Saturday, August 30, 2008


Hi there, hope you're enjoying the holiday weekend so far. It's not exactly beach weather here in south's cloudy, windy, with rip currents galore at the beach, all courtesy of Hurricane Gustav. We're getting the outer edges of the storm. My thoughts go out to the residents on the Gulf Coast who are in Gustav's path.

I'm still trying to get started packing for my trip to Creative Escape. How is it that someone who loves to travel, hates to pack? Then again, I'm a vegetarian who hates most vegetables.....go figure! {Enigmatic} Anyway, I'm making sure to bring my favorite scrapbooking T-shirt, it says: "My husband lets me buy all the scrapbooking supplies I can HIDE." Love it! My fellow scrappers out there surely see the humor in it! Actually, I wore the shirt to a scrapbooking event last year, and I think 1,000 people stopped me and took my photo, they loved the shirt that much! Photos of me wearing that shirt instantly appeared in scrapbooks and blogs everywhere.

I checked the weather forecast for next week in southern Phoenix, where I'm'll be sunny, between 102 and 106 degrees F, with almost no chance of rain (and no hurricanes). Superb!

And then there's Hanna.....pretty name, ugly problem. The good news is that they say she'll have some difficulty forming into a hurricane because of wind shear. I'm waiting for the 5:00 PM hurricane advisory to see if Delray Beach is still within Hanna's projected path. We probably can't ignore this storm just yet.

Friday, August 29, 2008

random musings on a Friday

Geez, I'm leaving for my trip to Creative Escape soon and I'm not packed at all (hence my empty scrapbooking tote at left)! I guess I've been too scared this week to get (too) excited, worried that Hurricane Gustav and/or Hanna would mess up my travel plans (although I won't let them.....I'll drive north and fly out of Orlando if I have to!).

So, what do you think of John McCain's choice of V.P., Alaska Governor Sarah Palin? I gotta say that I predicted, really I did, just ask Sal! I told him yesterday that I thought McCain would pick her. I imagine he's trying to sway women voters away from Obama (sorry JM, that didn't work on me!). Although I don't like Gov. Palin's politics, I agree with Sal's observation that "'s a good day for women...". Perhaps she'll be # 2 in command, and that'll be a great first for the USA.

I wish everyone a safe and fun Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

more animal cuteness

Here's something sweet to distract us all from Gustav.....

This was posted on the Internet was on the local news in Maryland.....a resident came home to find that a fawn had followed their beagle into their home through the doggie door, and made himself at home! Oh, how cute is this???

"two" cute!

You may recall how I fell in love with moose while we were in Alaska this summer (scroll down to my June 29 blog post). Well, my uncle recently sent me this video clip that someone posted on the Internet, it's just too adorable.....twin moose calves were filmed playing in someone's backyard sprinkler! Take a moment to watch, it's guaranteed to make you smile.....

Still keeping an eye on Hurricane Gustav out there.....yikes!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

go away Gustav!

OK, I'm warning you, Gustav! No one is in the mood for a hurricane, so please fizzle out and leave everyone alone! And those of us in Florida who are attending Creative Escape next week have flights that we need to catch out to Phoenix. {worried}

Monday, August 25, 2008

Creative Escape countdown fun

Only 10 days to go!

So says my Creative Escape countdown clock (see sidebar). But I can tell that the event is approaching without even looking at my clock.....while I was in Philadelphia, FedEx came by with a package from the event organizers. To get the fun going early, each attendee is receiving a Welcome Box full of scrapbooking delights! WOO HOO !!! I'd love to share here what the contents are, but some of the gals attending haven't received theirs yet and it would surely spoil their surprise if I posted it.

We've also each pre-ordered our CE T-shirts, they're a really pretty design, which even wraps around onto the back of the shirt.

And when I arrive at CE, I'll also be getting a great craft apron (to keep the messy fun off of my new CE shirt!), complete with CE '08 logo embroidered in green. And I'm bringing a green pen so that the "celebrity" teachers can all sign my apron!

