Nadanother blog...sheesh, I guess I DO blog. Completed.
I've had a rich past, yet am making a new one with plenty of life's experiences to draw from! I invite you to come along and see what trouble I get into. I'll blog about my life, present, past... whatever comes to mind at the time. I'll try not to be too serious most of the time, heck we get enough of that just living. |
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Happy New Year!
For the mirroring blog series we do on Saturdays:
|I wanted to end this blog on my own, because I hate when people are caught unaware of the kb limits on them and are cut off without so much as a “thank you to all of my readers”. Thus I have almost reached the kb limit and have been trying to come up with something clever or funny, but heck, why start now?
Home sweet home...as nice as any vacation is, there is no place like home I confess, I am not home yet, but still on the drive back from San Diego. I figure since I am sitting in the back seat, stuffed with two big pieces of luggage, I may as well be productive.
The ride back started off pretty smoothly, until Lance made some calls. He had left his cell in the car, during the downpour when we got out of the car over two weeks ago. He used mine. Gawd. Anyway, he had a message from the wife of a friend of ours, Rosa, so he returned the call only to find out he had dropped dead on New Year’s Eve. Little Richie was only 47, and leaves behind two children in addition to his wife. Needless to say it shook us up and only reinforces my mantra, “If not now, when?” You just have to live each day to the fullest,
Little Richie. was a pretty colorful fellow, about 5’ 3” and weighed in at about 450 pounds. Lance first met his father, Richie Sr., or Big Dick as he was known, back in the 1980’s when they had hired Lance on for their shipping business. Big Dick. had a thriving business, and was from a huge Italian immigrant family who lived back East. He was very proud of his Italian roots, and he loved the time Lance and I went to NY, just so he could drive us around his old neighborhood. Big Dick loved Las Vegas, and it seemed he knew everyone, pit bosses, hoteliers, bartenders and restaurant owners. He also loved food, and often brought big aluminum trays of baked ziti or one of his other specialties to us.
Big Dick, his wife, Ellen and son loved Las Vegas. That town seemed like the Vegas of old whenever we went to Vegas, and everything was comped. You just could not pay when Big Dick was around. Ellen was a real flashy dame too. Everything about them screamed, “Look at me”, her ultra tight clothing to her big her red hair and predilection for big, gold nugget jewelry...you know the kind, studded with diamonds. Ellen would pile on the jewelry, you could never have on too much or too flashy for her, especially when she played Blackjack. Her nails were always painted, and her diamonds cleaned and sparkling. They always made sure we were invited along at least every couple of months. (Big Dick died about five years ago.)
When Little Richie and Rosa were getting married, it was to be a wedding unlike any I have attended; bigger, more lavish and more garish....and of course had to be held in Las Vegas, in a hotel ballroom. Lance was Little Richie’s best man. I was...basically arm candy, until the reception, at which time there was a raised banquet table for the bride and groom, their families, and the attendants. Since I was not in the wedding, that meant I sat at one of the 20 round, tables of ten with some strangers, wistfully looking up at my poor husband who had to be carried up the steps he could never climb.
As it goes, it was a huge, lavish Italian wedding reception, complete with six bagpipers, and both a Spanish speaking priest for Rosa’s family, and an Italian one for Little Richie’s. There was a Mariachi band, and an Italian Tenor...and a seven course meal culminating with a slab of prime rib I could barely stand the smell of, much less eat by that time. By the end of the evening, some 200 guests were fat, drunk and gambling to the tunes of a sound-alike Frank Sinatra and an Elvis sound-alike. All-in-all, a night to remember. Everything about the night was big, and like Big Dick and Little Richie, not easily forgotten.
I guess I wanted to leave you with this big memory, because I felt it appropriate to end this blog on a big memory. Thanks to each of you who have helped to make this second blog a wonderful memory.
I’m not sure when I’ll begin the third, but I expect it will be sooner, rather than later, just like this one was.
My third blog can be found here:
You know how I keep track of the days while I am at sea? They have a rug with the day of the week woven into it on the elevator floor. Well, today it said Friday, and I thought to myself, “Uh-oh, someobody is going to be in trouble ‘cause they didn’t change the rug out.’ Pretty sad huh! Either that or nobody relly cares if our vacation is extended another day. Hah! Seriously, the days at sea are so much like the one before it and the one after it you do need a reminder or you’d float into oblivion.
Let’s see, what can I tell you about today? I have a confession to make. Gulp. Take a deep breath...okay I’, ready now. The 200 year old woman is very photographic. Yep, ran into her at the photo pick-up area and I was going to sneakily shoot a photo of her for ya’ll, but dang if she didn’t pull Hubby and I aside and shove her photos in front of us saying, “These turned out pretty well don’t you think?” Well, I had to admit the four I saw of her looked pretty damn good. She introduced herself to us as Connie, and her husband Glenn...with two n’s. Well crap, how can I spin tales around her now that I know her? And to top it off she and her husband are nice. Just our luck. So I need to find someone else to pick on.
