Archive for the ‘Around the Globe’ Category

On the Eve of the New Year

December 31st, 2015

On the heels of the new year- I find myself thinking and reflecting on the year that has passed.     It has been one of loss and heartache for people I love dearly, but through it all love has prevailed-  family and friendship above all-    Resilience and the beauty of the human spirit shines through.

It has also been one of many wonderful adventures-  with family and friends.   The trip to Italy with my parents and Marcel- one of the high points-  Experiencing Lake Como, the people, the culture and everything in between was pure bliss-    To be able to share that with three of the people I love most in the world leaves me so grateful.

Yesterday I finished Brene Brown’s book-  Rising Strong.   I read it in two days, and it came at the perfect time.   Ironically, I had started it during the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, read the first chapter, and while I loved it-  knew that I was too distracted with ‘life’ to fully take the time to soak it in.    My intent was to grab a chapter here and there as time allowed, but what actually happened was much better.    I put the book on the coffee table and there it sat until Christmas had passed and all of my orders and work had been completed for the year.   One afternoon this week I took advantage of the sunshine and mild temps, made myself a cup of Chai tea and spent most of the afternoon reading.    I read half of the book in one afternoon, and yesterday I finished the other half.

I read every page- no, more accurately I soaked up each and every page as though I were a sponge soaking up spilled liquid.  I used my pen to highlight passages that really spoke to me (and there were many)!

It’s a rare day that I order a physical book these days,  choosing to save space and trees by ordering most everything for the Kindle.   This book was an exception, as I wanted to be able to pick it up and reference my favorite parts- and the notes I wrote within the margins.        This book was HUGE for me in terms of putting into perspective what I’d already been learning over the course of the year-   and I’m grateful.

Saturday, I’ll be spending the day in a city I’ve never explored with a few dear friends.   I’m looking forward to the time with them, plus seeing and experiencing something new.

I should arrive home to a couple of things (outside of the fur babies, JJ and Mister M- and Marcel)   1- Elizabeth  Gilberts new book Big Magic (which will be my next read)   2-  The card I sent myself with a list of the 25 things I want more of in my life for the new year.   I write them down, but I love mail- and I loved the idea of receiving that gift- and being able to put it away- and at the end of the year pull it out and review it!

Time to enjoy some time with my favorite guy- but I leave you with these last words for 2015:

 

Do more than belong: participate. – Do more than care: help.
Do more than believe: practice. – Do more than be fair: be kind.
Do more than forgive: forget. – Do more than dream: work.
~William Arthur Ward

 

 

Issac- an Unwelcome Guest

August 31st, 2012

The past few days I’ve been pretty uneasy about what was going to happen in the Gulf with Issac.    The idea of him making landfall at all is one that anyone from the Gulf Coast (or any geographical location that happens to be in a hurricane zone)  will tell you is an unwelcome thought-  but the fact that his appearance on the 7-year anniversary of Katrina made him especially unwelcome.

Hurricanes/ Tropical Storms are unpredicable.  They weeble and wobble, so you never really know where they will make landfall until usually 24 hours before.  There are many ‘predictions’  but those seem pretty hit-and-miss.      Since I’m not on the Coast-  I worried about my family, friends and even strangers that I knew was feeling that sense of dread.   I even had my ‘feathers’ ruffled when someone suggested that if it hit as a category two that people shouldn’t get so ‘bent out of shape’.   Seriously?   A Category 2 storm can cause a lot of damage- maybe not Category 5 damage, but if you’re in the middle of the storm-  and water is rising-  I don’t think your thought is on the number on the scale created to determine the severity of the winds.

I was actually pretty relieved when I saw that Issac would make landfall as a minimal Cat. 1 storm.  80 MPH isn’t ideal but by hurricane standards you couldn’t ask for much more.    So I felt much better about things- and about the people who would be going through the storm and what they may endure.    Little did I know (and probably many others) that Issac had ideas of his own.   He came to the party and refused to leave- spinning his wheels and slinging massive amounts of rain from his feeder bands causing flooding in places that I haven’t seen flooded since Katrina.

Yesterday Mobile, AL opened a couple of their dams- on the Big Creek Waterway- which means the water rushes south and creates flooding in some of the lower lying areas of Forts Lake, MS and along the Dog River.   It’s a mess-   people have been evacuating when the water kept rising- and they had no choice, some of them now with several feet of water in their homes and a huge mess to clean up.

As for now-  Issac has finally cleared out and I expect it will be several days in some areas before the water reaches the higest point- and in other areas it should start receeding soon.   My heart aches for those struggling once again to put their homes and lives back together.   Thankfully- those are just ‘things’ and from what I’ve seen thanks to Facebook (which has been a Godsend to keep up with family and friends) it looks like everyone is OK-   It is an inconvenience to have a flooded home- but knowing everyone is safe is the most important thing of all.

