Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

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My One Little Word for 2018 is Explore! I’ve decided to thoroughly embrace this word this summer.  I am currently on an exploratory adventure at the beach.  My daughter is an account executive for an advertising agency, so she had some meetings here and invited me to tag along.  What a treat!  Our first day we ventured out to an inlet lake that is surrounded by sand dunes.  We did stand up paddleboarding.  The day was hot and sunny, but we did it.  I felt a sense of pride that I was actually able to make the paddleboard move in a somewhat straight line.  On Wednesday, I’m going to try paddleboard yoga.

This morning while she was in meetings, I ventured out to Grayton Beach State Park. Even in the rain, this was a beautiful area.  I was alone on the trail of crystal sand dunes, of bending sand live oaks, and of tall pines that look like tall umbrellas. The dunes set off a lake (Western Lake where we went paddleboarding.) that is a unique salt water/ fresh water ecosystem.  The dunes themselves are preserved. Here are a few of my pictures.

Grayton Beach sand dunes


Sand live oaks grow in sculpted shapes.

The sky itself looks like an ocean.


Hanging out with women in the advertising business has taught me some new terms to add to my lexicon:

  1. cranking: This is another word for getting on the computer and getting work done.  Best done when it’s raining and you can’t go “content gathering.”
  2. content gathering: This is a term for going out and taking pictures so that you can post them on social media to show others how fun it is to be here.
  3. content: a picture that could be used to promote a place.  One of my pictures was used on Instagram as “content.” Follow @Southwalton

And the best way to have a team meeting is when everyone is in PJs and passing around a bottle of wine.  (I think I may have gotten into the wrong profession.)  In addition to being a relaxing trip to the beach, I have enjoyed time alone with daughter number 2 and learning about the work she does everyday.  It’s not always at the beach, though.


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..out in de camp, out yonda in da camp, de ole, ole women too old to work and too old to make babies, dey stay an mind de young chilens so dat de me kin all work in de fields and dey fee dam an all so when de ma come back all dey got to do is to push ’em in de bed, all of dem in de same bed. –Frances Doby, age 100
Cammie G. Henry Research Center
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Federal Writers Project Folder 19

On Monday, I went on a summer field trip to Whitney Plantation located in Wallace, LA. Established in 1752, Whitney Plantation was a working sugar plantation until the early 1970’s. Recently, it has been transformed into an active museum that captures the experience of enslavement.  This place tells the unheard story of all other plantation homes.  This story is not a romanticized version of plantation life.  This story is gripping and harrowing and sad.

Inside the old Antioch Church, statues of enslaved children stand, some sit on the pews.  The children of the slaves from Whitney Plantation tell you the story with their staring eyes.  These stories were captured by a Federal Writers Project led by John Lomax in 1936.  The plantation now honors over 100,000 names of slaves and children.

The Antioch Baptist Church was moved to the plantation in 1999. This church was built post Civil War (1870) by former slaves.

This memorial statue stands in the Field of Angels to honor all the slave children lost before age 3.

Panels in the Field of Angels include etched photographs, prayers, and quotes along with 2,200 names from documents in the Sacramental Records of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

A Jamaica line of sugar kettles remind us of the long, arduous task of turning cane into sugar.

If you are ever in the New Orleans area, Whitney Plantation is a worthy side trip.  I believe we must try to understand our history to move forward into a better future.



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An invitation to #ProjectPoem

Jenn Hayhurst tagged me in a post on Facebook asking me to join in a project she is playing with this summer: #ProjectPoem. The premise is that teachers of writing should write, a mantra of mine adapted from the work of Donald Graves. She is asking teachers to synthesize experience into poetic form in 140 characters.

I joined in with the image below. I am on vacation in Santa Fe, NM and staying at a lovely casita. The patio is private, quiet, and inviting. The picture is a side garden of Aspen trees.

My writing friend, Linda Mitchell, recently visited Seattle. There she collected words and made collage poems from them. I took inspiration from her to capture the feeling in Santa Fe. There was a procession to return an old statue of Mary to the Cathedral of Saint Frances. The people here are serious about their worship of Mary.

Consider joining in the summer writing fun by tweeting your poem to #ProjectPoem and tagging me @MargaretGSimon and Jenn @hayhurst3.  I made the first image using the app WordSwag, the second in Canva.

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Chicago Slice of Life

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.


My husband and I spent the long holiday weekend in Chicago visiting my youngest daughter and her boyfriend.  I captured a few moments in words and pictures.



Chicago, a city of old and new,
packs of people
in an array of colors
speaking different languages.

Chicago, a skyline of high rises
and shore lines,
crowds and space.

Lake Michigan

Chicago, a city of many flavors,
fresh brewed beer that tastes of flowers,
specialty tacos,
“If you call them frites, they are good for you.”

beer heaven

Chicago, an artistic expression–
mosaic faces in the train station,
sidewalk statues,
Chagall’s window–
invitation to stop and see.

