Mexico…the Wedding

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The wedding was grand!  It took place in the chapel on the grounds at 1:00 in the afternoon, followed by a lovely reception with 2 musicians around a flower filled pool behind a waterfall.   It continued on through dinner and a mariachi band that played into the wee hours of the night.  I could hear the monks from 500 years ago chanting!

Mexico – Mexico City

March 2016 Mexico Wedding 45843 - Version 2Did you know…that Mexico City is the oldest capital city in the Americas?..that Mexico City is second only to Tokyo, as the largest city in the world in population?  ….that Mexico City is 7,382 feet high compared to Denver the mile high city at 5,280?

We concluded our trip with a couple of days in the city.  Although we just got a peak in the two days that we were there, 2 things I would mention are that we stayed at the JW Marriott in the neighborhood of Poblanco.  It was a great location for access to the city as well as neighborhood color, beauty and restaurants.  I heard it compared to NYC’s Upper East Side.  And, the morning of our departure for the wedding, the New York Times published a list of the best sites for finding local guides anywhere in the world.  I found and hired a guide by the name of Carlos before I was finished with my coffee.  He sent me a couple of emails before we met confirming our date and asking for any requests.  He picked us up at out hotel and took us around in the car and on foot for the next 5 – 6 hours.  We saw the main sights and had lunch at a charming little place in a quaint little neighborhood.  It was time well spent and well worth it just getting to know a little bit about Carlos.




Mexico-Museo Soumaya

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Seamy Museum is named after Soumaya Domit, the late wife of Carlos Slim, the founder of the museum and one of the richest men in the world.  This museum is a non profit cultural institution with one of the most complete collections of its kind.  it includes over 66,000 works from 30 centuries of art.

Museum Wise… The Cleveland Museum of Art — What to See, Where to Go, Eat and Stay

Why is CMA so Special?

Nathaniel Olds by Jeptha Homer Wade

Nathaniel Olds by Jeptha Homer Wade

Because the first pair of snazzy sunglasses were made in Cleveland? ……Not quite.

In 1920 there were 80 millionaires in this country and 60 of them were in Cleveland (that’s why we have so many churches!) We were an industrial giant because of our location on the Erie Canal and the Great Lake’s Lake Erie. Cleveland was the Car Capital before Detroit.

Cleveland’s rich history is legendary. This portrait was painted by Jeptha Homer Wade. An aspiring young artist that needed a day job, he contracted the implementation of telegraph poles. Fascinated by the technology, he bought up the regional carriers to found Western Union.

In this portrait of Nathaniel Olds, these eye-catching green glasses are a gallery focal point. The first oil lamps invented were called Argand lamps burning whale oil. With the light they produced being 6 to 10 times brighter than candles, the concern was for potential damage to sight. (In 1929, they became Foster Grant’s and the rest is history….)

In the meantime, when the lamps were adapted to use kerosene, they became very affordable and popular…and who was in the fuel business? The Rockefellers…

The story of generations of Rockefellers and Wades, are only a few of many favorites of the founding fathers of Cleveland and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Armor for Man and Horse with Völs-Colonna Arms, c. 1575 North Italy, 16th century

Armor for Man and Horse with Völs-Colonna Arms, c. 1575
North Italy, 16th century

The first Director of the Cleveland Museum or Art, Fred Whiting, needed to open the museum in 1916 with a collection. How would one begin to choose? With Cleveland being an industrial giant, he collaborated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and decided on Arms and Armor, to be a source of insipiration and education with iron and steel being so near and dear to the hearts of this community. With all of the renovation, and the gallery itself  being updated through the years, the arms and armor collection has always remained in the same spot in the museum, considered to be sacred space.


The Holy Family on the Steps, 1648 Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594-1665)

The Holy Family on the Steps, 1648
Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594-1665)


World renown art critic with a story of her own, Sr. Wendy, chose CMA as one of the 5 museums she visited on her trip to the US. She considered this painting to be our “most important and the most important of her trip”. There is so much to see in the symbolism as well as color and design of this piece. It also has a very interesting story behind it’s Provenence……



Nataraja, Shiva as the Lord of Dance, 1000s South India, Tamil Nadu, Chola period (900-13th Century)




CMA has an internationally reknown Asian collection due to the dilligence of long time legendary Director Sherman Lee.


