Friday, April 24, 2009

San Antonio ! Ole!

Here we are, in beautiful San Antonio, Texas. Unbeknownst to us, we picked the week of the 'FIESTA' to be here. Ai Caramba !!! What good luck! It wasn't too crowded, as I feared, and there were so many colorful things to see and do. We had a great time. We are leaving today, so here are a few shots of our trip. 

The Alamo in the evening. It was much more interesting than I thought it would be! Once you get inside, you can go into the courtyards and gardens, too.
San Antonio is small, so you can basically walk everywhere.

This is the Arneson theatre along the Riverwalk, a MAJOR tourist attraction in San Antonio. (Most of the big hotels are right on the Riverwalk.) There is an outdoor amphitheater across the narrow river from this theatre that seats 600 people, so you view the plays across the water. Sightseeing barges cruise along even during  performances.

We took one of the narrated barge trips. $5 and worth it. Beautiful views. The overhead bridges are regular streets of San Antonio. The Riverwalk is below street level, and when you're on it, you have no clue you're in a big city at all. 

Another view of the river. Ducks float around minding their own business with their little ducklings. Sweet.

Most restaurants have tables right along the edge of the river. No railings mostly. Why more people don't end up in the drink, I don't know. Especially in the evenings when folks make their own fiestas.

The sides of the Riverwalk are loaded with many wonderful restaurants, bars and some shops.
A Ben and Jerry's and a CVS, too!!

One of the barges that cruise the San Antonio River.

A Mariachi band, straight ahead, from the barge trip we took. The horns and strings reverberate throughout the area. Very pleasant.

One of the many picturesque walkway bridges going over the river. Flowers and tropical foliage everywhere.

Walking under a street bridge on the Riverwalk.

View of the San Fernando Cathedral (oldest Cathedral in the United States, they claim) from our room on the 14th floor. (By the WAY, this is really the 13th floor...who do they think they are kidding? In the elevator, the rooms go from 12 to 14....) I just don't get superstitions.

Rooftop pool at our hotel. Two hot tubs, too. We got a free full breakfast every morning, and a happy hour every evening, with 3 free drinks per person (wine, beer and mixed drinks) with munchies. 

It was a wonderful vacation. Mucho great weather, mucho great food and mucho great times!  But we always have a good time.....

Adios, Amigos!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What?? No Sunday Picture?? .... it’s VACATION !!

OK, there was no Sunday Picture on Sunday because it was too dang cold to go outside and it still has the March uglies around  here even tho it’s April and even tho green things are starting to pop out of the ground.

AND it was our Anniversary.....34 years !!!!!! Can you believe it!!

Also, we’re packing for a trip to SAN ANTONIO because it’s school vacation and it’s warm in Texas and Mr. Downeastdoingstuff had been there before and really liked it! So we’re taking to the skies.......

But first, here are some of my observations about traveling by air:

1. I used to pack a breakfast/lunch to bring and eat while waiting in the terminal so that I wouldn’t have to pay $12 for a bagel and a diet coke. 

Then you couldn’t bring any liquids into the gate or onto the plane because my diet coke might explode. 

Now you can bring liquids on the plane, but only if you buy them AFTER you go through the xray screening. So you pay $6 for a diet coke to take on the plane.

2. Dress in layers because you have to take it all off as you go through screening. 

Make sure you don’t have any holes in your socks or pantyhose because everyone will see it when you take off your stinky shoes and walk around on the germ encrusted floor. 

   Several bangle bracelets will set off the alarm and then they have to yank you to the terrorist section to probe around your body with Star Wars wands because you probably have an explosive diet coke in your bra.

   A large belt on a man will do the same thing. You never know, they might have an explosive in the crotch area and no one wants a man’s privates being blown up and flying around in pieces throughout the airport.

   So you take ALL your most valuable things and put them in plastic gray trays and send them off into a dark tunnel with strangers looking at them with bionic eyes.

