Saturday, February 19, 2011

new york city

One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.

Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938) writer

the mouse is on a wander. first stop is new york city - I love new york! got in thursday evening after a longer than usual train ride - two hours longer than normal to be exact. ah, if only amtrak ran as fast and smoothly as the trains in europe and japan, but I didn't have any plans for thursday night nor did I have a shortage of reading material so no worries.

what a gift to have a huge chunk of time to just be - read, look out the window, think, converse with others if one wants, whatever.

I read two wonderful novels on the ride, both were written by new york based writer paul auster. auster is a well-established and renown author, but totally new to me. last week I picked up his book the brooklyn follies while I was at the library, my interest was piqued the moment I read the blurb on the back, and was so swept away by auster's style and voice, I had to read more. so before leaving cleveland, I ran to the library and traded in brooklyn follies for two more auster books - timbuktu and oracle night. I highly recommend all three books. but if you want a small book that is sweet and serious and will touch your heart in all sorts of surprising ways , timbuktu is a must read. technically timbuktu is probably a novella (only 180 magic filled pages of prose) and the other book is not much longer. after checking out auster on the portal I discovered I was familiar with his work, he wrote the screenplay and co-directed one of my all time favorite films smoke (1995) .

yesterday, my first full day in new york, was absolutely perfect - that is if one considers 60 degree temperatures, blue skies and streets filled with smiling, happy people perfection. a friend from connecticut came in to spend the day and hanging out with a friend of almost thirty years only added to the perfection of the day. we had a relaxing day wandering about and catching up - nancy came to see me, and we had the shared goal to visit the rubin, but it was hard to stop wandering the streets, soaking it all in and go inside. sometime after 4 we finally did. on fridays the museum is open until 10 p.m. so we didn't feel too much pressure. thanks nancy for spending your day off with me.

willow, if you are reading this post, I want you to know that since we were in the neighborhood, we walked by edna's old flat - affectionately known as the narrowest house - and gave the house (and any lingering essence of edna) your regards. and oh yes, I snapped a picture for you just in case you have a st. edna altar!

with this post concluded, the mouse is now on holiday! I'll be back the beginning of march - until then take care, be kind, and have fun!! namaste!

john and yoko with their ode to new york city, entitled new york city

photos: both new york city. top, june 2010, dancing rats, 18 february 2011 (pic taken with cellphone)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

follow the drinking gourd

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman (1820 -1913) abolitionist, humanitarian,
major figure for the underground railroad

wall wednesday continues!

today's wall features a mural done by local artist and high school art teacher jerome white. last september I had a sneak preview of the mural at the cma art festival, where I also had the good fortune to have a nice chat with the artist.

according to jerome, the mural is doubly dedicated: first to the struggle, the endurance, and the 'hope and faith' of enslaved african-americans; and secondly to the role cleveland-area abolitionists played in the era of the underground railroad.

cleveland was a place that slaves and fugitive slaves aspired to reach with hopes of gaining freedom. cleveland's code name in the days of the underground railroad was 'hope' and it was often the final destination before making the trip into st. catharine's canada - who's code name was 'glory'.

the work depicts a young boy sitting on the front of a motionless train, contemplating his next move - he is looking up as the geese overhead are flying north. the boy has arrived at the last station and at a new beginning where he aspires to find his higher purpose in life rather than be physically, mentally, or spiritually enslaved. the geese symbolize direction and spiritual freedom.

this mural is located on e. 105th and superior avenue. the mural is part of a public arts project sponsored by the cleveland museum of art and the cleveland foundation.

richie havens singing the traditional song follow the drinking gourd. this excellent vid is accompanied by a photo montage using images from graue mill (a stop on the underground railroad), gettysburg and other civil era locations/photos. the video was created by david scott crawford.

photos: top - 4 february, 2011; second photo - september 2010

Monday, February 14, 2011

mon amour, mon ami

When you cherish others, all your wishes are fulfilled

Lama Zopa Rinpoche (b. 1946) teacher

we have always been pretty low-key about valentines day at casa mouse. not that we ignore it completely but we certainly don't buy into to all the hype about the holiday. yesterday I came across an article which reported that the average american man spends over $150 on the holiday; the average woman $75. yikes! seems ridiculous to me, but then again, to each their own.

my nonfiction read these days is the book of the heart (2003) by louisa young. although I'm still only in "chamber 1" (part 1) of the book - the anatomical heart, I skipped ahead to the fourth chamber, to learn what the books says about valentines day. among the interesting bits I found:

St Valentine....was a Roman priest who was beaten and beheaded in the third century, and he is the patron of lovers merely because of a coincidence of timing. His feast day coincided with the Roman festival of Lupercalia, during which young girls' names were written down and put in a box to be ceremonially drawn by young men during a month long series of feasts in honor of Pan - god of chaos and wine- and Juno - goddess of marriage. The combination was a potent one. The early Fathers tried to put an end to such pagan fun; as usual rather than ending, the habits and frolics merely adjusted a little and took on a Christian front, including the Christian symbol of love - the speared heart- which so neatly fit with the classical symbol of love- Cupid with his careless arrows. (pp. 292-3)

a bit further on is wonderful illustration of a "poilu" -a french soldier in ww I -sending his sweetie good luck - a ladybug for prosperity, a horseshoe for fidelity, a four leaf clover as a love charm, a pansy for remembrance, a white rat for mad love, and a louse for happiness. all of the symbols radiate from a pierced heart. the book sources the image as coming from the wellcome library in london because of the magic of the internet (yeah, I know its not magic) I found the postcard in color and you don't have to depend on my lousy snap of the page in the book! (don't forget if you click on image it will enlarge!)

unfortunately the book fails to explain the origin of these symbols - why a louse for happiness? and why a white rat for mad love? this curious mouse would love to know - anyone want to take this on?

the mouse sends loving wishes to all of you today and in all the days to come!

as there seems to be a bit of a french flavor to today's post and paris is the city of love, I offer as today's tune this beautiful song from french chanteuse and actress marie laforêt singing mon amour, mon ami - who in this mouse's humble opinion is even more beautiful than the song!

photos: heinens, sugar cookies. february 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

every picture tells a story

May the strength of God pilot us, may the wisdom of God instruct us, may the hand of God protect us, may the word of God direct us. Be always ours this day and for evermore.
Irish Blessings

some snaps from detroit. if every picture tells a story here's a few yarns for ya! the top photo is the memorial sculpture called the hand of god, which honors detroit statesman frank murphy.

my traveling partner, close friend and fictive sister anne as we start our tour of detroit, our first stop was the dia

since our time was limited we focused primarily on three exhibits at dia - the native american hall; a special photography exhibition an intuitive eye: andre kertész photographs; and the diego rivera murals

the museum received a gift from the knight foundation for the self guided multimedia tour of rivera's detroit industry murals using an ipad. the ipads were rolled out just a few weeks ago. we took advantage of this incredible free guide through the murals - the ipads are loaded with a number of instructional videos. we watched all of them, this meant staying in the rivera court for an hour and a half or so, but it was worth it. if you don't have the opportunity to visit detroit and see the murals first hand, you can still learn about this incredible piece of art as the multimedia tutorial is also available by visiting here.

across woodward avenue from the dia is the detroit public library. library mouse that I am insisted we pop in for a peek. amazing building; what wonderful resource for the people of detroit. this room on the second floor of the library features a remarkable set of murals entitled man's mobility by john coppin. currently there is a special exhibit in the hall on dennis archer, who among many other achievements served as mayor of detroit (1994-2001); archer remains a positive force in the community to this day - at least according to this exhibit.

on our way to the hotel we drove by comerica park where the detroit tigers now play - this field replaced the historic tiger stadium in 2000. man, it's so cold in detroit, the tiger even needs to put on a coat!

for dinner friday evening we headed over to detroit's mexican town neighborhood, after dinner at the popular mexican town restaurant (which we give two enthusiastic thumbs up) we loaded up on pastries for our honeys at home from la gloria bakery.

the historic eastern market. and below a few faces of some of the folks we met when we visited

a.j. who works at the friend of eastern market booth and provided us a wonderful history of the market including what is going on with the current campaign to improve and renovate parts of the market.

these are the honeymen I mentioned in yesterday's post. the man on the left told us that his family has been selling their goods at the eastern market since the 1890s and his family has been in this very location for over sixty years! I asked if he has been affected by colony collapse disorder and thankfully, he reported that so far his bees have been spared from this devastating plague.

this lady told me I could take her photo as long as she pretended I wasn't taking I snapped away. I was quite taken by her adornments - including those crazy fingernails - yow!

okay, one sad photo. detroit is still suffering from the ravages of many economic and social hardships and crises. the number of abandoned buildings was staggering.

okay, that's all I have time for today. hope you enjoyed a few of the snaps I took.

so many snaps I'm skipping the vid, but if you want to hear today's theme song, rod's every picture tells a story (don't it?) just click here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

lose yourself

Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?

Abraham Lincoln (12 february 1809 - 1965)

back from my whirlwind wander to motor city - it might not look quite as shiny as the wonderful ode to detroit that many of us saw in last week's superbowl commercial, it is still a great city, a wonderful place to visit and a place with much beauty - especially the people who were so warm and friendly.

the weather was most cooperative for my little sojourn - yes, it was bit cold and gray yesterday, but brother wind was well behaved and there was no precipitation - not that the weather mattered once we got there we spent most of the day inside the detroit institute of arts. it's been a few years since I've visited the museum and WOW did they ever do a nice job on the expansion and renovation project.

more on my trip to detroit - and more photos later - as expected there are plenty of those. maybe I'll put together a couple slide shows - one on the diego murals and another on the what turned out to be today's main attraction - detroit's eastern market historical district. the eastern market is amazing - huge and very historic! one thing I read said it's the oldest continuously run farmers' market in the united states. it opened in 1841 and moved to it's present location in the 185os. the market is in the midst of a major renovation project and the work they've done so far is wonderful. I talked with a few folks who operate stands - one fellow (a beekeeper who was selling his honey) said that his family has been selling produce at the eastern market since the 1890s!!! and the stand he's sells out of now has been in the family for over sixty years!

okay, more later. gotta run. sshhhhhh we be off to a surprise 60th birthday party and have to get there before the birthday boy!

speaking of birthdays today is the birthday of two incredible individuals - abe lincoln and charles darwin who not only share the same birthday but the same birth year. I couldn't decide on only one so a little mouse medicine from both!

am getting started with building back the blogroll, I expect it will take a while - thanks for your patience!

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
Charles Darwin ( 12 february 1809-1882)

if you missed it here's the above reference commercial which features eminem's infectious and driving song lose yourself.

photos: top - heading to detroit detail of a very cool bridge; middle pics - the dia; bottom pic - view of the cool bridge on the way back home to cleveland (the bridge by the way is actually still in ohio, north of toledo, on I-75; my friend anne was driving so no worries about me driving and snapping!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


The test of an adventure is that when you're in the middle of it, you say to yourself 'Oh now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home.' And the sign that something's wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure.

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) playwright and novelist

today I went for it and streamlined the url's for mouse medicine and the lakewood daily snap. in the course of making the transition it appears that I may have made a mess and lost the blogrolls which accompanied each blog. I'm crossing my fingers that in the course of the next three days* the blogrolls will miraculously (re)appear - if they don't I'm going to be in the dumps and feel really disconnected -- I depend on my blogrolls to visit all my buds in the bloggyhood.

least my patience be for naught, has anyone else stayed with blogger, registered a unique domain name, and transitioned their blog to a new name and discover after 3 days the blogroll doesn't make the transition? if so let me know the skinny. if the blogroll is gone forever, I can start building it up again! yikes, now there is a test for my gray matter!

furthermore, it appears that the gadget that mouse's friends (followers) is now configured only for the new url

I have learned that if the mouse is on your blogroll I probably have messed things up, and you may have to edit the mouse's address -- especially if your blogroll is configured to have blogs listed chronologically. but we are still in the 'transition period' so who knows what that might mean!

disconnected from rancid's 2009 album let the dominos fall.

I like what the band has to say about the song - it definitely connects with how I sometimes feel

This song is about that evolution of change. For better or worse our country isn't the same as when we were younger. When you grow up in America you're taught in the public school system to be loyal and to love your country through reciting The Pledge of Allegiance. In general, some of us covet it, or in some cases even rebel from it. Sometimes you can feel close or far away from a place, family member or even your own home town. It doesn't mean you love it less or disrespect it by disagreeing with its current values and or views. True patriots will stand for what they believe in, even if it goes against the grain. We jammed this one acoustic after hours and it clicked almost immediately. The way we play the chorus seems straightforward but there is a swing to it. This keeps it moving but still manages to be rocking. It reminds us of Woody Guthrie.
*blogger made note that it might take three days for things be set to right - they didn't use those words, but that was the message

photo: the photo has nothing to do with today's post but it is attention grabbing, is it not. wish I wish I could remember where and when I stumbled upon it - only remember it was when I was off on some wander. it was saved in a folder labeled 'misc snaps' hence it's providence is lost!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

when you wish upon a star

Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.

Alice Walker (b. 9 february 1944) writer, poet, novelist
from Revolutionary Petunias & Other Poems (1973)

wall wednesday continues!

today's wall is of a mural on the side of lynn's deli in cleveland. I met lynn and one of her customers on friday when dixie and I were off on our wander.

the man in the mural is "king george," lynn's father, who established the deli. when he passed away lynn took over. as to the identity of the girl there seems to be a bit of dispute - lynn's customer claims that the painting is none other than lynn herself when she was a young girl. however, lynn denies that the girl is her - she said it is a portrait of a nigerian girl from the neighborhood. well, regardless all four faces make me smile!!

along with specializing and providing customers with homemade ribs, bbq and wings, lynn's deli also serves as a corner store and sells a variety of goods.

lynn's deli is located at 8215 hough avenue, a tad bit west of the thurgood marshall rec center which is the future home of anna arnold's mural the storyteller . I actually thought anna's mural was up which is why dixie and I were in the neighborhood, however, I was far from disappointed in not finding it, if I wasn't there, I wouldn't have met lynn nor would I have run across today's featured wall. now I get to go back once anna installs her mural and hopefully get a chance to sample some of lynn's wings or ribs!

when you wish upon a star, vid by louisa, using a louis armstrong version of the song,accompanied by scenes from the disney classic pinocchio. coincidentally, the film was released nationwide on february 9th, 1940 and was the 2nd film in the walt disney animated classics series (which continues to this day)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

peaceable kingdom

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
Mark Twain (1835-1910) humorist, writer & lecturer

today I relinquished my 'grandpup' dixie back to the loving arms of my daughter em, dixie's human. em took a little vacation and while she was visiting friends in the pacific northwest f and I had the pleasure of dog sitting.

many people view themselves as either dog people or cat people - in all honesty up until 6 years ago - when dixie entered the family- I always considered myself a true blue cat person. that isn't to say I didn't like or appreciate dogs - I did! however, with the exception of sam, the dog my family had until I was five, I never shared my life with a dog; furthermore, as a self proclaimed cat person, I couldn't even imagine sharing my life with a dog.

some of the lines on the tape that ran in my head when the idea of having of dog came up included: "dogs are so needy, they aren't like cats" "dogs are so much work, they need to be walked and their elimination habits are so cumbersome - not to mention, one can't just put out a bowl of water and dry food and go off for a weekend"

then everything changed when em adopted dixie. now when the imaginary tape in my head starts playing, I have an argument for every objection:
  • dogs are so needy: hey, why should dogs be any different than people or any other sentient being? and really every cat owner (or rather, person owned by a cat) will admit that cats too are needy- and the more one showers love and affection on a cat, the more the cat will be loving and affection back. if love isn't a need than nothing is!
  • dogs have to be walked: well, true - but there are sooooo many benefits to this requirement the whole walking thing is really a non-issue! most of us humans would be so much healthier, happier, not to mention thinner, if we embraced the notion that we required a daily walk!
  • elimination habits are cumbersome: okay, I haven't really come up with a positive spin on this; but really is picking up dog poop that difficult?
  • okay, yes one can't just put out a bowl of water and dry food go away ; but there are so many options: friends, family, neighbors, kennels, doggie spas - jeepers in this day and age taking care of people's pets is a major industry! and just think if a dog is half as sweet as dixie, going away is really making somebody else a happy camper!
now, there are times I daydream about having a dog in the house. someday yes, tomorrow probably not. but I'm definitely open to the idea - now I'm a self proclaimed "animal person" where the best house would be a "peaceable kingdom" with cats, dogs, and all sorts of other critters!

speaking of peaceable kingdoms, check out this vid of gregory pike, a fellow who wanders around the country with his dog, cat and rat?

patti smith's poetic and sweet peaceable kingdom (2004)

photo: dixie looking lovingly at me - in addition to dixie, I also had use of em's car while she was away. this was a double pleasure -one day dixie was my companion on a photo safari where we went out capturing some wall art of greater cleveland! 4 february 2010

Monday, February 7, 2011

times like these

Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.

Charles Dickens (7 february 1812 - 1870) writer

february has gotten off to a festive start! the month started off with st. brigid's day (aka imbolc) and was immediately followed by the chinese new year - but february fun was cranked up this weekend with the arrival of friends who thought visiting cleveland in snowy february sounded like a good idea.

well, they were right it was!! there's nothing like out of town friends to bring everyone together. this weekend we saw local friends we haven't seen in three, six, and even nine months!

the friends visiting used to live in cleveland and are now in north carolina. one could wonder what would possess folks from sunny, warm north carolina to drive all the way to cleveland in february, but friendship trumps weather any day!

friday evening f and I met up with the group having dinner at #1 pho - our out-of-town friends favorite local restaurant and coincidentally one of our own as well. isn't it funny how many of us just have to eat at familiar and favorite haunts when we return to places we once lived!

saturday night we hosted one of our traditional potluck gatherings; despite an unexpected snowstorm, which majorly messed up the roads we had a full house. once again proving friendship trumps weather!

the kids spent most of the party on the third floor where there were plenty of toys, books and of course each other to play with - with minimal adult interference. they were most gracious to take a break from playing and pose for a group snap! man, these kids make my heart swell!

a couple hours later I took another snap, now the only children missing were the two babies who needed to remain downstairs near parental units.

sunday evening other friends hosted a superbowl party - although I am pretty much the opposite of a football fan, friendship trumps my indifference to the game any day!

when our north carolina friends lived here they often hosted a superbowl party - they hosted a party at their house in 2004 - the year of the infamous wardrobe malfunction incident and the last time I remember much about a superbowl.

as usual I watched little of the game, but I did try to catch the commercials - what a mix -I'd classify them as the good, the bad, and the ugly!

of the ones I saw, the ones that I liked best (in no particular order) were:
  • an ad for doritos that featured a pug and a sliding door
  • the vw ad with the kid dressed up as darth vadar
  • the bud light ad which was heavy on the dogs (and featured a scene with dogs playing poker) and even included a shot of the famous clydesdale horses
  • and the lovesong to detroit - but was really an ad for chrysler
there were a couple ads I thought were pretty offensive - in particular the pepsi ad with the couple on the park bench -- I have nothing against slapstick,but that ad crossed the line into other terrain.

foo fighters performing an acoustic version of times like these

this just in: of course in these times there would be a site where one can watch all the commercials from last nights super bowl. didn't see the doritos "house-sitting" commercial till this afternoon, if I had caught it last night it too would have made my top picks.

well, looks like my favs are also the favorites of the masses. hmmmm....jeez and I thought I was unique.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

magic rabbit

When they are alone they want to be with others, and when they are with others they want to be alone. After all, human beings are like that.

Gertrude Stein (3 february 1874 - 1946)

along with being gertrude (a rose is a rose is a rose) stein's birthday today marks the chinese new year - a movable feast which is based on the lunar cycle - this year is the year of the rabbit!

for the last few years cleveland's st. clair-superior neighborhood development corporation has celebrated the chinese new year with a community public arts project. local artists apply their talents to create works of art on supplied fiberglass sculptures of the year's animal. the deadline for artists' proposals has passed; soon the accepted artists will receive their rabbits - they have until april to complete their sculptures. sometime during may the rabbits will be unveiled and then installed around the city.

in 2010 the neighborhood kicked off the installation with the first annual asian festival, I wrote about this new festival and had a link to the snaps I took of the tigers - they were purrrrrfect! I can't wait for the 2nd annual festival and checking out the rabbits! I am already looking forward to hopping from one place to another to find all the rabbits.

The Year of 2011 is the Year of the Golden Rabbit, which begins on February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012. The Rabbit is the fourth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 animals signs. The Rabbit is a lucky sign. Rabbits are private individuals and a bit introverted. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are reasonably friendly individuals who enjoy the company of a group of good friends. They are good teachers, counselors and communicators, but also need their own space.

According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. It is a time for negotiation. Don't try to force issues, because if you do you will ultimately fail. To gain the greatest benefits from this time, focus on home, family, security, diplomacy, and your relationships with women and children. Make it a goal to create a safe, peaceful lifestyle, so you will be able to calmly deal with any problem that may arise.

Not many people know that the Rabbit is the symbol of the Moon, while the Peacock is the symbol of the Sun, and that together, these two animal signs signify the start of day and night, represent the Yin and Yang of life. It is said that anyone making supplications for wishes to be fulfilled are certain to get what they want... and in the Year of the Rabbit, the wish-granting aspect of the Sun and the Moon combined is multiplied. The Moon is YIN and this is the Yin of Heaven, signifying magic. Thus on each of the Full Moon nights of this year, go out into your garden to gaze into the Full Moon and visualize plenty of Moon dust and Moon glow flowing into you, filling your whole body with bright white light and granting you fearlessness, love and courage. This will not only strengthen your inner "Chi" energy, it will also bring wisdom into your life.
by the way, the above comes from here

shara worden of my brightest diamond haunting and ethereal song magic rabbit

in case you are wondering what animal ruled your birth year, here's a handy dandy chart (from here)- click on image to enlarge

photo: a small sample of john's mom's rabbit collection, lakewood, november 2010

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

doe a deer

The Faces of Deer
When for too long I don't go deep enough
into the woods to see them, they begin to
enter my dreams. Yes, there they are, in the
pinewoods of my inner life. I want to live a life
full of modesty and praise. Each hoof of each
animal makes the sign of a heart as it touches
then lifts away from the ground. Unless you
believe that heaven is very near, how will you
find it? Their eyes are pools in which one
would be content, on any summer afternoon,
to swim away through the door of the world.
Then, love and its blessing. Then: heaven.

by Mary Oliver (b. 1935) poet
the faces of deer was published in 2006

today is the 6th annual brigid poetry festival!

to mark the feast of brigid (candlemas, and groundhog day) many in the bloggyhood are celebrating with a giant cyber poetry slam! participants are asked to post a favorite poem; once more I return to mary oliver.


there were more faces of deer but I was slow on clicking the shutter and managed to capture only one, no I will not say shoot. but maybe I was fine on the shutter and the deer werelight of foot.

to wander amongst naked trees
and to have a chance encounter with a fellow creature
a blessing of heaven

doe a deer, do re mi flash mob from the central station in antwerp - poetry in motion! and a vid that doesn't fail to make me feel oh so good.