The Cloisters

This past weekend my husband and I visited The Cloisters in Manhattan. Here is a brief  history from Wikipedia:

The Cloisters is a museum in Upper Manhattan, New York City specializing in European medieval architecture, sculpture and decorative arts. Its early collection was built by the American sculptor, art dealer and collector George Grey Barnard, and acquired by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in 1925. Rockefeller extended the collection and in 1931 purchased the site at Washington Heights and contracted the design for the Cloisters building.

Its architectural and artistic works are largely from the Romanesque and Gothic periods. The four cloisters; the Cuxa, Bonnefont, Trie and Saint-Guilhem cloisters, were sourced from French monasteries and abbeys. They were excavated from Europe and, between 1934 and 1939, reconstructed in a four-acre site in Washington Heights, in upper Manhattan. The reconstructed cloisters are surrounded by early medieval gardens and a series of indoor chapels and rooms grouped by period and source location, and include the Romanesque, Fuentidueña, Unicorn, Spanish and Gothic rooms.

The design, layout and ambiance of the building is intended to evoke a sense of the Medieval European monastic life through its architecture. The museum contains approximately five thousand medieval works of art from the Mediterranean and Europe, mostly from the 12th to 15th centuries, that is from the Byzantine to the early renaissance periods, but also works dating from the bronze and early iron ages.

If you would like to read the background of all the different areas within the Cloisters you can click here

It was really stepping back in time wandering through the hallways and down the staircases throughout the museum. There are also sweeping views of the Hudson River as the location is set quite high up on a hill. Here are some of the sights.

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Share Your World: Emilio Style

This week, sitting in for Cee, is Emilio over at Photos By Emilio. He is asking the questions for Share Your World, So here we go:

Have you ever been pulled over by a cop?  

 My first speeding ticket EVER was 11 years ago when I was in my late 40’s. I was driving a Mini Cooper at the time and sometimes found myself going a bit faster than I should – and on a local highway there sat a cop who pulled me over. I always cry when I am scared, that’s just how I roll, and this time was no different. He was very nice when he approached and saw me crying already, and when he came back to my car after checking my ID he said he couldn’t believe I had NO violations on my record EVER. He wrote the ticket for only going 15 miles above the speed limit, when in truth I had been going 40-yes, 40 miles over the speed limit-well it was a highway- telling me it would result in less points on my record. I ended up going to court and paying more than what the actual cost of the ticket was, because this way there would be no points on my record at all.

What have you always wanted?  Did you get it?

I can’t really think of anything that I really wanted and didn’t get, as spoiled as that may sound. I started working in my teens so if I wanted something my parents did not think was a necessity I would buy it myself. I bought my first car when I was 21, using money I had saved and taking a loan from a local bank. I am grateful for the things in my life that I have.

What is your perfect pizza?

Ah pizza- being gluten intolerant for close to 18 years I have forgotten pizza. I have tried gluten free but it is pretty awful. People have recommended Cauliflower crust pizza- also not a substitute. My favorite was with lots of cheese, and a cheese filled crust too.

What inspired you this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

This week 511 cyclists rode 180 miles over 2 days through 3 states, to raise money for an organization called Chai Lifeline. Chai Lifeline provides seriously and chronically ill children and their families with support and encouragement during illness. For two weeks of every summer, hundreds of children are granted the ultimate camp experience in Camp Simcha, returning home with renewed hope, determination, and the thrill of simply being a child rather than a patient.

As a volunteer in a local hospital and also having had a friend who benefitted from Chai Lifeline’s services, I can attest to the fact that it is an amazing organization that is there in every way possible for families going through unbelievably trying times when a child is sick with cancer. The riders this year raised  a whopping $8,371,703.61. I followed the riders on Instagram this year and watched the video as they rode into Camp Simcha after travelling all those miles to greet the campers. It was very moving. Here’s a glimpse of the ride.

One Word Photo Challenge: Insect

I am not a lover of insects by any stretch of the imagination- I actually cannot stand the sight of most. They make me squirm and send shivers down my spine. However, Dragonflies and Butterflies, both insects, never bother me, I find their colors and markings like artwork, and their wings beautiful to behold. Here are some of the ones I have captured with the lens.


Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past

This week Paula invites us to share Traces of the Past. I visited The Cloisters in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan yesterday, a fitting place to share traces of the past, as the four cloisters, the Cuxa, Bonnefont, Trie and Saint-Guilhem, were sourced from French monasteries and abbeys, excavated from Europe between 1934 and 1939, and reconstructed on a four-acre site. The architectural and artistic works are largely from the Romanesque and Gothic periods. The museum contains approximately five thousand medieval works of art from the Mediterranean and Europe, mostly from the 12th to 15th centuries, from the Byzantine to the early renaissance periods, but also works dating from the bronze and early iron ages.

Traces of the Past

The Weekly Smile

Another day at the beach and more antics from the local seagulls. This guy actually went into someone’s bag that had been left unattended and made off with a bag of chips. He dropped it and someone returned it to the bag, but he went back and took it out again. I couldn’t stop laughing watching him persevere.

What made you smile?

The Weekly Smile

Share Your World

This week Cee asks:

When you leave a room, do you turn the lights off behind you or keep the lights on throughout your house most of the time?

I always turn the lights off when I leave a room. I do have some lights set on timers so I don’t come into a dark house at night, or if we are away the lights go on and off.

What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $500? 

I’ll admit it, I would go on a shopping spree for clothes. I love to shop, I love to find the best price for what I am buying so I would stretch that $500 pretty far. I am convinced I inherited this passion from my father, who always felt the money was burning a hole in his pocket, also had a love for clothes, and lived with the motto “you can’t take it with you.”

Complete this sentence: My favorite thing to do on my cell phone is…

Scroll through my Instagram feed, or maybe play Candy Crush, oh wait, check Facebook updates, or reply to comments on WordPress. How can I say which is a favorite??

What inspired you this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

The following video someone shared with me. People have challenges in their lives and when someone turns that challenge into something positive I find it inspiring. I love the laughter this father and son share.

Share Your World

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Take a New Photo or Photos – Any topic

Cee says this week the topic is Take a New Photo or Photos – Any topic. She is leaving it to us to get out there and take some photos!

Today we went to a lovely garden for a walk and I though I usually prefer nature photos in color, I chose some of the ones I took today for the challenge in Black & White. Hope you like them!

Cee’s B & W

The Weekly Smile

Yesterday my husband and I went to visit our Aunt, about an hours drive from where we live. Her husband, our Uncle, is in a nursing home at the moment, getting rehab to literally help get him back on his feet. She spends every afternoon there from 1 to 5, so we thought we’d take her out to lunch and then go visit for a bit with our Uncle. We also thought it would be a nice break for her to get out, eat out, and have a change of the routine.

We sat down in the restaurant and were handed the menus, which much to our surprise were not paper, but tablets. Like a Kindle or Ipad. This was a first for me. You could choose from a category and then scroll through the different dishes offered, with photo and description of each choice.

Did I mention my Aunt is 90? She does not seem like she is 90, I still think of her as someone in her late 60’s- she is constantly on the move, constantly coming, going, cooking, visiting her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She does not however, have any idea about the workings of a computer. We have suggested it many times over the years, but she has always been resistant. The menu sitting in front of her was a mystery, she looked at me dumbfounded and asked “now what?” I showed her all she had to do was tap the category and swipe left. She was amazed. Seeing the color photos of each meal made it even more fun and no guess work about what you were ordering.So my smile this week was my Aunt’s introduction to a tablet menu and seeing her enjoy learning how to use it.

What made you smile?

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Tombstones or Cemeteries

I love walking around cemeteries and reading the inscriptions on the headstones. I have written about some of my visits, here and here.

Here are some of the interesting headstones I have seen

A cousin of mine died at the age of 50, 10 years ago, and I often go to his grave to visit. This is his headstone- he chose the spot himself, under the trees, alongside the forest. A quiet place to visit- where I sit and think of him.

Cemeteries & Tombstones


Share Your World

What was the last URL that you bookmarked or saved?

I used to bookmark everything it seemed, so now I rarely do. I think the last site I bookmarked were the wonderful Decorah Eagles- in Decorah Iowa. Their nest has a webcam and I was able to watch momma eagle lay 3 eggs, then watch them hatch, then grow and finally fledge. Having it bookmarked made it easy for me to find the nest a few times a day to watch the action.

Do you believe in the afterlife?  Reincarnation?

I do believe there is something after death- something after this life. There is a concept in Judaism called  Gilgul Ha Neshamot  described as a mystical (Kabbalistic) concept of reincarnation. In Hebrew, the word gilgul means “cycle” or “wheel” and neshamot is the plural for “souls.” Souls are seen to “cycle” through “lives” or “incarnations”, being attached to different human bodies over time. Which body they associate with depends on their particular task in the physical world, spiritual levels of the bodies of predecessors and so on. In addition to believing there is something after this life, this is also a concept that I believe exists.

