Saturday, January 31, 2015

My Three Day Weekend

Directions for my three-day weekend...By the way, how was yours?

Thursday, January 29, 2014

*        Pick up C around 5pm.  Go in the bottom door under the stairs, then make a right into the hallway and walk down the hallway.  Teacher will see you and get C.  Sign C out on sign out sheet (right on table when you walk in door).  C should have a backpack that contains his water bottle, and plate/silverware in a plastic bag.  Check to see that his water bottle is in there, if not, it might be in a bin near the sign out area.

*        Pick up X and N from the right-most set of doors of school (not the main doors in front).  They are locked, but you can hit button on wall and someone will open.  Get them after you get C, but no earlier than 5pm since they have after-school activities.  Sign both kids out on sign out sheet on round table at front of cafeteria.

Once home...

*        They need to eat dinner

*        They need to unpack their backpacks, put away their jackets, etc.

*        They need to focus on their homework.  Ask them what they have on tap and they should tell you.  When older kids doing homework Thursday night, C can do his speech homework.

*        They need to brush teeth, floss, and get dressed.

*        We showered kids on Wednesday night, so up to you if you want to shower them at all either Thursday or Friday night. Probably not required.

*        C to bed around 8 so that he is changed and teeth brushed and ready for story at 8pm to go down around 8:15.  N should read to herself for 20 minutes (probably want to start around 8pm), she can continue to read her poem books and pick two poems that she likes best.  Once she has read, she might ask you to read to her (Freaky Friday).  You reading to her should happen at 830 so she is down by around 845.  X needs to read for 30 minutes. He might ask you to read to him (time traveling adventure book) and you reading to him should start by 845 so lights out around 9pm.

Lastly, X should only spend ~30 minutes on Thursday and Friday on devices (iPad/iPod Touch).  Same for N and C on TV.  Weekends we are more relaxed about it.  That being said, X will hit his limit on Thursday morning, so he shouldn't do any wii or ipad or ipod touch on Thursday night but can watch a little TV if he gets everything else done.

Friday, January 30, 2014


-        X will likely wake up on his own, around 7am.

-        C will start calling for someone to open his door around 7:00-7:30am.

-        N will sleep until woken up.
What they need to do (you will need to help them to varying degrees)...

*        Eat breakfast (see breakfast options in meals section)

*        Get dressed

*        Lunch for older kids - they will buy as it is pizza day, lunch for C is provided at school.

*        Have bags packed for school

o   X and N each get one snack in their outside pockets of their backpacks.  They can pick these out.

o   C needs a plate (there are two on bottom shelf across from sink) and a fork/spoon (small and blue, they have name on them, might need to be washed Thursday night) placed in a clear plastic ziplock bag.  This bag gets placed in his backpack.

o   C needs the small water bottle.  He can show you which one.  Gets placed in the side of his backpack (mesh area).

*        Drive C to Children's House, dropping him off between 8:20-8:30am.  Just make the left onto G, and drive for .8 miles (2425 N G Road, ), and the school is on your right (have to enter parking lot from side street).  He will show you where to go (to his cubby to drop stuff off, then walking with his water and plate to his classroom upstairs).

*        Walk kids to school (they will show you how), arriving between 8:40-8:50am.  You can also drive them if that is easier.
The maids are coming on Friday.  They usually come between 10 and noon and stay about four hours. They do clean the kitchen, and downstairs area and then will do all the laundry.


*        Pick up C around 5pm.  Go in the bottom door under the stairs, then make a right into the hallway and walk down the hallway.  Teacher will see you and get C.  Sign C out on sign out sheet (right on table when you walk in door).  C should have a backpack that contains his water bottle, and plate/silverware in a plastic bag.  Check to see that his water bottle is in there, if not, it might be in a bin near the sign out area.  Different about Friday is that you pick up his nap mat as well.  Should be with him or at his locker.

*        Pick up X and N from the right-most set of doors of school (not the main doors in front).  They are locked, but you can hit button on wall and someone will open.  Get them after you get C, but no earlier than 5pm since they have after-school activities.  Sign both kids out on sign out sheet on round table at front of cafeteria.

Once home...

*        They need to eat dinner

*        They need to unpack their backpacks, put away their jackets, etc.

*        No homework.

*        If you want, you can take N to Dance Party at the school.  Starts at 6:30pm and ends at 8pm.  There is pizza available for purchase and they recommend bringing a water bottle.

*        They need to brush teeth, floss, and get dressed.

*        Same timing schedule as Thursday night, but they don't have to read if they don't want. They will probably still ask you to read.

Lastly, X should only spend ~30 minutes on Thursday and Friday on devices (iPad/iPod Touch).  Same for N and C on TV.  Weekends we are more relaxed about it.  That being said, X will hit his limit on Friday morning, so he shouldn't do any wii or ipad or ipod touch on Friday night but can watch a little TV if he gets everything else done.

Saturday, January 15
Nothing on tap for now.  Feel free to do what you want. I think my event ends around Noon or 1pm so I will be back home around 1pm or 2pm.  N has a birthday party at 2pm, so I will try to get home in time to take her there.


*       Waffles (upstairs freezer)/French toast sticks (downstairs freezer)

*       Sausage egg and cheese sammies/Breakfast burritos - upstairs freezer

*       Eggs, toast, OJ

*       Pancakes and sausage on weekend

*       Cereal/milk - extra is in basement fridge
Lunch Options

*       Peanut Butter and Jelly - X can help you make

*       White Castle Burgers - upstairs freezer and downstairs freezer

*       Hotdogs (rolls and dogs upstairs fridge)

*       Bananas, grapes (in fridge)

*       Quesadillas - tortilla shells in fridge and cheddar cheese in drawer

*       Soup - ramen noodles are usually a hit

Dinner Options

*       Lasagna - upstairs freezer, this needs 90 minutes so plan ahead, garlic bread - upstairs freezer

*       Salad

*       Broccoli

*       Pizza - frozen pizza in downstairs fridge and upstairs fridge

*       Chicken nuggets - fresh in upstairs fridge

*       Mashed potatoes - pre made upstairs fridge

*       Leftovers - this would be good for you guys and includes, pasta, Cajun shrimp pasta, pork, roasted asparagus, mushrooms and cauliflower, mac n cheese, rice, whole wheat pasta.

I figured you would have the chicken nuggets, broccoli and mashed potatoes on Thursday night. Then Friday some of you might eat out and others can eat leftovers, or pizza.

It took me the first pick-up to lose this list in the bottem of the backpack!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What the Camera Captures

Many of us watch the historical/hysterical soap opera Downton Abbey on television.  I enjoy it because of the tremendous attention to culture and historic detail that is interwoven into the everyday lives of the upstairs and downstairs crowd.  There has been discussion about the somewhat romanticized version of this oligarchy.  The rich were kind and reasonable with the lower classes as long as the lower classes knew and maintained their place.  The new 2015 (14 in Britain) season is slowly introducing the disintegration of that relationship as a more democratic culture begins to  seep into England led by the changes from World War I.

Intelligent viewers know that this television version of the culture is somewhat glossed over because the Crawleys (Lords and Ladies of the Manor) are pretty benign in their treatment of the servants.  They do not see them as equals in any way, but do not put barriers in front of them if they wish to pursue other careers or get married.  Certainly a very liberal view at that time.  I have read recently about how many of the upper class land owners treated the Irish tenant farmers with such cruelty when the potato famine spread across Ireland.  Most of the aristocracy left the farmers to their own devices and fled back to England to live in well-fed luxury while many of the Irish that were left behind died of starvation. There were bodies of men and women lying along roads as if there had been war.  These were truly tested people.  Some of the more determined headed for America to start a new life with nothing but the shirts on their backs. Upon arriving in  America they banded together to strive and survive.  (Yes, in some cases their was a nice little crime unit formed...the Irish Mafia.)

When I visit Ireland last year, I (most serendipitously) came across the National Library Photographic Archive, located in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar in Dublin.  It was near the open market where we went to grab a walking breakfast.  It is a small space in a very contemporary structure and the exhibit that I saw was a series of black and white portraits of the people in the Limerick Milk Market by photographer Gerry Andrews taken in the 1970s.  These were the grandchildren of the people who lived through the potato famine and their character shows in each precious and honest portrait.  I was crying as I walked through this exhibit, a truly magnificent archive from a truly talented photographer.

If you wish to see this terrific slice of history you can go to this link, but be prepared for some serious soul-searching.  This post is for Mage who is now working on a B and W challenge of her own.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Got up early with my insomnia to be greeted by this. (yes, I know that I should have brought all this inside long ago!)  Snow has already stopped and it now looks like some angry overwrought baker has spilled flour everywhere.  It all may start to melt by this afternoon.

One family in the city woke up to see their car in the middle of the paved street under four feet of water and part of their front yard being washed away due to a sink hole and a water main break.  No one warns you about stuff like that! 

On a lighter note, the fun part is going out once daylight begins and seeing what animals had the same insomnia as I and left their footprints across the yard!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The World Is Depressing Enough Without Chocolate

There is word of a major storm in the Northeast.  Newscasters salivated as they interviewed the snowplow drivers, the weather men/women, the mayors of major cities on the dangers ahead.  Three feet of snow is predicted in some places.  Winds of 60 miles per hour are predicted in other places creating deadly blizzards.  I do not know if I'd rather hear this news or the news of beheadings and terrorists across the land.  I know that I am tired of hearing who is running for the next election.  It seems that the first folks out of the gate get the money commitments and what they earn is more important than what they stand for, if anything.  (So absolutely thrilled to hear that both Sarah and Donald have thrown their hats into the ring.)

I was very sorry to learn that the Hersheys chocolate company had negotiated (bullied?) Cadbury into no longer being able to send their candy to our side of the pond!  Hershey chocolate is terrible stuff if you have eaten it.  Very sweet and not rich in flavor.  I wonder what other chocolates will be prevented from import now?  How will I live without good chocolate?  If I get cranky (crankier) you will know why.  As we approach Valentines Day and later Easter be aware of what you purchase!

Our weather yesterday was in the 40s with no wind, so hubby headed outside to get his exercise after finishing a novel he was reading.  He split a lot of wood as you can see in the photo, and if we lose power, our heatilator fireplace will keep a part of the house warm at the very least.  I truly think the storm will miss us once again.  Our luck has not run out in this new year regarding weather.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Our garden group is starting its meetings once again after a two month hiatus.  I find that it takes all my willpower to go forth on these cold gray evenings and attend these.  Hubby who starts to fade without something social happening, even if it is just chit-chatting some stranger up at the pool, is the opposite of me and ready to go a half hour before we need to leave.  I sulk out of the house like a dog being told he has to sleep in the dog house.

I dread making small talk and am so stupid to think it is all about me.  I think I have the small soul of an artist wanting to be on the other side of the glass observing human nature rather than being observed.  Hubby is an open book and when we were first married I kept feeling as if my clothes were being stripped off of my body piece by piece as he stood beside me telling personal tales to people I hardly knew.  For him it was sharing and for me it was giving away ammo and increasing my vulnerability and taking away my "mystery."  I am sure that a psychiatrist could have a field day with this by exploring my youth and my relationship with my parents and maybe siblings.

It is all silly stuff, I know.  But I do envy those who sit right down in the crowd and are so comfortable with the brash and the quiet and the smart and the dumb, fitting in everywhere and being welcomed with open arms by everyone and not noticing the eye rolls when a joke is retold.

Yet, if you saw me at the meeting not long ago you would find that I am the one who volunteers a comment at least half the time, I am the one who talks with those on each side of me about their holidays, I am the one who looks like she is a social butterfly having a grand old time.  And when I am finally back home, I find that indeed I did have a nice time and it was good seeing faces I had not seen in some time and I am glad that I went but will forget all of this before the next time.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thanks for the Memories

While I was scanning a few of the hundreds of slides that sit in a dozen metal boxes in a cupboard, hundreds of slides that may well be meaningless to my children, and therefore, not survive much beyond their memories of their parents, I ran across this photo of the second place that I lived in the South Pacific.  It was taken from a tall rock that you can hike up to and then get such a breathtaking view.  This slide below does not show the house itself which would have been behind the trees in the lower right hand side, a brand new prefab built with a Japanese war reparations money.  Yes, I know, do not ask me to explain.

I will look for a photo of the nice little house, if I can.  What you see here is the rudimentary structure of a marine laboratory in the making.  Something only a young and optimistic person such as my husband would take on and see to completion.  Later there were ponds and pump houses and other structures and even electricity every once in a while to pump the water!

Isn't that water stunningly beautiful?  There was a little pocket beach off to the right side in this photo and we would snorkel there on lazy afternoons.  I would watch an octopus that lived in the corals just a few feet from the seawall.  Oh, you do not have to tell me, and as young as we were, we knew what a marvelous memory in our lives this was going to be!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Research, An Expensive Vitamin

Hubby got an email the other day from someone he had never met.  She was the niece of a research scientist that he had gone to school with many decades ago.  She was doing some historic exploration on her uncle, but not because he had passed away recently.  He had died a long time ago and she wanted to know more about him.  This uncle had taken a night dive off the coast of Oahu back in the 1970s and was never heard from again.  Some surmised that he had been taken by a tiger shark that had been cruising the area, but since he had had a diving partner who also never returned, there were other guesses of an accident and perhaps heavy currents.

I think this is a gray taken by me back in the 1970's

I used to S.C.U.B.A. dive fairly often when I lived in the South Pacific, and I have posted on this time in my life earlier in this blog.  I look back on those years as if I was some other woman, because I never got out of the water until my tank was nearing empty; I was fearless.  Over the years, I preferred snorkeling, because there was more flora and fauna in the less than 30 feet water.  It was a wonderful time in my life.  We were young, just married, in good health, and the cost of diving, since we had just purchased a small outboard motor boat, was easy to swallow, as was the ability to enjoy the remote beaches sans clothing.  I should tuck a story or two away for my grandchildren to read someday so that they can think Grandma was just a little fascinating and not always a boring old lady sitting at home, because this was where my love affair with the earth kicked into high gear.

This is I next to some soft coral.

Crinoids which were my favorites when they waved their feathering "arms" in the current.

An other life form bored by all the paparazzi. (squid)

I remember seeing small sharks (3 to 5 feet long) at the edge of reefs on half of those diving days.  They ignored us and we just kept an eye on their distance and dorsal fin to check their mood as we cruised looking for interesting stuff.  (A dorsal fin is like the hair on the back of a dog.)

I digress.  Getting back to Hubby's email, Hubby thought back over his relationship with this former colleague and said he remembered that the guy was super-focused on his work which was to research cave fish that came out only at night, and therefore he had to do a lot of night diving before his grant money ran out.  There are always those that take dangerous chances for their passion and sometimes inadvertently give their life.  In spite of what conservatives like to tell you, scientists are like policemen, teachers, journalists, doctors, nurses, parents etc. They feel their work is important even if it revolves around cave fish, they do like their work, and they are as honest or dishonest as the next guy.  The huge majority of scientists are truly focused on finding the facts, taking that chance and making the world a better place with their discoveries, not on beating a drum for a preconceived agenda, or doctoring results so that they can get that pittance of a grant that barely pays for the boat fuel once a graduate student's salary is paid and lab materials are purchased.

I have worked very briefly on a committee reading and reviewing grant applications, and politics never came into the discussion on whether a grant should be awarded.  It was always whether the grant was well thought out, well written, had an accurate budget, fit the discovery of the granting institution and of compelling interest to the citizens. There were always many more grant applications than money to grant.  Scientists and their assistants spend much time writing even while researching and many good applications fall by the wayside.  Regardless of who gets the money the search for INFORMATION is the key.  (In this cave arena information involves bacteria that may have applications in cancer research, data showing changes and evolution in species adapting to environmental change, etc.)

There was a recent bill passed in the House of Congress (H.R. 1422--little chance of it ever being moved and signed but let's continue to waste the taxpayers dime) that has restricted independently funded scientific environmental experts from being appointed to boards of the EPA, because Congress feels these scientific experts "have an agenda."   It also restricts scientists that get grants from EPA to serve on the boards; I am assuming that Congress feels their results will be questionable as well.  The same bill makes it easier for petrochemical scientists to be on the boards of EPA though, because this will erase any "appearance of impropriety".  Pretend that someone who studies viruses finds that his data foretells a preventable epidemic and he gets his funding from NHS, but he must pretty much keep from talking to the primary institution and hope they read it and grasp its importance.. but those who could take action on it are well informed by pharmaceutical companies that have a new weapon against this self-same virus. (Can you tell I am furious with this ignorance or actually the greed of self-serving politicians?)

Research scientists that work for universities and the government are not the ones bringing down big salaries and making money off of polluting the air and the water and causing this documented increase in small earthquakes near fracking sites or the tremendous increase in carbon dioxide being now held in ocean waters---soon to reach its limit.  Yes, it will cost you and me money to breathe clean air and drink clean water and stem the tide of the rising oceans and mitigate the long droughts.  But at what price is a healthy world?  Although in reality it is too late to prevent some of this---islands and low lying parts of countries are going to go underwater and we will have waves of refugees leaving their sunken land in coming decades.  (A glacier recently calved a piece of ice the size of lower Manhattan and three miles wide!.)

As an aside, in my research, the FBI website lists eco-terrorists as more active in this country in causing havoc than ISIS.  I am NOT advocating that!

By the way, neither political party gets even a B from me on their environmental report cards. And sadly I think most people do not seem to care what kind of world the meek will inherit much less what they leave their grandchildren because many of faith in Congress leave it all up to God and those of money know they can build their castle high on a hill in a better climate.  I think Sophocles wrote, "No good e'er comes of leisure purposeless; And heaven ne’er helps the men who will not act."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sleeping Bits

They lay scattered like Legos
Across the cluttered space

Hard for me to see
beginnings and endings
Hard for me to judge
rhythms and emphasis
Hard for me to paint
colors and shadows.

Thinking that there must
be keys of pattern
Thinking that there must
be swells of justice
Thinking that there must
be piles of hope

Selecting each small word
Rotating it like a jigsaw
Selecting each small symbol
Turning it like a key
Selecting each abstract sound
Listening for the music

to begin

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Chiharu Shiota is a Japanese contemporary artist.  It is difficult to find much on her except she was born in Osaka and now lives in Berlin.  She attended schools in Japan, the United States, Germany, and Australia.  Her works are original and interesting, and perhaps, full of social commentary more than artistic spirit.  Below is an exhibit that was on display at the Freer/Sackler museum which I seem to be writing about endlessly these days.  It is an exhibit of 300 discarded and found(donated) shoes (not pairs) and donated notes about each shoe tied to a piece of red yarn that goes back to that point in the corner.  The artist has collected these over the years because they are reflective of the bits and pieces of our lives that we leave behind.  I could not read the notes while I was there since most were in Japanese. I later found this link that tells the story of many of these notes.

In this photo above I included the guard who was there, I am sure, to keep small children and evil adults from playing with the display.  (I wonder if some days his feet hurt?)  You can find some interesting information on the installation here.

Shoes are often symbols of our travels across this earth via our life.  I have not had enough courage to visit the Holocaust Museum, but they have a room full of shoes that once belonged to living human Jews with precious and important lives.

Shoes represent who we are and what we think of ourselves sometimes.  Symbols of our essence maybe?  Sometimes given more importance than they deserve.  I recently posted about shoes on this blog.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Stay Safe!

I read the article that is linked below and realized that, while I am a more adventurous traveler than many I know, I must keep my fears in travel in perspective with the reality of the world.  The graphic below shows how dangerous it is in the United States, and while I have been to Baltimore a number of times, I do find that city pretty scary in places.  DC is dangerous in perspective.  I have never really felt in danger there even when leaving a nightclub late in the evening with my daughter in a sketchy neighborhood.


War torn nations are terrible places to be, none the less, countries that appear to be peaceful can have plenty of dangerous crime as they camouflage the truth everyday with their reporting.  Yes, below, they are comparing U.S. cities to entire countries.

  • If it were a country, New Orleans (with a rate 62.1 gun murders per 100,000 people) would rank second in the world.
  • Detroit's gun homicide rate (35.9) is just a bit less than El Salvador (39.9).
  • Baltimore's rate (29.7) is not too far off that of Guatemala (34.8).
  • Gun murder in Newark (25.4) and Miami (23.7) is comparable to Colombia (27.1).
  • Washington D.C. (19) has a higher rate of gun homicide than Brazil (18.1).
  • Atlanta's rate (17.2) is about the same as South Africa (17).
  • Cleveland (17.4) has a higher rate than the Dominican Republic (16.3).
  • Gun murder in Buffalo (16.5) is similar to Panama (16.2).
  • Houston's rate (12.9) is slightly higher than Ecuador's (12.7).
  • Gun homicide in Chicago (11.6) is similar to Guyana (11.5).
  • Phoenix's rate (10.6) is slightly higher than Mexico (10).
  • Los Angeles (9.2) is comparable to the Philippines (8.9).
  • Boston rate (6.2) is higher than Nicaragua (5.9).
  • New York, where gun murders have declined to just four per 100,000, is still higher than Argentina (3).
  • Even the cities with the lowest homicide rates by American standards, like San Jose and Austin, compare to Albania and Cambodia respectively.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Prejudice, That Sticky Companion

Prejudice: a precomposed mindset, a foregone conclusion, seeing something through the smallest of lenses.  We all have our prejudices even though we do not like to admit it.  We think we see things fairly and test both sides before coming to our well-thought-out conclusion.  We tell ourselves that we are trying to see things through the eyes of the "other" side.  We sometimes even rally our defenses in the event that someone will point out we are being a little too one-sided in our response.

Let us face it.  We do not have even half the tools to overcome any prejudices we hold.  The emotion is the first to clog our conclusion.  Emotion:  love, fear, and anger are too strong to make us sit and count to ten and then see where we stand and do more research.

Last year my husband and I had planned a trip to Turkey with some friends.  They had gotten a "good deal" through their Catholic newsletter.  Hubby and I were a little hesitant as we are not Catholic and actually not religious.  We assumed it would be an overdose of the history of the Christian religion without the balance of the "other" in that area.   But we also assumed we could pull away from some of the tours and balance our time with more pagan or other religious explorations.  Then the war in Syria grew more intense and certain factions came right to the southern borders of Turkey.  Intellectually we knew that our tour group would not go near this area, but emotionally we realized that as part of a Christian tour group we would stand out like flag wavers at a rally even in the North.  There was always a slight chance that terrorism could erupt in the northern part of Turkey.  Needless to say, the increase in security itself might be an issue as our tour bus went from location to location.

We cancelled our trip.

This spring we are planning a trip to France as part of a tour group.  The group is non-religious and the tour is much more expensive so the travelers will all be upper middle class and mostly westerners.  We are not even considering cancelling this trip in light of the now tragic terrorist activities in Paris and surrounding areas, even knowing intellectually that a rich group of tourists is just as attractive to hostage taking as a group of devout Catholics.  I think this is partly because this is just a non-religious tour group, but also because France is a "western" country.  France is in Europe and not the mid-east.  France is more like us. We are certainly prejudice thinking we could be safer on this tour and that the uprising will not get worse than a few crazy zealots by the time we begin our travel.  We have no facts to base this on.  Just our prejudice and level of emotional reaction.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Art in Many Forms

My recent visit to the Smithsonian museums before the holidays was fulfilling and exhausting.  One of the venues at the Freer/Sackler gallery of art was the display of the personal art collection of the Cosby family.  Bill's recent fall from grace did not prevent me from wanting to see works of art that are not normally available to the public and I was glad that I did.  There was an enormous range in style, medium, and history.  Much of this collection was social commentary.  While there I took one photo of the large space and was immediately told they did not allow photos of this particular exhibit.  I am guessing it might have something to do with insurance, but who knows.  I was a little frustrated, but I do not really like to take photos of art anyway, because everything gets lost in the digital translation.  I was just trying to capture the variety in style that this collection has and also the interesting juxtaposition of art that the Smithsonian curators displayed next to Cosby artworks.

Not to be thwarted I captured some really 'cool' expressions in the architecture that you can take in a museum and I am putting up a few below.  This building was designed by Charles A. Platt at the turn of the century. The Freer was the first of his public commissions in 1913.   I am not sure to what extent he was involved in the underground passage between the Freer Gallery and the Sackler Gallery (both devoted to Asian Art and an odd place for the Cosby exhibit unless it was chosen because it was the most secure or had the most free space.)  Platt favored Italian Renaissance in both buildings and garden design.  I read that his design philosophy emphasized the integration of interior and exterior space through strong visual and circulatory connections, so probably he was indeed an influence on the underground which I photographed below and which you can see reflects that philosophy.  (As an aside and a very small brag, I sold another photo that I took from this subject area recently.  Amazing what a thrill one gets to see someone else likes their expression of art even if so little money is made from it.)

AND I just learned that you can go here and see over 40,000 works of art from their collection digitally.  This is their 2015 gift to us all!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Too Good To Not Pass Along

Banging head on desk and wondering why some people cannot find a country with no government where they can go live and leave the rest of us taxpayers alone.  When you are done reading this brilliant response from a small town newspaper note the first letter in each paragraph.

You can go here or cut and paste below.  It has gone somewhat viral on the "net" already.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

About 1,340,000,000 results on Google

This season is finally winding down.  I 'hate' do not like this season.  I mean I will forgive you if you love this season of over the top ads for beer and pizza and violent video games, sound effects like train whistles or war whoops, people who paint themselves like Hunger Games fans, and big handsome guys in casually tailored suits that say things like "I love that guy!  He really brings it."  I can understand your interest in half naked young women with more energy than you ever had on a Sunday afternoon.  I forgive you if you spend hours days on statistical tables or enter the pool with abandon (football pool), but I still find this a long and boring and loud time of year for me.  Yes, I move to another room and try to escape the horns and drums and yells as I lose myself in blogging or reading or thinking with the beat of an anthem following me from the other room.

The odd thing is that I used to be BIG football fan.  When I lived in Texas I knew their names and their games and their aims.  I cheered along with all the others and made fattening, salty snacks for my cohorts.  I liked when the newscasts in the evening had to spend at least 15% of the newshour on sports.  I laughed at the newscasters' jokes which I understood and empathized with their dismay at a loss and shared their ebulliency at a win.  I, too, was surprised when my in-laws wondered how this could be news.

Then I grew up or away?  I would think about the salaries, the hormones and drugs, the excess in testosterone that led to unfortunate events, and the huge business machine that shoved aside city neighborhoods and interfered with my DVD taping of The Good Wife.  I remember when Dan Rather walked off the set of his newscast when yet another overtime game delayed his news broadcast.  I thought he was a Prima Donna back then.  Now I think he was pretty brave.  Yes, many of these dudes are good and honest and philanthropic, but there are now 4 game nights!!  FOUR!  What if there were four nights of Antique Roadshow type shows that delayed your entire regular viewing schedule on a Monday night as people discussed the value of that antique snuff box and took bets---in your living room?  Or four nights of 3-hour-long Duck Dynasty visits.  Yes, with the hundreds of cable channels, there probably ARE, but you are trying to distract me from my point...which is...I find these months drag on far more than the winter itself.

"Guess what the score is?"  hubby calls from the next room.
"What?" I sigh.
"42 to 0!"  he laughs.
"And you are still watching it?"  I call back in an amazed voice but I am truly indifferent.  It is like listening to the Kardashians having a family discussion.

I return to my historical novel on Ireland.  (I am so addicted to that country!)  Go ahead and fill your afternoons and evenings watching for hours...just turn down the volume, please.  Oh, go ahead and Google "football" if you do not believe me.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Groaning Board

Winter's shadows on a steel gray afternoon
Shadows un-sharpened by the sun
Lie softly upon the wooden floor
Where worn leather soles
Once danced in abstract patterns on the oak
Leaving indefinite memories
Of lives of purpose,
But so long ago no one recalls them.

Heartwood, they boast proudly
Hard hearts lived here.
One has to look carefully for few scars
Scars are well-hidden in the dust.
Perpendicular forces buried
In the grain and quiet tension of the years.
They reflect no weakness in spirit
Or indecision in purpose.

A wooden floor that was built
To live above the earth, protecting a babe’s feet
And to get a foothold in life
Even to frame a braided rag rug that was
Completed with arthritic hands.
They are all now gone and winter afternoons
Whisper so that the wood does not groan.