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Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller – Ibn Battuta

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a writer who loves to travel . . . or maybe a traveler who loves to write – either way, the pictures shown here are from some of my favorite places.

If you love to travel or just love to read about traveling, you’ve found the right place. Enjoy!

 

Hanging in There, or Fun Things to Do When You’re Stuck at Home

This is supposed to reduce stress – I’m not so sure.  (I think my husband is channeling Bela Lugosi)

Kindness Amidst the Chaos
Good Morning! Today I want to share some ideas for how to not go . . . Stir crazy after all these years . . . wait, has it only been two weeks?!  Also, I’m still looking for positive stories about kindness during this difficult time. Here are a few:

Flowers!

My friend Basia Korzeniowska left this comment on my last post. It made me happy so I thought I’d pass it along.

I was feeling a little bit low the other day, so I thought going for a walk would help and indeed it did. Combining it with an allowed shopping trip I went to Waitrose and was confronted with a seemingly endless queue. The sun was shining, the trolleys were being wiped assiduously by a member of staff and it was pleasant enough. After a few minutes I was allowed in – only 50 people in the shop at the time, and as I went in I was handed a huge bunch of flowers by an assistant. Lifted my spirits instantly! 

Pixabay Photos

Pixabay Photos

The Best Bakers

Here’s one from the hood. Our local Schmidt’s Bakery started giving away bread – two loaves per customer – one to keep and another to give to a friend. When the Ardent flour company heard of this, they donated 2,500 pounds of flour to offset the cost of the bread. When the word got out to the public, people came in for bread, but many more came just to buy donuts, rolls, and other things because they wanted to support these generous companies. It’s like a big happy snowball that keeps growing as it rolls down the hill!

Face Masks

face masks

Many of my neighbors have been cranking up their sewing machines and making reusable protective masks for the hospital and local nursing home. I’ve heard about this in many communities.  When there’s a need, good people always seem to step in to fill it.

FUN THINGS

On another front, here are some things to do while stuck at home. 

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Make lots of treats. Having grandkids over is a great excuse to make brownies. (I know –  social distancing – but at this point, I’d rather have her at my house than at daycare.)

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Read all the Books

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Watch all the Movies

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Go for politically correct walks – six feet apart and wearing homemade face masks.

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I tried to put a face mask on my dog – wouldn’t that have been a cute picture?  Lucy was highly uncooperative.

flagThis final note appeared via Facebook:

The reports are that the truckers are getting supplies to the stores. People are stocking the shelves all night and letting old people shop first. GM said hold our cars and watch this; we can make ventilators where we were making cars starting next week. Women and children are making homemade masks and handing out snacks to truckers. Restaurants and schools said, We’ve got kitchens and staff; we can feed kids.” Churches are holding on-line services and taking care of their members and community. NBA basketball players said, “Hold our basketballs while we write checks to pay the arena staff.”  Breweries are making sanitizer out of the left-over ingredients. We thought we couldn’t live without restaurants or a bar. Instead, we’re trying to keep those businesses open by ordering take-out.
I think a Japanese Admiral in the middle of the Pacific said it best in 1941, “I think we have awakened a sleeping giant.” Give us a few more weeks (maybe months) and we will be doing much better! We have a wonderful country!!

We certainly do! But there are great people doing kind things all over the world. The snowball is getting bigger all the time.

Lastly – what are you doing for fun these days?

Hang in there!

 

Positive Thoughts on Negative Subject

elephant-dog-kindness

Photo by Pixabay

Is Everyone O.K?

Hello fellow bloggers! I hope you are well and safe and making the best of our current situation.  It’s hard to believe how fast this change has come upon us, two weeks ago I was looking for flight deals to Springfield, Illinois, and now they’re in lockdown. I guess I won’t go to Illinois, or anywhere else for that matter.

An Earthquake – Seriously?

As many of you know, I live in Utah. Not only are we dealing with the virus, but last Wednesday we had a 5.9 earthquake. Due to all the shaking going on, our library is closed until a safety inspector comes in to give it the O.K. We were already closed to the public, but employees were going in. Now I’m not sure what the future holds, but I guess that’s the world we live in.

couple wearing face mask drinking milkshake

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Positive Stories – Yay!

My real reason for posting today is to share some of the great things that are happening in the midst of all this confusion. I’m happy to say  I’ve seen lots of people helping others and being their best selves.

An article in the local paper today focused on how important it is to look out for each other, Bioethicist Ruth Faden said, “For individuals, our task is not just to prevent an epidemic of COVID-19, but to spread an epidemic of kindness.”

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I believe that’s already taking place in my little corner of the world – here’s a couple of reasons why:

My husband was at the grocery store the other day and ran into our neighbors. He noticed they had 4 cans of soup in their cart.  and said, “Soup sounds good, I think I’ll go get some of that.”  They chatted for a minute, then parted ways. A few minutes later our neighbor approached my husband and tapped him on the shoulder. “Here,” he said, handing him two cans of soup. “I actually took the last four, and I want you to have these.”

