Weekly Photo Challenge – Neuschwanstein Castle

On our vacation trip in Germany, we visited the Neuschwanstein Castle. We ascended the castle on horse-drawn carriage. We were given a shot of vodka and a wool blanket on our laps before ascending.

The Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival Palace on a rugged hill top above the village of Hohenschwangau with an elevation of 800 m (2,620 ft) in southwest Bavaria, Germany.  The fairytale castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II as a retreat and a homage to the king’s favorite composer Richard Wagner.

The construction began in 1869. The estimation for completion was 3 years. In 1884, the King finally moved in, but the palace was still not completed. He only stayed in the palace for 11 nights before his death in 1886.

Had it been completed, the palace would have had more than 200 interior rooms, no more than about 15 rooms and halls were finished. The largest room is the Hall of the Singers, followed by the Throne Hall.

The Hall of Singers was decorated with scenes from Wagner’s opera, which is based on German mythology Lohengrin, the ‘Swan Knight’. Richard Wagner died in 1883 and had never seen the completed castle. The first performance in the Hall of the Singers took place in 1933: A concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of Richard Wagner’s death.

Walt Disney was so inspired by the fairytale architecture of Neuschwanstein that he used it to create Cinderella’s castle in the 1950 animated film, and the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend

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SoCS December 9, 2017 – Coconut Oil

The Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “liqu.” Find a word that starts with “liqu” or has “liqu” in it, and base your post on that word. – Linda G Hill

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My husband has been taking coconut oil for almost two years. He bought the coconut oil in solid form. He then liquifies it in hot coffee. Sometimes he simply drinks one teaspoon of the liquid form of coconut oil per day.

Coconut Oil

Real coconut oil has a melting point of around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be liquid above that temperature, but solid below that. The difference between a “fat” and an “oil” is that one is solid and the other one is liquid.

In warm tropical climates where coconuts grow, and where air temperatures are almost always above 75 degrees, coconut oil is a liquid most of the time, hence the term “coconut oil.” In North America, coconut oil is a solid, really a fat, most of the year. But “coconut fat” is not a common term. Some have referred to solid coconut oil as “coconut butter,” but in fact, it is coconut oil in solid form.

Research has uncovered the secrets to this superfood that has healthy fats called medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), or medium-chain triglyceride (MCT). These unique fats include:

  • Caprylic acid

  • Lauric acid

  • Capric acid

Around 62 percent of the oils in coconut is made up of these three healthy fatty acids.

Read more on this article, please go to https://draxe.com/coconut-oil-benefits/

 

Coconut oil is beneficial in many ways:

  • Coconut Oil for Hair – This nourishing oil has been used for centuries. Use it as a hair mask, hot oil treatment, or in homemade hair products.

  • To Moisturize and Nourish Skin – Many people like to use it as a natural moisturizer. Its natural antioxidant properties make it great for stopping wrinkles and skin irritation.

  • Digestive Help – Its antimicrobial properties can help fight irritation and infection in the gut from Candida.

  • Great Source of Healthy Fats – Over 50% of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid. Coconut oil is the richest source of lauric acid after breastmilk.

  • Mental Boost – Studies show MCTs may contribute to focus and mental performance.

  • Hormone Support – Coconut oil contains specific fats that support the body’s natural hormone production.

  • Immune Support– The MCTs have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties that make it beneficial for immune support.

  • Great fat for cooking: Coconut oil is a stable oil that doesn’t break down easily at high temperatures like other oils do. It doesn’t go rancid easily and has amazing nutritional properties. It is great for cooking eggs, stir-fries, baked goods, and practically any other cooking use.

Read more on this article, please go to https://wellnessmama.com/5734/coconut-oil/

Linda G Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday: SoCS December 8, 2017

Weekly Photo Challenge – Cheeky Grins

Being a grandma is such a joyful experience to me. I was with Autumn the first day of her life on September 28, 2017. It was an incredible feeling to hold her in my arms. I had the privilege to help taking care of her the first six out of the eight weeks. Then Mercy, Will, and Autumn were at my house during the Thanksgiving week. I’m looking forward to spending time with them for Christmas.

I try to understand and observe the infant’s vision development of the few months.

  • At birth, babies’ vision is abuzz with all kinds of visual stimulation. While they may look intently at a highly contrasted target, their primary focus is on objects 8 to 10 inches from their face or the distance to parent’s face.

