Sunday, February 16, 2020

Mosaic Monday #67: Feelin' the Love

Hand-made card from Dear Neighbor Friend
I am not an attention seeker.  More often, I can be found in the background, working diligently.  Given a choice between entertaining a sizeable gathering or a cup of coffee with a close friend, the one-on-one chit-chat would win every time.  But everyone wants to feel special occasionally, particularly when that occasion is one's birthday!!!  This year, my birthday coincided with the last weekend of Whitefish Winter Carnival, and due to my responsibilities associated with the Carnival, I was not going to be home for much of the weekend.  With that in mind, my Dear Neighbor Friend (DNF) stopped by a couple of days earlier to drop off my birthday present.









In the days leading up to my birthday, she made a point of telling me that my presents would not be items to gather dust, so I alternated between laughing and crying when I removed the tissue paper from the bag and saw the pile of cinnamon buns, as well as the ingredients for sausage gravy and biscuits.  She sure knows the way to my heart (it's through my stomach)!

When I could finally tear my eyes from the delicious food, I quickly became overwhelmed by the hand-made card.  DNF drew her inspiration from flip books that she created with her students, but the rest of it reflects my life.  I was so touched.  
Each page of the card has a picture and a phrase that finishes the sentence.
And the sentences build upon one another.  The full card says:
This is the neighbor that skis and kayaks, emails and walks, hikes and visits
with the wife
that loves the husband
that feeds the kids
that adore the cat
that ignores the bird
that flits in the trees
behind the home
that Neal built.

Isn't it just incredibly clever and adorable?  DNF - thank you for the wondrous start to my birthday!

The next day, the Whitefish Winter Carnival weekend began in earnest.  The Carnival, now in its 61st year, has a storied tradition that includes royalty, Yetis, Viking Divas, penguins and much more.  (You can read more about the legend here.)  Each year, a button is designed to represent the chosen Carnival theme.  My role in the Carnival involved the design and sale of the buttons. With a theme of The Roaring 2020's, the button featured the classic gold-on-black, art deco, Gatsby-esque look.  

The Friday night Gala is a significant fund-raiser for the Carnival, and attendees come dressed in keeping with the Carnival theme.  A button is required for entry, so I manned the door to sell buttons to anyone that didn't already possess one.  It was the ideal spot to see everyone in their full 2020's regalia!  As most readers know, Spousal Unit and I never miss an opportunity to dress up, and this was no exception!
Carnival Weekend reaches its peak with the Grand Parade on Saturday afternoon.  Whitefish Mountain Resort sponsors a float, and since it is populated by Mountain Ambassadors, Spousal Unit and I were in the Parade!  
Spousal Unit (center) with two other Ambassadors, waiting for parade to
start.  Float - "Hellroaring Speakeasy"-  is on the left
For the record, I do not own any furs.  The fur and 
stole were loaned to me by the mother of one of
the Ambassadors
It has been at least 35 years since I was in a parade, and I forgot how much fun it is.  Hundreds of people throng the sidewalks.  The kids are poised to pounce on the candy that scatters along the pavement as if Johnny Appleseed was sowing it.  Parents keep one hand on the kids and one eye on the entertainment passing by - an almost impossible albeit admirable feat.  Everyone gets into the spirit, waving and shouting and pretending to be a gangster or a flapper.  For our efforts, some of us get our pictures in the paper!  Now, is that a birthday present or what?

In between all of this frivolity, I was fulfilling my normal duties as an Ambassador, including skiing tours on the mountain.  Suffice it to say that I was pretty exhausted by the time the end of the parade rolled around.

It was delightful to return home, shower and throw on my pajamas. In some cases, this was the first opportunity to read birthday texts and listen to phone greetings that had come in during the day. Several birthday cards also awaited me, adding to the warm, well-loved feeling.
I slept well.  I might have dreamed about Yetis breaking into the speakeasy and kidnapping us, but if I did, I don't remember it.  What I do recall is that Head Chef brought me breakfast in bed.  One of my favorite breakfast meals - smoked salmon with caper sauce - served on toast, it was accompanied by breakfast potatoes and steaming coffee.  Aaahhhh.  Now my birthday was complete.


Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.
 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Mosaic Monday #66: Spring Fever

Easter wreath for our church
It may be only February 9, but recent events have conspired to push my mind (and heart) forward to Spring.  Reading your blog posts, sprinkled with pictures of crocus emerging from the earth.  Meeting with the church Flower Committee to plan for Lent, especially the pretty pastel colors that signify Easter morning.  Discussing summer camping plans with Spousal Unit, since the application deadline for Glacier National Park is March 15. 


I reached for my hiking journal, and promptly got lost among the wildflowers and lakes.  Who knows how much time passed before I re-focused and decided to share two excursions from Spring 2019?  (My structured self pushed to write about a hike on September 6, 2017 - in chronological order, it's the next one for a post, but you whimsical, will-o-the-wisp types will be happy to know that heart ruled over mind this time.  After all, these Spring hikes fit the theme and my mood.)  Enough of the preamble, let's hike!

Thursday, April 18, 2019 - Apgar Lookout - 9 miles out and back (Entry 45 in the journal)

Our first hike of 2019 was designed to initiate our training with our new backcountry camping gear, so we didn't mind repeating a hike we had previously completed with our son in May 2017.  I carried 15 pounds and Spousal Unit hoisted 25, and we were both comfortable, even when we encountered snow from the last switchback to the summit.  At points, we could walk on the edges of the trail, but at the higher elevations, the snow was easily 5 feet deep.
Near the summit
And how do I know the depth?  At the summit, I went to use the pit toilet.  No luck.  I couldn't get the door open, but I could have walked directly onto the roof from the snow pile!  I wish now that I had taken a picture of it!
View of Lake McDonald from the summit
Given this hike was nearly a month earlier than the previous time we came this way, flowers, plants and animals were not as abundant.  Some buds were just beginning to pop.
Traction is often more critical going downhill, since gravity is "helping" you, so we strapped on our Traxx and reversed course.  In no time we crossed the bridge and skirted the paddock for the trail ride horses (summer only).  At this elevation,  life was a little more evident - deer, Columbian ground squirrels and a mountain bluebird shared the quiet meadow.  I couldn't help but imagine that they were enjoying the peace which exists before the tourists/horses arrive. 

On our way home, we stopped at Glacier Distilling.  Although we have passed it often, this was our first visit.  A craft distillery and tasting room nestled in the foothills of Glacier National Park, it specializes in small-batch whiskeys that "reflect the rugged beauty of our surroundings".  So good!
Bottom right: "Fireside Chat" cocktail - Fireweed Cherry Bourbon,
blood orange, charred rosemary shrub, sparkling soda
We went home with a botte of the Fireweed Cherry Bourbon!
Thursday, May 23, 2019 - Finger Lake Trailhead - 7 miles total (Entry 46 in the journal)

Our training regimen continued with this hike, featuring a shorter distance and less elevation but with more weight in our packs (18 for me and 30 for Spousal Unit).  I was thrilled that we quickly came across a huddle of several Calypso Orchids. (See 3/9/18, 10/1/17 and 7/1/17 for more pictures of my favorite Montana flower.)  Our strategy to choose a hike at a lower altitude in order to avoid snow and see more wildlife was already paying dividends!  This hike also boasts three lakes within a short distance, which can be beneficial when hosting guests with a moderate level of fitness.  So, this trip served as reconnaissance for the future. Win, win, win!!!

We originally planned to go to Finger Lake first, but the signpost we expected was missing, so going straight led us to Lagonis Lake. 
Flowers were abundant, drawing critters such as this caterpillar.
Middle: Star-flowered False Solomon's Seal    Right: Common Paintbrush
Upper left: Blue Violet    Upper right: Silverberry
Bottom: Common Paintbrush
At this low elevation, we were surprised to see beargrass.  And it had already formed heads for blooming.

