Prince Charming


Most of you know when I visit your blog, it is sporadic and I try to catch up what I have missed. This is not because I do not feel like blogging/visiting or because I am goofing off.  It is because I am busy. Granted, much of it is self-imposed busy, but busy I am.

Last week I looked at my life since Thanksgiving, and there have been THREE days since then in which I did not have a specific deadline of something that HAD to be done on a day. Now I do not have a “real job,” so my deadlines are not usually reports or presentations; they can be anything. (For my church treasurer job, I do have reports and presentations due at least monthly, however.) It may be a Friday, and those days always mean a ton of food has to be made because I cook for Friday and Saturday on Fridays.  My point is that the things I have to get done may not seem like deadline material, but for me there is always a reason something has to be done by a specific day.

So I thought I would show you some of what I have been doing for the past three months. (It is MARCH? Christmas is just around the corner!)

It started with Chic’s birthday. Since it was the Christmas season, she requested poinsettia cupcakes for school.

There are 13 children in Chic's classroom, but her teacher refuses to do cupcakes before school is out. (What's wrong with lunch?) This irritates me because when Chic gets cupcakes for a birthday, there is never one for her sister. I made sure every sibling of every classmate had a cupcake, too. (I wanted to leave out the teacher, but I was polite.)

Remember my Elf Escapades? Here are a few things I made for that.

Clockwise from top left: Napkin rings, box to hold napkin rings, "Merry" bag for the 12th night, tree bag. I made all the things shown. I loved it, but it does put a dent into one's time.

Clockwise from top left: 1) Napkin rings. 2) Box for napkin rings. 3) "Merry" gift bag for the last night. 4) Evergreen tree gift bag.

This was the best Elf Victim yet! On the 9th or 10th night, I was met at the door by this.

Sorry for the lousy picture, but I didn't want to get caught! This was the 12th night of Elf Delivery, and the front door and garage door of this house were OPEN! I took Chic with me for the experience, but it didn't help with the stealth. On the door are all the notes I left with gifts (the notes appeared on the 9th night), and there was a gift for me, too. I have never been so wonderfully welcomed!

Next is the Christmas ornaments and boxes. Since 1995 I have made a Christmas ornament yearly. It started as a gift to the infant daughters of very close friends and has grown to a few other girls (some now in high school) like my daughters and niece and some other special friends/family (aunts, etc.).

This year I made 36 "icicles" and boxes to hold them all.

For the staff Christmas party at school, there was an ornament exchange. This is the box I made, and inside was one of my annual ornaments, left over from about 3 years back.

This box was very last-minute, but I just loved how it turned out.

This is the holiday treat we give E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. They are called pizzelles and are Italian, waffle-like cookies made in a special iron.

I can't remember how many of these we made, but I know it was over 1000. I made the first 1/3 of them, then Prince Charming did the rest. (Bless him!)

Don’t forget the school treats. I made about 30 of the ones on the left for Chic’s classmates/friends plus the kids in my class at church. (She painted the sticks.) Chicklet’s class treats were on the right. I only had to make about 10 of those.

This is one of my favorite things–a gift for my nephew. When we visited Missouri in November I learned that he (who is Chic’s age, eight) is really into seeds. I was walking around my yard one day and noticed so many seeds. I started to gather them for him, then I thought I would just make that his Christmas gift. So I made seed packets (with pictures if I had them–stamped or drawn if I did not) for all of them and instructions for growing.

I never realized how many seeds I had in my own yard!

Next is the annual gift. Last year I made “winter” banners as holiday gifts for close friends/family. This year I did “spring.” (Can you guess what it will be next year?) I made 17 of these. Each one takes 2-1/2 – 3 hours. Call me an idiot!

Another rotten picture; I was pressed for time. But the good (?) news is that I have an extra of these. If you would like to be in a drawing for it, e-mail me at louisestamps at aol dot com to let me know. You have until Monday, March 8, to e-mail me.

