Monday, March 29, 2010

Chileco Social 3 21 10 at Catalina Offshore
i am really not sure if i posted this before i left i have a memory problem due to Matua Valley Savignon Blanc and an art and champagne auction.  But if you watch real close you'll see me welcoming everyone in my water sari outfit with a mic!  This was fantastic! and Chef Scotty let me do the welcome!

First Day at Sea as of 5:40pm Med Time

Monday 3/29 I know, i know.  Lost a couple days, but i'll get back to them.  Dinner last nite, even before we left the port, filet mignon with pepper sauce au poivre, lobster bisque, creamed spinach, asparagus and a 1/2 bottle of wine.  Oh, and a guinness while we waited for retaurant to open. 

Sunday 3/28 Embarkation Day Norwegian Jade, Barcelona- My cabinmate Sara and I needed protein (meat) the last morning which turned out to be Palm Sunday and the start of daylight savings time (who knew?)- and remember we got in at 3amish in the morning, and were to be packed up, checked out, and on the bus to the port by noon.  So i woke up at what i thought was 9:30 took a shower, got dressed , packed up then woke Sarah up to she could go to breakfast if she chose, and to make sure she didn't miss the bus.  She had just arrived on 3/27 checked in , had lunch, took a shower, when we went out for our big nite, so she was a little groggy.  She decided to join me at breakfast, pulled on her clothes, and we headed down for the buffet in the basement, which was a really good breakfast buffet (i knew from the day before!).  WTF?
The plaza in front of the Cathedral, right outside the door, was packed with people, and the restaurant rope prevented us from entering.  Looks like it's closed!  Oops,  by that time it was actually 11:15 because of daylight savings time.  Eeeeeek.  So we rushed back up to the room, got our stuff together and down the stairs to check out.  NO coffee, NO water, NO food. Bummer. Now we are traveling with Im not sure how many women but somewhere around 50 I think.  Can you imagine how much luggage 50 women would bring for a 12 day cruise?  Anyway, we were at the back of the line kindof still in a daze from our 5star dinner and our barcelona self designed cava tour, and I spotted a Starbucks across the street - Hey Sara, go get us coffee and anything to drink, I'll make sure our bags get on the bus.  So off she went, flying across the crosswalk to Starbucks.  In the mean time, the luggage loading reloading restacking, pulling out, take this on the bus, this won't fit, etc etc, room on the other side still, went on for about 1/2 hour (the poor bus driver had a real workout), and we all got on the bus, and i saw Sara just crossing the street with the two coffees and two bags of something to eat and everyone was chattering away and the bus started to move.  Phyllis STOP  Sara is not on the bus!  She finally heard me, we were still moving mind you, and said where is she- and I said right in front of the bus!  and we stopped and Sara jumped on.  Some of the women grumbled at her, but I said very loudly, we didn't get a wake up call, we haven't had coffee or anything to eat, etc. and the grumbling stopped and we were on our way!  Oh forgot to mention that Phyllis had given everyone a gift to carry with us from home that was a gift for some other member of the group.  I had realized by Madrid that the one I was supposed to bring was sitting in my spare room at home.  And Phyllis had said when I got it from her a few weeks ago-  i know these ladies, some of them will forget!  (but i didn't think it would be me-  oh  s   x x t!  So both Sara and I didnt abide by the rules and protocol right away.  But not on purpose.  It was was just... too much fun.  So i'll get back to the transition from hotel to boat and last night, and move on to today. 

Got up and went to breakfast in the free buffet with ten thousand other people.  Had strange scrambled eggs (only a bite) 2 little hash brown cakes, 2 slices of baguette with some serrano ham and some sort of soft white cheese, yogurt, berries, granola fruit and coffee.
Wierd thing about the cruise.  Water.  Here we are on the water, and if you want bottled water you should've bought it at duty free because it's like gold on the boat.  We saw it on the ground, a pallet load, but by the time we got into our room and went back down to the dock, they were wiped out by the cruisers in the know. So they told us in the bottle shop we could only bring 2 bottles of wine on board, so I bought 4 and put 2 in my bag and nobody looked twice.  Sara bought some Spanada, no that's not it it's Sangria-  really sticky sweet stuff. Back in the cabin, we tried to decide if we had to smuggle the extra empty bottles off the boat, or put them in a public trashcan so we wouldn't have to walk the plank, but settled for hiding them on shelves that only I could see.

