Clearing up California & Kentucky misconceptions

I just moved to California having lived in Kentucky all my life. I can’t say I am now an official expert on California, but I wanted to let you in on some things you may or may not know about this state. I can’t say this is going to be a long post, but there are a lot of things I am discovering living here and it is a nice change. I’d also like to address a few things Kentucky while I’m at it. I have been talking to a few coworkers about the differences and we’ve been having some great discussions. Anyway, here goes…

Things about California I’ve discovered

– California isn’t just about “Your going to Hollywood, dude!” it’s a lot more than showbiz related stuff. It’s about agriculture! I live in the Central/San Joaquin Valley. This central part of the state as well as a lot of other parts is totally dedicated to raising the produce that is in our grocery stores. So, the next time you go into a market and pick up a head of lettuce or can of green beans, it’s very likely it was grown and processed in California.

– The traffic isn’t that bad here. I think a lot of people have the misconception that California driving is awful. I haven’t noticed much of a difference. I even drove through L.A. last week. Yeah, there were more lanes, but it didn’t feel any different than driving in Louisville. There are considerate drivers here too that let you in. While I’m sure there are some that cut you off, there are those back in Kentucky too.

– California is a huge melting pot. I notice a lot of times that I’m in the minority. It doesn’t bother me, but I observe that there are a LOT more ethnic groups than in KY. In KY, there are mainly just whites, African Americans, and Hispanics, but here you have a wide range of people from different backgrounds. It’s actually refreshing to live in a place with diverse cultures. I’m glad I’m getting the chance to have a broadened perspective.

– Not everyone in California is thin and healthy. I thought moving here I would feel out of place size-wise, but there are a lot of people in different sizes. You do see a lot of people who are healthy and take very good care of themselves and their image, but you also see a lot of people who don’t. While in the grocery store, I observed a lot of people that looked like they were from my hometown. People are people, no matter where you go and they come in all shapes and sizes. In California, the weather is just better and you have much more opportunity to stay in shape (exercise outside) year round and eat fresher foods. I think that’s the advantage that the California people have.

– This one has to do with both Kentucky and California. I often am discouraged by the stereotypes that come with Kentucky. In movies and television, they portray Kentuckians as redneck/hillbilly people who are uneducated and poor. Kentucky is a large state…some rural parts and some more urban. I find that living out here in California, I am just as much in tune with them on a lot of topics or even more than they are (it just depends on what it is). There are a LOT of very progressive people in Kentucky just like there are in California and vice versa (KY has high speed internet just like anywhere else!). In Kentucky and in any part of of our country, including the major cities, there are going to be uneducated and narrow minded people. So when people ask (and I haven’t officially been asked this, btw), “Do you where shoes in KY?” that’s a pretty big insult to us Kentuckians. I think anytime you move to a new place or go to a new place, it’s important to help people better understand misconceptions about where you are from. I hope that the people who meet me will be able to learn from me and that I will be able to put out a positive vibe about Kentucky. I also hope I’m able to inform my Kentucky friends and family on the realities of California and what it is really all about as I learn more. I think that one way for us to stay educated is to share information and connect with each other. We really need to try to break away from the little bubbles we live in and get to know other regions.

For example, last week, I noticed while at a grocery store that vast amount of beans and ethnic foods available for purchase. In Kentucky, we don’t have as great of a selection of foods. When I told my co-workers about this, they were quite amazed and I made a point to tell them what growing up in a rural area and shopping was like there. For example, as a child, living in a small KY town, I was not exposed to exotic fruits or vegetables or even organic foods. I think things are just simpler there and without the broad band of cultural influences to influence the food in that region, we just had basic things. They found that quite interesting.

Well, I could write a book about this, but I think I will draw to a close. I just wanted to share some of my observances and misconceptions that people might have. I hope you found it informative 🙂

Until next time Swellions!


Let’s be CIVIL with each other

Yesterday I attended Civil War Days at Camp Nelson (just outside of Nicholasville, KY). I got there in time just for the Skirmish (a fancy way to say “battle). I had never been to one and it was actually not what I thought it would be. There were only like 10 guys on each side! I don’t know if maybe Saturday was the big skirmish or what, but the field was kinda scarce. I guess I expected lots of shooting and jabbing and cannons. I did see some of that, but not to the extreme that I expected. Anyway, even without all the calvary, it was still pretty cool seeing all the men, women, and boys and girls decked out in the Civil War era duds.

Of course I got some pics and this one especially cracked me up…this cute little dog was jumping and running all over the place during the faux battle. It almost looks like he’s been hit in this picture (admittedly he seemed to be the star of the show).

battle dog

I thought these little girls were picture perfect. I love the little redheads foot propped. So sweet.

little ladies

Look! The Union rides again. Actually, I didn’t catch who really won the whole thing.
the union ride again

And look again! A horse, well, what did I expect? It is Kentucky after all.
soldier on horse

The Civil War Outpost sold felt jackets, hats, swords, books, buttons and more (and very cheap might I add…$40 for a pair of real wool pants!) These glasses caught my fancy.
making a spectacle of themselves

I found it funny that Ol’ Abe was drinking bottled water. He was listening to music from a quartet and singer as if it were from that time period.
abe doesn't do tap water

It was pretty neat. I learned a little bit more about Camp Nelson and can now mark one more thing off of my list that I did. Who am I kidding, though, I don’t have a list like that. Maybe I need to make one? Hmmmmm…..

Until next time Swellions!


All content/photos copyright, © Alexa L. Westerfield, 2008

At the Art Fair

Yesterday I went to the Woodland Art Fair here in Lexington. I always enjoy going to art fairs and do whenever I get the chance (actually next month, I’m going to the Chicago Renegade Craft fair and am getting psyched about that). I will have to say that in years past the Woodland Fair has kind of disappointed me…seems like the same stuff over and over and nothing fresh and new. The organizers must have sensed that, because this year there was all kinds of inspiring finds! A lot more photography, mixed media pieces and the like. I also noticed there wasn’t as much jewelry and I’m kinda glad. I’m all about the jewelry, but sometimes I notice at these art fairs that everything looks exactly alike! It’s disappointing. I want to see new techniques and new innovation, not the same stuff over and over.

Being a vendor at one of these must be tough these days. I can’t imagine that a lot of people have a whole lot o’ expendible income for large pieces. I value art, but I think even sometimes I’m a bit jaded by the pricing. I can’t really understand why it costs $4500 for a basic painting. I know that people play up their prices so that it seems more one of a kind and a high end commodity, but I guess I expect it to be earth shattering for it to be so high. I don’t know.

I honestly didn’t have any money to buy anything, but I did partake in the kettle korn. Yummy kettle korn…I have to get it every year! Anyway, here’s some of my favorite things from the stop. If I had the money to spend (actually several of these were very reasonable), I would have jumped on some of these pieces…

These metalwork flowers caught my eye. Love the orange and red shimmer and shine!
metalwork flowers

These photo canvases were beautiful. I really wish I knew how they got their photo transfered onto the canvas. They distressed around the edges and surface as well for a vintage effect.
photo canvases

This is the one I thought to be phenomenal, but way beyond my price range (in the thousands for the whole canvas set)!

I loved these spray painted prints (again, I’m pretty sure they were prints or stencils). They were really cool and retro. I saw a conversion van in the bunch. The textures were so cool.
wood prints

The light on the copper hair of these lawn dancers caught my eye.
tiny dancers

These little mixed media pieces were fun and I loved the combined textures and stenciled designs. Very pretty. I wish I knew how to do more of that.
mixed media

These pieces were steals! I really loved the neat effects on the frames and the linework mixed in with digital design. Fantastic! I’m not sure if it was paint or what. It was on an interesting fabric/muslin surface.
angels among us

Jeremy took a liking to this piece. They were quite fascinating and abstract.
art in question

Oh, and here’s people walking at the fair. It really was a beautiful day. There was a nice breeze going through. Just perfect.
at the art fair

Well, see ya tomorrow Swellions! I can’t believe tomorrow the week starts all over again!

Swell takes on the 127 yard sale!

This weekend I went to the US Highway 127 yard sale right outside Frankfrot. I just went to a couple of hours (we actually tried going the other way, but couldn’t figure out what way to take 127 through Frankfort)…I didn’t make a weekend trip of it like a lot of people do, but I got a taste of what they had to offer on the yard sale route. I’m really not that much of a yard saler, but I figure that the people during this yard sale bring out all the stops and it’s a neat, little slice of Americana that was practically in my backyard, so it is totally stupid for me not to go. I saw the cheap, the tacky, the kitschy, the weird, and the lame. I also had a funnel cake for good measure. Here’s some funny pics from my experience and what I ended up picking up!

a swell seal of approval

I was so excited that I had to do a dance.

I saw some really swell things…

Well, this actually scared me a bit. I like 1950’s stuff, but I would rarely ever want to dress that way. Looking good back then was so hard to maintain…here’s evidence in this product:
this makes me glad I'm not from this era

Some cool paint by number and retro paintings…
right up eartha's alley

Why didn’t Bruce Willis become a huge singing superstar like David Hasselhoff?
forget die hard, he should be known for this!

Hey look! It’s me in a sea of stuff!
in a sea of junk or should that be treasures

Oh my! My family had this vacuum cleaner. I hated that thing. It was so hard to take apart. I actually think my mom still has it.
my mom still has this vacuum

Here is what I bought:

Look, I added 4 new raisins to my collection!

I actually bought these Magnum P.I. cards to give away to my friends as fun lil’ gifts.
this is what I bought

I saw some neat retro jewels, but for $5 for the whole bag, I got quite a bit for my buck with these…
beads and baubles

Oh, and here’s one for all the ladies (it is rare that you will find half naked men coming from me, but I couldn’t resist). I bought this calendar. The pictures were sooooo cheesy and the notations inside cracked me up (by a 16 year old girl who documented a new kid’s on the block concert, her driver’s license test, and Patrick Swayze’s birthday). Click on the pic to see more funny stuff inside it if you dare go there!
ladies, eat your heart out!

Well, gotta go get ready for another week ahead, Swellions. Agh. Weekends really do go by too fast!


Backtracking a bit

Well, I didn’t post my Wed. is Lensday post cause I had to get my Thursday link up by Wednesday night, so, I have a few photos to post for tonight!

Chris and I went out for another one of our infamous Flickr walks out and about around Lexington. At first, we were going to go to the Lexington Cemetary, but it was closed. Bummer. But we did end up going to an old garden nursery where he found a lot of cool pics to take and I found just a few. Here’s one (that I oded to my friend Retta, an amazing photographer who loves to take nature pics)…

nature ode to retta

Here’s the old nursery…it had a lot of character but there were a lot of no trespassing signs and whatnot, so I wasn’t too adventurous with my photos… I love the bold letters on the brick.

hillenmeyer nursery

After a dinner break at Chipotle, I ended up snapping these three photos in the same block. Sometimes inspiration just hits at the same time…oh, and my telephoto lens takes some pretty good quality photos (I love how it does a subtle and natural vignette around the frame).

up against the wall
Here’s Chris posing rather lonely/distressesque. He’s a good model.

cut it out I find that I always think of Dave Coulier when I think of scissors. Anyone else remember that show Out of Control that he was on? I always loved the opening and who can forget Diz? UhhhhhhhhhhhhuhUNH! That’s the closest way for me to type the screeching sound she made on that show. Check out the intro here!

rock&scrollThis was just some random scroll fence set up next to a tattoo parlor wall. I don’t know what it is…maybe I just connected with the blue/grey color cause I’ve been feeling a little that way of sorts personally. It seems like emotions come in waves, doesn’t it?

Hope you enjoyed the photos Swellions! Catch ya tomorrow!


All content/photos copyright, © Alexa L. Westerfield, 2008