Cooking Demo as Comedy Sketch, April 2013
While the bros went onshore in Ensenada, the other in-laws and I went to a food demonstration in the auditorium. Our executive chef (Italian) and the maître d’ (French) did a comedy routine while playing "So You Want To Be A Food Network Star." They were sweet.
It was like being in a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers film with Continental valets and waiters. The Frenchie was like Eric Blore, the resort waiter in The Gay Divorcee.
Galley Food Prep, April 2013
I’ve always heard so much about the extravagant food on cruises. All you can eat, all the time. Well, all I can say is: the food was only fine. Nothing over the top but lots of choices. Must say that some dishes were just edible. I use lots of spices when I cook. I guess institutional food needs to cover all tastes. So some of it didn’t have any. But I only gained 2 pounds and they came off within a few days of being back home. Oh, and the ice cream was second rate. Nothing like calories you don’t really enjoy.
Give me Haagen Daz Coffee any time!
Happy Hour, April 2013
I can't do better than the Piano Man himself...except to say that I loves me a piano bar ...
Red Ensign Merchant Navy United Kingdom, April 2013
When the deck hand sent this flag up the pole it whipped out with a crack. Huge flag. Our ship was built in Nagasaki Shipyard by the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and registered in Bermuda. Gross tonnage – 115875. Fuel capacity – 750,000 US gallons. (Well, there goes my carbon footprint.) We traveled a total distance of 2223 nautical miles/2556 statute miles/4113 kilometers.
Sunrise at Sea, April 2013
You want to get the shots, you gotta rise and shine. I can’t remember the last time I saw the sunrise. Even though I’m surrounded by mountains at home, I had an earth bonding moment looking at the sky.
And did you know that the horizon is a curved line?!? Well, duh, you say. You take a photo, you know you can't give the folks an uneven horizon line. What's a girl to do? Crop! Out, out damn curves!
Heading Home, April 2013
My ocean. My city. My home.
It’s clear I don’t have all the answers,
and I must become comfortable with that.
Step into the water and the sea will part.
You are making your way in the world over and over again.
Sunrise Port of Los Angeles, April 2013
We disembark at 8:15am, carrying our own luggage. Through customs, kisses to relatives, play Find the Car in the Lot. Drive the freeways. Pick up the mail, being efficient folks. Kiss the dog, unpack, wash laundry. Plan next trip...
The Mall at Puerto Villarta, April 2013
Where are we? Van Nuys? Stockton? Bakersfield?
We’re in Puerto Vallarta! Really.
Artisan Crafts, April 2013
A bus takes us around the city, the sea horse statue, symbol of the city, brightly painted buildings, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We make some stops for souvenirs. I only want to take home good photos. I snap this man many times, different angles. Right in his face, but I feel no guilt. He has a tip jar so I slip him a few dollars.
Tequila! April 2013
Our last stop is a family owned tequila farm and factory, Leyva Tequila, 100% Puro Agave. This made the time viewing resort condos worth it. The grandson of the founder treated us to generous tastings – 3 grades of straight plus orange, almond and chocolate. I controlled myself and only had half shots. Uno, dos, tres, salud! What an impromptu party we had. Of course we bought several bottles, why do you even ask?
All Ashore Who's Going Ashore, April 2013
Taking a tender to shores of Cabo San Lucas to take a catamaran tour inside the Bay and across the line into the Pacific Ocean. The bay is calm, the ocean not so much. But it is very, very blue.
Sailing back from the Pacific side, we head across the bay to look at condos. Wow.
But then on the way back we catch sight of whales. At first our tour guide says they’re California gray whales, even though it’s late in the season. Then he realizes they’re blue whales. For some reason this is rare. We race ahead to keep up with them. Looks like a mom and a pup. Never having been on a whale watching trip, I make a decision to experience this sighting in real time and not through the lens of a camera. It would be too hard to catch them and silly. When the body comes up I think, amazing and large. I try to send thoughts out that we are fellow living creatures. I say hi. I don’t miss having a photo.
