blog · life · memphis · tennessee · travel

Travel | Dixon Gallery & Gardens

After months of staying home, except for going to work or the odd grocery trip, I decided a change was needed. I kidnapped my sister, with the promise that she’d get to enjoy tiny things, and off we went to the Dixon Gallery & Gardens!

For America
&
Maritza Dávila Journey

Inside the gallery itself were two exhibits, the first being For America and the second, Maritza Dávila Journey, by a local artist…

Diálogos, Maritza Dávila

For America was absolutely full to bursting with beautiful pieces! Featuring a hundred paintings, For America is the creation of the National Academy of Design and contains both portraits of the artists as well as representative pieces from it’s many varied members.

One of the hallmarks of the Academy is that it’s members must donate a work of art to the collection and in 1839 they began to include portraits as well. I found the self-portraits especially interesting as they sometimes were entirely normal and other times you could see a little of the artist’s particular style coming through. 🙂

Some of my favorites…

Out of all the paintings we saw, Provider by Walter Hatke was my absolute favorite. I could sit and stare at this painting for hours and never get bored of it. It feels as if you could take a step and be inside the frame, enjoying the world living therein.

Provider, Walter Hatke

Bonsai: Majestic Miniatures

So, my sister goes absolutely bonkers over tiny things and bonsai has been a longtime interest of mine, as well, which made this next exhibit perfect for the both of us! Lol, I once tried to grow my own bonsai, but when that venture failed, I decided to enjoy the trees that others have cultivated…

The Gardens

Taking the time to walk around and enjoy the actual gardens at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens is worth every minute! The gardens are so beautiful and well-kept that people of all ages can enjoy walking through them without worrying about tripping over a stray root or fallen branch. You can enjoy the shaded areas or sit on the lawn and eat a picnic lunch, if you prefer (we saw a small family doing so).

My favorite thing about the Gardens is how peaceful it all is. Intellectually, I know we’re still in the middle of town with two major streets on either side, but the Dixon feels as if it’s a world apart.


What about you? Have you visited anyplace interesting lately?

blog · ocoee river · tennessee

Travel | White Water Rafting 2007

Possibly one of my favorite pictures

My “summer cleaning” for this year appears to be mostly digital, lol. I’m basically just going through old files and folders, deleting things I no longer want or need, and sharing fond memories.

This particular memory is from all the way back in 2007, when I went on a white water rafting trip with the young adult group from church (not youth group, we were all adults at the time).

I’m particularly proud of how this picture turned out ❤ ❤ ❤

I don’t remember exactly where we went, but some research leads me to believe it was the Ocoee River in East Tennessee, pretty much nestled right into the southern part of the Appalachian Mountains. My camera, at the time, was not waterproof so I don’t have any pictures of the actual rafting, but I did take lots of nature pictures from around the cabin and the woods.

Our cabin was right on a little river and I could have spent hours sitting on the porch, listening to the water and the wind and the birds.

If I could live the rest of my days in the mountains, I would do so in a heartbeat! It’s not often that you can go someplace and not hear traffic or sirens or just the sound of other people, but it was so indescribably peaceful on this trip that I can’t even say.

I’ll have to see if I can get some of my girlfriends together for a trip like this in the future!

No streetlights or telephone poles in sight
The view from my bedroom was so peaceful

Have you ever been white water rafting?
If not, would you want to go?

blog · memphis · travel

Blog | Snow in Memphis (2016)

I was going through some truly old files on my computer backup and came across these pretty pictures of a snow storm we got in February 2016.

We were still living in an apartment in Germantown (a suburb of Memphis), but we were on the second floor so we got to see some pretty things all covered in snow from a great vantage point!

Seeing as it is now July 2020, and it is as hot and humid as summer can be in Memphis, I thought it might be a good time to share these ‘cool’ pics…

What’s your favorite time of year?

blog · college life · ireland · life · study abroad · travel

Travel | Ireland: Day 8

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Before our tour of Kilkenny Castle, we were able to visit a street market and some of the shops along the road.

During this walk, we stopped at a crepe stand that was owned and run by a Frenchman. He had owned his own restaurant in South France. While talking with him and the other customers, it was hard not to notice the lyrical similarities of the French and Irish accents. Both speak quickly, but the French seemed more clipped and quicker than the Irish. This is not, of course, to say that the Irish aren’t quick speakers!

It really was a fun discussion/chat about food and life in different areas of the world.

Experiencing Kilkenny Castle was just as eclectic as the building itself.

The architecture of Kilkenny Castle, an eclectic mix of medieval and Victorian styles, has been described as beautiful by some. There are others who see it as a hideous hodgepodge.

I thought the castle was quite grand and rather enjoyed the transition from ancient times in the medieval lower levels to the more modern Victorian bedrooms on the upper floors.

