Thursday, April 30, 2009

More vacation photos...

This "Bird of Paradise" flower was neat, it had a drop of substance on it, right where it looked like it could be an eye. I love the Bird of Paradise flower, its a beautiful flower.

These guys were playing Aboriginal music in Sydney (not sure if they are actually Aboriginal or not). I could recognize the sound of the Digerido from quite far and was drawn to it like a magnet. My daughters know that once upon a time I tried to learn how to play the Digerido (I took an introductory lesson at Borders in Anchorage a LONG time ago!
Work went okay today. I had group this afternoon (covering for a co-worker) and had 9 clients. So, it wasn't quite as big as my group was on Tuesday.
I'm cancelling my Verizon phone effective tomorrow. I've uploaded all my contacts and phone book to my new Gmail phone & deleted all my old voicemail messages (I'll especially miss the voice mail messages I've kept on the phone from my youngest granddaughter). I have emailed all the pictures on phone to my new phone and to my hotmail account. I think I've done all that I can. I emailed a lot of friends in a mass mailing to give them my new phone number. Not too many of my friends have T-Mobile unfortunately. I *do* like the easy access to the internet from this phone and it's a little easier to read than my old phone, so that will be nice. Now, if I can just remember my new phone number! *smiles*
Time to sign off so I can take Peanut out for a walk before bedtime. She's really good. I'll take her out and she will wait on the Lanai until I get my shoes/flip-flops on, then she'll go down to the first landing and wait until I get there, then when I get there, she'll go down the last set of stairs. She LOVES to run wild in the little yard adjacent to my building. *smiles*

Aloha!
- Kris

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy Hump day


Here are a couple pictures from Tahiti, the main island. I didn't take any pictures of Papeete town, because it just wasn't a very nice place (the people were nice, but the condition of the town wasn't).
Work went okay today, I had to catch up on all my documentation and then met with a couple people this afternoon. I met with one client this morning too and had to make some phone calls.
Not much else to report on there. I'm hearing that it was VERY busy while I was gone, so I guess I picked a good time to go on vacation! *smiles* On another note, I have volunteered to pull "On-call" for the week that includes Memorial Day weekend. I figured the money will come in handy to help pay the extra I spent on my vacation! *smiles*
I got all my contacts entered into my new phone. So far I like having my new Google Phone. I wish it were easier to switch my "contact" list over, but I went into my Gmail account and uploaded all my addresses & phone numbers there, so at least I have them on the computer AND on my phone. I'm sure as I get used to it, things will get easier.
Okay... time to sign off. LOST will be on soon and I'd like to have everything ready for work tomorrow before the show starts.
Aloha!
- Kris

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Moorea

This picture was taken in Moorea, our ship is in the photo, looks pretty small, doesn't it?!! I was on a smaller boat going out to snorkel with the sharks *smiles*

Work went fine, I had another BIG group (16 participants). I'm still having a problem trying to get online to do my documentation, I'm going to meet with one of our IT guys first thing in the morning. Tonight I've been spending way too much time trying to upload contacts to my phone (via Gmail). I am doing my online contacts AND my phone book, so I'll have everything in one place. That will be nice.

I also watched "Biggest Loser." I had some steak & salad for dinner & strawberries with whip cream for desert. MMMM!

It was another beautiful day in Hawaii Nei... although it did rain a little bit this afternoon.

Okay... time to sgn off.

Aloha!
- Kris

Monday, April 27, 2009

Back at work

I hope you can watch this video. It's of our waiter. He asked if we knew the trick of how to turn a wine glass, then he proceeded to lift the glass up, then over, then down. But then he surprised us by flipping the glass over with water in it. He was a GREAT waiter! He was always showing us tricks, or giving us puzzles (i.e. with toothpicks) to solve. He was amazing.

Work went okay today, it was pretty much a day of catching up. I had a ton of emails & I had a staff meeting this afternoon.

My big news for today is that I bought a new phone. I got the GOOGLE phone. I'm still learning it and will need to transfer all my contact numbers from my current phone to my new phone. I did get a new phone number, I have 2 weeks to decide whether or not to keep my current number. I'm leaning towards keeping the new number. If I do, I'll text or email everyone my new number.

Okay... I'm going to sign off.

Aloha!

- Kris

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm Home!

My dinner mates... from left to right. Nina & Ed from Colorado, Mario & Louise from Montreal, Canada and Janis & Bill from Sydney, Australia..
On Hilo at Volcano National Park. There's this big crater with a LOT of sulphur smoke coming out. I took Janis & Bill with me while in Hilo, we were amazed to see people down getting close to the eruption site. The Park Ranger said there were 10 people down there. I don't know what the fine or penalty is, they had to send some other Park Rangers out to get them (rescue them from their own stupidity). It's VERY dangerous to walk out there on this crater because it is very active right now.

There were signs like this all over the park.

This was at the end of the Chain of Crater road. I was surprised about how bad breathing the sulphur fumes were, even *I* was coughing, you could definitely feel it in your lungs. We didn't stay out there too long. Back in 2003, this is the area I started my long hikes out to the active lava flow, it was awesome. BUT, there wasn't the vog then like there was yesterday.
Out there by where the sign was, there is a "sea arch." I walked out with Bill. As long as we were walking away from the vog, it was a little easier to breathe. You could see the road from where I was standing.

We hiked out to the Petroglyphs. It wasn't as "voggy" there.

More Petroglyphs
After going down to the Volcano National Park, I took Bill & Janis up to Akaka falls. They were thrilled to see it. It seemed like there was more water coming over this time, moreso than last time.
After dropping my luggage off at home, I went over to pick up Peanut. At first she wasn't sure what to think, but soon she was giving me "lickins" *smile*. She had bonded with Barb & Jim, and was enjoying the other dogs there (three others were there today). I think she's missed them some now that she's back home. They've been her family for the past three weeks. On the way back I came around the south portion of the island, it was absolutely beautiful today. I was reminded how lucky I am to live in Paradise. Anyway, I went out to Sand Island to take a picture of the Millennium. I decided to take one with Peanut in it as well.

I haven't been doing too much at home, just relaxing and playing with Peanut. I need to be thinking about what I am going to wear to work tomorrow and do some laundry, but wanted to upload some pictures to my blog & get it posted.
Aloha!
- Kris

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Crossing the Equator & visiting the Bridge

Breakfast at sea, won't you come join me?
Here I am getting dowsed by King Neptune's Court. I think that's the chocolate syrup being poured on. Click on the picture for a larger image. I decided not to add the one where I'm getting thrown into the water.

Up on the Bridge, what a view... water 360 degrees around.
I'm steering the ship, don't tell anyone! LOL! (just kidding, but it looked fun). They are actually on automatic pilot right now while they are on so many sea days, but there are plenty of crew on the bridge monitoring everything.
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Well, I crossed the Equator yesterday! On April 22nd at 4:25pm I was no longer a “Polywog” but instead became a “Shellback.” YEA! They had a ceremony at 1pm. King Neptune arrived with his court and initiated us pollywogs. Some got a little worse than others. For me, I got green stuff and chocolate sauce dumped on me, eggs cracked over my head, showered with flour and a cream pie on the head. Then I had to kiss a big (real, but dead) fish and got dunked in the pool. (I guess it would have been too difficult to dunk us all in the ocean!). It was messy. Some people got spaghetti noodles and sauce dumped on them as well. Don’t worry, they closed the smaller pool afterwards where we all got dunked, and cleaned it. Before the pollywog passengers went through the ritual, various members of the Captain’s staff were initiated. They were in full dress uniforms, to include shoes! They got all that stuff dumped on them and then thrown into the pool (some did cannonballs, some did flips into the pool). It was fun. I think there probably was only about 30 passengers that volunteered to get subjected to the experience, but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. After all, I have to be able to tell my sailboat friend Bob & his wife Caryl, that I *did* go through the King Neptune experience. I had one of my cruise buddies take pictures with my camera, they didn’t come out too well, but I’ve talked to several others who said they got some good shots (they were up above). They have promised me to email me the pictures.

We actually crossed the equator at 4:25pm, as I said, so I made sure I was in the pool ahead of that so I could say I “swam” across the equator! *smiles*

It’s hard to believe that my vacation will be over in about 3 days. Where has the time gone? I have enjoyed the relaxing times. I finally finished reading the book my daughter Michelle gave me for my birthday “The Happy Isles of Oceana” by Paul Theroux. It was a great book, rich with cultural history about the South Pacific (and Hawaii).

Before I had a chance to post this blog, I had the opportunity to take a tour of the Bridge with some friends. It was neat! Someone suggested I ask for a tour of the galley as well. I may do that. Not much going on today. I am trying to stay out of the sun because I got kind of sunburned again yesterday and don’t want to overdo it.

Okay… time to sign off.
Aloha!
- Kris

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bora Bora & Crossing the Equator.

This is the way to relax!
You will need to double-click on this picture (above) to see it larger, it shows some of the bungalows that are built right above the water in Bora Bora

Fantasy Island?

Snorkeling with the sharks... (you can click on the picture to see it larger).

Bora Bora...
Too bad my tour mate didn't take this shot a little lower! LOL! These were our tour guides for our snorkeling with the 'Rays and Sharks.
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Bora Bora was everything I thought the South Pacific should look like. It had the varying shades of blue water, from a beautiful aqua to the dark blue of the deeper sea. Visiting Bora Bora made me wish I could have gotten off there and then just flown back to Oahu on Sunday and skip the rest of the sea days. *smiles* I went with my online friends, we had rented 2 boats, there were 10 in the first boat and only 7 in the boat I was on. Our first stop was to watch the spinner dolphins swim & put on a show. Our next stop was to swim with the sharks. There were more sharks at our stop in Bora Bora than at Moorea. I had someone take some pictures of me with the sharks behind (not an easy feat). Its nice being among friends, because we can share cameras & and take pictures of each other. We plan to put together an email list to share photos after our return. (I’ll probably post pictures on Flickr or something). In addition to having a bunch of black tip reef sharks, there was also a lemon shark swimming down on the bottom under where our boats were anchored.

