Monday, March 31, 2008

Profiling for Terrorists=Safety for All!

There are a few of you who literally know what I look like. For the rest of you let me draw you a picture:

5'4"(and that's a stretch), 50 yrs.old, over weight (seriously, just look at the icon, it's pretty accurate), short gray hair, glasses, very stiff legs and neck on the day in question, which means I was slow and walking rather "broken".

As that may be I am still the epitome of the American Enemy, a terrorist.

Yup. According to the folks at The River in Rancho Mirage, I am terrorist material!

I was taking the photographs you see in this post between 8:30a.m. and 10:00a.m. last Friday when I was approached by a Security Guard. Now to his credit, he seemed really embarrassed to "do his job", however do his job he did. Seems that "someone" had reported me. I was "suspicious". This is pretty much how the conversation went down:

Guard: Hello

S'mee: Hey! Pretty day!

G: What are you taking a photo of?

S: (as I am aiming at the roof of the Cheesecake Factory) The scroll work on the facade.

G: The what?

S: The scroll work. See? It's really cool and I bet no one ever pays attention to it. It's going to look great in a tight shot.

G: yeah? hmm.

S: Yeah! I got up early this morning so I could shoot the desert flowers in macro...

G: Really? I'm just learning to do that! Were you up at dawn?

S: Not that early, but early enough to get good light. Now it's too bright and those bougainvillea blooms are giving me trouble; too bright, too much contrast between the white and magenta.

G: So do you work for (a local newspaper)?

S: Oh heck no! hehe, my husband is in a hotel basement for a conference and this is how I keep myself occupied! I just go all over taking whatever sights I can. I like macro shots of architecture and ...

G: Shrubbery. Right. Yeah, you see, that's why I'm here.

S: huh?

G: Yeah, I've been trailing you for about 40 minutes. All I have seen you do is bend over and take pictures of the ground or stick your head in a bush. 'Figured all you were taking pictures of were close ups on flowers and bushes.

S: hehe, yup, I'm weird that way.

G: Well, I hate to say this but I need to escort you to your car. You need to leave.

S: What!?!

G: Yeah, someone called in a report a while back; said they saw you taking "suspicious" photos. Thought maybe we should check it out. That "someone" talked to a store owner who talked with another and then more and more shop owners called in and well, we have rules and policies about this sort of thing.

S: You mean against taking pictures of flowers? I didn't take any photos of people or store designs. You want to check out my film?

G: No, like I said, I've been watching you for 40 minutes and all I have seen is you taking shots of bushes. Well until the rooftop. They think you could be taking photos to use in a (rolling eyes) "plan".

S: Sooo, I'm taking terrorist photos? hehe. Let me explain something. First off, If I were to take off running, you could catch me in three steps. Second, there ain't a fat girl alive who would blow up the Cheesecake Factory! And third, if I were a terrorist and I did somehow manage to blow up this place, what would I accomplish? Blowing up, what, like, 250 old people? I'd be laughed out of terrorist school!

G: hehe, I see your point, but you still need to leave.

So leave I did. Let this be a lesson to you folks. If you are ever in Rancho Mirage, home to the likes of the Betty Ford Center, 12 golf courses, a casino, and the 67% elderly population who boast that Sony Bono was once their Representative...remember that they are also very diligent about civic security! The bushes have eyes! They have a "no tolerance" enforcement for their "suspicious" photographers. Terrorists beware! These folks are on high alert and will take down -or at least escort politely out- anyone profiled as "dangerous!"

I don't know about you, but after seeing these "plan" photos, I'll be sleepin' with one eye open! (shudder!)
(shhhh! That bud right there---> it's a microphone!)

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Sunday, March 30, 2008


More spring colour from places we have been. These from Utah's Thanksgiving Point, Disneyland's Railroad Station at New Orleans Square, A bee (don't you just love his little legs full of pollen?) at the Redlands CA Temple, and a perfectly inspiring orange cannas from the warm sunny beaches near San Clemente, CA.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

spring elsewhere

Just a few photos I have taken while on travels with Thor. These from a trip to Washington D.C. Enjoy.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

in my neighborhood this week...

Yup, believe it or not, this is what's bloomin' in the desert! Enjoy!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why can't Mormons send flowers?

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It's Spring and love is in the air, or on top of the pillar.

One the first day of Spring (last week) I noticed that our doves had returned to nest. The top photo is from this week, the bottom photo from last year. They chose the pillar furthest from the front door but more exposed to the elements. Last year, after successfully laying eggs they tended them for a a week or so before they were destroyed by a larger bird. I am hoping this doesn't happen this year.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gramma Camp

As in a previous post, I explained that Mommy and Daddy are headed out of state for a family wedding with their newborn baby girl. Gramma (S'mee) gets to have the little boys! Hence, Gramma Camp!

Because we will be heading out on a few field trips, I thought it would be cool to have Gramma Camp 'uniforms'; and because I am a Gramma, I thought dinosaurs would be fun and appropriate! So, I drew up a design that would wrap around the base of the tee-shirt.

I then purchased iron on transfer paper for dark fabric (a must if you hope the design will show up on something other than very light or white fabric) and copied my design onto the transfer and printed it out on my home printer. According to the transfer I had, I didn't need to worry about reversing the design or lettering!

After that it was just carefully cutting the design and following the ironing instruction from the transfer package!

Now all I need to do is add some socks, sturdy shoes, and a couple of energy enhancing vitamins to keep up, and we're off!

(Gramma Camp begins the second week of April.)

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

What's your bid?

Two layers of dark devil's food chocolate, with pudding in the mix for extra moist goodness. An inch and a half of real whipped cream and crushed double stuffed mint Oreos. Real butter, butter cream frosting with Dutch cocoa and Hershey Syrup Swirls. Each piece topped with a whole double stuffed mint Oreo.

So, what's your bid?

Auction Update: After some haggling and a small fist fight it went for $29.00

o.k. no fist fight, but it made for a great "ward party" story, don't you think?

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Natural Dye Easter Eggs

Aren't they pretty?

All you need are eggs, vinegar, alum, and your veggies! Chop the veggies, cover with water, bring to a boil. Add alum and boil 10 or so minutes. (My pot was large so I added 2-3 tsp.) Add vinegar (I did 2-3 Tbl.) and turn off heat and cool. Add eggs and bring to a boil again for about 10 minutes. Shut off and let the eggs cool in the liquid.

I strained the liquid and put it in a smaller bowl and let the eggs cool and dye for a few hours.

My colours were a tad different than on the video, who knew? I still think they turned out cool.

The one up front is more periwinkle than blue or lavender (whole beets), the ones with the stripes and scrolls were supposed to be red, but came out more rust (red cabbage), the sage and olive greens came out fabulous and quick! (red onion, no alum, vinegar) Bright yellow (yellow onion with turmeric powder) were also very fast, almost immediate. The tutorial says you can get green from spinach, um no, not in my house. They came out perfectly white. grrr.

I made the stripes by using electrical tape, and the scrolls by painting the eggs with rubber cement, which actually the longer it sat in the solution, the more it was eaten away...just a heads up.

All of the dyes were much more intense before I rinsed them in water and dried them. Tip: PAT them dry, if you rub, the dye rubs off to a pastel colour.

All in all this was a really cool and interesting project. I am not sure a mom with a couple of kids would want to do it though. LOTS of funky fumes from the veggies. Seriously bad ones from the cabbage...ack! Also it took a lot more time than I remember.

That said, it is MUCH better to use the natural than the chemical dyes, but there you go.

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what's happening today...

Well, I have tried to post a video on dying easter eggs naturally, but to no avail! WAH! So instead I want you to go here and watch the's awesome. I am mid way through the process and will post photos when I'm finished.

So today is Easter egg dying with beets, onions, and spinach, etc. and also making a couple of cakes to donate to the girls in our ward so they can earn money for camp. I'll post photos of them later also.

Yesterday I went to a small home class to learn this gal's "World (or at least ward) famous Orange Rolls" really yummy. So hopefully I can get that up for you as well.

See you soon!

Oh yeah, the missionary lunch. hmmm. A few glitches. Like the ovens at the church not exactly working as designed, so casseroles took HOURS to heat through instead of, like, 30 minutes! Ack! We we're able to pull them out just in the nick of time (thank you, long winded speaker man) and let me tell you, those missionaries could eat! We had absolutely nothing leftover. not one crumb! Fabulous!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wow. Watch this:

Besides the intended message, what other ways can we apply this to our lives?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Got any good ideas for S'mee?

While I wait for some unsalted butter to thaw I am blogging!

In a few weeks I will have charge of my two little boys for a few days, what to do? Well, I am gearing up for "Gramma Camp!"

Mommy and daddy will be attending a wedding with their brand new baby sister (crossing fingers she arrives on time!) so we'll have sleep overs and other fun. Gramma has been busy preparing all sorts of fun. But I need more! This is where you come in! The following are some ideas I already have, but I need more, HELP! Please read through and then in the comments give me some of your successful ideas for fun with toddlers!

There are new "Gramma Camp" outfits (post is coming on this project -soon!).

First day at camp we'll be planting some flower seeds. Some to stay at Gramma's and some to take home! Also, starting some sprouts to put in salads and sammiches!

I want to have some cookie dough ready made and in the freezer so the little guys can bake their favourite -raisin oatmeal cookies. (making dough this afternoon!)

We'll be taking a few field trips, the trout farm, the rescue zoo, perhaps a museum or two.

Scissors! We're going to make a few crafts! A wind sock, a wind chime, and maybe a kite. (can you tell it will be windy while they are here?)

We're going to play with plastic straws and learn some fun science tricks! We'll see how blowing through a straw can make things move, make cool bubbles, and how you can lift a piece of paper with a straw and your mouth, and then when we're all done experimenting we can cut the straw and make a necklace.

We're going to make magnet cars and have a race!

One day will be spent under a tent in the living room where we'll build a fort with blankets. Picnic time and fun games, reading books and singing camp songs!

Fruit Loops and Cheerios will help us count, give us wheels for a cookie car, and help us with our aim as we line them up on marks, string them, drop them into holes and and match them by colour! When we're done with them we'll add some M&Ms and raisins and have a snack!

Gramma is finding cool family photos to make finger puppets with; and also a 'concentration' type of matching game.

Gramma will also prep "magic paintings" for the boys. I'll take a wax candle and draw a 'secret' picture on paper and when they paint over it the wax will resist the paint and show the surprise!

We'll 'paint' the porch and sidewalk with water. If the weather is warm enough I plan on a water balloon toss and other water games.

I have some wood blocks for making simple cube puzzles, and photo puzzles.

This is about all I have planned so far. If anyone has cool games or activities for little boys ages 2 and 4, PLEASE put in a comment! I will thank you ahead of time! Thanks!!!

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Next on the docket...

So the other event (check out the photos below!) has finished and we're off and running again!

Today I am washing the 200 chair covers. At 16 per wash load I think my day will be spent in the house!

Next big, well sort of big, project? This Thursday! We are feeding a conference of missionaries! They are all gathering for a conference and we get to feed them afterwards. Cool! I love being around missionaries!

Our menu: Chicken Tortilla Casserole, Frog Eye salad (leftovers - ack!), fresh veggies and dip, green salad, and brownies...hey we're on a roll here! Multiply the servings to about 140 and we're done! Whew!

Well, there went the buzzer on the dryer...time to change over loads!

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Womanhood. Enjoy to the end!

This was my weekend! We wanted it to be really special for the gals here! As one of our performers (Michelle) pointed out, we wanted the women to feel "set apart" from the world for a few moments, to feel needed, appreciated, loved and to celebrate the Relief Society birthday with a bang! Our dear performers did not disappoint! They embellished!

Womanhood, Enjoy to the End!

Ann Bailey, Michelle Walters, and Melanie Renstrom graciously traveled to our little hamlet in the desert and gave over 700 women, from 4 different stakes a terrific, inspiring, and at times hilarious show! It was so much fun to prepare for this event. It was over a year in the making, but we did it!

These women got together -much by fate and the hand of God- over 13 years ago. Together they decided to take a lighthearted and much needed musical roadshow to the women of the world to say "Enjoy!" Enjoy your life! Feel loved! Know you belong!

This program has a bit of everything. From the fast paced mommy numbers to the slower more moving song choices about enduring love and hope. Personal insights brought many to tears as we laughed together, and cried together, knowing not one of us is alone in our circumstances. We have each other and we have a loving Father in heaven. We all share a purpose that is more than just our 70 or 80 years on the planet. We all have the love of Jesus Christ. We are fortunate to have the Priesthood and programs that were designed by a Father who knows His daughters and wants them to be happy. We are blessed by friends, family and life circumstances. We have each other in times of trouble and joy.

If you would like these women to come to your area, their criteria is simple and FREE! Pop on over to their website and check it out. They were well worth the effort and time! ENJOY!

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