Artists with a Sense of Humor

If humor is one of the highest forms of intelligence, then clearly these street artists are brilliant. I hope you are as bowled over as I was by these creative minds.

Photo of street art wall with straw

Photo of street art cheerleader

Photo of street art cigarette sewer

Photo of street art face and branches

Photo of street art shoe crosswalk

 

Photo of street art wall face

Photo of street art chalk tiger

Photo of street art kids chalk walk

Photo of street art eyes wall

Photo of street art more people climbing steps

Photo of street art scissors cutting street

Photo of street art sink hole with bicylist

Photo of street art steam roller

Photo of street art face on bombed building

Photo of street art love shadow

Photo of street art afro tree face

Photo of street art blue waterfall

Photo of street art guns and pencils

Photo of street art face skyscrapers

Photo of street art pastel steps

Photo of street art titanic building

Photo of street art treehouse building

Photo of street art zipper tree

Photo of street art subway steps

Photo of street art three friends

Unfortunately, I do not have the original source to properly credit the photographers or the curator of this delightful collection of images, but here’s a big shout out to Hensley Peterson for forwarding this piece to me via email. If anybody knows the original source, please let me know.

Leaping Lizards! An Extra 24-Hours? What’s a Girl to Do?

Woohoo! The gift of an extra day? There is no better present, as far as I’m concerned.

Julius Caesar GraphicThank you Leap Year! Or more accurately, thank you, Julius Caesar. I know your brilliant idea of adding an extra day to the calendar every four years had absolutely nothing to do with my foot-long To Do List, but whatever the case, I’ll take it, and send you a heart-felt high-five and “Hail Caesar.”

What do I plan to do with my extra twenty-four hours? Brace yourself, this chick is on a mission–a mission to max out her day.

You might be envisioning an Academy Award-Winning Tasmanian Devil impersonation where I tear through my house, cleaning out the refrigerator or the fish tank, paying bills, doing laundry, trying to write my next chapter, organize the launch of our ebook, and bust out 30 miles on my bike–all before I pick my daughter up from school. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

Nope.

Not. Even. Close.

I plan to pack my extra twenty-four hours with nothing but slothful bliss. I am officially jumping off the To Do List bandwagon today and taking a day to refuel.

Aahhh, I feel lighter already just typing those words.

As a mom, a wife, a writer, and a person who occasionally wears a few too many hats, I find myself perpetually racing the clock, trying to get stuff done, and admittedly feeling frustrated when I’m interrupted or when I don’t get it done in the amount of time I think it should take.

Can anybody else relate to this or is this just my genetic defect?

Okay, maybe don’t answer that.

Whatever the case, in the process of continually trying to tackle my To Do List, my effervescent personality…well, let’s just say…may not be as effervescent as it could or should be.

What? I know, impossible.

My darling eight-year old would definitely say, “POSSIBLE,” as would my extremely patient husband. Yep, they’ve put up with my wound-too-tight-ness a bit too long.

Soooo…for the next 24-hours, on this gift of an extra day, I am slowing it down and taking life at a snail’s pace.

What’s ahead for this snail, you ask?

A whole lot of snail-i-ness.

Okay, so maybe snails don’t set their alarms for 5:00 am, but that’s what I plan do again tomorrow because it is an exquisite time of day; a time when silence wraps its savory soul around my creativity. Mother Nature is usually at her best at this hour too. When you have this view out your window, and a colossal cup of rich, dark roast coffee, and two uninterrupted hours of writing time, what more could you want–especially when you’re kicking off a “bonus” day?

View out my window when writing at dawn

After I write, then drop Twinkle Toes off at school, I’ll probably go on a leisurely bike ride; one with no mileage or pace goals–just a fabulous spin, riding wherever I want, for as long (or short) as I want, at whatever speed I want.

After that, if I’m able to steal my husband away from his art project, I’ll take him out for coffee or lunch and ply him with sweet nothings–especially for putting up with me for so long.

Next? Perhaps a beach walk or a pedicure, and chocolate consumption. Yes, definitely some dark chocolate caramel consumption. Then…

Oh no, my snail’s list is suddenly starting to take on the familiar sound of a To Do List.

Clearly, this could take some time.

Happy Leap Day everybody. What are your plans for this extra day?

Thursday’s Picture of the Week: Champagne

Photo of Champagne, France

Behind the scenes: It’s 1994 and Jeffrey is photographing on assignment for Travel Holiday in the Champagne Region of France. His job is to capture the essence of this region with its renowned vineyards and charming, old world towns.

Jeffrey speaks only a little French, but after landing in Paris he loads up a rental car, negotiates his way through the city’s chaotic roundabouts, then finally hits the open road heading toward Epernay, about eighty miles away. His nerves take a beating during the drive, especially without any English signage to guide him, but the beauty of the region creates a soothing natural salve.

The following day several men from the Champagne Chamber of Commerce warmly welcome him with a lavish, three-hour lunch, complete with six different types of champagne.

Vineyard in Reims, FranceJeffrey, who likes to hit the ground running, tries to quell the impatient feeling needling him while the men laugh and linger, making sure the champagne keeps pace with their stories. Eventually the bubbles begin to travel to Jeffrey’s head, forcing him to lose his natural, high-energy need-for-speed, and relax and fully appreciate the lifestyle of this region.

He can already tell that it’s going to be one the cushiest stories he’s photographed in a long time, even if he will have to work hard to photograph everything on his long shoot list.

Haut Viller, FranceDuring the next week he plows through more than 70 rolls of film in the visually rich towns of Reims, Damery, Troyes, Epernay and Haut Viller. He photographs everything from vineyards and chalk cellars to wine bars, restaurants, and galleries to people, architecture, and landscapes. He also shoots details like the street sign honoring Dom Perignon, the monk who discovered bubbly.

After spending a morning photographing the interior of Castellene du Champagne winery in Epernay, Jeffrey heads to his car. Just as he’s about to load up his equipment and move on to the next location on his list, he sees two workers carrying a giant champagne bottle along the road in front of the winery.

Jeffrey knows what he sees before him must be included in the story so he quickly takes out his camera again and begins photographing. He works hard to get the angle which will include both the Avenue du Champagne sign and the shadow. After capturing this quirky moment, curiosity inspires him to find out what they’re doing with the giant bottle.

“Once a week we have tastings in the garden and we bring these large bottles out for ambiance. People enjoy sipping champagne beneath these big bottles,” a worker laughs as he explains in his thick French accent.

Though dozens of photographs from this shoot have been published around the world, this giant champagne bottle has captured peoples’ imaginations the most. It has been published in magazines, on cards, and inside Communication Arts where Jeffrey received an award for it.

This image was created with a Nikon F4 camera, a Nikor 85mm lens and Fuji Velvia Film.

Would you agree that this picture begs for a creative caption? I’d love to hear your ideas. Send me your best!

What’s in a Name?

First of all, as you read this, please don’t worry about me, you don’t need to call a therapist. I’M OKAY.

Really.

It’s just that I’m grappling with envy.

No, not that kind of envy. Name envy.

In a big way, too.

You see, my parents, god love ‘em, decided to saddle me with perhaps the most yawn-producing name in the world. Becky Green. Not even Rebecca. Just plain old Becky.

To top it off, they decided to give me a darling middle name: Sue. I’m guessing they never thought I’d grow up, or perhaps they didn’t ever want me to grow up. Sorry mom and dad, I’m diss’ing you and you’re not even alive anymore to defend yourselves. I’m sure I’ll be going to hell in a hand-basket for that one.

But here I am, a grown woman with the name Becky Sue. Isn’t that sweet? It makes my fillings hurt just typing it.

The topper, though, is that nobody ever remembers my adorable name.

I’m either Betty or Betsy, Debbie or Vicky. Or my favorite, Bicky (when somebody can’t remember if I’m Becky or Vicky).

This “name thing” has been an ongoing joke for years with people closest to me. And I’ll tell you, there’s cheap entertainment in making fun songs out of my various names:

Try this for example…dance around the room and belt out, “Betty Sue’s got a new pair of shoes….” Well, you might have to throw back a few cocktails in order for that to tickle your funny bone like it did so many times with my former college roommate, Janet, and me.

Then do your best Buddy Holly impersonation and tell that “PPPPPeggy Sue” to move over, because it’s really BBBBBicky Sue who has it going on!

My all-time favorite name though, came to me from across the Atlantic. A German photo editor I worked with several years ago bestowed it upon me. As her fax came dribbling out of the fax machine, I barely got past the first line before I began howling. It simply read, “Dear Betty Grimm.” It was too funny to bother correcting her, so to this day, I’m still known as Betty Grimm to a few of my favorite people.

Thankfully, there’s always room for a new twist. Recently, I joined a women’s writing organization called She Writes, and somehow my blog information got listed under Bobby Green Aaronson. I suppose I should try to have that corrected, but all I can do is chuckle, knowing how classic it is. Maybe I should at least have them add the Sue, so it would be Bobby Sue Green Aaronson.

And the Green Aaronson? I grappled with that too. Forever, I used my maiden name professionally so Jeffrey and I wouldn’t seem like a “ma and pa operation.” Most clients didn’t even know we were a couple. But then sweet Olivia came along and I wanted us all to have the same last name. So then I dropped the Green. But when I began writing, I realized most people would still know me by Green. So then I got neurotic and added the Green back in with Aaronson. Are you confused yet?

Good, then it’s obviously time to move on.

I think I need to start taking lessons from several creative types I know. One woman I know goes by the name Trixi. She’s a fit, artistic, firecracker mom of four. When asked about her name, she explained that it wasn’t her given name. “For many years my professional work required me to go to conventions where we wore name tags for networking. It was so boring I decided to spice it up. One time I wrote the name Trixi on my badge. The name stuck, and I’ve been Trixi ever since.”

The last time I did something like that was when I told the barista at Starbuck’s my name was Lulu.

Then there’s my writing mentor, Cork Millner. Who doesn’t love and remember a name like Cork? Especially when he’s a writer and a wine aficionado.

My husband, Jeffrey, is also good with names. Whenever he signs up for a store saver card or anything that requires personal information, he creates a new persona. In case you are wondering, not only do I live with Jeffrey, but also the elusive Jack French.

I’ve often thought about giving myself a memorable pen name, but then nobody would know that it was me blathering on about important things like names.

So for now, I guess I’ll continue to be Betty, Betsy, Debbie, Bicky Vicky Sue…even if it’s tempting to be Sophia LaStrange or Madeleine Duvall.

That is unless you have a pen name I can’t resist!

Send me your best!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to…

Photo of an airplane windowWhen somebody flies over a million miles like my husband, photographer, Jeffrey Aaronson, humorous things are bound to happen. Here’s a glimpse into a few things Jeffrey has experienced on airplanes over the years :

In 1989 Jeffrey was on his way to China from our home in Aspen, Colorado. On the small BA-146 jet, he bumped into his friends, tennis star, Chris Evert, and Olympic ski racer, Andy Mill. The three ended up sitting next to each other, chatting and laughing on the short thirty-minute flight to Denver, then parted ways once they landed.

Inside the Denver Airport, a Japanese man who had been on the earlier Aspen flight, scoped out Jeffrey from a distance and smiled and bowed to him. Jeffrey smiled back politely, then focused on a magazine article he was trying to read while he waited for his connecting flight. A short while later, the man walked past and did the same thing. Jeffrey glanced up and smiled back, but then began wondering what this guy was all about.

When it was time to board the flight to Beijing, once again, there was the Japanese man–this time walking down the aisle with his carry-on luggage, once again smiling and bowing as Jeffrey settled into his seat. Jeffrey smiled back courteously and even nodded, but was now starting to feel a little awkward.

It wasn’t until about an hour later that Jeffrey finally found out what this guy was all about. At 38,000 ft. as Jeffrey was sipping soda water and reading a newspaper, the Japanese man reappeared. After walking up and down the aisle two times, he finally built up his nerve to stop. Jeffrey looked up quizzically, then he heard, “Ah, Mr. McEnroe, may I have your autograph?”

Photo of John McEnroeJeffrey could barely repress his laughter, but was so tickled by this earnest gentleman, he couldn’t bring himself to tell him that he wasn’t the tennis legend he idolized. Instead, he just smiled and bowed, and scribbled John McEnroe onto a piece of paper.

That wasn’t the first time Jeffrey had been confused with curly-haired tennis great, John McEnroe, but this was the most amusing.

Looking back now Jeffrey chuckles, “You’d think he would have known I wasn’t John McEnroe when I wasn’t flying first class. He must have assumed that since I was talking with Chrissy Evert on the Aspen flight that I had to be McEnroe.”

Fortunately for the Japanese man Jeffrey never yelled, “You cannot be serious!” like John McEnroe often did on the tennis court.

_____

In the early 90’s Jeffrey was on another flight to China (yes, he went all the time). This time, well into the flight over the Pacific, he was sound asleep. Jeffrey often joked that he got some of his best sleep on airplanes. After snoozing for a couple hours and being in a deep sleep, he was woken by a flight attendant standing in front of him, smiling broadly, holding a glass of champagne.

In his groggy, disoriented state, he was trying to figure out why she would be doing that. Then the guy sitting next to him, whom he hadn’t ever told his name, said, “Jeffrey, I really like what you do.” Trying to get his bearings, he squinted at the flight attendant and the passenger next to him, then glanced across the aisle. Several people were looking at him and smiling.

“Is there something going on here I should know about?” Jeffrey asked.

“We just watched you on the inflight movie.”

“Huh?” Jeffrey muttered. “What are you talking about?” Jeffrey couldn’t decide whether he was still dreaming or if these people had lost their minds.

“While you were asleep, they showed you photographing…it was on the video monitor.” When Jeffrey finally heard, “It was called Colorado Picture Perfect and it was hosted by John Denver,” it suddenly made sense.

A few years earlier he had been part of a documentary television show on NBC which featured three Colorado photojournalists working out in the field capturing winter in Colorado. The program, Jeffrey discovered at that moment in his travel weary state, had been syndicated and was now being shown on United Airlines.

The curly-headed guy sitting in Row 7A suddenly became a welcomed distraction for all the nearby passengers. All Jeffrey wanted to do was go back to dreaming.

_____

Then there’s the funny stuff that’s only funny after you’ve landed safely. Like…

Flying with a drunk pilot in a single engine Cessna over the Bass Straight in Tasmania, Australia. The rosy-cheeked pilot looked more like an unmade bed than a professional pilot, and his flying skills matched his appearance. As the plane bumped along through marginal weather, he left little room for error as he flew way too close to the sea. I happened to be on this assignment with Jeffrey and years later, I can still remember the smell of the pilot’s whiskey and the death grip I had on Jeffrey’s hand, and how I practically kissed the ground when we finally landed. Thankfully we’re both still here to laugh about it.

Flying on Druk Air from Bhutan to Thailand and nearly crashing in Dhaka, Bangladesh while trying to land during a typhoon. The pilot pushed the engines as hard as he could to get through the storm, and then the wind suddenly whipped around the other direction and thrust the plane from behind during landing. It came in WAY too fast to land and the plane skidded sideways down the flooded runway, then finally came to a stop just inches from crashing off the end.

Having to make an emergency landing at a military base in Xinjiang, China because the China Airways plane Jeffrey was flying on ran out of fuel. Jeffrey was on assignment for TIME Magazine and had been trying to fly from Beijing to Turpan for days. Each day the flight was cancelled due to fog in Turpan, some five hours away. Finally the day arrived to fly, but when the plane tried to land, once again fog prevented it. The determined Chinese pilot decided to circle. And circle. And circle. The plane circled for nearly an hour, and then the pilot suddenly realized they had run out of fuel. It was straight out of a bad movie with passengers screaming and crying during the plummeting descent…you get the picture. This is only a tiny part of one of the most bizarre and difficult assignments Jeffrey had ever done for TIME Magazine, a story which will be chronicled later in my upcoming book.

Okay, so those last three stories aren’t exactly ha-ha funny, but more like “holy crap” funny. But since my darling Jeffrey is still with us to tell these stories, it’s okay to laugh…really.

Now it’s your turn. What is the funniest or most unusual thing that has happened to you while traveling? Drop me a comment and share the joys of flying!
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