Friday, December 05, 2008

All I can say is BRRRRR!!! Only 17 degrees this morning - that is chilly for Kentucky. But, I shouldn't fuss too much as I talked to Mary yesterday and they have a foot and a half of snow in Green Bay. They have a long driveway so poor Scott is shoveling snow each morning so they can get their vehicles out. I called her on Wednesday and she was behind a snow plow on the highway and couldn't pass him as the other lane had not been plowed. There is no way I want to live in snow country again!

I felt kind of bad as she told me about the snow and cold as we got back from Cancun late Tuesday and the weather down there was incredible. Even down right hot the day we toured the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. First time I have ever been on a guided tour and it was well worth it. We had soda and beer on the bus and a restroom - good thing as it was an all day trip. However, using a bathroom on a moving bus is much more difficult than on a plane! The tour guide was superb and used a little mirror (from my purse!) to show us unique features of the carvings on the ruins. One carving looks like Jesus and another looks like a cross-legged Buddha. Makes one wonder about the ability of our famous philosophers/religious leaders to travel through time via meditation, etc. I felt sorry for the many Mayan children selling trinkets and "junk" at the ruins. We were there on a Saturday so I am sure there were more than usual. What beautiful children, with the most expressive eyes.

Our Thanksgiving dinner at the GRSolaris resort, which Steve booked through Travelocity.;jsessionid=383553E4F0F06ED8628846FC0224E63C.p0751?propertyId=60171&tab=features&fromPage=&SEQ=12284824942361152008&hotelQKey=8287598903317697659 It was a bit strange as the food was traditional turkey and mashed potatoes, etc. but the show was a Mayan festival. They showed how the Mayan played a form of ancient soccer but used their hips to hit the ball. The players were incredible as was the dancing. I loved it! We then went and sang along with Karaoke in the bar and danced with everyone in the place - including the kids. It was great fun. I would recommend this resort to anyone with kids as there are so many activities and things to do, but for a "older" couple like us who wanted quiet, this is not it. From noon to 5 p.m. there are activities at the main pool - our room was right above it. We spent our time at the adults only smaller pool which was much quieter or on the beach itself. I did get too much sun one day - of course, our last full day there - but it was because it was cloudy and we sat on the beach and read for too long - not realizing how much sun we actually got. This is an all inclusive resort so I put on 3 pounds! The food is excellent and lots of choices including fresh fruit at every meal. I "pigged out" on my favorites - papaya and melon. No problems with water here as they have their own filtration system. Only issue we had was our room location - we were next to the pipes for the water and at night they rattled so hard it sounded like a jackhammer in the room. A quieter room and this would have been an almost perfect vacation - as it was, it was pretty close. Only time we left the resort was to go to the ruins. Otherwise, we chilled on the premises. Of course, it is a time share so we went through the hard sell to get the $80 certificate to use for the tour, but it wasn't bad. We talked to some folks who had been members for over 10 years as there are 3 Solaris resorts in Cancun, but we like to try different places, so we were a "lost cause" as far as selling us anything.

We celebrated my birthday while in Cancun and Steve spoiled me with a beautiful necklace, music DVDs (Patsy Cline and Alison Krause), and a book, of course. I am a huge John Lennon fan and he gave me the new 851 page biography John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman. It has a wonderful picture of Lennon on the front - not a handsome man, but what arresting eyes. One of my favorite pictures is of me sitting on Lennon's lap - actually, a bronze statute of him in a park in Havana, Cuba. Need to get that scanned into the computer one of these days. The book is superb so far and I think teens who wish they could be rock stars might change their minds when reading of the squalid conditions the Beatles endured in the early years. Well, on the other hand, the sexual openness in Hamburg, Germany might appeal to some teens. Makes Bourbon Street in New Orleans seem very tame!

Since we spent time at the beach and I was wishing for the relaxing days of the catamaran sailing trips we went on back in 2001 and 2002 I had to read a sailing book - A Thousand Shades of Blue by Robin Stevenson. Told from the viewpoint of 16-year-old Rachel, the reader can feel the tension in a family vibrating off the pages as Rachel shares her thoughts. They are a family running away from potential demise. Rachel's parents are fighting and both she and her younger brother, Tim, who is in a perpetual state of anxiety, fear their parents will divorce. The father decides they will to sail from Ontario to the Caribbean via the inter coastal waterways - a way to bring the family together. Rachel is more than a little upset - she does not want to leave her friends or social scene of school behind for a year of being trapped on a small sailboat with her family. It is not an easy trip either in terms of the weather or the storm clouds of surpressed anger and anxiety that hover over the tiny sailboat. A stop in the Bahamas for repairs as well as interaction with other sailing "families", both young and old, help and hinder the eye of the hurricane of feelings to strike - forcing a decision on the mother's part. Rachel falls victim to the charms of a rich 20-something sailing his own boat and almost loses her virginity, but it is what she and Tim see occurring in another boat moored near them in the bay that will force family decisions. This isn't a sailing adventure so much as Rachel's emotional coming-of age journey through the shades of blue of both hope and despair. An honest look into how impending divorce affects tweens and teens.

That's it for today. Need to finish up grading and start putting this semester "to bed" - thank heavens - it is has been a long and hard one.