Our next stop was swimming with the stingrays. It was fun to watch those who hadn’t swam with them before. One of the guys on our boat got out and had three stingrays come right up to him and he kind of freaked out. Another one swam with the sharks, but absolutely would NOT get out of the boat to swim and walk among the stingrays! He’s not from Australia either! You may have heard of Steve Erwin who was killed off the Australian coast by a Stingray. That was a freak accident though. I think someone got a picture of me kissing a stingray! LOL!

Our last stop was at a reef to do some snorkeling (I snorkeled at every stop). I had brought some leftover breakfast to feed the fish, so they followed me all over! *smiles* It was fun. When we returned to the pier, I mentioned something about wanting to go to “Bloody Mary’s” a local restaurant that has been visited by so many people, a lot of the rich & famous had been there. Several of my boat mates wanted to go as well (as I had told them that a sail boating friend of mine insisted it was one of the things you “have to do” in Bora Bora. And if I could, sneak into the men’s room to see how they are to flush their toilet!) Anyway, our boat guide offered to drop us off at Bloody Mary’s, so we got a free ride out there. I had lunch with Cliff & Diane there at the restaurant & got someone to take pictures in the men’s bathroom for me. Apparently in both restrooms they have a fountain, you pull a handle and the water comes down like a waterfall into a basin to wash your hands, it was kind of neat! I shared a cab back to the pier, did a little more shopping and then headed back to the boat. I did stop by the Post Office so I could mail postcards to my granddaughters. I hope they will enjoy them.

The only down side to Bora Bora, was not having enough time to see everything. The last tender was returning at 3:30pm. It would have been nice to be able to go around the island by car (or bus).

After dinner I went to the Casino & won $90 (which I lost tonight).

Today was a sea day. I slept in until almost 11am. I think all the time in the water the last couple days left me a little worn out. Then I went up to the spa for my hot stone massage, it felt very relaxing. I missed breakfast, so after my massage I went to lunch. Then I returned to my room, got my swim stuff, a book, a hat and my sun glasses & went upstairs to read & sunbathe. I sat inside for awhile to read, but then I kept dozing, so I went upstairs on the higher deck to sunbathe for an hour or so. Then I got in the outdoor pool, I didn’t realize it was saltwater too (it is the first time I’ve been in the outdoor pool). I swam for awhile with Allen, Trish & Nikki. The water was sloshing from one end to another… we had a good time.

Tonight was another formal night. Only one couple came to dinner tonight. One of the couples said they were tired of dressing up for dinner (they have been on the boat since Sydney) and the other couple are sick. We’ve had some sick passengers off & on.

After dinner was a “show” it was titled “Diva from Down Under” apparently the woman was from Australian. She was so-so. I think they could have had better entertainment on board. As I mentioned earlier, I went to the casino & lost what I had won last night. I called it a night after that & returned to my room to type out my blog and plan to post it early tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning I am hoping to be up earlier. There are several activities on board that I would like to participate in. The local Hawaiian’s onboard are teaching people how to tie a Pareo, something that I would like to learn how to do correctly. I may go play some bingo later in the morning, then at 1pm there is an Equator Crossing party. It’s a big deal to cross the Equator for the first time, King Neptune comes to visit & there is quite a celebration (as a rule, from what I understand). We are crossing the Equator tomorrow (Wednesday). Then tomorrow afternoon at 3, there is the Musical Enrichment program, the last one of the series. So… it will be a busy day.

Okay… time to sign off, it’s already 11pm.
Aloha!
- Kris

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tahiti

Holding a live conch shell right from the sea (off Moorea today)
Our tour boat captain showed us this place where they had all kinds of tiki statutes underwater, they were about 6' underwater. It was neat! Kind of like being in an underwater park.
Kissing a sting-ray off Moorea. Apparently the Stingrays come here to breed.

You can't see them, but there were about 6 black-tip reef sharks behind me and a stingray in front of me.
Getting up close & personal with a stingray.

Gay watching a shark in front of her. We were this close & closer to about a dozen black tip reef sharks. It was cool!
Gay was gracious enough to take pictures of me today on our boat tour. Here she managed to catch a couple sharks in the background of me snorkeling. I was the first one willing to go into the deep sea where the sharks were! *smiles*

This is downtown Papeete, I took it yesterday morning. You can't see the ugliness in this picture. I wouldn't want to live in Papeete!

