Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Textured Tuesday: Ivy and Lichen

After leaving Old City Hall last week, I stopped outside 
to take pictures of the trees, one of which had ivy
growing up its trunk. I looked a bit more closely and found
new leaves growing at the tip of the vine,
strong and elegant at the same time.

Further down, some of the ivy was brown, 
having died away either from the effects of the cold
weather or maybe even the de-icers 
used on the sidewalks and streets. The tree
was itself bare, dormant for the winter while 
the ivy illustrated the cycles of life within
  a two-foot span on its trunk.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Nowhere to Go But ...

The stairway to success is a long, arduous climb,
but a fall from grace is precipitous, so beware of the 
pitfalls that may lay behind unfamiliar doors.

The smoking lounge at the back of the office
had a secret entrance; those who found 
the way out never returned.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Super Traffic

Just outside the mile square area, the main shopping 
and activity areas of downtown Indianapolis, 
one can find all day parking for the comparatively
 modest fee of $4.00, while the same sum 
will only get you three hours at one 
of the parking garages closer in.

Traffic in the downtown area was congested 
earlier this week, primarily due to detours 
for construction activities for the Super Bowl
venues south of Washington Street between
Capitol and Pennsylvania Streets.

The crowds last night and today at Super Bowl Village
were happy and congenial. People of all ages
came down to participate in the activities
and to see the sights.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Back at the Old City Hall

After a long period hiding behind clouds, the sun finally came 
out this afternoon, bringing more people into downtown
for the official opening of the Super Bowl activities. There was
also a steady stream of visitors to see the TURF exhibition,
twenty-three art installations by Indiana artists, all of them
interesting and well-done.

The people in the above photo were, like just about everyone
who's visited, impressed with the building which is
 playing host for the occasion. They are attempting to take
pictures of the stained glass that tops the rotunda of
the old City Hall's lobby, shown below.

The building, designed by the architectural firm, Rubush & Hunter, 
was completed in 1910 and consolidated all the city services
in one location. It's classical facade is of Indiana limestone
 with the entire structure meant to symbolize the stability 
and achievements of the city. 

Many of the visitors had visited the building before, 
during at least one of the building's earlier incarnations, 
when it was still the City Hall, then the home 
of the Indiana State Museum until 2002, 
and most recently, the temporary home of the 
Marion County Library during its remodeling and 
expansion from 2004 to 2007. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Leanin' Trees

It's the middle of winter, the days are gray and misty.
but at least the temperatures are fairly mild.
Activities surrounding the city's presentation of the 
46th Annual NFL Super Bowl are gathering momentum.
This afternoon, I took part in my first stint as
volunteer for TURF, an exhibition organized by the
Indianapolis Downtown Art Dealers Association
of installations by twenty-three artists.
The exhibition is presented in the Old City Hall, 
the beauty of which is obvious even though
it is suffering from disuse. The artwork is 
excellent, as well.

Though the day was damp and gray, I did see these beautiful trees.
Bending and leaning towards the light, they always provide
graceful accents to surroundings that often seem
mundane or dreary.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Downtown Scenes

Late afternoon downtown, while the sun is 
creating long blue shadows on the buildings,
a UPS delivery man drives away from the 
Federal Court House, and a young man checks
his messages while waiting for a bus.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Night: Waiting for the Bus

When I am downtown during the evening, I catch the bus outside
the Birch E. Bayh Federal Courthouse located on Ohio Street
between Pennsylvania and Meridian Streets. The security lighting
highlights the statues and the details at the front of the building.
The courthouse seems like a gray block during the day, but is
actually beautiful as the photo above shows. Moreover, its interior
is marvelous - full of colored marble, carved limestone, 
mosaic tile, filigreed brass and stained glass. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My City of Slush and Mud

A few days ago, we had a bit of snow on the ground 
which rapidly turned to slush and mud. We've been especially
anxious about the weather here because we'll be hosting 
the Super Bowl in Indianapolis on Sunday, February 5th.
It rained last night, leaving the ground cold and muddy.

Tonight,  over five hundred other people and myself 
took part in our first rehearsal for the half time show.
I could tell you all about it except, as the saying goes,
I'd have to kill you afterwards.
It's going to be cool. I promise. Just watch.

As I told someone earlier tonight, if I were offered an 
all expenses paid trip to Disney World, I'd have
to turn it down for lack of interest --  unless that trip 
was to visit behind the scenes to see how it works.
That's how I feel about this show. 
How's it made? How does it work? I wanna see!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Brick Yard

These bricks lay in a nearby yard, under a grouping of shrubs. 
Don't know why, but they've been there for years. It seems
they were laid with intent but without design.

This morning the snow gave the bricks a dimension 
beyond their merely occupying space - this angle 
reminded me of a cityscape at night, 
perhaps even during foggy or snowy weather.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

EXTRA: Aliens in Speedway!

 At 6PM I looked outside my window
 to see an alien spacecraft just above
the treeline. For the past several days, the 
temperatures have been in the mid-teens, we've had
a bit of snow on top of ice. Today the weather's
been warmer, the snow softening to melt
into slush. The air has not seemed so much like
fog as it has a cold cloud, overhanging the city.

 While the mist and fog are so thick
as to conceal the stanchion
supporting the lights, that does not mean
that aliens are not expected soon in Indy:
the evil New England Patriots have just 
defeated the Baltimore Ravens in 
a close game, 23-20, to establish 
one half of the Super Bowl match-up, 
to be held here on Sunday, February 5th.

Dubuffet in Speedway

I pass by this drive nearly every time I go for a walk. 
One morning I happened to notice the painted lines sealing 
the cracks in the pavement. They reminded me
of  some paintings I'd seen. "Dubuffet," 
I thought, then walked on, irritated because 
my camera's batteries had died.

I went back at a later date then, when I looked up
Jean Dubuffet on-line was surprised to find 
that the artist was, indeed, the one whose paintings
these marks in the drive resembled. Whew! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012


The buildings in the Downtown Indianapolis area 
are a mixture of starkly sleek granite and glass
with the restored fillips of older, more ornate buildings.
Like many cities in the U.S. Indy has suffered through
years of neglect and abandonment, as her people
fled the downtown area for the promise of the 
cement block offices on the outskirts.
Thankfully, that attitude has enjoyed a remarkable shift
as people returned to the city with intents to rebuild,
restore and refurbish many of the beautiful
structures that remain.

Sadly, these houses lie within two miles of the
office buildings shown in the top photo. They speak to a struggle
endured by many of the people who walk every day in
the shadows of the downtown. In the aftermath of 
the mortgage and bank fraud debacles, the people who've lost 
their homes and jobs are the ones who suffer,
while those in the boardrooms write checks,
buy votes and influence legislation that destroys 
the foundation of the nation.

At a time when we need to adapt our educational 
system to the new technology, make good healthcare
available to everyone, feed our children and keep
roofs over their heads, those systems are falling apart
under a systematic cacophony of political posturing
designed to destroy them without replacing 
them with something viable, something better.
Every person in every one of those modest homes
needs to be certain they have a picture ID, are registered to vote,
and shows up at the polls to take America back from
the corporations who've stolen it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

More Ice ...

... And not just from my last trip to the Coke Field. 
The forecast for tonight is for more snow flurries with
ice and snow Friday night. I'd like to take pictures 
in the snowy field at sunrise, with the sun's light reflected 
by the trees. That means I'll probably have to wait
until Sunday as we may have some sun by then.
There's even the possibility that neighborhood trees will 
turn into ice sculptures, their sparkle seducing us into believing
the icy roads are merely the shiny floors of fairy palaces.

For now, though, I guess I'll just have to be happy 
with the brilliance of the sun's light as it's reflected through
and by the ice on the creek.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wiry Build

Carter ate so little that his friends joked 
the sun shown through him.

He hated winters, saying he felt as though 
the cold air blew right into his bread basket
and sent him hurtling across the lot.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pretty Seedy

I love to see echinacea in the summer, 
when the bees are after the flowers' pollen, 
then later, when goldfinches can be seen 
dining on the seeds. Now, their hosting 
job complete, the stalks have blackened and 
stand out against the snowy ground. 

Tall and slender, they seem just as proud
as they looked in their summer dress.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Textured Tuesday: Icy Lace

The other day I walked over to the Coke Field to see
what effect the flowing water might have had on the ice
in the creek, that is, if any ice had formed. 
To date, the winter has been iffy, warmer days alternating with 
aggravatingly cold ones, but that has prevented people 
having to suffer through a long period of 
bone-chilling misery. So far.

There was ice, but a lot of it had melted, the water
having played with the edges, creating beautiful
undulating borders on what remained.

The pictures above and below are different 
views of the same bit of ice. Not only do I love
the uneven scallops on the edges, I like the colors;
though muddy, they seem brilliant and crisp.

A couple days ago, probably the day I took these pictures,
I was kvetching about the lack of pretty, womanly clothes 
for a woman in my age bracket. 
You'd never have known that was anything
I cared about if you'd seen me, leaning over the bridge 
to take my pictures. I was wearing jeans, a lined plaid flannel
 barn jacket, a pink fleece hat and matching gloves. 
In winter, warm trumps girly every time.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thoughts on Commuting

The work day over, I step out into the rain,
joined by others to splash down the drive to meet our bus.
We crowd into its spare warmth where
the smells of fifty or so other damp people
curl and settle in the surrounding air.
I turn inward, gazing out the window
where the raindrops meld into rivulets,
their paths turning the evening light into
Jackson Pollock paintings.

As raucous chatter builds around me
I turn to thoughts of my unwitting muse,
a man who inspires tender pleasures
known only to myself, unshared.
Standing in the middle of the room,
full of people, the muse remains a shadow,
mystery formed from wisps of secrets --
Is he as kind as he is funny and smart?

I recall the outline of his shoulders beneath his shirt
and wonder if his skin is smooth.
Does he have much hair or a little gut?
Sometimes I can feel the heat from his body,
Its warmth luring me in to his smell, inviting
exploration, touch, a banquet of seductions.

As the recorded voice on the bus
calls out street names and stops,
"Golden. Hill. Court. Stop requested."
I hear the muse's calm voice
speaking of poetry, of Fresnel lenses
in lighthouses and Eskimo dogs -
He talks of art and makes me a pornographer.

Again, the bus's voice speaks, the doors open
and we re-enter the rainy night.
Beneath my pink umbrella, 
I smile to myself as I join the silvery mist
and continue home.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Calling His Friends

A few days ago (and it seems like a century) the weather was cold, 
but the sky was clear and sunny. I went out for a walk and 
a cafe mocha, reveling in the sunlight. I saw this crow, 
calling his friends to tell them ... something. I dunno.
Maybe he knew of a nearby field that could be gleaned 
for seeds, or he saw a trash tip behind a restaurant
that could be raided for the discarded fries.

A few feet farther on, this abandoned nest is isolated, 
its inhabitant having flown away to a warmer place
in search of food. Obviously, the berries were not to her
taste, but they will provide nice meals for different birds
 later in winter, when other food is harder to find.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Frosty to Frozen

It's pretty.
It's stark.
It's cold.
My cat is curled against the chilly air,
her tail wrapped over her nose like a shawl.
I've turned inward, imagining spring
and counting the days until the flowers reappear.

This poor pansy, among the more hardy of flowers,
has sacrificed its life to bring a little sun
into a frozen garden.
There are days "global warming"
doesn't seem like such a bad thing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Snowy Walk

The weather forecasters have warned us. We know. 
Based on past experience we know that our winter won't begin 
until a cold breeze passes through to pick up information
it can take back to its cohorts back in Siberia --
"Hey, Indy has some big plans to lay on a 
giant party. Let's go mess with 'em." 
Those big plans generally involve our high school
basketball tournaments, a state-wide happening that
climaxes each year in Indianapolis with the best four
teams meeting to decide the year's champion.
Some years it's the NCAA tournament in March.
This year it's the Super Bowl and, just as 
the city is beginning to set up the tents and exhibits,
the temperatures have dropped thirty degrees
and given us this brush of snow to practice with.

I walked over to the store around noon for some groceries, 
and took these pictures on the way. I like the play of positive and
negative space between the leaves and snowy ground in the
first picture, but wish I'd thought to pick out the dried oak leaf
before I took the picture of the sprig of ivy growing
at the base of the tree, as it interferes with the arc of the vine.
When I returned an hour later, the ivy had already 
succumbed to the weight of the snow. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pretty Clothes

Okay, I like pretty clothes and these are cheap knock-offs 
of some slutty looking styles. But the outfits were well thought out, 
with interesting combinations of patterns and beautiful colors.
These clothes are meant for young women, rather than 
women with careers and families, but even they have more 
options than do "women of a certain age."

Why do designers consign mature women to the back rooms
of their creative efforts? It seems I mostly have a choice between
tailored business clothes, those goddamned multi-patterned
"warm-up suits" with braid and metallic trim or,
worse yet, what look like men's bowling shirts 
in a floral print or some kind of applique stuck on
in the name of "designer sportswear."

I am not looking to dress like some over-the-hill tart
who doesn't want to admit her age, but I do
very much want womanly clothes that are more
attractive and sensual than seems to be available
to women of my means. If I were wealthy, I wouldn't have this
concern because I could go to my favorite designer to
have beautiful dresses made to suit my needs. 
But I'm not and I don't.  

I like silk. I like lace and sometimes I even like 
plaid flannel barn jackets. But I'd really like to find
garments that help me express an adult femininity 
rather than consigning me to a perpetual heap 
of gray-hued pantsuits.