Posts Tagged With: Easy dates

Solo Traveling: Surprising Moments with Nature

The wharf at Mount Vernon with nesting osprey on the front piling.

Sometimes nature offers up the best surprises!

Like it did on my visit to Mount Vernon, the home of our first president, George Washington. Among the pristine gardens, the stately riverfront home, the history, and the visitors, was a rough-hewn home and feathered family who captured my heart.

Osprey nest on piling at Mount Vernon wharf – home of President George Washington

Though they’re common place among east coast dwellers, to those of us living in “fly-over” states, the magnificent osprey are a rare treat, indeed.

So often in life, as the saying goes, things come in threes. That’s what happened with my osprey adventure.

  1. Early one morning I awoke and found myself enthralled with a PBS television nature show. More specifically, their piece about osprey, which described their nesting habits, their family patterns, and showed some wonderful demonstrations of their amazing deep-dive fishing abilities.
  2. Little did I realize that just a few short hours later, I would come face-to-face with a real-life osprey family living atop a piling along the banks of the Potomac River at the Mount Vernon wharf. According to an article on the osprey family, the pair have nested on the estate in prior years in the top of a sycamore tree. In the summer of 2010, their nest was destroyed when the top of the tree was lost during a storm. Undaunted, the pair returned this spring and built a new home on the top of the wharf piling – just inches from where the tour boat, Spirit of Mount Vernon, boards passengers six days a week.  That’s how I met them.

    My up-close and personal meeting with the osprey of Mount Vernon wharf – a bit blurry from my excitement:(

  3. A couple of days after my visit to Mount Vernon, some friends took me on a boat ride out into the Chesapeake Bay. To my delight every channel marker seemed to be the home of an osprey family. As little chicks poked their heads out of the nests, parents sat guard or flew off in search of the family’s next meal. My only disappointment was not seeing any of them deep-dive fishing. But nature watching does take patience, I suppose. Thanks to these great videos, however, we can all enjoy the amazing abilities of the osprey to “fish.”

You can watch a brief video I took of the osprey here, and see the parent take flight as the Spirit of Mount Vernon pulls closer. Mount Vernon Osprey nest

A live webcam of an osprey nest can be found here if you’re interested in watching them in action.

Ponder & Chat: Have a favorite nature story you can share with us? Where are you favorite spots for dates with nature?

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Categories: Date Ideas, Nature, Reflections, Solo traveling, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Word of Encouragement on Painting (& Life) from Vincent

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Ponder & Chat: How does this principle apply to other areas of your life? What’s happened when you have lived this principle?

Categories: Artistic Dates, Date Ideas, Reflections, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wisdom for the Journey: On Digging, Delving, and Stillness

“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.” ~ Claude Monet

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” ~ Hermann Hesse

“The sound of  ‘gentle stillness’  after all the thunder and wind have passed will be the ultimate Word from God.”Jim Elliot

“One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not to be mere rushing on.” ~ D.H. Lawrence

Categories: Reflections, Relaxing Dates, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Lesson in Renewal – A Dry Spell

Stores are dangerous places for me this time of year! They flaunt vegetable plants, herbs, flowers, and gorgeous pots in all colors knowing that I am addicted! I’m weak. Really, I think I may be helpless. Ok, I know I’m not helpless, but I am vulnerable. To the point that I could probably use a good-looking secret service type protector (non-Columbia model, of course).

Vulnerability struck a couple of weeks ago, and even though I knew I was heading out for a nine-day trip, I bought a beautiful peat pot of basil. It contained four thriving plants. They all proudly stood on the shelf and called my name. As they rode around the store in the shopping cart with me, I swear I heard them mocking the other plants. They even chided me for putting them in a grey plastic bag for the ride home in the car.

Soon, I had them temporarily settled on the counter to await their garden fate. Then, as fate would have it, there they would remain for nine long days. Alone, in the dark, lifeless room, straining for sun that would also steal their last remaining drops of moisture.