If you were or are a writer do you prefer writing short stories, poems or novels?

I do not think I am creative enough to be able to come up with a story concept and then put it on paper. I would try my hand at poetry though.

What inspired you this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

This young boy who got up to sing at an Idina Menzel concert. 11 years old but he has something special. Take your talent and reach for the stars

If a movie was made based on your life, what actor/actress would play you?

This question made me laugh- what popped into my head was my mother in law always telling me I looked like Heather Locklear and Holly Hunter. I think Holly Hunter is an awesome actress so that would be ok with me.

If you could be famous for one thing, what would it be?

Being kind to people and helpful.

Share Your World

It’s Still Your Birthday, Even if You’re Gone

A post from last year on this date- posting it again in memory of my brother.

Today is my brother’s birthday. Or it would have been his birthday were he still alive, though I feel that just because he is gone does not make August 6th no longer his birthday. His age will forever remain at 54, but the date will forever be his birth date. He died by his own hand in February of 2015. I wrote about him on the first anniversary of his death here.He wasn’t married, had no children, and struggled so the last years of his life. Today I choose to remember him before all that, to think of him long ago before the demons set in. To remember him with rose colored glasses on, filtering out the sadness and anger. Remembering him with a smile.82802100-SLD-001-0015



Fickle Weather Brings a Bonus

The forecast for this morning was rain after 8 am, so at 6:30 I drove to a local park for my walk, hoping to take some photos along the way. I arrived to find the sun rising, just breaking through the clouds.

I started my walk with the sun rising in the East and as I walked South West the sky looked dark and threatening

I continued on, seeing a Northern Flicker bathed in sunlight as he faced into the rising sun

I could hear thunder in the distance, but where I was walking was still light and fairly sunny. Then ahead of me, in the direction where those dark skies were, there was a rainbow and the skies were now blue!

I can only imagine it must have rained wherever that was, leaving a rainbow across the sky. The camera could not do justice to what it looked like in real life- it was so brilliant, so bright, you could see every color like each was on fire. I even got a little choked up at the sight of it, it was so beautiful. I then turned my gaze across the sky and realized it reached all the way across, something I had never seen before. It stretched from ground to ground, but I could not capture the whole thing on either side, but wanted to catch that arc.

Just as I got the shot the rain started, quickly and fiercely, so I ran for that building on left and took cover, as my car was parked a mile away! In less than 5 minutes it stopped raining, at which time I headed back towards the car. On the way I spotted this little guy, feathers wet from the downpour

Just as I got into my car the skies opened once again. I smiled all the way home, having seen the sun, the rain, and a rainbow all in an hours span of time.

The Weekly Smile

My husband and I were sitting on a bench in a park yesterday, when a trio of ducks decided to come up from the pond and rest close to us.

It was very hot and two chose to lay down and cool off in the shade of the Weeping Willow

But one of them decided she was in a friendly mood, perhaps thinking we had something for her to eat, (which we didn’t) and ventured closer, 

and closer

and then closer…. until she was an arms length away,

looking at us as we spoke to her, because you know I talk to birds, ducks, any animal, assuming they understand what I am saying. She does look like she understood that I was telling her how pretty she was.

and then after about 5 minutes, she decided it was time to go, and off she went

It made me smile to see her so close up, her markings, small stripes on her head that grew larger down her body. She cocked her head a few times as I spoke which really made me smile. What made you smile this week?

The Weekly Smile

Seagull Portraits

Call me crazy, but I love the seagulls at the beach. I don’t mind when they walk right up to my blanket or lay together in groups of 20 on the beach, or squawk at one another. I spent yesterday watching them, and decided I would make a post of Seagull Portraits. Ok, call me crazy again, but they are beautiful to my eye. So here they are.

The Things We Remember

My husband and I were in the car driving, listening to the radio, when Mozart’ s Serenade 13 in G Major (Eine kleine Nachtmusik) came on the radio. In case you are not familiar, here it is.

