#ThursdayDoors | Visiting A Museum Dedicated To The Mighty Eighth Air Force

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door photos– and a bit of history in honor of Veterans Day.

Just outside of Savannah, GA, is the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force.  The Mighty Eighth originated during WWII and is known for the Bomber Boys who fought in the air against the Germans. 

We visited this well-organized museum last spring when we were on our vacation, and while the whole museum is fascinating, the beautiful stained glass windows in the chapel called to me.  

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DOORS leading into the chapel vestibule.

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Stained glass window with military imagery.

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Stained glass windows behind the altar at the front of the sanctuary.

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DOOR with stained glass panels on one side of the sanctuary.

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Stained glass window with Jesus and cherubim.

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DOORS in the vestibule that lead to the outside as seen from the sanctuary.

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A Little Vacation: Went To Texas, Got Wet, Came Home

:: Late last week we went to Texas to visit Austin, TX, but our little extended weekend vacay took a different turn, and we ended up in Dallas, TX.

Perhaps you heard about Hurricane Patricia?

While both cities were soaked by this unprecedented storm, after getting to Texas, driving to Austin & finding ourselves in the moldiest suburban Hilton Garden Inn room ever, we reconsidered our plans & decided to focus on Dallas instead of messing around with Austin, which was more directly in the path of the storm.

And had unbelievably expensive hotel rooms.  [$200.00 per night for a downtown budget Motel 6 room. That’s without taxes. And, of course, no room service available in the place.]

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Photo of bleak wet world as seen from room window in Marriott Hotel at Legacy Town Center in Plano, TX, October 2015.

:: I’m glad that we made a change in our plans and chose to goof-off in Dallas, even though the whole region had the most amazingly consistent gray sky that I’ve ever seen.

A sky that some might be tempted to say was gloomy and foreboding.

A sky that seemed to hover over us as we drove around Dallas on about seventy hundred thousand different highways, toll roads, expressways + freeways, in the rain, while Siri told us how to reroute ourselves to avoid flash flooding.

:: So what did we do?  Activities that kept us dry, of course.

  • We visited the Dallas Museum of Art [fascinating American silver collection, Islamic art + Inca artifacts].
  • We visited the Museum of Geometric and MADI Art [art displayed partly in museum and partly in law firm that shares the building with the museum].
  • We drove to, but were unable to see, the Heritage Farmstead Museum in Plano, TX, because it was closed due to flooding.
  • Then, despite my dislike of malls, we went to NorthPark Center, an upscale 50-year-old mall, incredibly clean– and about as soulless as a mall can get.
  • Continuing on went to another mall, The Shops at Willow Bend, which for a mall wasn’t so bad. I guess.  Zen-Den bought a few shirts at Dillard’s, so not a total waste of time.

:: Do I have a conclusion?  Well, I don’t know. Sort of.

All I can tell you, gentle readers, is that I am not unfamiliar with vacations not going as planned.  I am nothing if not adaptable.  Meaning that while I didn’t return from our vacation rejuvenated by local cuisine, music and artsy-fartsy Austin stuff, I’m happy that I got to see a little bit of Dallas, TX.

Which is massive, affluent, with lots of new buildings, friendly people and, in my experience, incredibly wet.  😉

We Went To Nashville, Y’all

Like just about every post that I write about our travels…

Zen-Den was in [fill in the blank] for work and I decided to join him.

In this case he was in Nashville, TN, aka Music City USA.  So I flew down there for a goof-off weekend in a city that is cheerful and easy to navigate.

Nashville is fun, y’all.  Here are the highlights of our Weekend.

::  We went to the Parthenon.

Built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, this building has INCREDIBLE detail, a small art museum in the basement featuring regional American landscape art, and is located in a large, somewhat uncared for, city park.

I learned how little I know about Greek mythology while here, y’all.

::  We went to a fancy part of town called Green Hills.

There we wandered around a mall, and adjacent lifestyle center, that had many of the same stores that we have here, BUT they were twice as large with FRIENDLY sales help.  As much as I don’t usually enjoy shopping, this I liked.

I bought a Coach purse, y’all.

::  We went to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

This museum was amazing.  FASCINATING.  Curated to tell, entertain and engage everyone with music, videos, instruments, album covers, photographs, costumes, interactive displays and tasteful decor, we enjoyed this museum more than we thought that we would.

I saw Elvis’s gold Cadillac, y’all.

::  We ate at Ted’s Montana Grill.

