Michigan State University

6/19/13 Wednesday at Stockbridge, MI (Heartland Woods RV Resort-RPI-$10/night)

Ah, wonderful cool night, so we slept well under our heavy bed covers. With a leisurely get up time, I could manage a slow walk among the trees, then some exercise. I even made a macaroni salad to share with Judy when we meet her today at 1 pm at her place in East Lansing. John got some projects accomplished: silicone on front door lock area and checking screws attaching our new TV (is traveling working them loose?).

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Our beautiful site and views from it at Heartland Woods RV Resort, this morning.

Remember the story of Mom’s condo furniture auction check? It took a month after the condo sale closed to get that check. I sent it to the bank 5/18. They sent it to our Spokane address, so after several weeks I called the bank wondering why it hadn’t been deposited (written amount differed from number amount). SO I asked our neighbor to send it to us, because the auction guy needed it before he would send us a good check. [Why didn’t I just have our neighbor send that bad check directly to the auction guy?] We got it when we first arrived in Buchanan, MI. Having sent it to the auction guy immediately, I was wondering why I hadn’t heard from him, so I called him a few days ago. Apparently, the address I’d sent it to, which was the one on the check, was not good. He checked his mail, but didn’t see it. I called my neighbor. It had just arrived, returned to our Spokane address yesterday. So my neighbor will send it to the auction guy’s correct address. He is to then send the good check to our St. Clair, MI General Delivery address. How many bad things can happen to one check?

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By 1 pm we were at Judy’s condo. I love her balcony, so cozy and comfortable.

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She wanted us to see this quilt, handmade in the late 1800’s by our grandfather’s (Papa’s) mother or stepmother (French Canadian). It’s starting to fade, but is in excellent condition for how old it is. She wants it out, so it can be enjoyed, but that means some sunlight (not direct and not opened up like for this photo).

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On to Michigan State University, where she taught. She is a retired Professor of Philosophy and Medical Ethics. She’s written 2 books, currently on her 3rd, about Virtues. This is the East Wing (Quiet – no talking) of the Library. There are colored stripes on the floor to help you find your books. One stripe leads us to her private carrel, with a beautiful view. She considers it one of her best perks (as retired faculty). She showed us the movable library shelves. I’d never seen that before. It enables them to store a lot more books.

MSU is one of the first land grant universities, as well as the largest, about 5,000 acres. (Notre Dame has 1250 acres). 17,500 acres are used throughout Michigan for agricultural and farm uses, by the University. It’s primary purpose is practical education, especially agriculture. They have 18 colleges.

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We visited the W J Beal Botanical Garden where there stands this beautiful Japanese Katsura tree, planted by Mr. Beal himself in the early 1900’s. They recently put cables in to help support it’s huge branches. This garden is for the study of plants, but it’s still a beautiful place to visit. Started in 1873, it’s acknowledged as the oldest of North American botanical gardens. I’ll just share 2 more: Salt-Cedar from Southeastern Europe and the Squirting Cucumber from the IMG_9990 Mediterranean to Southern Russia. It “lacks tendrils and produces a hairy, oval berry that dehisces explosively when ripe.” It’s world wide, especially found in the tropics and sub tropics.

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IMG_0006 Beaumont Tower IMG_0007 IMG_0010 Horticultural BldgBeaumont Tower (left). This is “…the first building in which agriculture was taught as a science on any university campus.” The Entomology was one of the first buildings to exist on this campus. The last (Harry J Eustace Hall) is the first separate horticultural laboratory, completed in 1888. Aren’t these just beautiful buildings?

IMG_0013 IMG_0012 The story of 2 parking garages: The first was built in the ’70’s, called the Orange Hamster Run by the students, the second was more recent, built to blend in with the other buildings and not appear like a parking garage at all. I’m not even picturing the garage we parked in – for faculty (another perk), because it was like a normal parking garage, with ivy growing over much of it.

IMG_0017 IMG_0015 IMG_0016My final building: The Broad (brohd) Art Museum. Because it was built with money endowed by Mr. Broad, it had to be built to his desires: spectacular and where the campus meets the city of East Lansing, so all could easily access it. Many (including John) consider it ugly (it certainly doesn’t “fit in” with it’s surroundings), others love the futuristic style. The last image is of the entrance. I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits with Judy (John managed to glance at them). All for free.

At this point, we were pretty tuckered, so we got groceries for supper (Judy is vegetarian), arriving soon at her condo to make it. A wonderful meal and conversation ensued on her lovely balcony.

Around 7:30 pm, John got nervous about getting home before dark, so Judy showed us how to make Artisan Bread (the fast way), then we scooted out the door, loaded down with books about Michigan. We took the route she suggested (via Meridian Road) and got home in 45 minutes. It took an hour coming to her place, although John did not go the speed limit. Lovely scenery along both routes.  We did meet a number of animals crossing the road in front of us: 3 deer, a turkey and John almost hit a raccoon!

Another quiet evening of reading for me and computer musings for John.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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