Looking around this morning here on the Lido deck, mid-ship pool there is a table of three women and one man who are totally engrossed in their hand-held devices...I’m thinking they are crossword puzzles. Each have a stylus in hand and have not looked up from them yet. At the table next to us is a man with a book and his computer, a Mac...we smiled at each other, being in the Mac secret society and all.
Hubby is reading the Wall Stret condensed version they put outside of our door each morning. The chaise lounges around the Dolphin pool are about half-full, people with towels acriss their laps to keep them warm. There are a half-dozen die-hard kids in the pool. A couple of adults are sitting in the jacuzzi. Here comes an older gentleman in a red sleeveless T-shirt with white lettering across his shirt that declares MAUI. Of course he is wearing very short shorts and using a cane. He has a very thick, gold-by-the-inch bracelet on. Hm-m-m, have I told you that little scam yet? I didn’t think so.
So, the jewelry shop aboard had this little thing where they sell you you gold plated chains by the inch. I’m not sure what the charge is per inch, but it is based on the width and type of link. When I brought Delphine on the cruise a few years back I let myself be take in...as I recall it was a Panama Canal cruise and I had made Delphine a dress for New Year’s Eve, from the Christmas ribbon which festooned the gift Mrs. Keats (Linda) had given me. I was wearing a baby blue gown and they were selling some of the chains...so I found a white-gold plated one which had blue crystals in it and bought something like two inches of it for her to wear. I remember I bought two “necklaces” , one just yellow gold with a couple of dangling hearts...which, if I remember correcly I later sent to Scarlett for one of her delightful duckies. Anyway, that trip lightened my wallet sufficiently as to not entertain the thought of shopping it again.
Hey, some woman just walked by with a Missoula T-Shirt on! This cruise has more gays, blue hairs and funnywalkers than I’ve seen before. I guess I shouldn’t talk, I’m contributing to that description.
Last night I saw six officers in the bar. Those were the largest concentration of younger men I’ve seen in 12 days. Gawd. Okay I take it back, the waiters and cabin stewards are young, and they smile.
I hate that the mystique has been taken away from the 200 year old woman, she had been by far the most interesting person to speculate on. Of course I didn’t have to tell you, but hey, my imagination is not such as to be able to attribute weird things to peole I know.
Oh, here comes a real winner...his name is Ron, a tall man who is the “Celler Master”...in other words the expert on fine wines. What a crock. I happen to have seen him both in and out of uniform....uh-h-h-h out of his uniform because two days ago he was in the swimming pool playing volleyball in the Crew vs Passenger game. Can you guess which side won? Yep...they ended up playing three matches, with the last being a tie-breaker, Anyway, in the “fancy” restaurant he comes in and pushes more expensive bottles of wine, except we don’t drink wine, beyond glass now and then, to be sociable. So the other night Hubby and I are dining there, here is a pic hubby took of me:
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and I remarked that his palate must not be too great because I see him outside smoking every day. I an say this because I was a smoker and I know now how it affects your tastebuds. I would not trust his choice in wines...but hey, I didn’t hire him on. He came over and shook our hands like we were long lost friends. Of course we had never been introduced to him, but hey, who can blame him for wanting to know us? Anyway, he’s one of those officers that hits on the passengers, I know, I study these things. Poor guy was trying to woo some lady the other day in the library...gawd, five in the afternoon, only 15 minutes from his shift and he’s dressed in a tuxedo (waiter style) and I can hear him as we passed, “Sooo, where are you from?” Gawd so original.
Well, I don’t have many minutes left, so you may not hear from me again until I get home...one more formal night to go, a dinner to celebrate a birthday, and then the ride home to see my boys, Mike, Cesar, Niley and Frasier. I say Bon Voyage from about a 1,000 miles out of San Diego....see you when I get back home!
|The Party’s Over...
Gosh, I know how breathlessly you have been awaiting a full report on my New Year’s Eve aboard ship...so here I am. I didn’t mean to frighten anyone with yesterday’s entry, it was just a different way to end the year. I really wanted to exercise my writing ability beyond my usual sarcasm and humor. I think I succeeded.
Last night the ship didn’t have much planned. We were a little bit late leaving Kona, which meant the planned sail around the island to see the lava racing down to the ocean would be later, around 10:45 the Captain announced.
Lance and I got all dressed up, he in a white tuxedo jacket, black bow tie and his black velvet evening slippers...the ones with the red devil embroidered on the toes. I made him buy those a number of years ago after seeing them, thinking what would be more perfect than those, for a New Year’s Eve? To be fair, he has three pairs of velvet evening shoes, one plain, the devils and one with a golden crest. He wears the devil ones for me, and tucks in a red silk hankie into his breast pocket. Dashing man!
