March 2009


For Part 1,  go here.

This is the 4th day of our trip, the 3rd day of the cruise. (Not full days. We left New York in the evening, spent the next day at sea and arrived in Bermuda the following morning.)  I only  have one day this time, so a few more pictures for that day. But I am still amazed at how few pictures I took. I think I was afraid of using up all my memory cards. If that was the case, I will be the first to admit how stupid that was!

When we awoke (after a sleepless night–although I love cruising, I don’t sleep well on a ship), we were slowly coming into the harbor. I think it took about an hour to get in once we slowed our speed.

The colors of the water were enchanting to me.

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We docked across the bay from Hamilton at an old fort.  It was a blustery day. Very cold. Very windy. A little rain. But we are adventuresome sorts, so just decided to make an adventure of it.

We took a ferry to Hamilton the first day to do the obligatory shopping. Gifts for lots of family and friends and hopefully something we liked for ourselves. I am NOT a shopper, so we decided to just do this and get it over with. Since it was a blustery day, I did not feel like I was missing much at the beach.

I was cold most of the day. We walked quite a bit around the city, but that did not warm me up. Periodically the sun would come out, and I would find a spot in it to sit when it was out.

That is when I became acquainted with the noisy little birds, the Kiskadees. I had never seen them before and had no idea what they were until we went book shopping (my favorite souvenir from places I visit) and found them in a book about Bermuda. As long as the sun was out, I could have stayed and watched them all day.

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Apparently the weather that greeted us was unusual. It was the last day of March, but we were told it was “January weather.” Many things were in bloom. Hisbiscus were everywhere. This red one really grabbed me.

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I decided to head out on a little walk of my own while Prince Charming took a break and guarded our treasures. I was enamored by the colors of the buildings. (More on that another day.) I decided to walk a little and see what kinds of colors I could find, but one of my favorite shots from the whole trip is this white City Hall building with the blue, blue sky in the background.

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The wind and rain picked up, so we headed back to the ship for a nap. Note to self: If you have to pick a dinner time on a cruise, ALWAYS pick the late one so you can get in a nap before getting ready! (We were already missing our kids, but were grateful they were not there. It would have been fun with them, but a completely different kind of experience.)

Tomorrow is our first day of Letterboxing in Bermuda. (And do not begin to think that I am going to start regularly posting something every day!)

This is a continuation of last week’s post about Tent Rocks. Here is some more of the trail scenery.

This is still the trail to the top. Last week I stopped somewhere between 1/2-way and 2/3-way of the bottom, flat trail. This week we finish the bottom part and start the climb.

Next week I will conclude with the rest of the climb and a view or two from the top.

This is the entrance to a cave-like area. It is not really a cave, but it is quite enclosed. Kids love to play in this area. When both girls were smaller, Prince Charming carried them in a backpack for this hike. When that wasthe case, he had to crawl through a section of “the cave” on his hands and knees to avoid injuring the backpack occupant.

This is the exit from the small cave area. I love the lighting here and would love to have the opportunity to just stay in this spot all day to watch (and record) the lighting changes.

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This is the view looking up near the end of the flat part of the trail.

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Another view up from the bottom. Every time I go to this place, the color of the sky takes my breath away.

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This is looking up just as the climbing starts.

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One of the views looking back as we are climbing.

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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!

2008-03-29ship

A year ago today (by the calendar), Prince Charming and I were boarding a cruise ship for Bermuda. Not long after I started blogging (approximately 9 months ago), I thought I would blog about this trip when a year  had passed since taking it. Then My World came up, and I thought I would just do a couple of posts for that meme about our Bermuda trip. I might still do that, but last week I started a series about a local place we go hiking, so I decided to not break into that. I wondered if I  should wait to blog about this, but I have a few OCD areas of my personality, and it was a year ago, so I want to talk about it NOW!

This cruise was something I earned through my stamping business. I am almost ashamed to admit that I have been  a St*mpin’ Up! Demonstrator just shy of 13 years, and this was only the second incentive trip I ever earned.  The first one I earned (ironically, a cruise to Bermuda–they have  only had two in my  history, and I earned both of them) was when Chic was 5 months old. It was also less than a week after Prince Charming’s mother passed away, so we had to skip it. When Bermuda came up again, I was elated because I had had a fascination with it since childhood, and not going the first time was quite a blow. So I worked extra hard that year, and things fell in place over which I have little control, and I got it.

