So far this year its been mostly work, snow, ice, work…
I did get to go to a Rare Disease Conference at the NIH last month. That was just a day trip but it was a good one. I always like going back to NIH. I spent so much time there when I was being diagnosed with Cushing’s and post-op that it feels like a second home to me.
We had lunch in the real cafeteria – more memories. When I was an inpatient, my DH and young son would come visit most nights and we’d have a late dinner there.
Last November 30, my son and I got to play a 2-piano duo in the Steinway Hall Rotunda in NYC. As it turned out, we were the last ever people to play there before they moved to a new location in Manhattan.
Here’s a brief video of him playing his solo and one of us playing 2-pianos:
We are currently getting ready to play a duet (1 piano) at the temporary location for Steinway in early June, 2015 …the same day we leave on a cruise to Bermuda. Talk about a tight schedule!
After the November recital, we went to see the Intrepid in NY Harbor. Across the water, a couple berths over I saw a cruise ship departing. I didn’t know/didn’t care where they were going but I found out.
For Christmas, everyone’s gift was a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda. More on that later.
Also, this summer will be a trip to Scotland to see and hear the Edinburgh Tattoo. This has been on my bucket list for a long time. My grandfather was in the Black Watch and I just love to hear bagpipes. Even my cellphone ringtone is Scotland, the Brave.
Not too much exciting in the morning. Mostly posting yesterday’s blog post and pictures and packing up.
Tom went to Walgreens for some last minute stuff – again – and he got me the pink fleur-de-lis studded T-shirt I wore to board the ship (official boarding picture coming later).
We got our stuff together and headed to the lobby to check out. Lots of folks coming in, off our ship! Many had been on a B2B (Back to Back): the same cruise we’re doing plus a week like we did on this ship in 2009 to Belize, Roatan, Costa Maya.
There was some snafu at the port and the taxi couldn’t get us all the way to the luggage drop off so he sort of stopped in the street and took our luggage across the street for us. Then a porter took it the rest of the way.
We got into the building and into Group B. We were at check-in within about 10 minutes and on the ship within about 30 or so.
Embarkation pictures were taken in front of a green screen which I thought was weird since I knew that we’d eventually have the ship behind us. Whatever!
We were early enough that we got a nice round table by a window in the Garden Cafe on 12 and had some lunch.
Another couple from Anaheim, CA joined us. They’d stayed the night at Harrah’s and this cruise (except for port charges) was comped to them. Depending on how well they do in the casino on this cruise, the port charges may be waived. She explained to us about how Indian-run casinos pay out compared to non-Indian and said that Harrah’s paid like an Indian casino and didn’t know why. She was using a “buffalo machine(?)” as an example as my eyes started to glaze over.
The announcement came that our cabins were ready so there was a mass exodus.
We opted for the stairs. On our last Jewel cruise, Michael had us walking up and down the stairs most all the time and it looks like we’ll continue the tradition.
Checked out the balcony, took some pictures, Tom took a little nap.
I was reading on the balcony, and this machinery rolled by on a little track. I got a couple pictures and the guys on it said hello. I guess it will be to wash windows later, or the ship? We’ll see!
Another couple dropped by – part of their luggage had been delivered to our closet. We opened ours and – Voila! – their stuff was in there. They tried to tell us that maybe we were in their cabin, too, but that didn’t go over too well.
At 3:15 we went to the Tsar’s Palace for the mandatory life boat drill. We didn’t have to take our life jackets or stand on deck waiting for stragglers. Hooray!
After the muster, we went out on deck just to watch the last-minute luggage coming on board and ships and barges on the river.
About 4:00 we set out to find the Chapel since Tom was going to meet some folks there. It turned out to be tucked away next to the Spinnaker Lounge on deck 13, forward. I went out on deck to get some sunset pictures and listen to the band during the “Party Like a Norwegian!” SailAway.
About 5:00 the ship finally began to turn around for it’s journey down the Mississippi amid lots of cheers from the folks at the SailAway. I must have napped just a bit…
Got some good pictures, and some sunset pictures. I overheard one confused young woman who thought we were heading the wrong way on the river. Hmmm… Do they teach geography anymore in school or did she plan to go to Ohio?
It started to get a bit chilly on 13 so I headed down to the cabin for my hoodie. Tom was already there and so was our luggage. Yea!
Major unpacking and figuring where to put stuff. Everything away, suitcases under bed. Made good use of the hanging shoe bag I usually carry around. Done.
We’re doing “Freestyle Dining” so we can eat wherever/whenever we want.
