October 2009


I promised myself (and you) that I would not post anything but my two weekly memes until I got caught up. But I cannot help it. No, I am not caught up; not even close, but there is so much spinning around in my head that here I am, making a post rather than visiting you and answering e-mails.

And this one has very little to do with what has been going on in my head.  I have had a chaotic week filled with a sort of conflict.  No upfront, bold conflict, but mostly the backbiting/stabbing kind. Or the kind in which someone smiles and pretends to be in total agreement when I am present, but turns around and does the exact things as before, and maybe even in a harsher manner as if to punish me for even questioning something.

But today is not the day for those posts . (Though I fear I will not be able to keep quiet about it forever.)  This is a random post about some of the nice or funny things that have happened to me in the last couple of weeks.

First, to my Maine trip. I have more of that coming up by the way. I visited three states, all new  to me, on that excursion. While I was in Portland, O’Mama and Mrs. Chili were kind enough to cover considerable miles to meet me for lunch.  Do I have pictures? No,  not really. I must admit that except for my kids, I am really lousy at getting people pictures. I do not think of it, and it is not my forte anyway. So no pictures except for the lovely pizza I had for lunch at Flatbread Pizza. I had never heard of Flatbread Pizza. Generally I am mostly opposed to franchise food operations, but this was different. Maybe it was different because I had never been there before, but it was GOOD.  O’Mama and Mrs. Chili are willing to rack up some mileage for this food, and I completely understand why. There is one in Maui. I told them I would be happy to join them there for pizza as well. (In another state to which I have not been.)

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My pizza. I can't remember it all, but it had artichokes, yellow peppers and cream cheese for sure.

I just have to say something more about the two women I met. The reason I read them is because they are honestly two of the most sensible (albeit, honest) women I know.  They each have two daughters with similar age differences as mine, but slightly older and a little older than that, and they are amazing parents. They are both teachers, and what a different place our educational system would be if all teachers had their values and principles.  I am not slamming teachers in general, and I know there are a LOT of good ones out there and even some good ones who read this blog. I am just saying that I appreciate their points of view, and they are vocal about them.

Last week was Chicklet’s half-birthday. We usually do not celebrate it because her birthday is in April, so we do not need to celebrate it. (Chic’s is at Thanksgiving, so we just do a small family party then and her friend party at her half-birthday.) But the girls are getting older and notice the disparity, so we had to have some acknowledgment of Chicklet’s half-birthday. We actually forgot, but had a dessert last weekend and remembered to put candles on it. She was elated.

Double Chocolate Cherry Dessert Pizza with 5-1/2 Candles

Double Chocolate Cherry Dessert Pizza with 5-1/2 candles.

Last Sunday morning I checked the weather and there was frost in the forecast. After returning from New England, it had been pretty much beastly hot, so it was a bit of a surprise. I always work in my garden early Sunday morning. Well last Sunday I spent 4 hours picking all the green tomatoes and peppers of any size worth picking and finding places for them to ripen. I have them on every inch of counter space and in three produce bins in two  refrigerators. I am hoping to be able to make fresh salsa with some of the tomatoes for Christmas. (Stranger things have happened.) By the way, it did  not frost that night, but it did later in the week, and Sunday is the only day I would have had enough time to take care of that, so I guess it was not a wasted effort.

Tomatoes

Cleaning out the garden before a potential frost

When I woke up yesterday morning, the thermometer said it was 19 degrees. OK, it gets cold in New Mexico, even colder than that. But NOT IN OCTOBER! One of my posts one day will be about one of my eccentricities which involves a cold house, so I was not amused by the temperature.

Then later in the day it warmed up… enough to snow. And not just a little, but coming down harder than it did when I was in Vermont a couple of weeks ago. Clearly still October. It was even sticking to the ground. Had it not been so hot a few days before, we probably would have had more than two inches sticking. The good news is that we are already returning to regular October weather.

2009-Oct-29. Seriously?

29-Oct-09 in Albuquerque. Not amusing. And the center of the picture is the cosmos bed where the picture from the last post was taken.

This week I have spent some part of every day except today making Halloween costumes for my girls. Below is what they chose. Chic is an Indian Princess and Chicklet vacillates between Laura and Mary Ingalls. Today we got a surprise bonus when Prince Charming called to say there was Trick-or-Treating at his work after lunch. I dressed up Chicklet, and she has already made a haul. We think the weather is improving enough that they will not get frostbite tomorrow night.

I have always liked Halloween, but I love it more since I moved here. Our neighborhood is quite festive, and we usually get about 200 Trick-or-Treaters. The streets are full of  parents and children, and it is wonderful.

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Chic and Chicklet in their Halloween costumes. They picked out the fabrics themselves, so don't judge me for Chicklet's apron that doesn't really match the dress.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend and a Happy and Safe Halloween if you celebrate the holiday.

It was 19 degrees this morning which means these wonderful cosmos are now gone, but through September and most of October, they just make me happy.

