Sunday, February 28, 2010

Doing Taxes for Why?

I don't have very long to blog today because Richard Bonomo has to use Aquinas the Computer to do the taxes for Mr. Why's estate. (He has already done his own taxes and Mr. Why's personal taxes from the two months he was still alive in 2009.) This all sounds very complicated, and he cannot do them online. Watching all this has made me realize what an incredibly messy business death is; I don't mean in a natural way, like that your body decays, but in a bureaucratic way, like the paperwork you leave behind.

Mr. Why was studying estate law in law school, so he had his affairs somewhat in order at the time of his death. Me, I have nothing in order. Watching all this has made me shudder for whatever poor soul has to put my affairs in order after I kick off. (Of course, I don't plan to shuffle off this mortal coil for quite awhile, but who does? I'm not really in charge of these things.) As they say, only two things in life are sure: death and taxes. And guess what? After you are gone, you don't have to deal with your taxes anymore, but someone still does. In the case of Mr. Why, that someone is Richard Bonomo. Isn't it great to know that taxes are an even more powerful force than death? Because apparently death is no excuse for not getting your taxes done by April 15. And on that note, I should stop blogging now so Rich can use Aquinas.

Famous Hat

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Why Children Don't Have Jobs

First of all, I would like to note that the Lost Llama Poem of Hardingfele has been found. It was somewhere in Richard Bonomo's house all along. (Perhaps that quartet of trouble-makers, i.e., plants, had it: Jolly Bob, The Professor, Dr. Cheung, and Greg.) Speaking of plants and trouble-making, I was recently informed that I could have plants in my office if they were "professional-looking." Now what constitutes a professional-looking plant, I couldn't even begin to tell you. Does it have to carry a little briefcase? Does it have to wear a plant power suit? And how many sleeves would something like that have on it? The mind boggles.

Today Rockstar Tailor was telling me that her mother, Hardingfele, had mentioned my work woes to her, and she had some really great suggestions for dealing with my boss, if I want to get fired. Here is her list of possible responses to ridiculous requests:

  • Point at my head and make a circle with my finger while making a "cuckoo" sound, the international symbol for "You're a nut job."
  • Say, "That's supercallifragilisticexpealidocious!" (Or however you spell that...)
  • Say, "It sure stinks in here! I think someone made an uh-oh in their pants!"
While these would all be perfectly reasonable responses to some of the loopier things I've been told at work, somehow I don't think it would be considered excessively professional. Perhaps this is why they created child labor laws: not because it is unfair to make children work, but because no boss wants to say something stupid to an employee and then get a response which is equally mature and sensible. If you only employ adults, the odds of your employee saying, "I know you are, but what am I?" are vastly decreased. Then again, in my experience, adults working with that level of maturity and logic are usually promoted to management, so maybe we should just have 9-year-olds in charge. It couldn't be any worse.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Free Noodle Day

Just when I had nothing to blog about today, this evening at choir practice someone mentioned that she had heard it was "Free Noodle Day" at the chain restaurant across the street, let's call it Bowl O' Noodles. I was intrigued, as I always am by the possibility of free food, and so after choir practice I convinced Richard Bonomo to cross the street and find out if it really was "Free Noodle Day." There were a number of people ahead of us, considering the late hour, but they all paid for their bowls of noodles. When it was our turn in line, I said to the guy behind the counter,

"This may sound crazy, but I heard-"

"That it's Free Noodle Day?" he finished for me. "Yeah, what is up with that? Someone came in earlier asking about it!"

So no free noodles, but I am intrigued by this rumor: who started it? How many people have fallen for it? Was the person who told us about it the other victim, or was she sitting outside watching us and laughing, and possibly videotaping? And will Bowl O' Noodles ever have "Free Noodle Day" for real?

Famous Hat

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bad Mojo Earring: Sad Sequel

There was a tragic ending to Bad Mojo Earring's most recent adventure. Just after I got done writing my last post, I noticed it on the floor beneath my chair. However, it looked a little different. In the picture below, Bad Mojo Earring is on the left (since I always wore it in my left ear) and its mate is on the right. You can see that the right-hand earring is a little gold tube curved into a hoop. So what happened to the one on the left??

My best guess is that I rolled over it with my chair and smooshed it. (Maybe this is a sign to start taking that diet more seriously!) I am surprised that it withstood years of me sleeping on it and then was done in by a rolling chair, but the question is now: what do I do? Do I smoosh the other one so they match? Do I try to fix Bad Mojo earring somehow? Should I wear them like this and see if anyone notices? My solution today was to wear the pair of peridot earrings I bought the first time Bad Mojo Earring went on an extended vacation.

Famous Hat

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bad Mojo Earring

I have a pair of earrings, simple gold hoops which I never take out, and one of them sometimes disappears for days at a time. The first time it did this, I found it at least a month later, simply lying on my bedroom floor in a very obvious spot. I thought, "This can't have been here this whole time! Surely I would have seen it!" But that seemed to be the end of the story.

Two days into my Mexican cruise, the earring slipped away again. I looked everywhere for it and asked Clarion, our Trinidadian housekeeper, to keep an eye out for it, but we had no luck. Then right at the end of the cruise, Clarion said she found it on the bathroom floor... but she cleaned the bathroom every day so she had no idea where it could have been hiding. I said no worries, it had done that before, just vanished and then reappeared somewhere obvious.

"Maybe it goes on vacation," I said.

"That is one bad mojo earring," she said.

I was hoping that my earring had done enough traveling lately, but wouldn't you know that today at work it vanished from my ear. I'll let you know if it ever reappears. (If it does, it's totally grounded.)

Today Toque McToque sent me my horoscope, and I was puzzled by this line: "Be very sweet to your entourage." I'm thinking, what entourage? but today we had five visitors I had to show around so I had a bunch of people following me: an entourage! There was an Asian, a Latina, a North African, a Sub-Saharan African, and a Mideasterner. Two were women and three were men, so my entourage had both genders and all sorts of colors. Right now they are all training in northern states, so I didn't have to apologize for the weather around here. When I said to Toque that if they were my posse and we had theme music, it could be "Let It Snow." She said how about "Let It Snow, Sucka," but it turns out this song does not actually exist... yet. I hope to rectify this situation by the end of the week.

Famous Hat

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Hat on the Hat on the Hat

I could understand if the title of this post makes you think I'm going to have Dr. Seuss as a guest blogger today, but in fact I am just fixing to prove Richard Bonomo wrong when he says Famous Hat does not wear hats. Here is a photo of Famous Hat wearing Infamous O'Derby, which is wearing Health Food Store Hat:

Here is a photo of Plant World, which is doing well during its second winter. You may notice a distinct lack of the larger plants noticeable in earlier images of Plant World, but they are still at Rich's house. Rich seems to have no issue with this living arrangement, and neither do they.

Here is an auxiliary area of Plant World, on top of the stereo cabinet I got from my OTHER choir director when he upgraded. (He has still not upgraded his TV, which has about a 6" screen and dates from the late 60's or early 70's, and which he claims used to belong to Sonny Bono.) These plants weren't naughty or anything; they're not sitting in the corner because they are in Time Out. They simply prefer less direct light. The palm tree belonged (belongs?) to Antoshka, who left it with Rich when he returned to Ukraine. Rich left it sitting out on the porch, where it got a little bit fried, since it's a parlor palm or neantha bella. They don't really like direct sunlight.

Here is the first spring blossom on one of my "Christmas" cacti. This one actually blooms around Thanksgiving and then again in the spring. It has a lot of buds on it, and the two Halloween cacti have lots of buds too, so maybe I will be able to post a photo sometime of all three of them blooming: this hot pink one, the pale pink one, and the red one.

And here, at the request of Toque McToque, is a movie of the flashing disco glass I got on my cruise during the Disco Party.

Famous Hat

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dead Fish Have Feelings Too

Just when I couldn't think of a good topic for blogging, Rich mentioned an article he had read in Science News this morning about functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): some scientists hooked a salmon up to an fMRI machine, showed it pictures of emotional scenes, and found that part of its brain lit up. Kathbert said, "Fish have feelings?" and I said, "Of course they do," thinking of Arphaxad and Amminadab, although I wondered if I could ever enjoy eating salmon again. Then Rich told us the kicker: the fish was dead! The scientists were demonstrating that statistical errors in fMRI can produce results that look spectacular but are of questionable validity. My first thought upon hearing that fMRI may be about as accurate as the guy who hooked up plants to lie detectors to prove that they have emotions was: "What a great title for a blog post! 'Dead fish have feelings too!'"

Anyway, the first Friday in Lent is as good a time as any to focus on fish. At work today a native Northerner was trying to explain to a recent newcomer from the South about the importance of the Friday Fish Fry in our local culture. She was not getting it until he said it was just like barbeque down South, then she knew exactly what he meant. Of course, if you go way up North, they have fish boils instead of fish fries, but that's equally delicious.

Just now Rich mentioned a friend who said something about the Brown victory on his MyFace page. I am obviously on a different wavelength than he is, because my first thought was, "What Browns victory? It was the Saints and the Colts!" It took me a moment to realize he was talking about the political situation in Massachusetts and not sports. Duh. He also gave me grief about a picture I claimed was of me, Famous Hat, and yet it was clearly a different hat. I said that the caption states it is my health food store hat, and he said, "But I didn't see a hat wearing another hat in that picture! How can you say it's a picture of Famous Hat?" So I had to explain to him that sometimes this blog is from the point of view of a person, and other times the hat, and still other times my plant Keith or my fish Arphaxad. And I even denote by font color who is writing, like Keith is in green and Arphaxad is in orange. But I guess some people still can't keep up, huh, Rich?

Famous Hat (or possibly her wearer)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ninjamatic: The Musical

Last night Anna Banana II, A-Joz, and I met some other people from my choir at a local joint renowned for its Mardi Gras celebrations, which isn't so weird except that it's a German-themed restaurant. We got beads and drank hurricanes out of commemorative glasses that said "Bacardi Gras" and indulged in the Creole buffet. Then this band played:

Just kidding. Actually, a Cajun band played, which was absolutely fine (except with the choir director) because I like Cajun music, but it has nothing to do with New Orleans. Where y'at? Probably Lafayette, if you're listening to Cajun music. New Orleans is all about jazz.

Speaking of commemorative glasses, yesterday morning my sink was backing up so I turned on the disposal and immediately heard the sickening sound of breaking glass. It was too late - I had already ground up the commemorative shot glass from my cruise. How many people do you know who can say that they have ground up a shot glass in the disposal WHILE SOBER? (A caveat: I hadn't had my coffee yet.) I would be heartbroken, except that it was kind of ugly anyway, and I also have a hurricane glass, two shot glasses, and a light-up glass from the cruise.

I was once again complaining to Toque McToque about work, and when I said someone would go "ninjamatic" on another coworker, we decided that could be the title of my novel about this place, which has now morphed into a Bollywood-style musical. In another email, I admitted that I am a procrastinator too. "Maybe I should give up procrastination for Lent," I said, and she said, "Too late!" But I fully intend to decide by Good Friday whether I am going to give up procrastination for Lent, so stay tuned. (Toque said I could ask the parish priest for an extension if needed, which made me laugh so hard that a student worker peeked into my office to see if I was OK. However, that would only be funny to you, the reader, if you knew that a particular person I work with is always asking for - and getting! - extensions on deadlines. Because if you aren't going to do it this week, you might as well ask for next week to not do it either.)

Have a happy Ash Wednesday, everyone!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Mardi Gras!

That's all I have to say about this matter.

Famous Hat

Monday, February 15, 2010

Proper to Its Function

Years ago I kept having dreams about a beautiful building in Istanbul that had domes and minarets, but when I went inside, it was just an office building with a lobby containing a dreary fake plant, a bored receptionist, and an elevator. When I told my dad about the dreams, he said it was the Hagia Sophia, but that it isn't an office building. Not long after that I actually got to visit Istanbul, and the moment I stepped inside the magnificent Hagia Sophia, I could feel an enormous lack. It was not an office building, but it was no longer a place of worship. Now an office building does not feel sacred, but it does not have that same emptiness, almost a hunger, about it. It was built to be an office building and is proper to its function. The Hagia Sophia, however, was built for a sacred purpose, so that now that it is just a museum, it no longer has its proper function, and the loss is palpable.

