here’s looking at you, twenty-seventeen

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”
– C.S. Lewis

Twenty-seventeen.  I like the sound of it.  Three-hundred-sixty-five days, each offering possibilities. Or at least invitations to take small steps here and there.

 “The days are long, but the years are short.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

I’m a big believer in New Year’s Resolutions, or, better yet, Intentions.  I always have been, although my success at achieving them is about as good as anyone else’s.  Still.  I love to dream.  If the day ever comes when I stop dreaming, I might as well call it quits.

Philadelphia Museum of Art - Perelman Building
Philadelphia Museum of Art – Perelman Building

I have a long list of resolutions that cover a wide array of categories: education, health & fitness, finances, household projects, spiritual & cultural growth.  I use the same categories every year, written in a large bound periwinkle-colored book full of blank pages. At the beginning of each new year, I write: Cathy’s 2017 Resolutions (or whatever year it is) and then I tape a copy of 2017 Yearly Horoscope: Scorpio (which rarely holds any truth in its predictions).  At the end of each year, I evaluate what I did and didn’t do (no rewards or punishments necessary), clip together the pages of the old year, and close it out. It’s my method, and I enjoy the process.  I love the bulk of those years of resolutions, some met and some not. My periwinkle book of wishes and dreams.

Urban hiking in Philadelphia
Urban hiking in Philadelphia

It has taken me a long time in life to figure out what’s most important to me, but now that I know what lights my fire, my intention for twenty-seventeen is to focus on the things I love, to expand on them and to delve deeper, to let the full expression of them bloom.

a tree-lined path near the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia
a tree-lined path near the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia

These are the things that set my heart on fire: inspirational and creative travel, writing & blogging, photography, walking (urban and nature hiking) and reading. I’ve also been toying with the idea of entrepreneurship as opposed to career-seeking in a world that seems infused with age discrimination.

I guess pedestrians go that way....
I guess pedestrians go that way….

Because I’m interested in so many things and I have so many ideas, because there are so many choices, I often feel overwhelmed; in fact, I feel utterly swamped.  When I read this passage from Robert Clark’s Love Among the Ruins (p. 162-3), I recognized myself in Jane:

Jane, “having resigned herself to the fact that a Ph.D. was not in the cards … for a personality, a character formation, that, truth to be told, has felt itself ‘swamped’ since perhaps the age of four — no, longer still, since before she seemingly alone rowed herself ashore and landed in this life.

“It is, Jane must admit, a curious thing to be so overwhelmed by obligations and duties — to have unfinished chores hugging at her hem while lined up behind them is the impending sense that some fundamental necessity has been completely overlooked — but also to experience moments of terribly clarity in which she sees that she is not busy, that in fact she is doing nothing.  And that ‘nothing’ is perhaps the substance which swamps her, the flood that threatens to sink her altogether.  For it is not merely nothing in the sense of a moment of inactivity, of respite or pause.  Nor is it the nothing of ‘nothing in particular,’ neither this nor that.  It is, Jane sees when she looks up to see it hovering just above and in front of her, her thumb holding a place in a magazine article whose subject she has already forgotten, the index finger of the other hand clawing in the near-spent cigarette pack, ‘nothing at all.’ It is the kind of nothing that is a force in its own right, that precludes all the possible somethings one might try to put in its place; that marks the fact of everything one is not doing and, looming stupidly, heavily like humidity, renders starting impossible.”

How I love it when I read a book of literary fiction (which I read to the near exclusion of anything else) and recognize myself.

following the glowing path
following the glowing path

The nothing that I’m doing, that nothing that has a life of its own, is so physically oppressive that starting something, anything, becomes a force to be reckoned with.  How does one start something when “all the possible somethings” remind me every moment of what I’m NOT doing? I often feel smothered by all those possibilities, and rendered inactive.

Philadelphia urban hike and Paint the Revolution banner
Philadelphia urban hike and Paint the Revolution banner

Yet.  I do continue to search.  To seek.  A good friend of mine once admitted to admiring me for always searching.  For what, he didn’t know.  Neither do I.  But I do believe it is important to keep searching, even if you don’t know what for.

urban hike through Philly
urban hike through Philly

In the excellent memoir-writing book, Writing Life Stories, teacher Bill Roorbach asks one of his 85-year-old students, coincidentally named Jane:

“Jane, tell us, what’s the secret of life?”

