Saturday, February 6, 2016

It Was One Of THOSE Weeks

This has been One Of Those weeks. 

Monday, I tried to replicate a recipe using spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti. I baked the spaghetti squash too long, however, and instead of the flesh shredding into long, spaghetti-like strands, it came out mushy. And when you (over)roast a vegetable like spaghetti squash that has a high sugar content, it turns very sweet, which did not lend itself to the recipe AT ALL. Imagine really sweet but a little grainy mashed potatoes with garlic, onion, mushrooms, and parmesan cheese, and you might see why, although we worked at it like little soldiers, neither my husband nor I could finish the dish.

I'm thankful I learned that roasting a spaghetti squash too long removes any resemblance to "spaghetti" and magnifies the "squash" part of it. And that I can say REALLY POSITIVE THINGS like "well, it's different, but it's not too bad" and it's not going to change a recipe gone really, really wrong. 

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In my Primary class (3 year olds turning 4) on Tuesday, we were making a very, very, VERY messy valentine project with feet painted red and pressed onto paper in a heart shape. It's cute but labor-intensive, as it requires my assistant teacher and me to paint the bottom of each child's foot, press it onto paper, then wash their feet in a dishpan of warm, sudsy water, dry them off, and help get shoes and socks back on. 

As we were washing one little guy's feet, he said he liked warm, soapy water, so I asked him if he wanted to just get in the dishpan and take a bath.

"I can't do that! I wouldn't fit! And I'd have to be naked!"

Then he leaned over to me, cupping his hand by his mouth and stage whispering to me, "And everyone would be able to see my BALLS!"

While the foot printing and washing was going on, one of the girls, holding a baby doll, announced to me that girls sometimes have babies in their tummies. 

"Yes, they do, but not until they are alllll grown up and married," I said to her.

"And have graduated from college and have a good job," my assistant teacher added.

The little girl just gave us a look and went on with playing, and as we were elbow-deep in warm, sudsy water, we went back to the business at hand of washing red paint off of feet, but when I looked up to spot check how the kids were doing while playing in their centers, I saw the little girl stuff the baby doll under her shirt.

"Miss Dyanne! I have a baby in my tummy!" she announced.

"You're married, right?" I asked her.

"Nope!" she said, yanking the baby out (rough birth).

I'm thankful I can laugh silently when need be. 

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In Pre-K on Wednesday, my class had a page to color at table time right after arrival. It was a drawing of three snowmen, and the kids were to trace part of each snowman (I believe it was the hat and head) before coloring the picture. Tracing and coloring is something we do often (working on those fine motor skills, you know). One of my boys was either yanking my chain or just in need of a little attention, because not long after he arrived and was SUPPOSED to be tracing and coloring, this is what went down:

4 year old boy: Miss Dyanne? Do I trace the hat?
Me: Yes, you trace the hat.
(short pause)
4 year old boy: Miss Dyanne? Do I trace all the hats?
Me: Yes, trace all the hats.
(short pause)
4 year old boy: Miss Dyanne? Do I trace the eyes?
Me (teeth slightly gritted): Yes, trace the eyes.
(short pause)
4 year old boy: Miss Dyanne? Do I color the tie?
Me (taking a deep breath first): YES, color the tie.
(short pause)
4 year old boy: Miss Dyanne? Do I color THIS part of the snowman?
Me (closing eyes and counting to ten): Yesss. Color EVERY part of the snowman.
(short pause)
4 year old boy: Miss Dyanne? What about THIS part? Do I color it?
4 year old boy: Oh, okay.

I'm really thankful he's very cute....

Oh, we also did a painting project in Pre-K, only this time I painted hands to make a valentine picture. The only problem with the project was, well, you can see what happened when we tried to wash it off:

Painting a hand pink. 

After washing the hand, it is now stained red....

But wasn't the end result worth it? See the heart?

I'm thankful that it really WAS washable paint, and none of my kids came to school on Friday with red-stained hands.

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On Wednesdays, our students can bring a lunch and stay until 2:00 for an additional fee, and it was my week to stay as well. I'm going to spare you a whole lot of detail here (and this is a thankful for YOU), but let me just say that even our Toddlers (who do not have to be potty trained, and this is key to the story) are eligible to stay. While the kids were finishing up their lunch, one toddler boy got up from his chair, and when he did, he left something in the chair that was not pretty. And let's just say that for some reason I ended up being the one who got clean up detail, and it took half a container of baby wipes to get him cleaned up (and I am not exaggerating).

