Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge: Twisted

Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge: Twisted

The following are my submissions for the Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge: Twisted.

Origami is folded paper but sometimes it is folded in such a way that allows movement.  The first set of photos is called the Curlee-Q which is made from one long continuous piece of paper and the second set of photos is called the Twisting Tower. Both pieces of Origami were folded by my son six years ago when he was in fourth grade! Amazing!

 

 

The twisted stair case of the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in Bermuda exemplifies this word perfectly. This light has protected ships for hundreds of years from the coral lined coast of this sub-tropical island that I have had the privilege of visiting three times in my life!

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Another piece of Origami by my youngest son. This is a torus ring that consists of hundreds of folded pieces of paper, joined together to form a twisted ring! It is 3 dimensional and quite a work of art!

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Twisted is the motion that the cider press uses to make our own apple cider in the fall. These are photos from 2015, a year in which we had a banner harvest.

More origami. Ninja Stars – over four hundred folded for a young student who battled leukemia to let him know his classmates – those he knew and those he didn’t – were thinking of him. Folding, instruction, and given by my own student who was featured in the above pieces. Kirigami is cut paper. The set of graduated shapes were twisted into place to hold their form by my “origamist” trying something new.

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Finally, my last interpretation of the word Twisted is the Banyan Tree in Lahaina, Maui. It’s twisted branches, reach down to the ground forming roots to anchor this ancient living specimen. It is a twisted spectacle!

 

I hope you enjoyed my version of Twisted!

 

 

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Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge: Place in the World

Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge: Place in the World

My place in the world is with my Family surrounded by Nature!

Where ever that place happens to be:

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Looking at a late April Snowstorm against a blue sky from our Wisconsin Home (2018),

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in Bermuda on Horseshoe Bay Beach at Dusk with the love of my life’s hand on my shoulder looking at a dusky sunset, pink sand beach, and turquoise waters in late summer – just as we have looked at this same view three times before (1987, 2007, 2017),

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in a school garden while kids are in class, the caretaker of beauty and knowledge  awaits on this path (2018),

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looking down at a beach from above on a narrow, muddied jungle path, a view holds the dangerous waters and those who dare to swim but might not last (2013).

on the many Florida beaches over the years we visited as one, collecting memories as well as the shells we all saved for none

hearing the roar of waterfalls be it Niagara, Kauai, Buffalo Creek, or Angel Falls (RMNP). Water connects our place in the world (1985, 1986, 1990, 2004, 2010, 2013). I’ve realized through looking back,

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from a spot in my yard to a Great Lake I once knew,

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a cabin I love built in the woods where the wild loons call. Yes, I’ve realized today,

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there is a place in this world, a place for us all. Favorite, I have none, with my family I’ll stay, traveling to store memories all along the way. This life’s been a good one, great in fact, I am at home where I go as long as that is where my family’s at.

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So, whether it’s a stay in D.C. or the Nederlands far, a trip to Jersey over that world-famous bridge, the sunrise on Haleakala or to hear the wild La Jolla sea lions call, the place doesn’t matter for I find awe in them all. As long as my family is with me, I know I belong.

 

This is my contribution for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Place in the World. This post’s format was inspired by the blog Streaming Through America and their response to this same photo challenge! You really should check it out. Thanks!

Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

Enjoy the variety of “lines” in my photography as these are my submission to the Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge: Lines.

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Lines on a Garden Bench in a late April snow. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2018
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Lines of Walnut and Maple on a homemade skateboard. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2015.

 

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The stair form contrasting lines at St. Peter’s Church in St. Georges Bermuda. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2017
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Lines of Cypress Trees and Benches at Iowa State University, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2017.
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Lines on the Deck, lines on the fence, and lines on the chairs – manmade lines. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2017.
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License Plates – Collected and in Lines. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2017.
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Lines are not always straight. One of my favorite photos from a D.C. trip in 2010. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2010.
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The straight lines of a footbridge in Iowa. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2017
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A line of sight is essential when protection the Royal Fleet in Bermuda. Royal Navy Dockyard. Bermuda, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2017.
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A Bench of Lines at our cabin in the Northwoods contrasts with the wildness of coneflowers.           © Carol Labuzzetta, 2016.
Do you participate in any other blogging challenges besides the Slice of Life Story Challenge?

