Guess What We Saw!?!

On a recent trip to Salem, Massachusetts we visited the “House of The Seven Gables” I loved the book when I was required to read it in school. I re-read it before we departed for points east.

Could not resist sharing this photo with you after my last post entitled “French and Chinese “

Look at the details on this storage chest!
And yet another set of Mahjong symbols!

Dog Games

I do not remember playing Jenga, though I might have once or twice. Saw this video and thought you might want a review of the rules.

Obviously the human had to do this part! “A classic Jenga game consists of 54 precision-crafted, specially finished hard wood blocks. To set up the game, use the included loading tray to create the initial tower. Stack all the blocks in levels of three placed next to each other along their long sides and at a right angle to the previous level. Once the tower is built, the person who stacked the tower plays first.”

Then the dog goes into action!

Moving in the game Jenga consists of taking one block on a turn from any level of the tower (except the one below an incomplete top level), placing it on the topmost level in order to complete it.

Players may use only one hand at a time; either hand may be used, but only one hand may touch the tower at any time. Players may tap a block to find a loose one. Any blocks moved but not played should be replaced, unless doing so would make the tower fall. The turn ends when the next player touches the tower, or after ten seconds, whichever occurs first. The game ends when the tower falls — completely or if any block falls from the tower (other than the block a player moves on a turn).

French and Chinese

When my husband took me to Paris I went alone into a linen shop to try to buy us some washcloths while Bob went to a different shop. I could not make the men in there understand what I was shopping for. I had extremely limited French in my memory bank. Finally my husband joined me in the shop. He explained to them in his many years of French lessons what we needed. He has laughed every since at my pantomimes in that shop. When we checked into our accommodations, the desk clerk tried his best every morning to get me to greet him with Bonjour! or other phrases. From the time I exited the shop, I was French language numb (and dumb). Could not pull out a single expression I might have known. Using public transportation I realized I could not determine what they were advertising AT ALL. I just shut down.

Now I am learning the Chinese game Mahjong online. I saw women playing it in a Satellite Coffee shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When I recently got bored with Scrabble I decided to try it for free. Turns out it is a matching game.

The challenge in my mind comes in trying to name the tiles I am matching. My mother used to use La Choy chinese canned foods and we especially liked the fried noodles. So I call one tile green noodles!

Do you remember these?

Then there are red noodle piles with what I call Running man, North, South, East, and West. There are tiles like dominoes only marked with six logs, or dots or dashes. Even six logs bent in their stacks. The same with two, three, etc. One game has owls. The one on my iPad looks like peacocks or phoenix.

There is a banner with an arrow. An arrangement of circles with crank handle up or crank handle down. Season and flower symbols. I am probably not even close to their original meaning, but hey! a girl has to do what a girl has to do.

I have no idea how the women gathered in that coffee shop were playing it. The online version has the tiles in differing patterns and layers. Fun game! and the levels are challenging. Give it a try.

Perhaps I ought to write to that hotel manager/desk clerk and let him know my made up language for Chinese! Nawh, probably not!


My Blogger Friend Mike

Mike Powell publishes a wonderful journey of his photographic life at the address below. Check him out with the link below for one example.

American Lady

Recently I heard this music on our classical station and I immediately thought of his blog. He gets amazing photos of dragonflies, birds and other nature subjects that remind me to stop and look around me. Without knowing the title it reminded me of some of the chases Mike has likely had through the swampish park where he captures many of his photos. Turn up your volume as the first few moments begin very softly. Only 4 minutes but fun!

If you go to his WordPress blog you can scroll through his entries and I think you will see what I mean! I can no longer see a dragonfly and not think of Michael Q. Powell! Whether he is chasing another species of dragonfly, an Osprey, Great Blue Heron or an Eagle he depicts a world that few of us appreciate being as suburban bound as we usually are.

Start looking around you and enjoy!


Do you remember the old commercial jingle for margarine, “Everything’s better with Blue Bonnet on it!” We found that was true when we toured Texas. We had never seen blooming Bluebonnets. Before we left Ohio I was so excited when I found out we would arrive there in the perfect window of time to see them bloom! And that we did!

At this point we were uncertain what we were seeing.

I was familiar with Virginia Bluebells as seen below. The bluebells also grow in Ohio, but not Bluebonnets as far as I know. We were constantly mixing up the names.

