Jenna Tomlin's Travel Page
Interesting people and places are to be found around the corner and over the hill so to speak, so out of curiosity I went to a few of these places to see what I could see and learn. Back to Main Page
Chicago for the 2012-2013 New Year
In somewhat of a Harry Dresden tour of Chicago... This idea was mostly inspired by the novel Dead Beat by Jim Butcher where Harry, the only wizard for hire in the Chicago yellow pages, turns the skeleton of Sue the T. Rex (housed in The Field Museum) into a resurrected zombie dinosaur to run the streets of Chicago and fight the bad guys. It's spectacular. So from there, my thoughts went to, what other places in Chicago are specifically mentioned in the Dresden Files books.... We tried to go to some of them and meet the places Jim and Harry went to in their slightly alternate Chicago. It was cold, but we had a great time.
29th of December: Train ride from Kansas City Union Station early Saturday morning to St Louis and then a transfer to Chicago's Union Station, with a stop through Jefferson City, MO. About 10 hours, one way, all told, but I do think it was better than driving (not in terms of hours) and not having to worry about parking was really great. Holiday decorations were still up on Jackson St Sam and I are thrilled with all the stone carved reliefs... ...and statues.... and holiday lights!
Couchsurfed the first night. Walked up Jackson St to Michigan, then over to Ohio to meet our host for dinner at The Big Bowl. Fantastic first meal in Chicago. Afterwards, he gave us some tips to navigate the city better (like where the Visitor's Center was) and some of the buildings and places we might want to see. The next morning, after acquiring some extremely helpful maps, we followed one of his recommendations and explored The Contemporary Art Museum. Some of the pieces rankled me - like a blank canvas with a squiggle of paint - and didn't bother Sam so much.
Sunday the 30th: I was intrigued by these walls of fabric. Sam had me stand on one side and he talked to me all up and down the other side. I had to strain to even tell he was talking. I could hear a murmur, but nothing else. Very, very effective soundproofing! Now I want some. These lovely repeating vine shapes separated out some of the rooms in a subtle, and effective manner. LED lamp is awesome. We both agreed that the top floor with the skilled furniture and functional decorative art pieces were wonderful. And one piece we actually got to walk on! The loveseat really muffles ambient sound. Sam tried it out with two other museum visitors. He could hardly hear the woman talking to him from the other side of the couch. View of Lake Michigan from the third floor of the museum. The Koi fish pond at the bottom of the staircase was a nice touch as well.
Took the Blue Line to our hostel for the next night (Urban Holiday Lofts - highly recommend them!), dropped off the bulk of our things and trekked off to find Sue. This would be our first Dresden stop, if you don't count just walking the streets of Chicago.
Sue is not difficult to find. The reason she is so important - not just because she lives on in The Dresden Files - is because she is THE largest, most complete, and best preserved T. rex skeleton ever discovered. She looks good for 67 million years old too. Yeah, a little predicable, but I had to get my photo taken with Sue. Sam did not want to pose. We walked through some smaller side exhibits and then found the Egyptian tomb exhibit. Tomb writings. Burial chamber walls... Then up some stairs... to the upper level of the tomb and a squid was peeking up at me from another exhibit, so I had to photograph it. Down two levels of stairs now... More tomb riches from Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs. Then we found ourselves walking through the Ancient Americas Collections (Ice Age peoples, Aztec, Inca and Maya, Hopewell, Mississippian... and many more) From farming villages in the Southwestern part of what is now the United Stated. Early Pueblo pottery. Tolima From the Columbian Collection Glorious sights make for big eyes... The Moche peoples pottery And it's the end of the world as we know it.... .... and I feel fiiiine... The Aztec Sun Stone Replica In the place of a Dark Lord you would have a Queen! Not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morn! Treacherous as the Seas! Stronger than the foundations of the Earth! All shall love me and despair! (cough, cough) Moving on. We realized that we were at the end of our day at the Museum. A quick walk through the Northwest Coastal Peoples Collection.... Giants among mortals... And Sue greets us again before we leave. Sam walked right into my shot, so he ended up getting his picture taken with Sue. It was completely dark at 6pm and the steps of the museum gave me a good view of the city. Navy Pier - where we would be going for New Year's fireworks the next night
Monday the 31st: Made arrangements to stay the night at the Fairfield Marriott in Downtown Chicago and started walking to Adler Planetarium (which is next to The Field Museum). Walked Columbus Drive down, over a canal, and through Millennium Park (which I think is also a Dresden mention) Millennium Stadium Intense Normal People looking like large ants... Millennium Park proper. Then past the Art Institute of Chicago, through Grant Park and this fountain... ... we passed a family who was also walking to the Planetarium and several of the children were vociferously complaining about the walking and the cold. We chatted with the mother briefly as we walked because we both found their family conversation so very amusing and we couldn't help but laugh a bit.
Early inventions of star gazing galore... So pretty Some high tech displays .... Some fun interactive terminals and we also did an interactive display of our thermal temperature. I burned hotter, but we figure I radiate my heat and he keeps his. Anyway, then we played around with changing our skin temp with ice cubes and I gave Sam a Saruman hand print to the face. There was a fun, family-friendly demo with vacuum space. We watched a Planetarium show called Undiscovered Worlds: The Search Beyond Our Sun, "The search is on for Undiscovered Worlds at the Adler Planetarium in the Definiti Space Theater. This new space show explores a timeless question in a now exploding field: Do other planets like Earth exist?" Afterwards, we walked over to Michigan St, went to the Hershey's story and the Ghirardelli store (right across the street from each other), got some hot chocolate and a colossal cookie from Ghirardelli. While we were sitting in the window, we had our "portraits" done by a guy on the other side of the window. I approved of the shtick though. Alright, so full from the chocolate, we went looking for deep dish pizza and found Gino's East of Chicago Pizzeria. So it goes like this, if there's anyone waiting inside ...
...like this (and only like this) then you have to wait outside in line. I had to approve of that too. We had wanted to go to Burt's Place out in Morton Groove, but they were closed.... and I got to have all this instead!!!! Goofing off Happy me =) Ate some garlic bread sticks, drank coffee and then was only able to eat half of one slice of deep dish spinach and cheese. Leftovers for breakfast! Wickedly full, we napped at the room then went back out for New Year's turnover celebrations.
Love the lights! Down Michigan to Grand St (which we... I... had trouble finding because it isn't marked, you just have to know to go down a flight of stairs.... anyway, we got to Navy Pier)
Walked though the complex and out to the Pier itself at 11:30pm, found a good spot and I tried to keep from freezing over like a bad popsicle. It was worth it though. I had a good time photographing the boats and skyline for a bit ... Down there would be the shore line that Dresden would launch his Blue Beetle water craft from)... and then the countdown began, the music started up and the fireworks went off!!!!! Love the water reflections! Looks like the ship is on fire almost. They went off for a really long time... 30 minutes maybe? I was thrilled. My hands were a bit numb, but I still had a blast. And might I add that I was pleased as could be to be there with Sam.
Tuesday the 1st: Last full day, took the Red Line up to Addison and explored some old cemeteries. This is the Graceland Jewish Cemetery This is the Graceland Cemetery (where Dresden has a grave dug for him and it's featured prominently in the Ghost Story novel) It just goes on for miles.... There's a Pyramid even -> I like cemeteries; I find them to be peaceful places.
Next on the tour, Wrigley Field (walking past anyway for one, and it's also a mention in the Dresden Files - Harry rides Sue all the way to Wrigley Field from The Field Museum).
Wednesday the 2nd: And our last moments of Chicago are here at her Union Station right before the "All Aboard" is called.
Trip to Southern California July 13th through 25th
Santa Monica July 13th 2011
I flew in at 8:30am, got a Super Shuttle from LAX to Graydon's house and after breakfast at a wonderful little breakfast place, Jennifer and I took a bus down to Santa Monica Pier so I could see the beach and walk around the Santa Monica Pier. Many buskers, many tourists, many shops selling crappy trinkets and the air was filled with warmth and a tinge of ocean water saltiness.
There's two sides of beach that the Pier divides and Vince Beach is for some reason less active then the other side. It's more of a muscle beach then a tourist beach.... so that's where we went. Filling our shoes with sand as we walked to the water.
I've always loved the sounds of water coming in and I love the layers the water takes on as it rolls and crashes up. I did actually get my shoes wet when a waves sloshed up and I was talking on the phone, not noticing the incoming little tidal force.
After getting my feet wet in the Pacific again, Jennifer and I headed back to wander around the shops of Santa Monica. We had some gelato, some water, lots of window shopping and I ended up with a bit of a sunburn on my chest, but that cleared up the next day.
Drove Graydon to the airport 6 or 8 hours later, and Jennifer and I drove up to North Hollywood where she lives. I went to work with her the next day because she works near The Grove at The Farmer's Market. I took a bus down to the crush of museums about two miles away and walked down to The Tar Pit!!!
Los Angeles July 14th
I've been wanting to see a real tar pit for many, many years. So I was very excited to actually see this one. It's even staged with prop animals struggling to survive the inevitable outcome.
I opted to not pay the $11 for the museum part, but I did climb the stairs so I could look down into their open air tropical gardens.
Overlooking the gardens at the Tar Pit Museum
Some of the pieces I really enjoyed at LACMA. Spent the day basking in awesome art. There was a kick ass Tim Burton exhibit as well, but no recordings or photographs allowed:
There is a small Rodin sculpture garden outside LACMA -These
I can believe it. I myself took several and was captured by their elegance. This is a view from around back of one of the buildings. Each building is part of the larger complet and you have to show your ticket to get into each building or floor (essentially every outside entrance demands a ticket shown) This escalator goes up five floors and then you can walk down each floor on the outside to get to each new floor/exhibit. Once up there, you actually get a clear view of the Hollywood sign. It's a bit in the distance and a little hazy, but it is there. It's a good view of Hollywood itself. I liked looking some of the palm trees right in the fronds.
One of my favorite exhibits was, "
Picasso (they had several) M Monet (they also had a small lily pond one that I really enjoyed as well)
Taller then me. I felt dizzy walking around it. Both of these are Robert Therrien. I did a self portrait in the silver pitcher if you can spot it.
Huntington Gardens July 17th
The first thing we did was visit the Illuminated Manuscript Building. Some of the items I saw in their words, "
As we left the building, several ladies were standing back and looking down at the step, ooing and awwing. I looked down, grabbed my camera and wiggled my way in very slowly and snapped off several shots of this cute little guy who was contemplating his daily sun bath. He was very understanding about my camera and swiveled his head this way and that to get a better look at me, while I was getting slightly different angles for him. An excellent model. I thanked him for his time and we left.
About thirty seconds later, I noticed these lovely flowers and a tiny, wonderful hummingbird flitting about. So I whipped out my camera and started shuttering away. I think I took about 50 shots, but these were the ones I liked best. In several of them, notice there's a honey bee as well. There were many hummingbirds on the grounds. They actually plant many of their plantings to attract and keep the little birds, as well as the bees. The grounds are stunning, and I'm guessing it's in large part to the well cultivated wildlife as well as to the skill of the humans involved. They impressed me enough with their desire to bring in and attract birds and insects.
There are lavish rose gardens (see more of those photo below) but I wanted to capture a honey bee by herself for several frames, and I think it segueways nicely.
This is the archway to the main gardens after you have walked the grounds from the Manuscript Building. Breathtakingly captures and radiates light.
The Rose Garden. Blue sky, warm summer sun, blooms and the amazing scent of thousands of rose blooms, gently wafting around. I had to call Ryan to describe the scene. It was like I had just stepped into Alice in Wonderland but without the Caterpillars and Card Soldiers.
In the Herb Garden I decided I really wanted a butterfly shot because there were many butterflies flitting about, but never sitting still. So I hunted this butterfly for about 20 minutes before he came to rest very briefly on these two plants. I was very pleased with my capture.
Next Jennifer and I made our way to the Chinese Gardens (the Japanese Gardens were undergoing renovation, but we got a peak as we walked past and they looked very restful and gorgeous). There is a pagoda when you walk in, with a small restaurant but then you can make your way around the large pond and there are many areas to rest and look out. The lotus were incredible and the blue dragonflies were very happy. Not only were there carp in the pond, but turtles as well! Everyone you looked, there was something picturesque happening - the architects did an amazing job of laying out the rocks, bridges and gardens. We spent quite a bit of time taking photos, and talking.
We stayed about four hours, but then had to leave. I think this is a place, that, if I lived in Pasadena, I would have a membership to. There were several museum buildings we didn't go into, several gardens and waterfalls I didn't see and then, of course, the Japanese Gardens were closed. Stunning grounds and I think the museums are world class.
San Diego Comic Con International 20th - 25th. More in my convention review page
Spirit of Washington Dinner Train Sunday the 16th 2006 - Brunch
arrived at the train - departure 11am
some coffee as we take off. If you look closely, you can see the reflection of my arm, coffee and our croissants in Jonathan's sunglasses.
some very pretty scenery some not so pretty
a brief glimpse of the winery from the back
we passed through Woodinville very quickly to advertise the train - apparently Spirit of Washington isn't allowed to actually advertise, so they stop the train so residents can see how tempting the train looks.
inside the Columbia Winery looking down into the storage area from the tasting/giftshop area. Yummy tasting. The 2006 Riesling was really yummy
The Train, the Winery
aren't we the pair.......
going through a train crossing and passing some blurry graffiti
funny train reflection
Wilburton Trestle - 102 feet high and made of wood
taking in the wind as we travel backwards back to the station
yay highway system =P
Lake and Mercer Island
we take each other's picture at the same time. have I mentioned how much I love this guy? well, I do.
the open air car. had a lot of fun out there on the way back.
Jonathan stands in front of the caboose where we were sitting for lunch. yummy food - too much food, but really good. I had a glass of Ice Wine which blew my taste buds away. My thanks to Jonathan who bought me a glass ($10 a glass and worth every delicious sip).
Denver, CO September 2005
Denver, CO Science Museum
Justin and Megan's Wedding Rehearsal 09 17 2005
Denver from Lookout Point
Mat and Sander kidnapped me off to Alberta, Canada (August 2005)
Mount Revelstoke National Park
Skunk Cabbage Trail - wetlands with plank trail
Glacier National Park
Hemlock Grove Trail - old growth of Western Hemlock trees
Yoho National Park
Natural Bridge - a natural rock bridge that arches over Kicking Horse River
Random couch on the road from Emerald Lake
Much rejoicing as we finished our couch photographing (taken by Mat)
Takakkaw Falls - means 'magnificent' in Cree. One of Canada's highest waterfalls
Banff National Park
Lake Agnes - trail from Lake Louise up the mountain
Further up the trail from Lake Agnes
Ground Squirrel asking for food at the TeaHouse (up from Lake Louise/ Lake Agnes - same trail) (taken by Sander)
Lake Moraine - lots of rock fall left amazing evidence of trace fossils
Sulfur Mountain Vista via Banff Gondola!
Cascade Mt, Banff Townsite, Mt Aylmer, Tunnel Mt and Lake Minnewnka
Continental Divide sign - one side water goes to the Pacific, the other, the Atlantic
Johnston Canyon - Lower Falls
Kootenay National Park
Ochre Creek Paint Pots
All three of us at the very end of the trip before we leave all the Parks and make the very serious drive back to Tacoma (taken by stranger with Mat's camera)
My Junior Year of High School I was able to go to Japan with my Japanese Language classmates (well, some of them anyway). Quite amazing, I got to see old friends that had come over as exchange students (I had the honor of hosted every year during high school). Anyway, there really aren't many pictures yet, but there will be more.
Very polite deer in Nara, they bow to you if you bow to them.
The Golden Pavilion. Plus there's a whole lot more behind.
If one were to walk behind the Pavilion, one would find a rock garden of perfect simplicity. This rock held my attention for some time before we had to leave to go to a tea ceremony.
I call this one Remembrance...this building was left to remember what happened the day the bomb fell on Hiroshima.
Guardian to a Monastery
Another Monastery up in the mountains
A morning up in the Mountains above the snow line
Once upon a time, for the celebration of the 21st year of my birth, I was given a trip to Europe where this wonderful friend of mine who lives in Holland gave me a whirlwind trip though Holland, a bit of Germany, London and Paris. So somewhat in order, I would like to share a few of those pictures.
Yet again. It was very beautiful even though I was suffering from jet lag.
As we were driving down to Germany. The scene just really struck me as something out of that old British country animal doctor show of which I don't remember the name but remember watching of PBS when I was a kid.
A watermill we passed as we were driving into Germany.
A last second shot as we were walking away from the Tower and I realized I had yet to capture an image. It just happened to be a perfect shot -IMHO.
Inside Notre Dame - this is Joan of Arc, someone I want very much to believe and so have constructed a very elaborate alter dimension to explain her visions since I do not believe in her God (if you where at all curious...at all).
Street Performer. Caught him in the act of getting ready for his day.
Sits in front Musée du Petit Palais
Pantheon. The is a series of paintings on five walls that are dedicated to the life of Joan
From The Louvre - alright.....I admit - I didn't take the middle picture...it's from a postcard. But I did still see it!
The only one of London so far. Evidently I really loved photographing Paris.
And if we are going to be strictly correct about venturing into other countries I have made many forays into Canada being in Tacoma, WA and all. I have these amazing friends up there that I just love to visit when I get the chance.
From Stanley Park in Vancouver
I consider hiking/climbing to the tops of mountains an exercise in travel as well. This being my wonderful uncles and myself one year.
And then descending the mountain...which is all about travel too - I'll be needing to post a pic of us getting down the side of this geologic collision by sliding down the snow on our butts. Very fun, very fast and a little hair raising.
Took a detour one day as I was driving up to Washington from Kansas. Very worth the trip- beautiful conservation of land.
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