Friday, September 30, 2011

Rainy Speedway

Sometimes, I don't have to make a shot black and white
because the weather does it all for me. This afternoon I watched the sky turn from a nice Kodachrome (R.I.P.) to Plus X right before my eyes.

It was fairly busy this afternoon at the grocery. 
There's something about any change in the weather 
that makes people want to stock their pantries, 
like squirrels hoarding nuts against the coming winter.
An hour later, it had turned to this ...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Little Purple Guys

I couldn't choose which picture I preferred: 
the one of the small purple flower set against the begonias, 
which seem to emphasize its small size and delicacy,
or the one in which the little guys' beautiful colors
are set off by the granite bordering their garden spot.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Change In the Weather

Each fall, I make a point of walking by these bushes 
to see if the leaves are the correct color, and have arranged themselves 
into a pose that would make a nice picture. 
So far, this is as close as I've gotten.

Sometimes, the yellow leaves hang in the gray weather, 
like a solitary heart waiting for an absent lover until,
 too cold and dripping with rain like a single tear,
it drops away, it's hopes turned to winter. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Textured Tuesday: A-Tisket A-Tasket

When I was little, I'd watch the "Ed Sullivan Show" on Sunday nights. 
I'm not sure that's where I first heard Ella Fitzgerald, but I loved 
"A-Tisket A-Tasket" from the start. Even today, 
I can't look at a basket, big or small, or pink, blue or yellow, 
without the song running through my head.  

In a world where people run through their daily routines with iPods 
playing all sorts of rap, I walk around with my own music inside. 
 Sometimes I just want to dance along the street, 
"scatting" for the traders and winos as I go.

But I'll leave that to Ella, because she could SING!
Me? I'm just good in my mind.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I love color. 
I love colors of all kinds, in all sorts of combinations. 
I even like the absence of color,
especially when it leans and bends in lines
telling the story without the words.

Or helps you to make your own.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blue Skies and Space Junk

 Holy Flyin' Cosmos!
The sky is a nice blue, the sunlight is bouncing off little puffy clouds, 
a gentle breeze is leading the leaves on the trees in a slow dance. 
After a blistering summer the temperature is finally tolerable.

Uhhh ... Whut? 
You say a satellite is burning on re-entry into the atmosphere and is expected to break into twenty-six pieces as it crashes in all its conflagrated glory somewhere upon this precious Earth? As big as a bus, you say? 
Is that, like, one of those big customized rock star cruisers, 
city bus or the infamous short bus?

Shall I put Cat and Turtle in their crates and go sit in the park for a while? 
What do you mean you don't know and can't tell me
when and where it's gonna land?
A communications satellite has gone incommunicado?

Can you tell me what it looks like? NO?! Beautiful.
The last time I saw "space junk" of any note it was hanging 
off a middle-aged man who delighted in doing the "moon walk" 
as he danced naked across our living room floor. 

Which brings to mind another concern: wardrobe. 
A giant flaming charcoal briquette may come crashing into
my bedroom some time during the next twelve hours 
and I gotta have the right outfit. What should a grown woman wear 
if she's anticipating a re-entry?

I won't light any candles; given the circumstances they'd be redundant.
Hey, NASA, just tell UARS to bring a nice bottle of wine.
I'll make breakfast. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Working Bees and Schmoos

When last seen, hard-working bees Steve and Larry were discussing setting up hive-keeping with some nice girl bees of like mind. Here they can be seen toiling in the lush pollen fields, accompanied by Larry's new honey, Debbie, at the top of the picture. Steve's main lady, Harriet, has started a new job making bee-lines as well as tending to their new larvae.

When I saw the giant-ass doves in the wagon, I at first thought they were gourds, painted to represent the Schmoos, from Al Capp's "Li'l Abner" syndicated cartoon strip from the 1950s. Even now that I see the doves' beaks, they still look more like Schmoos to me. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Attics at the End of the Drive

I live in a small apartment with one bedroom. I need a bigger place with one more bedroom. As George Carlin would have said, "I need a place for my stuff." My "stuff" is made up of my books and art supplies. There are no bicycles, no tools, none of Gran'ma's knick-knacks. I don't have every Barbie doll ever made, Beanie Babies, Thomas "The Painter of Light" Kinkade schotzkes or Fenton glass. 

Books -- just books and art stuff and one fishin' pole, that's me. And Christmas ornaments and a fabric stash and my collection of  real photo postcards. Oh, I forgot about all my little tiny race cars, a set of Cartier china, glass insulators, and the pickle jars I just hate throwing out. Coffee cans -- I love coffee cans and you never know when you might need one. I have totes on every doorknob and one of those totes is full of the $1 shopping totes I use when I go to the store.

Then there's my honest-to-gosh steamboat lantern with a Fresnel lens and the combination hole punch/binder thing-y Carl bought me to make calendars (I actually use the thing pretty frequently -- adding to my reading stash). I fold all my clothes and put them in drawers, hang up my coats and dresses, put my shoes in a line beneath the chest. And a miter box, an electric drill, as well as my very own jigsaw (I was so damn proud when I went to the big box store to purchase my own tools).

So why am I upset when I see garages in my neighborhood like the one above -- and there are a lot of them -- full of the ephemera of daily life. These houses have full basements, three bedrooms and a utility room. But there's no room for the family car -- or three.

Don't they make attics any more?

This Speedway resident has a nice tidy garage with actual room for their vehicles. The homeowners rent parking spaces to race-goers and the freezer is for the ice they sell, too.

But this one worries me. When I first saw it I thought the homeowners were getting ready to move. There are two of these storage units in the drive, as well as stuff hanging on racks just outside the pods. Crammed damned full. That was a year ago and it looks the same.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


White plastic chairs of this ilk are seen everywhere, all over the world. I've seen versions of them used to do good, made into wheelchairs for people in Third World countries. More frequently, I've seen their plastic carcasses polluting the rivers, caught in the limbs of fallen trees coated with silt and brown plastic shopping bags.

They're used everywhere because they're inexpensive cheap and easily stored. When one gets blown off the boat or broken under the weight of an embarrassed guest, it can be easily replaced with a clone at any number of stores for well under $10.

This chair though, sitting beneath the only tree on that stretch of road, did not seem to be abandoned; it just looked as though it were somehow meditating, waiting for someone with whom it could share both the shade and the view.

The chair is its own throne, the tree and its shade is the castle. 
Their realm is behind them -- at the trees in the background
and the stream just beyond. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Another sign that summer has past is the flower displays
in front of my neighborhood grocery ...
rows and rows of pots of chrysanthemums.
Generally, they seem to be offered in three or four colors:
yellow, orange, red and a sort of brown.
It's definitely time for the chrysanthemummification of
the neighborhood gardens with little wads of color that will
survive the cold and snow.

I didn't know until I checked the spelling of the word, but chrysanthemums were originally cultivated by the Chinese as a herb for cooking. 
I wonder if they were used by cooks like they are used in the local yards, spread about like pepper used by people who don't know of other seasonings.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rainy Mood

I thought, on second look, that the raindrops mimiced
the shapes of the pebbles in the asphalt.

While the red leaves of the trees seemed to pop 
from their cloudy gray surroundings.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

And Effing Pigs Shall Fly...

This sign was seen a few weeks ago at about 5:30 a.m. 
at the intersection of 10th and Tibbs. 
Yep, $0.00 except for the final nine-tenths of a cent, 
which means ten gallons would still cost 9 cents.
See? Even something that looks free, isn't.
And why do they have that nine-tenths of a cent on there, anyway?


Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder

A woman in the area grows castor plants in her yard. 
They are the only ones I've seen in the area. 
While not your usual pretty flower, their coloring and shapes are interesting. Other than the plant itself and the woman who grows it, 
nothing seems to like them as they are toxic. 
The plants in her yard have been up to ten feet tall. 
However, I don't think she planted them this year 
because their usual patch is empty, with only a couple small volunteers.

And here is a whole crowd of little purple guys, 
jubilantly showing their faces to the sun. 
They form an entire border edging one back yard. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Colors In Season

Yeah, yeah, I know the seasons are beginning to change. 
The leaves on the trees have wilted, if not actually fallen. 
They're beginning to show color and, while it can be beautiful, 
it also serves as an alarm, a warning of the colder times to come.

I try to tell myself, as I do every year, that each season 
has its own beauties, its own colors. I try to convince myself of that, 
even as the bone-chilling cold creeps ever closer. 
For now, though, I will enjoy the these berries, 
which contrast so beautifully with their leaves,
camouflaging the winter lurking just behind.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Art Where You Find It

There are still a few days left of summer, but leaves have started to fall. 
Some do not seem to want to and like this leaf, float suspended between the tree and the ground, held aloft by the magic of one strand of a spider's silk. 

Between them, the man who used his saw to cut the cement and the one who filled it in, they could not have composed a more perfect balance of line and shades of gray if they had tried.

And here, Nature has left an impression on the sidewalk, 
staining it with the color of a leaf from a tulip tree.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


While walking through the White River State Park the other morning, 
I stopped to look over the old Washington Street bridge hoping to see turtles. Rather, a turtle. I'd have been happy to see just one.
The morning was warm and I thought I might catch one basking on the driftwood

I was rewarded with the sight of about a dozen, going about their turtle business --basking on an old log, searching for food, swimming just below the water's surface in quest of some goal known to them alone, or just drifting with the slow current of the river. 

