Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Intentions...

Wow...it's amazing how quickly 2009 went by. I didn't fare well in completing my 2009 intentions so I thought I would try again with new, improved 2010 intentions. Some are simple and some are quite complicated. I'm going to try my best to accomplish them. As always there are eight. Here they are...

1. Take 2 days per month to scrapbook.

2. To complete my 2009 scrapbook album as I simultaneously work on my 2010 album so I stay up to date.

3. To re-read the Harry Potter series.

4. To read 6 other books.

5. To get into shape by working out 3x per week, incorporating both aerobics and weights.

6. To rediscover my spirituality. I don't mean religion but instead the inner workings of who I am and who I want to be.

7. To figure out how to prioritize things in my life.

8. To live up to my own standards instead of the standards that so many seem to have set for me.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Happy December...


Picture taken for a December scrapbook I am making...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday...

Went geocaching this morning for the first time in almost a year. I really enjoy it so not sure why I don't do it more often...anyway...left Honor at home because sometimes she just drags me around and I can't seem to find what I'm looking for! I found 6 caches this morning...YAY! There was one micro cache that I just could not find...I even went back again this evening to try to find it but still no luck...grrr. I emailed the cache owner for another hint.

I'm trying to incorporate more things into my life that don't cost money and keep me busy. Geocaching is one of those things. I've got a few more caches logged into my GPS and will head out again in the morning.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Finally...

This picture was taken in Portland, Oregon during my recent visit. I am standing at the World's Smallest Park (as designated by the Guiness world record folks). It is called Mill's End Park and it has a 24 inch diameter. It used to be a utility pole circle. When the pole fell down a guy who worked in the bank that over looked it had it declared a park. He claimed a leprecaun lived there and watched over it...and that the same leprecaun held parties there (do I hear CRAZY MAN being whispered out there?) Anyway, don't you love the little tree??

Sorry it took so long to get a picture posted. When I got home from Portland I put my camera card into the reader and the reader burned up! Seriously!! Luckily I was able to pull my card out before any damage occurred to it but I had to buy a new reader and wait for it to arrive. I like the new one much better!

More pics to follow...now back to working on my paper...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Portland, Baby!


Arrived in Portland, Oregon yesterday for the annual Geological Society of America meeting. We flew in right over Mt. Hood, and when we did, my heart got very happy. It was beautiful and covered in snow, just like in the picture above. I miss the west coast of the USA and would love to really explore this area more. Who knows where teaching jobs will take me....
The hotel is nice but nothing spectacular. I am at the Embassy Suites. Last night for dinner I went to a small restaurant called "Mother's Bistro and Bar" and had the most amazing macaroni and cheese I have ever had in my life! Okay, so it wasn't your typical Kraft stuff (which I love, by the way), instead this was homemade egg fettuchine with first-of-the-season chanterelle mushrooms and parmesano-reggiano cheese. Oh. My. God. It was so rich I couldn't even finish a quarter of it. At the end of the meal they brought my check and two little cookies. The first was a chocolate chip peanut butter cookie and it melted in your mouth. The second, my absolute favorite, was a gingersnap type cookie with crystallized ginger baked in. Let me just say that I could eat enough of those cookies to fill the UT stadium! Unbelievable!
Right now I am sitting across from two friends from UNCW. I have missed Christy (one of the original Paleogirls) so much and it is great to be sitting here with her. We talk about so much more than grad school! Everyone is working dilligently on their talks while I am goofing off and writing this blog post.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I am suffering from a bad case of writer's block. I am trying to work on a small part of a chapter of a memoir that is going to be coming out about edrioasteroids and I simply can't seem to find the groove that I need to get the writing done. I don't know what it is but I seriously am lacking motivation for the project today. I have been struggling with this for the past couple of weeks and have been taking care of other projects instead (like my talk for GSA). But the truth is, this project is due by the end of next month and I still have to get it to a few people before then for review.

Why do we get writer's block and what is the cure???

Monday, September 14, 2009

Best of Show!

Last week I dropped off 3 scrapbooks at the Tennessee Valley Fair for judging. If you remember from last year, it was one of the items on my bucket list to win a blue ribbon in the fair. I did not know however that there was a ribbon for Best of Show. And....it's PURPLE!! Guess who won it this year????? ME!! See......

