Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Dick and I will peddle over to Wade & Ginger's patio for a small dinner celebration with friends. I am to bring the dessert, so I asked Dick what he wanted me to fix. First off was creme brulee...that's not gonna happen! Next suggestion was banana pudding, so that is what I'll take. But first, I have to go to visit Publix and leave them a final donation for this year. My shopping list is growing.
As 2008 draws to a close, remember to count your many blessings, give thanks for what you have...and pray for our troops as they defend our precious freedom. May 2009 find you filled with happiness, health and laughter!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
YES...they haven't closed yet, so this is where we are having breakfast this morning!!! We are meeting Bill and Vickie...long-time friends from NJ here at John G's. Can't wait to see them and to enjoy eating here.
We arrived at the RV park at 3:30 yesterday, and promptly began setting up. The internet satellite didn't work; the TV satellite didn't work, but Dick, being the whiz that he is, *finally* got everything up and running. Whew.
And Ginger rode her bike over to greet us and to invite us to come over and have dinner with them. What a gift that was, not to have to stop our setting up and think about dinner. It was gonna be ready and waiting for us! And boy was it good, plus it was nice to sit and visit with them and catch up on park stuff. And family stuff. We'll go back over there for New Year's Eve for a small dinner gathering.
Speaking of, what are y'all doing to bring in the New Year? Gosh, it is almost here. Our fave thing is to watch the celebration in Times Square on TV. No way would we go there for real! That is just too much crowd for our tastes.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Missy stayed hidden in the bedroom most of the day...then finally ventured out and stayed under a chair. She has to get used to her new home, once again. I missed having Parker in my lap all day...........but I know he is all healed and is happy. And I didn't cry today!
Jeff and Bjarne are here at Sherman and Pat's house...it is great seeing them again (they live in Denmark--Jeff is Dick's nephew--remember we visited them in August?)...and we are about to have a pot roast dinner that smells heavenly. Life is good!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
And the meager Christmas decorations have to be taken down and stored. I'm sure Doodlebug will be a great help...NOT!
Oh yes, the wee girls and I had fun making the toffee, but it took longer than I had anticipated (new recipe), and they lost interest in helping, but not in the eating! I'm not sure I would make it again, since I don't care for super sweet stuff, so we may stick to cookies next year. I like them better anyway!
Enjoy your Saturday! Life is grand!!! (get it? I've got my grands here?! I crack me up!)
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
~ 1 part of knowing HIM as your Savior
~ 1 part of knowing who you are
~ 1 part of knowing who you aren’t
~ 1 part of knowing what you want
~ 1 part of knowing who you wish to be
~ 1 part of knowing what you already have
~ 1 part of choosing wisely from what you have
~ 1 part of loving
~ 1 part of thanking HIM for ALL you have
~ Combine ingredients together gently and carefully, along with prayer.
~ Mix together with strong faith until finely blended.
~ Use kind thoughts, words, and actions for best results.
~ Bake until blessed.
~ Give thanks again.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
All the kids/grands will be here after the service for a big pot of taco soup, then we will open up all the gifts under the tree. This is an annual tradition that we all treasure. In the morning, everyone gathers at Haley's house for brunch so that the kids can show all the grandparents, aunts and uncles what Santa brought them.
Oh yes, when Santa used to visit here, he always left a new ornament in the tree that our three tried to see who be the first one to spy it. Good memories; good times, filled with lots of love. Now it is your turn...tell me about a tradition or two in your family.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Here is a slice of cake for you, my friend! Enjoy...life is good!!!I miss the early morning phone call from my Mother, waking me up singing "Happy Birthday." But my memory replays her voice, and it is indeed sweet music in my head, and is there any time I want to relive those moments. I am blessed. Happy Sunday, y'all. My day will be great; I hope yours is too!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
And I'm scratching and loving up on three kitties. No, we've not added to our household except in the visiting sense. Brian's two girls are still with us while he has gone back to ATL for some social time this weekend. It's been nice having him home along with his girls, even if they do shed white hair like crazy. We've been bringing Missy into the office to visit with the hissy girls, hoping to hone their social graces just a tad. We are gaining, but we don't expect miracles. We still miss our Parker boy, and give thanks for our time together.
If you, like us, can't have sunshine outside, at least let it bloom in your hearts this day. Life is good!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Slow Cooker Chicken w/Rosemary, Apples and Onions
2 cups sliced onions 2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I don't peel)
2 pounds cut up chicken pieces (with bone), with or without skin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I used dried)
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup cream of celery soup
2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
Arrange onion and apple slices in bottom of slow cooker. Place chicken pieces on top and season all over with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle rosemary over chicken.
In a medium bowl, whisk together chicken broth and soup. Pour mixture over chicken.
Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. Serve chicken, sauce, apples, and onions over rice.
I served this with steamed broccoli, salad and French bread with dipping oil. Rave reviews! Let me know if you make it!!!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
We are frequently treated to deer sightings...eight crossed the upper driveway just the other day; two crossed there just now. And we see the occasional turkey in the yard, and woodpeckers in the trees. It is fun seeing nature right outside our window. All these critter sightings are a relief from the view of the barren,leafless trees. Wintering in South Florida is looking mighty appealing right now! And our hearts are healing a bit more each day.
