Using my Car as a Storage Bin, Missing my Truck, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

 I’m still downsizing, even though I sold my house and moved last October. At least I’ve gone from three storage bins to two, but I seem to be stuck getting to one. Here’s what happens when I take stuff out of storage but I don’t want to bring it into the condo where it will be in the way…

My car - my storage bin

My car – my movable storage bin – and this is just the back seat. The trunk is full too. That Ohaus scale is a real oldie, once used for measuring out photographic chemicals. 

I got into this mode of movable storage when I still had my (beloved) truck. While parked in the garage at the house it was also handy for accumulating donations and recyclables, then for delivering them. I bought the truck in 1990, before moving to the Atlanta area. It was not so easy to drive in the city, but I still couldn’t seem to give it up even after buying a car in 2005.

My 1990 Nissan pick-up

Here it is last fall, parked in its foster-care driveway, waiting to be donated. It’s gone on to a new home now.

I need to get over the bad habit of car storage. On the night before I left town on a trip last week I noticed I’d sold a book on Amazon. Where was it? Oh yes, it was in my car. In the trunk. Somewhere.

Car Storage - Full trunk

Oops, where are the books? — a classic case of “Hello! This is the Universe; you really need to get organized.”

I trekked down to the parking garage at 10PM, pulled everything out of the trunk, found the book and took it along with me the next morning to mail on arrival.  What was the book?

Droodles # 1, by Roger Price

Droodles – “riddles expressed in visual form”

Here are some examples…

Droodles - Spider Doing a Handstand

The next page assures us it could also be “Total Eclipse of the Sun on a Stick,” ” Family of Worms Stuck in a Caramel apple,” or “Frightened Mop.”

Droodles - Fat Man Smoking

I think this one looks more like a turtle. Of course, that may be because I spent a good part of the morning watching and photographing turtles in the lake at Piedmont Park.

Droodles - Man in a Tuxedo

… or a turbolift, if you happen to be a Star Trek fan.

Now it’s time to start answering the call of the Universe and sort out some “stuff”. I’ve been trying to get organized for years now, so wish me luck on that?

P.S. Now, what’s stored in your car?

 

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Murals, Art and MARTA, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

A sunny day last May, a walk to the neighborhood grocery store, and a discovery when passing the MARTA train station (that’s “Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority”) — there’s painting going on — it’s not just MARTA now, it’s MARTA.

Midtown MARTA Station painter

Midtown MARTA Station mural artist – Andrew Catanese

Yes – the wheels are off the ground.

And, it’s not just a one-side-of-the-door thing, there are several murals… and more painters.

Midtown MARTA Station mural - painter's helpers

Painter’s helpers – just starting out

The murals were commissioned by MARTA’s Artbound program. We watched as the weeks went by and the details got filled in… here are more recent photos.

Atlanta Midtown MARTA Station mural

I like to think of this next one as “Sheep may safely graze” but maybe they’re goats (they are across the street from the Dancing Goat coffee shop). A nearby sign tells us that the mural “celebrates Midtown as a diverse and collaborative community that welcomes all” – so I’m thinking safely grazing is accurate enough.
Atlanta Midtown MARTA Station mural

Details are lots of fun…

Atlanta Midtown MARTA Station mural

“Picasso eyes?”

Atlanta Midtown MARTA Station mural

Goose with glasses…

Atlanta Midtown MARTA Station mural

Peeking parrot, or bird with hands?

I see now that there were volunteer days — I wish I’d known, it would have been fun to go and help paint.  Meanwhile,  there’s a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the station on Monday July 23, for dedication of the murals. I’m putting that on my calendar. And, after looking at the page about the Artbound program, I see I’m going to have to get busy and tour more MARTA Station Art.

More about the Midtown MARTA Murals 

and MARTA’s Artbound program

 

Waterfalls, Lotus Ponds, Atlanta’s Midtown Open Garden Stroll, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

Sunday was the 4th year we’ve gone to the “Midtown Open Garden Stroll” in Atlanta – it’s always a joy, and speaking of liquid, it almost always rains at least some time during the day. This year there was thunder rumbling as we walked home, but the rain held off until later. We were lucky to see the sun shining on garden ponds and fountains. Here’s a favorite from this year’s tour —

Garden Pool with waterfall - Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll 2018

This one had everything: lotus flowers, koi, and electric-blue dragonflies who were determined not to sit still for their close-up.

 

Lotus Pool - Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll 2018

Here’s the lotus side of the pool.

Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll sign

Signs identify homes on the tour, indicating which part of the yard/garden is open.

Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll 2017 - frog planter

This frog planter is from a front garden on last year’s tour.

Side Garden - Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll  2017

Here’s a side garden from last year’s tour – even the narrow space between homes is beautifully planned and tended.

Back Garden - Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll  2017 and 2018

There’s a koi pond at the end of the walkway in this serene back yard garden.

Atlanta Midtown Open Garden Stroll 2017: we liked this house across the street from one of the open gardens..

Sometimes there are surprises along the way. This house was across the street from one of last year’s open gardens. I was fascinated by the colors, the roofline, the arched windows and door. 

I’m lost in admiration for these gardens and the people who design them, care for them, and let all us strangers tromp in to see their private wonderlands. But I have a new outlook on garden tours now that I no longer have a back yard of my own. I can still identify and appreciate plants. If I see something new and different I want to know what it is, but there’s been a shift in my regard. They seem more like garden art, and (at least for now) I’ve lost my possessive instinct. I no longer yearn to have them for my own to nurture. Maybe it’s just laziness, or maybe it’s facing reality that there’s only so much time available. After all, I always liked development work more than maintenance and let’s face it – weeding is maintenance.

Here’s more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

Do you have a favorite local garden tour?

The High Line, the BeltLine, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

The High Line: on this year’s trip to New York, we finally got to see it greening up for spring.

High Line Park NYC - from the Whitney Museum

From a balcony at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The High Line: a 1.45 mile long park in New York City, created on a stretch of elevated railway that was no longer used. 

High Line Park NYC - spring

Looking back toward the Whitney. I love it that pieces of the old railroad track are incorporated into the landscaping. 

High Line Park NYC - spring blooms

The daffodils were blooming. That’s a first for us, after the last two years when we traveled in March and were blessed with snow.

At home in Atlanta, we have the BeltLine, not elevated like the High Line, but destined to be much longer. It’s a proposed loop of around 22 miles of trails planned to connect 45 neighborhoods. Here’s Sam on a rainy day last fall. It was one of the days with lots of hurricane-engendered rain, and for a while we were the only ones out braving the storm.

Atlanta BeltLine - stormy day

The BeltLine already needs a new lane. It’s often mobbed. Between speeding bicycles and people with dogs on long leashes making trip-wires, it can be difficult to walk safely.

There’s lots of art along the way, and landscaping is coming along nicely. These are from a sunnier day —Atlanta BeltLine - morning glory Atlanta BeltLine - grasses

Turning disused rail lines into walking trails is not a new idea. Years (decades) ago, when the trains no longer came through my small hometown, there was a plan to remove the rails and ties and make the railroad line into a walking trail. I’d already moved away, so I’m not sure what became of that, but I think it would have been hard to keep the trails going. For example, they were fragmented by the removal of two of the three railroad bridges. Here’s one that stayed,  (I think it’s still there) —

NH railroad bridge

The bridge on the other end of town is a background in this next photo, a family history photo now — the girl wearing glasses is my mother at 16.

When I was growing up there, we walked on the railroad tracks, played on the bridges (gasp!) and along the way, picked berries and asparagus that grew beside the tracks. With all these railroad track paths, it sounds like I’ve spent my life walking railroad lines, doesn’t it?

Do you have a favorite rail line path?

More on the Manhattan High Line  Wow – I see you can adopt a plant. I’m considering… I’d want to see updates on mine though, and maybe visit it each year to check on progress and be allowed to give it a little compost treat.

More on the Atlanta BeltLine

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

Sunset Views, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Rise/Set

A balcony facing west is prime viewing for sunsets. Lately I’ve been complaining about losing the view of the horizon, with so many new buildings going up. I love looking at the cranes for their interesting patterns and angles, but not the new construction. One thing though — more buildings mark their places and emphasize the changing position of the sunsets. In winter the sun sets as far south as the Biltmore tower on the left. 

Atlanta - March 6 pink sunset

A pink fluffy sunset – early March

Here it is along the way… but since I took this photo it’s already “traveled” north to set behind the tall building to the right…

March sunset - Atlanta

Next is about as close as I can get to a sunrise photo — a reflection of light from the east. Jet trails are always a bonus…

Atlanta - April 1 sunrise reflection

If you look really close you can see the tiny full moon (setting) just off center to the right. It played a little April fool joke and didn’t focus well for me in close-up.

As for rising and setting, a hard-drive crash last weekend made me realize how much “the sun rises and sets” on our devices, and how, without care and multiple back-up, all our projects could disappear in a bit explosion. I’m still restoring. It’s all there, just not as easy to put back as advertised.

— Have you backed up your files lately?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge Rise/Set

MoMA, New York, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

How can I pick one all-time favorite place? — I have too many. But, “a favorite location I return to again and again?” That I can do. March weather has been unkind in the Northeast, so we’re glad we planned our New York trip for April this year. Here’s some favorite viewing from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) from last year’s trip…

At MOMA: Parviz Tanavoli  Iranian/Canadian The Prophet - 1964

The Prophet, 1964. Bronze on wood base. By Parviz Tanavoli, an Iranian/Canadian artist, born 1937.

MOMA: Ibrahim El-Salahi - The Mosque, 1964. By Ibrahim El-Salahi, Sudanese, Born 1930

The Mosque, 1964. Oil on canvas. By Ibrahim El-Salahi, a Sudanese artist, born 1930. In 1964, he received a Rockefeller grant to travel to New York.

MOMA: Faramarz Pilaram, Iranian (1937 - 1982) - Laminations (Les Lames) 1962, Gouache,metallic paint, and stamped ink on paper

Laminations (Les Lames) 1962. Gouache,metallic paint, and stamped ink on paper.  Faramarz Pilaram, an Iranian artist and proponent of Iranian Modernism (1937 – 1982)

What do these pieces have in common? MOMA posted the following beside each —

‘This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens would be denied entry into the United States according to recent presidential executive orders. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to the Museum, as they are to the United States.”

On a lighter note, moving outside, here’s what was blooming —

Crocus - Central Park March 2017

Crocus – Central Park March 2017

What’s your favorite place for travel?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

Coming up at MoMA

 

 

Dragon Con Cosplay, Time Travel to 2012, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd

The Face in the Crowd challenge asks how we can mask our subjects yet still let their uniqueness show through. The idea is making use of shadows, angles, or silhouettes, but I’m taking “mask” to heart and going for cosplay.

My hoarder instincts were challenged yesterday when I thought I’d lost a photo library I’d migrated from an old laptop before its hard drive failed. Panic — I am downsizing stuff, not photo files! Now in celebration of lost-is-found, I’m choosing photos from the virtual hoard today. Set your DeLorean DMC-12s for 2012 — and here we are in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend, at Dragon Con:

Dragon Con Cosplay 2012

An expression perhaps too intent to be covering a giggle — maybe gobbling up a raw (or living) snack?

My Little Ponies - Dragon Con Parade 2012.

On the bright side – My Little Ponies prance (happily, always: ponies are happy!) in the parade.

Dragon Con Parade 2012 - Bender from Futurama

Bender: Our favorite “lovable rascal” from Futurama

Steampunk witch Dragon Con 2012

Steampunk was just gathering, um, steam, back in 2012, when they’d recently got their own track and their own exhibition space. I was impressed by this witch, her goggles, and her mechanical broom. I have not yet been able to convince my vacuum to fly.

Periodic Table of the Elements - Radon - Dragon Con Parade 2012

The Science Track marches as the Periodic Table of the Elements — here we have RN, radon. Not in our houses, we hope.

Polonium Polo - Periodic Table of the Elements Dragon Con Parade 2012

Polonium Polo – Periodic Table of the Elements

Francium - Periodic Table of the Elements - Dragon Con Parade 2012

Francium – Periodic Table of the Elements. Striped shirt: check. Beret: check. Cigarette: check. Dog? Clearly I should have zoomed out…

Copper -Periodic Table of the Elements - Dragon Con 2012

And just in case someone gets out of line, we have CU: Copper

 

I love the absurdity and creativity of Cosplay. It’s always fun to see what new things people come up with.  I could see myself as Faceless Old Woman (from ‘Welcome to Night Vale’). What would you choose?

 

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