Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Political Commentary from Denmark

From one of Grumpy Guy's former colleagues --a political observation:

"We in Denmark cannot figure out why you in the United States are even bothering to hold an election.

On one side, you have a bitch who is a lawyer, married to a lawyer . . and a lawyer who is married to a bitch who is a lawyer.

On the other side, you have a war hero married to a good looking woman with big breasts who owns a beer distributorship.

There is even a question?????"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rollin' on the River, India-Style

How does a day-long river trip sound?
If you're from Georgia, shades of the movie "Deliverance."

NOT !!!!

After the "grown-ups" pried me off the Navagation Bridge, we proceeded inland for an hour. My first land views of India were filled with color-
the greens seeming so much more vivid than Myanmar, the sky bluer, and the streets filled with women in saris of amazing hues. Hot pink, lime green, turquoise blue and lemon yellow.
White-washed brick buildings. Trees filled with red and yellow blooms.

We spent two hours cruising the Alapuzzha River and it's associated canals and lakes, which is nicknamed "the Venice of India."
The waterways are covered in water hyacinths, which float on the water, but don't muck up the motors. It's hard to tell where the water stops and the land begins. We marveled at rice paddies,
Hindu temples,
and homes built right up to the water.
Women washing clothes,
men bathing, and children frolicking in the water on their first day of summer vacation.
The weather, we were told, was unusually mild- in the low 80's F, and the breeze from the open sided riverboats was heavenly.
What we first thought was a stone wall was merely an enormous paddling of ducks..
Fast food???

Lunch at the Lake Palace Resort was delicious.
My first Kingfisher Beer in India!

The Lake Palace Resort is beautiful with its bridges and canals
But we have yet to figure out the penguin rubbish bins
A goat on a boat....where's Dr. Seuss when you need him??

On the way back to the ship, we stopped for a few minutes to watch elephants at work....and snacking.

Then back on board, looking forward to yet another sea day.

Arriving in India in Style

Resuming the saga of two weeks ago......There are ways to arrive in style....and then there are ways to arrive in STYLE.

The time--oh, my God, it's early...5:45am to be precise. Pitch black outside.

The place- deck 7 on the ship.

Cue the James Bond Theme. With secrecy approaching a surprise visit by Dick Cheney to Iraq, we link up by the elevators with my new bestest buddy, Aunty Ruthy. She was a friend of my beloved Aunty Mame and spent many happy days on the ship with her.

Now, Aunty Ruthy is a pal of the Serenity's captain. So with the okay from him, off we went to deck 11. Yep, WAAAYYYY up. To the Bridge.

From what I understand, before 9/11/2001, visits to the bridge were fairly routine. Not so anymore. Quietly shuffling down the corridor in near-darkness, past the deck officers' quarters, we reach the door and ring a door bell. Yes- a door bell- Not a buzzer, knocker, or alarm--a door bell. The door swings open, and in front of me is a wall of glass. And the deep, dark blue of the sky before sunrise and the inky blackness of the ocean.


The next thing I notice is the silence. It's so incredibly quiet. Aside from my mom and Aunty Ruthy, there's the Captain (Mom thought it was humorous he had to put on reading glasses....), the Chief Officer in charge of Safety and Security
who also happens to be the officer at my table on formal dinners--(and whose appearance in evening dress can best be described as "yummy"), and just a handful of other officers. No sound but a line of computer type every few minutes or so. Or Chief calling out a change in course by a degree or two.

We watched the pilot from Cochin come on board,
the boat pulling up alongside the ship with what looks so effortless, but requires amazing timing. And into Cochin harbor we sailed.

What amazed me most is that this huge ship- all 820 feet/250 meters and 68,000 metric tons of her- can be manuvered within a few centimeters. Captain delicately docked her as easily as I would park my car along the curb. We THEN had to back up 6 meters because of an ill-placed fence on the quay! 6 meters. It was fascinating.

If I didn't already love this gorgeous lady, I would after that morning. She is the fairest of crafts.

