But I digress

Bow door

I am not certain because of the veil of time, but I suspect that “bow” was the word that introduced me to the concepts of homonyms and homophones. I knew about this kind of bow (for hair**, too), then about bowing before royalty*. I really fought the idea that the same spelling could be pronounced differently, and realized that spelling had just revealed itself to be a can of worms, and, I suspect, nematodes.

Then I found out about “beau” and that it was French, and that may have put me off French for decades.

* Confession: we have finished season two of “The Crown” and are working our way through “Shetland.”

** Not mentioning “hare.” Or vale (first sentence). I realized that spelling was a trap. Still is. Many times people told me that Spanish is spelled the way it sounds. Not so. See: the trap is not only in tricky English.

Of pink and drab

Late azalea bloom

Would you call this a bi-color azalea bloom? Big one, too….

Flamingo crowd

This flock (aka flamboyance or pat or…your term here) of flamingos are to mark the houses on the tour. Or this collection/bunch marks a super-house?

Crepe myrtle bark

Too much pink? This is crepe myrtle bark, with wrinkles and marks rather like a desert graben.

My paresthesia

Venetian light carpet

My constant companion these days is medically named paresthesia. It is the sensation mostly on the top of my foot and toes—they feel like they are “asleep.” With a vengeance. Sometimes I call it Pares, and think Paris, as a distraction.

The photo is to symbolize (lamely—haha) the light at the end of the tunnel. Or, “this, too, shall pass.” Something along those lines.

Neither alinea nor pilcrow

Mums of maroon

We had our own little seasonal moment last night when the JCB dug in the blanket chest and, tada!, we had our first night under the feather duvet. Back in the MiddleAges (exaggeration) when I was a kid, we had quilts and nary a duvet.

Nard, personally

Lavender pot

As far back as I remember, I associate lavender with my grandmother. That may well change in the future…and I’ll associate it with my foot-thing….

Nard/nardus was the ancient Greek name….

Octopus eats its leg

Octopus arm front windows

This morning we checked out the Museum of Contemporary Art’s show “Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg.” The title comes from a Japanese saying to the effect that an octopus in a mortal jam will eat off its own leg to survive aware that it will soon regrow, with the implication that sacrifice is necessary to create new growth. Kinda gory way to frame that notion…. Murakami was born in 1962.

Takashi Murakami 1999 Super Nova

The exhibit shows his pieces in chronological order, and allowed us to see how his art has changed. His sense of color aesthetics is stupendous, and was there at the beginning. This is a 1999 piece he named “Super Nova.” It portrays the world after an atomic bomb…mushrooms are a frequent theme in traditional Japanese art, and of course the bombs make mushroom clouds….

Panel detail

Here’s a detail from a recent multi-panel work, showing more of the influence of anime. Just for this show, we were told, he designed an octopus, used for the promotional materials…you’ll have to find it “out there” if you are interested. Big eyed. Pink.

Lamborghini headlamp

Wandering the streets toward the next stop, we window-shopped Lamborghinis (one headlamp only shown) and Bentleys (even saw a muddy one!—I didn’t know mud stuck to Bentleys!).

Between lion

We also wandered by this lion, with a moldy green pelt.

Russert Meet set

In the broadcasting museum, we unexpectedly found Tim Russert’s “Meet the Press” set.

Subway detail

And…we took the subway back to our (temporary) apartment. Beautiful tile work on the walls…public art that mostly goes uncelebrated.

River view

Abe n mr sweater

I jokingly said this street art was Abe and Mr. Sweater. Turns out it is something like Abe and the Common Man. Common Man being white guy in cable-knit sweater. Nothing against white guys or sweaters. But.

London House temple

We took a fantastic architectural boat tour, and this was across from our dock. The somewhat unexpected rooftop open-air circular temple can be rented for special occasions.

Chicago from mouth of Chicago River

Our boat went out to the lock that prevents the Chicago River from dumping into the lake—its natural flow—but did not leave the river. Such a great view west of the skyline.

Chicago founded right

The grass-edged landform to the right was where the Euro-Americans first settled here. They heard the Indians saying something that they distorted into “Chicago” thinking that was the name of the spot. Turns out the Indians were commenting on the marshy vegetation—stinking onions. Or so our wonderful guide said.

Design by context

Even more than the building in the previous shot, this one was designed with a plain façade meant to reflect what was around it.

Rivers map

This one, on the other hand, has a stylized map of the rivers. That red “bench” feature way up there indicates the location of this building, a “you are here” marker.

Heart Chicago

Spotted on our way back from deep-dish pizza engorgement….

Clueless me


It never occurred to me to think about decoding firewood collection behaviors from the archaeological record—reconstructing species burned from the charcoal/ash, yes, but not all the collecting as a social behavior.

I’m pretty sure Sebastian the Ginger Cat has never thought about firewood.

BTW, the Spanish for firewood is leña. It’s not in the typical travelers’ Spanish vocabulary list. Translations of beer, toilet, laundry, please and thank you, yes—but not firewood.

Irish lessons, subtly

Cong cloister

Another day, another religious complex in ruins. Here’s one corner of the cloister interior at Cong Abbey. The Irish is Cúnga Fheichín, meaning St Féchín’s narrows. The narrows refer to the river, I’m guessing. The waterways around the abbey go underground and appear braided. Complex, anyway.

Cong fish house

This “fish house” is an unusual surviving monastery feature. My understanding is that the underneath had a net hung inside it, and the fish were retrieved through a trap door in the floor. The area around Cong is where “The Quiet Man” (1952) was filmed–John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

Ballinrobe street

This banner over the street in Ballinrobe says: Welcome to (you got that part, I’m sure) Music Festival Mayo. Mayo is two words in Irish—Mhaigh Eo—which means yew trees, and yew trees are loaded with sacred qualities, very special. Oak trees, too.

Lots of place-names begin Bally– or Balli– like this. The Irish is Baile and it means town, although GooTranslate indicates it means home, also. Interesting cultural implications of that.

Also, place-names that end in –more in English may be from the Irish mór, which means big. Toponyms are such fun!

Pontoon sign

It seems the English mimics the Irish Pont Abhann in some abstract way, as Abhann means river/fluvial and has a different sound than “oon”. Another linguistic abuse by the English….

DeVanneys Bar Lahardane

Just liked the way this looked. I couldn’t tell for sure if it is still open.

Seacliffs n DunBriste

That haystack at the end of this peninsula is Dun Briste, meaning broken fort (fort in the sense that this point is naturally fortified by being almost surrounded by the sea; broken is obvious). The English name highlights something totally different; it is Downpatrick Head.

Ceide Fields ocean view

This row of stones exposed from where the peat buried it was a fence-wall thousands of years ago, built by people who cut the forest to begin farming here six millennia ago. Why did peat form here? Scientists aren’t certain, but the current hypothesis is that by cutting the trees, it changed the soil chemistry and created an iron-rich layer that kept the water table high and meant that any plants had to be tolerant of the iron-rich condition to grow, which favored heather and sphagnum and the like. They grew and died and new offspring grew in the same spots, and the moisture and repeated generations meant peat could form.

The large size of the fields and the pollen that has been identified as contemporaneous with the field walls indicate that the fields were pastures, used for cattle and not crops. Very interesting.

Can you guess that it was windy windy windy when we visited Ceíde Fields? Can you guess that is Ceíde pronounced kay-ja? Yup, no “d” at all.

Factory Ballina

I’m pretty sure this is an abandoned factory. Not all ruins we note are darned old.

Cnoc na Riabh view

Another high view of the velveteen green, this time with more trees and houses. This is near Sligo, from the flank of the mountain called Cnoc na Riabh, meaning hill of…well, knowledgable people argue about of what. Cnoc is hill, no doubt about it. I keep trying to come up with a Cnoc-Cnoc joke….

Sligo tides out

And here the tide is out in Sligo. The Irish name of the river (originally) and the town is Sligeach, meaning abundant shells, meaning the river was rich in shellfish, and maybe fish in general. Don’t know about now.

“Windswept tree…”

Ferns abbey cathedral

Foreground: ruins of medieval (13th C?) cathedral at Ferns. Five window arches survive on one side, and one on the other. Rear: current mostly 19th-C church.

Winsome trio

Wexford winsome trio.

Painted faux highcross

Dublin schoolgirls learning about high crosses at heritage park (HP). “Monk” guide did a great job.

Jcb waterbirds

The Guru captured a heron and friend in the crannog’s lake at the HP.

Windswept tree

Stenciled quote (lines skipped) from Hávamál on wall at HP.

Emo petrol

Emo petrol? Killeens swirls?

Tintern Minor abbey church

Tintern Abbey; that is: Tintern Minor abbey. Much modified, but most of “the bones” of what we see is probably 16th C. Used as a residence until 1959.

Hay baling

Today was busy-farm-equipment day, including many tractor-rigs on the road. Two days ago, it was paint-your-front-fence day—we saw three being painted and one being pressure-washed‚ none before or since.

No junk mail

I want this label!

Drone view

The Guru made Droney fly for the third time here.

9pm light

Given that the iPhone darkens a shot like this, you must compensate. I could easily read a book in the ambient light, although it seems darker in this version. This was at 9:02pm. And it’s light out very early, too.

Good night, all.