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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Umbrella-mouth Gulper

London ~ February 20, 2010
Natural History Museum

I was so excited to find this critter swimming in the air behind glass. Partly I was excited because it's just weird, and partly because at the time I had one in my online store (see below). Note the teenie eyes up near the nose. This eel was about 18 inches long, I think.

This is the plastic gulper eel I had in the store. I've said it in past tense because, unfortunately, we don't have this guy around anymore. Like so many wonderful realistic toy animals, the manufacturer discontinued it. What can they have been thinking?

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Garden on a Mountaintop

Ravello, Italy ~ April 19, 2004
Garden of the Villa Cimbrone

Ravello was magical. I've posted photos of Ravello a number of times on this blog, including several from the belvedere at the end of this garden.

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Someday I Will Go Inside

Paris ~ October 14, 2008

I love this building at 2 Rue Buffon near the southeast corner of the Jardin des Plantes. I've taken many pictures of the outside, including its very cool dinosaur sculpture and the critters attached to the outside of the building, but the doors have always been locked when I've been there. The inside of this building is the kind of thing I dream about. I can't imagine anyplace better. I should have been a paleontologist.

The early scientists are memorialized along with the animals. The name on the plaque in this photo is A. d'Orbigny. Alcide Dessalines d'Orbigney (1802-1857) traveled in South America and studied it's natural history and geology. He drew the first comprehensive map of the continent and is considered the father of stratigraphical paleontology, having noticed the importance played by the different layers in which fossils are found.

Update: I haven't been posting regularly. I've been feeling worse for a few days, but today I'm feeling better. I'm still topsy-turvey from the parathyroid disease and the surgeries in 2012. I'm beginning to figure out why my recovery may be so slow. Calcium is absolutely vital to the way the body works. It's not just about building strong bones and healthy teeth. It acts as a secondary messaging system for the endocrine system as well as a transmitter for the nervous system. Over the years my whole body had to adjust to higher calcium, then suddenly they threw it a curve-ball, removing the tumors that kept my calcium too high and causing it to go much lower. This looks perfect on paper, but everything has to adjust. Nobody explained the degree to which this could happen. I knew that the nervous system was affected, but I didn't realize until yesterday that calcium is also a transmitter for hormones, including thyroid and others. My thyroid TSH was at a pretty normal level before the first surgery and now it's quite high. I guess it takes a while to come back to normal. Meanwhile, life can be very uncomfortable. I was improving through January, and then February became very stressful and I got severe flu (or something). When I type too much I get inflammations, which is why I haven't been commenting, either. I'm doing better today, and trying to do everything right. Eating gobs of protein and taking lots of calcium helps, along with sleep and rest. I'm still figuring it out myself and with several Facebook groups, as my doctors have all been very uninformed on relevant points.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Rare Photo of Shakespeare's Fireplace

 Stratford-upon-Avon ~ February 17, 2010

It's a nice old back plate and a cozy setting, but the real reason this may be a rare photo is because it's illegal. The moment after I took it, I was scolded and asked to put my camera away. We had just come in from the drizzly cold by the back door tourist entrance and entered the second building on the property where William Shakespeare was born. I guess somebody was worried that I could sell this picture for a lot of money. Or maybe they just wanted me to spend my pounds in the souvenir shop, which I did anyway. What do you think? 

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Astoria Outside In

Astoria, Oregon ~ February 11, 2010

The surreal image is complete because we all know that orange cones belong outside on the street.

Taking part in Weekend Reflections

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Phantom Flyer

Portland International Airport (PDX) ~ February12, 2010

I thought up the title before I realized there were web sites and clubs with the name already. They mean something slightly different.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Heads or Tails?

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) ~ January 5, 2006

On the way to Panama. . . .

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Yellow Earth

Outside Bisbee, Arizona ~ December 28, 2004

It was hard to picture my grandparents living in this small, isolated town in the 1920s, but my grandfather had just left the Coast Guard and graduated from the Colorado School of Mines. He had gotten a degree in mining engineering, and Bisbee was all about mining. 

They tried to raise two little boys here, but they soon left. One of the reasons my grandmother gave was that it was too hard on her chasing my dad and uncle up and down the hill that Bisbee was built on. I can imagine.

Bisbee, Arizona ~ December 28, 2004

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Violet with Spots

Tacoma, Washington ~ April 22, 2005

I don't know what this is. It's violet, it has spots. I think that's a good recommendation any day.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Belting, Powder, Hose, Rope, Blocks, Pitch, Tar, &c.

Sacramento, California ~ April 6, 2008

This branch of the San Francisco Cordage Agency is actually in Old Town Sacramento. I don't see any slick slogans, just list what you have, because people probably need it.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

From a Cafe

New York ~ May 6, 2009

It's funny, I thought the obvious thing with this photo would be to crop out the odd pieces on the sides and bottom, but it killed the photo. Leaving them in made it less perfect, but more balanced or more interesting, or more something. This was an amazing day in NYC, with perfect spring weather and a long birthday walk from downtown up to Central Park.

Today I'm taking part in Weekend Reflections by James.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sometimes Even Ships Have Signs

Astoria, Oregon ~ January 27, 2012 

The NYK Line's Neptune Leader passes downtown Astoria, giving people like me with a moderate zoom lens a good view of the pilot boat in action.

Today I'm taking part in Signs, Signs. Hop on over!

