Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tales from the Trip

Presented here are the rest of the pictures from my wonderful trip to Bainbridge Island. Everything was in bloom and gorgeous! is a picture of gorgeous Noreen and blooming flowers!
On every trip to my Dad's we make an excursion to this nursery, which is the best one I have ever seen in the world! Bainbridge Gardens is the is a must visit if you get to the island! We bought these flowers for Mary's birthday! Rununculas! (that is the name of the flower, and not some weird exclamation!)
These looked like Fall leaves in a planter. I am not sure what they were, but they were so cool!
This photo is of a truck in the parking lot at the nursery, I was fancying myself as a bit of an artistic photographer on this one!
Here are the best buddies at Bainbridge Gardens!
Here we are at Cafe Nola in Bainbridge. We were celebrating Mary's birthday. We thought we ordered one piece of cake to split, except we all ended up getting the richest chocolate cake known to mankind and boy, were we stuffed!
Best buddies eating cake.

One of the highlights was a walk through the Great Forest. (Nan, click on this link for some answers to your question about the island!) It is close to my Dad and Mary's house and just beautiful.
Noreen and I got stuck in a tree!
Okay, there is this neighborhood of new houses near my Dad's. It has the coolest looking houses, and everytime we are there (well, twice now), Noreen and I drive around and pick out which house we want. I would like all my family and friends to live in this subdivision! This would be Noreen's house. Mine would be next door.
On Wednesday of my visit I had the great good fortune to spend the day with Carolyn!!! She is a great friend whom I know because she is one of my Mom's best friends! I drove to Bremerton to meet Carolyn. We had such a great good long visit. First stop was one of the best stamp stores in the country! The Embossible Dream in Bremerton. Please go if you are in that city. We had our picture taken in front of the wall of stamps! We also went to several antique shops, had lunch at the very cool restaurant, The Boat Shack (best clam chowder ever!), and then had a lengthy visit over Starbucks and molasses cookies!!! Great fun!
On April 20th it was my Dad's birthday!! This is he and Mary at Point No Point where we visited after breakfast in Port Ludlow. As you can tell, it was totally gorgeous and scenic there! We had a ton of fun that day, and then had a really great dinner at a sophisticated, but fun, restaurant back in town. The Four Swallows.
Everything was in bloom!!!!
Whenever Noreen and I get together on vacation, shopping ensues! It seems like every gathering has a shopping theme, past themes being sunglasses, books, antiques, and purses. The theme this time was shoes!!!!! I got two pairs. This pair for fun and kicking around....They are Privos by Clarks. So comfortable!
This is a pair of Dansko clogs. Believe it or not, I have looked at these shoes for three years! Everytime I go to my Dad's I say I am going to get them, well this time I did.

Also, Noreen and I are now on a hunt for some really cool Spanish shoes! We found them in a shop, but they did not have our size! I was really trying for a hat trick (hockey reference made especially for Diane Duda!) on shoe buying, but no luck. They are made by El Naturalista and they are red! I will have them soon though because I am on a mission!
On my last full day in Bainbridge, my Dad and I ran around and hung out. Here we are on his sailboat, Widgeon!!! It is so gorgeous! My Dad loves to sail and when not sailing, he is very good at making improvements on his boat.
Here is my Dad at one of his favorite places!!
Here is the marina and you can see Seattle in the background.
Here is another instance of me playing professional photographer! My favorite flowers are tulips!
One of the most fun things we did was look at old slides. I have poured through family pictures over the years and have seen each one multiple times, but these slides I had never seen!!! So it was truely like looking through time. We are getting everything organized for a big viewing of them later this year.
Okay, I know no one else can tell what this is, but I had to put it on my blog for my Mom. This is a slide of me going home from the hospital. I am the baby in the middle that the unknown nurse is holding. On either side of her are my Mom and my Grandma Bates!!!! My Mom looks a bit nervous in this picture! She is saying in her head to her mother, Don't go home until Laura is a one-year-old!!!"
This is the view from my Dad's reading chair. It looks like Japanese wood cutting to me. So gorgeous!!

So, now I have been home for a week. I am starting to get back into the swing of my daily routine, although it has been hard. I am back to work and that is good. I really like my new job. Jane and I have already been on a toot too!!! Mike and I spent the day together yesterday shopping and visiting his parents. Today I hope to get some stamping done and then later this evening I will have the great good fortune to meet Anjali from Lotus Reads!!!! She is in town for a book conference and we are going to be able to squeeze in a quick get together. I am thrilled to meet her as I love her blog and she seems like such a warm and generous person!!! Also, this week I am excited because a new book is coming out by my favorite author, Elizabeth Berg. I am hoping to attend one of her readings at a local bookstore this week.

I love to travel and I already miss Bainbridge Island. I hope to go back soon. In the meantime, it is great to be home with Mike, Buddy, and Pal. We sure have a great life together!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Back Home Again in Illinois

I had a wonderful trip to Bainbridge Island, Washington!!! I had a long and relaxed visit with my Dad, and his wife, Mary. And as an extra-added lifelong best buddy, Noreen, flew up from Los Angeles to spend a long weekend with me! We did our usual routine of running around shopping for purses, shoes, and antiques and had a blast!!!

I would love to present a very organized travelouge, but just can't bear to be that organized, so I will put up some pictures over the next few days and tell some stories, out of order most likely, but what does it matter really?
Noreen arrived on day #2 of my visit. This is the second time that we have met on Bainbridge Island, so we knew some of the places we wanted to hit. First stop, Town and Country Market. This is the local grocery store which is filled with good food, flowers, and trinkets downstairs. All of the flower pictures on this entry were taken at Town and Country. If you go to Bainbridge Island, don't miss it! It is an attraction in itself.
Here are Noreen and Mary gazing at all of the lovely produce! At this exact moment I was looking at bread and chocolate!!! Oh, and I was searching for Tab and root beer!! Such refined tastes!!
Noreen picked out something called "rappini" (I know I have that wrong, sorry Nor!). It was some kind of Italian green that she cooked and made me try. It was heinous!!!
This is my Dad's cabinet of "sea going" books. He has the complete series of Patrick O'Brien works on the top. Isn't this a beautiful piece of furniture?
Here is the upstairs sitting area where one can listen to music, watch TV or read!!!
These two little paintings were done by my Great-Great Aunt! She was a wonderful person and a talented artist!
Mary always has the bathroom set up so nicely for me with yellow tulips!!! Please note the cross-stiched lambs in the background!! I made that many years ago.

I am glad to be back home, but I will miss "The Island." It is so beautiful there!!! All the trees and the sea-smell!!!! I will show some more pictures over the coming days. I am having a bit of a hard time with my re-entry into the real world, but I am anxious to hear from all of you wonderful people out in blogland!! I missed you guys!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Going on Vacation!!!

I will be taking a bit of a blog break as I am going on vacation! I will be gone for approximately two weeks. I am going to Bainbridge Island, Washington to visit my Dad and Mary. Pictured here is the ferry that I take from Seattle over to the island! It is great fun to take the 35 minute ferry ride over. Very relaxing. Mike is staying home as he just started a new job. I will miss him terribly, but also it will be fun to visit out there just by myself as it will be kind of like a retreat. I can go for walks in the woods with Dad and Mary, go out on their sailboat, and spend lots of time reading and listening to music. I have already planned about three books to take with me and there is a great bookstore on the island.....Also, I looked at what movie is playing at the local artsy theater and it is "The Namesake" which is a movie I really want to see! And, as an extra added bonus, my Mom's very dear friend Carolyn lives in Bremerton, Washington so I will be able to visit with her for a day. I leave on Thursday, 4/12 and return on 4/23. I won't be blogging while I am gone as I just want to totally immerse myself in the surroundings there.
Below is my addition to Kim Kwan's Alphabetica journal. I must say I really like it. I love stamping phrases on people!
Her journal, Alpha Bitty, is just the coolest! It is made up of old Bingo cards. Great size and so much fun to work in! Below is the back of my card and the little story that goes with it.
Below is a totally wonderful and gorgeous card that my internet friend Jennifer sent me. The stamp she used is from a fun and whimsical company called Stamping Bella. Jennifer's coloring on this card is out of this world! Great shading and use of glitter!
I am really loving collecting vintage patterns! Not for the pattern inside, but for the images on the front. Isn't this one cute? When I return from vacation I want to start using these for cards and round robin journals.
Yesterday my Mom came over for a card making session. We had a great time. She made 11 cards!
Here she is holding up one of her masterpieces!!!
Out of this chaos came her creations!
Cute cards!!!!!!!!

And while I am gone......Mr. Pal will be watching all of you! So behave yourselves!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Books, Fries, and Stamps

I had a wonderfully fun weekend! On Saturday morning I woke up to find that there was a trunk show of B-Line Designs rubber stamps at a nearby stamp store!!!!! I called Jane up and demanded that she drop everything and go with me as I love their stamps! Well, after seeing three tables full of their stamps and many amazing card samples, they are now hands down my favorite stamp company of all time!!!! We just stood in front of the display with mouths agape in disbelief at the sheer beauty of these stamps!!!! I was actually about to hyperventilate at one point as I was so in love with the images. After picking out a few of our favorites it was back to reality......

Or should I say back to the regularly scheduled portion of the day.........Mike read an article in a magazine that said that the best french fries in Chicago were at a place called Susie's Drive-In in the neighborhood where he grew up.

So, he and I took a drive into Chicago for French fries! They were great, especially when consumed with a hot dog and a banana-Oreo milkshake!!!! Woohoo!!!

Prior to our French Fry extravaganza Mike and I went to two bookstores and a magazine store where they have every magazine known to man!!! I ended up with several new books! It was a really great day....I daresay a "toot" was definitely had!!!!