Snow, Thanksgiving, Aerial Views, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Cold

Thanksgiving week in the midwest — need I say more?

Thanksgiving snow storm

Snow at the house next door: I love how a blizzard gets creative with drifting snow. Check out the roofline — how does that even happen?

Snow basketball at Kansas City airport

Snowbound basketball goal: a view out the window at MCI, the Kansas City airport. I have to wonder who plays basketball there (and why they aren’t loading our bags or putting more snacks on our plane – isn’t it all about us…?)

Snow on the ground - Aerial view, leaving MCI, Kansas City to Atlanta flight

You’d recognize me on any flight. I’m the one in the window seat, monopolizing the view. Especially if there’s a smokestack with the light behind it.

Aerial view, Missouri river and snow

The Big Muddy (Missouri River) rolls on… aerial view, leaving Kansas City

Sometimes it snows in Atlanta too. Here’s an example from last year, looking down on the parking lot next door…

A little night parking on Peachtree St

A little night parking …

Have you been snowed in lately? (one day was enough for us)

More on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge


Joris Laarman Lab – Design in the Digital Age, at the High Museum (Photo Challenge: Tour Guide)

Come see the future: Joris Laarman Lab – Design in the Digital Age encompasses a search for beauty as well as functionality, art in addition to technology, and includes maker-chairs, a bio-luminescent lamp, and yes, an exhibit on start-up company MX3D’s 3D-printing project to build a pedestrian bridge across an Amsterdam canal.

These elegant chairs were cast in 3D printed molds. They were designed using computer software based on the work of German professor Dr. Claus Mattheck, utilizing growth patterns of bones and trees to provide minimal structure for maximum strength.

Bone Rocker - beige noir marble and synthetic resin - Joris Laarman Lab - High Museum Atlanta GA 2018

Bone Rocker, Beige Noir marble and synthetic resin, 2007.

Bone Chair - marble and resin - Joris Laarman Labs - High Museum exhibit 2018

Bone Armchair, Carrara marble and synthetic resin, 2007.

As beautiful as they are, I have to admit, the first thing I thought was “What about the dust?” The second thing I thought was “The spiders would love these.”  Apparently I am too plebeian to have lovely minimalist chairs. They are gorgeous museum pieces, and if found in a home, it would be the home of someone with maid service.

Then I wondered about comfort. When I was in my 30’s (like these designers) that didn’t worry me at all. I loved my Arts-and-Crafts oak furniture with square sides and hard seats, and scoffed at comments about discomfort because who cared? — it looked good. Now I put pillows on everything, even one of Sam’s Eames chairs, to his dismay.

This robotic arm is building three “Digital Matter” tables from metal cubes that are 3D versions of pixels, large, medium, and small. (they’re “voxels” — volumetric pixels)

Still from video - Joris Laarman Lab - assembling Digital Matter Tables - photo from High Museum exhibit, Atlanta GA

Joris Laarman Lab – robot assembling Digital Matter Tables – photo still taken from exhibition video – High Museum exhibit, Atlanta GA, 2018

The three “Digital Matter” tables were commissioned by the High in 2011 and are now in the permanent collection — if soaked in acetone, the pieces separate and can be used to build something new. “Wow,” I thought, “that would have solved so many of my downsizing issues.”  It’s been slow work to clear the hoard while honoring my quest to be environmentally correct, and get stuff reused or recycled instead of taken to a landfill. 

Three Digital Matter Tables - High Museum, Atlanta GA - Joris Laarman Labs

With three sizes of cubes, the tables have graduating resolution. 

Here’s a detail of the middle table —

Digital Matter Tables/detail - Joris Laarman Labs -High Museum Atlanta GA

The ornamentation is a tribute to “Super Mario”, but up top, there’s a tip of the hat to Pac-Man…

Digital Matter tables - pac man detail - Joris Laarman Lab - High Museum Atlanta GAAnd here I go with “Art Museum Eyes” again — leaving the exhibition I saw this view out the window —

Cousins Building - art museum eyes

There’s far more in this innovative (and fun) exhibition than I can communicate in one blog post, so if you’re near Atlanta, come and see it for yourself. If you can’t make it by closing on May 13, come anyway, the High’s permanent collection features more work from Joris Laarman Lab than any museum outside the Netherlands.

High Museum of Art, Atlanta GA, Feb 18-May 13, 2018.

I wonder how many reconstituted tables it would take to make a building? We may find out. There are projects afoot …


More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide

More on the exhibition


Tree Leaves, Art-Glass Leaves, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray

The fray (n.) came while I was gone last week, a stormy struggle between wind and trees that left my yard and driveway littered with sticks, branches, and leaves.  Meanwhile I was out looking at leaves of another kind–

Carnival glass with a pattern of blue leaves

Carnival glass with a pattern of blue leaves.

Now that I’m home I’m spending my time cleaning the yard, so this is a lazy post, with me reaching back to last week to find something fit for the topic. (And by the way, thank you trees, for remaining vertical, and thank you neighbors, for calling to warn me there’d been a storm and everything was ok, just messy.)

My antique dealer cousins — aka ‘The Pickers’ — took me along on an afternoon trip to Rockport MO, where we stopped at 3 Korners Antiques, home of the motherload of carnival glass. I hadn’t paid much attention to carnival glass before, but seeing it en masse, I finally realized how gorgeous it can be. This shop was like a mini-museum.

Carnival glass case

(I’m beginning to see the light)

Carnival glass case

Carnival glass: lovely! But it’s all peacocks — where are the chickens?

But wait — I just found this carnival glass chicken pinboard!

All these peacocks and leafy Art Nouveau and arts-and-crafts motifs reminded me that I recently found my old term paper on Art Nouveau from an Independent Study section in art history, way back. And yes, it had been living undiscovered in one basement after another for the last few decades. A glance through showed me that I didn’t mention carnival glass at all.

Carnival glass peacocks

I don’t know anything about the difference between old and new glass, I just took pictures of what was accessible. And shiny.

Carnival glass peacocks

Could I, in my snooty days, have seen the iridescence and the luster and considered it budget Tiffany?

Labeled Lalique

Something besides carnival glass: these little cuties were purportedly Lalique.

I left the store empty-handed, being in the mode of look-don’t-buy (plus, did you see the $-signs?). Still, I’m glad I thought to take these photos. Meanwhile, I’m hoping for another afternoon out with The Pickers next time I’m in town. As for now, I’m back to the job of cleaning up after the fray.

What do you think — peacocks or chickens?

Related posts:

Now for a 21st century moment: Rockport MO was the first town in the US to be powered solely by wind turbines

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray


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’

Plastic Free July is almost upon us!

I’m re-blogging this Plastic-Free July challenge from “Treading My Own Path” — quite a challenge for me, but even if I just make it for two weeks I know it will help reduce some of the “too many recyclables” I’ve complained about on past posts. Anyone else in the US up for this? Let’s go then… and don’t forget to pack your re-usable coffee mugs. (Oops, no more yogurt cups, I’d better dust off that Yogomatic too. )

Treading My Own Path


This year’s Plastic Free July challenge is almost upon us, with just a little over two weeks to go. Plastic Free July, in case you don’t know what it is, is a challenge that runs every year which encourages people to give up disposable plastic for the month of July. (If you think that sounds too hard, you can also commit to a week or even one shopping trip instead.)

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Spiders, Dinner Club, and Hoarding the Fiestaware

fiesta blog IMG_2435Bob would have loved the neighborhood Dinner Club. He loved good food, drinks, and convivial company. But joining meant hosting once a year — and back then, with all the piles of stuff around, I wouldn’t have let anyone in the house. I regret now that I was never able to find a way to organize the house so that was acceptable to both of us. As for Dinner Club, after his death I eventually joined with a neighbor who’d been a member with her late husband and needed a partner. For the first few years, we hosted at her house and I brought the food. Last weekend, I hosted at mine.

At table, neighbors shared stories of cleaning for Dinner Club. Yes, I was shocked. I’d spent all week putting things away and cleaning, but somehow I thought everyone else was neat all the time and never traumatized like me. One neighbor said that when she hosted, she’d cleaned for days, then happened to look up and see a big dust-web stretched across the ceiling. I was still smiling about this after everyone left. Then I went into the breakfast room, where we’d organized the hot dishes for dinner, and there, looping across the light fixture, was a long string of web. Dang. At least my neighbor found hers before the guests came. I’ll have to hope my guests kept their eyes on the food. The next day, sitting at the dining table, my attention strayed to the plants in the window – and there on the bottom of the Christmas cactus’ plant stand, shining in the sunlight, was the silver tangle of yet another web.

I was so sure I’d dusted every surface. Maybe spiders like convivial company too, and came out to spin while we were spinning stories. I hope so.

Dinner Club table

These are things I’m glad I hoarded.

Here’s a photo of my table: I don’t have sets of fine china and crystal like other members do, so I have Vintage Dinner Club with my mismatched flatware collection, Bob’s mother’s tablecloths, my grandmother’s linen and glassware, and fiestaware pieces that my mother, Bob’s mother, my aunt, and friends’ family members gave me.  I love using their things. It gives me a thread of connection to the people who made my life.

Hoarding the Compost

Blogging about hoarding gives me new insight. I see hoarding I haven’t noticed before. Example: I’m even hoarding the compost.

I‘ve had compost ever since I’ve had a house. It’s a religious experience –  garbage transformed into fertile soil. I started with a modest mound in the back yard at my Kansas City house –  summer grass clippings, autumn leaves, and year round vegetable scraps. Back then, Bob looked at that lowly pile and started buying me nifty interlocking compost bins. By the time we had to move, I had six of them. They’re five of them in my backyard here, where the tree canopy is three times as dense and the leaf cleanup lasts for weeks each fall.

Compost Sam IMG_1966

This job takes two afternoons — thank you Sam.

I know I must have some useful compost, but (here’s the hoarding) the last few years I’ve just left it there and piled more leaves on top, not to mention making a mountain of leaves alongside.

Here’s my second experience accepting help. Sam helps me muck out the compost.  We even find the sections of a long lost bin lying hidden under the leaves. We distribute several wheelbarrows full of black gold to my outdoor plants. The mountain is reduced to foothills now. Soon most of the leftover leaves will fit into the bins. I think the secret is to leave the extra bin empty so I have a place to turn the compost.

Rethinking the Rules

Utility closet garage MG_2229

Oops… I already need to revise my rules. I’ve started on a closet when rule number three is to start with what I can see. In other words ‘forget the closets’.

But the utility closet in the garage is useless as-is: full of dirt and cobwebs, and with shelves that are falling off the wall. I need this closet NOW. Here it is after we took out about half the stuff: empty plastic jugs, old paint cans, brushes and stir-sticks, half full boxes of (dusty) dust masks, etc.



Utility closet garage IMG_2228

Here’s my friend Sam helping me clear out that closet. See how much we’ve already taken out?

It also dawns on me that I need to add a rule: “Accept help when offered.” It’s going in the list today. In the seven years since Bob’s death I’ve always refused help, feeling that the clearing out is my job and my karma, mine alone. But if I haven’t got it done by now,  I may never get it done without help.

Inspiration: “Sandy’s Trash”



(USA Today)

On December 14 2012, I saw this headline at the news-stand. Yes, my name is Sandy, and I know the headline referred to Hurricane Sandy. Still, it made me think — my trash could take years to haul away too. That’s when I knew I had to take more radical action to get through all the boxes of “stuff” that still litter my house and my life.

That’s when I decided to start this blog.

Clean up the paint supply

Garage (the beginning)

 My first hoarder-blog project starts in the garage. I haven’t opened the utility closet in years. Well, maybe I did crack the door open far enough to lean in and swish away some of the spider webs, see if there was anything I could easily do about the accumulation of stuff, and quickly close the door again.

The closet was full, so for the last few years I’ve stacked my paint cans on the floor outside the closet – paint from the past that I didn’t know what to do with, new paint that was the wrong color and couldn’t be used, paint I’d used and wanted to keep for touch-ups – all of it’s there, a rainbow history of the rooms of this house.

First task, sort out that paint. I label and store what I need to keep for touch-ups. Now what? I check for paint recycling and find that even empty paint cans may be accepted at recycling centers as scrap metal. But, if there’s paint involved, it’s considered hazardous waste and should not be discarded in the trash. Here’s what I’m working on now:

If paint is usable, find someone who wants it.

  • Friends who are painters
  • Schools
  • Theaters
  • Local paint collection drives that deliver the cans of paint for recycling or responsible disposal
  • Recycling centers that accept paint. I look on Earth911 but find my local paint recycling company charges to take donations.  I’m frugal enough that I want to donate for free, so I’m still doing my research.
  • Or, new thought – find something else in the house that needs painting and use it myself

If it’s not usable, use a ‘paint hardener’ or kitty litter to dry the paint and make it acceptable to my trash company.

Next project: get into that utility closet.