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So by now you’re all sick of me talking about Texas so we’re going to give that little outing a rest. It’s time to start focusing on my upcoming cruise. That’s right, in September I’ll be sailing on the deep blue sea, headed north to Alaska.

Carnival Liberty docked at Cozemel, Mexico. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Carnival Liberty docked at Cozemel, Mexico.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

I don’t know about you, but I love cruising. Only on a cruise can you be in a different port every morning, miles away from where you were yesterday and not have to pack your things and move to a new hotel. On a cruise, your hotel goes with you. Stellar!

Now, I’ve been on several cruises, to several glorious destinations: Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, but this will be my first journey to Alaska. And the bonus? I can check another thing off my bucket list. You see, it’s a goal of mine to visit every state in our great nation before I meet my maker. So far, with the exception of Alaska, I’ve been in every state west of the Mississippi River and all but the far north eastern corner on the east side. I’ve been as far up as Virginia but that’s it. Some day I’ll visit that last corner of the US.

But, I digress. I’m gearing up for my journey north and in so doing, I’ve been doing some on line research. I don’t want to miss any of the important stuff when I’m in port. Whilst surfing the web, I came across this silly video about cruising that made me giggle. I wanted to share it with you. It’s short and hopefully will bring a smile.

And so I leave you with this question: Have you ever danced behind someone without their knowledge? Would you ever? I think I just might have to give this a go when I get on the ship in a few weeks. Stay tuned for my report (and with any luck a video).

Word of the Day: Zaffer (zaffre)

Fun fact about me: I have owned 9 cars in my life; all but the very first one were brand new when I bought them.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2014. Original photos by P. Rickrode. Video courtesy You Tube.

Did I Do That?

In keeping with my recent posts about my trip to Texas, today I’m bringing you a spin on the Take It or Leave It game and I’m doing it Texas style. I’m calling this month’s installment “Did I or Didn’t I.”

The Alamo Shrine - San Antonio Texas Photo by P. Rickrode

The Alamo Shrine – San Antonio Texas
Photo by P. Rickrode

The rules are the same (Post your guesses in the comments section below. I will post my responses on Thursday the 14th. The person with the most correct guesses is my winner, but you must post another comment in the comments section, acknowledging that you are a winner, in order to claim your prize. It’s that simple. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited after one week from posting the answers.)

So, here you go. For the following list of things, did I do it or not do it?

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

1. Wander the corridors of the historic and haunted Menger Hotel looking for ghosts?

2.  Buy something at a smoke shop?

3.  Take a picture inside the Alamo long barracks?

4.  Participate in the topless experience?

5.  Have lunch with a cute guy from the Ukraine (I know, weird)?

6.  Tour Ripley’s Believe It or Not?

7.  Come home with my first ever shiner?

8.  Bring home a piece of rock from inside the Alamo shrine?

9.  Feed the ducks on the Riverwalk?

10.  Cut in line to get on the boat tour?

So, obviously, I visited the Alamo. The picture at the top is one of the many I took (is that a clue?). And, based on last week’s post, I did enjoy some time on the Riverwalk. But, how wild and crazy and adventurous did I really get? And how rebellious was I? That’s up to you to decide. I can’t wait to see your guesses.

Overall I had a very nice visit and would go back for more thrills. How about you dear readers, have you ever been to San Antonio? What the most crazy, wild or adventurous thing you’ve ever done on vacation? Please share, I love to know I’m not alone in my escapades, legal or otherwise.

Word of the day: Yegg (this is a fun one)

Fun face about me: I like to do cross stitch crafts.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2014. Original photo of the Alamo by P. Rickrode, Other photos, courtesy Google Images.

As you know, I recently attended the Romance Writers of America annual conference in San Antonio, Texas. Here I am on my first day, super excited to learn and do everything humanly possible at this event.

 

Photo taken by K. Mathews. San Antonio Riverwalk.

Photo taken by K. Mathews. San Antonio Riverwalk.

It was a thrilling time, but getting there was a study in patience. Apparently a slightly petite woman traveling alone with only one small carry-on bag is a huge red flag to the TSA people. I got the full five-star security check point treatment, complete with full body pat-down and – this was new to me – both of my palms swabbed. That’s right – I was swabbed for possible explosives residue.

