I am sitting here scanning through the channels and I came upon Planet Earth on BBC America. We have these discs on Blu-ray and have watched them, but I have to say, that narration by Sir David Attenborough just makes you stop and watch. The pictures are amazing and there is nothing better than listening to Attenborough. His voice is so regal and attention getting. Here in the U.S. we have James Earl Jones and his powerful voice, but that English accent wins me over every time.
Click on play button and then click on link to You Tube within the window.
If I had a voice like that, I would never shut up. Of course, those who know me, probably think that I never shut up now. How can I learn to speak like that and where do I sign up to be a voice-over artist?
Our son was an honor student in middle school and was invited to a program at Truman State University for advanced learners. He went to the program two summers in a row and his second summer he chose to study an art program where he discovered his love for artistic endeavors. When our son entered high school I told him to take classes in everything that interested him, including art. I expressed to him my desire that he find something he truly loved that he could make his career.My whole concept of finding something that they love has been something that I’ve expressed to both of our kids over and over again. I have worked many years at a variety of jobs but I have never had that joy of getting up in the morning to go to work at a job I love. Instead, each morning, I hit the snooze alarm and get out of bed at the last possible second to get ready for the day.My son went on to college - opting to go back to Truman - where he enjoyed those summer programs. He planned to become an art teacher which required four years of study. But late in his freshman year he called me excited to tell me that his counselor told him how he could get his bachelor degree in an art program and then follow up an extra year and get his Masters of Arts in Education. Through his diligence, in May of 2011, he left school with three degrees (BFA in Ceramics, BA in Painting and his MAE). He then began his long and arduous search for a job as a high school art teacher in Missouri. He substitute taught and interviewed again and again but always got the call that he interviewed well, made a great impression, but they decided to go another direction. He branched out on his job search and waited.Two and a half weeks ago our son was ready to give up on his dream when he received a call from an application he had filled out for a ceramic teacher position. They scheduled a Skype interview a couple of days later. He felt the interview went great, but he had been in this position before, so I was worried he would be disappointed again. But he received a call the following day with a job offer. So now, six years after beginning his journey to become a high school art teacher, he has achieved his goal. His father and I are extremely proud and are only disappointed that he has to move 2,100 miles away to the State of Washington. He will be leaving in less than a week and I can say that I’ve never heard him so excited about something in his life. He has prepared and endured hardship to reach his dream and all I can ask is that this ends up being everything he hopes it will be and that he can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning to get to his job. So if you have ever questioned whether dreams can come true my son would tell you, yes, they do.
I had been to Charleston 15 years ago with my sister and remembered a quaint Italian restaurant where we had eaten. The restaurant had French doors lining the front of the building and on that May night they were thrown open to enjoy the cool breeze. The night was alive with excitement as it was graduation weekend at The Citadel and the cadets were out with their families enjoying meals in their dress whites.On our recent visit, I had hoped my husband and I could find the restaurant, even though I didn’t remember the name or the exact location. Luckily enough, while strolling the area around our hotel our first night, we happened upon a street front Italian restaurant with the French doors. I am not positive that the ownership is the same, but I told my husband that was where we would go the next night for dinner – Bocci’s Italian Restaurant http://www.boccis.com/.So Friday night we walked half a block from our hotel to the restaurant without a reservation and we placed our name on the list with a 20 minute wait. The area was busy with tourists strolling the streets so we were able to sit outside on a park bench and watch the people go by.After a short wait we were shown to our table and looked over the menu. We’d been walking all day and were quite hungry. First on the list was an appetizer. We had never eaten arancini but I had seen a blogger post once about it being her family’s favorite Italian appetizer. Arancini is an Arborio rice ball made with sausage, parmesan, risotto and mozzarella, fried and served with marinara sauce. We enjoyed this and a couple of times during our trip mentioned that if we couldn’t decide on what to have for dinner any night we could just order up an appetizer each, but alas we never did because we always seemed to find somewhere else to try in the exciting historic district. For dinner we had Chicken Picatta and the Alfredo. Both entrees were very good and we enjoyed our meal here greatly. The restaurant has quite a bit of seating but it is very close together. We had a vacationing family sitting right next to us and I could hear every bit of their conversation which can sometimes be annoying. The only issue we had with dinner was that our waitress came by and asked how everything was and we mentioned that one of the mussels in the Alfredo wasn’t cooked enough to steam it open. The waitress appeared to be going to see about doing something regarding this but only appeared later with the check. I would have liked to have some resolution as an unopened mussel is just like finding a clump of pasta all globbed up together and inedible. But all in all, we enjoyed our meal and the food. As we are not drinkers we did not have a bar tab to add to our evening and were able to get out of the restaurant for under $60.
Last week my husband and I were able to get away and have a truly relaxing vacation. We booked our travel through Travelocity.com and found a great old hotel across from the City Market in Charleston, South Carolina. We typically like to stay at nice hotels when we travel. It’s been 20 years since we’ve stayed at a place with a number in the name. We typically like the Hilton brand of hotels or Starwood Hotels. So we chose the French Quarter Inn http://www.fqicharleston.com/.Most vacations we take are planned down to the last detail. This time we decided that we would make no plans and just fly by the seat of our pants. As you can remember from a post a couple of weeks ago I’d been disappointed by not getting a promotion at work. I am one of those Type A personalities that cannot leave work at the office, but I was going to try my best to forget about everything.Well, I can only say that being greeted at the front desk at check-in with a glass of champagne sure starts a vacation off right. The French Quarter Inn is a small boutique hotel with three floors of guest rooms. Our King room was charming with ample space including an armoire, desk with chair, armchair and small table with two chairs. The furnishings appear to show wear, but I believe they are reproduction pieces meant to appear like old French antiques. There was an in-room fridge and safe. The bathroom had black and white tile with modern furnishings. The only negative of our visit was in the bathroom where the bottom of the tub was scratched and there was dirty grout or mold in the corner by the tub.
We took a rest in our room and late in the afternoon went down to enjoy wine (four varieties) and cheese (Swiss, cheddar and pepper jack cubes, boursin spreadable) and crackers as well as grapes. This is served every evening and a great snack before a late dinner. Also available at that time were the drinks that are available all day long in the common area in the lobby. These beverages include coffee, hot tea, two flavors of iced tea, water and lemonade. For a sweet treat there were pitchers of M&Ms and Jelly Bellys. The location of the hotel allowed for us to move throughout the historic district on foot and when our legs became fatigued and we needed refreshment from the heat and humidity we could make it back to the hotel, pour a drink, and return to our room to put our feet up for a few minutes or relax in the lobby. This allowed us time to catch up on the Olympics in the middle of the day, cool off and go back out for lunch and afternoon activities, and then return again prior to dinner as well. The front desk staff was superb. They were very friendly and very informative. We gained information from them and several times while relaxing in the lobby saw them deal with guests requests including dinner recommendations and reservations. The clientele during our stay ranged from young families to older travelers and foreign travelers from Ireland, Germany and France. All guests were treated with great care and consideration.In the evenings we had no problem getting to any type of restaurant within a couple of blocks. We enjoyed a lovely Italian meal that was a short block away from the hotel. Most meals we had were within less than three blocks from this hotel. And when we returned to the hotel each night we were delighted to find fresh baked cookies and milk for a snack before bed in the lobby.Each morning we were able to enjoy a lovely continental breakfast with pastries, croissants (ham/cheese, chocolate, and almond), bagels, toast, cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit and hard boiled eggs. Three different juices, two types of milk, coffee and tea were available to drink. Other amenities that we did not take advantage of were free bicycle rentals, a pillow menu, and umbrellas if you face a day with rain. When I started our vacation on Thursday, I had been experiencing pain in my shoulders, neck and head. Within the first two days, this experience had relaxed me enough to have relieved the stress and pain. Some of this may have been from the comfortable bed at the hotel. At first we were worried as the mattress felt very soft, almost too soft, as we climbed in the first night, but each night I was able to sleep through until morning and wake with no back ache. This is not always achieved when traveling and staying in a strange bed. Now we just need to find out what mattress the bed had as we were missing that comfort when we returned home.We would definitely recommend this hotel if you are planning a stay in Charleston. And if you don’t stay here, we would still recommend the location as it was easy to get to all the shopping, dining and historic areas of the Charleston peninsula.
