Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sculptures from Victoria & Albert Museum, London

After viewing Michelangelo's Moses in Rome many years ago, I have since been fascinated with marble sculptures. I simply cannot see how anyone can get such life-like figures from a piece of rock. It is absolutely amazing to me. Standing before Moses, I could almost see the blood rushing through his veins. I will never forget being totally awe-inspired by its detail.

I'm sharing with you some of the sculptures at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It's my all-time favorite museum and one I can spend days in. That says a lot from a person raised in Washington, DC, who had to spend almost every spring weekend as a child "showing" visitors the museums there. My aunt and uncle owned a sightseeing company; and whenever a child remotely close to "my age" visited, I was to escort them around. I am totally burned out on museums--which is quite a shame. I do, however, always enjoy V&A. I think my English blood runs deeper and thicker than any other that I have. I told the hub just tonight, we may just have to retire in the English countryside. He laughs at me. (He wants to retire in New Zealand!) Aren't we the crazy ones--to be living apart during our golden years!

I didn't write down any of the names or artists, I just admired them. I wanted to touch each piece (but I didn't). I apologize for some of the lighting and focusing. My camera gives me a fit every once in a while, especially in artificial lighting situations. Hope you can see the beauty from these not-so-great pictures.

As I was exiting the museum (differently than the way I entered), what a joy it was to behold a glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly! People must have looked at me as I gasped!! Take a look at his chandelier right smack-dab in the middle of the rotunda. (I was willed to exit here!) I have (also) been fascinated with his glass blowing; so what a bonus, indeed. How spectacular this piece is in person. You need to go to his link to get better detail of this monumental piece.

And you know what's so fantastic about London? Even though I came out in a totally different part of London (or so it seemed) than where I entered from, I was able to walk a block or two and find the Underground--voila, a ticket home! So great, that tube!

P.S. The hub and kid went to the Science Museum while I was at V&A.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

In memory of those who have lost their lives fighting for freedom.

The Star-Spangled Banner

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'T is the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us as a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Note to self: checkup/By

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Walk in the Park

This was actually a week ago, before we left for London, before it got hotter-than-the-dickens here! The kid wanted me to post it, and so I am. We (me and the kid) decided to take Frankie (my mom's dog) for a walk since the vet told us he was way overweight (kind of like me). It had been nice and cool and so we packed up the dog and off we went. Rootie was not invited because she doesn't know how to walk. She goes from side to side, sniffing every leaf of grass and pulling like a plow horse. Therefore, she stayed home. She wasn't too pleased to see Frankie getting in the car without her, let me tell you!

When you enter Crockett Park, there are two houses you will notice straight away. The first one you come upon, The Cool Springs House, was built in the 1830s and was occupied until 1993 when the city of Brentwood took it over as part of the parkland. There was a wedding going on the day we were there. The maids of honor wore chocolate brown tea dresses with beautiful wide pink satin sashes around their waists. I wish I could have taken a picture of them! But, here, you can barely see the men. They all had pink shirts on! Too sweet! The second house in is a log cabin, also from the 1830s and was moved here in the late 1990s after being donated to the city of Brentwood. Look at Middle Tennessee's beautiful skies! The cloud formations here are breathtaking!
Look at all the wild honeysuckle. Love them! I remember as a child pulling the honey out of the flowers and eating it. The kid loves to do this, too. Look at the amount of honey he got out of this first one. And he gave it to me to savor! He's the best. It was everywhere and the air was so sweet with the smell.

There are creeks running in and out of the park; and the sun was so pretty filtered through the trees here, I couldn't resist capturing the moment. It was such a beautiful day. There were quite a few dry spots in areas; but I'm sure now it is babbling through as we've had quite a bit of rain recently. And, then there's Frankie. A dog with a mission and a smile.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Miscellaneous Pictures

I have so many pictures I want to share to give those who haven't been to London an idea of its charm. The kid took some, so this is for you kid!

The cabs are so spacious! Love them!

Some different architecture.

Big Ben from the cab.

The London Eye.
(The kid and hub went on this last time. I'm afraid of heights, say no more.)

I love the Underground. Extremely easy to figure out and will take you anywhere!
Mind the Gap!

A busy street scene from our window.

This building turned out to be The Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Ooohlala.

One of the busy markets in Covent. They change "wares" on different days. I missed the antiques! These were crafts.

Stained glass in one of our favorite pubs.

Thank goodness they put this at the crossings! I've had several close calls!

And.....an infamous image. My last shot in London.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dinner in London

". . . . I'll have the liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."

The last night in London, we decided to eat at our favorite little restaurant in Piccadilly. We first found it on our honeymoon and we frequent it each time we are there. I can never, ever remember the name of the place--I always call it Le Steak or Handley's, don't ask me where Handley's came from, I dunno. (Its actual name is Rowley's.) The first time we ate there, in 1987, I only remember one item on the menu, steak with fries. This is why we call it Le Steak. The hub has even perfected the recipe and cooks it several times a year for us.

When we arrived, we walked in and it was like an oven in there! So very hot. I was very surprised they didn't open the door or something. At any rate, they put us at the first table in front of the door which seemed like the best seat in the house that night. Each time it opened, we all took a breath of fresh air (bloody Americans). They later did turn on the fan and it cooled off quite nicely. It is a beautiful, little intimate restaurant. The walls are covered in art nouveau tiles and it is just as quaint as can be.

The hub faced the door and the kid and I faced inward towards the back of the restaurant. There, at the second table in, right behind us, was a rather distinguished looking English gentleman having dinner with his wife (I presume). Throughout dinner, we would exchange glances and he began to look farmilar to me. Those pearcing blue eyes were as clear and bright as if he were sitting right next to me. It finally dawned on me that this was Sir Anthony Hopkins himself. I'm so glad I didn't figure it out any earlier because I would have then been self conscious looking at him. This way, I merely enjoyed his handsomeness unbeknownst as to who he was. As I said, those eyes.....oh my. His silver hair was cropped shorter than I had seen it in pictures and he was dressed impeccably English. As we finished our dessert (tri-colored chocolate mousse), he and his companion got up to leave. As he turned to put on his raincoat, I whispered to the hub who I thought was behind him and to check out the door in a second. I was still a little doubtful this was him until the owner rushed over to open the door for them.

I like this look on him much better. The one of Hanibal, at the very top, was taken in New Orleans a couple of years ago. It was one of the Mardi Gras float heads. Ewww. That movie still gives me the creeps, but how well did he play that part! And for the record, he is much more handsome in person. Sigh......(sorry hub).

P.S. The owner did not open the door for us! (And we did order Le Steak, as we always do.)

Friday's Favorite Corner

I chose this corner today mostly because the rest of my house is a total disaster! My bedroom looks like Hurricane Rosa just hit it (actually, it did!) and the rest of the house isn't far behind. I haven't had much of an inclination for straightening up this week.

This is the back corner of our study. The rocking chair was purchased only because it was not your traditional style of chair. Since we have no "set" style or period in our house, we thought this would match with the eclectic flow. It does the job. The pillow is one the hub brought back from Jim Thompson's in Bangkok. Their silks are beautiful. I don't care for a lot of the patterns, but the light florals are very pretty.

The hub purchased this Edison cylinder phonograph before we were married. It used to play quite well. He had it worked on when he first got it to make sure it was in perfect working order. (Boy, those days are gone! hehe) There once was a leather tension band that would make the cylinder turn after being wound. The pre-teenager toddler wanted to see just how much that little band would stretch one day when I wasn't looking. He did quite a number on it. The horn is still in its original colors, the beautiful morning glory pinks and yellow. It too has had its number of scratches and pings over the years; but to me, it only adds to its beauty. I can tell you where each scratch or ding came from--what move or what child. Obviously, we don't collect to invest. Our pieces are part of the family. (It doesn't mean that I didn't just about DIE when the toddler broke the band!! But I've learned over the years what is important and what is not. How many times had we played that thing, anyway?)
And, so, yes the toddler also got a hold of the hub's Philco. He collected old radios when we met and had some beauties by the time I came on board--still does, for that matter. All working, with the aid of an antenna, of course. Again, the toddler/preteenager punched out every label on the channel disc. I believe this one was from Northeast area of the United States because it had all the old New York radio stations embossed on the plastics discs that you could rotate to (kind of like our "set" buttons now). You would just rotate the handle to the station you liked. We have several throughout the house but hardly ever turn them on. I do have a desktop (deco in style) that we still use. I'll have to share that later. It's in our dining room.

How sweet is my little miscegenated couple? They are made of Appalachian wool but are very soft. I picked them up at an after-Christmas sale in Atlanta many years (speed shopping).

Wow, that was an easy corner--nice and unclutterd. I liked that. Not too much information to hand out. One day, the kids' kids will read this and say "Gee, your mom sure did have a lot of junk you got rid of!" ha.



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