21 October 2005

Art Appreciation 101

This, little one, shall serve as your introduction to the fine world of fine art. Lets start you off at one of the best places in the world to see some fine works. Lets go to the Metropolitan Museum of art in Midtown Manhattan.

I don't really care for modern art, but these are some of Picasso's early works. Quite nice, aren't they?

I think he was much better before he discovered 'cubism'.. shudder

Let's move on to early 19th century European works. Impressionists are a good place to start!

Yes, that's a very nice picture. Autumn haystacks by Millet. Good taste, kiddo. I realise that you're quite at liberty to interpret art anyway you wish, but "Baa Baa Black Sheep" wasn't quite what M'sieu Millet had in mind while painting that.

These are horses too, but they aren't the kind you sit on. Degas would be appalled if you did so! And no, poor Axe uncle isn't a horse.

Yes, that IS a cat my little one! But all cats aren't 'miyya Tom' don't need 'Jerry mouse' around! And no, I don't think you father is quite ready to buy you one... not the painting, not the actual feline...

But since you enjoyed your visit to this museum at least, let's get your dad to take you to another sometime.

10 October 2005

How're y'all doin'?

What is with the southern accent anyway? That drawl is really something else... It's charming, it's warm, it's funny or it's outright annoying. How is it that the same type of conversation with 3 different people speaking in the exact same idiom and drawl elicits three diverse reactions?

All three are people who have answered the phone when I called for a cab. The first was a lady who sounded so incredibly warm, charming and friendly. I still can't say 'y'all' or tag on 'honey' to each sentence the way she did. The guy who answered one time sounded plain funny... not warm or charming.. plain funny. The younger woman who took my call one time sounded plain hickish....

So what's the southern drawl/accent all about? Is it about being warm or is it a 'hick' thing? Does it depend on the person who's speaking?

So speak up , and y'all don't be a stranger.

The cutest part.. the way Aditi says 'Thank you so much'.. she drawls out that you.....

09 October 2005

'Twas a thrilling, absolutely chilling Running ......

........ of the 'Keeneland's' op'ning race.

Spend all this time in horse country and not go to the races?? How could one even think such sacrilegious thoughts! Today we headed to Keeneland to watch the races. It was a lovely day. Cloudy and a biting chill in the air. Not too chill. Just the perfect weather to watch the races under the open sky!
As we entered there we people who were dressed to the nines, and people who were dressed.... er... like us. Which means we sat with junta that raucously cheered the horses on instead of those that watched with stiff upper lips!

Denims are not allowed in the grandstands and pavilions. So we were all in redneck central!

Gowra and pa pored over the racing forms and placed bets. And Pa actually picked 3 winners out of 4!

This guy tooted and started each race. What is with that outfit anyway!
Someone else decided that the whole thing was a yawn and zzzzzzzzz.................

For some odd reason I decided that I didn't like the name 'Admiralty Island' and didn't bet, as none of the other names got my fancy!

But that hoss wouldn't be nice about it won by 4 lengths! And those who won were quite smug about it!

By this time, someone was wide awake and decided to take an active interest in the procedings!

And we thought 'Paper Man' would keep us in diapers for a few weeks. But that &#^)(#$* hoss came first alright... from the wrong end! and we decided to put on a brave face about it!

What's racing anyway without hats!

This is one of those that was within zooming distance!

And from the fence, we could see all the way up into the pavilions, club windows and grandstands.

And there were the people watching the proceedings with carefully schooled expressions.

And I felt like Eliza Doolittle who lustily encouraged Dover to move his blooming arse....

And now I keep singing...

What a smashing, positively dashing
Spectacle: the Ascot op'ning day.
At the gate are all the horses
Waiting for the cue to fly away.
What a gripping, absolutely ripping
Moment at the Ascot op'ning day.
Pulses rushing! Faces flushing!
Heartbeats speed up! I have never been so keyed up!

07 October 2005

Kentucky Horse Park

So we finally got around to doing the right thing here.. we went to the Kentucky Horse Park, to see... HORSES!!!!

Jokes apart, the one person who was thrilled to bits by the entire thing was Aditi. She had her first pony ride on a gentle little fella called Copper. After the first circuit of the paddock, she didn't even want me to hold on to her. And she sang about the horse in Old McDonald's farm all along! She was so tickled by the entire thing she laughed all the time. Now she doesn't want her appa to get her a 'Miyya Tom'.. she'd rather have 'Baby hoss'..

The highlight of our trip was the parade of the horses, with riders in period costumes. Quite a show. The first picture in this grid is of Aditi watching the horses with rapt attention.

The other highlight of the trip was that Pa got to see 'Secretariat'... Time magazine's 'Horse of the Century'.. not the actual equine.. a bronze statue!

Pa was totally tickled at seeing lots of Secretariat memorabilia in the thoroughbred museum.

As I blog, there's this little bundle of energy running around at hop speed making 'clip-clop' noises and snorting like her friend Copper.....

This one's cuter :)

03 October 2005

Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is the largest restored Shaker community, with 2900 acres of farmland and 34 restored 19th-century buildings. It is a living history museum where the tangible reminders of an extraordinary life are preserved.

We took a lovely hour long ride in a restored paddle boat, the "Dixie Belle" along the picturesque Kentucky River. We passed some scenic spots and charming riverside homes. There was hardly any current along the river, and it's apparently because the river bed is all rock, beepest part being some 35 feet. I didn't get the funda, but... (fanfare, please) .. there's your utterly useless fact of the day!

