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.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday - Raspberry Dipped

click on images to enlarge

First time visitor to the deck railing feeding station a few days ago.  He only showed up once and was flying solo.  As far as ID, I'm going with male Purple Finch.  One bird book said that the male looked like he had been dipped in raspberry juice!  I can see that in these photos which have not been color edited at all.  The purple finch is similar to the male house finch, but its coloring is more crimson, compared to the orange-red of the house finch.  The purple finch has a notched tail (see the photo of him on the grass stem) while the house finch has a longer squared tail.  Migrates through Kentucky looking for food as it gets colder.  Has a liking for the black oil sunflower seeds that are offered on the Summit Musings bird buffet!

Here are a few other shots of the raspberry dipped beauty.  Hope to see more of them this winter.

 Linking to: Wild Bird Wednesday .

Sunday, October 27, 2013

InSPIREd Sunday & Mosaic Monday in Moscow

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Candy cane colored onion domes of Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia - sits on the famous Red Square and is one of the most recognized landmarks of Moscow.  Saint Basil's was ordered built by Ivan the Terrible in the mid-1500s to celebrate a major victory over the Mongols.  Ivan was said to have blinded the cathedral architects so that they could never repeat this design.  Most scholars agree that this is a folklore myth.  Still makes a great story. (photos taken September 2012)

I just finished reading Daniel Silva's newest spy novel, The English Girl.  It's set in Corsica, London and Moscow.  And, as I was reading, realized that I had just seen many of the places that was the scene of the Moscow action in this novel.  I love it when that happens--just makes the book so real.  Here are a few scenes from the novel:

Clockwise: Saint Basil and tourist heads(!), church walls ornately painted, closeup of onion domes, GUM Department store beside Red Square and scene of one of Silva's spy capers, Red Square where one of the book's spy operations began, soldier statue in honor of Ivan the Terrible's Mongol victory

Clockwise:  Cover of book The English Girl; bridge over the Moska River lit red-white-blue of Russian Federation flag which replaced the Communist hammer and sickle; Saint Basil's at night; history museum on Red Square; Russian "White House"; Red October Chocolate Factory on Moska River at night

BTW, if you like spy novels, highly recommend The English Girl.  I'm planning on traveling with Silva and his main character Israeli agent Gabriel Allon to some other locations like Venice and Amsterdam based on this book!

Linking to InSPIREd Sunday and Mosaic Monday .

Sunday, October 20, 2013

InSPIREd Sunday - Saint Michael the Archangel Orthodox

click on the images to enlarge

A bit late in the day to be posting for InSPIREd Sunday, but worth the wait, I hope.  For the past several months I've been trying to get photos of all the historical churches in Louisville.  Have had Saint Michael the Archangel Orthodox on the list for some time.  Waiting for a day when the sky is bright so it would be a good background for the church dome and blue spires.  This church was established in the 1930s and is described as Pan-Orthodox Christian, serving many cultures and ethnic groups from Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa, and America who live in Louisville.  Your can see the different influences in the architecture, especially the domed roof, brightly colored spires, and iconography.  Hopefully, I can get back to the church in the future to take some photos inside.

Here are a few more photos of the exterior:

Linking to InSPIREd Sunday .

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday - Meet Jane

A few weeks ago "Jane" showed up in the front yard looking for a snack from around the bird feeding stations that I've set up to try to attract some different birds for the winter. I was thrilled to see a hawk so close up--especially those piercing eyes. But it was the "leggings" that cracked me up and earned this one the name of "Jane". Remember Jane Fonda and her workout leggings in all those exercise videos? Feel the burn!

And then yesterday I heard this terrible racket in the backyard and, after looking and looking, spotted "Jane" in the tiptop branches of a tree.  She obligingly stayed around long enough for me to get this not so great photo.
Identifying "Jane" has been a puzzle.  According to my Kentucky bird books, we're supposed to have sharp-shinned, red-shouldered, red-tailed, and cooper's hawks.  I've studied the pics of each and none fit "Jane" exactly.  Either missing the "leggings", tail shaped differently with different color bars.  My best guess is sharp-shinned, but a couple of Facebook birders say she might be a juvenile goshawk migrating or a rough-legged.  Whatever!  I'm thrilled that she stops by.

Linking to: Wild Bird Wednesday .

Sunday, October 13, 2013

InSPIREd Sunday & Mosaic Monday - Back on the Grid!

Hello Blogger Friends - this is my first posting since August 23rd!  I'm actually a bit nervous composing this post.  Almost like I've forgotten how to blog it has been so long.  After months of internet problems, I decided to get a new computer and went with an all-in-one with touchscreen and Windows 8.  I was just getting started with learning to navigate everything when things in my family fell apart.

Those of you who know me through Summit Musings and Facebook know that I--as do most of you--have primary caregiving responsibilities for older family members.  In my case, Diva Sister fell, spent time in the hospital and rehab during late August - September.  I just got her settled back in her apartment the end of September.  At the same time, my older brother in Tennessee went into the hospital where he received a devastating diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer.  He too was in and out of hospital and rehab and finally went home under hospice care the last of September.  Of course, I wanted to be with him on his final journey--while dealing with Diva Sister-- so was driving back and forth between Kentucky and Tennessee to help with his care.  Sadly, he completed his journey last Tuesday--at home where he wanted to be.

So, now I'm trying to get some normalcy back in my own life and that includes blogging!

This is the Convent of San Francesco in Tuscany, Italy.  I took these photos on a garden tour of Tuscany in 2000.  Look closely in the center of the photo and you'll see the campanile, or bell tower. The Convent is now a hotel and rehabilitation center for troubled boys and young men.  (click on the photos to enlarge)

In this mosaic you see the old stone paths and walkways around the convent.  Terra cotta urns and planters made locally from the red Tuscan clay line the paths and this single red rose climbs the convent walls.  A common "hen and chicks" grows between the stones.

Here you have a view of the side garden and notice that each window has its own planter of red roses.  A proud bronze peacock perches on the wall overlooking the well-tended garden.  The boys and young men work in the gardens and the hotel as part of their rehabilitation.  The discipline and responsibility--and hard work--was believed to help many turn their lives around.

Linking to InSPIREd Sunday and Mosaic Monday .