Grounds for Sculpture: Seeing the Seward Johnson Exhibits

Pam and I ventured into New Jersey on our trip south after our time in the Pocono Mountains. We stopped by the Grounds for Sculpture.  It was an overcast day, with the  sun making occasional appearances. 

Grounds for Sculpture.

Grounds for Sculpture.

A Seward Johnson sculpture, Strolling Professor.

A Seward Johnson sculpture, Strolling Professor.

As we approached the Grounds for Sculpture we began seeing realistic sculptures of people in various poses by the road and near intersections. I didn’t remember them from before, so I was intrigued by them. After we arrived we learned they were part of a special Seward Johnson exhibit.

Seward Johnson’s sculptures were located throughout the venue. Many of them were very realistic and required a moment of examination to determine if they were patrons or art. I liked Strolling Professor. He was reading a chemistry textbook, and the page was complete with text and figures.

Pam and I spent some time impersonating sculptures on a bench by a small pond. We would hold still, and inevitably every few minutes people would walk along the far side of the pond, spot us, and stop to stare for a moment. This was followed by discussions about whether we were sculptures or people. Then I would wave my hand or move my head and laughter would float across the pond. We did this for half an hour–it was highly entertaining.

The Seward Johnson sculpture, Between Appointments.

The Seward Johnson sculpture, Between Appointments.

I had my picture taken by a hedge-trimming sculpture.

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Most of the sculptures were life-sized, but some were  much larger than life. 

A large Seward Johnson sculpture of Marilyn Monroe.

A large Seward Johnson sculpture of Marilyn Monroe.

Another large Seward Johnson sculpture.

Another large Seward Johnson sculpture.

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In one of the buildings many of the Seward Johnson sculpture prototypes were on display. The prototypes were about 12 inches tall and were not painted. It was fun to see the prototypes inside and then encounter the full-sized, finished versions outside.

One of the Seward Johnson sculpture prototypes.

One of the Seward Johnson sculpture prototypes.

The same building housed a section of sculptures that created 3-dimensional scenes from famous paintings. Visitors could walk in the display, thereby entering the painting. Pam walked into Gustave Caillebotte’s Paris: A Rainy Day (I didn’t capture the entire painting with the picture). 

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The sculptures and gardens were beautiful.

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I love the diversity of artwork. One of the whimsical statues captured my attention. Even though the title Sue’s Nightmare seems to indicate something menacing, I found the little critter amusing. It might even be smiling.

Sue's Nightmare, a sculpture that amused me.

Sue’s Nightmare, a sculpture that amused me.

The return of the photobomber.

The return of the photobomber.

The previous time I visited the Grounds for Sculpture I was disappointed to miss the peacocks. This time we saw a peacock wandering the grounds. It spent some time watching its reflection in glass. I expected nothing less form a peacock.

A peacock at the Grounds for Sculpture.

A peacock at the Grounds for Sculpture.

The Grounds for Sculpture is a delightful place to visit, made even more so delightful by the Seward Johnson exhibit. When art and gardens combine it is a wonderful thing.

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Post Wedding: Hiding in the Poconos

When life provides an opportunity to escape to a refuge of peacefulness and shut out stresses and distractions it is wise to seize that opportunity. After the wedding Pam and I headed north to spend some time in the Pocono Mountains. We stayed in Dingmans Ferry, by the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The area has a fascinating history. It also has Dingman’s Ferry Bridge, which is one of the last privately owned toll bridges in the United States. We paid $1.00 to the toll collector standing in between the bridge lanes on our trips over and back.

Our little cabin in the woods was a glorious retreat. And it had a hot tub. On the first morning we had a black bear on our deck welcoming us to the forest–I wish I had taken some pictures.

The back side of a small cabin, with a hot tub on the deck.

The little cabin we rented.

During our stay we played games (Jaipur, Morels, Canasta, Qwirkle), and an interesting trend emerged. Games that required a running score had a scoresheet (which may be seen in the photo below). Our titles were Wife and Husband on this scoresheet. And it just so happened that the Husband won every single game that was documented on the scoresheet, while the Wife won every single game that was not documented on the scoresheet. Our sample size was too small to determine any significance to this, but it made for an interesting trend (and one I will be watching).

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The Delaware Water Gap area has forests with streams and rocks, which translate to waterfalls. We spent some time hiking trails and taking in the beautiful scenes.

Fulmer Falls.

Fulmer Falls.

Deer Leap Falls.

Deer Leap Falls.

Someone kept photobombing my pictures.

Deer Leap Falls Photobomb

While we were hiking to Dingman’s Falls we saw two beavers in the stream. They were working on lodge and dam construction.

A beaver floats in the water while chewing on sticks.

The variation in waterfall size and shape kept things interesting. Photos fail to do justice to most of them. Also missing are the glorious sounds of falling water and the forest. I enjoyed seeing all the mountain laurels, rhododendrons, hemlocks, beeches, partridge berries, and ferns in the forest. Everything was so green!

Silver Thread Falls.

Silver Thread Falls.

Dingman’s Falls has layers of rocks. This picture makes it look small.

Dingman's Falls.

Dingman’s Falls.

Above Dingman's Falls.

Above Dingman’s Falls.

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Adam's Creek.

Adams Creek.

At Adams Creek one of us might have decided to go swimming in a secluded pool, while the other was reluctant.

