Sunday, January 25, 2015

One last break...

The new Austen Authors site is up!

Sharing the link here: http://austenauthors.net/

Go check them out!

Their mission statement:
"Austen Authors is a collective of published novelists in the Jane Austen sub-genre of literary fiction. Our purpose is to share our multiple visions of Austen’s world through our posts, excerpts, and fun events, thus utilizing our blog platform to promote awareness of our genre to the broader reading audience."

Monday, January 19, 2015

Small Break to Share

So, I like Jane Austen.


Not sure if that was clear here. And I've been a fan of Austen Authors for a while.

So I have great news! They're re-opening their website and offering a fun giveaway.

But the catch? There are only three days left to enter.

So... check them out if you are just as into Austen as me. Even if you're not, you might find yourself becoming a HUGE fan soon.

The website: www.austenauthors.net

Until next time!
Bisous




Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Islands of St. Thomas and St. John

Hi again,

Today is rather snowy and cold here in NM.
And I love it! I've been hoping for some more snow since New Year's Day. Getting my wish. We could get anywhere from 1 inch to 12. Currently it's that type of snow that resembles powdered sugar falling onto the world. So nice.

Don't know how cold or snowy it may be wherever you are. Hope it's beautiful and not a burden

With a small pup that can't stay out in the snow long, I thought we'd stay inside while I updated with lots of warm sunny photos.

Makes me warmer just thinking about it too.
So without further ado, here are the highlights from the one of the excursions from the amazing cruise with my mother.

About to board the Freedom of the Seas

Port Canaveral

As our ship pulled away, we saw this tugboat. I thought it so cool that it had a pi sign on it!


And the sunset on our first day, as we dined on French cheese and fruit on the balcony with a glass of wine. It was glorious!



The ship (not boat, mind you) was at sea for two days before we got to St. Thomas. Gave us plenty of time to explore our new environment, get used to the way things were done, and be ready to go snorkeling when we got there.

We didn't count on having to get up at 5:45am on the morning of the excursion to get dressed, have eaten breakfast, and be off the ship by 7:15am.
Yeesh!

I usually have no problem waking up early. In fact I was pretty used to it. Ever since high school, when I'd wake up at 5 to finish the rest of my homework or just be up with the dog. And then that whole thing of being a Division 1 rower...

But, on the ship, the rocking of the waves was just enough to keep me in the gentle fog of sleep that waking up that early was really hard.
But so worth it.

Got to see the sunrise!


Just glorious!


I think I like this next one the best because of the clouds!


 Le sigh. It is so pretty.

Anyway, mom and I got our breakfast and then headed out onto the deck to watch us coming in to St. Thomas port.


It was a beautiful day.

Part of St. Thomas

 And here's my Momma.

She's so cheerful!

 We finally docked and were allowed to get off!


 We waited at the set number for our excursion down below, watching lots of people walk past.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Then we were told that since the ship came into port late, we missed the boat to the island of St. John. But there would be another in 40 minutes and we would be free to go see the shops until then.

Mom and I shrugged and enjoyed the time to stretch our legs. Plus it gave me a chance to take some more photos.

It's the replica from Denmark of the Little Mermaid.

They were all decorated for Christmas

Though it was still only 7:30 in the morning, it was a lovely 75 degrees F (23C).


The flowers were pretty.


And off in the distance we could see our boat, er, ship.


Oh, but we weren't allowed to forget it was still morning. The rooster told us so. Numerous times.

Then we went back to our places. Mom got booted out of the shade because she wasn't technically waiting for a taxi. Poor Mom. We were ushered along the water line to the boats.


Once there, we were told to wait again. Our boat hadn't come in yet. It had stopped to get gas.

Fine by me. I would prefer that the boat has enough gas in it to get us all the way there, not just halfway and then have to stop and have us watch birds for the rest of the day.

Finally the boat came and we got to find seats on the top deck!
So exciting!

It wasn't a leisurely ride out to St. John, as they lulled us into falsely believing.


