Share Six: June 2019: Favorite Quote

Hello, can anyone tell me how we got to June.  This year is flying by.  And it appears I have been doing a lot of that as well.  So far we have headed to San Antonio and the Florida Keys.   I just returned from Rochester NY, and we had the opportunity to swing by Niagara Falls and then in July we are planning to head up to New York.  Oh yes, I can just hear Frank Sinatra singing New York, New York.  It will be a first for me.

Keeping that in mind, let’s turn to Share Six.  For this month’s Share Six blog we have chosen the theme {Favorite quote}.  There are so many out there but this one has resonated with me for a while now.

The history behind this quote is that some years ago my daughter and I had a conversation about travel.  I love to travel. In our 20’s Richard and I traveled through Europe sleeping in a tent.  We got to spend six weeks traveling through France, Spain, the French Riviera, Monte Carlo, Italy, Sicily, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Holland.  We then headed on to England, Wales and Scotland.  My biggest regret was that we did not visit Ireland at the time. We have not done another big international trip like that since then, although we keep thinking about it.

Beyond that we have done a fair bit of exploring with the kids.  Various places within South Africa and Mozambique.  Richard and I also spent time in Swaziland, Lesotho and the Transkei.

However, since moving to Florida it felt like we only traveled around Florida. As Amy and I were talking, I reminded her about the importance of travel and meeting new people and learning new cultures. Exposure to different cultures and places definitely makes you a more accepting person.  I happened to mention that I felt like I needed to get back to traveling again because the older I get, the less time I have to see the places I want to see while I am physically capable of seeing them.

On my very next birthday Amy gave me a card with the following words on it:

Find life experiences

and swallow them whole.  travel.

meet many people

go down some dead ends and 

explore dark alleys.

try everything

exhaust yourself 

in the glorious

pursuit of life. 

~ Lawrence K. Fish

 

I really want to do that.  I want to experience as much as I can, see as much as I can.  Meet new people. Learn the different ways of life. Give of myself as well.

Since 2012 we have been doing a lot of US traveling and seeing the sights and so it thought it was fitting to share some of my favorite travel pics as we have exhausted ourselves in the glorious pursuit of life.  I will confess I went a little overboard, but I wanted to share some of the most beautiful places we have been to.

Denver: Colorado: April 9, 2013 100

Denver, Colorado in the snow.  We arrived in Denver knowing it may be cold but not expecting snow.  It was one of the most beautiful sights I have seen.  I got out and explored, Richard not so much.

Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts:  September 2018: 9484

Wells Beach, Maine.  We visited Wells Beach in Maine in October of 2019.  We did quite a trip through various parts of Maine, but Wells Beach was our base.  This was a busy little town on weekends, but quieter during the week.  We stopped in the bay area to see what there was and found tranquility and some gorgeous reflections.

Seattle, Orca Islands, Leavensworth, March 04-13, 2016 6558

The Columbia Building, Seattle, Washington.  The Columbia Building is a 76 story high building.  Around the 52nd floor is Starbucks.  Guess where we headed. I have to be honest, my stomach did not feel great, but I wanted the sky line and that was one of the places I could get it.  When I got back down to the bottom I took this image looking up.  It really does not show the true height of the building.  Definitely well worth the visit.  

Columbus Georgia Conference Trip: March 2-6, 2017: 9045

Columbus, Georgia  I had a work retreat to Columbus Georgia.  This image was taken from the parking lot of the sunrise.  We can experience beauty where ever we see it.  We just have to take the time to look.

Seattle, Orca Islands, Leavensworth, March 04-13, 2016 6684

Seattle, Washington. Seattle was one of my favorite places to visit.  And yes as you can see, I did do the back streets and alley ways.  We explored Seattle far more than I have explored any other place.  I would definitely head back there.

Key West Vacation: July 2015: 6607

Key West, Florida.  There is nothing better than a sunset cruise out on the ocean in Key West.  Every time we are down there a cruise is on my to do list.  Some evenings are spectacular and other are just okay, but I am always amazed at the beauty of creation.

Seattle, Orca Islands, Leavensworth, March 04-13, 2016 6513

The Seattle Library, Washington.  It was suggested that I may enjoy walking through the Seattle Library, so I decided to head out and explore what the library had to offer.  The Library is 10 stories high and I started at the top and walked down and around all the floors.  It was a very interesting building and a great opportunity for a photo shoot.

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The Riverwalk, San Antonio.  San Antonio was a recent trip and the Riverwalk was the place to be.  It is a bustling night spot of restaurants and guests.  There is a place for everyone’s tastes.  This was taken in the morning where the one place open for breakfast was a Mexican Restaurant.

Maine, New Hampshire, Massachuttes:  September 2018: 9418

Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts.  Driving from Boston to Maine, I requested that we go by Manchester by the Sea.  If you recall a year or two back there was a movie made by that name and actually made in the town.  So I needed to see it.  Like the movie it was a quaint little town.  When I stopped to speak to one of the local residents we talked about the fact that the movie was made there.  She mentioned that they are much happier people than the movie depicts.

Columbus Georgia Conference Trip: March 2-6, 2017: 8940

Columbus, Georgia.  This was a second retreat trip to Columbus Georgia with staff.  On this particular day the staff wanted to go to the outlet mall.  If you learn anything about me, know that I really do not enjoy shopping unless it is for books.  Being the driver, I made the trip to the outlets, dropped my passengers off and said see you later.  I then headed down to the river and the river walk.  I loved that I got a chance to chat to a homeless man, who went on to share with me about a nesting bird.  Little moments like these create memories to draw on.

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Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, San Antonio.  One of the best parts of our recent trip to San Antonio was a visit to the missions.  This particular mission was stunning and it was well worth the visit and was a great opportunity to learn more about the role of the mission in the early history of San Antonio.

Seattle, Orca Islands, Leavensworth, March 04-13, 2016 6100

The Waterfront, Seattle, Washington.  There was a Ferris wheel along the waterfront and I thoroughly enjoyed taking photo’s of it.  Of course, I did not get to ride it, but I am a little nervous of heights 🙂

Nashville, Georgia: March 3-9, 2015

Nashville, Tennessee.  I really love this image of this woman taking a break during her busy day.  We just happened to be walking street towards her when I spotted and stopped and took the photograph. Some days you don’t get to speak to a person, but you learn something all the same.  Take time to enjoy the moments.

Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts:  September 2018:

Old Orchard Beach, Maine.  In the process of researching places to visit, and yes I do a lot of research before I head out, I came across this very interesting pier.  So as you may have guessed I really needed to stop by and visit and see what it was all about.  We got to share a beer at the end of the pier.  

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The Japanese Gardens, San Antonio.  The Japanese Gardens were a treat.  I loved the peacefulness that you can find in these beautiful gardens.  This picture was of Richard exploring and I loved how the trees framed him on his adventure.  

Las Vegas: March 7-11, 2014

Valley of Fire, Overton, Nevada.  While hanging out in Las Vegas we got chatting to a Kiwi and mentioned that we were thinking of going to Red Rock.  He told us to skip that and head out to the Valley of Fire.  What we found here was multiple colored rock, red, black, white and yellow rocks that made up this amazing area.  We got to do a bit of hiking through the rocks as well.  

Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts:  September 2018:

Bar Harbor, Maine. During our visit to Maine, Richard had one place he wanted to visit, Acadia National Park.  So we took 2 days out of our plans to drive up to Bar Harbor.  The Arcadia National Park is well worth visiting.  Bar Harbor was where we slept.  This is a busy little town, with lots of restaurants.  If you are looking for really good calamari and lobster tails, Bar Harbor would be my go to place.  A long way to go for good calamari but since we were there we thoroughly enjoyed it.  Our waiter was from Serbia and we got chatting about traveling around Serbia and what it would be like if you do not speak the language.  Not a problem, he tells me, everyone speaks English.  Well almost everyone.  So here is my mind working over time.  If we ever get to Macedonia, Serbia is right next door.  I am a planner 🙂

Epcot 2019:  March 8, 2019: 3337

Epcot, Disneyland, Orlando, Florida.  We do not do Disney all that often but once in a while we head up there.  Epcot and the Garden show was our destination this year.  We got to have the whole family together for a change and also to watch our new son-in-laws amazement throughout the day.  Fortunately it was not too hot and not too many people.  

Niagara Falls and Rochester:  June 4-7, 2019: 5697

Niagara Falls on the USA side.  Last but not least this past week I got to view and experience the spectacular Niagara Falls.  I had to travel to Rochester NY for work, but we had a free afternoon, and decided to make the most of it and drive 1.5 hours to the falls.  From the US side you do not get the full view of the falls like the Canadians do, however, you are right up against the force of the water and it is impressive.  

Niagara Falls and Rochester:  June 4-7, 2019: 6021

Niagara Falls from the decks of the Maid in the Mist.  We decided that we would take a boat ride into the bay of the falls.  So they give you rain poncho’s which is probably a good indication that you are going to get wet.  Hello, me with the camera.  I had to do some creative photography down there and honestly at one stage my camera was blinking at me.  The day was overcast, and windy.  The wind, of course, caused the spray to go further.  

Niagara Falls and Rochester:  June 4-7, 2019: 6029

Niagara Falls from the Maid in the Mist.  The power of the water is so incredibly breath taking.  To be here at the base of the falls watching the water pour over the edge is amazing.  If you have the opportunity to visit the falls I would encourage you to do so.   

