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Posts Tagged ‘photos’

121118-gingerbread-house-plus-garage

Today I’m posting recent photos, including a few gingerbread pictures that really get me into the spirit of the season.

The first is of a gingerbread house that two of my grandchildren decorated. You can see that they also made a garage from some extra pieces of gingerbread.

Next there’s one of my shadow pictures, followed by the random donkey that graces the yard at Boston’s old city hall.

Background for the photo after that: About a week ago all four grandchildren were at a Christmas crafts workshop where grownups in elf hats made everything run smoothly. The next day I found elf hats on parking meters around town.

Next are several gingerbread creations at annual displays in town. The tree house, hobbit house, Victorian advertisement for the Gentleman Handyman, and the Acton Dental house with Santa inside in the dentist chair are all at the Colonial Inn. The last gingerbread house is in the library and is created every year by a local physician who starts to work weeks in advance.

Finally, what’s this? Another shadow picture. A Christmas-y one this time.

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110518-amazing-shade-of-red-on-Japanese-mapleDid you read The Hobbit? Do you remember the thrilling moment when an ancient prophecy comes true as a “thrush knocks” and the sun briefly beams at a tiny spot on the wall of the Iron Mountain, revealing the forgotten keyhole to the dragon’s backdoor? No? Well, check it out.

I mention this ability of the sun to shine at a certain place only at a certain time because the photo below represents one of my attempts to run outside in a mad rush and capture how a particular solar angle projects the squares of the gate on the stone wall. It only happens a couple times a year because the sun keeps moving. (That is, the Earth keeps moving in relation to the sun.) In a few minutes the projection would be on the grass, not the wall. The following week, it wouldn’t happen at all. I totally lost out last spring, but managed to get this much in the fall. Stonehenge.

The first sculpture was by a grateful patient of Mass General Hospital in Boston. Next come sculptures seen from the cafe balcony at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. And, typical of the City That Never Sleeps, Insomnia Cookies will deliver until 3 a.m. The port-a-potty confirms Asakiyume’s contention that these ubiquitous accommodations are as creatively named as hair salons.

Then, I give you Central Park the Beautiful. What city would ever build something this magnificent today?

Finally, another of my favorite topics: the wonder of lichen.

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OK, New York is not a beautiful city in the sense of the traditional song (Dave Van Ronk sings “Oh, What a Beautiful City!” here), but that spiritual has been playing in my head today because I really like New York.

It’s definitely not a clean city. Every day of the week there are so many trash bags on the sidewalk that the garbage trucks often leave half behind for a later pass, and not-civic-minded New Yorkers toss last night’s take-out on the heap as they walk their children to school.

The electronic kiosks that I love featured a relevant quote by Fran Lebowitz this week: “When you leave New York, you are astonished at how clean the rest of the world is. Clean is not enough.”

Speaking of clean, Asakiyume once pointed out that the business that attracts almost as much creative naming as beauty salons is the porta-potty business, so the first photo below is for her collection.

Next I have two indoor photos, followed by several from beautiful Central Park. Having been warned never to go near the park when I walked the Corgi in the morning decades ago, I’m always astonished that today one can walk there early in the morning and join many other people — runners, bikers, dog walkers, children headed to school, sometimes a solitary practitioner of tai chi chuan.

I love the shadows at that time of day and the greenery, the park’s architectural touches, the benches with thoughtful quotes, the paths that beckon. It’s pretty magical.

Riffing off a Lawrence Block quote, another kiosk asked what was “the thing about New York, if you loved it, if it worked for you, it ruined you for anyplace else in the world”? New York doesn’t ruin anywhere for me, but I feel challenged to answer what is the main thing I like about New York: it’s just that it’s always interesting.

(More quotations about New York City here.)

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Except for the cannon balls at the Civil War monument in New York City, these photos are all from my walks in Massachusetts.

The town of Concord recognizes the International Day of Peace every year by putting up the flags of all members of the United Nations. This year I sent photos of my relatives’ countries of origin to them — Sweden and Egypt.

The Old Manse, run by the Trustees of Reservations, is decorating for fall. Its most famous tenants were author Nathaniel and artist Sophia Hawthorne. Tour guides like to show visitors where the couple carved window messages with her diamond ring.

The injured Blackpoll warbler had a tough fall migration and didn’t make it through the night. I did learn from Kim that one should put an injured bird in a “small, warm, dark box for night. If living in the morning, drip a little sugar water into mouth and release.” Something to keep in mind.

The pumpkin has an important quotation from former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black about a free press. My neighbor puts 24 small pumpkins on her fence posts every year near Halloween and inscribes something on each. This year the words are from Supreme Court justices, the 19th Amendment (giving women the vote), Massachusetts justice Margaret Marshall (making the state the first to allow gay marriage), and the like.

I wind up with another neighbor’s new tree house and a couple fungi photos. There seems to be a huge array of fungi in town this year, some of them very peculiar looking. We also have a lot of mosquitoes. Too much rain?

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091418-sandhill-crane-at-dusk

September is already more than half over. How did that happen? Before it’s time for photos of Jack o’ Lanterns, here are a few pictures of September in Massachusetts. Most were taken by me, but the lovely praying mantis photo is my husband’s.

The star clematis has gone berserk all over town this September. So pretty. The herb garden is behind my church, as are the church sexton’s lovingly tended bonsai trees. Mist is rising over the community garden in the early morning.  I shot the ear of corn in the garden of the Old Manse. The great-looking fungus was along the conservation trail by the river. I do find fungus extraordinarily intricate and beautiful. If you’re on Instagram, follow @chasonw for some great examples.

The elephant looks real but is a statue at a home in my neighborhood. Not a street I usually walk down, so I was really taken by surprise when I passed it recently. The offbeat ceramics are in the window of the Lacoste/Keane Gallery, and the glass jellyfish are in a shop called Artisans Way.

I wind up this array with an end-of-summer farmers market, where a tiny boy with a tiny guitar was emulating a musician and a little girl was making friends with a goat.

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I’m still getting used to having an iPhone and was surprised to learn that my new one was counting my steps. When my husband told me that in Japan, walking 10,000 steps a day is considered ideal for good health, I wondered if I could manage that. At home, it means taking two constitutionals a day, a feat I doubted I would be able to keep up in the winter.

But in New York City, no problem! One day this week I walked more than 16,500 steps without thinking twice. New York is just such a fun place to walk — so much to look at, constantly entertaining. Maybe the storefronts don’t change numerous times a day, but the array of people does. And their pushcarts, fruit stands, clothes, behaviors.

People seem so uninhibited in New York that you could express your inner self to an unheard-of degree and no one would blink. Of course it’s sad that some people on the streets clearly have mental illness. But being used to living around them seems to free up New Yorkers not to care much what people think of their own behavior. I watched one guy oblivious of furiously honking rush-hour traffic and blocking a whole lane while he tried to hook a car to his shish-kebob trailer after work.

Another slammed into wet leaves on a rented Citi Bike and wiped out with a loud crash in the middle of an intersection, picked the bike up, and went on his way. If that happened where I live, it would be on the front page of the local bugle the next Thursday.

Most of what I saw happened too fast for me to get a picture, but I include a couple things that stayed still.

It’s relatively quiet to walk along Riverside Drive in the early morning, and many people and dogs do. Other people sit on the benches and read the paper or drink coffee. This worn park bench had a plaque I particularly liked. It says, “The friends of Susan G. Schwartz honor her and remember how she taught us to sit still.”

Going home today to sit still.

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090518-shop-bench-early-morning

A town with public benches is a civilized kind of town. Benches and sidewalks. Sidewalks and benches. Benches where a dad can help a kid with a messy ice cream cone, where an older citizen can take a break from his daily constitutional, where a shopper can organize her armload of purchases.

I’m grateful to the town government, the independent library, the performing arts center, and — especially — the many businesses that pay to place and maintain benches in Concord. It’s the little things that make for quality of life.

Want to send me a photo of a public bench in your town? How about you, Arlington? Stockholm?

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