Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mozart in Rehearsal

One thing that happens almost every Saturday morning when we're not gone for the day, is that Astrid goes out walking in the city center to see what's going on, usually around the open market.  If something catches her eye, she'll come back and tell me about it so I can see it, too.

What a woman!

So, back on Saturday, 19 September, she came across Mozart himself and his cohorts, inviting everyone to an open rehearsal at the Grote Kerk for his Requiem.

And what Astrid discovered was that anyone could join the choir or sit and listen/observe.
(Astrid's images above)

Guess what!
Ginnie had sung Mozart's Requiem back in Columbia, SC, days (1970-71),

So it didn't take any convincing to go check it out!

You remember the inside of our Grote Kerk, right?  
I love the openness.  The brightness.
The white against the green.

So we stayed for awhile to watch and listen.

And yes, Mozart was there, being the rascal he always is.

The gray hairs really caught my eye.  HA!

They all clearly knew what they were doing...bringing back the good ol' days for me.

Here's a listen and a look at the entire scene that day.
Heavenly!  And right at our doorstep!
[Addendum:  a day after uploading this video, I got a message from Vimeo saying
they had added it to their Classical Music channel (one of 286 videos).  WOW!]

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You can imagine the complete shock of our lives, after all that inspiration, when we went afterwards to our favorite pannenkoeken restaurant out in the polder.  Astrid was the one who first noticed the counter....

The owner's wife, who we saw and chatted with every time we were there,
had died during heart bypass surgery the night before.
She was only 73.  And Nicholas had met her in July.
The strange thing is that we don't even know her name.
But we know her son, Marco, who is a photographer and one of their cooks.
You could safely say we're still reeling from the fragility of life felt that day.

But as we all know, life goes on.
Other than the stork losing its head (???), Mother Nature was humming.

The cows in the polder seemed extra friendly that day.
Or maybe our hearts were more tender than usual and they sensed it?

Even the weathervanes that day seemed to hold extra significance,
like the old-timey wood planer (bottom-left) that carpenter-preacher Dad often used.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I don't normally post on a Tuesday but there's a reason:
bright and early tomorrow we leave for our Amsterdam flight to Atlanta
on our annual get-away to see my kids and friends.
Don't know if I'll post here again before we return on the 28th,
but I'll definitely be on Facebook.

Ta-da for now....

Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Enkhuizen, NL, Experience

Remember when we took grandson Nicholas in July to the Zuiderzee open-air museum in Enkhuizen to get an overall experience of Dutch culture, both then and now?  And how at the last minute (of his 2-week trip) he bought what he called his "clutch gift?"

Well, it was ready for pick-up before our trip to Atlanta next week, so...Astrid and I went to pick it up this past Saturday, a 1.5-hour drive to the north of us.

We parked near one of the city's landmarks, the St. Pancras Church (Zuiderkerk) from the 15th cent.

 From the church, we walked to calligrapher Harrie's city atelier (not the one in the museum) 
to get the goods:  a family-name plaque for Nicholas..."Grannan."
He's gonna love it.

Harrie gave his best of Dutch hospitality, offering us koffie and lots of chitty-chat,
while, you know me...I snapped away at the organized mess!

THAT was the main goal of the day.
We could have turned around and gone home, of course, but...no way!

We walked through the city on our way to see the one part of the open-air museum 
we hadn't yet seen in our two times there...the indoor ship exhibition.

After walking all the way to the end of the city's pedestrian street,
we found the portal that looked out on the open-air part of the museum and got our bearings
(with those 3 chalk-factory chimneys as a landmark).

Back through the portal again we immediately found the indoor museum.

Near the inside entrance, before you see the ships, is this work of art by Clare Twomey.
It's called "Monument" and is "a playful interpretation of the concept that the remainders 
of household goods do have a cultural value."
OMG.  I have mixed emotions about this one...with shades of holocaust in mind.

But the ships.  The wooden ships.
"These historical, wooden vessels belong to the most valuable items in the museum’s collection."

Every little detail....prop...just as it once was.

 Yes, we were short of eyes.

 You want to know about sailsmanship?  Look and be amazed.

Totally worth the stop!

And on that note, we walked back into town for lunch.
Astrid deserved every mussel she ate...there at the Zuiderzee.

 Coming and going, you know I'll find them if they're there!

  By now it's hard for me to miss them...the many gable stones.

Enkhuizen got city rights in 1355.

At the peak of its power, it was one of the most important harbor cities in the Netherlands,
losing its position later to Amsterdam.

But take me to the Zuiderzee and to Enkhuizen any day.
Even for Astrid (and her "guardian angel," Stuart) it was a restorative day.
Thank you, Nicholas, for making us go back...and see you next week!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Watercolor Sunday and Saturday's Color: September 2015

This is what I plan to do after every month now, adding "for the record" what I'm posting on Facebook of my present two memes.  And yes, I decided to make a meme out of my coloring, calling it Saturday's Color.

