We are working on a Little Free Library for our church, so I have become very aware of the Little Free Libraries wherever I go. As I was photographing this (utterly gorgeous) Little Free Library, an Edmonds resident passing by said “You know we have hundreds of the Little Free Libraries in Edmonds, but this is the most beautiful.”
Hundreds. Edmonds is a civil place, and a bookish place. Edmonds people share. Every year there is a huge tour of gardens, and it includes many many many gardens. People work hard on their gardens, to give joy to passers-by. It thrills my heart to think of so many Little Free Libraries.
But this is the most beautiful:
Bricks. A stained glass window. A copper roof. A window box – so much loving attention to detail, for something to give away to the public. I love this town.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to think of Little Free Libraries popping up in Kuwait? Qatar? Saudi Arabia? Tunisia?
Months in advance, my friend said “You’ll really want to see Shangri-La,” and I had never heard of it, but I looked online, and it looked beautiful. Doris Duke, one of the richest women ever to live, could buy anything she wanted. She had a good eye for art, good timing, and she bought much of what is in Shangri-La and her other residences at bargain prices after WWII. The value of her art holdings increased dramatically, and she ended up with an even bigger fortune than that with which she started.
How do I know? I am in the middle of my third book, reading about Doris Duke. The books are pretty bad. Each author seems to have an axe to grind, and one author took very little information and used it to speculate endlessly, full of gossip and mean-spirit. Altogether, Duke does not come off as a very kind person, but who can say which version of this very private person is the “real” Doris Duke?
To visit Shangri-La, you must go through the Honolulu Museum of Art. They have an online reservation system – the next two weeks are already fully booked. My friend booked months in advance so that we could attend. We got to the Museum, found a good parking place, entered the museum, receiving a lapel sticker and a wristband which later allowed us to visit the museum for as long as we liked.
We boarded a bus and watched a very romanticized movie about the life of Doris Duke, and then we were there! We were warned we could take no photos inside. What a pity! The interiors are magnificent, all marble, and tiles, gorgeous woodwork, and all kinds of Islamic Art that looks like it would go well in the Qatar Museum of Islamic Art. I couldn’t help but wonder if the newly rich aren’t trying to buy some of their cultural objects back?
Our guide ushered us into a beautiful entry, with meshribiyya and tiles and beautiful light fixtures inside. I wish I could show you.
About half way through the tour, we had a break on a terrace from which we had this spectacular view. I read in one of the books that Duke built this rock harbor without asking permission from the Hawaii government, just did it. It is lovely. The terrace also has gorgeous Persian tiles, the interior tiles are Persian and Iznik.
After visiting the Damascus Room and the Syrian Room and the Mogul Room, we visited Doris Duke’s bedroom, bare but for a couple couches. Then, out to the gardens.
We were allowed to take photos in the gardens 🙂
This is a tree at the entry to the house; the tree sends down those shoots that form new roots and new trees. It is magnificent!
After our visit to Shangri-La, we returned to the Honolulu Museum of Art, and had lunch. This is the market salad with salmon – Yumm.
As we lunched, a character went around taking selfies. I think this is a performance artist, and I think it may have been a guy.
Being three very independent kind of folk, we split up to see what we wanted to see at the museum. There was a special temporary exhibit on Japanese street fashion which I found fascinating. I loved some of these street fashions, which strike me as very imaginative. When I got to the Lolita section, however, little girl dresses for grown women, I found it too creepy and strange to photograph.
There is a section on Islamic Art with beautiful tiles and examples of several genres of art objects.
Out on one of the patios, I found this screen which reminded me of a very modern sort of tree-of-life.
Altogether, a grand day. My friend was right – we really enjoyed seeing this.
Just back from a quick trip to Seattle for a wedding, driving home. and there is the most beautiful sky!
A long time ago, working on my undergraduate degrees, I took a minor in Art History, and spent happy hours at the Seattle Art Museum on projects for my classes. Up on the ceiling of one of the rooms (this is in the old Seattle Arts Museum up on Volunteer Hill) there was this wonderful Tiepolo ceiling, with clouds and blue sky and . . . God? I can’t remember anything but the sky part, and tonight’s sky in Pensacola reminded me of that ceiling.
We were all ready to hit this trail once before, but weather forecasts for the week we had it planned were full of thunderous storms and lots of rain, so we postponed.
This time, circumstances all came together fortuitously. AdventureMan had a conference in nearby Baton Rouge, and the temperature and humidity dropped dramatically. We had clear skies, no mosquitos, and glorious weather. As we left the Coffee Call in Baton Rouge, we were grinning from ear to ear.
You gotta love these smart phones. Better than a map for letting you know where you are and where you can turn off to get where you want to go. We wanted the Creole Nature Trail, which is a loop, Louisiana Road 27.
Shortly after we started down LA 27, we came to a US Fish and Wildlife Station, and there we met Sarah, who was a Student Conservation Associate, working for several months at the site. She had all kinds of good information, and was delighted to share with us. We laughed; she told us she was from “the other LA”, Los Angeles, and she had experienced culture shock coming to the backroads of Louisiana, but she had adjusted, learned a lot, and she loves the place.
This is their website: Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
We started at Cameron Prairie, which had a three mile drive and a stop with a one mile boardwalk. The boardwalk was gorgeous, and beautifully kept.
As AdventureMan focused on some alligators, I enjoyed the birds, and the colors:
We don’t know what this bird might be. It was huge. Maybe a Red Shouldered Hawk.
We had the park entirely to ourselves, except for one car that came – and left! We could have spent hours, but it was after lunch time when we left, and we were hungry!
Qatar makes some great laws – like fining those who go through red lights, or who drive near the speed of light. . . but when the violators turn out to be mostly young Qattari men, who pays the fines? Does anyone pay the fines?
From Doha News:
In an effort to tackle bad driving in Qatar, the Ministry of Interior plans to set up speed radars every two to four kilometers on major roads, Traffic Department Director Brig. Mohamed Saad Al Kharji has said.
Additionally, some 120 radars are being installed to catch drivers who overtake others from the right lane, the Qatar Tribune reports Al Kharji as saying.
He added that the software of speed radars that are already installed on the roads would be updated so that they could also catch such violators.
No timeline for when the cameras would be installed was disclosed. But last fall, the MOI announced it would be rolling out radars to catch queue-jumpers.
Using the “slow” right lane to overtake vehicles in the left lane is a traffic violation punishable by a QR500 ticket, but among one of several rules flouted by motorists here.
In Qatar, traffic violators are rarely pulled over by police officers, despite brief campaigns to step up enforcement. In 2012, plainclothes police officers began ticketing drivers who overtook other vehicles on the right.
And at the end of last year, the traffic department began a three-month campaign to ticket those who violate road rules, including drivers who hadn’t fastened their seat belts, used their phones while driving, and rode without a license.
Both initiatives were lauded by many residents who said enforcement is key to improving safety on the roads, but neither seem to have lasted.
Today the church prays for the diocese of Aba, in the Nigerian Delta: