Memorial Day – A Time to Remember

Arlington National Cemetery

Hello there! Although I’ve lived in Ireland for nearly 12 years, if you heard me speak just a few words you would know that I am American. 🙂  But my being American goes much deeper than my accent, of course. I will always be American, and proud of where I come from. So as an American, Memorial Day is a special day to remember those who have fought for freedom. On this day, I am reminded of a trip our family took last year to visit Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia. It was quite a somber experience. It was spring time, and I have to say it was the most beautiful cemetery I’ve been to, with spring flowering deciduous trees throughout the vast grounds which are punctuated with gravestones – many, many gravestones (of approximately 400,000 veterans and their eligible dependents). There was a strong feeling of gratitude for those who have fought for our freedom. The sense of awe and admiration was truly palpable. We didn’t say much as we walked through the grounds. It was a contemplative time, a peaceful time, a time to remember.

Arlington National CemeteryWe toured a number of national memorial monuments around Washington D.C. while on that trip, and I share with you today just a few of those pictures.

American flag at half mast at Arlington National Cemetery

American flag at half mast at Arlington National Cemetery

May we always remember those who have fought for freedom.

I hope you continue to be safe and well.

In Peace,
Dana

Arlington National Cemetery view of headstones

Arlington National Cemetery

From the Arlington National Cemetery website: Arlington officially became a national cemetery on June 15, 1864. The original cemetery was 200 acres, and has since grown to 639 acres (as of early 2020). Initially, being buried at a national cemetery was not considered an honor, but it ensured that service members whose families could not afford to bring them home for a funeral were given a proper burial. The first official “Decoration Day,” later renamed Memorial Day, was held at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868.

Arlington National Cemetery Tomb of unknown soldier

Arlington National Cemetery – Tomb of the Unknown soldier

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated on November 11, 1921, with interment of the Unknown from World War I.

Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Amphitheater

Arlington National Cemetery – Memorial Amphitheater

Memorial Day became so popular that in 1873, the amphitheater was constructed to hold the official ceremonies. Renamed the James Tanner Amphitheater, it has recently been reopened after reconstruction.

Arlington National Cemetery spring trees

Arlington National Cemetery – spring flowering deciduous trees

Arlington National Cemetery pink dogwood

Arlington National Cemetery – Pink Dogwood tree

 

Freedom is not free memorial

Freedom is not Free – part of the Korean War Veterans Memorial

A reminder that freedom comes at a cost.

The Price of Freedom - description of memorial

The Price of Freedom – World War II Memorial

The Price of Freedom - World War II Memorial

The Price of Freedom – World War II Memorial. Each star represents 100 people who died or remain missing in the war.

Discovering a ‘gem’ while on vacation! (the Chihuly collection presented by Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida)

Carnival Chandelier, 2008, Chihuly Collection

Carnival Chandelier, 2008, Chihuly Collection

(close up) Carnival Chandelier, 2008, Dale Chihuly Collection

(close up) Carnival Chandelier, 2008, Dale Chihuly Collection

Azul de Medianoche Chandelier, 2004

Azul de Medianoche Chandelier, 2004

(close up) Azul de Medianoche Chandelier, 2004

(close up) Azul de Medianoche Chandelier, 2004

Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier, 2010

Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier, 2010

a description of Dale Chihuly's chandeliersIt is wonderful going on vacation, isn’t it? There are two aspects to vacation for me: 1. Relaxing with family and 2. Discovering/exploring/learning something or someplace new. I had the pleasure of visiting my family in Florida over Christmas. It was wonderful to get to spend time with family, especially over Christmas! We also ventured out to see the Chihuly Collection presented by the Morean Arts Center, in St. Petersburg, Florida. What a collection!

I only learned about Dale Chihuly this past April when my daughter and I came across his work while visiting the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (I wrote about that here). During that visit, I learned that his work is renowned around the world! Interestingly, this building at the Morean Arts Center was purpose built to hold this collection of Chihuly’s work. They showed a documentary film which covered all of Chihuly’s work, which was fascinating to watch. It was so interesting to learn how his collections come about. First of all, he works in teams made up of anywhere from 5 to 18 people, although the concepts and ideas are his. He also doesn’t usually handle the glass, as he only has vision in one eye following an accident from years ago. He is a prolific drawer and painter, and from those drawings and paintings come forth the ideas for new collections. It is an incredible, fast paced, constantly evolving process.

