Saturday, May 17, 2008

Just some more Serenity

Just a few more pics....

Cute as can tablemates, Rosy and Patrick from Singapore.

Aunty Ruthy, of bridge visit fame, putting at the Country Fair.

Silly Slavs with me in Burma. Big Bro, (aka Bratislav, and Nina's husband) making faces and Little Bro (Borislav) cracking up.

Yes, the water of the Indian Ocean is really THIS BLUE!!!

I love, love, love my Lido Guys...

Whatever am I gonna do with Earl and Ross?? Or how am I going to cope without them????

Miss Pat, Mama's yoga teacher, and Mama.

I love the creativity of the Serenity's pastry chef and staff...don't you LOVE these little marzipan chinamen???

What Makes the Serenity So Special

What is it that makes the Crystal Serenity such as special ship? Yes, she’s gorgeous, luxurious, and well-appointed. You lack for nothing when you sail on her. But her most charming asset is her crew. From her Norwegian captains and deck officers, to her Filipino breakfast crew in Lido, to her mostly-Eastern European housekeeping staff, everyone is knowledgeable, hard-working, experienced, and above all, unfailingly kind. Here are just a few of the people who make the Crystal Serenity so special....

My mom and Snjezana--or "Nina", which is easier for Americans...she was so good to my Auntie Mame.. she's like family!! She had just been announced as Serenity's Employee of the Month!

My adorable stewardess, Petra, pretending to curtsy. She ran errands, ferried bottles of wine to the dining room, fetched me herb tea when I needed it most, and does a mean rendition of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina." Also loves Forrest Gump...."Life is like a box of chocolates..."

Oh, those Lido guys dress up great at cocktail parties.

Little Bro (another of Auntie Mame's favorites...his real name is Borislav), Goran and Jaco....great waiters in the Dining Room!
Nice Tails!!

Lido Guys messing around the American Buffet.
More Lido staff...they are so wonderful!

Mama and darling Oleg--always great, whether fetching wine at lunch or tea in the Bistro!
Wild and Crazy Ross..."Good Morning, Beautiful!"
The very very bestest sommelier in the whole wide world...Matthias. As wise as he is kind. I'm glad you are my friend, darlin'- hang loose!

Just a Little Bit of Bragging

Allow me, please, to fluff up my maternal feathers a little bit...

Boy was named Brentwood's Male Scholar-Athlete of the year, and elected Student Council Vice-President for next year.....and Girl is Valedictorian of her 8th grade graduating class!!!!!!

Don't know where they "grew their brains..." musta been that 4th martini in the 5th month of pregnancy.......

But, please remember, as I remind them often enough...that Boy still can't navigate his way out of a wet paper bag, Girl has room maintenence issues that make us fear an imminent visit from the Centers for Disease Control, and neither one of them plays well with cats.....

Well done, progeny....well done! Daddy and I are so PROUD of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

If Wishes Were Horses

Virginia McAfee is a friend of mine here in Washington County. She teaches English at Brentwood--and Girl has been very lucky to be her student this year. Virginia also writes a column in the weekly paper The Sandersville Progress. This week, I liked her article so much I asked if I could reprint it here. So, with her kind permission.....

If Wishes Were Horses…

Do you remember that old saying, “If wishes were horses, then beggars might ride”? If that statement were true, I would sometimes have a regular stampede of critters riding through my house. I am not talking about world peace here or stamping out hunger. I have listed some of my more whimsical wishes that have crossed my mind more than once and left their hoof prints in my memory, and I think they would all be safe if they came true.

I wish that…
1. cleaning my house could be done with something akin to the computer mouse. Just a few turns and swoops and the clutter would just disappear before my eyes!

2. my mind could grasp technology as quickly as it does trivia. Why can I remember bits of information that have no relevance, but I can’t figure out how to retrieve phone calls on my cell phone?

3. my brain wouldn’t quit on me right in the middle of a conversation when I need a specific word or person’s name.

4. I had a cabin by the pond not far from my house where I could go when I want nothing but bird song and the whisper of the wind to break the silence.

5. I could belt out a song like Aretha Franklin and play the piano like Dino.

6. I could be the one to say “Oh, let me hook up that amplifier system and adjust the sound a little,” when no one else has a clue what to do.

7. I really liked sports and knew more about them so that I could reel off names and sports trivia like a pro when I am around a bunch of guys.

8. I could still wear high heels and not walk like an arthritic rhino.

9. I lived in a very old house with lots of character and its own friendly ghosts.

10. just once I could say to the saleslady “Please bring me a size six; this eight is way too baggy.”

11. my feet were one size smaller.

12. my knees had not passed their expiration date so early.

13. it snowed every Christmas and stayed on the ground for several days, but the electricity would never go out.

14. I knew how to fix wiring, build stone walls, lay tile and carpeting and do carpentry work.

15. someone would invent remote controls for negative personalities. You whine; I zap you!

16. my eyelids weren’t beginning to look like little awnings over my eyes.

17. I liked to cook. My husband might wish this one too.

18. I were better about sending cards and making phone calls to sick friends. My heart is in the right place. But how will they know?

19. more people had a sense of humor and took themselves less seriously.

20. I could have a menagerie of animals with the barns and roaming room to care for them.

21. I could tell my mother how much better I understand what she taught me.


I am going to write about Mumbai (Bombay) before I totally forget about it.

As I previously said, the first day we arrived I went to Agra and the Taj Mahal, so I really didn't get to see Mumbai until after we left the ship. That always is a bit bittersweet, for I love the ship and her staff. But proceeding onward, we debarked and were taken to one of the finest hotels in Asia, the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers, or simply, the Taj.

From out balcony in the Towers, we could see the Serenity.

We arranged for a car and had the most delightful driver, Arvind, show us all the highlights of Mumbai--the Hanging Gardens

Ghandi's house

and the Dhobi Ghats, where all of Mumbai's laundry is washed by dhobi wallas--and everyone gets the correct items back--it's amazing.

We returned back to the room, which overlooked the Gateway to India, and watched, a little sadly, as the Serenity sailed off toward Egypt. I found out I REALLY don't like watching her sail away without me.......

We then went down to drown our sorrows in India's finest restaurant, the Zodiac Grill. It was so good we ate there two nights in a row. The Camembert Souffle is the best thing I have ever tasted (and I am still trying to wrangle the recipe from the chef...stay tuned..) and the sorbet was presented in such a charming manner, chilled with dry ice, that we had to take pictures.

The next day,we toured the Prince of Wales' museum

and did some last minute shopping in the Cottage Crafts of India store.

After another delicious dinner at Zodiac, we headed for the airport for a flight that left at 2am. Because of time differences and connecting flights, most international flights leave India in the wee hours of the morning. The Lufthansa flight was nice- not quite as nice as Singapore Air, but what is??? We had a 4 hour layover in Frankfurt, and it was off again to Atlanta.

And it was heaven to sleep again in my "own widdle bed".

It was an amazing trip. And if I learned nothing else about Mumbai, I learned that Mumbaiers love McDonalds....and McDonalds DELIVERS!