Artists on the Street

I spent hours today walking around the center of Brighton, mostly through The Lanes. I used to get lost in them when I was an exchange student at the University of Sussex almost thirty years ago. I believe I bought a pair of not-quite-forest-green suede boots there that I kept for years. Today as I was wandering I heard “Puff the Magic Dragon” being played on piano and followed the sound to Market Street, where I found Mark Davies and His Mobile Piano and took these pictures with his permission. Then he launched into “The Sting.” When I ended up at Market Street again later that day (because I still don’t know The Lanes well), he was gone.

Mark Davies and His Mobile Piano 3, Market Street, The Lanes, Brighton, April 2014 Mark Davies and His Mobile Piano 1, Market Street, The Lanes, Brighton, April 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Mark wasn’t the only man working for his supper on the street. On North Street, on the way back to the Artist Residence, I stopped at Sainsbury’s for a sandwich and some fruit. Outside, Nick was making chalk drawings, complete with a written explanation.Nick at Brighton Pavement Art 4, April 2014

He has a site called “Brighton Pavement Art,” but there isn’t much there. I left him a note about sending him this photo.

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Dreams of Horses

Like many young girls, I went through a horsey phase. I read Black Beauty and Misty of Chincoteague beach fall 2012Chincoteague and played with a plastic horse that I could walk into its stable  by pressing down on its back while moving it forward. My parents or grandparents gave me a delicate china bay with white stockings. I learned that the word “bottom,” when applied to racehorses, meant “heart,” or the quality of never giving up. Neighbors down the block laughed at me because I wanted to take riding lessons. Apparently they thought everyone should learn that skill from their relatives who owned horses.

And then I took those horseback riding lessons when I was 12. I remember a saddle, with me on top, sliding down the side of a pony that had puffed out its stomach while I was cinching the saddle. I remember a magical canter through a meadow. I remember a horse galloping across the paddock with me and then stopping, but I don’t know whether I stopped it. I remember trying to saddle a horse whose back was above my head. It kicked the stall, and then one of the instructors came in and kneed it in the belly.

I ended up afraid of horses but would like not to be.

And all the years since, I have dreamed of going to Assateague and Chincoteague without ever knowing exactly where they were.

In October 2012, I finally arrived. Greater black-backed gulls staked out the lights on the bridge north from Virginia Beach, where we were staying with family, to the first in a string of islands slowing the Atlantic: Fisherman Island, Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and then Chincoteague.

Yellow Duck Bakery Cafe exterior fall 2012Yellow Duck Bakery Cafe breakfast fall 2012Yellow Duck Bakery Cafe Novelty Ducks

 

 

 

 

 

About halfway, we stopped for breakfast at the Yellow Duck Café in Exmore, a whimsical, homey place. As you can tell from these pictures, my breakfast was not exactly healthy.

We crossed the Assateague Channel and drove out to Toms Cove visitor center. I was searching for seaside and sharp-tailed sparrows along a brushy stream and wondering to myself, “Where is that red-winged blackbird I keep hearing?”  Very possibly, it was a seaside sparrow, but I never saw it, and for some reason I felt I shouldn’t linger there. We walked along the beach for a while, and then headed back to the car. I think we drove the wildlife loop, looking for birds and ponies, and of course, we found the ponies just as we were getting desperate for lunch.

Chincoteague ponies fall 2012After lunch, I left Todd at a coffee shop to go birding along the Woodland Trail. I stayed a little longer than he would have liked, but—there is always so much to explore!

It was a long day, with about five hours of driving. We got up early to get to the refuge while the birds were still active, and we drove back in the dark.

Now that I’ve been to the place of my horsey childhood dreams, I’m partly satisfied. But I would still like to go back. That’s the kind of traveler I am—the one who almost always wants to go back, retrace her steps, remember, and then add a new memory.Chincoteague sun through trees fall 2012

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For you diehard Misty fans: Horse of the Week: Misty of Chincoteague and Jane Badger Books, a website specializing in horse and pony fiction.

 

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National Museum of the American Indian, D.C.

I could spend weeks browsing the museums in Washington, D.C., both on the National Mall and off. But in late 2012 Todd and I had only part of a day. My first stop, the National Museum of the American Indian, was both grand and intimate. NMAI exterior, 2012According to a brochure I picked up (nearly 18 months ago now), “The building is aligned to the cardinal directions and to the center point of the Capitol dome.” To me the design of the building evoked the flow of water and how it shapes land. NMAI exterior, close-up, 2012Inside, it was spacious. This shot from an upper floor gives an idea of the scale of the place. NMAI interior, ground floor and staircase, 2012One of my favorite exhibits there was the wall of tribal names. We Are the Evidence, NMAI, 2012Here I zoomed in to find “Diné,” the Navajos’ name for themselves.Close-up of We Are the Evidence, NMAI, 2012 I’ve been down to that reservation, the largest in the United States, a few times since 1999, to Black Mesa and, once, to Window Rock, the capital, to see Star Wars dubbed in Navajo. But it is only one among nearly 600 in the United States alone—in addition to the First Nations in Canada and all the indigenous tribes from Mexico to the tip of South America.

When I was growing up in Kansas City, I didn’t know about the Sac and Fox  or Potawatomi reservations nearby, nor that Oklahoma was originally Indian territory. I thought there weren’t that many people in the Americas when Europeans arrived. I could excuse myself by saying I avoided history in high school or that American high schools teach a lot of misinformation about the original inhabitants of the Americas. But, really, I didn’t bother to find out until I had a work-study job in graduate school at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. The then-director of AISES, Norbert Hill, was Oneida, one of the nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

This statue commemorates the Oneidas who helped Revolutionary War soldiers survive the winter at Valley Forge. Allies in War, Partners in Peace, Edward Hlavka, gift of the Oneida Nation to the NMAI, 2012From left to right, George Washington; Polly Cooper, who taught the soldiers how to cook corn; and Oskanondonha, who helped to convince the Oneida to side with the colonists. I remember reading somewhere that one of the largest items in the U.S. budget during George Washington’s presidency was wars with the Indians. I wonder if he fought the Oneida, and if they ever regretted helping him.

Sacred Rain Arrow was selected by Senator Daniel Inouye, former chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, at the invitation of sculptor Allan Houser to choose any piece from his collection of works. The sculpture was inspired by the story of an Apache who shot an arrow into the Spirit World that carried a prayer for rain.Sacred Rain Arrow, Allan House, NMAI, 2012 It used to be in display in the committee’s meeting room and is now on loan to the Smithsonian.

When I look at these pictures I think how inadequate they are to convey all the museum has to offer. I hope you’ll visit the National Museum of the American Indian in DC or New York yourself and see how magical it is.

 

 

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Firecracker Oysters

Todd is back in Louisiana for his two-month checkup after surgery to correct superior canal dehiscence syndrome (SCDS) in his left ear. In honor of the occasion, I’m posting the only decent photo I got from our dinner in November 2013 at Mac’s on Boston Street.

Located in downtown Covington, Louisiana, Mac’s is a little more than a year old. It wasn’t crowded the night we were there (a Wednesday, I think), but I hope it sticks around because it’s a beautiful house restaurant that serves thoughtful variations on comfort food.

The ceiling was painted pumpkin orange. The tables were laid with white cloths, and there was a rose on each table that was just opening. We sat in the main room and looked out onto an enclosed porch.

It was the night before Todd’s surgery, so he wanted to eat a healthful meal, and I was in the mood for appetizers. The crawfish and andouille macaroni and cheese was creamy but not as spicy as I expected. The firecracker oysters were crisp and light. Although I liked the mango salsa, I wanted more of the wasabi aioli to balance out the dish’s overall sweetness.Firecracker Oysters, Mac's on Boston Street , Covington, LA, 2013

Todd’s duck and sausage gumbo did deliver the heat; the roux was dark and rich.

His Linda’s Louisiana Cobb salad, with crab and mildly blackened gulf shrimp replacing chicken, was served unmixed, the veggies dolloped around the lettuce with the crab on top. I had Just a Salad, with artichokes, kalamata olives, roma tomatoes, red onions, feta, and toasted pine nuts in an herb vinaigrette.

Mac's on Boston Street on Urbanspoon

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Christmas in Boulder

Here is my favorite gift from this Christmas: a gold medal.Gold medal front from Todd to Beth, Dec 2013 I had been thinking that 2013 wasn’t my most productive year and I couldn’t think of anything I had done to deserve a medal, but then I turned it over and started to cry. Gold medal back from Todd to Beth, Dec 2013November 21 was the second anniversary of my diagnosis with triple-negative breast cancer. It’s not quite as good as the second anniversary of the end of treatment, but I’ll take it. And here’s the guy who gave it to me. Todd with stocking Betty made, Dec 24, 2013He’s sitting next to our tiny tree decorated with as many ornaments as its wimpy branches would hold, displaying the stocking his mother made for him, um, just a few years ago. All the sequins in the children’s costumes were sewed on individually. Unfortunately, he got the flu for Christmas, which put a damper on things, but here he’s doing his best to look cheerful.

