Saturday, May 31, 2008

carnival of animals - the swan

sometimes when friends get together who knows what kind of zaniness will happen! this was the case when ched and I got together this week. perhaps it was because we were in the rarefied atmosphere of chedwick universersity or maybe it's because we are both bloggers who share a somewhat 'interesting' take on the world and delight in our quirky cyberhood (the hood is always open and growing).

any ol' way, ched and the mouse hatched a plan. we thought it might be fun if one day a week there was a theme that we could play with.....

in the tradition of reya's blog poetry slam, junk's interactive mondays (or fridays, saturdays, or sundays - hey junk is junk and you never know when the grand pooh-bah of junk proclaims that it's an interactive day!) . anyway, we did think others might enjoy playing.

here's the plan we hatched:

1) thursday is theme day (both ched and the mouse are quite fond of wordplay so it is only natural that thursday is the day designated as theme day!)

2) several days before thursday, a theme will be posted on the side bar of mouse medicine and tangled up in l'heure bleue - we expect the theme will be a single word - how people interpret the theme is totally up to them - it can be a picture, a poem, a story, a song, anything that can be put on one's blog. interpretation of the theme is only limited by one's imagination.

3) any blogger interested in participating plays - it's as simple as that! we haven't worked an easy way that one can let others know that they are playing - if anyone has an idea as how to work out this knot, let us know!

personally, I think we there was some subliminal magic happening on wednesday we kept encountering swans. swan medicine as some of you might know is pretty powerful stuff!

1.any of several large, stately aquatic birds of the subfamily Anserinae, having a long, slender neck and usually pure-white plumage in the adult. Compare mute swan, trumpeter swan, whistling swan, whooper swan.
2.a person or thing of unusual beauty, excellence, purity, or the like.
3.Literary. a person who sings sweetly or a poet.
4.(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Cygnus.
mischa maisky performs a lushly romantic cello solo in the most famous movement of the suite.

photo quiz: how many swans can you find in these photos? - all pictures taken on 28 may near the campus of chedwick university.

Friday, May 30, 2008

my secret place....

late last night I got home from my latest wander. I packed in so much, I don't know where to begin. the first part of the trip was spent with some of my extended family. the purpose for this trip was to attend a gathering on tuesday in honor of my much loved godmother who passed away earlier this year.

preceding me at cousin suz's home was the arrival of suz's sister and her partner who came in from california. sunday was the first time I've visited suz while she's been living at this house. she lives in a small farm town (we're talking a town of twelve houses, a bar/hotel, and that's it) about an hour south of my family's "home" of lofty. suz's house is a big old pennsylvanian farm house (circa 1800) which has been subdivided into three separate 'apartments.' suz has a wonderful flair for creating a warm and inviting space and because we share a few passions (animals, books, food, and family lore) I instantly felt at home in her space.

monday was an absolutely glorious day - for most of the day suz, teresa and I tootled about sharing stories, exploring the countryside and gathering food for an evening feast. our initial plan of a simple memorial day bbq morphed into a wonderfully delicious gourmet creation as our foodie imaginations were unleashed. monday's dinner included an array of grilled vegetables and seafood (scallops, shrimp and salmon), a spicy asian peanut noodle side dish and for dessert teresa's interpretation of one of aunt mary (or mere) signature desserts - peach kuchen. there were many moments sunday, monday and tuesday where we could feel mere's spirit and knew she was beside us having a good time and feeling our love as we felt hers.

after dinner suz, teresa and I worked on putting together the prayer bundles for the graveside ceremony that was going to take place after the mass which was said for mere the next morning.

tuesday turned out to be another glorious day; the various gatherings were very moving. after the church and cemetery rituals most of the family went to the family home in lofty for a some nibbles and visiting. one of my uncles lives in the family homestead where my grandmother and grandfather raised their seven children. the house where my father was born and raised is a very special place for all of us.

it's been a long time since I visited lofty in late may - under the evergreens at the side of the house is an huge mass of lily of the valley flowers in bloom. I am most grateful to my uncle for giving me permission to dig up some of the plants to bring home. I love having this little bit of lofty - and maybe they will bring a little lofty magic to the north coast.

