Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame

Nature does some pretty great framing on its own.  Just think how creatively we can see the world through wind-carved arches in Utah or a grove of trees in Cades Cove, Tennessee, or a pile of rocks on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland.  But man comes up with unique frames of his own sometimes.

Make your own art with this ironwork frame on Great Island Common at New Castle Beach, NH.

Make your own art with this ironwork frame on Great Island Common at New Castle Beach, NH.

Like this one on Great Island Common in New Castle Beach, New Hampshire.  It’s meant for picture-taking.

Whaleback Lighthouse -- suitable for framing!

Whaleback Lighthouse — suitable for framing!

And why not?  A rocky beach, the Piscataqua River, and Whaleback Lighthouse — I’d frame this scene, too!

For more interpretations of the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame, click here.  

Posted in New Hampshire, Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Inside George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, College Station, Texas

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, College Station, Texas

A trip is not a trip for us if we don’t stop along the way and see a place or two.  And so it was, that in going to a wedding in Houston, we were able to stop not once but twice at presidential libraries:  Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, and George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

Taking the circuitous route from Knoxville to Houston via Little Rock, AR and College Station, TX (and a few other places along the way)!

Taking the circuitous route from Knoxville to Houston via Little Rock, AR and College Station, TX (and a few other places along the way)!

Just as we stated in our post Inside Clinton Presidential Library, this tour of the Bush library comes with no strings attached:  no endorsement of anyone for president, no leaning to the left or right.  Just an assemblage of pics to get you inside two structures that are chock full of interesting memorabilia, gifts from all over the globe, and vignettes that reveal who these leaders of the U. S. really are.

Flags of many countries Bush visited during his term of office hang in the Presidential Library and Museum.

Flags of many countries Bush visited during his term of office hang in the Presidential Library and Museum.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum resides on the Texas A & M University campus, squarely in Aggieland.  How’d it get there?  Shortly after Bush became commander-in-chief, Texas oil businessman Michael G. Halbouty (Class of 1930) approached the President about placing the library in College Station.  The town even renamed Jersey Street as George Bush Drive in 1989.  In 1991, George Bush agreed to the placement of his presidential library and museum in College Station. The structure itself is open, stately, and commanding with its high-ceiling lobby leading into one of many exhibit areas.

The graceful  lobby of Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

The graceful lobby of Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Greeting us at the time of our visit was The National Parks Photography Project celebrating the centennial of the National Parks Foundation: 1916 to 2016. Elegant black and white framed photos lined the walls with a quote by John Muir posted squarely at the end: “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

Celebrating the centennial of the National Parks Foundation is the National Parks Photography Project.

Celebrating the centennial of the National Parks Foundation is the National Parks Photography Project.

An expansive photo of the Grand Canyon filled another wall, accompanied by elegant words from President Theodore Roosevelt written in 1903.

“Leave it as it is.  You cannot improve on it.  The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.  What you can do is to keep it for your children, and for all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American . . . should see.”

A photo mural of the Grand Canyon

Photo mural of the Grand Canyon

George Bush Presidential Library has a comfortable feel to it.  You walk through “stations” (I guess you can call them that) and read about phases of Bush’s political life.

Exhibit on George Bush as Congressman

Exhibit on George Bush as Congressman

Or you can gaze at the many gifts bestowed on George and his wife Barbara during their years in the White House.

Like this grazed porcelain piece, “Sevres” by Jim Caswell, presented by His Excellency Francois Mitterand, President of the French Republic, following the President’s trip to St. Martin on December 16, 1989.

"Sevres" by Jim Caswell, a gift from Francois Mitterand

“Sevres” by Jim Caswell, a gift from Francois Mitterand

An exact replica of President Bush’s Camp David with his desk, comfy chairs, and photos is open for all to see (but not to touch).

Replica of Bush's Camp David in Bush Presidential Library

Replica of Bush’s Camp David in Bush Presidential Library

Other places, however, invite interaction.  Doesn’t Bert look a bit presidential in the Oval Office where tourists can have their picture made?

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Bert posing as President in the Oval Office at Bush Presidential Library.

And I wondered just how it would be to stand in perpetuity like this Terracotta Warrior that guards part of an international exhibit on Bush’s visit to China.

