Thursday, February 26, 2009

Grandpa's Loafers

Jack Aidan: I like loafing around in my Grandpa's loafers. Easy on and easy off but not so easy for walking around. But I like Grandpa and his loafers are pretty cool in a Grandpa sort of way. Now I'll say cheese and you can snap the photo Grandma.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My World Tuesday=Mardi Gras

The Mardi Gras Tree in My Living Room
Houmas House Ornament From Houmas House
Which Has to be the Most Well Decorated Plantation House
On Louisiana's River Road Plantation Trail. The building pictured on this ornament is the small building separate from the large plantation house where the French sugarcane planter's teenage sons lived and slept away from the ladies of the household.
Krewe Drinking Cup
Caught By Yours Truly
At New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade
February 2005
Brand New Carnival Beads Bought
In Jamaica January 2009
Wrapped Around Dining Table Vase.

Porcelain Mardi Gras Masks Around Vase.

Happy Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) Everyone!
Now go visit other My World blog memes by clicking here:

Saturday, February 21, 2009


What is NARFE?
It is the National Active and Retired Federal Employees association. NARFE has chapters in every state and has its national headquarters in Washington D.C. It holds a national convention once every two years. In 2006 the convention was in Albuquerque, New Mexico and in 2008 the convention was in Louisville, Kentucky. The 2010 convention will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the 2012 convention will be in Reno, Nevada.
NARFE's purpose is to fight to retain federal employees earned benefits and to lobby for improvements to the current and retired federal employees pay and benefits. To make sure that the federal government honors our service and continues to support our retirement benefits in these trying economic times is a great reason for every retired and active federal employee to join their local chapter of NARFE.
My husband has been a member of the Manassas chapter since retiring in 2000 and last year he became the president of the Manassas chapter.
Are you a federal employee or a retired federal employee? If so, please join your local chapter of NARFE to ensure that you will have a retirement income and benefits in the future so that your olden days will be golden days.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

If Walls Could Talk

If Walls Could Talk, What Would They Say To You?

#1 I'm new and empty, fill me up with stuff and memories.

#2 I'm still pretty new but my owners are in foreclosure now.

#3 I'm still pretty new and my owners are in foreclosure but they left town and took the washer, dryer, stove, fridge, and all the light fixtures with them.

#4 I'm still pretty new and my owners are in foreclosure but I'm not lonely. Lots of folks are coming in and checking me out. Now if the banks would just give out loans, maybe I would get a new owner to love and cherish me.

#5 I'm still pretty new and my owners are in foreclosure now but too bad they couldn't hold out till Obama passed this housing stimulus package then they might have stayed with me here. I wonder what is going to happen now.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My World Tuesday

My World Tuesday
Romance Is Here
Romeo and Juliet

Now go visit some other My World Tuesday meme sites by clicking here:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

News Flash

Click on the above link and you will pull up the records for the Piedmont Book Club that DragonQuilter, Cindy and I belong to along with eleven other women in our neighborhood.

The PiedmontReaders have been in existence since the fall of 2001. Every month we have a meeting to discuss the chosen book of the month. We have now discussed 103 books that I have chronologically listed on the blog along with the name of the club member who chose the book for us to read and discuss. It is a very, very diverse list. Take a look. You might see a book that you might want to read from this list.

I will be adding a lot more data to this list in the near future so keep checking back to the blogsite.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Handmade Valentine Card

Look at this handmade Valentine Card that our 18'th month old grandson, Jack Aidan, made for us by fingrpainting and brush painting. I will have to keep this forever. I love it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sky Watch Friday February 12, 2009

Sky Watch Friday
February 12, 2009
This is Lorton, Virgina. This is where Washington D.C. used to send all their bad guys to prison in the Virginia countryside. Now the prisoners are gone. The countryside has become upscale housing communities, with schools and parks and shopping centers. The prison has lots of architectural interest. Lots of buildings with archways make it resemble the lawn at the University of Virginia. Today this former prison is being transfered into the Lorton Arts Center that will rival Wolf Trap with shows and the Torpeado Factory in Alexandria with artists in residence. We came here yesterday to view the art of some of the artists. Art classes are also offered here.
Happy Valentine's Day Weekend! Now go visit some more Sky Watch Friday blogs:

Ten Things That Begin With Letter M

Ten Things That Begin With The Letter M That I Dearly Love

Wanda From California Gave Me The Letter M
Thank You, Wanda!

This list is how the things popped up in my head.
After I had a good list of ten I then ranked them from #10 down to my #1 thing. So take a look.

Mommies with babies (Madonnas) #2

They represent our future. This also represents the Virgin Mary and Jesus.

Money in the bank #4

We all need it. We all want it. We don't all have it.

