Tag Archive | inspiration

“Speed of Time”

backyard chain grass park

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

As I was pulling weeds in front of our house the other day, I was hoping the new neighbor didn’t think I was some type of Mrs. Kravitz from the Bewitched show.  Something made me look up just as a young lady with dark straight hair drove by.  She pulled into the driveway next door and went straight into the garage.  That was the last I saw of the new neighbor, for now.  Shortly after, a moving truck slowly inched by, almost turning into our place but then realized it needed to move down one more spot.  Mrs. Kravitz might have stayed just where she was, pulling weeds, or she may have moved inside her own house to spy at the goings on through a partially moved blind or shade.

I decided to go around to the other side of the house to see what weeds needed pulling. Slowly, I managed to get to the back of our yard and decided to hang out there to read a book in my new anti-gravity chair while listening to the little kids playing a few doors down.  The birds were singing their usual songs on one of the most gorgeous of summer days.

Suddenly, a young man carrying a big wooden spool was in the new neighbor’s backyard, and he walked along measuring a cable line from the back of the house to the phone line. At first I wondered if he was going to be our new neighbor too, but realized that since he had a cable, he was the cable guy.  Shortly after, the moving truck left, and it made my Mrs. Kravitz self think the new neighbor must not have any children because the unloading would have lasted a lot longer.  Mrs. Kravitz would have most likely taken the time to run right over and knock on the new neighbor’s door, but we might just have to wait to see if the young lady ventures out.  We’ll start with a few waves as she passes by in her car and go from there!

I couldn’t help but think to way back when we first moved into our house.  The new neighbor’s house had been occupied for many years by Bruce and Ann.  When we met them, I thought they were an “older” couple and wondered if they planned on downsizing, since their family was all grown up and moved out.  Ann must have read my mind because some of the first words out of her mouth were, “We’re not going anywhere,” which ended up being fine with us.  Bruce and Ann had been very nice neighbors to have for 20 years, and the neighborhood felt empty after they moved out.

Now, the new neighbor might think we are an “older” couple and may wonder if we plan on moving away to a smaller place. She might even be so young that she doesn’t even know about Mrs. Kravitz!  We used to be the young family with little kids running around, but now we watch and enjoy the sounds of the new little ones taking over.  Bruce and Ann came to the high school graduation parties we had for our kids.  In her cards, Ann was so kind to write about how they enjoyed watching our kids grow up.  Now we’re the ones watching the neighborhood kids grow up.  Isn’t it funny how that happened, and so quickly?

Some day man will travel at the speed of light,
of small interest to those of us still trying to
catch up to the speed of time.
~Robert Brault

Advertisements

What Little Beauties Will Appear?

20180708_0922495491600727189644411.jpg20180708_0923127802616713461733185.jpg20180708_0924051615899125882250094.jpgThis morning, I was surprised when Lila and I were out for our usual walk because we came upon a field of blossoming flowers. Walkers passed us by as I snapped some pictures.  One couple stopped and admired the field right along with us.

“Do you happen to know what kind of flower that is?” I asked as I pointed at what I thought was a poppy. Its delicate petals fluttered in the breeze.

“We think it’s a poppy,” the man and woman said in unison.

“I don’t remember this field of flowers being here last year,” I said. Lila’s nose and paws were going farther into the field as she munched on some tall grass.

“They must have planted these wild flowers last year when they were fixing up the place,” the man reminded me.

“It’s going to be fun to watch,” said the lady. We smiled and nodded at each other as we went along our way.  I thought back to when Lila and I walked about the park last summer.  The walkers and bikers were only able to travel one half of the park, and the part where the wild flowers were was unreachable because of the rebuilding.  A bike path was added to hook up with the current one, plus a wooden foot bridge was built over part of the brook.  Most people do not go down to that part of the brook anymore because of how the foot bridge was constructed.  Many large rocks now hug the shoreline there, which makes it difficult for us to climb down to the water.  We now admire the brook from the bridge.  Since there was much digging going on last year, mice, moles, and turtles scampered around the paths looking lost and missing their homes.  Sort of like us because we weren’t able to walk around our usual way either.  Once I heard what I thought was a deer bounding about in the woods, crunching bushes and bramble as he ran to find some shelter.

