More of my town

Can ya’ll stand more photographs of me walking around my hometown?

I’ve come up with a winter plan to keep myself active during the winter months.  It’s a bit too cold to tackle the walk to work in the morning, so I’ve taken to lots of layers and a roundabout circuit to get home.  Tonight, I expanded into new territory.

There is a leather restoration shop perched mid-way up one of our more impressive hills.  It’s another of Waukesha’s rather unique old stone buildings – and someone took their artistic flair to decorate the…well, I think…basement windows.

There are three mini-murals here…one in each of the window-wells.
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This is my favorite of the trio:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waukesha, especially the downtown area, has a serious love and appreciation of artistic expression…coupled with little bits of quirkiness.  I’ve had this store sign shot in my phone for months – it’s about time I shared it, no?
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And my last bit of this evening’s walk was this shop.  I’ve marched past it many, MANY times, as it’s right on Main street…this is the first time I’ve actually stopped to capture some shots to share.  Me likey what I see…

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Yes, that is a full window display of coffee cups.  And the sign?

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yup…we’re a nest of artistic appreciation in this town.

 

 

 

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Shopping Madness and Avoidance

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Etsy developed a new platform for offering sales for their sellers and their customers – so I decided to offer my first ever sale this weekend.

We’re having a SALE!

So, if anyone out there wants to electronically finger the wares in my shop – I’m offering 15% off with a minimum of $45.

 

No charge for window shopping 😀

In slightly related news – someone put together a compilation video of the Black Friday madness.  Why anyone would think this crush of humanity well-steeped in greed is FUN is beyond me.  You couldn’t drag me to one of these events even if you pressed a gun to my head.

I had a very nice Black Friday – I did abandon my goal to become a hermit because it was sunny and slightly warm.  I took a looooooooong 3 mile walk around the Fox River with my camera and my iPod for company.  Here are some of my favorite shots:

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Winter is Coming

Ice on Fox River

the river has started to ice up just a bit

I’m in a quandary, here.  It’s been really, REALLY cold in the mornings.  Too cold to hoof it in to work.

But I miss my walks.  I miss all the little landmarks – the river, the Big Sky, the rubberized ground on the playground.

Big Sky

THIS is what made me name my new landmark Big Sky

I also miss the solitude of that afternoon walk.  It’s a perfect break between work and home…35ish minutes where I’ve got the iPod blasting in my ears and I can ignore the world while moving around within it, lost in whatever song I’m pounding the pavement to, or working out whatever shit is currently rolling around in my brain.

More importantly, I’m concerned that, if I spend the entire winter in my car, I’ll lose some of the stamina that got me all those miles over the summer.

So, what’s a chilly girl to do?

 

I’ve decided to take … the long way home.  I park the car, and go up the street instead of down toward the front door.  I get to float past some of my favorite storefronts, down to the highly decorated river walkway, and all along the river behind the main downtown area.

So far, the path I’ve sketched out is about 3/4 of a mile…nowhere near the 3+ I was doing in the summer, so I plan to extend it out a bit.

And, as a bonus, I get some pretty cool dusk shots.

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Fox River Walkway

Full Moon

I got mooned 😦

 

All for Maggie…

 

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This has to be, hands down, my favorite black & white shot.

 

The SQO and I were out walking the tracks on a spring afternoon.  Why?  ‘Cause it was something to do…a way to leave the 4 apartment walls behind, and amuse my photography muse.

Actually, I think there was a bit more to it.  He might have been looking for a new backdrop for photos of the band.  He might have seen the photos I took of the graffiti in that area.  He might have even been just ‘in the mood’ for a walk.

Anyway….

 

I do remember taking a bunch of shots.  Somewhere in that photo session, I inadvertently set the camera to greyscale, and squeezed off – among other things – this shot.  When I got it off the camera?

 

Yea…shocked…but very, very pleased.

 

This shot has gone all the way to Amazon.  It’s the cover for the SQO’s book:

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Denial is More than a River in Africa

a 20161204_190027.jpgSunday morning, I woke early, went downstairs, plunked myself down in front of my work station, grabbed a pair of pliers, and started opening rings.

I had a dude to finish, a tassel to put on my chainmaille mala, and I was itching to start on a new whirly project.

I glanced out the window at the rising light, and saw…to my horror…

little white flakes falling out of the sky.

OK…it’s December in Wisconsin.  I’ve had the big coat in use for about a week now, and pulled the heavy boots out of the closet.  My scarf and gloves were right where I left them (in the arm and pocket of the big coat, respectively), and in good shape.  All the winter-wear was assembled are ready for action.   I should be ready for this, right?

 

Sooooo wrong.  I fight the first snowfall each year, usually by refusing to believe that the white stuff drifting in lazy spirals from the heavens above is actually there.

Ok…I fight MOST snowfalls this way…

Nobody does Denial better than me when it comes to the White Menace.

So…contrary to what you may have heard on the news, your local and/or international weather program, or what I can see when I look out the windows…none of that non-existent white stuff fell from the sky in the city of Waukesha on Sunday…nor was there any accumulation of the aforementioned imaginary frozen/air-puffed di-hydrogen monoxide on my car, the sidewalks, the street, or any nearby rooftops or tree branches.

But you gotta admit – for an atmospheric/precipitation-ish event that doesn’t exist…it was kinda pretty…

In unrelated news not regarding freak weather patterns – my street was home to another running event today – the 5k Santa Run.

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I got to see (and hear) a veritable gaggle of people dressed in red & green running, walking, whooping and hollaring their way up my street – all while I and Mariko stayed nice & warm and dry.

(the blue car in the photo is mine…notice the ‘not’ accumulation of white stuff on the windshield?)

 

 

 

Other events over this holiday season in Downtown – an ugly Christmas Sweater contest (and I got a doozy for that one!), horse-drawn carriage rides, an art crawl, a breakfast workshop with Santa, savings cards for all the downtown merchants, and even a ‘selfie-window-decoration’ contest for those visitors to the area.

I LOVE this downtown area – from Friday Night Live all summer long, to a huge Farmer’s Market, to the Christmas season – the merchants and denizens who live above them show a wonderful sense of community spirit that you just don’t find many places in the states, anymore…we CARE about this little piece of the Earth we inhabit, and it shows.

Love your friends.  Love your neighbors.  Mostly…love the little slice of the Planet you’ve put down your own roots.

Well wishes to all my internet friends from my tiny patch of dirt on these shortest days of our solar year.

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On Funerals and Seating Arrangements

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Everything has its season.  You start out all fresh & shiny and new – then that little thing we like to call time happens.

The shine dries out.

The leaves start to droop.

The aroma begins to fade…

Smooth goes to gritty.

Soft becomes hard.

The stitching starts to fray…

My computer chair has finally breathed its last.

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The poor old dear has been showing her age.  The seat cushion has lost it’s cush.  The casters feel gritty when they roll across the floor.  The pleatherette has faded to a dusty blackish-grey, crossed all over with fine pressure lines.  The back is pebbled with tiny claw holes.

 

Flowing across the entire surface, the criss-crossed scrapes, scars, and tears combine into a roadmap of the journey I and my chair have traversed together.

 

 

We’ve been through a lot.   She originally resided in the office of a dance studio in downtown Waukesha, where she was loved furiously by the owner’s (then) 3 year old daughter.  She’s sit and spin, giggle, spin, giggle, spin and giggle, often rubbing the chair’s corners against the wall in her youthful zeal.  I received this affection-abraded chair from the owner when he closed his shop- my only cost being to love the chair as much as his daughter had.

The chair and I have been through photo editing for several bands.  We embarked on learning to manipulate images, first with the free online editors, later investing in Photoshop. We’ve conducted hundreds of Photoshop experiments, both successful and not, worked together to develop my photographer’s eye, learned origami, glass etching, wire wrapping and chainmaille.  We’ve created announcement banners for my vaping group, a couple of graphic ideas for business cards, and watched the increasingly downward spiral of politics in this country.

We’ve laughed and cried over various social media outlets – Facebook, ECF, VF, SpaceCiggies and Google+, and researched the hell out of Keto before tentatively dipping the first hesitant toe into the diet waters.  One day, we vowed to figure out what good Pintrest does for the world.

I was on this chair when I heard of my sister-in-law’s death as a result of a heart infection, and my Grandmother leaving us at the age of 92.  It officiated over the purchase of 3 different cameras, and supported me when I finally upgraded to that damnable smart phone.

It has been THE place to sit whilst I compose flash fiction, and my perch when starting this blog & my Etsy shop.

This chair has additionally survived my 3 moves, 1, 2 and then 4 cats, and the great flea & bedbug invasion of 2015.

No wonder she started to act like a cranky old Auntie…I’ve put her through more drama than a piece of furniture ‘aught to have to survive.

The hydraulics started gasping their final tortured breaths about a month ago.  I’d lean back, and the chair would sink rapidly.  I’d be working at the computer, and realize I wasn’t as high as I used to be.

Last week, the old girl could no longer support me.  I’d sit, and immediately sink.  She’d spring back up once I vacated her seat.

Yesterday – she dropped for good, the hydraulics no longer giving even a hint of pressure.

She lived a full life.  A good life.  Time now for her to rest.

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The funeral will be Friday, at dusk, in the Rusting Dumpster Cemetery, located behind my building.  Flowers, a candle in vigil, or good vibes appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In a (not-so) surprising twist  –  I would also like to announce the birth of a clean, cushy, bouncing baby new chair and play-palace (that thing we humans call a box)  for the cats.

Once Mariko allows me to get INTO the box, that is…

 

 

 

 

Cycle of life, huh?

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 *R*I*P*