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Archive for March, 2010

Alligators make me uneasy!

Sofia brings us Grapefruit from the tree in the front yard

Sofia Gets Her Picture Taken at Snook Haven

Still Fascinated by Pelicans

Busy Clara

Nathan and Sofia Build a Slide

Just a few more images of our vacation in Venice, Florida, for you to enjoy. Just click on them to enlarge them.

I think we were at the beach every day but one, and yesterday Emily told me that Sofia asked her to “go to Nana’s Beach House”. Well, it’s a bit of a hike from Pennsylvania! Maybe next year, Sofia!

Alligators alarm me. I have no desire to harm them but don’t know if this is reciprocated and thoroughly doubt that we will ever have any sort of relationship. Pelicans however, though we are distant in feeling and they are not warm and fuzzy by any stretch, do interest me a lot and I love to see them fishing and diving.

This year it was too late for oranges, but the grapefruit was wonderful. Emily made a glass of fresh from the tree grapefruit juice and it was amazingly delicious. And Sofia ran back and forth busily bringing us fruit.

I am so glad – oh, this is “Thankful Tuesday”, isn’t it – that we all had time to be together in the spring of 2010 and enjoy the world of gulf coast Florida. The children change so fast. A year from now, whatever we do, they will be quite different people from what they are like now. The message is to enjoy and be aware of every moment we are given, and thankful for its blessings. We can’t bathe in the same stream twice………

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Clara and Em at the Beach

Nathan Looking for Shark's Teeth

Sofia Loves the Beach!

Alice reads to Nathan and Sofia Maus

Today is my last full day in Venice, Florida for this Winter of 2010 vacation. I’ve been here two weeks and for one full week my two daughters and three grandchildren were here with me…It was slightly chaotic with all the different sleeping schedules and adjustments but what a wonderful time we all had together!

Nathan and Sofia adore being at the beach. Indeed, the minute Sofia stepped onto the sandy path to the ocean she sat down and begin digging, even before we passed through the gate to the real path, and far before arriving at the real beach. But Em  finally coaxed her farther on and how she adored the waves and water, the shells and sand!

Even Clara loved the beach, though her biggest interest seemed to be in exploring sand as a possible food!

And we had some other excursions, too. We went to the Mote Marine Center the one rainy day. This is beginning to be a family tradition. It’s a small aquarium, and the highlights are the sea turtles, the dolphins and being able to pet the sting rays…..Nathan and Alice are very good at this.

We also took an hour boat ride up and down the Myakka River at Snook Haven, which is now being operated by Sarasota County. (We saw alligators! Three babies, but one pretty good size….Turtles sunning on sunken logs, egrets, herons, and vultures, leather ferns proving that that far up at least, the river is still salty from Charlotte Harbor……….)

Going to Snook Haven is taking a trip back in time, driving slowly down a dirt road surrounded by Spanish moss-draped live oaks and a palmetto  jungle . The road ends at a restaurant with a down-by-the-bayou feeling –   mostly outdoor seating along the river, and every day different live music….It is a friendly and somewhat noisy place when busy as it was the day we came, a perfect place to let little kids eat at a picnic table and not worry about their noise or manners.  I’m really glad we were able to take the boat ride, because Alice has come out here with me twice to find it wasn’t operating. Captain Terry has regular hours, but it took us a while to realize they don’t operate on Mondays nor Tuesdays.

Sofia and Nathan were able to play again in the interactive fountain in “downtown” Venice, and we all enjoyed a lunch outside at P.J. Carney’s (where they were gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day) with my friend Nancy, her sister Mary from Austin, Texas, and her daughter Siri who went to grade school with Alice long ago!

Everyone left on Tuesday – though Alice left hours later than the others and this gave us time to enjoy a wonderful Mexican lunch at Cantina Laredo in Ft. Myers, and see the new 3D Alice in Wonderland which I enjoyed and found very inventive and artful even though it isn’t terribly true to the book……. But since then, it’s been a bit too quiet.

