Wednesday, July 29, 2015

No Words Necessary Wednesday

Just a few of the amazing landscapes from the playground in the Colorado skies since I have returned from my East Coast travels, 3 weeks ago toady...

'And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.' 
                                                                    Genesis 1:5

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

And Then, There Was NYC...

Upper West Side love...
Looking North from the 19th floor in Chelsea...
Sunrise, big skies, good morning NYC...Chelsea!
My Cousin's beautiful balcony garden...
On the High Line, a moment...
My Goddaughter, Jennie, in rehearsal for 'Pearl', the musical...(please go see her @ the Davenport Theatre, Saturday, 25th and last performance, Sunday, August 2nd)!!!
Grace Church, The Village...old stomping grounds..
And finally, the landmark, Grand Central...
So, sandwiched in between going to the Berkshires, and going to Maryland, I spent 4 1/2 very full days in The City. Born and raised in NYC, you know the saying, 'You can take the girl out of the City..'. It is the first time that I have visited NY since Mom passed away, and it was really, really different, in a good way. The last couple of years visiting the City when Mom was still alive, most of my time was spent running back and forth to NYU Medical Center or taking care of her after she got out of the hospital, way downtown in Battery Park. Now I had to make other arrangements for where to place my bags and rest my head. 2 couches and a futon later, from the Upper West Side to Chelsea, (West 24th and West 15th), I immediately knew that the phrase, 'wandering Jew', was appropriate. The City has changed, it felt different. I have changed, I felt different. 

The most important part of the trip from beginning to end, was seeing Family and Friends. I do not have pics of many of those moments, as many of the visits were short and sweet, and I have tucked them safely away in my heart. From a spill-over visit from the Berkshires to the Upper West Side, to my 87 year old Cousin, (who is 87 going on 65...she lives the life in NY!), to my extended Family whom I love dearly and wished I had more time to savor our time together. You know who you are. To some very special time with my friend, who was the Activity Director/in charge of fun, @ The Hallmark where Mom lived for 8 wonderful years, and lunch with yet another Cousin! And then the phone calls. For the people I spoke with just to hear your voice, knowing that you were not 2/3 of a country away, may I remind each of you, that just because I live in Colorado, does not mean we can only speak on the phone only when I am in the City. My last stop was Grand Central, lugging my big suitcase. If I had a quarter for every time someone said, 'Hey, Lady, that suitcase it bigger than you!', all the while, looking at the security which was in place for July 4th, thinking, "It's not me folks.' I kissed New York good-bye and I was on to my next destination. 

I have purposed in my heart that I will go back to The City which I love, sooner than later. As my Cousin said, her hotel is open!!! 
#gratefulgratefulgrateful

'The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never ceases, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, Therefore I have hope in Him...'
                                                                Lamentations 3:22-25

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Visit to The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, DC...

The propaganda begins in 1933
Hitler youth played a major role in the rise of Nazi power in Germany..
What remained from one synagogue on the horrifying Kristallnacht, or 'The Night of Broken Glass'
In the Museum, made to look like tracks which carried Jews to the concentration camps...
A real cattle car used to transport Jewish people to concentration camps...that little window was the only one...
Photos, 3 stories high of one town, just one town of people, all of whom were killed, and the town leveled, as if wiped from the face of the earth...
An old milk container, used as a time capsule, found in the Warsaw Ghetto. There were 3 of these, only 2 have been found!!

What was a pretty dress with the mandatory yellow Jewish star, saying 'Jude'.
Earl Simons, docent extraordinaire..
My reflection on the wall in the sanctuary...
Deuteronomy 4:9 as the inscription..
Planning my East Coast sojourn, included seeing my 94 year old Aunt in Maryland and staying with my cousin. Aunt Sue is like the energizer bunny and she was delightful. She especially enjoyed my cooking dinner for all of them, saying, 'Wasn't it fun watching Amy cook!!' After all the many, many Thanksgiving dinners at her house, it was the very least I could do! And a good time was had by All. My cousin asked if there was anything special, besides seeing Aunt Sue, that I wanted to do while in the D.C. area. The first thing that flew out of my mouth was to see the Holocaust Museum. My cousin, seemingly thinking out loud said, 'I know one of the docents, maybe I will get in touch with him.' #wehavepeople!!! Well, it seems that Earl Simons and my cousin belong to the same synagogue in Maryland, and that she 'won' his offer to docent at a silent auction at the synagogue, 2 years ago!!! He has been nudging her all this time to take him up on his docent-ing skills. Let me start by saying, we were in the museum for about 3 1/2 hours. Earl met us at the front of the museum, and right off the bat, it was clear, that we were in for quite the ride. He has the unbridled energy of a young man, yet, Earl, (bless his heart) is close to 80!!! Like the tour guides in Israel, who are so brilliantly trained, the same rules apply here. Meaning, there is a special kind of person who can speak, and give life, with a breadth and depth of knowledge to what we know as the darkest, most unfathomable genocide.  It is the same thing in Israel, you cannot be a tour guide without heart and passion for the love of the land and it's history. It is impossible. We were immediately struck by his passion. The museum tour begins on the top floor, from the beginning of the Nazi propaganda in 1933, to the first floor and below to the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945.  Having just read 'All The Light We Cannot See', by Anthony Doerr, he paints a very clear picture of the Nazi machine and the brutal academies, which were mandatory for Hitler youth. These academies played a huge part in the rise of Nazi Germany.

