Thursday, November 30, 2017

Watercolor Sunday and Saturday's Color: November 2017

Nope, it's not December yet but on this last day of  November, and with no more weekends, here's another month sliding off the calendar!

My Watercolor Sunday posts on Facebook for November 2017 are:

November 5 (photo manipulation):
"America's present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums but normalcy;
not revolution but restoration." --Warren G. Harding
(29th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1921, until his death in 1923)

November 12 (photo manipulation):
"She stands
In tattered gold
Tossing bits of amber
And jade, jewels of a year grown old:
--Zephyr Ware Tarver (1886-1974)

November 19 (photo manipulation):
"Don't wait until the fourth Thursday in November to sit with family and friends to give thanks.
Make every day a day of Thanksgiving!" --Charmaine J. Forde

November 26 (photo manipulation):
"In November, the smell of food is different.  It is an orange smell.  A squash and pumpkin smell.
It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, can pull everyone from bed in a fog.
Food is better in November than any other time of the year." --Cynthia Rylant

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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

(finished on 3 July 2009, posted on FB 4 November 2017)
Even though some of these Celtic Designs make me wonder (it's a dog-eat-dog world, for instance),
I first trace them with my finger and then color them with happy colors anyway.

(finished on 5 June 2017, posted on FB 11 November 2017)
During the month of November, it's "the proper thing to do" to add the color ORANGE.
(from my Kaleido Color book on black background paper)

(finished on 8 October 2017, posted on FB 18 November 2017)
These are the fun ones I can usually finish in one day.  :)
(from my 6 x 6 mini-mandala book)

(finished on 7 November 2017, posted on FB 25 November 2017)
As the days get shorter and shorter before the winter solstice (Dec. 21),
we need the light wherever we can find it.
(from my Stained Glass book)

And now we face December.
How did it come around so quickly again?!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

AMERICA 2017: With My Family

It wasn't planned this way but look how the sequence of my posts on our October trip to America made it such that today, THANKSGIVING DAY, is the day I'm sharing our time with my kids.  How wonderfully and therapeutically serendipitous.

Our first week in America was spent with Ted and Jane in Connecticut.  Then we were with the kids a few days before Bob and Peggy, and then afterwards at the cabin in the North Georgia Mountains before flying back home.

Astrid and I both posted most of these on Facebook but here they are in sequence, more or less:

While taking MARTA from the Atlanta airport to North Springs for pickup by SIL Dennis and Nicholas,
Astrid took these pics of some of Atlanta's landmarks as we passed by.
That was Wednesday, 18 October.
[an Astrid FB post]

Once at Amy's, one of the first things I always do is take pics of Astrid and Nicholas together.
This is from 2014 when he was 14....

and from last year, when he was 16....

and now this year, at age 17.
I LOVE comparing the years, don't you!

Because Nicholas is now a working man, when not at school, we made sure to visit him at work.
They even allowed him to take his supper break with us, which was fun.
[Amy was absent because of traveling for work.]

Astrid and I both love walking the neighborhood where Amy and Dennis live.
The walking options seem almost endless.

We always found things to do, while the others worked or went to school.
[an Astrid FB post]

Saturday evening was a block party on their cul-de-sac, with Dennis as the grill man.
Lucky for us to be there to enjoy it.

By Sunday it was time to meet up with Bob and Peggy, but first...Mark treated 
Astrid, Nicholas and moi to an Atlanta United soccer game at the new Mercedes-Benz stadium.
It so happens his company has their own suite there for which Mark got free tickets.

Mark even bought AU t-shirts for Astrid and me to look the part!
[a Mark FB post]

And lucky Astrid captured one of the goals from UA.
The game ended up being a 2-2 tie with Toronto, who was already #1 in the league.
In my book, a tie is better than a loss, so it was a good game.

From the game we met up with Bob and Peggy and stayed with them south of Atlanta till Thursday.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday is the day each year we drive up to the North GA Mountains, to the same cabin.
After getting settled in, the first thing Dennis did was make a fire on the screened porch.
This was important because last year fires weren't allowed because of a severe, prolonged dry spell.

One of the reasons why that fireplace is so important is because of...s'mores.  YUP!
[an Astrid FB post]

Besides the evening meal each night, breakfast each morning is also one of the highlights.
[an Astrid FB post]

Having a jigsaw puzzle to work on is good quiet-time for each of us participating.
This is one of the 2 puzzles Amy surprised me with last year...with images from Malta.
[an Astrid FB post]

We were at the cabin the last week of October when it was colder than usual.
But we enjoyed every minute of it.

In fact, one morning we even has a dusting of snow!

That may have been the one day when the 4 of us played Spades indoors,
instead of on the screened porch with the fireplace.
It was that cold.  HA!

These are impressions from Astrid, including pics from the ride up.
[an Astrid FB post]

Because I was still fighting a cold from our time with Ted and Jane, I didn't go out walking,
but Astrid did, every day, even in the rain.  She's such a trooper.
[an Astrid FB post]

She also went with Dennis and Amy and walked around Blue Ridge while they grocery shopped.
[an Astrid FB post]

 When we leave the cabin on Monday each year, our tradition is to stop at Waffle House for breakfast.
The cabin experience wouldn't be the same without it.  We never get tired of it.
[an Astrid FB post]

Each trip thus far Astrid and I then fly home the next day, Tuesday night.
Life goes on for the working people and those still in school.

THIS is what we look forward to each year.  All of it!
See why there's so much for which I'm thankful?


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!