When I questioned the lovely ladies – yes there were more than one – who provided this fantastic service, I was informed that apparently my brilliantly sparkly tank top set off the sensors in the scanning tube, alerting the authorities that I was a potential security risk. Seriously? I mean, I warned Texas I was coming, but I was kidding. All joking aside, who knew that glitter and sequins were comprised of the same components used to make bombs? Here is the offending garment.

Photo by P. Rickrode.

Photo by P. Rickrode.

And it apparently wasn’t just my person that was suspicious. When I got to my hotel room and started to unpack, I noticed a slip of paper in my suitcase. Upon inspection, it appears as though my bags were thoroughly inspected as well. What the heck? Really?

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

And speaking of pats, I had the most wonderful experience on Wednesday night when I arrived. I got to meet and have dinner with the delightful and super sweet Pat O’Dea Rosen. Pat is a super classy lady with a gorgeous smile and giving attitude. I am so blessed to have met this wonderful lady in person. Here is a photo of Pat and I and Kristina Mathews enjoying our dinner at the water’s edge on what was undoubtedly the hottest night in San Antonio history. Despite the heat, I had a blast with Kristi and Pat.

From left to right: Kristina Mathews, Patricia Rickrode (aka Jansen Schmidt) and Pat O'Dea Rosen. San Antonio Riverwalk.

From left to right: Kristina Mathews, Patricia Rickrode (aka Jansen Schmidt) and Pat O’Dea Rosen. San Antonio Riverwalk.

So lesson learned? Don’t wear bling to the airport and if having dinner with a dear friend in Texas in July, eat inside.

Have you ever been swabbed for explosives? What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you at the security check point?

Word of the Day:  Xyloid

Fun Fact about me:  I’m not crazy about concerts.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2014. Original photos by P. Rickrode.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

As I arrive home from the annual national conference of Romance Writers of America, I am weary but bursting with joy. I have learned much from the huge variety of engaging workshops and have filled my creative tank to maximum capacity.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I am still high from riding the waves of excitement that swell throughout this event. There is an unexplainable joy that settles into my soul when I am among like-minded individuals all pursuing the same goal; people who understand the ups and downs of this business we call writing.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I am hung over with the giddiness that comes from meeting new friends and reconnecting with others I see less often. A plethora of social events provides many opportunities to hear amazing stories of people who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles on their way to success.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

A rejuvenating optimism courses through my body and I return home inspired to dig a little deeper in order to achieve that next step on my journey.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Until next year, I shall endeavor to raise the bar on the quality of my work, my relationships and my life.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

The following short poem, by Tiffany Prochera is an accurate reflection on my current state of mind. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

http://www.inspirational-poems.net/short-inspirational-poems/404-be-inspired

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

How about you dear readers – what inspires you? Where do you go, or what do you do when you need a little pick-me-up? Do conferences inspire you? Does nature inspire you? (Obviously it does me, ergo, the photos.)

Word of the Day: Winze

Fun fact about me: I love lighthouses.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2014. Original poem by Tiffany Prochera. Photos courtesy Google Images.

Say What?

Have you ever listened to a song and heard some lyric that made you go – “say what?”

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

When I first heard the song Royals by Lorde, I was like “WTF?” In my ears the chorus sounds something like this “And we’ll never be royals, it’s a wooden ob a long.” I hear that song a lot (unfortunately) and I have no idea what most of those lyrics are. I suppose it’s because she’s British. Anyway, I finally looked up the lyrics and my first thought was “WTF?”  I’ve never seen a diamond in the flesh? I cut my teeth on wedding rings in the movies? Seriously, WTF? I still don’t understand the lyrics.

And it’s not just pop music, the latest song by country sensation Dierks Bentley, Drunk on a Plane, same deal. I hear, “The stewardess is salt and sexy.” Salt and sexy? What does that mean? Turns out, the stewardess is somethin’ sexy. That makes more sense, but I still hear salt and sexy. And, Mr. Bentley, it’s no longer socially acceptable to refer to female flight attendants as stewardesses. Perhaps that’s what threw me off.

