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…. cruise on….


sigh…. we had to leave the ship… after 7 glorious days!  such a wonderful way to vaca…. arrive… do only what you want…. rest, relax…

DH and I are not frequent cruisers, this was our 4th in 18 years… and each one has been memorable.. whether 4 to a room with quasi grown kids…. or on our own living the good life..

We did not get off the ship at all, no tours, tourist shopping, stray beaches or moped rides for us..  port days meant empty boat, space, quiet.. our own yacht for the day!

On sea days…. 6400 guests populated all 17 decks!  We chose the solarium in the front of the ship, adults only, two hot tubs, pool… food, drinks and comfy seating… When the breeze moved, we moved also!  Sometimes back to the main pool deck, or to nooks located on other decks… the back of the ship on deck five was a favorite.

… ah and we ate…. dined, snacked, indulged, grabbed, lingered, drank… we did it all!  Sometimes it was the little things, the frozen yogurt machine was a daily treat… ok, yes it was a multiple times per day treat… !  managing the cone and creating the perfect swirl was a skill perfected early on!

This trip, we dined nightly in the ‘my time’ dining room, requesting to be seated with the same servers nightly.  Each day we looked forward to the friendly service and good humor served along with the delicious food… hmmm, sounds like a travel ad, but true… the staff is so professional, personable… and made for more exceptional experiences.

we explored the boat, dabbled in daily activities, people watched, napped frequently, showed up for all of the entertainment.. mama mia was our main show, and it was amazing!

the days sped by… sadly the boat docked, we were booted and the new guests were already arriving!  all that is left are the memories!!!!!

… and the planning for the next one!


…..back from vacation

Always so good to be back… and so sad!  We were gone for 3 weeks, 12 states and about 3,000 miles!

As part of our journey, we drove from Florida to New Jersey with Arthur’s sister, really mine too!, to move her car from south to north.

Seemed like a reasonable idea, we would take two days, three drivers in an Avalon seriously packed with treasure…

…Along the way the road seemed to develop these ridges that caused the car to rumble bumble with a bit of a shake.. Interstate 95 needs some serious self care!  However after a state of two of this, there was the moment when a loud whop occurred, obviously a blowout.  And yet we seemed to be rolling along quite smoothly.

We pulled over right at an exit, got out to study the tire, which was not flat and was still on the rim… and a minute man fixit truck pulled up right behind us… How often does that happen?  Road trouble at an exit with immediate help?

He directed us to exit, go three lights to the Walmart auto center, where it was discovered that the tire had not blown but an extensive piece of tread had been rumble bumble flapping and had now fallen off… 1 hour later we were back on the road..

… and three minutes after that a flatbed truck throws up rocks and cracks/divits the windshield in two places…

At that point, it does seem as though the Avalon likes Florida and is not interested in an New Jersey address!

We power on for a few more hours on 95 and stop for the night…. at a lovely hotel, next to an Outback (we had a coupon), have dinner and retire for the evening…

But our adventure was not over… mid sleep, the room phone rings, the front desk alerting us to a thunderstorm.  Really?  Like we couldn’t hear the thunder and see the lightning?  This was taking North Carolina hospitality to a new level…

… Actually, the call was to state that the parking lot was flooding… and we must move our cars..  Chaos ensued as we tried to scramble awake, find our flip flops, oh they are in the car, put on our sneakers…. DH added a Bronx Zoo tee shirt ‘for protection’, and I came along because I had a packable raincoat.

Heading outside, we see the water is 1/2 way up the wheels, staff says stay out of the water, cause of the lightning… you really can’t enter a car with water 1/2 way up the wheel wells, without stepping into the water….

I was all for jumping into the car, but DH, ever the tactician, went to inquire as to where we should put the car and what was the safest flood route to the higher ground.  He is so annoying… especially when he is right!

We navigated the situation, with sneakers full of water, safely arrived at the high ground and congratulated the white car behind us for getting to high ground, as his car seemed to have water all the way up the wheel…  He did get his car moved, but it was full of water..

And yet, the next morning, there was not drop of water anywhere in the parking lot.. if you hadn’t lived it, you wouldn’t believe it!

Fortunately day two held no drama other than DC metropolitan traffic and we arrived!

Adventure behind us, adventure ahead of us… more vacation moments to come!




…. good morning Roscoe!


… they say a picture is worth many words….  this is my grand dog… and I am totally infatuated with him..

he is 21 months… so grown up and such a puppy!

when his day ends and it is time to sleep, the mere word ‘crate’ sends him dashing as quick as he can into his nighttime hangout!