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Well, after about 5 sea days, we arrived Thursday night in Papeeta (pronounced Papee Eta). I was appreciative of being able to go onshore. (I was wrong in my last blog, I thought our next stop was Moorea, but our first stop in Tahiti, was on the main island of Tahiti Nui). I didn’t care too much for Papeete. It was quite dirty and representative of a 3rd world country. It wasn’t the Tahiti I expected. I walked a little ways in town and found one gift shop open and bought 8 postcards and stamps to mail 12 post cards and it cost me about 2300 Polynesian French Francs (PFF). I had stopped at an ATM machine & got out 5,000 pff. I was surprised when I got a 5000 pff franc bill. I didn’t stay in town long, it didn’t feel that safe. I headed back to the ship and wrote out post cards to my two granddaughters & my middle daughter (she doesn’t have any kids). I thought that the grandkids would enjoy the cards more than my daughters *smile*.

Yesterday I got up and took a ½ day “round the island” tour, it was a whirlwind tour and I got caught in a downpour when our tour stopped to look at a beautiful waterfall. I got about 5 pictures and then the sky opened up and it really poured. All of us were drowned rats for the rest of the day! Once we got back to Papeete (which is a town in Tahiti), the driver was kind enough to drop us off at the Marketplace. I bought a couple trinkets & then found the Tahitian Pearl Market. I ended up buying a pair of Tahitian Black Pearl stud earrings & a single pearl to match which they mounded onto a white gold mount for a pendant. It’s simple, but nice. (and it was expensive! At least for me!). But… even though I may have been able to get them cheaper in Hawaii, I will always have memories connected with buying these pearls here in Tahiti.

Last night when I got back to the ship, Cliff & Diane invited me to their balcony stateroom to watch the ship sail before we were to have dinner last night in the Olympic restaurant. Unfortunately, the ship ended up leaving late, so we didn’t get to see it sail. Dinner was exquisite! Oh my gosh, I don’t think words can do it justice. The service was unlike any I have experienced before and the food was to die for! The staff waited on you hand and foot, they would deliver our meals and set each course down at the same time (by different waiters, so we all got our course at the exact same time). I had Lobster Bisque, then a Goat Cheese soufflé that was highly recommended (and delicious), then I had a surf & turf with filet mignon, shrimp, scallops & lobster. Mmmmm! For desert I had a few bites of Crème Brule. I was too full to eat very much.

Last night we sailed on to Moorea. Today I met up with some of my online friends for a boat ride. I think there were about a dozen of us. We swam with sharks IN the ocean (I was the first to get in! LOL!), they were mainly reef sharks, but there were a couple gray sharks at the one sport, and we got to stand in waist-high water and get intimate with a BUNCH of sting-rays! It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience! We did quite a bit of snorkeling today. I wore my Board shorts & my rash guard (which is long-sleeved) to make sure I wouldn’t get burned. I put sun-screen on my legs.

Tonight we are sailing on over to Bora Bora and I have another snorkeling trip planned. I can’t wait! Its with some different people (but there is one couple that I have been on tours with for the other two days here in Tahiti). I’ll make sure to post later, how tomorrow goes. I’m sure it will be fun.

Okay… time to sign off. Tomorrow morning will come early & it takes awhile to upload on the internet here.

Aloha!
- Kris

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Leaving Roratonga...

Me, with Roratonga in the background...
Sandy, one of my online pals & I. We're doing the "wind-blown" look thing! *smiles*

Sailing away from Roratonga... good-bye island that I never got to step foot on...


Kati, here are two pictures of my cabin, sorry I didn't clean up my messes before I took the pics, but wanted to have something to post.

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Aloha!
I thought I would wait a couple days to post because the cost of internet is expensive. I’ve had several sea days. The ship left Tauranga on Monday night and we were at sea until this morning, our *2nd* April 16th. We crossed the International Date line during the night. It is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of crossing the dateline. The “at sea” days have been relaxing. I’ve played BINGO twice. On the first time, I won $53 dollars so it paid for my Bingo, and I also won dinner at the fanciest restaurant on the ship. I’m going to eat there the night of the 18th, as Cliff & Diane are dining there that night, so I thought it would be nice to have dinner with them.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the Saltwater pool. It’s warm & wonderful. Our first couple days have been chilly, but it is starting to warm up. Yesterday was beautiful, I laid up on the deck for a couple hours and had lunch by the pool. I didn’t go to the “main” dining last night, I just don’t like eating so late. The “late dining” opens at 8:30pm and it’s usually after 10 before I leave there. Yesterday I finally asked if I could switch to early dining and they said I could, so I’m going to look forward to eating at a more normal time.

I mentioned about being at sea until this morning. We are still at sea. We were outside of the harbor at Roratonga and the Captain decided it was too rough to take the “tenders” (boats) into the harbor. Darn it. There were a lot of unhappy people (including myself!) I hung around up on deck with Susan & Joe (my former diner mates) for quite awhile. The Captain took the boat around the island, but it doesn’t replace not being able to go onshore. Thankfully, because I was on an email list with other “cruisers”, I knew they were only able to make it to shore in Roratonga about 50% of the time. I guess I will go figure out what to do now? I’ll probably go upload my blog, check my email real quick and then go hang out by the saltwater pool (it’s inside… I got sunburned yesterday, so I need to take it easy today). Which reminds me, I got an email from Barb, she’s the one watching Peanut. She sent me some ADORABLE pictures of Peanut with a new found friend, Dini (another Chihuhua, but Dini has long hair).

