Monday, December 31, 2007

hello goodbye

And ther's a hand, my trusty friend,
And gie's a hand o' thine;
We'll tak' a right good willie-waught,,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
Robert Burns (1759-1796) Scottish poet & lyricist

the last day of 2007. even though the end of the year snuck up on me, I'm proud that over the last week I've been somewhat successful getting my internal calendar to catch up with the external calendar. my journey to catch up has been aided by the various assorted holiday and end-of-year rituals and routines.

one of my end of year routines includes the reading of lists. as a person who enjoys lists - making them and reading them - I am currently in ocd nirvana at this time of year. there are lists every where. it seems as if everyone and their sister and nephew is making a list of the 10 best movies, 10 bests books, 10 best musical releases, 10 good things about 2007, and so on and so forth. the mere fact that there are so many end of the year lists, makes it safe to assume that I'm not alone in my love of lists. I wonder if list making and list loving is a 'culture bound syndrome'?

some list makers don't stop at the magical number ten. during december the new york times publishes its 100 notable books of the year. whether it is books or movies (or musical releases), I enjoy comparing my own faves to lists others have constructed and also mining the various lists in order to add titles to my 'must read' and 'must see' lists. I admit the exercise of adding things to my lists makes me feel a bit like sisyphus. among the 2007 books mined and added are new works by some of my favorite authors: barbara kingsolver's animal, vegetable, miracle, michael chadon's the yiddish policemen's union and annie dillard's the maytrees. ah, so many books, so little time.

my list of favorite movies seen in 2007 (in no particular order) include: 1) the lives of others 2) paris je t'aime 3) the garden of elah 4) into the wild 5) ratatoulli 6) forever (special note: I haven't seen this on anyone's list- forever is a wonderful life-affirming documentary about the pere lachaise cemetery) 7) enchanted 8) eastern promises 9) darjeeling limited and 10) babel. now mind you, in terms of movies that get released I barely make a dent in seeing what's out there. and after mining the various lists I come away with a 'must see' list that would keep me busy until the cows come home or at least until december 31st of the next millennium!

truth be told I have a few notebooks lying about where I've transcribed lists of movies spanning the last ten years (and I hate to admit I still have more titles than not that which are still unseen). new adds from released in 2007 added to my 'must see' list now includes: no country for old men (I read the book, now to see the movie); atonement (ditto on book/movie); perselolis (ditto on book/movie); once (how have I not seen this!!); 3:10 to yuma (e's favorite movie of 2007); there will be blood; I'm not there; the diving bell and the butterfly; 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days; the savages; to name but a few! ah, so many films, so little time.

my personal quest to catch up with the calendar will be significantly aided this evening. for most years we've lived here in cleveland, we have gone over to our friends p & r's house for their annual new year's eve party. unlike many new year's eve parties, where the goal seems to be to get really hyped up and wasted; p & r's gathering is relaxing and filled with the comfort of friends and a sense of community. now that's not to say there's not plenty of eat, drink and making merry; in fact, there's plenty of eating, drinking and merry-making taking place. but we focus on making food together, playing games, and celebrating and reflecting on the end of one year and the promise of a new one. one activity I really enjoy is what r calls "burn your bummers" - as midnight approaches each person writes the 'bummers' they had during the past year, the piece of paper with the bummers is then tossed into the fire blazing in the fireplace. the goal of course is to start the new year fresh. to put some things of the past year firmly behind and carry on with a fresh perspective.

We twa hae sported i' the burn,
From morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

picture: pere lachaise cemetery, paris 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

whispering grass

In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
Albert Camus (1913-1960) philosopher, writer, human rights activist,
recipient 1957 Nobel prize for literature

picture: pampas grass at dusk cleveland botanical gardens, december 26, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

our house

this year is going to be one of those years where the holidays will be going on well into the new year. part of my problem has been the fact that 2007 flew by at record speed. I seem to say this every year, but I swear this year went by even faster than last year! the issue of time flying poses certain challenges for those of us who work on adopting a 'be here now' approach to life. how does one reconcile the disconnect when the calendar says one thing and one's internal calendar says something - I mean some time - entirely different? truth be told I'm still located and operating in october! to avoid getting stressed about this disconnect I fall back on those handy survival skills of reframing, resistance, and rationalization. whatever works - the rub of course is having family and friends accept one's slightly out-of-sync rhythms.

the calendar says december 27th, but I am still boxing up parcels to mail and addressing envelops for our holiday greetings. this year I actually made our cards to read 'happy new year' - thus providing me nice cushy guilt-free parameters - after all, one can argue that the new year extends into february.

"Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it."
Bertolt Brecht (1898 - 1956) poet, playwright, theater director

the cleveland botanical garden is showcasing an incredible selection of holiday gingerbread houses made by local individuals and groups. I probably would have missed this holiday extravaganza, but fortuitously we spent christmas eve at the house of our friends laurie and joseph. laurie asked if I had gone to see the gingerbread houses at the botanical gardens. I said no, she mentioned that she and her cousin had made a house for the show. she then suggested I check out the show as there are some absolutely amazing structures. yesterday ms t and I headed to university circle and met ms t's momma after work, we checked out the wintershow. what can I say but WOW!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

greetings of the season!

Heap on more wood! the wind is chill; But let it whistle as it will, We'll keep our Christmas merry still.
Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) Scottish novelist, poet, historian

The rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads and serious faces with a Christmas greeting.
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888, American novelist

Sunday, December 23, 2007

this little light of mine

Smoke Signals

There are people on a parallel way.
We do not see them often, or even think of them often,
but it is precious to us that they are sharing the world.
Something about how they have accepted their lives, or how the sunlight happens to them,
helps us to hold the strange, enigmatic days in line for our own living.
It is important that these people know this recognition, but it is also important that
no purpose or obligation related to this be intruded into their lives.
For those on that parallel way, here is a smoke signal, unmistakable but unobtrusive - we are
following what comes, going through the world,
knowing each other, building our little fires.
William Edgar Stafford (1917-1993), American poet & pacifist

yesterday at precisely 1:08 a.m. (est) solstice occurred and marked the moment the sun was the farthest from the celestial equator (at least here in the northern hemisphere for my friends in the southern hemisphere the seasonal shift is topsy turvy). last night was the longest night and by this very fact a special night. f and I celebrated the solstice in the company of friends. the party was held at s & p warm and lovely home. when we walked in we were embraced by kind welcomes, a house lit by the soft glow of candles, the gentle laughter of friends, and an enticing aroma of a winter soup simmering on the stove.

it is affirming to be in the company of friends. last night the group included some old and some new. I was reminded me of a sampler I had just admired at my parent's house a couple weeks ago. the sampler, made for my mother by a girlfriend back in 1961, is stitched in threads still bright proclaims "make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold." this sampler, with it's simple poem of friendship, has traveled from memphis to agana to annandale, and has graced a wall somewhere in my parent's home its halfway circled the world and has come back again. this sampler, like the others hanging around my parent's home, is a touchstone, an affirmation and message for living a good life.

last night we gathered to celebrate and to call back the light. in the tradition of times long gone and times to come we ate, drank, and made merry. the evening included a few special activities which drew everyone together and gave means to connect with each other, with the earth, and with all beings - human and other. during the evening each person selected and read a poem - the poems reflected the season and the spirit of renewal and the promise of spring that lies at the core of winter.

after the poems were read the candles throughout the house were extinguished. we sat in darkness to meditate and reflect on the wordy gifts we just received. after a bit miles, s & p's son, with a single match lit the yule log, he, in turn lit a small candle. in the lighting of the candle from the log, miles shared his prayer for peace and called on each of us, if so moved, to light a candle and share a prayer, a gratitude, or thought. we each did. once we lit our small candle we placed our candle with other candles in a tray filled with the sand from lake erie. soon the room was ablaze with the light of these small candles. to think the brightness all came from one stroke of a match - the light comes only when the gift is shared. light to you!

picture: solstice celebration, december 22 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

bring back the light!

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.
William Blake (1757-1827)mystic, painter, illustrator,& poet

we sing and dance to welcome back the light!
happy solstice!

picture: mouse king (thanks ma!), december 2007.

