Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Cool Day at 95 Degrees

"Cool Couch on River Road "                         Photo by Ro
  Yesterday was a hot steamy day where the temperature rose to a stifling 95 degrees, but with the high humidity, the weatherman warned viewers it would feel more like a 105 outside!  "Hydrate and stay inside where there is air-conditioning or go to the mall", was his advice.  So I did just that!

Recently, I had central air installed, even though, I'm truly not an "air-conditioning" kind of person. With the windows open, I love the warm scented summer air and hearing the birds, neighbors (how else do you find out the latest neighborhood news?) and the rumbling of  lawn mowers.  It's all part of summer. But staying in the frigid cold air of my home seemed like the right thing to do yesterday and enticed me to conjured up a few cool weather rituals.  First, I rumaged through the frig and came up with enough ingredients (except for celery) to make a big pot of chicken noodle soup ...simmering, it smelled so "homey".  Next, I settled on the couch with my tattered fleece throw (my sister made for me with a pattern of cappuccino cups) to watch "Tamara Drewe"(Starz), a movie about a cheating mystery writer... funny, a little predictable but lovely cinematography of the English countryside.  Ahhh... I  dozzzed off! 

Finally, feeling guilty for my lack of ambition, I drove to the mall in my compact air-conditioned car. As I entered the sub-zero temperature of Macy's to seek out a few summer sales, goose-bumps began to rise on my arms and legs. It wasn't long before I was lured over to the newly racked fall merchandise and ended up buying a smart looking black and white woven wool jacket...was it really July?!  I'm convinced (I needed real air) being submersed in air-conditioning all day long had brainwashed me into believing it was actually a chilly day or maybe... I just had the "winter blues"!

Orange you happy not to sweat the small stuff?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Peace, Love and Little Donuts...

A few weekends ago I made a trip to the Strip District in open market of fresh flowers, fruit, ethnic baked goods, cheeses, meats and small cafés.  I love the excitement of the street vendors competing to grab your attention…some with adorable hand knitted wool hats left-over from the cold winter months or "Steelers" sweatshirts from the previous football season. Our favorite café is a little Italian restaurant called “Café On The Strip”…delicious wedding soup, antipastos and fresh crusty bread. I brought along my "Holga" camera to snap a few spontaneous moments (it also has a built-in flash with colored filters: red, blue and yellow to cast a mood on your subject) and at times, I forgot to advanced the 120/film…and end up with few interesting double exposures.
                                                                     All Photos by Ro Macuga
When I think of the color orange (my favorite color), I envision a round shape. I guess I'm relating it to the things I orange, peeled or not peeled, a fiery sunset, an umbrella (I own) or a basketball, although I’ve never played basketball, except for when I was teaching my students about "Sports Photography." To demonstrate (I took one for the team), I instructed them to take photos of me (ha) dribbling and shooting a basketball in the gym (located just above the art room) to gain an understanding of freezing action using a fast shutter speed…I actually made one basket out of about 17 and a few off the rim...not bad for a 5'2" (won't mention my age) art teacher :)! But an "orange donut", although round, has never come to mind…until I saw that sign, smiled and took a photo. It was truly an orange kinda day!
Orange you happy tomorrow is Saturday?   

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Boredom & A Fiesty Fly Named Millie...

Inspiration of Characters…

The idea of writing children’s books started at a writer’s conference, Fishtrap, located among the pines trees of the Wallowa Mountains, Joseph, Oregon. I signed up for a song writing workshop instructed by singer/songwriter Craig Carothers (album: Air Mail Blues) and had the privilege of pairing up with the talented Kate Power, also a professional folk singer/songwriter (album, Dancing In The Kitchen).  Together we wrote the quirky lyrics to a somber melody for an assignment inspired by one word boredom.  The song was titled Mole Hole, and the first verse went like this...

Nothin’ to do, nowhere to go.
Finished my book, coffee pot’s low.
No friends around to muddle my mood.
Nothin’ to do, I’ll eat some more food.
Who wants to rock, who wants to roll? Just leave me here in my little mole hole.

 Budding songwriters w/Laurie Lewis
The next year I traveled back to Fishtrap for another round of songwriting and worked with bluegrass singer/songwriter Laurie Lewis (albums: True Stories and my favorite, Seeing Things). My inspiration was a fly that would not leave me alone so I named it Millie (after my happy go lucky Aunt Millie) to give it an identity and lovable personality. No longer did I think about swatting that particular fly. The lyrics of the song portrayed the fly (Millie) receiving the ultimate gift... a second chance at life. With much encouragement from friends, I illustrated the song into a lighthearted children’s story titled Go Fly, Fly.

Aunt Millie on her way to see the world from a different point of view!

You have a whole new circumstance,
Go and find your second chance.
Spread your wings to the great outdoors,
So many backroads to explore.
A big blue world is waiting for you
And from the air it's a splendid view.
(Excerpts from the story, Go Fly, Fly ...still waiting to be published!)

Orange you happy to give or receive a second chance?