Monday, December 31, 2012

Art in Speedway: Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly died earlier this year, a fact which makes me sad 
because I'd intended to write him, to tell him how much I enjoy 
his scratchy drawings and his big, splotchy paintings.
His work makes me smile to see how the marks exist on
the page, apparently just for their own sake, defining the space
in which they live, supporting each other.
In spite of their titles, they don't portray things so much 
as they are just themselves, dancing across the page. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Finding no room at the Speedway Inn, Joseph, Mary 
and their Baby were found, huddled in thin flannel blankets, 
frozen from exposure. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cold Blue

The field of snow, bare trees and gray clouds 
at the Coke Field was relieved only 
by the patch of blue sky reflected in the creek.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Detritis 'n' Excessius

Christmas is in the past. The tattered gift wrap 
brought curbside for pick-up by the trash collectors 
lies, wilted and bedraggled, on the 
tatty gray remains of yesterday's snow.

What looked pretty and inviting as it lay beneath 
the Christmas trees now seems like tawdry shards 
of our brief excursions
into commercialized generosity. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Silver and Snow

We got a blizzard in our area this morning, 
about 8 to 10 inches of snow started falling before dawn.
This pales in comparison to the big snow storm our area 
experienced in 1978, with temperatures below zero 
and winds whipping drifts of snow through the abandoned streets. 
The city was virtually deserted, 
with everyone hunkered down inside their homes.
Today's snowfall is minor by comparison.
The overcast today flattened out the scenery.
I am hoping for clear skies tomorrow morning,
when pretty pictures may be made.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Would somebody please nestle the children?

Two five-year-old relatives, Audrey (T) and Savannah (B) nestled 
in front of the TV to watch an animated movie, "Brave." 
And watch it, they did, lying quietly throughout, dressed in 
the appropriate princess gowns.
Christmas day, my brother, sister-in-law, and I gathered at
their nephew's home to celebrate the day. In all, there were three
sets of parents, eight children five and under, and one big,
friendly dog named Jackson, with two cats
trotting in and out as they dared.
My nephew Joseph's triplets are pretty much non-verbal
as of yet, though they do communicate some 
with sign language. Their mom lined up their chairs
for meal time, where they were joined by their
11-month-old cousin Maggie, whose little
head can be seen lower right.

After the movie was done, all the mayhem associated with unbridled
avarice broke out as presents were distributed. A sea of little 
people milled about, eventually evolving into a procession with toy
cars and push carts trotting through the house in a big circle,
a never-ending race fueled by excitement, sugar, and followed
by one large dog, lap after lap after lap. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve was overcast and, when I went downtown 
to take care of last minute errands, the city seemed just as gray. 
Only a few people were around and, without the usual hustle, 
the buildings looked abandoned, which they were. 
The bustle of last minute shopping had taken itself to the outskirts 
of the city, where the traffic stood in line 
at the intersections and people stood in line at the stores.
I made my way through the traffic, avoided most of the congestion
in the stores, and came home to wrap my presents and 
to talk with friends and family before I watched "A Christmas Story"
on TV. As always, I laughed at scenes as though I'd never
seen the movie before, as I'm certain I'll laugh when 
I see the movie next year. The critics didn't like it
when it first came out, but the people have spoken.
It's a classic.

Monday, December 24, 2012

All I Want for Solstice

Winter came in with the solstice, right on schedule, 
bringing cold rain, hail, gusty winds and snow flurries. 
It then warmed up and gave us sunny, blue skies.
Apparently, this is just a respite, as we are to get snow
for Christmas. A white Christmas. Ugh!
It will be pretty for about fifteen minutes, then will
turn to dirty slush and ochre-colored ice.
To top it off, I hate being cold and count the lengthening
days as just another chore to get through
until spring returns, bringing green grass and flowers. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Presents for the Kids, Part 2

I finished shopping for the kids today, so I now have a present 
each for eight children aged 5 and under. It's easy when they're so young,
but I still try to find them to suit the child. What is difficult is
finding age-appropriate stuff that hasn't been commercialized into
plastic banality, creating only plastic, banal adults.
Two of them are now old enough for beautifully illustrated
picture books. Hopefully, they will be captured by the color and line
of the drawings, entering into the world of the written word,
guided by art and design.