Later in the week, I was talking to another neighbor about the fact that my 3-year-old granddaughter was sick and couldn’t drink milk for the time being. I mentioned we didn’t have any juice in the house and without a second thought she said, “I have apple juice at home, come on over and get some.” We did and were grateful for the offer.

I heard about another fun act of service from a co-worker. She said their friends wentToilet Paper, Sold Out around the neighborhood leaving a roll of toilet paper on everyone’s front porch. Attached was a note that said, “Wipe out hoarding, share with a neighbor”. 😊

Great Stories are Everywhere

I love hearing about people rising above and doing the right thing. There are lots of positive stories out there, and I’m sure you’ve experienced them too. I’d love to hear from others about the good things you’ve seen and heard. People are basically good and compassionate. Let’s catch them in the act!

person touching brown puppy

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

As I find other positive posts I’ll link them here:

Calm Kate Aroused had a fun one. Social Distancing –  Think of the Pirates of Penzance tune, ‘ A Modern Major General”.

 

Ronda, Spain: a Small Town that Puts on a Big Show

ronda bridge

I’m especially excited about this Library Lady post because it was published on Go World Travel, a site I faithfully follow! 

Photographers beware: Leaning out to get the perfect shot of the magnificent Puente Nuevo bridge in Ronda, Spain, can result in a long drop – 390 feet to be exact. And while the bridge may be the star of the show in Ronda, the supporting cast of awesome views and medieval splendor also draws quite a crowd . . . Read more at Go World Travel.

ronda

 

Doors of Kauai

It’s time for more of Norm’s Thursday Doors, where door lovers of the world unite!

We’ve recently returned from a trip to Hawaii where I found some interesting doors. Well O.K. not all of these are doors, some fall into the category of entryways – but I think you’ll like them.

shark door

SHARK DOOR!

Shark door was my favorite. Unfortunately, I have no information.  It looks like a residence, although there might be some kind of sign behind that fence. All I know is we were driving down the road, I spotted shark door and our driver kindly screeched to a halt and backed up so I could take a picture. Don’t you wish you had a supersize sea creature hanging in your front yard? The door is pretty amazing too.

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From the wild and crazy shark residence, we go to this lovely and dignified door. It was adorning a 4 million-dollar home in an upscale Hawaiian neighborhood. I believe I could live quite happily here.

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This is the door/entryway to Kauai’s Hindu Monastery. A peaceful oasis that features two Hindu temples and the Himalayan Academy. It’s free of charge and a must-see if you’re in the area.

new temple

The door to the temple is really beautiful, but you’ll have to take my word for it. I lined the shrine up in front of the door because it was open, and as you can see from the sign, pictures of the inside of the temple are not allowed. This is such a tranquil place. The monastery is set in the midst of tropical grounds that stand out even in Hawaii. The following picture was also taken there.

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Another million-dollar home. Another pretty carved door. Hawaii has a style all it’s own.

Allerton Botanical Tour – Doorway to the Garden of Eden.

tourimages_allerton_guideThe Allerton  Garden was another interesting place. We went on a 2.5-hour guided tour of a botanical paradise. I liked this doorway and the Jurrasic Park trees. (A scene from the movie was actually filmed here.)

This is Makauwahi cave and the “door” is a tiny hole that – ordinarily – nothing could induce me to enter. It was dark and creepy on the other side, but off in the distance you could see a beautiful grotto.

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 Well worth the moment of claustrophobia.

What do you think? Ever been to Kauai? What’s your favorite spot?

 

 

 

Banning Group Hugs? & Travel Signs

Today’s post is an eclectic combination of odds and ends, but I’ll start by sharing my Rosanne Rosanna Danna moment. Does anyone remember Roseanne Rosanna Danna from Saturday Night Live? (I know, it was a long time ago).

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As I was listening to the radio this morning I heard the announcer say, ” Today the city of Provo will vote on whether group hugs should be allowed within the city limits.” then they cut for a commercial break.

Someone wants to ban group hugs? I thought. Why would anyone do that? Group hugs are a positive thing, we need more positive things. That’s crazy! What’s this world coming to anyway!

As the announcer returned, I listened with angry ears. “Today the city of Provo  will vote on whether to allow BREW PUBS within the city limits.”

Brew pubs?

Oh. Well.

Never mind.

For those who never saw Gilda Radner / Rosanne in all her glory, I’ve included a  Youtube link at the end of this post.

