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Celebrity APEX Will Set Sail

March 30, 2021

I miss being on the water. I love cruising and as I get a little older the more I find it the best way for me to travel. As a young man I traveled the world with a backpack. By train and even some hitchhiking. My first trip to Europe was with a Eurail pass the summer of 1968 actually taking out a college loan to pay for the trip. The total cost was $800 including plane tickets for two months in Europe. If you saw the 1969 movie, “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium” that was the kind of trip it was. A few days in many, many cities. It was the perfect way to see Europe for the first time if you planned on coming back and I did.  It was exciting to see all the works of art and architecture I had only read about in my art classes. The Rembrandt museum in Amsterdam, Versailles in France, and the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. The Coliseum in Rome, Michelangelo's David statue in Florence and the canals in Venice. The snowcapped mountains in Switzerland. 

Today I love getting on a ship, unpacking my suitcase and storing my clothes in the closet for two weeks. Knowing there is a beautiful bathroom to use and lots to do, or nothing to do, as I please. My usual is to wake up each morning to a knock on my stateroom door with a cabin attendant delivering coffee and juice.  Then opening the balcony door and sitting down to write for a couple of hours. After that it’s off to the gym. A really tough life, lol. Any excursions I want in the ports-of-call are planned for me. The easy life I feel I have earned. 

I have traveled with many cruise lines and different size ships and am always impressed with Celebrity. There is a certain class and level of service one has come to expect from them and they never disappoint which is why I am so excited and looking forward to seeing and being on Celebrity’s newest ship, APEX. Another reason for my excitement is the people I travel with. There is a wonderful group always put together by my friend and travel agent Scott Moster and his husband Dustin, who I usually only see when we are on a cruise. 

We are all booked on Celebrity APEX for a transatlantic cruise the end of October 2021. As of now it’s scheduled to leave Barcelona on October 21st and arrive two weeks later in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The big question is will it sail and if it does will the ports of embarkation and debarkation change. It is too early to tell. But I have high hopes I will be on the APEX with friends this year. In any event planning ahead I have also booked another transatlantic cruise on the APEX for October 2022 from Rome. You should join me on that cruise while cabins are still available. They will go fast as there is this pent up desire to travel again once it is safe. 

It was exciting when Celebrity announced sailings on the APEX from Athens to the Greek Islands and Israel for this summer. For those who are still wary of being on a large ship with many people Celebrity is doing everything it can to put its passengers at ease. Every member of the crew will have been vaccinated and only passengers over 18 who have been vaccinated will be allowed to travel. Those under 18 will have to have had a Covid test seventy-two hours or less from the time they intend to board the ship. Those restrictions and so many other safety precautions planned have put me at ease. 

It will take time for life to get back to normal, or as close to what we once considered normal, after this horrific year. For me one of the things to make it feel it has will be being back on a ship. So my fingers are crossed for October.


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Second Covid Vaccination Completed

February 21, 2021

One week ago I received my second shot of the Moderna vaccine. It was twenty-eight days since my first one. It is difficult to say how much this has meant to my peace of mind. I now know within about two weeks from receiving the second dose I will be over 90% protected.  Can I still get it? The answer seems to be yes but most likely won’t even know it without getting a test. Yet those vaccinated can pass it on to someone else who hasn’t been vaccinated which is the reason to continue wearing a mask, washing our hands and keeping appropriate social distancing. It is the right thing to do.  

As of February 20th it is estimated nearly sixty million doses of vaccine have been administered in the United States. Some states and localities doing better than others. In DC about 15% of the population has received one dose and about 7% received two. Right now both vaccines being used, Pfizer and Moderna, require two doses to be fully effective. What needs to happen is to ensure the vaccine is being distributed equitably to all sectors of the population. In DC it means sign-up for appointments on some days is being limited to people in certain zip codes who have not gotten their fair share.

Despite continuing to wear a mask my life will definitely begin to change. For one, I will be going back to Rehoboth Beach to see my sister and her partner who have also just received their second shots. For the first time in a year we will go out for a meal together. With those in my circle who have both shots I will be willing to eat inside a restaurant if that restaurant is complying in every way with covid restrictions. 

I had two vacations planned this year. The first already cancelled was to have been a cruise down the Rhone in France at the end of May. The second is a transatlantic cruise planned for the end of October from Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale. I have high hopes that one will take place but then, it is dependent on what the situation is in Spain at the time and how cruise lines are dealing with the proposed CDC regulations. But we all need something to look forward too.

In the meantime we all need to continue to think about and fight for those who may be less fortunate than us. We need to push the federal government to pass the $1.9 trillion stimulus package to help individuals, small business and state and local governments recover from the pandemic. I applaud President Biden for rejoining the World Health Organization and agreeing to contribute $4 billion to their efforts to purchase vaccines for poor countries. We must remember this is a world-wide pandemic and we will not be fully recovered unless everyone is. 

Locally we must ensure teachers are vaccinated so our children can get back in the classroom. We need to ensure budgets are adequate for summer school and all the other needs our children will have as they make up for what for some has been a lost year. Many have both educational and mental health needs caused by the pandemic. 

My life and that of some of my friends is starting to change for the better and my mental health is definitely improving. But there are many who are not as fortunate and we must never forget them and keep fighting for them.


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Shakespeare Theatre's Mock Trial March 11

February 14, 2021

Each year the Shakespeare Theatre puts on a number of fun events. This year on Thursday, March 11, at 7:30 be prepared for a great evening with the Shakespeare Theatre’s 2021 Mock Trial. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer will take the Bench. This year you can enjoy the fun from your livingroom couch as it will all be virtual.  This year’s trial is an appellate argument before a panel of judges, based on a legal issue arising out of a re-imagined plot point of The Winter’s Tale. You will be able to cast your own judgement before the panel renders their verdict.

 

Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale has more royal scandals than four seasons of The Crown: accusations of adultery, jealous spouses, feigned deaths, a potential war with former allies, a hungry bear, and a statue brought to life. 

 

Focusing on the royal rift between King Leontes and Queen Hermione of Sicily, this year’s Mock Trial scenario A Winter’s Tale of Marital Woe: Who’s to Blame? finds the Queen’s frenemy Paulina paying out of pocket after keeping the monarchs separated for sixteen years. Paulina will appeal the decision of the court, claiming piety for Apollo caused her to imprison the Queen and offer her alternative facts about the state of the royal marriage.   

 

United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer will preside over the panel of judges, including Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Makan Delrahim, Former Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, and Andrew Weissmann, Jenner & Block LLP, Former General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will serve as the Advocates for the Trial. Pamela Talkin, former Marshal of the United States Supreme Court and the first woman to hold this position will serve as the Marshal. Abbe Lowell, Winston & Strawn LLP, one of the nation's leading white-collar defense and trial lawyers and a longtime member of Shakespeare Theatre Company's Board of Trustees, will moderate. More participants will be announced soon.

 

Tickets to watch the Virtual Mock Trial are $30; free for current students. Please RSVP here.


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