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:

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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.

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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?

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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

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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?

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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

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

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Tropical Cruise Part Four: Crapulence

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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!

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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 . . . .

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Tropical Cruise Part Two: Tittup

For those of you that think My Girls and I just lolled around sunbathing and being entertained on a boat for a week, I’ll have you know that we did more than that. We also sunbathed and were entertained outside of the boat, although you wouldn’t be able to tell it by looking at my skin. The last day of our vacation, Nurse Bananahammock said, “Why are you still so white? We’ve been in the sun for seven days.” Sigh. This is my lot in life, I suppose.

Our superfun TROPICAL vacation included four port stops, and that was the part I was so fuzzy on before leaving. I knew we were going to Central America/Mexico but where in CA/Mexico I could not have told you. Every day at port, I’d be all surprised and excited having discovered that “today we are in Honduras!” Oh, it was like Christmas. Even more so because I got a lot of loot at every stop, mostly in the form of earrings.

Belize

Belize

Our first stop was Honduras, the island of Roatan. It was my favorite port, and I have a story to tell about that. We also stopped in Costa Maya, Belize and Cozumel. The four of us did separate excursions in Cozumel, Woney and I opting for the lazy one which included a beach front, lounge chairs, umbrellas, a buffet and drinks brought to us by a waiter every five minutes, and Squash and Nurse Bananahammock opting for the more active excursion which began with snorkeling. Later they got to lie on the same beach in the same lounge chairs with the same umbrellas but I personally feel like I got the better deal there because Woney and I left the beach first and got to go take a nap. I’m telling you, I was a limp noodle by the end of that vacation. I haven’t napped that much since college.

Honduras

Honduras

While I am a total beach girl and it would make sense that Cozumel was my favorite, the visit in Roatan won my heart because there we got to see real Roatan life, not just the tourist shops and beaches. The four of us wandered around for a bit looking at earrings and crappy t-shirts and then were approached no less than five times by “tour guides” wanting to show us around the island. It sounded like a good, safe idea, no way would we get scammed or robbed, so we opted for salesman Junior in kiosk five and handed over a hundred bucks for a:

–Personal driver
–Personal tour guide
–Private car
–Four hour tour

Junior and Jimmie

Junior and Jimmie

Junior introduced us to Kevin, the driver, and George, the tour guide, and then we walked out to our private car, which y’all? No. Our private car was less of a car and more of a van but a van with a shattered windshield and a collapsing headliner. Nurse Bananahammock and I wiggled our way into the back of the van and prepared to view Roatan through the back tinted windows as the dangling headliner caressed our foreheads at every pothole in the road, of which there were many. Someone at some point had made an attempt to reattach the headliner with thumbtacks that were dotted every six inches or so but that was mostly ineffective. The shattered windshield obviously had some sort of hole in it but we could not see it due to the magazine page that was beautifully taped over the hole. It was a pretty magazine page. So we were stylin’. I christened the van Big Pimpin’, and off we drove for our four hour tour.

Please note the headliner

Please note the headliner

As soon as we pulled out of the gate and onto a real Roatan road, George twisted around in his seat and began a running monologue that went something like this:

“Honduras is made up of three islands, Roatan is the biggest, and we don’t have any crime here, mmm hmmm. We don’t have no drinking age, that’s probably why, mmm hmmm.” Pause. “There are about 116,000 people who live here, mmm hmmm,” pause “and our economy is driven by tourism and fishing, mmm hmmm.” Pause. “The kids, they go to school in shifts, mmm hmmm, and that way if you have to go to work you can still go to school at night. Mmm hmmm.” Pause. “I have a daughter and her name is Hailey and I have her name tattooed right here, see? Mmm hmmm.”

Every time he would “mmm hmmm”, and for the record the “mmm hmmm” was akin to Billy Bob Thornton’s “mmm hmmm” in Slingblade, George would pause and nod his head. He was stuffed full of charisma, though, and I’m afraid we learned more about his personal life than we did about Honduras as a whole.

View from a bar

View from a bar

Our four hour tour included a stop at a local tourist trap souvenir store and a tourist trap beach hangout that served overpriced food and beverages. While the girls and I sat under a palm tree eating burritos, George and Kevin drove off to “purchase gasoline.” I’m assuming that was a euphemism for something but I wasn’t very keen to find out. I mean, we had already stopped for fuel once on our four-hour tour, and only 30 minutes of that tour included the drive in Big Pimpin’, so why they needed to go off again in search of it we could not fathom. However, George left his phone with us as collateral to reassure us that he would come back for us.

Let’s recap here. Squash, Nurse Bananahammock, Woney and I paid strangers, only one of which spoke English, $100 to drive us around a foreign island in a van that probably came out of a scrap yard only to be left on a beach with an ineffective waiter and no way of contacting anyone, especially George because he left his phone with us. We then tipped these strangers for not killing us, either in a vehicular manslaughter type accident or with a machete made out of a palm tree and a conch shell. The consensus was that we totally got ripped off, but again, this was my favorite stop. It was fantastic!

Kevin, Jimmie, George

Kevin, Jimmie, George

Truthfully, my favorite part of any venture into a new place is the people I meet. We met a lot of interesting people in Honduras. What a friendly bunch they were. I think the thing that most impressed me about every port, Honduras, Costa Maya, Belize and Cozumel, was the pride the citizens took in their home. We didn’t meet a single person who wasn’t ecstatic about where they lived. And the care that they took with each other – anything they could do to benefit another business or another person, they did it. Perhaps it was because we were so festive ourselves, or perhaps they just saw us as walking dollar signs, but there wasn’t a single person I met that wasn’t super jazzed about sharing their lives with us.

My favorite photo

My favorite photo

As for the prize for yesterday’s competition, we didn’t have nary a winner. Madre guessed it but she gets lunch with me all the time, plus she already got two pair of the earrings I brought back with me. I’ll have you know that the rest of the audience all picked the same answer you did, (B), but a lobcock is a dull or boring person. Next up:

What does tittup mean?
A. The prancing of a horse
B. The practice of serving cocktails before dinner
C. A tropical bird, native to Caribbean climates

Same rules apply: no cheating, and please leave your answer in the comments section.

Crab

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

TROPICAL CRUISE, Part One: Lobcock

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

That song greeted the four of us as we clambered aboard the Norwegian Dawn, ready for our week of vacationing in the tropical sun to commence. Squash, Nurse Bananahammock, Woney and I took to that boat like a fish takes to water (for the most part anyway – there was a slight bit of barfer-ness on my part), and soon found ourselves with two buckets of beer, a rattan table, and a lot of people wearing resort wear to watch.

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

Yeah, that’s catchy.

For those of you not in the know, cruise ships offer a lot in the entertainment department. Really, what are you going to do with 2796 other strangers on a moving city in the middle of the ocean besides be entertained whilst sipping on a cocktail in the sunshine as you (attempt to) get a suntan? Here I must ask you, though. What exactly does it take to get oneself a gig as a lounge singer on a cruise ship? Because if Joy, the woman shouting out the above song at the top of her lungs into a sound system that surely was designed to project sound in a venue MUCH larger than ours, was any indication, one only needs the ability to smile in a perma grin for seven days straight, have gigantic hair (even too big for me, if you can imagine), the ability to sway back and forth with your arms outstretched to any song the band plays, no matter the tempo or rhythm, and also a plethora of pants that fit you like a second skin from waist to knee and from knee to the floor in a violent flare reminiscent of a fish fin.

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

Still catchy. Right? WRONG! Seven days of that song, and in those seven days every time a meal was served or a drink was ordered or a kid jumped into the pool, Joy was up on the lido deck stage warbling about “Don’t worry . . .” Day one was great. By day seven we were ready to stab her with a shrimp fork right into her vocal nodes.

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Speaking of entertainment, on our first night we were introduced via a variety show to Jose (pronounced Joe-say) and Patti, a lovely couple from New York who also found themselves in possession of a sweet gig on the Norwegian Dawn, one show every night and free reign to perform whatever they liked.

“By the end of this cruise, you will love Joe-say and Patti,” assured Dan Dan, our cruise director. “They are fabulous!”

Joe-say and Patti made their grand entrance onto the stage and started belting out their first tune. Patti was shimmying all over the stage, hopping around in her sassy, strappy Mary Janes, and whipping her hair all around. Often she would throw up her hands in the rock star gesture, two fingers out and head bang just ever so slightly. What was incongruous, though, is that Joe-say and Patti were singing “I Only Want to be with You,” a song decidedly not meant for the rock star fingers, nor the head banging. Woney looked at me with her eyebrows raised and Nurse Bananahammock snorted. And then Squash said, “You know, Joe-say looks a bit like Stephen King.” We all analyzed him and decided that yes, there was a definite resemblance except where Stephen King has some talent to detract from his admittedly odd appearance, Joe-say does not. Sure, he could holler out some songs with gusto but in a way that people enjoyed them? Not so much.

I am sorry to say that we, most assuredly, did not love Joe-say and Patti by the end of the cruise. Matter of fact, we did our level best to avoid whatever area of the boat in which they were performing. I think we might be in the wrong age bracket, though. Turns out the senior citizens on our ship loved them.

I sound like an old crone here, don’t I? I’m not. Truth is, we saw some really excellent performances during the week. Tim Kaminski did a fantastic comedy show that I Highly Recommend if you want to see a bunch of strangers make fools of themselves – something everyone should strive for on vacation. I have no idea if you can see him outside of the Norwegian ships but try to YouTube him or something. He’s hilarious!

We also watched some kind of Bollywood something or other. It was a bunch of dancing and singing with an Indian flair, and what I took away from that is a lot of people have muscles that I didn’t know existed. One couple who performed in the Bollywood show had their own Cirque de Soleil-type show the next night which Woney and I very much wanted to see. After watching that couple do the splits on top of each other, the husband hanging upside down in some silks with only his feet holding him up, and the wife doing the splits on top of his splits only right side up and both of them swinging around in a circle above the stage, I felt that perhaps the time has arrived for me to incorporate a stretching program into my workout routine. I mean, I can’t cross my legs with any comfort because my hamstrings are so tight and these two are holding themselves parallel to the floor ONLY USING THEIR ABS AND THEIR FEET. I never felt more American in all my life. I have no idea if you can see them but in case you want to look them up, their names are Alexei and Sally. Have mercy, Alexei is probably the most beautiful man I have ever had the fortune to clap my eyes on. His muscles are astonishing.

A final word about the entertainment on our boat. According to Squash’s father, Norwegian has a GREAT library so we sniffed that out, too. Why you need a GREAT library on a cruise ship is a little beyond me, but he was pretty passionate about it so we felt like it was a necessary thing to discover. You know what? When we found it, it was great. Highly Recommend the library. I never thought I’d say that about a cruise ship.

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To end, I’m going to ask you to play a game with me. One night on the cruise we attended a game show knockoff thingy (I cannot help it – I have no television). Three of the “celebrities” on the ship would give a definition to a word and the audience tried to guess which “celebrity” got it right.

Without looking it up (don’t be a cheater, c’mon), what is the answer to the below? Winner gets a prize or lunch with me or something. I’ll figure it out. (Compelling, no?)

What is a lobcock?

A. A device used to make a musical instrument like a trumpet or flute longer to achieve different sounds
B. A boring person
C. The person who serves the birdie in badminton

Give your answer and I’ll announce the winner on the next entry.

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

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