I finally understand what has lured folks out to sea for centuries. I wonder if I am too old to become a sailor.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Track-Region Meet

I feel like I'm at training camp--I'm going to have to do two-a-days until the blog is up-to-date!

Last Wednesday we had to interrupt prom preparation for the Region Varsity track meet. Brentwood's athletic director asked Girl to run in the 800 meters, which was an honor for her.
She wasn't happy with her time (perfectionist that she is) having just returned from Nicaragua (damn, that's another post....) and unable to train for a week....but she has 4 more years to qualify for state. And we were all proud of her! She ran a leg of the 4x400 as well--sub 70 seconds! And she has her final JuniorVarsity track meet of the season today.

I attended in my official capacity as the team's "Spike Goddess" (sounds so much sexier than "spike technician") and "cat herder"- tracking down athletes, getting them to their events in time, and generally making sure they stay out of trouble--mostly.
Very attractive pic of me eating cookies and GG staying out of the sun

Parents trying to figure out what's up

Boy qualified for state in 4 of his 5 events (to qualify, one has to finish in the top 4 at region). While he just missed qualifiying for the 100 meters- (which he ran in 11.7 seconds-a personal best), he will triple jump, run in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, and run the 200 meters, in which he is REGION CHAMPION with a time of 24.04.
Boy receiving his Champion plaque
The Brentwood boys' team- just 8 guys-
were region runners-up, and Boy's friend and teammate, Dart, was high scorerer, and region champ in THREE events.

It just so happened that the meet fell on Boy's 17th birthday, so everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to him after the meet was over. Embarrassed the hell out of him, but he took it in good spirit.

And so, off we head this week for the state track meet--Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The kids get to miss 2 days of school. Hope I can find a hotel!

I have my spike bag packed and my stopwatches primed!

I survived Prom

Best Junior Class in the World!

Ok, ok...I'll get back to writing about the last half of the Asia trip.....but I need to catch up on last week.
As you may have guessed, Junior/Senior Prom is a really really big deal around these parts. Take a broadway production, add the planning of a D-Day invasion, throw in some expensive ball gowns and tuxedos, and you get the picture. Planning takes up a great deal of the year, and these kids have been working toward last Saturday night since the past summer.

They chose their theme "The Golden Age of Hollywood" two years ago. I'd like to think that it helped that Brentwood's resident production designer/art director (oh, how I love a made-up title) also happened to be one their favorite class moms (do I have a big ego, or what?). So, design I did. And had a ball doing it. Of course, time became an issue (how could it not when I disappeared for 3 of the 4 weeks prior?), and certain elements didn't get done, but it was lovely, if I do say so myself. I just sketched and drafted- the building and painting of the set was all kid-power, with a larger-than-hefty dose of parental muscle.

Scaffolding gets erected so the walls can be lined and streamers put up along the ceiling.

The class has some very VERY talented artists. Hopefully you can tell from the tables that these are actually 6ftx9ft canvases of movie posters, painted by hand. They are works of art.

The little kids came through on Friday afternoon and got a real giggle out of Marilyn (the kindergarteners said "I can see her UNDERWEAR!!").
Movie posters and cutouts framed the entrance.

Some amazing dads figured out how to build a three dimensional replica of the famous Brown Derby restaurant, where the juniors and seniors had fun with the chocolate fountain.
An Oscar stage to make the Grand March entrance into Prom. Complete with sexy curved ramp. An engineering marvel.
Setting light levels for the stage nearly drove us crazy.
For those of you who know Grumpy Guy, the following video clips are for your enjoyment. He was trying to show some teens how to make a constant tension anchor knot...while he was on the ground and they were 25 feet in the air on the scaffold. It is typical GG.......



It was a challenge, but fun. To all the Juniors--I love you all!! You are my heart!

ps to Daddy D- I don't recall us having such elaborate prom decorations. But then, all I remember is a bunch of streamers, a band, some REALLY hideous tuxes and gowns-(you posted the pic on YOUR blog last spring) and a large quantity of vodka..............