Sunday, December 31, 2023

Donuts & BBQ

 The colorful and aggressively cheerful signage of one particular business in a strip mall would catch my eye as we whizzed on down a busy road on our way to visit family. We were always too early, too late or too scheduled up to stop and check it out. Finally we stopped and pulled into the parking lot so I could admire the carnival-like combination of floating donuts, icing-dripped sandwiches and colorful stripes. I have no desire to try the questionable culinary delight that is the Sticky Pig but I salute the graphic designer who created such alluring advertising.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Nativity Scene


Two battered shoe boxes hold what is left of the family Nativity sets. My grandmother's set is in sad shape, having been set up and rearranged by two children, five grandchildren and many little visitors. The original baby Jesus, a separate ceramic figure with a wooden manger cushioned with bits of real straw,  disappeared ages ago. The replacement, still bearing a twenty-nine cent sticker from Woolworth's, is proportionally too large for Mary and Joseph. Grandma replaced some of the broken sheep legs with matchsticks. Two Magi are missing hands. This year Aunt Margaret’s set is out. She had no children and we tried to be good guests, admiring but not touching. Don't look too closely at the cow, which has lost one horn and both of its fabric or leather ears. These old friends have been helping family members celebrate Christmas for eighty-something years.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Bright Lights

 In December, I often delay my walk until later in the day. Birds gather and chatter in the branches. There might be a glorious sunset. As the sky darkens, holiday lights begin to glimmer. A simple wreath and a strand of lights on a porch add cheer to these darker days. I am especially grateful for those creative folks who go all out and use their creativity to decorate their entire yards. They take us to a magical place, full of color and wonder

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Picking Up the Pieces

 That is the title of Judy Pfaff's exhibit currently at the Sarasota Art Museum. As a mixed media artist, Judy Pfaff works with found objects and has the skill sets to deal with the, including carpentry and welding. Florida is the focus of her exhibition at the Sarasota Art Museum. It includes a huge installation created from detritus collected after the 2022 hurricane. I thought of the first gallery, shown here, as the "Before" gallery, full of the joy and color of modern tropical life. The aftermath of the hurricane is evident in the second gallery.  With a small forest of patio umbrella skeletons and rusted chairs overhead, it's starkly beautiful, reflecting the effect that humans have on the environment. I will never look at paper packing materials, plastic glasses or backyard furniture in the same way, ever again.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Just Add People

 Venice, Florida has a parade on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Local businesses and associations build floats and decorate vehicles with non-tropical imagery such as snowmen, penguins and snowflakes. Parade-watchers are allowed to set up their chairs ahead of time. The three or four blocks running through the center of downtown Venice are the most popular area for viewing the parade. Before Thanksgiving, chairs begin to appear on both sides of the street. A couple hours before the parade was due to start, I lingered at this corner and wondered if there would be any disputes over the possession of a particular red or blue chair in this stretch of predominantly red and blue chairs.