Happy Derby Week!

Hello, Thursday Morning friends! Pour another cup and join me.

It’s Derby Week in my neck o’ the woods. Our town is in celebration mode. We have all kinds of cool activities that kick off with Thunder Over Louisville (an all day event that ends with a gigantic award-winning fireworks show).

Click this link to see some stunning pictures and a vast array of activities in our “unique” city of Louisville: https://www.gotolouisville.com/

It’s so much more than a two-minute horse race.

Do I attend any of these events? Seldom. Why? I’m not a “crowd” person, and the crowds are sizable. I have gone to Churchill Downs several times, but never on “the” race day. I love looking at the beautiful horses, so I still enjoyed the daily races.

No, on Derby Day you’ll find me at home. If the weather’s good, I’m working in my yard. At the end of the day, I watch the race on television. Many times, we’ve watched at one of our favorite restaurants. That’s actually fun, because the other patrons really get into the race. There’s a lot of shouting going on. This is when it becomes obvious–Louisville’s a little different.

I love its quirkiness. It’s a beautiful river city with a rich history. Yes, we’re known for bourbon and horses, but it’s a lot more than that.

So, I’m wishing my fellow Louisvillians a happy Derby weekend. May the best horse win.

By the way, I pronounce it Loo-uh-vull.

What the Flat Tire Taught Me

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning friends. Pour yourself a cup of your favorite morning beverage, and join me for “story time.”

They say experience is the best teacher. If so, my dad was a good instructor. He was the type who would toss you in the water to teach you to swim. That’s sometimes referred to as the “sink or swim” technique.

It didn’t work with me. I sank like a stone.

When I was twenty, I worked in the bookkeeping department of a small-town bank. I came out of work one day, to a flat tire on my car. No problem. Dad’s office was nearby, so I went back inside the bank and called him.

When he answered, I said, “My tire’s flat. Can you come and help me?”

Momentary silence. “No can do. You fix it.”

“I don’t know how.”

“It’s time you learned.”

Long pause, filled with heavy breathing (mine). “So, you’re not coming?”

“You don’t need me.”

Okay. Back at my disabled car, I waited. He was only kidding. He would come. He couldn’t really expect me to change a tire. Could he?

Half an hour passed. A big, long, empty half hour.

A lump rose in my throat, and tears gathered as I glanced down at my just above knee-length work skirt, pantyhose, and high heeled shoes. I spread my fingers. Newly manicured nails. No!

Once more, I took in the surrounding downtown area. People walking, cars passing. No Dad.

I stared at the offending tire. Even if I could change the thing, I’d put on a show out here, wrestling with a stupid tire in a not-made-for-auto-repair outfit like the one I had on.

Desperation filled my lungs, replacing the air. Panic cruised through my veins. I sucked in a deep breath and exhaled, chewed my lip and wrung my hands. What to do?

Reality set in. He wasn’t coming. My Dad, who was supposed to look after me and protect me, wasn’t coming. Anger took hurt’s place.

After a deep, cleansing breath, I unlocked the trunk and looked at the spare tire. OK, now what?

Behind me, a car slowed. I turned to see a handsome, young man smiling at me, possibly laughing at me. “You look like you could use some help.”

I decided he was just smiling, not laughing. I detected sympathy. I could work with that. This could be Prince Charming.

I nodded, and may have swiped at a tear. “Flat tire.”

He pulled into a nearby parking space. I waited.

When he joined me, I recognized him as one of the management trainees at the same bank where I worked. “Yep, flat tire.” He rolled up his sleeves. Then he lifted my spare out of the trunk, along with a couple of tools I hadn’t noticed before.

He didn’t turn out to be my prince charming, but he rescued me, all the same. Then he got back  on his white horse and rode away. Actually, it was a silver GTO, if memory serves correctly.

I drove home, feeling pretty good about the way things turned out. Dad was right, I didn’t need him. Maybe I hadn’t actually changed that flat tire, but I’d figured out how to get it done.

