Sunday, July 30, 2006

Follow the water path

Follow the water path
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
At Point Lobos last year at the time of the Haiku Retreat. Today I saw a blog by a man who puts up a haiku every day. That's all, no musings about art. He is just over 70 and started writing haiku when he retired a couple of years ago. He's been publishing them, too.
The green granite was very beautiful today as the light changed.
I've entered more than 600 books in Librarything. It's a big project, perhaps too big.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

For Basho's frog

For Basho's frog
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Ocean Green granite. I'm thinking about greens. And leaves, and all the outdoor things that are so beautiful. There was a frog here, but he jumped away as I was focusing.
I've been surprised at how many haiku books I have, as I've been entering them into Librarything. I also found several books I haven't read, which surprised and pleased me. The interesting thing about cataloging my books is that I had thought I would be deciding which ones to move out into the greater world. But entering them is a keeping/collecting strategy, and not compatible with discarding. I've even entered a couple of books that I've already passed along. I marked them deacessioned. If museums can do this, so can I, just later.
Tile Man turns up early Monday morning. Everyone is making quite an effort to get the job finished. I really appreciate this. The plumber will be the final step for now, and if that goes smoothly, we'll have our facilities back. Except for the stove; I forgot about the stove.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Granite countertops, the fad

Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Well, it was installed today and it looks very good. The full effect won't be known until the faucet, tile, and cabinet facing is done, not to mention the painting and the floor, which aren't even in sight yet. . Polished granite looks different in the light from the window and after the sun has moved,. There are depths of color, some small bits of red in the green and tiny bits of crystalline sparkle. Granite Man did a beautiful job!
The heat has broken and now it is just ordinary Northern California summer, not killer-heat-death summer. I'm still enjoying Flickr makes me want to go out all the time and take pictures. Some of the people who live in Iceland take spectacular pictures! It is hard to imagine such magnificent scenery in an ordinary life.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
What is art? And what is the usefulness of talking about art, or making it? Tonight, at a lovely summer meal with fresh vegetables and fruits, we four friends talked about color. How to study it, understand it, work with color, and make it do what you want, not what you never expected it to, and are suddenly horrified by.
So, what is blogging? And why do I find it so interesting, and a little bit scary? It is so public and so unseen and ignorable at the same time. This is a new combination for me, but in some ways a little like writing and publishing poetry in small literary magazines,
Tomorrow the green granite countertop will be delivered and installed. It will be the result of a big heavy stone choice, not perhaps quite as permanent as a gravestone, but just about as irrevocable. I hope it proves to be gorgeous.
Today I saw a Flickr group that seemed to be just for photos that someone had commented on with the single word "gorgeous" -- actually this is quite a frequent comment on Flickr. I have made it myself.
Note: I've been meaning to mention that if you click on any of these blog photos, you will jump to that photo on my Flickr site and you can navigate to all the other photos from there. It's definitely all about art. Really . . .

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Conversation in color
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
The widget thing (below) worked! Here are repesentatives of two species meeting each other at the Aquarium. The heat seems to be moderating a little bit here. We might even get some of our beloved inland fog, which usually makes the nights so comfortable here at the south end of San Francisco Bay. The excitement of so many electric transformers burning out in such a short space of time leads many people here to wonder why they were not being replaced with the desert-type that they use in Las Vegas and Palm Springs. But they are not--they are just reinstalling the type that is suitable for Northern California conditions , , , And so it goes.
I continue to have surprising amounts of fun with Flickr.

A widget test

Two poppies
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.

This is supposed to ahow random selections from my library as listed in Librarything. I might be supposed to put it in the template, but that last time I tried that I messed up the whole blog, so here we go-o-o-o . . . .

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Formal feathers

His dress feathers
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Yesterday I went with my granddaughter, 2, and her mother, to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to see the fish, the jellyfish, and the wonderful shorebird exhibit featuring Mr. Godwit. No doubt there'll be more fish photos here in days to come. Even though she was so small, the toddler enjoyed a lot of features of the Aquarium.
My motorcycle sons came for a visit this weekend with wives and a friend. It was weird to entertain with no downstairs faucets working because of the remodeling that is unerway. It was fantastic to see them and I think they had a good trip. We ae still having real heat wave. Our house power was out for 10 or twelve hours after a transformer burned out. We were all iced up and had the propane lantern working, but the power came back on while we were asleep.
The temperature in Monterey was perfect, because of the ocean.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
It's been hot again today. This wingtip looks like a corner of that folding polaroid camera that was encased in brown leather with a metal trim. They've quit making the film for this camera. It's going to be hot again tomorrow. S. goes outside and brings in a pot of water from the garden hose that is warm enough(because of the intense heat) to do some dishes in.
The motorcycle trip ended in a flat tire outside of Fort Bragg. A wife with a trailer borrowed from her dad has gone to rescue them. She's pretty cool. All four dogs are asleep and the fan is making a mild sound.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Point Lobos: Depths of green water

Depths of green water
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Last year before the haiku conference, a few of us met here for a ginko, or haiku-writing walk. The photo ahows a sort of lagoon that is connected to the ocean through an opening like an archway, or tunnel.
I am discovering moe and more what a rich photo site Flickr is. There is almost no limit to the amount of time you could spend there looking at photographs, manipulated photographs and even some other artwork. Some people give the most interesting and creative titles to their work. Often these are taken from popular songs. The photography can be inspirational. People discuss photo composition, equipment and problems with others. If there are only three photographers in the whole world interested in something obscure, they could find each other here. Other people create little applets or widgets that link to other places or perform other functions. Various photo clubs, called groups, are based on almost any idea you could think of. Some are very rigid, controlled and structured, others are almost goofily free and limitless, not to mention chaotic. I have been exposed to a level of work by non-professionals that I have had difficulty believing existed. It challenges me to think more and try harder. Yes!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Golden distances

Golden distances
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Some of America's beauty as seen from the car. Beautiful scenes are so much a part of the American landscape. I've been amazed at the different types of beauty we've seen driving across the country. I've always wanted to paint, but am actually too impatient to make all those little brushstrokes.
Today Tile Man came with his hammer and tore out our old kitchen counter. It will be exciting to see what the fabulous green granite one which was sliced from an Italian mountain actually looks like. I chose four-inch tumbled stone tiles in a paler green to go with it. Tonight we went to Sears for the stove and were happy to find out that microwave ovens have been much improved. And that quieter garbage disposals can be had (for a price.) Soon I hope to get through this kitchen phase and return to philosophy, or art. Or history or literature. . . Today was extremely hot, and the heat will probably continue.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Feather River Canyon, the round-hole rock

Feather River Canyon
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
I saw this from the road last year when we stopped for Wolfi's personal needs. It was across the river, so I couldn't examine it up close. The round holes reminded me of acorn grinding holes I have seen in other places. But I seem to remember about a river erosion process that could also create them by twirling smaller stones that were trapped somehow. Or did I dream this?? In any case, this rock has a great shape.
Tonight we are clearing out the kitchen counter and the top layer of drawers, so Tile Man can rip it apart tomorrw. I took a break to write this. It seems we are actually starting this kitchen redo, but I am still slightly in denial.
I have been thinking quite a bit about blogging; in some ways is it like grinding acorns in a round hole that you gradually make bigger and bigger? And your family gets to eat dinner, too. Probably not the dinner part . . .
But what I've been thinking about is the interface between what the blogger writes about life, the inner life and the outer life. And then how the people she comes in contact with are identified and what they would think about that. I've been using only first names or initials, or made-up identifiers like Tile Man, because I am not comfortable putting other people's names in a public place. The other thing I think about (and this may be because many blogs I have looked at seem to have a strong element of revenge, cherished victimhood or anger) is to wonder how clear I can be about some of the things I am thinking about when someone else might read it. That's not expressed very well, but I do think I have a strong wish to please and to smooth over the rough spots in human interactions. This is not entirely a bad thing and often has been useful to me, but it is also probably limiting in some ways. When you are writing for famliy and old friends, as well as for yourself, these are things to think about.
Good night, sleep tight. Mom used to also say, "Don't let the bedbugs bite," although, luckily, we never had any. And I never reallty wondered about them, which now seems odd to me.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A lonely crowd.

The lonely crowd
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
I committed myself to Ocean Green granite today. I hope I can pull off the selection of tile so the project comes out well; the tile store is closed on Monday, so I couldn't check again. Tile Man starts the tear-out on Wednesday. Then Granite Fabricating Man will measure and get the top made and installed in a week or two. Then tile man will come back and do the backsplash. The cabinets won't be done until later, when Cabinet Man has time and we are back from our summer trip, which we still hope to begin in about a month.

Here are the last seven lines of Wallace Stevens' poem
Sunday Morning.

Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

This reminds me of pioneer America and our lost wilderness. It also reminds me of where we stay in Michigan; last year I went to pick wild blackberries with my daughter. I also notice the lovely, sonorous language, a characteristic of Stevens.
Tonight I met with the Writing Group. We had some fine poems. It is great to work with people who have such a varied aesthetic. Some work is very short, some longer, some mysterious, some remarkably clear and straightforward; all of the pieces are interesting and the discussons kindly and productive. Many of the people are also inerested in art and may add text to their artworks, or make very interesting titles for their prints. One practices Ikebana.
We tried that wriing exercise in which you write down the first word of each line of a randomly selected poem. Do not read the poem, just harvest the words. Then write a poem that has these words in the same positions. Everyone did something quite interesting. It's a variation on the writing exercise we did a long time ago by picking bits of presliced text out of a paper bag and using them in a poem, but requires a lot less preparation, or slicing, and can also give you the shape or form of the poem if you want it to. Patricia brought a group of short, mysterious poems which she began with this technique. We talked a lot about ways to generate the material we need to complete a particular poem. I like to think about all the small book clubs, art classes, writing groups, cooking clubs and all the ways people get together to make things or understand something. The gulls in this photo don't have the club thing mastered.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Into the darkness, and memories on film

Into the darkness
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Another photo from the lotus garden trip. I loved the lamp glowing in the dark temple of Kwan Yin. I have just about got all my photos on a new separate hard drive. Another project will be scanning about 1500 family slides from 1953-1980. Then I can pick from thousands of illustrations for the blog. Tonight I entered most of my haiku books into Some of them I had to enter manually; then I discovered that the University of California has the data for many of the small haiku monogaphs. California State Library isn't among the choices of database to search, but maybe UC shares data with the American Haiku Archives there. It saved me some work.
I guess tomorrow we'll try to see if Fabricating Man can fit us in; if not, we will wait until fall. Hopefully we can drive to MIchigan in another month. Crossed fingers.
The monotype auction was very hot and very noisy (echoes!) in the solid cement room of the Institute for Contemporary Art. The auctions for known artists went above my $$$ threshold, but I did get Susanne's lovely monotype of a forest scene called Near The Limekiln. Which was what I wanted.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


lotus leaf sketch
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.

At the Lotus Garden, I sketched several leaves, but felt unable to try the seemingly more difficult flowers. This is my favorite leaf sketch, and was the first one I did. They didn't get better. Sketching is something which I would like to do, but am also a little impatient with. I guess I am used to the speed of taking a photograph.
It's another hot day today, above 90 degrees. The dogs all lie about chewing on rawhide. Some of them have hidden in one of the dog crates to protect their chew from prying eyes.
An old interview with Katharine Graham (1997) is on Book TV. It reminds me how much Robert liked her book the year he died. I think he was carrying it when he came for a short visit. Sometimes these memories are quite vague; I am not sure about this. It is interesting to listen to someone who has been rich all her life and still worked very hard, but doesn't really know how to do things without what most of us would consider a lot of physical and mental assistance. When she talks about the research for her autobiographical book, she said "we" interviewd about 250 people.

Friday, July 14, 2006

To the tile store again

Grape leaf
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
We are just about there, but tonight both Tile Guy and Granite Fabricator Guy failed to call me back so we could definitely confirm that all three of us can meet next week to get started. Scott did figure out where to plug in his coffee pot, one of his big concerns. We found out at the sink store today that stainless steel kitchen sinks costing many hundreds of dollars no longer come with those round sink strainers that fit over the drain. A sink takes two and they cost $30 apiece at this store. We are going to look about. The old ones are worn down to the brass. But we think we can re-use the faucet. Scott wants a new disposal; this one has gotten very noisy--most probably a prelude to failure, Isn't this fascinating??? Stay tuned for more of this gripping story.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Jack and Mary Lillian

Jack and Mary Lillian
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
This has always been one of my favorite photos of my father, the little boy on the left. We had it in our living room in a stand-up frame every since I could remember. At The Farm--we always call it that--(1950-1956) it was on the low painted bookcases above the complete set of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Blue bindings; not very strong ones. Cheap yellowing paper. His novel I failed to finish was called The Marble Faun. It didn't make sense to me in my 13th or 14th summer. But I did love a slender volume of a play by Tennessee Williams called Summer and Smoke. That gave me an impossible view of male/female relationships. The cool hands of MIss Alma were my idea of the comfort one should be able to give to the suffering male. I don't know why this was such an appealing idea at the time, but I still remember its power.
I seem to remember hearing that this photo was taken back east when he and Mary LIllian traveled with a relative (an aunt?) back to Arkansas (or Tennessee?) to visit the relatives his parents had left behind when they went to New Mexico (where my father was born) and Arizona (where he did most of his growing up). I think this was the same train trip when my father was locked into the restroom while the train was in the station (a precaution they took against stowaways) and had a strong experience of terror when his screams brought no attention. He was freed when they unlocked the room after the train started up again. He told me about this when he was in his late seventies. He maintained close attachment to his family all his life. He wrote his mother a letter, in his neat, easily readable handwriting, every Sunday for many years. He visited his brother and sisters whenever he went West on business. But he didn't talk about them as much as my mother talked about her family, so I felt I knew the Butler clan better. His other sister, Marjory, died at age forty from breast cancer. He had her picture, with her braids wound atop her head in a coronet, on his dresser in a handsome leather frame. She looked like the most beautiful woman in the world to me then. He never talked about her death. She died in 1950, when I was almost fifteen. And so lives spin out, full of these small remembered and mis-remembered details. Good Night.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Inside the monotype exhibit looking out; Library Things

ICA one
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Taken last week, this is the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, looking out on First Street. Tomorrow I will go back and look at the annual monotype exhibit again. This time I'm going with a friend, and hope to be able to focus better. Sometimes looking at art can be exhausting. It reminded me how Paul didn't like going to museums any more after Bill died. He said there was too much death in them. It's hard to believe that he himself has been dead since 1990.
Tonight, Scott and I had sandwiches with that delicious olive slop on them from the Safeway. We went back to the tile store today, but still don't understand which of the incredibly beautiful tiles come with the parts and/or in the sizes we need. And finding a nice tile to go with the darker granites we like is more difficult than with the pale brown, lighter (and slightly more boring) ones.
Discovered the website through a mention in Poets & Writers Magazine, which came today. I have already joined (your first 200 books can be listed free) and listed 7 books, easy, fast and fun. I've always wanted to know what books I had, both here and in MIchigan, and now I can. It's a project, but can be accomplished incrermentally and in sort of not-productive-anyway time. After I finish, I can answer the question, "How many books do you have, anyway???" The site has a lot of community features like Flickr, but because it is so new, the listings seem skewed toward science fiction and other geeky-collector areas. I did't see as many art books, for instance, in my first investigations. And a children's book of Elisha Cooper's (one of my new enthusiams for his simple sketch style) was the only one of the title that has been listed. But these bits of information can be fascinating. When you've loaded a lot of titles, they will even give you a list of what other people with many of your titles have. I can't wait to see this!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Donkeys in the evening

Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
All the time we were writing haiku on the deck, these guys were browsing back and forth along the fence below us. One of them kept making a soft whuffle through his nose. Anne took them down some carrots, which they did appreciate. There was a very slight breeeze which made the long grasses sway. The light behind them on the hillside is from the moon.

this way, then that
donkeys browse along the fence--
river of stars! jhh

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Tanabata, Star Festival

Overlooking the reservoir
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Last evening a group of haiku friends gathered to look at the MIlky Way and celebrate the festival of the seventh day of the seventh month, when the beloved weaver princess and her herdboy (stars Vega and Altair) are reunited for this one night of the year. There are many legends of how one of them crosses the MIlky Way that separates them the rest of the year--on a bridge of magpies or in the boat of the crescent moon. Our Yuki Teikei haiku group has gathered to celebrate Tanabata (the Japanese name for this festival) for many years. We met at a home high in the hills overlooking the valley. In the upper right, you can see some of the white windmills which capture power from the wind. This is a classic Northern California summer landscape of ochres and dark greens. I first came to California in summertime and was immediately struck by the beauty of these folded hills.
After a light meal, we sat outside and wrote haiku while we waited for the stars to appear. Later, there was a bright moon, which somewhat diminished the candlepower of the River of Stars. But who would complain about moonlight on a warm summer evening? When the sun was gone, crickets began to trill. Later we heard the cry of a hunting owl. Two donkeys browsed along the fenceline below us. One of them snuffled softly, again and again. The quiet was so profound that you could hear this muted sound clearly.
Before we left, we wrote some of our new haiku on the paper kimonos that our founder, Kiyoko, taught us how to make. We read them aloud, then tied them on a large bamboo frond.

he waits to greet her
she crosses the Milky Way
her feet on feathers

This is a Tanabata haiku that Kiyoko praised when I wrote it several yeara ago. Her memory was very presnt with us at our gathering. She used to cut ladderlike scissored-paper filigrees to hang on the bamboo, too. She learned this as a child; she grew up near Saga Bay on the Japanese island of Kyushu. She said the delicate rice-paper objects were made to carry prayers to heaven. Now she is gone. No one of us ever learned to make them. It was a beautiful evening; many fine haiku were written. These parties are quiet and communal in a very special way. This one was a fine example.

Friday, July 07, 2006

And now for something completely different

Paint bucket
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
We went down this alley in Campbell to talk to the granite fabricating man about the kitchen. This all gets more and more complicated, but I think I am starting to get a handle on it. Good old formica is so easy to swipe off. But no, we are encouraging them to slice slabs off mountains in Brazil and Italy. Many different granites seem to have standard names. Names like Verde Butterfly or Azul Imperial. You get the idea. And they can't let you pick through the heavy slabs (there is a photocopied article on the wall about a man who was crushed to death by several slabs of marble). Fabricating Man says that the top slab, which you can see, is like the leaf in a book and they ship them together in the order in which they were sliced. So if you order now, you will get at least the next page or two, which will be very similar. I am uncomfortable about participating in the granite fad, but the stones are VERY beautiful.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Grove on the wall

Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Today to the monotype exhibit at the ICA to se how my "Grove" looks on the wall. It was a beautiful sunny day. The jacarandas on First Street have only a few stray blossoms left. Last year during the exhibit they were blooming against a brick-red building across the street. You wouldn't think this color combination would work, but it was beautiful. I had hoped to photograph it this year.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The tile store

Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
This is the sun through lotus leaves. I'm still living at the Lotus Garden in my soul. But today we went to the tile store. The granite top place closed at 4 and we didn't get there until 4:30! At the tile store there are too many choices for new tile or granite for kitchen counters. Horrifying. We like some kinds the same but neither my favorite nor his favorite aren't liked by the other person. Anyway we will look at granite before we decide. It seems to me that nice Italian porcelain tile might be cheaper. The granite that comes in 12-inch tiles doesn't come in the smaller sizes that we need for the backsplash and around the window. Way too complex to master in one trip. Who are you, my reader?

Monday, July 03, 2006


Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Another lotus, I can't resist using these. I love the sun's touch on the yellow center. On TV right this minute they are discussing the "1970 electronics" in the space shuttle. So NASA workers could loose jobs if we cancel the program and the USA could loose face (whatever we have left) by not keeping our international commitments. It's been a quiet day here. The new APR came and it has many of Lucia's poems in it! So cool. Looks like tomorrow's fireworks may be obscured by fog. The TV news is always about bad things that just happened (tonight, a brain-dead baby) or that might happen. Good nIght.

Pale Pink Lotus

Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
All day with the photographs of these beautiful flowers! They remind me of musical terms. I still wonder who I am writing to. Perhaps myself, without even an imaginary friend like Ann Frank had. Joyce Appleby was on In Depth on Book TV. She seems very sensible and balanced.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Harmonic rhythms

Harmonic rhythms
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Who knew? Out near Modesto there is a water garden with more than 200 varieties of lotus growing. This was somone's labor of love and is being carried on by their children. I went with other photographers and painters and photographed until my battery ran out.