Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Red Ride...

I thought for sure I would be paralyzed after kayaking for most of the day on Friday, the 28th. As it turns out, I was not. It seems that all the swimming, all the many many laps I have clocked in this summer have paid off. Friday marked the 3rd year of Mom's passing. I have done allot of work this year to 'be okay', to deal w/ the grief of losing her and proceed forward. Friday was a gorgeous day. I thought the best way to honor her, and that would be every single day for the rest of my life, is to live. So, I did something I have wanted to do since I laid eyes on the Cherry Creek Lake/Reservoir, almost a year ago. I rented a kayak for the day, and off I went. The lake measures 850 acres!! I mastered my rowing skills @ camp, and grateful I was, because you need to have a clue on how to navigate the waters. It was choppy, not like a sheet of glass, as the jet-skiers, motor boats and a few sail boats were making their fair share of wake waves, and it was windy enough to effect the water. (There is plenty of room for everyone, but the ripple effect travels far and wide). I stayed on the perimeter for the first couple of hours, just wanting to catch a glimpse of the park from the waterside. I took my time, I wanted to take my time. I only pulled onto the beach once for a short rest-bit. I knew exactly where I was from the many many times we have walked on the trails by the water. I saw the dense, swampy foliage as I navigated my way around the lake. There were some huge fallen trees w/ the root side facing me. I tried to get some pics, but the kayak kept on moving, the sun was too bright, etc. Their complicated weave of roots made for amazing sculptures, none of which I would have ever seen had I not been on the water. I kept going and at some point I was hoping to find a spot where I could just stay w/out drifting, like putting down an anchor. Well, I have to thank the pelicans for leading me to just the right spot. I was sort of, kind of following a group of pelicans. If I could just get close enough, the sun was behind me, and they were still enough, this could be a good pic, I thought. Well, sure enough, they 'allowed' me to do all that; get close enough, and take a few pics. Once they were done w/ me, one by one by one, they made a line and swam in the other direction. It was quite a sight! And then, lo and behold, I paddled out just far enough and I stopped moving. There was no drifting, I didn't use the paddle to keep the kayak steady. I just sat, and took it all in. Again, time was not an issue, and I savored every moment in that great red ride I had for the day. As it turns out, I was the very last one into the Marina, so whew!!! For any Rhoda Girls reading this, you know in my head I could hear Dede hollering, 'All Rhoda boats in!' Mom would have been really really happy for me for having such a great day...

#grateful #veryverygrateful
The red ride...
Resting, taking it all in...
Short stop on the beach..
The pelicans...thank you pelicans...
'There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
     a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance....'
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Haze...

I never would have understood what a monster they are fighting out West w/ the wildfires, had we not lived through 2 of them here in Colorado. We were here for only 6 months when the Waldo Canyon fire occurred in 2012. I can tell you that when the fires literally exploded over the canyon and took out close to 350 homes in one fell swoop, not to mention the automated phone call we received from Medtronic, the supplier of Edwards' diabetic supplies, reminding us what to take if we needed to evacuate, it was horrifying. Forest fires create their own weather. What they are battling out West has been going on for weeks now, almost 1 month. It is hard to imagine. I am not sure why I was surprised when the wind changed and blew the smoke from the fires East, that we would be so effected here in Colorado. The air has been heavy, the haze so thick and unbelievably so, we could smell the fire. Also, most unexpected, have been the sunsets since the weekend. As a New Yorker, an orange sunset during the hot dog days of summer was not an unusual sight. Here, however, not so much. My camera literally would not register the color orange, and as a result, I got some interesting shots. Last night the wind was so strong I was almost bowled over, and thankfully, I am catching a glimpse of the Rockies this morning. Please, keep the firefighters and the good people out West in your prayers. I have included 1 pic from the Black Forest fire which was taken from Edward's room, literally 1 hour after the fire happened. 

Life marches on, we continue w/ our daily routines. I have been savoring these last days of the outdoor pool being open, and broke my record of 70 laps, to a big, 72 laps yesterday, which is a little over 1 mile!!!

As a post script to last weeks post about the Corpse Flower, 'Stinky' as it was known here, has keeled over and died. No picture necessary!

Saturday, 8/22
Sunday, 8/23
Monday, 8/24, setting...
Monday, 8/24 setting..
Monday, 8/24 setting..
Last night, 8/25..
From Edward's room, literally 1 hour after the Black Forrest fire began, 2013...

'For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
 I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.'
 Psalm 50:10-11

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lily Pads/Lilleypad, Etc.

