Monday, December 29, 2008
We did our usual Xmas eve tradition - this year we had meatballs & weiners in sauce, cucumber sandwiches, shrimp, veggies & dip, ham rollups, cheese, and weiners in crescent rolls. Snacking and opening presents went well. Since we were quite up to it (or we were just too lazy!!), Brett and Arielle put up the tree. And...they were kind enough to take it down before they left - so that Jill and I wouldn't need to worry about handling the task.
Xmas day was the usual feast of too much food - but, it was all very good. The morning started off a little out of kilter. We had ordered and thought we got a fresh turkey. Well...Jill discovered Xmas morning that it was still partially frozen - which it certainly wasn't supposed to be. Luckily, I was able to find directions online to thaw the turkey in our microwave - and even more luckily, the new microwave was big enough to fit it. As it turned out, the Master Chef setting on the oven also used the convection function and it cooked the turkey in pretty decent time - which meant that we had dinner about when we originally expected. The meal turned out very well - turkey, dressing, double-baked potatoes, baked beans, corn souffle, rolls, cranberry salad.
All in all, it turned out to be a very nice holiday. Nice visit with the kids. Good food. Plenty of time just sitting around being lazy.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Of course, while we were in Joliet, we visited favorite restaurants. What would a visit to Joliet be without a stop at Portillo's, Merichka's and Traverso's? Obviously, most of us ate totally too much food. But, for us, that is what Thanksgiving is all about - family, fun, food and lots of laughs.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I am thankful that I wake up each morning and can look forward to another eventful day.
I am thankful for a wonderful, loving, supportive family to help me through my challenges.
I am thankful that I got to see both of my kids graduate from college. And, I am thankful that I am able to help them as they enter the post-college life during a very challenging time.
I am thankful that I am still able to travel to interesting places. And, I am thankful for our many new friends from Canada, the UK, Australia and throughout the US who joined us on our travels.
I am thankful that I am surrounded at work by a strong team to overcome business challenges.
I am thankful for great medical care.
Most of all, I am thankful that I have had and continue to have a wonderful life full of family, friends, challenges, fun, travel, fulfillment.
Thank you for being in my life.
For each of you, I hope that you are able to realize the many things in your lives for which you are thankful. Even though each of us faces our own unique difficulties and challenges, the fact is that we have a pretty good lives.
I hope that you will be able to spend true quality time during the coming week with your family and friends.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Well...I must say that we are certainly not looking forward to this cruise ending. This has clearly been one of our most relaxing trips. The cabin was fabulous - even a bit over the top - but, it sure was nice!
Of course, time in Barcelona is good for us. We love the city. Casablanca was heavily littered, dusty and very hectic. But, it was interesting to visit. Lisbon was a nice, smaller city that is working to attract more tourism. That is also the case in the Azores where they have a brand new cruise ship dock.The ocean...well...we sure do love the days at sea.
Last night, we rocked at trivia. 20 out of 20. We were the clear winners. Tied for first in Tribond this morning. And, we won Food Trivia this morning. With somewhere around 8 or 10 wins, we were a pretty good team on this cruise. Oh, and Jill sure did well in the casino.
Today, of course, is time to start packing and getting ready to disembark tomorrow morning. At least we don't have to be ready too early - the estimated disembarkation time for our color luggage tags is 9:40 - not too bad.
So...that's it. One more cruise about to be completed.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Gloomy, chilly, high of just 66, moderate seas at 8 to 10 feet, rain off and on most of the day. This is our 4th day at sea and all these things mean little to us since we rarely go outside on the ship.
Trivia last night and this morning were so-so. But, we won midday trivia. Jill was very happy because the prizes were very nice tote bags.
More importantly, the gambler won another $150 on the slots this morning. She is now up to around $1,250 - which is the most she has won on a cruise.
We both went to bed early last night. After gaining another hour, we both woke up pretty early - well before Nelson delivered breakfast. I guess we've caught up on sleep.
Jill was awake when the helicopter came to medivac the person early this morning. We have never heard what was wrong. Hope he/she is OK.
Tonight is the last formal night. So...fancy menu and baked Alaska.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Well...the excitement today was that Jill had a big day in the casino. She won a jackpot on slots (about $250) - but it was during a special Captain's Club event where jackpots were paid out double. She figures she is up to around $1,100 so far this cruise.
Also, we won trivia again last night - won travel pillows. This morning we tied for first but lost the tie-breaker.
Otherwise, this was basically another day at sea. Had to start with breakfast in the cabin. Gray, chilly and a bit windy - not good weather for breakfast on the verandah.
Last night between midnight and 2AM, the seas started to rock a bit. Still not too bad - but, enough to feel the rolling and to grab the wall occasionally. I would guess 8 to 10 foot swells. Temp high only about 70.
Today, we had our trivia partners - Michael, Roger and Dehlia - to our cabin for tea. It's kinda nice taking advantage of the extra space and the butler service.
No trivia tonight since they are using the lounge for a Captain's Club event - one more that we are skipping. They certainly are persistent and we have rec'd an invitation for lots of things - dinner at the Captain's table, a couple cocktail parties, a private bridge tour, etc. But, nothing that was of interest to us.
Since we are sailing west, we have been gaining time most days. After gaining another hour tomorrow night, we will be back on Eastern time. This is why we like crossing from Europe back to the US. When we dock in the US, we are back on our home time and we have gained it back gradually - no sudden adjustment to the time.
We understand that they have diverted our path slightly to medivac someone off the ship. Don't know too much. We just hear that someone is in critical condition. It is supposed to happen around 6 AM tomorrow - so, I doubt that we will be awake when it happens. This is the 3rd of the last 4 trips where someone has been taken off our ship by helicopter.
Two more days at sea - Sunday and Monday.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Well...I almost didn't bother with an update today. But, I decided that would be incredibly lazy - somewhat like our day today.
Breakfast on the verandah - trivia - chat with trivia team - Jill to the casino - Lunch - relax - trivia -- that's what our day has been today so far. Eat, play and lounge around. How good is that?
Temp around 80 today. Seas once again very smooth. We're now about 1,000 miles from docking in NJ.
This afternoon our tablemates, Glenn and Dawn, are coming to our cabin for tea and to play euchre. Then, of course, dinner, 8PM trivia and the usual shows.
The only unusual thing today is that I broke a small glass bottle of euchalyptis oil in the bathroom during the night. What an excessively aromatic mess! Luckily, when the bottle hit the marble floor, it broke up into just four pieces rather than shattering. Happily, our cabin steward was able to get rid of most of the smell this morning.
So...that was the only real excitement. And, we have another slow day at sea tomorrow.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
What a wonderful, relaxing day at sea. It is about 70 and the sea is very smooth.
We started the day with breakfast on the verandah. What a life! Then, trivia. We only did so-so today. But, we have done well with about six wins. We played a couple other types of games during the day - not winning but having fun.
Found out that one of our trivia/games partners was formerly a casting director on some TV shows and what he referred to as B movies - Chuck Norris type movies. He is pretty good on entertainment trivia.
Our other partners are a couple from England - I think I have mentioned that they are from the Liverpool area. I learned today that Dehlia (sp?) had a chance to see the Beatles just before they became big; but, she went dancing instead. She said she always wished she had gone to see the band instead. Also, she writes down all the trivia questions/answers because they run a pub quiz at home. So...they are pretty decent trivia partners.