Let’s move to Valentine’s  Day! (We left shortly after Christmas to drop off Chic in Tennessee. I was home one day before a business trip, then 1-1/2 weeks before visiting Chic. January was a blur.) These are the boxes I assembled for my Valentine’s for all the students in my art classes.

I made up about 55 of these boxes.

These are the cookies that went in the boxes above. VERY. BAD. to have these things in my house! Very bad!

I have no idea how many cookies I made, but it was about 8 or 9 batches. (I did double/triple batches in the mixer so I cannot remember.)

These are boxes I made for special people such as my friend in TN who is taking care of Chic and some special people at church. I made them from flat, chipboard hearts.

I made 8 of these boxes.

Something had to go in these boxes, so I made homemade truffles. It was a first for me. Slightly time-consuming, but really no more so than anything else I do.

The dark ones are Oreo truffles and the light ones are Italian truffles.

As I was making the heart boxes above, I kept thinking of other people for whom I would like to make some. The problem was that I only had chipboard hearts to make eight. But I had regular chipboard, so I die-cut square scallops to make four more boxes.

The left one was for someone VERY into brown, so it does not look much like Valentine's Day.

There were also quite a number of Valentine treats for classmates of which I forgot to take pictures.

The below items are also for special people for Valentine’s Day. They are super fuzzy socks wound to resemble ice cream. I made “cones” for them and packaged them. I also put chocolate oil on them. One recipient still has not opened hers because she thinks it is so cute. I made 18 of the bigger ones for adults and 6 of the smaller ones for children.

Clockwise from top left: 1) All of the socks put into their "cones." 2) The finished packages. 3) Notice the finished packages have "sprinkles on the cones. I made them by punching out holes. 4) This is some of the paper left over after the punching.

Being so industrious means that eventually the holidays will slow down and I can move on to other things. The next two are “name frames” I made for girls I visited a year ago. I took pictures of their rooms and just now got around to making the 8″ x 10″ art for them.

Clearly Kendra's mom is good at decorating!

Kayla is Kendra's older sister who had just redecorated her own room. (The decorating thing must be genetic.)

Just last weekend Chicklet was invited to a birthday party. She could not go because CHIC IS HOME FOR SPRING BREAK THIS WEEK!!!!!!! But I made a container quickly to take on Friday and filled it with craft items. I thought it turned out well.

This is a large canister that used to hold SlimFast. I love the size of these so I collect them to decorate at such times.

This week I am not doing anything of the sort because CHIC IS HOME FOR SPRING BREAK!!!! We have had several other activities already and have more on the agenda.

If you comment, be honest with me. Tell me if you love this or hate it. Tell me if you think I am insane. If you knew me in real life, would all of the above make you love me or love to hate me? (Your answers do not matter that much because I do these things because I love to do them, but I am interested in perceptions. I have all viewpoints in my “real life” acquaintances.)

Next projects? Easter!

Some of you will think I do nothing but travel. It is not true, but I know it seems that way. (Some of my friends think I travel ALL the time.) The past two years have had a little more than usual, I will admit.

Anyway, we are heading out for Thanksgiving. And at our destination, internet access is quite limited. I can see my e-mail periodically, but no blog visiting unless I go someplace that has wireless, which I usually do not have time for. We will be visiting Grandpa M and Grandma D. A year ago Grandma D was very sick, and she has not fully recovered. I will be cooking and such while we are there.

Chic and Chicklet are excited beyond belief. They LOVE visiting there. Grandpa M’s yard is 3 acres. That’s just the part he mows. They are not used to so much space and revel in it. (So do I.) They also get to see friends they love more than anyone. It will be a nice time.

I am slowly working through all the very heartfelt and nice comments from my two “tolerance” posts. But if I do not reply to your comment right away, know that I appreciate it. I was hoping to have more on this series by now, but life is busy, and the story has many facets. I do want to say that those posts were more of a background. The tolerance issue has bothered me for a long time, but how it applies to our family is the background for the much bigger story. I promise to get to it; it consumes my mind a lot these days.

So I will not be here for My World Tuesday or SkyWatch Friday, so I’ll leave you a couple of pictures and a recipe.

