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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Parenting In a Totally Different Way

I'm not sure how or why this conversation took place, but a friend of mine asked me the other day if I thought she was doing a good job as a mother.... "I mean, my kids are all right, right? I'm not screwing them up like I was screwed up, am I?" and I understood her insecurity; like Bill Cosby said... "Kids don't come with a set of instruction." So, I assured her... "Oh, no, your kids are great.... You're a great mom. But yeah... You totally are screwing them up. You're just doing it in a completely different way than your parents screwed you up.... But, that's normal... It's what
parents do." And it's true, parents do want to parent well. Sometimes,  we even think we're doing it right, but then there's  always some little something you miss, and years later you're still beating yourself up over. It may sound negative, but really it's just the reality of parenting. Trying to put a move positive spin on it I added...  "You're doing a great job of screwing your kids up in the best possible way." She thought for a minute, then nodded and said.... "Yeah, that's what I think too." Even the best parents need a little encouragement sometimes. I'm happy to be one of those people you can count on to lift you up when you're feeling down.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Perfect Way to End the Day Towel Buddies

And last, but certainly not least, the sweet little surprises we found in our cabin each night, a towel buddy whimsically perched on our bed. It was the perfect ending a perfect day.

Kitty seems to making friends on board

Up to some monkey business

Strange thing about Key West... Roosters and chickens are EVERYWHERE


Sweet Friends

Sweet Friends

He was more womanly than me

Ray Morey 50th Birthday Shirt

Just me and the boys

My last chance to tell Randy where to go

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Office Cruise Cartoon

I left a going away picture on the wipe off board in the conference room where we have our breaks. I knew the girls would miss me terribly, (I'm not conceited, I'm animated...There's a difference) so I left a little something to let them know I was thinking about them. In return they modified the picture showing just how well they understood the sometimes very scary thinking of Jackie.

Obviously they expected the worst to happen on our cruise. After all, I do have a tendency to have the unexpected take place, usually at my own making. Lucky for us, Murphy must have misread the itinerary and thought we were suppose to be on the Triumph which wasn't the case at all (thank God). This is a picture of my husband and friend in the lifeboat. The question really must be asked, why did they make it to the lifeboat and take off without Randy and I? Jump? Why the heck didn't they just wait for us? It would have been more accurate for my friend and I to be in the lifeboat telling them to jump, but hey, it's still cute.

They know me well. If I can't take my shoes, I'll go down with the ship and actually the weight of my shoes may have been what caused the notion we would go down in the first place. Neither one happened and I made it home with all my shoes and a cute little purse I picked up on the way.

My friend's husband (we work together)has what he likes to call "Rosacea", but we just like to call it "Making Randy Turn Red" which happens a lot! Apparently either Randy's "Rosacea" is really acting up in the picture, or he has a bad sunburn. Any interpretation you'd like to attach to it is fair game and any and all comments appreciated and will most likely be posted unless he gives me the look that makes me cry because he thinks... "You've crossed the line Jackie". If that's the case, I'll have someone else (like his wife) post any and all comments. Either way, anything that make his "Rosacea" flair up always makes those around him happy little campers and that's just the way things are.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cheating at Putt-Putt, The Rules of Checkers and Blackmail

