SYW: Shopping, Drawing, Questionable Music, & Awful Jobs

I really like the questions Melanie has presented in Share Your World this week! So here goes!

QUESTIONS

In your opinion, what do you buy way more of than most people? I asked my husband what he thinks I buy too much of, and he said “nothing.” And in truth, he has to convince me that it is OK to buy something I really want but I am reluctant because it’s expensive. I often want to buy some new clothes but I don’t really need them and I think it’s wasteful of resources to buy excessive amounts of anything. I should shop at resale shops!

Which workers have the worst jobs?
The jobs most Americans won’t do, but are much in demand, are often done by the lowest paid workers. They do the drudge jobs, including working in fields of large agricultural farms, bending over in the hot sun for long hours; cleaning toilets; factory work where there is dangerous machinery or an assembly line processing meat products (separating the organs and guts from the ‘good’ meat). These jobs are stressful, have long hours, and no job security. Here is an interesting article about the worst jobs in America: What are the worst jobs in America?

Opinion.  John Cage is a composer who composed a piece named 4’33” for any instrument. The performers are instructed not to play their instrument for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Is this music or is this art?  A combination of the two?   Neither, it’s stupid.  Your opinion?
I have seen this “performed.” I thought it was weird. In college I had some music nerd friends who really got into this avant-garde type of music. John Cage was a preferred composer among these people! But not for me!

How good are you at drawing? I am pretty good. I have been drawing all my life. I’ve only recently started learning how to paint. But drawing is still my forte. Here are some of my personal favorites, ranging from 1973 to 2022!

Which one do you think is the oldest? (Some of them are dated.)


GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)

Feel free to share one amazing thing you’ve experienced (any time frame).

Travel – each trip more amazing than the one before. I was amazed on my first safari, seeing wild animals roaming free, and no further than a few yards from us! They amazed me with their natural behavior and their antics – a mother cheetah playing with her cub, elephants playing in the water, lions and giraffes mating. There’s nothing that can compare with being among these creatures who share the earth with us.

Cheetah mom & cub, Ndutu-Serengeti, Tanzania

On the other hand, I was also amazed – gobsmacked! – by visiting the ancient Egyptian monuments and realizing that they have endured thousands of years! The famous pyramids and sphinx were created over 4,000 years ago and yet they still stand! And visiting tombs and monuments where I got to see beautiful artwork – carved on pillars and walls of monuments, sometimes with the paint still visible, and the beautiful, colorful artwork in the ancient tombs. I just find it so amazing that these things have endured for more than 3000 years and we can still visit them. The Ancient Egyptians did create these tombs and monuments to last for “millions and millions” of years, but thousands is already very impressive!

From the tomb of King Ramses VI, Valley of the Kings, Egypt. Photo credit: Mohammed Fathy.

Bright Stained Glass of a Charleston Church

I was looking through my 2014 photos of Savannah and Charleston for another post, and came across this bright circle of stained glass from The Circular Congregational UCC Church in Charleston.

Ceiling stained glass

I also took this photo of other stained glass windows, the beauty in their simplicity, at the same church.

Stained glass windows
This view of the church’s sanctuary helps visualize the circular-ness of the interior.
Front facade of Circular Church

The church had a rather interesting graveyard in back, which we also explored, with some very old and historical graves.

Day 28 of Becky’s April Bright Squares photo challenge

Sunday Stills: Getting It Straight

Terri Webster Schrandt has a Sunday photo challenge, Sunday Stills. The theme this week is straight.

Apartment building (Woodstock, IL)

Here’s a place I’ve really been missing the last few months – the library! (Des Plaines, IL)


Under these floor tiles, several hundred people were buried during the Middle Ages! (Oude Kerk, Amsterdam)

Bridges: Pegasus Bridge (Normandy, France)

Bridge over a river on the border of Germany and Austria (near Scharding, Austria)

A tall house (Mont St-Michel, France)

Entrance to a graveyard (Merville-Franceville-Plage, France)

A straight and narrow street in Passau, Germany

Ornate fence in front of the World Museum in Vienna, Austria

Lens-Artists #84: Narrow Passageways

Amy at Lens-Artists this week invites us to explore the topic of narrow.

