“Creativity is contagious, …

… pass it on.”  ~Albert Einstein

Did you know the official name of Woodstock was The Woodstock Music and Art Fair?

I didn’t deliberately set out to publish three posts in a row that reminisced about the 1960s and the Woodstock era … it just kind of fell into place.  Especially this weekend’s posts.  I have a ton of photos collected from my Summer treks that have languished in my computer pictures files, as I struggled to get any posts published the last six weeks.  So, I decided to parlay some of those photos into today’s 1960s art theme.

Although I don’t have a photo of a garment I created back in the 60s when tie-dying was an artsy-fartsy way to show your creativity with colorful tee-shirts, or long, gauzy dresses that nearly swept the floor, I can churn out a post with an arty creative theme, so here goes.

Tie-dye was all the rage – just a few simple steps and a little messy, but it was your time to shine and show just how creative you really were by simply dying material, then twisting it to form one-of-kind, dyed creations. When I asked my mother if we could make a tie-dye shirt for me, it was an emphatic “no, you’re not making a mess in my washing machine.”  My father backed up her answer by chiming in with “no Linda, we are not raising a hippie here!” … so that was the end of that topic.

Thus, there was some teenage angst as I was denied showing off my creative side, except for a brief foray into charcoal sketching in the late 60s and then after the sewing bug bit me.  More about that later.

Art exhibit in the ‘hood.

On a Friday morning, three weeks ago, I was headed home after a five-mile walk at Council Point Park, having secured some close-up photos of a groundhog munching on leaves.  A post was already bubbling around in my brain about Mr. Groundhog, and, as I rounded the corner at the cross-street, I stopped in my tracks.  Whoa!  A sign advertised “Original Art 4 Sale” and a row of brightly colored canvases were either propped up against the chain-link fence, or hanging along it.

Now, I had passed that same house, about 90 minutes before and there was nothing out there – I would have noticed.  So, as your roving reporter, I had to dig out the camera and take some photos and that was when I met the artist of those colorful canvases, Brian Spicer. 

We made our introductions and I asked if I could take some pictures of Brian and some of his artwork and he was happy to oblige.

I perused those paintings, then asked Brian which was his favorite.  He didn’t hesitate and said “wait a minute – it’s inside in my studio” so he was off in a flash and when he returned, this was what he produced. 

I told him the painting reminded me of the marshy lagoon areas with all the cattails and endless reeds at Lake Erie Metropark.  All that was missing was the invasive, frothy Phragmites that are everywhere at that venue.

While visiting with Brian I just had to mention that I always look at this house when I pass enroute to Council Point Park, because I like the chalk art that is often displayed there.  I told him that I had just used the cute chalk art bunny with the ice-cream message the weekend before, then slipped him a card with my blog name on it so he could check out that post.  Brian told me he had drawn that bunny and I remarked that I’d been photographing the chalk art at their house in recent years for my blog, and was impressed that the chalk artist had gone from childish scrawls to ramping up their drawing skills this Summer.  He laughed and said “no, that was me this time; before it was my niece!”  He also decorates rocks and hides them at the local parks, just a small part of this painted rock craze, which, in year #3, continues to enthrall those who paint, hide and find those stone treasures.

Now, as a general rule, Brian does not line up his paintings on the fence, but did so that day because our City was having its annual, two-day “Art in the Park” event at Memorial Park and he thought he just might snag a few passersby who would be parking on the side streets to attend the event, which featured art, crafts and also local bands.  Brian had tried to register for a vendor booth at the Park, but he had just missed the registration cutoff.  They didn’t promote this event unless you happen to follow our City’s Facebook site.

So, Brian said he displayed some of his paintings on his Facebook page from time to time and I encouraged him to start a blog at WordPress.  Since it took me so long to get this post done, Brian has already created and posted in his new blog entitled “Blue Dog Creations”.

Art in the Park.

The next day I headed to Lake Erie Metropark and after a morning of walking and taking photos, I came home and headed over to the “Art in the Park” event at Memorial Park. 

There appeared to be a lot of vendors’ tents outside and a sign said crafters were inside the Kennedy Memorial Center as well. 

Now, I don’t consider myself hard to please, but nothing really struck my fancy, so that I was willing to part with some money.  I strolled the grounds where there were food trucks and bounce houses and it was more of an arts and crafts show as you see below.

What did intrigue me a little was a vendor who sold vintage-style aprons, so it was here that I lingered the longest. 

I saw this simple apron, just a square of fabric with two long ties.  I told him I made one of those for my mom for Mother’s Day in 8th grade Home Ec class, circa 1969.  Mom’s apron was pink-and-black-striped, which sounds a little gawdy now, but it was perky looking.  She saved it in her dresser drawer for decades.  I looked all over the house to see if I could find it for this post, as it resembled this simple apron which was going for $20.00.  Unfortunately, it was nowhere to be found.  We had several assignments to be completed under the tutelage of the very patient Mrs. Baldwin and that apron was my first creation.

This crafter’s vintage aprons were interesting and I looked around at his collection. 

I told him I never made those frilly, old-fashioned cobbler’s aprons, but I did make no-frills cobbler’s aprons for my mom for years during my sewing hey day. Those I found and I’m able to include a picture of three of them and they were well worn. I figured I’d keep them to protect my clothing from whatever.

I sewed all my own clothes for years because I was always tall and I didn’t like my pants looking like I was waiting for the floods, or having my jackets appear that they belonged to a little sister.  He said he was self-taught and never used a pattern.  I said I was not good at hand sewing and finishing off my sewing projects and the joke in the family was that I did all the machine sewing and my mom did all the hand sewing, like basting in sleeves or gathers, sewing the buttons on, hemming the garment, yet I would crow about how I sewed the outfit all by myself. 

While walking home I reminisced a little about aprons in the Schaub household.  My grandmother and mother always wore a cobbler’s apron while cooking.  At an early age, because I was curious about everything, I asked each of them why they wore an apron while cooking.  My grandmother replied “Nanny doesn’t want to get splatters all over her clothing while she cooks” and my mother explained in better detail “Mommy has a big chest and she’s short – when she leans over the stove to reach the pots on the back burners, she drags the front of her clothes into the open pots.”  Since I’ve never had a big chest, and it seems I’ve been 5 feet nine inches tall forever, and, especially, since I don’t believe I have ever had four burners going at one time, I have never needed an apron.  Just sayin’. 🙂

I did the whole “Art in the Park” in about 20 minutes and didn’t hang around for any of the bands because I could hear them from my home several blocks away.

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Flower power.

“If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.  If you’re going to San Francisco, you’re gonna meet some gentle people there.”  [“San Francisco” written by John Phillips, of The Mamas and the Papas fame.]

I’ve had that song playing in my head for a few weeks now.  Here it is and it can be your earworm as well just by clicking here.  I liked seeing the fashions in the video too.

It all began when fellow blogger Joni wrote a post about Summer beach reads and reviewed Erin Hilderbrand’s novel “The Summer of 1969”.  Joni’s review referenced music, circa 1969, and we chatted back and forth about music and discussed this popular song from the late 60s.  This song was a big part of the counter-culture movement, in an era of hippies, and phrases like “make peace not war” and “flower power” and, while I may not have remembered the Woodstock event, I sure remember those phrases and this song.

So, the 60s was the era of flower power

Though I was not wont to sport a ring of flowers on my mousey brown hair back in the late 60s, about as “rad” as I dared to be was signing my name with a fleurish, er … flowerish, er … make that a “flourish” okay?  You see my parents weren’t about to let me do my own thing, much as I tried to persuade them about the cool fads of the day,  so I had to find another way to be creative.  Back in the late 60s, if you had a name that included the letter “i” … well you were in luck, as instead of the dot over the “i” you’d make a little flower, a simple daisy with petals and that was how you signed your name.  Yes, small things amused small minds back in the day (they still do sometimes to be honest).

I originally intended to visit a sunflower farm today and had my heart set on it, but early morning thunderstorms, and the threat of funky weather throughout the day, not to mention all the heat and humidity, had me scurrying out the door to Council Point Park and then hunkering down to peruse my picture folder. I’ve amassed a ton of photos the last six weeks and hobbled by my hectic work schedule and household mishaps, I’ve not had a chance to use them.

So, this bloomin’ post is about a trip to Lake Erie Metropark taken on Saturday, August 3rd.  I already shared the pics of the groundhog, fawn and a beautiful butterfly on the actual day I made the trek.  It was a hot Saturday and I was a little disappointed how much lakeshore flooding had encroached into the walking paths.  It was disheartening to walk, then have to turn back countless times due to mud or flooding and the red vinyl boots are not made for walking long distances. 

I thought of just leaving, then noticed a paved path where I’d never strayed before.  I kept walking and in the distance, I could see something yellow.  If you squint, perhaps you can see it in the distance.

Eager to explore that area, I kept on going, though I’d  been walking for several hours already and by now it was the heat of the day.  The temps were searing and the humidity was high.  (I would return home with a sunburn and enough fly and mosquito bites from the swampy areas along the way that I could have played connect the dots on my arms and legs.)

I could tell the golden yellow area was quite far, but I thought maybe it was a sunflower field, so that bright yellow drew me like a beacon and became my mecca.  I was still feeling fairly perky as I began in that direction.

There were so many wildflowers along the way, and the bees and butterflies were enjoying them, just like me.  I could only identify a handful of these pretty blooms.  I grew up thinking Queen Anne’s Lace was a weed, though many embrace it as a wildflower.

Finally I was getting closer to this bright-yellow patch of flowers …

… and then I was there.  I learned it was a “Grow Zone” geared to promote a natural habitat. 

A variety of wildflowers were nestled between the predominantly Black-eyed Susans.

After I meandered around the area and took a slew of pictures, I knew I had to head back to the car which was on the other side of Lake Erie Metropark at Cove Point. By then I was feeling just as wilted and bedraggled as these poor flowers.

I made it back to the car and turned on the A/C full blast, glad to sit down since my trek was seven miles (11 kilometers) altogether – whew, but what a wildflower extravaganza it was!  

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Reflecting on Woodstock 50 years later …

“By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong, and everywhere there was song and celebration.” [Excerpt from “Woodstock” written by Joni Mitchell]

You’ve probably heard them already – those news reports focusing on Woodstock attendees, or Woodstock attendee wannabees, reflecting on that music festival held August 15–18, 1969.  I heard a great radio station retrospective marking the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.  Click here if you would like to hear that audio. 

As for me, I really wasn’t groovin’ to the tunes that were the likes of the musicians and singers featured during that first-ever rock concert.  In fact, at the time, I’d not even heard of most of the line-up.

Like most teenagers, circa 1969, I walked around with a tiny transistor radio in my hand or tucked into a pocket.  Tethered to the radio was an earphone that snaked directly into my ear.  Unlike today’s earbuds that give you stereo music by fitting into both ears and tuning out the rest of the world, the earphone went into one ear only, so it was just a mono music experience.  The long, skinny, covered wire cord hooked from the radio and ended up as an uncomfortable hard plastic piece that fit into your ear; if you jiggled it the wrong way it fell out.  But you were able to play your favorite tunes without your parents complaining about “your music” … so what exactly was “my music” in the Woodstock era in the Summer of 1969?

I know I listened to radio station WKNR-Keener 13 and every Saturday I’d run down to the dime store to pick up a free Keener 13 top hits list, and, if my allowance permitted, a new 45 RPM record to spin on my portable record player.  I was not really into the music of the Beatles anymore as their music had ceased being the fun-loving stuff of the mid-60s and had become a little more controversial. 

No, this 13-year-old was more into the bubblegum music of the day,  like “Sugar Sugar” or “Build Me a Buttercup”  or, I was swooning with the other teenyboppers over Bobby Sherman and his hit “Little Woman” or lovin’ Elvis Presley’s snarl and hip swivels while he belted out hits like “Suspicious Minds” or “In the Ghetto”.  In fact, if I close my eyes, I can picture those 45 RPM records spinning ‘round and ‘round and listening to those songs over and over.  Today I remember songs from the 60s and 70s word for word and can sing along to those tunes, but if I go downstairs to fetch something, I may get to the bottom of the steps and won’t recall what I went there for – go figure.

Unlike the moon landing when I, (just like most of you of a certain age), was planted in front of the TV watching that memorable event, I had to read about this historical musical experience through the years.  I was not here to watch the news clips about the crowds, or the music, as I spent the month of August 1969 in Germany with my father, who returned there for the first time since moving to Canada in 1950.  My grandfather died in April of 1969 and my grandmother, who lived in Toronto, came to spend the Summer at our house, so my father and I went on a little jaunt over to his homeland. 

So, while 500,000 strong came to Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm near Woodstock, New York to enjoy the very first rock concert, I was with Max Schaub, at a bier garden sipping watered-down apfelwein and tapping my foot to German Oom-Pah music.  I have photos,  albeit somewhat blurry, that memorialize that trip where we were enjoying torte at an outside café, riding down the Rhine River on a day cruise, or there I was bopping around the Alpine flowers and petting bulls in the Austrian Alps.

It was my first trip abroad – the scenery was beautiful, but I spoke no German and thus felt a little left out of the total experience as my father visited with friends and relatives who spoke no English.

