Farmer’s Markets, Milkweed, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

Nothing says summer like the local farmer’s market — the fruits and vegetables are fresher than the grocery store, there are more organic choices, and you can use your own containers. It’s good for us, good for the farmers, and good for the planet.

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

But humans aren’t the only ones who need to eat in summer. There’s one more thing that defines the season for me. It’s a roadside market for a Monarch caterpillar — a milkweed plant.

Milkweed about to bloom, complete with bug visitor.

Milkweed about to bloom, complete with visiting bug.

Here it is when it’s blooming –

Milkweed flowers.

Milkweed flowers – taken on last summer’s trip “home”.

It’s almost August now, time for the seed pods –

Green milkweed pods.

Green milkweed pods.

If you grew up in the country, like I did, you took these roadside plants for granted.  Once, on an autumn trail ride, I saw an entire tree covered with migrating Monarchs.  Now I wish I could get these butterfly snacks to grow in my backyard. I miss seeing the plants, miss seeing the fall butterfly migration go through, and though I plant as many caterpillar-friendly plants as I can, I don’t get nearly as many takers as I used to.

But on the bright side, it’s summer, and if you’re among the corn-fed (like me) let’s go back to the farmer’s market for one more thing to be thankful for –

Farmers Market Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn — Yum.

Hmm, looking back, I see that, instead of “Summer Lovin'”, maybe I should have saved these photos for a “Summer Eatin'” challenge.  I must have succumbed to writing-while-hungry.

What’s your favorite thing about summer?

More on the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

One Dresser Drawer, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

Who knew that one little dresser drawer could contain so much? A while back, I was searching for a sorting-out job that would be quick, but still give me a sense of accomplishment. I picked this small drawer.

Dresser Drawer Explosion

One dresser drawer – good grief! – see how it exploded all over the place?

I hadn’t looked in this drawer in years. See it? It’s the little one in the middle… “This won’t take long,” I thought. Hah. By the way, this isn’t even all of it.  I took the photo above after hauling a stack of papers to the recycle bin.

This dresser once belonged to my grandmother, so I have some emotional attachment to it. It was in my bedroom when I was growing up. In this house, it’s in a guest bedroom that Bob used to use as a closet.

Dragon Con swag.

“The truth is out there.”

 All this Dragon Con swag tells me that the drawer did get some use since we moved here.

Dresser Drawer - Dragon Con SwagThe Swan Vestas made me smile. I used to collect match boxes (another kind of container) and was thrilled to find some like these in the UK back when I traveled a lot on airline passes. They’re what Sherlock Holmes used, remember? I don’t know if these were mine or Bob’s. The hair clip just above looks like something my grandmother would have used. Could it have come with the dresser?

On the bright side, I did find some useful items: scissors, thread, pencils, stamps, plastic film cannisters made into salt-and-pepper shakers (well maybe not that useful). And this:

Travel Scrabble game

Vintage Travel Scrabble game.

My neighbor back in the 80s had one of these. We used to travel together, and I loved playing scrabble with her. I didn’t know Bob had one. It had never been opened. I almost tore into it as soon as I saw it, then thought, “But wait — would I really use it?” These days people play online. Surprise: I saw there were some vintage sets like this for sale on Amazon, listed mine for $25.00, and two days later someone bought it.

My one small drawer contained a lot of stuff and I spent way too much time looking at it. Most of it got recycled or donated, but somewhere out there someone is (happily, I hope) playing scrabble, and I have four more drawers in this dresser to save for rainy day entertainment.

 Have you exploded a drawer lately?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers


Relics, and (Surprise) the Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

Around here, the real challenge isn’t to find something that qualifies as a relic, but to find something that doesn’t. Any guesses what this is?

3340 DASD - TWA System, 1980-something

Can’t blame it on Bob — I think this relic was mine — *blush*.

It’s 3340 DASD — a direct access storage device — from a long gone airline reservation system. When there was a DASD upgrade back in the late 70s/early 80s, people who worked in the Systems group thought it would be a lark to take some of the old equipment home.  (What were we thinking?)

It’s a little unnerving to think that, capacity-wise, this disk would hold only a few of the images in my iPhoto library.  I don’t remember how many disks it took to house the data base, but it wasn’t all that many. Just think: if you were on a TWA flight back then, your reservation may have been archived in my basement all this time.

Here it is from another angle, so you can see what a little Starship it is. Or rather, not so little by today’s standards. It’s over a foot wide.

3340 DASD from TWA Reservation System

“Hey Scotty, one to beam up…” (dunno what happened to that guy in the red shirt, he was here a minute ago)

But what to do with it? Who would want it? No one. The recycling center wouldn’t take it because it’s a mix of materials.  Dang… it’s a dilemma. Any ideas?

I’m going to think about it while I go watch an episode of Star Trek Voyager on yet another outdated storage device: a DVD (at least I can send the DVD back to Netflix).

Related posts:

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

More on the DASD

Lois Lane, Wonder Woman, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

Lois Lane and Wonder Woman, what a contrast not to mention a surprise. I didn’t expect to find comics when cleaning out the basement. Yes, Lois had a job as a reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, but wasn’t the main purpose of her existence to be in peril, so Superman could rescue her?

Contrasting oldie comics: Lois Lane and Wonder Woman

Lois Lane or Wonder Woman?

Meanwhile, Wonder Woman was out there on the front lines, saving her boyfriend and, oh yeah, the planet. To be fair though, Superman spent a lot of time rescuing Jimmy Olson too, and darned if I didn’t find a Jimmy Olson Comic in this lot. I’d forgotten the Lois and Jimmy had their own spin-offs, but now that I think about it, there were separate comics for Superboy (young Superman, of course), Supergirl (Superman’s cousin), and even Superman’s dog (Krypto). When will it end?

Here’s another contrast.

Contrast in the comics: Archie and Superman

Contrast in the comics: Archie and Superman.

Isn’t it a little scary to think that these stories help shape our young minds? See Reggie in the window? For how many years of my childhood did I believe that people partied with lampshades on their heads? Or flew, or wore bat-suits… things like that.

When I unearthed my little stack of comics, of course I had a nanosecond of hope for a million-dollar find. No such luck, unfortunately. But did you notice the original prices?

Contrast in the comics: original prices for Lois Lane and Wonder Woman

Contrast in the comics: original 10-cent prices for Lois Lane and Wonder Woman

Now life and comics go on (though for a considerably higher price). Some of them even became graphic novels. And presumably Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Lois, and Jimmy are still out there somewhere, saving the planet while coping with myriad love-triangles, and I’m here in my temporary fortress of solitude, simplifying my life and cleaning out the basement.

Do you know where your comics are?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast


Modern Atlanta Homes Tour – 2014, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

On the weekend between my recent plumbing difficulties, Sam and I toured 10 houses on the Modern Atlanta Homes Tour. Here’s a peek at one — this is a walkway between upstairs rooms.

Walkway between upstairs rooms, Modern Atlanta Homes Tour

Fabulous except when you’re barefoot (ouch) … or, um, wearing a skirt.

Searching for the right term for this structure, I found myself calling it a catwalk. Then I realized why… here’s a detail in the library, just to the left –

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour: cat bookends in the library.

Cat bookends!

I love the round lamps too, a nice echo of the windows in the living room below. Here’s a view to the right of the catwalk –

Modern Atlanta homes tour  - catwalk and living room.

Catwalk and living room.

 I’m just now winding up on donating and recycling stuff I sorted out when unpacking boxes from the last few weeks working on my basement, and almost ready to start my next round of unpacking. Seeing these sleek and modern (not to mention uncluttered) homes was just the eye-candy I needed to:

  1. clean my palate, and
  2. inspire me to keep working.

Still, if you’re like me, you’ve got to wonder “where do they keep their junky stuff?” Maybe there’s a junk-room not open to the guests on the tour? Or do I dare to dream they don’t have any, and maybe, just maybe, there’s a junk-less home in my own future?

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour - living room with circles and light.with circles

Don’t you love this room — full of color and light and rhyming circles, plus, it’s a room that’s a bridge between indoors and out.

 I’m eager to share my other photos from this tour, so if you like tours as much as I do, stay tuned. Hint: if there’s an upcoming photo challenge for “Bookshelves”, I’m ready. Here’s a preview — can you find the other cat bookend?

Modern Atlanta Tour - loving a library with a ladder.

Another cat bookend, and, can you tell how much I love a library with a ladder?

 Related posts:

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

My post on the 2013 Modern Atlanta Homes Tour

Tally 31 Boxes, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra

Who knew I’d  have an extra plumbing adventure so soon after my water heater experience? In the basement last week, pulling out more boxes, I was surprised to see a few looked damp.  Then I felt something on my hair (spider alert?), brushed my hand through it, and felt a drop of water —  panic — where did that come from? Then I looked up…

Pinhole leak in copper pipe in my basement.

This may have been leaking for weeks, just a drop every few minutes.

I was lucky. This could have gone on until it got much worse. In the above photo you can see a patch where a similar thing was repaired a few years ago. When it happened before, the pinhole leak resulted in a fine spray that was nearly invisible unless seen against the light, so that’s the kind of thing I looked for when I checked the basement since then.

Meanwhile, the plumber found this extra place to repair, not leaking yet, but soon…

Copper pipe with another leak in the making.

Here’s what to look for, a blue-green spot is an extra leak in the making.


Once, I thought I’d get the basement cleaned out by bringing a box up every time I went down there. The result, of course — I quit going to the basement. That’s until I got started on the books that are stored there, and that kept me working, albeit slowly.

Trouble is, I’m annoyingly meticulous and feel I have to look at everything. Here’s an example…

Bob's maps and travel brochres.

Bob’s maps and travel brochures… oh the places he’s been. There are still a box or two of these left; why can’t I just dump them straight into the recycle bin without looking?

 The damp got some of my art posters – I had more packed away than I remembered — but I’ve sorted out the dry ones, plus a hefty packet of art-reproduction postcards, for an art teacher friend to use. Now I’m moving on to magazines.  My favorite so far is the cover of MS, December 1972:

“Peace on earth, good will to people.”

Quote-wise, the one that sprang to mind the night I found the leak was Dorothy Parker:

“What fresh hell is this?”

Don’t forget to check your pipes, and, tell me… What extra things are hiding in your basement?

Here’s more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra

A Blog Hop, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

I still have the basement-blues after recent water woes. So before launching into my Blog-Hop news, I’ll share a photo of an upstairs room: as far from the basement as I can get!  This room used to be one of Bob’s store rooms. My goal in painting and decorating it was to use things I already have. Some things are from family, and some are flea-market finds from past years that I had packed away.

Spare bedroom with a quilt as a wall hanging.

A cleaned-up spare bedroom with a vintage quilt as a wall hanging.

Now for the Blog-Hop news. Thank you to Pip Marks at Sustainability Soapbox for tagging me in a blog hop in which I’m asked to answer four questions about writing. Pip’s carefully researched posts fill us in on social and environmental issues. Her topics always pique my interest, and, being on the opposite side of the world from me, bring up issues and topics I would never have known about, like … “Using Wombats to Promote Your Blog” for example.

Here are my answers to the four “why we write” questions.

  • What am I working on/writing?

I’m working up some additional chapters for my memoir about coping with grief after Bob’s death.  An editor at a recent writing conference gave me a positive critique on my work, but also told me it was too short.

  • Why do I write what I do?

Bob, my late partner, weathered two cancer diagnoses and many treatments, ultimately losing his life to a complication after he was cancer free.  Losing people we love is a searing and unforgettable experience that we all have to face sometime.  The more we can share our experiences, the greater the possibility for comfort and connection.

  • How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
Memoir about grief isn’t usually funny, but he was such an entertaining and eccentric person that it’s impossible to write about knowing him without a big dose of humor.
  • How does my writing process work?
I’m writing memoir, so I’m mining my experiences clearing out this house full of Bob’s stuff. OK, my stuff too. As one good example… there’s that basement I’m always complaining about. Having a leak in my grimy basement full of boxes may be horrible, but I’ll bet it’ll be entertaining before I’m through. Now all I need is a photo of me in my hazmat suit setting out to clean it up.


Hopping forward.  I’m pleased to tag the following bloggers as the next participants –


Sheila, at A Steward’s Heart writes about simple living and a missionary life in Italy. Be sure to check out those header photos on her blog — they’re views from her home.


Next is Christine at Red Pin Adventures. The red pins are points on the map, the places that she and her family live, and the points they travel to. After writing from her recent digs in Norway, this expat adventurer is moving again.


I look forward to reading their Blog Hop posts in the next few weeks. Please check back to see what they have to say.


Now, one last thing about that photo challenge.  If you can stand it… here’s a “before” shot of that room.
Spare Room "Before".

Spare room “before” —  when it was a storage room.

How’d I do?



And, P.S. apologies to anyone who noticed that I accidentally hit “publish” before I finished this post… I un-pubbed asap, but I’m not sure what happens with email format.  —   Sandy