A Collection Never Planned But Going Strong Nonetheless

People, I am going to show you an activity you may not have ever thought about, but once you do, you’ll wonder why you aren’t doing the same thing.

All right. A while back I finished up a jar of some kind of a spice, don’t know what kind, let’s say garlic granules. I like the shape of those jars a lot, so I washed it and set it on a windowsill in my dining room.

Some time before that and not related at all, I had begun accumulating plastic bread bag fasteners. No reason, I just didn’t want to throw them out. I’m not talking twisty ties, I mean these:

tag collection 5-192

Very appealing, they are. All right. I was stacking them on the windowsill until there were about ten of them and then I felt they looked messy. So…I took the spice jar and said, you will take on the task of enclosing these plastic tags.

Guess what. Things have progressed over the year+ (it might even be 2 years, I have to admit) that I’ve been doing this. Now we have a full jar, settled next to some waiting empties. (I am not going to start an empty spice jar collection. Let me make that clear.)

tag collection #3 5-194

You may notice one of the other jars is not empty. I am now collecting white toothpaste tube caps. Just getting started on that one.

The bread tag jar is full. I will be starting a new one.

tag collection #2 5-193

Oh, wait, I had a new idea. Let me fill this former olive jar with my current population. Look, I think there is plenty of room for new arrivals.

I am having a great time with this collection. It’s compact, meaningless, and makes me snicker. That’s what it’s good for right now. And that’s enough.

For me, anyway. The cat doesn’t think much of it, as he lies on his little rug just to the north of the collection; his life is already complete, well-ordered, and perfectly arranged.

Although I know that if I let one of those tags hit the floor, he’d be chasing it around the whole downstairs, until it fell into a heating vent. Just saying.

Martok 5-191

Let’s Pretend…

Sometimes it’s fun to think what might be, especially if your eyes are like mine and catch a glance of something that on a second look, is now something else…

First instance…

See this beautiful pot with plants in it?

Plants growing on bridge #1 5-14-196

No, it’s a support for the railing on a bridge over the Pennypack Creek.

Plants growing on bridge #2 5-14-195

I don’t care, I think  it looks like Mother Nature has made a tiny garden in this random space to remind me that small places and serendipitous weed growth go together, are beautiful, and should be noticed and applauded. Which I did, on a recent walk. And I resolved to go home and get something planted in my own clay pots in my yard.

Second instance…

Is this the salad bar at the grocery store?

Tiny yellow-green plants 5-14-19 #22

No, it’s small leafy growth along the side of the trail, hiding in the shade. I did not take a bite of it but it looks fresh, crisp and crunchy to me. I am sure someone likes to eat it out here along the trail.

I like the look of this little “salad” – the delicate leaves, the multitude of yellow and green variations, the spots on the leaves, the spindly stems…When they say a feast for the eyes, well, I think this is a definition of it.

Tiny yellow-green plants 5-14-19 #13


The Joy of the Routine

If you follow my poetry blog, you know that each week I take a day, or part of a day (or sometimes parts of two or three days, depending!) to devote to writing poetry. I’m currently in year two of this practice and 2018 is: Day Trip Poetry Marathon.

I like to leave home and do this activity in a suitable place, which for me has usually meant a library.

For the past year or so most of the time I have gone to Brendlinger Library, Montgomery County Community College, in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. As a county resident, I can check out books and enjoy the library as much as I want. And I do enjoy it – I like the atmosphere and being around students and books.

Each week I park in the lot in about the same place. It helps in finding my car if I don’t vary things too much, plus – we are creatures of habit, all of us, and this is one of mine – parking in a certain spot.

I take a photo and send it to my husband to let him know when I have arrived. Over time, I’ve got a lot of photos of the same view. Take a look – here is an array from March 3 – November 2, 2018.

Time passing in a very tangible way…

If you are a real fan of the parking lot saga, look here for a previous post I did back in February, the same thing…only a different time…

Update on Canary Melon Land

Remember those canary melon seeds we planted in a pot, now sitting on our porch, a few weeks back? They are growing. Take a look. Here they are on August 4.

And how about today, August 14?

