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Archive for the ‘beer’ Category

My life as an innkeeper is never dull. Most of the time my work is very rewarding. The average guest is very nice and respectful. And every day I see or hear something that makes me go:

bewildered-face

Being an innkeeper has challenges for sure, but there’s an amusing side as well. And an even larger amazing component that most people probably don’t even think about. (more…)

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

So we’re getting ready to hit the road; going to caravan about 2,100 miles with a 26′ U-Haul truck, towing a car, following another car, with a 75-year-old man who loves to nap and a 70 pound, 11-year-old Labrador Retriever, across the Mojave Desert, Arizona and Northern Texas during July. What could possibly go wrong?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, moving is a hassle. And I’m not just talking about the packing part, I’m talking about every single thing you have to remember to do. Like turning off all utilities, forwarding mail, remembering what gets auto deposited or debited into or out of a bank account that you’ve now closed. Stuff like that. Pain in the ass.

But with moving, comes excitement and anticipation of starting out new and fresh somewhere else. Finding new homes for your things, learning new routines, exploring new places. Fun, fun, fun.

Sad to leave friends I’ve had for 45 years and the town I grew up in and know like the back of my hand, but happy to discover new friends and new places.

Here’s a list I’ve compiled (in no particular order) of things that I am in NO way going to miss:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

1 – the 45-minute commute to work;

2 – the 45-minute drive home from work;

3 – wearing business professional clothes, heels and up-do’s every single day;

4 – being someone else’s employee;

5 – rationing water;

6 – the fear of a forest fire burning down my house;

7 – exorbitant taxes;

8 – extremist political leaders;

9 – everyone thinking you live in Hollywood or near the beach just because you live in California;

10 – everyone thinking you’re wealthy just because you live in California.

11 – not having to bring my own grocery bags to the store;

12 – the penchant to litigate everything.

Things I’m definitely GOING TO miss:

1 – Too many friends to mention by name;

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

2 – Disneyland;

3 – the weather;

4 – my local chapter of Romance Writers of America;

5 – my nieces and nephews;

6 – the ocean;

7 – Lake Tahoe;

8 – knowing all of the short-cuts and secret passages around town;

9 – being just 45 minutes from awesome snow skiing;

10 – some of the best wine in the entire world;

11 – The Olde Town Grill;

12 – my zumba class.

Tell me loyal subjects – uh, I mean followers, what would you miss most about your home town? What special “secret” things do you cherish about where you live? Would you travel across the desert in the heart of summer?

Word of the Day: Uncinate

Fun fact about me: I’m a planner; down to the smallest details. Yet, I love being spontaneous. Go figure.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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Happy birthday America!

Bonus post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2015. Video courtesy YouTube.

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The menopause saga continues folks and let me tell you, it gets weirder and weirder. I have to laugh, because my only other choice is to cry myself into a padded room. And let me start by saying that men definitely got off easier (again) on the whole aging thing. I mean, at mid-life they just buy an expensive sports car and – bam – they’re over it and move on into their golden years.

Women however, we experience mid-life differently. Most get the “usual” physical symptoms, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, bulging bellies. But not me my friends. No sirree, not me, although my belly does bulge a little. I have all of the “other” symptoms. I ones you never hear about.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Let me explain. For awhile now I’ve been experiencing some strange little things in my body. Things like a sore thumb one day, a sore wrist the next three, creaking knees the following week. No injury, no apparent reason for the pain. And, sometimes while I’m driving, my fingers go numb; my feet often “go to sleep” when I’m watching TV. I’ve also been having extreme vision issues, issues not correctable (or explainable) by my eye doctor. I wear a different bi-focal contact lens in each eye and I still have to wear glasses sometimes. And then there’s days when I just can’t seem to see at all, my vision is so blurry. And my eyes hurt. They feel dry and gritty and they twitch. A lot. But then at night, when I lay down to try to sleep, they water like crazy, soaking my pillow on both sides of my head. What the heck? What is this madness?

Where am I going with this? I’ll tell you. I did some research on WebMD.com for dry eyes and joint pain. Both list possible causes for the ailment and potential remedies. But way down on the list for each problem I found that these conditions may be the result of menopause. Say what? Dry eyes and joint pain are menopause symptoms?

