Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What's on your fridge?

Finally this past weekend I convinced myself I could no longer put off cleaning the house. Part of that frenzy was to strip away some of the clutter that has been accumulating on my refrigerator. Here are a few selected items.

Starting with vintage postcards...

This face always makes me laugh.

This is from way before the time of Photoshop, so I don't know if it's a manipulated image or just three really happy sibling kittens.

This is Coney Island c. 1938. Gadzooks...look at that mass of humanity.

I got this from a fortune cookie a couple years ago. I'm waiting, waiting...

Here I am looking quite pleased to be photographed with the dude who plays Jackson Montgomery on All My Children.

A friend sent this to me in a birthday card a few years back. Hardeeharhar.

I just love this comic strip, "Rose is Rose".

A few of my cutesy magnets that were yard sale finds.

This postcard doubles as a finger puppet. You can print it off on card stock, cut out the hole and enjoy hours of fun at your next party.

What's on your fridge?


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pass-a-long of the week

Every now and then you might be fortunate enough to stumble upon someone who adds a distinctive voice to your life. For me, Steve Almond is one of those people.

He’s not a guru of any sort, nor a noted genius, or a loving spiritual guide, but he has a couple of talents that I admire and he’s a man who stands up for his beliefs. (Don’t go thinking Gandhi, but more along the lines of 70’s counter-culture disciple)

I can’t even remember how I became acquainted with him, but if you are ever in a state of mind where you need a good laugh – I mean a from the gut rip roaring snort – then you should read his book, “candyfreak”.

This man knows more about packaged sweets than any other human being on this planet. “candyfreak” is his wacky memoir of a truly wild addiction.

Aside from writing, he served as adjunct professor in creative writing at Boston College for five years until publishing an open letter of resignation in the Boston Globe in which he explained that his resignation was intended to protest the selection of Condoleezza Rice as the college's 2006 commencement guest speaker. That’s the standing up for his beliefs part that I mentioned earlier.

The other dimension Steve adds to my life is his knowledge of music. I subscribe to his newsletter and a couple of times a year he will send out a list of recommendations. We’re talking mostly below the radar talent that you likely would never encounter had you not be privy to his thoughts. Well, at least it’s fresh to a music dud like me.

Here are a few picks from his recent list:

Raphael Saadiq, The Way I See It (Sony, 2008)
Am I honestly tipping a solo album by a Tony! Toni! Toné! alum? To mis-quote our last black president, when questioned as to whether he enjoyed pollinating Gennifer Flowers ... You bet I am. This is pure soul from the Philly wing of the party. "Sure Hope You Mean It" ranks as the greatest hidden track never released by the Platters. (I second this recommendation. One of my favorite CDs in a long time.)

Charlie Mars, Like a Bird, Like a Plane, (Rockingham Records, 2009)
Charlie got tipped a few years back and he returns now, having thrown off the bridle of country for something more atmospheric, a kind of Pink Floyd under the influence of Marley vibe. Call it stoner sex jelly. And spread liberally.

Johnny Flynn, A Larum, (Mercury Records, 2008)
Tommy Finks put me onto Flynn, who makes folk rock of the nimblest British sort. Think Fairport Convention with a brogue, or Nick Drake with a bit more vim in his vigor. It's all joy and mischief, guitars strummed by sprites and a reedy tenor.

Clare Burson, Silver and Ash.
A softly devastating suite of songs that reveal themselves with the slow grace of an antique music box. There's a story here, subtle but persistent, about the people who came before us, and the miracle of our births.

Ike Reilly, Poison the Hit Parade, (Six Siren, 2008)
Still ugly, still making pretty things. The Ike delivers another blow to the temple of corporate rock. "When the Plant Shuts Down" offers a blistering vision of what the recession might do to wake our conscience.

Eric Hutchinson, Sounds Like This, (Warner Brothers, 2008)
Madonna was all ready to roll Hutchinson out as the Next Big Thing. Then her label tanked. Then the internets found him. Then he got another deal. And now his first LP is here, a creamsicle of sweet sunny pop.

If you just want to listen without purchase commitment, I often find CDs through my library. Then if it’s good, I can rip it to my computer. I also joined MySpace because they have an amazing music collection. You can create your own playlist, perfect for background tunes while you are blogging. The playlist is free but downloads do have a fee.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

BloggerCon...costumes optional

Recently I have been having fun thinking about organizing a Blogger convention. Rather like ComicCon, only without Super Heroes. And where costumes are optional.

Then today I’m trolling blogs and I start seeing these references to BlogHer who was hosting a conference this past weekend. Why am I the last to know? I visited the BlogHer site and scanned through the agenda.

Here’s a sample:

• The Transformational Power of Blogging
• MommyBlogging: Have You Found your Mommy Blogging Tribe?
• “Balance” is a Big, Fat, Lying, McLiar LIE for Moms who Blog
• Blogs & Body Image: What are we teaching our kids?
• You Are Not Your Disease, You Just Blog About It Every Day
• Business of You: Brands and Bloggers
• What is "Pro-Woman" in a Post-Palin World?
• Advanced Social Media, Syndication and Stats


The convention I had in mind would be much more about fun. In many ways, I feel I have found my “tribe” and now I just want to meet all of you. There would be massive socializing, lots of eating and drinking, sharing of ideas, toasting great posts and no gender requirements.

There would also be a few speakers and presentations just to keep up the pretense of a work connection so we could write off the expense.

Here’s how it’s playing in my mind.

The first thing I would do is have drollgirl and sallymandy up to my room for a wardrobe consultation. Working/not working from home for so long has left me fashion impaired.

Then on to happy hour where Lola is going to demonstrate how to make Limoncello and Eddie Bluelights will lead the conga line. While we’re feeling mellow and before we’re completely socko, Cormac will arouse our senses with a reading from his latest pulp fiction and Quirkyloon will bring us up to date on the threat of Zombies.

We’ll break into smaller groups for dinner, where I will meet up with Kathleen, Rudee, ds and DistractedBSO so we can catch up on private lives and I can finally learn more of the affection for keens, how to knit and resources for poetry and images.

After dinner is rabble-rouser time, so Vegetable Assassin and I will grab a Mexican brew and sit in her airstream goofing on people walking by.

For the next day’s presentation I haven’t fully thought out the agenda, but it could be something like this:

How to make world class videos about absolutely nothing.
- presented by Some Guy

Round table: Creating an international community within the blogosphere, for fun, not profit.
- Panel members: Woman of No Importance, LoriX5, Ribbon and Purest Green

How to create multiple posts every day while having a full time job and still having a life.
- presented by Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein

Irreverence/satire/irony – punch up your writing style with humor.
- presented by Comedy Goddess

Round table: Having fun with social issues.
- Panel members: Lakeviewer, Utah Savage, Lover of Life

Whaddya say? Are you in? Let me know your ideas so I can pull together a proposal for funding and send it off to those good folks at Blogger.

Photo: ComicCon image sourced through Google


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Six word Saturday

Tossing my cares to the wind.

Six Word Saturday is hosted by Cate.

Photo credit: Reuters


Friday, July 24, 2009

Unique perspective

It's all about how we see things, isn't it?

Images were sent via email by my friend, Kathy/Vina; no photo credits were included.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The test of time

You’ve reached middle age
When all you exercise is caution.

This quote caught my eye because I have a birthday coming up. A BIG birthday. Gulp. Strange thing about time. It marches on without regard for our dread of aging.

Honestly, I do believe that age is a state of mind. So that makes me about 24. I would have said 18 but I wanted to get past the acne years.

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.
~Chili Davis

I am pretty darn conscious about taking care of myself. I try to eat well. (Uh, hang on a minute, I got ice cream on the keyboard. Ok. All gone.) I exercise regularly. (Hut, one, two.) And in the past couple of years I have added in some yoga stretches. (The corpse pose, the one where you lie on your back…that’s my favorite.)

The great secret that all old people share
is that you really haven't changed
in seventy or eighty years.
Your body changes, but you don't change at all.
And that, of course, causes great confusion.
~Doris Lessing

While I do admit to sometimes fretting about the wear and tear that the years have put on my body, I worry more about the loss of spirit. Of spunk. Of spontaneity. My body may be slowing down, but I want my heart to soar.

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
~Henry David Thoreau

And so I think as a waking reminder, I will have painted on the ceiling above my bed, the word of God. (Well, at least he played God in a movie.)

You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.
~George Burns



Monday, July 20, 2009

I won! I won!

Last week I received one of those chain emails that you are supposed to pass along to a certain number of people and your wish will come true. Typically I delete them, but this one had a picture of Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II with a really nice prayer so I was pulled in. Come on, it was JP2!

My wish for financial reward is due to be granted at any minute.

This morning my horoscope gave me five stars. FIVE! Out of five.

Then this afternoon I found out I had won a blogger sponsored contest. The whimsical Purest Green at Scotland for the Senses has awarded me a copy of the cookbook, A Cook’s Tour of Scotland.

How cool is that! My mojo is back.

Winning the giveaway is exciting not only because I won something, but more so because I know very little about the foods of Scotland. And what do we do when there is something we know little about? Exactly. We google.

Now there are a few Scottish basics that I’m familiar with, like Shepherd’s Pie, Shortbread, Haggis and Cock-a-Leekie Soup. But look at the names of some other staples I found:

Arbroath Toasties
Atholl Brose
For Far Bridies
Parton Bree
Roastit Bubbly-Jock
Toad in the Hole
Tweed Kettle

I don’t know what any of these things are, but aren’t they fun to say? Something I did notice. It appears that several of the Scottish recipes include liquor of some sort. I saw a lot of whiskey and Drambuie as ingredients. Maybe everyone got tipsy on the food and then came up with the amusing names.

With my Italian heritage, I’m seeing a thrilling new fusion forefront for the cuisine scene. Maybe Pyzahn Pie. Toad in the Pancetta. Amaretto Toasties.

At the very least, there will be a lot of “blethering”. And future posts. Stay tuned.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Six word Saturday

"Embracing the unexpected and kissing frogs."

For more fun, visit Six Word
hosted by Cate.


Image came from an internet site which did not reflect photographer credits.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mid-season review

It's that time of year when garden's all across the flatlands -- and much of the U.S. -- are coming into their full glory. When the heat finally kicked in here, botanical life started accelerating and color began to sizzle.

It seems like a good time to do a mid point walk through.

Inspired by fellow blogger, Kathleen, who is having great fun with her new camera and turning out creative close up shots, I decided to capture my lovelies in the same manner.

Here's a photo review.

Mmmm, tomatoes. Either fried green, or caprese salad when they are red.

Fancy foliage geranium, whose real name I cannot remember.

Lovely, large sunflower with bumble bee.

Not a coleus, a Perilla, member of the mint family, but not edible.

Viburnum berries, soon to be a feast for the birds.

Fuzzy begonia, probably a member of the Rex family.

St. Francis with a Niko blue hydrangea.

I hope your garden is alive with color and producing a bounty. If not, stop by a farmer's market and support your local growers.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

To bed, perchance to sleep

Have you ever gone to bed, dead tired, yawning like a yak and completely unsuspecting, only to have insomnia reach up from the depths of hell and wrap you in his torturous grip?

You lie there in the dark wrestling with the sheets. Tossing and turning, certain that if you just shift a bit one way or the other you will be comfortable, you will fall asleep. Roll to your side. Roll to your other side. Stare at the ceiling. Watch the clock.

Instead of slipping into a state of slumber your brain is jet fueled. You wonder, was it something I ate? Was it something I read? From there your mind wanders unprovoked into the murky waters of that nocturnal demon – the mindless stream of conscious chatter.

And you can’t shut it off.

Now restless leg syndrome kicks in. Literally. At first just a mild twitch. Then a more robust jerk. You stretch out your leg and jiggle it around hoping to shake off the unwanted movement. It doesn’t work. Now you are in a full on thrashing mode and innocent animal companions, one by one, cat/dog/cat, are catapulted from your bed.

It’s at this point that you sit up and scream: “For the love of God, please somebody just shoot me!!!”

And so it goes.

When other folks talk about insomnia and they say, “Oh, I couldn’t sleep so I got up and cleaned the house”….I’m torn. I don’t know if I admire them or I hate them. I refuse to let this beast force me into doing something productive. This is my time to relax, let go, be at one with rapid eye movement.

I am hopeful that tonight will be better.

Now, blessings light on him that first invented sleep! It covers a man all over, thoughts and all, like a cloak; it is meat for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat for the cold, and cold for the hot. It is the current coin that purchases all the pleasures of the world cheap, and the balance that sets the king and the shepherd, the fool and the wise man, even.
~Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, 1605


Monday, July 13, 2009

One singular sensation....

I find this photo quite amusing. But....I think it needs a caption. Can you help me out?


Sunday, July 12, 2009

What's lurking in your closet?

At some time in our life, we have all sprawled on our backs in the grass and looked for fun faces in the clouds. Did you know, though, there are mysterious beings lurking in your closet?

For more fun visit Mellow Yellow Monday hosted by Drowsey Monkey.

Photo credit: These images were pulled off a picture dump site and no photographer reference was given.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Six word Saturday

"Suspended in motion, always in thought."

There are many apples on this tree, but I saw this one hanging out there all alone. I think it's self preservation. The precarious perch keeps the hungry squirrels from gobbling it up. For now.

Visit Six Word Saturday hosted by Cate.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Client roster

We’re all familiar with the wise advice, “Do what you love” and “Follow your bliss.” Well, the sinking economy in all its omnipotence has led me to do just that. With “real” work scare to non-existent, I have fallen into a fur pile of love and bliss.

For about the past five months one of my part time jobs has been walking dogs. Not only do I get to hang out with woman’s best friend, but I get lots of fresh air and exercise. An even bigger bonus, I’ve made several new best buddies. I’ve never had a job before where my clients were so happy to see me.

Because they have all become so special to me, I wanted to introduce them to you. In no particular order…


The photo does not do this pretty girl justice. With a sweet face, soft eyes and a silky coat, she’s a heart breaker. And a big bundle of joy wrapped up in fur. When I walk her, her wagging body sings, “happy dog, hap, hap, happy dog.” If we visit the park, every now and then she will drop to the grass, lie on her back and wiggle in delight. I wish I could bottle her enthusiasm.


Though she is strong as an ox, she has a really soft heart and can easily be a ‘fraidy cat. Lucy is smart as a whip. When I first started walking her, she showed me all the secret paths and short cuts in her neighborhood. She wants nothing more than for you to love her. Give her chest a scratch and her eyes just light up.


This big goof ball is Lucy’s side kick. They are best buddies as long as Taj lets Lucy be the boss. He will throw himself at your feet and whine frantically if you don’t give him enough attention. He really makes me laugh. I like to get down on the floor and rub his belly until he goes into a trance – kinda like a gator.

Lucy B.

She’s my baby. I started walking her when she was about ten weeks old and it has been such a pleasure watching her grow. At first she was all about biting and chewing, but now she’s much calmer and so alert. She cocks her head if she hears a bird or a plane. She loves to chase bees and butterflies. Sometimes she gets so excited she collapses into a tangle of her gangly legs, then pops up and pretends like it never happened. Oh, to live with such carefree abandon.


Technically Bear is not my client, he’s my neighbor. But his human works long hours so I take him for walks almost every day. This big palooka is 140 pounds of pure sweetness. And no one walks better on a leash then he does. I love watching him. While most dogs want to sniff everything, Bear is more of a visual observer. He looks at the world like he’s seeing everything for the first time.

Well, those are my clients, my friends, my teachers. I wish all of you as much boundless love as I get from these beautiful creatures.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Urban oasis

We’ve been given a gift. When I say we, I mean the city of St. Louis. And it’s an amazing, breathtaking gift. On what was formerly two long-neglected and vacant blocks is now an exhilarating urban oasis.

Three acres have been carved out of downtown and christened Citygarden. It features lush landscaping, contemporary sculptures, reflecting pools, water features, a plaza and a café.

The brochure says: “You won’t find walls or fences, admission fees or do not touch signs, because at Citygarden you are always free. Free to explore. Free to play. Free to feel inspired.”

Mission accomplished.

This incredible project was funded by the Gateway Foundation, a private philanthropic organization, for the reported price tag of $40 million. No one has ever given me a gift this nice!

The design and architecture are inspired. Creative, well planned, playful, inviting, and earth friendly. The native landscaping is laid out in three “bands” that represent the geographic features of the region: northern river bluffs, middle floodplain and southern river terrace. Brilliant.

The sculptures and artwork are far-ranging, exceptional choices that encourage touch and will appeal to all ages. Among the 23 pieces are works by Jim Dine, Keith Haring, Niki de Saint Phalle, Ju Ming, George Rickey, Martin Puryear and Jack Youngerman.

Come, follow me. Let’s take a quick walking tour.

The backdrop is very much a part of the experience. This oasis of green is surrounded by high-rise office buildings, many with their own outstanding design heritage. Facing to the east, the garden walk is punctuated by The Old Courthouse framed in the Gateway Arch.

This bronze piece by Igor Mitoraj has the feel of an ancient relic, except that is it large enough to walk into. To the front of the sculpture is a shimmering layer of cool water that offers relief for hot tootsies.

George Rickey never uses motor power for his sculptures. These stainless steel panels act like sails to capture the wind. When the wind decreases, gravity begins to exert pull. Very spontaneous, it’s fun to watch the movement.

Jim Dine admits to being intrigued by the story of Pinocchio. Like Geppetto, this painted bronze brings “a wooden boy” to life.

“Kiera and Julian Walking” was created by Julian Opie. He begins with a video of the two people walking and uses computer software to translate into moving LED panels.

Art can be found everywhere, even peeking through the trees. Here Mimmo Paladino is inspired by science and mathematics. This bronze horse becomes ambiguous with the addition of a star-shaped form that balances on his back. (Sorry, the star is barely visible.)

My favorite piece, until I change my mind, is this bronze by Ju Ming. It represents a Tai Chi basic pose known as Single Whip.

Just knowing there is a Keith Haring sculpture on a corner in my town makes me all goose-bumpy. This painted steel piece captures a feeling of motion with the bended knees making the figure feel like it’s about to spring forward.

There’s more… much, much more, but I think these images give you enough of a glimpse for you to agree Citygarden is a magical place and an remarkable gift. Unfortunately, my photos don’t really do it justice, but if you visit the garden Web site (by clicking here), you can get a lot more information about the design and the artists.

Or better yet, why not come visit and see it for yourself.