25 October 2008

More Dolly Dodging, before I forget!

Our story continues . . . . So, after finding sustenance we went down to our cabin and waited for the ship to sail, which it did, around 4 p.m. It was great fun to watch Miami ease away. Shortly thereafter we went up top - well, up a couple floors, anyway - for a lifeboat drill. It was at this point we discovered our cabin had only one lifejacket, a problem that was never rectified.

After standing around "listening" to instructions on what to do if we had to abandon ship . . . and I say "listening" because we were positioned near some kind of fan or vent that was blowing noisily and preventing our hearing anything at all . . . we sauntered back to the cabin and got ready for dinner.

Now, many cruises have assigned seating for their dinners, and this was no exception. I had great fears of being trapped with some overly-sincere, apple-cheeked, corn-fed Michael W. Smith devotees, but it turned out Charlotte and I had our own table, and per the rules of the cruise, would continue to have our own table through the entire vacation. Nice! We also had the same waiters, which made for a pleasing continuity. The formal dining room (the "Gold Olympian," I think) was very elaborate . . . lots of deep red velvet-looking banquettes, gilded staircases, etc. The sub-waiter, a small man from Indonesia, got our beverages and tempted us with bread. The main waiter, a Peruvian, told us about the specials and offered his recommendations.

Aside: The food on the ship, while not absolute top-drawer, was consistently tasty. In the main dining rooms there was a base menu ("Carnival Classics") composed of standard steaks, Cesar salads, etc., and there was a daily-changing list of specials as well. I particularly enjoyed a lentil soup, an Indian vegetarian plate, and fattoush. My very favorite thing to have for lunch was a bowl from the Mongolian barbeque line. I'm sure it was neither Mongolian not barbecue, but it was a very tasty bowlful of self-selected rice noodles and vegetables, wokked and sauced by one of the cooks, and served HOT!

03 October 2008

Five Things I Like

No offense to people who post lists of pet peeves (I have a few of those, too!), but as part of my effort to be positive, here are five things that really please me:
  1. My iPod, with all its lovely nano features:  video, audio, pictures, calendar, address book.  It has saved me from boredom and unwelcome talkers on many occasions.
  2. Beautiful fall days like today:  Cool in the shade, warm in the sun.
  3. Bacon.  Really, is there anything better?
  4. Days with enough free time to get a little knitting done.
  5. Purring cats - it's the best sound in the world.  If dogs could only learn how to purr, we wouldn't need cats at all.

21 September 2008

The Good News . . .

 . . . is it's finally cool enough in the  mornings to run outside.

The bad news is that I'd forgotten how hard hills are.  (Just 5.5 miles today instead of the half-marathon-training-program-prescribed 7.)

But a bad day at Deep Run Park is better than a good day at the gym, even if Gold's does show ESPN.

20 August 2008

Dodging Dolly, Part The Second

So, we made our way onto the very huge ship. We were on the "Riviera Deck" (i.e., Steerage), so there were many floors to go down in an elevator. We got there and walked . . . and walked . . . and walked some more to our cabin, which was pretty far aft but thankfully had a window. It was vaguely reminiscent of a less seedy Tutwiler Hall, with twin beds, lots of built-ins, and minimal floor space. We unpacked out bags and stowed them, then ventured out for food.

I think the passenger capacity was around three thousand? Believe me when I say it felt like many, many more than that. Teeming multitudes, swirling confusedly but purposefully like ants. Anyway, we went to the Lido Deck where we wandered around lots of cafeteria-style lines (again, reminiscent of tarted-up college dining options) before Charlotte settled on a slice of pizza from some kind of poolside vendor. We got beverages and settled down at the bar to eat/drink.

Two notes: One is that a major hidden cost of cruises is your beverage options. I understand and expect to pay for alcohol, but they charged for Cokes, for heaven's sake. Another is that one point on which Charlotte and I diverge is that, when hungry, I will pretty much eat the first non-seafood and non-mayonnaisey thing I can find. Charlotte, on the other hand, will be more selective even as she grows hungrier.

11 August 2008

Dodging Dolly, Part The First

(Which sounds like it ought to be some kind of song title, but in reality is what I did on my summer vacation.)

I've been back from the cruise for two weeks and am just now getting around to recording my thoughts.  This will have to be a several part entry because it's an off Monday for me and I've got many errands to run, chores to do, weights to lift, etc.  Let me begin by saying it's not called Miami International Airport for nothing (ha!  More like the Black Hole of Calcutta if you ask me), and that Carnival Cruise Lines might really want to think about having a better luggage strategy for people with brutally early flights.  Hauling two bags around the airport for four hours doesn't really put me in my happy place.

Anyhoo, Charlotte and I met up at the baggage claim and were herded onto a bus allegedly headed to the port, only to have to wait around for what seemed like hours (probably not, but the fact that C was starving - but apparently not starving enough to eat a Larabar or almonds - made the whole ordeal seem rather protracted).  We took a ten-minute or so drive to the port and were then herded off the bus, snarked at by the man who wanted a tip for putting a label on my bag (sorry, fella, five tips per day is my limit, and if I'd known you were going to be a pill about it, I'd have carried my own darn bag), and herded into some kind of check-in line.

(Do you see a theme developing here?  I realize they have an awful lot of people to manage, but maybe it could be done without making us feel like cattle?  Maybe?)

16 July 2008


Is how much I paid to fill up my car with gas this morning.

08 July 2008

I believe I mentioned recipes . . .

