The Beauty Of Amsterdam

We spent Thanksgiving in Amsterdam this year with the Rooijens, Meg and Jake.  It was a wonderful holiday.  We were fortunate to spend this uniquely U.S. holiday with our Dutch family.  We did not know it would be the last holiday we would share with Rudy. But it gives us quite special family memories.

Amsterdam is a city of great beauty.  the historic center represents elegance and power.

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Even during Amsterdam’s winter season, flowers are in abundance.  The varieties are endless and the prices are quite modest.

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Laura, Michel and Sophia live in a lovely urban apartment, with restaurants, markets and retail shopping to rival New York or Paris.

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In the center of town, adjacent to the canals, we came upon this wonderful caravan which is, or could be, a home for a Roma/gypsy family.

While nothing like the kind of housing we have come to expect in the states.  It is quite lovely in its uniqueness.

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View From My Window

Oh, how I envy Meg’s California vistas.  The ocean, the rocks and the shore.  I haven’t even mentioned the vineyards.

But late last week I was reminded that Kansas City also has some great views.  When my co-worker encouraged me to look out my office window I was surprised and delighted with the simple beauty of the late afternoon skyline.  Hope you like these photographs “from my window”.

These pictures are taken facing West from the Jackson County Courthouse.  They were taken at about 5:00 p.m. as the sun was setting.  The combination of the rich color of the sky, combined with the lights from the city structures are a simple reminder of the loveliness of city life.

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Even within the course of a few minutes, the colors of the sky changed dramatically.

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Enjoy, and have a great weekend.

Night lights from the American Restaurant

We were invited by friends to a special event at the American Restaurant in Crown Center, in Kansas City, Missouri.  It is one of Kansas City’s finest restaurants.

Alas, not expecting any need or desire for a camera, it didn’t occur to me to drag along my Nikon. And I could barely squeeze a lipstick and iPhone in my fancy (meaning tiny) evening bag.  I was facing the center of the restaurant.  Terry was beside me and had been talking with our host.  He suddenly pulled out his iPhone and took a photograph of the western sky.  If Terry noticed the view, I knew I needed to turn around to see what he discovered.  The sun had just set and there was still some light in the sky.  But the buildings were ablaze with color.  I dug out my own iPhone and took a series of photographs.  Here they are.

This is the sky looking North West from Crown Center toward the Kauffman Performing Arts Center. Directly below us there was a nearly deserted street fair with a sky-walk that weaves through the center of the image.

With my iPhone camera already at work, I turned back to the center of the restaurant and refocused my attention on the pattern of lights in the ceiling.

Finally, I became that another window reflected the lights of the American Restaurant. When nearly all the residual light was gone, I took a final series of photographs.

Funny that a lot of wonderful shots are just waiting to be noticed.

A Day on the Coast: From Mom’s Camera

Northern California is an amazing place to visit.  It is even better when we are hanging out with my favorite people. Terry and I spent a long weekend visiting Meg and Jake’s favorite places in Sonoma and Marin Counties.

While Jake worked Friday, Meg, Terry and I loaded up Meg’s Jeep Patriot and our cameras and headed for the coast.  Well, I don’t want to overstate this, Terry and Meg have real cameras, I only had my iPhone, but I was anxious to see what kind of photographs I can get out of my newly upgraded iPhone camera.

Our first–unexpected–stop happened when we happened on this great tree by the road. We stopped, turned around and drove back for our first photos of the day.  It isn’t just a great gnarly tree, it is tree that gives new meaning to the concept of having a rocky start in life. Meg’s photo was on our blog yesterday.  Here’s mine.

Minutes later we arrived at Point Reyes Station, a lovely little town near, but not on, the coast.  It’s population is either 340 people or 848 people, depending on which source you believe.  It is such a great old town. I mean, when is the last time you saw an automobile repair shop with an entire row of deer heads on the wall?

There was a community garden and an organic market that surprised me by offering beautifully arranged produce, at least some of which was from–Mexico.

Meg and Terry were looking for tasty beverages while I focused on the wonderful “Born in the USA” look of this little town.  We happened on the Cowgirl Creamery that actually makes cheese right in Point Reyes Station. The cheese and the bread they sold were as visually appealing as they were delicious. We purchased a bag of sample sized cheese for under $15.  The cheeses were a hit at dinner.

With regret, we left this great town and continued on.  Ultimately, we arrived at Bodega Bay, well-known for its beauty, but also as the location for Alfred Hitchcock’s wonderful movie, “The Birds.”  The Tides restaurant is still serving tourists, and the gulls continue to sit on the picnic tables and stare down from the eaves of the buildings.  Not hard to see how a creative mind could see them as menacing. But they are actually delightful and add to the atmosphere.

The views were beautiful.  We were ready to try to find a way to move here just for the privilege of waking up every morning with one of the world’s great scenery.  Unlike many of the places we visit, mile high condos have not yet spoiled the view.  There were actually modest cottages within a block of the water.  Who wouldn’t want to want to be “Sittin’ on the dock of the bay,” if the bay was in Northern California.

We headed to the Bodega Bay marina. Obviously, just around the corner, but it had its own personality.  Commercial fishing is serious business here. Even the boats have just the right amount of rust to be authentic workings boats.

The best of the “fishing” was for crab.  We stopped at the Spud Point Crab Shack crab.  Just about all it sold was crab, crab and crab.  But why not!  It was freshly caught and it was wonderful. We shared a sandwich and were on our way.

The area had fun with its heritage.  Carved wooden sailors graced more than one establishment and gave a festive air to the marina.

Our last stop along the coast was Bodega Head.  It is a beautiful view of the ocean and is considered a major destination for anyone who wants to watch for migrating whales.  We looked, without success.  But we watched the waves as they came in over the rocky beach.

It was a great day on the coast, and we’ve had a great time comparing my iPhone pictures with the pictures from Meg’s camera.  Next, it’s off to the wine country.