When Dad came in from work that night, he smiled at me. “I see you got that tire fixed.”

I nodded. Yes, I had.

“Well, now you know how to do it, don’t you?”

I thought for a minute. Should I tell him what really happened?

He patted my shoulder. “I could’ve come to help you, but I wanted you to learn how to take care of yourself. What if I wasn’t around? What would you do then?”

I smiled. “Thanks, Dad.” I had learned something that day. Being a woman had its advantages. I’d gotten my tire changed without making a spectacle of myself, or breaking a nail.

Years have passed, and so has Dad. And I have to confess, I never told him about my prince charming tire changer.

And so far, I’ve never changed a tire. 🙂

Click to Tweet: They say #experience is the best #teacher. If so, my dad was a good instructor. He was the type who would toss you in the water to teach you to swim. What a Flat Tire Taught Me from @batowens

Road Trip Dreams

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday morning friends! I hope you’re enjoying a lovely morning. You’ve almost made it through the week by now, and we’re well on our way toward Spring. In the northern hemisphere, anyway.

I was scrolling through my posts when I happened upon one that I love—Midwinter Daydreams—filled with “not my shoes, not my feet” photos. It was a popular post. I thought I’d do another one and call it…well, you already know what I called it. 🙂 I hope you enjoy this latest version.

Pour another cup and enjoy!

These are not my shoes, and these are not my feet, but this is the perfect photo for spring. Any day now, we’ll see beautiful blooms in the landscape. This is definitely something I would love to do. Biking on a warm spring day, and I would not be alone.

These are not my shoes, and not my feet, but don’t you love those quirky boots! This is definitely something I would do. Take off the shoes and enjoy the feel of grass and blooms on my bare feet!

These are not my shoes, not my feet! But I love hiking through forests and fields, climbing mountains, finding new paths. One with nature. Observing nature, listening to the sounds, breathing the fresh air. I’m ready to go.

These are not my shoes, or my feet, but this is my summertime uniform. I LIVE in sandals. I’ve never really been a flip-flop girl. I buy walking sandals, because I go everywhere in them. I respect the health of my feet. 🙂

And red is one of my favorite colors! I could walk a lot of miles in these and look great in the process.

[Click to Tweet] Too often, we spend the winter months sitting somewhere. We may be hard at work, but our body suffers from lack of exercise.

We need to get out there and walk, run, bike, hike, and play. Spring sunshine draws me outside.

Where can we go this summer?

These are not my shoes, not my feet, but it looks like fun, doesn’t it? Wherever our plans take us, adventure awaits.

Ahhh…yes. Definitely my kind of spot to leave “not my shoes”. I hope you’ve enjoyed our little excursion. If you’ve managed to stay with me this far, I’d like to issue a little challenge, or maybe just a request. As you go out and about this spring and summer, snap a photo of your feet and/or shoes.

Share them with me on my Facebook page, or at Instagram. You’ll find the links below. Who knows, maybe I’ll feature them on another post. Hmm…what should the title be?

Facebook: betty.owens.author

Instagram: batowens

Mid-Winter Daydreams

Happy last day of January!

travel-1749508_1280These are not my shoes. This is not my view.

But I would like to be there, wearing those shoes, and enjoying that view. I think it would be nice to be sitting on a large deck, looking down on that. And I hope the deck is attached to a house with expansive windows and an oversized fireplace.

beach-1877070_1920These are not my shoes. This is a not my view, either.

But just looking at it warms me. And I can almost smell the salty air, and hear the sound of the surf. I wouldn’t mind a view like this one right now. A home by the sea would be mighty fine.

feet-1567104_1280Not my shoes. Not my view.

But I’m seriously considering buying a pair of cons. They look comfy, don’t they? I love this scene. I imagine it a pastoral one, with the smell of livestock, and freshly-turned earth filling the air. Birdsong and crickets are all I need to send me into a pleasant little siesta.

shoes-698533_1280By now, you know the drill: Not my shoes, not my view.

What I find most interesting in this last photo–the print of a bare foot above the shoes. My favorite way to traverse a sandy beach, feeling the warm, damp sand against the soles of my feet.

Daydreaming? Yes, happily.

But more than that, I think. Photographs, especially pleasant ones, can have a positive effect. Like enjoying fine art, it transports you, if you let it. And in the darker days of midwinter, when the sun often hides its face, sometimes we need a little inspiration.

  • Which of the above photos stir you most?
  • Are you a mountain person, or a beachcomber?
  • A hiker, or a swimmer?
  • Do you love the outdoors, no matter the season?
  • What’s on your travel bucket-list?

A Little History of Cuenca

While in Ecuador, we got an up close and personal look at some of the oldest buildings we had ever seen. Even the hotel we stayed in was built in the colonial style, probably for a well-to-do Spanish family in the early days of Spain’s colonization. 20160721_155845

We walked narrow cobbled streets built for horse traffic. And they have traffic snarls morning and night, just like home. I was glad we were walking. Because of our convenient location, you could always find your way back. Just look for the cathedral.

From the ancient Incan ruins at Ingapirca, to the beautiful cathedrals of downtown Cuenca, I was enthralled. I do love history.

In these photos, you can see exactly what went into building this particular (now dilapidated) location. This is what you would find if you began to disassemble most of the downtown buildings. The really old ones, anyway. Can’t you just imagine the native workers creating the mud and straw construction? Another fine example of slave labor, I imagine. I couldn’t help thinking of the ancient Egyptians, who forced the Hebrew slaves to cut their own straw for the brick-making process. I guess it might’ve looked a little like this.

Earlier in the week, we’d spent some time snooping around the old cathedral. Built in 1557, the year Cuenca was founded, it’s called Iglesia de El Sagrario. I was shocked at what lay inside of the ordinary looking exterior. The early Spaniards put some money into this thing. Then they made huge contributions in order to secure burial beneath the sanctuary. This pretty much sealed their entrance into paradise. Or so they believed. These families had beautiful rooms built on either side of the main sanctuary, where they could come and pray in privacy.

It was not built for the masses. It was built exclusively for those of Spanish descent. The locals had to worship outside. Still impressive. I enjoyed the tour.

13707633_10207480945561661_3690816263750498409_nThere is Spanish influence throughout the city.  Many of the other buildings show the exquisite workmanship of the Incas, with their extremely straight cuts through solid rock, forming square foundation stones that fit together with precision. In many places, the outer plastering has been removed so the stones can be plainly seen and admired.

The new cathedral was completed in 1975, took 90 years to complete, and is called the Catedral Metroploitana de la Immaculada Concepcion. Unlike its predecessor, this new church was meant to include everyone, no matter what caste or nationality. If you’re Catholic, you’re welcome. If you’re not Catholic, you’re still welcome to visit and ogle, which is exactly what we did. We climbed the tower to the rooftop which affords a breathtaking view of Cuenca.

13697202_10207511051034279_7378325463621388261_nThe climb is breathtaking, too. A spiral staircase, winding up and up and up. I almost quit and headed back down. It’s a good thing they’ve placed windows at regular intervals. When I finally arrived, I had to pause a few moments. 🙂 If you’ve ever climbed a lighthouse, you’ll know what it was like.

You want to pause once you reach the top anyway, and take it all in. I thought the inside of the cathedral was gorgeous, but this view! Oh, Cuenca! Mountains! Beauty everywhere.

At the risk of conjuring up old memories of next-door neighbors inviting you over to show you their vacation slides (kids, you have no idea how lucky you are not to have to endure those), I will stop here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour. Suffice it to say, we were wowed by Cuenca, Ecuador and all it had to offer. I’m still processing all that happened during those few short days of service. But I know this–our lives changed and God planted wonderful friendships that I hope will never fade.