Cama-i Dance Festival, Bethel, Alaska (part two): The dances

“In the past it was a big mistake to stop the dancing – a lot of things died in this process.  Restarting dances is only one thing… By learning the dances, you young people will have weight, so that nobody can brush you off the top of this earth. You will be the exciting ones.” ~Marie Arnaq Meade

 

In a recent post, I gave an overview of Cama-i, which we attended earlier this year.  In today’s post, I’ll talk about the star of this Yup’ik festival—the dances.

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Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona: Visions of heat and sun

Last year Dale bought a coffee table book called Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America’s National Parks, by photographer QT Luong.  It basically chronicles the photographer’s long love affair with our national parks.   It took Luong over 20 years and dozens of trips, all of them self-financed, but he visited and photographed all 59 parks, and the book’s 500+ photos showcase just how extraordinary the United States is, both in the diversity of ecosystems and landscapes as well as the vast national parks system that makes the U.S. unique. Continue reading “Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona: Visions of heat and sun”

A last-minute Texas discovery: Goliad State Park and its Spanish mission

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Before moving to Alaska, we spent two weeks bouncing around Texas, visiting family.  That meant going from central to south Texas and then back again.  We may be relocating to the biggest state in the Union, but Texas is no slouch, so this meant a lot of time on the road.

It was on one of those drives, on a rural stretch of U.S. Highway 183 from Refugio to Gonzales, that we had a very pleasant discovery—Goliad State Park and the Mission Espíritu Santo.

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Taos’ Harwood Museum: The spectacular colors of New Mexican art

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Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo, Dorothy Eugenie Brett

 

Taos, New Mexico, is a town of about 5700 people, so small that it doesn’t even have a Starbucks (our go-to for WiFi, so that was a disappointment).

And yet, when it comes to the development of modern American art, Taos’ place in history is huge. Many of the biggest names in 20th-century American art, including Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams, have been inspired by Taos’ and Northern New Mexico’s stunning landscapes as well as the Native American and Hispanic cultures of the region.  Taos has even earned the nickname “Paris West.” Continue reading “Taos’ Harwood Museum: The spectacular colors of New Mexican art”

Ft. Davis: Texas’ frontier army post

A surprisingly moving visit to this little historical site

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We came to Ft. Davis army post expecting to spend an hour tops. We’d been there years ago and remembered it as being a dry, dusty little place, your average 19th century army fort, with a small cluster of buildings and an American flag flying out front.  A museum in the visitors center orients you to the history; from there you can wander the grounds and inspect the handful of buildings that have been restored, and, if you don’t put this place into its proper historical context, you may forget it as soon as you leave it.

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Fort Davis, Texas: The mind-bending McDonald Observatory

 

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The view from Mt. Locke

“I am made of the dust of the stars, and the oceans flow in my veins.”  —Rush, “Presto”

 

One of the best observatories in the world is McDonald Observatory, run by the University of Texas at Austin, my alma mater (hook ‘em!).  It’s situated on a few mountain tops in the Davis Mountains of West Texas.  McDonald Observatory is a mind-bending place to visit–-so many great minds accumulated in one place, researching our vast universe, completing all that advanced math….

This was our third trip to the observatory, and as always, it was overwhelming, but in a good way.

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Paris, France: The (naked) sculptures of the Louvre

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This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.


When I told my mom I was writing about our time in Paris, she asked, “Are you going to talk about the naked men?”  She was referring, of course, to the collection of sculptures that we saw at the Louvre, which, yes, did include quite a few nude male subjects.

“I’ve told all of my friends that there were lots of sculptures of naked men, and they look at me like I’m crazy, so now I can show them.”

Of the many fascinating artifacts we saw at the Louvre, the thing that most stands out to mom is the naked men.

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