Thursday, February 24, 2011

Milwaukee Art Museum Expedition

I first heard of the unusual design of the new addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum almost a decade ago, and I was intrigued by what I heard about it. I determined that this was a structure I wanted to see in person. My goal was achieved recently when Milwaukee was the city where my plane landed for a meeting I had in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Art Museum is composed of several components, but the one I was interested in, is the one called the"Quadracci Pavilion". When I first saw the phrase, "Quadracci Pavilion", I assumed it was some sort of architectural term. However, further research taught me that it is called the Quadracci Pavilion because the Quadracci family is responsible for the $10 million gift from Betty and Harry Quadracci that kicked off the capital campaign to build, what the museum website calls, "a sculptural, postmodern addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum". It seems that the Quadracci family was able to make such a generous donation because of the success of the printing company they started in 1971, called Quad/Graphics. The company has been the printer of well-known publications, such as, Sports Illustrated, People Magazine, Newsweek, and Businessweek. The Quadracci Pavilion was designed by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, and was completed in 2001. Santiago Calatrava is the same architect who went on to design the famous Sundial Bridge (completed in 2004) over the Sacramento River, in Redding, California. I visited, photographed, and wrote about the Sundial Bridge in a March 13, 2009, post on this same blog (see archives). In being chosen to be the architect for the Milwaukee project, Calatrava said he was inspired by the original building, the topography of the city, and Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie-style architecture. (In fact, part of the Quadracci Pavilion reminded me of the magnificent Monona Terrace, located in Madison, Wisconsin. The original designs for Monona Terrace were created by Frank Lloyd Wright, although the designs were not actually implemented until decades after his death.)

The design of the Quadracci Pavilion incorporates both cutting-edge technology and old-world craftsmanship. In fact, its grand entrance hall is Santiago Calatrava's postmodern interpretation of a Gothic Cathedral, complete with flying buttresses, pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and a central nave. The hand-built structure was made largely by pouring concrete into one-of-a-kind wooden forms. The museum's "signature wings", the brise soleil, form a movable sunscreen with a 217-foot wingspan. It is made of 72 steel fins, ranging in length from 26 to 105 feet. The entire structure weighs 90 tons. It takes 3.5 minutes for the wings to open or close. Sensors on the fins continually monitor wind speed and direction; whenever winds exceed 23 mph for more than 3 seconds, the wings close automatically.

I consider the fact that my short visit to Milwaukee was on a day that the bries soleil actually opened up, a gift of God's grace and I am extremely thankful! Since the bries soleil cannot be guaranteed to be open when you visit, there is a video of the process on the museum's website, . While their website is a "visual feast" for someone who likes architectural photography, there is nothing like SEEING IT IN PERSON to best satisfy one's curiosity! Although I only had a short time to visit the museum's lakeside location, before boarding my plane to return home, it was a gorgeous, sunny day with calm winds, and I arrived before the actual opening time of the doors to the museum. When museum visiting hours started, I suddenly began hearing music playing on the loudspeakers outside of the building, and I could see that the bries soleil was starting to move! HURRAH!!! I was blessed to be able to see it open up completely, and this collage shows that sequence.

As I pondered the experience of seeing the Quadracci Pavilion being transformed in appearance before my very eyes, I was reminded of the Bible's promise in Philippians 3:21, which says that Christ followers are in a constant state of transformation as well, to make us more like Christ. This is paraphrased in The Message to say "We're awaiting the arrival of the Saviour, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthly bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him." So whenever you get impatient with me, just remember that I am in the PROCESS of transformation, and a LONG way from completion. So all of us might as well ENJOY THE EXPEDITION OF TRANSFORMATION! Miles of transforming smiles! Tricia
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Caney Mountain Expedition

The Caney Mountain Conservation Area (phone 417-256-7161 or ) is in Missouri's Ozark County, five miles north of Gainesville, Missouri. It comprises 7,919 acres of a diverse landscape, that is characterized by unusual geology. This geology includes the roughest parts of a steep range of hills. These hills are the remains of an old elevated plateau that has been dissected by several feeder streams. At various locations in the Caney Mountain Conservation area, one has vistas of numerous prominent peaks, some of which are pictured in this photograph. In addition to the hills and limestone bluffs, there are unique plant communities---a result of the glades, savannas, forest openings, and old growth forests that cover the rugged terrain along the small creek bottoms. One can see the state record black gum tree, that is 106 feet tall, and has a girth of 10 feet, 3 inches! The occasion for my visit there was that it was the location for the weekly Wednesday hike of WHO---Women Hiking the Ozarks (for additional information on WHO, see the blog I wrote about the group in the 2010 archive on March 25).

