Five Shots: The Colors and Patterns of Spain Part I

1. Basement of the Alcázar of Seville, a royal palace in Seville, Andalusia, Spain, originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings

Traveling to Madrid, Toledo, Seville, and Barcelona was filled with heat (35-44c), bright colors, fun food, and boundless patterns everywhere. Here are some pictures highlighting the colors and patterns from the trip. You decide which is the best shot.

2. The Plaza Mayor was built during Philip III’s reign (1598–1621) and is a central plaza in the city of Madrid, Spain.
3. Joan Enjoying Anchovies at Plaza Mayor

 

4. Flamenco performance in Seville
5. The Casa de Pilatos, Pontius Pilate’s house, Seville
6. Pontius Pilate’s House, downstairs courtyard
7. Inside looking out at Pilate’s House

 

8. The Great Mosque of Cordoba, two hours south of Madrid, was a Visigoth, Christian temple converted into a Mosque when Muslims ruled in the late 8th century.
8. Toledo Castle
9. Corpus Christi celebration, Toledo
10. Santa María la Blanca is a museum and former synagogue in Toledo, Spain. 1180.

 

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11. Cold tomato soup, Sangria, and a fan to keep the face cool.

 

Five Shots: Where Am I ?

I’ve just returned from traveling with students and new friends. Here are clues for my traveling blogosphere buddies. Can you place me in the right country? Give yourself a point.  Another for guessing the city. Award yourself a final point if you can guess the famous location/building.

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Which shot would you jump into? How many points did you get?

Five Shots: Perkinsville Road

I can’t rave enough the day trip experience riding out on Perkinsville Road which begins at Jerome, AZ and eventually connects to the overland trail/road at Kaibab Forest and comes out at a splendorous spot, Garland Prairie, west of Flagstaff. Dislike crowds and congestion? When you come to visit Arizona, try this road trip for an authentic cowboy experience that would make Zane Grey proud. Which is your favorite picture?

1. The crowd is in Jerome. Two minutes past the mining town, the road cuts away into the wilderness.
2. A faraway fire makes for a cloudy day. Looking back at Jerome and the Verde Valley.
3. Facing Chino Valley and heading to the back side of Sycamore Canyon Wilderness.
4. Tall Sentry plant. Surely Dr. Seuss was inspired by these giants?
5. Plate-sized sentry blossoms
6. White Desert Poppy
7. Juniper foreground to Sycamore Canyon cliffs
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8. I can see for miles.
9. Desert Black and White Cow
10. Tiger Striped Milker
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11. Entering Kaibab National Forest
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12. JD Dam
13. Out of the pines into Garland Prairie. The San Francisco Peaks are in the distance.
14. Old cabin in the prairie.
15. Clouds over the San Francisco Peaks
16. Dirt Road to Interstate 40 (Route 66) which runs across the country for over 2,000 miles.
17. A fine Saturday drive. Back downtown to the Verde Valley, an hour south of Flagstaff.

 

 

Five Shots: Cacti Are Blooming

With lots of rainfall over the winter, Arizona is experiencing a grand blossoming. I love it when the cacti bloom. The contrast between the prickly texture of the paddles against the soft, yet obscene blossoms make this time of year a treat. Here are some of my favorite shots. Which one do you like best?

1.White Queen Blossom
2. Quite the handful
3. Green Nubs
4. Fuschia and Yellow
5. Yellow Paddle in the Sun
6. Sherbert Tips
7. Pink Tips on Green Paddle
8. Three Ladies
9. Cluster In Front of Gray Skies

IMO: Welcome to My World

There’s a part of me that feels like I’ve cast myself into the tundra, face first into the arctic blast, alone, as I now live inside my head, writing and editing this second novel. On one hand, that’s how much I miss blogging. Denying myself the fun of sharing thoughts about films, culture, books, and camera angles from my side of the world. Who knew your cheery comments and fun conversations would come to mean so much?

The maudlin side of me put aside, like a stashed cigarette secretly smoked, I have secretly read your posts but haven’t commented, but you all seem fine and well.

Das Buch:   Weimar Germany and the depravity of Berlin. The cabarets, the darkness of sin, drugs, and Bessie Smith. Poor George Hero, my anti-hero bordering on an unreliable narrator, has had a rough time of it since WWI.  I’ve been listening to Philip Glass while I write, and I am glad to report this first part of the novel is completed because Philip Glass wears on my nerves and depresses me, but he seems perfect for putting me in the right mood to represent the dark. In contrast, as if emerging from a cave at noon, the next part of the novel takes place in good ‘ole sunny Arizona. Sally is the feisty young copper cutie, a dancer, who dreams of becoming a Ziegfield girl and star on the Hollywood stage.  She will need her chutzpah to survive the invasive force of her mother. She is cast as an extra in a western. She is determined to become indispensable and befriends Zane Grey and Gary Cooper.  She has a needy friendship with Kay the Hopi Indian, who is a chameleon, sometimes seen as female, sometimes as male, sometimes as Apache, and sometimes she hears the whispers of her mother and sisters wanting her to remember the Hopi way. Meanwhile, she is the recipient of the elaborate gold-plated pistol, hollowed and filled, with the means by which she can free herself from her past, present and have a say about any sort of future. To what extreme will George reclaim the pistol from Kay?

