Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

I like this little guy, though I think his greeting should be in French, don't you? I also learned from an internet friend that in Belgium,  flying bells, not the Easter Bunny deliver chocolate eggs to good children. Those bells, apparently, fly to Rome each help ring in the Easter? We had no chocolate eggs in our yard. I blame the man who lives here for the bad behavior. It certainly could not have been moi.

The more I look at this image, I believe Monsieur Lapin may be an alter ego of chocolatier David Lebovitz. C'est vrai!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Five on Friday - March 29 2013

I know I said I wouldn't be posting til after Easter but I changed my mind. While I'm not the best typist on the iPad, I can manage. So...

1. I've just finished Jeanette Winterson's "Why be happy when you can be normal?"  It's serious but with some wonderful humour in it. Yes, humour since so much of it's set in the north of England. I loved this bit as my xh and I used to lie in wait for the door-to-doors and try our best to confound them. Ok, I did. Not him.  "The only time that Mrs Winterson liked to answer the door was when she knew that the Mormons were coming round. Then she waited in the lobby, and before they had dropped the knocker she had flung open the door waving her Bible and warning them of eternal damnation. This was confusing for the Mormons because they thought they were in charge of eternal damnation. But Mrs Winterson was a better candidate for the job."

2.  One of the things I like best about dog sitting is the total ability to live on my own body clock. After a week, I'm ready for structure and responsibility again.


3. I have been so fed up by an example of pure entitlement once again that I could almost be pushed into becoming a tea party conservative. Prayer and silence have helped.

4. It's amazing to think of job interviews being conducted via teleconference from SW Asia. Dick Tracey world!

5. My grocery clerk last night had a name tag I recognized as African as well as a lilting accent. After I asked which country she was from, we had a short bi-lingual conversation.  It all balanced out the #3 irritation.

Monday, March 25, 2013

AAM Monday - Project Life Week 11

All my time with the Lightroom class has led to no scrapping and not so many photo taken either.  I'm not sure my eyes are surviving all the video watching! By evenings, I could barely read.

But I did get caught up with Week 11 and hope to plan out Week 12 tomorrow.  Hope is the operative word!

I loved working with the colors of this background paper of Anna Aspnes' Barren Sunrise kit. I hope that later in the year I can do more pages that have the artistic feel rather than the Project Life layout. It's all about finding time - to do it all.

Time constraints also will have me taking off from blogging for the rest of this week. Ordinarily, I'd have posts prepared but not this time. It's an unusual feeling to have in retirement and I'm not sure I like it. But it's unusual, so it's ok.  See ya after Easter!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Five on Friday March 22, 2013

1. It is a fact that winter dormancy causes the fibers in clothes to shrink. I see it happen most years. Actually, I've seen it happen with summer clothes too so it must be a fiber defect all round.

2. Thought by many mothers but said by  Jeanette Winterson's mother "the devil led us to the wrong crib."

3. Having St. Patrick's Day and Easter just two weeks apart messes with my minimal holiday decorating. One has to lose. Actually this probably just makes life easier in the end.

4. As many cuisines as I've exposed my dh to, he doesn't seem to have fallen for Persian (Iranian) food. Maybe you have to have had it at the source as I did.

5. Now there are Easter breads galore out there but this one is right up my alley.


Easter sure has its share of chocolate and other sweet treats, so I like this bread's change of pace. It's a brioche type bread with bits of salami and cheese. Oh yes, she says! I may even try to make it since it's unlikely I'll be in Italy this Easter.  Most likely I'll be dog sitting though the dog does like cheese and he likes salami. He's not hot on bread though.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Travel With Me Thursday: Bamberg, Encore

So we are back to Bamberg. Mr. R. has not been available for comment on his images since he has been involved in days of conference calls. Sadly, there was no government $ this year to get him to Boulder, so it's a lot of fanny fatigue here.  Plus, I seem to be out quite a few nights this week also and we're ships passing in the night. Thus, I'll have to let you got with a lot of pretty images. There the group is entering the Town Hall, with some beautiful frescoes on the outer walls.

Claus Staffenberg, a leader of the unsuccessful German military plot to overthrow Hitler on July 20, 1944.

Amazing images, aren't they? Town Hall Frescoes.

Yes, check those water marks on the bridge. Again, I wonder how often it happens in modern times.