So Bluebonnets are actually closer to purple in the overgrown yard above. But when we got closer they were seriously dark blue!

We drove 35 miles south from Dallas to a tiny place called Ennis, population about 18,500. Not much to Ennis but it is famous for a Kolache Depot Bakery shop in the gas station! Of course, we had to sample their wares! Tasty 🙂 We followed the Ennis Y’all app for a map of attractions. Some fields were easier to find than others. The long horn steer were the hardest to find. Here are Bluebonnets with Apache Paintbrush.

Don’t know of any place in Ohio where you can see wildflowers growing WITH cactus!

And leaving the best for last, here are two of my very talented husband’s photos of the steer and the bluebonnets!

Yeah baby! Those are some long horns!
Hanging right above my computer!

Some Things Strike Me As Amusing

I watched a man at the ATM. He got an ATM slip but walked away with no cash. A few moments later when he entered the bank I noticed his shirt said “Denier.”

In the city of Columbus, Ohio there are no U turns allowed. My husband loves making U turns! He was not enjoying driving there. And then I saw a sign that said “Traffic Calming Ahead.” Well, that was just what we needed right then!

Turns it out that message actually means driver should be aware of a “change in the ‘geometry’ in the road surface.” What? I never did understand geometry!!

I read some place that you should explore FTD before age 60? What?? My mother worked for years in a flower shop and FTD stood for Florists’ Transworld Delivery. Now FTD is better recognized as ” Short for frontotemporal degeneration, FTD is the most common form of dementia for people under age 60 (young onset). FTD is frequently misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s, depression, Parkinson’s disease, or a psychiatric condition.” A far cry from roses!

One more bank story. My husband likes to count out brand new dollar bills that are in sequential order into the hand of a grandchild celebrating a birthday. He also likes to make a money roll of singles for each grandchild as a Christmas gift. Lately he has had difficulty getting the bank to sell him a new stack of dollars, even at the larger downtown location. His bank now has a fancy ATM that will dispense your cash in whatever denomination equals your available cash as requested. In order words if you ask for $37.00 you can request one $20, two $5s and seven $1s. He began noticing that the $1s that were dispensed were mostly spanking new and in sequential order! Oh what a happy man he was that day! Guess how many stops we will be making at the ATM close to the CHristmas holiday?!

Dallas Museum of Art and City Street Corner

From Pioneer Plaza we drove over to the art museum. We are captured every time someone says Impressionists. Gotta go see what we might be missing. Not really impressed about that part of their collection, but did see a few things that I liked. There was a landscape that did an amazing job of capturing the light. Rather mesmerizing.

And there was this plaster sculpture photographed below. I am an Associate at an Episcopal Convent. Twice a year they offer us a silent retreat. I find it refreshing and invigorating to my spiritual life when I can actually get quiet and stay in that listening mode for a few hours. I had to send this image to them. I love it! It was designed originally for funerary purposes. But I loved it for a reminder to keep silence.

To me the silence at the Convent brings LIFE

When we stepped outside of the museum another figure caught my eye. It was so unusual and the background so noisy and complicated! We have had fun researching the work.

I sensed the man was in contemplation or meditation and with the crane, skyscrapers, stop light and traffic below that effort at contemplation would be, as are most efforts at contemplation, challenging. It is actually part of the Nasher Sculpture Center, across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art. The title is La Llarga Nit , which means the long night from the poem Ausias March to Vicent Adres Estelle .

The sculptor is Jaume Plensa. You Tube says “According to the artist, this work was inspired by Catalan poet Vicent AndrĂ©s EstellĂ©s, who wrote that it is the responsibility of the poet to watch out for the whole community. “

Another site says ” Throughout his career as a sculptor, Jaume Plensa (Barcelona, 1955) has drawn on spirituality, the body and collective memory as the primary sources which tie together his visual artwork. ” He has works all over the world and has done many versions of the sculpture we saw. Bob wants to see one of the ones that light up. I found the images below online.

So as I researched this blog I scrolled through some of the other works by James Plense. Something looked familiar about one of his other works. Voila! Here is a photo I snapped from the car as we were at a stoplight in Seattle, Washington.

It is called the Meeting of the Minds, Mirror and located outside the Allen Institute for Brain Science, 615 Westlake Avenue North. I had no idea at the time what the building was called or represented.

Even this blogger learns new things when she researches what she is trying to say and show!