Saturday, November 27, 2010

Of Windmills and Tradition

I'm such a huge fan of windmills. Even the modern wind turbines are beautiful. And I read a recent article that painting turbines purple might help save the bats from getting caught in the blades because insects like light colors like the traditional turbine colors of white and grey and bats like insects so keeping the insects away from the windmills might save the bats. I would love to see a row of purple wind turbines ... especially with an orange sunset behind them.

This lovely traditional windmill is in Maarssen, Netherlands. Mar passes by it almost every day. She writes that her city is very proud of their windmills because as the city modernizes, these beautiful structures keep them linked to the traditional Dutch landscape.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hell of All Sorts

The day after Thanksgiving is called "Black Friday" in the US. It is supposed to be the biggest shopping day of the year, when merchants balance books finally go into the black and show profit. I don't know if that plays out, but it is a busy day for shopping. Lots of people consider the Friday after Thanksgiving a sort of Hell.

Hell on Grand Cayman Island is a landscape of black coral. Hester wrote that she made it "to Hell and back, and even visited the post office." Sometimes a visit to the post office can be a sort of Hell ... especially this time of year. Lots of people doing once a year mailings and unclear about what services and options are available.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful For Our National Parks

I don't spend a huge amount of time on Facebook, but I do peek in a few times a day. When I saw Juli's status update that she was heading out the Yellowstone National Park, I haunted her page for a bit, because she takes amazing photos and I wanted to see what she was seeing. I had completely forgotten Juli had this Yellowstone mapcard for Orphaned Postcard Project.

Juli wrote that she had held onto the mapcard until she could actually mail it from Yellowstone. And look at the cool rubber stamps! There is one of Old Faithful and a National Park date stamp.

And Juli also made sure the Old Faithful postage stamp got a clear Yellowstone postmark. I love having these little touches on the backs of OPP cards.

Juli visited Yellowstone on the very last weekend it would be open. It closes for the winter. She had visited the park before, but had never seen any of the geysers. She sent the postcard of Old Faithful to let me know that omission would change in "about an hour." And when I got this postcard, I recalled her Facebook status 29 October, at 4:40 p.m., "Thar she blows!"

I'm thankful for many, many things, but I am thankful for much more than "things." I'm mostly thankful for my loving family and friends. And for a political system that may not be always to my liking, but that has protected so much of our country and made the National Park system possible.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shadows on the Snow

I love the shadow creeping up on Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's, third US president, beautiful home in Virginia. This is one of those house tours that defies traditional house tours. It is very interesting and since the house it really quite small, very intimate. Visitors still can't touch, but since you are so close, you don't really need to touch. Very different from tours where the details are so far away you need binoculars to get a good look.

The interior design is amazing and unusual. Jefferson did not much like furniture, so it was built to be as unobtrusive as possible. He also hates stairwells, so they are out of sight. No grand entrance down a flight of stairs!

Kristy adopted this card via Juli in Wyoming. Kristy doesn't say if has visited Monticello. If not, I sure hope she does someday. It really is worth the trip.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Sun Has Set, Dear Victoria, But You Still Reign Grandly

This is one of a series of mapcards from a collection called "Humorous Maps of Serious Countries" illustrated by Dr.William Harvey in the late 19th century. I've featured the Scotland map previously, and had the Wales, but that has gone missing. There is also one of Ireland, but I never had that one in my collection.

This one features Queen Victoria in the guise of England. The poem reads,
Beautiful England, -- on her Island throne, --
Grandly she rules, - with half the world her own;
From her vast empire the sun ne'er departs:
She reigns a Queen -- Victoria, Queen of Hearts
 As I write this post, England is celebrating the engagement of Prince William to a lovely young Kate. Perhaps she will reign as Queen of Hearts someday.

This postcard was adopted by Matthew, who goes by the name "tomorrowboy" on SendSomething. Matthew has sent something to every UK member of SendSomething. I don't know the exact number, but it is quite an undertaking, in the many hundreds of members. As one of the founding members of SendSomething, I thank you very much for being so very active, Matthew!

Monday, November 22, 2010

From a Writer's Window

The American writer, Jack London, lived in this northern Californian valley. When Susan lived in this region she would walk in Jack London State Historic Park. London's cottage is open to the public and the Susan writes that the view from the window where he did his writing is so beautiful, "it takes my breath away."

When my daughters were in grade school, I spent a lot of time volunteering in the schools. One of my favorite things to do was read aloud to third graders. One teacher always had me read London's The Call of the Wild. It is a difficult book to read aloud because there are lots of French words used by the French Canadian characters that I would always stumble over, and lots of dark and scary passages. But, since it is told from the point of view of a dog, the kids seemed to really enjoy it. And that, in turn, made the story all the more interesting for me.

Jack London died 94 years ago today, in 1916. He died in the cottage Susan wrote about, but I don't think he was enjoying the view. Accounts of his death say he was in extreme pain because of a lingering illness, and quite possibly was not even aware of his surroundings.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Moroccan Memories

This view is the Arabian Yard at the Court of Justice in Casablanca, Morocco. Tallie wrote that years ago she dated a man who was from Casablanca. He invited her to Casablanca for a one month visit with his family. Tallie found it difficult and interesting. She was an "outsider in an insider's world." While she was showered with hugs and kisses by the man's family, she decided that the relationship with the man would not last. She left with memories and a recipe for couscous.