Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's POSITIVELY CHRISTMAS!


Merry Christmas everyone.


 I hope for those of you who hung up stockings before you went to bed last night that there were nice things inside. No coal I assume. For those of you who do not celebrate the holiday, may your own holiday be filled with love and peace. And if you have no holiday, I hope you have an excellent day!

Christmas is a spirit – a spirit of giving. Whether it’s in the name of Jesus, or St. Nick, or Santa. We all strive to find the right gift, be generous to the point of overindulgence. We donate to the Salvation Army bell ringers or send in a check to our favorite charity. But perhaps it is our overindulgence that makes us realize there are people less fortunate. And so we share.

I wish we could spread this giving spirit around – make it last all year. Maybe we can make that New Year’s Resolution a week early - try to be more understanding, more generous, more positive – more often!
 
Meantime, enjoy the cookies!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

POSITIVELY DECKING THE HALLS and OH! CHRISTMAS TREE

by Mauverneen
 
When I put up my Christmas tree I realized how long it had been since I last had a tree of my own. Since I always made it ‘home’ for Christmas, I usually never bothered to put one up in my own house, since I wouldn’t be there to enjoy it. Opening the box of ornaments it felt like – well, Christmas! There were ornaments new and old, store bought and hand made, ornaments I’ve chosen,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's POSITIVEly TUESDAY


It’s Positively Tuesday!
 
After days on end of gray skies and damp weather it was a nice surprise to wake up to sunshine and a light dusting of snow. Nothing you would call ‘measurable’ but it was there all the same. With the sun shining, it will be gone shortly. But for the moment, it’s pretty.
 
A light dusting
 
I don’t mind the snow – it’s the cold that does me in. Frigid temps that make breathing painful, ice-covered steps that cause falls, ‘black ice’ on the roads that cause accidents. But maybe all that cold helps us appreciate the warm days, just as the cloudy days make us appreciate a sunny one.
 
Ice covered branches
 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

POSITIVELY ENJOYING THE RIDE


by Mauverneen


I’m not a comfortable flyer. I don’t like it. I don’t like the long lines, the long wait, the cramped seats, or the thought of hurtling through the air at 500 miles an hour. I much prefer the leisurely pace of a train ride.


The California Zephyr goes between Chicago, IL and Emeryville, CA.  In between, you cross the Mississippi River, follow the Colorado and Truckee Rivers, ride through canyons, pass through 29 tunnels, cross the Continental Divide as you pass through the six mile long Moffat Tunnel and see some pretty spectacular scenery.
Tunnels ahead, river below

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Positively On The Move

Heading downtown
by Mauverneen

The holiday travel season is upon us. Bureau of Transportation Statistics report that The Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s holiday periods are among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. As if that’s any surprise.





During the 6-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of trips 50 miles or more away increases by 54 percent, and during the Christmas/New Year’s Holiday period the number rises by 23 percent.  While most of this travel is done by car, 5 to 6 percent of those holiday trips are by air, while 2 to 3 percent involve other modes of transportation. Last year, this translated to over 40 million Americans on the move.

POSITIVELY THANKFUL

Church Steeple
POSITIVELY THANKFUL
by Mauverneen

 

It’s Thanksgiving! I can smell the turkey cooking already. It’s a wonder the whole country doesn’t smell like a turkey in the oven on Thanksgiving Day – since almost everyone is cooking the same thing.









I am looking forward to Thanksgiving with my family this year. I’ve missed a couple in recent years. Living out of state it was not always possible to make it back for every holiday and my dream of my entire family coming out to visit over a holiday never happened. One year Rick and I previously did the buffet thing at one of the casinos and although the food was really very good, the lines were long and, well, it just wasn’t the same. Made me wonder if anybody in Reno cooked that day.

Blow up Turkey
 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

POSITIVELY THE SEASON


POSITIVELY THE SEASON
by Mauverneen
 
Stacking the firewood
Tis the Season for overindulgences of all sorts – this time of year we generally overeat, overdrink, overspend and overdecorate. I think sometimes we’re just trying to fill in the time until the sunlight returns for more hours in the day and the grass begins to grow again. Mowing gives us something to do.

Monday, October 29, 2012

POSITIVELY FRIGHTFUL

Some people go all out
Halloween is a fun holiday with costumes, masks, jack-o-lanterns, treats and tricks. And candy. Lots of candy. When I was a kid we had two full evenings of trick or treating, giving us lots of time to hit other neighborhoods – or our own more than once. We dressed up, went begging in bunches door to door, and sorted out the chocolates from the suckers and the Good & Plenty. My neighborhood didn’t give out a lot of chocolate and many a mask was a brown paper bag with a face drawn on and a pair of eye hole cutouts.

By the time my kids were trick or treating, their begging hours were pretty much reduced to one short evening, everyone seemed to have a costume and the parents had to sort the candy in case there was anything – ‘unusual’ in it.

Costumes were my specialty. I loved helping my girls put something fun together. We all love to dress up. And carve pumpkins.

Would you believe the original jack o'lantern was - a turnip?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

POSITIVE NOISE

by Mauverneen

I’ve been house/dog sitting for one of my daughters these past two weeks while she and her husband are out of town. I often dog sit for another daughter who only lives a few minutes away and it’s easy enough to just go back and forth to let the dogs out but this one lives about an hour away, so I’ve moved in for the two weeks.

There is a small lake behind the house, and it is the Red Roof Inn for the migrating geese. They are noisy birds, squawking and honking when they land and when they take off and when they are just sitting on the water. I wonder if they ever sleep. They are making noise when I fall asleep and making noise when I wake up in the morning. But I enjoy it. In a way it’s comforting.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Positively Open and Shut

by Mauverneen



Paris
I have a fascination with doors and windows. I’m not sure what that says about me but whatever the reason, they are the objects of a number of my photos.

Doorways are portals to other rooms, other lives, other worlds. Doors invite. They beckon. They ask to be opened. But they can also hide things. Who knows what lies on the other side of a closed door? Some doors are beautifully carved, some colorfully painted, some plain and utilitarian, with peeling paint, scuff marks and dents. But they keep the flies out and the dog in. And we open and close them without thinking and get berated if we leave them open. You’ll let the cold in or the heat out and you weren’t born in a barn, were you?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Positively Tuesday

by Mauverneen

Well it’s Positively Tuesday again. The one day a week to try and not say anything negative. At all. All day.

I came up with the idea because I was tired of hearing so much complaining – nobody likes their job, or their boss, or their co-workers, or their weight, or their hair, or their neighbors. The news is depressing, the looming election does nothing but get everybody riled up, and of course nobody is ever happy with the weather. It’s either too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry.

Monday, September 24, 2012

POSITIVELY FALL


by Mauverneen Blevins
Ahhh Fall! My favorite time of year. I’m not one of those people lamenting that ‘summer’s over’, it’s more a sigh of relief. Time to throw open the windows and breathe the fresh air!
 
Bittersweet
The days are warm, the nights are cool and it’s sweater weather! I love sweaters – soft, warm, cozy. You can’t say the same for a tank top. And slippers! Slipping on a pair of flip-flops can never compare to easing your feet into a pair of soft, fuzzy slippers that warm your toes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

MY BEAUTIFUL BALLOON

by Mauverneen Blevins

This past weekend one of my favorite events took place in Reno, NV – The Great Reno Balloon Race.  Held every September, it is a festival of hot air so to speak. In this case, being full of hot air is a good thing. A very good thing.


Taking to the skies
I have always been fascinated by hot air balloons. Maybe it was the movie Around The World In 80 Days, but it always seemed to me that it would be a positively awesome experience to fly through the air suspended from a brightly colored balloon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

FAMOUS TUESDAYS

by Mauverneen
 
I thought I would google the word Tuesday just to see how many famous ‘Tuesdays’ I might find.  Not all that many as it turns out. The word Tuesday itself comes from Olde English - Tewesday, meaning "Tīw's Day", Tiw being the god of combat in Norse mythology.  Maybe it was considered good luck to start your war on a Tuesday.

“Tuesday’s child is full of grace” is probably the most popular reference to Tuesday. (On second thought there is Fat Tuesday, which seems to be quite popular but that’s a totally different genre.) The quote "Tuesday's child..."  is from an old nursery rhyme titled ‘Monday’s Child’. Meant to help children learn the days of the week, it endowed a child with certain characteristics belonging to the particular day of the week on which they were born.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

POSITIVELY NEW ORLEANS


Positively New Orleans
    by Mauverneen Blevins

Sitting and staring at my computer screen for hours wondering what to write about,
I started reading news headlines, looking for some inspiration. And there it was – New Orleans.

With Hurricane Isaac planning a visit on the very anniversary of it’s infamous predecessor Katrina, things are not looking so positive for them right now. Our hearts go out to them – especially because they’ve been there before. But New Orleans will survive. It always does.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

PLAYING IN THE DIRT



Tiny rose
by Mauverneen Blevins

When my grandmother died I remember thinking if she left me something, I hoped it was her green thumb. She could grow anything. Her windowsills were full of blooming African Violets, the only houseplants she ever had I think. She could take a cutting from a rose bush, stick it in the ground, overturn a glass jar on it for an instant mini-mini-greenhouse, and before long there would be another rose bush growing under there.



