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Archive for the ‘Caribbean’ Category

I subscribe to a lot of Disney related websites, blogs, newsletters, etc., because, hey, I am a Disney geek. That’s right, I love all things Disney. Well, almost all things. I’m not a fan of Dole whips. (more…)

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Have you ever set out to cross something off your bucket list? Well, I do and recently, I did. I finally took a Disney cruise. Not my first cruise, my first DISNEY cruise!! Needless to say, I was very excited.

The entire journey turned out to be one “first” after another, starting with Thanksgiving day in New Orleans. (more…)

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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.

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I’ve been playing around with some of the features on my laptop in an attempt to learn how to do more cool things. I know I can record videos from my laptop, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. Late last year I learned about the “paint” feature on my computer and how I can alter photos. I’m still not very good at it, but I’m learning.

This is NOT me, but I'm sure I had the same expression on my face. Photo courtesy Google Images.

This is NOT me, but I’m sure I had the same expression on my face. Photo courtesy Google Images.

A couple of weeks ago I started playing around with my Power Point program and created my very first slide show. It’s very amateurish and kind of boring, but I enjoyed learning how all of the cool features work with this program. My experiment is uploaded below. Just click on the link and wait a few seconds for it to up load on your computer, then enjoy. I’m hoping to post more of these things in future and hopefully they’ll be a little more interesting. I may even figure out how to add mucic and stuff. For right now, this is my accomplishment. (Please note that the following download may not be compatible with all operating systems. Sorry.)

springtime-slide-show

Enjoy! And as always, thanks for your support.

P.S. I’m not sure what the cinnamon roll has to do with spring, but there you go.

What’s the last new thing you attempted to learn? Are you a computer geek, who loves this kind of technology?

Word of the Day:  Enceinte

Fun fact about me: My driver’s license photo is almost 12 years old. They just keep sending me new ones.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, March 2014. Original slide show produced and photographed by Patricia Rickrode.

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It’s time to blog again and I’ve got to say, I’m a little uninspired. It’s not that I’m in a slump or anything, because my creative juicies have been overflowing. Unfortunately, not with blog ideas.

How we balanced our budget. Makes perfect sense. Photo courtesy Google Images

How we balanced our budget. Makes perfect sense.
Photo courtesy Google Images

I have a good excuse. Really, I do. I’ve spent countless hours this weekend reading and revising my recently completed fourth manuscript. I’ve been to my monthly writer’s group meeting and conducted a very productive board meeting where we discussed next year’s writing programs, our annual Christmas party and our 3-day writing retreat in 2015. Oh sure, that budget part was a little yucky, but it comes with the territory.

As far as blogging, I got nothing. I think it’s time for a vacation. I know, I know, I just got back from a vacation only a few short weeks ago, but I think people should get vacations every other month. Don’t you?

I found this article, while I was busy doing nothing on the internet. And by nothing I mean something creative like looking at You Tube videos about making homemade Christmas decorations and scanning through hundreds of Pinterest photos for inspiration. That’s something. Right?

Anyway, that article, here’s the link: (Link was removed 11/4/13 by author)

Let me know if you’d rather be in any of these places right now instead of wherever you’re at. I know which one I’d pick.

What do you do when you lose your inspiration?

Word of the Day:

Fun fact about me: I can sing about 50 commercial jingles from the 80’s and 90’s. Something else cluttering up my brain.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 2013. Photo courtesy Google Images.

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I love words.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

My very first blog post was about the Wacky World of Words, wherein I went on and on about the craziness of the English language. You can read all about it here: https://jansenschmidt.wordpress.com/2011/11/.

Sisterhood-Blog-As most of you know, I end each new post with a word of the day. It’s something fun I like to do because I like to discover new words. Some of you pay attention to that little detail at the end of my posts. So much so, that I have been awarded because of it. CJ Burright bestowed upon me the Sisterhood of the Word Bloggers Award, for which I am honored. See CJ’s post here: http://cjburright.com/?p=439. Thank you CJ!