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Eastern Warblers Delight Front-Range Birders

It’s been a good month for life birds. I’ve seen three new warblers in the Denver metro area  in the past month: a prothonotary warbler, which is named after a Vatican official who wears yellow vestments; an immature bay-breasted warbler, which has a green back, gray wings with bright white wing bars, cream-colored underparts dusted with rose on the flanks, and faint “spectacles”—it was a stunning bird even in immature plumage; and yesterday an ovenbird, named for the shape of its nest. Ovenbirds produce a loud “teacher-teacher” song that is commonly heard in the eastern woods where most of them live, and I had heard that song in Colorado and elsewhere, but I had never seen one before. This one wasn’t singing because there was no need for it to defend a territory in winter. Someday I hope to see and hear an ovenbird at the same time.Ovenbird in Longmont, Dec 2013

Thanks to the CO-Birder in Longmont who let me and Todd into his house and gave us the run of his backyard. The bird was very cooperative, appearing within a few minutes of our arrivals. And the sharp-shinned hawk lunching on a starling was an unexpected sight.

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Who Dat? Ear. Ear Who?

Ear and Balance Institute, that’s who, and surgeon Gerard Gianoli, the reason Todd and I are in Louisiana again, almost five years after his first surgery to correct superior canal dehiscence syndrome, or SCDS (an area of missing bone above one of the canals of the inner ear), on his right side. This time, as you can tell from Dr. G’s signature, the operation is on the left side.Left Ear Surgery Dr. Gianoli's signature on Todd's left ear Nov 2013 IMG_3538I don’t remember all this “Who Dat?” stuff from 2009, but now it’s everywhere. Left Ear Surgery Covington Who Dat sign Nov 2013Dr. G has changed his approach to the surgery, which Todd explains in this blog post. So if you want to know what “transmastoid” means, then read it. The benefit to Todd is an easier recovery—he spent only one night in the hospital, for instance, and has less pain. Dr. G has also added an additional procedure, however—he still uses a bone graft to close the dehiscence (hole), but now he also reinforces the oval and round windows in the inner ear by packing material around them. That means complete recovery will take longer. Todd may not have hearing in that ear for months. But one thing hasn’t changed—he still was sent home with the half-Leia bun. Left Ear Surgery Todd at Homewood Suites after surgery Nov 2013 IMG_3539That stayed on from Thursday until Sunday, and then I had the delightful task of pulling it off (since I didn’t have scissors) and tugging on the cotton stuffed into his ear until it also came out. Luckily there were no screams of pain.Left Ear Surgery Todd doing vestibular exercises Nov 2013 IMG_3555 Here he is doing vestibular exercises, in which he looks from one object to another, with or without moving the head. It’s supposed to retrain the inner ear.

P.S. I didn’t bring my external flash with me on this trip, which meant I had fewer options to deal with the variety of lighting on the road from the airport, in the hospital, and in the hotel room.

P.P.S. If you or someone you know has SCDS, please check out SCDS Support, an online forum.

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All Roads Lead to Afghanistan

Last October I spent a week in Washington, D.C., visiting friends and family. Although I took many pictures in the area, I neglected to take any of my gracious hosts or their puppies or my friends, including one I hadn’t seen since 1985. So I’m afraid pictures of food and tourist attractions will have to do.

D.C. is a food mecca, in my opinion, especially in the suburbs. Thirty years ago, when I was working in Arlington, Virginia, you could get things like Turkish food there that are still difficult to find in Denver. Todd and I were staying in Reston, not too far from a strip mall that had an Afghan restaurant, at least one Indian restaurant, pho, and I can’t remember what else.

I had to try the Afghan restaurant, Charcoal Kabob, of course. I had a lamb kabob on naan with mint chutney. Charcoal Kabob, naan, lambNothing too unusual. But then there was this poem on the wall. Charcoal Kabob, Afghanistan

I’ve been wanting to travel to Afghanistan, despite all the dangers, for years. Before 9/11, in the period between the Russian and US occupations when few people in this country were paying any mind to the graveyard of empires, I heard of the Taliban atrocities against women (and other groups) via feminist organizations. I was glad of the US invasion, though I’m not so glad about the way it has played out over the years. I’ve read a couple of books, such as Woman Among Warlords by Malalai Joya (who complains bitterly about the US cozening of warlords, whom she calls war criminals), and The Places In Between by Rory Stewart, so that makes me an expert, right? And I live in Colorado, the home state of the founder of Mountain2Mountain, Shannon Galpin, who is currently collecting donations for the Afghan men’s and women’s cycling teams.

