Monday, April 27, 2009

New Lego set

A recent visit from my Idaho grandchildren--here's the youngest after a trip to the mall. He stuck to this until it was completely finished. It came out GREAT! It made me think about the inventors of Lego and the people who design these sets. Way cool.
I have been reading Idaho pioneer memoirs from my husband's family. I think I'll have to type some of them and get them up here. It's a long way from Lego--they pretty much made everything for themselves!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bloom of the day

It's a hybrid between a cactus and an epiphyllum. An odd color, I think, but I am always happy when it blooms. From a distance it seems like an off, or pallid orange, but when I get close I am always surprised by the pinky lavendar of the edges of each petal. The plant requires very little care. It needs a haiku, but I am too tired to write one. . .

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Portrait in Sunlight

Portrait in Sunlight
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Most of the day I was working on listing the rest of my poetry books on I found many things I love and things I thought were lost and duplicate copies of things I forgot I already had. Now I have 16 five-foot shelves--with the poetry shelved alphabetically by author. And I have almost stopped buying it, until I integrate what I have into some sort of knowledge. And there's a little stack by the bed to start on tonight.
I have been thinking a lot about memory and about possessions, which are related for me, since my "things" often function as memory triggers. But they also function as clogging up the space you need to breathe and do other things except organizing possessions. Many years ago I read a book about people and their collections and personal museums. I have to say that my favorite was the woman who ran the Nut Museum (things made of nuts and nutshells) which showed her coming down a staircase in a long gown. I don't really want to open for business, but I am very glad that some of my favorite books are out of boxes.
For many years, Adam Zagajewski has been in the top handful of my favorite poets. I cannot read him in the original Polish, but only in the lovely English translations of Clare Cavanaugh. This is from his book, Mysticism for Beginners.

Long Afternoons

Those were the long afternoons when poetry left me.

The river flowed patiently, nudging lazy boats to sea.

Long afternoons, the coast of ivory.

Shadows lounged in the streets, haughty manikins in shopfronts

stared at me with bold and hostile eyes.

Professors left their schools with vacant faces,

as if the Iliad had finally done them in.

Evening papers brought disturbing news,

but nothing happened, no one hurried.

There was no one in the windows, you weren’t there;

even nuns seemed ashamed of their lives.

Those were the long afternoons when poetry vanished

and I was left with the city’s opaque demon,

like a poor traveler stranded outside the Gare du Nord

with his bulging suitcase wrapped in twine

and September’s black rain falling.

Oh, tell me how to cure myself of irony, the gaze

that sees but doesn’t penetrate; tell me how to cure myself

of silence.

This is a poem that works on several levels and repays re-reading. Good night,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I left my heart in Gilroy

But yesterday I got to drop by for a visit. This library building (we are at the back door) was new when I was young and we moved from the 1910 Carnegie Library in 1975. It will be torn down this fall and a superb new library and community center erected in its place. Lani (embroidered dress) is in charge of the Gilroy Library now and has been since I was transferred in 1983. We had just been to Carmel to lunch with two other library buddies. Go ahead, become a librarian! Your world will expand and you will meet the friends of your dreams!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Two=stripe Bee

He's right in the center and seems to be carrying pollen baskets of RED pollen. Does anyone know anything about bees? It was GLORIOUS by the Monterey Bay today!
The little red guys are just a few of the ladybugs that were swarming at the Monterey Dunes today. We had an excellent haiku writing session.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yesterday's Boy in the chair is growing up!

This is my husband in the late 1940s. probably at a swimming party at Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, where they went for family outings. This is a picture I had never seen, so it was quite a find. His aunt died recently, just past her hundredth birthday, and it was in her box of photos which her daughter, and only child, shared with us on Monday. I was in scanning heaven!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This picture is about 75 years old

Yesterday my husband's dear cousin, who is the baby in this picture, came down for a visit and some of my husband's excellent blueberry pie. She and her husband hauled with them one large tote box and several small ones filled with family history. It's a treasure trove!
I have seen a photo that was taken on the same day, but I had never seen this one. I booted up my laptop, hitched up the scanner and scanned all afternoon, as they reminisced and identified things for me. I got TONS of great stuff including a pioneer memoir by the sister of my husband's grandmother. I'll be posting many of the photos on Flickr and here over the next month or so, with complete names so other descendents can find them if they do a google search. This is just the beginning!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


My other find of the day on the wildflower walk. Ann B. said, "Look!" And I looked. I think this brushfooted butterfly is a Chalcedon Checkerspot. And I know I'm in love with his red antennae!

Shadow of the Lizard

Went on a wonderful spring walk with haiku friends this afternoon! Met this fellow near the end and he posed sweetly. Look at the varied grays in this picture. We walked so long that we didn't get any time to sit and write haiku. but I've got some good starts. And it is SPRING, SPRING, SPRING in California!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Imagine Transtromer on a ship

Another picture taken during my grandson's visit. I thought this nautical sunset over San Francisco Bay (see a tower of the Golden Gate bridge on the skyline in the middle of the photograph?) would be a suitable accompaniment for the poem I read at the celebration of National Poetry Month last night.


Tonight I am down among the ballast.
I am one of the silent weights
which prevent the vessel overturning!
Obscure faces in the darkenss like stones.
They can only hiss: 'don't touch me.'

Other voices throng, the listener
glides like a lean shadow over the radio's
luminous band of stations.
The language marches with the executioners.
Therefor we must get a new language.

The wolf is here, friend for every hour
touching the windows with his tongue.
The valley is full of crawling axe-handles.
The night-flyer's din overruns the sky
sluggishly, like a wheelchair with iron rims.

They are digging up the town. But it is silent now.
Under the elms in the churchyard:
an empty excavator. The scoop against the earth--
the gesture of a man who has fallen asleep at table
with his fist in front of him. ---Bell ringing.

from Selected Poems, Tomas Transtromer, p93.
Translated from the Swedish by Robin Fulton.
More about this and about the reading soon.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

This is the other old photo and the poems . . ..

mentioned in the post below.
In the photo, my grandson who is just finishing college is reading a book to his younger brother who is now a missionary. So, here's another old slice of Only Yesterday, and Long Ago.
Tonight I went to a poetry reading celebrating National Poetry Month. (All month, every April.)
For two hours, more than 30 people each read a poem by a favorite poet, and a poem of their own composition. Six of the seven women in my poetry writing circle came and we went for coffee afterwards in a very noisy hard-surface cafe with echoes. My new hearing aids made it worse. Tomorrow, I'll post the poem I read by my favorite, Tomas Transtromer.

Old photos and old poems

This was taken six or seven years ago. Mu grandchildren, and my husband's new dachshund, are watching my daughter-in-law bake a pie. My husband is holding the dachshund on his lap and the level of interest-in-food is high among all the observers. My husband is a divine pie-maker, and he does little seminars with my daughter-in-laws about it when we visit.
As for me and pie baking, MY mother-in-law taught me how to make pie-crust with lard, and now that lard has turned out to be one of the Five Dangerous Substances, plus my husband stopped eating red meat, the lard days are over.
These children are the ones who just visited--enjoying the un-Idaho-like warmth of California. Since they left five more types of blossoming have started in our yard, they could have been even more impressed. Lovely soft rain making all the new leaves happy over the past couple of days.
Today I got together with one of the people from the painting trip to Greece I took last summer. We had a great time in her studio and looking at the art work in the Gallery of which she is a member! It's in the same bookstore where I used to meet my best friend, Paul, in the late 1970's. Now, the bookstore, like so many of the independent ones, has closed. And my friend was one of the first people I knew with AIDS; he died at age 40 in 1990. All of these parts of life were long ago, and just yesterday, too. I was happy to be reminded of Paul.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Miner's lettuce

You can eat it boiled, like spinach, or raw in salads. They say that the forty-niners ate it to prevent scurvy. At this time of year, it grows in great stands near the paths and under trees in Almaden Quicksilver Park. I sent my son and his family up to the Park when they were here last week, so they could walk the Norton Loop that has such spectacular views of the valley.
The Latin name is: Claytonia perfoliata; there's a good article in Wikipedia. It always has this deep green look, and look completely different from other plants that grow around here. I love the way the flower seems to grow through the center of the leaf, which is actually a pair of leaves arranged to look like one. I also like the glossy look of the leaf.