Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Natural reds and greens from our trip to Arizona
Wherever you might be celebrating, I hope you have time to be with loved ones -- family and friends -- during this season of peace and love.  I am home, blessed to be surrounded by my husband and children.  It is awesome.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Polymath

Sketch of Leonardo da Vinci
It's sort of spooky when a theme keep reappearing in your daily life.  Lately the phrase "polymath" keeps coming up in my reading.  What's a polymath?  In simple terms, it's someone who has expertise in a broad range of topics and interests.  Da Vinci was a polymath.

Here are two polymaths whose names you may not recognize.  Do you know Sir Francis Galton?  I didn't.  In The Geography of Genius  I learned he was a 19th century scientist who coined the phrase nature versus nurture.  He introduced the questionnaire and statistical analysis, forensic fingerprints, and composite portraiture.  He was one of the first meteorologists.

Sir Francis Galton, circa 1850s

In The Invention of Nature:Alexander Humboldt by Andrea Wulf I'm learning about Alexander Humboldt, another relatively unknown polymath. He invented isotherms -- the lines of temperature and pressure we see on today's weather maps, discovered the magnetic equates, posited the idea of climate zones and the interconnected web of nature.

Portrait of Alexander Humboldt by Joseph Karl Stieler
I'm finding it fascinating to read about people who've made remarkable contributions to our society, yet whose names most of us don't know or, that I don't know.  It makes me think of all those master craftsmen who helped build and embellish  architectural masterpieces such as Notre Dame and the Vatican.  What about all those Roman aqueducts?  The pyramids?   I'm thinking also about the women in the movie, Hidden Figures, who most of us would most likely never read about had their stories not been told.  How many other people haven't see the spotlight?

So here's to the unsung heroes.  I'm raising a glass to you all.

Be well.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Arizona Travels

A panoramic view of the trail into the wilderness
After Thanksgiving, my husband and I traveled to Arizona to visit his parents; he had some business to do during the day and I got to explore.  I hadn't been to Arizona in years so I was snapping pictures left and right. It's not the time for cactus blossoms, but it was fascinating to see the variety of cactus spine textures.

Somehow, the cactus wren calls this home.
We came across some petroglyphs during a hike.  Very cool.  It's a bit mind-boggling to consider how long man has had the urge (or is it a need?) to record his actions and his environment.

We spied a natural phenomena as we boated along Saguaro Lake that a native who'd live in the area for 32 years had never seen before.  They looked like nets that had been suspended all along the shore, just above the water line.  My mother-in-law thought they looked like web worm webs, but no one was sure. Any ideas?

I took a tour of Taliesen West, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and architectural "campus".  I loved the angles that let in the light.

A view of the garden room
Frank Lloyd Wright was uncompromising about his design.  When the structures were originally built, all the spaces were open; there were no windows.  When the time came to add windows, you'd think there might be some adjustments to interior design.  Absolutely not.  Do you see the pair of vases in the background in the picture below?  

Frank Lloyd Wright was adamant that the vases belonged RIGHT THERE and that the shelves could not be extended or moved.  So how, then, do you add windows?  You cut a hole in the glass so everything can stay put.    

It was a very nice visit.  Now I'm back on the East Coast, catching up on all that needs to be done.  It will be a busy few weeks to prepare for the kids all coming home.  I can't wait to have a full house again!  I also have lots of docent trading reading to do and research to write.  More news on this very exciting exhibition soon.  

Be well.