 

I could carry on posting images of places that I love, but you will soon get sick of me.  I would encourage you head down those alleyways, stop and talk to a stranger, enjoy everything life has to offer you.  Life is far to brief to waste it.  Me I am in the planning stages of heading to New York.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six blog post.  This is a circle blog.  From the sneak peak images I have seen, you are going to want to follow the circle.  Please take time to visit my friend and very talented artist Katherine of Cobert Photography and read her quote and see how she has interpreted it. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month.  Don’t forget to leave a little love on their page as well.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_favoritequote.

 

30 Minutes in the Life: May 2019

Yes I know it says May, and it is now June, but truth is we delayed it one week so that we would all have a chance to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend.  For me it was an awesome 11 days of vacation.  5 of those days were spending in the stinking hot sun down in the Florida Keys.  Phew, when shade is at a minimum, happy hour seems to be the way to go.  But more about that another day.

For this month I wanted to continue with the San Antonio trip.  My flu that I had just before the trip left me in a funk and so I am really behind on editing. For our afternoon session of sightseeing, my brother was going to join us.  I know that he likes to visit things like Botanical Gardens and such.  So we decided to jump on the local transportation (which I highly recommend as a way to get around San Antonio), and head to the Japanese Gardens, and then on to the Botanical Gardens.  These photos were exactly 35 minutes of walking around the garden.

 

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We have a Japanese Gardens locally at home, and I know what that one is like and so my expectation was that this one would be bigger.  The one we have at home is a 2 mile walk.  It normally takes me 3 hours to get around.

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The upside of the short time frame was that we were not sure how long it would take us to get around the Botanical Gardens.

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Our first view was of the beautiful lakes with pathways going through them.

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In the water were koi, and the random ducks.

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We meandered along random pathways taking in the beautiful stonework, the rich colors of gardens.

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And were impressed by the creative building behind us.  Layers of rock had been used to build the pillars, the pathways and the bridges.

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The gardens were very peaceful and I guess we were fortunate that there were not too many people visiting at the same time as us.

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There were small waterfalls and large waterfalls.

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Amazing bridges to cross.  Each stone layered one on top of the other.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019:

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Typical of our walk about, Richard is 10 steps ahead of Barry, and I am lagging with the camera another 10 steps behind.  There was too much that captured my attention.

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We walked past the waterfalls and slowly climbed the pathway to get a view of the area below.

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We continued to meander along this random pathway until we found our way back to the building area.

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My brother started out his career as a Civil Engineer, and he spent a good bit of time looking at the structural layout of these pillars and how each stone had been laid uniquely above the one below.

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As we walked away from the structured building I looked down below to what was probably garden storage buildings.

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Barry and I meandered along this short bridge to a deck adjacent to what appeared to be some kind of silo.

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It gave us a better view of the buildings below.

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Of course, it was hot, and so we ventured inside to get some liquid refreshments and sat for a while in the shade of the umbrellas.  We all got to try Japanese beer.

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We also had company while we were relaxing.

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I took one final lookout from the sheltered area.  The trip to the Japanese Gardens had been fun and it was definitely well worth going to visit.

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Last but not least, this was one of my favorite images of Richard, and I just felt like it had to be in black and white.

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Beers were drunk, bags packed up, we are off to the bus stop.  Next stop is the Botanical Gardens.  Look out for a blog post soon.

Thank you for joining us for another month of 30 Minutes. Just a reminder that this is a circle blog, so take some time to visit my friend Stacey Markel Photography, and see what she has for you this year.

Tell me a Story: May 2019

If you did not read my previous post we are in San Antonio for a few days.  After visiting the Alamo, I had a list of places in the “town” area that I wanted to see.  First on my list was St Fernando Cathedral.  So we meandered through the town until we reached it.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4015

We passed canals and interesting buildings.

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We stumbled across a lock wall.  I have seen this a couple of times in different cities.  This has probably been the biggest one I have seen.

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We passed the courthouse, which I initially thought might have been the Spanish Governor’s Palace.  But no, his palace was not as lavish as this beautiful building.

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And finally we had arrived at the San Fernando Cathedral.  A incredibly beautiful building set in the heart of the city.

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I went inside to discreetly take some images.  The building was as beautiful inside as out.

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Both side walls showed the various stations of the cross, along with stunning stain glass windows.

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This was definitely a stop to make.

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In contrast to this incredible old building, just down the road was a glass building stories high.  These are the sights of San Antonio.

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Despite the straight lines this building has, it felt like it was tipping over.

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The last place on my list was to see the Spanish Governor’s Palace.  To say I was a little disappointed would not be lying.  Not sure what I expected but it was not this.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4052

This building was the residence of the captain of the San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, José de Urrutia was the first presido captain in the 1730’s.  His son Toribio de Urrutia, took over from his father in the 1740’s and lived in this building as well.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4053

San Antonio is an interesting city of old and new and well worth the visit.  Watch out for more blogs on the places we got to visit.

