PPAC #29: Sidewalk Art

Artists who use sidewalks as their canvas know that their art is temporary. If you are lucky enough to see one of these 3D-looking masterpieces, it’s best to take a photo right then and there, because next week it could be gone! I have only myself encountered one of these sidewalk paintings – usually I see them online somewhere – so I was happy to find this one, which was done on the sidewalk in front of the Des Plaines Public Library last August. I have not seen it since, so I assume it was removed or washed away.

Only having this one sidewalk masterpiece to post on the Photographing Public Art Challenge, I looked in my archives for a few other works of “art” on the sidewalk.

I’m not quite sure what this was about (we were just walking by) but it covered an entire block in downtown Denver when we were there three years ago.

This may not be considered “art” but these intersection crossings in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, were eye-catching and clever.

Sometimes, sidewalk art is in the form of mosaics, like this one that we sat next to while listening to our guide outside the Church of the Beatitudes in Israel.

More famous are the mosaic tile sidewalks in Rio de Janeiro. This view is looking down from a bar on the top floor of a hotel in Copacabana.

CFFC: Walkways I Have Traveled

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is about the sidewalks, trails and walkways we walk on, usually without thinking much about them.

Rio de Janeiro is famous for its wide sidewalks with mosaic designs – common places to walk, jog, and meet – and play with dogs. (Nove. 2016)
In July of 2017, we spent a week at Blacks Cliff Resort on Upper Kaubashine Lake, near Hazelhurst and the location where we used to have a cottage. The cabins we rented were high above the lake. This is the walkway down to the pier.
An artist drew squiggly lines that made faces on the sidewalk in front of the Convention Center in Denver, interspersed with messages. (June 2018)
Path through the “farm” (a vegetable and flower garden – the veggies raised provide natural ingredients for meals at the school) at Verde Valley School, Sedona, Arizona (June 2018)
Garden path at Chicago Botanic Gardens, July 2018
The State Capitol building in Des Moines, Iowa, has beautiful tiled floors, such as this walkway leading to stairways up and down. (Sept. 2018)
Winterset, Iowa – most famous for the bridges of Madison County – has a tiny park dedicated to George Washington Carver. We almost missed it because it is wedged between two downtown buildings. (Sept. 2018)
In downtown Chicago, off Michigan Avenue, is a restaurant called the Purple Pig. This is the entrance to its outdoor patio. (Oct. 2018)
Walkway among the ruins of Karnak, near Luxor, Egypt (Dec. 2018)
This walkway under an arch is at the ruins of Caesarea Philippi on the Mediterranean Sea in Israel. (Jan. 2019)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fickle December

For Weekly Prompts Photo Challenge, the theme this week is Advent weather.

November here in Chicagoland was unseasonably cold – in fact, our first and only major snowfall was just after Thanksgiving! Since then, we haven’t had more than a dusting or flurries. We are never guaranteed a white Christmas and this year it looks as though there will be no snow for Christmas. The only evidence of snow we have now is ugly mounds of plowed, piled up snow here and there, often covered with a clump of leaves! It’s surprising that it hasn’t all melted yet, considering that we’ve had at least a week of warmer than normal days with temperatures rising occasionally to the upper 40s! The weatherman says that the average for mid-December is about 33ºF.

About a week ago, I was walking to church on a Sunday morning at about 8:30 a.m. and I was struck by the delicate layer of frost coating the grass and leaves, paralyzing them in a frozen state until the sun could shine on them to warm them up. I thought the effect was quite pretty.
This morning I noticed this naked tree, its bottom branches adorned with bright red balls for the Christmas season, while near the top sits an exposed abandoned bird’s nest.
(I wonder if there were more balls near the top that got blown off, or was the decorator not tall enough to reach them all?)

RDP #70: Contact – Good Samaritans

Posted for RDP #70: CONTACT.

About a month ago, I made direct contact with the pavement of a sidewalk about a mile from home. The pictures that were taken of me are gruesome and so I am posting another photo of pavement, with a wee caterpillar crossing it, taken just a few days ago!20180803_113246
Anyway, here’s what happened: My husband plays golf on Mondays, and I was proud of myself for getting up and dressed and out of the house by 10:00 am for a walk! I wanted to get to my Fitbit step goal and was very motivated. It was a beautiful early July morning, still not too hot to take a long walk.

About half an hour into the walk, I was on a street about a mile from home. It wasn’t my usual route, but I wanted to go to someplace different, perhaps find different flowers to photograph. I didn’t stop to take pictures of anything, though, and was not paying particular attention to where I was walking. Suddenly, I realized I had tripped on the sidewalk where one of the blocks was raised a little due possibly to tree roots underneath.  Usually, I can regain my balance before making contact with the hard ground but this time I didn’t. I fell flat on my face and felt my right knee take the brunt of the fall.

