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Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy Veteran's Day to Military Veterans and Happy 239th Birthday U.S.M.C.

As the wife of an American Veteran, I have a heart for all veterans. I wish to all military veterans who served in the past and to those who are now serving in the armed forces in America,  a very Happy Veteran's Day tomorrow! Thank you for serving our beloved country and for giving so much to protect the people who live here and for protecting the rights that we sometimes take for granted.
Happy Veteran's Day to All American Veterans
Today, I am sharing a photo of my daughter, Stephanie, who is wearing a sweatshirt that belonged to her daddy many years ago, long before she was born  when he was a "few" pounds lighter. I was a new bride.  My husband, her father, and I were living in Charleston, S.C. He was stationed at the Naval Weapons Station at Goose Creek, Charleston, South Carolina at the time.
Stephanie wore this shirt yesterday to church to honor her father, a Marine veteran, for Veteran's Day. Her father and I were both very surprised and touched by this sweet and meaningful gesture. Stephanie is so proud of her father and the time he spent in service to our country. We are proud of her and we feel so blessed that God chose us to be the parents of  two sweet and thoughtful daughters! Her husband, Jason, snapped a picture of her after the church service was over.

As it happens, this garment also serves the purpose of honoring all active and inactive United States Marine Corps veterans on the 239th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps! I adore this picture of her in the Marine Barracks sweatshirt.
Stephanie Wearing a Sweatshirt which Belonged to her Father,  a  Marine Vet

I hope my fellow Americans will take the time to honor all of our veterans. Freedom is not free. No matter what your thoughts on the subject of war and those who serve in the military, it is an undeniable fact that we would not enjoy the liberty to express our views had it not been for those who serve our country. I, for one, am eternally grateful for that freedom.

Happy Birthday U.S. Marine Corps and Happy Veteran's Day to all veterans!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween Goblins

The street where my daughter lives is one of the most popular places in our town for Halloween. Being a one-way street with a circle at the end, there is not a lot of through traffic which seems to make a friendlier and, hopefully, safer environment for the hundreds (not kidding) of spooks who haunt there every Halloween. We used to have quite a few kids come by our house. However, we now take our candy and go over to her house for some light refreshments and fun spent with family and friends. We watch the costumed goblins, small and not so small, and pass out treats to those who show up there from way before dark until the candy or we, or both, give out.

I wish I could have taken some pictures of all the little ones and their costumes because they were pretty awesome. Instead, I will share with you some pictures of my grands, at least the ones who are still young enough to participate in trick-or-treat. My three granddaughters still enjoy Halloween as trick-or-treaters. 

Princesses Anna and Elsa from Disney's movie "Frozen" were the most popular costumes worn by the little ones last night, by a landslide. Even some of the bigger goblins who were chaperoning the smaller ones were wearing Anna and Elsa costumes. Seriously, I think I am not very far off base when I tell that some costume makers and toy manufacturers are making tons of money off those characters. The snowman, Olaf, from the movie was also very popular this Halloween. 

Our family helped with that process, as you can see from the following photos. The two youngest dressed up as Princess Anna (on the left) and Elsa!
Princesses Anna (left) and Elsa from  Disney's "Frozen" Movie
They had the braided wigs, but for one reason or another, neither chose to wear them.  Go figure! Here is another of Princess Anna. 
Princess Anna from Disney's "Frozen" Movie
Unfortunately, I got the pizza boxes and soda bottles in the background. I obviously could have done a better job with the background in these shots! Hopefully, Princess Anna is lovely enough to distract from my lack of prowess in the photography area in all my photos.
With a Disney show playing in the background television(evidence of our obsession with all things Disney), our youngest granddaughter is pictured in a typical Elsa pose!
Princess  Elsa from Disney's "Frozen" Movie
Pirates always liven up the mix! Did you ever see a more beautiful pirate than the one pictured here?!
Our Pirate at Halloween
They can get somewhat rowdy, those pirates, and ours got pretty boisterous! She was frightening one of our princesses.
A Frightening Experience for Princess Elsa
Another snapshot of our young pirate caught in a more contemplative mood.
Our Pirate in a More Subdued Mood
A candid shot here of one of the bigger spooks (our daughter), the black cat, who is assisting the pirate to get "made up" for the occasion.
A  Mama Black Cat Helping her Little Pirate to Put on Makeup
Another shot of  Mama Black Cat. I thought she did a great job with her makeup and the pirate's, as well. She looks quite sly here! Do you suppose she might be about to pounce on an unsuspecting mouse?
A Black Cat Ready to Pounce
I think she is one fabulous cat in her costume. But, then again, mother's always say stuff like that!
One Gorgeous Black Cat!
I love my family and the friends who share times with us, both good and trying times. Life on our planet should never be taken for granted. It is an ever fleeting thing, life and those moments that make up a life. Time spent with loved ones is a gift not to be squandered or wasted. I do, so very much, treasure those moments!  It is my hope and prayer that my family and friends will always do the same with one another, even after I can no longer share precious moments with them.