Lilacs
Both my grandparents had green thumbs actually, growing the most awesome garden year after year. I grew up eating fresh veggies on a daily basis and fruit, like cherries and peaches, from the trees in the yard. I even helped can everything at summer's end - my job was to wash the cucumbers. And flowers? From spring tulips to fall mums, their yard was full of variety and color – Geraniums, Dahlias, Coral Bells, Irises, etc. etc. To this day mums are my favorite – I think because they remind me of my grandparents - and my childhood. And whenever I smell lilacs, I just close my eyes and breath deep to be transported back to the alley behind the house on Draper Avenue, where towering lilac bushes bordered both sides and a path was worn between my house and my friend Rita’s.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

IT'S POSITIVELY RAINING

My neighbor's yard in the rain
IT'S POSITIVELY RAINING
by Mauverneen Blevins 

Rain Rain Go Away, come again another day. 
That's not something we’ve heard much of in the Midwest this summer. 
It’s been more like Rain Rain come and play, please don’t stay away.

I don’t think either mantra works. We always seem to get either too much or too little.  It was nice to have a rainy day yesterday. My garden loves it and so do I - it means I don’t have to drag out the hose! The robins love it too. They hop around out there in the wet grass (and in my garden) digging up their favorite dish – worms.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

VAROOOOM!
by Mauverneen Blevins
Pull on your bobby sox, step into your saddle shoes, roll up those jeans and dig out those poodle skirts! It's time for Hot August Nights in Reno, Nevada.

Every year, Reno hosts one of the biggest and best car shows in the country. A 10 day extravaganza of cars, cruising and rock and roll!  Stand on any street corner in Reno or Sparks during those 10 days in August and it seems that just about every third car on the road is a classic, as participants and car enthusiasts roll through town from all over the country. You might call it the Mardi Gras of wheels.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

POSITIVELY LONDON
By Mauverneen Blevins

London Phone booths
London has been getting a lot of attention recently – the wedding of Will and Kate, the Queen’s Jubilee, and the BIG EVENT – the Summer Olympics.  Lucky people who not only get to see history being made, but the hustling, bustling, beautiful city of London itself!
I had a 24 hour stopover in London and wondered exactly what I could see in that short a time. After doing enough walking to give myself blisters on the bottoms of my toes, I can tell you that with a little advance planning you can actually see quite a bit. 

POSITIVELY COLORFUL
by Mauverneen Blevins

“The best color in the whole world, is the one that looks
good, on you!” ―
Coco Chanel


Ever get asked what your favorite color is? Maybe it’s one of your ‘secret questions’ that you have to answer when you forget your password. Most people probably answer right away. It’s not supposed to be a trick question. But me? I can never quite decide.

Red Barn
I like red – tomatoes, apples, watermelon, roses and fire engines.  

Hall of Mosses
But I like green too. And there are so many shades of green – mint green, moss green, forest green, emerald green, chartreuse. Grass is green, although not necessarily greener on the other side. Trees are green – at least in spring and summer. So are avocados. And lettuce. And Kermit. Is teal green? Or is it blue?
Sunset, South Haven, MI

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Positively Pets


I was in the middle of getting my blog ready when my youngest daughter called to tell me they had to put one of their dogs to sleep. So I decided to dedicate this week’s blog to Dixie and to all of our pets who add richness to our lives by just being.   
Gypsy I

Somehow, when I was in the second grade, I acquired a goldfish.  I named it Marilyn.  It didn’t last long, but that was my first pet. After that I tended to stick with dogs.  We’ve had several over the years, my first being a little orange Pomeranian named Sheba. She was sweet and gentle and prone to seizures but she lived to a ripe old age.
Summer Vacation
by Mauverneen Blevins


Summer – the word positively steams with heat, especially this summer.  Summer school, summer camp, summer solstice, summer job, summer home and the dog days of summer. But I think what most people associate with summer is – vacation!  The kids are out of school so pack up the car and let’s hit the road.
Trips out West used to be a big thing for a lot of Midwesterners – probably still are.  I know some of my cousins made several trips out there when we were younger. My uncle had a movie camera and when they got back we always got to see them on Pike’s Peak in the middle of summer making snowballs, or scary videos of them riding the mules down into the Grand Canyon.   My own memorable summer vacations as a kid included going to a Wisconsin dude ranch and a couple of trips to Mackinac Island, in Michigan.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

INDEPENDENCE DAY

by Mauverneen

INDEPENDENCE
Synonyms: self-sufficiency, self-reliance, self-subsistence

Happy Independence Day!  July 4th – the day we Positively Celebrate our freedom as a nation. 

Very often, when I hear the word freedom I get this ringing in my head – “freedom…freedom…freedom…”  It’s Aretha Franklin belting out those words in her song ‘Think’!  " Freedom – freedom – freedom – yeah freedom…"    It always makes me want to dance, which I don’t think is too inappropriate for today. 

