Tiny White Flowers

Tiny White Flowers

Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year table

Just a little photo from last year's feast, 31 Dec. 08.

Happy New Year

So, I'm letting the year close behind me. I'm sitting in my "office," the washing machine working, the Monkees Greatest, Moody Blues 'Days of Future Past,' Joe Jackson's "Jumpin' Jive," Aerosmith (Honkin' on Bobo), and Beatles 'Sgt. Pepper' on shuffle in the other room. I've been in the kitchen, but don't feel too compelled to be in there right now. I've vacuumed the living room. I cooked the cod for lunch, and it was good.

It occurred to me while listening to DH grumping about car troubles (our car is in the shop, a bit longer than we wanted it to be), that for every grouse there needs to be a balancing observation of something good. This is mostly because I wasn't in the mood for negativity, even though taking the car in to the shop is a pain, as you feel a lot helpless when it's in other hands. DH usually does most of the work on it, but sometimes there are things that one can't do - especially since many cars are much more complicated than they used to be, and getting to certain spots to fix something can be darn near impossible without the right tools.

That said, I was looking forward to this evening, the here and now, and not the car, which I know has to be fixed, and it going to cost. My Piscean brain just didn't want to go any further into those waters, didn't want to get water-logged. Wanted to hear something positive. And of course, the moment made me think about how not to dwell too long in the negative. I realise it - yes - this is all easier said than done, and I'm sure I'll gripe at some later time at my own 'advice,' but it's how I feel right now. Bring on the good stuff!

And there is a lot of good stuff. Life, family, friends, a place to live, food to eat, an abundance of wildlife, water, air, earth, and the host of natural elements. And so much more. Beauty, for instance. The moon, flowers, babies, Snowy Owls. Compassion. And forgiveness.

This is probably why I don't do well for very long when it comes to the news and the world of politics. Too many folks doing quirky things, too many politicians losing sight of what's really important. How to live together in harmony, for instance. How to love and appreciate the many colors we are, the many persuasions and religions, the many talents we have.

So, my wish for you, dear readers, is that you hold on to that gift of openness that is available to us, the gift of love, the gift of quiet contemplation, and of hope. Give one or more of those gifts away to someone you wouldn't expect to give it to. Pass it along. It'll come back to you. Really.

You are beautiful. You are important. You are loved.

Here are some words by Marianne Williamson (often attributed to Nelson Mandela) I keep nearby. It's a good reminder for me to look at them more often:

"...Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Happy New Year~

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Still Life: Fortune Cookie

Photo note, credit:

"New York, New York- Food still life with a fortune cookie, chopsticks, bowl, saki pitcher

Photo by Jonathan Gayman

Saturday Fortunes

Opened this morning:

"You will dine with someone new soon."

"Good opportunity awaits."

And third:

"You will be presented with several good opportunities."

Just now:

"You will be successful in your next undertaking."

Should I push my luck any further?

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Four Riders of the Apocalypse

The Four Riders of the Apocalypse, originally uploaded by a1mega.

Image note:

Albrecht Dürer, The Revelation of St John: The Four Riders of the Apocalypse (see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eschatology)

Word of the Day

A word I was reminded of while watching PBS's From Jesus to Christ:


Main Entry: es·cha·tol·o·gy
Pronunciation: \ˌes-kə-ˈtä-lə-jē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural es·cha·tol·o·gies
Etymology: Greek eschatos last, farthest
Date: 1844
1 : a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind
2 : a belief concerning death, the end of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humankind; specifically : any of various Christian doctrines concerning the Second Coming, the resurrection of the dead, or the Last Judgment

Monday, Late

So it's been full here, very full. I've just been watching the PBS Frontline special, From Jesus to Christ, which is a rerun, but now that we have the converter box, we can see it much better. I'm just sorry I am so tired I dozed during the last half hour, off and on. Tomorrow is part two. I hope I do better then. It's a good program to watch, to get perspective on life before, during, and after the life of Jesus, and the beginnings of the Christian church.

Earlier today I dropped DD and friend off at the ferry. They spent the day in Seattle. Feeling a little sorry for DS, I suggested we go see the movie he's been interested in lately: Avatar. It's not quite 3 hrs long, but in my opinion, much better developed than many movies I've seen lately. I crave depth in movies and books, and this satisfied. As it is new, I won't say any more. Only that if you are interested in the politics of preservation, of terrorism, in ancient belief, connectedness and compassion, and in fantasy, then this movie might be for you. If you see it, let me know what you think.

Yesterday, I saw Black Nativity with DM, at the Intiman Theater. It was fantastic, full of color and music and dancing, of celebration. For more information about Black Nativity, and about the Total Experience Gospel Choir, visit:

http://www.intiman.org/ (which is where we saw the performance)

The Total Experience Gospel Choir has been to our church, and they are wonderful. To find out more, visit the link just above.

And finally, tomorrow DD, DS, and DA and I are going to see PNB's production of the Nutcracker, featuring the Maurice Sendak artwork and influence. I've seen it several times, and it is well-worth it. For more about Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Nutcracker, visit:


Now I'm exhausted, what with all of these Christmas interpretations running through my head. . . it's been an interesting week.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Wanderings


There's a Polar Bear
In our Frigidaire--
He likes it 'cause it's cold in there.
With his seat in the meat
And his face in the fish
And his big hairy paws
In the buttery dish,
He's nibbling the noodles,
He's munching the rice,
He's slurping the soda,
He's licking the ice.
And he lets out a roar
If you open the door.
And it gives me a scare
To know he's in there--
That Polary Bear
In our Fridgitydaire.

Shel Silverstein

* * *

Funny - that sounds a little like me these days.