This is a chain restaurant, owned by Ted Turner, that features beef and buffalo, along with salads and fish and milkshakes.  The restaurant was beautifully decorated in a 1970s steak-house style with lots of dark wood and shiny brass.  The food was DELICIOUS and the service was attentive.

I ate a bison burger– and I washed my hands with Boraxo powdered soap, y’all.

::  And finally, the answer to the question that everyone asks when you go to Nashville: Yes, we went to the Grand Ole Opry.

It was GREAT. We saw lots of older performers who we’d never heard of [Connie Smith?], but eventually, as the evening progressed, we saw performers who we knew, like Vince Gill and Pure Prairie League.  Then, in true Opry fashion, two superstars stopped by the Opry on a whim– and the crowd went crazy.

I saw Tricia Yearwood AND her husband, Garth Brooks, perform together, y’all.

We Went To Washington, D.C.

ZEN-DEN NEEDED TO be in D.C. for his work, so we wrapped a couple of days around his business travel– and went to Washington, D.C. for a fast little vacay.

We figure that it must have been 15+ years since we’d been there together, which surprised us.  At one point, Z-D’s job in the midwest took him to D.C. about half of the year, so I’d meet him there on the weekends.

D.C. was our favorite vacation playground.

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Cherry blossoms were past their prime, but tulips were everywhere.  I snapped these photos at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

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FROM A TOURIST’S point of view much has changed for the better in D.C.

What amazed us was how much cleaner, easier, prettier, friendlier the city has become.  No snarly people [I’m looking at you, Boston] or people with superior attitudes [I’m looking at you, NYC].

Instead, hotel employees, nice.  Cabbies, pleasant.  Museum employees, helpful.  Restaurant wait staff, attentive.  TSA, patient.

Who would have thought that while the jackweasels in the U.S. Congress can’t agree on which way is up, the rest of Washington is buzzing along like cooperative little bees making honey while the flowers grow?

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I took all of these tulip photos with Zen-Den’s iPhone, which is something that I’ve never done before.

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WHILE MOST OF our time in D.C. was taken up with business events, we did manage to do a few things.

  • We had a delicious lunch at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, which is a gorgeous old-fashioned hotel in Adams Morgan that you may remember from scenes in The Pelican Brief.
  • We rode the metro which made me feel like a young twenty-something fresh out of college, assuming I’d end up in a big east coast city.  [That didn’t happen, now did it?]
  • We went to the National Gallery of Art, toured it, then ate lunch in the cafeteria in the basement by the waterfall because… well, that’s what we do when we’re in D.C. together.
  • We wandered around the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden which was pretty even if we were a week late for the cherry blossoms.
  • We saw the Navy Yard, the Watergate Complex and Rock Creek Park from a taxi.
  • And while waiting at Reagan National Airport for our flight home, we saw an Honor Flight of WWII & Korea veterans arriving in D.C.  At their gate a live jazz quartet playing pop standards from the 1940s & 1950s met the group, while a crowd gathered round and applauded.

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While the flowers were glorious, these iPhone photos don’t do them justice. Next time I’ll bring my real camera with me. 🙂

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IT’S BEEN A long time since I’ve been anywhere that I felt as comfortable as I did on this Washington D.C. trip.  We’re both ready to return soon.

Next time I’d like to focus on seeing more of the presidential and war monuments;  take in a few more museums;  perhaps go to a concert;  and breakfast each morning on fresh east coast bagels with a schmear & a coffee regular.

How have I lived without them?

The Fine Art Of Indecision: A Gallery Wall, Maybe

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THE PROBLEM [as a reformed perfectionist sees it]:

I’ve been thinking that I might want to put a collection of frames, with yet-to-be-named images, on the big blank wall in the TV room.  This wall, painted SW6142 Macadamia, is across from a run of five divided-light windows that allow us to look out into the woods behind the house.

I want something going on across from the windows but am uncertain about how much pattern I want to see over there when I look into the TV room from the kitchen.  I tend to be a bit pattern-phobic, but can stand pattern, which to me often looks cluttered, IF the pattern/shapes/colors makes sense to me.

Therein is the problem.

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AN ASIDE [for those interested in fine art]:

While I wasn’t blogging in December one of things that we did was visit NYC for a short getaway.  I’ve not spoken of it before because overall it was a lousy experience that left me wondering about humanity and my ability to deal with said humanity.

However, there were a couple of wonderful adventures during our few days in NYC.  One of which was going to MOMA to see Henri Matisse: The Cut-Out Exhibit [also here via NYT: A Walk Through The Gallery].