Next on the agenda are the signs. These are signs I’ve either liked or laughed at in my travels.

pics ice cream

Truer words were never spoken.

pics kasbah

This was a cool sign. We were in Morrocco, in the place where two James Bond movies were filmed. There’s also a famous reference from the old horror movie the Mummy. “Come with me to the Kasbah . . .” I dare you to click on this movie clip – it’s pretty scary funny.

pics dog

I get the point but have never heard it put in such formal terms before.
(Rock of Gibraltar. British territory.)

pics wash hands

This sign was posted on the door of a gender-neutral bathroom in Kawaii. Even mermaids are welcome here!

toilet

Speaking of bathrooms – This sign was placed above the toilet on a cruise ship. It’s too small to read so I’ll translate. Flush toilet paper only, please. Dispose of diapers, wipes, and EVERYTHING else in the trash.
Everything? Well, O.K. . . .  but I feel really bad for whoever has to empty these trash cans.

pics donuts

 This was written on the front window of the Holy Donut store in Portland Maine. There is a line out the door at all times, and people wait cheerfully for ridiculous amounts of time to get their donut fix. That’s becuz, Holy Donuts are FANTASTIC.

Anyway, that’s my everything and the kitchen sink thoughts for today. I hope all is well with you and yours. If not, take a minute to watch Rosanne Rosanna Danna, she’ll make you smile.

 

 

Recognition Award

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Hi all, I’ve been nominated for the Blogger award by Sassy Library Fox. You might want to check out her fun book blog. Thanks, Sassy!

blogger award

Part of the deal for this award is to tell my blogging story and share two blogging tips. I can do that.

I started back in 2013, with a blog called the Library Lady Writes. It’s still out there but is seriously neglected these days. When I first started out I thought it would be fun to do a book review blog. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I realized I didn’t actually enjoy writing book reviews. (I’d rather read those written by others like Sassy Library Fox). What I really liked was writing about the crazy things that happened in my everyday life like a tarantula falling into my underwear drawer or the fact that I’m terrified of the weed wacker. I worked on that blog for about 3 years, then decided to try my hand at freelancing for magazines, etc.  I still do that, but in 2019 I started to miss blogging. At that point, my favorite things were traveling, and visiting cool libraries around the world, so I started the Library Lady Travels blog and have a great time with that.

As for blogging tips, I don’t know if I have any great ones, but I’ll throw a couple of things out there.

  1. Comments – if someone takes the time to comment on one of my posts I ALWAYS respond and return the favor by going to their blog and commenting on one of their recent posts. One of my favorite parts of blogging is the social network you build through interaction with other bloggers. Without this, blogging wouldn’t even be fun.
  2. Topics – Write about things that are dear to your heart. I love writing about travel and have so many ideas for posts that I’ll never get them all finished. I also love libraries, so I combine the two topics. I’ve read so many times that you need to specialize on one subject to have an effective blog. I don’t agree. If you can find a way to tie your two great loves together in one blog, go for it. Variety is a good thing, and you won’t get burned out from writing about the same thing over and over.

That’s all I have to say for now except that I appreciate those who support and follow me. I’m constantly inspired by all the great writers out there.

Watch for my regular weekly post tomorrow – Banning Group Hugs, & Travel Signs.

 

 

Carry On: Packing Light

These people are bringing too much stuff on their plane trip. Some of it will get lost or broken.

Turning Over a New Leaf

19 Inch Travel Bag and Matching Case

On our trip to Paris France (See Carry On: The French Connection) we experienced the luggage mix up of the century, where – long story short- my husband traveled across town in the middle of the night to exchange suitcases with a complete stranger.

On our next trip, we traveled to Spain. This time we resolved to play it safe and keep our luggage with us.  John and I each brought a 19-inch upright bag with a matching tote that sits on top for easy transportation. You’d be surprised how much stuff will fit into these expandable cases, especially if you do your research and learn how to pack correctly. There are all kinds of ‘travel light’ packing lists online, along with endless YouTube videos, but for now, I’ll share a few things I’ve learned about traveling with carry-on bags.

A Mental Shift

carry on clothes 2 day

Day two – same outfit!

Over the years I’ve been conditioned to think its taboo to wear the same outfit two days in a row.  Well, guess what? I did just that in Spain and the world didn’t come to an end. News flash – I travel to see the world, not to have the world see me. So, rather than taking weeks’ worth of clothing and accessories, I learned to pack light.

Mix and Match

carry on clothes

Figure out the minimum amount of clothing you can get by with, then choose items that mix and match. Include a variety of scarves and lightweight accessories that will go with everything and create different looks. The items pictured here fit easily into my suitcase along with lingerie etc. Here’s a surprise, I didn’t even wear all the clothes I brought.

 Consider the Season

Tne reason I didn’t wear all the clothes I took to Spain was that I packed for the wrong season.  Once again, a mental thing.  I was in Utah where the average daily temps were in the 60’s.  Even though I could see online it would be 80 to 90 degrees in Spain, I couldn’t get my head around that and insisted on packing a sweater and too many long pants.

