Wednesday, August 17, 2016

All the things Missouri

I realize that I totally under reported my lovely time in the gorgeous state of Missouri! And that seems to be totally unfair to my amazing Mad-Missouri friend, Cheri.  She has been wanting to see my pictures and when I got back I was swept into thinking about school, and kayaking, and biking again, and catching up with several of my people who I hadn't seen/talked to for a while.  The last thing I wanted to do was sit at the computer when I was so used to going at break neck speed, or alternatively- snuggling with those grandchildren of mine.

The Silver Tree on Art Hill in St. Louis
SO- as a surprise for her, here is an in-depth review!! I am writing this while waiting to get hungry, so I can eat and then go into school- since I got my weight lifting and a bike ride in already.  And I am not hungry when I get done working out--- especially bike riding.  You know,  I really suck at bike riding.  Lol.  Hills kill me.  KILL ME.  The words that escape my mouth.....  but its easier than a couple months ago.  ha.

First of all, I have to say that as much as I love my Wisconsin (GO PACK GO) and Lake Superior and all, I do very much enjoy being in different parts of the country and I really have to get into more southern states.  The weather up here has turned to it's glorious late summer pattern of highs in the 70's, lows in the 50's- the humidity has diminished (and yes it DOES get humid up here) and the sunsets are stunning.  In fact I am sure the my biker buddies from the south could undoubtedly bike 80 or 90 miles up here with no problem, since it is more like winter temperatures for them.  hehe.  ANY WHO, as much as I am reveling in this, Missouri is SUCH a gorgeous place to visit.  I will say that their rivers are a little sketchy looking, so I will stick to kayaking up here in flowing waters, but wow the scenery. And while it was freaking hot down there, I just didn't care because it was so much fun.  By the time I finished in Janesville, I will say that I was so sick of sweating through a set of clothes and then freezing in the air conditioning 4 or 5 times a day....  I am a northern girl for sure....

Pickle Springs
I don't mind the drive to Cheri's place, but Illinois gets to be a bit much sometimes.  I am always wishing for another windmill thing to show up.  I don't mind corn fields, heaven knows that is quite familiar to me, since I grew up in the middle of one.  But it is pretty cool to get across the Mississippi into the St. Louis area.  The land is different (i.e.: not flat) and I sort of like driving on the big freeways too.  Of course this is all timed to NOT be during rush hours, so I can enjoy the drive.

I arrived at Cheri's the day after the culmination of a very VERY busy month or so, and I know she was glad that I was there to provide distraction and my usual comic relief.  We went and picked up her grandson Charlie almost immediately after I arrived and we got to sit and catch up while he played in the swimming pool at a local establishment.... and we had a little light supper and refreshments and had a wonderful time chit chatting our afternoon away.

Pickle Springs stream
The next day (as were all the days) was an action-packed one, where we of course began our journey of eating out every single meal-  because we are just that awesome!!  HAHA!!  We began with coffee always at her house, because we are amazing and addicted humans and proceeded to have a lovely breakfast at a coffee shop in nearby Farmington.  After tossing around idea for what to do next, we settled on hiking at Pickle Springs.  Pickle springs is a lovely natural area with an almost 2 mile trail that you follow up and down and around...  it was pretty dry when we were there, but apparently is quite lovely after a rain.  It was lovely this day too. But it is indeed a HIKE, not a walk!  :)

Love this mini waterfall, that was probably 8 - 12 inches tall  lol

We ate a late lunch at a really cool restaurant in Farmington called 12 West.  The air-conditioning and nourishment were very much appreciated, and it was very good.  It was easy to find vegetarian options everywhere we went! We had to pick up Mr. Charlie from daycare again that afternoon, which gave us a chance to hang out at her place and just relax.  Our plan was to go to a covered bridge when Amanda got home, but she got stuck in traffic.  We later  got part of the way there when I remembered that the park that it is in closed at sunset..... so we cut our losses and had supper at Lix- an ice cream shop.  Because everyone should have ice cream for supper sometimes. AND we stopped for a few moments at the very cute train depot in Farmington as well.  Night pictures anyone?

Train Depot in Farmington

Friday was a city day for us.  I had very few requests for my trip, but I did want to get to the city at least once and see the art museum.  It was spectacular as I indicated in my previous post.  And I had a friend who was interested in me and my droning on about all things art history.  She's the best.  I just love that place.  They also had a folk art special exhibit which was really fun to see as well.   When we finished there, I had a special request to have vegetarian sushi for lunch, and my dear friend was happy to oblige.  We ate at a place called Mizu, and again I was not disappointed.  I had avocado roll and one that was tempura style that I can't remember the name of.  They subbed the fish in it with sweet potato, and it had some cream cheese as well as veggies and I also split an order of deep fried tofu.  I was in HEAVEN!!!  Following, we walked through the very beautiful Missouri Botanical Gardens and rumor has it we had CHEESECAKE for supper- because that is just how we roll.

Oh look- columns!  :)


Crazy big lily pads at the Botanical gardens

Saturday was a little different day, as Cheri was involved in a crossfit event.  We squeezed breakfast in between events and when that was all done, we went a bit of a drive north to the Katy trail.  The Katy trail is an old railroad right of way that has a really nice packed gravel surface for biking.  It also has places to stop along the way, including a really yummy brewery that gave us some nice rehydration!  YES we drank a dark beer and it was fabulous.  We biked 18 miles when we ran out of daylight and energy-  A late night stop at "Crackle Barrel" was our food for the night (I think we only ate twice that day??) and it was a pretty yummy blueberry french toast.

Biking and beer- perfect companions and perfect company
Part of the Katy Trail 

Getting darker- on the  Katy Trail 
Sunday, my last day with her and her family, we stayed in our jammies until at least 10, which is something I never do, and it was the nicest morning.  We decided to go up to St. Louis so we could eventually have Italian food on the Hill, but first we walked through the zoo, and around the beautiful lake/pond on Art Hill called the Basin.  Wow it was so beautiful.  There was exactly 2 Italian restaurants open that Sunday night and we were appropriately dressed for only one of them, and it was just fine with us.  It was really nice to sit down and have something sort of similar to my Italy experience, including raspberry gelato, but there is something about being IN actual Italy you just can't beat.  THIS was good though- very good.

Fancy bird at the zoo!

This enclosure was really cool! Ibis, egrets, ducks, etc.

The tiger was hot!

Part of the basin (many of these pix are taken with the phone)- you can see the museum in the background

Dining with a really good wine

A very dark photo of the covered bridge
I had just the best time running all over the area with my sweet friend, we could have stayed in her house all day and had just as good of a time.  I am so lucky to be able to visit her though---
part of the Chihuli installation


Giraffe and friend 

The corpse flower almost ready to bloom- apparently a smelly thing.
Summer has been good to me again, but this one seemed to go faster.  I am not at all ready to give in to it, but there isn't much I can do to stop it....  I am however ready to see what the next journey, adventure or encounter might be- no matter what it will have some joy.

** Btw, as usual I always underestimate the amount of time it takes me to write, post pictures, rearrange, review and rewrite....  lunch has long since been eaten, boxes unpacked at school, groceries bought, and a few people have been talked to....  So here we are at almost 10 pm and I will be publishing- I should know by now, don't you think?


Losing track of time

Indeed I have lost track of how much time has passed since my last post.  I actually have probably 2 more Italy posts in me, but I will get back to that in the next few days.

Missouri Botanical Gardens- Chihuli installation

I have been losing track of time a lot lately.  I am in my late summer transition.  I find myself resenting leaving my house, trying to make space for school stuff in my head, beginning to think again like a teacher.  I get distracted by my garden, my pictures, my thoughts.....  I want to talk to people about anything but work and yet find myself thinking about it all the time.  The kids are telling me how much they miss my art room and I went there today to start to unpack boxes of supplies.  I am unwillingly shifting, slowly,  but it is happening.

Miss Ava Kay

Jon and Ella

After July happened, I went on a little road trip again.  I began my journey visiting the Mad-oldest son and Sarah Grace and the girls in Janesville, and no one was sad that they had literally left my house the day before I arrived.  :)  They came to Park Falls for my birthday weekend, which was fabulous, and then I headed there and had a layover until I traveled to visit my sweet friend from Missouri.

Rotary Gardens in Janesville.

Do you see me?

I didn't get a lot of pix of the two of us in Missouri, we were too busy doing things, I guess.  And a lot of things we did!  I won't go through the entire trip, but we covered a lot of ground and did some super things.

Pickle Springs in Missouri
The Depot in Bonne Terre

Chihuli gate at the Botanical Gardens

One of the covered bridges in Missouri.  We got there when it was really too dark for good photos, but it was fun to see. 

I am all about getting into art museums whenever possible so the St. Louis Art museum was a must.  It is a super museum, so going just doesn't get old.  We also got to the botanical gardens, the zoo, went for a good long bike ride on the Katy trail, hiked Pickle Springs and ate Italian food and Sushi in St. Louis.....  not all on the same day, mind you!


At the St. Louis Zoo

Botanical Gardens

We ate dessert for supper, stayed up late and got up early.  When you only see your bestie once a year, you just can't waste your time sleeping.

A mini waterfall! 

On the pontoon on Lake Mendota

Another little layover in Janesville was in order after I left Missouri- 11 hours is a long way, and really, who wouldn't stop and see those two cute girlies, and of course their parents.

Ava doesn't appreciate the boat ride yet

Pickle Springs

Botanical Gardens

 It really was a nice way to finish up the summer....  The trip was a perfect length and I saw some pretty amazing people.  :D

The capital and the university from Lake Mendota
 And I already have tentative plans for another adventure next summer, because I was sad it was all over....  so I contacted my partner in all things adventure and we have begun to concoct our next big thing....  It involves airplanes, mountains, waterfalls and perhaps an ocean!  YAY!  Stay tuned.

Sunset skiing in Madison


So I will proceed with the next 10 day or so and try so hard not to whine.  I will allow my mind to change to what it does 9 months of the year, but you know I will be dreaming of what that other 3 months will hold.  And no one is saying other adventures won't happen in the meantime!  

Beauty over Butternut Lake
The weather has broken, the humidity and heat is mostly gone.  The summer days are getting shorter and thankfully the sunsets are quite beautiful!  The year moves on and a hoodie is added to my evening walks around the yard.  Time moves along whether we want it to or not.

And I will be finding my joy even if I am dragging my feet and wanting to stay in the amazing season that is summer.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Looking in and about the towns of Italy--

Graffiti? Street Art?  Paintings?  All three perhaps
There is so much to see that is not in an official museum or park in Italy- from the graffiti to the wrought iron street lamps, to unexpected statues and fountains...  there are pictures  just everywhere.  I caught a lot of these snapshots on my phone, as it was either when I was in the bus, or it popped up unexpectedly and I didn't have my camera out or what have you.  Of course, some of it was recorded with high numbers of pixels from a dandy camera, but this is definitely going to be a mashup of the two. And though I proclaimed this post as not in museums, I am done with organized thought patterns...  I've had enough of that.  LOL  So peruse at your own risk- the artist brain has finally won over the logic.

Mosaic in Ostia Antica

A few of these photos have probably been on this blog before, but most have not.  I felt like I had a bunch of pictures that really didn't fit into any of the posts- and actually there are a lot more.    It's hard to whittle down when there are so many.

Part of a statue in Venice- the winged Lion with Venus

A plaster cast of  one of the remains in Pompeii

The graffiti tunnel in Florence
I found so many cool things that were an accident- from wandering around, or looking up and over, or just turning around.  I'm always looking where I maybe shouldn't be- I get distracted.  But it leads to the best things.
Bust of the artist Bernini
From the amazing lights that hang from the buildings to the incredible umbrella pines of the south of Italy to the columns and friezes and bits and pieces of buildings and statues, Italy has a lot to look at.

Really cool light fixture! In Roma

Ostia Antica

Pompeii- I think the baths

Mosaics in Pompeii
I loved how after looking at the remnants of the ancient buildings, a few hours later you would run across the modern examples of street art-  of both legal and illicit nature.
An art work in a window in Venice

I think this was in Rome- a figure carved in a stump
Available and hidden:  The ancient art that was valued and portable was available for transport- stolen and collected.  Protected and placed in official churches and later museums and private collections.... kept whole and intact.

Ancient Painting in Pompeii

And of course the amazing column artifacts
Many ancient buildings were either destroyed, fell into decay from neglect, were covered by volcano lava (thank you Vesuvius) and were then hidden.... either whole or in pieces, to be later discovered, uncovered and recovered....  sometimes to be reconstructed, usually on display in some way.

Winged Lion with the Goddess Venus in Venice

Venetian Masks
The juxtaposition of the old and the new- old relics, and the manmade for tourist traffic.   Reconstructed ruins and ephemeral chalk work on the sidewalk......  things that you pay to see and things that you can pay  to take home.

Blogger did some odd things and I don't feel like fixing it- the pic directly above here is a light fixture in Rome, and the pic above this one are some artifacts at the Vatican 

Again - a sculpture up above that is was in the Vatican, and the street art directly above is from the underground tunnel in Florence.

In the same way, modern art we see can be made in ways that are always for display but can be made in both overt and covert ways. Art that can be made to be sold to the passersby,  sometimes literally made on the street and sometimes sold from the street  or created under cover of darkness to be seen with an element of surprise or defiance.  Street art can have pure artistic intent or convey ownership- ownership of a territory by the mark of a swish of paint.  To defy people to spray over, daring them into a  painted argument.  
Artifacts from Pompeii

Street art in a pure form- sold on the street of street scenes

Vessels in Pompeii

Paintings left on the walls from ancient times- I can't remember which one, though.   perhaps Assisi?? 

Side walk art

A lovely carousel--- I think in Florence

Art from the Uffizi

Detail from one of the arches in the Roman forum

Part of a fountain- I LOVE these faces. Venice

The street art of political bent, of pure artistic expression, of decoration- all variations of people expressing their modern ideas amongst a very old old culture.  If I had to choose something that was my favorite thing about Italy, it would have to be this.  The old and the new, the hidden under cover of darkness artists that make prevalent and pervasive statements that are more permanent than those who work legally in the symbolic light of day.
Make revolution irresistible 

Detail of mosaics on the floor in pompeii

Carved detail in a ruins in Pompeii

In Ostia Antica

A beautiful detail in stone- on the ground at Ostia Antica

Some dwellings are an actual form of street art- or at least a decorative art

Italy- a combination of new and old, beauty in all forms- one of the biggest joys in my life- so far. But I have more adventures to come.