Apparently so. And this created a burning need to research menopause a little deeper, leading me to a long list of “unusual” symptoms of menopause. Holy cow! I have more than half of those “unusual” symptoms. And what’s even funnier are the suggested homeopathic treatments for the symptoms.

Here’s an abbreviated list of lesser known menopause symptoms: loss of bladder control, extreme fatigue, inability to concentrate, tingling extremities, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, weight gain, hair loss, brittle nails, and bloating.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Here’s a partial list of cures: drink lots of water, exercise, get lots of rest.

Okie dokie. Let’s just back the apple cart up a little bit here shall we?

My symptom is loss of bladder control and you tell me to “drink lots of water?” Really? How is this helpful? I cannot sleep more than two hours at night and you’re telling me that the cure is to “get lots of rest?” Well duh. And wouldn’t that be nice? And you say that more exercise will cure the weight retention and bloating issues? Yeah, maybe under normal conditions, but, I am so freaking tired there is no way in hell I’m going to exercise more.  I can barely get through one 1-hour zumba class a week. Most of my exercise these days consists of getting up from my two-hour nap each night.

And I might experience anxiety. You think? I’m pretty sure that getting only two hours of sleep each night might make me a little — how shall I say this — tense. Not to mention my hair is thinning at an alarming rate. And my heartbeat is so irregular I think I’m having a heart attack and in fact, consider waking my husband up to have him drive me to the emergency room. I’m pretty sure, this symptom would make anyone anxious.

This article is really funny.

I little farther down on this ever-so-helpful site I read that menopause can last anywhere from twelve months to twelve years. ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME? Twelve freaking years?!? Nothing anxious about that. Can’t I just buy a Corvette and be rid of it?

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

But here is the kicker my friends; the suggestion that makes me laugh the hardest and longest. The article recommends avoiding alcohol. Seriously? I have 52 things wrong with me and if I drink enough water and get enough exercise and rest in twelve years they MAY go away. But, in those twelve years I’m not to have a drink? Like that’s really going to happen. If there is one thing I really, truly NEED at this very moment in my life, it is alcohol. Please dear God, let me never be out of alcohol. (Unless you bring me a Corvette, then I might reconsider.)

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

So, I know it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but seriously, if you read about your symptoms on the web, you may be enlightened. Or mislead. Or entertained. I was definitely entertained at the end of my on-line research. However, I am a little less worried about all of the little crazy symptoms I’m having. There’s light at the end of the twelve-year tunnel that they may go away. Seems I’m not having a heart attack, I’m simply anxious. And I’m definitely going to try staying up all night exercising and drinking water since, Lord knows, I certainly won’t be sleeping.

So (everybody raise your glass), here’s to aging, hair loss, peeing your pants, being awake all night, slightly overweight, anxious and blurry-eyed. I thank the good Lord every single day that I am generally healthy, happy, mobile, employed, and do not have some horrible debilitating disease, or chronic condition impacting my life in ways too unspeakable to mention here. If getting old means having a few aches and pains and anxiety along the way, so be it. I’ll take every day I am blessed to live. Even without a Corvette.

How about you readers: have you ever experienced any unusual or unexplainable condition that worried you? Do you try to self-diagnose? Do you rely on information you read on the web? Ever find a silly suggestion to fix a problem?

And, if I haven’t told you lately, I am blessed to call you all friends and thankful for your support.

Word of the Day: Nide

Fun fact about me: If it were practical and affordable I would drive an expensive sports car every single day. (And that’s not just the menopause talking.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, May 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I enjoy trying new dishes and recipes. I love reading and collecting recipes and flipping through cook books. I would love to take some cooking classes. I want to learn how to cook like a pro, flipping omelets with ease, flinging pizza dough over my head, frying up the perfect sunny side up egg. I’m excited just thinking about tying on a pristine white apron.

When I was growing up my mother prepared well-balanced, colorful meals, but painfully lacking in variety. Every week saw the same dishes set before us, spaghetti, meatloaf, tacos, the occasional casserole. These dishes were accompanied by over cooked vegetables or boring green salads with vinegar and oil for dressing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my mother to pieces and she never failed to have those healthy meals on the table for us each evening, for which I am eternally grateful. But, she lacked imagination or innovation or creativity of any kind when it came to cooking. Her spices of choice were salt and pepper and when she did get a little crazy and add herbs they usually consisted of dehydrated chives for the baked potatoes.