Table Fountain, c. 1320-1340 France, Paris, 14th century

Table Fountain, c. 1320-1340
France, Paris, 14th century


This object receives international attention because it is the most complete of its kind from the Middle Ages. When the conservation lab demonstrated how it would work using alcohol, the results were described as magical. It was used to circulate rose scented water for the amusement of the ultra wealthy Royals as they entertained in the early 1300’s!


Mourner from the Tomb of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy (1364-1404), 1404-1410 Claus de Werve (Netherlandish, 1380-1439)

Mourner from the Tomb of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy (1364-1404), 1404-1410
Claus de Werve (Netherlandish, 1380-1439)



These stunningly beautiful alabaster carvings have the most minute of fine detail in thier faces, expressions, clothing and posture. each is so totally unique and such a fine piece all by itself. together they inspire awe, mystery, curiosity and admiration. You can see them here or all of the rest of the 41 can be viewed at the tomb of Phillip the Bold in Lyon, Fance.



Portrait of Lisa Colt Curtis, 1898 John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925) oil on canvas, Framed - h:249.00 w:134.00 d canvas, Framed - h:249.00 w:134.00 d:9.50 cm (h:98 w:52 3/4 d:3 11/16 inches) Unframed - h:219.30 w:104.80 cm (h:86 5/16 w:41 1/4 inches). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1998.168

Portrait of Lisa Colt Curtis, 1898
John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925)
oil on canvas,




Visitors stop me in the museum to ask if we have a John Singer Sargent? Here it is, a gift by JSS to his cousin Ralph Curtis, of the East Coast Curtis family and foundation, on the occasion of his marriage to Lisa Colt Curtis of Colt firearms fame. The setting is the Palazzo Barbaro in Venice, owned by the Curtis family and enjoyed by such famous guests as Isabella Stewart Gardner, Henry James, Vernon Lee and Monet.



The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16 October 1834, 1835 Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, 1775-1851)

The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16 October 1834, 1835
Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, 1775-1851)



Do we have a Turner?  We have THE Turner…..JMW Turner was watching the Burning of the House of Lords and Commons from one of the boats in the bottom right hand corner of this picture!



The Thinker, 1880-1881 Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917) bronze, Overall - h:182.90 w:98.40 d:142.20 cm (h:72 w:38 11/16 d:55 15/16 inches) Wt: 1,650 pounds - weighed by crane on 5/31/2006.

The Thinker, 1880-1881
Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917)
bronze, Overall – h:182.90 w:98.40 d:142.20 cm (h:72 w:38 11/16 d:55 15/16 inches) Wt: 1,650 pounds – weighed by crane on 5/31/200


Museums have copies of Rodin’s Thinker, with the stipulation that they be displayed high above the heads of the viewer suggesting Dante looking down on the chaos of his ‘Inferno’. Ironically CMA’s Thinker became part of the chaos when it was bombed in 1970 by an anti war demonstator. After much consideration and debate, Conservation decided to keep our Thinker as it is.





Giant Toothpaste Tube, 1964 Claes Thure Oldenburg (American, b. 1929) vinyl over canvas filled with kapok; wood, metal and cast plastic,

We have some great Claus Oldenburg stories in Cleveland, not the least of which is about the symbolism behind this piece. Our program with Case Western Reserve university allows us tour the museum with them regularly. I love to visit this piece with dental students. How could a tube of toothpaste have meaning? How about as a symbol of transition? Think about it!

Don’t miss a visit to GalleyOne while you are in the new atrium.  It includes an interactive, state of the art, 40 foot wall, with every object in the museum on a loop that allows you to select the objects of your choice, plug in your iPad or iPhone and download your personal custom tour…..or choose from the many options…..

You will find CMA to be one of the most beautiful, inviting, impressive museums of your travels!


Home to the Cleveland Museum of Art is a charming area called University Circle.  It includes, within sight and walking distance, the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals and Severance Center, the home of the Internationally renown Cleveland Orchestra.

      The Cleveland Botanical Garden, located in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States, was founded in 1930 as the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland. It was the first such organization in an American city.   ……..The centerpiece of the $50 million 2003 expansion is The Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, an 18,000 square foot (1,700 m²) conservatory home to plant and animal life from two separate biomes, the spiny desert of Madagascar and the cloud forest of Costa Rica.

       Cleveland Museum of Natural History   Collection features over four million specimens in the fields of anthropology, archeology, astronomy, botany, geology, paleontology, zoology, and wildlife biology …

        SEVERANCE HALL     America’s Most Beautiful Concert Hall

Regarded by many music-lovers as one of the world’s most beautiful concert halls, Severance Hall opened in 1931 as the home of The Cleveland Orchestra…..A $36-million restoration and expansion of Severance Hall was completed in January 2000. The two-year Renovation Project was undertaken to restore the hall’s original detailing,

Up (East) Euclid Avenue is MOCA, Museum of Contemporary Art.


Through approximately eight exhibitions a year, all accompanied by public and education programs,

Because MOCA is a non-collecting institution – one of the relatively few such contemporary art museums in the country

Taking a right at MOCA onto Mayfield Road and going up the hill will take you into Murray Hill, Cleveland’s Little Italy, with lots of charming food and gallery choices

Up the hill from Little Italy is Lakeview Cemetery with the spirit  of Cleveland Founders including the Rockefellers, Wades, Huntingtons, Mathers, Severances, Eliot Ness,  as well as James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States, in the James A. Garfield Monument.

      Lakeview Cemetery  

As a tourist destination, The Lake View Cemetery offers a variety of walking, bus, and self-guided tours. Among the tour topics are geology, architecture, horticulture, nature, animals, and history. In addition, there are picnic sites and hiking trails…...

Don’t miss the The Wade Chapel, designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany,  commissioned by the Wade family in honor of Jeptha Homer Wade, founder of Western Union.

North from the museum will take you to the Cleveland Cultural Gardens in Rockefeller Park, former backyard of the John D. Rockefeller family.

Hidden in Plain Sight is a short documentary about discovering the world
that’s right in front of you. It follows Luke Frazier as he reflects on the
Cleveland Cultural Gardens, the journey that led him there, and his discovery
of its beauty, history and wonder.

Favorite Places to Eat–

  • CMA docents like to walk over to the Glidden House for a glass of wine their very cozy wine bar.  We always run into someone interesting, on a visit to Cleveland for an interesting appointment or interview at Cleveland Institute of Music, or CASE or Cleveland Clinic, and the like.
  • L’Albatros located up the alley from Glidden House at 11401 Bellflower, is rated in the top 10 restaurants in the country.  We especially enjoy it when we can dine outside.  You will again be surrounded by the delightful, charming University Circle crowd.
  • Little Italy – Take a stroll and take your choice.  I don’t think you can lose!  Pasta and outdoor dining in the Summer!  What a wonderful treat!
  • Only 4 miles to Downtown on Euclid Avenue for all kinds of dining.  The Old Arcade is an historical landmark, 5th St Arcade is new and bubbling with activity.  On of my favorites is the Blue Point Grille for seafood at 7th and St. Clair.  You will be hard pressed to choose when you see the neighbor options.  Another favorite of ours is Mallorca for paella a few blocks away on West 9th.
  • Tremont – Lots of options here!  Tremont is one of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods listed on the National Register of Historic Places;  You will feel the neighborhood atmosphere in the air.  Lolita (900 Literary Road) – Iron Chef Winner, Michael Symon‘s bistro is one of a number of standout neighborhood eateries.

Where to Stay…..

  • Glidden House –In 1909, Francis K. Glidden, the son of the founder and president of Glidden Paint Co., built a dream home for his family in the University Circle
  •  Within walking distance with a flavor for the neighborhood, check out

      • University Circle Bed and Breakfast -#5 of 13 B&Bs / Inns in Clevelandlocated  at 1575 E. 108th St., University Circle, Cleveland, OH 44106

      • DoubleTree by Hilton The Tudor Arms Hotel #8 of 35 Hotels in Cleveland Certificate of Excellence,10660 Carnegie Avenue, Cleveland, OH 441

Big Bear Triathlon…..conquer the Poconos!

Elizabeth — My darling girl–this post is for you!  You started our summer 2014 season off with a Bang!  Oh my goodness….the enthusiasm, dedication and energy around this event made memory moments.  We are so proud of you!  You’ve got skin in the game and there is nothing like it.  You make your life and ours so worthwhile! Thank you!

On our way to Leighton, Pennsylvania…to cheer for our daughter Elizabeth who is running her (our) first triathlon as a member of the the DC Tri Club.


DSC02552Day before anticipation…..


Day of….the hotel parking lot by 5:30 am


Off to the races…


Take me out to the ball game, Take me out to the crowd…..


Get Ready…….


Get set…..




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Transition to Biking….

And it’s root..root..root for the home team…..


This could not happen without all of the volunteers…….thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Last leg…..

Congratulations on your Sweet Success!


What next?

Welcome to the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

On Sunday, June 1, the world’s top athletes will take over the streets and bay waters of San Francisco, California to compete in one of the most prestigious triathlons in the world – the 34th annual Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. Sending triathletes on a 1.5 mile swim from Alcatraz Island to the San Francisco shoreline, an 18 mile bike ride through the Presidio and an eight mile trail run through Golden Gate Park, this high profile athletic event showcases the beauty of San Francisco. This world renowned triathlon, in which only 2,000 triathletes and relay teams can participate sells out within hours of the registration opening every year. 

 Château de Chantilly Triathlon

Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August 2014

Set over the UK bank holiday weekend (23/24 August 2014), the racing will take place in the spectacular and historic town of Chantilly, just a 2.5hrs drive from Calais and 40 miles north of Paris. 

 ….. Chantilly provides a fantastic and challenging race, with the 2.5km Grand Canal overlooked by the Château and its gardens hosting the open-water swim. Triathletes will transition within the Terrasse des Connétables and set off into a fast 20km or 40km cycle circuit around the Forêt de Chantilly. After entering T2, competitors will run the surrounding woodlands and Chateau gardens finishing within sight of the beautiful Chateau.

Mackinac Island – Pre Memorial Day Holiday……. Perfect!

A Taste of of our favorite things!

We are so fortune for family…. fun, warm, giving, happy family….

Not to mention that they have Mackinac Island and the the Grand Hotel, all figured out.

As a child, (child ?) did you ever secretly dip your finger into the icing on the cake for a little taste test?   Our warm-up (already into the icing on the cake) for our maiden voyage stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, was getting ourselves to our (one of our, so as to not hurt anyone’s feelings) cousins’ house, Renea and Brian Butler’s home in Bloomfield Hills Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.


I wish I could capture the vision of their blanket of myrtle…

The excitement of the approach….on to Mackinac Island


Did you know….

Upper Peninsula of Michigan

The Upper Peninsula contains 29% of the land area of Michigan but just 3% of its total population. Residents are frequently called Yoopers (derived from “U.P.-ers”) and have a strong regional identity. Large numbers of FinnishSwedishCornish, and Italian immigrants came to the Upper Peninsula, especially the Keweenaw Peninsula, to work in the area’s mines. The peninsula includes the only counties in the United States where aplurality of residents claim Finnish ancestry.[1]

Ordered by size, the peninsula’s largest cities are MarquetteSault Ste. MarieEscanabaMenomineeHoughton, and Iron Mountain. The land and climate are not very suitable for agriculture because of the long harsh winters. The economy has been based on logging, mining, and tourism. Most mines have closed since the “golden age” from 1890 to 1920. The land is heavily forested and logging remains a major industry.




First peak at our destination!


Mackinac Island (/ˈmækɨnɔː/ mak-in-aw) is an island and resort area, covering 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) in land area, in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located in Lake Huron, at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac, between the state’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.[5] The island was home to a Native American settlement before European exploration began in the 17th century. It served a strategic position amidst the commerce of the Great Lakes fur trade. This led to the establishment of Fort Mackinac on the island by the British during the American Revolutionary War. It was the site of two battles during the War of 1812.[6]

In the late 19th century, Mackinac Island became a popular tourist attraction and summer colony. Much of the island has undergone extensive historical preservation and restoration; as a result, the entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark. It is well known for its numerous cultural events; its wide variety of architectural styles, including the famous Victorian Grand Hotel; its fudge; and its ban on almost all motor vehicles. More than 80 percent of the island is preserved as Mackinac Island State Park.[7],-Grand-Hotel-28537---Version-2

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May-2014-Mackinac-Island,-Grand-Hotel-28549---Version-2Arriving in the land of Charm….May-2014-Mackinac-Island,-Grand-Hotel-28875---Version-2

Such geraniums! It does not become us poor mortals to be vain—but, really, my geraniums! (Mary Mitford, Our Village)



The Grand……Grand Hotel!