Of course you knew that this post was going somewhere with palm trees and hammocks, so here it is: the proper function of humans is to be tropical and crepuscular. That's right, we are SUPPOSED to be taking midday naps under palm trees. This is why people are so crazy around here, because we are forced to live in a diurnal, temperate existence. We did not evolve to be awake all day in a cold, snowy climate. It's not proper to our function.

Famous Hat

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Sts. Cyril and Methodius Day

We were trying to think of a good theme for Richard Bonomo's birthday party this year, since we had already done Mardi Gras, Chocolate Brunch, Luau, and Presidents' Day. Then it occurred to us: of course! If his birthday party was on the 14th of February, then the theme should be obvious - Sts. Cyril and Methodius Day! With that in mind, I baked a cake that looked vaguely like a Russian Orthodox church and then decorated it with much help from Tiffy and "Mrs. Smith," a mathematicienne who also knows Russian. She wrote the message on the cake, which simply says "Khappee Beerthday Reech" in Cyrillic letters.

Here is the booty Rich got, because he "forgot" to ask people not to bring gifts.

Nothing says "Lent is on the way" like Christmas mugs!

Chocolate truffles are always a welcome gift.

What do you get when you cross chocolate with money? Perfection!

And here is the other side of the box.

Mr. Icon gave a typically tasteful gift: racing nuns!
And here they are in action.

Famous Hat

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Saints Went Marching In!

Here are some pictures I took with my new digital camera. The first one is a self-portrait, in a sense: I am both a Goat in the Western zodiac and a Pig (in fact, an Iron Pig) in the Eastern zodiac. So here my Eastern and Western aspects are being illustrated in plushy fashion in front of a mirror. (That's me being "artistic.")

Figure 1: Famous Hat: East and West

Here is a self-portrait taken in the mirror after the Saints won the Super Bowl. Note the fleur-de-lis on my health food store hat and the actual Mardi Gras beads from New Orleans.

Figure 2: Who Dat?

This is a picture of Nola my papyrus from New Orleans celebrating the Saints' win by wearing my Mardi Gras beads. (No plants were harmed in the making of this photo.)

Figure 3: Nola says yeah! Saints win!!

And here are my little New Orleans dolls celebrating. The voodoo doll on the left is one I got during my trip to New Orleans and the Cajun Fiddler is something my parents brought back from New Orleans when they visited several years earlier.

Figure 4: Mr. and Mrs. New Orleans

Famous Hat

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Rich!

It may be time to change careers, and not just because, to quote Toque McToque, my workplace is "like Spy vs. Spy without the cool artwork." It seems as if I have a real knack for making people laugh, like the priest whenever I go to Confession. Are my sins that hilarious? or is my delivery that good? Last night I was telling Richard Bonomo (Happy Birthday, Rich!) about my workplace woes, and he was practically rolling on the ground, he was laughing so hard.

"I'm sorry!" he gasped. "I shouldn't laugh! But you should write a book once you get out of there!" Yeah, if I want to get sued. Mentioning work on my blog read by 3.4 people is risky enough. I won't say too much more about this subject except that Toque thinks the title of this book should be All Male Virgos Should Be Drowned at Birth. (I'm pretty safe to say that, since my readership includes no male Virgos. Banjo Player, if you are reading this, we'll make an exception for your husband.)

"That would be a best-seller for sure!" she said. Just so you know, she didn't invent that title but stole it right from one of my email rants.

But this post is actually about Rich, who is an Aquarius, and not how funny I am in Confession or anything like that. Truthfully, I have never had any interest in being a stand-up comedienne, but it can't be any worse than this job! Anyway, that's what I thought last night when Hardingfele and I grabbed a bite at a fast food place before a gig, and we saw an advertisement for managers there promising to pay more than either of us makes currently. Hardingfele likes her job, but I thought hm, I already hate my job AND I make peanuts... maybe I should consider a career in fast food management!

