February 27, 2008

For the love of mosaic


I’ve been meaning to try my hand at mosaic…I’ve been meaning to do many things, such as blog about my travels. I seem to recall I promised myself, and you, that I would write more in 08. Instead I’ve been leaving work with nothing left inside, nothing left to share, just simply worn out and beaten down. The longer nothing goes on the longer nothing gets written. The morning snow spurred my inspiration. There has to be a little piece of me left at the end of the day. So let’s talk tiles!

The Buddhist temples in Thailand, called Wats, were as plentiful as bars in Wisconsin or, well, churches in Georgia. With a few striking exceptions the Wats are built of cement and or wood and covered with small glass tiles. Not once while I was there did I think, “Look at those mosaics!” The scale and completeness of coverage seemed more than any mosaic I had imagined. It was tiles taken beyond the possibility of mosaic.

From human size creatures like the demons below to complete ten story domes encased in shiny gold, the tiles were painted on every surface, in every crack and corner. These are not your typical glazed tiles, but little squares of clear glass with a gold or colored foil backing. In the bright, tropical sun, the light glinting off all that glass could be blinding, even in sunglasses.

I started fantasizing of covering my house in glass tiles, of erecting a giant demon creature in my front yard, shining at passing vehicles. Our house would be a landmark across the state because nothing at home compares to the intensity of light, color and scale of Wat tile work.

More like home, but still over the top, one Wat we visited in Bangkok was covered in broken plates, bits of glazed pottery and shells. This was the mosaic I knew, the mosaic of the concrete park and the grotto. Still the scale was 100 fold more intense, larger, brighter, than any ceramic mosaic I had seen before. Did I mention big?

This summer I will take my Thai inspiration and mosaic a bird bath for the yard. Now if I can only find the traffic stopping gold tiles and the ten foot high bird bath base…

See my Wat Tiles photo set.




Snow! We woke up this morning to a light dusting of snow. In a few minutes it will all be gone, but for the moment it finally feels like winter.

February 16, 2008

Best of Thailand

The Travelers

I’m finally ready to talk, to write, to share our experiences in Thailand.

SB, Sharon and I decided we must go to Thailand to visit our friends who had recently moved from Atlanta to Bangkok. We took three weeks, breaking up our time roughly as one week in Bangkok, one week in the North West and one week on the beaches of Southern Thailand.

If I had to pick one favorite moment from our trip, I couldn’t. Bangkok lived up to and beyond the modern Asian city of novels and movies. It was smelly, dirty, loud and full of life. I loved looking at the people streaming by and listening to the sounds of city life. The north was move-in ready, with cooler air, beautiful mountains and the best food. Finally, the limestone stacks, crazy long-tail boat drivers and intense blue waters made us want to spend the rest of our days island hopping in the south.

I’ve posted my top 23 photos, in my Best of Thailand photo collection. Maybe this is all you need to know of our trip.

However, there is so much more! Over the next many days I will post more photos and more stories of our adventures.

February 7, 2008



Happy Birthday to me! I’m on my own for celebrating tonight but discovered this waiting for me when I came home from work. Thank you SB!

February 5, 2008

Re-entry woes


On my first day back, even the normal things seemed strange. Picking out clothing from my closet was especially weird. I couldn’t remember what clothes I owned and didn’t believe they actually fit me. Then to go into my shoe closet and find co-ordinating shoes that slid right onto my feet, it was amazing.

All day I felt a detached drunkenness. I experienced life through this haze of tiredness and disbelief. Sitting in front of a computer for an eight hour stretch is a really long time, though I was impressed that I seemed to have all this knowledge on topics I had not thought of in almost a month.

Travel can give you the time, space and different experiences to show you that you could lead a truly happy life doing and existing in all sorts of alternate universes. But then you come back to your life and what do you do with all this otherness you’ve seen. I’ve been feeling lost and sad. Partly I’m mourning the end of my vacation, the post vacation blues, and partly I’m still battling the travel exhaustion that comes with covering half the globe in 24 hours.

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  • Eating salted avocados with a spoon in Madison.
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