The Brick and I took two back-to-back Caribbean cruises on MSC, an Italian line, partly as a celebration for our upcoming anniversary this week, partly as Christmas presents to each other...and partly as a Christmas present to The Mama, whose health, since her open-heart surgery, has just not been doing well. She came with us, along with our cousin Joy (referred to as "Joybell" in our family)...and we really had a good time. It has been so push-and-shove for the past months that taking a break was not only welcome, but essential. We were so fortunate to have Daughter #1 willing to house-sit, Charley-and-Abby-sit, and chicken-sit. (No, I didn't say what you thought I said.) That gave us the chance to turn off the cellphones, leave e-mail for a few weeks...and just enjoy.
The hard part, though, has been trying to figure out what the rest of the world was doing while we were visiting Cozumel, Jamaica and the Bahamas. We saw the Broncos clinch their spot in the playoffs -- strange, but doable. However, it's been very freaky to try and figure out what is going on with the Sydney hostage-taker, the whole Missouri situation, and the two policemen executed in New York City. Why, why, why?
I am still waiting for Al Sharpton to explain why it's ok to shoot two cops in cold blood. (Update on this -- Sharpton refers to himself -- and others who have called for retribution and revenge -- as "peace-loving." Uh-huh. Sure. You bet. Oh, and he's had threats on his life, too. I keep thinking of the phrase "Be careful what you ask for -- because you may get it." Go here for more comments on the whole sorry mess.)
As for Christmas, the cruise ship didn't even mention it until last week Saturday, when trees and decorations suddenly blossomed onboard. Christmas music was the stock item on the intercom...but it still seemed strange. We were on vacation -- how could Christmas still be coming, as usual?
I need to find out -- because the tree's not up, food made or presents wrapped.
Dirt Farmer Fudge. As a fudge junkie, whose best fudge-making friend is currently in Vietnam teaching for a year...I'm out of luck. I'll definitely have to make some of this for Christmas. And try hard not to eat it all myself. (From Mike McGroarty)
What will the stock market do in 2015? Yours truly weighs in via Midlife Finance.
You might also enjoy my articles on:
Choosing the perfect gift
Celebrating the holidays - with food traditions
(Incidentally, the Christmas food and holiday food blogs should start up again with new entries, now I'm back. Just give me a couple of days.)
Seven essentials for your winter wardrobe -- whether you live in cold or warm climates.
More weird advice that works.
The mystery of Chopin's death...what did the examination of his (pickled in cognac) heart show? Creepy, but interesting.
A group of orcas who got a little too close. Killer whales, that is.
The Kansas City cop who took care of two lost dogs -- even though he didn't have to. The policeman refused to be interviewed about his kind act, saying it was just part of his job. Gutsy.
And to celebrate the season -- Jimmy Kimmel got pranked by the guy he got last year. Serves him right.
Have a great, hopefully restful week.