El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, April 2013
This is very pretty …
El Arco de Cabo San Lucas
Sea of Cortez, Cabo San Lucas, April 2013
… and so is this. I could adjust the color on these shots but why? The intensity of the blue water and sky was almost the best part of this whole cruise. I spent a lot of time alone in the state room reading off my new birthday tablet, enjoying its maiden voyage. Pun intended. I looked out at the balcony and the sea and was calm. I had my ocean view, my coffee, my MSNBC and my book. Sometimes I dozed and the bathroom was close. I didn’t have to climb all over the ship looking for one. Wandering around, up and down, lost, was a definite ‘con’ when evaluating whether I want to do this again. Perhaps the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to Turkey. That I would consider.
Sapphire Princess, April 2013
I can’t get over how big these suckers are. It’s scary. Oh sure, flying in a plane at 30,000 feet ain’t no picnic for me and simply pulling out of a parking space at the market while next to an SUV leaves you open to a crack up with some entitled BMW zooming down the lane.
Good thing we had smooth sailing. After 2 pregnancies of severe all-day sickness, I’ve done enough nausea to last a lifetime. Must say, though, that back on land it took me days to get my land legs back. Every now and then I’d be standing at the kitchen counter rocking back and forth. Grab the granite for dear life!
Come back tomorrow for the Big Finish. Do the Rubinsteins get off the boat? Or do they do the Boston MTA Song thing, stay on the boat and sail around the world? Hey, that's an idea!
Mexican Cruise, April 2013
I’m not one for cruises. Never been on one. Never wanted to. Make mine an urban landscape. Then my mother-in-law passed her driver’s test and said we were going cruising. So there we all were last month: me, husband, husband’s bro and sis-in-law and mom-in-law, sailing down the coast of Mexico to Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada.
Not one to waste a chance to travel, I am determined to have fun, in my own way for sure. I bring my new tablet, filled with reading material about English country homes and Paris streets. I read on the back deck, where other people’s kids dare not tread, lulled to sleep by bossa nova over the PA system. I revel in the fact that I don’t have to shop, cook, clean up or pick up. This in itself must be worth something, no?
Most importantly, I drag along my trusty DSLR. It never leaves my shoulder. I snap at the pool, at dinner, at wine tasting, at the tequila factory and while touring the Sea of Cortez. And many photos of how big our boat is. These cruisers are like whales. Sitting in the 1,000+ seat auditorium at night, laughing at comics, singing along to the production numbers, sleeping in the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on, I remind myself that this sucker is moving. I clap, I sing, I sleep, all the time praying that come morning, I’ll still be there, eating too much like all the other passengers.
Los Angeles Harbor, April 2013
I’ve never been to this little corner of LA. I don’t think of us as one of the biggest ports in the world. I’ve lived here more decades than I’d care to include in this post.
I think of my city as one giant freeway, ringed by mountains, hanging onto the edge of the continent, the home of Hollywood.
But not once as a major transportation hub for goods.
Well, how lovely that we can learn something new every day.
Port of Los Angeles, April 2013
Good-bye land! I hope I don’t get seasick. I remember the Noah’s Ark book I read to my daughters many years ago. The elephants and giraffes were hanging over the sides of the ship and in the dining room, in tuxes and ball gowns, relieving themselves of their champagne dinners. My mother-in-law wants us to dress for dinner. Her sons threaten mutiny. Shorts and flip flops all week! They lose, of course. Our little group takes up its own table. Our waiters are efficient and funny. Good, unobtrusive service is an art. We tip them extra on the last night.
Welcome Aboard, April 2013
Once on board, we went on a mini scavenger hunt after dropping our bags in our state room and checking out the balcony. Us cruise pros will tell you that having a balcony is a must. The room was small but the sea was wide. And we had MSNBC on the TV! Oh Chris and Rachel, Rev and Lawrence. I’m thrilled that I won’t miss my daily fix of you.
