Friday, July 29, 2011

Phone Polaroids

I love the app on my phone called Roidizer. Originally I wanted the app Instagram but it’s only available for the iPhone. Roidizer is simple but effective and you can post to facebook in a flash. It has 7 photo filters. Most of the time I use the magic hour filter and just love how you can add text to the bottom of the polaroid. I truly took advantage of this app while we were on vacation.



























I wish that there was a simple camera that would take pictures like this. That would be awesome!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Little Wednesday Fun

What makes an almost 4-year old very happy?

Riding a little train around the halls of a mall three times.
Tasting a root beer float.
Watching the movie Rio for the second time.
Painting with watercolors.
Playing with Fancy Nancy and other assorted critters.
Eating fresh vegetables.
Reading four new books before bed.








Guess what? It makes 2 grandparents very happy too! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Water and Hats

This week over at iheartfaces the photo challenge is about water. Recently we spent a couple of weeks around water of all kinds. Atlantic Ocean, swimming pools, Gulf of Mexico and various rivers, creeks and swamps. Cupcake Girl spent 2 full weeks at the beach and I must say she certainly became a beach bunny. After a day full of sun, water and sand, a little hat shade felt good. But oh my how she loved the water!


Isaac Newton said, To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me. When I look into those soulful eyes, I really believe this is what she is thinking, in her own little Cupcake way.

There are so many great entries at iheartfaces, so take a minute or two, click and enjoy. I promise, it will make you smile!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Martha, Martha, Martha!

Back in the early 90’s I started watching Martha Stewart Holiday specials and her half-hour shows based on her books and magazine Martha Stewart Living. She really appealed to me with her quiet, down-to-earth approach, as well as her cooking and entertaining knowledge. She was also very funny. I loved her then and I love her still.

After returning from a trip visiting my parents I saw a billboard with her picture on it. She was coming to Chattanooga! Woo-hoo! For the third consecutive year, Chattanooga was host to She An Expo for Women. I previously attended in 2009 and had the pleasure of hearing Paula Deen. I remembered how I waited for an hour and a half in an enormous line to get Paula Deen’s autograph. Sorry to say, I didn’t advance very far in that line, but I still got to see her cook and hear her stories.

After pulling in the garage my feet hit the stairs with a bang and I ran to my computer. I found the website information and saw the tab to purchase tickets in advance. Hmmmm. Then I saw it. Just exactly what I wanted. A VIP ticket. With these tickets I would have the opportunity to get her autograph AND have a personal picture taken with her. OH WOW!! All I had to do was click that button and buy that ticket! Then, wait for 3 weeks for the event.

After returning from our great vacation, I started to get excited about seeing her. Up close and personal! So the day rolled around and my younger just-graduated-from-college daughter was my companion. She didn’t get to go in the private room with me, but she waited just outside and I kept her updated with texts and phone pictures. I’m sure she was laughing and rolling her eyes at my crazy childlike excitement.

There were probably about 75ish “Martha fans” and we all gathered around as she entered the room. Me? I was up close with camera in hand.











First impressions? She looked thinner than she does on TV, she has great hair, awesome shoes and I have such a hard time believing this woman is 69!

She was gracious, quiet and, as I said before, so down to earth. When I think about folks with celebrity status, I often ask myself, “Is this someone I could sit down to supper with and have a regular, everyday conversation?”

So Martha, what did you have for breakfast this morning?
Are your chickens laying good eggs these days?
Yea, I hate laundry too, but I don’t mind ironing.
Sure, I’ll be glad to help with that unfinished sewing project on your craft table.
Aren’t grandbabies the best?!
Next time it will be my treat. I’ll even fix you some gazpacho.

Yep. Martha and I would get along real swell!

I have several of Martha’s books, but decided to take my Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts for her to autograph. The guy in front of me (there were a few males there) had a book and a spoon. Since we were allowed only one item to autograph, he had a friend hold his spoon. Now that was a pretty awesome item to autograph!

