Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011, Welcome 2012

As each year comes to a close I usually end up thinking about what we did during the year and I write a summary of the year. I spend the last week of the year going over the calendar for the year and make little notes so I can put it all on this blog. After a little thinking I had a good handle on 2011. I realized that overall Thomas and I had a great year and we are looking forward to 2012. So here is a little recap of our year.

As usual Thomas had a busy January and February with the legislative session. So he is up and at work early and doesn't get home until late. Even though it is a stressful time for him he really enjoys that aspect of his job and I think it energizes him. While he is working his tail off I take care of everything else - the dogs, the house, the bills, the shopping, the laundry - well you get the picture. That is how we start off most years. At the end of February and through the first week of April I made a trip to Texas for T.A.L.E.8. That is a letterboxing event that I try to attend every year. I also visited some friends while there. It was a good trip and I had a great time. Then at the end of March Thomas and I took a trip to Tucson. Mainly for him to get away after the legislative session but we also attended the annual Tucson Letterboxers Gathering. We had great weather and enjoyed hiking in Tucson Mountain Park and in the Catalina Mountains.

At the end of April Thomas had to go to Las Cruces for work and I ended up tagging along. We were there three days and fortunately Thomas was able to find some free time for a little relaxation. Then in July we took a trip to Alaska. The trip was set up as a cruise for a group of letterboxers and then there was a land portion added to it. Thomas and I opted to extend the trip since we were traveling all that distance and we wanted to make the most of it. We ended up flying in to Fairbanks a couple of days early and doing things on our own. Then we met up with the rest of the group and took a bus from Fairbanks to Denali National Park. A day there and then back on the bus to Anchorage. The next day we took a train to Seward where we boarded our ship. The next seven days had us sailing to Juneau, Skayway, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan and through the Inside Passage before we docked in Vancouver. Thomas and I stayed in Vancouver for a few days before flying home. We had an incredible trip and we met some wonderful people. We will remember this trip for a long time. You can read all about it at Letterboxing Cruise to Alaska Adventure.

In September I went on another trip. This time to the Midwest. I attended a letterboxing event (2011: a stamp odyssey) in Augusta, Missouri. Besides that I spent time in St. Louis and then went on a great road trip to visit some State Capitols. My trip took me to Jefferson City, Des Moines, Springfield, Indianapolis, Columbus, Frankfort and Nashville. It was a wonderful trip and could have only been better if Thomas had been able to go with me. You can read about my odyssey at Missouri and Beyond. And we took one last trip for the year right after Thanksgiving and that was to Orlando. We spent four days at Walt Disney World Resort and two days at Universal Resort. We also had a couple of relaxation days in between visiting all the parks. It was a good trip and Thomas and I made it a point to ride as many of the rides as we could . I think we did a good job of getting that done. That trip is chronicled here.

Through 2011 we also attended some Broadway plays and concerts at Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque with some friends. During the year we saw Wicked, Spring Awakening, The Music Man, Legally Blonde, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, Cats and Blue Man Group. We enjoyed them all but my favorites were Wicked, Blue Man Group and Fiddler on the Roof. We already have plays and concerts schedule for 2012 - South Pacific, My Fair Lady, Damn Yankees, Young Frankenstein, Manhattan Transfer, Mary Poppins, Les Miserables and The Lion King. It should be fun to see all of these and be able to visit with Louise, Bonnie and Eric.

Our three dogs - Daisy, Buddy and Grim are all doing well. They keep us entertained and they always provide us with unconditional love. We are use to only having one dog at a time so having three dogs has proved to be a little chaotic at times - thankfully when they get all riled up we just put them outside and let them run around the property. They are all great dogs and we love them to death. One really big problem we have is that the dogs tend to fight with the coyotes that live out in back of the house in the arroyo. They have some pretty serious encounters where our dogs have come home with bites, cuts and bleeding. But at times it seems as if they are all playing like best of friends. So we do try to keep an eye out for them and make sure nothing gets too serious.

Thomas also did a lot of work on the yard this year. A couple of years ago we made our wall taller and added gates. This year Thomas had the ponds resurfaced and fixed up and we also added quite a few plantings and a couple of little arbors. We bought new patio furniture and had new cushions made as well. We still have a little work to do especially in the front of the wall by our parking area - we will tackle that this Spring and Summer. Thomas also completed a Master Gardener program at the beginning of the year. He really enjoyed the classes and learned a lot. He may do some assisting with this years class here in Santa Fe, but he hasn't made up his mind yet.

