Thursday, December 23, 2010

Adios Mexico. Hello home!

Ok.  I tried to post this last night but Explorer was acting crazy & kept locking up.

Well, this was the last day of the cruise.  I woke up early this morning & went out on the balcony to watch the sun come up.  This was an everyday occurrence on the other two cruises but for some reason this time I slept late almost every morning.  Anyway as I was sitting there watching the sky turn from black to gray to orange & then blue, I spotted something in the water.  At first I thought it was just the shadows from the swells but then something jumped out of the water!  I watched for a minute thinking that it was maybe a flying fish but then 3, 4, 5 more started jumping & I dawned on me that I was watching dolphins at play in the swells!!  They seemed so small but I realized that it was because the ship is so big and we are so far up. I tried to get the camera & take a picture but by the time I got it, they were gone.  Later this morning I spotted one more for just a brief second and then it too was gone.  I may not have gotten a picture but I will never forget watching the dolphins play in the ocean swells! 

We haven’t gotten out much today.  I really have enjoyed just sitting out on the balcony and listening to the waves hit the ship.  We went up on deck for a while but it was so windy and the wind was very cool.  I finally gave up & we came back to the room.  Our deck was a lot better.  The wind was blocked so I stayed out there for a long time.  I only came in when the “Frenchies” in the cabin next door came out and broke the spell.  They are very loud and apparently have no idea that there are other people on the ship!  Anyway, I just came in and sat on the couch and watched the ocean from inside where I couldn’t hear them yell to each other.

All in all, it has been a very relaxing five days and I am so glad that we came.  Next time though, we will pick a time when the kids are in school.  I will never understand how parents can just turn their kids loose on a ship!  Sitting here now waiting to go to dinner, it sounds like a herd of elephants in the hall.

We just got back from dinner.  Warm Chocolate Melting Cake!  It's a good thing I can't get that everyday.  I would have to buy all new clothes about once a month!  The 8th grader just found out tonight that I was a teacher.  I had to show him how to hold a coffee cup.  He said "I just learned something from a teacher, I'm on vacation, I'm not supposed to be learning anything."  I told him that I was on vacation too & not supposed to be teaching anything but that's what we do best.  He learns & I teach.  He was a pretty good kid after all & his grandmother wasn't too bad after she stopped trying to impress everybody with how many times she has been on a cruise!

Running out of time & NOT going to buy anymore so the next time you hear from me, we will be in Mobile

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mayans & Carlos & Charlie's

I was too tired last night to write.  We had a great day Monday at the ruins!  I have been teaching this stuff for several years now but this was the first time I actually had seen the things I have been teaching about.  I know to most of you it’s just a bunch of tumbled down buildings and a lot of rocks, but to me it was awe inspiring!  Our tour guide was a native Mayan so it was even better.  He told us many things I didn’t know, like true Mayans all have the same birthmark on their lower back (just above the butt crack) and that the Mayans are believed to be one of the lost tribes of Israel.  We looked at everything.  I even climbed the pyramid all the way to the top!  I got my Mayan birth certificate on banyan tree bark inside a pouch made of local hemp.  I could have stayed there exploring all day.  He took us to a cenote which is a sinkhole.  It is 44 meters deep and is where the ancient Mayans got their drinking water.  The water is so clear!  He told us about when they discovered these particular ruins they found bowls & other vessels at the bottom of the cenote, along with 15 skeletons!  It seems that the unfortunate ones went down to get water, stumbled & fell into the cenote & drowned. 

We left the ruins & went to the beach.  The breeze felt good, but the water was so cold that only a few brave souls dared to go further than ankle deep!  I went in up to my knees so Terry could take my picture & when I came out my legs were numb from the cold!

Today we went shopping in Cozumel.  We docked at a different place than we have before so were totally lost at first.  We did find some good bargains and had lunch at Carlos & Charlie’s.  I love that place.   The people are so crazy!  The balloon guy had a tip can that read on one side “my 15 wives & 82 children would appreciate a nice tip” & on the other side “I accept tips or sex”.   I did not participate in the conga line this time around.  Now we are sitting in our room so that I can type this up & get it loaded.  They are having a special ½ price deal on internet only from 7 to 9 so I am trying to take advantage of it. 

