I want a Picture Poster!

So two blogs that I follow currently have a contest going to win a free 18x24" Digitally Printed Poster from Large Format Posters. Large Format Posters are specialists in Poster Printing. Check out their services for all your Custom Poster Printing needs.

Stay at Home Mom's giveaway is ending August 3, 2009 at 11:59 PM. Broken Teepee's giveaway ends August 5, 2009. The contest rules are super easy. Just leave a comment saying what picture you would like made into a poster with an e-mail for them to contact you. I would love to have my favorite scarflette made into a poster with my logo at the top to use in my craft show booth this year. How cool would that be?


Up Close and Personal

I started this post last week and got distracted but I have just a little more to share about our big trip. I have decided that if we commit to our decision to stay childless than we will be taking a big vacation every 2 years. We'll do some kind of long weekend trip on the off years but every other year we'll plan some kind of big adventure for a few weeks. As long as we can afford it I think it is good for us to get out and explore.

On this trip there was a lot of up close and personal time. We spent a lot of time just the 2 of us which was nice. We also had to stand in a lot of lines up close with people from all over. The most close quarters by far though had to be the Atlantis submarine ride we took in Cozumel. It was Mike's choice of excursion for the day. I am a bit claustrophobic but it was a once in a lifetime experience so I went with it. We were luckily on the end of the row but there were 48 people packed into 2 single rows. Here is a shot I took from my seat of the confined space. We went over 100 feet below the ocean into a coral reef protected park. It was the most blue and clear water you can imagine. We saw fish large and small, a few sting rays, and one diver which was funny. Most of my pictures came out blue and blurry but the diver shot was kind of interesting. We were down there for almost an hour and at least one person got a little too relaxed and made it quite uncomfortable for the rest of us. Yes, there is no where for that smell to go down there.

I also got to know my Macro setting much better. I've had this camera for almost a year now but I am just starting to feel comfortable with it. I really want to take a digital photography class this fall but in the meantime I'm just playing at it. I really love the top flower shot that I took on a nice leisurely walk through New Orleans Garden District. These bottom two I took in Cozumel when I was walking around on my own. There was a garden right in the middle of the pier that was surrounding by cheesy shops. I had spent about 15 minutes taking pictures when a shop owner asked if I wanted him to take a picture of me and I said the flowers were much prettier. He then started chatting me up so I left the flowers and the Pier behind after that. That is the last of the vacation stories and pictures that I'll bore you with!


Saying Good-Bye is Hard

We saw Jess and Kate for the last time today before they head to Dallas next week. Needless to say it was difficult for me. We'll see them again for Thanksgiving if not sooner but knowing that I won't be able to run over and see them for a few hours whenever I want is very painful for me. After they left Ani said that she was sad that they are leaving but she thought it could be good for her too. Her little wheels were turning as she realized that there would be more of Aunt Paige to spoil her now and she likes that idea.

I took the above picture of Jess running on the farm last fall but I thought of it today as they were leaving. The one below is of Kate and Ani who have really bonded lately. They were both wearing little black vests today which I thought was cute. It is so interesting for me to see them develop their own styles and quirks. That is what I will miss most. It has been important for me to be a balancing influence to the girls. As I've said my sister and I have always been polar opposites. She is ultra conservative and I am ultra open-minded, hence the nickname crazy Aunt Paige. Today Jess was calling Kate weird which she does quite often. She told her that no one in the world was as weird as she was and I heard Kate say that Aunt Paige was just as weird. She said in what I took to be a proud voice that "I take after Aunt Paige." I hope she continues to confidently be as weird as she wants to be.


Community College Props

Community College T-shirt Designed by Javidano and sold at Zazzle.com
I don't talk much about my day job here since I don't think you would care all that much about that part of my world. I have a comfortable position as an academic counselor at my local community college. I work mostly with our nursing students which is one of the most popular programs at the school, which means I have pretty good job security. This time of year is all hands on deck for Fall freshman registration, my least favorite time of the year. It is a constant barrage of first time freshman who have procrastinated until now, when just about everything is closed. It is an epic effort to put together a schedule for most of them at this point.

