So, after losing all the digital pictures we took on our cruise to the Yucatan, I was pretty disgusted with digital photography. However, 35mm film was becoming harder to find and more expensive when we found it. We stayed in photography limbo for awhile, but then we found the inspiration to embrace DSLR.
Coming Over to the Digital Side
In 2012 we planned a trip to the Pacific Northwest and we knew one thing: we were going to need a new camera. I had two requirements. The new digital camera had to have a traditional viewfinder and I wanted it to be fast. If you’re wondering why we didn’t just use our phones, then you’ve forgotten that in 2012 most of the world was still using flip-phones. While the flip phones took pictures, they didn’t take good pictures.
We bit the bullet and spent more money than we’d ever spent on a camera, but oh what a camera we found. Before Bill bought the DSLR, he insisted that I attend photography classes with him on how to properly use the new camera. Since the new one had a viewfinder and I could click one photo after another, without having to wait, a few photography classes seemed like a small sacrifice.
Suddenly, we were in digital photography heaven. Even before the trip, Bill and I would go on photo safaris around town. Photography was no longer a touchy subject where Bill resented the cost of film and I refused to use a digital camera. Our time in Oregon was a photographer’s dream. Bill took hundreds and hundreds of pictures. The resulting scrapbook album was inches and inches wide.
The Photographic Bliss Continues…for awhile
After the Oregon trip we became photography fanatics. It seemed as if every trip we got better at it. We took cruises in the Caribbean and on the Danube. We visited glorious gardens in California. During this photographic period we also went to Egypt for a family wedding. Oh what amazing, beautiful images we captured on these trips.
While we were wallowing in this photographic bliss, something else was going on. Suddenly, phones had great cameras in them and the world was taking pictures of things they’d never noticed before. Remember how odd it was the first time you saw someone take a picture of their food in a restaurant. I remember looking at them like they were crazy. Now I do it, too. We all do it.
I will confess that it was with great reluctance that I gave up my flip phone. We’d found me an industrial strength flip phone that didn’t mind falling and the new phones had huge screens that seemed to crack when you looked at them. As with many technical innovations, I ran into some difficulties. The first problem was not my fault. Bill proudly presented me an LG smartphone that wasn’t all that smart. It didn’t ring. We still don’t know why and the problem wasn’t on any of the customer service scripts. Their computers told them it was ringing, but it wasn’t. He’d ordered it online, but we had to go to a big box store to prove to them that it was, in fact, not ringing – regardless of what the computer said. I moved on to Samsung.
If it had rung, the LG would have been great, but it didn’t and in spite of what other marvelous features it had, one thing a phone needs to do is ring. So, how did I do in photography with my new Samsung. Well, come back next week and I’ll tell you about it.
TRAVEL HERE: FROM ADHESIVE PHOTO ALBUMS TO COMPULSIVE SCRAPBOOKING
In many cultures throughout history, women entered into the contract of marriage with a dowry. Bill wasn’t quite that lucky. All he got when we married was a stack of photo albums, clothes to clutter his closet and a bunch of other things which didn’t exactly improve his net worth. He convinced me to get rid of some of my property in a garage sale. It didn’t do much for his bottom line, but he did regain a little of his space. One thing he couldn’t convince me to get rid of was my photo albums.
Can You Say Tacky?
I’ll admit it. My collection of mismatched photo albums was down right ugly. Some had their spiral rings showing. Others had hideous covers. And yes, most of the photos were mediocre at best, but they held my memories, so they weren’t going anywhere.
Then a couple of things sort of happened at once. I met a girl at work who was a Creative Memories Consultant and I signed up for a scrapbooking class at church. I found out that while I’d been smart to collect memorabilia and include it with photos in my albums, I learned I’d been doing pretty much everything else wrong. I don’t recall who sold me my first album and stickers, but that day, a scrapbooking legend was born – and she was me!
After My First Album
What had inspired me to sign up for the scrapbooking class was a cruise I was about to take. With one CM Consultant teaching me to scrapbook at church and another one giving me delicious catalogs at work, my days of sticking photos into adhesive albums were over. I completed the first album in no time flat and then the girl at work invited me to bag up all my loose photos and let her help me sort them.
