Tuesday, November 24, 2009


One reason we won't take the kids on a cruise yet (well, not on Royal Caribbean anyway) is that the railings have horizontal bars...perfect for kids to climb up on to lean over the railing. I just know my children would do that. Maybe not yours, but mine would.

I was heading to my Yahoo email, when a heading in the Yahoo news caught my eye. A 15 month old toddler was being held by his mother in the Toronto airport, she got distracted with her other son, and the toddler wiggled loose--over the railing, fell 15m, and sadly died. This might sound like an accident, but it was preventable. Simple babywearing could have prevented this. The next option would be the 'traditional' stroller. I have such a fear of this sort of thing happening to my own children, and I don't have either safety method anymore (I also don't, generally, hold any of my children on my hip anymore either). The next time you lift your child up to see something, think about this little boy.

Oh Really?

I get an email newsletter from Burda, the sewing company. It said there's a new pattern for a plus size wrap dress. Now, I know I've put on weight, but I don't consider myself plus size...however, in the sewing world, I know I'm at the top of the normal range. However, when I went to the pattern page, this is what I saw:

Does she look plus size in the least? From looking at the comments, I think she's in the smallest size. While the media gets slammed a lot for using tiny wisps of gals to portray real women, I think there's also an issue in the sewing world. Many women turn to sewing because they don't fit regular clothes, and even still, I don't fit perfectly in sewing patterns either. But to see this, and be told it's "plus size"? Makes me want to never buy a Burda pattern.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Thanks Cheryl for the comments on the last post. It's nice to know there's someone reading :)
It got me thinking a bit more about clothing and immigration, etc. Adapting to a new culture while still being proud of your 'old' one and trying to incorporate the two. The 'holiday' season is a great example of this. The incredible hoopla about not being able to say "Merry Christmas" or have Christmas trees up in public buildings. I don't believe in Christ, but I still say "Merry Christmas". However, I know that in reality, especially in larger urban centers, many of the people you run into also do not believe in Christ but still have strong---very strong---religious views. Just different. Even years ago, if you knew (or guessed that) someone was Jewish, for example, you just knew not to say "Merry Christmas". You might not say "Happy Hanukkah" but you wouldn't be inconsiderate and force your seasonal greeting on someone you knew wouldn't appreciate the sentiment. So, I sort of see the point of not saying "Merry Christmas" to everyone you come across. Even the white chick hairdresser (is--not an 'obvious' non-Christian minority) might be pagan, or Jehovah, etc. LOL. It's a consideration that's pretty easy to adapt to. Now, being that I don't believe in Christ, perhaps it's easier for me to think this way. We DO celebrate "Christmas" and I wish there was another term for it (this was a big debate on a parenting group I'm in). Happy Santa Day? Keep the religious salutations to the religious buildings and settings they belong in.

Further along this line is the idea of cultural dress versus religious dress. I imagine it can be fairly easy to give up cultural dress (a kilt; Bermuda shorts; cowboy hat) when you come to a new country, particularly if there's a different climate. However, for some cultures, religion IS their culture. While the wearing of the bourqa might be a cultural imposition on women, it is rooted in a deep religious faith. And then, on the flip side, we never ask an Arab man how he feels to be 'forced' to wear the traditional, culturally based robes and headgear. It's just what you wear as a man in an Arab country. But should it still be worn here in Canada? Well, as soon as a nor'easter whips up under those robes, I'll bet someone discovers the joys of pants, LOL.

What about turbans? Are they religious or cultural? Most religions have 'rules' regarding keeping the head covered, but each faith interprets it differently. And each culture tends to have it's own religion. Remember the big hoopla about police officers insisting they should be able to wear turbans instead of the police caps? Police caps, in a way, are a cultural uniform; should religion trump culture and professional uniformity? And then there was the fascinating case last year about the motorcycle rider who insisted he could not wear a helmet because he must wear his turban. My solution--let him wear the turban, but have him sign a waiver--attached to the digital documentation of his health card--that says he will be responsible for the financial cost incurred if injured due to not wearing a helmet.

On further thought, I think a waiver like that should be enforced for everyone. Let's also add seat belts to the list. If you are injured in an accident due to not wearing a seat belt, you should be financially responsible. If you're still alive. What else can we add? There's the debate about if alcoholics who need a liver should be ahead of 'innocent' victims on the transplant list...

Okay, getting really off the immigrant theme here. LOL. But this is my blog, and it's fun to have a place where I can 'rule' my own little imaginary world :)

Friday, October 16, 2009


Orangeville was a very white town. It's changed a lot since we first moved there, but it was still mainly white. I've gotten comments that Whitby is also very white. Maybe, for a 110 000 people town, but after my ultrasound today, I will have to say that just because a town appears white, doesn't mean that it's not full of immigrants.
Every person (staff and clients) I saw/heard at the ultrasound office was white, but all had accents. And not British accents.
Ahead of me was a white teen girl and her mother. They were sitting and chatting, in a foreign language that sounded eastern European. It was a little agitated, and then all of a sudden, the teen slaps her leg and dramatically says "No! Are you serious?" and carries right on in her native language.
Hidden multiculturalism...I wonder if white immigrants face the same sort of racism/issues as non-whites?
I was waiting one day near the pharmacy in Wal-Mart. There were two ladies (sisters) chatting away. Two young boys, dressed in long white robes and white caps come walking by. The ladies snicker and make a few comments about Hallowe'en, and "you're in Canada now, eh". Would they say something like that to a white person wearing a religious necklace charm representing a non-Western religion? Would they scoff at a Texan wearing a big cowboy hat?
When we were house hunting, we drove around one new neighbourhood. Rob made several comments about there being no white people and he couldn't live there. The kids did find one white couple. They got quite excited. Then I heard them telling their friends that we didn't pick one house because everyone was brown and black and dressed funny. Would we have encountered reverse racism?

