Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Kite Runner

I'm helping a professor with a class where the students have to write a review of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I had seen the movie a few years ago and was more than willing to read the book. It was good to see that the movie closely followed the book; usually, Hollywood screws up the story!

And it's such a good story! Taking place in Afghanistan, it shows a world few of us have ever seen or fully understand. I love the history involved and seeing Kabul before the Soviet invasion through the eyes of a young boy. It's heartbreaking to see it after the war, through the eyes of a grown man. But more than anything, this is the story of friendship, betrayal, and guilt. I laughed and cried throughout this novel for these are emotions we are all familiar with.

This is one of those books that should be required reading for all Americans....and Afghans. It shows that we are all human and we share the same emotions and heartbreak...despite our differences.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shower Favors

My best friend is getting married. Being a bridesmaid in her wedding, I co-hosted (with her maid of honor) a shower for her on Saturday.

The maid of honor found the idea for these favors and then found the old classic books (for dirt cheap) to wrap. I took it from there and designed the library card, holder, and tea bag. I think they turned out pretty well!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Work Stress

It's been an insane two weeks at work since the cruise. I don't think I've ever had more stress than during these two weeks. Let's just say that I'll be very happy to live through February and see March.

In March, I should also find out who my next boss will be. My job is primarily working with one person - and one person only. So this is a big deal. I'm not actually stressed about the process of finding out as it's completely out of my hands.... But it will be stressful when the time comes to finally work with this new person. I've spent six years with my current boss and he's pretty awesome in his absent-minded professor ways. A new boss brings all kinds of possibilities and uncertainties with him. (And, yes, it will be a him.)

So, stress. And more stress. This year has definitely been one very long emotional roller-coaster at work.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


When we first booked this cruise, I was ambivalent about the stop in Labadee, Haiti. This is Royal Caribbeans private island - or chunk of peninsula. Then Mr. Higgins described it as a carefree beach day. Then he told me about Labadoozies, the drink they sell there that is so, so good. Before I knew it, I was looking forward to Labadee! Above, the beach (to the left) where we spent the day.

Royal Caribbean has built a lot here - a zipline, a roller coaster, cafes, shops.... They even bring food off the ship (and the Labadoozies) for a cookout! It was a great day!

We found a nice place to spend the day, complete with hammocks! It was very relaxing!

That's about it from the cruise. We made a lot of incredible memories with our family and had a very enjoyable, relaxing time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

El Morro

Our third port was San Juan, Puerto Rico. We had a short day here so we used it to go to El Morro Fort. This was a fort that Mr. Higgins and I missed last time.

The fort was really neat to see and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

The iguanas have quite a view! I love the lookout towers!

El Morro was charged with defending this narrow strip of water.

Here, we see the fort from the channel above. Looking down the coast of San Juan is always such a sight; the water is so spectacular.

It was a good day in San Juan.

Friday, February 17, 2012

St. Kitts

I really enjoyed St. Kitts. We'd booked a tour of the island that we were all really looking forward to. Our first stop was a botanical garden on the former property of Thomas Jefferson's great-grandfather (or some-such). The plants were incredible! The flower above was the most unique thing I've ever seen!

Our second stop was Brimstone Hill Fortress, a historic sight. It was amazing! Mr. Higgins and I kept thinking it looked like the fort out of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Here, you can see St. Eustatius, in the distance, out of one of the fortress' windows.

The best view of the entire trip is above, as seen from Timothy Hill on St. Kitts. This is the narrowest part of the island with the Atlantic Ocean on the left and the Caribbean on the right. In the back, Nevis is visible.

Our last stop of the day was a beach where we got to relax a bit - South Friars Beach. It was good, thought not as amazing as Mullet on St. Maarten.

One cool thing about St. Kitts - the monkeys! We them a few times from our tour van - so cute!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

St. Maarten

After two days at sea, sailing south in the Atlantic (which meant a rocking boat - fun) to the Caribbean, we arrived at St. Maarten. Mr. Higgins had been here before and took us to his favorite beach: Mullet Bay.

Mullet ended up being my favorite beach of the trip. The water was amazing - just look at those colors! - and there were just the right amount of waves to make things fun.

Almost all of us got in the water that day and it was a blast.

After Mullet, we went to Maho Bay, which is truly unique. The airport sits just to the other side of it's sandy shores, so the planes come right over the beach. We sat at a restaurant/bar for an hour or so and watched the planes comes in.

At the end of the day, after all the excitement, we had something else to look forward to: cheesecake! They had so many delicious flavors during the week: Kahlua, Irish Cream, raspberry, strawberry, passionfruit, and plain.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Navigator of the Seas

This is Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, docked in Labadee, Haiti. She was our home for a week and I really liked her. She was my third ship, one of the Voyager-class ships. Ironically, Voyager class ships are the only ships I've sailed on!

Royal Caribbean's ships are the only ships with a Royal Promenade - a huge, hollow area in the middle of the ship where all the shops are located. it makes you feel as if you're outside, not inside a ship in the middle of the ocean!

The RCCL ships also have centrums - an area at the end of the ship where all decks open into. It's like looking straight up through the ship. Navigator had a very cool sculpture there.

This is the Solarium (the adults-only pool) at night. Doesn't it look inviting?

And here is the hot tub where we spent a few nights relaxing.

More on the cruise tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cruise Teaser

Here's a teaser picture from the cruise last week. Pretty, huh? I should have more pictures for you later this week, once I get a chance to sort through the 700+ pictures we have from everyone who went on the trip. Ha!

We had a great time and my mom seemed to really enjoy her birthday cruise - her first cruise!

More tomorrow!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Birthday Cruise

I'm off this evening on a flight to Florida. From there, I'll board the ship above with Mr. Higgins, my parents, and his parents on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate my mother's sixtieth birthday.

She's been wanting to do a cruise ever since she heard me go on and on about the one Mr. Higgins and I did in 2010. Mr. Higgins and I found a good itinerary out of Florida (most of the good, exotic cruises leave from San Juan) and my dad agreed to finance the trip...though he's a little unsure of the whole cruising thing. Ha!

It's going to be an adventure. Mainly, surviving an eight-day cruise with my father. We'll see how it goes. I'm determined to have fun, though, and the timing is perfect: both my mom and I have had very stressful months at work. We need warm Caribbean breezes, girlie drinks with umbrellas, and pristine beaches.

See you in ten days or so!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Glove Update

Here's the status of my fingerless gloves. Well, actually, I'm a little further along than this...but this is the most recent picture I have. I like the fake cables, though the stitch took me quite a while to get the hang of. I'm now up to the thumb gusset.....and I'm getting nervous about the thumb. Thankfully, my new knitting buddy is knitting along with me, so she can help.

Speaking of, I've had to put the glove aside until she can help me fix the mistake I made last week....and so she can help me with the dreaded thumb.

I'm inspired to knit, however, and just finished all the pieces to a baby cardigan I started long ago in a class. Now I just need to sew the pieces together. Then it's ready for a baby boy....of nine months or so. Yay!