With all the problems with the economy and people being without jobs Thomas and I feel very lucky. We both have good jobs and a steady income. Both our jobs are going well and keep us very busy. Luckily we both have things outside of work that help us to forget about the stress of the jobs when we get home. We are hoping that 2012 provides much better stability for the economy and the country and that our jobs continue to be good.

We are already making plans for some travel in the coming year. I will be attending T.A.L.E.9 in the Houston area in early March. And then in May Thomas and I are going on a cruise with my brother and his wife and one of my sisters and her husband. We are going on a Carnival Cruise to the Caribbean. We leave from Galveston and our ports are Mahogany Bay, Belize and Cozumel.

I am looking forward to 2012 and feel that it will be as good or better than 2011. Happy New Year to everyone and Thomas and I send everyone good wishes.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our Last Day

Well today was our last day in Orlando. We didn't make any plans last night but we knew we would probably visit one or two of the Disney parks since we had one more day left on our tickets. So when we woke up this morning we decided to get some of our stuff packed and then go to breakfast. While at breakfast we both decided that Disney's Animal Kingdom was our favorite park - mostly because it was the most natural and had lots of animals. The decision was made to go there and then we would see what we wanted to do later. Well here is how our day turned out . . .

Entered Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Walked through Oasis.
Entered Discovery Island.
Walked the Discovery Island Trails.
Walked over to Africa.
Rode the Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Did a little window shopping in Mombasa Marketplace.
Entered Asia.
Saw the Flights of Wonder Show.
Walked the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Walked through DinoLand U.S.A.

By this time it was 3:00pm and we had seen everything we wanted to so we decided to head over to the Magic Kingdom. And this is what we did there . . .

Entered the Magic Kingdom.
Walked down Main Street.
Got ice cream at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor.
Ate ice cream while sitting at the statue of Walt and Mickey.
Walked over to Tomorrowland.
Rode the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.
Rode Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.
Had dinner at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe.
Watched the Main Street Electrical Parade.

By the time the parade was starting the crowds were getting bigger so we decided after the parade to call it a day. We had a great time in Orlando and we enjoyed all the theme parks we visited. Of course Thomas and I both have our favorite places and rides but all in all it was a wonderful trip. But we will be glad to be home and see our dogs and be able to sleep in our own bed. Tomorrow is all about airports and flights - I can't wait to get home.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Day at the Movies

Our plan for today was to visit Universal Studios and that is what we did. After a slow start and a little breakfast we arrived at the park around 10:00am. The weather was beautiful and it was already in the 70's when we entered the park. The place was not very crowded, this was the least amount of people at any of the parks that we visited this week. I was kind of glad, the crowds can get annoying at times. This meant we could take our time going from attraction to attraction without having to wait in long lines. So, here is what we did today at the park . . .

Universal Studios Entrance

Entered park at Production Central.
Saw Shrek 4-D.
Walked over to New York.
Saw Twister . . . Ride It Out!
Rode Revenge of the Mummy.
Made our way over to San Francisco/Amity.
Watched Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue.
Rode Disaster!
Had a late lunch at San Francisco Pastry Company.
Rode JAWS.
Headed over to World Expo.
Rode Men In Black Alien Attack.
Rode the Simpsons Ride.
Entered Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone.
Rode E.T. Adventure.
Saw Animal Actors on Location!
Over to Hollywood.
Saw Universal Orlando's Horror Make-Up Show.
Watched the Macy's Holiday Parade.
Back in Production Central.
Rode Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.

Rip Ride Rocket

We had a great day at the park. The weather was great until around 4:00pm when it got pretty chilly and cloudy with some light sprinkling of rain. Nothing bad and definitely nothing to stop all the action. We actually rode our last ride in a light drizzle. My favorites of the day were The Simpsons Ride and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. Not sure what we are doing tomorrow (our last day) - we have one more day on our Disney tickets so we will probably go to one or two of those parks - we will see how we feel in the morning.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Day of Adventure

Today we were up early because I wanted to get to Universal's Islands of Adventure before they opened. My whole purpose on visiting this park was to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. A travel guide I bought said that since this is the newest area of the park and has proven to be the most popular. At the busiest times you can wait for hours just to enter this section and to get on any of the rides takes forever. So they suggested to get there early and head straight for that area and that is what we did. Although today in the park wasn't busy at all and we only waited between 5 and 15 minutes for each ride except one (that one we waited 25 minutes). Here is a breakdown of our day . . .

Hogwarts at Universal

Made our way to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Rode Dragon Challenge.
Rode Flight of the Hippogriff.
Rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Walked around taking pictures and visiting shops.
Entered Jurassic Park area.
Ate an early lunch (we didn't have breakfast) at The Burger Digs.
Rode Jurassic Park River Adventure. *Got a little wet!*
Walked over to Toon Lagoon.
Rode Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls. *Got really wet!*
Rode Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges. *Got absolutely soaked - from head to toe!*
Had some ice cream and sat in the sun to try and dry off - it didn't work!
Entered Marvel Super Hero Island.
Rode the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.
Rode Doctor Doom's Fearfall.
Rode the Incredible Hulk Coaster.
Sat in the sun again and watched people riding the Hulk Coaster trying to dry off -
still didn't work - stupid humidity.
Entered Seuss Landing.
Rode the Cat in the Hat.
Walked over to the Lost Continent.
Took the tour of Poseidon's Fury.
Went back to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey again.
Rode Dragon Challenge again.
Took more pictures and went in more shops.

Ripsaw Falls

We had a full day in the park and it was so nice to have minimal crowds and very short wait times. And we even had time to visit Harry Potter twice and spend extra time in Hogsmead and at Hogwarts. The park was open until 7:00pm but we ended up leaving at 5:00pm. We did everything we wanted to do and more and were ready for a nice meal. We ended up stopping at a seafood and steakhouse for dinner on our way back to the hotel. We were still wet from the three water rides and decided to get out of our wet clothes and put on our bathing suits and go sit in the hot tub - why not we were already wet. The hot tub was a great end to a great day. We both had a blast and we loved the rides - favorites of the day - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Incredible Hulk Coaster, Dragon Challenge and Doctor Doom's Fearfall in that order. We will be visiting Universal Studios tomorrow.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Lazy Day

After one day of traveling and four days at theme parks we decided to take today off. We wanted to relax and just not do much of anything. So we ended up sleeping in and laid in bed reading until about 10:00am. Then once we were dressed we decided to drive in to Orlando.
Orlando Statue
We decided to go to the downtown area and see what was going on. So we parked and walked around the area - first down Church St. and then down Orange Ave. - where we stopped into Paninio's Pizza and Grill for a little lunch. After eating we walked down Central Blvd. to Lake Eola and walked around part of the lake and rested on a bench for a while. We then returned to our car and decided to head back to the hotel. Once there I went and sat by the pool and read while Thomas decided to stay in the room and take a nap. We rested and then showered and went out for a nice dinner. It was perfect day to just relax and do nothing. Oh, and the temperatures were in the mid to high 70's - a big difference from the cold in Santa Fe. Our friend who is watching the house and taking care of the dogs told us that it was suppose to get down to -2°F tonight. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Anyway, we had a great day today and really relaxed. Tomorrow we are going to Universal's Islands of Adventure.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lights! Camera! Action!

Well we spent the day at Disney's Hollywood Studios and had a great time. We managed to get up early and we arrived at the park by 9:30am. I think we were able to get an early start because last night we got back to the hotel at a decent hour and had a great night's sleep. The parking area was already filling up by the time we arrived and I hoped the park wouldn't be to crowded but we were here and so we entered the park. Here is how we spent our day . . .

Hollywood Studios Entrance

Walked down Hollywood Boulevard and over to Echo Lake.
Rode Star Tours - The Adventure Continues.
Made our way to Streets of America.
Saw Muppet Vision 3-D.
Walked through Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure.
Entered Pixar Place.
Rode Toy Story Midway Mania!
Walked over to Sunset Boulevard.
Rode the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Rode the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.
Had a light lunch at Rosie's All American Cafe.
Saw Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage.
Made our way to Animation Courtyard.
Watched the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade.
Saw Voyage of the Little Mermaid.
Went back to Streets of America.
Took the Studio Backlot Tour.
Walked back to Echo Lake.
Saw the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Adventure.
Now back to Streets of America.
Walked through The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
Ended up back on Hollywood Boulevard.
Rode the Great Movie Ride.
Attended Fantasmic.

