Thursday, June 21, 2018

Quiet friend

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. 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 now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Rilke today...I posted one of his Orpheus poems before (Orpheus links below). This sonnet may be about an ancient myth, but it resonates today.

Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.


Previous Rilke Orpheus post
Orpheus with his lute

Becky Herzog is sharing a sloth poem I wrote her for the Summer Poem Swap.
Michelle Kogan has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Michelle!

Maria Yakunchikova

Yakunchikova is not only a great poet but also a great master. In Russia she is still insufficiently appreciated, and yet there are few contemporary artists - not only here, but also in the West - who wield such a fresh, noble palette, with such broad and vigorous skill.
~Alexandre Benois, 1901

Art today by Maria Vasilievna Yakunchikova-Weber, who only lived from 1870-1902. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis in the late 1880s, but she was able to carry on until after the birth of her second son in April 1901, from which she never recovered.

Reflection of an intimate world
by Maria Yakunchikova

View from the Belfry of the Savino-Storoshevsky Cathedral, close to Svenigorod
by Maria Yakunchikova

Stairs to the street
by Maria Yakunchikova

The Terrace
by Maria Yakunchikova - 1899

City view
by Maria Yakunchikova

Sleigh and village in winter
by Maria Yakunchikova

Tea time
by Maria Yakunchikova

Fear 1893-95
Maria Yakunchikova

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Risky business

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.
~ Winston Churchill

Sharing posts from Team IMPERFECT this Wellness Wednesday...basically, sometimes you want to take a risk, and sometimes you don't!

Now here's a manageable Risk
photo by Ben Stephenson

Make Failure Your Fuel (Abby Wambach)

Catch Mistakes Early (1-10-100 Rule)

Use Losing as a Tool (Bobby Bones)

Monday, June 18, 2018

It's Gonna Rain

What is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What's the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood?

Heard a great version of this last weekend:

Rev Milton Brunson

Thursday, June 14, 2018


No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.
~Robert Frost

This week, I used a prompt by Diane Lockward where she suggests using "April Incantation" by Maggie Dietz as a springboard. "April Incantation" isn't online so I can't share the ending, but here's the beginning:

April Incantation
by Maggie Dietz

O wrathful rain roll down
and down. Outwit the drains,

unground us. Wind and thunder,
steer the torrent’s train and throw

us under. Upriver, water, rage
and rack the dam to shatter. Blast

the happy poppies. Let petal-
blood trouble the flooded field.

Crack new bourns and boundaries
into parceled plots. Wreck even

the season that reared you: lick
the lilacs into sobbing heaps...


Here's my poem. Dietz's poem is pretty intense so that was what I had in mind, and I think the end result is kind of scary.*

Hunger Incantation
by Tabatha Yeatts

O thunderous maw, open!
Demand feeding, insist on

drenched sponge cake, laden
with preserves pulped within an

inch of their lives, ones that stick
to the spoon like they are grabbing

the cliff's edge with slippery hands.
Stuff yourself with upside-down cake,

shoving the juice-suffused rings in
with your single-minded fingers,

then the golden slabs that you swallow
dry, like a compactor crushing

a junkyard car, then the crumbs,
all that's left, crumbs that fall apart

between your teeth and leave
only your fingers to bite.


* Dietz's poem brings "I" in at the end and Lockward's prompt suggested that we do that, but I wasn't feeling it for my poem. My inspiration might have been someone, say a political party, who conjures an evil that devours them in the end, and maybe even a non-me narrator "I" wasn't a part of that. (Of course, you can take this poem any way you like, Dear Reader. Your interpretation is as good as mine.)

Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Karen!

In Clover

What airs outblown from ferny dells
And clover-bloom and sweet brier smells.
~John Greenleaf Whittier

Appreciating the common clover today. (I was glad to find a "Greenleaf" clover quote.)

