Saturday, March 31, 2012

Two Wanna-be Artists on a Snoop

Just a week ago Sherwin and I visited the Tucson Museum of Art.  We had no idea what was showing at the time.  Of course, there would always be the standing exhibits that you can see whenever you visit but we were delighted to see a large exhibit of photos taken of Frida Kahlo by Nikolas Muray, a famous photographer who was also one of her lovers.  

There was a documentary running that we viewed for over half an hour but did not see it all.  So when I got back to the hotel I was curious to look at her art work which I googled up.  In my life I have never seen so many self-portraits.  

"I leave you my portrait 
so that you will have my presence 
all the days and nights that I am away from you."  
-Frida Kahlo

She must have been afraid that we would forget her. . .  there are many self-portraits in her portfolio (click on the word portfolio to see!) 

Her husband, Diego Rivera, whom she married twice in between many other lovers of both genders, was well known for his realistic paintings of the Mexican people, his large murals in New York City, San Francisco among others, and his painting colony he hosted in Mexico City.

Two years ago when we cruised the Panama Canal one of the stops was Acupulco where we took a tour and went past the house of Diego Rivera.  This mosaic graces his front gate.  

"There have been two great accidents in my life.  
One was the trolley, and the other was Diego.  
Diego was by far the worst." 
 - F. Kahlo

It was, by far, the most educational time spent in Tucson...and if, perchance, you want to see more of her life, you can always see the movie, "Frida".

Enjoy and be well...

The Evidence . . .

All around us we see that spring is truly trying to show it's face.  It has been a bit of a shock to go from 80 something temperatures to 40 something.  But we are delighted to be here again.

The Robin is such a lovely herald of spring.  I was making a phone call when this hearty fellow popped up on the post below my window.  He was such a beauty that I couldn't resist a 'snapping'.

When we arrived home Wednesday it was rainy but before we fell asleep the wind had started up and it roared around our little house on the hill.  March seemed determined to go out as a lion.  Friday morning the sky broke to the south revealing the Olympic Mountains in Washington.

And the Helleboras have never bloomed with such enthusiasm.

Three Spring Haiku 
by Kobyashi Issa

Spring breeze . . .
the pine on the ridge 
whispers it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Plan . . .

When there are major natural disasters someone is sure to bring up the idea that we all need 'A Plan'. You need a plan with a kit of emergency medical supplies. You need a plan for food and water supplies. You need to have a plan where you will meet up with your family if you are separated.

When Sherwin and I have heard this in the past we look at each other and one of us usually says, we are almost always together so we will be fine.  Neither of us wants to have anxiety in our lives over this.  And we know we do function best as a team where we take care of each other, encouraging and keeping on a straight path.

But while we were recently traveling, once in an off-shore place, we have gotten separated.  Twice in particular it was somewhat stressful.  Since we know each others reactions to dealing with a stressful moment it was an anxious time.

So yesterday, after Sherwin had left his computer on one plane, he went to find it where he was told it would be waiting for him.  He had his passport, his boarding pass from the first flight and his boarding pass for the next flight so we thought he was set.  I stayed with the carryon bags because he brief case is wildly heavy and it seemed like a simple operation and he would be back with me right away.  

Or maybe not. . .

An hour and a half later he came back, finally, fuming and fretting and using language unbefitting a gentleman.  He started to tell me of the runaround he got when a man with an airline badge came up with Sherwin's computer, had Sherwin open it to identify the computer as his and then walked away from two very grateful people.  

After catching our breath we went over to a table and had some lunch and worked on our computers while we waited for our next flight.

Sherwin looked at me, knowing I was still recovering too, and said to me, "We can always meet up again in heaven."  I smiled and said, "OK, let's promise to meet each other at the first big tree on the right inside the gates of heaven."

So that is The Plan.  

Hope you are all well and making your plans too.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Words. . .

'Comparison is the thief of joy.'
 -Theodore Roosevelt

Does your life feel joyless?  Or do you still take joy in the things/people around you that you chose some years ago?

Do you compare your house to the homes of your 'friends'?
Do you compare your body shape to the shape of the people of your gender around you?
Do you compare your seasoned car to the cars of your friends?
Do you compare your spouse to that new model that just moved in next door?
Do you compare your children to those of others?

Be honest. . .

You may not think you are guilty of comparison 'shopping' in life but your spouse, your children and your 'friends' know by your actions.

What I am trying to tell you is the more time you spend comparing yourself to others, the less joy you will have in your life.

I do invite you to live . . . live Your life and be well.

Creativity Overload

It is difficult for me to travel to Tucson without a day trip south to Tubac.  This small town has an abundance of creative work happening at every turn.  

So, of course, I was delighted to learn that golf reservations had been made for that direction which would allow time (a good 5 hours) for me to get my Tubac-fix.

Gail and I were delighted to be off to explore in a land of palm trees, adobe and art.  The first gallery we stopped at had, without a doubt, the best art of the day.

The artist is Bruce Baughman.  The most impressive work we saw was a large reverse painting on lucite.  Click here for his website.  His works displayed in the studio are gorgeous displays of colour and design, more so than the website photos suggest.

No photos are allowed inside the shops and studios and I do respect that.

There is a lot of turquoise for sale here in the form of jewelry or inlay in wood but they use it for trim on some buildings which is quite striking in the hot sun.  It is a great contrast to other materials they use in construction.

Most all my photos of Tubac were ideas that appealed to me and could be transferred to our life at home.

I do love this little sign that appears on some stores.  There are a number of historically protected sites in Tubac but the newer buildings don't have any history to brag about.

We enjoyed a quiet lunch at the far end of town.  By then we were ready to sit down and rest our feet.

Not sure of the age of this old Hudson but it appears to me to be from the 40's.

This town is a western desert town, celebrating the past with taste and creativity.

Need some peppers?

Or an old skull to hang in your trees at home?  You can find it all here.

Loved the potted succulents here and there.

Isn't this a charming wind mill?  It looks so simple but with very little breeze it was whirring around at quite a clip.

Good thing I already have full suitcases.  There were so many fun 'what-nots'. I know, I can go home with the ideas and in our spare time we will work on making some of them happen.

The fondness I feel for Tubac is way out of proportion, most likely, but it is such a treasure.  It is sort of like a good book that you have read more than once that you like to pull out and just rub the covers or a piece of nice jewelry that you seldom wear and yet is so beautiful that you look at it fondly before putting it back in the case.

Oh yes, by the way, if you want to travel to Tubac, drive south on Hwy 19 out of Tucson heading south, just like you were headed to Nogales, Mexico.  It is about 15-20 minutes north of the USA-Mexican border.

Hope your days are filled with bright ideas even if you are not getting enough sunshine.
Be well.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Word Pondering . . .

"For it is always wiser to consider not so much why a thing is not enjoyable, as why we ourselves do not enjoy it."  G.K. Chesterton

Good question for me to ask myself when I am out among people.  As an islander I don't have much opportunity to rub up against people who do things I don't care to do.

But when I come out into 'the world' all of a sudden I have to interact with others much more than I am accustomed to and I find that not everything 'you' want to do is enjoyable to me.  Chesterton puts the onus back on me to examine my own heart in this exchange.  Hmmm...

Wishing you all an enjoyable week!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Another Goodbye . . .

In New Orleans, if we were to head south in the morning, headed toward The River, we would pass that charming Easter be-decked house that I blogged about some days ago.  

On our last morning there we headed out for beignets and coffee down at Du Monde Cafe and there in that house was a sweet kitty to say good morning.  

Immediately I thought of Maizy and Lucy and Jeanne and Cousin Janice and Carole.  And I knew you would all love this sweet face.

I love to be reminded of my 'dearly beloveds' as I go on one journey or another.

This is where we were headed . . .

And this is what we were waiting for.  Shelby introduced us to these french doughnuts at Cafe Flora in Seattle so this was a must have for our trip.  We had walked by many times and seen long, long lines so were happy to get a table right off for our treat.

By the time we came out less than a half hour later the line was way long down the block!

At this point we all parted ways for our last moments in the city.  Gail went off in one direction, the boys headed back to the hotel and I went back to see 'Joanie on her Pony' and other things that were only important to me.

The people of Orleans, France had donated this statue of Joan of Arc and since I like people who are willing to step forward to do the right thing (you can argue that last comment, if you like) I am somewhat impressed by this young woman and her story.  Another case of the big guys using the pure of heart and then getting rid of them when the deed is 'done'.

And years ago I read a number of books by Frances Parkinson Keyes so wanted to find her home.  It was not all that impressive but it was something I just had to do.

This home was formerly owned by General Beauregard of Civil War fame.  Was he not the fellow credited with firing the first shot which started the war?

Now what in the world is a pair of glasses doing way up in a tree?  On my way back to the hotel I was looking for more photos and was actually taking pictures of the ferns that were growing on this tree and there was one more piece of evidence that we missed one crazy wild party Mardi Gras.

Next year the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras are going to be at the same time in the same town.  Traveler beware!

Now I must get ready to go hiking in Sabino Canyon (different town) with Lorne and Gail and then off to lunch with Stanley and Sharyl.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Little New Orleans Music . . .

When we stood in Jackson Square in New Orleans, looking up at a statue of Andrew Jackson, we all thought of a song from our 'youth'.  You gotta love this one!  I think this video originated on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Now I want to show you some videos of music similar to what we saw while there.  We never went into a club and sat down but here and there you would find a musician or a group of musicians wailing away on their instruments.  It was fun to watch.

This first one has a priceless dancer along with the music...Enjoy!

The clarinet is especially good on this next one...

At every turn there are very creative people sharing their joy in life.

Hope you enjoyed your time on the streets of New Orleans.

Wishing you all a lovely ending to your week.

WW 2 Museum. . .

On Tuesday morning we headed off to the Museum end of town.  There are a number clustered together but we only saw the WW2 Museum.  It is well put together and a good reminder of what others have done to keep the barbarians away from the gate.

So off we go...

We all love those streetcars...

And everyone a good sport...

Before we toured the Museum itself we went across the street to see "Beyond All Boundaries", a movie  made to honour those from the USA who served and sacrificed in the war.  Tom Hanks has produced this most sobering movie meant to remind us of the past but it fills you with immense sorrow for the waste of war.

Across the street we saw memorabilia from the 1940's.  Everyone who could possibly grow a garden planted vegetables to see them through this time of hardship.

We wandered among the machines collected for show.

Loved to see the way they made boat bumpers before the day of plastics and poly.

There were lots of weddings that happened before the boys went to war and there were weddings overseas for those who did not want to wait for the war to end. This display of dresses is made from mosquito netting and parachute cloth.

And of course, I cannot write this without putting in a good word for those who fought from the Commonwealth countries.

Dame Vera Lynn does very well in this medley in 1990 considering she was a very popular singer during the war.

Be well wherever you are!

Oak Alley Plantation

You cannot go to the south of Louisiana without taking a look at the lovely homes of that bygone era, pre-civil war and post.

So we decided on a tour rather than renting a vehicle ourselves and let someone else do the driving.

We said good-bye to our home at the St. Pierre. . .

and we were off and running through the city as soon as the bus had picked up all the tourists.  With my trusty camera at hand I just started taking photos of whatever caught my eye.

That is leaning out the window of the bus.  Some lovely buildings downtown that have great detail.  And of course I try to snap the SuperDome every time we pass it just to see if I can get a better photo than the last time we roared by.

As we headed out of town (45 minute trip) to see the plantation of choice, I noticed that we crossed over a lot of swampy, watery countryside.  We could have taken a swamp tour but I don't think any of the tours take you on a airboat that roars through the swamp.  They go slowly, they say to not frighten the wildlife.

What a lovely view greeted us as we came up to Oak Alley.

This photo was taken from the inside looking out to the Mississippi.  I was disappointed to see that from the house you could not actually see the river...the levee is so high that you do not see the water. During flood season I suppose that is a good thing!

We approached the house from the side which still gives a handsome facade.

On my way into the house tour I met up with this sweet little creature.  Isn't he clever?

If anyone is a fan of antiques and old houses it is me and I also realize the validity in the notion of restoring things to how they were but here is another grand old home that needs a bit of a touch.  The furniture is gorgeous and the home has great bones but I would love to warm it up.  It is a home that I could live in but Sherwin would truly rolls his eyes just thinking of the electrical and plumbing updates that need to happen here.

There were many fine touches that dated back to original even though this house has had numerous owners.

This fan hangs over the dining room table and the rope you see at the top of the photo is pulled by a slave boy to cause this 'contraption' to fan the table without putting out the candles below.  They would place a bowl of ice in the centre of the table to help the fan cool the room.

The verandahs are 13 feet across also helping to give a cooling effect to the rooms inside.  What a grand spot to sit and watch the world ease on by.

We couldn't leave the plantation without trying a Mint Julep. . .this one is very much a virgin.  But it looks impressive!

The landscaping was very charming and well manicured.

Here is a close-up of the levee across the road from the oak alley.  The gates were locked and I wasn't up to jumping the fence to get a close look at the Mississippi rolling on by.

This bell is designed to get your attention even if you are out on the 'back 40' in the sugar cane.  Cotton didn't grow here in the damp conditions.

This large pot was originally used for boiling down the cane.  There are a number of them on the property used as water gardens.  Great application.

We did not see much for outbuildings except for this water tower and then the blacksmith shop.

Notice the sugar pot here with purple pansies at its feet.

The time went by quickly and with one last look at the house we were on our way and gone.

Hope you are all having a great week.  Now off to Tucson and some golf and shopping in warm dry heat, hopefully.

Be well.