Friday, December 21, 2012

From the Archives

Can't Resist

I've been posting a few photos on Flickr.  Here are a couple. Chicago is great for photos!

Hull Court

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Famous Grouse

Famous Grouse

During the summer we toured a whisky manufacturer. The Famous Grouse is a blended whisky which meant more to my husband than to me. I have never found much of a taste for hard liquor. The distilling process isn't that much different ffrom wine making and I've toured wineries before but the tour was fun.

The grouse is a bit tacky which makes it perfect for Photo Sunday: Man-made.

Reflective Materials

Reflective Material

Seen in San Francisco.

For See It Sunday:  Windows

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Happy Hannukah

Light the Menorah

Photo from last year--tonight's only the first night so there would only be one candle plus the center one.

If you celebrate, enjoy.  If you don't celebrate, don't wish me Merry Christmas.  Kidding, sort of.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Letter Home from Vietnam

Love, Kenny

I had a few days in New York City this past summer. While there I stumbled across a Vietnam Memorial which had letters home from soldiers etched into green glass blocks.
The words might be a bit hard to read so here is the transcription:

6 Jul 66 Dear Mom and Dad, When I think about the hell I've been through the last few days I can't help but cry. This was the worst battle as far as losses are concerned that this company has experienced. . . . I'm not able to go into details now.  I just wanted to tell you I'm OK. . . .
Love, Kenny

I've never had to deal with anything like going to war or worrying about one of my sons away at war.  How hard it must be.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fly a Kite

Airy Brightness

The days are ever shortening and with it my temper.  Here is a bit of blue skies and color left over from this summer.  This kite was brought to you by Pacific Beach, Washington.

For Thematic Photograph--Fly and Skywatch Friday

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gray Sky and Not-So-Gray Trees

Tree Sculptures

I have passed these tree sculptures on South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago for months and not figured out what they represent. I'm still not sure about their meaning but they ornament a park area by the lake. The day I took these was warm for the season but breezy and there were people playing with their kids around these trees.

For Photo Sunday: Weird

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Have a Great Thanksgiving

To those of you in the US. Thanksgiving Happiness

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Read This

Isaiah 29-12
First to explain the photo. It is taken at the Chicago Cultural Center in downtown Chicago which has a gorgeous series of mosaics some of which contain quotes pertaining to reading. The building was formerly the main downtown library branch until it was replaced by a modern building a few blocks away. Now the building is used for cultural events and it is still a wonderful public space. It took a little research to translate and identify the quotation (and Google translate failed miserably) even though I read a bit of Hebrew but I found that the quote is from Isaiah.
Here it is in Hebrew: ונתן הספר על אשר לא ידע ספר לאמר קרא נא זה
This is the quote with context although I might quibble with a few details of the translation: 11 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” 12 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”

Now for the reason I chose this photo.  I was reading an Israeli novel (in English, my Hebrew's not that good!) and I couldn't resist sharing a quote.  The novel is The Liberated Bride by AB Yehoshua, an author I've read and enjoyed before.  I haven't finished this particular book but my current impression is that it is overlong and that although I like the insights into Israeli and Arab culture, I don't particularly like the main character.  He gets on my nerves to say the least. 
The writing, however, is wonderful, and this paragraph in which two academics discuss a paper about Algerian history made me chuckle. 
The young postmodernist was happy to explain.  In articulate, if rather mechanical and (Rivlin thought) smugly jesuitical language, he demystified the devious concept of national identity, which served to ghettoize the lower clases and deprive them of their rights within the rigid framework of the national state, whether----for there was no difference----this was of an openly totalitarian or an ostensibly democratic nature.
In case you are mystified, what made me laugh was how perfectly the author captures a certain type of academic-speak and why I avoid a certain type of University of Chicago gathering.  Content be damned, it seems to say, so long as you say it articulately, if mechanically!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Blue Door in London

Door Number 54 and Bicycle
Just a photo for the day. This is from London where I passed a couple of hectic but fun days this summer. Anyone else find their attention being drawn to attractive doors?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Curvaceous Rhodie

Curvaceous Rhodie
Very old and sculpted rhododendron seen outside Dunkeld Catherdral in Dunkeld, Scotland. For Photo Sunday: curvy.

Veteran's Day

To Preserve the Jewel of Liberty

It seemed odd to find a statue of Abraham Lincoln while strolling through Edinburgh but there he was. At the base of the monument are his words: To preserve the jewel of liberty in the framework of freedom. The monument is in honor of Scottish-American soldiers. For the naysayers remember that we can honor the soldiers who fell in war even if we do not necessarily honor the particular war they fell in. On a lighter note, anyone going to see the Lincoln movie when it opens? Here are a few more photos of the same location.

