Photography

 
 

Light Writing Memories

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By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

lightwriting

From the Greek, photography is made up of two words. Phos=light and graphos=writing. This is what photography or photographs are, images or as with this writing, memories, captured with light. I like this original meaning, “light writing” memories.

The word “camera” comes to us from Latin. Camera obscura “camera”: (vaulted) chamber or room, and “obscura”: darkened. It is sometimes referred to as a pinhole image. It is the natural optical phenomenon that occurs when an image of a scene at the other side of a screen (or for instance a wall) is projected through a small hole in that screen as a reversed and inverted image (left to right and upside down) on a surface opposite to the opening. The surroundings of the projected image have to be relatively dark for the image to be clear, so many historical camera obscura experiments were performed in dark rooms. The amazing thing about this is, a camera works pretty much like our eyes do. And our eyes see things upside down and our brains then instantly right them so they make sense to us.

What could be more appropriate here, for our cameras or our eyes to capture; to write with light than memories of home! This is what these photographs are, our memories captured. These images and memories are captured and recorded in the past, but when we think on them or look upon them, our past is connected to our present. Deeply captured are our images and memories of home. I would like to make a caveat here before continuing.

Maybe your past is fondly remembered and the word “home” takes on enjoyable faces, places and fond memories of growing up. But maybe for others, this is not so and their memories are just of a house or houses. Everyone has lived in some type of dwelling or house, but when your memories are filled with joy, that’s a “home.” Either way, there is no reason why anyone cannot make their present house a home and make and capture in light and write a present, worth remembering and worth always striving for!

The word “home” is associated with many familiar phrases, which may be fondly recalled by you. Images and memories of “home,” with photography, photographs, photos, captured, stored and written in light may be as follows:

“It’s a Kodak Moment”
“Home is where the heart is”
Home is where you hang your hat”
“Home is where you hang your heart”
“A house is made of bricks and beams,
a home is made of hope and dreams”
Home is where your feet may leave,
but your heart will always be”
“Home is where our story begins”
“Family makes this house a home”
“When there is Love in the Home,
there is Joy in the Heart”
“Taste of Home”
“Home Sweet Home”
“There’s No Place Like Home”
“The (your last name) Home Established (year)”
“Home where you treat your Friends like Family
and Your Family Like Friends”
“Life takes You to Unexpected Places,
but Love Brings You Home”

The above is just a mere sampling of the many things great, which can be said about Home. Along with those, another phrase might be also familiar to you, in reference to growing up—

“You can’t go Home again”

Now I don’t know if that is true or not, but I do know that memories or photographs are the writings and images of our lives, recorded in light. When and where I grew up the times were pretty simple and our small town was pretty special.

There was five of us in our family, our mother and father, an older brother, myself and our younger sister. My brother and I lived in three of the homes, but I only remember the second and the third. Our sister can only recall the last house we all five lived together in as a family. For my part, in some manner, all three of these homes still exist and two of them I have visited, at least the outside, from time to time over the years. It is nice to visit our hometown and drive past our once-lived-in homes and even stop. But I would never move back there. So in a sense, I can’t go home again. But seeing especially our last home, looking at photographs or recalling those memories, my childhood recollections are kept near and dear to me.

I was texting my sister recently and she sent me a couple of pictures she found on Zillow. Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace Zillow operates the most popular suite of mobile real estate apps, with more than two dozen apps across all major platforms. Zillow launched in 2006 and is headquartered in Seattle.

So I went to their site and looked up our old home. Yep, there it is, 124 Anderson Ave. in Columbia, Missouri. We bought this house built in 1935, when I was five years old, my brother seven and our little sister was around one year old. We paid around $15,000.00 in 1958. At that time, a breakfast nook had been added and a study off of what was our parents room that my brother and I shared as our bedroom. The square foot listed in 1986 for the site was around 1,284. In 1986, the last time it was sold, it was listed at around $48,000.00 and I believe it is now a rental and still occupied for about 965 dollars per month.

124 Anderson Ave. On the corner of Anderson Ave. and Ash St.

124 Anderson Ave. On the corner of Anderson Ave. and Ash St.

We were all pretty excited to move here. Our former home, which also still exists was much smaller even with three bedrooms. We lived on the other side of town in a most likely, asbestos sided house near the Power Plant. It had no basement, just a crawl space. My brother and I shared a room which was very small and we had bunk beds. Our new digs would afford us more independence, more space and our very own single beds. Our sister had her own room and it had the largest closet in our entire home. Anderson Ave had a basement and a single car garage. So we were like the Jefferson’s from TV land, “We were Moving on Up!!” 🙂

My intention here is not to bore you with my light writings, pictures of my memories, but to inspire you to make you own and to trigger in yourselves either to find memories of ‘HOME’ or to build your own destiny and your own ‘HOME.’ And well, maybe I share these as a record of my life, records and memories and photographs and light writings, worth remembering.

So let the visuals begin. It starts with an old somewhat out of focus pic of our new home, shortly after we moved there around 1962, 63. It was pink for at least the first five years or so! For me, it was kind of tough to live in a pink house as a boy. And for quite some time, our house was a landmark for giving directions. For example, someone might say, “Go straight four blocks and turn left past the pink house…” I was Oh so glad, when we painted our house white!!! It is still white today. Notice the porch concrete and steps were a deep burgundy red. Our Dad is standing in front of the evergreen shrub (more about that later), which is no longer there. And there were vines growing up the red brick chimney.

Our Dad Standing in Front of 'The Pink House,' around 1958

Our Dad Standing in Front of ‘The Pink House,’ around Easter 1962, 63

Front View

Front View of our old home, around 1986

We had a lot and a half unfenced, so it was a nice size yard. When I was older, I often would mow the yard. Mom told me it always looked good when I cut the grass. Now I don’t know if that was true, but I still enjoy cutting the grass and I still think it “looks good” when I’m done. 🙂

Columbia, Missouri has been likened to the humid climate of the tropics. High humidity brings insects. I still think this should be the epicenter for world research on bugs because, there’s got to be so many and those not found anywhere else on earth. Summers were often hot. Even at 72° F. with our frequent and usual high humidity, one would be perspiring profusely! Except for years later when we had a used air conditioner put into one of the dining room windows, we never grew up with central air. Often in the summer’s evening, my brother and I would climb up onto the roof, lay down facing the sky and imagine all kinds of wonderful things floating by in those big, fluffy, cumulus clouds. It was cool and it was cool in the hot summer’s eves. I don’t climb up on roofs anymore, but I still imagine stuff in clouds.

We had a front porch where sat a glider along the back rail. Where you see in the picture shrubs in front, used to be filled with flowers, Lilly of the Valley. These were our Mom’s favorite, still my favorite, my wife’s birth flower and we have some in our front yard today.

The porch was supported by two brick pillars, the same color as the chimney. We had a real fireplace. Between the steps to the porch and the chimney, used to be, a large evergreen shrub (see: picture of ‘The Pink House’ above). Our Mom would often take some cuttings and use this to decorate the mantle of the fireplace, inside the living room. Just in front of the back pillar to the left of the dining room window, you can just make out a shutter to the window in the kitchen, over the sink. To this day, I don’t like to hand wash dishes unless, the sink has a window to look out from. Before we added onto the back of a home now, the sink had a window. We removed the window and made a pass-thru into our Gathering Room (great room or living room) but I can still see through this opening and through the windows on the other side. So, I’m still sometimes handwashing dishes, with a window over our sink.

