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.