A co-worker came by my office this afternoon to inquire about the cruise. Our conversation came around to the putt-putt game we played the day our excursion got canceled.  The putt-putt course was a lot of fun, and I was playing well. Unfortunately, I wasn't the score keeper or I would have played better. LOL!  On one hole, I came soooo close to a hole in one it was scary. The ball teetered on the edge of the cup and if the ship had just shifted a smidge, I would have had it!  I thought that a slight little blow would do it, but it didn't..... I just don't have enough hot air (I don't care who you are, that's funny). On the last hole of the course, my friend's husband was faced with the same situation. I was jumping for joy right up to the point where my husband leaned over and told him he should get down and try to blow it in the hole like I had previously done. Why do men always feel like they need to win everything?  My husband hardly ever says two words and he chooses NOW to speak up with  a suggestion that could cost me the game?  So, down he goes on all fours like a puppy dog.... Oh how I wish I had  a picture of that! Sure enough, he had WAY more hot air in him than I could ever muster up regardless of how many blogs I wrote and in that ball went! Dang it!!!  Apparently, by Sooner mathematical calculations.... He beat me by one point. One point! Insert eye roll here. After putt-putt we squared off in a giant game of checkers you move with your feet. I make a move and he crossed his arms and told me I can't do that. I think to myself.... "This is vacation and you're not the boss of me!", but I don't say it out loud. His wife looks at me with her eyebrows raised like.... "Welcome to my world" and just shakes her head.  I ask him why the heck not? Much like Sooner mathematics, Sooner checker rules says if you have the opportunity to jump an opponent, you must make the jump.... "That's not right!" I challenged him. I have never heard that rule before in my life. Every person I asked on deck (and at dinner) said they had never heard the rule either. Then he tells me to Google it! What
kind of nerd Goggles the rules to checkers? Finally he dropped it and let me play the way I wanted to, and I still lost. Grrrr! So later my friend and I are looking around when her husband comes up and shoves his Blackberry in my face and says.... "Read that" What!? My gosh, back it up Buddy, I'm not blind you know (now that really IS funny). Yes, he had Googled the rules of checkers, to not only show me that I was wrong, but so that I would know just how wrong I was. Who does that? Again, his wife gives me the.... "Welcome to my world" look and shakes her head, she's not surprised, he's acted like this for 30 years, she's used to it.  After the conversation with my co-worker, the co-worker goes into his office to inquire about stooping to any level to beat someone at putt-putt, to which he fully admitted to as well as, "Making himself a cushion" to win.  I stood in the doorway, he sat at his desk and our co-worker stood in the middle as he explained his "pitiful" (words from his wife) behavior.  He told his version of the events, as I commentated. Our co-worker's head spun around from hither to yon, trying to decipher the explanation (his version) vs. the truth (my version), until finally,  he became a little seasick himself. He just looked at me and explained he was trying to listen to both of us at the same time, but was having difficulty taking it all in... "Imagine a shorter, red-headed version of myself standing next to me,  the two of us commentating in unison. Visualize that and you will know exactly what the week was like for
both our husbands." I told him. They were OVERWHELMED with information and commentary.  If our guys  talk, we commentate, because if things are going to have to be factual (both of our men are factual guys) and even if it is about nerdy things like the rules of checkers, we want it embellished and animated. They state the facts, we embellish with commentary.  That's why we are each perfect couples and make perfect friends!!! That's a fact Jac! Finally (I'm sure both of them were thrilled), I went back to my office. I was working on a spreadsheet when I heard him say.... "I have two words of warning.... Baretta.... Cockatoo..."  With the most bored look I could muster up, I glanced over at him and said.... "You don't scare me. I'll blog it before you can tell it which takes away all the power." He stared at me for a second (you could almost see his little engineer gears spinning), then dropped his head and walked away, because he KNEW, there was just no winning on that.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Jackie Speak is Now an Official Language

I often find myself without the right word for something. I didn't notice how much this happens until we were traveling with a group of people years ago and one of the women laughed every time I said.... "thingie".... She laughed a lot on that trip. Thingie is my word of choice for just about everything that my mind can't immediately explain. Last night I was ordering at Taco Tico and I couldn't think of the name of the chip things with Cinnamon/sugar stuff so I told the guy.... "Oh, you know those chip thingies?" Hmm... "Ma'am, would you mean Cinnamon Crustos?"... "Yeah, that's it" I told
Proper Jackie speak would read "The Bridge Thingie"
him. When we were on the cruise, our friends asked me if I had read the sign that was on the wall beside our cabin. I hadn't paid any attention to it, because that would mean I had slowed down long enough to read it and because it looked like instructions of some type, which I definitely hate to bother with (well, until I have no choice and then it's usually not how to do it, but how to repair it because I didn't read the instructions to begin with). When my husband and I went back to the cabin we stopped to read the sign. My husband turned to me and said.... "Oh, Jac, you have to take a picture of that." So, I did. I guess it's official... Jackie speak is now the official language used by Carnival Cruise Lines.... Shouldn't I be getting some kind of royalty off this?

