Saturday, May 26, 2018

Outdoor Swimming - Some Beautiful Pool Pics to Share

My weekend begins today at 5:00 pm and I can hardly wait! DH has stocked the refrigerator with food for two days of grilling, and we bought tickets for "Infinity War" last night.. We'll be taking one early morning of our holiday to see the movie. The weather will be hot, with some possible thunderstorms because the conditions are a bit unstable in this heat. We'll manage, I'm sure. All I can focus on is TWO DAYS OFF IN A ROW! It's such a rare thing for me. 

I spent quite a lot of time searching photos for the most beautiful
swimming pools in the world. This one, in Bali, Indonesia, is
a stunning entry. It was hard to choose, but it made my top-5. 

Today is the first day to be able to swim in the outdoor pool at my gym. I'm really looking forward to it, and I'm hoping it won't be too crowded for the 6:00 am open. Starting next week, the indoor and outdoor pools will be open on weekdays with only the outdoor pool open on weekends and holidays. Having an almost empty indoor pool during the week means I can work on my swimmer's turn and fine tuning my strokes, but having the outdoor pool also available opens up stamina and consistency training. It's totally the best of both worlds. 

The pool at Marina Bay, Singapore, is an infinity pool suspended high
above the bustling city. It's not for the height-challenged, but
swimming in it would be an incredible experience. 

In LOTRO, my High Elf, "Cally", finally has a clean sheet for the Lone Lands and is off finishing slayer deeds in the North Downs. One of these days she needs to get back to Angmar and wrap that up too. I'm actually pretty disappointed with where she's at in power and skills compared to her level. I know a lot of that is because of Harvest Fest, Yule Fest and the Anniversary Event. Festivals and special events allow characters to level up quickly, but slayer skills are put on the back burner. It's both good and bad, but right now it's frustrating. 

This lovely pool is at Villa Honegg, Switzerland. Just having the
Alps as the backdrop brings this beautiful infinity pool into
the top choices for me. 

I'm sure I'll never actually visit the pools I've shared with you today, but they're so wonderful and dreams are good. I'm just psyched about my upcoming weekend. Just ... really happy right now. I hope all of you, my friends and readers, have a great weekend. Remember those who died in the service of their nations, and celebrate the holiday with friends and family. If you're not in the US, celebrate along with us - any excuse for a party! I'll be back on Tuesday, so don't get TOO carried away with that extra day of holiday - LOL. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

It's A Stormy Day

I actually had a little bit of time yesterday afternoon and took advantage to catch up with the past two months of posts by some friends around the world. It was wonderful to slot back into what's been happening in their lives once more. I had really missed them and their every-day news. I hope I don't fall as far behind again! 

I took the time yesterday to catch up on blog posts by several
friends, going back a few months. I'm going to try and catch
up on a few other friends later today if time permits. I've
missed reading daily and keeping up with friends throughout
the world. 

This morning I was awakened before 3:00 am by lines of fast-moving but severe thunderstorms passing overhead. Since my alarm was set to go off less than 30 minutes later, I acceded to the inevitable and gave up on sleep. After checking to make sure we didn't have any leaks or problem areas, I started work on my emails and blog. I haven't heard DH up and roaming around, checking doors and windows. For once, he must be getting a good night's sleep. 

We've had heavy rains and lightning from the storm we're
getting right now. I love the lightning in this photo - so

Two major thoughts were running through my head when I awakened to serious rain and wind. (1) I'm really happy that it's not early April because the snow from this would be massive, and (2) thank goodness it's not Saturday because they'd have a crowd of people wanting to swim outdoors, but would have to open the indoor pool instead because of the lightning. Simple things, but that's what life is all about, isn't it? 

All of those little grains of sand can make a
stunning beach. Big things can be overwhelming,
but those little things can be the perfect size. 

Life is a serious of little things that build up into large and momentous things. A chance meeting and conversation can lead to a life-long friendship or the love of one's life. A road detour can take you through a neighborhood you're unfamiliar with and you'll see the house of your dreams, or even just a front yard of flowers that will make your heart happy. Big things are important and monumental, but it's the little things that give those big things the stability to be our personal castle walls. 

I won't turn into a puddle, but I'd rather not get my work
clothes wet. I might not have much of a choice, though. 