This year, the creatures have settled in and are back to hiding in their homes, and we get to walk around the entire park because no part of the path is blocked. The wild flowers took the place of some beautiful towering trees that are missed, but there were never any wild flowers in the park before.  It’s nice to see them growing in the July sun.  At first, I missed the natural look of things and the way they were, but now I wonder what little beauties will appear in the field by the brook when August comes along.

I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers,
Of April, May, of June, and July-flowers… ~ Robert Herrick

 

If I was a Bird, I’d Want to Live Here!

My husband and I didn’t know what to expect when we were off to our next stop – Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands. We were not to be disappointed.  We took a tour bus to the gardens, which is a 40-minute drive from Amsterdam.  Our tour guide talked about the gardens while we were on the way, and he spoke five different languages!  I could only understand one but recognized parts of others, sometimes!

Keukenhof Gardens

Our tour guide informed us that over a million people visit the gardens during the eight week period when the flowers are in bloom. “More than 7 million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths fill over 32 hectares (79 acres) with color and fragrance.”  The flowers are arranged perfectly into artistic pieces of work.  Not only were the flowers beautiful, but we also enjoyed seeing the ponds and very large trees.

We snapped over 90 photos while we walked around the gardens for three hours. It was very difficult to narrow it down, but I’ve posted 29 (to be exact) of my favorites here.  Being amongst all the flowers, trees, and birds was timed perfectly since we had just gone through a very long and cold winter at home.  Plus, the flowers all seemed to be at their prime, except for some daffodils that had seen better days.  Some of the flowering trees were losing their petals, but we got to see them in all their glory before the wind picked up.

We could tell by the songs they sang, that the birds were glad to be there, too. I couldn’t help but think, “If I was a bird, I’d want to live here!”  Keukenhof Gardens was spectacular and more than I ever imagined!

I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Anne Frank’s Hideaway Home

It was a cool and windy day when my husband and I went to tour Anne Frank’s House and Museum. Thankfully, the sun shined down from a light blue sky to warm us. There were many people standing in line with their previously ordered tickets in hand. A group of about 20 people enter the museum in 15-minute intervals. Right now, tickets need to be ordered on-line 60 days prior to the tour because there is a renovation in progress.

263 Prinsengracht

When we first entered the bright museum, we each were handed a monitor for our guided tour. Every room has a sensor on the wall. A recording on the monitor gives details of each room plus other historical events about World War II. After seeing a few rooms in the museum, we entered the first floor of 263 Prinsengracht. The first floor is the warehouse of the spice company that Anne’s father, Otto Frank, and his partner, Hermann van Pels, set up. We climbed the narrow and steep wooden stairs to get to the second floor, which was the office space.  There we saw a beautiful view of the canal below. At the end of the hallway is the bookcase that hides the Secret Annex. The rooms were mostly empty because the Nazis removed the items after they captured the eight people in hiding. There were a few personal items on display that included: Mr. Frank’s Charles Dicken’s book – he was teaching himself how to read English; Margot’s, Anne’s sister, writings from her Latin correspondence course; and copies of Anne’s diary. The original diaries were not on display due to the renovation.

Each room has a photograph on the wall of what it looked like when it was furnished. The first room we entered, after going through the door that was camouflaged as a bookcase, was where the Franks stayed during the day. Before we entered Anne’s room, we noticed the wall where Mr. Frank marked the growing heights of his daughters. Pictures of movie stars were pasted to Anne’s bedroom wall, just as she left them. There is a small bathroom on this floor where they also did laundry. Up the next level is a small kitchen area that everyone shared, and Mr. and Mrs. van Pels also used that area as their living quarters. Peter’s room is adjacent to the kitchen and the walls are decorated with photos of movie stars that Anne also pasted there. From Peter’s room, we could see the steps to the attic. The attic is closed off with Plexiglas at the ceiling. A tilted mirror gave us a view of the place where Anne liked to go to get fresh air and look at the sky and trees.

The exit took us to the museum store, and as we walked down the stairs to exit the museum, there is a giant portrait of Anne on the wall. One can’t help but think about the sweet girl and others like her and her family. Even though we know the outcome, a person’s heart sinks when they read the last sentence in Anne Frank’s diary: “ANNE’S DIARY ENDS HERE.” When my 13-year-old self read The Diary of a Young Girl, I never thought my older self would visit her hideaway home. I was fascinated with the diary back then and felt I could relate to some things she was going through. Familiar things such as how she got along with her family and friends and how she appreciated the outdoors. Anne’s story stayed with me.

