Friday, November 30, 2012

Photo-A-Day: November

"Travel turns all the fairy tales and stories into reality." --Author Unknown

What a storybook month it's been. I'm still pinching myself. Did I dream this? Was it all a fairy tale? No, the truth is I traveled to Europe for the first time ever--with a heart full of gratitude to our son (and tour guide), daughter-in-law, and two-year old grandson. What fun. What adventure. What an awesome experience.

Keith and family have lived in Spain for almost two years now (link here if you'd like to read their story). So hubby and I jetted off to join them, first for a week in Aguilas on the sea where they live followed by a whirlwind week to other wondrous places: Granada, Spain; Munich, Germany; Salzburg and Velden, Austria; Kranjska Gora, Slovenia; Travisio, Italy. Can you say breathless? More like breathtaking!

Where do I start? The Mediterranean, castles, cathedrals, medieval fortresses. The Alhambra (15th-century Moorish palace and artistic wonder), flamenco dancers, miles and miles of olive trees. Madrid's famous Prado Art Museum and Retiro Park, and Don Quixote-type windmills. Ancient wooden caskets holding the remains of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Christopher Columbus fame. Surfers in Munich (if asked what was the most unexpected thing we saw on our trip, this would get our vote!). Heidi's Alps and a tour of the sites used in filming the classic movie (and one of my all-time favorites) The Sound of Music. Thanksgiving in Italy. Friendly people and great food, languages and culture, history and beauty. Inspiration.

I could go on and on, but instead I'll simply post a smidgen of the volume of photos I took. I sure didn't have any trouble taking a photo-a-day this month!

Who would have known the next-to-the last month of my photo challenge would offer such a fairy tale. Thanks, Keith, Suzan and little Nicholas for the time of our lives.

And thanks to all who stop in to view my November gallery. May fairy tales come true for you, too...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Words, For the Fun of It

My friend here showed up one day tacked on the side of a tree that stands at the foot of the hill along my walking route. I feel like I've got a companion watching over me as I go now. What fun.

And speaking of fun, here are some quotes on the subject of words. Just for the fun of it.

"Words--so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them." --Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes." --Theodore Dreiser

"Words set things in motion. I've seen them doing it. Words set up atmospheres, electrical fields, charges." --Toni Cade Bambara

"The words! I collected them in all shapes and sizes and hung them like bangles in my mind." --Hortense Calisher

"Words fascinate me. They always have. For me, browsing in a dictionary is like being turned loose in a bank." --Eddie Cantor

"Wrestling with words gave me my moments of greatest meaning." --Richard Wright

Any *words of wisdom* you might you have to share about words?

Monday, November 5, 2012

With Eyes to See: Inspiration Aplenty

"If a true artist were born in a pigpen and raised in a sty, he would still find 
plenty of inspiration for his work. The only need is for the eye to see." --Willa Cather

We weren't born in a pigpen nor raised in a sty (tho maybe our mothers wondered the way we kept our rooms?) but a recent walk generated thoughts of pigs. And inspiration. As in, where to find it?

Hubby and I participated in a 5K walk a couple of weekends ago, a walk billed as a non-competitive event called a "Volksmarch"--German for people's march--and sponsored by the local Germania Society. The walk "for exercise/health enthusiasts and nature lovers" took us through the Society's park and then out on local roads and back. Though the morning started out gray and raw, the sun soon broke out in full and provided for a gorgeous fall day, brisk and energizing, which was shared with quite a sizable crowd.

Imagine our surprise, however, when we followed a bend in the trail and came upon this lone little creature, snorting and rummaging and scurrying around. Where had he come from? To whom did he belong? Was he wild or a lost pet? Never mind the particulars. What in the world was he doing there?

Ideas began to kick in. "What can I do with this character? What story would he tell?" It wouldn't be the first time a pig figured predominantly in literature. After all there's Wilbur in E.B. White's Charlotte's Web, the endearing Piglet in A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, and Babe in Dick King-Smith's stories. Recent times bring us to Holly Hobbie's Toot and Puddles, Ian Falconer's Olivia, and Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo.

Yes, inspiration can be found anywhere--as long as we keep our eyes open and really see.

btw, it didn't hurt, either, that the Germania Society offered a smorgasboard of food in their Klubhaus following the walkers' return to the starting point. We sampled homemade schnitzel, sauerkraut, wursts, German potato salad, and apple strudel. Talk about inspiration. Imagine a trip to Germany...hmmm.

Any flashes of inspiration for you recently? Where did you "see" them?