Saturday, June 30, 2018

Cruising with the Crew - LJ Part 2

It's Cruise Ship Saturday! Today is part two of the rough draft on LJ, a cruise ship crew member.

Part 1 of the chapter on LJ, a cruise ship crew member, can be found on June 23.

When you are young you enjoy working on the ship. If you are coming from a country that is poor, you are excited to work at your first cruise ship job for $500 or $600 a month. But when you are 40 with a daughter who is growing up and a wife who misses you? For LJ, with those 13 years of experience, his $1,000 a month job doesn’t pay for fixing the house and supporting a wife and child – and future children - from afar. 

At what age do you decide that enough is enough? That it is more important to be home with your wife and eight year old daughter than fold pool towels for passengers who are just going to dirty them in a few minutes anyway? Is it worth your time having to be kind to those passengers who are nothing but disrespectful to you, the ones that treat the crew members like they aren’t humans but animals? Isn’t it more important to provide a life for a family who doesn’t get to spend enough time with you than cleaning up the dirty cups kids threw into the pool? 

Ship life chews you up and spits you out. We’ve seen it again and again. Long hours, little pay, pain-in-the-rump adults and kids with no manners wear you down. At some point you have to move on. It’s not a decision that comes easily for LJ. 

There are things he will miss about ship life. For a poor boy from Honduras the opportunity to travel is something he never expected he’d get to do. Seeing the world is something he definitely will miss. But at his age, there isn’t much else. He’s more than happy to get away from those supervisors who are not kind to their crew. And the luggage. Oh, the luggage. On every cruise, crew members deliver each and every piece of passenger luggage to their cabins. On a ship with 3,000 passengers there could be 10,000 pieces of luggage that have to be delivered within the first day. Heavy, bulky luggage. Too much luggage. 

LJ is ready to say goodbye to it all. He has just a few months left on his contract and then he’ll head back home to be with his wife and daughter for good. Plans are being made but financial concerns loom heavy on his mind. But he knows he has to do it. For his family.

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Friday 15

Today's downsizing 15 is a sewing room clean up.

2 rolls of contact paper, 1 roll of interfacing, and 1 pack of wall decals.
4 plastic containers and 1 stack of envelopes.
1 cutting mat and 1 pack of pipe cleaners.
2 spools of ribbon and 2 tracing wheels.
15 more gone!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Olympic National Park

It's Wanderlust Wednesday! Today we're talking about Olympic National Park in Washington.

1. The park is huge! It's almost a million acres big. To see it all you'll need more than just a couple days.

2. You'll find mountains, beaches, and rain forests - all in the same park.

3. You can't just drive through the park from one entrance to the other. From Highway 101 you can take side roads to get into the park, but to just drive through it like you might at Yellowstone? Nope.

4. You can see Canada from the park. See that city in the distance? It's Victoria, British Columbia.(Sorry, not the best of cameras.)

5. The weather can be unpredictable. Hurricane Ridge can have strong winds, heavy snow, and good ole blizzards. Even heading into the summer, snow can be several feet deep while you're enjoying a back-of-the-car picnic lunch.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Tutorial Tuesday - Quick and Easy Fabric Strip Potholder

Today's project is a super quick and easy way to use up some of those leftover fabric strips.

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 

In addition to the standard sewing supplies, for this project you will need:
  • Fabric strips, 1” to 3” wide in varying lengths 
  • 9” x 9” muslin fabric for the foundation
  • 9” x 9” cotton batting*, cut 2
  • 11” x 11” backing fabric
  • Glue stick (optional)
*There is a product called Insul-Bright for high-heat uses. You can use it instead of cotton batting if you prefer. You can find Insul-Bright HERE.

You can find the video tutorial here: 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Cruising with the Crew - LJ

It's Cruise Ship Saturday and we're talking about the crew today!

I consider the book I'm working on about cruise ship crew to be my most important work ever. Crew members are a quiet bunch when working. They make sure passenger needs are attended to in the most polite fashion. Yes, they are doing their jobs by treating all guests well, but what we have with them is something different. We feel privileged that they’ve placed a trust in us to hold some of their secrets close. And pleased to be able to tell the stories they don’t mind sharing. If I could have one wish for them, it would be for a passenger to treat them a bit more humanely after reading the book.

Here is a rough draft of one of the chapters about a crew member we'll call LJ. (He's still with a ship right now so no real names.)