Okay… time to scoot. It’s hard to believe that it is already about lunch time. We were supposed to have gone on shore about 9, but then I stood up on deck with Joe & Susan and chatted for quite a long time. I also ran into some of my online buddies, so that was nice too.
Oh yea, and before I go tto post this, we got a message from the Captain that we are going to get to Papeete (pronounced Papi etee?) Friday night (tomorrow night) and then we'll overnight there, so that's nice. Maybe I can get off tomorrow night & explore with some friends. I think Papeete is the biggest city in Tahiti.

Aloha!
- Kris

Monday, April 13, 2009

Leaving New Zealand

In Sydney with the Opera House & Bridge behind me.
Auckland, NZ (I think I took this from my hotel room).

At the bottom of my jump! YEA!

Kris at the Geo Thermals in Rotorua (I don't know who that was standing next to me???)

I had a nice day in Auckland yesterday. I woke up and made sure most of my stuff was ready to go, then I went to Easter Brunch up in the Sky Tower with Marj & Jim (I had met them the night before). It wasn’t half as crowded as I expected it to be. I think several from the group I have been corresponding with thought it was a buffet, and it wasn’t, so they cancelled.

After brunch, I went back to my room at the Hilton and got the rest of my stuff together and checked out. It was VERY convenient for staying at the Hilton, as the bellboy took my luggage over to where they were loading for the ship & that was done! Speaking of the ship, I got woke up yesterday morning about 6am as a truck loaded with supplies, pulled up and had one of those back-up beepers (very loud!) that was very annoying, but it also let me know that my ship was in dock and I could see (part of) it from my room there at the Hilton. Nice.

I boarded about 12:30pm (even though my boarding time said 3pm), I was able to breeze right through customs and board by 1:30 or so, it was nice. Once on board, I wandered around and found my stateroom. It’s pretty small, but okay for me. Then I went looking around the ship. They have several buffet places and if you want something, you take it. (That seemed weird!). Soda is not included, so I paid for an “unlimited” mug, so I can fill it up whenever I want. It has come in handy. I don’t drink coffee or tea. Then there was the “muster” where everyone from my section had to meet in the theater area in our life jackets and get a briefing, and then we had to go out on deck to a spot designated for my area of the ship. Think I’ll remember where it is??? I returned my life jacket to my room, then went back up to the fantail to meet up with some of the online buddies I had been corresponding with. It was nice to put faces to names. I forgot to mention that I took a tour of the spa, and there was a discount for massages done on “embarkation” day, so I scheduled a massage for just before bedtime. I didn’t realize at the time though, that it conflicted with my “late seating” dining time. So, I just ate from the buffet, I had some pasta that was really good, with a “four cheese” sauce over top. Mmmm! I ate out on the fantail with my newly made friends. A little later I returned to my stateroom & changed into my swimsuit & my robe and headed to the spa. The massage was okay (my feet are still sore from all the walking I’ve done over the past couple of days though!), but then they try to sell you a bunch of “products” that they have used on you while you have gotten your massage. Once I told the woman I wasn’t interested, she didn’t pressure me to buy anything after that. After my massage I went to the Thalassotherapy pool, right outside the spa. It’s like a BIG Jacuzzi (pool size) and enjoyed that. I met a woman from New York there. *smiles*. Then, about 11pm I came back to my room, changed and made one more round on deck before turning in for the night.


My stateroom is an inside one, so I have NO way of telling what time it is. The only time is on the phone and that’s not lit up. That was a little frustrating for me. I think I have about 3 clocks in my bedroom at home, including a projection clock. If I wake up in the night, I like to know what time it is. I woke up about 8 or so (I did wake up in the middle of the night and found my watch to look at after turning on the bathroom light. The room is VERY dark at night, something else I’m not accustomed to. After a shower and a small bite to eat, I got off the ship to go see what any local tour guides outside might have to offer. I was hoping one would take me to the Hobbiton, as the ship cancelled their tour, saying there wasn’t enough time for it. Darn it! I couldn’t find anyone else that was going, or any tour guide waiting outside that might take me up there. (Darn it!). Oh well, I tried.