Because Colleen Patrick always tries to incorporate my word of the day into her comments, I am passing this award on to her. According to the “rules,” if you receive this award you are to: post the logo on your blog, thank the nominator (that would be me), choose some nominees of your own, and post their blog links.

I choose Colleen specifialy because of her obvious curiousity and subsequent research about my word of the day. Although Colleen’s a pretty smart cookie so perhaps she didn’t need to do research at all. Perhaps she’s just got a head full of crazy words and their definitions. Anyone else who wants to pass along this award on to someone you know who inspires you with fun new words, feel free to do so. Just be sure to include the “rules.”

Image courtesy Google

Image courtesy Google

And now on to the next portion of todays’ post, the August installment of What Haven’t I. I know you’ve all been waiting breathlessly so wait no longer. But first, a reminder of how the game works:  You don’t need to know a single thing about me to play. All you have to do is record your guesses in the comments section below.

Three of the answers are things that I have actually done. Only one is something I have not. It’s your job to guess which thing I haven’t done. Simple? Easy peasy. You can’t win if you don’t play. Have fun and good luck!

My responses will be posted on August 26th. The person with the most correct guesses will win a prize (if they check back and acknowledge that they have won by leaving another comment) AND the first person who responds back on the 26th, regardless of how many responses they got right, will also receive a prize if they leave a second comment.

So, without further ado:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

1. (Speaking of awards) For which sport have I not received an award? a) bowling; b) volleyball; c) baseball; or d) basketball.

2. What haven’t I had in my yard? a) a skunk; b) a bear; c) a porcupine: or d) a mountain lion.

3. What haven’t I carried around in my car? a) a toothbrush; b) a stuffed animal; c) a blanket; or d) a knife.

4. What haven’t I crashed? a) a snowmobile; b) a car; c) a motorcycle; or d) a party.

5.  What haven’t I crossed? a) the Atlantic Ocean; b) the Pacific Ocean; c) the Caribbean Sea; or d) the Mediterrean Sea.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing you all back on the 26th.

Word of the Day: Hoi Polloi

Fun fact about me: I am an amateur ventriloquist.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2013. Most photos courtesy Google Images.

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Ah, springtime! Welcome back birds.

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

Hello flowers!

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

And babies!

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Animal Kingdom Park WDW

So many awesome things to enjoy. As I sit here daydreaming writing, I close my eyes and imagine how wonderful it would be to sit here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

and enjoy a cocktail write.

I should be doing this:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

But I’d rather be doing this:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Sailing on Lake Tahoe

Or even just this:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

But instead, I’m working diligently on my 2013 vacation plans current work in progress.

Nothing sabotages a writing career faster than the advent of spring. We should be writing, we want to write, creative ideas are hitting fast and furious. But the temptation to go outside and play is strong. The lure of warm sunshine and fragrant flowers calls to our subconscious. Thoughts turn to gardening, sun bathing, long walks, dining on the patio and for me – vacation!

While I’m torturing my characters with attending funerals, mucking out horse stalls, and hiding from evil step-sisters, I’m really torturing myself with thoughts of being here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Yosemite Valley

Or here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Cascade Creek, Merced Co. California

That’s right, I’ve been visited by the ghosts of vacations past. They remind me that instead of sitting here gathering wool writing, I could be here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

Or here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by C. Rickrode

Or here:

Photo by C. Rickrode

Photo by C. Rickrode
Big Island, Hawaii

Or here:

Photo by C. Rickrode

Photo by C. Rickrode
Maui, Hawaii

And what trip down memory lane would be complete without a visit from the ghost of Disney vacations past?

The New FantasylandWalt Disney World

The New Fantasyland
Walt Disney World

So as spring makes it way into my little corner of the world, I shall savor it’s presence and bask in the rebirth of creativity and as new life springs forth from the earth. My mood word count will improve and my house will get cleaned muse will awaken and all thoughts will be of vacation writing “the end.”

Here’s hoping you all have a very productive springtime!

Word of the day: Raffish

Fun fact about me: One summer I worked at a B & B.

