Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Cruise - Carnival Ecstasy

It’s the last full day of the cruise at about 1:20. I decided to take a break in my room and have a glass of wine. I’ve had a chance to reflect over my vacation so far and have been craving my blog. Since, I’m in the mood, I’m writing my thoughts now and will upload them later.

In an attempt to keep the flow of my story interesting, I’ve decided to break it up into a few segments. One will be about the cruise, one will be about my travel companion and the other, about The Cowboy.

There are many different types of cruises out there to select from. We selected the Carnival Cruise. My criterion for going with this particular line was that it sails out of Galveston. I was adamant about not having to take a plane to catch a cruise. I wanted to drive to the boat, drop our bags and begin playing.

We had a 4 night, 5 night and 7 night cruise to select from during our preferred date range. We both felt that 4 nights was too short and were afraid that 7 might feel too long.

The itenerary of our boat, The Ecstasy, was as follows: We sailed out of Galveston at 4 pm Monday, 6/23. The following day we spent a full day at sea. The next morning we docked in Progresso Yucatan for about 7 hours, then headed towards Cozumel. We docked at Cozumel at 8 in the morning, and stayed for 7 hours. Then we began our journey back to Galveston, which is where we are now. We should be docking by about 8 a.m.

We picked the cheapest cabin which was to be in the inerior of the boat, no windows and about the size of a closet. The first thing we discover when we arrive is that they upgraded us to an exterior room with a port hole. Our room is about the size of a small hotel room and we are ECSTATIC about how much space we have. We never planned on spending much time in our room but knowing that if we needed a reprieve we could do so without feeling cramped.

Every night, we had a new "towel" animal on our bed. We're not sure exactly what this is but it looks like he's expecting some action. :). Other animals included an elephant, seal and monkey.

I took a cruise about 20 years with my parents with Carnival on The Mardi Gras. At some point that boat was retired and turned into a casino boat in Galveston. I don’t know if she is still in operation or not. Anyway, Carnival has improved its cruises by tenfold.

Our ship had a lot going on. Game shows, a casino, several bars and dance clubs, a fabulous spa and gym. The swimming pool was nice and of course there several outside decks with a ton of deck chairs. Our first concern was with the number of kids on the boat, over 800. Neither of us wanted to be bothered with them. Thankfully, we found adult only decks. As well the cruise had what’s called Camp Carnival, designed to free the parents up and sort of herd the children as far away from adults as possible. I think that they did a really good job.

Nightly, they had really cool vegas style shows for the passengers to view before dinner. They also had a comedian on board that was pretty good. The dinner menu was really good. We got our lobster fix the second night. I didn’t have any steak on the ship. It wasn’t quality meat.

During our first day at sea, I laid out on one of the decks and began enjoying the fancy drinks with umbrellas in them. I absolutely loved lying out, drinking the fancy drinks and listening to familiar tunes played calypso style. Lunch on deck was the same every day: hamburgers, hot dogs, coleslaw and potato salad. I think they served something different in the dining room but I never ventured. I really liked having hamburgers. When we got to Progresso, I stayed on the boat. A lot of people did. It was really nice having so few people to share the deck with but I missed the calypso music.

The day after Progresso we arrived in Cozumel. I was up early enough to sit out on the deck and watch our boat arrive to the deck. This was a day I was really looking forward to. I had booked an excursion on a speed boat that was supposed to take us to a private Island where we could eat, drink, snorkel, and lay out in the sun all day.

We got there at 8 am. And then, at 10, dark storm clouds rolled in and stayed. We were still able to take the speed boat to our destination but for some odd reason the temperature dropped tremendously and it rained most of the time. The food was served under cover but I was so cold, wet from the ride over and just miserable. All I could think of was a warm shower and dry clothing.

So, here we are today, the last full day at sea and it’s still overcast. I’m ok with that because I’m really tired and want to nap a little. I’d feel guilty if it were sunny and bright outside.

When we docked this morning both Row and I felt very sad. We both had a really good time and sort of found our groove on the ship. We weren't ready for it to end. The boat rocked quite a bit while we were on it and I still feel like I'm rocking even though I know I'm on land. I feel like Captain Jack of Pirates.

Both of us are beginning to look up potential cruises to take in the near future. We'll see.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bon Voyage

I'll post when I return.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm melting, I'm melting - and other fun stuff

Ok, as I mentioned, I've been picking up the pace this week to get off as much fat as I can. I can feel it by the way my clothes fit.