We re-traced our steps, locating the turn we missed.  On the way to Finger Lake, you pass through a meadow teeming with desert parsley, shooting stars and blue-eyed mary.
Middle: Shooting Stars     Right: Hearleaf Arnica turns its face to the sun
Finger Lake features a dramatic flat rock outcropping, an ideal spot for snacking while overlooking the lake.  Serviceberry bloomed profusely, framing the lake with frothy white.
Casting a final glance back at the idyllic scene above, we sauntered along the trail to the final lake in this triple crown of jewels - Hole in the Wall Lake.  The trail traverses a marshy area, and thankfully a log boardwalk was built in 2015 to get over it with dry feet.  As you approach, you catch a whiff of the pungent aroma emanating from the prolific skunk cabbage in the marsh. 
Middle: Skunk Cabbage   Left and Right: Unidentified plant that was also numerous in the marsh
The trail climbed steeply from the marsh, but only briefly before flattening and leading to the lake nestled against a stunning backdrop of sheer cliffs with red striations on the opposite shore.  

Spousal Unit tried his hand at fly-fishing, but it was difficult with the tree-crowded shoreline.  We employed our water filter for the first time to prepare our lunch and refill our water bottles.  The Mesquite BBQ Seasoned Chicken with Beans and Rice was terrible - too much tomato and powdery tasting.  This certainly would not be one of the meals we would take into the backcountry!
We arrived back at the trailhead by 3pm, which allowed plenty of time for a stop at the Stillwater Bar.  Cheek to jowl with the Stillwater River, it's a terrific setting to sip an adult beverage and re-cap the day's adventures.  And to dream about the hiking adventures to come!




Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.
 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Mosaic Monday #65: American Sign Museum

Our daughter has abundant talents, and one of them is her uncanny ability to discover quirky museums.  So it was that we found ourselves at the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, during our November visit to Ohio.  Get ready for some eye candy, coupled with sign trivia that you will probably appreciate, and then promptly forget!


Examples of trade signs, such as the
top hat for a men's clothing shop
Signs are the oldest form of advertising, dating back more than 5,000 years.  Throughout most of their history, signs have been symbolic and taken the shape of what is known as a "trade sign".  Trade signs are visual images - painted, but more often three-dimensional - that represent the business, product or service offered.

The use of letters in signage is actually a recent development, gaining acceptance only in the mid to late 19th century.  This era's signs assumed the character of print advertising, which became practical only through increased literacy.  At first, letters were flat-painted onto a background, but the cut-out letter soon followed.
Picture can be enlarged to read about Smalt, a texture applied to the
paint for the background of signs, improving the readability of the words
Smalt came in diverse colors
The first wall of the museum contains a condensed history of dimensional letters, with examples from each of the key eras - hand-carved and gilded letters in the 1890s; first electric signs of the Lightbulb Era circa 1910; backlit, "raised" opal glass letters from the teens; Neon Era in the late 1920s with exposed tubing mounted on raised letters; plastics prevalent in the sign industry after World War II. 
History wall - oldest letters on the right progressing to newest on the left



Plastic letter sample case.  1960s era sample case was given to sign companies by Wagner Zip-Change, Inc., of Melrose Park, IL.  Kit included a number of sample letters and a miniature, backlit reader board for displaying letters.   


Big Boy.  The late 1960s version of this famous icon has the tell-tale three-dimensional slingshot, red hair and striped pants of the early version.  Later versions either had the slingshot embossed to his pants, or more recently, had no slingshot at all, thanks to political correctness.  The modern Big Boy also sports checked pants vs. the early stripes, and brown or black hair rather than the more mischievous red.  Today's Big Boys are also not as well-fed as the original.