Then the PA system came on verrrrrry loud  in everyones room announcing the required safety drill was happening in 15 minutes.  We weren't going to go, and go to the internet cafe instead to see how to accress wifi, but geesh they were closed because of the safety drill (surprise!) so we had to go to the drill.  Glad we did because they tracked people down who didn't go, and they had to go today anyway.  After the drill we were both a bit peckish so we decide to go to the steak restaurant mentioned above, but since they weren't open yet, we did stop for a drink on the way.  By the way, we were still in port, the ship wasn't moving yet. We both felt like we were on our way, even though we hadn't left the dock.

After dinner we went back to the room after figuring out the inet stuff, and talked for a few hours, then Sara went out to see what was going on and i went to bed.  I've posted some pics of Barcelona on flickster so look for the Barcelona link ! 

Today I walked a mile around the deck, had lunch in the  buffet, a salad, some cheese and baguette, and a bit of hummus.  I planned to go to a teppanyaki cooking demo, but i couldn't find the teppanyaki  bar, and by the time i did no one was around.  I was then going to the champagne art auction, mostly for the champagne, but ended up buying a painting (eeek)  but it wasn't a major purchase, signed print, etc will meet me 10 weeks from now at home.  I took a pic of it on the 3/29 First day flickstr link.  So had a glass of champagne to celebrate my spending money, went back to the room  - and took the phyllis gift that someone gave me and gave it to the person i was supposed to bring it for, a globe guilder Angela.  Now sitting in the main mid ship bar, just finished a cappuchino, and now will upload pix.  later.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Yes She is still alive !

Got in Saturday nite around 3am.  Yes you want to hear the story, but i'm too tired to write about it right now.  Having too much fun.  Had an amazing meal, went to 3  no 4 other places including a smokey bar with  a male Rhianna  lookalike in a body suit, mini skirt, wig, fur crop top on stage, along with a guy who looked like he worked at Office Depot. That was the last stop.  Getting along famously with my shipmate.  Too much fun.  Love the Cava.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Adventure begins Rev 1

WARNING:  If grammatical errors, and spelling mishaps upset you do not go further.  This is a real adventure on the road, and I'm having far too much fun to care.  Later!  S

11/09 and I’ve decided to go on my first cruise, but only because it is time for someone to notice if I’m wandering around a foreign country on my own ,particularly if I get hurt of go missing . The last few years I have spent Christmas week at , a gorgeous magical destination spa in Tecate Mexico that was founded in 1940 and recently opened a cooking school. I love the place and have friends from around the world that go there the same week every year. "THE RANCH" YEAH!

I’m a little apprehensive because I am used to traveling, and living on my own (with dogs) and the occasional visitor. A long term acquaintance, who I’m sure I’ll consider a friend after this trip, owns in La Mesa, and every year does her “Phyllis” trips with a group of women of all different ages. I think there are around 60 of us all together and most are from San Diego, or related to someone in San Diego. The youngest is a 16 year old coming with her mom. The oldest I’m going to guess in her 80s.

I’m also used to making all the travel arrangements, but I had to depend on Phyllis for the cruise portion since she is booking the whole group and finding roommates when required. I told her I am happy to share an outside stateroom with balcony. Everyone told me this was an absolute must, especially on a 12 night cruise. They say that you spend more time in your cabin than you would think, and this way you can also see the land passing by, but I guess it depends on what side of the ship we’re on. I also wanted to be sure that my roommate will be a non-smoker, and independent . I was horrified at the thought of having a cabin mate who is a “clinger”- someone who wants a new best friend glued to their side for the entire cruise. Eek! Please don’t put me in a cage with someone irritating!

The group met one night at the agency for a mixer and group meeting. Phyllis had arranged for her cousin to bring Egyptian food and tea from his restaurant, hookahs for all to try, belly dancers and a henna tattoo lady. I got a lotus tattoo on my left hand. Everyone noticed it during the following week or so, and the boss asked me if it was real. I laughed and said yes, it was real, but it would wear off in a few weeks. Loved everyone’s reaction. Maybe I’ll get a real henna colored tattoo someday like a vine around my ankle, but everyone tells me that would be really painful.

So once the cruise was booked, I started looking at maps of the ports of call, and saw that Morocco was not that far away from Barcelona. I started looking at airfares, and discovered I could get there pretty cheaply. I ride a commuter train to work, and years ago I had noticed a new girl on the train coming home for several months, every day, and one day we happened to sit across from each other. “

Google me” she said and gave me a piece of paper with her name on it., so we exchanged emails once or twice and then life got in the way. I wonder if she will remember who I am. I have always wanted to go to Morocco and I’ll be so close. I found her on linked in and sent a message, and she responded almost immediately saying come on down. I then started to look at airfares and tried all sorts of different combinations, finally getting it down to around $1300 to go from San Diego to Barcelona, to Marrakech and then home via New York.

