Saturday, October 11, 2014

Photo Friday - Blur

I like this blurred picture - and the unblurred star that means a lot ot me.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Photo Friday - Falling Apart

I loved the monastic ruins at Glendalough, Ireland.  This is a part of an arch that was in the cathedral, which is now just a shell. By the zigzag pattern they could tell that there was a Roman influence in the building of the cathedral.

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Ireland Adventure

Patti and I at St. Stephen's Green - a big park in Dublin
About 9 months ago a friend of mine asked if I would like to go on a big trip with her. She is single and needed a travel companion. Of course I said "yes!" We decided we'd go for a week to Ireland. We wanted to go with a tour company because we figured 2 women in a foreign country, driving on the wrong side of the road made for a bad combination. We booked the tour through a travel agent and that might have been a mistake. We had some bad flight connections, some hotel issues, and some frustration with "promises" made by the tour company, but in the end, we did have a wonderful time. We had another friend join us and picked up a 4th who had traveled to Ireland alone. We did most things together and that worked out well.
The 4 of us ladies - Tana, Patti, Me and Tish
We stayed in Dublin, Ennis, Killarney, and Waterford, but we saw most of the towns between them all - there were a lot!  I would recommend the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis - it used to be a convent and is a really neat building with an excellent pub.  I also liked the Granville Hotel in Waterford. It was also very old but had great food and service. The others were so-so, but all the beds were comfortable - probably because we walked our butts off every day and were too tired to notice! I didn't think we ever had enough time in each place and would love to go back and see more of everything.

Here are some highlights of the trip:

In Dublin we went to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College - that was very cool. We also went to the Dublin Castle, St. Patrick's Cathedral and Christ Church. All were amazing. My pedometer said we walked 15,000 steps that day. We also did a lot of shopping there.
Dublin Castle on the inside of the walls

Christ Church

St. Patrick's had the best stained glass windows!
My favorite place was the Blarney Castle. I hiked up the stairs to the top but I refused to kiss the stone. It was gross! I figure I have enough gift of gab without the help from a slimy rock. The views up there were spectacular and I got some great pictures. My friends were lots of fun and we were not above goofing off a lot. Photobombing was my favorite. 

Tish and I

Patti and I

Looking down from the top of Blarney Castle

Where the Blarney Stone is - you can see them at the top center of this picture.
You have to lay on your back and hang your head over a big hole
while someone holds you there - and collects your euros. Blech!
My second favorite was the Cliffs of Moher. There is a great view of the cliffs and there is a castle on the hill at the top. Since it was Saturday morning and I couldn't do my bike riding I ran up the stairs. there were a lot of them! My friends didn't. I guess my cycling and gym workouts have helped me stay fit.

Our bus also took a 100 mile trip around the Ring of Kerry. As part of that we had to ride the ferry across the river Shannon. I was surprised to see the bus and 3 tanker trucks on a ferry but I guess that's routine there. The tankers were carrying milk for the Kerry Butter co. The views were spectacular on this trip which was unusual. Ireland usually has lots of rain and fog but while we were there we had beautiful weather.

Tana, me and Patti
A Celtic cross at Glendalough
Other highlights were a trip to the Waterford Crystal factory where we learned all about the process of making crystal (and I got a few things shipped home), the Avoca Weaver Mill where we watched how their woolen items are made, and a farm where we watched them herd and shear sheep. There was also the Irish National Stud farm where they breed race horses. One of my friends and I also went to a dinner at Bunratty Castle and we all went to see the Muckross House (Ireland's answer to Downton Abbey). After that tour we went to have drinks beside the lake of Killarney as the sun went down. Not a bad view! We also went to Glendalough which is where there are the ruins of a monestary where St. Kevin lived and was buried. I love old cemeteries so this was pretty awesome. 
This little Waterford beauty was on sale for 40,000 euros - a bit rich for me!

We usually had lunches on our own and found some great places to eat. We also had some strange food - I had a fish pizza which was nothing to write home about!  I had planned to try Irish stew and shepherd's pie but never did. I did have Bailey's Irish Creme on porridge one morning, not a fan of the porridge but the Bailey's was quite nice. We learned tons of Irish history and where our ancestors came from, as well as a few phrases and words we all will probably use. Tickety boo was my favorite (meaning everything is just fine) and let's "poodle" on home.

We were up 34 or 35 hours going over there and 24 coming back but I'm happy to say that I didn't have jet lag. I did get a massage the day after I got back and found out that every bit of my body was sore. I figured out that we had 22 hours in the air, 7 days of riding buses for about 1000 miles, 11 hours of layovers in airports, and 6 different hotels. No wonder I was sore.  On a good note, I just took a small carry on bag and my purse so I didn't spend a lot of money because I had no way to get things home. The porters in the hotels loved me!

Me in Dublin

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Photo Friday - Panorama

This was taken in Kauai on the way back from a hike.
The storm coming in off the ocean was amazing to watch. 

(I apologize that the website isn't so great at showing a panoramic photo. Click on the photo for a closer look)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Photo Friday - Warmth

The AZ sun certainly has "warmth". It was only about 80 at 5:30 AM but later it got to 110!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Photo Friday - Portrait

I took this picture of my granddaughter when she was one day old.  I was so happy that it turned out so good. There is nothing as precious as a new baby.  I love you Harper Grace!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sketchbook Update

Back in November I wrote about my sketch journal.  Since then a lot of things in my life have changed, for the better thankfully. I am still using my sketchbook journal but I have more focus I think.  Every week I try to do a drawing and then write around it  I have found that my best drawings are of flowers, sort of like my best photos are always of flowers!  Some are not so hot, but once they are in the journal, there isn't much you can do about them without tearing out the page. I started sharing them on Instagram and Facebook and it seems a lot of people really like them. I have gotten 2 commissions from people to do artwork for them - who knew?  Here are a few of the ones I've done lately.

I love this one

this one, not so much.
A few more favorites...

This is my front yard in the springtime. 

This was my Easter drawing. My irises were in bloom and so beautiful.
I like this one of my back yard pond.
There are several aps on my phone that allow me to put several pictures together. It's kind of cool to put the real picture beside the watercolor. I loved the real flower below but wasn't too happy with my artwork rendition of it.

I actually drew this flag last year but added in the real one for posting this 4th of July.

Bill challenged me to draw a dragon fly. I think I need more work on them!

And for the FLOUR part of my blog. We were invited to lunch yesterday and I was to bring dessert. I combined 2 different recipes and came up with the most wonderful lemonade cheesecake.  Sometimes I amaze even myself!  It was heavenly, in a very tart kind of way!

Now I'll need to come up with something equally as wonderful for the next time. YIKES!