OK, I sort of get into organizing. I’m not crazy about cleaning, but I will organize a messy desk drawer at the drop of a hat. I actually stand in stores and neaten their displays. I will be in the line at Fry’s and suddenly I’m sorting out their candy display and putting things back into a semblance of order. Clothing is a particular favorite of mine – sleeve length, color, neckline, solid or pattern. One minute I’m shopping for a blouse and in a few moments I organizing the rounder. Drives my poor husband crazy.
The minute organizing was tied to scrapbooking the hook was set. Not only were Creative Memory albums more attractive than the other albums, they preserved the pictures and memorabilia put into them and, most important for me, they were a great way to organize my pictures. If I was scrapbooking along and discovered a cache of pictures that belonged in an album I had already finished, no problem, I could add pages into the completed album wherever I wanted to. I could also keep on adding pictures to an album long after one of those adhesive albums would have been filled. My first album is about an inch and a half wide. The last one I finished was more like five and a half.
I made my first CM scrapbook in 1998. Twenty years later, I’m still scrapping. From my office chair I can count over 40 albums in my bookshelf That doesn’t include all those I have done and given to other people or those in a closet I will not name. Those 40 some odd are just my favorites!
But it’s time to go for today, so let’s pick up here next week!
I rarely run short of reasons to be glad I married Bill. I may, at the same time, be so mad at him I can barely breathe, but the mad times come less frequently as we near our 25th wedding anniversary and when they do, they are short-lived. He really is a wonderful man and he’s so darned handsome. He’s also an amazing photographer, just ask any Spot On Images customer.
The 35mm vs The Disposable
By the time I met Bill, the Instamatic’s days were over and done with. The digital camera was breaking into the market, but they were pretty expensive, so this working girl couldn’t afford one. Most people were using some form of a 35mm, but not me. I had a hard time finding film for my Instamatic, but I had discovered the disposable camera and that worked well enough for me.
Enter Bill with his fancy Canon Rebel. By then he was already pretty darned good at photography. He’d had some lessons and was fairly serious about the medium. My disposable cameras probably made him a little crazy, but he was trying to romance me, so he left me to my point and shoot bliss.
Well he almost left me alone. He gently began to introduce me to 35mm. Not only did he think disposable cameras were a waste of money, he rightly pointed out the poor quality of the results and coerced me into giving his camera a try. I guess here’s as good a place as any to admit he not only introduced me to 35mm photography, he also made me learn how to use a mouse and had me sign up for my first personal email address. In other words, he brought me into the 20th Century, which was already on it’s way out.
Where’s the Auto Button?
His first attempts at turning me into a real photographer were not so good. He was all about F-stops and exposure. All he could get me to do was use the Auto Button. Twenty-five years later, I’m still all about the Auto Button, but I do appreciate what he is able to do with a camera.
About this time he also decided to get a camcorder. Video cameras were this huge thing you had to carry around on your shoulder and there was no sound. Over time the cameras shrank and they figured out how to include sound. Bill entered the market when Hi8 was all the rage. If he had thought it was tough getting me to use a 35mm still camera, he quickly realized that was nothing compared to getting me to hold the camcorder.
That sneaky guy bought the camcorder into time capture his proposal – quite a treasure. His plan was to get me up to speed on the 35mm, so he could be the videographer. What happened was he ended up being the primary cameraman, regardless of the media, and I filled in when he forced me to. Thanks to him we have a marvelous record of our early years together – yeah Mr. Bill!
There’s more to tell you about our photographic history together, so come on back next week!
My parents gave me my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, for my 16th birthday. Until then, I’d never been on the business end of a camera and I have the pictures to prove it. None of them were selfies though, because if you’d have taken a picture at arm’s length, all you have gotten was your nose.
Flash! You’re in the Picture
The Kodak Instamatic had a real innovation, the flash cube. Up until then most amateurs made do with an old fashioned flash attachment, which used a single-use flash bulb. So a flashcube which attached directly to the camera and was good for four photos was a great innovation. Eventually, you could buy a flash bar with even more bulbs, but that was later.