Charcoal KabobSo of course I should go. And drink some more Ayran yogurt drink with these guys.

Travel desire is a funny thing.

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Bad Poetry

Lately I’ve been going through my journals from high school, college, and graduate school and have been alternately appalled, amused, and reminded of events I had forgotten. In one journal from my poetry class at Georgetown University the second semester of my senior year (Can you say “senioritis”?), I found this stellar effort.

While dozing on a pebbly beach,
He saw, beyond his reach, young girls
who chained themselves to fences. “Oi!”
So close. How not to laugh at boys
with greasy, spiked, and orange hair
who pose as rebels. Nearby waves 
that broke and soaked him whispered. He awoke
and fled the darkened sea. 

It has everything, I think: awkward rhythms, a variation on “O!” and the cliché awakening from a dream. It made me laugh so hard.

Roland Flint, who was poet laureate of Maryland for a while, taught that class. He should not be blamed for the quality of this poem.

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Boulder’s 100-Year Flood

Many, many inches of rain have fallen in the cities along the Front Range in the past few days. Lyons has been cut off, and other cities, including Denver, are evacuating some residents.

Here on the southern edge of Boulder, only about half a mile from South Boulder Creek, we are lucky to still be dry.

This morning we walked east along South Boulder Road, on the trail that parallels the road, to see if we could get to the creek path. We hadn’t made it far when we saw a tiny waterfall where no waterfall should be—right in the middle of the path ahead.Beth Partin Photos

We returned to the road. Half a mile farther, I realized we weren’t going to be birding the South Boulder Creek path this morning. The gate was blocked by debris, and most of the path was flooded.Todd walking toward entrance to South Boulder Creek Trail, 9-12-13

Just past the gate, the bridge over South Boulder Creek wasn’t really doing its job anymore, but it was still in place—which is more than can be said for some of the roads and bridges in the area.Bridge over South Boulder Creek at 55th and South Boulder Road, 9-12-13

Todd saw a “Road Closed” sign up ahead, and when we got closer we noticed a few drivers had had SUV fantasies about their sedans.South Boulder Road flooded, 9-12-13

Now it’s late Thursday night, and I think all the roads out of Boulder are closed. I hope all the evacuees are in a warm, dry place and that their homes and belongings aren’t  damaged.

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In Remembrance of Matt

Today is my eldest brother Matt’s birthday. He was born in 1952, so he would have been 61. He died in late January 2012.Matt Partin, Kansas City, 2005

I was missing him today, thinking of how I wish I could have broken through his reserve and had a closer relationship with him.

I am happy to say that Matt’s research for a book on Harry Truman’s first election to the US Senate is available at the State Historical Society of Missouri. The society graciously agreed to keep his papers so others could benefit from his detailed research on Kansas City politics and policies in the 1920s and 1930s.

Here is a short excerpt from my brother’s book proposal:

…the biographies and other works about Truman have the history of his time in Kansas City politics backwards. In fact, the history was actually put backwards in the 1930s–1940s. That was done by frustrated election opponents of Truman and other Democrats, by an equally frustrated and virulently Republican Kansas City Star, and by William Reddig, a Star editor and the author of Tom’s Town: Kansas City and the Pendergast Legend. Reddig’s book was a campaign attack-history aimed at helping prevent Truman’s reelection in 1948, by implicitly portraying him as a knowing and willing beneficiary of the corruption, crime, electoral fraud and violence which, according to Reddig, pervaded and sustained the local Democratic coalition. Spread widely by biographers, who mistook Tom’s Town for a true history of Truman’s part in Kansas City politics, Reddig’s stories have kept that history backwards for decades. My book will put that history back around to straight forward.

I intend to scan my brother’s book proposal and put it up on this site to provide publicity for his research. I would like Truman historians to read some of the articles he copied from Kansas City newspapers before they become illegible.

Here is a link to the Matthew K. Partin (1952–2012) Collection (K1254) at the State Historical Society of Missouri. (This link may change in the future when the SHSMO’s Columbia branch sets up a new website.) The collection page contains a link to a PDF describing Matt’s collection. It states that Matt’s research was for a novel, but actually the collection includes a proposal for a nonfiction book about Truman as well as three chapters of a novel.

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Cancer Jitters, Because Why Not?

I was stumped by my funk last week. What did I have to complain about?

