Sunday, October 28, 2007

Other Exhibits at The Field

This is another limited time exhibit that I saw at The Field. It was The Ancient Americas and was very infomative and really cool. It had room after room (19,000 square feet to be exact) that explored the ancient civilizations of the Aztecs, the Mayans, Incas, and dozens of other Native Americans from the Arctic to the tip of South America. It displayed how individual cultures developed their farming, religion, and leadership; how great empires rose and fell, and it did so with a very satisfying combination of interactive exhibits, posted information, and impressive artifacts. I'm so glad I made it through this whole exhibit before the museum closed!

I also had the chance to check out some of the permanent exhibits at The Field and I have to say that this museum had the most comprehensive collection of Native American artifacts I have ever seen. There was case after case of traditional Native American art, clothing, and every-day objects. Moccasins to todem poles, seal slickers to spears, canoes to cradleboards, the Field Museum had artifacts of indigenous peoples from the Florida Seminoles, through the plains to the Cheyenne and Sioux territories, all the way to Tlingit and Eskimo tribes of the Northwest Coast. I hope I can go back sometime soon.

This last photo is one I absolutely had to include. This is one of the rare exhibits that define a city; it's an icon that people recognize and immediately associate with Chicago. It's like what Lucy and that Sabre-Toothed Cat at the La Brea Tar Pits is for LA. This, is Sue. She is the largest, best preserved, most complete T. Rex skeleton ever found...anywhere. She stands 13 feet high and is 43 feet long. She was found in 1990 near Faith, South Dakota by an archaeologist named Sue Hendrickson and was sold to the Field Museum in a New York auction for $8.4 Million dollars, the most money ever paid for a fossil. She's a superstar....

Check out the website, it'll make you want to visit!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Egyptian Exhibit at the Field Museum

Wow, as someone who loves Egyptian artifacts and a good museum, the Field Museum in Chicago was an awesome place to visit. I'm only sorry I got there and only had three hours to look around. I didn't even get to the second floor- a good excuse to go back!

Most of these pictures I took for Dad. He has a true obsession for anything Egyptian and I really wish he could have been there with me. Dad, you would have loved it!

His and Her sarcophagi!

I just love this photo of the canopic jars. They are so dignified, calmly watching all the screaming kids from inside a temperature-controlled glass case.

These pure gold scarab beetle pins are so delicately detailed, I can certainly see them decorating some rich merchant's wife (or some dignitary's mistress, perhaps??).

The McCormick Convention Center

Here are a few photos that I took in the convention center as I was going to my anti-oxidant poster session. They had this beautiful, delicate display of ascending green glass above the escalator. Here are a couple of views I had of the display as I rode to the second floor. It was an unexpected artistic flair amongst all the business suits and briefcases.

Ha! And here is my very good friend Mr. Randy Fox giving someone the 'ole razzle dazzle in the Nitta Gelatin Casing booth. Anything you could possibly imagine (and some stuff you can't) is here at the show. I made some new friends that I will definitely contact if I'm ever in Chicago again.

That Randy could sell ice to Eskimos...

Ah, here is some poor soul with whom I sympathized totally. He had tucked himself discreetly in some back corner, hoping to catch a few winks before having to go mediate another round table discussion. I feel your pain, buddy...

Chicago Scenery

Here are a few pictures I took of the Chicago skyline on Lake Michigan. During the morning, a steady, cooling breeze was coming up from the water, but by 2:30 in the afternoon, it was very hot and humid.

My first Chicago hot dog! I've kept hearing that the windy city was the hot dog capitol of the nation (Food Network said so, so it must be true) and was thrilled that I got a chance to try one out for myself. It...was...delicious! I'll have to make a trip to Pink's before I leave and see how they compare....

Here is a snapshot I took of the very famous Buckingham Fountain. I had to take it quickly as my cab whizzed passed (hence the car hood in the lower right hand corner of the photo). You know, I had three cab rides that day and all three of the driver's names were Mohammed....interesting....

The Shedd Aquarium, Part Deux

Here is the seconed installment of the pictures I took at the Shedd.

I love these two pictures together. Ooo..slithery predators of land and water...

This was a brand new addition to the Shedd, a baby beluga whale that was very cute. It was fun to sit and wait for them to surface for air.

These are two pictures of the fantastic art displays in the underground exhibits. You can see the giant anenomes and all the coral covering all the walls and ceilings. The combination of this artwork and the beautiful underwater displays impressed me as well as the billions of kids that were there...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Shedd Aquarium, Part Une

Well, I was lucky enough to get a Hormel-sponsored trip to Chicago this summer for the annual International Food Technologist show. I had never been to Chicago and was really excited! After looking on the internet and mulling over the hotel "local attractions" book, I put together a loose itinerary, and set off on my way. Now, Chicago in July isn't most people's idea of the best time to visit, but I figured if I had to go for the show, I might as well suck it up and have some fun!