And David Nail’s song Let It Rain, has a lyric that sounds like “sled it come down on me.” Come on people – diction. So – let – it – come- down – on – me. When sung properly, it makes more sense. I understand if you’re Bob Dylan, then slurring is expected, but otherwise, let’s enunciate so we’re not misunderstood.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Another example is from the Eagles hit, Hotel California. I always thought they said “she lit up a Camel.” Turns out what she lit was a candle. She’s not smoking unfiltered cigarettes, she’s lighting the way. It’s craziness I tell you.

I am glad to know that it’s not just me, though, who has this trouble. There are quite a few YouTube videos about misleading song lyrics, but here’s one I found particularly amusing. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out this link. It’s really funny. I promise you’ll smile. The one about the Rolling Stones is especially humorous.

What song lyrics have you listened to over and over again trying to figure out what was being said? What song have you been singing wrong for a very long time? Please share, I’d love to know that I’m not alone in this mish mash of misunderstood song lyrics.

Word of the Day:  Verasion

Fun fact about me: I can sing both alto and soprano so just put me where you need me in the choir.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2014. Video courtesy YouTube. Photos courtesy Google Images.

You’re probably wondering about the title. Well wonder no longer. This is another post about weirdo things my dad says and does.

quote about directions

It’s common knowledge that men don’t like to ask for directions. I’m not sure why. I’ve simply chocked it up to something being wrong with their genetic make-up and moved on. My dad, however, is polar opposite. He asks for directions even if he’s not lost. My dad takes this so far to the opposite extreme, it’s downright annoying and oft times embarrassing.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

The only thing my dad will even try to find on his own, is a store clerk to show him where to find whatever it is he’s seeking. The photo above is no exaggeration. I recently accompanied my father to Home Depot – because that’s where he shops (yet strangely knows where nothing is located) – because he needed some lumber to construct something, no doubt another addition to his “shop.” In case you missed it, here’s the post about my dad and his “shop.”  http://jansenschmidt.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/my-dads-four-favorite-words/

I think I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty, that most of you, dear readers, have been inside a Home Depot. You kind of know how it all works. But, in case you are unfamiliar, when you get inside there are things that look like this to help you navigate through the aisles:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

That’s right – those are big orange signs. Granted, it’s sometimes hard to find some obscure things, but, let me remind you, my dad was looking for lumber. Pretty common item that a lot of people purchase at Home Depot. The Home Depot in my home town, has devoted about one third of their store to lumber and lumber products. It’s not hard to find lumber, you need only step inside and sniff. But, if the powerful smell of freshly cut wood is not enough to guide you into the general proximity, you can simply look up (see photo above). Ah yes, there it is – big sign – lumber. My vision isn’t 20/20 and yet, strangely I can find the lumber aisle.

Well, apparently these two factors combined are still not clue enough for my dad to find his way to the lumber department – an area he frequents often. Nope. He doesn’t even try. Instead, upon securing his gigantic industrial-sized shopping cart, he pushes his way through the sliding doors, stops, looks around until he finds someone – anyone -wearing an orange apron and says, “There’s the man.”

Photo courtesy Google Images

“The Man.” Photo courtesy Google Images

Now, you all know me pretty well by now, so let me add a side note here. The first words out of my mouth are “What man?” To which my dad says, “the man in the know.” Because apparently the signs are decoys, meant to distract not help and cannot be trusted. You must actually ask a human in order to know where things are located.

My dad proceeds to run-down the poor clerk who is trying valiantly to help some other customer in the, oh say, garden department, before loudly interrupting – with a finger shake for emphasis – “where can I find pressure treated four-by-four posts?”

“Probably in the lumber department, Dad,” I reply with an exaggerated eye roll. “It’s at the other end of the store. Same place it was yesterday.”

The clerk smiles, politely excuses himself from the first customer to confirm what I’ve just said.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

And so off we go to the other side of the store, where I’d already been headed when we entered. But wait – there’s more. We reach the first aisle of lumber-type products and my dad stops, again doing the crazy head-swinging thing, until he finds – that’s right – another employee in an orange apron. “There’s the man I need to see,” says my dad as he whisks his cart down the aisle, an aisle two aisles from the pressure treated four-by-fours. Had we just gone a few more steps . . . .

I reluctantly follow. We repeat the process, only this time, my dad manages to coerce “the man,” otherwise known as the poor dumbfounded clerk, into walking with us, two more aisles over, to the things my dad needs. Then my dad says, “How much are they?”

