Friday, April 30, 2010


When we docked in Aruba, our first port, we immediately took a taxi to Manchebo Beach. I finally saw one of these perfect beaches that I'd only seen in Mr. Higgins' photos.

The water was amazing - all shades of blue - and so very calm. The waves were small and lazy. Pelicans dove for fish in the crystal-clear water.

We walked up and down the beach before settling in for the day and I was captivated.

It was cloudy this morning which turned out to be a good thing - the sun here is scalding as Aruba is much closer to the Equator. By noon the sun was out.

This is where we camped out for the day - two lonely lounges that had been brought out, almost to the water's edge. Once the sun came out, we found shade and dozed the afternoon away, listening to the sounds of the Caribbean.

In the early afternoon we went back the ship, got cleaned up, and then went back to the island for some shopping - and a drink at Senor Frogs.

Aruba's beaches were gorgeous - stunningly pristine - but I was not impressed with the island itself. It was very desert-like and dry feeling - not all that tropical. But the!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

First Sea Day

There is something extremely calming, soothing, even, about being out at sea. If I can forget that I'm hundreds of miles from land, I can actually enjoy it. This time around, the water was perfect - hardly any waves whatsoever.

On my last cruise, the seas (mainly in the gulf) were much higher. This time, the calm was almost unbelievable.

Perhaps my favorite place on the ship is the promenade deck. Usually, passengers head to the pool deck to view the passing sea, but I always head here. Mr. Higgins and I watched sunsets from this deck, read in blessed silence here, and strolled here at night.

And one of the best parts of cruising....lots of girlie drinks! This was a Mango Lava Flow - basically pina colada with mango. So yummy!

Sea days are generally the relaxing days of a cruise and this one was no different.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Adventure Begins

First off, about the ship, Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas.... She's huge and, actually, part of the same class as Voyager, which took me on my first cruise. Overall, I liked Adventure much more for several reasons.

The pool deck is certainly always likely to be the most crowded area on the ship during the day. Two pools - and one in the Solarium - are never enough to accommodate all the swimmers.

One lovely difference between Adventure and Voyager was the bar, The 19th Hole. On Voyager, it was decorated in a casual golf theme but on Adventure, it was more upscale, almost like an old clubhouse. This quickly became one of our favorite places to hang out when we needed quiet.

The Royal Promenade is four decks high. This is where you shop or stop at the cafe for a quick snack - or cheesecake! Notice the see-through sculpture that resembles a school of fish. So pretty!

So I was a little obsessed with this sculpture. I loved it! This was definitely missing from Voyager.

This was the only time Mr. Higgins and I stepped foot inside the main dining room. We never ate here, always preferring the relaxed buffet to the stuffy two-hour long dinners, but it is a gorgeous space, spanning three decks.

And just to prove that I, indeed, made it onto the ship... Doniamarie waiting for the muster drill to begin in the Imperial Lounge. Fun stuff! I always dread this required task but thankfully you no longer have to pull out those pesky life vests! Ha!

And there you have it....our first day on the ship....all while we were still docked in San Juan!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

San Juan, PR

My very long journey of 6000+ miles began last Saturday with a late flight into San Juan. Mr. Higgins and I made a late night run to Walgreens and then crashed at our hotel. When we awoke the next morning, we walked the few blocks between us and the beach... This was my first water sighting as we'd flown in, primarily, in the dark. It was a beautiful sight on a partly cloudy morning.

It's amazing how calm and quiet a bustling city can be on a Sunday morning! After this little tour, we got ready, re-packed up, and headed to the cruise ship.

I just arrived home last night so I'm still going through about four hundred pictures. Expect to see about two weeks of pictures on this blog.... We saw that much!! The cruise was definitely one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. The Caribbean is so much more beautiful than my mind was capable of picturing. My mind, it turns out, is very limited! Ha!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bon Voyage!

I'll be in the Caribbean until next week. Please check back on the 27th for a tour of all our tropical stops.

In the meantime, enjoy the pic here, courtesy of Mr. Higgins, of one of our cruise destinations.

