Friday Faves Edition 33

Friday Faves – Edition 33

It’s Friday!!

One one my favorite things about this week is that the hubby took today off so that we can have a day exploring.

So my faves will be short and sweet since we are heading out after we finish breakfast.

After Miss Sunshine’s soccer game last Saturday, the hubby and I went to downtown Roanoke.

Briefly.

Since it was so stinking hot.

We decided to try something new to us. Indian cuisine. There is a place called Nawab located at 118 Cambell Ave SE, right in the market area of downtown Roanoke. It was a buffet lunch, so no pretty pictures since I was trying a little bit of everything and my plate looked like a train wreck. The hubby loved everything. Indian cuisine went right along with his palate. Even though I know the spices are amazing for your health, I was not as in love. However, I would return and just fill my plate with the things that I found very tasty, like Tandoori Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala.

I believe the dessert, which I did take a photo of, is called Gajar Halwa. It had carrots and almonds, and butter amongst the ingredients.

We took a walk through a part of downtown that I hadn’t frequented, and stumbled onto this complex. I love the differentiation of colors as it progressed down the alley.  It reminded me of Victoria Street in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I love going to the library. I constantly have a book going and have a deep appreciation for the fact that I am entitled to read whatever I want.

In fact, this is my current read…Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. So far, I’m really enjoying it.

One of the things she said that I loved is “You and I and everyone you know are descended from tens of thousand of years of makers.  Decorators, tinkerers, storytellers, dancers, explorers, fiddlers, drummers, builders, growers, problem-solvers, and embellishers — these are our common ancestors.”

I think that is so true!

If you’ve followed my blog this week, then you know that on Tuesday I wrote a post in honor of it being my mother’s birthday and then on Thursday I wrote a post in honor of it being the hubby’s birthday.

When we hiked Dragon’s Tooth, this was one of the photos that I took. The hubby has asked me to have it blown up. Repeatedly. Since February. I’ve been reluctant because I have a tendency to be critical of my photos and what if it didn’t turn out the way I thought it should. I decided to finally give in and have it blown up to a 16×20 on canvas as his birthday gift. He loved it and plans to hang it his office.


I’ve been trying to find “new to me” artists to share each week. This week I’ve chosen a band that is well known and that I really like. I chose this song because after I titled Tuesday’s post, this is the song that kept going through my mind.

I hope you all have an amazing weekend. I’m off to explore the countryside with the hubby. I hope to have lots of new photos from our adventures!

The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things- Henry Ward Beecher

Let your light shine!

Amy

Houseboats of Amsterdam

Houseboats of Amsterdam

What do you think of when you hear about Amsterdam?

No, not that…

Canals.

Did you know that Amsterdam has more than 100 km of canals, about 90 islands, and 1500 bridges?

Located along some of these canals are houseboats. In fact, there are around 2,500 legally  moored houseboats in Amsterdam, and it is unlikely that any more spaces will be added. Originally they were used as a way to deal with the housing shortage. In today’s world, they are in great demand.

After our trip to Amsterdam, the hubby thinks that it would be amazing to live on a houseboat in Amsterdam, even if it were for a brief amount of time. Since we are still raising teens, that possibility has be set somewhere in a distant future.

In the meantime, today is his birthday, so I thought I’d give him a visual of his dream and share a photo tour of some of the houseboats of Amsterdam.

If you’d like to see more doors, be sure to check out Thursday Doors… more windows, check out the weekly photo challenge.

I hope that you enjoy coming along on this canal tour of Amsterdam.

The home should be the treasure chest of the living. |Le Corbusier

May your walls know joy, may each room hold laughter, and may every window open to great possibility. |Mary Ann Radmacher-Hershey

 

Home is any four walls that enclose the right person. |Helen Rowland

Home is the nicest word there is. |Laura Ingalls Wilder

Home is the most popular, and will be the most enduring of all earthly establishments. |Channing Pollack

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I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself. |Maya Angelou


 

One of my future dreams is to be able to spend long enough in a new place to become immersed in its culture.

