About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lucerne Part II - the Mountains

Last week I shared some photos of "watery" Lucerne, Switzerland--the centuries old wooden Chapel Bridge over the River Reuss, Lake Lucerne, street life, and the moving Lion Monument. Couldn't leave this part of Switzerland without a trip up Mount Pilatus (so named because local legend has it that Pontius Pilate is buried on this mountain). At the top of Mount Pilatus the elevation is 7,000 ft. And from there, if the fog cooperates even a little, here's the view you'll get of the snow-capped Jungfrau and Eiger peaks of the Swiss Alps:

Getting to the summit of Mount Pilatus requires several modes of transportation, each more thrilling than the last. From Lucerne we took the tour bus up the mountain to the Alpnahstad which translates loosely to "place where you get on a four person ski or chair lift" and skim up the mountain overlooking Lake Lucerne. From the ski lift you could see Swiss huts, farms, and alpine forests:About halfway up the mountain (4,000 ft.) we transferred to aerial gondolas that zipped you up the now rocky slopes on cables--quite thrilling to be suspended in mid-air on the side of the Swiss Alps! Here we are about to get onto terra firma of the summit:This is the Mount Pilatus viewing point. From here you can actually hike up even further to see the distant mountain peaks:

The day we were on Mount Pilates we were treated to an impromptu concert of Swiss Alpine horns. Very beautiful.To get down from the summit, we rode the cogwheel railway, so close to the mountain that we could see alpine plants and even some flowers through the open windows of the cable car:Then we finished the day with a cruise of Lake Lucerne, getting to see Mount Pilatus from below:

So, there you have a tour that required a bus, chairlift, aerial gondola, cogwheel railway and lake cruise boat! But the sights and sounds were worth it. Here's a sample of an alps horn performance in closing:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Fences - Locust Grove Split Rail

Locust Grove is a late 1700s historic home and farm within the city limits of Louisville, Kentucky. I was out there earlier in the fall to check out their annual antiques market and get some photos of the grounds. Stretching along the road side of the farm is the most amazing split rail fence. When Janis started the Friday Fences meme knew I wanted to get some photos of this fence when fall was in full swing.

The fence begins up near the side entrance in a little grove. The amazing thing about this fence is how different it looks from various perspectives.

Friday Fences is a new meme hosted by my good blog friend Janis at Life According to Jan and Jer . Go there to sign up or check out the fences shared by other players.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Watery Wednesday - Bridges, Mountain Dogs and Lion of Lucerne

This week I'm scrolling back though some travel photos for Watery Wednesday posts. Hope you enjoy these water scenes from a September 2008 tour of Switzerland. This is the Chapel Bridge which spans the Reuss River in the center of Lucerne. Built in 1333, it is the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe and the oldest surviving truss bridge in the world.

When you walk across the bridge you can enjoy paintings from the 17th century on the bridge gables. At this time of the year the bridge was decked out with blooming annual flowers. I can just imagine that it is a magical place in the winter when the river is frozen. This area was quite lively with tourists and city residents enjoying the open air cafes along the river, Lake Lucerne, and the distant mountains. The Swiss flag is proudly flown over many buildings.
I took many photos on this trip but--no surprise--this beautiful Bernese Mountain dog in one of the riverfront cafes was a favorite. The only thing that would have been better would be to see a whole litter of puppies like this one!

The most profound experience in Lucerne was seeing the Lion of Lucerne Monument. This stone sculpture was carved in a former sandstone quarry on the city's outskirts in the 1820s. The dying lion honors the Swiss Guards who perished defending King Louis XVI in 1792 in the French Revolution.

Mark Twain's words on seeing this sculpture: "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world."

If you have time, come back tomorrow and I'll take you on a hair raising trip by ski lift and cable car up to the top of Mt. Pilatus, in the clouds overlooking some of Europe's highest mountain peaks.

Want to see some more "watery" photography? Click here for the players.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Morning Sunrise in 15 Minutes

I had to head out early this morning before coffee to go by the hospital for some lab work. In order to avoid the commute traffic, decided to go the backroads which gave me a different view of the sunrise. Usually I'm watching the sky through the trees beyond my deck. The first colors were looking promising so I grabbed my camera as I dashed out the door. Am I glad I did! Here's the kaleidoscope that Monday morning commuters got to enjoy in literally 15 minutes:

First, there was this bare tree silhouetted against deep blue skies and pale yellow along the horizon.
Next, I spotted pale blue, pink, and lilac.
And then things get even more dramatic with deep purple-blue, melon, and gold streaking.

