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.
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.
I was in a pretty dark place last week. I was withdrawing from those around me after having some health issues, and I knew that I had to snap out of it. I couldn’t let fear or anxiety direct my mood or life and I was letting it happen.
A couple ways that helped me get out of that dark place included:
Talking It Out
I let those close to me know what was going on. They shared my concern and gave me the support that I needed to make me feel better.
A Bike Ride
I went on a 17-mile bike ride on the Gandy Dancer Trail. Being with family, enjoying the outdoors, and exercising helped clear my mind. The scenery was beautiful, the light conversation was fun, and my thighs loved the workout. My darkness lifted almost immediately.
A Night Away
We spent the night at the “Osgood Campground.” It was a spur of the moment decision to stay at Denise’s place, and I’m glad we did. We made dinner and then sat around the campfire. The S’mores helped too!
Even though there are things that you can’t control, you can change how you react to them. When it’s bad or worrisome, you can go out and find something positive to do. Find family or friends who you can talk to. Go to an event or go for a walk. When the darkness lifts, you’ll feel better and think clearer. A positive attitude and a better outlook go a long way. Who needs or wants to be down and out? Not me.
Every year our WisRWA Chip Girls go to the WisRWA Write Touch Conference, or we head out for a weekend retreat to learn and ask questions about writing, to network, have fun, and to laugh. We like to invite Jean along, someone who shares in our passion for writing and a long-time friend to the group. Every year, at one of the events, Jean brings us a gift to help us accomplish our goals for the next few months. Here’s an example of what we’ve received:
A goal booklet with inside pockets. One pocket contains goal sheets to write down what you’d like to achieve, while the other has 20 different scene ideas that you could include in your story.
A box to hold postcards and a matching goal booklet.
And this year we each received a personalized box to store trinkets, goals, or whatever we like.
Jean handcrafts each gift, and she does an amazing job with the design. Not only are they beautiful, but they have purpose. And best of all, we know they come from the heart. Thank you, Jean! You always say they’re nothing. To us, they mean a whole lot.