Friday, October 31, 2008

Wish Billy Graham a Happy 90th Birthday!

Take a moment to go online here and wish this compassionate and caring man a happy birthday. There aren't many other evangelists out there that have the integrity, character and humility of this man of God. What a precious opportunity we have to let him know what he's meant to our country.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


We hope you have an awesome celebration this week for both of your birthdays. We wish we lived closer so we could celebrate with you.

Have an extra special day and year!

Monday, October 27, 2008

So I guess my posts must be getting pretty boring because the volume of comments has come to a screeching halt. Sad for me...I miss you, my visitors.

These photos are from Pemaquid Lighthouse in Bristol, Maine. We stopped there on the way from Bar Harbor to Portsmouth, NH. It was a gorgeous spot! More to come...

The reception that I've been coordinating is coming up this weekend. I'm looking forward to it for several reasons:
  1. It will be the first event where I've had a reasonable budget and have not had to do absolutely everything myself, so it should be more relaxing than other events that I've coordinated.
  2. We hired a "real" caterer (Fabulous Food) and we're serving Norwegian food in honor of the bride and Mexican food in honor of the groom. I can't wait to see how the food is displayed and how it tastes. I'm really hoping to have time to take some pictures.
  3. The hosts are stringing white lights all over the yard and we'll line the driveway with special luminarias, so it should be quite magical (more photo ops)
  4. The RSVP guest count actually ended up being almost exactly the original target number. We had the potential for double that amount and I was a bit nervous.
  5. Once this event is over, my schedule is wide open with no big activities until our vacation in December, then the holidays. I'm looking forward to being able to concentrate on home, family and friends for the rest of the year. That includes more blogging time as well.
More news!
  • Check out Amy's news about her photography business. Great things are happening so you'd better book her before her prices go up any more.
  • We had a fun time with Terry's mom this weekend. I wish she lived closer so we could do more with her.
  • My brother, Pat is back in town from Ohio. That's a long story. He is looking for a one bedroom apartment or a room to rent so let me know if you hear of anything.
  • Kevin has moved on to the western U.S. for his training. He's busy, busy - training 7 days a week. Sounds like he's still on track for going overseas in the next few weeks. I wish we could see him before he goes, but right now it's not very promising.
  • Our ladies' bible study meets for the last time next week, then we'll break for the holidays. We haven't decided for sure if we'll continue in the Spring, but it's looking like a possibility.
  • I've committed to organize the food for an upcoming ladies retreat at church at the end of January. I've already got some fun ideas, but need to get my budget before I can do any definite planning.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

You have GOT to see this movie!!!

Add this to the top of you Netflix list or head out now to your favorite video store to pick up "Young at Heart". I can't imagine anyone that wouldn't love this documentary about a choral group of senior citizens whose average age is 83. You'll hear them sing songs like "Purple Haze" and "I Feel Good" by James Brown. It's awesome!
They will make you laugh and cry and will probably help you appreciate the "mature" adults in your own life. The whole time I was watching this I was thinking how much my mother would LOVE to be in a group like this. Does anyone know of one in the Phoenix area? It would be amazing!
Seriously, this is not to be missed! Go get it now! You won't be sorry.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Check out our friend, Jay Haugen's New Blog!

If you have any interest in real estate market trends, current info, buying and selling tips, etc. you should check it out.

Jay has been in real estate for almost 30 years in the Valley of the Sun and has so much wisdom when it comes to all the chaos that's going on around us.

Check it out and set it up on your RSS feed to get his updates. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Finally! A bit more about vacation and inspiration...
As I started thinking about all that still needed to be said about vacation, I realized that there's probably much more than I should post at one time, so we'll see how this ends up.

I mentioned Bar Harbor, Maine in the last vacation post, but missed a couple of key stops, that I'll fill in now.

So much of what I saw and experienced inspired me to make time in my busy life to do something creative. To get back to drawing or writing or something totally different than the other activities of my day. I get to dip my toes in it with my blogging and photography, but I'd love to do more. We'll see if I can make that happen.

