SYW: Bugs, Inspiration, & More

I’m starting off the new week with Melanie’s Share Your World.

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QUESTIONS: 

If not now, then when?
This is the story of my life: Procrastination!

Can you describe your life in a six-word sentence?
No, I don’t think I can.

Do you remember that thing people used to say, about how you swallow eight spiders a year while you sleep? It’s not true, but do you think you’ve ever swallowed any? What bug do you think you’ve eaten the most of by accident?
Yuck! I hope none! Although I probably have inadvertently swallowed a gnat, since there always seems to be one around me.

I have eaten bugs, but it was intentional, sort of. In Oaxaca, Mexico, I was dared to eat chopped up fried grasshoppers that had been served as a complimentary appetizer at a restaurant! I did take a very small bite, and lived to tell the tale, although I don’t remember how it tasted. I don’t want to ever do it again! But the people I was with cheated me – they said if I tried it first, they would all then try it. But they didn’t. How gullible am I???

What’s the best approach to resolving conflict?
Calmly.

Where do you find inspiration?
By inspiration, do you mean inspiration to do something creative? Or do you mean spiritual satisfaction? If to do something creative, then I say in nature mainly. But sometimes something just comes to me and I have the urge to be creative – like certain books make me want to write. But for spiritual satisfaction, I am inspired by singing, mainly as part of an ensemble like a choir. Appropo here is a song that I have posted before, but it is definitely worth repeating: (Lyrics below)

“How Can I Keep From Singing?”

My life goes on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars
I hear the truth, it liveth
And though the darkness ’round me close
Songs in the night it giveth

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging
Since love is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?


When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?

TT: Seasonal Favorites

PC Guy IV poses the following question for his weekly Truthful Tuesday challenge:

Whether it’s soups, stews, or chili, are there certain foods that you consider “winter fare”, only suitable when the temperature dips low enough to turn the furnace on, or do you just eat whatever whenever?

I think it’s natural to prefer certain foods in winter, as opposed to summer, especially living in a climate with cold winters. It’s nice to hunker down with hot chocolate or apple cider to drink, and to choose soups for winter lunches. But I don’t like to give up on summer fare just because it’s winter. Dale went to Costco a couple of weeks ago and looked for Sangria – their brand is our favorite. Finding that they weren’t just out of it, but had actually taken it off the shelves, Dale asked an employee why and was told that “sangria is considered a summer drink.” OK, I can understand that – it conjures up lazy nights at outdoor bars or cafes in Spain following hot summer days – but we like to drink it all year! Apparently we weren’t the only ones to complain because within two weeks it was back in their wine selections!

Ice cream is another one – I do love ice cream in the summer and am more likely to have it in the summer, but if it’s on the menu as the dessert of the day, I will choose it no matter what the season!

I’m a member of a wine club that allows me two bottles of wine per month, and in the winter I sometimes get what is called “Winter White” or “Winter Red.” Of course these wines can be drunk chilled or at room temperature, but I like to heat them up and add a few cloves or cinnamon sticks!

In contrast, I hardly ever eat soup in the summer, but I have it almost every day for lunch in the winter – it’s easy and good. I love salads year round, and don’t mind fruits and vegetables imported from South America. Chili is great in winter too, although it’s rarely offered here; I’m not sure why.

But in the winter, what I most look forward to is movie night in front of our TV, with a winter snack of microwave popcorn accompanied by Mexican hot chocolate!* This hot chocolate is prepared with milk over the stove, stirring in a piece of a bar of chocolate usually flavored with cinnamon. I use a whisk when stirring to make it frothy! While normally I am content to have No Sugar Added Swiss Miss or hot tea in the evening, I’ve got chocolate bars made in Mexico on hand for those special movie nights!

I find it harder to lose weight in the winter than the summer. I don’t exercise as much (especially with limited access to fitness centers during the pandemic) in the winter. Perhaps it’s a sort of instinctual need to hibernate like bears. Put on a layer of fat and sleep the cold away!!

Hibernation Bear HD Stock Images | Shutterstock

*You can find fancy recipes for Mexican hot chocolate online, but I make it very simply, the way I learned in Mexico:

2 tablespoons or approximate Mexican bar chocolate (easy to find in Mexican stores or ethnic aisles in supermarkets) Ibarra brand. (But any brand will do.) This bar chocolate has a grainy texture and is already flavored with cinnamon. (See photo below.)

2 cups of milk (I use skim – use whatever you prefer)

Using a small saucepan on the stove top, add the milk and the chocolate chunks over medium heat. Do not allow it to boil by constantly stirring with a spoon, until the chocolate is melted. Then use a whisk to froth the mixture.