And from that window near the Ash Street was, an elm tree. Our grandfather ‘Papa’ made for Mom, a bird feeder with a lid from an old metal can, some wood and dowel rod perches and all painted metallic silver. I suppose he believed it attracted the birds. Well, birds came and frequently. The tree is now long gone, but it was such a joy to watch the dirds from the kitchen window. I still feed birds to this day. And that elm tree was once where my brother and I set up our own business. We were selling lemonade or kool aid and candy. I don’t remember how much money we made, but I do recall eating up most of our profits. And I’m sure one or both of us fell out of that elm tree at least once, but no one ever broke any bones. 🙂

And the elm tree was often visited by at least a squirrel or two. One time, I was watching one digging, for something in our back yard. When curiosity drew me to find what it was, my approach scared him or her away. On the ground was a little acorn with a shoot, like a new little tree, just beginning to grow out of it. I saved that little treasure in my ‘treasure box’ and still have it today. Our grandfather ‘Papa’ once said, he had two squirrels (my brother and I) and one rabbit (my sister). My sister (affectionately known as ‘the Squirrel), tells it just the opposite. I always thought it was because, squirrels and boys have nuts and rabbits and girls have holes. 🙂  That’s the funny thing about memories, they may not be true, but they are yours. There is no written record or audio of what our grandfather said or meant, but my sister’s memories are the stronger, so she wins the argument and is probably right! And we don’t have squirrels around here, just chipmunks, and a rabbit now and again, so that’s something to consider too. 🙂

Side of house near the back

Side of house near the back

Two windows were on either side of the fireplace in our living room. The two sets of double pane windows were in our sister’s room. There was a small window over our only bathroom, but my brother and I had our own door to our room. This was originally built as a study and had a crawl space beneath where we used to store our storm windows and screens, when not used. In the back of the house used to be three or four rose bushes. Our Mom loved roses. I still do too. So did Susan’s Mom that I sometimes call her, ‘The Pink Rose.’ We have a pink rose now where we live. Not seen in the picture and to the far right used to be a very large pine tree. It is no longer there. The picture appears to have an updated air conditioner unit on a pad. We did not have air conditioning when we grew up here. I think I was in Jr. High School when our dad’s parents gave us their old room air conditioner. It was installed in one our our dining room windows. It would pretty much cool the front of the house. There was a door to the hallway we could close off from the bedrooms and bathroom in back. I remember my brother and I had to get shots for summer camp one year. It made our arms sore and wore us out. I remember us sleeping on cots in the dining room under air conditioning that night! YAY! 🙂

Rear of Home

Rear of Home

Unlike our former house, here we had a garage. Like most garages, I don’t recall our car ever being inside, just stuff. The rule of thumb is, for every vehicle you want to garage, you need another one, just for your ‘stuff.’ This garage at some point, somehow, caught on fire. It did not burn down. The roof and siding was replaced, but you could still see the blackened wood frame 2 X 4’s and detect the smell of burnt wood, when the humidity was up. Where you see the fence running from the side of the garage, the trees and bushes in front were not there, but a concord grapes was. Behind the garage was our pet cemetery and site of several funerals, a turtle and at least one family cat. Our grandfather, ‘Papa,’ installed the brick walkway and raised patio. Directly behind the pad was a playhouse he built for my sister when she was born. It was moved here from our former home on Stone St. and the green siding of the playhouse, matched the siding of our house on Stone St.

The Backdoor

The Backdoor

Our interior tour begins like many homes do and ours still does, at the back door. When you park in your own driveway and the driveway is close to a sidewalk that leads up to the back door, that’s probably the door you use most. Visitors and guests and the Mailman used the front door, but we mostly used the back. Our back door was solid with no window panes, so this was a great upgrade, adding light to a dark stairway, down to the basement and up a couple of stairs to the kitchen and another door. I see something that still looks familiar to me, a hole in the wall where the door knob busted through the drywall. It was common when we lived there too.

There are no pictures of the basement. This is probably because, it is still dark and damp down there as it was when we lived there. Mom had her washer and dryer there. She did her ironing down there. There was a floor drain where we often had water backing up and the plumber had to come over and snake the drain line that filled up with tree roots. Under the stairs, our dad put a door on hinges and a spring and made a little cubby hole. Both my brother and I probably claim that Dad made it for him or I for me. Again, this in the funny thing about memories. But maybe I claimed it as mine when he grew up and it fell out of his favor. But it was my office, my “cubby hole,” for a while and I loved it. I still have a home office today and shelves with little cubby holes.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Our kitchen was pretty small and narrow. The door took you down a couple of stairs and then out through the back door you came from or went. The backsplash or tile along the wall in front of the sink, the sink and counter top have all been updated since we lived there, but the cabinets freshly painted white are the same. Ours was just a single ceramic sink then. To the right of the door (not seen), just fit a small gas stove and a refrigerator. In the back of this room was the breakfast nook. This room was added on before we lived here. The picture does not do it justice, but five of us sat around a table in this room. Growing up it was somewhat difficult squeezing along the sides, then pull a chair out and sit down. We would all be hard pressed to fit in there today, but I loved this room with two windows on the side and that wonderful octagonal window in the back.

Breakfast Nook

Breakfast Nook

Not seen in this picture used to grow an apple tree with pretty good apples. It used to grow just outside of the octagonal window. In spring, those apple blossoms were beautiful!

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Dining Room

At the corner of our kitchen was an opening to our dining room. Near the floor of the kitchen is a cabinet with two black knobs for storage. Just to the right of that you can just make out the opening of another cabinet. It was smaller than the other and was painted black inside and used to store potatoes and other such things, needing a dark space. One early Christmas morning, I discovered all the stuff for our stocking from Santa, not yet filled. 🙂

This room as shown, has fresh paint and an updated light fixture. I’m not sure if most of our home had all wooden floors, some covered with carpeting or not, but the floors were all redone by some owner after us. The wall facing the kitchen was wallpaper when we lived there. Our dining table with six chairs sat in the middle and other chairs were squeezed in to accommodate two sets of grandparents for many holiday dinners. In the back to the left of the door to the hallway was our Mom’s matching China Hutch. In the front to the right of the opening to the living room was sometimes a wooden desk then later, just a small table where sat our only telephone. Oh the progression of telephone numbers. And back then there were real people running switchboards and real ‘live’ operators to connect. I believe our first number at 124 Anderson was, 7628. Then it was 27628. Finally it became (314) 442-7628. Please don’t call that number because, we don’t live there anymore. 🙂

Anyway, back to the dining room. When there was a storm we would all head to the basement for protection. Often our grandmother ‘Nanny,’ would call to see if we were in the basement. Maybe not me all the time, but I remember coming up from the basement during some storm, through the kitchen and into the dining room to answer the phone. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Hello”
Nanny: “Donnie, are you all in the basement?”
Me: “We are and I was Nanny, but I came up to answer the phone!”
Nanny: “Well get in the basement!”
Me: “OK Nanny, stop calling us!” 🙂

The front window to the right is where we installed our only room air-conditioner. We got it from our Dad’s parents. It came from their house. It was large enough to cool almost the whole front of the house when we closed off the door to the hallway, which led from the back of the house to the dining room. But WOW, was this cool, figuratively and literally! 🙂

Living Room

Living Room

I don’t recall there ever being a centered light fixture in this room and never a ceiling fan as shown. Along the long wall sat our sofa and end tables on either side with lamps that lit the room. A previous owner after us had tried to update this room by painting the beautiful red brick of the fireplace and replaced the pebbles and cemented hearth on the floor in front, with in this picture, looks like a white rug. I don’t know if the fireplace still works or not and there is no fireplace screen in front. But we had a screen and fireplace tools on a stand and we often had a real fire burning, especially in winter and especially, especially at Christmas time. At each window sat chairs belonging to the dining room table. Later, to the right of the fireplace the chair was moved to make a space for our first TV. It was black and white. We loved it. It took a long time before we saw anything in color. Let me take a pause here to write about cartoons. In addition to Captain Kangaroo and a local show, Captain Bob, cartoons exposed me to classic music. I may not have known the song or the composer, but I sure recall where I heard this music, from the cartoons!

