Wednesday, November 28, 2007
As most of you know Kelly and Jamie are right now in the middle of the Caribbean having a grand old time. They left the cats at home but knowing that Harley needed extra love and attention they opted to let grandma babysit. The first day Harley was totally lost - he whined and looked for Jamie and Kelly all day long. Then on Sunday evening Jamie called me to say "we're heading out of the harbor right now!! Kelly got on the phone to bark at Harley and his ears perked up and he sat listening, simply entranced. (I can imagine how 'entranced' the people on the ship were, listening to a grown man bark into his cell phone!!) But evidently Kelly told Harley to be happy and have a fun week with grandma (see, I can understand dog speak too!)
Harley has been so cute all week. He is my shadow!! Reminds me of when I had babies at home!! He follows me upstairs, he follows me downstairs, he follows me upstairs again. He sits and whines at the bathroom door when I close it for privacy!! Best of all, he can't stand to see me sitting in my Lazy Boy recliner without him being in my lap. I had gotten into the habit of eating my breakfast in the chair while reading the newspaper. Have you ever tried to read the newspaper and balance a bowl of cereal on your lap when you have 20+ pounds of dog jumping into your lap? FUN!! I have given up trying to work online during the day because if I am upstairs in my chair working on my laptop he is sitting there with his big brown Harley eyes whining for me to let him on my lap. So then I go downstairs on my main computer and he sits and whines because he can't jump into my lap there either. It is now 9 pm at night and Harley dog is in his favorite spot - under the covers of my bed, right next to me as I read!! Its a tough life!!
Friday, November 23, 2007
We have all been wondering who Emma looks like so I got busy and found some old pictures of Kecia, which is not really easy because Kecia has scrapbooked a LOT of her baby pictures so I had to really hunt. These two were taken in early 1981 - probably when Kecia and Kelly were about two months old. I would say Emma does look a lot like her mama - except her mama didn't have nearly as much hair. And, Emma doesn't have a twin brother that she had to hold onto all of the time!! What do you think Glenn and Kecia - is it a match?
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Kecia just posted some more pictures of Emma on her blog spot and I thoroughly enjoyed them. It is amazing how dear a grandbaby can be to ones heart. I don't know why I have let Emma 'in' so close ... Maybe because Kecia and Glenn opened their hearts and home to me and let me cuddle and love her...I got to do the same when Adrie Anna was a baby too and I hold some special memories there. I hope I don't hurt any feelings but somehow a daughter's daughter is...not more special ...but more ...would the word be "available"??
I need to be careful of what I say here because I know that I have some fantastic daughter in laws that might read this...I love everyone one of them too - but I have allowed them to set the limits and even when they don't I set my own limits -- I don't want to be the bothersome mother-in-law taking over their new baby... but with my own daughters - I can be me totally and they have to love me anyway!! So I can get away with more holding and hugging and grandmothering.
I hope you all can understand what I am trying to say - my baby's baby holds a special place in my heart - she is so little and so warm and so innocent.
Most likely it is because Emma is the newest and the whole family is excited - being there when she was just minutes old and then getting to return and be THE GRANDMA. Emma only wants to be held and cuddled right now and I can fulfil that calling to my hearts content. Anyway - I love Emma - I love all of my children (and that includes those fantastic in law children) and I adore all of my grandchildren. I thank the Lord for such blessings in my life. I hope they know that even though I am not the 'cooking' grandma that always has cookies on hand for them I do think of them often.
I went down to Provo last night with Kristanne and Mauri and Jamie and also Mickey and Adrie and we have decided that we need to get our Utah County kids closer - Lehi isn't too bad - it is just 45 minutes away but Provo is much to far. However - Dirk and Glenn - you need to sell your houses and move to Davis County. I have spoken!! Now we will see who will actually listen!! Hee Hee Hee
Sunday, November 18, 2007
SLOW COOKER BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
makes six servings
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped (½ cup)
1 butternut squash (2 lb), peeled, cubed
2 cups water
½ teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed
In 10 inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; stirring occasionally until crisp-tender
In 3-4 quart slow cooker, mix onion and remaining ingredients except cream cheese
Cover: cook on low heat setting 6-8 hrs
In blender or food processor, place 1/3 to ½ of mixture at a time. Cover; blend on high speed until smooth. Return mixture to slow cooker. Stir in cream cheese. Cover, cook on low heat setting about 30 minutes longer or until cheese is melted, stirring with wire whisk until smooth.
NOTE: I cooked the squash whole in the microwave for about 8-10 minutes in order to make it easier to peel and cube. Because it was partially pre-cooked the soup was done in three - four hours.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
It is safe for me to make that statement since my other granddaughters were born in the 1990's and Emma is a 21st century baby! What a joy! Kecia and Glenn are going to make fantastic parents. She was born November 13, 2007 - she weighed in at 8lbs 1 ounce and is 19 1/2 inches long - that makes her so plump and pretty - dark dark eyes and dark brown hair. So far she seems like she has a very mellow personality - other than when she is hungry!! The whole family has made it down to Provo to pass inspection and they all agree that she is precious. We haven't figured out who she looks like yet - I think she has Glenn's smile.