Tomorrow is our last “Fun Day at Sea”.  Thursday morning we will be back in Mobile and back to the real world. It has been fun and relaxing but I think I will be ready to get home on Thursday.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cruise Day 2

Sorry this was supposed to be posted yesterday!
Today was a “Fun Day at Sea”.   We didn’t do much today.  Mostly we wandered around to ship finding our way to & from everything!  We went to hear the speech on shopping.  We will be in Progresso tomorrow.  We were cautioned not to buy anything there.  This tourist thing is still pretty new to the people there & they haven’t figured out that they need Carnival’s recommendation to keep the tourists coming back.  It seems they are not above putting plastic in a setting & selling it as the real thing.  One couple bought something for 100 pesos (about $40 American) they were charged $100 American on their credit card!   They have also been caught stamping fake silver as real. 

Tonight was Formal night in the dining.  Everybody at our table showed up tonight.  Everybody except us is from Pensacola.  The Swans are nice.  She works at a credit union & he is retired from the Air Force & now works as a Civil Engineer.  The other family (of 6) is another story.  Grandmother is so busy trying to impress everybody with how many cruises they have been on and where they have been that they don’t have time to talk about anything else.  They have their 8th grade grandson with them (I just can’t get away from 8th graders!)  He is so funny.  He was a real pain the first night but was a lot more talkative tonight.  He told me he liked my outfit because it was “sparkly”. 

We made the rounds of most of the photographers after dinner.  That is always fun.  Now if just a few of the pictures turn out half way decent!

Big day tomorrow.  I finally get to tour the Mayan ruins.  Internet is running slow so I don’t know if I will be able to post pictures just yet.  I will keep trying ...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cruising as a VIP

Just got into our suite.  This VIP stuff is GREAT!  We left the hotel at 10:30 this morning and by 11:30 we were sipping the drink of the day and eating lunch.  When they say VIP they really mean it.  We were whisked off to a private office as soon as we stepped off the shuttle and from there it was the royal treatment all the way!  I think we are spoiled already & we haven’t even left the port !

Our room is nice but not any bigger than the balcony room on the Triumph.  It is very nice though & the whirlpool tub will be a plus.  We saw on the web page that we could get internet use for $5.00 a day, but it turns out that it is really $24 an hour!  I won't be posting as often as I thought at those prices!

We are ready for some fun and relaxation though... not much to post yet... Will post pictures tomorrow. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cruising & Christmas

It's finally here!  We leave tomorrow after school for Mobile then 5 day on the "high seas".  I know we have been planning this for a long time, but now that it's here, I keep thinking of things I forgot to do.  I hope I remember to pack everything.  I was just going over the list in my head.  The phone charger, laptop charger, camera charger...Oops!  I forgot to buy toothpaste!  hope I have enough! 

As much as I am looking forward to this trip, I am looking forward to Vivienne's first Christmas even more.  I can't wait to see her ripping paper and playing in the boxes!  I know she is too young to remember this Christmas, but we will remember it for her.  I am already looking forward to next Christmas when Vivienne will be old enough to really enjoy Christmas, but we will have a new baby to buy for too.  Baby Trammell is due in June so will be 6 months old next Christmas.  That is just old enough to sit alone and rip paper!  I'm not sure if I want this baby to be a boy or a girl.  I think it would be really nice to have another girl that will be close to Vivienne's age.  They will grow up together so it would be great if this one was a girl so they could be best friends.  Then I think, it would be really nice to have another boy in the family.... The truth is I really don't care, as long as he/she is healthy & happy!

I have to go read over my list again & make sure we are ready to get out of here tomorrow.  There are so many details to remember... Thanks to Malinda for taking care of the cats, bringing in the mail, & picking up Jenna at the kennel.  That's a few things I can mark off my list & not have to be worried about.

