Photos

Where Ya Been, Mrs Freckle Fringe?

After much agonizing and whining, I booked a vacation.  So yes, Fringeland moved south for a week, and I’m now back on the terrace.  This will be the first of several posts about, and pictures of, our trip. I didn’t post about it beforehand because of weirdness. First of all, it had been so long since we took a vacation, all I did was stress about it. Second, right after we booked it, obviously, the girl started to not do so well, so…more stress. Packing up for a road trip to a beach break is simple, right? A few bikinis, a few towels, comfy traveling clothes, and you’re done.  Not in Fringeland. We don’t go out often, and we vacation much less often, so when we’re away, I like to have some nice clothes for going out, and all the makeup I generally don’t wear, and the hair dryer and the straightening iron that I don’t end up using, and no less than four anti-frizz products to keep my hair weighed down in the humidity and breezes. Then there’s an entire small suitcase of meds for Husband and the girl. Yes, I want the comfy traveling clothes, but I also want to look decent, just in case. My version of “wear good underwear in case you get into an accident” is wear decent clothes in case the car breaks down, or someone gets sick and I end up needing to meet strange doctors in a strange hospital, or or or.  See what I mean? Stress! Sure it’s self inflicted, but I can’t help it, goes with the whole vivid imagination thing.  And maybe a dash of experience.

Man Child wasn’t able to come with us, but we were still a crowded vehicle; me, Husband, Art Child, Nerd Child, one of my godsons (Mr Goodheart), Mother-In-Law, and all our assorted crapola. We didn’t bring Little Incredibly Dumb Dog, because I didn’t book said vacation early enough, and all the affordable places within walking distance to the beach that were pet friendly were booked.  A huge, huge thank you to El Fab for taking care of my little beast, the container garden,  AND the tank. I literally took thousands of pictures while we were gone, it’s going to take a bit to sort through them all. My intention was to blog and post pics while away, but once we were there, I just didn’t want to. Sorry! So I’ll break up my pics and stories into a few posts, and put them up here as I sort them. In other words, warning: the next few Mrs Fringe posts will be photo intensive.  Maybe by the time I’ve finished I’ll have stopped sobbing because I want to go back and stay there–but I doubt it!

While on the road, we always stay in low-budget motels, whenever/wherever we are when we just have to crash. Gives us a little more leeway while we’re actually at our destination, and it seems like a waste of funds to spend more on a room you’re literally only going to sleep in. On the way down, we stayed in what must have been the worst (though not the least expensive) motel we’ve ever stayed in. The manager was friendly and chatty, though. He generously offered to give me a tea bag from his personal kitchen, asked Husband “is that a Mexican name?” (all Latino names = Mexican, right? sometimes, and sometimes Dominican, Spaniard, Puerto Rican, South American…), and while I was telling our crew to get out of the car and unload, he proceeded to tell Husband about the woman who had walked in behind us–as she was standing there–how she asked to see a room, used the bathroom while she was in said “clean” room, and was menstruating and now he had to clean up blood.  Thanks for sharing a bit of your life, buddy!

And now, pics from this too-grossly-funny to be believed motel, and the first morning on the beach.

Dinner?

Dinner?

Pets were allowed

Pets were allowed

Anyone care for a yellow, crusty washcloth? I bet no one steals their linens.

Anyone care for a yellow, crusty washcloth? I bet no one steals their linens.

Yesssss, going over the bridge to the island.

Yesssss, going over the bridge to the island.

I wouldn't mind one of these.

I wouldn’t mind one of these.

Even looks like a sigh of relief.

Even looks like a sigh of relief.

Though the island is only about 13 hours from where we live, and we planned to break it up into two days of traveling, we hit every traffic jam possible (seriously–at our first coffee and pee break, we tried to get back on the highway and it was completely shut down because of an accident) and so didn’t arrive until early evening of the second day.

I could spend all day looking at these live oaks, truly magnificent.

I could spend all day looking at these live oaks, truly magnificent.

Even in road trip stupor, it's impossible to get a bad shot of this sky.

Even in road trip stupor, it’s impossible to get a bad shot of this sky.

And now, the first sunrise. I was a bit late getting out there, but still caught some pretty shots.

And now, the first sunrise. I was a bit late getting out there, but still caught some pretty shots.

The dunes are protected and respected.

The dunes are protected and respected.

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Put your toes in, even at 6am the water is warm.

Put your toes in, even at 6am the water is warm.

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My little posing friend.

My little posing friend.

Still wondering why I’m sobbing about having to leave?

 

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Why go home when you can pass out right on the beach, errr, watch the sunrise?

Why go home when you can pass out right on the beach, errr, watch the sunrise?

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These seemed to be a beach/sand morning glory. Each morning at sunrise the buds were closed, by the time I came back out at 9am or so they were open.

These seemed to be a beach/sand morning glory. Each morning at sunrise the buds were closed, by the time I came back out at 9am or so they were open.

Thanks for the morning welcome song!

Thanks for the morning welcome song!

 

City Angles, Highline Edition

Yesterday afternoon we went for a walk on the High Line.  On the west side of Manhattan, it’s an old elevated freight train line that was converted into a public park/walk.  (It’s also the setting for the opening scene of Astonishing, “poetic” license to make it work.)  It really is the best of the city, squished in between residential buildings, old factories, and office buildings, incorporating the beams and concrete that were already there with plantings, art, and lookout points.  In quite a few sections, I mean squished quite literally, there are some buildings where you could reach over and touch the windows.  I’ll be honest, I couldn’t walk too far, but even a few blocks’ worth yielded many photos.

 

Not All Beach Days are Perfect

But somehow, all perfect days include the beach.  Today was one of those days, and the first officially unofficial beach day of the season for us.  Must be summer! Warning:  photo intensive post ahead.

This morning I charged the camera, Husband, Art Child and I threw towels and waters in the car, left our sleeping and completely-uninterested-in-all-things-beachy Nerd Child behind, and got on the highway.

Getting excited as we leave the city.

Getting excited as we leave the city.

Lucky souls sailing down the Hudson River.

Lucky souls sailing down the Hudson River.

Yes, that Asbury Park--and I was Born to Run.

Yes, that Asbury Park–and I was Born to Run.

Pfft, no umbrellas required.

Pfft, no umbrellas required.

Wouldn't be me without some macros thrown in.

Wouldn’t be me without some macros thrown in.

The water is still cold, but I couldn't believe how clear and lovely it was.

The water is still cold, but I couldn’t believe how clear and lovely it was.

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Something about this one, I like it.

Something about this one, I like it.

I hadn’t been to Asbury Park since, well, a long, long time ago.  The beach and water isn’t just cleaner than it used to be, it’s clean.  And beautiful.  One of my beach obsessions involves the critters that live in the sand. Funny how one roach in the hallway will send me on a three-day scrubbing and freak out spree, culminating in 50 Combat traps, but I’m fascinated by the creepy crawlies in and around the ocean.

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We didn’t stay too long.  First day out, why ruin it with sunburn? So we packed up and walked along the boardwalk for a bit.

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Homeward bound.

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Ok, even I’ll admit these grains of sand are getting mighty uncomfortable.

Can’t Always Be Pancakes

Kale smoothie. Don't knock it 'til you try it.

Kale smoothie. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

Seriously, it’s delicious.  I doubt it makes up for the mac-n-cheese with jalapeños and broccoli I had while out with Fatigue last night, but maybe it balances the beer.

I was awake ridiculously early today, spent an hour and a half on the terrace watching the clouds before starting yoga.  I kept thinking I should grab the camera, but I didn’t.  Sorrynotsorry.  Sometimes it’s good to not think about framing a shot, or cursing myself for being too slow getting that perfect wisp in focus. Enjoy the moment and all that jazz.

While I was having my breakfast, I looked over at my poor tank.

I love indulging my inner nature gal.  In a controlled environment, of course. Sadly, I’m not always good at controlling it all.  Ok, not all sad.  It’s interesting to see what happens, even when it’s things you don’t want to happen.

A recent mystery disaster wiped out all my SPS corals, and has left me a growing patch of cyanobacteria.

Cyano, or red slime

Cyano, aka red slime

A real nuisance, but it happens.  Time for a couple of extra water changes, and to change out the ferric oxide in the back chambers of the tank.  I’m not sure where these high phosphates are coming from this time, but they’re there.

At the same time, I was able to catch this moment.

Pair of skunk cleaner shrimp enjoying their breakfast.

Pair of skunk cleaner shrimp enjoying their breakfast. I couldn’t quite tell, but I think escargot was on the menu for them.

Back on the terrace, I checked on the progress of my little container garden.  A definite zucchini is growing!

I know, I know, those little bug things. :(

I know, I know, those little bug things. 😦

I first saw those little black dots (now recognizable as bugs) on my lily plants a few weeks ago. I immediately purchased a ridiculously expensive fertility spray that was labeled as an organic fungicide/insecticide. Needless to say, they’ve now spread to most of the plants/containers and are having the time of their fruitfully multiplying lives.  Who knew my terrace was the aphid (or whatever they are) version of a cheap Vegas buffet?

But look what else is growing,

Tom Hanks may have made fire, but I've got tomatoes!

Tom Hanks may have made fire, but I’ve got tomatoes!

And peas, real fresh, soon to be delicious, peas.

Yes, please.

Yes, please.

All in all, I’m calling it a good morning.

 

It’s Okay To Suck

Sometimes.

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I first began to get into photography when I got into reefing. Any coral reef hobbyist will tell you the two go hand in hand.  Reefs are beautiful, always changing, photography documents those.  More than anything, photos are necessary when you need help. Regardless of how broad your vocabulary might be, when you’re on a forum and trying to get an ID of a specific coral, coral disease, or algae, you need the visuals. I was a lousy photographer, but kind of liked it.  Every so often I’d get it right, such a good feeling.

Then I began blogging. I like blogs that include photos or artwork.  Makes it easier to read than a wall of text, and often adds a little something.  At first, I mostly used stock photos, embarrassed when I posted my own lousy pics. But then I began bringing the camera with me more frequently, making sure it was always charged, shooting photos of what was interesting to me, and/or what I thought would work well with specific posts.  Still lousy photos, but it was fun, and I got less embarrassed about posting them. Yet another aspect to blogging that I’m grateful for.

I like to try different things (as long as they don’t involve heights!) but alas, I’m not one of those people who are magically gifted at everything they try. I’ve always had a few things I was good at, and would quickly drop–certainly not publicize–what I wasn’t.  But yanno, there are advantages to getting older. Sure I’m more self conscious about my body, but I’m going to the beach anyway.  And not everything I do has to have the potential to be something I’m great at.  I learned to crochet. Sort of. I’m a truly horrendous crocheter, but sometimes I find it just the right type of mental masturbation, and I don’t care if I’m never going to crochet a fabulous whatever.

First zucchini flower of the season.

First zucchini flower of the season.

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This year I’m trying container gardening on the terrace again. I accept that some things will grow, and hopefully flower/bear fruit, and some won’t work out, because I don’t actually know what I’m doing.  That’s ok, I’m enjoying watching what happens.  Not so fond of the little bug thingies on my lilies, but I got an organic spray that is (slowly) killing them off.

In many ways gardening is similar to reefing, except I don’t feel the same pressure, the same sinking in my gut when I see something go wrong.  And things do go wrong in the reef, regardless of how long I’ve been reefing, how much I pay attention.  Just the past couple of weeks, something went awry and all but one of my SPS (small polyp stony corals) died. RTN, rapid tissue necrosis.  I want to cry thinking of those bare, white boney skeletons, but that’s another post unto itself.

I don’t have to be “gifted” at everything I do or share with others. Hell, I think I’m a kick-ass writer, and I’ve got a good number of people who agree, but still none who are in a position to offer me a dollar for my words.  Yeah, that hurts, and it’s always going to hurt. I want to be recognized as a writer, acknowledged as someone who can offer words of value, even if it’s a weirdo story about a smoking rat. I don’t want to be a chef, but I want guests who come over for dinner to enjoy my food, and leave feeling the dinner was part of a great evening. I want them to look at my tank and ooh and ahh about the beauty and vibrancy of the reef. If they see a stray crooked square of crochet work next to the couch?  It’s ok.

I keep taking pictures of everything. Digital photography offers an opportunity film didn’t, if only because of cost. I can snap a hundred pics to get 8 decent ones, and not stress about the money wasted on film and development. Much to my surprise, taking pictures has become more enjoyable as time goes on, and I’ve gotten better at it.  Try to take pictures of moving critters underwater, through glass, under led lights, you have to learn. Not great, and I’m still lousy when it comes to people, but better.  I can and do recognize the difference between the pictures I take, and the ones from people who are actual photography artists. I’m proud of many of my photos now, anyway.  And if some of the photos still suck, but I wanted to post them anyway because of the subject? That’s ok, too.

Tomatoes! I've never been successful with them, maybe this will be the year.

Tomatoes! I’ve never been successful with them, maybe this will be the year.

First tomato flowers.

First tomato flowers.

Sweet peppers

Sweet peppers

Carrots and beets

Carrots and beets

Love the leaves of the beets, so pretty.

Love the leaves of the beets, so pretty.