What I saw when feeding the birds a couple of chilly mornings ago.

A new bread I tried last week. I think it was called Armenian Peda bread. I have no idea if it is authentic, but it was really good, and actually quicker than most yeast breads I make.

I apologize I do not have a picture of the following recipe. I only make it on Thanksgiving, and last year I got sick that day so did not care much about taking pictures. It is my very favorite Thanksgiving food. (I turned it into Thanksgiving food.) Prince Charming does not like it (he has a few vegetable hang-ups), so I triple the recipe and eat the leftovers for a few days.

Company Brussels Sprouts

4 bacon strips, diced (I use soy “bacon”)
1 dozen Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons snipped, fresh chives,
1 carrot, thinly sliced
10 stuffed green olives, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of salt

In a skillet fry bacon until just cooked. Drain, reserving 2 tablesppons of drippings. Add remaining ingredients; cook and stir over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are crisp-tender. Yield: 4 servings.

That’s the official version. Since I do not use “real” bacon, and I try to be healthy when it does not impair flavor, I do the soy bacon in the microwave, then saute everything in the wine for a while (leaving out the olive oil), then add the bacon at the end.  I LOVE this stuff!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving if you live where it is celebrated. If not, just have a wonderful two weekends and a terrific week in between!

The photos below have nothing to do with this post. I had no pictures to put with the post, so I just took a series that I was pretty sure would never make it to SkyWatch Friday. This is a sunrise about 3 weeks ago. The pictures were taken within about two minutes and I think include the view from every direction from my house.

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click photo to enlarge

Before I started blogging, I hesitated quite a long time to do it, even though pressured to do it by two of my cousins. The main reason was time. I  knew I did not have time. I still do not, as evidenced by my irregular posting and visiting. But another reason is that I thought it was a bit narcissistic. I thought WHO CARES about the daily happenings of anyone else.  Before I dove in myself, I spent several months reading other blogs. I realized they are not all self-absorbed. (I do not read the ones that I think are.)

However, I have been thinking about my blog lately because one fairly regular reader and commenter once said something like “whatever your blog is about.”  I laughed (I often laugh at his comments; he has a wonderful sense of humor whether or not he means to be humorous.) because it is true.  My blog has no theme. I knew it would not, but it is glaringly apparent when compared to the blogs I visit. Most could be categorized as something. Mine cannot. It is about me. It does not get much more narcissistic than that. And this post will probably be the worst yet. Thank you to all you who come here even though the topics are so varied and there might be three sentences one visit and an epistle the next. And for putting up with me.

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click photo to enlarge

Today I did not really want to say anything about September 11 because so many others have. I also find it irritating how something so tragic that drew a nation together for a few days (or an afternoon?) is now often used in a political sense to tear it apart. (Certainly not everyone, but I have seen plenty of  “Remember 9/11, and be sure you remember why this event makes me right in my political opinions.” I have seen this from opposing viewpoints. Can we just remember a tragedy without being disparaging?) I rarely mention politics in  this space because I hate politics. I hate extremes. I think all sides have extremes. I think the extreme left and the extreme right both want to take away freedom–just in different ways that appeal only to them. (My viewpoints make both sides upset, so if I really got into this, I would likely alienate my entire readership.)  I hate statements that have little other purpose than to be inflammatory. I hate it when people can dish it out but cannot take it.  So I choose to avoid the topic entirely–most of the time. Which is why I was going to avoid any mention of 9/11.  But something compelled me to tell my part of that day’s story. I was pregnant with Chic. I was at work. The tiny television in the Conference Room was on for people to watch the horrific scene over and over. (I am personally not a fan of watching the same tragedy over and over.) Then the Pentagon was hit. Just a couple of weeks before that Prince Charming had been doing an internship at the Pentagon. (Leaving my pregnant self home alone much of the summer.) What was horrible before was real then. But real for me was not, and will never be, what real was for the people who lived and worked  in New York City and Washington, D.C. on that day or who lost someone. They know real. The rest of us just speculate.