Speaking of time, if you took your time to visit my blog today and to read my little Halloween post about some of the people who make my life and times so much more joyful, I want to thank you for doing so. I am very grateful for the time you have spent here, both now and in the past!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Piece of Paradise at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

If you like a tropical landscape and atmosphere, you will think you have fallen into Paradise when you enter Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, which is included in the Moderate class of Disney's resorts. It is, in fact, anything but moderate in its appeal. The resort's theme is that of romantic Spanish-Colonial Mexico. Taking full advantage of the Florida sunshine, the entirety of its sprawling grounds is chock full of just about every type of palm tree imaginable. Exotic tropical plants and shrubbery abound. Colors of buildings, inside and outside, range from sand to coral and soft blues to turquoise. Pops of rust and brown are interspersed for accent. The ultimate effect is soothing and relaxing. A supremely pleasant experience!

In celebration of our wedding anniversary, we just returned from a second stay at this extraordinarily beautiful place. We visited the resort several years ago when our youngest daughter, her husband and two daughters, accompanied us. During this visit we were reminded of just how astoundingly gorgeous and special it is! 

Walking toward the front entrance to the lobby, we are struck by the color scheme of the portico:
View from the Parking Lot to the El Centro Building and Lobby at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

The wonderful architecture and colors of turquoise blue and coral are a welcoming sight as we approach the entry's portico.

Entry Portico Leading to the Lobby and Registration Area of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

As we enter the doors leading into the lobby, El Centro, area of the resort, we look to our left and see this wonderful carved wooden horse statue.

Wonderful Carved Wooden Horse in El Centro (lobby) Area of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
This picture, taken from a closer proximity of the statue gives one a better understanding of its beauty.

Carved Wooden Horse Statue in El Centro  at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Front and center and directly in front of the door we enter is this gorgeous fountain!
Fountain in the El Centro (lobby area) of  Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
The sound of the water flowing in the fountain is relaxing and entrancing. Here is another view of this fabulous fountain.
The Fountain in El Centro at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
A painted mural on the wall:
Painted Mural with a Spanish-Colonial Theme
A tile wall mosaic with cherub statuary and plantings on another wall.

To our right is the breathtakingly beautiful registration area. Because the light fixtures and lamp posts at all the Disney World resorts and theme parks are so fascinating, I find myself continually taking pictures of them. I did not get pictures here the last time we stayed. The fixtures hanging from the ceiling in the registration area are awesome, so I placed myself directly at the middle of the entrance, so as to achieve the full affect and snapped. The gentleman who had welcomed us when we walked into the area, walked quickly back over to me and asked if I saw what I had done when the picture flashed. He told me to check the picture I had just taken and so I did and was very surprised to find I had just discovered a "hidden Mickey!" You will see the glowing silhouette squarely in the top middle and beyond the fixtures in the picture below!
Beautiful Light Fixtures Hanging in the El Centro Registration Area with Hidden Mickey Glowing Beyond the Fixtures

This picture was taken as we walked back up the hallway of El Centro off which the eateries are located. Some unique light fixtures can be seen hanging from the ceiling along the length of this hallway with that gorgeous fountain placed in the middle in the foreground.
Light Fixtures in Hallway in El Centro with Eateries Situated on the Right of Photo
We had checked in to our room online weeks ago and so it took only a couple of minutes and we were on our way to our beautiful room. Our room was decorated in the same beautiful tones as other areas of the resort. The wall color of the room was a more muted and very light and soothing shade of blue/green and a bed "runner" sported the turquoise and brown found outdoors and in other areas.
Our Lovely Room at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
The bed runners also featured tiny Mickey heads in the design. It is always fun to hunt for Mickeys located here and there around the resorts and theme parks. The signature "Mickey" towel creation was positioned on one of the beds.
Signature "Mickey" Towel Decor on Bed

A picture of the vanity area and water closet area of the touches of brown, rust and golds, which lend a bit of richness to mix.
Bathroom and Vanity Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Bathroom and Vanity Disney's Coronado Springs Resort.
During our stay at Coronado Springs Resort we took several strolls around the vast and beautiful grounds of the resort. Hopefully, these photos will illustrate in some way the astounding architecture and gorgeous landscaping that abound throughout.
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Lost City of Cibola Pool with Maya Pyramid Waterfall

Night View of Lost City of Cibola Pool with Maya Pyramid Waterfall 

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Three Caballeros at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Three Caballeros and Me at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Light Fixture at Entrance Portico of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Crossing Bridge at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
What better to plant in this tropical paradise than a Bird of Paradise?