Do you participate in any other blogging challenges besides the Slice of Life Story Challenge?

A Different Type of Post for Slice of Life

I was having a difficult time this morning deciding what to write about today for my Slice of Life Story Challenge Post.  I consulted a book of quotes and I took photos of a wren making its home in our bluebird house. But, none of the ideas seemed to work for me today. So, I looked at the weekly photo challenge I also participate in as a blogger. It is the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge on The Daily Post. As a daily blogger, not just during the month of March for the Slice of Life Challenge, I post nearly each day on different topics. One of my favorite things to post are those topics that show off my love of photography. So, it is natural that I look for blogging challenges that support that hobby as well as the written part of blogging.  I debated whether this post was appropriate for Slice of Life. But, I am writing. I am sharing a slice of my life because I do participate in the Weekly Photo Challenge. So, whether you agree or not, I am using this post for my slice today. You’ll note that it is much longer than the ever popular six word posts that people seem to turn to when they become “stuck”.  I hope you enjoy the theme, my photographs, and the change in pace this slice offers today.

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St. George’s Bermuda. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2017. “A Seat in the Square.”

The Daily Post’s Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

At first I thought this challenge would be so easy for me. I thought, hands-down my favorite place is Bermuda. I’ve been there three times in 30 years, the most recent being 2017. And, I would go back again, in a heartbeat.

But, then, I thought of my own yard. The peace I receive in my flower gardens that also serve to provide habitat for my beloved Monarchs. The bright colors, the changing seasons, the place right outside my door.

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Johnson’s Blue Geranium. © Carol Labuzzetta
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Perennial Garden, Mid-Summer in the Mid-West. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2015.

And, lastly, I thought of our cabin. We don’t get there very much any more. Closer than Bermuda and further away by three hours than my front door, it hold many precious memories and is a favorite place, for sure.

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Our dock at the cabin. “Up North” © Carol Labuzzetta, 2015.
The Daily Post: Weekly Photo Challenge – I’d Rather Be……

The Daily Post: Weekly Photo Challenge – I’d Rather Be……

Right now, given the choice, I’d rather be, on a Beach,

Any would suffice, Kauai or Bermuda…..

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at Dusk or at Dawn,

Near,

or Far,

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Kauai, 2013. © Carol Labuzzetta

Foreign or Domestic,

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Kapalua Beach, 2015. © Carol Labuzzetta

Past or Present,

Beaches hold a special place in my heart.

I hope you enjoyed my submission for the Daily Post’s Photo Challenge of the Week!

All photos are from my own travels and copyright protected. Thank you for enjoying but there is no permission to reproduce any of the material posted.

Thanks for stopping by!

Finding Zen

Finding Zen

After spending a few minutes this morning scrolling through social media on which I marked articles on The Hague, SmartPhone AddictionAllowing Students Freedom of Choice in Reading, and a Zen Stress Reduction Program at a middle school, my swirling brain continued with ideas of what to write about being spun off this way and that. When one has eclectic tastes and interests, occasionally it is hard to choose one topic over another.

I pondered on what topic I would write about today.  Should it be the Kahoot I made and played with students for the first time yesterday? The structure of a mini- lesson? The need to find a personal routine that does not bend every single time some one thinks they need me?  The reasons spouses end up watching TV separately? Or, the Zen hallway in Bermuda?

Since I seem to be under some stress and can note stress in family members and others who cross my path daily, I settled on reframing the use of Zen.  In the last couple of years, the word Zen has freely come to my mind given the peculiarities of certain locations on vacation.  First, it was on the Door County Peninsula in a shared County-State Park where stones are stacked and balanced in graduated fashion, left for mother nature to tumble or leave as she desires. Each member of our family took turns stacking the stones, finding a balance, and marveling at our creations as well as those of others. It was somehow relaxing – balancing the stones against the forces of nature.

