Thursday, December 31, 2015

Au Revoir 2015

Looking back an an Incredible year!

It started in Virtual Paris, France.  Does it GET any better than that?

And I spent 365 days (give or take) learning to make the crepes, cuisine, sauces, and sampling the tastes of France. I must admit, perfect creamy Hollandaise Sauce still eludes me. The discovery of Maison du Chocolat truffles eased the pain a bit. And I did learn how to create Apple Pastry Roses, so there's that.

I virtually explored the Louve, the Eiffel Tower, as well as the vast number of parks that France has to offer.

Even ate Oranges while exploring Le Orangeries.

Thanks to Amazon and International Online Wineries,  I was able to sample many of the cheeses (tres bon) and a few of the wines including Champagne from Champagne!

Picked up via eBay a trinket souvenir vanity dish from Limoges.

Toured the Loire Valley, River and Castles from the air, thanks to YouTube

Performed the Ritual and Sipped Absinthe. Home smelled a lot like Toulouse's breath.

Toured Giverny, wandered the water gardens, learned a LOT about the Impressionists...especially my favorite, Monet. and even managed to try my hand at Impressionism Painting and water lilies. Also bought a circulated 1888 Franc after the adventure from eBay as a souvenir. And an old postcard from the Water Gardens.

Toured the French Spas and tried my hand at creating some of the wonderful Rose Masques and Facials and Re-Created a French Spa Bath. Decadent!

And THAT was just the Virtual Adventures.

Had an amazing NYE Chili Supper with Donna, Dayne and Eric.

Managed to finish my home creations of Blush Wine and A Nice Honey Mead. tasted more like Honey Shine. The Blush was nice, though.

Watch the BEST Superbowl I had seen for a long time between the Patriots and the Seahawks. What a game!

Have an Afternoon with Mr.! And a back-seat full of ropes. Thanks, Donna!

Enjoy our "Idgy and Rose..let's have a BONFIRE combined Birthday Cake" and a week with each other!

Without setting the house or cat on fire...or burning our eyebrows off! And I turned 55. And she turned 40. We're not bad for two older!

Idgy and I (2015)

Reunited with my brothers and sisters (Jan's kids) and managed 3 Family Reunions (one with Chuck and Family) this year. Good to re-connect with everyone!

Spent Oodles and oodles of time with family and friends...and the grands!

Hosted the 2015 DS Gathering...and Loran's Memorial and Tarantula Toast. And it was AWESOME!!! Thanks for all coming out to the midst of a cornfield...really!

Read a lot..wrote a lot...and completed my Zen Living III and a small book of poems I finished just for me:  The Ashes.

Managed several Zen Retreats, Two Writer's Conferences and One Phototrek this year. Also submitted one essay in contest form. Didn't make it (win)...but it was a lot of fun anyway!

Researched all the 2016 Presidential Candidates and have watched all the debates. Both Parties. THE HORROR.

Voted in the local elections...and my guy won for Mayor! 

Tried Rattlesnake (meat) for the very first time...and also made Rattlesnake Chili.   (highly over-rated, just sayin')

And saw Star Wars with Chris


Also a bittersweet year, as we lost Jan (my biological Mom) and Robbin, my good friend, (Tony's wife) suddenly.  RIP.

And muddled through that first year of the loss of both Loran and Bruce. 

Making that transition from "I miss..." to "I Remember..." for them both.

FRED has expanded a bit (fat bastard)...but seems to have stabilized for now. MRI showed no spinal involvement, thankfully.  I am moving a bit slower but still ambulatory and enjoying it's all good.

Getting the year end stuff caught up here, and looking forward to Ringing in the New Year (alas virtually) together this year with "Idgy" with wine, cheese and good chocolate!  And a few hours early as we ring it Rio Janeiro's Time Zone tonight.  She has to leave for Mom's at Ohmigod:Hundred hours...and me...I just am going to enjoy the few hours extra sleep!   

If you ring in the New Year's (in Rio) does that make you a Brazil Nut?

See you in January!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hibernation...and Preparing for 2016 Virtual "Year in the World"

So...the last Brunch is cleared away...friends bundled, hugged and gone...and CHRISTMAS is (officially) over at last.

