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What signs are you seeing these days?

These signs were all seen in one afternoon in Southwest Minneapolis.

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A sign of bench preservation.

An unusual sign above the garage door.
A safety sign to the side of the garage door.

A request for mutual harmony among people and nations.

A follow-up statement to the Peace sign (located in the same garden).

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H E A V E N ~ O N ~ E A R T H

Today I came across a blog with a writer’s workshop. Instructions:

Post a picture and a description that fits into this quote for you:
“How far to heaven? Just open your eyes and look. You are in heaven” -Shankar

I find heavenly people, places and more all around me each day. Still, one place came to mind for me when I read about this workshop exercise. Oahu. More specifically, The Byodi-In Temple at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. The photo above shows the temple, set amidst the trees and hills to the side and the mountain to the back. Water flows in front of the temple.  This is an ideal setting in Feng Shui. The mountain at the back and the hills to the sides represent protection. The water in front brings prosperity and abundance. I felt an incredible peace here.

The Magnificent Byodo-In Temple translates to “Temple of Equality — not to discriminate” and is home to Amida, a golden Buddha unique to the entire world.

This Buddha is thought to be the largest figure carved since ancient times. It towers more than 18 feet and is an original work of art carved by the famous Japanese sculptor, Masuzo Inui.

The Bell House, above, contains a five-foot high, three-ton brass bell called bon-sho (sacred bell). It closely resembles the bell hanging in an identical Bell House at the Uji Byodo-In. The tone of the bell sounds a message of deep calm and peace and is said to cleanse the mind of evil and temptation. The resonant sound of the bell travels for some distance so one hears it while walking through the temple and along the grounds. The bell is customarily rung before one enters the temple to spread the eternal teachings of Buddha. I made a short video of the bell being rung when I visited and I listen to it with regularity.

The Byodo-In was built entirely without nails and is a scale replica of a temple at Uji Japan that was constructed over 900 years ago. It is built to represent the mystical phoenix with its wings upheld by pillars of stone. Folklore tells of the phoenix arising from the ashes to reflect promises of hope and renewal. Isn’t that a heavenly thought?
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Architectural example of building with no nails.

This is the view from inside the temple with the water in front.

This is a meditation space on the grounds.

A view from the meditation area.

This, then, was one experience I had of heaven on earth.
It was all too short a visit. I’d return in a heartbeat.

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More on the Writer’s Workshop:

Mama's Losin' It

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Bastille Day holds a special place in my heart. It was on Bastille Day in 1955 that my older brother was born. He loved celebrating Bastille Day on his birthday. And why not? Our family loves the French people, the country, the French food and wine, the culture, the history, the architecture, the gardens, the monuments, and the French way of life. Amour de la vie Française!

My brother was a photographer. He spent time in Europe learning the craft and continued to enjoy it throughout his life. Photography and Bastille Day celebrations were both passions for him.

I almost missed seeing the sky tonight. I spontaneously ventured outside at 9:00 p.m. to run an errand. The evening sky was ethereal and I thought of my brother. Perhaps, I thought, he is looking down upon our family, providing a brilliant evening sky to let us know he’s doing fine.

There is a poem that has brought me comfort in times of death. It’s often attributed to Mary Elizabeth Frye although the origin has been disputed over the years.  Abigail Van Buren, the newspaper columnist known as Dear Abby, confirmed Frye’s authorship after researching the subject. There is more than one version of this poem floating around on cards and the internet. I share this one, the first version I read:

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

—Mary Elizabeth Frye

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Rest in peace, Richard. See you on the other side someday.

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St. Anthony Parkway Bridge in Northeast Minneapolis, Minnesota

St. Anthony Parkway Bridge

I imagine that plenty of people would look at this bridge and see nothing very attractive. I invite you to drive, walk or bike over it and see if your perception of it changes. I crossed over it earlier this evening and was immediately struck by its design and its rustic, artistic beauty. I admit that the visually historic aspect also brought me delight. Yes, I can be a sucker for old stuff. And for preserving parts of our architectural heritage.

This bridge is a five-span, Warren through truss bridge measuring 533.6 feet in length. It was built in 1925 and passes over 24 tracks of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Rail yard. The bridge currently provides one lane of traffic in each direction and a sidewalk on the south side.

While I was photographing the bridge, I saw a gentleman standing on the sidewalk admiring the view of the trains, the tracks and the downtown skyline in the distance. I wonder if he is aware of the future of this bridge. Is he enjoying it while he can?

At this time, it appears to be nearly the end of the road for this bridge. A new bridge, known as the North Town Bridge, is slated to be built in its place during 2011-2012. The construction project for the new bridge will also include approach roadways (St. Anthony Parkway, California St NE and possibly Main St NE) and separate bike lanes.

The current bridge has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also part of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board “Grand Rounds—National Scenic Byway”. Should this bridge be placed on the National Register of Historic Places so that it can become a permanent part of the National Scenic Byway? Is this a bridge you’d enjoy biking and walking over as part of your trip around the cities?

Should this bridge be saved or replaced?