I called Phyllis on a Saturday morning and told her what I was doing about the airfare, and she asked me to wait before booking, to see what she could do. Within the hour she called me back and got the entire thing for  more than $300 less (that's my wine budget for the cruise!) Book it I said and I was committed. I decided to fly into Barcelona to arrive a day before the official group arrival, and to stay at the same hotel the last night before I fly home. My trip to Marrakech was worked out with 6 nights at the Riad  and my original enthusiatic plans and dreams to see the entire country and experience everything possible in 6 nights (ha)  including really stupid tourist stuff like a night in the sahara riding camels eating and sleeping in a big old tent.  You'd think i had never traveled? I’m sure I made Jamila crazy with all my emails - remember we talked once on the Coaster years ago. Oh Sharon!"
I’m sitting at O'Hare waiting for the iberia crew to appear so I can check in. flight is delayed till 715 chicago time, and the wireless connection here is so slow I can’t figure out what time it is without getting up and going to see the arrival destination board . I’ve had food at a place that is called something like FuManchu but is identical in offerings and taste to PandaExpress, so they must be the same franchise. I got half steam rice and half chow mein, chicken with mushrooms and broccoli beef.  Good weight watchers meal.  Hey friends who teach English.  Give me a break.  I am a storyteller, not a grammar expert.  I have a conversation with Edward Yesayan, of Verdugo Realty Services in Glendale, CA. We're about the same age, he collects art & has big ideas, and his kids wonder what the hell he's doing flying to Toronto.  He's living his life!  that is what he is doing . Read this slowly, living in the moment. living in the moment.

So , i've been here for hours, and decide after eating at FuManchu, visiting the handicapped stall in the ladie's room 4 timesdue to the coffee and water I've had, that it is time for a glass of wine.  I walk past the first cocktail area because there is nowhere to sit. the 2nd one I find a convenient stool two seats frrom the nearest patron. Forgot to mention, on the way, I met a fun lady exiting the restroom.  She is just returning from a great couple of days in Hollywood and is heading home for Raleigh Durham (Hi Jamie!)  She was one of the top spa party people for Spa Consultants and one of 6 that won the big prize to Holywood!  Yeah Christine E!  I said, i've been waiting here for hours and it's time for a glass.  She asked my exit gate and we were 10 apart.  When i sat down in cocktail lounge #2 from my gate, who should appear but my new friend from RD!  The bartender here was magnificient!  That's all i can say.;  He asked me for my ID before giving me my glass of Mondavi CabSav.   He said "it's spring break!"  "we have to be careful!" I L-O-V-E THIS GUY!  Anyway, Christine and i sat and chatted for at least an hour about her great time in Hollywood, and my amazing trip (coming soon)  and this same bartender came back to be sure I didn't miss my plane.  I checked in finally about 5:45 Chicago time, and it gave me time to sit and do this post.  The boingo wireless is now working (obviously).  I've got my seat assignment, 2 cabsavs under my belt, and its getting close to boarding time. Already a great adventure.  What will tomorrow bring.  Oh, by the way, if you are looking to host a spa party in your beautiful home in North Carolina see  and tell my new friend Christine I sent you!

So i decide it's 4:30 pm chicago time, which is 2:30 San Diego time on a thursday.  Wait, i'm stil at work! No I'm not i'm in Chicago. At the airport, , waiting for the train, no the plane!

Things i obsessed about during the last few months:  that's all gone now

Frustration with ncl website, what is included? Do I have to haul a hair dryer?

How am I going to pack for 15 days in one bag, with large daypack for Moroccan Trip?

Letting go of ego in dressing on the trip

Having to sleep in pajamas or a tee instead of nude

How much is cost for laundry

Price ranges in restaurants not included

Will they take single diners?

Will any of group be up for car and driver in ports to split costs?

Don’t want to wait in line or be in one of dozens of buses

Need to ride camel see pyramids

Cruise down Nile

Sit in outdoor café on coast in turkey

Wine taste in Malta

What will we do in Rome? Wouldn’t mind going back to Trevi fountain, no interest in coliseum St Peters or visiting Sistine chapel. again. been there.

What will we do in Piraeus? Parthenon no,Plaka done, what else to do

Ask RebeccaC and Ken for Barcelona tips.  They're young, in love, too busy to bother!

Dropped the dogs off at Chris’ last night. Pumpkyn will be fine, don’t even think she probably knew I was gone till bedtime. Hope Joey adjusts and behaves himself, doesn’t get depressed. They’ve got a goat, and I’m not sure but either a peacock or a turkey in addition to multiple cats and at least 6 dogs. Great property, dog friendly, on the way home discovered citronella rolled out of the bag onto the floor, so hopefully he won’t have to use the bark collar on Joey. Went through Del Taco on the way home and got 2 green burritos and 2 crunchy tacos and ate a bunch of lettuce too. Fridge cleaned out and trash near garage door so hopefully Fred will put it out on Monday morning.

