, I don’t feel like I’ve missed something important. 

Ah well…It’s nap-time I think, or maybe time for a glass of strawberry juice — or both. We’ll see.


Journey Down the Nile – Day 4

With Susan, in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza, built to honor the Pharaoh Khufu


It’s probably time that I address my long and winding relationship with my dear friend Janis Susan May Patterson, a prolific and accomplished writer of over 85 published books, both novels and non-fiction. She is a captivating story-teller and hilarious character. Whether it’s a tale of being “temporarily kidnapped” by the PLO or the story of her 1964 plane crash (in which she flipped the entire plane upon landing and was dragged out covered in jet fuel), her stories are legend.

I have known Susan for as long as I can remember. Though she writes under several pseudonyms, she has always just been Susan to me, like a beloved Auntie. 

We met way back when I was about six years old, when, on her first day of work as my mother’s assistant, mom sent her to pick me up from school. The trouble was, mom had taught me never to get into the car with a stranger, so Susan spent quite a lot of time pleading with me to get into the car so she could take me to my mother. 

I flatly refused until she scrambled around in her purse and pulled out one of my mother’s business cards that mom had signed on the back. The way Susan tells the story, that finally convinced me that she was legit, so I climbed into the car and we drove all the way back to mom’s office. 

One of my favorite memories is her showing up every year on Christmas Eve to help me wrap presents while mom worked in the kitchen making food for the big day. Susan with a glass of wine, me with hot chocolate — Just talking and laughing into the wee hours of the morning. Frankly, I can’t remember a time I haven’t known Susan…and loved her. 

So, when she asked Leon and me to join her and her husband, Hiram, on a cruise down the Nile, one that was being hosted by an Egyptologist no less, how could I possibly refuse? So, here we are, laughing and talking (now both of us occasionally drinking a glass of wine. Life has come full circle…and it’s wonderful.


What follows are some of the connections between the Bible and the archeological finds in Egypt that back up the stories of the Bible regarding Joseph and Moses. My eyes are terribly sore from what might be sunburn or sand burn of the corneas. As a result, the best I can do is just copy the disjointed notes I took during yesterday’s lectures.

The Israelites in Egypt 

New archeological discoveries require a new chronology, a new realignment of the timeline

Archeological evidence of the “Sojourn” – Time period when Joesph took the Israelites took the Jews to Egypt until Moses took the Israelites out of Egypt

Pharaoh of the Great Famine

Joseph and Jacob in Goshen (Land of Goshen (Gesem in the Greek) is in the Northeastern delta, very fertile land)

Joseph interpreted dreams for the Pharaoh Amenemhat III, as well as helping to invent the alphabet and figuring out a way to move water flooding the area in order to mitigate the famine that he predicted for the Pharaoh would hit Egypt. He worked in the labyrinth made of limestone, an enormous, white limestone series of “offices” next to Pharaoh Amenemhat III’s pyramid which originally stood about 150 feet high and was also covered in limestone. This enormous complex was alongside the canal created by Joseph to help mitigate the flood waters thereby lessening the effect of the famine in Egypt. 

These six steps of the Exodus occurred during the Middle Kingdom of Egypt

  1. The Arrival
  2. Multiplication (growing of the population)
  3. Slavery
  4. Judgment (10 plagues)
  5. Exodus
  6. Conquest

Destruction of Jericho occurred during the Middle Bronze age in Egypt’s history.

Asiatic = Semitic (Jewish). 

The Israelites from the Bible came to Egypt from very close to Syria. We know this by the long haired sheep that they brought with them into Egypt (present in carvings and drawings of the period) which were only in Syria until the arrival of the Israelites.

Burials of the Age:

  • Semites were buried in semi-fetal position on their sides, with Canaanite pottery and sometimes a jug or axe head alongside them
  • Pharaohs we’re burning with their arms crossed
  • Female Egyptians were buried with one arm up holding a flower to their nose

Moses and the Exodus

The journey to the Sea of Reeds (not the Red Sea as was previously thought)

  • Journey began in Goshen (Avaris), then went though Succoth to Etham, then to Pi-Ha-khiroth (Pi-ha-Khiroth = Mouth – (of) the – Canal ) also called Yam Suph (Sea of the Papyrus reed) so Moses did not cross the Red Sea, he crossed the REED Sea

The Miracle of the Sea 

– Beaufort scale proves that just a 62-mph wind from the east would actually push back the water at the top of the canal where the Israelites were crossing the Reed Sea, (which was only about 1-3 meters deep) from about 8pm one night until about 8am in the morning allowing them to walk on dry land. If the Egyptians started crossing in the early hours of the morning as written in the Bible, by 8:08 they would all be dead as a result of the winds dying down and the sea slapping together again with great force (This has been tested with computer modelings based on algorithms of winds only 62 mph (a wind a person can actually walk in, but at this particular location, it WOULD actually drive back the waters for about 12 hours. When the water flooded back it would slap against itself with great force, killing everything in that stretch of the sea as the Bible says happened to the Egyptian army that had been chasing the Israelites as they fled.