Yesterday my high school friend Mary Alice and I had lunch at the Art Museum and played catch up on the last year’s news.  Today I hope to spend a little time at the beach. But I already feel not quite here, and not quite home yet either. Emily says this is called “aufbruchstimmung” in German….I just looked this up for the spelling at an online dictionary and saw that it is translated as both “atmosphere of departure” and “spirit of optimism”.  I would probably say ‘the mood of departing’. But the idea that it is also spirit of optimism is somewhat surprising. I’m not quite that far yet. I feel a little melancholy that something I looked forward to for so long is now rather over.
But it’s also true true that I’m looking forward to seeing Andy, and all his menagerie, and my little dog Bo, and resuming my everyday life, with trips to the Natatorium and seeing friends……

So, let it be – spirit of optimism!

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Here Comes Sofia!

Sofia dressed for the park in her choice of clothes

This is not my picture. It was taken by my daughter Em and posted on facebook and is so charming I couldn’t resist putting it up here. These are the clothes Sofia picked out to go to the park with her Dad these snowy muddy days.

Doesn’t she have great ideas!

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Thankful Tuesday!

Roth Miksa Stained glass window in Budapest

Zinnia -my Nana's favorite flower

Clivia from last Spring

I’ve noticed that many people have Thankful Tuesdays on their blogs and thought it a great idea.

There is so much to be thankful for, and the idea of counting our blessings was one my mother taught me when I was very young….Her worst negative comment about someone was, “She’d cry with a loaf of bread under each arm.” I’ve actually never heard anyone else say this, and wonder where it came from, but the meaning is clear.  This person doesn’t know how to count her blessings and be happy. What could be worse?

My mother also used to say, “Half a loaf is better than no bread.” I could make a long blog post of similar things she often said. I don’t think I appreciated them enough when I was young!

Our family used to have a habit, when my children were growing up, of each person writing a list of what they were grateful for and reading it aloud at the Thanksgiving dinner table, after grace and before eating. I think we should perhaps make an effort to get back to that!

I probably can’t list everything individually for which I’m grateful, but let me try to list a few.

I am grateful, joyfully thankful

simply to be alive

for my wonderful loving family

for the beauty of all creation

mountains and valleys -we have no mountains here, but I live quite close to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park which is all about a valley! And I grew up on the west side of Cleveland where I could walk to the valley of Rocky River from my grandmother’s back yard on Story Road.

http://www.nps.gov/cuva/index.htm is the url of  the National Park. (I couldn’t make a real link.) Click on Photos and multimedia on the left side and see some pictures of this beautiful part of the world!

Trees and flowers, domestic and wild and bushes and all plants – especially herbs of every sort. Pussy willows are coming soon! And the tatters and shreds of Witch Hazel’s spicy blooms.

Birds and their songs – I saw a bald eagle in the park recently and talked with someone yesterday who had also seen one and now read that they are making a comeback. The herons have returned and are flying about the valley with large nest-building sticks in their beaks. Bluebirds which used to perch in rows on my grandparent’s Chippendale fence, and then nearly became extinct, are making a comeback around here. Goldfinches do their funny bouncing flight in my back yard and we have robins, cardinals blue jays and hawks, wrens and house finches in wild abundance and myriads of other feathered friends.

The garden is filled with life.  And so is the house with little dog Bo, Andy’s gerbils Tesla, Marconi, and Faraday, his mouse Basil and two gold fish.

For arts and crafts that people create, in every way! For the awareness of life and beauty of every sort. There is an image of a Roth Miksa stained glass window in this post (his name is Miksa Roth in English). Paul and I visited the museum made from his home when we were in Budapest in 2005. It was so beautiful, and I bought a book in which I discovered that one of Paul’s great-grandmothers (Eisele Maria) commissioned a window from him for the Baszilika in Pest. It was destroyed, I think during WWII, so we never got to see it, but there is a picture of one of the four windows it was a part of  in this book.  I love stained glass, and like Roth’s work especially, so he is representing all of human art for the purposes of this post.

the wonderful opportunities I’ve had in my life not only to travel but to live in other countries and locations, Germany, and Hungary especially and Italy, France, England and Scotland.

For the internet and the new friendships that have come from this marvel

Our cottage at Lake Chautauqua even though since Paul’s death it hasn’t been used as much. I think that may slowly be changing.

And in a few days I’ll be flying to Venice, Florida for some warmer weather and beach days with my daughters and grandchildren! So also gratitude for oceans, sunsets, seashells and sand castles

For living in the United States of America, truly a land with much freedom and many opportunities. May she live up to all her promises – or at least move gracefully in that direction.

For health and happiness and the peace in my heart!

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