Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Save My Brain!

I am getting dumber.  More and more often I find myself unable to think of a word I want to say even though I know I used to know said word.  It's really frustrating.  And it's not like I'm not putting all sorts of words into my head.  I read court transcripts almost daily, full of their legalese and such.  I've read over 28 books since the new year.  (Though granted only one of them has been nonfiction and the rest were completely brainless fiction.)  So why does it feel like my intelligence is leaking out of my head like water from a sieve?  I used to be smart and witty, once upon a time.  There hasn't been any pregnancy or childbirth in over 3 years, so I should have been able to make up for anything the two I had caused me to lose.  I'm sure my kids continually suck the life from my cerebrum, but it can't be faster than I'm putting it in, can it?

So I'm beginning Project Save My Brain.  Unfortunately, I don't know where to start.  That's the problem with a broken brain, it can't think up how to fix itself.  Do I need to read more intellectual books?  Take a class?  Interact more with people with vocabularies larger than a kindergartener?  Meditate?  Help!  I'm sending out an S.O.S.  And since my blog readers are the smartest people I know (and also the only people I know) I turn to you.  How do you keep your brain in shape?  How many sets and reps do you do each day?  I need the secret to a strong, unleaky brain!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Super Deluxe Weekend of Magnificence Recap

So I got home from my super relaxing cruise and got slammed with work and life. I've finally caught up on work, so now I can catch up on blogging.  Life can never be caught up on.

So here goes.  I'm just going to hit the highlights.  If you want a blow by blow, you can read about it on my sister's blog here and here and here.  She has LOTS more pictures and more witty commentary.

I flew into New Orleans where my sister Andrea picked me up from the airport and we crashed in a hotel for the night.  And what's the best thing to do at a hotel when you aren't having to set a good example for your kids?  Jump on the beds of course!!



That's my double 9 that I perfected in cheerleading in high school.  We tried really hard to get a picture with both of us jumping, but no luck.  We just couldn't time the camera right.


The next morning we boarded the ship and watched as it pulled a 180 in the Mississippi River.



We also called home just to make sure our kids were alive before we were out of cell phone range.


We spent the evening exploring the boat, getting to know our table mates at dinner, and best of all, karaokeing.


We karaoked every night.  We got to be famous by the end of the cruise.  People would stop us everywhere we went and say, "Hey!  You're the karaoke girls!  We love you!"  Someone even said this to us while we were in Cozumel.  It was crazy.  We sang everything from Killing Me Softly to Dancing Queen to Summer Nights (our personal best we think).  I also sang I Will Survive and Eternal Flame.  And there were more that I'm just not remembering.  This was my second favorite thing we did on this cruise.  Karaokeing with my sister was WAY more fun than with Anton (but I still love you!).

The next day was a day at sea.  We claimed a couple of beach chairs on deck and spent the day sunning and reading.



We were entertained both by the gay vampire book reading guy next to us and the effects of the very strong wind blowing across the deck.  We were sitting right at a corner where lots of people walked by, and the wind caused all sorts of things to fly our way.  Andrea got pelted in the chest with a pineapple and almost got a cocktail umbrella to the eye.  I got an eyeful of parmesean cheese.  And the guy two over got his chair doused with a drink.  Luckily he wasn't sitting in it at the time.  It was good fun.

That night was formal night.  Andrea did my hair.  I ended up with a southern poof the height of which I haven't seen on my head since probably junior high.


But she said I looked good, so I'll take her word for it.

The next day was the one day I'd been looking forward to for weeks!  Our ship stopped in Cozumel and we reserved a spot at the private beach club of Nachi Cocom.


For a flat price we got our own umbrella and beach chairs:


And all we could eat and drink (virgin of course).


I didn't photoshop any of these pictures.  The water really was that blue and Andrea really was that pink.  :)

We lounged on our chairs.



We wandered the beach and found all sorts of huge conch shells and coral and cool things you never find on a normal beach.


Andrea decided she wanted to jet ski, so I tagged along.


Good thing I did because she was a sissy, so I ended up driving.  Though the salt water was so salty neither of us could see very well because of our contacts.