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click photo to enlarge

In my car today, on the way to drop off some stamps and to pick up Chic, I suddenly started crying about my mother. There is  nothing special about today in relation to her, but maybe I was thinking about the 9/11 loss. Chicklet was talking to me, and I could not even speak. When I started blogging, I thought I would write a lot about my mother. About her life. About her death. About her 10-year dying process. But I have written very little. Some days I want to just unload it all. But part of me is afraid. The few times I  have discussed her before, the reactions have not been at all what I expected. My reason for wanting to share her story has to do with lessons learned. It is not about me at all. I do not want sympathy or consoling words. I want people to understand what happened and why. I guess I do not know how to say it in a way to make people understand, or else I am not ready. But today, I missed her.

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click photo to enlarge

Last Friday (or Saturday, I don’t remember when it went up) I did a post and said I would see you on Monday. I did not. The day had several totally unexpected things happen (I spent most of the day in front of the computer working on things for Art Class), but ended well (and also unexpectedly) with an afternoon/evening with our “gaming friends” playing Settlers of  Catan–Cities and Knights. (And have been behind blogging since.)

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click photo to enlarge

Now for some more random (and hopefully lighter than the first two sections) things…

1– I  have decided I do not like cooking much right now. Nothing has changed, really, but I get SO. MUCH. ACCOMPLISHED on days I do not cook. I am great at multi-tasking, but I think I hate it. When I cook, I want to focus on cooking. When I cannot focus on it, I think I would rather not do it at all.

2– Our electricity has been flashing lately for every thundercloud that goes over. I realize this is common in some parts of the country (southern Missouri, for example), but it is not common here. And it is starting to get on my nerves because I am at a computer so much of the time.

3– I have two times a day when I can think–really think. Those times are when I exercise and when I cook. (And cooking might involve so many other things that it does not count.) But I am thinking about a post relating to my aerobic activity which is biking (usually to school, but sometimes in the neighborhood). It will mostly be a rant, but I cannot get it out of my head.

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click photo to enlarge

4– My husband is gone. He will be gone most of the weekend at a seminar related to his position at church. I hate it when he is gone. (For many reasons not the least of which he is not here to have water boiling on the stove to add to my bath when it gets cold–because I do not like running water in the tub because the wait for hot water is too long.)

5– Tonight’s bath is scented with Black Amethyst from Bath and Body Works. I was not into that scent much during the heat of summer, but I am liking it a lot again now. (Have I told you how absolutely glorious September is in this part of the country?)

6– My biggest project of the week has been doing my taxes. No, not estimated quarterlies, but the ones that were due on April 15. The last few years we have filed for extensions (even though we always get money back) because I do not have time to do them (and Prince Charming, forgive me, is useless in this area). But they have NEVER been this late. If I were married to Daryl (which I think is impossible because neither of us are lesbians, though neither of us oppose them and their relationships, and who also has a wonderful 9/11 post today), she would have divorced me by now for how long this has taken. Prince Charming is just happy he does not have to bother with financial things.

7– I really, really, REALLY do not like word verification on Blogspot. Really.

8– When I grow up, I want to be her.

2009-08-23_08-07-04

PaperCake
Today is someone’s birthday. Not mine. I never talk about my birthday. But I love to talk about others’ birthdays. And today, Donald Kinney from A Photo A Day (and some other terrific blogs) is 62!
Kitty would make something like this for Don if she could.

Kitty would make something like this for Don if she could.

If you have never been to his place, GO. NOW! He lives near San Francisco and is one of my very favorite photographers. He gets great images from the city, and many more from surrounding areas. My favorites are usually his captures of wildflowers, but he makes art of anything.  Worth the visit. Tell him Happy Birthday, and send him some virtual cookies!

Cookies

For some randomness, I first need to clarify two things from this post. First, Chic is 7. I said she was 8. She will be 8 in a few months. I am not even sure what made me think she was 8 when I was typing, except that all the cousins  “her age” are already 8.

