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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Trip to Scotland

          When my wife and I discussed a trip to Scotland the first city I wanted to see was Edinburgh. I think for a minute she thought I had lost my mind as I moved the recliner all the way back and in my best Scottish accent said, " Ahhh, to swim and walk the East Lothian beaches like Gullane  with its pubs,  great views, beginning the day surfing and ending it with a romantic sunset.  Maybe we could see the Yellowcraig and run about," I said, "or fly a kite, or see the Castle near Dirleton."  Still with my head laid back and my eyes closed now my Scottish draw was getting the best of me as I continued, " Edinburgh, filled with seven Castles and each with a tale.  Speaking of tales we can listen to them talk about the hard life of Mary Queen of Scots, or the powerful Crichton and their Blackness Castle which held a tower prison to place those who upset them and the museums could encompass and entire trips stay."  She came over and sat on my lap and said, "OK, already, and where do you plan on spending your evenings around this precious trip to Edinburgh?"  Well, I had an answer and when we explored it together we both agreed to purchase tickets and visit my dream city of Edinburgh.

           We selected for our first few nights to stay in a two bedroom apartment which sleeps four (our two adult children will go with us).  We will tour during the day, enjoy the fine food in the city, and return to a clean apartment to shower, send pictures home with the wireless broadband network or watch TV.  In the middle of our trip we wanted to enjoy a Edinburgh Bed and Breakfast.  Edinburgh Apartments offers a nice selection of Bed and Breakfast locations with varied amenities which can be viewed at scottishaccommodationindex.com.  Many of the locations are close to mass transit and beautiful city restaurants.  The last part of our trip we wanted to stay in a hotel.  Edinburgh Apartments provides a wonderful selection of beautifl and very affordable hotels to choose from in well placed locations for travelers.  This was going to be a trip of a lifetime for our family.

          When our arrangements were final I went back to my recliner chair and quickly ordered a nice cold beverage for my wife to serve me.  Needless to say my fantasy is not totally complete.  Visit the Edinburgh Apartments web site to compliment a world class trip to Edinburgh, Scotland.


Superbowl Sunday


             My husband is a football fan freak--in a good way.  He loves both National Football League (NFL) and college football.  Primarily his overall favorite is the NFL.  I write this to all football widows out there to share in my dilemma--I don't know anything about football except it makes my husband yell at the TV, when normally he is very calm and gentile, and it makes his friends visit more, when in the off season I hardly see them, and it allows me to sneak and eat some great food that everyone seems to find during this season hehehe.  Because of his enthusiasm about the game of football our entire family has joined in to be a part of it too.  My daughter knows more about the game than any of us--other than my husband who has spend countless hours coaching her.  If the truth be known he loves it when she makes football snacks so they can eat while watching the game together--for my part--I sneak in and enjoy the food too.  Football in our family is a lot of fun and really brings us all together.

            During the end of the NFL season there is a game called the Super Bowl.  I love the Super Bowl and spend time watching the game with my husband and daughter.  I watch because of the great commercials and wonderful food he prepares and his friends bring over---yummy. Every year since he was a toddler--well maybe and adolescent--he has "friendly wagered" bet on games with his friends.  Last year he lost and had to wash his friends car and shampoo the carpets--the year before he won with the same friend and his friend cleaned our pool and the filters in the house. It has always been fun to see them discuss their sports betting online, discuss the office pools, and watch both winners and loser lament over outcomes.  This year the men are going to pool their money and bet a friendly with sports betting online.   They have never bet before so they researched and found a website sportsbettingspot.com that explains sports betting online, ranks the best companies to use, and discusses the betting industry terminology.   I watched in amazement as these men read the sportsbook reviews.  It was fun watching them shop for the best sportsbook--now if I could only have him shop for grocery coupons as well.  My final thought--Go Team!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Cottonball's Puppy Photos

A Bichon Frise (French, meaning curly white lap dog), is a small breed of dog of the Bichon type. They are popular pets, similar in appearance to but larger than the Maltese.