As we walked through the hallowed halls, there were a couple of moments, where I had a visceral reaction. One was a collection of women's hair. All the women, men and children alike, had their heads shaved, as hair was a valuable commodity to the Nazi's. I really could not enter in to that space in the exhibit. The other was a real 'cattle car', in which the Jews were hauled off to the camps. The horrifying trek would take days and they were squished into literal cattle cars with very little air, mostly in darkness, no food or water, nothing. But, you had to walk through the cattle car to see the rest of the exhibit. The photo of the cattle car, which is not clear, I have posted anyhow, as it still speaks volumes.  

In our discussion, and part of the exhibit included choices. Posing the question, what would you do?What were the neighbors thinking as they saw their Jewish friends, co-workers, schoolmates, doctors, lawyers and Rabbi's being publicly humiliated, seeing them rounded up, millions shot dead in front of them as villages and towns were literally wiped off the face of the earth. What would your choice be? Again, what would you do? One visit, one very intimate visit was a gift. One visit, 3 1/2 hours, barely, just barely skimmed the horrifying surface...

Inscribed on the wall in the beautiful, most solemn sanctuary:

'Only guard yourself, and 
guard your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children...'
                      Deuteronomy 4:9

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ascend, Descend, Ascend, Descend...

Ascending, leaving the Colorado landscape behind...
In the air....
Ahhhhh, the New Jersey landscape...descending into Newark...
Ascending from Washington DC's  Dulles...
In the air...
Making the descent back into Colorado...

My big East Coast sojourn is over. After months of praying, planning, arranging, some sleepless nights, everything, and I mean everything was seamless. I put one foot in front of the other, and I was on my way. In between the ascending, descending, ascending and descending once again, I packed in a full, rich, priceless, surprising/unexpected, loving, happy, emotional, sentimental, and unforgettable trip. The previous post was only the first 2 1/2 days!!! More to come...
#GRATEFUL
'Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths...'
                                                                       proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Summer Camp

Trying to put into words what it meant to go back to the lake where I spent  a decade plus, of carefree, spirited, formative summers might be tricky, but I will try. Anyone who went to sleepaway camp, and spent the full 8 weeks (there was a time when 2 months was the 'norm'), will understand, no words are necessary. Our day began with revelie and many bugle calls thereafter, until lights went out with the playing of 'Taps'. Every day was full of sports, singing all day, (literally), chores, 2 swims in the lake, water skiing, arts and crafts, healthy competitions, socials with 'The Boys', color war, and I am just skimming the surface of the obvious. What we did not know at the time, was that this discipline, this life, these awards, in our camp, called 'stripes', which we strived to earn every week, the give and take of everyday camp life, would be so deeply embedded into our little spirits, that we would walk into our adult lives and carry this wealth of joy and goodness, and then, in time, only  long to go back. Well, many decades later, after much arranging, some of us did just that. We came from all corners of the country, we found a house right on the lake, and off we went, back to the Berkshires. We have grown and changed as life has taken it's twists and turns, we have lost quite a few along the way, but, we remember that we were Girls and Boys together in this beautiful place, lovingly called Camp Rhoda/Camp Barrington. Nothing is there, our camp is gone, (replaced by new foliage and beautiful lakeside homes),but the lake is there, it is the same, and it welcomed us as if we had never left. Shortly after arriving, 4 of us got into a canoe and started to paddle around the perimeter, trying to get our bearings, well, the Boys dock was there, so the girls dock must have been, there. For me, it became clear when we were at the far end of the lake, exactly where everything was. I had water skied around the lake many many times with my Dad hauling me along as he drove the motor boat. This is how I marked the spots and could once again clearly see where everything was located. The debate still rages on, but I am settled. We did not appreciate the beauty, the sounds of the birds singing, the blue herons on the water, the crystal clear water where you can see down to the bottom in places. It was our summer home, this was all we knew and loved loved loved to the very core of our beings. Our time was short, but rich and full. We laughed, we cried, we sang, but mostly we loved. We loved one another, we loved the lake, we loved the memories, we loved until we could love no longer, and then it was time to leave. We have digital cameras and iPhones,we have Wifi, we have Facebook, so we have recorded this time from as many angles as there were eyes. I do believe we can put a 'check' next to this one on our individual buckets lists!

Gathering for our group shot...

You stand here...

Happy campers..

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Flower of the Field

'For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.'
                                                                                       Psalm 103:14-16

Remembering my beloved Aunt....

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

About Last Night...


Seemingly far away, not knowing what was headed our way..
A mighty downpour, then the clearing...
A double rainbow...
And the show continued...
and went on...
and on....
and on...oh, what a night!!!
You just never know what is going to happen. I posted the top pic last night at around 6:30PM. It looked like the rain was 'not here' exactly, but in the distance. Really, within 15 minutes, there was booming thunder, the downpour started, and, too boot, the sun was out. For the rest of the evening, until the sky became dark, around 9PM, these big Colorado skies gave us a show of shows. Edward said a couple of weeks ago, it's as if we live in a planetarium. Webster's meaning of planetarium:

'A building in which images of stars, planets, and constellations are projected on the inner surface of a dome for public entertainment or education.'

Well, if that were the case, this is one mighty big dome...free of charge, of course.

'I have placed My bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.'
                                                                      Genesis 9:13

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

So, Maybe I Got a Little Carried Away...


I cannot stop, this is serious...I may need help...just kidding. Suddenly I find I am using Diptic on itself, by mirroring the pics, then using that pic and mirroring itself, splitting that same pic over and over again to see how far I can go. Edward is a good feedback person if things start to look a bit scary...which for some reason, some of these intricate designs seem to do. That said, I kind of love the way these two pics mashed together. The top pic was from the lake, and landscape @ Cherry Creek State Park. The second pic is a mash-up of the top pic and the very first pic on the previous post (it may help to squint a little). I have received some really interesting comments, a couple, and rightly so, making reference to the '70's. Yes, these would have made amazing album covers. The fun and games continue....