Sunday, February 29, 2004

Home Again

What a cruise. This was easily the best of our 3 Carnival cruises to date. It will take me a few days to back post everything we did and setup the webpage with all of our pictures. Catching up after a weeks vacation is not easy. The house is still in one piece and the dog... is still hyper as ever.

Back Home

We woke up early because when we went to the debarkation talk yesterday we were told to be up because it was not certain when customs was going to start calling people. So we showered and I headed down to pick up the picture order and Nathan waited for room service. I got back to the room and ate with Nathan. We sat around for an hour before customs called us down. Then when we were done there we headed to the exit. When we got off we found our luggage and then called the shuttle from the hotel. We got on the road by 10am and were home in 3.5 hours. It was not bad at all. It was so nice to be home, see Angel and get laundry done! It was a wonderful trip and we made some great friends.

Debarkation

Rikki packed us up and put our luggage out the night before. We were up early for our breakfast and then waiting around to go through immigration/customs. I was surprised to hear that everyone has to go through immigration now. In the past it was only for those with greencards or non-residents. We definitely saw an increase in security. I even witnessed the customs officers walking a passenger off the ship in handcuffs. I guess that guy didn't expect to go through immigration either. It was about a 20 minute wait to go through customs to claim our 15$ souvenir and then wait for the all clear signal from them to let everyone Disembark. We were 8th off the ship and first to the luggage. It then took us 5 minutes to find our luggage and we called the shuttle back to the hotel. They were just a few minutes and then we were back in the truck driving home. It only took 3:30 minutes this time and we were glad to be home.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Final Day at Sea

Rikki was up early to go to the spa for a facial. I slept in again. Then spent the majority of the day at the casino. I definitely did better than most with my card counting at blackjack. But, it was still a losing battle in the long run. I tried the red snapper for dinner and had my only bad meal of the cruise. We watched "under the tuscan sun" in our room. We checked out our photos from the night before and threw all but 2 from monday away. We purchased those 2 and 10 wallets to send home. I went back to the casino and caught another comedian at midnight. He was even better than the first.

Final Day at Sea

I got up early to take a shower and then headed to the spa. In the Carnival Caper the night before there were listed specials for the last day of the cruise at the spa. I talked to Nathan and decided to head upstairs early in the morning to try to get an appointment for at least a facial. The facial was marked down from $55 to $25. I got an appointment right off. The appointment consisted of a 15 minute consultation and a 25 min facial. It was the most wonderful thing. I didn't realize how skin care, especially facial care was so important to women but it made sense when the therapist broke it down scientifically. After the facial I went down to the room for breakfast. After breakfast Nathan took off for the casino and I laid down to watch a movie and then took a nap. I got up to order room service and Nathan came back to eat with me. Nathan headed back to the casino after lunch and I walked around the ship. I met Nathan back in the room before dinner. I had chicken for dinner! After dinner we headed to the photo gallery to purchase two of the the dozen or so pictures that were taken of us. We also purchased 10 wallets to send to family. After that we headed to the room and I packed for us and then we watched a movie. Nathan headed to the casino and I got the luggage out into the hall. I then headed to bed when Nathan got back.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Another Day at Sea

After 3 days of port visits I was ready for a break. We had the usual breakfast, went to the pool and sat out in the sun reading books. We toured the photo galley and picked out our favorite photos. For lunch we tried the 24 hour pizzeria and ice cream. Dinner was another formal night. We dressed up, did some more pictures and enjoyed another meal followed by another vegas style show "Spin." I tested my luck again at the casino and lost.

Second Time out in the Sea

Got up for breakfast and then dressed to sit out in the sun. Another windy cooler day. I had a hard time staying out on the windy deck for a long time. We headed back to the room before noon just as the deck was starting to get crowded. The room wasn't made yet so we headed to the photo gallery to check out all the pictures from the previous couple of days. We decided to put the photos that we were interested in together back on the wall. We then headed back to the room for a shower and then off to the Lido deck for pizza and ice cream for lunch. I took a nap and when I got up I took another shower and got ready for our second Formal Night Dinner. Before we headed to the dinner table we got more professional photos taken. Nathan wore his whites and I wore the pink dress that I wore for dress rehearsal for our wedding. For dinner I had the prime rib again. After dinner we headed to the past guest party. We recieved an invitation for the party the night before. It wasn't very interesting. There was a movie about Carnivals fleet, a band, some Hor' Dourves and an award handed out to the couple that won the raffle. After that we headed back to the room to change for another show by the Elation dancers. This was obviously a different style of dance than the first show earlier in the week. After the show I headed to bed.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Belize

I was up early to make sure to get the first tender to Belize. There was no pier big enough for a cruise liner so we were anchored out about a mile from shore. I managed to get on the first tender since I was the only person going solo. Rikki planned to stay on the ship and sit at the pool all day. I booked a snorkeling tour through the Internet that I was really looking forward to. The tender ride was alot smoother than I expected. I was an hour early so I toured the local shops. There was nothing that interested me. Except a t-shirt with the taco bell dog sweating and bearing down on a toilet saying "too many tacos." The tour guide showed up late due to their failure to get the new "required" security badges. Then they explained how they had to cancel the snorkeling trip because of rough seas. I was very disappointed. I moped around for a bit thinking about heading back to the ship when I decided to try my luck with one of the "local" tours. At every port there are locals carrying around signs trying to convince people to go on their tours. I wandered around looking for a non-crazy looking tour guide that could speak English. It took a while. But, I did find one. He started out at 35$ but went down to 30$ pretty easily (more than half the cost of Carnival's version of the same tour). I bought the ticket and waited around for about an hour. About 30 of us crammed into their boat (I think it was one of the boats they used as a tender) and headed off to Gauf's Caye. We dumped the lazy people off at the island and the snorkelers went back out to the reef.

It was cloudy and cool with a strong wind. A little chilly getting in and out of the water. The snorkeling was decent, too bad the sun was not out. I took another 200 or so pictures but they did not come out as well without the sun out. We snorkeled for about 45 minutes and then went back to the island. The island was about the size of two basketball courts. I went back out into the water and checked out the reef nearby. I almost got myself in trouble by heading into the shallows with some rough waves throwing people into the reef. One lady panicked and scratched herself up pretty bad. After an hour on the beach we headed back to the pier. Overall it was worth what I paid for. Too bad the much better tour with two seperate snorkeling stops in better areas was cancelled. I was chilled to the bone from the wind and wet clothes. I went back to the ship early and sat out on the deck with Rikki trying to catch what little sun was available.

Third & Final Port

Got up early for Nathan to retrieve breakfast while he went to get his tender ticket for his ride to shore. I wasn't interested in any of the tours and didn't see any point in catching one of the tenders to do some shopping while Nathan was out snorkeling. I just stayed on the ship. When Nathan left I went to sit out by the pool. It was a cooler cloudier morning than the rest of the week had been. I stayed at the pool till 11. When I went back to the room the bed was not made yet so I headed out to walk the entire atrium and stop off at the art gallery. When I got back to the room at noon the bed was made and I ordered room service for lunch. None of the shops were open because we were in port so I couldn't do any shopping if I wanted to on the boat. After lunch I decided to catch one of the movies. After the movie I jumped into the shower and Nathan came back from his trip. We decided to hit the pool again since the sun was out but didn't stay out too long since it was still windy. We headed back to the room to get ready for dinner. I had lamb for dinner. After dinner was another show. The intro to the show was some modern songs sung by our cruise director and closing the show was a balancing act. That was awesome! After the show I headed to the casino again with Nathan for a little bit and then I headed to bed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Cozumel Mexico


Cozumel is a big tourist spot with as many as 8 cruise ships visiting per day. We only saw 3 when we pulled in. The port area was a picture perfect tourists paradise. Everything was clean and colorful. Shops lining both sides of the street you had to walk through to get to the taxi's. We took a taxi to Chankanaab park for 10$ and a 20$ entry fee. The park was also picture perfect. A snorkeling paradise. We were early and walked to the far end of the beach to have a couple of chairs and hut to ourselves. There was very little beach. Just a bunch of sand leading up to the rocky reef. Stairs led the way down into the clear water and I spent several hours snorkeling. The underwater digital camera case for my olympus stylus worked great. I took almost 200 pictures. It was tricky trying to hold the camera still. It was slightly cooler today. In the 90's but slightly cloudy. Rikki split the time between sunbathing and laying in the shade under the hut. We stayed on the beach and saw very little of the rest of the park. They had swimming with the dolphins, nurse sharks, stingrays or miniature gulf, a few archeological sites, scuba diving and diving with those bubble helmets for those who need glasses. The park was well worth the 40$.

