Saturday, November 28, 2015

(The Making of ) the Annual Holiday Photo

After setting up the camera, Dad (my nephew Joseph)
runs to take his place in the crowd shot.
This year, it numbered about twenty-eight people
who had gathered for a Thanksgiving meal
at a sister-in-law's barn.

This began as a casual idea by my
sis-in-law Fran for a photo Christmas card, 
so long ago I don't remember the first one. 
Everyone, from adults, to children, 
to various fur persons,
puts on a silly Christmas hat, chosen 
from a large collection of chapeaus 
and headbands. The picture above shows
some of my grandnieces
(Audrey, Maggie, and Savannah) choosing
their headgear while, below,
the wife of another nephew washes frosting
and crumbs from her daughter's face.

Another grandniece, Tallulah, at age four
shows a creative fashion sense, selecting two
pieces of headgear for her photo,
a Santa hat topped by glittery garland
pom-poms. It made her resemble
a sort of Yuletide version of a Skye Terrier,
one of which recently won Best-In-Show
at the National Dog Show.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


I've been wanting a bit of dessert for days.
Did I want the coconut cake from Cafe Patachou
or did I want to go up to The Flying Cupcake for, 
well, cupcakes? Instead, I went to the 
on East Washington Street, right between a bar 
and an art gallery. A group of people sat at the front
table, bathed in the late afternoon sunlight
pouring through the window.

The building, gutted and restored
to create this space, reminded me of all the 
stories I've read about artists sitting 
in Parisian cafes discussing the latest 
in avant-garde art or sharing their 
poetry over tiny cups of espresso.

I had a bowl of Graeter's black cherry 
chocolate chip ice cream. 
Gawd, I'm a sucker for that stuff.
Even among all the pies and cakes, the ice
cream sang a siren's song.
Teaspoon by teaspoon, I luxuriated
in my little fantasy of being
in a French cafe, wiling away a bit 
of the afternoon as poets
and writers argued some philosophical
point, and imagined great art
hung in the gallery next door. *Sigh.*

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ready, Not Ready

We returned to the Natatorium competition pool
for practice last week. I was happy to be
back in "good water" that was cool and calm,
meant for swimmers.

"Meant for swimmers" is the operative term
here, because the Nat is a world class facility.
I walked in last night to see not only kids from a couple
of high schools practicing, but black-clad
members of a production crew hanging
steel framework for lighting and camera equipment.
This equipment will be used in about
a month's time, when the meet between teams
from the USA and Europe will be telecast by the
NBC Sports Network, December 11 and 12.

Called the Mutual of Omaha "Duel in the Pool," 
the meet will bring together top swimmers 
from both the USA and Europe in the eighth renewal 
of an event that has always provided 
top-flight competition.
(Buy tickets and attend; it is an exciting,
invigorating occasion.)

Meanwhile, following the behest of our coaches,
the masters swimmers, most of whom are old enough
to be the parents of the likes of Ryan Lochte,
Missy Franklin, and Michael Phelps,
swam their workouts beneath the rigging,
as slim and fast in our minds, if not in fact,
as our elite chlorinated comrades

Monday, November 16, 2015

Kale Forest, *Aerial* View

In a small garden just outside Eskenazi Health,
there's a small stand of kale.
I suppose it is used by the little deli 
next door to make salads for their customers.
Try as I might, I just can't bring myself
to tolerate any but the most occasional serving
of the stuff; chopped up and combined
with cabbage, kale provides color and fibre
for what otherwise would be slaw.
Yuch, bleh, and good riddance.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hard Edge and Fuzzy

The primary colors are represented here, as well as
hard edge and fuzzy styles of painting.
I paused for a bit to enjoy the beautiful weather
during my walk to swim practice,
looking back to see the way Nature had
composed the yellow and red leaves of the trees
against the man-made (woman-designed)
contemporary stripes of the Eskenazi exterior.

One of my favorite things to see is the way sunlight
can reflect off the sides of trees, causing the light to bounce
and define the lines of the trunks and limbs.
No matter how I've tried, I don't seem to be able
to show that luminescence in my pictures.
So it has to remain a secret treasure, one enjoyed 
by my eyes alone and cherished in my mind.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Flying Off the Shelves

The problem in our country is not with books being banned,
but with people no longer reading.
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.
Just get people to stop reading them.

The above quote is on the website of a blog-pal,
Dive of Small Glass Planet. The words were spoken by
the author of one of my favorite books, whose name
I won't reveal, out of deference to Dive's quiz.

  The installation in the main entry of the IMA,
Richard Wentworth's False Ceiling,
seems to pair perfectly with two bookcases
from The Public Collection.
While the installation is in place, the IMA
is requesting that visitors submit a guess estimating
the number of books used to create the display.
Each month, an entry will be selected 
to receive either a Dual/Family Membership 
or a $75 Museum gift card.

Just past Wentworth's installation, 
there are two additional bookcases from 
The Public Collection series. 
The one in the middle picture, called PlayStation,
is by LaShawnda Crowe Storm, and
 provides children with an irresistible invitation 
to read and play. The area in the IMA
has been made into a comfortable gathering 
place for children and other living things,
with couches, chairs and carpets where visitors 
may relax and enjoy the books and passers-by.
Adults will be fascinated by the wooden
"refrigerator" provided by Tom Torluemke.
Of course, its called Cool Books - Food for Thought.