The next time you here from me will be from somewhere in the Caribbean!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know it is the day after Thanksgiving but my family is all coming today.  It was the only time everybody could be here except for Robyn.  We knew she & Andrew were not going to be able to come this year.  Robyn has to work (it is Black Friday). 
I have been thinking about all I have to be thankful for.  It is easy to focus on all the things you don't have or have lost, but there is so much I have to thank God for.  I have a loving family (we don't always get along, but we always love each other), a wonderful husband who puts up with me when I tell him that he's "doing it wrong".  I have four great kids, four great "kids-in-law", and three (& 1/2) terrific grandkids.  I have a roof over my head, food on my table, a job that I love (most of the time), and a God that loves me no matter what!

Speaking of the roof over my head, our new roof is almost finished and the front porch will be finished in about two weeks.  I can't wait to hang Mama's porch swing up and sit there to drink a cup of coffee in the morning while I watch the sun come up.  I have waited for this porch for 25 years.  God does answer all prayers.  Sometimes the answer is "yes", sometimes "no", & sometimes the answer is "not yet".  Twenty-five years is a long time to wait, but I figure He was just trying to teach me patience.(not my strong suite!)

Like I said, everybody is coming to my house for Thanksgiving today.  We used to eat Sunday dinner at Mama's every Sunday, but after she died, we couldn't keep it up.  Now we get together three times a year.  Memorial Day is at Linda's house, Fourth of July at Martha's and Thanksgiving here.  If everybody comes we should have 39 people here later today!  The turkey and ham are in the oven, cheese balls are made, cornbread is made for the dressing, I'm also making mama's banana pudding.  Everybody is bringing something so we should have lots of food!

I am the only one awake right now and am enjoying the quiet, but in a few hours this house will be filled with the people I love.  We are a large and LOUD bunch but I am so thankful for them.  I can hardly wait!

Time to check the turkey!  I LOVE my life!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ramblings of a Scattered Mind!

Well, for somebody who is NEVER sick, I have missed more days of school in the last month than in the last nine years!  It seems I can't get my blood pressure under control because I can't find a med that doesn't make me cough like I'm going to cough up a lung!  Now I have Bronchitis & Laryngitis!  I can't talk AT ALL.  Dr ordered total "vocal rest" so it can all heal.  I couldn't go to school Friday and I hate missing school!  I am keeping the kids up to where they need to be, but it's hard going back after being out because it takes three days to undo the damage of one day with a sub!  I am going to go tomorrow if I have to use sign language!  I still can't speak above a whisper.  At times I think it gets a little better but when I try to talk, it makes it worse again.  I'm going to TRY not to talk at all today & see if that helps it heal faster.  I still have to have my formal evaluation and it has to be done before Thanksgiving.  I'm not really sure what difference it is going to make.  The same idiot that did it before is going to do it again, but hopefully by now he has learned the difference between an overhead transparency and a computer PowerPoint presentation.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we were supposed to get a new roof and a front porch before Thanksgiving, but it is beginning to look like that isn't going to happen.....again.  I have been trying to get a porch built on this house since we moved into it, but every time we get the money, something comes up.  Now we have the money but can't get our contractor to get back to us with an estimate.  I said several years ago that I was determined to have a front porch on this house before I died.  One of the things that ran through my mind while I was having a heart attack last year was that I was going to die without getting my porch after all.  It may sound strange for that be something you think about when you think you may be dying, but having that porch has been a dream of mine for almost 25 years.  It makes me sad to think that I may not get it this time either and no one seems to understand how important it is to me.