Chicago art

Chicago, miles and miles
of neighborhoods
holding on to history,
museums and parks
for playing and learning.

Above all
is the person
Chicago holds.
Keep her safe,
teach her tolerance,
peace, and kindness,
inspire her
to dream.

Chicago River

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Last week on a whim I invited my readers to a DigiLit Challenge. Many of you responded, so I started a Pinterest Board. There are already 12 pins on it. Let’s add to it this week.

This week’s DigiLit Challenge is an Invitation. You can create your invitation on the app of your choice. For Memorial Day, I went to New Orleans to visit with two of my girls. I was inspired by the art on the electric boxes. The project is a nonprofit organization to rebuild and beautify New Orleans. You can read more about it here.

electic box statue

My blogging friend Julianne (To Read, to Write, to Be) is coming to New Orleans this summer, so I wanted to show her some of the more beautiful parts. I took pictures and stored them. I tried Haiku Deck. The result was not exactly what I envisioned. I tried to make it into a movie using iMovie but some of the words were lost. My frustration made me quit. Here is one of the images and a link to the haiku deck. (I wish it would embed on my site.)



For my second attempt, I used Animoto. I just love this app. I have even paid to get a longer time. I can make movies that look expertly done without having to go through the cumbersome steps of iMovie.

For your invitation, you can create a movie or a still image. I created this invitation for blueberry picking on Canva.

Blueberry Picking 2

Have fun creating. Tag me in your posts @MargaretGSimon and use #invitation and #digilitchallenge. And as always, link up with InLinkz.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Since this is Easter weekend, and I will be celebrating with my family, I am combining my weekend posts into one. Continuing my April commitment to digital poetry, a weekly celebration link up, and DigiLit Sunday all in one.

I think I am getting the hang of Nutshell now. You have to take the pictures on the spot because that’s how the app knows to take video. You have to keep in mind that after you take the picture, the phone is still capturing video.

I did not go on an exotic trip to Laos, but very close to my own town, there is a Laotian village complete with a Buddhist temple, Wat Thammarattanaram. This weekend they celebrate Songkran, the Laotian New Year. Yesterday we attended the opening prayer service.

For us in the Christian tradition, it is Holy Week. I began the week with Palm Sunday and a procession led by bagpipes to celebrate Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem. This video I took while participating in the procession of the palms at my parents’ church, St. James Episcopal Church in Jackson, MS. I uploaded it into iMovie and wrote a simple haiku using the title slides in iMovie.

There is stark contrast here in these two traditions. We felt uncomfortable seated on the floor in the Buddhist Temple; however, Bea, a Laotian woman with good English, welcomed us to sit with her and turned to tell us the story of what was happening throughout the service. This kindness made us feel more comfortable.

Today I celebrate the many religions of the world.
I celebrate that traditions are passed on generation to generation.
I celebrate resurrection and renewal.
I celebrate celebrations.

Link up your Digital Literacy posts. Happy Easter!

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  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Skylight at High Museum, Atlanta

Skylight at High Museum, Atlanta

My 2015 One Little Word is Reach. Here are some images of my weekend in Atlanta where I reached for my phone a few times to take these shots. I follow Kim Douillard. She posts lots of pictures. Her blog title is Thinking through my Lens which is exactly what she does, photos and reflections. She posts a weekly challenge. This week’s challenge was Outside. We were in Atlanta for a wedding, and the weather was gorgeous, sunny and cool. On Saturday morning, we took a walk outside. We followed the mother-of-the-groom’s niece, her husband, and their young children, and together we found a park.

Look at the high cirrus clouds.

Look at the high cirrus clouds.

The iPhone captured a rainbow around the sun.

The iPhone captured a rainbow around the sun.

The joy of being four on a big tall slide!

The joy of being four on a big tall slide!

Another Reach for me is a paleo diet. I have been vegetarian (actually, pescetarian) for about four years. My daughter started a paleo diet and wanted to take me along with her. What a stretch! I had to add some meat back in to get enough protein, but I am particular about it. For example, New Year’s cabbage rolls contained grass-fed beef.

Stacey Shubitz of the Two Writing Teachers has made a paleo Pinterest board here.

Maggie and I went on a paleo shopping event on Monday to Whole Foods. This is a 25-mile trek. We came home with loads of vegis, almond yogurt, fruits, salmon, and coconut cream. My cat was curious about all the plastic bags and new smells.

paleo shopping

The biggest reach for paleo me is my morning cereal and crackers and hummus afternoon snack. I am having eggs, turkey bacon, and avocado for breakfast and nut mix for a snack. Fruit is always a good choice. There are problems, too, with eating out. I have to ask a ton of questions: Is your soup cream based? How is the fish cooked? So far, most servers are willing to answer and explain. I think more and more people are becoming conscious of what they eat.

I’m not sure how long this diet will last. I haven’t lost any weight that I can tell. But challenges are good for us, and being more knowledgable and more concerned about what we eat is important to leading a healthy life.

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