Amsterdam is one those cities in which I think I’d enjoy spending an extended amount of time living. However, I’m a little apprehensive about a houseboat. I’m concerned about the movement and if I’d adapt. An apartment in the city…absolutely. Houseboat…?

What about you? Would you live in a houseboat?

We all are a little weird. And life is weird. And when we find someone with weirdness whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutual satisfying weirdness - and call it love - true love. Robert Fulghum quote

Let your light shine!

Amy

Going Back to My Roots.... Airdrie Scotland

Going Back to My Roots…Airdrie Scotland

Today is my mama’s birthday!!

The one who nurtured me in her womb. The one who labored to bring me into this world. The one who cradled me in her arms. The one who whispered words of strength into my ears at every moment that I doubted myself.

Last year, I wrote more of a poetic style post in honor of her special day. You can read that hereThis year, I’ve decided to honor her by writing a little about our Scottish roots. As you know, in May, my mother and I (along with my aunt) traveled to Scotland. This was my mother’s first time stepping onto foreign soil.

There are studies out there that say certain memories are written on our DNA. My gut instinct (though I’m no scientist) is that a pull to your ancestral homeland is one of these memories.  You may recall that my ethnicity according to Ancestry.com is 79% British and 10% Irish. My mother is 85% British and 9% Irish. While your parents do each contribute 50% of their DNA, the makeup of that contribution varies. Which is why siblings can have differing percentages of a certain ethnicity. If my dad were to take the test, I suspect he’d have more Irish than my mother since I have a wee bit more than her.

Scotland has always been intricately linked to our knowledge of our heritage. However, that Scottish heritage was through my maternal grandfather, Andrew McLachlan Scott (1922-2011) and he was somewhat of an enigma. He stood over 6 foot tall, had piercing blue eyes, and a tattoo of a cross and flowers that said “mother” along with the initial R.S. (for my grandmother) on his arm. He raced motorcycles in “Hound and Hare” races across the California desert. My mother would interview him before he passed away and we have a great collection of tales,but he only knew little bits and pieces of his family history.

We knew that he had been born in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada and that he had arrived in Los Angeles (his family sponsored by an uncle already living there) when he was about 18 months old.  His mother had been born in Wigan, England and emigrated to Nova Scotia as child. She died at the age of 37. One month after my grandfather turned 10. His memory of her was little fragments here and there. His father was born in Holytown, Scotland and emigrated to Nova Scotia with his family as a teen.  His paternal grandmother, Agnes McLachlan Scott, would come to live with them at some point along the way. Her heavy Scottish accent would have the neighborhood children asking my Grandfather if she was speaking English.

She would be the one that would help lead us down the course of discovering some of our history. This was because, even though she died in 1944, she left records that we were able to use. I always felt a kinship to her because in her “Declaration of Intention” for U.S. Citizenship, which was signed in 1925 (affirming amongst other things that she was not an anarchist nor a polygamist), she was 64 years old and stood at 5’6″.  I read this as a teen, during a time when I struggled over the fact that I towered over most of my peers. (While 5’8″ is not that tall in today’s world, I attended a high school where I could literally see over most people’s heads as I walked the halls). I always wanted to be shorter. Until I read that declaration. I always liked to imagine that was a pretty regal height for that time. That perhaps my height came from those enigmatic Scottish roots.

The document that we possessed that many years later would send us to a little town in Scotland was this one:

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The Certificate of Proclamation.

In Scotland, banns were proclaimed in church for three successive Sundays prior to a marriage in case there was any impediment to the marriage.

My mother also has the Certificate of Proclamation that was proclaimed in Airdrie, but this certificate gave a physical address for where my great-great grandmother was living.

We knew that the landscape of Airdrie had changed since the days of coal mining, but we still wanted to walk the streets and perhaps see the church in which they’d been married (if we could discover which that was).

If you’ll recall from this post, our initial plan to travel there while in Glasgow was not possible due to a train disruption.

