Saturday, December 30, 2006

Renku Persimmons

Ann's Renku Persimmons
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Before we began to eat them the persimmons looked like this. Then we wrote a 36-link December poem together. I have a very good friend that grew up in a persimmon orchard. When I first saw it I loved the way the bright fruit hangs on the branches after the leaves are gone. We came back from Michigan after autumn leaves had all fallen there. Here in California, a few of the last ones are still falling. Now the mixed passerine feeding flocks come in to feed on the small red berries of the Chinese Pistache trees that line our street. A couple of mornings ago, I saw several white-crowned sparrows, some yellow-rump warblers and some other birds (gone out to get the mail; no binoculars!) in and about the tree. Tomorow will be the last day of 2006. I'm making resolutions.

Girders and angles

Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Tonight the news is full of the pending execution of Saddam Hussein. Something about the speed of this and the homely details (hanging, a green jumpsuit, an unmarked grave, we gotta get it done tonight--because tomorrow is a religious day, the volunteer Iraqi executioner, his family isn't coming, his effects have been "handed over") is profoundly shocking to me. Also, the information or public relations is being handled at a level very close to gossip and rumor. All of this contrasts so much with the excruciatingly slow formality of the process of executions in the U.S. I thought they were going to hold a trial about the Kurdish deaths; the deaths he is being executed for seem a relatively minor one of his horrible deeds. The decision and the whole process seems too hurried. The word that has just come up for me is "hugger-mugger" which in addition to hurried chaos, has an element of secrecy. I looked it up just now. I am very troubled by the haste and the sort of jury-rigged procedures. Much of the world seems out of joint to me now.
In preparation for the New Year's cleanup (garage, closets, bookshelves, 40 years of accumulation) we went out and bought some more boxes today. Those office boxes are a little small, but easier to lift when filled with books and papers. S was looking for a small pocket calendar, so we went to the second office supply store where the boxes were on sale. I bought some more. Now I have 50 boxes (ought to do it!) and a serious project ahead of me. I have 2500 books on now. Serious fun!

Friday, December 29, 2006


I like olives
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Christmas dinner provides a favorite food! I'm thankful for the health of my family and the adundance they enjoy. It was great to spend time with them this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The emu's luminous eyes

Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
If I had known that those eyes were so beautiful, I would have taken a lot more pictures of him/her to test my Christmas camera. Up close, I just noticed the drab feathers. What else have I missed by not looking carefully? The drive home today through the Canyon was bright and sunny. Because of the recent rains, all the little rivulets and waterfalls that can be seen from the road were splendid. The higher peaks had snow, which set off the pines wonderfully. I'm planning for next year to be a little more focused and productive. I'd especially like to improve this blog. The New Year is icumen in! Goodnight.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Jack Hopper, my father as a child

Young Hoppers
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
He's in the lower left. His older brother, Carr and Mary Lillian, his oldest sister, are standing. The youngest kid, Marjory Lynn, is seated next to Jack. I think they were still living in Portales, New Mexico, at this time. Dad was born there on December 19, 1906. So the hundredth anniversary of his birth has just passed. We all still miss his quiet, intelligent sensible personality all the time. I am the oldest of his seven children. He has thirty-two grandchildren and countless (at least I can't keep count) great-grandchildren
Thinking about overpopulation is a terrifying thing. Naturally, one likes having a big family; I particularly like to watch the traits of my parents re-emerge in their descendants. My mother has turned out to have a very persistant look; just today, I got a Christmas card from one of my brother John's daughters, who looks more and more like my mother. Still, I think that the world will really suffer from the excessive presence of so many human beings. I wish we could just slow down a little. Just slow down.
Happy Birthday, Dad! Youv'e been gone almost 20 years now, yet we still think of you every day.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

East meets west

East meets west
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
I love this holiday juxtaposition. Thursday night there was a gathering of friends at a new studio. There was a delicious cranberry loaf and many other eatables. The studio was all decorated with lights, candles and beads; there were many wonderful things to look at.
Now, as I write a Barbra Streisand special has just turned up on TV. From the hairstyle, it looks to have been filmed on the cusp of the Seventies. Could it be new? She is wearing a simple, slender, long ivory-white dress. And she can really sing! The most beautiful, subtly altered notes, the power and emotion and delivery of the texts. Wow. Some guy in the audience is about to choke himself yelling, "Bravo, bravo, bravo!" The rest of the audience is screaming.
Now it is becoming clearer; the show is made of of clips from different shows. And the now-Barbra is talking about one of them.

This week I have been going through boxes of old papers. I have found many excellent traces of the past, like my daughter's kindergarten handprints in fingerpaint, and a picture of my son holding his first baby, who now is taking horseback riding lessons. This mixture of the past and the present is very appealing to me. But it also reminds me of the ones who are now gone, and how everything passes.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

After Monet's poplars, violet

PICT0009 nik vio
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
There was a row of poplars near Monet's home; he painted them often. When they were about to be cut down, he bought the trees, or the property, so he could keep on painting them. (Once again, I am hazy on the facts!) I understand because of the poplars we can see from our house in Michigan. They are always changing. Trees are young and old. They grow in genetically identical clusters, so each group of them moves together through the seasons in a uniform way. In spring they are silvery as the buds expand. In autumn they turn various golds and then release pale yellow disks of aspen leaves to float or tumble across the landscape. The green rustle of summer aspen leaves is one of the most soothing sounds you can imagine. My photos of them are endlessly fun to play with; this one has been modified by a Nik violet filter. Not more beautiful then they were in autumn, but a pleasure to look at in winter, when they are far away from my California home.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fun in sepia

Sepia glow
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
This is some kind of new play slime that you make with Elmer's Glue and other items. It is a lot more malleable than Playdough because it is a polymer or some such. (I should have looked this up before I began to write!) Anyway, it was a big success with my grandchild on Thanksgiving. Of course she had it in three different colors! It is shiny and sort of terrifying looking. And immensely appealing.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Glorious Fourth

The Glorious Fourth
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
That's the head of my grandson in the lower right.
In this winter chill, it is nice to think about the warm long twilights of summer and the summer festivals, like Independence Day, half a year away. When I was a child our church group rented land and planted a "church garden" out in the country. When the corn, melons and tomatoes were ripe we had a Harvest Supper, a wonderful outdoor picnic with lots of fresh food, games and laughter. It is one of my most delightful repeated childhood memories. We had canning bees and canned food for ourselves and for families who might need food because of some catastrophe. We dried corn (cut from the cob) in the oven; I loved the chewy result. Tomorrow I'll tell you about our Victory Garden.

Monday, December 04, 2006

White church, red roof

White church, red roof
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Under the stormy sky, the village of Rome Station. Known for its coffee house built of stone that doubles as a small bookstore. When we came through recently, I bought a book on Sacajawea's people. S bought coffee, natch. This scene was across the road, and very classic Americana, I thought.
I've been working all afternoon and evening on a big mess that I should have worked on sooner. I have it all boxed and about half sorted and the kitchen is finally reassembled. Nearly everything fit in, and S cleaned out some shelves in the garage for some of the rest. Big job, dragged out. In my usual manner. Good night.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Colors of inspiration

Colors of inspiration
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
I love the pale colors of the winter desert! Sometimes a raven flies over and makes them seem even paler by its blackness. Everything is back in the kitchen now; tonight I even sorted the Junk Drawer. There was a very small, classic mouse trap in it, and a broken handle from a window we don't have any more. Lots of screwdrivers, with an emphasis on Phillips, rubber bands and clothespins to shut bags of chips or nuts. Used toothbrushes which have been run through the dishwasher--these are very handy, but I probably don't need to save any more of them. Some tape, some washers, some screws, some matchbooks, and a box of birthday candles. A treasure trove!
Last night I found an old comment on this blog from someone who visited my blog after I had commented on his. I am so used to not getting comments that I haven't looked for any for a long time. So it was great to get one.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Long lonesome highway

The long lonesome highway
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Now that we've finally made it home, I miss the open western expanses by the highway. It is wonderful that you can see so far. The magnificent clouds are ever-changing. On the dashboard, the green hat my son gave my husband. Beside me, Wolfi, the small dog.
Here at home, I have all my books. Other comforts and art supplies surround me. But I do spend too much time indoors. It's chilly in December, and other excuses.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Smile

Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Thanksgiving is over. We had a great family visit, then came home to put the kitchen back together. It's almost completely done now and will surely be worth it, just because of the reorganization. It's been hard to keep up this blog; one day passes, and then another, and I cannot think of anything to write about.
I did go to the dentist today and now have TWO temporary crowns. One for the one that fell out on the way home and one for the one the dentist had been wanting to fix for two years. I was in the chair today for over two hours. I should feel grateful for being in a world where I can get dental care, but somehow, gratitude isn't the primary emotion. Here comes Christmas!