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Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Positively Prague (part two)

 by Mauverneen

I promised more of Prague...

Love locks

It's hard to condense two weeks of experiences into a few words, a few pictures. Where does one even begin? It's easy enough to describe the museums, the churches, the restaurants, the walks along the river, but to convey the feeling? Is that even possible? Perhaps if I were a better writer. 

I love people-watching, and day or night, there were masses of people everywhere in Prague, especially on the weekend. It was hard to tell the tourists from the locals, until they began taking selfies. I tried taking one of myself eating a 'chimney cake', but the vendors were laughing at my struggle with the cake, my camera, my purse, my phone, and took pity on me and asked me to hand over my phone. Besides which, it was raining. I greatly appreciated that!  

On the trams, I think most of the riders were locals. The people were all very considerate, generally giving up their seat for myself, or other older women whenever I and my companions got on. Everyone was just generally considerate... the police officer who tried his best to give me directions when I was confused about which direction the museum I was looking for was in, and the elderly gentleman who rode the tram with me for one stop so he could better tell me how far to ride. In both cases, my bit of czech and a lot of gesturing got us through. In the heart of the city, nearly everyone spoke English - quite good in most cases - but venturing a bit further out, not so much. Especially the older population. 

Crowded Streets - cobblestones and amazing architecture

Old Town Square

Walking across Charles Bridge, with it's towers. Street performers, vendors and very talented artists set up their wares.
Early morning on Charles Bridge brought some delightful surprises... a fashion photo shoot

- and a portrait shoot.

The bridge is always crowded - even in the rain; a parade of umbrellas.

There's even fun under the bridge. You can ride a boat, have a dinner cruise, or rent paddle boats, some, shaped like a car, and some even shaped like swans.

Rush hour is the same in every city. Here in Prague, trams (streetcars) have their own lanes. It's a much quicker way to get around. Or, go on foot, which is what I did most of the time, clocking a little over nine miles on my last day.

Ah those famous chimney cakes! The delicious smell pulls you in. The cake is toasted, brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar as it turns.

The finished product is filled with ice cream. Oh so delicious and filling! 


As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
                                       However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
  Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com

and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com


 

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Positively Prague

 by Mauverneen

I've always heard Prague was one of the most beautiful cities in the world, so when I had a chance to join a small group of like-minded folks interested in photography, I quickly signed up, even though I knew none of them. 

I spent some time over the following months learning some basic Czech, looking into what I might want to see while I was there, and endlessly debating whether I should go, or not - I don't like flying, there is so much unrest in the world, could I keep up, and on and on, worrying about all those things there are to worry about. Covid, I think, has made us all a bit more complacent, a bit more hesitant, a bit more afraid. I decided to go and I am so very happy that I did!

Prague is truly beautiful! It was not bombed during WWII (with only a couple minor exceptions), so the architecture is original, and amazing. I'm not sure when it shines more brightly - during the day or at night. The streets are filled with people; locals going about their lives and tourists going from one historical site to the next. I walked miles each day, putting in a little over nine miles on my last day there. I sampled the food, the sights, the sounds - my senses were bombarded, and I loved it. 

Our little band of photographers blended well - I feel I have made some new friends. It was rather nice to be with people who totally understood when one of us wanted to stop and snap something that caught our eye. No one was impatient, patting their foot, or silently wondering 'What? Another one?' And we all took pictures of our food!

Midweek we took a train to Děčín, where a guide picked us up and drove us to our accommodations at the Bohemian Cottage in Krásná Lípa, detouring along the way for a hike, for which we weren't quite prepared. Lunch, homemade dinner and breakfast at the cottage, a short walk to check out the area, another hike down into a canyon and then of course, back up (I thought I might die), a beautiful sunset, a glass factory, whew! I'm sure I'm leaving something out. Then back to Prague.