There were only 3-4 local channels which would broadcast the national network news from just ABC, NBC and CBS first for a half hour followed by local news and then they expanded to an hour. Journalism meant something back then and the University School of Journalism located in our home town, was one of the tops in the country. I think former CBS anchor Dan Rather went here. And by the way, Ernest Hemingway used to work for the Kansas City Star in Kansas City, MO and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is from Missouri. But we kidlits’ loved to go visit our Grandparents that lived near Kansas City at least in part because, they had cable TV which included the ‘Superman’ series among other programs we could not get at home.

The fireplace had a mantle from which our stockings would be hung at Christmas, even for a cat. I still hang a stocking for our cat. Mom would decorate with real evergreen clippings from the shrub outside the window between the fireplace and the front door. She would place little miniatures up there and make a scene that always made me feel big like a giant looking at a little miniature world. Not just at Christmas time, but Mom would decorate that mantle all year-long with unique things like real bittersweet our ‘Papa’ found and brought to her. Mom was a whizz at decorating that mantle!

At Christmas, often I would wake up after I went to bed and come into the living room. All the lights were off in the house except for the lights on the Christmas tree and from the fireplace. I would often find Mom lying on the floor (rug) just looking at the lights and the firelight glow and maybe with a couple of candles lit on the mantle, illuminating the ‘little world’ up there and the hanging stockings. We do not have a real fireplace now. It is a gas burning fireplace with what looks like real logs burning; complete with embers. It is controlled by a digital remote. But we have a fireplace, we have a mantle and we still decorate the mantle, and I still love to lie on the floor, turn off all the lights except for the Christmas tree and the fireplace glow. And sometimes there are candles lit on our mantle, I still have and love miniatures, but mostly I still like Mom, love all these thing still!

Kitchen, Diniing Room and Living Room

Kitchen, Dining Room and Living Room

On the other side in the living room was just enough for our Christmas present one year from Dad, a one piece stereo cabinet. Yay! Mom and Dad mostly listened to swing and big band music on those vinyl albums or LP’s. I used to be able to lay on the floor and look up underneath at all those lit tubes that made it work. It’s funny, I didn’t care too much for this music then, especially when 45’s became available and Rock-N-Roll was in. But today, I love that old music! The other window is actually two double pane windows. Perhaps not all the time, but mostly in front is where we set our real Scotch Pine Christmas tree. Our brother was often the one that strung the lights and all of us would decorate the tree. Our mom used to get some really unique ornaments (one for each of us kids) from many different countries, year after year. Our sister still has a few of these.

Dining Room to the Hallway and Only Bathroom

Dining Room to the Hallway and Only Bathroom

Back from the living room to the dining room was a door to the narrow hallway connecting the back of the house. the door ajar in front, was our only bathroom.

Bathroom Shower

Bathroom Shower

The bathroom was very small and still is. Another owner, after us, upgraded the window to glass block and an enclosed shower. We only had a bathtub and maybe one of those sprayers that fit over the tub faucet, but no shower. There was just a toilet and a small vanity with a medicine cabinet. But this was a scene of many a bathing. One time, we had a small fish aquarium. I had a job of cleaning out the tank. I put the fish into a separate bowl while I cleaned out the aquarium in this bathroom. I thought the fish were cold so, I added some warm water to warm them up. It took me quite sometime to realize that they were floating because, I killed them, with the warm water. 🙂

Shower & Tile

Shower & Tile

Like written in the afore picture, we did not have a shower. This looks nicely upgraded with a shower head and tile.

Our Sister's Room

Our Sister’s Room

Coming out of the bathroom and turning to your left would take you to the door to our sister’s room. Yes, she had her own room and being the only girl, rightfully so. She had two sets of double windows and it was a nicely lit room. Later, after she moved away, I lived here for a little while and I stayed in this room. I always loved this room. Still do.

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Front of Our Sister’s Room

There was no ceiling fan when we lived here. But our sister had her own private door. Behind the wall between the two doors was her closet. It was the largest closet in our entire home. When I was young, I had asthma, a whole host of allergies, upper respiratory issues, frequent bronchitis, pneumonia and sinus infections, plagued me for years. Because of these many breathing issues, I was claustrophobic, for quite sometime. I grew out of asthma and my fears and panic attacks of not being able to breathe and being enclosed in small places subsided obviously because, my sister (my first best friend) and I used to play together in her closet! I like small places now, our sister is still our sister, she is still my friend and we both still love to play!

Relationships in families are all different and unique. Our brother is two years older than I and I am four years older than our sister (which makes him sis years older than her). He was and still is a role model to me, someone to look up to and even someone, sometimes I try to imitate, even if I didn’t understand the reasons, for why or how he did what he did or said what he said. Our brother had great taste in clothing and perhaps, was somewhat of a ‘clothes horse.’ He was an athlete and quite popular with the girls. Who wouldn’t want to be like him!!! I made him mad often by taking his clothes and wearing them without permission. Hey, I just wanted to be cool, like our brother. He was my protector too. I’m sure I did not receive often, even a well deserved beating up, because of him. He even tried to protect me from our father, even if I really deserved Dad’s wrath, which was most likely. Mom never seemed to worry about me when I was with our brother. I felt I got a lot of undeserved respect, just because he was my brother when I was with or without him.

We may be different, but there are just connections that span all space, place and time. We have lived apart in different cities/towns and different states, but some things are just beyond explanation, other than the words, “We’re Family!” After years living apart, we discovered that he and I both enjoyed smoking cigars, especially socially. I like this because, it takes about an hour to smoke a good cigar. After the sports stats and the weather and other such trivia, even guys will eventually engage in good and meaningful conversation! We also discovered that we both like not just single malt scotch, but the same brand. My brother and his wife (also named Susan, whom he married before I married mine) invited my Susan and I to share a cabin for a week. Our two Susans? Was I still trying to be like my brother? 🙂

Anyway, that cabin had a screened in porch and it had a creek running underneath and was surrounded by trees. He and I could have set out there day and night, smoking cigars, drinking scotch and having great conversation, all week long!!! Our girls had other ideas so, we left the porch on occasion, only if we had to, I guess. 🙂

We still live about 628 miles apart, but we are still connected. I don’t take his stuff anymore, but I confess, I get stuff often, just like him. I’m still trying to imitate him I guess, and I DO still respect him, he is still our big and older brother and I still look up to him! OMG he was and still is a tough guy, but WOW what patience just in dealing with the likes of me! He was and is strong enough to be tender, but tender enough to be strong!

HAllway into Our Parents Room

Hallway into Our Parents Room

In the above picture, you can see the door that opens or closes off the hallway from the front of the house. Our sister’s door is in front of this. The door to the bathroom is not seen, but is directly in front of the hallway door. The wall leading to our parents room had a full-length mirror when we lived here. The hallway is where I would often get sent to, to wait for punishment from our Dad from my doing something wrong, foolish, stupid or all of the above. With all the doors shut in this hallway, it was like a ‘time out’ room or a holding cell, for waiting my sentence. 🙂

I would often sit or stand in front of this mirror and rehearse some story I would make up to tell our Dad to try and avoid getting spanked. As imaginative as I was then and still am I believe, my stories were never effective in reversing my due! 🙂

Have you ever heard an adult say, just before you got spanked, “This is going to hurt me more than it is you?” I did.  One time, I was waiting in ‘The Hall’ to get spanked, but I wasn’t trying to make up a story. That time, before Mom sent me to ‘The Hall,’ to wait for Dad, I somehow got to the kitchen without her knowing. I found a small iron skillet and took it with me to ‘The Hall.’ Somehow, I was able to fit that pan under my pants in back, thinking, I would protect my little butt. Dad came in. I was ready. Then he said it, “This is going to hurt me more than you.” You know what is meant, Dad did not want to have to spank me, but he had to. He had to teach me that there are consequences, for wrong decisions. Well, I got spanked and when his hand hit what he thought was my butt, that pan in my britches hurt worse than any spanking because, I know, I got another one after he got over his own pain, from hitting that pan! I’m not sure if it hurt him worse, but like I said, when he figured out what I had done, I got another spanking for that. I never again tried that, ever! I went back to real FaceTime, looking into that mirror and working on my stories. These kept my mind occupied and off of thinking about what was soon gonna’ happen to me. I’m still writing stories today, but not to get out of trouble. 🙂

Mom and Dad had the only other closets in our home, except for our sister. These two closets in size all totaled, were very small, in comparison to hers. And I know my brother and I had to use one of them to hang up our clothes too. And The other one near the door to their room was mostly our Mom’s and it had a panel in the ceiling, for access to the attic. I was never supposed to go into this closet, but one Christmas I did and found a bunch of presents on the top shelf that were tagged: ‘From Santa.’ This was the same year I found our stocking stuffers in that little cabinet in the kitchen. I was devastated, but somehow, I learned to believe and trust again and to this day, I still love the Claus Man! 🙂

Moms & Dad's Bedroom and the French Doors to the Bedroom (study), My Brother and I Shared.

Moms & Dad’s Bedroom and the French Doors to the Bedroom (study), My Brother and I Shared.

Mom and Dad had a double window. To the right is one of the double french doors to the room my bother and I shared. It was originally built as an addition over crawl space as, a study, before we lived here. It is kind of tough living in a room next to your parents bedroom, but I think we might have had drapes put over the glass doors? I don’t recall all the panes of glass always being in. One or more was often getting broken. They were not always quickly replaced and just a piece of glass can make a big difference in what you may or may not hear, coming out of our room or from our parents room. 🙂

Dad would often either fall asleep watching TV or he would play music from a radio in their bedroom. I still can’t fall asleep unless the room is dark and quiet, but I can sure fall asleep watching TV. 🙂

Directly under this room was a crawl space with concrete blocks around the perimeter. We used to store our storm windows and screens here. I know because, in the basement, Dad would raise me up and I would crawl through the basement window opening. The glass and frame had been removed. Once inside the on the dirt floor, I would hand Dad the storms or screens one at a time and he would pull me out safely though that opening and back onto the basement floor. One year, I came to realize just how sneaky your good cat or cats can be. We had cats for years. When one would disappear or die, another one would just show up as if there was some invisible sign on our front and back doors that only cats could read, “VACANCY or NO VACANCY, depending on whether or not we were occupied!” 🙂

There was a table in the center of the basement room. Still it was quite a leap to get from that and through the opening underneath the study. One after another and for years, they all used this as a bathroom. Now all our cats were inside/outside cats. I just always thought they ‘went outside?’ Uhh, NO! We lived in a humid area. The crawl space is just a dirt floor with storm windows and screens stored there. I to this day, can’t believe my brother or I never smelled anything! I still have a cat. It is an indoor cat. She has a litter pan. Cat’s are still sneaky or at least have mental issues, if you get my meaning. 🙂

My Bother's and My Room

My Bother’s and My Room

This picture shows our parent’s bedroom, both our french doors, the area in front of the double window where my brother slept and you can just make out part of the built-in desk. My brother and I were used to sharing a room. In our other home before we moved here, we had bunk beds. At some point here on Anderson Ave. we each got our own brand new twin size bed with wood stained headboard with a center space and two sliding doors on either side. We were used to sharing a room so we had no problem continuing to do so. There were no closets in this room. No ceiling fans, just some lamps here and there. If memory serves me, we may have each had, a built-in light in the center of our headboard? My brother had his headboard up against the wall where the one french door is. We usually had to use the other one to get in or out of this room. My bed was on the other side of this door so the door could not be opened all the way as it hit the end of my bed. This arrangement is most likely, what led to many broken window panes in both doors. 🙂

My Side of the Room and Our Own Entrance

My Side of the Room and Our Own Entrance

As previously shared, we did not have either an overhead light or ceiling fan when we lived here. You can make out some of the built-in features of this room. There was a desk, shelves and a small little closet. All of these were originally stained wood, now painted over with white. My headboard was to the right of the door and the bed ran lengthwise along the wall. You could not open the french door on this side all the way because of the foot of my bed. My bed was up against the wall and it was my little world. I had pictures and stuff on my wall. One time, I must have been not yet 16. I was at several parties with several friends and we somehow were able to get alcohol. I mixed this with that, got drunk, taken home by someone with a license and tossed out onto the grass on the side of our house. I don’t remember anything after that. I have no idea how I got into our home. I assume Mom got me inside somehow, but I don’t recall her ever saying a word about it. Sometime in the night, my bed must have been pulled away from the wall a little bit by Mom. Well I threw up from alcohol poisoning and/or too much mixing of the wrong stuff. If my bed had not been pulled away from the wall when I threw up, I probably would have drowned in my own vomit. I’m still here and I still have an intense gag reflect and I don’t drink like this ever. My sister says I must have had two guardian angels and when I became a Christian, God retired them and the numbers on their angelic team jerseys. I probably should have died many times in my life, but I’m still here and grateful to God, because of it.

124anderson21

All our Built-ins are Still Here, At least When this was Taken, in 1986

Our built-ins are still there and look great painted in white. We had curtains or blinds in our room, but since we did not have air conditioning. the curtains or blinds were left open at night in the summer. The windows were open and the screens were on.

Our brother was the first to grow up and move out on his own. I had this room all to myself. I think he took his bed with him? I moved mine to where his was and in the exact way, but I think I slept with my head on the pillow, near the window and the corner of the built-in desk. I liked looking out the window at night and I could see the street light. At another time, someone gave be a water-bed. I filled this up and it was pretty large. I did not have a frame to go around it so, it just sat mostly in the middle of the floor. It was navy blue. Without any covers or sheets, our cat loved to come in and try to catch the bubbles underneath. None of our cats were ever declawed and I was a little concerned of claws, ripping holes. But it never, thankfully, ever happened. It was ice-cold to lie on so I put some furniture pads from our Dad’s moving and storage business, on top. One time, I actually got our Nanny to try it out. She laid down and got right back up, “This make me seasick, she said. 🙂

I read a lot in the room. I read the Bible a lot here too. I may have become a Christian in this room? But this is neither the only place I lived in our home or where all my fond memories reside. I lived in my sister’s room, for a while after she left home. I even lived in our basement. There is probably not a single room or a single square foot of our home, our yard, garage, my sister’s play house, our neighborhood and our neighbors where there are not still fond memories recorded, by the light writing of my mind and heart or triggered by these and other photographs existing or lost.

I loved our home. I had a great childhood and growing up in Columbia, Missouri. I have the memories and some photographs to trigger them even more. The secret to light writing, photographs, and memories and what makes a house a home is love. Love in the past is what makes these so precious and the memories are secured by repeating much of this past into the present. That present or gift is hope, for the future.

I am thankful that this house of my past still stands. At one point, I wanted to buy it and maybe even live here again. But in one sense, I can drive by when I visit our hometown, but I am not interested in living there or in this home anymore. Maybe I can’t go home again. but I can keep home in my heart, write with light, take or keep my photographs to maybe not necessary to trigger the memories and records, but to keep them alive in my present and for my future and any and all I may touch, until my last breath. So can you! So can anyone! Be a light writer and be at home and be home for others!

No, maybe I nor anyone can go home again, but in sharing this, didn’t I sort of, do just that? This is what light writing, photographs, records and memories are stored for. But even if we have no such photographs or  light writings, we can always go to the archives of our minds and hearts and go ‘home,’ anytime we want to! And we can make up new light writings, new photographs, new records and new memories. Our minds pretty much don’t care if they are real or not, it just wants and needs to write with light!

Let your Gathering Place be where you gather home and the records, and the memories, and the photographs of writing of light!

Categories: Family & Friends, Home, Inspiration, Life, Love, Making Memories, Photography, Things that really matter | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: A Cockatoo Good Morning to You

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

On Friday April 11, 2014, after we checked in at our cottage in Katoomba, NSW, Australia in the Blue Mountains, Susan and Jonathan and I went to town to find some food for super. Caitlin, baby Felix and Fritz the dog stayed behind at the cottage.

The cottage had a large open space for the living, dining and breakfast area, with a high cathedral ceiling. The west wall was all glass and outside was a large wooden deck. Two large cedar trees were on each side of the deck.

The view of the Blue Mountains towards the frot of the deck or due west was incredible! It was the perfect place to view the sunrise, sunset, moon-rise,  moon-fall and the many coolabah (eucalyptus or gum) trees rising mysteriously in the distance. These trees hosted many cockatoos and other birds. Throughout our weekend, we could see them fly over and sunset and sunrise and perch in the trees. And, outside on the deck was a wonderful place to hear the cacophony of sounds and breathe the fresh clean mountain air and reflect on life, chill or just be at peace.

But as we three, on our first evening here, crossed the street from our cottage, at least 100 cockatoos flew overhead, just around sunset. We we brought food home for Caitlin and told her about this, she let us know that she saw the same group of birds fly overhead and land in the trees, in front of the deck of our cottage!

Personally, I’ve only ever seen any of these beautiful birds in zoos and as pets back home in the United States, but and never so many and flying-living free in Australia!!! 🙂

Although I was not able to capture this extraordinary sight with my camera, four cockatoos showed up the morning we left for home. One in particular, seemed more than willing to pose just for you! So I share this ‘Cockatoo Good Morning with You!’

Good Morning from our cottage deck in the Blue Mountains

Good Morning from our cottage deck in the Blue Mountains

Four Cockatoos

Four Cockatoos

Curious Cockatoos

Curious Cockatoos

Strutting Stuff

Strutting Stuff

Got any food?

Got any food?

Sure I'll pose for you!

Sure I’ll pose for you!

Look at me!

Look at me!

Are you looking at me?

Are you looking at me?

It is a beautiful morning!

It is a beautiful morning!

See how high I can sit in the tree!

See how high I can sit in the tree!

I'm so pretty! Thanks for looking! HAVE A NICE DAY! :)

I’m so pretty! Thanks for looking! HAVE A NICE DAY! 🙂

Categories: Australia, Australian Life, Beauty, Birds of Australia, Blue Mountains, cockatoos, Eucalyptus Trees, Family & Friends, Inspiration, Japan, Katoomba, Photography, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized, Visual Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Katoomba, NSW, Australia

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Guhday Mates, from Dahni your Aussie Katoomba travel guide

Guhday Mates, from Donnie your Aussie Katoomba travel guide

On April 11 through the morning of April 14th, 2014, we went to The Blue Mountains and rented a cottage (see last post) in Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia.

Today, I want to share with you some of the flavor of Katoomba. It was a quaint, charming and eclectic community – MY KIND OF PLACE! Besides the fact that it is located in The Blue Mountains and is quite hilly to walk the streets, it reminded me of Telluride, Colorado in the United States. Telluride is a community in the Rocky Mountains where people come to ski in the winter and it is also a hub to get to Aspen or Vale when those areas are closed to airports or other transportation, due to the weather. Although Telluride and Katoomba do not share the same type of weather conditions, it’s their common flavor that is similar to me. Telluride basically started as a ‘hippie communue’ back in the sixities. I suppose as many of them grew up and decided to get jobs and start a ski resort? 🙂

In Katoomba, there are many young people, arts and crafts, just like in Telluride. Our pictorial journey below, begins with an example of some local artwork, a mural painted on a brick wall of an abandoned garage across the road from our cottage. We saw this as we were heading into town.

Mural on wall of abandoned garage

Mural on wall of abandoned garage

In Katoomba, we noted many wonderful and fashionable hats on the heads of many people, young and old, male and female. ‘The Hattery,’ where I found and purchased my Akubra hat you see me wearing in the picture above, is from Katoomba. For more information about my hat in a previous post on this blog see: Hats

But Kotoomba is more than just a young/artistic/eclectic community, it is a travel destination! Katoomba is the city host or gateway to The Blue Mountains and both attract many people from around the world, every year. We noted many differnet people, accents and languages being spoken while we were here. There are several popular and international establishments and connections here. A friend from the United States informed me that soon after we returned from our trip to this area, Prince William & Kate of England were planning on visiting the following week. The English and Australian connection is just one example of many international connections.

Our first night here as we were walking to downtown for some food, some one-hundred (at least) sulfur crested cockatoos flew over our heads. Caitlin stayed at the cottage with baby Felix and she saw them fly right over our deck and into the eucalyptus trees of the Blue Mountains, right around sunset. Even though I did not get a picture of this amazing sight, in a future post, I will share pictures of four of these beautiful birds and sppecifically one that certainly seemed to want to pose for me, from the huge evergreen near the deck of our cottage.

But this night, on recommendation of a local librarian, we went to dinner at an authentic Korean restaurant. Susan and Jonathan ordered each a different entree and I chose one that is supposed to be one of the most popular among street people in Korea. Dduk Bok-ki was so incredible, both Susan and Jonathan wished they had ordered it! It was a sweet rice, shaped like tube pasta, but not hollow. It was made from rice flour and steamed. It was included in this huge plate of steamed vegetables. You could have it mild, medium or hot. I chose medium. It was inexpensive, delicious and so filling and yet, I can’t believe I ate the whole thing, even sharing a lot with Susan and Jonathan, I was stuffed with delight!

Other foods include the best coffee I have either ever had or it’s been so long, I cannot recall any better. This we purchased from a little, almost a hole in the wall, cafe from the Elephant Bean Coffee. Then there was the most incredible fresh-baked croissant from a cute little bakery, I’ve ever eaten and shared the crumbs with a local pigeon. 🙂

In another post in the future, I will share about some Australian beverages, including the chili wine we tasted and bought in Katoomba. Yes, you read that correctly, Chili wine made entirely out of 100% chili. It was sweet and hot. We intended to bring it home, but we opened it as soon as we got back to the cottage and finished it off the next day when we got back home to Camden. It was fantastic with cheese and now that I’ve come to appreciate oysters (at least Australian and Apalachicola, Florida oysters in the US), DEFINITELY WITH OYSTERS!!! I’m almost sorry we drank it with out purchasing another bottle to bring home, but “no worries,” this Australian exclusive product, has a website and this wine can be ordered online and shipped to your door!!!! 🙂

We had dinner and some chocolate at the Paragon restaurant. This place could have a post and then some, all its own. It was a mixture of Greek/Romanesque architecture and art-deco and hand carved reliefs on the walls. It does make me wonder if the garden area behind our cottage might actually be owned by the owners of this restaurant or some related family members?  The food was fabulous and but of course, WE HAD TO TRY THEIR CHOCOLATE! According to their interior signage, it’s the chocolate that made Katoomba famous. I have no way to prove or disprove that statement, but this place has been here since 1921 I believe, has a US connection (the wife of the owner was from the United States), and there are many pictures throughout the place of famous people that have signed their names and have eaten here. So what does that say to you?! Some of the pictures I recognized and some I did not. Art Acord (silent film western star), Clark Gable and Peter O’Toole. So, that’s pretty telling. You can search for the Paragon Cafe online and find many interesting things. They also have a page on Facebook.

There were many unusual and wonderful things to experience in Katoomba, but time and words fail me. The best that I can offer you are some humble pictures. I hope you enjoy them! 🙂

As stated previously, Katoomba is quite hilly and it exercises your heart, lungs and legs to walk here, but well worth the effort! The air was crisp, cool and clear at this time of the year during Australia’s late fall or early winter. Days were nicely pleasant with a couple of layers of long sleeve shirts and the nights build-a-fire cool. The downtown district is home to many cafes, shops and stores from the unusual, the bizarre and the, just lovely. There are examples of fine architecture in beautifully restored or well-maintained hotels and other buildings.

