Wednesday, December 31, 2014


from month-long sinusitis, still with a sore throat but with a photographic year-in-review.

January 1, 2014
December 31, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Whatcha doin'?

The cat in the chair offers feedback on my writing.
She has firm opinions and never fails to offer them.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fierce, Isn't She?

Do not be fooled: this cat was a killer.

Caught in the act, more than once, terrorizing the tiny birds nesting under my porch and the bluebirds nesting in their box. 

She scared those bluebirds away.

But there's hope -- for the bluebirds and the feline.

She has moved a long way away to join her humans, and now she is living the good life. No longer an outdoor kitty with a killer instinct, Buttons is a cuddly bundle of fur. 

I know her humans, especially the children, are happy. She certainly looks happy.

And I am ecstatic for her -- and the birds!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Looking Down

"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."
Henry David Thoreau

As beautiful as any Persian rug,
as richly textured as any scultpure,
as soft as a pillow

earth does not sleep in winter.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I'm All About the 'Hood

Here's what I saw down the street when I got home at just-dark.

Despite what my Virginia-Anglican mother always said -- colored lights are tacky -- I thank my professor-neighbors for bringing light into darkness, joy into the season every year. 

From my porch, I look down, see the glow, and remember the thrill of childhood at Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Family That Dances Together

makes lifetime memories. 

As my nephew (father of two daughters) said,
before he became Mother Ginger,
"It's their football. We all love it!"
V as a Party Girl and D as Mother Ginger (daughter and father)
E going up as Jack Frost
Drosselmeyer and Jack Frost accepting congratulations

Not photographed, J (sewing mistress of the best Russian costumes ever!) and the family dog Betsy Ross, one of many canines in The Mutt-cracker.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Technicolor Viscosity

Saturdays at the paint factory: rocketing pocking of the ball mill, seductive smell of turpentine and linseed oil and mineral spirits, splattered concrete floor, and giant mixing vats. If lucky, I'd be there when master mixer Joe Locascio poured pigment into pigment, swirling color in a vat paddled and tumbled like heavy cream, becoming whipped, only heavier. Childhood never smelled or looked so good.

Florence, Italy: paper marbling and marbled paper in generations-old binding shops. One across from the Pitti Palace, Giulio Giannini e Figlio, sixth-generation artisans crafting peacock patterns on hand-milled paper. Mote-dusted light pours over desk sets, flat papers, the air charged with the scent of leather and glue, a veritable toy store for a lover of color and pattern and paper.

click here for the online source

The work of artist Mark Lovejoy: photography and glorious color. Tonight, I shall be dreaming in technicolor.

click here for source

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Reflection on Being Shut In

Day 12, 
and counting: 
dry sinus, 
hot water, 

And nothing
to snap
no snap
to snap
it with.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I Confess: I Am Old Fashioned

Among the many things about contemporary American religion I do not understand is the mega-church phenomenon, built on the model of the big box store, I suppose -- something for everyone, but not folks like me.

In this respect I am a fuddy-duddy: I may not believe but I do love sacred spaces for ritual (and don't even get me started on "praise and worship songs").

These two spaces will do for me.

Sewanee's All Saints' Chapel

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

That Time of Year

when folks drape a lit hairnet over a giant holly and declare it a Christmas tree. I'll leave it to you to judge.

Me, I'd rather just see the holly, or the beautiful flowers folks give those who don't get out much.

'Tis the season.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

It's Always Somethin'

Everybody complains sometime about something. 

I complained today to a friend about the ticketing system the College instituted last year for Lessons and Carols, requiring that a person attend a mandatory social gathering two hours before the event (even though theoretically the ticket entitles entry to the Chapel) and turning the service into something very like a performance (I may not be religious, but I know and respect the difference between believing and make-believing).

One person I encountered today complained about the rain and fog, and yet as a resident, she knows it's just weather as usual, especially at this time of year when Mother Nature can't decide whether to be warm or cold (it's been both today).

Plenty of people complain about medical care and its cost -- especially for some reason about dentistry, always suspecting (mind you, these are people of a certain age, that the dentist invents reasons why teeth should be crowned). When I suggest, based on my own personal experience (three surgeries, two different occasions for orthodonture, numerous crowns, four bridges over a lifetime, and plenty of pain in between [one of my parents once said my teeth cost more than my education]) that just maybe a twenty-year old crown is ready for replacement before decay does permanent damage, others scoff and suggest the dentist's daughter needs a fancy wedding or the dentist's husband deserves a great vacation.

One special focus of complaint in Sewanee is The Pig, a local and locally owned grocery store. People say, quite rightly, that the huge Kroger down the mountain has better produce. Well, yes, of course. It also has a much larger population base of shoppers and proximity to suppliers. People say, quite rightly, that the huge Wal-Marts (one in any of three different directions, all half an hour away) are much cheaper. Well, yes, of course, thanks to the company's poor employment record. People say, quite rightly, that both Kroger and Wal-Mart have more variety. Well, yes, of course, they're both much larger stores with much larger turnover, allowing for more frequent refreshment of goods. What I say in return is this: our Pig is locally owned and operated; the folks who work there live up here; and the management has improved it at least a thousand percent in the last four years -- adding locally made bread, locally grown fruit, gluten-free products, vegetarian alternatives, and even growlers for beer.

I have many reasons to love The Pig. In addition to the bulldog I posted the the other day, there's this.

Happy complaining, y'all! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

No Books Were Harmed in the Making of These Trees

The folks at duPont Library know how to de-stress students at end of term: book tree contest, tasty treats, and therapy dogs.

I sure could have used some librarians like this in graduate school!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Unconditional Love

He's just waiting for his master, an elderly man with portable oxygen to whom I said on entering the Pig together, "Your dog just loves you!"
"He loves to travel."
"Nah," I said. "He loves you!"

Yet another reason to love the Pig.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Little Light

trickled across my computer screen,
just enough to pull me away from my work,
just enough to last one walk around the lake,
shouting joyfully rain!rain!rain! in a sherrrring cresdendo
down the run-off channel, 
creating an ephemeral waterfall.

Often, I am thankful for such small, large things.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

And Then Reality Hit

Return journey, heavy traffic, rain, fog, work and more work, errands, veterinary clinic, sinus blockage and laryngitis, doctor's appointment, pharmacy, groceries, and more rain and fog and misery of coughing followed.

Thus I posted nothing on November 30, December 1, and December 2.

I couldn't.

So I hunkered and waited.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

He's Got Rhythm

Smoky dances with the stars.

Friday, November 28, 2014

New Times in an Old Place

Once, as my brother told his story of a summer camp summer hiking trip many years ago, an old man came wandering up to our campfire in the woods. He sat down and told us stories, played his guitar and sang songs with us.
He left as quietly as he came.

He was Carl Sandburg whose Flat Rock farm, Connemara, was famous for him and for his wife's goats. 

My brother's daughter and family visited the farm the day after Thanksgiving, where the children made friends with the chickens, goats, and cat.

 I don't think they even noticed the bluebirds.

I couldn't help feeling nostalgic for a place I myself knew many years ago from many camp summers nearby, for singing around a campfire, and for a meeting with a man I knew only through his words and voice.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


My niece welcomed all to the Thanksgiving table: her family, his family, and the family cat.

She knows a good thing when she sees it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I love driving. By myself.
No music or loud music. My choice.
I especially love driving on back roads, winding along back roads, moving through beautiful scenery, mountains and vistas.

But mostly I love driving to people I want to see.
It's good to go to family at Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Balm in America

Tonight, imagine lavender and red, white, and blue.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lake Cheston ABCedarian: T

T is for Thanksgiving Tableaux
(large and small)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Not As Innocent As They Look

I live with sister cats whose looks are deceiving.

Yes, Doodlebug is all sweet and adorable when wakened from her nap, cuddled into her little bed.


That is not the whole story.

Now imagine her jumping from the floor onto my back and holding on with her claws. Yes, this is another Doodle, the flip-side of cuddly, even though she makes that leap to purr and climb up onto my shoulders.

Those claws can do damage.

Yes, B(ad)a(ss)c(at) [pronounced Bassy] looks all sweet and adorable when wakened from her nap, comfortably lodged on her window chair.


That is not the whole story.

Now imagine her ripping my expensive terrycloth robe from the hanger on the back of my bedroom door, closing said door, and spending much of the evening shredding it into pieces just for the sake of sensory pleasure, purring all the while.

Those claws can do damage.

Beware: these cats are not as innocent as they look.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Let's Hear It for Gerridae!

I  Weather Report: High and Low Temperatures
  • Nov 12 -- 44/33
  • Nov 13 -- 35/23
  • Nov 14 -- 33/19
  • Nov 15 -- 46/19
  • Nov 16 -- 51/37
  • Nov 17 -- 53/21
  • Nov 18 -- 30/15
  • Nov 19 -- 48/15
  • Nov 20 -- 53/26
  • Nov 21 -- 57/26
  • Nov 22 -- 62/39
II  Common Water Strider Nicknames
  • magic bugs
  • pond skaters
  • skimmers
  • water scooters
  • water skeeters
  • water skimmers
  • water spiders
  • Jesus bugs
III  Season

Year-round in the South. (Witness this Common Water Strider, one among many, in Abbo's Alley this afternoon.)


Q: How the heck do they protect themselves from extreme cold?

V  Personal Observation

Jeezus! Bugs!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The most beautiful thing about the Bradford Pears in front of the Sewanee Post Office

is the flock of Cedar Waxwings gorging on the fruits.

What's a little bird poop when the rewards are so great?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Accidental Commandment

If only it were that simple!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


The way late afternoon sunlight washes a chapel arch, in pastel splotches of multicolored rouge, reminds me of a fresnel twilight, fading to black: 

(be)witching hour. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Poet Who Is a Kindred Spirit

at least in this regard:

All these great barns out here in the outskirts,
black creosote boards knee-deep in the bluegrass.
They look so beautifully abandoned, even in use.
You say they look like arks after the sea’s
dried up, I say they look like pirate ships,
and I think of that walk in the valley where
J said, You don’t believe in God? And I said,
No. I believe in this connection we all have
to nature, to each other, to the universe.
And she said, Yeah, God. And how we stood there,
low beasts among the white oaks, Spanish moss,
and spider webs, obsidian shards stuck in our pockets,
woodpecker flurry, and I refused to call it so.
So instead, we looked up at the unruly sky,
its clouds in simple animal shapes we could name
though we knew they were really just clouds—
disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.