#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

My Winter Vacation

Well, you know what they say about good intentions! I planned to blog on my recent Mystery Trip; even brought my laptop along for the purpose. Now, technology has never been my strong suit, but hey. I’m the eternal optimist. :) On this particular sojourn, however, optimism did NOT carry the day.

Where the heck have I been all this time?

Here’s the answer: I was onboard a cruise ship, the Ruby Princess, with my daughter, Wendy. We sailed from San Pedro, California (though all the paperwork says L.A.), spending the first two days at sea. I loved the peace, quiet, and cruise-ship luxury–with Mom’s health declining rapidly, there has been a lot to do around the Triple L, making arrangements, meeting with caregivers, etc. I’m sure many of you are dealing with the same difficult challenges, especially if you’re a Baby Boomer, like me. In any case, I needed to get away for a little while, and the cruise seemed to be a good choice.

Which, of course, it was. On Day 3, we made port in beautiful Puerto Vallarta–sun, sand, glorious beaches, and lots of fun things to do. Wendy and I were signed up to swim with dolphins–an item that’s been on my personal bucket list for years–and what a day it was. In the near future, I will be posting some photographs of us with our Flipper-type friends, here on the blog and on my Facebook page. Wendy, being an Aquarian, has a special affinity for dolphins, whales, sea lions, etc., and we’re both grinning like a pair of fools in the pictures. :) Like living jet-skis, the dolphins carried each member of the group around the pool. We were all charmed, but Wendy was over the moon. She cried when the event ended, she was so deeply moved by the beauty and grace of those lovely animals, and I swear, two of them popped up directly in front of where she was sitting on the side of the pool, making that chittering sound and nodding their heads. It was a touching sight, they were so clearly telling her good-bye, and I got a little choked up myself. Besides hauling us touristas around, the dolphins performed some stunning feats, like triple somersaults above the water.

How we hated to leave that place! We’ve made a solemn vow: next time we get an opportunity, we’re going to spend more time with these breathtaking dolphins.

After the dolphins, we sailed on up the coast to Mazatlan, where we took–what else?–a shopping tour. :) We bought silver jewelry, some folk art, and the like, and enjoyed the best shrimp and lobster ever at a corner cafe. Then, it was back to the ship.

On we went to Cabo San Lucas, another beautiful place. (I had never been to this part of Mexico, only to Tijuana, Nogales and, years ago, San Miguel Allende, and incredibly lovely place. The Mexican people are so warm and gracious; we loved them, and hope to take the same cruise again sometime. By that time, I was pooped, so I wandered around on shore, while Wendy went on a snorkeling excursion. Again, she was delighted, and returned to the ship sunburned and full of joy, showing me the million and one photos she took with her trusty Go-Pro camera.

Cabo was our last stop, and we were sad to leave, but the Princess Cruises people made sure there was plenty to keep us busy on the trip back to L.A. (San Pedro.) That took another day and a half.

In L.A., we met up with our dear friends, Bill Francis and Renae Kinsey, who were staying at the same hotel, the LAX Hilton, which is, by the way, a very nice place to pass the time. (Hello, Theresa–Bill’s mom!–Bill told me you’ve been missing the blog. I hope to write posts more often than I have been.) The four of us had a wonderful dinner and caught up on each other’s news; our last get together was in Las Vegas, at the rodeo.

Because of the trip, I haven’t been running the usual contest, but I promise to begin a new one on Monday morning.

That’s all for now. I missed each and every one of you very much, and as much fun as Wendy and I had, we’re both glad to be back home. (Especially since the snow melted away while we were gone.)


40 comments to “My Winter Vacation”

  1. Caryn Horn
      · February 2nd, 2016 at 11:16 pm · Link

    Sounds like a wonderful vacation, a care giver’s retreat! I too was part time care giver for my mom. Sadly she had a small stroke the day before Thanksgiving, never returned home, and passed on 1/19. As much as we didn’t get along for a few years in the past, I will miss her and her dementia related antics. She was very popular around town. I’m so glad you had a chance to get away and recharge. What am I going to do now? Why, go to Hawaii with my BFF of course! Maybe in a year when all the family drama settles.

    • linda
        · February 3rd, 2016 at 2:27 pm · Link

      I’m so sorry to hear of your loss.

  2. Gloria
      · February 2nd, 2016 at 11:22 pm · Link

    It sounds as if you and Wendy had a wonderful time.

    I’m sorry your mom isn’t doing well.