Asleep on the job?

Asleep on the job?

Of course, if I wanted to, I could just sit and chat with the President. He looks as if he would listen, doesn’t he?

"Now, President Bush, I have a few things to go over with you, if you've got a minute."

“Now, President Bush, I have a few things to go over with you, if you’ve got a minute.”

One unexpected pleasure for me, a former English teacher, was the emphasis on the accomplishments of  Barbara Pierce Bush who married George H. W. Bush on January 6, 1945.  In addition to serving as First Lady and mother to George W. (Governor of Texas and 43rd U. S. President) and Jeb (Governor of Florida), Mrs. Bush championed her primary cause:  the promotion of literacy for all.

A room dedicated to Mrs. Bush made us feel as if we were sitting in the Bush family den, watching TV, and gazing at books that Barbara has written or loved.  (Profits from two books she co-authored, C. Fred’s Story and Millie’s Book, benefit the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.)

You are invited to take a seat and watch a video on Barbara Bush's emphasis on literacy in this comfy den setting.

You are invited to take a seat and watch a video on Barbara Bush’s emphasis on literacy in this comfy den setting.

At both of the presidential libraries — Clinton’s and Bush’s — we took time to watch the beautifully produced videos chronicling the childhood, college years, and White House stays of both Bill Clinton and George Bush.  Coincidentally, when we visited in Fall 2015, two other people in those family videos were candidates for President:  Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, and Jeb Bush, a Republican.  How interesting to see them in their younger years!

We felt welcome at the Bush Presidential Library and Museum.  And maybe it’s a credit to the volunteers who treated every person we saw that day as special guests. Along with the artifacts, videos, photography, and corners filled with information, there’s a sense that this Bush library — and perhaps all presidential libraries — belong to the people, no matter what party they ascribe to or how they regard the person who occupied the White House during their term.  Presidential libraries are for all of us.

Barbara Bush with U. S. flag at Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Barbara Bush with U. S. flag at Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

For more information:

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, 1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, TX 77845; 979-691-4000; www.bush41.org.

Facebookfacebook.com/bush41

Twitter: twitter.com/bush41

YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/user/41President?feature=mhee

 

 

 

 

Posted in Destination, Museum, Boomer Travel, Texas | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Travel theme: Writing

Wending our way through the narrow streets at Prague Castle.

Wending our way through the narrow streets at Prague Castle.

Consulting a travel book can sometimes be tricky.  You see, we had this book on Prague.  A very good book, as it turns out.  It had a whole section on Prague Castle and Hradcany.  (Fascinating place, by the way.) And it said that when we went there, we should look for Golden Lane.  “The picturesque artisans’ cottages along the inside of the castle wall were built in the late 16th century for the Castle’s guards and gunners.”  And right beside the write-up was this sweet picture of colorful cottages along a tiny lane.

But when we funneled our way down a first lane to get to Golden Lane, we realized what we were up against:  summer tourists.  By the droves.

Crowds of tourists at Golden Lane, Prague

Crowds of tourists at Golden Lane, Prague

So that when we entered Golden Lane, we could hardly view the sweet cottages for all the people taking pictures and coming and going in and out to escape the pop-up shower that soaked us all.

But we were looking for No. 22.  After all, said the tour guide book, the writer Franz Kafka stayed at No. 22 with his sister for a few months in 1916-1917.  And we wanted to know what writing. And where?  And when?

House No. 22 at Golden Lane, Prague where Kafka lived from 1916-1917.

House No. 22 at Golden Lane, Prague where Kafka lived from 1916-1917.

So, we entered No. 22 and there was the confirmation:

And here's the proof:  Kafka wrote A Country Doctor right here in No. 22.

And here’s the proof: Kafka wrote A Country Doctor right here in No. 22.

Of course, we had to buy a copy.  And then, oh yes, we’ll take that, too:  a little journal with this graphic that we noticed was on t-shirts and pencils and buttons to wear.

A little journal sporting a Kafka-esque graphic cover!  Don't you love it?

A little journal sporting a Kafka-esque graphic cover! Don’t you love it?

Writing by Kafka is popular in Prague!

