Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Our Holiday "Letter"

Top row: Kate, Dom, and Jim in New Mexico, Grandson Dom at Pecos Nat'l Monument
Second row: Daughter Kati, Granddaughter, Son Karl
Third row: Grandson and Kate, Granddog Lexi, Jim
Last row: Granddaughter, Daughter,and Jim, Maggi, Sadi

Happy New Year, too!!

The flu has arrived with a vengeance.  May be awhile 'til I post again.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday Mural: Cuban Musician

This mural is part of my Cuban series and is located on a building in Old Havana, Cuba.

Compay Segundo: The Buena Vista Social Club was a members club in HavanaCuba, that closed in the 1940s, as well as a 1990's band, an album, a film and an unofficial brand name representing the musical spirit of the original Havana club. The original Buena Vista Social Club held dances and musical activities, becoming a popular location for musicians to meet and play during the 1940s. In the 1990s, nearly 50 years after the club was closed, it inspired a recording made by Cuban musician Juan de Marcos González and American guitarist Ry Cooder with traditional Cuban musicians, some of whom were veterans who had performed at the club during the height of its popularity.

The "Buena Vista Social Club" name encapsulates Cuba's "musical golden age" between the 1930s and 1950s. The new success of these newly discovered aging musicians was fleeting for the most recognizable artists in the ensemble: Compay Segudo, Rubén González, and Ibrahim Ferrer, who died at the ages of ninety-five, eighty-four, and seventy-eight respectively; Segundo and González in 2003, then Ferrer in 2005. (Credit:
I am a long-time fan of Ry Cooder so after seeing a film and hearing the elder musicians play  I immediately bought the one and only CD that these men recorded and also had the pleasure of seeing them at First Avenue when they went on tour in the US.  It was a great evening!!

Linking to Monday Mural

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Che Guevara-Cuba

Still a highly popular figure among some Cuban people, images of Guevara pop up in many places.  The wall mural is located at a school in a small rural area, the sculpture is huge at the impressive Guevara Museum and surprise! my latte in a coffee shop.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Music and Cubans

Music Everywhere

 In restaurants, cafes, and outdoors!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cars and Taxis in Cuba-2012

Because Cuba is foremost in the news recently, I decided to take the liberty of posting some more photos from my 2012 October trip to that nation island. I will continue to post more Cuban photos in the next few days.  I am SO glad that I took that trip because I believe that there will inevitably be many changes there when American tourists start arriving.  I've read in the newspaper that Canadians are not especially happy since they have been enjoying Cuba for many years without our presence. Some are afraid that we will force many changes and higher prices. Other people have lamented that the Cuban people will change and lose their soul.  C'mon, the Cubans are beautiful people, and it will take more than our tourism to impact them negatively. I sincerely hope that their government officials are the ones that will change and reduce the poverty among the citizens of Cuba.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Children of Cuba

 Since Cuba is very much in the news, I thought you might like to see some of the children who may benefit from the recent political changes between their country and ours. I refrain from making any political judgments, but I hope that their lives will change for the better! This is one of the schools our group visited a few years ago while I was in that beautiful country.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rain, rain. . .go away?

After a brief respite of 40-50 degree temperatures last week accompanied by melting snow ground cover and liquid precipitation, we can put away the umbrellas again because snow and ice have returned.  Which do you like better: snow or rain?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Block of Wood?

Yesterday a friend and I stopped at "Junket" on Minnehaha Blvd in Minneapolis, which is a a shop that probably has more junk than I have ever seen in one store. While poking around in the basement I saw this "person" who looked a great deal like Charlie McCarthy. Remember Charlie?

 At the request of Edgar Bergen--who was a ventriloquist--a carpenter carved a dummy based on a kid Bergen knew.  Charlie and Bergen had a very successful career in show business beginning on the stage, moving to radio, movies, and, eventually, television.
In some ways, Charlie was almost real.  When Bergen's real life daughter appeared on his show, she was introduced as Charlie's little sister.  Because he was heard on the radio, many people did not know that Charlie was a ventriloquist dummy and not a real person.  His personality was so vibrant, it is like he was a completely separate person.
You can find recordings of Charlie and his human, Bergen, on Old Time Radio.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Wreaths

Wreaths are appearing everywhere, even on cars and fire trucks.  Intrigued by this phenomena, I drove around the neighborhood yesterday, trying to find unique wreaths like the one I posted here in Tangletown. No luck.  Those on the outside of homes, all looked like the one in this photo, varying only in size: green boughs with an attached red ribbon.  Perhaps wreaths inside homes are more creative and different.  I shall continue my search; 'til the season is over.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Momento

The holiday season is a time of joy, time spent with family and friends.  Despite this joyous holiday, I cant't help but recall those to whom I was close who are no longer here on earth. A few years ago one of my closest friends died and her daughter gave me this piece of jewelry, which I wear every day.  One of my former students is fluent in Chinese and has told me that the design seems to be a syylized version of the character for "longevity."  I'll accept that!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Small yet Pretty

Even small and plain stained glass windows can be attractive!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tangletown Art Crawl

Last Saturday about a dozen artists who live in Tangletown, a St. Paul neighborhood, opened their homes to interested buyers for a holiday art crawl.  Paintings, ceramics, photographs, and jewelry were some of the items available for purchase.  The most interesting collection of craftwork was a home filled with unusual Christmas, winter, and holiday wreaths.  This wreath was on the front entrance door, beckoning buyers to enter and enjoy.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

O Tannenbaum!!

Christmas can be a time of "Bah Humbug" because of the commercialization of an important religious holiday or it can be one of joy.  I prefer the latter.  The twinkling lights, the decorated trees in public and private spaces, the smiles (and tears, too) of little ones sitting on Santa's lap, hugs and kisses of friends and families as they meet and greet one another, and the sweet sound of carolers  are all aspects of the season that make me appreciate the holiday.  Been there, done that but happy for another go around!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Beeswax Candles

Saved this photo from the downtown St Paul European Christmas Market.  Making these candles            must be quite a feat.  I don't think I'd want to burn these candles at both ends!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

No Poinsettia!

Some people consider poinsettias the official flower of the holiday season. I say, “Move over, poinsettia, and make way for amaryllis!”

I decided to downsize the holidays this year and am eliminating lots of decorations and frills.  Difficult to do, though.  I recently read an article in the Minneapolis Tribune that promoted using an amaryllis plant instead of poinsettias so I picked up one during a shopping trip to try it out. I love the plant as its buds are unfolding! It's really quite beautiful and after I wrap the pot in decorative paper  (or repot it in a glass container,  surrounded the blooms with pebbles) it will be a worthy substitute for the traditional poinsettia, which will eventually wilt and fade.  According to the article, I can keep it from year to year.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Monday Mural - West 7th Place

This mural shows typical buildings and scenes in downtown St. Paul.

Linking to Monday Murals

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Legendary Figures

On November 8th I  posted photos of two other literary figures found as colorful stained glass windows in the Frey Library at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. More legendary than literary, Paul and his Babe, the Blue Ox, are well-known in Minnesota.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Cemetery Christmas!

Even the cemeteries are getting into the Christmas spirit!

Friday, December 05, 2014

Former CyberLuddite !!

Former CyberLuddite enthralled with his birthday gift!!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Pretty Pair !

Mother and Daughter enjoying a sunny but cold afternoon at the outdoor European Christmas Market in downtown St. Paul last Saturday.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Monday, December 01, 2014

December 2014 Theme Day: Worker

Because this lovely young vendor was busy with customers at the outdoor European Christmas Market I did not want to interrupt and, therefore, did not have a chance to interview her or get her name.  I was just happy that she was willing to pose briefly for me.  

To see other workers from around the world and leave a comment, go here.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The First Year

Tomorrow is CDP December Theme Day.  Introduce your worker!!

This year St. Paul tried a "European Christmas Market" in downtown.  It is small but it looks promising as the beginning of a new holiday tradition.  From what I have seen on European blogs, ours is not as varied or large, but it's a start!!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Through a Glass Darkly. . .

Through my windshield!

December 1st Theme Day: Worker

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

We always have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner:  turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn soufflé.  Instead of pie, I switched the dessert to Pumpkin Bundt cake with buttermilk frosting topped with pumpkin seed.  Eat hearty everyone, even if Thanksgiving isn't part of your culture.  We all have lots for which we can be thankful. . .at least I sincerely hope so!!

Remember December Theme Day.  What "worker" are you going to feature on your blog?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I think this set of dinnerware would make a lovely setting for a Thanksgiving feast, don't you?  It is a set designed and made by a former colleague, a very talented potter and superb educator.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A favorite mural

I decided that rather than succumb to the weather and wallow in a deep funk, I would work around it. I have NO desire to wander my gray and grim Minnesota winter environment to find pleasing images for photography; I shall break the rules and find color in my archives, regardless of location.

In years past we spent many lovely winter months in Mazatlán, México.  A house that I admired had this mural on one of the walls.  Now this certainly can dispel gloom, can't it?! Now, just for the record I KNOW that a creative person can find subjects worthy of photography in any environment, and I am aware that Thanksgiving is approaching and I have a life for which I have much gratitude. But . . . I just don't feel like making the effort right now.  A funk it is!!

Linking to Monday Mural

Theme Day is approaching: December's theme is "worker."

Sunday, November 23, 2014


My Minnesota winter right now is a drab one of black, dark brown, gray, and dirty white.  Yearning for some color, I found this wonderful hand-dyed yarn that added some brightness to my world.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Italian Style

Trace the evolution of Italian design, from Gucci and Prada to Missoni, Versace and more. A major retrospective of the fashion that has defined a nation—and a rare chance to see Milan’s finest in Minneapolis.

An MIA first, this groundbreaking exhibition examines the craftsmanship and entrepreneurial verve that catapulted Italy from the ashes of World War II to the style powerhouse it is today. Immerse yourself in impeccable design, rare ingenuity, and the head-turning glamour of celebrity style. (Credit: Minneapolis Institute of Arts)

Toured this breathtaking exhibit on Friday.  Outstanding and quite extensive.