Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vacation Randoms

Well, Hello There! Allow me to take you on an informal, random tour of some of our Vacation Moments. Buckle up - the ride could get bumpy. Er, nevermind. I won't post the pictures that I took which violated Beth & Rob's's the normal stuff. Now. Eyes down below, and off my massive rack.

Setting off on vacation. I think I ~ rather frighteningly ~ look like Kathy Griffin in this picture. Maybe it's the bangs. Kenny didn't seem to mind, he said he'd fuck Kathy Griffin. He wouldn't talk to her, he finds her annoying, but he thinks she's hot enough to grace with his penis. Lucky Kathy. Lucky me ~insert dry sarcasm here~.

See. I kind of enjoyed the stingray thing. As long as they weren't around me.... We loved Beth & Rob's camera!

Look how tan Ken is - he's practically a bronzed God!

Our travelling companion, The Bouk, and his laminated Master Budget:

St. Maarten, no nudies were noted, but we did have beers and bbq:

Fondling an Ass:

Remember that time I bought a Cowgirl Hat, and you all laughed and laughed and I said screw you, I can Pull. It. Off. Well, in your FACE, Doubters. I have PULLED. IT. OFF. All over the Caribbean.

So suck it.

Here is a half-assed picture of our travelling friends, The Big Bouk Family: Seated from left: half of Kenny, Mike (married into the Bouk family), New Baby Lia (sitting in a high chair, you can't see her but her spirit is there), Kathy (The Bouk's sister), Lynn (sister to the Bouk), Vaso (Mama Bouk, who looks and sounds JUST LIKE Sophia from The Golden Girls), The Bouk Himself, or Father Bouk as he likes to be called, Lia (Bouk Baby) with her head turned, and half of Doreece, The Bouk's patient and loving wife.

Here is a cool picture of St. Maartin at night, using the night function of the camera. It had been storming when we were leaving the island. It was a dark and stormy night.....

I want to go back.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cruisin' Into The Week

Well, Reader, it's been a slow week. I miss vacation and hope we get a free cruise offer for the springtime. Nope, not sick of it yet. I eased into the workweek like an old man easing into a warm bathtub (Seinfeld reference). Slow and gentle. In fact, I can't quite come to terms with the onset of early darkness. All week long I've changed into my jammies as soon as I've gotten home, and was ready for bed by 7 p.m. I got very little post-vacation chores done as a result, but I was sure well-rested! I'm working on the laundry and we finally just went to the grocery store today. I'm making lemon chicken from an online recipe. It may turn out horribly, but we're going to give it a whirl.
So that was pretty much the week. I'm busy at work, but once I got my head wrapped back around it all, it started to make sense again and some smart-sounding words came out of my mouth. We had a day-trip to Chicago on Friday to view some research studies, it was a quick day, in and out. I met a man on the flight back who I believe was interested in this tasty little treat I call ME. Kenny better watch out! He gave me his business card, he's in the dental industry and is gonna hook me up with some tooth whitening stuff. I'll be happy to swap him some social expressions product for dental care! Kenny didn't seem too threatened.
As a result of all that, I had a dream last night that there was a dude who was a Kayak-er for a living who was trying to woo me away from Kenny. Dream Kenny told the guy, "You can have her, but you're going to need to get a better job than kayaking, she's expensive." Real-life Kenny thought that was rather humorous AND true.
So. We purchased YET ANOTHER coffee pot yesterday. Ours works fine, but you can't brew with the lid on because it doesn't always work well, as evident from past posts. So we have yet another one to try out. This will be something along the lines of 5 coffee pots since I've lived here. I still have my old trusty Mr. Coffee in the basement. If this new Cuisinart doesn't work, we're digging that one out and using it. It has never failed me, and has actually been with me through two marriages and divorces. That's a pretty good track record for a coffee pot!

Update: We just enjoyed my lemon chicken recipe. It was pretty good. I would do things a bit differently in the future. The recipe called for using skin-on, bone-in chicken, and the lemon and fresh tarragon got tucked down in between the skin and the meat. It made it a little messy to eat, getting that skin off, and taking some of the other seasonings with it. I think it would do just fine with boneless/skinless fowl. Twinkle LOVED it, he had no complaints, with the pieces of meat I gave to him. He growled over it, which is unusual for him.
I spent a little time this afternoon sorting though all my vacation souvenirs. It was a bit of a project, stuff is everywhere and I had to gather it all up. It was the first time Kenny even saw the stuff I purchased. I picked up a few cool things, some French linens for Ken's mom while we were in St. Maartin, and from the flea market in Haiti I purchased a handmade wooden tray, a wooden globe and some pretty nifty little wooden storage containers. There was other miscellaneous junk, in Haiti they keep throwing stuff in the bag for you, but for the most part I'm happy with what I hauled home.