I wore a silk long gown, patterned on an off-white background were laid; baby blue, lavender, golds, sage green and various shade of browns. The print was similar to a Batik or Tapa cloth...it seemed to me just perfect for a Hawaiian New Years. I found it three days before we left, an expensive gown nobody else wanted, thus hanging on a heavily marked down sale rack at an outlet store. It is a designer, Nichole Miller, I’ve long felt designed for a woman’s body...curves and recesses perfectly followed. I’ve had a few of her day/cocktail dresses over the years, they seemed to fit me perfectly, as I recall. I finally had to retire the three I had, I’ve grown a bit...ahem. Anyway, I wore my Ceylon, pale blue sapphire necklace, earrings, bracelet and ring...reminiscent of the shade of the ocean. I had a beige chiffon shawl and a silver crystal evening bag. If I don’t say so myself we looked quite the dashing couple.
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Our first stop was the cocktail lounge, where we were joined by a lovely, older Scottish/Canadian woman traveling alone. We saw her drink a martini each night, all alone in a corner table. Then she would go to see the show. We invited her to sit with us anytime she saw us, and last night she took us up on it. She was traveling alone because her husband passed away last year, and they had always traveled during the holidays. This year she decided not to sit home, but honor him by continuing on their tradition. They were childless, thus able to be away during the holidays. She is a retired payroll person for Ford, and imparted to us that her extended family were also all in the car business. Some had just been laid off in Michigan. Soon enough it was time for our 8 pm dinner reservations, hers with her nightly table and us with the new people we had met at dinner a few nights ago.
John, Andy, Hugh, George and Nancy were all standing in line as we got to the dining room entrance, however since it was me who made the dinner reservations I knew the table number, therefore concluded we did not have to wait in line, but like the Pied Piper led the line of our table-mates to the table...over the protestations of hubby, who thought it was rude of me to circumvent the Maitré D’. I thought it was ruder to keep us out of the dining room like some herd of cattle; obviously I won this battle.
Dinner was horrible...okay the worst choices we had since coming aboard. It was almost like the chef decided nobody would care what we ate, so clean out the fridge.
The highlight of the evening was to be the sailing around the island, and getting to see the lava flow, but as we finished dining the cruise director came over the loudspeaker to inform us that it was raining so hard we would not be able to see anything. Well whoop-de-doo! So, at about 10:45 we finished dinner and went upstairs to our room, content to have had a glass of champagne with the dessert, and we rang in the New Year snug in our bed watching CNN’s rerun of their celebration. On one of the channels they had a graphic with the ship’s time, counting down, 5, 4, 3, 2, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Don’t I lead the most exciting life?
In other scintillating news from sea, the 200 year old woman spoke to me while I got hubby a sandwich. She was getting one for herself and was upset that the help didn’t seem to understand her request for the prep of her grilled cheese sandwich. She turned to me an said, “Low class food up here.” Oh, that must explain why we are all here. Gawd.
I think I may have seen the man who came to my door the other night, he was on the dance floor doing some ballroom dancing with perhaps the woman he was looking for?
Last night the English couple was supposed to have dinner with us in the Grill, but as I got dressed Bernadette called me to cancel. It seems she drank too much cheap champagne and had been in bed all day trying to recover. Lance and I licked our wounds and came to the realization nobody does want to have dinner with us. Oh well, it is a good thing we make each other laugh and have a good time together.
Sadly, that’s about all the excitement I have to report...it is sunny, but chilly, so as soon as I post this I’m going down to the cabin to get a hooded sweater!
|It was day nine of the cruise, and she sat on the rear deck, sheltered from the blazing sun, the first sunny day, and coincidentally the last port. It was odd, last night the paper delivered to their cabin, stuck in the oversized clip outside of their door, had given the prediction of rain for today. It would not have been a surprise, considering the dearth of sunshine so far.
Sitting at a shady table she had a clear view of the Aft pool, and an unwelcome seat at the end of the ping-pong table. Only moments before two youngsters had played a spirited game, frequently knocking the small ball off of the table, sometimes smacking her in the face, or the leg. The odd thing was the young man, Ben, never even apologized, instead chasing the ball down like it was some prize, yelling back at his sister that he deserved a replay. It was not surprising, youngsters seem to be void of the manners her own mother had ingrained in her, through “dirty looks” and reproach.
Sitting here she felt small, so small it was as if she were invisible, a mere blip on the screen of life, which I suppose she is. The last day of 2008 was here, looming over the passengers with all of its unsavory days. A sad cruise, yes that is what her husband has called it the first day. She didn’t know why he said it then, it was more like a group tiredness she thought. Sure, the travel to get to the ship had been a rough one; rain, snow, cancelled flights and hours spent waiting, but now the cruise was well under way, and still the pervasive sadness she had tried to deny was still evident.
