Sunday Smile: i ♥ a rainy day

polaroid - I ♥ a rainy day
Polaroid self-portrait of me in the rain with my Orla umbrella

The other day my town finally got some rain - it's been very dry 'round these parts, so the rain day was such a blessing! I woke up with a smile and knew I wanted to go for a drive. I get giddy when it rains, more so than when it's sunny. I ended up going along one of my favourite roads leading from Peterborough to nearby Lakefield - it's a windy road that hugs the river. It's my way of "escaping". I ended up at my favourite cafe - the Nutshell Next Door - and took my cappuccino & breakfast bagel to go, so I could sit by the water and daydream in the rain.
I happened to bring my cameras - both a digital and a Polaroid. I was thrilled that I did, because I was able to take the above self portrait. I think I've only done one other self portrait using a Polaroid - it's quite a lovely thing to do. :)
Pretty much none of my digital snaps turned out, thanks to the fact that I still don't have a digital camera that takes great photos. I'm looking into getting a DSLR, but doubt I will - mostly because when it comes to digital, I'm much more of a point-and-click girl. I save my dickering for my film photography. (dickering is not a technical term, is it?)

rainy day Impulse Polaroid
I set up a bunch of plastic containers I happened to have in my car to use as a "tripod" for my self portrait :)
rainy day + my Orla umbrella
Is it obvious that I love my umbrella? and the rain?
rainy day birds
when I got home, tons of starlings were on the tops of trees, stretching their wings & singing a tune.
polaroid - umbrellas
a Polaroid I took a while ago, in the rain, using a Spectra. (yes, more of my Orla Kiely umbrella!)

The Orla Kiely umbrella that I keep referring to? That was one of my impulse buys when I went shopping for Orla goodies in Paris (back in May). I have used this umbrella tons! And I'm not usually an umbrella-user, that's how much I love it :)
with a rainy day smile,


the photography of Nina Leen

Photographer Nina Leen, 1909-1995 - born in Russia, but grew up in Germany, Italy & Switzerland before settling in the States in 1939. She was an acclaimed animal photographer before moving to the USA.
Nina joined LIFE magazine in 1945, one of the first female photographers hired by the magazine.

Here are a few of my favourites from the plethora of Leen photographs you can glean from the internet:

glorious checks!

the lovely Lauren Bacall

teenagers of America

squirrel bath

a woman eating cotton candy.

the Dees triplets, 1964 - how groovy are they?

Nina herself, photographing a model.

portrait of Nina Leen with a Rollieflex, 1949

To find out more about Nina Leen, here is a great reference point via Gallery M
The majority of the images used here are from Google's Life images.
Here's Nina's section on Life's website.

I found it fascinating that Nina was so entranced by bats! She referred to them as her "flying kittens". I, too, am intrigued by these creatures that are so feared, and therefor I adore Nina even more now! I'm going to try to find a copy of The World of Bats, 1970. Hard to even find a photo of the book online! Popular bat book :)

with photography joy,


My Furry Friends...

polaroid - content Strongpaw
a Polaroid of my sweet (okay, not-so-sweet) Strongpaw lounging on my couch.

Today's post is all about my furry little critters that I share space with. I captured my dear old Strongpaw by Polaroid the other day, and then decided to take a few digital snaps too, so I could share the wealth of my critter cuteness with y'all. Really, this is just an excuse to share snaps of my little furballs. enjoy :)

a lounging Strongpaw
Strongpaw further lounging on my couch, this time with a blanket on top.
Grace & Henry face-off

Grace came boofing (a combination of barking & woofing) into my office, because I said "Buttercup" out loud - the word Buttercup (which is my cat Henry's previous name) elicits a very serious barking response from Gracie. Weird, but true. Henry was none-too-pleased by Grace's eruption, and shortly after I took this, he hissed at Grace. Grace smartly ran away the other way.
This is my entertainment. It's better than TV.
Also, note the messy vintage-piled corner of my office. This is the cleanest mess in my office. I particularly love the pillowcase-less pillow on the sofa. That sofa, my beloved mid century teak one, is a WiP (work-in-progress) - I am hoping to have a new awesome comfy foam base for it soon, which I will either cover myself or get professionally done (probably professionally done, because I am not so very crafty).

