Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Final day, but I'm giving it a try anyway!

I just discovered this awesome contest going on over at The Domestic Diva. Dyson is known for creating a vacuum that never loses suction (Yay & finally!). Now they have one in pink that is intended to help raise breast cancer awareness. For every one sold, Dyson donates $40 to Breast Cancer Research!!!! I am doing my part here, in an effort to further this awareness and to possibly win one for myself.

UPDATE: Friday November 2, 2007

I didn't win the pink Dyson :(
But that's ok, I'm sure the person who did win will really make good use of it!
Maybe next time :-)

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

European Vacation - Episode #3 Part A

Monday, September 17, 2007 - Cheltenham, England

Morning came very very early. I can't remember the exact time, but I believe it was around 4 am. A and I were up, showered and ready to go for the day! And what a big day it would be! So big, in fact, I am breaking up today's post into 2 parts in order to keep the length of each story down. After all, it involves 2 separate trips to 2 separate places and all the details of full adventures in each one!

So A made some wonderful breakfast sandwiches for the road with the fresh English eggs (yes, they are different-and very yummy, I might add) that she bought the day before at the store. Well, I assume that's when she got them, I was 3/4 asleep walking through there, remember? Anyway, off we were to the town of Swindon. Our friends "J and A2" were on a month long vacation all over England and Ireland. I have known them for years from here in St. Louis through A, they've been friends for years. So we fetched them from the train station and off we were to drive in the darkness. I really dislike driving in the dark, I feel like you miss so much scenery!

Today's 1st significant destination is Stonehenge. I've always wanted to see it. Not because I believe it has any special powers or because I really know anything about it per se, I just always thought it was cool! A has a special membership granting the privilege of early admission and access beyond the observation path to be allowed directly up to the stones themselves! Anticipation was mounting for me, my mind was racing! "Ken" (the Australian narration character of A & P's TomTom GPS unit shown in the below photograph towards the bottom mounted to the windshield) showed we were getting very close. The sun had already began to come up. Our reservation time was 6:45 a.m. and the sun began to rise around 6:35 a.m. We were just driving along the very busy road passing by fields and hills and farms and we came to just another open field and A said, "There it is!"

Just like that, it was just sitting there in a field, unassumingly. I thought there would be big signs and big parking lots and a long path and for some reason, I thought it was near a cliff. Anyway, the above photo was actually taken after we left, but it gives you the idea better, of what I am saying here.

So, there it is just perched in the middle of several fields. The only thing to see around there, are the roads that go around it and maybe a farm house or two in the distance. They have cleverly tucked the car park, ticketing booths, gift shop and toilets behind the grading of the countryside across the street and there is nothing obstructing or taking away from the view of or from the stones. They built a tunnel to take you from the car park, past the ticket booths and down under the road itself that comes out up onto the grounds of Stonehenge's fields. Even then, it's all hidden from sight, fantastic! Glad I thought of it!

Of course the gift shop is closed because we are there before opening for the day. I never did find the souvenirs for Stonehenge in other places like I wanted, so I'm a little disappointed by that but I'll live. Walking through the tunnel, they had murals painted that implied the story of how the stones got here and just at the other end, there is one panel that shows how the stones would have possibly looked originally.

Once you have crossed through the tunnel and up the ramp past the interesting murals, you are on a path that takes you near the stones. Here is my first unobstructed, unfenced sight of the stones!!! As you can see we're not the only such privileged visitors with reservations on this cold early morning.

There is a guard on duty, a few guards actually. But we passed them by and walked right up to the stones! This is a treat! And what a privilege to cross the chain barrier and walk amongst the giants. It's called being 'inside the circle.' A special privilege indeed. I did my best to take photos that were free and clear of other people.

The stones are eroding and sometimes there is stuff growing on them.

Some are tall and thin. Some are shorter-more narrow.

Some still have the capstones up on top.

Some look like teeth. Notice the vehicles on the road in the background here.

Here's me. It's very cold and I have flip flops on! I didn't notice really.

I was very distracted with the cold feel of the old worn rock and the height of them all.

As you can imagine, some have fallen down over time while others remarkably have remained upright!

This is having fun with perspectives. I heart photography! This was a photo graphical feeding frenzy for me!

I took many-MANY-photos here. It was very difficult to decide which ones to show you and which ones to leave out!

Notice here, the 'lego' type precision carvings of notches on the tops of the stones which allowed the capstones to stay in place.

Here you can see on this fallen stone, the groove craved into it that fits onto the notch at the tops of the others.

I was also able to walk out around the stones and captured many postcard quality shots like this one. Thousands of people gather here for summer solstice. The observation grounds outside the chain barrier reminded me of a drive in without the poles. Like I said before, I didn't feel anything particularly mystical about being there. But I'm so privileged to have gotten such an opportunity! I shall never forget this! The weather was kinda cold and overcast but the sun did make short appearances from time to time.

After we spent a short time here in Wiltshire's Stonehenge, we next made our way to Bath. I will pick this up next time at Part B. Bath, England and the Roman Baths and Abbey. Stay tuned...

Heads or Tails - Scary, Spooky or Halloween

Welcome to the latest edition of Heads or Tails. This week's theme is based on the Halloween holiday. Well, I wouldn't call it a 'holiday' per se (I mean, nothing closes for it LOL). Anyway, I have lots of fun memories from childhood regarding Halloween. From church activities to trick or treating in my neighborhood. I don't have any photos scanned into my computer to show you (aaawwwwww, shucks!) so I just grabbed some from google searches.

When my brother and I were young, mom would buy us those thick plastic costumes with the thin plastic masks. You know, the one where there's only 2 small circles cut out for you to see through, tiny nose holes and a small slit for your breathing abilities. I don't know about you, but I always used to sweat inside that mask from my hot breath getting trapped. I'd get a head rush from re-breathing the carbon dioxide I breathed out and couldn't stop running my tongue through the hole LOL I have no idea who these kids are, but I think we all have these photos from our childhoods.

I remember one neighbor lady saved her pennies all year long and on Halloween, that's what she gave out. Great. She'd give us a big handful of heavy pennies. Of course, being so competative, we would always count up our pennies and see who got the most. Because she liked us best, sometimes she'd give us 2 handfuls! LOL And she lived 2 houses down from us, we'd have to carry those heavy pennies the whole rest of the way! That bag or bucket got so heavy by the time we got back home, ah, those were the days!

I also remember mom having to check everything before we could open and eat it. Chocolate was always the first to go for us! But ultimately, it was all about who got the most pieces of candy. We would lay it all out on the floor and separate by our favorite kinds and count it all up. Much like this kid has done here (again, no idea who he is, thanks google!).

These things were important you know! I still remember the feeling of disapointment when you'd climb someone's stairs with your heavy bag of candy trying not to trip over your costume which by now had somehow began to fall apart and get in your way and your face was all sweaty and your ears were cold and your hands were hurting and you'd get all the way up to the door and they would want you to perform for the candy. UGH!!! So I'd tell some sort of joke and then they would go back inside to get the bowl (hello, did you think it was Avon calling? Bring it with you!) and then they would give you some kind of candy you didn't even like! That was the worst. Or the times they would reach right next to the piece you want and grab something else. Or it's the end of the night and they are about out and there's no choice at all. Or you're going up the stairs and they turn the light out on you. Thanks.

On the other hand, we had a couple of houses in our neighborhood that always gave full sized candy bars! Or those rare occasions you were the last one they felt like dealing with, so they dumped their bowl in your bag and then turned the light out!! Too fun. I had a friend that I'd go out trick or treating with after we were far too old to be doing it. Of course she was a couple years younger than me, but still. We didn't need to be doing that. Some people were cool about it, but some were rude and tried to make us feel bad. Hello people, it's an occasion to hand out candy to kids, we don't want to every stop doing this!

I get all that, but still, I'm the lady who makes the kids tell jokes and if there are kids of varying ages at the door, I give the little kids 2 pieces and the 'too big' kids only 1. Hey, that's just me! If it wasn't for the 'dark side' of Halloween, it would be great. Of course I don't celebrate it for those reasons.

Be safe, check your candy before eating it, walk with your kids, take a flashlight, say thank you, don't be greedy or push each other down, for best results let the kids pick from your bowl and for goodness sakes turn off your porch light if you aren't participating in passing out candy!!! Just a few tips for both sides of Halloween!

Click the photo for more trick or treating safety tips!

I could tell stories of pumpkin carving, getting sliced open while pumpkin carving or even stories about people who would enact frightening bloody senarios as you would come up to their house just to frighten the wee wee out of you, but I think I'll wrap it up with a simple Happy Halloween all!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Wow, what a weekend!

Friday night I helped a friend do an At Home America party up in St. Charles. It was fun, a bit odd to not be a guest at the party, but all in all, not bad. It's always nice to spend time with a friend without kiddos or other people around. You get to talk adult talk, uninterrupted.

Sat. was one of those odd days. I slept in until almost noon. (Yay me!) But once I woke up and got moving, I barely stopped until late that night. I'm a kind of 'super procrastinator' type, and my bedroom was beginning to close in on me. Between the laundry and all the odds and ends that needed to be put away or reorganized or cleaned out or sorted or just plain gotten rid of, it took me like 8 hours! Just to do the bedroom!! And to top it off, I'm not done in there LOL I still have a few loads of laundry to finish, my shoe closet needs to be revamped and all the shoes I don't/won't wear removed to make room for some new ones. Apparently I've gone from a size 10 wide down to a 9 or 9 1/2 regular now up to an 11 wide! Seriously, what's going on with my feet lately?

Another google photo, apparently featured from the Oprah show, not my closet :-)

Anyway, Saturday was spent at home working. I never got dressed, never took a shower, never left the house. It was great! Well, except for all the things outside the house I was supposed to get done that day, like a much needed oil change. All that would have to keep for now. I feel great about how much I accomplished in my bedroom. It really-really-needed it. It was beginning to make me consider getting Botox for headaches just from looking at it all! So it's great to make such a big improvement. Maybe it will spark a cleaning frenzy in me to do the rest of the house!? Not right away...

Sunday I skipped church because my mom and I were given free tickets to the Fox Theatre to hear the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra with James Taylor, a baritone, in a special performance put on by Edward Jones as a customer appreciation day. Wow, was that a fun time! They did the national anthem first. They did a montage of works by Henry Mancini including the full length version of 'Moon River'. My favorite by him!! They did some other works from various movies and Broadway shows. They did a set by Rogers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber. My fave was the set from 'Star Wars' they performed 4 from that one! They finished the day with 'The Bridge over the river Kwai' which was just fantastic! We all sort of marched our way back to our cars.

After this performance, mom and I headed over to The Hill to get something to eat. Which turned into quite a hassle. I'll spare you the details. Let's just say it took waaaaay too long to get a pizza that we couldn't eat and therefore didn't pay for. We left almost 2 hours later and still hungry.

Next I went to a friend's house to spend time with her for her birthday today (Happy birthday Shell!). We like to visit. She has 3 dogs and one of them is a brundle colored 1 year old English Mastiff. When Rocky is full grown around age 3, he will be approximately this big: (or bigger!)

I got this photo from google. No idea who the lady is.

She showed me the photos from their recent vacation back up to Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore and through the badlands. They got some really beautiful shots, and you know photos never do that kind of scenery justice! We also watched the movie '28 Weeks Later'. I hadn't seen it, but it was very interesting to see a movie set in London, now that I've been there! So cool!! Needless to say, I got home super late, but it was worth it. Good times were had by all! It sure was a full weekend! :-)

Friday, October 26, 2007


Ok, was anyone else *shouting over and over* "...break me off a piece of that KIT KAT BAR!!!" at the television last night during The Office? Andy is an idiot, we all know that, but come on, 'break me off a piece of that Fancy Feast'? Wow.

At one point, I actually wished Jim (or Pam or any of them!) would have picked up a piece of office furniture and whacked him in the head with it! Maybe that would jar his memory.

I think I need to lay off the Sopranos...

Friday's Feast #166

Name a great website you would recommend to others. It's a turn based game site. It has all kinds of fun games, traditional and new ones and you can buy a membership or play up to 15 games at a time for free! "15 games, are you crazy? How do you play that many at one time?" you say. Well, I'd love to answer that. You simply take 1 turn on each game then come back later or the next day or whatever fits your schedule (within the time limits set up on each game, I usually go for 3 days per turn) and if your opponent has taken his turn, it's your turn again! My favorite game is 'Dice Pipe'. I am sooooo waaaay addicted to that game! I have a lot of friends who play there too, so we always invite each other to games. It's one of the best websites I've consistently visited since I've been online. My username is 'Beccagirl', come play with me!

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 as highest), how often do you dream at night?

Um, 10, duh. Everyone dreams at night. You just don't always recall them upon awakening.

Did you have a pet as a child? If so, what kind and what was its name?

A pet? Come many people had only 1 pet in the 1st 18 years of life? We had dogs, turtles, cats, a frog, a hamster and numerous gold fishes. The most memorable dog was named Bear, he was a dark brown or black sheep dog type and you couldn't see his eyes unless he was running full speed. We had water turtle named Turdy and two box turtles named Starsky and Hutch. I've already told about the cats in my life. I had a pet frog one time that was the size of a dime, if that big, his name was Frawggy. It was hard to keep him fed, there weren't many ants to be found in the winter. These are the most memorable pets from childhood, I guess.

(PJ and Putty, I've had since I was 15 & 19 years old.)

Main Course:
If you had the chance to star in a commercial, what would you choose to advertise?

A sports car or some other high end product or service. I'd wanna get paid, baby!!! I've always admired Lamborghini...

What is your favorite kind of hard candy?