I find immigration and emigration fascinating. It's not something I think I'd ever do, and it must take a phenomenal amount of courage to leave your homeland. Why do some people think this is a reason to ostracize a stranger?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

It was an unusual summer, one that I hope is not repeated again for a LONG time.
But in a good way. I've posted bits and bobs here already, and some of the saga on Facebook, but I thought this would be a good time to sit down and post the whole story.
When Rob and I got married October 1997, he had been working at Husky Injection Moulding in Bolton for six months. We found out the night before the wedding that we would have to find a new place to live after the honeymoon, so when we got back, we found a nice apartment in Orangeville. We immediately liked the town, although the first 5 weeks brought fog, freezing rain, a Christmas blizzard, and the great Ice Storm of Jan 98. In his early years at Husky, Rob kept hearing that most people don't make it to five years there. The joke was that the five year gift was a pink slip. But we bought a house anyway, knowing we couldn't rent for five years. It was a townhouse in a 'retro' backlane subdivision, on the emerging west end of town; the house was only 3 years old. (I'm moving things around and I have no idea how that all got underlined!)
Just before Lucy was born, the town decided to make changes to the 'guest' parking for our block and Rob decided we had to buy a 'real' house. That was late September 2002. He had passed the five year mark at Husky, although the threat of "lay off" (their nice way of saying 'fired') was always present. We started looking for a new house, but it wasn't until February 2006 that we found one! Meg was six months old when we moved in to our 'real' house. The kids immediately made friends, we loved the backyard and hot tub and our own driveway. We didn't like the distance to their school, but walking home became great exercise. I got involved with the school, made a great friend, and joined the newly formed Orangeville Community Band. Although Orangeville wasn't 'home' it had grown on us, even though Rob could not learn any street names, LOL.

In September 2008, Rob got a job interview at Bruce Nuclear Power Station, near Kincardine, Ontario. He had been applying for so many jobs with Ontario Power Generation, he was beginning to think there was something wrong with the on-line application process because he had never been offered an interview. We spent a day driving around the area, and although it was nice, and housing was affordable, I wasn't gung ho to uproot our family to move there--further away from the rest of the extended family. I would commit to three years in the hopes he could then get transferred. As it was, he didn't get the job, but his interest in working for OPG was refreshed and he kept applying. He ultimately wanted to get a position at Pickering Nuclear or Darlington, so we could re-locate to Durham Region again. Come home.
These pictures are all from that day.
In February, Rob was offered an interview for OPG, at their downtown Toronto location. Not being somewhere he had ever wanted to work, I was surprised he had even applied. In late March, they offered him the job. Although I was excited for him, I really wasn't keen on the job itself, and the location. It was 'supposed' to be moved to Pickering in a few years and he thought he could commit to commuting on the GO Train for 3 years, to downtown Toronto. There wasn't any practical way to live in Orangeville and commute to downtown. OPG sent out a pile of detailed forms for a thorough security check and the process began. We were aiming for a start date of early June.
There were some issues with the security clearance (their secretary, nothing about Rob, LOL). The start date kept getting pushed back. We decided to list our house in early June even though Rob had not yet 'passed' the security clearance. We were using the same agent we met in Sept 2002, and she thought it could take up to two months to sell our house in the current slow market. She was not optimistic about the selling price either, despite the work we had done in three years. The plan was for Rob to move to his parents once he started the job and he would be the preliminary house scouter, but we would wait for ours to sell before putting in any offers.
Well, we got our first offer in less than a week. The initial offer was low, but we worked through it to a better price. They had to sell their condo townhouse ("An easy sell") and wanted to close Sept 30. Perfect, I thought. The kids didn't want to be new on the first day of school, and having them in school would make packing SO much easier. We gave them two weeks to sell their home. Right before the two weeks were up, we got another offer. I think at this point, Rob still did not have a start date at OPG. The only 'problem' with this offer was that they needed to close on August 25 and that was not negotiable. We decided to take the offer, and the guy with the first offer declined to firm up. Our house was sold, and technically, Rob did not have a new job. LOL. Not only did we sell quicker than expected, we got quite a bit more than our agent thought we would!
So the new house got kicked up a notch. We had been down and gone through quite a few houses already, but nothing that we really wanted to put an offer on. We got a little less picky now that we had a date that was about 5 weeks away. However, houses were selling like hotcakes in Whitby! One sold firm in less than 12 hours. One fixer-upper had 7 offers (it was priced on the low side though, and did sell for quite a bit over asking, but only slightly lower than others in the area). One house looked great until Rob went back for a more detailed look, and was priced higher than we wanted. One was a great house, but we didn't like the neighbourhood. One was great, except for the hideous ceramic tiles throughout the house and the tiny kitchen and high taxes (Oshawa). We looked at an older (24 years old), larger house, very similiar to what we had in Orangeville. Rob wasn't impressed, compared to the new homes this one was SO dated, but he started talking crazy things about it, so I forced him to come take another look and show me all these 'issues'. It didn't seem so bad to him after the second visit, but still not what he had hoped for.
We were just about to put an offer on one house we quite liked, until we realized we were in the same neighbourhood as another one we also really liked, but had a bigger garage and the kids would have to be bussed. We set up a viewing for in a couple hours, with the kids this time. We headed out, disappointed, to see what the drive to the GO station would be like, and to check out that older house's neighbourhood again. We let the kids play at the park there, and it felt like home. Sure, the house needed work, but it had a finished basement and 4 bedrooms.
So we went back to the newer one, but this time with the kids. OMG, suddenly the house was WAY too small. While standing there in the mayhem of 3 kids running through the open concept living room/kitchen, Rob announced we'll put an offer in on the older house.
The owners were away for the weekend, so we had to wait a couple days. We got stalled on a $2000 difference and Rob was ready to walk away....but to what else? So he came around, and here we are!
Shortly after we got the offer on our house, Rob did get a start date, August 13--six months after the interview. He moved out to his parents, while I took care of much of the packing. We were using PODS---Portable, On Demand, Storage units. Sort of like shipping containers. The first one came August 8. In the evening of August 9, we had a horrible August thunderstorm, and Rob discovered in the morning that there was a slash in the roof of the POD and it had leaked. You can see pictures at Facebook, even if not a member. We didn't have a lot of stuff in it yet, and it appears there wasn't any damage, but we had to unload it and they came with a new one. Rob left to start his new job and I kept packing. My neice Allie came to stay, to help out and to visit, and before long, it was closing day.
However, during all this, we kept having issues with the mortgage lady at the bank. She would tell us one thing, then later, claim she hadn't known that it couldn't be done that way. This happened several times, despite us double checking and thoroughly questioning her. It was SO fustrating, and it didn't end with closing day. One thing after another, and Rob spent a while on the phone with her yesterday and just about lost it. How can you 'sell' mortgages and not even know how your own products work?!
On closing day, we knew we wouldn't get our new keys too early, the lawyer figured not until at least 2pm. Our house was being bought by the Perruzzo's, who had sold their house to "Idiots" (not their real name, LOL, we'll never know their real names). We were all closing on the same day. Our PODS left at 11:45am for the two hour trip, but we had to wait around for the key. At 2pm we called our lawyer to see if they had any idea of things were coming along. All they knew at this time, was that the Perruzzo's still did not have the money from the "Idiots"! At 4:30 Wendy, from our lawyer's, called. The Idiots, first time homebuyers, could not get their money in order and needed an extension by one day. The people we were buying from were fine with this, they had already moved out.
However, the problem was, our PODS were now at the new house, which we still did not own. ALL our stuff. We had a few snacks, a colouring book, and that's about it. Rob had to work the next day, and his work clothes were in Oshawa at his parents. We asked if a key could be left at the McNair's lawyers in Brooklin so that we could get on the road since we had no reason to stay in Orangeville with three extremely bored kids.
At 5:00, Wendy phoned to say the Perruzzo's were driving up with a bank draft, so we decided to wait around as there wasn't any point in rushing, only to get stuck in rush hour traffic through Toronto. At 6:15 Wendy called back to say they hadn't made it, and the office wasnt' going to wait any longer. She wouldn't be able to register the purchase anyway at that point. We headed out to Oshawa, making a stop in Whitby to check on the PODS and see if we could get anything useful out. Not even pajamas. Rob had left good clothes at his parents, so we spent the night there and he went to work in the morning.
Around 10am, the Peruzzo's money came through and our house was officially sold, and around noon, we had officially bought our new house. We (Rob's parents and the kids) headed over to the new house, and to get the keys. Not the homecoming I was expecting. If anyone knows Rob, they can only imagine how stressed he was about this whole ordeal. We really had no idea when we headed out the night before, if any of the deals would actually go through. The Idiots might not be able to get their money at all. Now, with the Perruzzo's having a bank draft, we were pretty much fine, but they could have gotten screwed. Not our issue, but who could tell how this would all turn out at that point. No one knew anything except that we were sleeping in our clothes somewhere other than our new house, LOL.
Pictures of the new house can also be seen on Facebook. The roof is in pretty rough shape, and was the first priority, especially after Rob poked a hole in it. The kids started school this week, Meg starts next week, and we are settling in. Went hot tub shopping last night. LOL.
We are quite happy to be back in Durham, although it's really odd being here as returning residents, but we're also very much newcomers. We need new doctors, vet, dentists, etc. Whitby has grown so much in 12 years, we're almost strangers in our own town! But that's okay. I am just so thrilled to be back 'home'.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Am I Really Different?

