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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hibiscus

  


     To brighten up this dreary day, I thought that I would post this photo of one of my two hibiscus plants. The other is a bright pink and while both had beautiful blooms yesterday, I didn't get to shoot them.  I haven't really been doing much of anything since Monday. I foolishly did a bit of furniture moving over the weekend, a definite no-no for my back, and that coupled with some exercise caused some problems. It really started getting bad Monday afternoon. Fortunately, today I am happy to report that I am now able to stand up completely straight which is a huge improvement. Why am I even telling you this? That's because I need some positive energy sent my way so that I will be able to take part in the American Cancer Society's "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk " in Boston on Sunday. I am a four year survivor and one of my friends is also a survivor. We will be joined by some other wonderful friends for the walk. If you or anyone you know has been touched by this horrible disease and you would like to make a donation, please go to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Our team name is the "Wednesday Night Quilters."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Castle Island Outing

     Castle Island in South Boston, MA, is a glorious place to take a walk. Even on the hottest days there will be a gentle breeze. There you can see Fort Independence, a granite fortress built between 1834 and 1851, which sits on a hill with a commanding view of the harbor. Yesterday, friends and I walked at Castle Island.


Don't we look happy? After our walk we headed to Marina Bay for lunch. These women were all extremely dedicated, wonderful educators for many, many years, but we are now all blissfully enjoying our retirement days.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Eastham Getaway

     On Thursday morning a friend and I drove to Eastham on Cape Cod to the summer home of the parents of another friend. Another friend joined us and since it was not raining, we took a leisurely stroll on the beach.


     As you can see from my bare feet, I chose to walk in the water which was warm and inviting. On Friday, another friend joined us and since the weather wasn't as good as the previous day, we spent our day browsing in shops.
     Here's a lovely vista that Kathy took us to see, but I couldn't begin to tell you exactly where it was.


     We went out to eat, talked, laughed, and played board games late into the night. On Saturday, I had to leave early to attend a quilt program in Canton and missed the arrival of more friends. I had been really looking forward to this lecture and trunk show, but after two very late nights, I confess I could barely keep my eyes open during the program. :-) :-)
     All in all, it was a lovely way to spend a few days.


Update: My friend Kathy has informed me the above photo was taken from "Forte Hill in Eastham overlooking the marshland and cove that leads out to the Atlantic Ocean side of the Cape. There is a strip of land in the distance where the outermost house was." The Outermost House was a book written by naturalist  Henry Beston in the 1920s chronicling his observations of living in a cottage which he called "the Fo'castle." The cottage was swept away in the Blizzard of 78.





Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Day at the Fair

     Yesterday, my friend Marilyn and I drove out to Springfield, MA, for the Big E. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Big E, it is a very large agricultural fair/carnival. Actually, it is pretty difficult to describe all you can see and do. We always begin at the animal barns. Outside the cow barn there was a cow wash, no I didn't say carwash, I said cow wash.



Speaking of cows, what can you do with 12,000 pounds of milk? Make 6,000 pounds of butter, of course. What do you do then with the 6,000 pound of butter? You turn it into a butter sculpture. The sculpture is in a glass enclosed refrigerated chamber. The sculpture was a work in progress, and it depicts a man sheering a sheep.


     By far the cutest animal at the fair was Evelyn, an eight day old alpaca. I wonder what she must have thought about the thousand of people streaming by watching her? She didn't seem a bit concerned, nor did her mother.


     After the animal  barns, it was on to the various buildings. One was a craft building and another had every product that you have ever seen on infomercials. Each of the New England states has its own building where information, produce, and products from the state are displayed. While you can purchase all kinds of food along the midway, we prefer to buy our  food at the state buildings. It sounds funny, but a huge draw at the Maine building is a fully loaded baked potato. I kid you not. You should see the baked potato line; it's really something! Yes, we each had one; it's a tradition. Since we were there for seven hours,  I later had a lobster roll at the Maine building and a slice of apple pie with cheddar cheese at the Vermont building. We did a tremendous amount of walking, so I told myself that I was burning off the  calories. :-)
     There are ongoing performances on the stages, rides for kids of all ages, places to shop, a parade . . .  you name it, and you can find it at the Big E!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cape Cod Day Trip


    Today was a perfect 10 weatherwise with blue skies and cool, crisp air. Two friends and I headed to Falmouth for the day. First we went to the Shining Star Bike Trail where one of my friends joined me for an hour's walk while our other friend sat on a bench near a pond enjoying the scenery.


      Next it was on to the Flying Bridge for lunch outside on the deck.  It was very cool and breezy, but once September rolls around there is a need to enjoy every last moment possible outside.


Later we drove along the water and stopped at Nobsca Lighthouse.


