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Updates: Cruise, Christmas and Challenge (BLC)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wow! Has it really been that long since I did a blog? Guess so. I was just blah and blech for a long time this year. This coming year is going to be a LOT better! I will make it so.

Cruise news. We spent the two weeks around Thanksgiving cruising from Barcelona Spain to Miami. It was a very restful two weeks once we got on board the ship. If you are thinking of cruising on Oceana I'd give it a pass unless you have a lot of money and have a butler. It was good for what it was but the customer service left something to be desired for the price paid.

First our extra day in Barcelona was cancelled due to a general strike in Spain. Oceana did help us arrange travel the next day but we got no extra ship credits or anything because of the lost day as it was a "free" deal we got when we booked our cruise. Then the driver in the see Barcelona tour while waiting to board the ship was all about the Olympics and very little about the history and historical sites. We spent 30 minutes walking around an old Cathedral that was built over a Roman Temple. The rest of it was spent driving around looking at Olympic venues.

The first excursion was a full day trip into Seville Spain from Cadiz (about 1-1/2 hours each way) for a 3 hour walking tour of a Muslim inspired castle. Which was interesting, but there wasn't enough time to see the Cathedral across the street afterwards (for an extra price of course).

I enjoyed the next several excursions, but outside of walking on the moonscape in Lanzorate (sp?) in the Canary Islands they just weren't really worth the prices charged. The moonscape tour was walking through volcanic craters left from when the islands were formed. It was interesting and fun but very challenging walking over scree and scrambling over cracks and up/down the crater sides. Dave took a lot of pics. I'll try to get a few to post here too.

The clientele on board was mostly older and by that I mean Dave was probably the youngest person on board outside of one young lady who was accompanying her grandfather. We were among the youngest and most active people on the ship. We also had little interest in most of the "enrichment lectures", bingo and other games played in teams to earn "Big O" points. I kid you not. That was the name of their activities rewards games. By collecting the points at the end of the cruise you could get little souvenirs with the points. I saw the list and the cost... again not really worth it.

The food in the specialty restaurants was fantastic! I had the best dish I've had in a very, very long time which was a miso glazed Chilean sea bass. One good thing is that I got the recipe as they did a cooking demo with that as part of the menu. YUM! That's what we made for Christmas dinner. It turned out to be just as good at home.

I did nothing but read and relax for the most part. However, once we started the 7 days across the Atlantic I did start hitting the gym for 30 - 45 minutes a day. I did not follow the eating plan at all. Ate waaaay too many desserts.

There was a lot of gastrointestinal illness going around because towards the end of the cruise the captain comes on the loud speaker and announces that over 2% of the guests (which isn't that many considering it's a smaller ship) had come down with something, so they were bleaching everything (including the ceilings) contacting the CDC, food was handed to us by the cafeteria staff, etc. None of us got it, whatever it was, but we were pretty anti-social.

One amusing thing that happened on board... My MIL & her husband had a butler with the level of stateroom they had. So one night shortly after leaving port they (MIL) had a cooking class and so asked their butler to send their canapes (which they got every night) to us. So from that day on Dave & I got canapes too. Sweet! Except that they arrived about 30 minutes to an hour before we were to meet his mom for dinner. Sigh... never hungry enough to really eat them. But it was fun to have them delivered.

On to the next update... Christmas

We had a nice Christmas which we spent with my folks and niece's family. We celebrated on Christmas Eve because my niece is an RN and was working Christmas Day. Her daughter was spending Christmas Day with her father's family.

As part of our present to everyone we fixed dinner. The menu was the miso glazed Chilean sea bass, Ahi tuna tataki, bok choy in ale with cheese and walnuts, soba noodles in peanut sauce, cranberry salad (provided by my mom) and bosc pears poached in green tea and ginger. It took a lot of time to prep the meal, but it was totally delicious and everything turned out wonderful. Great flavors that complimented each other.

Didn't get a lot this Christmas present wise, but that's OK. Between the trip and everything else it worked out well. We did get a soda stream from my folks though which is something I've been wanting for a very, very long time.

Next update: For those interested in joining BLC Challenge is open for enrollment. This is a group of people who are supportive and willing to help you maintain your focus on healthy living/active goals for 12 weeks. Here's the description that they give along with the links.


Space is limited, so get your friends the info FAST!

Info they need to know...
Here's how:

Follow the link below and join the Registration Team! The "General Team Discussion Forum" has STEP 1, 2 AND 3 laid out, please READ and REGISTER! Next, check out the TRAINING FORUM. You MUST complete training in order to be placed.

Join us in the CLUBHOUSE to start the chat! We're looking forward to getting to know you, so without further ado . . .
ark/groups_i ndividual.asp?gid=58447

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. Also although there is heavy emphasis on exercise/activity it is for all people who are willing to be accountable and try. Participation is more important than how long or much you can do on any given challenge.

For those of you who know me (and now you too are included) I find this team very helpful even though I can't always do as much as some of the others, with RA some days it's impossible to get a lot of exercise minutes in for Last Chance Tuesday's (followed by Weigh in Wednesday's). But they also check to see who is doing at least a little and your (sub) team gets credit for your participation.

Let's start the New Year out with a wonderful bang... a commitment to better health and living.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • _LINDA
    Sorry your cruise was a bit of a disappointment :( I wouldn't be able to stand sitting around doing nothing most of the time. Not enough excursions seems like.
    At least the food was awesome and big bonus getting to see them actually prepared.
    Its good to hear from you!
    My step dad gave me his GPS runner's watch because he was frustrated getting it to work and also he didn't really walk anywhere except for his coffee which was a short walk. Mom gave me some cozy down cabela's slippers. Our weather here has been brutally cold and too dangerous to walk outside (twice I almost froze my fingers and toes in spite of warm mitts and wool socks :( Our winter started back in October, hard and fast and has been bad ever since. So I am not able to get to my exercise classes and am doing much less then I am used to. Might be for the best as I am in a lot of pain with my right hip going and needing a replacement. I don't sleep much at all before waking up hurting. My Christmas was split. Saw my brother's family on the 23rd, and will see my sister's family (hopefully) on the 30th.
    Good luck with your challenge! Here is to starting the New Year out with good food, exercise and fewer RA issues!
    1940 days ago
    What a great menu for Christmas! I love it. Can you send a plate to Jacksonville? LOL!

    I love the cruise idea, but it seems your excursions really sucked! And I will have to remember not to take that cruise line. When I went to Mexico for 7 days, the toilets all backed up and there were no rooms or public restrooms that didn't smell like sewer! It was horrible! And we didn't even get part of our money back or anything. It was freaking miserable Now I do 3-4 day cruises with an exit strategy if that mess happens again!

    But I am glad you are back and are healthy and didn't get whatever everyone else had!
    1940 days ago
    Sounds like you've had a busy fall. The Chilean sea bass sounds yummy. May I have the recipe?

    Glad that you're going to do even better in 2013. I hope we all are.

    Take care.

    1941 days ago
    I'm so glad you got to go on the cruise, even if some aspects left something to be desired. Just being away from home and being able to relax can really do the soul good. And that meal sounded delicious!

    I wish you all the best in the coming year. I hope and pray it is the best of years for all of us! I like your comment about next year being better, *because you will make it so*. Great take-charge attitude!
    1941 days ago
    ..enjoyed reading your blog. I am waiting for the arrival of Cayson, my expected grandson.
    1941 days ago
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