For more entries in Ailsa’s Travel theme: Writing, click here.

And our book that led us all through Prague?  Prague 2016 by Eyewitness Travel. www.dk.com

Posted in Europe, Travel Theme | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fun

Imagine this.  It’s your first afternoon after a long flight from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Prague, and you just want to leave the hotel for a few minutes to explore the square downtown.  And what’s one of the first things you see?  Bubble man and his sidekick.  Going to it.  Blowing the biggest, happiest bubbles you can imagine for the sheer fun of it.

Biggest, baddest bubbles in Prague!

Biggest, baddest bubbles in Prague!

And whether you’re a kid in the USA or the Czech Republic, it doesn’t matter when it comes to bubbles.  You just go for it.  Just for fun!

Chasing bubbles in Prague!

Chasing bubbles in Prague! How fun is this!

For more fun photos in the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Fun, click here.  You need a little fun in your life, right?

Posted in Europe, Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Morning

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge by The Daily Post at WordPress focuses on the word Morning with a bonus if we share something other than the usual sunrise photo.  Now, for me, there’s nothing ordinary about a sunrise since it’s only during my vacation that I rise to greet Mr. Sun in such fine fashion.  But still, here’s what I saw at Pawleys Island when I turned away from the ocean to see the reflection of yellow morning sun on one of my favorite old houses on the beach: Maurice Cottage.

Maurice Cottage on the South End of Pawleys Island -- greeting the sun!

Maurice Cottage on the South End of Pawleys Island — greeting the sun!

But just in case you still like seeing one more sunrise, here are my two favorite photos from Summer 2016!

Looking through the fences at the Atlantic Ocean -- just one more glorious morning at Pawleys!

Looking through the fences at the Atlantic Ocean — just one more glorious morning at Pawleys!

Rich colors morning at Pawleys Island 2016.

Rich colors morning at Pawleys Island 2016.

Thanks for traveling with us.  We feel blessed to just to be able to get up and about each morning!  –Bert and Rusha

Posted in Photography, South Carolina, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , | 28 Comments

Inside Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, Little Rock, Arkansas

Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, Little Rock, Arkansas

Now, let’s get this straight right off the bat:  this post has nothing to do with candidates we are or are not endorsing for President.  It’s merely a glimpse inside a structure that we visited en route to a wedding in Houston, Texas, with a stopover in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Taking the circuitous route from Knoxville to Houston via Little Rock, AR and College Station, TX (and a few other places along the way)!

Taking the circuitous route from Knoxville to Houston via Little Rock, AR and College Station, TX (and a few other places along the way)!

And, to be fair, we’ll be sharing another post  (Inside George Bush Presidential Library) since College Station, Texas, was another stop along the way to our Houston wedding.  Lucky us — two presidential libraries, one big road trip!

We have to admit — we weren’t sure we’d like the architecture of the Clinton Library.  After all, we’d seen pictures of the freight car shape with its cold, gray modern exterior. It just wasn’t something we thought was . . . well, presidential. But once inside, we got it. The building, situated perpendicular to the Arkansas River, affords views of the landscape from its expansive windows that put you front and center with the landscape and pays tribute to America’s heartland.

Clinton Presidential Library facing perpendicular to the Arkansas River in Little Rock.

Clinton Presidential Library facing perpendicular to the Arkansas River in Little Rock.

And what else helped?  Immersing ourselves in the timelines (eight sections, one for each year) with their artfully arranged archives . . .

Timelines line up on the first floor housing artifacts focusing on themes of the Clinton administration.

Timelines line up on the first floor housing artifacts arranged by priorities of the Clinton administration.

and taking in another favorite — the well-appointed, only-one-in-existence, exact replica of the Oval Office (no photos allowed).  Marvelous, to say the least.

Add to that the fun of a day dedicated to Dr. Seuss and seeing groups of school children (Loved this.  I’m a teacher, remember?) eager to take a field trip anywhere, but especially to a place this regal.  This day had all the makings of a memory waiting to happen in Little Rock!

Now look who just showed up in Little Rock when we did!

Now look who showed up in Little Rock when we did!