I think my husband wishes I were a little more like my mother in that regard. He’d be happy to have hamburgers or pizza (or both) every night of the week without ever seeing a vegetable or anything he can’t pronounce on the table. And don’t even say the word “fish,” when he’s around.

My poor, poor husband. I’m afraid his destiny is to endure experimental meals; meals prepared with love from the caring hands of the woman he loves. At least that’s what I keep telling him.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

After many years of experimental cooking, let me give you a tip, read everything before doing anything. The preparation instructions are just as important as the list of ingredients. On more than one occasion I have been whipping and stirring and folding in things only to discover that my delicacy must marinate or some other such process for several hours before moving on to the next step. There goes dinner for that night. And, how often have you been mixing like mad, adding dashes of this, and pinches of that, only to discover that the next ingredient is something you’re either out of, or have not idea what it is? Yes folks, that has happened to me. I’ve learned to read carefully before assembling products and gathering dishes and utensils.

While cooking is fun and eating is enjoyable, the preparation process can be tedious and downright frustrating. Here are some examples of ingredients I’ve come upon while preparing to serve an outrageously delicious meal: Amchur powder, garam masala, bulls horn peppers, ground sumac, elderflower liqueur, locatelli cheese, dry prosecco, Taleggio cheese, furikake, sharp pecorino, wattleseed, Fleur De Sel. That last one is just sea salt and why in God’s name the recipe doesn’t just say sea salt is beyond me, but what the what? I guess, “sprinkle liberally with Fleur De Sel” does sound better than “salt at will,” but really, do I need to go to the trouble of locating and purchasing glorified salt?

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Well, if I’m anything, I’m persistent. Google is my best friend and the store manager at my local supermarket has learned to run and hide if he sees me in the store, because I have sent him on a wild goose chase on more than one occasion looking for that special ingredient for my dinner. After I discover what furikake or bulls horn peppers are, I will spend way longer than necessary trying to find them at the market. Or, special order them.

And then there’s this quandry: you locate the item, or a close equivalent if you’ve been lucky enough to find out what that substitute item might be, only to discover that it costs like $100 for a half an ounce. You only need an 1/8 of a teaspoon and you’ll probably never use it again, but should you buy it – just in case it makes or breaks the dish you’ve been longing to try? I mean will you even notice if the wattleseeds are not present?

Ah yes, the joys of cooking and experimenting with new recipes. I have an impressive collection of spices and quite an assortment of colored salts (they’re all the rage now apparently), but my pocketbook is also considerably lighter. Was it worth it? Don’t ask my husband.

How about you friends, do you enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with crazy new ingredients and recipes? What’s the most money you’ve spent on something for a recipe? What’s the weirdest ingredient you’ve come across in your cooking adventures? How often have you Googled an ingredient in a recipe? I’d love to know. Please share.

Word of the Day:  Jaup

Fun Fact About Me: I sometimes try a recipe just because I like the name of it (can you say “Pasta Ponza?”)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, April 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

 

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Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

So if you’ve been following my blog for the past few weeks, you’ve heard me share some of my adventures from my recent cruise to Alaska. What you did not get a taste of in those previous posts, was the, let’s call it the more colorful side of our shore excursions.

Oh, I know there was the photo of me kicking up my heels on stage in a way too short can-can number at the Days of ’98 show in Skagway, but that was nothing my friends, compared to some of the other “activities” I participated in. Read on if you dare.

As the title of this post suggests, there was a wee bit ‘o beer drinking pert near every day. Suffice it to say, I love a good frosty brew. And where might this beer drinking be happening you ask? I’ll tell you. At some of Alaska’s most famous, or perhaps it’s infamous, saloons.

I’m talking, of course, about the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau, Alaska

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

and the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska.

Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Oh, there’s a reason why there’s “red” in the title.  Ever heard of the red light district?

Original red light from the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Original red light from the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

That’s right, every good old westen cowboy and mining town had one and I got to explore, up close and personal, one of “those” establishments.

Let’s start with my beer drinking visit to the Red Dog. The Red Dog Saloon originated during Juneau’s mining heyday, providing dancing and “enternainment.” In the early days “Ragtime Hattie,” played the piano in her white gloves and silver dollar halter top.  Use your imagination and conjure up a picture of that beauty if you will.

