Thursday, November 16, 2017

AMERICA 2017: The Overview with Bob and Peggy in GA

Remember that I said our October trip to America was in three basic parts, of which I shared the first week with Ted and Jane in Connecticut last post.  This week I'm sharing our shorter time with Bob and Peggy, from late Sunday to early Thursday in the middle of the following two weeks.  In other words, only 3 full days.

What Astrid and I posted on Facebook was short and sweet but I'm also filling in some of the blanks:

That Monday we drove approximately 60 miles to Warm Springs, GA,
to visit Franklin D. Roosevelt's Little White House and museum.
(FB post)

FDR was the 32nd President of the USA, from 1933 to his death in 1945 (my birth year).
Because of his polio at age 39, he found the warm springs in GA therapeutic,
after which he founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis in 1938,
leading to the development of polio vaccines.
Even though I had non-paralytic polio 7 years later, I feel I owe much to him!

For those of you wondering, Franklin was the 5th cousin of Teddy Roosevelt,
the 26th President of the USA, from 1901-1909. 

Later that afternoon we drove the short distance from Warm Springs to Pine Mountain, GA,
to spend the rest of the day, an overnight, and the following day at Callaway Gardens.
(FB post)

I had visited the gardens way back when Bill and I were married and took my mom and dad there.
That was eons ago but I have no clue when (after we moved to GA in 1987?).
The memory hung on long enough to make me want to go back and have Astrid see it with me.

What I most remembered about the place was the Butterfly Center,
so that late afternoon, after getting settled in our hotel, we went there first.
And now you see Bob and Peggy waiting patiently while we took photos.

Here's what Astrid put up on FB...and she nailed it.

Since coming back home, I've found a few of my own.
And yes, the two top-left are "doing it."  :)

Look what Bob captured!  Don't you wonder what the butterfly was thinking?!

After the Butterfly Center, we drove to the Chapel and the stream nearby.
Too bad for us, the chapel wasn't open, but we enjoyed the environment.

We then went back to the hotel to eat Peggy's picnic supper before calling it a day.

For breakfast the next day we had a Southern Georgia spread to which we couldn't say NO.

Then it was back to exploring.
We had seen the log cabin on arrival but this time stopped to check it out.

Then it was back to the gardens where butterflies were plentiful outside...

as were the bees, making us very happy campers.
Thank God for the butterflies and bees!  We need them.

Even though it was off-season in October, there was plenty to see of the gardens.
There was no way to be disappointed.

Our last hurrah before driving back home was the Birds of Prey show.
Well worth the time and energy as well as a nice good-bye.

Back at Bob and Peggy's the next day, Astrid and I took a walk-about, as we do each year.
(FB post)
Oh, and a last day of relaxing with good friends and food!

THANK YOU, Bob and Peggy (and Roscoe), for making these times so special each year.
So, where will we visit with you the next time!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

AMERICA 2017: The Facebook Overview with Ted and Jane in CT

There and back again!  Don't you wonder how these annual trips--the pegs on which we hang the year--come and go so quickly.  Sliding right down into the New Year....

But I digress.

Our 3-week trip to America this year has 3 distinct parts, of which the one week at the beginning, with friends Ted and Jane, is the first.

It's actually a short story of how we met.  In my past life, Donica and I took a quick trip to Prague from Hannover, Germany, in May 2005, during which time we did a dinner cruise.  Back then, 12 years ago, I was just beginning to use a camera and had just started blogging here at In Soul!  (If you wanted, you could go back to my archives on the left sidebar to find those posts.)

During that cruise, we met Ted and Jane from Connecticut (but alas, no photos of them).
And because Ted is an avid photographer, we've stayed in touch all these years.
He is the very one, from Today's Photo, who often comments here on my blog!
It's a small world after all!

Here they are!
After Ted and Jane picked us up at the Bradley Int'l Airport near Hartford, CT,
we stopped to eat Reuben and pastrami sandwiches at one of their favorite Jewish cafes.
We were counting on this proposition for weeks, if not months, after Jane first suggested it! 

Every day on FB that week both Astrid and I showed photos of what we saw.

Ted knew we'd be interested in the Congregational churches dotting the CT landscape.
What was educational for me, however, was finding out how these churches,
dating back to the 1700-1800s, trace their origin to the Puritan settlers of colonial New England.

