Thursday, April 30, 2009

after the rain has fallen

still in my wandering mode, no time to devote to the mouse's usual theme thursday celebration - wah! however, on my recent ramble, I did snap some pics that fit in perfectly with today's water theme. the mouse plans to be back to the bloggyhood next week (thanks willow, I like 'bloggyhood' much more than cyberhood! cyberhood seems just, well, so borg-like)

Into each life some rain must fall.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), educator and poet

CHATTER of birds two by two raises a night song joining a litany of running water—sheer waters showing the russet of old stones remembering many rains.

And the long willows drowse on the shoulders of the running water, and sleep from much music; joined songs of day-end, feathery throats and stony waters, in a choir chanting new psalms.

It is too much for the long willows when low laughter of a red moon comes down; and the willows drowse and sleep on the shoulders of the running water.
Carl Sandburg (1878–1967) poet, Prairie Waters by Night

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
Audre Lorde (1934-1992)writer, poet, activist

For he who has no tranquility there is no concentration.
Bhagavad Gita

notes on photos:
  1. rain on window at modern art museum of fort worth. to see my flickr album of the modern go here.
  2. fort worth water garden
  3. fort worth water garden
  4. the japanese garden at the fort worth botanical gardens
pictures taken april 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

don't get me wrong

the journey back home took longer and was more complicated than expected involving 3 carriers, 3 airports, and 2 mad-dash airport runs to catch planes minutes before they taxied off. 24 hours after leaving the dallas-fort worth airport my checked bag ended its wander and met me at home. don't get me wrong, despite of the trip home craziness, I had a grand time!

after 12 days of being away the amount of things which need my attention is larger than expected and since I'm off on another wee wander thursday, my return to blogging is likely to be delayed until next week! don't get me wrong, I am missing the cyberhood, but right now I just can't figure out how to get everything in. I haven't even begun to organize the hundreds of photos I snapped (1026 to be exact!)

don't get me wrong, I won't leave you totally high and dry. here are a few few images to tide you over until I get the flickr albums up.

dramatic texas sky
horned toad on the tcu campus in fort worth
ut's hook 'em horns statue
bluebonnets by the road
a cute cow outside new braunfels
turtle yoga at the lady bird johnson wildflower center
the newly unveiled statue in honor of texas great barbara jordan on the ut campus, austin
stevie ray vaughan memorial on the banks of lady bird lake, austin
surrounded by some of the love I hung with deep in the heart of texas
and me the night before I leave with the owner of benitos, this fort worth restaurant remains my favorite place to eat mexican food anywhere, anytime...

alas, tales from texas will have to wait....

'don't get me wrong' written by akron native chrissy hynde of the pretenders. the song hit the charts in 1986 and remains one of the group's most recognizable and favorite tunes. a couple years ago lily allen covered the song in the 40th anniversary celebration of bbc radio 1

photos: all taken in texas between april 16-27 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

the world at large

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) playwright and poet

it's spring and the time of year this mouse finds it hard to resist the call to wander.

this year I have headed south to the land of brilliant sunsets, dramatic skies, horned frogs, longhorns, bluebonnets, indian paintbrushes, big hair, the possiblity of mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a hundred things that can make me smile. the thing that has me smiling most is that over the next week or so I'll be visiting with a lot of folks that I love!

no new posts until april 28th -- once home, you can count on a few texas tales and most likely more than a few snaps.

at first I thought of willie's song 'on the road again' for the title of today's post, but I used this song before, instead today's tune is a song by modest mouse (a group that has one of the best band names of all time, but maybe I am biased in this regard....)

photo: some texas road, somewhere outside of austin, sometime I was traveling through....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

shapes of things

It is the familiar that usually eludes us in life. What is before our nose is what we see last.
William Barrett (1918-1992) philosopher

All things change, nothing is extinguished. There is nothing in the whole world which is permanent. Everything flows onward; all things are brought into being with a changing nature; the ages themselves glide by in constant movement.
Ovid (43 BC -17 AD)Ancient Roman classical poet

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.
Aldo Leopold (1887-1948)writer, ecologist, forester

We're animals. We're born like every other mammal and we live our whole lives around disguised animal thoughts.
Barbara Kingsolver (b. 1955)writer and activist

