Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

28 May 2016 – SC State Butterfly

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Tue: Congratulations Ellie, #2 of The FaBulous5. First time I hear of a Black Belt in Strings! This is her last concert at Irmo Elementary School.

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She must have had the biggest fan audience with her parents, siblings and 2grandmothers:-) and she certainly made us proud with her performance. Like the pencil she got with her award. Must get some of those for my music lover friends. Could not resist taking a pix of this hair-do in front of me. The FaBulous5 all got a milkshake after the concert.

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Wed: hello to a beautiful visitor. Reward for cleaning the driveway to discover it stuck between the wall and a plank. Got a leaf to get it out so as not to touch it, but somehow it got up my pants:-) Thank you for the visit – butterflies are considered as the souls of those who had passed away, in particular Greek mythology and also with the Chinese!

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For a second, thought it will not make it. Eventually it flew higher and higher up to the trees. Safe journeys to my first meeting with the SC State Butterfly even-though I have been here annually for over a decade! This Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. must be related to Tiger-Lil:-) Wonder if any of my ancestor is trying to message me from their FB realm???

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Thu: every cloud has a silver lining – on Cloud9 whenever in SC or Norway. Somehow clouds here seem to be more interesting to read and take pix of, or perhaps I have more time to meditate and observed by the lake.

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IMG_1496These teenagers trying to stay on an AirHead was good entertainment during the sunset watch by the lake:-)

Family’s pet Mizuno, named after Linn’s running shoes. Zuno for short was happy to see me after my walk to the lake or rather he was hoping that I will take him for a walk. There is no way I will dare to take this strong animal for any walks – nicknamed him the RunAway Dog as he would take off  whenever the opportunity arises. That’s for naming a dog after running shoes… hahaha.

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Fri: TGIF but sad to read this in the news – Ms. Largay spent the night of July 21-22 in the Poplar Ridge lean-to in western Maine, less than 200 miles from the end of the trail – condolences to her family and may she RIP. The section where Ms Largay was last seen was also the section that many of us took the wrong turn! For our 2005 group, this was on 20Aug 2005 Day 113.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/27/us/missing-hiker-geraldine-largay-appalachian-trail-maine.html?_r=0

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A quick bite at McD by the school before helping out for Field Day@Irmo Elementary. See what I mean about the amazing clouds here in SC!!!

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It is not often that I get a chance to mention about John as he is so quiet. Love this pottery bowl he made and congratulations to him who has read at least 12 of the SC Book Award Nominees this year. Do think he resembles the actor Owen Wilson.

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Glad that I got to see all 4 in the elementary school today (the last year that 4 are in the same school), but was too busy at the snow-cone station to take pix of them all – 2 out of 4!

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day
When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May
Well I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way… 

Harbison State Forest

24 May 2016 – With Different 9 Trails

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Fri: @Krogers for US $9, could not resist this mini white Phalaenopsis as it came with a shot glass! and has many buds! The instructions on the shot glass states – ‘Simpleshot Glass one full shot, once a week warm water only WATER RESPONSIBLY’. My bets are that it will survive until I leave as the roots did not look too healthy. What a sucker I am for novelty:-)

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Sat: Jennifer&Frank arrived late last night when I was in dreamland. An early morning for these fit young runners (Linn Hall, Erin Miller, Frank Clark, Brad Marlowe & Larry Jourdain)@Harbison State Forest to start the weekend is the way to go. (my pix was featured in the Harbison Picayune). This forest has 9 different trails (ranging from 0.5 – 4.4m/0.8 – 7k) and only 15mins drive from Linn’s house.

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Bounded along its northeastern edge by the Broad River, Harbison Environmental Education Forest encompasses 2,137 acres of forestland 9m from downtown CAE. Its unique urban location makes Harbison one of the largest public green-spaces inside the city limits of a metropolitan area in the eastern US.

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Comfy pine needle paths and for a moment I thought I was on the AT again. Thank goodness no snake even when it looked like one!

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http://www.state.sc.us/forest/refharb.htm

indexCE7090-2index1pix downloaded.

Erin was parked at Lowe’s parking lot to meet with us and after dropping her off, decided to get some cedar to place in the pantry as I have read somewhere that moths do not like that.  Also read in the news some days ago about a snake incident at a Lowe’s in NC! So told the customers’ service that I will not be going out to their garden section and requested for them to bring the cedar wood in. Fortunately, they were located in aisle 39 and not outdoor. Bought some blocks for the pantry, hangers and sachet for the closets.

http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2016/05/18/man-bitten-copperhead-snake-lowes.wsoc

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Thank you to Jennifer&Frank for this educational presentation Struggling To Find Hope – a play followed by constructive discussions on Mental Health Issues that Impact the community.

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Rather ironic, this was all happening at The Comedy House! yes there were some aspect of comedy in the presentation but the topic is sad situation considering how many really understand what mental illness is about.

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The young people were out for dinner and I stayed in to mind the kids.

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Sun: Linn made a yummy hash-brown casserole for breakfast before Frank&Jennifer headed for their church and we headed to Shandon Baptist Church. Good to have caught up with them this time round. Jeff was on-call the whole weekend and we did not see much of him.

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Church picnic at Old Woodlands Park.

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Kids having fun on the playgrounds, including the pre-teen and teen:-)

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Irmo High School Field and Track Banquet. Katy made the times for high school, unfortunately she was injured for the season but was still recognized for being at all the practices, team photographer and meets even though she was not able to run. Good food catered by the school cafeteria.

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Mon: Irmo Middle Orchestra Chamber Music Recital where Katy played the violin from Weber’s Phantom of the Opera. She did not want pix of herself, but since this was the seldom time Jeff could be there, some pix had to be taken to remember this day! Katy’s teenage friends dropped by for dinner, Abbey and Logan tasted sushi for the first time!

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Earbuds Can Translate Any Language

19 May 2016 – A Dream Come True

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Mon: seems that life shifts into another gear too quickly and when one is used to an automatic shift, then the transition might be smoother. But if you are used to stick-shift, then you can hear the grinding if forgetting that you are not in auto-mode! Katy will be learning to drive next year and hopefully she will find a stick-shift car so that she can lean how to handle it. L&M learnt to drive on the stick in a red VWbug (great car from the Flowerpower days – pix downloaded), and it is an advantage to know how to handle both.

Discovered that there is something important that your car insurance provider doesn’t want you to know. New policies are indicating that for years many drivers have likely overpaid on their car insurance coverage. Larry tells me that he uses this insurance, so if I do get a car again in the US, will need to look into it. Not probable but not impossible:-) James was asking the meaning of impossible:-)

example

http://firstratequotes.com/lps/t2-l1-v6?ac=i135_sch43a4&network=d&t=Drivers+%28Born+Before+1955%29+Are+Surprised

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IMG_1311Tue: to May&family and friends in Norway – god syttende mai. Happy Norwegian Constitution Day from us in SC, USA to all who are celebrating today! Linn& Jeff had a meeting at the high school, so it was hotdogs, sodas and ice-cream for the kids.

Tkx to John for accommodating with holding the flag in the treehouse for me to shoot a pix. Somehow it is not easy to get into a 17May mood when not in Norway! Did not even bake anything, just bought cupcakes and great that there are Norwegian flags around the house.

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Wed: Earbuds can translate any language into any language. Wow – if this is for real, then I will take them in all languages. Always wanted something like this all my life – finally no need to be entirely lost in translation. My 3wishes to speak, understand and write all languages nearly came true. AmyR mentioned that it might discourage people from learning languages and she has a point there but some communication is better than none!

http://www.sciencealert.com/these-new-earbuds-can-translate-languages-for-you-in-real-time

https://www.minds.com/blog/view/578747936414904320

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Thu: oh no, not another plane crash😦

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/world/middleeast/egyptair-flight-804.html?_r=0

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The wild Mountain Laurel were absolutely stunning on the AT. John’s Climbing DonJuan rose has a lovely fragrance. The purple Clematis are done with their blooms, the pink Azalea are nearly done and now it is the Gardenia‘ turn, another sweet fragrance bloom.

A flower’s appeal is in its contradictions — so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect – Terri Guillemets

The 30th Annual Appalachian Trail Days

16 May 2016 – To Meet With AT Hiking Buddies

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Thu: grateful to Calvin@CC for both the SouthWest and MetroPack Hyperlite Moutain Gear, all packed and ready to test them out this weekend by Tiger-Lil:-)

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MoFo arrived by 1030hrs and per request brought his Zpack tent demonstrating how the set-up and so that I could feel the material and before ordering it when I get back from trail days. Do like the feel and the weight of this Solplex 459g/16.2ozs. Tkx MoFo for the trouble.