I’d had my week of checkups, and was told that everything was okay. I’d been felt up by two female doctors and a resident, another woman had squeezed me into the mammography machine, and I’d been assured that lymph nodes show up all the time on mammograms.

Somehow I wasn’t comforted.

Then I realized I don’t trust mammograms. My primary tumor never showed up on one, though an offending lymph node did and was promptly labeled benign by the radiologist. (Maybe I should have sued…)

I wasn’t getting a blood test this week of checkups, or an MRI. If those two tests are negative, I feel secure for a while. But without them, I don’t.

I feel fine. I’m getting stronger—I’ve even done a few pushups! My brain is waking up to the fact that it doesn’t work as well as it used to. With the history of Alzheimer’s in my father’s family, that’s worrisome, but I can always grow more neurons by learning to dance or studying a language.

At some point, I have to get used to not knowing for sure. I guess that a year after the end of treatment for breast cancer is just too soon.

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Navajo Star Wars

A week or so ago, in a state very, very close (just kitty-corner to Colorado), Todd and Beth went by this, Close-up of Sleeping Ute Mountainand then we stopped at Window Rock at the memorial for the Code TalkersWindow Rock with Code Talker statue, Arizona, July 2013and thought about World War II, and then we saw this. Todd and Beth in front of Navajo Star Wars sign, Arizona, July 2013And then we sat in a rodeo arena and saw thisStar Wars Navajo opening scroll, Window Rock, Arizona, July 2013on a specially built screen.

Imagine that only about 400,000 people in the entire world spoke English and you had never seen a movie in English. And then one day someone dubbed a famous movie into English. Think how happy you would feel. There was such joy in that arena.

I guess it was a good translation.

The Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona, arranged to have Star Wars dubbed into Navajo. Here is a link to the casting call in May.

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West Fork Fire

From our campsite at East Fork campground, where some firefighters are staying, we can smell the West Fork fire, but we really haven’t seen it. Just smoke in our lungs, and a little in the valley in this picture on the way to the campground. West Fork Fire, smoke gets in your eyesAs we drove along newly reopened Highway 160 toward Pagosa Springs, signs forbade us from stopping—I suppose to keep rubberneckers from getting in the way of firefighting crews. West Fork fire, firefighters, Colorado wildfiresAnd here is the reason fires burn so hot these days—beetle kill. beetle kill trees, pine bark beetle, hot fires, Colorado wildfires, West Fork FireAlthough the hillsides look green in these pictures, there are dead trees everywhere—this particular hillside was not the worst I saw.

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Meeting the Man with the Big Black Backpack

While I was walking through Scott Carpenter Park this morning about 10, someone said “Hello” to me softly. I turned around to see a man with grayish hair, a large black backpack that looked heavy, and another bag in his right hand. I returned the greeting and kept walking. Then I stopped to look for birds at the place where the path skirts some backyards on its way to Boulder Creek. I was hoping to see a green-tailed towhee here again. He stopped to talk to me.

I told him I had just been to the dentist, and he said he needed to go down to the VA and get some dental work. He said he didn’t live in Denver anymore because there were too many people. Although he didn’t look old enough, he claimed to have served during the Vietnam War in the South and in California, where he was discharged for drinking the water. He said it had benzene in it. It was an intriguing story, although it didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t ask if he had been homeless since then.

We talked about birds a bit. He said something about a woodpecker with a red throat—perhaps a sapsucker? I asked him if he had ever seen a pileated woodpecker, and he said yes, they looked like Woody Woodpecker. Then we talked about BP being done with the cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico and laughed about how the cleanup would take decades, not just three years. He described how the dispersant broke up the oil into smaller and smaller pieces and how shrimp consume that chemical and oil. Finally, he apologized for interrupting my birding and said he had to walk down the path a while. We introduced ourselves and shook hands.

He was a very nice man, and at no point did he make me feel uncomfortable by approaching too close or asking for money. I wonder if he was feeling lonely that day, or if he makes a point of greeting people as he trudges around Boulder with “all his worldly goods.”

 

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Third Time in NYC Pays for All

We spent three nights in New York City on my third visit there, graciously hosted by friends from college. Living up north, near Fort Tryon Park, our friends said they were on their way out of the city. Fort Tryon Park benches NYC Oct 2012They had a huge apartment by local standards, but I think the logistics of getting three young children out of the building—whether for school or a visit to the park—was beginning to wear. I felt a bit jealous when my friend described all the jazz clubs he used to visit when he first lived in the city. And as we walked through the Meatpacking District and along the High Line, I was grabbing at an experience that was always moving on, away from me.Cafe along High Line, NYC, Oct 2012

When I was just done with college in the mid-1980s, when moving to New York would have made sense for someone who wanted to be a writer, I didn’t do it. I don’t remember having a particular urge to be there, or maybe I was afraid of not being able to pay the rent. It may have seemed too vast to a young woman from Kansas City View form High Line, NYC, Oct 2012who dreamed of going to India or living in London. It doesn’t make any sense, but I’m more inclined to live in New York now than I have ever been, though I don’t know how long I’d want to stay. It would be nice to stay for more than three days. Three months, maybe.