I am finishing up my Christmas cards today...finally...while rosemary chicken is cooking in the crockpot. What are you doing today? Life is good!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
He brought such joy to our lives, and leaves behind a great big hole in our hearts. Missy and even Brian's hissy biatches seem to know that we need some extra love right now and they have been providing that. Amazing!
Parker was also known as the computer kitty. His fave spot lately was the warm exhaust next to Dick's puter. He NEVER got up on the kitchen counter, but in his declining health, I couldn't fuss at him for jumping up and posing here atop the kitchen computer.
Our next big hurdle will be when we load up the moho after Christmas to head south, and our travel buddy will not be going with us. That'll be hard.
Happy Sunday, y'all. Gotta get ready for church...then work on my Christmas cards. Life is still good!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Never has a cat had such adventures. To think he started out as just a working cat and worked his way up to fame, travel and the fortune of having you both love him so....why he was one rich cat.
I can't believe in a God that would put creatures in one place and people somewhere else, so while I know he is seeing his kitty friends and relatives, he is curled comfortably in Marge's lap and now they speak the same language so they can catch each other up on all the doin's.
I’m sure Parker has found not only Marj (Dick’s sister), but Pepper, Maggy and Callie, and is quickly rounding up more folks and critters to love and adore him. He is in Good Hands. We’ll always treasure the love and trust he shared with us. He enriched our lives, and we miss him terribly.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Our rain moved out last night, so there was no snowfall and that is OK. Today is sunny, chilly, and beautiful. Just another day in paradise, or it would be if my desk was cleaned off, our Christmas cards done...yikes, I've got to write our Christmas letter! Whose idea was it to be gone for a month this close to Christmas?!!!
Happy Friday, y'all! Mine will be...I'm picking up the wee girls after school this afternoon...and we got to see our little guys last night. Life is good!!!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I did take time to upload my pictures from Wellington, NZ, so click over at www.ivylog2.spaces.live.com and check them out if you want. This yellow rose was at the botanical gardens there.
Later y'all. Have a peachy evening! I plan to make time to do my blogging rounds tomorrow. I've missed everyone. Life is good!!!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
It was a looong flight home. We slept just a bit on each of the two flights. Brian met us at the train station, and we stayed at his house last night, since it was late, and drove home this morning. Unpacking is mostly done, and washing has begun. The snail mail has at least been sorted. Last week a queen, this week a slave. Welcome home, right? Life is good!!!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Enjoy the view we had when we took off from Sydney two weeks ago, heading to Auckland. Goodbye New Zealand...goodbye Australia.......and helllloo Georgia! Life is good!!!
Friday, December 5, 2008
We were treated to a dolphin jumping contest while we had our coffee this morning...quite a beautiful sight to see. There is a brunch offered today beginning at 10a in the dining room, so we’ll go enjoy that, and whatever else strikes our fancy. Tonight is our third and final formal night. I’ve used up my package internet (cheaper) minutes, so it is a good thing this cruise is winding down! Y’all don’t get a photo uploaded today...but I’ll set up a special one for Saturday.......
A little cruise snafu info...a group of about 40 folks paid the big bucks…$655…to bus down from Dunedin to Milford Sound, spend the night in Queenstown, then be picked up in Milford Sound. That was the plan. Well, due to the rough seas, we couldn’t dock in Milford Sound. Oops…all those folks stranded…with no extra clothes, some w/o needed meds. They had to be wined/dined/flown to Melbourne, so darn, they missed a sea day. Apparently they had a blast! Rumor has it this cost the company about $40K. Hmm, wonder if Celebrity will offer this particular tour again? They probably will, as this is simply the price of doing business.
In preparation for our early departure, Dick went to the purser’s desk to inquire about disembarkation for us. We are using our ‘funny money’ for our gratuities, so mathematician Dick has the job of figuring out what goes in each of the envelopes that we’ll give out tonight. We actually have to carry our own bags off the ship (welcome to the real world), and we have to do this between 8a and 10a as that is the only time that customs is available for processing. They say we can leave our bags there (somewhere) and then go back to the public areas of the ship (lunch) if we want to (we do). We need to be at the airport about 12:30 for our 3:30p flight, so this will all be easily accomplished.
So, that is our final day at sea. How is your day? Life is good on the sea!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
It was a great day, and we are now underway, heading toward Sydney. Friday is a sea day, and the time for us to pack for our trip home on Saturday. We are so looking forward to that, getting home, that is...not the long flight! Yuck!!!
A big happy birthday today to Dick’s brother Bob, way up in cold NH! Hopefully we’ll see you and Lynne in FL in about a month. Life is good on the ship!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Prince Will is six months old today and I’m missing seeing his new trick of sitting up all by himself. And missing the good sugar from all the wee ones. Drat again.
So now I am back...we ate dinner early so that we could watch the docking. Woohoo...we are here in Melbourne, and plan to get off the ship and walk around a bit whenever we are cleared to leave! I just spoke with Luke, and he will pick us up in the morning.