The Grand Hotel is well known for a number of notable visitors, including five U.S. presidents, Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, Russian president Dmitri Medvedev, inventor Thomas Edison, and author Mark Twain.

Grand Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation[7]

In 1886, the Michigan Central RailroadGrand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, and Detroit and Cleveland Steamship Navigation Company formed the Mackinac Island Hotel Company. The group purchased the land on which the hotel was built and construction began, based upon the design by Detroit architects Mason and Rice. When it opened the following year, the hotel was advertised to ChicagoErieMontreal and Detroit residents as a summer retreat for vacationers who arrived by lake steamer and by rail from across the continent. At its opening, nightly rates at the hotel ranged from US$3 to US$5 a night.

[9]Grand Hotel’s front porch is purportedly the longest in the world at some 660 feet (200 m) in length, overlooking a vast Tea Garden and the resort-scale Esther Williams swimming pool. These areas are often used by guests on a casual family vacation, for large conventions, or concerts during the hotel’s annual Labor Day Jazz Festival. The hotel has drawn some criticism for its charging a $10 fee for non-guests to enter the building and enjoy the view from the famous porch.[10]

Five U.S. Presidents have visited: Harry TrumanJohn F. KennedyGerald Ford (raised in Michigan), George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

The hotel also hosted the first public demonstration of Thomas Edison‘s phonograph on the porch and regular demonstrations of other new inventions were often conducted during Edison’s frequent stays. Mark Twain also made this a regular location on his speaking tours in the midwest.[11

The Town…..walking and wining and dining….


Oh the neighborhood….

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And it’s over …way to soon…Early morning departure…

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Crazy for Georgetown

Georgetown House Tour – No waiting…NO pictures


This was the 83rd Running of this very interesting event!  It comes with a catalogue worth keeping, describing the story behind and current occupants of each lovely home.

This is a photo of a carriage house in the corner of the garden.  The inside is as full of impeccable detail as the outside.

I told you I had a Rose Garden…..The White House Garden Tour


As part of the White House Easter festivities, First Lady, Patricia Nixon, opened the South Lawn to a Garden Tour over 40 years ago.

The South Lawn is where the President departs in Marine One, where families gather for the Easter Egg Hunt and Roll and where the President officially welcomes visiting foreign Heads of State.

The President’s Garden

Prior to 1902, there were extensive stables, housing horses and coaches, located on the grounds of the present-day Oval Office, Cabinet Room, and Rose Garden. During the 1902 Roosevelt renovation, First Lady Edith Roosevelt insisted on a proper colonial garden to help replace the conservatory rose house that had stood here.

The Rose Garden is based on a traditional 18th century American garden. The current design of the garden dates to the Kennedy Administration. President and Mrs. Kennedy were interested in having horticultural features that followed the traditions of Presidents Washington and Jefferson. The West Garden has been called the Rose Garden since 1913 when Mrs. Ellen Wilson replaced the existing colonial garden with a formal rose garden.

The Rose Garden features a rectangular grass panel surrounded by flower beds and crabapple trees. The garden is steps from the Oval Office and is the stage for numerous receptions, bill signings and media events annually.

More than 30 different types of tulips and grape hyacinth are planted in the flower beds that are framed and crisscrossed with boxwood. Lavender cotton, planted in the shape of diamonds, surrounds the crabapple trees.

The Rose Garden was once a formal flower garden, but it was eventually converted to a broad lawn surrounded by flower and shrub plantings so that presidents could hold press conferences out in the sunny, open area with the West Wing colonnade as a backdrop.

If you look (very closely) you will see where the President’s basketball court is hidden.

Michelle’s Garden…