Tell me a story is a circle blog so take some time to check out Beth Williams Photo Blog and follow the links around all the blogs.   I don’t know about you but I love to see what is going on in the lives of our friends.

Share Six: April 2019: Green

This month we will be highlighting another disease.  The disease we have chosen to highlight is Lyme Disease, and the color theme is green.  Katherine of Cobert Photography has a daily challenge as a result of her son contracting Lyme Disease.

Epcot 2019:  March 8, 2019: 2911

As a child I remember my father contracted Tick Bite Fever.  Tick bite fever is found in the Sub-Saharan countries of Africa.   My dad had gone out to inspect a property as part of his work.  The property was overgrown and he had obviously been bitten by ticks. Within 2 weeks he was showing signs of fever, headaches, sore muscles and rash.  Also the site where the tick(s) had bitten him were red and swollen and sore to touch.  I remember my dad being incredibly ill.  The room was blacked out because the light was just too much for him.  I do recall my dad saying he would not wish that on anyone.  My father was fortunate that he did not have long term consequences of this tick bite.

Epcot 2019:  March 8, 2019: 2912

As a child I also remember Sunday School picnics.  We used to go to the local “wildlife” sanctuary, where there were deer, zebra and non threatening wildlife.  There was lots of bush to play in and of course, long grasses to run through.  I remember my mother checking us thoroughly before bathing to make sure that ticks had not attached themselves.  Eventually the ticks got so bad that the picnics at that location were cancelled.  Sad because it was great family & friends time, and the hooligans ran wild 🙂

Epcot 2019:  March 8, 2019: 2914

Lyme Disease is caused by an infected black leg tick.  The bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi is transferred to the human through the bite.  Like tick bite fever, you will experiences severe headaches, fever, fatigue, and a rash.  Here’s the real downside.  If you don’t get the tick bite treated it could lead to serious complications, such as spreading to the joints, heart and nervous system.  If untreated for more than 30 days, the complications can be even more severe.  See the CDC for more information. https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/signs_symptoms/index.html

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A gentle warning.  If you are out hiking, walking, picnicking etc, where there is long grasses or wooded area, be conscious of the fact that you may encounter ticks.  Like my mother I made sure that I checked my children when we came back from hiking in the mountains.  However, ticks are also found on those we love.  Our pets can carry ticks, and we can also have them in a place where we feel safe, our gardens. So while you should not be paranoid, you should be checking your animals for ticks just to be safe.

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The CDC reminds you to know your locations.  Be aware of where you are going.  If you are hiking (and it is not too hot), cover up with light weight clothing to protect your skin.  Use sprays like DEET to protect your skin.

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Be sure to check yourself when you get home.  Look under your arms, check your belly button, behind your knees, check in and around your ears, in your groin, places where your clothing my pull tighter like your waist, on your legs, and gently feel through your hair.  It is better to be safe than sorry.

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Make sure that you remove the tick carefully so as not to leave parts behind.  Use tweezers to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull it out gently but straight up.  Do not crush the tick to kill it, (which we as kids used to love to do – it was all bloody) but rather put it in some form of alcohol to kill it.  May sure to clean the area with soap and water or some kind of sterilizing solution.

Epcot 2019:  March 8, 2019:

Obviously I have gone overboard on the green images.  I saved these from last month especially for this blog.  We got to see some of my favorite Disney Characters at the Garden Show.  We went to Epcot last month to meet up with my brother, who had flown in for a conference.  Whenever I have the chance I like to meet up with him because I never know how many more times this will happen.  Right now he is traveling a lot but when that stops, we are going to have to consciously make decisions to travel either us to South Africa or him and his wife to the US, or alternatively we are going to have to meet up somewhere else.  But I love the opportunities we get to spend time together.  We have just spent a week with him in San Antonio, and I may head up to Philly later this year.  Richard says he is not going there.  But time together is time together and I cannot give that up.

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Remember if you are out hiking, walking, picnicking or just hugging your dogs, check for ticks.  A simple measure will make a big difference in your life.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six blog post.  This is a circle blog.  From the sneak peak images I have seen, you are going to want to follow the circle.  Please take time to visit my friend and very talented artist Michèle Tremblay Photo and see what she has for you this month. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month.  Don’t forget to leave a little love on their page as well.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_green

Tell me a Story: April 2019: The Alamo

If you did not catch yesterdays post, we are in San Antonio.  My brother is in town and we are catching up once again.  It’s Wednesday and we are up bright and early.  Or rather once my brother left for the convention center.  Today we are heading to the Alamo.

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The Riverwalk has a single canal that goes off of the U, and that heads up to a few restaurants, to a shopping center and eventually to the Alamo.  So off we went.  The morning is peaceful, with few walkers, and one or two joggers.

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This is our second day in town and I am still in love with the bridges and the serenity of the nature side of the walks.

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I spotted this church in the background and it turns out is St Johns Lutheran church.  I visited it later in the week and discovered it was a beautiful church with gorgeous stain glass windows.  A bit about the church – in the 1800’s many German families moved to San Antonio for a new beginning.

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The families traveled by wagon, many of them settling in San Antonio.  A church was established and led by Pastor Phillip Zizelmann, starting out with only 15 members.

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The current church was established in 1932 during the Great Depression.  The church is absolutely stunning, hosts gorgeous stained glass windows.  If you are in the area, make sure that you get to stop by St John’s Lutheran Church.  Sit in a pew, relish the silence, be in peace.

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Continuing up the Riverwalk we finally arrived at the shopping center, did a quick walk through there and came out on the other side.

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Since we had opted to have a late breakfast, Starbucks was on the agenda.

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It was pleasant to sit outside that morning.  The weather was cool and since we were early for the Alamo, we just sat back and enjoyed the beautiful day.

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From Starbucks it is a very short walk to the Alamo.  I loved all the metal work we were passing through.

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Arriving at the Alamo, I was amazed at these stunning, sprawling trees that lined the sidewalk and inside the actual gardens.

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Arriving at the Alamo I was surprised at how small it actually was.  So why is the Alamo so significant to Texas, and San Antonio history.  The way I understand the video that I watch was that the land originally belonged to the Mexicans, but was not thriving.  In order to develop the land they invited settlers into the area.   Due to new policies on the Mexicans part, along with increased tariffs and new enforced immigration laws, the immigrants started to rebel.

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In the October of 1836, the Texas Revolution occurred.  This was the first battle between Americans and Mexicans.  The Mexicans were defeated by the Americans.  The President of Mexico, Santa Anna, was enraged.  A new resolution by Santa Anna, resulted in any immigrant fighting being executed.  When the Mexicans fled San Antonio, the Americans captured the Mexican garrison, now known as the Alamo.

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The original design of the Alamo had been to prevent Indians from attacking and gaining entrance to this Spanish Fort.  However it was not built to withstand military with artillery capable to destroying the walls.  Early in 1936, the commander, Colonel James Neill wrote requesting additional troops and supplies to boost the remaining 100 soldiers housed in the Fort.   The government was not able to supply much assistance.

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Colonel Neill requested help from Huston, and the result was that 30 men under the command of Colonel James Bowie were sent to aid Colonel Neill.

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In the interim the army under the Mexican President Santa Anna had swelled to over 6000 troops. Soon they began to march on the Alamo.  A slow and tedious march, but march all the same.

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Santa Anna marched on the Alamo, hoisting a red flag to signifying that no quarter would be given.  No agreement could be reached through representatives and at that point a siege began.  On February 25 about 200 Mexican soldiers managed to get to some wooden huts close to the forts.  The Texian soldiers were able to drive them back.

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On March 3, the Mexican soldiers numbered more than 3000 men.  Seeing the number swell Colonel Travis sent 3 men, including Davy Crockett to try to find troops that were supposed to be on their way.  They did find a group of about 50 men, and were able to drive their way through the Mexican troops to get to the safety of the Alamo

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History has it that the Mexicans bombarded the Alamo relentlessly, and then eased off.  The easing off allowed the Texian soldiers to rest and for many to fall asleep.   In the early hours of the morning, Mexican troops silently marched on the Alamo.  The fort was surrounded.

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The guards stationed to watch were killed in their sleep, and the Mexicans moved closer.  At this point the Mexicans began to celebrate their impending glory.  Shouts of Viva Santa Anna went up and the noise woke the sleeping Texians.  The Mexicans stormed the fort.

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The Texans escaped to the chapel and the quarters.  The fort was taken over by the Mexicans and the last fighting Texian group was lead by Davy Crockett.  By this time the Mexican troops controlled all of the outer walls, and they turned their attention to the flag.  Replacing the American flag with the Mexican flag resulted in the death of four Mexican soldiers.

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The Mexican systematically took control of the fort and within hours all the men were killed and only women and children were left surviving.  Santa Anna hoped that with the recapturing of the Alamo and the knowledge of the size of his troops, things would be restored back to normal with the Mexicans controlling the area.

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However, the events at the Alamo had the opposite effect and on April 21 the Texian army attacked the Mexican troops.  Within 18 minutes the Battle of San Jacinto was over.  While the Mexicans were slaughtered shouts of “Remember the Alamo” could be heard.  Santa Anna was captured, but his life was spared.  He and his troops were forced out of Texas.  This ended the Mexican control of the area and allowed for the beginnings of a New Republic.

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The Alamo today is not this huge fort, but rather the grounds along with what is left of the buildings.  The grounds are beautiful, in fact despite the tourists, they are peaceful.

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Suggestions of what living back in those days are created for us to view.