The countdown (and fun) continues until I leave on September 2.....!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

oh, deer!

We had another "phabulous Philly" day on Thursday! Today we drove west out of the city to visit Valley Forge National Historical Park, and we're so glad that we went! It's not the most exciting place, but it's serene, beautiful and historic. Unfortunately, we didn't have much time, but we managed to finish the driving tour through the park. And, as a bonus, we saw several deer there! EEEEK! Right in the middle of the day too, I was surprised, they're typically out at dusk. And I got close-up, I was able to walk within only about 10 feet of them.....they just kept munching on the grass, undisturbed by my presence. They're such delicate creatures!

Afterwards, we met Maria, Jim, Paul, Ruth & our niece Gina at the movies. Ruth, Maria & I saw Momma Mia! and loved it (I had already seen it, but it was even more fun the second time around). On the way to and from the theater, Maria & I blasted an ABBA cd in the car, laughing like teenagers. Thanks for bringing it, Maria, that was perfect! Paul, Jim, Sal & Gina saw Star Wars: The Clone Wars. But I'm sure it wasn't as much fun as Momma Mia! {wink}

Fun's over.....we're heading home.....back to Florida on Friday. Can't wait to see my pups though!

Thanks again to everyone in Philadelphia for your hospitality and for such a fun visit. We had a terrific week! We'll be back again sometime soon! Til then.....take care, stay in touch.

Time for bed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday in Philly

We had another enjoyable day in Philly on Wednesday. While Sal spent the day at the conference, I took a self-guided walking tour of Center City (Philly's downtown). The weather here was perfect for has been gorgeous all week, actually.....sunshine, blue skies, warm but not too hot. I munched on a Philly pretzel along the way (actually two of them, what a pig, Susan!).....there ain't no better snack in this town! {YUM}

I stopped into the Betsy Ross House, and although I'm not really a fan of museums, it was neat to learn more about what a "revolutionary" woman she was. Here's Betsy's story.

Philadelphia is so historic; you get a real sense of it seeing all the monuments, etc. around town. I also wanted to tour the US Mint, but they have a strict "no cameras allowed" policy, not even if it's turned off and tucked in your bag. (Note to self for next time) I had mine with me, of course, so I couldn't go in. Bummer! {disappointed}

I had to chuckle because as I walked around, several people (tourists, I guess?) asked me for directions. I must either look like a local or look like I know where I'm going (not!).

We spent the evening visiting with Aunt Tina, Uncle Sam, and Sal's cousins Claudia & Sylvia. Here's the gang, from left: Aunt Tina, Sal, Sylvia, Claudia, Uncle Sam:

Uncle Sam whipped up a cappuccino, especially for Sal:

Thank you again for your hospitality and the delicious dinner, too! Hope you all have fun at the Outer Banks next week! Uncle Sam --- please keep us posted on your trip to Florida, we'll try to coordinate another visit with you.

We're still monitoring Tropical Storm Fay from afar, and she's still hanging around Florida. She can't decide where to go. Apparently she plans to "boomerang" and go west across the panhandle now. Oh, come on!

OK, so I'll meet you back here again on Friday. Boy, this week is just flying by!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

fun & games in Philly

Still enjoying our time here in Philadelphia! Sal gave his presentation on Monday, and he did great! So, he's relieved and can enjoy the rest of the conference.

I went out to lunch on Monday with my sister-in-law, Ruth (below, right), and Sal's cousin, Maria (below, left). We had a great time, just us girls. Hey Claudia -- we missed you! -- but we'll catch you for the next girls' day out, OK?

My parents said that Buddy seems to be feeling better, he's eating and getting into mischief once again. We're SO glad to hear it!

On Tuesday we had a fun visit with the Marinos.....from left, below: Maria, Jim, Aunt Angie, Sal, Sal's cousin Danny & his wife Mary.....Danny is holding Maria & Jim's sons James & nice to see everyone! Thank you again for the delicious ziti lunch, too!

