Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday Moment


I have a calendar that says this is National Volunteer Week.  I also read it's Preservation Week

Either way - go outside your box.  Think about volunteering.  Just a little something to help someone or something in your community.

And preserve our parks, nature, and environment

Happy Monday

Friday, April 21, 2017

Book Review - Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch is Michael Connelly’s lead character in a series of detective books had thirty years in the LAPD. But now he’s out and doing his own private investigating in The Wrong Side of Goodbye. A reclusive billionaire contacts Harry. He’s haunted by a regret and wants Harry to find a child he might have fathered. This was long ago, but there’s a vast fortune at stake.  Is the Mexican girl, now an old woman, still alive? Is she even in the country? Did she have a child? There’s danger ahead for the man, for Harry, and for the possible heir or heirs he’s seeking.

Cover blurb – But as Harry begins to uncover the haunting story – and finds uncanny links to his own past – he knows he cannot rest until he learns the truth.

Meanwhile, Bosch volunteers for a small town police department and tracks a serial rapist – a baffling and dangerous foe. Michael Connelly keeps all of the balls in the air as you hold your breath for Harry. For a retired detective he’s the busiest man in Los Angeles. Fast paced, The Wrong Side of Goodbye, is a darn good read with several  satisfying twists and turns to a crazy ride and  heart pounding ending.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Review - The Snow Child by Eowen Ivey

I enjoyed The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey with a book club.  It was a worthy read and discussion and left me pondering part of the overall book. Was she real or not? I don’t have the answer – you will need to read and decide for yourself.

It’s 1920, Alaska and rough country for Jack and Mabel to homestead. As they try to maintain their marriage after she miscarries, the hard work  and loneliness cut a larger drift in their lives. But one evening, the first snow of the season begins to fall. Jack and Mabel build a child out of snow. Cover blurb: The next morning the snow child is gone…but they glimpse a young girl running through the trees.  Faina, as she calls herself, hunts with a red fox and survives in the wilderness. She visits the couple more and more and slowly accepts their food and affection. As they come to understand this child, who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they begin to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent territory, things are  rarely as they appear, and what they learn about Faina will transform them all.

The descriptions of Alaska are beautiful. Ivey lends a wide range of vocabulary to the haunting wildness of the terrain. Her characters begin weak – will they make it in their new home? But Mabel and Jack grow backbones. They meet neighbors who are quite colorful, and slowly there’s a humor and  richness to all their lives as they harvest the bonds of friendship. And Faina is the sprite who grows up before them. She brings anticipation to Mabel’s every day.  P. 117 The December days had a certain luminosity and sparkle, like frost on bare branches, slight in the morning just before it melts.

The Snow Child is a unique story, rich in character, setting, and twists. It’s got roots in the Alaska earth, and also has a freeing native spirit – a mysticism of sorts. I liked this book a lot, as did my book club group. What do you think about Faina?  Read it and see.



Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Moment


Take time to look up today.

It's splendid

Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

 Happy Easter weekend everyone!   Here's my little tablescape at home.  It was nice to pull out my bunny stuff. Spring pastels and cuteness.  The little ceramic bunny - I made that back in junior high art class.
This bunny plate is a new treat. It caught my eye in the Anthropologie store in Southlake.  Cheap enough kitschy stuff....heck yeah, I wanted it.

I am in PA visiting my Dad. We'll be eating Easter brunch at my brother's place. It will be nice to see everyone. A little spring renewal.

My sister is on spring break for the upcoming week and she'll be popping in and out. Will we accomplish any clean out?  Will Dad allow us to pry stuff loose from his arthritic hands? Can we run faster than him using his walker?

Stay tuned. I will answer these questions and have some Dad senior stories at the end of the month.

Meanwhile - Happy Easter  - enjoy the spirit of the season.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Book Review - Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

From the cover blurb – Commonwealth by Ann Patchett is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.

Patchett is a glorious writer who can weave together a tale that will pull you in and not let go.  Bert Cousins shows up for Franny’s christening party. He’s not been invited, but the Keatings welcome him because that’s what they do. By nightfall he’s kissed Beverly (the mother)  and has set in motion the dissolution of two marriages and the joining of two families.  Yowza.

