Friday, August 30, 2013

How Many Minis?

Just one more reason to buy a mini . . .

   You can share one parking place (and one parking fee?) with another mini!
   Good to know.

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's a Zoo Out There! - My World Tuesday

   Robert "Fish" Jones must have been quite a character.  The "Fish" nickname comes from his business in downtown Minneapolis, a fish shop.  To draw customers, Mr. Jones chained a bear to the front of his shop.  Not content with just a bear, he went on to collect tigers, jaguar, camel, birds, and a herd of sacred cattle and housed them on the third floor of his fish market.  He also had a pair of Russian wolfhounds which he would walk on the busy city streets.

   Soon "hideous noises" and "an unpleasant aura" eminating from his beasts began to draw unfavorable notice.  Obviously, this could not go on and in 1906 he was forced to move his menagerie well outside of town, where he built a home for himself, a replica of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's home, and a home for his animals, Longfellow Zoological Gardens.

Mr. Jones was a short man and always wore the tallest top hat available to add to his stature.  That is his hat in a case at the Hennepin County Museum.


In keeping with the Longfellow theme, Mr. Jones named the mascot of the zoo, his pet male lion, Hiawatha. When Hiawatha died, Mr. Jones had him made into a rug.

When Mr. Jones died in 1930, some of his animals went to another zoo.  His son, apparently a chip off the old block, loaded up the rest on a barge and took his floating zoo down the Mississippi to continue his father's tradition.

Old postcard, Mr. Jones on the left with his seals.
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bee Happy!

“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.”
― Emily Dickinson

Monday, August 19, 2013

The People's Art - Our World Tuesday

  All art is not in galleries and museums.  People in rundown neighborhoods have found a way to have beauty and color in their lives -- in an outdoor gallery, using buildings for canvas.
Celebrating the people of a neighborhood
To the far right on the black chalkboard people have written their names beside their addresses in an effort to create a neighborhood out of many diverse cultures.

This mural is in an alley.  It glitters and sparkles and asks a very important question:
"What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Enlarge this one so you can see the details.  It is a mixture of scenes from Israel, the city skyscape, and rural Minnesota geese and lakes, with someone from the neighborhood viewing it all.

In a nook in a wall, propped up on a fallen brick and nearly hidden, is painting of Medusa.  She is wearing glasses.

“Art is an evolutionary act. The shape of art and its role in society is constantly changing. At no point is art static. There are no rules.”
Raymond Salvatore Harmon
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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Makin' Hay While the Sun Shines

 On the way to the Walman farm for eggs, I see that farmers have been busy this week.  The beautiful lines in these hay rows are pleasing to the eye.

Walmans have the best eggs, too big for the "jumbo" carton, and almost always a few with a surprise inside -- two yolks.  And bright orange yolks that stand up high when you fry them up.

The weather has been very dry for awhile and the deer are searching for water.  I saw one in a field and then these prints in some almost-dry mud where she had hoped to find a drink.
The wind turbines are controversial.  I like them and pay a bit extra per month on my electric bill to support this green energy.  This one makes a nice soft swishing sound as it goes around in the light breeze this morning.
And last, a sign of approaching autumn: the roadside berries are replacing the summer flowers in their show of color.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Along a Country Road - My World Today

   "Earth laughs in flowers. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson"
What a beautiful summer it has been!  Enroute to mundane errands, I had to stop and photograph the flowers along the roadsides.  They are just so lovely this year.

    A sea of purple, a field of purple flowers...
“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair...”             ― Susan Polis Schutz
   I picked some to enjoy at home.  I don't think anyone will miss a few.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Celebrating Retirement

My two daughters arranged a retirement dinner for me with family and friends at a fondue restaurant this weekend.  It was delicious  and very fun!
You can see I was having a good time!  That is steam coming off the pots and my mom is next to me.
   Four fondue pots were spread along the long granite tables.  For the first course, they were filled with cheese -- Swiss cheese, spinach, artichokes and cheese, and a Mexican seasoned cheese with jalapeno peppers to add for the brave. Bread cubes and vegetables were dipped in these.

For the next course, pots of oil and seasoned broth were brought out with shrimp, salmon, chicken, and steak to cook.  There was batter to coat them with before cooking and sauces to add after.  This is my sister and brother-in-law deciding what to cook.
Dessert was quite exciting, involving pots of chocolate and flames, with sweets and fruit for dipping.
The meal took three hours to cook and eat, and there was much laughing, storytelling, and talk.
The best part of the evening was having family and friends together to celebrate with.
I won't really feel retired until everyone is back in school in a few weeks and I am not! 


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I Love Paris in the Springtime . . . .

Late March evening, the Tour Eiffel from Sacre Coeur.
Linking with "Dreaming of France"

Monday, August 5, 2013

My World Tuesday -- Mankind Needs Art

   There are a lot of little towns here UpNorth, and something I've often thought about is the fact that they can be, well, pretty ugly.  The old buildings are utilitarian and nothing else.  They are boxes, squatting tight to the prairie earth, never more than two stories tall.  They were the blacksmith shop, the grocery, the mercantile, the post office, the drugstore, the feed store, the bank, the newspaper.  They served their purpose well, and there is a kind of attractiveness now in their age and simplicity, but certainly that was not in the builders' intent.
(Wikipedia Image-New Prague)

 But then there are the churches, so often the sole possessor of beautiful architecture, sculpture, paintings, and music in the town. 

In the mid 1800s, a group of Czechoslavakians fled an Iowa cholera epidemic and founded New Prague, Minnesota. This building replaced an outgrown one in 1906.
 They are towering, spired, arched, domed, crenalated, buttressed on the outside. Inside they hold sculpture and paintings and expensive instruments of music, beautiful colors and gold leaf.  They are surrounded by carefully planted trees and old-fashioned flowers, with carved memorials in the cemeteries behind.
Hand carved and gold trimmed altars and pulpits were imported from countries overseas at great expense. . . 

. . . and so were the beautiful stained glass windows.

Lovely details everywhere you look.

   It's kind of like the people boxed up all their need for sensual beauty and built a building around it that befitted its importance and its isolation from the rest of their lives.  And only visited it on Sundays.

   My grandparents were born on homesteads in Minnesota on the Canadian border where the only possibility for many years was filling the most basic needs for food and shelter.  When people came together and built a church, it met needs for social interaction as well as worship.  Now I realize that it also met man's need for art.

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Modern Architecture Rocks?

 The U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is one of the outstanding modern buildings in the city according to critics.  It is, to me, um . . . interesting. 
Here it is, several squares put together, one of them curved with lots of smallish windows.  The windows and styles of each square seem different and unrelated to me, but what do I know?  It has won a bunch of awards, and modern architecture isn't my thing!
  In front of the building is a plaza full of "Rockmen", by artist Tom Otterness.  The designer of the plaza says the grass mounds represent the drumlins that were formed here during the Ice Age.  They are topped with Jack pines (of all the beautiful and majestic trees in Minnesota, these are scrubby looking things!).
Rock Frog, contemplating Rock Pile

Rock Man and Rock Mama?
Rock Pals give a boost
Mr Potato Rock?

Rock Log
Rock Snake?
And here is what is across the street, the staid and glorious old City Hall.  Wonder what it thinks of its modern neighbors.

The sculptures are whimsical, fun, and totally incongruous with their environment on either side of the street.  Maybe that's the point!