Thursday, February 20, 2014

a few highlights from our Caribbean cruise

I'll share pictures on another day but I wanted to share a few highlights from Mike's birthday trip.  My Dad always calls me after we return from vacation and the first question is always, "What was the highlight of the trip?"  Well, here are five highlights…

Highlight #1)  I think Mike and I would both agree that our stop in Roatan, Honduras was probably our best day for 'excursions.'  Oddly enough, we did separate excursions.  Haha!  Mike went diving(which I don't do…more on that in a moment) and I went to the 'Maya Key Private Island Retreat' for the day.  Doesn't it sound so exotic?  I sort of figured it really wasn't going to be a "private" island but it actually was.  It was a little windy that day so the 2nd cruise ship that was supposed to dock in Roatan didn't dock so there were about 50 people from my cruise ship on the entire island.  This island is also dedicated to rescuing animals so I got to see some cute animals and hear about their stories.  And I got to eat some local food, which was also delicious.  I relaxed, I walked, enjoyed the peace of the beach and water, I read my book…oh and also also got to hold an alligator.(picture to come later)

Highlight #2)  I am not certified to dive.  It honestly sort of freaks me out because if something goes wrong 50-75 feet under, what can you do?  Our last stop was in Costa Maya, Mexico and I decided to do a Discovery Dive, which is basically a quick course on diving and then they take you out for a shallow 25 foot dive.  The good thing about diving at 25 feet is that you can get to the surface without having to stop.  Well - I started going under the water and completely panicked.  I couldn't seem to keep my mask clear of water.  There were three of us and 2 instructors so I came up to the surface with one of the dive masters, she talked to me to calm me down and for about 5-7 minutes I just stared at her trying to relax and breath.  I was close to giving up but I knew I'd regret it.  I pulled myself together and was able to get down into the water, perform my 3 maneuvers(mask clearing, clearing my regulator, & taking the regulator out of my mouth, letting it go, & retrieving it).  Then we were off to explore.  I'm not sure if this experience convinced me to get certified or not but it was a great experience(and a challenging one) and we got to see a sea urchin, some colorful fish, a crab, & an electric stingray.

Highlight #3)  You'd never think that you could attend art auctions and buy art on a cruise ship but you can.  And they even have Picasso, Rembrandt, Yaacov Agam, Francisco Goya, Renoir, & other artists that most non-artsy people have heard of.  We attended a few auctions and ended up picking up a few pieces.  We've been on 3 cruises and every time we say we aren't going to buy more art, but we ended up buying.  I guess it's something we can leave to our…oh wait…we don't have kids.  Hopefully the nieces and nephews will appreciate it. :)  This time we picked up a Peter Max, a few Tim Yanke's, & an Emile Bellet.  We have also collected a Scott Jacobs piece and few Shan-Merry's but that was on the Alaskan cruise.  Even if you don't buy, art auctions are really fun and entertaining.  I love hearing the stories about the artists and the works of art.

Highlight #4)  David Naster was a comedian and performed twice on the cruise ship.  We laughed so-dang-hard.  His performances have really stuck with me because it wasn't just all about comedy, it was about real people dealing with difficult things and finding laughter/humor in those tough situations.  Here is a link to his teaser video for his hopefully future TV program.(<~please go watch this video because you'll better understand)  He told so many funny stories about real people finding laughter in difficult situations.  He also told stories about first-responders, law enforcement, & nurses/doctors…what they deal with and how they find humor in situations that many may deem "politically incorrect."  I could really relate to the law enforcement stories because there are so many times Mike will come home, tell me something happened that day(i.e. someone jumped off the Rio Grand Gorge bridge), and then he maybe laughs or tells me something funny about it.  I usually scold him and say, "That's so inappropriate Mike."  After listening to David, I feel like I have a better understanding of how & why Mike has to find humor in some of those tough situations.  Of course, someone committing suicide by jumping off a bridge is tragic but if Mike doesn't find a way to deal with it, then those incidents will just eat him alive.  We have to be 'ok' with finding humor in tough situations to keep our sanity.  Take a time out to laugh often, out loud, every day!

Highlight #5)  The National World War 2 museum is in New Orleans.  It is AWESOME!  I loved everything about this museum and how it was set up.  They are still developing it so I definitely want to go back when they have more done.

There's my highlights!  I'll post pictures next.  :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

music resonates with me

Vacation is over and I have intentions of doing a few blog posts on our Alaskan cruise (from last September - behind much?) and our most recent cruise to the Western Caribbean and our time in New Orleans.(we cruised out of New Orleans and stayed over for a few days after the cruise)  Maybe this weekend I'll dedicate some time to those posts.  For a few years now, we've been taking birthday trips so the Caribbean cruise was Mike's birthday trip.

Ok…now on to music…
Music is something that really resonates with me…it brings back memories, it motivates me, it makes me happy, it inspires me, I feel it can inspire change, the list can go on and one.  I was involved in band and choir when I was younger but I don't really feel like music meant to me at that time, what it does now.  I'm sure your next question is: "Can you give us some examples?"  Why, of course I can.  :)  Click on the song name and it will take you to a You Tube video of the song.(I don't necessarily love the videos of all these but I love the songs)  Grab a cup of tea because I encourage you to listen to all these songs!

I just really started listened to the words of the song Nothing More by The Alternate Routes and I love this song.  Listen to the words.  Isn't this the truth ~> "We are how we treat each other when the day is done.  We are how we treat each other and nothing more."  Can't this song teach us all of life lesson?  This song is just beautiful!

Roar by Katy Perry is a song that really motivates me when it comes to the gym or stressful times at work.  It makes me feel strong, powerful, and makes me feel like I can attack the world(in a positive way, of course).

I've talked about this one before on the blog but Thank God for Hometowns by Carrie Underwood is one that has brought me to tears many times.  As a person that moved away from their closest friends/family, this one really comforts me when I want my Nebraska peeps.  :)

The Lord Bless You and Keep You is a song from my high school days that is a song that anyone associated with my high school music program would know.  This is actually a video of a bunch of my high school alumni singing to our choir director at his last concert when he retired in 2012.  Sadly, I was not able to join this event since I live so far away but this video also makes me tear up.

Only You Can Love Me This Way by Keith Urban and My Little Girl by Tim McGraw bring me back to my wedding day.  My first dance with my husband and the father-daughter dance.

Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis is really a great song for this day and age, if you will.  It's probably long overdue and honestly, it amazes me how much discrimination/stereotyping still exists.  So dissappointing!  Think about this quote from Nelson Mandela ~> "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than it's opposite." Stop with the "hate" of people of a different color, people of different sexual orientation, people of different religions, or people with a different background than yourself.

Those are just a few songs that have meaning to me.  How does music impact you?  Are there any songs/music that resonate with you?