Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Product Prelect

I went in to get my hair cut today (which is my favorite thing to do.  I love having shorter hair, because it gives me the excuse to go in every six weeks for some pampering).  My hairdresser is a girl I grew up with named Elise.  It's so much fun to reminisce about doing backbends and jumping on the tramp together.  Today we were talking about who had the coolest bangs in elementary school.  My bangs never, ever looked right.  Elise's were always perfect.  She swears it was because she used Aqua Net.  That stuff is like glue. :)

Anywho, as I was paying her, she said, "Do you need any product?" 

I laughed and said, "Oh jeez.  That stuff is wayyy too rich for my blood.  I'm a Suave girl, unfortunately."

She stared at me, mouth agape, eyes wide open.  "Shut up.  You did not just say that to me."

I giggled and looked at the floor.  "It's just one of the things that has to go when you're poor."

"But there's so much wax in Suave!  It's just wax!  Your hair must have so much buildup on it!  How can you even stand the thought of that???"

"'s either buy milk for my family, or buy nice hair product.  I choose milk."

She shook her head and took me into the back room.  She opened up a cupboard stuffed full of samples of shampoo, conditioner, clarifying shampoo, etc.  She shoved an armful at me.  "Kay.  Use the clarifying shampoo first.  And after you rinse it out, then use normal shampoo and conditioner.  You will totally notice a difference."

Oh, I know I will.  But will noticing a difference in my hair make $30 magically appear in my pocket to buy said product?  Nope. 

When I eventually get too many grey hairs on my head  (I have a few now, which aren't too noticable yet) and have to color my hair, in all likelihood, I'm going to just have to buy the cheap store brand and do it myself.  And it won't look as good as it would if Elise colored it professionally.  That's just the biz when you get married, push your hubs through school, quit your job to be at home, and have four kids.  Lots of things go down the tubes.  I do my own pedicures.  (And they look horrible.  Ask anyone.) I buy Suave.  (Although I'm considering switching to Dove, just because I like their commercials about how they use some of the money they earn toward self-esteem-building workshops for young girls.  I like that.)   I buy Cover Girl makeup instead of Clinique.  That's just the way it is.  Maybe someday I'll be able to pamper myself a bit more, but for now, I'd rather be able to buy bread and fresh fruit for my kiddos.

Fort Charlotte

I've decided to split up the things we did at Nassau into different posts so that you're not overloaded.  Ben and I wanted to do a guided tour of Nassau.  Our first stop was at one of the forts there on the island - Fort Charlotte.

This fort was actually never used - nobody ever attacked Nassau!!  But it was cool to see all of the old cannons, ramparts, etc.

Our tour guide started almost every single sentence with, "Now, ladies and gentlemen, if you'll look over here...."  "Ladies and gentlemen, these are...."  "Ladies and gentlemen, if you want to leave a tip...."  It was funny.

Ben is such a good photographer.

This looks like an old carving:
For some reason, I wasn't there when Ben took a picture of it, so I'm not sure what the story is there.  I'll have to ask him when I see him in THREE DAYS!!!  Eeeeeeee!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Coco Cay

Um, so I'm sorry that my posts are jumping backward and forward in time.  It's just that sometimes something significant (to me) is happening right now, and I want to write about it before I forget, you know? 

So anyway, this is back in January, as part of our cruise.  Coco Cay is this teeny little island that Royal Caribbean owns.  Therefore, it's clean and beautiful.  Ben is always taking pictures in a row, left to right, so you can get a visual of what it's like.  Like a panoramic picture that got chopped up. :)

I was using one of my church dresses as a cover-up, which was kind of dumb.  I got a proper cover-up later on.  It's better than nothing though.  Trust me on that one.
Ben had to buy a hat - he has lost his favorite hat and is really sad about it:
We went snorkeling, which I didn't get any pictures of, but it was actually fun!  I've had two snorkeling experiences before that were totally traumatizing, so I was reeeeeeeeeeally nervous to go.  1st experience - I was in Hawaii with my folks as a teenager.  My snorkel had a hole in it, so I was inhaling sea water the whole time.  2nd experience - on my honeymoon in Cancun.  We were in very deep water, and I was extremely nauseated from the boat ride to Cozumel.

