Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Then and Now: The Band


Usually on a Friday night, I walk in the door, drop my stuff, and sit like a zombie trying to recover from the week. But, last Friday, my former, and hopefully soon to be current, guitar teacher called and mentioned the band was playing at a new restaurant that night.

The band is incredible. The voices blend perfectly. And, they are all excellent musicians as well.

Meet Then and Now.

First: Chuck. Chuck has a fantastic voice and range. He is also the brother to Judy.

Second, Judy.

Third Judy, Mike, and Scott. Judy and Mike are married. Chuck, Judy, and Mike have been making music together since high school!. And, you can tell they love what they are doing.

Scott joined them a few years ago. Scott is one of the most talented guitar players I have ever met. He can play rockabilly, classical, heavy metal, and country effortlessly. And, he switches between them without hesitation. One of the most amazing things he does is to arrange music for the fingerstyle guitar. Do a You-Tube search for Scott and you will see and hear some incredible music.

My thanks to the band. They were fantastic. I hope to hear you again and do some additional photos for you!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sock Puppet

I just thought this was a funny pic. A portrait of sorts. This little "guy" has entertained thousands of kids. Big J and Little J (D1's two children and my grandchildren  #2 and #4) love this. The Big J is learning to stuff him back in the Jack-in-the-Box and, to turn the handle. That's large muscle development skills! And, Little J jumps, startled, and laughes.

And no, I didn't get his permission before posting his pic! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dunn Bros One Sunny Morning

I was in Dunn Bros, a local coffee shop that I often requent, having a nice cup of coffee...relaxing...the warm sun shining through the large windows.   In walked the gentlemen below with his daughter; she appeared approximately 4 or 5 years old.  They shared an ice cream drink of some kind.  And, they sat on opposite sides of the checker board.  They played checkers. 

It was fun to watch him teach her.   I didn't ask to photograph her.  But, I did ask if I could take this pic and include it in the blog.  I also took a few of the sunlight on the checkerboard. 

Meet Dave.  Dave, you have a smart daughter there.   Well done.  Keep up the good work. 

I just liked the shadows on the board.

Thanks Dave for letting me interrupt your game.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Below is the Big H.  She turns 1 on St. Paddy's day.   Whereever she is 20 years from now, I will be there watching like a hawk and making sure nothing bad happens that day!

Last night, I watched her take her first steps.   She crawled up the basement stairs without slowing down..and kept right on going!  This girl is on a mission.

She is the third grandchild and the only girl.  I am going to teach her how to paddle a canoe, portage, build a fire, shoot, fish, and fight.  It is a tough world out there.  She may end up thanking me one day.

Meet the Big H.

Friday, February 24, 2012

You don't get to pick family

For those who wonder why I often appear to have such a curmudgeon-like personality and seem to lack any sense of compassion! :)

Ohhh...I am in trouble again!  This will be the 87th time I have been kicked out of the will.  I am now down to $0.11 in the inheritance pool!

Thanks Mom!

More Friends and Acquaintances

While Megan was visiting, two other friends stopped by.  I first met Kasey as she was, as we all do, going through a very challenging time in her life.  She has not only survived that, but has grown into a delightful, funny, incredibly healthy and open person.  She has been a good friend to D1 (that's Daughter 1 for those who don't know).

Meet Kasey:

And meet Kasey's sister-in-law (whom I have never met before and whose name I cannot remember!)

My thanks to both of you for the photograph!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Friends and Acquaintances

One of the things I enjoy when visiting D1 (that's my daughter) and son-in-law is meeting their friends.  They have some fascinating friends. 

I hadn't met Megan before my last visit.  But, D1 told me that they get together quite often to walk.  And, I don't mean they go for a walk around the block.  They go for 5 mile walks in the snow, rain, snow or fair weather!  It seems Megan is going to be joining the family via marriage to D1's husband's cousin...or some relative.   Megan is a tri-athelete! She is also smart, funny, and photographs amazingly well.  I hope I get the chance to cross paths with her again!

Meet Megan!

I really like how the back wall blends with her hair. 

And, one, with the Bond girl look.

Thanks Megan!  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

RIP Mavis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), is a horrible disease that attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord which control voluntary muscle movement.  Starting from the extremities, a person loses the ability to walk, move their arms, their fingers etc. They lose the ability to hold their head up.  Finally, swallowing and breathing become impossible. The horrible part about the disease is that the person's mind is fine. They know exactly what is happening to them. 

Mavis had two children, both boys.  One living on the east coast.  The other living on the west coast.  She lived in the midwest.   Her oldest son was on his way to her bedside when she passed away last week. He was 30 minutes late.  Her funeral is today. 

She fought the good fight, graciously and with as much humor as she could muster.

Here she is, with her oldest son, Chris, a few months ago.  Shortly after this photo was taken, the family moved her to a hospice facility.

