Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shredded, Premature

Shredded - Cut or torn into shreds.
September 29, 2009

It was supposed to be chicken for dinner. While looking for chicken the freezer - and finding none - I found a pork roast. That reminded me in the way, way, WAY back of my mind that I still have some sweet and sour sauce that I bottled a year or two ago. So I threw the pork roast in the crock pot at 7 in the morning, with a quart of my sweet and sour sauce and let it cook all day. At about 4 o'clock I started to shred it and it just fell apart when I poked it with a fork. I let it continue to cook until 6:30. I had made some rolls, so we had the shredded pork on the rolls with some fresh applesauce that I had made over the weekend. It was so good!

Premature - Happening or done before the normal or expected time.
September 30, 2009

It was about 85 degrees yesterday and beautiful. When I drove home from work today at 3 it was 49 degrees. And rainy off and on. I know, snow on the mountains at the end of September isn't really preamture, or even that unusual, but I'm just not ready yet. I am not prepared yet for October! My Christmas cards aren't even designed! (Ok, the design has been started, but not finished.) October beginning is giving me a small sense of panic thinking of things still undone and that Christmas will be here far too soon! I haven't even made my lists yet! Oh, dear, I feel my small sense of panic quickly evolving into a full blown anxiety attack which will manifest itself in me crying on Lane's shoulder that I have taken on too much and why does he let me do this every year? Then he calmly talks me down from the ledge as I promise that next year will be different . . . It has become the natural course of events around here, and, thankfully, he is kind enough to look away from me BEFORE he rolls his eyes.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 7 - 9/24

And . . . the trip is over. Nothing like a fun-filled day of aiports and the screaming child that is ALWAYS on my flight.

Angie, Jesse, Kassie and Flat Addie playing Phase 10 to kill time at the New Orleans airport.

Flat Addie

Airborne - In flight; flying.
September 24, 2009
Somewhere over Louisiana I think. The clouds were super fluffy, and between them I could see all the way to the ground. Overall the flights were all on time and as painless as it could be. Except for the screaming child . . . Why always on my flight? Why?
So that's the end. Thanks for bearing with me.

Day 6 - 9/23

Addie sent us on the cruise with a "Flat Addie," like unto a "Flat Stanley," because she didn't want us to forget her, like that would ever happen. She does this with every cruise, but usually just sends us with a picture, so this was extra cute. On the last day of the cruise we decided to take our Flat Addie on an adventure on the cruise. We had her everywhere. More pictures on my facebook, Cruise 2009 album.

Flat Addie and Lane taking a nap.

Flat Addie in the casino.

Flat Addie at dinner.

Lane, sans Flat Addie. It was pretty breezy on the back deck, and the last thing we wanted was a suicidal Flat Addie.

Trick - A special skill; a knack.
September 23, 2009
This is my neice's husband, Jesse (is nephew-in-law a word?), showing off. He teased us first with just one spoon, and then went for the double. We are all so proud.

Day 5 - 9/22

Spray - Water or other liquid moving in a mass of dispersed droplets, as from a wave.
September 22, 2009

Since Lane & I don't snorkel, we decided to take a tour of the island of Cozumel. The tour took us from the west side of the island, where the ship docked, around to the east side of the island and back. So this is the Carribbean Sea. There were lovely white sand beaches, but it was mostly very rocky. The western side is the tourist side and that's where all the good beaches and resorts are. Since the eastern side is more rocky, it is very undeveloped. Our tour bus did find a nice beach area to stop for a little while.

The crystal clear waters of the Carribbean.

We also went on a tour of a museum-ish place called Discover Mexico. We watched a short video about Mexico, and then toured some gardens where they had little miniatures of the significant buildings in Mexico, including ruins, government buildings and cathedrals. The gardens were gorgeous, very tropical and jungle-y.

This is just one of the miniatures. There are more on Facebook in my Cruise 2009 photo album. We also got to go to a Tequila factory and participate in a tasting, but since we don't go for that sort of thing, we just wandered around.
Generally speaking, I didn't love Cozumel. It is really a place for beach goers and people who want to snorkel or scuba dive. The shopping area was too much like Tijuana or Ensenada. I don't know that I'm that interested in going back. There was one funny thing about the shopping. We all had tags on our shirts that said "Alex" (our tour guide's name) so we wouldn't get lost (hello kindergarten!). He told us as we were headed to the shopping area that merchants would tell us "Hey, Alex is my brother" so we would buy from them. He said he had no brothers, sisters, neighbors, etc that sold anything downtown, so just ignore that. Sure enough, several merchants shouted out to us, "Hey, Alex is my brother!" "Hey, Alex is my neighbor!" We got a bunch of tshirts downtown, and went back to the ship.


Vibrant - Strong and bright
September 28, 2009
We went on a picnic in American Fork Canyon tonight for family night. It was kind of a last minute thing, and we know we have to get up there early on a Monday night. It fills up fast. So Lane and I got everything packed up to go (the kids were at my mom's and we picked them up on the way), and even commented on how quickly we got ready. Once we got up to a picnic site we found out why it was so quick. We had left half the stuff at home! Somewhere along the way, I took my tablecloth out of my picnic basket - probably to wash it - and never put it back. So no tablecloth. We forgot to bring the camping chairs so all we had was the hard picnic table for seating. We also forgot bags for trash and dirty dishes. No wonder it was quick packing! We got along all right without it, but felt pretty dumb about forgetting. I need to remember to find my tablecloth and get it back in the basket before I forget again!

Sty, Quick, Autumn

Sorry, I'm out of order. I'll get back to the cruise stuff soon. It's taking me longer to sort through my pictures than I thought it would. Several crazy days haven't helped, either.

Sty - A filthy place.
September 25, 2009

I left an immaculate house. See what I come home to? And somehow it looks less horrific in the picture than it does in real life.

Quick - Occuring, achieved or acquired in a relatively brief period of time.
Septmeber 26, 2009

Sometimes there just isn't time to do things the right way. Luckily Nestle makes a pretty good frozen dough, and Lane tends to keep me stocked in frozen dough for cookie emergencies. Yes, we do have cookie emergencies. Doesn't everyone?

Autumn - The season of the year between summer and winter.
September 27, 2009

Another view from my kitchen window. I live in the best place!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day 4 - Part I 9/21

On the way to Uxmal, our tour guide stopped at a local open air market and had us sample this fruit. I don't remember what it was called, but it tasted good. Kinda like a kiwi.

This is our tour guide, Helaman. No really, that's his real name. Calvin accidentally met him a bunch of years ago when he was at Tulum, so when we went to Tulum two years ago we arranged for Helaman to take us privately instead of going with the ship excursion. Yes, with a name like Helaman he is a member of the Church, as are all of his brothers and sisters, except for the one or two who were born before his parents joined the church. There is a Mosiah, Alma, Nephi, and even a Lemuel, that Helaman jokes "is starting to come around." The whole family does tours, primarily down in the Tulum area since they all live in Cancun. We asked if he would be willing to show us Uxmal, and he was since it is the slow season. It took him 4 hours to drive up from Cancun. He came up the day before with his wife, stayed the night, spent the day with us, and then they were going to stay over night again and go to the temple the next day, since whatever temple that is is their closest one. Then after doing two sessions they would make the 4 hour drive home. We were so glad that he was willing to come and show us Uxmal. If anyone ever plans to go to Tulum or Uxmal, or even Chitzen Itza, let me know and I'll let you know how to contact him. Since he is a Mormon, and a seminary teacher, he puts everything in a Book of Mormon context that is very interesting. Uxmal isn't very Book of Mormon-y, though, since it was way after Book of Mormon times.

Lane, Calvin, Angie, my Dad, Kassie and Jesse all listening to Helaman.

This is the big main temple that is the first thing you see when you enter the complex. The temple was undergoing some cleaning work. They were removing rocks, numbering them, cleaning them and putting them back. Up close it looked funny to see the numbers on the rocks.

This is the altar where human sacrifice was performed.

Day 4 Part II - 9/21

We got to climb on the ruins here. We never got to do that at Tulum because everything was roped off. This was SO steep to climb, and a long way up, but it was great once we got there. We could see the whole complex of ruins and it was breathtaking.

Ruins - A decayed or destroyed building or town.
September 21, 2009
Isn't that awesome? That's the big main temple in the background center. There are more pictures of Uxmal on my Facebook page if anyone is interested.

Our sous waiter, (I don't care if it isn't a word, I'm using it anyway), Danillo, had a puzzle or riddle for us every night. This was one he did for us to figure out how it balanced. Little did he know that my dad majored in Physics way back when.

Again, with Calvin's returning dinner.

And more with the towel animals.

Day 3 - 9/20

Shameful - Causing shame; disgraceful.
September 20, 2009

The Carnival Fantasy has 3 waterslides on the back end of the ship. There are these two, and then one of those tall twisty tube kind. What the heck, I figured. I'll give it a try. How bad can it be? Can you say enema? So my legs are straight up in the air for all the world to see. Not cool. Not cool at all.

See, I'm smiling in the picture because I didn't know yet how unladylike I had just been. No, I had to get home to see the picture in full size on the computer before I knew. Lane, of course, thinks the whole thing is very funny.

Formal night. Holy crap - am I really THAT gray? Bring me some Clairol - and quick!

Calvin reconstructed his lobster using a bit of potato for the head, shrimp tails for the claws and some broccoli for . . . hair, I guess.

The towel animals contine. We also got our new Fantasy pins to go with our other ones. We get new pins for every cruise after the first one, but somehow we missed out on Fascination pins. We also get to go to a returning guest coctail party, but since we don't drink, what's the point?

Day 2, Part I - 9/19

So our first morning in New Orleans, we woke up and all met in the lobby of the hotel to figure out where to go for breakfast. We all knew the gorging, I mean eating, would begin in earnest once we got on the ship, so we decided to get something quick and easy. There was a Burger King not too far down the street, so we (except Troy & Marie) started to walk down there. When we left the hotel, it started to rain lightly and felt nice because it was so warm outside. But the farther we walked, the harder the rain fell until finally it was a real deluge before we got to BK. I was so wet I was dripping, and went into the ladies room at BK only to discover, much to my dismay, that they didn't have paper towels, only a hand dryer, and that wasn't very helpful in drying my dripping hair. I bent over and tried it that way, but I'm just too darn tall and evidently not flexible enough. When I came out of the bathroom, Troy had called to find out where we all were, so he was on his way. I sat down, still trying to dry my hair with Lane's shirt, and in come Troy and Marie, completely dry, and then I noticed the rain had stopped and the sun was out. I guess it only rained for as long as it took us to get from the hotel to BK. Nice.

After breakfast, we went back to the hotel so all the ladies could re-coif and change if necessary, and then we hopped back on the street car over to the Civl War Museum. It was so cool! It wasn't a very big museum, but it was well stuffed with only the best stuff. They had a very large collection of Jefferson Davis memorabilia, as well as a bunch of other soldiers, some well known to me and some not. They had a very large collection of guns that got Lane all jazzed. It was an wonderful museum. Naturally, no photography was allowed.

Accross from the Civil War Museum was the National WWII Museum. They charged an admission to go into the main part of the museum, and we didn't want to pay it because we didn't have a lot of time to spend before we had to go to the port, but the lobby had a bunch of Dday stuff, and that part was free.

Hero - A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.
September 19, 2009
The WWII museum sits on a corner, and the sidewalk on the two sides of the museum are paved with these bricks. I don't know if they are just veterans of WWII, or if they are soldiers who died, but the bricks went on for a long time and it was quite impressive.

This is part of the Dday exhibit that was at the WWII museum.

There were several planes hung from the ceiling. They also had men in this area dressed in soldier uniforms from the era.

Day 2, Part II - 9/19

This is a statue of General Robert E. Lee, which leads to the name of "Lee's Circle" for the area. The road goes around the circle, but not in a roundabout fashion like the ones here. The street car goes along this route.

Once we were onboard the ship, and had our lifeboat drill, we set sail down the mighty Mississippi River towards the Gulf of Mexico. It took between 7 and 8 hours to get out into the gulf because the river winds around so much. We are standing on the front observation deck of the Verandah Deck, which is the only passenger cabin deck that has an observation deck (wow! that was a lot of use of the word "deck!") There aren't that many rooms on this ship that have private balconies, and I'm not yet willing to pay the premium price to have one, so I always ask for the same cabin - Verandah 8. It is the most forward of the inside cabins on the Verandah Deck, so we consider this our balcony. We just have to go into the hall and then out a door, and voila! Our own balcony. Only it's public, not private. There usually aren't many people there except when we set sail.

