Friday, October 31, 2008

I've been away from the blogisphere much of this week with great reason. It reads like a Mastercard commercial:

Train tickets to New York City: $50+

Burgers at the Hard Rock Cafe: $41

Tickets to "The Last Shadow Puppets" concert in the Grand Ballroom: $130

Seeing the look on your 16 year old daughter's face as she sings & dances at the concert of her very favorite singer, Alex Turner...PRICELESS!

We gave this outing to our daughter for a sixteenth birthday present. She loves the Hard Rock Cafe, and although she has been to about six--including one in Oslo, Norway, she pointed out that she had never been to the one in New York. She, of course, picked out a pin to add to her collection.

Our daughter likes alternative rock British bands, most noteably, The Arctic Monkeys. I'd like to think she has my filtered Beatles genes causing this in her! Anyway, Alex Turner, who is the lead singer, paired with Miles ? and call themselves The Last Shadow Puppets. They both belong to their own bands & this is a hiatus tour for them.
To say she was thrilled is an understatement!

One whimisical note: On the line going into the venue, security was wanding, searching, & literally frisking people before they went in. With our daughter in front of me & my husband behind, we proceeded through the line. The guard looks at my daughter & lets her through...takes one look at me & says, "You're ok, go ahead!" Boy did I feel old!

Have a Happy Halloween and a great weekend everyone! I promise to be back with more vacation posts then!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fabulous Vacuum Giveaway!

PSST! Through Jewelstreet's blog, I hear about a vacuum cleaner give-away! It's one of those amazing Bissels with a HEPA filter & Microban to fight odor-causing bacteria! Go visit the SITS site for the full info!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Inspiration For A Sunday

Just a lovely, soothing video for your Sunday this week.

Today is our daughter's Sweet 16th Birthday which will be filled with family celebration.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Not a Halloween Story!

If you think you heard the last of our bat stories, well read on.
No, I didn't save this as a Halloween story--I've just sufficiently recovered (mentally)enough to tell it.

You will remember from my last story, we thought we had found where they got in; well, we were WRONG! Let me set the stage for you:

It is one week later than the last encounter-now Labor Day Weekend.

It is 2:30 a.m. and we are in that hazy part of the sleep cycle--not quite asleep, yet not totally awake.

My husband & I both hear something flutter and a metallic sound at the window with the air conditioner on his side of the room.

Husband: Did you hear that?

Me: Yes! Is it in the room?

Husband: I'm not sure, but I think so!

Me: Ok, I'll get the light.

I sit up & wait a moment before I actually get up. Two seconds later when my husband starts to sit up, yes you guessed it, at the exact same moment the bat swoops & flies across the room right into his chest! It's a humid night & he has no shirt on--so we definitely know it hit him. But wait, it gets better.

So by now our daughter has woken up...barricades herself in her room & stuffs something under her door--smart girl--you'll see why.

Husband & I shut our door to keep it inside & go down to the garage to get some clothes & nets, and just regroup. What seems like maybe 5 minutes later, we think we're ready.

I go up & decide I should make a pit stop first and "wisely" think I will use the bathroom off the kitchen rather than off our bedroom. As I walk in semi-darkness towards the bathroom I see what I think is another one on the floor! Before I can get to the door to close it in, I see it unfold its wings and come flying towards me. Ok, I ran, I screamed, flapping my arms around & apparently, I cursed a bit, too. My daughter later said, "nice sailor mouth, Mom"! This one finally lit on the fireplace wall, we got it in the net and let it outside.

Back upstairs to our bedroom to deal with that one. We go in and pull the place apart & it is an hour before we come to the realization that it got out under our door & and was the same one that was flying around the living room. The same one that we let out the living room door.

End of story part 1: we all slept with lights on that night & for the next several nights before we felt comfortable. Oh, and those air conditioners came out a few days later.

End of story part 2: Because the bat made contact with my husband & we had inadvertently let it go...he had to get the rabies vaccine series. The first one was a mega dose given in the chest in the ER, followed by four more in our doctor's office spaced over a very specific time frame. The last one will actually be Mon. Oct. 28. The shots are not bad (given in the arm), side effects minimal and a whole lot better than the outcome should you get symptoms which can take years to occur. He decided he just couldn't live with that.

I swear this is the last bat story, at least for this year as they have all gone hibernating, and hopefully forever.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stockholm, Sweden!

Our next port of call was Stockholm, Sweden's capital and the largest city in Scandinavia. It is often referred to as "the city that floats on water", as it sits on numerous islands. In fact, navigating to the city by ship is only allowed in daylight hours because of the 24,000 islands and inlets.

This was another city we decided to explore on our own rather than taking a formal tour. It was a dreary rainy day, but our spirits were buoyed by the beauty all around us. Above is a Catholic Church that we happened upon. The carving around the door was really amazing!

Here is a view from a bridge. You can see the bridge in the distance connecting the islands.

This is the entrance into the Royal Palace where we were just in time to see some of the changing of the guard.

It took place in the courtyard where there was much horse circling, band playing and shouting of orders. Stationed along the crowds were armed guards who were not afraid to use their bayoneted rifles to move the crowd back. I was surprised to see that at least one of them was a young woman, equally as fierce as her male counterparts.

After the ceremony, we had a little time to explore some of the shopping areas on the way back.

The shuttle bus that would return us to the Eurodam picked us up right opposite the Parliament buildings.