In my travels to “old” places – places built when there were no cars or crowds of tourists -I explored (or declined to explore) many narrow streets and other passageways.

Places like Old Town Tallinn, Estonia (where I got lost due to sidewalks and streets so narrow that I lost sight of our guide!)…
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A van that is nearly as wide as this street in Old Town forces all pedestrians to the narrow sidewalk on the left.100_0371
There were also narrow witches!
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In Stockholm, Sweden, I tried to imagine returning home to one of these narrow alleys on a dark afternoon in winter!
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Dale ends our bike ride through Stockholm coasting down a narrow cobblestone street.
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Stockholm, like many European countries, also has tall, narrow buildings.
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Even older is Old Jerusalem, Israel…Like elsewhere, vehicles have the right of way, squeezing pedestrians to the wall.
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Some of these climbing narrow streets are divided between steps and ramps.
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Watch out for motorcycles coming through!
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In ancient Egypt, clearly people were smaller to fit into narrow passageways into pyramids and tombs.

Dale and a few other adventurous souls (such as this woman from our group emerging from a pyramid) did go down these narrow steps into a now empty room in the Queen’s tomb in Giza. I took one look and decided to wait outside!
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Tourists descend a long narrow hallway covered with inscriptions and paintings to reach the tomb of Ramses IX in Valley of the Kings. These hieroglyphics declaim the deeds of the king during his reign, and there are also symbols of gods to accompany him to the afterlife.
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At the Chateau of Caen, France, a narrow stairway leads down to…where??
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On Omaha Beach, in Normandy, are the remains of WWII German bunkers, which I declined to enter, also reached through narrow passages and stairways. (I’m glad I didn’t go in – my son’s photos show empty rooms with an inch of rainwater covering the floors!)
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On the way back to our Airbnb farmhouse through the Normandy countryside, we drove down the narrow roads of villages, flanked by houses on both sides.
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A car in front of us navigates a sharp corner into another narrow street.DSC00482
A lot of traffic in Amsterdam travels its canals, which narrow on approach to bridges.
DSC00587Floating traffic jam!
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Bridges have these traffic signals indicating when it is safe and permissible to proceed (or not!).
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The day after our tour of the canals, we went to the “red light district” where we were told not to take photos of the sex workers who lived on either side of these narrow alleyways. Probably also not a good idea to photograph potential clients – good thing this one came out blurry!
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In Amsterdam, we stayed in an Airbnb 2nd floor flat, with a narrow stairway winding up to it. That was one of our son’s obligations to us for paying for his trip – carry our suitcases up and down! The stairway was so narrow and windy that he had to carry the suitcases one by one in his arms!
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Thursday Doors: Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral is the most noticeable building as you approach this city on the north Rhine River, with its Gothic spires soaring high above the landscape. At 157 meters (515 ft.) ir the third tallest twin-spired church in the world. The towers for its spires make its façade the tallest in the world.
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From the river it is quite imposing, close as it is to the riverfront.  DSC00868
20190627_223155This Catholic cathedral is the most visited landmark in Germany, with 20,000 visitors average per day.

It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and of the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

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Front main entrance

Details above front door:


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The cathedral’s official name in English is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter (in German, Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus).

Inside the main transept:

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Front doors from the inside

Construction of the cathedral was begun in 1248 but was halted, unfinished, in 1473. Work did not recommence until the 1840s (!) and was completed according to its Medieval plan in 1880.
20190627_154133When construction began in 1248, the site had been occupied by several previous structures; from the 4th century CE (AD) on, these were Christian buildings.
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Legend has it that Kris Kringle (Germany’s Santa Claus) would take naughty kids to the cathedral, where he would punish them and if they resisted, he would drop them off the South Tower! That must have been a great incentive for children to be good! Visitors can go up the South Tower today – that is, when Kris Kringle is not around!!

