Monday, February 13, 2017

The Jazz Cruise to the Caribbean

Hello family from Boston, we met at the airport. I love kids which is why I photographed them.

More than half my photos did not come out. How frustrating!

Had a great time on the Jazz Cruise, a b'day gift from Ethan Iverson of the The Bad Plus and his wife, my daughter and kidney donor, the great Sarah Lynn Deming

Got home last night, saw my darling BF Scott Sherman, who had the house ready for me. Loads of mail and the heat on. We cuddled up like always while watching a very strange avant garde film The Lady from Shanghai with Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles. She died at 68 of Alz Disease.

Got home via Uber, a 2.5 hour drive from LaGuardia. Mento, orig from Bangladesh, was my great driver, a Muslim citizen, as is his wife, who he met here on FB. Fortunately they're both American citizens.

Scuse me a sec. Am gonna pour myself anudder cup of Rum Coffee, which I bought aboard the ship.

While we awaited to board our plane at LaGuardia, I kept walking about and saw an interesting flavor of Starbucks...Smoked Butterscotch Latte.

Image result for starbucks smoked butterscotch latte

Sarah was in a wheelchair so we got preferential treatment and were whisked through various security points.

One of our Shore Excursions. Victor, narrator, brought us to the top of a mountain in the Dominican Republic, to the east of Haiti, where we viewed a $1 million hotel. My late sister/law Kay Deming Graham was a Peace Corps volunteer in DR.
Map of Dominican Republic

 Here's what we got to eat in the million dollar hotel.

Sir, I said, I don't want this. I'll await the next course.

When Sir said this was all we'd have to eat, I said, Okay, don't take it away. I gobbled it up I was so hungry. We'd been on the bus a couple of hours.

Refreshing swim in one of two freezing cold salt water pools on deck 10. I don't wanna get tan as "cancer" is one of the side effects from kidney antirejection meds.
Ethan, Sarah and I walked along the South Beach strip, in Miami Beach, lit up in the darkness. Unfamiliar vegetation. Elijah was our server at The Icon.

Sarah and I walk down a street in San Juan PR.

We're looking for a restaurant and also a place to buy gifts.

One of the shops was selling sheets and towels made of BAMBOO. I bought Ada and Rich soft white towels, which they received, and bought Scott blue towels as he likes colorful things (like his Ruthie).

Private beach at Labadee Haiti. 

 Below is interior of $1 million hotel in DR.
 Nice tiles.

 On the way back to ship.

 They give you cold drinks before you go aboard. Also small ice-covered towels.

Canyon Ranch Spa did my pedicure for $80 including tip.

On the beach - great dystopian film - I sat under this coconut tree.
This is Sergio, whose wife Connie, is in the water. They're part of an Italian community in Toronto. We also met at the Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale Airport on our way home.

 Great Haitian food we ate under a pavilion that protected us from the broiling sun. BBQ pork, fish with sauce, potato salad, honeydew, rice n beans, etc.

Ah, this is what I was waiting for. GIFTS. There were many small booths.

The Haitians wait all year for the cruise ships to arrive so they can sell their wares. They are high pressure sales people. 

How much for this (white lace) blouse? I asked. 

For you, ma'am, one hundred dollar.

We bargained and I got it for $22. They also give you free merchandise as an incentive to buy. I'd brought $200 with me.

 I bought a couple of Elijah's Passover Cups, which were hand-carved and quite lovely.

After I bought from three stands I asked Frandy above to escort me out, as everyone tries to pull you inside.

As you can see, the people are quite beautiful!
 Hard to see but Frandy made his own paintings. I bought an unusual blue and white one, moody.
 Hadn't realized these trains were free to ride. Again, I had to husband my moolah.

BTW, Scott got the gift I bought him today. A towel set made of bamboo. A cool blue. He loved it.

I sat in a seat next to two women, one was from Idaho. I mentioned that Ernest Hemingway died there. Killed himself as he believed his brain was not functioning well. The woman said he left a long legacy of suicides. 

Wiki - In 1961 Ernest Hemingway committed suicide at the age of sixty-one. There have been five suicides in the Hemingway family over four generations -- Hemingway's father, Clarence; siblings Ursula, Leicester and Ernest; granddaughter Margaux.

I must look pretty old as several people offered to pop me into a wheelchair and roll me toward our cruise ship, called The Celebrity. Read about it here, Lesley Reed!

Am carrying a free blue backpack which says "Celebrity Jazz Cruise." I tossed it when we left the ship.

Dancers made a pretty sound as we approached the ship. I tipped em a couple of dollars.

David Sanborn interviews drummer David King of The Bad Plus and another drummer.

Most of the musicians aboard teach at various colleges. And have had wonderful mentors.

The food was various and new aboard the ship. Superb grilled salmon with mushrooms, onions, curried rice and fruit. Coffee was strong and dark.

Joshua Redman, son of Dewey Redman, both great sax players, and Reid Anderson of The Bad Plus on bass.

Took all these pix so I could have good views of The Boys.
In every concert, people in the audience came and went. Such short attn spans!

This couple was on the elevator with me. Here's the menu of drinks.
I'm tanning my legs, sort of. When you take kidney antirejection meds you're prone to skin cancer so I eschewed a proper tan.
I will finish the book. I will finish the book. From Sarah and Ethan's huge collection.