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So it seems as though the end of the world year is upon us. There being only a very short amount of time left upon this earth calendar year, I feel as though I should openly express my gratitude for the wonderful things I have enjoyed since January 1st of this year.

But, before I get started, I must congratulate Pat O’Dea. She is the lucky winner of my sweet surprise from last month’s blog! Congratulations, Pat!

Now, let the gratitude begin:

First, I am grateful for my family and friends who have circled the wagons when I needed protection, smiled when I needed encouragement, scolded when I’d strayed off course, and just plain been available when necessary.

Second, I’d like to thank my cyber friends, new and not-so-new. I’ve managed to get through an entire year of blogging, albeit only once a month, but, since that was my goal, I can proudly say that I accomplished it. Next year, should there be one, my goal is to increase my blogging presence with twice-montly posts! I know you’re all dancing with glee!

2012 was a year of great expeditions, great acquisitions and great accomplishments! In March I was able to visit with treasured friends at our annual Nascar weekend in Vegas.

Nascar & Yosemite 038

In June my wonderful husband and I were able to enjoy seven amazing days in the Western Caribbean!

Western Caribbean cruise 2012 091

We climbed ancient Mayan ruins, went cave-tubing in Belize, boarded a pirate ship and swam in the warm clear waters of Grand Cayman and zipped through the jungle in Roartan on 4-wheel quads!

Western Caribbean cruise 2012 163

In July we moved into our new home, in September I traded in my old Subaru with 214,000+ miles on it for a brand new 2012 Nissan AWD Rogue and in October we visited one of our favorite places, Disney World!

WDW 2012 036

While there, I thoroughly enjoyed my very first trick-or-treating experience! Having been denied such “normal” childhood activities, I was overjoyed when I learned that Disney encouraged kids of ALL ages to trick-or-treat. Here’s my husband and I getting ready to embark on our redneck tourist trick-or-treating journey:

WDW 2012 071

WDW 2012 072

Aren’t we OMG hideous! We looked ridiculous, but we had a lot of fun.

All in all it’s been a pretty awesome year. When it’s all said and done, I have no regrets, lasting memories, more friends than I started the year with, and positive goals for the new life year ahead.

Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart for your support throughout this year. I hope to see you all again in the upcoming months should we all survive the prophesied apocolypse! Have happy and safe holidays and feel free to share your accomplishments and gratitude in the comments below! I’d love to celebrate with you!

Word of the day:  Moppet

Fun fact about me: I totaled my very first brand new car before I even got my license plates! (That’s not really such a FUN fact is it?)

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It’s May first and spring is in full bloom in my neck of the woods! There was much complaining from the natives about all of the rain in March and April. But, let me say, there are no complaints now! May is shaping up to be one of the most beautiful months ever. So, in honor of Earth Day, I’m blogging this month about all of the beautiful things surrounding us in nature. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a look around you. You might be surprised.

Everywhere I’ve gone these past couple of weeks there are wild flowers and luscious green grass and shiny new leaves on the trees. I notice these gifts. I notice because – like sparkly things – I love flowers. I love to look at them, smell them, touch them and . . .  apparently, from pursuing my travel photos for last month’s blog, photographing them. Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve taken pictures of flowers.

I didn’t really notice that I do this until last month when I was drafting my April blog. But it makes sense because I am always drawn to a vibrant display of color. And a perfect bud or bloom has on occasion actually taken my breath away.

Susie Lindau (http://susielindau.com/2012/04/25/a-heatwave-cometh-early-a-photo-essay/) and Serena Dracis (http://serenadracis.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/welcome-to-wild-wednesday/) both recently posted pictures on their blogs of their back yards and gardening attempts, among other things. Karen McFarland has also posted awesome flower pictures on her blog recently. (http://www.karenmcfarland.com/perform-in-a-springtime-melody) All three of these blogs have amped up my spring fever. If you want some instant spring time, I highly recommend checking out these fabulous blogs.

Those were memorable blogs for me because I’m a flower-holic. I love them, plain and simple. I can’t resist snapping a photo every time I am awestruck by a beautiful bloom.