The guide pointing out the home of the famous smoked beer of Bamberg, the Schlenkerla.  I imagine I would have liked this beer a lot in my beer drinking days.

Views of Bamberg's Cathedral.  At least on this trip, there seemed to be little restoration work. Sometimes we get a lot of photos of scaffolding!

Modern organ in the Dom of Bamberg. They showed up pretty nicely after a good bit of Lightroom work. Interior shots like this are not the best with an iPhone. Flash, if allowed, would look even worse.

More and husband's motto I'm afraid. Not sure what they had more of (fashion I believe) but I'm sure he would have liked it.
That's it for Bamberg  folks, so next week we continue our trip, still in Germany but on a more serious note, Nurnberg.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Travel With Me Tuesday: Bamberg

This was rather an easy post to do since I didn't go to Bamberg with my husband. I spent the day resting and trying to avoid his developing cold/cough. I read and took no photos! I did however thoroughly enjoy the Bavarian Lunch on board.

I leave you with his photographs which show a lovely city. I'm always amazed at how few people there are about, excluding our tour groups. 

Morning with the still reflective water. Always a lovely sight.

I'm sorry I missed the market. I love markets and this looks like it was an ordinary one as opposed to a Christmas one. The woman in the center was the group guide.

The river Regnitz figures prominently in many of the photos. Like so many cities we would visit on this trip, the river often was a source of flooding.

I'll have to ask him if this man was acting as a mime. That seems to be a popular thing in Germany and other parts of Europe.

 I presume the stag is a symbol...for something.

The Altes Rathaus. Another frequent building to be seen in many cities. The old Town Hall.

This river walk looks very inviting. I liked that many cities we saw had good clean public paths for walking. Would that we did more of that in the US.

Not sure what this building is but it's lovely.

Again, Altes Rathaaus, the old town hall. Wonder how many times that lower floor flooded over the years, centuries?

That river was certainly running well during this visit and I wonder if that power is now being harnessed for electricity or some other use.

Blogger seems to have had enough of these images, so I'll stop here and continue with a 2nd Bamberg post later this week.  A truly lovely town.

Monday, March 18, 2013

AAM Lightroom Love - I've Got It

Now I only bought Lightroom to organize my digital supplies, remember? Oh has that changed! I'm taking Kim Klassen's on line course, Round Trip, and trying to take the time to play as well as watch all the videos and try to absorb a portion of the information...oh the fun!

I know I won't be using certain things in LR. Probably. For one thing, my images are almost totally iPhone. For another thing, my eyes don't 'see' some of the corrections and adjustments Kim makes, even on a 27" iMac. That's a bad thing but also a good thing. No point in losing sleep over aging eyes. At least I can see!

Well today I took some old images from a trip to Italy. A trip which had as its main purpose - a visit to the Mecca of opera, LaScala.

From what was an image where the blown out white even bothered me to an image that I like. It's got that old world look - a scene from a noir movie set in Italia?? Who knows. But I like it and Thank You Kim and Lightroom.  The cost of Lightroom was much cheaper than Photoshop for me and that leaves money for other goodies. Chocolate! And exercise classes to burn off that chocolate!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I don't know where this image came from, shame on me, but it's my current screensaver. An Irish view in my mind. Hope you like it too!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Five on Friday: March 15, 2013

My goodness the year is going by quickly. My goodness, this doesn't seem to happen when you're young, does it! That tells me a lot...

1. I am back to eating oatmeal again. The days of the morning aerobics class did not lend themselves to oatmeal before exercise. No, I didn't want to get up early to have 'digestion time'.  No, not at all.

2. Cardinals must be on the 'short bus' in the bird kingdom. We have reflective glass on our deck doors to preserve heat/air conditioning. The cardinals either think they have a rival for the females attention or think there's a female Right There just waiting for them.  I've put images of owls on the panes of the windows to no avail.  Right now, I'm getting kinda tired of hearing ping ping ping as those fiery red fellows give themselves headaches flying into the glass. Apparently as with human males, sex trumps common sense.

3. Yesterday, we had some tremendous winds that even blew through my air conditioner and ruffled the curtains. I balk each year about taking that window unit out since I have to put it somewhere. Getting it carried down and back up to the cellar no longer seems a good option. Each year as the months go by, I wish I had put a plastic sheet over the unit. I suspect it will be back to duct tape to seal it up when summer comes. Oh fun...