Miami University in Oxford, Ohio #3

Miami is my Alma mater. Robert Frost thought it was the most beautiful college campus in the U.S. It is known as one of the original eight Public Ivys along with the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, the University of North Carolina, the University of Vermont, the University of Texas, the University of California and the University of Michigan.

Messages left on my blog #5

Oh, how delighted I am when someone leaves me a comment!

Members of my family #1

God bless Jack, Jennifer, Terry, Jeanine and Jack Aidan.

Military folks who serve #7

They keep us safe and who can resist a person in a military uniform. Oh, I love those marine uniforms! Breathtaking.

Mark Twain #8

The very best American writer bar none and he is from Missouri, another M word!

Mozart for piano #9

I love classical piano music to read by. If my letter had been T, I would have chosen Tchaikovsky; and if C, Chopin.

Montmartre in Paris, France #6

My favorite part of my favorite city in the whole wide world.

Mickey Mouse in Florida #10

Mickey rules!

Now please go visit Wanda to see her list for the letter C and to learn about who else is doing this.

Holidays: Distinctive vs. Generic

I can remember when all holidays were distinctive. None were this generic. Washington's Birthday was celebrated on his birthday which is February 22'nd. Lincoln's Birthday was celebrated on his birthday which is February 12'th. (Today is Lincoln's Birthday!)

Then some folks for some reason or another combined these two birthday celebrations and holidays into one generic event called Presidents' Day.

What is the result? Confusion to the third degree, that's what. First, whose birthday are we celebrating? This new name is so generic that we could be celebrating one of the following or all of the following on Presidents' Day:

Washington's Birthday
Lincoln's Birthday
All living presidents' birthdays
All past presidents' birthdays
The current president's birthdays

Or who know we could be celebrating the president of Mexico's birthday or the president of Russia's birthday.

Second concern. What does this do for school children? Long ago American grammar students knew the names of the two most famous presidents(Washington and Lincoln) and the birthday of each one. I bet most grammar students don't know the actual birthday of either Washington or Lincoln. They just know that teachers always talk about these two presidents along with Martin Luther King in February.

Third concern: three remembrances in the shortest month of the year is bound to result in one of the following folks getting shafted in the recognition department: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King.

Then there is the case of what happened to Armistice Day. Does any young person know about Armistice Day?

Moral of this blogpost: re labeling things is not always a wise idea in the long run. Think before you decide to tweak something. You might just end up with New Coke.

Poems Are Like Buds On A Tree

Poems Are Like Buds On A Tree

Poems are like spring days in winter's eye.
They cleanse our dulled eyes and brain.
They awaken our senses from a deep sleep.
They make us delight in the sound of words expressed.
They create images that express our true feelings.

We fall in love with poems.
We use poems to declare love.
We recite poems to those we adore.
We equate poems with a time and place and lost love.
We hunger for another poem to stir our soul.

Poems are small while novels are big, sometimes huge.
Poems carry more meaning then their weight in gold.
Sometimes novels are not worth the paper to print them.
Novels almost never are worth their weight in gold.
Poems do have more meaning then their weight in gold.

Poems represent good economy.
A huge product from so little material.
But the mental production progresses slowly.
Poems don't come from assembly lines.
Poems come from struggling words along a line.

Nursery rhymes are poems for mothers and babies.
And babies respond with coos, laughs and mimics.
Patriotic lyrics are musical poems for citizens.
And folks respond with tears, zeal and volunteering.
Gospel songs are poems for souls in search of God.

Poems are like buds on a tree.
Each bud has many tightly wrapped petals.
And each petal unpeels another thought
Each bud is a delight to the searching soul who finds it.
And each poem like each tree bud is a divine delight.

Joann Gariety Shipley
February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Studying the Congressional Bailout

Studying the congressional bailout has Jack and I hanging by our thumbs. You need to be a tax lawyer to fully understand what they are proposing in each house of congress and what they will finally work out as a compromise between the two houses. In the meantime the American citizen keeps sucking up the damage that the economy is doing to his personal finances.

For instance, who qualifies for the first time buyers of homes $15,000 tax credit write off? Could you qualify if you bought in 2008? And is the deadline to qualify a home purchased by the end of June of 2009? Beats me. And this is just one small legal detail in this ginormous bailout package.

Well, I guess the stimulus is creating jobs for lawyers if not for blue color workers who are looking for new jobs now that all kinds of manufacturing and construction jobs have been lost in the past year.

