Proud To Be…


Hey! Welcome to 52 weeks until I’m 50 years old! Actually it’s now 30 weeks until I’m 50! If you are new to my blog, to the right are other subjects I’ve written. Some may resonate with you or at least give you a chuckle. If you are counting down with me…Wow! I can’t believe how fast the weeks are flying and I’m so glad you are still with me!

I am more certain than ever that people want to relate to one another. A few weeks ago I returned from 17 days in Europe. I visited Italy, Turkey and Greece. In preparation, I had studied up on the three languages and was armed with my little black book of phrases for each city we were visiting. I find that even if I try a little to speak the language, that goes a long way with the people. In Rome, my husband and I jumped on a trolley to visit the Vatican. Unlike many other cities abroad, there weren’t any visuals that illustrated where we had begun and where to exit for the Vatican. We asked out loud, “Can anyone tell us what stop the Vatican is?” Not a single person answered. We asked a little louder. We heard a response with directions to help us out. It was in English, not Italian. Three of us start to hysterically laugh as we realized that two Americans are receiving directions in Rome to the Vatican from an Irishman. And so our adventure begins with a good laugh as always.

While traveling on the trolley ride back to our neighborhood in Roma, we had lively interaction with four Italian women. I can call it dialogue but it was more like hand gestures, sharing iPhone videos and pictures to communicate. The mother asked if we were American. We answered yes. When she  realized we weren’t from England, she acted out a funny imitation of an English woman. We all chuckled. We asked where she was from and she proudly answered “Sicily.” I broke out an iPhone video of my buddy singing while making pizza. I told her he was Sicilian. Her eyes lit up. We asked one another about musicians, movie stars and the president. It was hilarious. The same type of interaction followed for the next two weeks. Wherever I was, when I asked a person about their home country, the answers were similar. “My homeland is the most beautiful as are the people.” Stojan from Serbia glowed when he spoke about home and the women. Our guide from Istanbul shared his love of Turkey even though there were demonstrations while we visited. Joanna from Mykonos glowed as she bragged about her mother’s location for 40 years being the best in Greece. She wouldn’t bargain and mentioned we would remember her and the quality of the clothes because they were the “best!” She was right. I did. A street vendor in Capri was sure to tell me that I will never see a more beautiful place in all the world then the Isle of Capri. I am convinced he could be correct.

Ten years ago I ran the Marine Corp Marathon. I ran it because I wanted to pass all the monuments on the race course. I also wanted to run along side of men and women who continually guard my freedom. I love DC and the way I feel when I am surrounded by history. I love my country.  I realize that more each time I return to her. Five years ago I finally visited Lady Liberty. I was blown away with her beauty. Seeing the Statue of Liberty as you arrive via ferry is overwhelming. She’s absolutely breathtaking. Many Americans have never visited her. I have visited Niagara Falls, one of the most beautiful wonders of the world. The power of the water is incredible to watch and listen to while breathing in the beauty. All of our National Parks, the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam are extraordinary. The California Pacific Coast Highway is a must see. Try driving around the Appalachian Mountains for a trip along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs through Virginia, North Carolina and into Tennessee. There are 469 miles, the drive connects two national parks—Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. What a time you will have breathing in the beauty and the fresh air. There is Red Rock in Arizona. No words describe that. There’s so much to see here! The Golden Gate Bridge, Ellis Island, Mount Rushmore, the Liberty Bell, the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool just to share a few. I am in awe of the United States and all her beauty. Sometimes we forget. We get caught up in all that’s wrong with the system, politics and the never-ending minutia we hear. But today, take a moment to step back with me. Breathe in our beautiful country…All of our liberties. Know that being free is so much bigger than we realize sometimes. The cost has been huge. I am grateful for so many things. Today and for many more, Let Freedom Ring.

O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain…America! America! God shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood
from sea to shining sea! America! America! God shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea! Wishing you a safe and peaceful 4th of July.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you had a chuckle. You can subscribe to be notified when I blog below by signing up, follow me on Twitter @GatorgirlPress or Twitter @Diningduchess, follow me on Facebook @RandiAileenPress or Facebook@DiningDuchess. Or if you’d like to write me directly, my email is