It is truly remarkable that this property remained in the Butler family for so long. It must have been a drawn-out decision to sell the house to the people of Kilkenny. My own family does not have even an iota of the history of the Butler family, but even the mere thought of letting a family home go is a difficult one.

Some of the most memorable things that I heard on this tour are as follows:

Many a good match was made at a wake.

This was in reference to the social events that wakes were. A time to celebrate the lives of loved ones now gone.

Save face. / Don’t lose face. / Mind your beeswax.

Were all sayings that were meant as a warning. These all referred to the wax that people used to wear beneath their makeup. This wax could melt if too close to the fire, so the use of pole screens came into being.

I like this.

My professor wrote in response.

A good journal, Michelle – full of observations that will help you remember your trip for years to come.

There were times I thought a little more attention, specifically to language, might have been good, but I did enjoy reading this.

And I certainly enjoyed your company on this trip!

Journal grade: 190/200

Professor Doug Branch
blog · college life · ireland · study abroad · travel

Travel | Ireland: Day 7

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Visiting the Rock of Cashel was the most entertaining tip due to the following story that a local girl told me…

As Sarah tells the tale, a boy her age was banned from the Rock. At the age of seven, he had climbed the Rock (a pastime of local children) so many times and heard the tour guides so much that he’d memorized the tour! He was banned for giving tours to visitors and has not been allowed back on the Rock since. 🙂

When we came down from the Rock, we visited a lovely (and eclectic) little store where I was able to purchase an Irish-made sweater.

Before we left Cashel, we stopped in at Rossa’s Pottery. The owner and the store’s namesake, Rossa, was lovely and took the time to look up and explain the meaning of a Celtic song for us.

Dúlamán is a song about the various types of seaweed found along Ireland’s coasts. The Irish have longed used this resource for medicinal purposes as well as for relaxation. Dúlamán takes all that the Irish feel for seaweed and beautifully creates a sort of poetic love song…

Dúlamán na binne buí, dúlamán Gaelach
Dúlamán na farraige, b’fhearr a bhí in Éirinn

Tá ceann buí óir ar an dúlamán gaelach
Tá dhá chluais mhaol ar an dúlamán maorach

Bróga breaca dubha ar an dúlamán gaelach
Tá bearéad agus triús ar an dúlamán maorach

“Submerged seaweed canopy” by Julius A. Ellrich is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Seaweed from the yellow cliff, Irish seaweed
Seaweed from the ocean, the best in all of Ireland

There is a yellow gold head on the Gaelic seaweed
There are two blunt ears on the stately seaweed

The Irish seaweed has beautiful black shoes
The stately seaweed has a beret and trousers

Very cool!

my professor
blog · college life · ireland · life · study abroad · travel

Travel | Ireland: Day 6

Tuesday, May 17

Honestly? I didn’t pay much attention at all to the trip from Dublin to Thurles.

My fingers itched for the comfort of knitting and feel of soft, smooth yarn. I don’t recall much of the drive beyond the murmur of students and faculty.

Once we’d settled into our rooms, people started exploring the small Thurles community. And what is the heart of the community? A library that is also a gathering place!

In Ireland, checking out yer books!

Library cards are entirely free to both residents of Ireland AND to foreigners! Identification is not required to register for an account, a thing almost unheard of in the United States.

My instructor commented… “So glad you did this!”

After I’d signed up for my account and browsed the collection, I talked with the librarian, Loraine.

She told me that they were moving to a new integrated library system that would be country-wide. We discussed electronic collections and discovered that we used the same system, OverDrive. Loraine and I continued talking and I learned an entirely surprising thing!

The Thurles Library system, in fact the entire system, does not have a Friends of the Library group. Libraries in Ireland are supported solely by the government! In the states, we have nonprofit groups that raise funds for programs, furniture, and more!

After exploring more of the city, my little group returned to the library for a music program…

The tribute to Kris Kristofferson was an absolute pleasure to take part in. Many community members were in attendance, all ages enjoying the music, often clapping (sometimes singing) along with the performers.

During the performance, I took a moment inside the library. While there I talked with a library associate who asked about Memphis, my work, and the music we could hear from the next room. I told him about youth services and the duties the job entailed… He offered me a job!

My Professor commented, “Nice!” to my job offer, lol.

blog · college life · ireland · study abroad · travel

Travel | Ireland: Day 5

This post is SO late! My goodness, you’d think I forgot about it… which I didn’t, I just misplaced my journal from the trip before typing up the events therein, then I wasn’t blogging for a period of time, and well, here we are.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Our second day trip was to the Titanic museum in Belfast, the city where she was built.

Continue reading “Travel | Ireland: Day 5”