shoebox_dw: (butterfly paper lace)
...the grass is riz, wonder where my pictures is. Well, wonder no longer, picspam lovers, because the other day Shoemom and I discovered Edwards Gardens, a beautiful civic parkland nestled up in North York. One of those old estates turned public gardens, which just parenthetically I think is a terrific way to maintain your legacy. Not only do you get to be thought of as public-spirited, but also as having really good taste.

Anyway, thanks to dear old Rupert Ed., Torontonians have an absolutely amazing amount of stroll-ready nature, right there below the Ford dealership. Between all the Olde Englishe tidiness and the scampering fauna is created the (slightly unsettling) feeling you've stumbled onto open auditions for the latest Disney feature. Ducks on the pond, squirrels racing through the branches, chipmunks scurrying over rocks, robins and cardinals singing from the eaves and - would you believe - a plump little muskrat trotting busily down the path. I love muskrats; I've never seen anything that looks so much like a stuffed animal of itself.

So between this walk and a couple others, I was inspired to create a little Welcome Spring catalogue: 
Pretty pictures under the cut... )
shoebox_dw: (gf amazing talents)

I was fooling around on I Can Haz Cheezburger earlier, and while I can only handle so much cute at a time, I did manage to put together my very first couple of LOLCats. Am now so proud of my little self I am ignoring any possible (er, probable) lameness and posting them here:








shoebox_dw: (garfield camera)
Just a quick couple of things:

Bob & Ray [sporfle] of the week: No, I'm not going to transcribe it this time; the joke wouldn't work nearly as well in print anyhow. I do however have a real, physical need to acknowledge the wonderfulness of an extended Matinee skit in which a discussion of 'our next project ('us' being Rogers & Hammerstein; we got here from South Pacific, don't even ask) somehow ends up with Bob previewing an opera scene. That is, Ray - as Carmen, natch - is singing each line as he shows it to him from the 'script'.

I have no idea if opera-based humour was commonplace in 1949. Hell, I don't even know if operas have scripts. From the perspective of 2008, it's so out there it's frelling hilarious even before Ray starts carolling about the rose he plucked from the garden and now has between his teeth.
Meanwhile, ah, her would-be lover the green-grocer is distraught because he has no bananas (no, no, the song, remember?) and so cannot lure shy, coy Carmen back to the market ("Dro-o-o-o-p DEAD!"). Or something. It gets a little hard to follow after awhile...though I suspect not much more so than your average straight opera. At least this one's in English.

Also, I wish to report that my Photobucket gallery has now been updated with all my pretty fall foliage pictures, therein to join all my pretty spring/summer flower and butterfly pictures, plus the occasional cat. 
Someday, when they finally pass a law against online procrastination, I will get around to collating each picture with tags and labels and possibly musical fade-ins, I swear. In the meantime, I've managed to slap a background theme on there. And it doesn't feature the Jonas Brothers. So, y'know, go nuts.
shoebox_dw: (garfield camera)
When I'm not cooing over mini-Rhodes Scholars (and their itty-bitty Indiana Jones Lego figures - please note the lovingly-rendered five-o'clock shadow) there are always the cats. If you'll recall, there are two of them, Dolly (Shoemom's) and Lucy (mine):

No, I don't make my bed as often as I should. Focus, people!  A rare moment of not trying to kill each other.


They are easy to tell apart: Dolly is the one who will defend the bathtub to the death. I've been around a lot of cats, defending a lot of territories, but  Dolly's fixation with our fixtures is unique.
more fuzzy goodness under the cut... )
shoebox_dw: (garfield camera)
So it occurs on re-read that during the previous entry I may have left the impression that life @ Shoe Central is one long hopeless slog through dull beige despair, broken only for periodic rambles about Agatha Christie. Well, um...sometimes I also ramble about Rex Stout.

OK, OK. As long as there are cameras, there will be bright spots in life...

It gets even better when you realise that isn't jam at the corner of his mouth, that's a dimple.

This is my youngest nephew, Jakob; Jakey in the family, which happens to be Croatian on his dad's side. He is four-and-a-bit, and besides being so adorable that shop clerks routinely stop my sister and ask to take him home  (Shoesis' stock response: "Depends, can you give me a discount?")  he has already taught himself to read and write.