Told you this post was all about Rich. Rich, if you are reading this, I hope you are rolling on the floor laughing and having a great birthday!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shout Out to Hardingfele

Sorry for the lack of posts, it's been crazy the last few days! I just realized that in my last post I forgot to thank Hardingfele for taking care of my babies. THANKS!!! Hardingfele is the greatest rabbit/hedgehog/plant sitter ever to get a dolphin key chain AND a dolphin mug from me! (The mug says "Acapulco" and the key chain changes color in the sunlight.)

Famous Hat

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hidden Menaces: Castles and Communion Wafers

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a painful first quarter and a much improved second quarter, then after some geezers staggered across the stage sort of singing, Hardingfele and I had to go to mandatory band practice. The moment mandatory band practice was over, we climbed back into my car, Erin Caitlyn O'Honda, and turned on the radio to find out the SAINTS WENT MARCHING IN!!! Yeah!!! Usually I don't care about the Super Bowl once my team is out of contention, but even a die-hard cheesehead can wear a fleur-de-lis for the city she loves. Still, it blows chunks that we missed the following: an offside kick, a two-point conversion, and an interception run back for a touchdown. Ah well, the point is, they WON!!!

For those who are concerned about my little creatures, let me assure you that they all survived my vacation. Arphaxad and Amminadab were barely visible in their green water, but once I cleaned out their bowl, they were the same as ever. Sylvia made her happy little squeaky sounds she only makes when I return from a long trip or guinea pigs move out of the house, and Charlie has a slight cold but is fine otherwise and very happy to see me. Cashmere was a little resentful at first, but the other day she let me cuddle her for a solid minute and a half, which has got to be a record.

Good thing I have Toque McToque to warn me about the many dangers in the world. The other day she sent me an article about a group of people expending much energy to protest the GLUTINOUS COMMUNION WAFERS OF DOOM. Seriously, those things are so tiny that I imagine the low-glutin ones that are 0.01% glutin couldn't kill anyone, and anyway you can always receive wine. However, that did make me think how underutilized communion wafers have been in horror flicks. I mean, when was the last time you saw a movie about GLUTINOUS COMMUNION WAFERS OF DOOM destroying the earth? And then Toque sent me another article about the British government zealously fighting to protect the citizenry from a... CASTLE!! *Gasp* No! Can you believe a private citizen had the unmitigated gall to endanger the entire human race by building a castle?? The British government is so incensed that it is demanding he tear it down. This menace is so stealthy that none of the neighbors thought to complain about the lovely Tudor-style building with stained-glass windows and two turrets, but that's why we have government, right? To protect us from the dangers lurking all around us that we don't even notice? So be careful out there. It's a big, bad world filled with glutinous communion wafers and unapproved castles.

Famous Hat

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cross of Milagros

Among the souvenirs I brought home for friends, the oddest is probably the Cross of Milagros I found for Richard Bonomo. It was in the back of a store in Mazatlan, far behind the usual tourist kitsch, in the religious section. There were crosses covered with small charms called "milagros," which is Spanish for "miracles," and these charms were of all sorts of strange things: animals, people, plants, religious objects, and disembodied arms and legs. However, only this cross had a gun milagro.

Figure 1: Cross of Milagros

The moment I saw this cross, I thought: "Here is the perfect gift for Rich!" Then I showed Tiffy, who seconded this opinion. There is something so surreal about the pretty flowers juxtaposed with that six-shooter, and then St. Michael in the middle, holding a sword and a ... balance?? (Kathbert, who is a great devotee of St. Michael, said she was pleased to see that he is a Libra too.) The other charms are chili peppers, a young boy praying, corn, a pig, and the Eucharist.

