zirconium: my hands, sewing a chemo cap liner (care caps hands)
The subject line comes from Dorothy L. Sayers's translation of a Dante canzone/sestina that I used as the text of my first major bookbinding project, for a class I took twenty years ago at Elaine Borruso's house in Michigan:

12 slim

12 slim

12 slim

That class was also where I first picked up on the buzz about Shereen LaPlantz's Cover to Cover -- which, as the buyer of craft books for Borders's 100+ stores, I promptly placed large orders for. The publisher was unprepared for that. Given how most craft titles sold only a handful of copies each year at best, and given how many people I personally knew were eager to get their hands on a copy, I grew so exasperated at the "indefinitely out of stock" notices that I typed "PUBLISHER IS AN IDIOT" in the memo line of the order screen, which I understood to be visible only to Borders corporate staff.

Some months later, the publisher reps took me out to dinner and cheerfully informed me that a copy of that purchase order -- WITH my note on it -- was now framed and hanging on one of their office walls. The senior children's section buyer, another guest at the dinner, squawked, "What? You all can see that line?" The publisher liaison later said she'd never seen my face so red. The reps then presented me with an autographed copy of the book:

Shereen LaPlantz autograph

I've bought many Lark books in the years since, what with Aunt Louise and Paula and other people dear to me being dedicated knitters and beaders and the like.

Shereen died in 2003, but her work remains visible at the LaPlantz Studios website, where her husband continues to create and teach and share ideas and examples.

[This entry prompted by #100untimedbooks - items 6 (craft) and 12 (slim).]
zirconium: French word for "light" (on wall of Cheekwood Mansion) (lumière)
The subject line is from Francis Cabrel's L'encre de tes yeux, which just popped into my head.

prompt 5: planets

In France, whole arenafuls of fans know the lyrics to this and other Cabrel classics by heart. I think of people on this side of the planet singing along to James Taylor and the like. It's disconcerting and wonderful how someone so embedded in the musical culture of a country just seven time zones away is so

Then again, I had no idea he had performed in Chicago in March 2014. How did I miss that? ... oh, yeah. That was the winter after the BYM's encounter with a Dodge Journey. I was a little preoccupied. Then again, I don't even pretend to keep tabs on who-all is playing wherever on any given night in Nashville. That said, I have been to Third and Lindsley on at least two Wednesday nights. Wooten Brothers, y'all, with Louis Winfield twirling his sticks without missing a beat.

I went for a walk earlier tonight. On the way to the library, I passed a couple singing riffs to each other as they bustled toward their destination. They weren't quite in sync and didn't sound like session folk, but in this town you never know. Two streets over, the bars were crowded and I could hear what sounded like a live band from one storefront.

On the way back, I noticed a bus stop where someone had crammed a beer can within a brown paper bag into the back seam of a bench. That wasn't surprising, but what about the thin pastel ribbons still looped around a couple of the bench's legs and one of its arms? Was there a birthday with balloons, or a bored child, or ...?

So many mysteries within a mile of my mint patch.

[The prompt: 5 - planets. The challenge: http://upperrubberboot.tumblr.com/post/123904555213. The other book in the photograph is a collection of science fiction poetry. ]
zirconium: David Ferrer with his pet cat (Ferru con gato)
Four things that entertained me today:

1. #fieldworkfail (h/t Mer)

2. Roger Rees explaining why an actor should never wear lace-up boots during the last act of a play (25:51): https://youtu.be/4_r9JsBbIh8?t=25m53s. And also Noel Coward's visit to Vivien Leigh after a performance of Titus Andronicus.

3. Edward Petherbridge on arresting one's undulations.

4. My sweetie dissecting the claims on the label of the beer he is drinking.

Four reasons I had a crush on my 8th-grade Spanish teacher:

1. He wrote out exams in calligraphy.

2. He played "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" on the guitar after-hours.

3. He was really, really smart and articulate.

4. His strategies for dealing with nuisances included throwing erasers (at students) and shooting rubber bands (at flies).

Prompt 4 in the #100untimedbooks photo challenge -- the rest is history:

prompt 4: the rest is history

My brother wove the front of the pillow in art class. The book was a gift from the Spanish teacher, with the inscription "Keep interested in everything."