Five decades are covered in Commonwealth.  The six kids unite and manage to become friends, united against the parents who betrayed them.  Franny, our heroine, begins an affair with a famous author, Leon Posen. Her stories to him of her family become gristmill for his award winning book. Can Franny survive this betrayal of sorts? Can the family overcome the losses, guilt, and connection they have to the past to overcome the future? Humor and heartbreak are the connections in Commonwealth.


Through it all, Patchett’s writing is lovely. She captures the characters, weaves her plot, and keeps us wanting more.  I highly recommend this book and shall not give away more plot. You must delve into it yourselves. Dig deep and root for this family to pull together and make it work. This is very much a book about current times, blended families, and the power of love. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Book Review - Underground Railroad by Colin Whitehead

Holy Cow – Colin Whitehead’s book Underground Railroad is just stunning. The story, the writing, and the characters.  Totally worthy of Pulitzer Prize nomination and many awards for 2016.  Whitehead reimagines the underground railroad as a real train. Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Caesar compels her to take a risk and join him for escape. Oh, but plans go awry. Now they are hunted.  There’s a secret network of tracks and tunnels. We follow Cora and Caesar as they navigate the system and you root for them all the way.  But it’s tough.

First stop is South Carolina. Seemingly idyllic, but hiding slave catchers and others blocking true freedom.  Cora is so strong and her odyssey is a journey through time and space. From the cover – Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America.  The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

I was transfixed reading this book. It will break your heart and also strengthen your resolve in rooting for Cora. Just knowing what her grandmother went through, and her mother, and then her. Wow – so strong and vital, and smart, and good, and worthy of a chance.  Whitehead’s writing is lovely. I enjoyed his book Sag Harbor, and now in this book he is just better and stronger.  There is no agenda. Just darn good writing and a story for the ages. 


Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday Moment - More Flower Power

 Spring fling folks



I'd rather be at the Dallas Arboretum than at work.  But as you read this, I am at work, stuck in a building, typing away like a robot.  I can look out the small window in the door and the view is ugly.

What's your view?  Work from home or in a factory/store/ etc.  ??

Do you want to stand up and scream?

Happy Monday!!1

Friday, April 7, 2017

Book Review - Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Cover blurb – Writing about yourself is a funny business…But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.  Bruce Springsteen.

Bruce Springsteen was Born to Run – in music, in his life, sometimes from himself.  Just as he gives his all on stage, in the studio, and on his recordings, he gives his all in this book. He discusses his demons, his depression, his restlessness, and his need to write and perform music. His words pour out on the page – well crafted, poetic at times, and rough and raw on other pages. I enjoyed this book a lot and I hauled out some old albums for backdrop music.

He grew up Catholic and poor in Freehold, New Jersey. Poetry, danger, and darkness fueled his imagination.  He played the bars of Asbury Park, and became beloved at the Jersey Shore. With the E Street Band, they toured, wrote, toured more, and struggled often.

p.15 I am alienating, alienated, and socially homeless…I am seven years old

p.237 There was no master plan guiding band selection beyond instinct, geography, and the power of the music once we began to play.

p. 243 describing the late Clarence Clemons-genius sax player:  He had the face of an exotic emperor, an island king, a heavyweight boxer, a shaman, a chain-gang convict, a fifties bluesman, and a deep soul survivor. It held one million secrets and none at all.   (any mention of Clemons is a joy in this book. The brotherly bond and love of music shines through. And Springsteen loved and counted on Clarence Clemons as a backbone to his life)

p. 369 on Patti Scialfa –his wife and bandmate – I was more than a song, a story, a night, an idea, a pose, a truth, a shadow, a lie, a moment, a question, an answer, a restless figment of my own and others’ imagination…Work is work..but life…is life…and life trumps art…always

If you love music, read this book. If you enjoy good writing and a glimpse into a musical poet’s soul, read this book. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen is genuine to the core.



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wednesday With a Song

I treated myself a few Sundays ago to a symphony ticket. How glorious. As part of the Pops series, the Fort Worth Symphony presented Rodgers & Hammerstein show tunes accompanied by film clips. Basically, the symphony played and the singers on screen burst into song.

