My Travel Journal

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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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June 13, 2017

Just a short update...

I made it back home - at my 3-week check-up the doctor said I could drive home and wear my good walking shoe.  I figured since most of the trip is on interstates, it would be cruise control for most of it and I was already getting used to using my left foot on the break on the few outings I had while at Chris's.  It turned out to be fairly grueling because of the very rainy weather when I had to keep taking it out of cruise.  But I got here.

Oh, and I forgot - while I was in Virginia, the National Cathedral had a "bless the bikes" event for the nationwide group of bikers "Rolling Thunder".  Chris had volunteered to help out that day so I went along.  Spent most of the time in the docent room but did go out to watch the actual presentation.  It seemed to mean a lot to the bikers and they spent a lot of time in the cathedral looking at everything.  I overheard one saying to a couple of others "I mean, you see pictures of course, but being here and seeing it for real - it's just fantastic!"


It's always nice being back home.  I went up on the roof deck for the first time this year on a beautiful, breezy, evening and had a nice visit with a couple of neighbors.  The view is so lovely always that, of course, I took a couple of pictures. :)



I do love my river and I do love that beautiful bridge over it.  That goes into Ohio and at the other end of Huntington is a bridge that goes into Kentucky.

I belong to an on-line group of people who love dollhouse miniatures and especially love doing miniature needlework.  This week a lot of them have gone to Maine for the annual International Guild of Miniature Artisan's "school".  There's a school in Castine, ME and they use that while it's empty during the summer.  So while they're gone, the rest of us decided during this week we would try and finish one of our many UFO's - not necessarily needlework - could be furniture, kits, dollhouses, whatever.  So I decided I would finish the sadly damaged Christmas scene that I had given to January when I moved and had to downscale.  Her cats finally discovered it last Christmas I guess it was and it has been sitting at Chris's ever since.  I brought it home with me and cleaned it up and reglued the various items that needed it.  They managed to also chew off the battery box for the lights on the tree and I had a couple of spares so soldered the wires back onto a new box.



So here is the final result except for the birdhouse I forgot to glue onto the fence.  I made this way back when I belonged to a miniature club which put up a display of our miniatures every October.  One year we decided to design and build our own shops and have a street of shops (hence my fabric store) and the year I made this we decided to have an outdoor Christmas fair with everyone making a booth or whatever to put in it.  This and a "knock the snowman's hat off a shelf" were my two efforts.  The scene was pretty fun, if I do say so myself.

The next two pictures are a close-up of three special ornaments on the tree - a Moravian star near the center top that I made after the kids and I made life-sized ones one Christmas.  I've tried and never been able to make another mini one.  There's also a real, but very small sand-dollar down at the bottom of the tree and a little tiny clothespin handpainted to look like a toy soldier over on the left and almost invisible.

And the other picture shows the little birdhouse in place.  I love that the birds living there have built a snowman out front :) 




And I think that's about it for this post.  Merry Christmas in June!



May 17, 2017

Two visits - Part 1

I'm at my son Chris's home now but arrived at my daughter Heather's home on April 27.  My grandson turned 17(!) and Heather also had a birthday on that weekend so it was a happy time to be there.  In addition to which, one of their goats gave birth to her baby while I was there.  Almost got to the stable in time but wasn't fast enough.  The little one was already struggling to stay on its feet and get to Mama.  Pretty darned sweet. :)

 I managed to get a cold while I was there but it was a fast moving one and didn't make me feel as puny as my colds usually do which was nice.  Heather took Friday and Monday off and the kids didn't seem quite as busy as usual so it was a good visit.

Tuesday I drove down to Chris's apartment and have been there since.  He had told me that Saturday he had signed up to volunteer for a couple of things at the National Cathedral's annual Flower Market and I was welcome to come along.  So I did because he had said that various embassies in DC create elaborate floral displays and I thought it would be nice to see those.  Also, if it's nice weather, it's pleasant strolling around in their lovely gardens and I could visit all the various vendor tents.

So, off we went.  We had a bite of breakfast in the cafe there and wished it was not quite so cold and rainy.  I had only packed a sweater that I use when the weather is cool so I didn't plan on being outside for long. But I had my book and I-pad so that was all right.

Got inside and started our tour around the displays which were in the colonnades that run along each side of the nave and after the second or third one I - like an idiot - was moving on to the next one while looking back to say something to Chris and fell down two stairs.  Apparently, I hadn't remembered that the colonnades are two steps up from the floor of the nave.  It was quite a tumble and I immediately thought "I sprained my ankle again, darn it!" because it was very painful.  But with some assistance I managed to get myself upright and said to Chris "if I managed to walk around Florence for three weeks after spraining my ankle, I can manage to see the rest of the displays" and so, hanging on to his arm and wincing all the way, we did see all the displays and they were pretty spectacular.  I thought I would be able to remember which countries did each display but I was wrong and there was no guide to bring home so very few of these photos will be identified.  Maybe when Chris reads the post, he'll be able to come up with a couple more ID's.  But here are the pictures that Chris kindly took for me since I was kind of beyond picture taking after the fall.  I've left them in medium size but if you want to see them bigger, just click on them.

I do remember this one was Japanese with an antique Samurai sword on the right hand side.  A lady standing there told us it was a very valuable item and she and others would be with the display the whole time it was there (just that weekend or maybe even just the one day) partly to make sure it wasn't stolen but mostly to make sure someone didn't decide to pull the sword out and accidentally injure themselves or someone else with the very sharp blade.

 This was a neat one - the flowers copy a Mondrian painting and are displayed on an old wooden easel.
 I think this might have been China - it includes the Olympic rings and the white snow leopard.

 This was Australia's display - featuring their wine industry's growing world-wide popularity.
Each time I see this picture the country Patagonia springs to mind so just now noticing the mostly blue flag with the gold bar at the bottom, I Googled Patagonia's flag and think, based on that, this probably is their display.
And it's kind of embarrassing but this was the United States' effort.
Gee, I should have thought of the flags before I started because this one turns out to be Jamaica's display - a real beauty.
 It's kind of embarrassing but this arrangement is the United States' effort.  Pretty but not in any way symbolic of the country.  We discovered when we were finished and out of the colonnades that on the nave side of the colonnade railing, on the portion in front of this display was the next arrangement which is at least red, white and blue.

This gorgeous one, I have no clue...


This one would have been a much better idea for the US but it was another country's effort.

 I really liked this one - it has so many interesting bits and pieces.  The sign that is on the left side looks like it might say Panama.
 A very nice arrangement from our neighbor, Canada.
Another beauty, but again, no clue...
 This one is so lovely, I feel guilty not being able to credit the country who provided it - I feel sure it must be a near or far eastern country.

But the rest of the pictures below are all from the Thailand display.  It was gorgeous and also mind-boggling.  These are all carved fruits - melons, etc., and gourds or squashes (I remember there was a pumpkin sculpture.)  And the carver sat there carving which was a nice touch, I thought.




Their display table was big enough that it didn't fit in one picture but the second photo above shows the majority of it.

So that was all wonderful to see but by the end of it, I was pretty much finished and my foot was swelling so Chris got me to the docents' room, a policeman (who had joined the group who gathered when I fell) came to make a report and see if there was anything he could do and I asked about some kind of ice pack and he got me one of those, I got my legs up on the sofa, got my book and a glass of water handy, can't remember if anyone had any pills handy, and settled in until it was time to leave.  In addition to feeling sorry for myself, I felt so bad for Chris because he had taken Thursday and Friday off in the upcoming week and now was going to have this hobbling mother on his hands.  I had planned to go home following that 4-day weekend with him but now wasn't real sure what the situation would be by then.

I'll be posting again because I finally got myself to an urgent care center on Monday and also, we've managed to do several enjoyable things since then.  So, here ends Part 1 and you'll find Part 2 by scrolling down to the next post. :)


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