On a happier note... We went by & spent some time with Malinda and Vivienne Friday.  Vivienne is growing up so fast!  I can't wait until she is old enough to spend the night with us.  I love it when the boys come for a week in the summer, but they are getting older now and I'm afraid that the days when they look forward to giving up a week of their summer to come here are soon going to be gone. Jonathan will be 15 in a few weeks and Noah just turned 12.  The time has gone by so fast!  I hope Vivienne will have cousins close to her age.  I remember when I was a kid how much fun we had when Auntie & Uncle Shoffer would come home on leave.  All the cousins would get together at Ma's house and ramble all over the place.  We were so lucky to have that.  I want my grandchildren to have the kind of memories I have of spending time with cousins who were also my friends and a grandmother who allowed us to be silly.  The things we got into!!!  But, that's another story for another day!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tired Body Healthy Heart

Okay, so what I didn't say about our trip was that I noticed an increase in "episodes" with my heart while in the mountains.  I didn't tell anybody because I knew if I did, they wouldn't let me do what I wanted to do.  I had my one year checkup with my heart doctor on Tuesday.  I did tell him about the symptoms I had been having soooo.  Friday morning I went into the hospital for a heart catherization.  My heart is fine.  The stents are holding well & there is only one small place where there is a tiny bit of plaque buildup.  Not even enough to to do anything about.  Now I just have this hole in my leg where he went throught the main artery in my groin to get to my heart.  The worst part is the soreness and the bruising on my leg from a hematoma. 

I got to the hospital at straight up 7:00 a.m. like I was told.  They rushed me through admissions, lab work and chest xray.  Then up to the Cath Lab to wait.  I was the second one there so by 9:00 I was wheeled into surgery.  The procedure was total about 45 minutes.  By 10:30 I was back in my room waiting for the doctor to come in and release me.  He came in about 3:30, but I didn't really care that it took so long because I slept most of the time.  After he came and left though, I was ready to go home.  We waited and waited.  Finally about 6:15 an orderly came in with a wheelchair to get me.  He apologized for taking so long but he couldn't find the room!  I was in 146.  In the hospital side the rooms go to 145 so he didn't know where the room was.  He asked a couple of people and nobody else seemed to know either!  Finally somebody said they thought that must be in the Cath Lab.  He called it "a blonde moment", I called it incompetent!!!  We got home a little after 7:00 p.m. more than 12 hours after I had left.  I sincerely hope I don't have to do that again but I guess it was worth it to know that my heart is strong and healthy.

Now I just have to get over this soreness so I can start walking and drop some of this weight.  I have got to get in good shape before the cruise.  We leave in 47 days!  There is so much to do and we are running out of time!  I can really start planning excursions now that I know I'm healthy enough to do what I want to do.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My trip through history and other exciting adventures

We went to visit Robyn & Andrew over a long weekend.  We left after school last Friday & drove to Nashville.  After a few hours sleep & a not so good Contential breakfast with coffee that tasted a lot like hot water, we drove on to Radford.  We had not made reservations but knew that rooms were available for Sunday & Monday nights.  There were no rooms within 100 miles except a Super 8 for $175 a night!  No way was I going to pay that for a super 8!  The reason....Virginia Tech (about 15 miles away)  had a home game this weekend.  Just our luck!  The one weekend we could actually go, VA Tech had to have a home game!  We stopped at the hotel to make reservations for Sun & Mon with plans to stay with Robyn & Andrew Sat night.  They had a last minute cancellation so we checked in & stayed all three nights.  (I'm sure Robyn & Andrew were glad since they were going to give up their room to us.)

Sunday, Robyn & I went shopping while Terry & Andrew took a walking tour of the Radford University campus then settled in to watch football.  We had a very successful shopping trip & a very nice visit.  I really enjoy spending time with Robyn.  Not just because she is my baby girl, but because I like her!  I would like her even if she wasn't my daughter.  We don't always agree, but we do respect each other's opinions and can just agree to disagree.  Mostly we disagree on politics.  She is ultra liberal and I am moderately conservative, but I love her even when she's wrong! lol

Monday was a full day.  Poor Terry!  He is not as "into" all of this as I am, but he was very patient and went along willingly.  We first went to the Wilderness Road Regional Museum.  In case you don't know, the Wilderness Road was one of the first public roads in the U.S. Davey Crocket carved it out (over 100 miles) from Tennessee through North Carolina and Virginia, to Kentucky. The museum is on the Wilderness Road, part of the first housing development in the country.  Cabins built here had to conform to certain guidelines as to size, etc.and there are several original buildings on this road. This is in a very small town.  We got there a little after 9:30 only to find out that the museum didn't open until 10:30!  We walked around the outside & took pictures of the original log cabins and farm equipment.  As I said, this is a VERY small town.  We were there about 15 or 20 minutes and the curator showed up.  I could just imagine the phone lines singing!  "You had better get down there, there are PEOPLE there".  He was so helpful & opened up early for us.  There are usually two people on duty but one had a dentist appointment so he was alone and couldn't leave the front office.  He turned on the lights all over the old house & told us to just look around all we wanted.  Usually one person escorts the visitors but we had the run of the house on our own! I took pictures of everything.  Tricorner hats, spinning wheels, weaving looms, beautiful old dresses! 

We left the museum & headed to the Natural Bridge.  This was awesome!  Again, I took lots of pictures, but no picture could ever do it justice!  We toured the wax museum, the toy museum, then ate lunch a the little cafe on the grounds.  The Narural Bridge is only a short walk from the cafe, but the entire trail is ove a mile long.  We hiked the entire thing.  It was beautiful.  The leaves were just beginning to turn and the weather was great.  We saw eagles soaring overhead as we walked up the trail to the replicated Indian village.  It was complete with work stations for tanning hides, a community cooking area, and a typical round house.  The trail ended at a waterfall.  It was all wonderfully beautiful, but the bridge itself is the highlight of the hike.  The thought that you are standing on the same spot that a young George Washington had stood to survey the bridge (carving his initials in the rock) and that it had later on belonged to Thomas Jefferson who first opened it up to the public, is humbling.  It truly brought a tear to my eye.  I guess that's why I love teaching history.

We (I) reluctantly left the bridge & headed to the caverns.  Only a couple of miles from the bridge, these are the deepest caverns in the eastern U.S. going 43 stories below the earth's surface. Amazing rock formations, stalagtites, staligmites, pools of water, bats, and a constant temperature of 54 degrees.  I thought I would be cold, but after the 2 mile hike up the Natural Bridge trail and back, it was quite comfortable!   We got to one point in the caverns and our tour guide asked if we were ready to "see nothing at all".  She turned out the lights and there was TOTAL darkness!  I now know exactly what it is like to be completely blind.  Luckily it only lasted less than a minute. 

We went to the apartment to say our goodbyes to Robyn & Andrew Tuesday morning. Robyn went to work, Andrew to class and we headed for our last adventure before heading home.  I wanted to take a short drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway before heading home.  Just a short drive...  I am very familiar with the Natchez Trace and there are a handful of places you can get on and off arouond Tupelo so I figured we would get on the parkway, drive for maybe a few miles, take some pictures, get off & head home.  Boy was I wrong!  First of all, we had to drive almost an hour just to get to the Parkway.  Then we started up the parkway.  It was beautiful!  Terry was very understanding  and although he really didn't care about it one way or the other, he stopped at every lookout point so I could take pictures.  Well after a while we started looking for an exit from the parkway so we could start the ten hour drive home.  Much to our dismay, the first exit was 40 miles from where we got on!  We made the best of our long drive though, and continued to stop & take pictures.  We headed for the Parkway at 9:00 A.M. and got off at 1:00 P.M.!!!  Somewhere along the drive the theme song from Gilligan's Island started going through my head..."a three hour tour, a three hour tour..."

