Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

It’s a simple life I live, but one full of happy moments. Here are just a few that made their way onto my camera this week:

1. Sharing the Cozy Chair.


2. Rainy days at home.

DSCN25433. My merry minstrel.

DSCN27474. Optimistic tomatoes.

DSCN27505. Surprise white bleeding hearts.

DSCN27536. The best scones ever. (Archer Farms!)

DSCN27627. My garden’s first flower.

DSCN27648. Pointy ears.

DSCN27659. A beautiful view on a gorgeous 70-degree day.

DSCN276810. Mulberry season.DSCN277011. Anything Charley Harper.DSCN277312. Foster kids.DSCN2777

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Now that Jeff and I have committed to living in Indianapolis for the foreseeable future, it’s a good time for us to focus on what we love about Indy and why living here rocks. For me, one of Indy’s greatest assets is the wealth of public spaces. This is why I would like to start a series of blogs focusing on some of the area’s best (and usually free) public attractions..

On a gloomy winter day, the conservatory at Garfield Park is a great place to visit to get your fill of greenery and humid air. Throughout most of the year, the price to visit the conservatory is a piddling $1. However, a special holiday display jacks the price up around Christmas time. Yeah, you do have to fish around for an extra two dollars, but you also get to push open the peppermint candy striped doors to this:

If you’re into poinsettias and trains, then I guess this is the place for you to treat yourself to some excitement!

Seriously, though: I love plants. And while train sets and festivity is all fun and good, the best parts are beyond the next set of doors. There you’ll find:

Orchids of every color and size, tingeing the soily scent of the room with springtime fragrance.

You’ll discover some pretty amazing feats of nature.

You’ll meet some attention craving koi.

(be sure to bring along your favorite hand model.)

You may end up in some pretty poses…

And if you’re really lucky, on the way home you may just run across a festive dinosaur or two (or five):

At $3 a person, I’d say that Garfield Park Conservatory is money well-spent.

Stay tuned for more on what Garfield Park and Sunken Gardens has to offer during warmer months.

For more information, visit http://www.garfieldgardensconservatory.org/

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Holiday Cats

It’s that time of year again…

Time to put on your Sunday best…

Time to enjoy special feasts…

Time to hang the wreaths…

And time to relax among the boughs of a beautiful Christmas tree…

Oh yes, and time for Evie to be as photographically elusive as ever.

Happy Holidays.

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One fine day last summer, we were roaming around downtown Cincinnati on a trip to visit Jeff’s sister, looking for something to entertain us. Downtown Cincy isn’t always the most happening place, you know. While passing by some store fronts, a display of brightly designed skateboards caught Jeff’s eye, and he beckoned us back for a look. We were pleasantly surprised, and looked for the name of the store: Harper Studios. Hmmm. We tentatively ventured indoors, and were greeted by a small gallery space packed with art that instantly won us over.

Of course, the first thing I noticed was that everything was animals. Then, I noticed the incredibly unique minimalist style and the vivid colors. Things just kept getting better and better. These weren’t just paintings of animals, they were works dripping with personality and insight, full of charm. It was impossible not to smile as I recognized the quirky little habits of all the wildlife I love personified in these flat, two-dimensional images. Geometry and nature were fused into one medium which was guaranteed to win me over. We left with a catalogue of Charley Harper’s works, and kept coming back to enjoy the fun images time and time again that weekend.

Last Christmas, I had the great fortune of receiving not one, but three Charley Harper prints! They seem to blend in naturally with my decor and color scheme, and I never get tired of admiring them. Thank you Ang, Trese, and Jeff!