My friend took me on a tour of Central Park at my request; Todd was trying to work that day. Six
weeks after the end of cancer treatment, I wasn’t strong enough to circumnavigate the entire park, but we did visit the center of the park from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir to Strawberry Fields and the Alice in Wonderland statue. I believe we started at 86th Street, across from the building where Tunnel Central Park Oct 2012 Alice in Wonderland statue Central Park Oct 2012John Lennon lived. Somewhere in there—I was still a bit dazed, I realize now—we stopped at stairs leading down to a fountain by a small lake (Turtle Pond?) and up to the beautiful tunnel at right, where a group of teenagers were singing and a man blew bubbles as large as exercise balls.

Fountain Central Park Oct 2012 Bubble man Central Park Oct 2012That night we went out for dinner at Eataly Birreria, a rooftop restaurant and brewery, starting off with meat and cheese and progressing to more meat and—in my case—a chopped kale salad. The food and drink were good, though the waiter tugging at my plate before I had finished all the food was a bit disconcerting. Afterward we browsed the shops downstairs—it was a fun place.

Birreria NYC Oct 2012

(For some reason, writing that reminds me of my first visit with another college friend in, I think, August 1981. We were having treats somewhere, and she told the waiter in no uncertain terms that what he thought was a petit four was definitely not.)

Todd at Sarge's (with Catherine O'Neill), NYC, Oct 2012After saying goodbye to our friends, we stopped at Sarge’s for brunch with my niece. Holland Tunnel leaving NYC Oct 2012We drove through intense traffic to the Holland Tunnel. And our brief stay in the city was over.

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Roadside Birding

I traveled a lot in May, which gave me the opportunity to take pictures of new places. I took this picture of an American bittern from the road in Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in central Kansas. Birding is something I do to relax, and photography is work, so I don’t usually take bird photos—I don’t want to ruin one of my hobbies with work. But this was so easy, I couldn’t resist.American bittern, Beth Partin Photos, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge

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Eco-Cycle: Zero Waste for Peace

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Eco-Cycle and I go back a long way. I volunteered for them in Broomfield for several years, and I visit the Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials a couple of times a month, mainly because my apartment building doesn’t offer composting. But … Continue reading

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Selling Photos at the Colorado Cup

I was excited about setting up a booth and displaying my photos at the Colorado Cup. Fantasies of selling enough prints to pay for the booth fee and the supplies filled my head. How hard could it be? I asked myself. After all, my prints were reasonably priced—only $20 for an 8 by 10. Even the most expensive ones, the matted 8 by 12s, were only $40. Surely I’d get a few takers.

Beth selling photos, Beth Partin Photos

Photo by Todd Bradley.

Unfortunately, the Colorado Cup didn’t draw more than a few hundred people this beautiful weekend. I think everyone else was out enjoying the weather after our snowy April.

It was too bad for the vendors and the skaters, some of whom came from as far away as Las Cruces, New Mexico. The roller derby was fun, especially the bouts between Grand Junction and Ark Valley (Salida) and between Crossroads City Derby and Fort Collins. But the rest of the time, I saw at a table and talked to perhaps 15 people about derby or photographs. I got a lot of compliments, and some people took my cards. But I made no sales.

I’ll chalk it up to marketing and hope the people who took my cards will find Beth Partin Photos.

Next up is finding a coffeehouse to display my photos. That means more expense for framing. Soon, I hope, I’ll be making some money to pay for all these supplies.

 

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TheraBionic Device May Help with Advanced Liver Cancer

I just heard about a new treatment device for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) and wanted to share the news with my readers. This bioelectromagnetic device is called TheraBionic, and according to some friends whose child has liver cancer, it

has successfully completed Phase I & II trials, and will soon undergo Phase III. The device itself is very non-invasive—a small box about the size of a pencil case with a spoon-like attachment. Patients turn it on, put the spoon into their mouths, and sit for an hour while it sends low-level electromagnetic waves through the body. Patients do this three times a day and experience virtually no side effects.

