Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

This weekly photo challenge was tough, because a majority of my shots are urban in nature. Cities fascinate me. I’m the first generation in at least a handful that didn’t spend my childhood dodging buses, trolleys or loitering in front of corner candy stores daily. The city is a part of me though and I feel as strongly about it as I do with the pastures of Ireland. Only God and my old soul know why.

Though I have many to choose from, here are a couple of the most recent shots. Enjoy.

Amsterdam Alley

Berlin

 

Advertisements

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

Just in the nick of time, for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple, I bring to you, shades of Belgian pottery.

We spent a long while talking to the potter himself at his stand in Bruges, about his technique and his glazes.  You can see a picture of him below as well.  He makes beautiful jewelery as well, but unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of those during our chat.

Hope you’ve all had a wonderful week so far.

Brussels: More Seedy than Chocolatey

On a partly sunny late June morning, our redeye landed in Brussels. With dreams of chocolate and architecture, we waited in the immigration line, eager to hit the cobblestone, rather Belgian stone. Our plan, per Rick Steves, was to peruse the town for a few hours and later ride the rails to Bruges. We hopped the train to city centre, stowed our carry-on suitcases in a locker and approached our first outdoor look at Belgium with a warm welcome from…drunk bums. Upon exiting the main train station in Brussels, we found trash, drunk confrontational homeless people and open outdoor toilets. Yay, we made it!

Don’t get me wrong, we like to make our own adventures but since we were foreigners, I suggested we just keep walking toward the Grand Place or Grote Markt like Rick said and get the heck away from the train station. He did mention Brussels was a little seedy, but Brussels sounds so fancy and French, so the only seediness I envisioned was that of chocolate dipped strawberries. Still, each city has its less desirable areas, so we ventured on and found what our little hearts desired…cappuccinos and chocolate filled pastries amid tall and ornate structures.

It became more and more overcast and eventually started to downpour, but the flowers that lined the windowsills of La Grand Place were still beautiful. The architecture consumed hundreds of pictures on our memory card, with each angle or sculpted archway appearing more intricate and astonishing than the last. This was the Belgium I wanted to see, shortly followed by a little peeing baby. “Let’s go see Mannequin Pis”, I tell my husband. “A pissing mannequin? What? Why?” I expected a response like this, since the only portion of the Belgium book he read was on the beer. But we did find the tiny statue of the baby boy peeing into a fountain, which seems to capture quite the crowd of tourists. It is a national symbol afterall…and there are many different variations that poke fun at the original. I found these much more amusing and not quite G-rated enough to post for your viewing pleasure.

We continued to wander and saw a parade of Belgian police ride through the narrow streets on gorgeous horses. It was a procession that included drumming and what seemed like a ceremonious trot through the main square. And though it was raining and the sight was one that we’d remember, I remember most getting my jeans smattered by….”stuff” from a horse splattering on the Belgian stone. I think that is the most delicate way to put that. Wonderful, a post full of bodily functions. But luckily we had our handy laundry detergent and my husband stopped laughing long enough that I could get cleaned up and we could head over to Bruges, which would hopefully welcome our tired and cranky selves with open arms, clear skies and beer.

Creep at the Carnival

Last night I felt like a creep. I didn’t do anything wrong, mind you.

We are preparing to go on a trip soon. I like to call them adventures; we don’t have much planned out yet. But we bought new heavy duty backpacks and we’re feeling pretty ready to go. My husband wanted to try them out, so since we were going to the local Catholic School carnival, we’d get some walking in and this could be a good opportunity to try them out.

He loaded mine up with books and water bottles, which I thought was a bit excessive, considering it won’t be our main luggage, but used mostly for a large daypack.

We got some pretty strange looks when we show up childless, huge backpacks and taking pictures. I felt like a predator trying to take pictures of carnival rides and treats for sentimental and blog sake, while trying to avoid capturing the children belonging to the parents eerily watching us. Maybe we should have gone on a ride or two, or not acted as awkward as we appeared. Maybe we should’ve played another game besides the one where you use a big rifle to shoot out the paper star. Maybe we shouldn’t have run off with that stroller…

Just kidding.

