Wednesday, August 30, 2006
The small dogs had a bath before they left the kennel. They can't visit the relatives with us because of allergies. But they still have a faint odor that I call Kennel Stench. It's a good kennel and I like the woman who runs it, but you can't help a smell in a kennel.
The leaves on the madrones and the red oaks in the Feather Canyon were pretty and very green this time of year. Wildflowers are over and most of the small waterfalls and seeps are dry. Still, it is a beautiful drive, until you get stopped waiting for roadwork (a crane on a bridge) for three-quarters of an hour.
The weather is still a little warm, just summery, really.
I got my computer back, the Norton protection made Windows unstable and then crashed. It wasn't rebootable even from the CD recue disk. I got the security the repair guy recommended: Kaspersky. So I'm back on the blog. It feels good.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I finished repotting and moving my cactus and succulents back onto the patio today. And there are only dribs and drabs, as S. would say, remaining of the kitchen to pack up. Last night I read an account by the military historian John Keegan about the battle of Agincourt. By any standards this is old news, but he makes it very fresh and fascinating. There were lots of things I never knew: about the low social status of archers, and how they each pounded a large sharpened stake into the ground where they took up a position before the battle. This stake could pierce the breast of a rapidly moving horse. Although, horses don't like to run into things and they particularly don't like to step on something living (or very recently dead) which factor was a problem in many battles, as soldiers fell wounded or dead. This the author makes very clear.
Apparently, at the time Keegan wrote the book, the countryside around Agincourt remained close to what it had been, with an irregularly-shaped plowed field separating two areas of woods. I am looking forward to the essays on Waterloo and the Somme, which complete the book, which begins with a fascinating essay on military history and historians. I found out about Keegan some time ago when he was interviewed on the C-Span program, In Depth, about all of his books. He was such an intelligent and articulate fellow that I ordered several of his titles. I have enjoyed and been impressed by all of them, but have not yet read the one on the Second World War.
Stay tuned, out there in blog-land, I will try to post updates during the drive across the middle of America.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
Tonight we had our monthly poetry meeting. It is great to have a group like this to talk about writing with! It also means you work on your poems to get ready; it's a goof motivator.
Things are slowly coming together around here as we get ready to travel. I'm hoping to get Internet access along the way, so my readers, wherever you are, will know about the weather in the Dakotas. Good night.
It's been a busy week. Every day I empty out a few shelves in the kitchen. I have found a crystal dish that was a wedding present 51 years ago and many other forgotten wonders.
Tonight we put together the anthology of haiku poems our Yuki Teikei Haiku Society publishes every year. We designed a black and white cover with purple end pages stamped with a copper spiral inside the front. It's very handsome. So that was fun.
I guess we will get to make our trip after all; we plan to leave on Saturday. It's after midnight and very quiet, a nice quiet, surprisingly, softly quiet.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Today I entered books on Librarything up to 1004, so I've passed a big milestone. If I finish the job, I'm estimating the total at about 4000 including the books I keep in Michigan. I need to downsize, but have a very strong attachment to many of them. What to do? Nothing sensible, I suppose.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
I've been playing with today's sun on hydrangea leaves. And that took me to the quiet jungle, where the lion sleeps.
Tonight we initiated the new press in the new Studio with a few monotypes. It's a beautiful press, a Whelan. Smooth and easy to print with. I'll be spending a lot of time there. I have to think about what I would like to work on and whether I want to print on whole or half sheets or continue to work on some of the partly finished monotypes I have left from the classes. I know I want to do some chine colle and work with Japanese papers. I'd also like to print some more copies of the small plates I made in the etching class. The weather is getting a little too warm again. How are you? I am fine. . .
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Big news today is that you cannot fly with liquids, or gels, including contact lens fluid, prescriptions like insulin, or baby food. No cola bottles. Nada. My new blog name might be GladToDrive.
But this one blog is enough for me. That's my grandchild; she's a talker! She calls us both "Grandpa" which means, I guess, that she understands we visit together.