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click photo to enlarge

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

When I went on this last trip, I purposefully did two things to make sure I did not sleep in and hang out in my hotel room all day.  (Stay-at-home moms of young children are tired and the opportunity to do nothing is a strong call.) The most important thing was to not take a book to read. I really have no self-control whatsoever if I have a book. The second thing was to get some clues for letterboxes.

As I mentioned in my last post, my camera was not behaving as it should for a large part of this trip–including ALL of the Maine portion. Thus these pictures lack a bit to be desired. The problem was that it would not always take a picture when I aimed it unless I put it on fully manual which meant I could get nothing quickly, and there was a big foggy spot on the left side (or top for vertical pictures.)

Most of these pictures were from an early-morning letterboxing exursion. I found two boxes (out of two–that was exciting), and saw some places I would not have seen without this wonderful hobby.  (If you want a much better look at Portland, go here. She lives in the area and posts fabulous pictures all the time.)

This is looking over Back Cove a little after sunrise. I loved the skyline in the distance, but when I uploaded the photo, I was also enchanged with the tree in the foreground.

This is looking over Back Cove a little after sunrise. I loved the skyline in the distance, but when I uploaded the photo, I was also enchanted with the tree in the foreground.

This is about where I was standing when I took the cove picture. This place was enchanting, too. Of course the sundial is nice, but I really liked the branch shadows on the stone bench.

This is about where I was standing when I took the cove picture. This place was enchanting, too. Of course the sundial is nice, but I really liked the branch shadows on the stone bench.

I did not follow my clues properly and walked quite a distance up a street that wasn't necessary, but the view was worth it. There is nothing about this place, except the blue sky, that is like where I live.

I did not follow my clues properly and walked quite a distance up a street that wasn't necessary, but the view was worth it. There is nothing about this place, except the blue sky, that is like where I live.

I love quaint street scenes like this. (Sorry for the really fuzzy top.)

I love quaint street scenes like this. (Sorry for the really fuzzy top.)

Another enchanted house. These hydrangeas (I think--they are bigger than I've ever seen) were all over.

Another enchanted house. These hydrangeas (I think--they are bigger than I've ever seen) were all over.

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

What a fantastic trip I had! The “main” destination was Portland, Maine. The weather was good one day there. That was fine. I live in the sunshine, so a few clouds did not bother me. On Saturday afternoon (the nice day), I went to the ocean. I had so much to do in so little time, that I was not even sure I would get there, but since the ocean is maybe my favorite thing in the world, it was sort of like there was no choice.

I was not disappointed. When I opened the door of the rental car, I heard the roar. I was in heaven. I had a couple of hours light enough to walk along the beach. Still in heaven. I wished that I had some wellies like a family who arrived at the same time I did so I could have gone wading without getting totally soaked and frostbitten, but I did not. I almost went wading anyway (it is not like I have never done that before in an even colder ocean), but common sense made me know I would not relish the drive back.

My camera was doing strange things the entire time in Maine. Between that and driving myself, pictures are a bit sparse, but I like this one. Those of you who live near the ocean or visit it more frequently get so much better pictures, but since I am so rarely there, this is good enough for me. Can you feel my utter bliss at being there?

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

As if I am not absent enough from this space (and yours), today I am heading east for a few days. The official reason is a stamping event, but the real reason is that I will get to three states I have never been to before (thus making me three states ahead of Prince Charming on the count, a position where he will likely never pass me–47 total). Going east in the fall is not exactly a stupid thing to do, either. Although I realize I am going to FREEZE, I can hardly wait to see the colorful leaves.

And to add icing to this lovely cake, I will be meeting Mrs. Chili and O’Mama during my trip. How exciting!

It is unlikely I will do much blog visiting, but in the event you came here to see something for

or

I am leaving you with a picture of my recent sky and the one tree I have that gets pretty in the fall.

Sunrise two days ago. The sky was amazing in every direction. (I say that too much, don't I?)

Sunrise two days ago. The sky was amazing in every direction. (I say that too much, don't I?)

This is some kind of ash tree in my front yard. It is still small--maybe 2-1/2 times as tall as me--but it really is pretty in the fall.

This is some kind of ash tree in my front yard. It is still small--maybe 2-1/2 times as tall as me--but it really is pretty in the fall.

Hopefully I will have some things to show you when I return (and I never finished my Utah trip in the blog.) Have a terrific weekend!

As promised here are a few pictures from the Albuquerque International  Balloon Fiesta we attended last weekend. (For the first post and the best sky shot, go here.)

Lots of pictures, so I will just put captions with them to keep this as brief as possible.

To go to a "Mass Ascension" one usually arrives early--well before sunrise.

To go to a "Mass Ascension" one usually arrives early--well before sunrise. There is a looooong strip of things similar to the midway at a state or county fair. Plenty to eat and buy.

After the weather experts determine if it is a good day for ballooning, balloon crews put their balloons out on tarps. Sun is still not up, but it is light.