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Then, when my husband and I visited Bermuda last summer, the word Zen again came to mind when we walked through one of the lower corridors in our resort hotel. Soft music was playing, not exactly elevator music but something that was flowing  and filled with relaxing tones, but without words. This hallway also had a particular scent that filled the air when you travelled through it to reach the indoor pool or go beyond to the beach (it was not chlorine).  Walking this corridor became part of our daily experience on Bermuda, not only to reach parts of the hotel we were destined for but also to get our daily dose of Zen.  I dubbed it the “Zen Hallway”  and even recall going as far to say that we need a Zen hallway at home! It smelled so good, and sounded so peaceful that in the space of just two hundred feet, you found yourself relaxed!

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Of course, vacations end and one returns home to the daily routine and stressors of life. But this morning, as I read an article from a librarian on how she constructed a Week of Zen for her middle school students during testing – a week she recognized as being stressful for them, my own interest in Zen returned.  She provided fun, no-pressure activities in the relaxed, drop in atmosphere of the library prior to each school day for 30 minutes. Given my own experiences that I attributed to Zen, I decided it was a good time to learn more in hopes to implement some Zen in my daily life.

Upon looking it up, Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines Zen as “having or showing qualities (such as meditative calmness and an attitude of acceptance) popularly associated with practitioners of Zen Buddhism.” Well, fine. But, that’s not very helpful, is it? Not when, it came to me so naturally in those other instances.  As it turns out, the concept of Zen is pretty complicated. Although associated with Buddhism, it is not the religion itself. It is a practice, something I suppose, akin to mindfulness or meditation. This is as much as I can gather from my cursory readings.

All I know is that I felt different balancing the stones and walking the sweetly odiferous, melodic hallway (which naturally led one past the spa) at the hotel.  How to I replicate that feeling? How do I let go of my thoughts and focus on the intangible aspects of the universe? Or focus on nothing at all? Perhaps that was the key of what I am calling my Zen experiences! Nothing. I was in the moment, a vacation moment. The moment was mine and shared with those I love, those who care for me – just as the librarian was caring for her students by sharing fun activities to focus on other than their exams.

Zen. I am not exactly sure what it is, but I want it.

Scooters, Buses, and Taxis: Getting Around on Bermuda

Scooters, Buses, and Taxis: Getting Around on Bermuda

For anyone who has been to the island paradise of Bermuda, you will know that one of the preferred methods for getting around is the scooter.  We have been to this island three times in thirty years. In that time, we’ve gone from renting and riding a scooter to using the buses, and most recently the ferry system and a taxi cab.  The change in mode of transportation has been influenced by several factors, not the least of which is the island’s population density and crowded roadways.  The other major factors were age, cost, time, and level of risk you are willing to assume.

When we first visited Bermuda, it was 1987.  We stayed at the Elbow Beach Hotel and decided to rent a scooter to get around. It was just my husband and I, newlyweds. We rented from the scooter shop right at the hotel, after getting a quick lesson from the native gentleman in the parking lot.  The only warning we got was not to carry things in the front basket, “for your protection” – as he put it to us!  We got around the island easily, not having any navigational problems, and were able to get to each of the far ends, as well as the City of Hamilton. The only problem we ran into was being caught in some rainstorms, during which we had to “hideout” under a vie-dock.  I do not think we rented the scooter for the entire week, maybe three days. It was fun, memorable, and cost-effective. Nothing bad happened – no accidents, nothing stolen, no falls. In short, it was a great mode of transportation for our twenty-something year old selves.

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Twenty years later, in 2007, we returned to the island with our three boys in tow.  We knew before arriving that we would not be renting a scooter or scooters. None of our boys were old enough to drive. We opted for five-day bus passes for each of us that allowed travel all over the island on the pink Bermuda buses by just having a card punched by the driver.  I believe there was a child-rate that saved us some money.  On that visit we stayed at the Fairmount Southhampton Resort. There was (and still is) a bus stop at the base of the hill in front of the hotel. I think it is for the #7 bus. It was convenient and allowed us to still easily get around. The native Bermudians are gentile, lovely people. Riding their bus system is easy and they welcome visitors on their public transit system without prejudice, hostility, or much judgement on any of your ineptitude. If you are unsure, ask! Any number of Bermudians will tell you what to do! But, be sure to be polite! No one likes a bold and crass tourist. Remember, it is their country.  You are the visitor. The buses offer a safe, fun, easy, and affordable way to get around the island. I do believe it was our boys’ first experience with a public transit system.

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My husband and I returned this past August, in 2017.  Again, we did not intend to rent a scooter. When we visited with our sons, ten years previous, we saw the greatly increased traffic and congestion as compared to our first visit in 1987. We expected, and were not wrong, that the traffic would be as bad or even worse. This time we elected to use bus tokens, bought from the hotel concierge, as well as the free ferry from the hotel dock to Hamilton.  We purchased commercial ferry tickets to get us from Hamilton to the Royal Dockyard one day and another day took multiple buses reach the town of St. George’s. You can ride different ferry lines to St. George’s but our concern was getting back to Hamilton in time to get the free hotel ferry back to Southhampton, which left at 4:45 p.m. We happened to travel to St. George’s on a Bermudian holiday which closed most of the stores in Hamilton. This gave rise to a slight concern about bus transportation but the main terminal was still open and functioning, although it did look like the fleet was abbreviated that day.  It all worked out and we even remembered to ask for our transfer when we exited the bus which would allow us to get on another line, taking us to a different part of the island.  The buses are really convenient when you stop some place like the Swizzle Inn and have a pitcher of the island’s famous rum concoction mid-afternoon!

We had one occasion where we took a taxi on this last trip. I had pre-booked two dinners for our week-long stay on Bermuda via Open Table.  One was for a Wednesday night at the Hog Penny Pub in downtown Hamilton. During the summer tourist season, the City of Hamilton hosts Harbour Nights once a week on Wednesdays. This is basically a huge street party, complete with a parade, Gombey dance troupes, food vendors, and local merchandise all on Front Street (which is closed down) from  7 10 p.m..  Since we had early-ish dinner reservations, we asked our concierge about getting back to the hotel when front street was closed. She told us to look for the taxi stands along front street and just hail a cab. Just to be prepared, we asked her how much the fare should be from downtown Hamilton to Southhampton.  We were quoted $30 – $35.00.  Buses do run on Wednesday nights, but she said to expect a very long wait due to the large crowds at the weekly festival.  We enjoyed our dinner at the Hog Penny and strolled with the parade which was not put off by a few rain showers, but by 8 pm we were ready to head back to the hotel and really did not find more than one taxi stand – on the street that was still closed.  My husband had the great idea of walking to the Hamilton Princess Hotel, just  a short stroll from downtown on Hamilton Harbor.  This is the sister hotel of the Fairmount Southhampton. There we used the bath room facilities and chatted with the valet. He called a cab for us. It did take about 30 minutes for the cab to arrive but it was spent pleasantly chatting with the 19-year-old Bermudian valet.  Our cab arrived and drove us back to Southhampton. The fare was just what we were quoted, and of course, we tipped both the valet at the Princess and the cab driver. But, we had a nice quiet ride back to our hotel. If you can afford it, the cab was a wonderful way to travel on Bermuda as well, especially at night.

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Regardless of the mode of transportation, we were able to travel the length of the island on all three trips without difficulty. No one should be in a hurry while vacationing on Bermuda. So, if it takes 30 minutes or more to get to Hamilton or St. George or any one of the beautiful beaches, so be it. Just it back and enjoy. Let the Bermudians do the driving for you! Unless you are going to rent a scooter, this is what you have to do anyway – tourists cannot rent cars.

After this last trip, were we experienced a great deal of congested traffic on the roads. We feel the ferries, buses, and taxis are the way to get around on the island of Bermuda.  When we were younger, the scooter was fun, but it seems there was much less traffic.  It is not unusual for tourists to be involved in scooter accidents, either. In fact, when we were returning from our day at Tobacco Bay and St. George’s, we saw how easily a traffic accident can happen!  The roads are twisty and crowded, many butted right up against edges of limestone and volcanic rock . Locals beep their horns at each other to say hello. This can be distracting and not meant as the usual insult a blaring horn can mean in the U.S..  One must also remember to drive on the left, as they do in the U.K., not the U.S.. Drivers, especially visiting tourists, can be impatient and be seen attempting blind passes if the traffic is not moving along at a pace akin to their liking. Unfortunately, this all spells disaster for more than few drivers each year, who find themselves in the Emergency Room of King Georges’s Hospital rather than laying on the quintessential pink sand beach.

Going to Bermuda? Leave the driving to the Bermudians, sit back, and enjoy your trip!