Taste of New Zealand

I read a few days ago that applications from Americans for temporary residency in New Zealand are up by 70%. I won’t go into the reasons why I think this is true, but I will share with you some of its appeal.

It is a beautiful country

with lots of opportunity for outdoor activity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are snow capped mountains 

and glaciers with runoff that turn rivers a stunning blue. Meandering through the mountains, the water reminds me of an abstract painting.

There are sheep farms

and orchards

and friendly people descended from the Mauri tribe native to New Zealand.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are numerous vineyards making, among other blends, outstanding Sauvignon Blanc.

No matter where you might choose to have that glass of wine or just sit back and relax, you can count on having a beautiful view.

Hmmm, now that I think about it, New Zealand might not be a bad place to be.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Reentry

I am very lucky to live in two places: Houston, Texas and Rockport, Maine.  We have just returned to Houston and, oh, what a difference.  Many of those differences make reentry something of a challenge.

Office View HoustonHouston is big and with that comes lots of traffic.  

HoustonRight now I drive the freeways with my heart in my mouth, fearful of changing lanes and intimidated by 18 wheelers closing in urging me to speed up or waiting to pass me by.  

img_7502That is quite a contrast to Maine where most of the roads are two lanes with 50 MPH speed limit which makes driving a bit more leisurely to say nothing of being more scenic.

img_8259As different as it is, there are things I like about being in Houston.  High on the list is Costco where I always come out with much more than  I meant to purchase.  That was especially true on this first visit when having access to so much was overwhelming!

img_8314I like that Houston winter is green with lots of blooming things, the way Maine is in summer.  By the time we leave Maine, most of the color is gone and the landscape takes a break until spring when it reawakens.

img_8332Returning to Houston means going to St. Paul’s UMC, a church I’ve loved for many years.  I appreciate its timeless Gothic architecture, the peacefulness I feel there, the way it provides opportunity for discovering your own faith walk and that it is open to all people.

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The best part of reentry is returning to my house in the area that has been home to the hubby and me since we’ve been married.  (One of these days I will have to tell you the story of how this house got me elected to office or at least how I think it helped.)

Rockport Pano 6X18

As different as it is, I enjoy the time we spend in Houston, but I must confess that I do miss waking up in the morning, turning my head and looking out on Rockport Harbor.

Rockport Harbor

No matter the season, no matter whether it’s sunny or foggy, I love the view, the activity 

winter/lobster boatsand the sight and sound of lobster boats going out for the day’s work.  The most I see upon waking in Houston is the fence that separates our and the neighbor’s property.

Despite their differences, I am lucky to live in Houston and Rockport, and each helps me appreciate the other a little more.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Wow Us Wednesday

What’s It Wednesday

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

Atop Beech Hill

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 Beech Hill is a one of my favorite spots.  It is what I see in the distance when we are returning to Rockport Harbor on the boat, and it is a wonderful place for an easy hike.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the top is Beech Nut, a historical sod cottage built in 1917 as a picnic spot for a summer estate.

img_3391Originally, it was reached by carriage, but these days one hikes a 3/4 mile trail.   Both sides of the trail are surrounded by the Beech Hill Preserve where the Coastal Mountain Land Trust grows those wonderful little Maine blueberries.  If you time the hike when the blueberries are ripe, you just might be able to gather a handful or two along the edge of the trail. 

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Fall is a particularly beautiful time of year to hike the trail to the top.  The blueberry fields are ablaze with crimson.

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In one direction Penobscot Bay is in full view,

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in another a lake glistens in the sun.

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Turn away from the water and the Camden Hills provide a different dimension to the landscape.

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I take time to enjoy every little thing that is front of me and to give thanks for the beauty and tranquility of this place.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Wow Us Wednesday

Who Knew?

Rockport HarborSee that boat sitting in the harbor?  At first I thought it was a visiting vessel, but it’s been there several days without any sign of someone going or coming.  Finally, my curiosity got the better of me, and here’s what I learned from asking around.

This boat is not a pleasure craft.  Rather it operates from one of the outlying islands during the summer months and fishes offshore for tuna.  One guy is at the very top operating the boat and looking for fish.  When he spots something, a second person goes all the way forward and balances over the water.  I don’t know about you, but that wouldn’t make me feel very secure!  Anyway, if a tuna is within reach, the second person harpoons it, brings it aboard where the fish is killed with shock and immediately put on ice.

Evidently, this process is a bit different from typical fishing because it is important that the fish be in unblemished condition. It is said that a good sized tuna can be worth a lot of money when it is shipped to Japan for auction.  In some cases a single tuna has brought as much as $100,000.  How much sushi do you think would justify that expense and who knew that a tuna could be so valuable?  I guess that which we find at the market didn’t make the cut!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Fall is………

fall on the hillsI grew up in south Florida and have spent most of my adult life in Houston, so experiencing fall in Maine is a special treat.  As many of you have said, fall means cooler temperatures and changing leaves.  While that is true, fall is much more than that to me.blueberry field, fall

Fall is fields of wild blueberries glowing brilliantly under a shining sun before slumbering for the winter.

pumpkinsFall is pumpkins of every size, shape and texture.

Rockport HarborFall is watching the harbor as one by one boats disappear until there are just a few whose hearty owners will brave a few more cool afternoon sails.

lobster boatFall is watching lobster boats go out later in the morning and return with traps, a sure indication lobstering is coming to an end.

fall/hydrangeaFall is hydrangea trees with blooms that change from white to dramatic pink in their final weeks

fall/hydrangeaand bushes holding on as long as possible to their Endless Summer beauty.

fall/woodFall is wood cut and stacked to keep winter fires burning.

fallFall is wearing warm clothing and taking walks in the woods

falland marveling over nature’s beauty.

fall/sunsetFall is having my breath taken away by the drama of sunsets which change from summer pastel to rich, deep tones that color both sky and water.

fall/sunsetMost of all fall is taking in the wonder of all that is around me and wishing that it did not signal the end of the time we spend in Maine each year.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Metamorphosis Monday

The Scoop