There are different forms of freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from oppression, freedom from a dictator, freedom from an abusive spouse or parent.  Freedom of and freedom from.  Freedom brings responsibility; being accountable for one’s self and not infringing on other people’s rights - even when they don’t believe the same things we do.

The revered Lady with the torch

There have been wars and revolutions throughout history in the name of Freedom.  I think sometimes we forget how dearly our own country paid for our Independence.   

We have a number of symbols of our freedom here in the U.S. – the flag, the eagle, the statue of liberty, among others. Betsy Ross is credited with sewing the first American flag.  (Did you know A flag expert is called a "vexillologist?")  It was also a woman, Emma Lazarus, whose poem "The New Colossus" appears on the base of the statue of liberty.  Francis Scott Key of course wrote the lyrics to the Star SpangledBanner, something that I hope is still being taught in schools. It became our national anthem in 1931.
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

I think the National Mall in Washington D.C. is one of the most exciting places to see some of our monuments to freedom.  Laid out on about 1000 acres the mall really is the people’s place. The boundaries of the mall are the Capital building to the Lincoln Memorial, and the White House to the Jefferson Memorial.
Washington Monument, Washington DC
Several years ago I was fortunate enough to spend some time walking along the reflecting pool, the section between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument – a good sized piece of real estate – and was totally impressed.  It’s a beautiful area, anchored by the two monuments just mentioned, with other memorials in between and further out.  On the other side of the Washington Monument is the two mile green mall where protesters often gather, exercising their right to freedom.  I wish every American could see our nation’s capitol at least once in their lives. Not only is it impressive, but it’s a wonderful history lesson that instills a sense of pride in being an American. 

In Philadelphia, there is the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and in Boston there is the harbor and the Old North church where the lanterns were hung to alert the militia that the British were coming. In New York there is of course, the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island and FreedomTower, built on the site of the World Trade Center.

Mount Rushmore
In South Dakota there is Mount Rushmore with it’s carved faces of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.  It was built as a ‘shrine to democracy' by Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln, although a state historian named Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of the sculpture.  It is far more impressive in real life than it is in pictures, with faces 6- ft tall or, to put it in perspecitve, the size of a 5 story building. 


Civil War Re-enactment

There is Chickamagua, Fort Sumter, Antietem and Gettysburg.

There is Selma, and Montgomery, and Birmingham, Alabama.

There is Wounded Knee and Little Big Horn.

In Texas there is the Alamo and in Hawaii there is Pearl Harbor.

From sea to shining sea.

Different wars, different fights, different freedoms.


Tomb of the Unknowns - Artlington

We enjoy our beautiful Monuments to Freedom as well we should and revere those graveyards that honor the fallen who have defended that freedom.  For they deserve to be honored.  And thanked. Profusely.

In the midst of our picnics of hot dogs, burgers and sodas, our dips in the pool or the lake or the boat ride on the river, in the midst of our brightly lit, loud, colorful fireworks, let’s all try to stop for a just a minute and think about what we are celebrating.  And then get back to dancing! 




Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.Abraham Lincoln

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.Ronald Reagan

                                                      ~

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GERMANY

Heidelberg
After Positively falling in love with Paris, we continued on to Germany – flying into Frankfort and renting a car. The itinerary was Frankfort to Heidelberg to Heilbronn to Rothenburg to Dachau to Lake Constance and back to Paris - with stops along the way as time allowed.  It was a lot to try to cram into a short amount of time but we were going to give it our best effort.   
Tuesday, May 8th found us in old Heidelberg, our first stop.  Situated along the river Necker, it is lovely with it’s rolling hillside, cobblestone streets and tile roofs, the castle towering overhead.  When it came time to go, I hated to leave Heidelberg, but we had to move on and I was assured of even better things to come. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Paris - A Dream Fulfilled

The Eiffel Tower by day
PARIS - A DREAM FULFILLED

What better way to have a POSITIVE TUESDAY than to head for Paris.  TUESDAY, May 1st Rick and I left for Paris. France.  It was Rick's Christmas present to me.  Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted to go to Paris.  It was as beautiful as I had always imagined and even more exquisite at night when buildings are lit, streetlamps glow, and the Eiffel Tower sparkles like the jewel that it is.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuesday was a POSITIVELY PERFECT day here.  The weather was in the 70's - sunny, no humidity. And to top it all off the Cubs WON!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Welcome

I've been giving lots of thought to starting a blog and have finally decided to go ahead and just do it.  Not that I feel I'm an authority on anything, but I do have some strong opinions and comments on world events that I'm willing to share.  And people keep asking to see my photos, so I will be posting new ones regularly, along with stories, anecdotes, news of my travels and whatever else I might find interesting and hope you do too.  Comments are always welcome.  I hope we can have a discussion or two along the way!
You are probably wondering why I've called it 'Positively Tuesday.'