Tower details:

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Model of the finial o top of the Cathedral towers in original size: 9.5 m high, 4.6 m wide

DSC00911.JPGIn the 19th century, there was a resurgence of romantic interest in the Middle Ages, and with the original plan for the façade having been discovered, the Protestant Prussian Court gave its approval for the cathedral’s completion. The Court provided a 3rd of its cost to improve relations with its growing number of Catholic subjects.

Stained glass:

On August 14, 1880, the completion of the cathedral was celebrated as a national event, 632 years after it had been begun! It was the tallest building in the world until the completion of the Washington Monument four years later.

As in most large cathedrals, there are relics and burials. Many graves were discovered during the excavations in the 19th century.
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Door to a crypt

Although the cathedral suffered 14 hits by Allied aerial bombings during World War II, and was badly damaged, it nevertheless remained standing in a city which was mostly destroyed.

Repairs of the war damage were completed in 1956. Repair and maintenance work is constant due to wind, rain and pollution which eat away at the stone, so there is almost always scaffolding on some part of the cathedral.*
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As we were leaving, I saw this most unusual door on one side of the cathedral.DSC00910
Both inside and out, the Cologne Cathedral is the most impressive and magnificent cathedral I have ever seen!

Posted for Norm’s Thursday Doors, 8/29/19.

*Historical information was obtained from the Wikipedia article, Cologne Cathedral.

 

Journey to Egypt, Part 9: Valley of the Kings & Howard Carter’s House

December 27, 2018

(This post is part of my travel journal, and also for Your Daily Prompt 3/8/19: Nobility; and for Norm’s Thursday Doors 3/7/19 ).

This morning we visited Valley of the Kings, where there are 62 tombs of Egyptian nobility – specifically, pharaohs, including Tutankhamen. They date from Thutmose I of the 18th Dynasty to Ramses XI of the 20th Dynasty, all rulers of the New Kingdom, and most of the tombs have been raided by tomb robbers. Howard Carter hit the jackpot when he accidentally discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922: most of the burial items had been left intact, giving archaeologists insight into the artifacts that would have been buried in the king’s tomb and outlying chambers.

To get to the Valley of the Kings, we took a motorcoach out into the desert.
20181227_084634To get to the tombs, there were trams shuttling groups of people back and forth.
20181227_090715We were only allowed to take photos inside the tombs if we paid 300 EP (Egyptian pounds), the equivalent of about $15.00.  Only one member of our tour group was willing to pay to take photos. Dale and I decided not to pay and refrain from taking photos, but in hindsight, I should have paid the 15 bucks – after all, it helps the Egyptian economy. Dale is too cheap, in general, to pay and he usually finds a way to take pictures anyway, which he did.

I opted, instead, to pay the equivalent of $30 for a 2-DVD set, including one containing over 11,000 photos taken by Egyptologist Mohammed Fathy all over Egypt. I figured that way I would have photos of everything, including what I missed. I have already posted a few of these photos to “fill in the blanks” and will do so again here.

We visited four of the tombs. The first was Ramses IX, which is the first tomb encountered when entering the Valley of the Kings via the modern entrance.
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The king’s body was found in 1881 at Deir el-Bahri, also known as Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple, which we would visit later today. Some of the funerary items are now at the British Museum.20181227_091213
Entering the tomb was via a shat which opened into a long corridor with steps down into another corridor.  This tomb map and some information is from the web site The Tomb of Ramesses IX, Valley of the Kings, Egypt  .
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There were a lot of tourists visiting, and Dale noticed some Asian tourists taking photos with their cellphones and getting away with it (he didn’t know if they had paid the 300 EP). So he started taking pictures surreptitiously. (The unlabeled photos are his.)