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The Alamo building like the rest of the historical buildings, have the same design, same stone, similar structures.

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I love old buildings and these that we saw at the Alamo, and the missions really captured my attention.

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In a quiet courtyard is a tribute to the men who defended the Alamo. Colonel’s Bowie, Bonham, Travis and Crockett.  This is an area for peaceful reflection.

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One of the aspects of this style of building is the beautiful arches.  You will see them again in a different blog on the Missions of San Antonio.

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There is the unique contrast of old buildings, each with their own style and details.

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And like most cities there is the contrast of old and new.  If you are thinking of visiting the Alamo, make sure to swing by and watch the video on the history of the Alamo.  There was only one downside to visiting the main building of the Alamo.  Photographers were not allowed to take photographs inside the building.  When asked why, I was told that the building is “reverent”.  Fortunately there was not a lot to take inside.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 4010

I hope that you enjoyed my walk through the Alamo.  It is definitely worth the visit.  Oh, and a bonus, it was free to visit.

This is a circle blog so take some time to check out Lupji Photography and follow the links around all the blogs.   I don’t know about you but I love to see what is going on in the lives of our contributors.

30 Minutes in the Life: April 2019

I am not going to lie – this post is more than 30 minutes but I am going to share it all anyway.  This month we headed to San Antonio to meet up with my brother.  Yes he was back again for a conference.  That man puts more mileage on his suitcase than anyone else I know.  We flew in Tuesday and flew out on Saturday.

Richard had spoken to a few people who said two days in San Antonio was more than enough, I had spoken to people who said that there was so much to do.  To be honest we landed on the happy medium – four days was a good fit for us.

It was a good feeling not to run foul of the TSA peeps this time around.  I packed those stupid liquids (most of which are eyes solution, drops, cleansers etc) into the tiny allowed bag, and I managed to get through without any issue.  We always travel with carry-on’s so it makes it very limited to what you can get through. Ha ha, Richard on the other hand had his laptop pulled out and checked.

We opted not to hire a car but rather use local bus transportation.  Kudoes to San Antonio bus system, it was amazing and timely.  We got dropped off 2 blocks from out hotel and walked on down.  We were staying at the Hilton on the Riverwalk.  After checking in we headed out to explore the Riverwalk and find some food.  All of my images today are reflective of our walk.

So what is the Riverwalk in San Antonio.  Some cleaver person decided to add some attractions to the City.  The Riverwalk is a U shaped man built canal created off the main river, the San Antonio River.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3826

While we meandered the Riverwalk looking at what it was about and different restaurants, our goal was to eat.  We had got up at 3am to go to the airport, flew out at 5:30am and arrived at 11am.  We were hungry.  Being of English decent and growing up in a very English influenced home, my go to meal is always a British or Irish pub, and decent pork sausages are what I want.  The USA does not have great pork sausages.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3828

So lunch was enjoyed at Mad Dogs on the Riverwalk with a pint or two.  I got my traditional bangers and mash and Richard opted for fish and chips.

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Something that fascinated me in San Antonio was that means of transportation that stood all over the place.  Some of the items were linked to Uber.  Pay your price and scooter all over town.  Suffice to say we did not do that.  I would be hazardous not only on a scooter but on the road as well :).

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The River walk has two sections, the busy restaurant driven area, which is a hustle and bustle of people, and river boats, and then the quieter more nature inclined walk area.  At random points there are these beautiful bridges to cross.

San Antonio:  April 9-13, 2019: 3840

Richard took a liking to this wooden chair made out of tree branches.  It fitted in with the beautiful aspects of nature.

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Talking nature, the trees in San Antonio were stunning.  The Riverwalk had these beautiful tall trees.  When we were at the Alamo they had gorgeous sprawling trees.  Look out for them in tomorrow’s blog.

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I always like to convert some of the images to black and white and I thought the bridges would be a good conversion.  This area is opposite the outdoor amphitheater and was really so pretty.

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Artwork always appeals to me and this was a pretty big statue sitting above one of the restaurants.  I am not sure who it is supposed to depict but it certainly got my attention.  San Antonio has an interesting history of Mexican / American occupation but more about that tomorrow when we visit the Alamo.

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I cannot resist the beauty of nature in the middle of a city type area.  I think this was a common weed but I kind of liked it.

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I loved the mix of old world and new world that you find in San Antonio.  The architecture and aged look are amazing, inside this bustling city.  There were so many places to stop and smell the roses, and have a beer or two.

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We did a short walk along the quieter side of the Riverwalk and came across this cattle drive iron works.  I have seen something similar in Dallas on a bigger scale.  The artwork is incredible and depicts the beginnings of San Antonio cattle history.

