Just Shelley

Just stuff

I am going to take a timeout from writing about technology and lists and weblogging and “____women_____” (fill blanks with relevant info), to write about, well, stuff that isn’t technology, lists, weblogging, and not necessarily women, in general, but woman, which is me. As such, this will be a quiet post, littered with photographs, most of which will probably have you scratching your head and going “Huh. Why did she post that one?”


I was working at my other computer, the PC one, at my desk when I took a break to catch up with email and weblog posts. I had a couple of nice emails from people talking about trips and family, and read some nice weblog posts, none of which had anything to do with technology, lists, or weblogging, though some of the people were women, so I guess that means I’m fudging my self-imposed filter for this one post.

Jeff from This Public Address got married last week, so congratulations out to Jeff and Krista. Jeff also finally had a chance to see the Museum of Spam. Getting married is one thing, but the Museum of Spam–hey, that’s something.

Jeneane celebrated her nineteenth year wedding anniversary! According to a guide I found, this is the aquamarine wedding anniversary. This beats heck out of the tenth anniversary, which is tin, so congratulations to George and Jeneane for passing tin and making it to aquamarine.

passing tin — that’s a phrase not likely to come up every day.

Don at Hands in the Dirt writes about his garden, and sometimes I wish he would post photos of his plants, but then, he does a good job drawing them for you with words. We share virtually the same weather, which means the summer for both of us this year has been: hot, humid, no rain, and ozone alerts.

Speaking of which, most of Missouri has just been declared a disaster area because of the drought. Funny how quietly that snuck up. We focus on weather that is destructive, such as with hurricanes and floods, yet hardly any notice is paid to a drought. Droughts, though, are the disasters that will impact on everyone. Especially when corn and soybean rich areas like Missouri and Illinois get hit so hard. People will starve in Africa because we had a drought.

Andrea posted photos, of her neighborhood with a story to go with each, which I found rather nice. Especially the one pic, with “Stick it up your Arse, Candy!” I adore Australian lingo. Arse, arse, arse. So very lovely, and earthy sounding. Arse, arse, arse. Arse.

It’s Roger Benningfield’s birthday today. Send him a note, and tell the ole arse, “Happy Birthday!”

I’m not sure if it was Andrea’s pictures, or Ewan’s comment about photos in my post, but suddenly I was struck by a desire to see photos from people’s homes and neighborhoods. We post pictures of this trip or that, or conferences, or special flowers and walks, but we rarely post pictures of the ordinary and everyday life that surrounds us. I suppose we don’t because it is so ordinary and everyday, and think to ourselves: why on earth would anyone want to see photos of a toaster? After all, these types of photos are just the type of thing that gave bloggers a bad name years ago, when we were trying to establish our ‘credibility’.

All the more reason, then, to post photos of your toaster. Better yet, your arse reflected in your toaster. Now that’s a mental image to take with one to the grave.

I hadn’t been out for a couple of weeks to walk or take pictures, and I have been feeling it, I can tell you. Inspired, or perhaps touched would be a better term, yesterday I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures around me. Nothing was too trivial to photograph, though luckily for you, most were too trivial to post. Even for a mad woman.

For instance, following is my print of the John Everett Millais painting, Ophelia. One can call my Ophelia many things, but not trivial. I must confess that I love Pre-Raphaelite art; in addition to the Millais, I also have a print of John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott.

Though the picture may not do it justice, the frame on the Ophelia print is custom made, and my last truly costly expenditure outside of my car. If I only knew then, what I know now… But these prints aren’t just any old prints–I carried them back with me in a protective tube after my one and only visit to London during Easter holidays, in 2001. I picked them up at the Tate, the actual Tate, where I spent several hours before heading back to the hotel to pack for the trip home. Every time I look at them, I’m reminded of London, and the delight I experienced every second of that trip. I was delighted even when I was asleep. I slept happy, until the French maid entered the room early the next morning because I had forgotten to put out the Do Not Disturb sign. Still–disturbed by a French Maid. I felt like I was in an Agatha Christie novel.


Next to the bed is the desk with my Dell laptop. Currently, it’s a dual boot: Windows 2000 and Ubuntu Linux. I imagine that when Vista comes out, Microsoft will no longer provide updates for 2000. At that time I’ll have to decide whether to keep a Windows machine or go straight Linux.

It doesn’t show in the picture, but the chair for the desk is on wheels, and swivels about. It’s upholstered on the back and seat, and an old brown towel covers the top. The reason for the towel is that Zoë likes to get up on the chair back, at the very top, and claw for all she’s worth. I will have to confess that sometimes when she’s particularly sweet, I’ll accidentally ‘knock’ the towel off, and she’ll take a run and jump up to the top and start in. I’ll grab the chair and start turning it around, real fast. As it turns, she’ll stop clawing, and hunker down, absolute joy writ large across her cute, pussy face. When I stop, she starts clawing again, demonically! until I start spinning her again. We could do this for hours.

