Hot Guys Of Norway

Good evening! Is today a good day?  I just made myself sleepy by looking at Norway photos where I had time to sleep as late as I wanted but not the inclination because the sun never really went down.  I gave you plenty of time to sort through my landscape photos and today we are shifting focus to the real reason Woney and I went to Norway: hot guys. <insert Woney’s eye roll here>

I was fully prepared to meet the love of my life in Bergen as evidenced by the weight I lost before taking the trip and the plumping lip goo I carried in my bag. I’m going to deliver a spoiler and tell you that I did not come home with a hot Norwegian man.  I would have lead with that via billboard and wedding invitation.

However! I did meet some hottie hot hotties and I’m here to tell you about them now.

First up was Marco. A quick aside about Marco.  He was the first thing in Norway to make me cry which will be included in a separate post titled: Things That Made Me Cry In Norway.  Please stay tuned for that.  Anyway, Marco was a pianist and also one of three tour guides for the two mile hike Woney and I took through the woods to a grotto (which in America we would simply call a cave).  We had visited the home of Ole Bull, more about that coming later, and after the house tour, we set off for a walk in the rain to the grotto.  We were implored to go ONLY IF our shoes could take the journey as it was gloppy and mucky.  No one mentioned appropriate footwear neither in the ticket booth nor on the informational literature so I had opted for fun over functional in the hopes I would find my hot guy on day one.  Well.

I asked the three tour guides if my shoes would work, making especially sure that I hiked my pants above my ankle so that Marco could see my well-turned foot bones, etc. and despite all of them musing, “meh,” I opted to go. Woney was going to do it on her new titanium knee and one of the tour guides was wearing rubber rain boots and carrying an apple basket so I figured I’d be okay.  How hard could it be?  I’d just go slow and hang on to somebody’s arm, perhaps Marco’s!  And for a while, that’s what I did.

But then what had happened was, I was following feet instead of bodies and some of those feet took a detour but in the rain I couldn’t really see that so I found myself at the top of a slippery precipice which featured stunning views but lots of rain and fog and heather and mud. “Huh,” I mused.  “Where’s the rest of the group?  Where’s Woney?  Where’s Marco?  Where’s the lady with the apple basket in the rubber boots?”  I found none of these answers but I found Margaret and her husband on the precipice with me, and we made our way down the rocks amongst the heather, Margaret clutching her husband and me clutching Margaret.  Things were going swimmingly until I hit one rock just the right way with my “meh” shoes, and in the space it takes a hummingbird’s wings to flap, I was on my ass in the mud, my head buried in a bed of wet heather.  I looked up to see Marco turn the corner, a look of horror on his face, and then he sprinted towards me.  You’d think I’d be pleased what with Marco sprinting in my direction to save me, but the truth is, Margaret was no spring chicken and I had taken her down with me.  Yes.  I took a white haired old lady down into the mud and heather, and not only was I humiliated, but I think I hit so hard that I peed a little which is not really the way to properly introduce yourself to a hot Norwegian man, even if he has already seen your well-turned foot bones, etc.

We all made sure Margaret was okay and we got most of the mud off my butt (Marco did not help) but the mood was ruined.  We then made our way to the grotto where I took this stunning picture so in the end, I guess I’m okay.

IMG_3339

No, I did not get a good picture of Marco.  Of course I didn’t.

A couple of days later, Woney and I took the Norway in a Nutshell tour (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!) and I experienced the second and third things in Norway that made me cry. Stay tuned! Post coming soon! Part of that tour included a ride on the Flam Railway which is just about the most scenic trip I have ever taken in my life.  I guess it was the same for everyone because the great seats Woney and I snagged were soon squished with other eager passengers, two of which were Magnus and Stiegan, and Magnus was gorgeous.  Wait. Magnus was GORGEOUS.  My word, his legs, his oddly green eyes, his manly jaw.  He sat next to me and I thought my ovaries were going to burst.  Not only was he beautiful but he was interesting and friendly, not very common in Norway.  The Norwegians are not a friendly people.  Not unfriendly, mind you, but not in your face friendly like we are here in the South.

Anyway, we had a couple of hours to yap with Magnus who is an orthopedic surgeon (!) and also Stiegan who I do want to mention because he was nice although a little homely, and things were going quite well. I figured, “what the hey, I’ll see if I can get a selfie with him,” because I had used my lip plumping goo and thought we’d look nice together, but the minute I whipped out my phone, Magnus fell into paroxysms of “No!  I can’t allow photos to be taken!  I am terrified of biomolecular biological technology and facial recognition!” and I wondered if maybe he’s a wanted man?  Was I sitting next to a criminal of some sort, like a playboy ax murderer?  It felt a little weird and Woney and I made eyes at each other like, “Is he serious or just a fruit loop?”

Later Magnus and Stiegan offered us a drink but it was a warm can of beer out of a box and they were hiding behind a pole so that the train conductor would not see them drinking at the train station. Plus they both donned ladies sunglasses, so all-in-all, I think Woney and I dodged a bullet from a bonafide fruit loop.

You will understand that we did not get a photo of Magnus. Or Stiegan.  Trust me, Magnus was a hottie.  And sure, Stiegan was nice.  It was this train ride where I took this stunning photo so I’m okay with no hot guy photos.

IMG_3648

Finally, Woney and I took a second scenic cruise that featured a wad of fjords and also the fourth thing in Norway that made me cry. That promises to be an exciting post so be sure and look for it!  I was standing on the deck of the boat, my hair whipping in the wind and my mouth hanging open as I looked at our beautiful world, when a hottie hot hot guy said, “Hey.  It’s gorgeous isn’t it?” And that was it. We were off and running.  I’ve never met a more me person than me before until I met Dhruv.  “Hey, want to take a selfie real quick?” he asked.  DO I! “Hey, want to try my snacks?” he asked. DO I!  “Hey, can I have a hug before we part ways?” he asked. CAN HE!  “Hey, should we try to get together before we both leave for our home countries?” he asked. SHOULD WE!  Poor Woney.  She is used to me and loves me but I think it was a bit much for her to have two of me all in one spot.  Oh, she tried all the snacks and took all the selfies and gave all the hugs but it was more “your new friend is cute and you do what you like, but pajamas are calling my name” than it was “yes, let’s have lunch and breakfast and tours of the leprosy museum with a midnight meeting for some more food, yay, new friends!”

Dhruv and I tried hard to get together again but in one teensy way Dhruv is not like me (aside from his nationality and heritage and gender, of course) in that he wants to hike at every opportunity. I like hiking, sure, but I do get tired like a normal human and so it never happened.  He went hiking and Woney and I went shopping.  We are connected, though, and Woney and I plan on heading to London soon to meet up with some of our new friends, Dhruv included.

Yes, I did get some good pictures of Dhruv and I present him here for your viewing pleasure. Ain’t he cute?  Plus the whole vibe is “stunning photo” so I feel good about it.  I’ve got Dhruv’s deets for any of you interested in meeting a man with a British accent and excellent teeth.  I’ll take you with us to London.  Woney will be so pleased.  <insert Woney’s eye roll here>

IMG_3859

IMG_3748

Advertisements

Crush: Addendums and Furtherances

I love Chipotle.

There, I said it. I’m not sorry. I remain unfazed in the face of norovirus and rat reports.  I would eat there every day if given the opportunity.

thumb_600

This ^ is a Chipotle Chicken Bowl

 

uptown-chipotle-guacamole

This ^ is some guacamole

 

Woney loves Chipotle, too, maybe with the same zeal that I have. This is convenient because soon she and I will strap ourselves in a plane to meet in Detroit, and we are hopeful to find a Chipotle. What, you don’t fly to Detroit to have lunch with a friend?  Just me?

Below is a list of my friends who like Chipotle:

  • Woney
  • Squash
  • Nurse Bananahammock
  • Felix
  • Kindle
  • Freddie
  • Quan
  • Javier
  • Martie
  • Madre
  • Pooh
  • Tigger
  • Coach
  • Daisy

I feel like Daisy is the one I have to most persuasively convince that we won’t die of Ebola if we consume some guacamole on top of delicious spicy chicken, but despite her affection for reading the news, I can usually manage to drag her in there. That’s because I’m bossy and she is nice.

IMG_3160

I don’t know how long her patience with me will last once she reads the below, though. I may lose her.

A story, by Daisy:

“I bet I saw Star Wars 52 times when I was a kid. I don’t know how my parents could afford it but my brother and I saw it every week for months.  Brother had Star Wars posters in his room, tons of them, and I would stare at Luke Skywalker all the time. I loved him.  I was eight, and this was real.  I knew that he lived in California because I read it in Teen Beat, and I knew that when I got to California and he saw me, he would love me back.  He would just know I was his and he was mine, I was certain.

“I asked my parents for a plane ticket. They were in the kitchen cooking spaghetti for dinner.  When I asked, they laughed, a parents’ affection for their baby child.  It took them too long to realize I was serious, that I was not going to be placated.  They put down their stirring utensils and explained that I could not go to California. That was not possible.  They probably touched my arm and looked me right in the eyes with love.

“I weighed maybe 60 pounds but I flung every bit of that 60 pounds down the hall and into my room where I planted my face into my pillow and wailed. I was devastated.  That was my first real heartbreak.  All of my dreams were dashed at age eight by my mean, mean parents who never let me fly to California to meet my love.  I know exactly how Pooh feels.”

2fb7dc3e5cb7b12b454aa1bfdf45573f

A story, by Jimmie:

“I bet I saw Star Wars 28 times when I was a kid. Madre would make plans to go to the movies with her friends, and she would drop me and Martie off at the Luke Skywalker show and then go see her grown up movie sans children.  It was the 70s; people did that back then.

“I loved Luke Skywalker. I always preferred blondes.  I felt like if he had less nose and fewer ears, I could really fall in love with him, but he was still pretty cute. I’d have married him if he asked.”

I’m sorry, Daisy, but I loved him, too. Do you think we will come to blows over him?  I never told you because I want to keep you as a friend, and everyone knows once you have a catfight over a man, you can’t be friends anymore.  Sadly, I’d bet on you to win.  You are scrappy and I’m a marshmallow.

Daisy is driving me to the airport so that I can meet Woney in Detroit. I might have misled you when I said we were meeting for lunch.  We are meeting for lunch, but then we are going to strap ourselves into a plane to travel to Amsterdam and then do it again to travel to Bergen.  That’s in Norway, bitches!

Bergen_by_night

Bergen ^

 

Why Norway, you ask? Let me just tell you.  Woney and I were planning our next big trip and we made fancy lists on Excel spreadsheets detailing our travel bucket lists, the money we’d need to get there, and what we could do there.  Norway was not on the list.  Spain was, though, and that was mostly because neither of us would have to drive and because it’s pretty.  We were both gung ho about it until I found myself on Instagram following Pooh and Tigger and also some hot Norwegian guy named Lasse Matburg.  Also gung ho about it until Madre and I took Pooh and Tigger to Key West last year and then decided to stay a week in JULY which is HOT and also FIERY and also HOT.  I could not breathe, so when Woney called to yap, I opened with this:

“Oh, hello heifer, we are not going to Spain, FUCK THAT, it is hot as you-know-what down here and Spain is worse and I am not, I repeat, AM NOT going anywhere near the Equator, Woman, we are going to Norway where is it not hot plus there’s this Instagram model hottie named Lasse and I’d like to get a gander at those Nordic men, hey.”

And Woney said, “Well, hello to you, too. I could do Norway.”

So basically we picked it because it’s not hot and Lasse Matberg. Woney doesn’t like him at all which leaves more for me, yay! Plus I am bossy and Woney is nice.

I was lamenting to Daisy that I didn’t lose all those extra layers of fatty cushion I needed to so that I could look frail and cold in Norway and perhaps be comforted by Lasse or similar as I shivered on a fjord. Have any of you noticed that it is harder to find hottie hot hot men that that prefer squishy, white, middle aged women anymore?  Anyway, I guess I lamented too much because this exchange happened with Daisy last week:

IMG_3162

Is Daisy still being nice to me? Or is this a sick attempt by her to play upon my affections, my very 13-year-old teenage hormones/ heart longings in an effort to trick me into dying a horrible noro-Ebola virus death so she can have Luke Skywalker all to herself?

I still didn’t lose all the weight.

8dc8a73e5de35f8f86a9e94ccfcb6b1f

^Hot

 

lassel10

^Fiery

 

lasse11

In case it wasn’t clear, this ^ is fiery hot Lasse Matberg

 

I stole all these pictures from the innernet, Lord, please have mercy on my soul.  And my ovaries.

Who Decided Eggs Had To Be Breakfast Food Anyway

Speaking of Squirt, the last time I was in Florida with Daisy, Squirt came to stay at our snazzy beach house with us. She had to sleep on the couch, of course, because one of the beautiful things about being single and self-indulgent is that when you go on vacation with a friend who is also single and self-indulgent, everyone gets their own room. No sharing of the bed, I don’t care how much I love you.  (God, when my husband who does not wear skinny jeans comes along, and also my husband who is similarly-to-me aged comes along [same man], please bring us a king sized bed.  I’m going to love him but I’m going to like him better when he’s all the way over there while I sleep. Amen.)

Anyway, Daisy and I went to Florida, now an annual trip in case you were wondering, and Squirt came to stay. Daisy and I took turns cooking breakfast. Since neither of us can abide an egg, and since Daisy is currently off carbs, our breakfast grocery shopping is a bit unconventional.  Daisy’s offering came in the form of hot dogs and Atkins bars, always delicious.  Mine came in the form of this:

img_4570

I slaved away in kitchen and presented plates to both roomies. “Ta da,” I said, “breakfast is served!”

Squirt looked at me, fresh from her slumber on the sofa. “Wha?  Why?  That’s peas . . . “

“Yes!” I exclaimed. “With turkey bacon and cheese!”

Daisy said, “Is there butter?” Squirt said, “Is this even real meat?”

“NO! Peas are good on their own! Yes, I think so! Except it smells like plastic if you cook it for too long, so I don’t do that!”  I was muy entusiasmado, usually a problem for those who are not also similarly morning people.

Tentatively, Squirt said, “Do you have any eggs, maybe?”

Which brings me to my rant. Why do eggs have to be breakfast food?  Who determined that sausage should have an Italian version, a smoked version and also a breakfast version which is a complete non-descriptor?  Why pancakes only in the morning?  Why can’t we have pancakes for dinner and just call it pancakes for dinner?  We always have to say “breakfast foods for dinner.  I love breakfast foods for dinner!”  No. This is wrong on many levels.

Firstly, eggs are gross. They taste like eggs, particularly when scrambled.  I can abide a good deviled egg but it must be super salty and mustardy and I only eat the white parts if they are covered in yellow.  I can abide a fried egg only when it’s over something like toast or potatoes which mask the flavor.  I can abide a hard-boiled egg covered in ranch dressing or a very good Italian.  First thing in the morning, though?  Oh, my stomach.  OH, HURK.

no-eggs

Secondly, why aren’t turkey sandwiches considered a breakfast food? Peas, also.  Lately, I’ve even found myself enamored of a roasted beet or steamed Brussels sprout for breakfast.  Full of fiber, pretty colors, throw some olive on there to clean out the arteries.  What’s not great about starting your day that way?

cb9f16e814c1759cd09200bc82a4bde5

I did some research to figure this out so that you don’t have to. I found this, about Edward Bernays, long considered the father of public relations:

“To get an idea of Bernays’ abilities, think for a moment about a traditional breakfast. What do you think of? If you are like most, you will come up with bacon and eggs — so what? Prior to 1915, bacon was not part of a traditional breakfast — so Edward Bernays was hired to increase bacon consumption in the United States. He incorporated a new theory of gaining assent from recognized leaders either with their knowing cooperation or without. He conducted a survey among physicians and received their overwhelming recommendation that Americans should eat a hearty breakfast. Coupled with predictive results from the physicians, he began an advertising campaign stressing that a breakfast of bacon and eggs was just that — a hearty breakfast. It may sound simple, but look where we are today because of it.” (Jack Monnett, PhD.)*

I guess I can blame Edward Bernays for eggs-for-breakfast tradition. And I guess this is only two levels of wrong but it’s my post.

For the record, Martie has lots to say about my breakfast selections. Mostly they involve phrases like, “No.”  Also, “OMG, why???”  Perhaps even a “You are gross, how are we sisters?”  Then she sends pictures of her lobster grits, consumed at Blue Heaven in Key West and I ask the same question.  Daisy felt similiarly, I think, despite her fondness for hotdogs at breakfast but I believe I changed her.  On our last day of Florida vacation, Daisy fixed us breakfast.  It was a giant bowl of peas, loaded with butter and salt, and it was delicious.

And that, my friends, is all I have to say about that.

*http://www.ourrepubliconline.com/Author/183

kid-and-goat

Squirt with her new Paraguayan friend, Gilbert.

Things That Make Me Cry

“Oh, goodie,” I can hear you saying now. “This ought to be uplifting. Anyone want to skip this one and go get some donuts?”

Tell you what, if you are mad at me by the end of this post, I’ll buy you your very own personal donut and ship it to your home address, any flavor you want. Okay? Okay.

Back when Poppa was so very sick and we spent more hours than anyone wanted at Vanderbilt, we found ourselves in need of some nighttime sitters. See, Poppa was struggling with Sundowners which basically means he was out of his head and hallucinating a whole lot. Only now can we laugh about some of his stories because only now we can accept the loss of him without feeling gutted all the time. Anyway, at night Poppa would get feisty and Brother Bear, Coach and I each took turns hanging out overnight to keep him in the bed, clothed, and stuck with all the appropriate tubes. Each of us still had to work and travel and take care of children so there came a point when we all got too sleepy to be effective. Enter Caleb.

The first night that Caleb arrived, I thought to myself, “Oh, Lort. Poppa’s not going to like this one bit.” Caleb was young. He was wearing a Bob Marley nightgown as a t-shirt, and under that he had some baggy pants and over that he had a flannel shirt. His hair was neatly pulled back from his forehead and ensconced in a ponytail holder but from there his afro exploded outward into the biggest puff of hair cloud I’ve ever seen. He had his backpack over one shoulder and he dragged his feet when he walked. Poppa liked clothes that fit, hair that was neat and youngsters who walked like they were walking, not shuffling.

Right away Caleb went into the hall and got himself a bench to sit on despite the comfy chair options he had inside the room. He placed it a foot away from Poppa and sat upright, posture better than mine, and very, very still. Right away he familiarized himself with the equipment attached to Poppa. Right away Caleb put a reassuring hand on Poppa’s toe, letting Poppa know that he wasn’t alone. And when Caleb saw me petting Poppa’s head, he got up from his bench, picked up one of the comfy chairs and placed it next to Poppa’s bed so I could pet him without getting tired. He told me the story of his grandfather who died when he was six, how he and the grandfather did everything together, literally everything, and how he wanted to help people deal with sickness because he was good at it and he knew what it was to be scared. I can attest that he was good at both helping those who are sick and helping those who are scared.

Poppa was oblivious to all of this, or so I thought. He reached over to his hand and began tugging at a tube to yank it out, something he had done with great regularity since day one of the stay.

“Hey, buddy,” Caleb said for the first of a thousand times that night, “don’t to that,” and he gently pulled Poppa’s hand away.

Poppa looked over at him and said, “Kid, I need you to take me home. Go around and get my car and I’ll meet you out front. Jimmie, you meet us at home, this kid is going to take me there.”

God, I laughed. “Kid.” Oh, Poppa, I miss you.

So that makes me cry. And this makes me cry, because it reminds me of Poppa in the best and fiercest way, but also because it is a picture of life, of getting back up when you fall down over and over again. Isn’t this picture great?

image

Baby owl learning to fly, photo by Peter Brannon

Speaking of pictures, here’s another, from the cruise My Girls and I took in March.

image
This was in Jamaica, and I’ll be honest, Jamaica was not my favorite place. It was hot which I suppose is normal so I can’t fault it for that, but it was pushy and smelly and we were seen as walking wallets. I guess tourists often are seen as ATMs but I can’t say that’s how I like to make an entrance into a new place. Anyway, after a whole day of grasping our purses close to our body and being made to feel very guilty because we did not part with all our funds for all time and on into eternity, we finally escaped through customs and back onto the port where our boat was docked. That picture was taken right outside that customs shelter.

I bet you look at that picture and see a mildly interesting array of boys banging on some drums, but what I see is a crew of kids who were hustling. Hustling. Those boys stood there in those hot-ass uniforms that they picked up somewhere, mismatched buttons and hats and pants, and they played their hearts out ALL DAY. They played for every person that showed even a modicum of interest. They danced for every person there and played for every person there, sometimes on their knees at our feet when they could tell someone was particularly moved (me), and sometimes as the whole line; sometimes it was a Michael Jackson song and sometimes it was just the thrum of our collective heartbeats, banging in time with the drums. If a single person watched alone, they played just as hard as they would for a whole crowd. They hustled, and it was all I could do to hold the tears back as I watched them with their young hearts and their strong arms and their glistening foreheads, trying to make a better way for themselves. I hope you see them my way and offer your prayers for them, that the hustling pays off and they get a solid shot at whatever they try, because their work for those moments on the drums is more than enough to earn them that. I also hope you realize that it took an extraordinary amount of time for me to come back to myself, what was left of me anyway, and stop the leaking in my eyes so I could count the money I had left after I dumped all I could find into their tip basket.

With that, I’ll take you to the next picture that makes me cry. Not fierce, not sad, but just about the cutest thing I ever did see in my whole life. For those of you who do not understand my deep and yearning, burning desire for a donkey, behold:

image

Donkey being toted by a soldier

I have to stop. I need a donut. This whole post is killing me.

In conclusion, and I promise to you and me both that this is the end, I have one final story to tell.

Two years ago Martie and I reached a tentative agreement wherein she would take possession of the house and property called Big Creek, the family abode where we did most of our growing up, and in return for me not getting my panties in a twist over it, I’d get a donkey. By tentative I mean that I was thrilled that Martie, the most sentimental of the wad of us, would preserve our history and that Martie sort of agreed with a wavering voice that maybe, someday, perhaps there could be a donkey on their property that I’d get to name. Maybe. One day.

Pretty much I asked about that donkey every time I went home to babysit Pooh and Tigger. I drove over to the neighboring farm that housed the show donkeys to stare at them, and I pointed out the fuzzy and cute regular non-show donkeys we saw while driving the back roads in my home town. I’ve stated my earnest and deep desire to marry a donkey farmer more than once and have already mentally packed my truck in anticipation of his proposal, this farmer with his burros whom I have not yet met.

This has been a fantasy, and like all fantasies, I understand that it may never come to pass. That is okay. Still a fantasy, still nice to dream about, but likely saved for my mansion in heaven where God assuredly has a donkey with long eyelashes already waiting for me.

On Saturday, that fantasy became reality. You guys! I’m getting a donkey!

My birthday card from Martie, et al, received Saturday, June 11th at 5:13 pm, which she asked that I read aloud and which I couldn’t because the tears started in my throat and made it to my eyes and my voice which shook so badly I could not speak:

image

image
Pictures will be coming forthwith. In the manner of someone who is expecting a child, I shall expect gifts and fetes, and I’ll register for hay and donkey brushes and festive neck attire with which I will adorn his or her neck and take selfies. Rest assured I will be crying in most of them but these will be tears of joy and love and the knowledge that my family loves me more than anyone rightly deserves. I am loved more than I can fathom. I’ve got it so good. Thank you, God. Selah.

Now, who needs a donut?

Tropical Cruise Part Five: Pissonia

five 7

Five 2

Today I’m wrapping up the final words about my cruise and truthfully, I’m a little melancholy. Spring is here finally, so yay sunshine, but the people I vacationed with are not. I’m going to miss the half marathon in May so I’m not sure when I will see My Girls again, although if I know us, it won’t be long. Spring makes travel feel so hopeful.

10172707_10203602216796473_30220290816799907_n

Five 11

Even though I feel so connected to My Girls, we still have a lot to learn about each other. We did so much talking on the ship. Every night at dinner we would pose philosophical questions and take turns asking each other stuff. One night the four of us were lounging in the restaurant in our sweet sundresses and red sunburns, discussing our marriages. Rather, Woney and I were discussing our divorces, neither of which was pretty. Divorce is never pretty but sometimes marriages aren’t either and unfortunately, Woney and I had some rough times with our respective spouses. We were discussing our horror stories and Squash and Nurse Bananahammock were “mmm hmmm”-ing and patting our arms when I realized that the couple sitting next to us, a young man and woman wearing wedding bands, had slowly stopped talking to each other and were just going through the mechanisms of dinner.

five 9

five 10

Y’all, I felt terrible! Here Woney and I were monopolizing the whole conversation with ugly stories about being married and this poor couple had no choice but to listen to us only a chair’s width away. I’m not known for being particularly quiet. Needless to say I introduced myself and then explained that as newlyweds they were not to listen to us but listen instead to Squash and Nurse Bananahammock, both of whom have lovely marriages. And then I told them about Kevin and how I was now betrothed and invited them to our wedding. I rounded that out with nosy questions of my own about their engagement and marriage and with all that, we found new friends. (You will ignore the fact that I browbeat them into that friendship and rest assured that they were thrilled to meet us.) Jonathan and Jennifer are the loveliest people and very happily married (I was wrong about their being newlyweds – they’ve been married 13 years) so I feel good that I was not a part of another wrecked marriage.

five 5

Another surprising couple we met, and these two are my favorites, have been married for some ridiculous amount of time – maybe 60 years. Grant and Astaar. We met them in the crowded bar that served the fruit in the drinks, and because there were not enough tables for everyone, we invited them to sit with us. Oh, I loved them! Grant was tooling around in his wheelchair, twinkling at everyone and Astaar was very calm and serene about all of it. We ran into them often throughout the week – you know how it is. You see one person one time and then it’s like you see them everywhere.

One night we were chatting with our new friends and Woney asked, “Could I take your picture?”

“Heavens, no,” said Grant. “I’ve got a bounty on my head. A picture would get me into trouble.”

“How much is the bounty?” Woney asked.

“$1.29.” Then he twinkled at us and took a swig of his drink.

Do you see? Do you see why I love them?

Five 1

While I’m having a love affair with people, I’ll tell you that I loved Dennis, too, our valet for our room. I liked the cruise director and the comedy team and all the strangers I met. We had a great wait staff, too. I meant to tell you this yesterday and forgot but one night at dinner, Woney replied “nothing” to the question “ma’am, what would you like for dessert?”

This is what she got.

10001502_10202167357571458_2653329784288568339_n<

I always say this, but my favorite part of any trip or any adventure is the people. Traveling with My Girls is just easy as pie and meeting new people, for me anyway, comes naturally. I’m ever so thankful we took this trip. I’d take another, any time. Someone want to plan a trip? I’m in!

five 8

Final round of our game!

Tell me what pissonia is:

A. A non-poisonous snake found in the wilds of Australia
B. A mixer commonly used in cocktails in Australia
C. A small bush found in Australia

five 6

Don’t worry . . . . about a thing . . . . every little thing . . . . is gonna be alright . . . .

five 3

10170894_10152165353719177_5378672062918323429_n

Tropical Cruise Part Four: Crapulence

Food 3

Is anyone still here? Did I go away for too long? I’m sorry but I had to go on vacation to recover from my vacation so I spent some time at my Daddy-O’s house, lounging on the beach. I still don’t have a tan. I have no idea what is wrong with me.

Today we are going to talk about food, but before I begin with cruise food, I’d like to tell you about Daddy-O’s food. Daddy-O makes, hands down, the best stir fry I have ever eaten. Have I told you this before? Doesn’t matter, I’m telling you again. Every time I start planning a visit to his house, Daddy-O will ask me if I’d like anything special for dinner as he is just minutes away from a fish market and his love language is cooking for others. I will respond with silence, and then he will respond with, “Right. I meant to say instead, what night are we having stir fry?” Oh, it is delicious! For those of you who would like to visit Daddy-O and JiJi with me, understand that stir fry will be on the menu. If you are adverse to Asian food, well I’m sorry, but you don’t get a vote. Also, we will lounge on the beach and I will not get a tan. Apparently I don’t get a vote in that.

And now speaking of delicious food and not getting a tan, let’s get back to my cruise. Every self-respecting American understands that food on a cruise ship is probably the most important part of every cruise. Ports? Screw that! Excursions? Screw those! Performances? Who cares! What are they serving for dinner? Seriously, you are allowed to eat every fifteen minutes if you like. You can have 14 desserts a day if that cranks your tractor. Your kids eat only macaroni and cheese with cut up hot dogs? No problem! That is served at every meal. It is ridiculous.

Chocolate Margarita

Chocolate Margarita

You know, typing all that up makes it sound like that’s just a recipe for disaster. Somehow it wasn’t for me. I lost two pounds on that trip. How I do not know, but perhaps it is because, looking back, very little of the food was memorable. Who’d a thunk it? Here are the things I do remember, though:

Pineapple – It. Was. Perfect.

Pretzel rolls – small and chewy and covered in salt – I ate about fifteen of those

Mahi mahi – this from the person who would generally rather skip all meals than eat something that comes out of the water. It was amazing!

Bacardi Raz with diet Sprite – Squash ordered this one night and it came with a swizzle stick of blackberries and raspberries. It was gorgeous and I was jealous. I had to have one. Every bar we went to on the ship, every time I ordered a drink, that was the drink I ordered and do you know I almost never got the swizzle stick with fruit on it? Oh, I was disgusted. Might as well have thrown that drink in the trash as it was useless to me. No fruit, no tip. That’ll learn ‘em.

With fruit!

With fruit!

Chocolate Extravaganza – I can just hear all of you over there sighing, saying “Yep. Sounds like Jimmie.” However, I will have you know that I DID NOT ENJOY the Chocolate Extravaganza. Sure, I waited in line and took pictures of all the fancy creations. I filled up a plate with things to try. I wanted very much to love the guts out of that chocolate but after a few small, uninspiring bites, I decided I was over it and Woney and I threw full plates of dessert away. How?! How was that easy yet I cannot leave a bowlful of M&Ms alone?

Fancy chocolate thingamasomething

Fancy chocolate thingamasomething

Banana donut – That banana donut was my absolute favorite food from the whole trip, and you’ll be surprised to know it did not come from the Norwegian Dawn. Instead, it came from a man walking down the beach in Honduras carrying a huge Rubbermaid container hollering about “Banana donut! Three for five dollars!”

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not really one for eating homemade food out of a Rubbermaid container in a country where I don’t speak the language. Also, I’m not particularly a fan of the donut. But this woman, who was also on the beach on Honduras, was splashing herself in the water when the man walked by hollering “Banana donut!” She looked at me and asked, “Did he just say banana donut?” There was a tremble in her voice, and it sounded like excitement.

“I think so,” I said, and kind of laughed. As if. Donut from a Rubbermaid container? No.

Y’all, nothing surprised me more than when that woman, delicate and thin and definitely a swankier class of person than I, hauled her butt so fast out of that water you’d have thought she saw Jaws coming for her. She was splashing and flailing and yelling, “Banana donut! I had one last year and it was the best thing I ever ate! Ever!” And off she sailed to get her purse and corner the salesman.

Well. I never.

In short order, the Rubbermaid container man was surrounded by people holding up dollars who then tenderly wrapped those purchased donuts in paper towels. Naturally, I was curious. I stuck my hand in my pocket and found two dollars and offered that to him. “Can I get one for two dollars?” He grinned at me with his gappy teeth, took my money, and handed me a paper towel. I selected a donut and as I picked it up, I realized that this was the heftiest donut I have ever hefted in my life. That thing was heavy. I carefully walked that donut over to My Girls to offer each of them a quarter of it but only Woney was under the palm tree, so she and I split it. Once I took a bite, I was never more thankful in all my life that I only had to give up half a donut instead of three quarters of it. If I had to live the rest of my life and eat only two things until I croaked, I would pick that donut and Daddy-O’s stir fry. I’m so, so sorry that donut is gone.

Now that I’ve made you all hungry, and now that probably Nurse Bananahammock and Squash are mad at me for not sharing (that’ll learn you to go the bathroom when the banana donut man walks by), let’s resume our game.

Define crapulence:

A. A sickness from too much food and drink
B. A state of frenzy arising from over-excitement when sighting a celebrity
C. A period of mild depression lasting long periods of time

Winner gets a donut!

fourteen

Every little thing . . . . is gonna be alright . . . . .

Tropical Cruise Part Three: Furfur

Y’all, it looks like I’m getting married. I have been proposed to. A few people told me before I left on this cruise that they either met their husband on a cruise or they know someone who met their husband on a cruise, and so I was expectant. I had high hopes for this trip and they came true!

Before I ever even got out of Nashville, I met a man who I could tell had an interest in me. You know how you just know sometimes? Our eyes met across a crowded airport and he began a slow lumber over towards me, making a beeline (turtleline?) for the available seat next to me.

“I’m going to pick up a rig,” he said by way of introduction. “My boss is sending me to Kansas to drive it back. I do this for a living and I almost never have to fly but this here is a special deal, a real emergency, so I’ll be driving back just as soon as I pick it up.”

“Oh, that’s nice,” I said, and then turned back to my book.

“I make a real good living doing this,” he continued. “I make $77,000 a year before expenses, about $55,000 a year after which is real good. You shoulda known me when I was working for the Opryland hotel, though. Over there I’d get $2 a bag ever time I drove somebody somewhere. That really adds up. I made a lot of money.”

“Really,” I said, and then turned back to my book.

“Yeah, my boss, he trusts me to do the driving. I’m his best driver. He’s having an emergency at home right now or he’d be the one picking up this rig but I’m going out there. I just hate having to spend money on food in these places. I mean, a sandwich here is so much money. I wisht I could have brought some McDonald’s in here. Security is tough.” And then he kicked his Coca-Cola lunch box.

“Right, yes. Actually, I do need to get something to eat before I leave, though, so have a safe trip.” And I was off like a shot.

So that wasn’t the guy. Also, remind me to stop making eye contact with strangers.

Remember Kevin and George, our driver and tour guide in Honduras? Kevin didn’t speak much English beyond “thank you” and “you’re welcome,” and George really had a monologue going, mmm hmmm, so all in all, we didn’t get to know each other very well. After spending the better part of a day with them and arriving back to the ship alive, though, we felt connected. As we were driving back to port, George started hinting that Kevin had a little crush on one of us. He didn’t spill all the details at first because Kevin was still driving and I could see his cheeks getting pink.

All of us in Big Pimpin’ immediately guessed who Kevin was digging on and started the singsong “Squash has got a boyfriend, Squash has got a boyfriend” in our heads, just waiting until we could get her alone to tease her. She’s kind of the resident hottie. We pulled into the parking lot, opened the doors and handed our bags and hands out the doors so that George and Kevin could help us get out. Just as Kevin was grasping my hand, I heard Woney and Nurse Bananahammock from the other side of Big Pimpin’, “Oh, Jimmie! George says he likes the one in white shorts!”

“Sure,” I said, then realized that I was the only one of us wearing white shorts. You shouldn’t feel bad for Squash, though, as she already has a lovely husband. She can’t win them all.

Suddenly Kevin and I were both red-faced. He let go of my hand and jumped into Big Pimpin’ and sped off, his cheeks rosy and his teeth shining in a huge grin.

As we walked with George to the local watering hole, George resumed his running monologue by saying, “Kevin, he kept talking about the girl in the white shorts. He said he would leave his girlfriend RIGHT NOW and marry her. He said she was so pretty. So, what do you think? You like Kevin?”

Y’all, what could I say? I mean, Kevin owns Big Pimpin’, or at least drives it like he owns it. We didn’t die in Honduras in a van so I conclude that he is a good driver. He and George did come back to pick us up from the touristy beach. He’s reliable. This is good information about Kevin. This could work. I have no idea what my new last name is going to be or how, exactly, I am going to get my car over there, but I feel good about it. Should I wait for a ring, do you think?

Fiance Kevin, Bride Jimmie, and Best Man George

Fiance Kevin, Bride Jimmie, and Best Man George

Actually, one of the best nights on the cruise was the night we watched a couple get engaged. We were at the game show knock off thingy and I decided that dancing to the live band beforehand was a great idea. I drug Nurse Bananahammock with me over to the only other person dancing and for two whole minutes we brought the house down with our moves. And then we realized we were alone and were going to remain alone and so the three of us wandered back to our seats to wait for the game show to start.

On the final round of the definition guess, comedian Tim Kaminski stood up to give his definition of the word. He requested audience participation and grabbed a man nearby who had his hand raised. The man grabbed his girlfriend who just happened to be the stranger I was dancing with earlier, and they walked to the stage. Tim was explaining his definition and said as he handed the mic over to the guy he said, “It’s better if you demonstrate it. First you have to get down on one knee and then you have to take the microphone.” I knew. I knew right away. Oh, it was so exciting!

The guy had planned it all in advance, it seems, and the girlfriend had no idea. The next day she probably regretted the fact that she was completely hammered but it was very sweet and she cried and I cried and then realized that the two of us were alone in that, so I stopped. It just made me so happy. I love stuff like that.

Anyway, back to me. I was thinking, should I register at Target? Or Bed, Bath and Beyond? Do they ship internationally, do you think?

With regards to our game, we still have nary a winner. The correct answer is (A), the prancing of a horse. I knew Madre would get it so her answer doesn’t count for a prize. Next question:

Define furfur.

A. The stud mink at the mink breeding farm
B. Dandruff
C. An ivy-like plant used in landscaping

No cheating, leave a comment, yada yada. Please and thank you.

Don’t worry . . . . about a thing . . . .

fiftenn

Previous Older Entries