Tuesday, June 30, 2015
When shaving in the morning I sit on the edge of the bed, and put my glasses on the night table right next to the bed. Usually there are hardcover books on the table, but this morning there was a yellow legal pad. Since the pad was all of the same color, I suddenly became aware of the shadow of the lace curtains on the pad, as well as the shadow of my glasses. I love the complexity of this. And isn't it nice that I am not showing you the foundation of the addition?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:08 PM
Monday, June 29, 2015
For the next couple of nights, Venus and Jupiter are incredibly close to each other. This is called a Conjunction. Tuesday night they will be closer, but the forecast is for clouds, so I was lucky to see this tonight. It was a beautiful sight with the naked eye, and even better in my telescope. But I used a telephoto lens on my camera to get this view. It was a 300mm lens on my Nikon D300, so the effective focal length was 450mm. In the telescope you could see both the bands on the planet Jupiter, and four of Jupiter's moons. And Venus was stunning because it is in its crescent phase - It looks like a four-day old crescent moon. The scene was quite magical. Venus is the brighter of the two planets in the picture.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:15 PM
Sunday, June 28, 2015
I was sitting talking with Jennie yesterday and the subject of our pets came up. She recently lost her cat Maui that she has had for years. She said that Maui was the best cat ever - a lap cat who was so friendly and always there for her. Having just lost one of our cats, the sense of loss was fresh in my mind. It is a tribute to our pets, how much they come to mean to us over the years.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:04 PM
Saturday, June 27, 2015
OK, so here is some family information so you can sort these photos out. My sister Joan, who is my most faithful blog reader and commenter, has a son, Jonathan, and a daughter, Jennie. Jonathan is married to Lauren, and they have new two-month old twins, a son and a daughter. In the first picture, Lauren and one of the twins are resting after feeding. The second photo shows Jennie feeding Evelyn and in the background, my sister Joan is feeding Grayson. This all took place at our family picnic in Connecticut to celebrate all the July birthdays in the family. Yeah, I know, we are a week early. Our family is like that...
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:25 PM
Friday, June 26, 2015
When we bought our house in 1971 there was this old trunk in the attic. We put Halloween costumes in it, and the girl's dancing class costumes. A few years after moving in, I replaced the pull-down attic stairs with newer ones, which changed the size of the opening. While starting to clean out the attic, I decided that it was time for the trunk to go. Dragged it over to the stairs, and discovered that it would NOT fit through the opening! Yikes! I discovered that if I ground off one end of each hinge pin, I could remove them, and remove the top of the trunk and bring it down in two pieces, which would fit through the opening. All this to put it out by the curb for someone to take home. Here's the cool thing - while emptying the trunk I found three sheets of newspaper in the bottom. The date was March 7, 1956, and the paper was the Pasadena Star-News! Wow! Who came from California to Sea Cliff is a mystery. The house was owned by Paul Soder and we bought it a few years after he died. I have no idea if he had children. I was told that he was a fighter pilot in WWII and he owned and operated an automotive garage in Sea Cliff for years. I did a close up of the shipping label as well. The afternoon of the second day that I put it out to the curb, someone came and carried it home!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:11 PM
Thursday, June 25, 2015
I was down in Westbury and was walking down a side street on the way to the fireplace store when I saw this flag. I was taken with the informality of this, and the fact that it was hanging outside the window. Not how I would expect a flag to be displayed. But displaying the flag is obviously important to the person whose office this is.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
When last we saw the mother cat and one of the kittens, they were across the street. They have come and gone so much, that I guess we were not really surprised when all three showed up on the porch for dinner. We are more than happy to feed them. They have now been around for about three days, and our hope is to be able to get a bit closer to them. We really do want to get the mother cat spayed before it is too late. She is one smart cookie though. Not afraid to get fairly close to us, and yet always wary. This is not going to be easy. How CUTE is that tiger kitty!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:33 PM
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
We were "dining out" this evening. Guess where? Actually we ate dinner at home, and then went to McD's for chocolate ice cream sundaes. We started seeing lightning as we finished eating, so made a run for the car as the storm got closer. The sky was spectacular so I took a moment to make this photograph. On the way home, the sky opened, and then the big surprise was hearing hailstones banging off the roof and hood of the car. When we got home, the lawn was covered with hailstones. So I gathered up five of them, and put them on the stairs, along with a penny for scale. What is really interesting about hailstones, is that they are built up in layers, like the layers of an onion. They start with a speck of dust, which water clings to and freezes, and then extreme updrafts within the thunderstorm, approaching 110 MPH, sweep the frozen speck up into the storm above the freezing level, where more water freezes onto it. This repeats over and over until the hailstone is too heavy to be swept up anymore, and it falls out of the bottom of the storm. Here is a closeup of just two of the hailstones.