2011-07-17 12.55.12DSC_0299








In our short 30 second eye-to-eye conversation she said she loves Chattanooga and looks forward to visiting again. She also said that everyone has been so nice and that she was very pleased to meet me and autograph my book. Then she said happy sewing! I know she tells everyone this, but the thing is, I believe she is genuinely sincere.









Our autograph session was followed by a picture session and then is was off to listen to her interview.









Here are some interesting Martha Facts:

-She was an occasional babysitter for the children of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Gil McDougald of the New York Yankees.

-She graduated from Barnard College with a double major in History and Architectural History. Originally she intended to be a Chemistry major.

-She has been struck by lightening 3 times.

-She loves rap music.

This truly was a highlight in my life and I will treasure the memories, be they ever so short!

Thanks Martha and see you soon!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Holy Efflux, Batman!

This past Wednesday was a special double-playdate with that little Cupcake Girl. We had a nice lunch at a new Mediterranean restaurant, Tazikis’s CafĂ©, followed by some playtime at the Discovery Museum’s special project, Bob the Builder. Following much needed rest-time, we packed a picnic supper and headed out on a bat adventure. Yep. Bats.















There’s a cave about 30-40 minutes north of us called Nickajack Cave. As far back as 1800 it was mined for saltpeter. Eventually it became a tourist attraction and in 1967 it was partially flooded by TVA as a result of the construction of the Nickajack Dam. In 1992 this cave became the first area in the state to be designated a nongame national wildlife refuge. It houses a nursery for a colony of endangered Gray Bats. Approximately 100,000 of this little female creatures migrate to this cave in early spring to have/raise their young. They stay until early to mid-fall then the females and their young migrate to their winter cave for hibernation. As dusk rolls around, these sleepy little bats awake and began their journey out of the cave to feed.

As with most of the new adventures we participate in, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Around 7:00 we made our way to the Maple View Recreation Area, which has a few picnic tables and a small boat ramp. This cave is protected and co-managed by TVA and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. They built a walkway through the woods (about 1,000 feet) and constructed a small viewing platform at the end across from the entrance to the cave.















We weren’t sure exactly what time the bats would began their emergence. It was hot and very humid, with absolutely no breeze what-so-ever! We inhaled our water/juice and had to make a trip back to the car for more (thank you my sweet husband). The little one in our party was so patient. She asked great questions about the bats and their protected area.
















As the sun was getting ready for its next journey, it began painting the sky and clouds beautiful shades of pink. It was just lovely!































As it was getting darker, we kept looking with great intensity toward the mouth of the cave. We wouldn’t be able to see the bats emerge as the light was quickly fading. I sat on the bench next to Cupcake with a heavy heart. She would be so disappointed. I would be disappoint. Then, I heard my sweet husband say, “See them?” I looked toward the cave. No, I didn’t see them. I looked at him and he was looking up. UP! Above the small canopy of leaves over our head I witnessed the quiet flight of the gray bats. It was awesome! Some of the small bats flew within 2-3 feet of our heads and one in particular flew within inches of Cupcake’s head. For a few moments she, too, was mesmerized as she sat there looking up.
















Since I wasn’t really prepared to take night pictures, I made several attempts to try and capture the little bats flying above us. Some pictures with flash and some without. They may be blurry but I love how you can see the outline of the little creatures (especially in the bottom picture below).














For 20 minutes we watched this silent undertaking. Only the night songs of the frogs, crickets and cicadas graced our ears. Our adventure continued as we packed up and headed back to the car in the dark. With flashlights in hand we carefully navigated the walkway. Cupcake shined her light and sang lullabies to the night creatures all the way back.










As I was bringing up the rear I glanced through the dark trees and caught a glimpse of the lights across the lake. I was reminded of the Boz Scaggs song Harbor Lights.















Whoah, the harbour lights of Venus
Shining through the breeze
That brings me back to you my love
To you my love, to you my love.

What a beautiful bat night!