Friday, November 18, 2022

Fly On The Wall: Swimming With Stingrays

Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado, Today, 3 bloggers are opening their homes to give you a glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors. 

The nosy fly at my house got a free trip a few weeks ago when we took a much-needed vacation after the crapstastic summer we had. I really needed a break after suffering the loss of my precious pup four months ago. AARP was kind enough to publish my story (which went live while I was on vacation!) about losing Savi and how it triggered the pain of many other losses in my life. I think it is one of the best personal essays I have ever written and I hope you'll take a look at it...but I'll warm you, get out the tissues! This was a rough one to write (you can read it HERE). You'll understand why our vacation came at just the right time. 

Last year I wrote about my first cruise experience in October 2021 and the fun we had with our family. This time, Hubs and I took a romantic five-day cruise of our own to the Caribbean. There were lots of activities on the boat as well as off-shore excursions in the Bahamas. Since I had already gone swimming with dolphins before, I wanted to try something STINGRAYS! Hubs was nervous because all he could think of was Steve Irwin's tragic encounter with a stingray, and he was convinced that he'd suffer the same fate if he dipped his toes in the ocean. But I've always loved stingrays and touching one has been on my bucket list for several years. So you can guess who won THAT argument about our choice of excursion activities.

Overall, the cruise was a blast, but since it was a smaller ship, we were limited as to what we could do onboard. I mean, there were only so many bars we could visit in a day.....and since we aren't gamblers (i.e we SUCK at it), we spent the majority of our time sitting by the pool with martinis in our hands. 

I did participate in some fun dance classes---a Hip Hop one and a "Brazilian Dance Moves" class---both of which were a riot! This old girl can still shake what Mother Nature gave her (in a good way, not a saggy skin way, ha-ha). Mac wanted to try the "Flow-Rider" surf pool but I think he secretly drew a sigh of relief when it was closed each time he approached the ride (next time, Hubs...I need to film your wave-crashing wipe-outs!). 

We thoroughly enjoyed the swim-up bar on the cruise ship's private island. The water was freezing cold, but after several Coco Loco cocktails, I was swimming like a mermaid. Made some new friends, too, although I remember very little after the 7th cocktail that day.....

One of the highlights of the trip, of course, was the graceful stingrays. The first time I touched one, I thought the skin felt like a wet mushroom! When I told the tour guide this, she gave me a weird look like she thought I was craving stingray kabobs for dinner. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get photos of this awesome excursion because we left the island early and forgot to view/order the professional photos. So you'll just have to take my word for it.

Despite these activities, one of my favorite things to do on the boat was.....nothing. I loved sitting back in a lounge chair and witnessing the most glorious sunsets from the deck. As I sipped a glass of champagne, I turned to Hubs and said, "Are you ready to book cruise number three?" He gave a quick nod, raised his glass, and we toasted to our next adventure at sea. 

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Other than the AARP piece on grief, I am also honored to have a new essay published in The Huffington Post (about being a grandmother with multiple tattoos) which you can read HERE. Plus another food article on the best dishes for Thanksgiving that I published last week on AARP, which you can read HERE.

Buzz around these other blogs and check out what the fly has been doing in their homes!

Baking In A Tornado                      


The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Best Holiday Gifts For Dog Owners

With the holiday season upon us, everyone is trying to figure out the best unique gifts to give to the people they love. If you or your family members and friends own dogs they adore, why not consider a special gift for pet lovers? I've seen some really cool items out there, including designer pet collars, plaques, photo pillows, clothing, jewelry with your pet's name on it, and blankets that have pet pictures sewn into them. But what has really caught my eye this year are dog portraits. I love the idea of turning my dog's photo into art and also being able to select the costume he will appear in. I can do all of this easily without actually having to dress him up and pose him (because he would NOT like that) for a whimsical portrait. How cool is that?

There are so many other clever gift ideas out there for pet owners. If you like clothing with your pet's breed on it, you'll find plenty of options online. I've also seen crystals with a pet's image scanned into them, which I think is a perfect gift for dog lovers. 

Another dog gift item I found interesting is a personalized, life-size plush animal made to replicate a beloved pet. This would make a great holiday gift for any dog lover, but I also think it's a touching way to memorialize a pet who has passed away. I lost my sweet pug Savi several months ago, and I would love to have a plush replica of my sweet fur baby. I like the idea of customized jewelry for her as well.

For now, I'll be ordering the pet portrait for the holidays. I can't think of a better gift for myself or my dogs! 

***Disclaimer: This blog post is in partnership with Responsival.



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