The Morean Arts Center also has a studio and ‘hot shop’ just across the street from the museum where they give blown glass demonstrations. This gives a wonderful perspective on the process of how the items are created and how unique each one is. It is well worth the visit!

Our teenage girls also enjoyed seeing the collection and the demonstration, making it a successful family outing! 🙂

I hope you enjoy the pictures, although I’d highly recommend seeing the collection in person!

In Peace,
Dana

blown glass in the ceiling between show rooms (Chihuly Collection) Morean Arts Center

blown glass creations in the ceiling between show rooms (Chihuly Collection) Morean Arts Center

Float Boat, 2007 Gift of Bill and Hazel Hough

Float Boat, 2007 Gift of Bill and Hazel Hough

Float Boat, 2007 Gift of Bill and Hazel Hough

Float Boat, 2007 Gift of Bill and Hazel Hough

Dale Chihuly's drawings

Dale Chihuly’s drawings

Venetians

Venetians

Venetians description

Venetians

Venetians

Venetians

Venetians

Venetians

Venetians

Venetians

Venetians

work by Dale Chihuly

pieces from the Chihuly collection at the Morean Arts Center

Silvered White Spotted Ikebana with Gilded Purple Stems, 2006

Silvered White Spotted Ikebana with Gilded Purple Stems, 2006

Silvered White Spotted Ikebana with Gilded Purple Stems, 2006

Silvered White Spotted Ikebana with Gilded Purple Stems, 2006

 

Sunset Persian Wall - 2010

Sunset Persian Wall – 2010

Sunset Persian Wall - 2010

Sunset Persian Wall – 2010

The Mille Fiori (Italian for a thousand flowers) display is simply breathtaking!

Mille Fiori 2010 - Dale Chihuly

Mille Fiori – 2010

Mille Fiori- 2010 - Dale Chihuly collection

Mille Fiori – 2010

Mille Fiori - 2010 - Dale Chihuly collection

Mille Fiori – 2010

Mille Fiori 2010

Mille Fiori 2010

Mille Fiore 2010

The demonstration in the ‘hot shop’ brought the experience to life! It is very much worth going to see!

hot shop demonstration of blown glass

demonstration of blown glass at the ‘hot shop’

demonstration of blown glass at the 'hot shop'

demonstration of blown glass at the ‘hot shop’

family picture at the demonstration of blown glass

Family selfie before the demonstration!

A beautiful hike of the Barranco del Infierno in Adeje, Tenerife

Páraic and Dana in Costa Adeje, Tenerife

We enjoyed our time at the Hovima Hotel in Costa Adeje, where all of the staff were incredibly friendly 🙂

Something funny happened when my husband and I started talking about how to celebrate our upcoming 23rd wedding anniversary. Instead of deciding which restaurant to go to, or which show to pair it with, fairly typical in the past, we decided to take a little trip away, and completely “unplug”. What a fabulous, spontaneous decision! It was just a long 4 day weekend, which doesn’t seem all that long, but it was perfect from start to finish.

Playa del Duque beach on Costa Adeje in southern Tenerife

Playa del Duque is considered a premium beach on Costa Adeje in southern Tenerife, and we’d have to agree! It wasn’t crowded, it was clean, and it was beautiful. The water was so refreshing from the searing heat of the sun!

Hovima Hotel Costa Adeje, Tenerife

We enjoyed relaxing by the pool (but always with my hat!)

Neither one of us has wanted to take a “do nothing” break … ever! But with all of the kids away on their own vacations, we decided to try something different with just the two of us. What a wonderful time we had! We relaxed by the pool, swam in the waves of the ocean, and we sweat our way through a beautiful hike of the Barranco del Infierno.

Dana and Páraic at the start of Barranco del Infierno in Adeje, Tenerife

Páraic and Dana at the start of our hike in Barranco del Infierno

The Barranco del Infierno is a nature reserve, and the hike starts at 300 m above sea level, in Adeje, Tenerife. I was rather thankful that we took a taxi to the visitor center, as the car wound it’s way up, and up, and up the steep streets! The hike itself wasn’t steep – just getting to the start of it was!

Barranco del Infierno CAT at the entrance

This cat was helping to enforce the “no cars allowed any further” rule

It was hot and humid (31 degrees Celsius 88 degrees Fahrenheit by 9 AM)! Reservations are required for this hike, as they wish to preserve the environment and not alter the development of the species, flora and fauna, by limiting the number of people in the reserve to 300 per day. Thankfully, our early reservation meant we were on our way by 9:15 AM, and we more or less had the trail to ourselves for most of the hike.