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
E.B. White (1899-1985) writer

It could be that our faithlessness is a cowering cowardice born of our very smallness, a massive failure of imagination. Certainly nature seems to exult in abounding radicality, extremism, anarchy. If we were to judge nature by common sense or likelihood, we wouldn't believe the world existed.
Annie Dillard (b.1945) writer, best known for her narrative nonfiction

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.
Native American Wisdom

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
John Muir (1838-1914) engineer, naturalist, writer

I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?
Robert Redford (b. 1936) actor, director, environmental activist

notes on photos:
  1. poster advertising chicago's 2007 festival of maps october 2007
  2. foucault pendulum, named after the 19th century french physicist léon foucault, who created the pendulum to visually demonstrate the earth's rotation on it's axis. cleveland museum of natural history, january 2009
  3. vermont view september 2005
  4. herd of elk in point reyes national seashore, may 2004
  5. gullfoss (golden falls) iceland, march 1999
  6. eight years after its catastrophic eruption, the land around mount st. helens is a vivid visual reminder us of the incredible power of the earth, july 1990
  7. eighteen years after signs of healing and recovery but nothing is the same as it was - mount st. helens, march 1998
  8. the badlands national park at sunset, south dakota august 1998
  9. outside the field museum, chicago, october 2007

the yardbirds shapes of things (1966) on guitar is jeff beck; who, incidentally, was inducted into the rock hall just a couple weeks ago. in 2005 q magazine included shapes of things in their list of 100 greatest guitar tracks.

for me the most powerful and fitting verse of the song for theme thursday is:

Now the trees are almost green.
But will they still be seen?
When time and tide have been.
Fall into your passing hands.
Please don't destroy these lands.
Don't make them desert sands.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I wish the government would put a tax on pianos for the incompetent.
Dame Edith Sitwell (1887-1964) poet, critic and biographer

on april 15th, otherwise known as tax day, I expect lots of folks around the country feel like the 'folks' in the photo above.

not surprising one of my biggest complaints about the tax system in the united states is how much of our federal tax money is directed towards this.

photo: the mission boutique, lakewood april 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

we didn't start the fire

It turns out you are the story of your childhood
and you’re under constant revision,
like a lonely folktale whose invisible folks

are all the selves you’ve been, lifelong,
shadows in fog, grey glimmers at dusk.
And each of these selves had a childhood
William Matthews (1942 - 1997) poet

the above is an excerpt from matthews poem A Happy Childhood, to read the complete poem go here

the photo above was taken in october 1958, according to wikipedia, this was the height of one period of hula-hoop mania.
Plastic hula hoops were first manufactured and sold in Australia. In 1957, Coles department store sold bamboo hoops, but the supplier couldn't produce enough to meet demand. So they invited Alex Tolmer, the founder of Toltoys, to produce plastic ones. Toltoys sold 400,000 plastic hoops in 1957. In 1958, Melin and Knerr of Wham-O started to market hula hoops in the USA, selling 100 million over that summer. The craze lasted from January to October, then suddenly died. In only four months, an estimated 80 to 100 million of them were sold in 1958.
playing with hoops is far from being only a modern or western childhood activity, the same wikipedia article discusses how hoops have been used throughout history and in many, many cultures.

I still like to play with hula hoops and yes I have one, but it's not nearly as nice as the one pictured above.

from 1989, billy joel's infectious hit we didn't start the fire which, yes, mentions hula hoops!

Monday, April 13, 2009

fishing blues

The Fisherman

ALTHOUGH I can see him still.
The freckled man who goes
To a grey place on a hill
In grey Connemara clothes
At dawn to cast his flies,
It's long since I began
To call up to the eyes
This wise and simple man.
All day I'd looked in the face
What I had hoped 'twould be
To write for my own race
And the reality;
The living men that I hate,
The dead man that I loved,
The craven man in his seat,
The insolent unreproved,
And no knave brought to book
Who has won a drunken cheer,
The witty man and his joke
Aimed at the commonest ear,
The clever man who cries
The catch-cries of the clown,
The beating down of the wise
And great Art beaten down.
Maybe a twelvemonth since
Suddenly I began,
In scorn of this audience,
Imagining a man,
And his sun-freckled face,
And grey Connemara cloth,
Climbing up to a place
Where stone is dark under froth,
And the down-turn of his wrist
When the flies drop in the stream;
A man who does not exist,
A man who is but a dream;
And cried, 'Before I am old
I shall have written him one
poem maybe as cold
And passionate as the dawn.'
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) poet and dramatist

it was a full and lovely weekend. today, the clouds are moving in and if the forecasters are correct, more april showers are in store. but that only means more may flowers!

