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Embarkment

Leaving the Fontainebleau was tough, but at least it was mitigated by the fact that we were headed to the cruise ship. This year we had elected to travel on what is right now the largest ship in the word: the Symphony of the Seas. 

We started traveling on Royal Caribbean back in 2016. That was a short five day trip on the Brilliance of the Seas to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We fell in love and immediately booked our next cruise for the same time next year.

In 2017, we traveled the Harmony of the Seas, at that point the largest ship in the world, to Haiti and Jamaica and then back to Cozumel. We liked it, we liked the newness and the largeness, but felt like it wasn't as personal as the smaller ship we had been on the year before, so the next year...

In 2018, we traveled on the Jewel of the Seas. We started at San Juan, then went to St. Croix, St. Maarten, Domica, Barbados and then Grenada. I think this was my favorite trip that we've been on. The ship size was perfect and I loved having a ton of stops. 

In July, we then went on our wedding cruise: Majesty of the Seas, starting at Tampa, and then traveling to Key West and Cozumel. It was perfect, of course, and we loved spending the time with 30 of our friends, but it was definitely the smallest ship we have been on. 

So, time for a change of pace, which brings us to this year: the Symphony of the Seas. Three stops: Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Kitts. 

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Back to Paradise (2019 winter version)

The view from our room at the Fountainebleu by day...
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Overheard in the Produce Aisle

"Do you think the bleach is going to kill me?"

I fondled a zucchini and glanced over at Corb. "You inhaled it about two hours ago, babe. You're not dead yet, so probably not." Then, worried. "I just can't believe I didn't hear you when you were calling out." 

"You did. But what you said didn't make any sense. Something about finding a secret entrance to Green Victoria."

"That's because I was asleep. Deep sleep. But that's what worries me." I stood there, thinking back on what Corb had told me (at least three times) this morning. He had been cleaning the shower downstairs, had spilled a bottle of bleach. The fumes had been so bad he had trouble breathing. And since then, all he had been saying, every five minutes is--

"Gah, I still have an ammonia smell in my nose. Even now." He wrinkled his nose. 

"How about if you had collapsed and died?" I asked, feeling a pang of remorse that I was such a late sleeper. "Maybe I should take you to the emergency room. Now. Just in case." 

Corb brushed that aside and delicately removed the zucchini from my grip. "Like you said, I'm not dead yet. Besides, we don't have three hours to wait in the emergency room. We have an emergency food situation. We need to get back to eating healthy.

Hence the Saturday morning produce aisle trip. The two of us vowed after the big wedding party we were going to start to work off our happy fat. And so far, so good: I weighed in six weeks ago at 191. Last week, I was down by 18 pounds. Corb has lost 20. 

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It's Alive: Late Night Show

My latest novel, Late Night Show. Get your copy now!

Hey there! I just wanted to share that my latest novel, Late Night Show, is now available, at long, long last. 

Those of you who have been following me on here may recall the long and winding story. I won't repeat it, but I will mention that there is a Live Journal connection that I have been saving all this time--since the beginning of the story revolves around a webcam community, from all different countries and locations, I deliberately incorporated characters that were based on some of my Live Journal friends into the start of the story, to get that multi-cultural feel. Nothing salacious, I can assure you, and a bit veiled, but I just thought it'd be fun to throw a few salutes to old friends into the mix.

Who? Aw, that'd be telling. 

What's the book about? Here's the blurb:

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Persistence (in so many ways)

So, here's the big thing that's taking place in my life right now: Corb and I have finally (after only 14 years in the making) set a date for our wedding. 

We figured it out about a month ago. We first agreed we want DON'T  want the following:

--A big huge event we have to fuss over and plan

--Something that's going to end up being really stressful for everyone (especially us) 

--Something that's going to require hundreds of invitations, a reception, tuxes, etc. No dancing, no clinking of glasses for kisses. NO. 

But what could fit the bill? We went back and forth on that. Finally, it dawned on us: since we love cruises so much, why not book a cruise and get married somewhere? I can arrange the cruise, Corb can arrange for the minister and the beach. 

That's it. Just a quick ceremony at around noon and then maybe some site seeing afterwards. Maybe a dinner with our friends on the boat that night. We're inviting anyone who's interested to go and celebrate if they want, but we don't mind it being small and just our immediate friends and family (whoever can make it) and that's it.  Maybe we'll have a bigger party when we return for folks who can't go. The point is, we want it memorable but easy, if at all possible.