As for this years’ hurricane season- I hope Issac is the last to make landfall.

Stormy Skies

September 6th, 2011

I’ve been pretty surprised at all the activities going on in the Atlantic and Gulf in terms of Tropical waves, storms and full blown hurricanes this late in the season. I know that August is usually the busiest month, but there seem to be more and more disturbances popping up. Hopefully the cool temps will push things away from the U.S. but that will only mean it has to venture somewhere else.

With us traveling- we’ve been keeping a close eye on the storms, especially Lee- It dumped a LOT of rain on the MS Gulf Coast, but luckily mom and diddy never lost power during it all. It definitely gives us a better feeling knowing that everything is ok back at home.

I have much to talk about- but my time online has been few and far between. I feel somewhat like I’m abandoning my blogs- so I need to try to spend a little time a day writing.

We are off to visit friends today- It’s rainy so not exactly the best weather to get out and explore- but tomorrow is always another day.

How was everyones Labor Day?

Playing Catch Up

March 10th, 2011

Lately I’ve felt really out of the loop with so many things that now I’m trying to play catch up. We’re planning on doing some traveling later this year (towards the end of hurricane season) with mom and dad, so I need to start thinking about where we are going to go and how long we’re going to stay. After all- I’m the ‘tour guide’ (or so I hear). With it technically still being hurricane season while we’re planning our travels, I have to make sure all our ducks are in a row, including what to do in case of a travel emergency, in case we have to make a quick trip home due to a hurricane or pending hurricane. That’s one of the downfalls to being in the Deep South, because you never know when a hurricane may pop up. Things do usually start to slow down in September, so I’m hoping (provided the gas prices are actually affordable) that we can travel sometime mid to end September and into October.

Expect to see more of me on my sites- but also stopping in to catch up with my favorite bloggers.

World Cup Fever- Netherlands -vs- Spain

July 11th, 2010

I couldn’t help but think this was cute when I went to Google a little while ago to look for something.   At first, I wondered what on earth it was, but then when I saw the flags, I realized.    I will be the first to admit that I’m not a huge soccer fan, but Marcel is, and that means we’re haing a little party today for the game.   We have a few friends coming over and the house is decorated with as much orange and soccer stuff that I could find.    It should make for a fun time for everyone, at least I certainly hope so.    

Two days ago, I was on Twitter and I saw this little definition out to the side of my feed.  I decided to use the snipping tool and ‘snip’ it so that I could share.    I guess if Twitter says it’s so, then it is. 

I hope that those of you watching will enjoy the game.   I will enjoy the atmosphere and the time spent with friends.   There’s nothing better than that.

Oil Spill Tragedy On the Gulf Coast

May 2nd, 2010

Ever since the explosion in the Gulf, I’ve been following the oil spill which is turning into the worst in United States history. Most of you who read this blog know that I’m from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and it sickens me to see what this is doing not only to the ecosystem and wildlife, but also what it will do to our beaches, and the livelihood of those fishermen who have fished the Gulf for years.

I have so much that I could say about this, and how it enrages me that BP hasn’t done ALL that they could possibly do to get this tragic situation under control, but I believe my friend Bethany sums it up best in her blog with her entry entitled Oil and Water. I highly urge you to visit her blog and read her thoughts, as they echo exactly how I feel, along with so many others, I’m sure.

If you are on the MS Gulf Coast and would like to volunteer your time, please visit http://pascagoulariver.audubon.org. They NEED volunteers but are not training people, so please remember this. Also, if you can’t volunteer your time, many schools are also collecting items such as Dawn dishwashing detergent. You can also find local information by visiting WLOX TV.

This will affect more than those along the coast, so please do what you can. Every little bit helps.

My thoughts and prayers also go out to the families of those who lost loved ones during the explosion. I’m sure it may appear like it, but they haven’t been forgotten.

Times Changing? (The Oscar’s)

March 8th, 2010

I didn’t watch the Oscar’s last night, but I was happy to read on Fox News that Sandra Bullock won Best Actress for her performance in The Blindside. It was an awesome film, and Sandra did an amazing job at playing a southern girl, right down to the accent. I am a southern girl so I should know.

What I did find interesting is that the first woman director EVER won an Oscar last night, and incidentally that same film won for best picture, The Hurt Locker. Until I saw it nominated for the Oscar, I’ll admit that I’d never heard of it, but I’m curious how many of you saw it and what your impression was?

