Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sacred sightings

I came across this photo a few weeks ago and filed it away thinking it would make an interesting subject for Mellow Yellow Monday.

A woman in South Wales was surprised one day when she opened a jar of Marmite and found an image of Jesus in the lid. I suppose the vision is in the imagination of the beholder. I think it looks more like Ted Nugent, but to each their own.

Anyway, it nudged me into an Internet search for Sacred Sightings and it seems if you can find a holy image you can make yourself some extra cash. And in these tough times, a little entrepreneurship can go a long way.

Here are a few other discoveries that paid off.

A man in Australia over heated some lemon mustard cream sauce and stirred up the face of Jesus in his fry pan. He sold it for $80.

A woman in Toledo, OH, scorched a pierogi creating a doughy face of Jesus and it sold for $1800 on E-Bay.

Yet another lucky woman in Florida saw the face of the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese and she quickly sold in on E-Bay to an online casino for a whopping $28,000. (That’s not a typo.)

If you haven’t had the good fortune to come upon your own miracle, there is a way to create a righteous bank account. Available online you can purchase a stencil kit which includes the tools and directions for you to imprint a holy image on the item of your choosing.

The tortilla seems to be a popular choice. For fun or profit. (No prophet joke intended.)


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sparkly cat

Add Glitter to your Photos

If you've read my masthead, you know that I am a self professed luddite. On occasion, though, the technology bug bites and I lose all track of time playing with a new gadget or widget.

My current distraction is Blingee. I am having way too much fun adding sparkly crap to photos. Warning: If you have a picture of yourself posted somewhere, you could be next!

This is my cat, Lola. Once a dignified feline, she is now the "Queen of Glitter and Gunk".


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

High tide

Everyone of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job…And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another – that is surely the basic instinct…Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.

--Barbara Kingsolver, from High Tide in Tucson

I recently came across this quote from Barbara Kingsolver. It reminded me how much I love her writing. Whether it’s one of her perceptive essays or her beguiling novels, it’s easy to get lost in her words.

It’s officially summer, the unofficial season of reading. Grab a book. Tickle your mind. Nourish your soul. Savor the written word.

What’s on your reading list?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer in the city

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck gettin' dirt-'n'-gritty
Bend down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city
All around people lookin' half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match-head
-- Summer in the City

This sculpture caught my eye today as I was driving about. I spotted the zaftig woman in The Loop, a popular area in University City. She was relaxing quite comfortably in her birthday suit in front of Meshuggah Coffee House.

She must have been sitting there for a while because no one seemed as intrigued by her as I was. Maybe it was because she just looked appropriate -- today the heat index was 110 and taking your clothes off sounded like a fine idea.

There was a sign nearby that told her presence was part of the U City outdoor sculpture series. I bow in gratitude to this community because they are big supporters of public art.

No, I don’t know what happened to her foot. I’m not sure if it’s part of the artist’s statement, or a rotten act of vandalism. But I think it adds to her offbeat charm.

Hmmm,she needs a name. Any suggestions?


Monday, June 22, 2009

My mojo is not working

Does anyone remember the popularity of the theory of biorhythms?

All the rage in the 80s, this theory claims that one’s life is affected by rhythmic biological cycles. There are believed to be three processes governing human behavior through a predictable period of time. Each “rhythm” has a different cycle as follows: physical/23 day cycle, emotional/28 day cycle (sound familiar, ladies?) and intellectual/33 day cycle.

Through this time period, the rhythm flows up for half of the cycle, then down for the last half. Flowing up is good, flowing down not so much. And as the cycles intersect each other, a co-mingling of biorhythms takes effect. If they are all coming down at the same time --- whoa! – look out. Blame is placed: “Ugh, my biorhythms are down.”

Well, folks, at this moment in time, my biorhythms are in the toilet.

On occasion, actually about every seven years, I go into this energy backlash where weird stuff happens. Mostly it’s mechanical. Time pieces stop. Light fixtures fall out of the wall. Equipment breaks. I also experience very cross people. In general, bad juju. My mojo is out of whack.

The highlights this go ‘round: My DVD player stopped functioning. The air conditioning condenser is making a high pitched whine that could top the list of Dick Cheney’s torture methods. A fuse that controls the clothes dryer blew out. I had a day where Blogger wouldn’t load photos. My ear phones for the health club cardio equipment just vanished. Poof. Gone. A vintage lamp in my office fell over breaking a large globe. Sigh. Enough is enough.

Except there’s still the part about cross people. In the past ten days I have received fines for three traffic violations. Two for speeding, where my breakneck pace was clocked at a whopping 31 and 36 MPH. Then today as I walked back to my parked car, a very large, gruff meter maid was giving me a ticket. My sin? The meter had been expired for three lousy minutes. Honestly, there should be a good faith grace period.

Friends of the Blogosphere send me your light and positive energy. Biorhythm defense mechanisms wanted. If you know any incantations, pass them along. Light a candle. Call on a saint. Chicken bone rituals or magic spells – I will not scoff.

I just want my mojo back.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Welcome aboard

I suppose every city and town has a special place in their community. A hang out spot or fun attraction with a unique cachet that creates magic. Somewhere that brightens your day when you think of going there or brings a smile and a sigh when you arrive.

In St. Louis that place for me is The Boathouse. Located in magnificent Forest Park, it offers views of rolling green space over the horizon of a large lagoon. There are paddle boats for leisurely floating through the waterway. Rocking chairs situated dock side offer reverie while you sip a glass of wine. And dining tables line the edge of the water.

On weekends you can listen to live music. In the fall they bring in a fire pit to extend the outdoor season. During cold winter months, friends gather around a large stone fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate.

The Boathouse has a long history in this town. When I first started going there about fifteen years ago it was nothing but a shanty with a rustic kitchen. You could order a hot dog or a burger and a brew or soft drink. Tables were mismatched and haphazardly placed about.

The dock was wooden and creaky and strung with remnants of Christmas tree lights. Bands would play from a splintered deck and too much algae grew along the banks of the water. It was wonderful.

Then the powers-that-be decided to do a face lift. I was mortified. How could anyone want to replace such a charming, beloved landmark? But every now and then progress gets it right. A delightful main building reminiscent of a Midwestern cottage was constructed. New, safe docks were anchored properly. The menu was expanded and families of ducks and geese set up residence.

Here are a few photos. From all the bright golden glows you will realize that this makes a perfect entry for Mellow Yellow Monday.

What’s the favorite spot in your neighborhood?


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Calling all coffee lovers

Oh how I love a good cup of coffee. Even in tough economical times, when I’m cutting back on everything, I refuse to buy inferior beans. I consider good coffee a sound investment.

Contemplating life over a cup of coffee improves your outlook. A robust brew after dinner is the perfect way to savor a great meal. Mornings, especially dreary ones, are a whole lot brighter when you can smell the wafts of java coming from the kitchen.

Like I said, a good investment. And after years of health bashing, coffee is now thought to improve your cognitive skills, prevent heart disease and breast cancer, and extend your sex life. (Actually, I just threw in that last one to get your attention.)

So imagine my delight when I read a story about an online roaster who allows you to create your own blend. Their MyBlend feature takes you through a quick quiz to determine your individual taste profile and then a custom product is developed just for you.

My coffee identity: A mild acidity complemented with nutty earthiness and a full, smooth body.

Even better…they have a specially priced MyBlend package through the month of July. You get two 12 oz. bags, plus two 2 oz. sample bags, for $24.98, with free shipping. (I swear they are not paying me to write this.)

The company is called The Roasterie and you can order through their website by clicking here. To add to the golly-gee factor, you can name your blend and personalize the label by uploading a photo.

I haven’t yet received my personal brew so I can’t critique their product, but judging from their website they seem to take coffee roasting very seriously. As well they should. They also have a wide variety of branded blends, including organic and free trade.

What’s your coffee identity?


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another good reason to recycle

Trips to the grocery store are pretty uneventful – coffee, chocolate, bananas -- and don’t stir up much anticipation for an interesting excursion. But as I pulled into the parking lot of the Shop & Save the other day, my eyes lit up.

This is why:

Behold the Tag Wagon.

Now while some of you are thinking…”What the heck?”….I was girlish in my enthusiasm to see this movable art in my neck of the hood. Luckily I had my camera with me and I just circled the wagon clicking and smiling and shooting and grinning.

I love folk art. Outsider art. Primitive pieces. Work that exhibits unrefined creativity, that flaunts whimsy and explodes with ingenuity. I am thrilled with the rawness of it. Unpretentious. Childlike. Quirky.

I got to meet the artist as he loaded groceries into the wagon. His name is Jim Shores, he’s a self taught, from Rome, GA, collects found objects for his pieces, loves what he does. He says on his website, “When I finish a piece, and it makes me smile, I find that it often has the same effect on others and that warms my heart.”

You warmed my heart, too, Jim. And made my day.

Here are more photos of the Tag Wagon and a couple other pieces by Jim.

And Jim asks that you all... “Please recycle.” Your junk could wind up in his art.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Household Hint #2

HH#2: If you have hungry wildlife in your neighborhood, do not put food on your window sill.


Last week I baked a birthday cake for a friend. Taking the hot pans out of the oven I placed them in the kitchen window so they would cool down quickly. Then I took the dog for a walk.

When I returned a slight noise caught my attention. My senses were on alert but nothing seemed amiss, until I went to check on the cake.

A hungry squirrel had eaten a hole in my screen in hopes of reaching the chocolaty goodness. Fortunately, I must have scared him off. But as you can see from the photo, his work was in earnest. I put a lemon on the sill for this photo so you could have a means to judge the size of the gaping hole.

There was so much screen missing I couldn’t help but wonder: did he eat the wire mesh or did he bite and spit, bite and spit?

I’m pretty sure the guy who did this is the one pictured below.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

…and other junk type magic.

Are you feeling cranky?

That takes on a different meaning at a funky store located in the alternative arts area on Historic Cherokee Street in St. Louis.

Cranky Yellow is a one-of-a-kind, hard to describe retail establishment that bills itself as “shop, gallery and performance space.” I asked the shop steward the origin of the name and with a shrug that implied he’d been asked many times before, he said the owner used to have a grouchy neighbor with jaundice. Ahh. Inspiration comes from unique sources.

Lucky for me because it’s a perfect offering for Mellow Yellow Monday.

The merchandise is hard to describe, but some of the treasures named on their web site include: paintings, prints, kooky films, folk-art, apparel, plushies, zines, vintage curiosities, carnival toys, animal skulls, found objects, trinkets, strange lamps, pop religious icons, little boxes, driftwood, cool antiques, bits of broken things, doll parts, 80's euphoria, masks, cute-crap, and other junk type magic!

See for yourself.

Original apparel, granny lap blankets and ginormous soft sculpture.

Object d'art and kookie stuff.

Crap glued on crap and yellow lambs.

Hostile self promotion.


Friday, June 12, 2009

What the.....?

Can you spot the photoshop error? (Hint: It's circled.)


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A hopeful addiction

Okay. I admit it. I’m a flower-aholic.

I have an addiction to all things growing. Sometimes controllable. Sometimes not. If a flower is pretty, sweet, colorful, new, funky or any number of other qualities, I can’t resist.

I worry that the affliction could be akin to hoarding. But I don’t have 49 cats. Or rooms full of newspapers stacked up to the ceiling. So it could be worse. It could be illegal. Or I could be hanging out in dark, smoked-filled rooms gambling with thugs named Ace and Manny. Or drinking Thunderbird from a paper bag.

Good news: I work part-time at a nursery so I get to see all the lovely flowers as they come from the grower. Bad news: I work part-time at a nursery so I get to see all the lovely flowers as they come from the grower.

I love planting tried-and-true flowers that I grow every year and know will perform well. I also love mixing in new varieties to see if they’ll make the latest list of favorites. Every spring I say I’m going to pace myself so I won’t over indulge and be broke by the time the heat lovers come in. You guessed it. That never works. But I buy the heat lovers anyway.

This year, even though it’s been wet and cool, I have some pretties growing in my garden. Here are a few:

This new variety of begonia is called “Big Bronze”. Begonias have come a long way in the past few years and this beauty is proving to be a WOW. The flowers are profuse and enormous.

Thankfully dahlias are now available already growing, and in a small pot with an affordable price. This “Mystic Illusion” is not your grandma’s dahlia. I love the dark, dramatic foliage, especially as it’s growing here against the bright creeping jenny and paired with the striking “Splash” coleus.

I am partial to old fashioned flowers like these zinnias. This year I’m growing them in pots placed on my back steps. That way I get to look down on the colorful flower heads.

How cool is this? This remarkable allium is about the size of a soccer ball. It’s fun to watch it grow to its full glory and when done blooming it’s a wonderful dried specimen.

In the past few years I’ve become quite enamored with small succulents. I don’t know the name of this one, but you can see how charming it is.

This corner of the patio is my peaceful area...a nice place to sit surrounded by overflowing pots. One of my favorite shade plants is the “Perilla”, which is the tall dark foliage plant behind the impatients. The bright pops of purple belong to the often over looked browalia which is a reliable shade bloomer.

Well, that’s a slice of my heaven. Remind me I said that when I’m bitching about slugs or fungus or some other ailment. Until then, I remain a hopeful gardener.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Goodbye my friend

Today I had to make the hardest decision of my life. But the vet said it was time. As rotten as it was to hear, I trusted his advice – and my instincts – and said goodbye to my best friend for the last fifteen years.

The past ten months have been pretty rough. After living an absolute robust life, Murphy’s body just seemed to start failing him in bits and pieces. The sheen went from his coat. His eyes were clouded. And one by one the body functions declined.

I’m a little too sad to recount everything wonderful about him, but if you click HERE ("A special someone"), you can read a tribute I wrote last year when I realized the end was near.

Below are a few photos. I chose sparingly from the dozens and dozens I have stashed away in albums. My nickname for him was “Handsome”, but his beauty went beyond the visible. I hope he’s at peace and running through fields chasing rainbows.


The early days, just plucked from a rescued litter.

The sassy teen years, all legs and spunk.

The handsome man, sweet, feisty, loyal.

Goodbye my friend.


Sunday, June 7, 2009


"Hey, bozo, get out of my flight path!"

Isn't this just the coolest photograph. Unfortunately I can't take credit for it. And I've had in my photo file for so long I don't remember the source. But I love the stop action. I love the perspective. And I really love the look on the bird's face, like he's staring down the photographer.

Plus, there's just enough yellow in it to make it a fun choice for Mellow Yellow Monday.

I hope your week takes flight....and soars.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Salute to freedom

It’s Thursday night. Which means it’s almost Friday. But that means Wednesday snuck by me and I missed a Hump Day post. Since it’s almost the weekend, who cares? If you’re reading this that means you made it past the hump and you’re ready for a TGIF salute to freedom.

Freedom from alarm clocks. Freedom from professional attire. Freedom from demanding bosses and nosy co-workers.

I wish you two colorful days of wackiness, creative expression and good humor. All of which I believe are wonderfully conveyed in this fabulous photo.

Rock your weekend. Let loose and get a little crazy. Make a fish face at someone you love. Do whatever makes you happy.

And what would that be?


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fab fashion from the flatlands


The Midwest is a not a hub for style trendsetting, nor a fashion mecca, so I was surprised when I found this story which combines not only a fashion statement but amazing creativity as well. This lovely young woman created her tres cool prom dress from coffee filters.


I saw a picture posted on a news site and when I googled her, realized she was from the St. Louis area. The following story was lifted from her school’s online newspaper.


Who would have thought coffee filters could be used for clothing? Aimee Kick, a senior at Francis Howell North High School, knew she wanted to wear a dress that would not only be elegant and fashionable, but one-of-a-kind at her senior prom.

Aimee spends a lot of time at coffee shops in her spare time and has become known as the “the girl with a coffee cup,” which was the inspiration for her dress.

Aimee knew that she wanted to wear something creative, but after eliminating fabric her options for material were limited. She considered vegetables, tea bags, stamps, bubble wrap, and aluminum foil, but found that these items were perishable or not durable.

Being able to dance was an important factor in the final decision for the material, but she needed to be able sit and breathe comfortably, as well as be able to make and complete the dress in a reasonable time frame.

“When I really started to notice how into making the dress I got was the day before a large (and tedious) research paper was due. I kept saying to myself, ’Just finish the paper and then you can work on the dress as much as you want,’" said Aimee.

Aimee spent about a month on the entire project; folding and cutting as well as staining, dying, sewing, and hand blow-drying the coffee filters. According to Aimee, she sometimes spent six hours or more a day on the dress.

“Each and every filter is sewn onto a fabric base that I made. Most filters have multiple seams over them, save for the bodice, which was all hand sewn,” said Aimee.

At times this was a little difficult because she has never used coffee filters to make clothing, but she was very motivated to complete the challenge.

“I am very inspired to use different materials, so it was more of a stimulating challenge than a difficulty,” Aimee said.


You rock, Aimee. Hope the prom was a blast.


A fierce wind blows

Spring storms are nothing new in the flatlands, but this year has seemed wetter and windier than most. Maybe it's because my memory is shot and I can't recall the seasonal tempests from years past. Here are a few pictures of what yesterday's weather brought us.

A view from the inside.

A view from the outside.

The winds actually blew off the side of a downtown hotel.

Clouds that look pretty menacing.

Storms here are very spotty. You can have severe damage in one neighborhood and nothing a couple of miles over. I was in the Central West End just as the storm broke. I stepped out of a high rise building (which I swear is built on a vortex) and almost got blown down. As I was reaching for a tree to hug, I watched a HUGE dumpster roll past me. Honest. But as I walked the two blocks to where I was parked, the winds diminished and I could drive with only minimal shaking of the car.

Typically the winds don't bother me and I love a good thunderstorm. I lived in California for a few years and was constantly in fear of earthquakes. When I told friends I was moving back to the Midwest, they cried in horror..."But they have tornadoes there!"

To each their own.

From the storm shelter, this is Pyzahn reporting on weather in the flatlands.

Photo credits: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

NOTE: No, this isn't my house. It's about five miles from where I live.