During the territorial days, Gordie Kanouse would meet tour boats on his mule, wearing a sign that said, “Follow my ass to the Red Dog Saloon.” Had I been around in those days, I probably would have followed.

Here’s what the Red Dog looks like today

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

 

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

and here’s an idea of what types of refreshment you can order from the menu.

The menu at Juneau's Red Dog Saloon. Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

The menu at Juneau’s Red Dog Saloon. Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

That’s right, you can get “shit” to fit any budget and a Duck Fart is the saloon favorite along with savory eats, such as: Klondike ribs, Motherlode burger, Iditarod Dip, Ninilchik wrap and The Nunivak, an Alaskan reindeer sausage topped with grilled onions on a sourdough Hoagie roll.

What you don’t see from my photos, is how many tables are crammed together around a miniscule stage where locals sing, tell tall tales and share some of Juneau’s mining day history. You can’t help but make friends with everybody since you’re basically at one big smushed together table.

Oh, and the sawdust on the floor. You don’t see that in these pictures either.

Okay, now on to the Red Onion. I’m not really sure why the “onion” part of the title is there, but there is no doubt about the “red” portion. After lunching on some good old fashioned comfort food (hamburgers and fries) and chasing it down with – that’s right – a dark ale, my sweetie pie and I paid our fee and ventured upstairs for the brothel tour. It should be noted that my husband was not keen on taking the tour until our waitress persuaded him.

My darling with our waitress at the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode (taken with waitress's permission, but not necessarily husband's), September 2014.

My darling with our waitress at the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode (taken with waitress’s permission, but not necessarily husband’s), September 2014.

Before we take a look at the photos, I think it’s important for ya’ll to know how this “getting upstairs” process used to work. You see, if a gentleman wanted to spend some time – and by time I mean 15 minutes – with a “lady,” he put in his request with the barkeep downstairs. Behind the bar was a case displaying cloth dolls with varying hair colors, much like these pictures hanging over the bar today.

The bar with original diamond mirrors at The Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

The bar with original diamond mirrors at The Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

The customer could request a specific girl/doll, a girl with a specific hair color, or, depending on the urgency of his need, any girl available. If the dolls in the case were standing up, the matching girl was available for “visitors.” If the desired doll was laying down . . . well . . . you get the picture.

When the gentleman’s 15 minutes was up, the upstairs “bouncer,” would enter the room, demand payment for another 15 minutes, or boot his ass out the door. When a “lady,” was finished with her customer, she’d drop the payment – in this case gold nuggets – down a copper tube. The barkeep downstairs would hear the rattling in the pipes, count the gold that fell through the tube into his waiting box behind the bar, then stand the doll back up, thus making her once again available. If the gentleman had short-changed the girl for his 15 minutes, he was stopped by another “bouncer,” at the bottom of the stairs from whence he has just descended. Pretty cool system right?

So let’s head upstairs, cuz I know this is what you’ve all been waiting for.

The staircase and "beckoning window" leading to the "rooms." Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

The staircase and “beckoning window” leading to the “rooms.” Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

On our tour we got to see one of the holes in the floor where the girls dropped the gold nuggets in addition to some other really, kind of cool, things. I didn’t get a good picture of the hole in the floor, but here is a photo of what all of the walls and the ceilings upstairs looked like. Yes, those are “hot wires,” that provided electric lighting. I don’t know about you, but I probably wouldn’t put paper on my ceiling and then lay hot wires across it, but that’s just me.

Original papered walls and ceiling and electric lighting system. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Original papered walls and ceiling and electric lighting system. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Here’s the hallway separating three rooms on one side and three rooms on the other.

Upstaris at The Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Upstaris at The Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

While not the original, here is a photo of the replicas of what the available dolls would have looked like. These dolls have china heads; the original dolls were cloth with yarn hair, which was ripped off and replaced with a different color, one appropriate to the new girl’s hair color (how thrifty). You see girls would come and go faster than gold nuggets so it was important to have interchangeable hair color for whatever new girl might come through the doors looking for “work.”

The "dolls." Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

The “dolls.” Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Here’s a “working girl’s” room (believe me this bed was barely big enough for a Barbie doll). There were about 8 of us on the tour and only half of us could be in this room at one time.