Can you hear my sigh of relief from there?

Reaching that "How the hell can I MISS you, if you don't go away" completely peopled out stage.

I think I am hibernating until!

Seriously though, our brunch was wonderful. We always have the best time! Although Ola didn't make it, the rest of us ate, drank and made well as discussing our plans for the New Year  (both individually and as a "small gang")

I think we have all gained 10 pounds since November. 

Judy:  I'm cutting out carbs and fats.

Loretta:  I am cutting back on my sugar consumption and going to exercise more.

Sharon and I:  We're going to add more fresh fruits and vegetables and get back to the 5:2 for a few weeks. 

True Story

Followed pretty closely by plans to Brunch Together Monthly beginning with a Mexican Restaurant Trek mid-January. And our Monthly Mall Ratting, of course. January involves Terre Haute and Cinnabons with Morning Coffee.

I'm not sure where that fits concerning our dietary/fitness goals...but I am ALL IN.

Which brings me to

The 2016 Virtual "Year in The World" Trip

I thoroughly enjoyed the Virtual Year in France Adventure. Was able to see, experience and learn so much over the last 365 days "in France". So much much more than the typical two-week real-time hit the high points holiday abroad. It was incredible.

Throughout the years, a huge part of travel...real virtual...has always been the few days prep before the actual departure.  I am finding that just like with real-time travel there is a great deal of prep involved in virtual, as well.

Next Year's Adventure is going to be based on a book I have read many times and enjoyed so much.

The Book:

Frances Mayes (author of Under the Tuscan Sun) non-fiction

A Year in The World

ISBN # 0-7679-1005-2

( case you want to come along, or just want to discover a really great read...)

Beginning January with a Month in Spain. 

Discovering the writings of Lorca and Cela (Tha-lah)...and learning about their lives and deaths. Untangling the rich history that is Spain. Touring the vast Art Museums, Eating Blood Oranges and  learning to make Tapas and Churros. Trying Iberico and Serraro (Imported obviously). Experiencing the sights and sounds of Flamenco and Bullfighting. Hearing the Adhan by the Muezzin. Exploring the Mosques and Churches. Learning about the Various Saints. Seeing the magnificent horses in Andalusia.

Went through my copy with a highlighter this afternoon. Highlighting the things I wanted to research. Learn to make or do. Find on YouTube or in some instances on eBay/Amazon or in gourmet food outlets. Books to read, for accompaniment. Biographies to look up.  Beginning with Lorca's. Maps to read. Google Images to Accompany.

Yes...just a different kind of vacation prep...but prep, nonetheless, and surprisingly just as satisfying as real-time travel prep for me.

Venga conmigo...

January 1st...we depart for Madrid!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Do You Wanna "Paint" a Snowman?

Totally enthralled by Cheri Wollenberg's soft and fuzzy woolen hat and scarf techniques!

Had a wonderful, if wet, Grandma Rose Day with Emma.  And since we couldn't BUILD a snowman...we painted them instead.

The Beginnings!

Also planted her seed kits, and even started "forcing" a few Paperwhites for flowers in late January.

Fixed Pulled Pork BBQ and hand cut & seasoned french fries together to bake. Enjoyed lunch together watching  

The Monster High Musical:Boo York Boo York.

Played with "Chestnut" and her "Mustang foal" Princess...and Emma is quite convinced that they must both be part unicorn because

"Watch Grandma!  She can fly! She is magical!"

And agreed that for her birthday we have to find the Mustang Dad to round out the family. She wants to write a story about her "horse family"!

All in all, a wonderful afternoon!

Today...still working on my snowman...which takes a lot longer in acrylic that it does in ice. Will share as he comes along. And Emma shared hers for my wall.

Planning my brunch for tomorrow with Loretta, Judy, Sharon and Ola...after which, Christmas is officially over for me.

Time to breathe, relax and reflect. The last week of the year. 

Oh...and fight this bug that one of the little germ bags gave all of us over Christmas. I think it was Typhoid Brenden this time. They take turns. It's like they plan it, or something!