Along the walls, there were inscriptions and paintings, no doubt extolling the pharaoh’s victories in battle. Every surface was covered and much of the color has been preserved.
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Syrian captives

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The texts and decoration inside royal tombs contain illustrations of spiritual texts, including the Book of the Dead (on the left wall). These texts were to accompany the deceased pharaoh through the netherworld into the afterlife, with the expectation of eventual rebirth. Here are two photos I took recently at the Field Museum in Chicago. The first is a piece of a replica of  the Book of the Dead. The second is a diorama illustrating the second phase of the deceased’s journey to the afterlife, receiving protection from the gods during his journey.
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Continuing on down the corridor, everywhere we saw spectacular artwork all around us. It must have taken many years for the pharaoh’s artisans to prepare this tomb to receive his body.

Niches line the corridor which contain representations of different gods. Below is a collage of photos taken by Mohammed Fathy of various scenes in Ramses IX’s tomb. The large red circle depicted in several of these photos represent the sun disk.

At the end of the corridors was this doorway, decorated overhead by a snake, the scarab holding the sun disk on a boat, and the eye of Horus, a symbol of protection for royalty.

20181227_091637dIn the burial chamber, the god Nut is represented on the ceiling as part of another spiritual text, the Book of Night.
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The burial chamber is empty – it does not contain a sarcophagus.
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These photos taken by Mohammed Fathy show details of the ceiling of the burial chamber.
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Ramses IX (14)

Amun-Ra (creator god combined with sun god) – or possibly Horus – stands in the center of a sun disk, flanked by four baboons, which among other things “scream” to announce the sunrise.

Ramses IX (15)

This shows the symbol for a man, presumably the king, sitting in the middle of the sun disk. The goddess Hathor (goddess of fertility and love) is represented by the horns and sun disk, and the wings are the protective presence of Horus, the falcon god, who will lead the deceased to the underworld.

As we made our way back, a man approached Dale, gesturing wildly and demanding, “Ticket! Ticket!” He meant the ticket issued if you pay to take photos. Of course, Dale didn’t have one. He acted all innocent, saying, “I didn’t know” and “our guide didn’t tell us” but the man wasn’t buying it.

I suggested to Dale that he delete the photos with the man watching, but instead the man grabbed Dale’s cellphone and turned to leave with it! Of course, Dale had to follow. Outside, he asked Dale, “Where is your guide?” Whether Mohamed was within view or not, I don’t know, but Dale wasn’t going to point him out. He just looked around and said vaguely, “He’s around here somewhere.”

The man got frustrated and didn’t know what else to do, so he gave Dale his phone back and walked away!
20181227_094943dThe next tomb we went in was that of Ramses VI, which was better preserved and contained a sarcophagus!

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Dale once again took a few photos! He was caught again, but once again talked his way out of it, so we do have these shots he took with his cellphone.
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He even took a photo of me in one of the corridors of the tomb!
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This tomb’s structure was basically the same as that of Ramses IX.

These photos are all from the collection of Mohammed Fathy, from the DVD I purchased.

Fathy even included a photo of the mummy!
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Next was KV 14, the tomb of  King Tausert/Setnakht.20181227_095343
Dale took a few pictures again, but this time did not get caught!
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Tausert’s burial chamber

 

The fourth and final tomb we visited was the long anticipated tomb of Tutankhamun. It was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 after digging for six years – no one knew who this young king was, but his name had appeared occasionally on ancient writings and artifacts so Carter began excavating in the Valley of the Kings, presumably where his tomb would be.

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Present day entrance to Tutankhamun’s tomb. There is a separate entrance fee for this tomb (100 EP) and photography is strictly forbidden.

