Friday, February 25, 2011

Foto Friday: Eastern coastline of the South Island of NZ

This week as the stories about the death and destruction from the earthquake in Christchurh, NZ were reported, I was saddened for the people of NZ, and people of other countries, who lost friends, loved ones, and general parts of a beautiful city.

The photo above is one I took off the eastern coastline of the South Island of New Zealand. My husband and I were traveling from Christchurch to Picton, were we would ride the ferry, crossing the Cook Strait to reach the North Island.

Christchurch was the one city we spent the most time in on our trip, as most of our time was spent in rural areas of New Zealand. Our first splurge, ever, on an excellent meal in a well known, and award winning, restaurant called Hays- where we ate some of the best lamb in our lives.

After an excellent meal, we walked around the city visiting the shops, buying all of our souvenirs for the trip, and stopping for dessert at a cafe in the SOL Square where I had a long black and an amazing chocolate mousse.

We only spent one night there, but art museums, historical districts, and the natural beauty of the area could have kept us busy for days.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Recent Reads: Playing the Enemy by John Carlin

Not too long ago, after the kids story time, one of the librarians and I were discussing reading. She said while her kids were growing up there was a time where she didn't read. I wondered: how can you live a fullfilled life without reading; how could you miss out on years of reading, my list would be so incredibly long I would have to hide away somewhere to complete it all. I guess not everyone is a total bookworm like me, but even though I have small children I still take considerable time to read. I'm not about to miss out, but I do understand how time can slip away (even still, there is always time to read before bed, or wake up before your kids do- I'm not obsessed).

Now, I don't have a dishwasher which has led me to listening to Pandora, NPR, Jazz, seminars- you name it, anything I can find interesting on Internet radio- while I'm cleaning dishes, and how I have gone about reading this book, or listening, rather, since the library only had an audio version.

Of course, I went about the book all wrong. I watched the movie first- "Invictus"- which was based on the book "Playing the Enemy". However, if I had not watched the movie, I probably wouldn't have read the book- it's nonfiction, and I generally don't read nonfiction.

John Carlin tells the story of Nelson Mandela's imprisonment, his release, how he became elected, and how he used the game of rugby to join a nation full of racial and political unrest. Through interviews with Mandela, his followers, and members of the opposing political party, Carlin tells of Mandela's life in prison, how he overcame the anger and injustice of being imprisoned, and what he learned in prison that would help him to lead South Africa fairly during a time full of much turmoil.

I have been overcome with how a man who has seen so much injustice in his life could be so forgiving, and be strong enough to lead fairly and not try to make up for all of the injustices that happened to him and the people he came from.

The movie "Invictus" is good, too; and draws more on the humanity and drama of the situation- and makes me respect rugby players a whole lot more.

Either way, movie or book, it's a story worth paying attention to.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Yoga

Beginning yoga has been a positive and healthy experience for me. I have always been interested in the practice, but never stepped out to try it. So far this is my second week and I am looking forward to the continuation of the class as I become stronger and more comfortable with some of the poses. Already this week I felt more confident as I stood on my left leg, the right bent and my ankle resting on my left leg and my hands closed and held together at my heart (right now I don't recall what this one was named).

Concentration and balance are needed to stand in such a way, and I found as I focused, really focused, on what I was doing, each position was much easier to complete.

The instructor talked about keeping our lives in balance, keeping the negative aspects out of our minds, focusing on the positive. She asked us to be aware during the days ahead when we found ourselves in a negative situation and how we responded, hopefully positive, and if not, to start being more aware of our response. Interestingly enough, the sermon at church on Sunday paralleled that thought, only more focused on love and our response to one another.

There is so much to learn in this life, and I realize how much more I can enjoy my days when I am balanced and my eyes are fully opened to the beauty around me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A February Night

Winter returns tonight as the snow whips around outside, gathering on the windows-mostly on the left side- displaying a collage from the tormenting wind. Drifts will line the road, giving the plows and tractors more snow to push up onto the already existing mounds, or creating even more places to play King of the Hill. People say they haven't seen this much snow in 15 years, but still consider this a more "normal" winter.

All day the sun showered down rays, warming the earth and melting snow and ice into small rivers. Our hours of being outside were extended, and doses of vitamin D helped to boost every mood and kept me from believing the flashing Weather Channel icon on my computer, the one telling me a Winter Weather Advisory would be in affect.

Now as I listen to the icy bits of snow hit my window and realize the neighbors houses are no longer visible through the torrent taking place outside, I wish the peek of spring I viewed before would be here to stay.