I’d love to know your thoughts.
Feel free to share them by clicking on Leave a Comment below.
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Or take the poll:

 


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More on biking, the scenic Grand Rounds, and things to do and see in the Twin Cities:

Soak up the scenery on the beautiful Grand Rounds—Biking in Minneapolis

Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway Home Page—MinneapolisParks.org

National Scenic Byways Program—Grand Rounds Scenic Byway Information

 

List of Truss Types

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Rainbow at Day's End 2

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Garage sales are both opportunities to make money and to find a bargain and/or a bibelot. A bibelot is defined as “a small object of curiosity, beauty, or rarity”. Here is one of my garage sale bibelot finds:
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Astor Paris Tray

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The color and glazing on this small tray is really beautiful. There is a French name stamped on the backside, leading me to believe its first home was Paris, France. Perhaps there was a hotel named Astor at one time in the “City of Light” and this tray formerly resided there.

Many Parisians live in charming yet modest apartments with small spaces and few closets. They often don’t have room for a lot of stuff and pare down to the essentials and a few bibelots and antiques. Still, if a person finds a treasure at a garage sale, flea market, or antique shop, he or she will likely find room for it.

Here’s another example of someone else’s cast-off that became one of my finds. I treasure these “coins” for their Feng Shui symbolism, detailing and colors.
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More unusual pieces found at a garage sale.

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Here in America we have plenty of big homes and lots of stuff. Garage sales can be a great way to get rid of clutter — and earn a little extra cash — anytime but especially before you sell your home. Getting rid of clutter is one part of staging a home. Just make sure the timing is right.

Conducting a garage sale takes a lot of time and energy. These sales can take on a life of their own, and it might not be the best use of your energy right before putting your home on the market. If you’re planning a garage sale at your home, on your block or in your neighborhood, use these tips for a successful sale:

1. Don’t wait until the last minute. You don’t want to be scrambling to hold a garage sale the week before an open house. Depending on how long you’ve lived in the home and how much stuff you have to sell, planning a garage sale can demand a lot of time and energy.

2. Get a permit. Most municipalities will require you to obtain a special permit or license in order to hold a garage sale. The permits are often free or very inexpensive, but still require you to register with the city.

3. See if neighbors want to join in. You can turn your garage sale into a block-wide event and lure more shoppers if you team up with neighbors. However, a permit may be necessary for each home owner, even if it’s a group event.

4. Schedule the sale. Sales on Saturdays and Sundays will generate the most traffic, especially if the weather cooperates. Start the sale early, 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. is best, and be prepared for early birds.

5. Advertise. Place an ad in free classified papers and Web sites, and in your local newspapers. Include the dates, time, and address. Let the public know if certain types of items will be sold, such as baby clothes, furniture, or weightlifting equipment. On the day of the sale, balloons and signs with prominent arrows will help to grab the attention of passersby.

6. Price your goods. Lay out everything that you plan to sell, and attach prices with removable stickers. Remember, garage sales are supposed to be bargains, so try to be objective as you set prices. Assign simple prices to your goods: 50 cents, 3 for $1, $5, $10, etc.

7. If it’s really junk, don’t sell it. Decide what’s worth selling and what’s not. If it’s really garbage, then throw it away. Broken appliances, for example, should be tossed. (Know where a nearby electrical outlet is, in case a customer wants to make sure something works.)

8. Check for mistakes. Make sure that items you want to keep don’t accidentally end up in the garage sale pile.

9. Create an organized display. Lay out your items by category, and display neatly so customers don’t have to dig through boxes.

10. Stock up on bags and newspapers. People who buy many small items will appreciate a bag to carry their goods. Newspapers are handy for wrapping fragile items.

11. Manage your money. Make a trip to the bank to get ample change for your cash box. Throughout the sale, keep a close eye on your cash; never leave the cash box unattended. It’s smart to have one person who manages the money throughout the day, keeping a tally of what was purchased and for how much. Keep a calculator nearby.

12. Prepare for your home sale. Donate the remaining stuff or sell it to a resale shop. Now that all of your clutter is cleared out, it’s time to focus on preparing your house for a successful sale!

Download this list of tips here:  12 Tips on How to Hold a Successful Garage Sale

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Bonus Tip: Consider having a refreshment available for your visitors. If you have children, they could set up their own money-making enterprise with a lemonade stand. People enjoying a cool drink are more likely to linger at your sale and find things they might otherwise have overlooked. Here’s a post on how to make your own fresh lemonade:

Cool Lemonade for a Hot Day
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Kate Walsh, Realtor
Lakes Area Realty
612.220.3309

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Where there’s art, there’s beauty.

Where there’s beauty, there’s contemplation.
Where there’s contemplation, there’s inner knowing.
—Kate Walsh

"Contemplation Man"

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Sunday morning seems quieter than the other days of the week. Perhaps it’s all the sipping of coffee and tea and reading the Sunday papers that creates this peaceful tranquility that extends beyond daybreak.

Here’s a man who finds time to contemplate each and every day, Sunday and otherwise. There’s something calming about seeing him, sitting perched up above the stone retaining walls in a grove of trees. What are you contemplating today? What inner knowing is taking place for you?

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Minneapolis sculpture is of a man sitting in quiet contemplation.

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“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.”
— Albert Einstein

“That pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the beautiful.” —Edgar Allan Poe

“Art is contemplation. It is the pleasure of the mind which searches into nature and which there divines the spirit of which nature herself is animated.” —Auguste Rodin

“Contemplation seems to be about the only luxury that costs nothing.” —Dodie Smith

“I feel like I’m stepping into a place of spiritual contemplation every time I enter a studio; it’s always had a certain magic to me that has never worn off with familiarity.” —David Knopfler

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