I’ve noticed that fancy decor magazines like to pretend that people’s homes are museums or galleries. For example, instead of discussing curtains or drapes, they talk about window dressing. Window dressing?
“It has come to my attention that many of you are in a quandary about how to dress your windows. Even friends of mine who are top notch designers are often terrified of window dressing…” – from a Home and Garden article (“Window Dressing 101″).
Terrified by window dressing, eh? Well now, I’ve seen two windows with wolf-blanket curtains; maybe that’s what they’re talking about. A wolf in the window probably sends the wrong message, it scares away the meter reader and Girl Guides selling cookies. But replace the ferocious wolf with a sweet-faced domestic cat, and suddenly your window dressing is not so terrifying. How purrfect, the neighbours will say, that little house down the street has cat eyes.
Taken on October 2, 2010
After you’ve lived in one place for a while, it’s easy to think you’ve seen it all. The same architecture, the same streets, the same sprawling malls, the same old, same old. And then one day you’re walking around a corner, looking for something else, only half paying attention, and there it is: something different. Hello, says the red vine, waving brightly from its yellow wall. Hellooooo, do you see me?
On another note, I’ve decided to post entries only on weekdays. As the days get darker, weekends are getting busier and sometimes I’d rather sleep in… So now you don’t have to waste, er, invest your weekends reading my blog, but I hope you’ll keep dropping by on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. And thanks as always for your excellent comments!
Taken on October 2, 2010
It’s been rainy this week, and the forecast is for more rain next week. When the weather is grey and drizmal, I have two choices:
1) curl up on the couch and catch up on my sleep/reading while I wait for nice weather
2) put on my brightest clothes, look for some eye-popping colour or play some snappy music, then go out for an adventure
An adventure is going places. It could be a walk in a nearby park or an unfamiliar neighbourhood. It could be a shopping expedition, or a drive out in the country. It could be a visit with a friend, or going out to dinner or a movie.
Whatever it is, an adventure is something to look forward to, something to do right now instead of waiting for Mother Nature or the Ship of Opportunity to ring your doorbell.
This photo is loud. It’s a wake-up alarm, a call to action. Because I really need to be a little more active. And, you know, I can’t resist red.
Taken on May 29, 2009
When I was going to school, it seemed that everyone smoked. I was used to smelling cigarette smoke in school hallways, buses, donut shops and public buildings. When I hung out with my friends after school, there were always a few smokers in the crowd. But now that information about the dangers of second-hand smoke is well-known, there are strict no-smoking regulations and smoke-free environments. I’ve become used to cleaner air, and now I notice the slightest waft of smoke from a nearby cigarette. Of course some people still smoke, and if you’re a smoker you are free to make your choice, but I’ve been hoping that smoking is going out of style. But maybe I’m just out of touch; although smoking is less visible in regulated public spaces, maybe nothing has really changed at all.
Taken on August 23, 2010
I took this photo the other day — this is the outside wall of a curling rink — because the bright blue and white caught my eye, reminding me of travel posters of Greece…[hmm, somewhat ironic, considering the context]. When I posted it on Flickr, someone asked me what an ice technician does. I don’t know. I suppose it has something to do with maintaining the temperature and slipperiness of the ice, so maybe it’s a heating and cooling job. Is there a zamboni involved? Skates chip and groove the ice surface, but what would curling rocks and brooms do? I haven’t the foggiest idea.
Taken on August 5, 2010
I love the incongruity of this. The word “smile” written as graffiti. That’s smile without a smiley face, with what looks like an anguished face. That’s smile written on an alley wall just off one of the main shopping streets in uptown Saint John. There is irony here, and humour. It made me smile.
Taken on August 9, 2010
This parking garage in the North End has a lot of doors. The blue paint is peeling and the hinges are rusty. You can see how the wood is worn along the edges where the water has seeped in over time. There is a “no parking” sign, half missing. And Christmas icicle lights hang from the edge of the roofline. It has been there as long as anyone can remember. Even if you don’t remember, it will be there.
Taken on April 22, 2010
Walls are seldom glamourous, architecturally speaking. It’s usually the windows or doors that get all the attention, enhancing their good looks with curtains or fancy plasterwork. Not walls; you don’t look at them, you look for a way around them. But walls have stories, too. You can tell how a building has evolved by noticing different brickwork where a window has been blocked off, or a different style of decoration where a new storey has been added. The quality of stone or masonry or brick says something about the skills, material or money available at the time. I don’t know a lot about these historical details, but I can tell that this wall has been here for a long time, and that these stones would have an interesting story to tell, if only walls could talk.
Taken on May 24, 2009
There are faces in strange places when you wander the steep streets uptown. This cat-bat-creature is only one of a whole host of grinning and gruesome faces carved into the stonework. They are so easy to miss — passersby have so much on their mind — but when you spot them, they make you smile. And they make me wonder: who were these careful carvers, and what library of art did these faces spring from? Were they caricatures of people they knew, or common symbols from gargoyle history that would be understood by the common people? Did they have a meaning to convey, or were they just entertainment? I don’t know the answers, and I suppose I love the mystery of them, the history they hint at with their weathered eyes.
Taken on June 26, 2009
These cedar shakes are the cat’s meow when it comes to siding. Cedar has a natural preservative and lasts a long time. It is local and plentiful, and environmentally friendly. But like any other type of wood siding, it requires upkeep. Many of the older frame houses have held on to their vintage wood, although vinyl is gradually covering the city. Vinyl siding is lovely to look at, at least for the first 20 years, but what happens after that? Houses aren’t being built to last 100 years any more, either — I’d be surprised if the new ones last longer than 50. They don’t build houses like they used to.
Taken on May 6, 2010
It was noon, and the bright sun was lighting up the buildings on the other side of the alley. I turned to the shadow side, and found this symmetrical wall with its understated 19th century architectural elegance.
Taken on May 21, 2010