Sunday, November 30, 2008


We went to Snohomish today and started moving the stuff from the storage there to one here. The only problem is that the new one it is half the size. We brought our Christmas decorations home and it took the entire back of the Jimmy plus the top to get them all here. I'm sure that this is going to take up half the new storage unit. Oh well.... I am going to pare them down a bit too. I say that as I bought a darling 4 foot snowman for the house and four sets of candy cane lights for the yard.... uh hmmm. I'm excited to start decorating though. I got a little done this afternoon, and tomorrow will do the tree and Dave will put up the inflatables and the lights outside.

This evening I worked on Christmas cards. I'm doing mass production tonight. I had some pieces cut out from a workshop I had last year and I'm updating them a little with new stamps and such. I got a dozen done tonight.

Here are some that I made while we were in Florida. This is a really gorgeous paper pack that Christy and I bought on sale and split. You can't see it real well from the scans, but the paper is glittered.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I hope that everyone had a wonderful and thankful, Thanksgiving Day. I am thankful for our recent trip, for only having to work three days this week and mostly for my family and dear friends. I am thankful that we still have freedoms to this point... don't know what the future holds with our last election, so I will savor it while we have it.
We had a nice day with Skip and Clyle and my dinner turned out perfect. The turkey was done just right, and all the trimmings were yummy. The nice thing is that it's all cleaned up, even the turkey bones are boiled, stripped and in the freezer. So we've been just relaxing tonight. The guys did a little more relaxing than I did.... haha.

Monday, November 24, 2008

More Arabian Nights

A few shots from Arabian Nights. No, we didn't take them, we didn't know that they would allow cameras. The one with the guy jumping through the hoop of fire... after three tries he didn't make it the night we were there, but it was good anyway.

The center is Shaharizad and the Prince. Okay, so I was one of the suckers that actually buys the pictures that they con you in to taking when you walk in the front door. But it was well worth it, as getting a picture of all of us together almost never happens since somebody has to take the picture.

Busch Gardens Tampa - Pappa and Mamma style

The Edge of Africa has many different species of animals indigenous to Africa. The gorilla, lion and hyena's can be viewed at the beginning on a walk (with windows in between). For the rest of the tour you had to be on one of their tours or on the train.

The gorilla's were fantastic. This is a momma gorilla looking on after her baby (below) had just gone off to play.
The Majestic Lion sunbathing.

The hyena is a much larger animal that I had expected. Larger than a dog and closer to the size of the female lion.

We just missed a picture of the hippo with his mouth wide open, but this was a pretty good shot.

You can walk right in to the Bird Garden where there are over 500 species of African Birds. Dave got a picture of two of them that lighted on my hand, but unfortunately the camera focused on the person behind me.

There is a sign over these birds warning that they ARE NOT TAME birds, so we didnt' try to get up close and personal with these guys.

Busch Gardens Tampa - Excitement

The highlight of the day for the Speers was all of the great rides. Al, Christy, Kaitlyn and Keeley did all of them, and I mean all of them! Kaitlyn and Keeley are natural born daredevils. There were some the Kee wasn't quite tall enough to get on, but she was game for them all. I think these were going about 60 miles per hour.
This is Gwazi and would you believe that we all did this one? This prt looks pretty tame, but it did have some pretty hairy moments and you felt like your head had been scrambled by the time you get off. In fact, Christy and the girls took one last spin on it before we left and they all came off with headaches.

This is the infamous Sheirka! and let me tell you, it is every bit as frightening as it looks. This is just one of the dives... 200 feet in the air, and they bring you up this far and hold you there for a few seconds and then it drops at a 90 degree angle, 70 mph! I think the Speer family did it 3 times.

Al, Kaitlyn in the middle and Christy are on the back row right side.

There is another big fall like this one that goes down in to a tunnel and when you come out, it hits the water and makes a great rooster tail.

Conflicting Emotions

Our last view of Florida, and the sunshine I'm sorry to say!
It was difficult to leave yesterday knowing that I wouldn't see them all for another year or longer. I don't think I'll ever get used to the fact that two of my kids live so very far away. We had a wonderful time visiting with Christy and Al and playing with and lovin on the girls. But the inevitable always happens, you have to come home! I was dreading it so bad yesterday and it made the flight even more miserable than it was. I usually enjoy flying but I got a slight... well, maybe not so slight... attack of caustrophobia which I've never experienced. We were in the later boarding group and got a seat with no window. Well there was a small portion of one window that Dave could crink his neck and peek out of, but that was it. I sat on the outside and was hoping that nobody needed the seat but lo and behold someone did, so I took the middle seat. The last leg of the trip was 5 hours too long and I thought I was going to go nuts before I could get up and move. My legs twitched and everytime I tried to sleep I would feel like there wasn't enough oxygen in the place and I'd be gasping for breath. But eventually we made it home and even though the weather is crappy and I have to go back to work in less than an hour, I'm glad to be home. I'll be posting pics later of our trip to Busch Gardens and the Speer's daredevil activities! Oh yes, the Millers did the Gwazi! Shocking, but Dave did a roller coaster, can you believe it?!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Another Round with Kait and Kee

Kaitlyn and Keeley love to try and get the best of Papa.