crazy-eyed Strongpaw
this is Strongpaw, the mighty. She has crazy eyes, which I love. She has the prettiest crazy kitty face.
Grace in the palm of my hand
this is Grace, in the palm of my hand. She loves to just lay her chin on my hand. I think she's telling me she owns me when she does so. Which, by the way, she does. :)

I hope you enjoyed this trip down puppy and kitty lane with me!
I do adore my critters, hence them getting far too much mug time on my blog and Flickr stream.
with furry joy,


Sunday Smile: a Yard Sale and Star Trek

Michele, Astrid & Martin with the epic thrift find: live long and prosper!

I spent the day yesterday helping to host an awesome yard sale with my dear friends Jen and Astrid!
Astrid and I hauled tons of stuff I was selling over to Jen's place to utlilize her prime real estate for a co-yard sale. Jen happens to live right across from our town's giant Saturday Farmer's Market, so our yard sale was hopping!
One of the best parts of the day was when Astrid's dad, Martin, showed us his thrift find. He had me close my eyes until he got it out of his car - when I opened my eyes, I saw the coolest thing ever! A large poster depicting the wisdom learned from Star Trek. I geeked out something awful, and then Astrid squealed upon seeing this masterpiece. Truly, we were all giddy about it!
You can see more about it on Martin's awesome blog, here.

Astrid & I getting loopy mid-way through the day. :)

Astrid at the market
Astrid with the pierogies & sunflowers!

me & Gracie walking through the Market (photo by Astrid)

tiny little baby Chihuahua! Gracie & I getting some puppy love (photo by Astrid)

getting some coffees (iced & hot!) from Kyoto Coffee! yum.

Gracie got all the love at the yard sale :)

Jen's girls ran a cookie & lemon-aid stand, which was a huge hit!

This is the second yard sale I did this year. I keep saying I won't do another, but then I always do. I did two last year, too! This one was awesome 'cause I got to hang with some of my favourite people; really yard sales is all about the social stuff. Seeing friends, meeting new people, putting a smile on a stranger's face - that's what it's all about! That and lemon-aid. :)
It was made even more awesome by the breakfast-making skills of Jen's hubby Ben. That man can make a mean breakfast! And we ate it whilst we were selling our wares. Ah, it was a good day!!

Martin + Star Trek = awesome
once more with feeling, I leave you with Martin & Star Trek

with joy,


a Polaroid : Sunday Smile preview

polaroid - Astrid & sunflowers
I took this Polaroid earlier today of Astrid and Gracie, after our Saturday Market visit.
Astrid has a very tasty pierogi in her hand, which Gracie is mooching after.
There's also a bundle of very pretty sunflowers in hand!
More about today's festivities in tomorrow's Sunday Smile!
stay tuned :)


Voluntary Cat Helper

kitten at LAWS

see that little kitten face above? that is a kitten looking for a forever home.
and he's not the only one. there are so many abandoned kitties that need someone to care for them.
it's almost too much for me to think about.
I get overly emotional about anyone or anything that doesn't have someone to love them.
and yes, cats get to my heart quicker than any other.
so, I finally decided to sign up to be a volunteer at a local animal shelter - LAWS.
I went last Saturday to fill in the paperwork, and got a call Sunday to take a shift on Tuesday!
this past Tuesday was my first volunteer shift, and it was on cat duty.
oh so fitting, don't you think?
all of these furry babies you see here need homes.
LAWS is filled to the brim with kittens and cats.
my heart ached to hold each one of them.
but I was there to work, and boy howdy! did I work!
I lost count of how many litter boxes I cleaned out.
but I do remember holding Atticus because I could tell he needed some love;
he hugged me and didn't want to let go.
if nobody else sees in Atticus what I saw, then I promised him I would bring him home with me.
(I'll take a picture of him next week to show you just how beautiful he is)
for now, here are some precious kitty faces to coo over:

sleepy kitty at LAWS
Smoky at LAWS
stretchy kitty at LAWS
pick me! cat at LAWS
nudge nudge cat at LAWS

