Thursday, October 18, 2018

Condolences for Nelson, Elder of the Tribe

This is not the post anyone ever wants to write, nor would the recipient of it ever wish to be called the Elder of the Tribe.

But this is for Nelson, my brother, who IS the elder of those of us who remain...the very one you have already met here from this past January when he visited us here in the Netherlands for a week.

Nelson's wife Peggy, of 53 years, "passed over the bridge" last evening.
Four days earlier, last Saturday, she suffered a bleeding stroke from which she never recovered.
It was sudden and, one could say, a blessing that it all came and went so quickly.
[recent image from sister, Ruth]

One of my favorite memories of Peggy is how relational she was with all generations.
She would always seek you out to find out how YOU were doing.
This was her gift which she gave freely, seeking nothing in return.

In 2006 she was as physically well as I've ever seen her.
But over the last years her health deteriorated.

Now we all deal with the emotional shock, of course.
Our brother, Bennett, died in 1996 (age 47), 22 years ago...our generational level.
We knew, with 8 kids, plus spouses, this time would come.
Within the next 22 years I'm guessing most of us will be gone,
so this is hitting hard.

Little did we know you would go before us, Nelson, after the untimely death of Bennett.
You didn't intend to lead us but it has fallen to you...and now we follow.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Astrid and I had not originally planned to fly back to Michigan for the memorial service,
but we will do just that as we find out the details.  We want to be together as sibs.
I'll keep you informed...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Son Mark in the Netherlands, 2018

He came, he saw, he conquered.  HA!

Actually, it all came and went too quickly, because we really did so much, when we look back on it.  See for yourself:

Day 1:  Sunday, September 30:  AMSTERDAM

We picked Mark up at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport bright and early...
and in plenty of time for me to snap 8 of the 34 Elephants on parade there till 12 October.

Because seeing Amsterdam is a must, we spent the day sightseeing.
Taking a canal cruise is one of the easiest ways to see the city, if you're stuck for time.
But we also walked to the Rijksmuseum area, because it's a favorite spot.

Eating at Wagamama is also a must for Astrid and me.
I don't think he was disappointed.

Day 2:  Monday, October 1:  KINDERDIJK

It was an on-again, off-again rainy day but we made the most of it at Kinderdijk,
followed by eating pannenkoeken out in the polder.
(It was our first time to see the new war memorial near Kinderdijk.)

Day 3:  Tuesday, October 2:  LOCKS and AIRBORNE MUSEUM

Mark has an avid interest in WWII movies, like "A Bridge too Far," which we watched together.
It was then perfect to see up-close-and-personal the Airborne Museum and cemetery in Oosterbeek,
as well as to cross the "bridge too far" in nearby Arnhem.
Along the way we showed him what big Dutch locks look like in Tiel and Driel.

Day 4:  Wednesday, October 3:  BRUGES, Belgium

Lucky for our visitors, we're close enough to other countries to make a day trip!
Mark's first choice was to see Bruges, about 2 hours away.
It just happens to be one of Europe's favorite destinations for tourists.
Of course, we "made" him eat a Belgian waffle.

Day 5:  Thursday, October 4:  GORINCHEM

This is where we live, as you know, so a walk around our citadel was imperative.
We are always so proud to show family and friends where we live!

That evening we took Mark to meet Jeroen and Eva...and 3-week-old Hailey.
(We were also getting instructions for our first babysitting stint tomorrow evening!)

Day 6:  Friday, October 5:  WIJK bij DUURSTEDE and FRIENDS

Astrid drove along the Diefdijk, part of the Dutch Waterline, to see the war bunkers,
on our way to Wijk bij Duurstede.
We love the only drive-through windmill in the world...and the nearby castle.

We got back home in time for our community's Happy Hour,
Mark did tell us he wanted to have DUTCH food, so we took him seriously!

That evening we were guests at Femke's and Jeannette's for Italian.
They sure know how to do it up big!  Mark was more than impressed.
(And yes, we celebrated Hailey's birth with beschuit met muisjes.)

Day 7:  Saturday, October 6:  DEN HAAG and SCHEVENINGEN BEACH

To get to the Scheveningen beach, you first drive through Den Haag/The Hague.
So we first stopped at the Peace Palace, housing the Int'l Court of Justice (top-left),
and then the Kurhaus Hotel (bottom-right) before hitting the pier.
Talk about a perfect day for the beach at the North Sea, Holland's most famous seaside resort)!

Day 8:  Sunday, October 7:  LOEVESTEIN CASTLE

By now you know that the Loevestein Castle across the Merwede river from us is our favorite castle.
It was built in 1361 and caters to everything medieval, especially for kids' birthday parties.
It's hard NOT to love such a fun, interactive place, let alone feel the history.

Afterwards, on our way home, we stopped in next-door Woudrichem...

...Gorinchem's sister city across the river.  It was important for us that Mark see it.
We want all our visitors to see what makes US tick here where we live.

You've seen some of these food images in the above collages,
but here I've collected the 10 more-Dutch-you-cannot-get foods Mark ate while here.
He had specifically said before he came that he wanted to eat Dutch food, and he did!

But, can you match the images with the 10 foods he ate ??  Try it (in alphabetical order):
beschuit met muisjes
boerenkool stampot
frikandel speciaal
nasi met saté (Dutch Indonesian)

Day 9:  Monday, October 8:  SCHIPHOL AIRPORT (for his early departure back to Atlanta)

THANK YOU, Mark, for the time and expense it took you to come visit us.
We'll never forget it.  Make sure you come back again one day!

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Watercolor Sunday and Saturday's Color: September 2018

As I speak, my son Mark, from Atlanta, is here with us here in The Netherlands for a week.  His first time here ever!  But that's for another post, later.