I knew them all thanks to my folks. My mother and father loved theater and show tunes and I grew up knowing Oklahoma , The King and  I, Carousel, Sound of Music, and South Pacific.  Wow - so many great songs.

If I Loved You, June is Bustin' Out All Over, There is Nothing Like a Dame, Some Enchanted Evening, Getting to Know You, Shall We Dance, Oh What A Beautiful Morning, and more....


I had a great seat in the orchestra section. The symphony did a grand job, and the clips brought back such awesome memories.  I was fortunate to actually see Yul Brynner many years ago in a touring production of the King and I  - holy cow - he commanded the stage.

Anyway, support your local musicians and go see some and hear some great tunes. I'll be going back, that's for sure.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Happy A - to Z Everybody - Monday Moment

 I am not participating in A to Z for April 2017.  I wish everyone good luck who is posting and I shall enjoy my visits.
 Meanwhile, I shall post my usual schtick - today for Monday Moments I include pictures from the Dallas Arboretum. The theme is Flower Power and oh, they know how to have trippy fun
 Anyone own a VW back in the day.  My crazy Aunt Jane did and if you rode with her it was like Mr. Toad's wild ride. I can remember a trip to the Jersey shore back in the day - crazy fun
 Here are some "trial" gardens.  Very healthy and lovely.
So much color. Vibrant, bold, and glorious.   Happy Monday - and happy A to Z to all participants.

Cheers!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Book Review - The Animators

From the cover blurb – In Kayla Rae Whitaker’s bold and vibrant debut, a life-changing friendship collides with all-consuming creative ambition to explosive can’t look away effect.

Indeed, the Animators,  is edgy and different. Two twenty something girls meet in college and instantly connect. Mel Vaught from Florida and Sharon Kisses from Kentucky are escaping their families, their lives, and themselves as they create animated short films and ultimately a feature film. In a unique world, they create and also work out their respective family issues with blazing creativity.  They have an underworld following and ultimately win a very high award.  With that money, they work harder and dig deeper.

They identify Mel’s mother’s body in prison. That’s a harsh awakening. Sharon has a stroke at a young age. They deal with that. They visit Kentucky and Sharon’s past which includes a neighbor who was a child molester. So many issues and harsh upbringings – all fodder for animation – their life blood, their way of expressing themselves.  But alcohol and drugs play heavily and this reality could bring this successful duo down.  So many excess, so much strong personality, and of course there’s a competitive undertone. Who’s the genius, the powerhouse, and who’s the workhorse?


How will this friendship survive and thrive with various love interests – male and female, younger admirers, and creative boundaries? The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker is a strong debut book with very quirky interesting characters. Her writing is bold, daring, and vibrant. I enjoyed this book, was challenged by this book, and can recommend this book if you want to step outside your comfort zone. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Book Review - Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner

Hungry Heart – Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing by Jennifer Weiner is heartwarming and endearing.  It’s like hanging out with a good friend who “gets” you.  She’s now a bestselling author (Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, et al), but she’s also a mom, daughter, sister, wife, and is a mix of Nora Ephron and Tina Fey. (That’s a good thing!)  From the cover – hilarious and moving, Hungry Heart is about yearning and fulfillment, loss and love, and a woman who searched for her place in the world and found it as a storyteller.

She always felt like an outsider, even in her own family. She was a “big” girl – healthy and athletic (competed in rowing), but loved to eat, loved to read, and just followed a different path.  She was smart and knew it and didn’t let it hold her back. She found her voice in a newsroom, then as a novelist, and now as an activist and New York Times columnist.  She worked hard at her craft. In a class with John McPhee she learned about revising and revising again.  P. 110 Every piece of prose had to be whittled and buffed, fine-tuned and reworked and rubbed down and polished again, until it was as close to perfect as you could get it.

I enjoyed this book – whether it was her describing living in Philly and dealing with her kids. Or it was divorcing and rebounding. I liked the chapter about her grandmother in the retirement home and the “mean girls” there. Nothing in life really changes. You have to learn to be part of a group whether you are a kid or a senior. Jennifer Weiner has learned to adapt and embrace her differences to be part of a group. She’s found her writing niche and keeps honing her craft. She embraces social media and tries her best to help for positive change.

