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

Archive for December, 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter

If you've been following the blog for awhile you might remember this as the header last winter,too.

To see other bloggers’ responses to the weekly challenge, click here

*click here to see Flat Ruthie Feed the Horses Cardboard Me Travels to Hardy, Virginia  


3 Year Old Salts Her Popcorn

You have to be vigilant. Pay attention, non-stop. We were all in the same room, together.

No one saw her with the salt shaker. Gone wild.

But I had to photograph it when I noticed it in the morning as we cleaned up after movie night.  Hers was the pink bowl. The morning light through the back door caught the colors.

This just in-  I had dinner in Arkansas and looks like good luck will be with me in 2012 as I am chowing down on some Black Eyed Peas.  “Cardboard me” showed up in Greg and Katherine’s kitchen. Check it out on their blog here


Reader Appreciation & Anna Entertains Her Siblings With Mr. Sock Monkey

  1. Award your top 6 bloggers who have commented the most ( my frequent commenters don’t all have blogs but are good friends around the world who check out the daily photo and write nice comments on the blog- Thanks you to all readers for following the blog!)
  2. Be thankful. (Thank you Chicago John at fromBartolini Kitchens who nominated me for this award. Wonderful intelligent writing evoking memories of growing up and what was prepared and eaten. He also writes the best comments  but I can’t send this award back to him!)
  3. You cannot award someone who has already been awarded. And you cannot give the award back to me. (Okay, that eliminates Greg and Katherine at Rufus Food and Spirits Guide, as Chicago John awarded them too but they write great comments, too!)
  4. Don’t forget to tell the bloggers you’ve awarded. ( I had better hurry up and do that before I post, YIKES!)
  5. If you don’t want to pass on this award, that’s okay to. Just admire it-
  6. and unable to copy and paste the award symbol I am posting a reasonable facsimile

    My Reader Appreciation Award Shot in Joan's Garden

Six Readers Whom I Appreciate- Be sure to check out their blogs!

1.implicado see the Poinsettias in Mexico and other cool photos shot by Cedric.

2.smilekiddo Spreading happy faces found EVERYWHERE from a swing set to the pavement. Now I  see them, too.  There is so much more than that summation but check out Stef’s blog.

3. watchingnolanature  If you want a walk in the swamp or a hike in the wood with stunning nature photography check out Carla’s blog. If you live in the north and want to feel warmer head to NOLA.

4.  thirdhand art Theresa has a photography blog and is a regular reader and commenter.

5. mark goodwin photography - a photography blogger based in Wales

6. goofy runner my sweet daughter who writes  hundreds of comments on the blog.  You saw her wedding on my blog recently.

Had to keep up with my daily photo post effort as 2011 comes to a close.  Maybe not the clearest shot but I came upon this scene in the kitchen this morning.  I made the sock monkey for Anna when she was small and the arms look like they need a little plastic surgery by the seamstress. Anna asked if I could make a PINK sock monkey and would you believe I found the Rockford, red heel socks in PINK and ordered them today.  If you need a pair you can order here at Supersockmonkey.

It is great when they ignore me with a camera! Jack still sporting his Superman Cape


Watching a Movie

It was camp-out night in the living room. Watching the Smurf Movie.


What I’m Thinking for 2012

Postaday 2011 is coming to a rapid close.  I accomplished a daily photograph post on my rutheh.com blog.  It became part of my day.  Everyday.  And then I started the Keep or Pitch blog and was thinking how I would clean out my house of accumulation and clutter and inherited items. Grown up children moved out but left their “stuff” and I photographed and posted and wrote stories of possessions and it went pretty well everyday for a good while. Months even. Even got voted Freshly Pressed for the Ceramic Squirrel Family post. But when it came time to get serious and actually pitch a LOT of stuff, I stopped photographing it and feeling nostalgic and made donations big time, had a failed yard sale, and loaded up some heavy duty construction bags and dragged them to the curb.  That task is not completed and the third floor beckons to me to get up there and PITCH.

Starting another blog to illustrate where this blog travels in the blogosphere is the plan.

I recreated a “cardboard me”, not because I want to look thinner  but need to fit in the mail.  Made color copies on card stock.  The copies appear a little dull but then I was called two-dimensional!  I am already in business size envelopes traveling to friends and bloggers who have agreed to “guest blog” and return photo(s) of my visit with them.

Many of you know Flat Stanley and have helped school students with their Social Studies projects. Now it is the Elementary Art Teacher’s project.  And your creativity.

Right now I am thinking of one post a week.  I will continue with my daily photography blog and then link to Cardboardmetravels.com as the photos and narratives are returned to me.

If you want  a visit from Flat Ruthie/Cardboard Me,  email your snail mail address to cardboard.me.travels@gmail.com.  We’ll see where the blog travels, visit faraway friends,  highlight fellow bloggers blogs and have fun. I’m already headed to Canada, Omaha, Croatia, Missouri and Arkansas.

The only thing I’m now worried about is that I’m going to be wearing the same outfit everyday for a year.

Oprah might be on every cover of her magazine but at least her hair and outfit are different!

Cardboard me/Flat Ruthies cut out and ready to travel. Doing my part to support the USPS.


Living proof about the box it came in….

It wasn't that he didn't like the Lincoln Logs but needed someone to help build with him and we were setting the table and making breakfast.

 

This looks set up but it is as it happened.  The first shot a blur with his brother and this one the clearer image but Michael caught me with the camera catching him playing in the box the Lincoln Logs came in-

classic, cliche, you’ve heard it a hundred times but his mom alerted me to witness the occurrence. Loving playing in the BOX!

Later he and his dad built a log cabin and fence but it’s going to take quiet concentration and a day with less activity to master Lincoln Log building skills.

 


Milk and Cookies Placement and Polish Christmas Eve

Acrobatics on the ottoman make the magical setting real.

Probably the last year for second grader Anna to believe that Santa will come and eat that plate of cookies and the carrots will be eaten by the reindeer.  We had a Polish Christmas eve honoring Erika’s father’s heritage


Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

Youngest granddaughter Maura Clare dancing between Erika and Mark at cousin Jaclyn's wedding

To see fellow bloggers responses to the challenge click here 

* and my photo classmate and new blogger Francine in Retirement posted a classic Pittsburgh image in response to the weekly challenge here


Inspired by Smile,Kiddo

People tell me they see things they didn’t see before looking at my photos on the blog-

And now that happened to me!
Sitting on the floor, wrapping presents,  I saw a smiley in the floor- where the French doors go.

Almost a wink at me!
Thanks Stef for training my brain to find smiles everywhere. check out smile kiddo

It was an iPhone post today.  Fat fingers and tiny letters. YIKEs. Forgive the typo, Stef. I edited but know the subscribers will see your title spelled incorrectly. I am reposting it new so it is correct.  So much for trying to post from the phone.


First Day of Winter Still Life in My Kitchen

Friends joined me for tea, even though they weren’t in Pittsburgh.

You can see out the kitchen back door window to the back porch and garage, the bare trees.  The shortest day of light.  Winter officially here.

Two dear friends in KY sent a shipment of fancy English muffins and the Fed Ex man delivered them Wednesday afternoon.  It seemed a good time to split one, toast it and spread some butter (with my Grandmother’s silver butter knife) and spoon some apricot preserves.

Went to fire up the kettle to brew tea but I’d burned the kettle dry on Monday so boiled a pot of water to make the tea. Pulled out the camera on the phone to capture the scene

Oranges were on sale 10 for $2 today and lately they were almost a dollar apiece.

A faithful  blog reader in Virgina, C, (and  best friend of a my good friend J in Omaha) made me the little quilted mug mat last year and it was  J who gave me the lidded butter dish another year.  The Botanic Garden mug matches my mother’s cereal bowls.

I was home alone but in the presence of friends and family remembered.  Finding the joy of winter.  My neighbor called to report a vibrant rainbow spotting and perhaps I could photograph it.  i went outside and it was still raining and saw the colored arch across the street.  I photographed it but it didn’t make the cut for posting but i appreciate when people see something and I come to mind. There was thunder and lightning, too.

Yes, that is a stack of woven potholders on the left counter top.

"...and she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China......"


Monongahela River Like a Mirror

I drive across bridges at least twice a day.  I go to work on the arch green bridge(Birmingham Bridge) and sometimes come home on the yellow bridge(South 10th Street) but this day I crossed the Liberty Bridge.

Pittsburgh: The city of bridges.  The change in light, water movement or in this case stillness, is ever changing.

 

The South Tenth Street is the one that was lit up for the filming of the Tom Cruise movie.


Kindergartener’s Night Snowmen Painting Transformed into Note Cards

By her thoughtful mom. (who granted permission for me to post the art cards)

This amazing set of handmade notecards is tied together by a thin thread.  Unexpected gift.

Kai’s mom took her artwork and scanned it and reduced the size and then created these beautiful cards.   It says Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in Hawaiian cause that is where she is from.  We are fortunate to receive her volunteer help at school- she posted a bulletin board full of student artwork in the vestibule so parents and children are welcomed with colorful art!

Perhaps you  read the book Snowmen at Night written by Caralyn Buehner and illustrated by Mark Buehner, That book in our library was the inspiration for the painting.

Lovely to receive such a thoughtful and handmade gift.


So, where is he…?


Vanessa’s Party Shoe Presses the Piano Pedal Plus Nina’s High Heel, Too

Young and trendy.  Stylish and chic.  These fancy shoes separate the youthful fashionable and the older woman’s footwear.   I wore brown clogs. Quite a different look!

It was a good party. The live music made it great. The singing, the piano playing. The friends. The snow was falling as the night wore on.  We’d seen a bad pileup on Bigelow Boulevard and the exit ramp due to black ice on our way to the party. Wondered if we should turn around and go home and avoid the first treacherous driving of the season.

But we were almost there so went forward with the evening’s plans-

the weather discussion goes on forever around these parts and it is usually not good

……Vanessa said she is 5’1″ and that these shoes are really comfortable.  I had to ask.  I was fascinated with the glamorous high heel.

I can’t even imagine.  She seemed to maneuver perfectly. Vanessa and Nina sang and Luke played the piano and sang, too.  He can transpose into any key.  Incredibly talented young man looking at colleges now.

I had asked to blog the women and they agreed but didn’t get permission to show Luke on the blog.   Nina has a website here.   I’ll email and ask so it may be up with the three of them.

Vanessa sitting down and Nina standing


Weekly Photo Challenge: Self-Portrait

Along the Monongahela River by late afternoon light and at night on the way home from the Waterfront in Homestead. Two of my favorite  views, anytime of day or night!

I had the cardboard “me” in the car already.  We make people out of brown corrugated boxes. I always make myself as a model for the students, this year with gray yarn hair!

Some of you know I teach Art in the City K-8th grade.  Not too many people get to make themselves out of scrap cardboard at their job.  The “Flat Ruthie” (have you ever seen Flat Stanley?-I photographed him for granddaughter Anna’s school project) was driving around with me cause I was thinking it might make a fun Christmas card, myself and the skyline or something.

In 2009 I was in a self-portrait show at Silver Eye Center of Photography.  I can’t tell you how many images I shot of myself in my kitchen, trying to look young and thin.  Figured I could achieve both effects with myself as a cardboard puppet. No wrinkles on the smooth cardboard.

Along Beechwood Boulevard looking to Homestead


Air France Meal on a Tray

Airline food. It’s scarce these days.   I took this photo on my way to visit Matthew in Zagreb a few summers ago.  I flew via Paris.  The man across the aisle was laughing as I was photographing.  Available light from the airliner’s window.  Bon Appetit?    Could be categorized Places to get Food

Wish I remembered the names of the dishes served.


Outlook Drive View of Last Working Steel Mill- 12-4-11

The View from Outlook Drive, West Mifflin

You might remember(or click the blue words) the night view of the same mill  from April 2010.


Update on Demolition, Sign Painter at Work and Cooking Outside Wholey’s

Similar colors.  A friend emailed to let me know that the once silver Civic Arena/Mellon Arena roof looked completely red so I drove downtown to capture the progress of the demolition.

I drove to the Strip on a most crowded holiday shopping day.  It was Saturday afternoon in the Strip District and I saw a sign painter was painting above the crowded sidewalks.  I realized I walked under a ladder.  Didn’t think I was superstitious but when I saw this photo for the people at work series, I remembered a tinge of concern.  It makes sense to not walk under a ladder as a bucket of paint could spill on you or you could hit the ladder and knock someone off.  Need to do some research but not tonight.

I can tell you that the scent of grilled veggies and shrimp was inviting but I’d just eaten lunch. ; – (

Zucchini strips on the left. Grilled shrimp on the right.


Duquesne Incline December Afternoon

To watch a 16 second stop action video of the incline – click the blue words-  Duquesne Incline 


Allegheny River Still as a Lake Sunday Afternoon


Holiday Spirit on Not My House

Not a sprig of evergreen or a single bulb at my house. Not an angel or a garland or candy cane.

And then I drive by this place!  WHOA.

Serious decorations.  I wonder where they store them the other eleven months.  The traffic must stop as gawkers drive by.  Like me.

By a friend’s special request, the first holiday house spotted and captured at night. Last year, or maybe it was the year before,  I used to drive around and shoot inflatable turkeys and then Santas on rooftops and even an inflatable nativity scene and when I got out of the car I could hear the air blowing.   Somehow I lost interest in this subject matter.  On the way to Virginia, one lawn had 37 inflatables the inhabitants told me.  After that spotting, I just didn’t feel moved to try and capture the blowing hot air filling the bright, colored cloth. Everyone had them on their lawn or so it seemed. I stopped saying, “Holy Cow, I can’t believe that display!” and raise my camera to shoot.

It’s not that I am Scroogella or anything. I enjoy other people’s efforts to brighten the darkness (and sunset comes before 5PM these days), I just got out of the “seeing” the decorations and photographing them. .

But I’m back- what else could I do?  This scene could not be ignored.

These  lights demanded my attention and capture.

Discovered because I went to a CD release party in Regent Square. Who knew it was waiting around the corner?

But then


Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

Murphy the Airedale Terrier is an important part of the McGrath family.  Here’s his birthday party 3 1/2 years ago in the kitchen.

In this photo, Erika is expecting Maura Clare-   who just turned 3 after Laura and James’ wedding  in November. No more jumpy seats in the house these days.

I was trying to decide if Laura had already met James when this celebration shot was taken.

Murphy didn’t get to eat one of his cupcakes but we all did.  Well, that was AFTER we sang Happy Birthday.  Seriously.  The kids loved it!

It was a happy celebration and the excitement level was high, even though it was just before bedtime. Creating family rituals and traditions makes for happy memories later.

You might not believe me but Murphy not only poses, he smiles for the camera!  That night grandson Michael hid from the lens, though.

Weekly challenge links to other blogger’s responses to the challenge are here

 

Check out those doggie cupcakes with the pink chewing gum tongues.

 


Panoramic Time Lapse Gigapan on McArdle Roadway

Four Canon Digital SLR cameras shooting about 900 frames an hour ( with the kit lenses) mounted on gigapans and mounted on a long panel, attached to a tripod with a super duper car type battery-

and the results will make up a 10,000 frames which will be combined in a time lapse video. We will be able to see it at some point!  

-and here is the story how this came to be on the blog today.

After school I was hightailing it up to Mount Washington to do a shoot for an engaged couple.  On the way up the mountain at the top, I saw some camera equipment and a huge tripod. The guy manning it started to wave to me and then jog to keep up with my car as I slowed to a red light atop Grandview Ave.  It was a former teacher of mine, Dror Yaron, now at Carnegie Mellon.  I had taken one of his early Gigapan classes at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild.  {Here is the link to one of the gigapans I shot in 2008.}

I said , “I have to go shoot an engaged couple  at the Duquesne Incline platform”, and he said, “Stop back here after that.”

As it turned out the couple couldn’t make it and so I parked close to the spot Dror was and walked down the sidewalk of McArdle Roadway, high above the Monongahela River.

In a few minutes the  Senior Systems Scientist Randy Sargent and another CMU Robotics team member Anne Wright (forgive me Anne I didn’t get your title but remembered the “e”) arrived on the scene.

Randy had been there since 5 AM and planned to shoot until 11 PM. Oh my.

It was really cold, too.  They were taking turns with the equipment.  Later on I returned at 10 during the Steelers game just to document the commitment to the project. Randy had donned the ski gloves at that point.

I asked Randy about what he wanted to do when he was a child and he said he always liked to build things. EVERYTHING.  Not just lego but pieces of scrap lumber from construction sites.  I find that interesting how people are guided on a path to their current work.

Dror Yaron, Anne Wright, Randy Sargent

 

With the moon

Randy checks the battery and equipment

Heinz Field turned on the lights to get ready for the night game against Cleveland.

Sunset was at 4:53 PM on Thursday the 8th of December.

Randy and Anne after ten, the temperature really dropped!

Here is the link  to the site to learn more about the projects and the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.


Olga Melynchek Muraska’s Nut Horn Recipe Baked by her Daughter

My cell rang as I was in the check out at Giant Eagle. I was buying cheese and crackers and Clementines for the Photography Class reception that started in a little over an hour. Marianne said that she was baking her mother’s recipe for nut horns right then if I wanted to photograph them.  She had made the dough the night before and refrigerated it.

I looked at the time. It was 4:44.

I was in the South Side but figured I could drive to the West End and then make it to the North Side for the last class/reception.

Make the dough the night before and refrigerate

Confectioner's sugar!

When I got there she had three pans of the cookies in different stages, just like a cooking show.

I started shooting to tell the story of the making of her mother’s recipe.  I was amazed to find out that is confectioner’s sugar on the board where she rolls them out.  Not flour!

The recipe says Nut Crescents but Olga always called them Nut Horns.

Marianne gave me a half dozen in a ziploc bag. Delicious.  Remembering Christmases past.

Here is the recipe.

Remembering Olga link.


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