So who is this Charley Harper guy, and what is his studio doing hiding out in downtown Cincinnati?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Charley Harper was born and raised on the family farm in West Virginia, where he no doubt developed his keen perception of the quirks of nature. He left home to attend the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he met his wife and fellow artist Edie, and where he stayed on for years as a teacher. Eventually he worked in the commercial art world before opening his very own studio. He became immensely popular before he died in 2007, and his works can be seen in books, posters, and displays across the country. Since I fell in love with Harper’s gallery last summer, I’ve been more aware of his works popping up in random places. Walking through the education building at the Indianapolis Zoo, a Charley Harper print would catch my eye. Perusing photos of interior design spaces, I get excited when I notice a Charley Harper book artfully placed on a coffee table. And of course, at the Cincinnati Zoo there is a wealth of Charley Harper waiting to be noticed by the zoo-goer in the know.

What is so appealing about Charley’s works? Well, it has something to do with the way he takes an impossibly dense natural situation, and breaks it down with mathematical simplicity into a scene that instantly reflects the complex beauty of nature. Each image tells a story. As Charley used to explain it: “I don’t try to put everything in, I try to leave everything out.”

You’ll just have to see for yourself what we mean…

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Spending time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house was something that I always took for granted. It seemed that the house would always be there, my grandparents would always be there, we would always have another holiday to gather as one big, happy, extended family. Thanksgiving would be turkey, Christmas would be ham and presents. Easter would involve epic egg coloring, and Fourth of July grilled black hot dogs. The coming of August would bring hot air balloon races flying overhead, and hoards of cyclists passing through the neighborhood. Halloween meant chili and trick-or-treating as far and as fast as our little legs would carry us. There would always be many reasons to visit Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

With time came the inevitable changes. Family events became fewer and further between, and never seemed to last all day and all night like they used to. Eventually, the house emptied itself of living souls completely, leaving behind only a lifetime of collections that crowded each room and stood as colorful relics of days gone forever.

I brought my camera to Grandma and Grandpa’s house today, to try to capture a bit of the dwindling spirit that made this home such a vibrant place, teeming with life on countless occasions. My goal was to focus on those details that may have stood out to me twenty years ago. I wanted to capture the feel of leaning over the upstairs banister looking down, and the hesitation of a child peering down the basement stairwell, looking for monsters.

I couldn’t capture the scents of the place: yew, Irish Spring, musty carpet, freshly popped popcorn. But if you stare at the images long enough the memory of it might come back to you. You may even begin to remember the feel of knees burnished by orange carpet that was plush and bright long before I ever crawled across it. You might begin to feel the impossible heft of the door, inseparable from the squeak of the hinge and the beep of the alarm at ready. You might hear my grandfather’s laugh, and footsteps receding in the hallway, stepping down two steps, then immediately stepping back up two steps to the kitchen. You might rediscover a long lost part of yourself in those red tiled floors and brown striped upholstery. It’s worth a look to see.

I began writing this blog with long drawn out captions, attempting to describe the significance of each scene I had chosen to capture. I decided instead that the photographs could speak for themselves, or silently hold their mysteries forever.

Before long these images will be mere reminders.


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Kitty Feet…






Calm Scenes…



Speckle Feet…



Corny Sisters (hey you wanted to be included)–



Mac Photo Booth.



Cool Hats:



Christmas Sparkles



Early Mariemas Presents!



And Love Notes ♥

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Christmas Photos

Here are just a few of the many reasons why my summer was simply amazing…


Under flowers…

And tiny marsupials…

Shiny things..

Mi amor..

Animals, animals..

More amor (+ animals)..

Cool trees in fave places..


And, of course, more kitties..

The End.

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Dream Big

A book called The Rhino with Glue-on Shoes has proven to become one of the most rewarding gifts I have received this past Christmas. Angela very wisely selected the book off my Amazon wishlist, and I’m glad she did!

As a pre-vet student I have some very vague (albeit grandeur) visions of what my future could hold. The thought of someday becoming a wildlife veterinarian is a motivating force that I haven’t felt in my life since I believed in Heaven and Hell.

It seems these days that every step I take leads me closer to my goal. But it’s not always easy to know exactly what that goal is. There isn’t a lot of literature out there for aspiring veterinarians to get an idea of what they may become, beyond the iconic image of the friendly stethoscoped neighborhood vet at the clinic down the street. But even as a pre-vet student I’m not sure what my options are beyond this..

This book has taught me a wealth of wisdom since I began savoring it weeks ago. It has taught me that I may one day be tube-feeding an eel, or suturing the eye of a dime-sized frog, or darting a wild elephant, or bracing the leg of a baby giraffe. It’s assured me that my creativity and well-roundedness will not only be an advantage, but a necessity. It’s made me believe that the possibilities are endless. It’s given me a bit of a glimpse into the personal lives of the type of person I aspire to be, and the type of people who will one day be my colleagues.

It has also taught me that many veterinarians are not the best creative writers. Don’t get me wrong; I find the entire book to be highly entertaining and insightful, but it’s not a source of great literature by any means. These are no James Herriots who have taken the time to record these anecdotes for the likes of forgiving readers like me.

So naturally I have decided that I would like to write my own book. In fact, I’m already thinking about my first chapter. I realize that writing a book about one’s adventures is a long and painstaking process, especially when one has yet to encounter said adventures. But I’m willing to take all that into account and continue looking forward to the day when I will have something worth writing about. And who knows, maybe it will even end up being interesting!

That being said, I’ve already prepared my Fantasy Bio, which will be featured in my amazingly riveting future-autobiography. Now I know, of course, that all or many of these things may never come to pass….

But hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?



Marie Brown graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. In 2016 she graduated from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Brown completed her zoological medicine residency at the Bronx Zoo, and went on to gain field experience through volunteer work with wildlife conservation and rehabilitation programs across the U.S. Board certified by the American College of Zoological Medicine, she has worked as researcher and veterinarian for the Lemur Conservation Foundation in Myakka City, Florida. She has gained extensive field experience working with small primates in Madagascar, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Foundation. Dr. Brown continues her passion for conservation medicine as Chief of Veterinary Services for the American Wildlife Foundation in Molalla, Oregon. Dr. Brown enjoys educating the public through various media. In addition to writing, she has been filmed at work with animals in cable television documentaries, and lectures regularly at universities across the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys life on her small farm just outside Portland with her husband (Dr?)________, their two adopted children ________ and ________, and their modest menagerie. She hopes to continue caring for the wild and endangered for many years to come.

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Happy Tweet Year

Twitter is supposed to be a social-networking device. A good way to send out minute-by-minute updates of your daily life to all your friends and followers. For someone like me, however, the site takes on a bit of an alternative meaning. You see, I have over 30 followers, but only one of these is a person that I actually have any real contact with in my life. And I actually prefer it to be this way. I use Twitter not because I feel that the world needs to be updated on my every word and thought, but because I like to have another easily accessible creative outlet– however mild of a creativity this may end up being. I use Twitter as a miniature blog of sorts. A way to release an idea that may be nagging me in the middle of class. Or as a means to remind myself of something funny or cute or possibly painful that happened during the day.

That being said, I find it amusing to look back on my year in Tweets. It maps out some of the ups and downs of the year, and points out some of the more prominent themes in my life, i.e., cats, music, school, etc. Looking back on my Tweets reminds me of those exact moments that constitute the basic idea of this blog…the fleeting moments when you realize the joy or the specialness of some common everyday occurrence, and you take the time to note it.

