Saturday, April 25, 2009

Scenic Sunday and Mellow Yellow Monday

A Tour of historic Amherst, Massachusetts

I'm linking to Brenda's Mellow Yellow Monday meme and linking my first entry to Aisha's Scenic Sunday meme, as well. Look for more information on these photo memes at the end of the post.

Downtown Amherst is a quintessential American college town. With one private college, Amherst College and a large state university, UMass Amherst, the downtown is bustling with students, professors, young families, artists and musicians. The atmosphere is busy but really friendly and peaceful. On this day, all types of people of all racial, religious and ethnic stripe, were going about their day. Some where relaxing and catching sun on the expansive town common, others sitting on the park benches that line North Pleasant Street.

Outside the center, lies the giant metropolis that is UMass, which is surrounded by rolling hills, farmland and woods. As I turned the corner from North Pleasant Street to Main, I stopped (finally) to take this photograph.

"First rate men and women will not and cannot work under conditions fixed by those who are afraid of ideas."
~American historian Henry Steele Commanger and life-long town resident of Amherst,

This ceramic plaque hands on the brick facade of a building at the top of Main Street, in Amherst. Would like to take a walk down Main Street with me on a sunny, spring day?

After the Chinese Restaurant, there is a little square with a fountain and stone benches. Adjacent to it is a small park with benches and space for residents to sit on the lawn and read or sunbathe and for children to run.

click on all photos to enlarge

Toward upper Main Street, another park: a sort of tribute to the American poets Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. Here the poets sit among flowering trees and daffodil beds.
Just a little way down, there is the Emily Dickinson Homestead and Museum and The Evergreens, Emily's brother Austin's home. It looked like the photo above just last week when I visited but on this day...

the area was sectioned off with construction fencing and the front lawn was being dug up. I notice last week that many of the stately trees in front had been cut down. I'm not sure what's going on.

Here is the backyard of the Dickinson house, including a corner of the garden...

with these fantastically red tulips,
these beauties - are they a variety of tulip?

and of course Emily's garden would not be complete without a bumble bee or two.
click to enlarge

Think About It

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Friday Evening Nudes

The Men

Seated Nude

Jacques Louis David Patrocle

Jean Germain Drouais

Henrick Goltzius

The Fall of Man

Male Academy Figure,probably+ Polonais, standing

Alexandre Cabanel Fallen Angel

Study of a Nude Man
French Painter,Unknown.+c.+1816

Male Nude Seen from Behind
artist unknown

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Don Wanna Grow Up

My poor little head is really spinning off its axle now, folks! I just today (in fact, the call woke me up before 9:00 a.m. on my vacation week; which has not exactly been my idea of a vacation; but more on that another time) got the low-down on the graduate certificate program in special education that I'm about to enroll in...tah dah...this summer! I will have July 9 through August 10 off. Cramming two courses into approximately 20 days. Oh, Joy.

I really need to conjure up a positive attitude for this, because as for right this minute I'm dreading it. I'm being a resentful baby. I know I"m way too young to retire (even though there are only about four strands of dark hair on my silver head) and yet at almost 50, I want to. Not because I feel old but because I'm still young! I think you follow my logic.

I just need to get this off my chest in one post before I move forward and sink my teeth into this new experience. Maybe it will be interesting. Maybe it will lead to a more rewarding career. It will definitely lead to more money; which I need to earn more of. Most importantly it will lead to freedom from the current confines of the school that employs me. Perk! There we go, I'm on my way to a more positive attitude!

Meanwhile, this song just about sums up how I feel. Sorry, friends, I'm too old and jaded for the Disney version. ;-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

REM, Earth Day and Thinking Green...

or trying to.

Somehow in my insane mind, this song Crush With Eyeliner by REM connects somewhat to the honest scrap stuff I revealed about myself. Nothing too serious goin' on in this brain right now... You can count on that... ;-) This one goes to the one I love - Omar.

Oh, go on - hug it! :-)

I hope you've enjoyed a memorable Earth Day
Wanna see the new blog? a meme called Think Green Thursday. Don't let the color name fool you, I'm really hoping it will have more substance than that, given its eco-conotations.
Come by and take a look. Perhaps you have something of your very own to offer? I'd like it to be eclectic and educational and creative, too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Photo Hunter: Protect (ed)

This fine fellow sits atop the family piano in our living room. Very regal, don't you agree? But often when I look at it, it reminds me of of how important the animal, in its natural habitat, really is. Protected the bengal tiger should be. According to this reference, efforts are being made.

It is easy to see why people are so captivated by these gorgeous, muscular, wild cats. Why their likeness is turned into endless icons of the wild in the form of knick-knacks, art pieces, advertising and folklore. One image of the tiger that always comes to mind is the cover for the novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel, one of the best novels I've read in years.

It is the story of a boy stuck on a lifeboat with a tiger. An adventure book? To some. But, it is also a book about faith and religion and the connection between humans and nature.

There is a question at the very end of the story that will inspire you to want to read the book again. But I'm not going to tell you what it is. :-)

One thing led to another and this post has turned into a bit of a book review, hasn't it? :-)

Visit tnchick for more photo interpretations on the theme: protect (ed)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

You know I've made a blogging comeback when the first real, substantive post I put up is based on a blog award. A tad pathetic perhaps, but it does the trick for entertaining me at the moment. Besides, I like it that the famous Utah Savage (the esteemed blogger) whom I most admire, thought of me when doling off her honest scrap. :-) I mean, the woman inspires great painters! Enough said.

Thank you, Peggy and may you spread these little trinkets my way any time. Anything that gets me back to your blog. With the added bonus of making me feel less like a failure in life. ;-) I'm a bit droll these days. My apologies.