The flash, cube, bar or bulb was quite irritating. It made a loud pop and then a bright white light would blind everyone in your picture, leaving them with spots hampering their vision. That’s the reason why so many people in old pictures have their eyes closed. As soon as the flash went off the shutter opened, but not before most of us closed our eyes.
You might think with all that noise and brightness, the flashes would light up the pictures, but you’d be wrong. In the finished photo, the items closest to the camera were too bright and behind that it was all darkness. The results were pretty pitiful – usually a bunch of over-exposed faces with their eyes closed. Combined with the expense of the film, it really didn’t make a lot of sense to take pictures when a flash was required, so most of us didn’t.
Accustomed to Mediocrity
I’ll just say it. My Instamatic photos weren’t all that great, but then again, neither were anyone else’s. Oh, there were serious photographers using 35mm cameras, but they weren’t the norm. A lot of folks were so dissatisfied with the whole snapshot thing they had their photos developed into slides. Perhaps you have a grandfather or great-grandfather who turned off the lights and bored you to death with their slides. The processing quality was better, but there were also a lot of bad slides, because your average guy was a pretty bad photographer.
My Instamatic was my only camera for years, but I really only pulled it out when I traveled alone and that was usually for church trips. The rest of the time my dad was in charge of family photography. For years he used a Brownie Hawkeye, which was actually a pretty good camera. Then he moved into Polaroid, which was definitely a step in the wrong direction.
I guess I’m telling you all of this as a form of apology for all the bad pictures I took, but they didn’t bother me, because everyone else’s pictures were almost as bad as mine. The mediocrity of the pictures actually added to the fun of photography. Few of us really bothered with setting up a shot properly. You just whipped your camera up to your face and snapped. Sometimes you would get lucky. Sometimes you wouldn’t.
Lucky or not, at the time the picture was taken, you took it and forgot it, because you wouldn’t see it until you developed the film. There was no stopping the action to oooh and aaah or moan and groan. You didn’t have to share it on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. You didn’t have to text it to anyone.
What you did have to do was carry film with you and a few flashes, just in case. This was perhaps the worst part of analog photography. You could almost guarantee that should a really unique photo opportunity arise, you would usually miss it, because you just ran out of film. Now all you have to do is be sure your phone is charged.
Well, I have run out of words for today, so we’ll move on to the introduction of 35mm to my life. Come back next week and we’ll chat some more about the good old days before digital photography.
I’ve just finished up a season of scrapbooking. I was way behind and am almost all caught up. As my scrapbooking shelves fill up with my latest creations, I couldn’t help but think about the way things used to be.
Photo Albums Grow Up
Before there were photo albums, there were scrapbooks. The earliest scrapbooks were actually just books that did second duty for memorabilia. Someone would press a flower into a book or lodge a letter in between the pages and often that book was the Bible. Or people would keep journals and insert various drawings or keepsakes among the pages. The earliest official scrapbooks seem to date back to the late 1700’s and the hobby is still popular today.
Photography had a huge effect on scrapbooking. When cameras first became available to the general public, photographs had great value. Many people with a camera would do their own photo processing, turning a spot in their home into a photo lab. Cameras were expensive, film was expensive and processing was expensive, so the results had gravitas. People understood the fragile nature of photographs and they liked to share their work with others. Those were the days of leather photo albums with black pages and little black photo corners that had to be stuck down with rubber cement. If your family had any of those, hold on to them. Great effort was made to use the proper materials for preserving the photographs.
Improvements were made to photography, which was both a good thing and a bad one. Cameras, film and processing all got more affordable. With more snapshots being made and shared, the photos didn’t seem quite so valuable. People would just toss them in a drawer or a shoe box. I recall wonderful times with my family, because of these drawers and shoe boxes. The conversation would come around to some long dead relative and then someone would say, “I think I have a picture of them.” I can’t tell you how happy that would make me. Black and white photos would be spilled out on a table or the floor. The next few minutes or hours are among my favorite childhood memories.