Lunch for me was pasta once again. There is a pasta station in the level-10 casual restaurant. They offer 3 to 4 different pastas and 10 to 12 different ingredients. The chef saute's (sp?) the ingredients along with the pasta and, then, adds one of the three sauces. Choices are things like bacon, sausage, ham, onion, peppers, olives, tomatoes, etc.
Jill has been getting a similar concoction at the Asian station or and the sandwich station. This really helps her to be able to better control what she eats for lunch. Of course, for dinner, they bring her the menu for the next night and prepare her selection without salt.
Of course, I took an opportunity for a nap. And, Jill visited the casino - she was even today. Nelson once again treated us with afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, breads, cookies, tarts, etc. Again, what a life!
Tonight, the show is a guitar instrumentalist - I might go to the cinema to see Juno instead.
Tomorrow, another day at sea.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
We docked this morning in the Azores. This group of islands is similar to the Hawaiian and Tahitian Islands. The islands were formed by volcanoes. The Azores are part of Portugal even though they are about 900 miles from Portugal.
Most of the buildings in the port area are white with brown tile roofs. We went ashore and walked around a bit. Some of the streets are extremely narrow - barely room for a small car and a 2-foot wide cobbled walk on each side.
Of course, we were limited on how far we could walk. The stores we visited were just stuff - some tourist items but little interesting shopping. There were typical local businesses - banks, car rental, grocery, etc. The apparel shops were clearly directed more toward locals than tourists. And, of course, there were lots of small cafes - especially around wider areas where they could have sidewalk seating.
Even though Ponta Delgada only has a population of 21,000, is seems quite busy. Lots of cars and trucks. Oddly, few bikes or scooters.
On our walk back to the ship, we came across an ice cream place called Farggi (sp?). This is the same place we tried in Barcelona. Once again, excellent. They have a chocolate-covered almond chip ice cream that is very good.
When back on the ship, we just ate and have been relaxing. The entertainment tonight is a comedian. When we sail tonight, we start successive days at sea until we dock in NJ on Tuesday.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Well...today was a day at sea as we continued on our way to the Azores. It was a mostly lazy day.
Jill won $220 at the slots. Pretty good winnings on nickel slots!
We tied for 1st in trivia - but lost in the tie-breaker. But, it turns out that we have settled into a pretty good, competitive trivia team. The other couple is from around Liverpool, England. And, we have another guy joining us lately - from the US but I'm not sure where.
We got an invite to eat at the "Captain's Table" tonight. But, we declined because we didn't want to leave Glenn and Dawn alone at our normal table. We have been enjoying our dinner company now that it is down to just the two couples. The others - the party gang - haven't been back since the first night. We figure that we must be too boring for them. Oh well.
Weather was 72 today and a bit windy. Pretty good wave action most of the day. Our butler, Nelson, told us that there are some on the ship being bothered. It was a bit cloudy in the morning. But, the sun came out later. The captain said that we might get rain; but, I don't think that has happened.
So...tomorrow we arrive at the Azores. We dock at Ponta Delgada. Don't have an excursion planned. We hope to be able to shop a little. We'll see how it goes.
I haven't mentioned before that the desserts at dinner have been sinful. Most nights I have had a chocolate cake, pie or other concoction. On the other hand, the soups have been disappointing. I have had steak/beef quite often and it has been pretty good. Only had fish one night and I was disappointed. I have had mostly pasta for lunch - custom made at the pasta bar. And, of course, the breakfasts in our cabin have been great.
So...that's all for now. Couldn't get to sleep. So, I remembered I hadn't done an update. Time to drag myself back to bed. Take care all.
Monday, September 15, 2008
This morning we took a tour "Lisbon by Boat". The two hour tour was quite nice. Our guide narrated the entire time - telling us about the various buildings, monuments and areas of the city.
Even though the city was founded hundreds of years BC, most of the building are newer due to a very devastating earthquake in 1755.
The Castle of St George is one of the few structures that survived the earthquake. It stands on the hill believed to be the original Phoenician colony.
At the 25th April Bridge, there is a tall column with a statue of "Christ the King" which was a gift from Brazil.
We decided to not go shopping today. It was already 11AM when our tour finished and the last shuttle from downtown is 2PM. We figured it would be too rushed by the time we figured out how to get downtown and, then, would have to watch our time so we wouldn't miss the last shuttle. So...we skipped it.
This afternoon will just be leisure - eating, games and probably a nap.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Today we started the day with a nice sail on our way to Lisbon, Portugal. Didn't do much other than relax and play games - we won trivia again - actually tied for 1st.
Arrived in Lisbon around noon. It is sunny and around 85 degrees. The port appears very nice. Most buildings are in muted browns and yellows with terracota tile roofs.
Since it is Sunday, we haven't bothered to get off the ship - few shops will be open and neither of us is interested in walking just to walk. Tomorrow, we have a harbor your and we will hope to shop a bit.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Today we docked at Cadiz, Spain. We did not book an excursion and we decided to just stay aboard and relax. We did take time to play games.
Basically, we got up in time for breakfast and, then, trivia. We won our second trivia this morning. That was followed by charades, lunch, catch phrase, a short nap and tribond. So...we kept pretty active thoughout the day.
Just finished afternoon tea. A cleaning crew is hosing down our verandah. Things got kinda dusty yesterday at Casablanca. Nelson wanted to get the verandah cleaned off because I told him we might want to have breakfast outside if the weather is nice.
Oh...we left Casablanca late - about 11PM - last night. For the first time, we got some rough water as we left port and sailed into the Atlantic. But, it only lasted long enough to rock us to sleep.
Well...hopefully, the cleaners are done. I'm about to get ready for dinner. Wake up...eat...play games...nap...play games...eat...play more games. What a life!
Friday, September 12, 2008
First, I got an email asking about the casino on the ship. Well...of course, Jill has visited the casino - but just once. As you might guess, she came back with her winnings - just over $100.
We docked today in Casablanca, Morocco. We booked a half-day excursion to see the city. Yes, of course, we saw Rick's Cafe - it is really just a tourist restaurant - the one in the movie never really existed.
We also saw quite a bit of traditional Moroccan architecture and the Hassan II Mosque - which is named after the current king's father and is one of the largest mosques in the world. The mosaic tilework, the sculpted plasterwork and the Venetian glass windows and chandeliers are pretty impressive. Our guide was very educational.
Casablanca is a very modern commercial city. Population is around 5 million. Even the port area is more commercial and shipping than tourist. Our excursion bus had to weave between workers, forklifts and big trucks. The traffic is similar to Rome - it looks incredibly hectic and crazy to us. But, we didn't see and accident all day.
Many of our fellow cruisers will not get back until quite late tonight. Tours to Fez and Merakesh are around 12 to 13 hours. Way too much for us. I am very glad we had a chance to visit Morocco, but, the shorter half-day was plenty for us.
Late tonight we head for Cadiz, Spain - which is where we could go to Seville. We don't have anything booked - so I imagine we'll wing it - or, maybe just relax. We'll see what we feel like in the morning.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
We spent today in Malaga, Spain. A bit warmer at 84.