Monday, June 22, 2015
I am going to give you a break from construction photographs, and pictures of the mother cat and her kittens. This is a photograph taken from the front porch, of the pot of Geraniums that hang there. What caught my eye were the windows of the neighbor's house peeking through the branches of the trees. That is what this photograph is about, not the flowers. At least I think that's the case.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:40 PM
Sunday, June 21, 2015
My last report was that there were only two kittens left with the mother cat. Well, she disappeared again for two days, and then when she came back, she was alone. Oh man, this is killing us! So I fed her, of course, and then she wandered off up the driveway and was looking around one of the cars. She was "Meowing" with a deep, kind of guttural sound, which sounded so sad. Then she turned, walked down the driveway, and crossed the street. She then headed down the street, making the same deep meowing sound. Suddenly, from under a bush in the neighbor's yard came tumbling the beautiful tiger kitten, racing across the lawn! Oh happy day! So they both disappeared after that, and we haven't seen them since, but it gives us hope!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:54 PM
Saturday, June 20, 2015
I hope you will be patient with me while I post more construction photos. They are really not very interesting as photographs, but I want to document the project some, so the blog is the best place for me to put photographs where I can find them later on, and save them in the context of the flow of time. These photographs are after the first day of setting concrete block by the two masons, father and son.
Friday, June 19, 2015
There is an informal men's group that meets once a month, and I have gone to it from time to time over the last five years. I haven't been to a meeting in the last nine months or so because I have been busy on the nights they meet. Some members have been coming for twenty years. I finally went last night, and there was a member that I hadn't met before. At one point, he was holding a wooden cross and I liked how his hands looked with the cross. Afterwards I asked if I could photograph his hands, and he agreed. This is the photograph.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:55 PM
Thursday, June 18, 2015
This is the day they carefully dug down by shovel, to get to the exact height needed for where the concrete "footings" would be poured. Footings are the foundations upon which the concrete blocks that form the walls, will be set. It was amazing how long it took to get the correct depth and the exact position of the 2" x 10" forms. When they were secured in place, they returned with concrete, in a dump truck, believe it or not, and they shoveled the concrete into wheelbarrows, and then shoveled from that into the forms. The footings are substantial - they are 16" wide and 10" deep. Enough to hold up a skyscraper!
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
I have such sad news. Another kitten has disappeared. The mother cat and her three kittens had established a routine around here after she showed up with her three kittens. Because of their routine, we thought we had a good chance to trap them. After about a week she and the kittens disappeared again. We saw her in a neighbor's yard, and then not at all. Yesterday she returned, and took up residence under our front porch, which is a good place. But we came to realize that one of the three kittens is missing! We have watched and watched, and the third one is gone. We have no idea what happened to the other kitten, but we are sick about the loss. We don't know if it was a predator, or if perhaps she climbed up into the engine of some neighbor's car. I don't think we will ever know.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:56 PM
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
We have decided to put a small addition on to the little back room. It will be a family room, and we will use part of the original back room to install a full bathroom with shower. The important thing is that we will have both a second bathroom, and it will be on the ground floor. That will allow us to stay here as long as we like, even if we can't climb stairs to the second floor. So the excavators arrived today with their serious machinery. I couldn't believe this backhoe would even fit into the back yard! Now that the hole is done for the foundation, the masons will arrive and begin pouring the concrete footing. The white siding has been removed from the outside of the existing building, so the builder will know what he has to connect the new addition to. Stay tuned.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:45 PM
Monday, June 15, 2015
There's a tiger on the floor of our house! This is the puzzle that Liz and Sarah and Kathy were working on. I decided to photograph the finished project. So I stepped up to the puzzle on the mat board they were using to move the puzzle off the dining room table so we could eat. Then it hit me - all I wanted was to get a copy photo of the puzzle, but having my feet in the picture before zooming in made it feel like real life, or something. So I shot this.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 6:46 PM
Sunday, June 14, 2015
This Hydrangea lives in the garden between the house and the driveway. I have photographed this plant before, at a different time of year. What got my attention the other day was the monochromatic color scheme that I saw - a number of shades of green. It's interesting that three days later, on some of the other blossoms, the color has started to change to magenta in spots. But I love this all green version. Oh, it is a close-up, but not a REALLY close up image!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:22 PM
Saturday, June 13, 2015
The mother cat and her three kittens provide endless fascination around here! Now that they are comfortable being around us, after they eat a meal, they come up close to the back door, and roll around on the lawn, chasing each other and jumping on each other and on to the mother. It is a delight to see them act like kittens! Liz and Sarah spent a lot of time watching them with binoculars before they headed back home.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:49 PM
Friday, June 12, 2015
OK, so I was being kind calling everyone "Puzzle Fans." "Puzzle Fanatics" would be more to the point! Liz and Sarah brought a new puzzle with them, and they started working on it the day they arrived. They kept at it for the whole week, and finished it the day before they left for home. There were three fanatics in the house who worked on it together and separately. All I did was photograph the activities.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:57 PM
Thursday, June 11, 2015
