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, June 23, 2013

Super Moon and a Break

After a week of frustrating issues with technology--computer freeze up, Internet and DSL disconnects especially--I've decided to take a break from blogging until July 1.  By then hope to get these things sorted out, plus taking care of some issues around the homestead that need attention.  To quote Ballykissangel, my favorite Irish TV series:  "Missing you already!" 

Before I sign off though, have you been enjoying the Super Moon these past few days?  I have, and luckily we've had clear skies these past three nights.  Here are my best photos:

Around 3:30 a.m. June 22nd.

Around 9:00 p.m. June 22nd.

Around 1:30 a.m. June 23rd.

Enjoy these first weeks of summer and I'll be seeing you soon.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

InSPIREd Sunday - Riquewihr, France

Photos from 2002 - this is the small medieval town of Riquewihr in the Alsace region of  France.  Like many other medieval towns and villages in Europe, Riquewihr is surrounded by walls.  Then all around the town vineyards stretch for miles and miles through the valley between the Rhine River and the Voges Mountains.  Famed for its Riesling wine, it's an important stop on the "Route des Vins", a small road though the famous vineyards of Alsace.  There are two churches in Riquewihr, a Catholic and one referred to as the Old Protestant.  You can just see the spires in the above photos.

Here are some other scenes of  our tour of Riquewihr (click on collage to enlarge):

 Clockwise:  wonderful blue-stuccoed outdoor cafe, the Zimmer wine cellar where we got to taste some local wines, looking down on Riquewihr, evening in nearby Hochfelden where our boat was moored, and vineyards completely surrounding the town.

Linking to InSPIREd Sunday , a new meme celebrating places of worship and their unique architecture and history.  Thanks to Sally and Beth for hosting.


June 17 - decided to link to Mosaic Monday as well for those who love all things French.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Friday Fences - Old Louisville Hidden Gardens

This is the sign marking Garden 4 of the Old Louisville Hidden Garden Tour.  Each of the 15 gardens that I toured last week was marked by these creatively and humorously designed stick people which gave a hint of the personality of the gardener--and garden--you were about to see.  All of the gardens in this old neighborhood are tucked behind fences .  The fences are just as ornamental as the gardens:

Garden 4 had a weathered silvery gray wooden fence accented, at this time of the year, by plantings of bright pink Oriental lilies, climbing vines, planted pots and garden art:

Here are a couple of mosaics of the garden (click on image to enlarge) :

Clockwise:  cast iron planter, lily pond, mosaic glass gazing ball

Clockwise:  bird bath among the hydrangeas, fence art, topiary puppy, mixed coleus and impatiens

Linking to Friday Fences at Life According to Jan and Jer .

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday - Shiny Brites

Nothing very exciting in bird sightings around here lately except for these guys.  I think they're Brewer's Blackbirds according to the description: "liquid combo of black, midnight blue head, turning metallic green along back.  Staring yellow eye.  Females staid brown w/o yellow eye."  First noticed shiny black flashes in the trees in local park a few weeks ago.  Then they started visiting my neighbor's feeder in flocks--mostly ground foraging.  According to the map, they're in this area right now on their migration path.  Migration should not be a challenge for them because they're fast--as you can tell by these blurred photos!

Yesterday I found this feather in the yard and am wondering if it belonged to a Brewer?  In a perch their tail widens and the feather tips are rounded:

A few more shots:

Clockwise-rare shot on feeder--clumsy, prefers ground feeding; sleek profile of male; three females and a male

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday .

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mosaic and Macro 2 Monday - Woodland Garden

This naturalistic woodland garden can be seen from Wolf Pen Branch Road, an historic tree lined corridor in eastern Jefferson County in Kentucky.  This is a private garden that can easily be seen--and photographed--from the main road.  I was able to get these photos with only a minimum of trespassing!  The garden's main features include a charming wooden foot bridge across a stream, a small pond with several pieces of garden art setting along the banks, and all these different trees and ground cover making a lush green setting at this time of the year.

Here are some different views of the garden (click on the mosaic to enlarge):

views of the foot bridge

sculpture by the pond

 garden whimsy - a tree stump "man"

Clockwise: pond, stump sculpture, tree stump "men", bridge, child and stump sculpture

Linking to: Macro Monday 2 and Mosaic Monday .