So far, everything looks great for our week of sun, relaxation, and water.

See you soon!

Friday, April 16, 2010


It's playoff season in the NBA! The Mavs are once again in contention, this time sitting prettily in the number two spot in the west, atop the Southwest division. Their first-round match-up: the Spurs. Of course. Hopefully, we'll deal with them as effectively as we did last year at this time!

And in honor or said playoffs, here is a clip from this week's game against the Clippers. The perfect pass from Kidd to Marion. Ah, it is so very sweet!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


My favorite New York Times columnist has written another scathing critiicism of the Church. At some point in my life, such articles would have really bothered me, to the point of fury. Now, given current events, I'm glad someone is writing about these topics. Someone has to speak up.

I struggle with my opinion of the current administration of the Church on a daily basis. If you're Catholic and not struggling, then something is wrong. Complacency is a far greater sin than zealotry. Complacency allowed thousands upon thousands of children to be molested.

While I get annoyed with the idea that old = archaic (naturally, as a historian, this makes me glower), I can admit that some traditions within the Church should be changed. But the Church is an entity unlike anything the world has ever seen. It is older than Islam, older than any monarchy, older than any country. It has changed, in great leaps, over the years. But it has not changed its own institutional hierarchy to fit modern times.

The Church, the beliefs that are 2000 years old, have not changed and this is what Catholics must hold on to. As my friend, AL, said, those traditions are comforting in a world that is always changing. I know that they are a comfort to me even with my current struggles.

But something must be done. A Church that is so vehemently against abortion and contraceptives must also be vehement in its protection of those children actually born into this world.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Life = Busy

Life is busy. I keep thinking things will slow down but as I look at the calendar, there is no end in sight until June. June!

The cruise is leaving port on Sunday. Mr. Higgins and I leave DFW on Saturday. Between now and then I have to pack, work, and do all the odds n' ends one must do when you go MIA for a week. But I can't wait.

It's been a long time since I had a real vacation - one with beaches and swimsuits. Actually, I think the last time I was at the beach was the summer of 2007. (I am, of course, discounting my previous cruise experience! Ugh.)

When I get home from the cruise, the marathon of moving begins. This move will be far easier but more complicated. Life is forever complicated, eh? But I can't wait for this either. I honestly can't remember a time when I had so much to look forward to. It's incredible and I have some amazing people to thank for it!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bon Jovi Pics!

Here are a few pics from my Sunday night with Bon Jovi, courtesy of SK. Above: they sang a few songs out on the circle which was very neat as they seemed a lot closer, even when we were in the rafters!

The lights and stage equipment were just incredible. It was definitely a memorable night!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bon Jovi

SK won free tickets to the Bon Jovi concert last night in Dallas and was nice enough to ask me to go with her. I haven't listened to Bon Jovi since college and didn't even know they had a new record out. But, then again, I'm not exactly "in the know" with music these days. Ha!

The American Airlines Center was packed and our seats were in the rafters. Honestly, this didn't bother me in the least. We didn't have to stand the entire time and we could watch all the crazy fans jump and bob from a high perch. It was kind of cool seeing it all from that level.

Bon Jovi was on stage for over two hours and the show was really great. I didn't know their new work, but the oldies were a blast. These guys sure do work hard in their concerts! This was the first time I'd ever been to a concert of this scale so it was cool just watching all the stage contraptions move about. The screens - moving every which way and even forming steps - were amazing!

I've never seen so many people at the AAC. The crowd was an, er, interesting mix. I had a lot of fun and left with my ears ringing. That's the way it should be, right? Ha!

Friday, April 9, 2010

One Tiny, Green Step

In regards to yesterday's post, this is my new favorite "green" website. I ordered new lunch materials as this is the meal when I'm most environmentally unconscious, primarily due to ease and quickness. But, no more, come May!

No more Lean Cuisines! No more crazy, toxic plastic! Bring on the salad, the fruit! Ha!

Baby steps....