I named my first Etsy shop, 'Lilleypad'. It helps to come up w/ something relatable, and hopefully, a bit clever. Needless to say, I have a true affinity for the Lily Pad flower. We have had the Botanic Gardens in Denver in the front of our brain, as it has been all over the news here. The infamous 'Corpse Flower', which they have in the gi-normous greenhouse was getting ready to bloom. Interestingly, a relative of the 'Lily Family', the Corpse Flower blooms once every 10 years, for about 2 days, and gives off the odor of a decomposing mammal. Gross, very very very gross. However, yesterday was cool, by Augusts' standards, and we decided that it would be a perfect way to seize the moment by going to the Botanic Gardens. I had a field day taking a boat load of pics, from Queen Anne's Lace, to the Sunflowers, the many many Lily Pads, the gorgeous Solarium (I want to live there!), and of course, the Koi Fish. As it turns out, I read today, that just a few hours after we left the Corpse Flower began to bloom. This was not something I wanted to experience, ever. But, we did see it, and I took some pics, which, somehow, not surprisingly, did not come out. But, I have to thank that strange creation for getting us to the Botanic Garden. What a gift, smack in the middle of Denver!

Post script: People were waiting as long as 3 hours to experience the 'Corpse Flower', and in some cases, were handed barf bags...things that make you go hmmmmmm.....
Koi fish...
Lily pads....
They come in all shapes and sizes!!
The Solarium, I want to live here!
The bees are alive and well in Denver!!
Queen Anne's Lace, more bees!
From the gift shop!
The Corpse flowering plant...eeeeew
(not my pic)

'The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.'   
                                                            Isaiah 58:11

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

So, There Was This Funnel Cloud... and Then Some Pesto!

We were driving back from Denver around 3:30ish yesterday, the storm clouds were most definitely getting ready to spill. I looked to my right, and I said to Jimmy, 'Is that, could it be, holy ****, really?????, ****, ****, ***'. I had my iPhone and camera w/ me, as I do @ all times. The thing is, seeing a funnel cloud, which you can literally see change second by second, is really scary!! It is hard to explain, like the wild fires here in Colorado. Having never experienced living through 1 wild fire, let alone 2 (#listentosmokeythebear), and having never seen a funnel cloud, in person (thankfully), until yesterday, all I can say is, it is almost like a shock to your system, and you immediately, and I mean immediately, go straight in to survival mode. We saw that we had some wiggle room to get home. Had some errands we were running and we were very close to the house. We made it to our last stop and heard one of the security men saying to a customer, 'We will hear from the National Weather Service if we need to evacuate!' The skies on either side of us were seriously questionable, at best. People were pulling over to take pics. Not us!!! We stayed in the car and made a b-line for home as I was snapping away. The tornado warning sirens were blaring over the entire metro-Denver area. Denver International Airport was emptied to lower levels for shelter. Apparently, they train for this, because the Gal @ the airport who was being interviewed was very very calm, which was a good thing. We made it home without issue and I knew the best thing for me would be to cook, or make something to stay busy. We just finished our last batch of pesto from last summers' haul, and I have been stocking up on pistachios and parm, prepping for this years harvest. Again, there was time to go out on the deck and pluck a bunch of basil, also in the hope that we would not lose power. You just never know. So, in time, the funnel dissipated, the first batch of (to die for) pesto was made. A huge sigh of relief all around. The skies cleared, and, well enough for us to have a gorgeous sunset!! Today, a beautiful day, bright, sunny. Never a dull moment....
To our left...
The funnel to our right...oy
The basil, so gorgeous..
Amy's famous pesto...
Summer sunset after the storm...

'Out of the south comes the whirlwind, and cold out of the north..' Job 37:9

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Light, Space & Time, On-Line Art Gallery

I received an email a couple of weeks ago from my friend Suzie. She thought that I might be interested in entering an on-line nature, photo contest from the Light, Space and Time On-Line Art Gallery. Light Space & Time conducts monthly themed online art competitions.  The winning artwork is promoted through the gallery to over 39,000 visitors and receives over 66,000 Page views each month.   News of each winning artist’s participation is also emailed to the over 7,000 thousand gallery owners, corporate art representatives and decision makers in the fine arts field, who subscribe to their bulletins. I enter 'challenges' all the time through Twenty20. I find these challenges to be very subjective, but it is great exposure, and on occasion, one of my pics will wind up in the top 20, which is always fun. I see the most beautiful pics every single day from all over the world on Instagram, and on Twenty20. There are over 300 million users on Instagram alone. The only other time I have heard 300 million used in a sentence, was in reference to the age of the rocks in Garden of the Gods National Park! There are around 45 million users on Twenty20. So, recognition in this day and age is a moment to rejoice! Very hard to choose, I thought, but I narrowed it down to 2 pics. The gallery received 660 entries from 22 different countries from around the world, including Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal,  Qatar, Saint Maarten, Singapore, Spain,  Thailand, and the United Kingdom.  In addition, the gallery received entries from 36 different states.  Well, lo and behold, I received notice that one of my photos received a 'Special Recognition' nod, in the photography category. The 2nd pic was recently nominated to be included in the 'Signature Collection', on Twenty20, and was accepted!
"Pending Storm', Centennial, Co., Special Recognition
'Mother and Child', NYC, Signature Collection, Twenty20

'Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.'    Psalm 33:2-3

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!!! 

'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