Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Boston Adventure

Last spring, my friend Joan posted that she'd gone to an exhibit on Leonardo DaVinci at her local museum in Cincinnati.  I love Leonardo, so I went on the website for the exhibit and the closest it was coming to New England was Rochester, NY.....in February.   I decided maybe we'd think about a road trip .....although upper state NY in February didn't sound like a great idea!    But I put it on the bottom of the December page of the calendar to remind myself to check it out.

When I flipped the calendar to December, I saw my notes and checked out the website again.  Much to my surprise, they had added a stop at the Boston Museum of Science!  And..... the exhibit was at the Museum right then!

There was no question in my mind that we'd be going to see it right after the holidays.  So in January I got the Museum passes from the library and the date of our adventure was set!   Since I have only one more month on my Aquarium Membership, a stop at the Aquarium was a must!  And when I checked the Marriott website to see if I could get the Marriott Longwharf  hotel  (right next door to the Aquarium) for cheap with my Travel Agent pass..... and it was available!......our adventure was complete!

Hubby knew he had just the right shirt to wear

Of course, much to our chagrin, they were predicting a lot of snow and "blizzard-like" conditions for our weekend.  But we never let no stinkin' bad weather stop us!   I found a parking garage just around the corner from the Aquarium, so we parked the car there for the duration and took public transportation....locally known as the "T".    

We made the Museum of Science our first stop.   

The exhibit was very interesting.  They took a lot of Leonardo's drawings and brought them to life as models. Some were small and some were life-size!

His writings - mostly written in mirror image

The model for his human kite

And his helicopter  

There was a very interesting section on the Mona Lisa....his most famous painting.  They just spent 20 years using infrared imaging to "see" what was beneath the painting....turns out there are two other paintings under there!

One of his inventions was a portable piano......perfect for Hubby!

I found some of his quotes very interesting and perfect even in today's world.

Hubby the "artiste"

The only "hands-on" activity they had was using a model of a catapult to try and knock down a cardboard castle.  Hubby gives it a shot.

They also had a short commentary on another of Leonardo's famous paintings....the Last Supper

When we left the Museum of Science it had started to snow. The giant dinosaur out front looks a bit chilly!

Waiting for the T to come 

When we got to the Aquarium, the Sea Lion out front was basking in the snow coming down!

The Little Blue Penguins were gorgeous!

And the fish are just beautiful too!

Hubby finds an admirer

And I love patting the Manta Rays

After the Aquarium we went back to the parking garage to retrieve our luggage.  It was like a scene from Seinfeld as we wandered around the parking garage looking for our car!    It was really only about 15 minutes before we found it.   The 1/4 mile walk from the garage to the hotel was brutal with the driving snow and wind.    When we got there, there was a wedding being held in the lobby!

We had planned on going to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner.   With the terrible weather we thought twice, but since the T stop was literally right outside the hotel, and the stop at the other end was inside the Prudential building where the Cheesecake Factory was located......we figured it would be easy!   Despite having not one but two trains "go out of service" ...forcing us to get on another train, we got to our destination dry and warm.  And so happy that we made the decision to go!  The Chicken Madeira I ordered was the best I've ever tasted!

We woke up in the morning to beautiful blue skies!  But still extremely cold, so we ate a very expensive (but quite delicious!) breakfast in the hotel dining room.   

The short walk back to the parking garage (where we once again had trouble finding our car!) yielded some photos of some very beautiful architecture.

Finally, across the iconic Zakim Bridge to home

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Stained Glass

 My cousin Margie out in Michigan decided to take up stained glass as a hobby.  When she posted it and said she was looking for "guinea pigs" to make some pieces for, I volunteered!   She was adamant that she was an amateur, and that she would be slow, and that I shouldn't expect a perfect piece. I was quite alright with that.  It's her hobby, so I wanted her to take her time and enjoy it.

We started out by finding just the right idea.   I told her something "floral" would be nice, so she pulled out her Pinterest folder and sent me this idea:

It was perfect!!!   My Mom's favorite flower was the Brown-Eyed Susan, so I couldn't have thought of a better choice.   We discussed color, and the only change we made was to make the border green instead of blue to better match my living room.

Margie kept me updated as the procedure continued:

First she needed to create the pattern.  

Then all the pieces needed to be cut meticulously out of the sheets of glass.  She had to buy a sheet of glass for each color she used.  

Looks like she started from the middle and worked her way out.   The green is waiting in the background to be place around the frame.

A little preview with light shining behind it.

The framing went on last.

What I really love is that the glass is not all plain flat glass.  There is some texture on the gold

and the white edging is prism shaped

Margie wrapped it all up in an artists box and shipped it to me.  I was so excited to receive that box!  And I couldn't believe the beauty of the piece.

She sent some chain - and it took us a little figuring to determine the best way to hang it in the window.   Finally, Hubby screwed some hooks directly into the window frame.

We put it in the window facing the backyard because that's where the sun sets.  I had to wait for a weekend to take some photos of the sun shining through it -  it's dark by the time I come home from work!

I'm so extremely pleased with this gorgeous piece of work!  My cousin Margie is very talented!  Thank you so much for making me such a beautiful keepsake and memorial to my Mom!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas 2016

Having all my children and grandchildren over for Christmas is the most special day of the year for me.   Our tradition has been to have a brunch about a week before Christmas so the families can spend Christmas Day itself with their kids.

This year I invited my Dad and his girlfriend Emma as well.  Dad doesn't get to see the great-grandchildren that often and he told me afterwards that he enjoyed himself immensely.

My son Doug showed up in his jammies.  He likes to get goofy....it's no wonder his daughter Emily is a silly girl too!

Luckily, Doug and Kara gave some jammies to Jamie so she could join in the fun!

We started out the day with brunch.   We had to be a bit creative in fitting twelve people around the table!   And Elise got her own highchair.  We feasted on egg and sausage casserole, hash brown casserole, pecan sticky buns, raspberry coffee cake, veggie quiche (thanks Kara!) and fresh berries.

Then came Emily's favorite part of the day - opening presents!

After the inevitable wrapping-paper-ball fight, Elise helped me clean up!

Jamie enjoyed reading one of Emily's stories

And helping Elise play piano!

Kelly and Audrey check out a gift

Kara and Emily relax in Hubby's recliner

Emily and Audrey play on the floor 

Elise found all my Christmas decorations and carried them around the house....including a penguin bigger than her!  ( a note....my Dad gave me that penguin the Christmas after my Mom died, "to help me not be sad.")

Tag and I open a combo gift while Jamie wonders what we got.

And my Dad finished off the day by telling a few really bad jokes.......as Emily would say...."Nooooooooooo!"

This day, for me, was heaven.  A houseful of my loved ones around my table, and enjoying the holiday season as a family.  Life really, really doesn't get any better than this.