Recently I found a website that is a reader-written blog, by new (and some not-so-new) mothers. The aim of the website is to showcase post-natal bodies and support other moms as they come to terms with their new bodies. Sounds great. But there are some common themes new moms write about that really irk me.

Many moms mention celebrities and how they feel they should be able to look like them just as quickly after having a baby. I NEVER thought that. Why would I? I'm not a model or celebrity. Those women are who they are partly because they are genetically unusual, LOL. The benefit of being in the tiny statistical abnormal group of women and then a celebrity, is the abundance of money. Surplus money can easily be used to 'buy' time and people. They can pay for nannies, cooks, drivers, assistants, cleaners, personal trainers. They don't have to focus on primarily being a new mother, if they don't want to. They can afford, both financially and hence time wise, to spend 4 hours a day in a gym.
I can't do that; it never occured to me to think that I should be able to. And hence, that I should look like a celebrity--post natal or otherwise.
Of course, being the person I am, I see the other side too, LOL. Those celebrities do what they do post-natally partly because it is their career...it is a self-perpetuating cycle, if they want it to continue. To be a celebrity, they must maintain their form; being a celebrity allows them the freedom to do so.

The other common theme that drives me bonkers is women who put on 30, 40, 50 or more pounds during pregnancy, and expected to lose it with birth. Seriously, many women expect to come home from the hospital looking like before the positive test. I just don't see how they thought it was possible, even if they put on only 15lbs. Baby averages just under 8lbs, placenta is 3lbs, uterus is 2lbs, increased blood is 2lb, increased fluids is 2lb and suggested fat increase is 5lbs. That's 22lbs. Not all of that can be lost with birth. And if you put on more than the average 11lbs that can be lost with birth, how do you expect to suddenly lose it? Even the ones that think by 6 weeks they should have lost 30lbs make me want to shake my head. Women are horrified that by 6 weeks they still have a soft tummy, stretch marks, and extra weight.

Now, I was a little sad with my post natal body, LOL, but I never expected to look 'perfect' after the birth, or by 6 weeks, or even by 6 months. I don't understand how these women are coming to the conclusion that all evidence of pregnancy should be eliminated by 6 weeks. They usually say 'the media' lead them to believe that would be possible and NORMAL. So it comes back to celebrities again?

Am I unusual that I don't form my ideals, ideas, or values from strangers that the media has decided are the idea of ideal? Why is it I don't look at Angelina and think I should look like that? Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't want to emulate these strangers.
Then there are days I am surprised everyone else doesn't want to babywear. And days it surprises me that some knitters don't knit socks. And other days I get a reality check when I hear a 3 year old talk like an adult.

We all have our own realities; why would I try to emulate that of a professional perfectionist?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Not Sure Why We Still Need to Learn This

Is it crazy that World Breastfeeding Week was chosen as the week to introduce the first disposible, pre-filled, baby bottle? (I'm not 100% sure it was intro-ed last week, but it connects well). Hathor has a series of great articles and comics about it.
And to those that say no baby has died because they weren't breastfed? The WHO estimates that 1.5 MILLION children die each year because they were not adequately breastfed. How does Nestle think SELLING disposible bottles to already impoverished mothers is going to 'fix' that?
Human milk for human babies. It's so simple.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I've been reading again. I used to read non-stop. I'd read while walking and doing my paper route. I'd read while eating breakfast, while watching TV. Books were always honest, never two-faced, never teased. As an extension of reading, I used to write a lot. Poetry, short stories, and journalling. I haven't written in a long time. Yes, I have the blogs, and sometimes I get a little deep, but it's not the same as the journals I kept. I no longer have the journals, and that saddens me (even though I'm to blame for not having them). I've tried to keep journals for the kids, about them, but it was too hard to write only about Lucy in her book, and only about Huey in his book, and so often I'd just print out an email I had written about them, or hope that the many pictures in the box would suffice to keep my memories fresh.

