Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Mary Roach

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Crazy non-fiction book about what happens to cadavers... those that are donated to science and just your run of the mill decay,etc.

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Stardust - Neil Gaiman

Stardust Stardust by Neil Gaiman

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really liked this fantasy novel about a small town in England that is a step back in time. A strange land lies beyond a well-guarded wall that is only left open a couple days every 9 years. What is on the other side of the wall? Read the book to find out.

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The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin

The Westing Game (Puffin Modern Classics) The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I've had this book on my to-read list for a long time and finally had an opportunity to read it while on vacation. It's a young adult novel that I thought was a fantasy, not. It was a mystery, which is not my favorite genre.

The book was short and sweet, fun and strange, but not great.

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The First Patient - Michael Palmer

The First Patient The First Patient by Michael Palmer

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
One of my coworkers let me borrow this book for the cruise. It was a entertaining, fast-paced vacation read. The president hires a friend to be his personal physician. Too late, the friend finds out that the president is suffering from a mysterious illness.

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Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates

Revolutionary Road Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a book group pick. Well written, but depressing. Would like to see the movie.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

At Sea

At Sea
Ice cream – swirl cones
Schooner Lounge – Name that Tune
Deck 5 Forward – Stars at night, wind in the day, views
Private Balcony – peace & quiet, sound of the ocean, sunscreen application
Stairs – up and down, down and up
Promenade Café – early morning coffee & pastry run, afternoon snack
Deck 4 – around and around, exercise
Royal Promenade – reminiscent of an old town street
Spa – Couples’ massage class
Food – so-so
Ellington’s on 14 – whales!

Formal night was fun. We didn’t get dressed up until almost dinner time because we were hanging out on the Royal Promenade watching everyone. Formal night ain’t what it used to be. Only about 10% were really dressed formally, then about 50% were dressed nicely and the rest… no accounting for taste.

Friday, April 24, 2009

El Dorado Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Day 5 – Puerto Vallarta
Love, love Puerto Vallarta. The dock area is clean and pretty. We were in port with another Princess ship, The Star Princess.

Caught a cab into downtown, then walked the Malecon (beach boardwalk) south til near the end. Set up for the day at the El Dorado beach restaurant, a place we found last time we were there. It’s right near the water activities so there’s a lot going on all day, including a ton of vendors.

Pat kept calling them over and having the show their wares (again). Only bought a crocodile magnet.

Puerto Vallarta is chock full of cute shops and restaurants, a beautiful cathedral, lovely walk along the beach and some quaint older hotels along the beach that seem intriguing.

We headed back to the ship fairly early (around 3). Hung out by the pool, then on our balcony until dinner. The sunsets and sunrises from the balcony are beautiful and peaceful. Can’t imagine having an inside cabin. We notice many people sitting on the promenade deck in the morning, they probably have no view from their rooms.

So far, we’ve eaten every dinner in the dining room and all lunches and breakfasts in the buffet, except room service in Mazatlan before golf.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cruise - Cabo & Mazatlan

Day 3 – Cabo San Lucas
We sailed into Cabo early on Tuesday and anchored in the bay. The view from our balcony was great, Lover’s Beach and Lands End. A tender from the ship took us into the marina and dropped us off exactly opposite of where we hoped to spend the day on Medano Beach.

It was a bit of a walk past vendors and bars, through the shopping mall and down the beach to a great little beachfront café equipped with palapas and padded double lounge/beds and bean bags. Didn’t take us long to get settled with some cool drinks.

It was fun watching locals try to sell their wares; hats, tshirts, jewelry, whistles, dresses and henna tattoos. We each got a tattoo (washes off in 2 weeks) and Pat got a wide brimmed hat to shade his fair skin.

Instead of walking back t the tenders, we made use of a water taxi. Much more pleasant trip. The afternoon was spent on deck napping to the sounds of Caribbean music.