After the weather experts determine if it is a good day for ballooning, balloon crews put their balloons out on tarps. Sun is still not up, but it is light. Notice all the people. The field is open to spectators to be anywhere they want as long as they do not get in the way of the balloon crews.

We were next to the "Moo Crew" who often put up a cow-shaped balloon. Wind conditions that day were not conducie to "special shapes," so they put up their regular, round balloon. This is just at the beginning of inflating the "envelope."

We were next to the "Moo Crew" who often put up a cow-shaped balloon. Wind conditions that day were not conducive to "special shapes," so they put up their regular, round balloon. This is just at the beginning of inflating the "envelope."

The Moo Crew's balloon is almost inflated. I love the fire, and this is the closet shot I got.

The Moo Crew's balloon is almost inflated. I love the fire, and this is the closet shot I got. (Because I was too lazy to walk closer to the balloon.)

The Moo Crew's Balloon is up! Notice the referee on the ground. It amazes me that in a place where usually a minimum of 500 balloons are going up and crowd control is limited or none, that they pull of the ascension in such an organized manner.

The Moo Crew's Balloon is up! Notice the referee on the ground. It amazes me that in a place where usually a minimum of 500 balloons are going up and crowd control is limited or none, that they pull of the ascension in such an organized manner.

One of my favorite things to see is just "piles" of balloons as they are inflating. (Note the sun still hasn't come up. We have a mountain that obscures sunrise, and there was a large cloudbank emanating from that as well that day, so we got an extra late sunrise.

One of my favorite things to see is just "piles" of balloons as they are inflating. (Note the sun still hasn't come up. We have a mountain that obscures sunrise, and there was a large cloudbank emanating from that as well that day, so we got an extra late sunrise.

This is a replica of the first hot air balloon to go on a flight. That was 1903 in France.

This is a replica of the first hot air balloon to go on a flight. That was 1903 in France.

This is one of the few "specials shapes" balloons that actually went up, and it doesn't have lots of appendages.

This is one of the few "specials shapes" balloons that actually went up, and it doesn't have lots of appendages. I included this for my German friends.

It was not yet light enough to get a good picture of this (and I was too lazy to run to get closer), but I cannot leave out an alien balloon since I am in New Mexico!

It was not yet light enough to get a good picture of this (and I was too lazy to run to get closer), but I cannot leave out an alien balloon since I am in New Mexico!

These bees are always together.  The weather conditions did not let them go up together that day, but the nice crew inflated them anyway so everyone could look at them.

These bees are always together. The weather conditions did not let them go up together that day, but the nice crew inflated them anyway so everyone could look at them.

The sun is up! I loved this balloon. I think the writing on there says "Lithuania," except that it's in their language, not mine. One thing I love about Balloon Fiesta is that it is truly international.

The sun is up! I loved this balloon. I think the writing on there says "Lithuania," except that it's in their language, not mine. One thing I love about Balloon Fiesta is that it is truly international.

I just thought this was a pretty grouping, and the sky was nice.

I just thought this was a pretty grouping, and the sky was nice.

This balloon took off not far from me but went directly overhead. I love to look inside.

This balloon took off not far from me but went directly overhead. I love to look inside.

Another "must have picture." This one did not go up, either, but I am really glad it inflated so I could see it. It is ithe 70th Anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz."

Another "must have picture." This one did not go up, either, but I am really glad it inflated so I could see it. It is the 70th Anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz."

I thought this one looked like a quilt. I liked it because it had similar colors to many of the balloons, but the pattern was so unique.

I thought this one looked like a quilt. I liked it because it had similar colors to many of the balloons, but the pattern was so unique.

This is "Wally," not "Nemo." Wally is from Wisconsin and did not get to go up that day. (Weather. The weather was very borderline.) But again grateful for his being inflated so my kids could see him.

This is "Wally," not "Nemo." Wally is from Wisconsin and did not get to go up that day. (Weather. The weather was very borderline.) But again grateful for his being inflated so my kids could see him.

There is no way to show the enormity of that many balloons ascending within a 1-2-hour timeframe. On this day the wind was pretty strong, so they moved out quickly. This just gives you a small taste of a sky filled with balloons.

There is no way to show the enormity of that many balloons ascending within a 1-2-hour timeframe. On this day the wind was pretty strong, so they moved out quickly. This just gives you a small taste of a sky filled with balloons.

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

Last weekend began the annual Albuquerque International  Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest balloon festival. I have lived here seven  years and have never been to a “mass ascension” that was not canceled or severely limited. (Out of three previous tries.) This year, attempt #4, most of the balloons went up. This picture does not show the masses, but come back for My World Tuesday next week and I will show you more.

2009.10.08.SWF.2009-10-04

This photo is not long after sunrise. (And the sunrise was later than it should have been due to a big cloud bank.) The sky is not our deep blue of midday, but I still think it could steal the show from the balloon. However, the combination of both is magical to me.

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

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