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Archive for the ‘blooms’ Category

tea on porch

There’s something special about a front porch. Front porches come in all shapes and sizes; there’s one for every taste. I’ve always loved porches, front or back. I’m blessed here at the Baer House to have a front porch, 2 back porches (first and second level) and a balcony on the second floor in the front of the house.  (more…)

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It is with heavy heart that I write this post. Not because of the election results. I’m not overjoyed (I remain hopeful), but neither do I feel the need to slit my wrists. I am saddened because of the ugliness that followed the results. Come on, America – knock it off already. (more…)

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rock and rule.jpgWe interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to talk about you. That’s right – you. As I’m beginning to discover, it’s not always about me. (I know, that’s wrong, but true.)

So, dear readers, tell me, what’s going on in your world? What little tidbits of completely useless information should I know about you?

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Valentines Day

So the BIG long weekend is nearing completion. Time to go back to work. Well, for most of you. I’ve been working all weekend and it’s been great! Full house for Valentine’s eve with delicious breakfast treats on Valentine’s morning.

red velvet wafflesThe red velvet waffles were a hit even though they were sort of a brown-gray-pink color. I used a lot of food coloring too, but they still weren’t all that red after cooking. The batter was a killer hot pink color though. They looked like they were going to be red. Oh well, I just slathered on a little extra cream cheese icing and it was all good. Add some Baer House eggs (a house speciality) and some bacon and a fruit parfait and you’ve got yourself a sweet feast.

Anyway, we had two couples celebrating their anniversary; one just completed their first year of wedded bliss (aw), the other 13 years. That was fun. Another guest surprised me with a small box of chocolates and chocolate covered strawberries. That was unexpected and very sweet!

And my own sweetie stopped to get be a bouquet of candy hearts on his way home from the store that morning. All in all, a good weekend.

candy hearts

How about you readers? Anything worth sharing? We romance writers like to know these things. Fodder for our books you know.

Have a great week!

Word of the Day: Zymotic

Fun fact about me: I’d rather have flowers than chocolates for Valentine’s Day.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, February 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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Pecan Tree. Courtesy Google Images

Pecan Tree. Courtesy Google Images

Dear lovely ancient Pecan Tree:

Thank you for the lovely fruit. How I adore baking with the tasty nuggets you drop to the ground each fall. I do, however, have a request, if it’s not too much trouble? Would you henceforth please drop your tiny morsels of goodness in one neat pile on the pavement instead of scattering them all over the yard. And, while you’re at it, could you make it a nice sunny spot instead of those inticing shady areas where pesky mosquitos and mud bogs and snakes tend to lurk.

It’s not that I mind bending down and picking them up so much, but because they are all one lovely, non-descript shade of tan, they tend to blend in with everything, making them much harder to locate. Each morning it is like I am on some outlandish Easter egg hunt for the tiniest Easter eggs ever, all cleverly disquised as clods of mud and pebbles and chunks of cement. I am sure you surreptitiously watch me with merriment as I try to locate the delicatable treats through squinty eyes.

Photo coutresy Google Images.

Photo coutresy Google Images.

And finally, after dumping your nutty deliciousness in a tidy pile in the warm sunshine, perhaps you could talk to some of your feline friends, and ask them to protect the mound of morsels from thieving squirrels until such time as I can make my way outside to collect the bounty?

For all of your helpfulness, I shall reward you handsomely by trimming your foliage in an attractive fashion so as to inspire greater productivity next year and to keep your sturdy branches from overload and thus the threat of breakage, like what happened to the gentle giant in the driveway. I promise to take better care your support limbs and to admire the shade and beauty you provide each day, if only would you do your part by helping with the harvest.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation. I am sure by working together we can both become better living beings as a result. Oh sure, we’ll piss off the squirrels, but all in all, who really cares about pissing off the squirrels?

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Forever your most humble servant,

The Innkeeper

And so I ask you dear readers: have you ever harvested your own pecans? Walnuts? Almonds? Any advice for finding and gathering them? Not to mention cracking open those suckers?

Word of the Day: Kulak

Fun fact about me: I don’t really like pecans, but I have a lot of recipes that list pecans in the ingredient list.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 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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Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

The human brain is an amazing thing. We have the ability to process tremendous amounts of information in a single second. Our synapses fire at incredible speeds for very long periods of time. It’s a wonder we don’t get dizzy with all of the information pouring into us and through us, triggering rapid-fire bursts of energy under our skin. But, what amazes me the most is the persuasive power of suggestion.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

We’ve heard the expression we “will” ourselves not to do something. It is our will that prevents us from getting sick. Or vice versa, the power of suggestion can in fact make us sick. How many times have we traveled on a plane or in some other vehicle with close quarters and some kid or obnoxious adult is coughing and hacking without the decency to cover their mouth? Haven’t we all said, at least once in our lives, “I’ll probably be sick now?” That’s right, we “will” ourselves into illness. We’ve made the suggestion to our ever-powerful mind, and it happens just so.

That my friends is the power of suggestion. That is how trends become fads and fads become crazes. Someone “suggests” something and we all jump on the bandwagon. Someone in Hollyweirdwood decided to shock the world by wearing a see-through dress.  Now, everyone who’s anyone is wearing see through clothing because it’s all the rage. Someone suggested it, someone else pondered on it and voila, it’s a new trend. Not long ago I blogged about eating fads and the new trendiness of having food allergies. Someone with an honest to goodness gluten allergy got sick and tired of nobody believing them so they riled up the social media sites with their symptoms and bang – everyone’s gluten intolerant because they happen to have similar symptoms. That’s the power of suggestion.

Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

This persuasive tendency in our minds is very real and very reliable. Above I said that people can “will” themselves into being sick. Same works in reverse. Ever heard the expression, “where there’s a will, there’s a way?” That’s the power of suggestion my friends. We suggest that something may be possible and suddenly it happens. That’s how I became a writer. Someone from my past suggested that I write down one of the crazy tales spinning around in my head. I pondered that idea and look at me now, I’m writing books.

The power of suggestion has actually had a profound effect on my life very recently; life-changing in fact. If you follow my blog, you know that my house is for sale, which obviously means that I am moving, and you’ve seen my most recent post about the obstacle blocking the path I chose from the fork in my road. Well, it seems that that obstacle has been removed and I am once again cruising down the road to my future.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Here’s how it all started; my husband and I have been trying to move out of California for many years now, but something has always prevented us from doing so. I’ll not go into detail, but suffice it to say that the things preventing our move were huge and much more important at the time than us moving East. We decided at the end of last year that we would try again. We traveled to North Carolina (the State we’d decided on many years ago) to look at houses and check out the employment market. While we were there an opportunity presented itself to us and we sort of checked into it on a whim. That whim got us to thinking, which lead to suggesting that perhaps we choose another path; one not in North Carolina. Here’s where the power of suggestion changed our lives – that suggestion is going to happen very, very soon.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

We are going to be the owners of a Bed & Breakfast!

That’s right, we’ll be innkeepers. The power of suggestion has transformed our lives dramatically. Neither my husband nor I had ever talked about owning or operating an inn, yet here we are, about to be innkeepers. (It should be noted that we both have experience doing this kind of work and in the hospitality and food industry.)

While we were looking at houses in North Carolina back in November, we can upon a really cute old farmhouse for sale. Even though it was out of our price range, we decided to check it out – on a whim. It was operating as a bed and breakfast, but only had 4 guest rooms. It was way too expensive to consider buying for a private home, but did not provide enough income opportunities (with only 4 rentable rooms) to make ends meet as a business. But, that got us to thinking – why not look into buying an inn? That way we’d have built in jobs when we purchase our new home. Sort of, killing two birds with one stone.

That’s all I’m going to say for now, because a couple of little pieces still need to fall into place to complete the big picture, but I’m fairly confident that in a week or two there’ll be an announcement with all the details. There is a clue in this post, however.

And that my friends, is how the power of suggestion can change a life.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Tell me dear readers, how has the power of suggestion had an impact on your life? Have you ever willed yourself sick? Or not sick? Have you ever stayed in a bed and breakfast inn? If so, what was your favorite part?

Word of the day: Rya

Fun fact about me: I worked at a bed & breakfast one summer a number of years ago. I enjoyed it.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, June 2015. Images and photos courtesy Google Images.