Pour it into ceramic cups and enjoy!

Using one wedge of one of these bars per cup of milk is ideal.

CFFC: Colorful Buildings

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge continues with her theme “all about buildings” and this week’s topic is colorful buildings.

In Amsterdam, Holland:
the red light district

De Pijp neighborhood (across from our Airbnb)

Miltenberg, Germany:
storefront

the Town Hall (Rathaus)

Wurzburg’s colorful cathedral:

Budapest, Hungary:

Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico:

Costa Rica:

Sports stadium in Aswan, Egypt:

Tucumcari, New Mexico, USA on Route 66:

Shamrock, Texas (Route 66):

Cuba, Missouri (Route 66):

Uranus, Missouri (Route 66):

Monday Window: Windows With Grates

For Ludwig’s Monday Window Challenge, I am looking back at a cruise we took to the Panama Canal, stopping at several Central American Pacific ports on the way back. All these windows have grates. One of them, however, was taken in Jerusalem last year.

León, Nicaragua
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Antigua, Guatemala
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The purple sashes were there because it was Holy Week.KODAK Digital Still Camera
Actually, I think these windows have shutters, not grates.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Todos Santos, Mexico
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Jerusalem, Israel
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RDP: Dancing, Yeah!

Ragtag Daily Prompt today is Dance.

A Sunday afternoon on Avenida Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil: Ballet and…

…political protest batucada: “Fora Temer” – a protest against the vice president (Temer) who took over for Pres. Dilma Roussef after her arrest.

Panama Canal Cruise – in Mexican town of Tuxtla Chico, Chiapas
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KODAK Digital Still Camera

Panama Canal Cruise on board m/s Veendam: Mexican dancers
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Verde Valley School 70th anniversary: Saturday night dance

Dutch Goes the Photo: Trees

Jansenphoto’s Dutch Goes the Photo has a Tuesday challenge and the topic is trees.

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Walking tree in Costa Rica: As this tree puts down new roots over the last layer, it actually moves – about 1 foot per year!

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Tree trunk in the Bahamas

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Orchids grow on the side of this tree in Izapa, , Mexico. Orchids are “bromeliads” – plants which grow in “the air”, i.e. on other plants.

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This tree with a big hole in its trunk was in the woods along the path up to Marksburg Castle in Germany. I don’t know what caused the original injury to the tree, but animals have surely taken advantage of its shelter.

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Acacia tree in Tanzania, with used & abandoned weavers’ nests hanging down.

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This normal tree in our community, after dark gets spooky and full of shadows.

Picnic area. This tree is beautiful!
At a state park in Wisconsin, in autumn.

Late afternoon sunlight shimmers on South Blue Lake-Bearskin Trail
Evergreen tree branches touch, framing the glimmer of light on a northern Wisconsin lake.

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Brilliant fall color in Des Plaines, IL

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Snow brilliance in Des Plaines, IL

 

 

October Squares: Artistic Lines

Becky’s Month of Squares challenge is back!  Hurray!  This month the theme is Lines & Squares.

In the past month I have visited two museums: the Chicago Art Institute and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. Plenty of opportunities for lines!! Squares too, probably.

Here are the rules for Month of Squares:
Create your line square post, and include a pingback to one of my daily square posts
You can also add a link to your post in the comments on my post
To make it easy for others to find you and to generate interest across the web do include this month’s tag lines&squares
Preferably post daily but you can also post all 31 in one go at the end of the month, or if it is easier join us weekly.
You can even drop in occasionally with squares if you are away or really busy, and many do.
There is though only ONE challenge rule;
your main photograph must be square in shape!

At the Chicago Art Institute, after seeing the Manet exhibit, we went to the members only preview of an unusual exhibit entitled In a Cloud, In a Wall, In a Chair: Six Modernists in Mexico at Midcentury. The general idea of the exhibit was to show how artists in Mexico (whether they were Mexican or not) were influenced by native art and how they used native art elements in their own work.

My main photo is this one, by  Ruth Asawa, “Untitled (BMC.58, Meander – Curved Lines),” c. 1948, pen, brush and ink on paper20190905_125432 (2)
Here are a few more in the exhibit:

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Ruth Asawa, Untitled (BMC.127, Meander in Green, Orange, and Brown), 1946/49, collage of cut colored and coated papers

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Ruth Asawa (American, 1926-2003), all untitled, hanging forms, brass, galvanized steel, copper and wire

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Pitcher, c. 1950, Purepecha, Michoacan, Mexico, hammered copper

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Cover of a book

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Female Figure with Bold, Geometric Face and Body Paint, 200-100 BC, Chupicuara, Guanajuato or Michoacan, Mexico, terra cotta and pigmented slip

 

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Cynthia Sargent, Linea Musical (Musical Line)

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Sheila Hicks (American, active France, born 1934), Taxco el Viejo (Taxco, the Old One),  1962, handspun wool. this is one of Hicks’ works whose geometry draws from Mexico’s ancient pyramids, as well as from the weave structure itself.

 

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Anni Albers (German, active United States, 1899-19940, Eclat 1976/79, silkscreen on cotton and linen

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Sheila Hicks, Falda (Skirt),  1960, wool

Personally, I did not always see the connection between Mexican native art and the pieces on display, although I did notice style and color, which are very Mexican, from my personal experience. My favorites are the yellow and orange Taxco rug and the hanging wire forms. There were several more pieces in the exhibition not included here.

Time for Soup

There is a Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood where I like to go when it is super cold outside. They have a very good caldo de pollo – chicken soup with big pieces of white meat, potatoes, carrots, and beans. With it they serve little cups of chopped onion, cilantro, rice, and lime slices which you can add as you prefer. You also get a stack of tortillas. In the past, I used to order a margarita with it (especially after a hard work day!) but now I just order the soup. It’s a big enough bowl to take home half of it for another day!

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Time for Soup is my participation in today’s photo challenge by Becky’s December Squares.

Lens-Artists Challenge: Windows

The theme this week for Lens Artists’ Weekly Photo Challenge is windows.

Mormon church – Salt Lake City, UtahSONY DSC
Trigger – photography studio and wedding venue, Chicago, IL
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Northlight Theatre, Skokie, IL – with sculpture in front
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Bike frames in a window, Chicago, IL
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Inspirational message on the rear window of a parked car, Arlington Heights, IL
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House, Des Plaines, IL
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90 Miles Cuban Café, Lincolnwood, IL
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Vine covered façade, Oakton St., Des Plaines, IL
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Flower pots on a window sill in Todos Santos, Mexico
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Park Inn Hotel, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Mason City, Iowa
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RDP: Panoply of Animals

I didn’t set out to collect little animals, but in truth I love collecting little things from different cultures, and animals are universally loved. I have collected small animal figures from Mexico, Brazil, Tanzania and others that I have either acquired or inherited.

I tried to fit most of them on one shelf for this photo.
20180923_153317_001Behind this animal panoply are portraits of my parents (in the middle – the woman with the pink hat and scarf is my mother, and next to her is my father), Dale’s parents (black & white photo on the right) and my great-grandparents in back on the left.

The animals include alebrijes (whimsical,colorful animal carvings from copal wood in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico); several ceramic birds as well as a small snail, mostly from Mexico; and black clay animals (including an armadillo, two birds, and a turtle) all of which are whistles, also made in Mexico by an elderly potter in the late 1960s who claimed to be the daughter of a Mexican mestiza woman and a French soldier – she had blue eyes.

On the left, in front of the portraits of my great-grandparents, is a fish made out of a gourd. I bought this in northeastern Brazil. It was made by an indigenous artist from the Amazon region.

The birds mounted on wood in the front at left (a loon and two other birds) are ceramic and were inherited from my mother. At right, a rather fearsome beaded animal is a lion, made by Maasai women in Tanzania. Next to the lion are two small turtles, part of a turtle collection that belonged to a woman from my church who died and asked that at her memorial service, the attendees should select one or two from her collection as a remembrance of her.

Next to the lion, a strange sort of dragon-looking green ceramic creature with horns, long fangs and white spikes along its back is a hodag. This legendary animal originated among the lumberjacks of northern Wisconsin, and it became the official symbol of the town of Rhinelander. The story goes that some of the seasoned lumberjacks built a hodag out of some realistic-looking material which resembled a reptile, and somehow rigged it to move its tail and eyes. They placed it in the woods to be “discovered” by the newbie lumberjacks, and according to the story, it worked! The rookies were scared of this animal they had never heard of before, at least at first.
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As they looked more closely at it, they realized it was fake, but the legend stuck and the hodag became famous in those parts. My family home had several hodags – either ceramic or stuffed. My mother had spent part of her girlhood in Rhinelander!

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This hodag greets visitors to Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

My most recent acquisition is a green, white and red striped snake, coiled in front of my mother’s portrait. I bought it yesterday at a Craft Fair hosted annually at my church. The sculptor, a young, rather shy man named David, had a display of lots of his fanciful clay animals, many with two heads! I asked if he let them harden naturally or fire them in a kiln. He said he bakes them in his oven!

These are the stories of my panoply of animals. I probably will continue to add to it as I find others that strike my fancy!

RDP: PANOPLY