Look Up: Lucy the Elephant

When you first meet Lucy the Elephant, you can’t help but look up.  I first met her when M and I took a two-week vacation in Ocean City, New Jersey in September of 2008.  I had been looking forward to that meeting as I’d heard a lot about Lucy from friends.

Unfortunately I have some not-so-great associations with that trip as that was when my mother was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer.  We were still in denial hopeful mode at that point with no real understanding of what was to come.  I usually try to write a little about the area or the attraction I’m posting about but Lucy will be like the sunflowers that captivated me a year later when my mother was dying, forever associated with Mom, her illness, and her death.  I’m just beginning to be able to look at, remember, think about, and (maybe) write about that time and those things in a way that I hope will transform the way I see them and life in general.

I don’t want to take all the fun out of Lucy (and she is a fun gal!).   I did write about Lucy and her history as a guest post at Stevo’s place, Asian Ramblings.  You can find it here if you’re interested.  Or you can do a web search which I’m sure will turn up plenty of information about the big, tall, and glorious Lucy.

I have to admit that looking at Lucy’s butt up there does remind me that Lucy is about kitsch and fun along with the old joke:

Why don’t elephants smoke?
Because their butts don’t fit in the ashtray.

So maybe this Look Up themed post will help me appreciate Lucy for Lucy and blend in the bad memories the way we do with life in general.  Blending them in is important, I think.  Otherwise it would be too easy to get out of balance, leaning in one direction or another, good or bad, without appreciation for both the ups and downs.  I know it’s difficult to appreciate the downs but I also know we learn a lot from them and sometimes those downs lead to some mighty good ups.

Well, enough philosophizing from me.  I’m sure most of my visitors don’t come here for that (since I generally try to avoid it here at ye olde blog).  How about another look at Lucy?

She’s pretty cool, isn’t she?


Look Up: In the Japanese Garden

I’ve always enjoyed spending time in Japanese gardens.  The Cleveland Botanical Garden (CBG) has a Japanese garden that is beautiful even in the rain.  Perhaps especially in the rain as all that water from the sky adds an extra element to the mix as well as making us slow down to savor the beauty and peace of the garden.  And the rain does tend to keep other people away, gifting us with the garden all to ourselves for a little while.

The CBG’s Japanese garden has been in place for 33 years.   According to the CBG website, the hillside portion was designed to evoke the Zen Buddhist dry landscape style.  As you look up the steps in the photo above you see rocks that are suggestive of water streaming down the hill.  Because it was a rainy day, it was more than a suggestion.  If you look further up the hillside, you will see a lantern:

This was put there to represent one of the elements of the tea garden style, the lanterns being placed along the path to light the way during evening tea ceremonies.

There are also elements of the stroll style garden in CBG’s Japanese garden, where rocks are placed in such a way as to slow down the walker and help him or her take the time to appreciate the garden and the moment, along with plenty of open space (known as “ma”) to help define the elements around it as well as be defined by those same elements.

(Japanese red maple leaves.)

If you wish to learn more about Japanese gardens and the various styles, elements, and placements, have a look at The Helpful Gardener’s article:  Japanese Garden Design Principles.  It’s a good place to start.

Look Up: Goat Rock

I took this photo during our trip to Colorado last August.  I think it’s Goat Rock but I’m not absolutely sure.  It’s somewhere on the Boulder Creek Path in Boulder.

I’ve been having a lot of fun (and a little challenge) with the Look Up theme.  I’m hoping June or July will bring a “Look Down” theme as it appears I do a lot of looking down when it comes to photographing what I see.  More so than looking up, it seems.

I have a bunch of new stuff to sort through.  M and I woke up early this morning and decided, on the spur of the moment, to head up to the Cleveland Botanical Garden and (while we were up that way) the Holden Aboretum.

The weather was if-y with a good possibility that we’d get rained on.  Otherwise we might have phoned some friends to see if they wanted to join us.  I was worried about taking pictures but it turned out to be a good thing.  I have some nice shots of an assortment of flowers with raindrops on them.  The wetness allowed for some interesting shots of the paths, too.

The rain came and went and came again while we were at the Garden but there were the occasional patches of blue sky which led us to believe we could fit in some time at the Holden Arboretum.  First we had to find lunch and that turned out to be more difficult than expected.  We drove around the city of Mentor and finally settled on a sub shop just because we didn’t want to waste any more time looking for a place to eat.  It was satisfactory.

One of the reasons we wanted to visit the Holden Arboretum was to see the rhododendrons which are in bloom now.  We did get to see some.  Just not the arboretum rhododendrons.  Unbeknownst to us, there was a rhododendron show at the arboretum today.

After looking over the displays of rhododendron flowers inside the visitor’s center we headed outside to walk the trails to the rhododendron garden.  Alas, things (the weather) did not look good:

We checked with the folks at the information desk who helped by pulling up the latest radar for the area on the computer.  It was a no-go.  We’ll have to go back again sometime soon if we want to see the rhododendrons.  Or we can wait until other things are in bloom.

Look Up: First of the season

Just as we sat down to dinner last night, the first hot air balloon of the season came floating by.  Naturally I had to jump up, grab my camera, and go out to snap a few shots.  I didn’t notice until I looked at the photos on the computer that I had also captured a sun dog.

So I decided to make this a SkyWatch Friday post, too.  Click on the link to enjoy more beautiful skies from around the world.  Or post and submit your own SkyWatch Friday post.  You know you want to.  😀

And, as always, click on the photo to see the larger version.  These are not particularly good balloon shots (you can’t see the colors well because of the sunlight) but I do like the way the light is hitting the left side of the balloon in the first shot and the seredipitous sun dog in the second.

(Yesterday’s sunset.)

Look Up: Locust trees

Look Up: Chihuly Glass

As mentioned in a previous post, one of the things we did with M the Younger last week while in Columbus was visit the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) to see the Chihuly Illuminated exhibit.  Because the CMA is currently undergoing renovations and what looks like some major construction, the Chihuly glass exhibit is almost the only thing to be seen there right now.  The nice thing about that is we were given a break on the cost of admission and one of us got in free.

I was — as usual with Chihuly glass — dazzled and amazed.  What Dale Chihuly can do with glass is incredible.  The first two photos fit the Look Up theme this month.  The rest do not.

The next photo shows a small sample of Native American blankets.  Chihuly collects Native American blankets and they are the inspiration behind some of his works.

Although I have plenty of photos, I’ll leave you with just one more.  I wouldn’t want to give away the whole exhibit (even if the photos really don’t do it justice).

Hint:  You can click on the photos to see a larger version.

Look Up: Old Point Loma Lighthouse

I should probably be out and about taking photos with the new camera rather than looking back but it’s time for me to start clearing out some photos and that involves sorting.  Lots and lots of sorting.

I took these photos of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse during our last trip to San Diego in April of 2008.  As you can see, the wildflowers were in bloom and it was a gorgeous day.