Monday, December 29, 2008

Here's the first picture of the mighty blacksmith at work. This was taken seconds before the smoke alarm went off throughout the whole bead cottage. "eh eh eh evacuate smoke evacuate! eh eh eh evacuate smoke evacuate!" Good thing it doesn't call the fire department. We need to have a small fan put in the line to draw the smoke up the chimney better.

Here's a shot of most of the smoke going through the chimney.

And this is a bead I made that same day. I really like how it turned out. There's a lot of depth and even some iridescence on the surface.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

Merry Christmas everyone! Things here are slowly becoming normal. We've decided that since Barney is gone, we're going to start taking Java with us when we go places, like to family's houses for holidays. She was always a good traveler, unlike Barney, so it's pretty easy. When it's time to eat, we put her in her travel crate and she goes to sleep. She did very well last night at Sarah's with Elizabeth the human niece and Katie the dog niece. Java growled at Katie once in the beginning of the evening, so we just let them be in the same room together without getting too close to each other. After a while they got used to each other. Elizabeth was very excited to have a new black doggie come visit and she spent a lot of time petting her, not always so gently. Java reacted very kindly and let Elizabeth do her thing. This morning Robert and I played Scrabble and watched "A Christmas Story" a bunch of times. I made green bean casserole for the first time; it was a special request. So we're relaxing and having a pleasant morning. Best wishes to all of my readers for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I can't help compare how I'm feeling now about Barney to how I felt when my Dad passed away. I know that the two deaths are no comparison in gravity but I still feel just as badly. I also find myself rationalizing things in the same way as I did back then. Counting blessings, thinking about how the worry is over, and how the changes that come may be not be all bad. For instance, I was always afraid to have Elizabeth be near Barney because I've seen him snap at small children before. Now I don't have to worry about that. I never brought Barney and Java to the lake with Katie there because Barney didn't like dogs that were bigger than he was, so now we can bring Java next summer. There's a lot less to do in the mornings and evenings, now that he doesn't need to be medicated. Thinking about these things helps me to deal with the excruciating ache I have in my heart right now. It somehow makes it retreat to a dull ache instead of a stabbing emptyness. I know he was just a dog, but he was my beefy man and I'll miss him tons and tons.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We're home

So we're home. Flew in to a doozie of a snowstorm and tomorrow we're supposed to get more. Today has just sucked all around so I'll just leave it at that.

Rest in Peace, Barney Google

Barney has gone to the Rainbow Bridge. I wrote about his fainting episode before I left, well last over the past three days he had like 2 per day. This all happened at the vet's, while we were boarding him for our vacation. He was coughing a lot and the vet thought he might have aspiration pneumonia froma time when he threw up yesterday so she put him on antibiotics. Well this afternoon he started panting and couldn't stop, even when he was in the oxygen cage. So she called us to transport him to a 24-hour facility in Woburn. We picked him and Java up at our vets and drove to Woburn, Barney panting the whole way. They put him immediately in the O2 cage. The vet there examined him and recommended a cardiac ultrasound, an ekg and other stuff like that, along with hospitalization. So we were halfway home - Woburn is about 45 minutes away - and she called saying that they did the ultrasound and found a tumor in Barney's heart. This being inoperable and incurable, we turned the car around and went back to Woburn to be there for his euthanasia. She thinks the tumor was what was causing the fainting as it blocked his blood flow. Also she thinks he might have thrown a clot and had a pulmonary embolism which would have caused the panting. We went in one at a time to say goodbye because we had Java with us - she couldn't stay in the car because it's too cold out and I didn't want her to see it happen. When I went in, he tried to get up, which was hard on him, so I shushed him and patted him and gave him a kiss goodbye. He kissed me on the lips, which I don't usually allow since he's a poopeater, and we said goodbye. Robert then went in while I minded Java in the waiting room and the vet did the deed and it was very peaceful. He's out of pain and chasing squirrels now. He had a wonderful and happy life with us but it just wasn't long enough. We'll miss him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Today we were in St. Thomas. Robert went snorkeling and had a very nice time. He took some pictures and videos with his built-in camera mask. I had a back facial while he was gone. We were docked at a new pier that opened within the last three years. Last time we were here (2006) the QM2 had to anchor off shore and passengers were tendered to town. The new facility is near the St. Thomas airport, and watching the planes take off this afternoon reminded me of the time my parents took Sarah and me here to stay at MorningStar beach. There was some problem with our flight out and it looked like we would be spending another day here. But my father was patient and kind to the people behind the desk, unlike the other passengers, who treated the clerks as if they were personally responsible for the problem, and we finally were able to fly home that day. That was a fun trip. I miss my Dad.
As we sailed out of St. Thomas this evening, Robert and I participated in a renewal of wedding vows ceremony. I figured that since it was our 20th anniversary celebration cruise, that I could put aside my unwillingness to do such a thing. I always figured that I said them once and they stuck so what's the point? But I really wanted to do it again on this ship, so we renewed our wedding vows. It was very special and we said we'd do it again in another 20 years. Hopefully on this ship again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Today was a very relaxing, laid back day. We started out with coffee in the room as usual, and then went to the gym. After our workout, we ate breakfast and then returned to the stateroom. I read for a while and then took a nap. Robert went swimming. We had lunch and then played scrabble and dominoes. We went back to the room to do some more reading. We were in St. Kitts, which seems like a lovely island, as far as I could tell from the ship. Now we're headed to St. Thomas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Today we're in St. Lucia. We cancelled our dolphin watch because the seas looked too rough and Robert's sunburned. It has been kind of a cloudy day with an occasional shower passing by. We took the tender into town to do a little shopping and then came back to the ship and had tea. The tender ride was harrowing and I plan to stay on board the rest of the trip. And that's not me being a wuss, even Robert thought it was scary.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

