Mono Lake

Mono LakeA few weeks ago, we drove over to Mono Lake, a massive salty lake on the eastern border of Yosemite. I had seen the lake from afar before, and I knew it would be pretty, but I was still surprised by the beauty of this place. Around sunset, the sky was a bright hazy glow and the water had become a milky white. It was a stunning sight paired with the distant mountains and the dramatic tufa towers on the shores of the lake.

Tufa at Mono LakeAccording to the Mono Lake Committee website:

Tufa is essentially common limestone. What is uncommon about this limestone is the way it forms. Typically, underwater springs rich in calcium (the stuff in your bones) mix with lakewater rich in carbonates (the stuff in baking soda). As the calcium comes in contact with carbonates in the lake, a chemical reaction occurs resulting in calcium carbonate–limestone. The calcium carbonate precipitates (settles out of solution as a solid) around the spring, and over the course of decades to centuries, a tufa tower will grow. Tufa towers grow exclusively underwater, and some grow to heights of over 30 feet. The reason visitors see so much tufa around Mono Lake today is because the lake level fell dramatically after water diversions began in 1941.

Interesting!

Mono Lake Seagull Mono Lake Tufa Mono Lake Sunset

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Argentina in Film


While we were on vacation in Argentina I took some video, and I was finally able to put something together with the footage! I set it to the song Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes because Jim always says it’s our song, and also because I had the song in my head so often while we were there. Somehow the beauty of the landscape reminded me of the lyrics.

Glacier Doodle

Glacier Doodle

During our travels to Buenos Aires and Patagonia, I made several doodles to pass the time. Although this one looks simple, it probably took me about two hours to make it. Jim says it looks like a maze of glaciers. After finishing it, I realized he was right, which is weird because I started it before I’d ever even seen a glacier.

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires Tango

Plaster crumbling from colorful old buildings, rusty iron balconies, black and white tile all cracked and broken, tropical plants so big they might be monsters. These are some of the things you see when you look into the a hidden courtyard in Buenos Aires. These things transport you to another world, a time of the past, and give you a  glimpse at what Argentina might really be like: quiet, nostalgic, and somewhat falling apart.

El Obelisco

After our time in Patagonia, we headed up to Buenos Aires to enjoy the last few days of our vacation. On our first day there, we quickly discovered that the streets of Buenos Aires are quite different from these whispering courtyards. Instead the streets are bustling and modern, with black and yellow taxis zipping by and people, young and old, walking swiftly to unknown destinations. Perhaps they’re on their way to a corner cafe to have a coffee or to an afternoon meeting in the hectic micro-center.

Or maybe they’re just on an afternoon stroll through one of Buenos Aires’ beautiful neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character.

My favorite neighborhoods were San Telmo and Recoleta. San Telmo is located just south of the city center and has a sort of alternative flair, with lots of run down restaurants and antique shops. Peek into any storefront and you might see hundreds of crystal chandeliers dangling from the ceiling. The neighborhood is also the home of a huge the San Telmo market, which occupies an entire city block and is a great place to buy antiques of all kinds, as well as leather goods, fresh veggies, and delicious sandwiches.

La BocaGabino Coria Peñaloza

Nuestra Señora del Pilar

Recoleta, on the other hand is quite different from San Telmo. It’s a beautiful residential neighborhood famous for it’s Parisian-style architecture and many green spaces. We loved strolling through the heart of Recoleta, a series of central plazas full of people selling artisan crafts, street musicians, jugglers, and many residents and tourists relaxing on the grass for a picnic or a bit of yerba mate.

The trees in these plazas are especially amazing. Right when we stepped out of the cab we saw a beautiful group of rubber trees. We went over to take a look at it only to discover that it was one monstrous tree. I later learned that this famous tree, nicknamed Gran Gomero, has branches that span over 150 feet. Huge!

We also enjoyed strolling  through the Recoleta cemetery, which is big enough to get lost in, and were amazed at the size of the mausoleums, each one bigger than the next. Many were falling apart from years of neglect.

LettersLightening StormLa Casa RosadaJim in Cafe

It seems that every block of Buenos Aires has five cafes. We also appreciated that. We spent hours sipping coffees, trying new apperitivos, and people watching, as we tried to decipher what Buenos Aires is really about. We only spent three nights there, not enough to figure it out, but we were definitely enchanted, both by the busy streets and the mysterious courtyards within them.

Perhaps one day we’ll return to discover a little bit more about what Buenos Aires really is.

I’m Back

Hello! Sorry it’s been so long since my last post! In case you’re curious why it’s been so long, I’ve got two reasons.

First, I just returned from a two week trip in Argentina (it was amazing!) Below you’ll find some of the “how-many-sleeps-until-my-trip” graphics I made and used as Facebook wall cover photos before I left. The “sleeps” concept is something my boss’ son used to use when he was little and excited about a trip or the like. Always thought it was cute.

My second reason for not posting is a little less legit. I was finding it too difficult/stressful to actually do one big project a week, I guess because I was busy with my job, preparing for my South America trip, and this 21-day cooking challenge that I was doing.

Because I want to keep this blog going, I’m going to go back to posting small projects for now, and then hopefully have some bigger projects interspersed. This will definitely take the pressure off and somehow leave me a lot more room for creativity and inspiration.

Annnnyways, I’ll be posting more from my Argentina trip in the upcoming days. Can’t WAIT to go through all the pictures!

16 Sleeps

10 Sleeps

3 Sleeps

Day 289: Tree at Night

A tree at night. I feel somehow like dark trees and streetlights are becoming a theme for me. I wonder why? My only real guess is that, as a child, we used to have a maple tree out in front of our house and, since I lived in the city, a  nearby streetlight was always shining down on it. I remember spending time just sitting in our living room and staring at that tree, all orangey and warmly lit. It seemed so strong to me. So beautiful.

Day 269: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) Yarn Bomb Exhibit

MACBA Yarn Sculpture 1

MACBA Yarn Sculpture 2

MACBA Yarn Sculpture 7

MACBA Yarn Sculpture 3

MACBA Yarn Sculpture 4

MACBA Yarn Sculpture 5

MACBA Yarn Sculpture 6

MACBA Yarn Sculpture 8On Tuesday morning, I went over to the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, which was right near the apartment where I was staying, and was absolutely delighted to discover that they were doing a sort of yarn bombing exhibit in the main hallway of the museum. There were bags of brightly-colored yarn available and people, mostly kids, were throwing, knotting, and weaving yarn all throughout the large, and previously entirely white space, to create a huge, collectively-made yarn sculpture. Even though it was mostly kids taking part, I participated, of course, and had a blast adding to this thing made together by so many people. Truly wonderful.

Day 267: Fireworks in Barcelona

Correfoc Barcelona 2

Correfoc Barcelona 1

Correfoc Barcelona 3

Correfoc Barcelona 4

Correfoc Barcelona 5

Correfoc Barcelona 7

Correfoc Barcelona 8On Sunday, we went to an unforgettable La Mercè festival event called Correfoc, a huge parade where people run the streets with giant spinning sparklers and elaborate dragons spin around and spit sparks from their mouths. I think it’s safe to say it was more dangerous than pretty much anything I’ve seen in my life, and I would not have believed that it existed if I hadn’t gone to it myself. It was so crazy and so amazing!