I am thankful for disposable gloves. And Mentholatum for dabbing under the nose before attempting to clean up a disaster of this nature. And for Mr. Doug, our building custodian, who stood outside the bathroom door and handed me wipe after wipe from the baby wipe container ("You need MORE?!" he would exclaim each time I stretched my arm out towards him. I'm telling you, this was a mess of monumental proportions.) And for Miss Debbie and MIss Ruth, who held down the fort while I was cleaning up the toddler (and let me say right now that if this were your child and you were at home, you would strip him and put him in the shower to hose him off; if you were NOT home, you would look for the nearest dumpster and throw away the clothes he was wearing) and then brought me gifts the next morning of cocktail peanuts (because I needed a cocktail after THAT incident, but I don't drink) and Little Debbie Swiss Rolls (because I love them). Oh, and a bunch of Baby Ruths in my in-box. Ha ha ha ha....

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Thursday morning in Primary class I had one marathon pouter, one cry because she wanted her mom (this after a scuffle over a toy), one wet her pants not once, but twice, and one burst into shrieking sobs at the snack table because, "She made mean eyes at meeeeee!!!" (pointing to another child across the table). 

Some mornings, only three hours with my preschoolers isn't enough time. Other mornings, I'm thankful it's ONLY three hours.

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My daughter turned 17 on Thursday. Wow. If you haven't already, you can read her birth story here. I promise there is nothing gross or disgusting. I'm thankful that I'm still here to celebrate her birthdays, because that wasn't a given on the day of her birth.

Opening gifts with a little help from Ruby.

Emma with her birthday flowers

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Friday, we celebrated our 50th Day of preschool in Pre-K with a 50s themed party. Party days are my least favorite days at preschool, so I'm thankful that one's over. 

If I can find thankfuls in a week of poop, wet pants, bad cooking and more, then you can, too. Link up with us, this week and every week, at Ten Things of Thankful.

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

At LEAST Ten Things Of Thankful

I did it. I signed up to participate in this year's A to Z Challenge. This will be my third year to participate, and I'm looking at it as a way to jump start my sorry writing efforts of late. I haven't decided on a theme yet, though, and am open to suggestions. My first year, I had no plan (shocker) and flew by the seat of my pants each day. Last year, I did a Pinterest project every day, and I had SUCH a good time with that theme that I am tempted to do it again, but feel free to give me your ideas.... 

Now, to be thankful:

1. Our security alarm went off while I was at school and my husband out of town. I didn't recognize the number when the company called me, so I didn't answer it. My husband texted me from his out of town meeting (sorry, dear) to tell me to go check it out (why do these things always happen when he's not around to take care of them?). I called the company on my way home, found out it was the motion sensor in the family room, and told them to cancel the police. Well, I was too late, because as I drove up my street, I saw the police officer at my door. He went in with me as I turned off the alarm and walked around the downstairs with me, which was somewhat comforting, except I worried he was judging my housekeeping skills. At least he didn't shout, "STAY BACK, THE HOUSE HAS BEEN RANSACKED!" False alarm, possibly the result of a fat cat jumping on top of a chair and getting caught in the beam, so that's a good thing.

2. Because it wasn't the first time the alarm has gone off recently, and because each time, it has been the family room motion sensor, and because my husband was out of town and it's a rather large, old house, I was afraid it would go off in the night and scare the everloving shizz out of me. It didn't, but I sure didn't sleep much in anticipation of it happening.

3. The War of the Litter Boxes is officially over. I have surrendered. The only thankful here is that I don't have to battle over trying to get the cats to use the fabulous litter I provided for them that renders their pee odorless and their poo easy to dispose of. The coup was spearheaded, without a doubt, by a certain little calico princess who expressed her displeasure at the new litter by pooping on the floor all around the box. Now it's back to the messy, dusty, expensive, scoopable litter that they love, probably because it's FUN to sweep it out of the box on the pretext of digging a hole and to track it all over the house between their toes. Sigh.

4. The College Boy found out he was accepted to work on a research project at his college. He's pretty excited, as he will be working with mice and their brains and I won't elaborate any further, because it isn't a pretty thought, but it's autism research, so I'm comforting myself with that thought.

5. Speaking of the College Boy, I rode to Springfield, where he attends college, with my husband, who had to attend a Chamber of Commerce dinner, and College Boy and I had dinner and did a little shopping. 

6. While we were together, the College Boy explained at length about a quiz he had over microtubules (it has something to do with the nervous system). He lost me pretty early on, but I am so thankful I never had to try to learn such stuff and even more thankful that he not only understands all of it but also enjoys learning about it (he did his best to dumb it down for me).

7. As I am in the habit of drinking a diet coke on any car trip more than, oh, six blocks (just kidding, or am I?), I arrived in Springfield (a little over an hour's drive from us) with a very full bladder. I tried to make it all the way to my son's apartment on campus, but it became apparent that that was not going to happen. There is a Burger King a few blocks from him, so I pulled in there to run in and avail myself of the facilities. I got out of the car, scurried to the door as fast as I could, clenching all available muscles in the bladder area, and was greeted with a sign saying the restroom was for patrons only. Unfortunately, there was no going back, so I ran on inside, used the restroom, and slipped back out the door and into the car without being caught. Truly, I think they owed me, because I have spent money at many a Burger King over my lifetime without using the restroom.

8. Another thankful related to the Burger King Incident: if security cameras caught me, then the car they would have seen was not mine but a Red Cross fleet car, so good luck with that, Burger King Security.

9. There are new filters on Snapchat.

10. Emma and I went prom dress shopping yesterday. We did not buy a dress. Do you know how much prom dresses are? We went to two different places in a nearby town, and they ranged from $280-$580. Kid you not. But she looked so pretty in them! She can put anything on and it fits. I am not like that, and I know most girls aren't like that, and I know it may be shallow, but I'm thankful that our issue with buying a prom dress will be paying for it, not finding one that fits or looks good on her.

You're looking at a $480 dress right here....

I am currently caught up in watching "Making a Murderer" on Netflix. If you haven't seen it yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! I'm off to binge watch a few more episodes....

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Madonna Monday And Many More Thankfuls

A week ago today, I was devouring the best French toast I have ever eaten (and still have the food baby to show for it) at Party Fowl in Nashville. I wish I could do the "I Dream of Jeannie" DOINNNK! and go back there. Hang on, let me try it....

Nope, didn't work. That would have been Thankful #1 in this week's Ten Things of Thankful. Now I have to start all over. I guess I'll start where I left off last weekend, when I was midway through my road trip to Nashville.

1. My long time friend Janice met me for brunch at the Copper Kettle, where we caught up on life and ate and ate and ate. Okay, I was the one who ate and ate and ate (making another substantial contribution to my growing food baby); Janice was much more restrained. I may have worried the waitress a little bit when I told her I was never leaving. Oh, and I had THE BEST SALAD I HAVE EVER EATEN here. No, really! THE BEST. 

Coconut encrusted goat cheese, mesclun greens,
spiced pecans, mangoes, strawberries, with
sundried cranberry vinaigrette

2. Monday, my Person, Terri, and I went to my veryveryvery favorite place to eat in Nashville, San Antonio Taco Company. It almost makes me cry to see this picture, because I want some RIGHT NOW.

3. And a trip to Nashville wouldn't be complete without a trip to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream.

Salty caramel, browned butter almond brittle,
and bourbon salted pecan

4. The reason I went to Nashville this particular weekend was to see Madonna in concert. Terri's son gave her tickets, and she chose ME to tag along. It was bitterly cold that day, and we were dreading parking the car and walking blocks and blocks in the cold and wind, so this thankful goes to Terri's 17 year old daughter, who drove us to the venue and dropped us off at the front door and to Terri's brother in law, who picked us up in front at close to 1:00 a.m. (We were going to make our maiden voyage with Uber, but we decided the learning curve was too steep for us to attempt it for the first time when it was going to be very late and very cold and we are very old dogs to learn such a new trick.)

We're in!

5. Our tickets were printed at home, and naturally, the scanners couldn't read the bar code and we had to go to the ticket booth. When the woman handed us our tickets, we had been upgraded from the upperest of the upper balconies to 8 rows from the stage. How sweet is that?!


6. I made a new friend at the concert (plenty of bonding time, as the concert was supposed to start at 8 p.m., but Madonna didn't take the stage until 10:30 or so). This is Hayley. She and her husband were sitting in front of us, and we are now Facebook friends. Isn't she darling?

7. Madonna puts on one hella show! The production was nothing short of spectacular. We were also pleased to note that, while she can still dance (including shinnying up a pole during one song), her upper arms are no longer taut, her waistline has disappeared, she has a booty and her legs are thicker, and she has that neck thing happening; in other words, she's normal. Sort of. She's still Madonna, still out to shock, and if you are easily offended (fortunately, I'm not), this might not be the show for you. I lurrrrved it!

Check out the heels.

Fun fact: my husband used to be Madonna's
co-writer's music publisher.

Hanging out with my friend Madonna.

8. Tuesday morning, as I was packing up to leave, I looked at the weather forecast and saw there was a winter weather advisory (which was a HUGE surprise, as I had been keeping an eye on the forecast for two weeks and winter weather was never mentioned). Snow wasn't supposed to begin until 2 or 3 in the afternoon in Joplin, so I figured I would be fine, as I would be arriving in Joplin around 4 and just snow wouldn't be too bad. Now ICE, that's another matter, but just some snow would be no big deal.


I was a little over halfway into my eight and a half hour drive when a fine mist began. Then the fine mist was freezing on the edges of the windshield. And on the wipers. The pavement didn't look more than damp, however, so I forged on. And then I wasn't forging any longer. I was on a divided four-lane highway IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE southern Missouri when all traffic stopped. For a good fifteen minutes, I just sat there, assuming there must be an accident somewhere and waving to the trailer full of calves next to me, and when cars started moving a little, I let up on the brake aaaaaand my car slid sideways. Just a little slip, but it scared me! We were all creeping along in our vehicles and then stopped again at the top of a hill. Ever experienced black ice before? I never have like this! One car or truck at a time was going down the hill, so it didn't become a bumper car track. I went from scared to terrified, but I made it down and up again on the other side. There were cars off on both sides of the road for the next 60 miles (which took me two hours to cover). I gave up in the little town of Seymour and got a room in a motel. The parking lot was like a skating rink (again, barely looked damp; you couldn't see ice at all), but I was at least safely off the highway.

Salt truck. Never a good sign while driving.

Hoping they didn't know I just ate a hamburger.

9. The reason I parked where I did at the motel (the far back corner) was because that was where the car slid to a stop. And the reason it slid to that spot, I found out when I tried to get out of the car, was because it was a solid sheet of ice in that area. It was so slippery, in fact, that I couldn't get out of the car without losing my footing. If they would just bring some salt out and sprinkle it there, I would have something to step on, but the phone went unanswered when I tried to call (five times). Next, I went all MacGyver and tried to use the floor mat (it had sharp little teeth on the back), but it slid away. I dug in my bag, looking for something with alcohol in it to melt the ice. Hair spray! That should work! Yeah, it doesn't. I then called the 800 number for reservations for the motel chain, and the woman I talked to there was so kind! She first made me a reservation for a room, because I feared that other motorists sliding into the motel would fill it up before I made it out of the car, then she managed to get ahold of the owners inside and tell them I needed help getting from the car to the building, and she called me back to tell me that someone should be coming. The owner (reluctantly) came out and helped me in, and at last, I was able to get warm.

10. I was nearly two hours from home at this point, and as there was no way I was going to make it to work the next morning, I am very thankful that I was able to get a sub (thank you, Miss Janet!). I didn't leave the motel until nearly 10:30 the next morning, when I saw someone else finally make it out of there (a light layer of snow that fell on top of the ice in the night helped with traction). 

Doesn't LOOK slippery.

I may not have wanted to leave Nashville, but it sure was good to make it home!

This is how the boys greeted me.
They are a little perturbed about the
empty dish.

Ruby was a little happy to have me home.

How 'bout you? Good week? Survive anything? Link up with us, below!

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Food And Frivolity And Other Thankfuls

When your Person lives 500 miles away, and you get a chance to visit, you go, or at least, I do. Besides being thankful to my family for being whiny butts gracious about me being away for a few days and for my Person's son for giving her tickets to see Madonna and for my Person for inviting me to attend the concert with her and for my boss for letting me take two days off work, here are Ten (more) Things of Thankful:

1. Road trips in general.

2. Road trips in motorized vehicles.

3. Spur of the moment stops on road trips, just because you can.

This is a levy. This is not a Chevy.

What was on the other side of the levy.

The Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville.
So. Much. Razor wire.

4. Long conversations with long distance friends that help make the time go by. Thanks, Ivy and Christine!

5. Pretty scenery (although it makes you lose cell phone reception).

6. Innovations in public bathrooms.

You can write your own caption.