We spent the day in Barbados today. Robert went snorkeling with sea-turtles and I got a facial. As I write this, we are leaving port and heading to our next stop, St. Lucia. We get almost no news here, except for Fox news which has been reporting about a terrible ice storm back home. We're hoping that it's not as bad as they're reporting but I doubt it. I hope everyone at home is OK. And that my house is OK and that Gary is OK. We tried calling home to see if the answering machine picked up and it didn't, so I assume we have no electricity. I hope it comes back soon. So that's about it. Tomorrow Robert and I go on a dolphin and whale watch. I hope we see some.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Right now, we're at anchor outside Grenada, the little island the US invaded back in 1983. I remember being so mad at Ronald Reagan. Anyway, it's a nice little island and it's very warm out. I'd say it's in the high 80's here. Yesterday Robert and I had a hot stone massage at the Canyon Ranch Spa. It was the best ever. Of course, I've only ever had two. But this one was still the better of the two. Today we reached Grenada at around 10:00 am. I went back to bed after we had our coffee in our room and Robert took the tender into town to explore. I woke up and got dressed, had breakfast and found a little nook to read in. I've really had a pretty lazy day. But it's been perfect. Robert came back after taking a walking tour of St. George. After lunch he went swimming while I took my second nap of the day. Now we're up and relaxing in our stateroom until it's time for dinner and skywatching, which will be tonight at 10:00 pm. I hope we see some meteors. I am having a little trouble posting pictures to the blog, so if I don't get any in here, you'll have to forgive me. At least I don't have too much trouble with the words.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We are having a really nice time. Choosing this trip for our 20th anniversary celebration was the right choice. We started the day with coffee in our room, then went to the gym. After breakfast, Robert went to a personal training session and I went to a scarf tying class. Now I'll be able to wear my Hermes scarves in many pretty ways. That class was very useful, actually. After lunch, Robert went to a wine tasting and I got a haircut. It looks pretty much the same, just shorter and a little more stylish. Tonight was our second formal night. We looked awesome. I took pictures, but I'm hesitant to post just pictures of ourselves all the time. I've been doing a lot of reading and sea-watching. I haven't seen any marine life, but Robert has seen flying fish. Tomorrow I'll be checking in from Curacao!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hello from the high seas! Right now we're sailing along the northeast coast of Cuba on the way to Curacao, our first port. The flight to Ft. Lauderdale was the best ever - only 35 people were on board. We landed on time and made our way to the ship. Boarding the ship was something of a cattle drive, but we made it on OK. Sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale was quite an impressive event. People gathered along the jetties to watch the ship go by. People in the houses and apartments along the canal flashed their porch lights, hollered into megaphones and waved as we passed. I took a movie of it, I was so impressed. After we sailed away, we had a nice dinner and then went shopping at Hermes. We went to bed early, because we got up so early to catch our flight. This morning we started out with coffee in our room and then went to the gym! Hooray for being good! After breakfast, we went to the beginners bridge class. (Don't get all excited). It was way more beginner than we needed. The instructor introduced the deck of cards and explained what the suits were (as if we didn't already know). Then she went into the mechanics of the game and we played one hand. So it was pretty much wist. And then she explained that we would not get into learning bidding at all, so we gave up on the beginners bridge lessons. There's an astrophysicist couple on board, doing lectures about the solar system and universe. One of these nights, they'll be hosting a star watch on the top deck so that we can see the meteor shower that's going to happen. I think it happens on Saturday night. So that's about it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

There's no place like home

I hate leaving home to go on vacation. Once I've left I'm fine, but in the hours leading up to leaving, I'm a complete worry-wart. It doesn't help that the animals cooperate by getting sick or acting strangely. Barney had a strange passing out episode on Thursday which scared us half to death and tonight Java is not eating and wants to stay outside in the 20-degree weather and 0-degree wind chill. At least they'll be at the vet's, which is the best place for them in case they do get sick. Half of me can't wait to get out of here and the other half doesn't want to leave. The funner half will win, and we'll have a fabulous vacation, which I hope to blog, by the way. So I hope I haven't forgotten anything. I still have 36 hours or so to remember anything I've forgotten. We'll be on the QM2 traveling around the Caribbean for 10 days, to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary which was back in August. Bon Voyage!