A journalist at heart, the Haibun gives me the chance to explain the back story.
Tip: Editing Pictures without Photoshop
This morning I read the list of block types. Editing pictures is a snap. Last month, for Becky B’s BrightSquare Challenge, I struggled to make pictures exactly square in Photoshop Elements 15. I would get between 1-10 pixels off unless it luckily snapped into place. With the block editor you don’t even have to try.
It did not add a watermark and when I cropped it, the old watermark was either cut in half or disappeared.
As a cognitive coach for the County Office of Education, I learned and practiced the skills of good listening. Lean forward towards the person talking, mirror their movements like crossing and uncrossing arms and legs. If they are tense, lean back and give them space. When in doubt, repeat their words to validate them. Don’t offer an opinion or story. Listening is not about ME!
Why are you listening? Are you conducting a therapy session and you want to make your client better? Do you love the person you are listening to and want to validate them? Do you want information from them to use against them in a court of law? Are your trying to learn something for a test or gather material for your next novel? I would argue that everyone has a motive for listening.
Listening and remembering are two different skills, but one augments the other. If you can’t remember, what good does it do you to listen carefully? If you listen carefully, AND have a poor memory, then you should take steps to help your memory.
You may wonder how I tie listening to purple flowers.
Carol and I strolled through many gardens together. One of my favorites was the Treasury Garden in Melbourne. Everywhere we looked, Carol had more information for me – names of flowers, trees, buildings, birds, bodies of water, statues. I admit that sometimes my mind took a vacation, but my lapses always caught up with me and sold me short when I needed information.
She took some beautiful pictures of bird of paradise, then wandered off and found this agapanthus. But here is the problem. I kept notes, but not great ones, mostly pictorial. Now the only records I have are in my earlier posts about Australia. My posts were not precise about every item we saw. Why? Either I didn’t listen or didn’t retain what my Australian friends told me.
My Listening Score: 2.5 out of 5. I gave myself credit for writing it as a caption on my photo from 2016.
After Melbourne, we flew to Ballarat and visited the historical part of the city known as, Sovereign Hill. At one of the vintage houses we saw these beautiful “spikey purple plants,” as another blogger called them.
I may have asked Carol or her sister-in-law, what they were, but three months later when I wrote the first post about them, I did not know what they were. But the answer is in Google or Bing if you look hard enough. It was also right under my nose at the Woodlake Botanical Garden also on file in my WordPress media file.
My Listening Score: .5 out of 5. I gave myself little credit because if I did hear it, I didn’t write it down or look it up so I would remember it later.
My Listening Score to Manuel: 1 out of 5. I recognized the picture on Bing and knew I had an artichoke.
Purple in Prescott, AZ
Finally, back to the here and now in Prescott. My neighbor has been spraying what she calls “vincas” like they were invasive enemy #1. They might be. They are not like the vincas, also known as periwinkles, I remember from California. Bing had pictures of vinca major that look like my back yard where these pictures were taken.
Listening Score: 5 out of 5 So far both short-term memory and listening skills are working.
They seem too beautiful and delicate for be attacked as an invader.
California Purple Monsters
California has it all
Not to be left out!
Morning Glory plants win the prize for both beauty and killing roses. Puppy Girl enjoys the shade provided by the Morning Glory tee pee built by Manuel Jimenez, the founder of the Botanical Garden in Woodlake
Listening Score to Manuel and my friend Sylvia who told me about Morning Glory 35 years ago: 5 out of 5.
I gave myself extra credit for remembering a factoid for over 35 years.
Another beautiful invasive species that I planted all over my yard in California is the Mexican Petunia. Even when you think they are dead sticks, they are working on their rhizomes, “a continuously growing horizontal underground stem which puts out lateral shoots and adventitious roots at intervals.” Wikipedia. Our home buyers may love them, but if they don’t, it will be difficult to get rid of them.
Listening Score 3 out of 5. I still want to call them Mexican pansies.
See you next week on Sunday Stills. and Sunday Poser
When you visit family, what do you do? Sit in the living room and talk, watch TV? STOP THAT!
Be an expert traveler instead.
Six Tips to Become an Expert Traveler AND Make YOUR Trips More Fun! 🙂
Tip #1. Visit at least one tourist attraction per visit.
I love to walk. My mother’s cousin, Hal, age 91, is an expert traveler. He is also an expert host. When I visited him in September we walked for two hours through Winterthur, a beautiful garden in DE. While walking we met a retired couple who walked there often.
“We walk here and at Longwood Gardens,” they told us.
Hal thought I had been to Longwood Gardens before. But since I hadn’t, the next day we drove 15 miles to Kennett Square, PA to see the iconic Longwood Gardens.
Tip #2 After touring every kind of tourist attraction and museum in the United States and Europe, the best advice I can give you about touring like an expert is never to think you are an expert. Tobe the expert traveler, listen and learn as you go. Let your family, friend or guide be the expert on the places you visit.
I love to go in green and come out with more knowledge than when I went in. That way you can be flexible. Go where your host or hostess takes you! You won’t always know where you are going. When you blog about it after the trip, here are four bonus tips.
Bonus Expert Traveler Blogging Tips
You can make comparisons between that attraction and another you have seen.
Share your guesses about what you saw, then check your facts either online or in books you buy.
If you load up on facts beforehand, you will probably forget them. Worse you might get into a “who’s right” argument with your host. Take it from me who’s “Always Write,” that’s not cool!
