zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
(by Mustafa Ja'far, British Museum/McGraw-Hill, 2002)

The famous Persian calligrapher, Mir 'Ali of Herat (d. 1556), gave the following advice to those embarking on the task: "The calligrapher needs five things: a fine temperament, an understanding of calligraphy, a good hand, the ability to endure pain and a perfect set of implements."

- from the introduction by Venetia Porter, Department of Oriental Antiquities, British Museum

[I don't really agree with this -- especially not the "perfect set of implements" -- but it does amuse me.]
zirconium: snapshot of oysters enjoyed in Charleston (oysters)
22. Stopping by my favorite bakery, Sweet 16th [poem here].

23. Sipping new-to-me whiskies.

24. Napping.

25. Revising poems.

26. Hymn-nerding.

27. Getting friends to the party.

28. Wearing my sheep slippers.

Halfinger slippers

Read more... )
50. Showing visitors around Nashville, especially the hall of vintage posters and the limited editions room at the downtown public library.

51. Wrapping things (up). :)

tying up loose ends
zirconium: Photo of cat snoozing on motorcycle on a sunny day in Jersualem's Old City. (cat on moto)
Prompted by Kylie.

1. Listening to the Beautiful Young Man yammer at the dog when he gets home.

2. Taking photographs.


3. Gardening. (There are TWO tomatoes on one of the indoor vines now!)

4. Cooking.

5. Reading cookbooks.

6. Proofreading.

7. Traveling.

8. Enjoying the smell of crayons.

9. And then using them in coloring books and on calendars.

10. Playing fantasy tennis.

11. Horse handicapping, too.

12. Listening both to Handel and heavy metal as I work.

13. Swimming.

14. Crocheting.

15. Throwing dinner parties.

16. Sending postcards, and receiving them.

17. Getting massages.

18. Watching tennis.

19. Watching dancers.

20. Dancing.

21. Singing.

Easter eve

[to be continued...]
zirconium: photo of fabric elephant-shaped tissue holder in Thai massage parlor waiting room (elephant at Smile Thai)
since your wedding when you have to Google one of the names on the announcement list, because you no longer remember what that person looked like, let alone why they were either close or important enough to be on list.

(Doing some more purging of papers before the next shift of easel-work. Ditched: notes for my BA thesis, supporting docs for my parents' early 1990s tax returns, coupons that expired this past Sunday ...)

In the meantime, the crepe myrtles and other trees/shrubs/what-have-you look spectacular. I haven't been outside today; these are from Monday:

ice storm in Nashville

ice storm in Nashville

ice storm in Nashville
zirconium: photo of squeezy Buddha on cell phone, next to a coffee mug (buddha and cocoa)
sleet 023

A reason to love being an adult: beginning a holiday with lasagna, salad, and half a glass of white wine.

Read more... )

This fall and winter, the sounds of a house being built across the street have filled many weekdays and most Saturdays. But not today:

development across the street
zirconium: photo of squeezy Buddha on cell phone, next to a coffee mug (buddha and cocoa)
Published last week: my little poem about Hari-Kuyo, a festival that honors broken needles. [bio]

Seen on yesterday's walk (several blocks apart):

East Nashville

East Nashville
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
Spending the day at my easel, but first, sifting through a box of old photos and letters. In the jumble, a photo from 1982:

Richmond May Affair 1982


Feb. 8th, 2015 01:24 pm
zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle rear)
This afternoon's main project is getting ready for this evening's Heartbreak Happy Hour at the Stone Fox -- I'm one of the performers.

The years I've spent drafting sermons (and numerous other speeches for church) mean that I now have a pretty good sense of how many words = ten minutes of material. Which I found myself grateful for this past week, what with trying to bounce back from the flu while going back to work and staying on schedule on a commission and so on. It was nice to know that ten minutes of material isn't actually that many words and that I could knock it out in a day if I couldn't carve out the time any earlier. (But what actually happened was that I started writing it in my head two minutes after receiving the invitation, and sketched it various lines and points in my Workflowy during the rest of the week before slicing and knotting it all together the past two days.)

Coincidentally, two of the hymns in this morning's church service were ones I selected for a service I led a decade or so ago. One was "When Shall We Learn," which is Carl Flentge Schalk's setting of a poem by Auden:

When shall we learn, what should be clear as day,
we cannot choose what we are free to love?
We are created with and from the world
to suffer with and by it day by day.

For through our lively traffic all the day,
in my own person I am forced to know
how much must be forgotten out of love,
how much must be forgiven, even love.

Or else we make a scarecrow of the day,
loose ends and jumble of our common world;
or else our changing flesh can never know
there must be sorrow if there can be love.

