Photo Friday

Crash on lockdown

You’ve probably heard the Boston area is on lockdown while authorities search for the second suspect in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing. Luckily, our cats are highly practiced when it comes to hanging out, hunkering down, and otherwise doing a whole lot of nothing, inside, so we’re spending the day taking lessons from the lockdown experts.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Pets.

Melony, looking attentive

Some mornings, our beagle, Melony, is mellow enough to pose for photos, either by herself or with a cooperative cat or two.

Melony and Crash, grooming

Melony, Crash, and Rocco

On most mornings, however, both Melony and our Labrador retriever, MAD, are antsy to go outside, which means all I get for morning photos are shots of blurry fur.

Blurry dogs

This is my submission for today’s Photo Friday theme, Mornings.


Today’s Photo Friday theme is “Best of 2012,” which gives me an excuse to review the photos I took in 2012. This past year wasn’t a particularly photo-rich year for me: for the first few months of 2012, Reggie was so frail, we didn’t go far on our daily dog walks, which meant I didn’t take many pictures…and after Reggie died in April, I walked even less, which again meant I didn’t take many pictures.


My favorite photo from 2012 comes from an August trip to the Columbus Zoo, which points to how few interesting photos I took close to home last year. Taking photos at a zoo is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel: you have a captive subject, so it becomes a matter of choosing which angle on which flamingo is your favorite. The Columbus Zoo has large, grassy enclosure where flamingos wander freely around an artificial pond, and the flamingos were vigorously flapping, squawking, and fussing when J and I saw them: captive subjects that were nevertheless moving and active.


Given how many and how active these birds were, it a bit of a challenge to choose the three flamingo pictures I included in that day’s photo set. When you are blessed with abundance, you can afford to be picky, and the photos I ultimately picked showed solitary flamingos at rest: not the entire flock, but a quiet moment experienced within the flock. Apparently I like my flamingos calm and elegant, not fussing and squawking.

One of my resolutions for 2013 is to walk more, which also means take more pictures. Only time will tell how the “Best of 2013” compares with the “Best of 2012.”

This is my contribution for today’s Photo Friday theme, “Best of 2012.” I originally blogged that first flamingo photo at the beginning of this post. Here are links to past “Best of” posts: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004.

Hubway bikes

Today’s Photo Friday theme is “Orderly,” so I’m taking a brief break from my grading to show you this rack of neatly arranged Hubway bikes in front of the Apple Store on Boylston Street. Locating a bike-sharing station in front of an Apple Store makes sense on two levels. First, there’s probably a wide demographic overlap between bike-sharers and Apple aficionados. Second, a sturdy rack filled with bikes provides a barrier from thieves looking to drive their car through a glass store front in order to pick up a new iPhone or iPad.

Apple Store elf

I recently replaced my ancient (first generation!) iPod Shuffle with a brand-new (fifth generation) iPod Touch, which I’ve been playing with during breaks from my seemingly bottomless paper-piles. (No, I didn’t crash into an Apple Store to “select” my new iPod: J ordered it for me online.) At this point in the semester, even my to-do lists have to-do lists, so it’s good to have a new gadget to play with during my grading-breaks.

Once the semester is over and I’m completely done with grading, I’ll probably want to enjoy another product J and I saw in an orderly arrangement through a Boston storefront window:

The high life

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, “Orderly.” In case you can’t read the labels in the previous picture, that’s an entire display case of Miller High Life at the Mass Ave Tavern: not necessarily my favorite beer, but an orderly and eye-catching display nevertheless.

Goldenrod meadow

Autumn is when the trees turn to gold and the goldenrod goes gray.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Change of Season.

The pitch

Two weekends ago, J and I went to a sunny Sunday ballgame at Fenway Park, where we saw the Boston Red Sox beat the Atlanta Braves, 9 to 4. It was a perfect day to catch a game at Fenway: hot and sunny with low humidity, the sky offering only an occasional spot of shade from a passing puff of cloud.

Amateur papparazzo

The last time we’d caught a game between the Sox and Braves was in 2009, when we traveled to Atlanta to see three sun-soaked games. (You can see photo-sets from those games here, here, and here.) In my two blog posts about those three Hotlanta games, I talked about how interesting it is to watch other spectators watching a ballgame. At any given sports event, there’s action on the field and action in the stands…and at any given sporting event, the action in the stands is often just as interesting as the actual game being played.