Maybe it was the weather, but not likely, as most passengers were well beyond the age, or need to find themselves sunburned or bronzed at the end of a day. There was no smell of suntan lotion, just the collective groans of old people trying to dry out some of the dampness it had taken a lifetime to accumulate. Once and awhile she caught a fleeting glimpse of an oiled body, but knew immediately it would be one of half a dozen gay men, the only ones still vain enough to care how they looked in a bathing suit. Still, she always looked. She wasn’t dead yet, it just felt that way sometimes.
Off in the distance she saw a brightly colored jellyfish-shaped object in the sky, hovering with the faint outline of a human dangling beneath it, tethered by a cord to a motorboat. Yes, she remembered her own youthful days spent dangling in excitement from such a contraption, snapping photos of the gleaming white palace, a disco, below on the outcropped cliff of Mazatlan. Her husband asked if she intended to parasail today, as if it were a reasonable thing to ask. “No” she answered, “not today.”
The pool lounge-chairs were covered in blue and white striped towels, all facing the the rippled, empty blue water in the pool. A pool which at one end was occupied by an pair of absurdly, abstractly painted cows. Both were topped with a set of orange horns, both laying there wondering what could they possibly have done to deserve this? She knew though, they were tossed aboard during a violent storm in InstanBULL. The thought made her laugh aloud, but nobody took notice of her laughing alone in the corner underneath the stairs. Such was her invisible presence. She was growing accustomed to it. Not happy about it, but what can you do? The alternative did not seem very attractive.
An elderly man tried desperately to cough up some phlegm...his cane casually strewn on the table, his hearing aid turned off. Did he know how horrible it sounded? Did he care? She didn’t think so.
Tonight is New Year’s Eve she thought. What a year it had been. It began with the ending of another cruise, she laughed again as she thought of the creepy old guy from New York that she had despised; the one her husband felt the need to defend her from. At least he was not discriminating, eventually annoying all people he had come in contact with.
Just then the loudspeakers began playing Hawaiian music, at a volume unnecessary, but welcome, as it drowned out the deep rumbling coughing of the old man sitting in front of her...if only he could time the cough during the solos, and to the bobbing of the parasail. Ahhh, he grabbed his cane and hobbled off towards the Lido buffet, no doubt to grab a tray and have it filled with something they called sushi but was really just a dollop of canned tuna rolled up in seaweed and rice. She knew this because her husband had gotten fooled the one time they ate from the buffet. He was appalled, rightfully so. The economy had taken such a downturn the substitutions were probably taken as a cost cutting measure, but to anyone with a decent palate, it was entirely unacceptable.
Like just last night as they sat in the bar, listening for the umpteenth time to the Romanian singer doing her own old gramophone sounding imitation of Billie Holiday singing “Hello Dolly”. (As if Billie ever heard, much less sang that song.) Her husband wondered where the hot pupus were, and he was not speaking of the fried cheese-balls or ground up salmon balls they had been serving, but the ones of old, the smoked duck quesadillas, or...even the barbeque chicken wings. All things of days gone by. “Lovely Hula Hands....” the canned music played on.
So what else had happened this past year? Quite a few deaths of people she felt like she knew, Paul Newman, Charleton Heston, William Buckley, Suzanne Pleshette, and the list went on, according to a memorial on CNN she had seen this morning. Oh yes, there was the open heart surgery her husband had in March. And the long, hot summer which wasn’t. The house hunting, the birthday trip to London...quite possibly the highlight of the year.
The year is going out with a fizzle, like the economy. Well, at least Obama had a nice vacation, well a sunny one. Nice knowing the only rainy day in Honoluu happened while she was in port.
Okay, I’m past my sad observations and ready to don a festive gown and sit with other festively dressed guests and party down until my charriot turns into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight! Happy New Year my friends!
PS...note to self: I have to quit reading these sad novels!
|Well, this is an exciting cruise. Yawn. I never would have believed it, but nobody wants to have dinner with us. It’s about 9:30 pm and we have just finished dinner and are back in our room. You know, getting older sucks...either that or ...nah, it’s that we are getting older.
Last night we had such a delicious dinner in the specialty restaurant we made reservations for tonight. Besides that, we didn’t realize we could not sign for a gratuity in there, so we told our waiter, Yoss, we would be back. True to our word we dressed up and ...oh yes, but we had plans with Bernadette and Tony for drinks first. We actually planned on asking them to join us for dinner.
Well, we saw them in the bar right away and sat down. Some would say that was our first mistake. Having met them in passing (so to speak) we had no idea what was awaiting us at cocktails...a couple of motormouths, who kept interrupting each other to tell their own stories, about the same thing. First they told us about having been to the Catholic Services, since Tony is a ...u-h-h-h something or other to do with the church. I don’t really know much about the Catholic Church...but anyway, he began talking about Jews...perhaps not realizing Lance is Jewish. That wasn’t so bad though. We found out they immigrated to America in 1968, Tony got a job with a company so bright-eyed and full of stars in their eyes they moved to California. Tony was from Blackpool, Bernadette is Irish. They had three children, who I am positive never were able to get a word in edgewise.
