28 September 2010

A Brief Stop in County Clare

I'm starting to contemplate my vacation for next year.  I would like to go somewhere scenic, interesting, fun, and has some good grub!  This is a place we stopped when I was touring Ireland a few years back.  I'm sure it's more tourist spot than local, but man the mussels were out-of-this-world good.

I always like to try the favorite foods in the area I am traveling.  One of the servers recommended the crock of mussels in light cream sauce.  I was thinking small crock, I was wrong.  She brought this serving bowl - I swear - full of mussels.  The other 8 people at my table all tried some and I still couldn't finish the rest.  Down side, these were so good I'm afraid to try mussels in other restaurants for fear of being disappointed.

Oh, and here's the view when I turn around from the sign/door shot:


The Atlantic ocean at my footsteps.  Seriously, who wouldn't want to hang out here?

Linking to Watery Wednesday this week.  

(sorry for the spelling error earlier, I was tired!)

27 September 2010

Waiting for Baby

There is a baby epidemic at my workplace.  Lots of babies being born everywhere!  
We are not-so-patiently awaiting this little boy.

Here is my buddy NickyNat at one of her baby showers.  Pretend you don't see the flash shadow behind her head.  The comfy chair in the room was next to a window on a really sunny day.  I tried a variety of settings, but finally had to give in to the flash.  We didn't want to miss any fun, right?

A friend of hers made this cozy monkey blanket (big enough for Mama and baby).  It matches the jungle theme in the really cute nursery they already have finished.  Seriously adorable with 2-color walls, a border around the middle and matching bedding/furniture.  This baby boy is set!

Daddy A is finishing nursing school, so a buddy sent this shirt along.  
Nothing like prepping them early for a career!

And one of my favorite outfits of the day:


I'm sure all the new parents out there can relate. 


25 September 2010

SOOC Sunday - Lake District

This is in the Lake District, in Cumbria northwest England. 

I would love to be able to tell you which of the small towns I was near, but I was so into enjoying the area and taking some photos, that I didn't write any of that down!  I'm sure any place you go in this area would be fantastic.

It is quite the holiday destination...and if you visit, please tell Peter Rabbit hello!

Linking to straight out of the camera Sunday.  Please visit Murrieta 365 for more lovely photos.


24 September 2010

Flashback Friday

I am not a morning person.  Well, let me amend that, I do not like morning at the beginning of the day.  I worked nights for many years and was one of those odd ducks that loved living on that side of the day.  My favorite time was about 5:30 am, when the world was just starting to wake up and everything was serene.

Once in a great while I am rewarded for morning being at the beginning of the day.  On this day my friends and I were meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.  We were walking across the bridge connecting Old Town and New Town and the city just seemed to disappear into the fog.  It was magical.

When I saw the original photo, it seemed to be in a much earlier decade, so I added the sepia effect and it sealed the deal for me.  (Just pretend those cars are much older models).  I especially liked the 2 men out for a stroll.  It makes me wonder what their stories are...


23 September 2010


Work has been extremely hectic this week.  I would like to just sit at the 
table with these at the end of the day.  Feel free to join me!


21 September 2010

Trips to the Theatre

Wicked - one of my favorite musicals.


This is the poster I traveled through London and Brighton with before coming home.  My first time seeing Wicked was after I had been living in Lancaster, England for the summer.  I had been traveling around the UK to all kinds of towns and cities, some touristy, but mostly not.  My base was a University near the Lake district and I enjoyed the area immensely.  

Before leaving to hop the pond home, I spent the last 10 days in London and Brighton.  Unlike my SIL and friends, I had not read the book this show is based upon.  I heard it was much darker in nature than the show.  My mind was wide open to the experience and after, I wanted to go right up and buy more tickets for the next day!

It was not until seeing it in the States a couple years later, did I realize the differences in language and references depending on the location of the show.  Having been in England a brief while, I had become accustom to the phrases and jokes used there and when I heard them at the theater they fit right in.  When I saw it in an American city, the jokes had been adjusted and while just as funny, clearly different reference.

This show has changed my view of the original Wizard of Oz movie, but in a good way.  Also, I enjoy seeing it repeatedly for the music - really, how can you not sing along, the humor - the timing makes or breaks these main characters, and the messages - subtle and not so subtle, but effective!

