My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Carnival Splendor 11/29/08

Yesterday we got off the Carnival Miracle and got on the Carnival Splendor. There were 11 ships in the port and one of them was the Queen Mary 2. We waited until about 10:30am to get off the Miracle because we weren’t in any rush. All of the huge crowd would be gone and our luggage would be one of the few that were left. When we walked out to look at the dock, we realized that we were not anywhere near where we first got on board. Then we saw the courtesy shuttle bringing people to the parking garage. When we got off the ship, we were one of the last ones off and when they put us on the shuttle, we had the whole bus to ourselves and the bus driver dropped us off right at the Splendor.

Embarkation was a nightmare though. Since we are considered VIP, we were sent through a different line than everyone else. When we got to the end, two women were about to come to blows because one thought the other had cut in line. The man “in charge” was a grumpy old man who was quite rude to all. There was no VIP lounge like the other ships have so we stood in line forever. Finally we got on board around 11:45.

When we got on board, we found our cabin which was ready for us. A friend had sent us a box of cookies, a bottle of wine for dinner, and some photo credits. We decided to have lunch on the Lido deck and the lines were awful. I stood in line for the Mongolian BBQ for 40 minutes but since I really like it, I stayed in line. That will probably be the last time I do that unless there isn’t a line there. We walked around the ship after lunch and I bought my internet plan and then we unpacked our suitcases. When we returned to our cabin later, we had a message from our friends Penn and Ginny where were also on this cruise so we went to meet them.

At 7pm, there was a welcome board show which included a comedian and he was really good. Tonight he will have an adult comedy show so we will go see him. At 8:15, we had dinner in the dining room and our servers were Bianca and Benito, who were both fantastic. After dinner, we went dancing until almost 1am. It was a wonderful day!

Friday, November 28, 2008

At Sea on the Carnival Miracle and some DSP Prompts

Yesterday was a sea day on the Carnival Miracle. We had Arts and Crafts at 9:30 and then at 10:45 we had a special galley tour. Jogi was in charge and told lots of interesting facts. One thing that I found interesting was that they grind all the soft food scraps (no bones, egg shells) and feed the fish in the ocean with it. What a great way to recycle! I always find this tour fascinating. Then at 11:45 we had a special invitation from the Captain to tour the bridge. The 3rd officer showed us around and explained all the instruments. It was also amazing to see how computerized the instruments are but also that they had a back up of the “old way.” There were still regular compasses and they still chart the route on paper as a backup. After that tour we went to the dining room for lunch and I had the Neptune Chef Salad. At 2:15, we had line dancing lessons and then tea at 3:30. Finally we walked around the track for an hour before we returned to the cabin to prepare for dinner. The show started at 6:30 with 30 minute black and white clips of the Beatles before the actual show featuring Beatles songs. At 10:30pm, there was a comedy show so by the time the day was over, I was pretty tired.

Now I am going to catch up on some DSP blog prompts:

Monday’s Blog Prompt - Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?
We really don’t have any major Thanksgiving traditions. We usually took the five days to go traveling. One year we went to San Diego and it was wonderful. Another time we went to Houston. Now that we are retired, it looks like we will go cruising during this time because for the past 2 years, we have been on a cruise.

Tuesday’s Blog Prompt - What is your favorite Thanksgiving dinner item?
I know this will sound weird but my favorite Thanksgiving dinner item was cranberry sauce. When I was growing up, that was the only time we would have cranberry sauce so whenever we eat cranberry sauce, it brings back really great memories. Now that I’m actually cooking at home, I have been having cranberry sauce at least once a week.

Wednesday’s Blog Prompt - What are you thankful for?
Things I’m thankful for:
1. A wonderful husband
2. A wonderful family
3. Great friends (in real life and online)
4. Good health
5. Ability to pay my bills
6. Food
7. The feeling of security in my life
8. Ability to travel
9. Laptop and wifi
10. Ability to laugh
11. My digital camera
12. Ability to have sunburn turn to tan quickly
13. Books
14. Ability to teach
15. Ability to learn new things pretty easily
16. My five senses (I can’t imagine not being able to use any one of them)
17. Ability to feel happy most of the time
18. The wonderful world around me
19. The ability to pay my bills online
20. A car that gets almost 50 miles to the gallon (Toyota Prius)

There is so much more that I am thankful for but decided to stop with the top 20. I have a gratitude diary where I try to write down 5 things every day that I’m thankful for all during the year. It helps me keep a positive attitude when I am feeling down.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

