My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Special Effects

I do have some photos of the progress on the new house to share, but haven't had time to do anything with them yet. So because it's a cold, rainy, windy day and I have a few minutes before chores beckon, I wanted to share a few photos I've been messing about with using some of PhotoBucket's new photo editing tools. Molly's sepia-toned Airstream photo and Barbara's frequent (and fantastic) frolics with photo editing were my inspiration, along with my favorite photos from this week's ABC Wednesday post...

This was my first attempt with the new editing tools.
I kept the effects minimal because:
as a later model car ('62 Caddy) I didn't want it over-aged;
I didn't want the effects to distract from the classic fin;
I made this one for Molly, a fan of minimalism & simplicity;
and I didn't quite know yet what I was doing. LOL

I loved making this one look splattered in motor oil!

Since this '41 Pontiac reminds me of a gangster car,
I wanted this one to look like an old fragment of film.
Maybe from a film noir classic or an early 40's newsreel.

I love the Pontiac's look, so had it been my car when it was new,
I'd have proudly displayed its snapshot in a photo album!

While I was out walking the dogs Thursday evening, our friends Darren and Marisa, whom we've known for years, rode past on their bicycles. Turns out they were on their way home - right around the corner from the house we're renting! That was a fun discovery in and of itself, but now I also know whom to ask about the old defunct service station a half a block from both our houses where all these old cars are decomposing! I still think it's a pin-striping shop, but have yet to see anyone or any activity there - and we walk and bike past there frequently.

In other automotive news, a few of you may recall our black 2007 Ford Five Hundred that replaced our 1975 Ford Bronco as BW's commuter car. Purchased on St. Patrick's Day 2010, we named her "Fiona." When we sold our house last October, we traded Fiona in on a 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. A couple weeks ago, I saw a black Ford Five Hundred drive past our house and park at the curb a couple houses up the street. It had temp tags on it, and BW and wondered if it might be Fiona. We finally got a chance to confirm our suspicion last week when we saw the telltale dimple on the front passenger door (my bad!) This is a small town, but it's not THAT small! Pretty funny that Fiona now lives two doors away! Hopefully she doesn't hold a Christine-like grudge. ;-)

Warning: this clip contains vulgarities not unlike the expletives 
I sometimes hear when BW is working on one of our cars. 
He calls it "automotive repair terminology." LOL

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ABC Wednesday: O is for Oldsmobile (and Other Old cars!)

Just a block or two from the house we're currently renting is an old service station that is now (or was?) a pinstriping shop. I've never seen any signs of life there, but apparently they collect(ed) old cars to practice on. That's my theory, anyway, since every jalopy parked around the place (and there are many, from the early 1900s to the 1970s) have newer pinstriping on them, no matter their overall condition. As soon as I spied this place on our first walk around the neighborhood with the dogs, before even moving in, I knew it offered an abundance of great photo ops. I couldn't wait till ABC Wednesday got around to V (for vintage), so O for Old it is... and it just happens that the first car you see out in front of the shop is a mid-1950's Oldsmobile "Olds 88"...

Circa 1953 Olds 88 and a 1962 Cadillac DeVille.
Here is a restored 1953 Olds 88 for comparison

Oldsmobile's ringed globe logo (to stress its "universal appeal") 
above the grille

trunk hatch

Considered the fastest car on the market in its day,
1950s Olds 88s had a look suggesting jet propulsion - 
right down to their rocket taillights.

Cadillac's famous fins from the 1950s and '60s.
This 1962 DeVille was manufactured the same year I was, 
but I'd like to think I've aged a bit more gracefully! ;-)
(Click here to see a restored model)

Getting even more old school, a 1941 Pontiac Streamliner, 
which had an MSRP of $984 that year.
I've always called this style, with its "torpedo body," a gangster car!

Pontiac stopped manufacturing cars for the general population
from 1943-1945, when it produced WWII armaments instead.

The Pontiac's grille
I was re-reading Stephen King's "Christine" at the time I took these,
and was glad I wasn't staring down a 1958 Plymouth Fury! LOL!

Closeup of the hood's Chief Pontiac (aka Indian Head) logo, 
which was discontinued in 1957.

This jalopy was so deteriorated that identification was impossible. 
But these wood spoke wheels are classic old school. 

Speaking of old school, check out the gas pump on the right.
Notice it could only tally a fuel purchase in "cents per gallon!"

Happy motoring! ;-)

Take a spin on over to...

for more original interpretations of O!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

When the eagle soars up, high above the earth,
Its shadow for the while is nowhere to be seen;
Yet bird and shadow still are linked. 
So too our actions:
When conditions come together, 
their effects are clearly seen.
~Jigme Lingpa, 18th c. scholar, 
"Treasury of Precious Qualities" 

Panian open pit coal mine, Semirara Island, Philippines
Credit: Expedition 23 Crew, ISS

Humans have extensively cut and cleared the tropical forest, 
vastly accelerating soil erosion. The red sediment in the river 
represents an irreplaceable natural asset. 
Very little of the original forest remains. 
Credit: NASA Space Shuttle

The more clearly we can focus our attention

on the wonders and realities of the universe about us,
the less taste we shall have for destruction.
~Rachel Carson

Deforestation of the Amazon forest to make grazing lands. 
Credit: NASA LBA-ECO Project 

By climbing up into his own head 
and shutting out every voice but his own, 
"civilized man" has gone deaf. 
He can't hear the wolf calling him brother - 
not master, but brother. 
He can't hear the earth calling him child - 
not father, but son.
~Ursula K. LeGuin 

Before I flew I was already aware
of how small and vulnerable our planet is;
but only when I saw it from space,
in all its ineffable beauty and fragility,
did I realize that human kind's most urgent task
is to cherish and preserve it for future generations.
~Sigmund Jähn, German Democratic Republic

Earth and her Moon (NASA) 

The Earth was small, light blue, and so touchingly alone, 
our home that must be defended like a holy relic. 
~Aleksei Leonov, USSR

A Chinese tale tells of some men sent to harm a young girl 
who, upon seeing her beauty, 
become her protectors rather than her violators. 
That's how I felt seeing the Earth for the first time. 
I could not help but love and cherish her.
~Taylor Wang, China/USA

Credit: NASA, Apollo 11 

Suddenly, from behind the rim of the moon, 
in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, 
there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, 
a light, delicate sky-blue sphere 
laced with slowly swirling veils of white, 
rising gradually like a small pearl 
in a thick sea of black mystery. 
It takes more than a moment to fully realize 
this is Earth . . . home.
- Edgar Mitchell, USA

A Life Connected: VEGAN from

every day that we live here! :-)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Springtime walkabout in my new 'hood

Happy Friday!

Great progress continues to be made on our new house (they're already framing the second story), despite this week's unsettled weather. But I haven't had a chance to get by there to take photos yet so instead of house construction pictures, today I offer you some recent photos I took up the street from our new rental digs. The street is named Absaraka (in Montana it's spelled "Absaroka"), which people here pronounce "Ab-SAR-ka" or "Ab-SOR-ka." It's the Crow Tribe's name for their people in their own language, and means "Bird People," or "People of the Big Beaked Bird." (For much more about the name and its various pronunciations - it gets complicated! - click here).

Absaraka Street dead-ends less than a mile from our house and exploring it has been tempting since we moved here. But it's usually such a busy street that I've avoided it. It was pretty quiet on Wednesday, though, so I walked the dogs to the end of it and saw so many great photo ops I've returned a couple of times with my bike and camera. Enjoy!

Beautiful daffodils with the afternoon sun shining through their petals...

(For a superb daffodil fix, visit my friend Sue's beautiful photos 
of a joyful abundance of them in southern Maine!)

A cheerful, whimsically painted mailbox...

This property belongs to a wealthy heiress who for years has devoted much of her time, money and property to wildlife rescue, refuge and rehabilitation. Yay!...

And this adorable sign was on the driveway gate of one of her neighbors just up and across the road...

I love it, and wish we'd had one at our place in Big Horn! 
I think they had this one custom made 
since I've searched the internet for it with no success.

Here are some of the views I get to enjoy on this walk...

That little pond had attracted a lot of Red-winged Blackbirds, who were singing their hearts out! I love their trilling variety of calls and songs...

Did you notice the plane in the above photo? That land belongs to our local airport, whose terminal and runway are some distance from here. I found it a bit strange that this lone, decommissioned plane is out there all by itself - literally put out to pasture! Made for some interesting photos, though...

This is Bentley, who lives at a lovely place at the end of the street and guards it well. (Except when he's getting his butt scratched through the fence. Then he abandons his guard dog duties to close his eyes and revel in the ecstasy!) ;-) ....

And these are the views that reward anyone who reaches the end of Absaraka Street (or who, like Bentley, get to live there!)... 

Thanks for sharing my springtime walkabout, and....


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Houses, Dogs, and Chocolate

Holy cannoli! The past few days have been very full, with lots of meetings with kitchen designers and shopping for flooring, straddling two houses and lawns (despite not living there anymore we're still being held hostage responsible for the cleaning and upkeep on our former rental till May 1 and since it's still being shown despite being under contract, that's a burden we could do without!) And we're at that awkward stage of most moves where we've got most everything unpacked and stuffed somewhere, but rarely remember the where part, so there's lots of "honey, where's the tape measure?" and "have you seen the corn meal?" It doesn't help that the kitchen is so tiny we're having to use a bookcase, stereo cabinet and hutch, plus garage shelves, to store most of our food and several kitchen gadgets. And then we had the added excitement of coming home from errands yesterday to the shattered remains of a lightbulb all over the freshly cleaned and dusted dining room (the overhead light fixture it was in wasn't even on, and why the bulb exploded is anyone's guess!), and a phone call from our contractor first thing this morning needing to know pronto what size windows we wanted on either side of the fireplace (a custom addition we'd requested a while back that will look something like this) and where on the walls we wanted them placed. YOU try figuring that out early in the morning without being able to see the windows or the yet-to-be constructed wall they'll go in! (I'm a visual person so I need to see what I'm talking about, so thank goodness for the brilliant Houzz and their bazillion photos of house interiors and exteriors, landscaping and products!) After finding the right sized windows on the manufacturer's web site, getting entangled in the ("honey, where's the") tape measure, and checking some photos on Houzz, we came up with an answer that we ended up changing about 20 minutes later, but are pleased with now. We think. :-) Whew!

Anyway, I guess now it goes without saying that they've started framing our house. Here's how it looked last Saturday, with the crawl space framed and the sill plate (the boards bolted to the top of the foundation walls) installed and ready for floor joists...

It was a dark and stormy day, as you can see from the view of the mountains from our lot (for you, VioletSky!), and we ended up with some real gullywashers over the rest of the weekend. If it's going to rain, then let it be when they're not working on our house!

Yesterday dawned cloudy and raw but turned beautiful by mid-afternoon. We were in the area dropping off a wedding present so drove by building site again, snapping this photo on the way a couple of blocks from our lot... 

And then we turned the corner and were amazed to see this! Our garage was nearly framed!..

As was the chimney, off to the right behind the red dumpster. I think there's something inexplicably charming about that chimney standing there by itself, seeming to supervise the building of the garage while it waits for the living room walls that will keep it company. It obviously wasn't lonesome long, since one of those walls was what required the quick window decision this morning...

And this is how it was looking about two hours ago. The windows on either side of the fireplace that were merely theoretical this morning are now manifested (or at least framed) - if you know where to look, they're both visible in the second photo...

Took this from the elementary school parking lot,
hence all the cars. Kind of looks like our house construction 
has drawn a crowd of spectators though, doesn't it? :-)

In dog news, Josie got a clean bill of health at the vet last week when she had her annual heart worm test and a follow up urinalysis, about 5 weeks after her last dose of antibiotics to treat the urea plasma infection our vet thought might be the underlying cause of her years of recurring bladder infections. We'll have her checked again in early June, but this is a good sign!

I sometimes (especially lately) feel like the last person on earth to see some things, so some of you may already know about this viral video of Fiona the rescued blind dog that I just learned of this morning from the Freekibble site (where you can answer free daily dog and cat trivia questions to raise money to feed shelter dogs and cats). It has the most heart-wrenching beginning but the most heart-warming end - keep a hanky ready, you'll most likely need it!

Major kudos and good karma points to Hope for Paws Animal Rescue

And also to the makers of Rescue Chocolate, who donate 100% of the net profits from sales of their vegan chocolate bars to animal rescue groups! I also learned about them just this morning, from the wonderful folks at Vegan Cuts who are currently offering a sweet deal on a variety six-bar pack...

So there you go! You can provide a loving, forever home to a furbaby from your local shelter if you're able, play Freekibble every day to help feed critters in need, reward yourself for your good deeds with some vegan Rescue Chocolate and help even more critters, and make everything else you eat (and wear) vegan too, to help billions more critters! Talk about a sweet deal!

Mmm, a chocolate lab! :-)

Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone, and I'll be back as soon as I can with more house updates and other goodies!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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