Thursday, May 31, 2007

rockin' and rollin'


Yesterday was quite nice, though being far out at sea now, it's a bit chillier
and quite windy. So the around the ship walk on Level 7 is brisk, and I
shortened it yesterday since I was in short sleeves and shorts. But I did
have a workout yesterday morning, and headed to one this morning as
well, down in the Canyon Ranch Spa. It's a very nice facility.

Last night at dinner, I again had the Canyon Ranch Selection. This time
it was swordfish, so I'd sure never complain about that. Due to some
confusion, only part of our table ended up back at the same table, but that
just meant getting to meet some new faces that the staff sat with us.

Afterwards, there was entertainment by 2 sisters, Ann Calloway, and the
other name escapes me. They are the ones that sang the intro for the
TV Show "The Nanny", which I refused to watch due to Fran Dressler's
voice which grated on my brain. The sister that I cannot remember her
name, wrote that theme song as well. They've both been on Broadway,
and had spots here and there on TV. Mostly they sang Broadway show
tunes, but added their own sibling rivalry flavor to it. Now, that was

Today the waves are a bit more intense, especially down here on Level 2.
I've always heard the lower one is, the more the rocking of the boat
effects the person. My cabin is up on Level 11, and I had to use the
handrail going down the hall this morning, as it otherwise would have
appeared I was quite intoxicated. I've not yet been driven to drink on
this trip.

Later today I'll get to attend a presentation in The Planetarium, and
then a guest speaker is on later in afternoon, plus of course, more
entertainment this evening. Quite a full day. When do I get to relax ??

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

water, water, everywhere.........


This morning started out with the "breakfast in bed" I had preordered late last night. Well, OK, I did not eat it in bed, but rather from the couch. It was on the menu as a "cooked breakfast", and consisted of scrambled eggs, potato shavings, banger (sausage) and English bacon, plus a blueberry roll. It was good, and one nice thing was, they know what reasonable portions are, without providing way too much food, so that was a good thing for me.

Then I went to the Canyon Spa, and used a personal trainer to get acquainted with the gym, and start learning to work out those long-neglected muscles. Fortunately, right after that, I had a massage scheduled, and it was well needed by that time. Lunch then as downstairs, in an area that actually divides into 4 restaurants at night. But for the lunch, it's wide open, and it's all buffet. I had the chicken, and some green peas with carrots, and a dab of bangers and mash.

Then I came downstairs here to the computer center, as wireless connection does not want to work from the room. So I'm spending a bit more on this, just for you to get to read about my trip. So you all should chip in and pay for it. hehehe.

Tonight there is more entertainment, plus I may finally hit the casino. There's also movies every night, plus board games available, 7 or s0 bars, ranging from disco to cabaret to quiet. One is even smokefree. Tomorrow I hit the gym again, to punish myself yet some more. But I'm trying to not gain anything while on this trip, and I can definitely tell you, that will be tough.
At least Deck 7 is open and level, all the way around the ship. Once around is 1/3rd mile, so last night after dinner, I did 3 laps, for 1 mile total. That's where I'm headed when I leave here, to get that done, since tonight is formal dress for dinner.

Tomorrow ? Who knows whatelse.

Ahoy, mate

May 30th, 2007

I think that's the date, anyways. I can already see it's going to be easy to lose track of time on the ship. They have clocks around here and there, so I will make it to meals and entertainment on time at least.

Yesterday a car service was used to get to the Brooklyn Piers. Apparently these piers had not
been used in many, many years until the Cunnard Line started utilizing them just a few years back. Nice facilities, and a wonderful view of Manhattan. Going over the Brooklyn Bridge, I wanted to make the driver stop so I could get a picture of the Queen Mary 2 off in the distance. It was certainly easy to pick her out. But, knowing how illegal that would be, I did not. By the time I had a full view of it again, we were practically underneath it, and I would need to be much further away to take the whole boat into one picture. Hopefully after we land in Southampton I can get some then.

We sailed just after 5pm Eastern time, and watch Manhattan grow smaller behind us. We did get a decent close up of the Statue Of Liberty, and glided under the Verranzo - Narrows Bridge. I probably did not spell that correctly. From down on Lever 6, it sure looked like the smokestacks of the QM@ were going to take out the middle of the bridge, and the construction workers doing improvements on it. However, it safely cleared, and we were on our way.

I'd always thought the Statue Of Liberty was at the very front on the harbor entrance, but it is tucked back in there aways, and you go past miles of Staten Island on one side, and Brooklyn on the other side, to get out to sea. But it's a great view all the way along.

We did get the fire / emergency drill done yesterday, and we now all know where to muster.
The Ship Tour was very helpful, and I was able to get my bearings a bit from it. Another person in the tour said he sure was glad he took the tour while sober. The ship is huge, and it can be a
bit confusing which way to go, coming off some of the lifts. Oh, a lift, is an elevator to us from the USA. The tour guide had quite a heavy cockney type accent, and most onboard have a British accent as well, though some are from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc.

Dinner last night was casual. They have Canyon Ranch options on the menu, for those wanting to save some calories, and be good. I took advantage of that, and had the duck. That's a sacrifice ?? It was awesome. I had started with a bibb lettuce and roasted beet salad, that was surprisingly tasty. I even got to have a lemon / raspberry tart, as part of the Canyon Ranch pre-chosen meal option. Very good. We had a nice table of 8 people, and plan to sit together the rest of the trip.

Later last night, Suzanne Westenheimer was the comedianne for the Entertainment in the theatre. It actually started with 2 acrobats, doing some Cirque De Soli type acts hanging from the ceiling on some bridal veil appearing material. They were quite good, and it sure involved a lot of muscle and timing on their part, as well as lots of trust in the other person. Then Suzanne came out, wanting to know what athletic trick she has to pull off to top those 2 guys. Her comedy started there, and she kept going for about an hour, and was quite entertaining and funny.

Late last night one of the many bars hosted a singles event, and that was fun. For awhile. Then the smoke began getting to me, and I left.

It was time to try out the restfulness of the ships bed.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Long Island


A train trip to Long Island on the Long Island Rail Road, to Ronkonkama. My friend Ed, a fraternity brother from OSU that I had not seen in 30 years picked me up at the station, and we went to lunch, then to the beach.

The beach was nice, and very crowded. It was a cloudy day when we got there, but the sun came out and the people kept coming and going.

Later, we drove to Port Washington, a quaint coastal town with shops and restaurants all near the dock area. Very nice.

Then it was time to return to the skyscapers of New York City. Quite a change from the low buildings out on Long Island, and the busy, but certainly not hectic road traffic.

One thing I certainly noticed on the train. The closer to NYC, the higher the buildings became, with more garbage and junk along even the railroad line areas. Sure seems like they could clean that up for a better image.

Rather than wait for the late trains, which would probably be quite busy after a holiday weekend, I hopped on the 5:37pm, and therefore ate dinner back in NYC. Dinner was then at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in their restaurant.

The lobster bisque was among the best I've ever had.

Then came the Chilean Sea Bass..... which was absolutely fabulous.

I've been disappointed in hotel restaurants before, but certainly not in this one. Very good !
The day overall was quite enjoyable and restful. I'd been through part of Long Island before, but not really stopped to enjoy it. I hope to again in the future.

"Jersey Boys"


"Oh, what a night"........ or what an afternoon in this case.

"Jersey Boys" - based on Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons. Always a favorite group of mine growing up, and still today.

The show goes deep into the origins of the group, and the shady past of some of the members, as well as the progression to get to the members that were there when they did finally hit it big.
It's an interesting story, most of which I was not familiar with. While at times they use the lyrics of a song to tell that portion of the story, most of the music performed is done so, just for performance. A living testament to the groups many hits, and a rockin' good time for the audience. I recommend "Jersey Boys" to anyone that enjoys music, even if you are not that familiar with this groups songs.

I was fortunate enough to be able to see the show with the original cast members in the main 4 roles. They are also the ones on the Broadway Cast CD I purchased. They were all very good, and definitely emitted a sense of thoroughly enjoying performing the music, and had a sense of
real interaction between them, as if they really were the group. No wonder it's been a huge hit.
I sure will see it again if the traveling show ever comes to Tulsa. Perhaps even more than once.

After the play, dinner was at a seafood sidewalk restaurant, McCorkmick and ??. The grouper there was quite tender, juicy and tasty. Very well worth it.

"The Year Of Magical Thinking"


This sounds like my last two years.

Actually, it's the title of a Broadway Play I saw Saturday evening, with Vanessa Redgrave. It's a one-woman drama reading, based on the real life of the author, and is quite intense and engaging.

Prior to that, we dined at the restaurant at the Millenium Hotel in the Theater District. The trout was very good, and the service was attentive to getting us out in time for the performance.

After the show, coming out after dark to all the lights, and just down the street from Times Square, was quite the treat. Everything was lit up, and electric. Seems they have cleaned Times Square area up quite a bit from previous visits, many years ago.

However, along some of the streets, you do still see too much garbage piled up, as well as some
places with homeless sleeping the night away.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

o/` soul searchin'........ o/`


Listening to Solomon Burke's "Don't Give Up On Me" CD at the moment, from several years ago (2002 Grammy Award Winner - Best Contemporary Blues Album). For the 3rd or 4th time today. It's one of those that when it comes up on the 400 CD Jukebox carousel, it may well get played a few times in repeat. Blues / jazz / soul. What more can you ask for on a Sunday ?

One of the lines in one of the songs really hit me this morning. " the part of me that wants to change, fights the part of me that tries". Wow. I can relate to that. Perhaps it's my tendency to overanalyze everything. Perhaps it's the old tapes in my head replaying the old tunes. Perhaps it's the loss of comfort in being able to devour comfort foods. Perhaps it's the loss of the extra body that allowed me more distance between myself and others. Perhaps it's.......... oops.... there I go, overanalyzing again. I know I have changed. I know I want the change. I know I like the change. I know I want to change more. I know I will change more. What else is there to say ?

Yes, I've been very successful in my change in weight. THIS time around. However, all the previous times were met with inside fighting, and ultimately, the "stay fat" side would win out. While I am determined not to let that happen this time, only time will tell. I rather diligently do my morning stationary bike ride, and my evening walk around the neighborhood, so I am building up some muscle there, and shaping myself somewhat. However, I have been know to stray a bit at times on the food I eat, though not anything like I used to. If I am out to eat, and someone else has a dessert, I may have a bite of it. When at a certain restaurant that's known for it's beautiful bread (and boisterous host), I may well have a small piece of the spinach focaccia, and a piece of the cheddar garlic breads. Plus just a nibble of the whipped potatoes.

Mostly however, I do stick with protein, with some vegetables and fruits. Will it be a challenge to do so on the trip, and especially on the cruise ? I'll certainly find out. I've stuck mostly to the eating plan on other, shorter trips, so I know I can do it. However, I do remember that cruises offer tons of food. Tempting though they may well be, I can still only eat smaller portions (though larger than I used to be able to). I also still have to watch anything sugary, etc., especially on an empty stomach. I therefore rarely, if ever, eat any sweets at all now. And anything greasy, fried, or overly sauced, does not set well with me either. So, as long as I follow Plan A, I'll be fine.

Two weeks from today, I'll be in New York City for 3 nights. I'll then board the Queen Mary 2, and cruise the Atlantic, docking in Southampton, UK. I'll then spend 2 nights in London, 1 night in Ruthin, Wales (in a castle), 2 nights in Manchester, and the last night back in London before returning stateside.

While in NYC, I will see several Broadway shows, and also I'll get to see a fraternity brother from OSU, that I've not seen in 30 years. I'm still trying to track down another friend that used to live in Brooklyn, so hopefully I'll find her and her husband....... if I can remember her married name. I knew her first under her maiden name. If I still had my old computer that crashed a few years back, I'd be able to have all their info. Oh well.

When in London, I'll see a few theatrical shows as well, and of course, some of the tourist sights. No way I can see everything while there, so I'll just see what I can, and that will be fine. I am also excited about getting up to Northern England, and to Liverpool, to see the birthplace of The Beatles. It just seems like a natural pilgrimage to take, after all the influence their music has had on music since then, as well as on my life.

"Yes, there's much in life, for which I could atone....... but let him without sin, cast the first stone...... but before you do..... there's still one more point of view...... on the other side, of the coin......" OK, more quotes, from another Solomon Burke song. "But before you judge me....... if judge you must...... take your time, be sure....... that the verdict is just."

Much of my life, I've spent so sure I knew how others were judging me. Whether due to my weight, or my clothes, or my job, or something I did / said, etc. But what I have come to learn, is that what I was doing, is just guessing, at what I thought, they thought. Hence, I was judging their supposed judging of me, without taking time, to make sure that the verdict was true. Or not.

Solomon Burke, for those not familiar with him, is dubbed The King Of Rock And Soul, and can be found at

He's in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

I just hope to make the Enjoyed A Great Life Hall Of Fame.