I’ve ended up going downtown several times recently for a variety of reasons. And when I was there, I was struck (figuratively, of course) by the beauty of this bear. They are gorgeous, majestic and somewhat terrifying creatures.
Supposedly there is a real bear that lives in the hills up above my house, but I have only seen traces of him, including wet footprints on the trail. But you can find images of them around town.
Here’s the bear as patriotic yard art.
This window display shows the two sides of a bear. The cute and cuddly teddy bear is quite lovable, harmless and friendly. The Indian has both a bear claw necklace and wears a bearskin around his waist, showing that he is brave and has the spirit of the bear (the fierce bear, not the cuddly bear).
There is even an eating establishment in town just for bears. I assume that they serve porridge (not too hot, and not too cold, just right).
And if you want your car to be fixed by bears it just might happen.
This local bear was both ferocious and festive.
Okay, I’m sure that you can guess why I took this picture. Yes, of course it was for the bear.
This poor fellow presides over a bar filled with scantily clad waitresses. But perhaps he is enjoying it after all, he does have a grin.
Once a month there is a gathering of a few photographers downtown, and we shoot to the theme of the day. Of course the other photographers all had big fancy cameras, with giant lenses and thick neck straps to show that they are serious about this. I had my little point and shoot on a wrist strap. Photography was the original hobby that made you look absent-minded as you focus on what might make a great shot (now the thing that makes people absent-minded is staring at their phone while attempting to walk down the street).
We were down by the old train station.
It has never been a passenger train station in the time that I have lived here, although my friend said she actually took a train from here many long years ago when she was a child. Then it was a popular restaurant for many years. We would go there to eat Reuben sandwiches (grilled corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese) and watch the freight trains and coal carriers as they passed by. It’s a lovely building, built to last. I believe at one time it was a Harvey House, back when passenger travel was possible. Now it sits empty, and homeless people congregate in the park across the street.
These were my “artistic” shots.
They do look different shot in black and white.
There is a mural nearby that celebrates the past. This appears to show an old guy being dragged onto the train. What’s this about?
The lone figure in front of the train seems rather sinister, reminiscent of Simon Legree, the stock villain of melodrama. That beard and mustache is rather suspicious.
The weight and fate machine was not forgotten in this mural.
This bit shows tourists perusing a sign, perhaps looking a little lost. They’re here, now what? Some things never change.
One thing about life with Miss P, there is never a dull moment. Of course there are aggravating moments, sad moments, goofy moments, expensive moments, embarrassing moments, etc.
She does have that adorable face and curly fur, and she gets frequent compliments from total strangers about these.
She has a lot of appointments to go to; once a week she gets acupuncture and physical therapy for her back legs. And she goes swimming as well to keep in shape, because a girl has to watch her figure.
Here she is at a political rally, with our congressman growing out of her head. She gets around!
She’s a “lady who lunches”, out and about town.
In her never-ending quest to break the bank, she is a frequent visitor the the veterinarian’s office. Her most recent visit came about because of two incidents: She takes a lot of pills, and a spoonful of liver sausage makes the medicine go down (I think that there is a song about this). I foolishly threw the outer plastic wrapper in the trash. This is apparently an open invitation to raid the trash can in dog language, so she did. And then she was up several times in the night needing urgently to go outside, the brat. The other incident was not really her fault, she stepped in a gopher hole and fell on a cactus! Curse you, evil gophers. So I pulled out the more obvious cactus spines, but I couldn’t really see the tiny spines, so it was off to the vet’s office. They did try not to laugh, but it was a unique and goofy problem.
I stole this idea for a picture from the internet, but I think it totally fits her personality, half dog and half rampaging monster (not sure if it’s 50/50). But I love her and she is a special dog, at least to me.
It’s Valentine’s Day, a holiday fraught with emotional minefields and traps for the unwary. What is the correct level of celebration? If you are a dating person it’s one thing, if you are married, it’s another. Of course it is impossible to ignore the holiday, the stores are full of things to buy to show your devotion.
Choices range from the simple, like a balloon or a card.
To the traditional roses (they were $8 two weeks ago, this week they are $17) and chocolate.
Then there is the other sort of choice, a little obvious don’t you think?
There is also the kind of present that shows that the person thought about you, and knows you. When we moved into this house, my darling thought that it was rather dark going into the garage. So he went out and got lighted switches for me, so that I could find them easily.
It’s not the traditional romantic gesture, but it tells a lot about the nature of love.
By far the largest church in our fair city is the New Life Church, so me and Miss P decided to take a closer look at it one day.
First and foremost it is enormous, three separate buildings on a huge plot of land. It was the vision of one man, Ted Haggard. He started small, holding worship services in his house. He drew lots of people to these services and the neighbors were complaining that there was no where to park. So he started with a small strip mall church and then dreamed up this mega-church. They would draw about 14k people at the services. He was an important evangelical figure, until he was involved in a scandal and forced to resign. It was a popular media story and the press swarmed all over it. The turmoil caused a number of members to quit, but the church continued on.
Then there was the shooting at the church, some crazed young man came in and started shooting, killing two young sisters. He was in turn shot by an off duty security guard, then committed suicide. She was raked over the coals by the media, but she did a good thing by stopping this madman.
It’s hard to capture just how big this building is.
Then there is another huge building, dubbed “the tent”.
And then there is this building, another large structure where they coordinate prayers for the world.
Membership in this church is down from the highest levels, but they still get about 10k people on a Sunday and they also have a service downtown at the high school for people who don’t want to come all the way north to the main building. For better or worse it is a part of the local landscape, and it is a great place to walk one’s dog.
As it is now officially the “Year of the Monkey”, I looked around the house and discovered that I am harboring quite a few representations of these wee beasties. There is something adorable about the traits that we share with our simian relatives.
Here are a few of the monkeys that I have laying about the place.
The vintage tumbling monkey sits next to the flying screaming monkey (scream-less now thanks to Miss P) who holds the tiny sock monkey.
Side walking monkeys.
A plastic sock monkey that jumps rope.
A flipping monkey (that means it does a back flip, not a euphemism).
In snow related news, I had to shovel 25 feet of snow off the street to be able to get my car out. Why did I have to go out? Miss P had an appointment!
The local tv reporters love a big snowstorm, they get to drive around town on mostly deserted streets telling you how awful it is. It’s news, and most everyone is home watching, so that they will know how soon life can get back to normal. This weekend they predicted one, and it followed the script. It was warm and lovely on Saturday (perfect dog-walking weather), then it started snowing on Sunday, and it kept on snowing all day on Monday and into Tuesday morning.
I sort of like them when I don’t have anything important to do (not that I have anything important to do now). Everything gets covered in a fresh clean blanket of white, transforming the familiar landscape into a mysterious place. I’ve laid in supplies, so let it snow!
I took this photo at midnight. I’m not using a flash or photoshop, it was just that bright from the snow reflections.
I love the patterns made by the rabbit tracks, they’re taking advantage of the shoveled areas.
And there sits said rabbit, enjoying a bit of sunshine at last.
I decided to try and dig out my car from it’s thick blanket of snow. I measured 15 inches in the back yard, and of course our street has not been plowed. Someone, (Miss P) is extremely bored and ready to resume the daily walk, and perhaps we will be able to do this later today.