Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Number 19

Just got home from cruise number 19 and I still feel like I'm onboard the ship. In other words, I can still feel the floor swaying under my feet and I'm 'listing' from side to side. ACK!

Yes, it was a fun time, even though the seas were somewhat rough on our last day coming home (no doubt why I'm still 'listing). This was the ship we were scheduled to take in January, but engine repairs took longer than expected and we were forced to reschedule.

Yes, we went to the Mexican Riviera yet again. People ask me why I keep going back to the same ports, but honestly the destination is secondary to the cruise itself. What's not to love about having someone serve you, clean up after you, and unlimited access to GREAT food?!?!

Besides, there's always something different to see. This time we spent two days in port in Cabo San Lucas, which we'd never done before. Here's a photo I took of the lights of Cabo at sunset.

Most of the other ships who depart from California ports go to Alaska starting in May, so we were the only cruise line in western Mexico and had the port's of call pretty much to ourselves. However, in Puerto Vallarta we shared the marina docking area with these two "pirate" vessels.

There's always plenty of 'wildlife' to see along the way. I didn't see a whale, but several other passengers told me they did. And there's always a pod of dolphins that like to race along with the cruise ships near Cabo.

Then there are the towel animals that the room stewards leave on my bed at night. Here are a couple of my favorites from this cruise:

This cute little elephant was chill-axing on the end of the bed while I worked on my laptop on my WIP. I'm happy to report he was very quiet.

So was this adorable bunny, who decided to take a snooze on my pillow.

They offered a class to teach passengers how to make some of these adorable towel creatures, but I decided not to take it. My collection of towels is pretty rag-tag at best. Plus, I don't need to have one more way to procrastinate!

Have you resisted learning something new because you didn't want yet another way to waste time?

What vacation plans do you have on your horizon?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spare Time Projects

Yes, I did write the "Spare Time" in this title with my tongue firmly planted in cheek. I don't have a lot of that elusive thing. But on those rare occasions when I do sit and veg out in front of the TV (watching Netflix!) I almost always have to keep my hands busy. My preferred activity is knitting or crocheting. I learned to do both so many years ago that they are more like a self-soothing exercise than anything else. Plus, I've discovered that while I can't read in a moving car (gives me a horrid headache every darn time) I CAN knit or crochet! So when we have to make a long car trip and the DH is barreling down the freeway at 60+ mph (100+ kph), I can sit in the passenger's seat happily knitting or crocheting away.

I've never been a fan of projects that required me to sew a lot of little pieces together in order to complete. I much prefer to make one or two large pieces and then I'm DONE! That means I make lots of scarves and lap throws or afghans. One of my favorite patterns uses a long stitch that makes the piece look something like the old hound's tooth check fabrics of the 60s. I made four in this pattern in various colors for Christmas presents for my four nieces.

Here are a couple of my recently finished projects...

My son has been a HUGE fan of the New York Jets since he was a little boy. So I crocheted this afghan for him in Jets' colors -- black, white and green. Turned out great and he loves it. One little problem is that our fawn colored Pug Wa-wa's hair really stands out on the black and green. She loves this afghan too!

Here's my current crochet-work-in-progress. It's just about at the halfway point, and I'm afraid I don't know yet what its fate will be. But it is going in the car with me for a trip to SoCal very soon...

Meanwhile, back to one of my favorite patterns, the gigantic Granny Rectangle (as opposed to Granny Square). I love to use this pattern for baby afghans. It's easy and turns out so pretty. See what I mean?

This pretty little throw is for a special friend's newest grandson.

I've heard from several sources that "needlework is becoming a lost art." I hope that's not true! It may not be cheaper than buying a blanket or throw at the local discount store, but there's something very special about a handmade item.

What do you think? Hand made or store bought? Do you have a crafty vocation?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Brenda Novak's Online Auction

It's that time of year again.

Every May, Brenda Novak holds an online "auction" to raise money for diabetes research (click on the title of this post to go to the site). This is a cause very near and dear to me and I've donated things for the past three years.

This year, my Banditas and I decided to have our very own listing on Brenda's sidebar. You can see it here under Romance Bandita: http://bit.ly/lpl5rN

We have things for readers:

A gift "basket" with ten different books by various Banditas (including a copy of The Wild Irish Sea), a mug and some chocolate

Autographed Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of books by
Jeanne Adams,
Kate Carlisle, and
Christie Kelley.

For writers we have critiques by
yours truly,
Jeanne Adams,
Donna MacMeans,
Beth Andrews,
Tawny Weber,
Tricia Mills,
Christine Wells, and
Anna Sugden.

For everyone we are offering:

A Romance Bandits T-Shirt

Golden Rooster cookie cutter and TimTams

and Golden Rooster earrings and brooch

I also have an autographed copy of The Wild Irish Sea in a "basket" of books donated by my local RWA chapter the Sacramento Valley Rose.

The auction has tons of great stuff from jewelry and gift items to vacations. I hope you'll stop by and check it out and maybe bid on something since it is for such a great cause.

Lots of things are great bargains!

You still have plenty of time because the auction doesn't end until May 31st.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco De Mayo

Today was Cinco de Mayo, which we celebrate vociferously here in California. Actually, I think if asked most people here in NorCal have no idea what Cinco de Mayo represents other than a good excuse to drink lots of tequila and Mexican beer.

If asked, a few might come up with Mexican independence day, which it is not. Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates the Battle of Puebla in 1862. In spite of being outnumbered almost three to one, the Mexican forces emerged victorious over the occupying French.

Considering we Americans were a bit preoccupied in 1862 with our own Civil War, I suppose we can be forgiven for being ignorant of a day that many Mexicans have considered one of the most glorious in history. But I can't help but feel a little sad that the true meaning of yet another holiday is lost to a crush of advertising.

Of course, I'm not sad enough to pass up the chips and salsa! Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Did you celebrate today? Or have you even heard of Cinco de Mayo? Any other holidays you'd care to share with Aunty?