Friday, March 25, 2005

They say we'll learn something new everyday... (March '05)

And while each day that passes... and each year greets me a little more unexpectedly... this proves to be true over and over again! As a teen I often heard adults say to each other - "The older I get the more I know that I don't know anything at all!" More recently I've found that to be true in my own life. When I was 19 I knew my ideals beyond a shadow of a doubt and I KNEW how my life was going to pan out... HA! When I was 25 the realization hit me that my parents were more right than I thought they'd ever be. And now I'm a few years into my 30's and all I know for sure is that I've got a lot to learn.

Last night while my husband and I were cleaning our office (this only gets done when family comes into town), Lee ran into something his mother sent to him at Christmas time. It is a poem called "Desiderata". While Lee says he remembers this going back decades on the walls in his family's home... this is the first time I've run across it in my readings.

Apparently in it's day it was the poster poem for "make peace, not war"... and while this isn't meant to be any sort of political blog, I like what the poet speaks in the lines "And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

While my "universe" isn't as grand and showy and magnificent as The Milky Way, there are questions I have of my Creator daily ... He most often answers with "Just trust me!" If you haven't yet read this, tuck these words away where they fit into your life and let them speak what they will.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Liberty Bell Posted by Hello

Philadelphia - The History of a Nation (March '05)

The older I get the more interested in history I am... (As I sit here and write my thoughts digress to the possibilities of this being a natural progression through life for some people...)

Apologies to every single one of my history and government teachers! I'm now sorry that I merely MEMORIZED the right answers - instead of really KNOWING the answers. I missed out on a lot because of it! Yeah, yeah... you told me so!

But it's never too late... and the more I see and learn of our nation's history and our leaders the more I want to know! Last summer I bought a history book to read through again... maybe now is the time to go pick it up and read through it finally!

We studied the city map first to see what we wanted to see... here is a little bit on the glory of both the old and the new we stumbled across. Check out our online album:

Some of the other sites we saw...

The Graff House - where Thomas Jefferson lived while he wrote the Declaration of Independence!

We walked through the Liberty Bell Center - which surprisingly had a very emotional affect on me. I stood here and read the signs in the museum about what the Liberty Bell stood for - for liberty for EVERY man... and yet such liberties have not been afforded to every "man" in this country.

We stood in awe in the Franklin Court and Ben's Philosophical Hall. We gazed up at the tall building that houses the new Liberty Bell - within the tower of Independence Hall. We honored a moment of silence at the grave of Betsy Ross - in the courtyard of the Betsy Ross House. Here we found a store pawning off at least a million flags - who would have thought?! Here is also where we unexpectedly experienced the city's St. Patty's Day runners - find those pictures yet?! And right next door was an unassuming house which houses the current MTV's Real World reality show set - still being filmed!

We found Elfreth's Alley - which is one of the nation's oldest residential streets. Strolling along the cobblestone of 18th century homes takes you right back in time. I stood there and imagined the era... (admittedly, what little I know of it...) and wondered how different life was then. These must have been magnificent homes in those days. I could feel the strong sense of community spilling out of the windows and doors!

We found the National Constitution Center and U.S. Mint... but after our long walk that day, we were much too tired to hit those as well. So much to do... taking a nap was now at the top of the list! We're how far away from the hotel? Point my walking shoes in the right direction!

The next day we journeyed out to find the Franklin Institute (which is the home to the Franklin Memorial)... all the while dodging the St. Patty's Day parade crowds. We ventured down side streets and stayed warm by stopping into Starbucks of course.

We found a great restaurant (Jolly's - where we would be "regulars" if we lived in Philly) and a fun piano bar (The Redhead Piano Bar - where we met some great people!) . A historical hotel was suggested to us... The Latham Hotel... where we stayed and were treated like royalty within seconds of pulling the car up to the valet spot. Fantastic service for a beautiful place... we'll stay there again!

We stood where Abraham Lincoln once stood (really we did - find the picture that proves it)... we walked through the building that George Washington and John Adams were inaugurated in... who knows, the seat I took in that one building probably once cushioned the buns of other founding fathers. What an honor!

We ended our stay with a visit to both Pat's and Geno's... the philly cheesesteak war lives on for the rivalry joints which sit across the street from each other on 9th and Passyunk Avenues. Read up on the philly cheesesteak history and you'll read that a taxi cab driver invented the new steak sandwich which included sauteed onions and provolone cheese. Since then many variations have been passed down to new generations, including the addition of cheez whiz at some point. We tried both places ("WIT ONIONS PLEASE")... and the controversy lives on for the Tisdale household. Lee favored Geno's! Lori favored Pat's!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

View from Tram stop Posted by Hello

Alaska (March '05)

Alaska - The Experience of a Lifetime!

Being a photographer, I'm drawn to things which speak to me. Those "things" can either be full of life and emotion or innately simple. Alaska on the other hand - I've been having a hard time putting into words exactly what this trip did for me.

A little background for those of you curious how I ended up in Alaska... I had the opportunity to go with my good friend Stephanie as her "assistant" for the week. What exactly does she do that requires her to have her own "assistant"? In terms for us regular folk to understand, she is an Alaska tour coordinator for Holland America (apologies to Steph if that doesn't quite do justice to what you really do!). She sets up tours in various parts of Alaska - travel agents contact her - and then they sell to their clients. So, to kick off the season she was taking a group of travel agents up to "show off" the beautiful state that is Alaska. Therefore, she needed an "assistant"... or at least a good excuse... to bring her bestest girlfriend with her to the land that is a second HOME for her. (LUCKY ME!!!)

Even though I only had a few hours of sleep to run on, I was invigorated and awe-inspired by the beauty around me. From Day 1 we were off and running. We had 26 giddy travel agents to watch after - and they kept us busy! What fun friendships we made over the week!

While we didn't see any igloos or polar bears... we did catch an eyeful everyday. Day 2 brought us a pair of perched bald eagles wishing us a safe journey through Resurrection Bay in Seward, AK - I now think of this Bay as "God's Country" - absolutely astonishing! In that short journey we saw porpoises, seal harbors, lazy sea otters, endangered sea lions, and even a pod of orca whales (we think maybe 20 - 30 of them)... and to see all of these in their natural element brought tears to my eyes (this isn't Sea World, folks!). It made me feel so small in relation to the rest of creation! Wow...

The rest of the week brought us all laughter, dog sledding, snow angels, slipper skating, moose spotting, a few harmless snow ball fights, more food than anyone should eat in a week - including the largest crab legs I'll ever see, cheering for the Mushers and Dogs racing in the Iditarod, souvenir shopping galore, snow shoeing, skiing, endless jokes and stories by our coach driver-extraordinaire Lyle and even a few naps here and there...

I highly recommend Alaska be moved up on your "List of Places To See Before I Die"... just move it up... directly to the top! You have to see it sooner than later - you really do! And my personal recommendation is to see Alaska by land - more than just cruise ships go to Alaska! Really, just trust me on this one!

So, venture on over to my pictures and see what Alaska looked like through Lori's shutter... click on the link below and then on "slideshow"... you can pause it and resume it... have fun!


All images are © Lori Tisdale, 1990-2011 unless otherwise noted. Images are posted for your personal inspiration only and may not be copied/pasted into emails to share with anyone else, posted on other sites, copied for publications, contest submissions, or monetary gain. I'd have to track you down and who knows what would happen then?! Thank you for being considerate.