Thinking Back & Ahead

As 2017 draws to an end, like many of you I’m reliving some of the past months and thinking ahead to what the next year will bring.

IMG_8569January and February are blurs as most of that time was spent laid up thanks to surgery to rebuild a heel bone and reattach an Achilles tendon.  To say the least, I’m glad that’s behind me and grateful for that being the worst health issue I’ve had.

IMG_8633Getting out was a treat even though it often meant scooting around rather than walking.

By March I was back in the kitchen experimenting with new food ideas and challenging myself to spend some of the down time working on food photography.

Having a bit more mobility in April allowed me to take advantage of exhibits at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where Ron Mueck’s life like sculptures were both intriguing and a tad scary.

By the end of May, we were on the road to Maine making stops in Savannah and South Carolina to explore the low country and binge on yummy food.

Arriving in Maine, the first order of business was to replace the water facing porch, the maintenance for which had eaten the hubby’s lunch over the years.  What an improvement and hubby will be ever so happy next year when all he has to do is put the furniture out!

Pipe DreamsAfter a month of projects, it was time in July to do what we like best: explore Maine’s coast and islands on Pipe Dreams.

August was family time, and it makes my heart sing to see how much the grandkids enjoy the magic of Maine.

foggy dayMuch of September was shrouded in fog which limited boating but provided good excuse to discover what else Maine has to offer.

In October, we journeyed to the Moosehead Lake region where we enjoyed natural beauty and stumbled upon a memorial that introduced us to a tragic event about which we knew nothing.

img_0004A dream came true in November when girlfriends traveled together in India.  Bus rides got to be a bit much, but the adventure was one that more than met expectations and provided us with memories to share.

IMG_0090Though we had expected to end 2017 in Maine, winter got the best of us and we returned to Houston to celebrate the coming of a new year with long time friends.

As with every other year, there will be bumps in the road in 2018, but for all of us I hope for good health and well being and light on those days when things don’t look too bright.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Munich: A Quick Stop

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The hubby has wanted to visit Munich so on our way to Sicily, we made a quick stop. It was a great place to recover from a sleepless overseas flight and briefly explore a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo trip to Munich would be complete without a visit to Hofbrauhaus, perhaps the busiest place I’ve ever been.  We couldn’t help but wonder if this establishment ever runs out of beer and sausages!

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The area surrounding Hofbrauhaus is teeming with people shopping, browsing, enjoying being part of the crowd

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAor stopping to observe surprising street entertainment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had no agenda in the city, but the Nymphenburg Palace on the outskirts piqued our curiosity.  What a beautiful place!

Some of the apartments in the main building were open for viewing and reflected the opulence associated with earlier times.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs lovely as the palace was, even more delightful were the grounds that provided incredible fodder for the camera!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt every step was a scene waiting to be photographed

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand it was impossible to resist capturing the graceful swans

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that in some positions looked like a sculpture.

The grounds were full of people enjoying a lovely fall afternoon so there was  wonderful opportunity to capture unposed shots.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had not intended to make Nymphenburg Palace our only stop, but it was such a wonder that we spent the whole day there.  No doubt, there’s much more to see in Munich, but it will have to wait for another time.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Birthday Thoughts

Remember those birthdays you got excited about?  

10: finally double digits and no longer feeling like such a kid

13: a teenager at last

16: whoopee a drivers license

21: LEGAL

40: special just because

Well, these days birthdays don’t seem so special to me and not just because of being another year older, having a new wrinkle or two plus gray hairs and maybe some unwanted ones or for having acquired a Botticelli belly but because they come around so darned fast.

With each birthday I realize more of my life is behind me than ahead, at least I hope that is the case!  That doesn’t scare me but it does make me want to live each day to the fullest and be aware of all that is around me.  I want to enjoy family and cherish each of the  moments we are able to share.  I want to continue expanding my knowledge, explore new horizons and maintain a zest for life.  Most of all, I want somehow, some way to make a difference in the lives I touch.  That may be my biggest challenge.

I don’t want to look back with regret.  Rather I choose to be grateful for life as it is.  Whatever fills the chapters that are ahead, here’s to savoring the journey and viewing each moment as special.

Have you thoughts about birthdays and what they mean to you?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Reentry….

TexasNo sooner do you get into Texas than you begin to notice changes that define its character.

TexasThere are lots of wide open spaces with cattle grazing and maybe an oil well or two pumping away.

TexasChemical plants and refineries are not unusual sights,

Texas/pickupand pickups are more common than cars.

Texas/HoustonAs you get closer to Houston, billboards and strip centers line the highway, not a pretty sight as an entrance to the nation’s fourth largest city.

HoustonFreeways widen to 4-6 lanes in an effort to keep traffic moving

Houstonand spaghetti bowls head off in every direction.

HoustonNo matter how wide the freeways or how many there are, traffic can come to a complete stop at any time of day.  A Maine friend thinks 4 or 5 cars stopped in traffic is gridlock.  Wonder what he’d say about this!

HoustonSpying the city skyline in the distance, I am awed by its transformation in recent years.  Little of the old is there, but that is characteristic of Houston which has demolished so much of its history to create a new story and reflect its can do attitude.

HoustonCranes are everywhere, and new construction is proof of Houston’s booming economy.  This kind of activity is not what one sees much of in Maine which is both a positive and a negative.

Houston’s bigness makes me a little panicky.  All the traffic, all the activity are things that take some getting used to after several months in a much more tranquil environment.  Also, I have to start thinking differently about what is beautiful.  It won’t be the harbor or magical islands or evening sunsets. 

HoustonAs all of these thoughts race through my head, we turn the corner and up ahead I see our house and am calmed.  It is close to all the things that Houston has to offer, but the uniqueness of this area is that it seems far removed from the city’s bustle.   This, too, is a place I’m lucky to call home, and after 14 states, 2280 miles and 34 hours in the car I’m glad to be here.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Memories and Wishes

Mother's Day  cardsI  woke this morning to silence.  

No small voices filled the house.  

No young ones jumped on the bed shouting Happy Mothers Day.  

No one brought  breakfast in bed.

There were no sweet handmade cards. 

All those things are memories now as children have become adults.  They have children of their own who do the things kids do for their moms.

Linsey and HollyWhat I have are memories and gratitude for the gifts that are my daughters.

I wish you all a happy day filled with memories of children you love.

Just Thinking

Linda_  016I’ve just finished reading Stephen King’s latest book, Doctor Sleep. Oh, I know, many of you don’t like King’s fiction because much of it is in the horror genre. True, but there is considerably more to his writing than the horror it can evoke. King is a master story teller, a genius at character development and he draws his reader into the story in a way that doesn’t release and often encourages thoughtful reflection.

So it is with Doctor Sleep. I’m not going to cite all the phrases that gave me pause, but I will share one that particularly stopped me in my tracks:

Death was no less a miracle than birth.

This I’m having to think about as my emotions are raw from experiencing the recent death of my brother. We know from the time of conscious awareness that death will find us all, but that doesn’t make it easier to accept the reality. What I’m trying to figure out is where is the miracle. Is it a miracle that death can mean the end of suffering? Is it a miracle that even in death the world around us continues in its usual way? Is it a miracle that we find the strength to move on even when our hearts are breaking? Is it a miracle that such things as life and death are completely beyond our control?

So many questions always surround death, and as I am pondering them this photo of a quite different miracle comes from my barn queen daughter.

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One by one perfect little baby ducks are emerging from their shells, vividly illustrating the miracle of birth. Few questions here, just a feeling of joy.

What a contrast to death is the emergence of new life, and the associated emotions are total opposites. I’m thinking most of us have experienced the two extremes, and I’m wondering how many view life and death as similar miracles.
Who would have thought all these questions would arise as a result of reading a book by an author many credit only with being scary! Hmmm, I wonder if that means we have to be scared into thinking, but maybe that is fodder for another time.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

P.S.  For more about the adorable ducks, look here.

Endings and Beginnings

New Year's 2013Sitting by the fire gazing out at a snow covered landscape, there’s no looking back for me. 2012 is past leaving behind it’s own special and unique memories. Fortunately, most are good and not tinged with regret or sadness. For that I am very grateful.

Ahead is the promise of a new year meaning that we begin making new memories, experiencing new adventure and friendships, making every day count. For me, T.S. Eliot puts past and future in perspective:

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

I am so glad you were a part of last years language and look forward to our new beginnings. Here’s wishing us all a shared and wonderful 2013.

Transitions

Each time I transition from Houston to Maine and back, I’m aware of the differences.

Houston is where I have lived for most of my adult life.  It is where many long time friends are and until recently, it was where most of my family resided.  I have had to get used to the absence of my mother and now Houston will seem emptier without one of my daughters. Houston is busy with so many distractions that it is often difficult to enjoy quiet time alone or with friends.

In contrast is Maine where life is, as the welcoming sign says, the way it should be. Here I love the simple things.

I love the smell of newly mowed grass and the clean white of Adirondacks.

I love the blooming flowers that are, in the words of my daughter, brave and outspoken.

I love the lilacs that are about to burst into bloom and fill the air with their sweetness

and the peony buds that are tight, waiting their chance to explode with color.

I love the sound of Pipe Dreams, with her promise of island exploration, as she rides up and down on the pier

I love the view outside my window and the clouds dropping soft rain that quiets my soul

 and keeps me inside reading by the fire. Yes, in June.

While it’s hard not to think about Houston being home, it does not have my heart the way Maine does.

Joining Seasonal Sundays

Just Thoughts

It doesn’t seem so long ago I was writing my mom notes for Mother’s Day or that my girls would come jump on my bed squealing in childish voices,”Happy Mother’s Day!” Then, with their dad’s help, they would serve me breakfast in bed. Ah, those were the days!

Today, as I sat at dinner with my family that has grown to include husbands and grandchildren, it dawned on me that I am now the senior mom, that I am the one to whom the mantle of family matriarch has passed. What a weird feeling it is to realize that I am now top of the food chain, the one that will fix a child’s favorite dish and spoil the young ones in the family.

This is part of life’s reality I suppose, and there is some sadness to accepting the truth that comes with the loss of parents who, for so long, grounded me, allowed me to retain some of my kid self. Fortunately, the sadness is lessened by the joy of looking down the table and seeing my family, hearing their laughter, knowing that there are memories to cherish and more to make.

Are these changes what we call passages?