This week, I'm low carb and I do mean low carb. I think I've been really good about it and have had no more than 50 grams over the last 4 days. And I've been exercising to increase the burn rate. I've been eating like a pig because I have to say I'm hungry all the time. I want sugar so badly I can hardly stand it.

I am bringing my laptop which I didn't want to do. I have a listing that could potentially move quickly and the agent that is handling it is green. If a conract gets written up, I'll have to review it. Thankfully, phone calls are very expensive to make and recieve on the boat via cell phone. So, I won't be using the phone but I can use the texting and e-mailing on my blackberry. Though it will be limited to prevent the possibility of an unwanted call coming in whilst checking for other things.

I'm very agitated. I don't know if its because I'm hungry. Or maybe because of all the stuff I'm worried about happening while I'm away. I'm also frustrated by how long it's taking for my website to be complete. I've asked for a July 3 deadline. I don't know if I'll get it or not.

I really do want to go on this trip and not think about crap at all. I hope I succeed in getting as far away from it as possible.

And for your entertainment, here is a little something from one of my favorie entertainers, Dame Edna. I lover her!!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Picking up the pace

Throughout most of last week and the week before I've managed to do about 30 minutes of workout a day. And I've been watching my food intake. I don't like scales, so I don't use them. I know that certain exercises build muscle and that it weighs more than fat which in turns affects the reading one gets from a scale. Scales just discourage me so I don't keep them in my home.

I just go by the way I feel and how my clothes fit me. That tells me if I'm making progress. Which, I believe I am indeed doing. It's amazing what core exercises do for you.

So, today, I walked the loop at Memorial Park. That's an hour workout. If I can bump my workout to an hour for the remainder of this week, I think I'll be in the shape I want to be for this trip. I won't have a bikini body but I'll be satisfied with what I do have.

It's tough being petite because every pound shows.

I've been pretty consistent about the water intake. I consume a lot; on average close to 64 oz. a day give or take. This week, I'm going to nibble or graze as my sister calls it. I want to get into that habit anyway but it's not so easy to do. I struggle finding good grazing food.

I'm really looking forward to the trip and I hope to continue with the exercising beyond it. I think I will. If I continue to set goals for myself I'll keep telling myself I want to look great each time I reach a goal. So, that will motivate me to continue to work out and eat healthy between milestones.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pinstripes pitching to THE Pinstripes

This weekend the Yankees are playing the Astros in our Minute Maid Park for the first time since the stadium opened in 2001. It was a celebrated occasion.

Interestingly, the Yankees did not wear their famous pinstripes but instead wore their grey uniforms and the Astros wore their pinstripes. I thought that was rather interesting.

It seems that our stadium had as many Yankee fans as it did Astros fans so there was simultaneous cheering and booing throughout the game. Whenever a chant for the Astros would begin, the Yankee fans would try to out-chant us. It reminded me of the scene in Casa Blanca when the German and French were singing their relative anthems, each trying to rise above the other.

We lost but we didn't just give it to them. They won by one point; Jeter got lucky. :)

All in all it was a very good game and I enjoyed the edge that the Yankee fans brought. We are generally a very polite audience and rarely boo. Up to this point, we only booed Pujols (one of my favorite players) but we actually booed both Jeter and Rodriguez. And the Yankees booed us a lot.

I enjoyed the spice. And I really enjoyed how enthusiastic we were at welcoming the Yankees and their fans to our stadium.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Giant Pool of Money

I don't know if you have ever heard of This American Life but they recently did an episode titled "Giant Pool of Money". This episode, an hour long, does a dynamic job at helping the average consumer to understand how Bear Stearns found themselves in the position of having to liquidate themselves.

Pour yourself a glass of wine, kick back, and listen.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Update on stuff, again

Ok, so here's a quick update on the goings on of my life.

Timmy asked how the deal ended. The deal ended successfully. The documents that were provided on Saturday sealed the deal. The guy that got the condo got a really sweet deal. You don't come across properties that are about to go into foreclosure that are in move-in condition.

Things are coming along nicely on the marketing front. My website is slowly coming along; I'll be so happy when it is complete.

I'm hosting a celebration of "friends, clients and associates" at Dharma Cafe next month for my business. Since I already had a launch party under my old image, I didn't want to call this a launch party. I thought of calling it a re-launch event except that wouldn't make sense to my agents' invitees.

I hope to have at least 50 people in attendance. We'll see. Invitations go out in a week or so. I have to start setting up new goals for myself. I'm back sliding.

Here's another video from the mime I like so much. His name is David Armand but his stage name if Johann Lipowitz. I really like the song on this one, too.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The best money ever spent!

I have maids cleaning my home today.

It's the best feeling in the world to have someone come into your home and clean it for you!


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Now for your daily entertainment

Many of you have probably already seen a shorter version of the video below, sent to me by my brother. The artist is David Armand and he is doing a mime performance to the song "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia. I really like this performance. Enjoy.

What now?

A lot of people forget many of the events during Bill Clinton's presidency. Something significant for me is that during his second term I really began to like him and accept him. Then, Kenneth Starr, lacking anything to stick on the President settled for a "sex" scandal. Most of you remember that.

But what many of you may not remember are some of the subtle details that surfaced. At first, like many Americans, I thought it was none of my business. But, Clinton stepped up to the plate and made his defense; valiantly he declared he didn't have sex with that woman. And then he had the trial where he asked the famous question, "what is 'is'".

Then America was angry because he lied to us.

But when this happened, as angry as we were, it wasn't up to us really to forgive him. It wasn't really our place to forgive. We waited for Hillary to let us know if it was ok to forgive her husband and move on.

N.O.W. had recanted all of their support for the President and the fallout from the rest of the U.S. was pretty strong. In hindsight, I don't think America was that aghast he had an affair, I think they were aghast at how irreverent he was towards his Presidency based on the testimony of Monica Lewinsky. I know for myself, he pretty much rendered himself ineffective because this affair gave too many of his enemies power over him. It was so much easier to manipulate him while the affair was not made public.

I'm wandering off point.

After the scandal was revealed and everyone was distancing themselves from him, America waited to see what Hillary would do. I can imagine the phone calls she received. I'm sure one of them was from the head of the DNC. I would guess that the conversation went something like this:

Hillary: I have been publicly humiliated and you want me to publicly stand beside him and give America permission to forgive him? Why should I?

DNC: stuttering...making weak pleading statements about the good of the party and of everything else.

Hillary: You want me to fix this? Then you owe me; I want to run for President and I want your support. In exchange, I'll get N.O.W. to reinstate their support and I'll give America permission to forgive him.

And so, that, in my opinion, is the deal, in very simplet terms, that Hillary made with the DNC back in 1999 to help them recover from Clinton's philandering.

Ok, so fast forward to today. DNC owes her. No doubt about it. And she is one smart woman and a power house in the Party. I do not believe that she should bow out of this race without some sort of plan. That "why should I?" conversation is probably taking place again. I'm really very interested in the outcome.

She stepped up and delivered to the DNC what they requested back in 1999, now they have something they need to deliver to her in return. What's it going to be?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Cave toy

I love my little home and I love spending time in it. My friends call it "the cave" because I lock myself in when I need a reprieve from everyone. Ro will be out with friends and they'll inquire as to my whereabouts and she'll say, "she's locked in her cave watching movies" or something like that.

So anyway, she and I are going on a cruise this month and I'm very excited about it. One of the things I want to do is be in shape. I don't have to be a skinny bitch, it wouldn't hurt, but I want to feel good about my health. And lately, I haven't been feeling so good about it. I try to address the weight gain by addressing onlly the food intake but I really need to be exercising, too.

I'm reluctant to join a gym because I'm concerned I'll spend all that money and not use it.

Today, I purchased a new toy. It is a device for my bike so that it will remain stationary while I ride it. I've seen them before and I've been wanting one. So now, my cave offers a place for me to work out.
As some of you may remember, I broke the cable piece off of my t.v. and I don't have a DVR or any other device hooked up through the other electronic orifices available on my t.v. So, I need entertainment while I ride my bike and I've already seen all of my DVDs.

I set up a little place on one of my bench tables for my laptop so that I can run CNN videos while I work out. I click on one video and they continue to run in sequence so I can catch up on the day's events while I exercise on my bike. I have PC speakers set up there and everything. I can even play my i-pod through the speakers if I were so inclined.

I'm hoping I can get into the routine of riding this bike and exercising. I can do it any time if I'm so inclined.

I really think I should get my t.v. going again, though, so that I can cycle and watch Judge Judy. It's been a while since I've watched her show.