Our group first explored the picturesque "Leopold Cabin", which is the subject of the photos in this collage. Folks familiar with the outdoors may also be familiar with the name "Leopold", as Aldo Leopold is considered a pioneer of modern wildlife conservation. It was actually the son of Aldo Leopold (A. Starker Leopold) who prepared the first wildlife management plan for the Caney Mountain Conservation Area, and hence, the name for the cabin. Because the state population of wild turkeys had dropped to less than 40 birds in the first half of the twentieth century, the Caney Mountain area was acquired as a turkey refuge in 1940, since it had been a stronghold of that species in Missouri. In addition, 30 deer were relocated here in the fall of that year, with the goal of building up the deer population. Before that time, the land had been repeatedly burned and subjected to open range grazing, with no real attention given to making the area sustainable for continuing wildlife populations. Although hikers cannot go inside the Leopold Cabin, the glass windows enable folks to see its interior. Also, there is a picnic table on the moss-covered limestone between the cabin and the edge of the bluff. It would make for an ideal outdoor meal retreat from "regular civilization". And conveniently, there is a privy on top of the bluff, as well, complete with the identifying crescent moon shape carved into the door!

The photo on the upper left shows members of the WHO carefully ascending the mossy stone steps that have been built into the side of the bluff to provide access to the Leopold Cabin. It should be noted, however, that there is also another trail (although it is longer) to access the cabin, that goes around the bluff, and winds it way up to the top. The main part of the Caney Mountain hike that the WHO did this past week was the Spout Spring Trail, and the other three photos of this collage show the ladies traversing that area. Considering the enormous numbers of downed trees and limbs from the 2009 ice storm that devastated this area, conservation personnel are to be commended for the clean up that has taken place to make the trail accessible. There was only one big tree that had fallen (probably recently) that the hiking trail went under, and which required some stooping to navigate. (lower left photo).

At the headquarters building near the entrance of the Caney Mountain Conservation area, one can pick up a brochure that tells about what is offered and regulations for use of the facilities. There are also handicap-accessible restrooms adjacent to the headquarters building. Throughout the almost 8,000 acres the area comprises, there are helpful signs that explain the proper way to go, and help explain what your eyes are seeing. I found that reading these signs greatly enhanced the experience--made the experience more abundant---that I was having at Caney Mountain. Later in the day when I had returned to "civilization" and I was reflecting on my enjoyable outdoor outing, I could see it as a metaphor for an even more significant outing---life itself. You see, the Caney Mountain Conservation Area is just about twenty miles from where I live, so it very close at hand. I was familiar with the name, had heard people talk about it, had driven past the entrance, but had never had a personal experience exploring its contents. The metaphor I speak of refers to the Bible: I had one in my home, I passed by it regularly, I heard a few people talk about it----yet I had never had a personal experience exploring its contents. However, once I started exploring its contents, I was amazed at what I had been missing out on! There were all sorts of signposts throughout the Bible (similar to the signs at Caney Mountain), that help direct me on the right path, explain what I am seeing, and make life more abundant. I have found great truth in the words of Jesus that say "I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly" (recorded in John 10:10 of the Bible). The verse is a reminder to me to take the time to explore all the wonders God offers through His Word as well as the natural wonders of the earth he created. So I would like to wish you "Miles and miles of abundant smiles"! Tricia
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Strolling Mt. Shasta

Mount Shasta, California, has been called a small city named for a tall mountain. This town of about 4,000 people (at an elevation of 3,500 feet) is located on the flanks of Mt. Shasta, which rises to 14,162 feet, making it a natural geographic landmark in northern California. This location has made it a magnet for tourists, as well as a beautiful place to live for locals. Out-of-towners may come for the Mt. Shasta Ski Park (, while locals enjoy their outdoor ice skating rink, and newly completed skateboard park ( that are pictured in the top three photos shown here. Residents who are runners are able to train on uncrowded city streets, as they prepare for the annual Fourth of July festivities that include a footrace ( and the photos on the lower left show Grover and Stacy heading out for a run on a recent winter morning. Downtown Mt. Shasta is a great place for strolling, or even riding a "cargo cycle", as shown in the lower right photo.