Jane smiled benignly, forgiving me my sardonic nature, tilted her head, and said without the slightest pause: “Searching.”

An indignant Chuck (one of the other students) said, “Not finding?”

“No, no, no,” Jane said emphatically, letting her beatific smile spread, “Searching.”

Searching is what keeps us alive, gives us hope, keeps us moving along, step by step, through our lives.

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”  ~ Vincent van Gogh

enticing shop window
enticing shop window

In the areas of life that excite me, here are my intentions for the year ahead:

Reading: I intend to bask in my love of reading, using Goodreads extensively, adding to my to-read list and writing reviews of every book I read.  My goal is to read 40 books in different areas: literary fiction, memoir, poetry, short stories and travel memoir; books on the craft of memoir, travel and fiction writing: and inspirational books on creativity. Last year, my goals was to read 35 books and I achieved that goal. I was enriched by every page I read. 🙂

a construction zone beneath a mural in Philly
a construction zone beneath a mural in Philly

Photography: I intend to read books on photography, push myself to play more with my camera, possibly take a photography workshop, and challenge myself to be more creative. I will try to participate in several photo challenges on WordPress.  I would also like to get and learn a new photo processing software.

diagonal walkways
diagonal walkways

Walking (urban and nature hiking):  I intend to continue my 3-mile walks 4x/week, but also to take local urban hikes through cities such as Washington, Philadelphia, and Richmond and natural hikes in the Shenandoah mountains or elsewhere on the East Coast.  I also hope to do three official 10K walks this year.  Of course, I walk a lot whenever I travel abroad because I believe it is the best way to fully experience any destination.  I also have a dream of walking the Camino de Santiago in the fall, possibly September-October. If I do it, I want to do the whole thing, The French Way, all 780 km of it.  I hope I can swing it this year.

As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life. ~ Buddha

urban hike in Philly
urban hike in Philly

Inspirational and creative travel:  I intend to travel more intentionally this year, and to make something creative from my travels.  My plan for this spring is to try to volunteer at a bed & breakfast in Croatia for a week, travel solo in Croatia, and then meet Mike, where we will explore Hungary and Czech Republic, focusing on Budapest and Prague.  In the fall, I hope to be able to walk the Camino de Santiago.

urban hiking in Philly
urban hiking in Philly

Writing & blogging:  I’d like to stop being lazy in my travel writing and blogging and to push myself to be more creative and inspirational.  I intend to travel more intentionally and observantly, keeping a detailed travel journal and taking more creative photos. I hope to make something from my travels, whether the stuff of memoir or fiction, poetry or storytelling photography.

still decked out for the holidays
still decked out for the holidays

As for my fiction and memoir writing, I’d like to self-publish my novel and finish my memoir by year-end.  In addition, I plan to take classes at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland.  I’ve already signed up for three classes: How to Build Complex Characters, Building Better Characters, and Character Building. I know, they all sound alike, don’t they?  However, they each have a slightly different focus and are taught by different teachers.  I’m interested in this subject because I want to create characters to take with me to Croatia and on my other travels.  I’m also interested in creating a course on how to create characters and bringing that character to …..(fill in the blank with a foreign country name).

Old row house on Cypress and Juniper, modern Kimmel Performing Arts Center, Art Deco 1920s Drake Hotel converted to luxury apartments
Old row house on Cypress and Juniper, modern Kimmel Performing Arts Center, Art Deco 1920s Drake Hotel converted to luxury apartments

Entrepreneurship/Career:  Finally, there is the issue of work.  I’ve been reading a book by Gail Sheehy called Sex and the Seasoned Woman.  I started this book years ago, but I finally finished it this year.  What I found most interesting were the stories of older women who decided to reinvent their lives and bring their passions into fruition.  I found a story about Elaine, who started out as a schoolteacher, to be funny and inspirational (p. 232-235):

Elaine’s husband asked her: “What are you passionate about?”

“Books,” she said.  “This may be a really dumb idea, but I’ve always wanted to be a bookseller.”  Now she is the proprietor of a large bookstore in California.  Later, her husband asked her again if there were anything she was missing in life.

“Teaching,” she admitted.  “This may be a really dumb idea, but what if we started a conference for travel writers?”  Now their bookstore has expanded into a small university of sorts.