  • The Wilderness Campsites leading to Mount Sinai (Horeb)
  • Traditional Mount Sinai location
  • True site of Kadesh-Barneah
  • Burial place of Moses’ brother Aaron and his sister, Myriam (who died about 30 years before Aaron) actually face each other across two mountains in the place where archeological markers indicate Moses and the Israelites end up.
  • There is even a building erected around the split rock in Egypt that still gushes water into the city of Petra, that the Bible says is the rock Moses split in order to give his people water to drink.
  • Aaron lived roughly from 1529-1407 BC


I often find myself marveling at different cultures as I travel: how different we all are, yet how all alike. Floating down the Nile, we pass house after house, work camp after work camp, and at almost every one of them, children are cheering and waving at us as we pass by on this big, slow boat. Children in India always did the same thing, running down the street chasing our car and waving. Kids in the US are no different: smiling and waving as we drive past them on the freeway in whatever town we happen to be going through. People are all so alike at our core. It’s a pity we can’t focus on how wonderful our differences are, how the uniqueness is something to be treasured. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to simply enjoy the things we all have in common: loving our parents, caring for our children, trying to make ends meet, doing work we care about? If we could just live in those moments, the world would be a much kinder place.

Egyptian Journal – Day 3 – The Giza Plateau

Frankly, there are simply no adjectives powerful enough to communicate what it’s like to stand  at the feet of the Great Sphinx overlooking the Pyramids of Giza. It’s sort of like showing someone a photo of the Grand Canyon. Nothing I say here can possibly do it justice, but I will do my best.


The Sphinx is one of the world’s tallest sculptures. To give you a sense of its dimensions, it is over 240 feet long, roughly the height of a Giant Sequoia or 4/5 as tall as Elizabeth Tower in London (called “Big Ben” by most American tourists). The sculpture is 65 feet high (the length of a semi-trailer truck). It’s forelegs are each the size of a large city bus and even a single toe is over 8 feet tall and four feet wide. 

Along with all the different emotions that collide when you are staring up at this incredible piece of eternity, is the knowledge that so few people actually get to experience it. Not only because the trip to Egypt long, arduous and just flat-out impossible for some, but also because government permissions are required in advance in order to be allowed anywhere inside the Sphinx enclosure. It requires security checks and large fees and someone with the political connections to gain access. As a result, almost all tourists view the Sphinx from a walking platform about 100 feet away. It’s a very different experience to walk between the feet of the Sphinx, to run your fingers over it…and to feel that it’s become a part of you, and you a part of it…forever.

David Rohl, the Egyptologist who put together our particular cruise, arranged everything for us and for that, I will be forever grateful. I was even able to place my fingertips on the Dream Stela located between the forelegs of the Sphinx. This a memory I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Of course the Sphinx isn’t the only attraction on this famous plateau. 


The Great Pyramid of Giza (built to honor the Pharaoh Khufu) is actually one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Standing almost 500 feet tall, (about the height of a 50-storey building or a 777 aircraft standing on end), it’s comprised of 2,300,000 stone blocks that weigh anywhere from 2-30 tons each. Massive doesn’t even begin to cover it. 

In order to comprehend the scale of the thing, you need to stand well back and see all the people climbing to the Roman entrance located about 1/4 of the way up. Only after you see it in scale, are you able to marvel at what an incredible feat of engineering it was. Think of the labors of Hercules. The questions that spring to mind are…

  • How was anyone able to construct anything that tall with such rudimentary tools?
  • How could they hoist these 2 to 30-ton blocks of stone all the way to the top with no modern equipment?
  • How could they cut the stone into these squares and fit them together in a way that they wouldn’t collapse even now…4,600 years later?
  • HOW IN THE WORLD were they able to complete it in only 20 years?


Years back, Egyptologists thought that the Sphinx was built after the Great Pyramid of Giza as another way to honor the Pharaoh Khufu with a sculpture of a lion’s powerful body, topped with his head.

However, after studying erosion patterns within the stone, Egyptologists now think the Sphinx was originally built roughly 5,000 years ago, hundreds of years beforethe pyramids on the Giza Plateau.

