The Spring Birthday 2021 Trip, Part 6 of 8: Tangents from the Joy of Painting

blue butterfly art.

I gaze upon this large backyard butterfly and I smile as I’m reminded of Skyrim.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For the past several years my wife Anne and I have made a tradition of going somewhere — anywhere but home — for each of our birthdays. Last year my birthday trip was among the billions of traditions ruined by the pandemic, all of which paled in significance to the millions of lives lost (and still counting). This year is a different story. Anne and I have each received our pairs of Pfizer shots and reached full efficacy as of April 24th. This past Friday and Saturday the two of us drove out of Indianapolis and found a few places to visit in our eminently imitable road-trip fashion…

The tour of the original house where PBS legend Bob Ross filmed his cult-classic instructional/mediational series The Joy of Painting up in Muncie was the centerpiece of my birthday weekend, but creativity continued to surround us as we left the Lucius L Ball Home and explored more of the Minnetrista grounds. We didn’t have to walk any farther than the Ball House’s backyard to find inspiration and tranquility, much of it geared toward kids who might prefer an augmented outdoor setting to indoor history.

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The Spring Birthday 2021 Trip, Part 5 of 8: Maximum Bob Ross

Bob Ross landscape.

If 2021 is the year we’re all looking for palliatives for our 2020 mental health issues, might I suggest a few contemplative minutes with some happy little trees?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For the past several years my wife Anne and I have made a tradition of going somewhere — anywhere but home — for each of our birthdays. Last year my birthday trip was among the billions of traditions ruined by the pandemic, all of which paled in significance to the millions of lives lost (and still counting). This year is a different story. Anne and I have each received our pairs of Pfizer shots and reached full efficacy as of April 24th. This past Friday and Saturday the two of us drove out of Indianapolis and found a few places to visit in our eminently imitable road-trip fashion…

For my birthday weekend seven years ago we drove up to the city of Muncie, mostly known to folks outside Indiana as the favorite vacation destination of the Gergich family from TV’s Parks and Rec. Among our other May 2014 highlights we visited Minnetrista, Muncie’s leading cultural center, art venue, community gathering space, and gracious host for a Saturday morning farmers’ market during the nicer seasons. In 2020 they added a new exhibit to honor a man whose celebrated works of simple aestheticism and encouraging entertainment were painted and recorded in a building on their very campus when I was a kid.

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2014 Birthday Road Trip Photos, Part 4 of 4: the Rest of Muncie!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For the last few years, my wife and I have spent our respective birthdays together finding some new place or attraction to visit as a one-day road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on this most frabjous day, partly to explore areas of Indiana we’ve never experienced before. My 2014 birthday destination of choice: the town of Muncie, some 75 miles northeast of here.

Sure, many people celebrate their birthday on or near the original date. Some might take photos. Some might share them in a timely manner. We keep our own schedule. And by “we” I mean “I” because my wife isn’t as prone to distractions, digressions, or long, awkward pauses between chapters in her online projects. But I couldn’t very well leave this four-part MCC miniseries incomplete. I never explicitly promised anyone four parts, but that final “To Be Continued” at the end of Part Three cried out to me for closure. Also, I could use a short break from headline news and general relevance.

Part four, then: other things we saw besides nifty stores, official works of art, or Garfield statues. The most bewildering sight of all would be the “nature area” that contained a relaxing walking path, gentle plains, breezy forest, and a sacrificial altar.

nature table?

Right this way for, uh, wait, what?

2014 Birthday Road Trip Photos #3: Stalking the Great Orange Cat

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For the last few years, my wife and I have spent our respective birthdays together finding some new place or attraction to visit as a one-day road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on this most frabjous day, partly to explore areas of Indiana we’ve never experienced before. My 2014 birthday destination of choice: the town of Muncie, some 75 miles northeast of here.

Sure, many people would spend their birthday drinking, partying, and making the day wild and regrettable. We have our own agenda. Finding creative ways to spend quality time together. Embarking on road trips that wouldn’t occur to our peers. Searching for gems in unusual places — sometimes geek-related, sometimes peculiar, sometimes normal yet above average.

We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.

Part One was a general “hey, wow, still got a pulse!” birthday entry. Part Two was a salute to artwork around Muncie. Part Three covers the results of our primary objective, the twisted plan we knew no one would approve. It was a quest we’re sure many have tried, but few have confessed to attempting.

As it so happens, Muncie was once the town of residence for Garfield creator Jim Davis and his company, Paws, Inc. (Both now officially reside in Albany.) In honor of that intellectual property’s 25th anniversary in 2003 and its impressive long-term survival against all internet snark, dozens of Garfield statues stand in his honor all over Grant County and in Muncie. We weren’t prepared for a tour of neighboring Grant County, but Muncie boasts eleven of the known Garfield statues. We wanted to see how many we could track down. Because they were there.

We stumbled across our first one while visiting Minnetrista, inside their Orchard Gift Shop. Each statue has a name; this one’s “The Spirit of Minnetrista”. Coincidence, I’m sure.

The Spirit of Minnetrista!

This way for more curious artifacts like this…

2014 Birthday Road Trip Photos #2: The Art of Muncie

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For the last few years, my wife and I have spent our respective birthdays together finding some new place or attraction to visit as a one-day road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on this most frabjous day, partly to explore areas of Indiana we’ve never experienced before. My 2014 birthday destination of choice: the town of Muncie, some 75 miles northeast of here.

Sure, you might think small towns seem odd choices for birthday celebrations. Finding creative ways to spend quality time together. Embarking on road trips that wouldn’t occur to our peers. Searching for gems in unusual places — sometimes geek-related, sometimes peculiar, sometimes normal yet above average.

We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.

Part One was a general “yay I tallied up another year without dying” birthday entry. Part Two: some of the art we encountered around town. Our Saturday began at the Minnetrista Cultural Center, in whose entryway stands a sculpture called “Catalyst” by Beverly Stucker Precious. The previous entry (linked above) showed it from outside; this is the view from the second story inside.

Catalyst

This way for sculpture, art, expression, and more!

Birthday 42: a Road Trip for Comics, Art, and Nature

Birthday cupcakes!

Gifts from my coworkers: chocolate cupcakes with peanut-butter-cup centers. This is so much better than a birthday pitch-in where 9 out of every 10 participants bring potato chips.

It’s that time of year again! As of today I’m now 42 years old and decided hours ago not to contrive a Hitchhiker’s Guide joke from that. All things considered, I’m a much happier guy at 42 than I was at 21. By the time I’m old enough to want to lie about my age, I won’t be able to get away with it anymore.

For the last few years, my wife and I have spent our respective birthdays together finding some new place or attraction to visit as a one-day road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on this most frabjous day, partly to explore areas of Indiana we’ve never experienced before. My 2014 birthday destination of choice: the town of Muncie, some 75 miles northeast of here. It’s the home of Ball State University (my sister-in-law’s alma mater), hometown of Garfield creator Jim Davis, scene of a fair amount of works of art, and location for, of all things, a notable comic book shop I wanted to see.

Alter Ego Comics!

This way for props, flowers, shops, and doggies!

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