Carrying barrels of used cooking oil up the stairs to the garbage was requiring LJ to take one step at a time. Take a step. Barrel up, barrel down. Take a step. Barrel up, barrel down. Take a step. Barrel up, barrel down. When another crew member recognized him from his playing days, it didn’t go so well.  As the crew member passed by there was no offer of help, no offer to give a little push. Just a smart aleck comment.

“It’s not the same like with the fútbol there, is it?”

Being a garbage man in the galley is not pretty and not easy and not glamorous. He was a well-known fútbol player back at home and now here he was doing this. Fútbol was what kept him busy and out of trouble as a kid when his father wasn’t around. The oldest of seven kids, LJ was raised by his grandmother and mom. Fútbol was his life, his only connection to some semblance of a male influence. But as he got older he found fútbol money to be sporadic and not enough to provide a life for his new wife. So when a friend at home in poverty-stricken Honduras started buying cars and building a house there was only one question to ask.

“How do I get a job on the ship like you?”

For someone making very little money at home a consistent paycheck job sounded pretty darn good. LJ decided there was only one thing to do. Leave his family to take a job to support his family. The type of job didn’t matter. It was about the money.

But once on the ship, the pay was worse than expected and the job – galley garbage man - wasn’t what was he thought it would be. And it was apparent that the adulation and attention and popularity experienced at home weren’t going to get him far on the ship. It was hard job, working at night, with less pay than what he could have gotten if he had stayed home in Honduras. It was almost enough to resign. 

Why would someone stick with it?  

LJ tells me, “If you choose something you cannot quit like that. So if you desire to do it, do it.”

And did it he did. Although, he didn’t have much choice. After being on the ship for one contract, his fútbol career was done. Too much time had passed from when he left. But his hard work on the ship paid off as he was promoted to a position working with the provisions. In the freezer, counting and recounting stock and cleaning and ensuring deliveries matched the requisitions. It was better pay, but just a bit. It was a cold and tedious job, nothing like life in warm Honduras where his wife was. A head storekeeper position was in his future – uniform and stripes and all – but the raise would still only give him $800 a month and that wasn’t going to cut it to support the family.

Now 13 years into ship life, LJ has spent only one full year at home with his wife. He’s made his way from company to company, position to position, depending on what is best for his family. At one point he even made it to a cabin steward job. A cabin steward is one of the most coveted crew positions on the ship. A base wage along with the cash tips paid by passengers can make for a decent living. LJ had never seen money like that in his life. But these positions are hard to come by and many times controlled by certain nationalities. Ever heard of the Filipino Mafia?

On the ship, skills aren’t necessarily matched to job position. Approaching 40 years old, LJ has held the position of accommodations attendant for the same company for the past five years. Accommodations attendant positions fall within a broad category. One with that title could be responsible for vacuuming at night or picking up dirty towels by the pool. For LJ this position means he is in charge of checking pool temperatures and folding towels and blankets. For his experience – for what he knows and has done so far – he’s come to the realization that he’s at a place where there are no possibilities for promotion in the company. And no possibilities for better wages. If you’re young, work is easier when you have no responsibilities, but when you’re older you have to think differently. On the ship he runs a haircutting business on the side after his regular work hours to give him enough money to pay for internet cards so he can keep in contact with his family. Still, video calling is too expensive so he isn’t able to see his wife and growing daughter’s face. Voice calls and messaging will have to do. 

to be continued next week...

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Friday 15

I decided I won't be making cakes anymore. So goodbye to my pans and doilies. Boo hoo.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tutorial Tuesday - Sew a Flag Potholder

In addition to the regular sewing supplies, for this project you will need:
  • 1 ½” x 3 ½” red fabric, cut 2
  • 1 ½” x 8 ½” red fabric, cut 2
  • 1 ½” x 3 ½” white fabric, cut 2
  • 1 ½” x 8 ½” white fabric, cut 2
  • 4 ½” x 5 ¼” blue fabric
  • 8 ½” x 8 ½” backing fabric
  • 8 ½” x 8 ½” cotton batting, cut 2*
*There is a product called Insul-Bright for high-heat uses. You can use it instead of cotton batting if you prefer.

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 
Click here to see all my tutorials!

With the 4th of July coming up a potholder seemed fitting for today's tutorial. You can find the video here:

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Typical Day at Sea on a Cruise Ship

It's Cruise Ship Saturday and we're talking about sea days!

I hear the question a lot.