To see his work up close was amazing.  First, I’d never realized how intensely colorful it is, and that before he cut out his shapes, his students painted white paper these bold colors for him.  And second, the thing that struck me about the exhibit was that the cut-outs, which are easily recognizable as a whole, were not perfect in the small details.

At all.

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MY CONCLUSION [albeit a wishy-washy one]:

Looking through all the gallery wall images that one can find online, I realize that anything goes.  And I’m cool with that, in theory.  But when it comes to actually putting a framed “art” collection on my TV room wall, I hesitate.

I look at what other people have done and see that the gallery walls that appeal to me are balanced, yet stunning in their uniqueness.  There’s a flow and cohesiveness to the frames and images that I adore, but so far I haven’t been able to translate this feeling onto our TV room wall, which remains blank until I decide what to do about it.

Soon, I hope.

We Went To Utah For A Long Weekend

The hubster was on business out in Salt Lake City, Utah, so I decided that it was time for me to see Utah.  He left here on Monday and I joined him there on Thursday.

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The tail of an airplane + many pigeons at Hill Air Force Base Aerospace Museum.

On Thursday afternoon Zen-Den and I went into downtown Salt Lake City so that I could see what it was all about.  SLC was just as clean and organized as I had heard that it would be.  I didn’t take any photos of the buildings or streets, but visually it was inviting.  And clean.  I mentioned that, right?  With people walking within designated painted lines on the streets in accordance with the timing of the traffic lights.  Who knew?

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The Wasatch Mountains.

We have friends who live just north of Salt Lake City and on Friday they took a day off from work to drive us around the area.  It was generous of them to do this, can’t thank them enough.  First we went to Hill Air Force Base Aerospace Museum and looked at their wonderful collection of airplanes and memorabilia– which, of course, I liked.  Then we went to lunch at Taggart’s Grill, a restaurant and bakery nestled in the Wasatch Mountains, with camera-shy pet peacocks who live in the garden around the restaurant.  The food was delicious.  Coolness.

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The Great Salt Lake.

After that we drove up through the Wasatch Mountains and then down to the edge of the Great Salt Lake.  Everywhere I turned I saw the most amazing sights– whether they were natural formations, or unique small towns, or a herd of bison living free on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake.  Amazing.

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A herd of bison on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake.

On Saturday Zen-Den and I drove up to the mountain resort town of Park City, Utah, to go to an art show.  Park City is home to Sundance Film Festival— and many wealthy people from the looks of it.  The community was perfect.  Like Disney perfect.  Like so planned that I worried that we’d be thrown off the set for not adhering to the director’s vision of what the town’s residents should look like.  Oh well.

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Wild sunflowers that grow as weeds along the highways in northern Utah.

That evening in Park City we had tickets to the outdoor Deer Valley Music Festival with the Utah Symphony featuring Mandy Patinkin.  He was amazing and professional with an astounding vocal range, charming personal stories and a quiet sense of humor.  Delightful.

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Starlings [I think] in a nest under the eaves.
On Sunday morning before we left we decided to drive around the University of Utah in SLC and surrounding neighborhoods.  Again, so clean.  And well-maintained.  And, I’m assuming, safe.  I say this because the capitol of Utah is in a residential neighborhood with no fences or guards around it.  The building is just sitting there.  Pretty.

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Utah daylilies in an unusual shade of orange that I’ve never seen before.

We enjoyed Utah and would like to go back there someday.  Maybe take a week and drive up into Wyoming and Idaho while we’re in the area.  Maybe take more photos of the cities– and the buildings– and the unfailingly polite people who waited on us.  That part I really, really liked.  Worth the price of the vacation alone.

Sunday Afternoon In The Sculpture Park

[Even though I said that I was only going to post to my blog once a week this summer, I’m going to disregard my plan and turn this adventure into two parts.  Today – the SCULPTURE part of the park.  Tomorrow – the PARK part of the park.]

Last weekend we went to Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park.  We’ve been there at other times of year, but we’ve never managed to see it in the summer.  Misplaced priorities, I do believe.

If you’ve never been to an outdoor art museum with oversized sculptures juxtaposed against nature, it is a fascinating way to spend an afternoon.  Even more so when nature is putting on a perfect summertime show of green hills, blue skies & white cumulus clouds.  Very unique.

We walked part of the park & drove our car around to see even more of it.  There were three trails for hiking through the woods on the edge of the park, but we didn’t have the time to do any of them.  Something to do on our next visit, eh?  And I’ll take photos, of course.

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