After about 15 minutes of this I think they finally got the bet of him.

Arabian Nights

As a animal care professional, Christy got a special deal to this great performance at Arabian Nights Dinner Theater in Orlando. The horses were outstanding, and even though our seats were not stage front, we had a nice view of the show. It was a wonderful way to kick off the Holiday Season with all the music and colors of Christmas.

Super Seven!

The most important event of the week was Keeley's birthday. She loves Tinkerbell, so that was her theme. Papa surprised her with a big balloon of Tink.

We also went to Arabian Nights for a dinner theater and I will post about that later.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


We went to Michaels today and found some really pretty Christmas papers, then this evening the girls made a couple Christmas cards.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Our first full day with Christy and family, we headed out and these sandhill cranes were in the neighbors yard. Chisty had told me about them and I heard them in the morning but couldn't see them from my vantage point of the bedroom window. They have a quite distinctive call, and they are huge! If they were standing in front of you, their heads would probably come up to your chest. Then we headed for the Webster Flea market about 50 miles away. They have them every Monday throughout the year and it is by far the largest flea market you've ever seen. This was our one big find. A Quimper/France pitcher in perfect condition. The seller knew that it was an antique but didn't have a clue to it's value. The only reason that I know about it is that Mom used to collect them and had probably the largest selection of anyone on the west coast if not farther. She ended up selling the collection to a dealer at a great loss because she had to buy a new car. The original price for this piece was $65 and that was actually a good price, and she offered it to us for $40. I passed it up because I didn't want to think of packing it to come home and something happening to it. But when we went back on the way out I stopped by and got it for $35.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Clearwater Beach

I'm still just fascinated with how white the sand is on the gulf. Christy and Al are nearly fully aclimated to Florida now, as they were wearing long pants and jackets in 70+ weather. Last year they were talking about the crazy Floridians that wear jackets when it's 75 degrees, now they are one of them! Of course, Papa and the girls were really getting in to it. The girls were trying out there newly acquired Kung Fu Panda tricks on him.
Who would have ever known he could actually move like that?

Kaitlyn and Keeley chillin on the sundial.

To Tampa

Much to Dave's dismay, we switched seats and I got the window seat at Denver. We had very good pilots and was very smooth take offs and landings.

I am always amazed by the crop circles or whatever you call them. Some of them are just like taking a piece of pie out of a section of it, and the lines are so perfect.

I have to say though that I was a little concerned about the crack and grease on the outer casing for the engine.

This is just the east side of the sunset. We were unfortunately on the wrong side of the plane to get the real effect of a very stunning sunset. The majority of the trip was perfect for taking pictures, no clouds at all and then only whispy ones, but then they gradually moved in and we were not able to see much at all excep the tops of the clouds.

We made it to the hotel and Dave found a remote, every man's dream of the perfect hotel.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Good Bye Rainer

It was an uneventful (yet very expensive) trip to the airport. Check in went quite smooth. We had a little wait for our flight, but I'd rather have it that way than to be rushed and worried that you miss your flight.
The Cascades were unbelievably breath taking as usual. I don't think I will ever get used to seeing them.

Dave did all the photography from home to Denver. I will post more of the trip from Denver to Tampa in the morning. There was lots of room on that leg of the trip and it was just Dave and I in the three seats, so we could spread out and relax. I thought it was going to be a non stop flight, but didn't know that they were stopping in Denver. At least we didn't have to change planes anyway.
After some agitation from a nasty flight attendant that said she had been doing this since 1962, we safely landed in Tampa. Had a terrible time getting a shuttle to the hotel and by the time they finally got there Dave made me promise to keep my mouth shut. I was so mad I could have spit nails! The guy at the hotel told us to go to the wrong place and when they didn't show up I tried calling the hotel again and they wouldn't answer the stinkin phone! Well, so much for that, it's history now. Transportation seems to be my undoing today, but at last not the flight part of it.
Tomorrow Christy and Al will pick us up and we will be going to the gulf to play in the white sands. They've had a heat wave here for several days, being in the upper 80's, but we brought the cooler weather with us. But don't worry, it's still 76!