CWWPC: Ways to go at the Hermitage

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge 8/17/16

The Hermitage is the largest art museum in the world, located in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was formerly the tsars’ winter palace. There is no way you can see this entire museum in one day, but what there is to see is more than paintings and sculptures. There are ceilings, floors, tables, thrones, clocks, fountains and more. “Art” at the Hermitage encompasses architecture and any other form that beauty may take.

These are some of the “ways” at the Hermitage.

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The Jordan Staircase


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Hall of Portraits

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These floral designs are typical of the beautiful wooden patterns on the floors throughout the museum.

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The Raphael Loggias, commissioned by Catherine II to be a replica of the Raphael Loggias at the Vatican. As you walk down this long hallway, the walls and ceilings are filled with beautiful paintings on every topic imaginable.

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Walk through this ornate doorway to enter another awe-inspiring room full of artistic treasures.

Views from windows at the Hermitage:

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This internal courtyard has a lovely garden with a path around it to admire every view.

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View of pedestrians on a cobblestone street along a narrow canal.

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If you enjoyed this brief journey into the Hermitage, please check out my blog post The Hermitage Museum: 13 Masterpieces you can see in 2 hours.

CFFC: Hands: The Young and the Old

As very young children, our hands were used to explore things – babies are very tactile explorers. At her first birthday party, my grand-niece Rosemary explored a blueberry pie, first by touching the rough surface of the crust…

Mmm, the top feels nice!

Mmm, the top feels nice!

…next by digging her hand into the cool gooey blueberry inside…another new sensation!

Why is everyone looking at me?

Why is everyone looking at me?

…and finally by putting her fingers into her mouth to taste this intriguing substance.

Hmm, tastes good too!

Hmm, tastes good too!

As we age, our hands grow along with us and are used for many things: typing on a keyboard (as I am doing right now), create a painting or sculpture, play a musical instrument, signal to people (victory signs, thumbs up, and others not so nice), even talk – the deaf community has its own language, ASL (American Sign Language) to communicate with their hands.When we meet someone, we shake their hands. When we want to express our heartfelt thanks, we might put our hand over our heart. We embrace our loved ones and caress our lovers with our hands.

When I think about it, it’s truly amazing what we can get our hands to do. A secretary who can type as fast as her boss can talk, or a pianist playing a concerto, or a teacher, her hand gripped around a piece of chalk or dry erase marker, as she illustrates or writes something on the board for her students, or a florist using his hands to shape a bouquet just so. So much do we rely on our hands to perform tasks that we become frustrated when our fingers refuse to cooperate!

Hands can be adorned with rings, henna or bracelets.


A piano teacher’s hand

In old age, hands can fail us: they may become misshapen with arthritis or just not work as efficiently as before. The veins in the back of our hands become more prominent as do the bones of our joints. Age spots may appear on the skin. One of my favorite pictures of my mother is this one, taken on her ninetieth birthday, her wrist decorated with a corsage. Her hand is as expressive as the look on her face.

MTL 90th bday

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Hands 8/16/16

Saturday Statues: Syrinx and Pan

In Indianapolis, we were in a park where on one side was this statue of Pan playing his flute:


Roger White, American sculptor, created Pan and his companion Syrinx, of bronze with limestone pedestal. This was originally a drinking fountain. The sculpture of Pan was stolen 3 times! This is the 4th rendition.

On the other end was Syrinx, her hand to her ear, straining to hear Pan’s flute from afar.


Syrinx, a nymph in Greek mythology , is shown listening to the call of the pipes played by her companion, Pan, whose statue is located on the other side of the fountain.


Saturday Statues 8/13/16

WPC: Fun

When I think of fun, I think of the exuberance of childhood – children find it easy to have fun!  Fun means different things for children, adults, and cats…

Recently, I was at a birthday party for a grand-niece’s first birthday. In attendance were her aunt and uncle and their son Alex (age 2). Alex never has trouble entertaining himself. Here he was running around the house, with two pink balloons, singing a song with words something like, “Nah, nah, nah!”


Fun for my cat is chasing a laser light.