Many of the books I've been reading have been about natural pregnancy, birth, childcare, and an interesting category--non-instructional parenting books. Books by parents, about parenting, but not necessarily HOW to parent (one, in fact, was actually a book of knitting essays by a 'famous' knitting blogger, but some of the essays were about parenting). I don't need the "how-to" books anymore, never really used them anyway as my challenging kids didn't really fit most of the standard books.

The latest book I'm reading is "Because I Said So" compiled by Camille Peri and Kate Moses. The subtitle says "33 Mothers Write about Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race & Themselves". I'm not sure what I was thinking; probably little fluff ditties like on the back pages of parenting magazines: "I'm a bad mom cause the kids watch TV while I nap" or "I'm conflicted about being a mom because I can't go for a pedicure every week". But it's not that sort of thing at all.

The first essay is about a modern day, American witch hunt against a single Islamic mother. There's an essay on American Girl dolls, one about being a white family on the edge of a ghetto and how one son 'turns black', one about the American wife of an Iranian refugee who goes back with her family to Iran for her first visit, one about boys growing up to be men, one about a woman who gives in to California culture and hires a Latino nanny.

I found each one fascinating. Not always relateable by direct co-relation to the factual events, but relateable by the invisible silk thread that ties all mothers. One essay particularly moved me. "Ourselves, Carried Forward" by Beth Kephart. I didn't know where it was going by it's opening paragraph, but it's about memories. "There is little democracy when it comes to telling stories; the best stories always rule. The untold stories fade away, and memory goes flaccid." Perhaps that's why I like journalling--I felt my stories were perhaps not unique, but were still mine and I didn't want them lost. We are, essentially, our memories.
I am, in ways, opposite to the writer--I DO remember my primary teachers, I DID write my childhood. The writer's husband is the one with memories that get told and remembered; Rob never writes, rarely shares stories, but many times he has made it clear that my memories are not worth remembering.

Then the writer asks "Who are we after the first long sprint of motherhood is through? What parts of our history do we return to ourselves when the days shift in shape and size and tempo?" Wow. This ties in so strongly to what is going on in our lives right NOW that I haven't even had the time to share. We are returning to the area of our youth. While it is, by name, the same, it is still NOT the same town as we left. I was a young, childless bride when I left; what am I now?
The writer talks about the things of her childhood that she brought forth into her motherhood--sit down dinners, kick ball, hiking in fresh snow. Her kids knew the words to the songs she knew as a child. "My childhood nested in my son's, somehow. The girl I was is in the boy he's been. The past carried forward, planted, and sprouted, and not because it was merely good enough, but because it was whole, it was happy. Who are we after the first long sprint of motherhood is through? We are ourselves, carried forward."

She talks about remembering who she was before she was a mother. Who was I? Who was that young lady who couldn't bear to look at her beloved home as she drove off to a new life? Some of the things I was, I am ashamed of, regretful, embarrassed. I'm also ashamed and embarrassed of what I wasn't. What I never got the chance to be, due to failed relationships, political changes, lack of initiative and self-fatalism. I mourn the loss of my teaching career constantly. In a culture that defines who a person is by what the person does, I was a nothing. My plans, ever since I was five, was to teach. No one ever mentioned that a new government would come into power just as I was graduating, and eliminate virtually all new teaching positions in Ontario. That wasn't part of my plan. Although my plan was flexible (I could substitute teach), it wasn't enough.

I feel like I have spent the past 14 years waiting for my life to begin. The memories of this time are not the memories my youthful memories thought I'd have.

"The exhaustion of motherhood is cumulative. Exuberance is tempered by the many choices a mother makes. Pathways narrow when a woman has a child, because incautiousness yields consequences, and irresponsibility is selfish, and the dreams one dreams on behalf of a child are the dreams one does not dream for one's self."

"We bring our own selves and stories forward when the first long sprint of motherhood is through. We reconcile who we were to who we'll be...."

What stories am I going to bring forward? What memories of myself will become my children's memories also? I find this both fascinating and frightening.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Who Are They?!

I keep running across references to "Flight of the Conchords" on different blogs. Like, on a recent "CakeWrecks" entry. I'm fascinated, LOL! But can anyone tell me who/what they are?

So, What's New?

I can't believe it took me SO long to write about our cruise. I'm so glad I did do it all though, it's a nice way to reflect and remember!

But, a LOT of things have happened in the past six months!! Some, I post about on Freecycle, some I've kept to myself. We've got some BIG changes happening here; good changes but stressful nonetheless. Considering that it's now summer break, I don't know how much I will post here. The past school year has been rather busy--although I wasn't taking Lucy to kindergarten at 12:30 anymore, Meg wasn't napping in the afternoons either anymore! There was speech therapy, pre-school readiness program, storytime, swimming lessons, shopping....with no naps, I lost the time I usually wrote on my blogs; and I'm certainly not getting that 'quiet' time this summer either.

So, I'll pop in when I can, and fill you all in with the craziness that is my life!

(In the meantime, did ya hear that Canada reversed it's stand on automatic c-section for breech babies?! Awesome country we live in!).

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cruise Day 8: Coming Home

When we booked our first cruise, it was about a month in advance. We were able to get direct flights both ways, and for the flight home we went standby and were actually able to get on an afternoon flight and get home early. This time we had about two months to book, but trying to get flights was dreadful! They were changing hourly! As written earlier, we had to fly down the afternoon before (which relieved some of Rob's anxiety, but created other issues to freak about, LOL). We were dreading the trip home though.

The ship docks very early, and if you want, you can disembark early and carry your luggage through security. No thanks. Based upon your flight departure time, Royal puts you into time slots to disembark. Our flight was 7:35pm. Yup. About 13 hours after docking. And, we were NOT in the last time slot! When we got down to the waiting area, they were about 45 minutes behind in disembarking...which is 3 time slots. They made up time quickly, but it wasn't well organized and there was some confusion and upset when two lines merged on the staircase.

We got into the terminal, and Rob immediately says our luggage isn't there and it's lost. They were still unloading the time slot before us! Finally it arrives...there was some panic because some of it came together, but one piece was missing...just like when we got on the ship and Rob had to wear sandals to dinner the first night. We got a taxi and headed to the airport.