Our excursion was first thing this AM. We headed out at 8:45 on a bus. The tour took us through the port area of the town of 300,000. Pablo Picasso was born here and we saw his home until his family moved when he was very young. The other primary sights are a 16th century cathedral and a Moorish palace complex called Alcazaba. We also got a good look at the bullfighting arena from a high overlook by Alcazaba. We saw ruins of the older Moorish fortress called Gibralfaro.
After our 3 hour tour, we returned to the ship for lunch and played a few games - catch phrase, charades and tri-bond.
Afternoon tea will arrive soon and we will prepare for dinner.
Oh, by the way, only one couple came to the formal dinner last night. We figure that the others didn't want to dress up. Was actually pretty nice since we got to have much better conversation than the previous night. Glenn and Dawn are a very nice couple from the Toronto area and they have traveled a lot - so, of course, we discussed travel, cruising and such.
Jill didn't particularly like the production show last night. A little too much opera-type performance. It was supposed to be a tribute to the music of various counties - and, the "US" music was country songs that even I didn't recognize.
The entertainment tonight is a xylophone player. Hmmm.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Well...today has been a good day to do almost nothing. We started the day with a wonderful breakfast served by Nelson in our cabin. It was a little damp - so, we didn't eat outside.
After a leisurely breakfast, we made our way to the trivia game. We paired up with another couple - from NJ. After scoring, we figured we ended up in the middle. But...no...we won by four points! Quite honestly, our partners and Jill were pretty good. I was more of a spectator.
After trivia...well...we pretty much haven't done anything. Lounged around until a light lunch and came back to our cabin. Watched a little BBC, Discovery and took a nap.
Getting ready for a formal dinner tonight. But, first, Nelson will be here with tea and, then, snacks/canapes.
Tonight is the first big production entertainment show.
It is currently 74F and the seas are basically flat with waves of just 1 to 3 feet.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Today we boarded the Constellation after a somewhat leisurely AM. We just had breakfast and kinda sat around until we were ready to checkout around noon.
Checkin and boarding was pretty easy. The security line wasn't really very long and Celebrity's checkin was pretty simple. Immediately upon stepping on the ship, Jill had a guy in black tux and tails push up to her, take her bag and he guided us to our suite. He wasn't our butler - but they were clearly watching for our luggage tags or something to know we have a suite. While others were told they could get to their cabins after 1:00, we were taken straight to our suite about 12:15.
Within the first half hour, I counted six different people who came to our cabin to do things or just to introduce themselves and to let us know they were available for whatever we needed.
The suite is really nice. Obviously, we paid for it - but that doesn't change that it is the best cabin we have had. We have a separate bedroom and living room. The living room (about the size of a typical cabin) extends into a dining area with a table and five chairs. The dining area has glass cabinets with decorative cases, figurines, etc. The living room has a sofa, love seat and lounge chair. The bathroom is all marble with a large whirlpool tub. The verandah is larger than I expected - with a jacuzzi, two lounge chairs, and a table with four chairs. The walls are almost all wood panels. And, the list goes on. I must say it is pretty darn nice.
We met our tablemates at dinner tonight. We are at a table of seven. We might finally have a group that might be challeging. One older couple from outside Toronto seems nice - but they were somewhat quiet. The other three seem to be an odd lot so far. The guy of the couple hardly said anything. The other guy was a bit different - he seemed to push to be a bit "goofy". But...we'll see. The woman... well... let's just say I don't quite understand why she would bother with a better cruiseline since all she talked about was wanting to drink and party. Again...we'll see.
After dinner we went to see the A Capella Quartet. We enjoyed their show and will likely try to see them more during the trip.
We are at sea tomorrow. That means a day to relax!
Monday, September 8, 2008
Even though the Hotel Arts is expensive as all get out, they do put out a nice breakfast buffet - and at least it was included with the suite. Neither of us woke up very early today. It was definitely early to bed and late to rise for us.
I can't believe that I've been eating so many meals outside - dinner last night, breakfast and lunch today. It helps that it is really nice here. Very comfortable, plenty of shade umbrellas, nice sea breeze and no bugs.
It turns out that the Bus Turistic has a pickup spot right across the street from our hotel. So we got an all-day pass for 30 euros each and headed out. We got off at Placa de Catalunya - which is a very large plaza/square that happens to be the northern beginning of La Rambla - a long, interesting shopping street that we have visited each time here. The area was loaded with street performers. Quite crowded since there are several cruise ships in port.
As I remembered, there is a bus pickup point at the southern end of La Rambla - next to the Columbus statue. So...we reboarded the bus, plugged in our headsets and rode the entire circuit. The tour is similar to some of the bus-type tours in many US cities - except most of the US doesn't have sections that date back to medieval times, back to the time of Columbus, or that have the fabulous architecture of Barcelona.
We saw some of the somewhat bizzare buildings designed by Gaudie, the medieval Gothic Cathedral, and many of the buildings that were built for the Barcelona Olympic Games. The total bus tour was about 2 hours - and that's just the blue line. They have another - the red line - that visits sites north of the city. Even on a good day, trying to do both tours is a bit much for us. We re-did the blue line - Jill was a little funky the last time here - so it was mostly new to her. We'll do the red line next time.
Oh, and we also learned that the residential area surrounding our hotel was leveled and built as housing for the athletes for the Olympics. Afterward, the units were sold as apartments. So...the Olympians had a very nice housing village right on the Mediterranean.
On our way to the bus stop by our hotel, we spotted some restaurants and explored when we were done with the bus. Went to an Italian place called Gino's. Jill got a chicken parmisan that she said was quite good. I had the special of the day which included a tomato/mozzarella salad, a handmade pizza (bacon, tomatoes, green onions, gouda, ham) and chocolate drizzled cream puffs.
We've been paying a fortune for bottled water. After lunch, Jill found a little convenience/tourist shop with 1.5 liter bottles for just 1.35 euros - got two.
So...after a good day sightseeing, a good lunch and plenty of water to rehydrate - guess what? Nap time.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Well...travel day one has started fun - not. After getting to our Delta gate, they announced a 4-hour delay. After talking to our travel agent, we decided to hang loose. Then, after they had rebooked lots of the people on the flight, they announced that boarding would begin immediately. We actually left less than an hour late. Many of the people who had rebooked hadn't even left yet. So...we got to JFK in NY wbd made it to the Admirals Lounge about 4PM for our long wait. Looking out the windows, it is a monsoon out there - actually, Hurricane Hanna. Our 7PM flight will probably be at least an hour late leaving. So...
Well...we finally boarded at about 8:40ish. But...we sat for quite a while waiting for other connecting flights. Lots people continued to board for almost an hour. Finally pushed back for departure at about 9:40ish.
As usual, I hate overnight flights. I just can't sleep very well. Luckily, we knew and planned for that with extra days in Barcelona.
Now, for something interesting..., we have never had to wait in line to get out of an airport terminal. We expect the chance that luggage will come slowly - it did; but, a big line to get out of the terminal was new for us. Happily, the seemingly very long cab line actually moved very quickly. The cab driver was pretty creative figuring how to get our bags in his little cab - but he did it.
Our suite at the Hotel Arts Barcelona is more like a small apartment. I'm sure glad we didn't have to pay real money for the suite. Would have been out of our league. But, it is a Ritz Carlton hotel - so you could expect it to be expensive.
