Monthly Archives: January 2015

Taxidermy With Dr. Seuss

Seuss header

San Diego is a hotbed of Dr. Seuss-iness, which is not surprising as he lived here from 1947 until his death in 1991.  Mandeville Special Collections in UCSD’s Geisel Library is filled with his notes and original artwork, and there is a bronze statue of him sitting at a drawing desk outside the library named after him.  UCSD also celebrates Dr. Seuss’ (Theodor Geisel’s) birthday in the beginning of March each year, and gives away thousands of pieces of free cake.  See my post You Had Me At Free Cake for a description of this whimsical event.

There is another, temporary Seuss-fest in San Diego, at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.  They currently are showing an exhibit of his artwork including sculptures, paintings, and drawings, which runs until December 2015 (Ingenious! The World of Dr. Seuss).

Sam and Trevor had a half day a few Wednesdays ago, so we headed to Balboa Park, our Explorer Passes in hand.  Explorer Passes give you admission to all of the museums in the park (but not the Zoo), so we had a lively debate (as usual) trying to figure out where to go.  Trevor reminded me of the Seuss exhibit, which ended the discussion.  Off we went!

From the lobby there is a view of a vibrant yellow wall, which is hung with fanciful taxidermy specimens.  Taxidermy as only Dr. Seuss could conceive of it!

Taxidermy with Seuss.2

Here is an old photo of Dr. Seuss under one of the taxidermy heads that hung in his home, holding a little dog.  Is it just me, or is this juxtaposition a tad creepy?

Dr. Seuss with dog

Speaking of Dr. Seuss’ home, one of the first things you see in the gallery is a huge photo of him sitting at his work table.  His home sits on top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, and offers views up and down the coastline.  As a creative person, I can only imagine how cool it would be to do your work with that view outside your giant windows.  Sublime.

Dr. Seuss at desk

The gallery was filled with paintings by Dr. Seuss.  Below are a series of cats.  From the left, “Cat From the Wrong Side of the Tracks”, “Wisdom of the Oriental Cat”, “Joseph Cat and His Coat of Many Colors, and “Green Cat with Lights”.

Different Seuss Cats

The colors were so vibrant.  On the left below are “Free Bird” and “Fire Bird”.  I didn’t get the title of the one on the right.   So I’m going to make one up.  How about “Little Red House in a Big Big Universe.”

Colorful Seuss paintings

Self portraits by Dr. Seuss.  He forgot to put on his happy face.

Self portraits

Sometimes the exhibit strayed into more adult themes, like the “Facts of Life” on the right.  The one to the left is Dr. Seuss’ version of “Abduction of the Sabine Women”, which depicts Roman men abducting neighboring Sabine women to help populate their new city.  Hard to imagine a children’s book based on that theme.  It would be enough to give Cindy Lou Hoo nightmares!

Facts of Life.Sabine

This one is “After Dark in the Park”.  Who knew the little animals were so happy?  I wonder what’s in their water…

Park after Dark

There were also amazing sculptures, including, of course, the Lorax.  It inspired Sam to get all “Hand of God”.

The Lorax

Bitter Teen Trevor found his soul mate, Mr. Grinch.  And Horton is hearing a Who.

Grinch+Horton

Had to get a photo of Sam I Am with some green eggs and ham.

Sam I Am

WHEW!!!  What a great exhibit.  Though they started out chipper as chipmunks, the boys found it a bit exhausting.  Fortunately there were giant poof pillows, upon which they sank gracefully down.

Before and after

If you live in San Diego or come to visit, this exhibit is up in next December.  If you would like more info on Dr. Seuss, there is a nice article from 2004 in UCSD Magazine, where the author visits Dr. Seuss’ house and interviews his widow Audrey (Oh the Places He Did Go).

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Sunday Morning in My Yard

Sunday yard header

All is peaceful, as it should be on an early Sunday morning.  Sam, the son, is off on a 10 mile hike with his Boy Scout troop.  Emma, the 14 year old tempest, is still up in her room and will not emerge until the morning has faded.