 

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Finally, spring is upon us, bursting with warm breezes and a promise of hotter days to come. Spring break is here, summer vacation is just around the corner. If you’re like me, you’ve been working since January to get your body beach ready. (Hey, I’ve cut back on my potato chip intake substantially, that counts.)

blooming trees

Anyway, you all know what springtime means right? Swimsuit season! That’s right, it’s time to dust off that old swimsuit and try to squeeze your winter body into it hoping to catch a few rays to chase away that winter pale skin. Every year around this time I say I’m going to get myself a new swimsuit; one that fits right and flatters my awkward body shape even if I have to spend a few extra dollars to get it. Every year I shop (usually on line) and every year I come up empty handed.

I’ve started my swimsuit pursuit already this year, but haven’t quite found “the one.” I have, however, ruled out quite a few. Starting with this one:

swimsuit 1

And, while black is slimming, I couldn’t quite see myself in any of these either:

swimsuit 2

swimsuit 4

swimsuit 5

swimsuit 6

swimsuit 10

swimsuit 11

swimsuit 14

While shopping, I did reach a conclusion about what kind of swimsuit I should be looking for. You see, I turned 50 last year and I’ve decided that it is finally time to accept the fact that this old girl should probably give up the dream of ever wearing a bikini again – ever. However, if you’re still into the two-piecers, I’ve found some gems you might want to consider. Check these out:

swimsuit 7

swimsuit 8

And have no fear if your heart is truly set on black, because these two lovely bikinis only come in black:

swimsuit 12

swimsuit 9

So, you can see, there are quite a few choices, some bolder than others. And by “bold” I mean, what the heck on a haystack.

So, after quite a long time scrolling and clicking, I’ve come to the conclusion that, since I do not have the ideal body for virtually any kind of swim wear, I should probably be leaning toward something like this:

swimsuit 13

How about you dear readers, do you cringe at the idea of getting a new swimsuit? Do you dare to bare, or are you more modest in your swim attire? Would you consider wearing one of the swimsuits I’ve posted herein? Inquiring minds want to know. Don’t be shy. If you’d look hot in that little black bikini, go for it. You’d be the most popular gal (or guy) at the beach.

Word of the Day:  Fascine

Fun Fact About Me:  I’m not a huge fan of the beach.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, March 2015.

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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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Next stop, Juneau, the capital city of Alaska.

Welcome to Juneau. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Welcome to Juneau. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

We wandered leisurely along the water’s edge into town, again marveling at the magnificent warm weather and brilliant sunshine. We’d been warned that the weather in Alaska in September can be really wet. As we’d lucked out with amazing weather in Ketchikan, we’d lucked out again in Juneau.

 Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Historic Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Historic Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

After a couple hours of exploring, we ventured back into the rain forest for a morning zipping through the trees and walking across swinging suspension bridges high over narrow, deep canyons. It was thrilling if not a wee bit scary.

C. Rickrode ready to zipline. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

C. Rickrode ready to zipline. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

C. Rickrode. Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition. Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

C. Rickrode. Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition. Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Here is a very short, and I mean very short, video of my husband taking his practice run.

Later we boarded the tram and ascended 1,800 feet up the steep slope of Mount Roberts for an afternoon hiking in the fresh air.

Mount Roberts Tram - Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Mount Roberts Tram – Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode at the top of the Mount Roberts Tramway. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode at the top of the Mount Roberts Tramway. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

The Star Princess from atop Mount Roberts - Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

The Star Princess from atop Mount Roberts – Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Gastineau Channel - Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Gastineau Channel – Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

View of Inside Passage from atop Mount Roberts. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

View of Inside Passage from atop Mount Roberts. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode on the nature trail on Mount Roberts. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode on the nature trail on Mount Roberts. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Late blooming flowers on Mount Roberts. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Late blooming flowers on Mount Roberts. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

With so much yet to do and see, we were dismayed that the time had come for us to return to ship. On our return walk along the wharf, we spotted several eagles, but I was not able to get a good picture. Still no bears. Maybe tomorrow in Skagway.

The Star Princess docked at Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014

The Star Princess docked at Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014

Have you seen our majestic national bird in the wild? Have you come across some late-blooming wild flowers? What surprises have delighted you this early part of autumn?

Word of the day: Isallobar

Fun fact about me: I love tomato soup, ketchup, tomato sauce, and tomatoes but I hate tomato juice.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, September 2014. Original photos and video by P. Rickrode and C. Rickrode.

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