Lilies, will I ever get a flower?

Lilies, will I ever get a flower?

This was supposed to be a box of ranunculi, but I had a few extra blazing star bulbs so I put them in and they're choking out the ones I wanted.

This was supposed to be a box of ranunculi, but I had a few extra blazing star bulbs so I put them in and they’re choking out the ones I wanted. No clue what the shorter grass looking stuff to the front is.

Peas. I should have used a larger container. Live and learn.

Peas. I should have used a larger container, it’s choking itself. Live and learn.

Blazing stars.  These things must be freaking weeds! But apparently there were morning glory spores (?) still in the container from a couple of years ago, because I'm seeing a couple of definite morning glory vines push through.

Blazing stars. These things must be freaking weeds! But apparently there were morning glory spores (?) still in the container from a couple of years ago, because I’m seeing a couple of definite morning glory vines push through.

Walk in the Park–leave your blues, take in the greens

It was such a glorious weekend here in NY, going into Central Park felt mandatory.  I missed the spring blooms this year, but there’s plenty of beauty in the greenery.  Unless you go deep into The Ramble, you really can’t forget you’re in the middle of the city for more than five minutes.  People, the detritus of people, shadows of buildings and artfully placed pipes remind you.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I kind of love that.  Makes a statement.  Not sure what that statement is, but I know it’s there.  Yesterday, though, I gathered the girl, the dog, and the cane, and focused more on the greens. We went to The Pool, a manmade pond on the north end of the park.

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Another set.

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Ok, yes, I took a lot of photos yesterday.

Happy start of summer, Fringelings.  Soon it will be beach days!

Taking it to the Streets

Art in the Village

Art in the Village

Yesterday I took my cane and my girl, and went to one of my favorite New York events, the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit.  It’s a biannual outdoor art show that’s been running as long as I can remember, Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, with a lot of amazing art and artists. This is not a street fair, no sausages, zeppoles, blow up rides or knock-off handbags. I’ve heard the original idea came from Jackson Pollack when he was broke, and took some of his paintings and sold them on the street. Something about being in the midst of creative people who are living their art, and others coming to see, appreciate, and purchase the work is inspiring.  Plus, it’s fun and free, leaves me near all the places I used to frequent when I was young–can’t beat it. I’ll share a few of the highlights here, but if you’re in or around New York this weekend, or Labor Day weekend, go!

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As much as I’ve always loved this show, there’s an extra dimension to it for me now, attending with Art Child.  She chats with the artists and asks questions I wouldn’t think of.  She responds to this type of venue and it shows. No less than five artists commented on her style, a couple asked to take her photo for portraits. I could see her wheels turning, wondering when she can set up a booth and sell her own work.

Like Art Child, many artists use trees as subjects for their work, and we saw quite a few styles and interpretations.  We even found an artist with both paintings and sculptures of what Art Child calls “treeple,” trees with human features, and something she draws frequently in her charcoal sketches.  The artist, Anthony Santella, was lovely and patient, with work ranging from realism to surrealism to fantasy.

If I had the money and the room I would have purchased this piece.

If I had the money and the room I would have purchased this piece.

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One artist, Lisette P, was showcasing jewelry that was all made from New York photographs she has taken, resized and set behind glass.  How can you not love jewelry you can Windex to keep clean?

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We spent quite a while at her table, and I was happy to see many other people were doing the same. There’s just something about New York street photography when it doesn’t look like a cleaned up postcard.

One of the first booths we stopped at was marvelous, a mix of paintings and jewelry that we both loved, and it turned out the two artists are mother and daughter.  Olga and Daniella Bacskay. Perfect, no?  I’ll admit to being a bit envious. I appreciate art, and thrill in Art Child’s joy and accomplishments, but can’t share the experience in quite the same way.

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Art Child purchased a small print of this powerful mixed media painting. The original has volcanic ash in the tree limbs.

Art Child purchased a small print of this powerful mixed media painting. The original has volcanic ash in the tree limbs.

Moving on, we spent time chatting with another artist, this one with the kindest smile. I loved the work, another person displaying both paintings/prints and jewelry. Handblown, painted vases that blew me away.  Dudley Vaccianna, the scenes he paints just seemed to radiate female power. The earrings were all hand painted on brass, beads from Nigeria.

I think I could grow ten stories from his pose.

I think I could grow ten stories from his vibe.

Sadly, the show is much smaller than it used to be, but even still, my back and hip gave out before we were able to see everything.  So we walked back around the park to the west side.

So clean nowadays.

So clean nowadays!

And of course, because by then we were hungry, and so close, getting a late lunch was mandatory.

The peanut butter restaurant, simple and brilliant.

The peanut butter restaurant, simple and brilliant.

By the time we got home, I was unable to stand up straight, but completely inspired. There’s a story I’ve been playing with, building in my head for months. I now have the opening completely in focus.

 

 

Smells Like

Street Fair Season!

Street Fair Season!

Sunday was a beautiful day, one of those days where you feel the promise of summer. Art Child and I went for a little walk.  Or in my case, hobble. We even took Little Incredibly Dumb Dog with us so she could be appropriately traumatized. Got to the corner and the familiar, peculiar mix of zeppoles, barbecue smoke, and exhaust was unmistakeable.  Spring is peak street fair season in the city.  Some of the fairs are fabulous, with interesting crafts, unique art, live music, and an opportunity to sample great food. Small children and tourists are certain they’re scoring goods that would otherwise be here:

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But really, the booths contain a lot of what you might otherwise find here:

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Most seem like a collection of the various street vendors scattered throughout the city gathered in one 7-10 block radius for the day, selling the usual crap–some useful crap, most not–and added a couple dozen deep fryers and barbecues.  I have on occasion bought some great earrings, once bought a pair of gladiator sandals for $5 that lasted 4 years, and used to buy all my socks from these tables.

These are great days to be in the city, the first days of flip-flops and running into friends you haven’t seen since the first snow fell, warm enough to feel glorious but before it’s so hot all you smell is old dog piss rising from the grates as you walk down the street.

This was a pretty average fair, but the first one is always fun. Walk with me, Fringelings.

 

Pocket Full of

Heads up!

Heads up!

Not enough days have felt like it, but it is spring.  Not the prettiest one I’ve seen here in the city. With so many cold days, and then several stormy ones, quit a few trees and flowers lost their blossoms before they fully bloomed.  Still, if you look, there they are.

I love flowers.  Hokey, I know.  Spring always tempts me with the flower arrays in front of bodegas everywhere.  Tulips, hyacinths, daisies, or carnations, they all look beautiful and hopeful. Speaking of hope, it looks like at least a few of the things I planted will survive.  I know I’m not ever going to be serious about gardening because I’ve reached the point where I have to remind myself to check and water the things–as opposed to checking four times a day.  It’s exciting when the first bits of green poke through the dirt.

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Now let me know when there’s something lovely to smell.

I’ve had cut flowers on my table the past several weeks.  First, Fatigue bought me a bouquet.  When those died I bought tulips and hyacinths.  The other day, I dragged Husband to the grocery store, so he could drag me up and down the aisles (yup, still limping along, not always steady). He headed straight for the olive bar and I said, ooh, look at the flowers! Maybe they have something on sale–we were at Whole Paycheck, the cut flowers are more than pricey. “Why do you buy those things? They just die.”

I know, he isn’t the only one with that philosophy.  And it is a line of thinking I usually agree with.  Flowers on the table are silly, frivolous. In general, I’m a practical old broad. But, much like the tank, it makes me smile to look over and see a burst of living color–and yes, I’ll be frank, they smell better.

Yah, yah, I can walk a couple of blocks and see this:

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In front of the hospital where I’m going for PT I see this:

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But having them in the house, I feel this:

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I didn’t buy any flowers in the grocery store, there were none in budget.  My plan was to pick some up later on.  It didn’t happen, but that’s ok, because Fatigue came over later that evening with a bottle of wine and

Spider mums!

Spider mums!

The other day, I was wondering if I’m blogged out.  I’ve done a lot of rambling here in Fringeland, ruminating and ranting. Is it time for a hiatus?  Nope.  Good or bad, the silly short-sweet life of flowers or angst about the world we live in, I still have quite a bit to say.

 

 

City Angles, a birthday pilgrimage

Every year around Art Child’s birthday, we head downtown to the big art supply store so she can get some new supplies.  This year I brought the camera.  Note the green metal panels over the windows in the alley shots.  I was told those were to protect the residents in case someone dropped an atom bomb on the city. Along the lines of being told to get under your desk in case during the old air raid drills.  Not that I would remember such a thing, of course.

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Since Husband drove us, and we were already downtown, heading over to the village for a slice was a given. Later shots are along the West Side Highway, headed back uptown.

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And a few more random photos taken on my way to PT.

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Happy Friday, Fringelings, have a great weekend!