Lincoln Monument

Obelisk and Blue Sky

Thursday, November 08, 2012

My Travels Continue--San Francisco 2012

Earth Tones

Last month I spent a few days in San Francisco attending a conference. I need to head to work in a moment so I can't post much but this is a shot from my hotel room window (that actually opened slightly--fairly novel for today's high rise downtown hotels). I like the patterns in the brick and the stalactite watermarks from the light rain.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day

Where to Vote
Even if you vote for the "other guy" (don't you wish we could say "other woman" one of these days), get out and vote today--those of you how are in the US and able to do so. A non-vote doesn't signal you want to change the system. It tells the politicians they can do what they want and no one cares.
 Just my two cents.
  Ballot Receipt
I for one will be glad the phone will stop ringing and the junk e-mails will taper off. Nonetheless I am tense about the outcome and will probably stay up past my bedtime tonight. Polling place
Sorry about the crappy formatting of the blog--ever since Blogger changed some settings a while back nothing comes out right and I haven't had the will, time or know-how to figure it out.

Addendum:  I figured out the formatting feature.  It was simple once I pressed the right button!  Now my blog will look better.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Harbor Views

Arctic Loon While in Seattle in August we had a lovely seafood lunch near a working fisherman's harbor. After lunch we strolled the docks a bit and looked at the boats many of which seemed to hail from unpronounceable locations in Alaska. I vastly prefer these working boats to the pretty ornaments you see on Lake Michigan, all loud noise and massive wake. Debra Sue from Quinhagak, Alaska Thor I couldn't figure out the purpose of this vehicle. It looks like it could have landed tanks on D-Day. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Skull Rock From me and a creepy rock. Seen near Cape Alava, Washington this summer. Alas, I was backpacking and it was too heavy to carry home. Plus it had lodgers.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How I spent my summer vacation

Victoria Station, London Didn't you just hate those essays? Since I haven't posted since July the topic seemed a place to start anyhow. I got back to sorting through photos from the entire year of 2012. It seems my focus has been elsewhere than on blogging and photography. It is hard to explain. Sometimes these things happen. I wonder if in part I should blame Facebook. It seems as if some of my blogger friends gave up blogging for Facebook and that the blog movement has lost some of its momentum. I feel a sense of loss for that because although FB gives me a place to stay in touch with distant friends and family, blogging is a place where I can express myself anonymously without worrying about what those same people will say or think. I do like FB for the Scrabble though. I claim it will keep my brain young but the recent scientific data shows that exercise is more important than thought for staving off the decays of age. At any rate, I am hereby posting a few shots from my summer vacation which included a brief trip to London and Edinburgh. Hopefully if I keep at it there will be more to follow. National Library of Scotland

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Independence Day

4th of July from Dave Long time no see. I have had a few adventures I ought to post about but today's post is in honor of the holiday. Today is the U.S. Independence Day for my non-American friends. Celebrating usually involves fireworks and picnics but at 98 degrees who wants to be outside? It seems as if the whole country is having a heat wave. I find this a little frightening. Will most summers be like this from now on? I keep thinking of buying property in northern Canada (LOL). Instead of picnicking we will have friends and family over and eat barbecued food but alas even the eating (although not the barbecue) will be outside. We'll enjoy it nonetheless. Another sign of the times is Chicago no longer holds its big downtown fireworks festival. I think the crowd control got too big to manage. Yet another loss. There is a lesser show at Navy Pier on Lake Michigan but it just isn't the same without the picnic by the band shell and the 1812 Overture being timed to the fireworks. Happy Holiday to all you locals and Happy Hump Day (Wednesday) if today is just another ordinary work day. Sarala. Washington BTW here is what is on the back of the cards: July 4 card-postmarked in 1910's and addressed to Miss Eva Brawn Danville R-3-Bot(x?) 54 Ala, "Hello Eva how are you I got home all OK and hope you are well by this time I done been plowing my cotton this morning. I gess I will sing at Johnsons chapple Sunday I recieved your card all OK by by" (punctuation and spelling maintained) George Washington card: postmarked Carroll Ohio, Feb 23 1910 to Mrs Mary Barger, Piketon, Pike Co. Ohio. "Hello Mrs. Barger. I got here all right and am feeling first straight and hope you are all well. Tell Lizzie Hello. Mrs. Harris"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Making Minibooks

Hello, all. I haven't been blogging but I haven't been dead either. Just the usual mix of business and inertia.
This weekend I finished up a little art project I did from the Art House Coop--the sponsor of the Sketchbook Project I did last year. I enjoy them because they are the great equalizer for people like me--I can be totally without talent and still rub elbows with people who are. What could be more democratic than that? Their most recent project was a "Mystery Project" which came with a free marker as well. When it arrived it turned out it was to make a small piece of art to leave in a public place for a stranger to find. The mystery prompt was: If tomorrow came yesterday. I bound two mini-books with quotes pertaining to the theme. Free Mini-Book One quote I liked was from Albert Einstein: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” I included with each quote a "Moo card" with one of my photos or in the case of the Einstein quote a number of stamped question marks. The cover was actually from collaged scrap paper and the book was bound with raffia and a sea shell added. I dropped the books in two different sites--at an exchange program at the local art center and at a free book exchange drop box near my house. I wonder who finds them and if they are appreciated. Maybe, maybe not. I guess it is beside the point. Mini-Book Interior

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Day at the Beach

Day at the Beach This is a scanned snapshot, I'm guessing 1950's although I don't know that much about vintage swimwear styles. I just love the swim suit she is wearing and the feeling of a happy couple out for a day at the beach.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Meaningful Mail

I obviously haven't been posting much. It is as if I have brain freeze when it comes to blogging. I'm not taking many photos either; same thing I guess. What I have been doing is reading lots of books, so many that maybe I should resume blogging book reviews. My local used book store provided Plainsong by Kent Haruf which I highly recommend. It has a simple plot about a group of people in a small town in Colorado but by the end of the novel I felt I knew them all. Whatever book I read, memoir, mystery, mainstream fiction or classic, one of the main attractions has to be the characters. Not that I don't love plotting, but it is the familiarity with people that I crave. I guess this isn't too surprising given that I'm a shrink. I will definitely read more of Haruf's work. The purpose of this post was more to mention my mailing hobby. The highlight of today's outgoing post is a letter to Lucas of Lucas Writes. He's responsible for the bird themed envelope and the pile of postage stamps. The envelope is an experiment of mine--I took a photo of a song sparrow singing in my yard, Photoshopped it to make it a high contrast black and white and printed it on an envelope. Turns out the hard part was positioning the image on the envelope (which wasn't a standard size for my printer). There is room for improvement but I enjoy the effect. Regarding the stamps: Lucas is collecting them for a project in Foxoboro, Massachusetts. Students at a local elementary school are collecting stamps in memory of the Holocaust. Their goal is 11 million stamps, one per victim and they already have over 800,000. Some of the stamps have been turned into art work which can be viewed at the site. Lucas shared the project on his blog and is collecting to send to them. I could send these stamps (a mere 81) directly to the project but it is more fun to send them to Lucas. His plan is to ship off a big box one of these days. So if you have a few extra minutes to clip a few stamps and send them off, it is for a good cause. Nothing fancy is required, flag stamps, non-profit stamps, you name it. Just an envelope and a stamp to mail.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Celebrating Spring

Spring Celebration

I'm not chatty these days but here's a collage I made.

Singing Song Sparrow

And here's a little Song Sparrow singing his heart out in praise of Spring.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Documentary Photography

The Better to See You with

I have been making strides in my project for my documentary photography class even though I haven't posted about it to date. I have been documenting a high school biology class at a local school. My inspiration was actually how much my son has been turned on to biology by this particular teacher who seems to love animals and has carried that over into a teaching style that makes learning fun.


The teacher has been most cooperative but I haven't asked if I can use his photo in this blog so I will be sticking to faceless pictures but I will share a few here to see if you feel my enthusiasm as well. Those of you who can't take photos of bugs and snakes will not likely share my enjoyment.


Stay tuned for more in the next few days.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Chicago Bean

Wedding party at the Bean

I refer to the outdoor sculpture fondly known as the Bean but actually entitled Cloud Gate. I have my issues with large art installations as many times I find them gimmicky but this sculpture has won me over in part because it is so much fun to play with photography-wise.

Looking Up

Of course, the tourists love it and maybe I'm just a local tourist at heart. Yesterday was one of those odd Chicago days when the skies cleared and the temperatures reached the 60's. It was intoxicating after a dreary winter. I think everyone in the city wanted to call in sick. I had a few hours in the morning to ramble around downtown before going, inevitably, to work.

Lens Distortion?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Charmed, I'm Sure

Charmed, I'm Sure

Mortal Muses theme for the week is "charm." I decided to take it seriously and photograph a charm bracelet I own. I never owned such a bracelet when young although my mom did. This one I bought at an antique store and I filed off some of the more appropriate charms (filing the jump rings with a small metal file--what a pain) to give on a more modern necklace to a young friend of mine. The bracelet is so not my style that I've never worn it but may use a few of the other (not too insipid) charms for other purposes.
The backgrounds are two vintage record albums I bought this past weekend at a thrift store. I have begun to enjoy the graphics after seeing a calendar of Alex Steinweiss album covers. As I become more vintage myself, I am appreciating even older items more and more.

Oriental Moods

Tuesday, February 21, 2012



I started a new photography class. It is only a five week class and already I wish it were longer. The theme is documentary photography which fascinates and terrifies me. I think the fascination is obvious but the fear? We have been assigned to do our own documentary project for over the next five weeks and the instructor prefers (strongly) that it involves people. I wracked my brain for a non-boring project that I thought could fly but have run into my essential shyness. To do this project I have to ask strangers to take their picture and follow them around for a month. Feeling literally shaky I sent an e-mail to the founder of the dance studio my son and I dance with but she hasn't responded. I imagine she is too busy or hasn't seen the note. I need to make some headway on this by Saturday so I now need to come up with an alternative plan. I can't tell you how stressed this is making me feel which is silly and pointless. I know this will be good for me in the long run but I want to hurry back to my pictures of empty buildings, trees and birds.


The pictures I've posted are from our first in-class assignment which was to take a series of pictures in the art center. The specifics were to take 6 pictures, of a wider perspective, a detailed perspective and a person. I even succeeded in getting a person to agree to my photographing him but my near shots came out blurred (I'm still getting used to this 50 mm lens). I do like my one intentionally blurred photo however.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Speaking of Postcards

Valentine's Greetings

Here's a belated one for Valentine's Day (which is generally ignored in my household).
Postmarked probably in 1902 and addressed to Mr. R.C. Kloss, Kent, ILL. No note is on the card.

For Postcard Friday.

Mail Geek

I feel like such a geek and one problem with being a geek as a kid is that your never get over the trauma of being thought a geek. Wow, did you know you could use the word geek three times in one run on sentence? I have been a letter writer since I was a kid. My grandmother, my favorite person in the whole wide world after my kids, saved my letters because she thought one day I'd be famous and they might be published. What a nice thought. I sure miss her. She used to have my first letter ever, in those giant letters you learned in kindergarten, taped to her closet mirror.
I wrote most regularly to my grandparents in California (at the time I lived in Seattle) and an assortment of letters and cards to other people.
While I lived in Paris in my senior year in college I sent a number of air letters (what ever happened to them?) to friends and family, especially my grandmother who had terminal breast cancer. I couldn't afford many phone calls home and those involved dropping all my loose change into a pay phone until my call ran out and was abruptly terminated. How much life has changed with cell phones, e-mail and Skype. Although I adored being in Paris it was lonely at times and I lived for letters from the States.
I stopped writing, and thereby lost a few friends including the couple of friends I made in France, as graduate/medical school began and I got bogged down in work and later family. Now I have regrets, but what can you do?
I am happy to find like-minded, extremely cool people (unlike me) who are trying to keep the postal service alive and keep the hand written letters moving. Postcrossing, and some letter-friendly bloggers net some letters and postcards from home and abroad. It sure beats bills and junk mail. It also gives me an excuse to buy odd postcards and the latest US postage stamps.
As to the images I've posted here, they are my thanks to thesnailmailer who enjoys seeing her letters posted and who sent me the above envelope and card which truly deserve being shared. I have to confess, I've never tried Jello-shots--geek that I a--but one good envelope deserves another. Speaking of alcohol, have you ever heard of bubble gum flavored vodka? Now that is really gross. Have a lovely weekend and write lots of letters.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Free Syria

Syria Protest copy

I was downtown on Saturday and happened on this protest march. The people carried flags and posters and chanted: "Free, free Syria." Good luck to them and others in finding political freedom.

Sunday, February 05, 2012


Lightbulb Moment

Or, you're never to old to do something new.
Today I changed some light bulbs. I know it doesn't sound like anything to brag about but these were on my car. Sad to say, I've been driving around for months with only one working headlamp on my car. This has annoyed my spouse to no end but not enough for him to get the bulb changed. Last night I was set to win the procrastinator of the year award when the second bulb gave up the ghost. Today being Sunday, of course no one was going to be able to service the car so I took the reins and Googled how to change a car light bulb. Next a search for an open auto supply store with the bulbs in stock and off I went hoping I wouldn't mistakenly buy the wrong product. Then for some time under the hood doing little praying that I wouldn't break something in my car. There were a few missteps--a dropped bulb, fingerprints on said bulb necessitating solvent to clean off the grease (as per instructions), some scrapes and grease on my hands--but things seemed to finally go through for the first bulb. But then the light still didn't work. Assuming I'd misconnected something, I looked more closely at the second light and changed that carefully. Still nothing. Finally, I figured out my mistake--I'd changed the high beams which were working, not the low beams. Feeling very glad no one was watching, I got back to work and replaced the other two light bulbs! Now my car has 4 working lights and I am, despite glitches, very proud of myself. And my family and I can drive to tonight's Super Bowl party safely.
In honor of "in the picture"--this month's theme "write on!" I commemorated the moment on my somewhat battered and greasy hands.

In The Picture