Just two blocks from downtown, one can enjoy a stroll through Sisson Meadow, which has great views of Black Butte (upper right photo), as well as Mt. Shasta (middle and lower photos on right side of collage). The meadow is named after Justin Sisson, who was a prominent land owner in the area. In fact, the town used to be called "Sisson, California" until it was changed to Mt. Shasta City, in 1924. Sisson Meadow is a restored 7.5 acre nature preserve that has year-round springs, wetlands, lush grasses, a pond, a home and breeding ground for local wildlife. There is a board walk and wooden benches located throughout the meadow, and it provided a great place for my daughter-in-law, Stacy and me, to take a walk with Stacy's sweet dog, Sadie (shown in middle right photo and lower left photo).

I read that the town of Mt. Shasta developed along the ancient trade and travel route of Native American footpaths between California's central valley and the Pacific Northwest, that was called the Siskiyou Trail. That early footpath has been replaced with Interstate 5, which supplies a steady stream of travelers to the businesses and lodging properties of this quaint area. (visit for a list of available lodging and other services in the area). Stacy and I had an enjoyable afternoon visiting some of the unique shops along Mt. Shasta's main street, and I have pictured some of them in this photo collage. The top left photo shows Noam as he works at the potter's wheel teaching others the joy of "playing with mud" ( The top right photo shows the old-fashioned candy counter at a gift store called "My Favorite Things" ( Another unusual store (to this Arkie from the hills, anyway!) was "Sereni-tea" ( This store had dozens of varieties of tea for sale, as well as teapots, mugs, and all other things needed for a proper tea ceremony! The store manager, Monique, is shown in middle left photo, and a few of the tins of tea she sells is pictured in the lower left photo. I especially liked the motto of the tea shop, which was "Your Tea Store on the "steep" side of Mount Shasta". Clever, huh??!! The middle right photo provides a shot of the "Mount Shasta Book Nook", which is the very comfortable home of "previously loved books". Their website, has some fantastic photographs of the Mount Shasta scenes that would not fit into this brief blog. The lovely window sign (bottom right photo) of the Mount Shasta Trading Company (530-926-6782) serves as a mirror to reflect a view of Mount Shasta, which it faces.

There is no fear of going hungry in Mt. Shasta, as several area establishments offer a menu that can please any palate. I had a delicious, cooked-to-order fritatta breakfast with Grover and Stacy at "Mount Shasta Pastry" (530-926-9944). It was a cheery place with one wall being completely glass, and the adjoining wall being a lovely mural of a street scene (top photo). From the day my son first moved to Mt. Shasta, I have been hearing about the legendary "Goats Tavern" (530-926-0209), shown at its strategic location of the "Y" intersection, with Mt. Shasta looming in the background. Although the meal we had there this time, was on the inside, I have had the opportunity to enjoy their outdoor dining, as well, which is often accompanied by live music entertainers. The center photo shows Stacy and me, enjoying a "tea toast" in the comfortable seating area of Sereni-tea. As good as the restaurants are in Mt. Shasta, there is nothing better than a home-cooked meal, and Stacy prepared a FANTASTIC feast for us, and what made it even better was that it was also very healthy! She used recipes from her new, favorite cookbook, "Dinner Tonight" from the Cooking Light publishing group, ( ) pictured in the middle left photo. I know Grover's ancestors would be pleased that his bride is making use of the iron skillet that has been in the family for generations, and continues to produce some delicious food items! (middle right photo). My brief visit in Mt. Shasta left me with a heart full of gratitude for God's many blessings, and as I looked around at the gorgeous scenery that surrounds the town, it reminded me of these verses from Psalms: "I lift up my eyes to the hills-----where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV). I am very thankful to the LORD, for making Mt. Shasta a very special place, between heaven and earth! Miles of Shasta Smiles! Tricia
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