When I started high school, my mom invested in a large scrapbook for me and I dutifully documented the high points of my year. The book was filled primarily with memorabilia. Photography was in the Polaroid stage and photos, quite frankly, were awful. It was great fun to take the pictures and show them around, but like the snapshots from your Instamatic camera they didn’t seem as valuable as those early photographs processed in someone’s dark room.
Then came the adhesive photo album. Oh my! How many dozens of those did you buy? The adhesive albums were cheap, they were easy and they were a lot better than tossing the photos in a drawer. At least, that’s the way it seemed in the beginning. Most people used the sticky-paged albums exclusively for photos, but I was always a scrapbooker – even when I didn’t know exactly what that was. I’d intermingle my memorabilia among my photos and often write out narratives to be included in the pages.
Scrapbooking Becomes a Thing
A company called Creative Memories set out to change the face of scrapbooking. Plenty of people were still throwing photos in a drawer, but there were also people like me who had stacks of adhesive photo albums which were slowly ruining my photographs and memorabilia. When I was introduced to Creative Memories I felt as if someone had come up with these wonderful products for me personally. My next thought was that everyone in the world should be getting their valuable images and memorabilia into a photo-safe album. It is no wonder that I became a consultant for Creative Memories.
That’s not the end of the story though, so come back next week and we’ll continue to talk about the evolution of photography and scrapbooking.
So, on a Monday morning in May, I woke up with the knowledge that I was going to Club Med Punta Cana at the end of the week – the trip we had won from CTC Travel. I had no idea whatsoever of what I was taking with me.
The Resort Life
I am the Museum Girl, not the Resort Girl. I know what to take on cruises. I’m great at packing for a road trip. However, I didn’t know what to take to a resort, because that hadn’t been my life up to that point.
So I imagined a really casual five-day cruise without any ports of call and no dressing for dinner. My wardrobe began to form in my head. Swimsuits, sundresses and shorts. I scratched my head a little more and tried to dream up every eventuality. Maybe I’d need jeans? What about some slacks? I stood around in my closet gathering up things I might need. Something to sleep in, lingerie, sandals, sneakers. The items began to pile up. In the end I took a lot more than I needed, because I just didn’t know.
The Baggage Thing
So, if you travel at all, you know what Spirit is famous for – no frills, but a fee for everything. I looked online for all of Spirit’s baggage fees and thought I was pretty clever. I was sure we’d be able to get by without the additional cost of carry-ons, because I’d managed to fit us into one suitcase for five days for our cruise. Of course, since we drove to Galveston, the weight didn’t matter, but I was certain I could fit everything into two suitcases – and I did.
We weighed the suitcases with our handy dandy suitcase scale and put the them next to the door. The alarm would be going off at 3:30 AM the next morning, because our flight was at the ungodly hour of 6 AM.
The Other Baggage Thing
We parked our car at Park & Fly, like we always do, and were delivered to our terminal. As we stood near the Spirit Airlines acclimating ourselves to their procedures, a very nice lady came up to us and offered to help. She was happy to see the confirmations proving we had checked in online. Then she grabbed a bag and set it on their scale. I didn’t have a worry in the world. Both bags were under 50 pounds – the magic airline weight limit. Or at least that had been the magic airline weight limit the last time I had flown on a real airline.
I should have worried. The weight of our bags brought a frown to our friendly helper’s face, but it was nothing compared to the one on my husband’s face. We were going to have to pay an additional $30 per bag each way. $120!! The weight limit for Spirit Airlines is 40 pounds!
My stomach dropped to somewhere near my shoes. We’ve had vacations ruined for less than $120 in unexpected fees. Bill is no fan of traveling and he hates fees – they’re like paying interest, only much more careless. I waited for my dressing down, but it never came. We’d both been looking at the Spirit website for days. I’d emailed him a reminder of the permitted size of his personal item. We’d both weighed the suitcases. He wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t in trouble.
We finished getting our boarding passes and got in line to begrudgingly pay our first round of $60 baggage fees. (BTW, CTC was in no way responsible for our frustration at the gate. They didn’t book our air and I didn’t ask them about luggage fees!) There was a wait by the gate and then we climbed on board Spirit Airlines. Come fly with us next week.
Whew, we’re finally through with Egypt. I was there for only a few weeks, but I blogged about it for months on end. We recently also finished up a series on Mondays about our disastrous cruise on Royal Caribbean, so on Mondays I’m back to sharing tips on visiting Dallas, whether you live here or are planning to visit here. On Wednesdays we are about to travel to the Dominican Republic.
Next year is our 25th wedding anniversary and while I’m not quite ready to share our plans for that just yet, let me tell you what happened when I visited a travel show last January. I thought all we’d be doing for this year’s vacation time was taking a cheapie cruise for Bill’s birthday and taking a road trip to Michigan to visit family, but I was looking ahead.
My travel sights were firmly set on, on next year’s plans. My husband had nixxed my idea of having a vow renewal in our backyard and supplanted the backyard ceremony with a much bigger idea. If folks have destination weddings, why couldn’t we have a destination vow renewal on board a cruise ship in the Mediterranean?
So when my friends at CTC announced their annual travel show, I circled the date on my calendar and called up my bestie, who is my travel show buddy. I also suggested that hubby might want to join us for some of the seminars so he could be on the same page with me. Everything was set for a travel-intensive day of cruise shopping!
Great Travel Show
I love travel shows, but my favorite is CTC’s, because Sandra Rubio, my travel agent, is always there. She knows me. She gets me. She knows our budget. She knows my husband and my bestie. She knows my wish list and preferences. Dreaming about travel is fun whether the dream is a road trip to Oklahoma or a safari in Kenya, but making my travel dreams come true means talking to Sandra.
Like most travel shows, CTC has table after table of travel vendors all touting their wares. Some travel shows also have celebrity guests to address a wide variety of travel topics, but primarily try to convince you to watch their shows, visit their website, read their blog, follow their social sites and/or buy their books and travel accessories. That’s not what CTC does.
Instead, CTC has travel professionals come in and participate in very information-rich panel discussions. I love me some Samantha Brown, but she doesn’t get down in the dirt with me and discuss trends in cruise cabins or how an ocean-going cruise differs from a river cruise and how they both stack up to a resort vacation.
A Few Weeks Later
If you are a regular on my site, you may even remember the post I wrote about this year’s show. We’d already booked Bill’s birthday cruise, so when Sandra left me a message a few weeks later, letting me know she had some good news, I was hoping for a cabin upgrade. Little did I know the news was way better than that!
As we’d entered the travel show, we’d dutifully signed up for the drawing. In past years, I’ve won golf caps, totebags and other travel chotskies. Throughout the day they write the winning ticket numbers on a white board, so as I go back and forth between the seminars and the vendors tables I always take a peek at the board. This year I hadn’t been very lucky. No chotskies for me.
As we left the show, one of the travel agency employees encouraged us to check the board and we assured her we’d been doing that all day to no avail. She handed me a nice Royal Caribbean backpack and I was happy as a clam. Heck, I was already thrilled with the huge stack of cruise brochures I had scored at the vendor tables. The backpack was mere lagniappe.
Sandra left her message one busy afternoon and while I was intrigued, I wasn’t intrigued enough to drop what I was doing and call. She called me again early the next day. I could tell she was excited about something, but I didn’t suspect a thing. In fact, I had taken her call, but I had about three other things on my desk that really had my attention.
Then she told me I had won a vacation! And not just any vacation but a five day stay at our choice of Club Meds in the North American hemisphere. I hope Sandra understands how sorry I am for breaking her eardrum when she gave me the news. After verifying several times that I wasn’t dreaming, I jumped out of my desk chair and ran down the stairs, squealing the news to Bill. There went the other eardrum.
Thanks CTC and Sandra Rubio. I loved you guys anyway, but this trip sure made me happy! come back next week and I’ll tell you all about it!
My life is pretty busy. Last year, before I went to Egypt, I really meant to get my eyes checked and update my lenses. My sunglasses were so scratched up I could barely see out of them, but one thing led to another and I ended up with my beat up sunglasses on vacation. That turned into a blessing, because I lost the sunglasses going through security in Sharm el Sheikh, but that was only the beginning of the saga.
