Another Day

Just north of the hoodoos, and across the street, there used to be a bit of waste ground. This was so long ago that we used to walk Mr. Dog (the predecessor of Miss Dog) there to let him run free. Now there are office buildings and paved parking lots in this area, but I decided to take a walk there (no chance of running into other people).

And lo and behold, there were some baby hoodoos there (just like the one’s they destroyed across the street). Well this looks promising.

At the north end of this area there is a little creek that marks the boundary of development. There was water flowing in this because it had snowed just that morning. When they put in the buildings they took down the old train bridge that went across this, so this is as far as one can go. There is still waste ground to the north, and part of this is owned by the Air Force, I think.

The western edge of the property also has a little ephemeral stream running along it. One can see the thin seam of coal in it too. Just beyond this is the freeway (motorway). Traffic was not very heavy, but it is still plenty noisy.

I believe I might have mentioned (once or twice, anyway) how much I love reflections. And here on this rather ordinary office building was a perfect reflection of our lovely mountain.

This is progress I suppose, but they can’t eradicate every trace of what was there before (at least not yet).

Beautiful day in the Neighborhood

I had expected to be in London today, perhaps strolling through Harrods (I love the look of the food courts), or the V & A. But that is not going to happen, so I took a stroll nearby, to a place I used to often go when Miss Dog was still alive. This is part of my neighborhood.

I had hiked up the side of a small bluff to get this shot of our beautiful mountain. It’s a bit hard to tell, but there is still snow on peak. The ugly building in the middle ground is a car dealership that has been there about 15 years, it replaced waste ground. The blacktop parking lot was being constructed on this day, in preparation for something that will perhaps need a lot of parking. They had removed all the dirt from a former train track to flatten the area out.

Looking south is my neighborhood. The big rock sticking up is what gives the area it’s name. The traffic circle is brand new, and was added to confuse the local drivers.

And this was what I had really climbed up to capture, a hoodoo (a column of rock wearing a little rock hat).

So here is another one, hidden away at the top of the bluff.

Here’s the north side of the bluff with a pair of hoodoos. The dark streak is coal and the yellowish streaks are ochre. Once upon a time there were coal mines nearby, but they all closed years ago, and now the real estate is too valuable to be mined. The hillside was originally cut away maybe 15 years ago when the city changed the shape of the road. And now they have changed the road again, so they cut away even more of the bluff. Construction has also removed a pair of large hoodoos and at least one small one. It’s surprising the changes that occur when one’s back is turned. So this is the neighborhood as it exists today, it still has these secret lovely places, hidden away from the busy roadway.

Getting a Head pt.2

Just where are the sorts of places that might need a stuffed animal head for display? I do notice them in restaurants, bars, fraternal organizations and clubs and sometimes in stores. I had gone down to the local feed store to pick up some treats for my four-legged friends, when I spotted these heads.

Not strictly speaking just heads, these plastic birds feature turning heads to scare off unwanted birds (yes I’m talking about you, woodpeckers!). (And probably you magpies as well).

This shop features a fine collection of guns and rifles, perfect for bagging the elusive stag. Here’s a sample beast, casually displayed over excess stock.

A fine rack of antlers may attract the ladies, but they attract the hunters even more.

What the heck??? Some gun-crazy hunter even took down this stuffed deer. Who would do such a thing? I guess when one is looking for a trophy, the exact species doesn’t matter. It’s still a prize.

So after admiring the trophies I paid for my sacks of feed and went on my merry way. I am too wimpy to shoot a deer, except with a camera.

This is Sarah.

Gentrification

I have lived in my current town for the past 37 years. The town was established after the civil war as a tourist destination, people would come from Texas in the summer to escape the heat in those days before air conditioning. Lots of other people came as medical tourists, to breathe the fresh mountain air that would hopefully cure their tuberculosis. This was the gateway to gold mines, there was ranching and some farming, but tourist have always been important to the economy. So people have noticed that this is a rather nice place to live, and thus, the old is being removed and the new is taking its place.

This shed-like building is down by the railroad tracks. One can see it from the freeway (motorway), and so it has a mural celebrating the wonders of the town. The previous mural was a disaster, it started peeling and looking rather shabby almost as soon as it was finished.

Up close it is not much to look at, but this corner is slated to become a whiskey-tasting room. I suspect that the purveyors of said whiskey will not be encouraging visits from the many homeless people who roam the area.

I suppose that tha graffiti “art” that adorns the building marks it out as a hipster sort of place, but the roof on this side of the building shows it’s origin as a a shed.

This is the bit that is used by P, he rebuilds bicycles and gives them to homeless people. He also takes donations of stuff, and will find people who can use these donations. (I was down there dropping things off when I took these pictures).

The things that I find incredible about the proposed gentrification of this building are that it is in a strange location (under an overpass), and there are no water lines or heating. The building was originally used for grain storage when there was farming nearby, it’s just a giant shed by the railroad tracks. But, money will be poured into the structure, while keeping the rustic, bohemian nature of the building, and tourists will come (whether we like it or not).

Hot Dog

I still read the daily newspaper (delivered to my home by mysterious means early each morning). And I was excited to read that the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile was in town. I caught a glimpse of it when I was driving along downtown, but I had an appointment, and couldn’t quite catch up with it. But all was not lost, there it was at the supermarket the next day.

Of course I have seen the previous versions driving down the road in years past, but this was my chance to get up close and personal with one. To see what it was actually made of (custom fiberglass body on a truck chassis). Yes, I do want one.

And here it is, a giant driveable hot dog, perhaps leading the way to the future with its spaceship-like design. It had a pair of drivers who were handing out discount coupons and swag (like the postcard).

This is just one of the many (six) Weinermobiles and it came all the way from Wisconsin.

I don’t care what hot dogs are actually made of, they’re delicious (in moderation).

But not everyone loves them. I guess there is no pleasing some pterodactyls.

Reflections

You know how much I love shadows and reflections. Shadows are mysterious, what on earth is casting a shadow in that shape. Then there are reflections (unless one is a vampire), with multiple layers, the item in front of one, and simultaneously, what is behind one. It’s just a wonderful juxtaposition.

Sometimes I am not sure why I bother to go out in public. This was a gallery show of contemporary art, which is not usually a favorite. But it was after the holidays, I was bored, and there was booze and a gallery talk, so it was just the thing. This is a picture of doors, the reflections are of the opposite wall and outside.

Here’s the other “not exit”, and this one shows something that was actually in the room. (Later they were playing “not music”, so I left).

This reflection has outside, the entryway, and the gallery talk. As usual the gallery talk was more complicated than the art.

A reflection and a secondary reflection of the main thing, this knotted string piece.

Here’s a bit of art that I found more to my taste, paintings of things, with the artist. All of the lights are outside on the street, which was rather empty as it was a cold night. Oddly enough (to me), this area has begun to attract tourists, and one frequently finds them wandering about, following their phones. I suppose that progress, like art, is in the eye of the beholder

Getting a Head

According to the dictionary (yes I looked it up in an actual book) a trophy is: “something symbolising victory or success” and under b: “A mounted fish, animal’s head, etc.” It’s also a rather weird thing to do. I do occasionally go the the local Elks club, a fraternal organization devoted to something (I think it involves beer), and displaying lots of its’ namesake beasts.

This elk seems to be giving a bit of side-eye, meant perhaps as a bit of reproach for his untimely demise. He is tastefully situated on a fake lodge wall, that’s not a real mantle under him.

This elk is in a much plainer setting. Staring straight ahead he seems to be either sad or indifferent to to goings on in the room.

Now this elk was more of an actual trophy, with fine 12 point antlers, he was a lovely specimen in life. However, the way that he is mounted gives him a look of surprise. (It shouldn’t have been a total surprise, didn’t he notice that hunter creeping up on him? Maybe not).

And then there was this fellow, laying down on the job. From the looks of it, he has been around for a number of years, so perhaps this is understandable, sometimes one just needs a break. And if this is on display at the “Elks”, I worry about what is stuffed and mounted at “Modern Woodmen” another fraternal organization. 😉

Dino for a day

Everyone who was ever a little kid knows how fascinating dinosaurs are. Giants who once ruled the earth, now extinct (maybe) and existing only in imagination, what’s not to like about them? So I spent a day indulging my love of these prehistoric beasts.

The local dinosaur museum does not have any actual dinosaurs, but it does have rather a lot of bones, including my personal favorite pteranodons. (Dear other dinosaurs, yes I love you too).

The museum is located in a mountain town, up the pass, a gateway to tourists seeking the great outdoors.

This dino is much closer to home, in fact, it’s right in my neighborhood. All lit up for the holiday season, I decided that I must pay these dinos a visit.

How serene a scene.

It was a cold night and I was almost alone with the beasts, freely wandering among them.

What’s more adorable than a newly hatched baby dino? I guess my secret is out, these dinos are part of a miniature golf course. And I did get a hole in one, so now I am part of the tribe.

Ornamental

My favorite Christmas tradition is decorating the tree, because years ago I banished all the generic sort of ornaments and went with only special and unique ornaments.

I remember buying this ornament at an after Christmas sale (surely the best time to acquire these). It must have been about 35 years ago, or more (that can’t possibly be true). I had gone to the St. Louis Zoo with my friend and his dad, and we went a little crazy buying things. There was something about this fox that spoke to me, so I bought it even though I did not need it.

I bought this one on vacation in Hawai’i and it is a Humahumanukunukuapua’a (spellcheck actually accepted that word) which is the state fish of Hawai’i.

M and I used to go to a couple of conferences every year, and while the men were busy, S and I would go in search of Christmas ornaments. She loved Christmas decorating but was a purist and would not buy anything made in China, which sometimes made it hard to shop. But we were in San Antonio and I found this lovely lizard which was made in Africa, so it came home with me. I can’t remember if she bought anything on that trip.

This elephant came from another conference trip. Me and S had gone to Macy’s in San Francisco and I got this beast, while she found some ornaments that were made in Germany (the former primary source of Christmas things).

I bought this one right here in town, I’m just including it because I love it. And I have had it for the past 32 years.

I’ve only had this one for two years, a friend gave it to me after Miss Dog died, so in many ways this is the most special ornament of my collection. But they all bear the weight of memories of times and places past, like Christmas itself.

Italian for a day

I finally noticed that it is quite close to being Christmas (that ubiquitous music was my first clue) and so I decided that I must drive south to obtain some tamales before it is too late. (If you don’t order them in time, there won’t be any for you). So I called up a friend and asked if she would like to go along, and she said “yes”. And she had other goodies in mind, so off we went.

And what she was in search of was Italian treats. So the first stop was a tiny old-fashioned corner store that has been there since 1921. I know that Dean Martin is an Italian icon, but I did not realize that this was also the case for Bing Crosby and Elvis.

I did stand in the long line to buy a few treats, but they had been sold out of her favorite since 9:00 am. But this was not the only game in town.

So off to the tamale place, only to find that they were sold out. Fortunately, there was another batch steaming away in the kitchen, so we paid for some to be picked up later and then it was off to yet another Italian store.

Eight miles out of town was this family-run farm stand (it’s actually a giant steel barn). It was loaded with everything one needs for a festive feast, freshly made cookies and confections of various sorts, locally produced jams and jellies, frozen ready to bake pies, and much, much more. This was definitely the place to be.

There were the bakers rolling out long strips of dough to make potitca (yes, spellcheck that is how it’s spelled). What is potitca? Well it’s some sort of yeast dough that is traditionally covered with finely chopped walnuts, sugar and cinnamon, then rolled into a spiral and baked. And it is necessary for Christmas! We bought some (and a few other interesting things that they had) and it was back on the road to home. Mission accomplished.