Shuttle arrived on time but had problems with gate code. My neighbor Bill says that has happened to him a few times too and some of the previous codes still work. I set the alarm for 2:30 and didn’t go to bed till 11:30 and I can’t remember if I unplugged everything and turned everything off. I’ll have to email Brandie and ask her to check. I was a little disorganized checking in. Because the first leg is a connecting flight I couldn’t check in online but had to check bag at the counter and get boarding pass there for first leg. They said bag checked through to Barcelona. Hope it gets there. I had hidden my reading glasses very well, and couldn’t find them so when the reader wouldn’t work with my passport; I had to enter the number manually but couldn’t read it without my glasses.

The AA employee said she couldn’t read it because it was too small, and she sat there smugly watching me go through my bag and my backpack and my frustration grew. I asked a second time and some male employee came out and helped me. He was very helpful and let Ms. Unhappy know that the scanner I was using wasn’t functioning. I don’t think she cared.

Got on the plane, pretty full but the seats are not too bad, and I have two young people next to me (I’m on the aisle). I dozed for a few moments when I first got on, surprising since I had a Starbucks venti non-fat latte at the airport along with a blueberry scone. Once we took off, they offered food and drink and I had oatmeal, yogurt, raisings with granola and some water. My eyes are bothering me a bit and the yogurt lid splattered pink yogurt on my black soma hooded dress. Fortunately I know that I inevitably spill something while travelling so I word a little stretchy embroidered top/jacket I bought at the forum when Cathie was down from Vancouver in December on the way to Rancho La Puerta.

I have a couple hours layover in Chicago before the trip to Madrid/Barcelona. It’s 4:15pm in the afternoon there right now. Actually the timing should work out quite well once I get on the plane and they serve us, I can hopefully fall asleep for the rest of the trip. I brought my little opal earrings as every day, with my gold flat ovals, and the silver and pearl ones from Silpada. I’ve got way too much stuff, but once I’m on the cruise I should be able to [pack it better so by the time I head for Morocco with the back pack I should have room to spare.

My boss sent me a text wishing me bon voyage last night and assuring me my work would be waiting when I get back (oh good!). Actually I am really pleased at how things are going since the New Year started. I managed to get everyone talking about electronics, and they will now be responsible for gathering and reporting annual numbers to me, instead of me spending hours doing it. I need to do the sampling project again but I will worry about that when I get home. That’s it. The last mention of work for the next few weeks.

I must also bid the doggies adieu farewell, and trust the universe to protect the little darlings while I am gone (the universe and Chris that is). That being said, I <3 the Do It Yourself Dog Wash in Solana Beach on Plaza, which is owned by Chris. I have been taking the dogs there for years, and you can also have them “do” your dogs for you while you run errands. Chris also does Baja rescue I think and funnily enough I wanted to adopt one of his dogs a couple years ago, but couldn’t get through to him on his cell.

It was some sort of funny mix dachshund (sp) but with long hair. I stood out in front of the shop and tried several time and finally decided it was fate that he wasn’t picking up since I had Joey and my late sweet Aussie mix Sheila so it would have been dog 3. Several weeks later I went to lunch with my media buyer and friend GVG and she invited a couple of the ad sales people from Fox 6 TV- I think we went to the King's Fish House in Mission Valley. Anyway, one of the women LD started talking about a rescue she had just adopted, and I found out she had adopted that dog that I was looking at in Solana Beach, and I told her the story about standing outside trying to get hold of Chris.

From that moment on, I felt like we knew each other, and although we are not close friends, I still keep in touch with her via email. Anyway, it’s the perfect place to go after taking your dogs to Del Mar dog beach- why take Del Mar home with you when you can wash it down the drain at the d-i-y dog wash! Tell Chris I sent you.

that's it for now, wonder if this blog can handle my stream of consciousness ramblings.  Au
Revoir young (ha) Sharon.  Bon Voyage.  Oops, one more trip to the ladie's before boarding.  Still drinking my water WW friends!

copyright 2010 sharonjcorrigan

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Comments from People about my first little story Passion

After writing a story about my first time visiting the San Diego Horticultural Society, and then  adding a little anecdote about  the most interesting gardener/writer/artist that I have been fortunate enough to have pass through my life, who has a magical garden and is a wonderful speaker, I was thrilled when she asked if she could put it on her blog, with an edit of only one paragraph.  I am honored she liked it, and that I had so many positive comments about my latest passion - writing- from everyone I sent the link too.  Thanks to all of you for your encouragement! 