3. After you reassemble yourself, you’re in. Find your gate and sit. and sit......and sit.....for about 1  1/2 hours.

   You were told to be at the airport 2 hours before the flight upon penalty of death and check in took 10 minutes. 

   I always have a carry on because someone convinced me years ago that there’s a good chance your luggage will be sent to Honolulu and you’re not. So make sure you have a change of clothes with you for the next day, and any other items you may need to get by with until the airlines delivers your wayward bag the day before you go back home.

4. OK....on to the jetway! You get a glimpse of the outside of your plane closeup for a split second as you get off the jetway and into the plane. Here is where you can make a quick assessment of all the bolts gluing the plane together. (Notify attendant if you see anything amiss.)

5. Find your seat and smoosh yourself into it, smoosh your stuff under the seat in front of you and look out the windown that needs major Windexing.

Fasten your seatbelt and smile when you have to make the seat belt smaller than the previous person had, or frown when you have to make the seat belt bigger than the other person before you had.

6. Pretend to listen to the flight attendant’s important life saving instructions. Note where the nearest exit is, you should at least do that much. Get out your book, and fall asleep after reading for it 3 minutes.

7. Ok, now it’s smooth sailing......until the first bump. Uh Oh. What’s wrong with the plane? Then another bump or two. Now it’s time to wake up and make your plan for what you will grab at the last minute when the plane does a ditch landing in a lake in Connecticut. Where’s that dang flotation device again?? Reach under the seat and feel something wrapped in plastic. That must be it. No body better be using an unapproved electronic device at this moment causing interference in the hydralic system or whatever. If you have earphones, plug them into the channel where you can hear the pilots talking to the towers. Oh, ahhh,  they all sound calm and indifferent. I guess everything is ok. 

8. Finally, the flight attendant tells you to get ready for the initial descent. 

Look out the window. Everything is still hideously small. Take your time, Mr. Pilot. No rush. Seat backs up and tray tables in the upright and locked position. Feel for that floatation device again. Still there. Ears start popping.

9. Here we go.......closer and closer to earth.....start to recognize things in detail. Look, there’s a stadium. Look at all swimming pools people have.

Look at the tiny airplanes at the airport. This is actually cool. 

10. Wheels on the ground. I’ve been on planes where the trip was so rough that the passengers actually applauded when we landed. Another flight under my alarm sounding bracelets. NOW the fun begins.....

   Here we come San Antonio !!!

More later....    :-)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

12 year they see themselves.

We are just finishing a unit in Self-Portraits at school. We spent a lot of time learning how to draw every part of the face and then learning how to be effective observers when studying their own faces. Using a mirror and a strip of cardboard to take measurements, they drew themselves more or less life size. They worked initially on white paper and sketched themselves in pencil. After they did peer evaluations offering each other advice and getting the final get go from me, they traced over the pencil with a sharpie.
All remaining pencil  was erased thoroughly, and if the paper was in a little bit of rough shape from erasing, I made a copy of it on the copy machine. We were working on 11" x 17" paper.
I also made them a copy in 50% reduction so they will have a mini-me to put into the sketchbooks  they made at the beginning of the year, along with some information on the history of the self-portrait.
They all have very serious looks on their faces, don't they? That comes from staring into a mirror non-stop for 1  1/2 weeks.
I told them they could smile, but then they'd have to draw their teeth! They didn't want any part of that!

Then, there's part two. I had each student select a piece of colored paper that was the closest to their skin color. I made a copy of their portrait on the copy machine onto the skin colored paper.
Then I also made them a copy of of their eyes from the original drawing. They spent a period studying the COLOR(s) of their eyes, shading and reflections. They used colored pencils to make their eyes as realistic as possible

The eyes on the skin-colored paper were cut out with an x-acto knife and the colored pencil eyes were taped behind the eye holes.

And that's it ! Voila!  I think they did a fantastic job!!!!!