In my next life I'm going to be a lawyer.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Jack Aidan Goes Reggae

Jack Aidan goes reggae in the souvenir Jamaican Tshirt Grandma bought for him on the cruise the other week. Can you dance like the Jamaicans, Jack Aidan. Grandma will have to teach you the moves that she saw. You are going to have shake that diaper to do those Jamaican dance moves. And I understand that your mommy is going to give you an art lesson in finger painting this morning. That should be a hoot. I hope she takes some photos.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Sacred and Profane Part II

Yesterday I showed you the profane on board Costa Fortuna. Today I will show you the sacred on board Costa Fortuna. I think because this ship was from Italy where most citizens practice the Roman Catholic faith we had a Catholic Church on the ship. It was small but done in an elaborate Italian style. The walls and ceiling were all in gold. It reminded me of the Sistine Chapel at St. Peters in Rome. And like Rome it came with a true Italian priest. In the second picture you see him in green up at the alter blessing the bread and wine for us. Oh, I must add that like the rest of the ship the lights on the sidewalls and on the ceiling were made of Venetian Italian glass. Very, very pretty chapel. The murals of the saints in the archways on the sidewalls were very Greek Orthodox in appearance which would make sense since the Romans conquered the Greeks who had been in Rome as well as Athens. In the above photo the couple sitting in the last row were the couple from Belgium that we had lunch with one day on the ship.
You can barely see Anna and John Smith sitting up in the front row on the left. John is Deacon John and he acted in that capacity for the priest on this cruise. And I think I mentioned that Anna and John Smith's son lives with his family right here in Haymarket in our golf course community of Piedmont.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Sacred and The Profane Part I

I'll save the sacred for Sunday. But here's the profane for Saturday. Every day when I returned to our cabin aboard the Costa Fortuna I would discover that the cabin boy would have folded up my pajama tops and bottoms into some sort of creature. In this photo my pajamas have become a Caribbean sea turtle. Now don't you think it is a little strange and profane to have someone playing animals with your personal pajamas? On our cruise to Alaska in 2007 they used the bath towels to create these creatures.

Oh, Ain't She Sweet!

Oh, Ain't She Sweet!
Oh, ain't she sweet,
See her walking down the street.
Yes I ask you very confidentialy:
Ain't she sweet?
Oh, ain't she nice,
Look her over once or twice.
Yes I ask you very confidentialy:
Ain't she nice?
We ran into this little cutie pie by the ship's elevator in the arms of her mother after the formal dinner. Cutie pie baby who was just nine months old was wearing a long formal dress that was color coordinated to her mother's gown. She was so cute that I was seriously tempted to kidnap her and bring her home to our grandson Jack Aidan.
When I spoke to the father about how cute his daughter was and how she would be a great date for my grandson he asked how old Jack Aidan was. When I said he was 18 months the father exclaimed that his daughter couldn't date such an older man who was my gracious 18 months old!

Videos of Cruise Dinner Dances

Dinner on board a cruise ship means that you may have to get up and dance with your waiter or waitress or else watch them dance on the balcony of the restaurant.

When We Left Grand Cayman Island

When we left Grand Cayman Island we had to again board the tender boats to take us back out in the harbor where we then reboarded the Costa Fortuna.
Here is one tender boat heading back to get more folks to take to the cruise ship. This photo has a good picture of that submarine and yacht as well as some country's naval ship in the background. How can you tell a naval ship? They are always battleship grey in color. Maybe to blend in with the sea instead of standing out like a bright white ship.

We returned to our cabin where Jack went to get us some tropical drink of the day from the ship's bar to enjoy while sitting and watching TV on our leather built-in sofa with minute coffee table. These cabins are arranged much like a house trailer with everything built-in and they are just as wide as a standard house trailer.
Friday night we had our Captain's Gala Dinner. Here the men at our table are deciding what they want to eat for each course from appetizer to dessert. Deacon John are you going to have tofu?
Jim and Jack said that they were not hungry but they kept eyeing the menu and thinking about food.
Our very last night on the Costa Fortuna we found our sheets waiting for us on our bed for us to don in some fashion to wear to dinner. This was also the night that we had to place our luggage in the hall to be picked up for transport to the ship's terminal back at Port Everglades when we landed at Fort Lauderdale. The cruise ship director reminded everyone to keep some regular clothes out for Sunday travel. He said that tonight those sheets are called togas but if you try to hail a cab tomorrow morning in that attire people are going to say you are going around Fort Lauderdale in a sheet. So look below at the various creative ways folks wore their togas to dinner on Saturday night.
Joann and Joe
Jim and Joyce
Jack and Yours Truly
People at Neighboring Dinner Table
Ingrid With Friends At Neighboring Table These Two Wanted Their Stuffed Animal in the Photo

Friday, February 6, 2009

Video: The Waves From Cabin Window

What does the sea look like from our cabin window? Click here to see for yourself.

Video: Joann Talks To The Parrots

Parrot Talk Video. Click to listen to Joann talking to the parrots.

Video: Fishes Swimming in the Sea

Click on the video to see the fishes swimming in the Caribbean Sea.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

SkyWatch Friday Scenes of Grand Cayman

Skywatch Friday
February 6, 2009
Scenes From Last Friday on Grand Cayman Island
Happy TGIF! The Local Microbeer is Called Caybrew

Look at this. You can go on a wooden pirate ship and pretend that is is 1500 in the Caribbean. We watched this pirate ship leave the dock and circle our cruise ship. Right after I snapped this still photo Jack and I heard a very loud cannon boom! Apparently they try to make this pirate cruise as authentic as possible.

