FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES (DAY 5)

Emilio over at Photos by Emilio invited me to join in the 5 photos, 5 stories challenge.    If you haven’t viewed Emilio’s awesome photos and seen his unique finishing touches, you really must pay him a visit.   In addition to being quite the digital artist, he’s also one of the nicest bloggers I’ve met on here.    

Continuing on my theme of WEIRDNESS AT THE LOUVRE….

Finally!  The end of this challenge and our last weird, head-scratching situation outside the Louvre.   As I’m sure you’ve seen already, it seems the Louvre is many things to many people, both inside and outside its walls.

I think this last photo really sums up the whole OUTSIDE THE LOUVRE experience that my son and I watched in the time we were there…just how extremely COMFORTABLE people were to be themselves, doing their own thing, with very little regard for how anyone else took it in.    It wasn’t rudeness but instead just a very relaxed feeling that each person/group belonged here doing exactly what they were doing exactly when they were doing it without any sort of scruples.   Perhaps I picked up on this because I’m NOT generally a person that feels comfortable  enough to change my pants in public or assume acrobatic positions in the middle of a public area.

To illustrate that comfort level further, I share this last pic taken as we were moseying along the gardens and happened upon these two fellows…..not in a quiet corner like you’d expect, but just off to the side enough to be out of the way of falling acrobats or random clown/biker groups going by.   How many people do you think associate the Louvre with a great nap? 

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These two were quite soundly asleep as we went by as evidenced by their lack of acknowledgement by even an eyelid movement with all the activity nearby taking place and the shouts of young children and noise of the traffic all around.     Now that’s making yourself right at home, huh?  Actually, rereading what I just wrote…..maybe we should’ve checked…Perhaps they weren’t just catching a few winks but actually eternally sleeping?   

Oh my.   

Maybe this challenge theme wasn’t my best idea…now I’m going to be wondering about this probably for the rest of my days!   

Thanks for tagging along on this challenge and thanks again to Emilio for bringing me in on this one!  

I guess this is the point where I’m supposed to nominate others to take up the challenge but I like how another blogger did it best……A GROUP INVITE…..if you feel like it, join right in!

 

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FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES (DAY 4)

Emilio over at Photos by Emilio invited me to join in the 5 photos, 5 stories challenge.    If you haven’t viewed Emilio’s awesome photos and seen his unique finishing touches, you really must pay him a visit.   In addition to being quite the digital artist, he’s also one of the nicest bloggers I’ve met on here.    

Continuing on my theme of WEIRDNESS AT THE LOUVRE….

Today, another weird, head-scratching situation outside the Louvre….   1 (5)

Now this is quite a group, yes?  This group actually included the pants-changer previously mentioned on Day 2 of this challengeHe would be to the right in this shot had we panned that far.   Not so visible in this shot is the woman not facing the camera, the only one not wearing a jacket but instead showing shoulders and who may be changing her top?  Still not sure on that one.  And what is she wearing on top of her head? My son and I wondered what in the world all these people could possibly have in common and why meet up here at the Louvre?  Age doesn’t seem to be the common factor.   Style of dress doesn’t seem to be the common factor.   Type of footwear not it either.   They are quite an eclectic mix, don’t you agree?   I wasn’t brave enough to approach them and ask…that whole biker/clown mix just didn’t sit too well with me…….

What’s your take on this motley crew?

Tomorrow is the last day of this challenge for me when I will leave you with one final view of weirdness from outside the Louvre.    

FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES (DAY 3)

Emilio over at Photos by Emilio invited me to join in the 5 photos, 5 stories challenge.    If you haven’t viewed Emilio’s awesome photos and seen his unique finishing touches, you really must pay him a visit.   In addition to being quite the digital artist, he’s also one of the nicest bloggers I’ve met on here.    

Continuing on my theme of WEIRDNESS AT THE LOUVRE….

As promised…..another unusual situation outside the Louvre.  

Not nearly as perplexing as yesterday’s shot, but definitely one that filled me with awe….first that anyone COULD do this and secondly, that anyone WOULD do this in such a public venue.   Maybe it’s just an age thing me being so entranced by this, but how great are these acrobats?    1 (2)

I mean really!  Nary a wrinkle in that blanket on the ground which suggests to me that no struggle was undertaken to achieve this pose.  Okay, they have 20 years on me…..but still!  And maybe it’s the mother in me, but I’m also wondering why the smaller person is on the bottom supporting the larger person above? Even the statue behind them won’t look at the catastrophe that this could be. 

And how effortlessly comfortable does that girl on the bottom look? Hands gently resting on her abdomen like she hasn’t got a care in the world and isn’t bothered one iota about the fact that she’s supporting someone larger directly above her using only her feet. And the girl on the top?  I mean she’s got way more guts than me and quite obviously a MUCH more flexible body!

Not only COULDN’T I, but even if i COULD, I’m just not sure I WOULD, you know? And…..even if I COULD and WOULD, I WOULD NOT be doing this on the grounds in front of the Louvre!   

Thanks for joining me today.   

Tomorrow, yet more weirdness outside the Louvre!   

FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES (DAY 2)

Emilio over at Photos by Emilio invited me to join in the 5 photos, 5 stories challenge.    If you haven’t viewed Emilio’s awesome photos and seen his unique finishing touches, you really must pay him a visit.   In addition to being quite the digital artist, he’s also one of the nicest bloggers I’ve met on here.    

Continuing on my theme of WEIRDNESS AT THE LOUVRE….

I promised today to show you some of the weird, head-scratching situations outside the Louvre.  

My son and I didn’t last the many hours my husband wanted to tour inside the Louvre (mostly because our feet were done in!), so we went up to sit in the square while we waited for him to see all he wanted to.   Little did we know, my son and I, that the real show at the Louvre was outside!    From the tourist vultures to the solitary nun, to the young couple dressed in tux and gown, and then the security guards with scary-looking, muzzled German Shepherds showing up to patrol the Louvre overnight, we had to wonder how so many different sorts of people could converge on one place and, even more, how one place could attract so many people doing so many different sorts of activities.    

Perhaps one of the most perplexing of all, though, was the man on the right in this photo (yes, the one on the left is odd too, but that’s a story for another day!).  My son burst out laughing as we sat there watching all the people and quickly grabbed his camera to take this shot.    1 (4)

Now I ask you…..would you ever?    

Thanks for joining me today.

Tomorrow, another scene from outside the Louvre.

FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES (DAY 1)

Emilio over at Photos by Emilio invited me to join in the 5 photos, 5 stories challenge.    If you haven’t viewed Emilio’s awesome photos and seen his unique finishing touches, you really must pay him a visit.   In addition to being quite the digital artist, he’s also one of the nicest bloggers I’ve met on here.  

This challenge entails posting one photo a day (for five days) with a story, poem, or paragraph about it.  I’ve really struggled with this challenge because most of the participants I’ve seen have had a theme to their stories and a theme for my own entry eluded me.  However, I’m pleased to say I’ve come up with one now thanks to this first photo which I really enjoy and wanted to base my challenge around.  Welcome to my 5 photos, 5 stories challenge built on a theme of:

WEIRDNESS AT THE LOUVRE

My entries were taken in 2013 when we made a trip to Paris.  Our first day, we tackled the Louvre to appease my husband who is into museums of all sorts but especially loves art museums.  My son (then 13) was, how shall I say it?, less than impressed.  Art, I guess, isn’t a thing you’re born appreciating.   What I found taking a child to the Louvre who hadn’t had a whole lot of exposure to art before then was that he really wasn’t interested.   Oh, he had things he wanted to see because we had talked about them, but for those of you that have visited, I’m sure you’ll know how underwhelming the Mona Lisa actually is on first glance after all the build up it gets.  

Anyway, I made it my quest to get him engaged with the art while we were there.   All around the great halls we went and I had him mimicking the statues, looking for dogs (his favourite!) in the paintings, and by the end of our visit it was he who came upon a great sculpture and proclaimed it the Goblet of Fire (from the Harry Potter films).   At that point, I knew I had him engaged.    Mission accomplished.  

Today, I’ll leave you with one of my favourite ‘mugs’ of one of his interactions with the artwork. 

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Tomorrow, we’ll venture outside the Louvre and show you a few very curious things we viewed there! 

 

NOT QUITE BAYWATCH….

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Credit Google Images

Coolest job of the summer? Lifeguard, of course!

Growing up, I always thought the kids that got to be lifeguards were the ones that applied first or knew someone who gave them the job. As it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.

My son recently applied for his first summer job. He mentioned at his interview that his goal was to be a lifeguard. As he would turn 16 (legal age) halfway through the summer, his future employer was most positive and said, “Well, why don’t you pick up your lifeguard certification now and you can help out the lifeguards and get a feel for things while you’re 15 and at 16, you’ll be set and we’ll use you as a lifeguard.”

Take note of those words up there……….”pick up”….right…”Picking up” your certification isn’t quite that easy we soon found out!

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Credit Google Images

First, despite living in a community that is ON LAKE ERIE with no less than 11 beaches just in the state park area, an indoor waterpark that is open year-round, a summertime amusement park that has a huge waterpark, and a million and one pools and clubs where lifeguards are needed, there are no classes for lifeguarding! We had to do quite a bit of looking on the Internet and calling around to find a YMCA 45 minutes away that offered the American Red Cross Lifeguarding course that would certify him before summer. Son’s swim coach told him he was actually lucky to find this class as kids here sometimes end up driving to Cleveland, Ohio (almost 2 hours away) to get their certifications!

We were also lucky because this YMCA was beginning their class in 2 days. So with visions of Baywatch, a great tan, cool sunglasses, and girls fawning over him in his head, my son paid the $165.00 and signed on.  Yes, that’s right….he paid money so he could earn money.    Not your typical summer job, huh?

Credit Google Images

Credit Google Images

Credit Google Images

Credit Google Images

Classes were held over 2 weekends:

Fridays 6.00p to 10.00p
Saturday 3.00p to 10.00p
and Sundays 12.00p to 7.00p 

In case it’s not immediately clear to you, that’s 36 hours!

‘Tis true, this class had an add-on module included for waterfront lifeguarding that added an extra 5.4 hours to the class, but even without that, normal lifeguarding courses give you over 30 hours of instruction.

Anyway, being signed up, we figured we were good to go. Not the case. In order to even be admitted to the class, you have to pass a swimming pre-test. During that test, my son had to:

• Swim 550 yards continuously, using both breaststroke and front crawl
• Tread water for 3 minutes using only the legs
• Retrieve 3 rings placed 5 yards apart on bottom of pool.

• Complete the following timed event within 1 minute, 40 seconds (no goggles allowed):

—Starting in the water, swim 20 yards
—Surface dive to a depth of 7 to 10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound brick
—Return to the surface and swim on his back with 10-pound brick on his chest (no underwater swimming) and return to the starting point
—Get himself and his 10-pound brick out of the water without using a ladder or
steps

My son made it through. Others, however, did not.   They were eliminated from the class.

Credit Google Images

Credit Google Images

After that, the real fun began…A 300-page manual with online assessments at the end of each chapter that had to be taken at home during the week. (Yes, that’s right! They were expected to study during the week as well!) Once the coursework from the manual was taught during class there were 2 written tests to be taken in class. Both had to be passed.

And, of course, each day there was swimming with various drowning/injury scenarios acted out and the appropriate responses gone over both in and out of the water. Backboards were used and each student had a turn at playing both the victim and the rescuer. The worst part sometimes, my son said, was lying soaking wet and shivering with chattering teeth on a board in the cool air for an hour waiting for the “rescuers” to figure out how to get the victim out of the water and onto the “shore.”