On that note, I'm going to begin my Friday by trying to not melt while waiting for the gym doors to be unlocked. I think there's another storm coming in right around 4:45 am, so I could very well be just as wet standing outside as I will be in the pool. Have an excellent Friday and if your Memorial Day weekend begins today, enjoy that extra day off. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend Count-down

I'm in count-down mode for Memorial Day weekend. It's always a wonderful thing to have an extra day off from work, DH and I are looking forward to a day of relaxation, bratwurst on the grill, and afternoon Margaritas under the patio umbrella. It'll be hot - REALLY hot. Starting today, our temps for the weekend will be in the 80's to 90's! Those are July temperatures WAY early. One more example of how messed up our climate is. 

I'm not a fan of mosquitoes. Their bites irritate
the skin, and they transmit diseases. It is a
solid part of our summers here in the land
of 10,000+ lakes, though. 

We haven't had mosquitoes yet, but I saw my first nymphs flitting around my car doors yesterday afternoon, so the full-grown adult versions are quickly on their way. Damn. The mosquitoes might be the bad part about our upcoming weekend. If they mature quickly in our upcoming heat, we might be attacked. 

We always use Kingsford Charcoal for
our grill. Finding them on sale at such
as tremendous savings was a treat!
Now we're set for the summer. 

I'm fully stocked on charcoal for the grill, though. When we went to Home Depot the other day for plants, etc., we looked at their charcoal (two 18.5-lb bags for $15.99) and thought, "Hmmm, not a bad price," but we didn't buy it. We used up the last of our stock later that day, so more charcoal before our weekend became a priority. 

I went to WalMart yesterday for salsa that seems to only be stocked there, and checked their price on charcoal while I was there. Two 15-pound bags for $16.99! HORRID price. I went back to Home Depot, and voila! They were running a 5-day sale - two 18.5 bags of charcoal for ... $9.99!!! I picked up four bags. That was a price that couldn't be beat! 

We don't have a fancy grill. We use a
standard Weber 22" charcoal grill for our
outdoor cooking during the summer. We
did buy a new grill late last summer, our
old one (more than 20 years old) finally
burned through its' sides. 

So we're set for the weekend, except it won't be here for a few more days. We'll swelter in the heat wave until Sunday, then relax for a couple of days. I'll be at the shop working during the days, and I have air conditioning there. DH, on the other hand, will be working at home in the yard in 80-90 degree heat. I'm sure we'll also have some thunderstorms with this heat wave, so we're in for an interesting few days. 

Stay cool, stay safe, and start planning your own Memorial Day weekend, if you haven't already. Have a great Thursday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wednesday - Greens, Water and Less Drama

Life seems to save the harder things to throw at you until you are old enough to be able to deal with them. At least that's what it seems like. Of course, we had the identity theft issue that started a few months ago. We're still dealing with ramifications of that and other entities, thank goodness for Life Lock and Experian because they're doing a good job with notification and shut-down procedures. 

Several large-ticket expenses over the past few months have
been a kick. Still, we have to drive safe vehicles, so no real
choices in the matter. 

Then over the past three months we had the tire issue for my car and the muffler issue for DH's. That caused a bit of financial groaning, but at least the repairs were something that could be resolved in a day. We picked DH's car up picked last night. My tires were more expensive than his muffler, but not by much. It's a hit to our bank accounts, but we now have two safe cars to drive for a while. DH says that's the last major money he's willing to put into the Saturn. He's starting to get more and more serious about buying a smaller truck. 

The outdoor pool is ready to go. It opens on Saturday
and I'll be swimming in it often throughout the summer,
and on every Saturday since the indoor pool is closed
on weekends. 

In April we had the one identity theft issue, and going in-depth through our reports over the past two weeks, I put alerts on several "sniffs" of credit cards that I found there that we had not initiated. I think we caught these in time too, but it's quite obvious that I'll have to keep my eye on it. DH complains, but he's unable to do the work with the credit report bureaus because it upsets him so much, so that task falls to me. What a surprise - LOL! 

I love the variety of greens we get in the spring. Here's a quick
shot of the trees around my gym, taken at the same time as
the pool photos in the other pictures today. 

The best news is that Spring is finally here and quickly moving to Summer. Spring means spring greens. We only get the variety of green colors in our plants early on before the summer heat has painted everything in a shimmer of increased uniformity. I adore the early greens and their variety. It makes me want to reach for my paints or pastels. 

Ir's not too bad a photo for being taken through the
chain linked fencing. The outdoor pool is Olympic
sized - 50 meters long. Sixteen laps of this will give
me my mile. I'm really looking forward to playing
in these waters. 

