Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Welcome to Box World

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Welcome to Box World.  I had grand intentions of taking you through my moving saga.  Sadly, I have been crazy busy actually living the saga.  Besides, it hasn’t been all that exciting. 

Box Maze

The movers have finished the first day of packing and managed to pack most of the things I had put aside to make breakfast for myself this week.  Luckily, Starbucks has oatmeal.   I had a flash of feeling like this is part of what it might feel like to be in a hoarder’s house.  I feel I am  navigating a maze and can’t see around the high stacks of boxes.


My dogs are getting panicky about all the changes and my Great Dane, Lucy the Wonder Dog, has started chewing up anything she can get that gigantic mouth on in protest to all of this upheaval.  Yesterday it was disposable razors and deoderant.  She just chewed the wrappers and was not injured.  The poor old girl is a bit of a mess right now. 


An Extremely Stressed Out Lucy

I have a day of relative peace today (thank you!) and the packers are back tomorrow, at which point I will lose my electronics.  Tuesday and Wednesday they load the truck and Thursday I hit the road with the dogs to make the trek cross country.  Nothing like 2000+ miles/3 days in a car with 2 dogs.  My husband joins me after the first day of the drive in Lincoln, NE.   It should be interesting.  I have packed audiobooks and (I hope) my sense of humor and adventure.   


Thanks to all those people who purchased work from me this last month.  I sold 7 pieces!  I sincerely appreciate your support of my work.

See you in California!

Inspirational Artist: Chris Roberts-Antieau

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

I was walking around Asheville galleries today and ran into some of Chris Roberts-Antieau’s fantastic artwork today.  I am not normally a person who likes humorous art, but her work makes me laugh out loud.  Some of it makes me think and some just reminds me of my childhood.  I especially love “The Unlimited Potential of the Human Mind” and “Feeling Sorry for Pluto”.   and “Pot Roast on Fire” These pieces can be seen in her 2010 collection on her website.  Make sure you enlarge them; there’s a lot of great detail. 

 Her website includes all sorts of fun stuff to look at other than just her art.

Door County Art Crawl

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010


I am currently in beautiful western North Carolina, but was in Door County for a few days last week.  Door County is small, but they have a really high caliber of artwork in the galleries there.  There are enough tourists with an eye to buy to support the area’s galleries.  I visited some of my favorite galleries while I was up there.  Unlike my previous visit, this time, I had my camera! 

My favorite galleries not only have stellar artwork, but the owners have created these beautiful spaces to showcase art; often utilizing old barns or outbuildings and creating beautiful gardens to surround or display the artwork.  The use of space is as impressive as the roster of artists.  For me, they are a haven; a place of peace.  I step out of the car and I feel myself immediately quiet and pay attention.

I hope to create an artist space of my own as imaginative as these galleries in the future.

My gal pal Nina’s husband, Richard Edelman had a beautiful sculpture exhibit going at the Woodwalk Gallery.  It’s a great space and they had a gorgeous setting for his work:

Richard Edelman

 Here are some shots of the gallery space.  Here’s a converted corn crib:

Converted Corn Crib (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Here is a shot of the ceiling:

Corn Crib Ceiling (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

 My favorite gallery of all is the Edgewood Orchard Gallery.  First of all, they are the sweetest people on the planet.  All of them.  The owner, Nell, is an absolute peach.  They have a beautiful space with a series of gallery bulidings connected with patios and a beautiful sculpture garden:

Edgewood Orchard Gallery"s Sculpture Garden

The converted barn serves as the main gallery:

Edgewood Orchard Galleries

here’s another shot:

Patio leading to additional gallery space

and here is some of the incredible artwork:

Sculpture by David Valentine

and a beautiful piece by William Jauquet:

William Jauquet Sculpture

and a lovely piece by James G. Moore:

James G. Moore

Here are some other great galleries I would recommend:

The Blue Dolphin House for great garden art,  K Allen Gallery for glass, and the Fine Line Designs Gallery for both sculpture and indoor art.

I will post NC pictures when I return to Chicago.  I can’t seem to get them off my camera!

Hitting the Road

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I am off to Door County, Wisconsin for a long weekend of art galleries and biking with my husband.  I will have a quick stop home on Sunday and then I’m off to Asheville, NC next week.  I hope to post loads of pictures.

Here’s one from a previous trip:

Blue Ridge Parkway (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Travel Bug Continued

Monday, May 17th, 2010

In my current urge to travel, I have been visiting some interesting sites.  There’s a great site called Daily Bute featuring a daily picture of the Isle of Bute, Scotland as well as pictures from some other locations in Scotland.  I’ve posted about the Isle of Bute before (look at my Scotland posts);  it’s where I got married and one of my favorite places to visit.