Originally carved to resemble a strong lion, reclining, but ready to pounce. It is now believed that only later did Khufu, instruct his craftsmen to carve away the lion’s head and replace it with his own image — which explains why the head is so out of proportion with its body. 

Now, the giant statue stands for eternity as the perfect union of a predator’s strength and the wisdom of man.


If all we did was spend one day in the prescience of the Great Sphinx, it was worth everything we went through to get here. 

The mango juice and the breeze as we float down the Nile are just lovely bonuses. 

I must admit, I am starting to feel just a little bit like Cleopatra…and I like it.

Egyptian Journal – Day 2

Egyptian Cadillac

My Thoughts:

Egypt is hot y’all. And when someone tells you “Yes, but it’s a dry heat so it’s not so bad,” feel free to punch them in the head for me. Egyptians say that July and August are the hottest and by September things ease up, but when it’s over 100 degrees in the desert and you’re climbing around inside pyramids or studying the hieroglyphs carved into tombs, it’s like trying to exercise in an oven. 

It’s no joke…Two people in our tour group got heat stroke. I’m told if I ever come back, we should aim for January or February, so, keep that in mind for yourselves as well. But don’t expect snow. (Heh heh.)


I will say this. Being here and seeing all of these things in person is absolutely mesmerizing. First stop in Saqqara was the Step Pyramid created in the 27th century B.C. by the architect Imhotep for the Pharaoh Djoser, the Old Kingdom pharaoh who launched the tradition of constructing pyramids as monumental royal tombs.  We climbed around inside and underneath, then walked through the ritualistic mummification chamber and the large square where the Pharaoh would run around half-naked after 7 days of “playing dead” at his rejuvenation ceremony much to the delight of the citizens watching the spectacle. There was even a statue of Djoser staring out two small peepholes — straight towards the North Star so he could “see” where his soul would be going after death. All very dramatic.

The next stop in Saqqara was all about animals, so of course it was my favorite. We walked for what felt like forever to reach the Serapeum, in order to see the sarcophagi of the Sacred bulls of the Apis cult at Memphis. These bulls were treated as gods because they were believed to be the reincarnation of Phthah, in Egyptian religion, the creator-god and maker of things, and as if that weren’t enough, a patron of craftsmen, especially sculptors.

As a result of their status, each bull upon his death, was mummified as a king, and then interred in the Serapeum in one of the HUGE sarcophagi (photos of one of the black leaded sarcophagi to follow).

After that incredible site (which has been closed for over 7 years), we traveled to Dahshur to see the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid, where those willing to brave more extreme hiking in the heat, could crawl the length of the two pyramids through secret channels and passageways. 

I was told it was harrowing by several people who had done this before — that you are bent over literally into a 90 degree angel while you are walking almost straight down, then you climb rickety ladders upwards in the dark and descend steps back down, again in the dark. It sounded like an evil game of Chutes and Ladders to me. 

Yousef, our guide, told us “It is dark, it is humid, it is very hot, and there are bats. And there is literally no light and nothing to see. But if you want to go into the galleries and chambers of a pyramid, this is when you do it.” Leon decided to do not one, but both of those climbs to the top of the tombs…Needless to say, I passed. (In full disclosure, Leon swears he didn’t see any bats.)


I have tried to learn a few phrases in Arabic because I truly believe it is rude to travel to a foreign country and not learn enough of that country’s language to show respect to its people and culture. I thought you might get a kick out of learning them too. (I may be making a few tiny errors here and there, but by and large I think these are right. At the very least, they seem to elicit huge grins from everyone I use them on.)

Hello – Sa-LAAM aLAI-kum*

Hello to you too – Wa-Alaikum-Salaam*

Water – Maya

Thank you – SHU-kran

Good bye – MA-as-salāma

Yalla yalla – quick, quick!

Yalla bina – Let’s go!

(*This actually means “Peace be upon you” but people use it as a greeting here)


The first thing that struck me arriving in Cairo is the hazy, orange sky at sunset. It’s gorgeous. At first I thought that was caused by smog or pollution, but I found out later, it is actually the sand in the air — sand so fine you can’t feel it anywhere except your eyes, but wow…they sure feel it! I am so grateful that I brought loads of eye drops. My eyes are so swollen, and they feel like sad, little golf balls bumping around in their little hidey-holes…Ah, the glamour of travel! 

Tomorrow we tackle the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Tonight however…is reserved for a glass of dry white wine and whispered conversation with my sweetheart. Talk to you again soon.

Egyptian Journal – Day 1

(The Nile at Sunset from the deck of our little ship)

Here are some of my thoughts and happenings from the first few “settling in” days in Cairo.