It’s my roommate’s chair. He lent it to me. Zoë and I don’t do this when he’s home. I’ll buy him a new chair someday.

When I started taking pictures, I did not clean up first, so the shot of the bed is what it was when I started taking pictures: covered with file folders and a feather duster. I’ve been working on filing taxes and cleaning up my paper work, which accounts for the folders. I’d also been dusting the stereo, hence the duster. Any pun from the juxtaposition of the two was purly unintentional.

Isn’t this a boring post? Oh, not the people I reference–they’re interesting. But then, they’re not showing you pictures of their feather dusters, either. Or their favorite work chair.

My bedroom is my office is my sitting room, so I spend most of my time in the room. I have a very comfortable recliner in the corner and I do a lot of my work on the Mac in this chair–as you can see from the picture. The chair swivels so I can turn around and look out the window. We’re an end unit and I have the corner bedroom. Therefore, I have a corner office with a window. I have arrived.

Remember that boys and girls. Everything is relative.

Next to the chair is a table with folding sides, and on the other side of that the wall length double closet. It has built in shelves along the top and the side, which gives me a lot of places to put things. There’s also enough space between the sliding doors for two side by side skinny wire bookshelves.

I keep my current books and CDs on this, as well as other odds and ends. If you look at the books, what you’ll see are ones on computer technology, web technology (hey Danny), photography, writing, hiking, and history. There’s also some fictional books, though they’re not as easy to see. The CDs hold photos, software, and music. I hadn’t planned this, but these two small shelves could tell anyone who is interested a great deal about me.

Just goes to show that we are defined not by the fancy stuff we own, but by the everyday mess around us. This includes rich people like Bill Gates. You could learn a lot about Bill Gates by going through his bedroom drawers. I bet even rich people have at least one pair of socks with a hole in the toe.

Still in a picture mood, when the roommate got home yesterday, I grabbed the car keys and headed to Forest Park. It was miserable weather — hot, humid, and the air quality makes your eyes hurt. I didn’t care, though. I had to get out of the house.

I was going to walk around the lake but the zoo was still open. See that’s what I love about St. Louis — all these parks and things and most don’t charge a penny. I only had about two hours closing time at the Zoo, but since I didn’t have to pay, I didn’t have to worry about “getting my money’s worth”.

The zoo was almost deserted and I headed for the Penguin and Puffin exhibit, with its 45 degree temperatures. I spent about an hour in the exhibit, enjoying having the place mostly to myself, except for the park attendents. The St. Louis zoo is rated the number one family friendly zoo in the US because the exhibits are so close and personal. But because of this, the zoo has to have people stand by most of the enclosures to keep visitors from disturbing the animals. Though this lovely penguin grooming its feathers didn’t seem to mind.

I was taking photos at the Puffin exhibit when a couple of women with some kids came through. None of the kids was under 12, and one went up to the Puffin glass right by me, stuck his hand in the water and started splashing it at the birds. I told him to stop. He was startled and did stop, and I rather expected his Mom to say something to him or me, but she didn’t. It irks me to see parents not putting controls on their kids at the zoo. Do you let your kids tease and torment the animals? (Of course not, you read my weblog.)

One purpose for zoos is to expose people to wild animals to supposedly generate an empathy for the creatures, but it seemed like every time I’ve gone lately, some kid does something really thoughtless and even a little cruel, and the adults don’t do a damn thing. I’m not surprised at the kids (though these are older kids, and should know better); but I disappointed in the adults.


I was feeling pretty unhappy and sorta disgruntled about the whole thing when I left the penguin habitat. Right outside was the polar bear exhibit and the poor guy was out by his pool, obviously suffering from the heat.

While I was standing there, looking at that poor creature, I could hear the people around me talking. One little kid asked his dad if the ‘poor bear was going to be okay’, and a small group of adults were looking at it and shaking their heads in sympathy. Another guy told his girlfriend he was going to “…find someone who worked at the zoo because this bear needs help,” while the rest of us just looked on with various states of worry and concern on our faces.

It was getting close to closing time so I headed back to the exit. I passed the drinking fountain by the lake and there was a father there with his kids (lots of fathers out I noticed). This fountain is a circular piece of metal that has spigots at various heights, each running all the time, forming both a drinking fountain and a piece of art. The kids were splashing each other and laughing, and the Dad was looking on, smiling until suddenly he ran up to the fountain and cupped some of the water and threw it at one of the little girls. She, cute little thing, screamed with delight and started running around. At that point, everyone was splashing everybody else, and everyone was getting wet.

Brought a smile to my face, and even, dare I say it, a giggle; but I didn’t take a picture. This was their moment, wasn’t mine to take.

Arse, indeed.

But that’s enough stuff for now, I think. Time to get back to the technology, and the lists, and “____women_____”. Save some of the rest of the stuff for another day. Besides, a storms moving in, and I want to take pictures.

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