Monkeying About

What is it about monkeys that makes them so interesting?  We share a common ancestor and also share a lot of DNA, and we have some similarities with them, except for the tail bit.   And they are quite adorable and if you are obsessed you can notice them in many places.

They have quite a distinctive and easily recognized silhouette, like this pattern on a floor.

And they make lovely lamps.  Here they are available in whichever sort goes with one’s decor.  (I’m not sure what it says about one to actually purchase this for one’s home, but these can be bought in a rather swanky shop.)

Perhaps a monkey on the wall fits in with one’s decor better than a table lamp.   (But I do think that lamps need to have a shade.)

They are so very human in their expressions, this one seems to be quite sad gazing down on the passing multitudes.

It’s too bad that people don’t have tails, they are a built in security blanket, easy to wrap around and protect one, in case a scowl is not enough.


I don’t usually take pictures with people in them except by accident.  I am nervous about asking for permission, as this might change what I found interesting about them.   And if I don’t ask for permission I  might be stealing their soul.  But I did take these photos with people in them recently, because there was something that I found interesting about each of these folks.

I was sitting eating lunch alone and this young person sat near me and started drawing.   The sketchbook had lovely line drawings on another page, but the artist was working on big graphic blocks of color in this drawing.  I did ask permission.

I noticed this teacher leading a school group because she was wearing this beautiful bright dress against a backdrop of her identically dressed students.

I saw this guy and was fascinated by the fact that he was wearing a Lenin tie clip and had these Soviet medals on his lapels.   So I trawled through my memory on how to ask if I could take a photo in Russian.  (Russian is a very tongue-twisting language).  As it turned out he was an English communist going home from a rally to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.  I would have found out more, but my stop came up.

I was waiting for the bus when this guy showed up on the street corner.  I just loved his outfit, I thought it looked quite theatrical.  Then he waved down a taxi and was out of there before my bus ever showed up.

It was the shoes on the woman that caught my eye as she walked by.  Patent leather Vivienne Westwoods that surely would have broken my ankle if I had been wearing them.   I don’t know why the guy turned around, maybe he is a politician and was worried or married.  (And he was wearing ordinary lace-up Oxfords).

Perhaps the most unusual person (?) I saw was Death.  All the people around him seem unfazed and uninterested.  I guess that they figured he was not coming for them right now, so it was okay that he was in their midst.  😉

Revisiting the Past

I had decided that it was time to visit London again to see if it was as I remembered.  As I am a creature of narrow habits there were some things that it was mandatory to see again.  So once again I popped into the National Portrait Gallery to see Richard III, and this other portrait.

I can’t remember the name of the sitter (and don’t know if I ever knew it), but this picture  was featured in one of my earliest posts.   I was impressed that this portrait was unlike any of the others in the room, that it was done more in the style of a splash page in a graphic novel (not that such a thing existed at the time).   Ordered as a memorial portrait by the widow of the subject, it features highlights of the life and death of this man.   And as I was in a rather raw and fragile state of widowhood myself when I first saw it, I appreciated the underlying sentiment of the piece.  (I attributed her motivation as love, because it seems so personal a display).

He was born, went to college and had the sort of career that persons of his social class had doing something or other (possibly involving eating).

But then he died and I assume those that knew him are eulogizing him.  His missus is left to carry on as best she can.

And then his missus wants everyone to know that she gave him a fine send off.  This portrait resonated with me, showing that grief is universal, however one expresses it.


Beer has been a popular drink ever since it was first invented thousands of years ago.  But for many years (at least during my life) there was only the standard sort of commercially produced beers from big manufacturers.  In more recent times, local craft beers have become popular, especially here (even our state governor used to be a brewer).  I was at a charity auction and bought a brewery tour of one of the more popular places for me and some friends so off we went on a beautiful Fall afternoon.