If you know taking company somewhere, you SHOULD check your facts first. but you’ll probably forget them because you don’t need to know them yet.
Tip # 3 The exception to that is if your friend says, “Read this book before you come.” DO IT. You may appreciate what you see more. If you are traveling with friends, you all become expert travelers.
That being said, you are going to become an expert about Longwood Gardens. Or you can remember a time you went to Longwood Gardens.
The Outdoor Gardens at Longwood Gardens.
We arrived at about 11:30 am, and unlike Winterthur, there were no shady areas to walk. The September sun warmedbroiled boiled us and water features added humidity to the air.
Pierre du Pont, an expert traveler around the world, enjoyed water features. He especially loved Italy. We came across a lake across from the Italian Water Gardens.
Unless you happen to be a frog, you would not want to jump in and swim in this lake.
Does anyone want an algae kiss? Ribbit, Ribbit.
I stood inside the lakeside gazebo to photograph Hal looking at the lake.
What impressed me most about this gazebo was the ceiling’s intricate pattern. Pierre du Pont designed his own gardens. He incorporated much of what he learned on his travels to Italy.
With thousands of plants on thousands of acres, Longwood Gardens is a photographer’s paradise. I couldn’t click fast enough. We did not let much grass grow under our feet. But some grasses grew high over our heads.
The display of flowers on the grounds outside reminded me of Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. Stonework abounds here in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Unlike its Victorian counterpart, Longwood Garden is not built into the rock quarry.
Almost 100 Years Ago
Imagine back to the roaring 1920s. Hal was just born. Imagine what technology was like. Car travel was still new. Freeways were still thirty years away. Yet, in 1925-27 Du Pont created the Italian Water Gardens with the most elaborate water show in the world. The Gardens reminded me of the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Overlooking the Italian Water Gardens is a Canopy Cathedral. What attracted me were the windows. It was not as grand inside as the windows led me to believe, but it was worth the short climb to go inside to look out over the meadow.
Much of the wood for this structure came from reclaimed wood. I love that the millionaire, DuPont, was more than an expert traveler. He concerned himself with ecology and conservation of the community where he lived.
The floors of this Canopy Cathedral came from a toothpaste factory in Toronto, Canada. That left a sweet taste in my mouth! The windowpane treehouse overlooked the meadow and Italian Water Gardens.
Exploring improves the expert traveler’s experience. Not many people were at the gardens outside in this area. I walked the stairs alone. I felt like a kid going into an abandoned treehouse. It was ripe for imagining a different time.
Be an Expert Traveler When You Come Home, Too.
My parents and their friends used to entertain each other with their travel (or kid) slide shows. From my perspective as a six or seven-year-old, none of them were exciting storytellers. We sat on the living room floor in a darkened room as they droned on about their trips.
Tip #4 Break your tour photos into groups. Entertain readers a bit at a time. Remember home movie days, and be kind! 🙂
Tip #5 Describe how you felt about what you saw, not just what you saw.
Today we all have the opportunity to be travel experts and create our own magazine articles. We are publishers on our own blogging channel.
Just like three MILLION other bloggers! If you want more viewers and readers, here’s one last tip.
Tip #6 Photo Challenges offer bloggers a community to share photos and become friends. Include them when you can. I love Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge for showing off gardens and trail tours.
Being an expert traveler starts before you leave home. It ends when you share your memories as you go through life. Today we have lots of ways to share. Expert travelers enjoy the journey and make it appealing to others around them.
Did this tour today of the Longwood Gardens bring back memories or inspire you to visit?
Sharing is caring.
I see those little words everywhere. But it does feel good when readers interact. Do you have a garden suggestion for me? Leave me a link in the comment section. Press a button to share these expert travel tips with others. (Especially long-winded, know-it-all friends!) Like me, an expert traveler! 🙂
I respond unanimatedly. The topic this week is flowers, and what woman can resist that? This first picture came from Pikes Peak Market in Seattle. The assortment of flowers amazed us, and the price was so affordable that if I had shared a room with anyone, even for a few days, I would have purchased a bouquet.
My friend Sally and I went to an iris festival last year. Showy flowers like irises and roses seem to gravitate towards my camera. The sun was much too bright on this May afternoon, so I darkened this picture some.
Purple ruled my camera’s heart that day.
How much more difficult it was to take beautiful pictures of flowers among the wildflowers in the foothills last spring. This year I imagine there are none, and the grass is mostly dusty dried up blades.
Wait for it. Even my tripod got tired, but beauty is there.
When there are thousands of flowers from which to choose, is it any easier to find a good picture?
I looked through all my Botanical Garden pictures, and the same few are still my favorites. My camera wasn’t as picky with these gems. This time out, I picked a picture I haven’t shown you because it is so busy, and darkened the contrast to accommodate for too much sunshine. You can imagine how overpowering it is to walk into and entire garden this beautiful.
Flowers grab us and our cameras wherever they are.
Just so you know, our peach trees are starting to turn the fields pink here in Tulare County (no camera with me). Downtown Visalia and Woodlake are in bloom already. We are supposed to get snow in the mountains today which we need desperately. How is your weather today?
By the way, I finished self-editing my book after two fairly solid months of work. It turned out to be just over 61,000 words. I am now ready to send it to a real editor to have it hacked up a little more, then I plan to self-publish it. A friend asked me how I was going to market it. I feel like I’m having a baby that is obviously not going to be living on its own right away, and I hadn’t counted on it needing so much loving care!