St. Kitts 11/26/08

It was a beautiful day in St. Kitts. The sun was shining and it was hot! We got off the ship (Carnival Miracle) after breakfast and walked around the town. We stopped to look in this wonderful looking church to find a group of children practicing steel drums for some event. I’m not sure what event it was for but it sounded beautiful. I looked in some of the restaurants and decided that we would be better off eating lunch back on the ship so we went back for lunch. After lunch we went back into town and walked around. We found the little fabric shop where we bought hand painted postcards last year and the artist/owner was still there. In fact, she remembered that we bought them and had her sign them. Again we bought some more and asked her to sign and date them. I even found a store that sold school supplies, school textbooks, and school uniforms. It was interesting to look at the textbooks and see what they were being taught in school. We also got to see street dancers wearing bright outfits which were exciting to watch. After we had seen all that we could see, we returned to the ship to eat some more (are you seeing a pattern to this yet? Eat and walk and eat some more!). At 5:15 we had a past guest cocktail party to go to and then dinner at 8:15. After the cocktail party, we went by our cabin and I received a phone call that the Captain invited us to take a tour of the bridge the next day so I’m really thrilled! I have never done this before so we are really honored that he invited us. Captain Volpi is a really personable captain and we see him wondering the ship asking guests if they are enjoying themselves. At the cocktail party he was teasing the crew on stage and was really funny. One lady won a certificate to the special restaurant, Nick and Nora’s but he first told her that she won a free excursion of “swimming with the dolphins” the next day (which is a sea day not a port day) and that a life vest was included free of charge. Then he wouldn’t give the microphone back to the crew member who chased him up the aisle begging for the mike and instead he asked people questions as he moved up the aisle. It is so nice to see captains who are this way! At 10:30 there was one main show which is like a talent show but I was exhausted so we didn’t go. These next two days are days at sea as we head for home.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

St. Lucia 11/25/08

We walked into town which is about a 10 minute walk from the ship and some of the local people along the road tend to be a little more aggressive than I am comfortable with. We walked all around the town and went into the area where the locals live. It was fun to walk in the market places but I was surprised to see a lot of booths were empty. I guess the economy is even affecting this little island. We had a few beers at a bar near the market and then headed back to the ship for some more food. But then we found a little beer garden where Piton beer were 2/$3 so we spent the afternoon there with two other couples. About 4:00, I dragged my husband, who was not feeling any pain at this time onto the ship. We had a couple of slices of pizza and returned to the cabin to rest. You know, it is very tiresome doing those 12 oz. curls all day long. Since I was unable to roust him out of bed, I went to the juggling show and dinner by myself. I had seen the jugglers before and really enjoyed them. Dinner was great too so I would say it was a pretty good day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

St. Maarten 11/24/08

Yesterday we went to St. Maarten which is our favorite port. Luckily Don was feeling fine when he got up so I was quite relieved. We ate breakfast and then got off the ship at 8am. We took the water taxi to the beach and found 2 chairs, 2 floats, and an umbrella for $10. Since we rented those chairs, I was able to leave my beach bag of junk there while we walked around town. Then we floated in the water on and off all day and got lots more sun. We got back on the ship around 4pm. Dinner was fun because we really enjoy chatting with our tablemates. We didn’t go to the show though and thought we would make it an early night since we have a big day in St. Lucia.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Carnival Miracle 11/23/08

Yesterday was a day at sea again and we had a glorious day. I got up early enough to eat two breakfasts. I had two bowls of cereal before Don woke up and then a omelet and bacon after he joined me for breakfast. Then at 9:30 we went to Arts and Crafts again and made sun visors. With glitter glue, we decorated the visors and enjoyed visiting with others. Next went outside since it was sunny and I sat out in the sun while Don walked laps around the ship until lunchtime. After lunch we walked around the ship some more and then went back to our cabin for a power nap. At 2:15 I went to the lounge for Saturday Night Fever Dance lessons. I had fun but I danced terribly! After dancing we went for a tea party. I had never seen that many people attend the tea before and they actually had to open up another room. The crew handled themselves very professionally although many adult passengers behaved atrociously. Rather than waiting to be served (which is the way it is done), people crowded the carts and started taking things off like it was a buffet table. One man filled his plate almost a foot high with pastries! In fact, the people looked like piranhas in a feeding frenzy. After tea, we walked laps around the ship for about 30 minutes before returning to the cabin to get ready for dinner. The show for late seating was before dinner because after dinner there was the adult night comedy show. I really enjoy the comedy shows but Don got deathly ill as soon as we left dinner but we don’t know what he ate that made him sick. We ended up leaving the theater before the comedy show started and he spent a lovely evening hugging the commode.