Friday, December 21, 2007

comfort and joy!

there's a vortex of emotions at this time of year. whether it's the holidays, the waning light or the increasing cold, there's a lot of seasonal blues and stress out there with the seasonal greens and tidings of comfort and joy! yesterday I received a 'holiday gift' from jan phillips. jan is described as a "visionary thought leader" and well she's just Über creative. I was moved by the words and the images of jan's video gift. I'm passing jan's gift along with the hopes that it will bring you the lift it brought me.

from jan's introduction to this 5 (+) minute video:

I fell in love with this song by Daniel Nahmod called One Power and put some of my photos to his music. It represents what I hope for, what I live for, and what I celebrate this time of year.... and helps you remember the gold that's buried all around.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

your smiling face

The surest sign of wisdom is a continued cheerfulness.
Michel de Montaigne, french philosopher (1533-1592)

I woke this morning before 5 a.m. my head instantly switched on making lists of all the things that need tending. falling back to sleep turned out to be hopeless, so after twenty minutes of morning meditation, I rolled out of bed - carpe diem!

'tis the season when there's always so much to do. I take comfort in knowing that what really needs to get done somehow does end up getting done and the rest of the stuff, well it will just have to wait for its time (it will get done when it gets done and not a second or minute sooner). today what needs to get done is: pay some bills; finish the twinkle, twinkle quilt to mail to colorado tomorrow- no if ands or buts- tomorrow's the day! pack up a box (or two) to take to the post office tomorrow with the quilt that will be done; create an illusion of orderliness on the first floor since we are entertaining friends this evening; make the food for said evening of entertainment; relax, smile and visualize continued cheerfulness -and world peace.

picture: ms c november, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm walking, yes indeed

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.
John Burroughs (1837-1921) essayist and naturalist

Monday, December 17, 2007

the mouse that roared

this weekend the lovely colette amelia bestowed the mouse a mighty ROAR. the ROAR award was created by seamus of shameless words to recognize blogs which light our fire! along with creating the ROAR award, seamus is the “lion tamer” for the Shameless Lions Writing Circle.

although I am not a member of the esteemed “shameless lions writing circle,” I've been enjoying the wordsmithing talents of various circle members since the first day I dipped my paw into the blogosphere. my frequent nibbles on the fruits of the lions’ literary labors has been stimulating and satisfying.

as a ROAR recipient I have to think of three things that I deem necessary for powerful writing and then pay the ROAR forward and pass it on to five fellow bloggers (keeping it to 5 is a bit hard – luckily, many of my favorite blogs are already sporting the handsome lion on their sidebars, so I don't feel the need to reRoar them).

the mouse’s criteria for powerful writing:
Ignite - our passions and compassion
Increase - our understanding of the world and our capacity to accept, tolerate, transcend
Inspire - us to go further, think deeper, reach farther

with these I’s in mind I bestow the ROAR award to the following:

verilion who finds inspiration wherever her wandering mind or wandering feet take her. v has a special gift and flair to weave tapestries of words that rival the beautiful tapestries of wool that one finds near where she lives. v you have a wonderful and powerful ROAR (and mice do have a special affinity for lions!)

mice also have a fondness for elephants (see another mouse tale) this brings me to the next blog which ROARS - the blue elephant. james brings heart, beauty, and poetry to the blogosphere with his words, images and constructions. I just discovered james’ blog in november but from the first post I read (which incidentally was entitled “values for the next president”) I instantly knew the cosmos had lead me to a kindred spirit.

the hand of the cosmos was actually in the form of some junk - junk thief that is! I would have never discovered james’ blog had I not already been hooked on the words and wonder of the junk thief (aka ladron de basura). jt is inimitable, irresistible, and divinely incorrigible.

lettuce eating is another blog where the writing and images never fail to lives up to the mouse’s criteria of “the 3 I’s” of writing that roars. whatever story lettuce shares – I seem to find a cozy corner of connection and community.

in spirit cloth jude writes about the process of “cloth making” - however, the way jude pieces together her words they transcend just describing a process of making some thing and quite often provide beautiful lessons and observations about life.

congratulations to all of you -- you ROAR!

bottom picture: the lion outside the entrance of the corcoran gallery of art, washington dc

baby it's cold outside

dixie says don't forget to bundle up when you go outside!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

long and winding road

My lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Thomas Merton (1915-December 10, 1968) Trappist monk, writer, photographer
this quote has become known as "The Merton Prayer" from Thoughts in Solitude

speaking of traveling, today is f & my 29th anniversary. I can't imagine a better partner to be sharing the road with ~ happy anniversary sweetie - I love you forever and a day!

I wish to live with you just as you are. I pledge to share my life openly with you, to speak the truth to you in love; to promise to honor and tenderly care for you, to cherish and encourage your own fulfillment as an individual through all the changes of our lives. I choose you above all others, to share my life. I want to love you for yourself in the hope you will become all that you can be.

We share this wine to symbolize the essence of our commitment to one another - to be ourselves and to accept each other as lover, companion and friend.
our vows

picture: top: amish buggies. somewhere south of cleveland in amish country, ohio. summer 2006; bottom: thanks dlp for documenting our special day! fort worth, texas. december 16, 1978

Saturday, December 15, 2007

jigsaw I

I'm happy to report that ginger care's jigsaw puzzle is done! I first posted about ginger's puzzle in october. yesterday while off on one of my usual strolls around the hood, I noticed the puzzle was finished. this is the first time I actually saw people in the waiting area where the puzzle is set up. one of the people saw me with my camera pointed at the puzzle and tried to ask me something; thwarted by not being able to converse through the plate glass window I entered the establishment, which by the way, is quite lovely inside and filled with equally lovely people. I went into the room and talked a bit with the man who was trying to talk to me while I was outside. after that I went up to the front desk to explain why I just happened to walk in. I told the woman who was staffing the desk that I live in the neighborhood and that for the last couple months I've been walking by and monitoring the progress of their puzzle. I said I was happy to see it done. she laughed and was very pleased that someone else was taking pleasure in the puzzle. she then pointed to a box on the top of a file cabinet and said the next puzzle was going to be a real challenge. so stay tuned jigsaw II will be coming to a mouse near you!

Friday, December 14, 2007

quality of music

michelle shocked wrapped up her 2007 u.s. heavenUride tour at the beachland wednesday night. the beachland is probably f & my favorite music venue here on the north coast - it's cozy, has great acoustics, brings in some of our favorite singer-songwriters and has to be one of the funkiest music clubs around - not many rock-folk-alt-punk-country places are located in former croatian social clubs! the beachland has guinness on tap (it gets extra points from me for this) not to mention an extensive collection other beers, both in bottles and on tap. music happens both in 'the ballroom' and 'the tavern' which sit side by side in the same building and either room pleases me. if you are hungry food is available - the food is decent, but one does not go to the beachland for it's food although I understand they have a deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the menu. can't you just feel your arteries hardening at the thought of it!

but back to michelle, simply said she rocked - she started out the night by remarking that cleveland was the last stop in an exhaustive and emotional tour and she was feeling punky (I actually can't remember the exact word she used, but it was something which conveyed that she felt spent and drained). however, no sooner said then any trace of tiredness michelle might have had was vanquished. she was rocking on and belting out the songs - one after another - from z to a! she sang most of my favorites - the L&N don't stop here anymore, anchored down in anchorage, graffiti limbo, if love was a train, when I grow up, prodigal daughter- to name just a few. another highlight of the evening was sharing it with our friends s&p and being able to say that we turned them on to michelle.

o christmas tree!

the other day while I was visiting my folks I had the opportunity to speak with my sister - who lives an ocean and another hemisphere away. she was a bit blue about not having access to a 'traditional' christmas tree. so, to combat her blueness about not having verdant leaves to decorate, she resorted to what some affluent global villagers do. she logged on to her computer and ordered a tree from a cyberstore. unlike her cynical sister, that would be me, she believes that her home isn't complete unless it has a christmas tree (but in full disclosure, this year I am thinking I might see if I can find a nice looking branch on some forest floor to haul in and stick in a corner. I do have some lovely ornaments that haven't see the light of day in at least twelve years). also unlike me, who believes that if I actually resorted to such drastic measures as to order a tree from afar am certain that said tree would arrive sometime around may day, annie is hopeful that her tree will arrive prior to christmas day. 'tis the season of hope - n'est-ce pas?

I wonder if annie remembers that she was a wee lass her 'family of origin' lived in a land with no traditional christmas trees. but, that didn't deter my enterprising parents they fashioned a tree out of a piece of plywood and strung it with lights.

photo: from the family photo vault. 'the kids' photo taken by my dad. agana guam, 1965.

postscript added saturday 12.15 - last night while I was talking with ma she mentioned that unfortunately due to postal regulations (the tree was too big) annie's will not be able to get her mail-order tree. I hope she and her kids aren't too disappointed. but there's ten days left until santa flies in and necessity is the mother of invention - so no need to worry. I bet there may even be a lonely piece of plywood hanging about or what a good opportunity to come up with a totally new 'traditional' tree for the family's xmas in africa!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

all that jazz

I am the magical mouse
I don't eat cheese
I eat sunsets
and the tops of trees.
Kenneth Patchen (December 13, 1911 - 1972) poet, pacifist and painter

today is rebel poet kenneth patchen's birthday. unfortunately for me, until this spring, I had never heard of patchen. thanks to e for turning me on to this amazing jazz poet and peace activist. little did she know the power behind that little magical mouse poem and how that poem launched me onto a summertime patchen quest; fortunately the library has an extensive patchen collection - including books of his wonderful 'painted poems' and larry smith's insightful biography.

picture: first beach ~olympic penisula, washington

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the book I read

the other day e-the-p, a lifelong friend and fellow bibliophile, sent an email with the following request:

Some of us have briefly discussed this, but I'd like to hear from all of you: "What books made you who you are?"

When I travel with my niece I require that she bring a book in case we are rained in, snowed in, stuck in an airport, etc. Reading is not the full time teenage job for her that it was for me when I was her age - 15 - so I'd like to make sure that she has books that have meant something over time to the people I love.

I loved thinking about which books contributed toward making me who I am and thought it would be fun to cast a wide net and survey the cyberhood.

so mouse readers, in the spirit of professor junk thief your assignment, should you accept it, is to post* a wee (or not so wee) list of "what books made you who you are"

I'll show you mine after you've shown me yours....

*if you've never posted a comment now is the time - just click on comment, if you aren't registered, no worries - the mouse respects anonymity.

Monday, December 10, 2007

back to the now

I just returned from a long weekend to metro dc... family, friends, art and scrabble! sunday was a red letter day in scrabble-ville - I made two 7-letter words in one game - sangria and protege - although I won that game, overall owl prevailed w/three games to two! but who is keeping track?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

leaving on a jet plane

all my bags are packed and I'm ready to go

the mouse will return monday december 10th.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

cheery chanukah!

this past weekend f & I joined a few friends and attended a 'holiday hootenanny' sponsored by heights arts and led by a musical trio, brothers david & noah budin and julia mell. definitely a fun time. most of the songs were familiar, but there was one song that was new to me and which I immediately fell in love with. the program has it listed as "I am a latke" by debbie friedman, the song has a wonderfully infectious beat and it's about one of my favorite foods. bet you didn't know that when I was twelve I was actually involved in a latke eating contest (now there's a story!)

anyhow, with the miracle of youtube I found a couple versions of the latke song - here's my favorite:

happy hanukkah ~ cheery chanukah!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

i (heart) you

We can learn a lot from dogs. The sweet balm of puppy love can soothe tender hearts. Often the way to inner peace and contentment is as close as a cool tile floor, a rub on the belly or a long walk with someone we love.
Amy Jordan

ms t's uncle is moving into our hood. on saturday he spent his first night in his new home. sunday morning I just happen to look out the second floor window and I see uncle m in front of our house contemplating whether he should walk up to the door (after all it is sunday morning). I rap on the window and wave, uncle m waves back and starts up the walk to the house. I run down the stairs to let uncle m in, on the way down the stairs I think funny uncle m looks like he's nine month's pregnant. I open the door and welcome m in. I ask what he's doing in the neighborhood so early on this cold and wintery morning and what is that he has under his coat?

m opens his coat and lo and behold is the most adorable puppy - shivering and shaking. uncle m proceeds to tell me that even though the house is essentially empty, he spent the night in his new home in order to acclimate his new puppy and new kitten to their new space. and he just learned that when you close the back door behind you it automatically locks. yep, you got it less than 24 hours in the new house and m locked himself out - good thing there's 'family' in the neighborhood - even if it's fictive.

so m, f and I strategize about how to get into the house. m didn't want to break any windows (my idea) so we get out the yellow pages and look up mobile locksmiths. I find one local locksmith, they are closed but provide an emergency pager number. we call and we wait. in the meantime, e comes by with dixie. if e has to work on weekends, she drops dixie off at our house so dixie doesn't have to be all by her lonesome.

dixie and the puppy, currently known as oscar, hit it off like a mother and child reunion. by the way, oscar's name may change. uncle m said that ms t suggested oscar. jeez, do you think my fondness for all things sesame is contagious? I can't believe she didn't suggest elmo! here I always thought elmo was t's favorite furry monster.

while dixie and oscar lavish love on one another, uncle m calls his sister and soon she, ms t, and a box of donuts arrive. our house is full of puppy love and sweet sugary decadence!

after an hour the locksmith hasn't called. who wants to work on sunday morning, or perhaps he was at church; anyway out comes the phone book, this time m finds a big-time mobile locksmith service. they answer and say they will call when they are ten minutes away. soon they call and the house returns to the quietness and calm that characterizes sunday morning on avenue c. but what a nice sunday surprise!

Monday, December 3, 2007

enough already!

it's bad enough that the u.s. is involved in a war in iraq - a war we know was built on lies and played on fear. despite being built on lies (and thus totally illegal) the war continues. there is a war machine which is out of control

is iran next? let us pray not and let us work to make it not!

the other day a friend told me about a new effort called Enough Fear - it seeks to replace fear and hatred with acceptance and love and build bridges of communication between everyday americans and everyday iranians. the campaign also hopes that by giving the people a forum to express their desires for peace and diplomacy that the madness will stop.

from the enough fear website:

This is a campaign to bring the voices of Iranians and Americans into a discussion that is being dominated by extremists on both sides and bringing us closer to the unthinkable: nuclear war. Our leaders continue to rattle their sabers and spread fear, but we're ready to talk, and if they won't take that first step, we will take it for them. We've had enough. Enough posturing. Enough threats. Enough fear.

Our campaign begins with individuals willing to stand up and say no. This website will collect and display photos of people from the US and Iran (and other countries as well) holding up a hand in the universal symbol for "stop!"

this afternoon there were only 367 pictures posted - however, I expect there are millions of people who pray for peace and say no to war! hold up your hand and say NO!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

say it, say it, say it, say it

Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.
Buddha (560-483 B.C.)

edwin starr's classic, released in 1970 and written with the vietnam war in mind. here it is over 35 years later, we are engaged in another 'vietnam.' the truth and relevance of starr's song remains as strong today as yesterday and forevermore.

What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing.
Say it again y'all
War, huh good god
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing. Listen to me

picture: carroll avenue ~ st ignatius in background. cleveland (taken with camera phone) 12.01.07

Saturday, December 1, 2007

there is no time

We are well into the third decade of a scourge that has expanded exponentially beyond a small specific group to almost every corner of the globe. Whilst in some areas, incidence may have turned, prevalence continues to rise and will do so for a long time- more young people will be infected, more orphans will occur.

Yet, today still 70% of infected people don’t have access to life saving therapies. Many still face stigma, economic deprivation and rejection because of their infection. Many still don’t have access to basic information or simple interventions that will reduce risk. This is not the time for complacency nor apathy. It is the time for compassionate leadership that recognises that the voiceless are often those who suffer most- who can they turn to if their leaders do not listen and heed their cries.

--Archbishop Emeritus Desmond M Tutu

to learn more about world AIDS day click

Friday, November 30, 2007

both sides now

another university circle walkabout, the route is different from last friday's stroll. I finished up at work and found myself with a free hour. I was meeting e after she got off work, we had a gallucci's run to do! with this gift of an hour I decided spend it with some 'modern masters,' the current exhibit at the cleveland museum of art. great show, it leaves january 13th just in case you find yourself in the university circle neighborhood with time on your hands.

Art is a harmony that runs parallel to nature - what is one to think of those imbeciles who say that the artist is always inferior to nature.
Paul Cezanne written in 1897 in a letter to a young artist.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

all things must pass

today is the anniversary of george harrison's passing.

when I was a young girl in the 60s it was the rage to choose a favorite beatle. of course, being young girls, we always couched this game in terms of the beatle we'd want to marry. george was by far my favorite but I do remember some days I'd say 'well maybe john' .... paul just didn't to it for me - probably because it seemed like almost all the girls just loved, loved, loved paul! ringo, I liked him plenty, but he didn't speak to my soul. even in elementary school soul was important.

thanks wat for the reminder of today's significance. I'll be listening to george today and remembering that yes all things must pass. I offer this beautiful montage for mouseland. enjoy

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

can you tell me how to get to....

I promise the mouse hasn't morphed into some kind of parallel universe for sesame street. but bear with me, just a little bit more sesame-esque chatter. yesterday I ran across an article by media savant virginia heffernan on the recent release of two dvd sets of sesame street's early years. even if you aren't a sesame street aficionado you may find hefferman's review and sociocultural analysis of the show fascinating.

"The old “Sesame Street” is not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for softies born since 1998, when the chipper “Elmo’s World” started. Anyone who considers bull markets normal, extracurricular activities sacrosanct and New York a tidy, governable place — well, the original “Sesame Street” might hurt your feelings."

I am too old to have watched sesame street as a kid - the show of my youth was captain kangaroo. however, I was a new mom in the early 80s and I was vaguely aware of the show, I checked it out and immediately put sesame street into my childrearing bag of tricks. the show began in 1969 and by 1981 it was in full swing and firmly established as part of the early childhood landscape. 1981 was the year I started tuning in regularly - e was at an age when I thought adding a little educational t.v. wouldn't do any harm. we watched the show together and joined the sesame street family.

there was a long stretch of time when I was away from the neighborhood, probably from about 1986 until two or three years ago. my work and daily activities changed and I suddenly found my 'village' bursting with toddlers. and in the course of hanging out with the under four set, there were days we would turn on pbs and see what's happening on 'the street.' I would have to agree with virginia, sesame street has changed! even though it's more colorful and not as edgy as it once was, the mission of sesame street remains the same - to help make the world a better place, to help kids learn the basics and to instill a love of learning.

in the u.s., sesame street's main purpose is educational. and it sets out to help teach kids learn their abc's, count (to 20), embrace diversity, be a part of the community and even pick up some words in other languages - specifically, sign language and spanish. yes, in some respects sesame street is a different place now than it was in the early 1970s and 1980s - but nothing stays the same except perhaps the fact that things change.

sesame street is also a very different street as we (and it) travel the world.
did you know that sesame street is aired in more than 120 different countries? during the 2006 cleveland international film festival, I was fortunate to have attended a screening of the documentary the world according to sesame street. the film is both powerful and moving as it explores the challenges the folks from the sesame workshop encountered as they embarked on creating shows for kids in kosovo, bangladesh, and south africa.

the film gave me a whole new appreciation and respect for sesame street's mission and the mother organization. unlike other global phenomena (you know who I mean!) which set out to homogenize the world, the folks from sesame street seek to create shows which are culturally sensitive - no importation of the monsters and characters from our north american show. sesame streets elsewhere have their own unique cast of monsters and a rap that is appropriate for where the location of that street. margaret mead would be proud.

our library system owns a couple copies of the world according to sesame street, maybe yours does also. but, if it doesn't, no need to despair, dvds of the documentary are available for purchase and undoubtedly it's available to rent.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

alphabet revival

I have had a blast this month with the blogabet posts. however, here I am still in november and I've run out of letters! what will I do? both e and f have questioned me multiple times over the last week about what my plan is for when I finish up the alphabet. I didn't think there was any real problem, I'd shrug and reply "return to the posting as usual." but this morning 'the usual' just seems so booooooring!

I admit I'm a little sad about leaving my alphabet friends. maybe just maybe I can stretch out the fun a little bit longer. so please join me for a tad bit more a-b-c fun. turn up the volume on your speakers, stand up, shake off all your tension, and get ready and join pattie, grover, elmo, zoe, bert, ernie and all the gang from the sesame hood in a little alphabet revival! (thanks gary)

Monday, November 26, 2007

z is for zzzzzzz

That we are not much sicker and much madder than we are is due exclusively to that most blessed and blessing of all natural graces, sleep.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), English writer

the picture of ms t's sweet sleeping feet reminds me of another pic in my photo archives which brings together the letter Z and feet. embarrassingly this is what my feet look like in late summer. sherlock might surmise and say that these feet belong to someone who is fond of walking and a particular pair of sandals - and of course he would be correct! if anyone has a remedy to prevent the advent of the z lines next summer that doesn't entail giving up my beloved teva-knock-offs I'm open. actually, the only time I am chagrined is when I have to wear a different pair of shoes and people make fun of my z's. but really, truth be told I kind of like sporting the pair of suntanned z's! it's ze!

z is also for zebras in zambia! - from my zany zizter zannie who is currently ziving in zambia, if the zods zmile on ze, zne zay I zope to zisit!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

y is for yin/yang

The heart of a human being is no different from the soul of heaven and earth. In your practice always keep in your thoughts the interaction of heaven and earth, water and fire, yin and yang.
Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), master Japanese martial artist, founder of aikido

more from morihei
The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood. It is not a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek to compete and better one another are making a terrible mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst thing a human being can do. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent such slaughter - it is the Art of Peace, the power of love.

picture: rosie & bubba (1991-2005) ~ yin/yang cats

Saturday, November 24, 2007

x is for xenophobia

Xenophobia, you should be more afraid of someone exactly like you.
Loesje (b. 1983) Dutch fictional character

photo: 'monster factory' on avenue c, cleveland 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

w is for winter

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape—
the loneliness of it—the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it,
the whole story doesn't show.
Andrew Wyeth (b. 1917) artist

most days I take the train to university circle, but occasionally e's schedule and mine are in sync and I hitch a ride. today was one of those days.

in the u.s. the day after thanksgiving marks the official start of the winter holiday season - decorations go up and consumerism gets cranked up to obscene levels (evidenced by stores opening their doors at 4 AM). here are a few pictures of my wander to and from to my office at case....well, all but the last - this pic is of a house across the street from mine on avenue c. my neighbor obviously doesn't mind contributing to light pollution and global warming or perhaps they own stock in first energy!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

v is for vegetable

Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player.
Albert Einstein(1879-1955)

Happy Thanksgiving

don’t forget to eat your vegetables &

count your blessings!

Love to you & yours from the mouse!

picture: vegetable stand at richard lenoir market, paris.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

u is for understanding

The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), artist & renaissance human extraordinaire

we are firmly ensconced in the 'holiday season' (that period between halloween and new years) this is a time of year that some folks dread and where others find delightful. I have learned that the secret to 'surviving the holidays,' lies in my ability to master UNDERSTANDING. unfortunately, I feel that the holidays is the one period during the year when folks are particularly prone to misunderstanding!

we talk a great deal about understanding and how important it is to understand. but, what is understanding? I believe that there are three critical components to understanding - communication, compassion and empathy.

humans are great at utterances (e.g. using words, making sounds and vocalizations, drafting memos), but sometimes we are really, really horrible at actually communicating - assumptions are made, psychological walls go up, old baggage comes out, in other words we do not connect - we do not communicate. communication happens when we are truthful, when we allow others to see where our heart is and when we are not afraid.

compassion comes when we seek to alleviate and reduce the suffering of others and when we express kindness towards others.

empathy is our ability to recognize and feel directly the emotion of another, in other words to when we put ourself in someone else's 'shoes.'

when all three of these three things - communication, compassion, and empathy - are in play, are alive and are in balance - understanding comes. find JOY this holiday season - seek understanding.

pictures: top: painting at the amish and mennonite heritage center, berlin OH; bottom: mural on increasing understanding of the importance of the underground railroad, oberlin, ohio

(the letter 'u' was brought to you by: #1: a project I am working on dealing with training physicians in the care of vulnerable populations (the secret is understanding!) #2 hearing about how many people I love and care for get totally wigged during the 'holiday season' - is that you?)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

t is for turkey

A turkey song
Five fat turkeys are we.
We spent all night in a tree.
When the cook came around,
We were no where to be found
And that's why we're here you see!

and ms t

begin with a t!

and thanks!

pictures: amish land turkeys, ohio: on avenue c