It’s not so easy for people living in the United States to join the trials for TheraBionic, however, as they have been conducted in Brazil. So my friends, with help from doctors at MD Anderson in Houston and Northwestern in Chicago and a patient advocate at the University of California at San Diego, applied to the Food and Drug Administration to use the device on a compassionate basis.

They started this process in December and just received approval. They gave me permission to publicize the device on this website.

I was not aware that individuals could set up their own trial with approval from the FDA. That’s good to know.

Here is some information from the website:

TheraBionic has solved a central problem in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. Because most drugs are metabolized by the liver, many patients do not tolerate therapy for this disease as they have severely impaired liver function.  With current treatments on the market, patients with hepatocellular carcinoma have a very limited life expectancy, ranging from 6-12 months.

In contrast to current treatments, no significant side effects have been observed with the use of the TheraBionic device in the treatment of 41 study patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma and severely impaired liver function. TheraBionic treatment showed clear benefit in 20 of the 41 (49.8%) patients who experienced either significant tumor shrinkage (4) or stable disease for more than three months (16). Seven of the 11 (63.6%) patients who experienced pain prior to TheraBionic treatment initiation reported either complete or partial disappearance of pain. There were several very long-term responders to TheraBionic treatment, which suggests that TheraBionic treatment may offer control of advanced cancer for several years.

So, TheraBionic shrank the tumor in 4 out of 41 patients, and 16 others lived three months longer than they would have otherwise.

The overview page on the website also mentioned a 2012 Phase II trial for advanced breast cancer.

 

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A New England Surprise

Ah, Claremont. We stayed in New Hampshire for three nights with a friend who despised the place and has since left it for the other coast. gravestones, grandpaOur friend lived on the top floor of a bright yellow house, which I didn’t photograph, near the cemetery where I took some of these pictures. It was fun to see her after years—reconnecting with friends was one theme of this trip—and we found we didn’t mind Claremont. Not for three days, anyway.cemetery, cemeteries, old gravestones

Claremont is a former industrial town that looks down on its luck. Perhaps the rainy weather that accompanied us from Burlington had something to do with it. Todd and I spent two days exploring the downtown and the cemetery.historic downtowns, New England, brick buildings, New Hampshire, Claremont We discovered a down-home restaurant and a diner, a nice little library, and trees that made us forget the gray skies, even though they had not yet matched the brilliance of forests in the Adirondacks.Claremont, New Hampshire, red trees, fall colors, autumn, old churches, spiresClaremont NH tree tipped with red Oct 2012

The thing about a town with a long history? It offers a lot to photographers.  All those industrial buildings practically begged to have their pictures taken.Claremont, New Hampshire, New England, mill, brick buildings, old buildings I squeezed in as much photography as I could in three days, wishing the entire time for a wider-angle lens. 

 

 

 

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Beth Partin Photos is up on Smugmug

I’ve been working on my photography site for a while, and I’ve decided it’s ready for public viewing. So head on over to Beth Partin Photos, which is a SmugMug site, check out my photos, and sign the Guestbook. Feel free to share the photos online or even buy one!

I have about 50 photos up there now, and I will be adding more as time goes on.

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Back to Boulder

I’m sitting in the game chair I bought for $10 from Goodwill, on the top floor of the town home Todd and I are renting until the end of January. We are near 28th and Jasmine in Park Hill. It was designed to be a quiet residential neighborhood, so the only things we can walk to are the Hiawatha Davis rec center (very nice!), about 10 minutes away; a small shopping district the same distance in the opposite direction; and Stapleton, about 20 minutes east of us. This area has an interesting mix of ethnicities and houses: many of the houses are small and rather boxlike, or perhaps Foursquare, but others, especially along Monaco and Montview and 23rd Avenue, are much grander affairs. This pair of houses epitomizes the neighborhood: gentrifying, but luckily not as ostentatiously on most blocks as the stucco house might lead you to believe.Park Hill Denver

Park Hill is not a walkable neighborhood like Baker. I have seen people walking their dogs and people walking to and from the rec center, but most people drive. Two blocks on Kearney south of 23rd feature a liquor store; a bakery and café called Cake Crumbs; a cheese and small plates joint called Neighbors, where we had an intriguing concoction with eggplant crisps, tomato, and goat cheese; and gymnastics and martial arts studios. Farther west on 23rd is Spinelli’s, a famous Denver market that I recommend visiting; a bookstore; and the Cherry Tomato, which I have yet to try.

