Monday, November 28, 2011

When We Are Chastened

The Oyster

Submitted by: Fearless_714
Author: Unknown
There once was an oyster
Whose story I tell,
Who found that some sand
Had got into his shell.
It was only a grain,
But it gave him great pain.
For oysters have feelings
Although they’re so plain.

Now, did he berate
The harsh working of fate
That had brought him
To such a deplorable state?
Did he curse at the government,
Cry for election,
And claim that the sea should
Have given him protection?

No – he sad to himself
As he lay on a shell,
Since I cannot remove it,
I shall try to improve it.
Now the years have rolled around,
As the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate
Destiny – stew.

And the small grain of sand
That had bothered him so
Was a beautiful pearl
All richly aglow.
Now the tale has a moral;
For isn’t it grand
What an oyster can do
With a morsel of sand?

What couldn’t we do
If we’d only begin
With some of the things
That get under our skin.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trip of a Lifetime: Days Three, Four and Five

 Day 3 We wake up in Sorrento, Italy!
 Buon Giorno :o)

We were exhausted by the first few days so we slept in. But what a great day to wake up to.  We took a "tender" from the ship to the shore and walked around the little pier while we waited for the shuttle to take us up the hill to town.
The narrow road wound uphill and each turn gave us a beautiful view.

For lunch we ate at a cute little place called Bougainvillaea. I had the BEST gnocchi I have EVER had! The sauce was light and sweet and there were bits of mozzarella cheese melting throughout. Doug said "You'd probably find a jar of Chef Boy-ar-Dee in the kitchen". I don't care, that was some AWESOME Italian canned sauce then!

So yummy!
We bought so great leather bags from a nice lady in her family's least that's what she told us.  The weather was beautiful!

On the shuttle bus back down, we met a wonderful lady, Bonnie and her grand daughter Annie. They were on our ship and they were delightful and funny and so sweet! Bonnie brings each of her grand daughters on a trip every year! What a treasure to be able to vacation with your Grandma!

That night was our formal night and Captain's Reception. It was fun to dress up and see all of the Test Out guys in their tuxedos. For dinner we ate at La Terraza with our friends Steve and Raylene and it was wonderful.

Day 4 We wake up in Taormina, Sicily

This turned out to be my favorite place. The beauty was so unexpected.
We ate our breakfast on the balcony off of our room and it was divine :o) Can you say Chocolate Croissant?
We had another day of walking and I actually felt pretty good. I was tired, but my feet never hurt if you can believe it!

We saw a lovely medieval town with tons of lovely would be so fun to have unlimited funds. So many gorgeous pottery pieces.

Mt. Etna and it's little eruptions

 We visited some ruins that were behind St Catherine's Church. They were discovered in the 1890's and they were a small Greek theater and a temple that was dedicated to Aphrodite and I was standing on part of that temple. It was so unbelievable.

Then we walked up to the Greek Roman theater that is actually still used for performances (Elton John recently performed there). Wow, what a view!

Yep, that's Mt Etna

Can you imagine sitting here for a concert?

By the way, this was Thursday, on Saturday Mt. Etna erupted!

I cannot wait to come back. I had planned that my next trip would be to Florence or Venice or Milan, but I'd be thrilled to come back to Sicily. Arrivederci!!
 Day 5 We are at sea. A few things about our Silver Sea cruise--Our ship is the Silver Wind. It is a small ship with about 320 capacity, 114 of which were Test Out employees! Who don't drink :-) Eventually, the staff got used to us.  Actually, the staff was amazing! They always greeted us BY NAME, were super pleasant and helpful. It was the best!  We had a Butler, his name is Sergey. He was Russian and is a hotel management major who would like to end up in St. Louis, Missouri, if you can believe it. He did everything for us, stocked the fridge with Coke and Pepsi, brought us chips and nuts for our afternoon tea and water each day before we went out. I asked if I could get some hot chocolate from the restaurant he said, "Oh no. I go for you!" I didn't actually love all of the food, but there were a few stand outs: the Creme Brulee (except for the last day it was over done), the cannolli, there was a tri-color gnocchi, and the best was the filet that I had cooked on deck on the hot volcanic slab!
 Everyone was right, I would never do another cruise that wasn't Silver Sea.