Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thursday photo challenge--People

Perugia, wedding party and tourists
Perugia--wedding party and tourists overlap.

Since You Asked. . .

Here is the headstone my chronicle post refers to:


Long Days

I realized that I don't have it in me to produce much of anything for this day's posting. Last night I worked late. My day started at 7:30 AM with getting the kids out to school. I left for my office at 9:30 AM, saw my first patient at 10:15 and ushered my last out the door at 9:30 PM. I didn't make it home until 10:30 at which point I said good-night to older son, younger was asleep, husband, read half an hour and went to bed. I had an hour off for lunch, 1/2 hour to take care of business thanks to a now-show and that was it. Dinner didn't happen.
This is self-inflicted. I could set limits but it is hard to stop trying to save the world. It is a character strength and weakness all at the same time. I have another nine hour stint ahead of me today, so I guess I should grab some food and head on out.
See you tomorrow.

Worldess Wednesday

Marquette Road

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


What could be more famous than the Roman Colosseum?
Roman Colosseum


Monday, January 29, 2007

Saying Goodbye to Robert Taylor Homes

Saying goodbye to Robert Taylor Homes
Yesterdays ramblings took me to some pretty strange places. This is one of Chicago's infamous housing projects. I think it is the last of the row called the Robert Taylor Homes. The projects were a mystery to me when I first moved to Chicago. There they were, high rise buildings all in a row, with smoke stains from fires around some windows (you can see some in this picture). I heard stories over the years of drugs, elevators that didn't work, gang warfare, poverty, neglect, firemen who had to climb to the top floors to do their jobs. The buildings became a symbol of well-intended social engineering gone seriously wrong. Now they are all being torn down and the residents resettled, hopefully into better places. This too has been controversial. Where should new housing be built? Who should be eligible? What to do with the folks no one wants as neighbors? And so on.
For a great book about life in the projects in Chicago, I highly recommend There are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz.

South side of Chicago

Just a photo from yesterday's ramblings.
Old building--photoshopped

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Stone--See It Sunday

Stone on the beach


Headstone photograph


Life was too short for me.
Not enough girls to kiss.
A good son and brother
But too handsome
And arrogant with it.
I liked the girls
But they all wanted one thing.
So did my mother.
But 28 was too young to settle.
And then I was consumed.

Sunday Scribblings--Chronicle

Two days ago, I visited a cemetery. I looked at headstones of people born in the 19th century who died when my grandparents were young. They were not related to me, although in the relatively small world of the Jewish Diaspora, some of them may have been. I have no family buried in the cemetery.
But the urge came upon me to somehow chronicle the life of someone buried there. Perhaps it was the poignancy of so many graves and so many forgotten lives. On a winter's day, there was little evidence that the graves had been visited. Only one grave had flowers although others had evidence of plantings, now dead for the winter. Some were well tended but families can pay in advance to keep graves tended in perpetuity. Others were covered in weed and snow or falling over. Some of the most precarious of the stones had labels warning the unwary to stand clear.
Later, at home, I looked at some of the names on the internet, curious to find out if they appeared in someone's genealogy search, without any luck. This did not come as a surprise for it was just a casual scan. So the tenants of the graves I photographed remain a mystery.
This mystery appeals to me. It is with a certain sadness that I note that some people's lives are forgotten a few generations later. All the headstone inscriptions that say a loved one will not be forgotten seem in vain. But the stones and in some cases the photographs remain for strangers to ponder.
I am not the first to write poems about the long forgotten. From dim memories of my high school days, I dredged up the name of Edgar Lee Masters in his Spoon River Anthology. Here I reprint one such epitaph-poem.

Cassius Hueffer

THEY have chiseled on my stone the words:
“His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him
That nature might stand up and say to all the world,
This was a man.”
Those who knew me smile
As they read this empty rhetoric.

My epitaph should have been:
“Life was not gentle to him,
And the elements so mixed in him
That he made warfare on life,
In the which he was slain.”
While I lived I could not cope with slanderous tongues,
Now that I am dead I must submit to an epitaph
Graven by a fool!

For space considerations, I am sharing my tribute to the lost on the next post.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Guess where I spent my afternoon?