We start work on this year's haiku anthology in a week. It looks like we have some good poems. It's very quiet outside tonight. And so to sleep.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Kitchen update: the water is back on. There was a moment of terror when the disposal wouldn't fit, but our clever guy came over and cut a square hole in the hardboard next to the dishwasher and solved the problem, Eveyrthing works without leaking: dishwasher, disposal and refrigerator water. The stove is also in, but the installer didn't have the microwave yet and will come back. Once the cabinets are rebuilt, we still will have to put in new flooring and paint. Sometimes I wish we hadn't started, but I think it will be very nice. It seems too self-indulgent. The stove looks like it will be a genuine pleasure to cook on. Well-marked controls, and abilities far beyond anything we have ever used.
I have 945 books entered in Librarything now. And patterns are beginning to emerge, which is very ineresting. I found another duplicate today--that makes five in the living room alone, Sigh. But I also found a lot of forgotten books that I want to read or page through the illustrations again; that is a great pleasure.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Went to the Main Gallery (it's in a yellow house) in Redwood City to see the encaustic collages and print work by a friend. They were small, delicate and very lovely. Then we had a Chinese meal, salad and chicken with orange and ginger. From the taste of it, quite a bit of sugar, too. Good.
This morning on Book TV, an In Depth with an author named Gallagher, a Civil War historian. The Civil War is fascinating, it's true, and there is plenty of documentation. It made me wonder if I would really want to spend my whole career studying one war. I don't think that I would.
Inspector Morse was resureected to solve a murder tonight. We are enjoying it. He's solved it now, and he is being quite wonderfully crabby.
I've been thinking about poetry and the writing process. Here is something that Brenda Hillman said after a reading at Black Oak Books several years ago.
"What starts a poem is a tension
a sort of generalized ganglion of wierdness . . ."
I wrote it down at once!
Mr. Van Vranken taught me about the ganglion in high school science class. I have often wished I had ever told him how much I learned in those classes. He was a very good teacher and I rarely encountered any better ones later on.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
The Wild Thyme Unseen . . .
This is a philosophical cat. She lives on a farm in Michigan and enjoys springtime, as we all do. She is the music and doesn't think about it lasting. The lines below are from The Dry Salvages, No. 3 of Eliot's Four Quartets. This is poetry for grownups--sometimes I think I understand it--yet often parts seem very mysterious to me. Pat Shelley was very fond of the Four Quartets; she was the music for me--I still miss her.
"For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. "
I don't wear yellow; I don't decorate with it. Still I notice that it is the brightest and lightest color, film loves it and yellow often makes paintings sing. Nature loves it too, as shown by the great numbers of yellow flowers. And many little birds are yellow, wholly or in part, flitting through the spring woods.
Now here we are in high midsummer. Tonight, crickets keep up a metronomic rhythm outdoors. We have the windows wide open to catch the summer air.
I found two books I have had nearly forever, one since I was three, a Mary had a Little Lamb which my parents bought as a souvenir of our trip to New England. I know about this trip only because of the photographs. I don't remember anything about it. I've had the other book, a laarge blue one, since I was ten or eleven. It is called No. 12 Joy Street and is an anthology of poems and stories. The ditty about the Five Tarakans has been running through my head ever since I found it again last night. Tomorrow maybe I will share it with you, weblog buddies. Good night.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
It is really very intelligent and has made me plan to try again.
* * * *
“Even the simple act which we describe as “seeing someone we know” is to some extent an intellectual process. We pack the physical outline of the person we see with all the notions we have already formed about him, and in the total picture of him which we compose in our minds those notions have certainly the principal place. In the end they come to fill out so completely the curve of his cheeks, to follow so exactly the line of his nose, they blend so harmoniously in the sound of his voice as if it were no more than a transparent envelope, that each time we see the face or hear the voice it is these notions which we recognize and to which we listen.”
Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way,
translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, p. 20
That last sentence is SOME sentence! But I think this is really a very acute perception.
This picture is of the Chihuly glass on exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Tomorrow, I have some T.S. Eliot for you . . .
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Up to 702 books entered in Librarything now. I am finding some weird stuff that there is no point in keeping, some good old friends, two duplicates, and a bunch of stuff I haven't read yet. S. makes fun of this. A book came in the mail today. When he brought me the package, he said I should be sure to enter it quickly . . .
What would we do without those three little dots . . .