While we were there I also learned that many of my favorite artists and writers lived in New England. Why was it such an inspiring place? I'm still trying to figure that out, but there were several obvious clues. The surroundings are absolutely beautiful and I can see why the cool damp weather would encourage a person to stay inside and use their imagination to take them to new places.

One day when we were in New Hampshire we went up the road to Franconia to visit the home where one of my favorite poets, Robert Frost, summered for over a decade and a half. They call it "The Frost Place". It was a cozy little spot with this amazing view of the valley and the mountains on the other side. The day we were there, the mountains had received a dusting of snow overnight. The house was quite small and simple by today's standards, but had a big front porch. I could imagine the poet sitting on that porch or on a bench under a tree writing his amazing poems.
After my experience of having a dad that was an iron-worker who didn't say much, I wondered what it must have been like for his 6 kids to have a poet for a father. How in the world could he find time to write with all those kids around. Wow! He must have been an awesome man with such a tender and creative soul.

If you've never read any of Robert Frost's poems, check out a few of the more popular ones, like "The Road Not Taken". It's a classic. We saw hundreds of stone walls, just like he describes in "Mending Wall". Take a look. I think you'll like them.

Our next creative stop was the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine. It houses the works of three generations of the Wyeth family. NC Wyeth was a book illustrator in the early 1900s. I would love to find some of the classics with his illustrations. They were gorgeous! His son, Andrew Wyeth started as a teenager and did much of his painting in watercolors or egg tempera. I remember learning about him in high school. His work was so detailed. You appreciate it even more so, if you've tried to paint with watercolors. It's not easy to get that kind of detail.
Then Jamie Wyeth, who is still living, went on to follow in the footsteps of the previous generations. I thought Andrew would like his photo of the shark's tail. Read the pic of the description about it too. I think Andrew would be great friends with Jamie.

And last on my list of inspirations was a new artist that I discovered while at a cafe in Bar Harbor. Her name is Neiley Harris and I LOVE her paintings of nature, trees, fruit, flowers, etc.. She has a website and a blog that show her work and the process as well. Someday maybe I can buy one of her paintings when I can afford to get original art. Actually her pieces are really quite reasonable compared to more well known artists. I guess we'd better buy them soon, before she gets too famous.

All in all, these visits made me want to retire from working and just be creative in whatever way I can find to do it. But since we know that's not going to happen any time soon, I'll just have to squeeze in some creativity along the edges somewhere.

Another Day without vacation pictures:

I'm sure you're beginning to wonder if there really are more vacation pics. Believe me, there are! It's going to be hard to choose those last ones out of the 400 or so favorites that I've narrowed it to. Last night I was going to work on it and ended up falling asleep really early - no idea why. I finally gave up and went to bed before 9 pm and slept all the way to 5:30 this morning with no problem.

Last night we called and talked to Kevin for a while. Apparently he's only going to be at his current location (see his blog for a hint) for a few more days, then he goes to another secret location for a few weeks. We told him to be sure and go to the movies and post about it when he gets there (so we know where he is). :-) Also, there seems to be a slim chance that he may get to go back to Omaha for a few weeks before he actually gets shipped overseas. If so, I'd love to find a way to see him before he leaves.

Monday, October 13, 2008

So sorry that I haven't posted from the end of vacation yet...tasks just filled up my weekend and I ran out of time. But here's something to think about in the meantime. It will tie into my next post. I promise.

This is an excerpt from one of my favorite weekly newsletters from "The Wizard of Ads".

“Did you know that when you see the same thing over and over again, your brain uses less and less energy? Your mind already knows what it’s seeing, so it doesn’t make the effort to process the event again.

Just putting yourself in new situations can make you see things differently and jump-start your creativity.” – inside front flap, Iconoclast, by Gregory Berns.Dr. Gregory Berns is a heavyweight: he’s a neuroscientist, a psychiatrist, and the Distinguished Chair of Neuroeconomics at Emory University. His research has been profiled in the New York Times, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. His new book, Iconoclast, was published by Harvard Business School Press.

