Art in Ault Park

Ault Park is one of the many beautiful Parks in the Cincinnati area, with frequent events, such as “Art in Ault” that I attended this past week.  The work of Holly Schapker, a local artist, was on display along with complimentary wine and music!

I arrived early to take some photos.  The pavilion has wonderful architecture for photographs and the gardens are beautiful!

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As I passed a small group of attendees, I couldn’t restrain myself from asking to take the photo of this lovely lady and her stately Poodle!

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Rebirth

Spring is so full of possibilities and life!  The trees grow fuller, the flowers blossom and our world turns green!  Living on five acres, surrounded by trees, I often feel disconnected…as if I’m in a cocoon.  I like the quiet…the sounds of nature–chirping birds, rain pattering, things growing.

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Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park, Cincinnati, Ohio

The Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park in Cincinnati, Ohio has some cool art!  The walking path within the Park parallels the Ohio River and is approximately 1/2 mile in length.  The Park represents world unity and global understanding and I love it!

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Went to the Cincinnati Zoo to see the Flowers…but there weren’t any!

It was chilly last Wednesday when I arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo to take photos of their massive flower display.  I found a $2 discount at Krogers to use on the $15 admission price and avoided the $8 parking cost by parking less than a block away on the street.  Once inside, I began walking around, taking some photos of some of the animals and searching for the flowers.  I saw that bulbs had been planted, but no blooms.  I asked an employee and he said they haven’t bloomed yet.  I only stayed a couple of hours and didn’t even go into any of the buildings to see animals because my camera would fog up when I did.  It’s not that I don’t love animals and taking pictures of them, I guess I feel sorry for them being held captive.  But I understand how much knowledge and enjoyment humans receive in doing so.

The Polar Bears were the most playful and active of the bunch…

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Hiking with the Clouds

A few days ago, my husband and I headed over to the Longbranch Farms located a few minutes away from our home and took a hike!  The sky was gorgeous and it was warm..50 degrees…compared to recently.

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Cold Art

Art is everywhere!  Dark/light… cold/warm…hard/soft…Contrasts help us appreciate life.

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A little magic is always fun!

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Jake loves to roll in the snow and be joyful…and coy!

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Taking a walk on our property…leads to a creek…with more Art!

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You’re never too old to sled-ride!

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Our cabin in the woods.  I like that it blends in with nature.

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Nature loves to change colors!

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What magic is around you?

Preparing for Christmas

I’ve been quite busy since arriving home from my six-week–4,200 mile–road trip through the Southern U.S.  In addition to the normal duties one has when returning from a trip (i.e. unpacking, laundry, opening mail, paying bills, cleaning house, grocery shopping, etc.), with the holidays right around the corner, I decorated the house…

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did some Christmas shopping, met a friend for happy hour, responded to party invitations, and took my doggie hiking at the nearby trails.  A couple of days ago, I looked out in the front yard, saw the frosty grass and the shadows stretching across the yard and thought how pretty it looked…so I captured the moment…

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Tomorrow evening my son and his girlfriend are coming over for an early Christmas celebration because he’ll be going to Dallas to visit his father over Christmas.  I’m really looking forward to seeing him, since the last time I saw him was before I left for my trip. I’ll be cooking dinner and a delicious dessert!

In memory of the slain children, here is a photo I took a week ago in Florida of happy frolicking children by the sea at sunset…

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May their families hearts not break from the sadness.

Wishing everyone a joyful weekend!

Hiking in Autumn

My dog Jake lives to hike with us!  He knows when we put on our hiking or jogging shoes that soon he’ll be out running in the woods!  He races in and out of the doggie door, unable to contain his excitement.  If we take too long, he’ll stick his head through it to see what we’re doing…

I had to take a picture of some of the trees above the roof of the house before leaving for the woods…

And the front yard.  We live on 5 acres (of which 4 acres is wooded) at the end of a lane and love the seclusion.

This spot is located right around the corner from my house.  Definitely worth a stop!

We stopped along the way for a quick photo of a farm.  I love the texture and color of the drying soy bean crop…

These photos are a combination of two different hikes we’ve taken this week.  I am very grateful to have a park within five minutes of my home that is over 500 acres with hiking trails and that I usually have to myself!

The leaves are glittering like gold…

I couldn’t believe how beautiful the trees and reflection were when we arrived to the lake.  If you’re a photographer, you know that almost giddy feeling of enthusiasm when you see something beautiful.

I recently realized that my camera has enabled me to appreciate and observe more of the beauty that surrounds me in people, nature and things.

This is from a hike a couple of days ago as dusk was settling…

Fog had descended upon us as we finished the hike…just in time for Halloween!

Get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors!  Some people aren’t able to!

Scioto Audubon Metro Park in Columbus

My recent girls’ weekend to Columbus, Ohio included a short hike at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park.  We stopped there on Sunday before driving home.  The weather was glorious and the park surprised me with its proximity to downtown, one and one-half miles!
First, we had a buffet breakfast that was included with the room.  The hotel, “The Residence Inn by Marriott“, I found to be stylish, including the lobby and dining room.  The ceiling must have been 25 foot high..

We walked to the park, which boasts an outdoor climbing wall!

I’ve climbed one on a Mediterranean cruise and found it quite exhilarating!

The grounds were beautiful!  Autumn always fills me with an extra spark of energy!   Most likely it’s the cooler weather and dynamic colors!

We probably walked less than a mile, but the views were nice!