Anyway, after a couple of drinks Lance asked them to join us for dinner. Apparently I was too dressed up for Bernadette, who assured us they would have dinner with us another time, when she could dress up more. Crestfallen yet again Hubby and I headed downstairs to have dinner alone! Oh well, we do enjoy each other’s company, especially when I am all giggly after a few Vanilla Vodkas.
Our waiter, Yoss was the same one, and he and Roger, the Maitre’d seemed thrilled to have us back. Well of course they did, the ship was still in Honolulu and most passengers were eating off of the ship, or....were at the pool party having fun and games with frou-frou drinks decorated with umbrellas and cherries. The last pool games we saw were while at sea, and it involved two teams of volunteers (a married couple and two drunk men) a wet t-shirt and swimming lengths of the pool in a race. It was not pretty...or funny...but I digress.
The wine steward came over to ask if we cared for a drink, but by then I was pretty sloshed, so I asked for a Coke and Hubby asked for a Sprite. That thrilled them to no end, but off he went to retrieve them for us. Then I reminded Lance that we have a “soda card”....
I was now giggling so hard it was nearly impossible to get the words out. “We-e-e-e have S---OHHHH...” And I would dissolve in laughter again.
“What?” By now my laughter was coming in gales and Lance couldn’t help but start laughing...not because he knew what I was laughing about, but now he laughed at me. Thankfully the room was pretty empty so I wasn’t making too big a fool of myself. Then I tried to compose myself so I could tell him what I found so funny. You see, the first day aboard we had ordered a Coke and the steward asked us if we wanted to purchase a soda card. What this means is for $18 you can buy this plastic card entitling you to 18 glasses of soda...not cans, but glasses. I guess it was in response to having so many children ordering soft drinks and having to track down the parents to sign for them. At any rate, it was less expensive than ordering a can of soda at $1.50 each...so I was struck at the absurdity that we were about to pay $1.50 apiece for our “cans” of soda in the restaurant, when we could have used our “soda cards”. Okay, so maybe not that funny, but it struck me as hysterically funny at the time. (Oh gawd, the waiter that brought us our soda’s last night was just saying hello...his name is Noel, and he wanted to know if we would be coming back to the specialty restaurant tonight...which we are not.)
Finally I was able to tell Lance what was so funny...but then we had to concentrate on ordering...our waiter had one of those “tics” where his right eye kept winking. At first I didn’t know if he was trying to tell me he was just kidding about how good whatever dish he was describing was, but when he kept doing it, along with the shoulder tic, I figured he was related to Rodney Dangerfield in some remote way. After he took our order I had to hear Lance tell me how embarrassing it could be...if some customer thought the waiter was winking at the wife or girlfriend. Hm-m-m-m, I hadn’t thought of that.
Across the room were two women celebrating their mutual birthdays. One, a retired librarian, was scolding the other about sleeping too long; she considered 7-8 hours sleeping all day! Oh really...then Lance and I feel positively decadent! I thought it was sweet how they ordered baked Alaska...although they did complain that it was stuffed with Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream...who complains about that?
On our way out was a couple...and I had to do a double take, as I could not believe my eyes. He was a good looking older gentleman, in fat rather distinguished...however it is not him I want to describe, but his wife. I would guess her to be...oh maybe 200 years old. (No, that is not a typo.) I say this because I don’t believe I have ever seen a woman who more closely resembled the mother of the Norman Bates character in “Psycho”. She obviously was living in a fantasy world, except she spoke to us...which did nothing to shatter the illusion, as when she spoke the dark red slash of her mouth opened and closed, clicking as her false teeth dislocated and slipped into view, making me even more distracted than I was. You see, she wore a blonde wig, maybe once upon a time the long curls were ringlets, but alas, no more. They were more a tangled mess resembling Betty Davis’ in the final moments of “Baby Jane”. Seriously. To further compliment her odd appearance was the fact she wore a red feather boa casually draped around her thin neck. Her red and orange satin dress only served to make her look more pale and frail...but I never heard a word she said. I was too mesmerized by the clacking sound of her teeth as they slipped on and off of her gums. Her huge, fake silk poinsettia stuck over her ear on the side which is usually reserved for single women, though obviously she was not. The gentleman with her seemed to be oblivious to the disturbing nature of his wife’s appearance. I did find this touching on a certain level, but I hoped that if such a day came for me; when I would slip out of reality and become a total character from my past (or the past I thought existed as the present), whoever is taking care of me would be able talk me out of such a public display, and have me play the absurd dress up game in the privacy of my home. Although, if she had not been on the ship would I have such a rich character to describe? On second thought, let me be the germ of a character in someone else’s novel or story.