According to Berns, the tendency of the brain is to take shortcuts through categorization. “Categories are death to imagination… Often the harder one tries to think differently, the more rigid the categories become.

There is a better way, a path that jolts the brain out of preconceived notions of what it is seeing: bombard the brain with new experiences. Only then will it be forced out of efficiency mode and reconfigure it neural networks… The surest way to evoke the imagination is to confront the perceptual system with people, places and things it hasn’t seen before.”

So maybe this is why I always come back from vacation so inspired!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

We're Home!

I haven't had time to post on the last few days of vacation, but will do that by this weekend. Keep checking back for pictures from...

Bar Harbor, Maine
Acadia National Park
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
and more...

It's nice that the mornings are cooler in Phoenix now. Makes it feel more like Fall.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Today we're in Bar Harbor, Maine!

No time to post much since we're heading out to Acadia National Park today. Jay & Sharon said this was one of their favorites last year. We're finally getting some sun, so looking forward to a gorgeous day.

I can already tell that I want to come back to Maine and stay at least a week...or a summer would be nice too. It's just as you'd imagine, ocean, streams, islands, boats, trees, gorgeous old houses, quaint little shops, cafes and everything dripping with history.

We're staying at the Hummingbird Suites. The photos don't do it justice. It's so cozy and clean and has every little amenity as if you're in your own home. A variety of chickens are out back, with a wonderful hammock and an inviting nature trail into the woods. I'll try to get photos of the chickens. They're cute.

We had some delicious lobster last night at Poor Boy's Gourmet. Hoping for more great stuff today. I'll try to post pics tonight if we get in early enough.

If we were in town longer, we could even take a ferry to Nova Scotia!!!! Can you believe it? That will have to wait until our next trip. Then maybe we could go to Prince Edward Island too. Anyone else want to come with us?

For now, that's it. We're heading out for our next big adventure. Oh, and still no moose...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

This post doesn't need much explanation...

Yesterday we expected a rainy day, so we chose to do something that was mostly indoors. We checked out some antique shops and craft stores along Route 4 from Chichester to Portsmouth, NH.
The photos explain it best.

I love this felt pumpkin piece above. It looks so simple. I might even be able to tackle it.
Oh, and we did see a moose! Unfortunately, it was stuffed and ready to hang on a wall.

After shopping, we ended up at the seashore, had dinner near a marina, then had an hour or so when the sun poked thru the clouds.

The neighborhood we drove thru is called Rye Beach and it had lots of similarities to Pacific Grove and the 17 Mile Drive (Pebble Beach area) in California. There was a wide range of homes. Some were tiny beach cottages and others were massive (beach) mansions that had been there for decades. So many of them had great character and charm and we were amazed at the size of some of the lots. They had to have been there for many generations to own that much land.
Today we took a chance and headed for the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, which includes Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake, Mirror Lake and many more. The weather forecast was for rain only in the morning, but we did get a few sprinkles in the afternoon and some on and off cloud cover. Overall it was better than some of the previous days, but we still didn't wander too far from the car outdoors, since we never knew when it might start raining. To give you an idea of the look of the area, Squam Lake was the location for one of my favorite movies, "On Golden Pond". Henry Fonda reminds me so much of my dad in that movie and the setting was so gorgeous.
Cottages like the ones shown here are sprinkled throughout the area. They're so quaint and nostalgic. I love them!

Here are some other pictures of that area too.

One of my first acquisitions was to buy a gourd like the one I had seen in Stowe from a roadside stand for just a few dollars. I plan to take it home, dry it out and paint it like a snowman. We'll see how it goes.
Aren't these ghostly cupcakes from the Holderness General Store just adorable?

Here are some other pics of things that struck a chord with me.

Antique tools reminded me of my brother, Rusty who used to collect them.
Vintage albums and 45's reminded me of Andrew.

Vintage children's books reminded me of Amy.

Ginger beer reminded me of Kevin...wish I could ship it to you, but I don't think it would make it.
So all in all it was a day filled with reminiscing...I look forward to someday being able to take a vacation with Amy & Andrew & Kevin again. They're always a great addition to any outing. We miss having them with us.