But this snorkeling excursion turned out so much better for me. We saw a few tropical-looking fish and one huge grouper.  It wasn't as spectacular as the fish that I saw while snorkeling in Hawaii as a teenager, but at least I could breathe normally. :) 

At one point, we realized that we were farther in one direction than we wanted to be, so we kicked our way back against a pretty strong current.  Because of our positioning, we swam over a reef we hadn't seen when we initially went out, and there were sea urchins all over that reef.  And the water on that reef was extremely shallow.  So in my head, I was like, "Eeeek!  Think skinny!!!"  We had maybe two inches between our stomachs and the quills sticking out from the sea urchins.  Yikes.  Bikes.  My poor sis, Brianna, stepped on a sea urchin on her honeymoon, and it caused her days and days of pain.  Scary.

After we snorkeled, ate (of course), and relaxed for awhile, we decided to do some souvenir shopping.  This is what I got for my dad:
A cute little wooden golf cart.  The dude asked me if I wanted to engrave my dad's name on it, and I said heck yes.  But then he just got this little buzzy thing out and carved my dad's name in 2nd-grade handwriting.  Which kind of cheapened the golf cart.  Ben made fun of me for that.  Ah well.  It's the thought that counts.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Things that made me smile tonight.

1.  Eating these for dinner - carne asada tortas:
And lemon lentil salad:
 So fresh.  So summery.

2.  Sadie's face as she excitedly told me that she "almost" started pedaling by herself on her bike.  And then going out to watch her, in jammies, demonstrate:
 3.  Mikey discovering that some of Dylan's hot wheels turn colors when you immerse them in water.  He kept saying, "They're turning great!"  [He meant to say "grey."]  This is him, asking if this car will also turn great:
4.  Moving my sprinkler heads, and then standing for a minute to enjoy the view of my flower beds:
My telstars make me so happy:
There is nothing better than summer in Idaho.  I'm so glad I get to be here to enjoy it this year.

5.  Putting my Insanity-Sore legs up on the couch and reading the newest People Mag from cover to cover:
Dude, what's up with Matthew pointing in Camila's face??  That's really not a very romantic picture.  "Of all the lucky girls in the world, I picked you."  Get that finger outta her face, buddy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award

I have Low Blogging Esteem, I think.  I don't get many comments, so I think, "Oh.  I must be the worst writer ever..." or I think, "I must be the most boring person ever...." Or even worse, "Nobody cares about me."  (I'm a sensitive flower.)  It's dumb, but there.  I've put it out there.  My blogging insecurity.

And it's so dumb, because I swear I do this for myself.  This is my journal.  My aware-of-my-audience journal.  I mean, am I going to write about my period on here?  No.  (You're welcome.)  Or am I going to rant and rave when I'm mad at Ben for something?  No.  It's a journal that I won't be embarrassed of when I'm up in heaven and my great-grandchild opens it up to read.  Which is more than I can say for the journals I kept in junior high.  I swear that each entry probably says [and you need to say the following in your head in Valley Girl Talk], "Oh my gosh, Mr. Cute Guy totally looked at me today!  Eeeeee!!!  He is so totally cute!  I wonder if he likes me!  Me, me, me, me, ME!!"  Duh.  Oh, and for the record, Mr. Cute Guy NEVER liked me.  Hahaha!  I reeeeeally need to go back and rip out all of those stupid entries from my junior high journals.  It's on my to-do list.