Four items translated from Spanish I've edited within the past year:

1. Sixteenth-century verses, by St. John of the Cross

2. Twentieth-century Mexican police reports

3. Quotations from seventeenth-century wills

4. Lyrics from nineteenth-century musical duels

Sadly, I'm not actually fluent in Spanish. I didn't stick with it beyond my second year of study. Still, someday I shall seek to soak up enough of it to speak to strangers in Seville.

[This last paragraph has been added because the BYM spotted the subject line and said, "There's always a letter..."]
zirconium: doll with bike @High Point Doll Museum (doll with bike)
In Dan Chiasson's recent NYT feature on Robert Rauschenberg's archives:

In a file cabinet, personal letters from the choreographer Trisha Brown and Al Gore shared folders with a clipped-out New York Times review of a sushi place and a cartoon of a guy taking his pet radish for a walk. The impression is of a life in which making art was, to a remarkable degree, an extension of friendship.
zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle)
The challenge: http://upperrubberboot.tumblr.com/post/123904555213

Prompt 3: animals

chowhound with garden book

The book is Carol Lerner's My Backyard Garden, a 1998 children's book featuring two different veggie garden schemes. Miss Abby is fond of snacking on both the plants in my own back yard and on scraps as I cook (especially green bean and asparagus tips), so the pairing immediately came to mind when I saw the prompt.
zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle)
The challenge: http://upperrubberboot.tumblr.com/post/123904555213

Today's theme: blues

Today's pic:

#100untimedbooks photo challenge

I bought the dress a couple of Saturdays ago, at Goodwill -- it was a 50-percent-off everything Saturday (making the damage a mere 4 USD) and the still-life motifs struck me as fitting for my museum editor persona. I bought the book after copyediting People Power: The Community Organizing Tradition of Saul Alinsky; I'd borrowed it via Nashville Public Library's interlibrary loan to sort out some quotations and citations, and while Mr. Becker's attitude toward accuracy enraged me ("To list every such reference seemed fussy and overmeticulous"), I nonetheless wanted more time with Mr. Field after the loan had expired. The page with "pops of blue" is from the August 2015 issue of Harper's Bazaar; I was admiring the Bottega Veneta necklace, the Dior bag, and the Simon G. ring during one of yesterday's baths (yes, plural; heat index was 100 F).

It's back to work later today, but the clouds have masked the sun for the moment, so it's outside with the gloves and tree-branch clippers for me.
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
Explanation: http://upperrubberboot.tumblr.com/post/123904555213

Item: 1. self-portrait

100 untimed books: 1

The book is An English-Speaking Hymnal Guide, first compiled by Erik Routley and later edited and expanded by Peter W. Cutts. It was a birthday gift from Aunt Louise three years ago. The ring I am wearing on my pinky is one she used to own.

A book in the background is Helen Keller's Light in Darkness, which someone at the Swedenborg Chapel in Cambridge recently sent to me after reading "Wearing Persistence," a poem from Measured Extravagance that I'd put on the card I used to order a copy of Missing Rachel's The Thundered Word, having loved the sample I'd heard of "I Am That Great and Fiery Force," which is from a UU hymnal and which I'd sung in my own church a couple of months ago.

I believe my father-in-law (Louise's brother) selected the hymns for her service, which was held at an Anglican church in Ontario last week. The printed melody for "Rock of Ages" in the hymnal did not match the standard tune, which the organist played and the congregation sang; it was fine, but the disconnect had me sympathizing for once with those singers with perfect pitch ho get twitchy when a piece gets transposed to a different key than on the page. The other hymns were "Holy, Holy, Holy" and a five-verse "Abide with Me" (Routley/Cutts tells me that Lyte wrote eight stanzas, with 3 through 5 commonly omitted. Thank you once more, Aunt Louise).
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
Two of the balloon flowers bloomed today!

balloon flower

Even so, even the weather is telling me to concentrate on screenwork instead of yardwork. The heavens opened as I was tugging and snipping at vines tangled with the rogue rosebush.

Today's cooking: wasabi-edamame dip for lunch; posole with country ham in the slow cooker, for dinner and beyond.
zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
what happens...

Today's subject line comes from Stephen Dunn's "Sweetness," which begins, "Just when it has seemed I couldn’t bear / one more friend / waking with a tumor, one more maniac // with a perfect reason ..."

The above photo is a pot I dropped a handful of hollyhock seeds into, about a week ago. The seedlings are all squnched to the side because Miss Abbytude has been treating it as a salad bowl.

I transplanted three to another pot earlier today, and now there are two.

There are two other pots crowded with seedlings, and I am mulling over where to relocate them.

Today's other transplants: one Christmas cactus, two rosebush seedlings, and another tomato plant.

Other plant-related chores: staking, weeding, trimming, and detangling. It turns out most of the Syrian cornflowers (aka "Dwarf Blue" bachelor buttons) belong to a single sprawling multivined stalk. I am a touch dismayed that it's just the one stalk, seeing how I sowed 75 seeds. But the seeds had been packed in 2013, I didn't get around to sowing them until last summer, conditions have not been ideal, and the packet cost me a mere two dollars. So the hmphery is far outweighed by the extended "hey! flowers after all!" I've been enjoying.
zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle rear)
On the last day of June, I read some pages in Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times during lunch, and one with the phrase "Remember June's long days" caught my eye.

It's titled "Try to Praise the Mutilated World," and you can read/hear it at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/247934.

May 2010 - trying to salvage a friend's photos after their drenching by Nashville's biggest flood:
attempting to salvage photos

November 2011 - Paris laundromat door:
Paris laundromat door, 2011

June 2015 - mushrooms in my front yard:
mushrooms in my yard
zirconium: animated gift of cartoon woman flailing (gravity)
When I first saw this tweet, I was like "huh"?

...since it showed up in my in-box before I'd seen what it was responding to:

At any rate, I'm now saying "hmmmm..."

not longer
but stronger
and stranger

see how what
you want to inhale
sits just a letter
or two
or three

apart from what
your mouth
first stretched
toward drawing in

not every balloon
can glide toward escape

not every breath
will suffice for anchor

but these are not
reasons enough
to abandon the study

of possible ways
to stay afloat

balloonflower bud
(Balloon flower about to bloom. More on those later.)
zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
Phew. Intense week. I was tempted to blow off the pear-cinnamon Bavarian cream I'm attempting for a party, but yep, the instructions said it would need to be in the fridge overnight, so I eventually rode a second wind to the whisk and the stove:

Bavarian cream

Beyond that, though, all I was good for was some tidying up of the indoor tomato plants. I find them endlessly entertaining, though, even when I'm not stone tired. That the vines hold yellow blossoms, green fruit, and red fruit all at the same time is part of the fun.

tomato plant tomato plant tomato plant
zirconium: snapshot of my healthiest hollyhock plant (French hollyhock)
The subject line's from Rilke's "Turning Point," from the June 20 entry of A Year In Poetry (ed. Foster and Guthrie). The poem does nothing for me, actually, but years ago the anthology introduced me to C. H. Sisson's "Letter to John Donne," which I felt like reading aloud, to myself last night and into my microphone earlier today:

I am grateful particularly that you were not a saint
But extravagant whether in bed or in your shroud.
You would understand that in the presence of folly
I am not sanctified but angry.

The rest of my day has been more mellow. The Abbygator was delighted that I prepared baby bok choy for brunch, as she enjoys hoovering up the stubs. I followed the instructions at i am a food blog for preparing and baking the tofu, but instead of the honey garlic sauce, I stir-fried the bok choy with garlic, mirin, soy sauce, and scallions, to end up with this:

tofu with bok choy

The crepe myrtles burst into bloom a few days ago. Some of the tomato vines were nosing near my French books for a couple of nights. Many of the other plantings have not panned out, but there is at last a French marigold blossom in sight (grown from seeds harvested last fall):

French marigold

And blooms are emerging from the second generation of Christmas peppers (also from seeds I saved) as well:

Christmas pepper

And I'm hoping the cornflowers in the front yard do the self-seeding thing:

zirconium: medical instruments @High Point Doll Museum (medical instruments (miniature))
The subject line's from Foster the People's "Helena Beat," which is currently at the top of my working mix at home.

Things I could have done without this week: dog digestive trouble, I-24 as a parking lot, various aspects of this year's physical (nothing to be alarmed about; it's just Not Fun).

Things that have gone well: other aspects of this year's physical (phlebotomist, vaccinator, and radiology tech all very good).