Well, again, I can’t control the sharp retort that flies out of my mouth. “Probably should look at the tag, Dad.” The one affixed directly on the support beam holding the wood up. Again, for those of you not familiar with this store, here’s how one would know a price in Home Depot:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

My dad must think those dangling white tags with dollar signs and numbers are for purely decorative purposes. After all, why would a store bother to put prices on things?

Finally with lumber secured on cart, we head off for the cash register. But wait – yes there is more – he remembers he needs something else.

Oh Dear God just shoot me.

Again we head for the big center freeway aisle, blissfully happy in not knowing about (ie ignoring) the overhead signs directing us to where we need to go, instead searching frantically for someone – anyone – wearing an orange apron. “There’s the man,” cries my dad, clasping the arm of an aging gentleman working in the flooring department. “I need a handle for my paint roller,” says my dad.

Well of course (slaps head), let’s ask someone in the flooring department.

“Did you look in the paint department?” politely asks the clerk, using his hand to motion us toward said department.

“Oh God no, that would be too easy and then we’d have no reason to bother you,” I say – in my head.

My dad thanks the man as if he’s just unveiled some ancient secret about how to live forever before we head over to the department directly under the huge orange sign that says – wait for it – paint.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

This time I rush ahead hoping to locate said item before any more employees are dragged away from their duties to help some bumbling old man who obviously hasn’t got a brain in his head. “Victory,” I nearly shout aloud, tossing the handle on top of the lumber.

As we approach the cash register – no self-check out for us – my dad says, “There’s the lady.”

I”m about to say “what lady?” just to be a smart ass, but stop myself just in time. Pay for the stuff and run.

And that, my friends, is how my dad conducts all of his business, whether at Home Depot, the grocery store, Wal-Mart, you name it. My dad asks for directions first, every – single – time.

Gotta love my dad, though. I wish I could say he belongs to someone else, but I’m too much like him for that to be believable. We’re both stubborn, we both like to do things our way, and we both have a strong penchant for beer.  (Shut up Corey.) I love him, my dad. I really do. He’s “the man.”

funny dad quote

Okay, now it’s your turn. What annoying behavior from a relative bothers you? Come on – spill it. I won’t tell. We’re all friends here.

Word of the Day: Umbo

Fun fact about me: I can find my way around a Home Depot store without asking for directions.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2014. Photos courtesy Google Images.

random quote 3 for blog

Random thoughts. They happen in no particular order and relate to nothing you’re currently doing or talking about. They are just that – random.

Quite often I set out with good intentions to do something productive, but sometimes it’s just hard to concentrate. Nothing in particular bothering me or stressing me, but I develop ADD on steroids which commands my every random thought.

Things like:

random quote 2 for blog

 

Or this:

random quote 4

Or sometimes, this:

random quote 5

And so that inspired me to write this week’s post and the early summer edition of Take It or Leave It.

Take It or Leave It Image courtesy Google Images

Take It or Leave It
Image courtesy Google Images

 

Here’s how Take It or Leave It works: Post your guesses (would I take it, or leave it) in the comments section below. I will post my responses Thursday. The person with the most correct guesses is my winner, but you must post another comment in the comments section, acknowledging that you are a winner, in order to claim your prize. It’s that simple. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited after one week from posting the answers.

So, here you go. For the following list of things, would I Take It, or Leave It?

1. Eat someone’s leftovers from the community kitchen refrigerator at my office building.

2. Photobomb someone’s wedding pictures.

damsel in distress3. Park in two parking spaces so no one dings my doors.

4. Wear something seductive to an audition.

5. Call in sick so I can stay home and read.

6. Play the damsel in distress to get some guy to do something for me I don’t want to do.

7. Kiss a guy at a cold reading audition if the script called for it.

8. Leave my garbage in the street if a bear or stray dog knocks the can over.

9. Try to charm a cop to get out of a speeding ticket.

10. Blame my mistake on someone else.

Have fun with it. I’m looking forward to your guesses. How about you – any random weirdness you want to share? What goofball thoughts trip through your day? I love hearing your stories, they make me feel less strange.

Word of the Day:  Tamandua

Fun fact about me:  My very first role on stage was the villainess in a classic old time melodrama. (Clementine Greedy was my name.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt July 2014. Photo courtesy Google Images.

 

 

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