The other is "Creative Love, Our Thanks We Give," a William DeWitt Hyde poem adapted by Beth Ide, and set to "Truth from Above" with harmony by Vaughan Williams:

Creative love, our thanks we give
that this, our world is incomplete . . .

Since what we choose is what we are,
and what we love we yet shall be,
the goal may ever shine afar--
the will to reach it makes us free.

Also at church: an adorable mop of a service dog, who snuggled into its owner's shoulder for a while during the sermon:

service dog

After church, I ran an errand and picked up Chinese carryout. There was an invisible fortune cookie in the bag...

invisible fortune cookie

... and this advice in one of the corporeal cookies:

Business is a lot like playing tennis; if you don't serve well, you lose.

From the speculative writing/publishing realm:

  • Sue Burke and several other very experienced translators want to bring castles in Spain to you -- specifically Castles in Spain, a bilingual anthology they're raising funds for via Indiegogo.

  • If you're a Science Fiction Poetry Association member, you have one week left to nominate your favorite 2014 poems for Rhysling Awards. I have both long and short poems eligible this year [downloadable at http://sfpoetry.com/ra/eligible/PegDuthie2014.rtf] . . .

  • How to Live on Other Planets is available for pre-order. The list of contributors is fierce, y'all.
  • zirconium: photo of fabric elephant-shaped tissue holder in Thai massage parlor waiting room (elephant at Smile Thai)
    Mary's comment on yesterday's entry reminded me that I hadn't yet posted snapshots from a hike two Saturdays ago. It was a crowded morning at Radnor, with overflow parking very much in use:

    Radnor Lake Radnor Lake

    My hiking partner's son was among the young men (most of them from Lipscomb) shredding Christmas trees and wheeling the mulch up the trails.

    As we came down Garnier Ridge, we glimpsed turtles sunning themselves. There were also a series of snowmen on the benches along the trail:

    Radnor Lake

    Radnor Lake
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    first indoor tomato!

    Been down with the flu; slammed with work. This may become the Year of Blogging Just Pictures of Tomatoes (Guest Starring Peppers).
    zirconium: mirliton = grinning squash from NOLA (mirliton)
    So, those tomato cuttings from October? They're still doing well -- so much that I spent part of my Saturday sanitizing stakes to bring inside, as the vines had become too long and heavy to creep up the wall without help:

    indoor garden

    There are also two generations of Christmas pepper plants in that corner (transplanting the trio of seedlings I hadn't placed among friends was another finally-got-to item on the list). I gave up on the pot of thyme.
    I chucked a couple of bulbs into the compost pail and sliced open a third.

    The scent of the tomato plants intensifies as they are handled. It was strong enough to disturb the BYM, on the other side of the wall.

    tomato blossom
    zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
    This just in from the National Weather Service (via @NashSevereWx):


    We don't get much snow here. It started falling late last night. The sun's fully in the sky now, but most of my block is still asleep (or at least not out and about). Some creatures are watchful, though:

    looking west

    And some projects were probably going to be deferred to another weekend anyhow:

    not yet time


    Jan. 12th, 2015 08:41 pm
    zirconium: mirliton = grinning squash from NOLA (mirliton)
    "RAH!" is the name of the third movement of John Muehleisen's Eat Your Vegetables!, which the Tufts University Chorale performed at my church yesterday morning. This snapshot is of them chant-spelling R-U-T-A-B-A-G-A:

    Tufts University Chorale

    Yesterday also brought my first rejections and acceptances of the year.

    I'm the featured poet at 7x20 this week.

    Time continues to feel multi-layered to me -- multi-versed, multi-listastic (both in terms of to-do jottings and back-and-forth swayings), multifarious in its guises, multibarreled in its throwing of curveballs. I am still learning about what can be held together and what must be allowed to disappear.

    Not all ribbons were for the holiday
    zirconium: French word for "light" (on wall of Cheekwood Mansion) (lumière)
    [Subject line from Dawn Potter's Happy New Year post.]

    7th night of Hanukkah


    It has been a hectic yet happy holiday season for me, and it isn't quite over yet. I haven't put away the stocking holders or taken down the wreath. A friend and I waited until yesterday afternoon to open the presents we sent to each other, when we could watch each other opening the packages on Skype. I am snacking on summer sausage (a food gift) as I type.

    While 2014 isn't (and won't) be completely boxed up and neatly sequestered into the basement or closet, 2015 and its tasks are very much here. Yesterday's accomplishments included purchasing the accordion file for this year's business receipts and starting this year's submissions log (optimistically labeling a new spreadsheet "Acceptances 2015").