I think it may be a challenge for me to go into LAWS every week and spend time with these sweetlings - and not bring them all home with me!
I used to volunteer at veterinary clinics, animal shelters, and wildlife sanctuaries when I was younger, but it got to me and I had to stop. I used to think I'd be a vet or a vet technician. Sadly, my inability to shut off the emotions got in the way and I ended up working with computers instead! heh.
However, LAWS is such a well maintained animal shelter that I think it'll be a good fit. And going in once a week on cat cleaning duty is just the right balance.
And hey, if I end up with a few more cats, what of it?
er, don't tell Gracie the pup I just said that, okay?
with volunteering joy,


Julie Newmar, 1958

The above photo blew me away. Not just because of the phenomenal Julie Newmar (meow!) but also the couch she sits upon, the wall unit behind her (with the built-in radio!), and every single extra bit of retroness involved! swoon.

Of course, there's more Julie to be seen because who could stop at just one photo? Not I, I say!
There's Julie in a towel:

Julie in an impossibly tight knit blue dress:

and Julie making books look sexier than they should:

*above photos by Ralph Morse, 1958 for Life Magazine. These were taken when Julie was in a broadway play entitled "Marriage-go-Round".

Ah, Julie, you were more than just Catwoman. That being said, you were a pretty awesome Catwoman!

Isn't that last image a hoot? I found that randomly whilst searching for Julie as Catwoman images. The happy flower wallpaper really makes it prrfect. ;)
with joy,


Focus on: Ana Albero

I just recently came across Ana Albero's illustration work. I was instantly wowed and in awe.
So, obviously, had to share the bounty! I'll forgo the words, and let you feast upon the art:

Illustrations for Pure Prestige Magazine, UK
polka dots, tartan, stripes, oh my!

Illustration for German NIDO magazine
of course, I love the kitty face at the top

Illustration for Smith Journal
I am in love with the checks!! square is cool! ;)

above: the BIOGRAFIKTION Heads poster.
below: Ana's Heads for the poster:
hello KISS head! :)

Ana's piece for German edition of Le Monde Diplomatique.
Can I just say for the record that this is freaking AWESOME? The triangles!

You can find out more about Ana by visiting her website: http://www.ana-albero.com/
She is also a part of a nifty trio of talented Berlin-based illustrators, who banded together to form Biografiktion: http://www.biografiktion.com/
Check out their fab ABBA comic! I think I may have to get this one.
Okay, I will be kind and stop inundating you with fabulously funky artwork ... for now.
I hope you enjoyed viewing a bit of Ana Albero's work here!
with joy - and inspiration,


Peterborough West Animal Hospital Dog Park

I took Gracie to a brand new privately-owned leash free dog park, and so much fun was to be had! This fenced in happy place was brought to my town by Dr Scott Sargent, owner/operator of the Peterborough West Animal Hospital. Such a generous thing for Dr Sargent to do! 
It's not nearby, this dog park, but it's worth the little drive to get there. It's clean, well fenced, has trees and boulders, and even supplies doggy bags! I was pretty impressed. More importantly, though, Gracie was impressed!
We were lucky to have two other dogs pop in at the same time, so we can really test out the play aspect of a leash free park. Grace had a pretty good time with the basset hound & little white dog. The basset hound stole the show with his short-legged running & hefty howly bark!

the pups sniffing one of the big boulders

Gracie & her two playmates

the rules of the dog park: "most of all have fun!!!"

Gracie runs free
Gracie loved her freedom, without fear of being yelled at or getting ticketed! :)

I'm looking forward to more leash free dog parks coming to my town. It's very much needed near the downtown area, where lots of dogs live in apartments and could use a good run & social time. I had hoped the City would partition a part of the Parks we already have to host such a thing, but no such luck. Who knows, though, maybe one day?
In the meantime, my town's Dog Park Association seems to finally have been given a lot of land by the City in which to host a big leash free dog park. It's kind of out of the way, but still, it's a start! It's much better than me driving almost an hour out of town to take my dog to a leash free park!
Before I had Grace, I never thought about leash free dog parks ... and now, it's something that I'm pretty passionate about. Dogs aren't meant to be constantly tugged on by a collar & leash; they need to run free! Just like any of us on this planet.
Sometimes I just don't get along with civilization. Y'know what I mean? Sometimes I just want my dog to run.
with joy,