Saturday, January 7, 2012

Arlington Cemetery

I'm trying to catch up on my travel posts. This is from DC in October 2010.

We were on a tight schedule this day and our biggest mistake was not eating before we went to the cemetery! It was a long ride and we thought we'd get something at the cemetery. Well, food is not allowed at the cemetery. And, we were there for hours even though we 'hurried.' One of the girls in our group had her blood sugar crashing and her mom talked one of the employees into getting some food (from his own stash). But, the rest of us went HUNGRY.

I loved that we visited DC in fall. It was beautiful!

The Kennedy's.

We got to the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers fairly early and sat and waited for quite awhile. But, it was a beautiful day and we had nice seats on the stairs. We didn't realize this was a day they would change the flowers so we got up and left our seats. It was disappointing that we didn't see it, but we were tired and still had a long walk ahead of us. And, one of the moms had a grave she wanted to find. We ended up going on without them. Everyone was tired & hungry.
My favorite photo of the day.

I read that the rocks on the tombstones are a Jewish way of paying respect. And, when I looked at the stones I'd taken photos of, they do have the Star of David on them, though I also saw one with a cross.

Dickens on the Strand

In December, Alex & I attended "Dickens on the Strand" for the third year in a row. This holiday festival in Galveston celebrates the Victorian London of Charles Dickens. There is a parade, food, entertainment, and a visit by the "Queen" and her Beefeaters. Also, many of the spectators dress up in period costumes.

We once again stayed at the Hilton Galveston Island Resort. We really enjoyed the hotel last year. And, this year, we got a great deal on a room with a full gulf view! On Friday night, we drove up after school and then went to dinner, also like last year, at Rainforest Cafe. Then, we went to a movie, Arthur Christmas.

The next morning, we spent some time on the beach. We took a lot of photos, and Alex found this Monarch butterfly in the water. It was still alive and we ended up putting it on some foliage.

It was a nice day and we watched some people surfing. We saw several of them actually surf!

Then, we headed to The Strand, the historic part of Galveston where the festival is held. We parked about a half a mile away and we were thrilled that there were some bicycle taxis available this year. Ours was very friendly and we were happy for the ride. He took this photo for us.

We watched quite a few street acts, including this man who juggled fire...
and hammered a nail into his nose! Gross! And, ouch!

Some Victorian beggars. The crowd was actually throwing coins for them to gather.

We love chalk art! There were only a few of these, but they are always fun to look at.

Jacob Marley from The Christmas Carol?

One of the streets act was a bird show! I love birds!

The start of the parade!

And, Queen Victorian in the parade.

Lastly, our favorite act for the third year in a row...Merrie Mary. She's a juggler and we love her!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Kimbell Art Museum

Yesterday, we went with my mom to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. We were specifically there to see a special exhibit, but we also looked through the permanent exhibits.

(All photos are from the Kimbell site)
Alex's favorite piece of art was of Ganesh, an Indian god. Alex has a new friend and I spent some time with her mom a few weeks ago. She was in India during a festival for Ganesh, a festival that Alex & her friend also learned about in school this year. This Hindu festival takes place around August or September and lasts for 10 days. Statues of the god are made, sold, decorated & worshipped. Then, the statues are led in a procession through the streets and "immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off." (from Wikipedia)

Cherubs vs Putti
In the Great Course lectures I've been watching, the lecture (Kloss) refers to putti. I wasn't sure what the difference between cherub & putti were and we came across both terms at the Kimbell. The image above (a close up of putti from Poussin's Venus & Adonis) called the cute winged babies 'putti'. Well, after doing research at home I came across this terrific blog post at Many Shades of Shabby. Basically, if the painting is religious & the babies are 'innocent', they are cherubs (like the cherubim angels of the Bible). If the painting is secular, usually mythological, and the babies are not innocent looking, they are putti.

The Sacrament of Ordination by Poussin
This painting is one of a series of 7 paintings by Poussin in the mid to late 1630's covering the 7 sacrements. Since I am not Catholic, I had to do a little reading to find out about the 7 sacraments. The Kimbell site actually gives a pretty good explanation:
1. Ordination - the taking of holy orders to become a priest, deacon or bishop - shown here as Christ giving the keys of heaven & earth to Peter.
2. Confirmation
3. The Eucharist (communion)
4. Extreme Unction (the last rites)
5. Marriage
6. Penance (confession) - this painting was destroyed in a fire
7. Baptism - which is in the National Gallery of Art in DC & we hope to see it in March.

The Torment of St Anthony by Michelangelo
This amazing painting was done by Michelangelo and is believed to be his earliest the age of only 12 or 13!!! This is the first Michelangelo to be in an American collection. And, St Anthony is one of the saints I've been reading about lately as I learn about art history. Basically, Saint Anthony became a religious hermit and was said to have been tormented by Satan. Artists have portrayed these temptations and torments with all kinds of scary, make-believe beasts.

Saint Sebastian Tended by Irene attributed to Georges de La Tour
I loved this painting of Irene tending to Saint Sebastian, another saint I've been reading about lately. Saint Sebastian was a Roman soldier under Diocletian. Diocletian ordered him executed by a firing squad of archers after Sebastian had been converting soldiers to Christianity. Irene took care of him and he miraculously lived. Though, after his recovery, he confronted Diocletian who ordered him executed...again. This time, Sebastian died. I love the gentleness of Irene in this painting.

P.S. I loved this post over at Family Ramblings that tells about a lot of the other fun things to do in Fort Worth. I'm going to have to try more of them!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Looking back at 2011 trips....and ahead to 2012!

I still have a lot of travel posts to catch up on for 2011. Our "big" trips were as follows...

1. JAPAN!!! What an amazing adventure! And, we got home just 2 days before the tsunami.

2. FLORIDA - We spent several days at the beach and visited Disney for the first time.
3. MONTANA/WYOMING - Where we visited the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and more! Our "Wild West" vacation.

What are our plans for 2012???

1. WASHINGTON DC - Alex & I are headed there for Spring Break. We were there about a year and a half ago, but there is a lot more we want to see!

2. TWO WEEKS IN EUROPE! We will probably spend a couple of days in London, at least a week in France, and several days in The Netherlands. All of these are 'firsts'.

3. FLORIDA & SAVANNAH, GA - We will be visiting Amelia Island in Florida and spending some time in Savanah - our first time to Georgia!