Famous last words. 

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Hey there!

Oh yes, I'm still around. Just not about here as much any more! I would like to change that. 

As proof that I am still around and about, here I am, celebrating at my parents' house on Christmas eve.  

Ignore the ugly coat. Ignore the wiggling glasses. Ignore the double chin (Please!) Other than that, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS PHOTO?

I bet you can figure it out in five seconds.

We had to pull over the car, we were laughing so hard when we figured it out. It was totally inadvertent, I swear! 

Happy holidays, everyone! 

A farewell

 

Our cat Hayley passed this afternoon. She lived a long life: 20 years.

We had been seeing signs for a while. She's lost a lot of weight the past few months and hasn't been eating as much. She's been having accidents in a lot of places and she's been having trouble walking. Monday it got so bad that Corb brought her to the vet. His assessment: acute kidney failure. He had nothing to offer except the suggestion that we might want to consider putting her down. 

Before she passed, we let her hang around in the yard for a half an hour. She always loved the outdoors. One time when we were moving furniture into the house she escaped. I only realized it when I was in the kitchen and saw something scurry across the lawn. 

When I found her, she was resting under a tree. She looked deliriously happy. 

She had been Corb's cat since he was 13. He's devastated.

We had so many stories about Hayley. We'd make them up as she would rest on our laps at night. 

Hayley was a time traveler. She traveled in a cardboard box through time and space.

Hayley lived in a woodshed as a baby. I always pictured her like that. Just curled up next to a woodpile in a country farmhouse, catching mice and staying warm.

She was a member, then president of the Purple Hat Society. She would take the old biddies out during the day while we were away at work.

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Encroached!

QUESTION: What's the biggest concern when it comes to owning a house completed surrounded by nothing?

ANSWER: Finding out something is going to take its place.

The other day Corb and I received a letter in the mail that kind of turned our world upside down.

We didn't know that at the time. It looked like just a piece of garbage advertising: a plain white envelope, with my name scribbled on it. Corb actually snatched it out of my hand and playfully started opening it up. I don't really think he was prepared for what was inside.

Dear Sir: This is very much in the early stages, but we have plans to develop property behind your house on Pleasant Street. Please call us so we can discuss these plans.

WHAT? Corb and I looked at each other with horror in our eyes. Part of the reason we moved where we moved was that the place was surrounded by trees and isolated from the rest of the world. 

What you see in the diagram above is the reality that we will be living in probably one year from now, Our house is the one in orange. The rest: the woods that they will be cutting down around us. Pretty much everything.

In other words, no more skinny dipping in the pool. SHIT. 

I'll be honest, I've had my mind on other things (mostly work, which is also why I haven't posted much lately), but Corb is really taking this one hard. It's all that's been on his mind, and he's been calling the developer and talking to other people and fretting about it for over weel.

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Touchpoint.


The road to Hana. Waikani Falls. 

We park the car past the bridge. Walk down until we reach the small crowd, gazing down at the falls. 

I squint my eyes. "There are people swimming down there. But how did they..."

"The guide says you'll find a path underneath the bridge," Corb says. 

No path on this side. We move back toward the car a bit, pass the other end of the bridge. Look down. A somewhat steep pile of stones and a chain greet us. 

"Go down that?" I look over at Corb, worried. 

"Maybe it's easier on the other side."

We cross the street. It is. 

Down the stones, to the edge of the water. Corb takes off his shoes and dips his feet in. "Cold."

"You going in?"

"Can't. Too much stuff in my pockets."

I take my credit cards out of my shorts. Take off my shoes. Hand over my phone. Strip off my shirt.

"I'm going in." 

The water is cool to the touch, the rocks slippery. Within seconds I am completely submerged. 

I swim to the waterfall. Discover a ledge where you can sit and relax. Feel the cool kiss of the water pouring over my head.

I stay like that for the next five minutes, letting the waterfall engulf me. 

Another touchpoint. Another place to connect when I need to relax. Like the river in XCarat or King Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh. Another place of magic I can turn to in my head, where I'll be connected forever.

Truly. Welcome to paradise. 





   


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