So, without further ado, here is a year’s worth of Tweets from DrBee_to_be to you. I hope you find them as witty and insightful as I intended them to be 😛

Beginning Feb, 2009, in chronological order:

  • I’m back, dammit.
  • Found a plush opossum at Goodwill. It scared the cashier.
  • Movie Gallery closed…now where will everyone in Meridian-Kessler get their porn? Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂
  • Dad says he wants more stimulus at the pig trough.
  • Thanks Hugo Brinkman now my back hurts. It’s a good thing you’re cute.
  • It’s a good news day!!!
  • I was just tricked into enjoying john mellencamp.
  • Girl Scout cookies are SO overrated.
  • I wonder why food tastes better in the shower.
  • Chips for dinner at 1am….typical.
  • Latenight Pilates Afterthought: it’s always fun to see a bunch of guys practically dying in pilates class. Weenies.
  • Today we texted Google to ask, “What’s ‘taters, Precious?” But Google didn’t know 😦
  • I think it’s about time to get panties in the mail.
  • These sunny evenings really make me want to knock out the back wall of my dining room.
  • Gorging myself before heading to Trader Joe’s.
  • I’m ready for the first epic thunderstorm of the season.
  • I get to see one concert a month til the end of summer! Yay!
  • I love bats.
  • Doing a little research in anticipation of the impending Decemberists concert…
  • Didn’t think this day could get worse but it has. Exponentially so.
  • I notice some trees already turning color. But it seems like summer just got started.
  • I cant help it, that Airborn Toxic Event song sucks me in EVERY TIME.
  • It’s so hot, there are melted kittens all over the floor.
  • My boyfriend is floating in the nethersphere. If you see him please tell him: pizza party at 6 and I’m getting an A in chemistry.
  • Sometimes I wonder how half these movies get on my Netflix queue in the first place…Definitely, Maybe? Definitely Not.
  • A dolphin’s brain, in relation to the size of its body, is larger than the brains of chimpanzees and great apes. Second only to humans.
  • I wonder what lovely person left home-grown cucumbers and tomatoes on my porch this evening???
  • Is it lame that I anticipate textbooks in the mail like Calvin anticipated his beanie? ….no I don’t think so 🙂
  • Today’s events make me thankful for everything that i have. *sap alert* 🙂
  • Headed to the fair for farm animals and fried food!
  • You know its going to be a good day when you get running water at work!
  • I can hear kelly clarkson from my house. Ugh. Quick go inside and close all the windows!
  • Already today: hot air balloon race, goat lips, garage sale-ing, and munching in the garden. Time for a nap before this day begins. (more…)

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Christmas Eve, 1987. Reading, Pennsylvania.

Our house in Reading had four bedrooms. I have no recollection of my parents’ bedroom. I slept in a small room on the first floor; Angela and Theresa in the bunk and I in my own little wooden bed with the plastic-coated mattress. Upstairs was a finished attic space which Jennifer and Cindy shared.

Also upstairs was an unfinished attic space which housed the boys. They always seemed to get the short end of the deal when it came to divvying up the bedrooms, but they never seemed to mind. I remember their room, the boards on the walls, and the orange and brown plaid sheets on the beds. If I hung around for long enough there, one of them would give me candy just to get me to go away.

On Christmas Eve we were sent upstairs to wait for Santa. It was a family tradition to open presents on Christmas Eve, which meant that Santa would appear at a pre-appointed time during which we kids would all have to gather in the upstairs room waiting while he dished out the goods. That evening I lay on Jennifer’s bed and watched out the window for Santa and his reindeer. I could see Rudolph’s nose blinking far away on a distant hill. It never seemed to get any closer, but I knew it was Rudolph.

Mom and Dad called to us that Santa had left, and I rushed down the steps, completely convinced that I had just missed him.

I sat on the floor in front of the console tv and ripped into my presents. I remember quite clearly opening a large box which contained my brand new, shiny red tricycle. Unlike the big trikes my brothers would race in the basement, this one was just my size. And since I was the youngest this meant that no one else would be allowed to use it. I relished this.

Christmas Eve was the one day of the year when we were allowed to stay up as late as we wanted to play with our new toys and eat candy. Somehow this never seemed to work out so well as I dreamed it would, as I inevitably ended up being carried off to bed, having fallen fast asleep after a mere hour or two of celebration.


Merry Christmas!

May you celebrate with such joyful abandonment

that you have to be carried off to bed.

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