We are getting close to the end of our journey. The next day, we were at sea en route to Germany.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Invisible Woman

I wasn't feeling well yesterday, so Sunday's Wisdom is posted today. Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Helsinki, Finland

We arrived the next day in Helsinki, and I guess I live in a dream world....I expected a "fishing village" type of atmosphere, but the city looked like any other major city--lots of buildings, restaurants, etc. I certainly do not mean any disrespect, but I was thinking "quaint". If you look hard, you will even see the "yellow arches" on the right side of the photo!

Because we arrived on a Sunday, mostly everything was closed until afternoon. We explored the city walking on our own, having taken a bus from the pier into the downtown area.

We came across this unique church, aptly named, The Rock Church. Built out of a solid block of granite most of it is located below ground. The first photo shows it from the outside, and one would never guess the beauty within. Inside is circular & the walls are rock. The roof is a copper disc. Because the accoustics are excellent, they often hold classical concerts here; however, it is an active Christian Church. Shortly after we arrived, the Church was closing for a Baptism.

Next stop, Stockholm, Sweden.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Murder on the Moika River!

That catchy name was the title of the second tour we took in St. Petersburg, Russia. Having just studied the Romanov Dynasty in school, our daughter was absolutely insistent that we take this tour. More history later!

We started out with a tour through the various canals on the Moika River, culminating with a panoramic view of the main canal complete with fountains!

Not much room to go under the bridges!

Yusupov Palace, shown above, was the highlight of this tour. It was in this palace that Rasputin was murdered by Prince Yusupov and some sympathizers who felt he had become too influencial with Tsar Nicholas. You might remember from your history lessons that the Tsar's son had hemophilia and only Rasputin was able to soothe him when he had an acute episode.

We were ushered through a series of rooms where we only had a moment or two to look while we were told the story. In the "basement" was a display of wax figures depicting the fateful evening. Again, large fees were charged to be able to take photographs, and we chose to rely on our memories.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More words of wisdom for a Sunday....

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It never was between you and them anyway." --Mother Teresa

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Having a sale tonight!

~~~Saturday Night Specials for Oct. 11~~~

50% off beaded art dolls!
ACEOs are Buy 1 Get 1 equal or lesser value free!
20% off the rest of the shop!
Regular shipping costs apply.

Sale valid 5 p.m. Sat.-6 a.m. Sun. Put "SNS" in notes to seller & wait for an adjusted invoice before paying. Cannot be combined with coupons or other discounts.

Happy Shopping!

Click here to visit my shop!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

St. Petersburg, Russia

Our next port of call was 2 days in St. Petersburg, Russia. This was a long awaited visit for us as my husband & I had planned to go to Russia for our honeymoon in 1991. It was obviously put off because of the turmoil in Russia at that time.

Russia is an unique place. For example, you are not allowed to wander on your own. You actually could not leave the ship unless you had a Visa or were on a scheduled tour. Not a place I'd like to wander on my own anyway!

Our first day we book an all day tour of the city with several stops along the way. I must admit it was nothing like I expected. It is a city of canals, many palaces, churches with onion spires, and lots of large columned colorful buildings.

Our first stop was a 2 hour visit to Peterhof Palace was was built for Peter The Great. It was very reminiscent of Versailles in France, with many fountains and gardens as well. We visited around a dozen or so rooms-some with original items such as china in the dining room, but many were "reconstructed". Nearly every room had a large delft stove for warmth. There was one room with hundreds of paintings of women.
Unfortunately, they charge you (a lot!)to take photos inside--so you'll have to do with my descriptions.

After a hydrofoil ride to the center of the city, we had an outside photo stop at St. Isaac's Church which is the largest church in Russia.

After lunch we were able to visit The Church On The Spilled Blood which was built by Alexander III as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. The outside as well as the inside are covered with mosaics, including up into the domes. Every wall, window & ceiling were covered, and it was most impressive!

Stay tuned for part 2 of St. Petersburg.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I've been tagged!

I've been tagged by Jewelstreet, and I'm happy to play along. Since my blog has yet to gain a dedicated following....I will invite anyone who reads it to play along if they so desire. Here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share seven facts about yourself on your blog – some random, some weird.
3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

Here are my seven random facts:

l. I love the Southwest-the climate, the colors, everything! I wish I lived there.

2. I take oil painting lessons.

3. When I was young, I thought I was adopted.

4. I feel a "connection" to Native Americans, but have no Indian blood in me.

5. I've visited 19 foreign countries.

6. I hope to visit all 50 US states at some point in my life.

7. I almost never remember my dreams unless they are "bad" ones.

So there you have it!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Passed along by Gina
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry
13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their
journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry;
God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful. I'm
starting tomorrow!
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one
is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no
for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.
Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness, except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years,
will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29 What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. *Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends
will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of whom God is, not because of anything you
did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative- -dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's,
we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tallinn, Estonia

Estonia is a small country with a long history of being taken over by various countries. Estonia finally gained its independence from Soviet Russia in 1991 and has been independent since. Because of its location on the Gulf of Finland, there are also German, Swedish & Danish influences here. We visited the capital city of Tallinn.

We had a nice tour of the city including a 90-minute walking tour in Old Town, wtih a charming mixture of old & new buildings. Above is the Parliment Building, and in the background you can see the bricks of a much older structure.

The streets were cobblestones and very narrow!

We visited the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral which is a Russian Orthodox Cathedral built in the late 1800s. It had the typical "onion" domes. The largest dome represents the sun, and the others represent the stars. It was breathtakingly beautiful inside--an all gold altar and many golden icons which is the Russian style. I remember years ago visiting a church in Sitka, Alaska that had much the same look.

Thanks for reading along with me!