These pictures are of the animated window displays from the old 
L.S. Ayres & Company Department store, which was located
at the corner of Washington and Meridian Streets from 1905 until
it was closed in 1990. Along with this display, furniture and decor 
from the Ayres' Tea Room was kept and re-created 
in the Indiana State Museum. During the Christmas season,
one can enjoy the store's displays, Christmas train and
the Tea Room's famous Chicken Velvet Soup.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Presents for the Kids

After shopping for Christmas presents at Mass Ave Toys,
 I stopped in at the Starbucks across the street from the store for
some hot coffee, well,  really, for one of my favorite foo-foo coffee drinks,
The place was busy with customers, shoppers and residents from
the surrounding neighborhood.

The place was warm and dark, one of the numerous businesses 
that inhabit the restored storefronts in the area. I think the neighborhood's 
success is due in great part to the fact that the brick, mortar and wood
are to human scale, where people don't feel as anonymous as they
might in the bigger, slick constructions just a few blocks away.

I liked the light fixtures in the coffee shop, with their light cord 
wound on old wooden pulleys.

Yesterday's rainstorm brought a cold front, accompanied 
by the season's first snowfall. People and their cars all trod carefully
on the frozen walks and streets, many finding shelter in the numerous
restaurants and pubs in the neighborhood. The Old Point Tavern,
at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Alabama Street,
is a standby, the second-oldest pub in Indy.
The line of red lights at the left mark Mass Ave Toys, 
while sculptor Julian Opie's electronic dancing woman 
marks the corner.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I Wanted to Look Pretty ...

I knew Thursday might be the last day to work on my little assignment, 
so wanted to present a nice appearance for particular people. 
I wore a new pair of trousers I'd just hemmed, made of 
a tiny houndstooth check material. I wore a nice lace top 
that contrasted well with the weave and a black tunic cardigan. 
It looked pretty decent together.
My hair looked sleek and shiny and behaved 
well this morning, too.

It was raining lightly when I left the house, but the temperature was decent.
I caught the bus from home just as the downpour hit. Snug and warm
on the bus, I wasn't too concerned; I had another bus to catch but that hadn't 
presented much of a hassle in the past. Did I tell you it was raining?
I crossed the street to wait for the second bus. Commuters drove past where
I was standing, throwing up five foot walls of rainwater that was
pooled near the curb. Great splotches of water (re)rained upon my
(formerly) shiny head, sprayed like a fusillade of bullets across my raincoat,
and dotted my new trousers with giant wet spots, not once, not twice,
but four times. I was torn between using my umbrella against
the falling rain, or as a shield against the onslaught from the street.
Neither effort was effective. I couldn't get away from it.

The fourth assault by passing cars resulted
in street soil-tainted water being splashed on my chest and
running down between my breasts, into the lacy bra that was
underneath my pretty lace top. The bus turned the corner and stopped 
to pick me up just as I began to cry from frustration.
I had wanted to look pretty.
When I left home I was Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, and
Ellen Barkin. By the time I got to work I was just
another sodden, bedraggled, overweight woman who wanted
to earn a few bucks for Christmas money.
Merry Christmas, everybody. Merry Christmas, Joe.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cloud Coral Sandwich

Sunday, my walk to the Coke Field had been a gift of blue skies, 
scudding clouds and moderate temperatures. As the
day progressed, cloud cover formed, bringing showers.
I was sitting at my computer when I happened to see the sky had
turned coral, casting its light on everything.
These pictures were taken at about a quarter to seven, 
as the sun sank away behind the treeline, 
somewhere in Hendricks County.
The lavender hills in the background are 
actually clouds, one bit of the cloud sandwich
that held a slash of blue sky between.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


As I waited for the morning bus that would take me to work,
I watched the lights moving through the dawn traffic,
both leading and creating a trail as they passed,
carrying people on their way to office buildings down town. 
I considered the reason I show up for assignments;
other than the extra bit of money in my pocketbook, 
there is only one.

In a room full of people, seemingly cut from
gray cardboard, his smile brings me to life.
He makes his own little sun in a room of shadows.
I count my day a success just to catch a glimpse
of him. Quiet and kind, he does not know
he makes me bloom and is my muse.
He is a little light in the morning traffic,
helping me to find words he will likely never read,
in books both written and unwritten,
to make paintings finding their way to the end of my
brush, guided by the maps in my sketchbooks.
I do it for myself, but it is my gift to him.

I am a shadow of gray cardboard,
full of color inside.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Textured Tuesday: Slashed and Gnarled

I've walked by this tree hundreds of times, 
but I never took notice of the cuts in its trunk 
until a couple days ago. After I'd taken a couple pictures of it, 
I questioned myself about why I'd just then paid any 
attention to the saw marks. Was it the way the sunlight 
fell on the tree, accentuating the grid cut into its gnarly base?
Some years back, the parks department installed 
a paved jogging path around the perimeter of our 
neighborhood park. The root of the tree must have interfered
with man's plan for the asphalt path, so the lines were cut
to inhibit its growth. Maybe. I'm just speculating.
The tree is doing just fine, though.
Man's plan -- thwarted.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A December Gift

I fully expected to find the Coke Field a mass of gray branches 
sticking out above lifeless grass. Of course, it wasn't; denuded of their
leaves, the trees and stems revealed their taupe, mauve and
maroon winter wardrobes. Sneaky bits of green grass remain,
as well as moss, and the day's blue sky shown in the creek.

During my walk, I met a man walking his dogs. 
He remarked on the beautiful day we'd been given, 
a gift in the middle of December. As I watched, the clouds
raced across the blue sky, and the sunlight danced 
a tango on the trees and field, and I had to agree.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Workday Scenes

A cloudy morning greeted me this past week when I left for work. 
Downtown, the lights in the buildings and on the streets provided 
whatever twinkle and flash was to be had, lending the only
color to the otherwise drab granite and limestone covered buildings.

The bus stop outside my workplace is near a Hispanic-owned auto 
repair business. Above, the proverbial "junk yard dog," 
who provides security. Accompanied by his mate, a black female 
pit bull who recently had puppies, the two are effective 
deterrents to would-be thieves.

When working during the winter, we generally stay inside all day. 
If lucky, we will be provided the gift of sunlight during 
our journeys home. This bit of glorious purple and orange 
led me home about a week ago, and was gone 
by the time I stepped into my front door.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Pay Check for Somebody

All over the city, new sidewalks, drainage systems, and curbing is being installed.
In Speedway, the narrow side streets have each, in their turn, been torn up
so that new sewage lines can be put in place.

Outside the entry to my workplace, a new retention pond has been
created, lined with rip-rap, to help alleviate flooding 
in the neighborhood. New sidewalks have also been poured,
which will be greatly appreciated by the disabled folk who live nearby.

While all of this has been needed, and some may have been 
long-planned, I think the scale of the operation, taking in a great part 
of metro Indy, is due to the Economic Stimulus Act; our virulently
Republican government condemns the operation, but is avidly
using the monies received to do the much-needed work.
While I have no proof that this is so, the amount of work being done
for the past 4 years seems unprecedented.

Friday, December 14, 2012


While waiting for the bus the other morning, I was looking around
for something, something to take a picture of,
when I noticed the shrubbery at the corner had been removed.
Their absence revealed a cement base, perhaps for a security light.
With rocks in its water-filled center, it looked, however,
like an outdoor swimming pool for faeries had been revealed
to the passing traffic. Or a small drinking pool for birds.

While I took my pictures, I set my tote against the signpost, 
with my ever-present coffee mug keeping it company on the sidewalk.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's a Beautiful Morning

As I left for work Wednesday morning, the day was dawning clear. 
The horizon to the east was just beginning to show pink as
the sun rose from behind the treeline. One bright star glittered
against the remains of an inky sky. I even started to sing --

"It's a beautiful morning,
I think I'll go outside for a while ..."

But it was cold. Frost covered just about everything.
A few weeks ago, roses bloomed, one last gasp of color before
a shiver of winter air flung their petals to the ground,
one kind of beauty replacing the other.

P.S.: This is mostly bull shit,
I'm already tired of the cold and
want spring to return. Now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Visitors to the Indiana State Museum are greeted by this tall sculpture, 
INDIANAits letters standing on one anothers' shoulders.
I imagine it wrapped in a big trench coat, running about the country 
pretending its a bigger more powerful state.