tuesday afternoon I said adieu to my family and headed home by way of a couple stops in new york. first stop the catskills to meet ched and explore the campus of chedwick university.

tuesday evening and all day wednesday ched and I had a grand time together exploring the area. ched already posted about some of our adventures. I'd just like to add a bit to her wonderful account of our meeting. but first let me set the record straight, contrary to what you might assume, neither ched nor I smoke, our visits to the cigarette and beer outlets were done purely for sociological and documentary purposes (well, okay I did pick up some yuengling to bring home for f and a six pack of mcsorley ale - on the label of the mcsorley's is the statement: "The older the fiddle the sweeter the tune!" good thing to remember, eh?)

here are a few of the colorful things we encountered on our wanders:

the catskills versions of a garden gnome

a red eft salamander

a scarlet tanager

weird blue wood

a type of green death

just one of the many whimsical trail markers on the campus of ched u

thursday morning it was difficult saying goodbye to ched we had such a wonderful time together and it was also hard to leave the beauty of the catskills (sometimes I think this little town mouse could easily become a country mouse). but alas it was time to return home.

ched thank you for such generosity and showing me the beauty of the catskills. I don't think I can ever return your incredible generosity.....but come to cleveland and let me try!!

I took a circuitous route home which afforded an opportunity to meet another friend from the cyberhood. north and west of the ched u campus is ogreville, home of the delightful and deliciously spicy salty miss jill - jill's another generous spirit - man, I do know how to pick my friends - like with ched, jill made sure I had some delicious treats for the drive home!

jill and I had a late lunch at the legendary moosewood restaurant!

I found it fitting that on my way home I drove by friendship new york. last summer's research indicated that there are eleven states which boast towns named friendship - two down, only nine more to go!

joni's my secret place (1988) - ched, this song is for you! thank you for taking me to some of your secret and special places!

photos: top: goslings on a pond near suz's house; first insert: aunt mary's baptism certificate; second insert: monday evening's feast; third insert: prayer bundles tied on tree next to aunt mary's family plot; fourth picture: portrait of ched and I on the campus of ched u; fifth picture: new friend @ the beer warehouse; all other photos are self explanatory.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

blowing in the wind

in a few hours I'm blowing out of here. the mouse will return the end of the week.

until then, it's never too to late for any interested reader to list your favorite dylan tunes. to see the mouse's favorites - at least for one point in time see yesterday's comment section...

bob and joan performing blowing in the wind.

I dedicate this song to peace....and supporting the troops by bringing them home.

photo: jane's hand with dandelion 23 may

Saturday, May 24, 2008

forever young

today is robert allen zimmerman's birthday - we know him as bob dylan. bob is celebrating his 67th birthday today. man, I must be getting old if bob dylan is 67!

2008 has been a good year, earlier this year bob won a pulitzer prize.
A Special Citation to Bob Dylan for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.
from the biographical blurb on the pulitzer website, I got a kick out of this:
Avocations/Research/Interests: Achievements include devising and popularizing folk-rock.
for the last few days I've been leading up to bob's bd highlighting a few of his songs in the post titles. bob has written hundreds of songs - the mouse could have a bob song as a post title every day for years! geez there's an idea.

yesterday, ched, my guru on all things fragrant and bob, shared that when she was a kid her favorite dylan song was stuck inside of mobile with the memphis blues again

ched's reply to my question about what song to highlight today, started me thinking about of favorite dylan songs. I seem to have a more than a few.

so here's a challenge mouse readers - what are your favorite dylan songs? ma said it's alright to share.... post a comment, a simple list will do -- but if you feel like waxing on as to why, feel free!

happy birthday bob - many there be many, many more good years ahead!

bob singing forever young on the david letterman show in 1993

photo: bob's stand at the richard lenoir market, paris 2007

Friday, May 23, 2008

dark eyes

Oh, the gentlemen are talking and the midnight moon is on the riverside,
They're drinking up and walking and it is time for me to slide.
I live in another world where life and death are memorized,
Where the earth is strung with lovers' pearls and all I see are dark eyes.

verse 1 (of 4) ~ dark eyes by bob dylan, 1985
listen to bob singing dark eyes from his empire burlesque album

photo: ms t on ave c, 20 may

Thursday, May 22, 2008

desolation row

over the last couple weeks I have been accompanying a friend while he's been conducting home visits. my friend is a physician and we are working on a project which is aimed at discussing the value of visiting 'patients' in their homes. since I am a visual type of person, I suggested that we spice up the presentation with some images - there is much truth to the proverb of a picture is worth a thousand words.

for years I worked helping with the training of medical students and resident physicians. my experiences, observing and working with physicians and the people they care for, has been exclusively in clinical settings. however, I have done other work where I have interviewed people in a variety of settings; interviewing someone in their home has consistently been my favorite setting. I have found rapport is easily established when respondents are comfortable and most folks are quite comfortable when they are in their own space. my own experience with medical 'home visits' has been limited and completely personal - e was born at home, my midwife conducted all my prenatal and after birth visits at our house; I also was privileged to be with my grandmother on several occasions when her doctor dropped by her house for a home visit.

perhaps because of my own experiences, the notion of taking care of folks in their own home has always appealed to me. however, I feel that despite an entire industry arising around 'home care,' medical visits by established 'health professionals' (e.g. physicians, nurse practitioners, etc.) are not very common/widespread. authentic home care by medical professionals, I believe is yet another area where our current health care system is lacking.

my friend is a geriatrician and a family practice physician (a doctor trained to care for people 'from the cradle to the grave'), most of the folks we have been visiting are elderly and are frail with mobility issues. it has been a wonderful experience to go around with my friend while he's doing his home visits. however, it has also made my heart very heavy. the majority of the folks we have visited have been poor, and it is heartbreaking to see not only how isolated many our elders are but the condition of some of their environments, through no fault of their own.

the picture of these broken steps is at the home of an 83 year old woman who is wheelchair bound, there's a sign on the door that says to use the back door. the back entrance is barely an improvement, although there are no broken steps there are steps and the passage is quite narrow. getting the woman, who I will call ruby, in and out of her home is a major production and requires the assistance of multiple individuals. despite the desolate state the house, the number and nature of her health problems, and the fact that she was is essentially a prisoner of her house, she is bright, generous of spirit, and surprisingly optimistic.

while my friend had to field a few telephone calls, I had the opportunity to hear a bit about ruby's life. I heard a story of strength and survival. like many african-americans, ruby moved from the deep south to the north in the 1940s. when she arrived in cleveland she started driving a taxi cab; after a time she no longer was no longer willing to drive the cab (she attributed her change of work as a mixture of some safety issues and extremely poor pay). she eventually started working as a domestic and a home child care provider. what I found beautiful in ruby's story is the enduring power of her generous spirit. her only son lives two hours away and she has few relatives in the area, but she is far from feeling alone. her 'children,' white, black and ranging from their twenties to their late forties, stay in touch. it is clear that although this woman had little in terms of material offerings to give to others, she gave love and gave of herself. I heard a story of how someone's giving spirit can give back years later. unfortunately, most elderly folks in ruby's situation haven't built up this amazing family of 'fictive' children. and unfortunately, the kids ruby raised never made it big financially, as it doesn't look like any one has been able to help ruby with some needed structural improvements. but on a positive note, while we were there, a man from a new pilot (read potentially temporary) program to help seniors improve the safety of their homes was also visiting. perhaps it won't be long before ruby's steps are fixed and a ramp for her wheelchair is put in - he left with quite a list and some very encouraging words of what ruby can look forward to.

the picture above is another house we went to. coincidentally, the person living in the house is another wheelchair bound woman in her 80s. this woman has lived in this house for over fifty years. in all those years, she has never been late with her rent, but being a consistent and tenant has meant little to her landlord. in all the years her landlord has never invested anything to maintain or improve the structure of the building.

what is it with this country of ours; billions (if not trillions) of dollars are being spent so the u.s. can occupy and wage a war in a foreign country, supposedly so we can 'save' iraq and help it become 'free' and so their people can experience the fruits of democracy and freedom. however, here in our own country, we have millions of people who are not free - people are shackled by multiple systems in crisis. our health care system is in crisis - we have 48 million people uninsured (many more underinsured), the costs of delivering health care in the united states are exorbitant compared to other countries, and despite spending more per capita on health care in the u.s. than any where else, our ranking on key health indicators is no where near being near the top. we have a housing crisis - and the crisis is not confined to foreclosures, decreasing sales, and market plateaus. according to the national low-income housing coalition one third of the nation's population (95 million people), have housing problems including a high-cost burden, overcrowding, poor quality shelter and homelessness. well I could go on about some of the other crises - transportation, global warming, educational, put I think this has turned into enough of a rant. geez, some days I seem to start off okay, but then I never know where I'm going to go end up! what had me started was thought of some homes I've been in lately and the new folks that I've met whose stories have touched my heart. oh my.....

ah, today was a lament, hopefully tomorrow will be a song!

photos: old car on the op, washington state; houses in cleveland - vacant homes are way too common and speak as much to the foreclosure crisis as to the fact that population of cleveland as decreased from it's high in 1940 (population: 878,336; to an today's low estimated population of now just below 400,000)

bob dylan's desolation row (1966)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

are you ready?

In the silence of "not doing" we begin to know what we feel.
Sue Bender from Plain and Simple

photo: ms. t gazing out the window of lwkdpl's activity room. a slide show of the newly renovated children's department is on the cleveland bookmouse.

are you ready? (live) bob & friends

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

ramble on

generally when tagged I break the chain. however, this time I was tagged by a absolute vanilla on her birthday! how does one say no to someone on their birthday?

A Meme about Various Things

What were you doing ten years ago?
ten years ago was a time of adaptation - I was adapting to living in cleveland after 16 years (the absolute longest I've ever lived anywhere!!) of living in connecticut; adapting to a being 1500 miles away from my daughter (who at the time going to school on the west coast); adapting to working in a large public hospital system and teaching resident physicians (a group of learners a bit different from other learners I've 'taught')…..and so on and so forth. oh wait, life just a series of changes and adaptations – so guess not much has changed.

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order):
1. take care of this meme
2. pick up items on hold at library when ms t arrives
3. work on june 7th project (caring for the frail elderly)
4. plant plants susan dropped off sunday
5. iron 10 yards of fabric for t’s curtains

What are some snacks you enjoy?
cheese, nuts, anything that’s spicy and salty …

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
set aside a small fraction of the money to ensure that I and my family (including select ‘fictive family’) would be able to live comfortably, yet modestly, for ‘the rest of our days’

work with others who are interested in "improving the world" and invest the bulk of the billions in projects and programs which would improve and empower the lives of others—locally and globally.

What are three of your bad habits?
1. not waiting until I finish chewing and swallowing before talking (yes, gross bad habit)
2. procrastination
3. overcommitting

What are five places where you have lived?
1. california (specifically san diego)
2. guam (specifically agana)
3. metro washington d.c. (specifically fairfax county)
4. texas (specifically fort worth)
5. connecticut (specifically new haven and farmington)

What are five jobs you have had?
oh my I’ve had sooooo many jobs in the course of my life and I expect soooo many more…. a few random jobs, in no particular order:
1. machine operator in newspaper mailroom (including a forklift!)
2. office manager
3. researcher
4. teacher
5. administrator for medical education program

What were the last five books you read?
the world’s best memoir writing (as of now 3/4th finishished – it’s long!)
the good earth by pearl buck
the birth house by amy mckay
motherless brooklyn by jonathon lethem
the wheel of darkness by preston and childs

What five people do you want to tag?
I’m afraid I can’t bring myself to tag anyone - however, should you be inspired to play along, by all means meme on!

led zeppelin performing ramble on (1969)

photo: self portrait with dixie 16 may

Monday, May 19, 2008

monday, monday

it was a simply glorious weekend – the weather may have been a bit chilly – but you won’t find me complaining. the rain was confined to the morning on both saturday and sunday. by the time I was ready to head out for the day’s adventures, cleveland was sparkling like a freshly bathed baby. all weekend the city was bedecked in a tapestry of fresh, spring colors it was such a sweet weekend even the people were aglow with some strange, infectiously happy type of spring fever.

I don't know where to begin or what to mention – it was as if this weekend was designated as one big happening! f had committed himself to dixie duty and honestly I think he's so psyched about his motorsickle, I think he was quite happy to stay home work on the bike and play with the dog.

I headed out with jane on saturday afternoon and we met up with s&p at the ruins of the old coast guard station at wendy park; we wandered about, watched the bird activity, some local anglers and worked our way to watch the dedication of the new whiskey island bridge.

after that historically significant, albeit somewhat amusing, event - j & I said adieu to s&p. we then headed over to ohio city to check out the activity at jane's old community garden. we meandered about and eventually landed at michael’s bookstore on 25th street for the rent party. a little poetry, some music and luna the cat holding court. it was a blast. I only hope michael was able to pull in some bucks to help keep the store going! I did my part - made a small donation and left with a bag of books - books that weren't needed, but were bought to help an excellent cause. if anyone is out there looking for an investment opportunity and the chance to be part of something worthwhile - let me know and I'll put you in touch with michael and the bookstore on 25th street.
jane dropped me off early in the evening and the rest of saturday was spent on avenue c - I got in some scrabble with lin and her ma before dinner. after scrabble, f & I ate a late dinner and rested after a full day.

sunday morning had me getting on the train to head over to university circle for the hessler street fair. this year I signed up to help staff a table for the 2008 labor day peace show. it was so windy I'd say what gene and I did was hold down the table! I've often attended this annual rite of spring but this is the first year I've 'worked' it - however calling it work, is a joke - I had a blast meeting and chatting with all sorts of wonderful folks (and dogs). it's an all around good time and an opportunity for the community to travel back in time to the era of love, peace, and good vibrations!

the mamas & the papas singing monday, monday (1966)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

solomon's seal

whenever I associate with others
may I think of myself as the lowest of all
and from the depth of my heart
hold the others as supreme.
verse 2 of lo jong tsi je ma (8 verses for training the mind)

The name "Lily of the Valley" is also used in some English translations of the Bible in Song of Songs 2:1, although whether the Hebrew word "shoshana" (usually denoting a rose) originally used there refers to this species or not is uncertain. The meaning of this flower is "You will find Happiness." source
for more about this most wonderful flower visit 'a mouse in france's' blog and read her post on lily of the valley

siam shade performing solomon's seal (live, group active 1991-2002)

photos: finding some happiness at mariel's house 14 may

Saturday, May 17, 2008

riding my motorsickle

this morning I thought I'd write a bit about the gasoline crisis. when I was thinking about the post, I remembered hearing that the chinese character for crisis is composed of two characters one meaning danger and the other meaning opportunity. wanting to confirm that my recollection is correct, I googled 'chinese character crisis' and learned that what we've heard is not quite accurate. one of the characters is indeed 'danger' but the other is 'crucial point.'
The use of the term gained momentum when John F. Kennedy delivered a speech in Indianapolis on April 12, 1959:

"When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed of two characters.
One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity."

Kennedy employed this trope routinely in his speeches, and it was then appropriated by Richard M. Nixon and others... in 2007, Condoleezza Rice repeated the misunderstanding during Middle East peace talks, and Al Gore did so in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, and in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

There is an undeniable appeal to the misappropriation of weiji. It is dramatic in its compression; in two syllables it offers inherent proof of the opportunity hidden within every crisis. This presumed oriental wisdom is used to communicate the inspirational notion that a crisis should be a time of optimism by erroneously deconstructing weiji (crisis) as wei (danger) and ji (opportunity). However, we can question ourselves, is not the meaning of 'crucial point' and 'opportunity' somewhat similar?
well, now that I (with the assistance of google & wikipedia) have set this often used expression to rights, let me return to my point. oh yes, the point. well, my point is to say with the price of gas nearing or exceeding 4 bucks a gallon, perhaps fuelish americans will finally start changing their gas guzzling habits.

at my house, we are doing what we can. in april I celebrated my 2nd year of being car-free. when my much loved 1994 vw finally gasped it's last breath, I thought I'd see if I could survive without a car. I figured I live in house where I can walk to a grocery store, drugstores, three public libraries*, and the post office - not to mention numerous places to eat, drink and be merry; and I have decent access to public transportation which can carry me to downtown cleveland, the east side neighborhoods of university circle, cleveland heights and shaker heights in no time (and what time is involved is always put to good use reading a book, gazing out the window, or making conversation with some interesting character).

we have one vehicle in the household a small pick-up truck which f drives. it gets pretty decent gas mileage, but still.... and when we moved a few years back f reduced his commute from 24 miles to 6 miles. but still...... in december f received a motorcycle as a holiday gift, albeit it didn't work, but with some knowledgeable tender loving care, it would be just a matter of time. all winter the motorcycle sat dormant in the garage - but with the spring and warmer temperatures the motorcycle is being resurrected.

f's pretty good about fixing anything, but sometimes it's nice to have the assistance of someone who is actually trained! for the last week, a motorcycle 'doctor' has been making housecalls and last night the bike was purring like a kitten, well, it sounded more like a roaring lion (the mufflers still need work) - but you get the idea!

with the rising price of gasoline and the problem of global warming (yes, it's true! it exists!), I'm hoping more people will start turning to other methods of getting around - like walking, biking, and public transportation. I also expect we'll be seeing lots more motorcycles and scooters around.

arlo singing the motorcycle song (1975)

p.s. if anyone in the cleveland area reads this post and is interested in learning more about our motorcycle doctor post a comment with your email address and I'll get back to you.

*the libraries range from 1/2 mile to 2 miles from my house. to me anything within 2-3 miles is within walking distance! all the other 'necessities' (grocery store, p.o., drugstore) are within a mile's walk as if anyone really wants to know!

Friday, May 16, 2008

friday I'm in love

Cat people are different, to the extent that they generally are not conformists. How could they be, with a cat running their lives?
Louis Camuti (1894-1981) cat veterinarian & author

have a good weekend & be in love!

photos: gwen; cat fancier's car - do you think there are nine other cars that have meow or this person has 10 cats?

the cure performing friday I'm in love, unplugged version

Thursday, May 15, 2008

bridge over troubled water

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955), physicist & renaissance man

Children are the bridge to heaven.
persian proverb

photos: detail of hope memorial bridge (formerly lorain-carneigie bridge), cleveland; ms. t all tuckered out after a day at the library.

simon & garfunkel's bridge over troubled water (1970)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

weird science

Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species -- man -- acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.
Rachel Carson (1907-1964), biologist, writer, ecologist

for the past year, one of f and mine favorite monthly activities has been attending science café cleveland. a science café is an informal public forum for the lively discussion of a specific scientific topic. science cafés are based on the model of a european salon. science cafés occur all over the world, in the u.s. many of the science cafés are co-sponsored by nova science now (wgbh) and sigma xi, the scientific research society and you can find if there's one near you by going here.

this being cleveland, and science buffs being science buffs, our local café is held at the great lakes brewing company (glbc). we love the glbc, along with hosting the science cafés, they are also the first cleveland restaurant and pub to go smoke free (before legislation mandated it), and they not only promote but practice a sustainable business model.

when the science café started the meetings were held in a room in the brewpub, but the café has now become so popular that it necessitated a move to a larger venue - across the street to the brewery's tasting room. we haven't attended every month but we have gone to quite a few; enough that the organizers recognize us as regulars. some of the topics discussed when we've attended include: the physical and economic impacts of global warming, weird insect behavior, why people are violent, nutritional supplements, and batteries. the topics for the next three months sound quite stimulating - cryptography, sewers, and polling (interesting how polling and sewers are together).

the cleveland science café is held the second monday of each month. drinks and nibbles start at 6:30 and the discussion begins around 7. nibbles are free but if you want to drink you best bring some cash.

great lakes brewery is located at 2516 market st., cleveland. the tasting room where the cafe takes place is located across the street at 2701 carroll st. and the entrance is located across the street from daves.

photos: top- sunset over lake erie taken from cliff dr.; science café @ glbc. 12 may, cleveland

oingo boingo singing weird science (1985)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

heat wave

if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm.
James Hansen, director of NASA goddard institute of space studies

not much time to blog today, but I wanted to share this article by bill mckibben and the work of james hansen. both the article and hansen's work pretty much scare the crap out of me. however, as long as being scared leads to action and not paralysis then getting scared is a good thing. I first encountered mckibben's name just over a year ago in the context of the step it up 2007 campaign. since then mckibben and a handful of others have launched a new campaign called, hansen's name and work may be familiar, a couple years ago he was in the news regarding his claim that the bush administration has a history of censoring information about the climate change crisis; there's also a clip in gore's movie 'an inconvenient truth' where hansen is testifying before congress in 1989 about the threat of global warming.

spreading the significance of the number 350 is a good thing, and taking individual responsibility for reducing our own carbon footprint is even better.

martha & the vandellas singing heat wave (1965)

Monday, May 12, 2008

wandering stars

there was so much heartbreak and tragedy in the world over the weekend, I feel a bit guilty that I had such a lovely and wonderful weekend. saturday was an absolutely beautiful day. I spent most of day running errands with e. I left the house thinking we were just going to the nursery for birdseed and plants and then back home again, but one thing leads to another.

we weren't but a couple blocks from the house when e mentioned that she was having a yen for a particular pickled vegetable from one of the asian markets in chinatown. instead of heading west to the nursery, we headed east to chinatown. after the market we did go to the nursery. I consider mother's day weekend as the time that it's now safe to plant, the odds of snow and a killing frost are very low. based on the crowds at the nursery it appears that this is a widespread belief -- cha-ching!

after the nursery, I remembered f had mentioned earlier that we were drastically low on a couple household necessities, since we were close to target, our source for 'the basics' another stop to shop was in order. after target it was well past the lunch hour, neither of us had eaten and we still had one more nursery to hit (the price for a couple things were too dear at nursery number 1). what's that I said one thing leads to another! e has never been to mcintyres and since we were in the neighborhood and in a holiday state of mind we stopped for a bite and a pint.

e dropped me and all my stuff off and I spent the rest of the daylight hours playing in the dirt. f spent the afternoon playing golf and he got home about the same time I was finished up with the day's planting. saturday night was homemade pizza and movie time - we finally watched there will be blood - intense, daniel day lewis most certainly deserved the oscar for best acting.

sunday was a lazy day, we puttered around the house, read, talked on the phone, and I even watched the dvd e dropped off the day before. outside it was cool and rainy all day. I didn't have to think about dinner as e said she was taking care of every thing - even dessert. sunday dinner turned out to be a surprise and a delight - turns out that sneaky e had in fact planned an elaborate korean feast! I guess I could have gotten suspicious with saturday's visit to an asian market.

the menu for sunday included the korean style bbq ribs, korean pancakes, a turnip and apple dish, a noodle dish and kim chee. for dessert e made the most divine fruit wontons. now that e has a blog where sometimes she shares recipes, perhaps we will find recipes for some of these creations there in the future. all the dishes were worthy!

portishead's wandering stars (1994)

photo: bleeding heart in bloom 12 may; sunday's feast

Sunday, May 11, 2008

mother stands for comfort

In short, may I directly and indirectly offer
benefit and happiness to all my mothers.
May I secretly take upon myself the harmful actions
and suffering of my mothers.
verse 7 of lo jong tsi je ma (8 verses for training the mind)

according to tibetan buddhism, we have all been reincarnated so many times that everyone has been our mother in some incarnation. even if you don't believe in reincarnation, there is an important lesson in this meditation -- we need to look beyond an individual and accept that we are interconnected and act with loving compassion toward all sentient beings.

mother's day, like every 'holiday,' can be difficult for people whose mother (in the traditional sense the woman who gave birth to you or who raised you) has passed away. the holiday may also be difficult if one's mother is alive but does not meet the expectation of a 'good mother.' I offer hugs and comfort to you if today is a 'hard day.'

a week ago today I spent the day with lettuce, a friend I've known for a while, but just met. while we were wandering about we talked about mothers, motherhood, and mothering. it's only been a year since lettuce's mother died and the grief and pain over the loss of a much beloved and caring mother is still raw and at the surface. when we visited the nmai, we toured the exhibition 'our universe: traditional knowledge shapes our world.' for lettuce and for everyone who has lost their mother, I offer this quote from the exhibit and hope it provides some comfort:
Some of our elders may be gone but their breath remains. We're taking in breath, so if the old people have given their breath up, then their breath remains within our universe to help us. Even in the after life there are duties and responsibilities.
I am doubly blessed my mother is is still alive and my mom is the embodiment of a loving and caring mother. my mother is comfort. unlike the mother in the kate bush song, I expect my mother will never be faced with hiding one of her children, but she does know how and when to stay mum. thank you mom and happy mother's day!

and for your enjoyment, paul simons mother and child reunion

happy mother's day everyone!

kate bush singing mother stands for comfort (1985)

photo: my mother with her three kids, 1964 ~ guam.

p.s. I just read thomas friedman's touching tribute to his mom. as is the case for my sweet f, this year is the first year that they are not able to call their moms to wish them a happy mother's day. but perhaps both f and tom will find comfort in knowing their mom's breath is still in our universe. okay that's it for today, off to call my mom!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

the mystic's dream

this week I concluded the little mini course, introduction to tibetan art, offered by the cleveland museum of art. tibetan art is very complex and complicated and in three weeks we barely scratched the surface, the instructor indicated that she would like to offer a follow-up to this series. I hope she does. in the meantime I'll check out some of the books she recommends (I'm particularly interested in this book).

one week we were treated to a very up close and personal view of four objects from the museum's permanent collection. the magnificent green tara painting, a detail of which is pictured above, illustrates the complexity of tibetan art and how each piece warrants meditation. this makes the appreciation of each piece a bit of a spiritual journey for the viewer. one of the other objects that was incredibly complex is the sculpture referred to as the "loving couple" which is a symbolic visualization of wisdom and compassion.

if you are interested in viewing other pictures I took the week we had a peek go here.

loreena mckennitt's the mystic's dream (1994)

photos: top - green tara, tibet 1261-1270; bottom - hevajra, tibet, 17th century

Friday, May 9, 2008


tuesday's post mentioned a store that my mom and I visited last week. the name el grande supermercado gives the impression that it carries latino/hispanic food stuffs. however, that is not just what they carry, in fact, they have products and produce for preparing food from all over the world.

this morning I have korea on my mind. in part due to the fact that one of my nephews left earlier this week to spend a year living in korea. he and his girlfriend signed on with an organization to teach english to interested individuals - I don't know if the folks they will be teaching are adults or kids or both. I expect they will subsequently learn korean, right now I don't think either of them know more than a handful of korean words or phrases. reports are that they arrived safe and sound. thank goodness! I'm hoping my nephew - or his girlfriend - will be inspired to create a blog to share some of their adventures!

between this bit of family excitement and looking at the flanken (short) ribs at el grande I'm having a serious craving for a korean inspired meal. then yesterday my mom emailed me this:

KALBI (Korean Barbequed Short Ribs)
I usually make this recipe - you can cut down on the portions according to the amount of meat you use. I cut this out of the "Post" many years ago and a Korean neighbor approved the recipe. (He had a restaurant)

For the Marinade/Basting Sauce

1 cup soy sauce
1/3 c. sugar
l/3 c. sesame seeds, toasted and crushed in a mortar and pestle or blender
3 T. garlic, minced
3 T. ginger root, grated
1/4 c. oriental sesame oil
3/4 c scallions, finely chopped.

4 lbs. lean beef short ribs, cut crosswise in 1/4 slices

Combine the marinade ingredients and marinate the beef for at least 1 or 2 hours or overnight. Grill the ribs about 5 inches above the glowing coals, turning and basting frequently with the marinade/basting sauce for 8 to 10 min.

I'm thinking kalbi (galbi), kimchee, and a couple veggie side dishes selected from here or here might satisfy my craving and create a cosmic connection with family far and wide!

photo: top - self portrait @ el grande supermercado