Monday, February 27, 2012

Across Time & Page

A new scrapbook store name Across Time and Page will be opening March 17 at Cambridge Center at 21st and Webb.  The store is owned by Carmen Ned and her husband.  I will be teaching classes there after it opens and I am ecstatic about that.  My daughter in law Theresa will be working there as well and we are helping getting the store up and running.  This is the first time I have done anything on the retail side of an LSS and I am thinking that it will be a great way to learn what the store will offer and what I can use in my classes.  Today, I saw several new tools that I would like to have.  After all isn't that why I do this?  To learn the latest an greatest?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

We have a kitchen, almost

The before pictures were taken October 17, 2010.  The after pictures were taken today.  There is a world of difference the kitchen now and then.  We still have the tile back splash to install and wood cabinet end to finish , but Andrew and Theresa are starting to move furniture in now.  The major work remaining to be done is the upstairs bathroom, trim in one upstairs bedroom and the basement.  Considering where we started that is nothing.  We used Rustoleum's Kitchen Cabinet refinish kit and it is amazing.  My paint job would not stand up to a close up professional inspection, but it looks amazing.  I will post more as we get closing to moving in.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Carnival Conquest

We have sailed on the Conquest before, but this is the first time we had a stateroom with a window.  This was the biggest room we have had on ship before.  I loved it.  There was a sofa in addition to the bed and the window was large enough to sit it, which Andrea and I did.  Andrea stayed in our room and enjoyed herself immensely.  However, she is not a happy morning person.  We learned to let her sleep as long as possible, and when she was still grumpy, we delivered her to her parents.  I love that privilege of grandparenthood.

There wasn't any rough waters this time and the food was fantastic.  On Friday, there was a chocolate buffet on the Lido deck.  The best thing on the plate was a chocolate layer cake called Chocolate Carrie.  I swear I overdosed. I went back to our room and slept till dinner.  I even passed up dessert at dinner that night.  Would I do it again?  Of course!

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau is much more commercialized than Freeport.  It has more business district and many more condos and luxury hotels.  Rising above everything is the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.  I think it can be seen from just about anywhere in the area.  We had considered going to the Atlantis beach area for about a minute.  The cost to use their facilities was over $100.00 each even for the children.  We opted instead for the Blue Lagoon.  This is a private beach area on a small island off the main island of Nassau. We were taken their by boat, and the main topic on the way over was which house belonged to what celebrity.  I imagine it must be fairly expensive to own a home there. There was an island owned by Eddie Murphy, a mansion owned by Tiger Woods, another by Christina Aguilara, you get the gist. Blue Lagoon was very nice and since this cruise had very few children, not very crowded.  The resort has a dolphin facility and unlike the ones in Mexico, they were generous in allowing people to watch the paying customers do the dolphin encounters.  Theresa took Wyatt over for a while and they both enjoyed it.

Nick brought his scuba gear and used it this day.  His other plans didn't pan out and he was disappointed that he was not able to make a real dive.  The rest of us just hung out on the beach.  This day was the one the kids had been looking forward to every since we left home.  Andrea kept running back and forth crying, "I'm on the beach, I'm on the beach." Yes, they did have fun and were worn out on the way home.

When we got back to the ship, we learned that departure had been delayed for two hours.  Nicole and I went back ashore and looked around.  We didn't find much to buy though.  That was a hardship. We went thought the Straw Market which is a major tourist attraction, but neither Nicole or I were very interested in the hats and bags available. We might have found them interesting another time, but not this day.  I did however, get my Hard Rock Cafe pins and a picture of Nicole in front of the Parliament Building.  I guess that is enough to expect from a spur of the moment visit.

Freeport Bahamas

Our first stop in the Bahamas was Freeport.  We had been having rain on and off, but the weather cooperated and it was sunny.  The Bahamas are beach oriented and we found it hard to decide what tours we wanted to take.  In Mexico it is easy, Maya ruins, shopping or the beach.  In Freeport, what really appealed was the beach.  Theresa's interest in cooking brought us to the Junkanoo Beach Club on Taino Beach.  We went there for a Bahamian cooking class which just happened to include time on the beach.

I have to say that this was the best possible choice for us.  The chef for the beach club is named Dawkins.  He had the most wonderful Bahamian accent and we learned to make good food. The cooking area waws outside on the deck near the bar.  No one should have the opportunity to be thirsty after all. We made conch fritters, cracked conch and rice with pigeon peas.  We also learned how to make a drink with gin, coconut water and condensed milk.  That one sneaks up on you.  In addition to this we were shown how to do coconut pralines and conch salad which is like seviche.  It was the best.  I don't know whether it was because it was all so fresh or that we made it and ate it right then, the food was fantastic.  Theresa and I made the dishes again when we got home.  We had to substitute mussels and scallops for the conch, but it wa still good.