Upon my return, I gasped at their bedraggled and lifeless state. They didn’t respond at all to my cooing and self-flagellation. They were spent. All pride gone. Lifeless.

Regardless, I bathed them gently with tap water and soaked their peat base to the point of saturation.

I wasn’t sure, but thought I heard a bit of complaining, “Now, you come?”

Guiltily, I left them and proceeded to post-trip activities, unpacking, laundry, sorting nine days of mail. Every once in a while, I’d look in on the basil and drop an encouraging and gentle word.

“You can do it. I know it’s hard, but dig deep from your roots. You have strength you’re not aware of for this journey.”

Reaching for the sun once again! My basil plant that went through a “dry spell.”

Sure enough, within 24 hours, life had returned. No, they are not to their former glory. They have a bit of a bend now. But there are helps for that sort of thing. Besides, they’ve not even met their new home yet – a bright pot with rich, dark soil and a prime patio location.

Perhaps best of all, they have a new appreciation for their strength and ability to return even from a bit of a dry spell. A lesson even a plant junkie can appreciate.

Categories: Garden dates, Reflections, Relaxing Dates, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scratching the Itch

Just one small area of my lovely flower gardens.

54 bags of mulch spread. 22 more waiting in the garage. Long date with my backyard yesterday.

Met another Greek – the irritating “dermatitis!” (aka: poison ivy).

I prefer George. But I’m addicted to flowers.  Guess I’ll just keep scratching the itch.

 

Categories: "Cheap" Dates, Date Ideas, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sweet, Sweet George

Ace of Cakes, Cupcake Wars, Just Desserts – none of them have anything over George and his LaBaguette Bakery. Right next to his International Market George daily bakes up delectable desserts and crusty breads and then sells them at some of the most reasonable bakery prices you’ll find in the Northeast Indiana corridor.

You gotta go. Heck, throw an impromptu party just so you’ll have a reason to go in and try all kinds of things. Treat your co-workers. Host the neighbors in your backyard. Whatever excuse you need. Just do it.

If we are what we eat, think of how sweet and wonderful you’ll be after you visit George’s La Baguette Bakery. I’m living proof. It works!

Categories: "Cheap" Dates, Date Ideas, Foodies, Relaxing Dates, Restaurants, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meeting International George

As excited as I was, I felt a bit awkward and a little nervous entering George’s place. He has an “international” appeal that is reflected in the diversity of those I met coming and going. The entrance to George’s is actually a bit small and a hangout for the practical tools of his trade, shopping carts. I had to pause for earlier visitors to make their way out the door before continuing.

Once inside it was easy to relax. My olfactory system kicked in identifying scents of lime, tomatoes, and onions. The aroma of meat cooking and something deep-frying made me glad I’d planned to dine with George. But first I’d look around a bit – take in the surroundings.

Even though I knew George was Greek, the first thing I began to notice was his obvious love of Mexican fare. A stack of cactus leaves. A wall full of hot sauces.

(I’ve recently learned that whole cactus leaves are called nopales and nopalitos when they are chopped. They’re a great source of calcium, fiber, vitamins A, C, K and magnesium. They can be served chopped in salads. Another serving idea is to saute or stir-fry them with onions and chili peppers and sprinkle with cheese.) 

Near the hot sauces was a full rack of spices containing every imaginable dried or powdered ingredient one might need to create an array of tantalizing flavors. Across the aisle freshly made salsa and tortillas. Mexican vanilla and hot chocolate blends. My taste buds were aching. 

Then, just as suddenly I was transported across the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean isle of Greece. Colorful Olives and fresh feta cheeses beckoned to me along with fresh pita bread.

Teas from Sri Lanka and London tempted me and won, but I successfully resisted the many displays of cookies and sweets from around the world.

I could stand it no more. I needed to eat. George’s own Mexican Cafe was just the place. Fresh salsa, homemade guacamole, freshly made tortilla chips, and a cheese-filled quesadilla. The freshly made meat tacos were tempting even to my preference for most things vegetarian. An assortment of bottled drinks, including orange soda, were available along with freshly made lemonade. Sitting in a booth by the window, I enjoyed watching the diverse clientele come and go, dipping and munching and people watching. Life is good.