They are naming her Emma Lynn Gilliam - I love it. She has her mama's middle name. I get to spend Thursday, Friday and Saturday playing grandma (that means holding the baby!! YEAH!!)
Monday, November 12, 2007
The new craft that I am learning makes just as much a mess in my workspace!! I bought a scrapbook on my cruise and have been trying to organize my pictures in a fun and cute manner. I sat down in the corner of my living room and had stuff everywhere in no time at all. The filler kit that I also bought on the cruise has lots of cut scrapbook paper, stickers, pictures, ribbons, and even little spongey squares that you put under the cutouts to make them look three dimensional. The kit also came with two glue pens and a black marker with a felt tip and a slim tip. So I went to work. I got about half way through the week and I will take the rest of the stuff to the Orem Hospital to give us something to do tomorrow while we are waiting around for Emma to show up. I don't think I am going to get in too deep into this craft - there are just too many cutsie things to spend your money on REAL fast. I did buy a couple of sticker sets at Wal Mart tonight for Kecia to use in Emma's scrapbook.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
By now we automatically headed to the dining room for breakfast because we loved the food, the atmosphere and the fun people we got to sit with and learn about.
I must make note here that we did use the stairs most of the time we were moving around the ship. Only when we had four or more flights of stairs to ascend or five or more flights to descend did we use the elevators. It was always fun to use the outside elevators because that gave us a gorgeous view of the ocean as we moved up or down. By now, we pretty much knew our way around the ship and could find or stateroom port or aft whichever direction we were headed. Our meals were just two or three flights down and the shows every evening were three or four flights down. The lido deck, where the swimming pools were, were four flights up - we walked those about 50% of the time and cheated with the elevators the rest of time (usually up for elevators, going down we would hoof it). We didn't even look for the exercise room!!
Thursday morning after breakfast we headed for the pool on the port end of the ship. It was sooo fun. The swimming pool was in constant wave motion because of the movement of the ship that day. We had pretty much gotten our sea legs but could tell the waves were higher because the normally calm swimming pool was in constant movement from side to side. The pool was tiled up and over the edge of the swimming pool and then there was about a four foot ledge and then about an 18 inch wall all around the swimming pool. Because of this wall the water was actually about four inches deeper than the swimming pool and we sat on the edge of the pool itself and had to hold on to dear life as the water sloshed back and forth in wave fashion. FUN! We swam and then went and enjoyed the hot tubs - hot tubbing in the sunshine in the middle of the atlantic as we headed back towards hurricane Noel. We laid out in the sun, with our books and a cold drink and enjoyed. The morning was spent reading and swimming and soaking and then we headed back to our room to change for lunch. Afternoon found us doing a mile walk - three laps around all of deck three - enjoying our balcony and wandering the ship; Again there were alot of options but we didn't want to join in - we just lazed and relaxed the day away. We just enjoyed being with each other. ...smile
I got all fancied up for the formal dinner - this time in my sparkly black blouse and long skirt - I actually dared wear heels tonight - the ship was moving all over the place but we were moving in time with it now!! The first formal night they served us crab legs and tonight I chose the lobster tail...delicious!! After dinner we went and had a really nice picture taken. We listened to the music in one of the lounges and danced some. The show tonight was another song and dance production by the dancers and was lots of fun to watch. We have learned to get to the shows early to get a seat...earlier to get a good seat! They announced tonight that unfortunately due to Hurricane Noel, we would not be docking at Half Moon Cay on Friday but rather would head directly back to Florida, hugging the coastline of Cuba and then on home on Saturday.
Again they mentioned the deaths caused by Noel in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic - at that point I decided to call my dad and let him know we were doing okay still. I knew he would be following the storm track and be wondering just where we were. It is sooo awesome to turn on your cell phone in the middle of the ocean and have service!! It will be interesting to see how much they charge per minute for those calls. But it was worth it to let family know we were still enjoying ourselves.
The seas were really rough that night. I awoke several times in the night hearing the creaking and groaning of the ship as we traveled through the tail of the hurricane. We stood by the railing of our balcony watching the waves as they pounded against the ship - all afternoon and evening Thursday and again on Friday. Interestingly enough from Thursday afternoon on, we could see other ships heading the same direction as we were - for such a huge ocean all the ships were headed the same direction at the same time - trying to get back home safe and sound. By Friday morning I think the Hurricane has turned back into a Tropical storm and then later Friday afternoon as it sped past the Carolinas it turned back into a hurricane again. At lunch time on Friday we talked to a young couple from San Diego - she had been really sea sick and the medicine they gave her helped that but just made her sleepy. They had slept the whole morning away. Again - I am so thankful that neither one of us suffered any ill effects from the movement of the boat. I think that there were a couple of passengers that fell and injured themselves due to the wind and waves also. We traveled 1079 nautical miles from St Thomas back to Ft Lauderdale - most of it under heavy seas. Friday it was cloudy - but still warm. We went up to the pool for a while but it was stable - no fun!!