Photos of a couple of Des Plaines sidewalks:

I said the s-word to myself, wondering how on earth was I going to get home, over a mile away? My knee was scraped and bleeding and I had a bump already rising on my forehead. I felt certain I had broken my nose and my glasses had gotten scratched and all bent out of shape. But then I was vaguely aware of two men who were asking me if I was all right.

“No, not really,” I said as they helped me up, each lifting me up under my arms. Why lie?

One of the men was driving a truck, and he had apparently arrived just then to take the other man to a work site. The second man had gone out into the street toward the truck when they heard and saw me fall.

They asked me if I wanted to go to the ER. “No,” I managed to say through a paper towel one of the men had given me and that I was pressing to my scraped nose. “I just want to go home.”  I had my cellphone with me and certainly would have called my husband while lying on the ground but he usually doesn’t keep his phone on when he’s on the golf course.

So the second man helped me to his car, which was parked next to the curb. I limped over and very gingerly pulled my right leg into the car without bending my knee. It hurt to bend it. I was not even aware at the time that I had also sprained my ankle!

When I tell this story, people ask me if I wasn’t worried about getting into a strange man’s car. I never even thought about it. These were both middle aged men, very friendly, and we live in Des Plaines, Illinois! Bad things like what could happen never happen in Des Plaines! (Although I’m sure they do, sometimes. It’s just that most people feel safe in this friendly community.)

I directed the man as best as I could toward my house, still holding the paper towel over my nose and at the same time looking through one lens of my glasses which I held in my other hand.

It wasn’t until we arrived in front of my house that I realized that the man in the truck had followed behind us. They both saw that there are several steps up to my front porch so they once again supported me, one on each side, and I hopped to the stairway and up it on my one good leg. The man with the truck advised me to have that bump looked at, because I could have a concussion.

20170822_154840 (2)

The steps up to my front door

“If you start feeling dizzy or disoriented, that’s an early warning sign of a concussion.”

I thanked the men and made sure I had my hat (which had mostly fallen off, but was still clinging to the hairband of my ponytail) and my water bottle – still over my shoulder, and my phone and keys. They waited until they were sure I was in the house before they left.

I limped over to the recline and practically fell into it, lifting the lever to bring up the piece in front. Who could I call? My sister – no, I think she plays bridge on Mondays; one of my two friends named Marcia? Good idea – I called one, no answer; I called the other one, who did answer, but she was sick. She was very sympathetic and told me to call her back if I needed help and she’d get her daughter to come over after work.

I suddenly thought of my son! He doesn’t have a fixed work schedule and it was past 11 am so there was a good chance he’d be up by now. To my surprise, he answered!

He immediately freaked out when he heard my muffled voice (I still had the paper towel over my nose) say that I was badly hurt and needed his help. So then I had to calm him down, and ask him to come over right away.

He did. He got me wet washcloths and put large bandages on my knee and a small band-aid over the bridge of my nose. He got me frozen vegetables from the freezer to ice my knee, with a dish towel wrapped around the package. He even went to the eye doctor to have my glasses fixed! He stayed until the other Marcia came over. I then found out he’d missed a doctor’s appointment because of me!

Anyway, my husband came home eventually, took me to the ER, where they (five hours later) took X-rays of my knee and femur and a CAT scan of my head. No broken bones, thank God! I returned home with a splint for my left wrist (which hurt because I’d used it to try to break the fall) and a cane, which I used for the next couple of weeks.


Entrance to the ER at Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, IL

Below I am posting a photo of what my knee looks like now, a month later – I went to an orthopedic doctor who diagnosed a hematoma and a sprained ankle, the best possible outcome! He told me it could take up to six months to heal completely! But fortunately, I can now walk normally and have resumed my walking exercise….20180725_183923….but now I walk “mindfully” because I’m still afraid of falling again, and have taken to walking on a solid, continuous bike/walking path instead of neighborhood sidewalks!


Walking/biking path at Lake Opeka Park, Des Plaines.  It’s in better shape than it looks here!








WPC: Slanted and Straight

Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge this week is to present photos showing “lines.”  

These photos all contain lines that slant together with lines that are straight, which is how I selected photos for this challenge.

Slanting double trees with hyacinths
20180424_145834Wooden door of a storage shed 20170831_142117_001
Fences create slanting lines when viewed head on – they lead to a hypothetical vanishing point.  This is called one-point perspective, a basic technique used in drawing and photography.  Below, a fence in León, Nicaragua followed by a fence in Des Plaines.
KODAK Digital Still Camera

20170907_143202Buildings also offer excellent opportunity for juxtaposed slanting and straight lines using one-point perspective, such as the outside of the Des Plaines Library and …
20180322_142823a hallway at Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois.20180427_191419and a row of chairs in that same theatre. (A few curves, too, since not all the chairs fold up uniformly!)
Nature combined with man-made structures offers another opportunity to photograph slanted and straight lines.  This photo shows the contours of nature in the trees, and how they have been cut to accommodate telephone wires.