The brewery is located in a 100 year old schoolhouse in the south part of town.   There is something about setting foot in a school, that brings back memories of being 6 years old (but this school never had nuns as teachers at least).  And best of all, this school has beer instead of cafeteria food.  😉

It is full of high tech equipment to produce their five flagship types of beer, as well as the special seasonal offerings (this week had locally famous pumpkin beer on tap).   They produce every sort of beer imaginable, Scottish ales, India Pale Ales, Belgian beers, Stout (aged in whiskey barrels), wheat beer, Pilsners and barley wine.  And they are constantly doing community events and good things for local charities.   And they allow dogs to have lunch with one out on the patio (well it doesn’t get much better than this).

But it does get better.   Right now they have four beers that celebrate Nikola Tesla.  And who could resist a beer named World Peace Death Ray?  (It actually was a delicious high alcohol, hoppy beer).

So maybe we don’t know why this lab is laughing, but a good time was had by all (except for the bit where we had to find a place to park).



Halloween was once my favorite holiday.   Before it became the adult party extravaganza that it is today, it was just a holiday for children to go out and beg for candy.   One could buy sacks of candy and perhaps the odd spider or two.   But now there are lots of things sold for those who like to go mad with decorating.   And I appreciate their spirit, because someone has to do it.   The people who once went all out with wires and flying figures have moved on, but others have accepted the challenge of totally covering their yards with scary stuff.

These folks always have a yard full of carved wooden bears, and the bears wear seasonally appropriate decorations, like these Halloween costumes (I bet that the people give out really good candy too).

I especially love these low-tech homemade displays like this one in my neighborhood.   Well done!

This skeleton appears to be running away from the grinning big pumpkin.


Dogs are usually friendly, (at least the dogs I know are.)  I’m not too sure about skele-dog.

Skeletons peeking in the windows are just the worst.  They are a bigger nuisance than having woodpeckers (yes, Ms. Woodpecker I know that you think my house is perfect for you, but I disagree).

Local Ghosts

I did attempt to visit some of our local ghosts at the end of summer.  The city cemetery was offering a “meet and greet” with the spirits of some locals of note, and this sounded like a good opportunity to get to know them.

Last up on the tour was the founder of the city and his missus.  He was an abolitionist, joined the Union Army and made the rank of General in the American Civil War.  He built a mansion for his missus, but she did not care for the locals altitude and moved to London (a local school is named for her).   He is remembered with a statue of him and his horse that sits in the middle of an intersection to this day.  (His ghost did not address the issue of whether this is a good idea.)

This guy was the second father founder important figure in the  history of our city.  He had come to the area to work as a carpenter.  So he did this sort of thing in the winter, but during the summers he took off and went prospecting in the mountains.   He did find silver,  started a mine and became a multimillionaire.   As he had no descendants he used his money to start a charity that cared for the aged and others, and the foundation he created cares for the disabled to this day.

Captain Edward Sheldon is a lesser known person who ended up living here.   He was also an abolitionist, and was once arrested in Iowa helping escaped slaves get to Canada.   He was tried for his crime, but a sympathetic jury refused to convict him, and the former slaves were able to continue on to Canada.  He latter got the rank of captain in the Civil War, and after the war he moved here.

There were other local ghosts on the tour, but the day was quite hot and I had not had lunch.  So I contented myself with meeting these four ghosts.

I encountered these pioneering spirits when I went to the hardware store.  Their stories are unknown, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves anyway (and perhaps they needed light bulbs too).


There is something fascinating about recreating a familiar object as  a giant sized thing.  You know that I love robots, and a 20 foot tall robot (albeit an unmoving one) is quite a splendid sight.  This robot  has stopped to smell a flower, so it must be a friendly robot.  (Otherwise it might just want  to crush the poetry van in front of it).

Spiders are another matter entirely.   Most people scream at even a tiny harmless spider.   But this giant spider is inert, so I guess it might be safe to sit under it.  (Unless it is drawing electricity from the nearby power line and just waiting for a chance to make a move!)

I love this over sized bird giving one the eyeball.   What does it want?   Some over sized sunflower seeds perhaps?  Or is it planning on making a giant nest before the attack?

I don’t know what’s up with this insect and I’m not sure if it is supposed to be an ant or a termite.   It sort of looks like a mash-up of these species.   But what I started thinking about were eurypterids, giant sea scorpions (12 feet long) that once roamed around in the shallow sea in New Mexico wreaking havoc on smaller species.  One can find their fossils around Socorro as I have.

And at the end one comes to this enormous and mysterious rabbit.  (And you know how I love bunnies).  Is it an alien species?  Did it have anything to do with the creation of this place?  You’ll just have to visit Santa Fe for yourself and reach your own conclusion.

What a Knob

I grew up in old houses.  When I lived with my parents, the newest house had been built in 1920, the rest were from previous eras.   So one thing (out of many) that I am a snob about is doors and door knobs.   The doors must be of solid wood, and the doorknobs must be something nicer than builder grade knobs.   (M was the same way, he replaced all the knobs in our house, just because he didn’t like the existing ones).

A proper knob lets one know that they are entering a proper place.

I had gone out to have a bit of a nosh with some friends, when I noticed the fabulous entrance to this restaurant.

It just makes one want to pull open the door and go on in (because who doesn’t want to grab ahold of a fish?).

Even this common burger joint added a flourish to their entrance.  One doesn’t just want to order from the drive-through, one wants to pull on the spatula to enter.  (Hopefully these are not the sort of spatulas used on one’s food.)

The entrance to this steak house features these lovely cast bronze heads to let one know what is on the menu (and their food is pretty good too.)

This outdoor store (which sells mostly to city people) has an entry way with climbing axes for mountaineering.   It’s an adventure just to go shopping (this is as close to outdoor adventure as I get).

Okay, I will admit that the pictures I just showed you could be more properly categorized as handles if one wanted to get technical about it.   But this picture is undeniably knobby.   And it’s part of the interactive art experience house.   So I’m not the only one who notices the importance of knobs.  😉

More of the same

It’s sometimes hard to say when the subject of a post is done.   And I find myself looking at new things and thinking that they could be a part of a previous post.   So here are some additions,

This lovely candidate for the trees post, serves as a shady bower to protect those persons waiting for the bus.   From the hot New Mexico sun in Santa Fe.

This tree however is a lonely bit of art, positioned on a sidewalk where few travel by foot.   It has metal birds perched on the branches, while a real hawk circles above.

I had promised the previous piece of art that I made to a friend.   But since it did win a ribbon, I found that I could not let it go.   So instead I decided that there was nothing for it but to make another one.   This time I sort of knew what I was doing, and I think that this one has better contrast between the mane and the face.  I whipped out the finished piece the day before my friend’s auction to raise money to help tigers in Thailand.  It wasn’t going to sell for very much, so I bought it back, and now I have two lion quilts.   (And I made a donation to help the tigers too.)

These are some rather unusual birds about town, from right in my neighborhood.   I have no idea what these wild turkeys were thinking as they strolled about, blabbering away in turkey talk.  But they were the first of their kind I had ever seen nearby, looking for place to hide before Thanksgiving no doubt.

Birds about Town 2

The day had started out with me on a mission.  And I had set out with only one mission, to track down the local telephone company office and get a modem from this century for M’s cousin.   Google had led me along a winding path through the city, and there I was.   Only there was no phone company office at the rumored address, only a real estate office that had been there for years.   So as I waited on the phone to talk to someone from the phone company, I noticed these fine feathered fiends friends across the street at an art gallery.   (Santa Fe has so many galleries that they are almost hard to avoid).

I love crows, and apparently so do normal people.

They are somewhat mysterious and sentient.  What exactly are they thinking as they observe us?

Possible harbingers of some dread fate, they are also quite popular subjects of poetry and rhymes.

I’m not quite sure I would like to have this crow looking down on me in my garden (assuming I had a garden).

But this one, which I saw the next day was clearly the best of the lot (but sadly, it is not for sale).   This bird lives in an interactive art experience (a former bowling alley filled with rooms of mysterious stuff that one can wander around in).  And at three feet tall clearly not a bird to be messed with.