Monday, September 28, 2020

Let's go

What I’m trying to get across to you is: Please take care of yourself and those that you love, because that’s what we are here for, that’s all we’ve got, and that is what we can take with us.
~Stevie Ray Vaughan

The first time I remember hearing a song by Stevie Ray Vaughan, I was 16 and someone was playing "Change It." I was like, "What magic is this??"

Addendum for people who like addenda: Stevie Ray Vaughan died at age 36 in a helicopter accident (1990). He is ranked #12 on Rolling Stone's list of top 100 guitarists.

Thursday, September 24, 2020


All writers are magpies, right? We're always stealing bits from different places and then weaving them into our little nest.
~Stacey D'Erasmo

Celebrating Irene's new book This Poem is a Nest today! Irene wrote a 37-line poem and then found 161 wee poems within it. An amazing feat! Another incredible thing about Irene's book is that every single word of her Nest poem is used in one of the nestlings. Every single one! I decided to see if I could make a zine from her book, and then make a zine with my own nestlings from another poem. What I found is that making nestlings is HARD!

Here are a few photos of the zine I made with Irene's book:

Here's a printable version of the zine I made. You can read about how to fold and cut them here.


So then I wanted to see if I could find enough nestlings in a poem to make my own zine. I got a yen to try with someone else's poem first, so I gave it a shot with "Clap the Carers" by Jackie Kay:

I found:

I keep the best medicine
in the garden--
ten minutes of fresh air
and you.

But then I was stumped for others. Not enough to make a zine with! Next I want to try using my poem Celia Greets Us at the Island. Maybe I'll be able to come up with more :-)

Congratulations on a wonderful, inspiring book, Irene!


Jone Rush MacCulloch has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jone!


Painting is concerned with all the 10 attributes of sight; which are: Darkness, Light, Solidity and Colour, Form and Position, Distance and Propinquity, Motion and Rest.
~Leonardo da Vinci

For Art Thursday, some lesser-known painting techniques: grattage, verdaille, brunaille, repoussoir, and rosemåling. (Maybe repoussoir is actually well known and I just hadn't heard that term?) The brunaille paintings are pretty different -- one seems more golden than brown. I'm including them both because I can't decide which to leave out.

by Giovanni Guida
Grattage (literally "scratching", "scraping") is a technique in surrealist painting which consists in "scratching" fresh paint with a sharp blade.

Sleeping Woman
by Pietro Rotari (1707–1762)
Verdaille is a painting executed entirely or primarily in shades of green. Such a painting is described as having been painted "en verdaille."

The Visit to the Tenant Farmer
by Jan Brueghel the Elder
Brunaille is a painting executed entirely or primarily in shades of brown.

A Sibyl and a Prophet
by Andrea Mantegna

Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877
by Gustave Caillebotte
Repoussoir is an object along the right or left foreground that directs the viewer's eye into the composition by bracketing (framing) the edge.
The rear-facing man on the right with the tilted umbrella is an example of repoussoir figure leading the viewer's gaze into the composition.

A celebration plate with rosemåling
Rune Nesher
Rosemåling, Norwegian for "rose painting," a decorative folk art that originated in the rural valleys of Norway.

Monday, September 21, 2020

O Silver Moon

Illuminate him far away,
and tell him, tell him who is waiting for him!

In memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for Music Monday we have a piece that was one of her (many) favorites. Renée Fleming and London Symphony Orchestra with Dvorák's Rusalka, Op.114, B. 203 / Act 1 - "O Silver Moon"

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Joy does another lap around the racetrack of my heart

Happiness is a warm puppy.
~Charles Shultz

When we adopted Preston, our second dog, I hoped his presence would make Lucy feel better about being alone in the house. You know, the two of them could hang out while we were gone. As it turns out, a) due to the pandemic, there are six of us here so them being home alone isn't really a thing and b) Preston doesn't cope that well when I go out. Woe unto everyone if I start to go out and realize I've forgotten something and come back for it. Preston gets really upset when I leave the second time. He actually makes loon noises. I have promised Matthew that I won't go anywhere when he is teaching class. I don't want him to be distracted by loon sounds upstairs.

Lost Dog
by Ellen Bass

It’s just getting dark, fog drifting in,
damp grasses fragrant with anise and mint,
and though I call his name
until my voice cracks,
there’s no faint tinkling
of tag against collar, no sleek
black silhouette with tall ears rushing
toward me through the wild radish.

As it turns out, he’s trotted home,
tracing the route of his trusty urine.
Now he sprawls on the deep red rug, not dead,
not stolen by a car on West Cliff Drive.

Every time I look at him, the wide head...

read the rest here


Waiting for Happiness
by Nomi Stone

Dog knows when friend will come home
because each hour friend’s smell pales,
air paring down the good smell
with its little diamond. It means I miss you
O I miss you, how hard it is to wait
for my happiness, and how good when
it arrives. Here we are in our bodies,...

read the rest here


Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Matt!