I must have seen a dozen of them, with great unseen numbers of them lurking amid the driftwood, underwater, out of sight. My camera was stretched to its capabilities to get a few decent pictures. I was very happy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Victory Flys Home

Victory was returned to the Circle on Labor Day weekend and placed in the Northwest Quadrant.
Ready for her close-up, a lot of visitors took the only opportunity they might have to see her
on the ground for another 100-150 years. 
I journeyed downtown early last Tuesday morning, the day after Labor Day, to see Victory being restored to her perch atop the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, but high winds and rain caused the work to be delayed. The manager said that the lift itself would not take long, but the statue and the steel frame supporting her had only about four inches of clearance allowing her to be dropped down into the workers' scaffolding and onto the armature and bolts that would secure her. The crane operator needed for the wind speed to be 20 miles per hour or less in order to safely return the statue to her home. However, every time I'd looked at the anemometer on the top of the crane's boom, it was spinning at a good clip and never abated long enough to allow the task to be done. 

Workmen in a cherry-picker crane preparing to install braided nylon
rope to allow the crane to lift Victory's steel cage, without damaging the statue.
The lift had been re-scheduled for 8 a.m. this past Monday and, as I turned the corner at Meridian to head for the Circle it was about 10 minutes before 8, I figured I had time to make it. I looked up towards the Monument and  -- there she was! -- drawn up by the crane to the very tip of its boom. Victory had begun her return to her home thirty minutes ahead of schedule and was poised above the scaffolding in preparation for placement on her base. While I was disappointed, I knew that someone would surely post video on YouTube I could see later. They did and you can view it below.

Workmen work to guide Victory into place as the crane
slowly lowers the statue into the scaffolding
I did stay to take pictures of my own and watched as Victory was gradually lowered into place. That process took about an hour as the workmen carefully aligned her with the sixteen bolts that had been installed to attach her to the base. That done, they will further secure her with over 100 additional bolts to the armature/column protruding from the Monument. 

When the statue originally was created 118 years ago, the technology was not available to install her in one piece. Instead, workmen used horse-drawn pulleys to haul Victory in over forty pieces to the top of the Monument. Welding processes were just in their infancy and the technology was not available for use, particularly for bronze. Consequently, the pieces were assembled on top of the Monument using a series of metal pins which were hammered into holes in the statue, hooked over to grip from inside to secure the elements. Over time, the holes became corroded and allowed water to seep inside the statue.

The problem was found in 2009 during other restoration work on the Monument and Victory was removed in April 2011 to a nearby airplane hanger where she was cleaned, most of the holes filled and sealed. She was then reassembled and welded together. Her torch has been gilded with 23-carat gold and, it is agreed, she is beautiful.

Now that she has been returned, portions of her exterior will be replaced and welded in place. She will then be smoothed, patinaed and polished with wax. The scaffolding will be removed and Victory, her make-over complete, should resume vigil over the city in a couple weeks, her golden torch shining in the sun.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another Textured Tuesday: On Limestone & Vine

I started early enough there was still dew on the plants and flowers.
Even the humble kale looked to be dressed in sequins. Unfortunately,
it just didn't show in the pictures.

This morning, I took my little camera for another long walk, this time along the western section of the Canal Walk from the State Office Building to the  NCAA Headquarters building and into White River State Park along the Riverwalk behind the Indianapolis Zoo.

Yep, here I am at the corner of Limestone & Vine, where the canal turns south
to run along between the Indiana State Museum and the  NCAA Headquarters.

 I made another right turn where the Canal turned towards an expanse of lawn, then fed back into the White River. Beginning with the old Washington Street Bridge, which is now a sculpture park, Riverwalk follows the river behind the Indianapolis Zoo. Walled in with massive blocks of rough-hewn limestone, it reveals numerous small beauties and surprises and is a popular place for joggers and casual walkers.

A self-portrait in shadows and granite.

Looking south beneath the Old Washington Street Bridge at other bridges
which also span the White River on the west side of downtown Indianapolis.

And now we enter the shade and beauty of the River Walk which stretches behind the Indianapolis Zoo. Office workers, athletes and firefighters assigned to a near-by station are among the many people who enjoy the trail.

Yes, there are many "pretty weemin," but
I prefer the sight and scent of the species above. Oooh.
A limestone "rose" hidden among its massive brethren.
The crooked little tree and giant limestone blocks
play off and accent each other, adding to the beauty of each.
The path doesn't end at the Zoo's boundary at White River Drive, but continues along that drive and, depending on the direction you choose, will take you north -- to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and northward beyond the county lines -- or back downtown. Here, I turned around to walk the other side of the Canal, where there are additional treats to be seen, which I will show another time as they deserve their own little show.

Jogger passing under the Promenade
outside the ISM Administrative Offices

And I will end with a picture of a couple of the many turtles I saw in the driftwood caught under the piers of the bridge. They were happily swimming, drifting and basking on logs in the river. Just as the turtles extended their necks to look around them, my little camera strove mightily to help me with these pictures, exhausting itself soon after.