Instead, we traveled from Edinburgh on the day prior to flying home. The trains run from Glasgow to Edinburgh every 7 minutes. However, Airdrie is not a stop along each line. We also thought we’d be visiting Caldercruix due to it being listed on the certificate. This meant a very specific train. The staff at the train ticket offices were amazing during our entire usage of the rail system while in Scotland. They knew how to get you to all the stops that you wanted to make and the cheapest way to accomplish that. Since there were three of us, quite often it was cheaper to buy a roundtrip Groupsaver ticket.

 

I did love how all of the stops also had the Gaelic name.

Since Gaelic was originally spoken, not written, there are varying interpretations of what Airdrie originally meant. Most interpretations involve it being a high area. In fact, Airdrie is built across seven hills : Airdriehill, Cairnhill, Gartleahill, Flowerhill, Holehill, Golfhill, and Scarhill.

After alighting from the train (my mother loved that at each stop the train would announce “mind the gap when alighting from the train”), our first stop would be the Discovery Room at the Airdrie Library. The first thing we discovered was that we needed to have a very specific search. You pay for the help of the librarian in that room.

So we headed back down to the main part of the library to narrow down our notes to specifics. The day happened to be June 6th. The time just before 11 am. We were able to join in with all those around us, as well as all of Britain, in the minute of silence held for the victims of the London Bridge attack. It was very emotional to be this foreigner participating in this moment… on their lands. Almost like a sacred space to which, as an outsider, I’d been invited into to come alongside and share in their grief and horror.

Once we had our questions together, we returned upstairs. 1881 census records told us that Agnes McLachlan Scott lived on Flowerhill Street, along with her mother Agnes Baird McLachlan and some siblings. Through the microfilm records in the Discovery Room of the library, we were able to get an actual address.

We were interested in walking up Flowerhill street, because we knew from the 1841 census records that Agnes Baird McLachlan also lived on this street when she was a five year-old, and that her father, James Baird was a Hand Loom Weaver, which we would see as the same occupation for Agnes Baird McLachlan at the age of 15 on the 1851 census.

Airdrie was known for its weaving community during that time. Nearly every weaver had his own home and garden. My mother purchased a copy of a photo of what the homes would have looked at that time. Those homes mostly having been replaced by apartment buildings.

The librarian helped us learn how to maneuver the Scotland’s People website and even found the marriage certificate for Agnes McLachlan and James Scott. We learned that they were Baptist and that they had been married at 38 Shanks Street, her home, not at a church as we’d previously thought. We think this was due to the fact that the Baptist Church located in Airdrie hadn’t been completed at the time of their marriage. However, the name of the pastor doesn’t align with that Church and we haven’t been able to discover where he may have ministered.

We looked at some old maps of Airdrie to see what it may have looked like at the time.

I’ve highlighted the areas that we planned to walk around.  Our starting location was in the lower left of this map, out of view.

 

Given that we had not eaten lunch, we popped into Chunky Monkeys Coffee on Anderson Street.

I kept seeing advertisements for Appletiser, so I decided that I must try one before leaving the U.K. It was tasty. It was a very cold and rainy day, so my aunt opted for hot chocolate covered in marshmallows and a warm soup. My mom and I split a sandwich because we may or may not (definitely may) have been saving room for one of the decadent treats in the display case. After fueling up, we went to brave the rain. This was the rainiest day of our entire time in Scotland.

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So rainy that this is the only photo that I pulled out my camera to take. And you know how I love some good architecture! This is a Category B building dated 1920 and erected from Red Ashlar Sandstone. We passed this building located at 56 Stirling Street more than once and this was taken at the end of our time there, after I crossed the street to return to the train station.

The walk to Flowerhill is uphill… like are we going to get to the top uphill. I had already visited Stirling Castle with my aunt and mother so I had no doubt that their legs would accomplish this feat….but that rain! Our raincoats kept us dry, but our legs and feet were at the mercy of the sideways rains. My iPhone was loaded with Google or Apple maps directing our footsteps. Once I attempted to switch to the camera, but realized that some water had found an entrance into the case and that the touchscreen had been rendered useless. I was horrified that I may have ruined my phone, and even more concerned that we might indeed get lost if the phone quit working. My mother had a mini umbrella that was supposed to withstand wind. It almost lost the battle, but it did hold up while I removed my case, dried my phone and put it back together.