And there’s still dessert and the bakery to explore.

Check out George’s International Market and Mexican Cafe at the corners of Broadway and Taylor in Fort Wayne. You’re going to enjoy it!

Ponder & Chat: Have a favorite market spot you like to visit? What makes it unique to you?

Categories: "Cheap" Dates, Date Ideas, Foodies, Pure Fun, Restaurants, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Touching the Senses

I could be in New York City. Perhaps it’s Chicago. 

The melding of sites, smells, sounds, activity, and languages captured my present and ignited my memories as I stepped in to meet George.

A sudden silly thought: “Well, Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” 

I wasn’t even sure I was still in Indiana. 

“Just keep walking. It’s an adventure, and you love adventures. That’s why you came.” 

Categories: "Cheap" Dates, Date Ideas, Pure Fun, Restaurants, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Getting Lost Got Me A Date

The first time I met George was by accident.  I was intrigued but unprepared.

The second time was intentional. I was curious and studied.

Most of the time I despise taking interstate highways. Sure, you nearly always can drive faster and keep moving on them. There are few distractions, not much life, not much color, no shops, no people. Just the mesmerizing hum of the tires on the asphalt and the center line whizzing by. As the cruise control keeps a steady pace my feet often wonder what to do while my hands continually push the button looking for a radio station to keep us all awake.

Give me stop signs, and pedestrians, storefronts and street vendors – give me “life” in the slow lane.

That’s how I met George. On one of my “life” journeys when I avoided Interstate 69 and set out to make my way home from the airport. I live on the north side of the city. The airport lives on the south. In the year I’d lived here, I’d not yet explored much of what lay in between the two destinations.

With no Google Maps, iPhone, or GPS, it was up to my own sense of direction to figure out the unknown streets. Unfortunately, my love for “life” outpaces my gift of a sense of direction. Fortunately, I’m a fairly brave, if not sometimes foolish, soul who believes it all works out. If you just keep moving, pretty soon you figure it out. And often, that’s when you meet the most interesting people and see the most fascinating sites.

On that day, I first met George. Today I met him again on one of my 52 Dates with Myself. But that’s tomorrow’s story.

Ponder & Chat: What’s one of your good stories about getting lost? Who did you meet as a result? What unexpected place did you see because you took a wrong turn? Please share it with us in the comments section below.

Categories: "Cheap" Dates, Date Anticipation, Pure Fun, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Just Me, Myself, and Joe

I couldn’t believe I was about to miss my date for the night! I’d kept “Joe” waiting all day. He was flexible and didn’t mind that I’d not been able to set a definite time. His schedule was open until 9 p.m.

But where did the afternoon and the evening go? How did 1:30 turn into 8:15?

Jumping in my car, I quickly calculated that if I hit all the lights just right, I could maybe get 30 minutes with him. Those 30 minutes would be wonderful. I’d take them and enjoy every moment.

Like me, “Joe” loves good food. Though he’s a year younger than me, he seems so much wiser in the “ways of the world.”

Like me, “Joe” loves variety. Though his house is not that big, he has “mementoes” from many lands.

Like me, “Joe” likes good wine. Though he might choose something expensive, his “signature” bottles are, well, cheap.

Like me, “Joe” loves to have fun. Though he’s quite serious about business, he always looks like he’s going to a luau.

Like me, “Joe” loves communication. Though he’s not one for sitting down too long, he’ll “ring my bell” when something needs said.

Like me, “Joe” can be full of surprises. Though he’s often sure and steady, he’s always got something new and different for me to try.

Ah, “Joe,” forgive me for being late and thanks for unlocking the door when it was time for me to leave at 9:30.

Can’t wait to do it again soon!!!

Categories: "Cheap" Dates, Date Ideas, Date Night, Pure Fun, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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