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Friday, February 8, 2013


Italy ~ April 17, 2004

This was a surprise. I hadn't expected to see a ship's hull poking its nose over the rooftops like an eager dog as we continued our coastal drive from Rome to Naples.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Terracina's Temple of Jupiter

Terracina, Italy ~ April 17, 2004

The highway from Rome to Naples hits the beach at Terracina, which has its own roadside attraction in this huge rock cliff with the Roman Temple of Jupiter on top. I'm not sure we knew you could go up there, but I learned later that you can walk through it.

Here is a fuzzy, rainy close-up taken from the same spot as the first photo.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

This Place is a . . . What?

Somewhere between Rome and Naples ~ April 17, 2004

If you guessed it was a resort hotel in Cairo, you would be thinking along the same lines as I was, and we would both be wrong. It's a bank - at least the downstairs is. I loved seeing the occasional "came-out-of-nowhere" building, which usually also seemed to be sitting in the middle of nowhere, as well.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

All Roads . . .

Leaving Rome ~ April 17, 2004

If all roads lead to Rome, then all roads also lead away from Rome. It seemed there were endless ways to get out of the city, and they were all confusing and jam-packed with traffic. I think I finally took this photo once we had cleared the madness and there was only one direction available. Time to breathe.

It's just a highway, and a dreary, rain-soaked one at that - or was it dreary? I realized that the trees looked different than I was used to at home. The buildings and even the cars looked different. The gas stations looked different. Everything looked different. This wasn't just another highway. This was Italy, and we were on an adventure.

Here's what I mean about "all roads." I'm not sure which one we were on, but we were going approximately south.

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Walk in the Park

Rome ~ April 17, 2004

Leaving Rome, we walked under dripping clouds past magnificent flowering trees and the pale blue Fontana del Peschiera in the Villa Borghese on the way to pick up our rental car. After a memorable few days and many sights seen, we were heading down the coast. My photos between here and Naples were, unfortunately, mainly of the drive-by type. But there were several interesting sights, and I'll try to post them over the next few days.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Footbridge on the Cherwell

Oxford, England ~ February 19, 2010

The Cherwell joins the River Thames a few yards from here, but you would hardly recognize London's thoroughfare as it meanders small and lazy like the Cherwell past the playing fields of Oxford's Magdalen College.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

More Windows, Oxford

Oxford, England ~ February 18, 2010

These lovely windows that seem to combine Gothic and Baroque (?) elements can be found near the corner of Merton and The High Street, although the main facade is on the other side of the building.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bright Windows, Oxford

Oxford, England ~ February 18, 2010

It would be easy to do a magnificent series of windows and doors without leaving The High Street in Oxford. Much of the outstanding architecture in Oxford is either Gothic or Baroque.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Windows and Doors on the Via del Corso

Rome ~ April 13, 2004

Whether a building is pretentious or unassuming, its windows and doors give owners, architects, builders, or artisans, a canvas for self-expression. There is endless variety in windows and doors. I think that's why I love them. 

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Half-timbered Tudor

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England ~ February 17, 2010
Garrick Inn

Stratford-upon-Avon is known not only as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, but also for its remarkable half-timbered buildings. The Garrick Inn pub probably dates from the mid 1500s, depending on who you read.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Who's Real?

London, February 20, 2010
Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum

I admit, I loved Madame Tussaud's and could have gone through it a second time. The line took a staggering two hours, or close to that, and I remember the admission being pretty steep, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing figures from then and now. Some looked so real, others looked blatantly fake. For some reason I'm always startled to see that some of the most famous people are or were not very tall.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Rusty Hull, Syracuse Harbor

Syracuse (Siracusa), Sicily, Italy ~ April 27, 2004
Island of Ortygia 

Like everything else we encountered on Ortygia in 2004, this boat had seen better days. Also like everything else, it seemed worthy of a photo. We are looking across the narrow harbor to the mainland of Syracuse.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Art Nouveau in Ortygia

Syracuse (Siracusa), Sicily, Italy ~ April 27, 2004
Island of Ortygia

I am always taken with Art Nouveau's graceful plant-like curves, and this discovery among the Baroque and Classical arches and columns of Ortygia was unexpected. Doesn't it look like just the place to settle in and write your own Alexandria Quartet? Like the rest of the island, this building had seen better days in 2004, but since then someone has replaced the boarded windows, and you can rent an "airy loft" for less than a stay at a Holiday Inn Express. 

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sicilian Plumed Horse

Syracuse (Siracusa), Sicily, Italy ~ April 27, 2004
Island of Ortygia 

Sicily's colorful carts and plumed horses are famous. I wish I'd found a better background for this shot.

Today the horse was pulling a rubber-tired wagon filled with tourists. Earlier on this blog I showed a photo of a more traditional horse and cart, albeit a mural.

When my grandmother visited Sicily in 1911 with her parents and siblings, one of them wrote in a journal:

"We made it through customs without any trouble, and found the horses all dressed up with peacock feathers and pulling painted carts. The carts here were like boxes set up on high wheels, the boxes and wheels alike painted with figures of men, women, etc. in very bright colors. The horses wore tall red headdresses like dusters, and another 'duster' was fixed in the middle of their backs."

See the link above for a taste of what they might have seen.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Very Baroque

Syracuse (Siracusa), Sicily, Italy ~ April 27, 2004
Island of Ortygia

The Cathedral of Ortygia is very Baroque, and is dedicated to the Madonna.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Piazza Archimede

Syracuse (Siracusa), Sicily, Italy ~ April 27, 2004
Island of Ortygia

Taken by an animal motif as usual, I may not have known we had stumbled upon a piazza and fountain dedicated to the great scientist and mathematician Archimedes, who lived and died in Syracuse (287-212 or 211 BC).

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013