Coloring Within the Lines

I’ve been busy with the little piece of demon-tech I call my phone.  I still maintain having a toler/hate relationship with the plastic bastard…but he does have a bit of charm.

It’s all in his lens.

The leaves are turning here in guitar-town.  I figured I’d share a bit of pretty with you guys today…

A color through the windscreen

 

 

My pictures are still ‘prune-y’

I manage to take a shot like this a couple of times a year.  There’s just something about the wooziness of water on the glass of the windshield of my  car that screams “YES” to my photographic eye.  I love the way the water wrinkles the shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Rust and red leaves

 

 

 

Before you get the thought that everything is wet & gloomy, however…here’s another favorite of my settings.  The iron fence surrounding the big cemetery in town always provides an interesting foreground when fall colors come out.

 

 

 

 

 

A Black berries

 

 

Someone with more knowledge of plant life is gonna have to tell me what these berries are.  They’re pretty to look at, contrast nicely against the pink leaves, but I’ve no idea what they’re called…outside of photogenic…

 

 

 

 

 

 

a Tall grasses

 

The people who planned out the decorative elements of the Fox River Walkway loved this prairie grass – it’s everywhere.  It grows long and proud up here, and gives the walkway users a touch of separation between the walk and the downtown parking areas.  It also photographs nicely when backed by the sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Through the Ring

 

 

 

 

Decorative iron is so much fun to use in photography.  This is also taken along the Fox River Walkway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a heart in spiderweb

 

Am I the only one who see the heart in the middle of this spiderweb?  I’m guessing if the spider who wove this had more time, and good command of the English language, he’d have finished with with an “I” above the center, and “Flies” underneath.

 

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An Outing on an Outing

the-steaming-cup-at-the-farmers-market

One of the things I love about living smack in the middle of downtown is being able to walk all over the downtown area without having to worry about traffic, parking and all the headaches that come from having to drive to the downtown area.

It also means the local farmer’s market is JUUUUUUST down the street 😀

I usually go down there, get some fresh cheese curd, various veggies I’m gonna use for the week, and stop for my brat-breakfast (brat, kraut, spicy mustard, nekkid (no bun)).  I also grab something bakery for the SQO, and any other odds or ends that strike my fancy.  (found a fantastic smoked tomato sauce a couple of weeks ago, and the DIL almost drooled when she found some pickled okra).

I always finish my Saturday market excursion with a stop at my favorite coffee place for a good cup of cold brew:  The Steaming Cup.

Here’s a longer shot of the building in the background…it’s the building with the conical top on the corner:

Downtown Summer 2016

This morning, when they took my order & gave me the number to hang on to…I was stunned.

 

50 outing

 

 

HowInHell did they know I hit the big Five-Oh???

 

 

 

I feel so….’outed.’

Murder in the Concrete Jungle

You get a lot of time to think when you’re pounding the pavement.  Sometimes I just mouth the words to whatever song is blasting away on my iPod.  Sometimes I mull over a string of numbers (work numbers, keto numbers, financial numbers, etc…).  And sometimes, I have long, in-depth conversations with the various voices in my head…just to work shit out.

Sometimes, it’s the only intelligent conversation I have all day…

For a while now, I’ve called this little stretch of my walk the Cathedral.

 

It’s nothing that special, really.  The owners of this particular piece of property decided to plant bushes all along the boundary of their lot.  Those plantlings did what greenery does, and grew – eventually getting tall enough to clasp branch-hands with the trees on the median.  For the entire spring & summer, the branches have been trimmed back over the sidewalk so people don’t have to push through the bush to get where they’re going – but they haven’t trimmed more than that.

 

It’s a landmark on my journey where I stop for just a moment, and breathe a huge sigh of relief.  It’s here that I get out of the hot sun and soak in a little shade.  In my head, this little canopy is the ‘official’ boundary between the industrial leg and the park leg, and marks where I’m ‘officially’ on the way home.

But this morning – I walked up to the Cathedral in horror.

 

LOOK AT WHAT THEY DID!

Cathedral 5

 

The Cathedral has fallen!  Those murdering bastards BUTCHERED it!

**SOB**

I got half a mind to march up to the door and give ’em a serious piece of the mind I’ve got left.

…Deep breath…calm and focus…oh yea, that’s right…I don’t do confrontation…

Cathedral 6

Upon closer inspection of the carnage, I can kinda/sorta understand why the bushes had to come down.  Looks like they were tangling up the power or cable lines running to the house.

 

But still….SLAVERING HEADBLIND SOULLESS BASTARDS KILLED MY LANDMARK!

OK…I feel slightly better now…

Couldn’t they have allowed just ONE more Autumn display of color that I could aim my camera at before the wholesale slaughter ensued?

Cathedral 3

 

 

 

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Golden

I ran across Dutch Goes the Photo’s Tuesday challenge.  His word of the week?  Golden.

 

Have I got a golden shot?  Abso-freaking-lutely.  And a story behind it, as well.

Dawn Photos 004

This shot was taken in August of 2010, in the midst of my high priestess time.  I call it that, because I was in a studio apartment in the middle of downtown, was walking all over the place to keep the walls from closing in on me (studios are, by their very designation…SMALL living spaces), and had just realized what a wonderful energy the Fox River generated at the small dam visible from my unit’s windows.

Yea, I was drunk on the vibe and the freedom I had acquired by the move and the ending of my 12 year marriage.

Prior to the taking of this shot, I didn’t consider photography a viable art form.  You didn’t do anything to produce the image, after all, except push a button.  The gadget did all the damn work.

This shot was taken on a cheap point & shoot camera.  It was one of a series I took in the early AM.  I have to say, this wasn’t the shot I went out to take that morning (that composition didn’t gel in the slightest), but was one last click taken as I was headed back to my building.

This is the photograph that changed my mind on the photographic arts, turning me from a cynic of the art form into an active participant.  And though I cycle through artistic expressions (in my half-century above the ground, I’ve written, painted, drawn, carved, etched, sculpted, sewn, braided, photographed, photoshopped, and made interesting things with bits of metal), photography is still pretty high up on my list of ‘I’m bored…what can I do today?’ projects.

I even wrote up my story about the dread pink menace earlier in this blog:  Oops..I broke the Dawn  

 

 

The Concrete Jungle

Took a new route home from work the other day.

I started out like I usually do – down the industrial leg.  The cemetery did some judicious tree-trimming along their fence, so I no longer have to dodge the long boughs to get through. More sunshine and less shade make that stretch just a bit hotter though – so it’s one of those give & take situations that everyone over the age of 12 has learned to adjust to.

 

Instead of heading all the way down the industrial leg, I took a slightly sharp right turn into a residential area…in search of more trees.  More shade.  A bit more breeze.  Plus – I get to tramp on different concrete.  Who knows what I’m gonna find?

20170516_164039

(the last time I took a different route home, I ended up snapping a couple of shots of Les Paul’s memorial graveside…so ADVENTURE!)

The residential trail WAS a bit cooler, as I was walking with my back toward the sun instead of it blasting my side – and the wind was brisk enough to cool things down a bit.

Ooooo – big hill.  Let’s turn left here to avoid…

And down into a stretch of …how shall I say this…

Cheap Apartment Units?

It was almost like I’d stepped through a portal.  Trash now clogged the streets and gutters – empty pop cans, Power-Aid containers, the torn pages from at least one book.  Various scraps of other unidentifiable paper danced in the breeze up and down the obviously-patched (read…badly tended) blacktop street.  The lawns were dominated by brown, frizzy, untamed grass, widely interspersed with large swaths of light brown dirt under the old oak trees.   Concrete stairways marched up the low rise between the apartment buildings and the sidewalk clearly showing their bellies – the earth had eroded from underneath them.  The handrails were either missing or brown with rust.

The buildings themselves – all brick – all uniform – all looking like they had been more than just a bit neglected in the maintenance department.  A LOT of the windows in these buildings had cracked blinds, blankets, or sheets hanging in lieu of commercial, uniform, curtains.  One window even sported a large splash of mud.

Because it was a nice, sunshiny afternoon, the residents of this neighborhood were out and about.  A couple of young men were conversing with another couple of young men in a car stopped dead in the middle of the street.  Off to the side on the other side of the street another couple of men conversed in the doorway of one of the buildings.

A young lady finished her conversation with another, then darted across the street after giving me a long look.

On my side – 3 moms stood on the dry grass chatting with each other as they kept eagle-eyes on the kids playing nearby.

As I approached, all those eyes zeroed in on me.

 

Now…my favored ideal when I’m out and about is what I like to call chameleon mode.  Yes, the people around me are aware of me, and I of them, but I’ve pulled in my energies nice & tight, so I just flit on the edge of that awareness.  If you’re a fan of the Hitchhiker’s series – it’s almost as if I’ve placed a SEP (someone else’s problem) field around myself.

SEP Field

I like it when observing eyes just slide off.

Yesterday … no amount of pulling in of my energies was going to make those eyes NOT notice.  And focus.

I was the interloper.  The intruder.  The one who did NOT belong.

The expressions of the regular denizens of that place went from easy and social to calculating.  Alarmed.  Assessing.  Was I a threat?  A predator?

Or was I prey?

I watched body language change as each set of eyes came to rest on me.  Backs stiffened up.  Conversations died.  Eyes narrowed and nostrils flared.  Hands unconsciously curled and the kids play abruptly ended.

Now…I’ve been breathing air for quite some time.  Driven through my share of ghetto-ish neighborhoods, walked a couple others.  But this is the first time in a LONG time I’ve been in such a place without companionship.

Yes…I was extremely concerned.  But I bravely soldered on through to the marching beat of the tune blasting on my iPod – and they all just stared as I walked.  I guess I was assessed as SEP after all.

Now that my adventure has ended…I gotta ask…

Does anyone else out feel the poverty in the air when you find yourself in (gah!  I HATE political correctness!) a disadvantaged neighborhood?  Can you taste the desperation in the wind?  Do the vibrations of these struggling humans echo from the Earth itself?  Does the miasma which chokes these locations threaten to cut off your breath?

Or am I just too freaking sensitive for my own good?

 

Walkabout Down Memory Lane

I may have mentioned I started walking to work this spring…

 

Ok…so I’m kinda obsessed, and ya’ll get to share.

This morning, I was passed by a commuter on roller skates.  She was a middle-aged lady, wore a fairly standard backpack, and sported a bright pink helmet with matching knee and elbow pads.  The wheels on her skates may have matched the bright pink of the rest of her ensemble, but had been darkened slightly from use.

She was also on the street – which is a hell of a lot smoother than the sidewalk I was currently pounding.

I had to giggle just a bit – but not loud enough to put her off her stride.  I’d hate to cause an accident with my rather hard-to-explain mirth.

See – I did the roller skate thing a long time ago.

Remember wavy

Look out!!!! It’s the ‘memory shimmer!’

I officially became a teenager in the tender year of 1980.

but I’m still 29 thanks to ‘female’ maths

In this year of big, permed hair, screen-printed satin jackets, and eye-blistering neon-colors – one of the biggest social gathering places for those newly minted teens was the skating rink.  There, you could blithely roll your heart out on a stretch of perfectly level, perfectly straight, and perfectly clean poured concrete, while the punk music blasted out of the speakers and stage lights flared, spun and flickered across the painted expanse.

All your classmates were there, too…doing what teens do worst – attempting to flirt with the opposite sex.

Well, except for me.  I was more interested in actually skating.

At this age, I didn’t yet understand the biological Human directive to form pair bonds…

I had a pair of rink skates.  Not the little metal numbers you had to screw onto your shoes (although I owned a pair or two of those, too…) – but a real pair of above-the-ankle leather boots with the wheel assembly permanently bolted onto the hard sole.  I dressed ’em up with hot pink wheels, neon-purple, sparkly laces, and pink/purple puffballs strapped to the toes.  I even had a bright blue satin jacket with the rink’s name screen-printed across the back.

The rink was within walking distance of home, and I went there every chance I could.  Not that there were a lot of chances in 1980.  The parent’s divorce was final, and Mom had moved back to the ‘ancestral’ part of Wisconsin with my and my little brother in tow to work a 2nd shift job in a nursing home.  Guess who got the responsibility of making sure I and my little 10 year old brother had food at night?

I can still wield a can opener with the best Olympiads!

So 1980 was memorable, if only for the year I got my first ‘real’ skates, learned how to heat up cans of food, and realized I had little awareness of or interest in the whole boy/girl attraction thing.

I loved my skates though…they represented freedom & frivolity!

Now…I’m just gonna fast-forward through the remains of the 80’s.  The fashion trends are starting to make a comeback, anyway, so why remember when I can just look out a window and see the same stuff on the street?

Yea!!!  I’m 20.  Out on my own for the first time eveah!  Just me and my wits against the rest of society!

Damn…this sucks.  

A broken-down car, some mother-fu*k3#! stealing my bicycle, less than $50 in the bank, a tiny efficiency apartment with a lecherous landlord, a job waiting tables in an extremely depressed segment of the US…

Yea…I had to walk to work.  But, unlike now…back then I resented having to do it.  I’d rather have had wheels.

Can you see where I’m going with this?  I HAD wheels – my old trusty freedom-loving skates.  And, unlike the bicycle that went off on its own, the skates I could bring inside the restaurant for protection against the tender mercies of the more ‘unsavory’ elements in town.

So I skated to work once…

 

 

10796452

ONCE!

It didn’t go so well.  First…I was out of practice.  Second, the sidewalks had cracks and pits and ankle-breaking perils (sticks, small stones, various debris) randomly scattered about.  Third – curbs.  Do you know how difficult it is to step off a curb with wheels strapped to your feet???

Lastly – there was traffic.  Both other pedestrians and actual cars.

There were no cars in the Skate-Rink…and everyone rolled the same direction.

Welcome to real life!

 

I did survive that trip in to work…sweaty and shaking but intact and unbroken.  At the end of that shift serving grouchy people burgers & fries…mopping up various spills and cleaning tables that the public left incredibly messy – I didn’t even bother lacing the skates back on.  I just looped ’em over my shoulders and walked back to my little shelter.

I don’t think I ever wore my skates again.

 

e0cada17921831a6ab853ed1c29d533f-pompoms-skating-rink

Somebody Order an Ark?

We had a weather-event in Wisconsin last week Tuesday.  It got wet.

Really wet.

Really, REALLY wet.

Dinosaur weather

I remember 2 ladies at work not able to make it in, as they were flooded in.  I remember one lady who managed to get TO work getting a news push, citing the dam that was 2 blocks from her house had failed.

(for the record…everyone ended up safe, as sane as before, and semi-dry…)

I remember having to drive to work, as I don’t own a wetsuit or flippers.

I also remember walking to work the day after the stormage pounded through…because I had to detour.  Bethesda park’s walking path was flooded.  Now…I could get ON the footbridge spanning the Fox River…but I couldn’t get off it.

Here’s a couple of shots

 

This one, taken earlier in the spring, the Fox River is firmly in it’s banks, you can see the walking path winding all the way across the park.20170508_165502

Here’s the shot from the same vantage point.  You can see where the water has totally covered most the path.

Flood July 2017 Bethesda Park

This morning when I once again donned my walking shoes and set off…I thought I’d at least see where the water now was in the park, and see if I could now get through.

Almost success!

I can now get onto the park grounds from the footbridge, but I have to go straight up the hill instead of the walking path down by the river.  I call it ‘Taking the High Road.’

I’ll take it whatever way I can get it 😀

noahs-ark

No (ah) Ark Required!