Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another new decade

I remember when the 60s became the 70s, the 70s became the 80s, the 80s became the 90s, and then the turn of the century. But I remember those occasions as seeming much more significant than the beginning of a new decade seems to me now. And I wonder why this is?

Is it just because I'm getting older? Or does it have to do with leaving behind a decade that still doesn't quite have a name? Was it the Oughts? The Oughties? The Ohs, or the OhOhs? And what are we entering? The Teens?

You rarely hear references to the 20th century's teen years as the Teens. Why is that? When we refer to "The Turn Of The Century" do we mean the years 1900-1909, or does it go all the way to 1919?

I have a hard time imagining how the years 2010-2019
might distinguish themselves from the years 2000-2009. Though I'm sure they will, and I'm sure it will be interesting.

How funny to think that there will be a day when photos taken in the Oughts and the Teens will be as distinctive and representative of their decade as the photos on this post are of theirs.

I think another reason the change from one decade to another seems less significant to me than it used to is because new decades now make up much smaller percentages of my lifetime.

I was 25 when the 70s became the 80s - so the ten years of the 70s had comprised nearly half my lifetime. In contrast, the Oughts took up less than one fifth of my life so far. And the Teens will be even less.

There's a cheery thought for the new year

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter blooms

My Christmas Cactus and African Violet are both in bloom. Such a nice winter treat of color. That's our first snow outside the window, though we didn't get much. Just a dusting of the lawns. I'm so glad the big blizzard missed us.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Nine truths, one lie

One of my favorite bloggers, Willow, of the Willow Manor blog, recently posted a list of ten personal facts, one of which wasn't true. It was fun, so I thought I'd give it a whirl, too.

Nine of these things about me are true, one is a lie.
Can you guess which one?

1. I need the sound of a whirring fan in order to go to sleep.
2. I don’t like shrimp.
3. I can catch a stack of quarters off my elbow.
4. I once arrived at a party in a limo, dressed as Anna Nicole Smith.
5. I was once a rural librarian.
6. I sang karaoke in a New York City bar on my 50th birthday.
7. I have no interest in sports.
8. I hate Winter.
9. My first car was a 67 VW "Bug".
10. I’d rather be body surfing.

I'll reveal the correct false answer when I get at least three guesses. So, come on, click on the comments link and take a guess.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Favorite photo: Blue Heaven

I took this photo in May, 2004 at one of my favorite places on Earth: Blue Heaven, a Key West restaurant. BB and I have been there twice and both experiences were memorable. I especially remember the carrot & curry soup - so delicious.

The food at Blue Heaven is outstanding and the ambiance, an outdoor courtyard paved with slate pool table tops from the property's days as a billiard hall, is quintessentially old Key West. The courtyard features a tropical almond tree and there are cats and chickens wandering about.

I'd sure rather be there than here on a cold, grey December day like today. Though I'm grateful we haven't had any snow - yet.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

She's gay!

I was never a big fan of the TV show Family Ties, and never thought much of Meredith Baxter as an actress, but I was surprised to hear that she'd come out. I admire her honesty in this interview and relate to her story of coming out late.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Favorite Photo: Groove

This is one of my all time favorite macro abstract photos. I call it groove and I think it's pretty groovy. Taken at the junkyard in my hometown, it's part of some discarded, rusting machinery. I think the colors are really beautiful and I love that curving groove.

I sometimes get funny looks when I'm crouched down in front of some piece of junk with my little point and shoot. It can take a long time to get just the right shot. I tend to approach dumpsters, alleys, and rusty objects slowly and study them carefully; it's necessary to really look in order to find these kinds of abstracts. But they are everywhere!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I love pomegranates

I'm so glad I finally discovered pomegranates. I love them, but have only been eating them for the last four or five years.

It's funny how a food can become a fad. I don't remember seeing pomegranates in stores in the past the way you do now. Or maybe I just wasn't paying attention? In any case, they sure are plentiful now, and sure do help make the winter months tolerable.

I was in grade school the first time I saw a pomegranate, but didn't know what it was. My friend, Maria Mucci,  had been born in Italy, and I remember her father, who spoke very little English, showing me this weird fruit.

Mr. Mucci held half a sliced pomegranate in his hands and laughed at my reaction as he split it open. I must have had a look of horror or revulsion on my face as all those red seeds were revealed. I'd never seen anything so strange!

Many years later BB and I were in Key West and I watched in fascination as a woman at our resort pulled a pomegranate apart and added it to her yogurt for breakfast.

Not long after that I bought one for myself, sliced into it, and ruined a good shirt when the bright red juice splattered everywhere. My kitchen counter and walls looked like a crime scene.

I was glad to learn the trick of slicing a pomegranate: while it's immersed in a bowl of water. And now I find pleasure in the process of separating the seed from the skin - the work of it so worth the sweet, tart, crunchy, juicy goodness.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The lull is over

My lull of quiet solitude has ended, BB has returned with stories to tell of her travels, a car with a smashed rear end, and a little something she picked up along the way.

Our calendar has suddenly filled with activities. Which is not a thing I'm complaining about - though it does leave less time for creative pursuits, personal projects and deep thoughts.

I made this photo yesterday. It's a collage of two photos layered together, one is of leaves, the other is rust.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Solitude & Iris

While BB is away on a trip I've been enjoying the solitude. Today is the fifth day and I'm not the least bit lonely or in need of company. I'm getting tons of things done and appreciating the quiet & calm. It's a lovely little lull.

I rented three movies this weekend, Away We Go, which was a big disappointment, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, which was only mildly entertaining, and Iris, which I loved.

I missed this movie when it was released (and nominated for several Academy Awards) in 2002. It tells the story of Brittish novelist Iris Murdoch, played by Kate Winslet as the 1950s Iris, and Judy Dench as the 1990s Iris.

In back and forth scenes between the decades the young, vibrant Iris is contrasted with her older self as Alzheimer's takes hold. It's a heartbreaking film, but the performances are incredibly good.

Here's a clip of Kate as Iris singing :

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The beginning of time

Why do the days change from one to the other at midnight? This has never made any sense to me. New days should begin at the beginning - when the sun comes up.

In spite of the fact that the sun rises at a different time each day I think we could agree that 6 a.m. is a pretty reasonable average time for the beginning of the day. This is when the day should begin. And, of-course, end at 5:59 a.m

This way when things happened at one, two, or three a.m. it would be considered late at night and not early in the morning - which seems so much more logical to me.

And just to make things interesting we could change the faces of all our clocks so that 6 would be at the top. (For the few clocks left that actually have faces.) Wouldn’t that be fun?

Just a thought

Monday, October 26, 2009

Grocery Shopping

One of the great things about our new neighborhood is that we're close to so many grocery stores. Where previously we only had three or four stores to choose from, here we have at least ten, and some of them are above average.

The Holiday Market in Royal Oak is a huge gourmet market. In addition to fabulous foods it's the kind of place that has copies of The New Yorker and Archetectual Digest in the check out racks instead of People and Us. VERY nice.

There's also a Trader Joes, a Whole Foods, and my favorite: Westborn Market. Westborn has the best produce imaginable, and many wonderful , tasty delights. I love it, but only shop there for some special things once in a while.

For most of my groceries I usually end up going to Farm Fresh in Oak Park This store is nearest to our house and features kosher foods, although 60 percent of the people who shop there are black. It has wonderful baked goods, still takes checks, and gives out savings stamps.

So with all these grocery options, including the ubiquitous Meijers and Krogers, I was surprised to find myself feeling glad to have discovered the Hollywood Market on the north side of Royal Oak a few days ago.
This is the kind of place where you'd certainly find someone buying a loaf of white bread and a Hungryman frozen dinner.

There is no goat cheese. No organic black currant jam. But I felt something like relief while pushing my cart with a bad wheel up a narrow aisle. It felt comfortable and familiar. Althought I'd hate this store if it was my only choice, as one of many I'm glad to know it's there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The morning after

I could have danced all night at the Willow Manor Ball, but all good things come to an end. Today I'm back to much more mundane occupations: I puttered in the garden, did some errands, a little writing, sent some emails, etc...

And tomorrow I'll be working as an extra in an Al Pacino movie - you know, same old, same old.

HBO is filming a movie in my town with Al Pacino, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, and ME. I'm thrilled to report that I got called to work as an extra in this movie tomorrow! I don't know the details yet, just that I'm booked for the job and looking forward to it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Willow Manor Ball

I've been busy the last few days preparing for the cyber event of the year: the second annual Willow Manor Ball. Although I didn't attend this event last year, I've heard that it's pretty fancy and I was delighted to be invited.

The ball takes place at the Willow Manor blog. You can visit Willow Manor at:

Of-course I've been to the salon, the spa, the jewelry store, and had several fittings with a seamstress who did some minor alterations on my vintage gown, but I think I'm all set.

I can't wait to slip into my ball gown with the crushed velvet bodice and long sleeves. I love the color, and it seems just the right thing for a crisp October night.

I've also selected some lovely jewels: a diamond necklace and earrings, to add some shimmer.
My escort, BB, will be wearing a tuxedo, a la Marlene Dietrich, perfectly tailored just for her, and we'll be motoring down to the Manor from Detroit in our classic 1939 Cadillac Fleetwood.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New couch!

Okay, so you know your blog is boring when the only thing you manage to write about all week is a new piece of furniture. But this was a pretty big deal in our household. Especially since we didn't even look around. It probably took less than an hour to settle on this couch - for which I promptly had second thoughts. I never would have guessed we'd buy a red couch!

So, what-a-ya think?

I'm not too fond of the big pillows with the dots, and the couch is not really wide enough to snooze on comfortably, but otherwise I think it was an okay choice. I'm just so glad to finally have a decent piece of furniture in this room. Now if only we could find some fabulous piece of artwork for the wall.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Favorite: First Flickr photo

Today is the anniversary of my first Flickr. It's been three years since I posted this photo of some blue jars and their reflection on a windowsill.

I wouldn't necessarily call this photo one of my favorites now, but it's interesting to note that my first Flickr pic was blue and had an abstract quality to it.

The existence of Flickr has done a lot to help me grow as a photographer. And it's nice to be part of a creative community. I feel like I know many of my Flickr contacts even though we've never met.

Today is also the anniversary of my son's wedding - five years ago. I was going to post a photo of the wedding as a Friday Favorite today, but when I went to look for one I realized the wedding took place in my pre-digital days!

My son's wedding is one of the last events I shot on film. It was only five years ago, but already seems like the old days! It took me a long time to give up my film camera, but now I can't imagine life without digital, just like I can't imagine Justin without Maria.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rabbit Rabbit

Since today is the first day of the month the first thing I said this morning was "rabbit-rabbit" in order to ensure I'll have good luck.

Kinda crazy, I know, but according to the research I've done (which means I looked it up on Wikipedia) this is a common superstition that's been around for centuries.

I've been doing this for a long, long time, but I have no idea when or why I began it. And, even though I don't believe anything as silly as saying rabbit-rabbit could possibly have any influence upon my fate, I feel a bit dreadful when I forget.

To help me remember, B.B. gave me these two rabbits as a gift a couple of years ago. On the last night of each month I put them on our bedside tables so they'll be the first thing we see in the morning. This helps remind BB not to talk to me or ask me a question. I really hate it when the first thing I say on rabbit-rabbit day is something like "Look in your sock drawer," or "I had the stangest dream..."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

NOT my favorite season

The weather has changed here in the last few days. It's chilly, the skies are grey, and it's been rainy. When I go outside I have to wear jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, though I haven't given in and put socks on yet.

I hate fall. And I don't understand why it's so often mentioned as a "favorite season" by so many people. Fans of fall like to rhapsodise about the "crisp" air, the joys of "sweater weather," and the beauty of multi-colored leaves. They carve pumpkins and watch football, apparently oblivious to the coming death and darkness of which their "favorite season" is a sign.

Why don't more people say spring is their favorite season?? In spring the trees blossom, flowers bloom, birds sing, and there is hope. Just think about that first spring day without a coat, or how it feels to drive down the road with the car windows rolled down and the radio on. What could be better than that?

I hate the fact that during fall I have to begin wearing so much clothing. I hate the fact that my finger joints ache, my skin is dry, my sinuses throb, the sky is dark, there are viruses in the air, I'll soon be another year older, and snow is a certainty.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

To market, to market

We finally made it to Eastern Market - Detroit's historic farmers market.

Although I grew up in the Detroit metro area and have been living here again for more than a year now, I'd never been to Eastern Market and - WOW - I've really been missing out.

Eastern Market is 170 years old. It's the oldest and largest market of its kind in America! And it's surrounded by unique shops and restaurants of the sort you wouldn't expect to find flourishing in that part of Detroit.

It's huge, fun, and overflowing with fabulous produce, flowers, baked goods, etc... Plus an interesting blend of people to watch. I can't believe it took me SO long to finally go there. And when I go next time I'll be sure to take more photos!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Goodbye to summer

Last moment of Zen... leaving Oscoda yesterday:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

People for sale

I recently read an article about an increase in people willing to sell their sperm or eggs. This increase was attributed to the recession. Sperm sellers can get up to $100 and eggs go for as much as $5,000.
The article noted that sellers must undergo extensive medical and psychological screening, but what it didn't say, and what I find bothersome, is that fact that nobody seems to think there's anything wrong with this. This practice, which has slipped into modern society without much, if any, ethical debate, is essentially the selling of human life.

I don't think human eggs and sperm should be used in fertility treatments unless they've been donated for free. It's just not the kind of enterprise from which a profit should be made. And what really bugs me about this is that it's creating a crop of people who will one day feel cheated of their biological heritage.

I strongly believe that everyone born as a result of these procedures deserves to know the names of their donors, see their photographs, and be told their social and medical histories. Adoptees have fought long and hard for these rights which are finally being recognized and respected. I don't think we should create another segment of society denied the dignity of this basic human knowledge.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Favorite Photo: NYC 2001

It's been eight years since 9-11-01 and it seems like a long time ago to me. So much has changed since then, in the world, as well as my life. That afternoon I was in Kalamazoo at work at the theater and it felt like a silly thing to be doing. All my concerns about the upcoming season of plays, fundraising, marketing, and recruiting volunteers suddenly seemed so inconsequential.

The following months were intense, and personally significant for me too: that's when I began my relationship with BB, my son met his future wife, and a beloved dog came into our lives.

In November of 2001 BB and I took a trip to New York. We called it our "Fuck You Bin Laden" trip. During this trip we went downtown and the air was still full of the smell of smoke, the sidewalks still gritty. We saw the makeshift memorials and stood behind a barricade to look at the rubble. It was hard to make the decision to go down there, on the one hand it seemed disrespectful, but on the other it was an historic moment we wanted to witness. (We felt better about our decision to gawk when, a few months later, a viewing platform was built.) While we were in NYC that fall I took this picture of a flag displayed on a fire escape:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Radio update

Although I'm still lamenting the loss of my NPR signal from Michigan Radio, I've discovered I can get WDET, the Detroit public radio station.

WDET broadcasts Morning Edition, Fresh Air, and All Things Considered, but features a show called Detroit Today in the middle of the day, and plays Jazz in the evening.

On the weekend I can listen to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and Car Talk, but there is no Prairie Home Companion! No Radio Lab. No The Story.

So, this is a good news/bad news kind of thing. But, I'm not complaining. At least I can listen to NPR in my kitchen again, even though the only radio able to pull in the signal is my big old radio/cassette/cd player - which takes up a good portion of our counter space:

I've also recently discovered that there are decent little radios available for purchase that come with FM antenna hook ups. So, when the budget allows I may once again be a regular Michigan Radio listener. Hurray!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Photo quiz

What do the following photos have in common?

Answer: They were all taken by me at the Michigan State Fair yesterday.

The hairy hoof is a Budweiser Clydesdale; the rooster is a Wyandotte; and the stove is the world's largest, originally built for the 1893 Colombian Exposition in Chicago and now a Detroit icon.

BB and I rode the Ferris Wheel, indulged in some carnival food, saw a cow in labor, and felt like we were doing our part to support the fair, which might be the last one. Begun in Detroit in 1849, it's the oldest state fair in the country, but threatened with extinction due to the economy.

I have many fond memories of the fair from the 1960s and 70s, but hadn't been there since 1982. It was fun to see so many things about it that haven't changed, though it did seem smaller,and shabbier, the way those things tend to do over time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

instead of

Instead of blogging I've been busy doing lots other things, including breaking through the landscaping cloth in my garden. This thick woven plastic is about two inches below the soil and is almost impossible to cut. In order to put my plants in the ground I have to remove the wood chips, remove the topsoil, and then cut away a portion of the cloth, which has been in the garden so long it's now connected to the soil by the roots of the weeds that have somehow managed to grow through it.

I understand that this stuff is meant to be an easy way to keep weeds from growing, but the idea of having a garden you can't dig into seems kinda crazy to me. Earth covered in plastic just doesn't seem right - doesn't seem very "green."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A few firsts

So far I like our new house and our new neighborhood quite a bit - much more than I expected I would. I'm amazed at how fast it's come to seem like home. But we've been so busy I've hardly had time to appreciate it, and there's still a LOT of settling in to do.

Here's a photo of the first bouquet from our new garden - roses and obedient plant.

And another first - for me anyway - is the fact that our holly bush is blooming. I know nothing about holly and was surprised to see these delicate little blossoms in our front yard yesterday:

Also yesterday, I made my first trip to Trader Joes. It's a great place, with great food, but $17 seemed like a lot to pay for just a loaf of bread, milk, jam, tomatoes, and muffins.

But the best "first" since we've moved was my first trip to the neighborhood pool with Ben!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Radio rant

Not long ago I mentioned in this blog how great it was that there are so many good radio stations here in the Detroit area. This was significant to me since I listen to the radio a lot, mostly NPR, but jazz and classical stations too.

But for some odd reason our radios don't work very well in our new house. We get a lot of static and can't tune in NPR at all! I get it fine in the car, so I know I'm within the listening area, but in the house there's too much interference.

I think this phenomena might have something to do with the many giant TV and radio towers near our new home, but who knows? I'm especially annoyed that the point on the dial where I should get NPR, I now get a sports talk station - loud and clear. Blagh!

This is a huge loss in my life and I hardly know what to do with myself. There is a void now where I used to feel connected, informed, entertained, and a part of something important.

I'm especially lost in the kitchen, where I find it almost impossible to function without a radio.

And what really bugs me about this is that I can't fix the problem by going out and buying a better radio - because they don't exist. It's all about ipod docks now.

I remember when radios used to have a button you could press after tuning in your station. This would keep your radio tuned exactly where you wanted it without static from nearby stations. But, alas, they don't make radios with this feature anymore. Just ask a sales-kid in Best Buy about it and see what kind of look you get.

I'm in grief about the loss of my NPR, but I think I'm still in the denial phase. I keep trying to tune it in. Maybe it will work today, I'll think. Or maybe it will work if I put the radio over here, or here, or if I hook up the antenna and hold it with both hands crossed above my head... It's a sad, sad thing.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Favorite Photo: Ephemeral memory

This is one of my favorite macro abstracts. I took it a year ago. Can you guess what it is?

Not much time for posting more than Friday Favorites these days. In addition to getting settled in the new house we've had a lot of company (including three great days with my grandson Ben - a joy) and today we're heading to West Michigan for an event in BB's family. Busy, busy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Favorite Photo: Fest collage

We usually go to the Michigan Womyns Music Festival every August, but this is the second year in a row we weren't able to make it. I created this photo collage a few years ago from pictures I took of the annual festival quilt.