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On the road by 1100hrs with smooth traffic except for a short section with road constructions, scattered local heavy showers, a quick lunch+restroom break to arrive into Damascus/VA before 1600hrs.

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Sweet memories of the Montgomery Homestead B&B and the White Blaze from 2005.

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On the White Blaze at W Laurel Ave – where in 2005 there was a Dave’s Outfitters (no more) who repaired my tent pole within an hour and this place is the most friendly trail town then. Still friendly now but too crowded for me on trail days – we were not here on trail days during our thru’hike on 2005!

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Good luck to MoFo for the sales of a tent.

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W Laurel Ave is also where part of the White Blaze is with a colourful house on N Smith St, Presbyterian Church (1907), United Methodist Church, 2ducks crossing from Dancing Bear B&B! Pokey got in after 1800hrs, dinner at BoBo with the group but was not hungry and still had left-overs from lunch. Noisy and loud music locations are not my cup of tea unless I am starving and this are no other choices! 15mins drive to the Alpine Motel in Abingdon and a good night sleep.

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Fri: TGIF and Fri 13! Woke up early in light rains clearing as the morning progressed. US$5 for breakfast at the Fire Station was a good cause to the DVFD Damascus Volunteer Fire Dept.

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Manufacturer reps set up in the campground to assist hikers with equipment and repairs FOC. Tkx to MoFo for the pix – honey I shrunk the hikers:-)

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A short hike south on the AT was most welcomed, even when just hiking in city attire and using an umbrella as a walking stick! The wholesome feeling with nature is just beyond words. Cruiser’s pet was happily running backwards and forward to his master – if only I had that kind of energy, could have hiked to the TN boarder and back again within the hour:-)

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S Beaver Dam Ave, also part of the AT to check out the retails etc. Heard that Zpack was there. Just my luck that they had a Hexamid One, prototype 14.9ozs/422g US$300 (saved $200+) Arc backpacks 21ozs/595g $275 (saved $50), Challenger Rain Pants 3.8ozs/108g $100 (saved $50). Buying these at Trail Days save me $300+ tks to young Joe, the founder and owner of Zpacks.

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Made Mimosa and finger food to welcome the gang in the motel room before heading out to dinner at Rain Restaurant Abingdon****Had the rack of lamb and it was yummy but could only eat half and doggie-bag the rest. Appreciations to HiHills and Franklin who took the time to drive for nearly 2hrs to join us in the midst of their anniversary weekend plans.

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1989JunTonight is also Katy’s 8th grade dance and first formal. Tkx to Linn for the pix. Just look at this group of beautiful 14yrs young people and wishing them the very best ahead. Above 3 pix credits to Linn.

1989 in FL where Linn was at her 8th grade dance in a dress I made in those days! Where has all the time gone and how it is possible that my first-born is now 42 with her first-born now 14????

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Sat: the sunrise was absolutely perfect this cool morning. Tkx to Linn for the use of her sweats and could not resist to take this Kodak-moment outside the motel room. Am glad I did that as the other mornings, the sunrise was not the same.

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Good recommendations for breakfast at Zazzy’Z***by MissWiggy.

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Back to S Beaver Dam Ave at the vendors with the group to be entertained by a talented young man! Had some ribs for lunch US$7 served by the Veterans Memorial.

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The VA Creeper Trail Town Mural and Dee’s Barber Shop on the AT.

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13198421_1689418814653342_3359291270652702810_oMissWiggy and I were taking pix from the 2nd floor bathroom. MoFo was giving out beads with Lizard and Pokey watching from the porch of the Hikers Inn. Did not really want to be anywhere near this madness especially after HiHill’s accident in 2013😦

Tkx to Lee&Paul@The Hikers Inn, we stayed dry and warm thru’out the parade.

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A drink at Damascus Old Mill where we had dinner in 2005 and 2008. Informative presentation at the Town Hall by Warren Doyle about his past, present and future AT Expeditions. MoFo and Pokey 1995, Lizard 2000, MissWiggy and I were his 2005 Expedition – tkx to his logistics that I managed to thru’hike the AT. The group had pizza for dinner and I finished the left-overs from last night!

