Monday, October 24, 2011

We're In Atlanta Still!

But not for long. Tomorrow we head back to the other side of the Big Pond, arriving home in the Netherlands Wednesday morning.

However, till then....

It's my turn again at Vision and Verb. Trick or Treat???
That's always what I think when I think about chestnuts!

After last week's post, we spent Monday to Friday with Bob and Peggy south of Atlanta and had plenty to keep us busy.

First, we went to the nearby Monastery of the Holy Spirit, part of the same Trappists near us in the Netherlands....

...and under the rule of Saint Benedict: peace, prayer and work.
Peggy and I had visited there a few years back so I was glad to share it with Astrid.

Asceticism: The practice of self-denial as a spiritual discipline.
An ascetic is someone, like a monk, who follows this way of life.

They even have their own water tower: Holy Water!

Monastic values are human values: Prayer, Work, Silence, Solitude, Community

I fell in love with him and his hands!

Then one day we went to both the Fox Theatre and the Atlanta Botanical Garden....

Atlanta's Fabulous Fox Theatre is one of the jewels in their crown.
I'd need the fingers and toes of several people to count how many times I have been there, for concerts and plays. But this was my first time to tour behind the scenes. Notice the Moorish designs. That's because it was originally planned to be a Shriner's temple.

It was well worth every minute...and a gift from Bob and Peggy.
Thank you!

The Atlanta Botanical Garden is another gem in Atlanta's crown:

What I love about it is the Midtown skyline in the background...

...and the whimsy, depending on the time of the year.
This time it was Scarecrows in the Garden.

And the flowers, of course!

Nothing topped any of that better than our one-on-one time with Bob and Peggy at their wonderful home in the boondocks.

They both love to cook and Bob also makes his own beer.
We were the lucky queens for several days in a row.

Any place where you can totally relax and be yourself is a home away from home.
(Plus 2 more water towers and a weathervane!)
Thank you, Bob and Peggy!

After we rejoined the kids on Friday, it was time for the north Georgia mountains! Our third year in a row, Astrid's second. It's one of those traditions we never want to end.

Everything you'd want for R&R:
Nature, napping, good food (thanks to Amy and Dennis who did the cooking),
walking, puzzle-making, hot-tubbing, Spades (cards), pool, and something new this year:
Facebook's Words With Friends app, similar to Scrabble.
I'm still trying to beat my kids!

Nicholas had his own "pursuits" this year that put him into his own world.
He was on vacation, too, and got to play his computer games as much as he wanted.
Still, he went on a walk with Astrid and me...always a highlight of my time here.

But Astrid did most of the walking, several times a day. We just don't get weather like this in the Netherlands, day after day. She was in heaven:

All of the above images are from Astrid from her first morning.
The foggy start to each day in the mountains is part of the magic of this place.

Thank you, Amy and Dennis, for once again inviting us to this heaven in the mountains!

All good things come to an end, as they say, so we're now in the packing stage for our flight back over the Big Pond tomorrow, arriving on Wednesday morning. Thankfully, Astrid has the rest of the week off from work. We'll get to relax back into our normal routines....

...while you prepare for Halloween a week from now! Which reminds me of my Vision and Verb post again: Trick or Treat!


  1. Our time with Bob and Peggy is always very special, we can be ourselves and enjoy all the goodies too.
    I heard a lot about 'the Fox'.
    To make a building that big and wonderful ist just amazing, seen the time frame, in the twenties.
    Being in the Monastry was very educational, they did a wonderful job with the display and showing the history of the monks.
    The orchids in the Botanical gardens are a true treasure, short of eyes for me, for sure.
    Last year there was no fog at the cabin in the morning, this year I was treated twice with fog.
    As long as you get up early and 'out run' the sun, to me; Heaven on Earth.
    The sounds of the forest, the dripping leaves, having the feeling of 'being alone in the world'. It is a wonderful place.
    After scrolling down in your post, did we do all of that and still have that vacation feeling, I know I will be beamed back the moment I go to work.
    But what is it that they say? The best thing about a vacation is coming home? Maybe true, but we added some wonderful memories.
    Thank you for this, again wonderful post.

  2. Beautiful photos, again! I can almost feel the happiness you have at being surrounded by old familiar people and places. The new and novel is wonderful, but there is just something about settling in to somewhere that knows you, right? That is the feeling I get from these photos.

  3. Astrid: You did more walking outside than the rest of us put together. THAT was heaven (and vacation) for you, I know. I'm so glad we had such good weather our entire trip. We even had some rain, which we love, while with Bob and Peggy. I love these traditions and rituals...and sharing them with you! Hartstikke bedankt.

    Karen: Oh yes! You said it all perfectly. We keep coming back to the same cabin because we love it so much. We don't even want to try another one! Thank you.

  4. wow, astrid must have been in heaven weather wise. your vacation is so wonderful and nicholas is all grown up and has that teen idol persona.

  5. I really do LOVE Astrid's shots on that first morning. Beautiful! And I know what you mean by good weather and taking advantage of it, all of which I don't do enough!

    And then going to the botanical garden.. Oh I hope we have more sunshine because I want to go to ours here! Those blown glass were the most impressive part of your pics for me..

    Love all of them though!!! So much packed into a week!!! Like usual. :)

    And little Nicholas is just growing and growing. Oh that will be so odd seeing him keep growing into a young man, only because I remember him from so young!

  6. PC: Astrid WAS in heaven, were we all for different reasons. And yes, that Nicholas is very "teen idol persona." HA! But a real gentleman when it comes to his new girlfriend. :)

    ET: Remember that I first fell in love with Astrid because of her pictures, Jen! :) Sometimes she blows me away with what she sees. It never ceases to amaze me.

    The glass sculptures at the Garden are even better in person. You'd go crazy with your own camera!

    And yes, that Nicholas is starting to make me smile big time. Makes me wonder what he'll look like 5 years from now! :)

  7. Ah wonderful!

    Yes, his hands are beautiful. I think you could create a photo book just of hands.

    We have a Fox theater in Detroit that is also fabulous, to which I have never been even once inside.

    Isn't it fun how recognizable Chahuli's work is?

    Oh yummy food with Bob and Peggy. Mmmm, salmon.

    It looks like you got the same beautiful home in the woods as before. We are bartering with our neighbor for a hot tub! Our old one is kaput, and so we will have one this winter. I'm so thrilled.

    I love the photos. That misty fog! So atmospheric.

    Wonderful for you to commit to this time stateside every autumn.

  8. Ruth: You are always so good about picking and choosing the things from a post that really grab you. Thank you. It's always fun to see what strikes different people. Something for everyone. I think of you so often when we are here, realizing we are but a hop, skip and a jump away, relatively speaking. Sigh. Next time we'll be at the cottage in May for a long stint!

  9. Astrids photography is stunning! I laughed when I saw the holy water tower... and I never thought I would say this... but the urinal photo is beautiful! :) So glad you enjoyed family, hiking, bonfire, the behind the scenes tour... wow... what a fun time! (and perfect weather).

  10. All your photos are super, I was very impressed that the monaco busy composing devotional chaplet !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!quiche

  11. Margaret: Astrid and I fell in love with each other because of our photography, so your comment is perfect. Sometimes she astounds me...because she often sees things differently than I do. I guess we complement each other. :) Thank you. It was a great time in every way...and now we have just arrived back home safely.

    Elettra: As always, thank you for stopping by here and commenting!

  12. Looks like wonderful times! Trappist monasteries fascinate me. The lifestlye of the monks touches me; however I don't think I could ever practice that much self-denial even if I hadn't gotten married to my very special Sweetheart.

  13. Tim: There was a time in my younger life when I wanted to be a "protestant nun," for lack of a better term. I once asked my Baptist-preacher dad if such a thing existed and he said to me "I hope not." Still, I'm with you and your soulful inspiration of this "calling" in life. There's much to be said for it, especially if the intent is service to and in the world. Thank you, Tim.

