Thursday, January 29, 2009

So this picture - well I should probably explain. This is Courtny, one of my students, at LTU (Lawrence Technological University.) I am teaching an advanced writing class on Thursday nights - which ironically is one of the reasons I have not had time to blog. Well the other week - I was going to start teaching class when Courtney saw the skeleton in the corner and asked if we could turn him around because well he was creeping her out. Well it turns out turning it around doesn't really help - so I used it to hold my coat. He actually looked kind of cute.

As for teaching a college class - right now I am trying to figure out where assignments go to die on blackboard. Blackboard is the online delivery system to most college courses. I consider myself pretty web savvy - for the love of God - my Masters is in Technology in Education. However, I can't seem to figure this thing out. I emailed one of my former professors for help. When I got her response - I felt much better. Because to be honest - I haven't even been able to finish the email with the directions to where it may possibly be living - because there are so many places. So here's hoping I find them before Thursday.

Anyways, I promise a great blog tomorrow - or at least a more thoughtful one. So loyal readers stick in there - once we get through this semester - I will be back to spreading my witty words to the TiVo Changed my Life Community.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cruising in Paradise

I was fortunate enough to ring in 2008 in warm weather this year. Yes my very wonderful parents (nudge, nudge, wink, wink: subliminal messages (((((((where are we going in 2009))))))))) took me and my husband on a cruise for Christmas. This is all under the guise of visiting my brother - who happens to live in St. Thomas (thank you Kevin for not calling Fargo or Fairbanks home.)

Bruce and I woke up very early on Sunday, December 28th to fly from Flint to San Juan, PR - where we met my parents - who also flew out of Flint and hour later. Let me pause here to recommend the Flint's Bishop Airport. Long term parking is just steps away from the front door and well it makes travel a little easier.

But back to the trip - we arrived to our ship - the Carnival Victory and we ate dinner. Then we quickly went to bed - because well we were frankly exhausted.

Then we set sail for St. Thomas. We arrived early and met Kevin at the "Bad Ass Coffee Shop." Kevin arrived in his styling Honda – know affectionately on the island as the “Maxi Taxi.”

See the previous owner – who gave Kevin the car. Yes, gave him for free (that’s a common practice on the Island – when you move back to the mainland – you give away your possessions – that you can’t afford to ship/take back.) This car, well, well, it ran, but I think we were all a little afraid that it could die at any minute. But back to the name, it’s the Maxi Taxi, because a prank was pulled on the last owner – a dear friend stuck 200+ maxi pads to the outside of the car and well the adhesive and the heat and the sun – needless to say it didn’t come off. Hence the white stripes all over the car.

Kevin took us to his house in the hills. It was a beautiful setting and of course it rained while we were there so – we played (or I played) his Wii. But then it cleared up so we headed to Megan’s Bay. It was a beautiful beach – a little cloudy – because well we bring the rain. We enjoyed the sand and waves for a little while – before my brother turned meteorologist quickly predicted a down pour. So we headed off to the tiki like bar and ate some pizza – while we waited out the rain.

Then after some more time in the beach, we got back in the death trap – I mean the maxi taxi...

... and headed to Duffy’s Love Shack (this is were Kevin worked when he first got to the island) and drank a fruity drink out of ceramic monkeys. Ahhh the island way of life. Then we went over to the Buddha Bar, the fine establishment that Kevin manages now – before Kevin dropped us back off at the docks. All and all it was a great day. However, as I am home now – and having endured days where the high was just single digits – I am wondering if Kevin might be the smartest one in the family.

Then it was back on the boat – we had a little time to rest before dinner. After dinner, we gambled a little. It may have been more effective if I would have gone to the top deck and just thrown $20’s overboard – but this was a little more entertaining. My mom and dad on the other hand seemed to have more luck. Well not the first night – the even swore that they weren’t going to gamble any more. But on night two they couldn’t help themselves and both won big.

But back to night one, after a spin at the casino – we ventured into the Red & Black Lounge, aka the home of karoke. I am not a good singer by any means – but I do enjoy watching others karoke. However with a little liquid courage, Bruce and I got up together and sang Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond. We were a hit – I am certain it wasn’t the singing – but the robot that stole the show. Yes, I broke out my patented dance on the cruise ship and well – people would stop me on the ship and ask me to “do the robot?” By the end of the week – I had a following of three old ladies from Mexico City – who could not speak any English –but whenever they would see me they would do the robot before giving me a big hug. Then there were the band of young French Canadians – that loved the robot so much – they requested to Karoke with me so that they too could perform it. The robot is breaking down the language barrier – who knows it could lead to peace in the middle east. I better let Hillary know.