P. 402  Keep swimming. Keep talking. If something’s wrong, speak up. I will always love you, and I will always see you, all of you, inside and out. And every single part of you is perfect.
Wise words from Jennifer Weiner.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Moment - aah, spring

 Sunday March 19th Ray and I went to the Dallas Arboretum - one of my favorite places on this planet.  We are having a very early spring with a week ahead of 80 degree weather. The tulips are almost past their prime. Glad we could visit and see them



Absolute bliss.  And I know this is rotten, when my Dad and family are all chipping away at ice and dirty snow piles in PA.  Hey, it will come back to bite us in August with over 100 degree temps.

Meanwhile, we smile and use sunscreen.  Spring.......sings

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Chug into Saturday and out of Alaska

All Aboard - Tuesday September 13 - Denali to Anchorage via train

We boarded the McKinley Explorer  at 9:30 am. I love trains and this one did not disappoint. We had comfortable seats in a glass open  bubble. The views were breathtaking. Misty clouds, golden leaves, reflecting lakes, burbling  rivers.

"Termination Dust" is a light snow dusting signaling the end of summer.
Look up the Dr. Seuss House in Alaska. You could see it's unique design from the train.
So smooth, we zoomed over look out after look  out. How many vista pictures could I take? Oh, yes, I can bore you to tears.  Go do it yourself.






And an eagle soared by the train as we pulled into Anchorage. So fitting...............

We arrived in Anchorage at 5:45 pm.  A bus took us to our hotel. Back to reality. Not fancy, just a way station.  We did get a reservation at 7:30 at Simon & Beauforts - a worthy last meal complete with sunset vistas. Salmon!!!

Wednesday September 14th was our farewell to Alaska. We enjoyed the Anchorage Museum - a mix of art and native culture. Arctic themes and native Eskimo installations.  We learned a lot and  glad  we went.

Onward to to the airport for an 8:40 pm flight that will last six hours and go through  three time zones.  We land at 6 am in Dallas on Thursday September 15th.
Tired troopers. Our  bags arrived with us. Time for reality, laundry, and sort through our pictures.
So many memories.   Farewell Alaska - what an awesome state
Excellent Ray 60th Birthday Treat

Go book your land/sea adventure now........................

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Alaska - Denali Grand Finale

Land Ho.  Monday September 12.  Okay, I admit I do take some dramamine because we are going  to be on a bus all day. You never know - better safe thank sorry.  Ray did check around midnight for the Northern Lights. Alas, too much cloud cover. We never did see them.

2 pm tour bus for the Tundra Wilderness Tour.  Book this now........wow, what a splendid day.
Justin, our tour guide, was studying for his masters in biology. He's been studying wolves. His gig as a Denali bus driver is a bonus for us - the man knows his park, the animals, and he sought to give us the best experience possible.

The National Park system of the USA is a treasure and funds should not be cut. That's my political statement of the day. In Denali they maintain a natural eco-system.  No interference. What lives. What dies. That's how it goes. No hunting or thinning of herds. It's maintained naturally.  Regulated buses run during the day. The park shuts at night. Only a certain amount of certified photographers are allowed in per day. It is controlled  for a good reason - try to NOT interfere with  mother nature. I was very impressed.

Denali is the size  of Massachusetts. Again the scale  is mammoth  and it's reassuring to know there is so much wild still not developed. Trust me - go see and you'll be glad.

Caribou had migrated already. We could see the tracks. One lumbering grizzly  sought berries. His huge  paws  dug furiously and found a yield. Justin stopped the bus and we watched him. He dug, strolled, walked in front  of our bus, and proceeded to continue his  search for food. The whole bus stayed quiet as we snapped pictures.  He was SO big and just freaking amazing.





