Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gees, Geez!

ABC Wednesday is doing the letter G.

G is for Geese.
Flying Feces Factories

G is for Graphics Card.
Graphics Card

G is for Ginger Growing.
Ginger Sprouting

Saturday, February 21, 2015

White for Winter

No Emergency Thematic photograph #326 is White for Winter. No shortage of whitish photos this winter but compared to last year this has been relatively manageable. Some schools(not my son's school) were closed one day last week for cold as wind chills were 20 below zero but honestly, just north of the border it is cold like this half the winter and they make it to school. I think our tolerance for adverse conditions has diminished the past few years. I wonder if we can blame the news media for turning every storm into an apocalypse or Armageddon. Admittedly, I can whine with the best of them, but then I was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Seattle which has a much more temperate climate. I am not phased much by earthquakes but I don't do well with cold. Since for now I am staying in Chicago, I'll just have to take advantage of the photo ops. On the River

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Feet for Photo Sunday

Big Foot and Little Foot
This is a detail of an outdoor installation called Agora by Polish sculptor, Magdalena Abakanowicz.  The piece is a  series of legs of rusty iron which I find reminiscent of Dr. Seuss's story of the pants with nobody inside them. To quote Seuss:
     Then I was deep within the woods
     When, suddenly, I spied them.
     I saw a pair of pale green pants
     With nobody inside them!
OK, so the legs are rust colored not green but take a look at a less detailed view. Agora For Photo Sunday: Feet

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

F is for...

Blue Fire Escape

Fire Escape

Fear of Falling

Falling Ice

Three Foxes
Three foxes reading?

For ABC Wednesday and brought to you by the letter F.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Eye Spy

Optometrist office at night E is for Eye Chart seen in Optometrist's office in Mont-de-Marsan, France. This summer I took a solo road trip through France and one night I got a bit lost returning to my hotel after dinner. This office caught my eye (pun intended). For ABC Wednesday, the letter E.

Faces on a Wall

Mail Slots Photo Friday for this week is "faces". These mail slots are from a central post office in San Sebastian, Spain. I went there in search of interesting stamps to put on my mail and found, as seems all too common in Europe that most stamps are sold out of vending machines. I fear the collecting of interesting stamps will be lost far too soon. Mail slots like these will become as obsolete as working phone booths.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Just another wintry day in Chicago

Slush, Falling Ice and Fog
Slush, ice falling from buildings and fog--what more could one ask for?  Sometimes it seems Chicagoans' favorite team sport is discussing the weather. For Photo Friday, Weather.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Clashing Colors

Clashing Colors The theme for Photo Sunday is: Pink. I believe these flowers are even called pinks. I used to try to color coordinate my garden but I found that the colors never seemed to stand out much. I feel more comfortable with the clashing colors more recently. These are from my garden this past summer. We have had a thaw this weekend which has meant that we can amuse ourselves listening to our house drop large chunks of snow. Fortunately we are set back from the street so they are no risk to anyone. Despite the thaw, I crave some summer sunshine of which the above photo is a cruel reminder. Many of our busier streets are posted with caution signs due to falling snow. Yesterday I overheard a pedestrian say she had a near miss with a chunk of ice. Falling Ice

Friday, February 06, 2015

Lake Effect

Lake Effect A plain sky but the lake is up to something. For Sky Watch Friday

All fenced in

Iron and Ice I have been playing with a number of photo memes of late.  It keeps me on my toes processing my photos which tend to languish on my computer and never see the light of day.  It has also been helping me keep my feeble resolution to revive this blog.  I just discovered the photo meme Good Fences which rounds up photos of, obviously, fences. I could see that week after week it would be challenging to find interesting shots of fences, but in winter snow fences become a work of minor sculpture and I have some shots already. Long Suffering Tree This tree is showing a lot of signs of wear. Chicago weather and a neighboring elementary school probably account for a lot of the damage. Waves of White Waves of snow on garden edging.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Memories of Spain

Especialitats Ramos
   Courtesy of my husband's business travel, my family spent a week in Spain last summer. This wasn't nearly long enough to do the country justice but we did spend 3 days in Barcelona. One of the days we raced through the Boqueria (open air market)--sadly no time to really shop--and only time for a few hasty photos. Besides, I hate spending long periods of time setting up photos in crowds. It always feels intrusive to the other people around who may not want their picture taken (at least that is how I would feel in their shoes) and I feel like such a tourist under these circumstances. It is ironic that I cringe at looking like a tourist even while being one.
   I don't eat pork so I never sampled the sausages. Not eating pork in Spain can make life complicated. For one it is served constantly. For another there are so many names for pork products and my Spanish is not refined enough to always know what I might be ordering. Tapas bars in Milan were even more complicated since ordering may involve pointing at a plate and shouting over the noisy crowd.
   I looked up "fuet" and found it means "whip" referencing the shape of the sausage. There is one outlier sausage in the row called "xorico" which it turns out is Catalan for "chorizo." That probably should have been obvious but wasn't to me. The store in the photo was established in 1939 according to its web site. Amusingly they are also on Facebook. Talk about combining the old with the new. I'm sure it is a good business practice. I am posting this for Thematic Photograph: Edible.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Bookstore at night

Bookstore on a Snowy Night This week's theme for Photo Thursday is Light. This bookstore window is quite striking on a snowy night. It's a good store too.

The Stone Diaries

Written in Stone

Here is my second book review of the month. I just finished The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields which won the Pulitzer Prize for 1995. Sometimes I think prize-winning books are overrated and this novel doesn't alter that opinion. The Stone Diaries follows the life of one woman, Daisy Goodwill, from before her birth to her death. It does so through some varied and occasionally odd narrative technique. At times, the narrator is Daisy Goodwill herself. In other places, members of her family and friends speak to the reader or history unfolds through letters, newspaper clippings and other written documents. Early in the book I found the narration jarring and distancing from the main characters. Later I felt more emotionally involved but there were times that I was pressed to keep reading. The title of the book seems to illustrate one central theme, that of stone as metaphor for life. The men in the first half of the book are quarry workers and Daisy's mother, a foundling, is given the last name Stone at the orphanage where she is raised. Near death, Daisy even imagines herself turned to stone. For much of the second half of the novel, stone is abandoned for plants and flowers, perhaps a riff on the name Daisy as names are important in this novel. The last paragraph of the novel is a discussion of what flowers should have been chosen for Daisy's funeral. I gave the novel three stars not two, even though I was bored of it at times, because it seemed to pick up in the second half and because there is some undoubtedly beautiful language. The author writes of Daisy's father's religious conversion: "He had thought himself alone in the world, but in fact he is a child of this solid staring rainbow, and of the persevering forms of light and shadow, of substance and ephemera. A child of the earth." Later in the novel, Shields eloquently describes Daisy's depression: "Now, at the age of fifty-nine, sadness flows through every cell of her body, yet leaves her curiously untouched. She knows how memory gets smoothed down with time, everything flattened by the iron of acceptance and rejection. . . ." Writing like this gives the novel moments of greatness but not enough for a Pulitzer, in my humble opinion.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Gear Up

Theme for PhotoSunday is gear.