Travel in Green

HeyJude at Travel Words has a Life in Colour Photo Challenge 2021, and the theme for March is green. Here’s my gallery of green:

February Love Me

Yikes! I have a few days to catch up for Paula’s February Love Me challenge! Here are 3 more, in no particular order…

Feb. 6: I love…ice cream! Even though it is winter, and quite cold here, I can’t resist the temptation of ice cream once in a while!

Ice cream in France

Feb. 7: I love…art. I love to visit art museums whenever I can as well as do my own artwork! I just finished the book Frida in America by Celia Stahr, a new biography of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo focusing on her years in the United States with her husband, Diego Rivera. While reading the book, I explored her artwork on line and, although I was quite familiar with her work, I discovered a lot of her paintings I hadn’t known about before. I also love mural art wherever I find it – and usually stop what I’m doing to take a picture!

Claude Monet, Bordighera, 1884, oil on canvas; exhibition at Chicago Art Institute, Oct. 2020
My artwork: Painted Bunting, sharpie and pastels on construction paper, January 2020

Feb. 8: I love…traveling. Anyone who reads my blog even occasionally knows how traveling is absolutely the thing I love most to do! And while traveling, I engage in one of my favorite hobbies, photography, and when I come back, I engage in another favorite activity, writing (or blogging). Below is a gallery random sample of travel photos from 2018-2019. There are no travel photos from 2020 due to not being able to travel during the pandemic! I have two international trips booked for 2022 and hopefully we can do a road trip in the fall of this year.

CFFC: Dark Red

Cee’s fun Foto challenge continues with a color theme. This week is dark red including maroon and burgundy.

bathroom décor at a wedding venue, Chicago
ceiling in bathroom at a wedding venue, Chicago
Field of flowers, Israel
Light show at Abu Simbel, Egypt
Lightscape 2019, Chicago Botanic Gardens
Seussian field of fake flowers, Chicago Botanic Gardens
Painting by Malangatana, Art Institute of Chicago
Red leaves, park in St. Charles, IL
Mural on the side of a law firm building, Geneva (?), IL
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Painting by Edouard Manet, Musee d’Orsay, Paris

Kinda Square: Art Through the Ages

A couple of weeks ago we went to the Chicago Art Institute. There were three special exhibits I wanted to see: El Greco (16th century), Monet (19th century), and Malangatana (contemporary). There are many kinds of art and these artists illustrate how art has changed throughout history.

Doménikos Theotokópoulos, better known today by his Spanish moniker El Greco, was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. He usually signed his paintings with his name in the Greek alphabet. He moved to Toledo, Spain in 1577, where he received several commissions. He worked there until his death and it was there that he painted his best known works. His dramatic style was not well understood nor well accepted by his contemporaries, but has found appreciation in recent times. On at least one occasion, his patron was displeased with the painting El Greco had produced according to his commission, and while the painting was accepted and hung in a church, he only received half the amount he was supposed to have been paid. His most common subjects were religious themes. (Information obtained from Wikipedia.)

El Greco, Christ Driving the Money Lenders Out of the Temple

Claude Monet is one of the most famous and beloved impressionist painters; in fact, he was one of the founders of the French Impressionist movement. His interest was to capture the natural environment of the French countryside, and he would often make several versions of the same scene in order to capture the changing light and passing of the seasons. In fact, the term “impressionism” comes from the title of his painting, Impression, soleil levant which was in the first exhibition mounted by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the traditional Salon de Paris. (Information obtained at the Chicago Art Institute and Wikipedia.)

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1904, oil on canvas

Malangatana Ngwenya (1936-2011) was an artist and national hero in his native Mozambique. His paintings depicted vivid and colorful allegorical scenes, drawing from traditional religious practices, his cultural background, and life under Portuguese colonial rule. The paintings in the Art Institute’s exhibition were completed between 1959 and 1975, coinciding with Mozambique’s liberation struggle against Portuguese colonial rule.

Malangatana Ngwenya, A arvore de amor (The Tree of Love), 1973, oil on hardboard

Posted for Becky’s October Kinda Square #27 photo challenge.

Carol’s Cheerful Selfie Challenge #1

Carol Carlisle at Light Words has started a new challenge – posting selfies! This is how she introduced the challenge:

CCSC is an opportunity to share a photograph you have taken, that you were in somewhere. Maybe even by accident, or intentional. There are all kinds of selfies, the simplest is getting in the way of the camera. I’ve given up trying to get out of the way when attempting a window photograph.  Of course there’s where your toes get in the way.

