Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Manhole+Dandelion+Tornado=KY Winter

Yesterday, on January 29, I found this little guy in my front yard. Of course, the warm temps and freshly blooming dandelion made me think about seed starting, urban gardening, and sunshine!

However, I must remember, we are still in the middle of winter and this manhole cover reminds me that the pipes in my old 1900 Shotgun can and did freeze just one week earlier on January 22. The temperature fell rapidly into the lower teens and I awoke to no running water. Incredibly, I had no damage and have since insulated the cellar just a wee bit better.
And, today, all of this climate confusion came barrelling to a head in the pre-dawn hours. I was jerked from my sleep by a sound of sirens. It took me a few minutes to realize it was the neighborhood tornado alarm. I jumped out of bed, grabbed the dog, and raced to a lower level closet. Apparently, 125 feet above me was the spiraling winds of a tornado. I waited awhile, then slowly crept back to bed. Then, I thought, today is January 30.

Friday, January 25, 2013

WV Bridge 3 Ways

Original taken with Canon Digital Rebel XT

Holga-ish (Picasa 3)

Lomo-ish (Picasa 3)
I've been experimenting with rogue photographs I snap here and there while on work travel (these are also for my 365 Project). I spent this week in NW and North Central West Virginia. I stumbled upon this old train bridge and loved the rusty-ness of the beams. It reminded me of my childhood visits to nearby Virginia. I had to be quick as the only place to pull over was clearly marked "No Parking at Anytime", so it is not the best composition. (In fact, a police vehicle cruised by only minutes after I pulled away from the spot.) 
My favorite is the last one (Lomo) as it accents the rust spots and warms it up a bit. It was bitter cold in WV yesterday; everything needed a little warming up. I hear it's suppose to be close to 65 on Tuesday in Louisville and I cannot wait. My toes and fingers could use a little Lomo-ish too.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Trees of the Living

My boss sent me this link today about the connection between trees and human health. Interesting enough, I worked on the Emerald Ash Borer project when the insect was new to the US. I witness the destruction of 1000's of infested trees. All the years spent cataloging trees of the Indiana forests were great years as far as jobs go (low pay, but really high job satisfaction), but I knew eventually we would see the rapid decline of our urban and wild forests. And, we are.

I also ran across this tree related bit on a blog I read. I haven't searched for the actual story she refers to, but the coincidence of the two pro-tree connections to our lives is not hard to miss. We are connected to the world around us. I took this rather boring photo last weekend, but after I downloaded it from the camera, I realized it looks a little bit like our nervous system. It's no secret that nature repeats her gorgeous artwork everywhere.

I really need to be pro-active on this one. In 2010 I moved from a nature-oriented, outdoor job to an urban one. I have no idea if it is connected, but I have seen a huge decline in my health over the last couple of years: weight gain, a general fatigue, a development of allergies where I had none, etc. If it is simply I have not spent enough time in nature, then I must return.

I plan to plant more trees in 2013 for our health and for the future. I plan to hike more, find more natural places to explore, take my self and my children back to the forest.

Image taken with Canon Rebel XT on January 12, 2013

Sucker for Challenges

A week or so ago, from another blog I love, I stumbled upon a "Cook the Books Challenge" on the wonderfully named blog: Grow and Resist. Being a lover of challenges (even though I have a real issue with staying focused on them), I quickly looked through the titles. One of my absolute favorite things to thrift is cookbooks. I have tons and have even put myself on a moratorium (unless it is really, really special!) on buying new ones. Really, I need to just purge some as well.

Anyway, back to this challenge, it so happens that I don't own even one of the books on the challengers' cookbook list. Because I am a sucker for challenges and have approximately  5,000 self-imposed ones going as it is, including one where I am trying to buy less, save money, blah, blah, blah...I decided to play along in a slightly altered, but hopefully fun way anyway. Instead of buying the listed books (or checking them out from the library), I looked around at the ones I have thrifted and picked out seven titles. I am going to attempt to cook the thrifted books between February and August (and possibly beyond depending how the ol' ADD pans out). I had actually once started a blog that centered vaguely around this concept called 52/A.Y.C.E, but I never posted anything. Maybe this will inspire me to look at the stuff I hoard (or at least inspire me to send them back to the thrifts whence they came!)

My Cook the (Thrifted)books:

February: Cooking with Sunshine
March: Cook 1.0: A Fresh Approach to Vegetarian Cooking
April: The Art of Simple Foods
May: A Baker's Odyssey
June: 1080 Recipes
July: A Kitchen Witch's Cookbook
August: Canning for a New Generation

The only one on the list that I bought new would be the last one. I bought it because I loved the blog and love to try new things to can. I think it's been at least a year since I bought it and have never cracked it open. Actually, I have never cracked any of them open. being said, I hope I can stick through with this one or else the used bookstore is going to get boxes of books to pick through come August!

Each month of the challenge, I will cook from and discuss the book. Feel free to find a "what I wear" post somewhere on that day! (I jest) I also plan to take a photo and, voila!, this will be part of my 365 Photo Project. Oh, one stone, two...

Feel free to play along (I'd love to see others cook their own thrifted books too!)

Linkin' Up with The Penny Worthy Project.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


One of my 2013 goals is to bake 13 new things. Pretzel bread is something that has floated around on my mental list of Things-I-Procrastinate-About-Doing for a couple of years now. I first tried it at a farmer's market here in Louisville and nearly ate the loaf I bought by myself. Actually, I did eat that loaf by myself.

I always thought it took a super skilled artisan to make bread with a pretzel texture and that wonderful taste found in certain mall franchises, but it turns out pretzel bread (or buns or rolls or actual soft pretzels) is really easy! I used this recipe. The only change I would suggest would be to make sure "generous amount of coarse salt" is to your individual tastes. Me? I'm not a big salt fan and ended up thinking I had not put enough on, so I keep adding and adding. My first taste after they came piping hot out of the oven was all salt. Fortunately, it's really simple to brush some of it off. Other than the salt, the buns tasted perfectly like a hot, soft pretzel. I made my mine into little buns (or rolls), but I could have easily made the signature twists on these guys. Either way, this baked goodie will be a repeat!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I swear it seems to me that it is an unwritten rule in my life that if I chose to go out with a.) hair uncombed and hastily thrown up in a bun, b.) sweats and c.) no make up, I will without any hesitation run into someone I haven't seen in 10+ years. Yes, this was the thrifting equation for the weekend.
The thrifting theme, on the other hand, was books. I found the stack above, featuring subjects that are near and dear to me, at several thrift shops in my old hometown . This was were I ran into two people I used to work with many years ago. I ran into them separately at two different places. And, to make it a bit more exciting, these particular people are people you wish you looked as though the years had no effect on you (you do know the type I'm talking about, right?) And I was clad in sweats with uncombed hair. Sigh, Life of Gina.
I also found cheap frames this weekend. I collect the vintage metal ones (like the one peaking below the top one). The one on top was difficult to photograph as it is a pair of deer in 3D. I am not wild about the frame, but I thought the print was pretty cool.
Another found book was this one on milk glass. I have collected milk glass for years and have quite the collection. I really should share more of my collections. I also found the milk glass leaf and a large hob nob vase. I've noticed lately that the once plentiful white vases are now starting to dry up at the thrifts. I think I find more at the flea markets these days, so I was happy to find this pair (and on 50% off day to boot! I guess this is the karmic pay off for looking scrubby on a bad day!)

And, not to be outdone by lovely milk glass, are these two gorgeous Johnson Brothers transfer ware plates. While in the process of photographing them, I noticed a tiny chip on one the edges. I'm not sure if I bought it that way or did it while getting in the car. I know I slightly bumped the bag on the door. I really need to use best practice in handling these old things, both in spying imperfections at the time of purchase or hastily throwing my purchase in the vehicle. I seem to have this happen a lot. Thankfully, this chip is hard to notice and will be alright in my personal collection.
All in all, yesterday was a relaxing day of thrifting. I also learned a couple of valuable lessons, but the most important one to me: Ditch the sweats once in awhile! 
Sharing my weekend finds at Sir Thrift A Lot's Thriftasaurus #17 and Apron Thrift Girl.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Well,  I had good intentions on my daily goals anyway. I ended up sick this week and spent today in bed. Around one, I finally ate a small breakfast of coffee and mini bagels with peanut butter and blackberry jam. So this is my 365 photograph. Exciting, yes? The rest of the week's photos have not been much better.  I was dragging ass since Monday (not realizing I was coming down with something) and yesterday I was stuck in Lexington when the bug actually hit me. I think it was the longest drive ever back to Louisville.
I started to keep track of my 365 project photos on ShutterCal. Hopefully the photographs will be better come the weekend.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Blue Monday Candy #1

It's been some time since I shared any thrift shop finds, but thrift I do (although, I have myself on a nasty budget for the time being and I won't be able to be as free to pack the cart). Most of this was thrifted between October and December either in Indiana or Kentucky. Some of the photographs and the silver vase in the background came out of a great barn estate sale I got to "pick" in early December. Sadly, my first trip to the barn was with my mom who took one look and said, "I'm not going in there..." I went back the next day and still found many, many treasures. I'll be sharing them throughout the year (and I'll try to remember to note they were from the barn) as many are slated to be projects for the rehab house.
Left to right: Photos from late 1800-1915 (same family); postcard holder; butcher scraping block (I actually thrifted this a long time ago, but it was perfect for the photos); Virgin Mary; silver vase; old books.
In other news, an old friend of mine (my bff from my teens and twenties) is moving to Louisville from Chicago. He actually is my thrifting mentor. He is in desparate need of a fresh start and I have this big, old Victorian and an extra room, so he'll be here for a bit. He's a designer and I'm sure he can help me overcome my inability to pick wall colors that don't look like a bottle of Tums. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Totally Awesome Blog Hop

Chantillysongs Blog hop I thought I would start participating in some Blog Hops. You can read the details at one of the hosts' blogs. I'll put this link on the sidebar; I thought I would help spread the love, maybe meet some new bloggers!

The Kiss

Orca's Kiss
Orca has been in the family for nine months. He is a quirky and loveable dog and Lyndon is his biggest champion and playmate. They communicate to each other in their own language and Orca is the first thing Lyndon asks about during our nightly phone calls. If it was possible, I'm sure Orca would do the same.
(6/365: Canon Rebel XT, Auto focus; Picassa Holga-ish)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Pink Sky, Dark Trees

5/365: Early Morning Sky
The sky went from hazy grey, to this brilliant pink, and onward to blue sky dotted with off-white clouds. Thank you, Son #1, for exclaiming, "Mom, check out the sky!"

Friday, January 4, 2013

Rest in Peace

Not too long ago, a friend of mine in Louisville told me a witch was buried in a cemetery near his house. I was curious. It took some convincing, but I finally talked him into exploring the historical site with me yesterday.

Louisville is an old city and old cities are full of beautifully aged graveyards. This particular one is located in the Highlands. It is where the "poor" of the 1800-early 1900's was buried and sits directly next to the resting grounds of the more well-to-do.

While we were searching for the stone he remembered seeing almost 20 years ago, I took out my camera and starting snapping pictures of some of the ornate stones. My friend's eyes bugged out and he said, "It's illegal to take photos in a cemetery!"

I glanced up at him to see if he was joking and I realized he was not. I chuckled and told him I thought someone had fed him bullshit at some point. I told him I would check on this, but that I was pretty sure taking photographs in a cemetary was perfectly fine. I mentioned that there were a lot worse things you could do illegally in a graveyard than take a couple of pictures*.  The rest of the visit he had me laughing to tears at his avoidance of walking on the graves (I had to tell him that the front is not always where the casket was placed in reference to the stone). He was superstitious and somewhat creeped out by the soggy ground and old dates.

For me, I have always love graveyards. I've been exploring them since I was a child. My parents had a lake house in a rural part of Indiana. During the summer I would disappear into the depths of the nearby woods. I had discovered an old, overgrown cemetery hidden in the tangles of elms and nettles and thorny flora. I spent hours there, clearing away the vines and dirt from the faded stones, constructing stories about the people buried beneath them. In my mind, time spent in a cemetery is a way of honoring the dead, an acknowledgement that these were people who laughed like us, maybe coveted chocolate or oranges, read books and kissed their babies goodnight. In college, one of my favorite undergrad projects was a population study we did using the dates and sexes on gravestones. When I walk up to a stone, it is to look better at a name and the dates. I do it as a respect and courtesy to the deceased. And, I do it because I am curious about these lives.

Later, over vegetarian burritos, I mentioned again I had never heard about the legalities of taking cemetery photos (I was thinking about the 100's I have from cities I have visited over the years). He looked wistfully away and said: "Maybe someone just said you could capture a spirit by using a camera in a cemetery."

*There is a horrible back story to this particular graveyard, but it does not involve a witch or a camera.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Beans, Rice and Rosemary


Oh, no...she's already posting pictures of dinner. Cough, yea, busy day and I didn't get my photograph in today. Yes, it is day 2. But I am not going to dwell...363 more days to get right with the camera habits. And, black beans, veggies, and basmati rice is going to be a great meal!

OK, how about a bonus picture?

The tip of a rosemary tree I bought on clearance today for $1. It's making my house smell wonderful.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Here's to 2013: A {New} Year of Hope and Enlightenment!

I'm fairly certain that, after Halloween, New Year's Day is my favorite holiday of the year. I love the the feeling of hope it seems to deliver and I always feel like I've been granted a fresh slate to begin new adventures, right wrongs, and develop new skills. Of course, all of that is really kind of silly considering any of these things can be done at any moment in one's life, but there's just something about the challenge of a brand new calendar.

One of my own personal goals is to take at least one photograph a day. I almost didn't make it today. The sky was gloomy and I started in on my usual mantra of avoidance, but I made myself follow through with the goal, (albeit,not the best shot-hopefully I can only improve, right?). The cameras, circa 1965 and 1970, were found at the thrift store in my neighborhood yesterday. The books were thrifted or bought mostly last year, but just happen to be all 2013 goal-related topics. I started in reading the book on photography and I will start the others soon. It's not the best photograph by any means, but it's a check mark for the goal list. Already, I think I'm feeling pretty lucky that 2013 may be a good year!