Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wet and Cold

It had rained all night. When I left home for work 
this morning, the misted rain blew against my face. 
Downtown, the buildings were wrapped in shawls of low clouds.
The bus, full of people, crept towards our office. 
We slowly disgorged ourselves to go into the building, 
a small sodden group of people, hating the short journey
to the warmth we wanted. It was cold, but tolerable. 

Within the next few hours, the snows came, 
not in pretty fluff, but mixed into the rain, pushed along
by gusts of wind. What was tolerable this morning
had turned pretty miserable by late afternoon.
Even as we talked and joked among ourselves, my coworkers
and I each turned inward against the cold, thinking 
towards the warmth we'd find at home; 
our own little inner fires burning away 
the cold rain in our faces.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Textured Tuesday: Analogous

It's all there - things that are related - leaves big and small, 
in a related color scheme from red, to orange, to yellow.
Yep, that's it. Analogous.

Ordinarily, I don't think I'd have noticed them, except I'm trying 
to teach myself to "Look where I'm lookin'," to try to find more interesting images. These were just dried leaves blown from the trees,
 against the hedge bordering a neighborhood yard.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Limestone Map

The landscape artists who designed the White River Central Canal Walk 
and River Promenade have created a feast of discovery for
the people who use it. Huge blocks of limestone border the walk behind the Indianapolis Zoo, some engraved and carved by man, in a hurry to leave his mark. Others bear traces of their origin where water and time, taking eons, 
have left their story. Below is a detail of one such block, where water has etched a map resembling the Mississippi River Delta.

It's a map that tells the Earth's origins, of where it's been, 
what it's made from and where it's going.  Touching the rough surface 
of the stone is like touching the journey of time.
Reminding us of our own impermanence, it will remain, 
telling Earth's story long after we have gone. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Crooked Journey

On an unseasonably warm afternoon, the low wooden fence 
zig-zags through the woods, imitating the path of 
the creek as it twists it's way to the river.

It's late autumn and the leaves have fallen from the trees, 
leaving them bare against the leaden sky. 
The wooden shed has been left to the weather as well, 
it's color fading to gray, returning to the color 
of the bare trees it came from.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small Blessings

Ready for his close up is my grandnephew, Knox Freeman, 
one third of a trio known as Lulu and the X-Men. Along
with his brother and sister, Lennex and Tahlulla, Knox entered 
the lives of his parents this past summer, finally bringing them, in one fell swoop, the blessing of the family they had wanted for some while.

All three babies are shown above: Tahlulla looks out at the camera 
from her mom Laura's lap, Lennex rests in the familiar comfort 
of his Grandma Fran's arms, while the ever-hungry Knox 
is fed by his dad, Joseph.

Every Thanksgiving, a large sack of Christmas-themed millinery
appears, from which we each choose a piece of headwear -
everything from elfin caps and fuzzy pimps' hats,  to redneck ball caps 
and reindeer antlers. This year I chose an elegantly sequined
Santa number (I find myself wishing for a Kate Middleton "fascinator," which means I'll probably have to make them myself). We all grouped in front of the fireplace for our picture, set up by Joseph in his jester cap.

The holiday season, it's hee-re! Catch it!

Friday, November 25, 2011


After a week of rain and gloom, the sun finally
broke through late in the afternoon. Although we weren't that far 
outside town, it was a pleasure to look across the fields, 
to see an expanse of space where pale winter light reflected off
the trees and farm buildings in the distance.
At the back of the house, a low wood fence edged 
a creek where the water ran cold into the woods. 

They are endangered scenes, threatened by the 
encroaching city, pushing against my back with words like 
"development" and "suburban living," eating the open land.
Two hundred years ago, the place where I stood was a forest
before it became a farm. Now the open space felt like 
it was an island, with an ocean of concrete and asphalt
swirling around, constituting another "threat to the peace."

Grand niece Savannah watches as her Aunt Fran, on the left,
and Grandma Rita prepare chicken and noodles. 
It was a nice Thanksgiving, spent in the company of 
my brother and his family, a total of eleven adults 
and seven children under age four. Frankly, the table was
much too laden with food; it didn't interest the babies and
was more than the adults could manage. A turkey had been 
sacrificed for the occasion, as had a ham (somewhere 
a three-legged pig was missing one of his hips).
Mr. Turkey shoulda known better when the men 
in white coats came after him with that box
of red pop-up thermometers, one just for him.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hope All the Turkeys Are Good

I went downtown this afternoon to do some errands. On the Circle preparations were under way for the annual Circle of Lights Celebration; 
the lights have been hung on the Monument and crews were 
constructing the stage for tomorrow night's performances. 
Across the street at the Indianapolis Power & Light office, 
the decorations have been installed, including this faux tree, 
which always delights my eyes; there's something about the
variegated sizes of the lights I find extremely interesting.

That office also has a glass window installation that seems especially fitting
during the Christmas season. I like the way its circular forms cut into the  field of  lights. I couldn't get it to work exactly the way I wanted so
I guess I'll need "one more last chance" to get it right ...

Back to Eric Clapton's little gathering of friends 
at the 2010 Crossraods Guitar Festival.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ain't No Sunshine

It rained Monday on my way to work, it rained all day yesterday, 
and it was dreary as hell all day today. The phone system was down, 
hence my internet connection was inoperable, but at least I could listen
 and watch my DVD of the 2010 Crossroads  Guitar Festival. 
That brightened the day considerably.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Textured Tuesday: Smooth and Scratchy

Actually, I saw this picture last week at night, when the lights 
shining from within the sleek Chase Tower formed a rhythmic pattern
that contrasted with the more ornate limestone exterior of
the Federal Court House Building. Those pictures didn't work; sadly,
I couldn't hold my camera steady long enough to get the image I wanted.

The misty overcast this afternoon helped the Tower
step into the background, allowing for a nice balance
between the two buildings.

Monday, November 21, 2011


When I'm taking pictures I always see in terms of paintings 
I might want to make. Big ass paintings. Oh, not so long 
that I have to run with a brush from one end to the other, but enough that whoever looks at them can feel involved in the gesture the trunk 
makes against the background, and the way the leaves shimmer.

When I take a picture, I don't want anyone to see "tree," 
"building" or "rocks," but just beautiful color and gesture.
At this point, the trees do a better job of that
than I will ever be able to accomplish.

I gotta long way to go.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Another Gray Weekend

Although I'm resigned to the reality of winter's coming,
I try to remember that each season has its own colors
and to look forward to the season's muted tones.

Here, on a gray November day, the last of fall's
golden leaves illuminate the afternoon.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Back to Church

Last night was my second visit to the Indiana Landmarks Center.
I went to hear a presentation by the architect and engineer responsible 
for the restoration of Victory, the statue atop the Indianapolis
Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. I was surprised to find that the
talk was also an AIA continuing education program.

I took a seat below the rotunda just so I could take the picture above.
The top picture was taken during the day and shows the ceiling's white
paint with gold trim. When it was restored, lighting was installed
to allow for changes according to the kind of event or 
wishes of the client. Last night, it was pink and gold although
I'd also seen blue and green. The painted decoration is a neutral scheme
which seems to adapt well to whichever lighting is selected.

This is the main entrance to the ILC's Cook Grand Theater, 
made up of three doors, the one shown being the largest.

Painstaking attention was paid to the entire building, 
with a lot of effort going into the restoration of the 
pipe organ, built in 1892 by Thomas Prentiss Sanborn.

The main sanctuary of the former Central Avenue Methodist Church
has been rechristened as the Cook Grand Theater and is available
for meetings, concerts and weddings. (Anybody up for a pink and gold
wedding with a beautiful pipe organ to provide the music?)

Sadly, not many pictures I took last night of the speakers 
were any good, but here is Tory Emery, the project
engineer in charge of Victory's restoration. She is employed by
Arsee Engineers, Incorporated of Fishers Indiana, which has 
long experience in the preservation of historic buildings.

Anybody got a statue they want shifted for repairs?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Turning on A Light

I went to a lecture earlier this evening at the 
Indiana Landmarks Center. I arrived in the dark and left a
bit more enlightened. Like these pictures, however, my newly 
acquired information is a bit fuzzy and somewhat shaky.

This photo was taken looking southwest from 
Fort Wayne Avenue towards the downtown area.
Somehow, the cold, crisp air makes the lights 
in the buildings look all twinkly and innocent, 
while the offices within are primarily the lairs 
of bankers, investment firms and lawyers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Totally Brutal

The pictures above and below are of the Minton-Capehart Federal Building 
in downtown Indianapolis. Named after two members of the United States Senate, Sherman Minton (D) and Homer Capehart(R), the building was constructed in 1974, in the Brutalist style. The style got its name from the French for "raw concrete," beton brut, an accurate description for both the building's material and it's appearance. 

Among older structures in the surrounding area,
the building appears to be a fortress. This may be appropriate
in that it houses offices for the Social Security Administration, 
the Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation, among others. The building is easy to navigate; 
its layout is almost intuitive and offices are easy to find.
However, given all the concrete and narrow windows, 
it is claustrophobic to work there as the 
only windows are on the outer perimeter.
(Guess which workers have the best offices?)

When the huge, yellow ochre inverted ziggaurat was dedicated, 
people were outspoken about the stark expanse of the baby-doo
colored exterior. In response, world-renowned graphic designer
Milton Glaser was commissioned to design a mural that
spans the 600-foot wall at the main entrance. This was in 1974, 
just as Glaser was beginning his stellar career.

It may also be ironic that the "big business of bureaucracy" 
is housed in a building the style of which was initially associated 
with a philosophy of socialist urban ideology.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mauve Asphalt

One evening this fall, just after a storm, I went outside to take pictures 
of a lovely sunset. I turned back towards home and noticed the drive 
was reflecting the purples and pinks of the clouds above.
That day, if anyone had asked me what color the pavement was
I'm sure I'd have said "mauve."  It certainly wasn't black.

