Thursday, January 28, 2010

DAMN the Luck!

updated 12:10 p.m. MT, Thurs., Jan. 28, 2010
SANDUSKY, Ohio - A lottery winner who was struck and killed by a car in northern Ohio on the day she got her check had just spent some of the money on wedding rings for her and her husband.

The Ohio Highway Patrol says 47-year-old Deborah McDonald of Crystal Rock was walking home from a bar when she was hit by a car.

McDonald had been drinking and celebrating her winnings before she died, investigators said.

Countertop Transformations...

Well, I did it. I went to Lowe's this morning and picked up the kit to re-do our countertops. There are several color choices and the only one I knew I WOULDN'T get, was the charcoal. Our kitchen isn't huge and I didn't want the counters to look smaller.

I stood for what seemed forever last night and this morning, staring into the kitchen trying to envision the color that would look best. Certainly not the white. The sand color, which I thought I would like the best, is about the same color we have now - not enough contrast. The dark brown would have been lost between the darker colors in our hardwood floor and our Alder cabinet color. And the gray - nope. I stood and looked and stood and looked. The only color that was going to give me the contrast I needed - charcoal. So, that's what I brought home.

We'll watch the video (included) tonight and do the project this weekend. I'll definitely take before and after photos. I'm pretty excited and hope it looks as good as I think it will! If not, well, they have a 100% money back guarantee. Hopefully I won't have to use it!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cruise Shopping...

Aren't you glad I didn't bring you all home a souvenir?

I loved the sign - really, who would steal this stuff????

Monday, January 25, 2010

There's No Place Like Home, Part Deux...

Tortola, British Virgin Islands...

What a magnificent island this was. Obviously, it was my favorite as I took more pictures here than anywhere else. The temperature was in the 80s and this was the view from the ship when we first pulled in. A beautiful island...

We got off the ship not knowing what we were going to do. We found an open air vehicle that we hopped on - a great choice. Not far from the ship, we saw this site which of course, I HAD to take a picture of. As soon as I got my camera up, the old man was telling us it was "one dollar" to take his picture. We found on this island that "one dollar" will get you just about anything you need.

The driver took us around half the island, up and down hills (and they're STEEP hills!) all the while, him honking at cars coming toward us and them honking back. Is that a friendly thing or "move the hell over"? I never did figure it out. The driver told us a lot about the island and all the "waycation" homes here. There are some magnificent places which I'm sure are owned by rich Americans and British.

You know me, we passed this old car with plants growing out of it and I had to take a picture. The driver laughed and actually stopped so I could get this. "Lady, you want to take a picture of THAT?" Well duh!

The driver told us about this next place where you could have a free "waycation" and stay as long as you want. I bet there's not another prison in the world with a better view...

Your basic island public service announcement...

These flowers grow on all the islands, they're African tuplips and bloom from September through April.

This was probably my favorite "waycation" home we saw. Loved the colors and the style...

We drove to the highest peak on the island where there was a small watering hole and bathroom. The driver was sure to tell us the following important information...

"You can use the bathroom here for free"

"as long as you buy something."

"If you don't buy something, it's costs $1 to use the bathroom."

See, you can get whatever you need for a mere dollar.
Evidently, cock fighting is legal on these islands. He pointed out these fighting chickens.

On the way up one of the hills, they had painted these murals of their culture that I found interesting...

On the back side of the island was a beautiful little village...

I thought about how wonderful it probably was to go to such a small school in such a magnificent place. The kids all looked so happy...

A cow.

Then off to Labadee, Haiti. I had such mixed feelings about stopping here. How could we possibly get off the ship to have fun when just 80 miles away there was such destruction and sadness?

However, the cruise line assured us that the Haitian Government needed and wanted the ships to stop as they employ locals and that all the money spent on the stop would go to the Haitians. They also offloaded 400 pallets of food, water and medicine. They were picked up by UN trucks being guarded my machine gun toting soldiers.

A news crew had brought a water taxi out to take pictures of the ship coming in...

A Haitian sailboat. I found taking pictures of the locals much more interesting than the island itself.

And we finally got in the water and I swam in the ocean for the first time in my life!

It was a wonderful vacation (especially the FREE part!) But to be real truthful, none of these stops were places I would ever go back to. The litter on every island was horrible - evidently no litter laws. I couldn't believe having such wonderful islands, wonderful weather, and the residents don't seem to care about pollution or taking care of what they have. What a shame.

Adam and Elmer are saving up for a trip to Alaska for Adam's graduation present in 2years. While they're gone I'm going to Belize. I'm taking my niece Andrea and we're going to go and discover the rainforests and wildlife of Belize.

Eastern Caribbean Cruise, 2010

Thank you Western Heating for giving us the opportunity to do so many things we wouldn't normally have had the opportunity to do. I took my first swim in the ocean, I rode my first zip line, we ate great food and had wonderful company!

Day 1, Ft. Lauderdale. We had breakfast with one of my old friends from high school, Rick Dewey. Boy, did we have some fun back then! It was so wonderful to catch up on his life. He lives in Memphis now but still seems to be the same Rick I remember from 37 years ago. Thanks Rick, hope to see you for the Hillbilly Gatherin' in May!

They have lots of iguanas in Ft. Lauderdale. So many that they have signs...

We found this one. He was sleeping really good.

After hoping he'd wake up on his own, I finally bent over and tried screaming in his ear but he was sleeping GOOD! Goofy thing...

Then we found one that was actually awake. These things fascinate me. They think they're hiding in plain site...

Day 3, San Juan Puerto Rico
San Juan was beautiful. Lovely, friendly people.

We went to a farm where we rode ATVs up to the foothills of the rainforest. Their horses are very small and they all do this fancy, FAST trot. I don't know what it's called, guess I'll have to check on that but it was great to watch.

This was one of our guides who jumped in the river at the base of the rainforest. (he was real cute Lisa!)

The ancient Puerto Ricans found these stones that you can still find today and if they're rubbed in the water, they act just like paint. They come in all colors!

I loved all the bamboo, it's so beautiful!

On board the ship, they had twice-daily shows by people from the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. I've always been fascinated by glass blowing and went to 5 or 6 of these shows as they were always different because they made so many different and beautiful things.

This young man is 23 and was an art history major when he took his first glass blowing course.

This gal is 24 (she had her birthday while we were on the ship). She took her first glass blowing class at the age of 13 and is now a master glass blower. She spent a year in Mirano, Italy studying under one of the most famous glass artists in the world. She's been on the ship for 9 months. What a life! (she had a pair of shoes I really wanted to steal).

And this guy just actually started blowing 5 years ago. They were all three just fantastic artists!

Day 4, St. Maarten, US Virgin Islands. We rented a car here and drove all around the island. It's very small and didn't take long. This is the island where most of the beaches are "clothing optional". It's also where you can stand on the beach under the runway and have huge jets pass just a hundred feet over your head. We triend to get there but there was only one road in and one road out. After sitting in traffic for about 20 minutes and not moving an inch, we gave up.

Don't ask. I was with a group of 180 heating and air conditioning people. Elmer wanted this picture so here it is... I know, fascinating.

We stopped at a roadside pet shop. Beautiful birds, we kept hoping we'd see some kind of wildlife on this trip, but nothing. What a disappointment!