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 Month of Lurve, #11-13

Playing catch up again with Paula’s February Love Me challenge. I have just begun to realize that I should not make my categories too broad, or I will run out of topics!

Feb. 11: I love trees. Winter, spring, summer, and fall. I love trees during them all!

Feb. 12: is Lincoln’s birthday, which makes me think of another thing I love: history! One of the things I most like to do when traveling is to see historical places. I stood next to the Great Pyramid on the Giza plateau in Egypt and felt awed – that structure was built around 2500 BCE! It’s about 5000 years old and it is still standing! Until the Eiffel Tower was built, it was the tallest manmade structure in the world. I imagine the labor it took, moving huge blocks of stone to the site and placing them in exactly the right spot so the pyramid would not collapse. (Click on photos to see closer up.)

In Israel, visiting the places where Jesus himself had walked gave me goosebumps! (Click on photos to see full size)

In Normandy, France, we visited the city of Bayeux where we visited the museum that displays the original Tapestry of Bayeux, which tells the story of William the Conqueror and the conquest of England. This tapestry was made by hand by many artisans in circa 1100 CE. This embroidered tapestry is 70 meters long! We could not photograph the original tapestry, which was very fragile, but I did take a few shots of replicas they had on display in the lobby.

More recent history is also interesting to me. In Normandy, we visited the D-Day beaches and Overlord Museum. At Omaha beach, we saw the vast American Cemetery where 9,387 soldiers who participated in the D-Day invasion and subsequent battle were buried.

Feb. 13: I love writing. I have always enjoyed writing, and when I was a kid, I wanted to be an author or a journalist someday. Alas, life takes many twists and turns and there is always the road not taken. Then I was going to write a novel and I did research to find out how to get an agent, sell a book to a publisher, etc., etc. and it was just too stressful for me! So now it’s just a hobby. I’ve been in and out of writing groups and I do keep a journal, which is not really a diary – it’s more my musings on whatever I’m thinking about or reading about. Sometimes these journal entries turn into stories or essays or even poems. I’ve written letters to my local newspaper, which generally get published within a week. And then, of course, there is this – my blog. I’m not as regular at it as I wish I were, but on the other hand, I have a lot of other interests that keep me busy too.

Actually, I am slowly working on a book, which I intend to self-publish through a POS. It’s about the ancestors on my dad’s mother’s side. I’ve written six chapters, which has been really interesting, because I come across things I wanted to know – I have questions about how things happened, so I do research and find out all kinds of things I never would have known about. I have great admiration for my ancestors, who emigrated to America in the early 1800s. Their journey was quite an adventure! I have laid this project aside for far too long, and should get back to it soon. And it even ties in with my love of history!!

CFFC: Homophones & Homographs

English is such a crazy language! I’m glad I don’t have to learn it as a foreigner! We have many words with more than one pronunciation (homographs), and many words that sound alike but are spelled differently (homophones). Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week plays on the theme of red: a pair of homophones RED – READ; a pair of homographs READ (present tense) and READ (past tense); and another homophone pairing: READ and REED. So here are my REDS, READS and REEDS.

RED: (adjective) a bright primary color

Partial view of a park from a large sculpture with a red hole in the middle
An inviting little table at an Airbnb apartment near Paris
Our neighbor showed off his new toy: a snazzy, shiny, red sporty car!
An intelligent take off of MAGA (and red like MAGA hats!). I saw this sticker sign in Chicago.

READ: (verb) past tense of read: I read an entire book yesterday. But I have not read any of the books in the two photos below, which are written in other languages.

I wonder who has read these sacred Islamic books?
I wonder how many ancient Egyptians read The Book of the Dead in hieroglyphics?

READ: (verb) present tense. I like to read every day.

What book do I read in this photo? I don’t remember!
Sometimes I read magazines.
No one can read this book (except the pages I’m sitting on!) – it is a stone monument to the Russian author Pushkin, in St. Petersburg.

REED: (noun) any of several species of large aquatic grasses, such as those pictured below.

CFFC: Animal Art

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the topic Non-Alive Animals. Of course, any representation of an animal has a real animal in mind as the artist creates it. But the rendition may be very close in appearance to the real animal, or it may be whimsical, or abstract. It all depends on the craftsman’s talent and point of view.

It was hard to choose photos for this post – so many to choose from! Everywhere I go, locally or abroad, there is animal art. Animals have been subjects for every kind of art imaginable for thousands of years…

Such as the first known painting in the world, a painting of Egyptian geese on papyrus at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo,

and the god Horus, usually represented as a hawk, at the Temple of Horus in Edfu, Egypt.

Also at the Egyptian Museum is a throne of King Tutankhamun, whose tomb was not found until 1922, with most of its grave goods intact – it hadn’t been subjected to many tomb robberies!

This elaborate throne contains many symbols and images of gods, such as twin lions on the front. One of ancient Egypt’s sacred symbols was the scarab beetle, depicted in the cartouche on the front of the arm; the hieroglyphics within the cartouche generally are names of kings, so this may have been Tuthankhamun’s. Embracing the throne of either side are the wings of the vulture, a bird considered to be a protector of kings. In this case, he represents the king-god himself, wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

The ancient Chinese civilization also had many animal representations, one of the most common being the guardian lion. This one is in front of a restaurant, House of Szechwan, in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Generally depicted in pairs, guardian lions stood in front of imperial palaces, tombs, temples, government buildings, and the homes of the wealthy. The concept was to show the emotion of the animal, in this case ferocity, as a symbol of protection.

Deriving from this Chinese custom, there are people today who have a pair of lions as lawn ornaments, like this one in Des Plaines. He might look more ferocious if freshly painted!

Here are another example of a Des Plaines lawn ornament, this cute little bird sitting on an orb.

There were many whimsical animals on display for sale or as decoration in the charming small town of Poulsbo, Washington, north of Tacoma.

In Evanston, Illinois, there is a little known museum called the American Toby Jug Museum, which we discovered during Chicago’s annual Open House in October. Toby Jugs are ceramic figures, usually depicting well known persons, but also animals. The history of the toby jug, or philpot, dates back to 18th century potters in Staffordshire, England and was popularized by colonists in the United States. The top of each toby jug has a spout for pouring, but nowadays, these figurines are primarily for ornamentation or collections.

After the wedding we attended near Poulsbo, Washington, we spent a day in Tacoma before returning to Seattle for our flight home. There is a beautiful Museum of Glass there, which has many objects designed by the famous Dale Chihuly, but there is also a fine collection of glass sculptures by other artists, such as this beautiful horse.

Horses are the subject of many works of art, including statues of famous heroes mounted on horses in many European cities, but I am only including two 2-dimensional renditions, one a drawing of a palomino I drew a few days ago, and another one at a short film display at the Ij (Eye) Museum in Amsterdam.

While in Amsterdam, we visited the Oude Kerk, the oldest building in Amsterdam, founded circa 1213 CE. Under the seats of the choir were unique carvings – some rather bawdy! – including this one of a pig.

Most people love animals, and there are many examples of whimsical animals to delight human sensibilities. In the gardens behind Melk Abbey in Austria are some cute creatures, mostly fantastical combinations of human and animal, but there was this turtle:

In Passau, Germany, which we had visited the previous day while on our Viking European cruise, while walking around town on our own, we came across a dachshund museum! Big and little dachshund statues were in front of it.

Who could resist being delighted by several painted cows in the town across from Mont St-Michel in France? Here is one of them, my personal favorite (I love that bright blue udder!).

Our daughter loves Hello Kitty, and for her bridal shower, Hello Kitty was the theme! I bought these as party favors.

Some animal sculptures are cute,

At Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles, Illinois

but some can be a bit intimidating!…

Giant spider at Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

and some are reminders of favorite movies, such as this groundhog in Woodstock, Illinois, where Groundhog Day was filmed.

Truthful Tuesday: Hobbies & Obsessions

Truthful Tuesday

Welcome to another edition of PCGuyIV’s Truthful Tuesday! Here is the question for this week:
With the exception of blogging (assuming it’s a hobby and not your profession), do you have any unique hobbies or pastimes?

UNIQUE?? Hmmm….I don’t think any of my hobbies are particularly unique. I like to write, draw, blog, read, garden…these are not exactly unique.

I thought of the collections I have. I do have several collections: cats (images, figurines, etc. – I always try to buy a cat sculpture when I travel), Mexican alebrijes (little figurines of animals, carved out of wood and intricately painted), creches (Nativity scenes – I have about eight of them so far, from different cultures), photo albums (I used to make them by hand, now I do it on Shutterfly – and for what? They take up room and when I die, no one will want them and they’ll get thrown away – but this year I love them because we can’t travel due to the coronavirus and it’s nice to look at the albums I worked so hard on when it’s cold and dreary – like today – I can “travel” back in time), “refrigerator” magnets (which are not on my refrigerator, they’re on my file cabinets – I buy magnets everywhere I travel), and it looks like I will soon have a collection of unique face masks!

A collection of some of my animal figurines

I decided to ask my husband, who always thinks of things I never come up with. He said, “You’ve become an ancient Egyptophile” which is true! We went to Egypt two years ago and since then I’ve developed an obsession with ancient Egypt. I made two photo albums on Shutterfly (because I had too many photos I wanted to include for only one), I have researched historical fiction about ancient Egypt and bought a lot of books from Amazon, as cheaply as possible, because most are no longer available at libraries. Libraries tend to cull books that were written over twenty years ago and not in demand any longer, unless they are classics. Apparently ancient Egypt was a fad in the 1990s, because nearly all the books I’ve gotten were written at that time, and most of the authors haven’t written anything new. (I vaguely remember my mother getting all excited about “King Tut” because items found in the tomb of Tutankhamun were in a traveling exhibit at museums around the world – perhaps that’s when it was.)

One of the thrones found in Tutankhamun’s tomb

I also subscribe to the online Ancient History Encyclopedia, where I look up things I want more background about, and I’ve even made lists of the pharaohs, women rulers in ancient Egypt, and timelines. Actually, I have recently become interested in ancient history in general, which I never studied in high school or college. The Egyptian civilization is the oldest of all of those long gone civilizations, and it lasted three thousand years, more than any other, I think. It is amazing that we have been able to learn so much about them. They left so many writings, monuments that contain writing, tombs that have been preserved for centuries. They were a proud, egocentric people, and did want to leave behind their life histories for posterity. We know quite a bit about their customs and culture, but of course there are many gaps and lots of speculation. Every so often, some archaeologist uncovers something new that sheds light on a missing piece. Tutankhamen, for example, was not an important or long-lived pharaoh. His reign started when he was 10 and he died at 19. He is so well-known to us because his was one of the very few tombs that was found intact due to its location underneath another tomb. There used to be a lot of speculation that “the boy king” was murdered, but in the 2000s, they did a DNA test on his mummy and found that he died of malaria. At least, that’s what our Egyptologist guide told us.

Statues of female pharaoh, Hatshepsut, at her mortuary temple. She ruled for 20 years, but preferred to be depicted as a man in her statuary.

I wonder if two millennia from now, what will be left over of our civilization that people in the future will be interested in? Everything nowadays is so fleeting, temporary – much of what we’ve written and done will be lost; we don’t build many monuments these days, and everything we buy is not made to last. If we don’t destroy the planet before then, perhaps someone in that far distant future will find elements of our cultures that they will try to piece together.

We have an expression when we want to say something is not a strict rule: “It’s not written in stone.” That describes our attitude today, I think! The ancients, however, DID write in stone! We have sent samples of our culture out into space for extraterrestrials to find. But who will find us? And will they want to?

I realize I’ve strayed far from the question, but it’s more of a justification for this obsessive “hobby.” I don’t know how long it will last, but it’s definitely Covid-19 driven! Lots of time to read and immerse myself in the lives of people – real and fictional – who lived along the Nile River several millennia ago! It makes the time we are stuck at home a lot more interesting.

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
Dahlia
Painting by Edouard Manet, Musee d’Orsay, Paris

CFFC: Green & Orange

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge continues with its color series. This week the colors are orange and green separately or combined.

These combos were taken at the Park Ridge Farmer’s Market.

My zinnias in the full bloom of summer

Ripening tomatoes

A tree in the process of turning into fall color

Lovebirds in Tanzania

Entrance to a restaurant in Luxor, Egypt

Two in Amsterdam

Two at the orchid show at Chicago Botanic Gardens

Thursday Doors: Amsterdam

Norm and others have posted colorful and creative doors for Thursday Doors this week. Here are some colorful doors mostly from the De Pijp neighborhood of Amsterdam, which I don’t think I’ve posted before. If I have, so be it – they’re worth having another look!

Locker doors at the Ij (Eye) Film Museum (This is not in the De Pijp neighborhood, but I am sure I have never posted them before.)
Warehouse or garage door
This door isn’t as interesting as what surrounds it!

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!)

CB&WPC: Long

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week is things that are long.

Long necks
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Long necks and long legs!SONY DSC
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Long stem (bell stand) and long trunk (palm tree)
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Man-made long-ness:
The Sphinx’s long front legs
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Long stairway
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Tall minarets
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Long (and tall) bridge
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Tall obelisks (they were long before they were hoisted into position 😉 )
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Long-necked tower
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Very long building! (and this is only a partial view!)
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