Also interesting to me, that I've been connecting with a few folks who are intrigued with bears like I am. When in Alaska this past summer, I didn't get to see any bears. I was always on the wrong tour, or having to leave port at the wrong
time. We went on the Denali Wilderness tour, and saw 2 1/2 moose. The people who took the Tundra tour (8+ hours) saw 5 grizzlies. The guy I met in an art shop in Skagway told me that if we had time, he'd take us to a place ten miles out where two brother bears are seen regularly, fishing in the river. I settled for a ranger talk, back at the lodge, and a photo of a stuffed bear.

A few years ago, I was told that I have been a Native American woman in two past lives, one of those lives as a shaman wearing the skin of a bear. This came after I'd spent the morning working out in my journal musing on the possibilities of trading skins with the bear. Imagine my surprise when hearing the news, especially coming from someone who had no idea about my private writing/ideas. . .

The bear comes and goes from my life. Sometimes I am far away, and other times I'm in it's skin. Sometimes it comes and takes apples. Sometimes it breaks the tree. And once in awhile, it teaches its cubs how to forage from our worm bin and blackberry vines.

Sometimes I am blessed with a brief glimpse. Taken, and wanting a better look, I stumble through the dark, downstairs, where I kick and chair (it is a moonless night), and three bears take off like shots before I can look out the nearest window. Is there a message to be learned from this? Is this how spirituality works?

One summer DH was backpacking on his own up the trail. At one point he had to step off to the side, to let 13 bears rumble down trail, past him. And like shooting stars, someone can say "I just saw a bear back there, in the trees by that other campsite," and I go looking only find nothing but the space left behind. Is this how faith works?

So, I'm going to bed now, remembering one New Year's Eve, when that mother and two cubs raided the compost, and I scared them off stubbing my toe loudly in the dark kitchen. And what do I want for Christmas? To see a bear up close - well, maybe not *too* close - maybe just through the window like the big coyote last spring in our yard - but maybe that's asking too much.

This poem was in Blackbird awhile back:

Woman goes out into damp December

dish pan in hand,

offers water to the slumbering

blackberry vines. She slaps the pan,

imagines the bear,

come round two mornings before,

wrought iron pole of the bird house bowed

nearly double. She conjures

the great black shape,

belly full of suet, chickadee

feeder broken at his feet, perches

neatly removed, plastic tube pierced

by the tooth of his hunger. She’s seen

where he hunkers, straw of dying

grass flattened in the woods

behind her home, nocturnal swath

carved wide with his wanderings.

She wants to catch him at his vandalisms,

wonders if she were to yield

her last basket of apples—

mealy, sweet—if giving brings more

than a bearish appetite.

In this slim, growing bleak

and darker time, she greets

a star swelling with secrets, a body

pressing on through darkness.

--Ronda Broatch

Just another way of looking at the world. . .

. . . through the eyes of my cat. This is how I feel, sometimes. Especially today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Musings

I am envious of the writing time of others. Yet, when faced with a significant amount of time in which to write - that is, alone time - I spend it doing other things. Sound familiar?

I tell myself it's okay when I'm photographing, because that's creative, and fills a need. I love photography, and especially close-up work and textures. Those are poems, in a way. But I miss writing a decent poem. I feel like it's been a long time.

And perhaps it feels that way because I haven't had an acceptance in what seems like months. Many near misses, please-send-more-work-our-way and thank-you-for-thinking-of-us. Seeing the poem "Rejection Letter From Gertrude Stein" by Marjorie Manwaring, on Martha Silano's blog Blue Positive, makes me feel that, at least I'm not alone.

So, this post is going to be short. I'm going to head up to bed, and write in my journal. No idea what will come of it, but something is better than nothing. Right?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Monday

Bah-da bah-da-da-da

Bah-da bah-da-da-da

Bah-da bah-da-da-da

Monday, Monday, so good to me

Monday mornin', it was all I hoped it would be

Oh Monday mornin', Monday mornin' couldn't guarantee

That Monday evenin' you would still be here with me

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day

Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way

Oh Monday mornin' you gave me no warnin' of what was to be

Oh Monday, Monday, how could you leave and not take me

Every other day, every other day

Every other day of the week is fine, yeah

But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes

A-you can find me cryin' all of the time

Monday, Monday, so good to me

Monday mornin', it was all I hoped it would be

But Monday mornin', Monday mornin' couldn't guarantee

That Monday evenin' you would still be here with me

Every other day, every other day

Every other day of the week is fine, yeah

But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes

A-you can find me cryin' all of the time

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day

Monday, Monday, it just turns out that way

Oh Monday, Monday, won't go away

Monday, Monday, it's here to stay

Oh Monday, Monday

Oh Monday, Monday. . .

* * *

So, short and sweet. I'm coming down with a cold, and it seems I'm getting nothing but rejections. Sneezed my head off half the day. Missed a Christmas party this evening. Wondering when my next acceptance will be, whether I should, once again, rearrange my ms.

That's the whining part.

There's also a good part.

I have to remember that today I also received a great message from a friend in Africa, and we talked about inclusion and gratitude. He's living with the Maasai, and has been for a few years now, after realizing he needed something more than his good job as an architect/interior designer. He felt a pull in another direction. . .

And I had energy today, for teaching weight-training, and I felt pretty darn good, even though I'm testing the peri-menopausal waters. More than. I got five hours in, designing the new weight-training routine, and am almost done with it. Before Christmas, and in time for the other instructors to get used to it before we launch it.

I remembered my VISA bill, even though it's 2 days late. I still remembered it. I still need to pay it, but it is no longer near the bottom of my pile. It's in plain view.

I had my spinach salad and am (today) getting enough water.

There is a roof over my head, heat in the wood stove, and my clothes are drying quietly behind me.

And, once again, I'm hopeful. For many things. Some very personal, bordering on selfish, and others more global. I've been thinking about volunteering. Been thinking about going somewhere, someday, out of my comfort zone, to help others. Not sure what that's going to be, but I think I'd like to visit Africa. Friends from Grace go a few times a year, as part of the Kossoye Project (their project), and at one time lived there awhile. They are in their late 70's. And I think how rich that must be, how challenging, and how it must widen the heart a little more. Heck, other of my body parts are doing that, why not continue that with the heart and mind? I can already feel it.

It's been a Monday. In various ways. And that's okay.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Invisible Man, the Art of Liu Bolin

Another powerful piece by Liu Bolin


"PIC BY CATERS NEWS - The amazing art of LIU Bolin, "THE INVISIBLE MAN ". In this series called ?Hiding in the City?. LIU uses his body as an art medium by hiding himself in different. city locations from China to the UK.. Liu Bolin was born in 1973 in Shandong, China and graduated from the Sculpture Department of Central. Academy of Fine Arts with a master degree.....SEE CATERS COPY"

Liu Bolin - The Invisible Man

Liu Bolin - The Invisible Man, originally uploaded by ryanfeeley.

The artist as the opening through the fence. . .

Liu Bolin

To see more, click on the photo, or the link below:

"Posted via email from Ryan Feeley's posts

Liu Bolin

Liu Bolin, originally uploaded by butterfluff.

This artist is amazing, and his work just caught my attention the other day, when I saw a link on Yahoo to the ABC news clip.

The concept of the artist being a part of the work is interesting to think about. I think we are always a part of the work we do, but most of the time we keep ourselves out of the picture, so to speak. Let the attention be drawn to what we create, and not on the creator.

And, it's true we often get lost in the work we create. Lost in completion, lost in revision, lost in the process. A piece of us remains when the work is done. But how often do we see physical evidence of the artist's presence? And so far as to have the artist camouflaged so perfectly as to blend in smoothly with the work?

In the case of Liu Bolin, the artist is the work, blending in almost seamlessly with his chosen backgrounds or subjects. His attention to detail is impeccable, and he paints himself to fit just so into the bigger picture. It is work that catches my attention, and makes me think about the art we make on another level. And to me, that's how we keep going - pushing the boundaries and experimenting constantly. Keeping it fresh, and working to keep our voices and our visions our own.

Warming up with knits and Sylvia

5/365 warming up., originally uploaded by kharied.

This is a great photo. I've been looking for stuff for my knitting blog, and have found tons. While looking up the Poetry Mittens, this image popped out at me, especially as the note mentions a famous poet. . .

This knitter/photographer says:

"Inspired by my all-time favorite line on Gilmore Girls: "Hey, did anyone ever think that maybe Sylvia Plath wasn't crazy, she was just cold?"

Excellent question~

WIP: Hope Poetry gloves: Back

Another Poetry Mitten:

Knitter's note:

""Oh Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" - Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind"

Ahh - perfect~

Poetry Mittens!

SPdp, originally uploaded by stringplay.

This is the coolest (or warmest?) thing! Where was I when this all took place? Apparently not knitting, or I would have been all over this at the time. What a fantastic thing - to hold a poem in (and on) your hands!

Photo note:

"8/06: Dorothy Parker Poetry Mittens for Kelly's 21st Birthday; used 1995 Piecework magazine pattern for number of stitches; size 1 needles and Norwegian Rauma yarn from Arnhild's Studio in Iowa"

Dooney & Bourke car

Dooney & Bourke car, originally uploaded by bohemianbethany.

Friday Funny:

The Dooney & Bourke car. . .


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Invisible Man

‘camouflage 36’

liu bolin is a young beijing based artist who has exhibited primarily in china until last year’s solo show at paris’ galerie bertin toublanc and a group show with the gallery in miami. he recently finished up a show at eli klein fine art in new york showcasing a variety of his pieces including some form the series ‘camoflague’. this series is an exploration of human nature and animal instincts which features chinese citizens painted to blend into their surroundings. the subjects are covered head to toe in paint, camouflaging themselves in front of the chinese flag, a billboard or downtown beijing.

To learn more about this amazing artist, and see a video, click the link below:


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

We Are the World - with Pavarotti

Okay, just one more. This one with Pavarotti. . . Wow.

Heal the World

Well, it seems I'm on a roll. This doesn't help stem the tear factor, but maybe that's not what we need to do. Maybe there's something healthy and healing in our tears, something that flows into compassion and action.

We Are the World

It's just been one of those mornings. It was sparked by one Facebook post, and I've ended up searching for all those songs and videos that ask for all the compassion we can muster. After all, we are the world, and no difference made is too small.

So, what are we going to do this Season?

Song lyrics and notes (from http://digitaldreamdoor.nutsie.com/pages/lyrics2/weareworld.html):

There comes a time when we heed a certain call (Lionel Richie)
When the world must come together as one (Lionel Richie & Stevie Wonder)
There are people dying (Stevie Wonder)
Oh, and it's time to lend a hand to life (Paul Simon)
The greatest gift of all (Paul Simon/Kenny Rogers)

We can't go on pretending day by day (Kenny Rogers)
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change (James Ingram)
We're all a part of God's great big family (Tina Turner)
And the truth (Billy Joel)
You know love is all we need (Tina Turner/Billy Joel)

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving (Michael Jackson)
There's a choice we're making we're saving our own lives (Diana Ross)
It's true we'll make a better day just you and me (Michael Jackson/Diana Ross)

Well, send 'em you your heart so they know that someone cares (Dionne Warwick)
And their lives will be stronger and free (Dionne Warwick/Willie Nelson)
As God has shown us by turning stone to bread (Willie Nelson)
And so we all must lend a helping hand (Al Jarreau)

We are the world, we are the children (Bruce Springsteen)
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving (Kenny Loggins)
Oh There's a choice we're making we're saving our own lives (Steve Perry)
It's true we'll make a better day just you and me (Daryl Hall)

When you're down and out there seems no hope at all (Michael Jackson)
But if you just believe there's no way we can fall (Huey Lewis)
Well, well, well, let's realize that a change can only come (Cyndi Lauper)
When we (Kim Carnes)
stand together as one (Kim Carnes/Cyndi Lauper/Huey Lewis)

We are the world, we are the children (Everyone)
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving (Everyone)
There's a choice we're making we're saving our own lives (Everyone)
It's true we'll make a better day just you and me (Everyone)

We are the world, we are the children (Everyone)
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving (Everyone)
There's a choice we're making we're saving our own lives (Bob Dylan)
It's true we'll make a better day just you and me (Bob Dylan)

We are the world, we are the children (Everyone)
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving (Everyone)
There's a choice we're making we're saving our own lives (Everyone)
It's true we'll make a better day just you and me (Everyone)

We are the world, we are the children (Everyone)
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving (Everyone)
Oh There's a choice we're making we're saving our own lives (Ray Charles)
It's true we'll make a better day just you and me (Ray Charles)

We are the world, we are the children (Stevie Wonder/Bruce Springsteen)
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving (Stevie Wonder/Bruce Springsteen)
There's a choice we're making we're saving our own lives (Stevie Wonder)
It's true we'll make a better day just you and me (Stevie Wonder)

We are the world, we are the children (Stevie Wonder/Bruce Springsteen)
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving (Stevie Wonder/Bruce Springsteen)
There's a choice we're making we're saving our own lives (Bruce Springsteen)
It's true we'll make a better day just you and me (Bruce Springsteen)

We are the world, we are the children (Everyone)
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving (Everyone)
There's a choice we're making we're saving our own lives (Everyone)
It's true we'll make a better day just you and me (Everyone)

We are the world, we are the children (James Ingram)
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving (James Ingram)
There's a choice we're making we're saving our own lives (Ray Charles)
It's true we'll make a better day just you and me (Ray Charles)

We are the world, we are the children (Everyone)
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving (Everyone)
There's a choice we're making we're saving our own lives (Everyone/Ray Charles)
It's true we'll make a better day just you and me (Everyone/Ray Charles)

Do They Know It's Christmas

I love this one, too. Enjoy~

Happy Christmas from John and Yoko

A friend just posted this on her Facebook site, and I thought it would be a good thing to share it further~

Monday, December 7, 2009

listen... (III) - A poem by e.e. cummings - American Poems

listen... (III) - A poem by e.e. cummings - American Poems

i dreamed
it appeared that you thought to
escape me and became a great
lily atilt on
waters but i was aware of
fragrance and i came riding upon
a horse of porphyry into the
waters i rode down the red
horse shrieking from splintering
foam caught you clutched you upon my
i dreamed in my dream you had
desire to thwart me and became
a little bird and hid
in a tree of tall marble
from a great way i distinguished
singing and i came
riding upon a scarlet sunset
trampling the night easily
from the shocked impossible
tower i caught
you strained you
broke you upon my blood
beloved i dreamed
i thought you would have deceived
me and became a star in the kingdom
of heaven
through day and space i saw you close
your eyes and i came riding
upon a thousand crimson years arched with agony
i reined them in tottering before
the throne and as
they shied at the automaton moon from
the transplendant hand of sombre god
i picked you
as an apple is picked by the little peasants for their girls

Monday Photo

It's been cold here, for us. In 20's, and this morning the low I saw while driving was 19.

My neighbor, who might have a better temperature gauge in her car registered 15. Cold, and sunny. So, I've been out taking photos of the apple, alder and maple leaves on our lawn.

I've ordered a camera for Christmas off of Ebay, and tested the battery today. Now I know it works, back in the box it goes until the 25th. . .

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Flowers in December

flowers in december, originally uploaded by °°k°°.

Isn't this beautiful? Contemplative, mysterious, December.

Photo note:

"beautiful track....flowers in december by Mazzy Star"

Tuesday Musings

Wow. It's been a whole week, almost, since I wrote last. I'm long overdue, and yet, there is something wrong with this picture. Outside, it is sunny and blue, the last of the fall colors are glowing, and the stark winter hues are coming through. So far, so good.

And yet, I'm inside, on the computer, gulping down a bowl of left-over noodles and chicken while trying to get caught up while the quiet is still in the air. Nobody else home, and just the sound of the fish tanks a few feet away. I've paid most of my bills (thank god for online bill-paying), I've taught my two Pilates classes for the day, neither of the kids have called home sick, I've caught up with a dear friend, and made it to the bank before forgetting to do so. At least there are some pluses to balance out any minuses.

Confession: I researched cameras for two days, found one on Ebay. . . and it should be here on Friday. I usually take days or weeks researching, but this time I didn't, feeling confident that this will work for me just fine. It's one to leave in my purse when I ache for something decent to capture what I'm seeing. The cellphone camera just doesn't cut it most of the time.

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

My kids learned in montessori years ago that that's what you're supposed to say when you wake up the first morning of a new month. Say those three words before anything else comes out of your mouth. All month you'll have good luck. I keep thinking of this the day of the 30th, and by morning all the other business my brain is working on during the night piles up, and before I know it, I'm up peeling kids out of bed, making breakfast, and trying to rearrange my position on being up too damn early.

Does it count if I say it now? Right here in front of the computer, with no one around to hear? A tree falling has to make noise. . . and three rabbits in rapid succession couldn't hurt anyone.

I'm essentially done shopping for DS. He's easy this year, and I am on the ball, and done with the big stuff. DD was easy, too. I purchased her major gift two weeks ago, in front of her, but I'm sure that was meant to be. I should really retrieve the box of Docs from her bedroom floor, so that she has the opportunity to forget for a brief time what they look like, wrap them up. I'm easy, too. I bought my shoes for my DH to give me, and I ordered said camera. . .

Everywhere I go, there are Christmas trees cut and waiting. It seems almost criminal to me. My apologies to my dear readers who love to extend the holiday spirit, purchasing their trees the day after Thanksgiving. But growing up with my Austrian grandparents, and having a DH who is of similar mind, our tree is gotten no earlier than a week before, and sometimes just a day or two before Opening Day. My grandmother remembered arising on Christmas Eve morning to a tree decorated and glowing. Her parents cut the tree the night before, then trimmed it while she slept. How wonderful to wake up that way! How special that must have been. Magical, like the tree in the Nutcracker. Our tree will go up in the last minute, and stay until the 6th of January - the 12 days of Christmas.

Now I feel almost sadness walking past the rows of cut trees, thinking how dry they'll be three or four weeks from now, and how used to the tree people will have gotten by the time Christmas comes.

Two things I want to do this season - see the Nutcracker again (for DD's sake), and also see the Black Nativity for the first time. I've heard such wonderful things about it, and would love to experience the colors, music, movement and emotion of it. I hope to make that happen.

What are your favorite things to do this month? What traditions to you hold dear, whether it be centered around Christmas time, Hannuka, Kwanza, or whatever you celebrate? Will you share it with many, or quietly with one or two? I'd love to hear your stories.

So, now it's time to consider the dishes in the sink. Be well today, enjoy the weather, and do a good turn for someone in need.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MUMBAI 11/26

MUMBAI 11/26, originally uploaded by Жuntal.

Photo note, dated 26 Nov. 2008:

"In Buddhism the white prayer flags are for the departed souls.... Prayers for those departed souls to rest in peace...

Today when Mumbai is burning lets pray for those 125+ departed souls... who laid down their lives !!!"

What a beautiful image. Thank you~

Thoughts this Thanksgiving Eve

It's the eve of Thanksgiving, and American Masters is on PBS right now. Not sure what it is about - music, I think. I just needed a break. The program before was Secrets of the Dead, about the Mumbai attacks, which detailed the terrorist strikes, and interviewed several people who lived through the horror that unfolded.

From the BBC News, 29 Nov. 2008, a news article excerpt:

". . . One of the first targets was the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station, where at least two men fired automatic weapons and threw grenades at crowds of people waiting in the main hall.

A second group opened fire at Café Leopold, a popular restaurant, while a third seized Nariman House, a business complex housing a Jewish outreach centre, taking several people hostage.

A fourth group - or, some reports say, the same one that attacked the station nearby - struck the Cama and Albless hospital for women and children. A number of drive-by shootings were also reported across the city.

By around 2200 local time gun fire was being reported at two of the city's luxury hotels - the Oberoi-Trident and the Taj Mahal Palace.

troops take up positions near the Taj Mahal hotel on 27 November 2008
Hundreds of troops have been deployed to sites around Mumbai

Some guests managed to escape what they described as indiscriminate fire, while others sheltered in their rooms. Others were shot - exactly how many remains unclear.

The gunmen were looking for Americans and Britons, guests trapped at the hotels said, and hostages were taken in both locations.

Gunfire and small blasts continued to be heard at both hotels over the next several hours, as Indian troops surrounded the buildings. Fires broke out in both hotels. . ."

* * *

I am amazed, once again, at what we, as a human species, are capable of. We can be sucked in by terrorist doctrine and taught that our own lives are insignificant, that we are doing important deeds for the greater good. We can be full of compassion, knowing that we are part of a greater whole, that our own lives and the good that we do can strengthen the collective body of humanity. We can be caught in the crossfire, amidst chaos and killing, and learn things about ourselves we didn't know - that we would rather die to save someone else, than to be saved ourselves, to risk our lives in the face of impossibility. That we can love all the more, and that we can feel mercy for those who were led astray.

I don't know if any of that made any sense. I'm not a hugely political person, and I'm not always up on everything that goes on in our world. But I do know that I constantly have hope for our species, because I know that for the most part, we want to be, and are, good caring beings. We love and want to be loved, and we feel stronger when we reach out to others.

Mother Theresa said, in a little book I read many years ago, that compassion must begin at home. I think that's true. I find as I get older that I see people around me with more compassion. I might not reach out always, but carry them in my heart and mind. I find I want to give people the benefit of the doubt when their actions are misguided. That anger doesn't have to last forever. That forgiveness is not only possible, but necessary to keep moving forward with the important work of living together. That we are fragile, precious, and powerful in a variety of ways.

None of this must be tied to any religion, race, persuasion or creed. We just need to be that best we can be, with a little help from our family and friends.

Thank you to all of my family, my friends, those I barely know and those I don't know. And for those I pass without a glance, forgive me. Next time I hope to open a door for you, to let you in when the traffic is heavy, to let you go before me in line when you have just a few items in your basket, to smile when I don't feel like it. I know I appreciate it all the times you've done the same for me.

Happy Thanksgiving~

Spare a turkey for Thanksgiving

Here's something to make you think:

"LBC members braved the cold to encourage consumers to go veg on Thanksgiving. What's the difference between this beautiful pair on the platter and a turkey? We all have the same body parts so why do we think it's okay to eat a turkey?"

d menopause despair

d menopause despair, originally uploaded by dmixo6.


scrabble-menopause, originally uploaded by artpaw.

I love this one:

"I play on-line scrabble with old friends. My opponent just pointed out to me that the start of this game looks like menopause. I opened with Afire then played "Fifty" off of his heating bingo word, now he follows with heat again. If only I had night sweats in my rack."

Here lives a cow with menopause

Here lives a cow with menopause, originally uploaded by PtitBen.

Photo note:

"Lisboa, Portugal
[processed in lightroom]"

Wow- it's amazing what you can find when you search Flickr for 'menopause'

Menopause Three

Menopause Three, originally uploaded by David Jackmanson.

Photo note:

"This is the sign that is mostly obscured by sunlight in the Menopause Two. The saturation is artificial, the placing of the sunlight was deliberate and planned when I took the shot. I wanted the word Menopause easy to see while the picture was mostly obscured."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bic Ballpoint Pen Macro

Bic Ballpoint Pen Macro, originally uploaded by Russ1710.

Photographer's note:

"Bic ballpoint pen macro - Canon G9"

Tuesday Musings

I had a message all typed out, and it disappeared. So, in it's place I'll post this little tidbit my daughter found and shared with me last night. A Bic Pen review, from Amazon. I recommend visiting this page, and reading the reviews. Here's the first one, the one that got the ball (Bic) rolling:

2,181 of 2,200 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good if you need to write on paper, 7 Mar 2007
By M. Williams "Matt Williams" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
Since taking delivery of my pen I have been very happy with the quality of ink deposition on the various types of paper that I have used. On the first day when I excitedly unwrapped my pen (thanks for the high quality packaging Amazon!) I just couldn't contain my excitement and went around finding things to write on, like the shopping list on the notice board in our kitchen, the Post-it notes next to the phone, and on my favourite lined A4 pad at the side of my desk.

My pen is the transparent type with a blue lid. I selected this one in preference to the orange type because I like to be able to see how much ink I have left so that I can put in another order before I finally run out.

When the initial excitement of taking delivery of my new pen started to wear off I realised that I shouldn't just write for the fun of it, this should be a serious enterprise, so by the second day of ownership I started to take a little more care of what I wrote. I used it to sign three letters, and in each case was perfectly happy with the neatness of handwriting that I was able to achieve.

I have a helpful tip for you that you might not know about - if you let the ink dry for a few seconds you can avoid the smudging that sometimes happens if you rub the ink immediately after writing. Fortunately the ink used in this particular Bic pen seems to dry very quickly.

On the third day of ownership I went on a trip to London and took my pen carefully packed away in my brief case, but I needn't have worried, this isn't some temperamental ink pen that leaks when you store it at the wrong angle. I sat at my meeting and confidently removed the cap from my pen and it wrote flawlessly, almost immediately.

I notice that the barrel of the pen has been crafted very carefully to fit in the pen holder down the edge of my Filofax. It's not so grippy so that it is hard to remove when I want to make a quick note, and yet not so loose that it falls out too easily when I open my Filofax in a hurry. Maybe the choice of surface texture on the pen has some part to play here, because it seems that the inside of the leather grip on the pen holder in my Filofax has just the right level of adhesion that I can be confident when I need to reach in and get my pen it's going to be just where I left it!

Today is the fourth day of ownership of my pen, and I have to say I'm starting to treat it like an old friend. I walk around the office with it clipped in to my shirt pocket and someone in the accounts department actually asked to borrow it while we were both standing at the photocopier. Would you believe it, they actually tried to walk away with my pen! They were very embarrassed when I called after them as they walked down the corridor and asked for it back. You will be happy to know that it is now back, safe and sound in my top pocket, ready and waiting to start writing again.

In summary, I would happily recommend this pen to anyone who is planning on writing on paper. If you are considering a writing implement for some other surface such as writing on a CD, or other non-porous substances then another pen might be better suited, but if it's just plain old paper then I think you will probably be well served by this particular model.

Tuesday Blues

Wow. Weird day. But, strangely enough, these days seem not to be abnormal anymore.

It began last night. I am growing increasingly concerned about DS's high blood sugar levels. Although he has been sick, it's been a couple of weeks, and we should be seeing some improvements. I hesitate to say what the levels have been, but they make me uncomfortable, and him, irritable. And DD is over the top with worry about getting into college, and the whole college application process.

This morning it wasn't so difficult to get DS out of bed. He's learned that listening to books on tape get him to sleep earlier than he would without. I'm fine with this - he's found a good way to relax and unwind, and he's getting more sleep. And today was picture day at school, and I think that went without a hitch.

But DD awoke after a mostly sleepless night, and shortly came unglued when she looked up her second set of SAT scores. Lower than the first ones. Not by much. What followed was the wail of "I'm not going to get into college" during which nothing could be said to temper it.

I called the High School, and set up appts to talk with a new councilor: one for DD early in the day, and one for me, two hours later. Result? We both feel better about the process, knowing that the scores really are pretty decent in the first place, and there isn't that much discrepancy between them. Not enough to warrant a second look, likely.

* * *

It's Weds now, and because the morning storm was abated yesterday, I feel neutral again. Sort of. I did learn some other things during the din of the day, about some new physical things I've been experiencing of late. I woke up dizzy yesterday, but I didn't know it until I got out of bed. At first I thought, "well, you stay up so late, no wonder!" But, as I stumbled and caught the wall for support, then stood in the bathroom while the walls tried hard to right themselves, I wondered further. Inner ear? Allergies? A new illness making its way in?

The computer is one of the first places I go to look up stuff. And intuitively I typed in "Dizziness and menopause." Bingo. Loads of links. Here's what I found on one of the pages, telling me not only that dizziness is a common symptom of women in or going into menopause, but so are these other 33 things.

Here's the list I found:


Okay, that explains why I feel at least half of these things all of a sudden! Well, to be fair, in the last few weeks to over a year. Some much more. But, burning tongue? Guess what, I did have some weird reaction last week that bugged my tongue something fierce. As I was listing off many of these to my DH last night, we laughed. In a way, it is funny. But, it leaves me wondering what my own personal experience will be like, and how damn long will it last.

I guess before I go on, I'll sign off. It really isn't Tuesday any more, and I'd hate to short change Wednesday by not giving it its own page.

Be well, and let me know what's new.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Newest Moon

Newest Moon, originally uploaded by ms4jah.

Photographer's note:

"Newest Moon

For a long time I've wanted to get a shot just like this of the brand new moon, waxing crescent, on the first day that it's visible after sunset. Here it is about 2% illuminated by sunlight (and 98% by earthshine!) The blip of light, with slight vibration blur is Venus.

It's reltively common to see the crescent moon a few days after sunset and to see those pix. But it's harder to catch that little sliver of the first visible new moon.

I used to have some gorgeous pix of a beautiful clear sky with sunset twilight colors but the moon would be so high in the sky, if visible at all, that I couldn't zoom in on the moon AND capture the horizon with its beautiful colors. So then I realized the thing to to is to try to capture the twighlight colors when the moon is very low, and brand 'new'. A number of factors have to come together, like extra clear skies for one thing, but you have to be out at precisely that one or maybe 2 days at the most per month when this is possible, at sunset time. And you better have a good view of the horizon because the moon will be so low it is normally blocked by things like trees and buildings.

This photo here shows the full disk of the dark side of the moon lit up with earthshine, the light that reflects off the earth onto the moon, just light our night sky is lit up by moon shine when we have a full bright moon. You can even just barely make out the light and dark features on the face of the moon, I love that part. (may need to view large.)

One of the other great things about my job is that it is an outdoor job. We are always in the outdoors to experience and appreciate the many beautiful celestial / astronomical events and other atmospheric optical phenomena. After the flight, as the sun goes down and we are surrounded by darkness, usually in a wide open space area, we get to enjoy the many wonders of the creation around us. We often hear a pack of coyotes howling and barking. Now all I need to do is to capture that coyote, sitting on a large boulder, howling up at the moon."

Wordle - Broadcast 2

Wordle - Broadcast 2

Again, from playing in Wordle, and Anagrammer. The word I used is Broadcast, and the list of words generated from that is quite amazingly long. I used Auto Summarize in Word, to narrow it down to 25%, and then pasted the remaining words into Wordle.

New Discovery - Wordle!


Wordle: Friday Musing

Now I just have to figure out how to make the text larger. . .

Wordle: Friday Musing, 2

Friday Musings

It's Friday morning, and I'm once again procrastinating. I know I have a poem about that, and maybe I should just write another one about this condition from which I seem to suffer.

In the sink, my dishes wait. Some lucky ones have made it to the dish rack, waiting this time for the darkness of a cupboard or the wire shelves of my grandmother's old ice chest. I know there is a tile floor under all the flour, milk spots, and dirt we track in from outside. And if I just folded the towels in the clean laundry basket, the pile wouldn't look so tall.

Sometimes I wish I could just shut my eyes and capture the colors outside my office window: Japanese Variegata taking on gold, and dying back, Jupiter's Beard hugging the cedar siding, honeysuckle on the field fence, and beyond that the Liquid Amber in shades of crimson, amber, and green, against a backdrop of fir, maple and hemlock.

Sometimes I think there's nothing to write about, when the truth is, there is too much. That's when I see the world through ADHD eyes, unable to take dictation one bite at a time. Write about what surrounds you at this moment - the rest will come, the poets say. I think this is true, so what pulls me away to the kitchen, to the internet, makes me stare in disbelief at the mountains of stuff I have to do? My son comes by his frustrations honestly, often unable to partition the giga picture down into doable bytes.

As I write, I'm listening to my new favorite, newly downloaded cd, Wu Man and Friends. What a combination of East and West. It goes from a little Bluegrass short, to a contemplative soft piece of traditional music from China. Simply gorgeous.

So, I realise I am being creative, and I'm thankful for the time to do this. No matter that I've forgotten my yogurt making, that the milk is now too cold. I'll heat it up again, and all will work out in the end. I'm writing, taking photos, and sharing, and it feels good. Whole. Productive. I feel this most when I am sharing with others. It's good to know you're out there. And for this, I'm deeply thankful.

"Morning Has Broken

"Morning Has Broken, originally uploaded by gatorgalpics.

Beautiful. Might be a good writing prompt?

Photographers' note:


"Morning Has Broken

like the first morning Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird Praise for the singing, praise for the morning Praise for the springing fresh from the world" words by Eleanor Farjeon, composition and performance by Cat Stevens.

Taken in my backyard, on an early August morning. Hot and Steamy.
Gainesville, FL. USA

Some sound to go with the image:


Poetic Asides prompt for Friday

Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer

Prompt for today from Robert Brewer:

For today's prompt, I want you to take the phrase "And then (blank)," replace the blank with a word or phrase, make that the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Some example titles could be: "And then Godzilla attacked Tokyo," "And then McDonald's opened a store on the moon," "And then nothing," "And then everything," "And then you probably have an even better idea for a poem title," etc.

Silk Road Project - Wu Man

Wu Man, Silk Road Project

Swan, played on the Pipa

Here is another good video, this one showing the stuttery, rapid finger movements. Beautiful!


Chinese Pipa

pipa.jpg, originally uploaded by nikkojazz.

Wu Man

2007.07.13-040dkh, originally uploaded by RShinozaki.

I learned about Maestra pipa player Wu Man yesterday on the News Hour. This is an amazing sounding instrument, and Wu Man plays it so beautifully. She showed a technique that took her two years to master, with the rapid and fluid movements of her fingers across the strings, her hand barely moving.

To learn more about Wu Man, here's the link to her website: http://www.wumanpipa.org/

One Instant

one instant..., originally uploaded by Maggie's World.

I love this photo. I was looking up Wu Man, who played and spoke briefly on the News Hour last night, and found this photo in the process. And there is a little poem that goes with:

One Instant

One Instant is eternity;
eternity is the now.
When you see through this one instant,
you see to the one who sees.

-Wu Men

* * *

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Prompt, a Cat, and a Birthday Wish

Today is a writing day. It will also be a baking day, and vacuuming too, as my cat is causing me some distress. We forgive her, as she is so cute. Achoo!

Minnie Pooter

Minnie feets

Minnie snooze

* * *

As I make my way to the kitchen to start the yeast, I've scared our deer, who lopes across the lawn to the wood shed. No worries; she'll be back.


It is also the 79th birthday of my aunt, who is still in her early 60's, as far as I'm concerned. She is an amazing person, engaged with life, interested in a great many things, friend to many, and very generous. Happy Birthday to you!

* * *

And now, from the Poetic Asides site, the new prompt for today.

2009 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 18
Posted by Robert

After today's poem, we'll be 60% of the way through November. I can't believe how fast this month is moving. I've been dropping in and reading poems in the comments, and I'm looking forward to reading your chapbook manuscripts after this challenge is over. (Also, thanks for the kind words about my prompts and poems this month. Much appreciated.)

For today's prompt, I want you to write a slow poem. (If you want you can re-read that sentence in your best "slow motion" voice.) I'll let you decide what a slow poem should be.

Here's my attempt for today:

"Let us not go then, you and I"

Maybe we can feel the world turn
or watch the universe burn. We
could find the star giving the most

light as our hot sun sets the moon
on fire tonight. Shooting stars are
just meteoroids burning up

in the mesosphere; so keep your
fire near, dear, and we'll just stay here--
both burning so bright and so clear.


Learn from the instructors at the Vermont College MFA Program in Words Overflown by Stars, edited by David Jauss. Click here to read more about this and other writing titles.

Wednesday Poem - Susan Rich

This morning in my WOMPO e-mail was this post from a wonderful local poet, Susan Rich. Here is part of it, and a link to her new blog site. She says:

"Here’s a favorite poem. There are many others, but I’ve been writing about photography lately, so this one speaks to me today.

From the Darkroom

The image comes up slowly where light fell,
Pure positive from what was only lack.
The figure in focus stamps the pale
Surrender of the broken seal.
Knowing the light, it gives light back,
Shadow and nuance till the vision's whole,
Shadow and substance from the quick
Delight in its reciprocal.

Deeper than death the image burns
Its counterclaim unneutralized,
Renders detail in bold display
And will not, will not wash away
Or fix itself -- the instant prized --
Against the lesson all love spurns.

See you tonight at Elliott Bay if you’re in town....
Susan Rich
http://thealchemistskitchen.blogspot.com "

In the news - Mark Ndesandjo

Mark Ndesandjo, U.S. President Barack Obama's half-brother gestures as he speaks AP – Mark Ndesandjo, U.S. President Barack Obama's half-brother gestures as he speaks during an interview …

BEIJING – President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he met briefly with a half brother who lives in China and who recently wrote a semi-autobiographical novel about the abusive Kenyan father they share.

Obama, who spent three days in China during his first official tour of Asia, acknowledged the meeting in an interview with CNN. He offered no details. An aide said later that the meeting took place Monday night after Obama arrived in Beijing, the Chinese capital.

The White House had declined to say whether the president and Mark Ndesandjo would meet. And no White House official mentioned the visit until Obama did when asked about it.

"I don't know him well. I met him for the first time a couple of years ago," Obama told CNN. "He stopped by with his wife for about five minutes during the trip."

Describing the meeting as "overwhelming" and "intense," Ndesandjo told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that he had long anticipated the chance to welcome his famous brother to China.

"I think he came directly off the plane, changed some clothes and then came down and saw us," Ndesandjo said. "And he just gave me a big hug. And it was so intense. I'm still over the moon on it. I am over the moon. And my wife. She is his biggest fan and I think she is still recovering."

In the CNN interview, Obama said he hadn't read his brother's book, "Nairobi to Shenzhen," which features a protagonist who is the son of a Jewish mother and an abusive father from Kenya.

Ndesandjo has revealed in previous interviews that his father, Barack Obama Sr., beat him and his mother. The president also wrote about his father, who abandoned him as a child, in his best-selling memoir.

"It's no secret that my father was a troubled person," Obama said. "Anybody who has read my first book, 'Dreams from My Father,' knows that, you know, he had an alcoholism problem, that he didn't treat his families very well. Obviously it's a sad part of my history and my background but it's not something I spend a lot of time brooding over."

Ndesandjo said he bought tickets months ago to fly from the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, where he has lived since 2002, to Beijing, in hopes of reconnecting with his brother. The two last met in January when Ndesandjo attended Obama's inauguration as a family guest.

The three chatted on Monday, with Obama being introduced to Ndesandjo's wife, a native of Henan, China, whom he married a year ago, he said. He gave few details of what they discussed.

"All I can say is, we talked about family, and it was very powerful because when he came in through that door, and I saw him and I hugged him, and he hugged me and hugged my wife. It was like we were continuing a conversation that had started many years ago," he said.

The two men did not grow up together. Ndesandjo's mother, Ruth Nidesand, was Barack Obama Sr.'s third wife. Before arriving in Beijing on Monday, Obama had been in a townhall-style meeting with students in Shanghai, and joked that a family gathering at his house "looks like the United Nations."

President Obama's father had been a Kenyan exchange student who met his mother, Kansas native Stanley Ann Dunham, when they were in school in Hawaii. The two separated two years after he was born.

The senior Obama married Ndesandjo's mother after divorcing the president's mother. They returned to Kenya to live, where Mark and his brother, David, were born and raised.

Obama Sr. died in an automobile accident in 1982 at age 46.

Ndesandjo lives near Hong Kong and earns a living as a marketing consultant. For most of that time, he has maintained a low profile, with few people knowing of his connection to the U.S. president.


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