Been There, Done That

commentary on many different thoughts

Month: December, 2014

Surfer Girl – Not

surfer girl

That’s me on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Getting ready to take my first surfing lesson.  And my last.  Why?  Well, after having doused liberally with sunscreen (my Momma raised some strange kids, but she didn’t raise no stupid ones, and the sun on Hawaii is HOT!) I discovered that the brand I use is apparently not environmentally friendly, even though it does protect me from the burns!  So I showered that off at the shop and applied their preferred brand – to which I am apparently allergic.  So far so good.  So we compromised and I showered THAT off and put my stuff back on. Ah well.

So then, one strips in a 10×10 unisex locker room (thank heavens for both eventing and ballroom, which has taught me that nobody particularly cares what you look like while you’re changing – they’re all concerned that someone is looking at them!) and puts on the wetsuit shirt shown above.  Each surfing school has color-coded shirts (each shirt has a number on the back) so that the teachers can spot their students, know how many they left with, and make sure that the same number come back. Rather smart.

Now, what I hadn’t realized was:  (1) the beach is not sand.  It’s coral.  Lots of coral.  Sharp and bumpy coral.  (2) when they talk about riptide, they are not kidding.  (3) to get to the shore break where they teach (where it’s reasonably calm) you have to paddle out on your board for a quarter mile of real waves. (4 and most important) my knees do not like surfing.

Anyway, I tried.  And discovered that coral is not friendly when you get slammed into it.  That surfboards are rather hard when they drop on top of you.  And that standing on a surfboard is not as easy as it looks.

Anyway, I have tried surfing and discovered that I prefer beaches with soft sand underfoot and that it’s going to take a lot more practice in summer waves.  Cowabunga! (And no, the photo of me-on-surfboard will NEVER see the light of day – it’s bottoms up!)

First Night

Got on the plane on Friday; got to Seattle with a whole bunch of bumps.  Nothing scary, just hard to read and even harder to play airplane trivia – although I did manage the entire flight’s high score!  Yea Goucher!

Once in Seattle, got to my gate and found that they were scrambling to get everyone on the plane as fast as they could.  And there was a TSA rep checking IDs before we boarded.  I’ve flown enough to realize that this was highly unusual (you show your ID at the security line and then put it away).  Odd.

Once I got on the plane, the attendant announced that we were being cleared to leave early and would everyone please sit down quickly.  Turns out that President O was taking his family for holiday vacation on Oahu and that they’d close the airport down one hour before/after he arrived, and that if we didn’t get in the air fast, we’d be circling for quite a while.  AMAZING how fast people can stow luggage and sit down with incentive!

So we beat O to the islands.  (That man takes more vacations – paid vacations – than anyone I know, and we pay to bring his family along. It’s nice to be king.)

Hotel was hotel.  But their breakfast was one for the record books:  fresh (like cut that morning from nearby tree) pineapple and fresh (like harvested down the street) coffee to die for!  Off to the boat later this morning and more coming bit by bit.  Photos will follow.

She’s Baaaaaaack!

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This is a teaser on the school subject:  “what I did over my holiday vacation”.

Good photos will follow with details!




This is one corner of the Toplitzsee in the Salzkammergut in the Tyrol.  According to legend (never verified), the Nazis sunk a fortune in gold bullion into the center of the Toplitzsee.  The lake, incidentally, is incredibly deep, and none of the gold has turned up to date.  If you’d like a fictionalized account, check out Helen McInnes’ “The Salzburg Connection”.

On the other hand, the Salzkammergut figured prominently as a hiding place for stolen art – the salt mines in the area were perfect for storing huge numbers of paintings, sculptures and other objects.  The recent film “The Monuments Men” is a fairly accurate portrayal of the mines, the process of retrieving the art objects, and the removing of purloined objects from their “borrowers”.


Swan Lake


More Austrian vistas

Starry Day

Happy Boxing Day!!  From Grundlsee in Austria.


A Different Kind of Creche

This is a lovely Nativity scene from my Father’s village in Austria.  Happy Christmas everyone!


Seasons’ Greetings!

Hope your holidays are full of warmth and joy;  and may the future bring you peace and prosperity.

Holiday Dance Classic 09 002

Holiday Reminder!


With the onset of winter, don’t forget the cute fluffy vermin who raid your bird feeders!

Noel a bit early

Cake for a gathering at Rocking S Stables 13 December.  It’s close enough to the holidays to enjoy!


French vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and dark chocolate piping.  Poinsettias are royal icing, as are all leaves.