    I also bought pots and marbles for the bulbs that spent this past week on the living room floor (after two months outside, first on a truck bed and then a front porch):

    tulip bulbs
    zirconium: photo of ranunculus bloom on my laptop (ranunculus on keyboard)
    My Rhysling-eligible poems. Thank you for considering them.

    On a tangential note, this may be my next author photo (if not the one from two posts ago):

    in Sharon Louden's COMMUNITY

    zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
    ...of a sort. William Ackland was a son of Adelicia Acklen, who led quite a life in Nashville some 150-ish years ago.

    Ackland Art Museum

    There are three Picassos on display in one of the galleries, but my favorite painting in the collection is Rose Piper's Slow Down Freight Train:

    Ackland Art Museum

    On the opposite wall, there's a recently restored Rousseau painting of Paris. That captured my attention as well.
    zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
    firmly rooted to the floor
    yet floating

    in Sharon Louden's COMMUNITY
    (Playing within a thicket of mirrors at the Asheville Art Museum. Album here.)
    zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle rear)
    I tried some defrosted durian tonight. The $8 I paid for it falls into the experience tax column, I'm sorry to say -- I couldn't get past the smell. I have taken the fruit and its container outside to the bin. I have taken the trash bag holding the plastic wrapper that was around the container out to the bin, too. I am burning candles and I am about to brush my teeth, even though I've since nibbled on a lavender-kirschwasser cookie and sipped some wine.

    The day started out with a different kind of mayhem: a battery-powered fish given to the BYM for Christmas suddenly went bonkers, even though it wasn't near water or the dog or any other motion-provoking substance or being. I reached for the eyeglass-repair-kit screwdriver. I tried dangling it in mid-air. I dunked it in water. It's still twitch-ticking its tail incessantly nineteen hours later, even though it's supposed to go to sleep after five minutes. I knew that the last Monday of the year would have its share of flailing, but sheesh...

    fish robot in soup bowl
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    ...the Titans were predictably ending their season with a whimper, and I had an errand that couldn't wait anyhow, so I picked up my camera and walked around the 'hood for a while:

    Sunday after Christmas

    Read more... )
    zirconium: Unitarian Universalist chalice with pink triangle as base (rainbow chalice)

    ... but I wasn't expecting the back spasms during yoga this morning. Those were new. (The flare of foot cramp was not, alas.) Fortunately, it was a very small class (four people), and silent (by design), so I didn't feel conspicuous easing into the poses I could and modifying (or simply dropping) the ones I sensed were too risky for today's practice. (I also managed one of my better toe-stands ever. Yay!)

    kitchen floor, with dog

    The stiff back also made scrubbing the kitchen floor more challenging than it normally would have been. (The dog planting herself in the way is customary.) I took some time to rip up some old shirts and linens to use as rags, which was satisfying (especially the destroying of a pillowcase where I hadn't been happy about the seller's shenanigans, but backing out of the transaction would have been more trouble than it was worth. I did like the fabric and design of the set, and it served me well for something like fifteen years, but still, there was that frisson of pleasure in casting out what was left.)

    Last night I sang lessons and carols with a subset of First UU's chamber choir at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison. There was both literal and figurative warmth there (well-heated chapel, hugs between inmates and ministers...) but there was also an instance of institutional rudeness as well as broader reminders of it being a place where weariness and mistrust -- with reason -- seem to be in far greater supply than hope. Even with reminders every damn day about the messed-up-ness of U.S. law enforcement and penal systems, it's something to wait at and walk through all the checkpoints. To surrender one's ID. To be thanked for showing up because there would be no one else visiting.

    One singer mused afterward about the balance that we must wrestle with. To paraphrase: "I was watching the faces of two of the men when we were singing 'Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming,' and of how seldom beauty must be in their lives, and yes, you know they're in there because they've killed people, and that matters, but you also have to think about how to help them so that they can return to society, and beauty is essential to that."

    Nashville police chief Steve Anderson has been making headlines in a good way, with nearly 7200 tweets, Facebook links, and the like of his Christmas message to the department and a reply to a critic. (Anderson earned my admiration earlier this year for speaking up against a judicial good old boy's mishandling of domestic violence cases.)

    Yesterday's mail delivery included a slew of cards (I was pleased to have so much company in the "getting it postmarked by the 24th will be good enough" ark [*]), and today a friend (who will next see me early next year) asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Maybe I won't pitch the wreath into the brush pile just yet. :)

    (* And honestly, if you feel like exchanging greetings with me, I do that year round. No need to hitch it to a holiday central to a religion I don't happen to belong to, though I do like the glitter [dodges glare from the other biped in the household, who was brushing it out of his stubble two evenings ago]. I do need to thank the post offices [yes, plural] with cookies, baking being another must-do item on this weekend's list...)


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

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