Look! He's even written about new crime mysteries he's discovered. He just started teaching at New England Conservatory of Music. Due to his busy sked, he writes lessons while on airplanes.
On the previous cruise I took before my kidney transplant, I never got good pix of my state room, so I made sure to capture how it looks.
My bedside table. Dyou think I've stolen more pens from American Heritage than any other patron? The pens have a nice CLICK to them and have longlasting ink.

Nancy Stratton, my new friend who I'll never see again, cuz she and husband Lee live in southern CA, told me the skin lotion on the ship is a well-known brand.

A good many seafarers had mixed marriages - black and white. I thought it was fantastic! Nancy, who's black, and Lee, a white man, could not marry as they lived in Alabama, so they went north to get a marriage license. Nancy told me that in Alabama mixed couples would live together and bear children.

They pretended the black woman was their maid!

Lee, who has had diabetes for about 40 years, has no complications b/c Nurse Nancy takes c/o him. Of course I took photos of them, but who knows where they are? Although I took hundreds of photos - many repeats cuz I couldn't tell if the iPhone was working or not - some of my best pix got lost.
Did I tell you how much my pedicure cost? I thought it was $69, but then on my final bill it showed $80. Guess that included a tip.

Every night I'd step into the shower and let cold water pour over my walkin-sore feet. I'd wash all me clothes in the sink, roll em in towels to dry out, and hang em in the shower on a small line. By morning, they were mostly dry.
On the way to the Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale Airport. Our driver, Manny, did not speak English.

Ethan and Josh Redman talk on the bus. Josh lives in Berkeley, CA. Told him I lived in San Francisco a couple years with my BF Curtis Branch. We slept in a Murphy Bed that pulled out of the wall.

Image result for murphy bed Except we lived in a dump. The Russian landlord had a crush on me and would bring me red caviar to eat.

Oh no! The memories are flooding back. A Catholic woman I was friends with built a shrine in her closet. I consider myself part Catholic, tho I'm all Jewish, b/c I'm attracted to the pageantry, as well as Christ himself, since we share a birthday. I also worked at Maryknoll Missioners in Ossining, NY, when my ex and I lived up there.

Image result for christ by el greco

Thanks, El Greco, for your blessing.

I slept exceedingly well aboard the ship. In the morning, I would report to the Fitness Center and get aboard the Treadmill. I'd trudge for 15 or 20 minutes - was that hard! - and kept going faster and faster as if that would subdue the boredom and get me finished fast.

Then I noticed you could watch a scene. I chose Lake Merced (where dat?) and a bike ride around Marin County. Some woman was running on the treadmill and not even holding on. 

Sarah and Ethan had a large state room with a sliding door that led onto a balcony. One night they invited me down to watch a film.

Image result for come hell or high water movie

Image result for come hell or high water movie  That Jeff Bridges was so damn good you couldn't even recognize the Dude. Requested it at my library. Since it's a new film, 2016, there are 90 requests before mine. The Rolling Stone liked it.
So, as most normal people know, the Grammys were on last night and Adele won once again.

I have heard of Adele, but I never paid any attention to her.

The woman is fantastic! I listened to her on YouTube. Emotion, raw emotion, that touches you deeply. Her famous song, HELLO, who now even I have heard of.

Before I drove in the howling swirling winds to my Monday job at the nursing home, Symphony Manor, I wrote a poem on FB, like I did before the cruise ship. My friend Ellen Rosenberg, who I spoke to this morning, told me I should write about my trip.

I had actually forgotten about it.


Sandals off
my feet sunk
in what once were
seashells a million
years ago, now ground
to soft powder we
call sand

Connie in green bathing
suit plunked her
lawn chair in the
rolling green waves
eyes turned toward
heaven, while her
husband Sergio
smoothed lotion
on his big hairy

From under the
coconut tree I
gathered courage
trotted on hot
sand to freezing
salt water, sat like
a baby in peaceful water, then
allowed salt water to
carry me where it would
how fine it felt, dreaming of
nothing but the amniotic sac surrounding
me and peerless blue sky, sailing
me right back home to the living room
bathing suit dry, garbage men chugging
down the street the beginning of
a new day for 7 billion people including
The Bad Plus and the Hollywood remains
of Rita Hayworth.


  1. How can I resist commenting. Sounds like you had a great trip and topping off the post with a poem makes me feel more a part of it, even. What a magnificent birthday, or post-birthday gift you were given. Haiti is a place I have long wanted to visit. I have been to the Dominican Republic, where my youngest was born but not Haiti.

    Our friends were there and there home has many Haitian paintings. They had a Haitian family live with them for many months, who became all of our friends, and the pregnant mom and little boy, Levi, stayed with us for a while too, long, long ago. ( I digress.) She spoke very little English. We communicated in French, some Creole and a lot of sign language but she taught me how to cook a chicken, rice and cabbage dish.

    I am so happy you had a good time. I was really sorry to hear that Sarah had injured herself and hope she still was able to enjoy things, as well.

    That expensive manicure better have been the best you've EVER had. For that price I would want gold plated toesies.

    Thanks so much for sharing with us.

    5 Generations of Hemingways. How sad! What powerful renegade genes they must have had. I hope it stops and no more generations are added to this history.

    1. Iris, thanks for taking the time to reply. Your comments are always fascinating. Hadn't realized you have a child from DR, as they call it. That dish you learned to make sounds superb! Hmmm. What shall I eat now?