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Archive for June, 2012

Porches and Poetry: both Artforms

Friday, June 29th, 2012

I love my front porch. We have been breaking high temperature records in Lansing, Michigan this week. It’s even hot on the porch, but it’s a great place to wait for a breeze. Iced tea is my favorite “food” right now.

I wrote this poem when I still owned the house I bought for myself (highest solo accomplishment to date, perhaps). That neighborhood was active, alive. I loved it.

– = – = – = – = –

The Porch on Francis Avenue

©1995 by Lynn D. Troldahl Hershberger


Hammock, porch, children’s voices.
Warm sun on my skin,
Sleepy eyelids drooping,
A dog barking, birds scolding, the blast of a car horn.
Long shadows, a still breeze, the coolness of the evening.

Summer Day.

Cool iced tea.
Salty damp skin, yellow dandelions,
Bees buzzing,
Body baked by sunshine.
Sharp shadows, blue sky, white clouds.
Singing out loud,
Neighbors waving hello.


– = – = – = – = –

I don’t have any photos of that porch, at least not in digital format. The photo above is our current porch, taken several years ago. Lovely, yes?

What is Art? A Few Definitions

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Art is not a thing — it is a way.
— Elbert Hubbard, 1908

I’m in Columbus, Ohio for the annual June Yarn-Biz trade show, TNNA. It is intense, fun, and exhausting.

The big focus for me is renewing relationships. When I’m lucky, it is also building new ones.

While I’m unable to post much on the road, I’d like to link to a fascinating post on “Brainpickings,” an excellent multi-topic blog. She’s expert at finding related items and presenting them as lists, all worthy of a click.

A few weeks ago, I followed her links to wonderful commencement speeches on video. Great hard-earned wisdom in short form!

Today I read her list re: definitions of Art. My favorite is the lead text here today.

As a blogger who pushes some common definitions of what art might be, I recommend you wander over and read it.

These thoughtful attempts at defining an elusive subject were inspiring to me. Perhaps you, also?

What is Art?


I’ll catch you again when I return to Michigan. If you like, you can tune in to my small updates until then, on my Twitter feed.

You need not participate on twitter to read my posts. Just click here: http://Twitter.com/colorjoy

Local Restaurants: Give them Love!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Relationship and Neighborhood

I’m waiting for my car to be repaired. The car repair place is in the Foster Community Center Eastside Neighborhood.

This is “my hood” although I don’t sleep here anymore. I work, shop and live as much as possible on Lansing’s East Side. It just FEELS like home. I always run into folks I know here. Today has been no exception.

Singing the Praises of the Eastside Neighborhood

East Michigan Avenue is a special place in Lansing. Almost every business on this stretch (from the Capitol Building to 496/ Frandor Shopping Center) is family-run. I love the personal service and I love frequenting the businesses owned by my own neighbors.

It’s a perfect time to visit my friends at Gone Wired Cafe. They now have Michigan Beer, for those who are interested. This new liquor license is a big deal for them. I’m glad they could go through with it.

The Joy of Supporting Local Restaurants

Small locally-owned restaurants struggle. Things are especially tough in summer when people go out of town. Travelers are more likely to eat at McDonald’s or other chains by the highway exits, instead of locally-owned places in vacation destinations.

Consider finding a locally-owned restaurant/cafe/pub next time you choose to pay for a meal you didn’t make yourself. OK? Every Single Customer makes a difference.

Some of my favorite Lansing locally-owned restaurants:

If you don’t want ethnic food and want a little more fancy environment with a bar, try:

If you don’t live in Lansing, Michigan… well, there is a summer adventure waiting for you. Look for local businesses (not just restaurants) and celebrate them by buying there.

(I’m off to go buy Arabic tea at the Halal market on this block, then walk back to the car shop a few blocks away. Car repairs are done for the day. Yeah!)

Photos? Gone Wired Cafe, a photo I took in 2009. Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine this past winter.

Folk Art: Cozy Outdoor Spaces

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

One of my favorite “folk” art forms is gardening. Humans have a tendency to decorate or embellish our surroundings. Gardening is a really joyful way to do just that!

Wednesday was a perfect sunny summer day here in Lansing, MI. I walked in places I’ve not walked before, past many humble but well-loved homes. The gardens are striking this time of year.

Sometimes a change of pace is enough to open our eyes. I put my car in the shop, took a bus, and walked part of the way home. What a delight!

Some of my favorite garden spaces appear to be in spots where once a house stood. Fire? Maybe, but if so the devastation has been replaced with deep beauty. I’m guessing this was one of those spaces.

No matter how fancy (or not) a home is, one can make a special space outdoors without much in the way of resources. Tiny homes, the size of a standard garage or smaller, often have inspiring yardwork visible.

These last few photos are from my own yard. We have mostly plants which came with the house. They are of types which were popular in the 1920s.  We have hydrangea, lily of the valley, day lilies, peonies, violets, climbing roses and pink “bridal wreath.”

The red climbing roses are irritating weeds for 11 months of the year. They grab my handmade shawls and clothing, ripping and ruining them.I can clip them back, and 2 weeks later they have grown nearly another yard/meter. I can’t keep them tame.

In June, we forgive them.  Here is the view out our 2nd floor bedroom window. The view is of the garage. Those roses are taller than the side of the building. Breathtaking.

We have these roses on two full sides of the yard plus the garage. I’m talking the entire length of the house, plus more. It’s a lot of trouble maintaining them, but they are truly gorgeous right now. All is forgiven.

Artful Contradiction

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

I found this image Saturday in the back room of a very old building in Old Town.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

— Walt Whitman