Yes, but they are such CUTE little germ bags!!!

"No's not YOUR is MY turn!" 


More anon...

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Eve (Chicken Wars)...Christmas 2015 and the Full Moon

Relaxing in the Christmas Tree's dim glow tonight...what a Wonderful Season!

And it finally did...just in time for a beautiful clear night and a Full Christmas Moon.

Chris and Tina over on Christmas Eve and we all agreed on Chinese and had a wonderful night together.

Which included a hilarious battle of

                 Rubber Chicken Wars: The Poultry Strikes Back

Chicken Reacts To New Star Wars Movie
 And a robust dissection of the recent Star Wars Movie...them having seen it again. This time at the IMAX.  Making the 4th time for Chris since it opened and the 2nd for Tina and I.   
Chris can mouth the dialogue- word for word,!

And no...I don't think my Grand-Puppies, Bennie and Neville, will ever get their squeaker toys!

Early this morning James came (before it was light, nice because of all the Christmas lights on the way) and I was able to watched my Grands wake up to find the stockings stuffed and Santa had arrived!

A Full House as Stephanie and Jerry and 2 kids, James and Nicki and their three, Robert (already there), Kaylee and Hannah arriving later with Jasmine. Nicole fixed us all a Christmas Breakfast Casserole...very yummy...and Fried Cinnamon Sugar Biscuits with Cream Cheese in the middle.

Emma was over-the-moon about her palomino 20" horse to go with "Rebecca" (Her American Girl Doll)

Who she named "Chestnut" and started building a stall, tack room and barn out of empty boxes.

James and Robert and Brenden had their work cut out building...well...everything!

And poor Aiden...who was teething and generally miserable all day...velcroed to Dad.

A Wonderful Christmas, Guys...and feeling truly blessed tonight. 

Emma got her first easel today, and tomorrow she is coming over to visit with me. Grandma Rose Time. Since there is no snow...we've decided instead of building a snowman our song goes more like this

"Do ya wanna PAINT a Snowman???"

And so...we are! 
And baking and having high tea. 
Probably with "Frozen" playing in the background.

Hope your Christmas was Magical!

My Honorary Great Grand Amelia Rose

More Anon...

Christmas Full Moon 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Final Democratic Debate for 2015...

was not much more animate than this picture. 


And all candidates agreed to to 1.5 minute rule and the 45 second rebuttal ruling...and even had green, yellow and red lights to indicate when their time was up.

So WHY it wasn't enforced with Hillary ALL one of those "media mysteries"

Hearing Capt'n James Hook explaining the Golden Rule

"Don't you know boy, it's those with the GOLD that makes the rules.""

Minutes into the debate...since none of the candidates had brought it up...the moderators immediately noted the turd in the punchbowl

"About that data and the lowered firewall."

Defused beautifully by Sanders as he not only apologized to Hillary on National Tv and assured her the staffer involved had been immediately terminated...but also reminded her that there had been a similar firewall drop by the company who SHE hired years back...the very same company...and Bernie promising there is going to be an extensive investigation into the matter. "Yuuuge"  She seemed very relieved to let the moment pass. Sanders reiterated that he WOULD get to the bottom of it. I hope he does. 

The timing of the breach...the fact the media had it within the same day...and the sensitivity of voter roles. Cui Bono??? 

Et tu, Hillary?

We will see.

Despite the disparages in time allocation...and I really would like to see a pie-chart of total minutes per candidate last night because Hillary talked and talked and times talking over the other candidates responses and even the Moderators. And nobody said a word.


I think her general attitude of "having the nomination in the bag because she is somehow entitled to it" turns me off to her as a candidate almost as much as her bed-buddies on Wall Street; and of course, her propensity toward also engaging in a neverending Middle Eastern War.

Regardless of how this plays out...I'm not voting for her.

And there was Martin O'Malley still on the stage trying to remain relevant...which of course...he isn't. His only usefulness now is apparently to keep Hillary Center Stage as far as I can tell. A human (physical and psychological) prop. It's sad.  
Go home, man. Have some dignity.

And Hill, hon...what the HELL was with that shirt. $ 600. hair but a shirt that truly looked as though someone had sewn two burlap bags together without finishing the edges and threw the whole thing over her head.
Seriously fugly.


I think She and Bernie gave us a clear picture of where they both stand as Candidates last night...which was nowhere near each other politically. Their differences were definitely showcased...and that is a good thing.  At times they both marginalized O'Malley like the house guest that just won't go home.

I hope if by hook or crook Hillary does end up getting the Primary Nomination that Bernie immediately declares his run as an Independent.  I think there are enough of us out there from all sides in this thing to assure him the Presidency. And I would like Elizabeth Warren to be his running mate. In 4 to 8 years it would leave her in a very very good position to be the first woman President. Yes..I think it is definitely time for a woman to be President...and no...I don't think that woman should be Hillary Clinton. 

So...that is my two cents on the entire affair. 
And worth every penny you paid for it. 

More anon...

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Complete Relaxation...The New Star Wars (Spoiler Alert)

So relaxed you could pour me like butter!

What an incredible week. 

Told "Idgy" Friday, during coffee and chat, that it went so well I am scheduling the week before Christmas from now through forever as My Week Off.

Made fudge, wrapped packages, read, cooked and ate- a lot like this

Long candle-lit bubble baths...and a mid-week massage.

And the Snicker's Fudge...ready to go!

Yes...the third week of December is going to be MY New Tradition.


If you have NOT seen The Force NOT read past this point...


For the rest of us...

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Was that, like, the BEST film ever?????????????

My youngest, Chris, stopped by with Croissants this morning and asked if I would like to see it on the early showing when the crowd was non-existent. He had already seen it just after it opened.

I saw The Original Star Wars in 1977 in the Lafayette Square Theater at 17 years old.

How could I possibly say "No"?

Back in the day
[which sounds so much better than 38 years ago]
it was the pinnacle of Special Effects.

 Now with CGI...they have taken it to a whole new level.

The 10 AM showing was sparse...and of those in attendance several were close to my age and it was obvious that they were remembering that amazing night in 1977 that cinematographically blew our minds . 

When the screen started scrolling the Prologue a cheer went up and applause. And I have to think all of us who were in that darkened theater in 1977 were flashing back [without any acid at all] to that moment George Lucas first took us to that Galaxy Far Far Away...and smiling a little.

I know I certainly was.

Remembering my [late] husband-person telling me his story about Star Wars.

He had been raised Strict Southern Baptist. Among things verboten in his world was Motion Pictures. He was 15. Snuck out with friends to see the first theatric release of his entire young life. Come on over to the dark-side; we've got MOVIES!

 Not a bad way to start, eh?  

And I had to smile when my son asked after we sat watching the credits if he could have a bit of his dad's cremains to accompany him when he and the group go to the IMAX together to see it in 360 degrees later this month.  I completely understand. Posthumously, sneaking back into the cinema. He would certainly have approved.

Anyway...back to the film.

Quite possibly perfect.  A great assembly of not only the old cast but wonderful new fresh faces...and the blend was seamless and often funny. There were throw-away bits that you would only get if you had seen the original.

When Hans Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca show up early on there is another spattering of appreciative applause...and by the time Princess Leia  (Carrie Fischer) now General Leia, appears...along with C3PO and R2D2 we are all getting a bit misty eyed.

And I am looking at the graying actors wondering

"When the HELL did we all get so damn OLD"

You, too???

Many parents have that rebellious child...that one that drives them to distraction.

So do Solo and Leia, it appears. 

Only THEIRS is hell-bent on destroying the Galaxy.

"Ward, honey...the Beev Blew Up the Dairy-Queen..."

Enter Kylo Ren.

A product of both sides of The Force...with a bit of an Anger Management Problem. I blame Grandpa Vader, personally.

Loved the interaction of Solo and Leia as the wayward boy's parents, and as aging partners. Funny, relative and oh-so-real. for a new Adventure as they try to Find Leia's Gone Missing Brother (Luke) and bring the troubled son home...and restore some peace to the galaxy. There...doesn't that make your Christmas to-do list seem almost simple in comparison.And Ren proves you really can't go home.