I've yet to get the rules of this award straight. I think you're supposed to invent seven honest things about yourself and then pass the award on to seven other bloggers. I think that's where the honest factor comes in. Sort of. I also noticed something about poetry and I perked up! Poetry? Why, of course. Poet? Of course not! :-)

In any event, it's all fun and good, isn't it? If I've failed to follow the rules, I may either have flopped the award meme or created my own! Who knows, right?

The Seven Honest Things (is this sort of like The Seven Deadly Sins? That was a brilliant one from Kay, wasn't it?

1) I love to eat raw fish and seaweed. Sometimes I scare myself trying to figure out what creature(s) I would have been in other lives.

2) I am fiercely protective of those I love.

3) I am very practical and I have common sense; usually. Especially in terms of every-day life matters, raising a family, work, etc. I often butt heads with people who are neither smart, creative nor flexible and who are incapable of articulating their ideas or don't want to. I know. It sounds arrogant. It is, probably. But I'm being honest, knowing I am neither an angel nor a demon. My name is Gina. :-) I'm okay. Ha! That feels good to say!

4) I am sensitive. My emotional side is always at odds with my rational side. I believe that I am almost equally in charge of all the sides of my brain. I am bad with numbers but functional with geometry and patterns. I had a very early and precocious predisposition to literature, poetry, art, nature and equally so a keen sense of people; (unfortunately mostly mixed) by a pretty young age. I loved my parents and they loved me and come to think of it, that's all that really matters. :-)

5) It takes a long time to really get to know me and thus really love me. ;-) But I think it's worth it! :D

6) One of my favorite quotes: "Love all, trust a few, do harm to none."
~Willy the Shake
If I were to reinvent that quote to suit me personally, I would change it to

"Be civil to all, trust and love a few, do harm to none or nothing." ~ Pagan Sphinx

Okay. So I'm not Shakespeare. But you get my drift. I hope.

7) I'm currently in love with a family friend's dog; a bulldog named Omar. Just look at that face! I don't so much know if it's the breed or this particular dog. All I know is that if Omar ever needed a home, I would take him in in a heartbeat! What a sweetie!

Isn't he cute?

Honestly, while I personally enjoy these awards, I'm at a point where I don't know who to give them to because it's hard to keep track of who likes them and who doesn't and, even, who has already received it a hundred times. Instead of giving the award, I'll link you to seven great blogs and if their respective blogger wish to pick up the award and display it, by all means. As always, no obligations! We all have enough of those in our day to day, non-blogging lives, right? I just hope you pay a visit to these lovely people, if you haven't already.

Little Bang Theory - Cunning Runt
The Five of Us - Catherine
Phantsy That - Susan
Color Sweet Tooth - Steve
After the Bridge - Sherry
Betmo's Corner - Betmo
Imac's Photos from the Mind's Eye - Imac
Why, What Have You Heard? - Mojo (plus a huge thanks for helping with my photo sizing)
Forks Off The Moment & Do You See What I See? Dianne

I think that's more than seven but I've never good at counting...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Music for Sunday #3

If any of you beautiful people have been over to my blog The Pagan's Eye, you know how much I love to take photographs. For better or for worse, it's a hobby that's here to stay and will, I know evolve.

In honor of my fondness for photographs, here is Paul Simon with Kodachrome. Another of my nostalgic favorites.

What's Goin' On

photo by Pagan Sphinx
Flowers in Emily Dickinson's Garden Amherst, Massachusetts

Wow! I can't believe it's been an entire week since I've been to either of my blogs. I believe that's the longest stretch of time I've gone without posting something, except when I've been on vacation.

It was no picnic, though. I ran around a lot for Alice's service on Saturday, the 11th and I haven't stopped running since. There was stuff to do: calls and visits to make, thank yous to pass on, emails to return. I managed to get some yard work done but that's about it. The house, especially my room and workspace, are a total freaking mess. The good news is that next week is spring vacation week and I can try to get some things done without entirely sacrificing my mad time; time to just do what I want to do, have fun and enjoy the weather.

I want to thank all who sent good wishes and prayers and thoughts and love our way when Alice died. Your kindness is very much appreciated, as this has been a highly reflective time for me. Alice is the first very old person with whom I became friends. Every other loss has been an elderly relative: grandparents, aunts and uncles. It affected me more than I was prepared for. You start feeling the loss more as the days go on, especially when you're accustomed to seeing and talking to that person on a regular basis.

Ed: thank you for the Tongue and Groove CD! It was a very cool surprise to get that in the mail! I've yet to play it but "yet to" has my mantra lately. One of the reasons I'm looking forward to vacation is so I can listen to your bass! ;-) Best to Suzy and thank you both for keeping our family in your thoughts.

Bobbie, Dianne, JCF, Betmo, Cunning Runt, Susan, Linda, Steve, Lisa, Fran, Sherry, Thorne, Kenju and Daryl - you are all dear to me. Really. Oh, and Grandmere Mimi and Soulbrush, too. I hope I haven't forgotten anyone who so generously has remembered my family and me. Hugs and love to you all.

Bluebear2 - It's been much too long since we exchanged blog visits! I'm glad to see you are around and thus your blogs. I'll go over to see what you've been up to very soon. Your story is quite sad. We're hoping to keep Alice's house in the family and maybe even see grandchildren grow up there. But in the way future, who knows.

Aleksandra: welcome and thank you for the Easter greetings. I would love to check out your blog soon.

Utah Savage: Why, thank you for the award! I'm on my way there right now to pick it up. I kind of like that feeling of anticipation, don't you? We lead such exciting lives. Always busy picking up awards that define how wonderful we are! ;-) I'm glad this blog planet exists as a break from the ordinariness of daily life!

Enjoy your week and I hope to be a part of comments on all of your blogs!

As they say in Portugal "beijinhos" (little kisses)

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