Sunday, February 26, 2012

Skinny House

Brick rowhouses with painted doors line the historic streets of Alexandria, Virginia. Some blocks are still paved in bone-rattling cobblestones. One of my favorite places in Old Town is what I call the Skinny House. It is one room wide and two stories tall. It's so skinny that there's not really enough room for the ground floor shutters. The mismatched proportions, along with its cheerful color scheme, make me think of a doll house. Something is usually a little "off" in a doll house. The furniture is too big or too small, or the dolls might be a mix of sizes. The shutters on the Skinny House add an air of whimsey to an otherwise dignified streetscape. This house always makes me smile.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Flowering Kale

Flowering kale straddles the line between vegetable and flower. It is more likely to be considered neither, rather than both. Edible but not tasty, sturdy rather than delicate, its crisp ruffled leaves form rosettes that look almost indestructible. Some people just don't like it. The blame should go, in part, to those who plop the plants into the ground in perfectly spaced rows, making it look like a vegetable crop waiting to be harvested. White, purple or variegated, I am thankful for its cold-hardiness. It survives to cheer us up during the bleakest stretch of winter.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ivy Heart

As we approach Valentine's Day, our gray winter world is brightened by a preponderance of red and pink, mostly in the form of hearts. The heart shape is all around us all year long. Metal workers like the heart's curving bilateral symmetry. Study an iron gate, a fence, a fancy metal door and hearts will appear among the spirals and curls. I found this heart in a double door. After playing with the hue and saturation, it is now a lacy valentine from me to you.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Really Big Loo

"Don’t just shoot---look." I reminded myself. Setting down my camera, I was soon caught up in the rhythm of the lines and ovals, multiplied by the mirrors. There are forty stalls in this ladies' room at the HP Arena in San Jose, California. If you are a lady, you know how unusual this is. We are resigned to long lines at any public event. When I walked in for the first time, I almost heard angels singing. Surely this is heaven. There must have been at least one woman making architectural and space-planning decisions when the arena was built. My thanks to that person.