Dear blogville, I will be away for two weeks. Husband and I are going on a cruise to the Mediterranean, and tomorrow we fly to England to board the Queen Mary 2.
Our route will take us to Lisbon, Gibraltar, Rome, Monte Carlo and Spain. Plus, we'll have five solid days at sea for a total of 12 days and nights. The Royal Astronomical Society will be on board for lectures during the day and star gazing on the upper deck at night, and a fellow from the University College London who specializes in astronomy will be with us as well—apparently, 2009 is the international year of astronomy.
Husband and I have already reserved several excursions—walking tours, mostly, and some wine tastings and a culinary event in Spain where we'll create our own tapas plate. And we've had to collect an assortment of fancy schmancy clothes for the formal and semi-formal evenings. It's hardly fair, you know, that men get to buy one tuxedo with a couple of ties, and they're set. Women, on the other hand, have to stock up—I went cheap and bought a few things that I can wear twice but camouflage with different accessories so I can at least pretend I'm wearing something new. For example, I found a long, brown strappy dress for $55 that will look one way with a paisley wrap one evening and then look another way altogether with a lacy bolero jacket the next evening.
My good friend Jane was kind enough to stop by last night to approve of a few things before I pack them. You can imagine how that sort of thing goes:
"Does this dress make my ass look big?"
"No, it's not the dress that does it."
Actually, Jane is too kind to be so frank, and she left me feeling confident and not at all bulbous in my new rags.
My family took a cruise two years ago with my mother, and we sailed through the Western Caribbean. We hit a bad storm a few days in and spent two days and nights rocking back and forth like we were sailing in a hammock. I remember waking up in the middle of the night having to hold onto the mattress to keep from rolling onto the floor, and the dresser drawers were opening and closing, and the bathroom door was slamming over and over. I managed to get to the door to latch it and then battened down for the ride.
There was a classic scene in the atrium one evening with everyone gussied up and ready for dinner but trying not to fall over. The gift shop was overflowing with people buying Dramamine, and when the ship would hit a larger wave that sounded like a giant pothole, somewhere a woman would scream. Through it all, a man in a tuxedo sat at a white grand piano and played peaceful music to keep everyone calm. He never missed a beat with tunes like Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise and Clair de Lune.
So, in honor of the event, here is my own raw rendition of Clair de Lune. If you're new here, this may need some explanation—I do not record my piano playing here because I think I'm recital ready. I do it because I like playing music I learned 30 years ago as a high school kid. I leave in the clunkers and the sloppy counting and the page turning.
Well, bon voyage, and I'll see you all in a few weeks, that is, of course, unless I manage to post a photo or story or something from the ship.