Grand Canyon

I was inspired by my friend Anabel’s blog post and photos of the Grand Canyon.  I went through my old photo disks to find ones from our trip there with a good friend who lives in Prescott, AZ – the first time my daughter saw the Grand Canyon. 

South Rim of Grand Canyon

South Rim of Grand Canyon

“The Grand Canyon,” I kept telling her in her early years, “is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  Spectacular.  Awesome. I can’t wait until you can go there.”  We are American, but my daughter has been raised mostly in Europe.  After I dragged her to numerous castles in the Loire Valley of France; she announced to our French side of the family, “if I have to go to one more chateau; I shall vomit!”.  We bribed her with local patisseries after each visit.  Even Jean d’Arc (Joan of Arc) was not compelling to her.  But she could be bribed with French pastries (and this still works).

After a two-hour drive with one of my best friends who is as goofy as I am, so we sang almost the entire trip… we pulled up to the parking lot and got her out of the car, covering her eyes.  We walked her to the Rim and uncovered her view.  The look on her face?  Priceless – I can still see it today.  Total Awe.

Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon South Rim.

We stayed a couple days; walking around, eating our home-made food at picnic benches, seeing all we could see, watched the condors that had been recently reintroduced at the Park.  We laughed – joked about attracting wildlife; “just roll your shoulders and yell ‘hubba hubba’!” and made a lot of memories.  We were fortunate to get a last minute room at the El Tovar Hotel right at the Rim.  Sneaking Emily in, she slept on an air mattress we brought.  I barely sleep that night; it was all too magic.

Afternoon arrival

Afternoon arrival

I have been on a lot of vacations at a lot of wonderful places.  But for memories; this one tops them all.  The first time my daughter saw the Grand Canyon.

Thank you Auntie Jannie – you’re the best.  We miss you.  M xx

The clouds have an amazing effect on the scenery

The clouds have an amazing effect on the scenery

Bob

I have been volunteering at the Botanic Gardens “Electric Lights” event.  The other night, while getting ready I looked in the pond and noticed a fish that was upright.  I asked the park warden if the fish was dying (as lots of kids would be there that night).

He gets along with everyone.

He gets along with everyone.

“That’s Bob.  We call him Bob because, well, he’s a bobber.  Something went wrong with his ballast so he is and up and down fish.  He’s fine”.

Funny I hadn’t noticed Bob before, I have been there a lot.  And just then Bob swam….a wee bit.Bob Swims

And then went back to “Bobbing”.  He eats just fine.  The other fish don’t seem to mind that he is a vertical fish instead of a horizontal one.  Just like all families – we aren’t all the same.  Bob has a better view of us.  Swimming must give him a head rush. Bob

Say “hi” to Bob when you are in the Kibble Palace, Glasgow Botanic Gardens.  The fish are lovely to look at.  But please don’t feed them; one fish ate so much he couldn’t digest all his food and they tried to “ballast” him so he would be equally-weighted; it only worked a couple days.  I guess fish, like horses, can’t vomit.  Bob and friends

Eating my way through Glasgow – Riverhill Coffee Bar

Tiny….but growing.

Tiny….but growing.

Eat, Pray, Love.
Eat, Dance, Bliss.

E and I like to eat.  We walk a lot, so we think we can (eat) and I figure she is still growing.  It works for us.  As long as my Fitbit goes over 10,000 steps that day.

We thought we would duck in somewhere new.  We were peckish, well downright ravenous, and another place we checked was “full”.  On the recommendation from a friend at Mulberry (like, handbags!) we went here.  OMG what a delight.

Pastry treats at the Riverhill Cafe, Glasgow.

Pastry treats at the Riverhill Cafe, Glasgow.

The place is tiny; like so tiny that there is a bar with some seats against the wall and we were lucky enough to get two spots.  But crowded as it is winter and we all have coats, scarves, mittens, hats, bags.  And we feel guilty because the place keeps filling up….

We have a sandwich each; and whatever they put in the mayo I could eat every day.  Enhanced the chicken sublimely…and the roll was perfect crunch outside and squish on the inside.

