Watching football poolside in January; now that’s a cruise!

I slept very well at sea. I don’t know if it was the rocking of the ship or the enormous amount of food I was eating, but I didn’t have insomnia once. I woke up bright and early on the third day of our cruise and got around to go eat breakfast. We’d enjoyed watching our ship pull into San Diego the day before, so I wanted to do the same as we pulled into Ensenada, Mexico.

We made it to the buffet just as it was opening and took a window seat. We could tell we weren’t in the United States. The tug boats and barges didn’t look the least bit sea-worthy. The pier, however, was very pretty. There was some construction and landscaping under way, and we got the sense it was being done for the benefit of the cruise ship industry.

Tour buses were already circling the parking lot next to the pier. A Carnival cruise ship had docked some time before we arrived, and the locals were ready to welcome tourist dollars! We had been to Mexico previously, and felt no desire whatsoever to take a tour, or get off the ship at all for that matter.  Knowing we had nowhere to be at any specific time, we ate a very leisurely breakfast and watched everyone else scurry around.

Our plan for the day was pretty simple. We’d finish breakfast, read on our balcony and then make our way to the pool area to watch the Seattle Seahawks play the New Orleans Saints on a HUGE 30’X40’ jumbo screen. Living in the Pacific Northwest, we feel as though the Seahawks are our home team, even though we live in Oregon.

I’ve never watched a televised football game outdoors on a jumbo screen. It was quite the experience. There we were sitting on lounge chairs poolside in 70 degree weather, watching a NFL playoff game in January. The weather in Seattle (where the game was played) was quite different. Strong winds made the steady rain blow sideways. If we’d had an international call package, we’d have called friends and family to gloat, just a little, about our conditions for watching the game!

One of the nice things about watching a football game on a cruise ship is that you don’t have to worry about snacks! Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, ice cream – you name it, it was available. I have to say it was by far the best way to watch a football game. The fact that the Seahawks won and advanced in the playoffs (and eventually won the Super Bowl!), made the day even better.

We ended the day at the buffet rather than one of the ship’s dining rooms, before returning to our cabin to watch the Colts fall to the Patriots in the other playoff game. We were kind of surprised to learn we could actually catch the game in our cabin. Television offerings are pretty limited, but it’s doubtful anyone takes a cruise to sit in their cabin and watch TV.

We waved goodbye to Ensenada from our balcony and listened to the “bark” of a seal perched on the jetty.  We stood outside for a while, wrapped in the warmth of our Princess Cruise Line robes just listening to the sounds of the ship and the ocean.  Ahhhh….

(Next: A day at sea, exploring the ship and reading on the balcony)

The game of Thanksgiving prep

I’m hosting Thanksgiving again this year, which is something I love to do. I’m not the least bit intimidated by roasting a turkey or throwing together the family’s favorite side dishes. I play to my strengths, avoid making pies (I can’t make a decent pie crust to save my soul!) and pull off a pretty nice holiday.

I approach holiday preparation as if I’m playing a football game. First quarter is shopping. I hate crowds, which I consider the opposing team. I want to get to the goal with as few obstacles as possible. Second quarter is cleaning the house, which is definitely the toughest quarter for me. I can become so easily distracted. I could use a good coach to keep my head in the game. Third quarter is pulling together the details such as getting the table ready, bringing out the serving dishes and some last minute decorating. I shine in the third quarter because I love making things look special. Fourth quarter is cooking the meal. It’s focus time! You win or lose a game in the fourth quarter. If you fall apart in the fourth, it doesn’t matter what happened in the previous quarters. This is when I pull the husband off the bench and have him run a few special plays. It makes all the difference!

So, the first quarter is over. Shopping is completed and I’m ahead of the game. But, it’s the beginning of the dreaded second quarter. I’ve been away from home a fair amount (just returned from sunny Arizona!), so the house is, shall we say, a little “untidy.”  Unless I stay on top of things, I fall seriously behind on housework. Dust bunnies multiply like, well bunnies! Counters become a dumping ground for mail, newspapers and other miscellaneous junk. Bathrooms go from sparkling clean to resembling those found at remote gas stations. I’m finding it hard to dig in and motivate myself to dust, mop, vacuum, etc.

I could use a few cheerleaders about now, especially if they don’t mind scrubbing a toilet or two!