Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Favorite Blanket

As you know I crochet blankets for Project Linus. I just finished a "teddy bear" blanket that looks like sunshine. It feels happy. I know a little kid will like it a lot.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Josh the Computer “god"

This morning I talked to Josh my own private (at least for today) “computer repair god.” Most computers are relatively reliable but every so often things happen. Last night one of those “things” happened. I was logging off for the night and my computer would not let me do anything! It had locked up! NOW WHAT? I tried all sorts of methods to make the computer work, but all I got was a screen that jiggled. A jiggly screen is never a good sign.

I called the computer help line, even though it was midnight and of course no one was there. The nice voice at the other end of the line said “Hello...we are closed...call again in the morning.” SO, I called this morning. Of course, everyone else who had a computer glitch this long weekend was calling too. After a 13 minute wait (not too bad when you consider it) Josh came on the line. He’s the “computer god” I was talking about.

Very calmly, Josh said “we can fix that!” WHEW! That was nice to know. He said first do this and this...I did... and the computer stopped working.

He said there’s another route we can take...do this and this...I did...and the computer stopped working.

He then said...”this looks like a bigger problem than I thought at first, but we can fix it!” It was nice to hear his encouragement.

He then gave me another set of directions and the screen turned black! A black computer screen is never a good sign...then some white letters started scrolling down the screen. There were a few words I could understand but most looked like "/fn/ - qrs”What does that mean? Finally it stopped printing letters and I saw :/ root -- something I could read and understand.

Josh gave me detailed instructions on what I should type next, one letter at a time. After a few seconds the computer started to fix itself. It had 43 items in a directory that only needed 42 (I have to wonder how an Volume fixed! Then :/ root appeared on the sreen.

Very gingerly I typed “reboot” and the computer rebooted and a familiar screen appeared. My name appeared...then it asked for my password and the password worked! There was no jiggling. HOORAY!

One more thing to be thankful for...calm computer gods who know how to fix your system!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

The big day was Thursday: American Thanksgiving. I say American because Thanksgiving is celebrated on other days in other countries. In Canada it occurs on the second Monday in October. Germany calls it Erntedankfest and it's celebrated the first Sunday after Michelmas which is usually near the end of September. In fact most cultures celebrate their thanks to a bountiful harvest.

And that's what we did -- and we also celebrated another year of good health, good friends and good times. I cooked the traditional bird and some of the trimmings as I did not wish to become thankful for more weight gain than necessary! I took one picture of the turkey as I put it in the oven and forgot to take more. Rest assured it was a tasty bird and we will have even tastier leftovers for a few days to come. I still want to know why the leftovers always taste better?

Monday, November 21, 2011

This and That

It’s always fun to write in a blog when we are doing exciting things...it’s less fun when we do the normal day to day stuff. But then, for us, normal is being on the move and the day to day stuff is definitely not normal.

I’m thinking the US Congress has 3 days to fix the deficit debacle and I’m guessing they will not get it done. I’m guessing they needed more of a stick to force them to some sort of action. They knew from the get go that if they did not act, some cuts would automatically be set into place. While those cuts are not nice, they are a lot easier to agree on than anything else. Makes we wonder what happened to the idea of compromise!? OK, I know, I’m being a Pollyanna, but geeeees...these guys needed to do something and it’s clear they have not done anything. Might I suggest cutting the Department of Education?

In the other DrCs blog, COTTonLINE, there’s a link to this excellent article by Tom Friedman, where the bottom-line is READ TO YOUR KIDS! As a reading teacher most of my life, I know how important it is to read to your kids...now folks who are not reading teachers are saying the same thing. His article states that the crucial time to read to your children is during their primary school years. I’ve always backed the notion of reading to kids from birth! No matter, we are on the same page...read to your kids. The kids who are read to are those who are most likely to succeed!

Never fear, I’ll get back to the pretty pictures soon.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Home Again

We were gone for 38 days! My that's a long time. Now we are back home and dealing with reality away from a cruise ship. Gosh--we have to buy groceries, do laundry, house keeping, gardening, and everything else. Jorge is not our steward, Paul and Ljubica are not our waiters. Damiano is not supplying us with endless fresh chocolate chip cookies. We are coping. Yet, I would be remiss not to thank these hard working folks for making the cruise wonderful.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bird feeder

Sometimes other critters get to enjoy.

The Smokies in Autumn

Surprise! We arrived in time t enjoy some fall color. Fall in the Smokies is beautiful. We drove to New Found Gap, which is the border between North Carolina and Tennessee and looked at the views along the way and it was wonderful.

