Wednesday, November 30, 2011

long may you run

All things share the same breath - the beast, the tree, the man... the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.
Si'ahl, aka Chief Seattle (c. 1780 - 1866) leader of the Dkhw’Duw’Absh (Duwamish)

we are wrapping up the mouse's recognition of native american heritage month with a bit of wall art from the pacific northwest. this mural is found in bellingham, washington .

the mural depicts both the native people of the area and the non-native settlers and the close association humans have with the animals and of living with and off of the natural world.

when i visited bellingham this last year i learned that its nickname is the city of subdued excitement. i've made quite a few visits to b'ham over the years and i can attest to the fact that the town lives up to this moniker. i first visited in 1995 with my daughter when she was checking out potential schools- incidentally took a photo of this same mural during that visit. it seems as if the city is proud of the mural as it is well maintained.

gazing at this wall reminds me of annie dillard's remarkable 1992 novel the living. although i read the book fifteen years ago the book has stuck with me and remains one of my favorite novels. it is a powerful book about the people who settled in whatcom country (which includes bellingham) in the 19th century. the book primarily focuses on the white settlers but it also discussed life of the area's indigenous lummi indians. for those who enjoy a compelling read and being transported to a different time and place, i highly recommend the living.

neil young's 1974 song long may you run. the song appeared in 1976 on an collaborative album with the same title that was released by young and stills. the song was written by neil as an ode to a beloved car, i choose to redirect the message and say - long may the salmon run!!

photo: bellingham, washington, april 2010

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the word

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.

Robert Frost (1874 - 1963) poet

tattoo tuesday continues.

no time for me to put down many words but i didn't want to miss another tuesday without sharing some snaps of tats.

today's tats all feature words written on three women's arms . in the top pic the words are actually the sioux name that a friend of mine was given - i was told that the translation for kangi winyan is raven woman.

the second snap is aubrey's left arm - we saw the intricate and beautiful body art on aubrey's other arm a couple weeks ago - i also took a snap of this more simply adorned arm - the saying(s) are a tribute her dad - "you play" and "don't pre-worry" are a couple of his favorite expressions.

the third snap is of deb, another friend, no explanation needed!
toodles, my guests for movie night have arrived -- gotta run!!

beatles the word

Sunday, November 27, 2011

the way it will be

If every day is an awakening, you will never grow old. You will just keep growing.

Gail Sheehy (b. 27 november 1937) author & lecturer

who else is in shock that in just a few days it will be DECEMBER!

this november definitely broke some sort of time-speed record - however, it seems as if i've been saying that about most months these last few years - i've heard this is a sign of getting old - nothing wrong with getting old - especially as my grandpap used to say "when one considers the alternative!" in my book getting old is not the same as growing old, wouldn't you agree?

okay that's it for today, gotta run - today's big excitement is soon to come. ms t and i are heading out to see the muppets!

the way it will be by gillian welch and david rawlings - the song is on gillian's 2011 album the harrow and the harvest

photo: d's backyard buddha, virginia. november 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thank you

Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking.

Black Elk (1863- 1950) medicine man

wall wednesday continues.....

i thought it would be nice to use wall wednesday as an opportunity to get my happy thanksgiving message out to all the friends who drop by the mouse!

ah, i've been a lax blogger of late - sorry! no doubt my absence is more a sign of the current tempo of my life than anything else. but the tempo of my life reflects all that i have to be thankful for:

i am thankful for having a full life.
i am thankful for my family and friends.
i am thankful that i can make friends "family"

i am thankful for good health and a strong body.
i am thankful that every experience - happy, sad, joy, disappointment, pain, tranquility - has a lesson and a message that - if i pay attention - will enrich.

i am thankful for knowing that what is important in life is not riches but knowing that every experience can be enriching.

i am thankful that i am who i am
i am thankful that you are who you are.

i am thankful for every species on our beautiful blue marble.

i am thankful for all of the seasons.
i am thankful for cold, heat, rain, and snow.

i am thankful for the sun and the light.
i am thankful for the moon and the night.

i am thankful for all who came before who have made the world a better place.

i am thankful for all who struggle who are making the world a better place.

i am thankful for hope.
i am thankful for charity.
i am thankful for faith.
i am thankful for love.

dido performing her sweetly infectious song thank you - the song first appeared in the film sliding doors (a wonderful romantic dramedy with leads by gwyneth paltrow and john hannah - i was smitten with the film as it ran two stories in alternative realities - i just love musing about what ifs and alternative realities, don't you?) the song was released as a single in 2000 and then later it appeared on dido's debut album no angel.

photo: wall in albuquerque, october 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

cherokee nation

May the warm winds of Heaven blow softly on your home,
And the Great Spirit bless all who enter there.
May your moccasins make happy tracks in many snows,
And may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.