The second thing is that the picture of the bike wreck was a re-enactment without Chicklet in the trailer. I actually had my camera with me when the crash occurred. (I am lucky it did not get banged up.) But when my dramatic, overreacting girl is silent and not moving after a potentially bad accident, a camera is not what I am thinking about. So when I decided to tell the story, I tipped over the trailer after a later bike ride–after Chicklet was out–to get a picture. (She was all too happy to not actually be in it when I did that.)

And thanks for all of your kind wishes. For something so bad, it really was fine.

My last piece of randomness today is about tomatoes. I love home-grown tomatoes, and I grow them every year. My climate is not conducive to this, and the last two years I have not gotten any to speak of until mid-August. This is just wrong, but I continue because I need them, if only for a short while. And by now–only two weeks later, the nights are getting cool enough that they are already slowing production. I barely get enough to use for ourselves, definitely not enough to can, and rarely enough to give away. BUT… I LOVE to give away tomatoes. It makes people happy, and that makes me happy.  So I thought you might like to see this.

TomatoBag

Since I do not have that many to give away, only 4-6 at a time (plus a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes), I decided to put them in cute bags. I made a bunch of these so when I have tomatoes, they are ready to go. This makes me even happier.

Now about a different me. This was me a while back.

LongHair-March

I have been getting more and more tired of my long hair. I love it when I do something with it, but it takes more and more work to do that. Drying time if I style it is 45 minutes – 1 hour. (If I do not style it? Pretty much all day to dry.)  Needless to say, my schedule does not accommodate this regularly, so usually I just let it go. Some days are better than others, but the low humidity that makes every day a good hair day when I style it makes most days bad hair days when I do not. So for a while I have been thinking about cutting it off. But it was long enough that I wanted to make sure I could donate what was cut, and I was not sure it was QUITE long enough for that, so I was waiting.

But it kept bugging me. I finally decided to do it this fall. I was getting my hair trimmed last week. I would talk to the hair dresser about it and hopefully plan to do the big chop at my next visit.

But I went in for the trim, and my hairdresser, whose hair has been similar to mine since I met her, had CUT HER HAIR! While waiting I squirmed in my chair. I LONGED to have mine cut. But I had made no preparations. It might not be long enough. I did not have ponytail holders. Maybe I should wait and try to do it somewhat publicly to raise awareness and money for the cause?

So I sat in her chair and she said, “The usual trim?” I spilled my story, culminating with HER hair. She said she was SURE mine was long enough to donate. (10 inches for one place, 12 inches for another.) I asked if she had ponytail holders. She’s a hairdresser, of course she did!

So she made two ponytails and braided them. Just to be sure she measured them. TWELVE INCHES! Then she cut them off.

CutHair

This is me now.

ShortHair

I did this 1-1/2 weeks a go. A few people who know me in real life might be surprised to see this. The crazy thing? I hate attention… HATE. IT. I sort of like being noticed, but hate attention. (How whacked is that?) So cutting twelve inches off my hair is a sure way to avoid attention, right? The only thing I really regret is that since this was on a whim, I did not have a chance to take a good picture of my hair from the back. If I started today, it would take about five years to get it back to the length it was. The braids were in the mail to Locks of Love the next morning. It is in my past. I am happy.

When I met Prince Charming, my hair was about the same length as it was before I cut it. We lived a long way from each other and only saw each other about once a month. After a few months I cut it quite similarly to how it is now and did not tell him. It was a test of sorts–to see if he would flip out because so many shallow men demand “their women” have long hair. He passed the test. In fact, he loved it. I obviously did not tell him it was happening this time, either, since I did not know myself. But he loved it again. He’s a keeper.

There are so many things I want to say here. Some of somewhat importance (at least to me), and some of no importance at all. I just do not have time. Sometimes I have time to think, but usually that time does not allow to type something. (Usually it is when I am riding my bicycle. Sometimes when cooking.)

So instead of writing something meaningful (to me) that has been going through my head, I thought I would let  you in on a lot of the non-meaningful things, which hopefully might hold some fun and humor…

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A week ago yesterday, Prince Charming brought home some special  Godiva chocolates for me. Do these things not just LOOK so lovely that you would almost want to put them on a shelf and look at them forever? But you cannot have your cake, and eat it, too, so I will admit to their only being two left.