There were many unusual and wonderful things to experience in Katoomba, but time and words fail me. As I said, the best that I can offer you are some humble pictures, my personal recommendation to COME HERE if you ever have the opportunity and a link to some Irish music I recorded live, on my way back to the cottage one day. I hope you enjoy all that follows here! 🙂

Mural on Wall

Mural on wall of the Three  Sisters and etc., of The Blue Mountains at Echo Point

Downtown Katoomba

Downtown Katoomba – sure why not espresso and waffles! 🙂

The Elephant Bean Cafe

The Elephant Bean Cafe (notice anyone familiar?)

The Elephant Bean Cafe (Awesome coffee)

The Elephant Bean Cafe
(awesome coffee)

Bakery with fresh baked almond croissants. YAY! :)

Bakery with fresh baked almond croissants. YAY! 🙂

If you must eat croissants, why not artistically!

If you must eat croissants, why not artistically!

Closeup of our table

Closeup of our table

And the pigeons enjoyed your crumbs :)

And the pigeons enjoyed your crumbs 🙂

My first ever female street performer. She was actually very good.

My first ever female street performer. She was actually very good.

Little Aussie squirrels picture, for  my sister Carol Lee

Little Aussie squirrels picture, for my sister Carol Lee

Ducks or Kiwi birds in boots? I dunno, but they were cute, so I had to take this! :)

Ducks or Kiwi birds in boots? I dunno, but they were cute, so I had to take this! 🙂

Clock bridge over street

Clock bridge over street

Old-time informative bill

Old-time informative bill

Mural of Katoomba Falls I

Mural of Katoomba Falls I

Mural II

Mural of Katoomba Falls II

Hotel Carrington Entrance

Carrington Place (hotel) Entrance

Hand carved wall, Carrington Place Entrance

Hand carved wall, Carrington Place Entrance

Irish connection

Irish connection

Irish connection II

Irish connection II

Want to Wassail me for some mulled wine? :)

Want to Wassail me for some Mulled Wine? 🙂

The circus in town? :)

The circus in town? 🙂

Paragon I

Paragon I

Paragon II

Paragon II

Paragon III

Paragon III

Paragon Chocolate "The chocolate that made Katoomba famous"

Paragon Chocolate
“The chocolate that made Katoomba famous”

Chocolates I

Chocolates I

Chocolates II

Chocolates II

Chocolates III

Chocolates III

Lost Bear Gallery

Lost Bear Gallery (art gallery)

Whale out of wooden sticks

Whale out of wooden sticks in window of Lost Bear Gallery

Oh, there the lost bear is! :)

Oh, there the lost bear is! 🙂

Closeup of found lost bear art

Closeup of found lost bear art

Nice wall

Nice wall

Interesting walk I

Interesting walk I

Interesting Walk II  (same walk, different view)

Interesting Walk II
(same walk, different view)

Can you see the heart shape?

Can you see the heart shape?

Last stop before back to cottage and look what I saw and heard! :

Last stop before  heading back to our cottage and look what you saw and heard! :

Locals, quite possibly of Irish roots, gathered in this pub for grub, beers and cheers and playing some really nice Irish jigs. There were children present and other watchers/listeners like me. Flutes, violins, guitar, banjo, a concertina (similar to an accordion) and one gent (laddie) played the Uilleann pipes. The bar was open and run by another international connection. She was anice lady from Vietnam. It was a gorgeous day and the windows were open in the pub.

Several falutists

Several flutists and violinists and concertina far left

Flute player closest to me

Flute player closest to me

Uilleann Pipe Player

Uilleann Pipe Player

The uilleann pipes are the characteristic national bagpipe of Ireland. Earlier known in English as “union pipes”, their current name is a partial translation of the Irish-language term píobaí uilleann (literally, “pipes of the elbow”), from their method of inflation.There is no historical record of the name or use of the term ‘uilleann pipes’ before the twentieth century. It was an invention of Grattan Flood and the name stuck. People mistook the term ‘union’ to refer to the 1800 Act of Union; this is incorrect as Breandán Breathnach points out that a poem published in 1796 uses the term ‘union.’

The bag of the uilleann pipes is inflated by means of a small set of bellows strapped around the waist and the right arm (in the case of a right-handed player; in the case of a left-handed player the location and orientation of all components are reversed). The bellows not only relieve the player from the effort needed to blow into a bag to maintain pressure, they also allow relatively dry air to power the reeds, reducing the adverse effects of moisture on tuning and longevity. Some pipers can converse or sing while playing.

Source: Wikipedia

And a good time was had be all! :)

And a good time was had by all! 🙂

Please click on the following link to a recording I made of these musicians. It’s only about a minute clip, but I think you will enjoy it.

https://soundcloud.com/dahni-4/irish-music

Categories: Art, Aussie, Australia, Australian Life, Blue Mountains, Chocolate, Coffee, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Food, Fun, Irish, Irish Music, Japan, Katoomba, Music, Photography, The Gathering Place, The Global Village, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized, Walkabout | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Cottage in the Mountains

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Guhday Mates, from Dahni your Aussie Blue Miuntain Cottage Guide

Guhday Mates, from Donnie your Aussie Blue Mountains, cottage guide

On April twelfth through the morning of the 14, 2014 we rented a cottage in The Blue Mountains, in the city of Kat0omba, New South Wales, Australia.

It was a wonderful place full of antiques, plush thick big towels and all the necessary things for comfort as you could imagine. They even had the refrigerator stocked with food which we gladly added to with what we brought and enjoyed some cooking at our home away from home.

The cottage was called: Sidney’s Retreat (Not Sydney, but I think they live there) and is named after the owner’s wife, I believe.

Hot water was supplied by a Rinnai tank-less water heater, so we always had hot water. There was a microwave, coffee/espresso/cappuccino machine, four slice toaster, plates, and other cookware and utensils, silverware, spices, an assortment of coffees and teas.

We had a wood burning fireplace with plenty of wood, but no kindling to start one. Jonathan and I manged to burn a roll of toilet paper and some paper towels for a short-lived fire, due to the wood still being damp and no kindling, but we had a great time trying.

There were gas or electric heaters in every room – each of the two bedrooms, the bathroom and the kitchen/dining/living room = Great room with a vaulted ceiling. There were electric blankets in every bedroom. There were toys for children, a high chair for Baby Felix, DVD movies, a falt screen TV, books even playing cards which we four used a couple of nights.

The deck outside was massive and even supplied a grill if we were inclined to use it. There was an outside table and chairs for 6-8 people. The deck overlooked an interesting classic, ancient Greek/Romanesque courtyard, of stone and statues in process. All of us concurred that we would love to live in this place! 🙂

This was agreat place to explore and visit the town of Katoomba (more about this in another post). But after all is said and done, it’s all about the view from the Great Room or from the deck! The Blue Mountains were right in our back yard!!

Jonathan & Susan at the gate to our cottage

Jonathan & Susan at the gate to your cottage

No. 36 Laurline St

No. 36 Lurline St., your temp. address in Katoomba, NSW, Australia

Path to home away from home

Pathway to your home away from home

Your Front Door

Your Front Door

What's this Samsung thing? Touch your palm to the face?

What’s this Samsung thing? Touch your palm to the face?

Press the two numbers that show (different each time)

Press the two numbers that show (different each time)

A full panel display, insert the four digit password followed by the pound sign and the door opens! AWESOME! i want one of these!!! :)

A full panel display, insert the four digit password followed by the pound sign and the door opens! AWESOME! I want one of these!!! 🙂

Cottage5

Your Bedroom

Our Bed. Rm. with chairs and stuffed toys for kids

Your bed rm. with chairs and stuffed toys and stuff for kids

Big room bath with shower and claw legged tub and the room had a skylight

Big room bath with shower and claw legged tub and the room had a skylight

Living area of Great Rm.

Living area of Great Rm.

