Monday, February 28, 2011

My World Tuesday = Old, Old Slides

My World Tuesday = Old, Old Slides
Continuation of Jack's 1973 Tour of Portugal and Spain
All the slides here are of two cities in Spain: Madrid and Barcelona
Horseman Monument in Front of Building at Plaza Mayor
in Madrid, Spain
Cervantes Monument in Madrid, Spain
This monument celebrates the writing of Miguel de Cervantes who wrote the first modern novel, Don Quixote which was a satire on the romance of chivalry. The great Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared Don Quixote "the ultimate and most sublime work of human thinking." At the monument you can see the figures of the two main characters in Don Quixote: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain
Army Auditors in Spanish Plaza
Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree in Madrid, Spain

These Old Slides Are From Jack's Trip To Spain in 1973
Pope Leo XIII commissioned in 1884 the construction of this cathedral for the new diocese of Madrid that he declared would be a separate diocese from the larger diocese of Toledo, Spain. Jack and his buddies toured this cathedral back in 1973 when it was still under construction. The Spanish Civil War in the 1930's interrupted the construction. The construction finally ended in 1993 and Pope John-Paul consecrated the cathedral in that year.
Lake and Monument at El Retiro Park in Madrid
The Horseman Monument to King Alfonso XII
Fountain Plaza In Old Madrid
Jack and his Army Audit Buddy James Blakeslee
Fall 1973
Jack Feeding the Pigeons at Fountain Plaza
Spanish Fisherwomen and Customers by Waterfront in Barcelona, Spain
The American Tour Group From Germany
Visiting a Catholic Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain

Well folks, that is my tour of Spain from long ago. If you would like to see the beginning of this trip to Spain and Portugal just cruise on down past my newsflash about flooding in the Ohio valley today to the next blog entry which has old slides of
the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal.

If you don't have time, then just click on the My World sign at the right to visit other My World memes around the world. Thank you for visiting my blog and hope you have a great start to the month of March. Just think of this. The northern hemisphere around the world is now in meteorological spring! Thank goodness!

Newsflash: Flooding In Ohio Valley

Newsflash: Flooding In Ohio Valley this morning because of heavy rains and snow melt. My relatives are baling water from their basements. Sounds like a real mess. I'm so sorry to learn of this recent development.

My World Tuesday = Old, Old Slides

My World Tuesday = Old, Old Slides
Jack and several other army auditors took an American Express guided tour from Germany by plane and bus to Portugal and Spain way back in 1973. The photos in this blog post are of Lisbon, Portugal which Jack thought was his favorite city on this trip. In the photo above that Jack took you can see the harbor of Lisbon. In the distance on the far right is a vertical. I asked Jack what that was since I've never been to either Portugal or Spain. He told me that that is a famous statue of Jesus Christ on a hill overlooking the bay. Christ is guarding the harbor and the sailors.

Apparently Lisbon is often compared to our city of San Francisco, CA. Lisbon even has a "golden gate" bridge in this harbor that is similar to San Francisco's golden gate bridge.
Jack loved the old parts of Lisbon with its interesting architecture and narrow streets accented by palm trees.
I like this courtyard with the building with its clay tile roof and iron balconies.
Can you picture yourself sitting here and having a glass of Portugeese wine?
This was one of the palaces that Jack toured on this trip. If you look closely you can just make out a black swan in the reflecting pool in the foreground.
A view of the city of Portugal from a lookout point. In the distance you can see several Catholic church spires. Portugal is a mainly Catholic country as is Spain
Jack took this picture of his army audit buddies checking out city attractions below. See the black cannon on the hill. This must have been an old military fortification for the city of Lisbon.
This photo is blurry but I can just make out that walkway connecting the buildings. It reminds me of walkway I saw in Florence, Italy years ago. That famous walkway in Florence is called Ponte Vechio.
Notice the tiles on this building. Lisbon has an Islamic influence from the days when Moors migrated across the Mediterranean Sea to Lisbon from Northern Africa countries like Morocco and Tunisia. Islam forbids depictions of figures so these tiles have intricate geometric designs mainly in blue. Wouldn't you love to go exploring down the narrow Lisbon street in the photo below?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

NARFE Meeting For February

NARFE Meeting For February
Wednesday February 16, 2011
Jack wore his new NARFE shirt that daughter Jennifer gave him for his birthday.
This is David Snell
He addressed the Manassas chapter about federal retirement benefits.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

February Book Club Meeting

February Book Club Meeting
Little Bee, by Chris Cleve
This was our book club read for February and it was a hard book to read because of two things: the brutal events in the book and the suspicion that some of the plot didn't ring true. Like it really could not have happened. If you want an unusual story about an illegal African girl detained in England and of the English couple who first met up with this girl on a lonely beach in Nigeria this is the book for you. But if you prefer plots that are realistic and not as brutal, please stay away from this book. To learn more about this book please go to my other blog: PiedmontReaders that you will see listed under my blog roll on the right.

