Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Here are just a few more pictures I took yesterday. I don't usually carry a camera around Vegas at all, but I wanted to this time to share pics on my blog for my kids to see (everyone else too) and also because we probably won't be getting down this way again anytime soon. The first picture is a horse in the lobby of the Bellagio Hotel. Then there is the Effiel Tower at Paris. Unfortunately, the one I took at night all lit up was a little blurry. The next is some kind of duck at the Flamingo Hotel. He was really cute. The last two are from the shops at Caesar's Palace. I never liked Caesar's that much, but that's mostly because I can't afford to shop at the stores there. We did get some awesome cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. But I have to admit, it's nice to see Caesar's Palace staying true to their theme, whereas a lot of the other hotels have strayed away from their original theme. Treasure Island could be such a fun place if they'd get back to pirate stuff. The same goes for the Luxor and the Egyptian theme. Oh well. It's a good thing I'm not running this town or else it would probably go bankrupt. We talked to a cab driver last night and he said the city is really struggling. We have a late check-out today, so we're probably going to grab some breakfast and then catch our shuttle back to the airport. Unfortunately, we have to sit there for a few hours. Then we should be arriving home sometime around 7:30pm. The girls told me it was snowing pretty good yesterday, so I'm just hoping we can get our van up our road to make it to the house. The weather here in Vegas has been really nice. It's been in the 60s, which is way better than how it is in the summer when it reaches 115 or so. Anyway, it's been fun, but it's time to start packing up. I hope everyone is well and I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone's news when I get settled back home. Nichelle, Nicole, Nathan & Neil -- love you all and we'll be home soon!
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
For those who don't know, the Jersey Boys show is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. They did all their great songs like "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Walk Like A Man", "My Eyes Adored You", "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", "Working My Way Back to You", "Fallen Angel", and more. I didn't know that Bob Gaudio, who joined the Four Seasons last, wrote most of their songs, including previous songs like "Short Shorts". The show was neat because it wasn't just about their music. It was how they went from the streets of Jersey into the music industry. It showed how certain songs were created because of what was going on around them at the time. Good stuff -- definitely worth seeing. Rick won $250 on a Wheel-of-Fortune slot at our hotel last night, so that was pretty cool. I think today we're headed back up the Strip, so hopefully I can catch you up later. Right now I'm fighting with my internet connection, so I better end this for now. Hugs to Nichelle, Nicole, Nathan & Neil!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
These ladies acted as water fountain type statues at the Venetian Hotel. They moved really slow and had water spraying out from their hands. It was kind of fascinating and kind of creepy at the same time. After their show, they came off their platform and rode the escalator upstairs. Can you imagine what that lady from Montana would have thought if she saw that?
I had a little crisis today. I only brought several different types of boots, and since we're without a car, we're doing a lot more walking than normal. I was pretty much hating life earlier until we caught a taxi and had him drive us to Ross. I'm such a tightwad and didn't want to buy any from the designer shops in the hotels. I cannot even begin to tell you how GOOD cheap tennis shoes feel! Anyway, we're going to grab some dinner soon and then head back out to see The Jersey Boys tonight. I don't think they allow pictures during the show. Until next time ... Viva Las Vegas!
Monday, February 23, 2009
- They spend 80% of their lives in the ocean.
- They can hold their breath over 120 minutes.
- They eat squid, octopus, eels, and small sharks.
- They can live as long as 23 years.
- They weigh about 6000 pounds.
Males are called bulls and the largest known bull elephant seal weighed a whopping 11,000 pounds. You wouldn't want to get in his way! They get their name from the long snout the bulls have that resembles an elephant's trunk. They are protected from cold with blubber, but at times their skin goes through a molt and they need to go on land to stay warm. This picture was taken on one of their regular haul-outs where they rest during this time. The name elephant seal got me thinking about other creatures that have another animal as part of their name. A few that I came across were --
- tiger sharks
- leopard sharks
- kangaroo rat
- grasshopper mouse
- seal salamander
- fox squirrel
- antelope squirrel
- elephant shrew
- chicken turtle
- chicken hawk
- fish crow
- fish eagle
- sheep frog
- sheep dog
- pig frog
- zebra finch
- bull snake
- bull frog
Can you think of any others?
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Kindergarten -- what exactly does that mean? The word kindergarten means "children's garden" in German. The very first kindergarten opened on June 28, 1840 by Friedrich Frobel in Germany. The first kindergarten in the US opened in 1856 by Margaret Meyer Schurz in Waterton, Wisconsin. Kindergarten was created to help young children make the transition from home to more formal schooling. Kids learn to communicate, play, and interact. For some, kindergarten helps them adjust to being apart from their parents. Kindergarten varies from country to country ...
