Optical Illusions at the Taj


Seeing the Taj Mahal is incredible. But there’s something interesting about your approach. A cool optical illusion is set for you.

When you walk through the main gate to the gardens of the Taj, your view changes as you approach. My first photo is fuzzy. It’s from further away, outside of the building in which one walks through. You can only see a portion of the Taj. It appears to be enormous.


As you walk closer, your perspective changes. Part way in, you see the building, but not the minarets.


As you make your way closer to the arched doorway, you can see more of the Taj.


This building appears to be gigantic at first because you can’t see the entire structure on your approach. As you get closer, you’re able to view more of it so it appears to be smaller as you walk through the gate.

And in case you’re curious, this is the view from the Taj of the gate building.



That last little bit…

Ever wrestle with a tube of something, trying to get the very last bit of stuff out of it? I’m not claiming to have come up with this myself. I saw it at my hairdresser’s. When you have squeezed everything down to one end and have gotten all that you can out of the intended dispenser, use this little trick. Just take a scissors and cut the tube. In this case, I cut an inch or two out of the middle. You can bend the tube and put the non-dispenser end back on as your cap. There’s always a decent amount left in the tube, so you get a few more uses out of it before you trash it.


Writing through Art at the Walker



random items

combing, curving, hanging

Fourteen objects hanging on white


This was our Cinquain Poem about the above piece.

During my last visit to the Walker, I learned about writing these cinquain poems to help understand the art. I think it helps immensely. I probably wouldn’t have picked this piece to use as my example. But our group came up with something that seems to work.

The indoor portion of our Walker visit dealt with writing through art. The docent gave us lots of ideas about having students write about art in different ways. I think that when looking at contemporary art, activities like these are a must. As an adult, I have a hard time focussing and “figuring out” the art. But the writing seems to help a lot.


Who is reading?

Screen Shot 2012-04-07 at 10.20.45 PM

WordPress has this new feature that tells you where your readers are.  I usually think that people reading my blog are the few friends and family members that know of my blog.  But when you see the stats like this, you realize that it’s definitely other people.  Pretty cool, if you ask me…

Travelin’ in the ‘bu.

It’s Spring Break.  This year I took a road trip.  Whenever I travel, I usually fly.  This time I took the Malibu (that I just spent a small fortune on).  I am now in the motor city.  I made the ~700 mile journey in 2 stages.  It was not that bad.  But as I drove by DTW I did think to myself, “it’s an hour and fifteen minute plane ride” as I was on my 11th hour in my drive.

Chicago was interesting.  I think I navigated it fine.  It was a Saturday morning and I went on I-90 right through downtown.  The speed limit is 55mph  but I think I only slowed to slower than that for about 30 seconds.  When you navigate your way through Chi-town you have to do it while going about 65.  If you go the speed limit, you’ll just get run over.  Being the driver, you don’t really have opportunity to look around.  And my big tip?  Get an I-Pass.  The tolls freak me out.  So it was really nice to use my parents’ I-Pass.

I have only been here for about a day.  I keep saying to myself: “I drove here!”  It’s kind of liberating to know that driving 700 miles is do-able.

A Visitor

I was sitting here at my computer and noticed a grandmother and her grand kids looking at something in my yard. I grabbed my camera and walked out the back patio. Here’s the visitor:


He/She has a shell that is about a foot long. S/he saw me as I got closer to take a look. Check out those fingernails!


Me and Mic

Last week I had my annual trip to the fancy dinner honoring the retirees of my school district. I’m actually on the local union scholarship committee. We present fifteen $1000 scholarships to high school seniors that are sons or daughters of union members. This year I presented eight of the fifteen. I’ve done it for the past three or four years. I can’t remember how long I’ve been doing this. I’ve been to this dinner several times. My dad is on the Retirement Board and goes each year. At least one year, my mom was sick and I attended in her place. The first year I attended was because my dad was awarded the prestigious award that is given out to someone who has had a large contribution to our local teachers’ union. That was even before I was a teacher.

Being that I’m single and have the same last name as my parents, I do run into some interesting situations. Most of the time they’re good. I’m lucky in the fact that my parents have good reputations for their work in the past and present. My dad is the one who is most well known because of his union involvement and being on the retirement board for several years. Since I’m not as well known in my own right, I’m sometimes thought of as the “date” or the accompaniment to the man. I actually had a place on the program and was speaking in front of the few hundred people at the event. But apparently when they were doing the seating arrangement I was just F’s daughter. Not me – member of the scholarship trust and current teacher in the system that has a purpose for being there that evening. Whatever… I’m cool with it.

The funny thing that I realized after doing my little part of the program is that I like it. It doesn’t bother me in the least to get up in front of a few hundred people and speak into a microphone. I have lots of practice. I’m the announcer at all of our home gymnastics meets. I know to get my mouth up close to the mic so I can be heard. I think it’s the worst when someone is using a mic and you can’t hear them because they don’t realize this. I know that my tone of voice is very important and to be careful to convey the right emotion. If I screw up I know it’s not a big deal and I just act natural. I don’t like reading from a script, so I have the basics in front of me and ad lib the rest.

My first experience with public speaking was when my dad retired. I was the designated kid that spoke at his retirement party. This is probably because I went into the same profession and actually worked with him in the same school. As I said in my speech, it was “take your daughter to work day” for a year. I was incredibly nervous about giving the speech. I put off writing it until about a week before the event. Since my dad was quite well-known, there were lots of people from the district at the party as well as friends and family. It was a big deal. And I did a great job.

Who knew? The shy little girl who never wanted to be in the spotlight was pretty darned good when she was in the spotlight. I think the experience of speaking at my dad’s retirement party was one that prepared me well. How many people can say that public speaking doesn’t bother them? Not many. In fact, I kind of get a charge out of it.

I suppose it doesn’t hurt that I’m center stage in room 211 every day. When you think about it, that’s probably a tougher audience than a bunch of adults at a dinner. If you’re unsure of what you’re saying, they’ll pick up on it. Teenagers are probably the most critical audience you’ll ever have. So I guess I’ve had pretty good preparation.

But the thing I find interesting is that I didn’t really figure this out until now. Me? Like public speaking and being in the spotlight? I’ve always thought of myself as someone who blends in and is never the center of attention. What am I going to do with this new-found knowledge? I don’t know. I’m open for suggestions.