Postman’s bag is always heavy because it carries the life itself: It carries all the sorrows and all the joys, all the worries and all the hopes!
~Mehmet Murat ildan

For Art Thursday, images from the National Postal Museum Archives:

An illustration of the "Jacob Strader," on the Louisville and Cincinnati mail line, 1856

City collection mail wagon used to collect mail from sidewalk mailboxes in Chicago, 1890

Mail team leaving Circle City for Ft. Gibson, Alaska, c. 1900

Railway Post Office streetcar #642, 1900

Robert Shank was hired in 1918, the first year of airmail service, as a Post Office Department airmail pilot. Shrank survived this crash of his Standard JR-1B aircraft, which landed nose down into a woody area. Shank is pictured standing on the airplane, peering into the cockpit.
Creator/Photographer: Charles T. Chapman

A girl trying to reach the top of a street collection mailbox to mail a letter, 1920

Railway Post Office clerks at work sorting mail inside the tight quarters of an RPO car, 1930

USPS Gifts

Monday, September 14, 2020

I’m about to do my thing

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.
~Maya Angelou

There are a whole passel of people who my heart goes out to these days. The people on the West Coast are high on that list. Some ways to help are listed here.

A feel-good song for Music Monday by Judith Glory Hill:

Thursday, September 10, 2020


Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.
~Ruth Reichl

What have you eaten? Sharon Tracey has chowed down on places:

I have eaten geographies
by Sharon Tracey

hard bits and soft pieces,
bitter, sour, and sweet
places that have talked back
to me,
made me who I am,
made me ache from too much—
whittled me.

What we love, we love.

I have sipped from a cenote,
bitten a spur, savored fine strata
near the mouth of a river.
Swallowed decades of dust,

read the rest here


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

By Candlelight

A great flame follows a little spark.
~Dante Alighieri

Once again, I can't remember what I've posted before. I must have had "candles" as a topic for Art Thursday already, right? These are different ones anyway (I guess?).

Detail from Netherlandish Proverbs
Pieter Bruegel

Madonna and Child, circa 1660
by Tomás Hiepes

Wonderland, between circa 1860 and circa 1890
Adelaide Claxton

Young Boy Singing
by Trophime Bigot (1579–1650)

A girl at the piano
by Poul Friis Nybo (1869–1929)

Lacework, Prague, Czech Republic
photo by Adam Jones

Monday, September 7, 2020


It's a colorful life that we go through
It's neither black or white, nor just shades of blue
~Darrell Scott

Jason Kander mentioned Darrell Scott did the best version of this song (which he wrote) so I checked it out. Thumbs up!

While we're at it, this performance by Darrell Scott and Tim O'Brien is pretty sweet:

Thursday, September 3, 2020

All Aboard

Joey, don't let this define you.
~Jean Biden

For Poetry Friday, a poem in honor of a genuine public servant, someone I am rooting for with my whole heart.

by Adam Giannelli

since I couldn't say tomorrow
I said Wednesday

since I couldn't say Cleveland I said
        since I couldn't say hello

I hung up
since I couldn't say burger

a waitress finished
my sentence

     a green-striped mint

      on my tongue
      from peacock to dove

since I couldn't say my name
     I opened

      as if preparing for a throat

since I couldn't say my name
     I sat there...

read the rest here


I sent some zines to Rebecca Herzog recently because I know Becky enjoys them. Afterward, I decided to make a printable one of my poem Acceptance. I colored mine, but it is just black and white if you print it out. (Here's the original post about the poem.)


Beyond Literacy Link has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol!

P.S. I received a robot postcard from Laura Shovan today. Are you familiar with Laura's robots? They are works of love.

Old Celestial Maps

The most remarkable discovery in all of astronomy is that the stars are made of atoms of the same kind as those on the earth.
~Richard P. Feynman

I've been posting for Art Thursday so long that I don't really know what topics and artworks I've already posted. The upside of that is that I don't figure you remember what I've posted either. Ha ha! Today, old celestial maps:

Celestial map of the moon's orbit around the earth and the phases of the moon
Johannes van Loon

ca. 1750 celestial map
by Tobias Conrad Lotter

Map of the earth according to the system of Ptolemy
Johannes van Loon

Corporum coelestium magnitudines
by Johannes van Loon

Geography of the Heavens, Northern night sky in the months of July, August and September, 1856
W. G. Evans

ca. 1930 Star Map
by Elizabeth Shurtleff

Sky Map Online
Printable celestial maps

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Swan Project

This is the only movement from The Carnival of the Animals that the composer allowed to be played in public during his lifetime. He thought the remaining movements were too frivolous and would damage his reputation as a serious composer.
~Wikipedia on "Le Cygne" by Camille Saint-Saëns

Isn't this beautiful? Thank you to the performers and producer!