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We did not go far, before we headed back to our hotel, seen below.  The hotel itself had an interesting history.  The builders of the hotel were given a short time frame within which to build the hotel.  The hotel is a 21 story hotel (and we were staying on the 20th floor) and hosts 500 rooms.  This history was that the hotel was being built for a fair in 1968 and the time frame that they had did not allow for the hotel to be built in the normal manner.  They built the first 4 floors and then the rest of the hotel was built offsite as modular units.  Each modular unit was complete with the plumbing, electricity, artwork, and apparently even down to the ashtrays.  The rooms were stacked in 42 days and the hotel was completed in 202 days actually opening 5 days before the fair.   The hotel is situated perfectly for the large convention center across the road and perfect for the explorer wanting to see the Riverwalk.

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This appears to be one of the iconic views found on the Riverwalk.  It is a Mexican restaurant.  The colorful umbrella’s can be found on magnets, posters etc.

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It is always good to meet up with my brother.  With him living in another country I never know when I will see him again.  So while he is traveling to the US, I plan to meet up with him.  Next time he will be in Philly, and I am considering heading up there.  Probably on my own as Richard does not seem to interested.

Look out for the Alamo blog tomorrow.

Thank you for joining us for another month of 30 Minutes. Just a reminder that this is a circle blog, so take some time to visit my friend Ceri Herd Photography, who lives in the UK, and see what she has for you this year.

Share Six: April 2019: Psoriatic Arthritis

As you have seen from the past couple of months, Share Six decided this year to highlight different causes that we have either worked with before or are directly affected by.  This month I chose the disease Psoriatic Arthristis.  As a family we are directly impacted by this autoimmune disease.  If you are photographing colors – the theme colors are orange and/or purple.

Four years ago when we first met Kathryn, she had a foot injury. Something the doctors had put down to an injury caused from a soccer incident. Kathryn actively played on a soccer team.  Through many investigative and intrusive procedures, they were convinced that she had a bone spur affecting her and procedures were done to rectify that.

In August 2015, Cameron and Kathryn got married.  Instead of wearing sparkly dress shoes, Kathryn wore sparkly sneakers.  She had a fear that her ankle would not support her when walking down the isle.

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Kathryn was a beautiful bride, excited about what the future would bring. Little did they know how serious her sore ankle would become.

Some months and numerous specialists later, Kathryn symptoms took a new turn. At the age of 28, she was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis.  What is Psoriatic Arthritis?  It is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints, along with a skin inflammation.  The joint inflammation is painful as is the psoriasis.

Her symptoms were joint pain.  Pain in her ankles, pain in her knees, pain in her hips, pain in her wrists, pain in her lower back and neck.  Sometimes both of them sometimes different parts of the body.   These days we do not see Kathryn without a brace on her ankles and her knee, quite often they will be on her wrists as well.

What is your wake up like in the morning?  I like to sleep late, and have a series of alarm clocks that get me up and moving throughout my morning rush to get to work.  For Kathryn, waking up could take every bit of her energy.  Fatigue is a very real side effect of Psoriatic Arthritis.   Kathryn can sleep up to 12 hours a day and not feel like she has got any sleep.  I spent 3 hours with them this past Friday taking pics and by the time I came to leave I could see that she was exhausted.  I knew that when I walked out the door she was heading for the bed.

Her morning starts with medications.  Besides for the pills, there is pain patches and injections.  Her evening finishes with medications.  This has become a way of life for her.

Kathryn & Cody: March 29, 2019: 3518

Kathryn & Cody: March 29, 2019: 3587

Psoratic Arthritis can affect other aspects of her life besides inflammation, joint pain and fatigue.  PSA can affect her eyes, her hearing, cause nail dystrophy, and increased mood swings.  PSA can also adversely affect her heart, cause obesity, swelling and metabolic syndrome.  It can also cause diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.  Simple tasks like cooking can be hard for Kathryn because the psoriasis had caused the tips of her fingers to split open and bleed.

Kathryn has gone through multiple medications in an attempt to find the one that actually makes a difference.  The doctors quickly realize it is not working for her but the medical system will make her wait a number of months before she can switch to something different.  The waiting means dealing with pain that is not being helped.  She has also had a series of nerve blocks to try and ease the pain.  These procedures were painful and often resulted in tears.

Starting her day and maintaining her strength throughout the day is tough for Kathryn and given that Kathryn autoimmune disease has progressed quite rapidly, they made the decision to introduce a new member to the family.  His name is Cody.  Cody is being trained to be a full time service dog.  And people will ask, “why does she need a service dog, it does not look like there is anything wrong with her!”

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Cody has a multi purpose role.  He is a Golden Doodle that looks about as big as a Shetland pony.   He is still a puppy at 2 years old, playful and excitable.  However, Cody is learning commands, and learning what a service dog outfit is like. He also functions as a comfort dog.

I spent some time with them on Friday learning just what Cody is being trained to do.

