Thursday, February 26, 2009

Theme Thursday: Toys

Wolfgang's father, Leopold, wrote the Toy Symphony, more formally known as Cassation in G for Orchestra and Toys. Toys of the period are some of the instruments. We used to have a very old LP of this. Where it is, I do not know. Here is one orchestra's interpretation of it from YouTube:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Music Monday (later in the day than usual)

I like this song! I know I already posted a song by this band before but I think that they are good enough to post another. I hope you agree.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ohio college tour

February 10-15, 2009

With much trepidation, I started out from far below the Mason-Dixon line to venture forth with L. Since her school wouldn't allow her to take Tuesday off before Winterim officially began, we got as far as Cincinnati the first night. Which was OK. We had a lovely time, especially as L was able to see all the excitement on cable tv she misses around here. We had to downsize, not because of L, but D couldn't not leave MSNBC, CNN, etc. alone for 5 seconds.

The next day we drove up to Gambier to see Kenyon College. We stayed at the lovely Gambier House, just across the way. We were surprised to learn that the area around Kenyon has the largest concentration of Amish in the country. L got the photo below on our way to getting lost. Luckily, a car was stopped in the middle of a back road; the driver and his wife had just spotted two eagles. When we asked him where Kenyon was, he said, "Heck, I'm not doing anything. Follow me!" so we did.

It was unseasonably warm during this visit. L was the only tourer, so she went out without me with her student guide.

Here is Kenyon's admissions building, John Crowe Ransom being honored with the statues of crows on top. Until I scanned the link, I had not realized that Ransom was himself a Tennessee native.

Angels on campus:

Oberlin College,

Oberlin was the best, and not just because I got to stay with Kim of Mouse Medicine two nights, one while L was staying at Oberlin and the other with L. Kim did it all: drove us around, went on a very cold tour of Case Western, taking pictures all the while, made dinner, gave a tour of Cleveland, stopping at a candy store in Cleveland Heights, in the midst of pre–Valentine's Day mayhem; Gallucci's ("Your Italian Grocer Since 1912"); as well as the amazing West Side Market. I got to meet lovely Em and F, and all the cats (except one). Our trip would not have been anywhere near as fun, informative, and vibrant without Kim!

Downtown Cleveland main library:

The view from the Children's Department; this visit was also my first viewing of a Great Lake. Erie is at the horizon.

The Mouse's most comfortable futon; two regulars stake their claim:

On the morning we left, we were greeted by:

But we made it away without incident to our final destination, Earlham College.

This was a great tour, the first one that we saw several colleges, so could compare them on site, so to say. Plus I've got to say it was a great mother/daughter trip; I couldn't have done it without L's navigational skills .

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Socks the cat

In memoriam for first Tuxedo under the Clinton administration. Socks would have turned 20 this year. He had been adopted in Arkansas when Chelsea was a little girl. Clinton's former secretary, Betty Currie, had cared for Socks since 2001. Socks had been suffering from a cancer of the mouth and jaw.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Theme Thursday: Library

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. – Cicero

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. – Chinese Proverb

by Valerie Worth

No need even
To take out
A book: only
Go inside
And savor
The heady
Dry breath of
Ink and paper,
Or stand and
Listen to the
Silent twitter
Of a billion
Tiny busy
Black words.
-From All the Small Poems and Fourteen More. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1994, p. 163. taken from 10/23/2006

I would say that it has been the library that has saved me. Not just once, but over and over, in different towns and cities down the decades.

The first one I remember going to was on Long Island, and it seems that it was housed in a basement, because I don't remember any windows. But I do remember getting my first library card there. It had a little metal strip on it that must have been used to make an impression on something—the cards in the books? I can't remember.

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book. – Author Unknown

In elementary school, during the summer, I spent a good deal of time in the Children's Room (in the building, above). For a painfully shy child, the library opens a door to swirling worlds where the words on the page sometimes can't keep up with the images in the mind. Read Thimble Summer, if you haven't. Chapter 5, "Locked In," is about being so caught up in reading that two girls don't even realize that the librarian has locked up and gone home for the night. That author also created the wonderful Melendy family. The Edward Eager books; LM Boston's Green Knowe series (I was lucky enough to visit the actual house and meet Lucy Boston's daughter-in-law); EC Spykman's Cares family (if any one knows where to get a copy of The Wild Angels, let me know); Eleanor Estes; Eleanor Farjeon's The Little Bookroom . . . well, I could go on.

High school: I would spend many an afternoon downstairs in the To Be Discarded section of the Bellevue Avenue branch, reading all sorts of odd ball books. I could never get a job there, though, as library jobs were the most coveted. (I cleaned houses instead.) However, since 7th grade, L has been lucky enough to have volunteered every other Saturday in our local library up here.

A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. – Shelby Foote

College; the library was a good place to hide out, way upstairs in the stacks, reading instead of doing whatever assignment was due.

Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit, reminders of order, calm and continuity, lakes of mental energy, neither warm nor cold, light nor dark. . . . In any library in the world, I am at home, unselfconscious, still and absorbed. – Germaine Greer

When L was just a kindergartner, I worked at the library in the next town over as the library assistant. The Librarian, who truly truly put the patrons first in everything, was nevertheless a Luddite who refused to get rid of the card catalog and hid the computer in the basement until the last possible moment. I think a library trustee struggled up the stairs with it. But after it was set up, it was hidden away in the most inconvenient part of the building. Even now, when I went to the library's web site for this post, I found that it is still "under construction." Ha! Every patron had his or her own library number, and most people were affronted if I didn't know theirs by heart. So I soon learned.

That library was all things—the hand-off spot for divorced parents, a rendez-vous point for various dates, studying, political fomenting. You name it.

What would I do without the library? Here, because of budget cuts and the anti-intellectualism of the County Commissioners, the downtown library is no longer open on a Sunday. When it was, there was nothing like a grey winter afternoon, spent perusing the stacks. And the payoff a satisfying armload to dump and dip into.

A good book has no ending. – R.D. Cumming

Monday, February 16, 2009

Music Monday

We listen to this song a lot when we are driving!
I had fun in ohio, more coming from tut-tut on that front.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Theme Thursday: Fish

This is a mixed kettle of fish.

From Prayers from the Ark, by Carmen Bernos de Gasztold, trans. by Rumer Godden. (click to read)

This little book has been on my shelf since my mother died and it came into my possession. I hadn't looked at it until this post. The author of the poems was a Benedictine nun in France, but, according to Godden, the poems "were written long before she came to the Abbaye, in a scant hard time . . . of enemy occupation, hunger, cold, frustration. . . . The Abbaye has only endorsed what she knew a prayer must be—if it is to have any meaning; not something dreamy or wishful, not a cry to be used in emergency, not even a plea, and not necessarily comforting. A prayer is a giving out, an offereing, compounded of honest work and acceptance of the shape in which one has been created . . ."

Rumer Godden herself is an author I read and reread. Taken from her Web site:
"One of her favourite axioms came from an Indian proverb that says
everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.

* * *

Seaweb is a proponent of ocean conservation.
Its monthly e-mail publication, Ocean Update, is very worthwhile. I've learned quite a bit over the years I've been receiving it.

* * *

The Vermont band Phish

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We're OFF!

Going on a college tour of Ohio and one school in Indiana with L. I'll have my Theme Thursday post up. Bringing the camera. We'll see what I can do on the road . . .

I'm not the most willing of highway drivers, so any positive thoughts sent my way will be duly appreciated.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Music Monday-संगीत सोमवार (apparently)

One of my friends who is Indian let me borrow this movie ("Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" or "Straight From the Heart" according to Wikipedia) after I went to her house on Friday. I watched some of it Saturday after I took the ACT and I really like this song best so far. I haven't gotten through the whole movie because it's 3 1/2 hours long, and the plot line isn't the greatest. But the music and dancing is so good!
This song is called Nimbooda. She's singing about the "sour lime" and the "sour lemon" as metaphors for something, but I couldn't catch what. Anyway, who cares! Look at the coordination and saris!


P.S. I am so excited to meet Mouse AKA Kimmy later this week :)

P.P.S Re: The Title. I translated Music Monday into Hindi via a translator, so I hope it didn't translate it into anything terrible that doesn't mean music monday!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The letter game

e has given me the letter Y to write about ten words beginning with that letter that have some meaning for me. They are in no particular order.

Yeast: Since L was a tiny girl, D has been baking our bread around here. No other bread, besides hard to make, complex European style breads from Niedlovs, will do. I occasionally make some too, usually pita. They never come out round, though.

