Windchime Walker

Windchime Walker <$BlogRSDUrl$>

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Chicago's Union Station

After taking the early morning commuter train from Dearborn, Michigan to Chicago, I wandered around Union Station taking photos until it was time to board the Southwest Chief heading for Los Angeles. This terminal was constructed between 1912-26 and retains a sense of grandeur.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


So long, Winter!

Yes, the lake is beautiful right now with ice shards piled up like mountains. This happens every year when the ice breaks up on Lake Superior and Lake Huron above us. Usually I'm enthralled, but today? Today I'm looking at the 10-day weather forecasts for Los Angeles and San Diego, California...and it's looking mighty sweet. Highs in the mid-to-high 60s F (18 C), lows in the 50s (12 C). Yes, I can stand that!

I'll be back among you on Tuesday, March 6, with photos from my train journey through America's Southwest and the deserts of southern California. Until then, stay warm--or cool if you live DownUnder--and keep finding wonder wherever you look.

Monday, February 26, 2007


On the wing

Early Wednesday morning, February 28, I will be "on the wing" heading west. But instead of an airborne creature, I will stay earthbound...on an Amtrak train! From Detroit I will go to Chicago's Union Station where I will board the Southwest Chief, destination Los Angeles. My estimated time of arrival in Los Angeles is Friday at 8:30 a.m. PST, but Amtrak is NEVER on time, so I'll get there when I get there.

After three days and nights with my sister and brother-in-law in Burbank, California, I will hop on Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner heading south to San Diego. There I will stay with my dear friends, Scott and Phil, for two heavenly weeks. They know my photography obsession so are already planning trips into Mexico and Joshua Tree National Park. But I suspect that San Diego will have more than enough photo ops to keep me happy!

Count on seeing LOTS of photos just as soon as I'm internet-connected again, hopefully by Tuesday, March 6. My Photo-a-Day will have to wait till then.

I am SO excited!!!

Sunday, February 25, 2007


When you wish upon a star...

Saturday, February 24, 2007


What stories do you hold?

In our early years of marriage, Ed's mother gave us this set of crystal bowls. She said they had originally belonged to Ed's grandmother. Since Ed's mother was born in 1902, that means this bowl probably dates back to the turn of the 20th century if not before. I wonder what delicacies have been served in it, who enjoyed them, what occasions were being celebrated, and what topics of conversation were discussed at the table?

So many objects in our house stay tucked away in closets and drawers for "safekeeping." Someday the objects that Ed and I use and love will find their way into our nieces' and nephews' closets and drawers, their stories only imagined by generations to come.

I find that somehow comforting.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Power outage

I took this photo shortly before going to bed last night in a cold, dark house. Until I'd gotten up to use the toilet in the middle of the night, I'd always thought the expression "teeth-chattering cold" was merely a literary tool. Oh no, my friends, it is now a lived reality. At 3:20 a.m. I was delighted to be awakened by my husband's voice saying, "The lights just went back on!" Ah, the things we take for granted.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Greece in Michigan

Here is another Photo-a-Day-Late. Yes, I'd put up a couple of photos a couple of hours ago, but I just wasn't pleased with them.

Yesterday afternoon I took this photo in front of the home of a Greek-American physician who has dozens of classical statues on his rather large lot. It's a strange-looking place, but I know he loves it and it probably reminds him of home. That's all that's important.

By the way, if I don't show up here for a day or two, let me tell you what's going on. We're currently in the middle of an electrical outage at home. Tonight I'm using the internet at our local Kinko's, but if we're without electricity for too long, it's going to get harder for me to keep up with PAD. Maybe our lights are on right now and I just don't know it. Hold the thought!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

the world around me 

Yes, I still keep up with what's going on in the world:

Sabrine, a 20 year-old married Iraqi woman has the unimaginable courage to go before the cameras on Al-Jazeera to tell of having been abducted from her home and gang raped by Mr. Bush's pride-and-joy, the Iraqi Security forces in Baghdad. In response, Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki--another of Mr. Bush's favorites--accuses her of being a liar and rewards the men she accused. Riverbend writes about it in her first blog entires since December 31.

