Photographs have been a big part of my adult life. I’ve always had lots of framed blow-ups of family members, including pets, decorating my house. I also loved making large, artistic photo montages of major family events, like weddings , Bar Mitzvahs, a 90th birthday party, and special trips. These are also scattered through my home.

My daughter’s Bat Mitzvah Montage, January, 1998

In addition, I made giant family photo albums documenting everyone’s lives – my mother’s, mine before kids, and my children’s up to 2002. I even made one for my ex-husband after he died. I wanted my kids to have a photographic biography of his life, and of theirs with him. I have separate albums for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, my second wedding, to Tom, and one for two special canal boat trips we took through the English countryside.

Photos are a different kind of commodity today. My relationship to photos changed when I started using my phone as my primary camera. Now photos are more about sharing something I‘m seeing or doing with friends and family. Something to text or email to say, “Hey! Look at this!” I can shop with my daughter in LA when we send each other photos of items we’re thinking about buying. I can often get real time advice from her while she’s 3000 miles away.

This is wonderful. You can share photos of your trip with friends the minute you get home. You don’t have to wait to get photos back from the printer and then make a slide show or a photo album. On the other hand, I took so many photos on our last big trip (three weeks in France, including one week in Paris), that only a few people have actually seen them all. I printed a few artsy photos for my wall, but I’ve never culled them all down into a manageable unit for showing. So, in a way, that trip has been lost to me. I can’t readily access specific memories or highlights of the trip. And it has never been fully shared.

Montage of Canal Boat Trip in England With Tom

I used to carry mini photo albums in my purse. That way I could easily show people my favorite recent pictures of my kids, my husband, my dogs or a favorite trip. And in the order I want to show them. Now, sharing photos can be an awkward ordeal. You have to flip through massive numbers of photos, frantically trying to remember where to find the ones you want. It can be embarrassing to keep someone waiting patiently as you go through the “Now, where is that damned photo” dance.

It’s also hard to show different photos that didn’t happen to be taken at the same time. Because they are in a totally different place. You have to find one group and then search again for the other. Nowadays, a photographic memory means being able to remember where all your photos are in your phone!

photos wedd montage

Montage of Tom & Ellin’s Wedding. November 2002.

Basically, I have more photos now but less access to the ones I want at any given time. I’m drowning in photos, but they’re much less a part of my daily life. I’ve only added one framed photo to my house in the last several years. And the task of organizing my photos into subject albums seems overwhelming.

So I’m left longing for the good old days, when I didn’t have thousands of pictures with me, on my phone, 24/7. But I had more meaningful pictures in my home and in my life, 24/7.


HEAR Now – A Festival for AUDIO Lovers

Visit: for additional information

HEAR Now: Audio Fiction & Arts Festival returns to Kansas City June 8-11, 2017, for its 5th annual 4-day weekend.

Like a good film festival, HEAR Now features panels of producers and artists showcasing their work, an annual “Audio Forum” blending audio fiction and storytelling with other disciplines in an immersion experience of audio arts. You won’t believe your ears!

Country singer songwriter Kasey Lansdale (daughter of author Joe R. Lansdale) will be available to discuss Wondery’s podcast, featuring her new horror tale – Blind Love. Simon Jones will perform a brand new Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

“It’s the only festival of its kind in the U.S. dedicated to the art of recorded and live audio storytelling in all its many genres and forms,” says HEAR Now Festival Director Cynthia Allen. “This is a chance to educate your ears and your imagination.”

INNOVATIONS opens the Festival at the Kansas City Public Library’s Truman Auditorium on Thursday, June 8th from 7:00pm – 8:30pm.

HEAR Now also offers hands-on training in production and story-telling. Dramatic Podcast Workshop 101, led by former NPR anchor Frank Stasio and playwright Howard Craft, focuses on creating new original short fiction.

The NATF Playhouse showcases productions in a high-quality listening environment. The show runs through Friday, June 9th.

It closes with a retrospective of Simon Jones’ more than 40-year career as a voice artist, beginning with Arthur Dent in the first-ever Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and ending with special new audio treats.

For more information visit Questions? Email

Like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter at @HEARNow!


Big Toys – lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

Big Toys

The act of creation is the greatest art.
You must think of the whole as you create each part.
Things put in conflict must balance as well,
or what was once heaven can turn into hell.

Every yin has its yang as dusk has its dawn.
Every awakening gives way to night’s yawn.
But why peace must be broken by violence and war
is something that tests one’s faith at its core.

When the world is unbalanced by warfare’s grim sin,
It seems perhaps nature’s starting over again
to create a world less given to baking
recipes of destruction that will be our unmaking.

These nuclear toys require such careful tending,
or it’s become clear we’ll create our own ending.
And next time perhaps our creator will find
a recipe that doesn’t include mankind.

Prompt for day 19 of NaPoWriMo is to create a creation myth poem. Please leave comments on Judy’s site! I have closed comments here.

Source: Big Toys 


Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Sculptures, Statues, Carvings

As devoted museum and historical site visitors, we have a lot of art in our collection. I have a fair amount in my home, but for this challenge, I used some of my favorite bronze statues … and one very large and exceptional wood carving.