Barranco del Infierno sea view with cactus

The view of the sea is such a contrast to the dry, desert conditions at the start of the hike.

Barranco del Infierno with view of the sea

Easy to navigate paths and great views!

It is not a difficult hike, being just 6.5 km, and the hardest part was dealing with the heat. The views were beautiful, and unusual, and the trails were easy to navigate. We were required to wear helmets, due to the possibility of falling stones. Some areas we were warned not to stop and rest at, to keep safe of falling terrain. Happy to report we had no issues!

Barranco del Infierno Bailadero de las Brujas

Bailadero de las Brujas – The Witches’ dance floor

Barranco del Infierno cactus with babies

I find babies of all varieties to be adorable, including cactus babies!

Barranco del Infierno desert view of canyon walls

Gorgeous views of the canyon walls as the sun’s rays break through.

The half-way point of the hike leads to a waterfall, and along the way you can see the difference in surroundings change from desert-like, to plush greenery and the benefits of flowing water.

Barranco del Infierno desert flower

These lovely “flowers” were along the desert path.

Barranco del Infierno tree from palm plant

I loved this tree-like structure growing from some of the plants! They were so tall.

Barranco del Infierno points of interest

There were signs describing points of interest throughout the hike.

We saw so many lizards on the second half of the hike, as the sun rose higher and the trail was bathed in sun.

Barranco del Infierno lizard

he blends in quite well!

Barranco del Infierno plush green with backdrop of high stones

definitely in the plush section of the preserve now

Barranco del Infierno FIGS

We even saw figs!

Barranco del Infierno full view of waterfall

the waterfall area was serene and beautiful

Barranco del Infierno Dana and Páraic at the waterfall

The waterfall is more than 200m high

We both really enjoyed getting out, moving and seeing such lovely scenery. After we finished the hike, we walked down the steep streets and caught a bus back to our hotel quite easily. Well, I did feel it in my quads a tiny bit, if I’m truthful…

oh that’s just me photobombing my husband’s picture… 🙂

We’re so glad we did something different this year for our anniversary! Have you done anything spontaneous and fun lately?

In peace,
Dana

 

A walk along the majestic Cliffs of Moher

Country Road to Cliff Walk

First we start with a bit of a pre-walk (800 m to be exact) to get to the official “Cliff Walk”

Hi there! I hope the weather where you are is as exceptional as it has been for us in Ireland. My husband and I were in Ennis for him to bike the Skoda Ring of Clare (he’s a bit biking mad). This gave me some free time to explore, and although there were quite a few options of where to go, I really wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher, again, because really, why not?

first tower country road flowers and stone wall

a view up to the tower on the left, where the Cliff Walk begins (but my focus was on the stone wall and flowers!)

Sone wall with view of the sea

Stone wall – need I say more? Simplicity and beauty all in one.

stone wall with view of sea

as many varieties as there are stones…

I’ve probably said it before, but I am not great with exploring on my own. I’ve been getting better at it, slowly, but it still really challenges me. Thankfully, this trip was really wonderful, which should help me the next time I face a new challenge!

landscapes on way to cliff walk

I was in love with the scenery even before beginning the “official” walk.

We’ve been to the Cliffs of Moher a few times. It has been referred to as the 8th wonder of the world! It truly is majestic. But this time I was on my own, and I relished in the fact that I could stop and take as many pictures of birds or the sea or wild flowers, and no one was going to tell me to “keep up”! I could just stare out to the sea and enjoy its awesomeness. And of course I stared at the cliffs. It was a wonderful case of just ‘being’.

Meadow Pipit on rock

I believe this is a Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit on wooden post

Birds are tricky to photograph as they never sit long enough for me to focus my camera!

It is a little crazy, too, the cliff walk. I mean, you can literally walk right on the cliff’s edge. Recently they’ve created a much safer path which is a number of feet in from the cliff’s edge. But on the day I was there, it was a beautiful day with little wind, and people were using both paths, despite the signs warning of the dangers of walking on the edge. It really is too tempting.

