I can set up in the backyard to paint! What a beautiful weekend. I finished a couple of items and have many more (lots of watering cans!) in process. Looking forward to the Growing Place Gardener’s Art Festival on Saturday, June 25 at 9 a.m. at the Naperville location.

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Sun and flowers…a good day indeed.

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#CowAppreciationDay

July 14, 2015

Some of my friends in India…

Cow appreciation day 2015_2

After a long and much needed deep sleep at the Laxmi, we headed for our next destination around 8:00 a.m. after a quick breakfast. Our soon to become friend and driver Annu was prompt as usual and had cold water in the car for our five hour drive from Bharatpur to Ranthambore. The plan was to check in, relax a bit and then go on our first safari to Ranthambore National Park to hopefully see tigers in their natural habitat. We were told our chances were decent but with the high temperatures we should keep our expectations in check.

As usual (per our super extensive travel of a couple days) the view out the window of the car was an interesting mix. Camels pulling carts among motorcycles and cars is just no big deal here.

The average mix in IndiaAnd when you reach your destination it’s a surprise stop where you wonder for a second if something has gone wrong (“Wait! Why are we stopping HERE?!”) and then you see the hotel. (“Oh. Right.”)

Hotel Ranthambore Regencey April 2015 And, of course, our first stop after check in was yet another very nice pool area — albeit not as big as the others and this picture doesn’t do it justice — it was very nice. AND there was a cat!!  Smart little creatures these India cats, staying at the nice resorts by the pool in the lush garden areas! Ranthambore Regency Pool April 2015When we went to the lobby to take our first safari we had no idea what to expect. To our delight, the open top canter we boarded truly made us feel like we were headed off on a National Geographic excursion. And although we didn’t see any tigers the first afternoon out we met people who had and they suggested that we take the early morning safari again the next day. They shared their pictures of the tigers that were just feet away from their canter and we were sold — book the next morning — tigers we will see!

The next morning we were loaded onto a canter with a group of professional wildlife photographers. John and I both tend to be lucky and this was one of those times when we realized that our luck was with us. Although we still didn’t see tigers that morning, we made some great connections and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I’m now following Wild Side Photographic Art on Facebook if you are interested. John and I also decided we are both interested in looking into the opportunity to do some more adventurous trips like maybe the Serengeti in our future. Now we have a recommendation on who to help us make that happen. In the end, we did see some cool wildlife nonetheless..

Wildlife at Ranthambore National Park April 2015

It was just a great experience overall. Next time, we will stay for a week and take morning and afternoon safaris every day. Until then, I’m so glad to have the experience to add to the many other memories that pop up in my mind at the most unexpected moments as I take in all that is India.

We truly began to understand that India is the land of extremes and that you never know where you are going to find a hidden oasis when we turned into the drive and through the gate to Hotel Laxmi Niwas Palace. (If you didn’t watch the video from my last post, I would recommend doing that before you read on.)

We were scheduled to go to the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary a.k.a. Keoladeo Ghana National Park later in the afternoon so we opted for a drink in the courtyard and then a dip in this BEAUtiful pool before we got ready for our excursion. If I remember correctly the temperature was about 106 F so the cool pool water was greatly appreciated.

Look at the detail above the door…everything was so colorful and ornate.

It reminded me immediately of the Marigold Hotel but everything worked!

It reminded me immediately of the Marigold Hotel but everything worked!

We decided to opt for the horse-drawn carriage ride when we got to the park rather than the bike rickshaw. It was recommended to be a little faster and considering the heat it was the right thing to do. What they didn’t tell us until we were already on our way was that our horse had gas. Apparently he was having tummy troubles and the handler gave him a laxative not too long before we arrived.  I kid you not when I tell you that as soon as the driver told us this…the horse took a dump.

horse drawn carriage at Bharatpur bird park

We saw some pretty birds that my little Nikon pocket camera couldn’t capture that well and overall we were happy that we went.  (I booked it because John loves birds.)

birds at Bharatpur

My favorite part was the temple we stopped to check out while we were in the park. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that there are dogs everywhere BUT the cats are the smart ones, hanging out in parks where they can climb on tall monuments away from the chaos, loitering in hotel courtyards where there are cool shady spots to rest and patios where people eat, and well, yes, a bird sanctuary is a pretty good choice too I would say.

Hey!

Hey!

There were also many monkeys and a guy who could talk to the turtles to make them come to shore. (I suspect it had something to do with the mash he fed them, too.) And, of course, the configuration of statues to worship.

Temple at Bharatpur bird park

It was a good first adventure for sure.  Next stop Ranthambore…

This was my project to finish this weekend. Success! Delivered to my friend Hiede Saturday as a Christmas-non-Christmas gift. The model in the painting is Lilly my dog friend who lives with Hiede and her family. (I don’t have many dog friends… a good thing because Archie does NOT appreciate it!)

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Merry Christmas!  Season’s Greetings!  Happy Holidays!

Cheers

jen (by jennifer)

An early morning smile

December 10, 2014

Meeow BH Tag

October 1

October 1, 2014

My favorite season is here AND my favorite month. I’m going to make every effort to value and enjoy each day (even though I can’t believe it is here ALREADY!).

Happy Birthday to my brother Bill today.

If you haven’t already and particularly if you are in your 40’s, I recommend listening to “Bossy Pants” by Tina Fey. I just started it on my commute this morning. VERY enjoyable and I’m amazed at how much of it I can relate to. I might even go so far as to say it’s inspiring me (MIGHT – don’t want to set expectations that I’m going to DO anything with the inspiration).

Happy day all!

jen