Category Archives: Photography

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

Mundane Monday: Shadow

This week’s Mundane Monday theme is shadow. It’s a good one for Halloween, but I wasn’t reminded of anything Halloweeny for some reason.

I was reminded of memories, and of bright backgrounds that cast foreground objects into shadow. This picture was taken at the Museum of Science in Boston in 2013, when we still lived in Massachusetts. Moving to California was not even the shadow of an idea yet. It was late December, just after Christmas, and my parents were visiting for the holidays. We went to the museum for “something to do” with the kids and grandparents.

My dad’s mobility problems had already begun, and he spent much of his time in the museum sitting on one of the benches, looking out the window at this view. I don’t remember what the object in the foreground is. It looks like some kind of odd historical Rube Goldberg device. Or a spinning wheel, one for the Princess Aurora to prick her finger.

Sunset is very early in Boston that time of year, and you can see the bare trees out the window, with their little squiggly, fingery branches.

I was there too.

12-27 MoS ordered

 

Thursday Doors: Nordrhein-Westfalen

OstrichBabies
Ostrich mother and babies

My husband was born in the German Bundesland of Nordrhein-Westfalen (or, in English, North Rhine-Westfalia). Although the Rhineland has a long and storied history going back to the Roman Empire, my experiences visiting this state have been more mundane: they involve soccer, golf, geocaching, ostrich farms, you know, the usual stuff.

Ostrich farms? Yes, there is an ostrich farm in Essen, near Duesseldorf. The same organization also offers soccer golf, and “Swingolf,” something like regular golf but with larger balls. We spent a fun morning and early afternoon there with friends.

SoccerGolf

But this is Thursday Doors, and there aren’t a lot of doors out on the fairway. (And ostriches can’t open doors anyway). Germany’s first game in what would ultimately turn out to be a disappointing showing in the World Cup was on TV that afternoon. We watched it, surrounded by cabinet doors and other game day paraphernalia.

CabinetDoors

The whole neighborhood was rooting for the home team. Too bad they lost.

GermanFlag

Later we went to find some more geocaches with unusual doors associated with them. This cache was hidden at a church, attached magnetically to a downspout. It was not on this door, but I liked the colors of the door anyway.

NightCaching

And this cache, which we found on our way out of town, was elaborately and cleverly hidden in an old phone booth, now solely dedicated to housing the cache. Superman has found other places to change.

PhoneBoothCache

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 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 Tuesday: Coral

These posts are getting less and less mundane, but I like the chance to find the theme in my photos and showcase that. Dr. Katherine showed a picture of some beautiful coral mushrooms from the Olympic national forest.

My coral is from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. My daughter had a friend visiting last summer and we took her there for sightseeing.

MontereyCoralClownfish

We found both Nemo and Dory.

MontereyCoralDory

The last image is not coral per se, but is from an art exhibit about plastic that was at the aquarium at the time.

PlasticArt
“Message in a Bottle” by Alison McDonald

Artist Alison McDonald reuses and reforms everyday materials in her sculptures. She writes, “this transformation from refuse to artwork will I hope echo the transformation in our attitude towards recyclable products and encourage more responsible use of our resources.”  

Our coral reefs need this transformation in attitude, and are counting on us to bring it about.

Thursday Doors: Landschaftspark

The Landschaftspark in Duisburg was a steel mill and blast furnace in the previous century, but is no longer used and has fallen into disrepair. It is now an unusual public park, a heritage site commemorating the industrial past of the German Ruhrgebeit, where my husband grew up. Surprisingly, it is a source of unusual doors.

14WholeBuilding

I don’t normally like graffiti, but I found these doors interesting and attractive in a run-down sort of way.

And this windmill was closed and no longer working, a giant silhouetted against the sky. It also had a door, keeping out the tourists.

While we were visiting there was also a concert going on, so we wandered through the old buildings, climbed the hill, found geocaches, all accompanied by a faint techno-beat in the background.

15NotadoorbutPretty
Cement wall with gate to nowhere in particular

It was an interesting juxtaposition of the modern and the historic, of old and new technologies.

01LWPDoor

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:

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