South of Martin Luther King Boulevard, where we are staying, is probably one-third white and two-thirds black and Latino, but north of MLK is less white. Since I moved away from Washington, DC, I’ve lived in mostly white neighborhoods. I’m enjoying this one, especially since we’ll be living in Boulder from now on, which pretty much rules out the possibility of an ethnically diverse living situation.

I’ve lived in so many different places since June 2011 that I like the idea of settling down, but all the same I can’t help feel a pang for Seattle or New York, which I just visited for the first time in decades, or Denver. Boulder has Todd’s employer and Pearl Street and the mountains, but it’s grown so rich and, well, pretty. I like a little more grit.

That’s why I’ve chosen to live across from the Table Mesa park and ride. That area can’t be accused of grit, and it’s not really walkable either, but at least I’ll have easy access to Boulder, Lafayette, and Denver by bus when Todd has the car. I can walk to Vic’s Espresso or take the bus to Cafe Solé or the library. And it was the cheapest option. We decided to stop traveling in order to replenish our savings; choosing this apartment was the responsible thing to do.

 

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The Spot Lives Up to Its Name

This is a restaurant review—but it’s really about the feel of the place rather than the food it served.

On our next-to-last day in Burlington, Vermont, I was hanging out in our tiny hotel room at the Bel-Aire, and Todd was shooting roller derby. It was raining, and I wanted lunch but didn’t want to get soaked. So I walked down Shelburne Road to The Spot, which is diner-ish, but also very, very modern.Burlington restaurants

The Spot bills itself as a surf-style restaurant, and there is a bit of a Wahoo’s vibe going on, but I didn’t see any spam on the menu. I did admire the exterior and the bank of Macs on the inside, at the counter, where I waited a few minutes for a table.Apple Mac, The Spot Burlington, killer grindage

The service was accommodating. All I wanted for lunch was soup and bread, but then the pesto on the “Build-Your-Own-Sandwich” list caught my eye. So I asked the waitress if she could bring me toast and pesto and call it a sandwich.Build your own sandwich, killer grindage
That and the clam chowder (tasty, and easy on the cream) Burlington restaurants, clam chowderand a chocolate chip cookie completed my lunch. I think all of it cost about $7.

The Spot on Urbanspoon

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Not Taken with Burlington

Burlington was not my favorite place. I don’t know why—maybe it was the cold gray weather—but I just couldn’t get into it. I liked our motel, the Bel-Aire, the kind of lodging Todd is very good at finding—small, older, not-chain. Bel-Aire Motel, Burlington motelsEven though it was twice as expensive as most of these kinds of motels—Burlington is a college town—and even though it didn’t serve breakfast, it did offer coffee all day long, the proprietor was willing to chat whenever I came by, and it was within walking distance of downtown (about a mile). It was also within walking distance of a Lake Champlain Chocolates store, but I didn’t discover that until the last day.

Perhaps my funk had something to do with the need to finish an editing job that had taken twice as long as I told the author it would take. I was stuck in the tiny hotel room a lot, while Todd was off shooting a roller derby regional tournament. I was able to bird Delta Park on Lake Champlain (an adventure in itself because of the confusing layout of that neighborhood and the Vermont habit of providing streets signs only for the roads you’re approaching) and Green Mountain Audubon Center, which was moderately birdy and very beautiful. Audubon centers, Green Mountain Audubon CenterThe woods were mysterious, even if the fall colors were much less showy than what we’d seen in the Adirondacks. 

That Saturday in late September, I walked downtown to have dinner and use up the rest of my Macy’s gift certificate. As I strolled down the pedestrian mall, I noticed several bears that had been painted by local artists. It must be a trend: Denver has its painted cows, and Burlington has it bears.

At first I had difficulty choosing a restaurant. I didn’t want to be the middle-aged woman eating by herself in a restaurant full of undergraduates. I rejected two or three because they didn’t look single-friendly and instead settled on Mr. Crêpe, a fast-casual joint. Burlington restaurants, French restaurantsIt wasn’t very crowded, and I felt comfortable there.Mr. Crepe, Burlington restaurants I ordered the Super Spinach, a larger crêpe filled with spinach, a little cheese, diced tomatoes, olives, and cilantro, along with two fried eggs. Super Spinach crepe, Mr. Crepe, French restaurantsAlthough the filling wasn’t traditional, the vegetables tasted fresh, and I was happy that they were willing to fry the eggs (which are usually scrambled).

After dinner and shopping, I stopped by the Lake Champlain store for another round of chocolate indulgence (the day before, I had their peppermint hot chocolate). That and the Audubon Center were my favorites during my short visit to Vermont.

 

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