And then I had to pull off the road for this shot--perfect blazing orange sun and sky against the dark horizon.
And finally this shot taken from the hospital parking lot 15 minutes later-soft pastels behind bare trees.
So, the moral of this story is if you have to get out of bed too early on a Monday morning, hope that this will be your reward--and that you remember your camera!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

First Frost

These photos of frost on fall leaves and grass were taken at 8:30 a.m. October 22. According to Dick Frymire, folklore weather forecaster, here's what was predicted: "Give or take two days--Oct. 20 light frost." So far, so good, Dick with your 2011-12 winter predictions. Every year we look forward to the release of winter weather forecasts based on Frymire's readings from his ancient maple tree. Other forecasters rely on the color and striping of woolly worms, the number of foggy mornings in August, the shape of persimmon seed hearts, thickness of drying corn husks, the nut gathering habits of squirrels, and of course The Old Farmer's Almanac (80% accuracy). All this wisdom, plus the National Weather Service science, predicts that we will have a snowy Thanksgiving and Christmas with some extra icy cold days throughout January. Oh, and don't be surprised if there's another tornado season the end of February and early March. Just to mess with the forecasters, both folk and scientific.

So the next significant weather is, according to Frymire, going to be a killing frost on November 18. Just time to wash the outside windows, plant spring bulbs, get up the leaves, and decide whether you want to sweep up after that huge Boston fern all winter or just spend $10 on a new one in the spring!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Fences - Horse Farms of Kentucky

When you travel through the central or Bluegrass Region (so named for the dark green grass that is commonly grown here--mature grass has a blue bloom spire) these dark brown or white painted wooden fences surround the thoroughbred horse farms where Kentucky Derby winners are bred and raised. This particular farm is on scenic Route 60 between Frankfort and Versailles. And yes, that's a horse barn not a fine home!

Friday Fences is a new meme hosted by my good blog friend Janis at Life According to Jan and Jer . Go there to sign up or check out the fences shared by other players.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Watery Wednesday - Venice

Canals of Venice --photo taken from the Rialto Bridge (September 2008)

Want to see some more "watery" photography? Click here for the players.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dog a Day Photos. Scandinavian-Style

I think I should be nearing the end of sharing the almost 1,500 photos I took on a recent trip to Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. So far I've written posts about views from hotel rooms, gardens, painted houses, children, water scenery, old churches,art, and royal bling. However, no trip account would be complete without the "Dog a Day" photo collection. Whenever I travel am always on the lookout for dogs to photograph. Partly, I miss Willie, but also just plain love dogs and seeing them with their owners in different countries. On this trip, other tour members noticed my obsession with photographing dogs and became my "dog spotters." Here are some of my favorites (usually not great photos because you know that dogs and children are famously on the move--but a delight, nevertheless):

This is "Wild Thing" out for his afternoon stroll through Vatta, a small village on Lake Vattern in southern Sweden:

This is a young German hound, hiding behind his owner's knees at Sofiero Slott (former summer home of Swedish king and his princess)in Helsingborg, southern Sweden:

In Copenhagen at the Glyptotek Museum I spotted "The Prince Imperial with His Dog Nero", a sculpture by Carpeaux:

In the ballroom of Frederiksborg Palace(housing the Denmark Museum of Natural History of paintings and decorative arts from the 1500s to present day) on the island of North Zealand (about an hour from Copenhagen)there were several Italian tapestries on the walls, featuring court dogs:

Vigeland Park in Oslo, an exuberant celebration of the cycle of life in sculpture, was enjoyed by the Norwegians and their dogs as well as tourists:

After Oslo we headed north through higher elevations of Norway, boarding the Flam Railway for a trip past waterfalls, ravines, and sheer cliffs. People in Norway were very active and healthy-looking. Even the dogs, like this border collie got in on the act in an evening stroll along the lake at our hotel in Flam:

This little guy hiked with its owner to the Briksdal Glacier near Loen, Norway (I enjoyed getting off the bus, trains, and ferries myself and hiking in cool, rainy weather to see the scenery up close):

This is "Ferry Annie" enjoying her ride across the Geiranger Fjord:

This handsome guy has musical interests. He's visiting the home of composer Edvard Grieg just outside Bergen, Norway(first photo is the Composer's Hut where Grieg escaped from his wife and children to write):

And finally, the best Dog a Day Photo of all--Willie in his favorite spot the day after I got home from trip. He was very glad to be rescued from the vet kennel by his friend Janice and get back to his home: