Friday, October 31

Happy Halloween

I found out during my "pumpkin selection" a few weeks ago, that the stem is one of the most important parts of the pumpkin when determining if it was worthy for me to bring home.
It needs to have character!
I saw the stem on this one and right away decided I had to have it, even if it meant carrying a large, heavy pumpkin all the way home from the farmer's market to which I'd walked.

I'm glad I did!
Happy Halloween to all of you!

Tuesday, October 28

trick or treat?

It's nearing Halloween time again. We don't have a great track record with this holiday. The first year of our marriage, we spent the evening at Border's to avoid the trick or treaters in our apt complex. (I know, real festive of us) The next year we were in our new condo and forgot it was halloween. We were completely unprepared for a knock at the door by a little boy all dressed up. I remember frantically searching the cupboards for something to hand him (other than a can of soup or boxed rice mix), but before I could find something and open the door, he gave up. Year number three we decided to turn out our outside light as to avoid the debacle from the previous year. And now, here we are, year four and we're not going to be in our own place for halloween. Even if we were, we live on a third floor apartment that requires getting buzzed in for access. I doubt we'd be seeing any treaters anyways. But in the spirit of the holiday I thought I'd post some of my "ghostly" images.

Friday, October 24

too quickly

Anticipation is a funny thing. It's so exciting before something actually takes place and then all of a sudden, after it's over, you find yourself missing the anticipation of it.

That's how last night was for me.

After riding the El into the Clark and Lake stop to meet M at work, we went around the corner and grabbed a quick bite at Corner Bakery for dinner. (Roasted Tomato Basil soup...yum!) Then it was off to Michigan Avenue to locate Columbia College where the lecture was being held. We arrived a few minutes before it started, just in time to snag two remaining chairs beside each other. It was a small gallery room (apparently the lecture hall had been double booked) and it quickly filled to standing room only. It was enjoyable to listen to Daniel Dixon speak of his mother and father (Maynard Dixon, famous painter) and to see her work through his eyes. It was a unique experience for a child growing up, to say the least.

When it was over, about an hour in, he stood up for questions. M looked at me and asked if I had any questions. I shrugged my shoulders, not at all having prepared for the possibility of questions (I've gotten rusty after being away from college!). I think we both figured someone would asking something! The room was silent and before I could really contemplate a question, he was sitting back down and people were beginning to disperse. I stood (more like hovered, actually) around him for about 10 minutes waiting to get the chance to shake his hand and say, "Thank you." I found out I was too timid for this task, as older people kept somehow nosing in front of me each time I thought I'd catch his eye to address him. After thanking his wife, who did some of the reading of DL's quotes, I gave up and ventured through the rest of the exhibit. M was very kind to indulge me and was patient, letting me look at prints and point out things.

Of course on the train ride home, we thought of many questions that could have been asked and we both expressed how we wished we could have listened to him longer. There's something about a first hand account, an oral history, if you will, that is intriguing. Eventually, the first hand accounts are gone, which drives my appreciation for them. We've lost our love for oral history... we write things down in books and that's that. But listening to it, from someone who has been there seems irreplaceable. And so I regret not having a question ready last night, because I think had just one person asked just one question, more might have come and we might have gotten an even deeper sense of what the world of Dorothea Lange was like.

What I wonder now...
1. What was it like to work with Ansel Adams? What differences did you see between his approach to work and your mother's?
2. How did growing up in an household with two artists shape your childhood and how you view the arts today? Was it intimidating to have such talented parents?
3. Did your mother have a favorite camera?
4. Do you have a favorite picture?
5. What do you think she would say of photography today?

It's so much easier after the fact. (sigh)

Thursday, October 23

minolta SRT-101

Isn't it pretty? Okay, maybe you're not as enthralled with old cameras as I am.
But's beautiful, yes?

And, yes, I am sometimes sentimental, hence why my Grandpa's name tag remains on the camera.

Wednesday, October 22

brushing up on dorothea lange

Today I took a brief lunch break to briskly walk to the library and pick up the four books I'd put on hold Monday evening. It's getting quite chilly out. Tomorrow night M is accompanying me to a lecture on Dorothea Lange, given by her son (who was born in 1925, I might add) at the Museum of Contemporary Photography downtown. I forget how I stumbled upon it, but I realized it was free and quickly marked it on my calendar last month. I figure if we're going to live in the city, we better take advantage of all it has to offer or else I'll regret it once we're no longer here.

In case you need a refresher course on Dorothea Lange, she's most famous for her work during the depression of migrant farmers and their families. Remember seeing the one of the mother and children, aptly named Migrant Mother? That's her.

So tonight I will curl up with my books and brush up on DL before the lecture tomorrow evening! Fun!

PS: This is only serving to renew my love for black and white photography.
That and the fact that I took my Grandpa's old Minolta SRT-101 out today.
The click of the shutter and the manual advancing of film is such a delight! More on that later...

Monday, October 20

getting stuck, momentarily

Last week, I was cleaning up in anticipation of my cousin coming to visit and as part of that clean up, I was taking out the trash. Stepping out onto our back porch I placed the bag on the floor (to be taken down to the dumpster at a later time) and released the door from my hand in order to walk over to the railing and soak up some afternoon sun. After sufficiently warming in its rays, I grasped the handle and tugged the door open. Only, it would not open. I then realized I had not "unlocked" the latch on the screen door. At first glance, this may seem like a small problem, as the landlord works just downstairs and could easily let me back in. A quick look around the back porch reveals another door that accesses the stairs leading down. This we keep dead bolted at all times. So, that means I was stuck on a small back porch of trash bags, between two locked doors and no way of getting anywhere. I stood there for a minute or two thinking, "I did NOT just do this. I did NOT just do this." (To compound the issue I had just put a pot on the stove to boil eggs) In one desperate attempt to get back in, seeing no other way, I grabbed the screen door handle and pulled with all my might. "CLICK" It sprung open and I quickly ran inside, breathing a sigh of relief while considering just how little the lock on the screen door actually does! Next time, I think I'll take my keys with me!

PS: On the right of this picture you can see the table I had previously mentioned.

Thursday, October 16


Today's post is just a fun one. I stumbled across a website called Wordle this week. You can upload text to it and then create these "word bubbles" using different formatting and fonts and colors. It's quite entertaining. Some people have done it based on the recent presidential debates, while others upload parts of books, songs etc. Here's an example based on this blog:

Wednesday, October 15

evening in selenium tones

Last night I had some spare time after dinner and decided to try some pictures from our back porch. Or is it a deck if you're on the third floor? I'm not quite sure. The weather was great last night, we opened up our windows and let it cool off the apartment to a nice 70 degrees (it had been 75 at one point earlier this week). It's amazing that just a few drops in temperature can feel so different.

We have a broom out on our back porch which I use now and again to brush away the little pieces of crumbled brick that appear from time to time. My guess is that some birds like to sit on the piping that comes out of the roof overhead, because every so often I find their droppings on the wooden slats below. Up against the wall is, I believe, what used to be a functional table that could fold down to be used for dining. It has over time been painted with various coats of paint, so many in fact, that it is permanently stuck to the wall. There are times when I'm tempted to pull with all my might to see if it will release itself from the layers of paint, but then I get scared that I'll break it and since it is not our place, I refrain. But that doesn't mean I don't day dream about sitting out there on a cool night, watching the traffic go by and the visitors come and go from the retirement community behind us, while sipping on hot tea on a cute little fold out picnic table.

Tuesday, October 14

a windy day

At one point last week I watched the wind blow through the branches of a tree that nearly reaches to my kitchen windows. I'm actually looking forward to the cooler temperatures these winds bring, but ask me about this again mid January, and I can assure you I will be longing for the sun again.

This tree has also been featured in past postings, here.

Friday, October 10


It's a chai tea kind of Friday. I pulled out the cute little bee house teapot that my coworkers bought me for my birthday this past January and whipped up some chai on the stove. Yum!

(PS: I love the Bee House teapots... such cool designs)

Thursday, October 9

peach crisp

Remember those peaches I talked about a few entries back? Well, yesterday I got the urge to make peach crisp for dessert. Once again, I traded white flour for whole wheat flour. I can tell more of a difference with this recipe than others, and would probably suggest sticking with white or doing half and half.

Peach Crisp
Fill pie plate with sliced peaches (I used about 3)
Sprinkle with cinnamon

1 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 c melted butter (one whole stick)

Mix all ingredients together, pat dough over top of peaches. (It may seem at first harder than it is, but once you start really patting things down, it does cover it all)

Bake at 350 F for 30-40 mins

Note: This can also be made with apples

Monday, October 6

in the backyard

It's quiet today, and I'm taking it easy.
Here are some film shots of my old backyard I found a while ago,
when I was rooting through past photos.

Friday, October 3

banana bread

The banana bread turned out marvelously and I thought I'd share with you my recipe. It's my mom's recipe with a few slight tweaks to make it a bit "healthier." Or so I like to think. Admittedly, the applesauce was a substitution for vegetable oil because half way into making it, I realized I was out! But it turned out nicely and now I think I'll stick with it.

1 1/4 c whole wheat flour (instead of plain white flour)
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c applesauce (this is in place of veg oil)
3 ripe bananas
2 eggs

Sift dry ingredients, beat eggs, mash bananas and add applesauce, combine all ingredients together and pour into greased baking pans. Bake at 350 F for about 35 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. Yum!

A little secret:
You can freeze bananas whole after they get ripe if you don't have time to be making bread right then.
I just put the whole thing in the freeze and pull it out the day I want to whip up a batch.
I let it thaw (or pop it in the microwave for a bit) and then snip off an end and squeeze out the "mush!"

Also, the stars you see hanging are handmade Moravian stars.
Takes a bit to get the hang of making them, but once you do, they're quite fun and easy!

Thursday, October 2


Okay, Autumn, I'm ready for you. Bring your cooler temperatures and your brisk winds. I've pulled out my scarves, vests, jackets and wool socks in preparation. But, um, Autumn? Please don't get too cold because all I have left are knitted hats and mittens and I was really hoping to save those for when Winter came around.

PS: That lovely scarf keeping my neck snugly warm is thanks to my dearest friend, Kristin.

PPS: I just discovered a flash setting on my camera, which allows the flash to be released both at the initial opening of the shutter as well as at the very end, creating two frozen images with a blur in between. Fun! Fun!

Edited to add: I just put some banana bread in the oven.
I love how cooler weather makes baking all the more enticing.

Wednesday, October 1

my sink

Some mornings I wake up and close my eyes tight,
wishing with all my might
that little elves came in the night
with soap and towels to wash all my dishes,
just right.

But it is not so,
for when I look upon my kitchen sink
it is still quite a fright.