7. Towns that make you appreciate the one in which you live just a little more.

It's pronounced CARE-o

There are a couple of hidden gems
in this little town, however.

8. Delicious food.

My person's son's restaurant.

French toast made with cinnamon brioche,
stuffed with apples and bourbon cream cheese
and dipped in orange custard with hot chicken
on the side, because I don't like my food to touch.

9. Way too much silly fun with old friends.

Hanging out with our friend Larry at Studio 19
at Sound Kitchen

10. Knowing you still have two more days for food and shenanigans.

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Thankfuls In The Nick of Time

I really don't like this habit I've fallen into of waiting until the last minute to post my Ten Things of Thankful for the week. That being said, here's my last-minute entry in the Ten Things of Thankful: 

1. It was back to school post-Christmas vacation, and it's tough to go back after two weeks off, but the Supreme Ruler of the School Calendar saw fit to have the semester start on Tuesday rather than Monday, so FOUR DAY WORK WEEK, GUYS!

2. I gained maybe three pounds over the break, but by Thursday, they were gone. YESSSS!

3. I made spaghetti squash for the second time ever. The first time was probably 25 years ago, and I microwaved it and tried to eat it with marinara sauce and it was gross. THIS time, I cut it in half, brushed it with olive oil and added salt and pepper, then baked it, cut-side down, in a 400 degree oven for at least half an hour. I served it with sauteed chicken breasts and marinara sauce and it was DELICIOUS.

4. I got a zoodle maker for Christmas and gave it a try this week as well. Actually, it's called a Veggetti. I zoodled three zucchini and three carrots. The bad news is they cook down to nothing, so that wasn't nearly enough produce, but it tasted pretty good (I stir-fried it) and the effort required to twist those veggies in the Veggetti will eventually give me fabulously toned arms. Remind me to invite you to the gun show.

5. Ruby is very naughty, and her new favorite thing to do is hop up onto the fireplace mantel via a wing-backed chair. It's disconcerting to walk in the room and realize she's sitting up there, but I lurrrrrrrve her so! 

6. The College Boy and I went out to lunch together and shared a piece of pie. Chocolate covered cherry pie. I could have eaten a whole piece by myself, it was so good, but I didn't because I shouldn't. Yay for self-control!

7. Emma went to a theater conference in Kansas City from Thursday through Saturday with other members of the theater troupe from her school and had, according to her, the time of her life. She learned to salsa dance, to swing dance, got chosen to star in a short film, made new friends, and then came home and recounted every detail to me. I feel sorry for parents whose kids don't tell them anything.

8. We got our first snow on Saturday. Ordinarily, I only want it to snow if it will net me a snow day, but this was nice, as there were giant, wet snowflakes falling from the sky and clinging to the trees, yet it didn't stick to the streets, and it was all melted by evening.

9. In honor of the first snow, I did absolutely NOTHING all day Saturday. Okay, nothing except bake chocolate chip cookies and make a batch of fudge and clean out the litter box and fix dinner (totally against my will). The rest of the day, Ruby and I did this:

10. While in the car today, my husband and I spent an hour or so deciding what we were going to do when we won the Powerball money. It was a lot of fun to mull over where we would want to travel and to what charities we would make donations and how much we would give to our family members. We're ready, willing and waiting should they draw our Powerball ticket!

Bonus thankful to my co-hosts in the TToT for taking care of a problem in the linky thing so there is no longer a problem. I glazed over as soon as they started talking about code.

It's not to late to link up your post. Really.

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Yet Another Reason Why I Am Not A Boat Person

It all started as a nice idea for a Christmas gift for my parents. My husband got the winning bid on two tickets for a dinner cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle, a riverboat (is it a riverboat, though, when it's on a lake?) on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri. He thought my parents might enjoy going, and they might have, if (a) my mom wasn't still recovering from a fall in late October and (b) it didn't have to be used by the end of December (fine print not noticed by the winning bidder during the bidding process).

With only a few more days left to use the tickets, we made plans to go to Branson and stay at my parents' lake house for a few days. We further complicated this decision by taking two cars, two kids, and three cats with us, but that's a story for another day.