… and when morning comes, he is calmly waiting for the fun to begin, first he grabs a toy, any toy, the toy closest to him and runs to the front room just because he can..

I like to sit on the floor and watch him settle, he wiggles and dashes and returns for a mini rub, turns in circles, looks out the window, and finally settles down for a full body rub.  It is one of the best parts of the day..

I have heard that a dogs hug is when he makes full eye contact with you.  roscoe stares deeply into your eyes as you scratch all the best places!

… Then it is time for the first walk, a business walk with some time for sniffing… just once around the block and back home for breakfast.

Roscoe may eat right away or need to find a bit of mischief… he is a good, well trained dog… however one morning last week, I left him unattended for a moment, or two…. and found him all 4 feet, standing atop the dining room table!  Oh I wish I had a photo!  He knew he was caught, jumped right down and sat in his perfect, I am such a good dog, best sit.  It wasn’t food that took him atop the table, it was a crinckly pink package that he wanted to help open!

We just spent 6 days with him, playing, walking, hanging out on the deck, visiting the dog park, having a bath, going for a car ride, trying to figure out fetch, walking in the mud, having a bath, spending time at Lake Michigan… having a bath!

Roscoe is brilliant!  … He uses his feet to maneuver toys, really loves a puzzle, truly knows many words/commands… and Roscoe is ridiculously unaware.

We took him sheepherding with his best friend.  both dogs are Australian Shepherd / Poodle mixes…. Roscoe enters the ring with the sheep and the trainer gives one look and goes… ah poodle… while Gracie immediately grasped the concept of herding.. She arrived at 8 weeks, herding her toys into the basket… and will play fetch all day long..

I would love to know what is happening inside Roscoe’s head… but fetch is not one of the principles locked in there!  He loves for you to throw a ball, especially if there are other dogs and everyone can run really fast… I rarely see the ball returned by Roscoe, he is off in the weeds…  just being happy.

That is the best part about Roscoe, he is happy… living life with ease… well mostly… except when he is on leash, 4 feet in the air at the sight of another dog… can we play, can we play…

ah, I miss you!  … fortunately his family is traveling again soon and I will be needed to reside in Chi town and spend time with Roscoe.




…..I am or am I going to make it to yoga

Yes I am!  It is scheduled, planned for, and I am already in the city, no commute needed…

And yet,… the morning is gently sliding by, restful and soft… scratching the dog,  relaxing.. thinking of all the wonderful choices possible, blog… walk… nap…

The problem with yoga is that I will have to leave the house, step out, use the car, drive 2 miles… I mean I am dressed and ready, there is no need for this Sunday morning inertia..

I want to go, I need to go, I should go, I can go… will I go?

YES, I am going to yoga… be back late to finish this post ……

WOW, am I glad I went to yoga!  The class was challenging and exhilarating, spiritual and muscular…

… and ended with a wonderful relaxation.




chubby cheetah in chicago

….walking  8 miles a day…  Go Chubby, Go Chubby..

WOW…. between walking the DG, walking to the store, walking to DC, and the usual movement… the steps add up… 17,000 per DAY!

walking in the city is distinctly more interesting than walking around my suburban block!  I wonder what the dog to person ratio is?!  Big dogs, little dogs, multi dogs… young, old, lots and lots of rescue dogs…. the church on the corner sets out a bin of treats!  Across the street is a block square city park with a dog park for those dogs who don’t yet respond to their family version of come, front, touch……  And in the middle of the park is where the come, front, touch master dogs congregate for early morning play.  Roscoe is not there yet, but he is close!

then there are the people… I LOVE all the young families out walking … some are pretty amazing with babies strapped front and back and one in the stroller!  Some are very controlled, some quite laid back.  Most of them have a dog leashed to the stroller.  I wonder how that works… if that were Roscoe and he saw a squirrel… all bets off, Roscoe, stroller and baby would be vertical at the base of the tree….. with the squirrel grinning down at them..

City squirrels are unique, suburban squirrels flee, city squirrels taunt… as in … you can see me, I am just out of reach, and you will NEVER catch me.!

Interesting, I started out to talk about Chubby Cheetah, yet the words have taken me to descriptive city life experiences.

I wonder if a vibrant, busy active life removes the necessity to obsess about weight… I am eating well, eggs and toast for brekkie, turkey for lunch… lots of fruits and veggies.