We're heading off to the movies shortly, so that's about it for now. I'm going to see The Duchess and Ken will go see Saw V. No wonder I don't get anything productive done - we fuck off all the time. Last night we had a birthday party at 100th Bomb Squad. Tonight, shopping and movies. Oh well - it's all these things that make up a life.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Passion Island

Isla Pasion is a beautiful private island that you access via a short ferry ride from Cozumel. Upon first approach it didn't look like much, the water on that side of the island is really just average-looking lake water. But once you get to the island, you see the beauty is on the other side.
You're greeted by white sand beaches and iridescent blue/green waters. The day was somewhat overcast, it was raining in random parts of Cozumel, but we managed to stay dry. Except when we were getting wet in the ocean.

We had one slight snafu, the biting bugs were out in full-force due to the inclement weather. They had some folks spraying ya down with bug spray upon arrival.
There are 12 Mayans who live on the island, and they keep it running for tourists and such. They put on a fantastic buffet spread for us - there were only about 100 of us total on the island that day. The Mayans made Mahi-Mahi, fresh guacamole and salsa, homemade tortilla chips, fantastic rice, and some really great chicken. Drinks were included, and I indulged in many of the Rum Island Punches. A drunk-ish chick flashed the "bartenders" her ta-ta's, but drinks were already free. She was blond.
They did have a little area on the island that had some shit-shop huts. Towards the end of the trip I went over and priced out some things and had a slight panicked moment when a bracelet I picked up broke in my hands. Beads went flying all over the sand. The shyster running the stand told me it was $30 for the broken bracelet. I was really shocked and felt horrible, but then my indignation took over and I told him I would only pay him $20 for the broken bracelet. It was a total piece of crap, but how do you argue the price of something that didn't have a price on it to begin with, and you've just broken it? Oh, and to make matters worse, the guy who ran the shit-shop picked up one of the bracelets to show me the valuable silver that was beaded onto them (which is why the cost so much) and the thing EXPLODED in his hands, too! Beads, again all over the sand. This was after I had paid him $20.
As a consolation prize, they let me pick out another one of their shit bracelets for the $20. I headed to the food area where Kenny was waiting and I was so upset I was almost near tears. Not that it had cost me $20 for something I didn't even want, but I knew they were fucking me over on the price - and I HATE being taken advantage of. As I sat and pondered the situation, I looked at the bracelet they gave me and it, too, fell apart right in my hands. Well, that did it. I picked up those beads, marched back over to the hut and told them to send the person in charge out. I was pretty loud, as you can imagine. I had the beads in my hand, told the man he was taking advantage of me with his pieces of shit, and I wanted my $20 back IMMEDIATELY or I was going straight to the tour guide and letting the cruise ship know that the shops on Passion Island were full of shysters. They couldn't hand my $20 back to me fast enough. Mess with the Bull, you'll get the horn. Even in Mexico.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vacation By The Numbers

Vacation Duration: 14 Days

Pounds Gained:

Tracye - 3.8 (incredible!)
Kenny - 8 (more than he thought possible with the amount of pooping he does)

Which leads right into:
Number of Poops During Vacation:
Now, before I get all into the details, let me frame this up as to why we would even know or track this information. Kenny swore that he on average poops 5 times a day while we're on a cruise ship. He was convinced this was going to keep him from gaining any weight during the 14 days of indulgent eating. I found this to be an incredibly hard to believe statistic, so I drew up a "log", if you will, and proceeded to track our daily expulsions. Yes, that's the analyst in me. So here we have it:
  • Tracye - 17 1/2
  • Kenny - 48
One for me was so ineffective on Day 3 that it doesn't even get to count as a whole poop. I also had one uncomfortable day on Day 11 where no poops occured. I made up for that on Day 14 with 3 of them.
Now, 48 for Kenny?? Is that even HEALTHY?? It was only 14 days! He peaked on Day 8, with 6. So while it wasn't the 5 he claimed, it did average out to a whopping 3.4 per day. I was on a more normal schedule of 1.4 per day.

