The Wall Dogs of LoDo

June 27, 2010

 No, this is not a proposal for a reality show, sit-com, or band.  No, I am referring to a cultural, and historical, art form known as painted brick-wall advertising.  

Littleton Creamery

Copyright 2010 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

 On a recent trip to Denver, Colorado, I stopped in one of the Ink! Coffee shops for some refreshment and had a conversation with Lauren, who later provided me a copy of  The Lower Downtown Historic District by Barbara Gibson.   As the title indicates, this book describes the history and architecture of Lower Downtown, or LoDo, as this area of Denver is known.  It also provided a focus to my walkabouts for the rest of the trip Read the rest of this entry »

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Stuff

June 8, 2010

   

Mailbox

Copyright 2010 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

My grandmother died in 2008 having just turned the corner from the age of 99.  My grandfather had died 13 years earlier at the age of 91.  In 1940, my mother, grandmother, and grandfather moved into the only house I knew my grandparents to have.  In fact, my grandfather and my grandmother’s father dug the hole and laid the block for the foundation as well as constructing other parts of the house and various out-buildings.  This is the property that was recently sold-thus ending 68 years of continuous, family, ownership. Read the rest of this entry »

Refugees

June 2, 2010

 I had the opportunity to work with both the International Rescue Committee and Refugee Family Services earlier this spring.  Quite a humbling experience to say the least.  I have a Master’s degree-but not in Farsi, Nepali, or Somali.   Not only did many of the participants have little or no command of English, but many were not able to read or write their native language.  This was particularly true of the women for whom education was not an option in their country of origin. As a result, I often felt awkward due to my limited frame of reference for the corresponding words in other languages.  And English is quite complicated. 

For example, say aloud the following words:  “meet” and “meat”.  Sound the same, right?  Same definition, right?  No.  Changing one vowel makes a big difference.  When reading, that difference is visually apparent; even if the meanings are unknown.  However, context is the key when speaking as many words in English sound the same (“there”, “their”, and “they’re” is another example) but have very different meanings.  The participants with whom I was working decided that they could understand “meet” when thinking about people and “meat” when thinking about cows.  (What happens when you encounter some cows blocking a road?  You then meet the meat.)

On the other hand, I make it a point to pay attention to world events and read constantly.  In fact, I often blame Terry Gross for breaking my budget as I often purchase and read books written by authors she has interviewed.  Doing so provides an understanding and context for this global community in which we all live.

For example, during one session at the IRC, we were discussing a worksheet designed to assist the participants with understanding tense-past, present, and future.  Included were questions such as “Where did you live?”, “Where do you live now?”, and “Where do you want to live in the future?”  One woman from Iraq talked openly about her life growing up in Baghdad and her current residence in America.  When it came to discussing the future, this is what she had to say:

“No speak of future in Baghdad.  Alive today, tomorrow dead.”

That is clear in any language.

Take care.