Sorry no pictures for this one, they frown on cameras in the crowd and I was in the wrong place to get a good picture of the theater marquee.  This is about the "change" and is fall-out-of-you-seat-crying/laughing hilarious!  It is minimal in props and stage items (certainly compared to most shows) and performed by 4 women straight through, no intermission.  

These folks can sing!  And like most great shows, make you laugh at life.  Having seen friends and family attack this stage in life, I can only imagine how much they would appreciate the writing, timing, and characters in this show.  If you are looking for a gals night out event, give this a shot.

And last for today's review:

I think I mentioned before, I was raised Catholic.  What I mean by that was my siblings and I lived through Catholic school.  The plaid jumpers (no pants in our time), fierce kickball at recess (before they decided it was too dangerous to play on pavement in skirts - whatever!), rules, single file lines to everywhere, and of course, the Nuns.

Weren't we adorable?!


After 8 years together with the same 30-40 people in our class - and let me tell you we all KNEW each other by then, my siblings and I went to the public high school with the heathens.  Okay, not really, but the nuns pretty much implied that given any opportunity.

Now, let me describe to you the "public" high school I attended.  It is consistently ranked in the top tier of all schools systems in the state.  It had a large band and choral program, competitive cheerleading, soccer, lacrosse, football, tennis, etc. with varsity, JV, and freshman level teams that routinely sent teams to state finals.  We had advanced math, biology, and chemistry programs that made me wonder why I bothered taking any more in college (the college ones were easier).  Our one drawback was we didn't have swimming pools.  Yes, I can feel the sympathy as you read.  My point is, while the school did not have Nuns, it was certainly not lacking in much else and we survived the heathens.

So years later when my SIL, a converted Catholic and now Director of Religious Education for their parish and her mother, a non-Catholic said they had tickets for this 1-woman show, I was interested.  How much could one person convey about Catholic school and upbringing in a small theater show?  Holy Toledo, she got it ALL in there.  I swear, I felt like I had been transported back in time.

The actress is dressed in an old-school Nun habit with the big wooden rosary beads hanging down the side.  The theater is typically smaller than average, to assist in the feeling of being in Sister's class.  She asks questions and you'd better know the answer!  She makes you keep your feet flat on the floor (why did they harp on that?) and spit your gum out...in her hand.  She talks about families and names, and generally asks around until she finds the "Catholic trifecta" of Joseph Donovan O'Malley or some such thing.  In our show the woman said her name was Candy...oh my, the Sister went on for 10 minutes on the satan references, but with humor. 

If this show comes to town try to squeeze it in.  It will be funny to anyone, but hilarious to those who have recovered from Catholic school.  Speaking of, here are some of our folks 20+ years later.  Still fabulous people and I love that I know them.

I hope you've enjoyed my trips to the theater and the 
memories they conjured up!

Sorry about the font size, it won't seem to give me normal, only small or large. 


19 September 2010

SOOC Sunday

Here is a friend of mine and her daughter having a quiet moment before a wedding reception.  I love how this shows a moment of peace among many chaotic moments.

For more straight out of the camera Sunday, visit Murrieta 365.

Happy Sunday!


17 September 2010

Greek Orthodox Church

In the Greek festival postings I promised a look inside the church.  Now, I was raised Catholic and really, we didn't take pictures inside church without a really good reason.  You know, a wedding or baptism - and even then only a few.  The rest were all outside in front of a saint statue or in the church hall.

But this church is so stunning, I really had to get over the discomfort and snap a few shots.

From the doorway, I still couldn't go in just to take a photo.

The murals and ceiling work is done in itty bitty tiles.  They are hand made and some are gold.  It is difficult to show the breathtaking skill it must have taken to finish this work.  I do know there are more than 1,000,000 tiles in the dome.

To make all those tiles shine in their glory, they have some bling hanging about the sanctuary.

Even non-religious visitors appreciate the idea that artistic skill like this comes from a higher power.

There are large stained glass windows all around the church as well.  They depict assorted religious scenes and filter the sunlight beautifully into the sanctuary.  Here is one shot from the outside, with the reflection of the festival in the clear glass overlay.