I just saw the woman again, and today she is wearing black sequined and crystal studded tennis shoes...probably made to order, as surely I would know if such a thing existed! She continues to wear the silk flower, only now it is a bright red antherium, with the bright yellow piston shooting into the air, like a pipe cleaner in search of a pipe. I chuckle to myself, as I remember that here, in Hawaii, these are called “The Virgin’s Delight”. Maybe she is not so far fetched after all.
We are docked just outside of Lahaina, Maui today. It has been cloudy and rainy all day, much to Lance’s chagrin. He did get some sun yesterday, but who knew it would be rainy here too. Of course it doesn’t bother me being cloudy, it’s much nicer to sit outside on the deck when it is not hot and humid.
Last night we were seated with five other people, a couple from Alabama and three men from Palm Springs. We had a lovely time, and decided all of us would eat together on New Year’s Eve. So that is the plan for us. Tomorrow we will be in Kona, then we head back...back to a New Year.
I have not been taking photos, I suppose a case of been there, done that...but I do have a formal photo taken on Christmas, I just keep forgetting to pick it up when the photo shop is open. I will soon...and of course tomorrow is another formal night.
I hope all is well with you all, I miss reading what is going on with you, but when I am able to get online I do try to catch up with one or two of you. I’ll have tons of catching up to do!
I think we are down to only five more hole punches on the soda card...wahoo...I sure do lead an exciting life. Oh, but we have company who want to eat with us for the next two nights...will wonders ever cease?
Happy three/four days after Christmas. I’ve got a huge smile on my face at the moment, Lance...not so much. Yes, of course I’m going to explain.
We just got back to our room after having dinner in the Pinnacle grill, the only restaurant on the ship which charges you extra to eat there. Hey, it’s worth the $20 apiece to get the aged, prime beef offered and then cooked to perfection...but I digress.
We both have stripped off our evening clothes, Lance was dressed in a sports coat, me in the designer dress I wore on our 25th anniversary...I just slipped on my nightgown...nothing sexy, but more like a sundress...something I’d throw on at home so it isn’t weird to wear around Cesar or my son. I’m taking Lance’s clothing and hanging it up for him when I hear a knock on the door. Wow...who would be knocking on our door at 10 pm? I open the door to hear, “Hi...oh-h-h-h-h” I smiled, there was a very nice looking man who obviously had set up some kind of rondevous set up with someone else...”Oh, I must have the wrong room.” I’m thinking, oh yeah, but ....I say, “Yes, I think so.” I closed the door and Lance looked at me. WHAT? So now you know why I was smiling...an innocent mistake that made my night...and who knows, maybe Mystery Man’s too?
So, I know you’re dying to know if the trip has gotten any better. Um-m-m...yeah. We got to Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii this morning about 11. Yes, it took all of this time to cross the Pacific to get to our first stop...and yes, we got here about three hours late because we had to depart San Diego late due to late flights....you know the story about all of the bad weather delaying flights. Most people did make it, but the Captain said some didn’t. In retrospect I’m weighing whether rain at home or rain here would have been better. No contest, the diversions here win hands down!
Actually, yesterday I had a massage, not a great one, but entirely adequate. By the time I finished it...the sun had come out! Lance was smiling and slightly sunburned. I could see our time was going to be better now. Amazing what a few hours of sunshine will do to the psyche!
So before we went to dinner we did our customary cocktail hour in the Ocean Bar. I discovered, much to my dismay, that the cruise line has now discontinued their practice of hiring on dance hosts. Usually there are four gentlemen who, in exchange for a free cruise, are supposed to dance with the women who have no dance partner aboard. It’s always been one of the reasons my girlfriends and I cruise on Holland America. Of course I called Phyllis to let her know. The economy is affecting the bottom lines of every business, Sigh.
We found the lounge crowded, but not necessarily every seat is filled, but rather there are few tables accommodating just a couple, but more set up for parties of four or six. It is made more difficult for us by the fact Lance has his electric cart, which cannot squeeze between some of the plush chairs. I said difficult, but often a couple sitting alone at a larger table will invite us to sit with them. That seems to be how we meet people, other than by being seated at a large table for dinner. It was no different tonight, fortunately. A well dressed couple invited us to sit with them, Newt and his new bride, Akiko. She was very animated, not speaking English too well, but charming in her halting words and generous hand movements. Newt, on the other hand, looked as though he had swallowed something distinctly sour, and had little to say. She had a glass a red wine, he had a scowl. We managed to find out they live near San Diego, but this was their first trip to Hawaii. They had taken a tour to one of the volcanoes.