Started in the early 18th century, the Shakers were an offshoot of the Quakers that originated in England. The Shakers were strict believers in celibacy, and maintained their numbers through conversion and adoption. Once boasting six hundred thousand adherents, today there are only four Shakers. They live somewhere in the mountains of Maine. I found this nice write up in Wikipedia.

These pics were taken in and around the Shaker Village. Volunteers dress up in traditional Shaker costumes.

The highlight of our visit was the Apple harvest. We bought a large paper bag, and were let loose in the apple orchards to fill the bag and our tummies too. We had a blast picking apples. Aditi joined in the fun and decided to have her lunch right off the tree!

Natural Bridge Park and Chimney Rock@Red River Gorge

We all had a really enjoyable drive down to natural bridge park, 2 hours southeast of Lexington. We passed horsefarms (big surprise) and duckponds on our way there.

Natural Bridge park has a natural rock bridge in it... hehehe... how lame!

The rock bridge is sandstone. But apparently this stands on a limestone layer. The park ranger wasn't able to explain the funda of that phenomena. I guess I'll ask Adeeti!

We went up to the top of the ridge in a chairlift. Aditi loved the ride! Once there we had to trek for a bit. First we trekked over the bridge and under it. Then we trekked to a viewpoint on the other side of the ridge from where we had a panoramic view of the Natural Rock bridge.

The collage above? From top right: that's the ridge across from the natural bridge from where I have taken the other pics of the Natural Rock Bridge.

The collage below.. the top two pictures are pics of the underbelly of the bridge, taken from beneath the bridge. The picture in the bottom right is of the chairlift. The bottom left pic is one of my favourites. We had to walk through this really narrow gap to get to the underside of the bridge. And as we were debating whether our ..(ahem) selves... could get through that crack in the rock, Aditi stood there as if calling to us to just come and get in there!

After that we drove down to the Red River Gorge. All these, by the way, are a part of the Daniel Boone National Forest. Since there was more hiking involved, and the stroller wasn't really an option in the woods, we decided to skip the actual gorge and take a trip to the Chimney Rock.

By the time we got there, Aditi was fast asleep, and Pa offered to stay in the car with her. So Ma, Gowra and I walked the short distance to he lookout point. In the college below, the middle pic in the first row is of Chimney Rock. The rest are just scenic pics shot there.

I saw pretty dasies growing in the rock. Not that you can make out anything in the first pic (top row left). Then there's us mopping up after a hike. And there's my little one looking so cute on her first ever hike!

More DC pics

After queuing for over an hour, we got into the capitol, but didn't get to see the galleries because the senate was in session.

View from the very top (of the Washington monument). Clockwise from top left: 1. the Jefferson Memorial, 2. Lincoln memorial, the reflecting pool and the WWII Memorial, 3. The White House and 4. The Mall all the way to the Capitol

The LincolMemorial, WWII memorial and the Washington Monument.

I really wanted to walk down all the way down the reflecting pool from the Lincoln memorial to the Washington Monument, but the seniormost and the juniormost in our group started to show signs of fatigue. I had brought along bread for the ducks there!

Wait a minute!!!! No one showed me Watergate!!! I want my money back!!

Aditi in lots of poses!

Washington DC

So after a lot of deliberation we finally got our collective butts to the capital, Washington DC. After a fairly uneventful flight, and a quick checkin, I got everybody packed and bundled off the Smithsonian museum of Natural History.

We gave ourselves a good half day to look around and take in the sights. I don't think we missed a single exhibit! Aditi loved the elephant in the rotunda... right after she made her wish list for her birthday, New Year, deepavali and any other occasion....

All she wants are the "Hope Diamond" (left) and Marie Antoinette (below) diamond ear-rings.

I don't really want to say "high hopes.. " but....

The Jurassic display was amazing!

The highlight of my visit to the National Air and Space Museum was seeing the 'Spirit of St Louis'. Aditi loved exploring the aircrafts there and telling her grandfather all about "baby's plane".

We took a 2 day 'Grand Tour' of DC covering all the "Patel" points. On our tour we met with the Reurs, a sweet couple from Arizona, who were celebrating their 55th Anniversary. Elvera Rauer, who was born in Eastern Europe is an author. She told us about her escape from the Nazi armies and how her mother and her siblings landed in New York in '49 to start a new life. She showed me pictures of her nine grandchildren and her two great-granddaughters.

We went to the Ford theater, and saw the box where Lincoln (who was, by the way, born in Kentucky) was shot.
These dolls are the craze at all tourist-traps. Talking dolls of presidents and other assorted politicians.

The Jefferson Memorial (left) and Korean War Memorial (below)

We also visited Mt Vernon, the home of the first president, George Washington. I can't find the pics that (I think) I took there. Then we drove around the old town of Alexandria where our tour guide pointed out places of interest, George Washington's home, another ofGeorge Washington's homes, George Washington's some relation's home, George Washington's school, George Washington's church ad nauseum! My dad finally got fed up and asked me if there was anything else to do with George Washington in the next day's tour! He was relieved when the next landmark was something to do with Confederate General Robert E Lee. I think had had his fill of good old George! We also drove past the Arlington Cemetary.