4. Yesterday, the old Advantium was taken out and the new microwave  installed.  After a day without a working kitchen, I decided it was a dinner out. He's always happy with Old Country Buffet and, truthfully, I am too since we can both get what we want. Snigger if you will, it works. Last night was no exception. We did not have one item in common all night. But apparently Thursday is family night and OMG, they had a cotton candy machine! I planned to get a few strands but by the time we were ready to go, the cotton candy man had 4 people waiting for banana splits, his other specialty. I suspect the idea of cotton candy was really enough for me.

5. On this day in 2001, a few months before our wedding, Mr. R. and I went to the mall for my wedding/engagement ring. I reminded him this morning that I would be up for a trip to the mall again for an additional band of diamonds. He mumbled somethingand went on to reprogram the thermostat. That's my engineer!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

AAM Project Life and More

Lately, I have had a dull but often persistent pain in my upper right arm. I attributed this to the increased exercise I was getting in my aerobics class, flinging the arms hither and yon, plus work with weights. But, seriously,  that made no sense, as I had no pain in my left arm.  (I'm right handed btw.) I started to consider it must be something I'm doing... duh.

Well the other day, I 'discovered' that my painful arm is a condition related to what I call 'mouse finger'. It isn't computer work per se, it's using that finger and apparently a muscle connection to my upper arm while in PSE or Lightroom. Guess what I've done a lot of lately....Guess what I enjoy doing???

Well despite my 'injury', I managed to put these two together yesterday. ( eta: Yes, I got them done but with the wrong week. It was only Week 10! What can I say? brain cells failing...) I'm giving the arm a break so no 'Travel With Me Tuesday'.  I do want to get more of that trip done, so maybe Thursday, maybe next week. My arm will make the decision!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Template Tuesday: Free Lightroom Presets for Facebook

Now you know you can change your Facebook cover image, right? I just saw these free Lightroom templates yesterday and thought...oh what a great share! In the scheme of life, it's not all that important, but in the fun parts of life, it's a quick fix that makes most of us smile. That is if we love our techy stuff.

I think I'm going to see what I can do with these later this week. Right now, my ongoing class in Lightroom , Kim Klassen's Round Trip, is wearing my eyeballs out, plus filling my few remaining cells brain with an overload of information. I do love it though! (Thank you Kim for developing this class!)  This is an example of what those preset templates from 27ShutterClicks can do. Now, you do have to get your own great shots for the templates but hey...we do the best we can, right?

Now that you've seen what you can do, you want them, right? Remember that word...Free!
Merci 27ShutterClicks for this generous offer! Click here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Five on Friday: March 8, 2013

So what went on this week?

1.  The Snowquester/Saturn snow storm did not leave me with any snow At All. Just rain and winds..yep, that's what we got.

2.  I planned to do some baking while I would be snowed in. So ok, the dreary consistent downpour still made it a great day to turn the oven on. I had the parmesan shortbread prepped and only had to bake it. I should have noticed that the dough was pretty darn soft. Well I did notice but still baked. Epic Fail.

I also think that I will not take the dough out of the fridge for 30 min prior to baking, especially on my soapstone counters which are great for defrosting but not so good for un-chilling shortbread dough.

3. I have been reading "The Forgetting  Tree", having been seduced by the cover, and have found it a pretty slow start. However, once the author gets into the main part of the story, I am seriously confirming my belief not to have any cancer treatment should I be diagnosed with cancer. I reserve the right to change my mind though.

4.  Oh I miss you. It died about 10 days ago and in this cold weather, my pot of tea gets cold before I finish it, even with its lovely cozy on. If I could get the bloody new one out of the box, I'd have it plugged in. However, I am not sure I want to risk back strain or breaking the new one while tilting the box to get it out. Yep, 1st world problems again.

5. Even though we never got snow on Wednesday, parts of the county did and it was sure a 'coulda been' one. My exercise class follows the school schedule, so no class. I had very mixed reactions to this. I jumped (figuratively) for joy at the news, just like a kid in grade school! But I also thought...oh I'm missing something that I rather enjoy and know it's good for me. As I waited for my tea to brew that day, I remembered the idea to walk around downstairs as exercise. I include a couple of 'go's round the dining room table, and the kitchen islands in my march. Then I remembered doing this as a small child of 3.  Wow..such a long ago memory.