We tried to attend the evening entertainment, and illusionist, but left after a few minutes. It wasn’t great. A 70’s music name that tune contest in the Schooner Lounge was fun. Then off to dinner.

I must say, the food on this cruise is just ok. So far there have been no stand out meals. The soft serve frozen yogurt by the pool is fantastic though.

Day 4 – Mazatlan
I sit in our cabin after a round of golf at Estella Del Mar here in Mazatlan. It was a nice resort course along the ocean. Pat played really well, eagled a hole with a shot out of the sand. My game wasn’t great, but we had fun.

It’s been over 25 years since we were last in Mazatlan and lots has changed. We’re thinking we probably wouldn’t select it as our next vacation spot.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cruise 2009

Cruise Day 1
After spending a fun weekend with Jill and Nathan, Nathan drove us to Long Beach to board the Mariner of the Seas. Before saying goodbye, we had a wonderful brunch of Spinach Strudel, Blueberry Crepes and Goulash at a cute Hungarian bakery near the dock.

Checking in was painless and we were on board within 15 minutes of arriving. That left us several hours to acquaint ourselves with the ship before sailing. Our cabin is on deck 8 Aft. We have a very large balcony on the back of the ship. The cabins are the usual size. Because of the aft location of the cabin, we’ll get plenty of walking during our vacation.

The 4th deck has a walkway all the way around the ship and my best guess puts it at close to ½ mile per lap. Near the front one has to climb to the 5th deck to get to the front. Great view from there.

My bag didn’t arrive in the stateroom in a reasonable amount of time, although Pat got his and our golf club arrived. So, I checked with Guest Relations and mine was being kept for a security breach. Yes, I unknowingly took contraband on board. A travel iron, which was confiscated prior to my being allowed to have my bags. How embarrassing.

During our tour of the vessel, we found several places we think we’ll hang out. The Royal Promenade is an ingenious addition to a cruise ship. It seems like a village street with shops, bars, coffee shop, bakery, ice cream parlor, and more. Fun place to sit and watch people. There’s also a nice lounge on the 14th deck with comfy chairs and a view of the pool.

At dinner, we met two couples who share our table. They seem nice. Sadly, one of the couples lost all their luggage on their way from Texas. They’re hoping it catches up with them in Cabo. Dinner was good, then we wandered around a bit and headed to bed.

Day 2 – At Sea
Not much to say. Coffee & Muffin, long walk, workout, breakfast, hang on the pool deck all day and read, lunch. 3 naps & 3 ice cream cones. Formal dinner. More to come on that tomorrow.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon

A Spot of Bother A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Loved this book by the author of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime. Family in the midst of planning a wedding, father literally goes nuts, each family member has their own issue to deal with... Interesting path to resolution, plus it's funny.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Girls' Weekend in Sunriver

Our annual girls' weekend in Sunriver was a great time. It was the usual gang with the usual craft items. Quilting, Knitting and now Card Making. Stephanie brought all the fabric for a quilt for charity and we whipped it out in a day and a half. Each of us has a preferred task: I like the planning so I do the math and organize the cutting. Stephanie & Darla cut fabric and ironed as Judy sewed, and Rhonda, with her artistic eye, layed out the blocks.
In addition to quilting, delicious food was prepared and consumed, conversations went well into the night, and a bit of shopping (fabric and yarn) was done.

As we were leaving town, Pat and Steve took over the condo for a couple days of guy time; an abundance skiing and golfing.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Embracing the Wide Sky - Daniel Hammet

Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind by Daniel Tammet

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
Disappointing and boring book by the author of Born on a Blue Day. Don't bother.

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Ishmael - Daniel Quinn

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
My friend Tonya gave me this book for Christmas. Great choice. I really enjoyed it. A telepathic gorilla places a want ad for someone who wants to save the world. The man who answers is treated with a series of visits with the gorilla who helps him come to understand the devestation that is being wreaked on the planet. Very interesting take on a common subject.

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