Rock 'n Roller Coaster

It was a great day although the lines were longer today than at any of the other parks. We actually waited in line an hour for Toy Story Midway Mania and an hour for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Not bad though and it seemed shorter. I loved the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster - 0 to 58 in 2.8 seconds right at the start, part of the ride is in the dark and there are three inversions. All the while you have Aerosmith music playing in your ear - a great ride - my favorite of the day. We had some traffic to deal with when exiting the park but we still managed to get back to the hotel before 10:00pm. Not sure what we will be doing tomorrow but it probably won't have anything to do with a theme park.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Fun and 'Wild' Day

We had a very full and long day yesterday and it was after midnight when we got to bed. So we slept in this morning and by the time we showered, dressed, had breakfast and coffee we didn't arrive at Disney's Animal Kingdom until almost 11:00am. Very unusual for us - we typically get up early and get started on our day, so it seemed like we had lost most of our day before we even got started. Animal Kingdom closes early compared to the other parks in the Disney system, so we only had until 7:00pm to get things done. Here is how our day turned out . . .

Tree of Life

Entered Animal Kingdom park and walked through Oasis.
Made our way to Discovery Island.
Viewed and photographed the Tree of Life.
Watched It's Tough to be a Bug!
Headed over to Camp Minnie-Mickey.
Attended Festival of the Lion King.
Made our way into Africa.
Rode the Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Walked the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
Rode the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki's Planet Watch.
Walked the Habitat Habit! Trail.
Walked through Conservation Station.
Visited the Affection Section.
Rode the Wildlife Express Train back to Africa.
Watched the last half of Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade.
Had a late lunch at Tusker House Restaurant.
Strolled over to Asia.
Rode Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain.
Wandered into DinoLand U.S.A.
Rode Primeval Whirl.

Epedition Everest

We had a great day at Animal Kingdom. I really liked this park. It has more shows and exhibits than it does attractions (rides in the Disney world). Don't get me wrong I have been enjoying the rides at all the parks but I just liked the feel of this park better. It was a shorter day today and we are back at the hotel at a decent hour and hopefully we will get to bed earlier tonight. Tomorrow Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Today We Traveled the World

We arrived at Epcot at about 10:00am. Parking and getting into the park was a little easier than at the Magic Kingdom. We didn't have to take a tram or anything - the parking area was in walking distance to the main gate. Our intention when we entered the park was to go to Spaceship Earth but the line was long and we decided to start elsewhere. So this is how the day unfolded . . .

Spaceship Earth

Made our way to Future World West.
Rode Soarin'! - Loved it!
Took the boat voyage for Living With the Land.
Saw The Circle of Life film.
Rode The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
Saw Turtle Talk with Crush.
Rode Journey Into Imagination with Figment.
Saw "Captain EO" - the original 3D film with Michael Jackson that played at Epcot from 1986 - 1994.
Made our way to the World Showcase.
Entered through Canada and walked to England.
Late lunch at Yorkshire County Fish Shop.
Visited gardens in Canada - modeled after Butchart Gardens in Victoria.
Listened to Off Kilter (Canadian and Celtic Rock Band).
Back to England.
Listened to British Revolution (British Rock Band).
Listened to Father Christmas tell holiday stories.
Walked over to France.
Dessert at Boulangerie Pâtisserie (Chocolate Mousse and Napoleon).
Listened to Père Noël tel holiday Stories.
Into Morocco - walked around and went into a few shops.
Entered Japan - more walking around and shopping.
Crossed over into the United States.
Attended the Candlelight Processional with celebrity narrator - Geena Davis.
Saw the American Adventure.
Walked over to Italy.
Watched the Ziti Sisters (Interactive Comedy Troupe).
Into Germany.
Stopped in at karamell-kuche for milk chocolate covered carmel topped with sea salt.
Over to China.
Watched The Jeweled Dragon Acrobats.
Now into Norway.
Rode Maelstrom.
Ended in Mexico.
A little more shopping and walking around.
Watched Illuminations.


Today there seemed to be more people than at the Magic Kingdom yesterday. But since there weren't as many rides waiting in line wasn't that bad even though it was longer wait times than yesterday. Everything else we did was timed things and we just showed up. After Illuminations we made our way back to the car and then to the hotel. Even with the crowds getting out of the park and the parking lot went smoothly. Another great day at Disney World. Tomorrow the plan is to visit Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Day of Magic

We spent today at Disney World's Magic Kingdom and had a great time. It has been since the 90's since Thomas and I have been to Disney World and we have been talking about for a while now and we finally made the trip. We arrived at the parking area at 9:30am, boarded the 'Heroes' tram then took the Monorail over to the Magic Kingdom. Once in the park this is how our day went . . .

Rode the Walt Disney World Railroad around the park.
Walked down Main Street to Cinderella Castle.
Made our way to Tomorrowland.
Saw Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
Went to Stitch's Great Escape!
Rode Space Mountain.
Sat in on Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress.
Headed to Fantasyland.
Had a small lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus.
Rode "it's a small world".
Walked over to Liberty Square.
Went in to the Haunted Mansion through the cemetery.
Attended the Hall of Presidents.
Made our way to Adventureland.
Got Fast Pass for Jungle Cruise.
Watched the show at Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room.
Rode Pirates of the Caribbean.
Rode the Jungle Cruise.
Walked over to Frontierland.
Got Fast Pass for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Went over to Tom Sawyer Island.
Rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Rode Splash Mountain. Got soaking wet! - Thankfully it was the end of the day.
Ate a light dinner at Columbia Harbour House.
Watched the Main Street Electrical Parade.
Made our way to Cinderella Castle.
Watched The Magic, The Memories, and You! projected onto the Castle.
Watched the Wishes! Fireworks show.

When we first arrived at the park there weren't very many people and it was easy and fast getting around and getting on rides. By noon the park was a little busier but still not bad. A couple of the rides had 45 minute waits but those are the ones we got Fast Passes for and went do other things then returned at our appointed time and 'viola' - no waiting. I think the longest we waited in line for any ride was 20 minutes. Not bad! Leaving the park took a lot longer than arriving. There were tons more people tonight than this morning and there was a mass exodus after the fireworks. From the park we took the Ferry back over to the parking area and we got an impromptu concert from the Gardner High School Marching Band (from Gardner, MA). They participated in the Main Street Electrical Parade tonight. They didn't play instruments on the Ferry - they sang. I guess a few of them are in the choir as well and they will be participating in the Candlelight Processional at Epcot tomorrow night and they just started singing while the Ferry took us back to the parking area. It was nice and they were very good. It was a long day but we had a blast. Tomorrow we are going to Epcot.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Day of Travel

Thomas and I wanted to get away and do something fun and relaxing so we planned a trip to Orlando. Today we left Santa Fe and spent most of the day in airports and airplanes. The traveling part went pretty well and we didn't have any problems - it was just long. Thankfully we had a non-stop flight from Albuquerque to Orlando so we didn't have to change planes or wait around in an extra airport. The flight itself was three and a half hours, but we left the house at 7:30 this morning and arrived at the hotel at 5:00 this afternoon (that is 3:00 Santa Fe time).

Like I said the flight and the airport stuff wasn't bad but once we had our luggage and arrived at the rental car place things were not as smooth. When we travel I usually make all the arrangements, Thomas doesn't want to get involved with all that (he will make suggestions and stuff but he doesn't want to actually book anything). So when we checked in at the Avis desk the guy asked to see my ID and credit card which I felt made sense because I had made the reservations. Then Thomas gave him his ID because he is the one that usually drives. Well, since I made the reservations Thomas was going to be added as an additional driver (and this added about $100 to the bill). So I told the guy I wasn't going to be driving and that Thomas does all the driving but he said that since I made the reservations I was the first driver and anyone else was additional. Everytime we travel I make the reservations and Thomas does the driving - we have never had this problem - Thomas gives his ID and he is the driver and we don't pay anything additional. So lesson learned, will not be using Avis ever again. Anyway we got the car (and I drove) and we headed for the hotel. While planning this trip I learned about SunPass and I ordered a mini transponder so that we wouldn't have to stop for any toll booths. I was glad we did because as soon as we left the airport we got on a toll road headed to the hotel. The Garmin worked well and got us to the hotel in no time. We followed the signs for parking to check in to the hotel - Monumental Hotel. We entered the hotel and had to walk through the whole building to find the reservation desk. They asked for my credit card and I told the guy checking us in that I had already prepaid for the room. He said they had additional fees ($6.75/day) for "other" things. When I asked he said that it covered parking, internet, a safe in the room and other things. You pay this even if you don't use them. This is also what I consider hidden fees. Not once when I was researching this property or booking the room was this fee mentioned. So what do you do - we were already here - I actually thought about calling around for another hotel but then realized that since I had prepaid I couldn't cancel. So they had me - they could have charged me $100/day and there would be nothing I could do about it. We got our keys and brought our things to the room and relaxed for a little while and thought about where we could go to dinner. We didn't really find anything so we stopped at the desk on the way out and asked the guy that checked us in where we could go. His response - just drive up and down International Drive and you will find something. So far in Orlando the customer service gets a big fat zero.

We got in the car and drove up and down International Drive and found a place called Pointe Orlando. This is a shopping area with stores and restaurants near the Convention Center. We walked around for a bit trying to decide on a place to eat. Our first choice was Fat Fish Blue. When we tried to enter the door was locked and some woman came and opened it only to inform us that they opened at 6:00 and that we would have to wait outside until then. She didn't even invite us to come in and sit in the waiting area so we decided since there were a lot of other places to eat we moved on. We finally decided to eat at Johnny Rockets. A good hamburger and french fries was just what I needed. We had our food and were eating by 6:10 - that other restaurant probably lost a few other customers by not letting people in a little early. After we ate and relaxed we decided to walk around the shopping area for a while and then stopped in at a Ben and Jerry's for a little dessert. I had Late Night Snack. This ice cream was really good - it has a salty and a sweet taste. Thomas had a brownie sundae with mint chocolate chip ice cream. By the time we finished this snack we were more relaxed and ready to have a nice vacation. So with all this nonsense with the rental car and the hotel behind us we are ready for some fun. Tomorrow we visit the Magic Kingdom.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Walk in Santa Fe

Today I had to be in town running errands and attending meetings. In the middle of all this I had about and hour and a half to kill. I decided to take a walk in and around the Plaza area. Instead of the big picture I decided to crop things into little vignettes and give a little interest to things I see pretty often. Here is a slide show of some of those things and I hope you enjoy.

A Cloudy Day

Today we got quite a bit of rain. It was good, it helped the dryness a bit and cooled things down. Later, after the rain stopped the sky remained cloudy. Those clouds were absolutely beautiful and I decided to go out and take pictures. Here is a little slide show of a few of those clouds.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York Passes Same Sex Marriage

I have been keeping up with the fight for marriage equaility in New York by watching videos from "New Yorkers for Marriage Equality" campaign. I have also read a lot of articles and watched as some of the Republican Senators came to the realization that everyone deserves the same rights. The vote last night was an incredible victory not only for New York but I think for the gay community as a whole. New York is now the sixth state to allow gay marriage and it is also the largest state to allow gay marriage. With this victory the number of same sex couples wih the right to marry will double. I was impressed with the number of celebrities and high profile people who came to the support of the New York Gay and Lesbian Community and with Governor Cuomo for his ardent support. So New York now joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa and the District of Columbia with legalized same sex marriage. It is a happy day!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

History of Valentine's Day Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine's Day -- and its patron saint -- is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
I hope everyone has a special day today and remember there is always someone out there who loves you. Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 - A New Year Begins!

So another new year begins. It is hard to believe it is 2011, I clearly remember all the brouhaha surrounding Y2K. Isn't it funny how our country thrives on fear and Y2K turned out to be nothing. I am glad we don't have anything major to worry about as we enter into 2011.

I am hoping that the new year is a good one and that the economy will finally make a turn for the better. Thomas and I already have plans for a trip to Alaska this summer and if things work out I am hoping that we will be able to afford other trips as well. We also want to do some major landscaping in the yard and a few minor fix ups for the house. I am optimistic since Thomas has a very stable job and with my training as a Physical Therapist I know that I can always find a job.

Here is a New Year's poem I found . . .

Here are My Wishes for You...
H ours of happy times with friends and family
A bundant time for relaxation
P rosperity
P lenty of love when you need it the most
Y outhful excitement at lifes simple pleasures

N ights of restful slumber (you know - dont' worry be happy)
E verything you need
W ishing you love and light

Y ears and years of good health
E njoyment and mirth
A angels to watch over you
R embrances of a happy years!
Author Unknown

Here's wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year! BTW, did anyone notice that the date is 1/1/11.