Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year


Sunrise east of Falkner Island

Happy New Year!


glitter-graphics.com

Leeds Pond Preserve




Years ago, when I was looking to anchor in Manhasset Bay, I would often drop the hook in about ten feet of water off of Leeds Pond. My rule of thumb in locating the anchorage was to motor south of the yacht club mooring fields, and look for a stretch of shoreline that was heavily wooded, and was void of any waterfront homes. Manhasset Bay is a busy harbor, but this anchorage provided calm from activity ashore and afloat.
Leeds Pond is a 35 acre preserve that includes a wetlands trail that winds along the pond and a freshwater marsh. The preserve is also the home of the Science Museum Of Long Island. The museum sits on a hill that provides views of the lower section of the bay. There are gardens and an interpretive center on the grounds as well.
The highlight of my visit was a walk along North Plandome Road, that separates Leeds Pond from Manhasset Bay. From this location, I could watch the waters of the pond fall into a spillway and pass an old mill, before making their way across tidal flats and into the bay.
Scenic and peaceful, as it normally is.

LEEDS POND PRESERVE: WebAlbum
Map

New Australian Last Minute Site

Very interesting notice for those who lives in Australia or wants to visit it. One of the most popular travel brands Lastminute announces the publishing of their new re-launched travel related site Lastminute.com.au. The new site is very clear, with simple navigation and attractive design in classic tradition of the brand. The navigation bar presents all the main areas of business, and you see them in the big banners on the page too.

If you look for a hotel, you can save till 70% with last minute accommodation. Other very interesting offer is "Secret Hotels" that I've not seen in other related sites. Those are exclusive LM deals with very low prices. And the news about hotels do not finish here. You will find "top 5 in the" and "top 10 most wanted". What can I say you, personally I prefere to know everything possible about the hotel I have to go before I book a room because it happend to me to book making a call and to find something completely different from what I expected to find -"a nice gift" when you come in completely new place late in the night.

Other of the main LM areas are last minute flights that have international and domestic sits with very interesting fares. Personally I often use LM because I find always the best offers there. Not only cheap flights but all the necessary information I could need when I look for a solution that matches good for my necessities. You will find other new services visiting this new site.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Predator Rap Video



Lately I've been trying to catch up on about a year's worth of scribbles made in a little notebook to remind me to check out stuff on the internet. In Costa Rica I can go to an internet cafe and do some casual internet surfing, but there's nothing like good, old-fashioned (and free, for me) internet back here at my folks' house in the U.S.

Since I have had some quality time with high-speed access, I've been going through some odd recommended sites. A link to the video above came up when I was looking at www.submarinechannel.com, a cool site that my brother recommended to me months and months ago, and which I finally got a chance to check out. The video is pretty cool and weird, so have a look. It's the first video I've embedded in a post, so I hope it works. It basically tells the plot of the 80's movie "Predator" in rap form, using a narrator as well as actual quotes from the movie.

Just have a look.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

I figured that since the blog looks a bit different now, I should quickly explain a few things:

1. The New Design: I tweaked with a template from Blogger to come up with the new design for this blog. I hope you like it. It should be easier to read, and it'll also fill more of the screen if you enlarge the size of window displaying the blog. Please feel free to tell me if you like it or not, and be sure to mention any problems you may have with the look or functionality of the new design.


2. The aStore: As I mentioned before, this site is linked to Amazon.com (one of the boxes on the left). I think they provide good products at a good cost, so I've set up a page within Amazon's architecture to allow you to shop for items from their store. If you buy products from Amazon after going through my store's link, then I get a small referral bonus from Amazon. So if you normally buy from Amazon, then it's just a way to help support me and this blog.

If you looked at the store before, you should know that I have changed it and added quite a few things. It still has the products that I'm into lately, as well as the music mentioned and reviewed in the A-Z Music Review Revue. What's new, though, is that it also has many of Amazon's own categories, which means that you can search directly within the aStore for most any product that Amazon offers, without having to go to a new window. It's sort of hard to describe it all, but I'd love it if you check it all out whenever you have a moment. And a big thanks to the people who have already used the aStore as a link to buy stuff!


3. The Advertisements: First of all, I must apologize that I even put up ads. I know that a lot of people react negatively to them, but the truth is that they pay (a little bit of) the bills, so I decided to add them. In any case, the ads are set up by Google AdSense, so I have no control over their content. I therefore apologize if they are annoying or repetitive. Still, if any of the ads are interesting to you, please feel more than welcome to check them out...that's what they're there for, after all.


4. The "Internet Search" Window: This is the other thing to the left. Basically, it is also related to AdSense, and uses Google to do an internet search. When you get to the results page, some of the links at the top or bottom of the page may be set off from the others. Those are the sites that pay Google for ad space, and that is how they are connected to the whole program. If you do a search and the featured links don't help you, then that's fine; you can just ignore them and go to any of the regular links lower down on the page. If they are what you're looking for, then once again, please feel free to visit them.


So, that's about it for the changes. Tell me if any of that didn't make sense, and I'll try to clarify anything that needs clarifying.

I hope that everyone is doing well, and I hope that everyone enjoys a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Parkham

Three enthusiastic children are not something I'm used to but they practically begged to go out this afternoon, lured by the Pizza Hut pay-off that is now a Christmas Eve tradition. Yesterday we got the North Devon Walks guide book out and this was their choice, not mine.

Parkham is a tiny villiage off the A39 between Bideford and Clovelly. There is nothing there but a church and a few pubs. We parked outside the church and followed the 3 mile route around the villiage past several farms, over fields and through woodlands. We even went through a tunnel under the road where all but one of us had to bend down to get through. If you are looking for an adventurous walk through very muddy countryside, this is it. The kids loved it, right up to the point where we had to walk up several VERY steep hills. Then they got a bit tired. And the second half of the walk was most on the road and this was a bit boring for them.

Fotunately no one fell over in the mud, although my husband had a few close calls, so when we got to Pizza Hut they weren't worried about letting us in. Thank goodness for that - all that fresh air and exercise and no pizza at the end of it and there really would have been a riot.

Merry Christmas




Noank In Snow: WebAlbum

Merry Christmas!




Many of you, who likes to travel are on your way to your preferite vacation place. Wish you very happy vacation, much snow or the best water temperature for those who will lie on the beach.

All the best to you!


Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Happy Xmas & 2009

Just to wish all our members and other supporters a very happy Xmas, and a wealth of walking in 2009 :-)

Sunday, 21 December 2008

And Now, Here's One For All You German-Wannabes Out There


As I was recently looking at some articles from Focus.de, an online German news source, I came across a series of tests to determine one's "German-ness." Apparently, these 6 tests will be given to people who want to become German citizens. We give a similar test in the US, and I may have to take a test like this when I try to apply for Costa Rican citizenship sometime next year.

So, feeling a bit nostalgic for my German-studying and Germany-loving days, I took a few of the tests. There are 33 questions in each test, and to pass you need to answer at least 17 questions correctly. And, to be honest, they're pretty easy. For the first one I took, I choked a bit and only got 28 correct, but on the second one I tried, I got a 100%! Still got it!

Anyhow, if you're down with the Deutsch, check them out by following this link, and tell me how you do. (Obviously, you have to understand German to do them, or else just guess really well).

Good luck!

(Picture taken by me in my trip of 2006).

Southport




My original plan was to post a story about Southport from a summer perspective. A walk along Harbor Road during all of its summer splendor provides one of the most attractive waterfront settings in Fairfield County. The finely fitted yachts moored in the harbor with their proper burgees flying. The well kept colonial homes with their understated elegance and gardens. The stately Pequot Yacht Club, that seems to be the cover photograph of choice for many regional atlases and guides. The village of Southport is a beautiful setting during the warmer months, and I highly recommend a visit.
Beauty however, comes in different forms. I visited Southport just a day before the winter solstice, as a fresh layer of snow blanketed the landscape. The bunting and flags were nowhere to be seen. The gardens were dead and buried under the snowfall, while Perry's Green was a study in gray. The sailing yachts that decorated the harbor were now covered in khaki green tarps that resembled tents from some long ago army camp. The Mill River and the golf course were void of activity, except for some waterfowl that huddled near the shore. On a day that was the opposite extreme of summer, there was beauty in the starkness of it all.