Altogether, in  our seven hour day (which flew by), we saw  eight grizzly, eight moose (they are humongous), grouse,squirrels, bear cubs, an  eagle,and a rainbow. 
Wow


Book this trip now

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Alaska Cruise - of course it's sunny the next day

Of course, Saturday September 10th dawns glorious. It's our day at sea, not the Glacier Bay day. Oh well.  There's a lot of motion on the ship and we both have a slight sore throat and cough. Probably best to stay on the down low. Ray does his one gambling foray in the casino. That's a bust. We hang on our verandah in the sun and read. We do get in our one mile walk on the Lido deck, but even that's getting tiresome. We are ready to get off the boat for good. I can highly recommend Holland America.  The staff has been fantastic, the shows awesome, food is delicious, etc etc.  But we are not "cruise" people. We want to be on land and into the adventure.


Sunday September 11th - we say farewell to the Noordam. We have cruised. Bus trip through Seward and we learn about the great quake of 1964. It obliterated the city. Zoom on through Anchorage, Wasilla (I can see Russia from here - ha!), Willow, and finally outskirts of Denali by 5:30 - the McKinley Chalet.  Nifty resort with a room overlooking  mountains and a river. The yellow aspens pop - gorgeous fall colors.  We are now on  our LAND adventure. 





Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Movie Review Madness - Beauty and the Beast

A tale as old as time….Beauty and the Beast gets a live action Disney remake that is absolutely gorgeous and worthy. Go see it on a monster big screen. Spring for the good theater with XD fancy screen and sound. Get the big tub of popcorn and bask in an old fashioned musical.  Not much new to the story. Belle (Emma Watson) is the odd girl in an old French town. She reads books, for goodness sake, and dreams of more to life. No, she does not want to marry Gaston (Luke Evans) – the hot male in town who’s an egomaniac.  Her father (the always good to see Kevin Kline) is eccentric and when he goes off to market loses his way and ends up a prisoner in an odd creepy castle. His faithful horse shows up and takes Belle to find him. There she says, “Step into the light” and meets the Beast.

This formerly vain prince had a curse placed upon him and his castle.  Now, until a final rose petal falls, he must remain a hideous creature and his servants are stuck as candelabras (Ewan McGregor), clocks (Ian McKellan), teapots (Emma Thompson), and the fancy wardrobe (Audra MacDonald- fabulous voice),  etc.   Belle swaps places with her father and shows her strong will. She’s not going to put up with crap from the Beast. But slowly she realizes he is her match – he’s well read, has a fabulous library, and she slowly makes him less selfish. Meanwhile, she charms the characters and they love her.


Emma Watson is perfect in this role. She projects intelligence. Her interplay with the Beast (a charming and worthy Dan Stevens) works. And he slowly wins her favor and ours. Deep down he is human, he does care, and does need and seek love. Can she fall for him in time to save them all?  Oh, you must enjoy the film to the end – bask in the lavish numbers (Be Our Guest). Love is unpredictable, and sometimes you do have to look into the soul, into the core of a creature to find what’s worthy.  So, yes, a bit of a lesson in this day and age. But the supreme goal of Beauty and the Beast is to entertain, to tell a tale as old as time…and golly gee, it will win your heart. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday Moment - Fareed Zakaria

The finale of the UTA Maverick Speaker series featured Fareed Zakaria. His general talk on the issues of the global economy was enlightening. A key aspect he touched on was technology - money can change hands and cross borders at lightning speed. Communication has exploded exponentially. The speed of progress and automation affects perceptions and has heightened fears.

However Zakaria is optimistic. I liked his view that America has been great, is great, and if it can maintain the OLD American spirit we know - the generosity, openness, and ingenuity - progress can be made.

 This is a man (an immigrant!!) who was born in India, educated at Yale and Harvard, has traveled widely, and is well regarded for his political and economic coverage of the world. His speech offered humor and was thought provoking.

Plenty of moments to contemplate.

Let's have a thoughtful week, everyone


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Cruising - Glacier Bay, Alaska Brrrr

Friday  September 9 - It was a dark and stormy morning". Alas, the big boat event day - our tour into Glacier Bay was ominous. This would be our worst weather day. Oh  well. You never know in  Alaska what you will get late September.

