Thursday, January 31, 2013

Time for a Break

I'm taking a short trip by myself tomorrow and not taking my laptop. I'm not sure how I'll survive but I'll try!  I just felt it was time to have a break from being so 'connected'. The computer has become such a big part of my life it's scary. It also involves way too much sitting and so if I'm on a trip that "I" wanted to make, well, it's time to get out there and enjoy it.

Home is fine as my dh has no desire to go north to the cold just as I had no desire to go south to the warm when he went to Florida earlier in the month.  I've cooked a good supply of meals for him so I suspect he'll also enjoy the little break. We travel together and we travel alone. It works for us!

Oh, you are wondering where I'm going?? Well, it's where I'll be using my Charlie Card... Got it?
And yes, I'll be getting off and coming back in a week. I hope you'll have fun while I'm gone. I plan to!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Treavel with Me Tuesday - Down Memory Lane

While 'talking with' a woman I've 'met' online, I was reminiscing about my days in Yorkshire England back in the late 1960s.  Our little family of three moved to England in July 1968.  Our firstborn was turning 1 year old the end of August.  There was a house assigned to us but it hadn't been completed as they had thought. So for a couple of months, my then husband and I and our son lived in one large room in a Bed and Breakfast.

house on the left, 2nd floor room with bay window

Our landlady was Mrs. Ellsworth, and a true gem she was. She took in mostly long term boarders like us. I can only recall one other tenant, a young man our age, David,  whose parents were working were out in Bahrain. Little did I know that I would also end up in Bahrain one day. My husband was working rotating shift work so there were days that I had to stay out of the room while he slept. My son and I wandered through the town of Harrogate, but mainly enjoyed our time in the Valley Gardens. As I recall it was a fairly sunny summer, or maybe I had already learned as we were taught..If the sun was out, take advantage of it. 

Mrs. Ellsworth was wonderful to us and oh did she feed us. The English Breakfast was in all its glory then with eggs, bacon, sausage, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, fried bread and a good pot of tea.  While it sounds a lot, the weather wasn't terribly warm to us and with all that walking, at my young age I burned those calories off. As regular tenants, we also had dinner with Mrs. E. I don't recall those meals in detail but I know they were good. Real, fresh food was a given in our years in England. Simple and hearty and delicious. British food had no bad reputation for us! After our meal, we usually sat around and talked, and once in a while Mrs. E. would ask my husband to 'bath the dog.' Old Blackie would reluctantly be led out to that driveway next to the house and get hose downed, soaped up, and rinsed.  He smelled much sweeter and endured these episodes with a British upper lip.  I wish I had a picture of it all.

It wasn't an easy few months but even then we knew it was a good time.

Monday, January 28, 2013

AAM Monday - 365 week 4

Bit by bit I'm really getting my supplies into Lightroom, and still really liking the process. One day, however, I will have to address the issue of .png files. Just not this week.

Week 4 done and wrapped up.  Are you doing any form of this project? I'd love to see if you give me a link.


I'm liking the two pager spread with one full pager. I think I'll keep it but you never know. There are NO Rules! Isn't that great?

Friday, January 25, 2013

5 Fact Friday - January 25, 2013

Well it seems that the original meme for this is no longer ongoing. However, it does remind me to think of things, so I'm going to keep on it.

1. I like structure in my life because with structure it's easier to be free to do spur of the moment things.  That works for me.

2. In summer, I'm up and out by 6 a.m. but in winter I could stay in bed, happily dozing, til 8 a.m.  However, my M, W, and F aerobics class starts at 8:15 so it's 7:00 for me these days.  I just don't like to get up in the dark. The cold doesn't bother me as much.

3. In winter, I like to put things outside on the table on the deck. A spare fridge. However, when it drops to the 20s at night, I should remember to bring things in. I have a bag of frozen mineolas now. Live and learn.

4. I am happily plugging away in Lightroom and have about 1/3 of my digi supplies imported and the previews basically tagged. It helps that almost all my supplies are in folders by designer, and then subdivided into categories for the major designers.  That does allow me to get a few more tags/keywords on while importing. 

5.  I have a friend who lives by the Chesapeake Bay. I love visiting her, for her company and wisdom, but also to have a look at her wonderful view. I get to see it now and then and don't have to pay waterfront housing prices. She makes cards too and sells them for charity. Look at those punches just waiting...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Travel with Me Thursday - Rudesheim

After lunch, he decided he wasn't feeling really well and would stay onboard and take a nap. That seemed best as vacations don't have to have a daily agenda though Vantage had enough activity to keep the easily bored busy. What a glorious day it had become. Brisk but sunny and clear.

Such a lovely river walk, it was tempting to stay behind but there was a gondola ride ahead and I wanted to do that.