This is what's on deck for this week:

First, my Watercolor Sunday posts on FaceBook for September 2018:

September 2 (photo manipulation):
"No matter what people tell you, your words and ideas can change the world."
--Robin Williams

"In a gentle way, you can shake the world."
--Mahatma Gandhi

September 9 (photo manipulation):
"Truth is like the sun.  You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away."
--Elvis Presley

September 16 (photo manipulation):
"September tries its best to have us forget summer."
--Sir Bernard Williams

September 23 (photo manipulation):
"Keep calm and yell O."
"Just duck it."
"Wake up and be O-some."
"I got Duck fever...and the only prescription is...more quack."
"Once you are a duck you are always a duck.  Go Ducks."

This past Thursday, g'son Nicholas moved into his dorm at the University of Oregon,
where he is now a full-fledged student.
He attended his first Ducks football game as a student yesterday.
Too bad they lost to Stanford (31-38) but I'm sure he'll "Keep calm and quack on."

September 30 (photo manipulation):
"Today you are you!  That is truer than true!  There is no one you-er than you."
--Dr. Seuss

In honor of my one and only daughter, Amy Tiffan Dunn, who loves Hawaii's Plumeria flower.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My Saturday's Color posts on Facebook for September 2018:

(finished on 21 June, posted on FB 1 September 2018)
Here's another design on which I used my gel pens but ran out of ink on 2 of them halfway through!
Luckily, I had other pens to more or less match the color.
Like I said before, I like the pens but it's a deal-breaking shame that the ink runs out so quickly!
(from my Techellations book)

(finished on 17 August, posted on FB 8 September 2018)
After all these years, coloring on black-paper background is still my favorite.
It makes me think about the positive aspects of black/dark, enhancing color and light.
There's probably a sermonette in there somewhere?
(from my Kaleido Color book)

(finished on 9 December, posted on FB 15 September 2018)
Summer loosens her grip as autumn breaths down her neck, at least where we live.
It's my favorite time of the year!
But for those of you facing hurricanes/storms of whatever kind, please stay safe.
(from my Stained Glass book)

(finished on 15 September, posted on FB 22 September 2018)
Some of you know that our g'daughter Hailey spent her first week in the hospital, fighting for her life.
I started and finished this mandala last Saturday, praying out to God Almighty, 
with every stroke, for her health.
On her 8th day of life, this past Thursday, she was able to go home, finally.
This is for you, Hailey.  YOU GO, GIRL.

(finished on 23 September, posted on FB 29 September 2018)
"The sun will come out tomorrow; bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be sun!"
After everything we went through with g'daughter Hailey's birth, 
it was good to color this Vintage Patterns design and think of this Annie quote.
(Hailey was born on 12 September; I finished this 11 days later.)

More about Mark's visit in my next post....

Thursday, September 27, 2018

ENGLAND 2018: The Croome Court Shutterchance Meetup

Most of you know that Astrid and I have made trips to England every year, or every other year, since we first met each other on our Shutterchance photoblog in 2007.  Because the blog is based in England (with members worldwide), we have gotten to know many English friends, in particular, over the past years.

We LOVE our meetups!

However, this year, because Astrid's "Big Bro" celebrated his 70th birthday on 3 September, a meetup being planned for the past two years, we had a challenge.  Unbeknownst to us back then, our Hailey g'daughter's due date was also 3 September.  Talk about WHAT DO WE DO NOW!

Long back-story short...we all agreed that we should go ahead with our plans (tickets already bought) and just hope Hailey would not arrive on time.  She didn't!  We returned on the 4th and she was born on the 12th.  YAY.

So, THIS is that day, the 3rd, when 27 of us (18 members with spouses/friends) met at Croome Court for a grand meetup.

 The directive was to meet at the cafe at noon, which many of us did, inside...

...while others hung around outside the cafe...

...before we all headed out in different directions.
We had the rest of the afternoon to bump into each while walking the grounds,
before meeting back outside the cafe later for the birthday party.

Before getting to the actual Court, we passed the St. Mary Madalene Church 
at the top of the hill, built in 1763 for the Earl of Coventry.

She has so many faces from all over the fields.

Inside, it was basically bare except for the tombs of the Coventry family...

...whose hands tell many stories, "if these walls could talk."

Many of us congregated outside the church before heading down the hill to the Court.

Croome viewed across the ramblings fields!
It's a mid-18th century mansion inherited by the 6th Earl of Coventry in 1751.

The paved path winding down the hill took us past the tree house.

"I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree." 
--Joyce Kilmer

Once inside the basically unfurnished house, we all wound our way around,
upstairs and downstairs, bumping into each other along the way.

It really was a "meetup," you know.

A few of us walked around the house outside, to see the south portico with its sphinxes.

Looking back on it now, I see Hailey in this image, not knowing then
that she'd go through hell and high water in her first week of birth.

More congregating, this time outside the Court.
(A BTW:  the top-right couple is the other couple that met and married because of Shutterchance,
like Astrid and me.  He's English, she's American, living in Arizona.)

Can you tell we're all photographers???

It was time to head back to the cafe, making a loop around the fields, past the church again... the birthday party at 4 p.m.

The Birthday Boy is Chris, celebrating his 70th year.

The cake-maker extraordinaire is Penny (top-right),
who made the design to match his famous shirt, about which many jokes are made.
(Penny even printed out a photo of the shirt to show the match.)

We all had a fabulous time, as always!

Our next big meetup will be two years from now, when I turn 75.  Hmmm.
Speaking of "matching," I'm not sure I would want to match anything close to this!  HA!