we saw plenty of flowers yesterday; f and I wandered over to the nearby rocky river reservation for an early afternoon hike. after walking through the neighborhood admiring all the spring flower and trees in bloom (at last some of the flowering trees are showing their color), our first stop was at the stinchcomb-groth overlook, it was such a clear day one could see the keybank skyscraper and the goodyear blimp nearly ten miles to the east in downtown cleveland(click on pic and you can see them too!).

behind the overlook we discovered a steep woodland trail which took us down to the river. we only noticed the trail when a mountain bike went flying by and quickly disappeared. we followed the bike and soon found ourselves on the banks of the river. there were lots of anglers on the river trying their luck at catching some of the steelhead trout which run in the river this time of year.

we got home, to spend the rest of the day in comfortable companionship with friends and family - socializing, reading, and eating copious quantities of delicious food. after dessert ms t pulled out the wigs for a little after dinner silliness.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

another sunny day

I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) poet

it's another sunny day here on avenue c to find some flowers to touch! hope everyone is having a good weekend!

bright birthday wishes to nina - for you I'd pick a few! is it true are you officially a teenager?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

green eggs and ham

Love and eggs are best when they are fresh.
Russian proverb

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.
Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is to live everything.
Live the questions.
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) poet and novelist

We were children dangling happily from branches. The heavens above beckoned with treasures and we sharpened our wooden daggers to reach them. We fought bravely against invisible enemies, caught butterflies and little birds, in order to release them ceremoniously, we laughed at lovers kissing, chased strangers, brought kittens back to their mothers, cried bitterly, if only briefly.
Marjana Gaponenko (b. 1981) Ukrainian poet

There is an indescribable freshness and unconsciousness about an illiterate person that humbles and mocks the power of the noblest expressive genius.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) poet

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.
Maya Angelou (b.1928) poet, actor, activist

I did toy with the idea of doing a cook-book. The recipes were to be the routine ones: how to make dry toast, instant coffee, hearts of lettuce and brownies. But as an added attraction, at no extra charge, my idea was to put a fried egg on the cover. I think a lot of people who hate literature but love fried eggs would buy it if the price was right.
Groucho Marx (1890-1977)comedian, actor, singer

Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) essayist, poet and philosopher

with respect to good eggs - I would like to wish two extremely special people in my life a very hoppy birthday! today trent turns 15 (I'm so glad you hatched! you have brighten up my life, and it's so nice to have someone around that can give me some good leads on what's up in the worlds of rock 'n roll and graphic novels). today is also owlice's birthday, talk about good eggs! for the next four months we'll be the same age. I am counting the days till I see you in the land of our riotous youth! speaking of counting, can it be that we've been best buds for over 35 years - where has the time gone? but isn't it amazing how we still look exactly the same as we did when we first met?

notes on photos:
  1. richard lenoir market, paris march 2007
  2. pysanky demonstration by cleveland area artist nina kostryk at the ukrainian museum-archives. to see a slideshow of some of the photos I snapped last week when I visited, click here. april 2009
  3. some of the pysanky that nina has made
  4. sign in window of a local shop which for a brief time was selling fresh eggs. I haven't popped in yet to find out what happened, but expect that maybe it wasn't kosher for an upholstery shop to be selling eggs. march 2009
  5. more eggs for sale at the richard lenoir market. on tuesday ms. t and I dyed eggs, I learned a couple things, if you want nice vibrantly colorful eggs, do not use brown eggs - I always buy organic, cage-free, brown eggs to eat at home, well these eggs may be the healthiest eggs to consume, but they don't really make the prettiest dyed eggs. the second thing I learned is that after the eggs have been dyed, small children will delight in turning these colorful objects into toys. I had a great deal of fun watching and listening to ms t she gave life to our eggs as she used them as characters in one of her elaborate 'plays.'
  6. a typical sunday breakfast on avenue c. monday through saturday breakfast is always catch-as-catch-can, but on sunday f and I enjoy making a full breakfast, and nine times out of ten eggs are involved. the type of egg dish varies, most often we just make simple fried eggs, with runny yolks. the cats always ask that bacon accompany the eggs, since we like making the cats happy, most of the time there is bacon served up along side the eggs. and, of course, toast and marmite!
  7. a project waiting for the kids in the afterschool program, lakewood public library, 7 april 2009
unfortunately I couldn't find a vid of moxy früvous' performing their song green eggs and ham, a delightful infectious musical adaptation of the dr. seuss story with the same name, but I did find this vid which quite fun.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