I wandered out to the yard and was loving the light, as it peeked over the canyon rim and through the eucalyptus leaves into my yard.  I went back in for my camera, and with my trusty cats at my side, I took photos of anything that caught my eye.  Enjoy a sunny, but chilly (for us!) January morning in San Diego.

The view into the canyon from my yard.  We have had recent rains, which accounts for all the green!

The view into the canyon from my yard. We have had recent rains, which accounts for all the green!  The hint of red on the right are leaves on a laurel sumac.

My companions this morning.  Bella is 18 and very creaky, so she likes to find a sunny spot to sit in so she can warm up her old bones.  Julius, is a male in the prime of his life.  He is lord of all he surveys, from on top of his tree stump with a funny face nailed to it.  I guess we should maybe rethink his throne decoration.

My companions this morning. Bella is 18 and very creaky, so she likes to find a sunny spot to sit in so she can warm up her old bones. Julius is a male in the prime of his life. He is lord of all he surveys, from on top of his tree stump with a funny face nailed to it. I guess we should maybe rethink his throne decoration.

A riot of reds.  A Chinese lantern, geranium, and two amaryllis.

A riot of reds. A Chinese lantern, geranium, and two amaryllis.

In the winter my succulents come into bloom.  On the left, aloe, on the right, jade.

In the winter my succulents come into bloom. On the left, aloe, on the right, jade.

A fairy, a superhero, and a glorious trophy lady all soak up the morning sun.

A fairy, a superhero, and a glorious trophy lady all soak up the morning sun.

Birds getting breakfast.  Birds are very practical creatures.  If your feeders are empty, they do not grace your backyard with their presence.  I like to give them imaginary dialogue.  "WTF lady, where's the friggin' food."

Birds getting breakfast. Birds are very practical creatures. If your feeders are empty, they do not grace your backyard with their presence. I like to give them imaginary dialogue when they show up and I have let them down. “WTF lady, where’s the friggin’ food?”

Sunlight through leaves.  Just think of all the frenetic biochemistry going on in there, as chloroplasts work the miracle of turning sunlight into sugars.  Without those little green guys, we could not exist.  And green leaves make such pretty pictures!~

Sunlight on leaves. Just think of all the frenetic biochemistry going on in there, as chloroplasts work the miracle of turning sunlight into sugars. Without those little green guys, we could not exist. And green leaves make such pretty pictures!

Burro tails and century plant leaves with water drops.  And my preacher pig, who is unfortunately getting covered in bird poop due to his proximity to the feeder.  I guess it is just his cross to bear...

Burro tails and century plant leaves covered with water drops. And my preacher pig, who is unfortunately getting covered in bird poop due to his proximity to the feeder. I guess it is just his cross to bear…

Some random photos.  A pot of plants that are coming up, but I can't remember what I planted.  Some kind of flower, or maybe catnip?  One of our little houses from the outdoor village, that is now sporting a jade plant.  The houses weren't supposed to be outdoors, and they are decaying in a very attractive fashion.   Finally, the baby's toes blooming.  Kind of a gruesome name for a plant, IMHO.  There is a seaweed called Dead Man's Fingers also.  Accurate, descriptive, but yucky.

Some random photos. A pot of plants that are coming up, but I can’t remember what I planted. Some kind of flower, or maybe catnip? One of our little houses from the outdoor village, that is now sporting a jade plant. The houses weren’t supposed to be outdoors, and they are decaying in a very attractive fashion. Finally, blooming baby’s toes. Kind of a gruesome name for a plant, IMHO. There is a seaweed called Dead Man’s Fingers also. Accurate, descriptive, but yucky.

Let's finish up with some more floral gorgeousness.  Cyclamen (one of my favorites) and yet another picture of the ridiculously photogenic amaryllis that my friend Lori gave me.  Thank you Lori!

Let’s finish up with some more floral gorgeousness. Cyclamen (one of my favorites) and yet another picture of the ridiculously photogenic amaryllis that my friend Lori gave me. Thank you Lori!

Hope you enjoyed your Sunday in San Diego.  Winter break is almost over, time to get back to work and school.  Relish these last few hours of relaxation.

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