I ended up joining a tour to Rotorua. The tour to Rotorua was nice though. I was with about 8 other people. One couple was from Oregon, another from Germany (Yea… I could say a few words in German!), some guys from Russia and a couple from Toronto. Those of who know me know that I love to meet new people! Every time I turn around here, I get to meet new people!
At Rotorua, I got to see some thermal pools and geysers. It was pretty neat. It was kind of a cross of the geysers at Yellowstone, and the Hot Springs at Chena Hot Springs in Alaska. The weather was nice as well. I was still a little frustrated about not being able to tell the time in the dark (in my stateroom), but because I was on the tour, I didn’t get to any stores that had a clock of. (The only shop I was in, was at the Maori Cultural Center and they certainly didn’t have any clocks (to read at night). I did stop by the Concierge’s desk after I returned to see if they might have one (they don’t have one in the ship’s store), but Concierge didn’t know, but said if they found one, she would have it brought to my room. When I mentioned my dilemma to someone on the tour, they pointed out that it doesn’t really matter what time I wake up, after all I am on the cruise to relax. I’m hoping to find a clock in Roratonga. There are three sea days before the shop gets to Roratonga though. And the ship is supposed to cross the dateline on the way. I’ve got a massage scheduled for at least one of those days!

I was up on deck as the ship pulled out of Tauranga. It’s neat to see all the people waving good-bye to you from the shore *smiles*. I grabbed a small bite to eat (some sushi & a desert) and then stayed up on deck until after the sun set. I’ve done a little more exploring of the ship. Now I’m in my room, typing up my blog, so that when I do sign in online, it hopefully won’t take so long to do my blog (although this is rather lengthy). It’s time for me to go take my shower and then get dressed for dinner (it’s not a formal night, but everyone is still expected to dress up). My “late seating” dinner is at 8:30pm. Next time I will know to request the early seating. (Oops… did I say next time??? *smiles*).

Aloha! (Or in Maori, Kai Ora!)

- Kris

Friday, April 10, 2009

I made it to Auckland and I JUMPED!

So...
I still haven't been able to log my computer on, so I'm using one in the hotel lobby... SO... I can't upload any pictures yet. BUT... I wanted to say that I *did* jump off of the Auckland Sky Tower today! Whoooooweeee! The hardest part was taking that first step off the platform. They stop you about 20' down to take your picture, then you free fall. It was fun free-falling. I was *really* scared, but thankful that there were two guys that went up with me (I can't remember where they were from, one was named Travis & the other Luke). I asked to go between them, so I could watch the one guy jump and then have the other one behind me so I *had* to go (instead of being last and being able to procrastinate longer).

Needless to say... I *did* make it to Auckland okay. Right now I'm sitting in the hotel lobby about 20' from where my ship will be docking in the morning. Tonight I went back up to the sky tower and met with about a dozen other fellow passengers (including one, Sandie, from Vancouver, WA - she shares my birthday. Cliff & Diane that I met in Honolulu were there too.

I guess I am writing this blog backwards. So... I got to my hotel about 1 am. I was beat. But it's a beautiful room, with a beautiful of the harbor (but not on the side of the hotel that the boat comes in on). I went on the 1/2 day city tour today, and then I walked quite a bit around Auckland and up to the Sky tower where I had lunch and then went back and forth about whether I would or could jump. I was worried about my surgery and whether or not I would get hurt or injured. (I didn't). The crew that run the Sky jump, were really reassuring. I *did* get pictures and a DVD of the jump, and one of the crew members on the ground used my camera and got pictures of my coming down. It only takes 11 seconds to drop all the way down (60 stories).

Okay... it's almost 10pm, I am beat and I still want to check my email.

Aloha!
- Kris

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I made it to Sydney!

I made it to Sydney okay. It’s a beautiful city. It’s been a LONG day of flying. I think it was a 5 ½ hour flight from Hawaii to San Francisco, and then it was a 14 ½ hour flight to Sydney. I arrived about 6:30am this morning and after going through customs and trying to check my bags (because I had such a long layover, they wouldn’t let me check my luggage all the way through); it was about 8:30am before I left the terminal here in Sydney. I took the subway/train into Circular Quay (the Harbor) and then got off and walked around for 4-5 hours. It was beautiful! I walked around by the Opera House and did a lot of walking through the “Botanic” gardens. I got some good shots of the Sydney Bridge and the Opera House. Then I came back and hung out at the airport, I’ve gone through customs now and have to wait the 3 hours until my flight.
Okay… Just wanted to say hello & say I made it as far as Sydney thus far (and so has my luggage!).
Aloha!
- Kris

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

No more work for 2 1/2 weeks! YAY!

This is the Mille down in Christchurch, New Zealand. Just a few more days and I will be on it!

Today was a busy day at work. I had group this morning with 14 clients, then I had two individual sessions today and had to contact some clients today as well. Then I had a bunch of documentation to get done. I didn't get done as much as I had wanted to, but the rest will just have to wait until I get back. After work I had to run by & pick up a prescription that I need to take on the trip, then I went and got my nails done.

Peanut is now at the dog sitters, I told the pet sitter that I would call her tomorrow to see how Peanut fared through her first night. I'm sure Peanut will be fine. I wouldn't be surprised if Barb lets Peanut in bed with them. LOL! She asked me if Peanut is the kind to like to sleep under the sheets, and I said yes. *smiles*

Okay... I'm going to sign off. I probably won't be able to post again until I get settled in the hotel in Auckland.