Did we have dessert?  Yes, one to go and one for a gluten-free friend of ours.  The Snickers Brownie was eaten later than day (in another coffeehouse) and was drool-worthy.  At 10 that night we were hungry again, and ate our friend’s gluten-free lemon and poppyseed muffin.  Like a dessert.  (Sorry, Cath!)

Top marks for this gem; and will be happy to see it expanded (as indicated).  Oh, the coffee was great and there was a raspberry green tea that smelled like a berry bush, too!

Fruit Scones

Fruit Scones

Northern Owls in a Hoar Frost Wonderland

j'adore champagne:

Missing Minnesota…..

Originally posted on The PhotoNaturalist:

When I left my house this morning (Dec 11th) I was a bit bummed as the skies were gray and the light flat. But when we started gaining elevation out of Duluth, a hoar frost wonderland began to appear. Every single bud, branch, needle and twig on every single tree was coated in a feathery frost. Spectacular! Now if we could only find some subjects! I was traveling with Dave Shaffer from Spooner, Wisconsin (one of the best Black Bear photographers in the country…see his images (all taken in the wild) at http://www.bearwitnessimages.com) and we were after one thing…Owls!

Most birders and photographers who love boreal birds have heard of northern Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog. It is a Mecca for those searching out lifers or photos of northern birds such as Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, Pine Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill, Evening Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, Hoary Redpoll and, of…

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Willow Tea Room Tour – part of Creative Mackintosh Month in Glasgow

Willow Tea Room Tour – part of Creative Mackintosh Month in Glasgow.

Willow Tea Room Tour – part of Creative Mackintosh Month in Glasgow

As part of Creative Mackintosh Month (October 2014), the Willow Tea Room offered tea and a tour,  hardly something that one could pass up – to both learn about Mackintosh and have a cup of tea in the same historical spot.  Ms. Sylvia Smith was a fountain of everything Mackintosh; a one-person archive of all things Cranston/Willow/MacK and MacD.

We started on the top floor, the billiard room where she told us the history of Miss Cranston’s Tea Rooms as they were known back then.

our knowledgeable tour guide for all things Mackintosh, Cranston and Willow!

our knowledgeable tour guide for all things Mackintosh, Cranston and Willow!

The art work of Mackintosh often represented nature, often as translated by the Druids. Willow and Mistletoe were sacred in their religion; and “Sauchiehall” means Willow in Druid-speak. Mistletoe was represented in the doors.

Green mistletoe on the windows on the door

drawing of Miss Cranston's chandelier which sported individual flowers.

Drawing of Miss Cranston’s chandelier. Made of glass and crystal, it was unfortunately put into the tip when the building was sold.

Miss Cranston came from a family of prohibition activists…which at the end of the day might have been a benefit to Mackintosh as he fell under the influence of drink to his art’s demise. Miss Cranston had a keen eye for business and a kind heart. She often took young women into her care giving them careers as waitresses in the tearooms (she had four) and a place in her home as well.
Cranston had an artists eye as well; giving Mackintosh free rein inside and out; and bringing her own style to the internal design. The chandelier was designed as a flowers, from which she each day placed flowers from her own garden into each vase overhead.

Tulip Lanterns

Not original; but true to original design. Also matched the earrings I wore that day…..

My Mackintosh inspired earrings….

My Mackintosh inspired earrings….

On the second floor, a room only for the ladies was designed in pale lavender. It cost a penny extra to eat in this room; women could conducted their business unencumbered by the male of the element. Original Mackintosh window.

Sacred to the Druids.  This is an original door; encased in protective casing.

Sacred to the Druids. This is an original door; encased in protective casing.

reflection of the Ladies' Room.  No, not meaning the loo.

reflection of the Ladies’ Room. No, not meaning the loo.

Original Mirror

If you stop by the Tearoom you are likely to see Sylvia; she can tell you more. I would hate to spoil the entire story – but can leave you with more photos to entice you to come in.

One of Mackintosh’s legacies, it also contains the genius of his wife; Margaret Macdonald. Mackintosh was quoted saying that, “he had talent; but Margaret had genius“.

I might agree; her work is marvellous.  Earthy.  Grounded, but with mystic.

Yummy!

Yummy!

Mackintosh inside and out!

Mackintosh inside and out!