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This year is the fifth anniversary of this blog. For the first year I was unsure about how many photos I could actually upload because of the free WordPress.com blogging account has a space limit. So I kept photo uploads limited to just my arts and crafts along with any photographs that I actually exhibited in a show. Over time I learned such things as graphic optimization so I was able to upload more photos that way than I thought I could. So for the rest of the year I’m going to devote Throwback Thursday to photos from previous blog entries (along with links to the original posts) that I should’ve uploaded five years earlier but I didn’t.

In mid-July my then-husband and I travelled to Connecticut for the wedding of his oldest nephew. Before the trip I purchased a pair of plain looking shoes, which I then embellished with sequins and I wrote all about in this post I wrote on July 13, 2010 titled Turning a New Pair of Shoes From “Blah!” to “Fab!”

Shoes-Before and After

After I posted this announcement regarding my imminent departure to Connecticut, my husband and I boarded an Amtrak from Maryland to New London, Connecticut then we rented a car for the duration of our time there. We spent part of both the first and second days at Mystic Seaport, where I took these pictures.

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During our time in Connecticut, I remembered that an earthquake actually hit Washington, DC but it was a relatively minor one. I also remember that there was talk about me photographing the wedding rehearsal the afternoon before. My husband spoke with his nephew on the phone and the nephew said that my photography services wouldn’t be needed because they had plenty of people with cameras who would be there at the rehearsal. So we had originally planned to spend the entire first day at Mystic Seaport then eat dinner on our own. While we were at Mystic Seaport, my husband’s sister (and his nephew’s mother) called us on his cell phone wondering where we were. When my husband told her about her son saying that they didn’t need us there, his sister overruled what her son said and basically told us to be there and I was to photograph the rehearsal. So I did it. After the rehearsal we were invited to this picnic dinner at a nearby park where I took some pretty decent sunset photos.

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As I recounted in this post that I uploaded after I returned from that trip, the wedding took place the following afternoon. It was held at Mohegan Sun, a casino resort that’s operated by a Native American tribe. The wedding and reception were both held at a golf club facility that was located far from the buildings where the gambling usually takes place. The wedding took place outside on this large deck overlooking a lake. It provided plenty of nature photography opportunities.

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Here is what the deck looked like on the actual wedding day itself. The bride wore white while the groom, who’s currently serving in the U.S. Navy, wore his formal dress uniform.

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The reception was held in this lodge located just a few feet away from the wedding deck.

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Inside the lodge was really lovely. I’ll end this post with a couple of shots of the wedding cake itself. This one was among the more unique wedding cakes I’ve seen because it was decorated with ladybugs made from cake frosting. (The bride likes ladybugs, which is why they were there on the cake.)

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Since that time the couple has moved to Charleston, South Carolina (when the groom was transferred by the Navy) and they are now the parents of a two-year-old son. I still keep up with them via Facebook despite the fact that I’m now divorced from the groom’s uncle.

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Santa Claus

Ever feel like you’re in this weird cycle where things that happened to you a few months earlier seems to echo back at you? Well, it seemed to have happened to me.

Back in October my husband and I were in Western Massachusetts where his family held a memorial service for my mother-in-law, who died back in March. This service was for my mother-in-law’s friends who weren’t able to make it to her funeral service, which was held in March in Phoenix (where she had spent the last years of her life). Towards the end of that trip my husband and I took a driving trip from Williamstown, Massachusetts to Mystic, Connecticut (where we had to return our rental car before boarding the Amtrak for the trip back to DC).

During that driving trip we attempted to go to the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield but the gates were closed by the time we arrived. We managed to see one of the statues behind the locked gates but that was about it. On Christmas Day my husband and I went to a special ice show at National Harbor based on Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Before entering the main part of that exhibit, we were treated to a pre-show exhibit that not only provided information about the hometown of the Chinese ice sculptors who worked on that exhibit but also provided artwork and information about the life and career of Dr. Seuss. We saw photographs of the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield so we got an idea of what we missed when we arrived at the place too late back in October.

The main reason why we arrived too late to the Springfield Dr. Seuss site is because, earlier in the day, my husband and I spent a few hours at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and we ended up spending more time there than we originally planned. A few months before our visit to this museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC had opened a special exhibit that feature Rockwell art from the private collections of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

It’s pretty ironic that we went all the way to Stockbridge to see Rockwell art when there was a special Rockwell exhibit in a museum closer to our home. After our visit to the Stockbridge museum, we made plans to see the DC exhibit before it closes. Unfortunately, with my husband’s travel, my mother’s health problems, my husband’s lung infection, and my own cold, we weren’t able to see that exhibit for a while. When I saw in the local papers that the exhibit was going to close after New Year’s weekend, we knew that we had to see it now.

So we spent New Year’s Day yesterday visiting the Rockwell exhibit in DC. It was really amazing to see and we were able to compare and contrast between the two exhibits.

The Stockbridge museum has examples from throughout Rockwell’s entire career and it included some of his later works, which were a bit more edgy with pointed political commentary, such the integration of the public schools. The DC exhibit was more narrowly focused. It’s been said that you can learn about a collector’s personality by viewing his/her collection. After looking at Spielberg’s and Lucas’ collections, I got a feeling about their preferences for collecting those Rockwell pieces which not only tell a story but also provides a portrayal of an idealistic America.