We wandered through the stores and picked out the pictures we wanted from the night before. One of them had a scratch across it so they told us to come back that evening and they would have it reprinted for us. I bought the scrapbook pages to go in my scrapbook - they were on clearance for only $6 - even in the middle of the caribbean I can find clearance sales.
As we were eating lunch with the couple from San Diego and an older couple from Canada they announced over the intercom that there were porpoises playing off the bow of the ship. We were in the middle of lunch and couldn't leave so we missed them...darn. That evening the family sitting ahead of us at the show were talking about it and their 22 year old daughter said she was one of the first to see them and they played for about 30 minutes - diving and dancing and jumping - wouldn't that have been fun!!
Because today was another at sea day, because the port at Half Moon Cay was closed the ship scheduled extra activities. They had tours through the theatre and tours through the kitchen which would have been really interesting. The kitchen tour was way way crowded so we ended up eating lunch instead. The ship put on an extra production Friday afternoon at 4:30 that was fantastic. It was a combination show by the magician and the piano player/singers. Totally entertaining. We went right from that to the dining room for our final supper on board the ship. It was special to say goodbye to our friends that we had shared dinner with for the whole week. Each evening they had served a special drink in cute Holland America Shot Glasses - each night had been a different color. That evening as JodiBeth came around - she said there were only six colors and so tonight (day 7) they could choose whatever color they wanted. Since we hadn't gotten any of them (I don't think there is any way you can make a virgin rattlesnake!) all six of our tablemates chose a different color and after they drank their drink they presented us with our own set of six Holland America Shot glasses. I will always remember Joe taking his shot glass and some ice water and his linen tablecloth and washing out his shot glass for us!! FUN memory! I haven't the slightest idea what I will do with the set - I've got them displayed in my curio cabinet for now - probably I will take them to Zion's market next summer and give them away again! we'll see.
We got pictures of each other and our wait staff - after dinner we headed off to the stores to pick up our picture and check out the bargains (!?) on gold chains by the inch. They had some beautiful chains and I got a 30 inch 18 carat gold chain for $2 an inch. I have put the locket my mother gave me a few years back on it. It is the locket my dad gave her when they were dating - it has pictures of each of them when they were 18 and 19 years old - It needed a nice chain - Ed bought him a gold chain necklace too - and I got a free bracelet that is so pretty. We wandered back over to the jewelry store (the chains by the inch were sold elsewhere on the ship) and we found my emerald earrings to match my necklace. They are small and dainty and what is really nice is that they don't bother me at night so I can just leave them on 24/7 - that way I won't lose them! Then we headed back to the Vista Lounge for one final show. It was alot of fun. They let us bring cameras tonight and Ed got some pictures of the winners of the All Star Cruise Contest. There were some really good singers. A 60ish fellow came out to sing and when he opened his mouth and started to sing we were sooooo amazed. He was good - I could have listened to him for hours. Then the activity director came on with his top 10 weirdest questions he has been asked by cruise members - like Do these elevators take you to the front of the ship? Or "Is the water in our toilets fresh water or salt water?" or "Does the staff go home every night?" I wish I could remember all ten of them!
We could have gone up to the Northern Lights Lounge at 11:30 pm and 'rocked till we docked" but old fogies like we are we headed back to our cabin to pack. We extended both suitcases to their limit and atuffed the big bag we got from St Thomas plus our computer bags and managed to get everything packed - we set our main suitcases outside our stateroom door where they were picked up sometime in the night. Saturday morning we got up and showered and dressed and headed up to breakfast about 7 am. We docked safe and sound on a sunny day back in Ft
Lauderdale and they called each deck, one at a time to disembark. With computer bags and my big pink bag in tow we headed off of the ship and were guided to the bus that would take us to the airport. Once we got to the airport we went to the local phones and called our hotel to pick us up (long story made short - when we booked the cruise we were given an airport to ship and back package - so even though we stayed an extra day at the Hampton Inn in Ft Lauderdale we let them take us to the airport and then we took the free shuttle from to airport back to the hotel. We arrived with all of our luggage at the Hampton in by 9:30 am and figured we would just drop off our luggage since they wouldn't have our room ready for us but lo and behold they did have a room ready for us that early in the morning. We made arrangements to go on an Everglades tour about noon and just relaxed till then.
The tour picked us and another couple up from the hotel and headed to the Everglades park. We got to go on an airboat out into the everglades and see alligators and birds and iguanas in the wild. We got to watch a man go into a cage full of alligators and prod one out of the water and then explain why he can stick his hands and head into the mouth of an alligator and not lose them. Finally I got a chance to hold a baby alligator. You will notice I have a firm hold on his jaw!
We headed back to the hotel and for supper walked over to a near by mall looking for a red lobster - we couldn't find it but found an old 50's style hamburger joint and enjoyed fish and onion rings - no crystal or three sets of silverware - we are heading back to reality now.