     My friends never mind when I take photos, but it also probably helps that I am the driver. :-) This last photo was taken at Quissett Harbor.


     After a bit of shopping on the main street, it was time to head home. All in all, it was a lovely way to spend a beautiful September day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Comfort Quilts

     In honor of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, a suggestion was made that members of the Herring Run Quilt Guild might like to make a red, white, and blue quilt to be donated to a veteran. At our first meeting on Saturday, ten people showed the patriotic quilts they had made. These will be donated to a local veterans' home. Here is my quilt.


     At the meeting,  I also turned in another comfort quilt which I made for the organization, Wrapped Up in Sports. This organization presents professional sports team-inspired quilts to children in need. The quilter receives a kit containing pre-cut pieces for the top and borders and then the quilter assembles the top, adds batting and a backing, and quilts the piece. To learn more about this organization, please visit Wrapped Up in Sports. 
     


     Finally, the green in front of Braintree's Town Hall presently has a display of 3,000 small American flags to honor the 3,000 women and men who perished on 9/11. This photo shows just a small portion of the area which fills the entire green.  The flags will remain up until Friday.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?

     Normally I would have been in front of my classroom filled with eighth graders, but on that day I had been participating in an all-day ELA curriculum meeting. There was shock when we received word of the first plane, and horror when the second plane hit.  I had been given permission to leave the meeting to accompany the assistant principal to New Bedford for the funeral of the mother of one of our colleagues.  While we were driving down there, the radio conveyed the news of the attack on the Pentagon. Horror soon turned to terror.   We continued on our way. The service was held in a Greek Orthodox Church, and though I didn't understand a word of the service, I felt comforted being in a house of worship.
     In the days that followed, it was our job as teachers to try to maintain some semblance of normalcy in our classes while understanding that sometimes students would just need to talk about what had happened. I do recall that during the school day I was steady and calm as we all tried to be for the sake of our students, but when I came home each day I would be clued to CNN and wouldn't want to leave the safety of my house for any reason.
     Allan Jackson penned a song, "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" which spoke to the experiences of all of us in the days and weeks that followed. There is a youtube video which captures these troubled days, When the World Stopped Turning: A 9/11 Tribute which is definitely worth viewing.
     

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stairway to Bygone Days

I'd like to share a few final photos taken last week in the Berkshires. The Kripalu center was once a Jesuit seminary. Before that, it was a very large estate owned by a prominent family. All that remain of the original buildings on the estate are a gatehouse and this magnificent stonework staircase which I hope to one day interpret as a quilted piece.


     One vestige of the original landscaping which was designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted is this unusual tree.

At first glance it doesn't appear all that unusual, but just wait and take a peek under its canopy.


You have to admit that it is pretty impressive.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rainy Day Sunshine



     Today looks to be another day of rain, so I thought I would post some photos taken over this past weekend while on my retreat . There was a small wildflower meadow on the property, and the image below was taken early one misty morning.


There were also large tracts of sunflowers which I always enjoy photographing.


Finally, here is your sunshine for today.

  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kripalu

     This past weekend I went with five other women to Kripalu which is a yoga retreat center in the Berkshires. I have not practiced yoga, but an opportunity presented itself and since I try to be open to life's possibilities off I went. The weekend for our little group was sponsored by the Cancer Community Renewal Project. We took part in the Women's Radiant Health program led by Sudha Lundeen  (pictured 2nd from the right).


     I was amazed at how large the facility was and just how many people from all over come to the center. There was a woman in our program who had come from Spain to visit Kripalu.
     Shortly after arriving on Friday afternoon, I attended a yoga class for beginners which easily had over 125 participants. Mind you, this was only one of of a number of yoga classes and programs going on at that time.
     At first I must confess I felt totally out of place and wondered just what the heck I was doing there,  but I gradually warmed to the experience. The food was very good and healthy and the people friendly and calm. All in all, it proved to be a very interesting experience.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Aliens Among Us?

     Today is another picture perfect day. It's hard to believe that so many people are still dealing with the effects of last Sunday's storm. There are thousands of people without power. Fortunately, my area didn't see much damage. I never lost electrical power and had only branches to pick up on Monday. I am so, so very grateful.
     Here's a photo taken on the dock outside my room when I was up in Boothbay Harbor a few weeks ago.


Is it just me, or does this not make it appear that there are aliens among us? Speaking of things other worldly, I'm adding a link to the bottom of this blog page to NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day. The photos are [pun alert] truly out of this world! When you go to this site, click on "Discover the Cosmos" and be sure to take a look at a photo which was posted on Aug. 14th. It's a remarkable image of a tornado and a rainbow together originally taken in Kansas back in 2004. What makes the site interesting is that there is an explanation written by an astronomer each day describing what you are viewing. Some of the images would provide wonderful inspirations for quilts.