Tag Archives: Mundane Monday

Mundane Monday (on Tuesday): Gulls

Do you take pictures of gulls? asks Dr. KO of the Mundane Monday challenge.

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Enquiring minds want to know

Surprisingly (since I don’t live particularly near a beach): Why yes, yes I do!

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Carmel Beach City Park, Carmel CA

I read and was a fan of Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach in high school, and perhaps because I didn’t grow up near a beach, I still have a romanticized view of these opportunistic scavengers.

Gulls following a cruise ship in search of food they can grab off passengers' plates
Gulls following a cruise ship in search of food they can grab off passengers’ plates

I am a very amateur photographer and I don’t use any special equipment other than my phone to take pictures, but if there is a gull flying around, I seem to be unable to resist trying to capture it in flight.

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Asilomar State Beach, Pacific Grove CA

A few years ago I went to Carmel, Big Sur, and Pacific Grove for my birthday, and there I hit the gull jackpot (and probably drove my husband crazy), taking pictures of gulls flying silhouetted against the pink sky of sunset.

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Make them fly in formation!

Traveling, I have found gulls to be a world-wide phenomenon. They, not bluebirds of happiness, fly over the White Cliffs of Dover.

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And across the English Channel:

And even in deep mid-winter, there they are:

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Lake Tahoe, near the CA-NV border

They don’t need skis to fly!

 

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Mundane Monday: Cup

The theme of this week’s Mundane Monday Challenge is a cup or mug. I have way too many mugs. Like a lot of people, I have gotten and given them as gifts over the years.

In college I used to have a beautiful blue mug with a seashell on it. It was a gift from a friend; taller and thinner than your average mug, and graceful in shape, with gold leaf outlining the seashell. Later, during my biotech job, I had it at work for a while. I drank coffee out of it at the unenjoyable company meetings. Then one day I dropped it; it shattered beyond usefulness as a mug. The handle broke off and the bright white inside, under the royal blue coating was revealed.

When it fell I was kind of traumatized. This was my favorite mug, it had been a gift, and I was upset that the crash made a noise and attracted everyone’s attention. I used to run my thumb up and down the smooth handle while the lecture was going on, and the feeling was calming. Now the handle had become detached, and the edges were all jagged and rough. I was looking around on the floor to make sure I had all the pieces and pick them up, and a male coworker caught my eye and addressed me.

His eyes looked basically kind at first, and there he was asking me a question. What? He wanted to take the broken, jagged pieces from me. Why? My beautiful mug, ruined. Did he want to know its story? Did he want to tell me he was sorry for what happened? Could he help fix it, did he have glue? It looked like he wanted to help . . . but he wasn’t going to fix it . . . no, he was asking me if I wanted him to throw it away. This felt like an insult, an additional injury. No! I made a face and his eyes no longer looked kind.

The mug lived on for a while as a pen and pencil holder after I glued it back together with super glue. But it was never the same, no matter how many stories I told myself about the crack being how the light gets in. I kept seeing my coworker’s face and hearing his words in my mind: “Do you want me to throw that away?” He probably was trying to be kind. So why does he even now still seem like a nosy jerk to me? I didn’t move it to California with us. I didn’t want to think about him, or my weird, defensive reaction to his request, anymore.

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With my alto clef T-shirt and TACO mug in the practice room

The mug I’m drinking out of in the picture above is from “TACO,” the “Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra.” It too was a gift, from last spring when I played the viola solo from Berlioz’ Harold in Italy with the group. This mini-performance was part of my preparation for the Telemann solo I had in May.

A couple weeks ago I had tea for the first time this fall. I opened up the rather overstuffed cabinet where the mugs live, and as I reached for one, I knocked this one and it tumbled. I knew even as I tried to catch it that it was no use. It shattered beyond its usefulness as a mug. No one saw it happen; I threw it away myself. I missed it–I wish I had managed to break one of the less interesting ones we have instead–but I didn’t feel like trying to glue it again. I have enough pencil holders. Instead I ordered a new one from the TACO website. These days everything is replaceable.

Mundane Monday: Windy

When I saw this week’s Mundane Monday prompt, “windy,” I immediately thought of these pictures. They are from a vacation our family took in Hawaii in 2014, and a geocache we found there.