Conf 8-14 #101

I am sure we ought to be thinning them out. But we’re not going to. We’re not trying to get melons to grow, just enjoying the plants and how they develop. I noticed that, like squash and gourds and other vines, these guys might like to climb, if they could. One of the little plants is developing those twirly-grabby-on kind of things…

Conf 8-14 #201

Full of surprises, these little guys are. Keep on growing! I encourage them every time I go in or out of the house.

Management Says

I went to a meeting in an office building recently and stopped in the bathroom. There I learned some things. From this notice.

Confused Bathroom sign 5-14 31


Let me just get you some background. I am one, along with many other ladies, who just doesn’t care about my fellow human beings, loud and proud inconsiderate every single day, and I don’t care who knows it.  That’s the first  “we”. Us bad ones. And Management has noticed and come down from the Management Office to help us along.

Now, read it again, just to stay current.

Confused Bathroom sign 5-14 31

I noted  the “we” taking on another level of meaning, merging into another “we”. The “We” of Management joining itself with us little people. There is just something about a being who refers to itself in the third person that ratchets up my attention, absolutely you bet.

Now I was scolded all right and yet I also felt the hurt that Management feels at my unfairness to whoever it is that is actually following the rules (since I thought “we” all were offending, and now I learn there are those who are not? I am getting so confused).

So, I glanced around the room to make sure I had not offended. That I could move into a higher category. That I could be a good person again.

Confused Bathroom sign 5-14 #2

I felt the glow of Management’s approval of my cooperation and yet, my mind was still at work. I dared to wonder – maybe Management could have just said: Flush. Pick up paper. Keep things nice. Please.

I guess not.

OK, I think I’m done here.  (I scuttle out of the room).

Just a Cute Cat Picture

You know when warmer weather has arrived because our cat, Martok, returns to this cozy little spot for a nap. Never in winter does he venture in this room, but he likes the feeling of being in a nice cool bowl, I think, when things heat up.

It also gives you a tiny shock when you walk into the bathroom thinking you are all alone and – you aren’t. At least he is not hiding in the tub behind the shower curtain or something…

Martok 5-18.jpg

What I Have Learned About Box Elder Bugs

About three weeks ago I took a picture of some insects attending a convention on a post in the Norristown Farm Park. I became interested when I realized what looked like insect-drilled holes on this post were moving.

Box elder #2

And they were not holes, but bugs.

Box elder #3

I got closer and took a few pictures, waving away the intrepid souls who were attracted to me and my nosy ways.

Box elder #1

I walked around the post. The bugs were congregated only on the sunny side.

When I got home I looked up – bug with orange details – and found out that I’d come upon box elder bugs. Never heard of them before.

Turns out they are not remarkable in any way, except to themselves. They feed on seeds and leaves of box elder trees, a variety of maple (never heard of that before, either). In the fall they hibernate (in houses sometimes, which causes consternation among homeowners, but no damage) and in the spring they come out looking for warm spots to get together and work out their dining schedule.

That’s why they were only on one side of the post. It was the warm side.

Well, that’s pretty much it. Box elder bugs and box elders exist, and they seek warmth. The box elder bug story! Say hello if you see one. You’ve now been introduced.

Box elder #4

Over and Over

If you follow my poetry blog you know I visit a site to write poetry once a week, spending the day.

For some time I’ve been going to Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell, PA, to the Brendlinger Library. When I arrive, I usually send my husband a text to let him know I’m there, as I often do when I’m out driving around. Many times I just send a photo.

I realized not too long ago that I’ve gotten into the habit of parking the car and snapping a shot with my phone through the windshield at Montco. I also park in the same lot in about the same place and always facing the same way. I can do this since I get there at the beginning of the day and I have my choice.

I don’t know why it’s pretty much always the same location but we are creatures of habit, aren’t we? And as a practical matter I like to pull through the space, so that I don’t have to back out when I leave.

Anyway, here is the collection I have built up of a very ordinary scene as it passes through time. Sometimes I’m closer to the campus (the photos with trees to the right) and sometimes a little farther out. The Health and Sciences building is off in the distance. The main part of the campus is out of sight to the right – that’s where I go.


Came into View

On January 9 my husband and I went to Allentown, PA, to pick up unsold artwork from the Baum School of Art’s holiday show. The school is located in the middle of downtown across the street from the Allentown Art Museum. Both of these places are very familiar to us from years of visiting Allentown.

The city is undergoing a lot of change right now. After declines in industry and manufacturing and a period of drift, the city is renewing itself in a lot of different ways. Its location is advantageous, it has a significant population, there are several colleges in the city, and it borders Bethlehem, PA, another Lehigh Valley city reinventing itself.

Downtown Allentown was further changed by the construction of the PPL Center, home to a minor league hockey team and an Arena football team – not to mention lots of special events. New restaurants and hotels have followed as well as residential apartment construction.

I’m glad to see it. I like Allentown a lot and the city has been good to me as far as my art career. That’s another area undergoing growth – Third Thursday art evenings and plenty of events at the museum, the school, and other art venues in town.

Anyway, driving in, we noticed a building coming down to clear a site for new construction along Hamilton Street.

Once we were finished with our errand we walked a few blocks to take a closer look. I can’t resist watching a building in its demolition process. Here are some pictures.

Here’s part of the building still standing – Hamilton Street facade.

From the side looking toward Hamilton.

Side view. Now it gets interesting. Look at that staircase ghost – think how high the ceilings were in this building.

The handrail is still in place. Somehow that touched my heart. I was thinking of how many hands had slid along the metal in all the years of the building’s life.

My husband directed my attention to the back of the building. The former bathrooms, to be specific. There they are, stacked on above the other.

Now that’s interesting to think about, isn’t it? All this time these rooms were one above the other, completely separated and never to be seen in comparison with each other.

Now I really felt for the building. Bathrooms, well, they are private spaces and now, here they are, front and center.

I don’t know what’s going on this site – it’s being cleared all the way back to the next block. I’ll keep my eye on it.

On the way out of town, we passed West Park, where I have done so many years of Art in the Park. Looks very different from the scene in June, when we are there.

January, 2018.


June, 2017.

A nice trip and I’m looking forward to the next time we are there.

A Few Thoughts While on a Cold Day’s Walk

On December 27, last week, I accompanied a friend into West Philadelphia where he was going to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for a medical treatment. I had some time to spend while he was busy and I used it to take a walk around Penn’s campus. Here are a few odds and ends from that little trek.

Penn is a private university, not public (the name throws people off as many state schools are the University of  —-). It’s located in the city and it’s a truly urban campus. Almost 40 years ago, I took a couple of classes here that I needed for my job, in the night school. I’ve been here since then, of course, but not in the past few years. As I walked I reflected on the memories I have of the neighborhood.

Public transit is everywhere – you can take a trolley, bus, elevated train, or get over to 30th Street train station and go anywhere in the United States.

Streets and buildings.

You can see Center City Philadelphia about 20 blocks or 2 miles away.

Did I tell you it was a miserably cold day? Well, it was, in the low 20’s. So outdoor scenes were deserted, no surprise, and it didn’t have anything to do with the fact that school was closed for the holidays, either. People are still around. But they are not out enjoying the fresh air.

I walked up the street and faced this building:

I wondered if this was the Charles Addams I am familiar with – you know, the creator of the Addams Family of print, cartoons, and TV fame? I turned into the walkway. Yes, it is. This sight made it clear.

At home I looked up Charles Addams and learned that he went to school here in the 1930’s.

A few steps further on I saw this gate – and I spent quite a bit of time examining it. Each hand holds some tool or implement used in art making. Absolutely fascinating and beautiful.

Finally, the Addams building and I are the same age.

I liked the look of the screen wall treatment for this building – I think it was a parking garage or else the utility level of the building.

These creepy dolls were in the window of an antique store, and let me tell you that I was glad they were on the other side of the glass and could not directly catch my eye. They look like they have malevolent intentions.

First I noticed this building because we have the same first name.

Looking up, I see it used to be called something else.

I would not like to have my name changed without my permission. It seems disorienting, to say the least. Looking up this building’s history later, I found that it has had a several different uses as well. If you live long enough, well, things change.

On my way back to the hospital to meet my friend, I took these pictures of the kind of notices you see plastered all over light poles and the like. I have noticed that they tend to be quite local in their subjects. Notice the one refers to Penn Medicine – guess what – it was right across the street from the hospital. My theory continues to hold up.

Well, I went back inside the building, ready to get back into a warm place. A nice walk around campus, I thought.

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