    And, I’m glad to have you back.

  3. Terri S.
      · February 2nd, 2016 at 11:49 pm · Link

    I’m so happy you were able to have fun and relax. 8)

  4. Charlotte Litton
      · February 2nd, 2016 at 11:57 pm · Link

    Oh Linda, sounds like you had a fabulous time. I’m so glad that you were able to spend time with your daughter. I’m looking forward to seeing your pictures. I’d love to be able to swim with the dolphins.

  5. Evelyn Baldwin
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 12:05 am · Link

    Glad you had a marvelous time! Missed your blog! We’ve had all the humidity i can stand, here in N.C.. I will be glad to see summer again, if the Good Lord permits! Lost my precious PLOTTHOUND before Christmas! Now my pain is not only spinal! My heart is broken! Want to go to the coast so bad! Cannot right now and who knows when, used and borrowed money to try to help my JJ the PLOTTHOUND and in the end God needed him! Need to hear the waves! Thank you for your fantastic writing takes my mind away! God Bless you always! Evelyn

  6. Pamela Devereux
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 12:11 am · Link

    Hi Linda, So glad you had a wonderful time. It is good to just get away. Sun, sand, water, shops and good food. It is not easy when our parents are aging and we want to take care of them. It takes so much out of you but it is a labor of love. Keeping your family in my prayers.

  7. Sharon Rackham
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 1:36 am · Link

    Welcome Home,Linda

    We missed you too!

    Cheers, Sharon


  8. Rose Marie Moran
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 1:39 am · Link

    Sounds like you needed the time away. Glad the weather cooperated.

  9. Deborah Rae Nelson
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 5:42 am · Link

    Prayers to you and your mom during this challenging time.

    Your cruise adventures sound awesome.

  10. pat
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 6:17 am · Link

    I so envy your daughter and her affinity with water and the dolphins.
    Prayers for your mom also.

  11. theresa
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 7:17 am · Link

    OH MY! Thank You! I did miss your blogs. Glad you had a wonderful time. Quality time with your child is the best! Stay warm.

    Hope your mom is feeling better. I’ll keep her in my prayers.

    • linda
        · February 3rd, 2016 at 2:28 pm · Link

      Bill and Renae are among my dearest friends. When Bill told me you were a blog-regular, I remembered seeing your name and wanted to give you a shout-out.

  12. Ruby Norwood
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 8:07 am · Link

    Sounds like y’all had much needed fun, you always amaze me with some of the things you do. I did a lot of the same things , but when I was much younger. So glad y’all had fun, and I will keep your mom in my prayers. Oh, and I have missed your blog but I know you have a life also, so have fun while you can.

  13. Michele J
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 8:15 am · Link

    Oh your trip sounds wonderful! How exciting!! My husband has been trying to get me to go an a cruise for years and I just can’t seem to put it on the list because I have my mom to take care of but I never thought of a caregiver before. Maybe, just maybe you’ve given me the boost I need!
    The dolphins sound amazing! Well, I guess your all rested up for more stories and I can’t wait! Welcome home!!

  14. Teresa Forduce
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 8:19 am · Link

    so good that you could share these times with your lovely daughter!!

  15. Dawn Roberts
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 9:30 am · Link

    I too took that exact cruise several years ago (gift for 25 birthday) and my girlfriends and I loved every minute. I have since taken several other cruises with my family and for my daughters 16th we went to Cozumel and swam with the Dolphins as she was thinking she wanted to get into marine biology. I have to say, jumping out of a plane, scuba diving and riding 4-wheeler still has nothing on the Dolphins. They are an amazing gifts from God. We loved the experience and would love to do it again.

  16. Virginia H
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 9:37 am · Link

    It sounds like you had a wonderful time, I would love to do something like that.

  17. Maria Sanchez
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 9:44 am · Link

    Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you had a WONDERFUL Trip!!!

  18. Eriko
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 9:56 am · Link

    Yes! You were missed! I kept checking my IN box to make sure I didn’t miss anything from you. I am so glad to read you were able to take a vacation with your daughter and enjoy the Mexican coastal cities. I am sorry to read about the declining health of your Mom. I lost my Mom about a year ago. Thank you for always brightening up our days!

      · February 3rd, 2016 at 9:58 am · Link

    So glad to have you back. Missed reading your blogs. Sounds like you enjoyed the cruise. It is always good to relax and rejuvenate ourself. Cabo is on my wish list so, hopefully, soon I will be able to plan something.