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This geocache, called Nu’uanu Avalanche, is a subtype called an Earth Cache. Earth caches highlights certain features of the earth and you have to answer questions in order to log them. Many Earth Caches are about geology, particularly rocks and rock formations. This one was about wind. You had to print out a wind gauge, bring it along to the cache, and estimate how strong the wind was going to be. Then you needed to take a picture of yourself holding the wind gauge to show how strong it really was.

Windiest spot on Oahu

Here are my daughter and I holding the wind gauge my husband printed out, which is basically useless in this much wind. The little string that is supposed to be displaced proportionally to wind strength has blown all the way over to one side. But you get the idea if you look at our hair. This is the windiest spot on Oahu!

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This spot is also at the top of a cliff with a spectacular view. A landslide formed this cliff, and a historic battle was fought here, in which King Kamehameha defeated the forces of Maui and united the Hawaiian islands under his rule.

Battle

 

 

 

Mundane Monday: Faces (of clocks)

This week’s Mundane Monday Challenge from Dr K Ottaway has the theme, Faces.  I don’t feel completely comfortable putting up human faces here. My kids have taken a huge number of selfies showing their faces, but they’re old enough to curate their own online social media histories without me getting involved. And I’m just not feeling ready to post pictures of the faces of friends, strangers or acquaintances. I could post my own face, but ugh.

So I had another idea as I was looking through trip pictures: clock faces. I happened on this one from Guernsey.

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It was in an upscale souvenir shop near the Little Chapel, a sweet tourist attraction on the island. These clocks were extremely inventive. This one played Spring from the Four Seasons, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Morning from Grieg’s Peer Gynt, the theme from Beethoven’s Symphony #6 Pastorale, and maybe Pachelbel’s Canon. (If not, there was definitely another one playing–and playing and playing–Pachelbel’s Canon). Especially cool was that the face of the clock came apart into the flower shape shown here, whirled around to the music, and finally went back together when the music stopped. We didn’t buy it but it was fun to watch.

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This is another unusual clock face, this time from Bad Schussenried, Germany. The workings of an old tower clock (Turmuhr) from 1750 were made into artwork on the side of a building. This one is not going to tell time for you.

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And this last “face” is on an Anniversary Clock, the name for the type of golden torsion pendulum clock under glass shown here. This one was given to my step mother-in-law by my late father-in-law when they were married. She was his second wife after he was widowed in 1989. He passed away in 2015, just before we moved to California.

Legend has it, when he died, the clock stopped. It later started again on its own. It still sits on her windowsill, facing the room, now with fresh batteries.

Mundane Monday: Sand

Sometimes the Mundane Monday photo challenge is a challenge–I do it on Tuesday, or it’s not really mundane, or I use it as an excuse to write about geocaching, or I search my photo library for something that kinda fits and get creative–whatever. Since Jithin at photrablogger stopped doing it each week it has become a little more free form, which fits my style anyway. But, this week it all comes together with this picture:

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Yep, that’s my sandal-clad foot next to some sand.

IMG_3783This is actually a geocache near Leuven, Belgium. My family stopped there on our way to Brussels. This is a subclass of geocache called an “earth cache,” which teaches you something about geology. In order to log an earth cache on the geocaching website, instead of finding a logbook in a container and signing it, you have to answer some questions about rock formations you find at the site.

The sand is incongruous. It doesn’t seem to belong here in the forest. This particular site is completely dry, but if you look closer there is evidence of a former sea bed in the area, with fossilized worm holes in the rocks.

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When we were in Paris 2 years ago we found a number of earth caches there too. Many of the big cathedrals and city halls of Europe are built with stones containing fossils, fossils left when the old sea beds dried up.

 

 

Mundane Monday: Fingerprints

This week’s Mundane Monday theme #164 is “A Use for Hands.” I am posting it on Tuesday because of European hotel wifi bandwidth failure.

Last week my hands were used in a fingerprint forensics STEM outreach activity.

There are 3 classes of fingerprints: arch, loop, and whorl. Arch is the least common, with only 5% of fingers in the USA exhibiting an arch print. My right index finger happens to have a good arch.

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So, I made a bunch of examples.

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They were used in an outreach activity at a STEM festival last weekend. Kids who came to the booth had to figure out who stole the candy, based on fingerprint, hair, and cryptology evidence.