We got home a little after midnight, very tired but I am so glad we did everything we did, including the four hour trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Words can't describe how it felt seeing history first hand.  Walking where the founders of our great country walked!  I can't wait to go back & do it again!  Well, some of it anyway!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Security vs Convenience & miscellaneous other "stuff"

Sitting here wondering what we should do about the limit on our debit card.  I know it is there for a good reason, but it is REALLY embarrassing when your debit card is denied.  You can tell the clerk a million times that it is because of a limit that you forgot about, but you know she is thinking "yeah, right, you're broke & we both know it, but I'll pretend that I believe you".  That has happened to us a couple of times.  If we increase our limit that problem would be solved, but it would leave us more vulnerable to someone hacking our account.  Hence the dilemma. How much are we willing to risk for the convenience of being able to walk into a store & drop $1,000.00 without a problem?  On the other hand, how many times would we actually DO that?!  Oh well, I will ponder that for a while before I make a decision.

I had my "formal evaluation" on Wednesday.  Everything went well.... or so I thought!  I got my paperwork back on Friday & now I'm thinking that my evaluator and I were in two different classes! 

1.  He said that I didn't have my objectives posted... I did. 
2.  He said I gave them a "word hunt"... It's called using context clues to identify vocabulary words. 
3.  He said that I used an "overhead"...  it was a powerpoint presentation. 
4.  He said that I didn't assign specific duties to each member of my small groups... they had been in these groups for three days and already knew what they were supposed to do.
5.  He didn't understand what the purpose of the lesson was.... see #1

I will try to explain all of this to him on Monday, but whether I will be able to change his mind or not.... who knows!  I just think it is a real shame that what will go into my file will be written by somebody who doesn't know the difference between an overhead projector and a computer!

We made another payment on our cruise this morning after a few glitches (see first paragraph).  Will make another payment tomorrow and the final payment on Tuesday.  Everytime I log into Carnival Cruise Lines web site it gives me a count down....  We cruise in 68 days!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hotty Toddy

We just got back from the game.  They still are having problems with the 4th quarter but a win is a win & we'll take it!  Hung out in the Grove with  family & friends.  We haven't done that in a long time.  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the atmosphere... & the smell of barbecue, Jim Beam & perfume/cologne all mixed together is the best fragrance on earth.  I "dressed up" this time.  I usually wear jeans & tennis shoes but Robyn convinced me that I should wear something "Grove worthy".  I'm glad I did.  I may do it again!  Thanks Robyn.

Every time we get the suitcases out Jenna goes nuts!  She loves to ride & she associates suitcases with her getting to go in the car.  Every time we leave, she gets boarded so it makes sense I guess.  Today when Terry got out all the stuff to take to the Grove, she got all excited,  I guess to a nearly blind 13-14 year old Cocker Spaniel a cooler looks like a suitcase!  Anyway, when we opened the door to leave she shot out the door like a bullet!  I'm yelling for her to come back & Terry says, "you know she can't hear a word you're saying right?"  It was true.  She didn't hear me.  It didn't matter though because the only place she was going was to the car.  Terry pretended like he was going to open the door & when she got ready to jump in, he picked her up & took her in the house.  I kind of felt sorry for her.  She just wanted to go for a ride & it seemed a little bit cruel to trick her like that.  I may take her for a ride tomorrow just to make up  to her for tricking her today.

Only 76 days until we cruise!  The time is going by FAST!  I am ready to pack.  As soon as the weather gets cool enough that I don't need my summer clothes anymore I AM going to pack! I will just have to hide it from Jenna.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Trying my hand

I am starting this blog to keep everybody updated on the cruise we are taking in December.  Hopefully I can figure out how to upload our pictures so I can post them as we go.

We are beginning to get excited.  89 days until we leave.  It's only a 5 day cruise, but we are planning to tour the Mayan ruins this time.  I am very excited about that!  We found out though that we are NOT ready for that much walking so we are going to start "training" every day when I get home from school.  I've done this before but it has been a very long time since I was walking 3 & 4 miles a day.  Terry thought he was in better shape until he had to hike from the jail to the stadium Saturday!  I guess in a way it was better for me..... I KNEW I was out of shape!!!

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, I'm going to "borrow" it.....

Life is hard, but God never promised us it would be easy.  He just promised us a happy ending.