The Route 66 part of my road trip

Route 66 – it’s where I got my pancakes kicks.

Firstly I’d like to say I’m doing this road trip backwards and all over the place. I started in Las Vegas and ended up in San Diego, but these posts are jumping around something silly. But that’s the way my brain works, so that’s the way my fingers type.

Route 66, or the Californian part of it, was empty, huge and fantastic. Nothing at all like I’d imagined. It was better… even though we did have a slight wobbly about running out of petrol (gas) when the one and only gas station for miles (Roy’s) had a queue of cars and a pump not working. No worries though, the guy from the gas station crossed the street to the post office (2 buildings out in the middle of nowhere btw) to get someone from there to come kick the pump. Well maybe he did something more technical to it, but it worked. Yayy!

Anyway, back to the pics. Roy’s Motel and Gas Station in Amboy, CA. Where I apologised to the guy at the checkout for being slow to pay and he answered “Ain’t got a heck of a lot to do here so take all the time in the world!”,  which was a fabulous answer. Let’s all take life a bit slower, eh?

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Roy’s Motel and Cafe sign
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Roy’s Motel and Cafe, Route 66, Amboy
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Petrol (gas) pump that wouldn’t work till it got hit a kick from the Post Master. 🙂
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Obligatory Harley on Route 66
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Junk roadside art, Route 66, Amboy, CA.
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Water tower
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Where you get your kicks
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Where you get your pancakes
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As recommended by the great food blogger Alba. Pancakes and bacon a speciality.

Then just when I thought Route 66 couldn’t get any cooler, a lone coyote passed by. No doubt looking for Roadrunner. Watch out for falling anvils and ACME dynamite.

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Wylie E.

Huge crop and huge zoom, but still extremely cool to see in the wild!

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Route 66 coyote
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Coyote on the prowl

Summing up – Route 66 was brilliant, and I’d recommend it to anyone. Hah, and y’all thought I couldn’t do a travel blog! 😉

I’m back…

Interview with a vampire Alba.

Hello Alba, what’s happening in Alba-land?
Hello Alba, oh my! Where do you want me to start?

Well how about where have you been for the past (quickly looks for last blog post) 5 months?
5 months!!! That’s rubbish 😦 I should probably win an award for least productive blogger. If I have any followers left, thanks for sticking around!
So, not to bore y’all, my last 5 months in a condensed version have been – working hard on my new website design business, catching up with family, going on a road trip for a big anniversary (which hopefully I’ll blog about with photographs… if I ever get round to editing them!), and the biggie… husband getting a new job, selling our house in Illinois and moving to Ohio.

Oh wow, how is Ohio then?
Cold! But so far so good. I think I’m going to like it here. Luckily I can work from anywhere so the move isn’t affecting my job. The people seem really friendly, plus I keep getting asked my age when I buy wine. It’s the little things that make you happy. 😉 Hmmm, that makes you sound like I’m buying it every day… I’ve bought it twice. 😀

Do you have a new house then?
Yes, but it’s only a temporary home until we decide whereabouts in Ohio we want to live. It’s a bit of a squeeze though, fitting a 4 bedroomed house into a 2 bedroomed apartment. 😉 We’re at the age now where we want to downsize though, so it’s all good.

Can we expect more blogs from you now?
Ermmmm, mumble, mumble… YES, of course! 😉

Anyway the important last question. How is Dawg?
Dawg is fine. He misses his huge back garden and chasing squirrels, but he is loving all the extra walks. He was great at travelling and had his first ever overnight stay in a hotel, where he only barked 3 times. Well, who knows what kind of giant squirrels were outside the hotel room door! The only thing Dawg isn’t liking is the fact there’s no carpet in the living room. He thinks he’s allowed to sit on the couch or sleep on the bed now… don’t tell anyone, but when hubby isn’t here, I let him. ❤

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Lake Erie
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Lake Erie

Crocodile Dundee…

Or maybe that should be Alligator Alba? Anyways here’s some alligators from my recent adventures in the Florida Swamplands.

*Note no alligators were harmed in the taking of these pictures.

**Also note, no humans were harmed in the taking of these pictures.

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Just swimming along, minding my own business when I’m disturbed by cameras and people going “ALLIGATOR!” Blooming humans!!

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Say “Cheese” for the camera.

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You know what they say – Never trust a smile on a crocodile. But Alligators are OK. Aren’t they? You can trust their smiles?!?

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So calm, so inviting…. MUST….NOT…PADDLE….

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That is one trusting (or dumb) bird!

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He has his beady eye on me…!!!!

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Florida swamp – Myakka River State Park actually

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Pretending to be a log…. we can see you!!

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Not an alligator. Not even when you grow up will you be an alligator. Arry, yer a lizard!

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Mr. Alba is SO trusting… “Go a little bit nearer dear, it’s for the photograph!”… hehee

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Lurking

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Doesn’t it look great? We also canoed up a river with alligators (Wekiwa Cold Springs State Park) but we didn’t see any alligators when we were on the river. Which is a good job as I had my 10 year old nephew in my canoe and I don’t think there is much meat on him. I’d make a much better lunch for an alligator! :-/

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Swamps can be beautiful too

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You know, it hadn’t even crossed my mind to molest an alligator….

A blog… I used to have a blog…

Hi Blogging friends,

Life is stressful and hectic and not always fun at the moment, hence my lack of blogging, but I thought you would want to see the latest addition to my (extended) family.

This is Pup. Daughter broke up with her boyfriend and got a puppy. Good call daughter. 🙂

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Dawg loves him. Dawg loves him maybe a little TOO much. Dawg doesn’t care Pup is also a boy dog. I think it’s time for Dawg to get neutered….

 

 

Just checking in…

As Ronan Keating once said “Life is a rollercoaster”, but as I can’t even remember the tune to the song, never mind the rest of the words, it somehow becomes jumbled into 10cc’s song ‘Life is a Minestrone’ and MY words end up being “Life is a rollercoaster, mixed up with parmesan cheese. Life is a bowl of pasta, suspended in deep freeze”. Feel free to sing along with me. Correct lyrics are optional.

I think that just about sums life up for me at the moment.  A rollercoaster is right. My body is falling to bits; I’ve had bronchitis, then influenza and now I’ve twisted my knee and am finding it hard to walk. The other dips in the rollercoaster ride called life are that I’m selling my house and IT’S EXTREMELY STRESSFUL! Come buy my house people!!!! Don’t get me wrong, I have loads of plus points in my life too, actually too many to mention, but sometimes I wish the rollercoaster would just trundle along at 15mph on a straight bit for a wee while.

I read something today that feels right to share with all you lovely bloggers – “Take 30 seconds to think of three things you’re grateful for at this moment in time”.  Well I thought about it and I have plenty of things to be grateful for, but at this precise moment in time these are the three things I’m grateful for :-

  1. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day
  2. My puppy
  3. This is my birthday week

Tell me three things you’re grateful for in the comments if you want. I’d love to read them.

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Barred Owl

An owl. Nothing to do with the post at all, apart from the fact it was so cool to see him in the trees. Actually he was sitting on the grass till my dog decided he was trespassing and chased him off. This is a huge crop with my 300mm zoom at it’s longest length so not the best photo, but still very exciting to see it in real life.

Happy May Day Bloggers.

 

Greetings Bloggers

Life. Not so long ago I had all the time in the world, to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I was sometimes even *whisper* bored. What a young fool I was….

Only kidding. I love being busy. Life is good my blogging buddies. I have more work than I can do. My kids are both happy, settled and living life to the max – daughter just road-tripped during spring break to Texas and now wants to move to Austin – son is busy learning to blow up the world studying nuclear, atomic and plasma physics (well, he might not be blowing up the world, but I have no idea what he actually does at university). Husband got head-hunted and just started a new job and we’re about to sell our house and move to the next State over (Help!!) Oh and I’ve been ill and it dragged on for a whole 3 weeks. I don’t have TIME to be ill! All of which leaves me very little time for photography or blogging. But as a friend said to me, surely I can spare a few minutes (42 to be exact) to talk about life, the universe and everything.

So a couple of weekends ago, after 8 years of vague “oh yeah, we’ll come visit you soon!” we actually did go visit some friends in Cincinnati. A 3.5 hour drive from where we currently live was just far enough to be enjoyable but not too far to be “are we there yet?” I loved Cinci and enjoyed being touristy, but 2 of the highlights of the quick trip were Jungle Jims International food store and Nicholson’s Scottish Pub. Jungle Jim’s has a whole aisle of British food so $210 later we were sorted for crisps (potato chips), chocolate, biscuits, more chocolates, Magners Pear Cider, a tin of Quality Street (chocolates) and a tin of haggis. You can take the lassie out of Scotland… etc. etc.

Photography wise I was snapping away with my Fuji compact camera as I didn’t want to lug my DSLR all over the city. It does a fabulous job and it’s so easy to stick it in auto for night shots or when you don’t have time to mess about with the manual settings. Another thing on my ‘to-do’ list when I get some free time (hah!) is to look into Topaz Editing Software. I downloaded a free trial but haven’t had time to play about with it very much but for the five minutes I have used it for it was SO much fun! These pics were all edited with Topaz and I can see me having endless hours of fun with it.