Each of the 62 tombs is numbered by the order in which they were discovered (Ramses IX is labeled with K.V. 6). Tutankhamun’s tomb is number 62. Very little is known about this king who died at the age of 18 or 19. He ascended to the throne at the age of eight, as the rightful heir of Akhenaten, the “heretic” king; Akhenaten is believed to be his father, but his mother was not Akhenaten’s beloved first wife, Nefertiti, who bore only daughters. It is speculated that Tutankhamun was the child of one of Akhenaten’s lesser wives, a woman named Kiya. It is also possible that he is not Akhenaten’s son, but rather his much younger brother, next in line for the throne because Akhenaten and Nefertiti had only daughters.

From what I have learned about ancient Egypt, it was very common for pharaohs to have a harem of lesser wives – the principal wife was the preferred mate to produce a male heir, but failing that, the pharaohs had other wives who could produce a son. Whatever the case, Tutankhamun, while officially enthroned at the age of eight (his rule is officially stated as 1333-1323 BCE), had a regent named Ay who was the vizier of his probable father, Akhenaten. Ay had been close to the royal family since Akhenaten (formerly known as Amenhotep IV) was a child. When Tutankhamun was old enough – probably in his young teens – he took the reins of power but unfortunately died after only a few years on the throne.
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Although there has been much speculation about the cause of Tutankhamun’s death – a Discovery Channel documentary even theorized that he was murdered – recent improvements in DNA technology have allowed scientists to determine that he died of malaria, which must have been common in Egypt as it was in much of Africa.

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Tutankhamun was buried in a hurry; his original tomb (no. 23) was not completed at the time of his death. Tomb 62 is smaller than average for a pharaoh’s burial site. (No. 23 would end up being the tomb of his successor, Ay.)
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In 2007, his mummy was removed from the marble sarcophagus where it had been since Tomb of Tutanchamun (6)the tomb was opened to the public. The body, without its mummy wrappings, is now on display in his burial chamber. We had seen several of his coffins, as well as many funerary objects and his burial mask, at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Photography, even if you’ve paid 300 EP, is prohibited in Tutankhamun’s tomb. Even Dale didn’t take illegal photos there – I doubt he would have been able to talk his way out of that infraction!!

The tomb has four rooms, but only the burial chamber is decorated.
Inside the burial chamber is one of the gilded coffins in which the king’s mummy had originally been placed. There was an old man, dressed in the galabeya (a type of afghan) that traditional Egyptian men wear, in the chamber with a flashlight. He smiled at us with a mostly toothless grin and shone the flashlight onto the body’s blackened feet. I’m not sure why he did this, perhaps there was something particular we were supposed to notice about Tutankhamun’s feet. In any case, the rest of the body was covered with a shroud so only his lower legs and feet were visible.

Mohammed Fathy includes these photos (including of Tutankhamun’s body above) in his small collection of photos from the “boy king”‘s tomb, but they are not labeled and I don’t think he took them.
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Two views of the burial chamber in different lighting.

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Items found in King Tut’s tomb, apparently while in storage

 

Informational signs about Tomb no. 62
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This informational sign is at Howard Carter’s house.

 

Adjacent to Valley of the Kings is the home of Howard Carter, the archeologist who discovered and excavated Tutankhamun’s tomb. We took a short tour through the house.

In 1908, Lord Carnavan was introduced to Howard Carter, who had spent the previous 17 years working in Egypt, but at that time was unemployed and at a low point in his life. In January 1909, Carnavan offered Carter a job and help in building a house, which was dubbed “Castle Carter.” 20181227_105637d
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The garden

 

The doors of Howard Carter’s house (posted for Norm’s Thursday Doors, 3/7/19).
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A small door in a corner (for a dog maybe?) – open…
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and closed.
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Door of a safe
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Doors and a mirror of an armoire
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Information for this post was obtained from:

Fodor’s Egypt, 2009 edition.
Web site page The Tomb of Ramesses IX, Valley of the Kings, Egypt (linked above) .
My own notes and photos.