The second stop on the cruise was Dominica. We went on a rainforest tour and traveled to the Emerald Pool – where it is said if you swim in the pool you will look 10 years younger. So of course we swam in the pool.

Day 3: New Year’s Eve - Barbados. We were all set to hit the local beach, when there seemed to be a problem at the docks. See the docks were so large that you had to take a bus from the ship to the main terminal. Well the buses were backed up and there were hordes of people just waiting to disembark. So we went up to the top deck and grabbed a chair around the pool. My parents who had visited last year where content with this scenario; however Bruce and I have never been to Barbados and we felt compelled to get off the boat. When the line cleared we disembarked and took at taxi into town and “shopping.” If you have ever been cruising you will learn that the cruise ships “promote” certain stores in the community – diamonds international, tanzanite internationals, emeralds international (if you get my drift.) We weren’t in the market for any jewels, so we stopped at a store – I bought a pin and Bruce bought a mug (both made in China.) Then we walked back to the ship. We had to rest up for the big party on the boat. Actually, I must say it was one of my most memorable New Year’s Eves ever (besides the time Bruce proposed.) We danced.

Day 4: January 1, 2009 -St. Lucia. My mom really wanted to do the tour with the “drive-in volcano” (yes they have one and I am still trying to wrap my head around that) but it frankly started too early in the morning. So we went on the mountain biking tour and hike. If you know my family – you know that mountain biking does not scream Pat Sahakian. My mom had a three-speed bike forever with pedal breaks (yes the kind where you pedal backwards and you stop.) She recently bought a new bike, which is an automatic. (yes the bike shifts gears for her.) But the adventure started at 11 am and so well we would make it work. We had a very entertaining Rasta Farian guide name Sho’Wayne. He was filled with information about the island, banana plants and more. When we got to the small village where our bike trip began – well needless to say these were bikes that had seen their better days. And as it turns out my mom didn’t need to worry about shifting because the gears on her bike didn’t work. As far as mountain biking goes this was not too intense. There were two hills (Bruce and I made it up both) but that was it. When we got to the top of the last hill – we were at the hiking portion of our trip. We hiked to a pool in the rainforest – that it turns out if you swam in would make you ten years younger – so at this rate – Bruce and I should look 12 and 10 respectively.

Day 5: Antigua. We went on another excursion (as the ship calls them) this time it was a snorkel and beach tour. We took a catamaran out to a coral reef where we snorkeled. Then we went to a secluded beach (that was just amazing) and went swimming. It was truly island paradise. It was a relaxing day – and I must say the beach was the highlight of my trip (well besides the robot.)

Day 6: St. Kitts. Kevin told us that St. Kitts had a nice beach with drunken monkeys. Of course, when I heard monkeys I was in. The story is the monkeys come down from the hills and steal tourists’ drinks when they are not looking. There is even a beachside bar called the drunken monkey – however, there were no monkeys to be found while we were there.

Day 7: San Juan. Yes, it was the end of our vacation. A great warm vacation – I must say I was not happy to step off the plane in Flint and feel the cold Michigan air. But it was Flint so we didn’t have a very far walk to our car.

However, I am up for another trip. The whole time we were having so much - we kept saying wouldn't this be even more fun if the entire family was here. So I am just saying (Uncle Jack) maybe we should have a family reunion cruise. Heck we could all go on a cruise with Courtney and Nate for their honeymoon - it would be perfet.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quick Blog/First Real blog for 2009

It's been a while since I had the chance to update the TiVo Changed my Life blog. I have some blogs - that need a little more time than I have right now - so stayed tuned for titles which include:

2008 - Where did you go now?
Cruising in Paradise
30 going on 13

But right now I will write about grading. I was up late last night grading and tonight I have just finished. I am not certain - why it takes me so freaking long - but it does. And to top it off (because most of my students had a "cold day" on Friday) I didn't even include one assignment that I would have liked to. However, it's 11 pm right now and it took me all evening to grade another assignment - so if I start with this one I won't be done until maybe next week. So since my grades are due at 8 am tomorrow - I will look forward to adding this grade to the fourth marking period.

I was set back a little tonight - by the turmoils of commuting. I got a flat tire on I-69. I would like to personally thank all the 18 wheelers who moved over into the left lane to give me some room - while I put on my spare in the bitter cold. I hope you can hear the sarcasm in that - because by thanking them I am probably thanking 3 out of the 950 that flew by me at 80+ miles an hour. I have had two flat tires in my life and neither of which happened in June. Yes, 60+ and sunny - easy breezy. 14 degrees in twilight (I mean seconds of light left in the day) = flat tire. Well it's late and I swore I was going to go to bed early - ha ha ha. Well there is always tomorrow.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Amusing ourselves

Waiting for our flight in San Juan.