Hey, Sharon--Your essay was so good that you put me in the audience right along with the other die-hards. I have a degree in English and for sure I could not have said it as well as you and so delightfully. Isn't that the key?? You know, say what you mean and get the reader to know and believe what you convey. Plus, there's humor which is so important since it transported me to Del Mar!  The flowers you sent home with us continue to brag on themselves.....such show-offs. We're enjoying them so much. Best regards, P.S. We have a passion flower plant, but it hasn't bloomed yet. KK  San Marcos

Sharon: Wow ... awesome writing. It is obvious Pat (a living legend) was pleased with it. I am nursing a cold right now, but let's get together in a week or so and catch up. The Phoenix Heard Museum show was phenomenal. Let's talk soon— MH Encinitas

Wow good story and to have pat appreciate it must have been thrilling. Wow! Congrats! LO, Garden Grove

Well written! Good story! Thanks! BK, La Mesa

Hi Sharon - Must have been a very fun day. You really should go to Costa Rica and wander among the prolific exquisite flowers of the rain forest. It makes even our most lush gardens look like the dead zone. It is silent here even on a good day compared to the cacophany of the birds and insects there. A "passion for life?" Sounds like a "budding" vegan to me! I am going to Costa Rica April 9 to 19. When I get back, it seems so silent and dead to me here. There is nothing like the living, crawling, blooming, vibrant, rain forest. Oh, did I forget "biting?" The noseeums have a party when non-locals arrive. They don't bite the locals but you can always tell a tourist because of the bitten and scratched up legs. Let's meet for a drink sometime soon.SB , Encinitas

I liked your article. HJ, Oceanside

Sharon: I really enjoyed your story and you know my passion for Lavender Cottage’s garden – it gives me such pleasure. You must be nearly ready for your trip to Spain? Have a great time and I will look forward to a story on your travels when you return. You do keep busy! JW, Balmain NSW, Australia

thanks for sharing your toils; writing is sensory and picking the RIGHT words infuse us. Shall we travel to dine on Sun. together? LW, Oceanside

Good story and nice compliment, congratulations! TG, Chula Vista

Hi Sharon, Thanks for sharing that. What a great little story. You have a natural knack for writing and I had such good visuals while reading it. Maybe you should submit it to one of the Newspapers, I think it was very interesting, funny and enjoyable! Keep it up as you are really good! BR, Carlsbad

good stuff.DS, Ocean Beach

Congrats Sharon! As a writer, gardener--and particularly an orchid fetishist--I enjoyed it! CR, Encinitas

That is SO awesome, Sharon! LOVE IT! Looking forward to this Sunday! CS,

That is very cool. I enjoyed reading your article – a budding writer. I’ll be looking for more from your trip. Have fun. BR, Scripps Ranch

Congratulations Sharon! It is written in such an exciting voice - a delightful read! I am so proud of you and how you have gained confidence and received acknowledgment of your great gift of language. Will you please send me the website? The last two nights J's made me take hot steaming showers in the middle of the night to aid my breathing. I reached the tipping point on this thing night before last and am now dealing with, as he delicately puts it, the rotor-rooting of my sinuses. I have been reduced to watching terrible netflix chick flicks on my computer and have read no less than 4 Studs Terkel books in 3 days. sigh. It's so wise of you to take your little notebook computer on your trip and write every single day. You'll experience a million things through your senses and know how to translate that onto "paper". Make lots of triggering notes, record your responses to mundane and sensational things. This way we will all be able to enjoy your experiences as if we were traveling along with you, the little mouse in the corner (of your computer). I was seriously considering asking you to take a few of my bucks with you to pick up something interesting in jewelry or textile. I like your taste and it would be fun. Is that a burden? You will be going to places I have only dreamed of and will likely never get to in person. And of course you plan to take lots and lots of photos, right? I'm thinking only $20 to $40. Again, congratulations. You did a great job writing this and to immediately get the recognition for it is excellent. See you on Sunday. MP , Cardiff

Very cool! Very nice Sharon. DW, La Costa

This is wonderful! DH

What a great read, Sharon! You really have a talent for writing!! I loved it! CA, La Costa

Well done! You are published! CB, Vancouver BC

Friday, March 19, 2010

Feeding Our Passion for Plants

I am honored that one of my favorite gardeners saw fit to publish my little story on her blog, with only one paragraph edited.  Take a look!  I'm vey appreciative and glad that my friends who have visited have given me some great compliments on my writing voice.  Enjoy!