Today we are going to be out and about St. Maarten. We will probably spend the day on the beach and maybe walking around the town. We really like this island and have picked out our favorite beach spot and lunch spot. I just hope Don feels better and is able to enjoy the island. I know he will want to go even if he doesn’t feel great because he doesn’t want me to miss anything but I’d be content to stay onboard if he doesn’t feel well. Since he wasn’t up all night being sick, I’m sure he will feel weak this morning but hopefully not sick. I’ll let you know tomorrow how today went.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Carnival Miracle 11/23/08 and Blog Prompts

Yesterday we were at sea. Lots of relaxing and eating going on! We went to breakfast in the diningroom and saw the assistant maitre’d whom we had met on the Freedom last year. We ate with a nice couple from Connecticut (Michael and Leeann) and then very tall son, Andre. Then we went to the Arts and Craft session where we made needlepoint pouches for sail and sign card. After that we tried to walk outside on the deck but the doors and stairs were blocked with yellow tape and signs saying, “Do Not Enter! Strong Winds!” so we never really got outside except the pool areas when walking from one end of the ship to the other. Lunch on the Lido deck was very crowded and we had a little trouble finding a seat so we may eat either earlier or later today. After lunch we went to the casino to get our free $20 card for entry into the slot tournament but then decided we would enter on the 4th sea day at the end of the cruise when there might be less people entered and I’d have a better chance of winning. Finally we decided since we couldn’t walk outside, that we would take a little nap which felt wonderful. At 3:45 we went to the Battle of the Sexes, which was a trivia game between the girls and the guys. Of course, the women won! By then it was time to eat a pre dinner snack of pizza and ice cream. We went to the shops to see what neat stuff we could find and decided to buy a lanyard for my sail and sign card so I could wear it around my neck. Then it was time to get ready for the Captain’s cocktail party and dinner. At dinner, Miguel gave us a wonderful South Australian Chardonnay which we shared with our table mates. The show after dinner was wonderful as usual and not as crowded as the previous night because they had a separate show for each dinner crowd. It was an enjoyable day!

Now I’m going to add the DSP blog prompts for the week since I haven’t had a chance to do them.

Friday’s Blog Prompt - Can you survive without e-mail? How has it changed your life?
I can’t imagine life without email! I keep in touch with many family and friends this way and I think it has brought us closer. Through email I got to know my cousin again who lives on the other side of the US from me. When I went out west in the spring, we got to have dinner together and we hadn’t seen each other in 35 years. My sister and I have gotten closer also through email. Since she is ten years older than me, we tended to not be as close when I went to college and years after that because I hate writing letters. Now that we have email, we constantly keep in touch and we also talk often on our cell phones (thank you Verizon for the IN network!). I regret letting so many years go by that I didn’t keep in touch with her because she knows so much about our family history and she’s a wealth of knowledge about so many things (not to mention that I love her too!).

Thursday’s Blog Prompt - If I could take tomorrow off of work, I'd...
That’s an easy one for me since I’m retired and don’t work. Basically I do what I want whenever I want to! Boy, I love retirement!

Wednesday’s Blog Prompt - Name five things in your refrigerator.
Eggs, Worcestshire sauce, cheddar cheese, Newman’s Own Ginger Sesame salad dressing, Miller Lite,

Tuesday’s Blog Prompt - Right now you should be doing ______ instead of being on the computer.
Anything I want. I am on a cruise ship in the middle of the Atlantic ocean heading for St. Maarten and my husband is sound asleep in our cabin. I am in the Raven Library playing on my computer and enjoying the sun come up.

Monday’s Blog Prompt - What are your limitations, and are they self-imposed?
My limitations are that I am impulsive and tend to agree to volunteer for things and I have to constantly watch this. I also have lots of time since I’m retired and sometimes I feel guilty that I have so much free time while others are working so hard. I guess I’m a people pleaser and I don’t like when people are displeased with me. The thing that helps me is that I know my husband will be upset with me if I overextend myself so then I’m displeasing him. This sometimes gives me the strength not to volunteer for too much. This coming year I am going to try hard to tell people that I can’t give them an answer right away and that I need to think about it and discuss it with my husband. If I don’t say yes right away, I usually am able to come back later and say no. Once I say yes, I’m committed and I stick to my word which I feel is important.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Carnival Miracle 11/22/08

We boarded the Carnival Miracle yesterday and I was so excited! We went to check out our dining table and the maitre‘d was our favorite guy, Miguel from South Africa. He is the best maitre‘d in the whole fleet. He changed out table from a table of 4 to a table for 6 and we really enjoy our table mates. There is Ron (truck driver) and Sandra (RN) from Nashville, TN and Pat (Ga. DOT) and Donna (accountant) from Atlanta. I think we will enjoy having dinner with them each night.