I loved the old telephone! wing, wing, wing, Hehwo! :)

I loved the old telephone! wing, wing, wing, Hehwo! 🙂

Part of the spacious kitchen

Part of the spacious kitchen

Outside looking in

Outside looking in

Jonathan, Caitlin, baby Felix and Fritz the dog even had an old pump organ in their room that Jonathan played. This video is for you, Janet Beaman! 🙂

It's All about the View

It’s All about the View from our deck!

It's All about the View II

It’s All about the View II

It's All about the View III

It’s All about the View III

It's All about the View IV

It’s All about the View IV

It's All about the View V

It’s All about the View V

It's All about the View VI

It’s All about the View VI

Categories: Aussie, Australia, Beauty, Blue Mountains, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Food, Fun, Inspiration, Japan, Katoomba, Photography, Simplicity, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: The Blue Mountains

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Guhday Mates, from Dahni your Blue Mountain guide

Guhday Mates, from Donnie The Blue Mountains guide (yours). 🙂

Australian late Fall – April 12th, 2014

Today, we journey into and through the Blue Mountains near Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia. It is an awe inspiring journey into some of the finest, picturesque and photographic adventures, I have ever experienced. But our adventure is for more than just the area’s calling card which is, The Three Sisters Rock formations. For more on the Three Sisters, their lengends, The Three Exploers and etc. from this blog, click The Three Somethings

Our trip begins at Echo Point and The Three Sisters, then we will hike around the mountains and through the forest to Katoomba Falls. The trek is quite rigorous, but I am sixty years old and if I can do it, so can you! My Keene sandals are more than up to the task. Wear warm clothing (long pants, a nice wool shirt and an undershirt, a hat and some sunglasses if you like, but we will be passing through the forest floor of shade and shadows). Grab some water and a camera and prepare yourself to transcend into an incredible state of mind as we ascend the mountains and descend towards the falls. The air is crisp and clear. The sun is full and the clouds are gorgeous. We may even see some bird of prey, soar the thermals above the mountains.

Caution: There will be times that you feel as if you are all alone. You may be able to hear yourself think? You may at times be so at peace within the quiet that the only sound you may hear if you stop moving is, the sound of your own heartbeat. That my friends and companions, is the sound of exuberant joy! 🙂

Glad not alone, for you are not alone. We are all pilgrims here, just passing through. It is a gift to us and to all. The Blue Mountains was made for all to enjoy. For joy, get en (in) to it, all of it and all of your all – en-joy!

Our trip below Echo Point along the mountain side to the falls, will take about 2 hours in and back another way. It is a well made path, but there may be some water from many small mountain streams that may trickle over it sometimes. This will be some good exercise, but well worth it. I do highly recommend this trip to most anyone of fair to good health. Take it slowly if you must, as they say here down under, “No worries!” Catch every breath from every moment that leaves you breathless from such breathtaking views! 🙂

Immerse yourself in this, perhaps a once in a lifetime experience. So, this ends and your vicarious adventure begins with photographs and captions. Enjoy!

Dahni

The Boomerang Bench at Echo Point

The Boomerang Bench at Echo Point

The Three Sisters at Echo Point

The Three Sisters at Echo Point

Bird of Prey Over The Blue Mountains

Bird of Prey Over The Blue Mountains

Note: The Haze over the mountains from which it derives its name is from the oils released from the thousands of many varieties of eucalyptus trees that cover the mountains.

Another View

Another View

The Sunlit Bluffs

The Sunlit Bluffs

Blues, Greens and Purples

Blues, Greens and Purples

Another View II

Another View II

One of My Favorite Views

One of My Favorite Views

Subdued & Blued

Subdued & Blued

My Favorite View

My Favorite View

At Cliff's Edge

At Cliff’s Edge

The Three Sisters from another point of view

The Three Sisters from another point of view

Moving through the forest

Moving through the forest

Majestic

Majestic

Sunlight on The Cliffs II

Sunlight on The Cliffs II

Inside the Living Forest

Inside the Living Forest

The Mysterious Eucalyptus

The Mysterious Eucalyptus

Katoomba Falls

Katoomba Falls

Our journey ends here as close to the falls as we could reach as the lower path was closed. We will just have to return for more views and closer views sometime in the future or in our dreams. My sincerest thanks for allowing me to be with you in this place of beauty. You are beautiful and Donnie Luvs Yah!

Donnie

P.S. WE THANK YOU AUSTRALIA, FOR SHARING YOUR TREASURE!!! 🙂

D.

All Photography by Dahni
© 2014 by Dahni & I-Magine, all rights reserved
any photos you would like either as enlarged  prints  to purchase or to share for FREE, by purchase or permission ONLY
contact me for more information: Dahni1@gmail.com
Categories: Australia, Australian Life, Blue Mountains, Family & Friends, Harmony, Inspiration, Japan, Katoomba, Missing You, Perfection, Photography, Spiritual, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized, Visual Poetry, Walkabout | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Stuff

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Guhday Mates, from Dahni your Aussie Tour Guide

Guhday Mates, from Donnie your Aussie Tour Guide

We just recently returned from the Blue Mountains where we rented a rustic cottage with a gorgeous overlook in Katoomba, NSW, (New South Wales), Australia. While I’m picking and choosing the pictures, I’ll give you an update and background information.

The day before we left, baby Felix came down with the croup. Mom, Papa and Grandma took him to the emergency room about 5:00 am – 7:30. I held down the fort with the three cats, one dog and the three chickens (Chooks).

Felix received some medicine and was given instructions that he should definitely go to the Blue Mountains and that all should enjoy the weekend! We followed those instructions to the letter! 🙂

Today, Tuesday 4/15, he went to the doctor and we received a good report. He is a happy boy again and Mom, Papa and Felix just returned from a walk to the supermarket, for stuff to put into the chicken soup, son Jonathan and Mom Susan are making for dinner. We had a lot of chicken left over from last night. Last night? Yes, last night. After we all got back from the Blue Mountains, Jonathan, Susan and I drove to Sydney for dinner. It was NOT an ordinary dinner, to say the least!

We were invited to this dinner and shared it with 16 other people, in a Jewish home. It was part of the Jewish Festival of Passover and called the seder.

The seder, the ceremonial feast held on the first two nights of Passover, is one of the most intricate rituals in the Jewish calendar, kicking off an eight-day stretch of complicated and demanding dietary restrictions. The initial meal, which ranges from eating bitter herbs to reciting Talmudic passages in a foreign language, usually lasts for several hours—and dinner isn’t served until more than halfway through.

The festival commemorates the exodus from Egypt, a key step in the formation of the Jewish people. The seder is not just a retelling of the story, like the weekly Torah readings in synagogue; it’s an invitation for Jews to relive the liberation from slavery as if they had actually been there in Egypt, to teach the narrative to the next generation, and to claim the history of their people as part of their own individual identities. But even in orthodox Judaism, families have long been accustomed to inviting non-Jews to share in this meal, alongside of them. I suppose this is because the desire for freedom and any exodus we may experience from bondage, is common to all.

But this particular seder was somewhat orthodox with some other unorthodox stuff, all thrown in together.

Guests included those from Poland, China, Sri Lanka, Australia and of course, we from the United States, but those are all the countries I can recall. Give me a break please, there were 18 people there besides me! 🙂

Just the guests themselves made an international and unusual impression. I am not quite sure, but I think all the major religions were represented at this dinner. I do know that Judaism, Muslim, Hindi, Christian and Roman Catholics were present.

Parts of the service were read by our host in Hebrew and most was in English and read by whomever desired to read and from the text re-written with a more modern update, by one of the three daughters of our hosts. The reading was done from 2 iPads we passed around the room. 🙂

It was at least to me, quite humorous to hear the readings by those Jewish with an Australian accent.

Part of the service includes the necessity of having “new” plates and utensils for each part. By “new” I mean that the same plates, bowls and utensils had to be changed during the several courses of the service. But in our case, the “new” was plenty of plastic ware. I can’t recall how many plates, small plates, bowls and utensils we used, but it was a lot! Our hosts were very giving in buying all this stuff that was thrown away as we went through each part. Once the ware or utensil was used, it was immediately thrown into a large plastic trash bag. You would eat or drink one thing and then toss the plate or bowls or glass or whatever, as these were now the “old” and had to make way for the “new.” If that seems like a lot of effort, you should have seen all the food! No one left hungry and I would imagine it took 1-2 days of chopping, dicing, cooking and so forth, to prepare this meal! And there was no bread, only Matzo.

Matzo is a flat cracker like food made with flour and water that is baked without yeast or “leavening.” I actually liked it, especially with the pickled (vinegar) beet-horseradish used as part of their “bitter herbs” requirement for the service. I sat right next to our host Lindsay and across from his wife Cheryl. I think they liked me because, I loved the beet-horseradish so much and told them about my tearing eyes and purple thumbs from making this at home. 🙂

The conversations around the room were about Jewish meanings/symbolism, history, WWII history, veterinarian medicine, teaching, psychology, sports food, differences of food between the United States and Australia and other topics! There was so much going on that I was nearly speechless and just did a lot of listening. I know, to those of you that know me best, it’s about next to impossible, for me to keep my mouth shut! 🙂

The whole event from start to finish, took hours. Sometimes, OK, most of the time, it was just loud and raucous. I loved it! And especially among the three Jewish daughters and their mother and father, the banter back in forth was hysterical! I even told Lindsay that I couldn’t believe that from across the room in the midst of all this volume, any of his daughters could still hear if their names were mentioned in conversation with others, but they did!

There were two dogs hoping for scraps that made the rounds. There were a couple of cats, one that is 18 years old that did make the rounds. I think that cat must have sat in every person’s lap that attended this meal. They liked the cat and the cat sure seemed to love the attention and the stroking. I even petted Tibet, the cat. Lindsay confessed that he loves the two dogs, but hates the two cats. But he is still the one that feeds them and they know this, but just keep their distance the rest of the time. I really don’t think he hates them though! 🙂

I enjoyed all the food and even the sweet red wine with grapes from Israel, grown in California, and blessed by some Rabbi in Hoboken New Jersey before, being exported to Australia!  🙂

That was real, but also a joke as there were several like these from the host family including what they call the Jewish chicken soup, ‘Jewish Penicillin Soup’ (good for what ails you and sickness prevention) or simply, ‘Jew Soup.’ That might sound racist and not funny to some, but I’m not the one that said these things. Well, it’s what Susan & Jonathan made for tonight’s supper from the massive quantity of chicken our hosts sent us home with, for Caitlin, as she and Felix did not attend, to everyone’s disappointment, I might add. But all seemed satiated with not just the meal, but from pictures and videos shared by Papa, with Felix as the main attraction! 🙂

The reason we are having soup tonight is because, everyone here was not feeling too well, except for me, I HAD THE CHICKEN SOUP LAST NIGHT, (while Susan & Jonathan had the orange soup)! 🙂

It was so very nice of our hosts to open their home and their hearts and share the costs and time required to prepare their food with, so many non-Jewish people and even with strangers like me that they had never met. I mean come on, can you get any stranger than me? 🙂

I thought it not polite to take pictures, so there are none. but there are 18 other witnesses (not including the two dogs and two cats that it happened and that I was there! 🙂

But this experience is one I will never forget! It was informative, historical, delicious and hilarious with some really good conversation, all thrown in together. And I would like to think that there, just a for a few hours, it seemed the world people in all their many differences and separations, were all ‘In Common, for this meal!

OK, so that’s a lot of content, where’s the pictures? They are coming! It has been difficult for me to get these posts done on a regular basis. For one thing, we are doing a lot of stuff. For another, I have been having problems with my camera, which needs to be addressed when we get back home to the United States. Another problem I am having is with my laptop. It is good to have it, but it does not perform like or have all the programs I use on my desk top at home to edit and quickly reduce the size of pictures to post. I cannot just use full size pictures in these posts, as I will quickly go over my maximum allowance through my WordPress (free blog). The resolution on my laptop is not as good as my desktop at home. But there is much visually, I do want to share with you and I will just have to work it out when we return.

It has also been difficult for me to adjust here. Last night and while in the Blue Mountains, I was layered, including a wool shirt. This morning, I was wearing a short sleeve shirt, sandals with no socks and I would have had shorts on, but they were all in the laundry. This is how it is here, in Australia. It is fall or early winter here, while it is nearly spring 🙂 in New York where we live. In New York, we ‘fell back’ last fall, when daylight savings time ended. Daylight savings time just recently started here. When you are sleeping there, I am awake here. When I should be sleeping here, you are probably awake there. Sometimes here, it’s tomorrow there and sometimes your today is already yesterday here. Then there is the up and down thing. You are up there and we’re down under here. Please don’t ask about which direction the water swirls here as supposed to there, I have not seen it nor can I tell. And when we leave here in a couple of weeks, we leave on the morning of the 30th, spend the night in Tokyo on the 30th, wake up on the 30th, fly home and by the time we get home there, its already tomorrow here and yesterday there! Everything is really messed up, but people that live here, just like you there, are all probably doing fine. It must be just me that’s messed up! 🙂

Oh, about the hat. Yes, I found my Akubra hat, not the one I was looking for, but one better and $30 cheaper and at size 58 not 57, it fits great! More about that later. Closing for now until again. OK, one picture then! 🙂

Blue Mountains from Echo Point, Katoomba, NSW, Austrailia

Blue Mountains from Echo Point, Katoomba, NSW, Austrailia

Categories: Aussie, Australia, Australian Life, Beauty, Blue Mountains, Entertainment, Food, Fun, Holidays, Inspiration, Japan, Passover, Photography, Religion, Spiritual, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: We Sent You a Card II

by Donnie Hayden  © 2014, all rights reserved

 

For those of you for whatever reason(s) are not with us traveling in Australia, we sent you a card. Hope you like it!!! 🙂

From Katoomba, Australia - Blue Mountains

From Katoomba, Australia – Blue Mountains

 

From Katoomba, Australia - Blue Mountains

From Katoomba, Australia – Blue Mountains

Categories: Aussie, Australia, Australian Life, Blue Mountains, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Inspiration, Japan, Katoomba, Photography, Postal Service, Postcard, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Out N’ Bout Down Under

Guhday mates from Dahni,  Your Aussie Koala tour guide Down Under

Guhday mates from Donnie, Your Aussie Koala tour guide Down Under

 

While I am getting new pictures from our Weekend in the Blue Mountains, I thought I would just share some pictures with you, Out N’ Bout Down Under! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lovey Home in Camdem

A lovey Home in Camdem

Plane & Glider

Plane & Glider

Old Hotel in Camden

Old Hotel in Camden

Palm Trees

Palm Trees

Shoes Over Wire

Shoes Over Wire

Eyelash Car

Eyelash Car

Sign I (Sydney)

Sign I (Sydney)

Sign II (Sydney)

Sign II (Sydney)

Sunset I

Sunset I

Trashcan With Sails like the Sydney Opera House (Sydney)

Trashcan With Sails like the Sydney Opera House (Sydney)

Just Standing Around (Sydney)

Just Standing Around (Sydney)

Pretty Fish (Tank)

Pretty Fish (Tank)

Injected Chocolate with syringes (Camden Show)

Injected Chocolate with syringes (Camden Show)

Bird Walking Downtown (Sydney)

Bird Walking Downtown (Sydney)

Blooming Cactus (Camden)

Blooming Cactus (Camden)

Sunset II

Sunset II

 

Note: All images, photographs and content on this post and this blog unless otherwise noted, are © 2014 by Dahni & I-Magine, all rights reserved.

Categories: Australia, Australian Life, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fun, Japan, Photography, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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