Sunday morning we got up at 4:30 am to head for the airport. Our flight was a nonstop flight fron Ft Lauderdale to SLC - Ed was upgraded to first class so he let me sit in first class all the way home while he sat back in coach for the five hour flight. Bless his heart - he is so good to me!!
It was good to get home - the weather has even been nice for us! What a treasure trove of memories I have from the trip!!
I will be home until December when we head to New York state for one or two weeks while Ed works back there. But we will have the weekends to do something fun! Like go see the
Christmas Tree in NYC
Friday, November 9, 2007
The main city is Charlotte Amalie named after the Danish Queen when they founded the island. There were a total of six cruise ships in port today so it made the city very very busy. The island has about 78000 people living on it and it was much more hectic than Tortola. Again, we hadn't prebooked any activities because people had told us it was easy to book something on shore and that it was alot cheaper on shore. They weren't nearly as organized at this port and it looked like we weren't going to find anything available until someone pointed out a lady with a clipboard. We went over and talked to her and got what we thought was going to be a snuba trip - and the lady was from our cruise ship so we ended up paying full price....and when we got to the cove we found out that the snuba class was already overbooked and what we ordered (and paid for) was simply a snorkeling day. It did get us to the bay, and the price included snorkel gear which we didn't need and a class in how to snorkel (which we also didn't need). The fish were pretty and although the water wasn't as clear as say, Hawaii was we enjoyed ourselves. We snorkeled and fed the fish and then found a nice spot on the beach to enjoy the sun. Ed wandered over to the 'bar' and got us some cokes and when he got back to me and the towels he was 'bawled' out by the 'waitress' - for getting our drinks ourselves.
Evidently this 'area' of the beach was her serving spot and she lost out on a couple of sales cause we had bought our own. She let us know that if we wanted anything else, to tag her and she would get it for us!!
With about 1/2 hour left before our ride took us back, we wandered over to the animal park attached to the beach. This was part of our ticket price too. The most fun about it was the iguanas. We had seen a couple of them lazing in the sun by the shark pool but when a worker pulled out the lettuce they came from all over!
We headed back to Charlotte Amelie and back to the ship for lunch and to wash the salt water off of us and then we headed back to
Charlotte Amelie. The city itself was probably four or five miles away so we caught a taxi and he was not happy with the fact that there were only the two of us. The taxis are all open air rides with roofs - and can normally hold 12 people. EVERY single time he stopped at a stop sign he would holler at the people walking down the sidewalk to see if he could pick up more passengers. We were so ticked off at his attitude we gave him our eight bucks and NO TIP! We wandered through the stores but they were looking for bigger fish to fry than us ... everything was high class high dollar ...finally we headed over to the open air market and I found the prettiest thing for Mauri for her birthday. We also found a large bag with embroidered wording that said St Thomas on it - we need it to put all the t shirts we have bought for the whole family - our luggage was already full and we bought lots more. About 4 pm we headed back to the ship, catching another taxi - on the way back I realized today was Halloween as we passed a car with a full sized skeleton sitting in the passenger seat. The driver caught my eye and grinned at my reaction and I hollered "Happy Halloween" as we went past. Amazingly enough, in a city overrun with cruise ships and people from all over the world, I heard someone call out "There's ED!" Sure enough, I looked back and there was Martina Crawford who shared an office with Ed for his first six or eight years at the corporate office. She was with her fiance and they had shipped out of Cape Canaveral on Sunday but because of Noel they changed their schedule and landed in St Thomas the same day as we did. Small world!!
The ship left harbor that evening at 6:30 while we were eating. Dinner that night was a hoot. Being Halloween they served eye of newt and batwing and all sorts of halloweeny dishes. Of course it was normal food with a fun twist on the names. I wish I could have kept the menu. They did have a costume parade and some of the costumes were amazing...the people must have packed one whole extra suitcase just to bring their costumes!
That evening was a magic show by James Cielen - a master illusionist and magician. It was fascinating - I haven't the slightest idea how he did any of his tricks - really really good. He also had a cute sense of humor and would get laughing at himself so hard he would duck his head and his shoulders would just shake with laughter. It was a top notch show.
After the show we wandered around the ship until 9:30 when we headed for the lido deck where they had a chocolate extravaganza. Now gooey chocolate does not look good at that time of the night for me (since I have to check my blood level at 11:00) but they had the most fantabulous assortment of chocolate - they had chocolate sculptures and strawberries dipped in chocolate and chocolate fountains and trays and trays of the most lucious deserts - all made with chocolate. It was a feast for your eyes and I was really proud of myself that all I had was a couple of strawberries dipped in chocolate and a sugar free chocolate mousse' - that was delicious!! and when I checked my blood level I was right at 103 - exactly where I was supposed to be.
Fun day, fun things to see and experience. Wonderful memories.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
As his mom I will add another - #7 -
for Christmas of 2004 I gave my mother a Christmas to remember!! I spent the night at home instead of my apartment and at 2 am (after Santa was thru putting out his stuff and SOUND asleep) I sneaked back upstairs and set the kitchen table with replacements for my mom's china (china that she had picked out years and years before, for her wedding) that she had watched break all over the kitchen floor a few years before when the hutch fell off the base of her china cabinet. I had found a place online to order replacement pieces of older china designs that were no longer available.
Before I let her into the kitchen Christmas morning to see my surprise I gave her a beautifully wrapped box of Kleenex...she laughed and said ...like I am really gonna need this on Christmas day...and Kecia said "Oh, you will!" I then led her into the kitchen to see the whole table set with dinner plates, salad plates, dessert and soup bowls, tea cups and saucers, serving platters and serving dishes...even a gravy bowl .
She needed the tissues!
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
B. Each player lists 6 facts/habits about themselves.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then go to their blogs and leave them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
I agree with Dirk - I don't know six more people that have blogs...so I will post my answers but I'm not tagging anyone!! By the way Dirk - maybe Jamie and Kecia and I will list six of your well known facts and habits!! HAH !! That would be fun! the first fact (about you) would be that you met your mom at Denneys on your honeymoon - 11pm at night he leaves his wife at the hotel and meets his mother at Denneys !! Now there is a fun story!!
Okay - about me
1. Travel - since you've all been reading my travelog you already know I love to travel with my husband. He travels alot with his work and I get to tag a long quite often. This trip to Florida though was my first since the infamous New York trip in April but even if we aren't flying some where exotic we still leave town quite often to go camping (really roughing it in our 29 foot toy hauler with our two four wheelers). We have been to Hawaii many many times and still want to go again. I think our next big trip will be a two week trip to Germany in 2008 or 2009. We know we will be going to Hawaii (Maui) again in October of 2009 with MTC - yeah!!
2. Genealogy - I have been very involved in genealogy for the last 15 years however right now I am tired of it!! I know - repent repent. I do indexing almost daily for the church and love it but I need to start digging for missing ancestors again. I also need to get to work on Willden.org again but I think that is gonna be put off till after Christmas. Maybe when Ed and I fly to New York again in December we can finish looking for the elusive Wileys - Newburgh has some great old cemeteries!
3. Family - this should be #1 on my list since it is #1 in my heart. I have five precious children and five wonderful children in laws. #10 grandbaby will probably be born in the next day or two and I love them all dearly. We are blessed to have everyone within an hours drive of our home so we get together often. I keep telling Ed we need a bigger home - so that when everyone comes over its not such a crush. But we have fun!
4. Crafts - Right now I get to make six flower headdresses for Dirk and Da's six nieces. Melinda's brother Sam is getting married on the 16th of this month and I just bought all the ivy and sparkly's and ribbons and flowers to make them. I have done some or all of the flowers for all of my kids' s weddings - making great memories while I was at it. The first bridal bouquet I had ever made was for Kristanne - after I had it finished and she was telling me how much she loved it I told her that I had never made one before!! She almost panicked and then looked at what she was holding in her hands and grinned and said - you could have fooled me!
5. Reading - I love to read - fantasy, romance, murder mysteries - you name it I love it. In just the last couple of years Ed has finally discovered what a wonderful world is available between the covers of a book and its been so fun to share books and authors with each other. I thought for many years that Shawn and Dirk turned me on to fantasy novels through Anne McCaffrey's dragon books but as I look back through the years I remember going to the Kaysville Library very regularly as a sixth grader and devouring all of the Wizard Of Oz books - Frank Baum must have written at least 60 or 70 of them and I bet I read them all when I was 12 years old.
6. Shopping - I have to be honest - I love to shop and I love to find a good bargain. I think back on the years money was soooo tight - I mean Ed was a school teacher for heavens sake - and then we joined the army with three kids as a PFC! And added the twins while we were in Texas. I now find when Ed is out of town and I get bored I head to the mall!! And anyone that was at Kecia's baby shower knows I got carried awake with pink cute things. But other than her blessing dress everything was on sale!! and a good sale at that.
Well - that's me - I am blessed to have a terrific family and a husband that I love more than ever - even after 40 years! I have the Gospel in my life and it brings me such joy. My health is good - I am happy and I am loved!
Today we were supposed to dock at Grand Turk Island but because of the high winds and waves they canceled that port of call. It was rainy all day and they had the doors to the outside decks closed off due to the high seas. We were walking crazy still because the ship was rolling. I am sure that the owners of the ship loves days like this because there is nothing to do but hit the shops!! The ships log which they gave us at the end of the cruise described the conditions as Strong Gales, Very High Seas, Moderate Swell and Scattered cloudy skies - I would describe the scattered cloudy skies as mainly rain!! The picture on the left shows what it looked like most of Sunday afternoon and Monday. Sunday evening they had a fantastic singing and dancing program called "Under the Boardwalk" with the Zuiderdam singers and dancers and they were so good. I told Ed we were getting old, if we could go on a cruise and they presented a whole show full of 60's songs!! Those were my teenage years!!
Like I said before though - everyone took the weather in stride and the food was still delicious. It was a lazy day and we found out afterwards that if we had wandered up to deck 9 the aft pool had a glass ceiling that closed over it - so people still swam and hot tubbed - we missed it. Monday night a couple called the amazing 88's played piano and sang and that was such a fun program. They were fantastic piano players - both of them and they sang songs that the audience got to sing and clap along with. We could have listened to them for hours. Neither Ed nor I are into bingo or karaoke and although we walked through the casino several times we didn't even drop a quarter in the slot - but we loved the food and we loved the shows.
Tuesday morning we arrived at Road Town Tortola - in the British Virgin Islands. We were supposed to get there at noon but since we sailed past Grand Turk the day before we got an extra four hours in Tortola. It is a beautiful island and was definitely the high point of our trip. It is described in the daily program as "powdery white sand beaches, lush green mountains, and a sheltered yacht filled harbor characterize the island of Tortola" and that describes it to a tee!
We got off the ship and there was a nice covered pavilion with a couple of ladies there to help us find the correct taxi for our prescheduled activities. We explained that we didn't pre book anything but we wanted a tour of the island and to go snorkeling - they were well organized and she pointed out a couple of people to talk to. We set up a boat tour for 1 pm to go snorkeling and then went over and found a taxi taking people on island tours. We had our snorkeling equipment with us and off we went with about nine other people. Tortola is a small island with about 16,000 people living on the Island. The British Virgin Islands comprise of about 26,000 people total. We left the harbor and went on a gorgeous drive up to the top of the island where the picture above was taken - at about 1700 feet above sea level. The driver gave us a lot of history of the island and answered questions as we went. He made about six 'portrait' stops and we of course took pictures at them all. Then we headed back down the other side of the island to a beautiful cove called Cane Cove. The sand was white and smooth and we headed down the beach to the area where the best snorkeling normally was - but the waters were still too churned up because of Tropical Storm Noel. So instead we just played in the water and stretched out on our towels (Note to Jamie: the ships provide them so you don't have to take up precious suitcase room for them!) and enjoyed the sunshine. We found that although the beaches were free public beaches the chairs were for rent - we cheaped out on this one cause the sand was so soft - we bought ourselves some virgin mai tai's and soaked up the sun. When it was time to meet the others to head back to port we got an extra 15 minutes of shopping in the outdoor shopping spots. Fun! I got Ed and my Dad some nice t-shirts and bought some of the tshirts for gifts for all the kids and grandkids. We had a family from Roosevelt on our ship with us that we met on the van - small world- they were excited to find someone that actually knew where Roosevelt Utah was - The ladies had bought some cute sundresses that made wonderful swim suit cover ups and wore them back to the boat. We got back to the ship - showered and changed and had lunch in the dining room and then headed back off the ship again to do some more shopping right next to the port.
We canceled our 1 oclock boat tour because the snorkeling was no good - but we had lots of fun wandering through Road Town and I bought a gorgeous hibiscus flower made out of reddish coral. They told me that it was made right there in the BVI - I told Ed that if I got home and found a 'made in china' tag on it I would be very unhappy (they sold it to us boxed and sealed to protect it during travel) - but sure enough it was made in the British Virgin Islands. While we were shopping Ed found me a couple of those cute dresses - they need to have sleeves sewn in them - then I could wear them anytime and not just as a swimsuit cover up.
After we got back to the ship we crashed - it got really hot and muggy there in town in the afternoon - up on top of the island there was a wonderful breeze and it was much cooler!! We took our naps and went to dinner.
We skipped the show that night as it started at 11:30 pm - and thats too late for us old folks - especially since we were docking at St Thomas, US Virgin Islands early the next morning!!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Last week, I sat down about three days into the cruise and wrote out our experiences to that point - I will post that log now...and tomorrow or the next day I will add more about the cruise. We had a wonderful wonderful time even though the seas got really rough - neither of us suffered from sea sickness at all - we just couldn't walk straight cause the ship was moving all over the place. Everyone looked like they were on a cheap drunk! We were unable to land at two of our four ports of call because of Noel - dang!! But we had a great time anyway.
so here goes:
Saturday October 27, 2007
We flew from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale yesterday afternoon and caught a free shuttle ride from the airport to the Hampton Inn where we spent the night. It was a really nice hotel – of course not so luxurious as the Dolphin has been but the people are so friendly and they go out of there way to make our stay comfortable. We had eaten a good lunch at the airport before leaving Orlando so were not really hungry come supper time, besides which is was really raining so we just enjoyed the treats put out by the Inn – salsa end chips, cheeses and crackers and juices. Ed made arrangements for us to leave our extra suitcases at the Inn for the week we were cruising. That way we only had one large suitcase apiece plus our computer bags.
Saturday morning we had a wonderful continental breakfast of eggs and sausage, muffin, milk and melon slices at the hotel. The Shuttle picked us up at the front door and took us back to the airport where we met up with the Holland America Cruise people. They put us on a big bus and we headed to the Port. We embarked out of Port Everglades. It was fun getting to the dock and seeing all the big cruise ships at the different docks.
