Sunday, November 3, 2013

Good old Eau Claire

One of the footbridges over the Chippewa River
I recently went to Eau Claire for an art educators convention, and it was one of the best ones I have been to in a long while.  Lots of great ideas and sessions, and of course Eau Claire is fantastic.  I am definitely biased towards Eau Claire, I went to college there and I have a lot of fond memories.  It is a gorgeous town, and definitely good for picture taking with the Chippewa River, the trees, and beautiful buildings, etc.  OH, and of course it is a shopping Mecca for those of us miles and miles and MILES away from the nearest Target/Kohls/mall/etc.

The second day of the convention I took a little time out (I didn't listen to the keynote speaker) and went to get some really great coffee at a local coffee shop and then went for a walk.  I initially started off to see the sculpture walk that was moved to Water Street for this year.  It usually is downtown, but they had some renovations of the streets and so moved it to my old stomping grounds.

I only photographed a few sculptures, my attention turned elsewhere!

I lived for 2 years just off Water Street** and let me tell you things have changed a bit since I last lived there.  It was a pleasant journey through the past I took as I walked from the Fine Arts Building and down water street.  I did see a few of the sculptures, but found the change in buildings were the most interesting.  I don't recall everything, but I know the old McDonalds is now a Mexican place.  Right next door there is a Taco Johns.  Many of the old bars are gone, but there are many that are still there.  I began my love affair with dark beer after drinking it at "The Joynt" with one of my profs from the art department.  The grocery store "Kerm's" is a bunch of smaller places, and interestingly the old liquor store I think was a bar!!
The entrance to the Fine Arts Building at UWEC

When I walked by the place where I used to live, I am still surprised to see that it is a parking lot.  Now that place was a dump, so I am not surprised that it was torn down, but it is kind of strange to see.  I had that song by Joni Mitchell going through my head- they paved paradise and they put up a parking lot - though it was far FAR from paradise.

My house was on the corner- there were 3 apartments.  I see they tore down the house next door where the motorcycle guys lived, too. 
After I decided I needed to get back to the convention location, I walked back and ended up going on the path along the Chippewa.  The leaves were beautiful and the weather was perfect.

I discovered that as a sort of weird extension of my fear of heights that I HATE walking across bridges.  It gives me huge HUGE anxiety.  Especially when I have a camera in my hand, I think of it falling to its untimely death right out of my hands, though with the death grip I have on it, that is unlikely to happen.  It gives me the willies just thinking of it.  Anyway, I crossed two different bridges, and I far preferred the bike and foot bridge (not the campus bridge, the one closer to down town) to the bridge with the cars shaking it.  ugh.  But the thing is that the best pix are taken on the bridge, so out on the bridge I was!  I like it when I face a fear and then scurry to the other side like a ghost is chasing me.  HAHAHA!!

This was such a pleasant walk, I wish I could have spent more time, but I had another great session to attend.  Nothing makes an art teacher happier (other than students cleaning up after themselves) than having time to do a little art work of their own!  

And then I got to go see Ella, so life was good!  And of course a joy.....

**Water street back in the late 70's- when the drinking age was 18- was quite the place to be..... that is an understatement.  If you hear stories, I will deny them!  :)

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