The comedy that is my life:

Me to the BYM: So my internist was laughing at me this afternoon, just like you were the other night.

The BYM: That's because you're funny.

Me: Uh-huh. She was tapping my knee to test my reflexes -- and then, just like you, she was like, "Is that ...whiteout?"

The BYM: [snickers]

(Last Friday, a splotch of correction fluid fell on my knee. I guess it doesn't come off when one keeps falling asleep in the bath instead of scrubbing... *sheepish*)

* I sowed zinnias in the planter that failed to yield any radishes.
* The asparagus I overcooked tonight is still a decent carrier for leftover aioli.
* The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup! Seeing snapshots of the celebrations reminded me of being in the city when the Bulls won their first championship. Nashville's where I belong, but I do sometimes miss that Windy City energy.

Over on Twitter, several friends needed a moment -- as did I -- when Toews handed the Cup to Timonen:


I'm writing a thank-you note to my friend Sue, who treated me to a Predators vs. Sharks game eleven years ago:

happy retirement, Kimmo
zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
My stop at Cheekwood Saturday afternoon had been a maybe on my list. I'd gone to an intense dress rehearsal in the morning, and was torn between wanting to sleep for twelve hours and wanting to enjoy a change of scene.

The sun shining and a dining discount won out: I stopped at 360 Bistro for lunch (white port, scallop-grapefruit salad, fig cheesecake, and tamayokucha tea), where Colombia vs. France was on the TV, and then said hi to the black pepper plants...

Cheekwood - Plensa

... and the tree-hugging statues (Purcell on a back, Schubert around a neck, Monteverdi at a waist, Mozart on a hip...)

Cheekwood - Plensa Cheekwood - Plensa Cheekwood - Plensa

... and enjoyed part of documentary not only on the screen but reflected in a nearby door:

Cheekwood - Plensa Cheekwood - Plensa
zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle)
...Why He Put Off the Bus and Fired a Good Lead Guitar in West Texas

That's the title of a James Whitehead poem reprinted in the Spring 2000 issue of Shenandoah, where I encountered it, and in Leon Stokesbury's The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry, which is on the shelves of Nashville's public library (811.5408097 M1811) and elsewhere.

Someday I might request permission to do something with it -- and I won't be unhappy if someone with stronger lettering + illustration +/- typesetting chops gets to it first, to get it to more of its people. People who have endured gigs with someone who will not shut up. People stab-inching their way through this year's CMApocalypse. People who might want a persona poem for teaching or performing. "The day I put him off the sun outside..."

In the meantime, it's 1:15 a.m. and I'm finishing a late second supper of tuna + bok choy + mayo + mustard, followed with some handfuls of Spanish peanuts and a glass of Nortico Alvarinho. Music studied, poem drafted, dishes washed, tomato tasted ...
zirconium: Unitarian Universalist chalice with pink triangle as base (rainbow chalice)
A June tradition at my church is Music Sunday, and this coming Sunday, at 9 a.m. and at 11 a.m., the choir will be performing a new setting of Darrell Grant's Ruby Bridges Suite.

It is going to be outstanding. Darrell Grant is on piano and keyboard; man can play. Brian Foti on drums -- ditto. Same for the guy on string bass (whose name I didn't catch, apologies!). Connye Florance is one of the soloists (I haven't heard Lari White yet, who's another). Majic Jackson narrating, with words by MLK and Maya Angelou and others. The gifted and dedicated Seth Adler working sound. Yes, I'm name-dropping, because some of you locals need that to get you out of the house on a summer morning (and I include myself in that group).

Some of the songs have had me tearing up as I study them. The text alone won't convey why -- it's the rise and fall of melody and harmony that hits me in the gut -- but here are some of the lines anyway. In "Hold My Hand," Ruby's mother sings to her:

Hold my hand, child, hold my hand
Someday you will understand
Straight ahead, child, never fear
God is watching, love is near

For the world, child, is not fair
Danger follows everywhere
Lift your eyes, child
You will see
God is watching
You are free

And in "Come in," a teacher sings to her student:

Ruby, you're a special one.
Pray that I can see you through.
There's so much meanness in the world
but you should know they don't see what I see.
In here you're just a little girl
who has a right to learn who she can be.

With faith, and time,
you'll see that I believe in you.
We've much to learn, we two.