One of the "cribs" at The Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

One of the “cribs” at The Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Here’s the “madam’s” room, complete with a much bigger, almost a twin-sized, bed. Notice the fancier wallpaper and bedspread. Whether or not she owned furs was anybody’s guess.

The "madam's" room. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

The “madam’s” room. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Oh, and here are photos of some “lovely” garments worn by the “dolls.” This first one is pretty sexy, huh?

"Working girl" attire. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

“Working girl” attire. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

"Working girl" attire. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

“Working girl” attire. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

"Working girl" attire. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

“Working girl” attire. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

So there you have it my friends, my adventures into the “colorful” history of Alaska. What did you think of the tour? But more importantly, what do you think of the “doll” system? Don’t be bashful, he was a dwarf. Tell me what you think. Would you have taken the brothel tour? Do you enjoy a good glass of beer?

As always, thanks for visiting today. I look foward to your comments.

Fun fact about me: This is not the first brothel tour I’ve taken.

Word of the Day: Lidar.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, November 2014. Unless otherwise stated, original photos by P. Rickrode.

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Welcome sign at the Victoria port. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Welcome sign at the Victoria port. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

The final port stop on our Alaskan cruise was Victoria, B.C., known for it’s amazing federal building, the Empress Hotel and thousands and thousdands of flowers and plants at Buchart Gardens.

Our exploration of Victoria began with a bus tour of the city on our way to Craigdarroch Castle, a masterpiece of Victorian architecture built in the 1800’s as home to coal baron Robert Dunsmuir.

Here is a photo of the front of the castle, but I believe it might actually have been the back of the castle. You’ll see why in the second photo.

Modern-day entrance to Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Modern-day entrance to Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

This photo looks more like the front of a home than the back to me.

Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Here we took a self-guided walking tour of the four-story mansion complete with: an abundance of intricate woodwork believed to be western and red cedar (can you see the faint orb hovering on the right side of the arch over the door?,

Porte-cochere entrance, original main entrance of Craigdarroch Castle, which was actually on the side of the house. Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Porte-cochere entrance, original main entrance of Craigdarroch Castle, which was actually on the side of the house. Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

this intercom system (speaking tubes as they called them),

The "speaking tube" intercom system in Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

The “speaking tube” intercom system in Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

massive stone fireplaces like this one in the main hall (notice the orb on the paneling near the mountain goat’s right horn,

The main hall fireplace inspribed with this phrase from Shakespear's Troilus and Cressida, "Welcome ever smiles and farewell goes out sighing." Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

The main hall fireplace inspribed with this phrase from Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, “Welcome ever smiles and farewell goes out sighing.” Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

amazing staircases with an oh-so-obvious orb sliding down the banister,

Me and my sweetie on the staircase from first floor to the second. Yes, that is an orb floating just above my hand. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, BC. September 2014.

Me and my sweetie on the staircase from the first floor to the second. Yes, that is an orb floating just above my hand. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, BC. September 2014.

mosaic tile floors,

Amazing tile work floor. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Amazing tile work floor. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

painted ceilings,

Lovely original painted ceiling in the first floor main hall. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Lovely original painted ceiling in the first floor main hall. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

exquisite stained glass (this picture does not do this lovely nook justice),

Beautiful stained glass windows. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Beautiful stained glass windows. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

lavish Victorian-era furnishings,

A guest room at Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

A guest room at Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

and — did I mention — orbs.

It should be noted that not once on our journey to, or throughout the tour, did anyone ever mention the presence of these floating balls. It was not until I returned home and downloaded my pictures on to my laptop that I noticed an extreme concentration of the milky spheres.

While there are some orbs in these pictures, to see more pictures of Craigdarroch Castle’s orbs, visit my FB page, photo album Craigdarroch Castle.

After touring the castle, we headed into town where we opted to spend the final leg of the journey walking along the water’s edge. We enjoyed a lovely lunch of fish and chips and an amazing glass of stout beer at an authentic Scottish pub,

Baird & Banker, a Scottish Pub in Victoria, BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Bard & Banker, a Scottish Pub in Victoria, BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

wandered through the Empress Hotel

Empress Hotel, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode Setpember 2014.