The Poodle is a breed of dog. The Standard Poodle is regarded as the second most intelligent breed of dog after the Border Collie, and before the German Shepherd Dog.  The poodle breed is found officially in toy, miniature, and standard sizes, with many coat colors.
 (Ref: Wikipedia)

Cottonball is a male  " poodle/bichon frise'"  mix. He was born on January 25, 2007.  These photos were taken few weeks after we brought him home.  I just love looking at his photos when he was still a baby ...

Wishing all of you a restful and fun weekend  .... thank you for visiting our site ! 

Dyson Airblade

We had an old vacuum cleaner that we used every single week to clean our carpet. It was passed on by Jeff's mom and dad when they bought a new one. It was an older model and it was too heavy for them to move around. Although the vacuum cleaner was more than 20 years old, it worked just fine. Two months ago, this vacuum cleaner just stopped working. We brought it to the repair shop to have it checked, some parts have to be replaced and when the cost to repair was added up, it was almost a price of getting a new one. We both decided it was about time to part with the old vacuum and get a new one.

We went around the store and shopped around for a vacuum that is light weight, easy to use and within our price range. We found one model that has all the qualities we were looking for and has an outstanding customer review. It was one made by Dyson Appliances Ltd, a manufacturer that has been a leader in the market for many years. Dyson is known to employ the same innovation principles and processes introduced by founder James Dyson of finding a better way of doing things and coming up with a product that can do it.

Dyson Appliances became the leader in the market in restroom hand dryers after introducing Dyson Airblade hand dryer. Dyson Airblade is a hand dryer that dries water off your hands with the use of heat. It is sensor activated and uses 80% less energy than other hand dryers. This unit is touch-free and removes 99.9% of bacteria from the air prior to drying hands. Dyson Airblade hand dryer is easy to use, cost-effective and environmental-friendly. The use of hand dryer eliminates the use of paper towels and this makes for a cleaner environment.


Submitted by Chay for TSS

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pinakbet (Filipino Mixed Vegetable Dish)


Pinakbet  is a popular Ilocano dish, from the northern regions of the Philippines. The basic vegetables used in this dish include native bitter melon, eggplant, tomato, okra, string beans. A Tagalog version usually includes calabaza. Most of these vegetables are easily accessible, and are grown in backyards and gardens of most households. The flavors of the vegetables are accentuated with shrimp paste. In some cases, lechon, chicharon, or other meats (most commonly pork) are added. It is considered a very healthy dish, and convenient in relation to the harsh and rugged, yet fruitful Ilocos region of the Philippines.

(Reference: Wikipedia) 


Like most automobile owners and drivers my tires wear out.  I am a high mileage driver, so it appears to me I am in my friendly local tire store either replacing worn tires or a damaged tire.  One day there was a large semi truck loading tires from the back of the shop.  The truck was full when it pulled out of the parking lot.  I asked Charlie the manager, "I wonder what happens to all of those tires?"  Charlie smiled and said, "They go to a company called Rubbercycle."  After further inquiry I learned this company made recycled rubber mulch.  Sometimes it is called shredded rubber mulch.  Another customer in the tire store overheard the conversation and said he had visited Washington DC and learned the first family in the White House used one companies shredded rubber mulch for their playground.
I must admit this was new information for me and I was both surprised and pleased with the ingenuity. 
When I left the tire store I searched online to learn about this product and the company.  The web site for the company is  Rubberecycle.com.  Rubberecycle Playsafer Rubber Mulch is new in Playground and Landscape surfacing which is environmentally safe. The Rubbercycle company manufactures an innovative rubber granulite product recycled 100% from scrap tires.  This product is used in school playgrounds across the country.  Consumers love the rubber mulch because it’s safe, economical, long-lasting and most importantly, environment-friendly.  You can read all about how innovative this company is and the many uses of the product at  rubbercycle.com.  The rubbermulch is very surefooted and is safe enough for equestrian footing.  As a parent watching children play if it is surefooted for a horse it is safe enough for my child.  Watching children run, jump, and move around the school playground safety is always on my mind.  I could see advantages from a parents viewpoint.  
Looking at the environment is also important and with this product it is very protective of our environment and it lasts for many years.  If rubber can hold up on the highways under the weight of a car how much more will it withstand the tiny feet of children or even horses--to me this product is very exciting. 