No, seriously. I'm not sure whether I should slip a plug in here for the Baby Einstein series of DVDs, to which he's been devoted from six months on, but something has turned this kid's brain on ahead of schedule and, baby-like, it sees no reason at all why it should stop. 

He started out by picking random interesting words from conversations and asking to have them spelled to him, which caused no little grownup sporfling as he wandered about with a pad, pencil and teeny brow furrows: "How do you spell 'disc-ip-line?". This led onto sounding the letters out himself once he'd written them down...then, we've recently realised, to sounding out the words themselves, and writing them down afterwards.

Which would be a shoo-in for the Doting Auntie Story shortlist even had this latter trick involved C-A-T...but that's the thing, it doesn't. My sister, the other night at services, staring at the pad he was proudly showing her: "Ahhhh...[Shoebro-in-law], did you tell Jakob how to spell 'November'?"

"Nooooo...."

*long pause*

"OK then."

shoebox_dw: (garfield camera)
So I'm browsing Wikipedia for Watership Down stuff the other evening, my recent purchase having rekindled my interest in all things Lapine, and discovered...

...Right, let's preface this by noting that I am not the world's most PC person. I don't - even above the clear religious scruple - like to hurt people, with words or anything else; but I also firmly believe in flattering intelligence and experience, not insulting either with obvious evasions.

Thusly it's just possible I am over-reacting to the one paragraph in the Wiki article that details the severe critical backlash the novel received on feminist grounds. That is, there are those female critics who take issue with the fact that the story's protagonists are exclusively buck rabbits, who are perhaps something less than tactful ('Is she any good [for breeding]?') in their quest to secure does to their warren.

Yeah. Didn't think so.

I spent the entire afternoon composing a long, ranty, over-the-top post re: how this criticism rests on a highly selective reading of the source (in which various other passages show doe rabbits as strong, intelligent and capable), how absurd it is to tie sociological conditioning that closely to what is patently a fantasy tale, and above all how utterly, unbelievably, how-hard-up-for-a-thesis-can-you-be STUPID it is to apply those same standards to characters who aren't even capable of recognising the need for conditioning in the first place. Y'know, their being frelling BUNNIES and all.

Then...I started picturing those same bunnies learnedly discussing 'gender identity' and burrows with 'glass ceilings', and it made me feel much, much better. 'Specially the part where they were wearing little wire-rimmed bifocals.

So instead...pretty pictures!

Fall goodness under the cut... )
shoebox_dw: (garfield camera)
...teach me to try posting and packing at the same time. I accidentally left out one of the niftiest outlets of all.

It being the month of June, my adventures in flower photography have expanded to take in the local rose...well, the local rose whichever-random-homeowner-doesn't-mind-me-standing-in-their gardens, to be exact. Most have been pretty gracious, although I did get a couple odd looks on Broadview trying to get the perfect closeup. You'd think that young family never heard anyone muttering encouragement at a tearose before.

Anyhow, the gallery is expanding at such a rate - also, it must be said, LJ's image-insert capabilities have been giving me so much grief - I went rustling round the 'Net looking for photosharing opportunities, and settled on Photobucket (Flickr being a trifle too eager to drag me headlong into social networking opportunities. I'm afraid I'm becoming a bit of a Net misanthrope, lately.)

Thusly I present my gallery-in-progress. Still pretty raw as yet, I'm hoping to tidy everything away with labels and such as soon as I get a spare moment. In the meantime, enjoy. Feedback welcome as always...
shoebox_dw: (garfield camera)
As noted in the previous entry, I spent part of yesterday honing my ability to photograph...well, pretty flowers, mostly. It appears they're what's called my forte.

They make excellent practice subjects, I've been telling my artistic ego in soothing tones. True, though; you don't have to fuss them up beforehand, and once framed in the lens they stay nice and still (except when a 'playful little breeze' pops up just as you clik the shutter, damn you Thornton Burgess anyway). Besides which they remain blessedly unconscious of the impulse to play Spielberg. No climbing hydrangea ever told its photographer that "you should've waited, my petals were all droopy in that one! Delete it! Have you deleted it yet?!"

Anyway, it is June, and the
world is almost deliriously awash with warmth and light, and I feel like revelling in it for awhile...

See (much) more... )
shoebox_dw: (garfield camera)
OK, you asked for it...What? Well, look, just play along for awhile, could you?

