Tuesday, September 30, 2008

t is for tree

Trees have a secret life that is only revealed to those willing to climb them. To climb a tree is to slowly discover a unique world, rhythmic, magical, and harmonious, with its worms, insects, birds, and other living things, all apparently insignificant creatures, telling us their secrets.
Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), cuban writer
from Before Night Falls: A Memoir

t is also for travel. this month I have traveled a good deal which explains how I have reached the last day of the month and still have letters left!

my last trip was on a train and I got home to the city of the crooked river in the dark; the view above was taken earlier this month flying home from d.c. it's a good shot of city - it shows why the cuyahoga river is called the crooked river. from this aerial view you can see the flats and a portion of downtown cleveland - including terminal tower, the new federal court building (odd shaped white building), progressive field (where the indians play), the arena formerly known as the gund (where the cavs play), and a few of the bridges that criss cross the river.

t is also for tsuki. when he's tired he likes to sleep in the sun in his favorite bowl.

Monday, September 29, 2008

s is for signs

several months ago I was reading some mystery, in it was a character from eastern europe who was constantly making remarks about the sheer number of signs that exist in the u.s. I don't know if the u.s. has more signs than elsewhere, but I do enjoy looking at signs.

I got home from new york at 4 am this morning so I'm feeling a bit swamped. the weekend was super even stupendous! even though I had to make do with a little point and shoot camera while my 'real' camera is in the shop, I still managed to come home with over six hundred photos (I delete as I shoot, so who knows how many frames I actually snapped!)

thursday evening and friday I spent in nyack. what a great town since I'm a regular visitor to the nyack daily snap I felt as if I was simply coming home.

nyack is a friendly town. I chatted and met so many interesting people. there was pearl who is the star of a terrific vid on voting - make sure you see it! it's only 27 seconds long

saturday morning we took metronorth into the city. as soon as we emerged from the station, the great photo safari started! so much for earlier plans for checking out a museum or two. the allure of just walking the streets soaking everything in was too great to resist and when one is on a wander with a sister snapper why even bothering trying to resist!

the principle reason I scheduled the trip to new york was to meet up with a few of the buds from the cyberhood for a saturday soiree at the soho grand - and a grand time was had by all. thanks salty for organizing the shindig! it was great meeting an old friend for the first time, meeting a couple new folks, and seeing and hanging with several familiar blogging buds. click to see a slide show of the soiree.

sunday before heading home p&k and I went up to fort tyrone park. we checked out the very soggy medieval fair. despite the soaking it was a fun. I snapped this picture thinking of lettuce and her fondness for words ending with e.
s is also for sister. earlier in september when I was helping my mom we unearthed this essay my sister wrote when she was in second grade and I was a sophomore. I thought it was a sooooo silly and sweet!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

r is for railroad

ched picked today's theme as TRAIN - I discovered that if I tweak just a little bit I can maintain the flow of the blogabet and still keep with the theme thursday game!

I LOVE TRAINS. I come by my love of trains quite naturally. during the early years of my family's history in the u.s. of a. there has been a connection to trains. in an earlier post I mentioned that my grandfather worked for the railroad as a brakeman and telegrapher and of grandpap and grandmam's kids, two went on to be train engineers. in my generation no one is directly involved with the railroad industry anymore, but like myself, there are quite a few 'supporters' and I have one cousin who is an avid collector of model trains (to some he may seem like a model train nut - but, personally, I think it's cool and I think he's cool too!)

one of my biggest disappointments about living in america is the fact that as a country we have pretty much abandoned the health and well-being of our nation's trains and rail system for the transport of people. however, eternal optimist that I am, believe that in light of today's fuel and energy crises (or should I say catastrophes) maybe, just maybe, america will realize there is sense, value, and ecological worth in revitalizing and resurrecting the infrastructure of the country's railroad system.

trains are part of my everyday life - maybe not my daily life - but definitely my everyday life. two and a half years ago when my much loved automobile died (just shy of 200,ooo miles), I thought I'd see if I could exist without having a car - could I think of a better way to reduce my ecological footprint? it wasn't like I was living in some place without public transportation options.
I am fortunate, I live in a community which has decent public transportation - buses and light rail trains. cleveland doesn't have an extensive train system but we do have three primary rail lines - the green, the blue, and the red. I live relatively close to two stations for the red line. for work and pleasure I use the red line to get around.

coincidentally, I am currently (current as to when this post is 'scheduled' to 'go live') on a train. I'm off on another wander. I'm taking amtrak's lake shore limited east - first stop is to nyack (well the stop near nyack - off amtrack and transferring to metronorth). I'll be connecting with ched and meeting the rest of the cool cats of nyack (dennis and eddy). then on saturday ched and I are heading into 'the city' and will be meeting some blogging buds.

surprisingly, I discovered I don't have very many photos of trains in my personal archives - lots of photos of stations and rails but not actual trains. and because of such I had to borrow an image of today's main photo from my extremely talented daughter e - thanks e!!
happy rails to you.....

the mouse will resume it's regular schedule on monday september 29th. until then - the first reader to correctly identify the mystery station in the photo below is the winner of a surprise from the magical mouse studio:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

q is for quilt

the quilt above is not one of my quilts nor is it one of the most artfully constructed quilts I've ever seen, but the story of this quilt is one of my favorite quilt stories. and because it has such an interesting story, with so many wonderful life lessons, I believe it is one of the most beautiful quilts I've seen.

we encountered this quilt in march at the annual quilt show at the metrolakes farmpark. margarette heintz of mentor, ohio began working on this quilt sometime during the 1940s. during the 1940s mrs. heintz embroidered most of the 8-inch squares for the quilt. the design on the squares came from iron-on transfers and feature the state bird and state flower for all of the states (only 48 at the time she began work on the quilt). in 1950 she took a hiatus of over twenty-five years while she focused her creative energies on raising her children. in 1976, mrs. heintz rediscovered her squares, created a few more squares - including squares for two more states and the squares which marked the bi-centennial of the united states. she assembled all of the squares and finished the quilt top. after the quilt top was complete mrs. heintz apparently lost her groove. she states that no one in her family had any interest in the quilt. so she packed the top up and put it away for thirty more years! in 2007, at the age of 86, mrs. heintz pulled out the top and without any assistance put the quilt together. it was her first, last and only quilt! she named the quilt 'forever' because that is 'how long it took to make.'

I love to quilt and came to quilting quite naturally as I come from a long line of "women of the cloth." one of my earliest memories is of playing with my cousin under the quilting frame at my grandmother's house waiting for the call to thread more needles. I made my first quilt in the mid 1970s while on a college break. I discovered my mother's scrap bag and constructed a very simple quilt composed entirely of fabric scraps from clothes that my mom made for my sister and I.

after my first quilt my quilting fairy went into hibernation until 1990. unlike mrs. heintz, I started and completed my first quilt in a timely manner and went on to make many quilts from 1990 until the present day. although I pride myself on finishing quilts, I have several quilts that have been 'under construction' for a while, but I hope none of these quilts will rival the length of time mrs. heintz's forever quilt was in progress. I enjoy making quilts that celebrate or commemorate special events in people's lives. I have made quilts that mark the entire cycle of life from birth to death I also volunteer my quilting fairy to help raise awareness about the tragic occasions when birth and death collide as I am part of a circle of quilters who contribute blocks to the safe motherhood quilt project.

detail of a beautiful award winning quilt from the 2008 quilt show at the farmpark.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

p is for protest

p is for protest. the images above were taken at a recent rally in alaska they clearly show that ms. pain is far from being supported in her home state. below some of the text which accompanied the pictures:
The rally was organized by a small group of women, talking over coffee. It made me wonder what other things have started with small groups of women talking over coffee. It's probably an impressive list.

I felt a bit apprehensive. I'd been disappointed before by the turnout at other rallies. Basically, in Anchorage, if you can get 25 people to show up at an event, it's a success. So, I thought to myself, if we can actually get 100 people there that aren't sent by Eddie Burke, we'll be doing good. A real statement will have been made. I confess, I still had a mental image of 15 demonstrators surrounded by hundreds of menacing "socialist baby-killing maggot" haters.

Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage.

The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1,400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators). This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state. I was absolutely stunned.

The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by. And even those that didn't honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute.This just doesn't happen here.

So, if you've been doing the math… Yes. The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was significantly bigger than Palin's rally that got all the national media coverage! Sarah Palin most definitely does not speak for all Alaskans.The citizens of Alaska, who know her best, have things to say.
one of the signs (sarah palin is g.w. bush with lipstick) was inspired by ms. pain's remark at the rnc likening herself as a hockey mom's to a pit bull with lipstick - pit bulls have a bad enough (and greatly undeserved) rap without ms. pain maligning them any further. although I chuckled at the sign, I think a far more accurate sign would have been:
sarah palin is dan qualye with lipstick

p is also for princess and pansies

ms. t in her princess dress - heaven help us when she puts on the princess dress, as it's hell to convince her to change! in case you are wondering that's olivia's ear in the right hand corner of the photo.

Monday, September 22, 2008

o is for olive

knock, knock

who's there?


olive who?

olive you.

yeah, okay, the knock-knock joke is silly, but olive (I love) it none-the-less.

odd, I never really thought about it but I love foods that begin with the letter o - olives, oranges, okra, oysters, oatmeal (especially when made into oatmeal cookies!), orzo, and onions (especially spring and vidalia).... hey, maybe I just love food.

herbed olives
4 cups of your favorite olives
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
2 clove garlic, finely minced
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

along with being delicious olives are good for your health! in addition to bursting with flavor, olives are bursting with antioxidants, monounsaturated fat, iron, vitamin E, and fiber and as such may help protect people from stroke, heart disease, impotence and premature wrinkling.

o is also for ovaries and ovarian health! recently I learned from blogging bud saretta at amid the olives trees that september is ovarian cancer awareness month. the blogging community is helping raise awareness of this important cause by focusing on O foods:

O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of Gina DePalma, author of Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen and Executive Pastry Chef of Babbo Ristorante in NYC, who was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy, Jenn of The Leftover Queen, and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso are asking you to donate to the:

Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (via FirstGiving.org)

and then, out of the goodness of your hearts and to be eligible for the O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest, please do the following:

1. Post a recipe to your blog using a food that starts or ends with the letter O (e.g., oatmeal, orange, okra, octopus, olive, onion, potato, tomato) and include this entire text box in the post;


2. If you’re not into the recipe thing, simply post this entire text box in a post on your blog to help spread the word about the event and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.


3. Then send your post url [along with a photo (100 x 100) if you've made a recipe] to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on September 30, 2008.

We will post a roundup and announce prize winners on October 3.


  • 1 Recipe Prize for best “O food” concoction: $50 gift certificate to Amazon;
  • 1 Awareness Prize for only publicizing event: Copy of Dolce Italiano cookbook.


From the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund:

  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women; a woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is 1 in 67.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that 21,650 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the U.S. in 2008 and about 15,520 women will die from the disease.
  • The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and subtle, making it difficult to diagnose. There is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer but there are tests which can detect ovarian cancer when patients are at high risk or have early symptoms.
  • In spite of this patients are usually diagnosed in advanced stages and only 45% survive longer than five years. Only 19% of cases are caught before the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvic region.
  • When ovarian cancer is detected and treated early on, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92%.

Please donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
and help spread the word!

knock knock
who's there?

banana who?

knock knock
who's there?

banana who?

knock knock
who's there?

banana who?

knock knock
who's there?

banana who?

knock knock
who's there?

orange who?

orange you glad I didn't say banana again?

photos: top - olives at a market in the provence, france. bottom - gallucci's herbed olives (not the recipe above - which is the mouse's recipe) at the olive bar at gallucci's market - the best place to buy olives and italian specialty foods in cleveland.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

n is for nature

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful.
Alice Walker (b. 1944) writer and womanist

n is also for namasté - I 'borrowed' the following image from this recent article in the new york times. I thought it was pretty amazing. I've been meaning to get back into doing yoga, I wonder how long it will take to get to a level of flexibility where I can do this!

the mouse is not currently focused on birthdays, but I have to mention today is the birthday of one of my musical icons, the great canadian poet leonard cohen. leonard was born on september 21, 1934 in westmount, quebec. the following vid was done by martin van golde and features leonard's amazing song avalanche. take a few and sit back and enjoy.

martin's vid reminds me a bit of some of the wonderful vids ched has been doing lately - right now ched uses her digital camera to shoot her short vids, perhaps one of these days she'll expand to shooting with an actual video camera- wouldn't that be grand!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

m is for mural

I once claimed that "M is the very best letter in the alphabet." I know it's not nice to pick favorites, but my mind is maintained, there's something marvelous about the letter M - mmmmmmm.

speaking of marvelous - aren't murals just that! I started thinking about murals yesterday after I read this column about the mounting maelstrom of money madness. it begins:
The leverage party’s over for the masters of the universe. Shed a tear. When you trade pieces of paper for other pieces of paper instead of trading them for real things, one day someone wakes up and realizes the paper’s worth nothing.And Lehman Brothers, after 158 years, has gone poof in the night.

We’re witnessing the passing of more than a venerable firm. We’re seeing the death of a culture.

For years, accountants, rating agencies and Wall Street executives decided to shoot craps and collect fees. Regulators, taking their cue from a distracted President Bush, took a nap. The two M’s — Money and Me — became the lodestones of the zeitgeist, and damn those distant wars.
roger cohen goes on to suggest this article and nick taylor's book American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the W.P.A.: When F.D.R. Put the Nation to Work.

murals are paintings on walls, ceilings or other large fixed surfaces - ever since we humans discovered that we can make marks, we have been creating murals - just think of the caves of lascaux!

key to murals: 1) a portion of diego rivera's magnificant the detroit industry mural commissioned early during the 1930 depression by edsal ford. the murals are housed in the recently renovated detroit institute of arts.

2) a mural in pittsburgh - unfortunately I didn't write down either the artist or the street.

3) this mural of the mermaid with hot dog is posted in honor of lettuce who is quite mesmerized by coney island. I can tell you the mural is right off the boardwalk, but again I did not note the name of the artist - I really need to start doing this!

above - the monkey room a bar (that I admit I haven't checked out) in washington heights

Friday, September 19, 2008

l is for library

The closest you will ever come in this life to an orderly universe is a good library.
Ashleigh Brilliant (b. 1933) author and cartoonist

photo: reading room of new york public library

Thursday, September 18, 2008

windows, windows, more windows

If God lived on Earth, people would knock out all His windows.
Yiddish Proverb

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.
Sydney J. Harris (1917–1986), American journalist

There comes a time in a man's life when to get where he has to go - if there are no doors or windows he walks through a wall.
Bernard Malamud (1914-1986) author of novels & short stories

A smile is a light in the window of a face that signifies the heart is at home and waiting.

When poverty comes in at doors, love leaps out at windows.
John Clarke (1857-1945)American Supreme Court justice

There is no one, says another, whom fortune does not visit once in his life; but when she does not find him ready to receive her, she walks in at the door, and flies out at the window.
Charles de Montesquieu (1689-1755)French politician and philosopher

You cannot believe in honor until you have achieved it, better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish literary critic, playwright and essayist.

People are like stained - glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1926-2004) psychiatrist and pioneer on death and dying

Wee Willie Winkle runs through the town, Upstairs and downstairs, in his night-gown, Tirlin' at the window, cryin' at the lock, "Are the weans in their bed? for it's now ten o'clock.
Mother Goose

notes on photos:
1 - groveland cottage b & b, north olympic penisula, washington
2 - view from tate museum, london
3 - view from cardiff castle, wales
4 - cat in window, cleveland heights, ohio
5 - abandoned mill, flushing, ohio
6 - view from rodin museum, paris
7 - shop window, paris
8 - st. mary's church, mcadoo, pennsylvania
9 - ms t in library window (I've posted this before, but I just love this pic!) lakewood, ohio

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

k is for kermit

Time's fun when you are having flies.
Kermit the Frog (b. 1955) mega star of stage and screen, ace reporter

longtime readers of the mouse, along with my kith and kin, know I have a special konnection to kermit the frog. probably because we have much in kommon - we were born in the south - in the same year, we love hearing people's stories, our names start with that kool letter K and we are both a bit kooky!

kermit and kylie singing especially for you

photos: top - kermie & kim at the 2008 peace show - susan found this kermit at a yard sale, brought him to the peace show so he kould go home with me. kermit believes strongly that war is not the answer and that killing is wrong! bottom - kermit mug, another kermit find from unique thrift.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

j is for jigsaw

this weekend I realized that there are two types of folks in the world - those that enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles and those that don't. within the set of those that don't enjoy doing jigsaws is a subset of people who like to watch others do jigsaw puzzles. no judgment - just an observation. in case you are wondering, I'm a member of the group of people that finds much joy in working on a jigsaw puzzle. in fact, as with many things I enjoy doing, I can become quite obsessive; so it is probably a good thing that I don't find myself around jigsaw puzzles very often!

since we're on j I have to share this jewel I heard over the weekend - the remark is directed to ms. pain who many of you might remember belittled the O man's experience as a community organizer during her address of the rnc. well, ms. pain here's what we have to say:
jesus was a community organizer and pontius pilate was a governor.

and while we're talking about jesus I thought I'd also like to share another line which graces a bumper sticker in my office (the downside of not having an automobile is no bumper to stick a piece these jewels!) this remark is directed to w and darth:
when jesus said, 'love your enemies,' I think he probably meant don't kill them.

j is also for jelly bean. joyous hugs to you! you know who you are!

and one more - j is also for java! this song is dedicated to coffee messiah. thanks for the jukebox of java jumping tunes! coffee you rock! here's al with his jazzy java drinkin' time!

