Monday, September 30, 2013

Mandarin Orange Monday-windmills

Being from farm country I tend to get nostalgic when I see old rusty windmills.

And what looks best behind a windmill silhouette?

An orange sunset!

Long Live the Queen of Fond Memories

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Camo Kitty

Hi there!  Gracie here writing today's blog post.  The Queen is taking a day off today and put me in charge.  She owes me big time for this as it's really hard to type with these big honking paws.  

But, she is the Queen and deserves the respect of us loyal subjects.  She makes us call her that...pretty sickening huh?  But she does have thumbs to open the cat food, so we'll call her whatever she wants.  You should hear what George calls her behind her...well, I should probably not repeat such language.  After all, I am a lady.

Hey George!  Is it working?  Can you still see me?

I love taking naps on their bed when they are away and it's pretty cool that she bought the bedspread to match me!  Ooooh.  Wait a minute!  She had the bedspread first.  Did she adopt me because I went with her decor?  Hey George!  We need to talk!

He he he...she can't even see that I'm here!

Oh well, the nice part of this is that she can't seem to find me when I'm napping here because she says I camoflage with the coverings.  I prefer to think that I am not really a calico cat but instead am a chameleon cat and I choose to blend into my surroundings.

Long Live Princess Grace

Friday, September 27, 2013

Photoshop Friday - morning glories

Yes, I tend to use the same filters in Photoshop Elements 10 all the time. I can't help it, they are my favorites. 

After receiving messages from many of you showing the results you've come up with I'd like to open my Photoshop Friday up as a challenge.  Use the original image and then send me a message with your image and I'll post it in next weeks Photoshop Friday.  Please let me know if you'd like your name posted with it - I would only use first names. 

Here is a lovely morning glory stretching up to greet the sky.

This is after applying the watercolor filter to it.

And then I tried the posterization effect.

And finally the dry brush filter.

Long Live the Queen of Morning Glories

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dairy of a Coke Addict

Well, hopefully THAT got your attention!  Yes, I am a coke addict...but perhaps not the way you are thinking.

My love/hate relationship with coca cola began when I was about 8 months old.  My mother would put it in my baby bottle for me because I seemed to like it.  Now why you would give a fidgety ADD child coke at this age, I have no idea.  I'm guessing I may have had some gin tonics or martinis to help me sleep at night as well...who knows.

As a child I was a fussy eater so pretty much anything my Grandmother could get into my scrawny body was acceptable.  She made sure I got healthy food first, but there were always desserts and candy to try to put some pounds on me.  I recall being afraid of high winds as she claimed I needed to put a brick into my pocket so I wouldn't blow away.  No such danger now!  I could probably stay grounded during a hurricane with this weight.

Drinking soda, or pop as we call it in the Midwest, has always been part of my life.  As I've aged I realized I could no longer handle having it later in the day as it upset my sleep patterns.  Of course, menopause may have been somewhat to blame for that as well.

It has many side effects that I don't care for.  It makes me agitated and I feel like I'm on speed.  I'm not actually sure what that actually feels like, but this would be my best guess.

The worst side effect (or at least I hope it's one) has been the shakiness of my hands.  I can barely read my own handwriting, especially later in the day.  I used to love to sketch and draw, but can no longer do this due to the wobbliness.

Another side effect (I hope) is how rattled my brain feels sometimes.  I can't concentrate or remember things well. Did I mention that before....I can't recall.

So, I decided to go off this lifelong product and see what happens.  The first reaction were the headaches, but I was expecting this.  I knew there would be some discomfort involved.

Then I tried having some of this product while out, but not keeping it in  my RV anymore.  I thought it would be a real "treat" and would be immediately hooked again.  To my utter surprise I find I don't really care much for the taste of it any more and now that I don't have it coursing through my veins on a regular basis it seems to have a much faster reaction to my system.

I haven't eliminated it completely from my diet,but have cut back drastically.  Now I will have some of those little tiny bottles of Classic Coke in the fridge when I feel I need a little stimulation.  I have mixed feelings about the additional calories in the Coke, but I keep reading all the horrible things about the effects of diet soda.

And so I continue my love/hate relationship with Coca Cola by alternately not having it and then enjoying it once in a while.  It's at least a step forward in cutting back and I find I'm drinking much more water as a result.

Long Live the Queen of (almost) Coke Free  Living

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Visiting Washington DC

I wish I had photos to show of the things we've seen, both in NYC and in DC, but so many of the places we've toured forbid any use of photography or cell phones.

It's such a hassle to drag around the camera when in crowded quarters and much of what I'd like to photo would probably get me in trouble anyway, so it's just as well it stays home.

While in the DC area we went to the Smithsonian and toured the Holocaust Museum.  I'm at a total loss for words as to how to describe this, and that doesn't happen often.

The museum's decor is  very stark and reflects the horror experienced by the many who perished during this awful blight on our history.

Being Jewish, I've probably already read and seen almost everything there is on this subject and I think that is what impressed me the most with this exhibit.

They don't soft soap the issue but they also don't go out of the way to get the in-your-face shock value that is so prevalent in our society.  It's all done very tastefully; thed mood is somber and respectful.

The film footage of the Americans liberating the camps reminded me of stories told by my father-in-law, may his memory be for a blessing.  He seldom spoke of his war years, but did talk once about the 82nd Airborn finding one of the camps.

The moment that immediately brought tears to my eyes was  seeing the desecrated Torah scrolls on display.  This is the ultimate symbol of our belief and so many brave people have died trying to protect them. It almost physically hurt to see them laying in a tangled pile.

Along the pathway of the exhibits you walk through one of the cattle cars that were used in transport and youcan smell the fear embedded in the walls.  Being trapped inside one of these dark cars for days with no food, water or relief is unimaginable.

The most inspiring portion (in my humble opinion) was at the end where they run videos of Holocaust survivors telling their stories. 

They spoke of horrific events and yet their underlying message was to never give up hope, that life was worth living no matter what the situation. I cannot imagine the ordeal of dealing with those memories.

My favorite story was of a man who asked his friend what he was doing.  He replied that he was praying and praising G-d.  The other man was dumbfounded that he could find anything to praise G-d for in this place.  The man explained that he was thanking G-d for not having made him one of those people who were capable of doing this to another person.

It was an inspirational experience overall and I certainly recommend visiting it if you ever get the chance.

Long Live the Queen of No Words

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mandarin Orange Monday- Egret

This is a photo I'd taken of an egret during one of trips to Florida.  I love the birds and foliage down there.

I love the photo just as it is, but decided to try altering it for MOM.

This is my first attempt and it turned out more red than orange, although I like it.

This one worked a bit better - more of an orange hue to it.

He's just such a pretty bird he'd look good with any kind of background.

Long Live the Queen of Egrets

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Happy Trails to You...

We stopped for gas and there was food available, so I ran in to grab us some grub.  I've never eaten at a Roy Rogers before, but always loved his cowboy movies as a kid, so I figured 'why not?'

If you have never partaken of this culinary delight before....don't start now!  Just say "neigh"!

I recall as a child that after Trigger's demise Roy had him stuffed and mounted for display in his home. 

I never gave any thought to what they may have done with....well, you know...his remains.

This thought occurred to me as I chewed away at a dry, old tasteless burger and I couldn't help but wonder if I might be eating the last of Trigger.

The fries were served up in a cardboard "holster" of all the stupid things.  Since we were sharing them I couldn't hook it on to my belt for speed draw eating.

Long Live the Queen of Horrible Burgers

Friday, September 20, 2013

Photoshop Friday -removing the sign and blurring background

During our travels we visited Mystic Seaport in Mystic CT.

One of the costumed guides had on this lovely outfit and her pose was perfect, but I didn't like the jarring effect of the modern sign.

Oh what to do?  Well, remove it of course!  Then I used the selection tool to capture her and inverted it so I could apply a glaussian blur to the background.

This has two benefits.  It softens the background to make her more prominent and also covers up any cloning errors I made removing the sign.

Long Live the Queen of Photoshop

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Short post

Finally got a bit of Internet today so this is just a short post to catch up.  We'll be leaving NYC this morning and heading to Maryland for our next stop.

The park here turned out to be just fine. Yes, we are crammed in close together and it's a gravel parking lot.  However, we have use of electric and water with a dump station to use before we leave.  Plus it's well lit and I felt very safe the entire stay.  We are next to (part of) a marina, so the view of the city scape at night right out our window is lovely and we can see the statue of liberty from our lot.

On Tuesday we walked downtown to see the Tenement Museum.  Yup, we walked the whole way with a few blocks off the route when we got lost.  The entire tour of the museum is walking, going up steps and standing in place.  Our legs were killing us and my feet were on fire.  But even with the physical discomfort it was fascinating to see how this family lived in the lower east end and struggled to make a life.

I dreaded walking back but he didn't suggest hopping a cab so I hoofed it right along with him.  We might not be fit in body, but stubbornness we both have in spades.

Wednesday we walked to the subway station and took it to the theatre district.  While we were sitting in one of the public open areas people watching I talked to the Divine Miss M.  This is where I got the shocking news that they had sold their house.  Huh?  That was the plan, I understand, but this wasn't to take place until next summer.

It seems that a neighbor of theirs had a friend looking for a home in that area, they invited them in to see it and bingo - it was a sale.  That was strange enough but the really freaky thing is that the new buyers have the same name as they do.  Not just the last name either. The men have the identical first name and the women's names are only a couple letters different.  This ought to be fun with holding mail and forwarding mail for the same names!  Leave it to her to do it the complicated way.

Then we found a little deli and enjoyed some great sandwiches and Greek salad. After lunch we did a bit more people watching...there's no shortage of it here and got in line for our show.

