Thursday, September 29, 2011

Skywatch: On the Upside, Looking Down

In my former life as an employed person, I flew to Toronto and back several times. I took this picture somewhere over the northeastern U.S., but I don't recall exactly where. Seeing the world from this perspective is always inspiring.

The next shot was also taken during a trip to Canada but on a different flight, as you can see by the hint of sunset on the horizon.

Please join me at Skywatch Friday, where you'll see outstanding photos from all over the world.

Thoughts on Thursday

A funny thing happened today – funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha, as we say in my family.

I had taken a photo of my granddaughter with my phone and sent it to my son at work. I wasn’t really happy with the photo and wished I had a way to edit it right then and there. So I went to the App Store and search for a photo-editing app. I found a free one (of course!) and downloaded it. I was able to crop the photo, adjust the lighting and put it in a nice frame. I then sent the revised version to my son, who was very impressed.

Before - one cute girl, one bad photo.

After I did all this, it suddenly occurred to me –

I took a picture with my phone.

I sent the picture to my son at work with my phone.

I shopped at the App Store with my phone.

I found a free photo-editing program with my phone.

I took the program from the store with my phone.

I added the program to my other apps with my phone.

I edited the photo with my phone.

I framed the photo with my phone.

I sent the revised version to my son with my phone.

After - girl is even cuter, photo is more gooder.
Those of you who were born in the digital age may not see what the fuss is about, but to an old gal like me, the steps I listed above are nothing less than a miracle of technology.

When you start with a wall phone, then advance to a desktop phone, followed by a cordless phone, then a cell phone, a (really) smart phone becomes a big deal. Especially when the phone is smarter than I am!

When I got my first cell phone, I seldom used it. Now, I use my smart phone all day long – but only for important stuff. Like emergencies, taking and editing pictures, checking my e-mail and Facebook, reading books, watching movies, and maybe, perhaps, once in awhile, but not often, I might play a game of Angry Birds.

BTW, the name of this photo-editing app is BeFunky. I don't know if it's available for anything but iPhones, but I'm sure there's something similar for Droids and such.

Till next time,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Perfect Playground at Phoenix Park

Geese enjoying a leisurely swim at Encanto Park

Welcome to Encanto Park,  a charming oasis in the heart of Phoenix. Encanto, part of the Phoenix City Parks program, covers more than 200 acres and contains amenities for nearly every taste, as you can see on the map below.

There is a great sports complex, an 18-hole golf course with clubhouse and restaurant, and a beautiful lagoon where you can ply a pedal boat or canoe under the palms. Picnic tables and grills abound and there are playgrounds for the kiddies.

The main attraction for the youngsters is Enchanted Island, a mini-amusement park suitable for ages 1-10, but there are some rides that adults can go on as well. The cost for the rides is reasonable, and all-day or yearly passes are available.

Having fun on the parachute jump

The best thing about Encanto Park is that it can be enjoyed without spending a cent. Admission is free and the ducks and geese provide an ongoing show with no cover charge.  And now that the weather is finally beginning to seem like fall, it's the perfect place to spend a day or an afternoon. Alone or with family, lazy or busy, it's your choice. It's also a great place to take out-of-town visitors. Enjoy!

I'm joining Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer.

Outdoor Wednesday: Click on the picture below to learn more...

10 TV Quotes on Tuesday

I will warn you in advance - only two of the TV shows I've quoted from are being shown in prime time these days. Some may be lurking on the re-re-re-run channels, but others may be gone forever.

I'm going to list the quote first so you can try to name the show it's from. I'll even provide photo clues! If you still get stumped, the answers are right below.

1. “Book ‘em, Danno!”

2. “You can put your shoes in the oven, but that don’t make ‘em biscuits.”

3. “Let’s be careful out there.”

4. “King, this case is closed.”

5. “Nanu-Nanu!”

6. “Hey, Wild Bill, wait for me!”

7. “Oh, Ceesco, the sheriff she is getting closer!”

8. “How would YOU like to be Queen for a Day?!”

9. “Mmmm, doughnuts!”

10. “He’s dead, Jim.”

1. Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) to Danny Williams (James MacArthur) – Hawaii Five-O, 1968-1980 (or Alex O’Loughlin to Scott Caan, 2010-present)

2. Andy Renko (Charles Haid) to Bobby Hill (Michael Warren) – Hill Street Blues, 1981-1987

3. Sarge (Michael Conrad) to the squad room – Hill Street Blues, Ditto

4. Sgt. Preston (Dick Simmons) to his faithful husky – Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, 1955-1958

5. Mork (Robin Williams – Mork & Mindy, 1978-1982

6. Jingles (Andy Devine) to Wild Bill (Guy Madison) – Wild Bill Hickok, 1951-1958

7. Pancho (Leo Carillo) to The Cisco Kid (Duncan Renaldo) – The Cisco Kid, 1950-1956

8. Jack Bailey to the audience – Queen for Day, 1956-1964

9. Homer Simpson – The Simpsons, 1990-present

10. Dr. “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley) to Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) – Star Trek, 1966-1969


Monday, September 26, 2011

Ba-da Bling, Part II

Join me for another trip to the Smithsonian's Gem Gallery, where we can find more fantastic jewels.

Sapphire necklaces by Harry Winston (left) and Cartier (right)

The Hall Sapphire Necklace on the left, designed by Harry Winston, Inc., features 36 sapphires totaling 195 carats, set in platinum and accented by 435 pear-shaped and round brilliant-cut diamonds, totaling 83.75 carats.

The Bismarck Sapphire is named after its former owner, Countess Mona Von Bismarck, an American who married into German nobility in the 1930s. The 98.57-carat sapphire is mounted in a platinum necklace set with 312 baguette and round brilliant cut diamonds and accented with 8 square-cut sapphires.

The egg-sized Logan Sapphire brooch

This huge sapphire weighs 423 carats(!) and is one of the largest faceted sapphires in the world. It is surrounded by 20 round brilliant diamonds.

Emerald and diamond brooch

If you're tired of wearing sapphires all the time, emeralds are another good choice. This emerald, weighing more than 75 carats, once adorned the belt buckle of a sultan. It was reincarnated into a brooch with 129 diamonds.

Emerald necklace

Perhaps you'd like to make a bigger statement. How about this Art Deco piece designed by Cartier in the late 1920s? Twenty-four baroque-cut emeralds are set with smaller emeralds and diamonds in a platinum setting.

Yellow diamonds by Cartier.

Designed by Cartier, Inc. in the late 1980s, this necklace has 50 starburst-cut fancy yellow diamonds with a total weight of 244.10 carats. The matching ear clips contain 25-carat fancy yellow diamonds surrounded by 16 baguette and 4 pear-shaped colorless diamonds, totaling 26.80 carats for the pair. The ring is a 61-carat fancy yellow diamond.

The Chalk Emerald Ring

Donated to the Smithsonian by the Chalk family, this emerald weighs just under 38 carats. It was once part of a necklace owned by an Indian maharani. It was recut by Harry Winston, placed it in a ring surrounded by 15 carats of diamonds.

These jewels are gorgeous, and they do sparkle, but I'll have to be content just to look. And I'm OK with that.

