Friday, December 25, 2015

Wishing You All the Best Lights of the Holidays

Dancing in the corner of my eye, 
the lights on the Christmas tree in the IPALCO
headquarters always delights.
There is an installation of etched and cut
glass that catches the brilliant colors,
breaking breaking the dots into even more bits,
holding them in abstract shapes that makes
me think Pointillism has met Futurism.

Since the day after Thanksgiving
holiday lights have illuminated the Circle.
The downtown area has been crowded with people,
all of then caught up in the twinkling charm
of the lights, suspended like bubbles of
champagne in the night air.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Splash 'n' Go-Go-Go

For over a month, production crews worked
at the IU Natatorium to prepare the pool for telecast of
People who come to swim at the Nat on a regular
basis were impressed by the "makeover."
Used to the somewhat stark functionality of the pool and
it's fluorescent and LED lighting, it was wonderful
to see it transformed by blue and sparkly lights.

The main competition pool, actually 50 meters
in length, is transformed during the winter
months by bulkheads to create two 25-meter pools. 
What I found intriguing was that crew members
had constructed stadium seating on/over 
the north end pool using portable dock elements
for the base. I wondered how the water displacement 
had been calculated: the section shown in the top picture
from the first railing on back is essentially an island
with seats for, I believe, 560 spectators.
The place was sold out. 

The pictures above and below were taken of 
the first event of the Thursday evening session, 
the Women's 400M Individual Medley.
Each young woman swam 100 meters each 
of four different strokes, opening with butterfly,
then backstroke and breaststroke, ending with freestyle. 
Points were awarded based on each competitor's 
result, with the winning team determined 
by which had the most points.

Swimming meets are loud, boisterous events.
Encouraged and abetted by booming, energetic music,
this one was no exception. People cheered 
on their favorites and were even more heartened
by close competition, such as that in the
Women's 400 Meter Medley Relay.

I always leave meets excited and determined
to improve my own swimming. I'm certain 
that the many children who attended
with their parents and coaches felt the same way.
They watched and hoped, knowing that with hard work
they may one day be able to swim in similar
water, to bring home medals of their own.
I'm affected, too, wanting to take
my own swimming to a better level.
However, no matter how hard I may work,
my own best efforts will always take about twice
the time these athletes achieve.
It must be the purple suits. I want one.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Seasonal Kaleidescope

On my way to Saturday morning swim practice,
I had time to talka walk around Monument Circle to see
the Christmas decorations. My favorite lights
are on the Christmas "tree" in the Indianapolis Power & Light
lobby. The lights are multiple sizes, creating a visual
treat that does not become boring to look at.
There is a cut glass window installation that comes
alive only during this holiday season, reflecting the colored
lights in its star-like shapes.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

First Frost

Well, at least the first morning frost for which
 I was up before sunrise.
The icy edging decorated these leaves
lying in the gutter just outside 
my workplace.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Theme Day: Shop Windows - Why Stop at One?

When this particular Theme day appeared, 
the first shop I thought of was The Flying Cupcake.
I headed there to buy a couple of their treats
and then realized I was standing in the midst of
an entire block of shops, bars, and
restaurants that deserve attention.
From the inside of TFC, one can look outside
to see other sources for gifts and goodies
right across the street.

One of the most popular is Three Dog Bakery
that makes treats for the fur people
with whom we share our homes and lives.

Today's special was tempting,
even to me. Snickerdoodles are my
favorite cookie treat.

Back across the street, there is the Small Mall,
a narrow storefront that offers holiday and seasonal decor
in its entry way, tempting shoppers to explore what
turns out to be three floors of vintage furniture,
contemporary crafts and artwork. 

There are also offerings of mid-century
pieces for the home, as well as numerous items
to entertain the diverse tastes of one's 
families and friends.
(I found hand-knitted caps and mittens
that are both unique and cozy.)

Last but not least, I stopped in at
Mass Avenue Toys. They have stuff for the
smaller folks in our lives, more unique
and less commercial than the usual items purveyed
by the bigger stores. One can find gifts
that aren't too expensive, on up to what
seems to me to be rather pricey.
I like it there because they have toys to
encourage a child's intellect and creativity.
It's where I'll go to find some little 
things for my grandnieces and nephews
this Christmas.

To see how other members of 
the City Daily Photo community
have interpreted the theme, just click on 
the above link, or on the CDP badge 
to the right of this post.

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.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Big and Little

Hosta grow in the shade of fir trees 
on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
As the hosta turn yellow and translucent 
in the autumn light, they support a fallen sprig
one that had earlier given them shade
from the summer heat.

Friday, November 6, 2015


Workers are painstakingly restoring/renovating/repairing 
the exteriors of the pillars of the old 
Indiana National Bank building. I think the
current bank tenant is Planters, but the names have
changed so much over the years, I lose track.
Anyway ... the pillars used to be sheathed in white
marble, sheets of which have, over the years,
 loosened and fallen off. There are sheets that have
been strapped into place and, boy, are they ugly:
not only are the straps unsightly, but the grain
of the sheets are at right angles to the vertical pattern
of the other sheets of marble. I wince
every time I look at them.
So now, the entire surface is being redone.
The many layers of waterproofing and added
structure for hanging the new "marble"
sheathing can be seen in the photos.
I hope the changes stick.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Trees Know

So far this fall, our weather has been milder
 than in recent years. That is such a blessing. 
Last winter was prolonged and miserable,
with temperatures plummeting in early autumn 
and not rising until late spring.
Even so, the trees know it's time for 
their torpor; leaves are falling like rain. 
These ginkos have created a golden carpet 
at the entrance to the Massachusetts Avenue 
shopping area, just off downtown Indy.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Missed It. Dammit.

All month, I'd been stalking my neighbors' front yard, 
eager to see what they might install as 
their Halloween yard decor.
All month I was disappointed because no magic
transformations had appeared. 
Well, a new deck had been added to the back 
of the house, so I figured their attentions
had been applied there instead.
This morning I left to walk to the store to find 
that this scene had been created.
I wish I could have seen it last night, 
lit in all its macabre glory.

In addition to the skeleton driving the old car,
there is a skeleton cat on the window, 
a giant-ass spider perched on the corner of the porch, 
and, just possibly, a yucky effigy of our
state's narrow-minded governor being squished 
under the car. Bwa-ha-ha-hah!

On the other side of the front yard, they had parked 
one of their cars. Since it is just the right
shade of "Exorcist" green, it fit the theme.
I wondered what role it played Halloween night
and was sorry I missed whatever
drama it had been assigned. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Theme Day: Ephemeral

My entry into this month's theme day
is just about as fleeting as the diamonds
that appeared on the fall leaves.
The colors on the trees this autumn
have been more bright and beautiful than
in the recent past, making them
another treasure to be hoarded in the mind
for future enjoyment, as color
to be remembered through the coming
gray of winter.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Almost Ready

Since March, the Natatorium at IUPUI has been undergoing 
the first phase of its renovation.
For a long while, water was kept in the pool to prevent
possible damage from falling tools.
The lane lines were loosened, floating on the water 
all summer. Recently they were removed,
the pool was emptied, repaired as needed, then
cleaned and polished. The diving platforms
were shrouded in plastic like a Cristo installation,
then they, too, were resurfaced, making ready
for the next practice of aspiring divers.

For months, I've stood like a child in front
of a candy store window, watching the tile setters
at their trade. Now the workmen are cleaning 
up the dust of their work, the pool has been refilled 
and will, once again, be cleaned for swimmers,
who will return for their practice sessions
in about two weeks. I can hardly wait.