Cliffs of Moher Stone Wall path

One of the official stone paths with stone wall edging

Stone wall official path

Official stone pathway with a stone wall as a barrier to the “unofficial” path. The fencing had an electric fence, too, which I was lucky wasn’t on because the path was quite crowded closer to the visitor center, with not quite enough room for 2 people to pass each other!

Let me back up a tiny bit and tell you how my adventure started. It was just under an hour drive from Ennis to Liscannor. The directions I was given? “Turn down the road on the left, just before the Rock House Giftshop in Liscannor”(!). The Rock House is a well known tourist stop. O.K. then! And that actually worked. Once I turned left it was easy to see the parking signs I needed. Long story, but we’ve started at the visitor center before, and it can be maddening with so many tourists. I wanted to see if this way would be “less traveled”.

full view of cliffs with archway

A full view of the cliffs (can you see the beautiful archway?)

I paid 3 euro to park, then had an 800 meter walk to the “official” area of the Cliff Walk. It was well worth it. I was parked by 9 AM and I had the trail to myself for nearly the first 2 hours.  BLISS!

full cliff view with heather

Just a bit of heather showing in this view of the cliffs walking in the direction of the “Cliffs of Moher visitor center”

Cliff view looking toward starting tower

This view is looking back towards where I started my walk

It was a beautiful walk. I was very lucky with the weather! It was warm and sunny (warm being high 60s Fahrenheit / 20 degrees Celsius) with very little wind. It was about 5.5 kilometers to the visitor center from where I started.

Cliffs with heather

View of the cliffs outlined with heather

Cliffs of Moher

Majestic Beauty

pink wildflowers

wildflowers … because I think they are lovely.

I walked at my own pace and thoroughly enjoyed my time surrounded by such beauty. It was truly uplifting!

Dana at the Cliffs of Moher

All smiles on such a beautiful day!

The day before, I really wasn’t sure about driving the distance (and those directions!)  and then I wasn’t sure what I’d find with regards to crowds. There was a Plan B, but that walk wasn’t nearly as nice as the cliffs would be. I’m so glad I went with my first choice and that I was there early to beat the crowds!

I hope you’ve had the chance to get out and just “be” – wherever that may be! 🙂

In peace,
Dana

P.S. My husband did great on his 165 km Skoda Ring of Clare bike ride, and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at The Town Hall restaurant in Ennis that evening!

Killary Harbour Coastal Walk

Killary Harbour

view of Killary Harbour and the farmed mussels behind us as we hiked towards Rosroe pier

I have lived in Ireland for 11 years and the beauty here never ceases to amaze me. There is so much to do and see, especially along the Wild Atlantic Way. To celebrate my Father-in-law’s 80th birthday, all 20 members of the extended family went away for the weekend to the Killary Lodge, which is a stone’s throw from Killary Harbour. Despite the bad weather we’d been having the past few weeks, we lucked out with two nice days of no rain! 🙂

view of Killary Fjord from hiking path

The coastal path had a great view of Killary Fjord.

Killary Harbour (An Caoláire Rua) in Connemara is one of just three glacial fjords in Ireland, the others being Lough Swilly and Carlingford Lough. It forms a natural border between counties Galway and Mayo and is 16 kilometres long.

I turned to DiscoverIreland.ie to learn some more information about the area:

On the northern shore of the fjord lies the mountain of Mweelrea, Connacht’s highest mountain, rising to 814 metres. To the south rise the Maumturk Mountains and the Twelve Bens.

There are two minor settlements nearby. On the southern side near the mouth of the fjord lies the hamlet of Rossroe while Leenaun lies inland to the east.

Nearby lies the so-called Green Road, a rough road running along the side of the fjord back east towards Leenane at the head of the fjord. It stretches for approximately nine kilometres and was part of the famine relief program during the 19th century.

Aquaculture is important locally with a salmon farm based at Rossroe while mussel rafts are a common sight more to the east.

Killary Harbour

beautiful views of the harbour

Organizing activities for 20 people to do together is challenging. On this day, given the different abilities, we split into “hiking” vs. “non-hiking” groups. Our hiking group included 5 cousins, 2 brothers and two sisters-in-law. This hike was really nice. The only challenging part was the fact that it was 14 kilometers. It took us four hours to complete, and by the end we were all pretty tired! 🙂

stone wall along Killary harbour walk

Stone walls are a (beautiful) common feature.

