Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Corner View: "White"

Jane's Corner View this week is "White." Her other participants are listed there too, please take a moment to check them out and enjoy their interpretations of "White."

Went away for a week in December and returned to a buried Saturn station wagon!

The world's longest icicle

Historic New England cemetery in winter

Old barn window, circa 1800

Bellweather, lol. Notice the snow plastered on one side of the bell. Wind was fierce.

The morning after the storm, ice and snow...and white sun

All of the above taken in Maine, the whitest state in the nation with 95% Caucasian populace.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Autumn scenes

Pumpkin happiness

Pumpkin harvest on a New England farm

Fall harvest of apples in New England

Lake Louise fall colors in Georgia

Crisp fall day on a Maine Lake. Yes the colors are naturally that vivid!

Doh! School!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Living in Amerika

Would you believe it is only year ago this week when the bailout crash happened? It was followed in the first week of October by Iceland being the first casualty of the global economic crash. It has been a long year. Now we have this: "Witold "Vic" Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania said, "In a week when we need freedom of speech more than ever, free speech died in Pittsburgh this week." Witness:

This video shows a Pittsburgh G20 Protester being arrested by Military troops on US soil and placed into an unmarked car in front of other demonstrators. I believe that this is a very clear violation of the Posse Comitatus where it states we are not to use our troops against our own citizens. Oops.

Nate B

Reed & Erika (Erika June Christina Laing

Joey Kennedy

Nate B

Photos from the archive

I ran a newspaper in the early part of the decade. I took a lot of photos for my work. A LOT. I enjoyed that part of my job and I miss taking photos of people, now. Kids are the biggest hoot to take pictures of. I'd spend time at the soccer fields or playgrounds taking kids' pictures and then I'd ask their parents for permission to put them in the paper. The town was small and the people knew who I was and what I was doing anyway, and they usually said yes or waved and pointed to their kid.

It's capturing the candid moments that I like. Seeing the expression on peoples' faces, their sadness, worry, or excitement. When you're a reporter and there's an issue that people want to get in the paper or a fair or business event they want promoted, they are very accommodating when you raise the camera. If you are not a reporter and you take photos of people at a fair or an event, people are suspicious. And taking photos of kids these days for no reason other than to enjoy the artistic qualities of innocence is not as valid to a parent. The press pass IS a pass, from suspicion to credibility.

That leaves still shots and landscapes photos of grass and trees and flowers...which you have seen a lot of on my blog lately, lol.

So I spent time last night looking through my archive of photos taken when I was stumping around Gray Maine as a reporter, covering ribbon cuttings and fairs and school events and parades...people.

I was struck in this photo of the faces and the gently fluttering ribbon. The man cutting the ribbon opened his furniture store in 1976 and today it is still a family owned and run business. His daughter is the woman in the black dress standing next to him. A two-generation, thirty-year small business is a miracle of fortitude and grit and I admire it. Businesses like these are the backbone of America and all that is right with it.

This store in Gray, Maine had grown from 2000 sf to 40,000 sf. over thirty years' time. I see the pride on the owner's face, and the happiness of his daughter. The smiles of accomplishment of small business in America is what this photo is about, and it is contained on the faces of those people who have vision and persistence.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

We all have seeds of faith, and the Holy Spirit waters them

I wrote a fable a few years ago, before I was saved. I was raised in an atheist/lapsed Catholic home where church was not an activity we participated in. However, as a child, then as an adult, I always adhered to the internal feeling I had that there is immutable right and wrong, good and evil, black and white, truth and lies. I was forever getting yelled at. "Stop being so dogmatic!" I was told. "Everything is not black and white! There's gray!" I didn't buy it. Of course, the seed that He planted within me eventually blossomed into salvation. The one Truth is Jesus. There IS black and white. Hallelujah.

I went through some of my artwork from that period and I was struck by how biblical it is. The Spirit must have been working overtime in me. There are biblical allusions, biblical pictures, biblical concepts. I'll share one example, the fable titled "The Shark Tooth and the Rock." [click to enlarge]

Once upon a time there was a shark. He swam the deep, dark waters endlessly, always hungry. He ate and ate, and preyed and preyed. He was always alone, occasionally cursing his lot of loneliness and predation. His fellow ocean dwellers swam away from him scared of his big teeth and his disturbing power. Eventually, the shark died. Soon the only thing left if this shark was its tooth. In the end, the tooth washed up on the shores of the cold ocean in which he swam. One day a little girl was walking the beach. She saw the darkly polished tooth, and picked it up. As she peeped at it in her palm, she wondered, "Was he happy being a shark?"

Once upon a time, there was a rock. He was a big rock, sturdy and strong. He lived through ages and ages and eons and epochs as a well-loved rock. As each age passed, he tumbled the warm waters of the ocean floor with his fellow rocks. Tumbling happily along, now and then he did good work like holding up buildings or making a beach. The eons of tumbling polished him to an even rounder and more pleasing proportion. As he tumbled down from his great size his inner gem-like qualities shone through and he sparkled. One day a little girl was walking the beach and she saw the splendor in this rock. She picked it up and held it warm in her hand. As she gazed at it in her palm, she marveled, "I love this rock."

"Free will means being able to choose the most loving way to be."

I leave it to you to determine the biblical allusions. For me it seems that in my little fable there is a predator endlessly going to and fro seeking whom he may devour; in the end he perished, the cover's 'city on a hill'; the stone's refinement by tumbling in the 'waters' until its inner qualities show; Light; and free will's goal, choosing Love.

All this to say, that the Holy Spirit has an amazing ministry on earth for each and every person on it. Saved or unsaved. What I was doing at that period in my life was create artist books and stories without limits and that allowed the Holy Spirit enough room to work in me. My soul knew that there existed an absolute: absolute truth, justice, right and wrong. My soul knew it. I would not let the world take that little seed of faith out of my hand. Finally, when the Spirit deemed the time was right, it grew. If you feel that things should be 'right' but they aren't, if you feel something is missing from your heart, or that things seem just a little empty and pointless, it is the Spirit talking to you. He is knocking at the door to your heart. He is the living waters that will grow that seed of faith. Will you let Him in?

art notes: paste paper, suminagashi, artisan paper, artist books, real shark tooth scanned, real rock scanned then photoshopped with lens flare.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Corner View: Out the Car Window

Jane over at Spain Daily has a thing going, "Corner View." Each week she issues a theme and we all write about it. Check out her latest Corner View here. The theme this week is "Out my Car Window." Usually the entries go up on Wednesdays but since I just got in on this I am doing this week's theme two days later...hope that's OK.

Lots of cows round these here parts.


Dinner for a turkey buzzard. I took this out my front window while driving, one eye on the bird and the other on the yellow lines.

Some Sundays I get caught by the train on the way to church and have to wait a while.

Leeks on a mower.
An old store from days gone by. Nice front door.
The end!

Old dog too smart for tricks

Wednesday night at church, my 1st grade girl said that for Halloween she's going to be a Lion Tamer. She has the costume and the cape and the lion: her dog, who will be dressed up with a mane. Only problem is, she said,"He won't jump through the hula hoop.'' She holds a treat behind the hoop, he walks around it. She holds hoop up and he walks under it. She sighed, "Oh well, I have a few more weeks to train him." Sounds like a real lion might be easier. This dog won't do a trick for the treat.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Blue, not the feeling. The color. updated

Blue is my favorite color. This is Ode to Blue in my life

Yoga widow in Comer

Vivid blue spring sky at Watson Mill Park

Penobscot bay Maine slate blue ocean and muted blue sky

Stained glass crescent moon in my window

Blue chemtrails over Georgia

Boarded up Blue Barn in Comer

Waiting for the train to pass, shot a car...that was blue!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A big, tricked out golf cart

Florida aswarm with tricked out golf carts
If you ever wondered what the world would look like if we all ditched our cars? Visit the Villages in central Florida, one of the biggest retirement communities on the planet. There are 77,000 retired seniors here, trundling quietly around the golf retirement community on their golf carts. Oh, but don't call them golf carts, Warren Cromer tells the reporter, "They're our second car."

"Designed from the ground up as a golf cart community, it has developed into something even more compelling: a town where cars don't isolate people from each other, but rather bring them together. The diminutive vehicles are the primary mode of transportation for daily life here. Residents can drive them just about everywhere they need to go. They whiz along 87 miles of trails, from the Walmart to the town squares, from the hospital to the archery range. When they have to cross the six-lane US 27/US 441 highway, no sweat—they take the specially built golf cart overpass. ... Integrated into the fabric of a community, the carts cease to be icons of decrepitude and instead become a defining vessel, an icon of a new life."

It is a cute article and very well-written. The photos are a hoot, too. I enjoyed seeing how the carts have driven the design of the retirement community, for example, the overpass. Other places like the suburb Peachtree City in Georgia have been built around the notion of golf carts (AKA electric vehicles or EV's). However, the idea of using golf carts is not new. I stumbled across them when my husband and I sailed to Man-O-War Cay in the Abacos, Bahamas in 1991. Back then, the idea of gas-powered vehicles being banned seemed quaint and backward to us at first. After anchoring at the island for a few days, the peaceful atmosphere finally having cleared our minds, we figured out that the lack of machine noise was a large part of that laid-back feeling. And cars there are not necessary, the island is only 2.5 miles long and hosts only 300 families.

Farmers around here use them all the time, to go on rutted tracks from one barn to another or one part of the farm to another. They get stolen, as in this police report: "On July 27, deputy David Kidd was dispatched to a home on U.S. Highway 29, Danielsville, where an EZ-Go golf cart valued at $1,800 was stolen between July 22 and that day..."

They get regulated: Royston Considers Golf Ordinance. "The City of Royston is considering instituting a golf cart ordinance. Royston Police use a golf cart in their patrols, but many citizens also drive them around town as a gas-saving measure."

Kudos to that Lilliputian chariot! Just don't get carried away like the Floridians in the above article. Some of the more obsessed retirees spend upwards of $20,000 tricking out their humble conveyance. Now, that is a uniquely American idea...rather than use them to farm, or as a cost-saving measure, or because they are quiet and quietude is valued ... spend obscene amounts of money on them. Sigh. Well, using carts as the regular mode of transport ... its a start.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Extolling the virtue of sandwiches

I just ate the best sandwich. Mesquite smoked turkey, home grown tomato, crisp lettuce on fresh rye with mayo. YUM! As I ate my drippy tomato-ey sandwich over a plate, I recalled reading Lawrence Sanders books from the 70s. I was a mere lass of 12 then, when the first book in his detective series "The Deadly Sins" came out in 1972, but I remember being entranced by the expositional detail given in this gritty NYC murder mystery to ... of all things ... sandwiches.

Sanders' main character in The First through Fourth Deadly Sin detective series was Edward X. Delaney. In the middle of a case, Delaney was usually stumped and what helped him think it through was to create the world's biggest sandwiches made of weird concoctions, and eat them directly leaning over his sink. Isn't is strange that I remember the sandwiches for over 37 years. But I do.

In another sandwich high, my sister and I used to vacation from Maine and Rhode Island at our father's condo on Singer Island in Florida. Wandering the palm-lined byways one afternoon, we stumbled upon a new open-air sandwich vendor. This was in the early 80s, and grocery items like sprouts and avocado and pita pockets were new and all the rage. We looked at the extensive sandwich menu and lingered over the possibilities. Finally I settled on a peanut butter and banana and honey concoction. I don't remember what made it so good but I remember it being just the right temperature to make the bread crispy and the peanut butter melty. It was bar none THE BEST sandwich I ever ate or have eaten since.

Sandwiches are portable, they can be lunch or dinner on the go. You can pack them and they take little room in a lunch bag. They can contain all the food groups and are tasty. They can be simple or complicated, neat or messy. What a perfect food!

he story goes, that the word sandwich that we use today was born in London during the very late hours one night in 1762 when an English nobleman, John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792), was too busy gambling to stop for a meal even though he was hungry for some food. The legend goes that he ordered a waiter to bring him roast-beef between two slices of bread. The Earl was able to continue his gambling while eating his snack; and from that incident, we have inherited that quick-food product that we now know as the sandwich. He apparently had the meat put on slices of bread so he wouldn’t get his fingers greasy while he was playing cards. More on the history of the sandwich going back to pre-Christ days, here.

Sandwiches have been featured prominently in movies as well as books. Who can forget Miracle Max's philosophy of life, where he says, "Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the world - except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe ... so perky. I love that."

The famous scene in "When Harry Met Sally" at Katz's Deli where Harry and Sally are eating sandwiches and having a certain discussion, and the scene culminates with an older lady in the next booth pointing to Sally's sandwich and saying "I'll have what she's having" (The woman who utteres the immortal line was Director Rob Reiner's mother by the way). That scene is considered one of the funniest of the last thirty years and for the next thirty years no one could order a sandwich in a deli without laughing. Or moaning.

Who can forget Jack Nicholson's trouble trying to get toast at the diner and having to deconstruct a chicken salad sandwich to get it?

Ahhh. The Noble Sandwich. It is history, it is its own scene in books, it has been its own character in movies. It is more than a meal, it is life! OK, I went overboard there. Gee, researching this post has taken so long and I have done laundry in between that... maybe it's time for another sandwich! I'll have a Miracle Max MLT with True Love on the side.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Things kids imagine

I was subbing today at the elementary school, and at this time we were doing art. This little girl I've known for over a year now is very verbal. I think she was born talking. When it is time to be quiet it is a problem, but when it's OK to talk, I love to listen to her. She is non-stop.

Today the kids were painting fish. She had finished the ocean part blue and was working on painting the inside of her fish pink. The boy across from her painting station said that he was painting his fish's teeth green. Little girl said,

"My fish doesn't have green teeth but her breath is bad. She keeps trying to make it smell good but it keeps on smelling bad. Finally she tried eating strawberries and that worked and her breath smells good now, like perfume. But she had to eat so many strawberries that it made her insides pink. That is why my fish has pink insides."

And that was the story she told to no one in particular as the kids painted happily on this rainy day in a classroom, in a school, in Georgia, in this wonderful world.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cow are you doing?

LOL, rainy scene on the way to church this morning. I loved it.

I don't miss this

NEW ENGLAND: Freeze, frost warnings issued by forecasters

Overnight temperatures are making it clear that fall is just around the corner. The National Weather Service issued freeze and frost warnings for Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, with temperatures expected to dip into the upper 20s in some areas early this morning. Freezing or frost could kill or threaten some crops or outdoor plants if they are left outside uncovered overnight. Photo by Jeanne Adams

I prefer this: weather forecast for today, and the end of the week.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Small Town Living

My town is so quaint. Mayberry-esque if you will. I am talking haunts. I went in the pouring rain to Danielsville this morning to do some errands. They were small, mundane errands but each moment was filled with charm and small town comforts. As I pulled in to the tiny office complex on the north side of town, I saw that the hairdresser's sign, partially obscured by a high-profile SUV, said "Closed For..." but when I looked below the SUV it said "Renovations. Phew! I'm glad. It's nice to see a business renovating and not closing, in this economy.

At the insurance office I had a nice chat with the receptionist behind the window as I paid my renewal with a $20 bill. I noted that it still says "In God We Trust" on the reverse of the bill. I said t her that while a twenty used to buy more, as long as we adhere to the statement, then it'll buy us everything. She liked that and then we talked about what a shame it was that they took God out of the schools.

On to the library where I wanted to look at the newspaper as it was delivered to be the first to scan the employment ads. I am looking for a part-time job, after school or evenings. I did not find the employment ads as the employment section of the classifieds does not exist. Actually, there was no numbered section on in the columns but there were a a few display ads at the bottom of the page. About 8 of them if I recall. This was the Athens paper, a city daily. The same was true for the weekly that was just out. Oh, boy, things are tough.

I did see on the front page that the layout included a nice photo of two of the Friends of the Library volunteers setting up for the book sale. I love it when the library makes the front page of any paper. And coincidentally on the way out I ran into one of the ladies featured in the picture. We had a short chat about how nice it was for the editor to give that kind of prominent placement to the Library. I wished her good luck with the sale and got in the car for my next destination: the Dollar Store.

I needed a birthday card for the teacher in whose room I subbed as para-pro. She is turning 40 tomorrow! I chose a colorful one, and was checked out by a nice and cheerful gal. We had a nice chat about the weather. It was raining pretty good, and how lovely it is to have this refreshing rain that we need so much. She looked me in the eyes as we talked, rare for a checkout situation, but she smiled and said "have a wonderful day." I believe she meant it. Next stop: next door to the grocery store.

I only needed some creamer for my coffee and some eggs. Hmmm, eggs, which had been a stable low price of 85 cents for most of the summer, has gone up to 95 cents. The checkout gal waited patiently for the elderly lady ahead of me to get her checkbook out, and write out the check in quavery hand. The woman only had one bag containing two items but the checkout gal asked the lady several times if she wanted help out to the car. A nicety that hearkens back from days gone by. When it was my turn, she and I talked about food prices, how "everything is going up."

Last stop was the school, to deliver the card. I had intended that the School Secretary could put it in the teacher's box since school was in session and unlikely that the teacher would be out of class, but she was in the office when I got there! I was thrilled to be able to give her a hug. She said that her colleagues had put up a banner and placed a cane against her door this morning, a not so subtle allusion to being over the hill. LOL, we laughed and hugged again. It felt good to be able to wish her a happy birthday in person.

Since it was the middle of a workday and it was raining, traffic, such as it is in Madison County, was light. I arrived back home from my little errands happy to have made personal contact with some nice folks, done my tasks, and mentioned Jesus in public. I live in a nice place and I am grateful to the Lord for bringing me here.