Below are some self-portraits done by artists you may have heard of.....such as this one.....
Vincent Van Gogh.....he did this self-portrait after he cut off part of his ear, washed it, wrapped it up and gave it to a certain young lady in a brothel. (She must have been thrilled.)(How romantic.)

Down here is a self-portrait done by Salvadore Dali, the greatest Surrealist EVER ! If you know what he looks like, this looks just like him ! (Don't worry, his mother loved him.)

This is a self-portrait of Andy Warhol.  Now, I like Andy Warhol's work, but honestly, this is a silk screen of a photograph. I don't think it showcased his drawing skills, which he had, but this was typical of the type of work he did at that time.

And then there's Pablo Picasso. Ah yes, Pablo.
Now here's a dude that needs to lay off the caffeine a bit.

All in all, I think my kids did a darn good job!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My cat says......

   A very happy Easter from a Downeaster ! Hope your day is wonderful.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter Egg

I am home sick today. Big time sniffles, sore throat and coughing.
My electric blanket is turned on to the highest setting, ready and waiting.
But first, I had to finish making this egg. First things first.

Here's how I made it, in case you're interested.
Buy a styrofoam egg in what ever size you want. (Not too small, it's harder to work with.) (and not the rock hard styrofoam you can find in the store.)
Cut up scraps of fabric at random. Make sure they are bigger than the final form it will take on the egg.
When I made one of these several years ago, I used a metal nail file as my working tool.
I couldn't find one this time, so I'm using this white doohickey I found on the floor near the washing machine. You know, it's one of those things that are in men's shirt collars. Every now and then, they fall out and appear at the foot of the washing machine...... and this was perfect timing. In fact, it works better than a nail file.

Take a scrap of fabric, lay it on the egg and using the shirt doohickey, push the edges into the styrofoam, all around all edges. You will be losing about 3/8 ths of an inch to push into the styrofoam. Any less and it might pop out.

Keep piecing the random fabric chunks all over the surface of the egg. I find a sort of sawing motion with the doohickey works the best to imbed the fabric into the egg, instead of pushing it in directly.

Another good thing about the shirt implement is that it is rounded at one end and pointy at the other. This comes in handy dependent upon what angle you're working with.

Egg all done.

You can glue or pin on some little flowers here and there to hide any possible funky areas.

I think they're cute.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My Sunday Picture....

  This pond is about a 2 minute walk down the street. There was ice on it it's GONE!!!  

Friday, April 3, 2009

I LOVE my heated floor !!!!!!!!!

I am always cold.
I know that when I'm not cold, ain't nobody cold.
I do everything I can never to be cold. ( except for where I chose to live! Slight miscalculation in that department.)
We have a heated mattress pad that I LOVE !  I turn it on about 1 hour before I go to bed. Full Blast!!!!

So when we decided to remodel our bathroom last summer, we decided to splurge and have a heated floor put in.

See how it's done? Here are the heating wires that were installed.
   Then a layer of thinset gunk is poured on top of the wires. When that dries, the tiles are then installed.
   There also is a programmable  timer on the wall that you can program into 4 different settings each day.

  After enjoying the heated floor immensely for a few weeks, I had an unbelievable BRAINSTORM !

   And after watching my cat loll around on the aforementioned floor and feeling how gosh darned warm the area rug was in front of the sink,  I realized that if I put some of my clothes on the floor for about 5 to 10 minutes just before I get dressed in the morning, they will be warm when I put them on!!!!
I'm SO smart!

Upon doing some quick research, I found out that there are lots of other things that are heated.

For example:
You can warm up your tootsies with these heated sox.

You can warm your fingers with heated gloves. (I wouldn't get them wet while wearing, tho.)

Heated bras to warm your heart (area).

There are heated toilet seats to warm your buns.

If you have a dog that goes into heat a lot, you can buy him this toy. It's called a Hotdoll. Really.

And if you have a cow in heat, you can buy this. That should turn up the heat alright.

Soooo...... anytime we can't find the Siamese cat, we look in the bathroom, 'cause that's where she is. Guaranteed.