The outdoor pool is almost ready. It opens on Saturday and I'll be there (along with lots of other people, I'm sure). We're supposed to be experiencing a heat wave over the weekend too, so that outdoor water will be a delight. I've peppered my post today with green trees and some dawn shots of the outdoor pool that I took as I was leaving the gym yesterday morning. Have a glorious Wednesday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mufflers Can Fall and A Last Royal Wedding Word

Well, one can never say that DH and I don't live an "interesting" life. Maybe a little bit of boredom wouldn't go wrong. Yesterday evening, as DH was backing out of the store's parking lot, I heard a very loud noise. I banged on his windows to get him to stop and pull back into the parking spot, then looked at the back of his car, where his muffler was angling down, dragging the tailpipe on the asphalt behind him. No wonder it was loud! 

DH's muffler was angled so that the tailpipe was actually the part
dragging on the ground, but it was this bad! 

He continued on toward home, and I followed a few minutes behind him. Almost home he texted that he would go directly to our car repair guys. I had already spoken to them setting up a 7:00 am appointment for today, but it was the better decision to drive straight there. As I drove into their parking lot, I saw the muffler lying on the asphalt of the upper section as DH was parking his car in the lower service lot. 

Driving down to the service bays of the repair shop, I saw
his muffler lying on the pavement. 

DH went up with gloves on to retrieve the fallen muffler, then we went in and gave the repair guys the key. Since DH is working for Chickie today (she's going to the baseball game with her brother, taking a day of vacation), it actually works out well. The service guys can have the car for the day, DH can join me for breakfast, and transportation won't be a problem. 

I have to admit that seeing the muffler sitting on the pavement as I drove down to where DH had parked his car made me laugh. It was one of the funnier things I'd see for a while, and the placement was actually quite lucky - it was a bit out of the way and wouldn't endanger any other drivers or vehicles. 

Lady Diana, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton all had
very different styles in dress and in tiaras. I'm really
coming down on the side of Kate Middleton for the
dress as well as the tiara, although Meghan's veil was

A few final thoughts on the Royal Wedding. First, there was a question about the tiara - whether it was the same one that Princess Diana had worn. Here is a photo of all three brides in their tiaras. Princess Diana wore the Spencer tiara, which belonged to her family, dating back several generations. Kate Middleton wore the Cartier Halo tiara which holds almost 1000 diamonds. It was classic and elegant without being weighty. Meghan Markle wore Queen Mary's Sapphire Bandeau. 

I adored Kate Middleton's dress, and still do. That lace bodice, beautifully
fitted, and the V-neck, were stunning. Her train was long, but not
overly so. Her gown is still being made and worn today - years after
the event, in price ranges from $299 on up. It's still high up there
in wedding dress popularity. We'll have to wait and see how popular
Meghan's gown is over the years, although it's also lovely. 

And a final word on "the dress". When I compare the three dresses - that of Lady Diana, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, I have to say that I love Kate's Alexander McQueen dress the best, but I adored the embroidered tulle train of Meghan's ensemble. Of course, I'm a major fan of designer Alexander McQueen anyway, so maybe my opinion doesn't count. There was really nothing much that I liked about Lady Diana's dress (it was so totally over the top), although her fashion style later on in her life was impeccable. 

Happy Tuesday to all. Enjoy your day and hope that there is enough undercarriage left to DH's car to attach a new muffler. The car is more than 25 years old, and I'm sure there's a lot of rust on that frame. I'll be back on Wednesday. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Bit More Royal Wedding, And Yes - I Messed Up!

The world is still buzzing a bit about the Royal Wedding. I really liked the wedding dress - simple lines, lovely fabric, and beautifully styled. Just what I would expect from Givenchy. That incredible 16.5 foot tulle veil was quite the item also. I'm glad it was tulle because it was light and airy, and the 53 different hand-embroidered flowers along the sides and bottom were a great touch. It was a bit over the top, but I approved (not that Meghan would give a darn about an elderly lady in the Frozen Northlands approving of her choice of wedding gown). It was a lovely wedding, although the actual event I had to catch on rebroadcast since I was in the swimming pool. 

The dress was simple and lovely and looked
very comfortable to wear. She looked absolutely
radiant and stunning. 

A couple of people mentioned that Victoria Beckham's dress in the photo I posted was a rehash of something she had worn several years before. One comment wondered if the photo I had chosen was from a different event. I was actually watching a live feed of the wedding from the BBC when I first saw the outfit, I then went hunting to find a photo to share with all of you. BUT ... I actually found the wrong photo so - my bad! See the proper one a bit farther down and please accept my apologies for the misleading image! 

I think of all the hats and fascinators I saw at the Royal
Wedding, I liked that worn by Serena Williams the
best. She looked lovely in a peach wrap dress, but
her fascinator was what I loved. It suited her
beautifully and wasn't ridiculous in concept. 

Now that wedding madness is finally over, we can settle down to our own mayhem. I have a bit over two weeks before my annual trip to Milwaukee, I suppose I'd better read the supply lists for the classes I'm taking and get my tools packed. I'm not doing any serious metalwork this time, so I don't have to take my full portable workshop along (thank goodness!). I'll be packing light this time, for a change. That's quite rare for me. 

My bad! This is the navy that Victoria Beckham wore to the Royal Wedding.
That's what happens when I'm in a rush and trying to catch that
perfect shot of fashion for all of you. Mea Culpa!!!

My friend Silver Trails wrote a birthday fiction for me and I've been so swamped with work that I haven't had a chance to read it yet! I promise, my dear. I'll get to that this week! I did notice that you wrote it for me and I'm so thrilled for such a thoughtful gift. 

And one more photo of the Beckhams at the Royal Wedding. They
make a stunning couple, don't they? 

DH and I spent quite a while at our local Home Depot store yesterday, shopping for a few annuals to give the garden some instant color, as well as fertilizer and weed killers for the lawn. He needs to get a load of black dirt ordered and moved to continue with the backyard project for this year, but work schedules haven't been working out well for him, and the days he'll probably have off this week are promising rain. Moving 6 tons of dirt in fine weather is one thing, moving that much in the rain only makes everything much harder. 

So there you have it - it's a Monday with all that entails. I'm hoping it's the beginning of a good week, but who knows? Anything can happen. I wish all of you the best of days, though. The week should always start out on a good note. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fashion and a Royal Wedding

Contrary to my usual practice, I have the television on behind me and am turning around now and again to watch guests arrive at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle for the Royal Wedding. The guest list is eclectic and broad - friends, family (of course), and lots of people from a variety of charities and good causes as well as the entertainment industry. I've seen Oprah Winfrey, the Beckhams, the Clooneys, and have heard interviews with a variety of people fronting charitable causes such as AIDS awareness and saving wonderful rare beasts  - the rhinoceros in the current case. Lots of spring dresses, interesting hats, and a festive tone. 

Amal and George Clooney. Amal is resplendent in yellow, in
a dress designed by Stella McCartney. Like several others,
she has a light veil draping down from her hat. 

The weather couldn't be much better in Windsor today. It's sunshine and happy birds throughout, and the variety of colors of dresses and waistcoats lend to the general festive air. I'm not writing a lot today because I'm having far too much fun looking at the fashion. Of course the designer for the wedding dress is still under wraps, but there is hard speculation that it is Stella McCartney. I'm enjoying the colors - so many wonderful colors. Lots of smiles too - it's lovely to have a positive occasion for a change, instead of the large helpings of bad news that seem to be the focus lately. 

David and Victoria Beckham made a stunning
couple, as usual. I love Victoria's choice of
a soft navy blue, and her hat is simply
perfect. The straight neckline on her dress
along with the asymmetric hem makes
it an interesting style. 

I think back to my second trip to England when Sharon and I visited Windsor and toured through St George's Chapel. It's lovely to see places that I've been on the television. It brings things to a more personal level even though my trip there was more than 30 years ago. 

Oprah Winfrey looked lovely in a pale
pink dress with a wide brimmed hat. 

I'm really delighted watching the guests arrive, walking in high heels up the cobblestones - not an easy feat. The hats always interest me and there are some great ones. Serena Williams looks tremendous and I love her fascinator so much. Prince Charles is now arriving, and Sarah, Duchess of York. So family members are starting to show up. I'll miss the actual wedding - I'll be in the pool, but I'm sure I'll see clips of it for years to come. 

Pippa Middleton and James Matthews arrived in
Robin's egg blue with a lovely print. The clothing
at the wedding, from a large variety of guests,
is a bit less formal and a bit more fun. 

Happy day to all - I'm going to see what I can find for photos and head out of here. I wish the best to the new bride and groom (as well as to anyone else getting married today throughout the world). May their lives together be happy, and may their actions with others be helpful and caring. Enjoy your weekend and I'll be back on Monday.