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Credit Google Images

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Credit Google Images

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Credit Google Images

At the end of this training, three rescue scenarios were given PER STUDENT and the student had to carry out the appropriate response each time. If he was unable to do this, he would not be certified.

A whole day and then some was spent on getting the students certified in CPR and instructing them in the use of an AED. They had to learn appropriate methods for both adults and children.

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Credit Google Images

And that extra module I mentioned before about waterfront lifeguarding? That not only added time to the class, but also culminated in yet another written test at the end.

Hence, not so much Baywatch and pretty girls, but instead a lot of hard physical training, being taught to try and anticipate every disaster imaginable, tons of cramming through coursework to pass the assessments, followed up with promises of how lifeguards get sued when things go wrong. 1 (6)

Surprisingly, I’m quite pleased with the differences this training has made in my son already. He’s looking ahead and taking initiative. He carries himself differently – It’s given him a veneer of confidence that wasn’t there before and built up his pride in himself and he hasn’t even started his job yet.  Oh, I’m sure there’s still this wishful picture in his head…..

Credit Google Images

Credit Google Images

But our son told us after his first day in class, he’ll never look at a pool in the same way again. He said he never realized how dangerous pools could be! Me? I’ve also found a new respect.  I’ll never again look at a lifeguard and think they’re just the favoured/lucky kids. Lifeguards are really put through their paces to get that coveted position up in the chair. As far as I’m concerned, they earn every single bit of their income before they ever hang that whistle around their neck.

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Credit Google Images

 

OH, GIVE ME A HOME WHERE THE…..

An odd find in Edinboro, Pennsylvania.  Edinboro is about halfway between Meadville and Erie, so about a 25 minute drive for us.

Who even knew there were such things as buffalo farms?    1 (2)(Random tidbit: People mistakenly call North American Bison buffalo. This is incorrect. No buffalo have ever lived in North America. Early settlers to North America thought bison resembled buffalo and called them by that name.)

I’m sure you can see bison are huge and look quite serious.1 (12) And I know you didn’t miss those big, scary-looking horns.1 (5) But did you know bison could be cheeky?1 (3) Did you know they are great entertainment (as long as they are behind an electric fence) for kids….even teens feeling brave (with that fence in place) trying to get their attention?

1 (9)   1 (8)  1 (10)  1 (11) Who knew how smart bison are? When subjected to the antics of a teen trying to get them closer to the fence, they just run away to the furthest point they can find. I bet a lot of parents would like to do this very thing when faced with the prospect of up-close time with their wound-up teen.1 1 (16)A few random facts to educate you:

  • Bison bulls: approximately 2,000 pounds, 6 feet high at the hump, and 9 feet long.1 (13)
  • Female bison: approximately 1,200 pounds, 5 feet high and 6 feet from nose to tail.
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Not actually sure if this is a female, but it’s smaller so we’re going with it!

  • Newborn bison weigh about 50 pounds.
Okay, not a newborn since it already has horns, but definitely a youngster!

Okay, not a newborn since it already has horns, but definitely a youngster!

  • Bison are the largest land animals in the U.S.  
  • Bison will attack humans if provoked and indeed are one of the most dangerous animals in America. DO NOT APPROACH them….especially when they are protecting a calf.
  • Stand back…They can run 65 km/40 miles an hour!
  • Bison live between 20 and 25 years and can adapt to any climate. Snow can settle on their back and not melt! That fur is really well-insulated.
  • Bison are the new “healthy alternative” option on the menu.  Their meat is lower in fat and cholesterol, higher in protein than beef, and supposedly has a much fuller flavour. Notice the signage at the Wooden Nickel Restaurant:

1 (15) Probably a good thing bison can’t read and I’m not going to be the one to tell them!

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