Southport: WebAlbum
Map

Friday, 19 December 2008

Gift Memberships - a great present for 2009

BWs Gift Memberships for 2009 are available - a snip at 10 euros. Membership gives reduced entry to all our events, plus a range of other benefits, including discounts on books about Brittany. In the form of a designed voucher, the Gift Memberships can be sent, together with a membership card and a personal message, to any address in Brittany or the UK. Contact us at brittanywalks@orange.fr for more details.

Call Now!


If you're reading this and you're in Fort Collins, give us a call. We're kinda bored.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Some Mexico Pictures

Hi Everyone!
Well, Angela and I are now back in Colorado visiting my family, and we're safe, sound, and flash-frozen. We took a lot of pictures in Mexico, and I'll be putting more up soon on www.ryansitzman.com (yes, it's still around). In the meantime, though, Angela just called her mom and told her that I was going to put some Mexico pictures up this afternoon, so I had better get cracking. I suppose that since these are for the benefit of Angela's family, I should write this entry in Spanish, but, uhm, oh crap. Here we go:

El Palacio de Bellas Artes, en M�xico, D.F.

Aqu� est� la pareja que se cas� en Veracruz: Juan Pablo y Aurora. Despu�s se ve Laura y Mark, una pareja Mexicana-Holandesa que vive en Alemania. Despu�s Angela y yo. Estamos en el castillo de Veracruz.

Angela, Yo, Aurora, y Juan Pablo.

I'm writing this one in English since I'm not sure the Spanish speakers would be that interested: The wedding in Veracruz took place at an outdoor facility, and it was decorated nicely, including these beautiful, hand-painted pots...well, beautiful except for the swastikas.

Angela con su nuevo estilo.

Tirando el novio en el aire para celebrar.

En la catedral de la V�rgen de Guadalupe.

Afuera de la misma.

Angela probando pulque...o �sto era mezcal? �Sabe a gusano o no?

En las instalaciones de Teotihuacan.

Angela en la pir�mide del sol, mirando a la pir�mide de la luna.

Nuestra peque�a luchadora Angela, con su inspiraci�n, El Hijo del Santo.

Angela en el Mueso de Antropolog�a.

Ahorrita pondr� a�n m�s fotos en este blog o en mi sitio de web! Gracias por verlas, y les mandamos un saludo y un gran abrazo a todo el mundo en Costa Rica!
Thanks for checking these out. I'll put up more ASAP!


And How Is The Weather In South Africa?

One of my friends in internet lives in South Africa. Now when I complain about the rains and cold, she tells me about her flowers and the garden. They have Christmas feasts with +40�C . It is not very good maybe. Christmas feast is born to make winter more happy. What have they in the middle of the winter, in july and august? No one great fabulous feast! Oh poor creatures!

Here are photos made there.

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Whale
�Whale� ?? ??????.??????

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Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Pelham Bay Park





Years ago, I read some information about Pelham Bay Park that has stuck with me. The article or guidebook described the park as the southernmost example of a rocky New England shoreline. It was one of those things that I had not really thought about, yet it seemed so obvious, and so amazing at the same time. The rocky shoreline does continue to Throggs Neck and the East River, but most of it is no longer in its natural state. South of New York Harbor, it is sandy beaches and barrier islands, with the Chesapeake and Delaware bays consisting of mostly mud. Starting in Novia Scotia and extending through New England, this is the end of the line for the classic rocky coast.
Pelham Bay Park covers 2,766 acres in the Northeast Bronx, and includes golf courses, horse stables,a museum, and a police firing range. My visit in October however, was focused on Twin Island Preserve and Hunter Island Preserve, which form the peninsula that extends northeast from Orchard Beach.
I entered Twin Island Preserve at the far end of the promenade that wraps around the beach. After a short distance along the main trail, I came to several paths that lead to the shoreline. The exposed bedrock and glacial erratics were bright from the sun. Davids Island and Pea Island sat in the distance, while a lone barge made its way down the Sound. I passed a few fishermen as I made my way along, eventually reaching the ruins of an old tide mill. All that remains is a dam with a sluice, and two ebb tides a day.
I entered Hunter Island Preserve after crossing through a picnic area that is adjacent to the beach. This area was much more wooded and seemed less traveled (it is also a larger area). I arrived at a spot where Glen Island and the New York Athletic Club were just a short distance across the channel. The Iona College crew team glided by as their coach barked orders from a boat that trailed behind them. The newly built high-rises in New Rochelle stood in the distance. Eventually, I reached a forested area that contained a stand of very large trees. I am certainly no expert on trees, but these were of considerable size, and appeared to be quite old. I began to wonder where the oldest native trees were in NYC. Inwood Hill? Riverdale? Brooklyn? Were any of the trees here around in colonial times?
The trail began to lead west and work its way back. There was less shore access along this stretch, but there were still random views of a protected cove, and the lagoon used for the 1964 Olympic Rowing trials. The top floors of a few Co-op City buildings appeared on the horizon, reminding me that I was in the Bronx, and it was 2008.

