Sunday, August 31, 2008

There's Just One Kind of Folks

My latest book group selection is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This is the first time I've read this wonderful book, and I can honestly say that I now consider it to be one of my favorite books. There are so many themes in this book to explore: character, courage, integrity, wisdom, compassion, forgiveness, understanding, friendship, parenting, justice. Harper Lee explores the many ways in which humans create division, not only race but also class, education, family background, and mannerisms. The six year old narrator, Scout Finch, wisely learns "I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks." Her father, Atticus Finch, has guided her to this wisdom through the integrity of his character and how he treats his clients and neighbors, and even the compassion he shows to those who oppose him and seek to harm him. He gives her some words of advice which we all might consider: "if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Biking Along the Lehigh River

Today we biked 13 miles along the Lehigh River from Sand Island in Bethlehem to Hugh Moore Park in Easton, and then biked the same route back. It was a surprisingly hot and humid day, but occasionally we would bike a refreshing distance under some shady and beautiful foliage. The bike trail is a mostly tree lined path with some pretty views of the river. After our ride we had some tasty Mexican food in downtown historic Bethlehem.

Along the river

Wildflowers in bloom

The bike trail in Hugh Moore Park

Purple flowers along the canal

Friday, August 29, 2008

Phenom Thai Restaurant

Tonight I had a lovely dinner with a friend at Phenom Thai Restaurant in Easton, Pennsylvania. I had the house curry over rice noodles, which was a delicious blend of pumpkin, carrots, green beans, spinach and other vegetables seasoned with coconut milk, spices, and chilis. I also had a tasty salad with peanut dressing.

Beautiful flowers outside the restaurant (experimenting with some black and white photo tinting here)

Artwork on the walls

Inside the restaurant

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lehigh Gorge State Park, Glen Onoko Falls

Today we hiked the scenic 1.7 mile waterfall trail at Glen Onoko Falls three times. Although the mileage was not high, there was a lot of scrambling and climbing, making it a challenging hike. We had a beautiful day, highs in the eighties with low humidity. Later we stopped at Jim Thorpe's charming Hotel Switzerland for sandwiches and other refreshments.

Pretty waterfall

Jules, our fearless hike leader

After a climb

Another refreshing waterfall

Our group (photo from Sylvia)

Another group picture (photo from Russ)

More waterfalls

Waterfall from our third loop, we took a slightly different trail

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Love Mountains

A friend of mine just sent me this video on mountaintop removal of coal. Companies are using explosives to blow off the tops of mountains to harvest the coal. If you are interested in more information or taking action, take a look at I Love Mountains . You can also sign up for more information in the sidebar of my blog, the I Love Mountains blogger's challenge.

Ironton Rail Trail

Today I felt the need for a relaxing day, so I took a leisurely walk on the Ironton Rail Trail and enjoyed the sights and sounds of late summer.

Patterns in the stream

Fields full of flowers

Beautiful cloud formations

Black Eyed Susans along the trail sign

Looking into the woods

Wispy clouds

Flowers growing along the stream

These flowers were growing along a fence.

Gorgeous garden blooms

Brilliant orange marigold blossoms

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Family Vacation in Washington, DC

This week I had a wonderful vacation in Washington, DC with two of my nephews and their families: Scott, Kendllena, Aida, Sean, Afton, and Ella Mae. I had a fabulous time visiting and meeting my two beautiful grand nieces!

On the way to Scott's apartment we walked through the National Zoo. I wanted to stop and see the pandas. Apparently, this is what pandas do much of the time.

We spent time in the stunning National Gallery of Art.

Madonna and Child triptych

Beautiful fountains

Leonardo da Vinci "Ginevra de' Benci". This is the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Western Hemisphere.

Self portrait by Van Gogh

Paul Cezanne "Still Life with Peppermint Bottle"

United States Capitol

Sean, Afton, and Ella Mae

Scott, Kendllena, and Aida

The Washington Monument, an impressive structure! We took an elevator nearly to the top and had beautiful views of the Capitol, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial. Later, I had my Passport to the National Parks stamped with my Washington visit!

The White House as seen from the Washington Monument

My adorable grand niece Ella Mae. When you ask her to smile for the camera, she always strikes a pose! She makes new friends wherever she goes.

My beautiful grand niece Aida. Her eyes are very expressive, when she is happy her entire face lights up with pure joy!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Musikfest 2008

Today was the most beautiful day for a visit to Musikfest in downtown Bethlehem. Temperatures were in the seventies and eighties and the skies were clear and bright. We arrived in the morning for a leisurely breakfast of bagels and coffee on Main Street before the crowds arrived. We saw performances by Marc Silver, LynnMarie and the Boxhounds, Dan May, the Daisy Jug Band, the ever popular Red Elvises, and Eric Steckel, and a few others while strolling around. We consumed our share of mango coolattas and fried pierogies before heading over to the Bethlehem Brew Works for some tasty appetizers and coffee to refresh us for more music!

We started out the day with a relaxing paddle boat ride along the Lehigh Canal.

Pretty fountains in the canal

The butterfly garden attracts a visitor

Well tended blooms of Musikfest

A view of City Hall looking towards Americaplatz

More garden pictures

Behind the Bethlehem Public Library, a favorite spot of mine!

We took a break from the crowds by strolling through one of the oldest cemeteries in Bethlehem. We saw headstones from the early 1700s.

Native American dancer

The crowd pleasing Daisy Jug Band performs a song, complete with washboard and washtub bass. They involve the audience in most of their songs, and the crowd had a fun time banging on pots and pans and forming a congo line. Pennsylvania won the kazoo contest (of course!).

Performance of Swoon at Handwerkplatz. They dance and sway and interact on high flexible poles.

The mysterious Frank DellaPenna of Cast In Bronze played the Carol of the Bells and several others on the impressive carillon, a musical instrument of cast bronze bells.

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