NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Georgia on the Side

I'll take a side of Georgia, please? The Big Chicken in Marietta has a moving beak and is 56 feet tall.  It was worth a quick detour to see it for myself, but that was all I had time to do in Marietta on this trip unfortunately.

Atlanta's skyline is very modern, at least what I saw in the neighborhood near the High Museum of Art.  The office skyscrapers here are bold!  But even the smaller ones like Midtown Plaza below make a statement.  The light fixture and art pieces in the lobby were stunning but photography was not allowed.

The side roads had their own charm, including the Oglethorpe County courthouse. In 1887 the courthouse was built in Lexington of local brick, granite, and timber.

This building looks so great because in preparation for the 1993 celebration of Oglethorpe County's bicentennial the courthouse was remodeled and it's exterior was renovated in 2012 as well.

There is even a stained glass transom window above the front doors that features the courthouse and its approximately 1,000 pound clock!

I stopped at the State Botanical Gardens in Athens to see what was blooming.  The bees were too busy in the trees to bother me, and it was amusing to hear the trees "humming" with activity.

They have a lovely greenhouse, and as most botanical gardens do they had a large collection of orchids to practice my photography skills on.  Unfortunately the light was really flat.

The art was actually more intriguing to me than the actual plants that day, I must have been in a creative mood.

When I joined up with Wayne and his buddies at the Durhamtown Off Road Resort I only stayed one night.  Basically a large dusty field next to off road trails, it was too far from any attractions to give me anything to do while they were away on their "machines".  I did not regret for one moment that I left a day early to swing up to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and they had their fun in the sun so everyone was happy.  I'm finding for me the key to a successful trip is a second vehicle!

That's the last photos from our trip, but I've got more from my recent work travels in Wisconsin coming up.  And spring hasn't even begun here yet, though the snow finally melted and hopefully we've seen the last of it!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Maxim's Murals, Oconomowoc

Good grief, I found this in the draft folder, all written up and everything from 2013 but never posted!!

In Oconomowoc they have a restaurant named Maxim's that is located in the old 1896 train depot. They have a cute area set up for kids inside, and train related memorabilia everywhere.  At least they did 5 years ago, who knows now, right?  Next time I'm in Oconomowoc for work I'll have to stop and see what has changed.

When Cory was young he was very into trains and my mother and I drove the kids out here for lunch.  We also stopped at Kettle Moraine's Ottawa Lake for a stroll outside on the way home.  But what I remember from the trip was the bakery case, of course.  Different treats were on display on my visit this weekend, including a variety of creamy cakes.

Katrina and Grandma picking out dessert

The other thing I remember was the painting on the bathroom walls.  I snapped a shot when I returned in 2013.  Looked great with the brick.

The restaurant also has a train car outside for banquets. Look how small Cory and Katrina are! I just want to reach in that picture and squeeze them!

 Linking up to Mural Monday. More from my neglected draft folder to come in the weeks ahead!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The High Museum of Art - Murderous Medea to Playhouse Windows

In addition to stopping at the Capitol in Georgia I took a look at the High Museum of Art thanks to that radio program about the MLK photography exhibit on my drive down.

Atlanta's modern buildings behind the High Museum of Art

Richard Meier was the architect, the design open and full of natural light.

The collection was great, though the museum is spread between two buildings and at first I had a hard time figuring out where to go. I'm usually good with maps but I had to ask for assistance from staff.

The marble sculpture collection was nice, I was especially drawn to the sculpture of the brooding Medea.  Not a nice story, the mythological lady has a mean streak.  She not only killed her children after her husband left her for another woman, but his new wife and father-in-law as well.  He should have known better than to leave her when she killed her own brother by dismemberment when her father chased them when they left town.

Medea Contemplating the Death of her Children

From ancient mythology to the futuristic present - gone are the good old days of carving chairs out of wood?  Who knows, it seems that 3D printing can tackle anything these days including furniture making.  The artist whose many chairs were on display combined computer techniques with craftmanship to assemble chair designs that were whimsical and interesting but I don't know how long I'd want to sit in one!

There was an exhibit featuring the work of Reverend Howard Finster.  An evangelical Baptist preacher most of his life in 1975 he heard a voice telling him to paint sacred art and he is now one of the most well known self-taught artisits.  The piece pictured below was the only one I found tolerable, I found most of the subjects on display to be emphasizing the darker side of religion and humanity and some even had what looked like dripping blood. It's always alarming to me what people will find inspiring who "hear the voice of God".  Especially with the recent 25th anniversary of the destruction of the Waco compound. Though at least one of the survivors still believes David Koresh heard the voice of God.

And let's not forget that until the September 11th attacks, the tragedy in Jonestown on November 18th, 1978 represented the largest number of American civilian casualties in a single non-natural event. More than 900 American members of a San Francisco-based religious group called the Peoples Temple died after drinking poison at the urging of  Reverend Jim Jones in a secluded South American jungle settlement. Some of the group no doubt were forced to do so, especially the children.

Let's move on from that disturbing image and on to the pleasing image of Portrait of Mrs. Morse and Two Children. Painted in 1824 by Samuel Morse who began as a portrait painter and then in his middle age contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was a co-developer of the Morse code and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.  Who says you can't be creative and excel in the sciences! The painting glowed and I could pratically hear the children giggling, such a delightful portrait from a man who also painted two U.S. Presidents.

window from the Avery Coonley Playhouse in Riverside, Illinois

I recognized the work of Frank Lloyd Wright immediately in the stained glass window that was one of over 30 in an independent kindergarten's clerestory.  Did you catch that word when I used it in my post about the Capitol of Georgia?  That's the line of high windows designed specifically to let in light.  Here's a link about those windows.

Nocturne Radio 1934, Walter Dorwin Teague
Walter Dorwin Teague sought to create heirlooms out of mass-produced manufactured objects lke the Nocturne Radio above which stands 4 feet tall and whose cobalt blue mirror you can see my reflection in. His first big client as an industrial designer was Eastman Kodak. How about this lovely Gift Kodak camera  designed by him from 1930? You can get one of your own on Ebay right now ranging from $200-500.  If I were a collector vintage cameras might be something I would be interested in, but I just collect photographs, not cameras.

As an architect he was involved in exhibition design on the Ford Building at Chicago's The Century of Progress 1933-34 fair, the Texaco exhibition hall at the 1935 Texas Centennial Exposition and the Ford pavilion for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park in San Diego. He also made a substantial impact on the 1939-40 New York World's Fair as one of seven members of the Fair's design board, and introduced the new National Cash Register 100 Model with a seven-story high cash register placed atop the NCR exhibition shown at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exhibition in San Francisco.  To see an image of that you can click this link to postcards from the exhibition.

Of course the museum holds many different collections, these are just a few of the things I was most interested in.  I wonder what the children below who were visiting during spring break found to like?

Bad hair day selfie

Coming this summer to the High is an exhibit about Winnie the Pooh, which not only the kids would enjoy but  I'm sure Sherry and David would like that one if they are passing through.  Sadly, I will have to miss it because my summer plans include a trip home to Newfoundland in July!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Georgia State Capitol And A Look at Literacy Disparity

On my way to meet the gang in Georgia I stopped in Atlanta to see a few things that I missed on my visit there with Katrina in 2013.  On that trip we stopped at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site  , the Carlos Art Museum at Emory, and the Carter Presidential Library and Museum, click the links if you missed those posts.  That reminds me that my daughter Katrina and I haven't taken even a weekend getaway together in over a year now...guess I better get something on the schedule!

If you are not interested in the architecture information to follow, I urge you to skip ahead to the end where I have information about a cause I want to share with everybody please!

Ms. Freedom tops the 75 foot gilded dome of the Georgia State Capitol - she is 26 feet tall from her torch to her feet and weighs 1,600 pounds she carries a sword and a torch to commemorate the dead.  No one knew these specifications until she was removed in 2004 and sent to Canada for restoration!  At night her torch is lit, a retractable tube holding a light bulb is inside the hollow statue.

Statue of General John B. Gordon, first Governor to occupy the Capitol

The Capitol was completed in 1889, its exterior of Indiana limestone looking pretty good after more than one hundred years! Originally the dome was tin plated, the 43 ounces of gold necessary for the gilding was a donation from the  citizens from Dahlonega and Lumpkin County in 1958.  Unfortunately it was originally applied during the winter so it did not adhere properly and only lasted 19 years before having to be reapplied.  Now they reapply as needed when it starts to wear, and only ten other states have capitol domes covered with gold leaf: Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Corinthian columns and the Georgia State Seal carved on the triangular pediment

When I visited most of the entrances were closed for security reasons and I had to circle the building twice to find an open door. 

The interior is stately but simple, with Georgia marble and oak wood used throughout.  It was among the earliest buildings to feature elevators and centralized steam heat, what luxury those early figures of government had to work in compared to their peers in other states!

As I mentioned, I couldn't see much inside the Capitol due to security tightening.  This was due to the fact that former Governor Zell Miller had died and I actually passed his casket which was under guard.  If you want to know more, here is a link about the Governor and his passing.

Clerestory windows to admit light in the atrium

I don't think there was anything I missed of interest though.  I didn't find any information online about murals or pieces of art.  I did find the rotunda interesting with its pilasters on the wall which give the appearance of columns.

Most of the art is truly in the public's eye here, on display outside competing with the blossoming trees.

One of the statues is of former President Carter, amazing ambassador for peace who is still with us at age 93.

Another statue puzzled me, and I had to read the plaque to find out its meaning.

The “Expelled Because of Their Color” monument sculpted by John Riddle is dedicated to the 33 original African-American Georgia legislators who were elected in the first election (1868) after the Civil war. Black citizens were now allowed to vote, but there was no law that allowed black representatives to hold office. The 33 black men who were elected to the General Assembly were expelled from office. Symbolizing the whole struggle for African Americans in Georgia to vote, the first tier depicts a sailing ship full of slaves arriving in Georgia. The second tier shows black soldiers who served in the American Revolution. On the next level antebellum columns represent southern plantation life. A pregnant woman next to a ballet box symbolizes future generations on the top level.

I am always appalled and then awed by the struggle that black people have had to undergo in this country.  Unfortunately their struggle still continues.  Recently I was listening to NPR and heard about something that inspired me.  Alvin Irby founded Barbershop Books which provides books to 100 barbershops in black neighborhoods across the country.  The goal is to help black boys ages 4-8 identify as readers, something that is desperately needed especially in Wisconsin.  Wisconsin posted the second largest gap across the whole nation on the national standardized test for fourth grade reading for the difference between white students and black students. Only Washington DC scored worse for disparity between the reading competency of black and white students.

I donated $50 to their cause, and I urge you to go to this link  for Barbershop Books and donate also! If you are interested in helping girls grow up strong, I always recommend helping out the Girl Scouts in any way you can.  I know in Milwaukee they have an Urban department which specifically works to get girls from impoverished neighborhoods in Girl Scouts so they can become confident young women someday and even has staff leaders to lead the troops since these neighborhoods seldom have the ability to have parent-led troops.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Amicalola Falls and Bear Creek Trail - The Gang Goes to Georgia

So while I drove down to Georgia and had my adventures at The Hermitage and Foster Falls, Wayne and his buddies were making their way south with campers and ATV's in tow.

Tom and Roxy

He even brought along a friend for me! Not that he didn't enjoy hanging out with her, I almost fell down the hill when he started racing Vicky to the top - I don't remember the last time I saw him move so fast without wheels!

Vicky and Wayne

One of our neighbors had a friend in Ellijay so we got a personal tour of some of the local trails, including Bear Creek Trail.

It turns out Vicky likes to walk, but she isn't used to creek crossings.  Don't worry, I'll get her trained her up - when the weather warms up in Wisconsin she wants to start checking out the Ice Age Trail.

The Bear Creek Trail can be as long or short as you like, I would have loved to go further but the gang's destination was the Gennett Poplar, the second largest living tree in Georgia.

Here's a shot with Wayne from a little farther away to give a bit of perspective.  I'm not used to seeing true old growth trees, it's hard to imagine this forest once full of them.

Out to the Poplar and back is two miles round trip, after that Vicky and I were just getting warmed up so we split off from the guys and hopped in my car for another hiking adventure.

We drove to Amicalola Falls State Park which is home to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

I'm sure things are greener there now, but even so the thru hikers for the Appalachian Trail were starting out with their large packs.  I can't imagine what the weather is like on the top of the mountains overnight in March...I'll stick to the valleys.

A fair bit of spring wildflowers were showing, including the largest, healthiest Toadstool Trillium that I've ever seen. Vicky got a wildflower lesson that day, and the benefit to the bare trees was being able to see the waterfall the whole way from the Visitor Center.  From the Visitor Center to the staircase I'd say it was about 3/4 mile on a slight to moderate incline.

Plunging 729 feet, Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascading waterfall in the South and to get to the bridge crossing the falls there is a climb of 175 stairs from the Reflection Pool parking area. 

We are Wisconsin gals, so of course we got winded easily.  We stopped often to let the oxygen make its way to our lungs and trembling legs, but that just gave us more time to look for wildflowers!

We considered going on another 250 stairs to the top, but in my experience the top of the falls is never as much fun to look at.  At the bridge we noticed the path was made from recycled tires which made it springy and soft, a welcome treat after all those stairs!

I failed to stop in the visitor center and ask about the truck wedged between the trees, but some internet searching reveals that legend claims moonshiners were racing to get away from the "Revenuers" and the truck slipped 200 feet down the steep incline to rest against a stand of Poplar trees. There was no way to pull the truck from its position, so there it has remained for well over a half-century. 

The section of trail past the falls leads .3 mile to a parking area where those who don't want to walk stairs can park and enjoy the views.

From there we opted to take the Spring Trail to the Mountain Laurel Trail to the Creek Trail to make our way back down to the car.  This zigzag descent was much easier on our knees than those stairs would have been, and we had it all to ourselves though we moved along fairly quickly as the wind was picking up  and the temperature was dropping. Our total hike was about a mile to the falls (that's including all those stairs!) and a little under 2 miles back down.

recycled tire trail was so comfy!

Combined with our earlier hike that day we hiked almost 5 miles, so I'm looking forward to doing more hiking with Vicky...if it will ever stop snowing here...