Thursday, December 30, 2010

You can't always get what you want . . .

But if you try real hard, you get what you need! In a cloud of inexperience I walked up to the volunteer coordinators today at various Float Decorating sign-in tents only to find that they were overflowing with recruits who had signed up on line, many of them months ahead. Walk-ins weren't getting in. Not wanting to walk away without having seen anything, I paid $10 for a ticket which enabled me to travel along a catwalk high above all the float making activity so that I could see what all the other volunteers were doing. I actually saw a whole lot more grazing over the activity than I would have had I been assigned to only one float. Next year, if I do a second snow bird stay in LA, I'll be sure to sign up early enough if I want some hands-on connection to the flower blossoms, seed, vegetation and all things natural that are attached meticulously to the floats by the river of volunteers who are making these giant objects (average cost per float: $300K) come alive for New Year's Day Parade in Pasadena.

Here are some scenes from my overview. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

After seven days! The rain finally stopped and x-mas appeared. Scenes of LA/Orange County at the holiday

When the rain finally stopped in Pasadena, huge wind-torn palm fronds splayed themselves along the streets.
Pasadena front yard in full display

Even though it was raining in Orange County Christmas night,
it arrived after a two day reprieve so we could bear it.

Walking along the boardwalk at Balboa Island/Newport CA on Christmas Day

My fantasy boat

Eucalyptus tree? Bark like concrete

So LA!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pacing myself into Pasadena . . .

After a mammoth effort to close down my large Somerville studio and to vacate my Boston condo in search of my snow bird Pasadena wings, I'm finding myself with an empty iCal. And it feels uncomfortable/good and uncomfortable/bad. Sleeping has been at the top of the list to recharge the batteries: physical, mental, and spiritual. A yoga studio is barely a mile away, and all the usual haunts—Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Target—not much farther. Yes, I've traveled 3K miles from home but it's not a foreign country.

Yesterday I attempted to hike the little-known Bailey Canyon in Sierra Madre, with views over the San Gabriel Valley at Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park. I got about a quarter of the way up this 3000 foot climb and turned around knowing it's best to start small and work my way up to the top. Maybe by March I'll be able to make the top but for now I'm easing in.

In any case, I felt I earned a breakfast at the local Sierra Madre coffee shop where we were serenaded by students out x-mas caroling.

Getting a library card was a lot easier and I even found—through the help of a local Altadena friend—a book group I can join. We're reading a little known Steinbeck novel, To a God Unknown which is so far reading like a biblical text.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

fall and winter together . . .

On a recent walk along Newbury St. I was struck by the convergence of the last signs of fall mixed with the promise of the winter wonderland that Boston becomes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

round shapes are soft on the eyes

Even though I'm back in Boston, I still had some leftover Astoria shots on my camera from Monday morning's brunch at Café Bar, a really cool place to hang out. It was the first time in my life I ever ate poached eggs and over smoked salmon, no less! It was delicious and the ambiance made me feel as though I were brunching in Europe.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Aspects of Astoria . . .

Steel against the sky looks like delicate lace
as we crossed the Queensboro Bridge
As I prepare to head back to Boston today, I wanted to share some scenes from my recent trip to NYC. My son's new digs are in the heart of Astoria, a richly diverse section of Queens, just over the Triboro bridge. I never knew until this weekend that the New York Marathon's path starts in Staten Island and travels through three boroughs into Manhattan. I took the marathon shots as the runners hit the 14 mile mark through Long Island City.

So many runners, so much thirst that was satisfied by Queens locals who offered a blizzard of cups filled with water and energy drinks.

On a quieter side of town we spread out on these waterfront undulating chaises to soak up some sun. What a view of Manhattan from there!

And closer up, here's a detail from a Japanese restaurant window that captures the fluid lines of those early woodcuts and brush paintings so evocative of an entire culture. Astoria is full of Greek, Venezuelan, Croatian, Slavic, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, restaurants and residents—a true Amercian "melting pot," but one that preserves the specialness of each resident culture.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Not Quite Yoga posture . . .

Here I am at the tail end of my studio purge taking pictures of the last items that still need to find homes. As you can see the mirror above is not longer hanging where it once was and to take the picture I had to sit spread eagle on the floor to take in its 30" width. It's one of those items that keep the phrase "aesthetics of decay" in front of me...not just when I look at myself in this mirror but also when I just look at this mirror's frame and see its scars: chips of the decorative trim that have fallen away. Many times over the years, I've looked at its flaws and thought about how many steps it would take to re-create the missing trim but somehow its flaws never bothered me. Still, I could have matched the color and painted the blank spots to hide them so they wouldn't be so evident. Like make up can sometimes hide the fine lines that cover my face. Not! So this little item will find its way tonight on craigslist and maybe a new home.

On a walk to the local pizza joint that is a few blocks from my Somerville studio, I passed a very elaborate front yard alive with all the symbols of Halloween. This picture is just a tiny corner of the display.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Still breathing!

It's been months since I've attempted a blog entry but my walk this morning stimulated my photographer's eye enough to make me attempt to break the inertia of unblogging. I've been sorting through a lifetime of manuscripts, art work, family photos and ufo's (unfinished objects!) as I close down my huge art studio in Somerville and downsize to a tiny sliver of a room with the saving grace of two huge windows, a radiator, and some electricity. See transformation from storage to office below.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Digging my way back into the blogosphere . . .tools will help

More than a month since checking in here. At the moment I'm in Cincinnati with dear friends. This morning an antique show set up in front of their narrow brick home in Covington, Kentucky, actually.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Thunder and lightning!

Had heard some blasts earlier in the evening, and thought the fireworks were over until it sounded as though the sky was falling.
Jumped out of bed and headed to the roof! Voila! Still hearing
some blasts from other parts of town but the main show is over.

Waiting for the show . . .

Since early in the morning, a tidal wave of humanity flowed onto the banks of the Charles River in anticipation of tonight's Fourth of July Festivities. I took these pictures just before 7 p.m. tonight as the crowd waited patiently—entertaining themselves with food, games, cards, and more food. As I write this, the sun is setting and the fireworks should burst into the sky above all of these patient folk at last.

Not only were the banks of the river blanketed with thousands, Storrow Drive was blocked off which created a whole other tier of viewing the fireworks.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A sense of perspective . . .

No more Debtor's Prison and no more public humiliations

I found myself in Hartford yesterday for a seminar in social media networking. After several hours of immersion into the world of cyberspace and cyberfriends, it was refreshing to walk around the center of downtown Hartford and hang out on a bench right near the State House. That's where I noticed the display of some original stockades.

Until yesterday, Hartford CT was always a place to avoid as I veered onto 91 South and then on to Route 15 and Merritt Parkway to make my way speedily to NYC. During these days of Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings, it's interesting to rediscover that the person on the top of the Hartford State House dome is a blindfolded female holding the scales. How odd that the gender that was classically cast to be the embodiment of Justice has taken so long to be a small part (still a minority) of the judges on the Supreme Court.
Back in Boston today, other images seemed to fall into the same theme of changing perspectives and how from where we stand or sit or think, we're only seeing a very limited picture when others see the world from their particular perches and posts.

A local elementary school had a field trip to the Apple store today
Peeking in to the firehouse #15 Engine after two fire engines wailed out on to Boylston St., I saw this pole and the obviously flexible "floor" surrounding it and thought, one more kind of perspective.
The last image that invited yet another change of perspective was the presence of a drink stand unmanned by anyone except a plexiglass box into which, on the "honor system" passersby were prompted by a recorded voice announcement to help themselves to a drink and to deposit a dollar in the box. The set up and invitation to be honest with the expectation and trust that we all would do so was as refreshing as the drinks themselves. People wanted to put the dollar in to support "The Honest Store."
A small pad about the size of a business card sat on the stand with the following quote printed on each page so that we could help ourselves to a piece of philosophy at the same time. It said, "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."–Mark Twain.