"Will I get bored at sea?"

Only you know what amount of activity required to keep you from getting bored. Take a look at a ship's paper that outlines everything going on for the day. (You can find the Google doc version of the pages HERE.)

So what do you think? Will you be bored?

As for me, plop me in front of a window with my computer and I can write all day.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Friday 15

Collapsible containers and patterns and vinyl lettering and journals and clothes. A veritable smorgasbord of donations! And another 15 items are gone from my house.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

I've been watching coverage of the volcano eruption in Hawaii with great interest. We've been to Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii several times. We've seen steam rising from the crater; we've seen lava flowing at night.
They are always under the threat of potential eruption, but now the threat is real. Here's hoping beauty will continue to abound after the lava stops flowing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Tutorial Tuesday - Picnic Cutlery Roll

"Nothing is better than a picnic."
– Zooey Deschanel

I totally agree. Does a cutlery roll make it even better? Maybe, if you can whip one up like in today's tutorial.
Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 

In addition to the standard sewing supplies, for this project you will need:
  • 14” x 18” main fabric
  • 14” x 18” lining fabric
  • 14” x 18” batting
  • 14” bias tape
  • 28” ribbon

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Golden Princess Resources

If you want to know anything else about the Golden Princess or have any questions about cruising or Princess Cruises, just ask. And if you want try out a Princess cruise yourself, contact me. I'm a Princess Commodore, the highest level of Princess Cruises expert there is in the travel agent world. Let me help you put together a cruise suited just for you!

Disembarking a Cruise Ship

It's Cruise Ship Saturday! Today we're talking about disembarkation.

The morning you leave the ship - disembark - can be hectic. It's not like just checking out of a hotel room so remember to read the paperwork delivered to your cabin beforehand. It tells you everything you need to know.

Here is a sample of the info-packed paperwork from a recent cruise. The link in Google docs can be found HERE.

Remember to:
  • Pack your patience along with your carry-on.
  • Keep medications and documentation with you.
  • Remove items from the safe.
  • Be out of the cabin when requested.
  • Enjoy the last of the cruise ship meals.
  • Wait in a nice location before going to the assigned lounge.
  • Have your cruise card ready for scanning.
  • Collect your luggage in the terminal.
  • Have passports ready for customs.
  • Be on time for arranged transportation and allow plenty of time to get to the airport.
And then start planning for your next cruise!

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Friday 15

15 more of my cake decorating things are leaving me. Kind of sad.

Thursday, June 7, 2018


Disclosure: Deb's Days is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you new cruising and crafting content. 

There aren't many things I think are requirements for cruising. With only paperwork, a passport, medications, a clean pair of undies, and some deodorant anyone could survive on a cruise. (But you’ll probably be more comfortable with more.)

But there are a couple things that I think are requirements:

A plastic sleeve to hold the cruise ship luggage tag. I've been through a couple and the ones with the grommets at the top last much longer. We primarily sail Princess and these fit our tags perfectly.

And the next necessity is a set of packing cubes. We only travel with one suitcase between the two of us so it is important that we fit as much into that suitcase as possible. We wouldn't be able to do it without these packing cubes. You'd be surprised at how much you can fit in these things. They even make it easy for unpacking. Actually, it's more like not unpacking - we just unzip them, fold back the top, and leave them in the drawers. Super duper easy and convenient. We've used the eBags brand for quite a while and they haven't had as much as a rip or broken zipper. Easy to wash and easy to use!

We use multiple sizes and we each have our own colors (me-pink, hubby-green). They have a ton of colors and sizes to choose from.

Looking for more cruising information? 
Take a look at what else you can find here at Deb's Days!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, Canada

It's Wanderlust Wednesday! Today we're talking about the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver.

If you're scared of heights, the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Canada is probably not somewhere you want to spend much time. Why?

It's 450 feet across.
 It's 230 feet off the ground.

And it moves. And shakes and shimmies. 

If you are afraid of heights you really won't want to make your way to the Cliffwalk. It clings to the cliff walls.
But even more heart-pounding are the places where it juts out from the cliff walls.
 Don't look down. It's a long way to the bottom.
 But if you can manage it, it will be an exhilarating visit!

Ready to try out a Princess cruise for yourself? Contact me! I'm a Princess Commodore, the highest level of Princess Cruises expert there is in the travel agent world, and an official Princess Alaska expert. Let me help you put together a cruise suited just for you!