I generally enjoy working with my nursing students. They are very focused group and know what they want. Undecided freshman can be sweet but are very tiring to me. I get to know many of my students by name and particularly like my very large population of Kenyan students that are working on their Practical Nursing license. Even if I have to spend extra time with them it's worth it as they are some of the most gracious students I see. I had a student today ask me my name and when I introduced myself she said, "Oh, you are that Paige. You are my friend S's favorite person." That made my day.

I really hate the bad rap that community colleges get. We really are an invaluable resource to the community and make higher education accessible to just about everyone. My mother told me the other day that she saw a new TV show advertised for the Fall that was about a community college. I thought it sounded like a good concept but then I went to NBC's website and read this, "It's been said that community college is a "halfway school" for losers, a self esteem workshop for newly divorced housewives, and a place where old people go to keep their minds active as they circle the drain of eternity." I'm guessing from this description that we probably will not be getting much respect. The cast includes Chevy Chase and John Oliver from the Daily Show so perhaps the laughs will at least be well executed.


Random Thoughts & Blog Awards!

For some reason it feels like I'm starting over with my blog since I got back from my trip. I have one more trip related post planned and then things will be getting back to normal around here. I hope you all haven't given up on me. I will be getting back to more typical craft related content very soon I promise. I have been knitting up a storm since I got back from my trip with a newly renewed passion, and getting my inventory all prepared for the upcoming fall season. I'm wanting to get some decent pictures taken soon of inventory to post as well. If the nice cool weather holds up maybe this weekend will be a good time for it.

While I was gone I was given a few lovely blog awards by some lovely ladies. First Fallen Angel Jewellery Designs awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award. She makes some seriously gorgeous jewelry like the Gothic design above in her shop on etsy here.

And the amazingly prolific blogger Jodi of Bargain Central awarded me the Lovely Blog Award. She updates her blog many times a day with great deals, freebies, and coupons.

The rules for the awards are pretty similar and I am going to combine them together if you don't mind:

1. Accept the award.
2. Post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, along with his or her blog link.
3. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you have newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Here are my 15 new discoveries with some super creative folks you should totally check out:

1. Crafters Guru
2. Able Mabel
3. Diary of a Mad Crafter
4. Experimentalk
5. I like it Frantic
6. Indie Style
7. Live Passionately
8. Sharing Our Gifts
9. Domestic Disaster
10. It's Gravy, baby!
11. Selahestelle
12. SoSoRosey
13. Wouldn't you like to See Something Strange?
14. Earth to Holly
15. Fabulously Funky


My Day with the Mayans

As I said the Mayan ruins excursion was one of the highlights of the whole trip. We chose to visit the ruins at Uxmal rather than Chitzen Itza. Uxmal is less famous but much more decorative. Chitzen Itza is one of the new 7 Wonders of the World so I knew that most of the crowds would be headed that way. I'm so happy that we made that choice since we practically had the place to our selves. There were over 6 buses just from Carnival going to Chitzen Itza but one lone bus headed to Uxmal. We had to travel 2 hours into the heart of the Yucatan to get there but we saw the real Mexico from the comfort of our air conditioned bus.

We were able to get up close and personal with the ruins as nothing but a few statues were roped off. We went into the buildings, climbed all over, and I took tons of pictures unblemished by other tourists.

We were allowed to chose from 3 different routes up or around the Governor's Palace . Mike and I chose to climb up halfway and come around the backside. At one point Mike had gone ahead and out of view. No one else had chosen to go that way yet so I was completely alone for about 10 minutes. I cooled off under a tree and communed with my surroundings. It was one of the most peaceful and memorable moments of the whole trip for me.

We ate lunch ate a local restaurant with real food from the Yucatan. We had to have our tour guide translate with the waiters for us. It was incredibly simple yet delicious food, and no we didn't get sick. Many from the tour bus sat in the bus and ate their ham sandwiches that had been given to us but I'm so glad that we chose to eat there instead.

I had been worried about the heat and the walking and climbing but I was so in the moment that day that I felt no pain until we got back on the bus to come home. My right thigh was burning for the next few days from all the stair climbing at an angle. I have a lot more pictures on flickr here if your interested.


Thoughts on Cruising

So it's back to work today for me today. It's been so long I hope I haven't forgotten how to do my job! It seems like forever since I sat down at my desk and blogged too. I feel so removed from my blog and all of you. It will take me a little while to get caught up with all of you guys I'm afraid. Thanks to those of you who continued to drop in on me for the past few weeks even when I was not returning the favor.

I spent the weekend going through all of my pictures and posting them to Flickr. Here's the full set from the trip if you are interested. I'm going to start here by a posting few of my favorite pics from or of the cruise. The top 2 are from Cozumel when we were docked right next to another Carnival ship. Mike called the second one "Carnival throwing up onto Mexico". The Carnival pier in Cozumel was about as far removed from Mexico as you can get and was full of all shades of tackiness for the tourists.

If we ever cruise again it will not be with Carnival. When I went before I was a much different person and was into the party vibe, but not so much now. If you are not into Hairy Chest Contests or gambling there really isn't much to do on the "Fun Days At Sea". The so called serenity deck had 24 hour disco music pumped into as did every other deck of the boat besides the track. Here you can see Mike taking a run with the sunset behind him.

There was one reggae band that we enjoyed but much of the entertainment left a lot to be desired also. I kept telling Mike that he was being an intellectual snob but I couldn't help making fun of much of what passed for fun on the boat myself. I had brought along a Kurt Vonnegut book and found some irony in what I was reading. Here's a great Vonnegut quote that kind of sums of how I was feeling about everything and everyone around me: "Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops." Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

We took the requisite shot of the towel animal left in our room each night. I took a shot of my one $10 drink that I got which I totally earned with all the walking I did the day of the Mayan ruins. I'll post pics from that day tomorrow. We really enjoyed our excursions and of course New Orleans was just what we wanted. We had some of the best food of our lives including an amazing meal at La Petit Grocery. If you are ever in the Garden District and have $100 to spend on true fine dining I totally recommend it. This last shot if from the last sunset of the trip.


Back from our great Adventures

So we got in late last night from our great adventures. We had a pretty amazing time. Some parts were better than others obviously. I'll post some of my best pictures next week but I thought I would just show some of my favorite snapshots of us today. I'm filled with ennui right now so I need to remind myself of the fun. Vacation is over and I will have to really buckle down next week for a month of crazy at work. I brought back stomach problems and some kind of rash along with lots of pictures and a few mementos.

Me in front of The Chimes in New Orleans:

Me with my sister in Alabama on the dock in front of her boyfriend's house:

From our formal night in front of my favorite artwork on the boat:

From the deck when we first arrived on the boat:


Paige & Mike's Great Adventure Part 3

So we are to the final phase of our great summer adventure. Today we get on the Carnival Cruise ship Fantasy. I've cruised once before as a wild and single gal but never with Mike. I had a blast with my buddies and I'm sure it will be different with Mike but still fun. I've promised him that I will only drink one night as last time I racked up a bar tab over $500 for the 7 night cruise. He is not a big drinker and we have early morning excursions planned so I'm sure that I won't get too carried away.

I have a feeling that there will be lots of relaxing and taking it easy on our days at sea. There is an adults only deck called Serenity, in the picture, which should be perfect for us. Here is our 5-day itinerary:

Saturday, Jul 11 New Orleans, LA

Sunday, Jul 12 Fun Day At Sea

Monday, Jul 13 Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico 7:00am 4:00pm

Tuesday, Jul 14 Cozumel, Mexico 9:00am 5:00pm

Wednesday, Jul 15 Fun Day At Sea

Thursday, Jul 16 New Orleans, LA 8:00am

We will be touring the Mayan Ruins at Uxmal (500 A.D) which has many ceremonial sites and is very well preserved. On our day at Cozumel we'll be doing a submarine tour which will explore underwater. I left that excursion up to Mike and that is what he chose. I'm a bit claustrophobic but it is a once in a lifetime kind of thing to do so I think I'll be fine. We'll also have some time to do some shopping on that day and I'm hoping to get some deals on silver and some fun beads.

I'll lots of pictures to share when I get back and stories of our adventures.

(c) Lenox Knits, 2009|Created by NSD