the road not taken

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March.
Robert Frost(1874-1963) poet, educator

april is national poetry month, to honor the month, more poets and poems will be appearing on the mouse this month. I wonder why april was selected as the month to celebrate poets and poetry? is it the bursting forth of spring? or the mercurial nature of the the month?

while looking up the dates for robert frost, I ran across two interesting bits of trivia (well, I ran across a lot more, but two is all I'll do for you this morning). in the 1920s, frost taught at the university of michigan, the house he lived in while in ann arbor is now situated at the henry ford museum in detroit. I have been wanting to visit the henry ford museum for quite some time, the fact that the museum is home to the frost house, and also home to this house, has catapulted the museum to the top of my list for a destination this summer. (well, to be completely honest, the real reason detroit on my list as a sooner vs later destination, is to go to this exhibit). oh, back to the frost trivia - the other interesting bit is frost's epitaph, it reads, "I had a lover's quarrel with the world." don't you just love it.

bonus bit of frost trivia. I attended robert frost middle school in fairfax virginia. pretty cool, eh?

a virtual movie done by jim clark of frost reading his classic the road not taken. jim clark is a london videographer and sound recordist who has done a large number of these virtual movies, I think they are pretty far out. you can see more of jim's work on youtube.

photo: taken during a walk in my hood, 7 april 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

lives in the balance

Joy and Temperance and Repose
Slam the door on the doctor's nose.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), educator and poet

on april 7, 1948 the world health organization (WHO) was founded. in honor of the founding of the WHO, which is the public health agency of the united nations, april 7th has been designated as world health day. for at least the last fifteen years there has been a theme for world health day. this year the theme is: save lives. make hospitals safe in emergencies.

there is a bizarre type of irony and poignancy to this year's theme given the current economic climate. just this morning, the radio mentioned a recent survey conducted by the ohio hospital association which reports that more than a third of all ohio hospitals plan to layoff employees within the next six months. over the last few months many hospitals in the cleveland area have already experienced significant layoffs. for instance, in november of 2008, metrohealth, our public hospital and the primary safety net hospital for the region, laid off 112 employees, this was on top of a cut of 73 employees in may 2008 and I have heard rumors that more cuts at metro are expected. metro is far from alone, according to this, three other hospitals in the area announced significant layoffs.

this year's theme is particularly relevant in light of stories concerning the recent earthquake in italy. scores of people have died and tens of thousands of people are homeless due to a powerful earthquake that has rocked a mountainous area of the country. unfortunately, after the quake the primary hospital in l'aquila was considered unsafe; most of the health care offered to those affected by the quake will have to take place in field hospitals or at distant facilities. fortunately, italy is not alone, assistance to help the victims of the quake is coming from near and far (stories here and here).

to read about this year's world health day theme and to explore topics related to the particular threat emergencies present to health, health care facilities, and the overall delivery of care, go here.
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
WHO definition of health

to this humble mouse, I believe the ultimate threat to the health and well-being of people, and to our beautiful planet, is war and violence. in this spirit, for today's song, I offer this lovely acoustic version of jackson browne's 'lives in the balance' - in this vid, jackson is joined by david crosby, graham nash & david lindley

photo: taken at washington medical center, washington dc, january 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

write me a letter

TO The States, or any one of them, or any city of The States, Resist much, obey little;
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved;
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, of this earth, ever afterward resumes its liberty.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) poet, essayist, and humanist
(from Leaves of Grass, 1900)

our glorious weather came to a sudden end this morning when we woke to heavy slate skies and the threat of snow. I confess, I freaked when the forecast mentioned the S word. after a dozen years of living on the north coast, you would have thought I wouldn't have been so shocked, after all, snow in april isn't that unusual. but after the last couple weeks of warm, beautiful weather, I was lulled into believing spring was here to stay. but today it was back to gloves, hats and winter coats -- and will be so, at least for the next few days, then, if accuweather is correct, come thursday, we will be back to sun, warmth, and daffodils.