Inside the Prague Train Station

On this trip we got to sample not just the city of Prague, but some of the countryside, namely the
famous Bohemian Switzerland on the Czech/German border, meet some locals, visit museums, and, importantly, take unlimited photos! 

Sunset near Krasna Lipa

This is just a short overview of my two weeks in Prague. In future blogs, I will try to do justice to at least a few of the places I visited. Stay tuned, and join me on the journey.

As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
                                       However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
  Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com

and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com



Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Positively Eclipsed - Times 3!

 by Mauverneen

Yes, I watched the eclipse yesterday. It was amazing! 

I tried to get a couple of photos, but I hadn't planned it out beforehand, so - I didn't get much. But I tried, so here it is anyway. The second one is the reflection of the eclipse on a white sheet, through a pinhole in a piece of cardboard. I still had my glasses from the last time.... the last time?

I have seen three eclipses of the sun! Odds are I won't see the next one. So below these two pics is a repeat of the 2017 blog about that eclipse.

You can just see it barely beginning


Viewed on a white sheet.

Monday, August 21, 2017, is the big eclipse. I have my glasses.
      I tried them out just this morning and everything was black - save for that little shining circle in the sky.
      I'm kind of excited. I remember the solar eclipse of 1963 when I viewed the eclipse with my head in a box. Really. Those of you who remember that eclipse probably did the same. I hear everyone is selling out of the glasses. You might want to get yourself a big box.
      You put a pinhole in one end of the box, off center so your head isn't in front of the hole. You can use a nail. On the opposite side of the box, line the inside with white paper or posterboard. Voila! Test it out, making sure you see a circle of light on the inside of the box in front of you.
I also found this video from NASA on how to make a viewer out of a cereal box. Same principle.
      https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/video/nasa-video-explains-how-to-make-a-diy-solar-eclipse-viewer/vp-AApSRR4
      In either case what you are viewing is a reflection of the eclipse. Very safe. Do NOT stare at the sun! You really can go blind.
      In case you are interested in some eclipse trivia did you know in 1935 there were FIVE eclipses? A partial solar eclipse occurred on February 3 and covered much of North America.  The other, partial eclipses, occurred on January 5th, June 30th, July 30th, and an annular eclipse occurred on December 25, 1935.
      And just for fun, here is a  comparison of two presidential couples viewing an eclipse. Calvin Coolidge was the 30th President of the United States, serving from 1923 to 1929. 
Donald Trump, sans glasses and standing beside first lady Melania Trump, looks up at a solar eclipse from a White House balcony on Aug. 21, 2017. (presidential photos from public archives)

As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
                                       However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
  Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com

and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com



Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Positively Titanic

 by Mauverneen

Sunday I joined a car club group going to the Volo Museum in Volo, IL. I've long wanted to go there, but this was my first time. I've got to say, it's a bit overwhelming. And it's not just cars. There is plenty there for EVERYONE - the kids, too - they love it.

Our main interest in going this time was to see their newly installed Titanic Exhibit. It may be small by some standards but it is quite well done. There is even a 10 minute documentary, which is a don't miss if you're there. 

Since Volo started as a car museum (I think) there are naturally a number of cars in the Titanic exhibit. Most of them having actually belonged to one of the persons on the ill-fated liner. I say almost because one of them is identical to one that went down with the ship. It still lies on the ocean floor. The cars in this exhibit are not copies, they are original 100+ years old and in beautiful condition! Photos, captions and artifacts on the wall tell the stories of the cars and their owners. It's fascinating.

Also fascinating are the clothes! Oh my how I love the fashions of that era. 

Whether you've been to this museum or not, I highly recommend the Titanic exhibit. Here's a link so you can plan your day! And believe me, it will take all day.  https://www.volocars.com/attractions


As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
                                       However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
  Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com

and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com




Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Spring is POSITIVELY HERE

 by Mauverneen

The vernal equinox, the official start date for the season in the Northern Hemisphere, arrives today and will occur at exactly 11:06 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 19. At the equator, the sun is directly overhead at noon, creating "nearly" equal hours of day and night, and the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere receive roughly equal amounts of sunlight.