RIP Mavis.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Valkyrie: The Red Tail Hawk

I was winding up an afternoon last week and looked to the school playground behind my daughter's home.  Approximately 200 yards away were two gentlemen with a HUGE bird.  It was pretty obvious that they were falconers and that they were working with the bird. 

I walked through the muddy field and paused, as I got near, and asked whether I could come closer.  They waved me on.  Here is where I met Valkyrie.  He was teaching his two humans how to hunt with a creature born to hunt.

His two trainees are Randy and Jon.  Valkyrie owns Jon.  And, I believe Valkyrie rents Randy for assistance with the training!  Someone needs to run around the field with the rabbit ears on his head!  HA!!

Seriously, the guys were wonderful and Valkyrie was majestic.  He was HUGE.  I was permitted to hold him..and pet him.  But, all this was done under Jon's watchful eye.   That bird was COMFORTABLE around both guys.  And, I can assure you that the talons were like razors and when he looked at you, you knew you had better be on your best behavior.  It reminded me of my 8th grade English teacher.  But, that's another story.

The boys are training him to hunt rabbits and squirels.  I pointed to my daughters house and mentioned that the neighbors to the north have a small, yappy lap dog.  Randy and Jon looked at each other.  Then at Valkyie. Then at each other.  Finally, Jon turned to me and said, "for a small fee, we may be able to handle this problem for you."

Then, we all laughed...sort of nervously.  But we laughed!  I believe Valkyrie shed a small tear of disappointment.

Meet Valkyrie.


Meet Valkyrie and Randy.

And, Valkyrie, Randy, and Jon

Note:  No photos of the little yappy lap dog snack....yet. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Wall Ball: Part 6

365 Days with Dad.

Cbabi Bayoc is an artist with a vision of the importance of men in the lives of their children.  He has embarked on a project to paint a new image of fatherhood every day of 2012.  That's 365 paintings.  Each image will be posted on his facebook page by 10:00 PM.  The originial painting will go to the first person who bids $200.   That's it!  If you happen to fall in love with one of the paintings that is already sold, there will be limited edition prints available for $50 of every painting.

Check out Cbabi's website and his facebook page

Please meet Cbabi!

And, the painting he was working on that evening!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Wall Ball: Part 5

Below are two of the artists at the Wall Ball.  The first was a gentlemen working on a beautiful, vibrant painting with amazing bright yellows that was just stunning.  It was this collection of various themes that blended childhood characters with more adult themes.  I tried to get a photo of the art work, but the perspective was lousy.   It just doesn't look good.  So, I am not posting it.  See, I have SOME standards!
This artist was totally engrossed in his painting.  He hardly spoke to anyone while I observed him.  His was the only piece of art on which my daughter bid. 

OK...I have no standards.  It is worth it for you get a sense of the painting.  It was approximately, if memory isn't failing me, 48" square or perhaps 36" x 48".

The other artist worked in fabrics.  She created attire for women that was quite stunning.  Here she is at work in front of her sewing machine!

I managed to talk her into taking a quick break for a better portrait.  She has a great smile!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Wall Ball: Part 4

I cross paths with the first two people, who appeared to be part of a larger group.  I first singled out the gentlemen, wearing the finest Steam Punk attire.  And, his friend was kind enough to permit a photo as well. 

I didn't catch the gentleman's name.  But, I loved his glasses. OK..they aren't MY style. But, I liked them.  I am more of an Italian Scooter goggles kind of guy.   Yeh...I know..kind of scary, isn't it.

The friend gave me her card.  She is the president of Atelier CMS, Inc. in Jefferson City, MO.  Among other things, they do LARGE art work.  And, I found their Art in the Park work fascinating!

Meet Carla!

Finally, and while not in Steam Punk, I met this young lady.  What drew me to her was how intently she studied the various artists, especially those working with human subjects.  I struck up a conversation with her and commented that she appeared to be having a wonderful evening and was totally lost in the art.  She explained she was a nurse and that she loved looking at how other people depict the human body.  She doesn't often see it in its most beautiful form.  But, she marveled at its complexity.  She most graciously permitted a photo.  And, I chose the profile, because that is how I first saw her.

Meet Beth!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Wall Ball: Part 3

It was sometime after I met my friend and photographer Oleg that I first ran into "Steam Punk".  He had photographed several people wearing the style and I became determined to find out more about the attire. 

Since that time, I've wanted to find a few local events that may encourage the Steam Punk style.   The wait came to an end at The Wall Ball!

Meet one of the models who was posing for an artist.

Here she is again, fully armed with the very latest Steam Punk concealable handgun..or mini-cannon!  I wonder if that straps to a thigh holster!

One of her friends was the young lady below.  She was wearing a jacket and I noticed her hat.  So, I asked whether I could take her portrait for the blog.  She removed her jacket, handed it to her gentleman friend, and struck this pose.  It was crowded and I had just a moment for the shot while trying hard to not include background people.  I was disappointed in the image because it isn't sharp.  But, the softer, muted tone sort of works with her.  I sincerely believe, however, that I owe her a better photo.  If you are out there, please let me know! 

My thanks to you both!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Wall Ball: Part 2

It was so much fun to run into other photographers and chat with them.  Meet Dana, owner of Dana's Creations.  She specializes in vibrant murals and paintings.   She had a wonderful evening photographing people and the various art projects underway.  And, we had a nice conversation about photography.  Here she is!

And, meet Jessica!  She was running a small photo booth where people could put on costumes and masks and be photographed.  I managed to catch her when she wasn't busy.   She was a bit nervous being in front of the camera.  So, she elected for a disguise!
Here she is!  Of course, no one will recognize her now!

It was only after I put the two photographs together that I noticed that they appeared to have the same eye color!  Hazel, with a hint of green/blue.  Very nice! 

Thank you both!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Wall Ball: Part 1

The St. Louis City Open Studio and Gallery supports the safe and educational environtment for children to explore the Arts in the St. Louis area.   The Wall Ball is a charitable fund raiser supporting SCOSaG.  During this event, nearly 30 artists produced works of art while people milled around, watched, and chatted with them.  A silent auction was also present for participants to bid on art work.

It was a wonderful evening filled with creative people.  So, I was lucky they let me in!

Meet Solomon:  Chief Artist in Residency:  10th Street Gallery.  This man is focused on his work!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Michaels in St. Louis, MO

My daughter and son-in-law invited me to attend the Wall Ball, a charitable event for the local artist community.  On the way there, we stopped at Michaels, a great restaurant near the city.

We were seated in the lower level, right near the stairs. I noticed this couple walk down.  They were smiling and laughing.  They ended up being seated right in front of me next to the stairs.  As the front door opened in the upper level, the cold came rushing down the stair well.  It was chilly!   He offered her his coat.  

They were gracious enough to let me photograph them.  The lighting was a bit tricky and I ended up with a slight shadow.  Considering I was trying to not bother them for long, it wasn't too bad.

Meet Paul and Lori.  Notice, Paul is paying attention and Lori likes it!

Kaldi's in St. Louis, MO Part 2

Meet Natalie and Katie!

These two walked in and the room lightened as they laughed and chatted with one another.   Before then, it had been pretty quiet!  They were delightfully charming and gracious.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kaldi's in St. Louis, MO

I frequently travel to St. Louis to visit my daughter, son-in-law, and two really cute grandkids (#'s 2 and 4, actually).  There is a great coffee shop not far from their home.  Here are a couple of guys I met early one morning.

Scott shared a rather large table with me.  I really tried not to be a pest to him.  But, it is distracting when someone drags out a rather large camera and lens and begins tinkering with it right in front of you.

Tom cut a deal with me before I could take his photos.  The deal was that he wanted copies.  I think that was a great idea!  So, I emailed his copies to him about an hour before I wrote this post.

Both guys were friendly and I had a couple of good conversations in spite of the fact that it WAS early in the morning!  Maybe that Kaldi's coffee did the trick.

Thanks guys!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad!

A few days ago, the extended family got together to celebrate My Dad's 84th birthday.  As is somewhat common, anywhere between 10-20 of us get together and go to a restaurant.  We are arranged in something resembling the seating arrangement of the Last Supper, making it difficult to talk to anyone except those nearest you. 

So, my brother and his lovely, patient, and understanding wife (there is probably a story there) were unfortunate enough to be near me..and photographed!  I want to thank them for letting me use the pics!

I also had a photo of my mother.  It wasn't very flattering and she threatened me with excommunication and being tossed from the will if I posted that one. is tempting. 

Once again, a good time was had by all!  And, that is the name of the game.

Finally, the black sheep of the family managed to show up and, once again, ruined a perfectly good photo op.  But, he did consent to letting me use his pic! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

People who Love Hot Air Balloons...Or Have Cabin Fever: Part 4

These are the last photos of the hot air balloon festival.  I want to extend my thanks to all who were gracious enough to let me photograph them. 

These two young ladies walked by me laughing and smiling.  I stopped and asked if they were sisters.  I was close.  They are sisters-in-law!  Note to self:  Watch the shadows from some hats!

Of course, no balloon festival would be a success without a fantastic ground crew.  I asked the woman on the left if I could photograph her.  I told her it may be published on my blog.  Her response, "Gosh  (ok...I edited that a bit), I could care less. Want a few more?".  She then called for another volunteer to join her in the photograph.   As you can see, people did have a nice time.

Finally, I walked into the local school to warm up and noted they had a craft show in the lunch room.  Meet Yogi.   Or, maybe it's Boo Boo, all grown up.   Noticibly missing was Ranger Smith.   MMMMMM.....I wonder what happened to him.  One wonders with him hanging around two hungry bears all the time.