[And yes, we went inside a handful of these churches, which I hope to show later.]

All these vanes are from the Congregational churches we visited.
Don't you wonder if there's a "congregational code" for how similar they are?
Makes me want to know more....

You know I was excited also to see the other vanes during the week.  OMG.
The Dutch aren't the only ones, of course, who love their vanes.

We were in CT from October 11-18 and saw the beginning of the fall colors.
Can you imagine living there?

Another thing we planned before arriving was one of Ted's slide talks on his Brass Valley book.
Lucky for us, he was able to arrange a talk at the Warren library, 8 miles from home. 
With degrees in architecture and literature, he taught for 40 years in Connecticut's Northwest Hills.
We finally got to see/hear him in action!  A true teacher at heart.

Not to be outdone, we even had the chance to see/hear Jane rehearsing with bagpipers.
Funerals, weddings, graduations, name it and she'll be there, if you book her.
She also was a teacher before retiring.  What a talented couple!

It so happens that Ted and Jane were both sick when we arrived,
having caught something from friends while in Toronto earlier.
I caught it from them but, thankfully, Astrid was spared.
So off she went on her own walks without us...and shared her own photos on FB.

I did go on a couple walks with her, so you know I wasn't totally incapacitated.
The Shepaug River runs along the road near the house.

By that river Astrid captured some fabulous images, reminding me why I fell in love with her.
She even made her own rock pillar/shrine, adding it to the collection already there
[surely more on that later].

So, does that give you a taste of our first week?
Ted and Jane were fabulous hosts and made us feel like queens (which we are, of course).
And what's really special, I like them more NOW than what I remembered from back in 2005.

Don't you just love when this kind of serendipity happens!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

As an FYI, neither Astrid nor I took our laptops to America this time...only our iPads.
It meant that all our images had to be processed apart from our Photoshop and Paintshop tools.
We managed well enough with the LiveCollage app and will continue to not travel with our laptops.
The things we learn along the way!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Watercolor Sunday and Saturday's Color: October 2017

We're back from our 3 weeks in America...Astrid's and my longest vacation together to date!  More on that later but while we were gone, another month of Saturdays and Sundays just passed us by.

So, here are my Watercolor Sunday posts on Facebook for October, 2017:

October 1 (photo manipulation):
"Give me juicy autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard."
--Walt Whitman

October 8 (photo manipulation):
"Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers
we more than gain in fruits."  Samuel Butler

October 15 (photo manipulation):
"Life is like a Ferris wheel.  One minute you're on top, the next you're at the bottom.
Just stay in your seat, enjoy the ride, and hang on until you reach the top again."
--Susan Gale

October 22 (photo manipulation):
"We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust." 

October 29 (photo manipulation):
"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face."
--John Donne

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My Saturday's Color posts on Facebook for October 2017:

(finished on 4 October 2017, posted on FB 7 October 2017)
In case I need to explain this (!!), today is the Michigan (my alma mater) vs. Michigan State 110th
football game since the state rivalry began in 1898 (119 years ago!).
In honor of that tradition today, between the Maize and Blue and the Green and White,
this Techellations design is for all of my family and friends who are on the "other side."
Did you notice all the "bridges" I colored to connect us?!
Hopefully the game will not spin out of control...and may the best team win.  GO BLUE!
[Do I dare mention that U of M won the first game, 36 - 0.  Of the 109 games already played,
it's been 69 (W)-35 (L)-5 (T).  Just saying.]

[Addendum:  I hate to say that Michigan LOST, 10-14.  BooHoo.]

(finished on 13 August 2017, posted on FB 14 October 2017)
There are still gorgeous flowers left to admire during these autumn days, even here in CT.
(from my Mindfulness book)

(finished on 16 October 2016, posted on FB 21 October 2017)
Another college football Saturday here in America!
How can you NOT love this time of the year in autumn.  HA!  GO BLUE!
(from my Kaleido Color book on black-background paper)

(finished on 18 September 2017, posted on FB 28 October 2017)
It's a rainy day here in the North GA Mountains, so we're bringing the sunshine inside!
(from my Color Me Fearless book)

Guess what!
I have now finished two complete years of every Saturday and Sunday with these coloring 
and watercolor posts.  Let's see if I can continue for another year...or two..okay?!
I'm game if you are.  :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

An Autumn Break

As most of you know by now, this is the time of year when Astrid and I fly back to America to be with family and friends.  We leave early tomorrow and return on Wednesday, 1 November, three weeks later.