Anything Counts as a Selfie as long as you’re the one holding the camera. Some examples of Selfies and why you take them:

  1. A photo of you doing something special. Boy I’m proud
  2. Creating a memory. I was here doing this…
  3. A photo of you in a mirror ( hair cut, new hat, should I get this dress?
  4. An image where you only catch part of yourself (my toes get in flower shots more then I want.) sometimes it’s cute
  5. Photo with you and one other person even a whole group of friends (screen shots of zoom groups count )
  6. Just your finger pointing something out.
  7. An I.D. Picture
  8. Selfie from archives are welcomed

The Prime Directive is HAVE FUN.

I am including an example of three types of selfies. The first is the “partial leg selfie.”

Accompanying my leg is my grandcat Freddy, June 2020

The next could be called “in a mirror darkly.” This was completely unintentional, but I kind of like how it turned out!

At an exhibit of artwork by Parisian art students,, Musee d’Orsay, Paris, June 2019

Finally, a “full face” selfie – this is my favorite selfie!

Standing in front of the Mediterranean Sea at Caesarea Maritima, Israel, January 2019

CFFC: Boats Through the Ages

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Anything to do with boats. All the photos in this photo essay are from my travels near and far.

26th Century BCE – 1st century BCE: Ancient Egypt

This relief at the Temple of Horus (built 237 BCE-57 BCE) in Edfu shows two boats, depicting the pharaoh’s journey to the afterlife. In the middle of the photo, at the center of the boat is the sarcophagus of the pharaoh. You can also see oarsmen in both boats. These likely bear some resemblance to the royal boats powered by oarsmen used during the ancient Egyptian times.

Modern Egypt: Today the Nile teems with cruise ships alongside fellucas (open air sailing boats with no cabins), fishing vessels and freighters.

A dahabeya (2-sail vessel, usually containing cabins), a fishing boat and a cruise ship on the Nile near Edfu.

1st Century CE: Palestine/Israel

Modern Israel: This is one of the vessels used today to take pilgrims across the Sea of Galilee. We sang hymns, watched a demonstration of casting a fishing net, and watched the flocks of gulls who followed our boat.

Middle Ages: Norman Conquest, 1066 CE

The Norman Conquest of England began in 1066 when William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy) invaded the Kingdom of England, which led to the Battle of Hastings and the Norman control of England. The entire story is told on an ancient tapestry, woven by 11th century weavers, and is now housed in Bayeux, Normandy France. This replica of a piece of the original tapestry (which we were not allowed to photograph) depict a stylized version of the boats used at that time.

17th-19th Centuries CE: A failed ship, flat boats, and art

In Stockholm, Sweden, 1628, a ship became famous because it sank, 23 minutes after its maiden voyage! The Vasa was not pulled out of the canal until the 1950s, when the technology to do this had been developed, then it was reconstructed and the museum housing it opened in the 1990s. Why? Because it was top heavy! The photos above were taken at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, where the actual boat is on display (photo far right). The other photos are decorative mastheads and other items on the outside of the ship.

Sailing ship models

19th Century Flatboats:

1880s-Early 1900s: Impressionist Art

Native American Canoes: (L) in Maine (Oceanarium, Acadia); (R) in Alaska – this tribe still makes its canoes the traditional way.

1904-1914: The Panama Canal was completed in 1914, and received updates in the late 20th century to accommodate larger cruise ships and ocean freighters. These are some of the ships we saw passing through the canal.

20th Century: Steamships

2019: Amsterdam, a City of Canals, Ships and Boats

CFFC: Murals

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge with the topic Murals and GraffitiI have a wealth of photos in my archives, because I love photographing public artwork! I include here a sampling of each location. Note that I have blogged about most of these places before, so there will be some duplicates. 

Tucumcari, New Mexico: A town I had never heard of before has apparently achieved renown due to at least two songs about the town, and a novel set there. It’s a stop on Route 66.

Cuba, Missouri: This small town on Route 66 is famous for its murals, depicting historical scenes and events, and scenes of daily life.  Many are scenes of the Civil War, but I have not included any of those here. Cuba is a “must-see” for any Route 66 trip!

Pontiac, Illinois:  one of the last (or first, depending on which way you go) along Route 66. In Pontiac also is a good-sized museum and store selling all types of Route 66 memorabilia. 

Because of its prominence on Route 66, there are miniature cars all over downtown Lexington, each with a different artist’s painting.
Local historical figures

Black Cat Alley in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is an alley flanked by old industrial buildings, which has been converted into a “canvas” for local mural painters! Located in the downtown area, it is easy to get to and I would recommend it for anyone visiting Milwaukee that has an interest in mural art.

Lincoln, Nebraska is a surprisingly interesting city. I had never been to Nebraska before our 2018 road trip and since we like to visit capital cities, we spent a day there. There is a section of town we discovered by accident while finding our way to a restaurant recommended online. Across the street was an old warehouse converted into an artists’ co-op workshop with interesting art on the outside walls.

Denver, Colorado:  We stayed at a fantastic Airbnb in the artsy part of town. On Tennyson St. (where the first of these photos were taken), they have weekly art fairs during the summer season.