Trifolium pratense L.
Amédée Masclef from Atlas des plantes de France, 1891

Mountain Clover
photo by J Stimp

Trifolium fragiferum fruits close up Campo de Calatrava, Spain
ohoto by Javier Martin

The Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) on a Trifolium pratense (Red Clover)
photo by Friedrich Böhringer

White Clover (Chiba, Japan, Tokyo)
photo by t-mizo

Trifolium pratense L., Trifolium medium L.
by Carl Axel Magnus Lindman

Red Clover Iced Tea

Note: I got side-tracked a bit by thinking about clovers and shamrocks. I have shamrocks that look like this:

I also have purple ones like these. So in my head I think of those as shamrocks and the stuff above as clover, except on St Patrick's Day when shamrocks are four-leaf clovers. How do you visualize shamrocks and clovers? (Also were you surprised by the clover fruits? We don't have those in my part of the world.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.
~Rosalyn Carter

There are so many potential caregiving situations that no one really knows if or when they might become a caregiver. Many people care for their parents, and many others care for spouses, children, other family members, neighbors, friends. Caregivers are all different ages -- one-in-four of the nearly 40 million family caregivers is a millennial. Some situations can be rewarding and even uplifting, while other times it can be just a long, hard slog.

The AARP has a lot of good videos about and for family caregivers.

* ABCs of Respite
* Government Resources Caregivers Should Know About
* Four Ways to Find a Caregiver Support Group (and a list of Facebook Caregiver Support Groups)

One last video:

Monday, June 11, 2018

Musical Hikes

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.
~John Muir

Musical Hikes? I first heard about this concept when the Boulder Philharmonic was visiting the D.C. area and they did a bird-themed musical nature walk. The Boulder Phil has a whole "Nature & Music" program, with free guided hikes paired with music by the Phil.

There are more:

Utah's Moab Music Festival says: Our first Music Hike requires concert goers to make a vigorous early morning hike of 30 minutes into a spectacular natural concert setting, and to hike out, invigorated by an hour of intense listening. This program features five of our virtuoso musicians performing new 21st century music framed by the power of works by Brahms, Barber and Bach. Saturday, September 1, 2018

Connecticut has Hike to the Mic: Hike to the Mic -“Music and Arts Happening” that once again will reward hikers to the Heublein Tower with great musical entertainment, food vendors and family fun. Saturday 8/18/2018 and Sunday 8/19/2018.

Have to include a song! From The Hike Sessions:

Thursday, June 7, 2018


Virginia is for Lovers
~David Martin

Today we have soil by Irène P. Mathieu, who shares, "Fun fact about that soil poem: it's dedicated to my partner and his country accent. Shoutout to #FarmvilleVA."

Irene Mathieu

My grandparents lived in Farmville so I've heard Farmville accents my whole life. I sent this poem to my father and uncle, whom I knew would appreciate it.

by Irene Mathieu

the way you say soil
sounds like soul, as in

after we walked through the woods
my feet were covered in soul

when it rains
the soul turns to mud

the soul is made of decomposed
plant and animal matter;

edaphology is the study of the soul’s
influence on living things

while pedology is the study of how
soul is formed, its particular granularity.

you are rooted in a certain red patch
of soul that bled you and your

hundred cousins to life, a slow
warm river you call home.

maybe there is soul under everything,
even when we strike rock first.

the way you say soil you make
a poem out of every speck of dirt.


Whispers from the Ridge has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Kiesha!

Pearl's Garden

I want to see students from the bottom up be able to study my place and learn from it. Kids don't need to be interested in topiary. They can come here and learn to focus.
~Pearl Fryar

Watch this video about Pearl Fryar and you'll see why I was immediately charmed.

A Man Named Pearl
photo by stefernie

The Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden
photo by Laurel LaFlamme

Pearl Fryer's Toparies
photo by Duane Burdick

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Seeking: Rejection

When you're following your inner voice, doors tend to eventually open for you, even if they mostly slam at first.
~Kelly Cutrone

For Wellness Wednesday, thinking about courting rejection. What can we gain from being rejected? Why would anybody seek it?

