Grounds for thought

It was a lovely day that day that we three went off to see the big-skirted Marilyn Monroe effigy in the westerly part of our county in New Jersey. The thing was it was always a different place even though it was the same place, and the bigger thing, even bigger than our Marilyn statue, was that the lotus was in bloom.trip to grounds for sculputre with Haya & Pat & Darrell 7-14 (569 of 632)trip to grounds for sculputre with Haya & Pat & Darrell 7-14 (610 of 632)
It was a good thing, fortunate really, that my two friends knew the place. I mean, they knew where the main building was, and how to hop on a handy tram when the opportunity arose. There was no judgment here. Lazy is as lazy does. I may not be good at hopping, but i am pretty good at being lazy.

A walk through the main building simply whetted our appetite for art. We were sure that our cameras were on securely. We had our lenses, lens caps, zooms and cleaning cloths safely tucked away in various pockets. What we didn’t have was the direction in which to start. Start! There is no such thing at GFS. All roads lead to even more roads.

trip to grounds for sculputre with Haya & Pat & Darrell 7-14 (603 of 632)At grounds for sculpture, there are indeed many roads. There are a myriad of ways to become lost, immersed in the feeling, the aura of what an artist may have envisioned, and by photographing that vision, you can make it your own. At least that is my theory. In this way, i overcome the personal prohibition of stealing, or borrowing, someone else’s work. At least i can try.

Guilty or not, we strode on, past screaming peacocks (and peahens), past annoying little kids wondering when they would get their promised lunch, past slower or older or just more observant folks out for a stroll.

lotus edited with black border

Some hours later, we found ourselves at the lotus pond. Not surprisingly, par for the course of our little threesome’s recent adventures, there were very few of the flowers open. But the ones who were, they were the focus of our focus for it seemed another hour. The random dragonflies, and butterflies, the lovely colors and shapes of the unusual flowers, gave us endless chances to practice our craft. Not on the man-made, but on the god-given beauty that was concentrated in this great sight. We were so engrossed in the taking and then in the discussion that followed, boring tothose non-photographers who may read this, we forgot the time.
It was a lovely day. The way in, the way out, was itself a study in self-knowledge and discipline. Or a wanton lack of awareness of teh outside world while visiting the world of waterlilies and dragonflies. A light was lit, and the experience will be remembered as well as relived, as soon as we can pack up our gear and make our way back.

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Gearing up for the Big Day

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

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So I went into the Big City yesterday to visit with my dentist for a cleaning. It was rough – I had had to postpone this event again and again due to the fact that I had not felt up to it what with that big giant hole in my back and all. But I did it, sort of a test case for what I hope will be some occasional visit with my photographer friends and my lovely giant DSLR around my neck, in the coming season.

My trip was a glorious success. I found my way south after my gleaming, shining teeth were checked out of my Doctor’s office. Planes overhead needed to divert course when I smiled. And smile I did. I walked over to 5th Avenue outside of the “Park” and joined hundreds of people young and old, not a one of them speaking recognizable English, and endured yet another driver pulling my MetroCard from my eager fingers and inserting it properly. I was mortified several times about this. For once, I appreciated the Tower of Babel that the bus has become, albeit a horizontal one.

When I rode the city buses and trains way back when, it was a paper slip you were handed, with all sorts of instructions printed on it, the date and all that. There is no paper, and for me, the busy technophile, that should be a no-brainer. Yet, my reversion to Miss City native prevented me from accepting the reality that you need to put it in This Way!!!! The only redeeming fact was that I figured Nobody on the Bus Understood what I was being Reprimanded for!!!!

On said bus, I was offered a seat by a nice older gentleman. I tried to refuse, honestly. Part of my test was if i could balance myself while the vehicle lurched and careened through holiday streets. So I sat, it turned out, between his companions, a woman who announced that they were from “Alabama.” Oh, great. Another foreign country, I thought. For you have to understand, aside from some great songs by the Allman Brothers in the early ’70’s, I don’t know much about Alabama except that was where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated after a great speech. So these folks, were similar to meeting sort of an enemy, people who stood against everything I believed in. If they only knew, I was thinking, espying my antibiotic prescription slip peeking over my Kindle cover in my too-small purse for this trip. I was hoping that they thought it was for like some tranquilizer or something, that i was a crazy person traveling to and from an important psychological clinic.