Sidewalk art/graffiti in downtown Denver

Dubuque, Iowa – near the Mississippi River Museum

Des Moines, Iowa

In Amsterdam, Holland we took a private boat tour on the canals and harbor. We discovered several trailers painted in vivid colors.

Brazil is very rich in culture and teeming with artists of all kinds. The more famous ones display their art in galleries and museums. However, the street art is amazing, painted by very talented “graffiti artists.” In the city of São Paulo, there was literally art everywhere – you could barely walk one block without seeing street art.

Ibirapuera Park is a large park in Sao Paulo containing small art museums, walking paths, and refreshment stands. This mural was on the wall outside a public restroom.
On another wall outside the same restrooms
On a street near Ibirapuera Park
Under a bridge near Ibirapuera Park – graffiti art and a homeless person’s possessions

For connoisseurs of “graffiti art” (although most of it is much more beautiful than graffiti), there is a neighborhood in São Paulo called Beco do Batman (Batman’s Alley) – wander its cobblestone streets to see an explosion of beautiful and/or humorous murals and sometimes political statements. The first two photos were taken outside Beco do Batman proper, which is residential – and we needed lunch so these were our view from the small café where we ate.

CFFC: What Noses Smell

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week continues with the senses. This week it is the sense of smell.

Swan noses are two thin parallel slits on their bills.
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Cows smell the grass and feed they eat.
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Cats’ noses…
20200125_191913smell everything they encounter as they explore anything new….
…a birthday cake or
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…someone’s jacket.
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Cats are especially attracted to the smell of catnip, a plant in the mint family with a pungent smell. Pet stores sell little toys stuffed with catnip – Hazel’s was a carrot that we tied to her scratching post. Catnip is the marijuana of catdom!!
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Noses may be displayed in artwork, such as on this tapestry entitled “Processional Nose” at the Eye Film Museum in Amsterdam.
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Human noses…

are also attracted to certain smells. Some research indicates that humans may choose their mates by the person’s smell (unconsciously, of course).

What could be more wonderfully sweet than the smell of lilacs in spring?
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Many flowers have a pleasant fragrance, perhaps to attract pollinators.
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Spices also have strong smells.
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A smell unpleasant to most people is cigarette smoke – yet smokers and those who live with them don’t smell it at all! Their noses are desensitized to the smell that permeates everything they own. (This photo courtesy of Google Images)
Delaware moves closer to raising smoking age to 21 - WHYY
However, we associate some smoke smells with family barbecues.
20170710_192031Like certain songs, many odors, such as smelling a certain cuisine, can invoke memories. Many foods have strong smells, whether one appreciates them or not.
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What smells can you conjure up looking at these photos?
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Words associated with smell include:  smell, stink, odor, rotten eggs, fragrance, perfume, scent, aroma, smoky, musty, garlicky, acrid, reek, funky, malodorous, fetid, whiff, inhale, putrid, rancid, stench, odoriferous, sweet-smelling, flowery, redolent, pungent, bouquet, balm, savory, spicy. (Notice how many words we have for bad smells, less for good smells!)

RDP: Thingamajig or Whatchamacallit

Ragtag’s Daily Prompt word today is thingamajig. It is a word we’ve always used (or one like it) when we don’t know or remember the name of something. I looked up the word to see how it would be defined:
Merriam-Webster has a good, concise definition: something that is hard to classify or whose name is unknown or forgotten. 
I found the synonyms amusing: dingus, doodad, doohickey, hickey, thingamabob, thingummy, whatchamacallit, whatnot, whatsit (also whatsis or what-is-it)

I am often at a loss for words, so I’m likely to use thingamajig or one of its synonyms more often than most people. However, as I looked in my photo archives, I did find some objects that defied definition or name. These are some of them.

The Bottle Tree Ranch in California, on Route 66, is full of thingamajigs, doodads, and whatchamacallits. In fact, I think that is its entire reason for being. Lots of weird, rusty machine parts that I have no clue as to what they are even used for…
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More such things are on display at the Overlord Museum at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. If your thing is machines used in war, this is the place to visit.20190620_124504
There was a lot of chaos on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as these displays attest to, so it’s only to be expected to find plenty of hoojiggies (another synonym!) there.  I trust that the men who were using these pieces of machinery had better vocabulary about them than I do!
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Enough of broken machine parts! What would you call this so-called piece of art, on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam?
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(Yeah, me neither, but scary, for sure…)

But – saving the best for last – I had to take a photograph of this weird whatchamacallit I spotted along a sidewalk in Chicago. I have no idea why it’s there or what it’s used for. (The water bottle adds a nice touch, though! At least it can be used to set things down on, and then forget them!)
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If anyone can clarify what this thingamajig is, I’d be interested to find out!