Saturday, June 27, 2009

More Corning Museum of Glass

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More intriguing glass!

Beautiful Glass


On Wednesday, I had no idea I would be so impressed with the Corning Museum of Glass. It is in reality an interactive art museum dedicated to the history and beauty of glassmaking. The museum is for children as well as adults and provides for so many activities that it would be a shame if you had a chance to go and you squandered it. The museum has a whole wing dedicated to activities and hands on displays on the way glass has been used historically, in homes and in industries. As an educator I was delighted to find that each room offered interesting ways for children to discover how glass works in such things as the light bulb, cameras, telescopes, lighthouses, television sets, and even web cams.

Then if you have the time, and fortunately I did, you can go to the galleries featuring a collection of historical items from different regions including Ancient Egypt, Europe, the Middle East, China, and the Americas from antiquity to the present. In addition to viewing the beautiful items you can actually see live demonstrations of glassmakers making lovely vases and bowels, as well as, participate in making your own original glass work. There is so much to see and do that frankly I would have to write a book to describe and document everything you can see there. Is it worthwhile going? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt!

Friday, June 26, 2009

What is in a name?

To be called Abuelita after being called Grandma Elba for seven years, is quite the loaded question. Turns out that mi nieta, Zee (not her real name) has been learning Spanish, after resisting a second language for a long time. She has been learning Spanish through her mami, saying mira chica, and que pasa? and other short phrases here and there. Her mami is very proud to be Puertorriqueña, and has her culture on display all over the house. Mi orgullo. In addition she has experienced Spanish by going to Puerto Rico at least once every year, watching Dora the Explorer, and reading bilingual books . She has also made Zee perk up because her older sister has been taking Spanish more seriously.

Any way, Zee, all of a sudden feels proud of her Latin roots. Hurray, but the consequence is that she wants to change my name. She calls me Abuelita now. I was sort of comfortable with Grandma all these years, and all of a suddden, I come visit my daughter and she announces the name change. I like it actually but it takes getting used to. She called me abuelita yesterday and I didn't even know she was talking to me. Get the idea? Anyway. It was funny, mi americanita, calling me Abuelita. Bueno ahi vamos. I might have her call me by a nickname, or simply, Lita, for the end of Abuelita. It'll be a nice compromise. We'll see how that goes. I might answer after a while, I think.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Leaving Charleston


Saying good bye to back porch friends, more like family is part of every visit. Getting treated to some snacks for the road is customary and always a ribbon to tie all these memories together as I make my way off of James Island taking
Maybank Highway through the Magnolia lined highway leading to River Road by going over the bridge and seeing all the beautiful boats crisscrossing on the river below. Then on to River Road seeing the old oak trees reaching to touch each other in tangled boughs next to shallow waters. Moisture in the air, six white pear trees (these have another name), funny mailboxes, a huge anchor, and the river peeking between the houses. This is how I go home on this familiar road leading out the quiet side of Charleston avoiding the busier side of town and the old Savannah highway. Today I will continue towards Ravenel and Jacksonboro, on to Beaufort and then I-95. Always wishing the visits were longer, and my friends were in Orlando or I in Charleston, knowing that life is too short, but how lucky I am to travel so much and so freely, and to be so loved. Thank you God for vacations, family, and friends that love us.
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An eye for Charleston

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Last week I had a chance to go sightseeing through Charleston with long time native and great friend, Ranne Gammus. We started at the Battery and worked our way through all the beautiful gardens and colonial houses, especially the Charlestonian single houses. I didn't realize they called them single because they were only one bedroom wide. They seem a curiosity because their front door also does not open to a living room but to a side porch, even as stately as that front door may appear.

Later we meandered through cobblestone streets to see some of the new construction built by newcomers which I shall not call Yankees by any means, but you get the drift. These new condos are right next to the fountain which is quite refreshing especially for the young folks that come with their parents to see this "holy city." The title is for so many churches located in its city limits.

Then we roamed the market place at a good time because it was getting close to closing time when many market patrons offer really good deals. While examining some bracelets which I wasn't that interested in buying, and frankly had run out of cash a lady told me to make my best offer, and I felt so bad because I didn't have any money to bargain with. I also didn't want to take advantage of her. It was sad. I didn't want to offend her with a cheap offer. Perhaps tomorrow would be a better day. I am sure it would be, at least that was my hope.

Our outing was coming to a close so we went down Market Street, to find Wentworth, Calhoun, and circled back on King. What a name, King, so befitting for a street that is so full of history, drama, stores, hotels, restaurants, and galleries. Old buildings which still retain their original charm and often their founding names though they now house new owners. It is a sight for comfortable shoes and nimble legs, but for us that day all our shots were from a comfortable air conditioned car. Nevertheless, the pictures still capture much of the charm and style of the city, don't you think? Hope you enjoy them.