We headed back early afternoon again a little worried about getting too much sun. We were both very liberal with the sunscreen. On the way back to the ship Rikki stopped at Diamonds International to check out a heart shaped diamond. I browsed a few other stores until I got bored and went back to get her. She had a .71 ct heart-shaped diamond out and looking at it. We both knew she wasn't going to buy. But, I figured I'd do some haggling. The salesman was an old guy in a nice suit, mid 50's. Retail price for the diamond was 2,800$. I got him down to 1700$ and then down to 1460$. I got him down to 1400$ but he wouldn't go any further until I would say I would buy so he could get "the manager." I felt a little guilty for wasting the guys time and exited with a "thank you for your time sir" and a handshake. I found a souvenir worth buying at a small cart between the shops. It was a conch shell cut in half and cut into a flower. Very nice looking and the kid selling it slammed it against the table a few times to demonstrate how sturdy it was. He started at 20$ and went down to 15$ and included a "nice sampsonite carrying case" which was a black plastic bag. The kid was very good at his job. Back at the ship we had another excellent dinner and went to see the comedian. He was very good and I went back for the midnight R rated show after making my 100$ back from the casino.

Second Port

Awakened in the morning to breakfast brought to us by room service. Took a shower, grabbed our IDs and headed out into the Plaza. You have to walk through the plaza to get to the taxis. We took the $10 taxi to get to Chankanaab Park. The price for admission into the park was $20. When walking through the park it reminded me of a rain forest. It was so beautiful and the site is preserved at its natural state. We saw an iguana and realized after taking its picture that is was protecting its nest of little ones that was built in a hole, under the curb. There was a very small beach area that was closed off before the reefs. This area is meant for little ones and is sectioned off to keep them out of harms way from the reefs. As we continued walking we noticed there were many things to do in the park. Nathan mentioned most of them in his post. I was rather surprised. As Nathan went snorkeling I split my time between the sun and the shade. I didn't want to get too much sun. There is just something about swimming with the fish that just does not strike my interest. If the fish isn't in a can or in the frozen section of the grocery store I just don't see any real need to become one of them. Seeing the fish when helping Nathan get into the water was enough for me. After a couple of hours at the park time to get back to the boat for lunch and some more z's. But before we got to the boat I was curious to see what was available at Diamonds International. When stepping inside I was curious about seeing the heart shaped diamonds. The store had only one in stock and went to retreive it for me to take a look at. Nathan found me and I tried to stop him before coming in but that didn't work. I wasn't interested in purchasing the diamond I was just curious. Nathan stepped in to do some haggling. I felt so guilty because I didn't want Nathan to put himself in that position of feeling like he needed to rescue me. I thought that I was handling the situation well. Anyway Nathan posted about the diamond except that he didn't tell you the diamond was a color of K and clarity of I3. I love the conch we purchased after getting out of the store. What a cool thing! The kid impressed me when he wacked the thing on the cart. When we got up we took a shower and head to dinner. Dinner was linguini with a mushroom cream sauce. After dinner headed to the comedian. After the comedian insted of heading to bed I followed Nathan to the casino and just watched as he played blackjack and craps. Then I headed to bed when Nathan played his limit.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Progreso Mexico

We were woke up by a knock on the door. Room service delivered our typical breakfast once again. This was the only time they didn't call first to warn us. We were pulling into Progreso but I didn't see anything noteworthy to photograph. We headed out early morning and boarded the shuttle that took us to the mainland. Progreso has a 7 km (5 mile) pier. The shuttle dropped us off right in the marketplace where dozens of tables were setup for people to buy souvenirs. We bypassed these and walked straight to the beach that we saw driving in. My expectations were very low so I was delighted with the place. We walked several minutes down the beach to get away from the lazy crowd and grabbed a shady spot underneath a palm tree. We gooped ourselves up with sunscreen and relaxed. I tested out my new snorkel, mask, and fins. The water was cool. Around 70 degrees and too murky to snorkel. It was a very nice beach and the 90+ degree heat sent us back to the ship by early afternoon. If it wasn't for the shade we would not have lasted that long. We hit the buffet for a late lunch then took a nap. Got up for another excellent dinner and then I hit the casino. My 100$ limit per day lasted a long time playing blackjack.

