Sunday, October 19, 2014

Let the Halloween Decorating Begin!

 Here and there the Halloween decorations are beginning to show up in people's yards.

I noticed these three witches fly in last weekend.  And then today--well--

I mean, someone here REALLY loves his Halloween!

I haven't had much of a chance to get out and about, but I am going to keep snapping pictures here and there as these things turn up.
I'm afraid I haven't made much effort at decorating.  Buying a pumpkin and putting it out is about all I have managed.  So lame.  Oh well.  I don't really feel bad at all.  I enjoy looking at other people's Halloween-y expressions more than I enjoy creating my own.  Obviously, people around here are pretty enthusiastic!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


On Saturday morning I ran a 5K.  I used to be a fairly avid runner--at times going four miles a day.  These days I am a weekend runner during the school year.  A daily run is something I had to sacrifice when I started working full time.  I'm just too tired at the end of the day and there are so many other things that take priority.

Well, over the summer, my sister and I got to talking to our sister-in-law who runs marathons (and also works full time and has two children!), and we decided that we'd try to run some 5Ks to keep us going.  So, I started the challenge this weekend. Friday at work, I was thinking, "No, I have too much too do.  I can't put this in on top of everything else.  I just need a rest."  But, by Friday night, I had resolved to go.  And I am so glad I did!

The route we ran took me through memory lane:

-Here is the soccer field we used to come to on those cold Saturday mornings, shivering in camaraderi with other uncomfortable parents, lamenting that we couldn't sleep in.

-Here are the picnic tables the pizzas were delivered to when I was the team mom

-Here is the Boys and Girls Club I dropped my son's friend at.  His mother once picked him up early at our house after a sleep over so he wouldn't miss church.  He had never eaten Chinese food.  He dropped out of school and went to jail, though I can't imagine him that way.  He is still a polite little boy in my minds' eye.

-Here is the place my son witnessed some guys leaving a robbery.  A policeman called our house to ask him further questions about the incident.

-Here is the place where I dropped off my son for a rafting trip.  I was working two jobs and had to send him to camp.  I signed a waiver that acknowledged that rafting was dangerous and could result in death.  I tried not to think about that as I waved goodbye to him and pulled out of the parking lot.

-Here is the shelter that so many times I came to pick up a car full of sweat smelling boys staying out of the rain.

-Here is the route of the Halloween parade.

-Here is the remodeled school, but before it was remodeled we stood in the twilight and watched hundreds of swifts return to the chimney.

-Here is where a man rode a horse into the square at night and tethered him to the bike rack.

I can't believe really how many parts of my life were set in that part of town!  I am glad I did the run, and realize that half the battle of exercise is mental.  I am especially inspired by gray haired people running.  That is what I want to be!  Strong and moving forward.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Look at the Old South

So, earlier this month when my Italian friends came to visit, one of the things they wanted to see was a big Southern plantation house like in the movies.  Well, there aren't so many of those around anymore  (thank goodness!)--but there is a small town nearby that escaped being burned during the civil war, so it is famously full of grand old homes.
It was a fun place to spend the day.  We walked around taking a zillion pictures and even got to go inside a few houses.

Very Tennesse Williams to me--I can just see Big Daddy coming out to drink a bourbon.

My friends are always stunned by the fact that Americans build their houses out of wood.  I have to say,  it is kind of odd when you think about how difficult wood can be to keep from fire, insects, and decay.

I prefer these Victorian types.

When I was a little girl, we moved house a couple of times.  I remember my mother coming in excitedly to tell me all about the new house we were going to move into.  I would catch her excitement, but my imagination couldn't follow her words.  "A new house!" I would think, and in my mind's eye I would picture something like the houses above.  Some kind of house with a cupola and a hidden stairway, a mysterious attic and a big porch.  A place where magic happens or you meet a ghost who can take you back into her world for awhile when no one is paying attention to where you are (I read a lot of books).

Ha!  We always moved into a contemporary ranch-style house.  I was so disappointed and then grumpy.  Why couldn't we ever get a really beautiful house?  I remember my mother looking so crushed at my reaction.  She had no idea what vision had been swimming around in my little head, and hadn't she explained it all out for me?

Another thing, in the houses we toured there was so much crochet!  All these fabulous crocheted bed covers, which I love.  I look at these and think of the time they took to make and the complicated mental work they involved.  These tell us things about the lives of women in the past, don't they?

And to top it all off, there was this Gothic touch.  Really, a vulture on top of the church cross.  Too Flannery O'Connor for me! (My husband suggests it might be an album cover, which is not a bad idea, eh?)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Martin Luther King Jr.

These are portions of the wall outside the Martin Luther King Center.  We visited the center a few weeks ago with some or our very dearest old friends from far away.
We visited the house King lived in as a boy,

a large Victorian house set across from a row of smaller homes and shotgun houses.

These houses are all still occupied.
African Americans lived together here, the well off and the poor.
At the end of the street is the old fire station.  It is a museum now.

We also stopped in Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King's father (and grandfather) were preachers.

Martin Luther King Jr. is an example to me.  An example of perseverance and courage.
These words get me every time:

"Like anybody, I would  like to live a long life.  Longevity has its place.  But I'm not concerned about that now.  I just want to do God's will.  And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I've looked over.  I've seen the Promised Land.  I may not get there with you.  But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land."

I am not a religious person really, though I am a spiritual one. King worked so hard for right and justice in the face of so much hate and so much danger.  He's beyond the norm, truly heroic, truly inspiring.  If I could have just one fraction of his tenacity, his capacity for good works, and his faith in the common man, I think to myself.

Friday, September 12, 2014


It's sad when a big old tree has to be taken down.  Some of them here in the Buffer Zone have been senselessly cut down to make room for big houses and trucks that need to maneuver around on tight lots to put up big houses.  But, I think this big guy in the picture was sick.  You can see he had some hollowness that looks like rot in his trunk.  A lady pointed out what she thought was a bluish tinge to the inner bark which she believed to be an indicator of lightening damage.  I wasn't so sure.

Also, here is our last little harvest of pole beans before I cleared out the plants.  The velcro like leaves were yellowing--getting what I think of as "plant fatigue" as August winds up and the hot days stretch on into September.  You know how you start off pulling a few beans and then there are more than a handful, so you put them in your pocket or the front of your shirt because you didn't really mean to start pulling beans in the first place?  Well, that's what was happening here.

It's raining now.  Here at the school week's end, I'm feeling a little bit of "person fatigue" haha.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dream Cars

This weekend we went to a fantastic show of concept cars.  This is the second car show I've seen at the High Museum, and both were amazing.
The cars are so big and shining.  Imagine driving any of them!

This big old guy called the Scarab was a little bit caravan.  Check out the front and back details.

My favorite was this wing-y futuristic model the Ghia Gilda.  I'd love to take this for a spin!  Looks like flame would shoot out the tail pipe at the back.

Loved the door handle! 

This car had a glass bubble like top.

And this one was some sturdy gangster-like model.  A chic girl in white fur would emerge from this.

There was another cool one that I LOVED (a super low Ferrari that looked like it might fly), but my camera was not in my hands and when we got home, we realized no one had even snapped it once.  Alas.
(Funny.  Around our house, we really do say "alas.")

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Lantern Parade

I have been so busy going around and being a half tourist of my own town this week that I have loads to put up on this blog.  However, in the interest of time and attention spans, I am going to break all of it up into smaller posts.
Last night was the annual Lantern Parade in the city.  This was the fifth parade celebrating the construction and completion of a beautiful walking, jogging, biking pathway connecting points through the city in what was once dangerous wasteland where no one dared to venture (or had reason to)-- especially at night.  Now it is full of permanent art installations, fountains, trails, loft space and stylish apartments.
I met up with an old college friend I hadn't seen for over--well, for many years.  We were delighted and amazed.  Her young daughter was with us, so we watched a little of the parade, and marched along a little too.  Everyone brought lanterns, homemade or bought, and we all had a fabulous time celebrating how much we love our city.
People gathering before the parade.

The start of the parade.  Here come the really elaborate lanterns!

I realized pretty quickly that I would not be able to take photos of everything.  I had to just shut off my camera and enjoy the rush and sensation of being there in the moment.  
All of these joyful people and their creative individuality was infectious!  As we left, we were already planning our lanterns for next year.