I'm linking to Smiling Sally's

Smiling Sally

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The High Road

Photo courtesy of
This being the Sabbath, or not, depending on your religion or lack thereof, I thought the high road would be a good topic.
What is the high road, you ask. That’s the route you take when every fiber of your being is yelling at you to take the low road.
Someone cut you off in traffic? Do you immediately see red, get right on their bumper, and practice your bird-flipping and horn-honking skills? If it’s nighttime, do you put your lights on bright just to teach that so-and-so a lesson? Or better yet, do you speed up and cut the other driver off? That, dear friends, is the low road and it usually leads you to grief.
Sure, the other driver is probably a jerk; maybe he’s texting while he’s driving (which would make him an idiot as well). Or maybe he just weren’t paying attention, or misjudged the distance. I know you’re perfect, but sadly, not everyone is.
But when you take the low road, don’t you become a jerk as well, even if you’re in the right? Do your actions give you satisfaction commiserate with the ding you’ve made in your self-image? Or do you cool down and feel a bit ashamed of yourself? If you have passengers, you have shown them a side of yourself they may not care to see. If you have children with you, what lesson are they gaining from your behavior? And the other driver will still have cut you off.
The high road doesn’t have just one lane. You can calmly choose to do nothing (which isn’t always easy); you can smile and wave merrily at the offending driver (which will drive them crazy); or, if you’re alone, you can loudly voice your feelings in whatever terms you choose. If you have passengers, you might want to tone it down a bit; for kids you can even make up something silly. “Oh, my, that driver is so bad, he must work for Dr. Doofenschmirtz!” (For Phineas and Ferb fans.) You get the idea.
If there’s nothing you can do about it, don’t try to invent something.
What if a family member does something you don’t approve of? Maybe they got a tattoo, or married a person of another religion or race, or accidentally ran over your dog. There are so many ways people we love can hurt us – but do these events qualify?
If you take the low road, you will a) tell the person how wrong they are and why; c) refuse to let anyone in your family have anything to do with them; and/or b) turn your back on them forever. There’s nothing like righteous indignation too keep you from seeing yourself clearly.
When you take the high road you’ll ask yourself why you are against the other person’s actions. Does a tattoo do you any harm? What effect will this marriage have on you? They didn’t mean to hurt your dog; why can’t you let it go? You will do yourself more harm than those you are “punishing.” Will the tattoo disappear? Will the wedding be annulled? Will your dog come back to life? What do you gain except a lifetime of regret?
How many people have ruined their lives because they wouldn’t take the high road? Why is being right so important? You’re right, so what? An apology is a wonderful thing and has saved many a relationship.
We come to so many intersections in our lives, when the low road tempts us away from who we want to be; but trust me, you’ll never get lost on the high road.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Girl's Best Friend

After a day of swimming and splashing, nothing warms you up like an 80-pound lapdog!

I'm joining

See you there! (I know I'm stretching the "pink" part, but look at the bathing suit. And the dog's tongue.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Desert Noir

I've often felt that black-and-white is more suitable for some photos than others. This rainy road reflects the late afternoon light and the lack of color seems to lends a melancholy feel.This photo was taken on Cave Creek Road just north of Phoenix.

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday. There you'll find some gorgeous photos from around the world.

Introducing: Mr. Printables!

Calling all parents and grandparents! If you are looking for some great, free printable for the young ones in your family, check out Mr. Printables.

Need a monthly calendar/monster? Of course you do!

Just download, print, cut and fold and you'll have your very own "monther."
There are flash cards for the alphabet, numbers, words, colors and shapes.
Looking for a cute Halloween mask for your little one?

This puzzle is fun, and it can be colored too.
These cute cards would be great as beginner thank-you notes.

There are goodies for adults, too, like this scrapbook paper.

This is just a small sample of what Mr. Printables has to offer. (I am not affiliated with Mr. Printables in any way; I just think it's a great site.) So stop by, look around, download to your heart's content, and tell them I sent you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Fall, Y'All

The temperatures are still in the 100s here, but I can feel a difference in the air that says fall is tapping on my door.

The Interweb is full of ideas for fall. Here are some of the goodies I've found:

I love candy corn, but I've never seen it represented in cupcakes before! I found these lovelies at The Curvy Carrot.

And what about this gorgeous Candy Corn Cheesecake Mousse? Glory at Glorious Treats just keeps the awesome desserts coming.

Before we leave the Land of Candy Corn, I'll share a very simple "recipe" for a really tasty treat. Mix equal parts candy corn (I prefer Brachs) and dry-roasted peanuts. Great combination of sweet and salty.

Aren't these gift bags cute? Once again, Glory comes through with the goodies. These would be great for a Halloween party, or for trick-or-treaters if homemade treats are allowed where you live. Can't you imagine the kids giggling while they eat "ghost poop"?

Another clever idea, this time from Haley at The Autocrat. These are great for fall, but you could change the candy colors for any occasion. (You'd probably want to change the tags too!)

Wouldn't these little candles be great at each place setting for Thanksgiving dinner? They could be incorporated into a centerpiece as well, or be included in Halloween decor. This great idea comes from
Crystal over at A Pumpkin and a Princess.

This photo was taken by yours truly, and it's one of my favorites. My two oldest granddaughters had a great time at the Pumpkin Festival at Young's Farm, which, sadly, is no more.

So I'm finally saying hello to fall, or autumn if you prefer. If you still need a little help getting in the mood, Kim at It's a Crafy Life is offering this great free printable.

Please stop by these wonderful blogs; you're in for a real treat!