At 2:30, we met at the Orpheus Bar with other people that I had met on Cruise Critic. It was great putting faces to names. Plus it is fun when we see them around the ship and get to talk to them.

Our room is really nice. We have an ocean view room with an obstructed view but we don’t really care because we aren’t in the room much. I still can open the curtains and look around the lifeboat to see the ocean. When we embarked, I gave them the room number that was printed on my luggage tags (which came from Carnival) but they had changed our rooms. So, we had to hunt for our luggage at the room that would have been ours and we found all of them. Everything arrived in one piece so I was happy because they were outrageously heavy.

At 10:30pm, they had the Welcome Aboard show and there was a comedian that was pretty funny. He will have an adult night comedy show soon and I guess I’ll have to take a nap in the afternoon so I can stay awake for that (Getting up at 5am makes me sleepy around 10pm)

Today is a Sea Day which means I will probably lie around in a lawn chair and read, listen to my Ipod, or knit. Well, I’ll be doing that when I’m not eating of course!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Florida 11/20/08

It is finally here – the day we leave for the first of our three cruises. It took forever to pack yesterday. We filled our luggage with some beverages for all three cruises to save money. I can’t live without my diet pepsi so there are 36 bottles to last 29 days. I also have 3 boxes of Chardonnay (one for each cruise) and 2 bottles of vodka for Don’s martinis. The diet pepsi is allowed but I hope they don’t see the liquor and wine or it will be taken until the end of the cruise. Of course all these liquids weigh a ton along with all of our clothes and snorkeling gear. Luckily we didn’t have to pack too much clothes because we are at the VIP level with Carnival and they do our laundry for free. The next time I am writing will be aboard the ship! I hope the weather warms up because I’m not in shorts yet, but Don has been since we arrived. I’ll be thinking of all my family and friends in the cold as we swim in the Caribbean! (not that I would rub it in of course!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Florida 11/19/08

Sorry I haven’t been around much lately but we are now in FL with my dad and stepmom. We are celebrating an early Thanksgiving before we leave on our 3 cruises. The cool weather has hit here and my dad has turned on the heat which is fine except he has it up to 75 and the heat and my hot flashes are killing me! We have helped them do some stuff around the house and put up their Christmas lights (visions of Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation is looming in my thoughts!). Today we are trimming hedges and cutting tree limbs. Yesterday we went to The Isles Casino and after a day of slot machines, I came out with $20 more than I started with so I was happy. We have really enjoyed visiting and catching up with lots of news.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Life Changes

Blog Prompt - What is changing in your life right now?

When I retired, I thought that my life would just be a routine laid back kind of life. Instead, it is constantly changing. I guess part of the problem, like I mentioned in one of my previous posts, is that I can’t say no.

We are preparing to go on three cruises which will visit the Caribbean and South America. Because my husband doesn’t “plan” our trips, these get arranged on spur of the moment, which means I never know what I’m going to be doing in the near future at any given time. Since I am such a creature of habit and routine, I have had to change my whole mental attitude and learn to “go with the flow.” When I start feeling anxious about this lack of routine, I try to give myself pep talks about how I would feel if my husband suddenly died. I would regret not doing all of these wonderful things he cooks up. I tend to get a pissy attitude while I’m having to pack at the last minute and get the bills paid and get the house/mail taken care of, I never regret taking our trips. I just wish I could learn to relax more before we go and quit worrying about all the things I need to do or things I might forget. This is the major change of attitude in my life.

Original image: 'Stress' David Friel

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What Scares Me the Most

Blog Prompt - The thing that scares me the most is...

The thing that scares me most is things crawling on me. I think that is why I’m so afraid of the dark because I don’t know what creepy crawlies are out there. When we camp and go to bed at night, I scan the entire tent with my flashlight and will not go to sleep if there are things crawling around. Daddy Longlegs will send me out of the tent faster than a bear. When I die, I plan to be cremated because I do not want things even crawling on my dead body. It just gives me the creeps to write about it!