We each had a gondola to ourselves and, as I had no partner this day, I was alone in mine. It was open air and a really nice ride over the vineyards. The Neiderwald Monument was at the top of our trip up but after a quick look, most of us just looked out at the view rather than try to translate all the posters about the reunification of the German empire back in the late 1800s.

What a view there was up top. The restaurant on the left was sadly closed for the season and it would have been nice to have a coffee or tea up there and just watch the river. I suspect that gazebo might have a few chairs in summer? or just provide a bit of shade on the hot days.

I had to prove that I was actually here, so here I am! We were given the option of walking down through the vineyards back to the town, and I thought about it but decided no. I had only recently had the boot from my ankle removed that I didn't want to test it. So back down into the town I went by gondola.

There had been guidance earlier on about the various wine stores in town but not being a wine drinker, I just walked about in the late afternoon light.

But as I didn't need wine or any of the Christmas items for sale, the only souvenir I bought was edible - two tubes of marzipan.  Christmas shops abound in Germany it seems but we are in the downsizing of our Christmases rather than in the ornament collecting period. So for me, it was time to walk back to the boat, not take the road north to Weisbaden. That would be for tomorrow.

The river walk beckoned and again it would have been nice to just sit in the sun... well, if I had a cup of tea also. Tea was on the boat so I just enjoyed the sun and headed back.

Back on the boat, it was time for tea and a rest of my own.  Eventually it was time for dinner, which started out with a soup as usual. btw, no one forced me to eat this soup but it was a nice start and always good. When is a good broth not welcome? "Fladle Suppe".

What followed this day was roast pork tenderloin with mushrooms and rosti. Oh yum! Pork would also figure prominently on this trip. German pork was delicious.

Finally, this tiramisu while good eating was so cleverly decorated that we all ooohed and ahhhed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Trevel with Me Tuesday - On to Rudesheim

Now we were starting to get into the real part of the cruise. Down the Rhine we headed after a good solid breakfast. I do like my breakfasts. Yoghurt with granola and stewed fruit, as well as some good meats and cheeses.  A pot of tea as always.

The day outside was dismal and rainy but we weren't going anywhere in the morning. We'd be docking after lunch, so it was nice to just sit back, and look out the windows as we passed town after town.

Fortunately, the weather was not quite so dark all morning but the sky was dramatic early on. Just have some more tea as the sky lightened and lovely towns appeared.

Each day while we cruised like this, we would have one of our guides narrating the sights we were seeing. This first day it was Piet, our knowledgeable guide from the Netherlands. As we could hear him outside, many of us wandered in and out depending on the rain.

I had driven down this stretch of Germany in 1972 and knew about the Castles along the Rhine. There was one ahead in the distance.

Big patches of low cloud were also ahead, so we snapped our photos as fast as we could.

But clouds can move quickly too, and we were rewarded.

By the time we reached Rudesheim, the weather had cleared up, and after lunch we would have the afternoon in the town. But now, time for a break. Back later in the week for the rest of this day.

Monday, January 21, 2013

AAM Project 365 Week 3

Week three was a quiet week for the most part. My dh was in Florida with his bicycle and I was able to take the time to do some big clean out in the pantry and in my studio.  Lots of paperwork hit the recycling bin which is a very good feeling.

Today, I have some volunteer work to sort out - including a phone call I'd rather not be making - and then a lovely JinShinJyutsu session with a friend and a good catch up 'chinwag' as the Australians say.

Week 4 ahead is looking pretty good, I'd say. Hope you are enjoying the holiday if you're here in the US.  Thank god our political processes are fairly bloodless. Would that it were true for the rest of the world.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hail to the Chief!

Interesting to see this simple swearing in ceremony. I have been to an presidential inauguration, i.e., I worked on one so I actually 'saw' that one in quite a different way. It was a long day, and not as bitterly cold as it can get in Washington DC for inaugurations.  But being a Beltway child, I am one who will stay home tomorrow and watch it on tv. The temperature is already dropping so it sounds as if the cold is coming for Inauguration Day. It usually does.

To those who have come to DC  - You will hopefully have a wonderful time, and a memorable one. Just one bit of advice. When you're on the Metro escalators,  Stand on the RIGHT! The left is for the people who still have to work tomorrow, and need to move fast!  Remember  - Stand on the RIGHT!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flashback Friday: Is that a Computer?

It's  hard to think how much computers have changed over the past decade or so, but I had the newest and bestest that the State government could provide. Kind of laughable now, isn't it.

The building I am in was just renovated back in 2000 and that barren, cold room warmed up quite a bit in the coming months. We soon brought in quite a few incandescent lamps and never turned those ceiling florescents on again during the 10 years I worked there.  The drapes and paintings came a bit later as well as the few pieces of upholstered furniture.

One of the nicest things about this office, in addition to the view of the State House out the window with the flag, was that all the windows opened. As spring came, we loved having fresh air come in though we soon learned to keep papers on those deep window sills weighted down.