We aren’t creepy generally, but we definitely appeared odd. Needless to say, I captured some decent shots and we determined that our backpacks are sufficient enough to join us.

Note to self: Next time bring friends with kids so we don’t feel so out of place; or at least don’t look like we’re surveying prospective kids to kidnap and take camping.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

Close.

A close shot of the vegetables lying close to each other. I purchased these this morning, from the local farmer’s market.  The produce was grown close-by, by a group of close-knit farmers who run a community event each Saturday; Jersey fresh and organic.  This is as close as we can get to eating healthy and helping the local farm economy.

Close enough for you?

Weekly Photo Challenge

Graffiti: Art or Disrespectful?

Graffiti cement barrier. Looking out on One World Trade Center.

I tend to like things neat and tidy, but I also appreciate art and character. I don’t know that I consider graffiti art. I’ve never known an actual graffiti “artist”, so I’ve had no one to help me solidify the answer. The closest I’ve come is the random guy at an artist street fair who makes cool poster size prints from spray paint. They usually have a painters mask on while little kids sit right in front, breathing the fumes as their parents stare in fascination.

Back to graffiti; I won’t say I’m not intrigued by it. It’s hard not to draw your eyes from random splashes of color in places amongst plain brick or cement backdrops. There are times that I appreciate color on a decrepit and crumbling wall, in the form of a beautiful mural. There are also times I see spray paint on two hundred year old Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Friendship

Friendship is one of the most amazing gifts.

My closest friends, I only see rarely due to distance. We don’t talk as often as we’d like either due to busy schedules, other relationships and different time zones. But the moment we are together, any of us, it’s like time never passed. Even more, I love that I can bring my husband and it seems like our friends have known him most of their lives too. There’s no sense of newness or awkwardness, it’s like we were meant to be.

This weekend we spent time with one of my dearest girlfriends in Brooklyn. One of the best birthdays I’ve ever had.

LB wanted to fly a kite. She’d never flown one before, and we were determined to change that. It was not a windy day. There was a random breeze followed by stagnant air. We’d get the kite up, only to see it crash. We had fun…but I promise we’ll get it off the ground one day. I can’t wait to see her smiling face when it soars from above.

The bottom one is my favorite.  Enjoy!

 

We can make it fly!

Good teamwork, friend.

Brooklyn Kites

I will make this fly if I run with it all day.

Things That Used To Be; City Style

When you look at the neighborhood around you, do you wonder what it used to be?

Did it used to be busy, or was it quieter? Is it safer than it was or a tad seedier? What kind of people roamed the road and what kind of wheels rolled down your street? Do your views today make you long for the past or yearn for the future?

Old Philadelphia, courtesy of thingamababy.com

We took a stroll around a pretty neglected area of Philadelphia over the weekend. We had no real destination. My pictures fail to capture the atmosphere unfortunately.  It’s something I’m learning to figure out as an amateur. I like to find the beauty in what “was”, and I like to dream about what used to inhabit the buildings and sidewalks that I walk.

When I see areas that are abandoned and half demolished, I wonder if the area is going through a transition to be rebuilt again or if the crumbling bricks are a true metaphor for the neighborhood. Time will tell.

I’m not foolish enough to think that the past was glamorous. Crime, corruption, drugs and heartlessness have always lurked in corners of every time period. There are still sights to be appreciated and customs that are appealing, particularly when we don’t know the pitfalls. The revolutionary buildings that I admire may not have seemed so beautiful with excrement being flung out the windows out into the alleys below.

There are times we can’t experience and life to be enjoyed today.  Generations will pass on, scenery will continue to change and traditions will be altered. That is how time works and it always will.

As Happy As a Pug on a Rug

Though I’m sure only my pug subscribers will enjoy this post, I couldn’t refrain from sharing the sight I saw when I passed through my living room this evening.

I often feel sorry for Oscar.  He spends a lot of time alone, while we work to keep his house nice and buy him fancy healthy snacks.  He’s thought about creating his own blog, but we trimmed his dew claws so he can’t type correctly.  Too far?  Ok, we’ll leave you with just pictures.

Sweet dreams Oscar dog.