As teacher:  After 18 years, I am counting down the final eight so I can retire. I know it’s a sin to wish your life away–just the working part of it. It’s hard not to this time of year. Spring is the time the drama begins. The school year is drawing to a close. State testing has students restless and apathetic.  Juniors are applying to colleges and seniors have emotionally left high school and await graduation. Teachers are tired and resigned what they are trying to sell in the classroom no one is buying. Teachers compete with students’ cell phones, the prom, sport team demands, and being a cast member in the musical. Is it any wonder they don’t care about John F. Kennedy’s involvement in the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and Civil Rights? Gee, if I can’t get them interested in the volatile sixties, this last month of school could be tortuous.

Meanwhile, teachers are grumbling because the new superintendent has shaken things up. The master schedule’s modifications include removing classes with lower sizes to make it equitable across the board. (If one teacher has class sizes of 30 and another only 12, is that fair?)  That means cutting out the advanced and elective classes. Personally, this means all the classes I love teaching have been taken away from me. The gems like AP US History, AP World History, and a big sting, my Holocaust Studies/Recent World History class. Gems because teaching college level courses are the perfect fit for me. I have been struggling with my pride over it. Be a team player. You are a cog in the wheel. Get over yourself. Readjust your attitude. It still hurts, though.

The Vikings and Nationals Baseball: Strangely, I’ve taken a break from watching movies. I’m binging on the television series by the History Channel via Amazon called The Vikings. Man, I love it. When I come home from work, after watering the flowers, one or two episodes with a beer or glass of wine is a great way to relax before starting supper. I’m on series three. I like the monk Athelstan (George Blagden) the best because rarely in films or television do you see the importance of the role of the monk in history, in this case, by preserving the scrolls of Roman England. I’ve been to Ireland and have seen The Book of Kells and love the artistry of the monks’ calligraphy. The character Athelstan straddles the conflict between pagan/Christian religion. Michael Hirst who wrote the series includes Old English and Scandinavian languages when the two worlds collide; it’s delicious to hear the languages spoken.

The culture of the Vikings is complicated. The legends and mythologies have fascinated many for years.

http://www.history.com/shows/vikings/pages/vikings-historians-view

When I’m not watching The Vikings, I am watching the Nationals play baseball. We are off to a great start this year by leading the NL East with 10 wins and 5 losses (.667). My favorite players are Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy. They bat 3, 4 respectively, and the two are hitting powerhouses. Like Lennon and McCartney, their competitiveness inspires the other to do better. Go Nats!

Books: I’m reading Paula McClain’The Paris Wife. It’s about Hadley, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife and their time in Paris during the 1920s. Ernest is trying to become an author and I can’t help but pretend we two are trying to accomplish the same goal. Except he doesn’t have to go and teach teenagers every day. He gets to sit in a Paris cafe and drink all day long while he writes. It didn’t go so well for him in the end, did it? Who knew my students would save me in the end? Ha!

Okay, bye again. Back to the novel.

Love & Friendship,

Cindy

Back in a few months, I promise.

My Dear Friends,

You know I’ve been working on my second manuscript “Inside the Gold Plated Pistol” and it’s going great. I told you earlier I was backing off from posting to allow more time to devote to creative writing. I threw in photo posts because, well, they’re fast and easy to do. I’ve been trying to keep up with your blogs, commenting when I can. Then I added a Lucky 13 Film Club post, and now I’ve found really cool information about the Weimar Republic as well as Chicago in the late 1920s. Naturally, I thought of making a post and sharing it. I’ve seen a slew of movies and thought about writing a post about several films that have held my attention, but I’ve refrained. In other words, I think about blogging all the time.

Herein lies my problem. I’ve gone and said a couple of times that I’m taking a hiatus. Step by step, I’m lured back to blogging. So the novel gets neglected, and I feel like an albatross is around my neck. Then I go through an emotional see-saw–should I bother writing the novel? Should I just focus on blogging? The vacillation is the best problem I could have. The solution is bittersweet, however. I’m going to sign off completely from blogging until the first draft of the manuscript is completed and sent off to the editors. I simply cannot juggle one or the other well. I think it’s called growing older. If you have planned an upcoming Lucky 13 Film Club event with me, hold on to that thought! I’m hoping by summer I’ll be back and ready to blog with you all.

Love & Friendship,

Cindy

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