You have to give kudos to Kathryn Bigelo for being the first woman EVER to win the best director Oscar. In 82 years, that’s definitely saying something. It’s great to see that women are also finally being recognized for great directing work, and I have to wonder if times are changin’ in Tinseltown. What do you think?

Self-Cleaning Toilet Seat

July 23rd, 2009

During our travels, Samantha and I found this ‘self cleaning’ toilet seat in a French restaurant we had lunch at in Belgium. We were both amazed (obviously it doesn’t take much), and since I had a camera on hand, I decided to ‘video’ to show how it works. I think every public toilet should have this system.

Just Call Her… Lady Godiva

July 18th, 2009

I had some of the best chocolate covered strawberries at Godiva when Samantha, Marcel and I were on our travels. Just the thought of them has me Jonsin’ for one, two, or even three. They were good!

I managed to get this shot of two ladies standing at the window and I couldn’t help but wonder what they were saying to each other. I’m not sure if they went in and bought anything after that or not, but I’m sure they were tempted. I know I was.

What’s your favorite type of chocolate?

Her Name Is Eva…

June 4th, 2009

Last week, Marcel and I had the opportunity to attend a production of the now widely produced James Still play entitled “And Then They Came For Me… Remembering Anne Frank”. When I think of the thousands of books that I’ve read over the years, the one that has probably touched me the most is The Diary of Anne Frank– so to have the opportunity to see this performance by the International School, in a town not far from here was something I didn’t want to miss. I really believe that the Holocaust is something that should never be forgotten, and that all generations should be reminded, so that such a horrific tragedy never happens again.

I later found out that Anne Frank’s step-sister was going to be attending the event and answering questions afterwards. What I didn’t realize at that moment, was that Anne Frank’s step-sister was also a survivor of Auschwitz, with an amazing story of her own to tell.

Even now, when I think of what so many endured- I cry. Anne Frank, Eva Schloss and their subsequent families are two families out of MILLIONS who were affected. But, I digress.

What you may not have realized, is that my mother-in-law was also born in Amsterdam, and was a child during World War II. Her family was not Jewish, so you may think they didn’t suffer, but what little she’s told me about that time period (She won’t hardly discuss it), was that there was nothing to eat, and many times when there was no food- the only thing they had to eat was tulip bulbs, because there were always tulip bulbs to be found.

Back to the event- and Mrs. Schloss. When we entered the school- there were chalkboards which had been covered and decorated, all with photos and various items from World War II. When I saw the faces in the photos, I knew that it was someones brother, father, mother, sister, sibling, friend.

I found myself wondering how anyone could survive such torture and filth, and come out on the other side and be capable of living a ‘normal’ life again. I wondered so many things…. and still do.

Eventually, we found our seats and I nestled myself between Marcel and my friend Bobbi. The play began and I was immediately enthralled in the story. What I loved was that it was interactive- part actual acting by the students at the school, and other parts were video messages from Eva Schloss, and also Anne Frank’s first boyfriend, Ed Silverberg- reliving the horrific events in their own words.)

The story was amazing, and yet painful to hear. I cried. Truth is, I was just short of going into what some people call the “Ugly Cries” when you are pretty much boo-hooing your eyes out and sobbing hysterically. I really don’t know how there could have been a dry eye in the building- the story was that powerful. It’s a story that needs to be told, again and again.

I really would love to tell you about the entire experience AND the story of Eva Schloss, but instead I’ll say that she became to be Anne’s step-sister after the war. She and her mother were the only two survivors from her family- her brother and father both murdered. Otto Frank was the only survivor from the Frank family, and after traveling throughout Europe just to get home to Amsterdam, they were eventually united. Otto and Fritzi were eventually married.

I had the opportunity to speak briefly to Mrs. Schloss after the performance, and after hearing her Question and Answer session, and I thanked her for sharing her story, for raising awareness, and for being there with us that night. I bought her book entitled, Eva’s Story, which she autographed.

I haven’t started it yet, but I would definitely encourage all of you to pick up a copy from Amazon.com.

It’s a story of hope, of unbelievable courage and endurance and is a source of inspiration of just how powerful the human spirit is. It also serves as a painful reminder of what was- but a lesson in what we never hope to see again, and that we should ALL be more tolerant of each other, in spite of our differences.

Eva Schloss, I thank you for allowing me a peek into the world where you lost so much, but yet overcame, plus used your own personal experience to educate and empower others. May God continue to bless you, and all those you love. It was an honor.

I would also like to say that I believe this production is a MUST for ALL high school drama teams. It’s a very serious subject, but a story that needs to be told. If you are a teacher and interested in this production for your own school, contact Dramatic Publishing.

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