I can admit it – the Canadian version is better

When we first planned our trip to Seattle, it was just that – a trip to Seattle. It’s part of our Conquer the West Coast Tour. Now that we are leaving there are so many things that we need to do. Too many things. Why didn’t we ever do any of these excursions in the eight years that we’ve lived here? No one ever does, do they? Until it’s too late. We weren’t going to let that happen this time.

We started preparing for our trip when it hit us. Vancouver. I’m not talking the one in Washington State. I’m talking the one you need a passport for. You know, the good one. No offense Washington. We got excited about our little side trip. Ah, Vancouver. We’d never been to the west coast of Canada before. East coast, sure. We were old pros. Well, at least I was, but the west? Nope. Never been. We knew we had to get there.

We were all set with our Seattle plans. There was plenty to see, plenty to do but we weren’t sure what we were going to do in Vancouver. We looked through a few books at Barnes & Noble but that only gave us a few ideas. The problem – it was going to be cold & rainy. We were limited in our choices. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I settled on the important things. I didn’t care what we did once we got there as long as we completed my missions.

Mission one: Cupcakes. I started watching a show called The Cupcake Girls a few months ago. It’s set in Vancouver. Lucky me. I needed to try these little cakes. We set our GPS on cupcake and drove. Over the border, through the rain we went. We arrived at the trademark cupcake awning and I had to contain myself. I ran out of the car when we saw the meter and realized we forgot to change our money. Oops.

Mike ran to the bank while I waited. And watched. So close and yet so far. Finally we entered and saw them. A sea of little cakes dancing in front of us. Mini cakes, little cakes and even big cakes. I didn’t know what to choose.

Of course you can’t just have one. Or two. Or three. Well, you see where I’m going with this. We packed up two for later and sat down with two for now. I went with a lemon cake with lemon frosting. Mike went with chocolate on chocolate. I consider myself a cupcake pro. I’ve eaten my fair share of cupcakes & I bake them all the time. This was the first time we found ones that we both enjoyed. The cake was moist and delicious. The frosting was so soft and fluffy.

In case anyone is wondering, I had to substitute the chair for the floor when I had my death by cupcake. Remember, itwas raining. I was feeling good. And full. Mission one accomplished. But we couldn’t stop now. There was more to do, more to see and another mission to fulfill.

Mission Two: Canadian Corn Pops. As soon as I realized that we would be going to Canada, I knew I had to have these. For anyone that loves the pops, you have to believe me when I say that these golden puffs far outshine their American counterpart. I don’t know why they are made differently but they are. They even look different.

They taste like actual corn, they are round, light in color and are tasty treats. Plus the box is in French and English which I always like better anyway. Bonus! Whatever we decided to do, I didn’t care as long as we got my pops before we left the country. I have no problem admitting it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Canadian version of pops is far superior to the American version. I’m allowed to say these things. My dad was born in Canada.

We put mission two on hold while we drove through the city and aimed for Stanley Park. On a sunny day this is probably a stunning place to walk around and picnic. Unfortunately we didn’t have that opportunity because, did I mention it was raining? It was still a beautiful place but we didn’t get to linger too long at the photo spots. Although at each spot you have to feed the meter so we weren’t staying long anyway.

When it’s raining you’re on the run in, run out plan. We got to see the whole park, stopped and got some nice souvenirs at the gift shop and even got a lovely souvenir from the park on our windshield. Thanks for the ticket Stanley Park. We’ll remember you fondly. We decided we had enough after that and headed back to the city to complete mission two.

I needed my pops. We hit up a few smaller grocery stores and nothing. I was desperate. I asked for directions to the big market. We drove through some really cool neighborhoods. We definitely needed to come back here but we couldn’t stop now. There it was – the Safeway. I know, I know, it’s a sad thing. I was excited to see a supermarket.

We ran in and made a beeline for the cereal aisle and there they were. I think I even heard some angel music in the background. My pops. Oh sweet lovin’, there were my pops. I grabbed two boxes and crap. Cereal is expensive in Canada. $5.50 a box with our club card. It was worth it. I needed these. We headed out. Mission two accomplished.

I know – right about now you’re probably thinking, cupcakes and corn pops, is that all you ate on your whole trip to Vancouver? Well, maybe if I was by myself, yes. This would have sufficed but remember I had Mike with me. I couldn’t get away with this. We stopped for sushi and not just any sushi. It was black rice sushi. Oh my God they had black rice sushi.