1.Godivas

I am a “save-the-best-for-last” type of girl. (Which often means I do not get anything because someone else grabbed it all.) So the ones I have left are the “pretty ones.” That would be the orange one and the green one. These things have been to DIE for. They are ice cream flavors (L to R): Orange Creme, Neapolitan, Pecan Caramel Sundae (OMG!), Mint Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut.

He also brought home a little package for Chic and Chicklet to share (not so fancy for them). At 5 and 7, he is already ruining them for the men who will later enter their lives, but I thought about that a little, and I think it is good that they will have some high standards. (Hopefully in areas other than chocolate as well.)

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5.ChocChipCookies

Here is the Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe Chic used to make the cookies a couple of posts ago.

1 c packed brown sugar

1/2 c granulated sugar

2 sticks butter, softened

2 lg eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2-1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine flour, soda and salt in medium bowl. Mix well. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine sugars with electric mixer at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until just blended. Do not overmix.

Add flour mixture, chocolate chips and nuts. Blend at low speed until just mixed. Do not overmix.

Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 18-22 minutes (20 minutes almost always works at my location) or until golden. Transfer immediately to cool, flat surface.

Note: The recipe does not actually call for nuts, but believe it or not, I do not have a  huge sweet tooth. (Ignore that Godiva bit above.) Too much sugar gets to me, and I like nuts in cookies. Besides the texture, it sort of balances the sweet.

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All of the cards have been mailed for my giveaway. (To Maria, Fishing Guy and Leia.)  It was a little later than I planned because Prince Charming is the designated Post Office gopher.  He had some unexpected travel which meant some crazy work hours before that, so he just had a chance to do it.

The banner for Painted Maypole is in process. I just got the paper I wanted to use. It was not as bright as I expected, so I am going a slightly different direction with it. I hope to finish it by Monday. I just loved how these scraps looked in the waste basket, however, so I had to take a picture.

6.BannerScrap

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In September we will have lived in Albuquerque for seven years. Also in this house for seven years. We initially thought we would be in this house about five years, but things never work out that way. Now we are not sure we will ever leave, so I have finally decided to break down and paint. I am not a fan of white walls, but most of my walls are white because I cannot decide what color to paint them. We have painted the girls’ rooms, and I hated every second of it, so if I paint, I want it to be something I know I will love. I will NOT be painting the next phase (living room, dining room), so that will be expensive. That means I definitely want to love it. So I got a bunch of paint chips a year ago (yes, some things move slowly here), and I finally picked out some colors. I called a friend I trust to look at them for me. She liked one, but not the other. She suggested I buy samples and paint in the areas I would be painting and look at it for a while. I have. I think she is right. I love the colors, but I do not think they match “us.”  What do you think about them?

Although this is not exactly what the colors look like, this picture represents them the best. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Although this is not exactly what the colors look like, this picture represents them the best. (Click photo to enlarge.)

This is the giant wall--probably about 20 feet (6+ m?) high that I want to do in the reddish color. The art we have is four paintings that will cover most of the wall.

This is the giant wall--probably about 20 feet (6+ m?) high that I want to do in the reddish color. The art we have is four paintings that will cover most of the wall.

The rest of the living room/dining room will be in the "other color." This is the picture of the stair/loft wall which is the most noticeable wall for the color. (Ignore the fact that unnamed members of the family view this wall as a laundry hamper and shelf for anything they feel like putting on it.)

The rest of the living room/dining room will be in the "other color." This is the picture of the stair/loft wall which is the most noticeable wall for the color. (Ignore the fact that unnamed members of the family view this wall as a laundry hamper and shelf for anything they feel like putting on it.)

I think we’ll keep the reddish one and go for a brown or gold instead of the orange-ish one. Back to the store for more samples. I am also thinking a pale yellow might be OK. It sort of has to match some art we have had for a VERY long time just sitting around waiting to be put on the walls. I do not know why these things take me so long to figure out.

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There was no sand at the pool, but I liked this picture, and sand makes me think of water.

There was no sand at the pool, but I liked this picture, and sand makes me think of water.

This next part will probably alienate someone. I apologize for that, but not for my opinion.

Last week on our pool day there was an obvious mom’s club there. I was reminded very clearly why I am not a member of a mom’s club. There are only three topics discussed by most of the women in such clubs. (At least the one’s I have briefly been a part of or have witnessed. I know there are better ones out there, but it is not important enough for me to search through the garbage to find one.) None of these topics interest me, but often they irritate me. And my smug self was not disappointed because the overly loud conversations overheard were about the #1 topic–cosmetic surgery, specifically breast surgery (bigger/smaller/whatever). So predictable. So glad I was not part of it. (In case you are interested in the other two topics, in order they are “husband bashing” (my least favorite) and “one-upping everyone else on the exploits of their children.”)

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Tonight our family went to find a letterbox. We were coming home near sunset while a monsoon storm was building. It made some fantastic clouds, but the big news is that I got my FIRST EVER shot of lightning! This photo is actually my second shot. I am saving the first shot for a SkyWatch post (probably not this week).  This is not the best picture in the world, but I am somewhat pleased with the one I will show later. It was an incredible sky!

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click photo to enlarge

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I have so many other things to say, but just cannot work it in right now. I hope you are having a great weekend!

Prince Charming at Mt. Rushmore last week.

Prince Charming at Mt. Rushmore last week.

I missed Prince Charming’s birthday. OK, I did not really miss it, like skip it. I did acknowledge it, but not here. Late last fall I went through a 10-day period in which I had a tribute of some sort five of those days. But Prince Charming’s birthday is January 4. By then I am finished. Not only did he likely get gypped as a kid because his birthday was so close to the holidays, but his own wife gyps him now. It is a good thing he is Prince Charming, or he would probably not be so gracious about it. I did not have time to write something worthwhile for his birthday, so I did not write anything at all.  I will try to make up for it now… try.

But first, I must wish all of you father’s, grandfathers, surrogate fathers, all men who make a positive difference in someone’s life a very HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! And also a nice wish for my dad (even though he doesn’t read this or even know about this blog) whom you can read about here if you would like.

So here are some of the things that make my husband Prince Charming to me:

-He loves me. Honestly, I am not always sure why. I am no picnic to live with.

-He is the most amazing father. Since beginning blogging about a year ago (I need to check on that to do a giveaway or something for my Blogiversary. (Disturbing note: “Blogiversary” did not come up as a misspelled word on my spell-check.)) I know there are other amazing fathers out there, but I am proud that my Prince Charming is one of them. He is the firstborn son of a firstborn son of a firstborn son… (I do not even know how far back that goes.) He was SURE our first child would be a son. (I was, too, for that matter. I am so “girly” that I was pretty sure I would never have daughters.) When he found out we were having a girl, he was not disappointed (like I feared he might be), but elated. The second girl was the same.  He has embraced being the father of girls and is the best one I can imagine. They both love him so much. I love to watch them together.

-Not only is he a wonderful and caring father, but he shares more of the responsibility of tending to our young children than do most fathers I know. When he gets home from work, the burden of parenting is all but released from me.

-He understands the demands on my life. One reason it is not easy living with me is that I am somewhat of an overachiever. My interests are many, and I do many of the things in which I am interested. (Stamping, gardening, sewing, cooking, reading, biking, letterboxing, photography… this list truthfully goes on and on.) On top of this, my type of personality tends to be sucked into other responsibilities… LOTS of them. This is the reason I did not blog for so long. Those things take a toll on my family time as well, but Prince Charming not only endures these things, but does everything he can think of to help me and make it easier. I cannot count how many times I have accepted just a little too much responsibility, and he has dropped everything to help me get everything accomplished. (As if he had nothing going on in his own world.)

-He brings home flowers more than necessary and rarely for a reason other than no reason.

2009-02-26.Roses

never would they be all-red, and usually not even roses

-He is on intimate terms with the Godiva Chocolatier in town. (The benefits of this are mine.)

