Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More Art from the Gonda Building

Waterfall Blue Persian Set - Dale Chihuly 2001
With time on my hands, I've stumbled upon more art at the Gonda Building to share. I know I've mentioned before that as a rule, I'm not a big Dale Chihuly fan. To my eye, so much of his work either looks derivitative of the Venetian glass he studied as a young artist, or a hot mess of glass shapes. But I really liked the piece above, hidden away underneath a stairway.

Gracing the wall of the subway underneath the Chihuly chandeliers is this cast bronze tribute to nursing called Forever Caring.

Most of the art displayed in the elevator alcoves is actually very old. This mosaic is from the 2nd or 3rd century.

These Middle Eastern tiles are from the 16th & 17th century. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rochester Art Center

 As I mentioned in the last post, Saturday was my birthday, partly celebrated with the Greeks at the Orthodox Church. But before that, I spent a few hours on my own, exploring the area of Rochester around the Civic Center along the Zumbro River. I'm still having trouble being impressed with this slow-moving river that meanders through town and widens at one point into Silver Lake. But the city has utilized it well with bike paths and parks. Behind the Civic Center you can see they've incorporated steps for sitting and several foot bridges cross it.

I looked for interesting lines and reflections and found them.

This is looking downstream towards where the river will soon become the lake. There was a young boy fishing along there. See that yellow just right of center?

That would be this incredible house which fit in no way, architecturally or colorwise, with the rest of the neighborhood. But it sure was bright and cheerful!

Also on the backside of the Civic Center is a park where a wedding was about to begin. In my day, the wedding photos were taken AFTER the ceremony, but now they are usually taken before. There was still a lot of setting up being done and rain threatened.

As I rounded the building, I finally came to my destination - Rochester Art Center, which is attached to the Civic Center. They are quite proud of that building, although I found it pretty ugly. Inside, though, it was rather nice, and has public space for wedding receptions and private parties. It has no art collection of its own, but focuses on contemporary art and emerging local artists.  I'd come to see the Miguel Calderon exhibit: Color Bleed. I came away shaking my head at most of his work. But it was interesting to see the installation, read the artist statements and get chills in the small pitch black room where a very dim video of a jaguar played, its snarls surprisingly startling even though you knew it was only a recording.  The emerging artist exhibit was, well, an emerging artist - again somewhat interesting but really a bit weird. The most fun was the art made by young students in the summer art program. Of course, no pictures allowed so nothing I can share.

I wrapped up my birthday with dinner at the Olive Garden, compliments of my friend and current roomie, Judi. Here we are outside the restaurant waiting for our table like we've been waiting for her appointments at the clinic...with pager in hand - it was too ironic!

We both enjoyed the seafood pasta - so good! Thank you Judi, for making my special day special indeed.

Rochester Greekfest

We'd spotted the cross atop the Greek Orthodox church on one of our alternate routes back to the motel from the Mayo Clinic, thought it would be fun to see inside. Little did we know that the church puts on a Greekfest every year with proceeds going to local charities. Of course we had to check it out!

We went over Friday evening to see what it had to offer and get some dinner. This is really a big deal with streets blocked off and tons of people attending the 3 day event.

This is the 49th annual Greekfest put on by this church with the very long name. They were giving tours of the inside of the church that included a question and answer session with the priest - everything you wanted or didn't want to know about both Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox religions. Actually, very interesting.

Food, of course, was the biggest part of the festivities. Judi keyed right in on this booth and bought some of the loukoumades.

The longest line was at the "holy gyros" booth. Not evident in the picture but this group of gals (3 more not in the picture) were really whooping it up and frequently yelling "OPA" to the delight of the crowd. Lamb was roasting on spits nearby and we shared a lamb dinner.

As people ate at the many tables set up in the street or wandered looking at the crafts and baked goods for sale, this band played Greek music. We had gone late enough in the day to miss the dancers, but we were assured that if we came back on Saturday, we would catch them again.

And so we returned on Saturday and indeed arrived just in time to see this troupe from the cities do their thing. I've posted a short video of them here.

Judi wanted more loukoumades - I'm starting to get her trained to take pictures of her food.

It happened to be my birthday and I chose to skip my usual German chocolate birthday cake for some baklava which I also love and hadn't had for years. This came from the bake sale, and although it doesn't look that appetizing in the picture, it may be the best I've ever had - mmm. I also bought some custard thing in filo pastry that I had the next morning for breakfast...also mmmm.

I had my eye on a Made in Greece necklace the day before so hit the vendors after our treats to see if it still appealed. Yes, it did, as did another. Which should I get? Heck, at $12 a piece, proceeds going to charity, that's a no brainer...get both (as well as some olive oil soap)! The one on the right went particularly well with what I was wearing so I put it right on and wore it the rest of the evening. Opa!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Comforts of Home

When I embarked on what I thought was to be a 6 week adventure in Minnesota, I was glad to be driving. Six weeks is a long time to be away from home, living in motels, away from those things that bring comfort and stability to one's normal life. By driving rather than flying or taking the train, I could bring things along that I normally would not have room to pack, like a favorite coffee mug and some cds.

A quilt to sleep under at night or curl up with in the mornings and a prayer shawl to wrap around me for comfort on the truly trying days.

Multiple sketchbooks and magazines to pass the time while waiting for appointments.

A calendar to mark off the days.

And Sherrie's quilt to grace the motel wall.

And then there are the things I didn't think to bring that friends have graciously sent our way. Placemats and napkins from Sherrie.

And spices too from Sherrie, as well as an apron and dishtowels and more spices from Suzanne who drove out here with me. They all make the cooking & eating in the room easier.

And as the 6 weeks has stretched on to what will be closer to 3 months, I am even more thankful I could bring these comforts of home along.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rochester's Plummer House

Sunday afternoon was particularly lovely and the perfect day to tour the grounds of The Plummer House which sits atop "pill hill" so named because so many of the early doctors working at the Mayo Clinic, including Dr Stanley Plummer, built their homes there.

There's a fee for touring the inside of the house but the grounds and gardens are open to the public. We chose to just take pictures of the outside of the beautiful Tudor house.  More about the house here.

We'd spotted this tower poking up above the trees from the highway below. Judi was sure it was Repunzel's tower. In fact, it was built as a water tower. We could envision children having so much fun playing around this tower and the rest of the grounds.

There's a long long lawn beyond the house and along the water tower - you could imagine playing crochet there -and of course, we spotted interesting trees flanking it: tall feathery pines, gnarly-limbed oaks, a twist in the bark that I couldn't explain.

Lovely walkways connect the upper and lower gardens. Stones quarried on site were used throughout.

The pool at the end of the lower garden took our breath away. Unfortunately, my pics were washed out and can't begin to show how impressive this was.  Yes, the pond really was that blue, but only because of the way the bottom had been treated with that unnatural blue hue.

At the opposite end of the large grassy area was another pool, dark and murky.  Rocky walls run along one side, the other is open to trees - a beautiful setting for weddings and parties.

While we walked the grounds and sat for awhile listening to the wind through the trees, isolated from the noise of the city and usual flat views, we could almost believe we were back home in the mountains we both love. It was such a restorative few hours for us.