January 2nd, 2007


Christmas Vacation: Day 8

Written on Friday evening...

Today was an aggressive program of rest. I got out of the stateroom in time for breakfast by the pool (the only one that runs until noon), then read and napped awhile on one of the Lobby Deck deck chairs. More napping than reading, I have to admit -- the chair I chose was next to the ventilation motors, so there was helpful white noise.

After that, I wandered up to the Ionian Lounge to get online. I paid a bill that I couldn't pay last week, answered some email, caught up on LJ, and posted a couple of entries. I also got to chat a little bit online. :)

Then I checked out the credit card that we have assigned to our Sail and Sign account. It's a new Rewards card, and only had a $1000 credit line. Although we'd asked them to credit back the gratuity to the account, it doesn't show up on the card, so I asked for a credit line adjustment. There was no place to suggest how much, only a spot to put gross monthly income. So I put down how much Flar told me that he was going to be making this year, and the credit increase that I qualified for brought it to a whopping $25,000!

The only problem I've found aboard ship has to do with the lunchtime schedule. We requested the second seating for dinner, so that we wouldn't have to rush to get back to the ship on port days, and still be able to eat onboard. I've been able to find late breakfast, but the buffet line stops serving lunch at 2:30pm. Generally, when I've been hungry for lunch, the choices have been the grill or pizza, the deli or the chinese restaurant, all of which have pretty limited menus. If there were one thing I could change, it would be for the buffet line to open for lunch until 4pm. Isn't 2 hours enough time to get it ready for the next meal?

Anyway, today I settled for sandwiches in the room. The room service beef sandwich has brie on it; there is more beef on the deli offering, but no cheese. I read and napped and played Monopoly with Tigger and Flar.

Flar and Critter both joined me for the formal dinner tonight, which was nice surprise. Flar and I both had Chateau Briand, and there was Baked Alaska for dessert. I thought about going to the Caribbean lounge to catch the show tonight, but I just don't have the energy. My cold is in the annoying drippy stage, even with the Sudafed.

Tomorrow, there are board games and then a chess tournament in the afternoon, that has peaked the boys' interest. I'm designated family member to attend the 11am debarkation briefing, so I've asked Flar to wake me up for a 9am breakfast.

I've been getting a good amount of sleep on this cruise. I suppose that's how my body wants to fight this cold.

Christmas Vacation: Day 9

As the waiters sang tonight after dinner...

Our bags are packed and we're ready to go.

Tomorrow morning, we'll have time for a bite on the Lido deck, then we'll get to disembark when they call the all clear. I'll have my purse, my laptop bag, and my Aruba shopping bag. Tigger's stuffing an unbelievable amount into his backpack in the morning. Then we drive to Valdosta to spend the night in the same Marriott Courtyard.

We were all in the dining room at dinner tonight, although Tigger was only there long enough to have a diet coke with us. He ate Fettucini Alfredo at the buffet and played arcade games and board games while we were at dinner.

I got up early this morning (9am) in order to have breakfast before going to the Caribbean Lounge to listen to the debarkation talk. All the information we really need is on the debarkation flyer that they stuck in our room tonight. I was going to crash after that, but the room hadn't been made up yet (Flar had gotten Tigger out of the stateroom, but they forgot the "please make up our room" hanger), so I wandered a bit. My cold was really tearing me up this morning. I ended up reading in the Ionian Lounge and then in the Library. I was there until they started the Chess Tournament, and then I left in search of the boys. Flar had spent the morning with them, and remembered about the tournament. He arrived back at the room shortly after I did, bringing me a nice sandwich.

I ended up sleeping most of the afternoon, but I felt a lot better when I got up. Flar had a call scheduled with Gaucha (at Cellular at Sea prices, oh my!) tonight, so the boys and I hung out in the lobby before dinner. I got each of the boys to pose for a casual sunset picture with me.

Our last dinner was nice. Our table is one of three bench tables together in the dining room, and all three of our tables ordered double shrimp cocktails. It was quite a sight. Critter and I had the quail for dinner, and Flar had a burger. Then Flar and I had Grand Marnier Soufflé for dessert, yum! We got back to the stateroom with a little over an hour to pack. I think that was the smallest the room felt on the whole journey.

Tigger has gone to use up the last of his arcade tokens; we've ordered a ham and cheese sandwich for Critter, and Flar is resting up before going to the casino. He was sweet enough to pick up the photos for me before the photo gallery closed up. Tigger was sweet and went down to the bar to get me a diet coke, so I wouldn't have to get dressed again. And now it's time to read and dose off for my last night on board.

Christmas Vacation: Days 10 & 11

Sunday was our last day aboard ship; we docked in Miami around 6am. There was plenty of time for one last breakfast on the Lido Deck, and then we hung out on deck chairs waiting for them to call our luggage tag color.

The terminal at Miami drove Flar nuts -- one huge room with bags sitting near signs indicating decks. Flar went off to find a porter while we found the bags. This was made simple by my set of matching lavendar bags (purchased at Target with a gift card from canuckgirl last year for Christmas, thanks!). While Flar was being frustrated by the length of the line for the porters, the boys and I figured out that we had enough rolling bags to carry the rest. So I called Flar over, and we found our way to the customs officers. We had already cleared immigration in St. Thomas, and we were well under our shopping limit for customs. From there, we proceeded across to the limo parking, to wait for Flar to come with the car.

Traffic was incredibly disorganized, but Flar finally got back to us, and then he and Critter performed the miracle of getting all of our luggage to fit in the truck. Partly by agreeing that we would not be shifting drivers into the backseat, which left Tigger and I free to create our own little nests. Mine evolved throughout the journey, so that by the time we got home, I had room for only one foot in the footwell at a time.

Flar drove out of the congested Miami area, and then Critter drove after we ate lunch at Taco Bell. We had dinner at a Cracker Barrell just outside Valdosta, and then stopped for the night at the same Marriott where we stayed on the way down. It was only 8pm by the time we arrived, but I was down for the count. When I realized how early it was, I decided to take a bubble bath before bed. Critter helped Tigger download a bunch of games for his laptop (how Tigger had decided to spend a good chunk of his Christmas money), Flar read, and Critter stayed up playing games. Even Tigger was asleep by 11, though, and Flar couldn't wake him to watch the ball drop at midnight.

Monday, Flar drove to the I-Hop for breakfast, but Critter took the first shift of driving. He drove all the way from Valdosta to the Fuddrucker's in NE Atlanta. Then Flar drove the rest of the way home. Our drivetime was a mixture beween music playing quietly when Tigger was playing on his laptop and I was reading; and conversation when Tigger's laptop battery was low. Flar told stories about his trips with his family when he was a kid and various stories from college; Tigger and Critter took turns making up stories; I got Flar to talk about all manner of things by asking questions (what's a debenture, that sort of thing); and we even played a round-robin story telling game.

The drive on Monday felt endless. We were on the road from 9am to 10pm, including stops at I-Hop, Fuddrucker's, a few convenience stops, and a final stop at Fazoli's before we got home. My cold progressed south as we proceeded north. By the time we got home, I had convinced myself to call the doctor in the morning.

On the whole, we had a very successful family vacation for Christmas. We got to do lots of fun stuff and we had lots of together time.
bundled up, walkabout, snow

Home again, home again, Jiggety jig

I managed to sleep last night. Yay. I woke up at 7am, then 8am, then at 9am our neighbor returned our keys. I got enough sleep that I was feeling much better again, but I called the doctor's office anyway. Then I had a nice breakfast and read the paper until it was time to dress and go to the doctor. He listened to my chest and said it sounded like I swallowed a cat, who was busily purring in there. The diagnosis is bronchitis, and I have lots of nifty drugs now.

After I got my drugs, I went home and fixed lunch for Flar and Tigger and myself. While Tigger was finishing his lunch, I cleared out the fridge. Ooh, I forgot to mention that Flar got the boys to clean the kitchen before we left, so it's not the complete disaster I left it. Yay! I found out, by the foolish method of actually going there, that the post office was closed today for the presidential funeral. Which means that picking up our mail has moved to tomorrow's errand list. Then Tigger and I did a grocery run, buying salad produce, fruit, beef, ham, drinks and dairy products. When we got home, Tigger put away while groceries, while I turned my car into a tiny station wagon, for transporting the dogs. Then we picked them up from the kennel. The scotties had gotten pretty messy, so the kennel people had given them a quick bath. Nifty! The dogs were very happy to see us, and didn't even whine until we were half-way home.

Tigger is fixing dinner, and Critter is his sou-chef. I'm ensconced in my chair for the evening, catching up online and vegging out to TV.

Not so good with the resolutions

Reviewing last year's resolutions, I appear to have made a clean sweep of exactly... none of them.

But it never hurts to have a goal, right?

This year, I *feel* more determined about losing weight. While I was on the cruise I wrote a rather whiney paper post in my physical journal which boiled down to "I hate being this shape, this weight, this fitness level."

My church has a weight-loss program. To be more completely accurate, it has a multi-targeted freedom from fill in the blank program that includes a group whose focus is weight loss. The weight loss program is starting back up later this month, but the leader of that group suggested that I go to the Freedom group until then.

In looking back at the last year, the number one source of conflict between me and Flar has been Flood. And occasionally the other dogs. And I did absolutely nothing about getting Flood back into a training program. At the very least, if I get out there and walk her once a day, it will give her more activity and companionship, get her more accustomed to working with me and the leash again, AND give me a high activity level.

I actually did tithe my paycheck last year, but really only seriously setting it aside FIRST starting in the summer. I'm going to continue that, as well as continue to put extra money toward debt reduction, when the workload increases again. As to time, I've been spending more time in Life Group and went to church services a lot more regularly this year, although getting away from the house early enough for Wednesday night service continues to challenge me. I picked up a devotion book and started a morning devotion time, but I haven't been very regular about that so far.

We actually had quite a lot of the house clean, more than once this year. But I could never quite maintain that level. So I'll continue making inroads a small piece at a time. I did recover the use of my roll-top desk last year, and I intend to keep that functioning. I cleaned out half my closet, and my current focus for that level of cleaning is the closet and the rest of the bedroom.

To summarize, my goals for the year:

1. Grow spiritually. Spend more time at Celebration. Remember Quiet time every day.
2. Get healthier. Lose weight: eat less, exercise more, build better life habits
3. Train Flood. More daily walks, obedience training, more attention.
4. Tackle the clutter. This year, the bedroom, and maybe even the craft room!

Hey, but I figured out two of last year's goals were really just one goal, so I'm down to four goals. :)