Here’s one of the suspects. (My hair is not really pink: it’s an app!)

IMG_3494Mug shot of the Strawberry Snatcher

Mundane Monday: Rectangles

On Saturday I had been feeling a bit under the weather, but I was on the mend. I had an evening concert to play in and decided I was well enough to go. On my way to the concert I went to find my geocache of the day, which was at this gazebo in a park nearby the high school auditorium, which was also the concert venue.

The sun was going down making all sorts of rectangular shadows through the railing. The cache was an easy find, tucked behind the gazebo just by one of the supports.

I found out after I arrived at the concert venue that the power had been out in the entire town for about 3 hours prior to the concert, and just came back on. The sunshine made me feel better and the concert went well.

Gazebo

For the Mundane Monday Challenge #163 from Dr K Ottaway. What is your take on rectangles, what perspective lifts them out of the mundane and makes a magical photograph?

My answer: Sunlight and shadow!

 

Mundane Monday: Squares

The Mundane Monday Photo Challenge is under new leadership. The challenge was created by Trablogger an Indian travel blogger named Jithin from Kerala. After three years of linking to “mundane” photos from people’s everyday lives around the world, he handed it off to Dr K Ottoway, a rural physician in the eastern United States. (Reading that paragraph makes me smile. How else other than blogging can you meet people like that and not even have to leave your dining room table?)

SomersetSquareParkThe theme for this week’s Mundane Monday challenge is “All the Squares,” Dr. KO shows an interesting pattern in a fence. I have one like that too: Patterned Leaves, or this one on the left, a square lamp skirt in Somerset Square Park in Cupertino.

But she goes on to say that her post was inspired by this poem by AA Milne:

Whenever I walk in a London street,
I’m ever so careful to watch my feet;
And I keep in the squares,
And the masses of bears,
Who wait at the corners all ready to eat
The sillies who tread on the lines of the street
Go back to their lairs,
And I say to them, “Bears,
Just look how I’m walking in all the squares!”

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Square Paul Painlevé, Paris France

Over the weeks I’ve been doing this challenge I’ve had to interpret the theme in creative ways. The poem’s reference to the streets of London helps me do that. “Square” is not just a sidewalk shape, but a town meeting point, a place of some importance. I’ve been walking in these squares too.

Tiananmen Square, Beijing China
Tiananmen Square, Beijing China

 

 

Mundane Monday: Used Golf Clubs from Craigslist

My husband and I have always liked to play minigolf, but that’s it. Until now. I had always thought of golf as something rich people and Presidents did.

But recently I decided to try it. There are some advantages to being able to play. Golf is a sport you can play your whole life, even well into your 70s and 80s, as long as you are mobile. It gets you outside and walking. It can be social; you can chat, you can network. If you’re so inclined you might even be able to catch Pokemon on the course! And some courses are located in beautiful and/or interesting places that you wouldn’t even get to see if you didn’t play golf.

There is a course in our town, Mountain View, on Moffett Field. It’s not a well-known course and used to be for military only. Now they have opened it up to the public and while you do have to show your drivers license to get past the kiosk, they are friendly when you tell them you are going to the golf course. When you are leaving, you drive right past Hangar One.

HangarOne

My husband and I have taken a couple of lessons now and we’re planning to do more. I recently got a set of used women’s clubs off Craigslist so I can go down to the range and practice if I want to. I picked them up after church on Sunday, where I was playing violin for Earth Day.

This week’s Mundane Monday theme is “two for one.” Pictured here are the two blue cases for the equipment needed for my oldest and newest hobbies. They kinda match.

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The Mundane Monday Challenge is under new ownership. Check it out at K Ottaway’s Rural Mad as Hell Blog.

Mundane Monday: California Poppies

The California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is the CA state flower. It grows everywhere this time of year, even in the tiny bit of soil next to a drainage grate, or in the sandbags lining a creek.

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It is sometimes found next to dandelions or Bermuda Buttercup, another common but pretty yellow weed.

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Every year, April 6 is California Poppy Day and May 13th – 18th is Poppy Week. I’m right in between the two with this post.

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The Mundane Monday Challenge is under new ownership. Check it out at K Ottaway’s Rural Mad as Hell Blog.