Jolly Ranchers still rock my world!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A 'Friendly Site' Award

I kinda told myself I wouldn't do any more awards, at some point they are just redundant. But I really like this one because I do strive to have a friendly site! Sandee over at Comedy Plus has given me this:

Now, I couldn't find it's originator to find out what it's purpose was intended to be, but at this point, it does seem kind of obvious! Thanks Sandee!!! I'm gonna pass it on a little later.

Wordless Wednesday - Stonehenge 9/17/07

Quick Question...

Sometimes I think too much. I begin to think about things that don't seem to add up and I begin to wonder how they went awry or astray in the first place. A good example of this, is life insurance. I know they have the kind of life insurance no medical exam is required on and the kind where a medical exam is required. So, what's the difference in coverage? If there's no difference, why do they even have the kind where an exam is required?

Or how about this: if a stick of gum has say, 10 calories, when do you get the calories? Do they escape into your saliva the moment you put the gum in? Or does it happen over the course of say, the first 5 minutes of chewing? Or is it the combined result of +20 calories for the gum and -10 calories you burn off during the chewing process? If the calories come right away, why don't we use a bit of water and use our hands to work it past that point, then the calories are all gone? Or if the calories come during the first 5 minutes, we could have someone else chew it until it was calorie free!

Ok, so it's not such a quick question. These are thoughts that swim around in my head...nice, huh?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Meet Putty boy!

You may have noticed, I added this fun little guy to my sidebar which I have named Putty boy. No, not like putty in your "I taught I taw a putty tat". Maybe it would be better understood 'pooty' boy. But that's how I spell it, p-u-t-t-y. When my brother and I were young, we decided all cats should be named 'putty tats'. We've had 'Putty' he was a stray and our first cat. Actually this cat looks almost just like him, except he was all black with a white patch where a priest has that white collar. Too funny. Then there was Putty. I got her when I was 15 and I still have her! She's like 18 now...DO NOT ADD THOSE TWO TOGETHER, I AM 25 AND NOT A DAY OVER. Then we found a kitten in a box in our alley, so we kept him and called him Putty Jr. Which has now become just PJ, but he's 14. He's cute too. Now I have Putty boy for my blogging enjoyment.

I nabbed him from another website and put him right up here at the top. If you have your speakers on, you can hear him purr when you put the pointer over his tummy. He's so cute!!! I used to regularly visit a website kinda like the 'Feed the Head' one where a larger version of this kitty was. I'd pet him and play with him and listen to him purr. He's the perfect pet! You can give him love and he doesn't give you poop in a box! I can pet him at work and not worry about cat hair on my clothes!

So when you come back to the blog, and I know you will, often, don't forget to look for Putty boy somewhere over in the sidebar and let him know he's welcome!! He likes his tummy to be petted!

Happy 1st Birthday, Baby E!

This past Saturday afternoon brought the 1st birthday party of my 'nephew' Baby E. He's special to me, I got to see him be born and he just lights up when he sees me, so I like him a lot! There were some friends and family there to celebrate his day. They got a pavilion at a local park thinking it would be a good place for the kids to be able to run and play at the playground and such.

The weather was a bit windy at times, but otherwise it was fantastic weather! I made a photo board of Baby E for his first year, so everyone could reflect on how far he has come and how many changes he's gone through and to really remember how precious he was and still is!

While we were watching mommy and baby open his presents, we noticed that there were a couple of boys just over from us riding their skateboards. At some point we saw this:

Oh no, roll out the healthcare cart and bandages! There were 3 RN's and 2 CNA's present but no one budged. We did yell over to check if he was ok, but after a couple of minutes, he sat up and they were off skating again! Boys will be boys!

All in all, it was a fun time. My mom always says, 1st birthday parties are really for the moms. The birthday boy didn't know what was going on, but he did like his presents and cake!!

Happy 1st birthday, big boy. Aunt BeccA loves you!!!

Heads or Tails - Train

It's Tuesday again and time for another Heads or Tails. This week's theme is "Train" and I couldn't help but to think about my recent vacation to England and Italy. I was on trains in both countries and even though I haven't quite gotten to that part in posting about my vacation, I'll share a couple of photos here of me and my recent experiences with "Trains."

In England:



Here it comes


In Italy:



From inside

(click it, you can see the mountains in the distance!)

Not so scenic

Throw momma from it

So there you have it. Some "trains" were clean, some were not so clean, some had actual tables, some had graffiti, some appeared to have never been cleaned before, some had beggars, some had locals, some had travelers, some were crowded and people had to stand, some were more scenic than others but they all did a great job getting us from place to place. Just a few of the photos I took of, on, from or in the trains on my last trip. I hope you enjoyed my montage, it certainly brought back some fun memories for me! Ok, not the last one, but I couldn't resist!