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Monday, April 28, 2014

William Discovers the Campground

Hi Blog.  Today I get to spend the day with YeYe and NaiNai. My name is William, but my family and friends call me HaoHao. I just came back to the U.S of A from Ecuador. I don't remember being here before.  I was only 8 months when we left.  Now I am all grown up. MaMa, BaBa and me are all staying at MomMom and PopPop's house in Delaware.  It is real close to the campground where YeYe and NaiNai are staying.  While MaMa and BaBa want to do some shopping, BuBu (our dog) and I are going to play at the campground.  At first, I was a little sad that MaMa and BaBa couldn't stay and play, but, once I saw the big slide at the playground, I didn't stay sad long.

Here is a YeYe playing in the rocks with my trucks.  I took this photo myself!

NaiNai has Bubu on her lap.  I also took this photo, but I was getting better at it by now:

This is my favorite truck.  It holds lots of rocks.  We made giant piles of rocks and moved them all over the playground.

After sitting for so long moving rocks around, I wanted to get up and run around.  I found this really cool ball tied to a string hanging from a pole.  YeYe called it "tetherball."  I just called it fun.  You throw the ball and then you stand really still and sometimes it comes back and hits you and other times it just goes right by.

But, you can only get hit in the head with a ball so many times before it starts to hurt.  So, we took a break from tetherball and went down to the Brandywine Creek.  On the way down the big hill, I stopped and filled my pockets with as many rocks as I could find.  NaiNai also put rocks in her pocket, too.  We then went right up to the water and threw the rocks in!  Some make big splashes, other made little splashes.  We had to be careful not to hit the big birds that swim by.  Yeye called them geese and then he said something about "wawa," which made me think first of MaMa, and then BaBa, and then the Banana Song by the Minions.

Here we go - take rock out of pocket -

- then throw into water!  Yeah!

After all the rocks were gone, we went to go walk in the woods.  On the way to the trail, I got to see a big green tractor.  It is just like the white tractor I have.  The guy waved and made the bucket in the front go up and down.  Cool!

I like walking on trails.  I got to pick up a big stick and used it to poke things as I walked.  The trail was very steep. I crossed two bridges and had to walk up steps made of trees. But I made it all the way up the hill all by myself!

After all that hiking, I needed a snack.  We went back to YeYe and NaiNai's casa and drank some water and ate cookies!  After our cookie break, we walked back down to the camp store.  YeYe and NaiNai let me pick out a ball and a pink plastic plate that you are allowed to throw around.  NaiNai called it a "Fisby" (at least I think that's what she said).  Did you know you can make a fisby fly in the air or roll on the ground?  As fun as the fisby is, I like my little basketball the best.

We walked and played and walked and played.  Then it was time for lunch.  We ate outside on the wood table.  NaiNai cut up apples and we stuck them into peanut butter and ate them.  I liked just eating the peanut butter with my finger.  After we ate all the apples, it was time for quiet time.  YeYe put Caillou on his 'puter and we learned all about pirates and bugs. BuBu and Baxter the cat watched, too.

I wan't ready for my nap yet, so I told YeYe and NaiNai I wanted to go back to the park.  I guess I was more tired than I though because YeYe had to carry me part of the way.  Just as I was going to go down the slide, MaMa and BaBa came back! I was having so much fun, I didn't want to leave. But MaMa and BaBa promised I could come back.  I can't wait.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Philadelphia - A Personal Photo Essay

Friday, April 25 was our day to revisit Center City Philadelphia.  Kathy scheduled lunch with friends from work, and we invited our niece and her fiance, Jen and Drew, to dinner at the Belgian Cafe.

We rode the train in from the Thorndale Station - an hour's ride but very convenient - and had time to walk around before lunch.

The photos are samples of some of the beautiful things available in downtown Philadelphia.  This is a photo essay, so there will only be sparse commentary.  Enjoy!

Rittenhouse Square in bloom:

Following the theme of our old haunts with Matt and Weina, here are views of the Metropole Bakery and their front door:

Ah, Spring:

A major construction project to extend the Schuylkill River Trail down past Center City by building a walking pier in the riverbed:

Kathy picked up cupcakes for lunch:

While Kathy lunched and chatted, David visited the Philadelphia Art Museum:

Winslow Homer dominated this room:

One of our favorite views of the Grand Canyon, "Grand Canyon of the Colorado" (1892), by Thomas Moran:

David had to photograph this painting, "The Halfway House" (1861), by George Henry Durrie, because David's father painted a copy of it:

This is a very unique piece of America folk art:

A view of the main foyer of the museum:

"Liverpool from Wapping" (1885), by john Atkinson Grimshaw:

A statue of Jeanne D'Arc (1890), by Emmanuel Fremiet, dominates a square outside the art museum.  It was commissioned in 1889 by members of the French community of Philadelphia, with assistance from the Fairmount Park Art Commission:


Two view of the new Barnes Foundation building on the Parkway:

... and, finally, an evening scene of Philadelphia from the Swann Memorial Fountain, by Alexander Stirling Calder, on Eakins Oval:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Andrew Wyeth's Studio and the Brandywine River Museum

Our month-long stay along the Brandywine River has given us a chance to explore familiar places in new ways.  For example, before we started RV'ing full-time in 2012, it wasn't possible to tour Andrew Wyeth's studio.  However, when we scheduled a visit to the Brandywine River Museum this week, we discovered that tours are offered of Wyeth's home and studio, which originally was a schoolhouse.

The unpretentious building sits at the foot of a small hill near the Museum:

The building was originally fitted out as a home for Andrew's older sister and her husband, New Mexico artist Peter Heard.  When Andrew and Betsy were married, they moved in, and for some years it served as both home and studio.  Eventually, the couple moved to another home up the Brandywine River, but Andrew continued to work out of this studio.

He valued his privacy, as can be seen from this notice on the studio door:

The Brandywine Conservancy, which operates and maintains the Museum and studio, has attempted to preserve the interior rooms of the studio as they were used by the Wyeths. The kitchen had a huge fireplace and was sparsely decorated.  According to our guide, Andrew's latest painting would often hang over the fireplace:

The room most publicly known as his studio actually was not used as a studio by Andrew, but rather as a room for hosting guests and small group events.  Andrew's son Jamie eventually occupied a corner of the large room, as shown below on the left:

Over the fireplace in this room hung a copy of the N.C. Wyeth painting, "Old Pew," which Jamie remembered as being quite scary to him and his brother when they were trying to do their schoolwork at a table below:

Here is a photo of the corner of the large room Jamie occupied as his studio:

Jamie's corner is filled with copies of studies he did for a portrait of John F. Kennedy.  A copy of the final portrait can be seen in the mirror below, with Kathy (and David in motion) admiring its reflection:

Andrew's own studio was a separate, smaller room, lit bright by a huge window.  It was a study in barely-contained chaos which our guide reported represented the way Andrew normally worked:

Here is a view of Andrew's work space from a slightly different angle:

This window gave the room its bright character.  What painter wouldn't want such great light to work by?

The room was furnished with copies of Wyether's "Coon Dog" painting and various studies he did to prepare for that work.  Here, again, Kathy reflects upon the painting:

Anyone who appreciates Andrew Wyeth's work or life knows how extensive and complex the story is.  The Brandywine River Museum gift shop stocks an excellent documentary titled, "Andrew Wyeth Self Portrait: Snow Hill," produced by his wife, which explores his life and work and illustrates the stories richly with his paintings and old family videos and photographs.  Anyone who wants to understand the people and texture of Pennsylvania colonial farm country should study Wyeth and his work, for his paintings touch on deep, indescribable emotions that are rooted in the countryside and culture.