Well alrighty...us and 1,500 other folks decided they wanted to go ashore...so we said the heck with that and went and listened to the Elan Strings. That was more fun than standing in line. The end. Life is very good!!! I hope y’all have a great day.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Sort of good news from home today...our thief has been caught! We don’t know the details of how it happened, but some items have been recovered. It was a neighbor down the road from us, who did the concrete paving for our driveway. He and his wife, both young, are in jail. Very sad, but hopefully they will get their lives straightened out.
Amy emailed two snowy pictures from home...and I am not referring to the quality of the pictures! It was snowing in Mayberry this morning...just a little, and it won’t last long...and can certainly be GONE for our Saturday night arrival back in Atlanta! Amy and Jason are bailing out and heading to warmer temps, so they’ll deliver our vehicle to Brian’s house and leave it. Our kids take very good care of us.
We changed our clocks back last night an hour, and will do the same again tonight to bring us up to Melbourne time. We dock there Wednesday night, and meet Luke on Thursday. We are really looking forward to seeing him.
This morning our dinner table got a special galley tour. We learned that the wait staff on each side of the ship has to pick up food from the kitchen from their side only. Great care is given for dietary needs and no cross cooking with items that are a no-no. Everything is made from scratch. There are even pictures of the completed plates that the waiters have to look at to make sure everything is literally picture perfect before taking them to the tables. Our waiter is very good, as is our room steward. We lucked out in getting a concierge class room...who knew? We have fresh freesias in our room here on the desk, as well as a rose in our bathroom. A free bottle of champagne and bowl of fruit awaited us upon arrival (we gave away the champagne), and the fruit is replenished when needed. And a plate of canapes is brought to our door at 4ish each day. I can get used to that! But, we haven’t had any towel animals. Suffer, we must. Life is still good!!!
Monday, December 1, 2008
Hello from the Celebrity Millennium on another sea day, heading to Melbourne. We had to miss Milford Sound yesterday as the seas were too rough. We had a bumpy ride last night, but that didn’t bother us at all, except when the bathroom door slammed and woke me up at 3a! So our view today is water, water everywhere! At least the seas have calmed down a bit and the sun is mostly shining through the overcast.
We had an impersonator last night who was pretty good...sang, played the guitar, and threw in some humor...oops, humour, playing folks from Willy Nelson and Pavarotti to Sean Connery. Tonight is our second formal night, and we have the music and comedy of "String Fever," a husband-wife violinist and cello player. Should be interesting.
I have uploaded pics from Hamilton Island and Port Douglas to http://www.ivylog2.spaces.live.com/ and will hopefully get some more pics uploaded before we go home...Saturday! Woohoo!!!
Enjoy your day, whatever you are doing. Life is good!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
There is even snow up on some of the higher peaks as we exit Doubtful Sound where we are picking up wind, chop and now low clouds. My new fleece jacket felt mighty good out on the verandah. We have cruised totally alone through the sounds, except for a few dolphin, seagulls and terns...no other boats in evidence anywhere. Dick is particularly enjoying watching a lone tern glide just above the white caps, with nary a flap of his wings in his search for lunch. Hopefully he’ll show up nicely on Dick’s video clip.
We enjoyed breakfast with an interesting couple from Ft. Myers. Our dinner companions for this cruise consists of a couple from Canada and a widow from Montreal, a French Canadian. Haley, you should be with us to practice your French with her! The single lady from Las Vegas changed her reservation to the earlier seating, so we are a very small group.
After dinner last night, we discovered a good string quartet (two violins, a viola and a cello), and we’ll go hear them again this afternoon, as well as the a capella quartet whenever they are performing. That group consists of four Michigan College friends, who perform a little humor in between numbers...sometimes ‘little’ is the operative word, however they are cute and have beautiful voices. We’ll manage a little reading and a nap. How’s your Sunday? Life is good!!!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
We opted to leave the bus when we arrived back in town and lucked into the public library with FREE browsing offered. WOOHOOO!!! It was fun stopping by and saying 'howdy' to some of my blogging friends...couldn't make the whole round or I'd be here awhile and I don't want to hog the puter! Dick is over surfing the web, too, so he is a happy camper. We've managed well with only one puter between us.
Tomorrow is listed as a ''cruising day'' through the sounds...as opposed to a sea day, which the next two days will be. In other words, we won't be getting off the ship till we hit Melbourne! That's perfectly OK...I still have photos to work on and books to read...and maybe a nap to take. Life is good on the High Sea!
Friday, November 28, 2008
We did stop at Cathedral Square, where we would have enjoyed more time, but that’s the way it is with tours. Two guys were entertaining folks on their ‘giraffe’ unicycles and with their funny banter. That is what Dick (far L) is videoing in the picture above. Haley, we found your Tim Tams just off this square...hopefully they won’t arrive as ‘crumbs’ instead of cookies (biscuits). We’ll try.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Hello from cool but sunny Wellington, the capital of N.Z. We did a panoramic bus tour this morning to see the city sights, the botanical garden, and a brief stop to go inside Old St. Paul’s Church. They built a new one, and this beautiful parish church was fortunately saved from the wrecking ball. It no longer has Sunday services, but is used for weddings, funerals and baptisms, according to the volunteer.