We have been away since Thursday enjoying a relaxing vacation in Charleston, South Carolina. This vacation was somewhat different than what we typically do. Normally we plan our vacation (or should I say, I do this and drive the husband crazy) down to every last detail from where we’ll go and what we’ll do each day and even where we will eat. But with the stress I’ve been feeling lately from work I decided to make note of a few places we could visit and if we made it there it would be good, if not that would be good as well. Our main goal was to just be away from home and relax. Also, we couldn’t help watching the Olympics in the evening either before or after dinner. So we’ll be back sharing our vacation and perhaps some favorite Olympic moments. I will share a couple of things with you right now. Charleston is fabulous but DO NOT go in July or August. Did you hear me? I said DO NOT go in the heat of summer. The PGA Championship will likely be thinking this as well at the end of this week. Living in St. Louis we’ve always talked about summer heat being bad but that we get more humidity than my family in Kansas. But there is nothing like the humidity in Charleston in August. But we muddled through and we’ll talk about our coping mechanism as well as what we did for fun.
We have enjoyed the first week of the Olympics in our home this week. As Americans we typically rally around our home team, but the week started off with us being sad about the Men’s Road Race in cycling. We were all cheering for Mark Cavendish, but after his effort in the Tour de France he was unable to medal in London. We enjoyed the diving competitions as we spent many years at the pool cheering on our son during his high school diving career. The U.S. has done well in the medal totals and we’ve cheered on Team GB as we love England and our friends across the pond. The rest of this blog is for your viewing enjoyment – faces and photos from the first week. Click on each picture for a companion article from a multitude of news agencies.
Mark Cavendish at the finish of the Men’s Road Race for Team GB
Women’s Skeet Test Firing medalist Kim Rhode is the first American competing in an individual sport to receive a medal in five consecutive Olympics.
Michael Phelps now holding the record for most Olympic medals
Women’s Gymnastics scores gold in the team competition
The worst thing about the Olympics this year is the coverage that we are suffering through with NBC programming. Granted London is 5 hours ahead of New York and so all prime time programming is for events that have already been completed but, Hello, some of us have to work but would still like to know the thrill of the unknown. Missy Franklin scored gold in the backstroke but we knew it before the race took place because NBC had to run an ad to promote the dang Today show stating that they would be interviewing gold medal winner Missy Franklin the next morning. It’s no wonder Today has repeatedly fallen behind Good Morning America in ratings recently. But regardless, congratulations Missy Franklin. As we watched a profile on Franklin regarding her refusal to take any endorsement deals so that she could still compete on a high school level, my husband and I joked wondering if she was the Colorado State High School Champion in her events. So I took to the internet to find the results and found this article: http://www.maxpreps.com/news/3Zk8MgaeyUucfuIE7IyUJA/missy-franklin,-bonnie-brandon-electrify-the-class-5a-state-swim-meet.htm One of the quotes in the article has Franklin stating that, "It's so great to be with my sisters and be with my team and enjoy it. State is unlike any meet out there, it's definitely one of a kind, and I want to be there as many times as I can." Wonder how it compares to the Olympics?
Watching the Olympics this week I have seen a couple of former Olympians that made me want to do some research. In 1984 I was a senior in high school and watched the Olympics just weeks before beginning college. The Olympics were being held in Los Angeles and the Russians were boycotting so there were asterisks in articles about any American win. They had to indicate that it was a boycotted Olympics. Regardless of that, USA put forth an amazing Gold Medal Men’s Gymnastics Team featuring Bart Conner, Tim Daggett, Mitch Gaylord, Jim Hartung, Scott Johnson, and Peter Vidmar. These men (very young men with many still in college) performed some amazing feats and remain the only team to win gold in gymnastics for the U.S.
1984 Los Angeles Olympics Gold Medal Men’s Gymnastics team
Bart Conner – is now a gymnastics sports commentator, owner of Perfect 10 Productions which produces many gymnastics programs for various cable channels as well as owning Bart Conner Gymnastics in Norman, Oklahoma with his wife, Nadia Comaneci (yes, former Romanian gymnast with a great record of scoring perfect 10s). http://www.bartconnergymnastics.com/index.php