Aloha!
- Kris

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mille

So... this is the cruise ship I will be on next week. Here it is setting in the Sydney Harbor (with the Sydney bridge behind). A couple that will be on the cruise with me, are from Sydney and when there was all the worry about whether the ship would be running or not, the husband went down and took some pictures of the Mille (Millennium) while it was in port. Got a post today that the Ship is making her way up the New Zealand coast toward Auckland (it went from Australia to New Zealand and some of the people that are on there now, will be on it all the way to Vancouver!).

I spent all morning in town at our main office in two different meetings (all my co-workers were there as well). Then I had to stop by a school to pick up some information, so it was almost 1pm before I got back. Fortunately my afternoon appt was a no-show, so I could do some online training that they decided last week needed to be done by May 1st. So... I got it done and finished with a 96%. YAY! I got a couple documents typed up too. I really didn't feel like staying too late (at some point I have to draw the line, especially since I don't get paid extra for staying late).

Speaking of this morning... I got woke up by something about 4am and then laid there and couldn't get back to sleep, so I got up and did my pre-boarding registration for my cruise and printed out my ticket information. I think tomorrow evening I should be able to go online & print out my boarding passes.

I also contacted the dog sitter and talked with her for awhile tonight, I'm going to take Peanut over tomorrow night, so I won't have to worry about it Wednesday morning. I'm also getting my nails done after work tomorrow. So... with so much left to do... why am I on the internet? YIKES!

Okay... I'll sign off.

Aloha!
- Kris

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Awww... the weekend is over...

So... another weekend passed... it's hard to believe that next weekend I will be in New Zealand and by this time of the evening, my ship will be sailing. So much to anticipate in the next week! In addition to a long flight (because I have to fly to San Fran, then I have a LONG layover in Sydney, it will be something like 32 hours!), I'll be seeing a snapshot of Australia & a little bit of New Zealand... then there's the cruise and meeting a WHOLE lot of new friends! That will probably be the best part. And... I know they try to talk you into another cruise while you are on board... so I'll see what the prices are and the options of places I can go to (I'd LOVE to go to South America or to the Mediterranean next). Speaking of which... did you see there was an earthquake in Rome? (or somewhere near there... wow).

I don't feel like I've done much today... I *did* go get my hair cut today, and then I went and bought a travel iron, hopefully I can sneak it on the boat, because you're not supposed to bring irons on board. But... they charge for laundry... they charge $1.00 just to wash some underwear (if I read correctly). I can wash some things in the sink... but there's no way to de-wrinkle my clothes. I had bought a steamer, the smallest one I could, but it didn't work very well. I tried it out this morning and wasn't happy, I'm glad I tried it out before I took it on the cruise! (Smart me!). I've been working on some packing... there are still some things to do... documents to print out, etc. I need to pick out what jewelry I will be taking. I *did* get my snorkel gear out and I'm taking at least 2 swimsuits.

I talked to my daughter Michelle today, she's flying out on Wednesday as well... but she's headed to Vancouver, BC. She's presenting at a Philosophy Association Conference up there, so we will both be out of the country next weekend... She'll be in Canada, and I'll be in New Zealand.

Okay... time to sign off, I'm watching "Celebrity Apprentice."

Aloha!
- Kris

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Just a few more days...

So... today I was pretty productive. After sleeping in this morning, I got up and did my laundry, picked up around the apartment (I want to leave it clean because it's always nice to come home to a clean home). I still have more to clean up, as I have some piles of miscellaneous stuff to deal with. I *finally* unpacked my suitcases from my trip to San Antonio and started making some piles of clothing that I want to pack. I've got my batteries charging for my cameras and I'm looking at some software to help me sync my Ipod to THIS laptop. I know I can copy over as a hard drive, but last time I did that, it seemed weird. There *must* be an easier way. My Ipod was synced to my old desktop (the one that went belly up) and when I tried to copy the Itunes over, it only copied about half the files (I have over 5100 songs on my Ipod and I want to KEEP all those songs!).

Other than that, I got my hair colored today, tomorrow I plan to go get my hair cut.

Then I took Peanut with me to run some errands, and we stopped to see Michelle & Kaleo. It's been too long since I've seen them. They've got a puppy now too (well... theirs is about a year old, she's part heeler & part terrier, I think, so a little larger than Peanut, they got her at the Humane Society). Poor Peanut... she thinks she is a person. She's afraid of other dogs (one day I had her at the park and she was afraid of a teacup chihuahua!). I think going to the dog sitters for a couple weeks will be good for her, it will help her socialize to other dogs (who are well-behaved dogs). Anyway.... she was cowering over at Michelle's and all Hoxie wanted to do, was play with her. She would lick Peanut's face and Peanut was imobilized with fear (I was holding Peanut).

Okay... not much else to write, I need to go fold some clothes & put some away and start thinking about packing.

Aloha!
- Kris

Friday, April 3, 2009

Met fellow cruisers...