Anyway just saying hi “Hi!” and letting you know life is good from where I’m sitting. Hope it’s good for all of you too.

Alba.

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Cincinnati buildings
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Cincinnati bridge
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Cincinnati Ball Park

 

Burns Night (25th January)

In honour of my Scottish roots I thought about making a Burns Supper tonight for dinner (haggis, neeps and tatties) but due to the lack of haggises in Illinois (there are no mountains for them to run around), and my unwillingness to pay $10 plus delivery for a tin of haggis from Amazon, we’re having lasagna instead.

True fact: Haggis only run round the mountainside in an anti-clockwise direction, therefore they have 2 legs on one side shorter than the other two. That’s how you catch them. Chase them clockwise round the mountain and they fall off. It’s a well known fact in Scotland. Ask The Google. Ignore the Wiki answer though and read the others. YW.

So the traditional Rabbie Burns poem that we read tonight is called ‘To a Haggis‘ but I’ve made my own version called ‘To a Lasagna‘….

Fair fa’ yer honest sonsie face, 
Great Chieftain o’ the pasta race.’

That’s as far as I got. It’s a work in progress.

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Tomatoes. Absolutely nothing to do with Burns Night, haggis or even lasagna (except it’s an ingredient) but I didn’t have a photograph to match the blog post.

Anyway enjoy some traditional Scottish music brought into the 21st Century by Paolo Nutini.

Slàinte!

New Year (new me?)… Nah!

Greeting Bloggers,

How goes it in the land of Blog? I have missed all your lovely blogs lately but hopefully I’ll do better now (sounds like my school report card – Alba could do better!) I’m definitely going to go back to the Weekly Photo Challenge and hoping to blog in-between as well. No New Year resolutions for me this year though, they just get broken… although last year I did manage to log into MyFitnessPal every single day. Every. Single. Day. Are you impressed? I’m not saying I actually lost any weight, plus some days I might only have logged my breakfast, but I did it, and still am. I’m currently at 375 days in a row. Go me!! This year I just intend to eat healthily, work out a couple of times a week (I’m just back in from my first cycle ride in months today and even though it was a close-run thing, I didn’t puke up my lunchtime lentil soup. It was touch and go for a moment, but I didn’t disgrace myself. I do have jelly legs now, but stomach is fine) plus keep working away. I would love to say I could make enough money for my husband to retire, but that isn’t going to happen. Not that I want him hanging around the house God forbid, but he can go get a less stressful job as a golf-course greenkeeper, tiling bathrooms or raising chickens (all things he’d be pretty good at but won’t make us rich).

Anyway as this is supposed to be a photography blog here’s a few pics from my Ne’erday celebrations and a short trip we had to Chicago to meet up with 4 Scottish friends who came over to the US to celebrate one of their birthdays. Unfortunately the birthday boy got stopped at the US Immigration in Dublin and got questioned so long him and his wife missed the flight (thanks Immigration!) but they manged to get here the next day in time for the train back down to my house. They’ll laugh about it eventually….

We made up for it on Hogmanay with a party night at a local hotel and loads of fun, laughter, (bad) singing and good food (when I wasn’t cooking anyway). Christmas was also good – spending time with my wee family, Skyping or FaceTiming my extended family and of course eating far too much (that would have been one of my breakfast only days on MyFitnessPal)

I hope you all had a lovely festive season and are raring to go in 2018. Cheers everyone!

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Hogmanay Shenanigans
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Kinda ironic this was the view from my hotel window seeing as one of my friends wasn’t allowed through US Immigration!
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Chicago at night
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Celebrations

 

Leibster Award

I’d like to thank Ciara for nominating me for a Leibster Award and am constantly surprised when anyone thinks my blog is interesting enough to read. I’d also like to thank those who land on here by accident and push my figures up into double-digits. Y’all rock!

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Y’know I’m not one to follow rules much, but this time I’ll be good and stick to the proper formula for this award and answer the questions Ciara posted as sensibly as I know how. Plus as this is (supposed to be) a photography blog how can I incorporate a pic into each question? Well, I can’t so I’m just throwing up a random shot of a Blue Bunting that crash landed into my window a while back. I get it Blue Bunting. I crash-land into things quite regularly. I sympathise with you. It lived btw.

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Anyway Questions. Here we go.

1) Why do you write?
Emm, I really only write to talk about my photographs. Sometimes I go off on tangents, but mostly it’s related to the pic. Well sometimes. Maybe. Oh all right, I just talk about whatever. I don’t know…. so much pressure!!!

