Category Archives: Photography

Thursday Doors: Fierce Cat

Early in the morning, before sunup, there was a crazy ruckus at our back door, the one that leads out onto the back deck. Sadie, our cat, was yowling and hissing.

BackDoor

Then she attacked at something she could see through the glass door. There, on the other side, barely visible behind the reflection of the room lights, is her foe slinking away.

BlackCat

Note: this is not Sadie’s reflection. She is a tabby/Siamese mix. This is a neighborhood black cat with white feet. I haven’t been able to get a good look at it or picture of it yet.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

 

 

 

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Mundane Monday: Reflection

It’s the last Monday of 2018! And it’s not so Mundane, since it’s New Year’s Eve. It’s approaching midnight on the East Coast, the ball is dropping. Here I have 3 more hours. I may or may not make it until then. I’m pretty tired and my eyes are feeling dry and sandy.

This week’s theme for the Mundane Monday Challenge is appropriate for this time of year: Reflection. I am starting a new full-time job in January. I will blog more about the exciting changes this will bring to my New Year when I have the mental energy to do it justice. But right now I am reflecting on how my life is going to change in mundane, daily ways after I start working full-time again.

Reflection
Power Lines, Smoky Sky

I took this picture one day in early November of this year. It was also during the weeks of terrible air quality in the SF Bay Area during the Camp Fire. I was driving home from one of the schools where I worked, and I stopped to find a geocache in a park near the water, as I did many days for my daily geocaching streak. I have been finding at least one geocache a day, every day, since December 31, 2015. Some of these cache stops in parks on the way home from school have been beautiful. This one was too, in a way. But it was also dystopian and strange. I hope it isn’t the new normal for California.

The air is much better now, but I still had a rough day today. Just before Christmas, my husband and I decided to do a 12-days-of-Christmas geocaching challenge and today was day 10. This means we had to find 10 caches today for this challenge. And, rather than being fun, it was a pain in the neck. I’m not going to stop the challenge now that I’m so close to completing it, but I am ending my streak in two weeks, and days like today have convinced me that it’s definitely time for it to end. No regrets!

I am also not making any New Year’s resolutions, other than to survive the transition back to full-time work. Earlier in the year I took Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies Quiz and I found out that I’m a Rebel. Rebels resist expectations, inner and outer alike. (Rebels are also the smallest category, apparently, so I’m feeling overlooked and in the minority.) With respect to resolutions, Rubin has this to say about Rebels:

Rebels generally don’t bind themselves in advance, so a New Year’s resolution might not appeal to them. They want to do what they want, in their own way, in their own time — not because they promised themselves they’d do it.

And I have to say, this sounds a lot like me. If I make a resolution, I may be less likely to do whatever it is, not more. And then she goes on:

On the other hand, some Rebels love the challenge of a New Year’s resolution: “My family thinks I can’t give up sugar for a year? Well, watch me!” or “Starting January 1, I’m going to work on my novel, and I’m going to finish by December 31st.”

BINGO, again. Why did I start this geocaching streak in the first place? I started it because I thought my husband, a serious cacher who was once ranked #10 in Massachusetts, thought I couldn’t do it. But now I’ve been doing it even longer than he has. And I will probably even miss it a little bit when it’s over.

I am celebrating the end of the streak in 2 weeks with a geocaching event at a donut shop. A couple of people have already written to congratulate me, and one mentioned that his streak had become a crushing burden by its end. I’d rather quit while I’m ahead: I’ll make an intentional decision to end the streak on my own terms, surrounded by friendly faces and donuts.

Thursday Doors: Year in Review

This will be the last Thursday Doors post of 2018. Norm is encouraging us to recap our year in doors. I have been recapping my trip each week as I post a new set of doors, so I will gather all the trip postings together here:

European Trip 2018, Thursday Doors Posts

ThroughTheGate

December 13, 2018: More Brussels

November 29, 2018: Brussels, Part II

November 22, 2018: Grand Place, Brussels

November 1, 2018: Belgian Beer and Chocolate

October 27, 2018: Dutch Whimsy

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

I have 15 Thursday Doors posts from this trip already, and it’s barely half done. I wasn’t kidding when I got home and said I had Thursday Doors for the rest of the year from the trip. I can keep going until the next trip!

In fact, earlier in the year, before I left for Europe, I was still blogging posts from my 2017 Asian trip on Thursday Doors, such as these.

Asian Trip 2017, Thursday Doors Posts

14ZhujiajiaoRed

Seoul Walk

Downtown Seoul

Changdeokgung Palace

Hutong

Beijing City Wall

Palace Museum in the Forbidden City

Chinese Coke

Great Wall Shopping

Shanghai, Xintiandi

Shanghai, the Bund

Zhujiajiao, water town, Part 1Part 2Part 3

Lamps

Tokyo National Museum

While travel posts are fun, and I like looking at everyone’s from around the world, I also enjoy the posts that just show a little something from daily life, like my new Little Free Library, or the prosaic stretch of El Camino Real that winds through the town where I live.

I’d like to wish everyone Happy Holidays, with a picture of the door to our old house, and our dear departed snowman!

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

Thursday Doors: More Brussels

I thought I was done with Brussels for Thursday Doors, but I’m not!

GrandPlaceSign

Our last night there we went back to the Grand Place and I took some more door pictures. These are of the Guild Halls and the Town Hall. For most of these, I liked what’s over the door as much or more than the door itself.

The Guild Halls:

This looks more like a church than a Town Hall. And this particular door is 3 in 1:

IMG_3896

I don’t have a lot to say about these doors. They speak for themselves.

IMG_3899

I was there in the summer, but just for fun, and because it’s Christmas time, I’m going to show this video of the Grand Place lit up for Christmas. It’s not Mountain View . . . but what a show! Enjoy!

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

November 29, 2018: Brussels, Part II

November 22, 2018: Grand Place, Brussels

November 1, 2018: Belgian Beer and Chocolate

October 27, 2018: Dutch Whimsy

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

Thursday Doors: Birthday Library

For my birthday this year, I got my own Little Free Library. I’ve wanted one for almost as long as I knew that they existed, but I had been a little intimidated by the cost or by the thought of having to build one myself. Then I was also not sure about how to put it up in the yard. It seemed like a lot of effort.

But I really like these little libraries, and I’ve included a few in past Thursday Doors posts, for example here.

img_3119

This library sits outside the UU church of Palo Alto, which I have attended a few times. There is another outside Brewer Island Elementary School (where I taught about photosynthesis this morning), painted blue like the school.

And I recently found a geocache in this Little Free Library in Redwood City, in a neighborhood near Roy Cloud Elementary, where I am teaching tomorrow. It kind of looks like an elf lives there.

ElfLibrary

I wish I’d been more systematic about taking pictures of all the libraries I’ve found, especially the ones where I’ve found geocaches.

Because finally, I am going to have my own! I got an unfinished one for my birthday. Right now it is still sitting on the floor in the front entryway, next to the shoe rack.

LFLUnfinished

But it is pretty close to being ready to go. And, because this is Thursday Doors, notice the nice doors on it! My husband ordered it from LittleFreeLibrary.org. The post came the next day. It is extremely tall (I include some of the room furnishings for scale):

LFLPost

I’d like to paint it with some kind of music theme, or space/sci-fi theme. But the picture hasn’t quite crystallized yet. And it looks like I will have to dig quite a deep hole for that post!

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

Mundane Monday: Warm

This week’s Mundane Monday post from Dr. KO was so cute that I’m just going to copy it. I love sleeping kitties (and non-sleeping ones).

 Our cat, Sadie, spends most of the daylight hours lying around and sleeping. We adopted her as an adult from the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. She started out living in our daughter’s room and it’s still her primary residence, even though our daughter is in college in Oregon now. I’ve posted pictures of her on this blog before, particularly this one: Sleeping Kitty.  The sunshine comes through the window onto the bedspread and blankets and makes her warm and cozy.  So the theme of this blog will be Sadie’s favorite blankets.