Cody has learned how to open the fridge, because some days Kathryn does not have the strength in her wrists to pull the fridge open.  Cody has learned to fetch a bottle of water for her.  (Taking photo’s of a moving dog was much harder than I thought 🙂 )

 

 

Cody has learned how to pick up the dirty clothes from the floor and give them to Kathryn because some days bending over is too painful.  Cody has also learned how to drag the laundry basket to the kitchen area where the washer and dryer is situated.

 

 

Cody has also learned to carry parcels for her if she is struggling.  He is very pleased with himself when he has achieved what he has been asked to do.

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Have you ever gone to a shopping center and wondered about the person in the disabled parking spot.  I will confess to saying I have, that was until I had foot surgery and used the disabled parking that I full understood that sometimes you may look normal, but there is stuff going on.  PSA is that silent disease that has you looking like you are ready for the day and feeling like you are crippled and cannot move because the pain is so intense but to the world it is not visible.  The same applies to Kathryn.  You and I may not see the true reality of what she is going through.

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Cody is there to nudge her if she is a little foggy.  He is there to lick her hands to get her attention.  He is there by her bed at night in case she needs help.  If she wakes up in pain and Cameron is not visible she can tell Cody “Go fetch Cameron” and off he will go.  Cody is more than a pet, he is her right hand.

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Cody is a service dog.  He is used to his harness and has learned to walk at Kathryn’s pace.   He has a job to do and he is learning to do it well.

Kathryn & Cody: March 29, 2019: 3592

 

We were at Epcot recently as a family.  Kathryn cannot walk Epcot.  However, the catch-22 is that she cannot sit for 8 hours either.  So for a period of time Kathryn will ride on a motorized wheelchair and Cody will walk alongside her.  When she cannot sit any longer, Cameron will ride the motorized wheelchair and Kathryn will walk with Cody.

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Cody even got to go one one of the rides at Epcot.  We did the Frozen ride with him.  He was well behaved and did not seem too concerned about the slight drop at the end.

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Cody is a service dog.  One little boy called him a “Superman” dog because of his red coat.  Kathryn tends to agree with him.  Service dogs have a job to do, and people are asked not to touch them.  Yet somehow that request is ignored.  People want to pet him which will make him excitable and difficult for Kathryn to manage.  Cameron overheard one person say it would be fun to pull his tail.   These are the kind of comments that are made about service dogs.  If you see a service dog respect the role he has to play.  If we go out to dinner with Cameron & Kathryn, we do not pet Cody until the end of the evening when he is going to get in the car.  Despite that, when he is out of his “superdog” outfit, he is a playful and energetic pup.

Kathryn & Cody: March 29, 2019: 3612

 

As time goes on and dependent on how Kathryn’s autoimmune disease progresses Cody will become a significant help to her in her day to day living.  He will be her strength when she has none.  He will be her brace when she is feeling unsteady.  He will lick her face if she seems unresponsive.  He will open the fridge, bring her a bottle of water, drag the laundry, pick up things for her, find her keys and be the best possible assistant she can have.  His favorite command apparently is “go find Cameron”.

Kathryn & Cody: March 29, 2019: 3609

 

Psoriatic Arthritis is not for the weak.  The pain that you live with day in and day out is intense.  It limits what you can do, where you can go, and sometimes how you react in different situations. I have learned so much from Kathryn about what she is going through.  I admire the determination she has to get up every day and try to make the best of it.  Some days are good, some days not so good.  Some days she wakes up with such intense pain that she cannot get out of bed. Those days are the hardest, especially when you are home alone.  Cody has brought a new sense of comfort to her.

If you know of someone suffering from Psoratic Arthritis, try to understand that some days she may want to be with you and other days she may not.   Try to understand that life is tough.  Be there for the person when they need something and just be the support and friend they need.

I read the following recently put out by the Mental Health and Invisible Illness Resources:

I have a chronic illness, don’t be surprised if…

I don’t answer the phone or respond to messages straight away

I cancel our plans, especially at the last minute

I can do something one day, but not the next

It seems like I am not listening or interested (brain fog)

My energy levels change and I become exhausted

I leave early from a social gathering, party or event

I suddenly need to lie down and rest.

I still love being your friend, but sometimes my illness prevents me from doing the same things as before, please don’t give up on me. 

 

Psoriatic Arthritis, along with other forms of autoimmune diseases is a silent disease.  We don’t see what is going on.  Don’t give up on you family member, your friend, your colleague or casual acquaintance. They are going through far more than we ever know.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six blog post.  This is a circle blog.  From the sneak peak images I have seen, you are going to want to follow the circle.  Please take time to visit my friend and very talented artist Janet Douglas and see what she has for you this month.  To view Janet’s IG page head over to @wiredtothemoon  Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month.  Don’t forget to leave a little love on their page as well.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_autoimmune or #sharesix_orange_purple