My mother immediately came to mind. I could picture her at the ironing board, her glass Pepsi bottle with the sprinkler top on the ironing board, as she ironed my father’s shirts. When she was ironing she always had music on. This was my introduction to Mozart. I am able to hum along with every piece that was on that album. Her other favorite was Harry Belafonte. The album cover was red with a photo of Harry Belafonte on the cover. Day-O was a favorite, but Jamaica Farewell was the song she sang with. My mother did not have a singing voice, this was no secret in our family, she could hold a tune, but her voice was not strong. But when she was at the ironing board and Jamaica Farewell came on she didn’t care. Not only did she sing, she danced as she ironed. It was more swaying with the music as she sang, sprinkling the shirts to wet them and then pressing the iron to them, gliding it across. All to the calming beat of Jamaica Farewell.

Music is so often tied to our memories, we hear a song that takes us back to where we were in life at the time. It surprised me at how vivid this memory was, how my association with these songs allowed me to conjure up an image so clear in my mind some close to 50 years later. I smiled remembering those ironing moments, when my mother, not one to reveal much of herself, or to let her guard down, was able to do so behind her ironing board with iron in hand. To come out of herself a bit, and perhaps that is why I remember it so strongly. It was unlike her to be so uninhibited.

As my husband and I continued to drive, I looked up Jamaica Farewell on my phone and played it out loud. I still knew every word.

All Seasons: Summer

ALL SEASONS is about any experience you may have during the season -the beautiful, the fun,weather, nature, and anything else.

I love the summer, I don’t mind the heat, I prefer it over the cold of winter and even the chill of fall. I love the long days, when the sun is up early, the birds singing along with its rising. Days spent at the beach, visiting a park, walking with my camera capturing the beauty around me.


Day of the Seagulls

Going to the beach on a weekday is so different from going on the weekend. We arrived to find the beach mostly empty and as people did come, everyone had enough room to take a space without intruding on anyone else. I don’t know if it was the lack of people, but the beach was filled with seagulls all day, everywhere you looked. I have gotten used to them strolling by where I am sitting, but yesterday they lounged around right next us, sleeping and watching the surf. One bird kept swooping into the surf, who I later identified as a Common Tern. There were Muscle Shells galore that had washed in with the surf, so it was open Buffet all day. Here are some of the seagull sights I saw.

Common Tern

Common Tern on the lookout!

Laughing Gull


Fearless Oystercatcher foucsed on finding lunch as someone approaches

The Buffet is Open!

You lookin’ at me? This guy was sitting within  arms reach of me

And the Oystercatcher who never stops moving along the surf.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fire Trucks-Fire Houses

I was walking up 8th Avenue in New York City,  passing a fire station between 47th & 48th streets. The Fire engines were right there in front and the windshield of one caught my eye-

I stopped to take a few photos and suddenly felt someone behind me taking my phone out of my hands. One of the firefighters said “go stand by the other truck I’ll take your photo.” I started to laugh and asked if he was for real, and with that another firefighter stepped over and said, “I’ll get in the photo with you.” OK with me! 

I found out later that “The Pride of Manhattan” Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 Firehouse lost 15 firefighters on 9/11 — an entire shift and more than any other New York Firehouse. The 15 men killed had 28 children between them. It is the busiest firehouse in NYC answering 14,000 calls a year, and also the most visited firehouse in NYC.

Fire Trucks Fire Houses


Tell Me Something Good-Weekly Smile

A Momma’s View says: Let’s kick off this week on a positive note. By sharing something good, something that made you happy or you are looking forward to .

So I’ll combine Trent’s Weekly Smile along with a Momma’s View and share what made me happy and smiley this past week.

My niece became engaged! Actually she is my great niece, and a great niece she is! She just passed her Nursing Boards and a few days later became engaged. She calls herself the Nurse Bride now.

The family got together to celebrate, where a good time was had by all. I saw two of my other great nieces, whom I have written about before, one is the Bride’s sister, the other a cousin. They are both 15 and we always have fun when we get together. So next step is the upcoming wedding in September, time to go shopping for a dress!

Here’s the Bride to Be and her 3 sisters- they are a very close knit bunch. The Bride is 2nd from the right.and here are my other nieces, we never miss the opportunity to take a selfie when we’re together

Now it’s your turn to tell me something good, and what made you smile this week!

Weekly Weather: Fog

I love the fog. Standing in it one is not sure where things begin and end, it lends a pervasive sense of calm and mystery over wherever it is. Who doesn’t think of Carl Sandburg when seeing it, or being surrounded by it?

The fog comes 
on little cat feet. 
It sits looking 
over harbor and city 
on silent haunches 
and then moves on.

Weekly Weather