It was with my Nana who faithfully listened to "The Breakfast Club" on the radio. Periodically - I saw on line that it was every 15 minutes - there was a call to march around the breakfast table.  I don't recall if Nana marched but she had me doing it. I suspect she was grateful to have anything to occupy me every morning. She had me for three years after I was born while my mother worked at a defense job and my father fought in WWII.  Nana was in her late 40s then...menopause and a toddler??? oh my!

Is anyone as old as I am to remember this show? I may not have The Breakfast Club music, but the periodic marching is still a good idea each morning or for all the times I'm sitting at the computer.  Which of us doesn't need those walk breaks!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday Tutorial: Recoloring Elements, Tiffany Tillman Style

Once you start using digital software and supplies for scrapbooking, you quickly learn that you never have to buy matchy matchy items again. Early on, you might buy things that go together but there will come a time when you have a favorite element but it's not the color you want.  Recoloring is the answer! While digi stores are open 24/7, sometimes you want to use what you have but just in another color.

There are lots of ways to do this - a standard computer truism is that there are always at least three ways to do the same thing. That was one of my earliest lessons when I got my first work PC in the 80s.  But recently I saw this video of Tiffany Tillman's and bless her heart she encourages the sharing of it.  Yes, seeing it made me realize I had probably read this long ago but didn't get it. For me, seeing is understanding. Hope you like it!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Travel With Me Tuesday - Rothenburg ob der Tauber

After our day going in different directions, we were set to go out together to Rothenberg. I think I had been there before but so long ago, 1972, that I couldn't be sure. No photos of that time and of course so much has changed in ..uh..40 years??? However, I do recall going to a medieval city center so...

Another gray overcast morning but was November. I think of overcast and drizzly as true late autumn weather.

There had been an option this day - Wurzburg and the Prince Bishops' Residenz and wine tasting or Rothenbur ob der Tauber.  We chose the latter and got on our bus at the late (!) hour of 9:30a.m. and soon got our first sight of the city. Before we departed, our guide Gary distributed our lunch money of 15euros per person. An extravagant lunch it wouldn't be!

Once the bus was parked, we got out bearings and headed off with our various guides. Remember, we were always color coded by group so that no area of the town was overwhelmed with us!


Up and down the various streets we went,  enjoying the lack of cars for the most part.

The colors of the buildings were delightful on the gray day but the town was pretty quiet aside from us. There were stores for shopping but we knew we didn't need or even want much. I thought this hat suited him but he didn't. Sadly, I had to see the tan cap for the rest of the trip.

After a bathroom break - important when you have a flock of seniors - we headed down to the outcrop to see the rest of Rothenberg below. The medieval part of town is located up on a plateau and the green valley was very peaceful looking.

It was about this time that it started to hit me that the route we were taking was close to the route my father had taken as a soldier during WWII. Here I was in Bavaria again, and from here, I knew his route had been on to Berchtesgarden after many battles in Germany. I had known this all my life but somehow I had the connection to what had happened in 1944 and 45 at this point. I've had these feelings at other battlefields but this was was personal, and colored my feeling about the rest of the trip.

We have our headsets on to listen to our guide, though at times it was nice to turn them off and just experience the trip. A bit of time inside the church felt good.

Unfortunately, while on a schedule, you miss things like this concert.

We love taking photos of doors, especially if they have our house number. This door would be a bit much for our house!

This chain seemed to be in every city in Germany. Beautiful Christmas items, but not for us. I'll bet they do a landmark business in the summer! But it was time for lunch, and we had walked past several restaurants. Some were the kind of place we would go if it was a special event and we had time, but being on a cruise you become less inclined to eat something 'special'. I knew I wanted spaetzle, and spaetzle I got.

Back to the town market square (sadly no market) where we would meet our bus. It wasn't quite time, and so we went off for a quick dessert.

Not this. The strange, dry dessert balls made of cake? or cookie bits and sugar icing I think, about the size of a baseball. Apparently they are quite popular. Imagine a very dry version of cake pops.

We had two espressos and shared a slice of cheesecake- quarkkuchen. More than I needed but just what I wanted.

A quiet afternoon, as we prepared to head back to our ship. Lots of pretties to see in this town but how would that fit in a suitcase!

So goodbye Rothenberg and back to our ship with glimpses of what type of building will be ahead. We are getting close to the vestiges of the Ottoman empire with our first sight of onion domes.

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