I went to a cemetery today. The good news is no one I know has died. I had time to do some picture taking and had wanted to check out an old cemetery I've driven by a number of times. It is an old Jewish cemetery out in the western suburbs of Chicago. Just from the road I could tell it had a lot of history attached to it. It felt a little strange taking pictures there but I was mindful of being respectful of the graves and the people interred there.
A lot of old cemeteries are endangered species but this one is better kept up than I expected. Nonetheless it was quite poignant to see the graves of people long gone and unfortunately probably long forgotten. Many of the graves dated back to the early 20th century. I also learned of a custom I was unaware of which is putting copies of a person's portrait on the grave. The pictures are somehow adhered to porcelain so many survived the past 80-90 years relatively intact.
I'm not sure what I intend to do with the photos I took but I'll post two here.
In memory of Bella Mogal. Where did you come from and what was your life like? Are you survived by family who keep your memory alive?

Moody Monday--Feminine

What could be more feminine than a ballerina? From the local ballet school's production of the Nutcracker.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Photo Friday--Fast

Watch out for those wires.
Taken near Midway Airport at sunset.

Too many memes. Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen

Booking Through Thursday

  1. How many unread books do you have in your house, right now? (Your own books, that is--not ones that belong to other family members--and not counting things like school books, if you have them.) Clearly, an estimate will do. Glad I get to estimate because it would take me a week to count them all--I'll guess 1-200.

  2. To the best of your recollection, what is the OLDEST unread book in your collection? How long has it been waiting? I think I have an unread book somewhere I bought in college--let's say 20 years--I'm trying to get rid of some TBR's that never will BR.

  3. Do your TBR books (that's "To Be Read," if you didn't know) haunt you, make you feel guilty that you haven't read them yet? Yes, I have more ghosts than a haunted house.

And to finish it off:
13 books from my TBR pile for Thursday Thirteen
1. I Bought a Mountain by Thomas Firbank
2. Electroboy: a Memoir of Mania by Andy Behrman
3. Motherland by Fern Schumer Chapman
4. The Mammy by Brendan O'Carroll
5. Beethoven's Hair by Russell Martin
6. The Grand Tour by Tim Moore
7. Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
8. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
9. The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis
10. A Fine Young Man by Michael Gurian
11. A Hundred and One Days by Asne Seierstad
12. What Would Joey do? by Jack Gantos
13. Of Two Minds: An Anthropologist Looks at American Psychiatry

I am not promising to read all of these. These will be alternates on my TBR list. I've already removed 1-4/5 books from the TBR pile. Plus having all these books I've committed to read keeps a lid on my buying too many more.

Why do I love poetry?--Poetry Thursday

It is a good question although the topic feels like a high school writing assignment. First I need to ask myself, do I love poetry? I certainly enjoy it; there are a few poems I love, but poetry is not central to my being. Nonetheless, here I am.
Words are central to my being. The exchange of words is at the heart of my chosen profession, Psychiatry. And I am a reader. I read everything. I have been known to read a cereal box if there is nothing else in front of me. In elementary school, I read my way through recess and on into the next class without noticing. I won the school book contest by sheer number of pages read. I read my way alphabetically through the children’s fiction shelves in the local library.
Besides my primary science major in college, I took a second major in French literature. I read a lot of great poetry for that. In fact, the only poem I ever wrote that won a prize was in French for a departmental poetry contest.
I have some favorite poems. Lately the beginning of Keat’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” has been running through my head. The poem begins with:
Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
One of William Faulkner’s novels introduced me to this poem. I wish I could remember which of his novels it was; I read several, all during one Faulkner phase I had in college. Faulkner repeatedly quoted the poem and referred to it in many of his works. The beginning of this one poem can evoke in me a memory of a time in my life, thoughts of art (aren’t Grecian urns lovely?), pleasure in a poem and a desire to revisit an American author. This is a lot of complexity for a handful of words.
I had a discussion about poetry with my husband recently. My son wrote his first poem for a high school English class. We both were impressed with it. It was a lovely piece of work. However, on reading it, we asked ourselves, how do you know if a poem is good? The rules pertaining to poetry are unclear unless one picks a fixed format such as a sonnet or a Haiku. Even then, the rules do not tell one if the poem is good.
A poem is good if it makes something happen. Faulkner knew this of Keat’s Ode. He entwined it into his prose in such a way that I had to seek out the poem. From that reading on, the prose and poem have become entwined in my mind and the words and feeling return to me when I think of poetry. Not many things in life have that power over me. In my life, perhaps certain smells (Proust knew and took advantage of this) such as fresh bread, sounds—ocean waves and seagulls, and images can do this to me. And so can poetry. I think this after all is why I love poetry.
Here is how “Ode” ends:
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