We went to the United area because our tickets said "United Flight 1234". There was one clerk and the self-check in computer. People would use it, but then have to wait for the clerk to be free to weigh the suitcases and give the tags. Stupid. The people ahead of us were not English and were so confused. They tried the computer, but had trouble so they had to wait. Finally another clerk came out and told us to use the computer. We wanted a human! Unfortunately, we got him, and I'm not sure how human he was. Sorry to be stereotypical, but he was a typical swishy short gay man. Nothing against that, but it was just hard to keep a straight face.

We said we had a 7:35pm flight to Toronto and wanted to know if we could switch to an earlier flight. He said they're not flying to Toronto today. Yup. We show him the ticket. He says "That's not us". Yup. I ask "Well, what other airline is called United? and why does our ticket say this?" and perhaps a few other things. He steps back, swishes his hand under his chin, and says "I know where we're going and we're not going there". Yup. My first thought was he thought I was about to get American-Bitchy and I almost freaked, but then realized he actually meant, "we're not going to Toronto". He said he could fly us to Washington State, or Denver. Or, try Air Canada.

Huh? Our flight down had been an Air Canada/Ted by United combo, but it clearly said that on the ticket. Slightly enthused by the prospect of talking to Canadians, we trudged down to the very end of the terminal (actually, United and AC were fairly close) and got in the Air Canada line. What a difference. There were two or three humans, with smiles, the line moved quickly, the lady was nice and said "Yes, it's an Air Canada flight" and "No, the earlier flight is all booked; you can try stand-by, but I wouldn't". We asked if we could check our luggage yet, and she said not until 3 hours before the flight. There was a little shop down in E (or D?) section that stored luggage for a fee. Fine. We headed down there.

I'm standing looking at the shops, wondering which it was, when I realized it was just a little walk-up counter. I got a bit closer to read the pricing signs. I was trying to figure it out when I heard a little commotion behind me. Suddenly, someone grabbed my elbow!!

An old man turned me to him and said "The queue is back there, miss". People in the line were shouting at me to get to the end of the line! I yelled back "I'm just reading the sign!". They kept yelling at me as I tried to read the sign! I yelled back "I'll get at the back of the line AFTER I read to the sign to decide if I want to leave my luggage!". They kept yelling at me! So, we stepped aside. Now, truly, I hadn't even realized there was a line. We were standing off to the side behind the people at the counter. The line started about 10ft back from the counter, so that people were still walking along the concourse in front of the line. I had no intentions of jumping the line, and would have clued in as soon as the next person went ahead. While appreciative of the quiet way the old man let me know, I did not appreciate being grabbed. And the yelling! What was the point of that?!

We did go to the back of the line after a few minutes (we didn't want to give them the satisfaction of us going directly to the end of the line, LOL). The line barely moved. We waited. And waited, then decided maybe to just take our luggage. We started walking, not knowing where we were going to go, or what we were going to do. After a few minutes, we realized this was stupid and went back to the storage place. The line moved faster and we checked our luggage. You had to let them copy your passport and take your picture!

We headed outside and tried looking for a taxi. There were none. Somehow we realized we would have to go back downstairs to arrivals. There, the pseudo-cop flagged one down and asked where we wanted to go. We didn't know exactly, just a large mall, LOL. He told us we could take a shuttle for cheaper, to a particular mall. We just had to go back upstairs and down the way again....So much walking, and it wasn't even 10am. We got out to the shuttle stop and enjoyed the fresh air (as fresh as it can be outside an airport!). And guess who shows up---the yellers!! Apparently, they were NOT American!

We all got in the shuttle and were taken to a mall (don't remember it now). The door we went in was around the back sort of, and labelled "Tourist Entrance"! It was a standard mall. We walked around and got bored. Rob hates shopping. Our feet hurt. We were hungry. We went to the food court but it was mostly names we didn't know. We picked a fresh sub place (a tip jar on the counter? Never in Canada!) and it was okay. We picked up a couple things for the kids, and spent some time in a music store. Then we headed out the front into the outdoor cafe area and into Indigo Books. We browsed the big magazine section.

Suddenly, I needed to know the time. Shock! We had 5 minutes to run back through the mall to the other end and get the bus! We raced back and had a couple minutes to spare. The Yellers were also on the bus. Back at the airport, we headed back to the luggage storage. The Yellers were in front of us. What a big group! I saw them later waiting for a flight to Brussels.

We trudged all the way back to the Air Canada counter and checked our luggage, then headed for security. Slow moving. You end up in the food court, but nothing spoke to us. We wondered down the hall to our terminal and there was still nothing. Back the other way...nothing....back again, and we finally ended up at Quiznos. It was lovely. We were exhausted and still had 1 1/2 hours!!

We headed down to our gate and found some seats. It was really busy. We watched an elderly, high-class couple get wheeled in in wheelchairs. The boys left, and the couple promptly got up and walked to the bathroom, etc. The lady talked on the phone for a bit; useless social chit chat. Her lips were obviously fake. So was much of her attitude, LOL. Once in Toronto, they got the wheelchair treatment again.

We were so exhausted, it could have been midnight--once it's dark out, your brain thinks it's time for sleep. We finally boarded the flight and took off. It was neat to see Florida from the air at night. We had the seats with the little personal screens in front, so we could watch what we wanted. I would have loved a GPS channel so I could see what towns we were looking at. I took pictures, but really, they're not worth the time to download.

We arrived in Toronto around 11:30 and headed for our luggage. We thought it was already in, but turned out to be an earlier flight's luggage that had been delayed and the owners had all left before it came in. It took FOREVER for the luggage to start coming. Finally we got it all and headed for customs. We gave our passports to the young man, and he says "Lisa Marie...that's near Hansen Blvd? Near Lewis St and the park?" OMG. So nice to be home, LOL! He had a friend that lived on Lewis Street in our neighbourhood! We hopped on a shuttle to the parking, got the truck loaded, and headed north.

We had just come through Caledon, it was about 1:30am, and I noticed white on some things. Then, there was more, and more. We realized it was SNOW! By the time we got to Highway 9, everything was covered in several inches of heavy, wet snow! It was only Nov. 16 (or so, LOL). I hadn't gotten all the snow gear organized before we left! There was a basket of hats/mitts, but not boots or pants! We came in the house and Rob's mom was asleep on the couch, all their luggage packed, and Cooper asleep in front of her. He got up, came forward, and growled!!! We were shocked!!