She might not make her goal, but she will have a lot of rejections. She's okay with it.

Someone else with an interesting perspective on rejection is Jia Jiang, who has a site called "Rejection Therapy." He explains that his intention was "to desensitize myself from the pain of rejection and overcome my fear." He has a TED talk with more of his reasoning. ("Jiang desensitized himself to the pain and shame that rejection often brings and, in the process, discovered that simply asking for what you want can open up possibilities where you expect to find dead ends.") The below video is Day 21 of 100 Days of Rejection Therapy (spoiler: he doesn't get rejected in this particular one, but you can find ones where he does if you look):

Monday, June 4, 2018

I need you, you, you

Please remember, people, that no matter who you are and what you do to live, thrive, and survive, there are still some things that make us all the same.

This Music Monday we have songs from The Blues Brothers. Good morning!!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Invention of Otter

Otters, if they do a trick and you give them a fish, the next time they'll do a better trick or a different trick because they'd already done that one. And writers tend to be otters. Most of us get pretty bored doing the same trick. We've done it, so let's do something different.
~Neil Gaiman

A poem by Dr. Miriam Darlington, the author of Owl Sense.

No one can say how
it came out of the water
or how it plucked pebbles
from the river's pockets
and made thoughts

no one can say
how the night made nostrils
and whiskered its way
from the roots of an oak
no one can say

how its rudder thickened
with the wind, made fur
ripple into a stream
or how the storm muscled
a heart out of the moor

who can say when the eel
learnt fear, or the trout
first felt speed shiver
through its sides?
Only, when it swims
all the water leans towards it
frays air into a swilling of pearls
and streams love themselves more deeply.

All I can say is, at that moment
poetry nosed its way into the world
took its place among the four elements
made them five, and now
when night silks the water
the weave of it says
shshsh, keep it secret


Buffy Silverman has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Buffy!

Books, flowers, and a snack

Read, read, read. That's all I can say.
~Carolyn Keene, The Secret of the Old Clock

Two paintings by William Henry Margetson and one by Giovanna Garzoni. The first painting reminds me of Nancy Drew, or maybe a more grown-up version of the youngest Dashwood sister, Margaret.

In the library
by William Henry Margetson (1861-1940)

Fresh lavender, 1909
by William Henry Margetson

by Giovanna Garzoni (1600–1670)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

On a scale of 1-10

Learning to stop sweating the small stuff involves deciding what things to engage in and what things to ignore.
~Richard Carlson

Perspective by Ingo

Sharing something from Richard Carlson's Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for teens for Wellness Wednesday:

The 1-10 scale has to do with the relative significance you give to something that is bothering you. Suppose, for example, you're annoyed that a friend forgot to do something she had promised. You feel a little hurt and bothered, and start to think about the other times she's done the same thing. you feel yourself getting uptight.

Now is the time to apply the first phase of the 1-10 scale. Think about the issue and apply a number between one and ten, indicating how important you think it is. One would be very unimportant and ten would be monumental. For argument's sake, suppose you chose #4. Now, for a few minutes, try to forget about it. Walk away and do something else.

Awhile later, think about the issue again and the number you applied to its importance. Now... cut the number in half. In my experience, not all but most of the time you're going to be right on the mark in terms of its actual importance. So, in our our example here, you would apply a value of two to your friend messing up. And if something is a #2, it's not worth losing any sleep over -- or sweating!

After a while, this will become second nature. You'll cut your initial assumption in half virtually without even thinking about it...What seems to happen is that you start to assume that blowing things out of proportion is a natural human tendency, and you begin to factor that assumption into your everyday reactions...
Congratulations! You're learning to stop sweating the small stuff.

(Of course, this won't work if there's something you need to sweat! If you come back later and you can't halve the number, that's something good to know.)

