Monday, March 28, 2011

Aruba


The last port to visit on this fantastic cruise was Aruba. We have visited several Caribbean Islands in the past, but Aruba has just become our favorite. With white sand beaches, beautiful blue water, cool breezes, and gorgeous sky, what more can you ask for? We’d love to return to one of the lovely resorts on the beach.



Our stop here was another short one, a mere 6 hours. We headed straight for Mumba Beach and found a spot that offered an umbrella and chairs, for a price, but it was worth it. There were clean rest rooms, fresh water showers, a bar and food if we wanted it.

We had a great day sunning and swimming in the warm waters then headed back to the ship.
We had our best dinner crowd of the cruise, tonight. Small world, all but one of the ten people seated at our table was from California. Then after the first round of introductions I found out one of the 4 retired teachers sitting at our table taught in the Garden Grove school district where our kids started elementary school, and they knew Brent’s first/fifth grade teacher (she was our favorite, Mrs. Zubrod)!
The other couple was from Marina del Rey and he was an entertainment lawyer. Debi and Greg had mutual friends with them. It’s such a small world! It was a really nice evening with easy conversation.
The next two days are at sea and then we will fly home on Wednesday. The time has gone by so fast and now we have to prepare to get back to real life.
The next time I post will be the final thoughts on our trip after we get home. I look forward to starting a new quilt when I get home.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cartegena, Columbia

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Cartegena, Colombia? For me it was the 1980’s movie, Romancing the Stone with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner (great movie, by the way). But that all changed yesterday. Now, to me, Cartegena is a UNESCO World Heritage site full of colorful people, buildings and food.

Cartegena is a walled city full of so much history, think Sir Francis Drake and many wars and battles to save their independence. We could have stayed here for a few days but our cruise ship was only in port for 6 hours. 
We did have time to walk around and see the beautiful, narrow streets full of brightly colored buildings, beautiful doors and windows and all sorts of people selling things in the streets. We were told by the cab driver that there is one policeman for every tourist in Cartegena, so safety was never an issue. Once again, Greg’s almost fluent Spanish was very helpful.
It was very hot and humid, so a stop for a cold, Columbian beer was a welcome break halfway through our walking tour.

There is a place in Milan, Italy, that has a mosaic of a bull on the floor. If you stand and spin on the bull’s testicles it will bring you good luck and it means you will return to Milan someday. We have done that in Milan. It is always fun to hear about the superstitious thoughts of an area. In Cartegena, it is rubbing the breasts of the statue (see photo) that is supposed to bring you luck, so Paul had to follow tradition.

One of the streets we walked down had one fabric store after another. The price works out to about $2 a yard! They were mostly clothing fabrics because we were told a lot of people have their clothes hand made in Cartegena. Too bad, I was looking for quilting fabrics or a good price on Manos del Uruguay yarn. No luck, there.
Our time in Cartegena went too fast. We didn’t have time to try any of the local food. It all looked really good. 
But, since Mr. Romance touched the statue’s breasts, 
I guess that means we will return one day, soon.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Panama Canal

March 25, 2011

Today is our passage through the Panama Canal. This is what we have waited for this entire cruise. We awoke at 5 am to be prepared to observe the passage through the canal.
We didn’t begin the entry until around 6 am. After taking photos and hearing the commentary from the bridge, we returned to our stateroom to continue to observe the passage from our balcony. The history of the building and the use of the canal is very interesting.
At 7:30 am our champagne breakfast was delivered to our stateroom.
 WOW! Most of you know I am all about food and presentation. 
This didn’t disappoint, it was fabulous and way too much food. It was so romantic sitting on our balcony, sipping champagne, and cruising quite slowly through the Panama Canal, with Mr. Romance.

The entire passage through the canal takes about 9 hours.

TomorrowCartegena, Columbia.

Panama City

March 24, 2011
Today was our stop in Panama City, Panama. We boarded the tender to the small port and negotiated a taxi to take us into the old city. Driving through some very poor areas, we arrived in the old city and toured the Panama Canal Museo.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Costa Rica

March 22, 2011
We arrived in Costa Rica early this morning. It is slightly overcast and a little cool, but I am sure it will warm up.
Today is one of the days we were looking forward to the most, the zip line tour through the jungle. But it seems the only zip line in store for me will be a zip line to the toilet. Yep, my stomachache has turned into full-blown flu or food poisoning. I cannot leave the stateroom. I convinced Mr. Romance that I would be fine without him here and to go with Debi and Greg on the tour. There is no reason for both of us to miss this once in a lifetime experience.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Days at Sea


March 20, 2011      
Mr. Romance and I thought we would spend our days at sea reading and sunning by the pool, but instead we slept most of the day away yesterday. His “allergy” has turned into a full-blown sinus infection, so he took two naps yesterday totaling 5 ½ hours. Luckily, he brought some antibiotics with him.
I slept about 2 hours in the morning and then had a manicure in the afternoon. We really didn’t do much other than stay in our stateroom, read and watch TV.
Toward the late afternoon, whatever stomach illness I had the week before we left has returned, causing bad stomach pains. I hope it is better by Tuesday, when we will be in Costa Rica to go on the zip line.
One thing I am so angry with myself for forgetting…the cord to connect our point and shoot camera to the computer. We are only going to take the small camera when we go on the zip line, so photos from our Costa Rica experience will have to wait until we return.
So our day at sea turned into a day of rest in the stateroom.
But at the end of the afternoon this was our reward for feeling sick.

 It was all worth it. The sunsets are really magical aboard the ship.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Panama Canal Cruise Day 5, Acapulco

this was the sunset last night before dinner


March 19, 2011
Acapulco proved to be a lot more fun than I had anticipated. We headed for the beach after a leisurely morning and found a spot right away. We had to pay for chairs and an umbrella, but then we had our own personal beach attendant. He took very good care of us.
The vendors were out in full force, as usual. Some of them break your heart, showing you photos of their kids. There were even a few kids who come up to you with those big brown eyes and ask you to buy something. But, really, how many silver bracelets can you buy? They were even selling massages on the beach. NO THANK YOU!
Or should I say, “NO, Gracias”?



Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cruise Day 4, a Day at Sea


March 18, 2011
Today was a typical day at sea, eat breakfast, walk about 3 miles around the Promenade deck, write on blog, lay around the pool, eat lunch, play cards and eat and drink some more.
Some say cruising is too boring and slow paced for them. For us, it is a nice change of pace from our normal “let’s see as much as we can see” style of vacationing.
I might not be posting anymore because the satellite connection to the internet is so weak that it takes forever, thus costing $$$. Hopefully, connection will get better when we are closer to land.
Acapulco is on the schedule for Saturday.
I hope I will be able to keep up the blog. Photos take forever to load.

Cruise Day 3 Cabo San Lucas


March 17, 2011

This morning after breakfast I decided to try out the ZUMBA class. That was fun. It’s like aerobics only to Latin music. Very fun dance moves and easy for me …but after 30 minutes my knees started screaming at me, so then I decided to walk the promenade deck for about 2 miles. With all the food offered on this cruise you have to keep up an exercise plan.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Panama Canal Cruise Day 2

March 16, 2011
Our room is nice. This ship is old and smaller than some of the ships we have sailed on before, but that is because only ships of a certain size can go through the Panama Canal. The room is bigger than a Paris hotel room, but that’s nor saying much! There is plenty of closet space and hangers, so we unpacked last night and got our room in order.
As we went to bed Paul got all stuffed up (he thinks it was the air conditioning) and I knew I was not in for a restful night. Mr. Romance turned into Mr. Snorer and there goes a good nights sleep. It wasn’t that bad and the bed is super comfy so we are snug and cozy in our little stateroom.
After breakfast we decided we better walk around and discover what there is on this ship. I didn’t do my homework so I don’t know about what the ship has to offer. We need to make our reservations at the spa and some of the better restaurants. Then I think I better hit the gym. I don’t want to be one of the statisticsthey say most people gain 2 pounds a day on a cruise, times 15 days, that’s 30 pounds! Are they kidding?
We are in the Pacific and the weather is quite cool, so no laying around the pool for us.
Today, Debi and Greg taught Mr. Romance and I how to play bridge. Mr. R had learned years ago in college and played in dental school too, but had to be reminded of some of the rules and bidding strategies. I, on the other hand, had never played and knew nothing of the rules and strategies. Let me just say this to all you bridge players out there
I bid and made 7 NO TRUMP!! From what I understand, that only happens a few times in a bridge player’s history and I did it with the help of Greg as my partner, on the first day I ever played!
Yeah for me!*%#@!
We celebrated Greg's big 6-0 birthday at dinner tonight.

Panama Canal Cruise Day 1

March 15, 2011

As expected, the Internet is a really slow connection and quite expensive. I have decided to keep a journal of our daily happenings and then post when we get home. Or maybe, I will post several on one day, pay the Internet fees, and then you can see how we are doing.
Arrival to the ship was quick and easy thanks to our driver, Morris, and the port less than an hour from our home. It was so great to start a vacation and not have to fly anywhere, just board the ship and our holiday has begun.
After checking out the ship we returned to our room to find that my brand new luggage, less than 4 days old, had been damaged between the porter removing it from the car and delivering it to our room. The little bumpers on the sides were ripped off leaving exposed screws that ripped the sheets on the bed as I pulled it into the room. Bummer! So it was a trip to the Passenger Services desk to file a report. They better reimburse me or pay to fix it!
We met up with Debi and Greg on the Lido deck to wait and watch as the ship left the port. I was fascinted by how many containers are at this port. We watched them being stacked up to 6 containers high on to the huge cargo ships.
Then it was down to dinner and off to bed. We were all tired. Greg has been traveling a lot and Paul has been working really hard so we called it an early night.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Corbin!

Happy Birthday to our sweet grandson, Corbin.
template courtesy of the coffeeshop blog

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hasta La Vista!

I started this blog in August of last year as a way for our kids
and a few friends and family members
to follow us on our trip through the Brittany area of France.
It was originally titled, "On Vacation with Doc and di".
You can read some of the posts here, here and here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Deborah's Quilt

I met my friend Deborah in 2001
when I was training for my second
3-Day 60 Mile Walk for Breast Cancer.
We live in the same neighborhood and would pass each other while walking and say hello.
Soon, we realized that we were both training for the 3-Day,
so we decided to join forces and combine our "teams" 
that we were training with, and the rest is history.
Deborah is one of those people that all you have to do is mention something once, 
she'll get the job done.
On our long training walks, sometimes 20 miles,
she would enlist her "non-walking" friends to meet us in strategic places
with snacks, drinks and even a catered lunch.
Deborah is definitely someone you want on your side.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Look What Arrived Today

I love getting things in the mail that I forgot I ordered.
These lovely fabrics arrived today.
A few cuts of Kate Spain's Central Park.

Free Fabric Give Away

Vickie over at Spun Sugar Quilts is having a fun giveaway on her blog. Check it out.
A $50 credit to Fat Quarter Shop
Get over there quick to enter.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Just a Thought

 I have been lying around for the last two days sick with the flu
feeling frustrated because I have so much to do before 
we leave for vacation.
 I am sitting here in my old
Carnival Cruise Line sweatpants
and a thought occurred to me...
What is the oldest thing in your closet that you still wear?
Mine are my sweatpants.

They are my go-to comfy pants when I am sick
or cold or feeling super lazy.
Mr. Romance bought them for me in 1996
when we went on a cruise to Mexico with my parents
and I had the flu the first three days
of the 7 day cruise.
I needed something cozy, comfy and that I could get down quickly on my many visits to the toilet.
I know TMI.
So that makes my sweatpants almost 15 years old.
So what's in your closet?
Tell me about it and why you have kept it.
I would rather be working on this project

fabrics for a beach bag I need to make before vacation.
I still need to buy a new suitcase and do so many things to be ready.
Hopefully, tomorrow, this flu will be gone.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Quick Weekend in Arizona

Mr. Romance and I are back home after a quick trip to Arizona
to celebrate with our son and his beautiful family.
I drove on Thursday, by myself.  It was a great drive with no problems.
Our grandson, Jack,  celebrated his 8th birthday, 
so a birthday dinner was on the calendar for Friday night 
with Jack's favorite dinner, spaghetti!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday

CUJO

who knew such a little dog could cause so much aggravation?
I guess it's the BIG name we gave her.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quilt Journal... Flags, Anyone?

This was my first rag quilt.
The tenth quilt in my quilting history.
I completed it in February 2004.

I saw these flags at a quilt shop in Redlands, California
and new I just had to make something with them.
I guess the design is a cross between a log cabin and a square within a square.
I used what I thought looked like Americana and Civil War replica fabrics
 and just pieced the squares sort of randomly,
using a flannel in between the backing and the front pieces.
I have since discovered that osnaburg fabric would have been better.
 I love this quilt. It is warm and cozy.
We use it as our fun quilt for picnics and the beach 
from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
The hardest part of making this quilt was cutting all the raggy seams.
Another thing I recently learned is that you can use a rotary cutter with a ruler to stop the cut,
thus saving your hand from cramping while doing all those little snips.
For me, a mostly self-taught quilter, every quilt has been a learning process.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ljubljana, Slovenia 2009

March is Here

It's hard to believe that the month of March is here.
First of all, today would have been my dad's 86th birthday.
Miss you, Dad!
I received my lovely One World One Heart gift from JoanieBolognie.blogspot.com
It is a handmade album full of eclectic ephemera.
Isn't it cute?