Then we went on the hunt, stamping a card as we found all the activities that will cost us extra money. Warm spa tables? Isn’t that what the pool chairs are for? We put the card in the contest box. And …
Bon Voyage! April 2013
... as we pull out of port, heading on our way, joined with hundreds of others, watching ourselves leave LA on a screen as we leave LA in the water, our card gets pulled and we win a $25 coupon! Hah!
The next day I head to the shopping deck and buy myself an insulated red coffee container, which never leaves my side, and a little book light for my home hard copy reading.
Searching Horizon for Icebergs, April 2013
Bro-in-law spent much time at the railing, binoculars in hand, scanning the sea for whales, dolphins and perhaps icebergs. Later in the week he and my husband went deep sea fishing in Cabo. From my boat, I actually snapped a photo of their Princess tender heading to shore. It’s amazing what pops up on the screen when you get home. Sort of like invisible ink and lemon juice. The guys caught some fish and found a restaurant that would cook them. Mix with Margaritas. Yum.
Sunset First Day at Sea, April 2013
Ahhh…nothing more to add ...
... except visit tomorrow for Part 2 of Bobbi's Ocean Voyage.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, April 2012
Getting lost was not a matter of geography so much as identity, a passionate desire, even an urgent need, to become no one and anyone, to shake off the shackles that remind you who you are, who others think you are.
~ Rebecca Solnit,
A Field Guide to Getting Lost
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, April 2012
No one can tell you what goes on in between the person you were and the person become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side.
Or you don't.
~ Stephen King
Encino, California March 2013
Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing.
~ Hunter S. Thompson
LA Freeway, March 2013
How often do I think of the freeway driving images in the novel, "Play It As It Lays" by Joan Didion?
Every time I drive the Sepulveda Pass on the 405.
The moment that I first felt the freeway moving under me, not me over it, I knew that those roads cast a spell over us and that Didion had forever captured this LA icon and the emptiness of the city.
I never drive up an onramp without thinking of her portrayal of the kind of mindless driving I used to do on Sunday afternoons when I was young and single and was sure I was going nowhere fast.
I will get off at Highland and take Wilshire to Downtown to avoid going across four lanes at the interchange of the Hollywood and Harbor. No wonder her character slept well after her first perfect crossing.
Today I googled the image and found out it was a seminal one in the novel and that I wasn't the only one who continued to think of it decades after I'd finished the book.
In the first hot month of the fall after the summer she left Carter (the summer Carter left her, the summer Carter stopped living in the house in Beverly Hills), Maria drove the freeway. She dressed every morning with a greater sense of purpose than she had felt in some time, a cotton skirt, a jersey, sandals she could kick off when she wanted the touch of the accelerator, and she dressed very fast, running a brush through her hair once or twice and tying it back with a ribbon, for it was essential (to pause was to throw herself into unspeakable peril) that she be on the freeway by ten o’clock.
Not somewhere on Hollywood Boulevard, not on her way to the freeway, but actually on the freeway. If she was not she lost the day’s rhythm, its precariously imposed momentum. Once she was on the freeway and had maneuvered her way to a fast lane she turned on the radio at high volume and she drove. She drove the San Diego to the Harbor, the Harbor up to the Hollywood, the Hollywood to the Golden State, the Santa Monica, the Santa Ana, the Pasadena, the Ventura.
She drove it as a riverman runs a river, every day more attuned to its currents, its deceptions, and just as a riverman feels the pull of the rapids in the lull between sleeping and waking, so Maria lay at night in the still of Beverly Hills and saw the great signs soar overhead at seventy miles an hour. Normandie 1/4 Vermont 3/4 Harbor Fwy I.
Again and again she returned to an intricate stretch just south of the interchange where successful passage from the Hollywood onto the Harbor required a diagonal move across four lanes of traffic. On the afternoon she finally did it without once braking or once losing the beat on the radio she was exhilarated, and that night slept dreamlessly.
~ Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, April 2012, The White Column
I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do.
I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it's true I'm here, and I'm just as strange as you.
~ Frida Kahlo
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, April 2012
We were the people who were not in the papers.
We lived in the blank white spaces
at the edges of print.
It gave us more freedom.
We lived in the gaps between the stories.
~ Margaret Atwood
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