As for me, I have fun being with friends and family. My husband and I are in a dinner group which meets every month at a different restaurant. In June, they celebrated my birthday at Chevy’s, a Mexican restaurant in Schaumburg. People celebrating birthdays at that restaurant are given a sombrero and a small dessert with a candle. However, I was more interested in a luscious large dessert and willing to pay…

6-16 birthday girl at Chevy's

This dessert is served on a mini crate – I’m not sure why. Maybe to make it closer to your mouth so you don’t spill chocolate all over your shirt??

These are examples of the fun moments I like to remember.

WPC: Fun

CFFC: Feet and shoes


My new pedicure!

A new coat of polish right after a pedicure


My feet (left) and Betsy's (right) after a pedicure!

My niece and I went for a pedicure in Sept. 2013. I decided on orange – a bold move for me at the time – in time for the upcoming Halloween. My niece’s feet are on the right.

Footwear (sans feet!)


The evolution of Native American footwear (taken at Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis)


Display of boots for sale in Santa Cruz, California

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Legs and Feet

Thursday Doors: Mixture of styles in Indiana

On our short trip to Indiana in June, we visited Indianapolis and Columbus. Indianapolis has an eclectic mix of architectural styles, and Columbus is famous for its architecture (it’s rated 6th in the country for innovative architecture, superseded only by 5 large cities).

A mixture of styles, a mixture of doors…


Shriners building, Indianapolis

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Entrance to the Indiana World War Memorial, Indianapolis


Entrance to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. Brachiosaur “Riad” stands erect and her baby seems to be going in through the top.


Doorway of a theatre in Indy. To fit into the space they “folded” the facade, so the door is at an angle.


Entrance to Circle Tower building in Indianapolis.


Inside the door into Pres. Benjamin Harrison’s house. This national monument commemorates the only president from Indiana.


One of the historical homes of Columbus, Indiana: Irwin Home (1864); 1910 renovation and addition by Henry Phillips. Now The Inn at Irwin Gardens.

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Doors to First Christian Church in Columbus. The architecture for this church is modernistic, and rather unusual. For one thing, the doorway is not centrally placed; the left side is wider than the right side.

Thursday Doors 8-11-16


WPC: Morning in Four Seasons

Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens


7:44 a.m., February after a snowstorm:  The morning light filters through the trees and settles on the fresh snow. Although someone from my house has been outside (because of the footprints), it’s too early to have shoveled the walk. However, someone across the street has and a neighbor has already left for work, before the snow plows come through.20150202_074431

A month later, at 6:08 a.m., the golden full moon sets behind our neighborhood.




9:00 a.m. on an early June day, I admired the stillness of Upper Kaubashine Lake in northern Wisconsin, a view I had seen many times for the last 50 springs and summers. This was to be my last morning at this beautiful place. My siblings and I were getting too old and our lives too far away to take care of the place.


As I gazed out at the lake in my bathrobe, with a cup of coffee in my hand, I saw a mama duck herding her little ones. They had no doubt awakened much earlier than I had and were ready for their daily fishing lessons.




It is my daily custom during warm months when I first get up (between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m.) to grab my cup of coffee and a light snack and sit on the deck at the back of our house, dressed in my bathrobe, and read for awhile out of whatever book I am reading. Sometimes, when I know it’s going to be a hot day, I try to take a walk as early as possible. On July 20, I was well on my way when I stopped to snap a picture of lilies and hibiscus bushes.


Walking to church around 9:15 a.m. on summer Sunday mornings, I pass this lovely garden and the colorful chairs that the residents of the house arrange on their lawn every summer.

Front yard at corner of Prairie & Laurel



8:30 a.m. in late September – a spider has been up all night, no doubt, creating this giant web. See her? She’s right in the middle of the web, just in front of the green leaves in the bottom center of the picture.


Autumn is a wonderful time to take 3-day road trips. Last October we went to Saugatuck, Michigan.  The streets were nearly deserted on an October Saturday morning at 9:15 a.m.  as we strolled down the main drag. The shops hadn’t even opened yet! Saugatuck is a lovely, photogenic town on Lake Michigan, in the southwest corner of the state of Michigan.