We made sure to also float in the water for a bit afterwards since we were already wet.


There I am blissfully floating away.

Then it was time for food.  We got chips and guacamole.  We got fajitas.  And before we left we got us some flan that was divine!


We ate in the restaurant for a change of scenery.


And it was nice scenery.  Off to the side there is the pool and hot tub and swim up bar.  That's where all the drunks hung out.  Thankfully our beach chairs were far enough down the beach that we didn't have to listen to them too much.


The grub.  Yum.

Right after we finished eating, I headed over and got me a massage.


I was in heaven, except for the cannon ball contest that went on at the pool in the middle of my massage.  The rest was a dream.  I wish I had done the whole hour rather than just half an hour.

Then it was back to the umbrella and more relaxing.



I managed to finish four books on this trip.


Look at the hot mamas!  Sadly our day had to come to an end.  After hitting up the shops so Andrea could spend lots of money (she's good at that), we went back to the boat.


We had to get some obligatory boat railing shots.


We had the best group for dinner.  I don't know how the cruise lines do it, but they do an amazing job pairing up like groups of people for dinner.  We had a pair of brothers and a pair of friends who were escaping their husbands and kids just like us!!  The fourth pair never showed.  They knew they weren't cool enough for us.


Niki, Andrea, Me, Kip, Andrew, and Kim.

We had the coolest waiter too.


Coco on the left and Wyan on the right.  Coco was our waiter and he sang and danced and told stupid jokes and was just a blast.

The next day was our last full day on the ship.  And of course it was cold and windy outside.  So we claimed a booth in the cafeteria and spent the morning reading.


Well, I read and Andrea took lots of pictures.  That afternoon we went and saw an ice carving demonstration.


He did that in 25 minutes.  Then we also did a photo scavenger hunt, which was super fun, even though we didn't win.

And that's about it.  We went to a couple of the shows, but they were even worse than my last cruise.  Andrea actually fell asleep in one and we left before it was over.  They were really bad.  The comedians were okay.  Nothing great.  The food was adequate.  It didn't make me feel sick, which was a plus.

And of course we had to spice up our off time on the boat a little bit.  On night we were getting ready for bed at 1 a.m. after a long night of karaoke, and when I turned off the water in the bathroom, I felt my feet getting wet.  I looked down, and sure enough, there was water all over the floor.  The water pipe under the sink had busted.  We had to call and wake up the maintenance guy, who spent 15 minutes banging on the pipe (because a hammer fixes all problems) only to say he had to go get another part.  Thirty minutes later he finally comes back, bangs around some more and says he can't finish fixing it until the next day.  Sheesh.  Andrea slept through it all.  Lucky her.

The next night as we were getting ready for dinner, we started hearing a weird beeping sound.  We turned off our music, and sure enough, we had set off the heat detector in the ceiling with our flat iron.  Now, you would hope that all sorts of people would come running to make sure there wasn't a real fire on the boat, but no.  We had to call.


Again, maintenance had to come and turn it off.  I'm sure we were on their black books for this cruise.

The final day of the cruise was just debarking, and then Andrea and I wandered around the French Quarter in New Orleans.  But we were cold and tired, so after grabbing some beignets and eating cajun food for lunch, we headed out.

We stopped at a drug store on the way to the airport to get me some meds for a headache, and when we walked by a freezer I saw they had BLUE BELL ICE CREAM!!  That stuff is the best in the world.  I bemoaned the fact that I couldn't eat an entire half gallon before my flight, when Andrea pointed out that they had pints!  I grabbed me some cookie dough, and that made the perfect ending to a perfect vacation. (Even though they wouldn't let me take it through the security checkpoint at the airport.  They claimed it was a liquid.  Trust me, I ate it far too fast for it ever to become a liquid.)

This cruise was everything I wanted it to be: relaxing, fun, adventurous, and a great get-away.  However, I came home and felt really ripped off.  Nothing had changed!!  I didn't feel any more patient with my kids.  I still had the same problems to deal with.  And I had more work to do than I had in ages.  Aren't you supposed to come back from vacation renewed and full of energy?  I didn't.  But that's okay.  The cruise was still the best thing I'd done in a long time.