Showcards were a staple of commercial signshops up until the advent of digital printing in the 1980s.  They could be as simple as knockout department store "Sale" signs, or as refined as theatre posters of the 1920s-1940s with portrait-like pictorials of starring actors/actresses.  The Showcard artists who created these fine art posters were those who had a little more flair with the brush.  Unfortunately, not many of these treasures survived, for at the time, they were considered "temporary" and were tossed out once the movie had run its course.

If showcards were reserved for painters with the most flair, gold-leaf on glass was seen as the most revered technique among sign painter circles.  Gilding was "high art" and commanded great respect.  Chicago-based Rawson and Evans was known exclusively for its fancy "chipped glass signs", and the company created the large glue-chipped and gilded mahogany-framed glass signs for a cigar store owned by the Breneiser family.  The signs epitomize the height of the fancy glass signs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Lightbulb Era: 1900 - 1925.  Regal Boot.  The circa 1910 cast metal boot was originally located in Brooklyn, NY.  When acquired, the sign had been retrofitted with neon tubing.  The museum left one side with the neon, and restored the other to its original lightbulb illumination.  The flashing border was also restored.
Green and white glass backlit by lightbulbs, within a metal frame
We came all the way to Cincinnati to see a sign from Montana!  In the 1930s, this sign was in downtown Missoula.
The deco design porcelain neon sign features gilded, raised letters, a trademark of the manufacturer,
Artkraft Signs, Lima, OH.
Manufactured by the McSavaney Company of Springfield, OH, this circa 1925 "punch-out" sign is internally illuminated with incandescent lightbulbs.  Louvered "holes" are punched into the sheet metal to allow light to filter through and illuminate the letters and borders.  Background is glass smalts as is typical of McSavaney signs.
Post World War II Neon Era: 1945 - 1960
"Golfer".  An excellent example of a sign bridging the Neon and Plastic Eras by incorporating both types of illumination: backlit plastic and exposed neon.  Sign originally identified a short 9-hole golf course at a former Rochester, NY amusement park.  It originally was mounted on a pole and rotated; unfortunately, the back half of the plastic golf ball was missing when the sign was purchased.

The early 1950's porcelain enamel neon sign below originally identified a Kansas City area motel.  It is a 'transition' sign from the standpoint that it bridges the Plastic and Neon Eras - the plastic sun/moon and cloud formation are internally illuminated with neon.  This sign was donated by Jim Seelen, Shawnee, KS.  Seelen has been photographically documenting vintage neon motel signs for more than 3 decades.  He personally rescued this sign from its original site.
1963 Speedee McDonald's Sign - Huntsville, AL.  The below example of the iconic "Speedee" single-arch sign originally identified one of several franchise stores in Huntsville, AL owned by the Steve Johnson family.  The sign was threatened with destruction when the family planned to expand the store in 2008 and needed to move the sign closer to the road.  The city would not grant a variance to move and re-install the sign.  Various options were explored to keep the sign in its native Huntsville, but ultimately the Johnsons approached the museum about purchasing the sign.  A deal was made and the museum arranged to have the sign taken down - amidst much local fanfare - and transported to Cincinnati.  Total cost for removal, transportation, restoration and installation was approximately $30,000.
When the sign was acquired,  the "15 cents" had been painted over, and the "ONE" had been updated to "99".  In the museum, one side was left in that condition, while the side you are seeing was restored to its original condition.
Left: I love the intricacy of the top of the Howard Johnson's sign
Right: Vic Cassano Pizza King is a restaurant that recalls my childhood in a suburb of Dayton, OH - I don't think
we ever sat in one, but my Dad raved about the entrepreneurship of a local grocer who built a pizza dynasty
So, did you enjoy the tour?  Which sign appealed to you the most?  What childhood memories do you have of roadway signs, business signs or other forms of advertisement?  Maybe tomorrow you will take a closer look at all the signs that populate our world!

Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.
 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter
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