Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Favorite Photo: A Pair of Pears

I took this photo with my beloved Canon film camera on the kitchen table of my house in Kalamazoo in 2001.

I liked the way the light was coming in through the window and posed these pears to take advantage of it. I took several shots, but this was the best and turned out to be one of my all time favorite photos. I love the way the pears are delicately touching each other with their stems - as if they're a loving couple.

This is one of my favorite photos because it's so sensual and sweet, but also because it reminds of my old house, my kitchen, and that time in my life. It seems like so long ago... but seems like yesterday, too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Frankenstein at the Opera House

We went to see the Broadway touring production of Young Frankenstein at the Detroit Opera House last night. It was tons of fun. We had second row seats! Plus, I'd never been to the Opera House before and was wowed by it's beauty and history. When it was built in 1922 it was the fifth largest theater in the world.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The New World!

Yesterday was a great day for me. I discovered a shopping district with many of my favorite places just minutes from my door. Panera Bread! Target! Home Depot! Bed, Bath & Beyond! Staples! And lots more!

I’d swear I heard a choir of angles hit a high note when I came upon it. I felt like Columbus landing in the New World.

One of the things I dislike about Metro Detroit is the sprawl. It’s HUGE. I didn’t even know this shopping area existed. In the six months since we’ve been in our new house I’d never had a reason to explore the two mile stretch where all these places are.

Since we’ve lived here I’ve found two other Targets, and just about every other national chain you could imagine, but none as close to me as those I discovered yesterday. And they’re in an area where I feel comfortable. Not too high-class, not too low class. It’s just right. And I almost hate to admit how happy - nearly giddy - I was over this discovery. (I can be at Target in less than 10 minutes!)

My new Panera Bread.
Small. No booths. But SO close to home.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Favorite Photo: BB's toes

I took this photo of BB's feet in the surf of Lake Michigan at Saugatuck in July of 2005. I think it was just before sunset. I like the way her feet are sunk into the sand, the abstract action of the water, the quality of the light, and her red toenails.

This photo reminds me how much I love and miss The Lake. And how pleasurable it can be just to stand at its edge. BIG SIGH.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Treasure: Celery dish

This is one of my most treasured treasures. About 25 years ago or so I was in an antique store in Kalamazoo with my friend, Nancy, when I admired this celery serving dish. I thought it was beautiful and unique and I especially loved the three little salt servers that came with it.

Much to my surprise Nancy went back the next day and bought it for me! I think it was for my birthday, but I really don't remember for sure. In any case, I was delighted. I often fall in love with lovely things like this, but never buy them for myself.

I love this dish as much for it's beauty as for the reminder of Nancy's thoughtfulness and friendship. But I also love it because it's such a nice reminder of Kalamazoo, which is known as the "Celery City," and is the place I always think of as "home."

The story goes that a Kalamazoo pioneer from England brought some celery seeds along with him, and that Dutch settlers eventually began cultivating it in the rich black muck along the Kalamazoo River. Before long the celery Fields were flourishing and it was not uncommon to see peddlers selling celery on the streets of Kalamazoo.

Today, California is the nation's top celery producer, Michigan only ranks fourth, but you can visit the Celery Flats Interpretive Center to learn all about the history of celery farming if you're ever in Kalamazoo and really want to know.

For more about Kalamazoo click : here

Monday, February 15, 2010

Detroit Ice House

I went on a photo safari to the Detroit "Ice House" yesterday with a local photography Meet Up group.

The Ice House is an abandoned house that has been covered in ice. Described as an "architectural installation and social change project," I think it was really just an excuse to do something crazy.

It looked pretty cool when it was first frozen, but by yesterday most of the ice had melted.

Created by a photographer and an architect who say the project references "contemporary urban issues," they have received a lot of media attention (NPR, The Washington Post, etc. etc.)

But the Ice House was only half the point for me yesterday. I was mostly interested in the experience of going out to shoot something with a group of photographers. And this turned out to be a lot of fun. I felt like a kid again, going out to play with the other kids in the neighborhood.

I had been reticent to go on one these group photo safaris because my camera is a humble point-and-shoot, but it turned out that none of the "real" photographers made fun of me because of this.

Behind the house I found this hubcap in the snow:

And also this chair:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Favorite Photo: Happy accident

I took this photo of my friend, Tamara, in New York City in March of 2001. It was Tamara's fist time in the city. She was sent to New York for a meeting and I went along to keep her company.

This photo was taken with my old 35mm film camera. I lifted the camera up to my eye and shot quick as Tamara walked toward me. My idea was to get a good candid shot of her. But I worked so quickly that some of the photo is blurred by the camera movement, and it's also slightly tilted.

If I shot this today with a digital camera I'd probably delete it immediately in the camera. And I remember being disappointed with this photo when I got it back from the developer. But then it grew on me, and has turned into one of my favorite photos.

I like the blur and the crookedness. It seems to say something about the pace of the city, as well as something about Tamara - a bit overwhelmed by it all.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Flying time

Time flies. As usual. I don't think I can remember a time in my life when things seemed to be going slowly. At least not any time in my adult life.

Even though I keep expecting things to ease - for my life to become settled and comfortably routine - it seems there's always something I'm working toward. There's always some kind of plan, some goal, or some impossible dream.

I feel like I'm always on the road, but never quite arrive anywhere.

It's going to be a busy Spring:
My second grandchild is due April 15th!
I might or might not begin working on a master's degree in May.
I might go to work for the census.
I might start drumming up business for myself as an organizer.
We're going to have a lot of company.
I'm going to send my manuscript out to small presses.
I plan to go on lots of photo safaris.
We hope to begin our bathroom remodel.
And maybe do some landscaping, too.

And then, ZIP, it will be June & my Benny B. will turn two!


Monday, February 8, 2010

The Hurt Locker

I went to see The Hurt Locker last night, another movie I probably wouldn't have viewed if it wasn't for the fact that it's nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. I never would have guessed that an action movie about war and warriors would appeal to me, but this one sure did.

The Hurt Locker is about three members of a bomb disposal unit in Iraq. And yes, there's lots of action, but it's action that's believable, not the Hollywood blockbuster cartoon type. The Hurt Locker is suspenseful, tense, and completely engrossing. Filmed in a way that seems like a documentary, it's as if you're embedded with this team of men.

This is a movie that's unsentimental, non-cliche', and doesn't try too hard to make a statement or convey a message. It's a movie that leaves you thinking. And still thinking about it the next day. I'm really glad I went to see it.

In addition to being nominated as the Best Picture of the year, The Hurt Locker's director, Kathryn Bigelow, has been nominated as Best Director, and I'll sure be rooting for her. She is one of only four - yes FOUR - women directors to have ever been nominated in this category, and NONE have ever won.

Considering that Kathryn is the ex-wife of James Cameron (director of Avatar) makes this all the more interesting, and makes me root for her all the more!!!

I've now seen eight out of the ten nominated movies, and hope to see the last two sometime soon.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


We went to see Avatar last night, mostly to be in the pop-culture loop, and also because it's an Academy Award nominee, but otherwise I don't think this is a movie I would have bothered to see, and that would have been a good decision.

When we came out of Avatar last night (after THREE hours) I made a vow that no matter what award a movie might have won, if I have a feeling it won't appeal to me I should pay attention to that feeling.

I knew that Avatar probably wouldn't be my kind of film, but gave it a chance because it's so popular, so talked about, the Golden Globe winner, the Oscar front-runner. And yes, it has wonderful, amazing visual effects. But that's about it. The story is flimsy, the characters are one-dimensional caricatures, it's hokey, smug, and at times I felt like I was watching a Saturday morning cartoon show.

And what I disliked about it the most is the way it tried to be a message film but talked down to the audience as if they were 5th graders. (Or maybe that was their target demographic?)

What a shame. What a shame! It could have been so good. The story of the paralized Marine being transported into the body of the alien, and the whole alien world was fascinating. Really good stuff. Great potential. Wasted!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday Treasure: Rocket bank

I've decided to begin a new feature: Tuesday Treasure.

On occasional Tuesdays I'll photograph and write about my most treasured objects, many of which I've just recently taken from packing boxes where they've been stored for the last few years.

This is my rocket bank:

I especially love my rocket bank because it's one of only two toys that survived my childhood. Everything else was thrown away!
I didn't realize it till years later when I wondered where all my toys had gone. I thought they were in my parents basement, but it turns out that every time my dad got fed up with the junk down there, he'd just throw everything away.

Also, sometime in the early 70s, my mom gave my Barbie collection to my cousins - an act I'm still a little pissed about. These were classic Barbies from the early 60s! My Barbies! What a shame.

But at least I still have my rocket bank. It works by pulling back the little bomb on the side, loading a coin in the slot, and then pushing the red button which causes the bomb to shoot the coin into the bank .

What remains of a sticker on the top of the bank once said, "Karmazin employees Credit Union." My mom was an employee of Karmazin, so I'm assuming she got this bank as a perk for opening an account, or something like that.

I'm guessing I've had this rocket since sometime in the mid-60s. It has "ASTRO MFG. Detroit" and a patent number stamped on it, so I wonder if it was unique to the Detroit area?

I doubt it's worth much as a collectible, but I do hope it might be passed down and appreciated as a family heirloom of sorts some day - and not just thrown away as junk!