Thursday, August 27, 2009

Those city streets

I've just been fiddling with a lot of pictures I took from the tour bus when my grandson came to California. I was going to delete this one and decided to play with it instead. Now perhaps it has some urban chic. City life from the upper deck of a bus gives a nice angle on shadows. Perhaps I will think of it as art. Good night. . .

Worlds within worlds . . .

Worlds within worlds . . .
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
It's that time of year--you don't have to look far in any direction to find a goldenrod tangle. I have my eye on a crabapple tree. All I have to do it dig the hole--nobody around to do it for me. I cut a sod circle tonight. I will dig the hole and then have the tree delivered RIGHT INTO THE HOLE! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Out of the ancient modified photo works, this one just floated up so I could put it on this blog. This was the gutter in front of the apartments in Provo where we lived from 1958-1961, and where I was a young mother in Zion. The apartments were then called the Hilton Apartments and I used to call them the Provo Hilton in a sweetly sardonic manner. A few years ago, while briefly in town, we drove to see them--I guess for old times sake. I took some pictures and then looked down at the browns of the fallen leaves by my feet as I walked back toward the car. It turned out to be my favorite shot. Later I used the Graphic Pen Photoshop Filter on it. Most of my experiments of that time look dumb to me now, but I still like this one.
I have never regretted leaving behind the terrible threadbare gray cotton carpet in these apartments, though I have missed ever since the friend I made there. I tried every way I could to clean the rug, so at least it wouldn't pose a safety hazard to my children. And failed. The double bed was one of those with the mattress supported with a wire mesh, and was really nothing better than a sort of stiffish hammock. It was the first time I had had a washing machine in my home; I dried the clothes on lines behind the apartment manager's house. He was descended from and bore the illustrious name of an early president of the Mormon Church, and had a large young family. Once, when I took the rent check over, I found them at lunch. Each person had half a sweet potato on a small plate and nothing else. That surprised me, even though now I can see that it was a nutritious lunch compared to today's fast food.
This was the apartment where I sat and watched my baby son all night long, because his breathing was so shallow. I called the doctor, no fever, no congestion, no other indication to take him to emergency (which cost $50, or more than a week's food budget.) I was told to bring him in in the morning. It was the most frightened I had been as a parent. He outgrew his milk allergy and rose up to be 6 feet, 8 inches tall, with a passion for motorcycles. But I am surprised at myself--looking back--I should have just taken him to emergency. But I passively accepted the doctor's orders.
I read an article the other day about an artist who gets suggestions for her compositions, but taking photos looking straight down, for instance at seashore pebbles, or the weeds in her yard. I guess it IS a good idea. That's tonight's memory thread. . .

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The short happy life of a fur collared coat

After 60 years, one looks at photos with new eyes. I fell in love with the short pants on my brothers and their different styles of galoshes in this picture which was mostly about the building before I cropped it. See the fur collared coat my mother is wearing? And then look here about two years later: It's my coat now.
I remember feeling luxurious when I wore it. Then I grew too tall. And all this happened in the blink of an eye.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Line up and smile

I have hundreds of things that I am supposed to be doing. And tonight, looking for something else I noticed that this photo I had thought was black and white had tinges of color. Using Photoshop, I got some color back and removed a lot of scratches and some of the blue stuff that was on quite a few of the old photos we have been working with--I don't know why.
The memory thread part is that while working the photo over carefully, I got to think about each of my brothers and sisters, who are all in this photo, which was taken a year or so before I went away from home for college.
We'll begin with me. I always made my own clothes, then and until about 1975. The pink skirt was a heavy rayon fabric woven of coarse threads. I liked the way it draped. I had figured out a way to use whatever width of fabric I had to make these pleated skirts, which were my common garb. My waist was 23 inches and I just divided the amount of material I had into even amounts divisible by 23. Then I made a cardboard template and marked each pleat off with pins. Then I pinned in the pleats and stay-stitched them in place before attaching the waistband. I was wearing one of these skirts the day I met my husband; it was a modernistic print of ships in bottles on a lavender ground. I liked the color. He has said he thought the design was very modern, and that I must be very interesting.
The blouse fabric was semi-sheer, with small pink flowers on it; I chose the pattern with pleats across the front to make it more comfortably modest. Yesterday I saw a teen in town wearing what looked like three sets of underwear--there were three sets of spaghetti straps, white, fuchsia and black, and not much was left to the imagination, alas, but at least her belly button was covered.
Marjory is the youngest child here. We made the move to the farm when she was one year old. Then Robert went to school with the rest of us, and she spent most of the day with our mom, who was not really feeling well at this time and who had a "nervous breakdown" about three years later. I remember Mom feeling bad that M had no one to play with--so she played with her herself in a sandpile. I would hardly know Marji at all if we had not lived with my family later while my husband was in graduate school in Cleveland and they had left The Farm behind.
Susan is next to me in age, with the long dark hair. I think her dress was homemade, too, but I imagine Mother made most of it--I don't remember Susan sewing. Susan was very popular, and very compassionate. She cared for sick animals and forced her friends to accept some new kids who were poor and smelled funny. She and I didn't have much in common; I had liked being an only child for almost four years, and I wasn't very nice to her. I liked to read and be alone and she was intensely sociable.
My brothers loved that farm--the six years they spent there form the heart and soul of their childhood memories. All four of them were born within five years, and they roamed together like a pack of wolf cubs at this time, tumbling and playing and sometimes doing assigned chores.
Start with the boy in the suit. I don't think the rest of them had suits yet. John is already showing signs of his irresistable and sexy charm. He married very young and chose very well and had eight fabulous children. He was the sibling I was closest to at this time.
The next one looking straight out with a confident smile is my confident brother, Richard. He has lived in Columbia now for many years, and has been successful in a series of different careers. Next is Robert, the youngest boy, looking at him, and not the photographer. Robert grew up to be a leader in the field of speech communication and analysis. You can see that he was more interested in the social interaction with brothers than in having his face show in the picture. He was my dear friend, and my understander; it is hard to believe that cancer took him away a dozen years ago.
At the end is David, slightly shorter than Robert, although 15 months older. This was not a happy fact to him then, because everyone took him for the youngest. But he grew to be a decent size and now is very dear to me, even if we don't agree on politics. I've had some great times with him. So here we all are, circa 1952, and if that isn't a memory thread, what can be??

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Greensky Hill Indian Mission United Church

Founded by Peter Greensky, an Ottowa convert and preacher, this structure was built by the Methodist Church as part of their indian missions program. Constructed in the 1850s of hewn logs and timber freighted in by canoe, this historic building, near Charlevoix in Northern Michigan, continues to serve an active community of worshippers. My son-in-law is buried here and we took a late afternoon drive to see it again.
It is always very pleasing to me to see an old building well-maintained and still in use. The setting, in maple woodlands formerly used by Native Americans for ceremonial purposes, is tranquil and attractive. Older burial grounds, in addition to the one still in use, are in the woodlands and up a hill to the right.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I always planned to (but never managed to) take my grandsons to a powwow of the local group of Odawa/Ottawa Indians. Their father belonged to this group of Michigan Indians. He died when the boys were very small. So today S and I went by ourselves. The tribal policeman who was supervising the parking saw S's cane and had us park closer to the action. We appreciated that thoughfulness. It was a beautiful day, bright and sunny, but really too hot to dance in heavy costumes. The regalia was varied and many of the outfits were truly spectacular!
This boy was a good dancer, and he seemed to enjoy it very much. Of all the pictures I took, this is my favorite.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What, no apples?

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
This gorgeous pinto ran to the fence when we got out of the car. There was just a smidgeon of daylight left and the sky was glorious! We were driving along back roads looking at farms, fields and barns. We saw some splendid barns, alpacas and cattle standing in a stream. I wanted to stop and take a picture of that, but there wasn't a good place to pull off the road. It was classic Americana: rural landscape division. Its beauty was shaped by a vanishing way of life. I'm glad I don't have to milk cows morning and evening and muck out the barn. This doesn't prevent me from seeing the beauty in these rolling green fields and woodlands. How do memory and nostalgia differ???

Friday, August 14, 2009

Unhappy fate

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
We went looking for a few more perennials, since the ones we planted last year have done so well. Trapped in the greenhouse high above me (this photo is cropped from a much larger one) was this flailing monarch, trying to go skyward through the glass, Made me sad. During the past few days I have seen many of these butterflies in the open fields near the house. There is some milkweed this year, but not as much as there was a few years ago, and none of it has flowered yet, although I think it had done so by this time in years past. I wished the butterrflies good hunting if they were ready to lay eggs. It made me think of Charlotte (she of the Web) and her no-nonsense attitude toward her egg-laying imperative. I have just finished a biography of E.B. White, by Elledge, which so poignantlly captured him and his times, and the times in which his various books were written. All our lives are spent in the winds or breezes of fortune.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A new toy . . .

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Something called Poladroid, which changes your crisp, sharp digital photos into something reminiscent of a Polaroid. You even have to wait while a small version of it develops slowly on the screen. And you can only do ten at a time, just as if you had bought a cartridge of film. It tries to reproduce the nostalgic badness of a genuine one-of-a-kind-never-can-be-exactly-duplicated stiff item to hold in your hand, complete with a greenish-yellowy color shift, some vignetting and some fuzz-out. This is one of my favorites of the forty I did today, showing two of the grandkids in their tender years, a mere four years ago, instead of forty. It's a free download!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Broken laptop screen

Broken laptop screen
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
The sad story, S. put his laptop down on the sofa with the mouse sitting on the keyboard and a 16 pound dachshund stepped on the half-closed lid. This is the result. The big dark spot represents the mouse, while you can see the mouse cord, or tail, running down to the bottom of the screen. There was a workable inch left on the top, so I could click an icon and prove that the browser still worked (in that inch) and that it wasn't some other kind of problem.
This was actually sort of pretty, with lots of thin lines of different colors. S could not believe I was taking a picture of it. Apparently, the local computer guy can put on a new screen--there are even very good illustrated instructions at Screentek,com about how to do it yourself. I toyed with the idea briefly (I like to try to do everything once, just to prove I can--once I tailored a man's suit for S from some gorgeous soft gray flannel--I had had it professionally pressed to preshrink it, but it wasn't shrunk enough and the beautiful work was ruined by dry-cleaning. Still, it was very handsome until then. Flannel was beautiful to work with--I fastened the horsehair interfacing with tiny stitches into the fabric, but probably too soft to wear well. But I made everything, even the buttonholes.)
We left the laptop to be repaired and came home to a beautiful afternoon and a pink-cloud sunset. Good night.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Alanson Riverfest

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
The weather wasn't as good this year (overcast; intermittent rain) for the second annual in thie northern Michigan village on the Crooked River, As usual, though, I frequented the flea market. This blue-eyed beauty was only 25 cents, but I left her there. And chose a 25 cent doll with a pinafore. Now I'm a little sorry. I have had a great deal of fun playing with her photo; i didn't realize when I took it that I had such a good view of the blue portapotty--which matches her eyes.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Columbine from the Origami Series

Columbine from the 'Origami Series."

This has been blooming for over two months! We planted it last year and it overwintered just fine without any attention. It is close to the house, which may give it some protection. I cannot recommend this group of columbines too highly! We got a white one, very similar to this in form. The yellow one is EVEN MORE floriferous, and the form is slightly different, but it stopped blooming quite a while ago. These perennials are the most fun we have had in the garden for years. Everything seems to work!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Splendor of Cloud

Splendor of Cloud
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
One of those mid-July days that makes me glad to be alive! I am having so much fun with pictures online that I can hardly bear to go to bed at night. The cloud-show here is very varied and spectacular. About the only thing we lack is a good view of the sunset. But there is often some compensation in the reflected pink light on the clouds as evening comes on. Tonight the moon came up before dark and I took some pictures which I haven't looked at yet. Moon pictures are not usually as successful as blue-sky-cloud ones.
I am also on a biography jag, just finished one on Andrew Wyeth and am starting ones on Borges, Elsa Morante and E. B. White. Winslow Homer Watercolors by Helen A. Cooper had a lot of information about his life. In addition, each chapter was qujite specific about his working methods--that was very interesting to me.
I'm falling behind on many tasks and plans, though, but I did freeze 30 pounds of blueberries and half a lug of pitted sweet cherries. We plan to go for sour cherries next week. There are pies in our future. We can't miss out on the wonderful local fruit, better than you can believe.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Children of the World in Harmony

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
More of the little Mongolian dancers from the event in the park on Friday. This is a very disciplined little troupe--definitely the highlight of the groups I saw. Lots of different ensemble dances; lots of great costumes. I kept wondering about their lives. How are they chosen? Do they have to leave home to study at a special school? Will this be helpful in their future lives and careers?
Since it is Sunday night and S left the radio on, the regular Sunday night organ music program, Pipe Dreams, is playing. I always get a kick out of the spoken acronym for a supporting organization, APOBA. (Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America) If you cannot hear this program where you live, recent one are available for internet listening.

Hopper Family archive

Instead of experimenting with a small set of pictures, when I found, I called for the Flickr set that has ALL my old scanned family pictures in it. It was VERY FAST and easy. I am recommending it (as of now) and am experimenting with putting this link here. Here goes . . .