Sunday, December 14, 2014

a Winter tour of Nymphenburg Palace, Munich

I was fortunate to be able to spend a past Christmas in Munich, and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Nymphenburg Palace in the outskirts of the city during that visit.

This is a view of the front courtyard, looking out from inside the palace.

 Another view to the outside.

 I remember distinctly how wintry it felt outside!

Friday, November 28, 2014


He who knows he has enough is rich.
   -Lao Tzu

In the midst of creating (or working on) a list of goals, make a list of things you are grateful for alongside it.  I started making this list a few years ago and, before doing so, thought it was a little silly and cheesy. Now I don't.  Recently, I was feeling like some things in my life were a little below-par, and found myself making a new gratitude list to combat those negative feelings of lack.  It helped, and I've found myself adding to that updated list little by little.

My gratitude list would, naturally, be completely different from your gratitude list, but here are just a few of my ideas:
-a hot, fresh-ground cup of coffee every morning
-my puppy
-a decent apartment to live in
-a new washer (not mine-- but I get to use it!)
-a growing network of friends
-full-time work that I generally enjoy, and the ability to pay my bills that this work provides
-coworkers I enjoy being around
-slow but steady progress in my plan to pay off debt
-less back pain (post-car-accident)
-being physically fit and healthy enough to be able to walk to work and back on the weekends (6 miles-- this is one of my favorite things to do!)
-any extra time to read free Kindle books from the local library

This exercise really helps me to choose to focus on what I already have in my life-- not on what I don't.  (It's only by coincidence that I am staying at home posting this on Black Friday, but I think that makes the topic of gratitude all the more appropriate!)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

the enjoyment of work

Portrait of me (the taller one) and a student, by a talented first-grader
Receiving beautiful artwork is just one of the many reasons I love my job.  Being a teacher makes me realize how VERY wonderful it is to really enjoy your profession, especially just the day-to-day experience of working.  I am so happy to see my students everyday, and teach them, and just talk with them.  I'm convinced the most important aspect of any job is by far the enjoyment factor-- not the money factor.  I am also convinced that everyone can find an occupation they enjoy as much as I do mine-- it just might take some time and trial-and-error to find it.

flowers to be planted

Black-Eyed Susan, Forget-Me-Not, Sweet Pea, and Lupine
These are my flower seeds soon to be planted-- hopefully this Saturday morning.  These packets were the cheapest seeds I've found yet-- a quarter each, at one of the dollar stores around here.  I am hoping to plant these around the yard as well if I can get them to do well enough.  My delphinium and orange poppy (planted last week) have not yet sprouted, but probably should in the next week.

I really miss the tropical flowers and plants we had down in Florida-- and so want to start to appreciate the plants we have available in this different climate.  Several plants I see all over here in NC are my favorites locally-- the magnolia trees, the azaleas, and above all the flowering trees- peach trees and cherry blossom trees (I think). 

What are your favorite native plants or flowers where you live?

little sprouts

My seedlings are making progress, and they seem to love their sunny spot in the windowsill.  On the left are grapefruit, and on the right, finally, my first McIntosh apple seed sprout!  I couldn't be more pleased.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

flower seeds

So far I've focused mainly on herbs and vegetables, but now I'm branching out to flowers.
Yesterday I picked up some carrot, watermelon, zucchini, and delphinium seeds at the grocery (Food Lion), and today found during a rare venture to the dollar store that they have seeds there, and they are much cheaper than the ones I'd just bought.  The seed packets at Food Lion were $2 each, and the ones I bought at the dollar store ranged from 33 cents to $1.30.  So now I know.

My grapefruit seedlings are making satisfactory progress (pictured above, on the right), and this afternoon I planted seeds for three types of flowers: orange poppy, in the re-purposed egg carton, above, as well as delphinium (which can grow up to five feet tall-- just like me!) and a perennial wildflower mix (both in planters outside).  I am so excited about these flower seeds, which have relatively short germination periods, and if they do well I'll put them in planters not only on the front and back decks, but around the yard, too.  I was tempted to buy lavender seeds as well which remind me so much of the South of France....and I will probably go back to get those.

We also have three mums growing in pots outside which we thought had died in the winter cold, but I pruned them back today to uncover the green growth under the dead branches.  It is my goal to do much more with flowers this year, and today I made a little progress.  NC is naturally quite beautiful, but people just don't do much with flowers here like I was used to in Florida and Germany, where it appeared to be mandatory.