The light on a few of these shots may look a little "blown out".  The dome is very high, so even on a really sunny day, it is a bit dark and I had difficulty capturing the scenes without a little computer tweaking. With the editing I lost a little detail and the natural light look.  I hope you can still get a feel for the glow inside this church.

Thanks for visiting!


16 September 2010

Happy Baby face

Look!  Look!!!

A happy BabyBelle photo with my Nikon!  You may remember this face that I get when I pull out the big camera:

I think we may have turned corner and found a way to get some happy shots.  Of course, using the kitty running around her and getting her excited might have helped too.

Hey, you have to use what you can with kids!


15 September 2010

Wordless Wednesday....

Happy Wednesday.


14 September 2010

End of summer - part 2

I had a few road trips last week.  One of them was for work, but it took me by a popular summer venue (okay, it was a little off the path, but I was already out in God's country so I decided to take a side trip).

I was dressed for work related events (meetings, interviews, etc) so I had to improvise on getting some photos.  As much as I would have liked to change and hit the beach, it wasn't in the cards - or schedule.

It was also ridiculously windy at the lake.  It may be hard to tell, but look closely and you can see the white peaks in the water.  I had to use my tripod just to get from the car to the beach.  After setting up there, I still had to hold onto the tripod to keep everything in place.

Here is one of the 2 families trying to stretch the summer out just a little longer.  It was still 90 degrees and sunny, so they had the right idea and no crowded beach!

Keeping in the theme of celebrating summer to the end, I stopped by a river where there are all kinds of boating.  Here is a family enjoying the open waterway.  They were cute as they waved for the camera while speeding by.

And as the sun started to set, I couldn't resist one more shot of the peaceful fishermen.  I don't think they caught anything, but the serenity was enough for me.

I hope you enjoyed my detours as I try to ease into autumn.


12 September 2010

Macro Monday

I was in an ice cream shop and saw these bottles lined up against a wall.  The rows and rows of shiny tops just grabbed my eye.

Go see Lisa and friends for more Macro Monday!


End of Summer - More Greek fest!

The Greek fest had several different groups of dancers that are trained and very talented.  Here are some photos of their assorted dances. 

The folks at the festival really love to watch these dancers, so we crowd around and try to take pictures over each others heads!

I also took several videos.  It was fun to catch the dance and a bit of the music.

This is a video SOOC from my Nikon.  It's the first time I've tried adding video to my blog and I do not have software to adjust the size quite yet.  So, I hope it doesn't take too long to load for you.

Happy Sunday!

11 September 2010

Never Forget

Pausing in my end of summer reflections to remember 
those lost on and those still surviving 9/11/2001.

I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.


09 September 2010

End of Summer - Greek Festival

One of my favorite end of summer events is a Greek festival.  I'm sad that it marks the end of summer, but always enjoy the food, fun, music and dancing, crowd, and food.

Oh did I say that already?

Here is an outside shot of the church.  I have some inside photos, later in the week.

There is always a good crowd, but Friday and Saturday nights are packed to the gills.  I mean, more people than your trendiest club in any major city.  This year I couldn't get down there until Monday afternoon.  The crowd was lighter, but still having a great time.

They have assorted live music around the venue.  Here is a family band that has played the festival for decades.

They have a "dancing" area.  Other days of the year it's a parking lot, but we're pretending here.

There are always willing souls ready to jump out and show their skills.

And what kind of festival would it be without shopping and food?

There is food everywhere.

Outside they have meat vendors, baklava ice cream sundaes, well placed bar tents, and sandwiches.  Inside they have traditional Greek foods and pastries, with lines that can be 100 people deep at any given time. You can eat in or take out.  In rainy years past, I have driven down just to pick up a bag of food for a few days. 

To support the church of course...

A must-have stop:

Can I have an Amen?

More to come.

08 September 2010

End of summer, part 1

Still downloading photos, but I thought a series of posts about end of summer events might be fun.  These photos are of my niece and nephews in Texas.  They are having all kinds of fun down there!

(Oh and a friend of theirs too.)

There was fishing and baseball...

 They had some swimming...

And of course, some yummy treats!  I would like to point out my cute niece taking pictures of her food.  I didn't even teach her, she's just smart like that!

Thanks to the BigBrother and his lovely wife for the SOOC summer shots.  They bought a new Nikon this summer too, so we've all been learning and snapping like crazy.

We're on the down slide to the weekend!