Ceramic bowl
Grecian Bowl (no urns available)

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre
In the summer of 2005, my family and I traveled a bit in Italy. One side trip we took was to the Cinque Terre area. Cinque Terre is visually stunning, as in the picture, but was not the highlight of the trip in my mind. It was very touristy and I did not find the people at all friendly. My sense was that the region was dying out and turning to tourism to keep it alive but that the need to do so was resented by the locals.
Cinque Terre is relatively difficult to reach due to limited car access but once you are able to enter one of the small towns, there is boat transportation up and down the coast. There is also a walking trail which we unfortunately did not have time or energy to do. Maybe with more time I would have had a more favorable experience of the region.

Automotive Art

Since people were asking me what the previous photo was, here is a different shot. The photo is of a sculpture by the name of Hedgerow, by Lucy Slivinski. It is made of automobile exhaust pipes and reflectors and is part of an exhibit called "Artists + Automobiles." I like the idea of recycled art.
Automobile sculpture

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Check out these links

I decided since I have a late start at work today to go through some of my bookmarks, cull a few out-of-date or uninteresting ones, and post a few worth looking at.
Initially I thought I'd focus on photoblogs but maybe later.
1. The first link I want to direct you to is called Booking Through Thursday. It bills itself as "A Meme about Books and Reading". I blogrolled it too. It looks like they post a meme every Thursday, all about books, of course.
2. Next I randomly found the following blog by a Peace activist, by the name of Peace Meme. I'm not sure where the meme comes into it. I was impressed by one post in particular about "Peace" and "Robbie" a conservative blogger. It is about how we don't always have to agree to behave in a civil manner. See the post here.
He also has a speech by Barack Obama (who happens to send his kid to the same school as my kid, but so far Barack's charisma hasn't rubbed of on me or my kid) posted which is well worth reading.
3. Check out Crunchy Bits who lives in Nebraska(I was there once). I'm not sure where I found her blog but she has won my heart because she has pet rats. I don't anymore--they aren't compatible with cats and it is harder to find people to babysit rats when you go on vacation. I had pet rats for most of my childhood and two in graduate school--one was named Putz (for the Yiddish expression "to Putz around" which is describes how rats explore a room to a tee). I'm linking you to one of her rat photos--don't go there if you have a rodent phobia. This cutie is named Olivia.
4. OK here is a cool, photoey, buggy blog. I like nature blogs and photo blogs so the two together are just perfect. David of David Nelson's Photoblog may not have much blog activity for a bit though; his last post states he is going to do some research in Darwin (help me out-- where is this?) and may not have internet access. He promises us lots of pictures in the future and his older posts are worth looking at. As with rats, if you have bug phobias don't go here.
5. Check out Fireflies in the Cloud if you want to see snow in Tuscon, Arizona. Yep, there are photos to prove it--of snow on a cactus and the world's smallest and dirtiest snowman. I can say this because we midwesterners do snow better than you Arizonans. Really, this is just my cactus-envy showing. I can't even grow cacti indoors here. Ask my son. I just killed three separate cacti. Matt also is an author and has a post about a writing scam here.

Well, this seems to be long enough for now. Too bad, so many blogs, so little time.
Let me know if there are any incomplete links as I'm too lazy to check them myself :).

Monday, January 22, 2007

My front door

One last post before bed. Catching Light started a group of bloggers posting pictures as seen out their front doors. This seemed like a good excuse to meet another blogger and post this picture (from Halloween 2006).
Thanks for the idea.

Two creepy photos from the past two weeks

Painting on telephone pole--back alley Hyde Park
Every move you make
Every step you take
Ill be watching you

Blog Alert

Professionally I have had a fair bit of experience with 12 step groups--you know the type--Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and so on. For the classic substance abuse model, these groups are quite helpful to many people. However, thanks to a fellow blogger, Liza at Liza's Eyeview I have discovered BA--Bloggers Anonymous. Catch this blog before it gets deleted--the last entry was posted in July of 2006. I guess someone out there overcame his blog addiction. His post The "Mock 10" Signs of Blog Addiction is a hoot in a "isn't denial a river in Egypt" kind of way. How many signs do you admit to? I'll confess to at least 2.
Remember the first step is to remember you are powerless over your addiction to _____ (fill in the blank).

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: fantasy

Paris in Rainstorm
If I leave these things to the last minute I always wind up writing about what I know best, that is, myself. I could have written a fantasy story or poem. I could have written a detailed reflection on the meaning of fantasy, but with a few minutes before bed-time, I’m going to take the easy way out and tell you about one of my fantasies.
This is my sabbatical fantasy. Like most good fantasies it has several versions. There is the writing sabbatical, the working sabbatical, the sabbatical in France, Italy, New Zealand, England or Australia. I picked the latter three because I am more likely to be able to take a working sabbatical in a country where I speak the language fluently. My French is quite serviceable but there are layers of nuance and cultural awareness that would get in the way of my practicing psychiatry in France even if I could get legal and logistical issues taken care of. Regarding New Zealand and Australia, I have even seen ads for U.S. psychiatrists to work there.
While it would be enlightening and fun to see how my profession is practiced in another country, why not just enjoy myself? Here is where the writing sabbatical comes in. Six months to a year to live in another country and write my fantasy novel. Why not? I could write a travelogue about my travails living in another country. I could write my memoirs. I could write all those funny stories I’ve been accumulating about my profession. I could write a science fiction/fantasy novel or a young adult adventure story. All of these have flitted through my mind at one time or another. All I’ve lacked is time, energy and a good lap-top. Well, now I have a good lap-top. But there will never be a good novel in me while raising two kids and working full time. The past 4 years have been among the most creative of my life. I have started new hobbies and begun to read seriously again. However, there are still only 24 hours to a day and I sleep 8-10 of them away.
So I’ll narrow down the fantasy to a sabbatical in France. It is hard to choose between living in Paris and someplace like Provence. Or perhaps, since it is a fantasy, I can divide my time. After all, Paris is wonderful but it is expensive, crowded and somewhat stressful to live in. I’ll write my novel in small outdoor cafes over multiple cups of espresso. Don’t worry, I won’t start smoking just so I can add a Gauloise to the scene. I’ll spend my free time walking through the arrondissements and visiting every small, out of the way museum. I’ll frequent the Marche aux Puces weekly and bring my treasures home with me. I’ll perfect my language skills. Perfecting my skill at wearing accessories is too much to ask for, but I can dream.
Now all I have to do is convince three other people in my life that a sabbatical is a good idea. . . .


Posted by Picasa

The technology god, not the one that they used to throw maidens to in Hawaii, is not cooperating. I scanned an old photo today from a 1997 trip to Hawaii so I could illustrate the review of Letters to Hawaii. But I couldn't for the life of me adequately edit the result to add to the post. So here is my best effort. Incidentally the photo is from a run-of-the-mill point and shoot camera so it is not the highest quality, but I like to use my own work on this blog.

Finally--TBR/Classics Book One

My first book for the TBR and Classics challenge is Mark Twain’s Letters from Hawaii. These letters were written in 1866 when Twain was a young journalist for the Sacramento Union. This book made my TBR pile a number of years ago when as a tourist in Hawaii I chanced on it. I like to read books about places I visit but never got around to reading it and so it languished until these challenges.
When I was a kid, I did not much like Twain’s most famous works, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer except for reading a bit of the adventures in Tom Sawyer. I rediscovered Huckleberry Finn when it was required for a literature class I took in college. I read the book sitting on the sun-roof of my dormitory and could almost imagine floating down the Mississippi (which I had never seen for myself) as I read.
More than 20 years later, I now have seen the Mississippi and it is as mighty as they say. And I find myself, voluntarily, writing book reports on a blog on the internet. Neither blogs nor the internet existed when I was in college, of course.
I was initially surprised to learn of Twain’s visit to the Hawaiian Islands, known at the time as the Sandwich Islands. I knew he had visited San Francisco due to his famous quote, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” which apparently he never said. But in my ignorance I assumed that Mark Twain was first and foremost a Midwesterner.
One of the first things that struck me about Letters is that Twain would have fit in perfectly in the world of blogging. At times his letters read like a travel blog. He speaks of native Hawaiian culture, plants and animals and makes fun of their political system. He critiques the local water, cigars, wine, and fruit. Of oranges, he says, “I seldom eat more than ten or fifteen at a sitting, however, because I despise to see anybody gormandize (sic).” He also tells us that he thinks bananas are overrated and does not like mangoes and guava.
Twain’s wit ranges from slapstick to dry. Regarding the Hawaiian natives’ lack of western religion until the recent advent of many (oft-competing) missionaries, Twain muses: “How sad it is to think of the multitudes who have gone to their graves in this beautiful island and never knew there was a hell! And it inclines right-thinking man to weep rather than to laugh when he reflects how surprised they must have been when they got there.” I love the impious irony of this statement.
It is sometimes hard to read Twain’s praise of the Chinese as cheap “coolie” labor, his easy acceptance of slavery and his naïve and demeaning comments about aspects of the Hawaiian culture but Twain was a product of his time and perhaps could not think otherwise. He wasn’t all that kind to some aspects of Western culture either.
Twain’s descriptive writing can be quite fine. His account of his visit to Kilauea on the island of Hawaii is well done. “We came upon a long dreary desert of black, swollen, twisted, corrugated billows of lava—blank and dismal desolation! Stony hillocks heaved up, all seamed with cracked wrinkles and broken open from center to circumference in a dozen places as if from an explosion beneath. There had been a terrible commotion here once, when these dead waves were seething fire; but now all was motionless and silent—it was a petrified sea!” How often do we read such descriptive travel writing?
I cannot strongly recommend this book. It is distinctly a lesser work. Some of his letters can be quite tedious but there are moments that shine and are worth the effort. Read this book if you love Twain or love Hawaii; if not, start with Huck Finn or another of his works.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

My first black and white shot

I decided to experiment with Photoshop a bit. This photo needed to have the horizon made horizontal--some iffy technique with the camera--but I was happy with the focus. I have also wanted to tinker with B & W and this picture seemed a good candidate.
Here's the result. What do you think? For a better view of the photo, click on it and you will be in Flickr. If you click on the button that says "all sizes" just above the photo you can enlarge it.
Seagulls at Seabrook

Wild Water--Saturday Photo Hunt

Taken in December on the Pacific Northwest Coast

Friday, January 19, 2007

Poetry in Prose--Virginia Woolf

Red Sky at Night

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I was reading Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. I was struck at times by how poetic her language is so I took the liberty of transcribing one passage from the book. I added line breaks and capital letters to make the words look like a poem but all the words and other punctuation are exactly as in the book. I think this passes for a pretty good poem, don't you?

Quiet descended on her,
Calm, content, as her needle,
Drawing the silk smoothly
To its gentle pause,
Collected the green folds together
And attached them, very lightly,
To the belt.

So on a summer’s day
Waves collect, overbalance,
And fall;
Collect and fall;
And the whole world seems to be saying
“That is all”
More and more ponderously,
Until even the heart in the body
Which lies in the sun on the beach
Says too, That is all.

Fear no more, says the heart.
Fear no more, says the heart,
Committing its burden to some sea,
Which sighs collectively for all sorrows,
And renews, begins, collects, lets fall.
And the body alone listens
To the passing bee;
The wave breaking;
The dog barking,
Far away barking and barking.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday 13--#9 Thirteen Great Things about Chicago

Hubbard Street Mural

Thirteen Great Things about Chicago

Since I said last week why I'd rather be in Seattle, I thought I'd give Chicago its fair shakes. If you ignore the weather and the absence of mountains or an ocean Chicago is pretty great.
1. Millennium Park
2. Lake Michigan
3. Lots of wonderful architecture.
4. The Sears Tower and the Hancock Center
5. The Art Institute
6. Navy Pier
7. Da Bears (Seahawks fans forgive me)
8. Nice people
9. The pizza!
10. Devon street and great Indian food.
11. Chicago Symphony Orchestra
12. Kosher Hot Dogs.
13. Museum of Science and Industry

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Beautiful British Columbia
2. Colloquium
3. Cozy Shack
4. Sunflower
5. Cheaper Than Therapy
6. Tigerprr's Scratching Post
7. It's All About Me
(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Men of Stone


Look West to the men of stone,
He said.
Past the leaning sentinels
And then look farther still.

Your journey shall be long,
And more.
Far beyond the sunset hills
Across the sea of woe.

And once upon the farthest shore,
Trek on.
Farewell to the men of stone
And the stones of men.

Thanks to Poetry Thursday for the prompt and to Pip for a line from her poem "Go Walking"--the line is:
"Look West to the men of stone."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Too tired to blog

It is hard to be either wordy or witty after two late nights at work. I've had to content myself with a bit of surfing and commenting and one photo challenge. Tomorrow I have to prepare a Thursday Thirteen. I wonder what I'll come up with.
I also have finished my first book of the TBR (To Be Read) and Classics challenge. That leaves 4 classics and a lot of other books to go. I'm hoping I will have the energy to write a report on my first book tomorrow too. It is Mark Twain's Letters from Hawaii. My current read is Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I think this will be a quicker read than Twain (I would have guessed the reverse).
Here is a tired looking picture taken of a tunnel in Italy through a mountain of marble.
Tunnel near Colonnata

Thursday photo challenge--Wealth

A jewelry shop window in Florence.
Jewelry shop window in Florence

Wordless Wednesday--Two "Beans"

Hubbard Street Mural
Chicago "Bean"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Urban art

I made a wonderful discovery this weekend. I had a break from family duties and went out on some errands, my trusty camera in tow. Days are short at this time of year and I was getting hungry and doubtful that I would wind up with any inspiring photos. I passed a yard full of red and white striped cement mixer trucks and wanted to photograph them but there were people working in the yard and I didn't have the guts to stop and start snapping pictures in front of an audience.
I was in search of urban photos--the sort of dirty, gritty, self-consciously un-pretty photos you always see professional photographers taking when I ran into a series of murals that seemed placed there just for my enjoyment. Subsequent surfing led me to the web site of the Hubbard Street Mural Project. I discovered that this series of murals was begun in the 1970's on this concrete train embankment but recent construction had damaged some of the murals and last year new ones were painted.
The good news is even if you never get to Chicago, you can see some of them right here.
Hubbard Street Mural
Hubbard Street Mural
Stay tuned for more pictures--tomorrow?

Monday, January 15, 2007


Patterns of Ice on Stair
Today we had our second major snowfall of the season. It rained before turning to snow and there were interesting patterns in the ice on my back stairway.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Good planet--revised and corrected

Geese and Gulls
For a monthly bit of tree-hugging, a good place to start is the Good Planet carnival (I guess it's a carnival). This carnival celebrates our beautiful planet with pictures of same. This month's is up on Somewhere in NJ including two of my photos. Next month's Good Planet will be posted at Wanderin' Weeta and you can mail your photos to susannah AT dccnet DOT com or for this month (there are two weeks left) to lc-hardy AT comcast DOT net. These are lovely blogs independent of the carnival and are worth a gander (pun intended).

Does this make me popular?

I'm almost at 3000 hits and my Technorati rating is less than 75,000. Beats my dating days.

I've been tagged

Lazy Sunday Thinking
Thanks It is about Time for the tag. Here we go:
1. If you had to choose one vice in exclusion of all others what would it be
* I’m stuck between chocolate and sleeping late.
2. If you could change one specific thing about the world what would it be?
* Everyone should have health insurance.
3. Name the cartoon character you identify with the most.
* Dexter of Dexter’s Laboratory (he's a geek).
4. If you could live one day in your life over again which one would it be?
* I’m not sure I want to go backwards like that.
5. If you could go back in history and spend a day with one person who would it be?
* Darwin
6. What is the one thing you lost, sold or threw away that you wish you could have back?
* The notebooks that have the first story I ever wrote (in kindergarden).
7. What is your one most important contribution to this world?
* My children
8. What is your one hidden talent that nearly no one knows about?
* My interest in writing. Very few people actually know about this (except for you bloggers).
9. What is your most cherished possession?
* My wedding ring. It was my grandmother’s.
10. What one person influenced your life the most when growing up?
* My grandmother, she gave me unconditional love.
11. What one word describes you better than any other?
* Everyone tells me I am “intense”. I guess they are right. Also empathic.
- I am going to tag:
I forgot this meant I have to tag some poor unsuspecting tag-victim.
Rose of Sharon

Sunday Scribblings--Idea

Operation Push Headquarter
This prompt leads readily to a post I wanted to do for Martin Luther King’s birthday.
Reverend King was an inspiring example of how ideas can change the world. I recommend that we all take the time to read today or tomorrow, King’s “I have a dream speech” and remember his words: “I have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they one day will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
I wish I could say to King’s spirit that this day has arrived, but it has not. I was at a dinner last night with some very educated and politically liberal people. Of course, politics came up, and no one spoke up in favor of our president’s war in Iraq. The talk turned to speculation about our next president. For the democrats thoughts turned to whether Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama might be viable candidates. Now whatever you think about their respective political merits, one has to ask first, are Americans ready to elect either a female or an African American president? Yes, race is still an issue in this country before character. Sometimes one might wonder if character is an issue at all to the electorate (unless one is a promiscuous democrat). Sadly enough, many of us felt that an African American is more electable than a woman, whether or not she is Hillary. Don’t even dream of running for office if you are gay.
I saw a movie a few days ago that kept the hope alive in my mind. It is a small movie called Paper Clips that I only heard of by word of mouth. Without a recommendation from a close friend, I never would have watched it at all.
It is no coincidence that the movie’s web site starts with the words: “It all started with a simple idea.” In a small town in rural Tennessee, staff at the local middle school decided that they needed to teach their children more about tolerance. They were worried that in a community that was 100% Protestant and had only a handful of African American and one Hispanic student, their children needed to be exposed to the importance of tolerance as part of their education.
These teachers decided to study the Holocaust at their school. They started teaching their students how one ideology could lead to murderous evil. The project evolved into an attempt to understand the meaning of the number 6 million (the number of Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis). The students decided to collect paper clips, used as a symbol of resistance by the Norwegians during World War II. Over the course of a few years, the children collected 29 million paper clips, met people from other cultures, countries, faiths and backgrounds than their own and grew in the doing.
This is a movie about how one idea changed a community. It is not a Holocaust movie. This is a true story about how ideas can lead to personal growth in ways that no one could have predicted. I think Reverend King would have approved.
As King said in his speech: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed—‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.’” What a simple idea it is.

See It Sunday--Purple

Purple Flower

Photo Hunt-Technology


Clock works--Torre Delle Ore, Lucca, Italy
Not high tech by our standards but I bet it was when it was designed.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Photo Friday--Peaceful

The sun sets over the Pacific

The intensely red sun was due to a large forest fire some distance away. Good for photography, bad for trees. This was taken in October, 2006 in Pacific Beach, California (near San Diego).
May all of you have a peaceful weekend.

Thursday photo challenge--White

Datura flower and bud. Taken in Zion National Park in August 2006.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thursday Challenge--Cliché: A rose is a rose is a rose

One phrase came into my mind when pondering clichés. It was the Shakespeare line “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Since I didn’t feel that I have a serious poem in me at this last minute hour, I thought I would research the use of the rose in poetry. It struck me that the rose in poetry is a cliché in itself, although the poems that started the trend were probably not considered trite when they were written.
As expected a quick internet survey reveals no shortage of poems with roses in them. Here is a selection (excerpted only for space considerations).

The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair:
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;

Shakespeare, Sonnet XCIX

O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.

Shakespeare, Sonnet LIV

O, my luve is like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June;

Traditional Scottish tune, preserved by Robert Burns

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
Loveliness extreme.