Here in the West of Ireland, the stone walls, typically for dividing fields, don’t have mortar and are thus called dry stone walls.

full view of a long stone wall

View of the other side of the stone wall along the Killary harbour walk.

climbing a gate along the path

Climbing a gate along the path.

waterfall

Waterfalls are great for photos 🙂

waterfall

It is harder to see, but this is the view of the same waterfall taken from the Killary Harbour boat tour we took the day after our hike! You can just make out the stone wall pathway.

hiking along Killary habour

We hiked at a family pace, and whenever I needed a rest I just took pictures!

climbing high on the Killary coastal path

The walk was manageable with some rocky terrain, some dirt paths, and some country roads.

view of Killary harbour

A requisite selfie with my husband 🙂

Killary harbour view

a blue sky backdrop looking to Rossroe

We stopped and had our picnic lunch when we reached Rossroe pier. Not only did blue skies appear, but the weather turned warmer at this stage, too.

Rosroe pier

Rosroe pier is where the coastal path ended and the country road path began.

stone cottage

stone cottage along the road

stone wall and sheep

Two common features: stone walls and sheep.

Mayo Blackface Sheep

Mayo Blackface Sheep, originally from Scotland, are mainly raised for their meat and not their wool.

looking down hill of path

The two littlest in our group, 9 year old cousins, added walking sticks at about 8 kilometers, helping them to keep going for the entire 14 kilometers!

view of hills

Although different from the coastal views from the first half of the hike, the views were beautiful along the entire walk.

lake view

We passed some lakes, too (see the sheep?).

rhododendrons and lake view

The Rhododendrons were at the very end of their season, with just a few blooms left.

lake and mountain view

It was at about this point (about 9 km) when we started singing Scouting songs! (Did you catch them on my Instagram stories?)

We saw some interesting things along the way!

donkey

a quiet donkey

turf drying out in pyramids

In the bog you could see the turf being dried out after being cut into briquettes, and arranged in pyramids.

turf pyramid

briquettes of turf

bog land

Harvested turf

bog cotton

Common Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium), also known as bog cotton (thanks goes to my sister-in-law for knowing this!).

sheep in road

Typical scene in Connemara

road sign

End of the hike for us

A picture of ‘just the girls’ at the start of our 14 km hike

I have to add that the next day, we went on a boat tour of the harbour and were delighted to see three dolphins! I managed to capture one of them with my camera, and enjoyed seeing the others “live”.  What a treat it was!

dolphin fin in Killary harbor

Dolphin in Killary Harbour as seen on our boat tour

Any plans to visit Ireland? 🙂

In peace,
Dana

‘1-4-3 Day’ to celebrate Mister Rogers’ message of love

Mister Rogers sculpture

‘Tribute to Children’ sculpture of Mister Rogers

I had the pleasure of seeing the ‘Tribute to Children’ statue of Mister Rogers, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in April. It was a beautiful spring day, and we were enjoying a pleasant walk along the river when we came across the statue. Seeing “Mister Rogers” brought back many happy childhood memories of watching his show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood!

Mister Rogers statue view over the river

Mister Rogers’ statue view over the river

Today, May 23rd, the 143rd day in the year, has been declared Mister Rogers day by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, to celebrate Fred Rogers’ message of love, which he often said as ‘1-4-3’ for ‘I Love You’.

“He would always refer to 143 as a way of spreading kindness, and remembering how he felt toward other people,” said Roberta Schomburg, executive director of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College.

I was feeling nostalgic, and bought the book “Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers – Things to Remember Along the Way” by Fred Rogers. It is a lovely little book so full of wisdom. One of my favorite quotes is this one:

“just who you are at this moment, with the way that you’re feeling, is fine. You don’t have to be anything more than who you are right now.”

Yes, I think it is a wonderful idea to bring back more of Mister Rogers’ ways of spreading love and kindness to our neighbors. What a gifted person he was! Creator, composer, writer, puppeteer, and host of his show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. In everything he did, he was spreading the message of kindness and love. Always. It might be impressive for this Presbyterian minister to have been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, as well as having been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But I think the positive impact he had, and continues to have, on countless lives is the true gift which he gave to all of us.

Mister Rogers statue view from the back

Mister Rogers statue view from the back

Today’s recognition of Fred Rogers’ message of love and kindness is to encourage a statewide celebration of kindness (not just today, but especially today) – and people are being encouraged to use Twitter with the #143DayinPa hashtag.