 The drive outside the main entry has this low-key installation 
at its center. The buildings in the background are hotels 
and parking garages. The winter brown brush is a wildflower garden.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Textured Tuesday: Black with Blue

Someone must have driven over the newly coated lot, 
picking up the fresh sealer as they went. Whatever, it created
the opportunity for the blue stripe to take on added character
creating the illusion of depth as it weaves itself from front to back
of the gray and black patches.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter Blue

The warmer seasons have faded away, leaving only traces 
of their color and flair. The browns above have
hints of their complementary blues, saving them from
drab boredom. The wilted blooms below
look as though they've been out all night, only to
be caught off guard by the colder temperatures.
Can you say, "Rode hard and put away wet?"

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Acne Laughs ...

Ha-ha-ha! Ho-ho-ho!
Downtown Indy was busy this morning.
I first went to the Indiana State Museum which was bustling
with families milling about with kids of various ages.
There was a choir singing Christmas songs, with dutiful
moms and dads in attendance to see their beloved spawn 
sing all the standards at about three-quarters the intended speed.
I finished my shopping there, then went to Circle Centre Mall,
which was also packed with people in various stages
of holiday shopping duress - two weeks out, so still too early
for outright desperation. The dominant group
this weekend was the overwhelming number of teen-age
girls running about, their long, coltish legs sticking
out below little cheer-leading outfits, and their
hair as be-ribboned as any Russian gymnast's.

Apparently, there was a competition being held at the adjacent 
Indiana Convention Center and the girls were biding their time between 
events by wandering the stores with their parents.
Oh, yeah, "acne laughs at soap and water."

Saturday, December 8, 2012


At various times during the year, I stand at the corner of Indiana Avenue 
and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to catch a bus.
Located on the northwest corner of downtown Indianapolis,
these buildings are two of the few remaining traces of what had once
been a vibrant African-American community.

Madame C.J. Walker was the country's first African-American millionaire.
Her skills as an entrepreneur made a success of her hair care productswhich are 
still sold today. She incorporated her business in 1911 in Indianapolis 
as Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, producing 
a line of beauty and hair products for black women.
A life-long philanthropist, Madame Walker supported the NAACP
as well as the historically black colleges. She began the development of
the Walker Theatre and Building before her death in 1919. The project was
completed by her daughter and became a center of pride for the 
African-American community from the 1920s through the 1950s.
Along with the decline of the surrounding neighborhood, 
the building faded from neglect, becoming nearly derelict 
until its restoration in the late 1980s.

I've ended up by taking photos of the sign atop the building 
in various seasons and weather. The photo above 
was taken a couple days ago, while the top picture
was taken in April, eight months ago to the day.

I haven't been able to locate any details about this beautiful 
little building. When I moved to Indy in 1978, I knew 
the building as Arlene's Records. It's brick exterior was painted white,
surrounding structures were unsalvageable and were demolished.
This building has been restored in recent years and
enlarged to accommodate apartments and office space.
It's always been just about my favorite structure.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sorta Straight and Very Crooked

Okay, so I'm just waiting for the bus to work, standing near the corner 
of  Indiana Avenue and Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.
The day has brought the city a beautiful sunrise, but I can't really 
see it where I'm standing. I'm looking around for something that might
make a decent picture. I look up to the the telephone lines,
running more or less straight, contrasted with the tree branches,
growing towards the light. There it is, my picture. 
I just wish more of the red in the berries could be seen.

Traffic is headed into town at about a quarter of eight,
making an angled turn south from MLK Drive onto West Street.
The tall building in the center is "Big Blue," the JW Marriott
Hotel that opened almost a year ago. The building
is covered in blue glass that catches and reflects the sky
in such a way as to always make the building interesting
to look at, as though it were a painting.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


In 2009, the IUPUI Student Center was opened, 
establishing a place for student activities outside of the classrooms.
The school was originally started as a commuter college, 
but has grown and evolved into a large,
university campus 

The top photo shows the bell tower, located on the southeast corner 
of the building, while the photo above is of the main entry,
looking north towards the bookstore and coffee shop.