She particularly likes fleece, which the Humane Society had already figured out. It took us a little longer. First we tried this maroon cat bed, which she liked for a while, as long as it was under the desk:

Then she migrated to our daughter’s bed, which she preferred, ignoring the cat bed altogether.

She was especially happy and warm with the blue fleece starry blanket.

Our son’s bed was not her favorite, until we put a fleece blanket on it too . . . I got this blanket as a gift from my former employer when I had our son, my second baby (now 15). 

Sadie’s other home, besides the kids’ bedrooms, is the guest bedroom, except when I’m practicing my violin in there!

And then there is our daughter’s high school graduation blanket. (School colors: black and gold) Black fleece, for maximal display of cat hair!

 

Thursday Doors: Brussels Part II

Last week I showed some doors of the Grand Place in Brussels. That area is truly stunning, but it’s touristy, and it’s not everything that the city has to offer. Here are a couple of decidedly different doors, each with a sense of fun. A party store, with a minion inside.

 

And in the spirit of noting, and honoring, the gate/door relationship (as I did with the Brandenberger Tor earlier in this series . . . Notice the resemblance?)

 

I would like to show the Arcade du Cinquantenaire, a magnificent triumphal arch in the center of Cinquantenaire Park, built in 1880 for the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence.

06Cinq

One of these pathways leads to the Royal Army and Military History Museum. For this, I’ve got a real door:

07Military

They were also filming a movie in the park while we were there. There was fake smoke being generated from these sausage-like balloons, and people milling about in costume.

04Cinq

At one point someone signaled, and the whole crowd ran through the gate, yelling and pushing this cart that looked like a draped coffin. The cameras were close enough not to get the crane in the background. That would have spoiled the effect!

05Cinq

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

November 22, 2018: Grand Place, Brussels

November 1, 2018: Belgian Beer and Chocolate

October 27, 2018: Dutch Whimsy

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

 

Friday Doors: Grand Place, Brussels

This blog normally participates in Thursday Doors but yesterday was a holiday in the US and I took a break from blogging. (Which followed my >2-week break earlier this month, but who’s counting?)

I’d first like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! This is a picture of me, my husband, and our 15-year-old son, taken by our friend who was a guest at our table this year. This shot shows the persimmons from our backyard, the candles, and has the least amount of teenage eye-roll. It also demonstrates conclusively how I have become the shortest one in the family in recent years! Our college-age daughter is visiting a friend on the Oregon coast.

Thanksgiving

And now on to the doors!

Belgium is not the first country we think of when we think of Europe. I’d venture when asked to name a European country, most US Americans would say France, Germany, Spain, or England (not necessarily in that order). And maybe the Netherlands. Because, you know, windmills. But, our visit to Belgium had some of the most beautiful European architecture around. And Brussels is the de facto capital of the EU.

On our way to look for chocolate and beer, I still didn’t fully realize what I would be seeing in minute. The alleyways are narrow . . .

If you only have a limited time in Brussels, the Peeing Statues are fun (and there’s even a dog now), and the 1958 World’s Fair site is pretty cool too, but I’d still recommend the Grand Place before any of that.

I’m including a panorama from wikipedia because I don’t have the photographic skill or equipment to do it justice. If you think back to the Middle Ages, or even the Renaissance, this square would be the most amazing thing that most people of that time period would ever see in their lifetimes. There were no IMAX movies, no National Parks, no World Heritage Sites, and no planes, trains and automobiles to get you to them.

The Brussels City Hall was built between 1401 and 1455, and made the Grand Place the seat of municipal power.

06CityHall

Around the square there are many very detailed doors with different features, such as a swan or a trumpeter:

And there was even a geocache puzzle that asked finders to identify different features of buildings around the square. When solving the puzzle, I was happy to have already been checking out the place for Thursday Doors!