Last night Rich, Kathbert, and I were looking online to find out what the milagros meant, since each one symbolizes something. The little charms are used either to ask a favorite saint for a miracle or to thank one for a miracle granted. Here is what we found:

Corn and chili peppers: abundance
Pig: abundance
Boy: either a prayer for a wayward young male relative or thanksgiving for a boy child
Eucharist: this wasn't listed, but it seems pretty straightforward

However, we could find nothing regarding the gun milagro. Even the salesman at the Mexican shop was puzzled and said he thought it must be for protection. So perhaps I have just wished for Rich to have an abundant, Eucharistic life that is well-protected and full of male offspring...? The boy milagro can also symbolize one's inner child, and the pig can be a wish that someone stops a piggish behavior, so maybe this will get Rich to stop doing what he himself calls "turbo-eating." (He says he got the term from Kathbert, who replied that the actual phrase she used was "turbo-chewing.") n.b. Rich is not a terribly messy eater, just a very fast one. Kathbert thought this cross was appropriate, since Rich is a very healthy individual and therefore would not need any milagros of body parts.

Here are a couple of movies of "Billy from Phili-penis" and his towel animals. The first one is rather long, and I will warn you that much of the action (such as it is) is blocked by the ape sitting on the edge of Billy's work table. However, it does show you Billy in action, going from two towels to an adorable apatosaur in under three minutes. Also, you can get a really good idea of how fancy the atrium (or, as they called it, "centrum") is in the Radiance of the Seas.

The second video is a much shorter one showing the animals sitting on the bar. The poor bunny rabbit has no more eyes because Billy "borrowed" them for the baby. I try to list each animal as I am passing it, but it was very crowded so in a couple of cases I am saying, "Excuse me" instead of naming the animal. The creature balancing something on its nose is a seal, the orange-and-white creature is a kangaroo (you can see its baby's ears sticking out of its pouch) and the other orange-and-white thing is a lobster.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mexican Riviera Cruise

Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas (Spanish for "Cape of Saint Luke") is at the very tip of Baja California and is famous for its jagged rock formations and its abundance of sea life.

The famous Arch of Cabo San Lucas

We went whale watching but did not bring a camera. We did see a mother and baby humpback whale, and the baby playfully jumped out of the water several times. We also saw sea lions all over one of the rocks by the famous arch. As we were riding on top of the tender (small boat) back to our cruise ship, a sea lion suddenly poked its head right out of the water beside me, and I was so surprised that I almost fell off the tender!

This is an old-fashioned schooner with lights on the riggings. As it sailed past us, we could hear the strains of "The Chicken Dance" coming from it. Can you believe that? The other party boats played salsa or disco music.

Our Trinidadian housekeeper Clarion make towel animals for us every night, and that night she made us un conejo - a bunny rabbit!

(He's wearing my sunglasses!)


Mazatlan is Nahuatl for "place of the deer." It is a large city that boasts the highest (or possibly second-highest, I've seen both claims) elevation lighthouse in the world.

Lighthouse of Mazatlan

Cliff Diver
(yes, he did jump)

Cathedral of Mazatlan

Las Flores Resort

Palm Trees at Las Flores

Free AND compulsory? Sign me up!
(Shuttle to and from cruise ship)

God may be your copilot, but check out who our driver was.

Famous Hat and the Giant Oompah Band of Inexplicability

Mazatlan had almost as many beautiful, craggy rock formations as Cabo San Lucas.

Tropical sunset

That night, our towel animal was an elephant. Then we spent a day at sea. We saw lots of dolphins and whales, and even a sea turtle, but we never had a camera ready. The next night, our towel creature was a hound dog, or maybe a lamb.


Acapulco means "place of the broken bamboo," but unfortunately I have no idea what language it is. Apparently the people discovered it right after a hurricane had flattened all the flora.

Sunrise over Acapulco Bay

Acapulco at dawn

Good to know who's in charge here.
(Sign reads "Jesucristo Senor de Acapulco," or "Jesus Christ, Lord of Acapulco")

Our cruise ship, the Radiance of the Sea.

Acapulco is a very colorful place.

Cliff divers barely visible on the cliff to the left. Club in the back is the one Hedy Lamarr's husband ran when she came up with the idea of cliff diving.