It's been windy, but then March is supposed to be, coming in like a lion. I can hear it roaring as it leaves branches scattered all over the yard. But the sun is warm, and there have already been a few days when I was able to sit outside and enjoy it's warmth. I've seen some neighbors cleaning up winters leaves already and I want to yell "Don't be fooled!" Those nice days are not here to stay - not yet. I saw snowflakes falling yesterday, even as I've seen Daffodils blooming. Spring is sometimes confused.  

Daylight savings time has made the days seem longer. I love having more daylight hours, but for some reason it seems the time is going faster since the time change. Is it just me or has anyone else felt that way? 

Spring is coming - I can feel it, the scientific explanation not withstanding.

It will soon be time to get those plants! But not quite yet.

As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
                                       However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
  Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com

and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com






Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Positively Music

 by Mauverneen

"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast." 

Music can be soothing, but it also can get you motivated, set a mood, or bring up memories. 

Music makes us dance, it makes us sing - in the shower, in the car. C'mon, You know you sing in the car. And lately, I don't care who sees me. If I want to sing along, I'm going to sing along. It makes me happy.

I like all kinds of music. I'm sure we all have a list of our favorite songs. There are a couple that go on my all time favorites list, but I also have a favorite romantic song, a favorite hymn, a favorite dance tune, etc. And there are always those one or two that I will stop no matter what I'm doing, to listen (or dance) to.

Here's one. In my opinion, it's one of the best songs ever! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXWHpbpNdHE

So put on some music, sing along, and dance around. It'll feel good!

As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Positively Mardi Gras

  by Mauverneen

As they say in New Orleans: laissez les bon temps rouler! (Let the good times roll)

Today is Fat Tuesday, or to make it sound better, Mardi Gras. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the start of 40 days to make up for today’s transgressions. 

Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Carnival. 

Hurricanes, Paczki, Crawfish, King Cake. 

Today we can eat, drink, and party, because tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the day we are supposed to give it all up for 40 days - no more fun until Easter. 
 
Fasting has merit, even if you're not religious, and it never hurts to put aside over-indulgence. Give up smoking, drinking, swearing, or some bad habit and maybe, just maybe, by Easter Sunday we will have kicked at least one bad habit. 

No offense to the Paczki, but I sure wish I had a beignet right now! 


As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com


Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Positively Courage

 by Mauverneen

I've been thinking about the word courage lately. I think most of us associate it with some great act of heroism. It takes courage to run into a burning building to save someone, it takes courage to jump into a body of water to save someone from drowning. There are great acts of courage in war. But sometimes, courage isn't noticed nor is it even recognized. 

I once saw a woman in a wheelchair (non-motorized) wheeling herself down the sidewalk and across a busy street. I watched in awe thinking to myself  'Now THAT'S courage.' THAT picture should be on a poster of what courage is'. 

Courage can mean speaking up, it can be standing up for what you believe in, it can mean speaking out on someone's behalf. It can mean doing the right thing, or taking that first step.

And sometimes courage is even simpler than that. Sometimes it takes courage to get through the day. Sometimes it takes courage to just get out of bed. Sometimes, it takes all we've got to come face to face with - life.

Have courage my friends, have courage. 

As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint. However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it! Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com See more photos at 

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-mauverneen-blevins.html




Tuesday, January 30, 2024

POSITIVELY TUESDAY

 by Mauverneen

Good morning Positive Thinkers!

I'm reminding us all (myself included) why I started this blog. We need to stay Positive! I picked Tuesday because it's generally a slow day and most of us are picking ourselves up from Monday and gaining momentum to get through to the weekend.

If we can be positive for just one day a week... No complaining today. No putting anybody down - including ourselves. Find something good to share. Turn off the news if you have to, but try to be positive for a whole day. If we can accomplish that, hopefully that attitude will carry through to another day, and another.