The flooding of a long extinct volcano crater created Wellington Harbour. The city bends gracefully around the port and the houses seem to flow out of the hills, right down to the sea. Edwardian buildings and narrow streets contrast sharply with the modern skyscrapers. The picturesque rugged hills and cable cars have often caused this city to be compared to San Francisco. Since it lies in the path of the only major gap in N.Z.’s central mountain range, the city has earned its nickname of Windy Wellington. It is on the southern tip of the northern island, and we are enjoying watching the ferry traffic going in and out, as well as seeing all the planes outside our window on final approach for the local airport. Water, planes, and ships...the only thing missing–family and friends. Y’all come on down!
Dong, this is the woods where "Lord of the Rings" was filmed! I know you said you want to come here and check out that piece of history. Dick caught me taking pictures for some fellow passengers. The triangular building is the Byrd Memorial, explorer to Antarctica...and on the side is a tile rendition of the Aurora Australis. The rest of the pictures will have to wait to be uploaded.
Know that as we give thanks today, we are thinking of EACH one of you. We are mighty blessed.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I just received a text from our Melbourne friend. It’ll be good to see him next week. Yes, there will be pictures!
Last night’s entertainment consisted of the ship’s band and singers/dancers. Tonight we have an Aussie cabaret star. We shared the bus ride back to the ship with the music man from Michael’s Piano Club, who promises to play "Georgia" for me if we come listen to him:-) He accurately identified my accent, as he worked for a time in Atlanta.
Since we are in port, there isn’t a lot going on onboard of interest, so reading and watching a tv movie was our afternoon entertainment...activities that are in short supply when we are at home. We set sail at 4p, heading to Wellington...the nightly show begins in an hour. Life is good on the High Sea!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Our boat speed today is literally at a crawl, which means that we are at sea to avoid docking charges! The sea was pretty rolly last night, so there are quite a few ‘green’ folks today. Speaking of green, our TV color is mostly green. A green Obama looks very strange indeed! Dick just called and asked for someone to please come adjust our TV, and he got a lot of bull about ‘crossing the equator changed the magnetic polarity, making it impossible to fix.’ Helllloo...the guy didn’t like it when Dick told him we were on the Rhapsody last week and didn’t have this problem...and in this same hemisphere! We’ll survive this trauma.
Oh yes, we have a lovely verandah (did I mention that?) that we might get to use today, since the sun is now beginning to come out. I am looking across the water at mountains in the distance, and they must be 12 miles away, as that is the magic number in order for the casinos/shops to be open. You know what profit centers those are! One doesn’t get a dime outta us (casino); the other only gets a nominal amount:-)
"The Bourne Ultimatum" is playing in the cinema this afternoon, so we might go see that if we are awake. Dinner tonight is formal, followed by the Captain’s welcome party and then the show at 11p. It’ll be a late night. Like Empress Bee says, we’ll see if the show wins or our jammies win.
We are having a great Tuesday at sea. I hope your day is great!
Monday, November 24, 2008
This is a very nice ship, other than not having internet in our rooms again. So chunkygal has been on this ship before! I didn’t know that. And you saw my dtr out with some guy, huh? Well, I’ll bet I know who it was! I think she is too old to misbehave:-) Anyway, back to the ship...the staff are all friendly; food/service is good. Unfortunately, the entertainment for tonight is the same Phantom of the Opera guy we saw last week. He was good, don’t get me wrong, but we’ll pass up seeing him again this soon. And that is OK. We’ll see what other good opportunity presents itself! There is always another book to read...
How was your weekend? Cheers...
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Who knew our hotel would be next door to an adult bookstore? Were those ‘working ladies’ I saw outside? And my companion in the elevator later on? Hmmm, I wonder.
Hello from Auckland, where we boarded the beautiful Celebrity Millennium...and are now beginning our southbound journey toward Tauranga, followed by a sea day, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Dusky Sound/Doubtful Sound/Milford Sound, two days at sea, then Melbourne, AUS, where we’ll meet up with friend Luke. He was a physical therapist for the AUS rowing team, and our family befriended him when he was in Mayberry for the ‘96 Olympics (the rowers trained in our lake). I was a torch bearer for our town, so we all got to spend quite a bit of time with Luke during the local festivities both in Mayberry and in ATL, where friend Joy and I were Olympic volunteers. After Melbourne, we have another sea day before hitting Sydney.
We are back now from our boat safety drill, feeling all secure in the knowledge that there are plenty of lifeboats for all of us, as well as life jackets. Lunch earlier was good (better than the Rhapsody), so that is a PLUS. We are now underway...walked about the ship, then sat visiting with a nice couple from Scotland in the card room. That was more fun than going to the show tonight, so we are missing that. We have late seating again for dinner...no tour planned for Tauranga tomorrow as 80% chance of rain is expected. We have 100% at the moment. That’s OK...we are on a cruise ship, enjoying a nice glass of wine and everything is lovely. Cheers!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Amy said there were snow flurries at home and she didn’t even want to know the temp here. Wonder why?
Stay tuned for the next adventure. What are y’all doing for the weekend? Life’s short; make fun of it!!! Cheers...
Friday, November 21, 2008
Bee/Sarge...have a great time on the Splendor. Can't wait to hear/read all about it! We are cruising the world, right? Life is grand!!!
