Sunday, September 30, 2007

a time for every purpose under heaven

How do geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we, humans know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within if only we would listen to it, that tells us certainly when to go forth into the unknown.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1926-2004) physician, author

picture: migrating geese, sunrise 30 sept 2007 oberlin, ohio

Saturday, September 29, 2007

giving monkeys a bad name

"Cruelty and compassion come with chromosomes; All men are merciful and all are murderers. Doting on dogs, they build their Dachaus; Fire whole cities and fondle the orphans; Are loud against lynching, but all for Oakridge; Full of future philanthropy, but today the NKVD. Whom shall we persecute, for whom feel pity ? It is all a matter of the moment's mores, Of words on wood pulp, of radios roaring, Of Communist kindergartens or first communions. Only in the knowledge of his own Essence Has any man ceased to be many monkeys."
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), English writer
quote from Ape and Essence (1948)

Friday, September 28, 2007

a tale of some cats

Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.

Joseph Wood Krutch (1893-1970), American naturalist and writer

yesterday afternoon four of our five cats decided that they were going to shake things up. I don't know who instigated the action, but the cats succeeded in creating a bit of a catastrophe about the house. after getting home yesterday afternoon, I opened the door to the third floor studio. tsuki was meowing that he wanted to go up and visit stella (the studio cat). I opened the door, tsuki ran up. I then proceeded to go about my business. about an hour later I had to go up to the studio to wrap up the nesting village quilt. any minute aw was stopping by to pick it up. when I got up to the third floor, the fan that is normally in the rear window was on the floor. most curious. I looked out the window onto the small roof that shelters the second floor porch and looking up at me are tsuki and gwen (gwen, a cat who incidentally knows better than to go up to the third floor) . oh shit. I reach out the window, grab tsuki who is an arm's length away and haul him into the house. I look at gwen, she's a bit further out, I call to her to come closer. gwen looks at me. she's a cat, cat's don't listen very well. within seconds I see her face transmogrify into her gwen-the-feral cat face. and I think OH SHIT.

gwen starts moving, but instead of moving towards me, she moves and jumps into the window of lin's third floor, which is just two inches from my third floor window. the window is open, screenless, and has a fan in it which does not quite fill up the entire space.

I actually have lin's key in my pocket, when I returned home from work, as is my custom, I opened her door and let her two dogs out so they could have a bit of a 'constitutional.' I run down the two flights of stairs, across the front porch. startle the sleeping dogs who I'm sure are thinking "what are you doing here? didn't you just let us out?" I tell the dogs to stay, I run up the stairs to the lin's second floor, open her door to her third floor, close the door (all I need are the dogs following me as I set out to retrieve gwen), run up the flight of stairs to lin's third floor and glance around - no gwen. I see the cover to the attic 'crawl space' is open. oh, double shit!

the space is just the perfect size for a small cat like gwen. gwen is freaky. gwen likes to get into trouble. gwen after all is the same cat who went missing for two weeks and for two weeks we thought she was dead. but wait, what is that between some boxes on the other side of the room? it is a bit of fuzzy whiteness and there's a black patch - ah, it must be gwen. I start to walk over to the boxes. fuzzy white animal sees me, makes a dash, races by me at lightening speed, jumps out the space between the fan and the window sill onto the roof. I run over. remove the fan. look out the window, glance about, no sign of cat. I think, weird, gwen looked a little like stella just then.

I reverse course, run down two flights of stairs, run across front porch, run up two flights of stairs, go into my studio, call out for stella. no sign of stella. what's that I hear? meowing from the window. I walk back. stick my head out the window, look up to the tip top of the house. what the hey! it's stella! it was stella who streaked by me and flew out the window! I try and convince stella that she can jump down or walk down the pitched roof connecting the top part of the house roof to the second floor porch roof. she won't have anything to do with the thought.

she continues to meow piteously. I lean out the window, stretch and reach up. I try to grab her, but my arms are not long enough. I look out and I think, "well I could climb out to the roof" but then I look down. I think of my conversation the previous evening with my brother. I had just told him about my friend andy dying and he told me about a man he knows who also just died. this man fell off the roof of his house. perfectly healthy man. just fell. zap. off the roof. dead. I think nah, the cosmos is telling me something I do not talk on the phone with my brother very often.

I do not climb onto the roof. again, I reach, I stretch, I grab stella's ear I try to get something besides her ear. I can not. stella backs away. stella then comes back to the edge. she wants to be rescued. she meows again. I reach again. once more grab, once again I only get ear. I give up. my arms are not long enough. stella is not brave enough. I cry.

I call f and tell him what is going on. I know he wants to work late. he tells me to hold fast and the cats will come out and come down. I take little comfort in his advice. I run back next door to see if I can get gwen. I get up to lin's third floor. the dogs are silent. they know something is amiss, smart dogs, they don't want any part of it. I remove the covering completely to the attic cubby. guess who is sitting there like some sort of egyptian cat goddess? gwen? no! it is rosie. rosie my black cat, rosie who likes to sneak up to the third floor and sleep high up on piles of batting. rosie who often sleeps. but sometimes rosie likes to attack and when she attacks, I call rosie "evil rosie."

I now see all the pieces of the mystery coming together. I have a fairly good idea of who the instigator of this mess is. she is sitting right before me. she looks at me with her cat goddess eyes and gives a mona lisa smile. I reach in. I pick her up. she does not protest or run. I hug her close. I say. bad rosie. evil rosie. I take her to my house. I keep the door to the third floor closed. I cry. damn cats. I hear cat crying. I look out the third floor window for stella. I do not see her. but I hear her crying on the roof. I run down the stairs. I look up at the side of the house. she is on the move. I pull out my cell phone, I call the fire department. I ask if they are interested in helping a cat and a lady in distress. I am transferred three times. each person is very nice. however, they do not help cats and ladies in distress. I laugh.
I return to lin's third floor. I see gwen in the cubby area. gwen sees me. gwen is still being feral gwen. gwen turns and goes into a space in the eaves.

soon my I receive a textmessage. it is f. he texts me that he is on his way home. ten minutes later f arrives. he goes up to the third floor. stella is back at the rear of the house. stella is smart. she wants to be rescued. f climbs out the window before I can say anything. I keep my mouth shut about my brother's story for I know that story was for me. I say some hail mary's, I flash on animal friends, I think of a raven, a deer, and a mouse. I know f will be fine, I know stella will be fine.

f does fine on the roof. he rescues stella and hands her to me. I hug stella and tell her not to ever do that again. stella is smart. stella will not do that again. f climbs into the window. stella throws herself at his feet and stretches out and asks as only a cat can for f to rub her stomach.

f and I talk about the gwen situation. I am resigned to wait her out. we will put food, water and a litter box on the third floor next door. I have faith. gwen will miss sleeping between f and I. she will come out. she will decide she doesn't want to be feral gwen any more. until then lin will have a cat living in her attic.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

adiós querido amigo

As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate lovingly, our own.
Margaret Mead (1901-1978), anthropologist

yesterday afternoon an email was waiting for me simply entitled 'andy' I knew it would contain some very sad news. it was from andy's wife and it simply stated: "andy passed away september 25. he was at home surrounded by love." as I said I knew it was going to contain sad news. a couple days earlier, I had just mentioned andy and his wife in an email to a mutual friend, I brought her up to date about how good things were, andy and tina had just moved back to their spiritual home of santa fe, in august their first grandchild was born and earlier this month they went out to south carolina to 'welcome the little guy into the world' and shower him with all the love and attention that only grandparents are capable of displaying. my mention of andy to cw reminded me that I hadn't checked andy's blog in a couple weeks, I popped over to get an update. the post which greeted me took my breath away, broke my heart and filled me with the knowledge that my world was going to be diminished and soon people I love were going to face a future without - without a light, without a center, without the presence of a much loved one.

when I was in college andy was my first true mentor. of course I had plenty of professors who influenced me and stoked the flames of my intellect and curiosity, but no one had ever 'taken me on' as andy. under andy's tutelage I found the confidence that until then had been missing yet necessary. andy was fresh out of graduate school and not that much older than myself. he had recently completed his field work among the aymara in boliva and had successfully negotiated the completion of his Ph.D. andy came to the university in texas that I was attending filled with passion and ethnusiasm for teaching
that few others exhibit. he was accessible, patient and grounded. even though his academic pedigree was impressive - he went to princeton as an undergraduate and in graduate school he studied under marvin harris and other anthropological superstars - andy did not possess any pretensions. andy was in a wonderful 'happy marriage' (something I observed seemed incredibly rare among many of the other faculty in the social sciences); he and tina had two adorable small children who I doted on and they in turn occasionally trusted me with their 'care and feeding.' not only was andy an intellectual mentor, andy and tina became 'role models' of a happy couple. the year was 1976 and I had just met f - who went on to become my life partner. it's really good to have good role models. thank you tina and andy!

after I graduated from college I was 'recruited' into a new graduate program the university had developed. the lure was free tuition, a stipend, and interesting work. it was an interdisciplinary program in the social sciences which was perfect as I had yet settled down into any one field (some things never change). during my master's program andy became my advisor and I became his research assistant. from my point of view it was a perfect pairing. I was afforded all sorts of opportunities; andy and I collaborated on all sorts of interesting research projects, we gave presentations and wrote papers as a team - for me, this relationship was the perfect launching pad for all the things that lie ahead. I left texas in 1981, although our academic 'collaborations' ended we never lost touch.

as fate would have it f & I moved to cleveland on the very same weekend in 1997 that andy and tina did. however, it was a year before we discovered the fact we were neighbors (quite literally - we lived less than two miles apart). the discovery was wonderful and it was a few years before the lure of sun and warmer weather pulled them away, we got together periodically and the ties of our friendship were renewed and strengthened.
andy left his position in cleveland around 2001 to became a dean or something quite impressive at a university in miami. we maintained contact and communication, in fact the best contact since leaving texas twenty years earlier. I even had the good fortune to visit andy and tina while they were living in miami.

in july of 2004 the bottom of andy and tina's world fell out. andy suffered a major stroke. here was a man at the peak of fitness, good health and youth (I consider people in their 50s as youthful) - geez, the guy routinely took 100 mile bike trips and didn't have an ounce of fat on him, ate good, didn't smoke, and from what I could see always had excellent stress management skills. the stroke was massive. andy spent more time in the i.c.u. than anyone I had ever heard of. but love and determination pulled him through. once andy was released from being in intensive care he took on his recovery as passionately and determinately as humanly possible. for these past three years andy has lived a life full of hope, optimism, and love. although the stroke he suffered in 2004 left andy with a new body and a new set of abilities, andy never quit being a teacher and a mentor. he turned his training as a passionate observer and researcher on to himself and he never stopped taking on new things. andy kept a blog of his travels into the strange new land of living after a catastrophic health event. for those of us who had the good fortune to have had our lives cross with his, andy will always live in our hearts and our memories. if only he could send dispatches from this next place he's journeying into.

my heart goes out to tina and their kids and the newest member of the miracle tribe, - it is so sad that little fletcher will only know his grandpa through pictures and the memories of others. I hope they will find comfort in knowing that their grief is shared and in such I pray it is lessened.

pictures: top: andy and tina in austin 2005; inserts at mi pueblo with andy and tina in cleveland right before they left for miami); in south beach miami november 2002.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

laurels for laurel

The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.
Native American proverb

yesterday I learned that artist laurel burch died, a friend had emailed me the new york times obituary from september 20. I have long been an admirer of ms burch's colorful, beguiling and whimsical imaginings. although long familiar with her work, I knew nothing of her life and the incredible struggles she faced. her entire life she suffered from a painful bone disease, this condition eventually ended her life at the young age of 61.

who hasn't been charmed by one of laurel's critters - her rendering of cats are international icons. like many quilters I have incorporated many of the fabrics she designed into various projects. I find comfort thinking about the children sweetly curled up in their quilts with laurel's creatures nestled along side, magically keeping watch.

laurel burch brought much beauty and joy to our world. despite suffering much pain I learned she lived life joyfully and passionately. the world is a little drabber now knowing she's gone.

pictures: ms t modeling a silk scarf of laurel's design which was given to me as a souvenir from a trip my sister-in-law took to europe. september 2007.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

keyword is key

yeah, I have completed the project I was working on regarding 'end of life care in the nursing home' - way ahead of my self-imposed deadline of tomorrow evening - I was done by lunchtime (which was good given that ms t was soon arriving to hang out for the rest of the day!). I may still do some last minute tweaking, but no sweat the lion share of the work is done as far as I'm concerned it's ready to go.
I want to add an addendum to this mornings post regarding my hunt for toons. well I MUST have really been in a food stupor last night when I did my initial hunt and where I struck out. this morning, after I posted "looking for yucks" I returned to google images and I hit the mother lode. I added the important keyword cartoon to the other words "death" "nursing home" "denial" "collaboration." so just to give a head's up - if you find yourself looking for a funny for a talk and don't have anything on hand - go to your favorite image search engine and don't forget to add the word cartoon! (by the way I did avoid downloading any and all images where panties would get in a bunch if they were 'liberated')

I never did find the river in egypt gag but did come across the above.

looking for yucks in all the wrong places

in yesterday's post I alluded to the fact that my attention is mainly focused these days on completing a little research project. the topic concerns 'folks dying in nursing homes' -the purpose of the project is to add to the efforts out there going toward improving end-of-life care. I always like to pepper presentations with humorous graphics (what good is a powerpoint presentation if it doesn't have some comics or humorous pictures to break up the dry text?) last night I went to google images in search of a comic or another image that somehow expresses the old "denial isn't just a river in egypt" - but I unfortunately struck out. I'm finding it's hard to find something suitable in the humor department with this topic - so far this is all I've come up with. if there's a talented cartoon doodler out there and you get inspired to sketch up a funny image regarding 'denial' and want to zip it off to me via cyberspace don't let me dissuade you! of course I need it to by wednesday night! I'm happy to trade some homemade chocolate chip cookies for a toon! (that is next time if you're in cleveland or if you have a domestic mailing address). yes, the end is near......

Monday, September 24, 2007

food glorious food!

I thought I was going to get through the day focusing on my most urgent deadline and not get lured into putting up a post. but we just finished the most glorious and DELICIOUS meal - completely prepared by our extremely talented e. now I'm in a kind of post-meal nirvana and stupor I just can't muster up the grey matter to reconnect with my project. somehow 'disparities in end-of-life care in the nursing home setting' is just not doing it for me. so instead I will savor the wonderful flavors lingering in my mouth and share my foodie joy. one never knows maybe someone else will find themselves in possession of freshly caught tuna.

a couple of e's colleagues took a road trip this weekend from cleveland to new jersey to go on a tuna fishing excursion. e, helpful co-worker that she is, covered their shifts at the museum so they could go off on this off-shore fishing adventure. little did she know she (WE) would be benefiting when they returned. as a thank-you gift e was given three perfect pieces of freshly caught tuna! I don't know where she found the inspiration after a long day at work but she whipped up a meal that is hands down the best meal I've had in eons. she seared the tuna and covered it with the most delicious concoction of avocado, soy, ginger and lime. as sides she made a jazzy asian green bean dish and wasabi mashed potatoes. gosh how in the world did I get blessed with such a talented chef of a daughter!

is your mouth watering??

picture disclaimer - I think I need to work on my food pics - I couldn't decide which looked better - flash (above) or no flash. truth be told neither do the meal justice. but what is a post without a picture!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

happy fall!

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.
Stanley Horowitz, author

autumn arrived today in the northern hemisphere at 9:51 UT (aka GMT or 5:51 EDT)

"There is a superstition that it is possible to stand an egg upright on its end on the date of the equinoxes (and/or solstices). While this is true it is also possible to stand an egg on its end at any other time of the year. Although this feat is not trivial, a persistent person can usually succeed with enough practice and skill. However, the only connection between success in standing eggs upright and the equinox, to my knowledge, is that because of the superstition, many more people try and persist than would be the case on any other date. Of course, cheating by resting the egg on a thin layer of salt grains and then blowing all but a few invisible grains away is still far and away the easiest method!"

pictures: in remembrance of marcel mareau today's pictures are from the mouse's stash of paris pictures. top: autumn tableau jardin des tuilleries, september 2005; insert: eggs @ marche richard lenoir, march 2007.

Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all without words?
Marcel Marceau (March 22, 1923 - September 22, 2007)
Rest in Peace

Saturday, September 22, 2007


thanks colette amelia for turning me on to tommy douglas' wonderful allegorical fable 'mouseland.' I'd like to share an animated version of mouseland with visitors to the mouse. this youtube video is introduced by tommy douglas's grandson kiefer sutherland the narration is done by douglas himself. perhaps others will also find the message of mouseland is not a message solely for canadians but for all of us mice, I mean humans! - sit back and enjoy!

tommy douglas is a new hero of mine and proof that sometimes it's not only the scum that rises to the top in politics - sometimes cream rises too! tommy douglas was premier of saskatchewan from 1944 until 1961 and as such was the leader of first elected socialist government in north america. in addition to being a terrific story-teller, the originator of canada's government funded medical system, and visionary politician, in 2004 he was elected as 'the greatest canadian' of all-time. he was one mighty wise mouse! eek!

ode to laloux

The art of creation is older than the art of killing.
Andrei Voznesensky (b. 1933) Russian poet

this bit of wall art in cleveland's funky tremont neighborhood evokes memories of fantastic planet a wondrously bizarre animated sci-fi film made in the 1970s. although I probably haven't seen the film since the late 1970s, I remember f and I were totally mesmerized by it. along with its cinematographic beauty we found it's political message profoundly relevant. we had a group of friends who shared our passion for sci-fi and we would often go and watch the movies we thought were winners* repeated times. given that this was in the days before vcrs and dvds seeing movies multiple times was real commitment of love - or perhaps madness. however, back then it was fairly cheap to go to the movies and no one gave you a hard time if you smoked in the cinema - a vice a few of us had at the time - and you could bring your own 'treats' to the movies without having to smuggle them in! one particular friend jg was even more captivated with fantastic planet than we were, I think he might have had large passages of dialog memorized (no small feat since it was in french).

reflecting now about jg and his love for this incredible beautifully bizarre film I wonder if the film had any role in his exodus to live in newfoundland. jg moved to newfoundland in 1980 although I haven't seen him since; for years we kept up with the annual end-of-the-year letter and once while holidaying in halifax in the mid 1990s I found his phone number and gave him a ring. jeez it's been a dozen years since then and we have lost touch. I wonder how jg is doing I hope he is still happy up there in the land of puffins and I do hope he and his little oms have avoided the draags. unfortunately for us there seem to be are quite a few draags running amok around this part of north america. some day I would like visit newfoundland, I have a mental picture of the terrain there as somewhat otherworldly. I sure hope they have fantastic planet at the library - I think it's time for a little interplanetary travel.

*most notably star wars we saw star wars more times the spring it was released than I have fingers (jeez I'm such a nerd!)

picture: tremont wall art, cleveland, ohio

Friday, September 21, 2007

day of peace

twenty six years ago the first 'international day of peace' took place. established by the united nations general assembly a day was identified in which the UN invited the world community to annually participate in a day of global ceasefire and non-violence. methinks that the 'invitations' must keep getting lost in the mail. okay world, take note everyone mark your 2008 calendars for september 21 write down "no biting, no fighting" and mean it!

although we have yet to actually see a world wide moratorium on violence and war on the identified "day of peace," there does seems to be an increase in the recognition of the day. locally there are a myriad of observances. the network known as 'gather the women to save the world' greeted the day with a sunrise meditation at the ghandi statue located in the cleveland cultural gardens. since I embrace a 'car-free' lifestyle getting over to the east side of town for something that starts at 6:30 AM was a tad difficult, so I told my bud who is one of the network's organizers I would be meditating with them at a 'remote location.' my unconscious mind aware of my promise had me up by 6:15! I noticed last night that cleveland is also taking part in 'pinwheels for peace' which has the tagline "imagine .....whirled peace" which is reminiscent of the delightful bumpersticker I once sported which advanced the message "imagine whirled peas."

yesterday janet fillmore, an editor with 'the plain dealer' wrote a wonderful essay on an experience she had ten years ago during a visit to vladimir, russia. her story demonstrates that the way to peace is one where the idea must "takes root in hearts, one individual at a time." in addition to being impressed and moved by janet's article, I was pleased and a bit surprised that the PD devoted the entire front page of the arts and life section towards the cause and commemorating the day. the paper provided detailed instructions on how to fold an origami crane; a discussion of the crane as a symbol of peace, happiness and long life; and even a square of tastefully printed newsprint where readers could cut out the paper, follow the instructions and make their own crane to celebrate the international day of peace. by the way janet's essay was entitled "Make it Happen: Peace can unfold from the smallest gestures" - sounds like good mouse medicine to me! pictures: top washington dc september 2005; first insert 'one person can change the world' sign trinity cathedral, cleveland; bottom image from pinwheels for peace website.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

the baby uggs come out today

uggily wuggily zuggily zee
the baby Uggs are fierce and free,
uggily wugily zuggily zay
the baby Uggs come out today.
from The Baby Uggs are Hatching by Jack Prelutsky & James Stevenson

the other day while monsieur j and I were doing our walking tour (and photo blitz) of downtown cleveland we encountered a family who had just left the rock hall. maybe I'm just not getting it but I can't quite find the fashion attraction of the young women's choice of footwear. they were all wearing UGGS. jeez, the temperature was quite warm - not broiling but pretty much sandal wearing weather. I do admit later while in the car with monsieur j and e I did go off on a wee rant (it was very wee, hardly a rant) about this sighting. they both looked at me with one of those looks - this one said 'where have you been?' and then in a tone one generally reserves for small children or the extremely aged proceeded to inform me that UGG wearing is quite popular. apparently, aukland to cleveland to paris and back again young women all over the world wear UGGS and it is seen as fashionable. okay, fine but I still don't get it. I even have a pair of UGGS (actually they aren't mine, e left her UGGS at the house when she moved out and she never reclaimed them and you know possession is nine-tenths of the law) they are most comfortable and are great to slip on when I need to run out to the birdfeeder when there's six inches of snow on the ground or when I need to shovel the walkways first thing in the morning before I shower and dress for the day. but it's hardly the footwear I'd choose to clock in the miles of urban walking - guess that explains why a block from the rock hall papa ugg hailed a cab to take him and the baby uggs a mere 5 blocks to their hotel. as a die-hard cleveland promoter I guess I should be thankful for tourists and baby uggs wearing UGGS - I'm sure the cabbie was happy!

speaking of promoting cleveland my sister-in-law p recently forwarded me this bit of news. confirms what I've been saying for the past ten years! according to the internet travel giant trip advisor cleveland has made the cut as one of its

Top 10: off-the-beaten path destinations
Who hasn't done Paris and New York? Try a new locale on for size with one of our editors' picks of the top underrated destinations around the world.

1. Melbourne, Australia
2. San Jose, California
3. Brussels, Belguim
4. Albuquerque, New Mexico
5. Bologna, Italy
6. Cleveland, Ohio
7. Edinburgh, Scotland
8. Malaga, Spain
9. Portland, Maine
10. Lisbon, Portugal

A working class, world-class "new American city," Cleveland is a model of urban renewal. Once plagued by debt and dirt, the city cleaned up the downtown area and spruced up its parks and waterways to become one of the most livable cities in the U.S. A weekend visit gives you a taste of what makes the city tick. Cleveland's legendary art museum and symphony now have modern complements in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center. The city's long and proud sports tradition was bolstered by the opening of Jacobs Field, the first of baseball's new classic parks. That blend of tradition and innovation is now Cleveland's hallmark.

maybe now my sister-in-law and brother will come up and visit! wouldn't that be loverly!!

back to uggs - just a brief digression to plug one of my all time favorite children's books. written in 1982 the book The Baby Uggs Are Hatching belongs in the home of every family with kids - actually, it deserves to be in the home of anyone who loves language, wordplay and has a weak spot for nonsense and monsters. james stevenson's illustrations of jack prelutsky's poems is a combination which will bring a smile and warm the heart of the most nimpy numpy numpity! this is probably the children's book which wins the award as my most given kid's book.

pictures: baby uggs take to the streets; me and my uggs (february); a garden of guitars outside the Rock Hall. cleveland 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

flag decal

john prine classic from 30+ years - unfortunately it's still relevant today!

picture: cleveland 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

chalk festival 2007

monsieur j is off touring with e somewhere in the northeast ohio hinterlands, ms t is asleep and my 400+ pictures from the last few days of being on a photo bender have been calling - yeah, yeah, I know I really should be either stitching or doing research for my next ghost assignment, but seeing that folks have been holding their breath in anticipation (oh yeah) here are a few* of the highlights from the 2007 cleveland museum of art chalk festival. for more information on the background of this type of 'festival' or expression read me

*the mouse's definition of few

at eye level

Every step in the process of taking pictures is a step toward the light, an experience of the holy, an encounter with the god who is at eye level...
Jan Phillips, artist/activist "visionary thought leader"
quote from God is at Eye Level

pictures: monsieur j at eye level; j and I as reflected in the hubcap of johnny cash's bus (which is incidentally open for tours until october 1 at the rock and roll hall of fame and museum, cleveland. september 2007 (lower picture by monsieur j - merci! j's turned out better than mine!)

Monday, September 17, 2007

bill's back!

okay I'm bummed I just discovered bill maher's new season started on august 24th and I've missed 4 shows! thank goodness for his website and hbo on demand! however given the number of project deadlines I have 'breathing down my neck' and the fact I've been on one extended photo binge for the last 4 days (thanks j) I have a feeling I will be exercising my speed reading skills and will be reading the transcripts posted on bill's website and not tuning into hbo on-demand. I expect to begin watching bill regularly starting this weekend so you can count on more maher moments on the mouse - warning, threat or promise only you dear reader know!

but I have to share this discovery for I think I've found why I love bill maher and france - read me

bumper sticker wisdom II

this sticker reminds me of one of my favorite sayings - no one likes change except perhaps a baby with a dirty diaper. although we might not like change, change is a constant and necessary for growth.

picture: sticker sited at 'the barking spider tavern' cleveland september 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

happy hands!

Imagination disposes of everything; it creates beauty, justice, and happiness, which is everything in this world.
Blaise Pascal, (1623-1662), mathematician and philosopher
(look on the mouse later this week for a slide show of some of the highlights from this year's cleveland museum of art chalk festival)
picture: cleveland september 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007


this week bloggerbud julien of beaucoup d'images is visiting cleveland. it's great playing host and and showing off our fair city. when julien told friends where he was going on his north america tour and mentioned he was stopping in cleveland for a week, the respond he generally got was a big "HUH?! cleveland what ever for!" or "cleveland, mais qu'est-ce que tu vas y foutre?"

however, I expect after julien puts up a few pictures on his photoblog and talks about all the gems here on the north coast we'll experience a significant surge in tourism to northeast ohio.

one benefit to having a friend who is much more saavy and experienced in the world of blogging is the ability to pick his brain about how to make improvements on the mouse. hey, I've turned the concept of outsourcing of tech support on it's head. yesterday along with learning all about google analytics and rgb color codes my biggest blogging world accomplishment was changing the format for my label list - now the mouse sports a 'label cloud' even the name is an improvement! (merci julien!)

well, time to hit the road - first stop this afternoon cleveland's chalk art festival!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

harvest festival

last night was my bookgroup's annual book selection soiree. although I love all of our monthly gatherings this is my favorite. I find the timing of this meeting to be perfect besides having a good time the purpose of the evening is to select the books for the upcoming 'year of reading' - an urban bookwoman's country fair and harvest festival all rolled up in one frolicking good time!

at the august bookgroup meeting we settled on a theme for the upcoming year of reading: 'american classics from the first half of the 20th century' - it was decided that a broad interpretation of classics was acceptable and encouraged - fiction, non-fiction, and all genres of writing would be considered. the gauntlet was thrown and the bookwomen picked it up. we have had many wonderful themes in the past, but I don't remember a theme which generated such interest, this was reflected in the pure number of suggestions offered. what a pile of books we had to consider. in addition to being an incredibly fun group of women, the group is most efficient and respectful. we considered all offerings and narrowed down the original list of almost fifty titles to eleven in record speed with nary an argument nor drop of blood shed. all manners of writing were brought forth - poetry, plays, novels, non-fiction, and even james agee and walker evans ground-breaking book let us now praise famous men. the group settled on an eclectic list including both fiction and non-fiction. the time frame stated was that a book had to be published between 1900 and 1960. for the most part we did pretty good honoring that window, although one book of the books was published in 1899 and one in 1962 - hey, what's a year or two in any given direction -- for what is time anyway? you can see the list of the bookwomen's year of reading by visiting here.

I don't know if it's an instance of the meal most recently eaten or what, but last night's potluck was stupendously delicious. of course I had to try a little bit of everything - including the decadent selection of desserts. in addition to the scrumptious smörgåsbord there was plenty of wine to lubricate the gears of conversation and camaraderie - although never needed, wine is always welcomed! as typical of our annual festival the turnout was excellent although two of the tribe were unavoidably absent. mh was out of town as her father passed away suddenly. the group 'sent up' special thoughts and collective condolences as we marked her absence - we hope the thoughts of comfort reached mh. also missing was joan who is off on a special trip to italy! we did think it would have been smashing to have had our annual meeting over there with her, but alas, we couldn't find anyone to underwrite fifteen airfares and then again the task of coordinating so many schedules, well jeez! we were joined by a friend of f's from maine. I wouldn't be surprised if she wasn't a bit overwhelmed by last night's gathering, however, she did fit right in and I'd say she appeared to be enjoying herself immensely!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

sowing seeds

Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) playwright, novelist, poet

there are days that are emblazoned in memory where every little detail from that day stands out. september 11 is that kind of day. some of us can recall exactly what we were doing when the news began to break about an airplane hitting the first tower. I was on my way to work, but first I had to make a quick stop at the local nursery to buy birdseed. I ran in, the radio was on in the store, suddenly a 'news flash' interrupted the music with an announcement that they just received word that an airplane had collided with the north tower of the world trade center. the store clerk and I started talking about how could that have happened, what was going on with air traffic control, did the pilot have a heart attack or something? of course we thought it was some sort of terrible accident. then a couple minutes later the radio newsman stated that another plane had just hit the south tower. at that moment we looked at each other we knew this was no accident.

I left the store and I knew our world would never be the same. I knew that what had occurred was a truly malicious and evil act, however, little did I know that people in my country would use that event to sow seeds of intolerance and hatred and fan the embers of fear that always seem to live deep inside each of us. for some people these primordial embers became raging flames of fear. there are those that have used this fear to stoke the country's war machine. but history shows us that using violence to counter violence only creates more death, destruction, dread, grief and horror.

the following 'advice' from the dalai lama offers another path to take:

War seems to be part of the history of humanity. As we look at the situation of our planet in the past, countries, regions and even villages were economically independent of one another. Under those circumstances, the destruction of our enemy might have been a victory for us. There was a relevance to violence and war. However, today we are so interdependent that the concept of war has become out dated. When we face problems or disagreements today, we have to arrive at solutions through dialogue. Dialogue is the only appropriate method. One-sided victory is no longer relevant. We must work to resolve conflicts in a spirit of reconciliation and always keep in mind the interests of others. We cannot destroy our neighbors! We cannot ignore their interests! Doing so would ultimately cause us to suffer. I therefore think that the concept of violence is now unsuitable. Nonviolence is the appropriate method.

for me the anniversary of 9-11 is a time to reflect on and honor the lives of those who died. their deaths were a result of acts of violence visited on this country - these acts grew out of seeds of hatred and intolerance that were 'nurtured' and took hold inside the people who were responsible for carrying them out. we must make sure we don't 'plant' those same seeds - the only way to get rid of the malicious plants that result from planting those kind of 'seeds' are to sow seeds of love, compassion, and acceptance. for these are the kind of seeds that give fruit which nourishes us and the earth.

pictures: shrines of remembrance near 'ground zero' new york city. spring 2002

Monday, September 10, 2007

bumper sticker wisdom

a couple good stickers I've encountered recently...

...some things to think about

ode to ingmar

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Corinthians 1.13

picture: cleveland, september 2007

Sunday, September 9, 2007

today's goal

If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.
Lin Yutang (1895-1976) chinese writer and lexicographer

picture: ms t's sweet feet september, 2007

Saturday, September 8, 2007

space invaders

this afternoon I 'discovered' tonya's blog which I immediately added to my blogroll as a site for frequent nibbling! jeez - a quilter living in paris with four beautiful cats - her quilts are pure whimsy and joy and her writing and dispatches about life in paris - okay I admit it, I'm a little green around the edges! her post today featured a cute little alien for a 'work in progress' - he reminded me of another little alien that I encountered while wandering about paris during my last visit.

here I go again with another one thing leads to another post (but then again, most of my posts are like this - and I had such a serious idea rattling about in my head earlier!). tonya's post reminded me of the pictures I took in paris of my little street alien. I knew I had a picture of him/her as my alien just happened to be on the corner of a paris street that I was on a mission to find*. when I mentioned the alien to my sister she remarked that she noticed many of these guys when she was walking around paris. in retrospect I do remember noticing a few more of these little guys hanging around, although I don't know if in the 800 or so pictures I have from my last trip to paris if there's another alien lurking in 'the collection.' there is a wonderful article about the artist who has been invading cities since his first alien landed on a paris street in 1996. the artist also has a website where one can see pictures of some of the aliens inhabiting cities all over the world, play a 'reality game,' and basically waste a whole lot of time exploring. jeez, I wonder if anyone would be willing to underwrite my expenses to trot about our little global village and capture these invaders (with my camera of course!)

*the backstory to my mission - one of my buds, mj, lived in paris many years ago. recently my sister lived in paris; I had the good fortune to visit her three times during the three years she lived there. prior to each trip, I asked mj if she would like me to bring anything from paris. in addition to asking for a handsome, literate, and intelligent french man, she would ask if I would take a particular photograph for her. this trip she asked if I would take a picture of quai de montebello for her as this was a street she lived on and she had many fond memories of the time she lived there. my missions for mj have always been a pleasure. I never did find un bel homme but I always got some good pictures. here's an image from an earlier 'mission' when mj asked if I could take a picture of shakespeare and company - an english language bookstore where mj (who incidentally is a wonderful poet along with being a beautiful and delightful friend) once gave a reading.

pictures: paris march 2007

Friday, September 7, 2007

One good thing about music, when it hits - you feel no pain.
Bob Marley (1945-1981) singer, songwriter, guitarist
picture: cleveland, ohio

Thursday, September 6, 2007

the beginning?

When the road ends, and the goal is gained, the pilgrim finds that he has traveled only from himself to himself.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Indian spiritual leader

picture: fort worth, texas july 2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

peace rocks!

the sixth annual cleveland peace show took place on monday. as the unofficial shutterbug for the event I thought I'd share a few* photos. the day could not have been more gorgeous and the turnout was fantastic! the people have spoken, sung, danced, played, prayed, painted, folded, rapped and biked.....peace rocks!

thanks to all the hardworking organizers of the peace show for creating an oasis of peace and for building bridges and community!

*okay maybe more than a few!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

back to school special

recently cyberbuds ms. mamma, gary, and dan posted old school pictures of themselves on their respective blogs. I was completely delightful by these posts and old school pictures. I thought I'd join in the fun. furthermore, I offer a lighthearted challenge to others out there in the cyberhood to dare to join in this wave of nostalgia....

I checked out my stash of old photos to see what pictures I have from my school days. alas, the only 'official' school pictures in my possession are two from 'the early years' clearly before I might have blossomed into any type of flower of cuteness. as with most rare and exotic blossoms my bloom was brief. if memory serves me correctly cuteness arrived for a few months during my junior year of high school; unfortunately the only remaining copy of the school picture which actually captured this moment hangs in the family rouges gallery at my parent's home. I expect my parents were so happy that for once there was one decent school picture of me that they distributed all copies to family and friends.

in the spirit of full disclosure here you go! this picture was taken in 1963 while I attended third grade at st. ann's school in memphis, tennessee. note the absolutely fetching school uniform complete with white shirt with requisite 'peter pan collar' - unfortunately school photos never capture the footwear of the times. since I attended schools with uniforms until sixth grade, I believed children only were 'allowed' to wear saddle shoes and keds. little wonder I have no sense of style! jeez!
while 'mining' my box of old photos I ran across this picture which was taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s of my mother and the children of harwood mines, pennsylvania. I expect this group picture may have been an informal school photo? such lovely shoes!

Monday, September 3, 2007

happy labor day!

the united states has celebrated labor day since the 1880s. the central labor union created labor day as a day off for the working person in 1882. in 1894 an act of congress passed which established the day as an official federal holiday in order to "honor American labor and foster the feeling of brotherhood among the different crafts. " labor day may be the only official u.s. holiday which has its roots in the american labor struggle. traditional celebrations include parades by trade unions, speeches and political demonstrations. some folks are still mindful about the intent of the holiday, but over the years labor day has evolved into a celebration of the end of summer with cookouts, gatherings, and of course the ubiquitous shopping extravaganza .

the picture above is a favorite of mine from my cache of old family photos. in this picture my great-grandfather "george 'zedo' kravitz I" proudly sits, pipe in mouth and miner's cap on his head; he is surrounded by other men from the mine, many of whom are raising mugs in a toast. like most of the pictures in my stash of family treasures, there is no accompanying narrative which leaves us to simply fill in the blanks. perhaps these guys are raising a toast to labor day and being off work the next day. like all of my great-grandparents, "zedo" immigrated to the united states from 'austria-hungary' to make a better life for their families. while this zedo worked in the mines, my other relatives found work with the railroads and in factories.

when I was in college one of my fields of study was economics. one of my passions within the discipline was labor history. I am sure I was drawn toward this because it connected with my own family's story. and also because of all the stories I heard as a child of the labor struggles which took place in the region of the pennsylvania my family settled in after arriving in the united states. some of the family stories were 'peopled' with the likes of 'wobblies' or the 'IWW,' 'the molly maguires,' and the united mine workers. many stories focused on incidents like the infamous 'lattimer massacre' and other tragic and difficult events which highlighted clashes among the social classes. as an impressionable and sensitive child stories like these revealed some of the problems and issues with structures of inequality and power and helped shape me into the type of adult I am today. "give me a child until he (sic) is seven and I will give you the man. (sic)"

illustration of a IWW propoganda sticker. from We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World by Melvyn Dubofsky