This was a picture taken the other day up at Alii Beach where I like to go look for turtles. *smiles*

Work went okay today, I'm deciding I am more productive in the afternoon and evenings than I am in the morning, although most of THIS morning was taken up in a meeting (as will Monday morning). I only have 1 1/2 more days to work (because I will be in a meeting for 1/2 a day on Monday), yea! Think I'd better start packing? My plan is to UNPACK my suitcases from San Antonio, tomorrow (they've been kind of "out of sight, out of mind"). Then Sunday I'll start packing for the cruise. I also need to start generating some lists and charging some batteries (i.e for my cameras and DS, and Ipod, etc). I'll probably take both my Ipod & my Ishuffle on the cruise.

After work I drove into Honolulu and met up with Cliff & Diana (who I *think* are old enough to be my parents? They've been married for 42 years. Which means they got married in 67? Okay... maybe not... I got married in '77). We went to Bubba Gump's for dinner (one of MY favorite places), and it was nice to pick their brains about cruising. They invited me up to their cabin (on board... they are going to have a veranda). That'll be nice. And it will be nice to start off the cruise knowing someone!

Okay... I think I'll sign off and start making lists of things I need to get done this weekend and before the cruise... and another list of things I need to pack.

Aloha!
- Kris

Thursday, April 2, 2009

No Thursday next week...

So... I realized that I won't have a "Thursday" next week. How's that possible? I'll be crossing the International Date line. I leave here on Wednesday, mid-day and get to New Zealand Friday night. I *will* get an extra day coming back, I think I get two Thursdays on April 16th. (they will both be at sea).

Work was busy today, I had a lot of paperwork to do. I was supposed to see 2 clients today, but neither could make it in today. Hopefully I will catch up with one tomorrow afternoon (we have a meeting in the morning) and the other one rescheduled for Monday afternoon. I *did* get a lot of paperwork done in preparation for tomorrow's meeting.

My brother-in-law is in the hospital. He went in yesterday not feeling well, thought he had gotten food poisoning. Well, come to find out, he has kidney stones in both sides, he has gall bladder stones AND he has a spot on his Pancreas. In addition he was throwing up blood last night, so they regularly pumped his stomach to keep it empty until they could get in and look at it this morning. When I talked to her this afternoon, she said they were unable to determine what was causing the internal bleeding. My sister had thought that he had possibly torn a hole in his stomach with all the vomiting he had been doing. Apparently (and thankfully) that isn't the case. He's still in the hospital though.

My oldest grand-daughter went through some Educational Assessment testing last week & my daughter got the results today. She does *not* have a learning disability, but it *does* take her a little longer to process things (therefore it would be beneficial to give her extra time on tests and such). Taylor, my granddaughter has been home-schooled this year and it's been a real struggle for mom & daughter.

Other than that, I got a call from a couple who are in Hawaii before they head to Sydney & New Zealand to catch the cruise I will be on. I'm not sure where they are from. I'm going to call them tomorrow morning and hopefully I will be able to go down and meet them tomorrow after work. It will be nice to get on the cruise having met others who are going to be on the cruise too.

And... I got an email from Bette... she & Walt made it back to Duluth okay (sounds like they had their share of turbulance though). Glad they made it back, but I'm sure it's a little cold there & they need some rest to recuperate from the long flight. (Tell Walt hello for me Bette!).

After work I went to find a new pair of white sandals, I didn't find the ones I had hoped to find, but found a cheap pair for the cruise. I also found a pair of turquoise colored sandals that will go nice with a new outfit I bought last week for the cruise.

Time to say good-night.

Aloha!
- Kris

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I thought it was Thursday!

This was a photo from March 22nd, down at Magic Island.

Work was relatively busy today, I got another case today, but at least I was able to see one of the clients from the new case and I'm supposed to see the other one tomorrow. I was supposed to see another new client today, but there was a kink in his plans, so hopefully I will be able to see him tomorrow along with another client that I need to see to do a check up on his status. I've got to do a lot of paperwork tomorrow and contact some supervisors.

Which reminds me, I did a boo-boo today. I emailed my contracting supervisor, I wanted to make sure she had gotten my time sheet, and then I wanted to see how she was coping with the need to fill our soon to be "2" vacant positions (for the one that was fired, and then for one that is leaving for a more permanent position). Oops. She didn't know my other co-worker was leaving, so I accidentally spilled the beans. I would have that co-worker would have notified the contracting supervisor, I was under the impression that we were to give her a 30-day notice. I know she gave our local supervisor her notice... but??? Anyway... I probably should have checked with the co-worker first. The contractor supervisor can't start looking for a replacement until she gets the notice the employee is leaving. So... the sooner she lets the supervisor know, the sooner we can get a new co-worker in there.

Haven't done much tonight... just been watching some TV and doing some web-surfing. A couple things I *won't* be doing a week from now as I head to New Zealand! *smiles*

Okay... time to sign off.

Aloha!
- Kris