Boy Scouts, Gargoyles, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

I wasn’t prepared to find a surprise tucked behind the last row of Bob’s boxes on the shelves in the basement …

Detail: Vintage Boy Scout backpack

Vintage Boy Scout backpack, lesson: “Be Prepared” for anything (especially surprises)

It’s big… did kids really carry these? There’s no knowing now if it was his own backpack or if he just collected it at some point.

Vintage Boy Scout backpack

Vintage Boy Scout backpack – 1950-something?

I’d never thought to wonder whether he’d been a Boy Scout. I don’t remember him talking about it. But, right after the backpack surfaced, I found this.

Astronomy Merit Badge

Get your Astronomy merit badge here…

And the morning after that I found a photo of Grade-School Bob in his scout uniform. Synchronicity strikes. But alas, I’ve already misplaced the scout photo. Since I am temporarily out of proof of that instance of synchronicity, I’ll submit the following instead.  Here’s a photo of Bob’s father that I found the same day. I first met him just before we three took this trip to Paris in the 1980s.

Ted (Bob’s father) with Notre Dame gargoyles — Paris, mid-1980s

Later on my same day of unpacking, this mouse pad showed up (remember mouse pads?).

Mouse Pad - Notre Dame Gargoyle

Do you recognize this face?

Little surprises like this keep me going. And, now there are only a few basement boxes left, then I’m moving on to closets and file cabinets.

Wish me luck on finally finishing?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

Art Museum Eyes, A Jackson Pollock in the Wild? — and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Dense

A walk in Central Park, and one look out across the little lake and into the trees. The branches were dense, with a tracery of white among the dark.  Something started to look familiar.  Here’s a progression…

Central Park, first sight: Trees across the water

Central Park, first glance: Trees across the water

How do you know you may have been spending too much time in art museums? —  Everything looks like a painting. Zooming in…

Central Park: Trees across the water

Central Park: Trees across the water.

And a little closer, it’s getting more abstract…

Life imitating art?

Life Imitating Art?

One more time, adjusting the color balance a bit.

I’m sure it’s just a case of “art museum eyes” on my part, but here’s the painting I thought those trees were channeling. The dense pattern of branches, dark and light, makes a nice allusion to the meandering surface lines in the painting. Or, is it just my art museum eyes tricking me again?

Pollack at MoMA - One Numbber 31

Pollock at MoMA – One Number 31  (photo from MoMA)

How about it, have you seen life imitating art lately?

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Patina, Qin & Han Dynasty Bronzes at the Met Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: It IS easy Being Green

Home from traveling, I’m catching up on last week’s photo challenge. For green, I’ll take verdigris. If you’re bronze, it’s plenty easy being green. All it takes is time for the “bright bluish-green encrustation or patina” to form by atmospheric oxidation.

This elegant green goose is from the Met Museum show Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties. Don’t you love the way that curly little foot is tucked underneath?

Age of Empire, Qin and Han Dynasties, Bronze Goose

Life-size bronze goose from the Mausoleum of the First Emperor, Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE)

The note on this bronze warrior indicated that the attention to anatomy is characteristic of the work that Alexander the Great introduced to Central Asia, perhaps to the Sythians, in the 4th C. BCE.

Age of Empire, Qin and Han Dynasties, Kneeling Warrior - China or Central Asia, 5th-3rd century BCE.

Kneeling Warrior – China or Central Asia, 5th-3rd century BCE.

Next is a water clock — the note on this piece indicated that it once had lines marking intervals of time, and a gauge that floated on the water.  “As the water drained at a constant rate through a tube at the bottom, the gauge sank steadily, allowing the time to be read at each mark.”

And get this: “Water clocks were kept at every office throughout the empire. Beginning in Qin times, officials were required to note the date and time of all incoming and outgoing correspondence, and to record this information on the documents themselves.”

Age of Empire, Met Museum. Water Clock - Western Han Dynasty, Bronze (206 BC - 9 AD)

Bronze Water Clock – Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD)

Thinking of the time it takes bronze to patina, I realized it’s probably not much more than the time it’s taking me to get my house cleared out. Now that I’m home again I’m back on the job, even if am still in that just-back-from-a-trip mode of catching myself thinking about where to stop for coffee.

One more photo — is it sacrilegious to say this beautiful ancient bronze horse reminded me just a little of Donkey from Shrek?

Met Museum - Age of Empires - Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties - Horse and Groom - Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25 - 220)

Horse and Groom – Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25 – 220)

More on the Met Museum exhibition Age of Empires

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Brussels, Art Nouveau, Musical Instruments Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

I’ve been downsizing travel books this week.  They’re some of the hardest to let go, maybe because I equate releasing a travel book with releasing the possibility of going back to a place I loved touring.  This week I listed Rick Steves’ Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent on Amazon and it sold by the next morning. I love it that someone is going.

In honor of releasing books, I’ll post some photos from our 2015 trip to Belgium. That’s October 2015, in the days of innocence BB, Before Bombing.

On the first morning there, we walked up to the Musical Instruments Museum.

Brussels Belgium

Brussels, looking up the hill toward MIM, the Musical Instruments Museum…

Brussels Belgium, up the hill toward MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

It’s the one with a tower and a turret, on the left.

Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau splendor: MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau splendor: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments MuseumNow that we’re here, we can go atop —

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Here’s a view out from behind those Art Nouveau curves…

This Art Nouveau building was originally the “Old England” shops. It was designed by Paul Saintenoy, built in 1899.

View from atop: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

The view from atop MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

There’s a restaurant up top. Sam had the crème brûlée, and I became a person who takes pictures of our food.Crème brûlée at MIM, Brussels Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

More on MIM: gorgeous elevator and stairwell

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Sam checks out the bagpipes… I’m still gaga over the architectural details.

Brussels Belgium, night view

What goes up must go back down the hill. This is a popular view… I love taking pictures of people taking pictures, especially when I can see their phone screens glowing…

Here’s the picture we all took from atop the steps —

Brussels Belgium tourist view

… and now it’s noon on a Wednesday, time for the next photo challenge. Why am I always late with the Weekly Photo Challenge?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

More on MIM, and panoramic photos of the interior

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Cabin Fever, Cabinet Fever, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

My fortune cookie said “Now is the time for peace in your life” but I can’t relax while I still have so many messy spots in the house. There’s still a long way to go from here to Hoarder Came Clean, but staying in on rainy days has been a big help. I’ll take every little victory I can.

My kitchen pantry cabinet went from piled up to somewhat organized… (in what universe do I need 3 boxes of cornstarch when I can’t remember the last time I used any?)

Kitchen Pantry Cabinet

Edited somewhat by the time I took this photo… and edited a bit more afterward.

Some pretty old stuff had migrated to the back — and why it was in the food cupboard is anyone’s guess. Here, for example, are the contents of a chocolate tin full of matches. My favorites here are like a story of my life.

Vintage matchbooks

Vintage matchbooks and boxes, and yeah, I’m pretty sure a matchbox won’t hold all my clothes.

Every place used to have matches to give away and apparently I liked to have them as souvenirs. Now I remember my onetime favorite Kansas City restaurants, long closed — The Souper, The Prospect of Westport; and restaurants from the UK, Athens, Amsterdam, New York City.  There’s Asti (NYC), where the waiters were opera singers and everyone waved white handkerchiefs and sang “arrivederchi Roma” when leaving. It might even still be there… ah, sadly, no, I just looked. It closed in 2000.

There are even matches from the Milgram’s grocery store chain, stores long since acquired. All this reminds me that I probably have a bigger collection of matchbooks somewhere. I presume they’ll show up in their own good time. As for now, I found a “lazy susan” in the basement and organized the cabinet so I can get to everything. I’m not sure what to do with all the matches. (Bonfire of the vanities?)

Here are my reorganized cabinets, upper and lower … oops, now I see I neglected to clear out the drawer between them. It’ll keep me entertained on the next rainy day.

Upper kitchen pantry-cabinet "after"They’re still too full. I’ll have to remember to cook from the pantry first, not from the grocery store. It’s past time to whittle down supplies. Meanwhile, I can relax a little, with one more corner at least semi-organized.

Lower pantry kitchen cabinet - "after"

Do you have any cabinets left to clean out? And can you relax until you do?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

And for opera lovers, more on Asti

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Dragon Con and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Transmogrify

I stared at these ladies for a while before it came to me — Lego Ghostbusters! It’s hard to get any more transmogrified than cosplay, so this week’s challenge gives me an excuse to share some photos from Dragon Con (Labor Day weekend in Atlanta).

Lego Ghostbusters at Dragon Con 2016

Lego Ghostbusters

Here’s one more for scale — dancing Lego Ghostbusters, not exactly high-stepping though.

 

Photo ops at Dragon Con 2016

Don’t get too close to the Transformer…

Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes from the Star Wars Cantena

Jivin’ to Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes from the Star Wars Cantena

Guinan from Star Trek TNG - Dragon Con 2016

And in a bar next door — Cheers from Guinan , Star Trek TNG

Dancers from the Sheraton Lobby

Dancers from the Sheraton Lobby

I could use some help identifying this ghost. (Pokemon, maybe?) Anyone know?

Ghostly costume

It was a little early then, but just right today — Happy Halloween!

Meanwhile, on the downsizing/remodeling front, house painters are here this week transmogrifying the exterior. But wait — it’s Halloween, maybe I should have waited a week. Those spider webs they cleaned off the windows could have served as decoration.

What are you wearing for Halloween?

 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Transmogrify

More on Dragon Con

2016’s Castleberry Hill Loft Tour, Coming Up Oct 22 (and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Local)

Atlanta locals, take note. It’s almost time for this year’s Castleberry Hill Loft Tour. Meanwhile, just for inspiration, here’s a mini-photo-tour from last year…

Castleberry Hill Loft Tour 2015 - dining area

I love the rhyming lines in the stair railing and the chair backs.

Castleberry Hill Loft Tour 2015

In the same home, with Sam checking out a window of the laundry room.

Castleberry Hill Loft Tour 2015

A great idea for displaying a collection of vinyl…

Castleberry Hill Loft Tour 2015

Can you tell the owner here also runs an art gallery?

Castleberry Hill Loft Tour 2015 - mannequin and art

Another view — art? mannequin? hat-rack?

Castleberry Hill Loft Tour 2015

Welcome now to more signs of my obsession with stairways…

Castleberry Hill Loft Tour 2015

 

Castleberry Hill Loft Tour 2015 - art and stairwell

Down one more stairway and out — back soon for this year’s tour.

Revisiting last year’s tour is wake-up call for me; I see that yet another year has passed and I still haven’t finished downsizing. If I’m going to get out of my house and find a new home in a condo, apartment, or loft by this time next year I’m going to have to focus. Meanwhile, on Saturday I’ll get another look at Castleberry Hill — an historic intown neighborhood,  interior brick walls, stairway angles, tall ceilings and gallery walls — all very appealing.

What do you think? Doesn’t a loft look like a great alternative?

More on the Castleberry Hill Loft Tour 2016

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