The next Bush/Cheney war is already well-planned and military forces and equipment are now in the Persian Gulf area ready to attack Iran whenever the Commander-In-Chief nods his head. The BBC--not the Washington Post, New York Times, NBC, CNN, or any other mainstream American media source--told us all about it on Monday. And, of course, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! delved more deeply into the crisis on today's show.

And just in case you wondered, it's just been "settled" by a federal appeals court that detainees in Guantanamo Bay may not, by law, challenge their detention In U.S. Courts. On the same day, one of Mr. Bush's major political donors received the good news from the U.S. Supreme Court that it did not have to pay punitive damages that had been set by a lower court.

But, you know what, my friends? I am choosing to focus on the positive rather than the negative these days. I refuse to let the news dictate my mood or emotions. I'm tired of existing in a constant state of anger/despair/fear over choices made by others. Even choices that impact me and every form of life on this planet. I am letting the CREATIVE push the destructive forces back down into the abyss where they belong. Life is for living, not worrying about. But my head is not in the sand, it's just that my feet are planted in life not death.

To see what I'm talking about, come visit my photo galleries on PBase. You'll find lots new to discover there. May my images give you hope not just for the future, but for the present.



My camera's lens opens my eyes to the reality of things. It shows me that what I might have thought was ordinary is, in fact, extraordinary. The more photography becomes my way of being in the world, the more infused I am with a sense of wonder at everything I see. Is photography a spiritual discipline that shot-by-shot draws one into its depths? If so, I am grateful to go there.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


The artistry of gesture

I've always loved this sculpture that my Canadian friend Joan brought me back from Mexico.
It makes me smile every time I see it. Hope it does the same for you.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Pat makes falafel

When I started this Photo-a-Day gallery I swore to myself I would only put up photos that I'd taken THAT DAY. Well, I cannot tell a lie. I took this photo last night as my friend Pat Kolon prepared a delicious dinner for the two of us. But I like it, so here it is: a Photo-a-Day-Late!

By the way, if you like photos of hands you've come to the right place. I am crazy for hands, as can be seen in two of my galleries: "Hand Prints" and "Young Hands Make Art"

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Dreams of the deep

Saturday, February 17, 2007


The power of her convictions

Maureen Taylor of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization speaks of the human cost here at home of President Bush's war on Iraq. She was one of dozens of speakers today, including Detroit's U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr., who told hundreds of fed-up Detroiters that Congress must use its only legal means to stop this war, and that is to refuse to approve any more funding for Mr. Bush's war. It is called the power of the purse-strings.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Reflections everywhere

Thursday, February 15, 2007


My painting reflects both inner & outer realities

This is yet another in what is becoming an unplanned series of reflected images in the glass of paintings in my home. The only Photoshop "tweaking" was to increase the saturation, but, to be honest, the colors in the painting are every bit this vivid. I painted it when all I cared about was color.

It probably doesn't surprise you to hear that color and I have been having a torrid love affair for as long as I can remember!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Fresh snow

Our first snowstorm of the season started late yesterday afternoon and continued throughout the night. It was one of those fine, dense snowfalls with high gusting winds. This morning Ed spent hours shoveling snow, especially from the ramp that I use to get to my wheelchair-accessible minivan in the garage. Because of his efforts I was able to drive down to Detroit's Belle Isle and take snow photos.

Let's hear it for those beloved Valentines who do more than just say the words "I love you," but prove it in their actions!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007



Monday, February 12, 2007


Lisa Staley, student teacher

For the past four weeks, Lisa has proven to be an excellent student teacher in our K-5 art classrooms. Even the fifth grade boys don't ruffle her feathers, and that's really saying something! She will be sorely missed after her placement comes to an end in early March.


Self portrait with magic wand

Saturday, February 10, 2007


It's COLD out here!

Now you see why I've been taking interior shots of late! Lake St. Clair (two blocks from my house) is beautiful this time of year if you're a penguin.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Detroit's hidden treasure

An afternoon at the Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle was the perfect ending to a bitter cold week here in Detroit. Today I discovered that our city has one of the largest municipally-owned orchid collections in the United States! Go to my February orchids gallery to see more of today's photos.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


A colour sandwich

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


One world

Textiles from India & Guatemala; Chinese Health Balls; rattle from Ghana; Lebanese prayer beads; Inuit carved bear & fish from Canada

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Flights of fancy

Monday, February 05, 2007



My sense of gratitude is as specific as this image is non-specific. I am celebrating the fact that after having been called up today for jury duty in the Wayne County, Michigan Criminal Court, I was NOT chosen. Only time in my long extroverted life that I was happy to be left sitting on the sidelines!