You’ll have to bear with me again this month as we take a little walk down memory lane and enjoy some of my flower-taking exerpiences.

Rain forest - Hilo, Hawaii

And it’s not just flowers that call me like a siren from the sea. Oh no, it’s unique plants and trees as well. A serene meadow or fern-blanketed forest have also been worthy of my photo snapping skills. I especially like finding a growing green plant in an most unexpected place.

Like this hearty little plant pushing up through a bed of hardened lava.

Lava beds - Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Or these interesting specimens.

Annaberg Sugar Mill - Virgin Islands National Park - St. John, US Virgin Islands

Interesting beauty in the desert - Cabo San Lucas

Or this Banyan Tree. If you don’t know about Banyan Trees, I suggest you do some research, they’re fascinating things. They remind of of things you’d read about in Gene Lempp’s blogs. (www.genelempp.wordpress.com)

Banyon Tree - Oahu Hawaii

And here’s a very unique and beautiful tree.

Paradise Point - St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

But mostly, it’s the flowers that captivate me. Here are some of my flower photos with a brief description of where I took them. Enjoy!

The Big Island of Hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Cinnamon Bay - St. John, US Virgin Islands

Annaberg Sugar Mill - St. John, US Virgin Islands

Playa Mazatlan - Mazatlan, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

St. Thomas - US Virgin Islands

Lahaina, Maui

Maui, Hawaii

Downtown Honolulu, Hawaii

Downtown Honolulu, Hawaii

And what blog post about my travels would be complete without some photos of my favorite places – Disneyland and Disney World!

Epcot - Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World

I don’t have to be stationary to photograph these colorful living organisms either. Nope, I can shoot right through the glass window of my transport vehicle. Like these three I couldn’t resist while on my bus ride through Honolulu.

The hillsides along the freeways were bursting with color. I know now what Rachel Funk Heller experiences every day where she lives in paradise! You’re a lucky girl, Rachel! I hope you appreciate this living landscape beauty.

Here’s one I took from a moving boat.

St. John - US Virgin Islands

I captured some shoreline treasures . . .

Asilomar - Pacific Grove, California

And these mountain beauties.

Yosemite - May 2011

And as much as I love finding the natural beauty in plants and flowers, don’t even get me started on the the man-made topiaries. I can photograph these things all day. And apparently I have, judging by my vacation albums. Who came up this this idea anyway? It’s genius!

Sorcerer Mickey - Back Stage Tour - Walt Disney World 2009

It's A Small World - Disneyland

It's A Small World - Disneyland

 And I don’t just capture these amazing gems during the day time. No sirree, I photograph at night too.

It's A Small World - Disneyland - Christmas 2010

 Here’s a unique palm tree that captured my attention in Honolulu, whist on my ghost hunting expedition one night last year. That’s right, I went in search of ghosts.

Date palms - Honolulu, Hawaii

I not only shoot day or night, I shoot outside or in. Makes no difference to me and my snap happy finger.

St. Andrew's Cathedral

And a little rain won’t impede my desire to capture that perfect work of beauty.

My affinity for photographing flowers evidently also extends beyond the realm of the living. Here are some floral arrangements that, while natural, would not appear in this form in the wild.

Grand food creations buffet - Carnival Victory - 2006

Grand food creations buffet - Carnival Victory - 2006

Not only are flowers lovely to look at and delightful to smell, flowers can be functional as well. For instance did you know that rose bushes are often planted on the perimeters of vineyards?

They not only attract bees and other pollinators, but they help predict sudden changes in the weather. Roses are very susceptible to mold and are hyper-sensitive to temperature changes. Vintners can watch their roses to know whether or not they need to take action to protect their grape crop. You see, it’s an educational blog too.

So there you have it. My crazy flower obsession.

What’s your passion, or perhaps what thing do you find yourself photographing over and over again, besides your kids and pets?

Word of the day: Fuliginous

Fun fact about me: I once used cocoa powder as stage make-up.

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