The additions of a conflicted, defecting storm trooper...a tough but tender female Scrapper love interest (who also happens to be now in possession of Luke Skywalker's old light sabre which called to her)... wonderful CGI creatures...and many many flight chase scenes, explosions and light sabre duels are sure to keep  even those who are too young to know the first film from the theater entertained.

And the collective


in the theater as Ren coldly runs his loving father (Solo) though with his light sabre on the sky-bridge, and we lose part of our own childhood forever, as we watch him tumble endlessly down. WTF? They killed off Hans Solo... That just doesn't seem right!

Of course The Resistance Wins...they HAVE to...

And a question is implanted in our brain as the tough young female scrapper/turn pilot (Rey) shows throughout the film her own abilities with The Force...unanswered but strongly hinted at...

Until at last she flies off with Chewie to return Skywalker's lost (or is it?) light-saber to its rightful owner.

Enter Luke (Mark Hamill)

who, real-life motorcycle accident and facial reconstruction aside, now makes all of us geezers who saw it in 1977 gasp a bit and realize

"We really ARE that god-damned old!"


And we all make a mental note to stop in the wash-rooms on the way out and do a mirror-check.

And a sigh of relief  "I'm not as heavy, lined (or gray) as Carrie Fisher"
So there is that...

Beautiful beginning and ending

And who else but Williams will EVER be able to give any of the Star Wars their Score?

Incredible music. 

The ending with Luke and our mystery girl, which I speculate is his daughter, leaves a sequel a much anticipated given.

One a scale from 1-10...this film is definitely an 11...

More anon...the Democratic Debates are starting soon...making this quite possibly the Perfect Day!


"WTH are they on about now???"

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Final Republican Debate of 2015...

Yeah...yeah...sitting up late through the horror-show so you don't have to.

So the field is still too large for a single stage

The early debate composed of Pataki, Huckabee, Santorum, and Graham.

They were polite for the most part both to the moderators, and each other. Their singular message seem to center on war...war...war...although they each had differences of opinions on how this was to be carried out and who has more "skin in the game" Lindsay Graham was spot on regarding the need to be inclusive if we even hope to stop ISIS...but lost me when he repeatedly proclaimed (a bit hysterically)

"ISIL Terroists Coming To Kill Us ALL"   (yes-he actually said this a lot)


"We are Already Fighting W.W III"             (...and there I was looking for Zed)

In short:  

 Be Afraid!!! Be terrified!!!

( know what I am terrified of...running out of coffee...yeah...that's it...and maybe running out of chocolate...but only the dark stuff...) 

Pataki remained as dull and mono toned as well as calling them radical "terraists"  [sic]  which scrapes on my brain like fingernails on a chalk-board.

Okay...that was nit-picking.

But it does.

Huckabee would have you believe he is going to go over personally and kick ass and take names...and Rick...

Well..Rick was just Rick Santorum. Goofy. Unelectable, as always...but you have to admire his spunk.

A new psychological twist that was repeated throughout this debate and the following one was the near constant linking of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. It almost became a word of its own"Obamahillary".

As strategies go, it was brilliant.

To inextricably link Hillary with a President that a great many Republicans view as a failure. Of course, many of the Moderates and Independents will absolutely not vote for Hillary or any of the GOP Circus they are offering this could conceivably work in Bernie Sander's favor in a huge way.  He should send every one of them Thank You notes...

Just Sayin'

Then the Prime Time Candidates arrived.

Kasich, Fiorina, Rubio, Carson, Trump, Cruz, Bush and Paul.

Jesus Wept.

With the exception of Rand Paul every candidate on the stage made it very clear that war no matter how prolonged or expensive was The Answer. As well as increasing the Pentegon's already enormous military budget. And how can they possibly scrape by on the 57% of each tax dollar they currently are getting.


How on Earth can all their equipment be so outdated when they are getting .57 cents out of EVERY tax dollar...and if the Pentagon is mismanaging their funds that badly, why the HELL would anyone agree to give them more?




"Come to KILL us all!!!"