Monday, January 23, 2012

Our Family Trip to Havasu

Looking for a perfect vacation idea ? Lake Havasu City has three hundred days of sunshine a year and all the adventure you can handle from boating, fishing, off-riding, hiking, or just simply relaxing under the sun.

Lake Havasu City is located in western Arizona in the Chemehuevi Valley along the Colorado River, west of the Mohave Mountains. Lake Havasu is named after the Mohave Indian word meaning “blue water.” Lake Havasu City is a vibrant, prosperous community that continues to attract guests from all over the country and world

The London Bridge crosses a narrow boating channel that connects with Thompson Bay on the Arizona side of Lake Havasu less than a mile from The Nautical Beachfront Resort. Built in 1831, the original bridge couldn’t handle the ever-increasing flow of traffic across the Thames River in London England. The British government decided to put the bridge up for sale, and Robert McCulloch, founder of Lake Havasu City, AZ, and Chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation, submitted the winning bid of $2,460,000.

London Bridge was dismantled, and each stone was numbered and shipped 10,000 miles to Long Beach, CA, and then trucked to Lake Havasu City. Reconstruction began on September 23, 1968, with a ceremony including the Lord Mayor of London, who laid the cornerstone. Today, the London Bridge is one of America’s most unique tourist attractions. To learn more, check out golakehavasu.com .

Explore the area by foot. Trails range from short, paved paths to steep, rocky slopes. 

Jeff and cottonball

Jeff made it to the top. It wasn't high at all, but we thought it was fun to get up there.

That was me and cottonball.

Kick back and watch the sunset...

Go fishing or boating ...

Explore the area with ATV, dirt bikes, 4 wheeler – drive through wildflowers in the spring, scale some heights if you’re into rock crawling, or go full-bore and feel the thrill of picking up speed through open areas off-road.

My first time to ride an ATV.

My daughter Christine getting ready to hit the road with her ATV.

Drive with ATV and head to the place known as the Desert Bar,  located near Parker, Arizona in the heart of the Buckskin Mountains just 30 minutes away.

Drink, party and have burgers and hot dogs cooked on a large outdoor grill regularly. No one comes just for the food!

Band playing jazz and some guests having some beer and enjoying the music.

Off-road enthusiasts who come to the Desert Bar via the “back way” also have the opportunity to experience the steep hills and beautiful desert scenery on the way. One can see the majestic wildlife and desert plants that give a true taste of Arizona, with its blue sky and rocky terrain, as well as old, abandoned mining shafts.

From Devotions for Every day of the year:

"When you walk with me through a day in trusting dependence on ME, My aching heart is soothed. Gently bring your attention back to ME whenever it wanders away. I look for persistence - rather than perfection - in your walk with ME" 

Scholarships and Grants

College tuition and expenses can be very expensive, so when our daughter was a first semester senior in high school my husband and I started to research grants, scholarships, student loans and financial aid information. We helped her apply for scholarships reserved for students with high grade point averages. We solicited college basketball scholarship money since she was the most valuable player on her high school varsity basketball team two years in a row.  There were many avenues to search including outstanding students from low income family scholarships. School scholarship.org provides helpful information about a variety of scholarships and prepares you on how to put your best foot forward in the application process before engaging in the competitive reviews. They provide information for athletic scholarships, family scholarships, minority scholarships, low income grants, subject scholarships and many more. One of the scholarships that most people will never guess that exists is the left handed students scholarship. There is only one school that offers this scholarship and one of the qualifications to apply is the student must be left-handed.  Along with being left-handed the student must have good academic performance and excellent leadership skills. This scholarship fund was inspired by very popular and successful people who are left-handed including: Albert Enstein, Picasso, President's Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton to name a few. Our family was blown away with the plethora of information we gleaned from this website.

A college degree is one of our families top priorities.  Since birth our children have learned from us that someone who has a college degree has a better chance of success in life than someone without a college degree.   Going to college for our children was something our children expected to do since entering elementary school.  One of our family sayings is, "Education is the only thing in life no one can ever steal from you and it is the only thing that lasts forever."  Finding the right resources to pay for education is found at school scholarship.org

If you have family or friends going to college, please share this helpful financial aid information web site. What you will share can be a life changing event for everyone.