Monday, May 28, 2018

Be always on call

If bandits break in, sound the alarm
~Take Care of This House

For Memorial Day, I'm sharing a song I also shared for Election Day 2016. As we honor the people who have protected our House, we must rededicate ourselves to its protection.

Let America Vote
Inspire US

Friday, May 25, 2018

A bird for Anna

Quick as a humming bird is my love,
Dipping into the hearts of flowers—
She darts so eagerly, swiftly, sweetly
Dipping into the flowers of my heart.
~James Oppenheim

I participated in More than Meets the Eye, Margaret Simon's photo poetry exchange. Thank you, Margaret! And thank you to Jone Rush MacCulloch, who sent me a photo from Oregon of an Anna's hummingbird. Once I looked up Anna's hummingbirds, I was sunk. It was too interesting! I had a hard time stopping my research.

An Anna's hummingbird
by Jone Rush MacCulloch

I found fascinating facts about the hummingbirds themselves, which are the fastest animals on the planet. During their mating rituals, the males will fly straight up over a hundred feet and swoop powerfully down, making a burst of noise at the bottom. Scientists found that when the hummingbird "pulls up at the end of the swoop it experiences forces 10 times the pull of gravity – more than even experienced jet pilots can endure without passing out." I should write a poem about that, or the fact that they are also the fastest shimmy-ers in the world (a slow motion camera "caught the birds performing a micro-shimmy that is 10 times faster than a dog shakes after a bath.") But I got side-tracked by the story of Anna, the Frenchwoman the hummingbird was named for by naturalist René Primevère Lesson. I couldn't help but explore that bit of history.

A bird for Anna

On a four-year voyage
   around the globe,
René catalogued land creatures
   like the kangaroo and boar,
but the ones that
   lingered in his mind
were the ones that soared--
   stunning birds-of-paradise
and the remarkable
   flying jewels--

Anna was a princess
   and the empress'
mistress of the robes,
   the foremost lady-in-waiting.
Anna's husband François studied birds,
   collected thousands.
Like his wife, they were captivating,
   bright, bejeweled,
catching the light,
   sharp and

Although Audubon
   described Anna as a
beautiful young woman,
   extremely graceful and polite,

René would be the one
   to name a shimmering
specimen for her.

New World bird,
   a hardy soul
who remains all year,
   named for an
Old World princess,
   who also stayed home,
beloved of traveling men.


Reflections on the Teche has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Margaret!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Haruo Uchiyama

...My passion is to help people connect with wild birds through wood carvings and taking action to save their habitat.
~Haruo Uchiyama

I first heard about Haruo Uchiyama because he makes “Touch Carvings” for the blind. He also helps with preservation activities by making decoys of Short-tailed Albatross and other species, and he designs hand puppets for hand-raising chicks. He has been authorized by the Japanese government as a Modern Master Craftsman. I appreciate that Mr. Uchiyama gave me permission to share his artistry here.

by Haruo Uchiyama

Touch Carvings of Yardstick Birds
For the vision impaired, wild birds are hard to touch and understand. The wood carvings cannot convey the soft, fluffiness of real birds, but they can teach them the difference in shapes, sizes and beak forms, and the name of each feather.
by Haruo Uchiyama

Puppets for Hand Raising Chicks
Lappet-faced Vulture, White Stork, Siberian Crane, Whooping Crane
by Haruo Uchiyama

Family Tree by wood inlay, with bird carvings of the Darwin's Finches
by Haruo Uchiyama

Cranes (Whooping, Manchurian, Siberian white)
by Haruo Uchiyama

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Disability notes

As the years go by, fewer and fewer Americans will appreciate the fact that their forebears were quite happy to elect a handicapped person as president of the United States. We cannot allow the memory of FDR's disability to fade even more. A full picture of this extraordinary American political leader must be given.

We must grasp the fact that every day the president could not get out of bed, get dressed, reach the bathroom or get to his desk without the assistance of another person and a wheelchair. He was totally dependent upon both.
~Curtis Roosevelt, about his grandfather

I'm reading Introducing Disability Studies by Ronald J. Berger and I used a lot of wee sticky notes on the first couple chapters.

Quotes I marked while I was reading:
...impairment refers to a biological or physiological condition that entails the loss of physical, sensory, or cognitive function, and disability refers to an inability to perform a personal or socially necessary task because of that impairment or the societal reaction to it.


...For instance, people who use a wheelchair for mobility due to a physical impairment may only be socially disabled if the buildings to which they require access are architecturally inaccessible. Otherwise, there may be nothing about the impairment that would prevent them from participating fully in the educational, occupational, and other institutional activities of society. Or take the case of visual impairment. Nowadays people who wear eyeglasses or contacts don’t even think of themselves as having an impairment, because these corrective devices have become commonplace. But if it were not for these technological aids, which are now taken for granted, their visual impairments might also be disabilities.


Take the case of facial scarring or disfigurement, “which is a disability of appearance only, a disability constructed totally by stigma and cultural meanings."


All this is to say that it is important to understand “disability” as a social phenomenon, an experience that cannot be reduced to the nature of the physiological impairment. Rather, it is a product of societal attitudes and the social organization of society.


Indeed, most anyone who lives long enough can expect to have an experience with disability before they die. Joseph Shapiro adds that fewer than 15 percent of those who are disabled are actually born with their impairment, and therefore anyone at any time, “as a result of a sudden automobile accident, a fall down a flight of stairs,” or the acquisition of a serious illness, can join the ranks of people with disabilities.


Internationally, the World Health Organization (2011) reported that in 2010 there were more than one billion disabled people around the globe


And John Hockenberry wonders, “Why aren’t people with disabilities a source of reassurance to the general public that although life is unpredictable and circumstances may be unfavorable, versatility and adaptation are possible; they’re built into the coding of human beings.”


Monday, May 21, 2018

This time, baby

Tick, tick, tick, tick on the watch
And life's too short for me to stop
~La Roux

A little dancing this Monday morning with Pomplamoose:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Poem Your City

There's nothing people like better than being asked an easy question. For some reason, we're flattered when a stranger asks us where Maple Street is in our hometown and we can tell him.
~Andy Rooney

found this when I looked up "hometown"
photo by Hieu Viet Nguyen

A Twitter hashtag from this week -- #PoemYourCity -- resulted in a bunch of wee poems about hometowns. Here are a sampling (I was prone to noticing ones that mentioned writers):


Rev Spunky Blumpkin wrote:

This tag for some will be hard,
However, I'm from Dumfries,
Home of The Bard.
(he included a photo of Robert Burns)


Andy‏ @andymcphalanx 18:

Come and show me another city with lifted head /
singing so proud to be alive and coarse and / strong and cunning.
#poemyourcity has already been done pretty well by Carl Sandburg, I'd say


LisetteInBlue💫‏ @bookgirl8 7:

Here is all you need to know:
We don't have a Trader Joe's.


Jared M. Gordon‏ @JaredMGordon 4:

Consider my city if yours are all flops
I'll be your tipster
But when a city gets two olive oil and vinegar shops
It's reached peak hipster.


Garrett Moe‏ @Garrettmoe 4:

Other cities might be more fabulous
with just cause to walk with a strut
but out here in Indianapolis
at least we had Kurt Vonnegut


Carl Lamy‏ @carllamy 37:

Baltimore, Charm City
The City that Reads
If only the Orioles
Could hold onto a lead
Go O's!


Just Another Pretty Face:

I'd tell you my city,
but witness protection forbids me.


Sloth Reads has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Rebecca!

The Towering Green

When I go out into the countryside and see the sun and the green and everything flowering, I say to myself "Yes indeed, all that belongs to me!"
~Henri Rousseau

Just one today...

The Avenue in the Park at Saint Cloud
by Henri Rousseau

A Rousseau-inspired ekphrastic poem by me

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.
― A.A. Milne

Was this a real cereal?