Kasich was somber and busily touting his record in Ohio...again. No one really cares, John.

Fiorina immediately, I mean right out of the gate...used the "I have a Vagina, too...Defense (stock...honey...stock equipment) well as the "Nobody Knows The Troubles I've Seen" and even more disturbing The Dead Baby Card.  Because the Whore's Nail Red Dress just wasn't getting enough attention, I guess. (...personally...I LOVED the dress...)

Rubio was on top of his game last night. He came off as the most calm, collected, intelligent person in the entire room. If I didn't know his voting record and his stance on woman's reproductive rights, last night's performance would have garnered him my vote. Good job, Marco.

Carson is still hanging in there. God knows why? Does he REALLY think the party is going to replace of color...with another. When he mumbles on in that Mike Tyson childlike voice berating people for being "Too Politically Correct"  

 I want to see the Ghost of MLK and all the other strong black men who gave their lives to give him the right to be standing on that stage playing Uncle Tom 

( a group of politicians who would have actively ignored him, threw him out of their country clubs, or tried to block him when he was making the climb up...)

collectively give him a swift kick in the ass...okay?

Yeah...yeah...I know. Don't mince words.
Tell us how you REALLY feel, Carla.

And then there is

The Donald.

Who actually started the evening acting somewhat sane. But like a lot of Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths...they can NEVER keep that ruse up for an extended period of time. Eventually they crack and the MASK falls off. Last night was no different. Before the end of the evening he was back to pulling the faces, rolling the eyes, fantasizing about his huge WALL, and hatin' on Muslims.

For the record...this is the very FIRST time I have ever seen (during a live televised debate) a candidate actually booed by a room filled by members of their own party.  I am thinking the Honeymoon may be over...the veil lifted and the bride revealed hideous. In other news...he did renew his vow of fidelity to the party last night...promising not to run as an Independent if he doesn't receive the nomination.

We'll see.

In a brilliant move Marco Rubio seized on the moment when it was obvious that Donald Trump has no idea what Nuclear Triad even was and made up some fluff Rubio proceeded to "explain it to the class".It was beautiful. Really.

 Maybe, the funniest point of the entire debate. In a terribly sad way, of course.

" want us to trust you with the launch codes but you are clueless to what the Nuclear Triad even please."

Which brings us to Jeb Bush.

He did finally "stand up to the Bully"  (Trump) last night...and that was actually pretty nice to watch. He made a lot of sense on the ISIS situation and obviously knows what he is talking about. Having said all this, sadly, both his family name and the fact that he has great difficulty with social settings and interactions make him unelectable on a National scale. On some level I feel very very badly for him.

The fact that Trump taunted him about his 3% ratings just shows you what a douche-bag The Donald really is.

And there was CRUZ.  Skipping around Trump's feet. You could almost hear the Chester sycophantic voice asking

"Whatta we gonna do today, Spike???" 

But, like Trump...he could only maintain normal for so long. After which he proceeded numerous times to talk and talk and talk and talk...even after the Moderator has told him over and over and over that he had to stop talking...and the buzzer had sounded repeatedly...and he instructed the questioner to go on with the next candidate and

"Go ahead and ask to QUESTION"

 Cruz STILL wouldn't shut the hell up.

I told you there should be shock collars for this type of behavior.

Governor Christie...who has obviously had a huge split from his Beach Days and praise for the quick response his State was given during the Hurricane Crisis if his repeated attacks on Barack Obama are any indication. The Bro-mance is over. He might want to let him down a little easy..considering it IS still hurricane season and all.

 He also postured about how he could single-handedly handle ISIS...more kicking ass and taking names rhetoric. Although he has voiced fear of Widows, women and orphans from he may want to team up with Huckabee on this one.

And Rand Paul...intelligent...the only person on the stage who does not think we should rush to war...and once again, completely unelectable for the Primary Candidate by his party.

Last night's winner in my opinion Marco Rubio by a mile.

Last Night's REAL winner

Bernie Sanders.

So, rage on, dudes...

I can't wait until The December 19th Democratic Debate.

Yeah...I is a sickness. 
(...I may need a!)

More anon...