Saturday, February 22, 2014

Spring Teaser

Most people know that I like living where there are 4 seasons and I really don't mind any of them. Winter and Summer have their schizophrenic tendencies yes but I am content to deal with them. Even Fall and Spring - although less moody than the other two - can have their days as well. What is confusing to me is having more than one season in the same season. For the most part the Winter of 2013-2014 has been cold and snowy. If more winters would get with the program maybe people wouldn't hate this one so much. Today and tomorrow though we have a taste of Spring (high 50s and Sunny) but still a lot of snow on the ground. Silly winter.

However, I decided to take advantage of the Spring Tease to remove some of the ice from our carport/back driveway this morning. It was a spur of the moment decision. I was going to go for a walk. Then it occurred to me that if I removed as much ice from the back as I could then the warm temps and sun could work on evaporating more water instead of wasting all its energy on the ice first.

It took me the better part of 2.5 hours and although tiring this was an extremely satisfying way to spend the morning. First, I broke up the ice that was under the water and the thin layer that had reformed on top. I was able then to use a shovel to drag the chunks to higher ground. The water receded and the solids stayed put so I could chuck them by the shovel full up on top of the snow mound created from Dave's shoveling of the drive. Then I started attacking sheets of ice on the drive.

It's more impressive in person but the photo above gives you some idea of the ice I removed. The best parts where the pieces that came off in big slabs I could pick and hurl up on the snow. And even better was when the big slabs would shatter across the snow. Craaaassssshhhhh. You had to be there but trust me it was very exciting! If there is ever and Olympic ice chucking event ............. I'm so gonna sit back and watch! :)

I got to a point where I figured a break was in order. I turned to see what I had accomplished and here is what I saw ...

If you look closely you can see the reflection of the tree in my shadow. And sharing the photo is what prompted me to write this post. It's the simple things.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cruise by the Numbers (and other random memories)

Half-hearted apologies for vagueness. You had to be there for most of this to make sense but you will not get any more explanation than what's already here. Sister cruises are kinda like Las Vegas. 

1/31 to 2/8 2014 - the dates for the vacation (cruise was 2/2 to 2/7; 5 nights)
4 - the number of sisters
2 - it's the second cruise we've done together
9 - our seat row on both flights. Significant as birthday girl's birthdate is 9-9-63. We flew SW so seats are not pre-assigned. 
110 - % humidity upon arrival in Orlando. At least it felt that way compared to single digit humidity in Philly 
59 - pennies needed to purchase coffee at Wawa in Kissimmee! Woohoo! 
7 cruise ships arriving and leaving again and 20,000 runners (makes for LOTS of traffic)
48-3; score of the awful Super Bowl we got to watch on gigantic screen on the pool deck. No commercials.
16 - different state license plates between Kissimmee and Miami. Some car games are ingrained.
1000+ cast members only 52 from United States
3- the number of people who wanted my "no whining" shirt as we walked deck 4
3 hours and 20 minutes - time it took to replace the engine during the 10 day dry-dock prior to our cruise. The rest of the time was spent drilling the hole in the hull and welding it back together!! 
5 - number of engines on the ship

Watching Adam Joseph do the weather on GMA.
BS found the black skirt
Blue skies but it's not 20 degrees 
Navigators should really wear their glasses
Walt Disney Suite
Boat stopped; turned around - was it a medical emergency?; a stowaway?; or because that man really wanted his bud light?
Watching the sun shine across the ocean and hearing that back home there was 4-6 inches of snow
Lying about the bathrooms
Captain Thord backs the ship in to the parking space AND he admits he calls it a boat too! :)
One hour extra in Cozumel
Wine tasting - proof that I am not grown up enough to drink. 
and Glenn, Dwight, Omar, Julia, Tekla, JD (the dj), Vlada, Sascha
and Linda :(
Yoga on the beach is hard; harder even when there is a slope to the beach
Harpoon gun to toss the ropes to the dock - this was way too cool! (I amuse easily)
Butter and cheese boy
Tim, the piano player, did not know "On the way to Cape May"!
Umbrellas in her drinks

"My butt finally stopped itching"
"They always forget the youngest"
"I finally learned how to vacation"
"It's not rain, it's fairy dust"
"Yes I know it's only 7:30 a.m. I'm on vacation and I'm not driving the boat so it's ok to drink spiked coffee"
"The ship moved" - excuse for everything from drawing crooked lines to losing your balance in the hallway. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

#2: Learn How to Draw Donald Duck

The goal - 27 instances of Learning Something New From - OR - Trying Something New With - Someone Else. 

I just returned from the Sister Cruise to celebrate sister #3's 50th birthday. We had a wonderful time and the details that are appropriate to share I'll share in another post. While on the cruise, though, I accomplished thing #2. Here is how that happened.

On days at sea there are a variety of activities on the ship to keep everyone busy and happy. They range from wine, beer and spirit tasting, to seminars, classes and bingo to name a few. A couple of half hour sessions were devoted to learning how to draw various Disney animated characters. There was one for Mickey, Mike Wozkowski (you know Billy Crystal from Monsters, Inc.) and Donald Duck. The timing of the Donald Duck class fit in with other things we wanted to do. I said that if someone would join me it could count as one of my 27 things in the category of "trying something new with someone else". So off we went.
You begin with a blank piece of paper and a pencil
with out an eraser
Justine, our Disney cast member leader was specific of the 'no eraser' rule. This is about having fun was the jist of her message. Everyone's Donald will look different and none of them will be perfect, she informed us with a huge smile on her all of 12-year old face! :)

Next, she had us draw a circle. For the circle she gave us table numbers. The class took place in Animators Palette one of the three rotational restaurants on the  cruise. The base of the table number was a circle.

Next, she instructed us to draw to straight lines. One bisecting the circle form top to bottom more or less evenly and one bisecting it at about 3/4 of the way down from the top of the circle. For this we had not guide as we did the circle so most of the folks in the class had less than straight lines. We collectively blamed it on "The ship moved." :)

Justine then took us through drawing a series of lines and curves to produce Donald Duck. It was fascinating to see him take shape as we went one line at a time.

Here is my Donald almost finished. 

Justine and her finished Donald. 

Christine, Katie and I and the finished products. 

My final Donald with the shading added. 
This was a lot of fun. I'm not sure I could reproduce it without Justine's guidance but I think I'll try sometime just for fun.

So 2 done, 25 to go. Don't forget to message me with your ideas!