-He does the grocery shopping.

-He takes out the kitchen trash every morning without my ever having to ask him to do it. (This has proved useful on more than one occasion.)

2009-06-09.W~Dr.VC-He puts the seat down.

-He does everything in his power to make sure I get my Friday Night Bath. (Last night he found a way to make a table over the tub so I could take my computer and do a little catch-up with blog reading.)

-He cooks on the weekends.

-He watches movies with me, including all my favorite Chic Flicks, over and over. (He even says he likes most of the ones I like!)

-He loves to travel.

-He is unbelievably smart. Crazy smart.

-He looks fabulous in a tuxedo.

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-He makes plans for our lives when we are old. I love to listen to his plans and talk with him about them.

-He provides well for our family, he believes in our family, he puts all his effort into keeping our family strong. He is everything a father (and husband) should be.

Prince Charming, thanks for being who you are and all you are to us. The girls in this house adore you!

The post below this one is for SkyWatch.

This is the week-long (ish) tale of where I was a year ago today, which was on a Bermuda cruise with Prince Charming.

For Part 1,  go here.

For Part 2, go here.

For Part 3, go here.

For Part 4, go here.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

The sunrise was wonderful our last morning in Bermuda. (Mind you we had been to the midnight buffet the night before, so I was wishing I was not the type to be awake when the sun rises, but I am that type, so might as well take a few photos.  We did not stay at the midnight buffet; it was far too crowded. I only elbowed my way in for two pictures; we did not eat even one delicacy. But in our short time there, two Dean Martin songs were played on the sound system: “Mambo Italiano” and “Sway.” It was great because those are both two of the favorite songs of  Chic and Chicklet. Had I been able to, I would have called them and awakened them from their slumber just to tell them. I am sure they would not have been impressed, but the purpose of Moms is not to impress children, then, is it?)

Our goal for our last day (partial day at that because we had to return our scooters around 2 p.m.) was to find a beach so yours truly could really get IN the ocean–not just get her feet wet. This turned out to be not such a good day for it, but even though cold-blooded, I can be a hardy sort when it comes to doing something I really want to do.

We found one beach that we did not like, so we checked the map and tried another. It was a goldmine! There was a really nice old fort there that we checked out before making our way to the water.

2008-04-032fort

After that we tried to find a path to the beach, of which there seemed to be no evidence. So we climbed down over some rocks.

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At first this is all I could do with getting wet. The temperature was probably between 50 and 55 degrees (Fahrenheit). It was not only cloudy, but foggy (as you can see in many of the photos). My how dedicated I can be about the ocean!

2008-04-033looking

The beach was small, but fun to explore for tiny shells and other marine life. I waded to another tiny beach away from where we climbed down the rocks. This one was made just for two, but alas, Prince Charming is not as enamored by the ocean as is his wife, so he did not even take off his shoes that day.

2008-04-034smallbeach

I eventually adjusted to the coldness and started gradually jumping waves to get farther and farther out.

2008-04-035jumpingwaves

If you go here (scroll down when you get there) you can see a picture of when a wave (painfully) smacked the back of my head. Prince Charming obviously knew it was coming but did not bother to warn me. He instead pretended to be doing a photo shoot and got a pretty good picture of it.

Eventually I made it out far enough to swim, but it was so very cold. Maybe I lasted fifteen minutes, but it was not a day for swimming. The fun part (imagine all sarcasm in my voice) was getting on the scooter all wet, but what else are adventures for?

2008-04-036swimming

When we were leaving, we found quite a different path than when we arrived. It was a much nicer exit.

2008-04-03lastbeachexit

Our ship left port around 4 or 5 in the evening. I got a couple of pictures, then took a nap.

It was the last formal  night.

2008-04-03formalnight

I took this dessert delivery photo for my girls. This probably would have been the highlight for them had they joined us. At this point we were missing them a lot.

2008-04-037dessert

There was nothing but a day at sea and day in airports left, so we were finished and wanted to see our girls. But lucky for you, there are still those day to cover in this story, so stay tuned tomorrow and Sunday!

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