Elaine says “But these things didn’t start as smart business ideas.”  They started with Elaine saying to her husband, “This is probably a dumb idea, but….”

So, THIS is probably a dumb idea, but I hope to start a new blog where I don my teaching hat and write posts about how to immerse oneself more creatively and intentionally in travel, how to approach travel with awe and with an eye to inspiring creativity in oneself.

The Church of St. Luke & The Ephiphany
The Church of St. Luke & The Epiphany

I’m hoping that eventually this will lead to me offering creative travel retreats.  Slowly, slowly.  As a teacher, writer, and traveler, I know I am perfectly capable of doing this.  Yet.  And of course, there is always a YET!  I’ve never been an entrepreneur before, so I know I will have a steep learning curve. I intend to climb that curve, even if it involves backsliding down that slope as I learn.  I will need confidence and courage.

Philadelphia urban hike
Philadelphia urban hike

In that vein, I’ve written a lot of notes about defining my business and my market, signed up for a course called Starting Your Own Business, and have subscribed to Entrepreneur magazine.  Now I need to come up with a name!

I will reveal more about my ideas for this business on a new blog at some point soon, I hope.  I have lots of ideas. 🙂

southside Philly
Southside Philly

As for my ESL career, I will cut back on my job applications, but I will periodically apply to jobs abroad or at home.  My heart isn’t really in the work itself, except for the travel opportunities offered.  If I get a job, it may waylay my aforementioned plans, but I’m open to any adventure the world throws my way! 🙂

facade in Philadelphia
facade in Philadelphia

I hope everyone continues to dream and grow in twenty-seventeen, and I hope all your wishes come true. 🙂

(All photos were taken on urban hikes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 29-30, 2016)

Advertisements

a birthday walk at meadowlark botanical garden

Tuesday, October 25:  Today, on my birthday, I take a stroll around Meadowlark Gardens.  Mike and I are going out for sushi, Sapporo and sake tonight, but during the day, I’m on my own.  It’s a gorgeous day, as it is more often than not on my birthday, so I can’t resist wandering outside through a golden-hued landscape.

golds of fall
golds of fall

Today happens to be the actual day of my birth: Tuesday.  It reminds of the Mother Goose rhyme my mother used to read us:

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go;
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

pods
pods

It’s funny about birthdays.  Some people, as they get older, say they don’t like to celebrate them; they feel a little bitter that they’re getting another year older.  I don’t feel that way at all.  I love my birthday and usually try to drag out a celebration of it for a week or more. If I’ve made it to another birthday, it means I’ve been lucky enough to have another year of life. 🙂

witches and cats
witches and cats

It helps that my birthday is in the best month of the year.  I love October!  I might not feel so cheery about it if it were one of my least favorite months, say February or July or August.

sweeps of flowers
sweeps of flowers
Monarch crossing
Monarch crossing
wispiness
wispiness
pinks and yellows
pinks and yellows
geese at rest
geese at rest
the pavilion on the pond
the pavilion on the pond
the pavilion
the pavilion
turtle
turtle
koi and turtle
koi and turtle

I love these three trees, and their skeletal limbs, reaching for the sky.

skeletal trees
skeletal trees
lotus pond
lotus pond
faded glory
faded glory
grasses and pods
grasses and pods
on golden pond
on golden pond
fountain joy
fountain joy
reds
reds
last blooms
last blooms
sculpture
sculpture
sculpture in the grass
sculpture in the grass

I love nothing better than taking walks outdoors in autumn.

It’s nice and cool today; the air is crisp and sharp and the sky is as bright as polished silk.

greens
greens
pinks
pinks
bushes
bushes
purples
purples
have a seat
have a seat

In the evening, Mike and I go to Yoko Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Oakton for my birthday dinner.  My sister Stephanie introduced me to the enjoyable ritual of drinking a sip of hot sake following by a gulp of cold Sapporo, and Mike and I do just that to celebrate.  It’s a quiet birthday, but pleasant just the same.

Another year older, and hopefully wiser, or at least more experienced!  🙂

weekly photo challenge: pure

Sunday, June 12:  The Weekly Photo Challenge asks us to show something pure:

    • not mixed with anything else

    • clean and not harmful in any way

I love these peonies I found blooming at Meadowlark Gardens in May.  They seem the perfect embodiment of pure.