  • During the first months of life, the eyes start working together and vision rapidly improves. Eye-hand coordination begins to develop. By eight weeks, babies begin to more easily focus their eyes on the faces of a parent or other person near them.

  • Babies begin to follow moving objects with their eyes and reach for things at around three months of age.

My observation of Autumn was that she started to follow objects with her eye movements before eight weeks old. She focused on her parents’ eyes and responded to them with her grins in the following photos. Autumn will be three months old when I see her in Christmas. I love her cheeky grins!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Cheeky

Share Your World – December 4, 2017

Cee’s Share Your World – December 4, 2017

What household chore do you absolutely hate doing?

I don’t like to do dusting at all. The house gets dusty so quickly due to the drought and winds.

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We don’t have enough rain in southern California to clean the air. It gets worse when Santa Ana winds appear. The winds are strong, extremely dry and down-slope winds that originate from inland affect the coastal southern California. Santa Ana winds are known for the hot dry weather in the fall, but they can arise at other times of the year. These winds, which can easily exceed 40 miles per hour, carry the dust for miles and drop them anywhere on the way.

I’m in the middle of writing this post and found out that the Santa Ana winds just caused several wildfires in southern California. The winds are blowing 50 to 70 miles per hours. The fire broke out in the middle of the night last night and was burning at nearly an acre per second. About 150,000 people in Los Angeles were affected by evacuation orders for the Creek fire near Sylmar and Lake View Terrace. One horse escaped from the fire and fell into a crack upside down. It was kicking the wall for hours until it got the attention. The firefighters were able to break the wall from inside to rescue the horse. It was given the anesthesia and taken to the hospital.

A friend’s son and the family live in the fire zone. His wife took the girls to drive 120 miles through local streets from Ojai to Fullerton City to stay with my friend. In the meantime, my friend’s son stayed behind to take care of his students and their families.

Smoke billows over Ventura on December 5.
CNN – Ventura fire, CA – December 5, 2017
Firefighters work to put out a blaze engulfing homes in Ventura. The fast-moving fire forced sheriff's deputies to scramble into neighborhoods and knock on doors to warn residents to evacuate.
CNN – Ventura fire, CA – December 5, 2017

At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

I am a volunteer counselor. I’m passionate about helping people with emotional needs. I feel alive when I listen and focus on what they are going through and help them process their struggles. Many ladies, who sought help, expressed that I was the first person who listened to them. The counseling helped them to process their grief, anger, abuse, and other kinds of sufferings. At the end, they were able to experience self-forgiveness, forgiving, love, and a new life!

I got my master’s degree in counseling. I did full-time counseling for two years. Then my life took a turn, and I became an educator – a teacher and a school district administrator. After I retired from my education career, I decided to do some volunteer work that makes a difference.

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How many times have you moved in the last ten years?

I have been living in my current home for twenty-five years.

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What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

I appreciate the privilege of being alive which is not something I take for granted.

Three of my friends are battling with the complications of long-term illnesses. One friend started with lung cancer and cancer has gone to the brain. Another friend started with a heart problem and is now battling with lung problems. Yet another friend who started with the brain tumor a year ago, the news today was that the family requested setting up the hospice at home.

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Cee’s Share Your World – December 4, 2017

SoSC December 2, 2017

Linda G Hill’s Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “cramp.” 

Thanksgiving 2017 had come and gone. This is a little recap of the detail. It has something to do with decorating the Christmas tree. I’ll get to it toward the end of the post.

I was hosting the Thanksgiving dinner this year. The previous time I hosted it was in 2009. That was the year I received the chemotherapy and radiation for my melanoma cancer from January to July. I know, I was so brave to host the dinner for 28 people. With the limited energy, it took me two months to get the house ready. Mercy helped me do most of the cooking.

Well, for this year, I couldn’t plan too far in advance. I went to Portland, Oregon for six weeks on three different trips when Mercy gave birth to her first baby, and later I helped to take care of Autumn. The first three weeks of being new parents were quite a learning experience to Mercy and Will. Will went back to work after two weeks of paternity leave. He continues to help when Autumn wakes up in the middle of the night for feeding.

When I came home a week before Thanksgiving, I rushed to the stores to get fall season decoration. I stopped by many stores, all I saw was Christmas items. So, I decided to have Christmas decoration. Why not? Mercy, Will, and Autumn arrived four days before Thanksgiving. Our old, artificial Christmas tree was all worn out and we bought a new one – white color. Throughout the years when I decorated the Christmas tree, I cramped the tree with several strings of lights, many strands of garlands, and years of collections of ornaments. This year, after I assembled the tree, Mercy helped to decorate it. She only used two strings of lights, one strand of garland, and twenty ornaments. She liked the simple look. You know what? I like it also. I like the peaceful and quiet look of a simple tree.

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By the way, Autumn is two months old two days ago. She had her first immunization. Mercy said Autumn handled the shots well. “Good girl, Autumn!”

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Linda G Hill’s SoSC December 2, 2017

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Serene

California coast from Monterey Bay area to San Diego is a good place for whale watching. Humpback whales, Blue and Gray whales migrate through the water for feeding. These whales are enormous, yet they eat small sea creatures such as krill, crabs, and shrimps and the California coast has a concentration of them. Bottlenose dolphins are frequently seen in this water also.

We went on a whale watching cruise in November 2015. We didn’t see whales, but we saw many bottlenose dolphins coming up to the surface of water. A few private yachts were floating in place simply for yachting. The calm and blue water reflected the clear sky was serene. Whether we saw the whales or not, it was a refreshing day.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

Share Your World – November 27, 2017

Cee’s Share Your World – November 27, 2017

Would you prefer a reading nook or an art, craft, photography studio?

I always wanted to have a Sunroom as my art studio as well as for my indoor plants. I like to paint in a room with good lighting. Painting in my backyard would be ideal, but I must put the easel, the paint, other materials, and tools away every day. A Sunroom would allow me to leave everything in the room. The sky, the trees, and flowers are always the sources of my inspiration in any creativity. In fact, a Sunroom could be my reading nook and a place for the indoor plants.

We had a quote this year to install a Sunroom. The one with glass roof costs $40,000, and the kind with glass windows without glass roof runs about $27,000. Do I want to pay that much money for an enclosed patio for painting, reading, and planting? I don’t think so. At the meantime, I paint in a room with good lighting.

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Tell how you are feeling today in the form of a weather report. (For example, partly cloudy, sunny with a chance for showers, etc.)

I feel sunny with the temperature of 75o Fahrenheit. The humidity is 70%. It’s an ideal weather. Too hot or too cold just keep me indoor for different reasons.

I went to the gym with my husband in the morning and had a good workout. In the afternoon, I went to a garden shop and bought a hibiscus plant with salmon flowers. It was a good day for me.

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If you could witness or physically attend any event past, present or future, what would it be?

I love the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s music. I listen to his music so much that when my daughter was four years old, she recognized the Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. For many years, my tradition was to watch The Nutcracker in Christmas.

Tchaikovsky’s collective body of work constitutes 169 pieces, including symphonies, operas, ballets, concertos, cantatas, and songs. Among his most famed late works are the ballets The Sleeping Beauty (1890) and The Nutcracker (1892).

Russian dancers Viktoria Tereshkina (as 'Odette-Odile') and Vladimir Shklyarov (as 'Prince Seigfried') perform in the Mariinsky Ballet production of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake' with revised choreography and staging (1950) by Konstantin Sergeyev after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanovat. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Brooklyn, New York, January 15, 2015.
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The Nutcracker

For a composer who wrote so many beautiful and romantic fairytale ballet music, one would think that he had a healthy life.

He was struggling with his homosexuality and suffered from depression. His last composition was The Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, Pathétique. It was his most emotional and melancholy music which was written between February and the end of August 1893. He led the first performance of the Symphony in October, nine days before his death on November 6, 1893.

If I could, I would love to attend Peter Tchaikovsky’s first performance of The Symphony No. 6 in B minor.

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What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

Mercy, Will, and baby Autumn came to visit us from Sunday to Friday last week. They came to celebrate my birthday, the day before Thanksgiving. They spent Thanksgiving with us along with sixteen family members in our house. It was good to see my husband’s family members. I was also happy to see my sister’s family.

Autumn is a good traveler. She slept all the way through the two-hour flight from Portland, Oregon to southern California. She slept most of the way home.

Cee’s Share Your World – November 27, 2017