Here is the entrance of the Aquarium, which was impressive in itself. They were having a special limited time reptile exhibit, the great Komodo Dragon being the highlight. In order to celebrate this, they installed a huge blow-up komodo that not only lured people in, but provided shade for those in line.

It might be hard to see from this picure, but every nook and cranny of the entrance and foyer of the Aquarium is covered with sea-inspired sculpture. I saw copper (pictured), plaster, and paintings, all used to depict delicate sea stars, sea horses, shells, anenomes, and fish, to mention a few. It was truely awe-inspiring.

Out of all the aquariums I've visited, this is the first that has had so many of these "dual" exhibits. A large majoity of the terrariums had both terrestrial and aquatic elements, which made for a very pretty effect.

This is a picture I took for Dad. Dad- this is how the Chiclids hang in Chicago!

Oh! And I had to get a picture of this guy! This was one of the largest crabs I have ever seen. His fighting claw was about eight inches long and about four inches wide. Cool...

The Orange County Fair Part Deux

Here are my OC Fair companions, looking very suave and debonair...

These few pictures represent the only livestock we found. Even after all the piglets I've seen, I still let a "Oh, how cute" slip out. I can feel all the sheep people cringe in disappointment, don't worry, I still like lambs best!

Now, I have seen this gentleman before. He travels more than the busiest VP, going all over the country showing off his impressive size. A quote from the accompanying flyer: "White Mountain, the Giant Steer. He is 10 years old and weighs 3,450 pounds. He is an Italian 6'6" Chianina giant that HAS NOT been given any growth hormones to alter his size!" I love this stuff and gladly paid the dollar to get in. Hmmm, I remember it only costing 50 cents at the Oregon State Fair...I think they're taking advantage of the poor Californians...

Oh, by the way, he winters in Bradenton, Florida (in case you were wondering) :-)

And so, as we took the people mover back to the car (I was terrified the whole time. Y'know, I never used to be, I think I'm getting old...), I looked over the horizon and realized that the OC Fair might not be quite what I am used to, but what in So. Cal. is? The thousands of lights on the carney stands, deep fry shacks, and whirling rides made for a very beautiful conclusion to a great day.

The Orange County Fair

As wierd as it was for us to go to a county fair with no livestock, Brent, Steve, and I decided to go anyway. We spent a lot of the time explaining to Steve the differences between the Orange County Fair and, say, the Iowa State Fair. The ratio of livestock to rides is like 90/10. In Iowa, livestock would be 90%, but in the entertainment capitol of the world, rides are the majority! It's not that I'm saying that one is better than the other, it was just funny to realize the differences between the two places. Brent and I have been to both kinds of fairs; it was nice to have someone there that understood my puzzlement...

Here is the terrifying Haunted Mansion, complete with a mural of the scariest creature of all: a BUXTOM BRUNETTE!!! AAHHHhhhhhh...

Here is the Chicken Charlie's Deep Fry stand, made famous by the Mark and Brian Radio show on KLOS. They gave a glowing review on the air, and as a result, every time we passed it, the line was five deep! They even had deep fried pickles.....ugh.....we weren't brave enough.

I had to take a picture of this because it's hilarious. Heehee...I love the B52s.

This was a show that stopped us in our tracks. Literally, this is what happened:
Brent: "So, what do you want to do now?"
Steve: "I dunno, why don't we go ....over to the..... wait....what are those people doing!?"
Me: "Oh my god, is she..?"
Brent: "She's balancing champagne glasses on her head."
Steve: "No, no she can't be."

Well, she was. And each time she stacked up another layer of glasses, Steve would say "ok, that was it, she can't do anymore.", then..she would. That happened about three times, then Steve stopped talking altogether when she stepped up on a chair that was balancing on one leg and didn't spill a drop. Sigh, this picture doesn't do her justice.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hidden Textures of the Andersen Backyard

This is a new little mini-series I've been working on. Our backyard is such a mess. Nothing is organized or in the right place and it's all overgrown; everytime I look out there I get a little frustrated. Probably because in spite of all the books I have, I'm still lacking the knowledge and skill (and money) to get it the way I want it. One afternoon, I was sitting on some stacked stepping stones, looking at all the weeds, when my eyes finally adjusted to the reality. There were beautiful living things all around me that I hadn't been seeing, blinded as I was with how I thought everything "should" be. Well, I let go of some of the judgement on the garden and started enjoying what was there. None of the creatures in these photos care what I think- it's their home, no matter how overgrown it is!
These are newly hatched grasshoppers, prefect miniature replicas of their parents, fully functional and SO CUTE!

