Ah… what a life.
The chair used to sit on the back porch. I put it there where it would be convenient to go out and sit in on the porch or drag out into the yard when I wanted to sit out there with my tea. But it’s a little too small to be comfortable. For an adult human. The cats, however, soon discovered that it’s a perfect cat hammock. It sat there for years, until we got the puppy. It was immediately clear that the chair could not long survive her playful enthusiasm. And the cats didn’t seem to want to hang out on the back porch anymore. So I moved the chair to the front. It has faded in the sun. It used to be a much brighter blue. My little buddy doesn’t care.
These flowers grow all over the countryside this time of year.
When I was a kid I was fascinated with close-up photos of flowers, insects, and other small objects and I was frustrated that my mother’s camera and my first camera could not focus closer than about four feet. As an adult I have owned two 35mm SLRs and I’m now on my third digital camera. I love digital cameras. No worries about “wasting film”. I have hundreds of pictures of flowers. I sometimes think, “Why?” They’re just taking up space on the hard drive. I’m probably going to go through all the pictures and delete a bunch of them. “Someday.”
As to why I keep on taking pictures of flowers, a thought occurred to me as I was uploading these latest flower pictures: Taking a picture of a flower is a substitute for picking it. I get to pick flowers and leave them where they are, to live a little longer. So here are a few of the flowers I “picked” a few days ago.
I took this with my Sony 20X zoom, looking through the small window in my front door. I think I was only zoomed in about halfway.
The most expensive thing we did in Eureka Springs (besides eating at that one restaurant) was to visit the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. It cost $20 per person and I admit I did cringe a bit at having to pay that much but it is actually very reasonable considering the cost of caring for all these big animals. Turpentine Creek is a refuge for animals that someone thought they wanted as pets before they discovered what a handful several hundred pounds of cat can be. It survives on these entry fees and private donations.
Everyone who thinks they want a big cat as a pet should visit this place, see these animals and hear their stories. Some of the cats had been declawed and our tour guide told us about the effects of declawing, which include arthritis. One guy wanted to get rid of his cat (I can’t remember now if it was a lion or a tiger) and just let it go in a national forest 60 miles from his home. It found its way home in a surprisingly short time. There were a couple of bobcats. Many people think because they’re small they will make as good a pet as a house cat but they are wild animals and it is not possible to fully domesticate them.
The long-term pens that the animals live in are more or less the size of a typical suburban back yard. New arrivals are put in much smaller pens with concrete floors until a larger pen is available, which depends on having the money to build one.
There were also a few bears. My heart went out to this guy. The caretaker was trying to fill his pan with water and he kept playing in it and splashing it all out. He was like a big furry child and I wished I could donate a swimming pool for him to play in.
* * * * *
Kelly and family are moving but first they had to have the whole place painted because the previous resident’s color choices just weren’t their style. Personally, I didn’t think the old colors were bad – well, most of them. The kitchen was highly unappetizing and the one dark blue was way darker than I like, though not really bad. The new colors are more classic – light, soothing neutrals and pastels. The kitchen, though still neutral, looks much brighter and friendlier.
Anyway, as I was looking at the photos I thought the “before” looked like an HGTV “after” from back in the day when they still had real decorating shows instead of mostly real estate shows. And that started me to thinking. I’ve always realized that those shows are primarily about selling paint but I didn’t quite get how it really works. I don’t want to sound too conspiracy theorist about this but, see, I always thought it was all about showing people what they could do with their rooms so they would want to repaint but there’s more going on than that. The decorators on those shows (or designers as they like to be called now days) always encourage people to let them paint the walls bold, trendy colors that make most people uncomfortable. But most people prefer neutrals on the walls. The color, if there is any at all, is in pictures and furnishings. So, they paint the walls these bright colors and they know that if the family doesn’t rush to the paint store as soon as the TV crew is gone, in a few years they will move and the next family to live there will repaint the place. So no matter what there’s a guaranteed paint sale.
Even though I like a lot of color myself, and sometimes wish other people were more colorful, it has always annoyed me the way designers on those shows are always pushing people to “go outside your comfort zone” and “don’t be afraid of color”. It’s called a comfort zone for a reason and why wouldn’t you want to be comfortable in your own home? But anyway, I have mixed feelings and if I was a designer I’d probably be exactly like the rest of them – encouraging people to be more colorful.
I thought I’d use this as an excuse to post a picture of my kitchen. This was taken two years ago and it hasn’t been this clean since. I really miss this. I would like to see this every day but we have more stuff than we have kitchen and the most frequently used stuff always sits out on the countertop. The back of the island is actually the same yellow as the walls. It’s washed out in all the photos. I’m not sure but I think my countertops are the same as the ones in the Sedinger’s new kitchen.
Our bird feeders have been very popular the last couple of days. Sunday we had a lot of red wing blackbirds, the first time I had ever seen any on our feeders, but by the next day they had moved on. I took a lot of pictures looking through the small window in our front door but didn’t get any good ones of the blackbirds because it was rather dark Sunday and all the pictures came out blurry. Got several nice pics yesterday but my favorite is this one of a cardinal sitting on our porch rail.
For no particular reason, except I had nothing better to post, I decided to search for “shoes” on Flickr. Here are some of my favorites from the hundreds of pics that came up. (and by “favorites” I don’t necessarily mean that I would wear them, just that they caught my eye)
I kinda want these. And the tights too. (maybe)
Happy shoes. Until you see how much they cost. They’re Louboutins.
A bit strange but wearable (not embeddable)
More happy shoes. Wonder if these come in my size. They don’t look all that comfortable though. No arch support.
(UPDATE: Yes, they do. When I first saw these I thought they were kid’s shoes but I went to the Choose Your Shoes website. They are hand painted Vans. Considering that they are hand-painted works of art the price is very reasonable but too much for me. I always wear holes in the big toe area of canvas shoes so it would be a terrible waste in more ways than one for me to buy a pair.)
These are cute (another not embeddable pic)
And for the finale, something really weird. Why am I not seeing more weirdness? Come on weirdness…
Okay, not really weird weird but definitely different.
Have you ever been looking through old photos and come across one and think, “Wow, that’s really good. I don’t remember that.”? I have had this picture on my desktop for two or three weeks and I decided that I’m tired of looking at ice so I started looking through all my pictures and I found this one that I took at the Tulsa Zoo in July 2010.
So this is what’s on my desktop right now. It’s so nice to be reminded of July in the middle of January.
No, not me silly! The Dress! Actually, it’s probably not the best description of the dress either but I wanted to use that title. [ahem] Anyway…
Last year I had such fun following Anne’s Jungle January but I never thought I would participate. But then I fell in love with these giraffes that I found at eQuilter. (Yes, it’s quilting cotton. I understand that’s considered controversial in some circles? Hmmmm… strange.)
After thinking about it for a little while I decided I wanted to use it for just the front panel of a shoulder seam princess cut dress so I only ordered a yard and a half of it. Then, a few weeks later I was doing my weekly browsing in the local Walmart’s tiny fabric department and found New Look 6209 and instantly knew it was perfect for my giraffes.
I only needed to cut one narrow pattern piece from the giraffes so in order to maximize the amount of leftover fabric I folded it off center. I now have enough to make a summer version of this dress. Or something entirely different. (Please don’t judge my decorating skills. The part of the room you can’t see is even worse.)
Here is the finished dress. (I really just can’t pull off the surly model pose.) I love it and I will use this pattern again. Modifications: I added long sleeves and pockets. (Why can’t designers understand that pockets are not optional?) (I think my tripod wasn’t exactly level. I’m sure I wasn’t really leaning.)
Finally, a Jungle January post calls for a picture of a wild jungle creature. Well… she’s not actually that wild but she can be surly sometimes.
*Welcome to all who come here via Jungle January. This is not a sewing blog but I do post about sewing occasionally as well as other stuff. I hope you will come back again.
UPDATE: Here it is: the latest Jungle January post
I took these photos a little while ago through the small window in our front door, with the camera at near maximum zoom.
The feeder on the left contains sunflower seeds, the one on the right contains thistle seeds, with the suet cake holder in the middle. This feeding arrangement brings us a wide variety of birds year round. We don’t always provide suet cakes in the summer. The greedy little things can gobble one down in only a day or two. Depending on the season, we get cardinals, downy woodpeckers and occasionally red-bellied woodpeckers, sparrows, chickadees, tufted titmice, blue jays, and several different species of finches including goldfinches and purple finches. (which are not really purple at all) I have seen blue birds but only rarely and last summer, for the first time ever, I saw indigo buntings. (That’s our neighbor’s truck and front door in the background.)
I intend to continue my regular Friday series, Quotes From Here and There, since a couple of people seem to like it and it’s sort of fun to do, but I haven’t been doing much Internet surfing to find things to quote, so maybe next week.
For today, here’s another picture.
Do you recognize it? It’s a sewing machine! This was sitting outside one of the shops in Silver Dollar City. Just sitting there outside. If I owned such a thing it would be well cared for and treated like a treasure. But that’s sort of a thing at Silver Dollar City. Everywhere you look they have all these rusty old antiques sitting around like they were abandoned there.
As you can see from the leaves around it, it is very small. I don’t know anything about it – when it was made, etc. I would love to have the chance to handle one like it and have a really good look at it.
This is the day when a lot of people like to look back and reflect on the year. A lot of people will go out and celebrate tonight. Others will stay home but stay up until midnight to “see in the new year.” Me? I can never work up much excitement about it. It doesn’t really feel like a big deal to me. Tomorrow is just the day when I start using the new calendar. It’s not that I don’t like New Year’s Eve and Day. They just feel like pretty much any other day.
The last time it felt like a special event to me was 1999/2000 – the New Millennium. And you know… I don’t really regret that it doesn’t feel special anymore. I’m not much of a party person, especially not the kind of parties most people have for New Year’s, and there’s nothing I want to stay up for on TV. And all that “reflecting on the past year”? Well, I had one Big Good Thing happen – a new granddaughter – but nothing else really stands out in my mind. It was just another year and next year will be just another year. I’m not inclined to either celebrate or think about it a lot. I am looking forward to my new calendars though.
I took this picture a couple of days before Christmas. Today is much nicer.
Here are two gifts that I got from my wonderful sisters-in-law. I love this mug and coaster set. It’s so colorful and cheerful. The mug holds ten ounces, exactly the right size and it has good balance – it feels right in my hand.
Here’s the other side.
And this lovely antique pitcher gives me a little bit of an “I’m not worthy,” feeling. I set it on the table for the picture but it now has a place of honor in my little built in display cabinet, next to my mother’s bowls.
I lived the early years of my life in east Texas. It snowed when I was a toddler, probably about 21 months of age. Of course I don’t remember. I only know that because of this picture.
It did not snow again in the area where we lived until I was 11 years old. It was two inches of wet, slushy stuff and I was just a wee bit disappointed but at least I had finally experienced snow.
The summer I was 13 we moved to northwest Arkansas. That fall, the Sunday night before Thanksgiving, it began to snow. I don’t remember whether it was my mother or I who first noticed it. For a minute we didn’t believe it. We had to be wrong. Snow in November? Impossible! But then we realized it really was snowing and we both were positively giddy. Mom was as delighted as any kid.
The next morning I walked to school (several blocks) in six inches of light, powdery snow. This was the real deal, the snow of Christmas cards and ski vacation ads. We would later learn that snow in November is a little unusual for the northwest Arkansas/northeast Oklahoma area but we would enjoy many more snows, even, one year, a White Christmas. We were even delighted by the ice storm we had one year – the sparkling beauty of trees covered in a layer of ice – and we fearlessly went out walking around taking pictures.
Now? I am less thrilled by snow. Yes, it’s still pretty but people have to go out and drive on it and walk on it and sometimes people get hurt. And it’s cold. I don’t like to be cold. And it’s messy, especially when it starts to melt. It’s just a big inconvenience. But I remember when snow was delightful. There are still moments. There was a moment this morning when the sky was a wonderful golden peachy color, casting that light all over everything, and the world was just beautiful. But I don’t wish for snow anymore and when it comes I always hope it will go away soon. You may say, if I really want to still find snow delightful I can. I just have to adjust my attitude. But no, I can’t. Not completely.
(The picture was taken near my grandmother’s house. The little house in the picture was a neighbor’s house. It was red. My mom said I loved the shoes I was wearing in this picture. I still think they’re they’re pretty cute.)
What is it with cats and cardboard boxes? Even big cats are attracted to them.
It’s like magic. Cats become the best behaved creatures on cool rainy days.
Actually, Three (on the right) is always well-behaved. Dax (named after a character on Star Trek:DS9) usually can’t be still in the house. All she wants to do is either eat or sit on my lap and if she can’t do either she walks around the house, occasionally making a bone-chilling yowling noise. But on cold and/or rainy days she becomes a normal cat.
‘Tis a dark and stormy morning. So here are a few storm pictures from Flickr. Other people’s, not mine.
Oops. I sort of dropped the ball on this silly little series. Anyway, here’s another one.
My mother-in-law gave me this little refrigerator magnet. It measures about three inches across. When I first saw it I didn’t like it. Pink sheep?* So not my style and the little weather thermometer is too small to read. (And I have mixed feelings about refrigerator magnets anyway. I often see them that I like, and I have several on my refrigerator, but I would really prefer a completely uncluttered refrigerator door.) But I put it on the refrigerator just to be nice, thinking I wouldn’t have to be stuck with it for very long. In a year or two it could “get lost”.
But it stayed. I can’t say when I started to like it. I got used to seeing it every day, and now, more than 20 years later, I can’t imagine my kitchen without it.
*UPDATE: Well, this is embarrassing. I guess it really is supposed to be a dog. I don’t know how I thought it was a sheep all these years. Because I’m not a dog person I guess. But I’m not a sheep person either so… I don’t know. I want my sheep back.
In every home there are many insignificant things that are not really so insignificant.
I was in the Hancock Fabrics store in Tulsa… oh, it must have been over ten years ago now. The woman in front of me at the checkout had this little pin cushion box which she had picked up from a sale bin but the store clerk told her it had been put there by mistake and was not on sale. The customer immediately decided she didn’t want it. She was nice about it; she didn’t even seem disappointed. She had only picked it up because it was on sale.
The store employee set it aside while she finished checking her out and I had a couple of minutes to stand there and look at the unwanted item and when it was my turn I picked it up and put it with the rest of my stuff. I sort of needed a new pin cushion. The one I had was shaped like an apple and the stem pulled out to reveal an attached three-foot tape measure, which of course was totally useless, and the whole thing was top-heavy and wouldn’t sit upright.
This little box is poorly made. As you can see in the picture the lid doesn’t fit right. It has little wooden feet that all came off one at a time. I glued them back on and they have stayed ever since. But it makes me happy. I like the cheerful yellow paisley fabric and I like that it’s a box to put little things in. I suppose I don’t have a great emotional attachment to it. If I found a much better one I might give this one up. Maybe. A thing doesn’t have to be very good or very special to make one happy.
Well, you know what day it is. I’m just going to post this photo again. I took it in 1982 when we were in New York. I like the way the towers are barely visible in the haze. Like ghost towers. Or like a memory.
I took this picture Sunday afternoon.
Yesterday she went for the big, important vet visit. She didn’t seem especially bothered by the whole ordeal.
After we have had a few weeks of rainy weather we always experience a wild mushroom population explosion and I can’t stop taking pictures of them. I don’t know the name of any of these.
These are the largest. The one on the right is about the size of a dinner plate.
Here’s a cluster of small ones, near golf ball size.
I like these hairy ones, also fairly small.
This one with the interesting, subtle pattern is about grapefruit sized.
And this beauty is about six inches across.
These are all from my phone. I didn’t take my real camera, which is very strange, I know, but I thought about it and decided that I didn’t want to have to take a bigger purse and I probably wouldn’t see all that much that I wanted to take pictures of anyway. And, of course, I have my phone so…
This is the amusement park. We didn’t even walk through it. I think this was taken from the 3rd level.
One of the more interesting things in the MoA is the Lego Store. It’s situated in the middle of the walkway, like a giant kiosk, on the lower level and it has it has all these giant Lego sculptures above it, that are best seen from the levels above the store.
Here are some more Lego sculptures.
Elsewhere on our trip – Iowa has the nicest rest stops of any of the dozen or so states we’ve visited. Not only are they spacious, light, and clean, they have also gone to some effort to make them attractive and interesting. Here’s the one we stopped at on the way up.
And here’s the one we stopped at on the way back. This one has some very nice tile murals of rural Iowa scenes inside.
I think the area of Iowa and Missouri that we drove through would be a good route for an old-fashioned road trip – the kind where you just drive without much of a schedule to get in the way and you just stop at whatever looks interesting. In Iowa we saw a sign for the “Covered Bridges of Madison County”. There is quite a bit of touristy stuff in Missouri – mostly just “tourist trap” kind of things but a lot of it that I would like to stop and look at. There were a couple of quilt shops. There was a really cute sign for one that said, “Scream until your husband turns the car around.” There were lots of antique shops and a large “Pecans and Gifts” store that I was sort of interested in. None of them are the kind of destination things that you plan on going to but if you weren’t in a big hurry to get somewhere you could make a pleasant trip of just stopping and looking at those places.