I recently read the book and was amazed by how great a writer Anne was. Anne described her surroundings and circumstances so well. Not only her emotions came through, but how she loved and how she thought she didn’t love some people. Anne was wise beyond her years in the ways she understood humankind.  Of course, Anne had bad days – who could blame her with being stuck where she was – but she mostly managed to stay optimistic and hopeful while she was in hiding for those two years. Most likely her positive attitude was due to having her diary. Anne wrote, “When I write, I shake off all my cares.”

At first, Anne wrote her diary for herself, but later she decided she would like to write a book about the war based on her diary. She edited her diary many times as she was going to use it as a reference. Immediately after the Franks, van Pelses, and Fritz Pfeffer were arrested, the secretaries, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl, who worked in the office, found Anne’s diary and held onto it until after the war. Mr. Frank was the only one of the eight to survive the camps. In the late 1950s, the house was going to be torn down for a new development, but many people in Amsterdam campaigned against the demolition. The house was preserved and turned into a museum which opened in 1960. The Anne Frank House is the third most visited museum in the Netherlands with 1.2 million visitors every year.

After the war, Mr. Frank worked at getting Anne’s diary published and it has been read by people from all over the world. Mr. Frank answered thousands of letters that he received from readers of the diary, and he concluded each letter with: “I hope Anne’s book will have an effect on the rest of your life so that insofar as it is possible in your own circumstances, you will work for unity and peace.”

Being in the Secret Annex was a surreal experience for me because I could not believe I was actually where I was at the time. Even though it made me feel heavyhearted, I am glad I was able to visit Anne’s hideaway home. That visit will help Anne’s story stay with me all the more.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment
before starting to improve the world. ~ Anne Frank

Sparkling Spring

 

Eighteen inches of snow is never a welcomed sight, especially in the spring. Memories of last weekend, when the snow fell on us, lingered in my mind yesterday morning.  It felt like winter was never going to leave.  That snow was heavy and swirled about in the blowing wind.  It blanketed everything around and made me dread it even though it left sparkling flakes in the night.  Those sparkles would have appeared more beautiful early in the winter instead of early in the spring.  It felt awkward to have to stay in during a blizzard when all winter long Lila and I have been going for long walks on Saturdays.

Yet, not everyone was disappointed by the four letter word that begins with the letter “S.” Lila loved it.  Even though the snow was all the way up to her belly, she ran and jumped around like she was going through an obstacle course.  As she came back into the house, she ended up bringing a bunch of the snow along with her.  The flakes clung to her black fur.  She must have liked the cool feeling it gave her because she didn’t shake it off.  Lila tends to walk in the snow when we go for our winter walks.

After Lila and I left the house for our walk at 8:30 yesterday morning, the birds greeted us with happy songs. (We didn’t hear a peep out of any birds last weekend.)  The sun was peaking over to warm us and the bright snow spotted the grass making us wonder if winter was still holding on.  The temperature was 30 degrees.  We still had to trudge through some snow piles when we walked to the path.  The more we walked, the warmer it got.  My winter jacket, hat, and mittens were no longer needed, and I tied my jacket around my waist.  Others walking around the park had been more confident in the weather and wore lighter clothing.  The sun was warmer than I thought, and the wind was nowhere to be found.  It got to be 40 degrees by the time we got back home.

In spots, the green grass sprung out at us. Some trees had buds to show us.  Cardinals chirped a lovely tune to us.  Canadian honkers honked at us.  Robins hopped close to us.  Other birds dove in and out of trees around us.  Squirrels hid from us.  Wild turkeys flew up into a tree branch to get away from us.  The day brought us temperatures in the 60s.  It looks like all these things in nature think spring is sparkling through to leave winter behind.  I guess I think so too?  Whatever happens next, Lila will be happy.

Under the giving snow blossoms a daring spring. ~Terri Guillemets

That’s Worth a Lot!

red-love-heart-old.jpg

Have you had to assemble anything lately – something that came with instructions? Did you notice that the instructions only come with pictures and a few names of the items that are inside the box? I find that not having words in the instructions to be confusing. If I can’t figure out the pictures, I end up watching a tutorial on YouTube. I’m glad there’s YouTube, but really, why can’t they include some words on the instructions to help us assemble our project?

Our lives would be so different, if we didn’t know how to read. The majority of my days are spent reading and writing at my job, and when I’m done with that, I pull out a book or my cell phone and read things from there. Plus, it’s the things you don’t think about every day that we’re reading that are so helpful. I’m glad to be able to read signs, recipes, patterns and so many other things.

Dad said he taught all of us kids how to read, and I want to thank Dad and my teachers for helping me. Statistics vary on what the literacy rate is because there are so many different factors to consider, but one site said one in 10 people in the world do not know how to read. When I was small, I needed extra help with reading, and I’m grateful I got that help.

Summer school was fun when I went the summer after first grade. I vaguely remember that there were about 12 of us. Besides working on our reading, we made time for playing, which is the part I remember best. Our summer teacher was our wonderful music teacher. Back then, we read the look-say readers Dick and Jane which used the whole word method of reading. Phonics hadn’t been introduced to us yet.

When my class got to second grade, we started getting the book order forms from Scholastic. There were so many books to choose from the colorful thin paper forms. When our paperback book orders arrived, it was such an exciting day. The books were bound together with a rubber band with our book orders on top. That’s when I learned that books are magical and can carry us off to different times and places to meet extraordinary or not so extraordinary people. The reader knows they read a good one when they get to the last chapter and feel sad that the story is coming to an end. It can be like saying good-bye to a good friend that you’re not going to see any more.

Pictures might speak a thousand words, but wanting to read the fun books helped us to learn how to read the other books. That helped us to read everything else, and that’s worth a lot!

The worth of a book is to be measured by what
you can carry away from it. ~James Bryce

Have you Met Gym?

pexels-photo-221247.jpeg

Some people are afraid to meet Gym, because it can be intimidating, especially in the weigh-lifting room.  There can be some very muscular people walking around with very serious looks on their faces because it is serious business.  I’ve known Gym for years, and I’ve found it’s best to keep your chin up and act like you really know what you’re doing, and people will hopefully respect your space.

It’s a good idea to wear comfortable clothing when you meet Gym, but not too loose because you don’t want to get a part of your clothing hung up on anything. You could seriously knock yourself out if your shirt got stuck on a handle and you kept walking.  Next, be sure to nonchalantly observe other people’s attire because you might see a really cool shirt that you’ve never seen before or, if you’re lucky, an interesting tattoo.

If you see a person who is lying on the floor doing sit-ups, push-ups, and/or stretches in between the weight-lifting machines, try not to give them the evil eye and move on.  If you are very brave, let them know that they are not in the correct place to do calisthenics and stretching.  Point that person to the mats that were designed just for that purpose, which are also conveniently located away from the weight-lifting machines.  I think they put those mats far away from the machines so no one would get hurt – just saying.

If you are waiting to use a weight-lifting machine, and someone is on it staring at their cell phone, try not to get too disturbed even if it takes them several minutes to get done texting or reading.  Keep doing your rounds on the equipment and check back to see if they are done.  If the person is not bigger and scarier looking than you, point that person to the lobby where there are chairs that no one is using that were made just for the purpose of lounging.

It’s rare, but you might notice a person who likes to use a weight-lifting machine just to lift about 250 pounds once and then jump off the machine to take a rest.  They usually stand opposite of the machine to keep an eye on the machine because they keep repeating this process.  If you accidentally use the machine while they are resting, pretend that you have no idea that they can lift 250 pounds when you move the knob to the weight you can lift.  Even if they are staring you down with a holier than thou look on their face, play dumb.

People like to take ownership of a weight-lifting machine by leaving something behind like a towel, water bottle, or gloves.  If a person towers over you while you are sitting on the machine that they think is theirs, and they say, “I was using that machine,” even if they were not even close to it when you started using it, it’s best to get off and give them a mom look like they are not behaving appropriately.  If you’re good at that look, you will get an apology.

If a tour guide from the gym wants to use you as an example of how to use a machine, just smile and keep doing what you’re doing, even though you feel very uncomfortable at the time.  Don’t get nervous.  This is not a good time to fall off or jamb your foot and embarrass yourself.

If the weight-lifting room is too intimidating, you can always take a yoga class, play racquetball, go swimming, or take any other sort of class to stay away from these situations.  If you skip the weight-lifting room, though, you might miss out on some interesting adventures.

Maybe you have a few tips to share about your workout experiences.  Feel free to leave your comments here, if you do.  I hope your next workout is a good one.

The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen. ~ Anonymous