Carnival, and I'm sure many other cruise lines, do the towel animal thing every night. We have had this creature on every cruise, I think, but it's always fun when the put the sunglasses on.

Crazy Calvin has a thing about sending his dinner plate back to the kitchen just as pretty as it came out. He arranged his leftovers and took bits from other people at our table. At first our waiters thought he was just weird, but after the first time or two, they got into it and started to look forward to what he was going to create.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 1 - Friday 9/18

Well, clearly it's going to take me a while to get caught up! So we will begin at the beginning, for that is a very good place to start . . .

Our plane was scheduled to leave SLC at 8:50 am. Not a bad time, not too early. Just as I was returning to the gate from my last minute potty trip, my phone rang and it was our neighbor letting me know that he had found Addie in a heap in front of his driveway. She apparently was very excited about walking to school, started to run and skip as little girls are prone to do, and fell down. He said that she was bleeding pretty badly from a cut on her head, so he had scooped her up and was calling me on his way to the ER with her. This is not what I need to hear as I was starting my vacation! We had left a copy of the insurance card and a signed consent for treatment at home, so Lane called Grandma Wilson who went and fetched it and took it to Joe at the hospital. Addie ended up with 8 stitches in her head and a huge bandage on her knee. Grandma took her home and kept her there because Addie didn't want to go to school all banged up. She also scratched up the lenses of her glasses badly enough that they will need to be replaced. I felt just horrible that I wasn't there to comfort her when she is so afraid of hospitals and such. We spoke to her by phone that evening and she seemed to be doing much better.

So we got to New Orleans (via Chicago) around 5:00 local time. Calvin, Angie, Troy and Marie were already there. We got settled into our rooms, which were nicely situated on St. Charles Avenue, right next to a street car stop, in the Garden District. Once we all had a chance to wash up and rest for a minute, we hopped on the street car for a quick little drive to the French Quarter. The hotel staff had recommended a restaurant called The Oceana, right off of Bourbon Street. We got off the street car at Bourbon and Canal. Canal Street is a wide, modern street, like a State Street here. Bourbon Street was quite unexpected in that it is EXTREMELY narrow and kind of. . . um . . . can't think of a good euphemism. . . well, let's just say it was different from anything this innocent little Mormon girl from Utah has ever seen. I've seen Mardi Gras enough times on the news and such that I recognized the landmark buildings and such. The buildings were pretty much all 2 or 3 stories and have those ornate balconies that are so associated with Mardi Gras, and beads were everywhere! There were bars after bars after more bars, interspersed here and there with Larry Flint "establishments" and other similar adult businesses, that had pictures on the front of the buildings so explicit I'm not sure what you would need to go in for! So we found the restaurant and it was nice, and the waiter was extremely friendly. Everyone ordered seafood, of course, but since I don't like seafood I ordered ribs. They were really good, but too much to eat. Someone ordered some crab cakes as a starter and everyone raved about how good they were. Lane got some red beans and rice and jumbalaya that he grew to love during his mission. After dinner, we walked back down Burboun Street. It was dark by then and all the businesses were lit up. The police blocked off the road for several blocks, but I don't know why they needed to. The road is so narrow it would be hard enough to drive a car down it. There were several street entertainers that were good, and finally a band playing some good old jazz when we got back down to the intersection with Canal Street, where we got back on the street car and went back to our hotel. We noticed that in all the trees along the sidewalks and roads, beads were hanging. Our hotel had a big bowl of beads to take, so I took a few as a souvenir and wore them around most of the next day.

This is Bourbon Street before it got very dark.The angle of the photo makes the road look much wider than it actually is.

These were some dancers who said they were on America's Got Talent, or some show like that, but didn't win. They were really good and the crowd loved them.

This is my parents at the corner of Rue d'Orleans and Rue de Bourbon.

This is a second story balcony on Bourbon Street. The balcony railing is covered with beads.

Seedy - Morally degraded.
September 18, 2009
Although New Orleans was never on my list of places I wanted to go, I am glad I went. The Garden district was as beautiful as the French District (well, Bourbon Street anyway) was raunchy. Everyone that we talked to was so very friendly. But if I ever go back, I think I'll stick with the Garden District and leave the French District for the Mardi Gras folks.