On the way to Azura (6, Midship) we ran into the Photo Gallery (7, Aft). We saw our Embarkation pictures and decided to get those. When they added the ship in (remember we were in front of a green screen) it made it appear that portions of the ship were “bunny ears” behind my head. Luckily – thanks to the green screen – that’s being adjusted. Isn’t technology grand?
We went to Azura about 6:30, when lots of folks apparently wanted to eat, too. Because we had to wait for 30 minutes, we got coupons for free soda or champaign in the bar. We learned that “only Pepsi products” are available on Norwegian. Luckily, we don’t have a very strong brand loyalty to anyone.
The wait was less than 30 minutes and we had a nice table for 2. We both had French onion soup. He had salmon, mashed potatoes and green beans and I had BBQ chicken breast, Caribbean vegetables and sweet potato fries Yummy!
During dinner they announced that the Saints had won. Lots of fans on this ship!
We chatted with the folks next to us – they’re from Canada. She was from Canada originally, he was from England. They’d been married 36 years and this was their first cruise. She wanted to cruise the Mediterranean and this is a “trial cruise” to see it they like it.
Their daughter, son-in-law and grandchild live in London so they only see them a couple times a year.
Dessert time. We had coffee, of course. I had key lime pie, Tom had lemon sorbet. Mmmmm.
8:20 – we hustled off to the Stardust Theater to see the show. Since we were already on 6, Midship we’d just head to 6, Forward.
Unfortunately, we had to head through the Casino to do that. We saw the Anaheim folks from lunch and said hi but they didn’t see us. Maybe they weren’t doing too well and wouldn’t be comped.
I always hate going through the casino. It’s always too smoky! I understand that our next cruise to Panama on Princess won’t even allow smoking in the casinos. Yea!
I held my breath and we got through ok. The Stardust Theater was pretty full so we sat in about the 3rd row.
This preview show was called “A Taste of Things to Come” and was pretty good. The cruise director (Alex) is from Uruguay. He gave away some champaign to newlyweds (1 and 2 days each) and some jewelry to a couple married for 62 years. The man thought it was 66 until his wife corrected him.
The house singers/dancers were quite good. I always prefer live singing/dancing/music to recorded so I’m pretty easy to please. They did a song and dance about vacations that showed a lot of good energy.
A comedian came out and he was pretty funny, although I don’t like when they comment on latecomers and possibly embarrass folks. Other than that, he was funny – and wore a silly suit.
The band was from the Philippines but they managed to channel the Beatles and did I Want To Hold Your Hand. Apparently, they do a Beatles tribute show at some point during the cruise. They also appeared around the ship singing I Want To Wash Your Hands at meal time.
A selection of characters from Nickelodeon shows sang and danced. Most, except for Spongebob Squarepants and Dora, the Explorer I didn’t recognize but the kids in the audience did. Maybe this is the Norwegian answer to the Disney ships?
The singers/dancers came back for a selection of Mamma Mia! songs like Waterloo, Dancing Girl, Mamma Mia and more. Love it! There was a *bit* of singing along.
Back to the cabin by way of Guest Services (7, mid) and Decks 12 (walking around we ran into the Canadian couple) and 13.
The first day, at least, we got a lot of exercise walking and climbing.
Sat on the balcony a bit. I tried to get picture of the pilot boat leaving us but it was just too foggy.
We saw a bit of the movie Chicago on TV. I have the movie on my iPad so it didn’t matter that I shut it down early.
Tom went to bed and I got online to do my “Pender work”. I like to keep that site updated daily, no matter where I am.
I read for about 1 minute maybe, then fast asleep.
On Wednesday of this week, the Pender staff took a road trip to Pennsylvania to see Jonah at the Sight and Sound Theater. It was my first time going there – what a neat experience!
We left the church at 7:30am and got to Ronks, PA just in time for lunch. Methodists love to eat! We stopped at an all-you-can-eat restaurant featuring wonderful Amish food. Dienner’s logo was much more sedate than the one next door…
In the same parking lot, RevKev spotted this fine establishment (the small print says “fresh fudge”):
After eating all we could, we headed over to the Sight and Sound theater. From their webpage:
Story, song, and spectacular staging bring each of Sight & Sound Theatres’ epic shows to life. Dozens of professional actors attired in elaborate costumes, meticulously detailed sets towering up to 40 feet high, trained animals, unmatched special effects, and beautifully memorable music inspire 800,000 guests every year.
When we first got to the theater, there was a wonderful quartet of Victorian-era carolers singing for us. It even snowed on them at the end of their segment.
