Category Archives: Ephemera


I love local festivals and I try to attend as many as I can.   They are pretty much all the same, (stuff for sale, food on a stick, music and beer) perhaps that is why I like them.  So I was at a Celtic Festival on a fine Father’s Day afternoon, and I noticed that even among the ‘Celts’ there seemed to be a number of different tribes (and not just a difference in the tartans!).

There were the organized groups.   They were neatly dressed in well pressed kilts, a very formal group.  (Don’t know if the bagpipes had to match.)

There were the re-enactors, striving for authenticity, or what passes for authenticity.  I expect they have battles and such as they seemed to possess rather a lot of arms.

Then there were the Celtic dandies.  Not content with just wearing the kilt, they added a jacket or vest and a swag of tartan draped over their bodies.  It is a rather fetching outfit.

I saw a lot of young men going for a ‘Braveheart’ sort of vibe.  One has to have a lot of tattoos and to wear one’s kilt with a certain swagger.  (In answer to the question “what does one wear under a kilt?”  I did see a pair of bicycle shorts).  😉

Perhaps the most unique of the clans was ‘Clan Santa Claus’.   They were definitely going for a different take on the whole Scots thing.  I suppose we all belong to one clan or another, but on this day folks were openly proclaiming their allegiance to a country and an ideal that the ancestors left far behind.

Pomp and Circumstance

One of my nieces graduated from college this past weekend, so I ended up going to her graduation for some inexplicable reason.  (It is inexplicable because I did not even go to my own graduation 😉 .  The students were in the standard medieval garb of black gowns and mortar boards, but I fell in love with the outfits that the faculty had to wear, and I will admit to being a little jealous of these splendid robes.

I do realize that the colors of the robes somehow reflect the disciplines of the professors, whatever that might be.

There were loads of gorgeous outfits, but they were marching down the aisle right smartly and did not give us time to admire the get-ups.

Of course the best outfit was this magnificent pink cape and mitre Biretta worn by the Archbishop of Atlanta (he got an honorary degree, so he needed to look nice).

The president of the college (the one wearing the medallion) had spent three hours the night before, smiling in pictures for the students and family members.  It’s all part of the job.  The ceremony was outdoors and lasted for over two hours and as the temperature was in the high 80’s F (about 30 C), I must admit I admire the fortitude of these distinguished academics.   Perhaps I don’t want a robe after all.  Or

I could have dressed like this spectator, she was getting some wear out of what had surely been purchased as a bridesmaid’s dress.

In print

Years ago when I first started to quilt, and I first started to read quilt magazines, I thought “I could do that too”.   But the sort of women who get ribbons at shows and who get into quilt magazines are mostly insane and obsessive about quilting, and that is not me.  My work for others has appeared in magazines, but I couldn’t find where I had squirreled them away, so I can’t show them today.   But my work has appeared years ago in two books, and here they are.

I met Ann at a class she taught, this was my class sample.  She lived in Denver at the time and we became friends.  She even talked me in to wearing this at a fashion show at the quilt expo in Houston.

And I still have the jacket.

I also met the other author when I took a class from her, and we would run into each other back when I went to quilting conferences.  I sent her a picture of this little quilt and she chose it for her second book.

This is a detail of the quilt.   I’m not sure why I stopped quilting, but my life changed and I got busy with other things.  But perhaps I will pick it up again when I am old (I am already old, so I had better make that ‘when I am much, much older.) 😉


Spring snow

I much prefer Spring snow to Winter snow.  You know that the ground is warm, every day is getting a little longer, and this snow will quickly melt, rather than sticking around outstaying it’s welcome.  It does slow down the pace of life, especially for me as I am afraid to drive when the weather is mucky.   But I had to drive across town this morning, and I must admit it was a rather lovely day.

I was walking down the street when I stopped to admire the icicles forming on this imposing roofline (click on the picture for details).

The snow changes the landscape and morphs it into the sort of place where one might see a fairy hiding away from the cold.

The main street runs down the horizontal bit of town, the rest of it slopes sharply upward and I always wonder ‘how do they get their groceries in?’.

The Little Engine that Could graces the nearby park.   Built in the late 1880’s this engine powered a cog railway to carry tourists up to admire the view.   On a day such as today they would not have been able to see much besides softly falling snow.

The scene today is peaceful and almost pastoral, I saw a few hardy souls out walking their dogs.   But there was very little traffic, it was mostly just me and my thoughts, admiring the quiet.

Space Case

A few weeks back, the annual space symposium was in town.   It’s a sort of trade show for persons working for the military and civilian spaceflight industry (I know, who even knew there was such a thing!).  Some companies are there to flog their products and others are just there to show they exist (and could sell you something).   But we already had our own version of a rocket here in town.

It’s not going anywhere, this sculpture is by famous local artist Concrete Couch.   I made a tiny tile for a project he is doing at a local school, and that is the name he goes by.  It guards the county building where I went to pay my car tax.

Another place to see rockets is in the ceiling at the local public library that is devoted to technology.   Although is is somewhat enigmatic to have rockets stuck in the ceiling, I’m sure that there is a reason for this (besides human error).

This is the real rocket that was in town to promote ordinary (extremely wealthy) people going into outer space.   Owned by the Amazon guy, this rocket can carry one into outer space and back again.  I must say I was rather surprised to see it when I was driving down the street to the pub.  The rocket company brags that the windows on the space capsule are much nicer that the ones NASA uses, so one gets a better view.

But I’m afraid that this is actually more my speed.   It’s a candy shop that specializes in vintage candy of the sort we old people had while growing up.  And if one is too young to have nostalgia for this, one can still enjoy the candy, because who doesn’t like candy?


It’s well known that rabbits are pests.  Just look at the career of Peter Rabbit.

He is famous as a carrot thief, and he lost his new jacket and slippers almost as soon as he got them, he’s very careless and doesn’t listen to his mother.  But, he is also adorable!  As are all bunnies, and this is the season that we celebrate them.   So here are a few pictures of the newest rabbits in my collection (yes, I do remember that I am supposed to be downsizing, just not today).

There is just something appealing about the little round shape of the rabbit.

They do try to hide, but the ears always give them away.

This is one of the bunnies that lives down by the mailbox.   He came running up the driveway as soon as he saw me one morning recently.

And this is the rest of them as well.   I tried buying commercial rabbit pellets for them, but they did not like that nutritionally balanced stuff.   This is sweet mix (a horse treat), oats, corn, and crunchy bits coated in molasses.   They are rabbits after my own heart. (And they are probably where Cadbury Eggs come from!)


Lemmings are described as being: “noted for recurring mass migrations often terminated by drowning in the ocean.”  While I have never done exactly that,  I do feel a strange pull every year, and I am faced with the choice: am I going to Denver or not?

Yes, as it turns out, I am going.  And the event that draws me is March Pow-Wow.   Every year I have the same arguments with myself; it’s in Denver, parking is bad, it’s crowded, I don’t need to buy anything, etc.   But I often go anyway, the weather was fine on Sat. so off I went.

They were still doing the Grand Entry (every single dancer is out dancing) when I got there, so a lot of dancers were crowded around the floor level waiting to go into the arena.  This fancy dancer has a number on his arm, they do give out prizes for dancing and for being there to dance.  Note the skateboard decks that are being sold in the booth behind him, a very niche sort of item.

There were lots of young women representing their tribes at the event, and, one must have a special and new dance outfit to wear.

And the dancers range in age.

This lot is almost ready to make an entrance, the MC will announce their tribal affiliation and style of dress.

Once the dancers enter the arena, they spiral around until the entire floor is covered with dancers, and of course the entire time a drum group is pounding out a song.

And at the head are the veterans, the MC listed the campaigns of each of the distinguished flag bearers.   What is newer, is the number of women veterans and they have their own honor group.

Pow-wows are always the same and always different.  This year there were more neon colored outfits than I remember, and next year the style will probably be slightly changed.  And I will still be having an argument with myself over whether I should go.



I think I’ve already mentioned that I have an ongoing love of books, and I am often reading more than one at a time.   How do I keep track of where I stopped?   Why with my handy collection of bookmarks that delineate the books in current rotation.

These bookmarks show some of the places that I buy from.   The Tattered Cover was a great book lovers institution in Denver.  Four floors of books, with a knowledgeable staff and comfy seating.  I went there whenever I had to be in Denver.   But rising real estate prices pushed them out of their wonderful location (and competition from cut-price retailers like Amazon) and now the store is a shadow of it’s former self in an inconvenient location.   Gateway was a funky   used bookstore downtown and was also pushed out by rising rents.    Book depository is a mail order business where I order out of print books that I want.

These are from local authors that I have talked with.   Manuel Ramos, a former Public Defender from Denver writes “Mile High Noir”, Langdon Foss is an artist for graphic novels.   Barbara Nickless is speaking at an upcoming writing conference here.

These are a mixed bag.   I read the book on the B & N bookmark when I was in the Mennonite Women Book Lovers.   I bought a book at Fort Union last year to get the middle one.   And free comic book day has led to some interesting reading (some are even books).

These are the odd bits that I will stick in a book to mark my place.   The top is a winning lottery ticket (on a $1 ticket, I could win a prize of $1, if I take it in to a store).   The middle is a ticket stub from a Jazz concert at an expensive hotel.   Me and M were just sitting down for a drink, and someone gave us the $$$ ticket for free.   At the bottom are business cards.  The one on the left is from a well-known quilter, she gave it to me in Houston years ago and I kept it because it’s pretty.   The other card is from the late-husband of my cousin, he gave it to me the last time I saw him on the rez.   These are some of the bits of the paper ephemera floating through the house, waiting for their turn in the recycling bin of life.



I recently acquired these books from yet another hoarder house that my sorority helped to clear out.  There were lots of paperback books, those went to the free library of the guy who helps the homeless, down on the wrong side of the railroad tracks. (I really hope he liked these, as there were five boxes of them).  But, in this house I did find a couple of books that I really needed to add to my collection. ( I am falling behind in de-accessioning books). 🙁

What are these books?  Why they are the same books that we had in the house when I was a child.

And I remember them quite fondly, Mom read some of the stories to us before I knew how to read, and later I read them myself.

This edition was published in the late 1940’s, they had lots of charming illustrations to go with the stories, bits and bobs of popular culture of the time.

I especially remember Mom reading aloud from this book of poetry, she had a fondness for poetry, even of the children’s sort.

Children’s literature always had a moral to it.

Like “be kind” and “treat people and animals as you might wish to be treated”.   Which I suppose is still good advice.


There is a new exhibit down at the local history museum, which lists bits of the past from A (either the Antlers hotel or Alexander Film Company) to Z (the zoo).  It’s completely random and arbitrary what things survive from the past, and this totally appeals to me.

Here are some bits that come from Alexander film.  The company started in the silent era and held on making commercials that were shown before a movie started  until the 1950’s.  Oddly enough the company also made airplanes in the 20’s and early 30’s, because they though it would be a good idea to deliver the films by airplane. Part of the buildings they used for film production are now home to a television station.

Another business that is no longer around, but fondly remembered is the Burns theater.  This was an opera house and vaudeville venue.   It only existed in memory by the time I moved here, it was long vanished.

Which is not true of these relics, they are from the company I call whenever I need a plumber (and they come right out).

This company is also still in business, but instead of being a quaint little concern, it’s a giant industrial behemoth out by the motorway.

This sign used to hang downtown before the business was pushed from the downtown area.   The building was taken over by the US Olympic Committee at taxpayer expense.

This is how we preserve the past in our city, just as a tiny morsel.  Meanwhile the present is quietly steamrolled into the future by real estate interests.