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Sucker on Cloud 9

My friend and I booked spa treatments for the Friday of our cruise. We tried to book them together, but since we weren't booking a couples treatment, the computer wouldn't let us do it at the same time.  We thought about changing it to a couples massage, but that might be a little weird, so we left it as is was with me getting up at the (excuse the term) butt-crack of dawn for my treatment. Ugh! I so didn't want to have to get up
early on vacation, even if it was to be rubbed and oiled down. But, I put on my big girl panties(again), as well as one of the luscious robes they had in our room, and padded to the spa. Thank God there wasn't anyone around at that hour! When I walked into the spa, I was still half asleep. The atmosphere was the epitome of tranquility. I gave them my name and one of them escorted me(I'm not kidding) into this quiet room filled with soft music, comfy couches, and a table with fruit and water. She handed me a clipboard with a questionnaire and told me to make myself comfortable until they called my name. The questionnaire was a little confusing. It asked me what had brought me in today... "Hm, vacation?" Then it wanted to know what my stress level was. I didn't know if they were talking about right that second, on a daily basis, or life in general. Complicated questions like this should not be asked when one is
only wearing a robe. As soon as I finished the questionnaire, a little Asian woman called my name. She introduced herself as... Yeah, I'm not good with names when I'm awake, much less when I'm half asleep. But she was tiny, with a soft little voice and moved very quietly as she took me to the room. I selected the "Elemis Aroma Stone Therapy" which is a 75 minute massage (well not really 75 minutes) using hot stones. Once she finished asking me questions and started the rubbing and massaging, I fell right back into a peaceful cloud 9 sleep which she rudely (not really rudely, but you know how irritated it is to be awakened from a peaceful sleep) and told me she would give me a few minutes to get dressed, then she would be back with her "recommendations". I lay there comptemplating the consequences if I simply refused to leave the room. What's the worst that could happen? We're out in the middle of the ocean, they couldn't kick me off the ship. In spite of how funny I thought it would be to blog about getting kicked off the ship for refusing to leave the spa, I complied with her request and put my robe on and waited. She came back in the room all smiles and whispers and told me things I didn't know about my aches and pains. Apparently, my shoulder that aches all the time when I'm sitting at a computer... Wasn't hurting that day at all... Go figure! Maybe because I hadn't seen a computer in a week, but I'm probably cranky because I got up so early. She did detect some tension in my lower back. Silly woman, that's not tension, that's my colon. The myth that what goes in must come out isn't necessarily true for everyone and I'd been stuffing a lot in the last 5 days. I just smiled and kept my too much information to myself since she was being so sweet. Then she said I had a lot of toxin build up in my forearms, possibly from carpal tunnel she said. So.... She handed me a little packet and explained she wanted me to use the powder at night when I took a bath. She told me to soak and it would remove all the toxin build up in my muscles and I would feel so much better. As I wiped the corners of my mouth where the drool had pooled up, the brain fog from the hypnotic aroma therapy (and her sales pitch) was beginning to slowly lift. Second, she handed me a bottle of oil, I was to use it every night, only on the areas she spoke about, and be sure to use it every night.... Her voice becoming more Asian with every little detail... Fog lifting, fog lifting. When she finished explaining everything to me, she smiled sweetly, shrugged her shoulders and said... "You take?" Okay, fog completely gone now. So, it's a profit thing huh? They pull you in with aromic stones and then milk you dry with their "recommendations". Dang it, and I was feeling so good too. Hmm, so I'm guessing these aren't free samples she's offering me... "How much is it?" I asked her, like I was seriously considering it... "Oh, well.... The oil is $65.00 dol-lor" she replied just like the Asian nail girls (that will be 5 dol-lor more!) "And".... She hesitated as she touched the little packet I held in my hand, "Zzz, packets come in box of 10... And that comes to... $175.00 a box." She said really fast like I wouldn't be able to count that early in the morning. I think she could feel my carpal tunnel starting to tense as I shook my head and said.... "No, I can't do that!" Not seeming surprised at all, she just smiled and then said... "Okay, you take only oil." Seriously?!? I know, I know, I should have stood my ground and just refused.... But she seemed so little and sweet, and I hate disappointing people and... Well... Compared to $175.00, $65.00 is cheap. I know, I can hear it too.... "We've got a sucker on cloud 9. Repeat, Sucker on cloud 9!" My $65.00 of oil is still in the box, hidden in my night stand. I'm afraid to open it for two reasons.... 1) If I open it, I can't return it (I know, this makes no sense. I bought it in the middle of the ocean). 2)If I open it and use it, I'm afraid it will be magical and I'll think I can't live without it... "Sucker on cloud 9... Repeat, Sucker on cloud 9)

Port #3.... The Beach Baby!!

