Pictures Of My Tropical Vacation That Was Not Tropical At All

I wrote nearly a million words about my trip and my guess is that everyone had a hard time wading through all that.  To even it out, I thought this post could just be pictures of stuff that amused me last week.  Maybe look a picture here and then go read a paragraph.  It’s hard to condense a week of my life into 1000 words.  I’m so much bigger than that!  Happy looking!    

Might I have a bite of your lunch?

I don't even know what this means . . .

 

I’m Bruno. I’m badass. I weigh seven pounds. Don’t mess with me.

People in California are weird. No, thank you.

 

Hello ladies <eyebrow waggle>. Would you like to come nap with me? We could knead beautiful biscuits together.

Remember when I dropped that electric sander on my toe? That black cat covers that black bruise. Yay! Happy Halloween!

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I Went Somewhere!

It’s time I get down to business here.  It’s time to stop being lazy and using my dirty laundry as an excuse to not write. I took a trip last week which I was going to tell you about anyway, but now I’ve had some special requests for a recap and I’d like to oblige those requests as I’d like to keep my status as your favorite.   

A few months ago, Woney called me up and told me about a cruise package she found that was very reasonably priced.  She offered to pay for my cruise if I would buy my plane tickets to her house, all the way on the other side of the country in California.  Naturally, I said yes.  I can tell I am her favorite.  For months we planned our tropical vacation, getting passports in order, buying swimmy suits, and working out with trainers.

I had a lot of expectations for this trip. I had visions of us lying on a beach or a pool chair by the crystal clear water of an ocean or a pool.  I had visions of us getting up faithfully every morning and hitting the gym.  I just knew that we would make healthy dining choices at almost every meal.  Fruity drinks were in our future as was a tan that would make me look like browned butter.  I would save money beforehand and then spend it all in Mexico buying presents for my friends and family while taking in the fresh ocean air that permeates all of the city of Ensenada.  And I would meet loads of fabulous people and be their favorite.  

Let me tell you how many of my expectations came to fruition.  One.    

The temperatures never got above 60 degrees.  And we had packed tropical wear for every day of the trip.  Every morning we would faithfully put on our swimmy suit or our cute dress with our sandals and then would don a coat and take our beach towels to whatever location we decided to perch in for the day.  There we would shiver for an hour or two with a book under no less than two beach towels apiece but usually four until we got disgusted and went back to the room to take a nap.  Or to the lido deck for lunch.  Or maybe to the hot tub where we would marinate for a little while but then would make a beeline for the two to four beach towels and then another beeline for the room where we would take a nap under the warm down comforters on our respective beds.  There was a lot of napping.   

One day it got warm enough to take off our coats although it was still cloudy, and do you know that was the day I got a sunburn?  It was a mild one but trust me, Ms. Pasty White over here, to find a way to get fried on a gloomy and slightly rainy tropical vacation.  Also, it should be noted that my sunburns never turn into a tan.  Instead I peel and then get about a million more freckles.  One day those freckles will grow together and I will have a really great tan.  I will probably also have a face like a leather handbag but at least my legs won’t be clear. 


On the night we pulled into Ensenada, I felt the ship shudder and rock a lot.  I was so sleepy (because of all the napping) and lazy (also because of all the napping) that I was only vaguely aware of the smell of rotten boiled cabbage but it just kept lingering. I wondered then if Woney was having some sort of intestinal disturbance or if maybe the sewage system on the boat was in distress.  I knew that the food we had eaten on the ship wasn’t the healthiest but for it to be this bad?  After a couple of hours, I finally woke Woney up and just asked her.  “No, sweetie, that’s Mexico.”  Oh.   

Honestly, the trip was great despite the fact that it was colder than we were expecting.  We did meet loads of fabulous new people and I am certain that I am now their favorite.  I did spend lots of my money on jewelry in Mexico with Marco who afterwards offered to let me come home with him because he liked my pretty pale skin.  I’m sure you know I declined. 

As for the healthy part of our trip, before we ever set foot on that boat, before we had our first fruity drink, before we even had a single bite of a single dessert, Woney and I visited her personal trainer for an hour and three minute long session.  You know how long an hour and three minute personal training session lasts when you go visit Woney’s trainer?  All damn day.  I wanted to hate that man – I was fully prepared to loathe him with every ounce of energy I had left after the workout (because let me tell you, when you place an order for Sheryl Crow arms or a Beyonce bootie, he takes you seriously and does his very best to make you work excessively for what you’ve just asked for). BUT!  I didn’t hate him at all.  I liked the guy.  What a pretty man he was, all giant arms and chiclet teeth and positive attitude.  Also, he’s a Navy man and once I got past the tearful, “Thank you, just for so much” speech I like to give to all service people, I tried to talk him into wearing his uniform at the end of the path we had to run down because, you know, it would make us run faster and all that.  He declined.  I’m sure it’s not at all against Navy rules so I really don’t see the issue there.  His name is Tony and even though I left with arms like noodles and a butt that was shaking, I was glad to have met him.  (Mostly because I felt justified and vindicated when I downed my first fruity cocktail but also a little because I grudgingly like working out.  DO NOT tell Lynnette.  She’ll make me do extra stuff in the next class.)     

After the training session we had massages with some sort of foot thing too.  Gosh, that was nice.  Incidentally, do you know how long an hour and 15 minute long massage lasts?  About ten minutes. 

So that was pretty much our trip into the Tropical Beyond.  Yes, my expectations were lofty.  No, things did not go fully according to plan.  But yes, I had a marvelous time and I’m thankful to Woney for the boat pass, Tony for the new muscles in my butt, Bobbie for taking care of my kitties while I was gone (it should be noted here that Murphy expressed his pleasure at my return by projectile varminting on my newly shampooed carpet), and Freddie for writing in my absence.  Catalina Island is nice.  Ensenada is nice.  Cruise ships are nice. All my new friends are nice.  And now I will close with some email exchanges between me and my nice new friends: 

Jimmie:  Has anyone else had a difficult time getting back to work properly?  Holy crap, my brain is fried.

Ciera:  Honestly work wasn’t even as bad as I thought it would be.  The hardest part about coming back . . . . feeding myself.  Heather and I kept hoping food would just appear somewhere but it never did.  We even had to choose what we were going to eat all on our own.  That was hard.   

Jimmie:  Excellent point.  I had to cook stuff and it was awful. And there was no dessert.  That really blows. 

Ciera:  Yea.  And not once have I come into my room and seen a towel animal waiting there for me.  Real life is hard. 

 

 

 

Life Without Jimmie, A Guest Post By Freddie

Hi Guys!  Did anyone miss me?  Did anyone notice that I was gone?  I was, for a whole week.  Please tell me you noticed . . . In my absence, Freddie wrote a guest post for you.  It made me cry and laugh and be especially glad that I was home.  I was glad anyway (I am quite fond of my bed, you know), but coming home to good friends is always the best part. 

When the reality hit me that Jimmie was going to be gone for a whole week, I started to worry what my life was going to be like for that week.  It’s been a while since I had to go more than a couple of days without her witty rapport.  I decided to make the best of this situation and work on a guest post for Jimmie’s blog.  Here goes!

Day #1 without Jimmie – Things Jimmie Taught Me

I went to a Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk and had my cell phone and keys in hand.  As I was trying to determine whether I wanted to carry them the whole walk or put them in the car, I remembered some valuable knowledge Jimmie imparted onto me on one of our runs that we did last year: How to use your sports bra as a purse!  I quickly proceeded to drop my keys down the front of my sports bra.  Later in the walk, when I got tired of carrying my cell phone, I shoved it down the side of my bra.  Thank you, Jimmie!  We missed you on the walk!

Day #2 without Jimmie – Don’t touch my cookies!

As I was looking around to determine what I wanted to be for Halloween, I came across the following costume, appropriately (or inappropriately, depending on how well you know Jimmie) title “Don’t Touch my Cookies”:

‘Nough said!

Day #3 without Jimmie – Dammit Jimmie!

Jimmie has been teaching me recently the art of eye makeup.  I’ve always worn eye makeup in the past, but recently, I’ve been stuck in a rut.  One day, while inquiring about the particularly lovely shade of eye shadow that Jimmie was wearing, she suggested that she go with me to buy some of my very own.  We made a trip to the local Rite Aid and found the exact brand and shade that she had.  She then proceeded to persuade me to purchase a set of brushes to help apply the eye shadow.  I’ve never owned brushes before; I’ve just used the brushes that came in the eye shadow, so this was a new experience for me.  After some very careful explanation of how to apply the shadows using the brushes, we parted ways and I smiled all the way home with the delight that I, too, would soon have shimmery blue and pink eyelids!  Well, over the weekend, I purchased some eye shadows in shades of grey (yes, I may be addicted).  I’m wearing my amazing new eye shadow today, and while I would normally go by Jimmie’s desk to flaunt my newest purchase and thank her profusely for re-introducing me to the world of fun eye shades, she’s on a cruise…in the Pacific Ocean…and she will not get to enjoy being the first to compliment me on my new smokey grey eye lids.  Dammit Jimmie!

Day #4 without Jimmie – The Walk-By

Jimmie’s desk is between my desk and the front door, front stairs, bathroom, many of the important things in my work day, and my desk happens to be between Jimmie’s desk and the printer and break room, important things in her work day.  Needless to say, we pass each other’s desks several times throughout the day.  Most of the times that I walk by, I make faces, do a little dance or one of the other things that may make Jimmie smile, laugh, or even stop her work to chat for a bit.  Jimmie doesn’t need such excuses to visit my workspace.  She simply walks in and plops right down on my desk with her semi-JLo bootay and proceeds to tell me fun stories about her weekend or fun things that Tigger and Pooh have done lately or any other tales that might come up.  It’s a part of my life that I have come to expect, love, and appreciate, and while I have other coworkers who I enjoy spending time with, none of them compare to the walk-bys that Jimmie and I share.

Day #5 without Jimmie – You’re so Pretty!

Today was not a great day.  It was rainy and cold and that is not a good combination when it’s been 80 degrees outside!  Going from highs in the 80s to highs in the 50s within a few days is kind of awful.  Add a little PMS to that, and you have a recipe for an awful day.  Most days like this, Jimmie and I wear our sparkly eyeliner and tell each other how pretty we look.  I really missed that today!  No matter what’s going on in our day or how horrible someone just talked to us or treated us, those three little words make everything all better.  Jimmie, I know that you’re loving life way out in the ocean, and you’re so pretty!

Day #6 without Jimmie – Would the Social Director Please Report to the Poop Deck?

It hit me today that I haven’t heard from Felix or Kindle for a couple of days…actually, the only time I’ve seen Felix since Jimmie was gone was when I insisted that we go to lunch on Tuesday.  Jimmie just happens to be the glue that holds us all together…literally!  Jimmie talks to all of us and then tells the others what everyone else is doing.  Then, there are the times that Jimmie invites Kindle upstairs to visit and she stops by my cube or I find Felix chilling in Jimmie’s cube talking.  Regardless, without Jimmie, we don’t talk.  It’s weird.  She’s our coordinator, better yet, she’s our social director.  Things turn to shit when she’s not there.  So…would the social director please report to the poop deck immediately?  There’s a desperate need for your attention.

Day #7 without Jimmie – I Caved

I couldn’t resist any longer.  I texted Jimmie.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: Are you back yet?

Jimmie: Just got back to port.

Me: Really??  Oh, thank goodness!  I missed you so much!  Blah! Blah!  Blah! Blah! Blah!

I may have been a little excited to make contact again.  It’s amazing when you see someone every day for so long and suddenly they’re gone for a week, and it makes you realize how much of your life they were filling.  It’s no wonder I caved!

Day #8 without Jimmie – The Return of Jimmie

Jimmie came back today!  Well tonight.  I know, because Ian posted a picture of me in my Halloween costume tonight.  The costume was a ringmaster costume like this

except I had tights like these to make it a little more comical:

So, when the comment popped up from Jimmie asking what I was wearing, it was understandable.  Plus, it means that Jimmie’s back!  Woohoo!  Welcome home, Jimmie!  We missed you! 

For the record, I missed my friends awfully.  It’s possible that I was slightly teary-eyed when I got home.   And I’ll have my own recap of the trip as soon as I get my thoughts organized.  It’s hard to use your brain after having been so lazy. 

A Memory Of Madre

Madre is a special creature.  I can guarantee that Martie and I are the only ones who have one like her.  Today is her birthday and she’s young.  I wanted to send a shout out her way and share a special memory with you about her. 

Once when we were kids, not quite old enough to drive but definitely old enough to want to hang out in a mall, Madre drove us to the nearest shopping plaza.  We did our business, buying giant hoop earrings in every available neon color and the coordinating socks, slouching through the mall like pre-teens do, trying to look cool and hip and whatever.  After much time had passed, Madre was ready to go.  She was past ready actually.  And we were being recalcitrant brats, whining and still shopping and not leaving. 

You know what Madre did?  She went to the candy kiosk in the middle of the mall, bought some gummy worms and stuck one up her nose.  

Oh, holy mercy, we could not get out of there fast enough.  She’s crafty, that one.

Happy Birthday, to the woman who loves me more than anyone else in this world.  I love you, Mom. 

Giving Me The Map Is A Bad Idea

This past weekend I went to visit a college friend.  Her name is Katarina Carmen Maria Rosa del Playa Garcia Patel Suarez.  I call her Bird for short.  We plan these trips every year but only make it once every seven years which is just awful.  Anyway, it was a short-ish trip, but while I was on that trip, I remembered some pertinent information that is important and felt I needed to share with you. 

You NEVER give me the map 

A few years ago, Phranke and I were on a trip in which we rented a car. She was the driver and I was the GPS.  Unlike a real GPS who can talk to you in various sexy voices and give you proper directions, I just felt like we could guess which roads went south, follow those, and eventually end up on Highway 1, which is exactly where we needed to be.  I folded up the map and tucked it away.  Clearly that was a dumb idea and Phranke, who nearly had apoplexy, told me to get that map right back out and get us where we needed to go.  So I did except I never told her I could barely read the stupid thing and kept yelling out directions like, “Turn here!” and “Yes, this is the one!”

This trip I thought I would be all crafty and use MapQuest to get my directions.  No map for me!   I would get written instructions to get me there.  I got Bird’s address, found the directions to her house, and printed them off.  Then I shut off my computer, packed up my four bags of crap that I take to work every day and took off, leaving my map on the printer.  I got all the way to the garage before I realized it, so I went back up to the 5th floor and got the map off the printer.  At that time, I realized that only the map part printed, not the written directions.  (Plus, MapQuest sucks and rarely gets the directions right so I’m totally a smart cookie for using it so faithfully.) 

I took my fuzzy map and hit the road, remembering from seven years ago how to sort of get there.  She only lived 30 minutes from our college town and I definitely remember how to get there, so I reckoned I was alright.

It wasn’t until I was an hour past Bowling Green that she called and said, “Where are you?” and then explained gently to me that I had missed my turn 60 miles ago.  I only arrived two hours later than I had planned.  Yay! 

Kentucky is the Bourbon State

While I was lost in the middle of Kentucky, I saw the strangest thing.  Flashing red lights and glow-in-the-dark stripes ahead of me, moving rhythmically and steadily down the road.  I saw a ton of those things and then realized they were runners, running in the dark at 10:30 pm.  These people were machines.  Steady pace, no floundering, no walking, like automatons.  So of course I called Bird and asked her what the frick was going on because I had seen thousands of these people.  Literally, thousands. Turns out it was the Bourbon Relay in which participants run a 200 mile course for Bourbon.  I assume some charities were involved but the focus was primarily the alcohol.  If they would come to Nashville they would learn that they only have to run three miles for beer.  Sheesh. 

Kentucky is also a Tobacco State 

I stopped at a convenient store on my way, and that store was way out in the boonies.  Can you believe that they still sell candy cigarettes?  I was shocked!  Never mind that those were my favorite candy as a kid. Those and the wax coke bottles that you could chew on for hours.  There’s no accounting for children’s taste.

I have a love/hate relationship with 80’s music 

Every morning I would come down the stairs and pile up in the bed with Bird and watch 80s videos on VH1.  (Don’t ask me where her husband Hank was.  I have no idea.  I’m pretty sure he did not sleep the entire time I was there.  I just don’t get that.)  That music defined me and I am mortified to admit that.  Have you heard some of that crap?  Bobby Brown’s original boy band?  Red Sky at Night?  And the videos?  My word, we have improved.  Yet we were compelled to watch every single video that came on and could sing nearly every word. 

I luff my friend Bird

Part of the reason for my insisting on a visit is that a few months ago, Bird fell into a coma for three weeks.  It was medical and it was scary and we probably came closer to losing her than we know.  I won’t dwell on that, mostly because I cannot.  She’s fine now, just has to change a few things, but overall, she’s doing alright. It gives me great pleasure to report that.  The only difference I saw was that her used-to-be super curly hair is now practically stick straight and as soft as a baby’s rear end.  I love how we have not changed a single iota since college.   

While I’m on the subject, I’d like to tell my friends that if you want me to come spend the night with you, all you have to do is ask.  We don’t need to be all dramatic like Pee-tah and his appendicitis and Bird and her coma.  Seriously, I’ll come.  Just ask.

Thank you, Bird and Hank for a fantastic weekend.  Thank you Hank, for cooking us breakfast.  I’m not sure that anything like that has ever happened to me.  It was so nice. 

Love, For Me

Redeem – (verb) repurchase; to buy back, regain possession of.  Synonym: Ransom – (verb) redeem a person from captivity by paying a stipulated price, or to redeem from sin by sacrifice; free, liberate; rescue, save

 

I came to stand before Him, broken. 

“I am lonely,” I said. 

You are not alone.  I am always here.  

You can rest in Me. 

I took the shards of my life and offered it up to Him and said: 

“Here.  I made a mess of it.  I understand if you are disappointed in me.” 

Then I knelt and waited.

I love you. 

“You love the whole world.  I know.”

I love you. 

“I know.”  Yet I turned away, knowing I was part of the whole.  Not special.  Not me. 

Everything under the heavens is Mine. 

“Yes, I am under the heavens.  I know who I belong to.” 

Stand boldly before Me.  Listen for Me. 

Child, I am your Father.  I sustain you.  I give you strength.  You have power.

“I know.” 

And still, He told me: 

I created you.  I am jealous for you. 

I delight in you. I think about you all the time.

I know every hair on your head.

I know your heart.  I made it especially for you.

I am your beginning and your end.

I am your healer.

I have loved you with an everlasting love.  Nothing at all, ever, can take that love away.

I fought for you.  I died for you.  I won for you.

I’ve called you.  I’m coming for you.  Wait for Me.

I stand in the onslaught of that love, head back, arms held out wide and the love pours onto me.  I stand in the outpouring, in the whirlwind of love, of passion, of gentleness and mercy and compassion and rejoicing and again, love, and I accept it.  I love back and I am filled. I am not alone.  I am loved.

  

Zephaniah 3:17 – He rejoices over me.  He quiets me with His love.

Highly Recommend, By Jimmie

I have a lot to say, just not a lot about any one thing, so I decided to write you something for every day this week (weekends not included because A. nobody bothers to show up here on weekends, even me and B. I should be out doing other stuff to recommend to you for the weekends).  Although if you are anything like me you will blow through all of it right now and won’t pace yourself at all.  I can’t help it if you have no patience or cannot control yourself.  I give my good advice and you do with it what you will.  Speaking of advice, below is mine. 

MONDAY:  You know what you guys should do?  You should move to Nashville.  I did six years ago and it’s been great fun.  Prior to moving here, I lived in Alabama for ten years.  Despite having a college degree and an outstanding work ethic and some common sense, I lived below the poverty level for four of those years.  Took me long enough to get sick of that, but once I realized that North Alabama is a fantastic place to retire or to have children or to develop a really nasty prescription pill addiction, none of which applied to me, I decided to get the heck up outta there.  I found a great job in Nashville that paid loads more than what I made in Alabama and it had benefits.  Paid benefits!  I moved into a brand new apartment with new carpet and new paint and it was all mine.  I no longer had to worry about my neighbors growing pot in their closets or the girls next to me being arrested for prostitution.  I arrived and aside from that one gunfight at my apartment complex between some rednecks and college frat boys, I was safe!  Highly Recommend A Strategic Move!  

TUESDAY:  You know what you guys should do?  You should go on a Scavenger Hunt with Freddie and Rickkster!    I did and it was great fun.  The Scavenger Hunt involved us receiving instructions via text, running all over downtown Nashville, and competing against 1000 other people to not win hockey tickets.  Its fine, I don’t really “get” hockey anyway.  It’s a blast to watch the rabid fans go nuts when a fight starts but the fighting itself squicks me out.  I’m not a violent person.  Plus I like men with all their teeth.  Anyway, we performed Amazing Race-like stunts like rolling tires across an obstacle course, doing word puzzles and shooting a hockey puck into a tiny goal.  You know what is really helpful for that one?  Me yelling, “Rickkster, your manhood rests on this!  You cannot miss.”  He missed, but he nearly took out a window with his hockey puck, he hit it so manfully.  You know what else is really helpful for that one?  Me yelling, “Freddie, your manhood rests on this!  You cannot miss.”  Her puck flipped over twice and went a total of two inches, she hit so femininely.  I missed my hockey puck altogether which perhaps explains why I don’t really “get” hockey.  Anyway, Highly Recommend Scavenger Hunts!

Jimmie meets the A Team at the Scavenger Hunt and hopes that they do not sue her for unauthorized use of their images as she did not ask permission to share this photo. However, she did crop out any unflattering views of herself.

WEDNESDAY:   You know what else you guys should do?  You should take Phranke out to eat for her birthday!  I did and it was great fun.  She turned young and to celebrate I took her to this place called The Pfunky Griddle.  It’s a place that lets you cook your own pancakes and whatnot.  Who wouldn’t want to go to a restaurant where you cook your own food?  As opposed to cooking your own food at home?  Where you PAY for the privilege of cooking your own food AND you leave a tip for the same privilege? It’s like The Melting Pot only cheaper.  Highly Recommend The Pfunky Griddle!  (Item of note:  You don’t have to wash your own dishes.)   

Jimmie cropped Phranke out as she does not have permission to share her photos and since she cares about Phranke, she complies with her wishes. Also, cooking French Toast.

THURSDAY:  You know what else you guys should do?  You should meet Phranke over at the new Nordstrom in Green Hills.  I did and it was great fun.  You can try on shoes like these:

Is this a joke?

Jimmie wearing a tranny shoe

And purchase clothing like this:   

Fuh-uh-gly.

Maybe for a wedding dress but for jeans you should not be caught dead in? No.

It’s ridiculous.  Clearly there are people out there who have too much money and time, phenomena I have never experienced.  While I cannot highly recommend shopping at Nordstrom, I can Highly Recommend Making Fun Of People Who Shop At Nordstrom!

FRIDAY:  You know what?  I can’t do another one.  I’m so sleepy I cannot even concentrate.  I went to a play last night (Screwtape Letters – Highly Recommend) after a long run/walk yesterday morning (Six Miles – Highly Recommend) and after a dinner that was ridiculous in portion size (Monell’s – Highly Recommend) and then I couldn’t sleep last night.  I was on my floor at 2:00 am in the pigeon pose trying to stretch out my non-J Lo butt because it just hurt so badly from the run/walk and kept spasming into a cramp.  And then Roomate, who is moving out this weekend, got up eeaarrrrlllyyyyyy to do some laundry and Mini got all excited that People! Were Up! that she started barking and since I was awake already due to my crampy butt, I just got up and went to church (Jesus – Highly Recommend) and now I’m in my café writing (which I would Highly Recommend if I had the energy). 

A total aside: Mrs. White, my high school English teacher, would have given me a failing grade for all of these run-on sentences and sentence fragments had I turned this missive in as a paper.   

So that’s it, guys.  Highly Recommended Suggestions from Jimmie.  Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will have some additional Highly Recommended Suggestions as Woney and I are going on a trip and just had the following conversation about an Event:

Woney:  How would you feel about going to see Real Steel with Hugh Jackman in IMAX on Saturday? 

Jimmie:  Does he show off his arms?

Woney:  I’m hoping he’s shirtless at least twice.  But he plays a boxer so I’m sure the arms will be glorious in IMAX. 

Jimmie:  Then OH MY YES!

Lookee there.  Looks like I got a second wind.  Huh.  Turns out Hugh Jackman’s Arms = Highly Recommend! 

I cannot even stand it. So pretty . . . .