So when my cute friend Melissa nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger award on her blog, I was reeeeeeeeally surprised; it totally made my day/week/month/year.  And it made my Low Blogger Esteem creep a little higher. Thanks so much, Meliss!  And if any of you want to see the cutest-dressed gal around, or feel like cooking something healthy, fresh, and amazing, you'll have to stop by her blog.  She was doing the skinny jeans with ballet flats, like, 10 years ago.  While the rest of us were still in Boot Cut Land.  She has this innate sense of style that I just love.  And every recipe she has recommended on her blog that I have tried, I have fallen completely in love with.  I think she and I are Identical Tastebud Twins.  And she is just so dang nice.  Sincere.  Kind.  She lived in my neighborhood when I was in a hard place in my life.  My hubs had lost his job, I was working full-time, and I was hating my life.  I was kind of in this muddle of emotional pain that whole time, so I didn't reach out and get to know her like I would have liked to.  Sorry about that, Melissa.

And because I want to remember the nice things she said about my blog, I copied and pasted it here so that, every time I think, "Nobody likes my blog," I can read it and feel better:

"Last, but certainly not least is Kar. Karlenn is also a very talented writer, see a theme here?  Maybe that's because she use to be an English teacher?! (See my confession number 7 Kar, haha)  I love her stories and how she gives every detail so you feel like you are there.  I love the stories about her kids because they are always hilarious!  Even better are the stories about her neighbors...I'll leave it at must go read for yourself!"

Ah.  Thanks again, Meliss.

So now I'm supposed to write seven interesting things about myself.  I hope I can think of that many...

1.  So I keep baby wipes in the bathroom, for those times when you need to feel a little more...cleansed than the toilet paper can do.  Do I need to paint a picture?  No.  I also keep Clorox Wipes in the bathroom.  I loooooooooooove those things.  If the sink is bugging me, I just whip a Clorox Wipe out of the box, wipey-wipey, and voila!  It looks like I just used comet and a washcloth!  With wayyyyyy less effort.  Anyways, the other day, I needed to feel a little more...cleansed than the toilet paper can do.  So I open the baby wipes box, and we were totally out.  Then I glanced at the Clorox Wipes box.  And then I went, "Nawwww...."  And then I glanced again at the Clorox Wipes box.  And then I went, "Nawwww..."  And then I succumbed to my need to feel a little more...cleansed than the toilet paper can do, and I wiped my butt with a Clorox Wipe.  So, for a little while, my butt was 99.9% free of flu/cold viruses.

Sorry.  That probably bordered on Writing About My Period Land.  But I think it's funny.

2.  Something that may have started me on the road to quitting my Bean Burrito Addiction - I had a horrible bean burrito yesterday.  I went to a different place than usual - same chain, but different location - and they had stuffed my burrito with the burnt scrapings of beans from the bottom of their pan, no doubt.  It was so disgusting.  I was so mad.  And traumatized. 

3.  I would rather just throw away a burrito and go hungry than go back to a fast food place and complain about the food.  Dumb, I know.  I'm not only a sensitive flower, but I'm a timid flower, too.  I'm working on it.

4.  My friend lent me her Insanity DVDs this week.  I put it off for a few days, mainly because I was seriously intimidated and scared.  And I had heard that there is a lot of jumping in Insanity, and me and jumping aren't best friends lately.  Um, ever since I had my fourth child.  Jumping is a no go, apparently.  As is sneezing, coughing, and laughing too hard.

I'm a damaged flower, too. :)

But I actually did it yesterday!  I just kind of modified the jumps so that I was crossing my legs and jumping, instead of doing jumping jacks, and I was able to do it.  And I actually did the planks and the crazy-hard push ups and everything else.  There is no way I looked as good as Tonya-the-buff-Chris-T.-protege did, but I did it!!!  And I felt good about myself.  I can't really walk or hold Gage or anything today - I'm mega-sore - but I'm excited to try the second DVD tomorrow.  And a little scared still.

5.  I designed a new card yesterday.  Wanna see it?  Okay.

My mom said she wanted to buy some cards from me that could be used for any occasion.  So I designed this one.  What do you think?  I've been dying to use those stamps for a long time.  So cute.