Cheese Ball:

Cream together in a mixer 16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature, and 8 oz. sharp cheddar, finely shredded, also at room temp.  When well amalgamated, add 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon lemon juice (I used the juice of an entire half lemon), and a few dashes cayenne pepper.  Once it was all mixed up I globbed it onto a piece of waxed paper, wrapped it up, and put it into a roundish bowl in the fridge overnight.  After it stiffened up, I formed it into a more ball-like shape and rolled it in chopped toasted pecans.  

We always eat it with Wheat Thins.  My mother makes tons of this every Christmas.

4th and 5th of July

I took a trip to Cville for the Fourth and, for the first time ever, found myself rather chilly in July.  Global warming!  Hah!  (Seriously, it was not much below 70, but rather damp and in the country.  I could have used some sleeves is all.)

The next day I drove down to spend time with the tidewater family and have a lovely late lunch of cheese ball (my contribution) and sangria, fruited chicken, broccoli salad, corn on the cob, potato salad, and brownies (also my contribution).  It was nice to see all of the extended family (who I haven't seen since New Year!) and most especially spend time with my grandmother.  Our last two visits have been short on account of (1) the half marathon in March, which gobbled up a lot of my visit, and (2) the stupidity of whatever airline I was flying back in May, which resulted in my arriving ten solid hours behind schedule.

I've got a busy week . . . Charlotte is visiting Friday night and then I'll be consumed with cruise prep next week, so I'm taking the opportunity of a quiet night in to get some serious cleaning done.

11 May 2008

Here you go, Kerry!

Kerry tagged me with this list of questions, which I solemnly promise to answer to the best of my ability . . .

What was I doing ten years ago:
I was getting ready to move from Tampa to Alabama.

5 things to do on my "to do" list:
  1. Banish extraneous paper (where does it all come from?)
  2. Cook more
  3. Finish reading "Dubliners"
  4. Watch last week's episode of "Lost"
  5. Laundry
5 snacks I enjoy:
  1. Almonds
  2. Chocolate
  3. Salsa and chips
  4. Jelly Beans
  5. Pink Lady apples
If I had a billion dollars, I'd...
  1. Hire someone to help me figure out what a billion is
  2. Pay off outstanding loans
  3. Buy a house or two
  4. Start an endowment for archival scholarships . . . people who earn what we do shouldn't have to pay for school!
  5. Visit all seven continents
5 Bad Habits:
  1. Not taking pictures
  2. Eating too many jelly beans/too much chips and salsa
  3. Not keeping up with people
  4. Reading makeup blogs
  5. Celebrity gossip (who cares, really?)
5 Places I've Lived:
  1. Charleston, SC
  2. Prattville, AL
  3. Tuscaloosa, AL
  4. Tampa, FL
  5. Columbia, SC
  6. Richmond, VA (okay, that's six places I've lived)
5 Jobs I've had (at last count I was up to 15, so I'll just list the first five):
  1. Cashier at KFC
  2. Salesperson at Shoe City
  3. Interlibrary Loan at Alabama
  4. Cashier at Delchamps
  5. Salesperson at Payless
What did you have for dinner tonight?
Haven't had dinner yet, but lunch today was salad and a quesadilla, with chocolate chips for dessert.

Who What is in the room with you right now?

What do you hear right now?
Kristin downstairs watching The Prestige

Tag-You're it! Top 5 People who need to complete this and send back to me! Just copy and paste onto blog or email. (Sorry, I don't think there are five people who read my blog.)


07 April 2008

Monument Avenue Analysis!

Okay, so the time was 1:01:32, which was an entire second faster than my roommate Kristin. It is a personal record (sadly enough) for my 10K, besting my previous best by about 20 seconds. It also works out to about a 9:54 pace. There were 1791 women in my age group, of whom I finished 525th, a little less than a third of the way back. Overall, I finished 9,266 of 24,055 finishers. There were 14,066 women who finished the race, and I was the 3500th woman to finish.

I was pretty pleased with it all . . . my goal was really just to finish in one piece, as the half marathon was just three weeks prior, and my right leg had been a little gimpy for the last week and a half. I do think I could have had a better time if (1) The weather had been slightly better, (2) Said right leg hadn't started acting up around mile five, and (3) My fellow racers had accurately predicted their times and not gummed up the works, forcing me to run around them. Seriously, people, I really do understand and sympathize if you're not a fast runner. (See times above.) But you need to own the slow.

(Oh, and the right leg is feeling more or less normal again. Also, Kenny, my Facebook page has a pic of me running.)

05 April 2008


Ick. A rainy 10K, but my time wasn't half bad . . . it is, in fact, a personal best for me. Detailed analysis to follow.

16 March 2008

Yay me!

I just checked my half-marathon results and am pretty pleased . . . I ran a 2:15!  (Okay, actually it was more like 2:15:55, but we're rounding this one down, okay?)  This means I maintained a 10:23 pace over 13.1 miles, which isn't too shabby for me.  I finished about halfway through my division - women 30 to 34 - and halfway among women overall.

Aside from having to get up at the well before the crack of dawn, and also aside from getting stuck in marathon traffic on the way back, everything went really well.  It was cold and windy at the start, got less windy for a bit, then windy at the finish too!  But I felt really good at the end and still am not too sore.  I hope to have pictures later - if they're any good, I'm totally springing for them.

More later . . . 

11 February 2008


Muchas gracias to Mom and Dad who sent this lovely fruit basket . . . if you've ever wondered where all the good strawberries go, here's your answer: Edible Arrangements.

In other news, I went for a lovely run yesterday (I'm going to call it seven miles) at Deep Run Park. It was a beautiful day, but windy! I kept getting blown around by all the gusts and had to keep an eye out for falling branches. I've got a three mile run as well as weights to do today (training for a half maraton in five weeks) and then should get to rest Tuesday.