Submitted by Chay for TSS

Friday, January 20, 2012

Trip of a Lifetime

I met Brian in college in my last term in the nursing program. He is funny and everybody in our class loves him. We spent many hours in clinicals and working on school projects. I started to like Brian after spending a lot of time with him and even wished that there was something more than just a friendship. The first time I met him, I knew there was something different about him, I just couldn't figure out what it was. Brian's parents died on a car accident when he was three years old. His grandmother on his mother's side and two aunts raised him up. He had a lot of happy childhood memories. One thing I couldn't forget about Brian was when he opened up with me and told me he never really like to date girls and he was more attracted with boys. I tried my best to work his feelings out and even told him it was totally fine to come out in the open and have at peace with himself. I was there for him and showed him that the feeling was perfectly normal.

We remain good friends even after college. I went to have my master's degree in another school while Brian was hired in the local hospital in our town after he got his RN license. We both love to go out and have fun, travel and discover new places and restaurants to eat. When we were still in school we talked about doing a trip of a liftetime. We have thought about visiting places like California, Las Vegas and San Francisco. We saved and planned for this trip for months. It was spring in 2007 when we finally decided to do it. We created an itinerary and made sure to check out places that were safe for us to hang out and have fun. Our first stop was San Diego in California, a friend took us to a really nice place in San Diego Hillcrest area. It was one of the gay travel hot spots in San Diego. The area has a lot of great selection of restaurants, coffee shops and boutique shops. We were there on a Friday and this place was packed. We met a lot of nice people who live in town and some who were just like us visiting. We had a great time.

Coming from a small town in Michigan, it was a childhood dream for us to see a big city like San Francisco. We drove from San Diego to San Francisco. We headed straight to see the Golden Gate, the feeling was surreal, it was exactly like how we saw it in the movies. We visited other places like Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, hopping the crowded tour boat to Alcatraz, we tour around with cable car too. We stayed in a hotel in Union Square and it was a 10 minute ride to this really nice place in San Francisco Castro area, the place is known as the Gay hot spot of the world. Great food, bars and clubs and a great place to shop. http://www.gaytravelbuddy.com/the-castro/

For our last stop, we flew from San Francisco to Las Vegas. We visited casino after casino and checked out buffet more times than we had in our entire life. Our eyes could not believe the glamor and the lights, one experience we will never forget. In Las Vegas area, we always check gaytravelbuddy.com, this site promotes gay friendly entertainment, restaurants, travel deals for get aways, and places to just have a drink after work or coffee. Because we were new to the area our safety always comes first.

After two weeks of traveling we were both ready to head back home to our small town in Detroit, Michigan. It was a beautiful experience and one that we will treasure forever.

Submitted by Chay for TSS

Cellphone Lockers

After work I like to stop by the gym and work out for an hour.  It has been a part of my weekly routine for a year now.  I lost ten pounds last year and going to the gym three times a week has been in my goal to keep the weight off.  I was happy about the result and the reason why I stayed motivated.  The state-of-the-art facility of the gym I go to has every feature one could wish for in a gym membership. All their equipment was top of the line.  They have a small cafeteria and a gift shop on the corner where one can go in and grab a drink or pick up a gym outfit if members happen to forget their stuff.  The gym manager makes sure to meet the needs of their customers paying close attention to ensure that their member get the most value of their membership.  The facility has hand sanitizers and paper towels in every corner for customers to keep their hands clean and germ-free. On the walls are mini storage lockers for customers to store small personal items like keys, wallets, cameras, cellphone.  These celphone lockers are constructed of heavy duty aluminum and each unit door features a resettable combination lock that can be set to a fixed combination or a combination that can be reset after each use. Members can focus on their workout without having to worry about their belongings while they were inside the gym.  

Celphone storage lockers are ideal in public setting like gyms, universities or office buildings. They are available in recessed or surface mount and from 2-10 door lockers to 51-60 door lockers. 

Submitted by Chay for TSS 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tofu Curry

I was home early yesterday and thought of cooking something new for the family. I looked inside the refrigerator and found tofu, carrots, potatoes, green pepper, onion and garlic. I looked for a can of coconut milk and curry powder in the pantry and so glad I have them.  I have all the things I needed to make tofu curry. I had tofu curry in one of the restaurants in the Philippines.  They cooked it with tofu and curry sauce without potatoes and carrots. I prefer to make mine with vegetables, it's almost like a complete meal !

Tofu ( I used the firm tofu)
Green pepper
Coconut milk
Curry powder

Cut the tofu in your desired size.  Lightly fry the tofu, so they won't break apart when you stir them.
Peel, cut  the potatoes, carrots, green pepper.
Saute' garlic, onion in a pan.
Add the potatoes, carrots and green pepper
Pour the coconut milk and add the curry powder.
Add the tofu when potatoes and carrots are almost done.
Simmer for a few more minutes, season with salt and pepper.

We had a great dinner... enjoy !


Monday, January 16, 2012


Planking @ El Cajon Mountain Summit, El Capitan Open Space Reserve, Lakeside, San Diego County
I never knew about planking before, since I do not really join photography groups. If ever I follow professional nature and landscape photographers, it is because I want to enjoy places and wonders of nature that I have never been, or have been but failed to see. It allows me to learn more about the places, so that I can make a very strategic trip planning where we make the most of our money and time to see and do many things. Paying trip planners for an adventure vacation can be very expensive, thus I always see to it that we do not spend as much as most people but we see and do more by doing the adventure planning myself.

My first encounter of planking picture was with a fellow outdoor loving friend during her Alaska adventure vacation. I had fun and enjoyed entirely looking at her two planking pictures. I thought that planking meant to rest flat on the ground. I did not however take the effort to find out what planking constitutes. After that planking picture encounter about 6 months ago, I have forgotten about it since I have not seen anyone posted the same picture as hers.
 Boogie Boarding Closer to The Sky @ Potato Chip Rock, near the summit of Mt. Woodson, San Diego County
Then, a few weeks back, planking has been brought to me again by the same friend in reference to the Potato Chip Rock  picture above. My purpose of lying down flat, face down is to make Potato Chip Rock my boogie board in the sky. As a boogie boarder, I was supposed to go really to the tip, hug the tip with one of my hand, the other hand, holding one of the sides of the chip rock and my head in the air looking straight to the horizon or to the scenery below me.  Because I was too scared to do my boogie boarding pause right, I did it in the middle of the chip rock. Perhaps, I looked too stiff and scared, plus I was not at the tip of the chip rock that I looked more like planking. For the second time, I assumed that planking lies flat on any surface like what I was doing at Potato Chip Rock. I thought it was fun, so I did it again. What I loved doing whenever we are resting after a long hike and having fun outdoors is jumping, and in the next two shots below, I combined the thought of jumping and planking. I told hubby to take me a picture of boulder hopping, then, after hopping, I will pretend that I am so tired, ran out of gas, and will rest on one of the boulders "planking" style. 
 Boulder Hopping @ Palm Slot Canyon, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County
 Resting "Planking" Style
I had a blast doing what I thought was planking. When I saw the sky turning purple at sunset in one of our nature wanderings here in San Diego, I asked hubby again to take me a planking picture ( well, the planking that I pictured in my mind). In so short a time, I was able to get a lot of "planking" pictures. 
 @ Torrey Pines Gliderport, San Diego
Then it came to me I had been "planking" after Potato Chip Rock but never had verified what planking means. I finally checked what planking means, and I found out it is a lying down game, mimicking a wooden plank, where participants lie face down in an unusual location with both hands touching the sides of the body and the picture posted in the internet. Now, I am not a participant in planking game, but just had to correct all my previous photos. The picture below is my first approach to do the correct planking, where my hands touch both sides of my body. The very first picture in this post at El Cajon Mountain Summit was my second try to do corrected planking.
My First Corrected Planking at Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego
Life is beautiful, seize each moment. Find fun in the simplest things, talk sweetly to the innermost of your heart, find self peace, contentment and happiness that no one would be able to steal. Try to do a little bit different, it adds up spice and simple happiness. As for my boogie boarding in the sky picture, I will have to go back to Potato Chip Rock, take the courage to go to the tip and pause really like a boogie boarder. But should I get scared again to do it, well, I can always do planking again. :)  Yes, planking, anyone?
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