We went to Little Goat Restaurant with our niece, daughter & son-in-law, picked by daughter & husband who are “Foodies.” The chef at this restaurant is well-known among foodies for combining different combinations of ingredients or adding a twist or two. There is also a bakery.
On a16G memory card in my Sony alpha 68 with 75-300 mm zoom lens:
Our photography club took a field trip a week or so ago to Brookfield Zoo, where we tried out our photography skills on animals. After downloading, reviewing and tweaking them, we choose a few of our best (this is not one of them) to our member leader, who compiles a slide show for our next meeting.
The Summer of Frida is my theme for this week’s Monday Window hosted by Ludwig Keck. People in the Chicago area – especially in the suburbs of Glen Ellyn and Wheaton – are going gaga over Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist who painted a variety of subjects reflecting her experience and Mexican culture, as well as many self-portraits meant to portray her own thoughts and feelings.
At the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the theatre on campus built a brand new gallery in 2018-19 specifically to house an exhibit of 26 Frida Kahlo works borrowed from the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City. After negotiating with the museum for the exhibit, they planned for it to take place in the summer of 2020.
We all know what happened in 2020 – Covid-19 – so the exhibit was postponed, and opened with great success and fanfare on June 5, 2021. It will run until early September.
The exhibit is expected to draw large crowds, so one must buy tickets online with a specific date and time for entry. Already reservations have come in from 48 states and 6 other countries! Not wanting to lose the opportunity to capitalize on this event, the suburban communities of Glen Ellyn and its neighbor, Wheaton, have decorated their downtown areas with festive “papel picado” (colorful banners of crepe paper with designs cut in them), large pots of colorful flowers (Frida Kahlo loved flowers, which figure prominently in her work) and by painting images of the artist on the windows of stores and restaurants.
I have a good friend who lives in Wheaton and is a Spanish professor at the college, so after we toured the exhibit, we went to downtown Wheaton for lunch, where we saw several of these windows.
Frida Kahlo was born in Coyoacan, Mexico in 1907 to a German father and a Mexican mother. Her father was a photographer, so there are many photos of Frida and her family. At school, she was studying the prerequisites for medical school but in 1926, on her way home from school, the bus she was riding in was in a serious accident when it collided with another vehicle.
Frida was thrown to the ground and suffered serious injuries from which she never fully recovered, in spite of having several surgeries. While in a body cast, she began to paint on it, thus initiating her career as an artist.
She broke her pelvic bone, and fractured her back in three places, the result of which she was almost always in pain, and was not able to birth a child.
At the age of 20, she married the famous muralist Diego Rivera, and spent time in New York, San Francisco, and Detroit, where he had commissions to paint murals. Diego said of Frida that she was a better painter than he was! Anyone who sees the beauty of her subjects, and the intricate details and symbolism in her paintings would tend to agree!
Coincidentally, there’s a new biography out by Celia Stahr, called Frida in America. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in knowing more about Frida Kahlo and her work. Several of her works, mainly those painted while she lived in the United States, are featured in the book.
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!
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.
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,
but some can be a bit intimidating!…
and some are reminders of favorite movies, such as this groundhog in Woodstock, Illinois, where Groundhog Day was filmed.
I’m combining Dr. Tanya’s 5 Things and PC Guy IV’s Truthful Tuesday, both of which are about one of my favorite subjects: EATING! This is possibly the first time I’m participating in Truthful Tuesday but I like PC Guy’s questions so probably will again.
The Questions for this week on Truthful Tuesday:
Are you an adventurous eater, or do you prefer to play it safe when you’re feeling peckish? I do often play it safe but every once in awhile I am compelled to eat something I think I don’t like and end up surprised. For example, I don’t know when I got the idea that I hate eggplant, but would never eat it until I had to sample it at a family’s house in Egypt in order not to offend. And I LIKED it! What I’ve been missing! But I also tend to choose what I am familiar with when at ethnic restaurants, especially when the cuisine is known for being spicy. I cannot tolerate spicy.
Do you prefer dining in or dining out? Both. I love to eat out but after awhile I get sick of choosing from a menu and spending more than I would spend to eat at home. So I try to see it as special to eat out. Now my husband and I live in a senior living community so we have to choose from a menu even to eat at “home.” Especially now, during the pandemic, we are having our food delivered to us. But I enjoy being able to just open the refrigerator and select from what is in there. I tend not to gain weight as much that way!
One of the great things about eating out is that I usually bring home leftovers. American restaurants serve way too much food, but that’s okay – then I get at least two meals for the price of one!
When you dine in, who does the cooking? My husband, mainly because I’m lazy and also because he enjoys being a short-order cook. A couple of times a week, he makes omelettes with lots of veggies and usually some kind of meat, unless I protest. I get to choose what kind of bread to eat with them! He’s really good at breakfast and also he makes an awesome turkey meatloaf! We always have the option of eating in, because we have food in our freezer, but usually just eat what the dining service here offers us.
When you dine out, do you tend to stick to places you know, or do you look for new places to try? I like to try new places but also enjoy returning to the ones I have eaten at before that I like. It’s fun to try something on the menu I haven’t had a chance to order previously. And sometimes I have the urge for a certain meal I can get at a particular restaurant – right now I have a craving for ceviche so I want to go to my favorite Mexican restaurant and order ceviche on tostadas. I’ll invite a like-minded friend to go with me!
And now Dr. Tanya’s Five Things: 5 Favourite Ways To Enjoy Potatoes
This is a hard one, because I love potatoes any way they are prepared – when it comes to potatoes, I can’t go wrong whatever I decide to order or cook. But I do have favorites. Here they are in no particular order.
Steak fries – this is what we Americans call the British “chips” – sort of like French fries but thicker and more substantial. Leaving the skins on is great too! The kind I like are also called “potato wedges.” I usually eat them with ketchup but I also would love the garlic mayo that Dr. Tanya mentions! If I cook them at home, I’ll roast them with olive oil and parmesan cheese!
2. Mashed potatoes – definitely with butter, never gravy. The picture below shows how I like them best.
3. Baked potatoes – what I order when I’m trying to eat healthy. I also like them with butter and pepper. (I do like them with sour cream, but when I’m trying to eat healthy, I won’t eat sour cream so as a result I rarely eat sour cream on baked potatoes.) Usually baked potatoes are so large at restaurants that I cut them in half and take one of the halves home. As a leftover, I like to heap it with veggies and melted cheese on top! The image below shows “twice baked” potatoes, which I also love! The things on top – tomatoes, scallions, cheese, maybe a little bacon – are the things I like to put on the leftover potato.
4. dauphinoise style or potatoes au gratin
5. Bistro chips (“crisps” to the Brits) – these are potato chips only better – usually not as greasy and they tend to be a little burnt around the edges, which I like the best!
I once bought online a tool to make potato chips at home. You cut the potato (raw or slightly cooked) in thin slices, and insert them into the little slots on this potato chip maker, then bake them at a hot temperature. They turned out well but I lost the thing to put them in so I never did it again!
Potatoes are one of the foods I find hard to resist, no matter how disciplined I am about not gaining weight.
Cee Neuner has had to evacuate from her home in Canby, Oregon, to her sister’s in Idaho. The fires are raging in Oregon! I don’t know if she will post FOTD today or not, but I am posting this in her honor – we’re thinking of you, Cee, and happy you are safe!
I haven’t participated in Thursday Doors lately, since I rarely go anywhere where there are interesting doors. But last week was my sister’s birthday and we went to Highland Park to visit her daughter. My sister had heard of a Caribbean restaurant in nearby Highwood called El Burén, where there are Cuban and Puerto Rican dishes on the menu. Her husband is part Puerto Rican and loves Puerto Rican food, so she made a reservation for the four of us.
The food was wonderful – we ate outside and it was a very pleasant day – but the service was quite slow. So I got antsy and decided to walk down the block. Next door to this restaurant was a bakery with a very charming – and very pink – façade. There were miniature old-fashioned ovens on display in the window.
Here are the doors of the bakery.
I took this last photo next to my car across the street.
It’s Monday once again and time for Melanie’s Share Your World! Her questions this week are all about criminal behavior we may have engaged in. (No, not serious stuff – just petty crime!)
Have you ever ‘dined and dashed” (i.e. eaten the meal and then run out the restaurant door without paying)?
Yes, but only by accident! My husband and I were eating at our favorite local Mexican restaurant. The proprietors there knew us because we ate there so often. My husband had to leave to go somewhere – I don’t remember where – and left me to pay the bill. At this place, usually we’d just go up to the cashier and they’d find our bill and we’d pay – rarely in those days did they bring the bill to the table ahead of time. I was finished eating and just lingering over the dregs of a margarita and no one was paying attention to me at that point. I was distracted, and just got up and left. Maybe I went to the restroom first, I don’t remember. I went home and forgot all about it until the next morning, when I woke up and realized, I had never paid for our meal!
So I dashed over there and confessed my sin sheepishly as I handed over my credit card. The young woman we knew pretty well must have realized I’d left without paying, because she had no trouble finding our bill – probably it had been found at the end of the evening when they reconciled the money and the receipts. She wasn’t mad at all – in fact, she laughed! We were regular customers and she knew we weren’t the kind of people to leave without paying so there were no hard feelings.
Have you ever been in a car accident and either left the scene of the accident (providing it was a fender bender and not serious) or denied culpability for causing it when you did, (if it were minor or serious)? Not exactly. I did leave the scene when I had to bump a couple of cars purposely to maneuver my way out of a tight spot.
I was substitute teaching in Chicago and was leaving the elementary school I had worked at that day, intending to drive to my tutoring job several miles farther into the city. That particular school had a fairly large parking lot, but even though I always arrived at least a half an hour early, there were usually very few parking spaces left – in fact, that day I got the last one. I did briefly wonder where latecomers were going to park, but that wasn’t my problem.
I got back to my car at the end of the day and saw that there was an SUV parked directly behind my car, blocking me in, because there were also cars parked on both sides of me. The SUV was illegally parked. I didn’t want to go back inside, so I called the office to tell them someone was blocking me in and could they please make an announcement for the person whose vehicle it was (I gave her the type of car, color, and license plate number) to come out and remove it? The office secretary said she would do so. I hung up and waited.
And waited. I kept looking at my watch – time passed and no one appeared. When there were only 15 minutes left before my tutoring session, I was really mad. The SUV was directly behind my car, but not behind the car to my left. So I started my car, turned the steering wheel, backed a little, then went forward a little, inching my way out of the tight spot. (It did cross my mind to slash the SUV’s tires or at least leave a note, but I didn’t.) In order to get out of the spot it was necessary for me to hit the cars on either side of me, which I did very gently, as well as the SUV, which I hit several times and made no effort to prevent damage – although it scratched my car too, I didn’t care by that point.
I felt proud of myself for figuring out how to maneuver my car out of that spot as I sped down the street toward my waiting tutoring students. I eventually gifted that car to my daughter and son-in-law, who still use it and it still runs beautifully. Every time I see the telltale scratches on the lower right hand side of the bumper, I still think about that day!
(Oldie which has been asked many times before) Have you ever found a wallet or purse or some money (over $20) in the street and just taken it, thinking ‘finders keepers, losers weepers? Or would you be ‘good’ and hand it in? Fortunately, I have only found cash which most likely fell out of someone’s pocket. Impossible to trace – therefore, it was mine! The first time it happened, I was feeling poor after paying the exorbitant entrance fee to Six Flags Great America for me, my son and his friend. I was walking along thinking that I was surely going to spend every remaining cent I had for snacks and rides, when I spied some greenbacks on the ground! Three 5-dollar bills! That really made my day – and it was long enough ago that $15 could actually buy stuff at amusement parks and have a bit left over. More recently, I found a twenty dollar bill on the sidewalk near my home. I looked around – no one was around to claim it.
But no, I’ve never found a wallet and if I did, yes, I would return it with its contents intact. I say this because I have ADHD and that means I tend to lose things. Once I left a credit card at a national park – and got it back! True, I did notice it missing and called the park, which located it and sent it back to me via UPS. My husband also lost his wallet once and it was returned, sans cash. He didn’t really care about the cash – it wasn’t much and more important were his driver’s license and other important documents. So I would do the same for someone else (except I wouldn’t keep the cash). With modern technology, it’s terrible to lose IDs and debit cards which are easily forged and in these pandemic times, not so easy to replace.
Recently my son and a friend were in downtown Chicago in the middle of the night – the streets were mostly deserted because of the Covid-19 lockdown, so it was very foolish of them to be hanging around down there. Anyhow, some gangbangers came along, beat them up, and took everything they had, including my son’s phone, debit card, and passport (he was using it as an ID having had his license suspended a few months before) and even now, more than a month later, my son is still trying to recoup his losses. And God knows what someone could do with a passport, valid for nine more years! Easily forged, I’m sure. His social security card was also in there, so there’s a danger someone will steal his identity. The debit card wasn’t too bad – the bank reversed the charges that had been made illegally, but only after he got a new phone because the old one was stolen.
What was the last thing you stole or shoplifted? If you never ever considered doing that, tell us your secret! I never did this, really. I mean, doesn’t everyone pilfer a few cheap office supplies – pens, rubber bands, etc. – from their workplace? I also stole my mother’s cigarettes and hid them because I wanted her to quit smoking, but she always bought more and eventually found my hiding places.
I never considered shoplifting, but there’s no secret. I was brought up not to steal. My family wasn’t poor and I never lacked what I needed. I even felt guilty about taking boxes of paper clips or post-it notes from the supply room at work, although I did occasionally do that – and no one missed them because there were stacks of those little boxes in the supply room.
Gratitude! I’m grateful for new life in the world around me!