6.  Micah peed in his bed, like, a week ago.  So I pulled off the sheets and washed them, and I scrubbed the mattress itself.  And um....I haven't re-made his bed yet.  And it's been a week.  I keep telling myself I haven't had the time, but let's be honest -  I've probably had the time, but I choose to use it in other ways.  Like designing cute cards.  Or gardening.  So my poor son has been sleeping on a mattress with a blanket on top of him for the past week.  No sheets.  No padding.  Probably not very comfortable.  I'm a jerk.  Every time I remember to do it, he's asleep already, dang it.  But I'm giving myself a few points for having changed Gage's sheets today.

7.  I really hate calling my daughter's friends to arrange play dates.  My brother-in-law mocks me for arranging play dates.  He says that only yuppies arrange play dates for their kids.  He's like, "Why don't you just have her go to her friend's house and ask if she can play?"  Which is a good point.  That's what Dylan does.  But there's a good reason for my yuppy play-date-setting-up practice.  She's at that age where she can't remember how to get to her friends' houses.  Even if they're only a few blocks away.  Secondly, I feel weird about having her walk by herself anyways, you know?  Ever since I read The Lovely Bones, I've freaked out about that.  I won't let her walk anywhere alone.

So anyways, she is always up in my grill about playing with friends.  "Can I have a friend come over?"  She says that, like, seventy times per day.  And I really like Sadie's friends.  I just, for some reason, hate setting up play dates.  It's the setting up that I hate.  Which is so dumb.  I guess I just feel like I'm bugging people when I call them to set up play dates.  Almost like a solicitor.  I don't know why I feel that way.  It's just how I be.

So when Sadie is like, "Can I have a friend come over?"  I say, "I'll call a friend if you ____________."  And then whatever I need done goes in that blank.  I know that she's less likely to make me set up a dang play date if it means she'll have to clean something first.  And that's why I do it.  Which is really mean of me.  But don't you go thinking she never gets to play.  Inevitably, she ends up cleaning her room or changing her sheets or putting the dishes away or whatever, and then, as much as I hate doing it, I do my part and call a friend and set up a play date.  Once, I told her I'd set up a play date if she would clean her room.  And her room was a pit.  It really needed cleaning.  But she was not about to clean it.  So we were at a stand-off for three days or so.  She would say she wanted a friend over.  I would tell her that I couldn't do something for her if she couldn't do something for me.  Back and forth.  Eventually, I won. She cleaned her room and I called a friend.

Mmmkay.  So those are seven things about me.  Now to the fun part - my seven favorite blogs to look at:

1.  Patsmo La Ratsmo.  Patty is really, really good at putting feelings into words.  That's my biggest weakness as a writer.  I can tell a funny story, but when it comes articulating my feelings, I just can't hack it. Which is why writing a little something sentimental in greeting cards is a nightmare for me.  She makes fun of me for that.  I also love how tongue-in-cheek she is.  Oh, and Patty has some kind of karma where complete strangers start fights with her.  It's ca-razy.  And really funny.

2.  Chris Loves Julia.  This is actually Patty's sister, who I don't know.  But I stalk her blog, because I LOVE it.  She likes to remodel and redecorate houses.  She's done fantastic, amazing things with her house this past year.  I always get excited when I see that she has posted, which is almost daily.  It's my daily fix.

3.  The Daybook.  Love, love, love this blog.  I also don't know this gal - her name is Sydney.  She is a stylist.  She puts outfits together and has her hubs take photos of her in them.  I struggle a little in the personal style area of my life, and she always knows just what goes with what and what looks good.  She occasionally posts pics of her adorable, chubby baby, and that's just the cherry on top for me.  I looooooooove babies.

4.  Can You Stay for Dinner?  Um, I also don't know this girl.  Sorry; these are just honestly the first posts I like to go to when I log onto my blog.  The gal that writes this blog - dang it, I can't remember her name - is a food writer.  She lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 pounds a few years ago, and she's managed to keep it off.  She shares recipes for low-cal, but very, very delicious food, but she also often writes about her relationship with food and with exercise.  It's a breath of fresh air to read her writing.  She's inspiring and very cool.  And her food photography is amazing.

5.  The Red-Headed Hostess  I first looked at her blog on recommendation to a friend who, like me, teaches Gospel Doctrine.  The gal who writes this blog has some fantastic ideas for scripture study.  I've used two of her "visual maps" for my class - one on the book of Mosiah and one on the book of Alma.  The different characters go all over the place in those books and it's easy to get confused.  Her drawings and notes really helped me (and my students) to make sense of the confusion.  But I'm also really enjoying the other things she posts about.  Like today, she wrote a post with some really fantastic ideas for Father's Day.  She's so creative.

6.  Crafty Meggy  Heyyyy!  Someone I know!  This is my friend Megs' crafting blog.  I seriously need to figure out where she gets all of this energy.  One day, she'll be like, "Look at this room that I completely organized!"  And then the next day, she's like, "Look what I just sewed!"  And then the following day, she's like, "I went jogging today!"  And on and on.  Give me some of your energy, Megs.  I need it.  Her posts make me want to get my butt up and move.  Which is a good thing.  And I'm coveting her frog bean bag she made.  I'm always needing bean bags for my Sunday School class.  I should commission her to make me some...

7.  The Education of Miss H.  This is my sister's sister-in-law, Mindy.  She is a riot.  She teaches 7th grade English, so I feel a definite affinity toward her.  She is an amaaaaaaaaaaazing teacher.  Those sevvies are so lucky to have her.  She writes the funniest, funniest posts.  She will find a common thread that runs through the things she's done for the past couple of weeks and tie her activities all to that thread so seamlessly.  She's an amazing writer.  And a funny one.  Every time I read her blog, I keep thinking, "If she lived in my town, we would be besties."  For now, I have to settle with seeing her every Fourth of July for a few minutes and telling her that I stalk her blog and how much I love it.  Which must be a little uncomfortable for her.  She's very gracious about it. :)

Aight.  So for you seven who I nominated, and only if you want, you do the following:

1.  Copy the Kreativ Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
2.  Thank the person who nominated you and link back to her blog.
3.  List 7 things about you that people might find interesting.
4.  Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Kreativ Blogger Award.
5.  Leave a comment on the blogs you nominate to let them know about the award.

Man, that last one is going to be so embarrrrrrrrrrrrrrassing.  Because most of these ladies don't know me.  Ah well.

And now I'm off to work on my lesson for this Sunday.  Ka-chow!   

Sunday, June 10, 2012

We are teetotalers.

So lately I've been in this funk where I get really jealous of people.  People who are skinnier than me.  Richer than me.  More with it than me.  I'll be reading someone's blog, or talking to someone, and back in the teeniest depth of my mind, I'll be like, "That is so unfair." Which is ludicrous, because my life is great.  It really is.  Then my adorable visiting teacher must have been really inspired, because last month, when we were supposed to choose a General Conference talk to teach on, she shared this one by my Main Man, Jeffrey R. Holland.  And I got the mental shoulder shake that I needed.  I'm doing much better now.

Sooooooooo, when I show you these pictures, don't be like me.  Just do like Elder Holland said - be happy for me.  Aight?  Aight.  Readyyyyyyyyy, OKAY!

So last year was our ten year wedding anniversary, and we really wanted to do something special, but we just couldn't afford it.  So this year, our eleventh, Ben decided to just go for it.  He booked us on a four-day cruise.

And lest you think we're super rich, don't.  We're poor as church mice.  But it was at a season for cruises where you can book really cheaply.  It was only like $150 for each of us, for four whole days, and then we had all those sky miles from China that paid for our flights, so badda-bing, badda-boom.  So a hint for ya if you're wanting to cruise cheaply - do it in January.  The people who worked on the cruise line said that, in January, people are still reeling from having spent too much at Christmas and haven't yet gotten their tax refund back.  So they make cruises really cheap in January to get more people coming.