Bird of Paradise Flower at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
A close up picture of the beautiful Bird of Paradise Flower allows us to realize why the plant is called Bird of Paradise. It really looks like the head of a colorful plumed tropical bird.
Bird of Paradise Flower at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Another outdoor fan/light fixture which has become a home for a bird of some kind. Note the bird's nest at the top of the fixture.
Fan Light Fixture at Disney's Coronado Springs Resor
 Another tropical flower, Yellow Hibiscus.
Yellow Hibiscus at the Resort
A good breakfast was available at the Pepper Market.
Spanish Omelette at Pepper Market
For a quicker selection pastries can be purchased as well at Pepper Market.
Pastry Case at Pepper Market

If you choose, you can select from a buffet which also includes pancakes and waffles.
Breakfast at Pepper Market

Breakfast at Pepper Market
Breakfast at Pepper Market
A refreshing late night refreshment after a busy day in the parks. Lemon Sorbet and Strawberry Sorbet from Cafe Rix.
Cafe Rix at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Sorbet Case at Disney's Coronado Springs Cafe Rix

Strawberry and Lemon Sorbets from Cafe Rix
Each of Disney's resorts is special and unique in its own way. Thank you so much for taking time to read my blog. I sincerely hope you enjoyed this little visit to Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. It truly is a little piece of paradise!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What's the Buzz and Life at Boarding School

There are a few things happening in my back yard. The first is a fragrance so divine that it would be very difficult to ignore, even if I wanted to. I fell in love with this fragrance many years ago as a resident student at boarding school.

Let me tell you the story of how I discovered the fragrance. I had been excited about the prospect of attending a boarding school. I had never been away from home alone and thought it would be a positive experience--an adventure. I have to admit that it ultimately was a very good experience  and one which helped me to learn how to deal with all sorts of people, to mature and learn how to be independent in so many ways. Upon arriving, however, I found myself thrown into totally different surroundings, living in a room with three sets of bunk beds with five other girls!  The six of us girls shared a connecting bathroom with another six girls in the other room. Twelve of us and one bathroom. Living in what had once been a private mansion, now filled with dozens of people, other girls and Catholic nuns. These were people I had never known before. Some of whom , I was to discover, were a good deal more experienced and worldly than I.

After a while we girls were like sisters. We were "in it" together! Kindred spirits, watching each others back and posting look out when necessary! I found myself playing decoy on more than one occasion. Honestly, the stories could fill a book!

Have you ever lived at a boarding school? If you have, you know this is the truth. It is an experience unlike any other in the world and that is an understatement! Have you ever seen the movies The Trouble With Angels and Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows?  I promise you, life in boarding school was exactly like those two movies. For fun, I am posting links to Youtube clips from them here and here.  The nun who was in "command" of  our residence hall was a dead ringer for the one in these movies. She was tall and lithe and walked as if she was floating on a cloud. We could not hear her coming and she would appear as if by magic. She could smell cigarette smoke a mile away! I was glad I wasn't a smoker and seeing her grab the hand of a girl and sniff her fingers could strike sheer terror into the heart of anyone who might be contemplating lighting up!  If she ever caught a whiff, which was apt to happen, it could lead to some sever consequences! So could food fights in the dining hall. Consequences like being grounded on weekends for a month from dating privileges or from the privilege of going downtown on Saturday afternoons.

We had huge fireplaces in almost every room and the girls who smoked would rearrange the furniture. The fireplaces were no longer in use and the girls would place the long bureaus in which we stored our clothes in front of the fireplaces. The girls would hide in the fireplaces and smoke. Presumably, the smoke was to go up the chimney. It is amazing that the nuns didn't catch on. Now, I did not smoke, but I admit to being guilty of pushing the big bureau back after the others crowded into their hideout..

The dreaded "sniffer" came into our room once as I was trying to catch my breath from the exertion of moving that big piece of furniture back up against the fireplace. I decare,  I thought I was going to have a heart attack and die, right there on that very spot! Needless to say, so did the smokers who had just lit up. Sister spoke to me briefly. They heard what was going on and started stabbing those cigarettes out. They almost choked trying to keep from blowing out the smoke. To this day, I still cannot understand how she didn't smell it. I swore to myself that I would never do that again and, indeed, I did not!

After two years, the place had become a home to me and I loved it and the people. I adore those old movies about the "angels!" and can identify with the resident girls.  I kid you not that for each of the nun characters in those movies, no lie, we had a nun in residence with the personalities of those nun characters. They could have easily filmed those movies at our residence and school, using us girls and our nun overseers to play the parts! The similarities and circumstances are uncanny!

Okay. Let's get back to that heavenly fragrance in my back yard. It comes from a bush or some might call it a shrub.

There were many of these bushes located in what was referred to by everyone who lived at the residence hall as The Sunken Gardens. The Sunken Gardens was an area located about half way along the brick pathway from the residence hall to the school building where we resident girls attended classes, along with other day students (girls and boys) living in the Aiken area. It was on one of the trips from the hall to the school in early Fall my first year in attendance. It was around this same time of year that I first noticed this entrancing fragrance. That same aroma came wafting through the air every time I walked up that path. Such a sweet perfume! I was intrigued and so I finally asked one of the sisters where it was coming from. It is called Tea Olive bush.
Tea Olive Shrub
If you are interested, the technical name for the plant is Osmanthus. If you would care to find out more about this wonderful plant you might want to visit Clemson University's site here.  

I remember many times sitting in the Sunken Gardens and breathing in that wonderful fragrance and how it somehow helped to ease the feelings of  homesickness and uncertainty I was experiencing and made me feel more at home with my surroundings. A girl of sixteen can feel very alone when the family she has never been far away from seems light years away. As it turned out, I met the man I was to marry and spend my life and raise a family with while attending that school. As a matter of fact, he and I spent some time sitting in that special little spot in the Sunken Gardens!

I thought then, and still do, that if there is a fragrance in Heaven, surely it is that which comes from this shrub whose clusters of tiny and delicate white flowers are so unassuming as to be missed on first glance! I promised myself that someday I would enjoy this heavenly scent in my yard. And so I did. My husband and have planted one of these at every house where we have lived. It is an evergreen shrub. The fragrance wafts over the entire yard from those little flowers which appear in the Fall and several other times throughout the year!
Obedient Plant/False Dragonheard

Obedient Plant or False Dragonhead. It is called Obedient Plant, I have read, because it can be bent and will hold its shape for flower arranging. It is, as I have discovered not as obedient as its name implies as it is somewhat unruly in the garden and seems to want to spread itself about. I like it anyway as its flowers are a lovely bluish/purple in color and I like blue flowers. I couldn't get a better picture because of  some very aggressive Yellow Jacket wasps that were buzzing around. Every time I see one I have a flashback of a time I was drinking a Sprite after school while talking to my friend, Iris. I lifted the bottle to my lips, not noticing the Yellow Jacket sitting on the rim of the bottle. Oh, the throbbing pain! Oh, what a fat and swollen top lip! School pictures taken next day--not a pretty sight! I do not take any chances with those particular insects!

I loved Betty, my sweet and lovely mother-in-law. She loved growing flowers and she always had Marigolds in her garden. I learned a lot of things from her.  She taught me to save the seeds from Marigolds and I always think of her and miss her when I see Marigolds growing. I save seeds from the ones I grow now and I planted  several varieties in my vegetable beds in the Spring to try and discourage insect pests.  After I removed the spent veggies, I decided to leave the Marigolds for a while. They have now taken over and are putting on a real Fall show, spilling over the sides of the planters in a wild and reckless way!
Marigolds Spilling Over Planter

What do you think about the fragrance of Marigold flowers? My opinion,  it is one you either love or strongly dislike. I know people who think they have a pleasant aroma. Not me.  I really do not like the smell and that may be why certain pesky insects might not bother vegetables planted among the flowers. It is my experience that one must get pretty close to one of the blooms to be able to smell it. Therefore, the assets of this plant far outweigh the fact that it possesses a somewhat unpleasant odor.

Marigolds grow in a great variety of hues of yellow, ranging from a buttery white to deep gold. To see a variety of beautiful Marigold,s you can check out any seed company's website or catalog. Here at Burpee Seed Company website, you will find many gorgeous types of Marigold plants. There is something else happening back there. Something else is buzzing!
Bumble Bees
Bumble Bees are buzzing about and working very hard, gathering up much nectar and pollen! They seemed totally oblivious to me as they worked and I was taking pictures. It is easy to understand where the term "busy as bees" comes from if you take a minute or two to watch them at work!

I realize that Bumble Bees do not make honey like Honey Bees do, but they have a purpose and so I am glad they have chosen to take up residence out back for a while. I am not a tree hugger but I think we need to to preserve and conserve whatever natural resources we can. I think most reasonable people realize and understand that bees play an integral role in the survival of the human race as they serve to pollinate many of the plants that we eat and use for various purposes. I have heard that our planet is losing much of its bee population. I am not fond of getting a bee sting or a sting of any kind, for that matter, but I am encouraged when I witness them as they eat the nectar on flowers and see the pollen stuck on their mouths. ensuring that we will be able to have plants to eat and to provide oxygen in the air for us and all the other animals in the world. And so the cycle continues. Therefore, it makes me happy to see they have chosen to stop for a while here in my little piece of the planet!

I hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane and thanks so much for stopping by to check out the buzz!