The beach is beautiful as well.  There was a little market area set up next to the beach club where you could buy souveniers.  The result was that you were not bothered by lots of people coming up and down the beach trying to sell you stuff.  There were a couple of ladies selling jewelry, but they were very nice and it would not be part of the experience without the vendors.

Key West

The whole family went on a cruise from New Orleans to the Bahamas two weeks ago.  None of us had been to the Bahamas and it was time for a change.  We all had a great time, the Bahamas have beautiful beaches and we ate good food.  On our way there, we stopped for a day in Key West.  We hadn't been to Key West for ten years, and this time Ray and I wanted to visit the places we knew when we lived there in 1969 to 1970.  First of all I have to say that most of the places we lived while Ray was on active duty and we were moving every couple of years have been unrecognizable when we went  back to visit.  I think it is a combination of fading memories and progress that makes this happen.

It was surprising then that once we got away from the old touristy part of Key West how much was still familiar.  There have  been major changes, but we still recognized much more than we expected to.  First of all was where we lived.  We owned a mobile home for the first several moves, and amazingly enough the mobile home park we lived in is still there.  When we moved down to Key West, the highway was closed at 11:00 at night for two way traffic, so large trucks and mobile  homes could go up and down the highway.  It appears that mobile homes are not allowed to be brought into Key West any more because there wasn't anything in that park newer than twenty years old.  Considering the risk of being is a mobile home in a hurricane is equivalent to trying to ride out a tornado in one, that was a smart decision.  But affordable housing is doubtlessly scarce and the occupancy rate looked to be close to 100%.  We could have bought the home on our old lot for $19,000.00 Thanks, but no thanks.

We next went up the Keys to check out the location of the old Cudjoe Key Air Station.  It was located on the gulf side of Cudjoe Key and the reason we left was that the station was closed.  We thought we might find rubble, or for a while from what we could see, a waste transfer station.  Ray was not happy about that idea. Instead we found the remote old base being extremely noticeable due to the presence of a white dirigible.  It turns out the station is now being used for observation of boat traffic in the Keys and Florida Straits.  In other words, they are hunting drug runners.  Sort of cool, huh?  We wanted to get a closer look, but the do not enter warnings were a quarter of a mile from the gate and we decided not to push our luck.  We didn't need to be arrested and miss getting back to the ship.

We also stopped at Bahia Honda State Park.  Ray and I spend a lot of weekends there, snorkeling and hanging out with other people from the Air Station.  The park has beautiful beaches, great snorkeling and was a short drive from Key West.  Looking back, I don't think we realized what a treasure the park was while we lived there.

Last of all, we wanted to drive the Seven Mile Bridge again.  In  1969 we had a Corvair Monza and a German Shepherd.  The road was two narrow lane and the longest bridge was seven miles over the water.  I remember being more than a little nervous about driving over the water with just a metal railing between the car and a twenty foot drop.  You got used to it quickly and enjoyed being able to pass on the bridges when the tourists slowed down.  A number of years back the highway was replaced with much wider two lanes and concrete side.  There is absolutely no sense of danger at all.  I would guess that it good, I know there has to be a lot few accidents.  But back in the day, the fear was part of the mystique of living in the Keys. I will say that looking at the old sections that remain reminds me that the fear was absolutely justified.  That was one narrow road.

Key West this time wasn't your usual tourist visit, but we had a great day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Princess is Three

We celebrated Andrea's third birthday on the 8th of January.  She is such a little girly girl now.  She has bought into the pink princess thing in a big way.  Not as big as Wyatt and Spiderman, but she does like her pink stuff as you can see from the pictures.  She received a princess gown which immediately had to be worn.  the only problem is that she is a bit small for the dress yet.  She looked like a disheveled duchess while she was eating her cake.

A page, a page

You can always tell when I haven't taken photos off my camera for a while.  There are all sorts of different things that I need to post.  I have been really distracted for the last several months with life in general and haven't been doing as much scrapping as I would like.  As a matter of fact with the exception of required cards, this is the only page I have completed.  That is just pitiful, but I am hoping for improvement in the new year.
I bought the Holiday Glitter Book pad of Christmas paper by MME and have used the heck out of it.  My Christmas cards were a struggle this year and this paper really helped my mojo get going with those.  This is the page I made with it of my grand kids in their Christmas Outfit.  I love retro paper even though I am not a retro shabby chic scrapper.  But it works.
I will be teaching again in a month or so.  Carmen Ned is opening a new store and I will be working there.  I have really missed teaching and being around scrappy people.  I am really looking forward to it.