CANADA -- there are 2 forms of kindergarten, junior and senior.
CHINA -- children begin kindergarten when they are 2 years old.
FRANCE -- not compulsory, but nearly 100% of children attend.
GERMANY -- kindergarten is not actually part of the school system.
HONG KONG -- children begin their education as early as 8 months.
MEXICO -- kindergarten goes for 3 years before elementary school.
UK -- kindergarten is called nursery schools or playgroups.
What do you remember about kindergarten? I'm 44, so kindergarten was a long time ago. I remember being dropped off my first day and feeling butterflies in my stomach. The only other thing I remember is making my handprint out of clay. I remember the room, how the teacher rolled the clay out and used a big coffee can to cut it into a circle. I also remember her pushing my hand down into the clay to get the imprint. I don't remember anything else. Oddly, I have one memory of preschool and that was having to lay down on the floor with a blanket for quiet time. We had to move mid-year and I never got my blanket back -- how sad.
Both of my girls went to kindergarten at a private school. It was a great school and we have many fond memories. By the time our boys came, we were homeschooling, so their kindergarten was different. They're good kids and are turning out just fine, so I'm not worried about that. It's just interesting to me how much you remember. Like I said, kindergarten was a long time ago for me and I really don't remember much about it. I'm wondering if my kids will remember more than me, especially the boys since we've homeschooled them and a lot of their memories have been documented in photos and saved in binders. I don't have any of my kindergarten work, just my handprint and my kindergarten picture.
Which brings me to the picture! Awhile back, there were some photo challenges to post things like senior pics, wedding pics and newspaper clippings. I thought it would be fun to have another -- kindergarten pictures! I challenge you to post your kindergarten picture on your blog. As you can see, I had no front teeth. And again, what was it with my mom and the plaid? Not only is this a plaid jumper, but it was a tweed plaid -- ugh.
So -- are you brave enough to post your kindergarten picture?
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I got an email from Photojojo today and found another fun photo project. How would you like to be a character from the new Coraline movie? Click here to button your eyes. Pretty creepy stuff, don't you think? Okay, so my picture was creepy before the buttons, but it's still fun. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I want to. My daughter Nichelle wants to see it with me. I definitely want to get the soundtrack. I love that kind of stuff.
Also, thank you to those who read my daughter's blog, In My Own World recently. Nichelle has been adding a bunch of posts and photos from her missionary trip to Albania last summer. She has some really interesting stuff in there if you want to check it out again. Have a great weekend!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Buddy wanted to be a Cowboy, one that rode a horse, not herd cows by foot. When the neighboring rancher, Caleb Hyman, told the boy he would be hired once he could lasso prairie dogs, Buddy worked and practiced for years to be able to catch one. The day he finally roped one of the quick rodents, two of his older brother's friends watched from the road and ridiculed Buddy, calling him a prairie dog cowboy. Facing the hard life of homesteading in the late 1890s and early 1900s, Buddy didn't have an easy life, made worse by a mother who didn't love him or accept him. However, with the help of the Hymans, he developed into a strong, decent person who struggled to find his place in his world.
Rena -- What is the basis of Prairie Dog Cowboy?
Rena -- What inspired you to write this story?
Vivian -- My husband worked his family's farm, cowboyed for local ranchers, and broke horses. His stories made me want to find a way to include his experiences.
Rena -- Who is this book geared toward and for what age?
Rena -- Are there any illustrations in the book?
Rena -- Why did you choose prairie dogs as part of the story?
Vivian -- I wanted a goal for Buddy, something that he could attain by the time he was old enough to work on a ranch. Prairie dogs are a bane in the Oklahoma Panhandle. What could make a better challenge for a young boy that to learn to rope one of the quick, easily found animals?
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Please check back with my blog tomorrow because I will be featuring a book tour for Prairie Dog Cowboy by Vivian Zabel. This is a historical fiction novel written for young teens. Everyone who leaves a comment with a valid email address is eligible to be in a drawing to win a canvas tote bag. Vivian Zabel is my publisher with 4RV Publishing LLC and tomorrow is also her 47th wedding anniversary. Please stop by to wish her well and check out her newest book. I hope to see you here!
Monday, February 16, 2009
- Slugs have four noses?
- Lightning strikes 8 million times a day?
- A sneeze travels at 100 mph?
- Lions are the only cats with a tuft on their tails?
- Women pass gas 3x more than men?
- A single ant can't survive by itself?
- The Statue of Liberty wears an 879 size sandal?
- Corn syrup prevents lollipops from dripping?