The people here, almost without exception, are extraordinarily welcoming and kind. It’s something we in the United States are so unused to that it takes a while to acclimate to the gentleness and warmth of this people.

At the end of dinner the other night, one of the waiters brought a small rose bouquet over to our table, handed it to my husband and whispered to him “This is for you to give your wife.” It might have been a small gesture, but it meant so much to me that I cherished it. So much so, that when we got back to our room, I filled an empty Evian bottle with water and tucked it away on my bedside table. Every single time I looked at that little bundle or smelled it, I smiled. It meant so much to me that I actually brought that small water bottle with us on the coach to the boat, so I could keep it in our room. 

As we were boarding, one of the tour managers said, “You will have another one of those in a moment,” and sure enough, as we walked up stairs, in addition to the fresh fruit juices, sweets and chocolates, there was a silver tray loaded with roses of different colors — one for each of the women on the tour.

15 minutes later when we entered our cabin, I could smell gasoline from the engines, and I was almost in tears as I went back to reception, apologizing and explaining that I could not stay in that room or I would be sick the entire cruise. The men  could not have been more wonderful. They smiled, reassured me that they would take care of everything, and they did. Soon four men were carrying our bags to the top tier of the ship, as far as possible away from the engines. Perfect cabin…no gasoline. 

I came downstairs to reception to thank them all profusely and give each of them a hug. As I was hugging Jusef (our coach’s guide), the boat captain came up, bowing his head, smiling shyly, holding out his arms and saying “I am the Captain!” So of course, he got a hug as well.

One of the crew at that point, handed me a  a peach colored rose and whispered “I think you need one of these in a different color.” Evidently, he saw that I had a red rose earlier and decided to bless me with another.


Roseau: The Mysterious Necropolis of Giza Before the Pyramids

Khufu – In the year 27, Pharaoh who built the largest pyramid in Egypt is Khufu…and the only statue we have of him is smallest statue (about 2” tall)

Khafre: Pahraoh who built the medium-sized Pyramid

Menkaure – Pharaoh who built the smallest pyramid

Mastabas – fields of burial grounds next to the pyramids for the kings

The Sphinx: Built hundreds of years before the first Pharaoh built his pyramid on the Giza Plateau. Originally it had the head of a lion. Later the lion’s head was carved into the face of the Pharaoh (which is why the head is out of proportion with the body of the Sphinx!)

The Kafre Valley Temple (The smaller of the temples at the head of the Sphinx…limestone faced with granite squares) and the Sphinx Temple (Larger of the two temples at the head of the Sphinx with huge limestone blocks)

Erosion: Wind erosion is horizontal, water erosion is vertical. The Sphinx is eroded by wind and sand…you can see the horizontal bands of erosion

I love these people…they are so kind. There is one man in particular on the ship who I absolutely adore. I kid you not, His name is Honey. (I am positive it’s not spelled like that, but that is how it’s pronounced.) Trust me, Honey is as sweet as his name would lead you to believe. Anyway, he walked over to me with a big smile and five more roses in varying colors, saying slyly, “I think you should have these roses to go with your others.” Long story short, I have a half dozen roses making our room feel like a little bit of heaven — and I feel very blessed indeed. 

Honey and Me


COVID with hand

What do I say about this period in our lives? How can I go about communicating anything when I don’t even know what I think?

I know I’m afraid. I know I’m angry that we were deceived for so long…losing precious time to lay the foundation for a plan that might keep so many more of us alive than in the situation we face currently. I’m furious over that…truly.

I’m also profoundly sad that so many of us had already become experts at self-isolation: living behind computer screens, texting while driving, endlessly sending messages back and forth rather than talking to each other. So many of us staring into cell phones like they held out the hope for something better…someone more interesting to talk to than the people we were sitting opposite at the dinner table. We have become a world of what I like to call ‘Narcissistic-Introverts.’ Posing for a multitude of selfies in the bathroom — while having almost a complete inability to connect to people in person. Merely waiting for a chance to jump into a conversation so we can hear ourselves speak…rather than listening to what is going on inside the hearts of the people we supposedly love.

Then I think…What was all that alienation FOR if not training for this situation in which we find ourselves?  Yet so many of those same people are the ones who ridicule the guidelines that have been put in place for our safety.  The mega-churches that refused to halt services, putting thousands in their congregations at risk while spouting that God will protect His favorites…(meaning, of course, them). Or college students taking off for Spring Break on the beach, getting drunk and proudly sneering for the cameras, “If I get Corona…so what?”


Do you want to look back for the rest of your life knowing that you killed your new-born baby sister? Or your own grandmother? Do you want to lie on a gurney in the hallway of a hospital overrun with patients all begging for the same 4 ventilators? Do you want to be that person? I know these people think this could never happen to them…or to anyone else they care about.