When I woke this morning, I looked out the bedroom window and there in the driveway was the mother cat, lying down, surrounded by three kittens! I almost fell over! I couldn't believe my eyes! So I rushed down to put some cat food into several bowls and they all dug right in. They sure were hungry. Liz and Sarah were still here, so we spent a good part of the day watching the kittens play with each other. After they ate, they spent the day either under the car, or in the garden under the dining room window. So is this photograph precious or what! The sad thing is that there were four cats the last time we saw them. I have no idea what happened to the fourth. If they stay around, at least we will have a chance to trap them, which is good. Be sure to click on this to see the image in a larger size. It will make your heart hurt!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:35 PM
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
I was drinking a glass of water in the kitchen, and set it down on the counter. Turns out the sun was shining through the window on to the counter, and when I looked down, I was amazed at what I saw. The glass with the water in it was functioning as a lens, and it focused some of the light into a bright little triangle. Meanwhile, other parts of the glass created interesting shadows on the counter. Who knew you could get such interesting things from sunlight and a glass of water!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:59 PM
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
"The Fisher" is, I believe the politically correct term for one who catches fish, and it is gender neutral, right? And as you all know, this blog is always politically correct! I was driving by the harbor late in the day and noticed the reflection of the setting sun on the water. The reflection followed me as I drove along the shore, and then I noticed the fisherman. So I parked the car, got the camera and continued walking until the sunrake lined up with the fisher. Bingo!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 7:31 PM
Monday, June 8, 2015
I went to get something out of the car after supper, and just happened to notice the glow of the light on the front porch and the light on the multi-colored windsock. I quickly grabbed a camera from the car trunk, because it was the closest at hand, and shot quickly because the sunlight changes so quickly, especially when it is coming through trees late in the day. I managed to get get the shot before the light changed. I just love the glow and the bright colors. Oh, and the new stair railing.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:17 PM
Sunday, June 7, 2015
When we went to Boston, Kathy wanted to bring a present of some plants to give to our friends in Rhode Island. So she put together this collection, and we brought it with us. Only problem was, we had three days before we saw our friends. And I was planning to go to museums, which meant the car would be parked in a sunny lot and it would bake the poor plants. So we brought the container into the hotel room. We kept it watered, and I put it in the sunshine in the morning, knowing that the sun would move and thus not give the plant too much sun. I loved the shadows of the plants on the rug, so that's why I took this.
Saturday, June 6, 2015
This is the Avon Cinema on the East Side of Providence, RI, right near Brown University. The Art Deco styling dates from its opening in 1938, and the theater primarily screens independent, art house, and foreign films. It was cool to walk down Thayer street to get to the restaurant we were eating at, and then to see this classic marquee. So I had to take a picture, of course.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:47 PM
Friday, June 5, 2015
There are all kinds of interesting things going on in this photograph. Liz and Sarah are visiting for the week from Los Angeles. When she was rummaging around in her bedroom, Liz found the beret. When she was touring with the band back in 2005, we all went to Nice and Barcelona. I spotted a beret shop in Barcelona, and we went in and both bought one. So I went and found my beret, and here we are! Oh, and you have to love the purple hoodie "Fear the Frog." Pretty cool, huh?
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:29 PM
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Back in the middle of May I showed a photograph of the mother cat and one of her kittens, sitting on top of the kayak in our neighbor's yard, as seen through the fence. We thought everything was going well, because we were feeding the mother every day, and not going near the babies. A few days after that photo was taken, we realized that they were all gone! The mother cat had moved her kittens again! We did a search, looking over fences into other neighbor's yards, to no avail. We have been unable to find them all. The mother stopped coming by to feed as well. What a heartbreaker this mother cat is. We wanted to capture the mother cat and have her spayed, and take her kittens and save them from becoming feral cats. That is no longer possible, unless something changes. Today she showed up at the back door at about 5:30 and I fed her, trying to keep an eye on her. Here she is waiting to be fed. At one point I turned my back and she was gone, and we have no idea where.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:26 PM
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
On the way home from Boston, we stopped to see our friends Dick and Trauti. We have known them since 1965 - Dick and I started at the Rochester Times-Union as photographers at about the same time. This garden and gate have been at their house since the 1970's. I have photographed it before, but it gets more interesting to me as it gets older and older. I love the green lichen growing on the pickets of the fence, and on the stone steps, and I love how tired the old garden gate is.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
This is not really an art lesson because I know so little about art. The first picture is a detail of a Jackson Pollock painting titled "Number 10," at the Museum Fine Arts, in Boston. It was created in 1949 and was one of his earlier "drip" paintings, for which he is best known. His drip paintings revolutionized abstract art when they first appeared in 1947. I haven't seen a Pollock recently and so I spent a lot of time studying this one. We have all heard the criticism that "Oh, anybody could do that, it is just dripped paint." What impressed me about this painting was the incredible complex detail evident in the painting! It is really stunning how many layers there are in his canvases. I decided that it took a detail from the full-size painting to appreciate how much is there. Underneath that is a copy of the entire painting.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:46 PM
Monday, June 1, 2015
I went to the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem on the second day of our Boston trip. This is an outdoor exhibit down the street from the museum. It is called "Stickwork" by the artist Patrick Dougherty, and was constructed out of saplings over the course of three weeks. There are about seven or eight of these structures that you can wander into and out of. It was a fascinating experience to wander through them, and look out through the openings at the other structures. It felt as if these objects were actually alive.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:55 PM