Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary.Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.
Last century when the daughters were young, the Columbia Mall built a poinsettia tree in the middle of the center fountain area. Sometime in this century a renovation of the Mall eliminated the fountain area by paving it over. The poinsettia tree placement there disappeared for a time until complaints asking for its return.
I don't often shop at the Columbia Mall and especially have avoided it at the holiday shopping times but Friday Dan and I went to see Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers at the AMC theatre there and then had dinner in the food court in the Mall. The shortest walk back to our car to avoid the rain was through the Mall and past the poinsettia tree.
I don't think it looks quite like it used to. It looks too crowded in the space. There was something special about being built in the fountain pool before that set it off nicely. At least its back.
By the way the Mr. Rogers movie is a gem! A must see if you have a chance. Tom Hanks really becomes the character he's playing quite masterfully. The one critical comment I had was there was no mention of Mr. Rogers being an ordained Presbyterian minister and his show was his ministry.
[I'm back from hibernation because I found myself caught up with all the Christmas to do list for now.]
If you haven't taken a look at Pete Buttigieg I suggest you do so. I think he's the best one right now for all of us.
My time as mayor in South Bend is almost over. Earlier this week, I attended my final city council meeting -- and reflected on how far South Bend has come.
When I took office in January 2012, it had been just over 47 years since the last Studebaker rolled off the line in a South Bend factory. It was only one year since we had been named a “dying city” byNewsweekmagazine.
Every administration in the previous fifty years had to undertake heroic work simply to keep the city afloat. The 2010 Census told us our population was in decline, and the blows we had faced as an economy were everywhere in the crumbling, vacant houses dragging down our neighborhoods.
South Bend’s wounded psyche loomed over us in those first months I was mayor. But today, thanks to the resilience of our community, South Bend’s trajectory has been changed beyond recognition. Our population has seen a fragile but steady increase, while our unemployment rate has fallen drastically -- from 11.8 percent to 3.9 percent. City partnerships have brought in over $900 million in private investment, representing over 7,500 jobs.
We are on the cutting edge of urban mobility, and are pioneering systems of lifelong learning. Last year South Bend was named a top Race-Informed City by Governing Magazine thanks to efforts to recognize and remove barriers to inclusive economic development.
The crises we face have been years in the making, and politicians in Washington have seemed more interested in fighting with each other than in actually fighting to make our lives better. Americans are so fed up with the dysfunction and division -- especially from this president -- that many of us have completely given up on the idea that government can do anything for them.
My to do list is incredibly long right now. And unfortunately it's not all to do with preparing to celebrate Christmas beginning with Buffalo daughter and family's arrival on the 22nd. I tell myself it will all get done.
Thanksgiving was a whirlwind: 4 days in Buffalo then 4 days in Cornish Flat, New Hampshire. We traveled almost an equilateral triangle from home to Buffalo to NH to home.
We enjoyed two turkeys cooked differently.
We saw our granddaughters enjoy their Christmas presents that were too large to share from here: a child sized table and two chairs for Granddaughter #3 in Buffalo and a climbing dome for granddaughters #1 & 2 in Cornish Flat.
We had lots of laughs.
Now it's time to hibernate and get the list tackled then enjoy the holidays!
November is the month of giving thanks though we really should be doing it year round.
I will devote the rest of my posts this month to what I'm thankful for.
When I was in Barcelona in October I was on a search for a blue plate. I did see some that were very very gaudy, not my style. I finally found one in the large department store El Cortes Ingles. Though the plate wasn't made in Spain, it was made in neighboring Portugal. It was perfect!
Yesterday we hung it in the kitchen with other precious plates. It was too big for under the cabinets and there really wasn't enough room there if it had been smaller. Dan found a good visible spot for it over the refrigerator and visible then from our dining room.
Here it is and the other precious plates that I'm thankful for. Note they all are under the cabinet so there is a shadow line in each photo.
It is the biggest one at 13 in diameter. The pics below don't give you a frame of reference for sizes but they are of varying sizes.
Metal tray painted by my mother
Plate given to me one Christmas long ago by my mother.
Plate from my mother's china cabinet. I have no idea about its history.
Wooden plate painted by my mother.
A plate from Italy given to me by daughter Emily on her return from studying in Siena in the fall of her sophomore year.
Now you see why the plate I purchased in Spain had to be blue! It's now added to my treasured collection for which I am very thankful.
Unlike any church you've ever seen - seriously - La Sagrada Familia (the Holy Family) is probably Barcelona's most popular landmarks and Antoni Gaudi's most well-known creation. The church has been under construction for over 125 years ad still has a long way to go. When questioned on this subject, Gaudi is known to have responded "My client (God) is not in a hurry."
Each facade of the church is to represent a biblical scene, specifically: the birth of Christ (Nativity Facade) which Gaudi lived to complete; the crucifixion of Christ (Passion Facade) designed by Joseph Subirach (which has received a lot of criticism due to its break from Gaudi's style) and the future Glory facade to represent Christ's resurrection. Gaudi died in 1925 and many his original plans were destroyed a decade later during the civil war (though the church was not damaged). Only eight of the planned eighteen towers are finished to date and it is estimated that construction will be completed in 2026.
Here's what's on top of those spires.
We booked a tour for our visit. Everything is very closely controlled by the church including airport like screening devices.
Here's our guide giving us instructions before we entered.
To me it didn't have the reverence of a church. There were just too many people and not being particularly quiet.