Juggling My Glasses
While the part of me that is reasonable and practical was sad to lose my sunglasses, there was also a part that did a little happy dance. The loss was unfortunate, because the frames were fairly new. I’d worn my previous pair of prescription sunglasses for a long time with complete satisfaction. I bought them in 2006 and just kept replacing the lenses, until I realized I had actually worn off all the decoration.
In 2015 I had my eyes checked and there was a new development. Glasses and sunglasses weren’t enough. I also needed computer glasses. So, my regular glasses, a pair of wire frames I’d been dissatisfied with for a long time became my computer glasses and I bought new frames for my regular glasses and my sunglasses.
My new regular frames were great. They were red Calvin Kleins and I felt snazzy in them. The sunglasses were a fail. They looked marvelous, but they just wouldn’t stay on. The arms weren’t curved enough behind my ears, so they fell off all the time. Hence the many scratches. They’d bounced off every surface from the bottom of a dumpster to pavement. So losing them gave me the opportunity to buy some new frames that would actually stay on my face.
Time to Upgrade
I really shopped around for sunglasses, because I have very sun-sensitive eyes. I probably wear my sunglasses more than I wear the other two. I wanted to find a pair I would love as much as I did the ones I’d purchased in 2006. Then I found out Brighton sunglasses are prescription ready. They are my favorite sunglasses in the world, but I hadn’t been able to wear them since 2006, when I had to start wearing prescription sunglasses.
Let me tell you something, optometry shops want you to buy frames. They must mark them up about a 1000%. All this second pair free stuff is a dead give away. I didn’t realize how serious they were about this until I tried to get my new prescription filled at Costco. Even though they charge you hundreds for your lenses, its the frames they care about.
The clerk did everything she could to discourage me from using my old frames. I had to sign a waiver releasing Costco from responsibility should the frames break and even then she couldn’t guarantee that wherever it was they sent them would fill the prescription. I’d just have to do without my glasses for 10 days.
To add insult to injury, they wouldn’t fill my sunglasses prescription at all. The frames had stones in them. Puh-leez! Tough luck for me. I walked in with three pairs of glasses to update, but only left behind one pair, because they wouldn’t do my sunglasses and having to wait 10 days while they sent them off meant I’d have to use my computer glasses for every day. I wanted to just tell them no thanks, but Costco was the vendor my husband had approved and I was trying to cooperate.
Then I went to find someone who would fill a prescription in a pair of glasses with stones in them. I don’t want to talk about how much it cost. I am still traumatized!
The Agony Continues
Eventually I had new lenses in all my glasses and for a short while I was a happy camper, but it didn’t last long. My beloved red Calvin Kleins fell apart. I’d just spent a fortune getting all those prescriptions filled and I loved my red glasses, so first I went back to the people at NorthPark, where I’d bought the glasses originally, hoping they could repair them. Too bad, so sad – they sent me to a jewelry repair place. The jewelry repair place referred me on to a place in Richardson where they repaired glasses. I don’t want to talk about how much it cost, but I was desperate.
I felt the same way when the darned things broke again. So I went back to NorthPark place one more time, hoping that by some sort of magic I could special order a replacement pair – something I hadn’t asked about when I’d gone in hoping they could repair the glasses. Finally, the glasses elves smiled on me. I couldn’t get the red glasses, but they still had the same frames in black! Yes, I had to pay for them, but they did give me a discount after I wailed to high heaven about their “second pair free” promotion. It just seemed wrong that I’d been through such a painful series of glasses related issues and now they were going to charge me full price to replace the frames I’d originally bought from them. As I wailed, I never admitted how glad I was that I was not going to have to start from scratch and get new lenses also.
What Now ?
So, I went on for several months more, juggling three pairs of glasses and wishing for the days when I could see without them. I make do with the computer glasses around the house and keep the other glasses in my purse for use when I am away from home, but it still seems like I am continually looking for one pair or the other.