We found our seats and settled in for the show. It really was fantastic, very colorful (except for Jonah!). I liked the feeling of being there, since the theater wrapped around the audience on 3 sides – and had things like fish swimming through the audience and jellyfish floating above.
The boat that looked like a whale was very clever – and the “real” whale was something to behold.
Lots of animals, too –
I would recommend this show to anyone.
After the performance we headed out to eat again even though it was only 4:00. This time we went to Plain and Fancy for an Amish Feast
Click to view full-size
We finally got home about 8:30. I was exhausted but it was a fantastic day.
Jonah and the Whale – Story Summary:
The story of Jonah and the Whale, one of the oddest accounts in the Bible, opens with God speaking to Jonah, son of Amittai, commanding him to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh.
Jonah found this order unbearable. Not only was Nineveh known for its wickedness, but it was also the capital of the Assyrian empire, one of Israel’s fiercest enemies. Jonah, a stubborn fellow, did just the opposite of what he was told. He went down to the seaport of Joppa and booked passage on a ship to Tarshish, heading directly away from Nineveh. The Bible tells us Jonah “ran away from the Lord.”
In response, God sent a violent storm, which threatened to break the ship to pieces. The terrified crew cast lots, determining that Jonah was responsible for the storm. Jonah told them to throw him overboard. First they tried rowing to shore, but the waves got even higher. Afraid of God, the sailors finally tossed Jonah into the sea, and the water immediately grew calm. The crew made a sacrifice to God, swearing vows to him.
Instead of drowning, Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, which God provided. In the belly of the whale, Jonah repented and cried out to God in prayer. He praised God, ending with the eerily prophetic statement, “Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9, NIV)
Jonah was in the giant fish three days. God commanded the whale, and it vomited the reluctant prophet onto dry land. This time Jonah obeyed God. He walked through Nineveh proclaiming that in forty days the city would be destroyed. Surprisingly, the Ninevites believed Jonah’s message and repented, wearing sackcloth and covering themselves in ashes. God had compassion on them and did not destroy them.
Again Jonah questioned God, because Jonah was angry that Israel’s enemies had been spared. When Jonah stopped outside the city to rest, God provided a vine to shelter him from the hot sun. Jonah was happy with the vine, but the next day God provided a worm that ate the vine, making it wither. Growing faint in the sun, Jonah complained again.
God scolded Jonah for being concerned about a vine, but not about Nineveh, which had 120,000 lost people. The story ends with God expressing concern even about the wicked.
Watch the Broadway revival cast perform “Tradition” at Radio City Music Hall:
Fiddler on the Roof at Wolf Trap today was absolutely fantastic!
Set in a small town in Tsarist Russia, Fiddler follows the story of a poor Jewish milkman, Tevye, and his family of five daughters as they cope with increasingly difficult social and political upheavals that threaten the traditions of the small town.
A joyful narrator, Tevye explains that their lives are like a fiddler perched on a roof: one of survival through tradition in a life of uncertainty and imbalance. But as his three eldest (and strong-willed) daughters push those traditions for the sake of love, Tevye must reexamine his philosophy and decide what is more important: family or tradition?
The bottle dance as choreographed by Jerome Robbins (in collaboration with Tommy Abbott and Betty Walberg) was popularized by the Broadway play and film musical, Fiddler on the Roof. To ensure the historical accuracy of his choreography, Robbins turned to the work of renowned Jewish dance scholar, Dvora Lapson, and spent time in the Orthodox community in New York City attending celebrations that drew on the heritage of Russian and Eastern European immigrants. The product of his painstaking research – the bottle dance – is that rare cultural phenomenon that captures the imagination of the world, and takes on a life of its own:
There are only a handful of Broadway numbers distinctive enough to go by their own names. For people who’ve seen Fiddler, the words “bottle dance” summon up more than steps. You remember a line of black-suited men, arms linked, knees jackknifed in deep plie, brows furrowed in concentration, slowly, deliberately thrusting their legs out and propelling themselves forward without toppling the wine bottles perched precariously on their hats. And you remember the mixture of surprise and delight and suspense, the feeling that you were being transported into the realm of the impossible.
“There was a rule about the bottle dance,” says Wallace Munro, who first danced in the national touring company of Fiddler in 1969. “Periodically, one of the dancers had to drop his bottle. Robbins wanted it to be exciting. He felt that the audience needed to understand that those bottles weren’t glued on — they were really balanced.”
– Dance theater: Robbins’s Fiddler launched a choreographic showstopper in the bottle dance