Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Beware of The Fog!

After an almost two day delay on the return home from my cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy thanks to good old mother-nature and a thick blanket of fog I’m well rested and happy to say I’ll have lots of photos to post from our trip soon!

According to many family and friends who happened to be shore side during the time my husband and I were “stranded” on a floating buffet, the media was going wild with accusations of unpleasant conditions upon the ship and many unhappy customers waiting at the cruise terminal for the arrival of our vessel.

Although I can certainly see why those that were waiting to get on the ship were distressed by the fact that on top of not being able to embark on time if they had driven in from out of town they had to make other arrangements for sleeping and eating, etc, I feel that we had it pretty easy on our end.

As soon as our ship's staff realized the port authority was going to make us wait to enter the terminal they went into action pulling out all sorts of snacks and sweets to fill the buffet lines and started running through every sea day activity they could think of. Camp Carnival was reopened for the kiddos, and when we found out we would be staying the night, the dining rooms were opened and evening entertainment was planned with the cruise director getting into the act with some amazing fiddle playing!

They went on, business as usual, trying their best to keep us updated and make sure we were all well taken care of.

Still, many passengers onboard were upset with the staff on the ship, holding carnival and those working upon the Ecstasy responsible for our delays.

True, delays can be unpleasant, but shit happens...

I had to wonder what some of the passengers had to be thinking when we would hear them acting bad-mannered toward the staff that was working around the clock, trying its best to take care of us.

We had two amazing waitresses from Romania, Aurora and Nicolett who were always there with a smile on their face even though they were miles away from their families, whom they hadn’t seen in months, and working tirelessly.  

When we entered the dining room the night of The Fog, we heard some passengers complaining to Aurora that they wouldn’t eat “days old food”. She assured them that the ship always had weeks of food onboard just in case of an emergency and that everything would be prepared fresh.

After helping them she approached our table with a cocked smile and said, “Hello friends! Would you like some days old bread?”

It’s this humor even in the most stressful of situations that made them some of the best waitressed we’ve ever had… on a ship or anywhere else.

I saw the persons that had snapped at our waitresses sitting in the lobby later that night looking out the window at the fog forlornly as the ship pulled back out to sea to circle until the port re-opened.

Others walked by to enjoy their extra cruise day and the newly planned activities, but the couple remained sitting there with their carry-ons beside them.

As my husband and I got up from our spot to head on to our next activity I heard someone explain to them that there was much to do on board right now and if they wanted they could gamble, go to a show, or even head to their rooms and relax. The man replied, “No thanks, I’m going to sit right here… when that ship gets into port I want to be the first one off.”

I hope they didn’t stay sitting there, as that didn’t look like any fun at all… but if they did, they missed a great night.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Will You Be My Anti-Valentine?

I'm not going to lie... I love Valentines Day!
Being that the happiest of heart days is less than a week away I'm definitely more than a little excited.
(Some of this excitement may stem from the fact that I'll be heading out on another cruise this Valentines Day, but for now I'll stick with saying its the day that has me pumped, haha.)

Despite my enjoyment of this ode to one of the many St. Valentines, I still get a giggle when I see these Anti -Valentines from meish.org:

There are many more cleverly worded images on their site, and they even offer the ability to send them as e-cards or good old fashioned greeting cards the old snail mail way.

I'm sure whoever receives these will really feel the love this year... or at least get a good laugh. :-)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!!!

Mardi Gras is coming!
Most New Orleans parades won’t start until around the 19th of February (click here to view the 2011 parade schedule), but many festivities have already begun. 

One such festivity is the Mardi Gras Ball...

Mardi Grass balls have been held in Louisiana since at least the 1700s, when the majority of such festivities were hosted by its French inhabitants.

An integral part of these private affairs is the revealing of the reigning King and Queen, whose identities are usually a closely guarded secret until the night of the festivities. Along with this revealing of royalty, there is normally a Debutant presentation where young women are formally introduced to society in beautiful white gowns.

Most official Mardi Gras balls are (and always have been) formal and private affairs, with the only attendees usually being members of the individuals Krewes and their invited guests.

This year I was lucky enough to be invited to the Krewe Bon Coeur Ball by a good friend of mine and her family!

The theme of the ball was "musical families" with each family setting their table to a particular theme.

My friend and her family had decorated their table with The Sound of Music in mind and "a few of their favorite things" as the centerpiece.

When we saw all of the lavish decorations and gowns and then realized we had forgotten our camera in the hotel room we were pretty bummed, but luckily we had our camera 
phones on us and were still able to get a few shots of our group.

So what did we miss with out the use of our awesome DSLR?  
Well, on top of being unable to get a well lit photo of the cool cats at our table, we missed a lot of good shots of the exquisite gowns worn by the krewe's royalty.

One such gown  had an amazing salute to Donny and Marie Osmond going on that I really can't explain with out a photo other than to say, WOW! haha

For those of you thinking, "Boooo, no photos of the gowns!!! Booooo!" Don't stop reading yet. J

On our way out of town we stopped at L’Auberge du Lac  for lunch where low-and-behold they had many superb Mardi Gras gowns on display.

This time we didn't forget our camera!

So folks, thats it for my weekend recap. 
Until next time, laissez les bons temps rouler!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

7 Billion

It’s a snow day in Texas today and the snow hasn’t even hit the ground yet!

Most facilities are closing down but luckily I still have Spanish classes tonight so I’ll have something to do on a cold Thursday night other than veg at home, haha.

So how else have I been entertaining myself during this unusually cold day in Houston?

YouTube of course!

This video was shared with me a few weeks ago but I keep going back to view it. I think NatGeo did an excellent job in breaking down the expected population boom into an entertaining yet elegantly simple video for us all to view.

It is estimated that the population of the world will reach seven billion by early 2012, and around eight billion by 2025-2030. By 2045-2050, the world's population is currently projected to reach around nine billion, with alternative scenarios ranging from 7.4 billion to 10.6 billion.

As a whole, we don't take up much space, but we do consume a lot of resources.

According to the January 2011 issue of National Geographic, ever since some of the first papers on demography were written in the 17th century, people have been calculating the outcome of People Vs. Planet for some 300 years now.

The mere fact that people have taken an interest in the population and its strain on the planet and our resources for so many years has brought about countless improvements for us Homo sapiens, but in many parts of the world issues involving food, energy, and safety needs of a growing population still exist.

Let’s hope that our choices in 2011 will bring about many more improvements for ourselves and the estimated populous coming our way.

Something to chew on during this cold winter day. J

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Groundhog Day

Tomorrow morning many persons across the U.S. will be looking to a cute little rodent in Pennsylvania surrounded by men in top hats for the answer to one of the biggest questions of the winter season… How much longer will winter last?

You could follow the norm, and join others in the traditional version of this occasion, OR you can join us here in Texas for a slightly different adaptation of the festivities.

Tomorrow morning, The Weather Museum of Houston, TX will have Alamo the Texas Longhorn in their facilities where he’ll be looking for his cattle shaped shadow.

If the groundhog err…um Longhorn sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter are expected. If not, start packing up your winter clothes because spring is just around the corner!

The event will begins at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 2nd at The Weather Museum, located in Houston’s Museum District .

Museum admission will be FREE for the day so if you haven’t checked out The Weather Museum yet or you’d just like to see a longhorn predict the weather I highly recommend you check it out if you can.

It should be a fun filled Mooooooooo-rning! :-p