Needless to say, we were pretty excited. And Mike was a little hungry so it was a double excitement. In case you are wondering what black rice is, it is the most delicious kind of rice you can ever eat. Unlike its white cousin, it actually has flavor. We were all in. On all of the rolls. Mike has said it before and I think he’ll say it again – he can move to Canada. After these sushi rolls, I think it’s a done deal.



To find out more about the places we visited go to:
http://originalcupcakes.com/cupcakes.php
http://seestanleypark.com/

For an alternate ending and for different pictures go to my other blog at:

http://redismynaturalcolor.blogspot.com/

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Strike A Pose

I believe it all started in Manchester, England. The year was 1997.  Sarah and I had just arrived at her Uncle’s house for spring break. We were walking down the hall to our room when I spotted the bathroom. It was perfect. The layout, the lighting, the bathtub with the steps – everything just screamed “crime scene”.

Where all great ideas begin - the Loo.

 

 

An idea began to take shape. I ran to our room and threw my bags down. I couldn’t stop to unpack now. I grabbed Sarah and the camera. Dead Man Pose was born. It’s a classic. It became a favorite of ours. I was always the model of course. Sarah was the photographer. It didn’t matter where we were. I was a willing victim. My favorite was in Paris. On our hotel balcony. It’s a classic and you would see the picture here if only I could find it.

Setting up for my pose

But alas, like many things over the years Dead Man’s Pose came and went. Like an old friend that you lost touch with over the years, it was gone but most certainly not forgotten. Until a few weeks ago.  Mike and I had gone on a ghost tour in downtown San Diego. I know some of you have read about it on a previous blog. Well, at least I hope you have.
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We had come to the end of our tour when I saw it. The piece de resistance. The mother lode. The crime scene of all crime scenes. The Grand Staircase. I stopped dead in my tracks. Ha ha ha. No, wait. I’m not joking this time. I really did. My eyes were open wide. I was in awe. I couldn’t move. I caressed the newel post. You know, the thing you hold on to at the end of the stairs. The newel post. Or, the thing my mom likes to hang her purse on.

A Classic Returns!

I looked around. There were so many people on our tour. I didn’t know if I could do it. Should I throw myself down on the stairs right here? Damn. The dilemma I was facing. I moved on. We toured the room for another 10 minutes and my eyes kept returning to the stairs and lost opportunities. I thought of Sarah. I knew I would regret it. I had to bring back the classics. No regrets, no regrets. I had to do it for me, for Sarah and for old times.
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I ran to the stairs. Our tour group looked at me with wonder. I excused myself. Told them it was all about the Dead Man Pose.  As I threw myself on the floor to the sounds of laughter I couldn’t help but smile. Mike snapped away. I had forgotten how entertaining this was. I didn’t even think about the dirty floor I was laying on. Until now. Remember it’s all about getting that shot, all about the shot.

A brief look at the set-up

When I hear those famous words, “strike a pose” it brings to my mind a completely different image than what I’m sure it brings to most people. You might have visions of Madonna and Vogue. Models and magazines. These images aren’t bad but they aren’t what I see. It’s the pose. The old Dead Man’s Pose. But it’s not just a pose. It’s much more than that. It’s images of England and Paris and balconies and bathtubs. I think of fun and travel and old friends and adventure. Being silly and free to explore the world whenever you want. A time when we didn’t have to worry as much and we were carefree. I miss those days.

Dead Man Revisited

I know we can’t go back in time but I can start to bring back the past and I can do it with that pose.  Every time I throw myself on the ground it makes me smile and think of the old days. And then I smile even more knowing that I have new ones to add to the collection.
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For an alternate ending and for different pictures, go to my other blog at: www.redismynaturalcolor.blogspot.com.

A Ghostly Tale

Sarah looks too happy as I'm about to chop her head off

I have always been fascinated with all things scary. Some might even say obsessed. I don’t know why, I don’t even know when or how it started but for as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed anything related to all things scary. Books, movies, rides, games, I’ll take it all. I’ll try it all. It’s ironic really. My mom is terrified of anything scary. Definitely not her first choice. I don’t know where I got it from. I’m telling you, an obsession. I remember going to the library and picking up my first Dean Koontz book. It was called Darkfall. Great book. I couldn’t wait to finish it. Until my mom saw me reading it and took it away. Said I was too young. What?? Nine is definitely not too young. Do you know how hard it is to finish reading a book when you have to sneak read chapters every time you go to the library and do covert ops? Leave your mom and brother in the kid section while you run to the adult section looking for Dean Koontz? Not an easy task. Same thing happened when I tried reading The Exorcist when I was eleven. Confiscated. This time by a teacher. What’s with this censorship? I even had to sneak my movies in. A classic like Poltergeist. Imagine that. I had to wait until the parents were out before I could catch up on my horror classics. What’s a girl to do? Thank goodness for Nana and the babysitter. Whew.