First Port

Breakfast was delivered early by room service. After taking a shower we headed out to catch the free shuttle to head to town. Of course we had our Carnival ID and photo ID on us when we left. Once we got to town we walked through the market to get to the beach. It was nice to find shade under a palm tree. The water was pretty murky but the sand was beautiful. It is not like here in Corpus Christi. The sand was rough on the feet. We stayed out for a couple of hours and then decided to head back to the boat to catch some lunch and z's before getting ready for dinner. Dinner was very strange. I ordered vegetarian lasagna. It was definitely not what I thought it was going to be. I guess I really should have known better though because it is a cruise and they do serve very elegant meals. Headed to the comedian after supper. Then off to bed after the comedian.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Sea Sick

Woke up in the morning to a call from room service. Breakfast on the way up! I got up and walked around and realized very quickly that it wasn't going to be a productive day. I couldn't even really eat breakfast and then I didn't even have lunch. I spent the day in bed sleeping. It wasn't until after taking some dramamine that I felt better. Got up to walk around outside with Nathan. Then stopped at the Photo Gallery to check out pictures from embarkation. Headed back to the room to get ready for our First Formal Night Dinner. Got plenty of pictures taken. Nathan dressed in his whites (I love that uniform!) and I wore the black dress I wore for our engagement photos. Nathan got many thanks and stares from the uniform. All of that makes me so proud to be a military wife and to be able to share that with him. After dessert we headed back to the room to change before the big production show. I really wasn't blown away by the production. I guess I expected more from the dancers but on a moving boat they deserve more credit. After the show I headed to the room to turn in.

The First Day at Sea

Carnival calls days at sea "Fun Days at Sea." Breakfast was on time, they even called first. It included our requested bread, danishes, muffin, bagel, citrus segments, melon, cereal, OJ and milk. The only thing we didn't eat was the muffin. It was some strange wheat raisin combination that was disgusting. We went to an art auction that was interesting. Several Rockwell paintings were up for sale. Good prices since they were bought in gross and were duty free. I went to a decent brief about the ports we would be visiting. Of course they were pushing the Carnival excursions on everyone. The prices ranged from about 60-140$. We did not purchase any through carnival.

It was the first formal night so I put on my choker whites and Rikki wore some black number. I received the usual stares along with many compliments and thank yous. We went around to all the different photographer stations and had a dozen or so photos taken. Everyone at our table complimented both of us. The meal was outstanding. I had lobster tail while Rikki had prime rib. Every meal had about 6 starters, 2 salads, 5 main courses, and 5 desserts. There were no limits to what you could combine. Several of us had several starters and more than one main course. They would get you pretty much whatever you wanted. I tried tea one night and they brought out a display case with about 6 different types to choose from.

After supper we went to the first big vegas show, Rhythm. The theme was calendar girls for all the different holidays. It was impressive. But, I'm not an expert on such things.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Chaos

Ok so hubby posted about embarkation. I will never understand how Carnival organizes so many people coming from so many places through many forms of transportation onto the ship! It seems like an impossible task! Thank goodness we stayed at a Hotel so close to the pier. Hubby talked about the days events but forgot some things or got lazy in writing after working on putting up all the photos all day today! After the ship tour we had the wonderful boat safety drill. It was raining and our muster station was outside by the pool! I was hyper after having the cake for lunch. Not a good combination! Anyway that was 15 minutes. Thank goodness because sometimes I wonder about what germs are sitting on those life-jackets. This first dinner was the best of the cruise if you ask me: Penne Pasta!

Embarkation

We were up early but had to wait until 11:30 to check out and wait in the lounge to catch the shuttle. We waited with about 20 other cruisers. We were the only ones going Carnival. Everyone else was going to New Orleans onboard the Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Sea (turns out they got stuck in New Orleans because of a ship that capsized and sank at the entrance of the Mississippi River). The shuttle dumped us at the pier and we avoided the baggage handlers. We bypassed luggage drop-off and followed the signs to check-in. We did not have a room assigned yet so we needed to know our room before we dropped off our luggage. We were unable to check-in because we could not get past security with our luggage (it would not fit through the x-ray machine). So we asked a Carnival Rep and she brought us downstairs to luggage where they had our room number. We finally got rid of our luggage and couldn't help wondering if it would make it to our stateroom. The Rep was nice enough to bring us back to the front of the line back at the security point when we returned. Then we waited at checkin and in-line to board the ship for a total time of about one hour, not bad.