Adam's Creek.

Adams Creek.

Adams Creek Falls is an impressive area. When we arrived at the falls a group of people were cliff jumping into the pool. I had to carefully maneuver to take a picture without humans in it.

Adam's Creek Falls.

Adams Creek Falls.

Adam's Creek Falls.

Adams Creek Falls.

It was a delightful time in a delightful place. The days flew by, and all too soon we were packing up and leaving. Life has many seasons and chapters, it is nice to savor the sweet ones.

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The Wedding: Family, Friends, and Gardens

wedding_1After all the planning, traveling, and anticipation the wedding day arrived. Pam and I are truly blessed with great family and friends. It was wonderful to see them interacting with and enjoying each other. 

Our wedding was held in a beautiful garden setting, thanks to the generosity of Louise and Dale. We couldn’t have asked for a better location. The weather was nearly perfect, which is no guarantee during August in Pennsylvania. I didn’t take pictures during the wedding or reception, but I have a few to share from our wonderful photographer, Jen Capone. The decorations were bright and cheerful. Flowers were abundant. And I saw a few smiles.

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We took a photo with all (or at least most) of the guests.

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We even had our own beer for the wedding, Pam & Ben’s Matrimoni-Ale (thanks Chris!).

wedding_4It was a lovely day.

wedding_5Thanks so much to all of you who helped make the day special. We will treasure these memories.

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Wedding Week

Wedding week has arrived! Pam and I have been reveling in time with friends and family. Most of the details have come together. Our marriage license is now active, the 72 hour waiting period mandated by the state of Pennsylvania has been served.
marriage licenseI’m trying to find the right mix of moving forward and getting things done with taking the time to savor this sweet season. We get married on Saturday.

I suspect I will fall off the blog radar for a bit. . .

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Visiting Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Last Saturday was a good day. Pam returned from a trip, and I picked her up at LAX. Picking a loved one up at an airport is so much better than the drop off. Instead of returning home right away we went to Anaheim. We had a lunch and dinner hybrid at Tacos Y Pupusas. It was the first time I’ve had a pupusa (a specialty from El Salvador), which was a positive experience. My al pastor burrito was also very good.

After eating we walked to Angel Stadium of Anaheim to see the Angels play the Tigers. Angel Stadium is the 4th oldest ballpark in MLB, meaning I have now attended games in the five oldest parks (1. Fenway Park, 2. Wrigley Field, 3. Dodger Stadium, 4. Angel Stadium, 5. O.co Coliseum). This was Pam’s second MLB game.

Angel Stadium viewed from the parking lot.

Angel Stadium viewed from the parking lot.

The stadium has a cheerful appearance, with palm trees being prominent around the structure. The signature design elements are the Big A in the parking lot (you can see it in the picture above, it’s in profile as the red narrow pyramid on the right side) and the twin size 649 1/2 caps by the main entrance. I really enjoyed the big hats.

Size 649 1/2 hats in front of Angel Stadium.

Size 649 1/2 hats in front of Angel Stadium.

We took a picture in front of the stadium (photo stolen from Pam).

We took a picture in front of the stadium (photo stolen from Pam).

We purchased tickets for section 515. I had a new experience going through security, when the security agent didn’t like my camera lens. I was told not to extend the lens. (Lenses that are longer than 4″ are forbidden, a policy I was aware of but did not expect to be enforced.)

Our view from section 515).

Our view from section 515.

The stadium has some interesting features. The rocks and water behind the center field fence are a fun element.

The rocks and water in center field.

The rocks and water in center field.

The sound levels tended to be a bit higher than my preference (we were near a speaker). It reminded me of the noise level in Chicago at The Cell.

It was a beautiful, sunny California day. The temperatures were in the mid-80s, with a slight breeze. The game was played at a brisk pace. Pam got to see her first home run in the 2nd inning, when Efren Navarro hit his first career home run. This game featured Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrerra, and Justin Verlander–it was fun to see so many great players on the field in the same game. We also got to see Tori Hunter make a spectacular catch in right field for the Tigers.

Albert Pujols at first base (with Jim Joyce in the background).

Albert Pujols at first base (with Jim Joyce in the background).

The game also featured another first for me. In the 3rd inning Eugenio Suarez was picked off first base by Matt Shoemaker. Suarez was initially called safe, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia came out and challenged the call. After the replay Suarez was ruled out. It was the first challenge I saw at an MLB game. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus felt that Scioscia took too long to challenge the play, and his theatrics in disagreement led to his ejection by first base umpire Jim Joyce.

In just under 2 hours and 47 minutes the Angels triumphed 4-0 over the Tigers.

The field under lights.

The field under lights.

Soon after the game ended the lights went down and a post game fireworks show commenced.

After the Angels win a game the halo on the Big A is lit up. As we walked away from the stadium I took a picture of the beacon of victory. I like traditions of statements of victory at ballparks (like the Wrigley Field flag or the Big A halo).

The halo was lit up on the Big A (Angels win!).

The halo was lit up on the Big A (Angels win!).

Seeing Angel Stadium means I have now visited all five MLB ballparks in California. I did not expect to accomplish that so quickly after moving to California, I thought it would be a long-term goal.

It’s great to have Pam back from her trip. We’re in the home stretch of the wedding countdown!

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