Main street (probably Butler St.) in Saugatuck

 Hubby strolls down Butler St. in Saugatuck


Bench at 110 Butler St. (Later we passed this same place, when the store had opened, and the bench had been covered with colorful pillows.)

Morning brings the promise of a fresh new day and during every season, morning has its charms.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Morning


Thursday Doors: Bisbee, Arizona

Last December, hoping to escape the winter cold in Illinois, we took a trip to Tucson for a week. But the cold came with us – not in the form of snow, but rain, wind, frost, and temperatures at freezing level! Meanwhile, back in Chicagoland, people were enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures in the 60s (F)!

One of the most interesting towns we visited was Bisbee, in the mountains south of Tucson, a former mining town which is now something of an artists’ colony. The pictures of doorways (for Thursday Doors feature) below attest to that!

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Bottle caps highlight this doorway.

Bottle caps add character to this doorway.

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There were lots of small boutiques and antique stores in the center of town (very overpriced!).

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A series of small homes were built on a hillside, all right next to each other as you climbed a stairway. This is the entrance to one of them.

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The door of another of these small hillside homes

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One of the homes had this gate made of leather, surrounded by undulating wood.

Back on the main drag:

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We finally went to the mine, but had missed the last tour.They only run tours until 3:00 pm in the winter.

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A couple of retired miners showed us the entrance to the mine and the small coal train that goes into it. They told us that the weather gets cold here every year and it isn’t unusual for it to snow. The mine had a museum also, and we were happy to linger there and warm our cold hands!

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Pictures at a wayside

Last weekend, after our four days in St. Paul, Minnesota, my sister, her friend, her daughter and I made the long drive home back to the northwestern suburbs of Chicago. It’s about a 5 1/2 hour drive if you drive straight through, with no stops. Of course, that would be nearly impossible for most people, and we needed several breaks.

Most of the drive is through Wisconsin, which has a network of waysides along all major highways. Trucks park on one side and cars on the other, with the facilities in between them. These waysides are quite nice – most have picnic tables, some kind of historical information, and some greenery. I decided to take a little walk while the others were using the facilities at this wayside north of Janesville, Wisconsin. It was after 8 pm and the sun was setting.


Setting sun casts a glow on the side of a semi stopped at a wayside.

Getting away from the mowed lawn and picnic tables, there is a bit of prairie and trees.


I thought of monarchs when I saw this milkweed plant. Monarchs have become increasingly scarce with the decreasing number of milkweed plants, which are necessary for their survival, due to development and controlled landscaping. More people have become aware lately and milkweed is being deliberately planted and cultivated again. I didn’t see a monarch butterfly, but this little bug is about the same color as a monarch!


Insect on a milkweed plant

I took a picture of this long chassis on the back of a truck, carrying some kind of pipe or coil, I think. I’d never seen one so long.


What is this truck carrying? A long fuel tank? A long pipe? I don’t know.

I watched as the sun went down behind the trees behind the trucks, casting a golden hue which tinges the side of the one cloud in the sky.


As I was heading back toward our car, I noticed a couple of trees that seemed to have some kind of memorial at the base of their trunks. I went over to take a look.


Memorial to fallen workers

There was a plaque that had been placed by the local union.


I wondered about these workers who had lost their lives, and found it amazing that people were visiting the wayside and leaving flowers and stuffed animals for them. Were these donors relatives who made the trek to the wayside to leave tokens of their love, or were they given by random passersby who happened to stop at this wayside?


I’d never seen anything quite like this before, not at a wayside. It just goes to show that any place is worth exploring, even if you have only a few minutes. You never know what you might find!

Monday Windows: Store windows in Copenhagen

I love the store windows in Copenhagen. They are colorful and creative.


Pastries in the window of the famous bakery chain, Lagkagehuset.


Denmark is the origin of the most famous children’s building toys, Legos.


Advertising footwear


Store that sells lingerie. I’m not sure what knickers have to do with lingerie, though.


Necktie display, using stylized tall, narrow buildings, typical of Scandinavia


Colorful display of summer dresses and purses

All photos taken August 6-7, 2015.

Monday Windows