Marketing closer to meal makes it easier to be ‘on plan’ and on target.. we have eaten breakfast out and brought home 1/2 or more for the next day.  We have taken advantage of Marianos meal deals, $7.. for main course and two sides… portion controlled..

City living seems to keep me outside more… away from the kitchen… hmmmm.

Well, still lots to say, but time to travel up the street to hang with DC…. wonder which DC is awaiting us today!

what is your opinion on city vs suburbs?  dog vs cat?

….weekend in chicago…

I mean, we only live 25 miles outside of Chicago, we can come in anytime we want!  But as grandparents to the greatest grand dog and grand cat in the world, we have extra opportunity due to travel plans of DD and DS..

This weekend both DD and DS are traveling, leaving us in Chi town with the dog and the cat!

Both are needy… Dogs need to be walked, fed, walked, fed and watched.  Cats are just needy. needy with attitude!  The dog appreciates our efforts and shows his love in tangible ways…

The cat takes the love and hisses.

But, I digress… the dog and the cat are merely the vehicle for DH and I to ‘reside’ in the city!  Soak up city life, walk the city streets, eat the city food… and watch the city people!

… and look forward to becoming city people ourselves in a year or two..!!!

We have been in residence since WED, (sorry for the non blogging, just so much city living to do!), settling in, unpacking and working out our schedule.

This is not our first rodeo, however it is our first with both pets at the same time…  our kids live on the same street, two miles apart, so this is a very doable deal… Although, two miles by car during rush hour is a 30 minute trip.. Walking is nearly faster, but sometimes the car is needed.

So, we are ‘living’ with the dog, the most adorable sweet still working on being adult 21 month old poodle blend you would ever want to meet.  His skill set is developing, his ability to remain on task growing, his energy unending… Today I had him at the dog park at 7:30 in the watery muddy aftermath of last nights rain… Bathed by 8… DS calls and says wow, DG (darling dog) doesn’t even get up until 9 on weekends… I wonder how they do that?!!

We visit DC (darling cat) every day.  DC slowly brings his 3 year old snotty cat body up to the recliner, and gives DH the opportunity to host him on his lap for 3 or so hours. No scratching allowed, no interaction.  Make no mistake DC is adorable, cute, funny, but sometimes not even kind to his real family.  It is all on his terms… I have stayed overnight and DC has slept with me, and I have stayed overnight and DC has swatted hissed and ignored me… even when I am the one feeding him!

Well, I have a lot more to say. about city life.. later… now we are taking DG and heading to the lakefront, water, toys, and treats on hand!

Have to be back in time for DC visit and feeding…


…. letting go of should…

I work part time now!   Part time now…. oh that sounds so lovely… and it is!

Except when the work in front of you is full time, or full time plus.

Not my problem, I work part time… heading to retirement, agreed, settled, signed… after 25 years with the same company, I am slipping out… slowly over the next year.

Herein lies the conflict… the paper version of my plan is delightful, the actual day to day client based work load not so delightful.

I’m flexible, wrote that into the plan, with the caveat that I am unavailable from now until the last week of June… My company is fully on board with my plan and everyone involved has been notified for weeks and months..

So, now it is on me… when the work arrives weeks late, what is my responsibility to figure out how to get it done?  None!  Well, none, according to the written and oral agreements.  None, according to my tough communications with the client…

But, not none in my heart, where my dedication, work ethic, original guilt and other conflicts lie.

Getting the work done at the expense of my time is a SHOULD, big deal should… life time should…

Letting go, stepping aside, continuing with my plans is a MUST, as in live my life MUST.  (Concepts from ‘the crossroads of should and must’ by elle luna.)

AH, not only MUST I continue with my plans, I MUST do this with a light heart, open and ready for the experiences ahead, not carrying the weight of the ‘work’ left behind.

I’m there, have been strong, have re checked in with management on my end, and reinforced the projected completion dates with the client… and then, yesterday, I offered up one of my precious days to the client.  SHEESH, what a fool!  The client will gobble it up, on their terms, cause that is, not even in a negative way, how they see it, she offered, sounds good, OK!

Totally on me for making that offer.. offer made out of a lifetime of SHOULD… Phooey on that!  Fortunately, I left myself a loophole, and I am going to exercise it.. use it… and NOT give up my day!

HOLY SHIT!  I can do that?  Yes, I can!… YES, I CAN! … Hear me roar in numbers to big to ignore (ah she is singing again!)

Ok, I’m off for a walk… part of the Chubby Cheetah improvement plan and then heading to the office to notify the client that I MUST stick to the original schedule….

thanks for helping me.  What would you do?