The cliff divers swam to our tour boat and joined us for beer and a Mexican buffet. I cannot remember their names, but it was the birthday of the one on the left.

Byzantine-style Cathedral of Acapulco

Interior of the Cathedral

Another view of Acapulco

That night Clarion made us a sea lion!
(In Spanish they are called "sea wolves," lobos del mar.)


We never actually made it to Ixtapa, which is a resort area four miles north of Zihuatanejo. (Say "See what a nay hoe.") Zihuataneja (which is a Spanish corruption of a Nahuatl name that means "place of the women") is a lovely, unspoiled fishing village that one of our fellow snorklers said reminded him of Acapulco back in the 70's. It was my favorite place, and I hope it does not get overrun by tourists. Wait, scratch that. Zihuatanejo is awful and nobody else should ever visit it. Got that?

We went snorkling and saw all kinds of beautiful fish and coral, but unfortunately no seahorses. (In Spanish, caballitos del mar.) One of our guides told us there was a man who gave glass-bottomed boat tours for only $3, and he guaranteed you would see a seahorse or he would give you your money back. Unfortunately, when we went to seek this man, we were informed that he had just left for Acapulco. Oh, the irony!

This cruise ship was also docked in Zihuatanejo. It started in England and was sailing all around the world, and a passenger on it had already died of the tragic cause of old age. (The average age on this ship was much higher than on ours, and we had plenty of older folks.) Guess what they do with you if you die on a cruise ship? They stick you in the freezer! At least, that is what they told us, but they're British so maybe it's a joke. They have a very dry sense of humor, you know.

Sunrise in Zihuatanejo

The beach at dawn. One of the birds had only one leg, but you can't tell in this photo.

Weird, scary boat we took to the catamaran

Porpy the Boat!

Zihuatanejo lighthouse
Here are some scenes of the beautiful Bay of Zihuatanejo:

That night, when we returned to our room, we were disappointed not to see a towel creature on either of our beds... and then we spotted this parrot hanging from the ceiling!

Another stunning tropical sunset

The next day we got a sea turtle (with my suglasses pushed back on top of his head). Tiffy saw another sea turtle in real life, and we both saw a marlin leap out of the ocean. We found the best place to see real sea creatures was from the helicopter pad at the front of the ship, but of course they never came around when we had our cameras ready.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta means "port of Vallarta," who was President of Mexico back in the 60's. It had another name before that which I can't remember now. The guy who told us that also told us about another cruise line (which will remain nameless) that had a lot of issues there, like one of their ships had recently had a bomb threat, so everyone on the entire pier had to clear out. Then another captain always ran into the pier - the guy showed us the damage - and he had become so infamous for it that all the newspaper reporters flocked down to the docks when that ship was due in the harbor. He also ran into our ship, but not while we were on it. I asked if he only did that in Puerto Vallarta, and our native informant said, "No, he did it in Cancun too."

We took a speedboat to the place where we swam with dolphins.

The Mexican men adored me! Meet my new boyfriends Nemo and Ali.

I'm telling you, the Mexican men couldn't resist me!

We also got to hold a little lovebird named Tweet and a huge scarlet macaw named Mambo, but unfortunately we did not have our cameras with us, so I don't have pictures of that. There was a sulfer-crested cockatoo named Squishy who wasn't friendly enough to hold, but he would talk and dance for his trainer, who called him "Squishito."

That night, Clarion made us a ... sphynx? Your guess is as good as mine.

At Sea

If you look closely, you can see a whale spouting in the distance in this photo.

Another glorious sunset

Demonstration of how to make towel animals. The announcer, who was Latino, kept telling us the towel artist was from "Phili-penis." You know, that phallic-looking archipeligo of islands in the South Pacific. The capital is MAN-ila.

Monkey, baby, parrot



Then Clarion made us our own dinosaur!

I went a little crazy buying jewelry in Mexico

Close-up of rings

Our last tropical sunset... until next time!

Beautiful clouds after sunset.

On the Plane

Jinx the No-Crash Dinosaur once again did his job!

This place has a problem with crop circles.

Look! A communion wafer farm!

Famous Hat