(Wow, don't Sal and Danny look alike?!?!?)

Then on Tuesday night Paul & Ruth and our nieces Gina & Dana joined us at Maria's for pizza and game night. Here's Jim, Sal, Paul & David (Danny & Mary's son) enjoying dinner outside on a nice summer evening:

We played a very cool board game called Blokus, which involves the strategic placement of brightly-colored tiles on a board, with only corner-to-corner contact of tiles allowed. Very fun!

All the kids enjoyed doing chalk art on the driveway and riding their bikes:

from left: James, Samuel, Gina & Dana

Gina & Dana:


We're really enjoying this opportunity to see everyone again. We're not doing much "touristy" sightseeing around town since we've already been to the Philly highlights (Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the famous south Philly Italian Market) in past visits.

Will blog more from Philly again soon.....stay tuned, we have more fun planned for the rest of the week! Until then, we're still keeping an eye on Tropical Storm [thankfully not a hurricane!] Fay. She made landfall on Tuesday morning near Naples, which is directly across Florida from us, on the southwest coast, and is (still) crossing the state. The Weather Channel was reporting live from Lake Worth, Florida which is just north of Delray Beach, so we were able to see exactly what Fay was up to back home, pretty cool!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

greetings from Philly!

Sal and I are here in Philadelphia......we had a good trip up, no lost luggage and our flight actually arrived 20 minutes early. Before we even went to baggage claim, we stopped at a pretzel stand in the airport terminal.....gotta have us some Philly pretzels (with mustard, of course)!

Sal and 2 of his PhD students are here to attend an American Chemical Society chemistry conference, and will be presenting their research findings (typically this conference is attended by about 15,000 chemists!). Take a look at the cool research that Sal's presenting.

Sal also has a lot of family here in Philly....his brother & his family, aunts, uncles, being here on business also provides a nice opportunity to visit them. Last night, we went out for some good hometown Philly pizza with Sal's brother, Paul, and his wife Ruth:

Ruth was so sweet to put together a "goodie bag" of our favorite snacks (pretzels, Skittles, Almond Joy, etc.) for us to enjoy in our hotel room. Thanks again, thoughtful!

Although we're glad to be here, we left Florida with worries on our minds. One of our dogs, Buddy, seemed to be developing a mild fever just before we left. But he's getting lots of TLC from my parents, a.k.a. "Grandma & Grandpa". Grandma took his temp this morning and it seemed normal, although his nose is still warm (unusual for a dog). We'll see how he is on Monday and determine if he should go to the vet. We love you, Buddy!

And then there's Tropical Storm Fay. Seems like the forecast models have her crossing right over Florida on Tuesday:

Yikes! I hope she brings only some rain, not much wind, and doesn't strengthen into a hurricane. A perpetual worry here in The Sunshine State, I suppose.

So when I'm not glued to The Weather Channel, I'll be blogging again from Philadelphia soon.....bye for now!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I don't like the looks of this.....

Oh, please, go away.....this tropical disturbance is over Puerto Rico as of Friday AM, is strengthening and heading for the east (my) coast of Florida. And there's another one right behind it. {nervous}

Monday, August 11, 2008

.....18 years.....

Sal and I are celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary today, 8.11! We plan to spend the day together.....relaxing at the beach, eating out, enjoying each other's company. Unfortunately, we have a major car repair being done today too {yuck}, but we're trying not to let that interfere with our special day too much. We couldn't postpone it because we'll be on the road with the car soon. Happy 18th, sweetheart, I love you! XOXO

And I want to wish my nephew, Tim, a happy 11th birthday today. He lives in Gulfport, Florida. Enjoy your special day, Tim!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

arch enemies: erosion & gravity

Hi everyone and hope you're enjoying the weekend.....