The minute I heard about Motown the Musical I knew I had to see it and it was even better than I had hoped for!  There's nothing to compare to a live performance, especially on Broadway.  The music was fabulous, of course, I mean it's Motown!  The choreography was stunning and our seats were up in the mezzanine so we had the perfect view for it.

Leaving the theatre allowed for even more interesting people watching on the way back to the subway.  There were several young women body-painted to show their love of the city with only a little triangle to cover their woman parts. Yikes!  What made it seem all the more odd was to have them standing next to characters dressed up as Hello Kitty and Sponge Bob. Not to mention the man who was bouncing his pecs, that was just weird.

But I have to admire the homeless attempt to earn money.  One man was singing "help the homeless" and several had interesting signs by their cups such as "need money for weed" and my favorite..."need money for midget wrestling".  It's a strange place indeed.

After the show we took the subway back to the station five blocks from our RV and went home. I see why all the people downtown are fit, they climb stairs and do a lot of walking all the time downtown. Maybe we should stay here and get fit!  No...I'm too much a small town girl to ever want to do that.

So this morning finds us taking showers to get the stink of all that walking and riding the subway off before we prepare for the next leg of our journey.

Hopefully the next park will have Wi-Fi again and we'll be settled in for a week near the Washington DC area to take in what that area has to offer.

Long Live the Queen of Liberty Harbor

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Leaving Connecticut

We moved about halfway down Connecticut to get into a closer position to our next stop.  There aren't many places to camp near NYC, I guess most of the people stay in hotels and such while visiting.

I found a place in North Branford that is a trailer park with a lot off to the side for RV's passing through. It's well lit, and has full hook ups including cable, which Left Brain liked as we set up quickly so he could watch the football game.

While he watched the Packers demolish their opposition, I want to the Big Y to get groceries. It's only found in MA and CT and has to be one of the nicest stores I've seen.  Maybe I was enjoying it so much as I was alone and took my time going up and down the aisles to avoid the football game back home.

Gracie acts as our Technical Support when we get stumped.
Here she's helping Left Brain with a problem on his phone.

Our reservations in NYC are for Liberty Harbor RV Park and we're a bit apprehensive about what it's going to be like.  The reviews were not at all favorable, it sounds mostly like a large parking lot that they milk you for a high fee ($80 a night).  But our feelings are that if it is safe and indeed close to where we want to be, then it's just fine. 

We've only booked a couple of days there to see and do everything we are wanting to accomplish. 

Hopefully there will be decent Internet services at the next place, I've gotten spoiled with the fast free services here.

Long Live the Queen of Connecticut

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mandarin Orange Monday - windows

I love photographing buildings, especially old walls and windows.  To me they are like the to the soul.

These windows had lovely orange awnings that I thought would be fitting for M.O.M.

Long Live the Queen of Yawning...I mean Awning

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mystic Seaport

Yesterday we wrapped up our tourist activities by going to the Mystic Seaport. It is a large complex with many ships to visit,many of which you can board and go below.  It's an outdoor history museum with a nautical theme.

It was just a matter of time before Left Brain tried to take over the position of Captain.

I could relate more to the everyday matters of the seamen, like the shopping and doctors office.

Good for what ails you I guess.
 I know it would have made me very healthy VERY fast if they were going to put them on me.
The "examining table" didn't make me feel any more comfortable either.
I'm guessing the bucket is there for the blood letting process.
The store seemed nice...of course, what store doesn't seem nice?

Here is the sewing room for the milliner...and I thought it was cramped sewing in the RV!

And of course, in a shipyard you have to have lots of rope and equipment on hand.

And the beauty wasn't just the ships and buildings, but the flowers that were found everywhere.

It was a sweet way to end our time in Mystic CT.  We will head further down the coast on our way to NYC.

Long Live the Queen of Ships

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Plimouth Plantation - doing the touristy thing

These are some photos from back in Massachusetts, I thought I had posted them but must have forgotten. Or,I'm posting them twice...if so, forgive a woman who has lost her mind.  I've already posted Photoshop Friday on Thursday this week, so it kind of shows where my mind has gone.

Left Brain and I headed over to the Plimouth Plantation for some tourist activity.  I've been here before, but loved it so much I wanted to go see it again.

our first glimpse of the village

the bed belonged to the parents in this house and has feathers in the mattress.  The striped pad on the left is the bed for their two sons and is stuffed with straw and placed on the floor at night

the bed curtains help to hold in the heat during those cold winter nights

such a sweet little cradle

I loved this little corner in this house.

This house was quite a bit larger and much more spacious

I found the wood pile very interesting with its circular pattern.

It is the job of the children to learn where the chickens are laying eggs and to gather them.

The costumed guides remain in full character during the entire conversation and represent a person who had lived there during the 1600's.

This was in the visitor center and entitled the MooFlower.

I loved the huge sunflowers they had planted in the gardens.

It is always fun to literally "step into history" as you enter the gates and see everything that has been constructed in the manner it was done back in those days.

Long Live the Queen of Plimouth Plantation