We listen to a prep talk about where we are headed and what to expect. Then we go to the Crow's Nest - 10th floor of the ship. Alas, it's misty glare and way too crowded. Rumor has it they might open the bow. We hurry to our room to bundle up. First we go to deck 3. Brrrr. Reid Glacier, Lansplugh Glacier, and Johns Hopkins Inlet. Lots of wow moments despite the brutal weather.
Bow opens and we are layered with boots, hats, and multi-coats. We bustle out and gasp. Rain, wind, and a massive glacier in view. Quite dramatic. We snap pics with freezing fingers.  Okay - that's enough. We  give. Nature wins.





Scurry indoors to change clothes. We are soaked through.  Since we have a veranda we stand at the glass with our noses pressed against the glass. Lovely.  We break for lunch, then return to our room for the grand finale - the Marjorie Glacier.    The weather has broken a bit so we even venture outside - bundled up of course.  Oh, the caves and blue ice.  The Captain spins the ship slowly a full 360 degrees. Hey - we can even hear an ice calving - a dull roar and we can see the splash as ice breaks off. Tremendous.

One can only imagine a sunny day - beyond spectacular.
We finish up our day killing time. Announcements are made about expected boat rocking challenges. Ray even partakes of  dramamine. Any place you go on the boat, you weave and weeble wobble. It's a disconcering feeling.  However we are able to sleep after seeing the Noordam actors present a lovely show.


Glaciers are an amazing wonder to see. And the only way to see this National Park treasure is via cruise ship. It's well monitored and  very conscious of the environment. We want to preserve this purity!!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Fabulous Friday - Skagway, Alaska

Skagway - Thursday September 8.  This is one of my favorite days. I highly recommend the Glacier Point Wilderness Adventure. These excursions do cost extra but are worth the bucks spent. How else to truly experience Alaska? You have to get out there...into the rugged wild...albeit with guides. Prior to coming on a big trip like this I do recommend walking. Get into some semblance of shape - you'll want  to keep up and be worthy.

7:30 am  and off the boat. We board a harbor boat with Elise, our young perky guide, and twenty other intrepid explorers. Captain Dan pushes back and we zoom for 1-1/2 hours through fjords, inlets, passing waterfalls, mountains, misty clouds, and harbor seals lounging on shore. It's not too choppy. Yes, I took my dramamine.

On land we meet our dudes - the wilderness guides. These are twenty something guys who are college grads and not ready to settle down. They work hard in Alaska from May through end of September. They enjoy hiking, nature, and sharing  this wilderness with tourists. They've obviously done their research and their enthusiasm is contagious.

So, first stop is to put on waterproof boots. Then we hike on a narrow tree rooted path downhill to a river. Canoes await and we board. Matt is our guide - a dreadlocked white dude from the Midwest. He's very laid back and cool.  We paddle a bit and then he kicks on the motor. We zoom to the glacier.
The scale of this area is monumental. You think you are close to a glacier but you are a mile or so away. Chunks of ice float by. Matt stops briefly and hauls in a big chunk - it is crystal clear. The purity here is reassuring. Mankind has  not ruined everything.





Canoe lands and we slog ashore to walk about a mile on river walk. It's not easy - hence, you should have trained a bit for this. Blue ice gleamed.  Stunning  turquoise blue shades. Lapis hues take your breath away.  Rocks are the size of buildings. This glacier is HUGE. I'm out of adjectives to describe this.   Any pictures you see - they are true and more. Breathtakingly fabulous.

It was all exhiliarating.  We lingered  - hating to return to the canoe, paddling back, boarding our harbor boat and returning  to Skagway. Refreshed and tired for a good reason, we stumbled back to the ship by 3:30 for a nap.

I can't emphasize enough - book excursions. Get out there. Chat with your guides - it's an engaging group of young folks  seeing  the world and learning  a lot.
So, nighttime on the ship. Dinner - brie appetizer, trout with spaghetti, and a strawberry mousse. This is not buffet. The sit-down dinners are really nice.

7 pm  - Pub Trivia.  Victory!
8 pm - Mike Bliss - comedy, juggling, and magic. We are amused
9 pm - Group Trivia. Alas a tie...that's okay

10 pm - Goodnight