We admired the land surrounding Flowerhill Street and then continued on, a school crossing guard helping us make it across the busy roundabout at the top. We passed Central Park and then discovered there would be some more uphill climbing before reaching our final destination.

Shanks Street.

Though the homes are not the same, it was an amazing feeling that after having traveled so far and having spent the afternoon slogging through the rain, we had arrived.

Arrived at this little intersection of the world that had called our name for so many years.

Walked across land that had once held vows spoken upon its air.

Vows of a life together…vows that would begin a family. Vows that would take that family across the ocean to a place where a son would meet the woman that he loved. In that love, they would have a family. A family that they would take across the border into a new land to the place where a son would meet a Los Angeles beauty who used to kiss the sailors coming into port. Their love would ultimately give birth to four children. Number three would would fall in love with a long-haired Floridian boy in 1976. This love would produce two children. Of which, I am the first.

And it all began on Shanks Street.

Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell. -Louisa May Alcott

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

30 Days of...

30 Days Of…October Challenge

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while….

ok… for a month…

then you know that during my year of being 40 (which started a few weeks ago), I plan to challenge myself each month with a “30 days of…”.

I will make the announcement some days prior to the upcoming month so that if you are interested, you can join in the challenge.

The challenge for the month of October is:

30 Days of spending 10 minutes in meditation.

We all have heard about the benefits of meditation.

  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves concentration
  • Slows aging

And these are just a few of the suggested benefits.

I know all of this and yet I have never incorporated a meditation practice into my life. That is not to say that I don’t have brushes with mindfulness, such as when I spend time in nature.

old tree with long roots in the forest while hiking Dragons Tooth Trail

Meditation is an ancient practice. Some archaeologists date meditation back as far as 5,000 BCE.

The reading that I’ve done doesn’t consider Savasana to be on par with meditation. I’m not sure I fully understand why it isn’t since I am focused on my breathing and staying in the present during that time.

That being said, October is a good time for me to begin a seated meditation practice. I mentioned in this post that I had a 2017 goal of running a 5k. Being that I have never been a runner, I need to slowly train. This meant changing up my gym schedule. Based on the availability of group exercise classes, it turns out that the best schedule for me is going to Pilates on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and running on Tuesday, Thursday, and one of the weekend days.

You’ll notice that means that I had to give up my Bodyflow (similar to power yoga) class. I miss my centering moments of Savasana. I could still do a home practice of yoga. I may add that in as I move forward. Given that my personal history is such that exercise was not a regular part of my life until 3 1/2 years ago (after I strayed to the edges of depression during the move to Virginia), I prefer to keep my daily workout commitments on the shorter side.

 

I’ve picked 10 minutes a day as the goal because I’ve read numerous articles about how “just 10 minutes” can make a difference. There shouldn’t be any excuse for why 10 minutes can’t be carved out of a day for self-care.

I am hoping to begin each day with meditation, but that is the secondary goal. The primary goal is to find a 10 minute slice during my day to set everything aside and meditate.

My hubby is interested in joining in this challenge as well. I’m looking forward to his assessment of the challenge since I already do spend some moments in solitude…and in the present…and being mindful. This will be a less frequented space for him.

I haven’t decided if I will use a mediation app or not. Have you ever tried an of the apps? What are your thoughts on them?

 


Sometime during the first week of October, I’ll be sharing the successes, failures, and learning experience from my September challenge.

I’m looking forward to the October challenge.

If you have a meditation practice, do you have a certain environment that you like to create? I still have a few days to get myself set up so that there doesn’t become the “I wasn’t prepared” excuse.

If you don’t have a meditation practice, are you intrigued by the notion of trying it out?

I’d love for you to join in with me.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 32

Friday Faves – Edition 32

It’s Friday!

