Day -136 – It’s a good day

bouncehouseYou know how there are some days that are just good, I mean, nothing special, but you feel loved and appreciated, making it a good day.  Today was one of those.  I spent the last 24 hours in bed with a stomach flu, so maybe part of my optimistic attitude came from being able to get out of bed for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m ok with that.

First thing, I called my grandson to wish him a happy 5th birthday, Jacob is an old soul, very smart, very articulate.  When I said to him, “wow, Jacob, you’re five now!”  His response was, “yay, I’m getting pretty old now.”  It was priceless, thanks for my first laugh of the day, buddy, I love you.

We are out at a remote campsite near Congress, Arizona.  It is peaceful and quiet all the time, the most noise we get is the train cruising by and the coyotes yipping.  I love it out here.  The scenery is awesome too!  Add to that the number of friends we have in Arizona and we are truly and abundantly blessed.  We ran in to Phoenix today intending to pick up our mail and drop off some posters for our upcoming event.

First stop was a 4 year olds birthday party, who knew?  By the time we got there, the kid stuff was done and the adults were enjoying a rum punch.  But in the yard, was a pink and purple Hello Kitty bounce house.  Now, being honest here, I’ve never been in a bounce house.  This one looked like a castle and I kept thinking, I wanna go!  But I was a little fearful, I’m not a kid, nor am I shaped like one.  It wasn’t until I saw a couple other adults climb in there and noticed the bounce house didn’t seem any worse for wear after they had bounced.  So I waited until all the kids were out and snuck on in…quietly, I didn’t want a production made.  And I bounced.  First on my knees, then I stood up and bounced to the ceiling, it was awesome!  It’s a motion that we don’t get to do as adults, it was great, after awhile I was a little nauseous, but it was worth it.  So liberating!  We said our goodbyes and thank yous and headed home, at least that was the plan.

At the gas station I popped up Facebook and saw that we had other friends just two miles away settling in for some music at a local bar, what a great way to finish off a Sunday.  We stopped in to The Monastery in Mesa, it is so cool.  I’m not sure it would work any where else, but on a mid February evening in Mesa with the temperatures nice and mild, it was awesome. Sand volleyball courts, ping pong, badminton, an open air stage and a bar that serves food.  Just doesn’t get much better than that when you add in good people.

Thanks to all we saw today, you made my day!

Day 15 – Frisbees!

frisbeeJosh has been dragging out his golf discs for months, he will go off by himself to find a course, or pick a place to throw on our race courses.  Once I threw with him, but then I lost interest.  The boys are trying hard to help me get in my 50 new things.  I have 15 days left til my birthday, and still have a number of items to go.  So when Big suggested we go play disc golf, we were all ready.  We are in Fountain, Colorado, just south of Colorado Springs, there is a course, just 2.4 miles from our cat, aka home.

I was surprised at the number of people out playing when we got there, we were near the lunch hour and there were three other teams out golfing.  Disc golf can be as easy or as complicated as you make it.  There is a tee box, just like real golf; there is a “hole” also, only this one is made of metal and chain, the goal being to get your disc in the basket.

The discs are varied, they come in all kinds of weights, some have heavy lips on them, some look more like the Frisbees of my childhood.  I started with a driver, but quickly moved to a putter.  My short game is much better than my long game.  Because the game is so much like golf, I employed my favorite part.  I never have to count above 10 on any hole.

Now for those of you that are real golfers, I learned this trick from my mother when I was just a child.  There simply isn’t room on a scorecard for a number larger than ten.  The first hole, I got a ten; it steadily went down, a nine, then a six, as the holes got shorter.  My throw is weak, although I was a shot putter and discus thrower way back in high school, I wasn’t very good at it, I was just better than most of the girls on my team.

We’ve been doing a lot of throwing lately, from skipping stones to darts, to now disc golf.  I guess I better get with the program.  I was pretty proud of myself, I retrieved all but one of my discs on my own, that’s me in the tree!

 

Day 264 – Carnival Splendor Day Eight and Embarkation (Day 9)

deckI am so tired, who knew a vacation could wear you out so thoroughly.  It is our “extra day” – a day at sea and they have added a bunch of stuff to the schedule to keep us all entertained for an extra day.  But, I’m done, I’m so tired, I really don’t want to play too hard.  A little food, a little football, a little more food, I’m starting to get a little energy, so we are going out for the night.

Bingo is being played one more time in the Spectacular lounge, we didn’t win big last night, so we are back again.  Kayla and Lindsey are here, and we have all decided to play.  When K and I went to buy our Bingo cards, her Carnival card had been shut off, so I bought all the bingo cards and let them pick which one they wanted to play.  The only stipulation I put on it was if either of them win, we split the pot.  The pot was $1199.  Imagine our surprise when Lindsey WON!  What a nice way to end a great cruise, it wasn’t enough to cover our cruising costs, but it did cover the girls – yay for them!

Finally docked back in Long Beach, we learned a lot about cruising this week, so here is my list of advice.