I had quite a "geologic scare" today! I'm in the midst of planning our trip to Utah in spring 2009. Our itinerary will definitely include Arches National Park, home of the famous and oft-photographed Delicate Arch (my guidebook cover is evidence). It is to Utah what Disney World is to Florida, I think. I've always wanted to see it, and as a geology lover who's finally going to Utah soon, I was stunned to hear that a famous arch recently FELL in the park!!! (article: Iconic Stone Arch Collapses in Utah Park)

Upon closer reading, and to my great relief, it was another iconic arch, Wall Arch, although that was one I would've loved to see also.

It seems that erosion and gravity took their collective toll on the are the before-and-after views:



There are about 2,000 arches in the park, so no doubt there'll still be plenty to enjoy when we go. Factoid: In order to be considered an arch, an opening must measure at least three feet (in any direction).

Time to get outside and do some yardwork before it rains!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

wowed by the Opening Ceremony!

Hi there and happy Saturday!

Did you catch the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics last night? All I can say is WOW. China outdid itself! Although it was long (I saw President Bush checking his watch!), it was spectacular! So much pomp, beautiful costumes. The amount of technology utilized in the Ceremony was incredible, too. My favorite performance was by the 2,008 drummers at the beginning. Such precision, loved it:

And the Taiji performance (below) took my breath away!

Another fave were the 2,008 martial artists performing Kung Fu:

Sal enjoyed seeing the Italian Olympic Delegation enter the stadium....they sure were exuberant! They had an espresso buzz perhaps {chuckle}.

And the way the cauldron was lit was too cool, an unexpected grand finale treat:

To see highlights of the Ceremony, go here.

One more thought for the day.....
happy birthday today to my brother-in-law, Mark, who lives in Gulfport, Florida. Enjoy your day!

Friday, August 8, 2008


Wow, today's date is so cool - 08.08.08! In Chinese culture, 8 is a lucky number. So lots of Chinese have planned weddings for today and are opening accounts today. And, of course, the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summer Olympics is tonight. This is the first Olympics to be held in China, so it's pretty exciting!

Send some of that luck my way.....we just found out that Sal's car needs $1,700 worth of repairs and maintenance. No fun!

Anyway.....enjoy the Olympics and have a LUCKY weekend!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

oh, how I've waited for this!


Delta Air Lines has announced that all domestic flights will have wireless Internet access by summer 2009. Imagine: surfing the net and e-mailing (and blogging!) from 30,000 feet for about 10 bucks. Sal and I will really be fighting over the laptop now! We may have to bring 2 of them. {chuckle}

I love it!

Delta Air Lines to Offer Wi-Fi on U.S. Flights

Other airlines are following suit.....those with Wi-Fi will be getting my business.

P.S. ~ If you haven't already, be sure to vote in the (unscientific) presidential election poll on my blog's sidebar. Interestingly, the votes are currently running neck-and-neck, perhaps a reflection of the how divided the nation is?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

one month and counting!

Wow, bad blogger, Susan! Where have I been? Forgive me, but I guess I had a bit of a rough week, and didn't want to let that creep into my blog. The worst of it was getting into an ugly argument with a clerk at Buddy & Aruba's vet's office; at the very least, this new guy they've hired has an anger management problem and I don't want him anywhere near my dogs. I think with the sour economy they're having trouble keeping staff. Anyway, I demanded their medical records and left. So, sadly, after many years with the same vet's office, I need to find a new vet for B&A. Like any concerned Dog Mom, I want only the best for them.

On a brighter note, though, I'm super excited because Creative Escape will begin one month from tomorrow! I've been anticipating this event for nearly a year (as you can tell from my countdown clock at right)! It's a long weekend in Phoenix, Arizona filled with top-notch scrapbooking workshops and relaxation, a retreat of sorts. This is the 3rd annual CE, and my first time attending, but I've heard that the first 2 were spectacular.

I'm off to watch The Travel Channel now.....Sal and I have been enjoying nightly episodes of the "China Week" series that they're airing as part of the Beijing Olympics festivities. A little armchair travel until we visit Asia someday.

Have a great week.....