It was unseasonably warm on Saturday, and we drove through heavy rain and fog, punctuated by lightning and thunder, for the entire two hours. It continued to rain all afternoon and evening. And all night. And Sunday morning (at which time it was no longer unseasonably warm, and I knew this because my family thought there was nothing wrong in sending me to the grocery store in the pouring rain to get provisions to prevent certain starvation after turning their noses up at all the food I brought with us). We made a reservation for the 4:00 cruise that afternoon, although after getting soaked on my trip to the grocery store and coming home with numb feet and hands, the thought of getting out again to go on the cruise had lost a lot of its appeal. 

It is quite a hike from the parking lot of the Branson Belle to the actual boat, one that would be lovely in warm, dry weather, as there was nice landscaping and a winding path, but was long and tortuous when being pelted by cold rain with no umbrella, because Mr. Red Cross didn't have an umbrella in his car (so much for being prepared for a disaster). The wind was blowing and the surface of the lake was rough, with white caps and swells. 

And we were getting on a damn boat and going out on it.

There was a sign at the ticket booth that I thought would be my salvation (if I'd known it would be key to the evening, I would have taken a picture of it) stating that, at the Captain's discretion, the boat might stay moored to the dock due to weather conditions. Hallelujah! With flood warnings, rising lake levels, buckets of rain falling, and a stiff north wind, we obviously would stay safely tied up at the dock.

Two lousy pictures of the boat, but keeping my
phone dry trumped good visuals for the story.

If you look just past the paddlewheel (spoiler alert:
it's FAKE), you might notice how heavy the rain is falling.

Once we were seated, however, our waiter said he was sure we'd be going out on the lake, and I'll be damned if he wasn't right. Shortly after we were served our salads, I realized we had pulled away from the dock and were out on the water (breathe breathe BREATHE). The pre-show had begun when *poof* the lights went out and the emergency lights came on. Oh, yeah, and the boat's motor quit motoring. And the heat wasn't heating. We were adrift on a flooded lake. There was partial power, somehow, and the band was able to keep playing ("You know, the band kept playing on the Titanic while it was sinking," my husband kindly pointed out to me). Then a belated Christmas Miracle occurred as the lights came back on, the ship's engine kicked in, and we began cruising in earnest. The band took a break as dinner was served, and the food was delicious and I was REALLY TRYING to relax, even as my eyes kept darting towards the windows, watching the water rolling outside, when *poof* darkness. No emergency lights this time, although there were lights outside the dining room/theater area of the boat, so we caught some of the glow from there, and the engine was still humming beneath our feet, so there's that. We heard one waiter tell another that we were returning to the dock (Christmas Miracle #2).

First time the lights went out. I sent this to my
kids, who were safe and warm at the lake house,
 and told them to use it for our obituary picture.

The water on Table Rock Lake is usually calm
and a lovely shade of blue, not angry and gray
with white caps and swells and the promise
of near-death.

A sample of the outpouring of love and concern from my children:

The emcee announced that there would be half an hour between dinner and the show, and we were free to walk around the ship or go out on the deck (in the driving rain, on the flooded lake, sure, show me the door...). I took this opportunity to avail myself of the facilities, so we left the dining room and found the restroom. I walked in, pushed a stall door open, and nearly gagged. Unflushed poo. I tried another stall. Same thing. I hurried out of there and reported my findings to my husband. We went up to the second floor. Repeat of the first floor restroom, but this time, I heard someone saying the toilets didn't flush because THERE WAS NO POWER. Terrific. I finally found a stall on the third floor that had no poo, relieved my bladder and got out of there. 

Oh, just panicking a little while eating
my dinner in the dark.

It was announced that the show would begin in fifteen minutes (and thirty minutes after those fifteen minutes, it did start), and as we headed back to the dining room, I happened to look out the door onto the deck (the same deck they told us to go out and enjoy while we were waiting for the show to start) and saw an employee standing out there, a flotation device strapped to him, as he stood guard over a manhole on the deck. For real. You can't make this stuff up.

Who wants to meet me out on the deck?

The ship made it back to the dock (Christmas Miracle #3), and soon after, thanks to shore power, the show did go on. I will assume the toilets became flushable at that time, but I was willing to wet myself before I gave them a try again. It took me two days to get warm again, the show was fine, but it wasn't really to our taste, it didn't occur to us we would have to leave a tip, so we were scrambling through pockets and fishing change out of the bottom of my purse for enough to leave our waiter, and it was obvious the captain was (fortunately) unsuccessful in his attempt to kill us all at sea lake, but you know what? We're going to go again.

They gave every passenger a voucher to come back again next year for a free cruise.

Can't. Wait....