One day in December I was out running errands when I realized I had my computer glasses on my head. I walked back to the car and put them there so I wouldn’t lose them – but of course, I did. Back at home, after I’d changed my clothes I realized my glasses weren’t in the dish in my bathroom where I usually keep them. So I went back to the car, but they weren’t there. So I checked the pocket of the jacket I’d worn, but they weren’t there. I scoured the entire downstairs over and over, thinking I might have set them down somewhere along the way without realizing it. I checked my purse, the pocket of my jeans, anywhere I could think of that had even the remotest possibility of hiding the glasses. In the days to come, I would tear up the whole house and go back to every location I visited while running errands. The glasses had disappeared off the face of the earth.
Weeks later, for some forgotten reason, I wanted the old blow-dryer I used to use, which I keep shoved in a hidden corner of my closet. Bill uses it sometimes to help build a fire on the grill, but that wasn’t the reason I went digging for it this particular time. Whatever the reason, I found my computer glasses on the closet floor. Of course, they were shoved so far back that I had missed them the other 3000 times I’d looked for them.
You may wonder why I’ve taken so much time to tell you of all my recent woes with my glasses, but I had to tell you or the next chapter in my travel tale would not have made any sense. Come back next week and I’ll tell you about our embarkation on Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas.
So it’s morning in Dahab and I was on my balcony enjoying the glorious weather and view. Down in the pool the younger set was catching a few more splashes. It was idyllic, but I was still glad that we’d soon be heading to territories the US State Department was happier for me to be visiting.
The Back of the Bus & Beyond
When the time came to head back, I was once again sent to the back of the bus, but I was over my pout. Soon we were going through multiple security checks at the Sharm el Sheikh airport and somewhere along the way I lost my prescription sunglasses. For then on, Bill had to share his shades with me.
The flight was not anywhere as entertaining as the carnival-like ride to Sharm had been. At the Cairo airport our car and driver was waiting to take us to Alexandria, so we said our good-byes at the airport. Maggie, Shady and their kids would be flying on to the US before we returned to Cairo, but the bride and groom would be flying back to the US with us.
On to Alex
By the time we made it out of Cairo, evening was setting in. We needed a potty break and something to eat, so our driver stopped at a Burger King. The burgers were fine. The water in the restrooms was turned off and toilet paper was scarce. That made things quite challenging, but soon we were back on the road. As soon as we left the gas station we entered the desert and there was nothing to see. Falling asleep had not been in my plans, but that’s what I did.
It seemed as if we’d just left the Burger King a few minutes before when we came to a stop. I opened my eyes to chaos – a traffic jam, Egyptian style. We were on the outskirts of Alex and were hemmed in on every side. In Egypt, lanes are only a suggestion, so at first glance it seemed we’d be there all night. Our driver showed no signs of distress. He edged towards the truck ahead of us and it seemed to me as if he was going to drive under it, but instead we started changing lanes and were soon exiting the highway.
This sounds as if it should have been good news, but suddenly I felt as if I was in the chase scene of a Steven Segal movie. The landscape around us was all industrial. The exit turned out to be one of those spaghetti bowls where several roads come together. We went around and around, over and under, around and around, and then we doubled back a time or two. Suddenly we came to a road block of stacked hay bales, but like the lanes, our driver treated it as a suggestion rather than a detour.
I confess, I was a little nervous. After he drove up over the edge of the barricade he did some more around and around, over and under, and some doubling back. I really liked and trusted him, but we were in a third world country and the US State Department would not have approved the route.
Eventually, we were back on what looked like a normal highway and shortly after that we were in Alex. Museum Girl was thrilled. Come back next week for our visit to Alexandria.
TRAVEL HERE: BRIGHTENING AN OTHERWISE DREARY SUNDAY
So I was just about done with my local art museum. Lately, every time we showed up for an exhibition, we’d look at each other and ask, “Really?” I had already tossed the most recent renewal of membership letter into the trash, but a still small voice asked, “Do you know what special exhibitions are coming?” I didn’t, but I assumed they’d be more of the same stuff which had been disenchanting us for a couple of years. I was wrong. Berte Morisot is coming! Berthe’s exhibition won’t be here at least a year, but I couldn’t abandon the museum when they were organizing a fairly incredible exhibition. Besides, some of the smaller productions on exhibit right now seemed of interest. So, I renewed my membership and decided to go to the museum as soon as we could.