Magnificent life-size carving of a Native American man with tobacco

Magnificent life-size carving of a Native American man with tobacco

Two of the big Samuel Adams statue at Boston Harbor’s Tea Party museum. Although he was also a brewer of ale and beer, he was a major troublemaker and agitator for revolution. One of those guys you had to love or hate, often both at the same time. On the whole, the Adams family we probably the family most singularly responsible for convincing America that we needed to separate from England.

Sam "The Man" Adams ... in bronze, life-size

Sam “The Man” Adams … in bronze, life-size

The feet of John Adams - in bronze

The feet of John Adams – in bronze

Garry with his heroes of baseball at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New Yoek

Garry with his heroes of baseball at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York

The Flying Woman -- though I think she may be swimming (hard to tell) alongside Boston Harbor

The Flying Woman — though I think she may be swimming (hard to tell) alongside Boston Harbor

Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge



Last week, Topaz had a 1-day filter sale. “Simplify” was available for just $20, so I decided to give it a whirl and see what it can do. It was snowing pretty hard when I got up this morning. Bummer. It was predicted, but the last one missed us. I had hoped this would miss us too. So, if snow is going to fall, I might as well take some pictures.



It turns out, Simplify offers a good selection of ways to render a photograph as art. It includes many painting styles including, impressionist, oils, acrylics, watercolor and more. My favorites are sketch, pen-and-ink, and line art. If you have the right photograph — for line art of any kind, you need strong contrast– you can get some very interesting and fun results.

Here are two versions of the same picture. I’m loving the way they came out.



While I was growing up, my world was entirely serious music. I was a piano student and my spare time was consumed by practicing. It wasn’t until I recognized I’d never be good enough to be a professional musician that I started to explore the world of “folk” and “pop.” Tom Paxton, The Chad Mitchell Trio, even the Kingston Trio … followed by a crowd of folk singers from great to not-so-great became the go to people in my musical world. They seemed like personal friends. Joni Mitchell. Judy Collins. Carol King. Joan Baez. Pete Seeger. Linda Ronstadt. Emmy Lou Harris. Maria Muldaur. There were so many, back then.

Now that Judy Collins is 75 and I’m 70, I relate to this song so very well.

The Beatles were the first group in the pop arena I truly loved. After “A Hard Days Night” (I loved the movie and the score), and “Rubber Soul,” I was a fan for life — which means I still am buying remastered Beatles CDs.


Eventually, I added many other singers and groups, and other categories of music.

John Prine was a latecomer to my “playlist,” but he remains a favorite. Better known as the writer than the singer, here are a couple of songs that I particularly love and always cheer me when I’m blue. Not everyone has heard of John Prine, but he wrote many songs. He sang them himself on various recordings, most of which I once owned on vinyl. Lo and behold, there’s a CD collection of his work available … just $10, double CD. I ordered it. Of course. No, I don’t like to trust my stuff to the cloud. Especially when I’m traveling.

Sometimes, nothing says “life” like music. Maybe more often than sometimes. Maybe always.

And finally, I’d like to add an old song that’s a current favorite. It’s our “road song” and we tend to listen to it over and over again while driving down (or up) the highway. “Pancho and Lefty” is a story song. If you’ve heard it (and many people have sung it over the years, you probably think that maybe it has something to do with Pancho Villa. It ought to. Actually, Townes Van Zandt says it has nothing to do with him unless it fell out of his unconscious directly into the song. Just a song about two loser outlaws in Mexico.

“Pancho and Lefty” written by Townes Van Zandt was recorded by Emmylou Harris for her 1977 album, Luxury Liner, released on Warner Bros and available on CD on Rhino.

Every time I hear it, I see it in my mind’s eye too. The dusty desert where Pancho breathed his last. This is the Emmy Lou Harris version. My favorite, though there are, as I said, many others. Hers may be the most difficult one from which to catch all the lyrics, so I’ll include them for you. You won’t need to, as I did, keep listening and replaying the lines until finally, you get it … only to discover the words are actually printed on the CD’s paper insert.


Living on the road my friend,
Was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron,
And your breath’s as hard as kerosene.
You weren’t your mama’s only boy,
But her favorite one it seems
She began to cry when you said goodbye,
Sank into your dreams.

Pancho was a bandit, boys
His horse was fast as polished steel
Wore his gun outside his pants
For all the honest world to feel.
Pancho met his match you know
On the deserts down in Mexico
Nobody heard his dying words,
Ah but that’s the way it goes.

And all the Federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him hang around
Out of kindness, I suppose.1

Lefty, he can’t sing the blues
All night long like he used to.
The dust that Pancho bit down south
Ended up in Lefty’s mouth
The day they laid poor Pancho low,
Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go,
There ain’t nobody knows.1

And all the Federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him slip away

Now the poets tell how Pancho fell,
And Lefty’s living in cheap hotel
The desert’s quiet, and Cleveland’s cold,
And so the story ends we’re told
Pancho needs your prayers it’s true,
But save a few for Lefty too
He just did what he had to do,
And now he’s growing old.1

And a few grey Federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him go so wrong
Out of kindness, I suppose.1

A few grey Federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him go so wrong
Out of kindness, I suppose.

Read more: Townes Van Zandt – Pancho & Lefty Lyrics | MetroLyrics