I have a confession to make. One of the things that has kept me from blogging this past year is that I have reconnected with a past love: reading books. Before I started grad school, I used to always be reading something for enjoyment. Once I was in grad school, I felt like if I had time to read, it should be dedicated to reading journal articles or dissertations and other papers related to me studies. I would occasionally indulge while traveling, but I read very few books for fun. Fast forward to last fall, when my graduate studies were finally finished, and I picked up a book for fun. And then another and another. If I didn’t have so many real-world obligations, I’d happily sit around and read 12 or 14 hours a day. But, the reality is that I have the real-world obligations, and I feel obligated to tend to them. So, I mostly only read at night. So, tonight, instead of writing more here, I will keep this short, and go to bed and snuggle up with a book.
And because I hate to post without photos these days, I will leave you with a few images from my visit to the Trinity College Library in Dublin from May, 2014.
Tonight I am grateful for reading and for books.
Here are several spiral staircases I’ve seen.
A double helix spiral staircase in Paris, France. 2007.
An ironwork spiral staircase inside the library at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. 2014.
Stairway inside a hotel in Glasgow, Scotland. 2015.
When I visited mainland China in 2012 with my cousin for a conference in Shanghai, we also made a quick trip to Beijing so that we could make an excursion to see the Great Wall. Even though it was a short trip, we also wanted to see some of Beijing, including the Forbidden City. Between a hole in the wall place where we had breakfast and the Forbidden City, we encountered this impressive building:
Stone guardian lions are quite a frequent sight in China, but nowhere else did I see a guardian duck. This little (well, actually, it was quite a large duck) welcomes visitors to the Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant. (I’d never have remembered that, but I can make out the English text on the very shiny golden revolving door.) The internets inform me that this is quite a famous restaurant, and possibly the home of the original Peking duck. We did not enter this colorful building, so I can’t speak for the interior, or comment on the quality of the food. I can only vouch for the memorability of the duck.
I’m on a roll with my ducks these days. Not that I have any actual ducks. I do, however, have plenty of photos of ducks.
This photo is one that strikes me as funny, probably because it’s not a sight likely to be seen in the US. I saw this display of duck heads on my trip to China in 2012, at a food stall. I believe it was in the city of Hangzhou, which is near Shanghai.
Most Americans prefer to dissociate the meat and poultry they eat from the animals they come from. Typically, these purchases are made in a supermarket, with cuts of meat and poultry wrapped in cellophane, denuded of as many signs of having once had feet and faces as possible. Clearly this is not the case in many parts of the world. I still remember being somewhat shocked as a kid when we moved to France, and encountered butcher shops and market stalls with whole animals hanging from hooks, and being disturbed that the chickens we purchased still had feet and head attached.
In any case, it seems that in China, duck heads are a fairly popular food dish.
Here are 6 photos I took at different times and in different places in recent(ish) years.
Exeter, New Hampshire. 2008.
Sevilla, Spain. 2009.
MIT. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2009.
Forbidden City, Beijing, China, 2012.
New York City, NY. 2012.
UMass Amherst, MA. 2014.
Here are 3 (largely) unrelated photos that I have taken at different times in recent years.
Botanical gardens in Paris, France in 2007.
Park on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago, IL. 2010.
Forbidden City, Beijing, China. 2012.
Given that yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the US, I find myself being nostalgic for the many Thanksgivings I had at my grandmother’s house growing up. Unpacking various pieces of china and serving ware to put away in our new house, assorted family heirlooms that I remember from my childhood, and using the buffet that was from my grandmother’s house has filled me with a steady stream of memories. It is no surprise, then, that seeing this week’s friday foto finder theme of “stream” brought to mind one body of water: the one in the town where my grandmother had lived.
These photos are from May of 2005, the last time I visited that town. The creek that runs through Beulah, Colorado ranges from a tiny trickle in times of drought (which Beulah sees quite often) to a rushing torrent in the spring, gushing with the runoff from the snowmelt up in the higher mountains. During that visit, the creek (pronounced “crick” by many locals) was quite high.
My mother and I walked down to see the place where the creek crosses Central Avenue. At this junction, the creek calmly flows under the road through some pipes for much of the year. But in the spring, the creek insists on crossing the road. Cars and trucks typically drive right through the creek, but happily there is a little bridge for pedestrians who aren’t wearing their waders.
To see what other streams are flowing, merrily row yourself over to the fff blog.