IMG_9876
peony in pink
IMG_9868
luscious peony
IMG_9877
peony heaven
IMG_9872
peony side view

 

new year’s night at meadowlark garden’s winter walk of lights – seeking pinpoints of light in the darkness

January 1:  Usually at the first of every year, I’m full of ambitions for the coming year.  I make long lists of resolutions and dream of all the places I’d like to travel, the books I’d like to read, the things I’d like to accomplish.  I do make resolutions this year, but I’m not sharing them on my blog, which I have done the last 4-5 years.   I don’t do a yearly recap for 2015, which I have also done these past few years.  This year, I just don’t have the energy.

Tonight, while our youngest son, Adam, is crashing in our basement, buried under a mound of blankets and self-pity and depression, we escape the tension in our house to walk through the Meadowlark Gardens Winter Walk of Lights, hoping to find some twinkling of light in the darkness engulfing us.

Winter Walk of Lights
Winter Walk of Lights

My enthusiasm for the coming year has been buried under a burden of worry and grief.  I have watched as Adam, who was, in the school system’s terms, a “gifted” child — a person I’ve always seen as someone who could accomplish anything in his life — has self-destructed and is crashing in our basement.  In the past few months, I’ve watched as he’s alienated everyone he’s known by trying to push his radical ideas down everyone’s throats.  He can’t accept people for who they are and is constantly trying to change everyone.  He believes he needs to save the world from self-annihilation.

Winter Walk of Lights
Winter Walk of Lights

At the beginning of December, his housemates kicked him out of his house in the middle of the night.  He suddenly showed up at our house, loaded up with all his stuff, and dumped it all in our house.  After he tried to start several businesses that didn’t take off as he hoped, I could see his heartbreak, and his shame, over his failure.  He has now given up and crashed in the basement, curtains pulled, curled up in a fetal position, surrounded by darkness.  He has lost all his confidence; he’s lost his way.  His emotions have taken control of him, and I’m watching him suffer more than I’ve ever seen anyone suffer.

We’re at wit’s end, not knowing what to do.  We want him to get help, but he refuses. We know we’re finally at the point where we have to clamp down and initiate what people call “tough love.”

Winter Walk of Lights
Winter Walk of Lights

Tonight as we walk around Meadowlark Gardens, we talk about what our options are.  We decide to give him 6 months to get his act together.  We’ve already told him we want to have a talk with him at 4:30 tomorrow.  We need to formalize this so he’ll be prepared, and awake.  We will tell him we will move him into an apartment in Richmond, where his sister and brother live, a town full of young people, a great food scene, and urban gardens.  After all, he can’t afford to live on his own in northern Virginia, and living in our house is no longer an option.  Besides, as he’s alienated all his friends, there is no longer anything holding him here.  We will support him the first month, then each month our support will be reduced by 1/6 until he is on his own.  We have to co-sign on the apartment and we have to pay a premium so our obligation is no longer than 6 months.  After that, we’re cutting him loose.

carolers
carolers

He lacks a purpose, a work ethic, stick-to-it-iveness, confidence, emotional fortitude.  I think he wants to be a success, but he’s too easily defeated.  He refuses to go to school, believing instead that he can educate himself.  He does a lot of reading on his own, but I believe that lack of a college education will hurt him in the long run.  Skipping the whole college experience, one I think is necessary for a young person to transition to adulthood, has thrust him into adulthood before he’s adequately prepared. But of course, he won’t listen to his parents.  He knows more than everyone.

Winter Walk of Lights
Winter Walk of Lights

I love him so much, and it breaks my heart to see him suffering.  I want him to get psychological help, I want him to get on medication, I want him to go to college, I want him to get a job and keep busy and get control of his emotions.  But he’s an adult, and we can only sit by and watch while he makes his own decisions. He’s closed himself off to all advice we offer.  We can no longer control him, but we can refuse to support him financially.  That is our only option.