We stayed up chatting for a bit, then went to bed and got up with the kids in the morning and sent them to school. Rob's parents went home, and it was back to reality!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cruise Life

I know it's been over 6 months since I started posting about the cruise. A lot of things have happened in this time that I would have loved to blog about, but it's also made me re-think blogging a bit. While I love journaling, and miss it, for a lot of my life, I suppose a blog is just not the venue I should use. But, I am going to continue because it is great for sharing photos and kid stories, etc.
This post is about the cruise ship itself.

This is actually the first ship we went on, "The Liberty of the Seas" but I thought it was a good shot of the size of the ship compared to another cruise ship. It looked better though when I looked at it in my photo gallery, LOL. You can see just how high up "The Wall" is, that's the beige area in the middle of the top of the ship. Many of these photos are going to be from "The Liberty" but the "Freedom of the Seas" is exactly the same, although the artwork is different.
This the view as you lay in bed. Rob kept moving the silly coffee table in front of the couch. There is a full length mirror in the center of the photo which is reflecting the desk.

This is the bathroom. LOL. The showers are pretty cozy; if you are a larger person it might cause a problem. However, they have tankless hot water heaters, so you can stand in that tube all day long. The water pressure was awesome, although I still have sand stuck in the 'power netting' of my bathing suit.

The view from the hall door. It was a narrow fit, but surprisingly the closet on the right is spacious (not enough hangers), and the safe didn't work in our "Freedom" cabin. The desk had lots of room, the TV was okay, but our big issue was that there was no clock in the room. There was a curtain though so you could separate the bed from the rest of the cabin. So someone could sleep on the tiny couch?

On both ships, our dining table was in the middle floor, and in the 400 section, really close to each other. This is "The Liberty" dining room. We had a round table right at the railing. There was a couple from Ireland on their honeymoon, a single gal from Washington DC, her divorced friend who brought her 12 year old son; they were living in Georgia I think. Very nice boy, but he ordered a steak every single night!

This is the view looking over the railing as the wait staff did their little showcase song. There was some sort of 'entertainment' each night--some nights the kids from the children's programs did something, some nights it was live music, some nights the wait staff, and one night the chefs.

This was our group on "The Liberty", our waiter, on the left, was Noel from the Philippines; he had 6 kids. The guy on the right was the head waiter for our area (or the maitre d' ?). He was funny and nice, but really, doesn't actually do much but remember people's names. On "The Freedom" the head waiter was a bit less friendly, but one night one of the ladies said she just wanted plain cake with ice cream and strawberries, instead of the fancy desserts, and he made it happen. They were very accommodating this way. Rob had 3 lobsters one night!

This is the theater curtain on "The Liberty". The one on "The Freedom" was similar but more glitzy.

This was a piece of art on "The Liberty". For some reason I liked it, LOL.

This is a little vacuum they use. How could you not smile at seeing that in the morning? One thing I didn't clue into until near the end of the second trip, was that the carpeting in the two ship-length hallways were different colours. Port was one colour and starboard was another colour. Of course, I couldn't remember which was which anyway, LOL. Also, we heard/read how to remember which side of the boat your life station is on...if you're facing the front of the boat, odd numbers were on one side, evens on the other. Of course, I couldn't really remember that either. On "The Liberty" our stateroom was in an inside cabin, and I mean, really inside. When it was time for the life drill on the first afternoon, we couldn't make sense of the little map on our door because we hadn't been on the ship long enough to get familiar with it. After the drill, someone opened a door, and we all just followed the crowd--right into the dining room getting ready for dinner. We didn't even know how to get out of the dining room and the staff was going nuts trying to stop more people from coming in and getting us out, LOL. On "The Freedom" our cabin was also an inside cabin, but on the exterior corridor (I don't think there were any interior corridors on that deck). It made things a LOT easier, except that floor, and the one above it, had the ice rink in the middle, and you couldn't travel from one end to the other end of the ship. You had to go up to deck four and go through the smokey casino, or we'd just go outside and walk the open deck to the other end, LOL.

"The Wall" is one of the highlights of this class of ships. It's huge, and up on the top decks, so very high above the water. We were really looking forward to trying it on "The Liberty" but were a little discouraged at trying to find the right time slot. Finally, on the last sea day (we thought we were going to do it every day!), we had our turn. Despite how sick I was, I was determined to climb it.

I climbed right to the top! It was very hard. Now, I love hiking, and I love mountain/hill climbing, but I had never rock climbed. It was harder than I thought it'd be, and we had a beginner route (but maybe a shorter wall would have been better? LOL). The parts were it juts out and you have to lift yourself up and out and over were killer. I kept pausing, and I'd feel the guy tug on the ropes and I didn't know if he was telling me to come down or hurry up, but I kept going up! I don't know how long it took me, but it felt like forever, and was over way too soon. I felt like jelly afterwards, on an incredibly high feeling. Rob climbed it before me, and he wanted to get to the top because the woman before him did it, and I kept going because he had made it to the top too. LOL.

That's Rob climbing. On our "Freedom" trip, we had planned to do the wall again, but once we were there, we just didn't feel the need. We spent more time enjoying each other (!) and relaxing instead. Plus, I was worried I wouldn't be able to do it again. Despite being so sick the first time, I was in great shape, thanks to babywearing. I had stopped babywearing at the end of June, 2008, when school ended and Meg was over 35lbs. Even though I was still walking lots that fall, I did not feel nearly as strong as I had the year before. I had started babywearing when she was born, solely for the convenience of not needing a stroller to get Huey to school in the winter. I knew about the attachment parenting aspect of it, but the fitness rewards came as a big surprise!

This is the Royal Promenade; the "Main Street" of the Royal Caribbean ships. There are shops, services, and food spots along here. Some were 24 hours, some were not; some were free, some were not. The rooms that look down on to The Promenade can not open their windows, but it must still be noisy and bright. And those rooms were a little bit smaller than our room!

Someone at dinner one night mentioned they wouldn't want to have a cabin under a pool. Well...the Royal Promenade is under all the pools!!!

This is "The Solarium"; the adult only pool. However, it wasn't an adult-only area as it wasn't closed off completely. The little bit of the dome you can see on the left is one of the hot tubs that is cantilevered off the side of the ship. The hot tubs and pools were not 24 hours.

This is the sport pools area. They would adjust the water level for different events. This is where I filmed Rob when the ship was rocking enough to make the waves. There is no 'shallow' end...there is the edge where it's a few inches deep, then it goes right to about 3 1/2 ft deep and gets deeper from there. The temperature of all the pools varied every day, but the Solarium (adult pool) seemed to be the coldest. And I mean, cold! At the far end of the pool decking, in the middle, is the 'stage'. The music was good, but way too loud. We could hear it fine down the deck in the Solarium!