Great Shoes
carry on shoes
Bring 2 pairs of comfortable walking shoes, black goes with everything, but that’s up to you.  I brought one pair to wear with casual clothes and another that worked well enough with skirts and sundresses. (I love my Clarks Cloud Steppers. This pair walked from one end of Spain to the other and is still as comfy as ever.)

 Shoulder Bag

I always roll up an empty canvas shoulder bag like these and stuff it inside my carry-on tote, so I’ll have something to use on a daily basis. You need a small bag to hold necessities like phone, camera, hand sanitizer, and I.D. Your tote is too big to carry around on a daily basis, besides, it’s stuffed with toiletries back at the hotel.

Wash and Wear

One thing that helped us was the fact we usually had access to laundry facilities. If that’s not an option, purchase a small bottle of dish soap to wash items in the hotel sink, then hang to dry on a shower rod or portable clothesline. If you’ll be doing lots of handwashing, make sure to pack clothes that are lightweight and quick to dry.

Carry-On Converts

By the end of this trip, we agreed that traveling with carry-on bags was the best idea we’d ever had.  I for one will never check luggage again.  Carrying my bags with me made it easier to make tight connections, and I was happy to save the time of checking suitcases and claiming it (hopefully) on the other end. But best of all, with this system, my spouse will never again have to rendezvous with a complete stranger, in the middle of the night after stealing her suitcase. Happy travels everyone and Carry On!

update

Another reason I will always keep my luggage with me.

On returning from an overseas trip two days ago, I sat in the plane and watched airport employees unloading luggage from the cargo hold onto a trailer. They threw things willy nilly – including skis and a musical instrument – which crashed down on top of each other. The icing on the cake was a stroller, which banged onto the trailer rail. A wheel broke off the stroller and went skittering across the tarmac. The employees did not notice and drove away.

Ever had a problem with items being damaged while in the care of an airline? Any suggestions on packing light? I’d love to hear from you.

(For more great travel tips, read Globetrotting Grandpa’s excellent post!)

Carry On: The French Connection

Travel Blunder #367

It was midnight in Paris. Sound asleep, I was blissfully unaware that my husband was on his way to meet another woman . . . at her hotel.

It all started that afternoon when we flew into the Charles De Gaul airport. Since one of our travel companions wasn’t feeling well, we grabbed our suitcases from the carousel, hired a cab and hurried to the hotel so he could lie down. My husband John and I were eager to explore the city, so we stashed our bags, checked on our friend and set out to see the sights of Paris. Continue reading

Cool Libraries – The Church of the Good Book

This post is linked to Ludwig Keck’s Monday Windows

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Maison de La Litterature

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Have you ever been to a church library? No, not the type where you check out Bibles and Sunday School Manuals, but a real library – located in a church – featuring the likes of Clive Cussler, Jamie Oliver, and Peppa Pig.  You’ll find several of these church/libraries in Quebec, and if you’re visiting you’ll want to check them out.

Apparently organized religion is on the wane in Canada and many magnificent old meeting houses are becoming obsolete. Last year in Quebec alone, 434 churches fell into disuse, and that’s up from 270 last year.

new quebecThe good news is that rather than destroy these beautiful structures, the citizens of Quebec have come to the rescue. While it costs millions for a makeover, many churches of historical importance have been reimagined into theatres, cultural centers and best of all – libraries.

In the perfect blend of inspiration and education, one can now sit in divine tranquility among stained glass windows and soaring ceilings while enjoying a favorite book, or maybe even writing one of your own.

If you’ve followed the Library Lady for long, you’ll know I love cool and unusual libraries. So when my travels took me to Quebec, church/libraries were on my agenda. I found three – two right next door to each other – and another one 10 minutes away, and while I was thrilled at my good fortune, I couldn’t help but wonder why all these churches were available.

My favorite, the Maison de La Litterature is particularly striking with its glowing white interior. Thanks to the immense leaded glass windows, the building is infused with light and lifts your spirits as you enter.
Continue reading

Irish Windows

clon window

Arched window and geriatric Castle – St. Cirains’s Monastery in Shannonbridge Ireland.

Have you ever dreamed of going to  Ireland? I did, and when it finally happened, I hardly dared to close my eyes for fear I’d miss something. Here velvet blue skies flanked rolling green hills, ancient stone buildings hovered on every horizon, and age-old rock walls snaked across the fields. Aside from that,  people have remnants of castles in their very own backyards!

From what I understand, these medieval marvels are protected – big fines if you knock one down to make room for your backyard pool – and people in Ireland seem to take all this antiquity in stride. I remember one house in particular which had a laundry line strung from a crumbling castle turret to a tree. There were sheets hanging on the line and cows grazing peacefully nearby.  What would it be like to look out your kitchen window at an ancient ruin? I’d love to find out.

Continue reading