Mister Rogers sculpture

Mister Rogers bronze sculpture in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The 7,000 pound (3.5 tons) bronze sculpture was created by famed artist Robert Berks. The 10’10” height was Berks’ way to convey the “overwhelming awe” children felt while watching Mister Rogers. The location with the beautiful view along the river was chosen to honor Mister Rogers’ love of swimming. The site also has a sound system, where visitors can listen to 29 musical compositions by Fred Rogers.

Tribute to the Children plaque

Fred Rogers always spoke in such a calm and soothing manner, and his message was always clear and simple. I think we could all benefit from going back to basics to truly focus on what is important: Love your Neighbor.

“Would you be mine, could you be mine, won’t you be my neighbor?”

In peace,
Dana

Phipps Conservatory – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

side view of Phipps Conservatory

Our family had the pleasure of visiting Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania recently to visit with family. It is fun to visit a location as a tourist, as you can really delve into what is on offer. We visited a few places that I would highly recommend to you!

display of flowers

one of the first flower displays at the start of the tour

The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is one such place which we highly recommend. The history of the conservatory goes back to the glasshouse, which was built by philanthropist Henry W. Phipps as a gift for the people of Pittsburgh in 1893. Their brochure says that they “strive to demonstrate the important and innate connection between people, plants, health, beauty, and the planet.” Following our visit, I think my daughter and I would agree that they are right on the money.

my daughter was all smiles among the flowers

My daughter is 15, and I have to say that she is usually agreeable to joining me to see gardens (well, most of the time!). I wasn’t really sure how much she would enjoy this visit. But we went through the entire conservatory, each of us pointing out something interesting to the other with lots of “oohs” and “ahs”! There were beautiful artworks by American glass sculptors Dale Chihuly and Jason Gamrath featured throughout the displays, which we particularly liked. Truly, we both thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

These “Cattails” were created by Dale Chihuly for his first exhibit at Phipps in 2007.

blown glass display

“Seven Paint Brushes” glass art display by Dale Chihuly

I still surprise myself with how much I enjoy learning about plants and seeing them in their best state.  I find myself shouting out the names of plants when I see them. You do that, too, right? No? Just me?

blown glass display

These beautiful pieces are Jason Gamrath’s signature blue pitcher plants and reside in the Fern Room.

Jason Gamrath’s signature blue pitcher plants up close

blown glass flowers

These are oversized orchid blooms by Jason Gamrath and provide a colorful complement to the Butterflies in the Butterfly Forest.

There are a lot of pictures. It was difficult deciding which ones to leave out! I hope you’ll enjoy our little tour of Phipps Conservatory. It is well worth a visit, any time of year!

In peace,
Dana

glass light hanging with cactus plants

This glass work by Dale Chihuly was created specifically for this spot in the Desert Room.  What a gorgeous sun it is!

we had a lovely sunny day that wasn’t too hot in the glass houses

room after room with beautiful blooms!

the ordinary looking extraordinary!

Dwarf Fothergilla – Fothergilla gardenii (southeastern US)

Doublefile Viburnum – Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Shasta’

Doublefile Viburnum – Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Shasta’    (one of my favorites!)

I loved the glass art! This Celadon and Royal Purple Gilded Fiori piece is at the center of the Tropical Fruit and Spice Room.

floral artwork

child statue in garden

“Joyous Boy” also known as the “Teddy Bear Statue” was sculpted in 1923 by Geneva Mercer.

“Joyous Boy” also known as the “Teddy Bear Statue” by Geneva Mercer. Too cute!

Lot of things for kids (big and small) in the Discovery Garden!

having fun in the Discovery Garden

This is an Albutilon pictum, also knowns as a flowering maple. It was quite tall and the flowers were above our heads. (Thank you to Cheryl M. for giving me the plant’s name on my Mom in the Garden facebook page!)

These are referred to as “The longfellows” which are whimsical glass figures created by Hans Godo Fräbel, residing in the Orchid Room.Aren’t they neat?

“The Longfellows” by Hans Godo Fräbel

just a few of the many beautiful orchids

There were rainbows of colors throughout!

A full view of the oversized orchid blooms by Jason Gamrath. I’ll take a set of those, please.

lovely pink dogwood tree and Japanese maple

growing willow is on my “going to try this one of these days” list…

a very pretty Rain Chain

Japanese Stewartia – Stewartia pseudocamellia – Japan (isn’t that bark pretty?)

if only I could get my veggies to look this good!

joyous color!