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Bert and I are avid readers in museums.  Our legs give out before our minds do — simply because we stand around and read posters, captions, historical materials, anything . . . longer than most people who enter a museum alongside of us do.  But reading/learning is what we love. The Clinton Library‘s timelines grabbed us immediately: artfully arranged photos, newspaper clippings, etc., with info about Clinton’s initiatives brought back memories since we’ve lived through the Clinton eras and major programs like restoring the economy, advancing science and technology, and making communities safer. On top of that, no docent had to point out the nearly 5,000 blue boxes of presidential archives housed in floor-to-ceiling columns.  They were pretty visible on their own.

Bert's taking a long look at all that paper -- almost 5,000 boxes of archives in floor-to-ceiling columns.

Bert’s taking a long look at all that paper — almost 5,000 boxes of archives in floor-to-ceiling columns.

 

I left Bert immersed in the timelines and the boxes so I could go upstairs to view the gifts bestowed on Bill and Hillary, gifts from heads of state all over the world as well as from ordinary citizens tagged with dates and names of donors.

Gifts from around the world to Bill & Hillary Clinton line the upstairs walls of the Clinton Presidential Library.

Gifts from around the world to Bill & Hillary Clinton line the upstairs walls of the Clinton Presidential Library. (Photo courtesy of clintonfoundation.org.)

And when Bert finally joined me upstairs, we stood a while by the presidential table setting featuring fine linens, china, and crystal, wondering how it would feel to dine with the First Family in the White House (and doubting our table manners would be up to snuff).

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Nothing, however, caught our attention quite like the Dale Chihuly piece on the second floor, not just because Chihuly’s work is unparalleled in the medium of glass but also because this is just stunning on so many levels.

Wispy airiness of a Chihuly sculpture!

Wispy airiness of a Chihuly sculpture!

Near this sculpture, a sign explained something else about the architecture of the Clinton Center:  The hallway resembles the Long Room in the Old Library of Trinity College Dublin.  And you know what?  It really does have a similar sense of space.

Dominating the long hall of the second floor are the graceful curves of a sculpture by artist Dale Chihuly.

Dominating the long hall of the second floor are the graceful curves of a sculpture by artist Dale Chihuly.

Floor to ceiling windows offer a glimpse on one side to the 1899 Rock Island Railroad Bridge across the Arkansas River connecting to North Little Rock.

 

A view of the rock Island Railroad Bridge from the Clinton Presidential Library

A view of the rock Island Railroad Bridge from the Clinton Presidential Library

And a panorama of the city can be viewed from windows on another side — along the front of the building. One volunteer told us that the Clintons have a private residence on the top floor of the library/museum that is understandably not open to the public.

View of Little Rock from Clinton Presidential Library

View of Little Rock from Clinton Presidential Library

The video chronicling Bill Clinton‘s childhood, collegiate years, work and pathway to the highest office in the nation brought back memories since we are contemporaries.  But we found most fascinating the footage of Hillary, now running for the highest office herself,  in her younger years when she met, dated, and married Bill.  And information about her own causes — health insurance for all, adoption and foster care of children, women’s rights — reminded us that First Ladies are leaders in their own right.

Reflecting pool and pedestrian bridge at Clinton Presidential Library

Reflecting pool and pedestrian bridge at Clinton Presidential Library

And so it was that the Clinton Presidential Center became the first of many presidential libraries we hope to visit.  If this is any indication of what the others hold, we can truthfully say that every attempt is made to collect artifacts, quotes, and visuals that visitors would want to see and to house them in a way that anyone can learn more about a President and his or her years in office.

Now, of course, we have another question:  if Hillary is elected in November, will there be a whole new library when her term has ended, or will there be an addition to this one?  And what will Bill, the First Husband (First Gentleman?) take on as causes?  Good questions, we think.  Any answers?  Or if you’ve visited the Clinton Presidential Center, what were your takeaways?

For more information:

Clinton Presidential Library, 1200 President Clinton Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201; 501.374.4242. www.clintonlibrary.gov
Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a. m. to 5 p. m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.