I am a huge fan of le petit dejeuner, so for Wellness Wednesday, I bring you...Breakfast!

In my family, my husband will eat most anything for breakfast, but my kids have definite preferences. For instance, other than cereal, my son likes eggs, sausage or bacon, and grits or oatmeal. My younger daughter likes toad-in-the-hole, waffles, popovers, or crepes. My older daughter likes pancakes, French toast, hash browns, and fruit. One thing that goes over well universally, and is a hit with guests, is quiche.

I started out with the recipe for Easy Broccoli Quiche from Food, Folks, and Fun and tweaked it to suit my needs. I feel like cooking the veg with the onion enhances the flavor (instead of adding the veg raw), but you can do it that way if you want.

Easy Custom Quiche

9-inch store-bought pie crust (I've used regular and gluten-free)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cups vegetables, diced or cut as small as I have time for (broccoli, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, whatever you like)
1/2 cup cooked bacon or sausage, diced (optional)
6 oz. cheese, shredded (cheddar is standard, but don't let that stop you from using your favorite)
4 large eggs
2/3 cup half-and-half (or milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic (or more, if you're like me)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Let pie crust sit at room temp for 10-30 minutes if frozen. Prick crust 25 times with fork. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until light golden brown.
While pie crust bakes, heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, five minutes or so and then add other vegetables. Cook maybe five or so minutes. Add veg to pie crust, top with meat (if including) and cheese.
In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, yolks, half-and-half, salt, garlic, and pepper until combined. Pour mixture over pie crust. Bake quiche on top of cookie sheet 35-40 minute or until set and a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Move quiche to wire rack and let cool 15 minutes before serving.

What to try next? Here are some I'd like to make. If you make one, let's compare notes.

* Mocha Coffee Cake (Diabetic Living)
* Maple Glazed Pears and Cereal (pretty!) (Also Diabetic Living) (I'm not diabetic, but maybe some of you are, and they look good regardless)
* Dark Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl (looks great! and they claim it's healthy!)
* Zucchini Bread Oatmeal (am I crazy? this sounds good)
* Banana Peanut Butter Chia Seed Pudding
* Golden Milk (Turmeric Ginger Milk) (an acquired taste?)
* Oatmeal Sconuts (a combo of scones and donuts)
* Egg and Cheese Hash Brown Waffles (I feel like these might not turn out for me, but I'd like to try once)
* Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl
* Banana Pancake Dippers
* Open-Faced Broiled Egg, Spinach, Tomato Sandwich
* Chorizo, Egg and Potato Breakfast Quesadilla with Chipotle Sauce

Monday, May 14, 2018

Keep Me Up

I wrote this song personifying anxiety. It’s a song to anxiety, and was easy to write because it's about what I was feeling in the moment.
~Charlotte Lawrence

If I didn't know it was to anxiety, I would have guessed that it was to a romantic interest. I wonder how many other songs are directed to anxiety (or another emotion/situation/issue) that I've assumed are to a person?

Tips to manage anxiety and stress

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A European excursion

...Who are you? I ? Or really anyone else to judge them?
~R.M. Engelhardt, talking about poetry slams

Poetic fun from the Netherlands, Wales, and the medieval era today.

StAnzaPoetry shared this on Twitter:
At a Dutch poetry slam and they are genuinely voting with tulips.
It gets better: when they were down to two finalists, the audience members gave their tulip to their favourite poet, and the one with the largest bouquet won!

Apparently this is standard in the Netherlands, but normally the flowers are roses.


Did you know that May 14th is Dylan Thomas Day? In Dylan Thomas' radio drama Under Milk Wood, the audience gets a glimpse of the dreams and private thoughts of the inhabitants of a fictional Welsh fishing village called Llareggub ("bugger all" backwards). (Note: "Bugger all" is a rude/informal way to say "nothing")


In addition to celebrations of Dylan Thomas, in Wales you can also find the gravestone of John Renie who died in 1832 at age 33. The gravestone features a 285-letter acrostic puzzle which is reputed to read 'here lies John Renie' in 46,000 different ways.


