Monthly Archives: December 2008

Pierced Kittens

Wait a minute.

Somebody explain this news story to me:

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Humane officers said a Pennsylvania woman marketed "gothic kittens" with ear, neck and tail piercings over the Internet. Officers with the SPCA of Luzerne County removed three kittens and a cat from a home outside Wilkes-Barre.

Officer Carol Morrison said the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals raided the home on Wednesday after getting a tip that the woman was selling the pierced kittens on eBay.

"It's unbelievable anybody would do this to kittens," Morrison said.

Charges are likely against the homeowner, whose name was not released.

Morrison said the woman has a pet grooming business in the basement of the home.


I personally don't have body piercings, and I can certainly think of a million other things I'd rather do than bejewel my cat, but . . .

Is there something I don't know about kitten physiology that makes it criminal to give them body piercings? Because people do it to their babies, don't they? It's criminal to pierce a kitten's ears, but go ahead and pierce your baby's?


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I knew I wasn’t in Moses Lake anymore when . . .

It was all sort of surreal, really. But I think I clued in when:

I noticed what sort of hotel we were staying in. Just as a disclaimer, we paid $63. But apparently it was the sort of hotel where they could charge $525/night. Marble bathroom. Hot water. Two armchairs and a sofa. Can I go back? Please?


And the help brought us new towels every night formed in the shape of little critters.


Or maybe it got to feeling really foreign when we got off the ship and the writing on the wall was no longer clear:


Or when we opened the Snickers:

Went looking for ice cream:

Or noticed the WalMart parking lot had just four stalls


Transportation was interesting. Spent lots of time on what the cruise ship refers to as a "tender". This is a speed boat that rivals the roughest of rides at any amusement park I've ever been to, and lasts a good thirty minutes or so, each way. Just enough time for the locals to pawn off all their merchandise on the captive audience. My favorite was this hand cranked ferry:


Which we got to on this bus. Well, okay, it wasn't this bus. It was the other, other bus that came and rescued us from the Belizian roadside. It was while we were sitting there that we bought the confection the Belize try to pass off as American made Snickers. And met two missionaries who had driven to Belize in their Ford truck from Beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Seriously. They had the license plates to prove it. I think they said it took them two weeks and $1500  worth of gas.


We also realized that it's a strictly North American quirk to actually discard broken down vehicles and boats. Down there, they just turn them into ovens or spare bedrooms. And apparently when a ship runs aground, the Hondurans just leave it–strip down the windows maybe and tout it as a photo opportunity to tourists. We saw several of these.


Security was a little tighter than we were accustomed to. The Mexicans go about it by embedding glass into their courtyard walls.


In Belize, we wondered what our tour guides were hunting. As Marty observed, a simple pistol would be sufficient to take your average disgruntled tourist out. These guys were packing guns bigger than me. Their coats read something like "Tourist Security Personel"

The animals were friendly though. In Cozumel there were more iguanas than there are mice in Moses. And they were all out, sunning themselves like we didn't even exist. 


Honduran monkeys were even friendlier than Mexican iguanas. Actually, this part reminded me a lot of my average workweek.




Right after they tried to eat our hats/sunglasses, they went straight for the pockets. Had our American money faster than you can say "trained pickpocket".


Not that you can blame them. These people were poor. When I walked around the abandoned Mayan sites in Cozumel, it reminded me of home. Canadian home–Cardston, specifically. You could imagine the arge streets, broad plazas, leading up to the house of worship which had been surrounded by homes and gardens.




I wonder how the Mayans would feel about the countryside now. We're driving past mile after mile of hovels only to find out this is how the middle class lives. You can't even reach the poor neighborhoods except by foot. 

I wasn't brazen enough to take pictures. We passed mile after mile of leaning structures in Belize and Roatan. Homes we couldn't tell if they were going up or had been coming down for decades–and still, the endless clothes lines and small faces peeking out of doors attested to the reality that people actually lived there. Garbage piled everywhere you looked–people sitting and laying in it in their courtyards and doorways. Cooking in the alleys and under rusty corrogated metal sheets leaned together to make shelter. 

In Roatan, I snuck a picture of a comparatively clean settlement below us during our canopy zipline tour.


Which, in an of itself was testament to the fact that no, Toto, we're definitely not in Kansas anymore. How else could you not only get me up on a platform above the jungle canopy, but


also convince me to jump off and ride upside down?


Just call me Jane.

The trip brought out all sorts of abnormal behavior.

M, posing for pictures. No kidding. I didn't even have to photoshop him in.  


And not just any picture . . .



The paparazzi really come out when this happens.


Me, wearing shorts. AND getting wet. All of my own free will. Ask my kids–as a rule I stay on shore and take pictures.

That's new, too. Me being in photos. Judging from the photographic record, I haven't existed, actually, until now. My kids look at their scrapbooks and go, Mom, why weren't you at my birthday?

I feel like I'm sliding off my chair. Like I'm still riding nine foot swells. Shouldn't I be used to solid ground yet? Must find dramamine. Or something. Someone stop the world,seeing as I can't get off, and it's really, really, making me sick.  


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No Sled! No Sled!

M got scolded this morning by the Ukrainians for sneaker–skiing on deck. “Sir! No sled! No sled!”  Which I could understand, had there been anyone else on deck we might have run into.  We were just trying to enjoy our “Fun Day At Sea!!!” as per  (repeated) instructions.  Wasn’t quite as interesting as visiting Hell and petting stingrays and giant turtles, which is what was on the original itinerary and what we paid for, but it got the blood pumping.

What else do you do on a cruise ship when the wind is coming in at 40+ miles an hour and your shore excursions are cancelled? Besides eat and laugh at the rats in the casino maze, glued to their screens, jabbing at their buttons? Really, they’re going to cancel all deck excursions, too? Maybe they thought we’d go right on over the side.

When we had wind like this in Canada, we’d make a sail with blankets and let the breeze pull us across the front lawn. We didn’t take the bedding and fashion any sails today–our backs being broader than when we were kids, they worked fairly well—especially since the spray had gotten the decks nice and slick.

The port of Grand Cayman shut down all their ports when we arrived due to the large swells. Not safe to anchor in the area, so we are on our way to Cozumel instead.

If you have an atlas handy—Google earth maybe—check out the colossal waste of diesel on this trip. Florida to the Grand Cayman Islands and our next stop is Cozumel, Mexico. We’re talking like 1000 wasted miles. 

The crew is apologizing profusely and denying and responsibility for weather or government decisions. In case we suspected they had a hand in either.  They’ve set up adult dodgeball tournaments and large scale pictionary games.  We’re going to hang out on our own private deck all day and eat pineapple.

By the way, the private balcony—totally worth it. I could have gone with the percale and none would be the wiser. Unless there are satellites out there somewhere spying on Room 256. . . on second thought, maybe DON’T Google-earth this area. . .

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Lime Pie

About those waves. Nothing is so big Mother Nature can’t get things swinging. And I mean SWINGING. 

Getting my sea legs today. Last night the seas were a little rougher than the norm—or so they tell us. We were fine as long as we weren’t trying to read or watch TV . . . or shave. Standing on one leg in the shower.  FD, I’ll bet you’d be good at that.

Overheard a woman in the elevator this morning saying her brother just bought $80,000 of tanzanite at the duty-free shops.


Question of the Day: What’s tanzanite?

Speaking of Elevators—we’ve discovered that if we avoid elevators, casinos and the pool deck it’s almost like being on a ghost ship.  Taking the stairs is not something cruise-goers do, apparently. But with excellent food available 24 hours a day—even delivered to your cabin at no charge, I figure we need all the stair climbing we can get.

Speaking of which. There’s a killer key lime pie on deck nine, if I remember right. . . 

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On Board

While waiting for our shore-to-ship shuttle this morning I called home and interrupted a major tantrum on the part of my youngest. His sister had given him the wrong Sunday shirt.

He didn’t want to talk to me.

Which, it turns out, was a pretty good call on his part—seeing I was operating under the delusion that Florida time is 3 hours earlier than Washington time, therefore he’d already been to church and didn’t need a shirt.

M and I didn’t go to church at all, but joined the heathen throngs in seeking our own pleasure on the Lord’s day.  Don’t think I didn’t acknowledge this.

I wore a dress, and we didn’t go to any of the onboard entertainment that night; I left all of my unpacking and shore excursion purchasing until Monday. But still. I was keenly aware of the Sabbath that I wasn’t keeping. 

The Savior’s answer to those who criticized his Sabbath activities come to mind: “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” Or something like that. A person could skew that anyway they wanted I suppose, but here I am and trusting more good than harm comes from the overall experience.

Shore to ship driver was  infinitely more sane than previous driver.  Check-in wasn’t too bad, actually, given the numbers of people involved.  The Legend is very . . . reflective. Everywhere you look, you see at least one reflection of yourself.  Maybe that’s to make things look bigger than they are—but let me just say this is a BIG ship. We keep losing our cabin.  Which is pretty roomy, comes with a private balcony. Lights that could induce seizures. We’ve learned to squeeze our eyes shut for the first fifteen seconds or so after flipping the switch.  Our own private steward who sculptures towel animals while we’re out and generally stalks our every movement. 

I find it hard to believe that the waves could really affect this thing. As we pulled out of port it was like an entire city block moving.

The shuttle to the hotel had this big red sign at the front. “Please Fasten Seatbelts” We soon found out why. I don’t know how people live in cities. Any city. Drive like that. And survive! Insane.

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