Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Adios, Book Mountain

Wow, what a productive afternoon!

I continued to work on the guest room, which included dusting, switching out some various pictures, and getting different things hung. And to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, Mrs. R, tear down that mountain!

That's right...Book Mountain is no more. Some time ago, I wrote about the Twin Peaks of Book Mountain: the 3-foot high double stack of books-to-be-read that I had stashed by my side of the bed. I had also started a stack of large coffee-table books that were leaning against the wall, and Ken had a stack of books I got him for Christmas on the dresser--we've got books out the wazoo! But I made some space on one of the bookshelves and was able to move all the books onto the shelf. It looks so much better! And it was really cool to remember what great books I've got waiting to be read. Killer Germs, anyone? A book about the great fire of London? A history of the Freemasons? Tony Dungy's biography? Man, I've got some good stuff waiting for me!

I've still got a few things I want to do with the guest room (and yes, Ellen, you can come and hang out at Nutwood any ol' time!), but I feel like I've definitely got a handle on it. I hung my cool "I Love Lucy" print that my lab pals got for me when I retired, and I brought up from the basement my OTHER "I Love Lucy" print that Ken got for me one Christmas, so they are hung together and look really neat. I got a little shelf hung, and now I need to figure out what to put on it. Ha! Yes, definitely some more to do, but I'm pleased with the results so far!

I also had a nice surprise this evening. I was here in the main room, and I heard a "snort" from outside--it sounded like a deer giving a warning. I looked out, and there was a doe...and she had two fawns with her. TWINS! I called my folks right away, because they are so excited about their twin fawns at their place, and I could hardly wait to tell them we had twins, too. They are so cute! As I was talking with Dad, I looked out again, and there was another doe with her single fawn. I told Dad, "We've got quite a little family here!"

I also played with another picture. Here's my original picture of a tomb in Lafayette No. 1 in New Orleans:

In that small size, it almost looks like an oil painting itself, doesn't it? I suppose it's kind of macabre to be so fascinated with New Orleans' cemeteries, but they really are amazing places. They're spooky, sad, touching, and intriguing, all at the same time. We've been to 2 of them, St. Louis No. 1 and Lafayette No. 1, and I hope we can visit another one next time. As far as I know, the cemeteries survived the flood.

When we were at Lafayette No. 1 this last time (a month before Katrina), there were a couple of EMPTY tombs. On one, the cement cover had broken in two and was falling into one of the rare in-ground graves, and the grave was filled with water after Tropical Storm Dennis (which ended up being Hurricane Dennis--a mild one, but we were actually out in it!). Another one was a standing tomb like the one on the left, and its front cover was off so you could see inside (and no, there were no remains present). It's just so creepy, and of course, I'm always one to wonder about hauntings and ghosts...I don't necessarily believe in such things, I just like to scare myself! Ha!

But I digress. I changed up a picture for you, using this one.

First, I made it black and white. Then I applied a charcoal filter. I'm starting to play around with the advanced options, where I can change the brush stroke, length of stroke, contrast, etc. Donna over at This and That, and Hockey! wondered if I could layer the pictures, change the bottom layer...I wrote back that that was way beyond what I've only started doing! You're far advanced beyond anything I can do yet, Donna, but I'll keep working on it and seeing what I can come up with. Thanks, everyone, for your comments and feedback. I don't pretend to be any good at this stuff, I just like to play around and come up with something I think is kinda purdy. Ha!

So here's my altered photo.

I think it has an even spookier effect...I tried to get a very soft brush stroke on it, and I think it DOES look as if someone sketched it in charcoal. It would be even better if the leaves overhead were softer, but I really like the tomb itself.

As I look at this altered photo, it appears as if the tomb is open, but it's not--the top layer of plaster is off, but the tomb is still sealed.

These cemeteries are strange and fascinating places. They caution people to not got there alone, and they are closed at night. Thieves and other bad guys hang out there, and supposedly the cemeteries are not all that safe even in the day time, but we've never had any problem. One of the funniest things was when we were at Lafayette No. 1 with Kimberley and Steve, and we overheard a tour group. The tour guide was telling her group to stick together, and don't go off alone. In a broad southern accent, she said, "People haaahd back there!" She was wise to caution her group, but the phrase and tone just made us laugh!

We also came across a tomb that had a bench as part of it, the bench facing the tomb. There were booze bottles all around the bench. Just some random partiers, or someone toasting a long-dead ancestor? Who knows? Write your own story about it! It's fun to speculate.

The next time you're in the Big Easy, don't forget to go to one of the cemeteries. If you go to St. Louis No. 1, you can see the tomb of Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen! The architecture and ornamentation on some of the tombs is beautiful and melancholy. These Cities of the Dead are fascinating, but never forget that they ARE cemeteries, and the occupants deserve dignity and respect. That's never been a problem for me, because they're so damn spooky that you're rendered silent, or speak only in whispers.

Enjoy your eeeeeevening...bwah ha ha hahhhh!



helmswondermom said...

I LOOOVVVVE that charcoal effect on that particular picture!!  

buckoclown said...

An interesting tid-bit for our readers, Black Cats, such as Sheeba (and of course Frank), are good luck in vodoo space :o)
Love New Orleans.

madcobug said...

The one behind the one you are featuring looks like someone is standing inside looking outside. Yikes! I suppose on the one with the broken glass the contents have already went back to dust or grave robbers took the body one. Helen

queeniemart said...

my DH works at a is a beautiful and fascinating place. My favorite spot on earth is at a cemetery built into the side of a mountain in KY that my grandma is buried at. I like what you did with your photo. I have given away so many books this year but still have dozens i wish i had time to read. HUGS

chat2missie said...

Hope you have a great day today.

frankandmary said...

Very Blair Witch Project. I like it.

eml625 said...

I love that photo ! So cool I also have a thing for old cemeteries, so much history. i wish you got a picture of the deer.
We had a wild yellow finch at our suet feeder ! It was sooo cool. Well,next time you hear a snort outside, it might be me taking you up on your offer to visit!!
Have a great day

markonit said...

... I like how you retouched the tomb ... as to 'Book Mountain' ... I don't purchase books anymore, but I do go to the library ... I still want to read the Obama book chat you up ... but I am now working on a bio of George Orwell ... so I will have to get back to you on that ...

... again, nice picture ..!

rdautumnsage said...

We had a guy come out to give us some estimates on windows and plumbing. This guy was easily 300lbs, 6.5 and muscular as all get out. I'm only describing him because, as he was outside talking to us, he stopped with his mouth hung open speechless. A deer has strolled out a mere few feet beside us and was just making herself at home munching on the grass. He couldn't talk till she strolled back into the woods. It was hilarious in a way seeing this huge guy look like he was about to weep with that experience. I thing we've gotten somewhat used to the deer coming so close to us. They've done the same even with Pickles out there. Somehow she knows enough to be still when they're around. I love the tombstone effect...Spooky cool. That would make a great Halloween Card. (Hugs)Indigo

jmoqueen said...

Ooooo I like the end result to your photo.  If you hadn't told me that was a cemetry I would never have believed you.  That's such big thing for a grave!!!  It's insane lol.........I'm not surprised you find them fascinating I would too!!