Photo credit: Original image: 'Don't disturb- I'm eating...' Beata Kotecka

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Blog Prompt: Today is Veterans Day. Please explain what this day means to you and if you have a layout, we would love to see it

I have had many family members who have served in the military and I appreciate them and all of the others who have served to keep me safe. My father served in WWII, my husband, brother in law, and cousins served during Vietnam. I’ve had friends who served during Aghanistan and friend’s children who are in the service now. My aunt and my husband’s uncle both retired from the military. I’m so grateful to people who are willing to sacrifice for me and can never tell them enough how much it means to me. I’m so glad that we have this day to honor all of the people who have served in the military and protected my country.

Original image: 'Veterans Memorial' these hands are just too shaky to hold

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Favorite Season

Blog Prompt: Choose your favorite season. Name the season and explain why it is your favorite.

Spring is my favorite season. I love to watch plants come out of the ground and stretch their arms wide in the sun. I love to see the pretty colors appear after a dark dull winter. As the new green leaves suddenly pop up on branches that had looked dead, I feel a new energy inside me. The waterfalls we hike too are usually full of water because the ice is melting from above. Animals that we hadn’t seen all winter peek out at us in the forest. Everyone I meet seems to have a fresh outlook on life and I feel like it is a new beginning for us all.
Original image: 'yellow and purple' Grant MacDonald

Friday, November 07, 2008

Taking a Bath

Blog Prompt - I do/do not like to take a bath because...

I do like to take a bath because I find it relaxing. Of course now that we have a hot tub, I can soak in the hot tub with my hubby and a nice drink and watch our big screen TV. One year it snowed and we sat in our hot tub and watched it snow through our windows. I really like to get in the tub because in the winter I am always cold and that is one way that I warm up and stay warm for awhile after I get out. Of course for every day bathing and after the hot tub, it is the shower for me.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Blog Prompt: "Would you eat a bowl of live crickets for $40,000? Explain why or why not?"

This is an easy one for me to answer. There is no way in H-E-double hockey sticks I would eat live crickets, no matter how much money someone offered me! I would not eat anything live. Just thought of it makes my stomach queasy! If I have a choice between taking a pill or having to drink or eat medicine, I will always choose the pill.

Photo credit: Original image: 'Coffee House Crickets' Clay Junell

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Television Shows

Blog Prompt: "When I watch television I like to watch..."

I really like to watch family shows like The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Touched by an Angel and 7th Heaven which are on the Hallmark Channel during the day. I guess those are just “feel good” shows with happy endings and I always feel pretty good when they are over.

In the evenings I like to watch CSI, Cold Case, Without a Trace, The Unit, Grey’s Anatomy, and Ghost Whisperer. My husband doesn’t care for any of them so I usually have tivo them and watch them in the other room when he is watching the boring channel about the stock market.

Photo credit: Original image: 'TV; "Brainwashed"' Aaron Escobar

Super Hero

Blog Prompt - "If I were a superhero, I would be..."

If I could be anyone, I would want to be Supergirl. If nothing else, I always thought when I was growing up that she was beautiful. She was physically fit but I was athletically challenged. She seemed tall, blonde, and slim while I was short, dark hair, and no shape. Now that I’m older I would like to be her for more practical purposes. I would love to fly wherever I wanted at no cost. I would love to do the things I have to do, like chores, at a super fast rate so I could do anything else I wanted. I would love to be able to hike without getting tired or breathing hard on those killer uphills. I would still like to be slim but not have to watch what I eat or exercise to get there.

Photo credit: Original image: 'A tall, refreshing glass of Supergirl' Bryan Costin

Monday, November 03, 2008

Upcoming Cruises

Blog Prompt: If you planned a field trip for you, your family or group where would you go, why, and what would you do?

This is a perfect prompt for me because we just booked two cruises. I’m really not fond of very cold weather so we will be in the Caribbean when it gets cold. We will be on one cruise for 7 days and the day it comes back in to port, we will jump on another ship for 14 days. We will go to places like San Juan, St. Thomas (2 times), Nassau, Half Moon Cay, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad, Venezuela, Curacao, Aruba, and Grand Turks, Turks and Caicos. I am hoping to visit my DSP pal Yolanda in San Juan again because we had such a great time with her and her husband Mike last time. We really don’t have any specific plans when we go to these places, we just like to get out and wonder around the town, taste the local food and get a feel for the local culture. I’ll be thinking about y’all when I’m swimming in the warm water in December!