I have posted pictures from Cairns and of Bisbane, so check out www.ivylog2.spaces.live.com and see a roo or two!
This is our final day onboard the Rhapsody. Tomorrow we dock in Sydney and depart for the train station where we’ll take turns watching luggage and walking over to the Opera House for a close-up view of it. Our flight to Aukland is 3ish, so we’ll take the train to the airport for the three-hour flight.
Last night was a hoot. After dinner, Dick and I went to see the cruise director and staff do an adult something or other...we were clueless what "Qwest" was...but we sure found out! It was an adult scavenger hunt. The faint of heart, those easily embarrassed, etc., were informed that ‘there is the door’ and you can leave. You are forewarned! Oh dear, what did we get ourselves into? We were instructed to team up in 5-8 members, young/old, men/women, and then we would be given instructions. We were told there would be prizes for the team with the most points, but to be careful on the dance floor coming up with the requested items, as the prizes were ‘crap that weren’t worth breaking a leg over.’ Three twenty-somethings asked us to join them, and everyone got in the spirit. First off, we were asked if we had a Compass schedule (the daily cruise paper), then a map. These guys had played before and were prepared. We produced and were on a roll. Then the CD wanted a guy to come up with his pants on backwards! Jared jumped up, shucked outta his jeans, turned them around, and off he went to proclaim our points! Fortunately, he was wearing nice boxers:-) And it went from there. A request for two bras, empty, had Kim and I discreetly removing ours...and Jared the runner was off and running to get our points! Jared even donned his wife’s bra, skirt, and heels (somewhat) for the Miss Rhapsody (guy) contest! I couldn’t believe all the guys up there in their skivvies!!! We didn’t win because we couldn’t produce any dentures on our team...aha...now I know why we were picked to join the young’uns! It was great fun...and no camera, darn it.
So now tonight is packing...and saying goodbye to various folks. But a new adventure awaits us. Life is good!!!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Perfect day today, except it was HOT and muggy. Since it was 17 at home this morning, our kids, Joy and Jennie won't sympathize very much.
Hello from Brisbane...we just set sail...they had rain storms for the previous two days, and it is raining now as we depart, so we lucked out.
The Lone Pine Koala sanctuary was great...will sort through pics on our sea day tomorrow and upload them to to the pic blog.
Gotta run...almost time for the evening entertainment and dinner...I know you feel our pain!
Love the comments...will catch up tomorrow. Life is good on the High Sea!!!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tomorrow is Brisbane, where we’ll have to tender again. We have an 8:30a departure for our five-hour tour of ‘Brisbane Sights and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary,’ so my posting will be delayed until we can get back to the ship. The wee girls will be excited to know that koala and kangaroo pics will soon follow, as that is what they want to see:-) This is a big country and there is much to see and do...and obviously we can’t do it all in one trip, but we are sure trying!
I am enjoying all the emails and comments. Keep’em coming! At least the internet is faster on this ship than on some of the previous ones we been on, so I plan to upload some photos to my photo blog. Check out www.ivylog2.spaces.live.com periodically and take a wee tour of this beautiful country!
Life is short...make fun of it and go cruising!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Cruising Willis Island is what the Cruise Compass says for today. That’s it–we cruise right by it, although we may have to actually anchor to make it legal as a 'stop.' According to the captain, due to international regs we have to cruise to here to qualify this as an international cruise. It contains a meteorology monitoring station, staffed by three people. Gosh, they’d probably like for us to stop and chat awhile. How bored can they be? The island is also inhabited by thousands of masked, brown and red footed boobies–a seabird that looks alike a dressed up seagull. Now that’s a thrill for ya.
So, good morning from another sea day where we are opting not to attend beginning bridge, team trivia, nor a fine art & watch seminar. Nor the flower arranging competition. Caribbean music by the pool with our books will be followed possibly by the scrapbook seminar (who scheduled it for 1p, right at lunch time?). And we’ll miss the talent show at 2p followed by bingo. Hmm, why do we like sea days? Actually, we do go and enjoy the various musical offerings throughout the day. And we read. I just finished three Sue Grafton books, and have an FBI thriller by Catherine Coulter to read after Dick finishes it. Now that is a vacation to me–being on the water, having someone else to cook/clean, and getting to read. Dare to be dull!
I have actually been doing some photo editing, sorting, deleting, etc. I’ll take the time to do some more ship shots during these two sea days. What do we think of this ship you ask? Well, it is an older one in their fleet. I don’t like the fact that I can’t get wireless in our room. It wouldn’t cost a whole lot to add repeaters throughout the ship for guest convenience. The decor is nice...not gaudy as on some ships. Our accommodations are adequate. I was surprised there were no robes in our room (are we not in a good category?), and no bottles of shampoo or lotion as on other ships, even this same line. There is the addition of a tea kettle, which is nice, although I haven’t used it. Hair dryers are pretty standard these days, but I haven’t used that either. Storage is adequate, although no ship ever has enough hooks on the wall. I would recommend that addition, along with a night light in the bathroom. Our bed is quite comfortable, and we have both slept well...and enjoyed a few naps. The food is pretty good, but they can’t hold a candle to Carnival and their salad bar on the Lido deck. Here, they offer 3 salads a day–always Greek, a pasta, and a black bean combination. Now I do like all of those, but where is the seafood salad? Where is the true salad bar? Theirs is pathetic, but there is one in the main dining room. Huh? I have to get up and go over to the salad bar there myself to get a good salad? If I wanted to do that, I’d just go to the Lido deck. What’s up with that??? I’m gonna have to go try it just to see what is there that is not upstairs. And forget their croissants. They are not flaky at all, more like a croissant-shaped regular roll. Heaven forbid!