All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins…or Not
Arriving at the Dallas Museum of Art on a recent dreary Sunday, I dropped by the information desk to confirm the location of the exhibits I wanted to see. We only had two hours before closing – plenty of time to view my wish list, but not if we wandered aimlessly. What I did not plan on viewing was an installation created in 2016 titled All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins. I mean that’s the same vintage as the cheap wine in the grocery store. Galleries are where you go to see the latest in art. I think museums should focus on more proven vintages that have been laid down for awhile. Obviously, there are plenty with another opinion. All the general public tickets had been sold for the day and only my membership would get us a timed appointment for that particular afternoon.
Taking the bait I bellied up to the membership desk to claim my free, timed viewing ticket. We had half an hour until our slot so we strolled up the concourse. We’d seen Truth: 24 Fames Per Second and didn’t need a repeat showing. We’d also been to the latest installation in the Keir Collection several times since April. We stuck our head in the gift shop and dropped by the small Focus Gallery exhibiting Hopi Visions. Interesting, but not among our favorite genres, so after a few minutes we were back on the concourse.
My husband likes to touch things, so he detoured into the Center for Creative Connections. Tagged C3, this is the area where kids of all ages can make art rather than just look at it. We looked over the shoulder of a few budding artists, handled a few touchable objects and then returned to the concourse. We were still a few minutes away from our designated ticket time, so we checked out the Barrel Vault. This area is ground zero for Contemporary and Modern Art, so we don’t usually spend much time here – you know my vintage issues. However, one of the side galleries had just what I was looking for, Edward Steichen: In Exultation of Flowers.
In Exultation of Flowers
Love a good story? Back in the Twentieth Century an artist started painting a mural commissioned by some wealthy New Yorkers. These members of Art’s Inner Circle knew all the best people and had their artist friend paint these friends of theirs lolly-gagging among flowers. What’s not to love? One wants to imagine them and their friends draped across art deco furnishing sipping cocktails and discussing the pros and cons of the completed murals – especially the one featuring Isadora Duncan in the nude. But that’s not what happened. By the time the murals were complete, the art patrons were in a bit of a financial bind and had to sell the apartment the murals had been painted for. The murals were never installed and it’s been over 100 years since they were displayed together.
Enter the DMA, famous among art people today for their restoration and conservation abilities. The DMA was commissioned to work their magic on Mr. Steichen’s murals and as part of the deal, the DMA would display the finished project. Museum Girl loved this exhibit. In truth, the gallery was a little small for the seven monumental murals, but they were delightful to behold, so all was forgiven.
The Psychedelic Portion of our Afternoon
My watch said it was time to view the pumpkins, so we headed to a nearby gallery. Joining the line outside the large white box containing the installation, we listened to the instructions announced by a docent. We’d have to put our stuff into the cubbies provided. We’d be allowed inside the installation for 45 seconds, during which time we could take pictures, but we could not trade places with one another once the door was closed, because there was a falling hazard. Hubby was whispering derisive comments into my ear, predicting how much we were going to hate this.
He was wrong and he was the first to admit it. The charming time keeper engaged Bill in conversation as we waited our turn and she made all the difference. Bill stepped in, oooh and aaaahed for 45 seconds and then we erupted into the rest of the museum. Later he admitted it was his favorite item of the day. I still prefer the murals, but the installation is worth at least 45 seconds of your life.
On Level Two we found Paris at the Turn of the Century. Featuring a few tidbits from the Posters of Paris exhibition of a few years ago, these small beauties are displayed in a tiny darkened gallery and did not evoke the joie de vivre of the full blown exhibit. On Level Three was Art and Trade Along the Silk Road. I’d forgotten that we’d seen it before. It’s lovely, but we weren’t covering new ground. From there we went on to the Reves Collection which continues to be one of our favorite things at the DMA, no matter how many times we see it.
From the DMA we wandered to East Dallas to try out Smokey Rose. Great ribs, great atmosphere and we can’t wait until the weather is better to try out the patio, but the brisket and mac-and-cheese were less than amazing.