Water, Swans, Loess Bluffs, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

Funny, there’s one thing so many serene images have in common: water. Doesn’t everyone long for a lakeside/seaside/brookside view? Is it because we are 60% water, born swimming, and all little mermaids at heart? Perhaps it’s because that’s where we came from, historically speaking (you know, crawling out of the primordial soup and all)?

Here are some somewhat-serene swans at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri last week —

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Swan silhouettes in the evening light.

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Getting nibbley…

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Still, sometimes there’s trouble in paradise.

Vacation trips are so much more enjoyable now that I don’t have to worry about my house. Water is not so peaceful and serene if it is leaking in the basement, for example.

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

I kept trying for ‘seven swans a-swimming’ but six is the best I could do.

Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Look closely at the sky. Your screen isn’t dirty – there are geese flying in for the evening.

But back to the primordial soup — I’ve always thought it would be fun to come up with a recipe, something to have for dinner when feeling primeval or dining in a single cell. Pasta in little amoeba shapes would be tasty, oh, and spiralized vegetables, and maybe some asparagus for its weird look.

What would you put in your primordial soup?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

More on the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge (aka Squaw Creek)

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Why I love October, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Glow

I was hoping the pineapple sage would bloom before I closed on my house. I was in luck —

Bee on pineapple sage

Iphonography: one of the last photos I took before moving.

Now there’s pineapple sage and bee synchronicity with this week’s photo challenge — I see that someone else loves October for the same reasons I do.

There’s nothing like a clear blue October day for glowing light. This one’s from yesterday afternoon at Squaw Creek (now Loess Hills National Wildlife Preserve near Mound City MO) —

A Pile of Pelicans

A pile of pelicans

It’s not just October, I love September too — and was happy to get to see my toad lilies bloom one more time. Toad Lily bloom

Plus, this year for the first time there were babies, hundreds of them! They made a carpet of little plants around the mother plant, and bloomed – each one just a leaf with a bloom.

But remember the pineapple sage? Hummingbirds like it too – though they are not so obliging as to hold still for their photo op.

Hummingbird on pineapple sage

How do you love October?

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The Whitney Biennial, 2017 (Catching up with the Past Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting)

Want to know what these people are looking at?  We’re in New York at the Whitney Biennial in March, and it’s hard to know whether to look up, down, out, or over.

Samara Golden - The Meat Grinder's Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial, NYC

Samara Golden – The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial, NYC

Here’s a view from the platform —

Samara Golden - The Meat Grinder's Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial, NYC

Samara Golden – The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial

You can tell this is a huge and site-specific installation, but even standing there in it, I couldn’t tell exactly how many floors were part of it and how many were illusions. The sky was down, or was it up? The traffic was up (and down) and the Hudson River was out (wasn’t it?). To each side were floors of sculpted interiors – with stratified layers of furniture, office, and institutional space, some nightmarish. Were they all even right-side up? I don’t think so.

Samara Golden - The Meat Grinder's Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial

The clouds and the traffic, along with the occasional helicopter, provided movement. It was hypnotic. With so much going on, I didn’t take in the social commentary until I read about it. Not unusual, since I’m all about the visual when it comes to looking at art.

Like many recent exhibitions, this year’s Whitney Biennial was strong on social concerns. Suffice it to say that those layers were meant to provoke thoughts of social as well as visual stratification, referring to inequality and our political climate. I’ll share more images from this year’s exhibition in future posts.

How about it – do you look for the social implications or for the visual when you’re reflecting on art?

 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting

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Warm Winter, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Nothing contributes to a little outdoor ambience like a 70-degree weekend. Out for a walk last Sunday, I finally stopped to appreciate the design of this raised walkway in Piedmont Park…Raised walkway in Piedmont Park, Atlanta GA

Looking  back, and back again ….

raised-walkway-piedmont-park-atlanta-dsc00029

And here’s a little Atlanta Beltline ambience from Saturday…

Sign painting, restaurant on the Beltline, Atlanta GA

Touching up, sign painting on the Atlanta Beltline: New Year, New Food

And on the home front: outdoor ambience from yesterday. This squirrel found something tasty on the rim of a flower pot in my back yard. This pot-licking went on for several minutes.

squirrel-dsc00054

Or maybe it was some kind of new squirrel-yoga?

squirrel-dsc00046Of course warm days in January can affect our feelings in less positive ways too — waking thoughts of climate change. There’s always a niggling fear beneath the delight with warmer temperatures. But this is the South, so there’s some chance it’s not that unusual. I’m hoping it’s just what we Mid-westerners used to call the “January Thaw”.

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience and the January Thaw

P.S. – what should I be feeding that squirrel?

Views, Tree-cutting Guilt, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: New Horizons

I miss having a view of the horizon. I’ve loved the trees here in Georgia, but they do obscure the view. Here’s my one sliver of horizon-view — can you see a little pink over the retaining wall? That’s the sunrise.  I didn’t have this view until a couple of months ago.

New retaining wall and sunrise When we moved here, there was already an oak tree towering over the driveway. At first, I parked my truck beside the wall, but surprise! —  the acorns fell from such a height that I got “hail” damage on it when they fell.

The tree was only a couple of feet from the wall, and not far from the foundation of my neighbor’s house on the other side. I did worry about it every time we had a storm, but worried more seriously when I saw that, with the old wall down, there wasn’t a tree root in sight. What was holding the tree up? By that time it was even taller, leaning slightly toward my house, and with most of its branches on this side. I still feel bad about this, but I had the tree taken down. That’s what gave me the sliver of horizon.

Behind the retaining wall

Here it is with the wall down — no roots!

Tree down in the driveway

Here’s the tree-top, down now, in my driveway. I didn’t have the heart to go outside.

Now here’s a horizon view from Sam’s condo in Midtown —

Western horizon view from Midtown AtlantaAt least it was the horizon view — now there are new business and apartment towers being built, and this horizon view will soon be slivers too.

Views can be scenes, perspective, convictions, and beliefs. I want to expand my horizons in all those ways. I’d like to find a place in the city after I get my house downsized — but I’ll have to remember that all views can change. Meanwhile here’s one more photo from the same location, a bit more panoramic, still “before” new towers.

Midtown Atlanta evening view

Here’s to 2017 — may all your new horizons be panoramic.  I’m looking forward to finding new views as well as new opportunities — how about you? 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: New Horizons

Squaw Creek Wildlife Refuge, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O

The stresses of bathroom remodeling and personal access to H2O were getting to me, so what better way to make my peace with the element than to visit a watery refuge that doesn’t depend on plumbing…

Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge - heron

Life imitates Art – this heron blends in with the surroundings so well, it reminds me of Arts & Crafts wallpaper.

Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge - coots

These are coots – apparently they’re shy and I made too much noise approaching…

… because, next photo, here they are, fleeing. Still, they splash the H2O around nicely.

Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge - coots

The official beginning of migration season is coming up on October 15, so I got to Squaw Creek a little early.

Now, it’s time to get back home and splash in my own new tub.  Well, maybe not quite time, as you can see, this bath still needs some finishing. The counter-top will be ready in a couple of days, after that it’s get the sinks installed, the walls painted, and the rest of the cleaning up done.

hall-bath-img_1127

I’m just posting this “during” remodel photo in a blatant bid for sympathy… so how about it, are you sympathetic yet?

More on Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge:   “The refuge includes 7,440 acres of wetlands, grasslands, and forests along the eastern edge of the Missouri River floodplain.”

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O

Preparing for Bath Remodels and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare

In this house full of accumulated stuff, I thought there’d be nothing so rare as an empty cabinet, but now I have two empty vanity cabinets plus an empty medicine cabinet. The occasion? — bathroom remodel starts next week.

Empty medicine cabinet

Medicine cabinet with 3-way mirror — it was handy, but hulking.

This poor old cabinet is coming apart, but I’ll keep the glass shelves long enough to see if they might be useful to someone. I’ve been diligently sorting out what’s still usable, what’s recyclable, what’s never-used and can be donated, and what must be discarded, all the while trying to keep track of what I’m keeping.

Just to keep myself entertained, I held a “Goofy Stuff I Found” contest — here are the winners.

— Most prolific find — safety pins. Nearly all these came from one drawer in the dressing-table. I think they’ve been breeding in there. The first runner up on most prolific: match books. There were twelve. Two were empty. (?) Next would be the eight manicure scissors (Bob’s) and at least that many nail clippers (ok, some were mine). We must have had a fear of not being able to keep our nails short after the revolution.

Many many found safety pins

Apparently, I am very interested in safety (at least in pins).

— The oldest finds  — Flouride gel, expired 2/1989.  Prescription, expired 5/1998. SO last century. Luckily, collection of expired medication is no longer a once-a-year event, and I can drop these off with a bag of others I’ve set aside.

The oldest things found in the medicine cabinet

I’m trying to dispose of things responsibly, but it isn’t always easy. I ended up with a small grocery bag of trash, and a LOT of stuff I need to use up. That includes what I cleaned out of another cabinet a while back, posted here.

On the topic of throwing things away, quoting a comment on an Apartment Therapy blog from last week, “There is no away.”  –Good to remember.

 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare

 

 

 

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