Love Language

As I imagine many bloggers do, I keep a list of ideas for blog posts. On that list is ‘language shortcuts and phrases between family, friends.’ Given how long it’s been on my list, I’m not sure what I was going to say about it, but it might have been something like this eloquent and lovely post by my sister.

Not Inclined To Resign To Maturity

Love languages have been on my mind lately, in part because of Skype conversations with my oldest sister, Melissa. We haven’t actually discussed love or love languages, but what we have done is engaged in amusing ways to say goodbye to each other as we sign off each Monday and Thursday after our work sessions.

Our love language started pretty early on in our lives. There are four of us siblings, and we only have five years separating us oldest to youngest, so we are pretty close, not only in age, but in all things. Time and distance never takes that away. Anyway, Melissa, as oldest, often had ways to entertain the rest of us. One of the earliest ‘love language’ incidents that I can recall is that of ‘bunnies and squirrels.’ Melissa and I were the bunnies, and Barry and Susan were the squirrels. I assume the determination of…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Order

As someone who used to hang her clothes in color order, this challenge appeals to me!

An orderly progression of house fronts and chimneys.

Bikes in order.

Rows of rivets on the skin of an airplane hangar.

Everybody: walk the same direction.

And a different take on order, ‘we hear and obey.’

For more entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Orderclick here.

Images © Melissa Corcoran.

Lisbon bits and pieces

Bits and pieces from Lisbon:

This scene was a nice start to my visit. Left my table at the restaurant where I was having dinner to capture this combination of color and light, blue and white.

Whoever designed this pavement was devilishly clever! It’s flat, but can you imagine walking on it in a state of altered consciousness?!

And speaking of pavement, I liked these:

To paraphrase Indiana Jones, why does it always have to be hills? The one on the right was steep and I walked it at least twice. (There’s a tram, but I didn’t want to wait either time.)

Think there’s enough gold?! I liked how unabashedly splendid it was.

Chapel in Igreja de São Roque.

Loved the colorful buildings. Click (or double-click, depending on your device) on any image to launch the slideshow.

A great view with which to end my visit.

Images © Melissa Corcoran.

The Museu Nacional do Azulejo

What an absolutely fabulous visit to the Museu Nacional do Azulejo in Lisbon – truly one of the best times I’ve spent in a museum!

I looked forward to visiting this museum, also known as the National Tile Museum, because I knew that Portugal was famed for its tiles, but it was even better than I expected, thanks to its well-captioned exhibits, the displays designed to be touched, and the excellent app that included both audio and text descriptions.

Azulejo is the Portuguese word for tile and the audio guide explained that the word came from the Arabic ‘al-zulaich,’ which means ‘polished stone.’ I learned about the various ways of making azulejo: the alicatado technique, in which painted and fired clay sheets were scored in a pattern and individual pieces broken off; the corda seca (dry cord) technique in which the pattern was pressed into the soft clay, forming grooves that acted as barriers between the different colors during the firing; the aresta (ridge) technique in which the motif was stamped onto the soft clay, with the lines of the design forming ridges that provided the same separation of colors as in the dry cord technique; and the imprint technique, in which the motif stood out from the surface of the tile, rather than the outline standing out as in the ridge technique.

Wall azulejo.

In the section on tile making in the first part of the 16th century, I learned that Muslims on the Iberian peninsula used wall and floor azulejos that imitated large tapestries. The audio guide pointed out that tile’s ability to reflect light had a great impact in the days when buildings were illuminated by candlelight.

An example of the faience technique.

Another exhibit connected to Italy – it discussed the faience technique from the Italian city Faenza. This technique, developed in mid-16th century, allowed for a greater range of color tones and potters were able to produce tiles that resembled paintings. A magnificent example of this technique is the Our Lady of Life panel. It consists of 1,498 faience tiles and imitates a retable (another word I learned on this trip; it means a decorative structure placed on or above and behind an altar). The audio guide told me that this is considered one of Portugal’s azulejo masterpieces because of the complexity of its design and color scheme and I can see why.

I had to go looking for it because it had been moved into a special exhibit area, but a favorite panel was the registo panel of Our Lady of Carmo. Registos are azulejo panels that were placed on building facades after the 1755 earthquake as protection from further catastrophes. They depicted the Virgin Mary or saints, particularly St. Marçal, who offered protection against fires. This panel was made in Coimbra and the colors are different from azulejo made in Lisbon: the blues are more grey in tone and the yellows more orange.

The museum is housed in a former convent, the Convento de Madre de Deus, which was a convent for the cloistered Order of Saint Clare. One of the interesting factoids I learned when visiting the church was that the amount of gold used for the gilded carved frames of the paintings that cover the ceiling and part of the walls was that of six gold coins. With all the glitter, one would not expect that, but the layer of gold is very thin.

By the time I left the museum, I had told a guard, the man in the gift shop, and the two people at the front desk how much I enjoyed my visit and how great the audio guide was. If you’re ever in Lisbon, go to this museum!

More azulejo:

Click (or double-click, depending on your device) on any image to launch the slideshow.