Saturday, June 8, 2013

InSPIREd Sunday - Temple Shalom

Using InSPIREd Sunday to highlight the diversity in houses of worship in Louisville--this is the Jewish synagogue Temple Shalom.  This temple has been in St. Matthews since 1989, the architecture shows definite Middle Eastern influences with the sandstone block, domed roof line and evidence of an inner courtyard (although I haven't seen inside to confirm this).  The major ornamentation is the hexagonal Star of David, the secular and sacred symbol of Judaism.  This symbol is repeated on the back of the temple also.  Over the entrance door you see a sacred menorah which is the other important symbol of this faith.  The menorah serves as a "symbol of the nation of Israel and its mission to be the light unto nations" according to Jewish history.

Here are a few other views of Temple Shalom (click on collage to enlarge):

Left to right - front view of temple, menorah over entrance, Star of David window, temple sign

I'll close by wishing you "Shalom".  A common Jewish greeting which means peace, hello, goodbye; shalom is also meant to convey a deeper emotional and spiritual wish for you to experience completeness, well being, and joy.

Linking to InSPIREd Sunday , a new meme celebrating places of worship and their unique architecture and history.  Thanks to Sally and Beth for hosting.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday - Fluff Dry Cycle

A Kentucky Cardinal drying out after a really heavy rain storm.  Could just as easily title this post "angry bird" , based on his look. :-)

Bonus photo: not a very good one, but just happened to catch this sweet couple sitting on my neighbor's fence. 

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday .

Sunday, June 2, 2013

InSPIREd Sunday and Mosaic Monday - Episcopal and Buddhist Neighbors in St. Matthews

This is the very contemporary steeple of the St. Matthews Episcopal Church  in the the small city of St. Matthews near Louisville. The church has been around for many years.  In fact, the city took its name from the old  St. Matthews Episcopal Church.  In the late 1950s the present sanctuary was built in mostly residential neighborhood of St. Matthews.  And what a shock it must have been for the community because the architect decided to depart from the more traditional churches and designed what is thought to be one of the first contemporary Episcopalian churches in the U.S.

First reactions to the church were not very positive.  It was called a "ski lodge" church for its shape.  I'll admit when I went over to take photos a few weeks ago, I was puzzled by the design myself and didn't like it.  However, the more you look, the more you come to appreciate the building and how it sets so comfortably in the landscape.  The architect intended for the soaring, tent-like roof to evoke the gathering places of early Christians in the desert.  Here are front and side views:

Inside, people worship in a circle with the altar in the center of the sanctuary.  This is possible because of  design of the tent-like roof.  And here are a few more photos of contemporary architectural and decorative details:

Left to right:  contemporary cross spire on steeple, angel sculpture in front of massive ginkgo tree, red Episcopalian door

*  *  *  *  *

Now for the Buddhist part of this post:  I noticed this message on the church sign welcoming the Dali Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, to the neighborhood:

At first I was puzzled by the "our community" even though I knew The Dali Lama was going to be in Louisville for a visit promoting compassion and spiritual understand among all religions.  It has been quite exciting to have him visit since he is recognized as one of 25 most influential religious figures of the 20th century, up there with Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Billy Graham.  What I discovered was that there was a new Buddhist temple just opening right down the street from St. Matthews Episcopal!

Here it is, the Drepung Gomang Instutute, a formerly residential property converted to a Buddhist temple.  As part of his visit, the Dalai Lama came to the temple and blessed it.  The temple was festooned with Tibetan prayer flags and banners and Buddhist symbols painted on the walks for the ceremony:

Here are a few other photos of the temple and grounds:

Clockwise: temple sign, Auspicious Symbol, Buddha statue, colorful door, Tibetan prayer flag, temple entrance

My final thought for InSPIREd Sunday:  Leave it to the Episcopalians to welcome the Buddhists to the 'hood!  :-)

Linking to InSPIREd Sunday , a new meme celebrating places of worship and their unique architecture and history. And Mosaic Monday. , the meme that allows photographers to tell stories in pictures.