While we're gone, I'll leave you with some images from two of my recent citadel walks from where we live here in Gorinchem, NL.  It really IS autumn!

This is the collage I posted on Facebook after my September 20th walk.
Okay, not technically autumn yet, but who cares!

From my collage posts, I love picking out a few images for my Shutterchance photoblog.
How can you resist the little children leading us!

See how easy it is to dramatize an image?!
Sometimes I "see" it in my mind's eye and just have to play around with it.

The next week, September 27th, was a foggy day, which I love.

The Nooit Volmaakt windmill is just two blocks from our back door.
The sun was trying to burn through the fog.

Then I saw the first of Erik Buijs' 7" mini-sculptures along the citadel path.
It's the one of a man playing "fetch" with his dog.

In fact, the top image is from March where you can see the full view on its 5-ft pole.
Not that I've seen the series but, up close, he reminds me of The Walking Dead!

Our other Gorinchem windmill is De Hoop (The Hope), standing as a sentry midst "foggy" times.
When I posted this on Facebook last week, it felt appropriate after the Las Vegas mass shooting.

Just past the windmill is our Dalempoort, through which you look out to the Merwede river.
On a foggy day it felt so magical.

Today on FB I have posted this collage as a Good-Bye to all my lovelies where we live.
When we return on 1 November, I'm sure there will be many autumnal changes.

We'll spend our first week in Connecticut with friends Ted and Jane.
Then we'll have time with the kids in Atlanta, followed by Bob and Peggy south of Atlanta,
and then the North Georgia cabin in the mountains with the kids before flying home.
For those of you who follow us on FB, we'll try to keep you updated there.

We LOVE this time of the year!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Watercolor Sunday and Saturday's Color: September 2017

And now it's AUTUMN!  My favorite time of the year.

These are my Watercolor Sunday posts on Facebook for September 2017:

September 3 (photo manipulation):
"Before the reward there must be labor.  You plant before you harvest.
You sow in tears before you reap joy."  --Ralph Ransom

Happy Labor Day weekend to all my American and Canadian family and friends.

September 10 (photo manipulation):
"Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by."
--Psalm 57:1

"You may never know what results come by your action,
But if you do nothing there will be no result."  --Mahatma Gandhi

September 17 (photo manipulation):
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
--Bob Marley

September 24 (photo manipulation):
"You are like a chestnut burr, prickly outside, but silky-soft within, and a sweet kernel,
if one can only get at it.  Love will make you show your heart some day, 
and then the rough burr will fall off."  --Louisa May Alcott

"The thing about love is that you will never run out of it.  It's an ever-flowing river.
So go ahead and LOVE.  What are you waiting for--death?  --Kamand Kojouri

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My Saturday's Color posts on Facebook for September 2017:

(finished on 8 May 2017, posted on FB 2 September 2017)
It's September but it's also still summer!  So enjoy the last blooms while you can, 
especially you in America and Canada on this Labor Day weekend.
(from my 12 x 12 Mandala book)

(finished on 29 July 2017, posted on FB 9 September 2017)
Here's another repetitive-pattern design from my Techellations book.
I was still in Piet Mondriaan (Dutch painter) mood when choosing my colors.
I know it says something about me but I'm a glutton for these designs.  :)

(finished on 12 September 2017, posted on FB 16 September 2017)
These are the things I've been thinking about lately:  Change.  Metamorphosis.
Transformation.  Rebirth.  The Phoenix, rising from the ashes....
(from my Art Deco book)

(finished on 14 September 2017, posted on FB 23 September 2017)
Native American blood was coursing through my veins when I colored this 
Color Me Fearless design.  It is incumbent on each of us to "shoot straight as an arrow,"
being true to ourselves as we walk through life, no matter what anyone else thinks.

(finished on 10 September 2015, posted on FB 30 September 2017)
This is a centerfold spread of two pages from my Book of Kells designs.
I suppose this is what it looks like when "things" end up in a tangled mess,
as seems to be happening a lot lately?!  (sigh)

Now that it's October, the month will fly for us because we travel to America next week.
But more on that before we leave....