If all that hasn't lost my reader by now, here are some other tidbits:

Number of most appetizers eaten at one meal: Tracye - 3 (salad, onion soup, shrimp cocktail)

Number of lobster tails eaten: Kenny & Tracye - 2 per person

Number of most desserts eaten at one meal: Kenny - 3! And this was after he proclaimed he wasn't even hungry before he sat down.

Price of 2 Snickers bars purchased at Miami Airport: $4.79

Number of Menstrual Cycles Tracye had during a 2-week "period": 2
Yes, I wonder what the fuck that was all about myself. Of course there's a story. See, a month before the cruise I calculated the timing of my "cycle" and I decided to try and circumvent the entire situation with a couple of packets of birth control pills. I started taking a fresh pack right after my period in September, and then the plan was I would skip the "off" week and just stay continuous with a new pack. It's been done, it's an old trick we girls play when we have to work around our "flows". Lucky us!
Anyway, after about 5 days of taking the pills, I sort of lost track and forgot. Well, by then I was all messed up and decided to let nature just take it's course. So. I got my period, as originally expected, a couple of days before vacation began. I thought to myself, "Great, this will be all wrapped up just a couple days into vacation." And it was, as predicted.
Imagine my surprise when I felt myself getting what appeared to be menstrual cramps a week later. I thought I was having cervical cancer pangs or something, it was the only thing that could explain how I was feeling. But then it all made sense when I got the Misery once again. I really couldn't believe it, I had messed up my hormones to such a degree it just didn't know WHAT to do with itself. So I had full menstrual cycles bookending my vacation. Good planning on my part.

Just when you thought all that kinda talk was over. Makes the pooping story seem a little more tolerable.

Number of tubes of toothpaste used during 14 days: 1 full-size tube

Number of Pepcid AC tablets consumed: 12

I had serious indigestion during most of the trip. I would have to start the day with some tums and end every night with some Pepcid. I was concerned as the warning label said not to use it more than a few days in a row, but those rich sauces on everything was killing me.

Number of times I went swimming on the ship: Zero. Just can't hang with all those people crowding and jumping around. I saved my swimming for the Islands.

Number of times I worked out in the gym: 1!!! Yes, I actually went to the gym one day! I did a quick 40 minutes on the elliptical, which was discouraging when it showed me the amount of calories I had worked off. Not even enough to cover one dessert.

We did, however, take the steps whenever we had less than four flights to go up or down. That was our big commitment to exercise.

Number of times I got up for Sunrise Yoga Stretch: Zero. Hahah, like that was EVEN a possibility! My German friend Ute did it, she worked out quite a bit actually. She said one morning she thinks the instructor fell asleep. He relaxed right into his stretch apparently. It just confirmed my belief that no one needs to be up at 7 a.m. on vacation. They need a 1 p.m. stretch class if I have any hope in hell of ever participating.

Number of guys Kenny admitted he would have sex with: 3

One guy was a latino heartthrob who was quite irresistable. He was a HUGE gambler, we watched him drop six thousand dollars in a matter of minutes at the card table. That's when Kenny started to swoon. I made up a profession for him, determined he must be a race car driver or something, because he was hard and fast and sleek looking. Kenny thought so, too.
The next guy was a dude who looked like Larry David. Kenny likes Seinfeld, and decided that looking like Larry David was enough to qualify you for some sex with him.
The third guy was this really good looking black guy who we met with his wife, they were at the card tables with us. He was FOXY, a tall dark drinka water. Kenny said he'd do him, too, throw him right into the Larry David/Racecar Driver mix of men on his list. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Slippery When Wet

Our bartender, Clifton Brown, was from Ocho Rios, Jamaica. They day before we docked in Montego Bay, he told us that he could hook us up with a cheap tour to Ocho Rios where we could go and climb Dunn's River Falls. Now, the whole thing sounded a little iffy, and I wasn't really sure what exactly "climbing the Falls" meant, but Kenny was loaded up with Budweiser and told Clifton, "Sure, tell your friend we'll be there!"

Clifton told us his friend would charge us $25 for the tour. He wrote the guides name on a little scrap of paper, with a phone number in case we had trouble locating him once we docked. It all felt very covert and a little bit dangerous. I don't believe the bartenders on the ship are supposed to be recruiting for offshore tours, but $25 was cheaper than anything else, and it was coming recommended. Our German friends we made at dinner, Ute and Sabrina, were really undecided until the last minute. But they decided to join the adventure, so the four of us made a pact to stick together.