  14. Hey Ginny and Astrid, what a treat to see all your great photos! I, too, have many fond memories of the beautiful Fox Theater ... and I agree that Nicholas is such a cutie!

  15. It is so nice that Astrid enjoyed her stay in Georgia. You picked some great places to take her. I have been meaning to go to that Monastery in Conyers for a long time (after I heard about them through buying their breads.) The last time I went to the Fox was for a wedding about 3 years ago but I have never been behind the public areas – you always say I show you new things in Atlanta, now it is my turn to tell it to you. The cabin looks like a super great place and you have the pictures to prove it. Your collage of flowers shows them so well – very crisp photos indeed with vibrant colors.

  16. WS: You know this neck of the woods, Susan, and that's so fun for show things you recognize. Thank you. And yes, that Nicholas is something else. :)

    Vagabonde: Thank you! It's about time I show YOU something you haven't yet seen in the Atlanta area. HA! Some things are in our own back yard!

  17. I'll start with the last collage now that I'm finally here to have a proper look! Astrid's foggy photos are just marvelous! And my, Nicholas is certainly a handsome young man!

    Oh, I do envy you getting to have home brewed beer... it looks very substantial! And the food photos are once again making me hungry... (at least 3 hours before dinner time here).

    The collage of the monk is simply wonderful... what an interesting face and yes, his hands are beautiful too.

    And the Fox Theatre and Botanical Garden collages make me want to visit both! Your notes about the Fox Theatre jogged my memory and I did a search to confirm that it was correct... as a child growing up in Billings, MT, we went to the Fox Theatre for movies... it was the last Art Deco theatre built by 20th Century Fox. It has been restored to its original 1930's beauty and is now "one of Montana's premier cultural venues" under the new name of the Alberta Bair Theater for the Performing Arts.

    Now you probably can see why I need to set aside time to read your posts... I almost always get sidetracked and go off on some tangent or another!

    I love all the collages from the botanical garden... and am especially fond of the image of Astrid behind the metal sculpture where she is holding on to the pitchfork. The flowers are all beautiful!

    Alright, I've gone on quite long enough... and soon you will no doubt have another post for me to drool over. :-)

  18. Victoria: You always know how to make my day, Lady! Man! I love how you can pick-n-choose the things that strike your fancy. THANK YOU.

  19. Oh! I could go on and one, but I dare not. So - first of all, the Chihuly. There was an absolutely extraordinary exhibit of his work at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix - I think it was 2008-2009. There were about 17 pieces installed, and it was glorious. I'd travel just about anywhere to see his work again.

    And the Trappists - the rule of Benedict is sanity itself. I've always been drawn to the silence and solitude-in-community of the monastic life, and have had the wonderful experience of a retreat or three in such places. Christ In the Desert is one, in New Mexico - right in the heart of Georgia O'Keeffe territory. You and Astrid would go crazy with the photographic opportunities there!

    My favorite of all these photos? The one with the hats and habits (cloaks? robes?) all lined up together. The light is wonderful.

    The monks are rather like wise travelers or the snail you posted - they only carry what they need!

  20. SA: I just did a Google on Chihuly in the Atlanta Botanical Garden and was quite pleased to see how much of his work has been there in the past. I don't believe it's all there now, but I could be wrong. We saw only the two pieces. My guess is these two pieces are permanent, since I've seen them every time, but not the others.

    I would love to see the Georgia O'Keefe territory at least once in my life. I've been to Phoenix and Sedona but not to New Mexico. Maybe once!

    Your favorite photo is also one of mine. At heart, I've always been a monk and relish a good retreat from time to time. Once I even asked my preacher dad if there were such a thing as a protestant nun. His reply to me (back in my youth), "I hope not!"

  21. The hat photo in the beginning and the bicycle photo at the stone pile is the favorite photos of mine! Gorgeous!

  22. LCT: The hat photo is mine and the bike photo is Astrid's, so you picked a good sample of each of us. :) Thanks.