This was doubly good because Prince Charming and I had been married almost 10 years but had never had a honeymoon. (We  met online. He lived in North Dakota; I lived in Missouri. We  married in Canada, and moving him from North Dakota to Missouri was our “honeymoon.” I often say he’s lucky he did not get divorce papers after that!) We traveled quite a bit, but always to North Dakota, so those trips did not really count as vacations. Then Chic came along, then Chicklet. By the time we took the cruise to Bermuda, nearly 10 years after our marriage, our trips alone to not visit family amounted to a house-hunting trip to Albuquerque (which I believe we both cherish as a psuedo-honeymoon) and a 3-day trip to Las Vegas (which also holds a special place in our hearts).  But this was a week, no NINE days, on a relatively exotic trip with no. children. Although both of us LOVE to travel, if we never get to travel again, this trip will be a highlight for us forever. (I personally think a honeymoon after nearly ten years might be better than one right after being married.)

So what I have decided to do is post my favorite (or favorite few) photos from each day of our trip for now. I might do one or more My World posts about Bermuda later, but since time is important to me, I thought I would just do this now.

We actually flew out the morning before the cruise or we would not have been able to get there in time. We “sailed” from New York, so we spent the night there. This was a double-edged sword for me because I. LOVE. NEW YORK.  My first visit was at Thanksgiving my junior year in college, and I have been 3 or 4 times since.  There is just no place in the world like New York. (Not that I have been to the whole world, but you know what I mean.) So I was excited about being there (and especially getting a hot dog from a street vendor–I wonder if native New Yorkers think I am insane for that), but we were not going to be there long enough to stray far from our hotel  near Times Square, AND Prince Charming had never been to the state of New York, so this gave him a new state which made him tied with me for states to which we have been. (It is a silly competition, but most of our married life I have been at least one state ahead of him. I will go to great lengths to visit a state I have not visited in order to keep my lead. But now we are tied–at 44 states each–and it looks as if it will remain that way for quite some time–unless I can find a way to visit my friend in Tennessee and take a road trip to South Carolina.)

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The picture of above is of Times Square. (I think. This is not as bright as I remember it, and there were so many more lights and electronic billboards than the last time that I had been there that it seemed like I was in a science fiction movie.) Prince Charming took it with his camera. I decided to leave my camera at the hotel because on my first visit to the Big Apple, my dad bought a camera from someone on the street, and we realized after developing the film that it had probably been stolen about 3 minutes before he bought it. I would have rather gone somewhere else our only night there, but since Prince Charming had never been there, it was important to see the place.  He has traveled more of the world than me and has been to places like London and Rome, but I think he was somewhat awed by New York. We did walk away from the crowds to a little pub to have dinner. It would be crazy to be in New York and not get one meal in a restaurant somewhat away from where all the tourists are.

The  next morning my friend (from Tennessee–I was so elated she was on the trip with us) and I got pedicures. She actually got a manicure, pedicure, facial and massage (for an incredible price), but I am not much into all of that. (Too ticklish. I only get a pedicure once a year to fix all the winter neglect, then I do my own the rest of the year.)  Then we met with Prince Charming for brunch–street hot dogs–at  my insistence. I should have taken a picture of that, but maybe my camera was still packed and hidden. (And I was not blogging then, so I was not yet taking pictures of every. single. thing. that crossed my path in a day.)

We boarded the ship, found a  nice gift from St*mpin’ Up! (we got a gift in our room every day of the cruise–the first day was a soft blanket which was good because it was COLD) and left port. I did not go to the Bon Voyage party because a) I was cold and b) I was on a ship without children with my husband!  From our balcony, we watched the Statue of Liberty go by and headed out to open sea.

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We had an amazing sunset. The sky was most brilliant when there was not much sun left and after it had set completely, so I am not including the photo that everyone wants of the big orb just getting to the ocean.

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The next day was a sea day. I only took four pictures that day, so my selection is slim. We spent some time looking at art and attending an art auction.  (Almost everyone I have talked to since who has cruised has done the same thing on at least one sea day.)

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Since I am doing My World tomorrow, I covered three days today. I will make a concerted effort to get a picture or two up on Tuesday about my cruise. That will be the first day in Bermuda.

I should have posted this sooner, but I did not have time. I hope it’s not too late for someone who did not know about this already to participate.

And what are you doing tonight from 8:30 till 9:30 pm? I plan to be home in the dark. (But that does not mean I will be sitting around, bored, with nothing to do!)
Each year, individuals, governments and businesses around the globe are encouraged to switch off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour.


Earth Hour is an Australian initiative that began in Sydney in 2007 to help combat climate change. In 2008, Earth Hour involved between 50 and 100 million people in 370 cities and towns around the world, including Chicago, Toronto, Copenhagen, Dublin, Atlanta and Bangkok. Earth Hour 2009 takes place on Saturday 28 March. By turning off our lights, we can send a message to the world’s leaders that strong action needs to be taken to combat climate change.

For more information go to: http://www.earthhour.org.

One more thing. I am not the type of person to participate in something like this just today, and not every day. If I were not already doing most everything I can to conserve resources, I would not do this unless I planned to start now to make this a daily part of my life. It is not that difficult to turn off the lights once in a while, or even reduce their use every day. (Granted a little tougher with kids in the family who just do not learn to always turn off lights, but they can be trained to do better,  and we can get more exercise going here and there to turn them off after they have left them on.)  If conservation is not your way of life, try to think of some things you can do to head in that direction. If it is your way of life, maybe there is one more thing we can do.  I am just not into one-day changes about anything.

Because it is supposed to snow later today, I needed something warm to view. This was taken last week when it WAS warm.

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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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Winter is cold for me. So far I have not gotten around to posting about the reasons it is so, SO cold, but it is COLD. My house is cold. My house is actually cold in the summer which is not such a bad thing, but in the winter, most people think it is cold even when I turn the heat up… a lot.

So even though my house is cold, we have had a relatively mild winter. And also a relatively mild spring which means that the wind has not been as bad as it could be.

Spring is not my favorite season in New Mexico; in fact, it is my least favorite season. There is always wind. The defining things are how hard the wind blows and how often. This year there have been only a handful of really bad days, and it did not start early. But the problem this spring is that we have had some FABULOUS weather. It is sunny here most of the time, so that is nothing new, but we have had a lot of sunny and WARM (a week or two–not together) of mid-70’s or at least upper 60’s.

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Seventy degrees (Fahrenheit) is an optimal temperature for me whether it is sunny and dry (like here) or cloudy and humid (like my Missouri home). We have had plenty. But the windy days this spring have always brought “weather.” In an 8-day period we had rain three times.  THREE TIMES. This is the DESERT! This is SPRING! (Rain comes in isolated showers in the summer here.) OK, we need rain, so who am I to complain? But it was cold rain. And without sun, my freezing house is unbearable. (This might be a slight exaggeration since I am obviously still bearing it.)

Last week when my niece and nephew were here, our weather was perfect. Sunny every single day, and high 60’s – mid-70’s for temperatures. (Which did produce more than one mild sunburn.) Being a realist, I do not get my hopes up in March when it is warm. I have seen snow in April both in southern Missouri and here, so I know it can get cold again. But the older I get, the more those warm days take me into their arms and cuddle me. They lull me into a bliss so complete that little thoughts about spring and summer creep into my head. Maybe THIS year, we’ll have a long, warm spring. Just maybe. And during those seemingly kind days, the weather claims me as its own. There is no acclimation to it, only happiness to be in it.

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But she is tricky, that weather.  Reader, it is supposed to SNOW here tomorrow. Granted, spring snows are the kind that are either light, and it warms up in a few days, or the biggest snow of the season which will be entirely gone the next day, but still… This winter is the coldest I have kept my house. (The heat was ALL the way down.) When the days finally started getting at least 10 degrees warmer than the temperature in my house (54 in the warmest spot), my house would warm up. There were nights when I would go to bed and it was actually 73 degrees in the normally coldest part. (Which turns into the warmest part in summer, but who am I to quibble about that?)

So tomorrow it will be in the 20’s and snowing. My house will be 54 degrees again. I will have 4 shirts and a jacket on and fingerless gloves.  If I have to take something upstairs, I will eye my bed with longing. I will want to  climb in and take a warm nap. (Maybe read a little before I drift off to sleep.) But it will not be meant to be. I will plod along as usual in my freezing house and wait–not so patiently–for a few days to pass and it to be warm again.

I do not think it is necessarily the cold that bothers me so much (but in a house like mine, it does), but the teasing of the weather. I lived in Iceland for seven months once and wore my coat every. single. day of my time there. (Below freezing was considered very cold there, but we had a record-breaking winter for cold and snow.) It did not bother me at all.  The fact that I did not see the sun for days (and for months, when I did it was either rising or setting because that is all it did in the winter) did not bother me.  It was just the way things were, and I was used to it. But 70-something for five or six days in a row, then rain and cold, then SNOW… it is almost too much!

In the meantime, I will think about the sunflowers that will be around me in a couple of months. The photos here are from last summer. These sunflowers are called Lemon Queen and are in my neighbor’s yard. They grew as volunteers from seeds birds took from MY Lemon Queen sunflowers two years before. They are about 12 feet (4 m) tall. Maybe I will just print these out to cheer me up as the snow is falling outside. Maybe I will go to the garden center and buy some sunflower seeds. My car is always warm!

I have been wanting to do Tent Rocks on My World for a long time, but I have never been there with photographing for a blog in my mind before, so I could never really pull together the right photos.

Last week we went, so I left people faces out of a lot of pictures, and I will share my favorite hiking spot, Tent Rocks, with you.

This is the beginning of the trail. (click photo to enlarge)

This is the beginning of the trail. Notice the tent shaped (teepee-shaped) formations in the foreground. (click photo to enlarge)

Tent Rocks is located between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I do not think one really arrives there by accident. There is not a sign on the highway for it, but if you know which exit to take, there are immediately signs telling how to get there. We went with some friends not long after moving here and have been once or twice a year since. We often take our visitors hiking at Tent Rocks.

Bottom trail--my husbnad is at the bottom right for some perspective.

Bottom trail--my husbnad is at the bottom right for some perspective.

There are two trails, and I am showing you the longer one that goes to the top of the National Monument. I have been on the shorter, Cave Loop, one time. It is very pretty, but again, no blog-worthy pictures for that. Maybe another day.  The trail I am showing is 1.3 miles one-way. There is a lot of climbing, but our kids started doing it on their own when they were both four. (Before that Prince Charming had them in a backpack.)  But I would not recommend it for anyone with serious physical problems. (And it always feels like we have walked way farther than 2.6 miles when we get back to the picnic area to each our lunch!)

Take water (Last week we met some people at the top that really did not know what kind of trail it was going to be, and they did not have water. We gave them some of ours because it is not a stroll) and probably dress in layers. The top is about 7,000 feet elevation (I think), and it can be really windy there. But the walk in the bottom goes through some sunny canyons and can be quite warm in any season.

Tree with above-ground roots. This is always a trail landmark. The roots of this tree are above ground to the height of an adult. Kids LOVE to stop and play here among the roots.

Tree with above-ground roots. This is always a trail landmark. The roots of this tree are above ground to the height of an adult. Kids LOVE to stop and play here among the roots.

I was grateful this time that my brother, a photographer, had been visiting and helped me figure out how to use the manual settings on my camera. The sun is bright and the stones are light, so it is easy to get washed-out photos. But no matter what the canyon walls and rock formations look like, you will always see some of the most intense blue skies of your life.  And if you are into letterboxing, there are two hidden here, though our family has only found one (even after multiple attempts to find the other.)

This post covers about the first half-to-two-thirds of the bottom trail through the canyon.  Come back next week for more!

There are several areas where the trail is very narrow, where width of the trail is smaller than one footprint. This is where the little kids always fall and scrape off some skin.

There are several areas where the trail is very narrow, where width of the trail is smaller than one footprint. This is where the little kids always fall and scrape off some skin.

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!

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