Did I mention that Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes both had snow on them? Yes, though you could lay on the beach soaking up rays, just turn your head to look away from the ocean and you will be struck by glistening snow covering the top of the volcano. I took a photo for you of one...unfortunately as they are the tallest points on the island the clouds hover...but if you look carefully at the straight line of the white, that would be where the snow line ends. ** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **
Newt and his wife took off for dinner leaving Lance and I to wonder if we were going to see anyone we had met before. I mentioned we hadn’t seen Bernadette and Tony, the English couple. At just that moment we spotted them and went over to say “hello”. They had a lovely dinner at the Pinnacle for their anniversary, and we mentioned we were on our way there for dinner. Well, Tony was not going to let us get away so easily, he began a story as I shifted my weight from one high heel to another. Then I squatted as his story went on, and on and on. The waiter offered me a chair, but I declined, instead choosing to balance on the edge of a table (which was bolted down), figuring if I took a seat we would be late for our 7:45 dinner reservation. Finally we made plans to meet them for a drink tomorrow (now today) while in Honolulu, and said our goodbyes.
Dinner was incredibly good, prime aged beef with choices of sides, I had velvety smooth potatoes, and a starter of a spinach salad...except it was made from Arugala. We finished it off with chocolate souffles and another reservation for dinner for the next night, for four this time. Hopefully we will find someone to eat with us.
That brings us to the beginning of this blog and the Mystery Man’s knock.
We are in Honolulu now, docked at the Aloha Tower, which is right in downtown and adjacent to a shopping area.
I don’t know how much is open, either because of the downturn or because it is Sunday, but I’ll see if I can’t find some post cards or something. I expect Lance will sit in the in-and-out sun, working on his tan.
PS...only sun for an hour, lol.
|Well, we made it aboard, but not without some plenty of excitement. Hey, you didn’t really expect things would go smoothly now did you?
Well, we are on the fifth day of the cruise, two formal nights behind us, and absolutely not even one sunny day. As you can imagine, there is a very unhappy camper sharing this cabin with me.
Our auspicious beginning was the pouring rain on the drive down. Then came the real insult, instead of being able to be dropped off curbside, we were shunted to a small concrete island four cars away and told we could get out there. Uh...it is pouring down rain. Anyone have a large umbrella? The answer was apparent, “No.” So, we unloaded the cart, Cesar put it together and someone helped us get out our five bags. By the time we headed across the lanes of traffic, stood in the lines snaking out of the huge terminal, we were soaked to the bone. Lance’s khaki pant’s now molded to his legs in a cruel joke, his navy blue blazer no longer recognizable as the snappy sports coat. In a stroke of genius, I had grabbed my black trench-coat, thus saving all but my head from the cold pelting. It seems two other cruise-ships were also leaving about the same time. By my calculations, it would be about 7,500 passengers and crew all trying to get aboard the three ships as soon as possible. Gawd.
Security was pleasant, considering the hoards of humanity who had survived the trip (so far) to this point. Once aboard we were standing in front of the elevator awaiting a ride up to the 7th floor, where our suite awaited us. I had such fond memories of the last Hawaiian cruise with Lance, in the large room, separate dressing room and double sinks. Ahhh yes, what would be our home for the next fifteen days. The young steward escorted us into the elevator saying, “Everyone goes up to the Lido, have some lunch, your rooms are not ready yet.” Okay...we exited on the Lido Deck to be greeted by fellow passengers in various stages of eating plates of food precariously balanced on their knees. I only wanted a place to sit, one where I could help Lance dry off some. The rained on clothing sticking wetly, coldly to his body. We found a place for me to sit and I extracted a crumbled kleenex from my purse and tried to wipe off his jacket. The tissue began to disintegrate and small pieces of white lint shown brightly against the midnight blue of the wet fabric. Uh-oh. For a moment I was tempted to make a wish on this, his personal night sky, but no time for fantasies, as the announcement that all rooms were now ready came blaring over the loudspeakers.
We took our time, realizing that we only needed to go down one floor to access our suite. We let the mass of humanity clear out, leaving leftovers on their plate, crumpled cracker wrappers and odd bits of unconsumed, unrecognizable pieces, of gawd knows what, there for someone else to clean up. The poor crew, probably working on their 16th hour by now, and still the afternoon of bag schlepping and food cooking left to do before calling it a night themselves.
Our room was the last one on the Navigation Deck, Starboard side, 7087. I inserted our room key and thrust open the heavy door, a small suitcase rolling behind me, the one filled with his medicines and our grooming essentials. My jaw dropped. This was not the room I remembered, this was...a closet-sized obstacle course. Yes, it had a balcony, but there was barely enough room between the beds and wall for Lance and his cart...and when he did so, there was no room for him to turn around. The bathroom door opened into the room and from the opposite side, therefore rendering Lance incapable of opening the door while he was in the hallway...which also meant once inside the bathroom he could not close the door either.
As our other four suitcases arrived I looked around and wondered where we would put them until I could unpack us. This felt like we have been very, very bad and Santa was leaving a huge lump of coal in our stocking. Honest, we were not this bad Santa.
Okay, enough of my doom and gloom scenario! It’s now the day after Christmas, everything has been tucked into its places around the room, we have laughed at the absurdities life threw our way and here I am sitting in the internet cafe with roughly 175 minutes left on my package deal.
I’ve decided I’ll blog on the word processor and do the copy and paste thing. The only problem I’ve had with this is there has not been even one lousy moment of sun so far on the trip. So, hubby and I are now glued at the hip, where I go, he goes. We discovered that his electric cart is not holding the charge very long, especially when you ‘forget’ and leave the key inside, effectively draining all of the juice out. So much for independence! We were on our way to look at the formal photos we took for you, when it seemed as though he was running on empty, so I just made a quick dash back to the room to get his electrical tether while he scoured the internet cafe for an electrical outlet.
As I type this, he is sitting over by the window getting charged up and reading a couple of magazines. I suppose when he gets a sufficient charge we’ll pop up to the Lido and find ourselfves eating some lunch.
We chose open seating this cruise, and so far have sat with different groups of people, none of whom have chosen to make any future dining plans with us. I’m sitting here laughing, as this once elegant cruise-line has cut costs (like many others) and I can assure you we will not be a guest of theirs on any future cruises.
Last night we sat with three retired Air Force men...about my father’s age, one was a Colonel, one a Lt. Colonel and I don’t remember the other’s rank, but I do know he lives in Chicago. Also at our table were the ship’s doctor, wife and one of their four children. Rounding out our table was the Cruise Director and her father. It was a lively group, especially the doctor and his wife, from the Dallas/Fort Worth suburb of Sunnysomething or other. She was precicely the embodiment of a woman who monpolized the conversation and had nothing of interest to say. I’ll call her Tish. The one son who decided to join the table is 16-going-on-seventeen and interested in show business or hockey. He had great manners, “yes sir, no mam” and was a pleasure to sit next to, even though he was so young he did not know who Danny Thomas is. Yikes! The really interesting part was how much the doctor drank...wine, champagne and at the end of the dinner, he bought us all the “house shooter” and implored us to drink it....in one gulp! It was Bailey’s, banana liquor, and Tia Maria. I thought I was going to barf right there. I couldn’t do it, having consumed two cocktails in the lounge prior to dinner. The doc pointed me out as one who only drank half the shooter...then told everyone, “You can keep keep the shot glass.” Like it was some sort of prize. Well, I still had a bunch of the vile mixture left, was feeling nauseaus from the half shot, and determined I would not try to out two sticky shot glasses into my crystal covered evening purse which had gathered so many oohs and aahs for it’s unique likeness to a watermelon slice.
We met a delightful, funny couple in the bar, prior to dinner...they were English, now living in San Diego. Tonight is their thirty-eighth wedding anniversary...hope to see them again soon.
I did get a few formal photos taken, since we have had two already, but the seas have been rough, 20-30 foot swells, so I have been unable to take a digital photo without eextreme blurring...so as of yet, no pics for you. Perhaps tomorrow, when we are in port in Hilo, it will be calm enough to take them and get them in. Sooner or later.
I have managed to read an entire book do to the horrible weather...I read “White Oleander”, a wonderfully written book...depressing, but the most carefully drawn characters I’ve read in ages. I would highly recommend it. I never saw the movie either...but don’t let the book escape your lists.
Signing off for now...your mildly amused cruisers...hope you all had a very nice Christmas!
|...and all through the ship, not a sailor had even abandoned the ship, lol....although...it's really rough seas, raining and who can walk in high heels with 20 foot or better swells?
I just wanted to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas~ I'll do a normal blog on my Word program and copy and paste it here when I can. I even have our first fromal pics from last night to include.
I've not had an opportunity to read your blogs, but will when I get the opportunity...as you can imagine time is limited online at 75 cents per minute!
Anyway, expect a blog with the real truth any day now! Merry Christmas my friends!
|Bette Midler's version:
Video Postcard version
I've been packing for two, trying on my ill-fitting clothing for two days....I'm so tired and still have the last bag to do in the morning. It's a bummer since it will be raining and having to drive what, would normally be a four hour drive to San Diego, but people in California don't know how to drive in the rain. Usually there are a minimum of 100 accidents on the freeways...which could close them down for hours. Please cross your fingers for us that it won't happen.
Oh boy! We leave at 9 am....in hopes we will be able to make it by 4 pm...an hour before sailing. I have a feeling it is going to be rough seas too. I saw Obama get off of the plane in Honolulu and there was no sun. Great. Lance is going to be thrilled if there is no pool time in the sun. Me...not so much. Rough seas are practically guaranteed too...good thing we don't get seasick!
Okay, enough bitching and moaning, it is going to be a vacation after all. For me it doesn't really begin until Tuesday morning though...once I have gotten us all unpacked and we have one good night's sleep behind us.
So my friends, this is my last blog until I get settled and signed up on the ship. Tuesday or Wednesday is my best guess. I'll wish you all a Merry Christmas now, because I am sure I can do so now...not so much from the Pacific, at least on my schedule. Take care of yourselves, and I promise to also.
Goodnight and peace...