Empress Hotel, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

 

A courtyard at the Empress Hotel, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

A courtyard at the Empress Hotel, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Empress Hotel, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Empress Hotel, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

and strolled along the water’s edge, past the Parliament building

Federal Building, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Federal Building, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

and several beautiful bed and breakfast inns,

Huntingdon Manon, Victoria, BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Huntingdon Manor, Victoria, BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

back to our ship, admiring wooden boats moored in the quiet wharf

Wooden boar. Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Wooden boat. Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

and watching sea planes land and take off along the way.

The sea plane taxi. Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

The sea plane taxi. Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

All-in-all, a very relaxing and enjoyable day in Victoria.

So, what say you lovely readers: ever discover any orbs in your photos? Which picture do you think most looks like the front of Craigdarroch Castle? Ever been to Victoria BC? Ever traveled by float plane? Inquiring minds want to know so please take a moment to post a comment below. I love to know your thoughts.

Fun fact about me: I love egg salad sandwiches for breakfast.

Word of the day: Kunzite.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt November 2014. Original photos by P. Rickrode.

 

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San Francisco is not known for it’s sunny days or bikini-riddled beaches. In fact, most days, it’s socked in with fog and you’re lucky if you get a tiny glimpse of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. But, the locals are blessed with a few really warm days every year around the autumnal equinox.

Such was our experience on day one of our 11-day voyage to Alaska. We arrived at the bustling pier with suitcases bursting at the seams and anticipation oozing from our pores.

Once onboard the Star Princess we made our way to the upper decks and breathed in the sea air. We had an amazing view of Alcatraz.

Alcatraz Island. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Alcatraz Island. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

The Golden Gate Bridge to the west – our destination

Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

and the new Bay Bridge and Treasure Island from whence we had just come to the east.

Bay Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Bay Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Before long, the band struck up a lively sail away tune, eager cruisers boggied on the Lido deck as bartenders hustled to concoct icy perfection in silver shakers. And then, the captain blew that awesome horn. BON VOYAGE!

I sipped on a Desperado, an amazing mixture of Dos Equis and Don Julio, whilst we inched away from the pier, waving at the tourists arriving back from a day of exploration on Alcatraz Island. We glided past sailors basking in the warm sunshine on the bows of their sleek white boats and and shiny playful seals barking from the wooden planks of the marina.

Pier 35 at the wharf in San Francisco. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Pier 35 at the wharf in San Francisco. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

As the city slid past us on the port side, we inched ever closer to the orange monolithic columns of the most famous bridge in California, dwarfing the whale watching vessels coming back to port.

Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

We chugged under the massive steel structure and into the looming fog bank on the other side.

The under belly of the Goldene Gate Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

The under belly of the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

The last dregs of sunlight gleamed off the magnificent towers and swooping spans of the bridge as we steadily made our way toward the open sea.

P. Rickrode and the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

We were off. Day one!

Stay tuned for port one in Alaska.  Totem poles and all you can eat crab at Ketchikan!!

Have you ever been to San Francisco? Have you ever sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge? What impressive venture have your embarked upon lately. I love it when you share your experiences.

Word of the Day: Gas maser

Fun fact about me: I have never seen a walrus (except in pictures).

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

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Let’s face it, when it comes to country music, women are still expected to fit a certain image. Basically, we are exploited. Well not me exactly because I don’t look like the girls in those videos, but you know what I mean. Country music tells a story and it’s often one of redneck adventures by not so charming cavemen. Songs like, I’m Gonna Miss Her, by Brad Paisley about a guy who chooses fishing all day over losing his wife; What Was I Thinking by Dierks Bentley, about a guy whose sole motivation for doing stupid stuff is a well-endowed woman wearing a skimpy tank top. I’m not proud of it, but the songs and the videos speak for themselves. Don’t believe me? Look it up. Watch the videos.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Well, the time has come to switch things up a little bit. Here’s a look at how two gorgeous young gals turned the tables on the country bumpkins who disrespect beautiful country women. Check it out. (Warning: You won’t be able to unsee this.)

So what do you think dear readers? Did you like the video? Do you like country music? Should we have more Maddie & Tae’s in this world? Inquiring minds want to know.

Word of the Day:  Blitzkrieg

Fun Face About Me: I love me some country music (despite the backward redneck nature of the beast).

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2014. Video courtesy YouTube.

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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.

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