Pelham Bay Park: WebAlbum
Soundbounder: Orchard Beach Lagoon
Map

Monday, 15 December 2008

When Is The Best Period To Visit Italy

One girl said me she wanted to come in Italy these days. I was surprized. November and December is not the best time to visit Italy. The weather is not good here in this period. It rains much. This year the rains began in the middle of Novembe and it rains without stop till today, more than 4 weeks. The earth is full of water and is very dangerous for mud flows. On the photo from Wikipedia you see river Tevere near Castel S. Angelo in it's normal situation. Now, watch this video how was it some days ago.

So, if you want to go in Italy, exclude November, December, July and August. Anyway, control the weather forcast.

qq

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Waiting, not so Patiently

It is the season of anticipation.....Advent now....Christmas just ten days away. But that isn't what had us waiting so impatiently. No, it was That Snowstorm that They kept talking about for three days. The storm warnings came out a day sooner than usual. The weather report was filled with talk of Possibilities. The reason for the early report, we were told, was that this was potentially a very dangerous storm. The catch, however, was that They weren't real sure exactly what track it would take. We just had to wait and see.

I swear, hearing that kind of chatter, when you really Want the snow to fall, can be killer. The first part of the snow was to fall last evening, with perhaps three to five inches as a result. It took a long time for the snow to arrive, and when it did, it was light. It barely covered the tracks outside. It was easy to see, as the remnants of the recent full moon were illuminating the snow through the thin cloud cover. We woke up several times in the night, anticipating, hoping, that the real snow had arrived. Greg finally got up at five o'clock, perhaps to watch and wait some more, without being bothered by feigning sleep.

When I got up, it still wasn't snowing. We diligently checked the internet weather reports and the radar maps, and indeed, a large blue mass "seemed" to be headed our way. It sure was moving slowly though. By eleven a.m., we had turned into miserable skeptics. We began to recount the many times we'd been promised snow, only to be on the fringes of the storm. It's hard to be satisfied with three inches, when twenty-some miles directly south, as the crow flies, two feet has fallen. We were sure that this snow event was headed towards that same sad ending.

Happily--Most happily, I might add--we were wrong. It finally kicked up around one this afternoon, and it has been snowing steadily since. It's starting to pile up, that lovely fluffy, dry and powdery type of snow. It's dark now as I write, but for several hours this afternoon, we couldn't see Canada. That's our usual way to gauge how hard it is snowing: whether or not we can see across the lake to the shore three-quarters of a mile away. Robert just came in from a trek over to Sharlene's, and he said that it is still snowing hard. Greg is out plowing, to try to keep up with his obligations. He loves this kind of work.

We're happy! Tomorrow we'll be out there with shovels, using that snow to bank the cabins to keep them warmer. We'll be clearing paths, and cleaning up. It's going to be great. I'll bring my camera along so that I can post some pictures. Just in time for Christmas!

8:30 P.M. ETA: I forgot to mention earlier that our phones have been out all day, as they were
at the end of last week, as well. (Sigh...) The phone challenges that we had last winter seem to have returned. If you need to reach us, please drop us an email. info@hestons.com Hopefully the phone company will be able to sort out this mess soon.

And it is still snowing!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Xmas Event - Workshops!




Card-making, cake-decorating, upholstery, Morris dancing - all entered into with gusto and superbly well led by Joan, Liz, Jude and Lesley.
Thank you to everyone who came to support this event and contributed to such an enjoyable day - we are very fortunate in our members (and their friends!). Special thanks to Joan and John, our hosts, Liz and Alan, Jude and Jeanne for all their hard work.