We were surprised to learn we were upgraded to Verandah deck. It was on the forward part of deck 11 and only had 42 staterooms. The majority of the passengers are on decks 4-6. It was very quiet and we were just a few seconds away from the atrium and pool deck. The only bad part is that you could feel the ship swaying more easily. The room was decorated with the congratulations and valentines packages. It was a nice touch. Our champagne was not available until we were in international waters. I guess Carnival does not have a Texas liquor license. We took the ships tour they offered and followed one of the two hosts around the ship. We did not learn anything new. Our luggage was waiting outside our door when we got back. Then it was off to early seating dinner where we sat with: Todd & Robin, Ray & Shirley, Rich & Debbie, and Mahn & Thomie. The rest of the night was spent walking about the ship and recuperating from the long day. Before going to bed we filled out our room service card for breakfast to be delivered in the morning.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Boring

How do people deal with Texas? There is nothing but flat barren land. It is a boring state. The last 20 minutes of our ride to Gavelston I saw trees. I was so excited. Something to see and look at. Maybe I just lived in Vermont too long! The Holiday Inn Express was beautiful! The staff was excellent with letting us know that we were on the schedule for the shuttle ride in the morning. Dinner was at Denny's. Not really a good meal for the day before sailing and apparently there was only one cook for the evening. The restaurant was pretty empty when we arrived so we didn't notice the lack of cooks but there were customers that were upset with the service. After dinner we walked down the street to see the parade. It was absolutely unbelievable. I can finally say I have been to a Mardi Gras Parade. What exactly is it about catching colorful beaded necklaces? After the parade we walked back to the truck and then drove back to the hotel. Bedtime once we got to the room.

Driving in Texas

We started out early saturday to drive up the coast to Galveston. I had my laptop setup in the truck. A mess of wires, cigarette lighter adapters and GPS mounting took up more room than Rikki did. The mapping software worked fine the whole way and we expected a scenic, nonchalant, drive up the coast. It did not take us long to figure out scenic drives through Texas do not exist. The only interesting sites were the oil, aluminum, and chemical plants dotting the landscape. Near the end of the trip Rikki blurted out "look, trees." They were the first real scenery we saw in the 4 hours besides the bayous. We did make good time on those farm roads.

We arrived early at the Holiday Inn Express, got a room and took a nap. We woke up for supper at Denny's (big mistake) and walked along the beach to the Mardi Gras parade. It was amusing watching the crazed people fighting over the beads. The floats and the high school bands were impressive, it was based off a rock and roll theme. It took about 45 minutes to pass. It was cold, 60 something degrees, so we headed back to the hotel and called it an early night. We parked in the back (free parking for cruisers) and confirmed the shuttle would take us to the pier at noon tomorrow.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Ready to Cruise

The weather keeps getting better by the day. Today it is sunny and 80 degrees. It looks like we will have good weather throughout the cruise. We will leave early tomorrow morning for Galveston and not be back until the 29th. The drive up the coast of Texas should be pretty scenic. I have the route planned out on my laptop with Delorme Street Atlas 2004 with GPS. We will arrive in Galveston during Mardi Gras. They are expecting half a million people there. Who knew Mardi Gras was not just in New Orleans. I need to go finish packing (at least appear to help pack, the wife is doing most of it). I just hope she does not get sea sick. I will leave the computer up so Xtopher can keep blogging. I plan on back posting what we do every day with plenty of pictures. I can't wait to use my underwater case! Wish us fair winds and following seas.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Sunny and in the 70's

Yesterday, I over did it. I ate too much at the luncheon. Ate even more for supper. Then, to top it all of, the girl scouts delivered! I like the Girl Scouts about as much as I like Hallmark. Both take advantage of people. Rikki got the peanut butter cups. I got the thin mints. Half a package somehow disappeared. So I ran a little longer this morning. 45 minutes and the furthest run yet. It was so nice out the wife and I went out for a walk afterwards. We saw our first turtle on the beach. Jelly fish are still everwhere. It was low tide so we got some good pictures:

Update: I finally got around to finding the story behind the turtle above. It is a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Schmoozing with the Politicians

I was volunteered to go to the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce's 80th anniversary. The theme was "Prosperity through Partnership." It was held at Texas A&M's lonestar ballroom. The guest speaker was senator Kay Bailey Hutchison She made an excellent speech. Commenting on base closings, interstate funding, outsourcing, and the war on terror. I was glad and surprised to hear her solution to outsourcing was higher education. I found the interstate funding mildly interesting. Texas gets back 90.5% of every dollar it sends to the government for the Interstate system. She played this up like it was an atrocity (dropped from 95%). Granted, Texas has the most interstate mileage in the country. But, they don't have to deal with snow, salt, and frost heaves. I would expect Texas to receive <90% and states like VT > 110%. She also commented on reasearch programs and joint ventures funded by the federal government. She wants Texas to be known as a research state. Texas A&M had several programs that involved the city and fit the theme of the luncheon. Overall more impressive than I expected. The food was very good of course at 25$ per plate.

Monday, February 16, 2004

The Cruise Bug

Mom told me last night a Carnival cruise ship out of galveston had 300 sick passengers. Luckily it was the Carnival Celebration and not the Elation. It just arrived back in port after a 5 day cruise to Mexico. I am not worried about getting sick. The chances are slim. I hope people are smart enough to do the simple things like washing their hands and not touching their faces. Here is a little math of my own to put things in perspective. 20% of the passengers became sick while only 2% of the crew did. Why? The crew know to be careful and keep clean because they deal with the crowded environment daily. The passengers do not. Lets hope the Elation doesn't get a bug.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

The Weight Rollercoaster

Bro #1 posted about his ritualistic spring dieting. Sounds familiar. I have been going through the same thing except I do not have the excuse of cold weather. I usually range between 160 and 185 lbs. Four years of cross country at college was a life saver for me. Without it I do not think I would have met the weight and physical standards required by the Navy to earn my commission. Now I have to maintain below 177 lbs to meet the militaries body mass index (BMI) standard. Alot of diet fads come and go I know what works for me. Maybe someone else can learn from my experience.

I'm not a big fan of Atkins. I think his plan takes advantage of a persons desire for a "quick fix." It does allow you to drop weight fast with minimal work, but like all diets with immediate results it is unhealthy and does not work in the long run. I am more impressed with Dr. Phil's lifestyle change or Readers Digest Change One plan. Real weight loss and maintenance requires a change in eating and exercise habits, not dieting.

So far this year I have dropped 15 pounds with another 10 planned to go. I eat 5 times a day. slim-fast shake for breakfast (mainly for convenience, I'm not a big breakfast person) granola bar for snack. slim-fast Shake or bar for lunch. Boiled egg for afternoon snack and then a small supper. It works for me, the granola/egg snack keeps me from starving. I've been excercising at least 3 times a week. 30-50 minute runs or 1 hour at the gym (10 min bike, 10 eliptical machine, 10 stair climber with sets of pullups and crunches before and after each. You have to build muscle.) I have the free time to exercise right now. But in the past, and no doubt in the future, I will not. I do love food and I will continue to splurge on occasion. So the rollercoaster will continue. My extra incentive is Navy standards and the semi-annual physical readiness test. At 67 inches I am considered obese when weighing more than 177 lbs by the Navy BMI standards. I weigh 170 right now. My optimum BMI is 162. I weighed that at the peak of cross country training once. I would like to see if I can hit 160. We will see how long my motivation lasts.

Super Size Me

What happens to someone that eats McDonalds 3 meals a day for a month? Besides the obvious, they win best director of a documentary at the sundance film festival. The documentary looks interesting and people could probably actually learn something from it. Seems a little naive to expect McDonalds to stop super sizing. It is up to the consumers to stop asking for it.

The full article.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Valentine's Day

I got off easy this year. Our cruise is both of our Valentine's day presents. As well as our celebration of getting my wings of gold.

I expected to watch some mushy movie on cable with the wife today. We ended up watching Child's Play 1 & 2. It was Rikki's choice. Gotta love Chucky. I spent the afternoon working on my webpage. I created a banner that I plan on adding to as we get more pictures. I think the domain change is complete and godaddy seems to be a good service. I will check out their email options next.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Navy Blue Angel for Sale

I wasn't going to post today. Then I saw what was for sale on Ebay. The bidding has started at 1.05 million. My parents were forbidden from taking pictures in the aircraft hangars when they visited. Seems like an F-18 is a little more important to national security than pictures of C-12 maintenance.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Comments Fixed