photos: top status of puzzle friday night before heading to bed. lower puzzle status early saturday evening - after our walk and before dinner. we did NOT pull out a second puzzle! (since my camera was on the fritz the second picture was taken with my cell phone's camera - thank goodness for I could still feed that obsession!). flushing, ohio - september 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

i is for impressions

a few images and impressions from our weekend. september is proving to be a most interesting month! friday evening f and I set off for southeastern ohio to meet friends for a weekend of friendship and fun. last spring s & p successfully bid on a weekend at the stratton house in flushing during a fundraiser for the olney school. s & p, generous to their very core, invited an interesting assortment of friends. we were blessed to be among the chosen.

the drive down was intense. most of the trip involved traveling on dark windy, unfamiliar country roads in the rain and fog. but we arrived safe and sound and with friends and food awaiting our arrival, whatever road worries we had instantly evaporated.

saturday started off as friday ended -- foggy and wet but the weather did nothing to interfere with our itinerary. after breakfast we headed "downtown" for our appointment with john mattox, the curator of the underground railroad museum. the introduction to the museum and it's collection that mr. mattox provided was incredibly interesting. john's knowledge and commitment to sharing this inconceivable* chapter in u.s. history is most important. although small, the museum's collection is simply incredible - it is jammed packed with artifacts, documents, and memorabilia - but everything is well organized and quite simply irrestistible to the curious soul.

by saturday afternoon the rain and fog evaporated and the temperatures warm enough to dry out the terrain enough for a walk in the woods. after lunch we headed out to dysart woods "the largest known (51 acres) of unglaciated primeval oak forest in Southeastern Ohio. The virgin forest, with specimens 300-400 years old, is a National Natural Landmark and botanical research laboratory of Ohio University and the Eastern Campus." unfortunately while I was at the underground railroad museum my camera went on the fritz, I was not able to capture any images from our walk in the woods. (I'm happy to report my camera started working again sunday morning - however, I did get the same strange error message so right after this post goes up, I'm taking the camera to the shop for diagnostic inquiry)

among our activities on sunday were

an early morning walk to the village of flushing (2000 population 900)

a visit to see the work of a local chainsaw artist named ed

setting up the always desirable group portrait,

and a stop at the fiesta factory store in newell, west virginia on our ride back home.

yesterday immediately after downloading my photos and posting a comment in response to all the wonderful comments on the h is for happy post, an immense storm named ike hit - bringing down many trees and our electricity. this morning our power is back on, but according to the radio, there are thousands of households in the cleveland area still without power. of course the damage and destruction that ike has caused here is infinitesimal compared to the death and devastation ike instigated and induced elsewhere.

* slavery is inconceivable to most people today. fortunately to was also inconceivable to many men and women during the early stages of the country's history (slavery was legal from 1654 to 1865) - and with their belief and the actions their beliefs initiated, the practice of slavery finally was ended. over 140 years after slavery was abolished in the united states, many believe that the country is still healing from the injuries of this form of inhumanity.

Friday, September 12, 2008

h is for happy

today is my sister annie's birthday - HAPPY birthday annie!

once again I picked out a card and once again I failed to post it in a timely manner! I need to adopt the system my mom uses for sending cards. at the beginning of the month she checks her special book and notes all the noteworthy events (birthdays and anniversaries) that are coming up for that month. she gets out her stash of cards, chooses just the right card for each occasion, writes her message, addresses the envelop and then where the stamp goes jots the date that the card needs to be mailed. she organizes the cards, places them in the designated spot on her kitchen hutch. when mailing day arrives, she stamps the envelop and viola - she helps make someone a little bit happier!!

ah, there are times....the hurrier I go the behinder I get

ched provided us with the keys to happiness and over at e's house I saw this list on her fridge:

the video of matt, whoever the hell he is, doing the happy dance never fails to make me feel happy. in case you've missed it:

photo: annie (left) with her best friend mei-mei, guam 1965

Thursday, September 11, 2008

finding keys

this week's theme paralyzed me with options - and this was before I opened up the dictionary and read the entry for key! have you ever read the dictionary entry for key? one needs a key to keep track of all the meanings and objects that key represents -- I need a trip to a nice tropical key to recover from imagination overload.

here's a key I found in bob's song thunder on the mountain* - that didn't show up on dictionary.com or in my websters.....

photos: a & z tickling some keys, virginia 11.06; crossing into tennessee 7.07 (no this photo isn't totally random! but you might have to listen to bob to find out why it's not)

*sorry this vid doesn't show bob singing the song.... it was the best audio of the song except for the official bob dylan tv version.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

g is for graffiti

graffiti is it street art or senseless vandalism? as with most things in life, I say context is everything and beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

g is also for gwen.
If we treated everyone we meet with the same affection we bestow upon our favorite cat, they, too, would purr.
Martin Delany (1812-1885) african-american abolitionist, political activist

photos: top - wall scrawl off e. 6th; gwen at home - cleveland