I've said it before and I'll say it again.... There are two places on earth where I feel the closest to God... And it's neither a pew or a church. One is the mountains. The mountain air feels like the breath of God to me. The serenity of the mountains, makes me feel like I could literally reach up and stroke God's cheek and I definitely feel like he reaches down and strokes mine when I'm surrounded by majestic mountains. The other one is.... The ocean. The ocean is a different kind of closeness,a different kind of serenity... It's so ALIVE!! When I'm in the ocean, it's like being inside God, being a part of his power. The ocean is a living, moving, breathing entity that expresses God's omnipotence that is beyond majestic... And really there are no words to describe either. I know it may sound corny, but that's how I feel. Okay, so our last port was Nassau and we had booked "The Blue Lagoon Beach" excursion. The plan was to plop our rears in the sand, splash around in the water and build sandcastles. All very adult activities. But since our snorkeling excursion got cancelled, I really wanted to snorkel. Just so happens, I was in luck. It was the best of both worlds. Three of us purchased
snorkel gear for $20.00 (a lot cheaper than the snorkel excursion that was cancelled) and hit the snorkeling side of the beach. My friend (not a snorkeling lover) scoped out and saved us plopping spots on the other side of the beach and soaked up some rays full of vitamin D, while we did our thing. In case you're wondering (and I know you are), flippers are not my friend. If God would have wanted me to wear flippers instead of stilettos, I'd have webbed toes, which I do not. I couldn't quite figure out which came first, the water or the flippers. I tried putting my flippers on while on the beach, but then I had problems getting into the water. So I tried getting into the water first but had trouble holding everything and getting them on without flailing all over the place. Granted, if I had more patience than a 5 year old while standing on the edge of the ocean (instead of the usual edge I'm on), I might not have had such a hard time. Finally, I found a place in between the beach, yet not fully in the water and at last I got the flippers on. Geeze, high heels are so much
easier! I headed to the open ocean.... It was like being suspended between heaven and earth! I felt like I was soaring over hills and valleys, suspended in space, surrounded by this living, breathing, creature of water. The fish were beautiful, the plants amazing! I turned 50 in the ocean with God's wonderful creation all around me! When I would happen upon a school of fish or find something really cool, I'd pop out of the water and look for my husband. Sometimes he has difficulty reading my sign language... Imagine that. Finally I took my mouthpiece out to tell him something and in the middle of my AMAZING story, I was stung by a jelly fish. He offered the assistance of himself and our friend in applying rumored anidote to the sting to relieve my pain, but I told him I'd suffer through my birthday just fine without being pee'd on by two men! I suppose it's the thought that counts, huh? Periodically I would hear the sound of a whistle... I paid no mind, I was in my own little mermaid fantasy world. It didn't take too much, before the blowing of said whistle was interrupting my fantasy so I bobbed up to see what the commotion was. I lifted my goggles and the strap broke. Great, just great! Our friend was bobbing in the water as well. I asked him what he was doing....
"I lost my thingie" (My words, not his). He had lost the bracelet we received with our gear that had a guide about the different fish, as well as a little container you could carry something in. He had also lost his chap stick. Really? What kind of a nerd takes his chap stick snorkeling (I'm surprised he didn't lose his pocket protector too)???? Need I say more? His chap stick came bobbing between us and I grabbed it and put it in my container. We headed to shore for more gear. As we came onto the beach, we tried to walk out of the water. Again, the flippers became a pain. It was still pretty 
rocky where we were and the underwater terrain wasn't even, so we stumbled around like two drunken sailors. Standing under a tree on the beach was a life guard, taking this all in. The more I stumbled and fell (knowing new bruises would show up every time), the more irritated I got that he was just standing up there enjoying the show. Finally we crawled onto the beach and I headed straight for the life guard.... "Do you actually ever save anyone or are you out here just getting a kick watching people like me stumble around in their flippers?" I wasn't really mad, but I did kind of want to know if he ever offered anyone any real assistance. He just laughed and told me if I'd go around the other way (he pointed to apparently the proper getting in and out spot on the beach), I wouldn't have hmmm, as much trouble next time. Obviously he had no clue who he was talking to.Oh, and the annoying whistle thing.... One of our group apparently kept going past the snorkeling boundaries. Again, hmmm, wonder who that was? After snorkeling, the three of us went to the plopping place that had been saved for us. I just couldn't plop, I needed to be in the water or very near the water, so I sat as close to the water as I could get and doodled in the sand and made a sand turtle. Hands down, this was the best way on earth to turn 50. Put me in the ocean and I instantly revert back 45 years. Love, Love, Loved it! I couldn't even tell you what the rest of the day was like when we got back on the ship, because all I can remember was the beauty I had been a part of earlier that day. I may be 50, but when I'm near the water I'm just a beach baby.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Port #2 Freeport, Cancelled Excursion and Bathroom Enlightenment

Our next port was Freeport. Unfortunately, the sea was a little choppy causing our power snorkel excursion to be cancelled. We didn't see a second options that appealed to us, so I stuffed my disappointment into my pocket and put my big girl panties on and made the most of the great big ship. We played miniature golf, giant checkers, bean bag throw (which one of us almost won a 24 carat piece of ship, which was the prize, but that someone got knocked off his throne). I pretended to be the Queen of Sheba while relaxing on luxurious futons on the "Serenity Deck" (yes it is amazing they even let me on a deck named Serenity). In case you're wondering, I'm quite good at pretending to be the the Queen of Sheba. If that part ever pops
up at The Duncan Little Theater, I'm totally trying out for it. We took advantage of the empty hot tubs and packed a full day of fun and games and lots of laughing into what could have been a big disappointment. Occasionally, my friend and I would look at our our expressionless men (both very quiet, very low keyed) and asked if they we're having fun. Like two peas in a pod they would nod their heads with as little movement as possible and reply.... "Of course." My girlfriend and I tend to be exuberantly full of life, especially while on vacation. We try to encourage them to allow the joy we know they feel inside to bubble out to the outer rims of their faces, but it seldom ever does. I wonder if the thought ever occurred to them, that if they did let it bubble out, we would be
It's a Virgin Mary ya'll
so amazed, we might actually be a little less exuberant since we wouldn't feel like we were expressing the joy for all four of us... Just a little thought to mull around. Once, when we were getting up to go to the little girls room (something women feel they must always do together), we told them they could now talk amongst themselves, since they had hardly said two words all day. When we came back to the table they were laughing and yucking it up like a couple of teenage boys. They actually thought we really thought they were having a real conversation. We knew they had sat there with their cutest deadpan faces until they saw us walking up and then decided to put on a show of being a spectacle of joy and humor in our absence. Dudes, that was so lame, but we did appreciate the effort to amuse us just the same. And speaking
of bathrooms.... The bathrooms by the main dining room was scrunched together so you were squeezing into a tiny hall where the men's room door had to be passed to get to the women's room. This incident was purely accidental, due to the poor design of the whole set up, but just the same, curiosity took over and... Well, it is what it is. As we were squeezing through the hall, a man opened the door to the men's room...  To our credit, there really was no where else to look... and since we are both of the curious nature, we paused maybe a tad longer than necessary to get to where we were going.  We were just curious about the camaraderie men have with each other while doing their business. When we came out we told our guys what we had seen, which was nothing at all. No talking, no complimenting
each other on their cute outfits, no helping each other get a hair back in place or making sure a whisker wasn't going awry. They just looked at us like we had lost our minds. We told them how the men were all quiet, standing with heads up, eyes straight ahead and absolutely no conversing at all. They couldn't really give us a reason for the silence, except that men just want to get it done and get out. Things are so different in the ladies room. We compliment each other, tell each other if we have a smudge or a hair out of place. We'll even reach over and un-tuck a skirt if it's gotten caught in someones panties. We help each other out so when we come out of the bathroom we know all is well with the world. That particular night I was lamenting that if I could have any "work done" I would get a nose job, because the bulb at the end of my nose is just ugly. The ladies all took a look and came to the consensus there was nothing wrong with my nose (although I still disagree, but at least they put their two cents in). What is up with guys? Why are they afraid to assist and discuss the important things in life while using the bathroom? Heck, we pass stuff underneath the stalls to each other. It's all good, there's nothing to be afraid of. Men are just so weird about some things. Anyway, it was a great day, wouldn't have changed a thing.... Well, maybe one things, but I'll just keep that to myself.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Port 1... Key West