2) Which of your own blog posts should people read if they want to really know you?
Wow, these are hard! This one kind of sums up my life pretty well though Accidents and nekkidness

3) Best hybrid animal and why?
Penguin and Giraffe. Why not?

4) Flowers or chocolate?
Can’t I have both? *sad face* I do love getting flowers (or buying them for myself) but I guess if I really have to choose it would be chocolate.

5) What was your favorite childhood toy?
Roller skates. I used to wear them everywhere, even to the library where I would pretend to walk in them until the librarian wasn’t watching then I’d skate around the bookshelves.

6) What is one thing about your life that you would change?
The fact that Star Trek-style Transporters aren’t real. I wish I could instantly travel halfway across the world to meet up with friends for coffee. Oh, you want a real answer. Well, I don’t think I’d change anything. Maybe I’d like to be able to sing.

7) Who is your favorite writer?
Now that really IS an impossible answer. I’m a total book-nerd. I’m in two book clubs and I will read just about anything. I probably love fantasy and sci-fi best, followed by mysteries and don’t really enjoy non-fiction as much. I like to escape from reality and fighting dragons and flying half-way across the universe is pretty much the best way to escape I can think of. A friend sent me this quote the other day there, which pretty much sums me up.

To the girl who reads by flashlight, who sees dragons in the clouds, who feels most alive in worlds that never were, who knows magic is real, who dreams. This is for you.

Nice eh?

8) Are you crafty? (Either ‘cunning’ or ‘able to make crafts’)
Yes I am. The second version.

9) What movie do you like to watch over and over? Why?
The Matrix. Because there is no spoon and you’ve always got to watch out for those black cats!

10) What makes you laugh?
My friends, my family, funny dog memes on the internet.

 

So now I have to nominate people to answer my questions – Go on, go on, go on. You know you want to Rover, Dookes, Mike, Miriam, Curtis, Silver Fox, Lili, Pete, Abrie and anyone else I’ve forgotten or who just wants to answer my questions (you’re supposed to nominate 11).

Questions

  1. Why do you blog? (have to throw in a blogging questions, seeing as this IS a blog after all!)
  2. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
  3. Star Wars or Star Trek (remember this might be the most important question on here!)
  4. Favourite movie?
  5. Favourite book?
  6. Favourite song? (not being lazy, I’m genuinely curious)
  7. Do you like to cook and what do is your best dish?
  8. What makes you laugh?
  9. Most embarassing moment?
  10. Singing or dancing?
  11. T-Rex or Dragons?

Hello Blogging friends from me and my dog

Where have you been I hear you ask? (humour me!) We missed you (as we say in Scotland – Aye Right! – where two positives make a negative)

Well I’ve been busy with work (boring) and life but it seems to be slightly slowing down now (work, not life), maybe it’s the lead up to Christmas but I’m expecting to be extremely busy come the New Year, so thought I’d throw up a post (or two) in December incase I can’t get online much next year.  That just shows you how messed up my brain is at the moment. I wrote the post, then checked it over for spelling mistakes and noticed that I wrote December but we’re actually still in November!

I even tried (and failed) to do the Facebook challenge that’s going around just now – 7 days in your life, black and white photographs, no people, no explanations. I decided to take all the photographs with my phone to speed up processing time, but again, FAIL.

The photographs I did take though seemed to all be following a theme of….. my dog, or as my human children call him, my favourite child! Anyway in the interests of writing a blog for the sake of it, here are my black and white photographs of my dog’s life (and mine).

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High Five Dawg! He was sleeping (snoring) when I snuck up on him to photograph his paw. Oh mighty paw, with claws like a lions, how many times have you scratched me down my face when I happen to put my head too close and you decide to give me a paw?

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I read somewhere that sleeping Airedales resemble a train wreck. It looks like someone picked them up and threw them against the wall (couch) and they fell asleep where they landed. The stinker woke up when he heard me approaching and moved though. I still love this shot as you can see him thinking “Party! Is it time for a party? Woohooo, just give me two minutes to untangle myself and I’ll be right there!” Cutie pie.

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Then when I’m not working and being the dog’s servant I’m actually walking him. Our (my) favourite place to walk is at a local state park, especially now that all the leaves have fallen and it makes for a crunchy (smelly) (for him, not me) walk. Autumn trails.

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Head pat and ear scratches. For the dog. Not me. I don’t mind the head pats, but I’m not very particular about ear scratches. Thanks all the same. A friend said to me recently that I should love him with everything I have so when he is gone I can feel good about what I had. Well I do. And I appreciate every minute I have with him, even when he pesters the life out of me (or scratches my face). There’s nothing nicer than snuggles from an 80lb lap dog. ❤