 

this piece is amazing! (see photo below for more details)

This is the Goldenrod, Teal and Citron Chandelier created by Dale Chihuly which hangs from the glass-domed entrance of the Welcome Center.

The End! 🙂

 

 

 

Nine Eleven, Because we will never forget…

Artwork from the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston, Massachusetts July 2017

This year marks the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11.  It is hard to believe so many years have gone by since that fateful day.  I know exactly where I was, and what I was doing, when life as we knew it suddenly changed forever.

In this part of the 9/11 Memorial Plaza the trees were planted in an orderly fashion in neat rows

This summer I had the chance to visit New York City. I had not been to the 9/11 Memorial, so I wanted to spend some time there. I confess that I was unprepared for my reaction. It was a beautiful sunny day, yet the atmosphere upon entering the plaza was sombre. It was quite emotional, overwhelming, and yet beautiful.  So beautiful.

This part of the 9/11 Memorial Plaza is where the trees were planted in “chaos”

All of the nearly three-thousand names of those who were senselessly taken from us in those attacks are engraved along the rim of the memorial.  I was struck … with sadness. I prayed for them, for us, for everyone.

The memorial pools

nearly three thousand names are engraved in the bronze parapets

The tree lined memorial pools are beautiful and serene.  I walked ever so slowly around them, needing to run my fingers over the names. So many names.

This brought more tears to my eyes …

I couldn’t speak.  I kept my sunglasses on, except to continually wipe my eyes. It was all too much.

A rose is placed upon the victim’s name on their birthday

Seeing the roses broke my heart.  I thought it was touching how each person is remembered on their birthday. Yet the tears flowed.

“Reflecting Absence” was what the architect Michael Arad, along with landscape architect Peter Walker, called their design

It was such an experience.  I felt the weight of so many sad stories. The pools, though, were so beautiful. I cannot explain it but the continually flowing water was so healing to listen to and to see.

The Survivor tree

Then we met a volunteer.  I was still choked up and couldn’t really talk, but I listened.  I listened as he told us the amazing story of the “Survivor Tree”.  This pear tree (or part of it, actually), was found at Ground Zero in October 2001.  It was in a terrible state and severely damaged, but remarkably it showed signs of life.  It was rehabilitated for nine years before being brought back here to the Memorial plaza. The volunteer pointed out to us how you could see the new limbs extending from the damaged stumps.  This tree, in so many ways, represents the determination of a survivor: to beat the odds and then to even go beyond that by thriving.

water flowing over the walls of the 9/11 Memorial pool

I was emotionally drained.  But what I was struck by was that over the course of the 24 hours I had been in New York City, this was yet another experience of a New Yorker being kind, warm and friendly to me.  It filled me with pride to be a New Yorker myself, even though I’m not from NYC.  In these times of uncertainty, it is heartwarming to see genuine kindness in so many people.

the 9/11 Memorial plaza

I hope that if you have the chance to visit New York City that you will make the time to visit this beautiful memorial and to pay tribute to all those innocent victims and national heroes. You can find more information about the Memorial here.  The memorial is located at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan at 180 Greenwich St.  I haven’t mentioned it in this post, but there is also a museum at this site.

May we never forget.

In peace,
Dana

 

Crochet fish go exploring to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge & the Giant’s Causeway

View from the walk near Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

View from the walk near Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

What a title, huh?  I could not decide on whether to go the “crochet” route, or the “travel” route, so I combined them! The truth is that I thought it would add a little bit of fun to my post. 🙂

two crochet fish

two crochet fish

I’ll start with the story about the fish.  Last year I visited my young nephew while on vacation in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I scored some major points after giving him a cuddly seal for his birthday. He *loved* it.  He did comment though, that he had no fish to feed “Sealy”, which of course was a very sad situation.  Well, it was even more sad since it took me an entire year to make some fish for him!

easy pattern crochet fish

easy pattern crochet fish

I wanted an EASY and free pattern and of course I found one on Pinterest. I won’t tell you how long I spent on Pinterest even after I found a pattern…  Anyway, the one I used fit the bill perfectly.

http://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2014/10/little-amigurumi-fish.html

If you follow that link and have a look, you will wonder if I used that pattern at all!  It was an easy pattern, but I made my fish a wee bit differently than the ones by the talented lady who created the pattern.  And that I am going to call ‘creativity’! 🙂

This yarn has sequins in it and is lovely and soft.

This yarn has sequins in it and is lovely and soft.

I found the eyes to be rather challenging to make.  I couldn’t decide in my mind what I wanted, which is a recipe for disaster.  Never the less, both fish ended up with eyes.

Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge view

Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge view

The older siblings of the young nephew mentioned above were visiting us this summer. They would be taking the fish back to their brother for me.  I finished the fish during their visit.  They don’t take long to make, it is just that I never managed to find the time to make them during the year. Deadlines seem to do the trick though, as I finished them on their last day while in the car fitting in some last minute sight-seeing!  First stop: Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

Views around Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

Views around Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

Our family has been to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge in County Antrim quite a few times.  I am not a fan of heights and have never crossed it before.  But this time the weather was quite mild (read: very little wind) and I crossed with no bother at all.  Not wanting 5 kids to show me up might have something to do with that new found courage…

another view after crossing the rope bridge

another view after crossing the rope bridge

It is well worth the walk to the bridge and crossing the bridge.  The views are lovely. We were there late morning and only had a 10 minute wait to cross.  The kids really enjoyed it too (they are aged 12 through 17).

Rope bridge selfie with my daughter and niece

Rope bridge selfie with my daughter and niece

After our visit to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, we visited the Giant’s Causeway.  We decided to take the scenic route which involved parking about 2 miles away and following a walking trail to the Giant’s Causeway.  It was a pleasant walk, especially since we had good weather.

on the stones at the Giant's Causeway

on the stones at the Giant’s Causeway

We had a very nice visit to the Giant’s Causeway, too.  The boys enjoyed searching for fish and sea animals in small ponds of water, while the girls enjoyed climbing the rock formations.

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

Our 2 mile walk back to the car was along the water, which was so beautiful.

View from Giant's Causeway

View from Giant’s Causeway

a well traveled fish

a well traveled fish

We had the most wonderful time with my niece and nephew during their visit.  Ireland has so much to offer and is truly beautiful.  Those two fish are now in their new home in Connecticut.

two fish on their travels

two fish on their travels

I hope you enjoyed our quick visits to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway.  If you ever come to Ireland they are well worth seeing in person!

In peace,
Dana

The Famine Memorial in Dublin

famine memorial in Dublin

Rowan Gillespie’s sculptures

This blog post came about while I was walking from an event in Dublin this week.  It was a beautiful evening and since I wasn’t in any hurry and I had my camera with me I was enjoying a lovely stroll. I was walking along the water, and was actually admiring the trees when I came across this memorial.  The statues are amazing.  I thought the flowers which were placed on them brought another dimension to them, too.

Famine memorial Dublin

Dubliner Rowan Gillespie’s sculpture

Here is what I learned about the Memorial on  http://www.ddda.ie

“‘Famine’ (1997) was commissioned by Norma Smurfit and presented to the City of Dublin in 1997. The sculpture is a commemorative work dedicated to those Irish people forced to emigrate during the 19th century Irish Famine. The bronze sculptures were designed and crafted by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie and are located on Custom House Quay in Dublin’s Docklands.

“This location is a particularly appropriate and historic as one of the first voyages of the Famine period was on the ‘Perserverance’ which sailed from Custom House Quay on St. Patrick’s Day 1846.  Captain William Scott, a native of the Shetland Isles, was a veteran of the Atlantic crossing, gave up his office job in New Brunswick to take the ‘Perserverance’ out of Dublin. He was 74 years old. The Steerage fare on the ship was £3 and 210 passengers made the historical journey. They landed in New York on the 18th May 1846. All passengers and crew survived the journey.” (from Docklands)

Famine memorial Dublin

Famine memorial created by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie

The Famine happened in Ireland between 1845 and 1852.  Between starvation and emigration it is estimated that Ireland lost 25% of its population.

Famine memorial Dublin

Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie’s Famine memorial Dublin

Maybe you’ve heard it referred to as the Potato Famine.  This is due to the fact that so many Irish people relied mainly on potatoes to feed their families and during the 1840s a potato blight destroyed crops all throughout Europe and Ireland.

Famine memorial Dublin

Rowan Gillespie’s Famine Memorial Dublin

The Famine effected Irish history in so many ways: politically, socially, demographically.

The Famine Memorial statues in Dublin

The Famine Memorial statues in Dublin created by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie

I found this memorial to be a beautiful reminder to “stop and remember”.

In peace,
Dana