Back to the real world

I’m home from vacation.  Stress levels lowered, body full of vitamin D and mind full of vivid colors (which is a real reprieve from the endless vistas of white beige and grey we have here at home).

Here are some highlight photos:


We went to Jamaica and stayed in a very nice hotel.


We did a lot of snorkeling and shell hunting.  These are my favorite finds.


While snorkeling we saw many animals. Sea urchins…

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…lion fish (I think)…


…a sting ray…


… an eel (this guy scared the poo poo out of me! It is a water snake and I hate snakes!)


We fed some fish who were well used to this game!

Under water, we also saw a lobster, flounder, octopus, crab and barracuda but either failed to get a photo or the photo was crap.


On land we saw cats. Lots and lots of cats.


Here is a cute little hermit crab.


There were many birds, but this garling is the only one we successfully captured on film.


The flowers were every where and so vivid!

The shaving brush tree is something I’ve never seen before.  It dropped a flower so I added it to my hat.  It lasted for 3 days like that!


We did do a bit of shopping. Mostly I needed something to tame my wild hair (humidity).

We did two excursions.


Dunn’s river falls.

I climbed these falls in my 20’s.  I do not recall them being so hard or scary.  But these old knees and flabby body as well as a healthy dose of self preservation (which is often missing in your 20’s) and an acquired fear of heights made this grueling so I took one of the “off ramps” about 3/4’s of the way up.  Hubby was able to complete it.

The next outing was to the Blue Hole.


The Blue Hole was a two fold excursion.  A dip in the Blue Hole and some tubing on a river.  Hubby opted to leave his water camera behind so no photos of this.  So here is the story.

I failed to understand that before you can take your dip in the Blue Hole you have to climb some falls to get to it.  Note story above.  The night before had been significantly rainy so the falls were moving rather fast.  For that reason we were given the optional life jacket (I’ll take it!) We were crossing the falls from one side to the other right next to a precipice, one at a time, with the guide helping each person.  So obviously a tricky part.  I lost my balance and fell and the water started pushing me towards the edge.  In my mind I saw myself going over and at best breaking a leg or a worst cracking my head or neck and ending up permanently disabled or dead.  I was terrified and I believe I cried like a little girl.

Mercifully the sure footed guide Daniel (who’s name I will never forget and will always be in my prayers) was able to stop me from going over until the hubby and the other guide (Little T who was mercifully not little) were able to get to me and get me back on my feet.  I did get to the top of the falls this time (with guides being very attentive to my fears) and did enjoy the diving and swimming part.

The rafting was way more to my speed.  No need for me to rely on my knees and crappy sense of balance!

So except for the “little scare” I had a great time in Jamaica.  I feel rested and ready to face the rest of the winter!




The vacation had some sunny moments

My last post was a “trials and tribulations while on vacation” post.  But the truth is, it was still nice to get away from the cold, see another place in this world and to meet new people.

Though the weather was not perfect, it was warmer than home.img_20170203_124735998_hdr

And there were plenty of lovely views.

The hubby and I did leave the hotel on one excursion.  The first stop was a sugar cane plantation.  Now a days, the plantations are mechanized but they had a demonstration of how it used to be done.  They also explained the planting and growth cycle for sugar cane.

The next stage of the tour was to a former sugar cane processing plant.  They explained how that worked which I always like.  There used to be a show on TV about how things are made.  I find that fascinating for some reason.

The plant no longer functions but it houses a train museum.


This was my primary reason for wanting to take this tour.  I’m always working.  Some of the old fellows that I work with in my job worked on the railroad and I thought they’d appreciate pictures of old steam trains in another country.  I took more pictures of that than anything else!  As we speak, I am waiting for the guy who is going to print the pictures up in a large easy to see format.sam_3854

The numbers on the train have a meaning.  The first number is how the train is powered.  1 means “steam”.  The second is how strong the train is.  When we tried ask if it was measured in horse power, the Spanish tour guides looked at us blankly so I’m not sure.  But, some trains had a second number of 1 and others had a 6 or a 7 so the above train is stronger than some and weaker than some.  The last two numbers are its personal number.  So the above train is the 18th in the 5 horse power (?) steam train group.  The box immediately behind the engine has the name of the plantation it came from.sam_3839

This 1 horse power (?) steam train is #5 and it comes from Central Orozeo plantation.  Poor little weak train…the little engine that could….

Anyway, my train guys are gonna eat this stuff up!

We then had a short ride on one of the old steam trains.  It was a nice way to see some of the country side.  We stopped at a shabby old station.sam_3867

From there, our bus picked us up and took us into the city of Cardenas.

In Cardenas, we had a quick tour of a museum.  To quick tour in my opinion!


There was some lovely items in there.  And if you paid a fee, you could take photos.  I didn’t because we weren’t going to be in there long enough.  If I were to go again, I’d definitely find away to spend more time in there and I’d take pictures!


Across the street from the Museum was this lovely tree with the red leaves or flowers.

Cuba has wonderful people living there.  They know how to make you feel special with just little things.  Our maid was sweet!  She kept leaving us notes and rearranging our bed sheets in cute ways.  The first day she made two peacocks cuddling.  She dressed the male in one of my scarves.sam_3794

I called him the male because he seemed to have the tail.  The next day, those dang peacocks really made themselves at home!sam_3800

We found them reading in our bed!sam_3801

I laughed my head off!  This was actually one of the highlights for me!

So this concludes my vacation posts.  I’m back in my Winter Wonderland and I’m back at work.  Time to get back to my sewing projects and to get back on the HSF band wagon! Late with my entry…as usual.

I’ll be missing in action

It is time for my annual winter escape.  In years past, I have arranged a bunch of posts to pop up on their own while I’m gone but that is not happening this year-to much crapola in my life the past two months.  I will be back after a week of blissful rest (at least I hope it is blissful) and I will be fully recharged. (Well…at least less crabby….) Until then

To excited to blog!

I booked my winter vacation yesterday!  I’m off to Cuba next winter!  Veradero here I come!

I’m looking forward to what seems to be amazing beaches and amazing locals!  I expect things to be like Mexico in terms of hearing Spanish all of the time (lovely language), seeing lovely buildings with some degree of wear and tear (thousands of people tromping through a hotel in a damp tropical climate makes for some issues but nothing that is vacation ruining) and dedicated staff trying to make a good living by making a good vacation for me.  I have heard that Cuban food can be a bit more bland than what we are used to so I plan on eating a ton of amazing fresh bread and bringing my own ketchup and may be a spice bottle or two.

I’ve also done my research about sand flies.  It seems I am one of those people who react badly to those damn things!IMG_20160129_163534164.jpg

It was terrible.  It itched like mad and it was not so much welts as my whole ankle swelled up into one big kankle.  It went on for weeks after the trip.  This year, I’m going prepared.  I’ll be taking garlic pills and antihistamines before I leave and keeping that up, as well as a bug spray regime through out the trip.  Any hint of a bite and I will be slathering in after bite lotions.

Okay, January, hurry up and get here!


Road trip!

Shirley and I are almost done packing.  We are off this morning to Carlyle Saskatchewan for their Dickens’ Festival!’s-dickens-village-festival

There will be photos!  The horrifying thing is how much STUFF I have.  I will definitely have to pare it down before Costume College.  I would be SCREWED with luggage fees on a plane!  At least there would be no winter wear on that trip!

Confirmed: my job does get in the way of my “art”

In between catching up on the laundry and grocery shopping, I have been spending the remainder of my vacation in the sewing room.  I have completed the 1872 Lilac Dreams bodice!  Yeah me!

Truly Victorian 1872 Vested Bodice TV403

Truly Victorian 1872 Vested Bodice TV403

The white part has little white buttons running up it that the glare washes out but I was making myself crazy trying to get the fabric to not look blue and didn’t notice I had washed out the white part.  Me thinks I need a better camera.


I think I may need to tack that bow down a bit more.  It seems to be sitting a bit cockeyed.


That is how it is supposed to sit.

In addition to finishing the bodice, I have cut out and sewn two skirts a la assembly line style.  There is a purple skirt to go with this bodice and a blue one for another project.  I’m at the hand sewing stage now.  They both might get some trim but I’m going to wait and see how they look with their bodice and over skirt first.  They might not need anything…especially the purple as the pattern it pretty wild on its own.