Here are a couple of ladybirds....

The arch-nemisis of tomato growers everywhere! These caterpillars get huge and if you have the nerve to disturb them as they demolish your tomato's delicate new growth, they whip their heads around, click loudly, and extrude smelly green goo. Very intimidating, but pretty nonetheless...

Here is one of my favorite spiders of all time: the Green Lynx Spider. They love high, singular stalks to spin their egg cases onto and this purple salvia works great, as does the Spanish Lavender.

John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl

Here is Steven at the Hollywood Bowl, waiting for the John Williams Concert to start. For those of you who have been living under a big rock, John Williams is the composer who wrote scores for such BRILLIANT films as Star Wars, Jaws, Indiana Jones, among many others. Steven wouldn't hold still for this photo...

And here is a photo of one of my favorite places in LA. I've seen fabulous concerts here including The Who, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Roger Waters (twice), Sound of Music Sing a Long (also twice, heehee), Rocky Horror Picture Show (that place was a mess when we were done), and Sheryl Crow. It's always exciting to get the Holllywood Bowl Summer schedule in the mail (it almost makes the 115 degree summers bearable). I circle all the concerts I'm interested in and mark the calendar! Getting great concerts in one of the attractions I will really miss about Southern California.

New York, New York! What a wonderful town!

Well, if you have been following Mom's blog, you already know that we are going to New York City!! I've wanted to go to NYC at Christmas time for quite a while and, thanks to String, we get to go! We are going to make it a working vacation, spinning and demonstrating Nov. 30th and Dec. 1st, then it's off to have fun! I've already booked a Chelsea Market and Meatpacking District Culinary tour, a Greenwhich Villiage Culinary Tour, and a New York Christmas Lights Tour! I'm also thinking about a 3-Day Tour Bus pass that works kind of like the Portland Max Line (if you've ever ridden). You buy a pass, ride the shuttle to an attraction, then get off at a certain stop and stay as long as you want. String will put us up for the nights we will be demoing, but I'm still on the hunt for a good Bed and Breakfast or resonable hotel for the rest of our vacation. If anyone has a great Manhattan accomodation suggestion, let us know!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mom at Blacksheep

Here is a wonderful cake that Jan hade made in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the NCWGA. It was delicious! I barely had time to take the picture before everyone decended on it!

Here are a couple of pictures from my view as Official Point Tally Person at the Ewe Lead at Blacksheep. If you've seen Mom's blog, of course, most of her pictures are from her point of view. Here are few of her doing what she does best. Entertaining!

Such a striking figure of beauty (For all you sheep people, I mean my Mom, not the Romney!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Black Sheep Gathering

I was lucky enough to make it to Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon this summer (my first in three years). I helped Jan McMahon fit and show, but she had so much of the hard work done before I got there, it felt like cheating. As a teenager, I remember going over to Jan's house a whole week before Blacksheep, helping her fit and talking about sheep. She would tell me all kinds of stories about the beginning of Blacksheep, about the beginnings of the National Colored Wool Growers Association. She would tell me all the secrets she had learned over the years; what to do, what not to do. Six days full of nothing but sheep. I loved every minute. I still do. All through high school and college, I could count on Jan and Neil to have me for that week every summer. I could count on learning new secrets, little tidbits of information, and perhaps earn a few extra bucks. They weren't easy days by any stretch of the imagination. We would get up early, work all day taking coats off, putting coats on, then Neil would finally call us back in when it got too dark to see anymore. Jan would get the grill ready for the lamb chops that had been marinating in her well-stocked fridge (the door is usually so full and heavy, that it swings violently wide and hits the wall if you don't watch it). I would help set the table, bring out the food, the butter, the salt, then the three of us would sit on the back deck and eat while the sun went down. Usually, on about day three, Neil would bring home The Magic Ultrasound machine for my right arm. "Mild joint fatigue and swelling due to repetative motion", he would say, which always made Jan and I laugh a little. She even gave me a squeeze ball once as a present, in order for me to practice in the "off season". I was so happy to go this year, even though I couldn't have that week, I still got to go to the show and be part of something I had missed for a long time. Remember, this year, I was armed with my pink camera! This is a picture of Neil playing with a new camera he had just bought, while our friend Steve laughs at Neil and I taking pictures of each other from across the show ring.