"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Archive for April, 2011

Civil War Reenactors- Ohio Statehouse Capitol Square

Waiting for the flag bearer. Just driving by and you see something.A picture.One you don't see everyday..

NYC Sidewalk Scene: a Writing Prompt?

Shoes in the street,
a single one by the curb.
This time a pair.
What shoes say about us.
In whose shoes would
you walk that mile?
Feel what their life is like.
Garbage that didn’t make it into the truck on pickup day?  I have photographed other shoes and flip flops found on the street.  Makes me wonder who was walking around in them before they were abandoned.


What do you collect?

People collect things. Here is a friend’s frog collection.   Friends know people collect things and help them out by bringing one to add to the collection.  I’ve talked about it before-Tim’s snowmen collection for which there is a moratorium- no more snowmen to be added!  We all know someone who collects something.

I am fascinated with how it starts.  The first one of a collection.  I got a cool handblown glass frog from Kristin and I keep him in my China closet.  He is my only frog and I like that fact.  He is unique.

You start with one of something,
Friends buy you more.
Frogs symbolize good luck
according to what I could find.
When I see a collection
I always wonder how it began.

Four Fruits for Brunch

Shot this with my Canon 50D and 24-70mm EL series lens. Didn't think the iPhone could do it justice.

Mary and I were entertained for a delicious brunch where this fruit was served (with a side of pancakes and bacon) but doesn’t this look healthy?Seeds or seedless,

skins or peel?
Raspberries are my favorite.
Poached pears, a baked apple.
Fruit cup, fruit cake, dried fruit,
fruit bowl. fruit salad.
Fruit of the vine. Fruit tree.
Fruit roll-up, fruit tart.
Fruit Loops? Fruit flies.
Fruit.  Just plain fruit.

p.s.  If you want to vote on Keep or Pitch and see Cinderella click here.

My Sister’s NYC Kitchen- 20 for Dinner? No problem!

My friend V says lots of people have designer kitchens and barely cook. The counter is smaller than the top of my dishwasher at home. She has a slab of marble and a wooden board. I have seen her cook for even more people than that. AMAZING! The kids and I had lots of happy trips. Mary used to go to Zito’s and bring home fresh loaves of warm bread which we ate with her homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. Read about another small NYC Kitchen- Mark Bittman

Think boat or galley! She lights the stove, strikes a wooden match.A writing book exercise-describe your first kitchen.Eat-in kitchen, heart of the home.People used to decorate with a theme.Trivets, salt & peppers to match,tea towels and canisters. A pantry.Formica counters, linoleum floors, upgradewith a roll of no-wax Congoleum.Ceramic tile squares. A single or a double sink.Now it's granite and stainlessa glass doored fridge. Fancy lightsspotlight what's cooking.Some people order take-out. Grab a bite, on the fly.

Green Rainboots Complement Fancy Easter Dress

I remember Anna wearing these rain boots and a crocheted poncho in August when they lived in Florida.

Anna helps her sister Maura adjust the baby in the stroller.No gloves, purse or hat.Check out the footwear.

Easter Bunny with Knapsack of Tiny Colored Eggs

This is a shot of a portion of my sister’s Easter display. When we lived in Germany we bought the loveliest Easter ornaments. We moved there in 1986 and the Gasthaus where we stayed had a platter of dirt with grass growing and colored eggs resting right in the grass. I thought it was so cool! I still have not reproduced that decoration yet but think about it every year.
Easter Past

When I was little there was a big deal
about an Easter dress and hat,
a scratchy crinoline inside.
An outfit to be photographed in–
under the blossoming cherry tree.
Little white gloves, patent leather shoes
buckle strap, new white ruffled anklets.
A purse to match.
To hold what?
An embroidered hanky, ironed.

Times change.

If you want to read the story of my grandmother’s vintage quilt stars from the Keep or Pitch blog post click here

Mother Mary- Springtime NYC

Someone placed a bouquet in the crook of her arm.   Today’s post remembers friend and poet Christina Murdock who passed one year ago today, a week short of her thirtieth birthday.

from Let it Be by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

Onion Skins Colored Eggs

A bit too much sunlight on the eggs but they were a reddish color.

My sister made these beautiful colored eggs.  She peeled the paper skins off a mesh bag of yellow onions, down to the onion part.  Boiled the eggs and skins together slowly for a long time.  The eggshells became a rich reddish color.  After the dinner on Monday we played the egg game, trying to crack the other person’s egg with yours. Fredi suggested using the smaller tip like a torpedo.  His coaching worked for me and my egg was the winner, although the other guests might have felt it fixed, with the hostess’s sister winning! You win if your egg remains uncracked at the end of the game.  Mary said it had Armenian and Greek roots (the egg game.)  A competitive group!

New York City Sidewalk Pickle Vendor

I walked by. Looked back. Took the shot.

My friend Joyce is really good at street photography.  I feel self-conscious and awkward a lot of the time.  I shot this man purchasing a pickle from one of the barrels.  I haven’t seen a pickle vendor on the street before although I did see someone deep fry a pickle at the Ohio State Fair.


The word is funny to me.
Don’t hear it much
about someone getting themselves
in a real pickle.
Barrels of pickles
lined up on a table
under a tent.
Sweet, sour, Kosher dill.
Bread and butter, gherkins,
hamburger sliced.
Pickled eggs in a jar on a bar
Pickled beets.
I made some once.

FDNY- Ten House Across the Street from World Trade Center

There's a plaque on the face of the engine house with the 9/11 fallen heroes faces and names in bronze.

“Still Standing”.  The Seagrave Truck made in Clintonville, Wisconsin has an amazing story on the Ten House website.  On the side of the building is the Bronze 9/11 Memorial Wall.  The garage door was open part way.

You see the new World Trade Center rising high out of the construction site.
There must be a hundred cranes.
Around the corner the 9/11 Memorial Wall.
Mary said someone from Hawaii must have been there-
a dozen leis dangling from the tripod that held a wreath.
Lots of people from all over the world,  taking photos.
It started to rain.

Zest of an Orange

Used a kitchen plane to get the zest of an orange for an orange walnut torte.
The scent of the freshly grated rind is familiar and refreshing.

You don’t really need to see the photo when you read the title

cause you can imagine a scratch and sniff-  zest of an orange!.
(First time posting directly through the phone.)


Foot High Tower of Onion Rings

The  last couple of days has been lovely eggplants and inviting mangoes still-lifes.  Time to shake things up.  Cowgirl Restaurant offers a FOOT high tower of onion rings on their menu.  Mary suggested it for a starter. The party of 5 at the adjoining table ordered one, too.  The tower is reminiscent of the kids’ game Ring Toss or those stacking towers of graduated size doughnut rings on the white base. When it’s brought to the table, other diners can’t help but stare and there’s an audible response as they watch it served.  There are healthier choices available- corn chips and blackeyed peas salsa or the “made fresh twice daily” guacamole with onions, garlic, cilantro and lime juice. Someone had a birthday celebration and you should have heard the giant triangle being stuck repeatedly to get everyone to sing.  No room for dessert- no peach blueberry cobbler , no lemon meringue pie  but one of their specialties is

Cowgirl’s Original Ice Cream Baked Potato 
vanilla ice cream shaped like a big ol’ spud, dusted in cocoa and topped
with loads of hot fudge, chopped pecans, whipped cream and a little pat of butter (frosting.)

Mangoes Ripening Still Life

Waiting for just the right moment.  Going to be mixed with fresh strawberries and served on Orange Granita.


A simple bowl.
Tiles from Turkey.
Placed on a wide window sill.
Three mangos/mangoes sit.
The produce man asked,
“When do you want to eat them?”
as you make your purchase
on a Monday
at the stand.
“These will be ready
by Friday” he says
with authority.

Eggplant Still Life

Three varieties. White. Striated and regular.  They are going to be roasted at 500 degrees for 45 minutes. The insides scraped out after they cool.  Four pounds worth.  Then the oven reduced to 350 and the flesh mixed with 2 eggs, 8 0unces of feta cheese and one cup of grated Gruyere, 5 T of sunflower oil and a bit more for the baking dish.  4 T of matzoh meal. Mix together and bake for an hour.  Drizzle top with a bit of the oil.  The recipe from the New York Times Food column by Molly O’Neill March 30. 1997, Almodrotoe de Berengena (Turkish Eggplant Flan)


The names of color.
Apricot, peach, claret, sky blue.
Lavender, eggshell, all names of a hue.

Four pounds of eggplant, waiting to be roasted.

I Used to Live on a Tree Lined Street

Lucille tells me farmer wisdom says “You have to have a really good reason to cut down a tree.” More than 100 years old and felled in less than two hours.  I thought about avoiding the stump, the empty space.  But I felt it important to pay my respects. The “Gentle Giant” has retired all right.  (click to see the tree before the removal) Chopped up in the chipper in no time flat.  A sad day for Heberton Street.  A loss of shade, beauty and grace.  A life. Another living thing, come to the end of its life. With help from the tree men, the city and the diagnosis of canker.  Beth reminds me that we all become soil or dust.  It is part of the cycle of life.  Here was my reminder today.


My friend T says the only guarantee is change.
And lots of it.
Takes time to familiarize oneself
to the constant in our lives.
Maybe as I get older
it’s harder to accept?
Or I notice an increase in the amount.
Steve knows about planetary motion.
Explained how fast we are traveling
each second
as earth rotates and orbits around the sun.

Ouch. Just makes me sad.

How to Get Kids to Look at the Camera Lens

Before last night I’d never even  heard of a Shutterpal, nor did I know I needed one!  I think it is going to be great!    I have four grandchildren 2-7 years old and getting their attention simultaneously is tricky.  I think this monkey dangling from my camera lens is going to be key in getting some fun photos.   Using a Beanie Babies® Socks the Monkey ($4.99), I created a Shutterpal. (click to see the B is for Boy Blog Tutorial with more detailed directions and photos by a cool mom)   Won’t need to jingle keys or squeak a squeaky toy to get the baby to look at me when I want to photograph. Laura sent me the  link on how to do it but I did it the easy way, without a sewing machine. I did use the suggested seam ripper and a pair of really sharp sewing scissors to open the back seam and empty the stuffing and beans from the torso section of the little guy.  I cut out the entire circle of the lens cap right up to his seams all around the torso section.    Then I stitched all around the circular hole.  Added a red potholder loop as stretchy binding to finish off the raw edge and stitched it on with buttonhole thread.  Now I need to go and visit the grandchildren and try it out!! True you don’t always want them to look directly at the camera but with the four grandchildren I am thinking this will be a good solution.  Maybe I can do a fun monkey voice.  It is always great when the other grandmother is there to get their attention when we are doing the more formal posed ready-for-church-dressed-in-our-best shots.

The camera lens goes right through the monkey!

Here you can see the empty torso with the potholder loop sewn around

This is not for Everyone

Won’t work with a point-and-shoot
but Laura sent me this DIY link.
Saw it and thought of me.
She knows how frustrating it can be.
For the times when you want to capture
a baby and/or toddler’s attention.
She  inspired me to be creative.

Can Someone Explain Lawn Balls?

Photographed with the iPhone A Neighbor's Lawn Ball

I can see myself photographing the lawn ball, in the lawn ball’s reflection.   When I “googled” origin of the Lawn Ball it insisted I was asking about Lawn Bowls and Lawn Bowling. Not.

Maybe I don’t have the correct  terminology for this yard art, garden ornamentation, lawn decor.  There must be something about them that draws me in.  I’ve been thinking about who made the first lawn ball and how the idea came to him ( or her).  Placed on a pedestal, watching the clouds roll by on the curved surface.

Amy writes it is a Gazing Ball   Going to look it up. See her comment below for the lnk.

also called a Yard Globe or a Gazing Globe

Adding to Nature’s Beauty

A statement,
a center piece
placed on a pedestal.
I stare at it
photograph it.
Wonder how it came to be.

Paints in Muffin Tins- A Still Life

from the archives Click here and checkout the Royal Wedding Towel from 1981 on Keep or Pitch today

Paints in Muffin Tins


Thanks for the well wishes
and emails. I’m coming along.
Today is one from the archives.
Reminds me of an abstract painting
on a museum wall.

The Ceramic Squirrel Family Made Freshly Pressed Page today

Exciting to be selected as one of the top ten blogs today on Freshly Pressed (by WordPress)  Click to see what all the fuss is about

The Ceramic Squirrel Family- Everyone says PITCH!!

Cathedral of Learning Late Afternoon Light

View from Forbes Avenue

Cathedral of Learning

Light hits an object,
reflects back.
Capture as best I can.
How it changes, brings life
to surfaces,
fascinates me.

Split Second Cookies from the Archives

What I did with the orange marmalade and raspberry jam.  Split second cookies recipe here

April Showers

“Pansies in soft April rains

Fill their stalks with honeyed sap

Drawn from Earth’s prolific lap.”

Bayard Taylor 1825-1875 Buried in Kennett Square PA

April Showers

The weight of the raindrops
bent the Pansy’s face to the ground.
Petals like velvet.


It really felt like a true Spring day!

The pansy gets its name from the French word pensée meaning ‘thought’.”

-quote from Pansyflowers.com

The forsythia is in bloom

and there are violets and crocus,
the daffodils.   All those bulbs people
planted last fall are up.
Buds on some of the trees.
Pansies look
like Spring to me.


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