Winter Walk of Lights
Winter Walk of Lights
pathway of lights
pathway of lights
Winter Walk of Lights
Winter Walk of Lights

So, tonight, we go walk around Meadowlark Gardens with heavy hearts, a feeling of gloom and hopelessness all around us.  Maybe there is some scant light to be found here.  We can lay down what we will do and what we will not, and then we must hand him over to a higher power.  We simply have to continue to love him and to trust that things will eventually work out well for him.

butterfly magic
butterfly magic
flowers
flowers
Winter Walk of Lights
Winter Walk of Lights
gingerbread house
gingerbread house
blue lights
blue lights

On January 8, one week from today, we will move him to Richmond.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that he will get his act together, and find some peace of mind and some successes in his life.

cocktail hour on the patio: a stroll at meadowlark, computer dilemmas & a jazz fest

Sunday, September 6: Welcome back to my patio for our last official cocktail hour of the summer. I’m so happy to see you!  Tomorrow is Labor Day, which always marks the end of summer in the USA.  This year it’s the latest it can be because Labor Day is on the first Monday in September, which often falls before the 7th.

I don’t know about you, but I for one am happy to see summer come to an end.  Virginia summers are so humid and miserable, that I am anticipating having fall arrive with its cool and dry breezes and its glorious fall colors.

little pretties
little pretties

Would you care for a glass of chilled white wine, or would you prefer some red wine or a cold beer?  I still have some Bud Light Lime, which Mike, and many of you, think of as a sissy beer, but Mike has several types of craft beer: New Belgium Fat Tire and Starr Hill Brewery Jomo Vienna-Style Lager.  I’m not a fan of the heavier beers, but if you are, I have some to offer.  I hope you’ll make yourself comfortable and stay awhile.

Mike and his tropical leaves
Mike and his tropical leaves

Please, do tell me all about your week.  Have you been enjoying your holidays?  Have you done any interesting garden or house projects?  Have you seen any good movies or read any good books?  Have you been swimming or bicycling or hiking in the woods?  Are you teachers out there gearing up for a new school year?  Have you had any fun gatherings with friends?

As you can see from the pictures in this post, Mike and I took a long walk one late afternoon at Meadowlark Gardens.  I always like to go through the gardens at least once during every season.  You’ll see Mike in some of his silly poses, but you won’t see much of me because I rarely like pictures of myself these days.

little buds
little buds
Meadowlark
Meadowlark

I’ve been busy this week preparing for my CELTA course, which is now only two weeks away.  I’ve had a lot of work to do in preparation for that, so I’ll be happy when it’s all over on October 16, just in time for my birthday.  We’ve arranged to go to Chincoteague, Virginia on my birthday weekend, so I’m really looking forward to celebrating my big milestone and the end of that course.

the pond
the pond
rudbeckia
rudbeckia

I’ve been having a lot of problems with my MacBook Pro lately. It’s been running very slowly, most likely due to the over 75,000 pictures I have on it.  Mike knew of a friend of my son Adam’s who is good at cleaning up computers, so this friend, Zak, came on Monday.  He took my computer and when he brought it back on Wednesday, he had removed my 1TB hard drive, installed a Kingston 240GB Solid State Drive and transferred all my pictures to my Seagate external drive. I wanted him to show me how to access the photos on the external drive and when he opened it, he proudly showed me 7,500 pictures.  I said, in horror, “I shouldn’t have 7,500 pictures. I have 75 THOUSAND pictures!  I took over 6,000 pictures just in Myanmar alone!”  After much assurance that the pictures were not lost, he took the computer back to his house to find them, along with all the albums I’d created on my Photos Library.

That evening, he brought the computer back and all seemed to be restored properly.  However, while I was using the pictures, I was suddenly unable to edit them and then the whole Library reverted back to the 7,500 pictures.  It took me a while to get Zak to respond, but when he did, he was able to link the 75,000 pictures to my library remotely.

a glowing globe
a glowing globe

The next day, as I tried to post pictures to my blog, again my Photos Library didn’t have any of my albums, and it only had the 7,500 pictures!  This time, Zak was very unresponsive.  Heck, if you’re going to have a business where you’re working with customers transferring data and changing hard drives, etc. you need to be responsive!!! Immediately!!  This concerns a person’s beloved DATA, things they hold valuable for whatever reasons.

varieties of rudbeckia
varieties of Rudbeckia
glowing goodies
glowing goodies

Needless to say, I lost a lot of sleep over this whole process, thinking my photos were gone forever!!  Can you imagine how I felt?  It was horrible.

On Friday, I went to the Apple Store and looked into buying a new desktop.  It would be nicer to be able to work with my photos on a desktop rather than a laptop, and I wanted to have another place to have my photos. I guess I need to look into iCloud storage or Google storage or something as well.  I ended up buying a desktop at MicroCenter and having them do the data transfer from my old 1TB hard drive.  I will pick up the new computer on Wednesday or Thursday of this coming week.

butterfly heaven
butterfly heaven
pavilion on the pond
pavilion on the pond
the pavilion
the pavilion
peeking at the pavilion
peeking at the pavilion

Other than working on my course preparation and dealing with my computer, I didn’t do much of interest on this last week of summer.  I did go to see the movie Mistress America one afternoon; I felt the best parts of that movie were in the trailer.  I can’t say I enjoyed it that much.  I really look forward to seeing Learning to Drive, with Patricia Clarkson.

cypress knees
cypress knees
water garden
water garden
bees' bushes
bees’ bushes
delicate what-nots
delicate what-nots
love these!
love these!
water lilies
water lilies
lily pond
lily pond
bamboo ?
horsetail
flower power
flower power
Jeju Dolhareubang
Jeju Dolhareubang
the Korean Garden
the Korean Garden
pond in the Korean garden
pond in the Korean garden
Mike with the bell
Mike with the bell
Bell pavilion
Bell pavilion
pavilion on the hill
pavilion on the hill
Mike in the sculpure
Mike in the sculpure
Rambling Robbie
Rambling Robbie
another sculpture
another sculpture

Our walk at Meadowlark was quite a humid one, and we headed back drenched in sweat.

fuzzies
fuzzies
more rudbeckia
more Rudbeckia
starry flowers
starry flowers
more starry flowers
more starry flowers
more green buds
more green buds
coleus
coleus

The highlight of my week was going to The 9th Annual Lake Anne Jazz Festival with our friends Karen and Michael on Saturday evening. We got to listen to several good bands while having wine and dinner at Kalypso’s Sports Tavern.  It was so much fun, and we even got to dance, something I haven’t done in ages.

Karen & Michael
Karen & Michael
Mike and me
Mike and me

I’m so glad you joined me for cocktail hour this Sunday night.  Hugs to you all and I hope you’ll come back in a couple of weeks to enjoy some of the cooler breezes of fall. 🙂

coming full circle: summertime amidst virginia’s flowers

Monday, August 4: Last summer, when I first arrived back in Virginia after two years away, I visited Meadowlark Botanical Gardens around this same time, in early August: meadowlark botanical gardens & the new korean bell garden. Here I am, a year later, visiting the gardens again as I prepare to take off again to exotic lands.

I finished teaching my summer classes last Friday, and now I have a bit of a break before I go to China.  Mike and I are going on a week-long trip to Puerto Rico from August 9-16; we both could use some fun and relaxation after everything we went through in July.  It looks like I’ll be flying out from here on August 30 to get to Nanning by September 1.  Most of the rest of my time will be filled with wrapping up details here in Virginia and getting ready to go.

This morning, I take a walk through Meadowlark Botanical Gardens to see the summer flowers in Virginia one last time.  I’m sure Nanning, the capital city of subtropical Guangxi Province, will have plenty of pretty flowers of its own, so I’m not worried.  I’m sure both Puerto Rico and China will have plenty of interesting sights to see!

I begin my walk at Meadowlark at 10 a.m., as soon as they open their doors.  I’m delighted to find this sculpture has been moved closer to the entrance, and it’s now surrounded by pretty flowers.  It used to sit in a spot off the beaten path, and with no flowers around it.  I love its new home.

This sculpture has a new home.
This sculpture has a new home.

Click on any of the pictures below for a full-sized slide show.

For practical reasons, I probably won’t be posting any more photos on this blog for quite some time.  My upgraded media storage expires on August 13, and as I’ll only be in Virginia for less than two weeks, it doesn’t make sense to renew it for now.

idyllic scene
idyllic scene

If you want to see my travels in Puerto Rico, I’ll be posting on this blog: notes from north america.

For my time in China, you can check out a blog I started when I visited Beijing in fall of 2010:  catbird in china.

I’ve heard Facebook is blocked in China, so I won’t be able to post anything on there.  I’m not even sure I’ll be able to blog.  But if I am, these places are where you’ll find me!

spring at meadowlark gardens

Thursday, May 8:  It won’t be long before summer is upon us, so I thought I’d better drop by Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna to see the spring blooms.  Here’s a little of what I found.

Click on any of the photos below for a full-sized slide show. 🙂