I hope you’re enjoying the outdoors this autumn!  That’s a wrap for the girls’ weekend.  We did and saw a lot in two days!!

2011 in Review

Looking back at what has occurred in my life in 2011, brings to light the observation that many of us don’t realize how much we’ve grown or what we’ve accomplished during any given period of time.  Until you put it on paper or…in the blog!

In February my mother was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer.  In March I had a family reunion while she was still able to spend some quality time with people.  The first photo was from 2007 – you can see how she changed in a few years.

March was a busy month…I took a flight to Los Angeles for the Travel & Leisure show– to network for employment within the travel industry.

A week later I drove my mother from Ohio to Ft. Myers, Florida for a mini vacation…knowing this would be her last time to see the beach…it was bittersweet!

April was filled with lots of exercise…hikes, hot yoga, a 5-K run, and my first boot camp.  I spent more time with my mother…picking her up to spend the day with me at my house.  She enjoyed soaking up the sun on my back deck…surrounded by trees and the beautiful beginning of spring.

I helped a friend organize her house one day, met with hospice for my mother’s evaluation, and did lots of yard work.  I bought a new camera (Olympus PEN) and won third place in a photography contest at the Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati with this photo…

I volunteered at a food bank in May, took my son to the traveling “Cirque du Soleil” show, attended a derby party, organized a couple of social events for meetup.com–a motorcycle meetup–and a winery tour in Madison, Indiana.  I moved my mother into my home at the end of May to take care of her during her last week of life.

She died on June 9th and I made a short movie to show at the memorial service.  The rest of June was somewhat quiet.

July was filled with pool parties, boating, jogging, yoga, hiking and traveling.  I hiked on the Appalachian Trail for a couple of days with a friend and you can read about it here

We treated ourselves the third evening to an overnight stay at a beautiful bed and breakfast!

A week later I left for a vacation to Washington State and British Columbia that was absolutely breathtaking…filled with beautiful scenery and amazing hikes!  Read about it here

I quit smoking cigarettes one month from the date my mother died…and consider it my most significant accomplishment of the year!

In August…after only two days at home…I was blessed to be able to go on another trip…this one to New Mexico and Colorado.  It was truly magical and stunning!  Read about it here

In September I started training for a half-marathon that was coming up at the end of October.  I took photography classes to learn more about aperture, F-stop, shutter speed, etc.

I also made the decision to follow my passion for travel and enrolled at ITMI (International Travel Management Institute) for a two-week class that was starting in October, to become a Tour Director–to take people on trips around the world!  It was held in beautiful San Francisco…

The class took a trip to the enchanted Sequoia Nat’l Park and Kings Canyon Nat’l Park…

I ran my half-marathon at the end of October and completed it in 2 hrs. 15 minutes.

In November I went on a girls’ weekend to Lexington, Kentucky…

I joined Toastmasters!   And I started a temporary full-time job for the next couple of months until I start Tour Directing!

My blog was “freshly pressed” twice this year…which I am so grateful for and I’ve met a lot of interesting and nice people both online and off!

The two quotes or philosophies that have stuck with me this year are:

Your attitude + Your choices = Your life

Collect experiences…not things!

It was a year filled with beauty, challenges, sadness, joy, confusion, and much gratitude!

“Fall” in Love with Lexington

On the second day of our girls’ weekend, we went for a two mile…self-guided walking tour of downtown Lexington, Kentucky.  As you can see it was a glorious “fall” day!

Some of the sites we passed were the First Baptist Church, Mary Todd Lincoln‘s house, St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, and many more…

This is “Gratz Park”…with lots of beautiful historic homes lining the streets surrounding this Park!

This is the old Courthouse…

 

Transylvania University is the oldest college west of the Allegheny Mountains and the campus is beautiful!

Tomorrow, I’ll finish our walking tour…see you then!!

The Glory of a Lexington Horse Farm

After researching “things to do in Lexington” for our yearly “girls’ weekend”, I decided having a tour of a private horse farm would fit in nicely with our schedule and would be a unique experience with a personal touch!  I chose Taylor Made and our guide was “Emily”, the young lady in the next photo.  She was knowledgeable, professional and sweet!

The 1500 acre farm specialized in breeding and has received up to $8 million dollars for one conceived “baby”!  Usually, it’s more like $100,000…but still, that’s a lot!

While we were there for the hour tour, two gentlemen had arrived for their appointment to check out a couple of stallions for possible breeding, so we were allowed to watch them being brought out for show!

The farm was beautiful…even though it was an overcast day!

It was breathtaking to watch these horses race up the fence line!

 

 

They even had a small horse “cemetery”…

Here are the girls…from left to right….Gina, Cindy, Me, Sherry, and Michele.  Dee came the following day for the second night.

 

We learned quite a bit…this is the breeding room.  It usually takes about 45 minutes and they have someone restraining the stallion, so he doesn’t get too rough with the mare…such as biting her.  They videotape it for proof!

Here is the Mare‘s compound…

The tour is free…but you tip the guide.  We really enjoyed it!

 

Kings Canyon National Park, California

During my overnight Tour Director class field trip to Sequoia Nat’l Park, we also stopped at Kings Canyon Nat’l Park, which is geographically right next to Sequoia.  These are some photos from the Park…

This is Frank giving information about the General Grant tree.  The night before at the Montecito Lodge, where we stayed, he played the role of John Muir and was so talented!

This shrub/tree is called the Manzanita and it’s branches are so smooth to touch!  I used my flash and was able to get more contrast.

Hope you enjoyed your tour and if you have any questions, let me know!