Click on the link above to see some lovely shots.

Here’s one of mine:

Rothesay Castle (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Travel Bug

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Linville Falls (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

I am usually someone who goes on a trip and doesn’t want to travel again for months.  This time, I found myself starting to have an itch to travel again about 10 days after leaving Japan.  I am unusually restless.  The good news is that I have some travel coming up in the near future.  In the next month or so, I will be traveling to one of my favorite places on earth:  Asheville, North Carolina.  It’s been a while since I’ve made it down that way.  I couldn’t be more excited.  Here’s some pictures from previous visits:

Blue Ridge Mountains (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart


Rhododendron Tunnel in Craggy Gardens (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

More rhododendron formations (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Spring fern (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Reasons to be grateful

Friday, May 14th, 2010

I am still not inspired to do any creative stuff.  I keep looking at the piece I started before leaving for Japan and I just don’t feel compelled to work on it.  Oh well. I might need to start a new project and let that one sit for a while.

I am thinking about Scotland today.  I am hoping I can get back there this year.  Here’s a picture of Urquhart Castle.  My personal moment of zen today.

Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Anyway, I am still reading other people’s blogs.  One of my all time favorite blogs is Crazy Aunt Purl.  It’s sort of a knitting blog (I don’t knit), but mostly it’s Laurie Perry’s goofy adventures through life.  Anyway, she has a routine of listing three things she’s grateful for each day.  She wrote about it on her blog yesterday and it felt like a good thing to do myself today.

So here are three things I am grateful for today:

1) The sun is shining in Chicago!!!!!!  It has been so rainy lately.  I am SO happy to be out in the sunshine.

2) My daughter has just returned from an 8 1/2 month study program in Japan.  I get to see her tonight.

3)  I am having my favorite Mexican food tonight; shrimp tacos and a margarita  from Rancho Grande. Yum!

I am also really grateful that anyone actually reads my blog.  I actually have subscribers.  Whoohoo!  Thanks, whoever you are!

I would really love to hear things you are grateful for.  Leave a comment!

Great Post on Leslie Avon Miller’s Blog-Getting Clear of your Inner Critic

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Mt Fuji (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

I am back from my fabulous trip to Japan.  I had a lovely day getting myself mentally and physically back on this continent:  loads of laundry, grocery shopping, walking my dogs, seeing what’s coming up in my garden and spending some time reconnecting with my husband. 

I checked the blogs I read tonight and came across two really lovely posts from Leslie Avon Miller’s  blog  “Create Your Best Life Coaching”  Her post is about getting back in touch with our power and our dreams.  after just having spent the last ten days taking some risks and fulfilling some dreams of my own, I especially appreciated this.  Check it out here and a really good short video here

Big in Japan-A Visit to Nara on My Last Day Here

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Whew!  This has been an action packed trip.  As much as I’ve loved it, I’m ready to head home.  I will definitely get myself back to Japan for another visit.  what a great country.  

For my finale, I went to the original capitol of Japan, the city of Nara.  I actually went with a (mostly) English speaking guide for this leg of the journey and didn’t have to make up explanations for things like I did the rest of the trip 🙂 

First of all, people in Nara consider deer messengers from the gods.  They are sacred.  To that end, they roam all over town and people feed them and pet them.  The whole town has a deer theme, sort of like the foxes at the Inari Shrine.   They are actually so used to people feeding them, that they can get rude about it.  I saw one nip a school girl in the butt and had more than a few head butt me for food.  They do this begging ritual that’s pretty funny.  They will nod their heads at you to get you to give them food.  Here’s a picture my guide took of me being mobbed by them.  BTW, they are microdeer.  They are about half the size of our deer. 

Deer Mob! (C) by Tracy McCabe Stewart


They're Everywhere! They're Everywhere! (C) by Tracy McCabe Stewart


 My guide then took me to this pond; which looks like no great shakes, but it is the site where the Emperor’s lover though she had lost the love of the Emperor (he’d found another woman)  So she drowns herself in this pond-which is only about 2 feet deep, by the way.  They appease her spirit by having a parade every year, electing a woman to represent her and cruising around this little pond in a long boat.  They have ashrine (of course) right by the pond, where people put prayers about love gone wrong.  I wish I could have seen all that! 

Drowning Pond (C) by Tracy McCabe Stewart


We spent the rest of the tour in the Todai-ji , Buddhist Temple complex: Home of the Giant Buddha-Okay that’s not how they refer to it.  All these temple/shrine complexes have numerous buildings for various different rituals-sometimes only used a few times a year.  All the buildings were beautiful, but I won’t show all that many pictures of them because, unlike all the other places I’ve been……. 


 As you pass through the first Torii gate that marks the boundary into the sacred space, all of the set up is for purification.  You can stop at these shrines and cleanse with water or leave a prayer, etc.  All of it is meant for the “other” world to drop away. 

Path up to the shrine (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart


They used to light these lanterns every night.  Now, only twice a year. 

One of the fountains for purification (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart


 another fountain: 

More fountains (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart


yet another, aren’t they beautiful? 

Are We Pure Yet? (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart


I could show you a zillion more of these!  Anyway, 

Here’s the main attraction-The Great Hall.  This place is GINORMOUS!  It’s 18 meters high and pretty much all it houses is Buddha and a couple of pals: 

I forget what this guy was called, but Buddha cast him out for some reason or another.  Anyway, it doesn’t stop people from believing that he will heal their bodies.  Your supposed to touch the corresponding part on him that is afflicted on you.  I think anyone can only reach his knees, and that’s why the Japanese can sit like they do! 

Creepy Healing Guy (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart


and the big guy himself: 

Buddha! (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart


I know you can’t really get the scale of this.  He is 50 feet tall.  Each one of his hair curls is a meter across.  That’s bigger hair than I have!  His hand is as tall as I am.  He is way cool.  

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really understand the whole many faces of Buddha thing, but Buddha is flanked by these other Buddha guys.  Sorry to all Buddhists for the butchering of their religion.  Here’s one of the other guys. 

Other Buddha Guy (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart


and then there are these guards that judge who is ready for enlightenment.  They look a bit heavy handed for Buddhism, but there you go.  This one is crushing demons with his feet.  BTW, they are about 30 feet tall.  this whole place was a demonstration of BIG.  See the demons under his feet? 

 I forget what else he’s doing, but he has a pagoda in his hand: 

Other Guard Guy (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart


The lighting was too bad to get the other one.

Tomorrow I am back to Chicago.  The blog may get a bit boring after all this adventure.

Big in Japan: Shogun! and the Botanic Gardens

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

The weather was absolutely dreadful today.  It rained buckets all day.  I decided to postpone my excursion to Nara until tomorrow and go to Nijo Castle today.  Building on this castle was started in 1601 and completed in 1626.  Various parts were destroyed over the years, but it’s been restored. 

The fortress is much more functional than most:  low ceilings to inhibit swordplay, squeaky or “nightingale” floors to warn of intruders, moats and high, high walls around the fortress.  There were screens that the body guards would hide behind as well; all very ninja.  On top of all the security, the place was set up to reinforce social hierarchy.  Certain ranks of people were received in certain rooms, etc.  and the paintings in the room had a clear message to the visitors who might find themselves there.  It all makes me want to watch that horrible TV series, “Shogun” again and read all those great books by James Clavell that it was based on.

As I travel through this country, I am astounded at the detail work that went into these historical structures.  The whole of it is always beautiful, but I’ll catch a lovely detail:  the rivet work on a door or the tile work on a roof that make me slow down and pay more attention.  

The gardens have absolutely blown me away as well.  They are so extensively planned and maintained.  The view from every angle is planned out meticulously.  I saw so many plants that were supported with bamboo.  The gardener had a vision of how s/he wanted this plant to look in 50 years. 

The goals in my garden are to have my plants live through my Great Dane running through them for another year. 

As an aside, I have been trying to take a good picture of koi ever since I’ve gotten here.  They have them in EVERY garden I’ve visited and they are as bis as Golden Retreivers.  They are almost scary.  Every picture I have taken of them stinks,but I have posted the best one.  You cannot really tell the ginormousness of these creatures from it.

As usual, no pictures inside-too bad because there were some really lovely painted screens and painted ceilings.  I took pictures of the outsides of the buildings and grounds.  Yes, that is rain that you see and occaisonally, the tip of my umbrella.  There were endless school kids around.  They are in most of the pictures.

Blingy Front Entrance (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Outer Gates (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

The Main Residence (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

I couldn’t read the description on this one, but it looks like a bell to me!

Big Shogun Bell (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Main Hall (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Shogun Garden (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Island Garden (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

More Beautiful Gardenness (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Roof Detail (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

and here are a few shots fromt the Botanic Gardens I went to my first day in Kyoto.  They  were truly lovely, but not too much in bloom yet:

Another Gorgeous Japanese Garden (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Fabu Garden Shot (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

and, finally the Giant koi:

Giant Koi! (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Weather permitting I will spend my last day here touring Nara.  I get to feed miniature deer!