Back at the creek, a few brightly hued leaves turned into 
jewels against the muddy taupe-colored rocks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Textured Tuesday: Scraped Asphalt

Sometimes I think anyone who saw me angling for a picture 
would think I was stalking shadows. In effect, I am. 
Prowling around the patch of scrapes in the parking lot next door 
or standing under a tree gazing through the leaves, 
I'm looking for the shape or bit of light 
that caught my eye in the first place. 

My cat chases leaves. I chase scratches in the pavement.
Sometimey it works, sometimey it don't.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Curtain of Gold on a Gloomy Day

A neighbor asked me last week what my blog is about. That question gave me pause because I hadn't thought it was about anything other than the little things that catch my eye as I'm out on my walks. Or maybe it's my insistence on (most) things being attractive, even beautiful. 

The world is often too damn sordid much more frequently than it should be (witness the disgusting revelations emanating from Happy effing Valley this past week). It would be easy to bitch and moan. I don't care to. Neither do I care to have my comments box filled with the same sort of poisonous, narrow-minded vitriol I read in my newspaper every damn day of the week.

I do not ignore the evil, nor do I want anyone else to do so. I want people to speak up when they see or know of evil. I want them to protect children from disgusting bastards who would harm them, who pervert the world with their insidious behavior as they hide behind positions of power and/or respectability.

I want children to be able to grow up to see beauty in small things, to enjoy lives filled with color, instead of the darkness of greed and evil.      

I wanted my little blog to show a curtain of gold lit by the sun, a feathery wand of leaves left on the sidewalk by Mother Nature, and the undulating leaves of hosta as they succumb to winter. 

However, the bastards who would destroy all that live among us, like "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers," and if we fall asleep they take over and we become them. The Devil smiles, he often wears a nice clothes. We need to be vigilant or the beauty of life is lost.

Have a nice day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mr. Pollock* Lives Here

Late this afternoon I walked over to the store and saw these 
pollocked pollarded trees. Their bold black limbs pressed 
against the sky, contrasting with the few wisps of 
remaining daylight and clouds.

On the soccer field a young boy, his father 
and big sister, were using the time they had left
to fly their kites, proud to be able to get them airborne
and to keep them dancing on the evening breeze.

The bare limbs and branches of the pollocked pollarded trees 
in the top picture remind me somewhat of the thick 
and thin lines in some of Jackson Pollock's paintings.

* The correct word is "pollard," dammit, which
 I learned earlier this summer. I just guess my 
mind wants it to be "pollock."  

The "artiste" below reminds me to never become 
so confident that I lose sight of my true abilities.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Welcome to the Broke Elastic Storage Company

When I wondered why so many garages look like this, 
a friend told me that what passes for an attic in most contemporary 
homes is very difficult to get into, involving a flimsy collapsible ladder 
leading to what is not much more than a hole in the ceiling.
So ... a house having over 1,600 square feet of living space has inadequate storage space? My grandma didn't have enough room for her clothes
so she bought wardrobes for the overflow. Don't they make 
those anymore? But the kickboxing practice dummy? I dunno.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Around the Neighborhood

After voting on Tuesday, I walked into the neighborhood to explore an area different to me, one where I don't recall having visited in the past. Technically, I don't think this street is a part of the Town of Speedway, 
being on the north side of  30th Street.

It was a pleasant day and a lot of people were out, 
mowing or raking their lawns, repairing their fences, 
using the leaf-blower to encourage the now brown detritus 
from the trees to navigate into paper bags. ... 
 Lots of large paper bags.

Mr. McCauley, seen here and in the top photo, was trying 
to repair the zipper on his lawn mower's leaf bag. When I'd first seen him I'd thought he was sitting in the sun, working on a needlepoint project.
I dunno, I guess it was the large piece of canvas in his lap
that made me think that.

About a half mile further along (and back in Speedway) 
I saw this home for sale. The information says that it has three bedrooms, two baths, a fenced in back yard with a hot tub. You get 1,623 square feet
of space with large front and back yards for just under $125,000.
An informal check of the prices in the area (obtained from sales flyers)
seems to indicate homes in this neighborhood sell for 
anywhere in the high $90's to $150,000.

The houses above are located about half a block from where I live. 
They were all built in the late 50's to early 60's. When the development was laid out, prospective buyers would meet with the builder to determine
the layout of their home; such things as what side of the house they wanted their main entrance and living room to be on, what the outside surface 
of the house would be - red brick, tan brick, limestone 
or a combination of the two. Some homes are split level, some have attached garages while others do not. 

Over the years, it's been interesting to see how the homes 
have evolved according to the personalities and changing needs of the homeowners. A lot of the homes have the same owners 
as when they were constructed  

The above home has also retained a lot of its initial look, 
with the possible addition of a two-car garage

The houses above and below reflect what seems to have been 
the basic footprint of most in the area, without the additions and personal touches shown by the other homes. The owner of the above home only 
uses the house during the race season, which gives it its lonely air.