I could go on and on and on -- but I won't. You'll just have to pick up the book for yourself. Uncle John has a website here and he has a lot of these books. Nathan's playing right now, but I'm sure in awhile he'll be up here reading more interesting facts to me. As soon as I can, I'm going to snag the book from him and read it myself.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
- 1.5-2 pounds ground beef, extra lean
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a skillet heat up 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent. In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, bread crumbs, tomatoes, egg, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Add onions and garlic and mix well. Grease loaf pan with olive oil and press mixture into pan. Cover lightly with aluminum foil. Bake 60-70 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
How much do you rely on your computer? Isn't that a scary thought when you think about it? We use them for our bills, banking, photographs, music, shopping, keeping up with friends, reading the news, emails, etc. That doesn't include my writing, which not only includes the actual manuscripts, but the cover letters, queries, address labels, replies from editors, etc. It's unbelievable how much we rely on computers. It's almost like we can't live without them. And, when we want to see something online, we want to see it NOW, regardless if it has to travel all the way across the world. My MIL has a computer, but she's scared to use it. She hears one weird story and thinks all computers are evil. I guess she figures gremlins will come in through her PC and steal her identity and max out her credit cards. She tried to get into computers, but didn't understand them. I used to think she was silly, but sometimes I think she's smarter than the rest of us. Yesterday I had 2 laptops running at the same time and both were having major issues. The frustration was so much that I wanted to toss them both through the window.
Then of course, there's the buying of a new computer, which is enough to send anyone to the nuthouse. You can't buy a new system and have things "the way they used to be" either. The operating systems change too fast and favorite programs no longer are supported. I do a lot of desktop publishing work and used Adobe PageMaker for years. When our main PC died, we had to upgrade from XP to Vista. Well, my version of PageMaker was so old that it can't be added to the new computer. We got In-Design, which is the new version of PageMaker and it's on the main computer. It's more complicated and I haven't had time to learn it. All my work I've been doing on the old laptops using my old PageMaker program. Getting a new computer might sound cool, but now I can't use PageMaker at all. The good thing is that it will force me to learn In-Design. The bad thing is that I will have to make time for it. Not only that, but learning new programs is frustrating, especially if you can use the old versions with your eyes closed. I don't do change very well with some things. I think back and remember the days of typing on a typewriter. The biggest worry was getting the keys stuck or figuring out how to replace the ribbon. It was a thrill to go from that to my word processor where I could actually edit and save things. Now of course, everything is computerized and life is a lot more complicated ...
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
White lions are even more rare and have never been common in the wild. There are not many white lions left and they are currently an endangered species. White lions aren't albinos, as many people think. The white color comes from a recessive, color-inhibiting gene. White lions only come from parents who both have this gene. White lions were first recorded in 1928, but didn't get a lot of attention until the 1970s when Chris McBride wrote The White Lions of Timbavati. I have always loved lions. I have a small collection of lion figurines. I've only seen white lions at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Siegfried & Roy had a white lion with their collection of tigers. I don't know if it's still there, but it was absolutely beautiful.
If you're close to my age, you might remember a famous white lion named Kimba. No, not Simba -- that's The Lion King. Kimba the White Lion was an animated television show from the 60s. I probably watched most of it in the 70s and I loved this show. It was the first animated television series made in Japan. I used to watch this show all the time. I think it came on right before Speed Racer, which I also loved. Kimba the White Lion was a great show. It was about animals and people living together peacefully. I have two DVDs of this show that I found in the $5 bin at Walmart. They don't make shows like this anymore. Thanks to You Tube, we can take a small trip back ...
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
- Leonardo da Vinci -- The Last Supper
- Henri Matisse -- Woman with a Hat
- Vincent Van Gogh -- The Starry Night
- Pierre Auguste Renoir -- Girl with a Hoop
- Raphael -- Transfiguration
- Claude Monet -- The Cliffs at Etretat
- Edgar Degas -- The Dance Class
Now I pick 7 bloggers to receive this award and they are --
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I remember cereal companies printed records on the back of the boxes. For those of you who are totally lost, records played music. Before there were CDs, there were cassettes. Before there were cassettes, there were 8-track tapes. Before there were 8-track tapes, there were records. Records came in two sizes -- 33s and 45s. The 45s were the small ones, like you'd see in old jukeboxes, but the records on cereal boxes were usually 33s. Anyway, just out of the blue yesterday, these old records popped into my mind. I asked Rick if he remembered records on cereal boxes and he said he did. That made me feel better because, for awhile, I thought I was having some kind of senior moment. Cereal companies really did print records on their boxes. The funny thing is -- they worked! I can't remember any specific ones I had, but I looked online and found some samples here. I'm pretty sure I had The Sugar Bears one that's shown there.
Wow -- talk about a blast from the past!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
What about your name? Is it common, or are you like me and freak out a little when you see it someplace else? And for those of you who write stories, how do you pick names for your characters? Do you go for uncommon names or more common ones?