But this was in December 2000, just a few days until the start of the 2001 General Assembly in January. It was a time of promise both professionally and personally for me. I was right...there were many good things ahead.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Texture Time on Thursday

I drink tea from a pot, not from a teabag.

I truly don't have a lot of experience in using textures, but thought I'd have a go for Kim Klassen's Cuppa Challenge. Use at least one of her textures and a shot of your favorite cup. I have seven mugs that I like very much. Years ago when I was still working, I started using one mug for each day of the week. This 'rest a minute' mug actually came from Michaels' dollar section several years after I retired. It's a reminder to not bite off more than I can chew each day. There is not point in being frazzled in retirement!

None of my images are set up very much like Kim's are so I rarely have a blank background. The textures I used were KK confusion and KK flourish.  A little too dark for me but I wanted to shade out that left side so I used a gradient.  Maybe I'll try it a bit later with other textures to see what I can come up with. Not all projects end up as we hope.

So this is what is more to my liking....same image but with Kim's 1301, and chaos textures.

still using the Christmas tea cozy

It's all a learning process isn't it. btw, I decided to do these when my Lightroom install key didn't come in in time for my class yesterday. Funnily enough my trial of LR ended the day before. That kind of synch said...Stay home and watch the Matt Kloskowski video that came with the software. It all works out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Travel with Me Tuesday Cologne

After our day in Amsterdam, we woke up to a rainy, overcast day along the Rhine. We became more accustomed to our ship, and had a full seafood lunch our first day started by what would become a standard - pea soup of some sort.

I was delighted to find, in addition to a whole salmon, a selection of cold seafood, that would fill me up. I had a couple of plates of these goodies.

Finally we saw the iconic image of Cologne in the distance...the Cathedral.

It was a good thing we had that lunch because there was a lot of walking and standing ahead. Our boat docked just below the Cathedral and off we all went. Up the steps as we got closer to the square and my knee was talking to me.

We had our choice of two museums in Cologne, a Modern Art museum or a Roman museum. I picked the Roman one. Despite my years of Latin and even more years of history, it still amazes me how far the Romans colonized. Gary, who would be our guide for the entire trip, gave us our instructions.  Just like in grade school we were divided into color groups - we would be the orange group.

There were stunning mosaics including a floor of a dining room that in recent years was used to host a G8 dinner. Of course sturdy glass was put over the mosaic floor to protect it! The photo above shows other mosaics with the ancient symbol that would later come to have a horrific connotation.

More displays of pottery and glassware as well as innumerable household items. By now, bundled up as we were for the outside damp chill, most of us were shedding clothes left and right. I decided I had enough and went and sat while Dick continued on.

Finally, we left the Roman museum, and headed out to the square. This was our first time on our own and I suspect Gary wondered if we all would manage to get back to the ship! We decided we would walk first as we needed the fresh air. Oh the temptations here and there! But we were having no shortage of meals on the ship, and so for the most part I resisted.

With rain coming down again, we headed to find the department store one of our guides had mentioned as having a wonderful food hall. We dashed in as the rain came down, and had espressos in the little food hall cafe as well as a good sit down. I wandered through the various food departments but didn't see anything I 'needed'.  One thing I hoped to buy was a good, sturdy spaetzle maker. No luck in this store. By the time we came out, the rain had gone and so we walked up and down the pedestrian only street with all the other holiday shoppers.  Just looking and getting a good idea of euro prices. A glorious sky and good time in the Kaufhof.

Dick decided to go back to the ship and take a nap before dinner and I wandered round the Cathedral and inside for a bit while a mass was going on. The cathedral is beautifully lit at night and so you overlook the renovation scaffolding.

I also looked at all the shops in the Bahnhoff and enjoyed watching the people coming and going on the many many trains. Finally my legs and energy were giving out and I decided to head back DOWN the many steps to the ship.  I didn't want to miss dinner!

With my cheese plate dessert came this tiny little fruit with the big leaves. No one knew what it was, but I was brave and ate it. Good but it was the delicate leaves that won me. Today, I forget the name but it comes from South Africa and is not a kumquat. When I remember, I'll edit this.

At the end of a good day, we said good night to Cologne and looked forward to another day with another city. auf Wiedersehen!

Monday, January 14, 2013

AAM - 365 wk 2

I am so not a pink person, but somehow this week seemed sweeter to me than usual. Maybe it's the Hot Pink on my shoes. That would never have been my choice of colors but my heel needed the support this shoe gives and it Really Feels Good.  In any case, pink it was for week two of this year.

I think I'm going to stick with the one big one and one full of weekly shots for the month of  January. Not sure what the rest of the year will bring, but that's true for everything in life, isn't it!!

Did you decide to do a project like this in 2013? I'd be interested in hearing about the format you chose.

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