Ute was just as apprehensive as I was about the whole "climbing the falls" thing. I assured her we should give it a try and if it was too scary we opt out at one of the three locations where you can exit the falls. We took a before the climb picture:

Here's a picture of the Falls, as we were getting started. Not too scary so far.
Sabrina & Ute:

Kenny and I getting drenched under one of the Falls - it was pretty powerful and sometimes hard to stand up!
A little bit calmer water:

We did a few really fun things in the Falls. At one point there is a rock formation that acts as a slide, you can slide down it and into a pool of water. It was fun and I was proud of myself for doing it! Ute and Sabrina didn't try that. At another point, a guide would hold onto you and push you over backwards into another pool of water - it was the whole "act of faith" moment. I have to say it was a little scary, but I tried that too, and was happy I did it. It was all very fun!
When we got to the steepest part of the Falls, Peter The Guide hand-walked me up the Falls. It was pretty scary and I'm not sure I would have been able to make it without the one-on-one assistance. But I DID make it, and felt very happy and exhilarated after the climb.

The four of us after the climb - YEA we all made it the entire way!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just Like Cats. Water Cats. Yeah.

Sure, this is fun! I can do this. No problem. These are like cats, you say? Okay. I like cats.

Really? Like cats?? Not really. Nope. Not even a little. But I'm still with it, yeah, these are still cool. No worries. Well, a little worry. Just a little.

WTF, Man, WTF.

And...I'm out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Still Sailing

Well, here we are midweek into our last week of Vacation. I hit the wall on the 13th, was homesick and ready to pack my bags and head for Twinkle Toes. What does that make it, 10 days? So I'm good for about 10 days before the homesick hits. I muscled through it and by the morning of the 14th I was ready for more explorations. It didn't hurt that we hit land again, we had been at sea Saturday (well, docked in Miami for the switcharoo of Cruisers), then at sea Sunday and Monday....That's too many days with same-old-same-old, I guess. So we landed in St. Maartin or Sint Martin depending upon which side of the island you ask. I was happy happy happy to be skipping off the ship and onto some new things to see!
In St. Maartin we had a Sensational Beach excursion booked. The weather has been iffy this week, so we had a cloudy with splotchy rain day in St. Maartin, but despite that it's still one of my favorite islands. Who cares if we get rained on at a beach? Not me. It would be kinda cool to see a real live tropical storm. The trip took us on a narrated tour across the island and I found out a few interesting tidbits:
  1. There are no snakes on St. Maartin.
  2. To place a call from the Dutch side to the French side is an overseas call.
  3. There are a lot of butterflies on the island - they were floating around everywhere.
  4. Even a cloudy day is a pretty day.
  5. You can't depend on the Nudie Beaches to deliver on the promise of nudity. I looked. Didn't see one nipple or wiener.

On the way back to the ship we caught a good downpour, which we could have avoided all-together except that I was on a mission to find these little carved elephants I had seen on the way to our tour bus. We finally found them and Kenny was in disbelief that I only bought one, for $2 - all that looking around for a $2 elephant. But I wanted it, it reminds me of the book I finished Water for Elephants, which I loved. So I needed that $2 elephant.

Today we're having an unexpected Sea Day because the port of San Juan is closed due to a storm. It was pretty rocky, but not nearly as much as I would have liked - I LOVE the back-and-forth motion of the ship. I'm beyond happy that we aren't docking in San Juan, there is nothing I need to see there ever again, and a day at sea meant the dining room was opened for lunch. Which means that I could get the most fantastic lemon curd cake ever made. They only serve it at lunch, and lucky for my ass, I just discovered it and had my first piece just about an hour ago. I'll be having it again on Friday. Yes, I'm planning a day around a lemon dessert. It's just that good. I thought of my fellow lemon-lover Beth when I enjoyed it today.

So here I sit blogging when I should be doing something else, but I'm ready for some level of normalcy. I'm heading to the deck to read for a while, Kenny's in the gym (that's code for Casino). We did really well there last night, I hit the $1000 on Wheel of Fortune and Kenny won $800 sitting next to me on another crazy machine. No Rob, we're not ahead by a long shot, but it helped to recoup some for the remaining few days.

We just booked next year's vacation. We hunkered down, bit the bullet, and we're heading North! To Alaska! We leave Sept 11th, 2009 and will be on another 14 day-er. In the midst of all the recession talk I've seen on CNN Headline news.....but whatever, can't live in fear. But I sure hope Sophie isn't giving me the "I told you to save your money, Dolly!" story. So we'll be off to Alaska and on to seeing something new next year. I'm not done with the Caribbean, but Kenny is and it's not always all about me (or so I'm told).

That's it for now. Tomorrow we're back in Labadee, Haiti, where I hope we see sunny weather again. I'm off to do something either relaxing or exciting - not sure which direction it'll go :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hello From The High Seas!

Hello LandLubbers!

Well, Week 1 is complete and we're sailing into Week 2 today. So far, everything is fantastic, we had a very busy first week and it went by really quickly. We had four days back-to-back of stops, and we Got Out There, as encouraged by Royal Caribbean.
I'm happy to say that we didn't get machetted to death by any restless Haitians. We swam around and feasted beachside on Jerk Chicken and Labadabadoozies.

The following day we went to Jamaica, where we took an excusion to Dunn's River Falls. I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I agreed to do that, but apparently we had to climb a 960 ft. waterfall. I thought we were just going to look around a bit. Nope. We donned our watershoes, and despite my trepidition we climbed. And climbed. And panicked. And climbed. At the steepest point I had Peter the Guide pulling my ass up those rocks, but hey, whatever it took - I very proudly made it to the top. My big toes are still hurting from gripping those rocks so tightly. Kenny felt like Indiana Jones, and my German friends who came with us were also scared, but proud when it was complete.

On the way back from the falls (it was a 1 1/2 bus ride from Ocho Rios to Montego Bay), we happened to pass an Olympic Parade, honoring all the Jamaican's who participated this year. We were QUITE excited to see Hussian (however you spell it) Bolt - the fastest man on the planet!!! What are the chances of that?? Yet there he was, so Kenny and I were both very excited.

The next day (can't keep track of any days, so I don't even know when) we went to Grand Caymen, where we swam with the Stingrays. Boy, I thought Beth and Vera were both a bunch of fraidy cats, not liking the stingrays too much, but then I myself got rather apprehensive as I saw them swimming around. Didn't help with the tour guide said we're not allowed to feed them because the prior week one sucked someone's thumb off.......But I Got Out There with them anyway, and swam around with them for a while. I didn't try and feed any of them, I didn't want to end up with any part of my body as a snack....

What the heck did we do next.....?? Um. Oh! Cozumel, where we went to Passion Island for the day. A more apt name would be Mosquito Island!! It had rained the day before, as well as that morning (it was overcast the biggest part of the day) and the bugs were FEASTING. Kenny got the worst end of the bug bites, my sour self wasn't as appealing..The beach was really nice, however, and not more than 100 people were there with us. Very exclusive. We had the most fabulous lunch prepared by the Mayan's who live on the island - 12 of them to be exact. They are the only inhabitants (sorry about the poor spelling, I'm a little bit rumsoaked by now - can barely make a coherent sentence most of the time!). The mayan's had prepared the freshest Mahi Mahi and guacamole I've ever eaten.

Friday we cruised around, and here we are today back in Miami. As I'm getting charged by the minute, gonna leave it at this for now. Rob, THANKS FOR THE CAMERA!! It was the best thing I could have borrowed, it's the only one we use and came in great for the Dunn's River Falls as well as the Stingrays and beaches. We've got 1 more excursion booked for Tuesday, in St. Maarten, then that's it for that. We have not very exciting stops this week, Shithole San Juan and back to Haiti, so we're going to make the most of St. Maarten.

Okay, that's it - hope all is well back on the Mainland. See ya in another week!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bon Voyage to Me!

Well, Reader, I bid you adieu as I get ready for embarkation in a few short hours. We're almost ready, but of course my fears came to fruition and I spent the better part of Friday night putting away laundry and finishing packing. Still haven't painted my finger and toe nails yet, I'm hoping to have it all done by midnight. Argh - never seem to get it all done beforehand, despite the plans of Mice & Men.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Many Faces

Wasted far, far too much time Yearbooking myself. This, done weeks ago, not this week of course, while I instead am consumed with vacation prep work. But here ya have it, for your enjoyment.

1962, super-fun hair:

1954, a Wildcat underneath that demure demeanor:

Foxy in 1972:

All too familiar, 1984:
I make a handsome fella in 1956:

My heartthrob, 1956: