Waterfalls, Lotus Ponds, Atlanta’s Midtown Open Garden Stroll, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

Sunday was the 4th year we’ve gone to the “Midtown Open Garden Stroll” in Atlanta – it’s always a joy, and speaking of liquid, it almost always rains at least some time during the day. This year there was thunder rumbling as we walked home, but the rain held off until later. We were lucky to see the sun shining on garden ponds and fountains. Here’s a favorite from this year’s tour —

Garden Pool with waterfall - Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll 2018

This one had everything: lotus flowers, koi, and electric-blue dragonflies who were determined not to sit still for their close-up.

 

Lotus Pool - Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll 2018

Here’s the lotus side of the pool.

Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll sign

Signs identify homes on the tour, indicating which part of the yard/garden is open.

Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll 2017 - frog planter

This frog planter is from a front garden on last year’s tour.

Side Garden - Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll  2017

Here’s a side garden from last year’s tour – even the narrow space between homes is beautifully planned and tended.

Back Garden - Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll  2017 and 2018

There’s a koi pond at the end of the walkway in this serene back yard garden.

Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll 2017: we liked this house across the street from one of the open gardens..

Sometimes there are surprises along the way. This house was across the street from one of last year’s open gardens. I was fascinated by the colors, the roofline, the arched windows and door. 

I’m lost in admiration for these gardens and the people who design them, care for them, and let all us strangers tromp in to see their private wonderlands. But I have a new outlook on garden tours now that I no longer have a back yard of my own. I can still identify and appreciate plants. If I see something new and different I want to know what it is, but there’s been a shift in my regard. They seem more like garden art, and (at least for now) I’ve lost my possessive instinct. I no longer yearn to have them for my own to nurture. Maybe it’s just laziness, or maybe it’s facing reality that there’s only so much time available. After all, I always liked development work more than maintenance and let’s face it – weeding is maintenance.

Here’s more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

Do you have a favorite local garden tour?

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The High Line, the BeltLine, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

The High Line: on this year’s trip to New York, we finally got to see it greening up for spring.

High Line Park NYC - from the Whitney Museum

From a balcony at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The High Line: a 1.45 mile long park in New York City, created on a stretch of elevated railway that was no longer used. 

High Line Park NYC - spring

Looking back toward the Whitney. I love it that pieces of the old railroad track are incorporated into the landscaping. 

High Line Park NYC - spring blooms

The daffodils were blooming. That’s a first for us, after the last two years when we traveled in March and were blessed with snow.

At home in Atlanta, we have the BeltLine, not elevated like the High Line, but destined to be much longer. It’s a proposed loop of around 22 miles of trails planned to connect 45 neighborhoods. Here’s Sam on a rainy day last fall. It was one of the days with lots of hurricane-engendered rain, and for a while we were the only ones out braving the storm.

Atlanta BeltLine - stormy day

The BeltLine already needs a new lane. It’s often mobbed. Between speeding bicycles and people with dogs on long leashes making trip-wires, it can be difficult to walk safely.

There’s lots of art along the way, and landscaping is coming along nicely. These are from a sunnier day —Atlanta BeltLine - morning glory Atlanta BeltLine - grasses

Turning disused rail lines into walking trails is not a new idea. Years (decades) ago, when the trains no longer came through my small hometown, there was a plan to remove the rails and ties and make the railroad line into a walking trail. I’d already moved away, so I’m not sure what became of that, but I think it would have been hard to keep the trails going. For example, they were fragmented by the removal of two of the three railroad bridges. Here’s one that stayed,  (I think it’s still there) —

NH railroad bridge

The bridge on the other end of town is a background in this next photo, a family history photo now — the girl wearing glasses is my mother at 16.

When I was growing up there, we walked on the railroad tracks, played on the bridges (gasp!) and along the way, picked berries and asparagus that grew beside the tracks. With all these railroad track paths, it sounds like I’ve spent my life walking railroad lines, doesn’t it?

Do you have a favorite rail line path?

More on the Manhattan High Line  Wow – I see you can adopt a plant. I’m considering… I’d want to see updates on mine though, and maybe visit it each year to check on progress and be allowed to give it a little compost treat.

More on the Atlanta BeltLine

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

Sunset Views, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Rise/Set

A balcony facing west is prime viewing for sunsets. Lately I’ve been complaining about losing the view of the horizon, with so many new buildings going up. I love looking at the cranes for their interesting patterns and angles, but not the new construction. One thing though — more buildings mark their places and emphasize the changing position of the sunsets. In winter the sun sets as far south as the Biltmore tower on the left. 

Atlanta - March 6 pink sunset

A pink fluffy sunset – early March

Here it is along the way… but since I took this photo it’s already “traveled” north to set behind the tall building to the right…

March sunset - Atlanta

Next is about as close as I can get to a sunrise photo — a reflection of light from the east. Jet trails are always a bonus…

Atlanta - April 1 sunrise reflection

If you look really close you can see the tiny full moon (setting) just off center to the right. It played a little April fool joke and didn’t focus well for me in close-up.

As for rising and setting, a hard-drive crash last weekend made me realize how much “the sun rises and sets” on our devices, and how, without care and multiple back-up, all our projects could disappear in a bit explosion. I’m still restoring. It’s all there, just not as easy to put back as advertised.

— Have you backed up your files lately?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge Rise/Set

MoMA, New York, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

How can I pick one all-time favorite place? — I have too many. But, “a favorite location I return to again and again?” That I can do. March weather has been unkind in the Northeast, so we’re glad we planned our New York trip for April this year. Here’s some favorite viewing from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) from last year’s trip…

At MOMA: Parviz Tanavoli  Iranian/Canadian The Prophet - 1964

The Prophet, 1964. Bronze on wood base. By Parviz Tanavoli, an Iranian/Canadian artist, born 1937.

MOMA: Ibrahim El-Salahi - The Mosque, 1964. By Ibrahim El-Salahi, Sudanese, Born 1930

The Mosque, 1964. Oil on canvas. By Ibrahim El-Salahi, a Sudanese artist, born 1930. In 1964, he received a Rockefeller grant to travel to New York.

MOMA: Faramarz Pilaram, Iranian (1937 - 1982) - Laminations (Les Lames) 1962, Gouache,metallic paint, and stamped ink on paper

Laminations (Les Lames) 1962. Gouache,metallic paint, and stamped ink on paper.  Faramarz Pilaram, an Iranian artist and proponent of Iranian Modernism (1937 – 1982)

What do these pieces have in common? MOMA posted the following beside each —

‘This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens would be denied entry into the United States according to recent presidential executive orders. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to the Museum, as they are to the United States.”

On a lighter note, moving outside, here’s what was blooming —

Crocus - Central Park March 2017

Crocus – Central Park March 2017

What’s your favorite place for travel?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

Coming up at MoMA

 

 

Dragon Con Cosplay, Time Travel to 2012, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd

The Face in the Crowd challenge asks how we can mask our subjects yet still let their uniqueness show through. The idea is making use of shadows, angles, or silhouettes, but I’m taking “mask” to heart and going for cosplay.

My hoarder instincts were challenged yesterday when I thought I’d lost a photo library I’d migrated from an old laptop before its hard drive failed. Panic — I am downsizing stuff, not photo files! Now in celebration of lost-is-found, I’m choosing photos from the virtual hoard today. Set your DeLorean DMC-12s for 2012 — and here we are in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend, at Dragon Con:

Dragon Con Cosplay 2012

An expression perhaps too intent to be covering a giggle — maybe gobbling up a raw (or living) snack?

My Little Ponies - Dragon Con Parade 2012.

On the bright side – My Little Ponies prance (happily, always: ponies are happy!) in the parade.

Dragon Con Parade 2012 - Bender from Futurama

Bender: Our favorite “lovable rascal” from Futurama

Steampunk witch Dragon Con 2012

Steampunk was just gathering, um, steam, back in 2012, when they’d recently got their own track and their own exhibition space. I was impressed by this witch, her goggles, and her mechanical broom. I have not yet been able to convince my vacuum to fly.

Periodic Table of the Elements - Radon - Dragon Con Parade 2012

The Science Track marches as the Periodic Table of the Elements — here we have RN, radon. Not in our houses, we hope.

Polonium Polo - Periodic Table of the Elements Dragon Con Parade 2012

Polonium Polo – Periodic Table of the Elements

Francium - Periodic Table of the Elements - Dragon Con Parade 2012

Francium – Periodic Table of the Elements. Striped shirt: check. Beret: check. Cigarette: check. Dog? Clearly I should have zoomed out…

Copper -Periodic Table of the Elements - Dragon Con 2012

And just in case someone gets out of line, we have CU: Copper

 

I love the absurdity and creativity of Cosplay. It’s always fun to see what new things people come up with.  I could see myself as Faceless Old Woman (from ‘Welcome to Night Vale’). What would you choose?

 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd

More on Dragon Con

Joris Laarman Lab – Design in the Digital Age, at the High Museum (Photo Challenge: Tour Guide)

Come see the future: Joris Laarman Lab – Design in the Digital Age encompasses a search for beauty as well as functionality, art in addition to technology, and includes maker-chairs, a bio-luminescent lamp, and yes, an exhibit on start-up company MX3D’s 3D-printing project to build a pedestrian bridge across an Amsterdam canal.

These elegant chairs were cast in 3D printed molds. They were designed using computer software based on the work of German professor Dr. Claus Mattheck, utilizing growth patterns of bones and trees to provide minimal structure for maximum strength.

Bone Rocker - beige noir marble and synthetic resin - Joris Laarman Lab - High Museum Atlanta GA 2018

Bone Rocker, Beige Noir marble and synthetic resin, 2007.

Bone Chair - marble and resin - Joris Laarman Labs - High Museum exhibit 2018

Bone Armchair, Carrara marble and synthetic resin, 2007.

As beautiful as they are, I have to admit, the first thing I thought was “What about the dust?” The second thing I thought was “The spiders would love these.”  Apparently I am too plebeian to have lovely minimalist chairs. They are gorgeous museum pieces, and if found in a home, it would be the home of someone with maid service.

Then I wondered about comfort. When I was in my 30’s (like these designers) that didn’t worry me at all. I loved my Arts-and-Crafts oak furniture with square sides and hard seats, and scoffed at comments about discomfort because who cared? — it looked good. Now I put pillows on everything, even one of Sam’s Eames chairs, to his dismay.

This robotic arm is building three “Digital Matter” tables from metal cubes that are 3D versions of pixels, large, medium, and small. (they’re “voxels” — volumetric pixels)

Still from video - Joris Laarman Lab - assembling Digital Matter Tables - photo from High Museum exhibit, Atlanta GA

Joris Laarman Lab – robot assembling Digital Matter Tables – photo still taken from exhibition video – High Museum exhibit, Atlanta GA, 2018

The three “Digital Matter” tables were commissioned by the High in 2011 and are now in the permanent collection — if soaked in acetone, the pieces separate and can be used to build something new. “Wow,” I thought, “that would have solved so many of my downsizing issues.”  It’s been slow work to clear the hoard while honoring my quest to be environmentally correct, and get stuff reused or recycled instead of taken to a landfill. 

Three Digital Matter Tables - High Museum, Atlanta GA - Joris Laarman Labs

With three sizes of cubes, the tables have graduating resolution. 

Here’s a detail of the middle table —

Digital Matter Tables/detail - Joris Laarman Labs -High Museum Atlanta GA

The ornamentation is a tribute to “Super Mario”, but up top, there’s a tip of the hat to Pac-Man…

Digital Matter tables - pac man detail - Joris Laarman Lab - High Museum Atlanta GAAnd here I go with “Art Museum Eyes” again — leaving the exhibition I saw this view out the window —

Cousins Building - art museum eyes

There’s far more in this innovative (and fun) exhibition than I can communicate in one blog post, so if you’re near Atlanta, come and see it for yourself. If you can’t make it by closing on May 13, come anyway, the High’s permanent collection features more work from Joris Laarman Lab than any museum outside the Netherlands.

High Museum of Art, Atlanta GA, Feb 18-May 13, 2018.

I wonder how many reconstituted tables it would take to make a building? We may find out. There are projects afoot …

 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide

More on the exhibition

 

Grief, Tree-hugging, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved

We love being close enough to walk to Piedmont Park, and on a walk last November, happened upon this sign, surrounded by trees that each had their own ribbon and “Hug Me” label attached —

Piedmont Park: Hug a Tree sign

Kate’s Club Memory Walk

The signs were up in preparation for an event the next day, sponsored by Kate’s Club, an organization that helps grieving children honor the memories of their loved ones who have died.

Hug Me Tree-sign

And who could resist a tree with a “Hug Me” sign?

We have absent loved ones, too, so we took the opportunity for some tree hugging. And yes, we also love trees, so there was some dual purpose hugging going on.

Treehugger in action - Piedmont Park

Treehugger in action – Piedmont Park – No trees were harmed in the making of this photograph.

There are other, perhaps less poignant, reasons for tree-hugging… when I left my house in Kansas City to move to Georgia, I had my own parting ceremony. It was January 1, the start of a new year, and I was leaving for a new city. I walked all around the yard in the snow, taking a circuitous path to hug each of the trees good bye.

Those trees were a large part of the reason I bought the house, and it was hard to leave them. I would have hugged the trees when I sold my house here too, but the frantic rush of last-minute packing left me with no time to spare.

Do you suppose the new home-owners would notice if I came sneaking over sometime and hugged their trees?

 

*tree hugger — A slang, sometimes derogatory, term for environmentalists; someone who loves the environment and believes it needs to be protected for the benefit of ourselves and generations to come.

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved

More on Kate’s Club; the Memory Walk is held in coordination with National Children’s Grief Awareness Day.