On we went, while little townie on my left pointed her face at me, because she wanted to see out the window, and carried on a conversation across me with townie on my right. She totally ignored, or maybe didn’t understand when I asked her what museum they had been to. Oh, well. Selective deafness, I figured.

She did opine how much she liked the tall buildings. Sure, Opie, they are really really big! I wanted to tell her how she wouldn’t like them so much if she had to do this trip every single day, five times a week, crawl herself up to some desk, change into high heels and run around at the beck and call of some lawyer who was either late with their Federal Express shipments or missing a file because they brought it home to work on it all night and fell asleep after putting the kids to bed and sipping from a bottle of wine. Sure, you love the tall buildings, but there are people in those tall building shivering in their high heels over whether they will have enough money to repair their destroyed houses and lives after Superstorm Sandy.

Rockefeller Center is always bustling. I love the fact that i am alone there, alone in my native-hood, experience and voluntary lameness about the names of each building, each restaurant, and how do you get ice-skates on your feet anyway!

I had jumped off the bus to get a good walk in toward the Christmas Tree, and felt on my own from there. I am reminded that the avenues of New York City are actually a big giant mall, where there are full size stores instead of little storefronts along an aisle with a “you are here” sign strategically placed somewhere near the restrooms. Not a single attraction for me. I can’t imagine what luxurious item I may need other than to pronounce in my mouth, the names of stores you hear mention of in old 50’s movies with Lauren Bacall modeling her stunning fashions.

On the way home again, I needed to jump on a bus loaded with smelly construction workers who were sprawled over two seats, and mostly asleep, grasping their communication devices in their sweaty little palms. With all due respect, this was not my favorite environment.

Well, I got home okay, and am sure I can do it again, if I just rest a bit here and there, which is doable in a city like NEW YORK.

And, before I forget, happy birthday, Jesus – we are doing it in style again for you!

Cool Beans in Boston

Truth is, Boston is a great town to visit. I really like it. There was a great deal of preparation for this wonderful excursion – Jim and I wanted to get away around the time of our silver anniversary, and this was it. October is still not too cold, but not hot enough that you can’t walk around in the city. We chose a hotel for the price, mostly. It was cheap, and it promised a shuttle to the subway and then a mere five stops to the center of town, the lovely Commons, from where you can get anywhere you want.

So, off we went to see the great historic city of Boston. And did we see it!

But, there was a price to pay. Sometimes memory is faulty, and you only remember the good times. I sure did. My two previous excursions here were full of fun and excitement. Not to mention cheap and in the center of town, or having me carried around like a big suitcase.

First time, with a youth group from my church. http://www.uucmc.org to be exact. Part of a program that allows the RE graduating class to explore the roots of Unitarianism and Universalism as part of their faith experience. A great program. I got to go with the kids but luckily a couple of my besties were along, so it wasn’t so bad.

The second time, some adults decided to take an adult RE trip, and fun it was. We stayed at a bed and breakfast owned by the UUA (www.uua.com) and were treated like royalty as we traversed the streets. This was a one-time thing, as most of us are now too old or lame to do this again. At least I am.

So my trip with my husband was tainted with high expectations. Remember  do, though. The high stairs to the train platform. Waiting in the cold October rain for the bus. Traveling on the Boston subway with the bottom-feeders. Waiting on line while my husband makes mistakes on the ticket machines and has to ask for help.

Oh, it was joy joy joy.

I really hate traveling, sometimes. I’m glad I got Boston out of my system. I still want to get myself and Jimmy to Cape Cod, although he claims we have the same scenery here on the Jersey Shore. But my memories and expectations are high and happy, and I’ll work on it for some future date, hopefully with a good outcome the first time.

 

Good Eats and eats and eats and EATS – wip

Here is a story of the restaurants we went to on my trip to Buffalo:

Burrito Bay;

This is an unassuming place and when you walk in, you have to stand in line, cafeteria style and make your order. The menus are easy to understand. What’s there to understand! The Glutton, the Middle size and a small size. The Glutton is the most food I have ever seen in any restaurant ever. You have to be really hungry to down this one. But the food itself, wow!

Plenty of cheese, veggies, beans, all rolled into this great wrapper. If you want spicy, you get it. No wimpy salty vinegar here. The real deal. My mouth was on fire when I ate this. I was completely happy, and would recommend this place if you are ever nearby to one.

Not fancy, just good enjoyable food.

Olympia Diner;

Another just plain good food place to eat in Buffalo. This is definitely of the Greek stripe. We really enjoyed the sampler with some great flavors, all to be dipped into with a pita slice.

The food itself was typical diner food, but fresh and great portions. I don’t think we would have had it any other way. In fact, the wait-woman (PC all the way!) thought we were finished, several times. I think she used up all the ink in her pen, honey. She was quite pleasant, and tolerated well the active child with us who made towers out of the creamers.

Candrell’s Ice Cream Shop;

This is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, and we were the only customers. It was cool out, being summer in Buffalo, and we were in the mood for some sweets. This was the perfect choice. All the ice cream and dishes, and candies looked delicious, but I settled for some “sugar-free” vanilla. I know, I know, what’s the purpose of a sweet shop if you’re not going to be with the program? Well, I was already overloaded with food by this time, and wanted to at least give the system some sort of relief. No website here, but lots of info on the web. Worh a look if you’re in the neighborhood.

Franco’s Pizza;

Said to be like Domino’s. I never had this, at least in my memory. Time for something that doesn’t require much effort. We were getting even more tired, and hungry after some more running around after child. Child asleep, time for the grownups to uhh, eat again. The pizza came as we feared. It was a round pie smushed into a square box. This sounds wierd to us Brooklyn-bred girls. And you want your pizza to be round and cut into wedges, not some kind of shape that is unnatural to that cuisine. But, aside from that, it was good, tasty. A bit dry, a bit doughy but what we needed at the moment. Try it with a glass of wine to make it more palatable.

Tandoori.

Go here for the royal treatment. A head waiter who is as yummy as the food. Knowledgeable and helpful servers, a water bearer constantly refilling a refreshing glass. And the hot sauce is the best. Spicy as you can ever want it to be. Is it any wonder I’ve been starving myself all week?

Hanging with the Fam

Well I made it to Buffalo. My niece is truly one to be admired. Laurissa is handling a pregnancy (she looks great!). There is also a three-year-old niece around here somewhere…who doesn’t stop once she gets going. And there are two cats, Simba the red male and Nala the black female.

We are spending a lot of time eating out. On Thursday afternoon we ate at a Mexican kind of a taqueria, which serves something called a Glutton. My goodness. Can more food be put in a human body at one sitting? But it was so good, I would recommend this place to anyone. What I mean is, the hot is really hot. I never had such hot food. Most places are wary of actually burning the mouth of its patrons, but this place really had the stuff. So beware. 

Yesterday we went to the Greek diner, where we sampled some really good food. We had the usual wraps and clubs, but the Greek stuff was excellent, and we ate lots of food there. In fact, the serverperson probably used up all the ink in her pen taking our order.

Our afternoon was punctuated by a trip to the Ice Cream Parlor, yes there really is one here in the neighborhood. By this time, I was quite sated and settled for a frozen coffee drink thing. The menu here was about four pages long. And the ice cream was served in those metal type of tray dish things; it was a pleasure not dealing with plastic and paper for once.

Anne Marie and I drove here on Thursday starting at 3 a.m.We followed a GPS in the dark – we took turns driving and I had my MP3 player hooked up to hear my favorite songs when we lost transmission on the car radio. Now a 7-hour drive is not so bad, if you are able to stop once in a while and stretch your legs. This was difficult, as you don’t know when a rest stop sign will appear on unfamiliar roads. And a wrong turn can eat up a lot of gas.

What I enjoyed the most was seeing the wind-farms. Really really big windmills on the top of the rolling hills, gently turning in the rising sun. We really wanted to stop and admire them and photograph them better than what I got (coming soon, stay tuned) because cars would be coming up fast, accelerating down slopes behind us.

Another sight was the huge lawns around the homes, which were basically farmhouses. Here is the reason – John Deere! The men doing the mowing were simply enjoying a ride on these marvelous machines and a nice green lawn is just the byproduct.  Why not – three of five acres can be ridden on. Hey it gets them out of the house!

I am sure I passed up the print of the year at my camera club yesterday. Maybe another time? I’ll sure try.

I will post some pictures. I really must do something about this blog. But sometimes I think it needs more than pictures.

We are driving home on Sunday. That’s pretty easy. You just follow the signs to NYC. Can’t make any mistakes there.