We went to the Caribbean.  We had two stops, one at an island owned by the Royal Caribbean cruise line, called Coco Cay.  And then our second stop was at Nassau.  I'll post about those later.  This one will just be about the cruise boat itself.

The Booze

So we had to drive to Salt Lake and fly out of that airport.  I stocked up on magazines for the long flights we'd be on to and from the port in Florida.  I was reading People Magazine, I believe, in the book review section (my favorite section of People).  I was reading a review about some mystery book, and the reviewer called the main character a teetotaler.  I was intrigued.  What on earth is a teetotaler?? So Ben looked it up on his fancy schmancy iPhone, because I have a stupid Barbie phone.  And we found out that a teetotaler is someone who doesn't drink.  I decided that I wanted that word to become a permanent part of my vocabulary.  And, like a nerd, I decided to use it in a sentence once a day for awhile.  (Oh, and by the way, you pronounce teetotaler like this:  tea-toddler.  Like a toddler who likes to drink tea.)

Yeah, that resolution was VERY easy to keep.  I had ample opportunity to use teetotaler in sentences that week.  Because I'm pretty sure Ben and I were the only ones on the whole boat who weren't drunk 24-7. :)

It started the second people got on the boat and threw their stuff in their rooms.  They hit those bars and got ca-razy drunk.  Which was fascinating to me.  I'm not often in situations where I see drunk people, so it was really entertaining.  At one point, there were two dudes who looked to be in their late seventies/early eighties, dancing questionably with this gal in her early twenties, while the old dudes' wives looked on and laughed.  It was really weird.

This was an hour or so after everyone boarded - it was a partayyyyyy:

Once, I went to the pool bar to get a cherry coke for me and a diet coke for Ben, and there was a lady standing next to me who overheard my order.  "Well, that's a boring order!" she said.

I laughed and said, "Well, my hubby and I are teetotalers."

She punched me in the arm and said, incredulously, "You KNOW that word???"

I gasped.  "Yes!!  You know that word, too??"


We got a good laugh at that, and then she wobbled away with her Sex on the Beach drink.

The bartender and I got to be good friends - his name was Samsun.  He always remembered me because I was the only one that ordered non-alcoholic margeritas.   It was so fun.  I would belly up to the bar (I've always wanted to use that phrase) and say, "Samsun, I'm in the mood for something mangoey or peachey.  Non-alcoholic of course.  Because I'm a teetotaler, as you know.  Do you have anything mangoey or peachey?"

He always spoke in third person.  "Let Samsun take care of you," he would say, in his cute Bahamian accent.

I noticed that the dudes that went around asking if you wanted drinks and serving them to you poolside always had the cutest smiles. I think the management did that on purpose.  Cuter smiles, more drinks ordered.  More drinks ordered, more money generated.

The Food

I quite literally gained five pounds in four days.  They serve you four course meals every night, plus they make a buffet available 24 hours a day!!  We seriously ate like 7 times a day.  It was ridiculous.  And so yummy.  I had this salad one day that I really want to find a similar recipe to - with papaya and fresh green beans.  It was soooooo good.

And at dinner, if you can't decide between two of the main courses or two of the desserts or whatever, they bring you both. Our waiter was adorable.  And if I finished a course, he would be next to me in a millisecond, saying, "Do you want some more?  We can bring you more of that."  I did take him up on it once - when we had rice pudding for dessert.  I'm a sucker for rice pudding.  So I did get seconds of that.

So you are assigned the same seat every night for dinner, and you end up eating with the same people.  Which can be fun.  Or not so fun.  The people at our table were bummers, mainly.  We were the only ones who consistently showed up for dinner.  I think that the others would eat early or late at the buffet to catch a show or a bingo game during our assigned dinner time.
These guys were really funny - they were from Brooklyn:

I think they were in a fight that first night, because they wouldn't talk to each other.  Or us.  We only saw them one more time - the final night, and they were in much better spirits then.  There was a part where everyone had to stand up and do the Macarena.  I'm, like, the Macarena CHAMP, so I got up and shook my booty, and the lady kept saying, "Mmmmm-MMMM...Mama's got her groove on..."  I loved that. 