Another shot of the sports pools. I was standing above the Pool Bar in the other photo.

Mini gold was something we did right away on the first trip, and then several more times. While we were still in port, it was very windy! The course was actually quite challenging, but I did get a hole in one. On the second trip, I don't think we did it even once!

Here's the Flowrider. Again, we thought we'd try this, but after seeing people wipe out (search YouTube!), we thought perhaps we'd stick to the hot tubs. If there wasn't a crowd, I might have tried.

These two shots are of the H2O Zone on the "Liberty"; a kids water play area. The hot tubs on the left were great for me because I could sit and not drown, LOL.

The round area on the right is a 'make your own' whirlpool.

These next three pictures were taken on "The Freedom", from the round windowed area up top in the first of the two H2O Zone pictures. That area is "Olive & Twist" a lounge with separate game/meeting rooms. We never went there on the first trip, or the chapel, but we checked it out the second time. We had planned to go hear some live music there, but it just gets too late at night!

The "Olive and Twist" lounge is sort of above "Windjammer Cafe" which opens to the H2O Zone. If you keep going, you come to the Sports Pools (The stage is just on the other side of the wall that says "H2O Zone". Keep going past the sports pools and you come to the Solarium. Go back inside past that and it's the health club.
And there you have it; what it's like to be in a cruise ship. You'd think 3600 people is a lot, but it's funny how you keep seeing the same people over and over again. Things did get a little crowded on sea days, but we found the best time to use the pool was around 4pm, when families left to get ready for dinner. We'd stay in the pool area and watch the sunset (never any good ones though), then head back inside for a snack and to rest up (LOL) for dinner. The events on the Promenade were a little crowded, so we didn't really do any the second time--watched from the TV in our cabin.
So, I still have to post about the day we came home. Not a lot of pictures for that day, but a couple crazy stories!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cruise Day 7: At Sea

Day 7, Saturday, was the last cruise day, and it was a 'Sea Day'. It's a great time to check out all the things you never got to on the 'Port Days'. Or, just relax. We managed to sleep in a little, and then headed out to the Royal Promenade ("Main Street") to check out some of the happenings on our way down to the theater for a backstage tour. I really wanted to do this as I was very impressed with the stage shows. Some of the crew came on stage and introduced themselves, and we found out that the reason we got to hear Tragically Hip and other Canadian music before the stage shows was because the chief sound guy was from Ontario :) We got to go on stage, and around back with some of the dancers/singers. There is NOT a lot of room, and some of the costumes were hanging up. This one is from one of the parades the dancers do on the Royal Promenade at night.
This is a backdrop from one of the stage shows.

This is a harness that is worn during a wall climbing act at the start of the magic show. The 'dancer' can spin 360 degrees within the harness. It is NOT very light!!

This is the view of the theater, from the stage. It's quite large, but I'm not sure how many it holds. There's about 3600 guests, and most shows have two show times to accommodate the two different dinner seating times.

We went directly from the theater to the ice rink. Even at the end of our second cruise, we still had trouble remembering which way to get into the rink. You can't walk end-to-end on our deck (2) or the ice rink floor (3), and we just could never remember which way to go, LOL. The skate time is only 45 minutes, but those rental skates were hurting me!

I would have liked to skate every day, but it just wasn't possible with shore trips. There wasn't skating in the evenings, and there were other things going on.

After lunch (and possibly a 'rest' LOL) we headed up to the pool deck. This is my great cover up that I made. Hopefully someday I'll make something that involved on the Singer 327 again.

Sadly, I don't recall what we did, except maybe just lounge around and relax. The sun was gearing up for a great sunset....but at the last minute, a cloud appeared out of no where!! We were surprised at how early the sun set, it was only about 30 minutes later than at home. There was a Farewell Show in the theater at 7pm, it was great, and once again, I wish we had bought the DVD of our trip! The rest of the evening was spent packing (bags have to be out by 11pm) and settling the bill (once again they changed how we wanted the charges changed to Canadian! And this time they wouldn't fix it, so it cost us something like 2% extra, even though we had made certain to check the right box!!)

This is one of the floor plan models found around the ship. The theater is the blue wedge at the front of the ship (the right side of the picture). The green areas are staterooms.

This is our waitress, Huny, and Dale's mother. Never learned her name, LOL.

And this is Dale. He says people think he looks like Bruce Willis, I thought he looked like Billy Joel, LOL.
These pictures are actually from the last morning while we waited to disembark.

I love amethysts and rocks, so I just had to take a picture. The front of the geode had been epoxyed so you couldn't chip any off, LOL.
So, this just leaves the last day, when we disembarked, and then got to meet Miami's finest at the airport.

Friday, April 24, 2009

We Interupt This Cruise

...to bring you the great news that my old, ex-best friend from public/high school has found me on Facebook!!!!! I think she's just joined; she is using her maiden name hyphened, so I think my searches would have found her if she had been on before. I'm excited to find out what she's been up to for the past 26 years (good grief). I'm afraid my life won't seem too interesting!

Anyway...the cruise. I had a few minutes this weekend and I thought I'd make a list of all the Labadee pictures I wanted to post (it works best to load them in reverse order of how you want them to appear). I remembered that when I had tried to write the post about Labadee, Blogger screwed it up. So, imagine my surprise when I logged in and found that somehow I had already journaled the Labadee day! I honestly do not remember getting it fully written and posted! So now I just have the last cruise day and the last day to write about. Almost done journalling, and now I'm ready for another trip, LOL. There is SO much going on in our lives right now that I have missed blogging about, but perhaps it's been good to just keep it to ourselves :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 6: Labadee, Haiti

Please realize this post is from 2008.  We have since taken another cruise, stopping at Labadee, and you will be able to find a newer entry about Labadee in the "Cruise 2011" series of posts (should be posted by Nov 23 2011).

Labadee is a spot on the north shore of Haiti, owned by Royal Caribbean. There are no touristy things to see, but lots to do. We were sort of looking forward to it this time. Last time, I spent the entire morning in the bathroom, not even sure if I'd be able to go for the sea kayaking trip we had booked. I did make it, and we had a great time, but it didn't leave much time to explore. This time, we didn't book anything, thinking maybe we'd rent snorkels and fins. We slept in, had a leisurely breakfast (but not in the dining room), and made it ashore and explored a little before heading to the barbeque lunch.
These are the tenders that bring you over from the ship.