since late morning the snow has swirling about; but only recently has it begun to stick to the grass and the roofs of the houses. accuweather predicts a few inches accumulating overnight, with an additional inch possible tomorrow. oh joy!

but I am warmed and brightened with memories of an excellent weekend - a relaxing weekend filled with a nice mix of socializing, chilling out at home, good food, basketball ( happily the uconn women move on to the ncaa championship game tomorrow night), and even some 'culture.'

the 'culture' part of the weekend is worth mentioning as it included an excursion to the local ukrainian museum-archives -- a new find for me. saturday I ran across a notice in the paper that they were having their annual easter bazaar, since this was a ukrainian bazaar, the centerpiece of the bazaar was to be ukrainian easter eggs (how could I not go- I confess I have eggs on my brain considering the upcoming theme thursday!). it was the first time f & I visited the museum-archives, but we'll be back; our time was limited. I only had an hour. my time was limited because a date to meet a friend at the cleveland playhouse in order to attend a benefit for the progressive democrats of america.

the benefit included a reception and seats for the current production. unfortunately, I missed most of the reception, and only caught about fifeteen minutes of john nichols' talk. what I caught was absolutely brilliant, which is not surprising given the quality of nichols work. fortunately as soon as I found the place of the reception, I quickly found my friend and also found myself standing next to connie shultz and her lovely husband. although I've only met connie once, I feel we're old friends. of course, most of us who live in the greater cleveland area feel as though connie is an old friend as she has been presence in our lives for years. connie writes a column for the plain dealer, a column where she never fails to bring her critical intellect and her compassionate heart to whatever topic is at hand.

after the reception was the performance of the marvelous one-woman show 'the lady with all the answers.' the play is based on the life and letters of ann landers (aka eppie lederer) and stars mimi kennedy, who is perhaps best known as playing abby, dharma's mom on the sitcom 'dharma and greg.' given mimi's personal political views (decidedly and delightfully left of center) she was a natural for ann/eppie -- who was also decidedly and delightfully left of center - although how much I never really knew until I saw this wonderfully crafted and executed play. the play had the audience laughing and crying, but most of all, grateful that a person like ann/eppie graced our lives for so many years.
Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and repeat to yourself, the most comforting words of all; this, too, shall pass.
Eppie Lederer, aka Ann Landers (1918-2002) advice columnist

aresosmith's write me a letter

photos: top- visible voice books, just down the street from the ukrainian museum-archives in cleveland's historical tremont neighborhood; middle - senator sherrod brown (her lovely husband), connie shultz, john nichols; bottom - matinee patrons reading some advice from ann. cleveland, 5 april 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

keep on smiling

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, everyday, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.
Christopher Morley (1890-1957) writer & editor

along with the daily newspaper, the cleveland plain dealer, each thursday we receive a copy of the weekly lakewood sun post. we are always on the verge of stopping our subscription to both of these papers. increasingly, we seem to turn to on-line papers (in particular, this and this) for world and national news and of course our local npr station is always on at our house.

but missing from all these sources is a local perspective. in terms of the lakewood sun post, I can't imagine a week going by without the 'police blotter' which always appears on page 2 of the sun post. it is always good for a few chuckles, not to mention the reality check it provides.

hope everyone has a sweet weekend! ours got off to a good start as last night we went over to some friends for dinner and the evening was filled with friendship, good food, reading kids books, and, well, overall silliness!

wet willie singing perhaps their best known song, keep on smiling. hey, who can't appreciate a band that chooses such a silly name!

photos: notch looking particularly happy yesterday knowing that he was soon going to have a clean cage and fresh food! k reading to c&s at a goodbye dinner in her honor; a slide show of c being delightfully silly. all pics snapped 3 april.