Tag Archives: 2023

Turning The Page

No Matter What. Sorobon Beach, Bonaire

I hesitated to jump on the “23 for 2023” bandwagon, but I didn’t want to let the old year slip away without somehow acknowledging its passing. For those of us with way more “Before Times” than “Future Times,” I think it is generally better to keep our eyes forward with just the occasional glance in the mirror. But it is kind of fun to look back on the prior year before diving into the new one.

Just to be different, I skimmed through my Lightroom catalog and chose one photo from each month (except April – I took no photos in April, strangely. So I chose two from March). Not necessarily the best or most memorable photos, just one that would represent where I was and what I was doing.

Ben aka Benjamin David Seybert

In January, we welcomed Ben to the world. He was born in December 2022 but Kathy & I didn’t get to meet him until January. Ben is my grand nephew, my brother’s grandson and son of my brother’s daughter. Here’s Ben today:

Ben today. Photo from his Mom.

We spent the month of February on cruise ships. It didn’t matter what photo I chose, but I like this one.

Fairview Great House and Botanical Garden on St. Kitts

In March we visited Stanton, Virginia with friends. I made this photograph as well as the one below it which represents April.

Shadows. Staunton, Virginia
Triangular. Abandoned train trestle supports in Staunton, Virginia

This colorful character was maintaining contact with the outside world instead of enjoying the Conservatory at the Biltmore Estate.

The Conservatory. In the gardens of the Biltmore Estate.

We visited a lot of distilleries in 2023, including Bardstown Bourbon Company in June. I even made a few photographs. 😉

Rick house at Bardstown Bourbon Company in Bardstown, Kentucky. One of the loveliest smells in the world!

In July we made our first-ever visit to the U.P. of Michigan. I just had to stumble out our friend Jeff’s front door to make this photograph. Thank goodness for articulating LCD screens!

Shoreline of Lake Superior from near Eagle Harbor, Michigan

In August, we were visited by the world’s second heaviest gross weight production cargo airplane and heaviest operating cargo aircraft, the Antonov AN-124. It occasionally makes a stop in Charlotte to deliver aircraft parts, and I was fortunate to be able to catch a glimpse from the Airport Overlook at Charlotte Douglas.

Antonov AN-124 cargo plane departing from Charlotte Douglas International Airport

September found us back in Bourbon Country again. I managed to make a few more photographs before a tour. We could almost give the tours, but they are always fun.

Reception area at Makers Mark Distillery near Loretto, Kentucky

In October we ventured back to Europe for the first time in 5 years. I actually stink at candid photography but every once in a while even the blind squirrel finds a nut. I found this one during dinner at an outdoor restaurant in Prague.

Night time in Prague, Czechia

November found us back on a cruise ship. This scene was a photograph waiting to happen. It was not our ship. 🙂

No Matter What. Sorobon Beach, Bonaire

After our November cruise, we stopped by to visit some friends near Orlando. One evening we visited Disney Springs, and this scene was from the restaurant where we had dinner. A photograph was required.

Hot air balloon at Disney Springs, Florida

We have lots of travel already planned for 2024, and I have a few more posts to make from our 2023 travels which I hope to have finished in the next week or so. For now, Kathy & I hope everyone has a joyful and enjoyable year in 2024. Thanks for sticking with us!

What’s Our Role?

Statue on the Charles Bridge in Prague

As hard as it is to believe, Kathy & I will soon be celebrating 6 years of retirement. Time has flown by, for sure! When we contemplated retirement, we talked about what we would do, and occasionally talked about some kind of volunteer activity, like reading to grade school kids, financial counseling or something to use our former work skills. Interestingly, that has never transpired. Why? Most likely inertia or lack thereof, although we’ve rationalized a bit with the idea that our frequent travel would prohibit us from committing to a regular schedule and that anyone looking for volunteers would probably want a more reliable attendance. I have no idea if that is true because we’re never checked. But we keep thinking that we could be doing more without compromising free time or travel.

Downtown Prague, Czech Republic

For the last 10 years, Kathy & I have lived in a 55+ neighborhood. When we first moved here, we were barely 55 and still working, and even after 10 years we are still among the youngest residents. We have struck up a nice friendship with a few other couples of similar ages, although even they are a little bit older than we are. We have had rotating dinners at our respective homes and recently did a holiday progressive dinner. We find it much more fun to drink and eat at our and our neighbors’ homes as opposed to overstaying our welcome at a restaurant and then having to drive home. Much safer to walk!

Night time in Prague., Czechia
Night time in Prague., Czechia

Kathy & I have had peripheral involvement in our neighborhood, with Kathy participating on the Social Committee and me on the Finance Committee. We have mixed feelings about participating more, such as board membership or committee chair. We’re pretty protective of our time at home, generally preferring to mind our own business and stay out of the way.  But we’re also aware that we have skills and knowledge that would allow us to contribute more.

Downtown Prague, Czech Republic
Scene from around Prague Castle
View from our hotel room at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Prague, Czechia

Kathy & I were talking recently about how so many of our neighbors are old enough to be our parents’ ages. Many of our neighbors are widows or widowers, and although they have children and other family around, they spend a lot of time on their own. For the most part they’re nice folks and we enjoy spending time with them. Like all of us, they have their foibles, but they have been a source of encouragement and inspiration. Encouragement because many of them have been travelers themselves, and are quick to tell us to “go while you can” and “don’t wait.” Inspirational in both positive and negative ways, unfortunately. Positive as in having done things we aspire to do, negative as in seeing the unfortunate result of years of not taking care of their health or finances.

Downtown Prague, Czech Republic
St Vitus Cathedral in Prague, Czechia
Views from atop the castle hill in Prague, Czechia

Since we no longer have living parents, I mentioned that maybe we should try and get to know some of these older folks individually. I still cherish the memory of time spent with my grandparents, and feel that some of our neighbors would probably appreciate the attention, and we would undoubtedly enjoy the conversation. Group activities are okay, but once the group gets to be more than 5 or 6 people, “conversations” are more challenging, especially for those with difficulty hearing or being heard. I’m a little leery of a friendship evolving into some kind of surrogate caregiver role, but I think it’s possible to be aware and set limits if necessary.

The Palladium shopping mall in downtown Prague
Public market in Old Town, Prague

Anyway, this whole thought process revolves around my idea that we all have various roles to play. Child, parent, spouse, worker, traveler, customer, friend, mentor, etc. Just because we aren’t “working” doesn’t mean we don’t have something to contribute. Helping others is a lot more rewarding than watching the news or playing video games, and it behooves all of us to spend some time considering our place in this world. It’s an evolving concept and I’m looking forward to seeing where it leads.

Being Knotty

Roped. In Kralendijk, Bonaire

For some reason, I have a thing for ropes and knots. I can’t tie a decent knot to save my life (even my shoes!) but I do like photographing them, especially those along docks and on boats. This is a small collection of photos from our recent cruise plus time in Florida.

Boats and boat stuff at the Bluffs Marina in Jupiter, Florida
Boats and boat stuff at the Bluffs Marina in Jupiter, Florida
Boats and boat stuff at the Bluffs Marina in Jupiter, Florida
One of the critical operations of a cruise ship departure is “letting go the ropes.” These were taken from the helipad during sailaway from Curacao aboard Celebrity Equinox
One of the critical operations of a cruise ship departure is “letting go the ropes.” These were taken from the helipad during sailaway from Curacao aboard Celebrity Equinox
Oranjestad, Aruba
Oranjestad, Aruba
Nautica. George Town, Grand Cayman
Nautica. George Town, Grand Cayman

Why Do People Litter?

Shete Boka National Park, Curacao

Monte’s recent post reminded me of this sign I came across on the island of Curacao. Litter, and trash in general, is a problem everywhere. This particular sign was in a national park, which thankfully appeared to have its litter problem well under control.

I need to get a sign like this and post on the road in and out of our neighborhood.

The Good Seats

Colorful seats. Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida

Kathy & I had stayed home for a few weeks when it was time to venture off again. We just returned from a swing through Florida that included a cruise with friends, a few days post-cruise with those same friends, then a few more days with other friends.

Our first stop enroute to Fort Lauderdale was Daytona Beach. We had some extra time so we decided to take a tour of the speedway. I haven’t followed NASCAR for many years, but it was still interesting to take the tour and visit the museum. This is just a sample of the photos, but I’m just getting started on looking at them!

These seats are located on the main straightway, on either side of the Start/Finish line. No idea how much they cost, but they are kind of low. Regardless, they look like they would have a close-up view of the action.

Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida

Postcard From Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava, Slovakia

We spent an afternoon doing a walking tour and generally exploring this wonderful town. Our group stopped for drinks at a little cafe and enjoyed some of the local tasty treats!

This will be the last of my postcards from our river cruise on the Danube. Anyone interested in more photos can check out my Adobe Portfolio site, where I have posted a bunch of photos in several galleries.