No.
It ended up being like a chase scene from a Bond movie, you know, where the bad guys are hot on your tail.


How I managed to get any pictures, is beyond me.

Typical style of the houses. Looks like it could fit right in along the St. Johns River in Orange Park, FL

By the time we got to St. John, my fingers may or may not have been temporarily formed into mini claws since I was holding on to my phone camera so tightly.


But I think it was worth it.

With my claw-mitts, I was still able to take a few, less jostled photos.


I love how green everything is!

Well, we got off the boat and immediately were whisked away in open style buses. Off we went on a mini tour of the island, as we made our way to Trunk Bay.

First look out point? Lind Point.


Second look out point? Hawksnest Bay


Then the driver took off like the devil!

Can we say windy?

Finally she slowed as we approached our destination: Trunk Bay


It was so lovely there. My mom and I spent basically all the time in the water.


We snorkeled and followed the underwater trail.

I saw sea urchins that had a 6 in body and 1 foot spines.
Struck fear into my heart, let me tell you.
Especially when the waves seemed to like pushing me in the direction of a whole slew of them.
Yikes!

I got followed by a school of fish and saw so many types of coral.
It was incredible.

We had maybe an hour's rest on the beach and then we had to return.
Well worth the excursion.

As we approached the ships I managed to get this shot.


I pulled my hand in to get my Mom's camera. And not a moment too soon either. Something yellow fell from above and landed exactly where I had just been. Found out a girl from the trip had gotten seasick, poor thing.

But I was never so thankful that Mom pestered me to get a shot from her camera. Nor was I ever so excited to get off the boat.

We walked back to the ship and changed, then decided to head out again to see Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas, the main center.


Rather than wait for a taxi, I told Mom we could just walk the 1.5 km. It wasn't that far. And I like walking.

It'd be pretty, I said.
It'd be faster, I said.
There's a breeze, I said.

Hah.

Pretty? Oh yes. Very much so. That much was true.


But faster to walk? No way.

And the breeze? Hah.

Hahahahaha.

How about walking with the sun full on you in 85 degree weather, no breeze, and the fumes of the car exhausts getting to you, because of course the path to the main center would be right next to the only road, and we'd be walking during their rush hour!

But it was worth it in the long run. We got our exercise and I got some lovely photos.

Plus we did find a few little trinkets and made a new friend, walking back with her to the ship.

Yes. We walked back too. Made me very happy.

All the boats waiting...

And the sunset was lovely.


We had dinner and came back to the room.  I took one more opportunity to go out on the patio and was so glad I did.

The night colors are just cool

And look what else I saw! Sky cabs lit up!


Then we shoved off.

Goodbye St. Thomas!

We went down for a little after dinner coffee and came back to a new cabin friend.

Mr. Elephant

And that brings us to a close on St. Thomas. Loved the island. Loved the views. Loved...everything.

Next up, St. Maarten/St. Martin, but that's another post.

Until next time,
Bisous!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hi everyone!

Happy New Year! Sorry I've been MIA for a bit. It's been a little...busy at our place.

The second week of December, I went to FL, leaving Mr K at home cause he still had to work, to see my Mom, Grandma and Grandpa, and one Uncle. Uncle D and Aunt S and C we'll be seeing you the next time! It was kind of a whirlwind visit.

Doesn't she look great folks! She's a stroke survivor and I love her so much!

See the family resemblance?

Gave him a zerbet when we met up. He was so happy. 

This was before being taken on the best time of my life: a cruise to the Caribbean!
This is all thanks to Grandma and her great generosity that I will never be able to repay. I hadn't seen my mom in over a year, so it was a lot of fun catching up with her too.

Getting ready to board the Freedom of the Seas!

Don't worry, I'll be posting pictures of our travels soon! I just wanted to give an update. We went to St. Thomas and St. Maarten/ St. Martin. Fantastic!
Anyway, like I said, I'll have to post pics on a separate blog post

I got home from FL the 22nd, late due to our plane having to come to Denver from San Francisco, with lots of snow. Thankfully Mr K picked me up at the airport.

Blurry, yes. But snowy, oh yes. They didn't have any roads plowed and Rosa forgot to wear the right tires...
Main Street where we live. Deserted...

But, I love snow. Our home looked so cute.

Again, blurry, sorry. Mr. K was not happy that I opened the window to take the shot.

We had two nights home then we were off again on the 24th to Los Angeles to see the K family for Christmas.
At ABQ airport they had a gingerbread house exhibit. This was my favorite. The true meaning of "hangry."
Wonderful time once we got there. Went from 26 degrees F to 80 degrees F in a single day.
It was glorious.

Got to hold a baby, a second cousin, I think is her title. She's maybe 5 months old. And was wearing the cutest dress, EVER!

I love holding babies. Don't know if you all knew that.

And I'll never say no...
Well...
Maybe not if they have a full diaper and are ready to spew...I won't be so keen on holding the kiddo.

But any other time...yep!


Our copycat picture. My brother-in-law and his wife are the originals. 

 And then we came home. Well...sort of.

We ended up back in ABQ to go see about another addition to the family. An adoption...

From the Humane Society.

Meet Mochi, our hairy baby!
Her original name was X-ray. We thought about keeping it, but she liked Mochi better.

We couldn't take her home on New Year's Eve, like we thought. She still had to have her surgery before she could be let go from the shelter. It was a sad day for all of us.

But, today, we got to go get her and take her home!
Yay!
Thus begins the start of a new adventure in puppydom. And the loss of things to puppy teeth.
I'm already making sure my books and cords to computers and such are up, up and away.

But as I sit here and type up my blog, she sleeps. With her chew toy under her ear.
I love this pup.
She and I will be good friends, I feel.


Very good friends.

Signing off. Until next time!
Bisous

Thursday, December 04, 2014

It's That Time of Year...

Back again,
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! We certainly did. We had a Friendsgiving, with Mr and Mrs B and some other friends of theirs from Santa Fe.



These are some of the best shots from our Thanksgiving feast. Mr B is making a brussel sprout and bacon salad with pomegranate seeds as one of our sides.
By the by, did I mention that we had close to five star chefs as our hosts?
We're spoiled. Yes. We know it.

Of course, the hostess and I had to do our sorority girl shots. We matched in leggings!




I wanted a kitchen shot and said the words, "Act normal."
Apparently this is what normal is...hehe


But now onto the food, right?

First up, a sweet potato casserole with crunchy topping and marshmallow stripes, pre melt phase. I didn't get a shot of our casserole after the browning of the marshmallows. Oops.


The main course, and probably typical in most households, the turkey.
Which was brined and then smoked.
Which was also really good.


Next, the famous potato rolls and a side salad.
Delish!


And lastly, before the dessert, we brought out some French cheeses for all to enjoy.

Clockwise from right: Saint Augur, Morbier, Chevre, Brie, and Comté

We also brought my great-grandmother's pumpkin pie. It's really yummy, and that's saying something. I usually prefer a pecan pie. But the feast was sans nuts due to allergies. Not too shabby though, in my book. Didn't even miss the nuts!

And after that feast, boy do I have some news for you!

First off, NaNoWriMo is done and I made it to the end!!!


I'm very excited about this. So far, two novels for two NaNoWriMos.
What had started out as an exercise, seeing if I could take one character from another work and pair her with a new one, blossomed into a 50,874 word piece of fun. I know a lot of it is, as some of my writing group friends would say, "faff" and will need to be slashed, changed, and rewritten, especially the ending. Oh dear, yes.

I'm terrible with endings for some reason.

But I'm happy to have gotten it done.

Actually, I have visions in my mind of making it into a novella. It'll be punchier that way, I think.

Anyway, I'll have some time in January to revisit it. I'm taking December off from working on novels, er, this novel. I got back some notes from my beta reader in Connecticut (Hi Mrs. P!) on my last book and will be tackling that next.

Then we'll see what happens.

Dream list? I'd like to find an agent. And then editor. And then one day, publish.

I'm not a big fan of the self-published for $0.00 on Amazon. I've read a bunch of those. There's generally a reason they're free. Not to say some aren't good. It's just, well, you can tell when something needs more work. And the spelling typos! (Don't get me started on that.)

But yeah, I am doing a happy dance. And Mr. K was so sweet. The night I finished, he made me dinner. (P.F. Changs does frozen food, by the way.) And he got me this:


Scrumptious baby tiramisu cup three inches wide. Served with a coffee, because we WriMos are addicted to the stuff after November, it was divine.

I love that man.

And secondly, we have our tree!
The day after we went with friends to go get our Christmas tree. Actually go and chop it down in a forest! To do that, we had to drive North past the Valle Calderas. I'll apologize in advance, I didn't think to take my camera with me for the first part of the trip. I just had my phone.

That said, I think some of these turned out pretty nice.

Like this one of the Valle Calderas.

Gorgeous!

The road takes you right by it. It was so breathtaking, we had to stop and take photos.


But of course, Mr K and I had to get a shot in.

By the way, I'd just like to point out that it was SUPER windy that day.

My hair takes on a mind of its own in wind.
But the baby behind us was totally adorable. So look at her, will you?

Our friends, Mr and Mrs C with Little M

We took one more photo then hopped back into the Jeep.


On we went, heading to the place to get the trees.
We drove over the Rio Grande, by the way...

Not very Grande if you ask me, but pretty nevertheless.
However, when we got to the ranch...


**Cue western whistle from duel here**



I'm just kidding...they did have trees. But they weren't allowing people to chop them down.

However, after a few well timed calls from Mrs C, we found out that if we went to the Santa Fe National Forest with a permit, we could chop down our tree there. So the boys piled into the SUV and drove back down to Los Alamos because why sell permits any other place but forty minutes away from where you are.

The rest of us went on a hike around the area.


Can I just reiterate how much I love our area?
Cause I do.



After our little one and a half mile hike, the boys returned with the permits. We finished the cookies and hot chocolate and piled back into the car.

I was seated next to this little gem. Little M.


Oh, and Mr. K was a real sweetie and brought me back my camera!!

We got up to the National Forest, but had to ask for where we could go to get some good trees.


Told to go back a bit, we passed some great scenery.

Looks like the West, no?

We found a good spot and parked. Believe it or not, there was snow.


Just to give you some perspective, the blue dots are our friends. Those trees were HUGE!


And as the sun was setting, our time to get a tree was ticking away...


Mr. K and I walked into the forest to try to find one.


We hiked up the mountains, pushed past branches, slapped our faces on twigs...but had a hard time finding something that was less than 10 feet tall and no more than 5 inches of base.

The guys took a break on a rock though...


A little perspective is needed I think for this...


Back into the woods we went.

I like this shot. It shows the white trunks of the aspens very well.

And then we found it!

Time was short, the sun was setting, and it was the best looking single trunked tree out there.

Now we had to go down the mountain and take it to the car...no easy feat, but Mr. K was awesome.

This reminds me of a Hallmark card...

Say Ouistiti! (The French say this instead of Cheese!) Even through the branches, Mr K is smiling.

Tying up the trees came next. Roof of the car time!


Group photo!


And this is one of my favorites...

Doesn't Mr K look dashing, with a hint of vintage flair about him, courtesy of Mr and Mrs C's Jeep.

So I guess you want to see our baby up and decorated too, huh?








We thought it resembled the Charlie Brown Christmas tree... you know, bare branches, weird shapes.

But after decorating it, we love it. It looks resplendent, sort of. I still miss my bushy fir trees


Well, there you have it. Our first Southwestern Christmas Tree. It's not like the East Coast ones we're used to, but we like it.

So that's all for now.

Until next time,
Bisous

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