Sunday, September 6, 2015

#53 - State Fair Alphabet

While at the Minnesota State Fair, I challenged myself to look at the signs in a different way and make an alphabet of the fonts I liked best.  Though I came home with several varieties of most of the letters, here are my favorites.  For those people who have been to the MN State Fair, you may recognize many of the letters from buildings on the grounds or as logos from around Minnesota.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

#59 - Bring on the rocks and waterfalls!

One of the reasons that I chose to move to northern Minnesota was that I had this fantasy that I would be able to go out hiking a lot.  Sadly, it just doesn't seem to work out that way; everyday life seems to get in the way far too often in the form of meetings that force me to do laundry on weekends, uncomfortable weather conditions, etc.  I can tell that I am so much more relaxed after spending a day in a spot where I can't hear the neighbors mowing lawn or the dog down the street barking, so I need to make it more of a priority.

Here are some of the beautiful scenes I captured while completing this goal:

#60 - Henna

just after removing the glue
I have very little interest in ever getting a real tattoo ... I just can't think of anything that I want permanently on my skin. I even shudder at the thought of some of the things that I might have chosen as a design when I was younger.  However, I do like the idea of henna - where the design only exists for a few weeks - as a way of saying something positive (a wedding, a vacation, a fun day with friends) happened recently in my life.

I got this design at the Minnesota State Fair.  The process was a bit different at the booth than other places I've gotten henna tattoos.  This group covered the paste with a glue layer after the henna had dried for a bit.  I'm not convinced of the effectiveness of this additional step; my henna bracelet seems to be fading more quickly this time than any of the designs I've gotten in the past (and faster in the areas where the glue stayed on the longest).  Additionally, it was annoying to wait another 20 minutes for the paste to dry, so they could add the glue layer when I had already waited in line for about half an hour to get the paste applied.  However, the glue did keep the paste from flaking off when bumped by other people - a big thing when moving through a big crowd - even though it looked like my skin was molting by the end of the day.

Monday, April 27, 2015

#31 - New Places to See

I added this as a goal because it's easy to be a tourist in a totally new spot, but sometimes it can be a little harder to take the time to see interesting things that are closer to home.  The first two places I visited were Pipestone National Monument and the Jeffers Petroglyphs site - you can see some photos from that visit on this post.

Fibonacci Wannabe III by Nam Lee - my favorite at Franconia
Last week, I was on vacation and checked out a few other new places.  My first stop was the Franconia Sculpture Park.  This is a very unusual place ... in a field, not close to a town, with very little signage ... where there is a group of outdoor sculptures for public viewing.  And, when I say a group, I mean about 70 pieces - some very large.  Most are modern and not traditionally classic representations.  A few of my favorites are shown below.  It felt odd wandering about; several other cars stopped while I was there, but they only used the restrooms and moved on.  I was mostly alone with the wind looking at art.

Quill and Sword by Art Videen - a more traditional piece
 Closeup of Imprint by Sarah Langsam - this is set into the ground
Parade by Mike Rathbun - this was a huge piece - 40 feet high
Rocco by Amy Toscani - this one moved in the wind and reminded me first of a carnival ride and later of an alien ship

Sapling by Kevin Dartt - I would have like to see this one at night since the bud is a solar light
I didn't take photos of my stay in Red Wing, MN, but I had a good time checking out the downtown ... including the Red Wing Confectionery Shop (well worth a visit!).  I also went to Hobgoblin Music - the place where my harp was built several years ago.  I only peeked into the downstairs shop, but the second floor was a cozy jumble of items for sale and antique instruments.  Fortified with sheet music and chocolate goodies, I continued on.

My next stop was New Ulm, MN.  Since I live in a tourist area, it was interesting to see another tourist town during the off season.  It was quiet,but I bet the streets are brimming with people in summer and fall.  The statute of Herman the German was in a wonderful little park at the top of the hill.  The Minnesota Music Hall of Fame didn't hold my interest for long - an uneven representation of musical genres as well as a lack of organization in the displays made it hard to concentrate.  The Brown County Historical Society had a much better museum across the street with a great exhibit upstairs on the Dakota Uprising of 1862 - I particularly liked the video presentation in the corner.  And, the glockenspiel was interesting ... and loud! ... I expected something different, but it definitely adds some zest to the town.
Glockenspiel in New Ulm

Herman the German

Brown County Historical Museum in New Ulm - the former post office building
On my way home, I stopped in Mankato to see the Betsy-Tacy houses.  Maud Hart Lovelace wrote a great series of children's books based on her life and childhood friendships that I was introduced to by my public librarian when I was young.  So, I felt I needed to check it out since I was in the area.  The houses looked much as I expected, but were also a reminder of how much the world has changed in the last 100 years.  I don't know if any large family would be willing to live in such a small house nowadays.
Betsy's house (childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace)
Tacy's house (Maud's best friend's home - 11 people lived in this small house!)

I had some other great experiences on my vacation as well - meeting my new grand niece for the first time, some big city shopping, and playing with baby kittens.  I still have unexplored places in Minnesota left on my list though, so I expect that I will try this goal again.