And I finally lost my clip-on shades for good two days ago, somewhere between security check in and our room. It still haven’t shown up at lost ‘n found, so probably it was smashed by some heavy feet in the elevator. Yes, Joy, these are the same shades that popped off my glasses and landed in your dress pocket at lunch the day before we left! I do have a back-up set of shades. This is just a minor annoyance in the scheme of things.
Our entertainers last night were quite unusual–quick-change artists! Who knew? I had never heard of such a thing. It was a high energy couple who are dancers and have won all sorts of dance contests and awards and stuff. They do incredible costume changes that are like magic! Sarge, you’ll have to add that to your magic act! They must have Velcro down to a fine art the way they go from one costume to another in a matter of seconds. Literally. All of the changes are done either behind a "wall" or inside one of those fabric slinkeys that one slips into while the other brings it up and shakes it while the person inside changes. Fast. However, the last change was the most amazing. All her outfits were skimpy except for the very first one and the almost last one. The first one covered up multiple outfits that got skimpier as the dance numbers went on. That was easy to understand. In that last number, her ‘dress’ was short, covered front and back and was more modest than previous outfits, so I knew something was gonna change. He came out with an umbrella, held it over her and when it opened, lots of long gold shimmery confetti rained down on her and when she was in the clear again, she was wearing a backless long dress! Obviously it was inside her short dress, but it was still pretty amazing. Dick sez she wasn’t hard on they eyes at all. And boy, could they dance!
Tonight we’ll be entertained by an Irish lass, who promises an evening of Irish fun, laughter and song. I’ll have to say that RCI gets kudos for their evening shows being diverse and better than average. And this cruise director is pretty good, too. Certainly no John Heald, however, but this guy is a young Brit with potential and a sense of humor, oops, humour.
So our day on the high sea is sunny and great. I hope yours is too! Cheers...
Monday, November 17, 2008
Our onboard ship pilot was on the tender with us back to the ship, so we questioned him as to why our ship didn’t dock at the port in Cairns...and we got the straight skinny on that. The locals thought the Rhapsody was too large to dock there, although the Legend is the same class of ship and it docked just fine. Our captain called for a meeting with the local harbour folks, and they came onboard for the cap to ‘splain a few things. The upshot is that we’ll pick up the Cairns harbour pilot to come onboard and watch while we dock at another port so that he can see how smoothly our ship handles. The locals lose out on a lot of revenue when the ship has to tender, as folks have the tendency to only go ashore once and don’t get off/on the ship, therefore spending less. Our pilot suggested that those ports requiring tendering will be bypassed in the future, thereby losing ALL revenue! We learned that we have to tender in Brisbane simply because the cruise terminal is on the WRONG side of a bridge that we can’t go under. They think it is too cost prohibitive to move the terminal. Here’s your sign....duh!
I love reading all the comments, so keep’em coming! Bee, I know you’ll have a good time on the Splendor. Look forward to reading all about your cruise. I haven’t had any cake on this cruise, but I’ve had some great creme brulee..last night’s was labeled "BBB" which stood for Banana Bailey Brulee...yummm...lovely combination! Life is good!!!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Dick and I had a lovely day in Cairns (pronounced *cans* for some reason). A rather large catamaran did ferry duty from our ship to shore, where we were met by the typical tour bus, with Michael as our driver/narrator. He drove us past lots of sugarcane fields, blooming royal poinciana trees, stately date palms and other flora and fauna we recognize from our time of living in Florida. Many of the homes are built up on stilts, since there is frequently a flooding problem here during some rainy seasons.
We had a drive along the beach and saw lovely homes prior to beginning our climb up to the rainforest. We got to see the skyway that skims over treetops for those choosing to see the forest that way, but that method was not for us today. Well, we got to the top and I was expecting to actually be up close and personal to a tree or two...but no, we were deposited in a shopping district! Don’t you know how happy Dick was (not!). He is a good sport, so after walking the length of the shopping road, he ran into another guy from our ship and they went and did what guys would rather do than shop...drink beer! I helped the economy out by buying a tee shirt, then retrieved my wayward guy and we headed back to where the bus was parked.
Our tour next took us through some of the industrial areas, then we had a short stop at the beautiful lagoon, shown above. What a fun place to play for kids of all ages. And there were booths set up with folks selling local goods. I wish there had been more time to look at the lovely displays of this ‘n that, but we were already running a bit late, so I resisted temptation.
Sarge, you would have enjoyed the magician last night. I thought fondly of you and your magic tricks on the Blogger’s Cruise. I hope MagicMatt is practicing cuz that would be a fun job for him to do someday. Bee, I’m sorting pictures and will try to put them up on my ivylog space, even before we get home, so I’ll let y’all all know when/if I get that done. I posted a new pic yesterday on this blog, and it didn’t take *forever* for it to upload. But I may wait till the hotel stop between cruises to do that. Just so ya know.
The entertainers last night were a high energy couple billed as "Extreme Vegas." He did juggling and balancing acts; she was the hula hoop queen, keeping MANY going all at the same time. Interesting.
So today we have now docked at Port Douglas. We’ll again have to tender over to shore, and will just walk around through the market. Not much going on, since it is Sunday. This is apparently another place to see the GBR from, but we aren’t docked long enough to do any good, unless we want to try again on the flightseeing.
Hope your day is great. Life is good!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
So what did we do at the GBR? Well, we tried to go on the glass bottom boat, but the clerk said that the water was too murky and she didn’t want to take our money and have us be disappointed! How nice was that? Next we called the airport to try to do a flight seeing, but they were all booked up till after sail time:-( We got skunked, so I guess we’ll just have to come back. Our next option was to simply hop on the free bus and ride around the small island, which we did and that didn’t take long. Our tablemates did go out to the reef, and all pretty much looked like lobsters at dinner...so perhaps I was the lucky (safe) one after all. Sigh.
Enjoy your day!
Friday, November 14, 2008
So that is your history lesson for the day. Greetings from sunny Hamilton Island, where the open boat just left carrying passengers (not us) off to see the GBR. Note the word ‘open.’ I don’t do open boats, with this lily-white skin that pops out pre-skin cancers for a hobby. Nope. Not gonna do it. It is an hour and a half travel time to the reef from where we are anchored, not to mention time spent to float and look at the reef, then the return trip. We have to tender over into the city, so that is what Dick and I will do after all the tour folks get gone. I’m sure we’ll have a lovely day. Life is always good around the sea.
Nan, I send big hugs to you and our sibs in remembrance of Mother’s passing two years ago today. May we each continue to celebrate her life in all that we do! Now all of you go out and hug someone special today!!! Life is precious.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I do plan to go to the opal/pearl seminar at noon...always an off chance I’ll win the raffle, right? I won’t hold my breath. There is a scrapbooking seminar at 3, so I might check that one out.
The wine tasting was an excellent activity yesterday. We were seated with a young Brit couple that we enjoyed. There are many Brits and Aussies onboard...love hearing all the accents...and loved being greeted with a ‘hi, y’all’ at lunch yesterday–two couples from Texas at our table! That’s the closest to home folks that we’ve met thus far. Our dinner companions consist of a couple from Scotland and two from Ireland (Dublin and Belfast each). We are all about the same age, with we two being slightly elder but not by much. The dining room can be quite loud, so sometimes it is hard to hear our companions, even for me, so you can imagine how much trouble Dick has with his hearing, combined with their accents! But we are having a lovely time.
Today I plan to walk around the ship and take interior pictures. We each worked on our photos yesterday getting them downloaded onto the puter, deleted, cropped, etc. Just wish we could go ahead and upload all of them as we go! And we are doing well, thus far, in sharing one computer, although I wouldn’t want to do it forever.
We have an invitation to a Crown and Anchor member reception prior to dinner tonight, another membership perk, so our pre-dinner show will have to be cut a bit short in order to make the reception. Dick won’t mind that, since it is some guy singing show tunes! The entertainer last night was a multi-talented guy...he sang and played just about everything but the drums and guitar...and he could probably have played both, given more time on stage! He was awesome...even played TWO penny whistles at the same time. Really cool.
Tomorrow we arrive at Hamilton Island for our first view of the Great Barrier Reef. We are both looking forward to that...and have our hats and sunscreen ready for the adventure! Always!!!
So that’s about our day...a big hello to Maryan...and all the other blog readers. Thanks for your comments...I’m reading every one of them! Bee, hope Chuck’s cold is better and y’all can see him on Sunday. Tell him HI.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Good morning from the Tasman Sea enroute to the Coral Sea and the GBR! After sleeping in and enjoying our breakfast on the Lido deck, we attended a briefing on the Great Barrier Reef. Other talks will be given about our ports-of-call and shore excursions. We discovered too late that there was a digital workshop, so we’ll try to see if this is offered again at some point. With our RCI ‘gold member’ status, we get to attend the wine tasting this afternoon for free ($11.45 each normally), and they offer other perks for us, such as $5 credit times two for our internet fee! Now you’re talking!!! Unfortunately, this is an older ship and there is NO wireless in the staterooms. I’ll have to take the puter to one of the public hot spots. Bummer, but better than not having it.
Yes, Sandee Comedy Plus, I saw your wave as we passed over CA...WillThink4Wine, have fun in Boston. Will you see MaggieMoo? Bee, Charlie...wish y’all were here! Along with all our kids...sure miss y’all!!!
Sydney is sooo pretty...no litter to speak of, no graffiti. We saw a City Park Ranger and chatted with him, and Dick commented that he was impressed with how clean the city is, etc., and one of his jobs is to ticket anyone throwing a ciggy butt on the sidewalk, parking tickets, etc. We both said in unison, ‘a meter maid!’ He had a great sense of humor, oops, make that humour! They drive on the left here, which also means that escalators are the reverse of ours; they walk on the left...takes some getting used to. But we are managing.
I forgot to mention that after we walked around the Sydney Tower, we did the Oz-tour, which was an interesting Cyclorama-style look at the whole continent where we sat in seats that rotated to four different dioramas of the terrain around Australia. Worth seeing. We then moved to a different room where were strapped in seats that were Disneyish...there were 180 degree screens up front for viewing as we ‘flew’ around the country.
Amy, thanks for the pics of the boys...adorable! I know they both slept well after all that playing. Brian, hope our kitties are behaving...they are also on the we-miss-list! Don’t forget to bring in the mail:-)
Phone service is spotty, so I’m gonna turn it off for now after charging it. That’s our day today. Life is good...hope yours is, too!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
And a big shout out to all the veterans out there!!! God bless each and every one of you for your service to our great country!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Uh oh, the zipper on Dick’s duffle bag just broke...traveling is an adventure for sure. He got it fixed, but for how long? It’s not the end of the world if it breaks again. Oh the tales we’ll have to tell!
BTW, we are extremely please that Haley is going on our church vestry! This is a critical year for our parish, with calling a new priest, so extra prayers are needed. We know you'll do a fine job, my dear!
Janelee, so sorry to learn of your friend's death. My prayers will now change for help with the grieving family, rather than healing. Earnestine is now totally healed!
I miss reading all my blogging friends, but love receiving all the comments, which arrive in my inbox. Keep'em coming!
Chunkygal, glad you will be along for the ride. Let me know how your ankle progresses in your comments.
We’ll be heading to the ship shortly...enjoy your day, y’all, or what is left of it! We sure will enjoy this new adventure!
First order of business upon arrival at the hotel was a shower, followed by a much-needed nap. Neither of us slept much on the plane. We woke up in time to go eat lunch in nearby Chinatown, then boarded the monorail and did a bit of touring, although it didn’t make as large a loop of Sydney as we had anticipated. We got off for pics at the aquarium area, which is where the ship will dock tomorrow, and got back on the monorail and went further along to the stop where we could go up the Sydney Tower. One picture is looking up at the Tower from the bridge near the aquarium, then the reverse...looking down on that same bridge. The other shot is a picture of the monorail.
I have blogs set up for about 10-12 days, so I’ll add more info to them as I am able. The weather is perfect...about 72. We plan to go back down to the water somewhere for dinner tonight. Where there’s water, that’s where you’ll find us! Life is good!!!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Any aspiring writer should spend time in a laundromat, not necessarily to do clothes but to take notes. Life is at its most varied there for character studies, not a bar, not a mall, not an airport or even a hospital waiting room.
You see things in a laundromat that would make Jerry Springer call it quits. You see things that are plain unexplainable.
Today, we went there again. This time Jerry dropped me and the clothes off and went to do other errands. I was pleasantly surprised that it was almost empty, lots of machines open AND in working order, no unattended children....well almost.
There are signs in the laundromat to 'please not leave your clothes unattended.' I have been thinking about that. The mental images are almost too dangerous to report. If I left the laundromat (and my clothes), would they become rowdy and do damage? If I left my clothes, did I need an attendant to do it? That one is verging on probable. Why are there signs about attending clothes, and none about attending children?
There was a real healthy young man talking on his cell phone for the benefit of the entire county and using some truly colorful language. His lip was pierced and his biceps (large) tattooed. I gave him till I had loaded all my washers to cut it out, and then I decided that one of us present should have some self respect.
I went over to him and tapped him on his biceps. I was polite but firm. I told him that his call was not quite private and that he needed to clean up his language. This could well be the end of the story for me!
He went dead quiet, and I assumed he was just showing me how it was done. Then he said in a very polite and lowered voice, "Yes Ma'am."
No more loud or naughty talk out of him in the laundromat. He did his clothes quietly and left. Guess, my "Mother" license hasn't quite expired.
So now I was still waiting on my clothes, when a man came in to pick up laundry that had been done for him. It was a huge stack of gray, not charcoal or shark mist or battleship, just depressing mop gray toilet seat covers. Who would want ONE much less a whole stack???
I thought of institutions that might use that color, but they don't use toilet seat covers. Then a woman came and she picked up a whole stack of them, too. Lordy, I thought, prison? Nursing home? Juvie?
Then Jerry finally came back and I told him about my "tank cover mystery." He told me (without even having been there himself), those weren't toilet seat covers, those are floor polishers!!!
Then there were two women who came in with industrial sized garbage bags of dirty clothes that they had to drag. For the entire time that I was washing and drying my clothes, and believe me it's a long endless stretch of gray time, they continued to bring in bags, tubs (jumbo), and baskets of laundry. They had just finished unloading all their wash as we were leaving.
So I asked myself, where would anyone get that many clothes??? Prison, nursing home, juvie???
The answer to that mystery will remain unanswered, unless they are still there when we have to go back next week.
The end. I hope you enjoyed the story.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Do you think there'll be lots of laughs to go with that food? You bet!
Happy Friday, y'all! Dick and I leave for Australia TOMORROW, so we are spending the afternoon packing, checking our lists, and collecting some sugah from the wee ones...
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I couldn't resist these beautiful trees next to a downtown cemetery...