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Yet another self portrait for those of you with good eyes!

A hint is that I'm wearing my red sweater on this chilly Michigan day. Can you believe we're expecting a high of +7 and a low of +3 F.? No wonder I'm doing inside-the-house photos today!

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Reflecting on orchids

Friday, February 02, 2007


Groundhog Day bouquet

I don't care if the groundhog saw its shadow or not. Just give me a vase full of fresh flowers backlit by the sun and I can wait for spring.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


A yellow rose of Texas for Molly

Molly Ivins: in her own and others' words 

Her final column--"Stand Up Against the Surge"--that was published January 11, 2007.

"Molly Ivins, In Memoriam", by Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive, published today, February 1, 2007.

"Remembering Molly Ivins", by John Nichols of The Nation, published today, February 1, 2007.

"Molly Ivins, 1944-2007: Statement from The Texas Observer To Our Readers and Friends (obituary follows)", published in the Texas Observer on January 31, 2007.

Click here to read a Rush Transcript that includes Molly Ivins' interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! in July 2004.

Molly Ivins' obituary in The New York Times 

Molly Ivins, Columnist, Dies at 62

The New York Times
February 1, 2007

Molly Ivins, the liberal newspaper columnist who delighted in skewering politicians and interpreting, and mocking, her Texas culture, died yesterday in Austin. She was 62.

Ms. Ivins waged a public battle against breast cancer after her diagnosis in 1999. Betsy Moon, her personal assistant, confirmed her death last night. Ms. Ivins died at her home surrounded by family and friends.

In her syndicated column, which appeared in about 400 newspapers, Ms. Ivins cultivated the voice of a folksy populist who derided those who she thought acted too big for their britches. She was rowdy and profane, but she could filet her opponents with droll precision.

After Patrick J. Buchanan, as a conservative candidate for president, declared at the 1992 Republican National Convention that the United States was engaged in a cultural war, she said his speech "probably sounded better in the original German."

"There are two kinds of humor," she told People magazine. One was the kind "that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity," she said. "The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule. That’s what I do."

Hers was a feisty voice that she developed in the early 1970s at The Texas Observer, the muckraking paper that came out every two weeks and that would become her spiritual home for life.

Her subject was Texas. To her, the Great State, as she called it, was "reactionary, cantankerous and hilarious," and its Legislature was "reporter heaven." When the Legislature is set to convene, she warned her readers, "every village is about to lose its idiot."

Her Texas upbringing made her something of an expert on the Bush family. She viewed the first President George Bush benignly. ("Real Texans do not use the word 'summer' as a verb," she wrote.)

But she derided the current President Bush, whom she first knew in high school. She called him Shrub and Dubya. With the Texas journalist Lou Dubose, she wrote two best-selling books about Mr. Bush: "Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush" (Random House 2000) and "Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America" (Random House 2003). Her most recent book was titled "Who Let the Dogs In?: Incredible Political Animals I Have Known" (Random House 2004). She was working on a Random House book documenting the Bush administration’s assault on the Bill of Rights when she died.

In 2004 she campaigned against Mr. Bush’s re-election, and as the war in Iraq continued, she called for his impeachment. Last month, in her last column, she urged readers to "raise hell" against the war.

On Wednesday night, President Bush issued a statement that said he "respected her convictions, her passionate belief in the power of words, and her ability to turn a phrase."

Mr. Bush added: "Her quick wit and commitment to her beliefs will be missed."

Mary Tyler Ivins was born on Aug. 30, 1944, in California and grew up in the affluent Houston neighborhood of River Oaks. Her father, James, a conservative Republican, was general counsel and later president of the Tenneco Corporation, an oil and gas company.

As a student at private school, Ms. Ivins was tall and big-boned and often felt out of place. "I spent my girlhood as a Clydesdale among thoroughbreds," she said.

She developed her liberal views partly from reading The Texas Observer at a friend's house. Those views led to fierce arguments with her father about civil rights and the Vietnam War.

"I've always had trouble with male authority figures because my father was such a martinet," she told Texas Monthly.

After her father developed advanced cancer and shot himself to death in 1998, she wrote, "I believe that all the strength I have comes from learning how to stand up to him."

Like her mother, Margot, and a grandmother, Ms. Ivins went to Smith College in Northampton, Mass. She also studied at the Institute of Political Science in Paris and earned a master's degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Her first newspaper jobs were at The Houston Chronicle and The Minneapolis Tribune, now The Star Tribune. In 1970, she jumped at the chance to become co-editor of The Texas Observer.

Covering the Legislature, she found characters whose fatuousness helped focus her calling and define her persona, which her friends saw as populist and her detractors saw as manufactured cornpone. Even her friends marveled at how fast she could drop her Texas voice for what they called her Smith voice. Sometimes she combined them, as in, "The sine qua non, as we say in Amarillo."

Ronnie Dugger, the former publisher of The Texas Observer, said the political circus in Texas inspired Ms. Ivins. "It was like somebody snapped the football to her and said, 'All the rules are off, this is the football field named Texas, and it's wide open,' " Mr. Dugger said.

In 1976, her writing, which she said was often fueled by "truly impressive amounts of beer," landed her a job at The New York Times. She cut an unusual figure in The Times newsroom, wearing blue jeans, going barefoot and bringing in her dog, whose name was an expletive.

While she drew important writing assignments, like covering the Son of Sam killings and Elvis Presley’s death, she sensed she did not fit in and complained that Times editors drained the life from her prose. "Naturally, I was miserable, at five times my previous salary," she later wrote. "The New York Times is a great newspaper: it is also No Fun."

After a stint in Albany, she was transferred to Denver to cover the Rocky Mountain States, where she continued to challenge her editors' tolerance for prankish writing.

Covering an annual chicken slaughter in New Mexico in 1980, she used a sexually suggestive phrase, which her editors deleted from the final article. But her effort to use it angered the executive editor, A. M. Rosenthal, who ordered her back to New York and assigned her to City Hall, where she covered routine matters with little flair.

She quit The Times in 1982 after The Dallas Times Herald offered to make her a columnist. She took the job even though she loathed Dallas, once describing it as the kind of town "that would have rooted for Goliath to beat David."

But the newspaper, she said, promised to let her write whatever she wanted. When she declared of a congressman, "If his I.Q. slips any lower, we’ll have to water him twice a day," many readers were appalled, and several advertisers boycotted the paper. In her defense, her editors rented billboards that read: "Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?" The slogan became the title of the first of her six books.

After The Times Herald folded in 1991, she wrote for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, until 2001, when her column was syndicated by Creators Syndicate.

Ms. Ivins, who never married, is survived by a brother, Andy, of London, Tex., and a sister, Sara Ivins Maley, of Albuquerque. One of her closest friends was Ann Richards, the former Texas governor, who died last year. The two shared an irreverence for power and a love of the Texas wilds.

"Molly is a great raconteur, with a long memory," Ms. Richards said, "and she's the best person in the world to take on a camping trip because she's full of good-ol'-boy stories."

Ms. Ivins worked at a breakneck pace, adding television appearances, book tours, lectures and fund-raising to a crammed writing schedule. She also wrote for Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly and The Nation.

An article about her in 1996 in The Star-Telegram suggested that her work overload might have caused an increase in factual errors in her columns. (She eventually hired a fact-checker.) And in 1995, the writer Florence King accused Ms. Ivins of lifting passages Ms. King had written and using them in 1988 for an article in Mother Jones. Ms. Ivins had credited Ms. King six times in the article but not in two lengthy sentences, and she apologized to Ms. King.

Ms. Ivins learned she had breast cancer in 1999 and was typically unvarnished in describing her treatments. "First they mutilate you; then they poison you; then they burn you," she wrote. "I have been on blind dates better than that."

But she kept writing her columns and kept writing and raising money for The Texas Observer.

Indeed, rarely has a reporter so embodied the ethos of her publication. On the paper's 50th anniversary in 2004, she wrote: "This is where you can tell the truth without the bark on it, laugh at anyone who is ridiculous, and go after the bad guys with all the energy you have."

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

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