Time for a weekly round-up of some of my faves from the week.

In last Friday’s post, I mentioned finding the scene settings on my Sony Alpha 7 II.

Miss Sunshine had a game the next day, so I was able to put it to use.

 

I do love being able to freeze action shots. When I scroll through a series, it’s like looking at a flip book. Each picture a slight movement forward, capturing the essence of the play. There was a series that I loved of Miss Sunshine where she’s chasing down a ball. She starts the series of shots well behind the other player chasing down the ball. Over the course of 6 or 8 photos, you can see her catch-up and pass the defender, steadily putting space between them. Unfortunately, the goalie gets to ball, but I love being able to watch her turn on her speed.

I chose this shot to share because I like how Miss Sunshine (in the white) and the other player are frozen in this fight for possession of the ball.

Also, look at the background! Sometimes when I’m pining for my hometown Floridian roots, I forget that Virginia is a gorgeous place.

Of course nature does whatever she wants, but today is the first day of autumn. Some of the higher elevations are beginning to see color changes. As we progress into the season, that mountain will begin to be filled with yellow and reds, a spectacle of color.

Miss Sunshine has to be early to the fields for warm-ups. This leaves me time to wander around with my camera before games. I haven’t been on many outings recently and my nearby views had left me uninspired. I was beginning to wonder where my photographic passion had hidden itself. Wondering if my eye for the beauty in the simplicity had went on hiatus.

But I found it again that day. I have some photos that I’m still processing, but wanted to share this series where I was working with aperture (how much I wanted in focus).

The series was taken with my Sony Alpha 7 II with the Sony FE 3.8-5.6/28-70mm lens. This is the only lens I have at this time. I’m hoping to add a 50 mm/1.8 and a longer zoom, but am still working through which brand I want. The Sony lenses are pricier than other options and there are adaptors that make using other brands possible.

ISO 250 | 30 mm | f/14

ISO 250 | 30 mm | f/3.5

ISO 250 | 30 mm | f/22


Which do you prefer?

I took these shots handheld, so the differences between f/14 and f/22 may have been more pronounced had I used a tripod.  However, the water and the log are more in focus on the f/22.

On Sunday, we decided to have an outing down at the Greenway. Roanoke has a great Greenway, quite a bit of which runs along the Roanoke River. Miss Sunshine likes to take Maverick to play because she wants him to have a love for water.

Speaking of Maverick….

 

 

He finished Beginner dog training!

This is the first dog that we’ve ever taken for training. Our original goal was for the socialization. He was frightened by other dogs when we first brought him home. By the end of this 6 weeks, he was wanting to be friends with them all. He was in love with a little maltese named April. Every week he was so excited to get to go visit her.

Oh… and he learned sit, leave it, loose leash walking, shake, come when called…amongst some other things.

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Most of my week was filled with what I do…. mom-ing.

Miss Sunshine has soccer practice twice a week, physical therapy twice a week, games… Big Mister had a consultation with the oral surgeon for wisdom teeth removal… I fed people…I washed their clothes…I signed my name on school papers…I handed out money from the bank of mom…

And somewhere in there, I found time to get to Pilates, to train myself to run, edit some photos, and write some words.

Some weeks I wonder where all the hours went. This was one of those weeks.

Is it just me, or do you ever have weeks like that?


 

I’ve been enjoying the recommendations in music from YouTube. I’ve found bands or artists that I might not otherwise have discovered. That’s the case for my song choice this week. Tom Walker’s hometown is Manchester, U.K.  I did google him and discovered that he’s actually about to tour the United States.  He’s going to be on tour with The Script. He’ll be in Charlotte, NC, which would have been a doable journey…if I wasn’t still raising children. Unfortunately, it’s on a weeknight and late enough that it would require an overnight. Oh well, maybe hearing him live should be an excuse for a future trip back to the U.K.

Hmmm…

 

I hope that you all are enjoying this first day of Autumn and that your weekend is filled color.

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Let your light shine!

Amy