My husband and I recently came back from a cruise to the Western Caribbean. We absolutely loved it. This was our second cruise ever and our second cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). I’ve decided that I really like cruises. I like being able to:
- Dine when and where I want to. We went with a group of friends, and we gathered every night to eat dinner together at one of their “included” restaurants. The last night on the ship, we had dinner with a show (that one we paid a little extra for). Since we weren’t eating until later on, Mike and I went down to the buffet for a small snack to hold us over. They were serving prime rib. Lean, juicy prime rib. How could we refuse? What a snack!
Who knew? Sliced bananas with faces!
- Have unlimited beverages. When you start drinking a few in the afternoon and then finish the evening with a few more (not to mention the drinks in between), those fun drinks can add up—if paying for them. At home, I normally drink beer. Not on these cruises. Give me beach drinks. I’ll worry about my weight later.
- Attend the free entertainment. This last trip was awesome. In fact, the free entertainment was better than the two we paid for. Burn the Floor and Million Dollar Quartet were fantastic shows that had awesome dancers and singers. The comedians were funny and gave us a good laugh. Dueling pianos was fun as well. I had no problem watching one of the piano players. No problem at all…
- Wear what I want. People wore all different kinds of outfits from fancy, sparkly, long gowns to shorts and tank. No one forced you to dress up. That made me happy because after a day in port, I liked wearing relaxed chic. I was on vacation. Comfort overruled.
Cool dude wearing Mike’s glasses.
There were a few disappointing things that happened, but I can’t say that the events wrecked my trip. They were minor. In fact, I was double charged for the paid entertainment on the ship. When I called to explain the issue, the guy couldn’t help me yet (I had to wait a few more days to see if the credit went through). In the meantime, I booked our next cruise. Oh yeah.
Happy new year to all. For me, this is the official start of the year. I give myself the first day of the year to reflect, transition, and then open the door into the new year.
Last year was rough. Not long into the year, my mom went into hospice care. She steadily declined, becoming weaker in mind and body due to breaking her leg/hip, dementia, and the stroke she had six years previous. It’s not easy seeing someone you love become so lifeless. She died at the end of October and passed peacefully. I still quietly mourn her.
Yesterday was spent at home. Mike and I enjoyed waking up with our grandson’s bright smile and playing dinosaurs and Legos with him. We did small things around the house, spent time together, and watched a movie. No big fanfare, which was nice. We had time to think and simply enjoy the day.
Today is about starting the year with recharged energy. I’m looking forward to what each day brings. My challenges this year will be balancing life and work. I’m ready to take both on, spending quality time with family, friends, and co-workers/writers. I’ve also been editing the second book in The Calling trilogy, which I’m geared to publish this spring.
Let’s make this a great year.
Beth M James
Gitana – Life Plan
My hubby and I own land in Northern Wisconsin where we camp in our RV. Last year the ticks were terrible. This year the ticks are supposed to be just as bad. We went up to Landstuhl (what we call our place) on Saturday with the understanding that the little ticks were out. I was prepared. I brought a spray bottle of tick repellant—distilled white vinegar, water, and peppermint oil. I sprayed myself, my hat, pants, and shoes when we got there in the morning. I was happy that I found no ticks on me after a morning tick check. Mike found one on his stomach. He didn’t use the repellant.
In the afternoon, Mike found two ticks crawling in my hair as we put up the gazebo. I hadn’t put tick repellant on again so I’m not sure if it helped or not. However, they weren’t crawling on my skin or attached. I sprayed myself again with the repellant. No more ticks for the day. Yay!
Sunday morning, after my shower, I found a tick attached to my leg right below the knee. Not too long after, I found another crawling on my leg. What the hell? I think I’ll need to douse myself with tick repellant before going up, during, and after our visit up north.
Here’s to another season of feeling those little buggers crawling all over me. Grrrrrrr.
Rainy and cold days at this time of year can be good and bad. The bad part about it is that I want nice, warm weather. Isn’t this SPRING after all with sunny skies and flowers blooming? After the cold of winter, I long to soak up the sun and walk barefoot outside. I want to sit on the porch and enjoy a morning cup of coffee with my hubby. I want to listen to the birds sing and the neighborhood kids play ball in the park.
Spring fever takes its toll on me. I always think that April/May should have warmer weather than what it gives us. We get blasted with wind, rain, and sometimes snow. I have to be a little more patient before the winter chill leaves us and I can open the door to summer.
The good part about this time of year is that we get the rain to help turn everything green. It also keeps me indoors a while longer so I can focus on my writing. I don’t mind sitting up in my office at my desk. I don’t feel guilty because I can’t enjoy the beautiful warm day outside. Now is the time to focus and get The Calling – Book Two completed. I’m halfway there.
When I thought I would start blogging again, another rung in the ladder had broken for me. Life has been pretty hectic in the last few years. I’ve had a mixed bag of good events—like my second book The Calling being published—and then bad events like not being able to blog, write, or be an author. I wanted to explain why I’ve had to step away for a while.
My life has been emotionally draining in the last few years with family issues. My mom’s health has been slowly deteriorating after my dad died two years ago. Last November we had to unexpectedly place her in memory care. We literally had a week to find a new facility and then move her from assisted living to her new home. A little more than a month after her move she fell and broke her thigh bone. Because of the massive stroke she had in 2010 and her current condition, she wouldn’t survive the surgery or rehab associated with trying to fix her thigh bone. We had to place her in hospice.
The days, weeks, months have been pretty emotional as we adjust to knowing we will soon lose her. Whether it’s tomorrow or in a few months, no one knows. We continue to move ahead and do what we can to keep her comfortable and making sure she knows that we love her.
In the meantime, I try to keep balance of my life. I did go on a Bahama cruise which was much needed to unplug and enjoy the warmth of the sun. I’m also attending the RT Convention which I registered for last summer. I debated on going but knew I needed this break too. There’s something special about seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones. I know the convention will bring me back into the writing which I love to do.
The world is a busy place with the instant connectivity we have at our fingertips. Social media is a big time hog that can suck you into its vortex.
Facebook: I’ll go out to Facebook to review happenings and the next thing I know is that an hour has past. Really? An hour? I thought I was only on the site for five minutes.
Twitter: Fun way to send tidbits but also a constant eye catcher, wanting to send and review comments. Boom. Boom. Boom. Let’s see what’s trending.
Pinterest: This site is another place that I know I’ll need to visit. Great place to promote. I have an account, but I’m scared I’ll get hooked. I’ve seen it happen with friends and family.
I have only named three of the top places. There are others like Instagram and Tumblr.
And of course there is Email. I get quite a lot of emails per day. I have more than one account. Today I’m going to try getting through all the unopened emails waiting to be read.
I’m not saying that it’s bad. I love catching up on events going on and staying connected. My only request…can we have a few more hours in a day? Please?
Beth M James, Author
Available Books: The Calling (Book One), Gitana – Life Plan
Last August and September my son went on a mission near Berlin, Germany to collect the remains of our World War II heroes missing in action when their planes crashed. What an honor to be able to bring those heroes home to their families and to give them closure. I can only imagine the emotions that ran through my son when dismantling the planes to get at the remains and to find the personal items, knowing the pilots had been in the midst of all the fighting. How they were men with families and ones that they’d never see again. I’m emotional just thinking about it.
Here’s to all our Vets who’ve served our country. Let’s not forget them.