Our last bit today is about a song of sixpence. Actually THE song of sixpence -- it seems like it's nonsensical, but actually has a grain of truth to it! Here's how it goes, in case you've forgotten:

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing;
Wasn't that a dainty dish,
To set before the king.

The king was in his counting house,
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlour,
Eating bread and honey.

The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.

That was the version I knew, but apparently sometimes this ending verses are used:

They sent for the king's doctor,
who sewed it on again;
He sewed it on so neatly,
the seam was never seen.


There was such a commotion,
that little Jenny wren
Flew down into the garden,
and put it back again.

by Alfred Kappes

History Undressed explains that in medieval times, pies were different. They were thicker, and you could bake a crust "pot" and lid and then put live birds (or rabbits, frogs, dogs, or poetry-reciting dwarves) in so they could fly/jump out and entertain your guests. (Some of these "pot pies" must have been enormous!)


Jama's Alphabet Soup has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jama! Maybe Jama has talked about bird pies before?

Last call for the Summer Poem Swap! I have heard from a lot of people already and am eager to make the chart!

Sky Blue

The sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet.
~Jandy Nelson

Swiss physicist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure was my inspiration for today's post. He made a cyanometer to determine exactly how blue the sky was. Mountain climbers had noticed that the sky became a deeper blue the higher up you went and Saussure wanted to measure it.

"In 1802, [geographer Alexander von] Humboldt took the tool on an ascent of the Andean mountain Chimborazo, where he set a new record, at the 46th degree of blue, for the darkest sky ever measured." (Sarah Laskow, Atlas Obscura)

Cyanometer, 1789
by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure

Groton Long Point, 1910
by Henry Ward Ranger

A Girl Copying a Drawing
by Martin Drolling

“In the year 1533 a horse in the air was seen in Bohemia, and a horseman, as if he wanted to mount it, just as is painted here"
by Augsburger Wunderzeichenbuch, c. 1550

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Bad Advice Wednesday

Don't overreact. For example, if someone inadvertently embarrasses you in public, don't let anger get the best of you. It really isn't necessary to frame the person for a murder he/she didn't commit. Wouldn't it be enough to simply break up his or her marriage instead?
~Anthony Rubino Jr.

Usually for Wellness Wednesday, we consult good advice. Today, we're having Bad Advice Wednesday.

Advice for How to Make Friends as an Adult:
Have an epic quest with someone. Psychology tells us that the stress of a traumatic event bonds people, which makes total sense. Remember how, at the end of “The Goonies,” they were even better chums than before? Get into a “Goonies”-type adventure with some people, if you can swing it. When you hear of someone planning on tinkering with something she bought at a mysterious shop in a back alley, nab an invite. If you both survive, you’ll be tight as all get-out.

(Actually, I am totally on board with tinkering with something bought at a mysterious shop, so if you have one of those, hit me up.)

Kellen Erskine with Bad Grocery Store Advice:

More bad advice:

A Collection of Bad Advice

Some good advice about bad advice:

Avoiding bad advice from your colleagues
Signs that you're getting bad advice
Recognizing bad advice
Seek counsel not advice

Monday, May 7, 2018

Casa di Riposo per Musicisti

Of all my works, that which pleases me the most is the Casa that I had built in Milan to shelter elderly singers who have not been favoured by fortune, or who when they were young did not have the virtue of saving their money. Poor and dear companions of my life!
~Giuseppe Verdi

photo by Paolobon140

The photograph above is of the retirement home Verdi built for elderly opera singers. Isn't it marvelous? Verdi and his wife are buried on the grounds.

There was a movie made about the place:

Clearly I need to see Verdi's La Traviata. I don't understand what's going on here at all, but it is still riveting:

When I was checking to see if I had posted Verdi's music before, I found that I had posted about roses named for him.