The upside is that we have a corner suite and we look out on a gorgeous panoramic view of Barcelona. I'm sitting here looking out only a mile or so from the church designed by Gaudie. The medieval part of Barcelona is a couple miles away. We are only a couple blocks from the Mediterranean beach. I can see the dock about a mile or two away - I imagine we'll see our ship come in on Tuesday.
We plan to get to sleep early tonight so we can go out to see some sights tomorrow - haven't planned our day yet. But, there is lots to see.
Monday, August 25, 2008
I continue with my treatments by Dr Yang - the Doctor of Chinese Medicine. She is using a combination of acupuncture, cupping, electric pulse therapy and herbal patches & pills. The progress on my frozen shoulder and neuropathy in my feet is amazing. She is working to increase my "chi" - energy level and some of the treatments are for my lungs. I'll take anything I can get right now.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Needless to say, I am very relieved. I had some anxiety when the Avastin treatments were done. I was concerned that cancer would become active again shortly after. But...not the case. Hurray!!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Yesterday, she started treatment for the peripheral neuropathy in my feet. She is using acupuncture and electrical pulse treatments. My feet seem better today; but, I am waiting to see of any improvements stay with me.
It was kinda funny on Sunday - we had cards at our house and had five other couples playing. When the topic of my acupuncture came up, all of the strange comments, myths, etc started coming up. However, nobody could deny the progress of my improved range of motion in my arm and the reduction of the pain. Most people were still a little uncomfortable because I think there is such a lack of knowledge and understanding about Chinese medicine.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
So...yesterday was my first ever acupunture treatment. Dr Yang inserted somewhere around 14 to 18 needles in my legs. The basic belief is that pain is caused by an energy imbalance. Inserting the needles helped to "push" excess energy from certain body areas to those areas lacking energy. The needle insertions really didn't hurt - some I didn't even feel other than the pressure that I knew she was inserting a needle. After my legs, she next inserted needles into my right hand and arm. (The frozen shoulder is on my left.) Finally, she inserted three needles into my left hand and just above the wrist.
After inserting all the needles, she lightly rubbed my left shoulder with an ointment of some kind - smelled like menthol. She turned out the lights, told me to take a few deep breathes, said to sleep if I could and she left the room. Unfortunately, I was not able to sleep. After a few minutes of sitting very still, my left shoulder and the muscles on the back of my arm started to throb. It got pretty uncomfortable. When Dr Yang finally returned, I told her about the pain and she immediately rubbed my arm/shoulder with more of the ointment, removed the pins from my left arm and allowed me to move the arm - which eased the pain. Dr Yang thinks it may have been the position of my arm and we will try a different position next time. She also put an herbal patch at the spot where I indicated the most pain.
Now...the results...I actually do have reduced pain in the shoulder and I am able to move the arm more that before the treatment. I was able to lift my arm about maybe 45 degrees when extended to the side. I am not able to raise it just about 90 degrees - or almost straight out. Still can't raise if above my shoulder when extended to the side; but, it is better. Obviously, I must wait & see, but I haven't had any episodes of the shoulder throbbing yet. Maybe best of all, I slept well last night. Even though I have been taking Ambien, I have had some difficulty sleeping as I am unable to get into a position without pain.
Dr Yang gave me extras of the herbal patches and a bottle of the ointment (only available from China) with instruction to use them. We also agreed to treatments on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for two weeks. At that time, we will review status/progress and decide whether it makes sense to continue.
An interesting thing about this venture into treatment alternatives is the fact that Dr Yang's husband is a pulmonologist here in Indy. Therefore, she was very careful to ensure that her treatments don't interfere in any way with my normal lung cancer treatments and follow up.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Fortunately, the people I work with most closely are now very accustomed to the situation. They realize that someday I will be gone -- but it ain't gonna be tomorrow. They work with me, talk with me and interact with me mostly like I am a normal person without lung cancer. And...on the days I need it, they cut me some slack. But...we go on another cruise in Sept and I know I will have to deal with the same old questions again.
Re: me -- I continue in remission. I am currently getting no treatments of any kind. I've been back to see Dr Einhorn once since my last Avastin infusion and all was OK. I go back again just before the Sept cruise. My feet hurt from peripheral neuropathy - damage from the chemo. Some days it is difficult to walk very much. The pain is pretty much there all the time. My shoulder is still a problem - frozen shoulder/adhesive encapsulitis. It's not bad some days...but...on other days, it just throbs. Sleeping is sometimes difficult because I can't get into a comfortable sleeping position. But...I am still here and I am figuring out how to keep going.
Re: Jill -- She had a bad episode last week. She ended up in the hospital for a couple nights. Even though the doctors could never confirm it, we are pretty sure she had food poisoning from a crabcake she had when the kids were here. She was miserable for about a week including the time in the hospital. Once they got her rehydrated with IV fluids, she began to improve. She is basically back to her normal now.
Speaking of the kids, we learned that Brett and Arielle plan to marry next April. Another great milestone to push to ensure that we both make it. And, Julie has started her first job. Apparently, she enjoys it so far because "everyone is nice and treats her nice."
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Basically, I am still in remission. The nosebleeding and headaches from the avastin have just about cleared up. My feet still hurt from the peripheral neuropathy. My left shoulder is still "frozen". My energy level is so-so; but, quite a bit better now that I am getting a full night sleep using the ambien. I won't be running any marathons very soon. But, I feel pretty good considering.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Everything else is going well. Jill is feeling pretty good. She has started to do her bike rides when weather permits.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Well...today is a day at sea before we dock in San Francisco early tomorrow. This has been a very nice cruise.
We have found that Celebrity has clearly passed HAL in onboard service. Our cabin steward and his asst, our waiter and asst waiter and our butler have offered us better service than we have had for years on many HAL cruises. Notable was the afternoon tea that was delivered daily directly to our cabin by our butler. Celebrity also seemed to have lots more onboard activities to our taste.
In terms of cabin, HAL's concierge level cabins are bigger with a dressing area, double sink and both a whirlpool tub and shower. HAL verandahs are also bigger. The Sky Suite on Celebrity has a cramped bathroom, smaller verandah, single sink, combo tub/shower. The HAL Neptune Lounge is also missing on Celebrity.
In general, it is apples vs oranges when comparing - but, I must say that the higher level of service is very nice. We are already booked on the Celebrity Constellation for Sept and I am sure we will look seriously at Celebrity for the future.
On this cruise, the highlight was clearly Butchart Gardens in Victoria. This is surely a place to which we can return.
In Juneau, we again had good luck on the whale watching excursion - exact same operator as we have done every other time in Juneau. Astoria was an interesting new port for us; but, it is small and probably would handle multiple visits well. Seattle was a nice new stop and we visited Pike Place Market.
Vancouver was "odd". It was an interesting stop; but, they really seemed lacking when handling the crowd. Don't want to think about when they have the Olympics soon. Had we decided to get off the hop-on-hop-off bus at one of the sites, it would clearly have been a long time before we would have been able to get on another bus. Lucky for us we just stayed on the bus for the entire circuit.
The other Alaskan ports were pretty much as expected. The scenery and wildlife are always outstanding in Alaska.
There will probably not be time for an update tomorrow. We simply spend the day disembarking, shuttling and flying home - hopefully, without problems. We aren't scheduled to arrive home until very late.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
We docked today at Vancouver Island and visited the city of Victoria. Very historic, very beautiful. After an early breakfast we took a bus excursion to see Butchart Gardens. Along the way, the driver gave us a city tour and pointed out various important and/or historic buildings.
Many of the most interesting buildings date back to the mid-1800's. Fort Victoria was established in 1843 and was a large whaling and sealing port. After the brief city tour, we made the short drive to Butchart Gardens.
Without question, Butchart Gardens are some of the best gardens we have ever visited. At this time of year, the gardens are filled with tulips of every imaginable variety and color. I'm sure that Jill could go on about all the other flowers that we saw - but I will simply say that it was glorious.
The variety of flowers and colors were fantastic and the landscaping was beautiful. Only problem is that it is too early for the roses. So...guess what? Yep, we'll have to come back during rose season.
After about a 2-hour walk of the gardens, we sat down for an English tea. The tea was every bit as good as tea in London. Half a dozens types of sandwiches, pastries, scones, quiche, chocolates, sausages in pastry, cakes, etc. - all served quite properly on a 3-tiered dessert tray. Certainly much more than we could eat.
The driver took a different route returning to the ship. So...he pointed out other sites. In Jill's words, "The entire trip was worth the experience today.". Obviously, she loves visiting gardens and this was one of the best.
As we are leaving port, we are a Princess ship waiting to go into port. We were in port with the HAL Volendam and our bus driver told us there are 3 ships coming into port this afternoon. Very busy port.
Tomorrow is a day at sea - our last day onboard the Millenium. Doesn't seem like the trip is almost over. But...gotta finish this one so we can get ready for the next.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Sun...we finally have sun. We arrived in Vancouver, BC today and were greeted by a brightly shining sun.
Our first task of the day was breakfast. I haven't mentioned that we've had breakfast in our cabin each day - personally delivered by our wonderful butler, Ram, who is from India. We see Ram each day at breakfast, at afternoon tea - also delivered to our cabin, and when he delivers afternoon appetizers. Ram told us on the first day that if we didn't get enough food, it would be his fault! He and our cabin steward, John, are both a delight. I must say that the service we have received onboard this ship is far, far better than the service on our last few HAL cruises. We also have a great dining room waiter, from Istanbul, and an attentive asst waiter. The level of service has really stood out from past cruises and we look forward to seeing if Celebrity continues that service on the Constellation in Sept.
In addition, it seems to us that food quality has been superior on the Millenium.
Anyway, back to today. After breakfast, we left the ship and stumbled around for just a short but until we figured out what to do since we hadn't booked an excursion. We located a trolley/bus service that offered 2-hour tours of the city. Our driver/guide was excellent and entertaining. The trolley was one of the hop on & hop off buses - but we just stayed on. The biggest highlight of the tour was Stanley Park. This is the 2nd largest municipal park in N America - SF Golden Gate Park is largest and NY Central Park is #3. About half of the tour was through the park.
After the tour, we headed back to the ship for...yes, you guessed it...lunch and a nap.
We don't sail until 11PM tonight; but, I don't think we'll get off the ship again. We'll just hang around, relax and enjoy dinner and the ship's entertainment.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Well...it's probably not fair to Sitka; but, we really had crummy weather today. Would have been much better for a day at sea.
After breakfast, we decided to go into town. The ship is anchored - so, we took tenders over to the dock. It wasn't too bad going over - about a 10 to 15 minute tender ride and it was nice and smooth. It started to rain shortly after we got to town - which is only a few blocks with only a dozen or so shops.
With 3 ships at anchor, rain and only a few shops, it was way too crowded for me. Everyone crowding into the few shops. Didn't take us long to give up and head back to the pier and that's when the real fun started. With most people having the same idea as us, the line-up at the pier for tenders got very long - longer than the protective canopy set up by Celebrity.
It took several tenders to load up the crowd and we were in the rain for quite a while. Luckily, we were in the middle of an Asian group and one of the guys held his umbrella over Jill for the entire time - nice guy. We were wet and shivering by the time we got back to the ship. As it turned out, we should have just stayed on board.
Trivia - we finally won at entertainment trivia. It hasn't been quite the same since they are only allowing teams of four and hardly any teams are staying together. There are two teams that remain intact and they win most every game. It was fun to finally win in Jill's specialty.
One of our dinner couples is hilarious - they are from Australia. Yesterday, she went on and on about how she was "snowed on" since they have apparently never really experienced snow. She talked about the big flakes and the wind making it snow up. "How cool is that?!?" was a frequent phrase. It is fun listening to someone who is so thoroughly enjoying something that we take for granted.
Anyway, we've warmed up and will have tea and cookies shortly. Then dinner and a show. Take care.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
We docked at Skagway early this AM. This is the original site of the Alaskan gold rush. In the past we have always taken the train ride on the White Pass RR. Since Jill thinks she could narrate the train ride, we decided to skip it this time.
When we went down the ship's gangway, oh my, it was chilly. The wind was biting thru our clothes. Luckily, they offered a shuttle bus to downtown. What a lifesaver! - without the bus, I think we would have just skipped it and gone back to the ship.
Happily, it was much more pleasant in town. With buildings to block the wind and, eventually, some sun, it was comfortable shopping. Jill found some jewelry and I got a sweater. We couldn't believe the number of jewelry stores - almost as bad as some Caribbean islands.
After shopping, we headed back on the shuttle, ate a little lunch and, of course, took a nap. After a little sitting around doing nothing, we are preparing for tonight's dinner.
Oh, last night's trip to the casino ended up so-so for Jill. She lost her allotted $20 - but, as she says, "I got to play for quite a while".
Today was our day to visit and view Hubbard Glacier. I was a little surprised that we weren't scheduled to arrive at the glacier until mid-day. We have always arrived in the early AM in the past. But, noon to 1PM is our arrival today.
Unfortunately, the weather isn't cooperating too well. Obviously, it is cold - low 40s for a high temp. It is foggy, misty and pretty crummy outside. But, having seen many glaciers, we planned on just viewing from our cabin. No freezing buns in our plans!
We didn't even bother with a normal lunch where we would have to deal with loads of people just sitting in the dining areas viewing the glacier. We went to the buffet and brought lunch back to our cabin.
Of course, the glacier is huge and we saw some calving. Lots of ice flow in the water. With so much ice in the water, our ship moved into the bay incredibly slowly. We were surprised that the ship didn't seem to stay in the glacier area for viewing very long - in fact, we thought it was pretty quick. Didn't really matter that much to us. But, it seems like we stayed much longer in the past.
Tonight, the seas really let loose. 45 to 50 knot winds and 25 to 30 foot swells. Heavy rocking at dinner. Two of our dinner table couples are first-time cruisers - so lots of talk about the rocking & rolling of the ship. We had a show cancellation for the first time ever for us - tonight was to be the ship's singers and dancers. They made the decision that it would simply not be safe - and I think they made a good decision. Apparently, they will reschedule the show for later in the cruise.
With the show cancellation, Jill headed to the casino. Believe it or not, this will be her first time in the casino. We'll see how she does!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Docked early this morning at Juneau. We had a whale watching & wildlife excursion at 830AM. Happily, the boat used today was much more enclosed and warmer than yesterday. And...they served snacks and hot chocolate!
We had great luck today. I would guess that we saw around 6 to 8 humpback whales - some kinda close. I got some good pics. We also saw seals and bald eagles.
Toward the end of the excursion, the sun came out and we had excellent views of the the surrounding landscape and mountains. This is a very beautiful part of the world.
Upon returning to the ship, we had lunch and relaxed. Jill talked to both Brett and Julie who had both left messages for Mother's Day. She left a message for hoe mom who was not at home.
We plan to relax for the remainder of the day. There is a trivia and a name-that-tune.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Well...it was pretty chilly in Ketchikan today - high around 42, cloudy, rainy and biting through whatever clothes you are wearing. First thing today, we went into the small town and did a little shopping. I didn't bring any sweatshirts because I planned on buying a few in Alaska. Got 3 today. Jill also got a sweatshirt. She also got some sweatpants to sleep in - the ship has been a bit chilly.
Then, we went on a coastal wildlife boat ride. Froze our butts off - even though we had layered and they have is raingear. We did see seals, sea lions, loons, and lots of eagles. No luck seeing bears.
Immediately upon returning, Jill jumped into a hot bath and I ordered some clam chowder from room service. It isn't like we didn't expect the cold - but, it's still different when you're in it rather than thinking that it'll be cold. Temp wasn't so bad - just the combo of temp, rain, wind, etc.
But...we'll survive and we did get some great eagle viewing.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Well...today was just a lazy day at sea. Up kinda early for us to "wildlife view" with the onboard wildlife expert. Really meant "search the open ocean". We did see quite a few porpoises. And saw a couple albatrosses. Other than that, we spent the day playing trivia, reading, napping and, of course, eating.
It is chilly - in the 40's, cloudy, gray, misty and the swells are moderate - maybe 10 to 12 feet. Good weather to do basically nothing - and that's what we're doing.
Tomorrow, we dock at Ketchikan and do a wildlife excursion.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Docked today in Seattle. It is very cloudy and quite chilly. Wind bites through our clothes. We walked to Pike Place Market since it wasn't too long to walk. Was interesting and very busy. Didn't buy anything - but it was fun looking around. Jill wishes we had such a market at home. Walked back to the ship to warm up and will have lunch soon.
Well...read and napped after lunch. Tonight is casual dress, so we don't have to get into fancy duds.
Nothing exciting planned for the rest of today. And...tomorrow is a day at sea.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Today, we visited Astoria, OR at the mouth of the Columbia River. Nice small town. Short shuttle bus ride from the dock to downtown. We managed a little shopping. Jill and I both got knit caps made from old sweaters. Very unique. Jill also got a pendant made of emerald and one made of sea glass.
Didn't take long to get through the couple-block downtown. For those interested in history, there was a maritime museum and quite a bit of info re Lewis & Clark.
Spent the afternoon eating, napping and reading. We are very quickly getting used to our butler delivering tea in the afternoon.
So...dinner and show tonight.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Well...we have boarded the Millenium. We have what they refer to as a Sky Suite. Seems perhaps 50% larger than a regular cabin. Nice wood paneling. Smallish verandah compared to Concierge Suites on Holland - but should be fine.
A few minutes ago, our "butler" stopped to introduce himself. We haven't had a butler before. Jill will be really happy that he will bring afternoon tea around 3ish and appetizers before dinner. And I think he will serve our breakfast in the cabin.
Our dinner table is excellent - upper level at the rear windows. So far, we seem to have a nice group. One couple missing tonight - should have table for eight.
Other than that, typical first night stuff. Now unpacked. Breakfast ordered for tomorrow. Day at sea tomorrow - so we can somewhat relax.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Well...yesterday was a travel day - and it was rough on me. Jill was a real trooper and handled it better.
First, the day started with getting up much too early for a 545AM pickup. I only got maybe two hours sleep - which was not a good thing for me. Jill slept a little better. Anyway, we were ready for our pickup and headed to the airport. Luckily, checkin was smooth and we were settled at the gate in a brief time. After boarding, flight actually left on time.
I had counted on sleeping on the plane during the 4 1/2 hour flight. Didn't work out. Couldn't get comfortable. Got a couple short catnaps - but I was pretty wasted by the time we landed in Phoenix. Boarded and pulled away from the gate close to on time. Happily, these seats were much more comfortable and I fell asleep. Apparently, we sat for around 40 min before takeoff. After sleeping for at least 90 minutes, I woke up feeling closer to normal.
When we landed in San Francisco, we had a very wild taxi ride to the hotel. Jill was like "Oh My Gosh!" but he got us to the Hyatt Fishermans Wharf in quick time. Nice hotel. Very contemporary decor, king bed, plenty of room.
After settling in, we headed out to find a meal. We got breakfast on the first flight this morning. But, had tight connection in Phoenix and they only served nuts and cookies on the second flight. Hotel is only about 2 blocks from Fishermans Wharf. Lots of tourist shopping and different food options. We ended up at Castagnola's - great choice. Nice sit down dining room on the water overlooking the docks. They offer lots - including seafood, steaks, soups, salads, pasta. I had a bowl of clam chowder - excellent. White chowder with lots of clams, potatoes, celery, etc. Jill picked the tuna sandwich which we split. Sourdough bread with the chowder and a softer onion roll with the sandwich. Always expect to get great bread in San Francisco.
When we got back to the room after a little wandering, we just vegged out. Jill took a couple multi-hour naps. I finally slept at about 9 and got a good full night sleep.
So...thank goodness, we are ready to go after a rough travel day. Lazy AM, breakfast in the hotel restaurant - rolls, breads, croissants and beverages. We'll probably just sit around now until close to noon. We can board at 1230 and our hotel is just a very short cab ride to the dock. So...next stop will be boarding later today.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Also, I took the first Ambien that Dr Einhorn prescribed for me to help with my trouble sleeping. It was nice to basically sleep through the night. I will need to see how I can use the Ambien and control the frequency so that I only take it when necessary.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
We leave for Alaska in four days. Celebration time!!
Click the link above to honor or remember the faces of cancer in your life.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Also, my feet/toes are bothering me quite a bit again. I assume this is a continuation of the peripheral neuropathy that was caused by chemo. Since the toes got quite a bit worse whenever I was in very cold temps, I had hoped that they would be better as it warmed up - wrong!! I don't really feel what I would call pain. It is more a significant numbness - very much like the toes and balls of my feet being asleep. I have that kind of sharp tingling - except that it doesn't go away.
Still have rough headaches in the AM - sometimes other times during the day. I take a couple Advil in the AM and end up OK for most of the day. Every so often I need to take Advil later in the day - but not every day. Hopefully, the headaches and nose bleeds will subside once I am done with the Avastin infusion later this month.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
On another note, I quit the physical therapy for my shoulder. WOW - was it painful!! Dr Mason Goodman gave me a recommendation for a shoulder specialist and I will see Dr Kunkle in a couple weeks. I have heard everything from "physical therapy is necessary to improve the shoulder" to "leave it alone and it will improve on its own". So...we'll see what the specialist says. I do know for sure, however, that I am probably not willing to put up with the level of pain I had during physical therapy if that will simply get it better a few months earlier than it will get better on its own. We'll see...