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I will be honest and say that my life is not very "green." I'm not intentionally trying to hurt the earth or myself, but, frankly, it's overwhelming to think of all the ways one can "go green" and then to figure out what is practical and affordable. Let's break it down...

Food. I know I should be more careful about what I eat. I've read (some of one book by) Michael Pollan. I know the horrific state of our meat industry. Likewise, the preservatives and scary chemicals in most common foods is not unknown to me. But I'm not a big vegetable person and I can't figure out, for the life of me, how to cook tofu well. So, I'm left feeling as if I have few (low-fat) options...when I'm not completely overwhelmed.

Beauty and Household Products. I try to do better with cleaning products than anything else, as these enter our waste-water. This is one area where I feel like I've made good strides. Beauty products, though... I have a few eco-friendly, crazy-chemical-free products but my problem here is cost. I can't afford to be environmentally conscious here!

Energy. This is a hot topic of late with my upcoming move. I would like nothing more than to have "green" energy. But this is much more expensive than normal, dirty energy. I would like to be more environmentally responsible in this area when I feel like I have the means to do so.

I dont' think I'm a wasteful person so I guess the best I can do is take it one step at a steps. Do what I can, when I can, and try not to kill myself with toxic chemicals. I just find it ironic that this is not something that ever entered into my parent's thinking at my age. This is a new thing for our generation. It's our responsbility. No pressure.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Destination Caribbean

Some news! In two weeks, I will be here....

Ha! No, I'm not telling you where this is as that's part of the fun! But I must thank Mr. Higgins for this photo. He has some magnificent ones, indeed!

Mr. Higgins and I are going on a cruise!! We were very limited as far as timing so we're going sooner rather than later to avoid summer prices and hurricane season. It's going to be an incredible trip. For those of you who remember my first cruise experience... Well, this one - itinerary, company, circumstances - is about five hundred times better. No weird family, no pressure, no stress. Just bliss. I can't wait.

Now, I must pack! Time is flying by and I know these two weeks - now really a week and a half - will disappear!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I love wildflowers. Though unromantically referred to as "weeds," I think they're beautiful as they announce the coming of spring. This year, spring burst forth in a matter of two weeks. Indeed, two weeks before this picture was taken, to the day, those trees were weighed down with snow! It's been a strange, long, dramatic winter and I've never been so excited to see a little color in my parent's field.

Winter is usually my season but this one went on a little too long. Now all I can think of are skirts, sandals, tank tops, and warmth.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Good Friday was a holiday for us at work. While this is usually a good thing, my holidays are generally spent working and this one was no exception. Actually, this one was worse!

I shoveled and raked rock on Friday morning. My shoulders, arms and abs still hurt from this rock adventure!
The fun continued on Saturday when I cleaned house and helped with more outside chores.

But it was worth the pain as Sunday was a great, relaxing day. Mr. Higgins came out and mom and I cooked a tasty Easter dinner. It was a beautiful day and much time was spent rocking away on the front porch. The wildflowers are bursting into bloom here, along with irises, redbuds, and dogwoods, so the scenery is gorgeous. It was a great day and one of the best Easters that I can remember.

Now, I'll just have to fight dad for leftovers at lunch today!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Big Knitting Plans

Of the many plans and things I want to do when I finally move back to the city, starting a knitting group is one. It'll hopefully start with just SK, but maybe it will evolve to include some of our other friends.

I've always wanted to have a knitting group, primarily as a way to make myself knit! My knitting has fallen by the wayside lately....heck, it's fallen off the planet for the last year! And I have too many UFOs and too much yarn sitting around to completely ignore it any longer. Speaking of, is there going to be room in my new home for all my yarn?? Holy crap! I have no idea!

The other benefit to a knitting group is actually forcing myself to be sociable - a little. I can only do so much talking and socializing but I need to do something. The last time I lived in the big city, I was practically a hermit! I cannot let myself fall into my old, bad, yet comfortable, habits. Then again....I knitted a lot more as a hermit. Hm....

Bottom line is that I hope having one night a week dedicated to knitting will help restore the balance.... Productivity without becoming a hermit, that's the goal!