Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sepia Scenes - Geography Lesson

(Note: This is an edited repost from earlier with a few edits. I never tire of looking at how travel was in the old days. Gravel roads? I wouldn’t miss them even if I remembered them...)



Sepia Scenes is a great meme where we can add the subtle sepia as we imagine the past

I have posted much about Grandpa. He was brilliant, but in West Virginia in 1916, eighth-grade was probably a milestone - the of his formal education.

However, he learned by doing. If not geography in a classroom setting, how about getting in the car, family in tow, and traveling around the USA to learn about the country? Grandpa photographed signs to show that he actually had been there...






I like seeing new sites, even if they are local. The term 'flyover country' indicates the way to get places today. In the real old days, to get home from Denver to Ohio, you passed through Kansas in a car without A/C on a dusty US 24 in part. The top view is from 1937 I guess, my father about ten (note the camera). Below, it is dad and Aunt Terry, and it is 1947. I would guess that this is I believe on US 40 East at the Maryland line (17.18 miles per this source), toward perhaps to the Villers favorite vacation spot, Atlantic City.

Sepia seems to tone down the glare from the original B&W prints, and the antique look seems to add to the ambience and mystique of the past. Follow the nice sepia edits at Mary's meme!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sepia Scenes - Ready for Takeoff

Sepia is a nice monochrome, not as stark as B&W, while not altering the form if in full color. So, Mary's fun and artistic Sepia Scenes allows me to accent shape and detail. These pictures have been seen before, but not modified. We are viewing the Connecticut Legislative Office Building (aka: L.O.B.) along the walkway from the state Capitol in Hartford.

Given that I refer to myself as Airhead, perhaps I noticed this view in either avian or aviation themes. So how about an art-deco airplane? The building itself is not from that era, having opened in 1988. Yet the head-on view evokes a stylized 1930s airliner, the 'wings' expansive and if given power while accelerating to speed, perhaps this marble clad machine could perhaps fly. The sepia lets us look at and perhaps imagine a flying machine...




The lighter antique here brings us up to the atrium which could be looked at as a rotund 'cockpit' that is nestled between the wings.

The various shades of rough and polished granite is sepia in tone, and is beautiful.

The function defines the form, the state government needed a modern building. Yet the form is stylish...

See sepia at Mary's great meme!



Monday, March 29, 2010

Ruby Tuesday - Blue Plate Special

Ruby Tuesday arrives again, and today my subject is cooking easy.

I was interested in taking shortcuts yet creating a supper of taste and color. So I found the prepared/frozen ingredients that could facilitate the style and substance I was seeking...

So the following was used: Frozen cooked shrimp, frozen bell pepper strips (green, red and yellow), diced garlic in a jar; canned diced tomatoes, Canned chicken broth, dried oregano, and dry spaghetti. I did chop a (real) onion, though :>)




The actual cooking was a mix of defrosting, sautéing and simmering. The prep time was maybe twenty minutes.

There is a real satisfaction to chopping fresh bell peppers and deveining fresh shrimp instead. But sometimes current events conspire against the preferable course. But after an afternoon of compiling our 2009 tax liability using well known electronic tax prep software, ease of cooking won out.

Taken here upon completion at wheelchair height, the result was is a bit horizontal. Patti took a picture at stand-up height below, which accents the reds slightly better than at 'chair level...




Rubies abound from the entree, to the placemat to the wine.

The only caveat here is the shrimp. Although obtained at a buy-one-get price, I sometimes wonder about where it is from. This was from Thailand, a democratic monarchy, and US ally.

But what of Gulf shrimp fishermen who find it difficult to match the price of imported shrimp. I would love to always use the finest shrimp in the world from the Gulf region from Florida to Louisiana (the best I ever had was in Biloxi MS). But costs must be considered, alas....

Add a candle for ambience, the easy prep made the meal and conversation arrive all the sooner.

See Mary's always fun ruby meme!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday - The Graduate


Shadow Shot Sunday, hosted by Tracy from Brisbane, is so much fun as we find shadows here, there and everywhere.

Like scenes from 1993 and Allegra's 'graduation' from pre-school. A milestone of sorts, even though she attended for only one 'semester'. However the school had a party for the graduates.

There were diplomas, food, punch, games, and fun for all (if you were little). As well, proud parents, grandparents and siblings were witness to the event. Allegra sits under shadows, intent on listening to the speaker. Little brothers were invited for the fun, and Cameron took part in the shade as well. He didn’t need protection from the sun here, but is resplendent in those sunglasses - I haven't seen a pair of Mickey's since…well, ever!
(This post from the past is an edit from one of my favorite memes, Ruby Tuesday. This was well before noticing shadows became a passion…). See the fun world of shadows at Hey Harriet’s fun meme - hope your internet is settled soon!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Looking at the Sky - Swampy Sky


Looking at the Sky often evokes nice memories.

Soft December skies lie above a marsh in Martin County Florida. Scanned from a print taken decades ago, I was in Florida for warmth, and the winter days were ideal for a snowbird. The days started out at a crisp (for the Sunshine State anyway) 55º and I was to wear a light cotton sweater in the AM, and not in the PM. Thus from New England, that was an ideal Winter day.

Nothing extraordinary, but that is the appeal here. The sky was just blue enough to add a wonderful tint to the water. See the sky in many beautiful iterations at Tisha's great meme!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sepia Scenes - Monumental Star


Sepia Scenes arrives and the subtle monochrome adds a soft character to many subjects. Here is the star shaped Mardasson Memorial located near the small Belgian town of Bastogne. The monument honors the large number of American casualties, (over 76,000) during the fierce Christmastime 1944 Battle of the Bulge during WW II.

This print dates back to 1982 when I visited the memorial. The size is immense, but the soft sepia tones down the size so we may better see the angular shape. The day cloudy, the reason for the memorial somber, the memorial impressive.

See more sepia at work at Mary's meme!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Ruby Tuesday - Fun is as Fun Does


Ruby Tuesday is fun, the quest for rubies never a chore.

If the archives are reviewed from time to time, ruby gems may be unearthed. Such as once little Allegra at age 7 (1996). We are at my sister Michele's July 4th picnic, a yearly treat with lots of food and a short walk to see the neighboring town's fireworks.

Allegra seems pleased with a camera nearby, and poses without prompting. Red and derivatives of that hue are all about the scene.
The girl covers a range of rubies from the barrette, top and Minnie Mouse bow and hearts. As well as those in the background bereft of poses...

Fun abounds at Mary's great meme!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday - Dodging Shadows

Shadow Shot Sunday is a fun meme hosted by Brisbane artist Tracy, and shadows as art appear at the most opportune times. Seize the moment and such.

I saw an interesting shadow yesterday, and had to utilize it. My new/used wheelchair (2008 Dodge Caravan) has a backup camera/mirror installed.

The giant shadow of the vehicle behind us is in the mirror. I had to capture it. The photographer is involved as well. The vehicle has to be in 'Reverse', and the engine dos not have to be running. Good thing, because if I were in reverse and moving and using a hand control and taking a picture at the same time - vehicular calamity in capturing this shadow was avoided...

Lounging on the dashboard is one of the bevy of bruins, with one of the stuffed bear retrieved from my previous Ford wheelchair van. He sits on the dashboard with a shadow and reflection. The view of the horizon is his alone, as he reclines and always enjoys the ride. This guy is the lucky one, all the others occupy the cupholders in the back...



This vehicle is smaller than my Ford, yet not really small. It leaves a shadow on this delightful sunny and warm for March day (71°F, 22°C). The shadow extends somewhat beyond the van, but a smaller one than before.

Reflections abound, as Patti's Hyundai sneaks into the frame...



The photographer decides to get into the mix yet again.


We only have 71 more payments on this new steed. Yet, to be afforded the independence provided by it, the costs are merely incidental. My old Ford may have a buyer, needing a wheelchair driver vehicle. So the circle is complete...

See shadow art at the Hey Harriet's meme!



Thursday, March 18, 2010

Looking at the Sky - Pastel Prism
















The atmosphere fools us with not just blue and/or gray, but with broad pastel portraits that add a glow to the heavens. Just a few moisture laden droplets with a bit of sunlight and the resulting colors are bold yet subtle. And very easy on the eyes.

Tisha's Looking at the Sky lets us chronicle what see right now, the beauty upstairs. Just above our domicile, blue, pink, orange and lavender are splashed all around, as if the artist couldn't decide what would work best, so used them all. To the benefit of us viewers...


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Emerald Isle Kids



Happy Saint Patrick's Day! I admit to a shirt with plenty of green to wear tomorrow, but not really a wardrobe o'green to dress completely in the color of Eire.

We parents, however, always seemed to have a green outfit for March 17. In this previously posted picture from 1997 (Grades 3 and 1), they look resplendent in their dress and their school crafts. Wearing green and a grin, then and now, a happy holiday to all!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ruby Tuesday - Celebratory Cat


A birthday party for a special family member was held. Our kitty in 2002, the incomparable Sir Humphrey was being celebrated on his fourth birthday. The party planners were ecstatic. However the celebrant was, shall we say, not so enthused. Perhaps a truly satisfying nap was interrupted by the festivities.

So for Ruby Tuesday, the royalty received a mylar balloon with plenty of congratulatory rubies. The futon bolster complies with the Tuesday hue also. Finally, even though you cannot see it, he is wearing a smart ruby tartan collar, too.

He seems underwhelmed. The rest of us were quite pleased to sing Happy Birthday to a reluctant kitty. In his mind, however, one should never, ever wake up a sleeping kitty, birthday or no...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday - Once a duckling


Tracy of sunny Queensland offers the always fun Shadow Shot Sunday which showcases shadow art.

We travel back to 1991 and two-year old Allegra in the backyard. She may be looking for shadows as she aims her Fisher-Price camera at us or our respective shadows. She leaves one herself as she works at playtime.

The mama duck and her ducklings, made of plastic, are involved in the shadow scene, too. The fairy-tale ducklings grow up into beautiful swans ducks themselves. Much like these 'birds', Allegra herself has grown up as we see below...









She is not a baby bird now at the move-in day of her collegiate senior year last August.

Once a hatchling herself, she has grown into a beautiful and poised duck, the duckling having grown up with interests in big person things (like Vera Bradley handbags...)


The parental unit ducks see her as a duckling with more experience...

See al the shadow fun at Hey Harriet!




Thursday, March 11, 2010

Looking at the Sky - Neighborly Atmospherics


This winter sky seemed reminiscent of a fair weather view in the Summer, not nearly in winter.

This neighborhood sky offers gray, off-white and blue - all just right for Tisha's Looking at the Sky. Merely hanging out on our driveway in the Ansonia Uplands gives a look to savor in any season.

See the beauty from above at her fine meme!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sepia Scenes - Bearly Moving



Sepia Scenes arrives again, and we look for appropriate subjects to enhance with sepia. Some things and places work allow for a slight tweak in this appealing monochrome.

Hear lies a bear in his cooling pool on a stiflingly humid 100°F (38°C) day at the Doorly Zoo in Omaha. He is a bruin in a brown suit of fur, while the concrete and rocks around the pool look fine in an antique sepia hue. The concrete now looks a bit warmer in this appealing edit.

His look shows a tolerance toward the visitors, so the sepia even warmed up his attitude slightly...



Monday, March 8, 2010

Ruby Tuesday - Dining Out


The classic stainless steel stainless steel diner never goes out of style. For Ruby Tuesday, I submit one of our (all four of us) favorite eateries, and suggest the Olympia Diner on the busy Berlin Turnpike (Routes 5 and 15) in Newington, CT. Built in 1952, the air of the past sits in brightness and neon. Such diner fare as BLT club sandwiches and the world's best corned beef hash (under a scrambled egg) are excellent choices, and the diner coffee is fresh, hot and plentiful...








I asked Cameron to try a few settings on the Canon point-and-shoot to capture the bright essence of the neon. I like this one, the accent leaving a yellowish hue.

Built in 1952, this is on the way back from Hartford, so is used as a pit stop from time to time. Comfort food is a treat when we are really hungry, the vinyl booths and chairs a nice stylish throwback to the past. Neon has never lost its cool factor with me...




Saturday, March 6, 2010

R.I.P .Rigby




It happened far too fast. Rigby had to be put down this Saturday morning. The details are not as important as what he meant to the whole family. Today, there is such an air of sadness around us, that's me, Patti and brother Linus - and the others who have been informed, Allegra, cameron and Gooma (aka: Patti's mom).

As a cat should, he could sleep without provocation. Even on an old TV with an old B&W movie.

Patti has written about this most eloquently.





A winsome and cute fellow with his moo-cow markings, he loved to be skritched on and around his head incessantly. Too bad we humans had schedules so the all day sessions could not happen. No offense, he would just take a nap. He loved water, too! I had considered that perhaps he studied water to such a degree that perhaps he was trying to receive a PhD in hydrodynamics, or something. He also loved to get his water from the faucet.








A being who loved unconditionally, he was a fun fellow, the word winsome cannot be overstated. He had that happy-go-lucky air about him, always. What a loss. I am concerned about his brother Linus, who is looking around for his brother now.

Who doesn't love Beanies??








Patti took Rigby to the vet, and but as I was home with Linus, and as the day moved along, he knows now is that he is missing - and wishes he were back, as do we...

A furry friend, three and one-half years is far too soon to be gone. A loss that is immeasurable now.


Goodbye pal. We all will miss you :>(

Shadow Shot Sunday - All aboard



Tracy, from sunny Brisbane in the land of Oz, has provided with the wonderful meme Shadow Shot Sunday. We look look for those subjects, simple or complex, that allow for shadows.

I brought Allegra to catch her train at nearby Union Station in New Haven (CT) one summer Saturday. Since the normal pattern of commuting is M-F, I was able to go to the train platforms to observe, I think for tracks 10 and 12. I wasn't looking for shadows in those pre-SSS days, but here they appear! Lights, sign posts and large electrical structures are happy to comply.






The classically styled station building is to the left. with the lovely arched windows. The complex electrical towers leave a shadow on the tracks. Further shadows sit underside the adjacent platform and on the brick wall of the depot. The non-descript building to the right is a parking garage (car park?).

I would have taken pictures inside the station, but the many security agencies (MTA police, New Haven police and Connecticut State police) made me consider taking pictures outside. On a glorious day like this (80°F, 26°C) who wants to take pictures inside anyway??


The shadowy world of photo artists is found at Hey Harriet's fabulous site!




Thursday, March 4, 2010

Looking at the Sky - Red, White and Blue (Sky)


A blue sky is always a treat during any season. Tisha's fun Looking at the Sky lets us chronicle what's above, be it cloudy or not. Here is a beautiful autumn sky of blue on Veteran's Day 2008. Only a few leaves remain, and this bare tree draws our eyes toward the blue heavens. The angle seems about right as I viewed the scene from the 'chair.

A most pleasant day, crisp with a bit of wind as we see in the flag fluttering up high. The simplicity of the autumn day, blue and breezy, makes it a fine day to enjoy the day before the onset of winter. See the sky in so many beautiful ways at this great meme.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sepia Scenes - Peoples Car


I guess that previous vehicles may be a recurring theme for me. So for Sepia Scenes, why not a sepia tribute to my all time favorite car?

A 1982 VW Rabbit (Golf) in a wonderful sepia beige. This is a color we don't see these days. I liked the lightness of the hue as well as the driving dynamics, a 1.7 L four cylinder with a manual transmission (as I recently noted for
SSS, I always enjoyed driving with a clutch...) When I had a set of Swedish
Gislaved tires installed, it was a blast to drive on curvy roads.

For this take, I used a lightened antique edit, as it kept the original paint sepia while accenting the view. The red streak...I guess that when I was winding the film on the Pentax K1000 back onto the spool - and opened the door, making for the odd exposure here as the light hit the film. But I like the effect of the error...




For the backside, I used sepia that was lightened a bit. In each picture, the beige is not altered much, merely highlighted.

I kept the car for 101,000 miles (163000 Km). We didn't sell it for bad reasons, but since Patti and I also had another 2-door VW (1985 Golf). and were expecting our first child (Allegra), we sold the VW with the highest mileage so we could purchase a Nissan Stanza wagon with four doors. Ironically, it was tan that was not far away from sepia itself (I think that might may be a fine sepia subject too :>)


See lots of sepia art at Mary's meme!