It's very gray and dismal looking outside right now, but I won't dwell on it, or even complain about it. After all it's POSITIVELY Tuesday. So is there anything nice about this gloomy day? Well, it's not snowing and the days are getting longer and it's good weather for taking some moody photos if you're into that. And if none of the above apply, remember what we were told as kids "If you can't say anything nice..."

I'll leave it there. 

Have a POSITIVELY wonderful TUESDAY!

I drove over to the local greenhouse for a bit of color. It was Positively refreshing!

As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint. However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it! Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com See more photos at 

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-mauverneen-blevins.html


Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Positively Another One

 by Mauverneen

Yep - a birthday. Mine!

Unlike some people, I don't mind my birthday. Sometimes I'm a little taken aback by what number is actually is, but I can't dwell on that. And it's certainly better than the alternative. 

It was a good day - other than the fact that I was chasing birds around the house for an hour. 

I was gifted with a parakeet for Christmas and, well, the cage was big and I figured he needed a buddy, so I got another one. 

In anticipation of company that evening, I cleaned the cage so it would look presentable. First one escaped and then the other! I chased them from one end of the house to the other, putting out candles and shutting the lid on the toilet lest one of them should have a mishap when landing! They might have returned to their cage on their own eventually, but I didn't have that kind of time. I was near tears, feeling sure they would hit a wall or a door and kill themselves. I finally cornered one, grabbed him by the tail, intending to get hold of him but before I could do that he pulled away, leaving me with two tail feathers! I did eventually coax him onto a mirror and walked him back to his cage. I ended up dropping a light weight dish towel on the other one, thereby ending his little escapade. 

They're both chirping away as I sit here, none the worse for their adventure. 

And the rest of my birthday? Excellent! Good dinner, good cake, and good company. 

No, I don't mind birthdays at all!


As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint. However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it! Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com See more photos at 

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-mauverneen-blevins.html





Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Positively A Positive New Year

by Mauverneen

Happy New Year everybody – and may we all stick to our resolutions - for a couple of weeks at least. I was looking over some previous New Year posts. It's funny how some things never change, and some do. One theme that seems to run through my January blogs is travel. Or rather, planning travel. But then, it seems I'm always doing that.

January is sort of a lost month. The holidays are over, the job of taking the decorations down is usually accomplished right after New Years Day, if not before, and then there are a few days of relaxing, putting your feet up and maybe watching a little tv. Or falling asleep on the couch. Life is good, life is calm. Everything is back to normal. And then - what? There's not another holiday until February (Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras) and sometimes it's a little boring with nothing to do. Might I suggest you start planning a vacation to ease the boredom or the cabin fever. Can't get away now? Do something local - some live entertainment, visit a museum. Plan a trip for further 'down the road'. Road trip? Summer vacation with the kids? A getaway without crowds, or maybe that once-in-a-lifetime bucket list trip you've dreamed about forever. Just plan it. Now, while you're not distracted, while you've got some time on your hands.

Even if you never take the trip you might learn something new, and it's always fun to dream. And sometimes, our dreams may be all we have to get us through.

 One tradition I've only recently heard of is taking your empty suitcase for a walk around the block to bring you a year filled with travel. I may give this one a try as I toast the New Year. 

One resolution that I AM putting on my list is to take a fantastic trip this year. I don’t want to wait two years to the next one. I know how selfish that sounds, but travel is oh so addicting! I want to get to Yellowstone and Yosemite one of these days. If I can take one foreign trip and one domestic each year, life would positively be a dream.

 We put those dreams out there, and sometimes it takes a little time to realize them, but they can come true!  I finally got to Yellowstone in 2023 and it was amazing! And this year - I have actual plans for those two trips - one foreign and one domestic!

I hope your dreams come true! May you have a prosperous, dream-fulfilling, happy, New Year!

As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint. However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it! Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com See more photos at 

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-mauverneen-blevins.html