The first port on our Magic cruise vacation was Key West. We chose the hop on hop off tour. The tour took us to historic sites, and explained the history behind Key West which was quite interesting. In 1860 wrecking made Key West the largest and richest city in Florida and the wealthiest town per capita in the U.S. A number of the inhabitants worked salvaging shipwrecks from nearby Florida reefs. Numerous vessels would patrol along the Florida Reef looking for wrecks. The wreckers would normally anchor at night in protected anchorages
along the Keys, and then sail out in the morning to see if any ships had wrecked during the night. As a result, a ship that ran on the reef during the night might attract a dozen wreckers by the afternoon of the next day. The first wrecking captain to reach a stranded ship became the wreck master, determining how many wreckers he needed to help salvage the ship, and directing the operation. Wreckers had an obligation to save passengers and crew of the wrecked ship which differentiated the "salvaging" from outright piracy. The wreck master would then salvage as much of the cargo as possible, then take it back to Key West to be auctioned. Key West is a quaint
town. The streets are lined with pastel little houses trimmed in gingerbread designs, one of my all time architectural favorites of that time period. We toured the Shipwreck museum. Then we toured the aquarium where we got to pet and feed the stingrays. There would be pictures of this event, but all you can see in the pictures is us
leaning over into the pool with our larger than life butts sticking up in the air. They are not attractive pictures. After the feeding and petting of the stingrays, I got to hold a baby alligator. He seemed quite comfortable perched upon my arm with his mouth taped shut. I just hope the tape thing didn't give my husband any ideas. Looking at the beautiful fish made me all the more excited for our snorkeling excursion scheduled for the next day. My friend and I browsed some shops in spite of the totally bored looks we received from our men, and I did not buy a single pair of shoes... Just a itty bitty purse. So, hubby was happy and I was a happy little seal.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Worst Things

Yes, as a matter of fact there are worst things than having a F-Birthday that ends in a zero. As bad as I dreaded it, it was as good as it could possibly be. A)I was on a cruise with the best people on earth B)The name of our ship WASN'T the Triumph C)I was surrounded not only by beautiful people, but also beautiful fish as I snorkeled the day away in paradise. When the alarm went off this morning the stark reality hit that I was home. Three meals were all I could hope
for and all three would have to be provided by myself. I had no hopes of a magical fairy coming in and cleaning my house every time I left to run out for something and last but certainly not least.... I had to face the music at work. Deep, Deep, sigh. The plan was maybe since I wasn't here, they would think I had enough celebration and they would ignore the dreaded F-Thing, 
and as I drove into the parking lot everything looked mild, calm, no flapping banners waving in the wind announcing my oldness. I slipped my key into the door and opened it ever so slightly. No black balloons, just twirly little F-word signs hanging above my desk. On my keyboard lay a caution cone also with the F-word and something about senior moments. A co-worker knowing my love of all thing Dr. Seuss had gotten me a little nic-knack for my desk and a Dr. Seuss card. The conference room directly behind my office was tastefully 
decorated (obviously by someone who had suffered the same F-birthday themselves)with white zebra print balloons and a festive F-word centerpiece. No cake defiled by black icing graced the table, just beautifully decorated cupcakes that were almost (almost not quite) too good to eat. Our Monday meeting was sweet, no over the hill jokes and some super cute cards. It really was the sweetest birthday I've ever had and one I will look back on with fond memories.... As long as my memory holds. So yes, there certainly are worse things
The proper way to ice an "F-Birthday" cupcake
 than having a F-Birthday that ends in a zero.

Cool card that also played the Queen's song

The crown is always a perfect accessory for any birthday

Mystery Flowers? Nope, I'm guessing one of my bosses who likes to do sweet things for the girls in the office is responsible for belated birthday/Valentine's flowers. All the girls got one, cause he's just a sweet guy.