I was rather surprised no one had taken the time to comment on any of our fine posts yet. Until, Bro #1 emailed me that it didn't work. Turns out I had to do another work around to get past cable restrictions. Cable companies do not like people running servers on their home computers. To try and deter this they block the normal web traffic that uses port 80. So, I have to forward all traffic to my router via port 8080, then to my desktop as port 80. Turns out the comment section required this same workaround. You will notice when you type in natewinters.com you will be transferred to: http://68.201.93.16:8080/ Which is the IP address of my computer plus the port number. I do not like advertising my IP so I have switched my domain name from yahoo to godaddy.com for about 1/3 the price. They offer domain masking so in the future no one will see my IP. So comments are open and working... I think. In the future if anyone sees something wrong with my website please let me know. Being inside a network and behind a router I do not know how things are working coming from the Internet. Thanks

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Cruise Preparations

I just had to go buy some new toys for the cruise. The geekiest of which is an underwater camera case for our Olympus Stylus 400. It is "good down to 131 feet, constructed of transparent polycarbonate with stainless steel and nickel-plated brass hardware and has a tight O-ring main seal with safety lock." I am beginning to wonder if I bought a camera case or a pawned space shuttle component from NASA. This is going to go great with my albino like skin, calculator watch, and snorkeling gear:

Monday, February 09, 2004

Belize Shore Excursion

I have done alot of research at The Cruise Critic and Carnival Travel Club to plan what we will do at each port. For Progresso and Cozumel we plan on going on our own to the beaches. But, Belize is a new port with very little to do. So I shelled out the money to go on a shore excursion. Carnival offers some that are extremely over priced. I found two on the Internet. The first through Belize Cruise Excursions was sold out. The second (more expensive) was available through Coral Breeze limited. They replied back immediately with a paypal request that I sent right back. Gotta love Paypal.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Hawaiian Style

Ok so hubby posted yesterday about the Hawaiian marathon on the Travel Channel. After seeing the Top Ten Best Beaches in Hawaii we are really starting to get excited about our move out there next year. This morning I found a website that helps one learn to speak Hawaiian and to find your Hawaiian name. Nathan is Nakana and I am Liki. Take a peek and join in our Hawaiian excitement.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Awaiting Oahu

The travel channel is having a marathon on Hawaii. The top 2 beaches are both in Oahu along with the best surfing in the World (the pipeline?). I am ready to move right now. Especially after these pictures:

Friday, February 06, 2004

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Carnival Elation 2/22/04

I am utterly lost with all the free time I have now. I have been spending some of it searching the Internet for information about our upcoming cruise. I found a listing with descriptions and prices of shore excursions. Not something Rikki and I usually do but I figure I would post them here for others to see and download if they want. They are not the best quality.... but readable.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I am Brushing and Flossing Mom

I went to the dentist early this morning. The checkup and cleaning went well. I think there is a direct relationship between how clean your teeth are and how gentle they are with their picks. The dentist did give me two sealants. Glad to see them providing preventive maintenance.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Webpage restored

I have finally taken the time to put the webpage together. I am happy with it for now. Everything I have been meaning to add is here. It is a good start. We will be adding more thumbnails to posts since I finally figured that out. More will come as I learn how to use the more powerful features.

Thumbnailing with ImageMagick is very nice. Here is an old shot I like. Buzz trying to take a tennis ball off Dad's truck hitch.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Showstoppers

A rather long article that explains the failures leading up to 9/11. I bet the 9/11 investigation will come out with something similiar.

Finished up the paperwork for my FAA commercial pilots license. I am qualified for single and multiengine land ratings with a type rating in the Super King Air (BE200). All this means is I can go out and fly any single or multi-engine airplane that weighs less than 12,500 lbs. If I meet insurance requirements of course. Most companies require military pilots to fly a few hours in the type of aircraft you want to rent.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Superbowl Sunday

It was a good game. I missed the streaker that one of the patriots supposedly tackled. Really only watched the last few minutes and commercials. Nice being able to sit in front of the TV with my wireless laptop connection. Just like last year we had local programming for the commercials and missed out on my favorite part... the commercials. Saw the Budweiser donkey and that was about it. We made pizza again, I tried a garlic rosemary crust this time. It was very good. The wife is staying away from the breadmaker since the potato bread incident. I'll leave it up to her whether to write about it.

Patriots 2 years in a row. The wife made a lot of noise throughout the game. She scared the dog every time she yelled. Besides the wifes yelling the house is very quiet since the parents went home and we are no longer dogsitting.

Note to self: Never get a dog you can't wash in the kitchen sink.