This is the 'water park'. The white things are 'iceburgs' like at the beach place in Cozumel. Dale's mother was going to play in the waterpark but didn't want to wear a lifejacket, which is required. This picture is from last year, and I was really glad we hadn't book it---it wasn't what I was expecting, as a 'waterpark'. It's $15 for 50 minutes. The little beach area to the right is where we left from for our kayaking. This all is to the right of the landing docks in the first picture. This was all we saw last year...we had our lunch at the bbq here, saw the giant waterslide and the waterpark, went kayaking (wish I had the waterproof camera then), and then went swimming to the left of the landing area (pictures later). We knew there was more, but didn't have time, or a map to explore.

In the first picture, you can just make out a tower and building. That's the tower you see in this picture, which is the launch pad for the "Dragon's Flight" zip line. This is all on the 'backside' of where we anchored/went ashore.

THis is the "Dragon's Breath" rocks that give the point it's name. Waves splash up against the rock on the left of the water that looks like a turtle's head. Perhaps 300 years ago it looked like a dragon, and the waves look like fiery breath. The walkway was closed off, this was as close as we could get.
This is where the zip line ends; there are actually 3 lines, I think. They come in with quite a bit of force, even though they've been slowing down as they come across the water.
The very end of the zip line, with the very top of the cruise ship in the background.
We continued to walk along the 'beach at the back' which is parallel to the zip line. We came across this sign (try clicking it to see if it gets bigger). Basically, this area is unsafe for swimming because of unpredictable water conditions, as well as Jellyfish, barracuda, sharks, sea urchins, sea lice and fire coral. The crazy thing.....walk down the beach 100ft and you're in the 'safe zone'. How do jellyfish and barracuda know the difference?!

Walking up the beach past the sign, heading towards the 'safe' beach area.

People zipping along the zip line across the unsafe water area.

The small smokey area to the left of the cruise ship is a charcoal fire. This is one of the primary sources of income for the people--making charcoal with wood they cleared from planting cash crops. Deforestation in Haiti is a significant problem. Wood fires for cooking---even on city streets apparently---affect the air quality too. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean, and the northern hemisphere too.

The tenders going back and forth. Waiting on the tender to go across is probably the longest part--the trip is actually just a few minutes.

This is the beach we swam at last year; the building can be seen in the first photo too--it's the 'security' building you pass through to get back on the tenders. We chose this beach to swim last year because it was close to the boat. This year, it just seemed nice, LOL (I can't remember, but I think we did swim at the 'safe' beach on the other side after walking down the beach, this time).

In the background, you can see a crane. They are building a new pier, to dock two ships at a time at. They are also building new buildings, over at that side. The new ship "Oasis" will be coming here, and they need to be able to accomodate the 5400-6100 guests. Man. That boat will be huge! THere were about 3600 guests on our ship!
We spent a LONG time in the water here. Oh, it was SO nice. You can stay in forever when it's warm and salty! We were bobbing around and I heard a man talking to another couple. I just knew somehow, from the way he was talking, that he was Canadian. The conversation was about gun laws. The first thing we heard was how the current, strict registration laws (are the federal, or just provincial?) are because of the Mark Lepine (?) shooting at a Montreal polytechnical institute. This happened I think, twenty years ago last December, but the gun laws are only a few years old. He was telling the other couple about the laws and how most crimes are commited with guns that were not registered, or were stolen, but you never hear about THAT in the news. The other man asked about hunting and the Canadian said hunting is really popular, but the laws severly regulate where you can carry guns. The woman in the couple asked "You mean, you can't carry a gun for personal protection?" I nearly snorted water out my nose. Turns out they were from Colarodo (at some point, maybe not anymore, I'm not sure), but even though THEY didn't need a gun, they still needed their RIGHT to carry one.
Then the conversation turned to the construction of the new pier. The Canadian told them Royal was building a new giant ship, "The Oyster of the Sea". OMG. We had to swim away after that!

This picture is from the first trip. On the right is the beach we were at. I think. Mmmm....I didn't think we were that close to the building. When we were in the water, and looked to the shore, we could see a lot of rocks on the right side of the beach, and the construction to the left, so I'm thinking we were at the smaller beach on the left. Okay, Rob agrees. The first year was the right beach, this year was the left beach. Oh what a life, to not be able to remember which Caribbean beach we swam at :) The construction hadn't started in this picture, but it was off to the left.

Going more to the left, that little pier is where they're building the new pier. The red roof is I think one of the bbq locations, and that beach at the back is the beach we walked along. There was also a crafter's market and flea market building, a children's supervised play/water splash pad, and an area with Haitian women doing hair braiding. It was all much smaller than we were expecting!

Going around the point, you can see the zip line tower, and the rocks sticking out are the Dragon's Breath, I think.
Last year, when we left Labadee, we went up to the pool deck for pictures. Everyday, both trips, there was live music at the pools in the afternoon. It was always very loud. Rob still managed to fall asleep though! I couldn't stand it, so I went for a walk.

This year, we went up to the pool deck (you feel a little slimy after swimming in the ocean. Well, we took care of that in our room ;) first, then went upstairs). It didn't seem like bad weather, but all of a sudden, the pool started making waves!! Where the guy is in the left corner, it would raise up and create a 10" waterfall over his shoulders!
I just had to take a video for better effect. I hope this works. It's not showing up on the preview. Click on the highlighted "video" above if this doesn't work.

I just published the post to see if it worked, and it did. But I forgot to mention our Monkey towel friend below!

The evening entertainment was a Production show "Once Upon a Time" We were pretty certain it was the show we saw last year as their dress rehearsal, so we didn't go (and we were busy getting ready for dinner; it was a 7pm show). After dinner was "The Quest" adult game show. It's held in the ice rink (boarded over). Each section is a team, and the cruise director guy tells something the team captains have to obtain and bring to him....like....a RC pen, or a lady's bra, or shoe, or lipstick (the men always put the lipstick ON!), and other wild things. It's funny, but we sat at the top and didn't contribute anything. The show didn't start till 10:30pm so we were pretty tired anyway. Last year, one of the items was a tattoo on a lady, and our tablemate ran up so excited she had one to share...and then realized she was wearing a dress, and it was somewhere on her bikini line. She flipped up the dress anyway!
Can't remember if we did anything after that. Probably not, LOL!