The scrapbook that won was my December Daily book where I count down the 25 days leading up to Christmas. Basically you put in there little tidbits of things you did during the day and some other fun memories. I put pictures of Christmas ornaments, memories of the boys at Christmas, etc.

The other two blue ribbons were for the all fabric scrapbook that I put together. There is a picture of it below. It took a lot of time to sew and I doubt I'll make another one. Too much work!!

Lastly, I put together a scrapbook about the most influential people in my life. This included pages about my boys, parents, grandparents, friends, etc. I was told it was the journaling that got the attention of the judges. I'm so happy I worked on this book. It means a lot to me.


Who knows what I'll submit next year but I can guarantee that I won't be able to top the excitement from this year.

YAY ME!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Yesterday I took a drive to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to see some of the sites. BIG MISTAKE!! How silly I was to think thaat most of the people in this area would be heading to the opening Volunteer football game! Nope, instead it seems as if everyone that didn't go to the football game went to Gatlinburg instead. I spent a crazy amount of time in traffic but that was okay, I finally got to make it to the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum!! What an interesting place. This museum contains over 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers. I'm sharing a few of my favorites here.

Love this Beatles inspired set!

And I do love me some frogs...


How cute is this pair with their little pearl earrings?


And this one was my absolute favorite!! Love the face on the little old guy. Too precious!!

Afterwards I went to a huge jam and jelly store. This place is twice as big as my house and filled with miscellaneous jams, jellies, salsas, honey, salad dressings, and BBQ sauces. Everything in the store is made in the back-room kitchen that you can see from the cash register. It was quite a sight! I purchased a small jar of huckleberry jam. I first had huckleberries in Shell, Wyoming when I was in field course. The little store down the street used to make huckleberry pancakes and ice cream. I'm going to buy some bagels at the store this morning to have with the jam.

Today I'm working on some scrapbooking, doing laundry, and heading to the dog park. I've been doing some scrapbooking this past week and will share some of my creations in a later post.
Have a great day!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I am a paleontologist...

That's who I am. that's who I am, that's who I am.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Alaska, continued...

Richard went rock climbing and rapelling while we were in Alaska. Here is a really good picture of him getting ready to rapell down the side of this cliff. This was the first time he'd ever done something like this and said he had a great time and would like to go again. I applaud him for his bravery. This is almost like falling out of an airplane to me.

When we were at Mendenhall Glacier we ran into a momma bear and her two cubs. We knew she was around as we could hear her in the brush and there were tons of salmon all over the place with the skin removed (the bears eat the skin as it has the highest fat content and leave the rest). Finally after waiting patiently for what seemed like hours we were rewarded with a sighting of this beautiful mom. And yes, we really were that close...

Nothing to do but lay around on a buoy. We circled this group of sea lions for just a few minutes. They didn't seem to mind us one bit. I love how they're layered on here.

Isn't this a beautiful ammonite?? Saw this in one of the local jewelry stores in Ketchikan. I think it was $15,000. I told 'em I'd just write a check...haha

More later, I promise...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Alaska

Continuing on with pictures from Alaska....below we have one of the best pictures of Richard!! Look at the smile on this kids face!! In his hands he holds a 32 pound Alaskan King Salmon that he caught for me!! He caught 2 fish on this trip including a silver salmon. Both are cut into fillets and are in my freezer at home. Richard said this was his most favorite excursion. I would have loved to send him fishing again but we ran out of time. Have I mentioned lately how proud I am of my kids and how truly happy they make me??

This is Bryn Mawr Glacier in College Fjord. In College Fjord the glaciers on the left side of the waterway are named after women's colleges and the right side are men's colleges. Anyway, notice how the two glaciers come together and form one bigger glacier. The black line that runs down the center where the two join is called the medial moraine. As the glacier moves down the mountain it scrapes up all of the rocks, plants, dirt, etc. and transports it downward. Now, you don't see the bottom of the glacier and what it is picking up but you do see the edges of the glacier. Before the two glaciers join the dark edges with the scraped-up rocks are called the lateral moraines. But once they join two of the lateral moraines become one in the middle, hence the medial moraine. Now you have a glacer with a lateral moraine on the left and right and a medial morain down the center. And there, boys and girls, is your geology lesson for today!

This is a pod of humpback whales that are bubble feeding. Here's how it works. The pod begins to circle a school of fish (ie. herring, sardines) from below. As they circle they release bubbles from their blow holes. The bubbles scare the school of little fish and they pack even tighter into a ball. There is one "singing" whale that makes calls as they do this (we got to hear it on the hydrophone....AMAZING). As the pitch of the calls gets higher the pod moves upward but continues to circle and release bubbles. A couple of the whales rise through the center of the bubble net, open their big mouths, and eat the whole school of fish. How flippin cool is that?!?! Porpoises do this also. This pictures is shows the whales with their mouths wide open after a tasty snack. LOVE IT!!

Isn't this an amazing picture of a bald eagle? This was taken on the Deadliest Catch tour. The captain would toss a small fish into the water and the eagles would descend upon it. This eagle flew directly overhead. I was in awe and am so happy to have gotten such a great picture!!

More later....I promise...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Alaska...WOW!

Alaska was amazing...truly amazing! It's difficult to put the experience into words because I think it is something that really needs to be experienced. I could not have asked for a better time and I am so happy that I was able to share the experience with Richard. If he thanked me once he thanked me a hundred times for taking him on this trip. He had a fabulous time as well and I will share more pictures of him this coming week. I took 1,841 pictures on my camera and he took 28 on his. My photos are taking a little while to get through so I'm simply posting some of my favorites here.

The picture below is my favorite photo of the whole trip. Richard took this of me standing in front of Harvard Glacier at the head of College Fjord. I had the camera set on the sports setting so he caught my scarf mid-lift. I just love that you can't see my eyes but can see that I'm smiling! This glacier calved twice while we were there. The sound was wonderful! The natives call the sound "white thunder." We could also hear the snap, crackle, and pop as the glacier moved. Harvard glacier is an advancing glacier meaning that is is continuing to grow rather than retreat.

Ah, what a cool whale tail!! Saw this while on my sea otter tour and it was totally a surprise as this whale came up alongside the ship unexpectely. I am going to send in a copy of this photo to the marine mammal database to find out about this whale. Did you know that the markings on each whale's tail are as unique as our fingerprints? True...

Richard in front of Mendenhall Glacier. We went there after a whale watching trip. We also got to see a black bear and her cubs. I'll post pictures of that later as we got some really great photos of that! The bears were ~15 feet from us. Breathtaking!


Richard and me with the crew of the Alleutian Ballad. This was the Deadliest Catch tour and I highly, HIGHLY recommend it if you go to Alaska! The crew was absolutely fabulous. For those that don't know, this boat that we were on tipped over on it's side and the crew had to be rescued during the first season of the show. It has since been restored and converted to a tour boat. Watching them bring up the crab cages was really cool. I put a picture of me with an Alaskan King Crab in my blog header.

There will be more pictures forthcoming. I just need to get through them all and figure out what I want to post. I hope this will give you just a taste of our trip. Richard and I talked about it at the end and thought if we went back we'd really like to do a land trip rather than another cruise. The cruise was great but I really would like the opportunity to do things on my time at my pace. So, I'd probably fly into Anchorage and rent a car next time to drive through different parts of Alaska and Denali National Park.
More later...I promise...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Long time, no blog

I won't lie...the written exams took everything I had last week to complete. I am not sure how I did but I figure that whether pass or fail they are done! It's not over yet, though. This week on Wednesday are my oral exams. I am very nervous and not sure I'm ready.

Last night I headed down to Market Square to see the Shakespeare in the Square presentation of A Midsummer's Night's Dream. It was very good! I seem to understand the plays more than reading the books. I get lost in the language in the books and don't enjoy them. Later this week this theater company is doing Hamlet. I'm going to go see that either Friday or Sunday. It's great...just bring your lawn chair, your dinner, and the desire to have a good time!

Friday, July 17, 2009

19 days!!!!!



My pirate name is:


Captain Anne Flint



Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just a few things I love about cruising...

1. Researching the cruise and what ports I'll visit.
2. Researching shore excursions.
3. Looking with eagle-eyes to see my ship as the taxi takes me from the airport to the dock. Practically crying the first time I see it (yea, I'm emotional like that).
4. Getting up close to the ship and realizing how big it is.
5. Stepping on board and being given my Sign and Sail card with a chipper "Welcome Back."
6. Seeing my cabin for the first time.
7. Heading to the Lido deck for a little lunch before we sail.
8. Climbing to the highest deck, face turned towards the sun, and inhaling the smell of the ocean as deeply as I can.
9. The sound of the steel drums announcing we will be leaving shortly.
10. My first "Drink of the Day" in a souvenier glass.
11. The rumble of the engines beneath my feet as the ship starts up. Inside I am jumping and screaming "OMG...we're leaving!!"
12. Watching over the side as the mates let the lines loose.
13. The sound of the ships horn announcing we are now underway.
14. The feel of the breeze on my face as we pull away from the dock.
15. Watching as the land fades behind the ship and all you see is open ocean.
16. The "bing-bong" of the ship's announcement system.
17. The droning voice of the Captain.
18. Turning off the cell phone and putting it into the safe, not to be touched for the next week.
19. Meeting my cabin steward and learning where he is from.
20. Grabbing my life vest and heading outside to the muster drill by my lifeboat.
21. Exploring all of the nooks and crannies on the ship.
22. Meeting my table mates at dinner for the first time. Sharing stories of our excursions on subsequent nights.
23. Towel animals!
24. Chocolate on my pillow.
25. The bed being turned down for me.
26. Reading the ships Capers (list of things going on) and highlighting what I'd like to do the next day onboard.
27. Feeling exhausted by all I do every day and having the luxury to take a nap.
28. Keeping a diary of all I do (it's the only time I keep a diary).
29. Getting dressed up for formal nights in the dining room.
30. Having 2 lobster tails for dinner!
31. Tea time on sea days.
32. Not having to pack and unpack for each port.
33. The waiters singing during dinner.
34. Sitting on deck and reading a good book while the ocean passes by.
35. Standing in the ship's atrium.
36. Being rocked to sleep each night.
37. Standing at the back of the boat at night and watching the wake.
38. Returning from a day on land and seeing the "Welcome Home" sign in the doorway of the ship as you embark.
39. Finding my pictures in the photo boards.
40. The onboard shows.

I could go on and on......seriously!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I'm addicted...seriously....

Spring break, BABY!! Oh yea!!

uCruiser.com Ticker

Ahem...

Exams have been set - panic has set in. The dates are:

July 20th - 24th: Written exams, one per day
July 29th: Oral Comprehensive Exam

Start saying prayers and novenas...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I have the best neighbors!

About 4 weeks ago I fired the guys that mowed my lawn. They were terrible. They used the weed eater to cut down my cucumbers, mowed grass into my flower beds and the big orange bucket (that caused lots of grass to grow in places it shouldn't grow) and now find out they nearly cut through my air conditioner wires with the weed eater. I was so frustrated.

Two summers ago my neighbor did my lawn and asked me about the same time as I was firing these guys if I would be interested in having him do my lawn again. I jumped at the opportunity because this guy is awesome! Today he removed all of the weeds from my flower beds and mulched everything. Oh my goodness...I am in heaven! It looks so perfect. Now if I can only keep Honor away from the mulch...she likes to eat it for some reason (see her standing in the door wondering what I'm doing?)

Look....

OMG...isn't it to die for?? And look at the orange bucket with my herbs...

Oh my...excellent...EXCELLENT!! I am such a happy girl, you just don't even know how happy.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I can already taste them...


A couple of weeks ago I planted four tomato plants. Two were cherry tomatoes and two were big-boy tomatoes. They are really coming along. LOOK...I have one cherry tomato that is ripe!! I love homegrown tomatoes. Richard will tell you that there is absolutely nothing better than a homegrown tomato sandwich, unless it's a BLT. Seriously, I love a BLT!
I should have enough tomatoes to last all summer...come on over and I'll make you a BLT or tomato sandwich...your choice!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

It's been far too long....

I needed a Firth-fix. My God but that man is lovely...delicious, even!
Truly, he is a very, VERY good obsession!!

Monday, June 08, 2009

This Sounds Like Fun!

I love my new camera and I love taking pictures...just ask the boys and Roxanne (seriously, I think they cry a little on the inside when I say "let's take a picture.") With my new camera I am trying to learn to be more artistic in my photos and see things through different eyes. Think of the previous post, the picture with the lion, I think the technique of having the closest thing in focus and the background out of focus is awesomely cool! I also love architecture and looking at how things are built. I want photography to be a bigger hobby in my life and not just a past time. This leads me to what's behind today's post.

I was stumbling along through my normal set of blogs when I ran across information about Scott Kelby's Second-Annual Worldwide Photo Walk. Here's the premise - photographers all around the world gather in groups on a specific day (July 18th this year) and walk around together taking photos of wherever they've chosen. From that point each group chooses a "best photo" and submits it to the website. Then there's some judging that goes on (but since I'm still learning how to use my camera I figure my photo won't be chosen so why bother reading/understanding the whole contest part of it.)

I checked to see if Knoxville had a group that was going to participate and found two! So, I signed up for one. On July 18th I'll meet the group (max 50 people) at a little coffee shop and at 9:00am we'll head out to take photos of the historic Knoxville downtown. At noon we'll find a place to eat together and share photos. What I think is really cool is that you are with a group of like-minded individuals that offer you the opportunity to see how THEY saw the same exact thing as you. I think this will be an opportunity to stretch my creativity and envision things in a whole new way.

Anyway, I encourage you to sign up HERE. It's a 3 hour committment and no expensive camera is required. A simple point and shoot will work. Plus, it will get you outside for 3 hours and you may just meet someone totally great in the process.

I think it's such an interesting concept...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Day at Biltmore...

I love looking at homes, especially Biltmore Estate. Richard and I used to go to all of the open houses when we lived in California. I just love to get ideas on how to decorate, etc. Anyway, Biltmore Estate is located in the hills of Asheville, NC where it is always cool and green. This is the largest home in the United States. Be assured, it is magnificent.

I met my mom and sisters last Thursday and spent the day wandering through the house and the gardens. I took a LOT of pictures, but then again, I always do (right, Roxanne?).

I love this picture of the house. Notice all of the gargoyles protecting it (see the one hanging off the side of the house over the chimney).

Two large marble lions guard the entrance to the house. I love how this picture came out. I *might* enter it into the fair.

The conservatory was filled with lillies and the air was sweet with their perfume. Notice the gungle-bee (that's what Richard used to call them) on this one.

I think the best part of the day was spending time with my mom and sisters. Family ties are really important to me. We all lead such busy lives. It was good to spend a "girls day" together. We're talking of doing this now once a month or so.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

CKU-Nashville

Made it home safe and sound from CKU-Nashville. Oh my - what a FAB-U-LOUS time I had!! I am hooked and can't wait to go back to the next one. Here are a few pictures that chronicle my adventures....

My first class of the day was with Margie Romney-Anslett. What a fun, fun lady! She has a great attitude and knows how to have a good time! She's starting a new kit club as well. You can check it out HERE.


Sweet, adorable Elizabeth Kartchner. She was chosen as the 2007 Scrapbooker of the Year by Creating Keepsakes Magazine. She is such a lovely person. I would love to be her friend. Her spirit and view on the world around her is simply wonderful. We all need women like this in our life. And Lizzy, if you're looking, you are amazing and I'm so happy to be your favorite scrapbooker *smile*.

Tim Holtz. What more can I say. He's an icon in the industry and I know that my meeting him has made my friend Janet so green with envy. The projects we made in his class will be treasures for me. I will take pictures and share then with you. Nice, nice man that really knows how to keep a class on track.

Teresa Collins. Look up the term "girly-girl" and there is a picture of her. What a pleasure to have met her. I would love to have her style. She cried during our class when she spoke of losing her mother 7 years ago. Immediately I thought "this woman is a romantic tender-heart." She was lovely. I am coveting her big diamond bobble bracelet. I need to find one...seriously!

In my costume for the dorm contest. We were the Scrap Chicks Supremo. Three dorms were chosen to perform and we were one of them.

The Scrap Chicks Supremo - Nancy, Me, Katy, Kara, Kimberly, and Janelle. These ladies are absolutely amazing and made my trip unforgettable!!

Here we are performing on-stage during the Pep-Rally. We sang Scrappin Queen to the tune of Dancing Queen. Margie and Teresa posted pictures of us on their blogs!

Another performance picture.

Margie and Kimberly. I post this picture because Kimberly paid $400 for this apron that she is wearing. The money went to Breast Cancer research. I absolutely LOVE her!


Lastly, another picture of the Scrap Chicks Supremo on our last night after graduation.
Attending CKU was one of the items on my bucket list....so....another one gets crossed off today!