Seriously, the camera has been my constant companion the last couple days, and I have to say the results have been pretty encouraging. I mean, even if I'm not a pro just yet, at least I won't be embarrassing myself in comparison with the pages of...uh...well, Better Homes & Gardens, mostly. Hey, it's not my fault I don't live in the South of France, OK? If Hbc had a branch office I would be all about the sun-drenched vineyards and lush...um, what else do they have out there besides vineyards, anyway? Anybody know? Is it important?

At any rate, in my 'umble experience there's very little to compete with a lazy Saturday-afternoon stroll through Leaside, the Toronto neighborhood just to the east of mine. It's a tiny perfect city oasis of lovingly-restored old brick houses set against soft, almost dreamlike spills of green (clik any pic to enlarge):
 
evergreens

brick house


shoebox_dw: (gf amazing talents)
...yours truly has a digital camera!

Yes, the tax refund finally kicked in, the research has been done, the purchase has been made, and I have a whole entire new hobby all tucked up in a cute l'il Roots case. Or at least, I will as soon as I have a chance - hopefully, this weekend - to find and photograph stuff that isn't a) on my bookshelf or b) related to me.

Meanwhile, I've made some interesting preliminary discoveries. For instance, how you can turn the most mundane event into insta-party fodder simply by recording it. The human race - in my vicinity, anyway - seems to be perpetually just slightly disoriented re: self-image, and watching them try and adjust is basically a therapist's wet dream.
My little Canon companion actually comes with a 'Kids & Pets' setting, which I think is just great. (Now, about that 'Recalcitrant Sisters' setting? Actually, for maximum usefulness I'm thinking one of those head-clamps that they used in Victorian photography could maybe shoot out, R2-D2-like, from the top.)

Honestly, I think the whole thing is wonderful. For the largest part of my thirty-odd years a camera has meant  a bulky, multi-component abstract that mysteriously, when all the stars were aligned correctly was my best guess, recorded imagery. I hung about galleries contemplating the output of, say, Ansel Adams with awe, and a vague sense of longing.

Now, suddenly, all the possibilities of Art are cupped in my lone little hand, and that longing is so sharply defined I'm even a little startled at its intensity. I feel this tremendous urge to get out there and Experience the Visual. Nay, interpret Life Itself, give it layers of heretofore unrealised, because indescribable, Meaning...

...In other words, yes, I have become yet another blogger with a camera. Not to worry, though, because I come with a built-in anti-annoyance device in the form of Shoemom, who will kill me if she sits down at our shared computer and finds anything even remotely 'personal' staring back at her. Depending on the nature of said pic, the Shoesisters will unhesitatingly act as witnesses for the defense.

Thus, much as I'm dying to inflict such party-ready moments as Shoemom's Latest New Outfit or Shoesis Counts Her Car Loan Payment While I Speculate on Where She Earned It..not so much. Instead, you might want to prepare for a long series of 'panoramic shots' (cf. Ray Goulding), interspersed with...uh...Cats Doing Cute Stuff, mostly. That never gets old, right?

...Yeah, well, nuts to you, animal-hating party-pooper. For a start, let's meet the cast:Read more... ) 
shoebox_dw: (little mermaid)

I have always loved November. I love all the months of change, really; but there is something about November - the wind and the wild and the wet - that makes rising to the challenge of living a
particularly gallant endeavour.

That said...I will concede that sometimes, after an especially tactless battle, there's no shame in just sitting indoors and watching the challenge swirl past your window for awhile. After all, even the Knights of the Round Table must've paused on occasion to rest the horses.

So thusly here I sit. Cuddled contentedly into a living room that is mine-all-mine at last after last weekend's switchover - Shoemom having finally decided, in the face of six more weeks of Monday Night Football, that retreating to a TV-less space is worth putting up with my stuffies scattered around the public areas. Computer desk over here, cable TV over there, books on the far wall, cats gamboling on the futon; I feel rather like a spoiled yuppie offspring in her playpen, it's all about stimulating the growing mind.
(Meanwhile, I hasten to add, Shoemom is enjoying her own new, determinedly un-stimulating space hugely. For one thing, she hates the colour I chose for the walls, so this is Blank Slate Central for her, design-wise.)

In short, things are so cozy - and my ego purring so loudly - the only thing on my mind is sharing the photos from our last bliss-centric day. Return with me now to the much more tactful beguilements of an October Saturday in Niagara.
Yes...we had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun. But we didn't, y'know, die or anything.

Read (and see) more... )

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