Wednesday, October 31, 2007

all treats, no tricks

hallowe'en in my beautywood!

happy hallowe'en

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
traditional scottish prayer, author unknown

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

to have and to have not

regular readers of the mouse probably know that one of my pet peeves (in other words routine rants) is the commodification and/or homogenization of life on planet earth - I just abhor how capitalism exploits human desire and seeks to convince people that desires are needs.

at the university where I periodically 'hang,' the internet 'home page' is msn, yesterday there was a 'pot calling the kettle black moment'* when I encountered this story (which I agree with 110% and consider most worthy of thought and attention!):

But while globalization has made it easier than ever to explore exotic destinations, it has also exacted a price: generic creep. As the world becomes smaller, mega-corporations extend their reach and begin to intrude on local businesses and culture. Today, it’s possible to voyage to the far ends of the Earth without ever leaving your comfort zone. From Singapore to Switzerland, you can get coffee at Starbucks and a burger and fries at McDonald’s. Coke and Pepsi are available in the peaks of the Himalayas and the depths of the Amazon jungle. The Hooters girls just posed on China’s Great Wall to celebrate the opening of yet another outpost there.

Residents of Beijing expressed the same consternation about a Starbucks in the hallowed confines of the Forbidden City, and in July, they did something about it. Half a million people signed a petition that succeeded in shutting down the coffeehouse. The campaign was led by TV anchor Rui Chenggang, who said the chain’s presence "undermined the solemnity of the Forbidden City and trampled on Chinese culture.

you go rui!! congrats! I bet there will be no walmarts in the forbidden city either! (another pot calling kettle black moment here....anyone else thinking of the invasion of chinese goods? that we don't need - especially the ones with lead!)

*anyone else find it ironic that msn, child of microsoft, should be posting on mega-corporations invading every nook and cranny of human life?!

pictures: mickey d's dublin and paris -and on parnell street and the champs-elysées none-the- less! is nothing sacred? (yeah, yeah I know, it's true I take pictures of everything)

sweet dreams are made of this

Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?
Ernest Gaines (b. 1933) fiction-writer, professor & writer-in-residence

picture: 18 years together & going strong! connecticut 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

who are the people in your neighborhood

another week begins... who knows what delightful sights and people I will encounter?

some dogs really have it made.

note to hunny: skip the bunny. thank you very much.

my grant gig has me working a couple/few days a week on a medical center campus. now that smoking is barred from all inside buildings it's very common to encounter folks taking their iv-pole or portable oxygen tank for a walk so they can get in a smoke. for some reason I'm always biting my tongue least I go off on an anti-smoking rant - but then again, maybe I should spare my tongue and go off? whatcha think?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

what am I: part II

a few months ago I put up a post about how I'm a total sucker for those websites which put up quizzes that attempt to discern some aspect of one's personality. a couple days ago a bud emailed me a link for a quiz that looks at what one's choice of images says. seeing that this quiz brings in IMAGES, and I'm one of those visual learners/thinkers, I found this a particularly delicious quiz. not only was it fun I think it was purty darned accurate. here's what/who I turned out to about you?!

until the end of the world

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust (1871-1922) novelist, essayist and critic

picture: sky over lake erie, cleveland october 2007

let's go fly a kite

the wind has blown me back home. I had a wonderful week on the east side of town hanging with the 'banks kids on cherry tree lane'. I was a bit worried at first as I started off the week with one of those horrid change of season colds - but with plenty of fluids, vitamin c, and that wonderful nighttime elixir known as nyquil I did okay. I was compulsive about washing my hands and tossing my disgusting tissues in the bin, so hopefully I kept the nasties to myself.

I enjoy a bit of change and it was especially fun to go hang in my old 'hood.' for the first eight years in cleveland we lived on the east side of town, and for the first three just a few blocks from where I spent the past week (well actually 5 nights and 6 days.) I met some really neat new people and feel I even gained a new good friend! always a wonderful gift.

the 'banks house' did afford me access to an automobile thus my wednesday routine with ms. t went on as usual - but after our library programs, instead of walking down madison ave., visiting our regular haunts slowly making our way to ave c; we jumped in the car, ran errands(feed the birds, feed the birds), stopped at ave c to have lunch, play with the cats,and then head over to 'cherry tree lane' to pick up the boys. let me say, there is nothing a two year old likes better than running with the big kids!

felt odd to be off the blogosphere for the week. I missed my routine of focusing on a post for the mouse; and of course I really missed checking in on the cyberhood.

I'm home, back with my dear f and comforted and warmed by the gentle purrs of a cat (or two) on my lap.

a few images from this past week! chim chim cher-oo!

Monday, October 22, 2007

step in time

this week promises to be full to bursting so the mouse is taking a sabbatical. deadlines are looming. on top of that I will be spending the week on the other side of town where I will be channeling mary poppins (at least when my 'charges' are not in school). playing mary poppins will be fun (of course, I will resemble the julie andrews version of mary, complete with bursting into song when needed). meeting the grant deadline - well, if I keep my nose to the grindstone and keep focused, progress will be made. this is all I will hope for.

I will be back to my mousehole on sunday the 28th. no new posts until then! have a good week!

picture: contractor's truck. connecticut spring 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

if I had a heart

Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.
Marianne Williamson (b. 1952) author & lecturer

picture: rocky river reservation, cleveland ohio 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

true confessions

I don't think I've ever gone on one of my rants against starbucks on the mouse, I know I have put up comments on cyberbuds verilion and len's blogs spouting my self-righteous attitude about the company. as far as I'm concerned starbucks is just not my cuppa tea or should I say java. despite how they portray themselves, starbucks is just another mega-corporation that says one thing but does another. despite their reputation for being pro-employee they have several lawsuits against them for their union-busting behavior and their record of providing health care is let's say even worse than wal-mart. I really don't like how they come into a community and push out the 'little guys.' and don't even get me started on the issue of 'world domination' - along with the mcdonaldization and disneyfication of the world there also seems to be a starfuckication (whoops, I mean starbuckication) of the world. sorry, I find it just wrong.

but I am no longer pure. I have crossed over to the dark side. and it was the song of a siren that lured me over and her name is joni. joni mitchell recently released shine on starbuck's 'hear music' label. however, I did not buy the cd actually in a starbucks - do I get back any of my self-righteous points for that??

okay, that's my confession. by the way 'shine' SHINES!!! but joni how could you?????

the game is afoot

P Å DSC01579.JPG
P1000806 R W A R d
yesterday I said count me in on a pay it forward 'exchange' jude posted on spirit cloth. the thought of having a of little of jude's magic and beauty actually coming into my mousehole was fairly irresistible.

so, dear mouse readers

the challenge, should you accept it:

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."
walk in beauty,

image courtesy of spell it with flickr

Friday, October 19, 2007

it's a beautiful day in this neighborhood

I always feel so sorry for women who don't like to walk, they miss so much - so many rare little glimpses of life...
from The Awakening (1899) p. 176 by Kate Chopin

ms t comes to hang with me on wednesdays and we are out and about catching those wonderful rare glimpses of life that are all around us. we start our day with a couple programs at the library for the under 5 set (and the adults who are fortunate enough to be with them!). the programs - 'toddler treats' and 'shake, rattle and roll' are a mix of stories and movement. I don't know who enjoys them more me or ms t!

as we were leaving the library we encountered one interesting library patron who just drove up!

our walk along madison avenue to avenue c wouldn't be complete if we didn't drop in for a visit and a flaky pastry from tommy's bakery. ms t is particularly fond of the cheese croissant. I don't know the secret of tommy's dough, but I can assure you these pastries are as good as any I had in paris!

an unassuming storefront, but don't let looks deceive you inside are delicacies and treats to behold.

waiting for the light to cross, I was captivated by reflections in the paint store's window.

for some reason my neighborhood has an abundance of therapeutic massage establishments, yoga studios, resale shops, and bars. ms t and I have been monitoring the progress on the jigsaw puzzle at ginger care for a few weeks - I don't think ginger is really into jigsaw puzzles, progress has been stalled.

there are quite a few store cats along our route. we encountered one friend engaged in a favorite activity - one of those day-long cat naps!

since halloween is just a couple weeks away, we drop in on the monster factory on the corner to see how business is. it's a pretty wild and crazy place and its conveniently located across the street from the goddess shop!

turning on to avenue c we stopped to chat with a couple guys building a new garage. a couple weeks ago part of a large chunk of a tree came crashing down on a neighbor's garage. whoops, guess it's time to build a new garage! ms t really liked the little motorized wheelbarrow.

It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
Fred McFeeley Rogers (1928-2003) minister, educator, songwriter, tv host

today's post is inspired by junk thief's frequent photographic forays through his beautywood.

pictures: a walk in my neighborhood october 17 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

give peace a chance

Large human movements spring from individual human initiatives. If you feel that you cannot have much of an effect, the next person may also become discouraged, and a great opportunity will have been lost. On the other hand, each of us can inspire others simply by working to develop our own altruistic motivations -- and engaging with the world with a compassion-tempered heart and mind.
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama (born 1935)

unfortunately I wasn't in washington yesterday when HH received the congressional medal of honor. the picture above was taken during a once in a lifetime moment a few years back when I actually got a brief audience with HH. the quote is from an acticle that will be appearing in the washington post on october 21. great article. read it now, click here.

picture: me and HH. what can I say, one incredibly wise dude! okay, I admit I gave him a hug and I thanked him for all he has done, that hug changed my life. (how can one not hug HH when they meet him???) thanks d for making this moment possible!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ev'rything free in america

I stumbled upon this video tonight. although I certainly wouldn't characterize all americans as upholding the 'values' presented in the song (the majority of the people in the u.s. want peace and non-violent solutions to problems in the world!) given the way shrub's (aka 'w' or the george w. bush) administration has been acting the last 6 years,the song makes a very powerful point. peace now. stop u.s. military intervention!

change, change, change

If we don't change our direction we're likely to end up where we are headed.
Chinese proverb

this morning I'm thinking of the recent passing of vernon bellecourt. vernon, whose objibwe name is WaBun-Inini means ' man of dawn,' wouldn't it be wonderful to see a new dawn in cleveland sports - where we honor native people and abandon the use of the cleveland indian's mascot and we win the world series! but first one more game to win against the red sox.

pictures: top -leaves reflections, somewhere; bottom - dawn in oberlin, ohio 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

walk on the wild side

Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish poet, novelist, dramatist and critic

celebrate oscar's birthday - do something wilde today!

pictures: statue of wilde in merrion square park, dublin. may 2001; bottom - oscar's monument pere-lachaise, paris. march 2007 ( click on picture to enlarge)

Monday, October 15, 2007

everything is connected

the basic tenet of environmentalism and ecology is "everything is connected." in this spirit, I offer a link that really drives this point home.

take the ecological footprint quiz. the quiz is adjusted to where one lives and asks a series of questions about your lifestyle. your answer to these questions calculate how big your ecological footprint is and compares that to the average footprint of others who live in your country.

for the united states the average ecological footprint is "24 acres per person" however, worldwide there exists only 4.5 biologically productive acres for each person. people in the u.s. are gobbling up much more than their share. although I still have lots of room for improvement, I'm very pleased to discover that my footprint is significantly smaller than the u.s. average.

ever wonder about the quality of air, water and land in your community? if you live in the u.s. you can click here and see how your community stacks up.

pictures: top - geese tracks, ohio 2007; bottom - air emissions from steel mill in cleveland.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

sidewalk art: IV

The journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step. So we must never neglect any work of peace within our reach, however small.
Adlai E. Stevenson II (1900-1965) American politician, Ambassador to the U.N.

picture: chicago sidewalk art. october 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

street art: III

Some people never say the words 'I love you'. It's not their style to be so bold. Some people never say those words: 'I love you'. But, like a child, they're longing to be told.
Paul Simon (b. October 13, 1941) singer, songwriter & activist

congratulations to al gore and the un intergovernmental panel on climate change for winning the nobel peace prize.

speaking of climate change absolute vanilla yesterday informed her readers that monday, october 15 is 'blog action day.' I'd like to jump on the bandwagon and help spread the word! sponsored by blog action day, a loose and ever-changing global non-profit with the lofty mission to create "a vehicle (action day) for bloggers to work together to create a better world." this year the topic is the environment. save the planet, save everything!

picture: chicago sidewalk art. october 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

sidewalk art: II

We must try to develop a more compassionate attitude and reduce hatred or ill feeling toward one another. That is something like inner disarmament. At the same time, external disarmament and internal disarmament should go together side by side. Internal and external disarmament in a combined way, step by step can change the world; the world can be safer, more peaceful, more harmonious. Then the world surely can become a happy human home.
Tenzin Gyatso (born July 6, 1935) 14th Dalai Lama

picture: chicago sidewalk art. october 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

the chekhov rule

another school tragedy rocks our country. this time the event took place right here in my hometown. again a child with a troubled history got his hands on a gun. in this case two guns - a .38 and a .22. he walked into his school and opened fire on students and teachers and then turned the gun on himself.

according to news reports, this child had a very troubled and violent life, he had a history of remarking that he would kill himself, and just a few days ago, after being suspended from school, he told another student that "he'd shoot everybody dead." he did not shoot everybody dead. but he did kill himself - he opened up his mouth, put in a gun and fired. bam! he shot himself dead.

young asa's spray of bullets hit 4 people - two teachers and two students. one of the teachers is a friend of mine - david. david is one of the gentlest and most peaceful people one would ever hope to meet. he is a devoted teacher (in an urban, inner-city school none-the-less), committed to peace and community building, and is just an all around good guy. one would think he would be the most unlikely victim of violence.

but that's just it with guns - everyone is a potential victim. I don't say that because I want to instill fear - goodness knows I really despise fear mongering. I say that because I'd like to instill action against the ease in acquiring guns. the united states is a gun loving country and we have to stop this love affair. it's killing us. it is a well established fact that the u.s. has the highest homicide rate of any "post industrial country" and guns are the instrument of death in the vast majority of these killings.

my hatred of guns is lifelong and is rooted in a family story of a child with a gun. when my mother was a young girl she and a cousin were playing 'cops and robbers.' in the 1930s playing 'cops and robbers' apparently was just as popular an activity for some kids as it is today. the cousin had a gun, I don't know exactly what type of gun it was, but it was one of the adults in the family's gun. he grabbed it to use as a prop in their play. he was chasing my mother around with the gun. they were laughing. they were playing. he fired the gun. it was loaded. my mother was hit in the chest. fortunately, the type of ammunition in the gun was some type of birdshot that did not do serious damage. had it been a different type of gun or a different kind of ammunition the story would have had a very different ending. my mother most likely wouldn't have survived and of course I would not be here. as a child I remember sitting on her lap and feeling the little pellets of metal that were still there under her skin. I was fascinated and repulsed by these pellets.

in the world of fiction there is the often held maxim that if you introduce a gun into a story, the gun will be used. in real life this adage seems to hold up. we must as a society do something to stop the flow of guns, legal and illegal guns, into our story. the gun-lovers have a saying 'guns don't kill people, people kill people" - somehow this 'argument' is supposed to convince us that guns are okay. I don't think so.

Dollars and guns are no substitute for brains and will
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)

picture: statue in front of university of connecticut health center. june 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

sidewalk art: I

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
Lin Yutang (1895-1976) writer & editor

picture: chicago sidewalk art. october 2007