Monday, August 23, 2010

Gettin' With the Times

So I've finally moved into the current times (just a little bit) and gotten on Facebook.  It's amazing how fast that thing sucks you in.  At first I was only going to register so I could look at the pictures my family member was posting.  Facebook kept sending me email invites from him, so I broke down and joined. I didn't plan to post any personal information or a picture or anything.  Then I realized there were several of my family members on FB; family I haven't seen in ages and haven't kept in touch with.  So I decided I'd go ahead and add them as friends and then I could at least keep tabs on what's going on with my family.  I added a photo but just one of a scenic view from a trip to Hawaii. 

It snowballed from there until I pretty much had a high-school reunion on my laptop. It's so much fun to see how people are doing now and what they are up to.  And what they look like!  So many of them look exactly the same.  Others look completely different and I can barely recognize them, while others are easily recognizable but have really blossomed and are really beautiful/handsome now. I fall in the category of looking just the same, although several pounds heavier.  I'm about the only one out of the marrieds who doesn't have kids.  It's kind of shocking to see that some of them have kids that aren't just babies, but in elementary school and beyond.  I guess I'm older than I realized.

And I even posted some pictures of myself, although the most recent one is from summer of 2008.  I never realized how few pictures I have of myself.  I'm going to have to remedy that by getting in FRONT of the camera for once.  Let's just hope I can get some flattering ones.  And if not, there's always Photoshop, right?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday: Giant Hibiscus Flower in Maui

When my DH and I stayed at the Royal Lahaina Resort in Maui several years ago, there were hibiscus plants on the grounds that grew flowers as big as my face!  They were absolutely enormous and so beautiful.  Here's a nice yellow one for Mellow Yellow Monday.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Chocolate Named Eternity

I got sucked into an impulse buy while standing in line at Walmart this week after doing my grocery shopping.  There was a pretty little display of gourmet-style chocolate bars.  They caught my eye with their simple but elegant packaging, and the words "dark chocolate" and "cherry".  The chocolate lover in me squealed in delight. 
73% cocoa and cherry flavoring?  Sounded like a winning combination to me!  The little squares of chocolate were vaguely leaf-shaped, and even had veining just like real leaves do.  Such attention to detail was a good sign that this would be some darn good chocolate.  Did I mention this was Belgian chocolate?  It even had a name.  This flavor was called "Eternity".  Sounds promising, doesn't it?

Search for NewTree Chocolate

So today I finally get around to trying this chocolate bar.  I settle down in my chair and I'm so prepared to be an adult and savor my fancy new chocolate.  The wrapper is made from premium paper - not even a hint of a tear as I unfold it.  I break off a row of chocolate and then one single square. 

I bite into my fancy new chocolate and prepare to swoon over the yumminess that is cherry-flavored Belgian chocolate. 

My first response is confusion.  Is that a taste of anise seed??  Surely some vengeful chocolate maker hasn't ruined my chocolate bar with something that tastes like licorice.  I take another bite and realize that no, there isn't really any anise flavoring.  Whew!  But as I continue to taste the chocolate, paying close attention to every nuance of flavor and any aftertastes, I realize something strange.  I don't like this fancy, gourmet, cherry-flavored dark chocolate.  It doesn't taste like cherry.  It doesn't even taste like chocolate!  What is going on?  Did someone secretly swap my NewTree chocolate for a piece of an actual tree?  Like bark maybe? 

Maybe it's just because it's new.  Perhaps I need to just take a few more small bites to get used to the flavor in order to truly appreciate it.  I bravely attempt another nibble and let the chocolate melt on my tongue.  Nope.  Still gross. 

I'm awash in chocolate despair.  I can forgive a let-down driven by the absense of cherry essence.  But a chocolate bar should taste like chocolate!  I love dark chocolate.  I love cherries.  This chocolate bar should have been a slam dunk.  Is it the extra 3% of cocoa that ruins it for me?  I've never had any chocolate over 70% cocoa before.  I'm heartbroken to think that maybe it IS possible for something to be "too chocolatey".  I guess I'll just have to stick to my Super Chocolate Hot Cocoa and dark chocolate bars with 70% or less cocoa content. 

Have you ever tried any of the NewTree chocolate bars?  Did you like it?  Have you ever been supremely disappointed with a candy purchase you thought you were going to love?

Image found here.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fly Away Little Bird

Every year the rafters of my back porch become home to small birds.  They build their little nests and settle in, singing merrily and flitting about.  This year, as I was enjoying a beautiful spring morning and sitting quietly while reading in the sun, I heard the faint chorus of tiny little "cheeps".  At first I wasn't sure what I was hearing or where it was coming from, but then I realized that the birds that nest under the roof of my porch must have hatched a few eggs.  I loved coming outside and hearing their birdsong.  If I made too much noise they would go quiet, so I had to sit patiently for them to start up again.  I pulled out our ladder and climbed up to get a peek of the baby birds and take some pictures.  They were all soft, fluffy feathers, sharp beaks, and beady little eyes.  They looked quite cozy in their nest. 

After a few days, I heard through our open doors and windows the chirping and cheeping again.  It had a different sound to it this time, and seemed to be coming from everywhere at once.  I went outside to investigate, and saw that the momma bird was teaching her chicks to fly!  The little puffballs were perched all over the porch and were trying their hardest to follow momma.  Unfortunately, they had found their way into the mostly-screened porch and were having trouble getting back out.  This problem has occurred often since my husband and I bought the house, and most of the screens have been cut away so that birds, butterflies, and dragonflies can find their way to freedom.  As I grabbed my camera and tried to get pictures of these adorable fluffy fliers, momma bird was determined to come flying back, shrieking at me to stay away from her babies!  It was difficult to get any good pictures of the chicks since they were so high.  I zoomed as far as I could, but it makes the picture blurry.  After I took my pictures, I tried to stay in the house so as not to disturb the chicks any more than necessary as they worked their way out of the porch.  Eventually they were all free, and I saw one hopping along the grass in the back yard, while another one scuttled around on the roof!  By the time I grabbed my camera again, they had disappeared with momma bird - all flying away and on their way to being all grown up.