This is a photo of the pirate ship from the seaside restaurant that Jack and I were visiting.
This is the Jamaican man working on Grand Cayman who gave us the commentary on our underwater sea tour that we took on a semi submersible submarine. Look below and you will see what we saw when we looked out the submarine's windows. What do you see? Lots of coral and fishes.

We really enjoyed this tour. We also got to see two shipwrecked ships lying in the waters off the coast of Grand Cayman.
And here is our deep sea diver who dived off the top of the submarine to feed the fish which allowed us to see lots and lots of fish all at once.
Jack and I saw stingrays on the ocean floor on the submarine tour but these stingrays are part of water fountain in the shopping port.
Grand Cayman is the island of bankers. Over 600 banks on this small island because they have top secret accounts. This is where Bernie Madoff was trying to ship some of his money after he finally got caught with his ponzi scheme. So what do the rich folks do here? Apparently many of them invest in jewels like diamonds, tanzanite, etc. There surely was an abundance of jewelry stores. Notice above the man rolling Cuban tobacco into cigars. You can not declare Cuban cigars legally on your customs form when you head back to U.S. soil but I bet a few folks had some Cuban cigars stashed in their luggage or else they were smoking them fast and furiously while on the island paradise. Beside our cruise ship in the Grand Cayman port was a fancy yacht. Someone on our tour suggested that maybe it was Tiger Wood's yacht since he and his wife own a home on Grand Cayman. Who knows. Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe it is Maddoff's yacht!
These are the Grand Cayman parrots.
Below you can see the little restaurant on the dock where we had a nice lunch of seafood and conch fritters. Boy, of boy those conch fritters were good!
And from our seats at this outdoor restaurant you can see our ship. If you click on the photo below you can also just make out two folks snorkeling in the water with our submarine in the distant background.

Here we are sharing a piece of Grand Cayman rum cake. Very good. We bought several to bring home for relatives and neighbors.

Grand Cayman island is a lot like Key West, Florida in that there lots of roosters crowing around the island. And where there are roosters there has got to be some little hens like this one who wanted some of our lunch.
This is a local church on the island that we toured before we reboarded the ship.
Plaques on the wall are for folks lost at sea and the mahogany ceiling beams are from ships lost at see.
Hey, it is Skywatch Friday. Please go now and visit some other great Skywatch bloggers by clicking here:

Each Day We Went Thru Elevator Doors

Each day on Costa Fortuna we went thru the elevator doors to get to where we wanted to be aboard the ship. I became fascinated with 1940's style art murals that were on the doors. Take a look. You can see the middle lines where the doors meet. Now look at the people in the murals. I just loved their cool dressy clothes. We surely don't dress as well as folks did in the 1940's.
A lady in a white mink stole. You don't see that too often today. Today we are more animal rights conscious. Have you recently heard that Ashley Judd the actress is calling out Sarah Palin for shooting wolves while flying inside a plane? I once had a white mink collar on my good Sunday going to church coat. Today I wouldn't dare do that.
This lady in the slacks makes me think of Katherine Hepburn.
Here is a black tie affair. I can almost picture in my mind the scene in real life long ago which would have included a dry martini in one hand and a cigarette in the other. By the way, on the cruise ship I noticed that the Europeans are still into smoking big time like it is a glamorous thing to do.

Blog Correction

I want to list once again all the members of our Italian group that arranged to go to sea together on Costa Fortuna. I left a few folks off the first posting of the list. Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa!

To the best of my knowledge here is a list of all our traveling companions who were a real delight to get to know and to spend time in great conversation:
Joyce and Jim Blakeslee
Josie and Frank (Ray) Cilea
Rosemarie and Jessie Flanders
Anita and Alex Hambleton and daughter Alexa
Cindy and Ray Judway
Dr. Dennis Kondash and wife RoseMary
Cathy and Michael Leyden
Vita and Joe Mule'
Joe Mule's cousin Peter Vivonetto and his friend Eileen Renzi
Ingrid and Joe Torres
Anna and John Smith
Mary Ann and David Waelde
Special apologies to the folks I left all the original list and special thanks to Ingrid and Joe Torres who helped me correct this error of omission. And a great round of applause must be given to our travel agent Frank Cilea who made all the travel arrangements, showered us with additional appetizers for our dinners aboard ship and who acted as our mediator for any problems with Costa Fortuna Cruise Lines. Take a bow, Frank. Job well done and way above the call of duty to clients.
Come back tonight for my meme post for Skywatch Friday to see what we did on Grand Cayman Island last Friday.