Darrell says he spent twenty years writing the finale, "We Rise," originally composing it for a sophomore album that fell through, and then revising it periodically (with a four-bar stretch that kept defying his attempts to perfect the piece), and then realizing that all the great creators resort to "shims" at times, and later recognizing that the suite was where the piece belonged...

Rise up, brand new day
You know that love will find a way
Together we cannot be broken
Up from the bitter past we rise
To build a world where peace is spoken
The time is now
At last we rise
This time the circle can't be broken
This time the ghosts of hate must die
We'll throw the gates of Freedom open
The time is now
At last we rise

Again, the music is essential -- left to my own devices, I don't know that love will find a way, I see circles broken every damn day, and on, and on, but when I'm singing those words, my unbelief doesn't matter. Rise up, brand new day.

Like many other commuters, I've been cranky about the congestion amplified by CMA Fest (a friend retweeted Gretchen Peters's quip about meanderthals, and I admit I laughed out loud) ... but I've also been entertained by the skin and plumage on display, and I managed to miss the fish parts on the interstate snarl-up, and I give thanks yet again for the pleasure of living in a city with session players on virtually every block. When I got home tonight, the rock cellist and/or guitarist (not always sure what the instrument is, but the playing is consistently good) who lives a couple of houses away was practicing licks.

Music in the air, fireflies in the yard, doggie at the door, piano waiting ... praise.
zirconium: photo of cupcake from Sweet 16th, Nashville (crackacino cupcake)
Tomorrow my week goes from 5 mph back to 90, but today I went to the dentist and the watch repairman and one of the international markets on Nolensville Road, where I picked up bok choy and Taiwanese sausages and rice sticks:

from K&S (Nolensville Rd.)

I also harvested the radishes that looked ready:


My love went riding around this past weekend, and came back to me with a flower:

from my sugah
zirconium: snapshot of my healthiest hollyhock plant (French hollyhock)
Today's subject line comes from Sam Anderson's piece in the NYT Magazine on blind contour drawing:

It turns out that the world, on close examination, is gloriously strange. Things are lumpier and hairier than we have been led to believe. . . . Sleeve wrinkles can be as beautiful as the most exotic flower. Every object (book, pencil, glove, banana) is in fact a bewildering universe of lines.

Today has been a letting-my-brain-regrow day, what with logging over sixty hours of work this week between the day job and a side project. There have been some weird-even-for-me meals, what with the piling up of dishes and deferring of grocery shopping and miscalculating of minutes left in my lunch break: today's mint-chard-miso soup was a result of me shredding the greens and herbs for a salad on Thursday, realizing I had to returning to the office before I'd finished assembling the salad, and then coming home to a frozen slab of leaves because I'd neglected to wrap the plate in plastic wrap before shoving it into the fridge. Oops.

I was stone tired all this morning, so for breakfast and lunch I supplemented the leftovers with runny fufu:


For dessert, some jello I'd made with agar-agar I'd bought as a prop for my Heartbreak Happy Hour performance back in February:

Filipino agar-agar bar agar-agar dessert cups

For dinner, I might roast a chicken. But the BYM is frolicking with goats today, so maybe I'll just make another mint-chard salad and do the rest of the dishes and trim dead leaves from the tomato jungle:

tomato plant

Without the cooking and cleaning and contemplation, there would not be the stamina for helping with the constructing and chronicling of more glamorous events and exhibitions:

The Frist Center at night
zirconium: doll with bike @High Point Doll Museum (doll with bike)
I'm planning to carry this purse later today, to two fashion-related events:

purse by Louise Duthie

It's a fun, fuzzy thing that the BYM's Aunt Louise made for me some time ago. It normally lives on my study wall, but one of the purses in the exhibition reminded me of it. She passed away on Tuesday after about two months in the hospital.

In November 2012, she brought to the BYM and me a Stairsteps to Heaven quilt she'd made. I believe I sent her a "your quilt in action" snapshot at some point, but can't find that message at the moment (it was probably via snail mail). I did come across a glimpse of that quilt in a photo of Abby napping (and me on the verge of it):

an August nap

From a note Louise sent to me last July:

My backyard looks like a jungle.

As usual I am busy either beading, knitting or quilting. As I often say, there aren't enough hours in the day.


zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)

August 2015



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