Skywatch Friday = Rainy Weather and Grey Skies

Skywatch Friday = Rainy Weather and Grey Skies
The spring rains are here in Virginia. We need them to green up the grass and to refresh our dry flower beds.
Jack and I raked and picked up leaves the other week and pruned almost all the rose bushes.
Now we need to let mother nature make it look spring like.
Pitter patter falls the rain.
That's all folks. Have a good weekend. Remember that the oscars are on Sunday night.
Even if you haven't seen most of the movies, it is fun to see the stars in their outlandish outfits.
Go to the right and click on the Skywatch Friday sign to see more Skywatch Friday pics from around the world.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Patriot Center At George Mason University

Patriot Center At George Mason University
Our daughter Jeanine got us tickets to a February men's basketball game between two colonial athletic conference members: James Madison University and George Mason University. Even though Jack and I were under the weather with a cold and the flu we pounced at the chance to see a game at the Patriot Center and we sure had a great time with Jeanine even though her James Madison Bulldogs lost the game.
In this photo you can see the George Mason pep band playing before the game which was a sold out event that Saturday afternoon.
We enjoyed watching this Hard Times Cafe mini blimp being navigated around the arena with lights flashing. It reminded me of our grandson Jack maneuvering his little helicopter around the family room. Too cute.
There he goes!
Smile for the camera Jack and Jeanine.
We came away from the game with the distinct impression that George Mason will win a bid to this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament. Selection Sunday will be March 13 and one of the sites for the first round games will be the University of Dayton's basketball arena.

A Snowman In Your Life?

A Snowman In Your Life?
The students in Prince William county didn't have school yesterday. It was a snow day even though most of the county had less than 1/2 inch of snow/ice on the ground. I think the county powers that be that decide when to call off school made a wrong call late Monday night. Oh, well it is a good thing that inclement weather days are built into the school calendars around the nation.

I saw on the news that somewhere someone in a recent snow event had made a very lifelike snow cat. That was cute. Do you have enough snow to make a snowman? I don't but I do have this photograph of a cute artificial snowman. Where did I take this photo? Up in Canada last August where I found him hanging out in a Quebec City food court. Isn't he cute? His name is Bonhomme and he is the mascot for the winter carnival in Quebec City. Learn more about Bonhomme by doing a google search of winter carnival of Canada.

I like Canada a lot but only plan to visit it in the warmer months. The older I get the less I like the cold winter weather. But I do like the quiet winter months for reading books and catching up on photography projects. I guess we need to remember that every season of the year has its good points and bad points. And yes we might appreciate some cold weather in the '50s when the high '90s return in July and August but right now a '90 degree day sounds greaaaaat!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My World Tuesday = Old, Old Slides

Professional Slides of Paris Scenes
Place de la Concorde
Do you remember when slides were the way to photograph your tourist attractions? At that time in America as well as Europe and Asia you could purchase in tourist gift shops commercial slides by professional photographers of the places you visited just in case your own photographs didn't develop and you thought you might never have a chance to come back to take more photos. (This was back in the day when you used film in cameras and sometimes you misplaced a roll of "shot" film.) Well anyway I must have been thinking like this on my very first visit to Paris in December 1970 because I purchased these slides. So let's take a look.

But first let me explain that Place de la Concorde which meets up with the famous avenue known as Champs -Elysees is where King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette lost their heads at the guillotine set up here during the French Revolution. The grey building below is where they spent their last days in prison before heading to the guillotine which was known as the Black Widow. After the revolution this Egyptian obelisk was given to King Louis-Philippe from the Egyptian ambassador Mehmet-Ali. This Egyptian obelisk came from the Luxor valley of Egypt and is over 3200 years old.
A Flower Stall Near the Conciergerie by the River Siene in Paris
The Conciergerie served as the main prison during the French Revolution.
The Carousel Arch
This is Not the Arc of Triumph.
This is the Carousel Arch which also celebrated Napoleon Bonaparte's victories in Europe.It was built between 1806 and 1808. Napoleon took the four gilded horses from St. Marks Cathedral in Venice, Italy. When Napoleon was finally defeated in his world conquests the original Italian horses were returned to St. Marks in Venice, Italy and these copies of the originals were placed on the arch along with a chariot and statue of Peace. This smaller arch was put up quickly so that Napoleon's returning troops would see it when they triumphantly entered the city.
The Famous Sorbonne
It was established in 1253. In 1969 the college which was the original University of Paris was divided into 13 separate universities. Jackie Kennedy Onassis studied here in the late '40s as a young college girl.
Sacre Couer Cathedral
This beautiful church was started in1870 and finished in 1914 at the time of World War I. Sacre Couer means Sacred Heart in French. This cathedral is on a high hill known at Montmartre and is located in the northern section of Paris. Montmarte, the banks of the River Seine and the the Champs-Elysees are my three most favorite parts of Paris! There is a cathedral on a high hill in Montreal, Canada that was modeled after this Sacre Couer church. It is called St. Joseph's Oratory and is a famous pilgrimage site in the New World.