Yankee: Yes, having been born in Vermont, and living in western Massachusetts as an adult until ten years ago, I guess you could say that I'm one. I miss the small towns, the maples, the rhubarb, the barns listing into the earth, the crisp air that, in winter, can be so cold you gasp when you first step outside. I do like it here, but when we moved, someone said to us, "You'll be back; eventually, you'll be back." It looks like he might be quite right. We'll see.

Yoga: Well, I don't think of myself as a yogi, a true spiritual practitioner of yoga, but I do love it, and miss the aching muscles after a session if I have to skip one for work at the computer. The people at Clear Spring are so inviting and encouraging. I don't think I would have taken that first class without them.

Yard: I love my yard; D is the one who does the most work in it, though. He created the herb garden, which was just a funny 1-foot-wide bed bounded by a railroad tie. Now it's quite a beautiful and useful big bed. We have to figure out how to get a rain barrel into it. We are going greener than ever here. There is even a movement afoot up here to allow us suburbanites to have a chicken or two.

Yoke: (e, this isn't easy to find y-words) So yoked as in married, which doesn't sound very complimentary, does it? With all the ups as well as the downs, D and I have been married for 22 years come August. Where did we meet? At a Christmas party eons ago. He gave me my engagement ring in the bar at the old Ritz-Carlton in Boston one Christmastime. As a matter of fact, from time to time we used to have lunch at the old Copley-Plaza, where often Gus Saunders would be hosting his radio show, Yankee Kitchen, at the next table.

Youngster: L has been a really wonderful one. I couldn't imagine life without her. It seems that in the blink of an eye she is a teenager who drives herself around, plays the cello, and takes a demanding course load as an 11th grader. I never believed people when they said the years would fly by, but they really have. Next week we are looking at (gulp) colleges in Ohio and Indiana, staying a night or two with kim!

Yarn: My grandmother taught me to knit when I was about 8 or 9, and I've been knitting ever since. Until I moved here, I was an isolationist knitter who fixed things (or tried to) or garbled patterns on my own. But here I've found a wonderful group to knit with and a great mentor who can just look at something and tell me what's wrong and how to fix it. I get quite a lot out of our Saturday mornings, that somehow bleed into most of the afternoon, knitting, talking politics, trading stories, getting advice.

Yuletide: I LOVE Christmas music. Not so much the getting out of boxes of ornaments, setting up the tree, baking (I'm tired already), but all the different types of music: Renaissance, jazz, old standards, carols. Frankly, I listen to it all year round, and I'm sure people wonder what 's going on when they hear it wafting from my car player in the middle of July.

Yowl: This is a sound I'm very familiar with. Soul often emits them upon seeing Frank, who he just cannot abide. It must be a male territory issue, because Bear, who used to be tolerated, now gets a healthy "hiss" whenever Soul encounters her. Even if I'm patting Soul, and Frank happens to come into eyeline, I get hissed out/yowled at myself. It's not easy being Senior Pet. Here, Frank and Bear try to keep Soul outside by putting the screen back in place.

Yea!: My tenth word beginning with Y!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Thursday Theme: Statue

The statue is therefore nothing but the sum of all it has acquired. May not this be the same with man?
—L'Abbé de Condillac
I would much rather have men ask why I have no statue, than why I have one.

Guest photographer D braved the bitter cold to capture this public art in a section of Southern City. But after consideration, I believe they are sculptures, not statues. Especially after considering the quotes, above. Frankly, I can't think of a statue around here.

The Bluff View's benefactor, in bronze.

This artist has some work in New York, I believe.

Joggers enjoy giving this Great Dane a high five

The early morning photographer casts a long shadow over all he surveys..

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Another poem

Reya got me pouring over some poetry. Here's one I just discovered that seems apt:

The State of the Economy
Louis Jenkins

There might be some change on top of the dresser at the back, and we should check the washer and dryer. Check under the floor mats of the car. The couch cushions. I have some books and CDs I could sell, and there are a couple of big bags of aluminum cans in the basement, only trouble is that there isn't enough gas in the car to get around the block. I'm expecting a check sometime next week, which, if we are careful, will get us through to payday. In the meantime with your one-dollar rebate check and a few coins we have enough to walk to the store and buy a quart of milk and a newspaper. On second thought, forget the newspaper.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Music Monday

I am playing this soon with my string octet hopefully. !


Fourth Annual A Bloggers (Silent) Poetry Reading (but 1st time here)

Thank you for the invitation, Reya.

Some Questions You Might Ask
—Mary Oliver

Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?
Who has it, and who doesn't?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
One question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?