My friends can all attest that it’s been like this forever. They’ve all been sucked into my world of ghosts and horror movies. Yes, we’ve all watched great movies and cheesy movies. Those are the best ones of course. I’m not ashamed to admit it. They might be but I’m not. Classics. That’s what I’ll call them. As I got older I discovered the mother lode. All over the world. This was brilliant. Everywhere you went you could be entertained and learn. Yes, that right, it was a history lesson. Sure, that’s what it was. I was learning all about the history of where I was. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Ghost tours and museums and much, much more.  Now these were definitely the kinds of museums I could visit all day long. Throughout the years I’ve been on a few ghost tours and a few interesting “horror” tours as well. Whether or not they are scary I guess is up to the individual but you definitely learn some cool facts and depending on who is in your group you can be entertained. I’m pretty lucky. I always have a good group with me. It’s always me and whoever I take. So yes, that’s a good group. We know how to entertain ourselves, no matter where we are.
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First stop – London Dungeon on Tooley Street. It looked like Sarah need a little head chopping. I was up for the task. This place was fascinating. It told 1000 years of London’s most dark and gory history. There are different rooms that tell the tales of what went on throughout history and most of it is in the dark. The anticipation of what you think is going to happen is probably what is the most scary.  We loved it. Of course you can’t leave London without going on a Jack the Ripper Tour. Also a night tour, which you’ll find is the best for a ghost tour. Trial and error, my friends. I remember a lot of walking down cobblestone streets for this one. Sure, not as scary as a traditional ghost tour might be but still a pretty interesting walk when you try to think of walking down the same paths and others did so long ago.
By far one of the coolest ghost tours I have ever gone on was in Edinburgh, Scotland. I was flying solo for this little bad boy. Walking around the old streets of this beautiful city was amazing and to cap it off with a visit to the underground haunted vaults was fascinating. You would never think while you are walking around on top that there is a complete city underneath you. These vaults have been featured on T.V. as being the most actively haunted and paranormal experiencing locations in the world. Much like in London, you learn about the historical dark side of Edinburgh. I think it’s time I go back for another tour. I see they’ve added some new things. At the end of the tour they now take you to Scotland’s most haunted pub for a drink, The Banshee Labyrinth. Wait a minute. Look at all this history. This is actually a very educational fascination. Learning and getting entertained at the same time. Really, what more could you ask for?

Waiting for Ida to join him.

Now it was time for us to hit up San Diego. We’d done a brief tour on our own before. The Whaley House in Old Town. The Chamber of Commerce has dubbed it the most haunted house in America. Now that’s a pretty good title. However, we made a mistake. Day time. I know I mentioned that earlier. Never take a day tour of a haunted location. Now I’m not saying you’re guaranteed to see anything at night but hey, it’s more fun. Plus, there aren’t children running up and down the stairs going “wooooooooo I’m a ghost”. This does not make for a good atmosphere. I do actually recommend going to The Whaley House. I’d like to go back at night. It was interesting. But this time we decided to take a walking tour of the Gaslamp District in downtown San Diego. San Diego is perhaps known as the most haunted city in the United States.
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We started off at the Georges V Hotel on Fifth Street which was once owned by Wyatt Earp, but not haunted by him. This is haunted by former women of ill repute. Well what to you know because we also found out that the Gaslamp used to be the red light district. I love history. We had fun running up and down the stairs at this location and it’s a good thing we did because unfortunately many of the buildings that we were shown we could not enter. One, which used to be a mortuary and was very haunted, was now a private jazz club. So private that there was no phone number and had a fake law office door to fool people into thinking it was something else. Really? Also on Fifth Street. It costs $300 to get into. I’d rather be a ghost.  Another building that we couldn’t enter was a restaurant. The owners believed it was not good to mess with spirits. What the hell is going on here?

I can make it to room 309....