Gertrude Stein

"CHANGE me, some God, into that breathing rose!"
The love-sick Stripling fancifully sighs,
The envied flower beholding, as it lies
On Laura's breast, in exquisite repose;

William Wordsworth

Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end

T.S.Eliot, Ash Wednesday

If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf,
Our love would grow together,
In sad or sighing weather.


There's sweetness in an apple tree,
And profit in the corn;
But lady of all beauty
Is a rose upon a thorn.

Christina Rossetti

Nobody knows this little Rose --
It might a pilgrim be
Did I not take it from the ways
And lift it up to thee.
Only a Bee will miss it --
Only a Butterfly,
Hastening from far journey --
On its breast to lie --
Only a Bird will wonder --
Only a Breeze will sigh --
Ah Little Rose -- how easy
For such as thee to die!

Emily Dickinson

So here I stand daring not to brave the wild and woolly, tempest toss’d, wond’rous universe, the poet’s muse and the lion’s fearsome breast. Alas and woe it is not for me to rush hell-bent into the fray and tempt the fates by throwing my hat into the ring and writing a rhyme of roses.

Thursday Thirteen #8--Seattle

Two Seattle Symbols

Thirteen Things about Why I wish I could live in Seattle

1. I have family there.
2. I grew up there and it still feels like "home."
3. Winter in Chicago stinks.
4. Summer in Chicago is too hot and humid.
5. Seattle is surrounded by mountains.
6. Seattle is near an ocean.
7. I could eat really fresh seafood.
8. It would a lot closer to places to go hiking and backpacking.
9. I could take up cross country skiing again.
10. I could throw away all the hats, gloves, scarves, glove liners, thermal underwear, snow boots, snow pants or save them just for skiing.
11. I could ask family to babysit when I wanted to go out in the evening.
12. I could walk by the lake in winter and not worry about frostbite.
13. Snow would be an exciting event or something you drove to the mountains to play in.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. It's a Raggedy Life
2. Sunflower
3. Skittles' Place
4. Dragonboy
5. Little House on Wheels
6. The Screaming Pages
(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On Blogging--Blog Advice Wanted

So I have two problems with Blogger, at least I think the problem is with Blogger. This is not a rant. Overall Blogger serves me well and the price is right.
Problem #1: I broke down and tried to add Mr. Linky--no luck. I followed the instructions to the best of my ability and no Mr. Linky. Has anyone else had this problem? Any advice?
Problem #2: Blogger eats comments. A long time ago I noticed on my dashboard that there were 3 comments noted that did not exist. In other words, Blogger told me I had 3 unpublished comments but if I clicked on Moderate Comments there were none. I decided to live with this since everything else was fine. Well, yesterday 3 increased to 4 then 5. I had thought that maybe the comments never existed but today I found that I did have e-mail notification of actual comments that Blogger wouldn't let me publish. But if I clicked publish comments on the e-mail the comments were appropriately published. Strange, to say the least. I am kind of attached to comment moderation--I haven't gotten hate mail yet but I would like to be able to get rid of same. I guess since this isn't a rant and I have no real plan to change anything, this is more of a question. Has anyone else had this problem?

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Good Planet

Tree in front of Zion Lodge
This is one of the biggest trees I've ever seen. It is in front of Zion Lodge in (where else) Zion National Park. I had to switch to my wide angle lens which I hardly ever use to capture the most of the tree.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am a nature lover, aka tree-hugger. But this is not a nature blog by any means. If you are feeling an unrequited love for nature and feel like wallowing in it, a good place to start is the Good Planet carnival (I guess it's a carnival). This carnival celebrates our beautiful planet with pictures of same. Last month's is up on Somewhere in NJ (January 6 post) including one of my photos. Susan Gets Native will be hosting next month's and you can submit your shots to her. I'm not sure exactly what the protocol is so head on over to her site with questions.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Photo Sharks--"Radiant"

Sorry about two photo memes in a row. This is a picture of the sun setting over First Beach, La Push, Washington. The beach may have a mundane name but it is a lovely spot to be as the sun is going down. I wish I were there now.


Science fair project 2003. Guess who did all the cutting and pasting? If you guessed mom you were right.
Science fair project 2003