  20. Dotty Weis
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 10:07 am · Link

    Sounds like you had a great time very relaxing too Good for both of you

  21. Lynn Hill
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 10:21 am · Link

    Oh Linda your trip sounds like a little slice of heaven and one that this lady might have to look into. If you are looking for another beautiful cruise you may want to look into taking the Alaskan cruise. It is breathtaking country!

  22. judy
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 10:34 am · Link

    very glad you had a good time. Have a great day.

  23. midge watkins
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 11:50 am · Link

    Welcome back and I hope you are R&Rd. I took a Princess
    cruise with my Dad and Aunt to the Carribbean many years ago and will never forget it. Best vacation ever. I’m looking
    forward to your blog again. I never did find the paperback
    version of your new Christmas novel. I hope you’re still doing

  24. therese lopez
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 12:19 pm · Link

    WOW!! Sounds like you had an amazing time!! Thank you so much for sharing with all of us. Have a great week.

  25. Rita Crofoot
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 1:39 pm · Link

    Welcome home

  26. Diana E.
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 3:05 pm · Link

    Welcome home, cruises are really fun! Blessings.

  27. Marilyn Fish
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 4:44 pm · Link

    Miss your blogs. My husband and I enjoy cruising with Princess cruise line. We will take a similar cruise in May out of San Francisco. It is so sad to our parents’ health fail. We had to deal with that in 2012.

  28. Melaine
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 5:12 pm · Link

    Good to hear from you and about your trip, Linda. I love Mexico, and especially the town of Loreto which sits on the Sea of Cortez. If you ever have a chance, visit Baja Mexico during Jan, Feb, or March. Up to 9 different whale species come there to give birth. It is fabulous to watch them and they come right up to the boats with their babies. Such a wonderful experience!

  29. Lorelei Sawtelle
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 5:22 pm · Link

    Glad you had a good time.

  30. Leanna
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 5:38 pm · Link

    I’m glad you were able to go somewhere warm for vacation.

  31. Hilda
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 6:36 pm · Link

    I’m so glad you enjoyed Puerto Vallarta!
    I’ve been there twice, both times were in the 80s and I’m sure it’s changed. The first time I went, they didn’t even have “safe” water yet – you had to drink bottled. A few years later, the water was GOOD all over the place.

    I felt so much at home there. I can’t even tell you why, I guess I was just so happy to be there it felt homey. Low-key town, where all the businesses were owned by locals; no “American” influences yet; the locals were happy to see tourists enjoying ourselves. Ah, memories!

    The first time I went, my friend met a man on the beach and they were married a year later! The second time I went, my friend (a different friend) met a man on the beach and they spent the next several years meeting up at different places, having basically a mad, passionate relationship. (He was Australian, she a Seattle-ite like me.) So if anyone wants to meet a nice man in Mexico, just take a trip with ME! :wink:

  32. Lois Rotella
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 7:46 pm · Link

    Sounds like you had a great time. Sorry to hear that your mom is not doing well. Enjoy every moment you have with her. I lost my mom 35 years ago and I still miss her.

  33. Linda
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 7:52 pm · Link

    What great pictures and stories you post and it is wonderful to see the relationships you have with your family and friends. It is fun to watch. Especially your mom. She sounds like a joy. Thank you for sharing.

  34. Roberta Giordano
      · February 3rd, 2016 at 8:37 pm · Link

    Wow sounds like you had a great time. My daughter who also had on her bucket list finally got to swim with the Dolphins over a year ago with her new boyfriend. And then last sept they went scuba diving with the Dolphins and her boyfriend proposed to her underwater in sign language he had someone video the whole thing, my daughter was so surprised I cry ever time I watch the video. So glad you guys got to do it. Hope your mom is doing better

  35. Linda Blenkiron
      · February 4th, 2016 at 3:43 am · Link

    Hi Linda
    Glad you had a wonderful break and enjoyed it all with your daughter.
    Linda x

  36. Gloria Jenkins
      · February 4th, 2016 at 10:32 am · Link

    Wow what a fun trip. I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise. My husband health is failing. I know what you and your family are going through. I love your book’s, reading is my therapy. Looking forward to seeing more photo’s of your trip.
    Have a bless day

  37. Elaine Key
      · February 4th, 2016 at 10:49 am · Link

    Sounds like you had a glorious time. Please share your pictures.

  38. Juanita Rice
      · February 4th, 2016 at 10:05 pm · Link

    Glad you had such a good time, Linda. :) Welcome back.

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