Our last stop on the tour was the Horton Grand Hotel. It was actually two hotels split by a lobby. This place was haunted by two ghosts. The Horton Grand was graced by the ghost of Ida Bailey. She preferred showing herself to the men and didn’t appear to women. Sure, I can understand that. Which is why I gave up Mike as a sacrifice.  Our tour guide said she was fond of money. Well, duh, who isn’t? Mike pulled out that cash and sat on the stairs. I didn’t want to leave him out there too long so I just made him pose for a few pictures and I let him come back down.
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The other side of the hotel is called the Kale Saddlery and is haunted by Roger Whittaker, who was a gambler. He haunts room 309. Of course we were told that we couldn’t go up here either because it was occupied. Well of course it’s occupied. There’s a ghost in it. I thought we should wait until our tour group left and then sneak up the stairs. I mean, really, what’s the worst that can happen? We get kicked off the tour? It’s the end of it anyway. It’s such a mean thing to do when you think about it. The whole night our guide was pointing out all of the buildings that had the most active ghost sightings and then we were told we couldn’t go in. That’s like inviting someone over to a pool party and then telling them the pool is closed. What kind of cruel joke was this? Why were we being teased like this? Personally I thought it was a conspiracy. Seemed kind of odd to me. Point out all of the ghosts, tell us we can’t go in but now that we know which buildings they are in we can go back on our own and pay to visit. Sure, I get it.  I’m beginning to think the ghosts have the right idea. Haunt the people that charge ridiculous amounts of money. I like that plan. It’s something to look into for the future. You know, when the time comes.
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For an alternate ending and to see different pictures, go to my other blog at www.redismynaturalcolor.blogspot.com.
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Camping 2011 Style

I’ve always loved camping. Been doing it all my life. Literally. From the time I was a baby I’ve been hitting those woods. Sleeping bags, tents, firewood, roasting marshmallows over an open fire, yes, it’s an old familiar feeling to me. I’ve always been a big fan. When I was growing up I couldn’t wait to get out in those woods. The campsite we used to go to had so many things to do – even blueberry picking. That was one of my favorites. I love berry picking. Even now when I smell wood burning the first thing I say is ooh it smells like camping. It’s a great smell. It takes me back to good old Mongaup Pond in the Catskills of New York State. We used to go there every summer. Or at least it seemed that way. It was almost like a home away from home. The crisp, fresh air. The cool, clean lake. Relaxing in the hammock. That was good stuff. Until one day it all changed. Mosquitoes? Humidity? Sweat and dirt? Where the hell did all this come from? Where was the fun? Where was the relaxation and zen-like aura? Was this what camping was now all about? I think we might have a problem.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind getting a little dirty here and there. I like to play. I’m all for adventure. But I have to draw the line somewhere. At this stage in the game, do I really want to go on vacation and “rough it”? I don’t think so. But I was willing to give it a try again. Last year we really did try to go camping. A new way. On the beach. We’d never been beach camping and we thought it might be fun. Apparently so did everyone else. All of the sites were booked. So we did what every normal person would do – we improvised and went camping in our backyard. It was a perfect plan really. We already had a fire pit. We had the s’mores and everyone knows that this is really the most important part to any camping adventure. We had the tent, the air mattress, our sleeping bags and we were all set. We got our pillows, put little Charlie Brown inside and we were all set. What could go wrong?
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Apparently someone forgot to tell the flea that he was not invited. Damn. Just when you think you’re safe from all the perils of regular camping, you can’t even make it without a scratch from backyard camping. What had happened since I was younger? It was all so innocent and fun. I knew those days were over. We had to change our tactics if we ever wanted to use our tent again. We had to clean the sleeping bag and air out the tent well. All because of one uninvited guest. Charlie wasn’t too happy either. He had to go to the doctor. It was his first camping experience and I’m pretty sure he was done with it. We packed up our equipment and were done with the tent.
Until one year later. An idea came to me. They generally do. I like to entertain myself. Sometimes others. But mostly I need to keep myself entertained so this is why I am always coming up with new things to do. This time it was camping. In the living room. Why not? Bug-free, heat-free and it was a nice change of pace. I told Mike my idea and we ran with it. He moved all of the furniture into the office and we set the tent up. Charlie wasn’t happy at all. He remembered his nemesis. He could have done without the tent – inside or out. But hey, we were loving it. It was perfect for a couch too. A couple of snack tray tables and we were good to go. I’ve decided that maybe this is the way to go – who says camping has to be in the woods? Camping is all in what you decide to make of it. I can camp out where ever I want.
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I used to love making tents in my room with my brother when I was little. Who says you have to stop? The only difference now is that we can use an actual tent in my room. Brilliant I say. Want s’mores? Just use that fire pit in the backyard. Same results, same smoky campfire smell. Then run back into your tent in the living room. With the air conditioner keeping you cool. Luxury camping. Now this is much more like it. I sent a picture of our new playhouse to my mom. She asked me if this was going to be our new room when we stayed at their house. I don’t think she realizes what’s coming her way. Let the good times roll my friend, let the good times roll.
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For an alternate ending and for different pictures, go to my other blog at:

Venice in San Diego…just close your eyes & Dream

Thankfully my fashion has evolved since Venice.

The Grand Old Gondola. We’ve all heard of it. Seen pictures. Envisioned floating down the canals of Venice as your gondolier belts out beautiful music. Well, perhaps most of us have. And perhaps it doesn’t always go exactly as you have might have dreamed it would. It usually doesn’t but then again, that’s what makes the best memories. I was in Italy with my cousin Margaret in the summer of 1998. We were staying at an apartment in Florence but we had a Eurorail pass and on the weekends we would travel all throughout Europe. We decided it was time for Venice. We didn’t have a game plan. We never did. I’m generally a wing-it type of girl. A basic game plan is fine but nothing was set in stone. We had a few ideas. Shopping. Check. Drink wine. Check. Did I mention shopping? I wanted Venetian glass. I know my shopping. I’m a professional. Oh and of course we knew we wanted to go for that gondola ride. I mean, seriously, who goes to Venice and skips out on the gondola? We didn’t waste any time.

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Day one – shopping. Mission complete. Drink wine. Mission Complete. Day Two. Uh oh. Drank too much wine. Get on a gondola after too much wine. Damn. Apparently I didn’t think this through. I knew I couldn’t skip out on this so I had to suck it up. We were pretty excited. We boarded our gondola and couldn’t wait for the music to begin. What fine opera would we hear this morning? Pavarotti? Bocelli? Nope. Elvis Presley. That’s right. Our gondolier excitedly pressed play on the tape recorder and said for us he would play Elvis. We couldn’t stop laughing. Don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing ride and I like Elvis but we were in ItalyOn a old fashioned gondola. But hey, he was thrilled so we went with it. The history and architecture of the buildings was absolutely amazing. I could have ridden all day. Almost. When you decide to ride a gondola, or any kind of sea-going vessel, remember to do it on an alcohol-free stomach. I learned my lesson that day.

It’s ironic. Italy had never actually been one of the countries on my “to visit” list and yet I had the best time ever and I have always been plotting a return trip. The gondola is also another ride that I needed to revisit. I didn’t know when it would happen but I knew it would. I put it out of my head though and moved on. Then came my birthday. Mike had a surprise for me. I’m not a good surprise person. I detect. No, I don’t snoop, I detect. It’s not my fault if I just figure things out. Sometimes with no clues at all. It’s a gift. But I promised that I wouldn’t even try to and I didn’t.
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So this time I had no idea what I was in store for. We headed South. When we reached our destination I still didn’t know what we were doing. We were on Coronado Island and that’s when Mike pointed it out to me. There it was. The Grand Old Gondola. Whoa. I smiled and started to tell him about my first gondola experience. It brought back so many memories. This one would bring new and different ones. For starters, I could happily say I did not drink too much the night before. This is always a great start to any boat excursion. This time we actually had the wine with us. This is definitely the way to go. Drink the wine on the boat. On the boat. I’ve definitely learned so much through the years. We also had snacks and a blanket. Now this is what I call planning ahead.

Our Italian Wine - Thanks Kevin!

We settled into our gondola, food in lap, wineglass in hand and pulled our blanket all around us. We were toasty warm and settled in. All we needed was our musical selection. Uh oh. What would we get? A flashback to my 1998 Venice gondola ride where my gondolier was trying to be more American? Or would we actually get an authentic Italian experience, right here in the heart of San Diego? Authentico it was. We cruised the bay for the next hour, relaxing to the sounds of Italian opera, enjoying our Italian wine, compliments of our friend Kevin, eating our antipasto. For a brief moment, we didn’t think about anything else. It was just the two of us. And the gondolier. Enjoying the peace and tranquility of everything around us in San Diego. One last time. At least this year anyway.

I love to experience new things in new places. I also love to experience things that I have already done but love to do again and again. I’m not one of those people who thinks if you’ve done it once you can cross it off the list and never do it again. Where’s the fun in that? I love to shop. Does that mean I won’t ever shop anywhere but one location? Being able to go on this gondola ride wasn’t just a fun experience.  It not only created fun memories from San Diego but it took me back to Venice, to a time where I really had no worries. Where I could take off for Europe for the month and do what I wanted for however long I wanted. It let me see what I had and what can be once more. If only I remember to dream. Anything is possible.
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If you’d like to experience a taste of Venice in San Diego, visit the Gondola Company at http://www.gondolacompany.com to find out how.
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For an alternate ending and for different pictures, go to my other blog at:

The Venetian gondolier made me where this hat.

Rethink Painting with An Artiste

Displaying our ceramics next to the artiste

I love planning events. I’m sure many of you know this about me. Yes, there are also many of you that don’t know this but are just as quickly finding it out. I like to find new and unusual things for me and “the gang” to experience and every now and then I even like to bring back an oldie but goody. This time I was bringing back an oldie. Back in the day, way, way back in the day, my mom used to take my brother and I to ceramics class. I don’t remember too much of the details but from what I do recall I know it was definitely much different than the way things are now. For starters, it was in a house. Uh oh, wait. The basement. I think it was in the basement. Isn’t this how horror movies started? Interesting. I’ll have to revisit this later.

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I don’t know how long we went for but I know it was a pretty happening gig – all the neighborhood kids were going. The only thing I remember making was a cupcake. My mom still has it. It’s sitting on her dresser. She refuses to get rid of it even though I gave her my blessing. It has a pink bottom, chocolate frosting and a cherry on top. I think it even might have sprinkles. Or does is have strawberry frosting and a brown bottom? Damn that memory. Well, you can see where my artistic talents stretched. I had fun. I liked to paint that cupcake. It was cute. I knew I was not an artiste. But hey, I was okay with that. I still am. Which is why I decided a few weeks ago it was time to revisit ceramics class. That’s right. I was bringing pottery back.

A true genius at work

I knew Mike would be in. He’s usually up for all of my plans and adventures. I found my other willing participant – Mellissa “2 L’s” – and we were ready to go. Well, technically we did have two others join us but as they did not partake in the artistic adventures they are not permitted to be mentioned in this blog. Just kidding. Lyndon acted as 2 L’s “artistic supervisor” and Vicki was our photographer. Every group needs those! We arrived at Color Me Mine in Rancho Bernardo and at first we didn’t know what to do. There were too many choices. Two huge walls filled with ceramic choices just stared back at us. We stood there for 15 minutes in complete silence. We didn’t know what to do. That’s when it hit me. Mike is an artist. Mike can draw. Really well. I mean, really, really well. I can not. An idea popped into my head. Well, more like a scam. What if I convince him to pick a more expensive item and instead of both of us painting, just he does and I’ll have creative control? I tried to work it. He wasn’t falling for it. He insisted that he wanted me to have fun too and paint. Damn. I really wanted that large funky bowl.
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As we kept circling the choices, 2 L’s got right to work. Apparently she had arrived with a game plan. Seriously, a game plan! All along she planned to work a dog bowl and from the moment she arrived she got busy. We finally settled on the original bedrock mugs and got to work. I decided to go with simple elegance. It looked great in my head. And then Mike started on his. We all knew we were in trouble. Especially when he busted out the pencil and started free-forming. I should have known.
Once you are finished painting, it takes another 5 days before your work is completed. We didn’t know what our final projects were going to look like. Well, we all knew what Mike’s was going to look like. Fabulously awesome. This is what it’s like when you play with the top dogs. I knew what I was getting into. As we stepped into the studio I realized my mistake. Next time, we make sure we tell Mike ahead of time that he’s doing all of our mugs. That way there’s no confusion once we get there. Here is a shot of Mike’s mug eating mine. Yes, I am happy with my final product. It does look much better than it did when I left the studio. But then I look at that fish. Some people just get all the talent.

The thoughtout dog bowl

For an alternate ending and for different pictures, go to my other blog at:
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If you’d like to check out your own ceramics skills visit http://www.colormemine.com

Revenge of the Shark

I am not a big fan of summer. Of all the seasons, it ties with winter as my least favorite. Ok, maybe that’s not completely true. Maybe winter slightly edges summer out as my least favorite but then again maybe not. In case you haven’t already guessed it I don’t like extreme weather. Don’t like it hot. Don’t like it cold. It’s currently summer. And hot. So at the moment summer wins that title. I wouldn’t even say it’s a love/hate relationship. It’s more of a like/tolerate relationship. Sure, I like everything that summer brings – barbecues, swimming, warm sun – but did I mention the heat? There was never really anything that got me so over-the-top excited about summer that I couldn’t wait for it to be here. Well, of course with the exception of my birthday on August 13th but that’s just a given. That was already a previously known holiday and was celebrated throughout the land. For those of you who are just learning this fact, you may now proceed with the festivities as you like.
Every year, there is something that I look forward to. We’ve already established it’s not my holiday, er, I mean my birthday. As the months get closer to August, I get excited. I count down the days with eager anticipation. Like a little kid at Christmas, the excitement builds. I know it’s August when I see those fins swimming across the T.V. That’s right…..it’s Shark Week. Shark week is currently upon us. Night after night, Mike and I sit on the couch to see what kind of education the Discovery Channel will give us. One of the first programs we watched was called “Summer of the Shark”. It was interesting. Experts were trying to explain why there was an increase in shark attacks. I have my own take on the attacks but first I’ll give you the expert opinion.
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There was a change of weather patterns – warm water currents pushed cold water currents – increased the number of great white sharks in the area (off the coast of Australia). True. They were juvenile sharks, or as I like to call them, “teenagers”. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. The juveniles don’t have parents to guide them and as many animals do, they take test bites to see if something is edible. They were learning how to hunt. Again, true. Great whites generally take a test bite and spit out. Unfortunately humans sometimes can’t spare a piece, even just a taster. It’s the other sharks you have to worry about. Those damn Tigers and Bulls. Those bad boys don’t just want the sampler platter. So the increase attacks came down to lower water temperature which brought more sharks and ones that were learning how to hunt prey.
Here’s my theory. Revenge. Plain and simple. The sharks have had enough. It’s bad enough that years of over fishing have depleted their food source but now they are being ripped out of the ocean for some lousy shark fin soup. What’s up with that? Cut off the fin, throw the shark back in the water and leave it to die? Of course they’re pissed. I’d be pissed too. I’d be on the hunt. If people can hunt them down than really, what’s so wrong with a shark hunting down a person? After all, the ocean is their domain. It’s not like they’re running out on land, shooting a man and running back into the water.
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It’s amazing how people get so angry when a shark attacks a person and they want to kill all the sharks. Um, the last I checked you were swimming in their domain. Why do people think they are entitled to everything – land, sea, air? If something gets in their way then they need to be taken out? I say go for it shark. I’m not getting in their way. Yes, I respect them. Yes, I would love to go cage diving with the great whites. Notice, I said cage diving. With use of cage. I’m note just jumping in the water, swimming freely, oblivious of my surroundings.
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I’ve also learned a few rules from watching Shark Week. Ways to avoid the sharks when in the water. These are the following to adhere to:
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Rule 1. Never go diving for Abalone. Apparently, many an Abalone diver has been picked off by a shark – be it Great White or Bull. If you do not want to be a tasty morsel or a sampler platter, do not go diving for these.
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Rule 2. Never go swimming in an area where they dump meat from a packing plant no matter how serene or beautiful the waters look.
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Rule 3. Never go swimming alone. Sure, you can still be attacked in a group but your chances are much better when in a pack. When solo, you’re definitely a goner. Why do people get in the water by themselves? I repeat, why?
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Rule 4. When you say to your friend/relative “It looks sharky out there” don’t ever get in the water. Seriously.
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Rule 5. When someone tells you to be careful of sharks, don’t ever say, “Oh, that will never happen to me”. Um, hello, Murphy’s Law. Haven’t you heard of it?
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If you keep these rules in mind you should manage to keep yourself pretty shark safe when swimming. Depending on where you are, you always have to re-evaluate the rules and use some good old-fashioned common sense. When in Durban, South Africa or anywhere in Australia, you must be pretty strict and make sure you pay attention to you surroundings at all times. Oh, who am I kidding. No matter where you are, be strict and pay attention to your surroundings at all times. The ocean is fun but remember you are just a guest. A visitor. A sampler platter.

You can call me Chaws

For an alternate ending and for different pictures, go to my other blog at:
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