The thing I keep hearing over and over is “It’s only old people and people with pre-existing conditions.”  Well, let me tell you what pre-existing conditions are: people with diabetes or heart issues, people with high blood pressure or auto-immune diseases, sure. But also mothers who have just given birth, babies who have just been born, people living with cancer, people who’ve had chemo, people with the flu or asthma. THOSE are the people being put at risk.

And if that doesn’t scare you enough, try this on. Once those ventilators are all in use, once the hospitals are overrun, it’s all of us — ALL OF US who are in danger. If we get hit by a car, fall down the stairs, get sick or hurt in an accident. ANY of us could die because there are no beds available.


We need to stop living from a place of greed and start living for each other. We need to pay attention to the stories about how the Venice canals are so clear and undisturbed right now that you can finally see fish in the water…and dolphins playing at the base of the hotels.
Swans Dolphins in Venice

We need to pay attention to the satellite images that show China for the first time in decades without a cloud of pollution choking the entire country and all the people in it. We need to pay attention to how much damage we’ve been doing to this earth by being thoughtless with our consumption and our garbage.
China Before After

We should give credit where it’s due. It wouldn’t hurt to think for a minute about where we would be right now without the people who we normally write off as minimum wage workers: the grocery checkers and shelf stockers, the truck drivers and cleaning crews.

Trying to home-school your children should give you a deeper appreciation for their teachers. After all, they had to reinvent an entire educational system overnight.

We need to be praying for doctors and nurses who are literally putting their lives on the line, exposing themselves to the infected day after day, working long past exhaustion.
Screenshot 2020-03-27 at 12.48.31

In short…We need to remember who has taken care of us during this time…and who has just taken.

We need to start thinking of how we can contribute to the world, rather than complaining that we deserve better than the person next to us because we’re special. I got news for you…everyone is special.

We need to learn to be softer, kinder and more grateful. We need to call our older neighbors and ask them if they need anything. We need to offer to foster or even better, adopt a pet while we are home every day to train them, and get them acclimated to a life of love.
Screenshot 2020-03-27 at 12.53.46

We need to LEARN from this pandemic…NOT merely survive it.

There. I’m off my soapbox. But before I go, I want to ask you one question.

What is one thing that you can do…to ease someone’s burden?



Will in Ash’s Room

boys 6th birthday

It’s my son’s birthday. Ash is 6 years old today.  I’m his dad…I should be downstairs watching him open presents, but I’m stuck. Blind anger slithers around in my heart like a snake…devouring me a bite at a time. And I can’t seem to forgive him…even though he did nothing wrong.

Today is the day he becomes the older brother. His sister was always the older one…but now it’s him. Sitting here on his bed, I’m surrounded by his stuff: His toy cars, the Legos scattered all over the floor, even his wrinkled Star Wars sheets…all such boy things. I wonder how his sister’s room would look now. I’m guessing princesses…and a lot of pink. Maybe it’s good I missed that stage. I don’t know how I would deal with tea parties and conversations with stuffed animals. All that girlie shit gives me the creeps.

I don’t know…Maybe it gives me the creeps because she’s not here to teach me how to — enjoy it with her. That’s probably it. I miss her. So much so that I wish I could erase her from my memory altogether. That old saying, “it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” is total bullshit. Losing hurts like hell.  I hate that I can still smell her on her pillow…the one she used to sleep on. The one I can’t let Sarah pack away. That faint smell of strawberries and sweat. It’s addictive.

I was at a Board Meeting giving a presentation of all things, when I got the call. Sarah told me that Ruby had been in an accident…that she was gone. The worst part of that moment was the shame I felt for hiding my reaction. I stayed calm. I actually said, “Could you hold please?” And I held one finger up to the table, signaling that I’d be back in a minute.

Then I walked quietly…all the way to my car, refusing to put the phone up to my ear until I was locked inside…and only then did I let myself go. I cried like a little girl. I cried like Ruby did that time she got thrown from the horse. I broke apart.

Now Ruby is stuck at five years old. And today…Ash is six.

From now until forever, he’s going to be her big brother…and I really hate him for it.

Short Stories & Writing Moments

Writing Image

I took a Creative Writing course at Oxford University this summer and loved it so much that I decided to take the Advanced Writing course this fall. It started this week. I will be writing quite a bit, but probably have no time to write anything for my website here, so I thought I would post my “Short Stories & Writing Moments” here. They will all be about 500 words or shorter…just little attempts at characters and moments of love and conflict.

I hope you enjoy them.