The Famous Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill) in Montmartre.
This is where the cancan dance was born and where famous painters like Camille Corot and Maurice Utrillo recorded in paintings the doings of the dancers and prostitutes who frequented this establishment. From the dress of the lady in front and the style of the cars I would say this photo was taken shortly after the end of World War II.

That's all folks. Thank you for stopping by my blog. Now please visit some more My World memes by clicking on the My World sign over on the right.

Did You Get An Invitation?

Did You Get An Invitation?
Did you get an invitation to the April wedding in London of William and Kate? Well, Jack and I didn't either. Look at it this way. We won't have to purchase a wedding gift or buy a new outfit for the wedding. What do you get a a prince and his bride anyway? Plus we can watch the entire wedding event from the beginning with the arrivals at the church to the end with the royal wave from the balcony of Buckingham Palace while staying in our jammies on the family room sofa. We just need to remember to set the alarm early that day.

These old pics from old slides were from a trip Jack took to London in 1973. While in London Jack had to go to the palace and watch the changing of the guard.

Oh, one more thing. We really shouldn't feel bad about not getting an invitation to the royal wedding. Lady Fergie, Queen Elizabeth's ex daughter-in-law didn't get an invite either. And she is William's aunt or ex-aunt. Can you be ex'd as an aunt if you get divorced? I'm not up on marriage protocol.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nice Weather

Nice Weather
Jack and I worked outside yesterday doing some pruning of rose bushes and some raking of leaves. We plan to do some more gardening today since we should reach a high of '70 some degrees today. So I'm signing off. I want to get an early start on today's chores. I hope everyone has a nice weekend and I know some of you will have a three day weekend because of President's Day on Monday. Here in Virginia a lot of schools will be in session on Monday to make up for a missed school day because of snow. Sorry kids. You had your day at home now you must go to school. Remember those big SOL tests will be fast approaching this spring and you want to make your school proud when those tests are given in May and June.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jack's Mother In Virginia

Jack's Mother In Virginia
Here is Jack's Mother in Virginia at George Washington's Mount Vernon home and estate. This is one of the most visited homes in America. The estate has been expanded in recent years with a recreation of George's round barn and the recreation of George's whiskey distillery. There is also a new visitor's center. Mount Vernon was saved by a group of ladies and it is now a great money making enterprise here in the state of Virginia.

This home is not my favorite colonial home in Virginia. There are several others including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and James Madison's Montpelier that I think are more attractive and interesting. However the one thing that Mount Vernon has that neither Jefferson's home or Madison's home has is a tremendous view of the Potomac River and the state of Maryland across the Potomac River. That's why you see so many seats on the porch. Many tourists like to come and sit a spell to enjoy the view of the Potomac. Someone did have the foresight to forbid the erection of any signs or buildings across the river from Mount Vernon so that all you see is a beautiful forest. My favorite time to visit is in the fall when the leaves have turned and are reflected in the river.
In this photo Jack's Mother is standing by the tomb of George and Martha Washington on the grounds of Mount Vernon.
In this photo Jack's mother is visiting another very famous tourist attraction in the state of Virginia. This is a photo of Arlington National Cemetery and the grave site of President John F. Kennedy. It was less then ten years since the assassination of Kennedy in 1963 when Jack and his Mother visited the grave. There were many tourists on this particular day and there are many tourists each and every day today that visit the Kennedy grave at Arlington.

No matter what your political leanings are I know that all of us hope that we never have to live through another presidential assassination. In my opinion this presidential assassination during the Cold War was even scarier then the experience of 9/11.
Yes, this is a photo of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery and the changing of the guard. These specially selected army soldiers operate from the old Fort Myer Army Post in Arlington County. That rickety reviewing stand on the right is no longer blocking the view. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jack's Mother In D.C.

Jack's Mother In D.C.
Here is Jack's Mother standing in front of the White House getting ready to visit the Nixon White House. Jack and his Mother took this White House tour back in the early '70s. The White House tour today is so different. For one thing you no longer enter the White House thru the front door. For another, security is much much stricter. Look at these folks running to get in line by the ropes. Today you go thru the same electronic screening devices that you have to do to board a plane at one of our airports. Those big purses like Jack's mother's are opened and thoroughly searched.
Today you cannot stand so close to the Oval Office either. Yes, the times have changed and are still a changing. Did I mention yesterday when I showed photos of the U.S. Capitol that there is a special short subway line underground that takes congressional folks from their various office buildings like the Sam Rayburn building over to the capitol building.

Jack, our daughters and I used to take this subway when visiting the capitol. You would always be riding with senators and house members and aides. One time I remember the late Senator Ted Kennedy taking the train. But today this neat little subway is restricted to authorized personnel. No capitol visitors and tourists can take this subway.
This is a picture of the Lincoln Memorial from the '70s It is still pretty open to all visitors and you can go there anytime of day or night.Below is a photo of Jack's Mother posing by the reflecting pool near the Lincoln Memorial. In the background you can see the Washington Monument. Notice the young girls with the long hair parted in the middle a la Gloria Steinem. That was the look in the early '70s.