These guys were Laotian - they hardly said one word and were only there one night:
These two were adorable - he was Aruban, and she was Venezuelan:
She didn't speak a lick of English, but Ben speaks a little Spanish and could talk to her.  And her hubby speaks Aruban, Spanish, and English.  Very impressive.  Again, we only saw them once.

And then, not pictured, was a cute gay man who brought his grandma.  How sweet is that?  She had had a LOT of plastic surgery.  But she and her grandson were really affable.  We only saw them once, too.  We were the only losers who showed up for dinner every single night. :)

The Entertainment

It was phenomenal.  We saw a dancing/singing revue - of Top 40 Songs from the 1950s to today.  The singers were amazing, and the dancers were really, really good.

In college, I actually considered trying out to be a dancer for a cruise ship.  For reals.  It was for the summer after my sophomore year.  The summer after my freshman year, I had worked at Shopko, and it was, like, the worst job of my entire LIFE.  I was NOT going to do that again.  There were these flyers up for cruise liner dancers, and I was like, If I don't get in as an EFY counselor, I'm totally doing that.  I am NEVER doing Shopko again.  But then I got into EFY.  And the rest is history.

The second show we saw was this guy from Mexico who plays, like, fifty instruments and does all of these rope trick things.  He was also really, really, really funny.

We steered clear of the comedians.  Their shows were always at, like, 11:30, and we old farts were too tired by then.  And we figured the comedy might be a little...seedy.  You never know with comedy shows.  As Trevor Graydon says to Miss Dorothy Brown in Thoroughly Modern Millie, "We can catch a vaudeville show at the Hippodrome.  Unless, that is, the comedians are on.  Their kind of humor can be a little too crass for a lady's ear."

Sorry.  I'm still obsessed with that movie.  And with Julie Andrews. I'm reading her biography right now - fascinating.

A Weird Phenomenon

Ben and I went up to the front of the boat one night just to look at the stars.

We kept seeing this weird red thing in the distance:

We could not figure it out, for the life of us.  Was it an island with a weird red light on it?   Was it another cruise liner on the distance, with a weird red light enveloping it?

Then we finally figured it out as it rose into the air.  Duh.  It was the moon!  And it was blood-red.  I've never seen anything like it.

Room Service

Oh my goodness.  So you leave in the morning, and your housekeeper dude changes your sheets, cleans your bathroom, etc.  Then, if you're gone in the evening as well, he comes in AGAIN!  He turns down your sheets, adds a decorative throw blanket, checks your bathroom again, puts out a schedule for the next day, and leaves you with a towel sculpture:

For reals.  They would sculpt our towels every single night.  It was really weird and super funny.

We are Lazy-Arses

So when we boarded the boat and got the schedule for the on-board gym, I was like, aw yeah.  Look at all the time I'll have to work out!  I'll get my jog in every single day!

Turns out, not so much.  I packed workout clothes for every single day, and every single day, I did NOT work out. :)

We loved sitting by the pool and reading.  I read a non-fiction book about the murder of Marilyn Sheppard in the 1960's.  Told you - I'm a non-fiction junkie.
I'm not sure what Benny read:
I worked on my Sunday School lesson  And we spent an awful lot of time people-watching.  Which is one of my favorite things to do.  It's just fun to watch people and wonder about their friendships/relationships/lives.  There was the cutest French Canadian family that were all there to celebrate the marriage of one of their siblings.  They had the most adorable accents and were really cool and fun.  This one girl kept saying, "My leeeeeetle brrrrrrrrrrother is marrrrrrrrrrrried!"  If there was ever music playing by the pool, they would all jump up and totally dance.  They were uninhibited and fun-loving and just lovely people.

One of the elderly questionably dancing dudes got his hair braided at one of the islands.  You know how you can do that?  Get cornrows braided into your hair?  This old guy with white hair got just one tuft of his hair braided, right at the tippy-top of his head.  Hilarious.

This one family group brought cards and spent their down time playing card games.  It made me wish my siblings and parents were there with us.  I think a cruise is fun with just your spouse, but would also be a kick in the pants with a larger group of family or friends.

An Unfortunate Event

The second morning we were cruising, we were woken early by the captain speaking on the loudspeakers that go into each and every room of the whole ship.  He informed us that a crew member had jumped overboard in the middle of the night, within view of another crew member.  The other crew member immediately informed the captain, who turned the boat around and led a rescue effort for several hours.  A few other cruise ships in the vicinity also stopped on their routes and came to help look for him.

The coast guard finally made it out to where we were in the middle of the ocean, and they were able to pick up the search and rescue effort, while we moved on.  We waited to hear if he was ever found.  The captain never re-announced that he was.  We would ask crew members now and then, and they all would tell us that, nope, he hadn't been found.  All we heard was that he was from India, and that his parents had been notified.

What a scary way to die - in the middle of a gigantic ocean, in the pitch black of night.

That Cruise Ship in the Mediterranean Had Nothing On Us

Ironically, we received news about that ship that hit some rocks in the Mediterranean and sank the day after our cruise ended. As Ben and I learned more about it, we were so shocked to hear about that ship never having done an emergency evacuation practice session. We did it before we even left land.  We had to go to our assigned section and get counted, and we were told to go to our little section again if there was an emergency, etc.  Everyone had to be there.  And it took awhile.  We grumbled a lot, but looking back, it's an important thing to practice.

We were stuffed in our section pretty tightly and got to know two cute couples.  One was a cute little newleywed couple from Florida.  They were super-friendly.  And they were usually drunk. The wife wore really skimpy clothes.  They were funny.  And the other couple were a Chinese couple who live in the midwest of the U.S.  I tried out some Mandarin on them, and they were impressed with me. :)

Formal Night

So the second night, they had this thing where you wear formal wear to dinner.  Ben and I had gone shopping a few days before and just picked out a nice dress - it wasn't very fancy at all, and truth be told, it was wayyyyy too tight for my liking.  I felt like a stuffed sausage:
Ben always picks tight stuff out for me.  I think he sees me through rose-colored glasses sometimes.  Which is a good thing.

So I felt really fancy, but dang.  Ben and I were almost underdressed.  There were tuxedos and full-on prom dresses.  There were a few people like us, but mainly, everyone went all OUT.  Which, in most of the younger ladies' instances, meant skimpy.  Very, very skimpy stuff.

And you know, every night thereafter, lots of girls continued to wear prom dresses.  It was funny.  A chance to dress up, I guess.

It felt weird to me that people would get all gussied up just to eat dinner, but whatevs.  As soon as dinner was over, I changed back into my loungewear.  My shoes were killing me.

The Verdict

Loooooved it.  Loved it, loved it, loved it.  And how great that Ben and I were able to take this fantastic trip together before he left for China.  Actually, at the time, we didn't know he was leaving so soon.  We came home, found out he was going to China, and two days after that, he was gone.  So  this time we had together is very precious to me.

The cruise itself was too short for me.  I could have comfortably done a seven-day cruise.  Those ships are a little larger and have more shopping and more things to do.  The shorter four-day cruises have smaller ships and not quite so much to do.  I mean, if you gamble or drink, there was ALWAYS something going on.  But if you're a teetotaler, you need to bring lots of books and card games.

I get pretty severe motion sickness, so I was worried, but I brought the 24-hour dramamine pills, and they were wonderful.  Every now and then, my body could sense when we had some rougher seas or whatever, but I didn't feel sick at all.  One morning, I forgot to take my dramamine, and by 10 a.m. or so, I was going, "Why do I feel so queasy?"  Then I realized why, and I quickly took my pill and felt much better within a half hour or so.

So would I do it again?  In a Bahamian Minute. 

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