I hope you get a chance to reflect on the era of Woodstock and read about a generation of folks who lived in peace and harmony while they enjoyed their music, a sharp contrast to concert attendees who might enjoy such a large musical event today – nuff said.

[Photo of poster advertising Woodstock 1969 courtesy of  Pinterest]

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New kid in town.

So yesterday you saw a post about birds disgruntled with one another … who needs words when you see a pair of our feathered friends in silhouette and study their body language. Oops … did I just say birds have body language?  Their actions showed they were just like humans, bickering, but still ready to make amends, even though their mate (or friend) was not so amenable.  So that was a glimpse at discontent in the bird world … here’s a look at discontent between a somewhat ornery squirrel and a woman just offering kind words and jumbo unsalted peanuts.

Whenever I’ve strayed to other parks and am absent from my usual go-to nature nook for more than a few days, my favorite furry friend, Parker, will always approach me upon my return.  However, instead of him making a beeline toward me when I step onto the perimeter path, or, to begin dancing around my feet while I open up the Ziploc bag to fish out a few peanuts, I am meant to feel shamed  for not being there every day to dole out his treats.  Do I deserve such a chilly reception?  Hardly!  If there was a thought bubble over little Parker’s head, I’m sure it would read “great – you’re back; so have you been with other squirrels and forgotten about me?”

Recently, this squirrel featured above was at Council Point Park.  He looked a wee bit different than our Fox squirrels (like Parker), or the smaller, svelte and rather skittish gray or black squirrels.  This fellow resembled a Fox squirrel, but had tufted ears.  Here in Southeast Michigan we don’t have any of those cute, tufted-ear squirrels (also known as Abert’s squirrels), whose “hairdos” rival Albert Einstein on a bad hair day.

Hmm, so where did this furry-eared fellow come from?  Perhaps one of its parents might have scrambled into someone’s truck bed, traveled to the Mitten State, made itself at home here in SE Michigan, then looked for a mate.  That’s my guess, but who knows?  I even reached out to the DNR to ask if this was a type of Michigan squirrel that I’d never seen before.  They replied “Hi Linda – Thanks for contacting us.  Yes, this is indeed a Fox squirrel  To quote our staff “it just looks like he/she is having a bad hair day.” 

Just as I was curious about this furry friend’s appearance and those tufts of hair that grew around his ears, he seemed to be pondering my appearance as well.  “Should I trust her?”  She feeds the other squirrels and they are not scared of her.  Well, maybe I’ll take just one peanut, but I’ll back off if she comes too close to me!”

He reminded me of my grandfather who wore a painters cap on his head 99.9% of the time.  On a rare occasion when he removed it, perhaps to scratch his head, or for picture-taking after my grandmother said “Omer, take off that *&^% cap”, there were little tufts of hair over each ear, and the tips of his eyeglass frames were buried deep within that wispy gray hair, but I digress.

After some serious tail swishing and discernible angst over whether or not to proceed closer to the tall stranger who spoke softly and  offered peanuts that were nestled in the palm of her hand, his comfort level went up and he warily hopped onto the metal park bench and eventually noshed on those nuts …

… then dropped to the ground where I left him a little pile in exchange for these photos.

So, I left the Park that day, a collection of cute photos in place and a post bubbling around in my brain. 

The next day I returned and saw the same squirrel near that same park bench.  But instead of being personable, he had developed quite the attitude.  In fact,  it was as if we’d never interacted the day before.  He took one look at me and scrambled up into the tree where he glared down with disdain at my presence, and, on occasion, chattered angrily. 

So I similarly snubbed him, but in good faith left some peanuts on the ground.  I moved on while muttering “suit yourself – because of your attitude I won’t even waste my time naming you! ”

I turned around to find Parker taking in the whole scene, smug in the fact that he is still #1.

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Aloof – #Wordless Wednesday

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Catch a tiger by the tail …

Summer is flitting on by and I believe I have spent this entire season trying to “catch a tiger by the tail” as that expression goes.  I feel like I’ve flitted from one work project or house disaster to another, pausing way too long before moving on.  I feel a little like this beautiful Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.

Back in the day, circa late 60s perhaps …

…  I’d whine about chores like dusting or pulling weeds that I’d have to do while on Summer vacation from school.  My parents said “one day you’ll wish life was so simple” and, of course, I thought they didn’t know diddly-squat.  Besides, that was eons before computers were ever invented.  My latest conundrum is my work computer which had repeated fails yesterday … the fact that I was trying to churn out our invoices made no never-mind to that equipment.  It rebelled, just like I did (mostly inwardly) about those silly Summer chores.   

With all the mishaps and calamities here at the house and the workplace, at least I’ve gotten out to smell the roses.

Thank goodness for that.

I’ve tread those walking trails, feeling a trifle wilted, while wondering how those tropical flowers stay so perky?

But, I kept on walking, because I’d much rather bee among the flowers and out in nature, than at the end of the keyboard.  I always made the time to walk, despite being as busy as a bee.

That’s because out in nature is where you’ll find peace and you will feel peace from within.

But, right now I am at home …

… hunkered down, writing this post, while I await someone to reboot my computer at work.  I can’t reach that far away because my arms are not 13 miles/20 kilometers long. 

Truthfully I’d rather be rebooting my brain, albeit in this soggy sauna bath outside.   

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Meh day, Mayday!

In lieu of two more mass shootings, I feel I want to lighten the mood that you and I are feeling this morning, so this little tale is being shared.  I’ll write a longer narrative with way more pictures, because you know I am long-winded, (oh yes I am), but these were my favorite pics from yesterday.   Saturday was intended to be another “me day” … I figured I earned it after the past few months of house mishaps and my busy work schedule.  It started off a little meh; I went to Grosse Ile and couldn’t find a place to park and walk, but I saw two bucks crossing the street at Horsemill Road and Canal Drive … I was in awe of that, but captured the images in my mind, not with the camera. 

I wanted to go to Elizabeth Park but they had the gates closed due to a two-day Jazz on the River event, so I returned to Lake Erie Metropark and spent four hours there.  I wandered along Cove Point, where I could, as there was mud and pools of water everywhere – I had on the vinyl boots, but they hampered walking, so I put on my walking shoes.  There was not much to see and it was already getting hot, so I meandered to an area of this park where I’ve never been before.  It was suddenly no longer a meh day, as I saw a groundhog, gorgeous patch of wildflowers, butterflies and a sweet fawn.  Oh yes, the “Three Tenors” were singing, er … screeching away as well.  I’m including my favorite pictures below, and then I’ll relay my latest tale of woe (thankfully easily resolved and far less costly or detrimental).

Last night, I sat down to chill a little … I say “chill” because I got a sunburn (ouch) and I just wanted a little R&R and to recover from my seven-mile (11 kilometer) trek.  

Then the chirping started.  I knew it had to be the smoke alarm.  Or maybe the carbon monoxide alarm because it was nearing end of life (ten years) … I have to find a comparable model as my electrical outlets are all recessed, so most models fall out and I don’t want a tabletop model.  This one had long prongs and never fell out of the outlet since it was plugged in a decade ago.  It was not the smoke alarm; it was the C02 alarm.  I figured “I’ll just pull it out of the wall and it’s going to stop” – nope, it continued to chirp every 30 seconds.  So I figured I’d just pull the battery out – no problem.  I had no directions as Flame Furnace plugged it in when I had them here on a routine visit and they were on sale for $25.00 and my former one had recently reached its end of life (in the middle of the night I might add).  So the Flame Furnace tech  plugged it in, no directions or box were left because he said to me “when it chirps, it is end of its life, get a new one.”  I flipped the alarm over, pulled a square thing out and it was still tethered by a mess of wires .. inside it said “you have removed the battery” … (really, I kinda figured that out for myself).  It continued chirping every 30 seconds.  Evidently it had a back-up battery. 

Next, I found the battery compartment and two arrows on the top – pushed them “up” in the direction of the arrows and the battery door cover broke as I could not grip it properly as my finger is still a little numb and not 100% normal yet from the June 28th “finger fiasco” which you know about.  There was no other way to access the battery – it kept chirping every 30 seconds … I thought I’d lose my mind.  I Googled the model number and there was no other way to remove battery but the compartment drawer cover plate which was now separate from the alarm.  I decided to put it out front on the front porch, and it was just getting dark, but then I thought better of it as I still hear the occasional fireworks in the ‘hood, or, what if someone went down the street and  flicked a lit cigarette and it was windy and it landed on the alarm and ignited the lithium battery.  Yes, I worry about EVERYTHING.  I went back and retrieved the alarm and put it at the side of the house … then it dawned on me that my neighbor could hear it … so I texted him from my computer and explained (in at least five or more 40-character texts) … I said if you hear a chirping noise, that’s what it is.  He texted me back that he retrieved it and it was in his garage chirping away.   

Have a great day!

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