First, here's what I did in September for Watercolor Sunday:

September 6 (photo manipulation):
"O Tiger-lily," said Alice, addressing herself to one that was waving gracefully about in the wind, 
"I wish you could talk!"
"We can talk," said the Tiger-lily: "when there's anybody worth talking to."
-- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

September 13 (photo manipulation):
"If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment."
-- Carlos Santana

September 20 (photo manipulation):
"But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime
after the midpoint of September, it stays like an old friend that you have missed."
-- Stephen King

September 27 (photo manipulation):
"You can observe a lot by just watching."-- Yogi Berra

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Then, since I was coloring like a mad woman, I started adding my colored designs to Facebook.  After all, they're saying coloring as adults is good therapy, right?  Okay, it may not be considered "professionally therapeutic," but it sure is fun.  Besides, what do they know!

Back at the beginning of September I already added 3 of my colored designs, so I won't duplicate them here.  But here's the next designs I added to Facebook.  I've decided to leave Saturday for coloring on FB, calling it Saturday's Color:

(finished on 6 September 2015, posted on FB 8 September 2015)
This was a hard design to color.  Bejeweled?
I kept wondering what sister Ruth would do if it were a quilt!

(finished 31 January 2004, posted on FB 10 September 2015)
As you see, I decided to dip into my archives (an idea from son Mark).

(finished 1 February 2004, posted on FB 12 September 2015)
Speaking of son Mark, there's a lot of symbolism in this one.
He's a GEORGIA Bulldog grad, with red and black colors.
Their nemesis is GEORGIA TECH, with Black and yellow colors.
 I played around with their rivalry.

(finished 12 September 2015, posted on FB 19 September 2015)
It seemed fitting to post this at the end of the summer season.
I chose the 4 primary colors and thought of beach chairs/umbrellas and sailboats.

(finished 8 February 2005, posted on FB 26 September 2015)
This design, from my Native American Mandalas book, represents the Sun Symbol of the Huichiol
Native Americans.  I chose it because of the Autumnal Equinox.

 So, there you have it...for the record!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Speaking of the Autumnal Equinox and the full BLOOD MOON on September 28th, early morning our time, we actually set the alarm for 3:45 a.m. and watched the whole thing from our outside balcony walkway until 5:30 a.m....and then went back to bed!  Seriously.

While we both weren't totally happy with what we were able to capture with our separate cameras, we will never forget what we saw, not only with our bare eyes but on my camera screen, enlarged and in focus.

 Even at 1200mm, that was the best my camera could do of the blood moon.
But those first 3 images are within a span of 23 minutes, followed by the blood moon 18 min. later.

But look what Astrid got!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

DORDRECHT, NL: Open Monument Day 2015

In case you happen to remember, every year there is a weekend in September that is Open Monument Day, when over 4,000 "monuments" nationwide, not normally open to the public, are available to visit for free.

We already know where we're going next year (ha!) but this year, we decided to go to nearby Dordrecht, since King Alexander and Queen Maxima had chosen it for their King's Day visit in April.  It's only 25 km from where we live here in Gorinchem...and, yes, we have been there before, in 2010, for Dordt in Stoom.

It used to be that Open Monument Day was only on Saturday, but starting last year, it's now also on Sunday...the day we chose to go to Dordrecht.

First of all, Dordrecht is a harbor city that is an island, bordered by 4 rivers,
and is the oldest of the North and South Holland provinces, granted city rights in 1220.
Pay attention to that Grote Kerk = Big/Great Church.  (Wiki image)

Did you pay attention to the Grote Kerk in the aerial view?
We parked on the other side of a canal from it...but did not visit it that day,
having already seen it previously.
Notice the absence of a spire...because they ran out of funds in the day!

The main portal into the city from the Oude Maas river is near the Grote Kerk.

From there, as you'd guess, there are canals everywhere throughout the city.

We actually were on a mission that day, to see two of the "monuments" that caught our eye in our research but ended up catching 4 altogether:

1:  The Augustijnenkerk (The Augustine Church)

This was one of the unexpected  "accidents" of the day.
It used to be an Augustinian monastery from 1293, becoming a reformed church in 1572.

I fell in love with the bluish-green and red colors against the white walls and pillars.

2:  Atelier Gerhard Lentink

You could safely say this was our biggest "accident" of the day, 
the workshop of this wood sculptor in what used to be a Catholic boy's school from 1906.

I think our jaws were on the floor the entire time we were there.
These wood sculptures are beyond incredible.

Gerhard Lentink himself was present.
I bowed my "namaste" to him with tears in my eyes.
If you want to see more, check out this video that Astrid found.

Astrid really wanted to see this house of violin and guitar builders.
It was where the King and Queen had a violin made for one of their daughters.

Talk about a photo op.  Totally worth the stop.

Believe it or not, this was our main mission of the day.
Friends of ours told us that Rutte & Zn had achieved an incredible honor worldwide:
two of their gins, a vodka and a jenever were voted the best in the USA.

 While Astrid and I aren't connoisseurs of such liquors, we wanted to take the tour.
There's always so much to see!

And, yes, we also got to taste, just to say we did it!
It was a fun way to end the day.

Of course, we were short of eyes in between our "monuments."
After all these years, Dutch architecture still amazes me.

As do the gable stones!

I never tire of them.

Or of the weathervanes.

You could say that "things" impress me, everywhere I look.

It's as it should be...because I love where I live!

As we returned to our car, this said it all!

And since I put it out there, we plan to visit the war prison in Breda next year, closed since 2014.
God willing and the creek don't rise, of course....