 

 

Posted in Arkansas, Boomer Travel, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 31 Comments

Travel theme: Pastel

Having just returned from our yearly trek to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, we’re naturally looking through our pictures to see what to cut and keep.  Not an easy task, of course, since neither of us wants to pitch out a sunrise or sunset. And we’ve even posted once this week on the DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow a shot of a boardwalk leading to a creek dock.  But what could be more perfect for another challenge this week from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack: Travel Theme: Pastel than a series of creek docks bathed in the soft hues of pinks, blues, and purples as the sun goes down?

So, with that in mind, we’re showing you a bunch — or several, as it may be — of one favorite creekside dock located near the house we rent.  We love it.  Not because we get to use it — we don’t.  But because we can stand in the street, gaze at it longingly, and admire its one distinguishing asset:  a South Carolina logo weathervane.  Here it is: three stages of sundown pastel glory. Enjoy!

Early evening creek dock: Pawleys Island.

Almost sundown: Pawleys Island Creek Dock

Almost dark: Pawleys Island Creek dock

If you want to see more entries in Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Pastel, click here.

Posted in Photography, South Carolina, Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow

For those of you who follow our blogs, you may remember one of our favorite spots that we visit in July of each year:  Pawleys Island, South Carolina.  A tiny historical marker on one of the causeways says that Pawleys is the oldest seaside resort in America, and, based upon some of the dwellings that survived Hurricane Hugo in 1989 — houses on the ocean and docks in the marsh — Pawleys still has that laid-back look and “arrogantly shabby” feel of yesteryear.

Sundown at the dock:  Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

Sundown at the dock: Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

Grasses really are greener on the creek side compared to the oceanfront. In fact, it’s the marshes that distinguish this little slice of heaven from other South Carolina beach resort counterparts.  Narrow, somewhat creaky walkways provide quick access to views of white herons standing on single legs, the sound of an ebb-and-flow creek that moves with the tides, and the laid-back sport of crabbing, if you’re so inclined.  Not a narrow experience by any means.

For more entries in this week’s DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow, click here.

Posted in Photography, South Carolina, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cherry on Top

Two dancers join in as the team competes in Brasov, Romania.

Two dancers join in as the team competes in Brasov, Romania.

We’re back from a glorious trip to Eastern Europe, but something happened on the last day that qualifies as the Cherry on Top! The square in Brasov, Romania was abuzz with activity.  Just a normal day, we thought.  But no.  It was a festival day, a day of competition and performances.  With kids dancing in traditional costumes.  And lilting strains of Romanian music emanating from the stage where the young performers danced the dances taught to them by their elders.

Waiting her turn to join in the dancing in Brasov, this young girl in native dress stands near the stage.

Waiting her turn to join in the dancing in Brasov, this young girl in native dress stands near the stage.

Just seeing the children dressed and waiting for stage time, just watching their cautious I-don’t-want-to-make-a-mistake faces, and seeing that children performing for adults around the world are just the same . . . well, it was the Cherry on Top, for sure.

Waiting and watching can be pretty tough when you're in competition!

Waiting and watching can be pretty tough when you’re in competition!

For more examples of Cherry on Top experiences or places or people, check out WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge here.

Posted in Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

Taking a break for places we can’t wait to see!

Bucharest_map

For the month of July, we’re taking a break from blogging to sightsee and work in another part of the world:  Romania!  Working with a team in Bucharest through Habitat Global Village, we’ll be renovating a school.  But we’re also adding some fun stops nearby and not-so-nearby.

First, we fly to Prague and take in what that city has to offer.  If tour books are any indication, we are in for a treat! Then drive (well, ride with a driver) to Budapest where we’ll stay three days taking a look at what that city has to offer.  (It’ll be all play up to that point).

Finally, we’ll fly from Budapest to Bucharest where the work on the school begins with our Habitat team.  Finally,  we’ll end end our trip with a few days in Brasov and nearby seeing Peles and Bran Castles, Sinaia Monastery, and Black Church.

We’re not sure how easy it will be to post pictures on our Instagram account, but that will be our foremost go-to social media portal:  https://www.instagram.com/rushasams/

If time allows and the internet connects, we may post pictures on Oh, the Places We See.

Regardless, we’re looking forward to any and all experiences.  As always, thanks for following us.  See you when we get back home!

— Rusha and Bert

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , , | 46 Comments