We were onboard before noon and we sent up to the Lido deck to have some lunch. This deck has a huge dining area that is open from about 5 am for breakfast and is open until midnight!! The ice cream bar is always open and the food has all been fantastic – They feed a lot of people!! Even though this is 'fast food' we still eat on glass plates with nice silverware and cloth napkins. We can have as much or as little as we want!! Fun!! Interestingly enough there is not an open bar for soda!! There is water, tea and lemonade – free, all you can drink but you have to request coke, diet coke or sprite from the servers. We purchased a soda card on Saturday for $25 for 20 sodas!! That makes them about 1/3 the regular price and you don't have to pay the 15% gratuity either.
The ship is sooo gorgeous!! The elevator doors are works of art. There are outside elevators too – so you can see the sea as you go up or down. My mom would have hated them - but they don't bother me and I love being able to see all around as I ride up to deck 10 or down to deck 3. Deck 1 and 2 are within the bowels of the ship .
We were able to get in our stateroom by 3 o'clock and so were able to drop off our computer bags and my purse. Our main suitcases disappeared into the bus we rode to the port and we didn't see them again until after dinner when they finally got delivered to our room. We joined a tour of the ship for first timers and it was good – it showed us how to find our way around ship – we of course had already found the Lido deck (deck 9) but we were shown the casino, the library, the atrium, the photo shop, the shopping areas, the beautiful dining rooms, the theatre and of course all of the bars. Lots and lots of bars!! We have found though that we can sit down and enjoy the live music and order a coke and relax as well as those who drink.
For all the bars and availability of liquor I haven't seen any drunkenness – other than the stumbling gait of EVERYONE because of the movement of the ship. None of us have our sea legs yet! The seas got rough Sunday night and all day monday and we were all staggering around. (By the time ran into rough water again on Thursday and Friday we didn't stagger as much even though the seas were rougher and the tropical depression had turned into a hurricane - we still walked like a bunch of drunks but we seemed to have better control.)
We joined everyone on deck at 5 pm for the going away party. We all received a souvenir glass – everyone else had mai tai's or rum punch in theirs – we got ours with coke and diet coke instead!!
We got to watch four cruise ships leave Port Everglades ahead of us. I don't know how they decide who goes when but we got to follow them all out into the ocean. We had to leave the party up on deck 9 and 10 early – even before we sailed because we have the early dinning schedule – 5:45 PM ...I chose that one so that I could enjoy their fabulous meals and still have my blood sugars at a good level by the time I went to bed at night, when I get to poke my finger and check my sugar level.
The meal was fantastic. It is a beautiful dining room and each place setting had two or three knives and forks and spoons, plus a whole array of silverware at the top of the dishes too – they are your desert utensils! The servers unfolded our linen napkins and placed them on our laps! Then they handed us a menu with about eight choices of appetizers (including soups, salads, and regular appetizers and another eight choices of entrees. Ed and I both chose the “tower of ...(can't remember now what it was called!) it was crabmeat and avocados and it was good.. A little too fishy for me but I still enjoyed it. The main entree was prime rib and it was sooo good. Ed had pork chops and he enjoyed that too. Then they came around with the dessert menu!! Everything was soo delicious! The only downside was our table. There were places for eight and there were only six of us. The other four people at our table was a group of ladies -either sisters or good friends – but they spoke mainly in Spanish. Three of the four had flown in from Mexico City for the cruise where they met up with the one lady from Ft Lauderdale. So they chatted back and forth in Spanish and left us out of most of their conversation.
Saturday night they had a LATE show in the theatre – it was the welcome show and they only put it on once so we had to stay up late for that one... it started at 10:30 pm, but it was worth the wait.
Sunday morning we slept in till about 9:15 and then got up and got ready and went to breakfast. This meal was at the Lido deck again – we had fresh omelette's made to order with fresh fruit and milk to drink. We met a fun couple from Arkansas and shared our breakfast table with them. (We ran into them at lunch time again so continued our conversations.) Then we went back to our stateroom and changed into our swim suits and headed up to the Lido deck - it was packed so we went on up to the 10th level deck and found some chaise lounges and enjoyed the sun and the sea. We read and talked u
ntil all of a sudden a squall went past and sent everyone scurrying inside to get out of the rain. By the time we had gathered up our towels and books and gotten down the steps to the Lido deck the squall had passed and the decks were clear so we got our choice of some nice seating around the pool and hot tubs. It was a day AT SEA. So we just relaxed an enjoyed.. At one point they came on the intercom and were telling us where we were (latitude and longitude- lots of help there !! HAH! ) and how fast we were traveling. They also said that there was a tropical depression forming but they were hoping that it wouldn't come our direction.
All afternoon the sea got rougher and rougher. The boat movement became much more pronounced. As we came out of our cabin dressed and ready for our first formal dinner and couldn't even walk straight. Here we are all gussied up looking like a couple of cheap drunks. However, everyone else was walking the same way. This ship isn't as large (width wise especially) as the Royal Caribbean that we sailed on before so even though the captain is employing the stabilizers we can definitely feel it. As the server from the bar came to our table to take the drink orders one of the ladies said she didn't dare drink anything stronger than water and the server said the joke at the bar was that when the seas were rough, the more you drank the less wobbly you walked – We did
n't test that theory out. I wore the gorgeous red dress from Kecia's wedding – it still fits me better than it did for her wedding!!
As we were getting dressed for dinner I heard Ed groan – what is wrong I asked...he didn't say a word, so I asked again --- he said my black shoes... Did you forget them I asked – no and he held two totally different black shoes out for me to see – two left feet!! So he ended up wearing his suit with sandals and black socks. Its not a style you want to copy!!
At tonights dinner we started off with shrimp cocktails...the shrimp were so big and so juicy. Then I had crab legs and Ed had a new york steak. The crab legs had been cut in half length wise!! So I didn't have to dig for the meat!! WOW! Then for desert I had an ice cream sundae and Ed had the pineapple flambe'. What makes these meals really nice (besides the service, the dining room, the music and candlelight, etc) is that they aren't huge servings. You aren't stuffed as you walk away. You can fool yourself into thinking that you didn't have too many calories since you are stuffed to the gills.
There were a lot fewer guests in the dining room last night and I think it is because of the rough seas. Thank heavens Ed and I have been able to handle all of it with out any problems at all. I thought I might have to head down to the infirmary to get some Dramamine (which they hand out for free) but I've been fine.
They put on a fantastic show in the theatre and even though the boat was rocking in the 8-10 foot swells, those dancers didn't miss a beat!! AMAZING. It was 60's music and we loved it. We are going to have to break down and admit we are getting old when we go on a cruise and they play OUR music - for a whole show! There aren't many children on this cruise – certainly not like there was on the Royal Caribbean. I would say 90% of the cruisers are age 40 and above. Yes Jamie – that would make you a kid again !!
We are enjoying the balcony in our room – even though we are getting the tail winds from a hurricane now, it is still warm!!! I think they said 77 degrees!! Its warmer outside than in!! They over do the air conditioning in some of the areas – most of it is comfortable but I did buy a zip up sweatshirt on board today and it feels so nice. So Kelly and Jamie – pack a sweater. (I found out later that they turned the air conditioners on high to help those who were suffering from motion sickness!! )
I did have problems getting to sleep with the waves – Ed had opened the cupboard door that has the little refrigerator in it because he says it gets so hot in there – anyway, the door opened and closed and opened and closed and opened and closed with the movement of the ship. I just keep telling myself that we are making memories!! We have had the lifeboat drill and they tell us they will stay afloat even if they are overloaded and even if they fill up with water. I know how to put on my life jacket and I know which life boat we have been assigned to! I am set!!
This morning (Monday ) we arrived at 7 am at Grand Turk Island – but because of the winds and waves our captain chose not to dock.- He said that he was informed that the water and beach excursions had been canceled due to inclement weather. There are only 8 days a year that Grand Turk does not enjoy sunshine – this is one of them. instead this is another day at sea and we are heading straight to Tortola. All those people who had prebooked excursions will be credited that amount back to their accounts. I didn't feel too badly as I just rolled over and went back to sleep!! 7am EDT is tooo early for anything!!
We headed up to the Lido deck for breakfast and I had a waffle smothered in berries and whipped cream and a bowl of fresh melon and pineapple. Also – fresh squeezed orange juice!!
I didn't think anyone made their own orange juice anymore!
There are a lot of different activities on board – even closing off the outside decks because they are too slippery from the rain – but we aren't bingo players and we aren't into art auctions and the movies they've shown so far haven't caught our eye. We have wandered and talked to people and read our books and just relaxed. We did buy the embarkation picture they took of us and I had Ed get the cute scrapbooks that were on cle
arance sale for just $6 so I will have fun scrapbooking my vacation when I get home. Then we wandered over to the shops....I got my jacket and we got a cute silver bell that has Zuiderdamm - then Ed drug me over to the jewelry store (I mean I fought him every step of the way ;-) and bought me a lovely emerald necklace – we looked at matching earrings too but they were just way tooo expensive.
Then we headed back to the dining room (the fancy one) for lunch – they serve all three meals there every day – I had raspberry soup – YUMMMMY. It is a cold soup and it is probably made up of blended raspbe
rries and cream. Ed had a black bean soup. Then we both had deep fried fish and chips. It was good. We sat at a table with four other people and had a fun visit with them.
This afternoon we have taken naps and read and I've been typing. I have to say I love being so thoroughly spoiled by our cabin steward. Din comes in at least twice a day to tidy up the room,
bring fresh ice , turn down the sheets at night for us and leave their famous towel art- - This is a cute crab – last night they came to our room with a complimentary fruit bowl – bananas and oranges – YUM. There are two white cotton terry robes for our use onboard. Everyday there are printed activities with highlights about the next port so we will lknow where we are going and when.
All in all, in spite of the weather it's been great!