Cherokee Blessing

nahm and wall wednesday return.

lament for a cherokee nation was written in the late 1950s by john d. loudermilk, and it is loudermilk's voice and version in the vid below.

although written by loudermilk the song was first released in 1959 by marvin rainwater under the title pale-faced indian, rainwater's version went virtually unnoticed. however, in 1968 don fardon covered the song under the title (the lament of the cherokee) indian reservation, and it became a hit. the popularity of fardon's cover is fairly ironic, given that marvin rainwater is actually part cherokee (25%), whereas, fardon is british born and breed. the version of the song that i remember best is the 1971 cover by paul revere and the raiders - the raiders version made it to the top of the pop charts peaking in july for a week as the number 1 song - according to the portal: "Indian Reservation" became Columbia's biggest-selling single for almost a decade, clearing over six million units.

photo: mural part of the 516 arts alley art mural project, albuquerque, new mexico. october 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

light as a feather

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost (1874-1964) poet
The Road Not Taken

feathers are the common denominator for today's tattoo tuesday.

saturday's errands included a stop at visible voice books - a wonderful independent bookshop in cleveland. while checking out i was taken by the artful sleeve of aubrey who was working the shop that day. of course, i asked permission to take a snap and when she graciously gave permission to snap and share, i asked her the story behind the work.

aubrey says that the piece reflects her worldview and the inspiration for the artwork are the poems of robert frost. the feather on aubrey's arm is a feather pen - if you look closely and perhaps enlarge the photo on the right you may see the nib) i didn't probe her on the specific poems as we began discussing where she had the work done, how long it took and who did it. she had the work done while living and studying in san francisco, because it is so intricate the work took quite a few sessions and was done by a tattoo artist named barnaby.

below is another feather - mallory supplies the canvas for this colorful feather.

oh by the way, while at visible voice i picked up two woody guthrie books - a replacement copy for my lost 30 year old edition of woody's autobiography bound for glory and a gently used copy of pastures of plenty: the unpublished writings of woody guthrie (edited by dave marsh and harold leventhal). if you haven't noticed, there's a new addition on the mouse's sidebar - to celebrate the upcoming centennial of woody's birth in 2012, i have added a link to the guthrie foundation site which features a woody song a day!

norah jones performing light as a feather - norah and singer-songwriter ryan adams wrote the song together. the song appears on jones 4th studio album, the fall (2009).

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Normal fear protects us; abnormal fear paralyses us. Normal fear motivates us to improve our individual and collective welfare; abnormal fear constantly poisons and distorts our inner lives. Our problem is not to be rid of fear but, rather to harness and master it.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)minister & civil-rights leader

murmuration is a term for a flock of starlings. i never knew this until the other day when a friend posted an amazing video on facebook - i can't count how many times i've watched it - it is fascinating. the on-line magazine (or would that be an ezine?) wired has an interesting piece about the video and the phenomenon that liberty smith and sophie windsor clive found themselves witnessing.

i find the names for groups of birds most curious and wonderful - most of us know a group of crows is called a murder - but did you know that a group of cranes is called a sedge? so i guess the sculpture above is of a small sedge of cranes.

if you see geese on the ground they are called a gaggle of geese; but when they are flying overhead they are a skein of geese. owls must be the most political of bird species as group of owls is called a parliament of owls. i said fascinating stuff!

do you think the photo below is a sedge of cranes, a siege of herons, or a skein of geese....or something else?

james lipton's book an exaltation of larks (1993) is a delightful anthology of collective nouns for birds and other species - and a virtual goldmine for all us scrabble players and word lovers out here.

photo: top -sculpture entitled cloud chasers by o.k. harris, bottom - birds in flight. rio grande valley state park, albuquerque, new mexico, october 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

universal soldier

The crucified planet Earth,
should it find a voice
and a sense of irony,
might now well say
of our abuse of it,
"Forgive them, Father,
They know not what they do."

The irony would be
that we know what
we are doing.

When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
"It is done."
People did not like it here.

Kurt Vonnegut (11 november 1922 - 2007)
above from A Man Without a Country

today is veterans day - just one more of the 365 days of the year to pray for peace.

buffy sainte-marie singing her classic anti-war anthem universal soldier. the song was released in 1964 on her debut album it's my way!

of the song buffy remarked:
"I wrote 'Universal Soldier' in the basement of The Purple Onion coffee house in Toronto in the early sixties. It's about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all."

amen sister!

photo: roadside memorial, somewhere between durango colorado and santa fe, new mexico, 22 october 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

grey street

Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.

Anne Sexton (9 november 1928 - 1974)

this month the mouse will be celebrating native american heritage month on wednesdays with photos from our recent wander. all of the walls will in some way express native american culture or themes.

i was pleasantly surprised by the abundance of murals and vibrant and interesting street art we encountered in many of the communities we visited. some of the murals and street art were commissioned or 'authorized' - but there were also plenty of random acts of beauty, such as the interesting and intriguing piece shown above that we encountered in an alley in albuqerque.

in addition to contemporary wall art, we made a point to check out some really old wall art while visiting the ancient pubelo community at chaco cultural historical park. as we learned that the peñasco blanco trail was home to a relatively large concentration of chacoan and navajo petroglyphs, we made a point to hike it. there were some instances when the petroglyphs were easy to find, however, not always. below is a detail photo of what the sign shown above was pointing to - it was way up and i can only imagine the route taken to create it.

not all the rock engravings at chaco were ancient - we saw some instances of people making their mark in more recent times. 1905 can be considered recent when one realizes that the original petroglyphs were made a thousand years ago! fortunately, the number of modern additions aren't abundant and the park service which oversees this land has launched a concentrated effort to curtail additions by encouraging people to report signs of vandalism and leveling hefty fines.

dave matthews and tim reynolds performing grey street - according to the portal, matthews inspiration for the song was the life of poet anne sexton. although brilliant, sadly sexton had a long history of depression and mental illness - sexton killed herself a month before she was to turn 46. i am currently reading sexton's daughter linda's memoir searching for mercy street: my journey back to my mother, anne sexton (1994/2011). linda was twenty-one when her mother killed herself in 1974; linda's memoir is riveting and it was a very courageous book to write.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

full circle

Mankind is not a circle with a single center but an ellipse with two focal points of which facts are one and ideas the other.
Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885) author & human rights activist

today's tattoo tuesday body art feature two fellows (and i'm happy to say new friends) from my 'hood - nick (top) and dave. nick i met because of a cat and dave i met because of the beautiful portrait of mary that graces his arm.

story one - meeting nick. one day a few weeks ago i crossed the street purposely to meet nick; he was walking down the street holding the handsome orange cat you see in the snap. i was curious, one doesn't often see people taking cats for a walk. lately i've been thinking about training a new future cat and i've been fantasizing about how to go about training a young cat to be a therapy cat. i think it would be great to have a cat i could take around to nursing homes or special centers - but that's another story and no time to get into that here.

well it turns out that the cat wasn't nick's - he said he saw the cat as he was going down the street and noticed that it looked a bit forlorn and lost. he called to the cat, the cat came over, he picked the cat up and that's about when i wandered over to meet nick and the cat. he was trying to figure out what he should do - the cat was very friendly and obviously not a stray. we talked a while about nick's options and when i left nick and the cat, nick settled on a plan to walk down the street and go up to each house and ask if the cat lived there. if he couldn't find the house where the cat lived he was going to take the cat home and then move on to plan b. well, about five minutes later i was in front of my house and a car stopped in front of the house - it was nick. he told me that a couple minutes after i left him, he went up to a house and before he had a chance to talk, a man barked at him, "hey, what are you doing with my cat?" nick explained why he was holding the cat and that was that.

well this story has absolutely nothing to do with nick's tattoo - seeing nick's tattoo was an added bonus to meeting nick and the orange cat. when i was talking to nick i couldn't help but notice his wonderful, cheerful tattoo - of course, i asked if i could take a photo and share it and also asked if he designed it. nick was very gracious and told me yes, i could take a photo and share it, but, no he didn't design the tattoo. the design comes from the artist yann black - i can't recall now the back story to the piece, but recall something about the circle of life and nature and so on and so forth. nick, if you see this help me out!

turns out yann black is a name in the world of body art - from googling yann black i learned yann is a montreal-based artist who specializes in whimsical, fanciful, scribbly tattoos (see here and here )

story two - meeting library dave. the other day while walking by the library, i happened to see dave with a couple other fellows who work at the library. i shouted out a hi to one of the guys who is a friend and gave a nod to dave and the other guy. i was instantly struck by dave's amazing tattoo of the virgin mary and asked him about it. he said when he lived out west he was impressed with many of the religious tattoos he saw there and decided that he really would like one - hence mary. there is name under the image, the name is of his young daughter who is the apple of his eye and delight of his life - so library dave's tat is a celebration of life tat! i like that!

full circle by dan fogelberg (just a song that's been running through my head today)

Monday, November 7, 2011

living in the past

Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.

James Thurber (1894-1961) author & cartoonist

i seem to be having a difficult time getting into the groove of regular posting on the mouse and have fallen dreadfully behind keeping up with the goings-on in the bloggyhood. no doubt this is a combination of post-vacation syndrome, playing catch-up, and enjoying a spell of some mighty fine autumn weather.

i'm happy to report that i've gone through my vacation snaps and created several sets of albums on flickr. this may be the first time i've ever created more than a single set of photos from a wander! i linked the first two of these sets (monument valley and zion national park) the first week i was back....

here on the mouse, i've have to move on from my vacation mind and start being in the present - ha ha! however, if anyone is interested in photos from chaco culture national historical park, hovenweep national monument, or looking at random (and hopefully interesting) snaps from albuquerque or santa fe the pics are up but you are on your own. i just hope you enjoy the armchair travel should you click and go.

jethro tull's living in the past (1969)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

gracias a la vida

Someday I'll be a weather-beaten skull resting on a grass pillow,
Serenaded by a stray bird or two.
Kings and commoners end up the same,
No more enduring than last night's dream.
Ryōkan Taigu (1758–1831) buddhist monk & poet

tattoo tuesday continues. today is november 1st which is celebrated in many places as all saints day. in mexico november 1st is also the first day of the dia de los murertos (the day of the dead) festival.

today's tattoos are among some i captured from a few of the folks i met on my recent wander and coincidentally feature a couple tattoos of skeletons in mexican costume - images often associated with the dia de los murertos. day of the dead traditions include constructing altars at the graves of deceased loved ones and leaving offerings of favorite foods, gifts, flowers - primarily marigolds, and fanciful decorated sugar skulls.

the first photo is of a fellow i met at monument valley - he was taking a photo of his wife in front one of the incredible rock formations which make up the park. i wandered over to ask if they'd like me to use their camera to take a photo of the two of them - of course they did. (i confess, one of my guilty pleasures is to ask strangers if i can use their camera to take a snap of them with whoever they are with)

as i took their photo i couldn't help but notice the wonderful tattoo and most graciously the fellow's whose name i forgot (sorry) allowed me to take a snap of and share it here on the mouse. after leaving monument valley they were heading to mexican hat - in honor of his tattoo, no doubt. coincidentally, after leaving monument valley, f and i also headed to mexican hat on our way to our next destination on our sw wander, cortez, colorado - but alas we didn't see the couple when we stopped at mexican hat an hour of so later.

the photo above and below show some of the body art which adorns the body of nikki - one of the wonderful staff from epazote, an incredible restaurant in santa fe we dined at near the end of our vacation. although the third photo doesn't offer a day of the dead image, it does capture the vivaciousness and beauty of nikki - along with a bit of the restaurant's gorgeous decor. the decor, wonderful as it was, was drab in comparison to the dishes that chef fernando olea dreamed up. when food is really good there's an expression that it is to die for, well, in my book chef olea's food is food to live for!!

mouse readers know how fond i am of festivals. in cleveland one of my favorite is our dia de los murertos celebration. this is the seventh year cleveland has held this community celebration. below is a slide show of some of the action from this year (52 photos - remember
if you wish you can enlarge the slide show, after hitting play click on arrow icon in the lower right corner of the screen)

joan baez and mercedes sosa performing gracias a la vida in 1988- the song was written by artist and ethnomusicologist violeta parra, who helped launch the nueva canción (new song) movement in chile.