It’s not hard to find somewhere to eat Belgian food, either:

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

November 1, 2018: Belgian Beer and Chocolate

October 27, 2018: Dutch Whimsy

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

 

Mundane Monday: Kitchen Close-ups

Good morning and Happy Monday! I don’t teach on Mondays so I tend to have a better relationship with the day than many people do. I had a concert last night, I got enough sleep, and like most Mondays, I usually have a little time to catch up on blogging.

And then the email appears. If I have teaching later in the week, I have to send my teacher prep email. I schedule it with Boomerang to show up in the teachers’ mailboxes on Monday morning, and I bcc my personal account to make sure it arrives. I also send a follow-up email to the classes I taught last Friday. And I schedule that for Monday Morning too because who wants work email on the weekend? Ugh!

Along with those emails, I got my weekly Mundane Monday email from Dr Katherine. For today’s challenge, she posted a photo of a blue butter dish from her kitchen. I wouldn’t have recognized it as a butter dish without the label. What I do recognize is the beauty of glass. As a child I used to collect beach glass in different colors. And one of my favorite wedding photos has my husband’s and my faces framed by a glass.

WeddingGlass

I think my favorite part of the kitchen is also something mineral, as opposed to animal or vegetable. Like glass, there is also a quality about stone, (or even fake stone) that makes me think of timeless and universal beauty. The food that is prepared in the kitchen is ephemeral, but there are other parts of the kitchen that are more permanent. I think that “stone hearth” and “brick oven” and “granite counter tops” are part of our kitchen vocabulary for a reason.

Back in Belmont MA we had a nice kitchen that we had had remodeled from its former 1980s decor. In particular I liked the geometric backsplash pattern we chose, which just came from Home Depot, but it had a historical Italian feel to it. I sometimes used it as a backdrop to photograph other things. Like this jar of Swedish Fish I won for guessing there were exactly 250 of them:

SwedishFish

And on the candy theme, since it’s almost Halloween, several years ago my son got a Rock Candy-making kit for Christmas. The candy grew nicely there on the kitchen counter:

And in one of my more successful home improvement projects, I replaced and installed a kitchen faucet myself.

Faucet

My kitchen in California is much darker and I don’t like it as well for that reason. But that backsplash too makes for some good pictures, if nothing else.

BottlesFeatured

This is our current faucet (that I did not install). And, in CA we have persimmons from a tree in the backyard!

Our new kitchen faucet, with persimmons on the counter behind

This time of year there are always some on the counter, ripening, getting ready for me to make persimmon cookies.

Fuyu persimmons on the counter

The Mundane Monday photo challenge seeks to find beauty in the mundane. It was started by TraBlogger and is continued by Dr. Katherine Ottaway. Stop by and say hello, and submit a photo!

 

Belated Thursday Doors: Dutch Whimsy

Driving to Belgium from Germany, one has to pass through the Netherlands. We didn’t have time to stop much, but we did need to: 1. eat, and 2. find geocaches.

For Thursday doors, just under the wire here on Saturday, I offer these bathroom doors at a McDonald’s in “De Loop” in Echt. De Loop is a business park on the A2 motorway. The McDonalds in Europe are surprisingly nice, and convenient, although no one admits to eating there. If you’re in Europe you’re supposed to sample local cuisine–which we did, but we were also in a bit of a hurry to get where we were going. So Mickey D’s it was.

Rather than the standard blue and white signs, there was what looked like hand-drawn art on the rest room doors:

WomensRoomMensRoomWheelchair

On that day we also stopped in a park to find some geocaches for the day. They were just ordinary containers, so nothing in particular to blog about.

But in this same park in Roermond there was an art installation with a series of objects up on poles. Most of them had round disks with different sized and shaped appendages. Some of them looked more human than others. I couldn’t figure out what they were supposed to represent, and a Google image search I did later didn’t help. So I feel free to add my own interpretation.

StarshipEnterprise

Not a door, but this particular flying disk on a stick up in the trees really looks like the Starship Enterprise to me.

enterprise_wall03_440
Photo credit: Tobias Richter (https://trekmovie.com/2009/02/23/first-look-at-tobias-richters-uss-enterprise-wallpapers/)

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany