UNCONVENTIONAL (NO. 2)

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A Saturday outing found us at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) in Presque Isle State Park. Science exhibits aren’t generally my thing, but I was interested in seeing this place because I’d been told by one of our neighbours that they had some great photographs of the area.

Upon entering this clean, modern building, I was immediately intrigued by the narrow, glass-enclosed towers that went to the ceiling and which had many shelves holding small, handmade, moving models each showing a different Presque Isle pastime (ice fishing, fishing, bike riding, swimming, kayaking, boating, etc.) Such charming offerings were not what I was expecting!

We spent about an hour (it is a very small place) viewing photographs and other works of local artists along with the exhibits highlighting the history, flora, and fauna of Presque Isle State Park. I was intrigued to note that they had only a small plaque on the ICE DUNES OF DEATH with a bit of information that said nothing about the dangers of them at all.

I enjoyed seeing that their view of history didn’t just include the usual dry facts spouted by most places, but also included a section on the many shipwrecks that could be found on the floor of Lake Erie right off Presque Isle and, even more, consider walking down the hallway and seeing this above….

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I was amazed that a center built to educate included a section acknowledging the local lore of Presque Isle State Park. I had to turn and read the posters on the wall….presenting, in unique fashion, some of the stories/mysteries that surround Presque Isle that we actually hadn’t heard before now.

This one is all over the place online.  Occurring in 1966, it’s not the only reported sighting of UFOs here, but it seems to be the biggest and most well-known.   This poster rather downplays it, but I read online the authorities conducted many tests for radioactivity in the area, etc. after so many reports came in.1 (4)

South Bay Bessie is, I suppose, this area’s own Loch Ness Monster.    Apparently, she’s all over Lake Erie from Pennsylvania to Michigan with multiple sightings.   This poster talks about a 1993 incident involving Bessie and a boat.1 (3)

And this giant wave supposedly took place in 1984 coming right across the sand on Beach 8.  Sounds terrifying, yes?1 (2)

All in all, this was a most enlightening outing……definitely not the trip to a science center I was expecting.  Could be some day I’ll get a picture of something even better than a beach landscape or magnificent sunset, eh?  

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THAT’S SANDTASTIC!

WANTED: 

  • An activity guaranteed to engage all family members at the same time regardless of age or interest.  
  • A task that also teaches teamwork, promotes creativity, costs nothing, and uses the individual talents each family member has to offer.  

Not possible you say?  

Aha!  

There is actually one activity – so basic, so easy, so much a part of just about anyone’s childhood, it’s hard to imagine we could ever forget it.

I’m talking, of course, about building sandcastles. 1 (35)

How about taking that simple activity to the next level and turning a childish pastime into art?

The next level is what I saw this past weekend during the annual Discover Presque Isle celebration. Tons of events (kite flying, arts and crafts booths, pancake breakfast, classic cars, segways, kayaking, yoga, paddleboarding) over a 3-day period took place on different beaches, but the one that really caught my eye was the sand sculpture competition on Beach 8.

I was anxious to get there, but of course arriving too early wouldn’t be very interesting since things would just be getting started. Three hours in, however, was a great time to arrive. The beaches were packed with participants and also some very seasoned beachgoers anxious to see the artists in action.

Check out some of the scenes we found when we arrived:

And then, of course, there were the competitors themselves…..busy working on their masterpieces! (You can click on these to see the full shot)

Of course, leaving now was a bit of a letdown…..we wouldn’t get to see the final results. So, when it was time for our son to be picked up from work that evening, we took him down to view the finished creations. I couldn’t even believe it but the beaches were even more packed than they had been that afternoon…..everyone was listening to the bands, swimming, admiring the sculptures, and waiting for the bonfire to be lit.

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But definitely, it was worth the second trip……there were some most innovative works!   Again, you can click on these and see some of the amazing detail!

None of this even touches the pull I felt from the first moment I set foot on the beach and saw all the families engaged in their tasks working together to bring their visions into sand form.  I’m not even a beach person and I could definitely see me doing this.

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FOUND:

A SANDsational way to spend a day with your family and friends, don’t you agree?!

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!

 

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!