Friday, March 21, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
My feet still hurt - peripheral neuropathy - but I am becoming accustomed to it. I certainly wouldn't want to walk great distances; but, I seem to be able to get around as I need to.
I continue to have headaches just about every morning. Dr Einhorn says not to worry at this time and to just keep taking Advil since it takes care of the headache pretty quickly. Since the headaches don't reoccur much during the day and since I don't have headaches waking me up at night, he says not to worry about it.
I continue to have a good appetite and certainly haven't lost any more wait since my summer on chemo. I lost about 25 lbs during the summer and have put about 10 back on. Weight has been stable since Sept - including during and after our cruises.
Work is fine - the usual stuff. I am pretty much working full-time - though I often start the day slow and don't get in until 9:30ish. But, once I get my body going, I seem to have the energy and be OK for the rest of the day. I will admit to an occassional short nap in my office chair!!
So...that's about it. Same old, same old for now.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Each name provided will be displayed on ribbons that will blanket the IUPUI campus during the grand opening festivities. Please consider any family, friends or co-workers. You may request as many ribbons as you would like and there is no cost to do so.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Day at sea. Slow day. Slept in. Late breakfast on the verandah. Read one more book. Once again, second in trivia - by just one point.
In retrospect, this back-to-back Caribbean cruise was a nice change from Hawaii in February - but, we'll probably go back to Hawaii next year. For someone wanting warm weather, lots of sun, plenty of beach/island time and typical island watersports, this would be a great vacation choice.
The second week included the private island, Grand Turk, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. Total cruising distance this week was 2095 nautical miles or 1822 statute miles. Once again, we got lots of use of the big verandah.
We only got off the ship in Grand Cayman for an excursion. Otherwise, we basically treated this as a week at sea. It felt good to sleep in and relax all day.
Tomorrow will be the usual hectic travel day to return home. So...that's all for the vacation updates. Next trip is Alaska in May.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Well...as we wind down, we are taking every chance to relax. Ship docked in Cozumel, Mexico today - but we didn't get off the ship. Once again, we had beautiful weather. Ate breakfast and relaxed out on the verandah. Kinds cloudy much of the morning but warm. We both finished another book.
Unfortunately, tomorrow we make our preparations to return home. We never look forward to packing.
Happily, we heard from our travel agent, Brenda, and learned that we got a suite for the May cruise to Alaska. We had been in a normal verandah cabin and were waitlisted for the suite. We've been spoiled - so we're glad we got the bigger cabin. Plus...it is midship which will be much more convenient. As many of you know, we don't like to finish a cruise withou having the next one booked.
Now...we just need to book something for the Fall. Brenda - how about that Barcelona to NJ crossing on Celebrity?
Thursday, February 14, 2008
We anchored at Grand Cayman today and we actually got off the ship. We did a glass-bottom boat. Even though it wasn't terribly sunny, we saw lots of fish and coral. It rained a bit; but, not a big deal. Since our excursion was at noon, we made it back to the ship in time to have ice cream for lunch.
In general, it was way, way too busy for us on shore in George Town. There were 5 ships at anchor today - including a Royal Caribbean ship with somewhere around 4000 passengers. Wall-to-wall people. On the walk to the glass-bottom boat, we passed Margaritaville and a couple other "drinking" places. At about 11:30, there were already people drinking heavily and being loud. I told Jill they were probably from the 2 Carnival cruise ships.
The rest of the day was our usual - breakfast on the verandah, reading in the Crow's Nest, snack in the Neptune Lounge, nap in the afternoon, and trivia just before dinner - second again.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Today we did escentially nothing. Beautiful morning - breakfast on the verandah. Sunny. Around high 70s or low 80s. Very calm seas.
For the rest of the morning, we went to the Crow's Nest on the level 10 observation level and read books. We read until lunchtime. After lunch, back up to the Crow's Nest to read more and wait for trivia at 2:15. We tied for first in trivia but lost the tie-breaker.
After trivia, back to the cabin to read on the verandah. Then a short nap before dinner. Is it sounding boring yet?
We will go to the entertainment tonight - a very entertaining piano duo. And, after that...let's see...I wonder...oh, we'll probably read and Jill will go to bed and I'll read some more. How's that for livin' la vida loca?
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
OMG...we finally lost at trivia today. We are so devastated! Oh well. Jill won a little today at the slots - she is up around $750.
We docked at Grand Turk today. We didn't bother to get off the ship since it is just the same shops that we saw last week. So...we just relaxed, ate and read. I had a massage this afternoon. My left shoulder has been bothering me and the massage has helped some.
Since I haven't commented on health for a while, Jill and I are both doing well. The chest congestion that Jill had before we left is all cleared up. And, I am also doing pretty well.
My feet are a bit numb - especially when I walk a lot - which is everyday since our cabin is at the very back of the ship. We don't have to go far for dining but the shows, trivia and just about everything else is quite a walk. But, with a few minutes rest, my feet are ready to go again.
We are both getting plenty of sleep. Having breakfast delivered each morning and eating on the verandah most mornings with the great weather helps us to start each day off very well. Oddly, I have eaten more ice cream this cruise than during the entire past year.
They are doing a good job of preparing Jill's special low sodium dinners each day - but they always serve her way too much food and are surprised when she doesn't eat lots of it. They always ask "Is there something wrong with your dinner?". She always tells them that there is just too much food for her.
So...that's what's up right now. We hear that the weather back home has been crummy. So sorry about that. It is absolutely beautiful here - wish you were all here with us ;-)
Monday, February 11, 2008
What a beautiful morning for breakfast on the verandah! Sunny. Only a very light breeze. Warm temp. It was a great start for the day.
Today we are at the private island - meaning a pseudo-sea day for us. Jill booked herself for a facial. We played trivia - tied for 1st. I napped. Jill won $180. I read a James Patterson book. And...I napped. Tonight, we watched the movie Elizabeth. Basically...a nice slow day.
We have new tablemates for dinner - a couple from Ashville, SC. He grew up in Jacksonville, IL and she grew up in Carbondale, IL. They seem like good people and should be nice to spend dinners with them this week.
Tomorrow should be slow again. We dock at the fake Princess-built "town" on Grand Turk. We plan to stay on the ship. I am scheduled for a massage. So...another day in paradise!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
We docked this morning in Ft Lauderdale for the end of the first week. It was interesting to be able to ignore packing luggage and all the stuff to get ready to get off the ship. Instead, we relaxed last night and went on an Everglades excursion this AM. We rode an airboat and saw an alligator in the wild. Upon returning to the ship, lots of people going through all the initial boarding stuff.
Little else will be new today. So...I thought I would share a few tidbits from our first week Cruise Log from HAL. For those of you in the cold, our noon temps last week were all between 79 and 83. We traveled 2217 nautical miles or 2550 statute miles. Our ports were Ft Lauderdale to Grand Turk to Tortolla to St Maarten to Half Moon Cay and back to Ft Lauderdale. Our ports this week are Ft Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay to Grand Turk to Grand Cayman to Cozumel and back to Ft Lauderdale.
With a some ports repeating, we plan to get in plenty of relaxing. Won't go on the private island and don't need to go back to Grand Turk. We may even get in an extra spa day.
For now, time for a nap.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Today was a day at the HAL private island - which means day at the spa for us. Great weather for breakfast on the verandah - around 80, very sunny and only light wind.
We scheduled our massages for late AM. As usual, I really enjoyed my massage and Jill says she'll get a facial next time. She doesn't seem to like massages as much as me. I've been having some stiffness in my shoulder and the massage therapist helped with that.
After our treatments, lunch and trivia - ho-hum we won again. We have won all but about two trivia contests. Don't know how we'll do next week when half our team is gone. Hopefully, we'll pick up people who know useless info.
We spent the afternoon doing absolutely nothing. Jill went to the casino and come back up about $75 or so. I napped since I don't have a book. Finished two James Patterson books from the library so far and won't check out another until tomorrow - would have to turn in the book tonight and recheck it our tomorrow - so I decided to wait.
I can't imagine if we had to get off tomorrow like about 1650 of the 2000 passengers. One week would simply be way too short. It will be odd when almost everyone is putting out their luggage and leaving while we stay on.
We will get off for a while in Ft Lauderdale for the Everglades airboat tour. We've never been able to do that tour because there weren't enough people. It was great when we heard yesterday that there are enough for the excursion this year.
So...we sure have had great weather for the first week. Only had a bit of rain for the one day while on excursion in Tortolla. A few morning breakfasts on the verandah were a bit breezy. But, otherwise, the weather couldn't have been better. Most temps in the high 70's and low 80's.
The eastern Caribbean was a good location for a warm-up cruise. We left behind cold, ice and snow. And we thawed out nicely down here. St Maarten and the butterfly farm were clearly the highlight on this half of our cruise.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Well...we really are that team this week that people seem to dislike. Even though last night, we only finished second on Rat Pack music trivia with 19 out of 20, we came back this afternoon and won misc trivia. Then, we tied for first on name that tune Motown trivia. And...Jill won on the 2-penny slots today - so she is now up $500.
Relaxing day today. Day at sea. Just played games and read.
A late addition before I send, we won 50's & 60's music trivia tonight. The guy in the piano bar is very good. We have really enjoyed listening to him. Of course, most people around us are drinking as they sing along - but we can have fun without the drinking. Maybe we don't sing as well, but...
Day on the ship tomorrow since we are at the private island - which is mainly a beach day. We'll probably do something at the spa.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
This morning we went on an excursion in St Maarten. We learned during the bus ride that the island is only 37 sq miles - 16 are Dutch and 21 are French. We first visited a butterfly farm. It was quite interesting. We learned about the life cycle of the butterfly and saw lots of different kinds. This was one of the cooler excursions we have done. Then, we visited Marigot in the French part of the island for a little shopping opportunity. Jill got a tote bag and a summer purse. I got tired. Upon returning to the ship, we had lunch and played trivia again - we are becoming "that team" since we won again. Time for a nap.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Well...besides winning misc trivia this morning, we also won movie & show music trivia tonight. Perfect score tonight.
This afternoon, we took a tour of Tortolla by open-air bus. Rained a little - I got a bit wet - but we managed OK. Stopped a couple times to shop - nothing much.
We were pretty tired and both took naps after dinner - before trivia and the comedian show. Nothing particularly interesting otherwise. We are enjoying doing nothing as much as we can.
Tuesday was a day at Grand Turk. It was a little unusual because it seems that this area was built by Carnival specifically for its various cruise ships.
We docked, walked along a long pier and the beach and shopping were right there. I don't think that non-cruise visitors can get to this area of the island. There was transport to other areas - but we just did the port.
Typical Carib island shopping with the normal stores you see on most islands plus what appeared to be a little local retail flavor. There was a Margaritaville - with all the Jimmy Buffet music and souvenirs. Was about 45 minutes worth of walking around shops and we returned to the ship.
Full afternoon of trivia - so-so on TV theme song trivia, tied for first on one normal trivia and won one trivia. So...not a bad afternoon for us.
There are lots of passengers who are not frequent cruisers. About 300 of the 2000 passengers are doing the two weeks - basically, the frequent cruisers. It is funny to hear the newbies talking about the rocking of the boat - it is actually quite calm compared to what we have experienced in the past.
We just got back this morning from trivia - we won again. We have a pretty good team now.
We anchor soon in Tortolla and have a short afternoon excursion. More later...
Monday, February 4, 2008
It sure is nice to just relax. Today was a day at sea. We are on our way to Grand Turk. Breakfast on the verandah, reading in the Neptune Lounge, trivia - second place, nap while Jill went to the casino - broke even from yesterday... Basically, a non-stress day. We port in Grand Turk tomorrow but we don't have an excursion. We'll just see what happens and what we feel like. For now, Jill is in bed already - she didn't get a nap - and I'll probably just watch a movie or read.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
We made it to the Westerdam today. Boarded about 12:30. Was only about 15 minutes before a lido cafe worker recognized and came up to welcome is back. We saw our dining room waiter from Oct later in the day.
Our cabin is quite nice. Slightly smaller than our suites the past few cruises - but, we have a huge verandah. I would guess the verandah might be twice as big as we have ever had. I expect that we will enjoy using the verandah for breakfast and a lot of just lounging around.
Didn't get to see much of the Super Bowl - but what a great end. We are very happy for Eli and the Giants.
So...nothing very unusual today. But, with luck and good weather, should be a great trip.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Well...today we began our "warm up" vacation. This morning we flew on AirTran for the first time. I don't know much about them other than they offered the best deal for a non-stop 1st class flight to Ft Lauderdale. They were very punctual - we left the gate about 10 minutes early. The flight was good - I assume since I slept most of it. And, we landed about 15 minutes early. We checked into the Renaissance Hotel in Plantation, FL. It is a Marriott chain and is about 15 minutes from where we will board the HAL Westerdam tomorrow. We did pretty much nothing once we got here - feeling lazy. So...that's it we are on our way. And...we have warmed up already!
Friday, February 1, 2008
I rec'd an Avastin infusion on Wednesday of this week. Everything remains pretty stable. When I get back from the trip, I will get an X-ray and bloodwork. So...we'll see what Dr Einhorn says. I feel pretty good...so, I expect that he will be happy.
I continue to have a small irritating issue with headaches - just in the AM and Advil handles it pretty quickly. Don't know for sure what is causing them; but, Dr Einhorn is monitoring and isn't concerned at this time. The peripheral neuropathy in my feet is not totally gone; but, is considerably less that during the last few months. I don't even notice it much of the day - only when I think about it and realize that it is still there.
So...tonight we pack. Tomorrow we fly to Ft Lauderdale. Sunday we board the Westerdam and sail for two weeks. Maybe the snow will be gone by the time we get back!!
Monday, January 21, 2008
We had our New Year's Eve soup party. We had four other couples - meaning we had five kinds of soup. Great night for me! After soup and lots of conversation, we played Balderdash. It was a fun game and turned out that we had just about the right number of players to work well.
Brett & Arielle went back to Philly after New Years and Julie came back for another week or so. Finally, by mid-January, we had the house back. It is certainly very nice to have the kids visit - but, it is also nice to have the house to ourselves again. We have certainly become accustomed to being empty-nesters.
Brett is now done with school. He finished strong on Dean's List the last two semesters. Now...I am not sure what he will end up doing. Obviously, I would hope that he will have luck finding some kind of job that he likes. Julie is next - she finishes in May.