Funky balloon

At that sunny Sunday ballgame two weekends ago, J and I sat in the outfield bleachers, with a panoramic view of action. One of the most exciting highlights of the afternoon, however, happened behind us when a guy proposed to his girlfriend, hiding a (boxed) engagement ring in their shared bag of popcorn. “Collective effervescence” is the term sociologist Émile Durkheim used to refer to the charged emotional energy shared by participants in a communal experience, and collective effervescence is as good a term as any to describe the buzz in our section of the bleachers as word spread that yes, that happy, relieved-looking young man in a Red Sox jersey had just proposed to that happy, glowing girl in a Braves jersey…and she said yes.

Kevin Youkilis leaves the game

Collective effervescence is also a good term to describe the moment late in the game when fan-favorite Kevin Youkilis ground out a triple and was replaced by a pinch-runner on third base. Rumor already had it that Youkilis was going to be traded, so fans knew that when Youk was taken out of the game, this would be a final farewell. The walls of Fenway Park all but shook with a thunderous ovation as fans bellowed “YOOOOOOOUUUUUUK” from the bottom of their bellies, making it clear that the decision to ship Youk to the Chicago White Sox was made by the management, not the fans. Youk will return to Fenway in his new uniform when the White Sox play the Red Sox later this month, and I’m confident that fans in attendance will welcome him as warmly as we sent him off two weeks ago.

Fenway in summer

Did I mention that the Red Sox beat the Braves, 9 to 4? The win was almost an afterthought: happy icing on a collectively effervescent cake. On a sunny Sunday, it feels nice simply to sit outside with other folks enjoying a beer, some popcorn, and a leisurely game. At any sporting event, there’s the action on the field and the action in the stands, at at the end of the day, both kinds of action are pretty enjoyable to watch, regardless of who wins. On that hot and sunny Sunday, even if the ballplayers hadn’t shown up, I suspect those of us in the outfield bleachers would have found some reason to cheer.

This is my belated contribution to this past week’s Photo Friday theme, Sports. For more photos from Fenway Park, click here. Enjoy!


A few weeks ago, I took an afternoon walk at Mount Auburn Cemetery. It was a mild Sunday afternoon–clear and cloudless, but cool enough for a jacket in the shade–and the Perkins dog was resting in deep shadow, spotlit by a single ray of late afternoon sunlight.

Afternoon shadows

That cool and clear afternoon feels like eternity ago now that the dog-days of summer have arrived. Temperatures this weekend are supposed to reach the 90s, and earlier today, I heard the first dog-day cicadas of the summer calling from neighboring trees. It seems this weekend, even the stone dogs will be panting in the shade.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Dog. Click here for more photos from that cool afternoon walk at Mount Auburn Cemetery several weeks ago. Enjoy!


Although I haven’t been blogging much, I have been writing…just not here. I’m still in the habit of writing four handwritten pages in my paper journal almost every morning, and most days this month that’s been all the creativity I’ve had time for, the rest of my energy devoted to the classes and course design project I started last month.

Mightier than the sword

I finished my course design project last week, one of my classes ended this week, and another class ends this weekend. Once I’ve submitted grades on Tuesday, my schedule will finally slip into something more comfortable: just one online graduate class that runs until September. As always, I’m looking forward to a (relative) break from teaching and grading: a chance to return to writing, letting my own words settle into the spaces recently filled to overflowing with the words of my students’ posts and papers.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Words. I’ve blogged the photo at the top of this post twice–first in February, 2009, and again in December that same year–and I blogged the photo in the middle of this post in May, 2010.

These days I’m still writing loopy words with a Waterman fountain pen in a lined Moleskine notebook…but recently I’ve been using purple ink rather than green.

Margaret C. Ferguson Greenhouses

Photographing flowers in a greenhouse is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel: your subject is captive and motionless, so it doesn’t take much skill to capture it. But in the gray, barren days at the end of a gray, barren winter, you don’t necessarily care about proving your photographic prowess. It’s just a relief to be in the presence of something floral.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Floral.

Looming large

I’m not surprised the groundhog saw his shadow yesterday given how long and looming Reggie’s and my shadow-selves have been this past month.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Tall.

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