Next stop was Gatlinburg. I remember driving through Gatlinburg sometime in the early 70s in our motorhome. It was summer and crowded and we did not like the place. Yesterday, on a warm autumn afternoon it was delightful. We had a great lunch at Calhoun's and enjoyed our friends.

In Tennessee

We arrived in Tennessee this afternoon. In 2 days we drove a little over 950 miles. For folks who try not to drive more than 250 miles a day (when we RV) these are long days for us.

As we drove north the scenery became prettier. Just outside of Atlanta we started to see trees dressed in their autumn colors. By the time we got to Tennessee the trees were in their glory. Prettiest of all was the golden light shining on the Tennessee River. No pictures just memories.

We will be here till Friday (which is 11-11-11 btw) then back to the real world with real responsibilities.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In Georgia

We landed in Ft. Lauderdale this morning. I must say it was one of the tidier disembarkations I've ever done. We were told to meet in Explorer's Lounge at 7:50 and within 10 minutes we were heading for the gangway. We left the ship and without too much ado we found our luggage. The next stop was the bus to the airport to get our rental car. I had the car scheduled for 10 AM and we got there at 9:30.
Princess did a good job!

We are renting a Chevrolet Traverse, which is some type of crossover vehicle. It's very comfy--and it has all sorts of things my 11 year old car does not have including Bluetooth, a USB port, a 110 outlet, a DVD player with headphones, at least 3 different types of radio and Bose speakers. It also has 3 rows of seats so a whole army will fit in it. So far we have driven it about 400 miles and we are liking it a lot.

Our drive through Flat Florida was long and uneventful. We drove the turnpike most of the way, then when the tollway ended we joined up with I-75. I hope we get some rolling hills to look at tomorrow in Georgia as we have seen a bit too much flat today. We are supposed to arrive in Maryville, TN

Friday, November 4, 2011

Time to say Good-bye

We have been on the Ruby Princess for 4 weeks...we boarded her on Friday, October 7. During this trip we have visited Rome, Florence, Pisa, Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Venice, Monaco, Barcelona, Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu, Split, Lisbon, Ponta delGado (there might be more too). We have been on one of the tiny electric trams in Lisbon and a 4x4 on the back roads of the Azores. We have walked in the ruts made by carriages 2000 years ago in Pompeii. We seen some of the splendors of Venice and revisited the beauty of Pisa. I've taken pictures of laundry hanging out of windows all over the Mediterranean too. It's been some trip.

Now however, it's time to say good-bye to the friends we have met. We have spent 1/12 of the year on this boat. It's been our home away from home. Our respite!

We have filled out the "You've Done a Good Job" forms for the various folks who have made the cruise such a complete escape from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. If you are looking for a way to relax, consider a cruise!

Tomorrow we will pack up our bags and get ready for the next stage of the adventure. When we disembark the ship on Sunday morning, we will pick up a rental car and drive to Tennessee to visit old friends.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sea Days

We are on the crossing part of our cruise now. In case you didn't know, there is a difference between cruising and crossing. Cruising means stopping at different ports of call; crossing means sailing from one side of the ocean to another. So we are crossing the Atlantic and we will make landfall on Sunday.

Many folks like crossing better than cruising because it is more relaxing. All you have to do is enjoy the ship which is relatively easy to do on these floating cities. Other folks like cruising as you get too see so many interesting places. It just depends on what you like to do. With a 30 day cruise, you get to do both.

So far, the crossing has been pretty good. Yesterday we were steaming along at 21 knots, it was 72 degrees outside and a mild 15 knot wind was blowing...not too bad. (In other words you can walk outside, on the decks, and your hair will stay on your head, but it will be messy.) If we had a 30 knot wind, forget hair and bundle up! It will be dangerous out there! When on a crossing you rarely sit outside on your balcony as it's too cool and windy. Balconies are for cruising in warm still waters.

Ruby Princess has a huge open air theater on board, so I watched a movie on deck 16 at 1 in the afternoon while enjoying the sun and the breeze...only on a cruise ship can you do that.

Sea days are pleasant...no ports to worry about, no tenders to board, no excursions to meet...the only worry is getting to the event you want to see on time, and of course, eating. By this time in the cruise, no one is eating very much, so even that is not a concern.
I stopped eating 3 meals a day over 2 weeks ago.

So we have 2 more days of crossing and then back to reality. We will need to find our own food, make our beds, and get back to serving ourselves. I think we can do that.