  • Get involved, get active, participate – remember you don’t know these people so you can’t be embarrassed
  • If you have a shell, break out of it – it can be so much fun
  • There is food available all the time, stick to some kind of schedule so you don’t spend all your time in line or worse, in a food coma
  • If you like to drink alcohol, go ahead and buy the alcohol package – we didn’t think we could run up a $600 bar tab in a week’s time, we were wrong – it’s not too hard at $8 to $10 a drink
  • Tour the ship regularly – things change, other things start happening that you might miss, check it all out
  • Get outside
  • Don’t get uptight – by the end of the cruise we had found a number of a**holes, mostly people who weren’t enjoying the company they were keeping – try not to be one of these
  • If you can’t be in love with the one you are with on a cruise ship, you might as well pack it in – what a romantic vacation
  • Cruises are a true vacation – no travel to worry about, no meals to worry about and for the most part, you don’t have to worry about money either
  • Talk to the people around you, you might make some great friends

We are already planning another cruise vacation, thinking we might need to plan a “racers” cruise with spouses and classes, who knew it could be so much fun, I’m glad we finally discovered that.

Day 271 – Carnival Splendor Day One

carnivalWe’re back!  Awesome week on the Carnival Splendor – this was our adventure from day one.

Cruising has not really been my idea of fun.  I’ve done it once before, with my sister and one of my best friends, we did an Alaskan cruise, and while it was fun, I didn’t think it was the end all be all vacation.  So going on a cruise this time was something I was just a little mediocre about.  My daughter, Kayla, invited us.  She got married earlier in 2012 and her family was going to celebrate her father-in-laws 60th birthday, so all of Lindsey’s family is here.  Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Sister-in-law, nephews and us.  We are here for Kayla.  Now, I love my daughter, but years ago, I vowed never to vacation with her again.  We joke when we introduce her that she is “Kayla Krehbiel, ruining vacations since 1987.”  She just gets stressed out about having fun and then wigs out.  But that’s another story.

So the cruise wasn’t really our idea, but we embraced it.  It’s been on the agenda for months, we just got lucky enough to call it a Honeymoon Cruise after we got married 15 days ago.  Rich is ecstatic, I don’t think he’s ever actually taken a vacation, so this is a brand new experience for him.  I didn’t recognize how ecstatic he was until we got to the dock.

I always let him make the plans when we are headed somewhere, whether by plane or now by boat, I would tend to stress him out because I don’t arrive as early as everyone else, so planning departures is always his job.  He said we were leaving Temecula for Long Beach by 10:30.  We were out the door by 10:10, a quick stop for breakfast on the way and we arrived at the departure port at 1:20.  Perfect timing.  Kayla and the rest of the family were already on board, we were standing in line.  Now for those of you who haven’t had this experience, try to picture it.  3006 passengers being herded onto a gangplank in less than three hours.  There is a huge dome that swallows all the people and spits them out where they need to be.  It’s pretty painless, they dropped us in to some lines and then moved our lines forward.  You can tell they’ve done this before.  We were through the lines in no time.  We had dropped our bags with the porter already and then moved through the line to get our room keys.  Of course, I hadn’t printed any documents to carry on, guess what?  It’s not a problem, we didn’t need anything except our passports.  So easy.

On board the ship, we checked out our room.  Just a standard space with a balcony, it’s probably comparable to our regular living quarters.  Kayla came by the room to check out ours, they are in the bowels of the ship in a small interior room, it’s perfect for them, not much sway down there.  We appeared for our mandatory safety briefing.  Don’t even think about skipping that, the stewards check all the rooms, including the balconies for stowaways.  The extent of the briefing was how to put on your life vest and where to go.  A worthwhile thing to know.  We visited with some couples around us and the time passed quickly.

After the briefing, we toured the ship as we left the dock, a rain squall came in just as we were leaving, so not many people were out getting pictures of the skyline as we left.  We had most of the exterior to ourselves.  Starting at the top, Deck 11, we toured the spa, the Pinnacle restaurant and moved down to Deck 10.  Lots of water structures there for playing on, then down to Deck 9, the Lido deck.  An indoor pool that was being filled, a huge movie screen and the food.  Huge spaces to feed those 3006 people more than they need to eat at any given time.  There are restaurants parked all over the Lido deck.

At six we appeared for the family dinner, our table captain appears to be fun, he made our grandson, Jacob, enjoy eating his dinner, and that is an accomplishment all in its self.  Dinner was good, Rich and I excused ourselves for the Ballroom Dancing lesson.  A little cha-cha and a little salsa dancing.  There were a few times we bumped bellies because I was going the wrong direction.  After the dancing, we stayed for the rest of the evening in the Spectacular, Spectacular stage.  I got picked to play on their game show.  Never done that before, I didn’t know many of the answers, but I had a blast.  I played with Matt and Moody and we laughed a lot.  It was fun, we followed that with Bingo and the night show and finally ended with the comedians.  There is so much to do, I didn’t think Rich would come to bed.  He’s a little afraid of missing something fun.  We had a great time on our first day, there is so much to do and so many people to meet.  We are enjoying that immensely.  I can’t wait to see what he wants to do tomorrow.