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Sun: farewell for now, my AT hiking buddies and the AT. Beautiful drive stopping in NC, Weaverville’s Well-Bred Cafe & Bakery*****for breakfast (highly recommended).

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Appreciations to MoFo for driving me door-door to&from 2016 Trail Days in VA. 4+hrs drive just flew by when one is having fun in good company!

When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world – John Muir

Elementary, Middle & High Schools

12 May 2016 – In Irmo/SC, USA

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Mon: have been here for 2 weeks today – time has gone by too quickly when you are having fun. This will be the last school year that 4 grand children are attending the same elementary school, Irmo Elementary. The history of this school dates back to 1935 when the building was constructed to serve all grades 1 thu’11. The original building still exists but with additions and an extreme makeovers. There is a Time Capsule sealed in 1987 and will be opened in 2037! Will probably not live to see it opened!

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Pix from 2015 with Linn & James picking up his siblings and now he is in K5, SophieG1, JohnG4 and EllieG5. Downloaded B/W pix from The American School and University Magazine.

Katy was there 3yrs ago and now final year in Irmo Middle School making the ‘A’ Honor Roll all 3yrs. She will be moving on to 9G High School and Ellie to Middle School next school year. Linn coaches Field & Track at Irmo High, and by next school year, 2 at the High School (including Linn:-) ) , 1 in Middle G6 and 3 in Elementary K4, G2, & G4. Need to get all these down to remember from year to year what grades the FaBulous5 are in!

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http://www.lexrich5.org/Irmo.cfm?subpage=1481

At the International Academic Magnet (iAM) at Irmo Middle School, Katy is learning Mandarin Chinese and plays the violin in the orchestra which scored a ‘Superior Rating’ for their performance at South Pointe High School.

http://newirmonews.com/irmo-middle-school-honor-rolls-4/

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Thanks Linn for the tour of Irmo High (1928). Their new auditorium is nicely and wisely designed, utilizing this add-on for both concerts and plays in this area besides just for the school.

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Murals on the walls in the gym and around there are colour and cheerful – Yellow Jacket being their mascot, obviously black and gold are their colours.

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http://patch.com/south-carolina/irmo/district-5-awarded-103-million-grant-for-magnet-programs

Like many US schools, the emphasis is on football and here is no exception. The newly build training room for the footballers are well-equipped and their field is immaculate. This team won the state championship in 1980.

s-l1000Tue: a day to clean out the pantry to learn that wiping down the shelves with white vinegar may help with the moth issues. Also will try to get some cedar chips to see if it will work.

Memories of the intricate carved-camphor or cedar chest from childhood days where the outfits of quality were stored! Was never a fan of that odour but the clothes were safe from moths. Pix of chest downloaded.

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Wed: Happy 40th Bday Tiffany.

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Appreciations to April for holding this young ladies’! brunch and including me at her charming lake-front home where I enjoyed walking around. A lovely time was had by all.

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Birds nesting up in the blinds – they kept me busy and quiet trying to get some decent shots, but no such luck with them moving so fast to feed and protect their young!

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There is a delightful chapel on Carl Shealy Rd. Have been told that it was part of the Gateway Baptist Church and it has been moved from Newberry? to this location.

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It sure feels like Paradise and the Garden of Eden surrounded by amazing trees with a welcoming gate in this fantastic weather:-)

IMG_1016Everyday we see them
standing tall and noble everywhere.
Most of the time we pass
giving them not a second thought.
All we see is greenery there,
we never think of the variety
and the effect they have on our lives…

David Harris

Pine Island

8 May 2016 – St Michael’s Lutheran Church

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Fri: the weather is as perfect as one could wish for, cool and dry! Nice drive around the neighbourhood to discover Pine Island. This 27-acre has been a private club for about 50yrs and owner SCE&G – SC Electric & Gas plans to keep it that way. But this longtime privacy of a premier site on Lake Murray is starting to come into question…

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http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/737404/pine_island_guards_privacy_but_scegs_lake_murray_club_is/

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Just within a few mins drive is St Michael’s Lutheran Church (1814), a charming white wooden church with a bell that chimes happily every hour.

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http://www.sciway.net/sc-photos/lexington-county/st-michaels-lutheran-church.html

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IMG_0815TGIF – a good Mother’s Day weekend to all. Finally after a few hours (would have taken me a whole day!), this old piano is adjusted (75), tuned (90) and cleaned (50) total US$215! The Red Music Room now has a melody in-tuned:-) All well-worth it to hear Katy and Ellie enjoying their duets on it. Wanted that tuned so as to accompany them on their violins. Tkx for this lovely chair Haley! Fits perfectly here. Hope that Jeff have have time to refinish it one day. Just love the lyre symbol – Greek: λύρα, lýra is a string instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later periods.

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Tom Gregory from iTune Piano Services referred by John Adair@Adair Piano did a good job. Thanks to both John and Tom.

Appreciations to Haley&Brian for yummy trout dinner.

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Sat: what a glorious and busy day. Congrats to John for his 5k in 29.25, fastest for Irmo Elementary in the Run Hard Running Team@First Baptist Church at Lexington. Good pix of John’s hair’s flying by Cindy.

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Yeah to all the coaches, especially coach Hall of Irmo High School Track & Field + team photographer Katy for their State Qualifier Meet@Spring Valley High.

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Appreciations to the team for shading me under their tent for a few minutes. Walked to Walmart to buy grapes for them and to do some shopping. Took me 5+hrs to check that every one of the grapes were good in the cluster and to get gifts for The Fabulous5:-)

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Sun: Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers – past, present and future! Loving memories to my mother Tsang MayLan (1911-1965), may she RIP.

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Tkx to Jeff for yummy salmon lunch and to Ellie for baking a delicious cake on this Mother’s Day. Have been told that it is a Luscious Lemon Cake decorated with fresh hand-picked strawberries. Now that is what I call a REAL cake, no wonder I had seconds…

Too choppy to ski on the lake but #1&2 got on the knee-board. #3 pix is too blur😦 #4&5 did not want to be pulled by the boat in the choppy waters.

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Boulangerie

6 May 2016 – French Bake Shop

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Mon: avocado, one of my favourites, no matter if fruit or veg! Ellie has always liked it, then John and now Sophie got a taste and learning to like it too. First time ever such a small seed for me! Ellen from Tromsø reminded me that avocado is a fruit. Then the king of fruits for me here and the king of fruits for me back in SIN is the durian, both being creamy and tasty!

https://authoritynutrition.com/12-proven-benefits-of-avocado/

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IMG_0793Tue: Rise Gourmet Goods & Bakeshop*****is called a Southern boulangerie, or French bake shop. Southern culinary familiarity melds with French flair using only the freshest, highest quality and mostly locally grown ingredients. Had the Beet Burger and it was out of this world. Those who know me also knows that I usually do not eat the bun from the burger, but this bread here was so fresh and good that I ate every crumb. The Orange Basil Soda hit the spot – refreshing and tasty. Appreciations to Debbie for this delicious lunch. Tkx to John for introducing Linn to this place.

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Wed: beautiful cool morning after 2nights of rains and Happy Hump Day to all. Swept the driveway instead of using the blower for exercise and to hopefully slow down destruction to the environment! Ordered online 2meshed vests from Ebay and a backpack Arc Blast from Zpack – Weight: 21 oz/595g Vol: 45L, Load cap: 35lbs/16kg US $325!

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Looks like the azaleas are on their ending days of blooming, but this bee like me seem to enjoy our tranquility with our own company for the moment!

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Another day in paradise with perfect weather dry and cool – peaceful be alone to watch the sunset on the lake.

Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Ooh, heaven is a place on earth…

cinco-de-mayo-in-new-jerseyThu: Cinco de Mayo=Fifth of May, commemorates Mexico’s victory over the French army at the Battle of Puebla (1861-1867).

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/cinco-de-mayo

Celebrating this occasion with food from south of the border, refreshing frozen Margaritas, yummy tacos, guacamole and salsa. Also another good reason is to expose the children to different cultures and taste of foods.

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Above food pix downloaded from various sites – having similar food except not that kind of presentation, just how I would like it to look but the below food pix is the reality! And with 5kids the Margaritas will be Virgin Margaritas. Not a fan or Margaritas, so had Blue Flour****made this for me and my plate of taco salad minus the shells and cheese:-)

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My photographs are a celebration of life, fun and the beautiful. They are a world that doesn’t exist. A fantasy. Freedom is real – Ryan McGinley