Since Spielberg and Lucas are both directors, it’s no surprise that they prefer those pieces that seemed to tell a full story. And if you look at their overall films like Schindler’s List, Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, you know that they prefer to make uplifting films that show heroism and good triumphing over evil. So it’s also no surprise that they would prefer Rockwell’s more uplifting work over his edgier work.

The most interesting part about that exhibit is that both Spielberg and Lucas collected Rockwell’s rough drafts as well as Rockwell’s completed works. Much of the work on display in that exhibition were black and white drawings done in pencil and charcoal on newsprint. These drawings were originally done as rough drafts but both Spielberg and Lucas were drawn to them as if they were finished pieces. Rockwell’s rough drafts were very detailed and well done and I can see why those two directors didn’t hesitate to buy them and frame them.

That exhibit was crowded since it’s the final weekend. We arrived at the museum around noon, ate lunch there, then visited the Rockwell exhibit after we finished eating. We were done by 3 p.m. so we decided to take a break at the atrium near the exhibit’s entrance. By that point, a long line had formed outside the exhibit and a security guard had to limit people entering the area. We were so glad that we arrived at the museum earlier so we were able to beat the worst of the crowds.

But it’s kind of interesting that we sort of come full circle between the Western Massachusetts trip in October and this holiday season in the DC area.

My husband and I had originally intended to spend a couple of hours touring the U.S.S. Nautilus today. Except that the sub is closed on Tuesdays and today is Tuesday. We looked at other possibilities in Mystic but we decided to just spend our last few hours in Mystic just surfing the Internet until it’s time to return the rental car and board the Amtrak back to DC.

We realized that we had grown extremely tired because of all the touring around the Berkshires and visiting people and we just prefer to be lazy today. It’s no big deal really. I’ve seen Mystic Seaport before on previous trips. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Mystic Aquarium except I’m way too tired to do so today and I’ve been to other aquariums before (the most notable is the National Aquarium in Baltimore).

It’s 3:17 on my laptop and I decided to type this short note becaue I woke up and I’m having a little bit of trouble getting back to sleep. All that travel is affecting me. The good news is that, unlike last night, I haven’t had any bile come up in my mouth. I did wake up thirsty though and I’m currently drinking a cup of water.

Yesterday morning I was totally exhausted from the middle of the night drama when I coughed up some bile and my throat was burning pretty badly. I maanaged to wake up though because we had to check out of our motel room and hit the road.

The night before my sister-in-law had this idea that she, one of my mother-in-law’s friends, my husband, and I meet for breakfast at this coffeehouse that’s located near Williams College. In addition, another friend, who lives in Williamstown, invited my husband and I to stop by her home for a brief visit before we leave.

So we ended up going to the coffeehouse where we ate some bagels before the four of us headed over to the other friend’s home for a bit of socializing with her and her family. Then my husband and I had to hit the road.

We took a long car trip through the Berkshires, which was glorious this time of the year since the tree leaves had begun to change color. (I’ve been told by locals that the fall foliage gets even more intense later in the fall.)

We made a stop at the Norman Rockwell Museum, which was pretty awesome. As the name suggests, it’s a museum that’s devoted to Norman Rockwell’s illustrations. The big interesting factoid is that Norman Rockwell was on his way to a long career as an illustrator while he was still a teenager. He also never stooped to the "sad tortured artist" stereotype yet churned out works that people still collect. What was really cool was being able to tour his original working studio on the museum grounds. The museum was pretty crowded partly because it was the Columbus Day holiday and partly because Norman Rockwell remains popular. At one point I saw a group of Japanese tourists at the museum so I guess he has some international appeal as well. The museum also overlooked this wonderful view of one of the Berkshire Mountains and I took lots of photos of that view.

We attempted to check out the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield but the gates were closed by the time we arrived. We managed to see one of the statues behind the locked gates but that was about it.

We arrived at New London after dark. We had hoped to meet up with our nephew and his wife (neither of them were able to make it to my mother-in-law’s memorial service) but it was iffy since the nephew is in the U.S. Navy and he is on their work schedule and his wife is trying to juggle holding down a job while being a full-time college student. The good news was that we were able to meet up with the nephew at the local Olive Garden. The three of us ate dinner there then ordered a takeout meal for the nephew’s wife (who was still getting off from her job at the time). We drove by their recently purchased home where we met the nephew’s wife for a very brief visit before checking into the hotel room in nearby Mystic.

My husband had wanted to fulfill his wish to visit the U.S.S. Nautilus on this trip because he’s into military hardware (the Military Channel is among his favorite cable channels). We originally planned on seeing it today, which is Tuesday, before boarding the train back to Washington, DC. Except we learned from our nephew that the Nautilus is closed on Tuesdays (and an exit sign on the highway confirmed this). It’s pretty hilarious because my husband has been dying to see this sub for a long time and we won’t see it on this trip. So we’re going to find something else to do in Mystic before taking the Amtrak back.

I’ve been up for over an hour now and I’m getting sleepy. I’m going back to bed.

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