zirconium: tulip in my front yard, April 2014 (tulip)
hello, tomato plant ...

remaining indoors

how you like it here
inside my house
with the lily and the peppers
and long sips of water
with occasional shots
of tea and coffee

so do I
oh so do I

Prompted by April Moon 15 Day 13
zirconium: Photo of cat snoozing on motorcycle on a sunny day in Jersualem's Old City. (cat on moto)
...how they toil not, neither do they spin...


It was the larger one whom I accidentally kicked off the bed twice last night (I'm used to cats sleeping on me rather than near my feet), but there seem to be no hard feelings, as he's now licking my left foot. The smaller one didn't think much about me bringing the camera out:

zirconium: photo of fabric elephant-shaped tissue holder in Thai massage parlor waiting room (elephant at Smile Thai)
* two rejections (eight pieces total) this week
* missing yoga classes to meet deadlines

* current management at my pharmacy very friendly
* Soyung Pak's Dear Juno (picture book about an American boy and his Korean grandmother exchanging letters. Boy with dog, gran with cat. (Longtime readers may remember that I'm a sucker for picture books with cats snuck into the spreads.) Illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung.
* colleagues grinning at my peacock-patterned galoshes
* forty-minute swim yesterday, some of it with a lane to myself

Carpe Diem

Apr. 5th, 2015 07:07 am
zirconium: Photo of Joyful V (racehorse) in stall (Joyful Victory)
The temperature dropped last night, but the peppers, radishes, lettuce, and poppies seemed to have survived. The yards are full of violets and I'm especially enjoying the yellow tulips. As I drove along Woodland Street yesterday afternoon, I glimpsed a group of young women walking toward Five Points; they had paused in front of a house with phlox spilling over the front border, and one of them kept bending down toward the flowers.

A horse named Carpe Diem (bred by Coffee Pot Stable) won the Blue Glass Stakes yesterday, and is a favorite for the Kentucky Derby. (Not the same Danish gelding sired by Richard of York, or the US gelding sired by Grand Slam, or the British mare sired by Good Times, or the Brazilian mare sired by Ski Champ.) If I make any straight bets on the Derby, though, odds are I'll choose an underdog -- perhaps the other likely Pletcher entry, Materiality.

In the meantime, there are horsies everywhere. Including at Scout's Barbershop:

zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
The subject line is from a March 1958 letter written by Henry Rago, then editor of Poetry, to Aileen G. Melchior, who had asked him to give her "an honest appraisal" of her twelve-year-old daughter's poems. Her letter opens with "I don't understand traditional poetry very well and modern not at all. I am not familiar with your magazine however I have been told that you are one of the most astute judges of modern poetry in America," adding that "it would a tragedy indeed if the child had talent which I failed to recognize."

In his reply, Rago repeatedly cautions Mrs. Melchior against "over-encouraging": "I was a child-poet myself, and I know that she can do justice to her talent and at the same time have all the fun that any child should have. She shouldn't be deprived of this -- even poetry isn't a good enough reason."

The daughter, Julia Anne, replied to this with a thank-you note:

... as for writing poetry, I don't write, I just put words together and they come out poems.

I don't know if I'll be a poet though, Mama says there's no money in it and I do want to eat. I really do love words, especially adjectives. They seem to know how to describe exactly what you're feeling.

[quotations from Dear Editor: A History of Poetry in Letters]

emerging tulip
zirconium: sculpture of owl at Cheekwood, Nashville (Cheekwood owl)
Michael Kimmelman, in a November 30, 1997 NYT review of Jenny Uglow's Hogarth:

This extravagantly detailed biography by Jenny Uglow is less a book of art history than a history of Hogarth's milieu. Much of his character, and the book's, is encapsulated in the colorful story Uglow recounts of a woman named Mary Tofts, who claimed to have become so obsessed with rabbits after failing to catch several of them in a field she was weeding that she suffered a miscarriage and began to deliver animals and animal parts. Fashionable medical men verified her story, among them a certain Nathanael St. Andre, a Swiss who was Anatomist to the Royal Household and a teacher of fencing and dancing before he took up surgery, who announced that he had personally delivered her of several rabbits.

This put Londoners off rabbit stew for a while. Then Mary conceded the hoax and St. Andre was forced to make a public apology. It was the sort of ripe event that Hogarth, like any tabloid cartoonist today, couldn't resist: absurd, bawdy, a perfect opportunity to skewer self-proclaimed experts like St. Andre and his fellow quacks, and also to strike a blow against mystification, which Hogarth despised in all forms, whether from doctors or politicians or art critics. His print "Cunicularii," or "The Rabbit Warren," sold briskly.
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)

As do all other weeks, this week has had its share of derps and dammits and disgusting nightmares (trashed-to-the-rims bathrooms to clean -- thanks, Subconscious of Zero Subtlety). But, as with all weeks, there have been pleasures and blessings, including:

  • Iced tea and a Kentucky Hot Brown at Madeline.

  • Sanjay Patel's Ramayana: Divine Loophole. (The link will take you to an entry at Book Scribbles, where Jen posted some photographs from the book, including the bears and vanaras building a bridge rock by rock.)

  • My friend Knight won Gannett's Innovator of the Year Award.

  • She and several other Nashvillians invite you to Girls To The Moon, a one-day "campference" this September for girls (ages 8–13) and their parents/caregivers.

  • My mama pepper seems to be enjoying its new pot. (Now to cover it and all the other plants properly before this weekend's cold snap...)
  • zirconium: snapshot of oysters enjoyed in Charleston (oysters)
    My eighty-something Mama Nancy is legendary in many circles for many reasons, including her joie de vivre. Within the family, part of the legend is her readiness to pour champagne in honor of any occasion that can be construed as cause for celebration.

    I think of Mama Nancy as I look at the cover of Toasts: The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion, an anthology to which I contributed two pieces, including this offering for the Fourth of July:

    Here's to everywhere we're from and everywhere we'll be,
    To miracles that brought us together in this country.

    Graduations are on the horizon, as are reunions and numerous other special occasions. Would you like to add this book to your reference shelf, or to the bedside table in your guest room? You have two options:

    (1) Comment below with an occasion you are looking forward to celebrating.

    Tuesday night (sometime after 8 p.m. CDT), I will collect all the entries from the Dreamwidth, LJ, and IJ threads, put them into an ice bucket, and ask either my partner or my dog to fish one out. If you are the winner, I will contact you for your address (U.S. only, sorry), to forward to the publisher. Viva Editions will ship your complimentary copy directly to that address.

    (2) You can purchase the book from Viva, Powell's, Malaprops, and other vendors.

    Santé! Slainte mhath! :)
    zirconium: tulip in my front yard, April 2014 (tulip)
    Paperwork and housework call. But I didn't go home right after church, for there were orchids to ogle:

    Shih Hua Girl "Stones River"

    orchid display Cattleya intermedia

    Taida Little Green orchid

    And also small statues in bamboo gardens...

    bamboo garden, Cheekwood

    ... and daffodils on display, including one named Trigonometry:

    Trigonometry daffodil

    More snapshots here
    zirconium: snapshot of my healthiest hollyhock plant (French hollyhock)
    [Subject line from Swinburne's "March: An Ode," via Dawn Potter]

    [Speaking of Ms. Potter, I read Galway Kinnell's "For Robert Frost" during lunch two days ago. It begins, "Why do you talk so much / Robert Frost?"]

    There is paperwork that must be conquered, but the sun was shining, so there was snipping and lugging and sowing. Four cubic feet of garden soil (plus maybe another half-foot left over from the fall) doesn't go all that far, but it made for a solid start. I transplanted my mama Christmas pepper plant (the one that spawned these) and spice-jar tomato seedling into larger planters, and sowed the following:

  • Evergreen scallions (seeds from Hudson Valley Seed Library, via All Seasons)

  • Hungarian breadseed poppies (Renee's Garden, via [I think] the now-shuttered Worm's Way Nashville) -- I've never gotten these past seedling stage, but maybe third time + larger pot will translate into success

  • chives (Plantation Products quarter packet, via Nashville Public Library Seed Exchange)

  • Jade Gem lettuce (Renee's Garden, via Worm's Way St. Louis, source of the terrific tomato plants)

  • petite marigolds (Ferry-Morse, via NPL Seed Exchange)

  • Grand Rapids lettuce (Bean Acres Seeds, eBay)

  • Rainbow radishes (Seeds of Change, Turnip Truck)

  • arugula (Seeds of Change)

  • Dainty Marietta French marigolds (seeds harvested from last fall's blooms, which were from a 2013 eBay purchase)

  • Now I am chilling out with a tumbler of Pisco Capel and a library copy of Soul Food Love. I am boiling rice in chicken broth for the dog (who was trying her darnedest earlier to hoover up the soil that didn't make it into the pots), and later I will cook shrimp grits for the BYM.
    zirconium: Unitarian Universalist chalice with pink triangle as base (rainbow chalice)
    Marlon James, in the NYT Magazine (March 10, 2015), on his first days in Minnesota, as a new instructor at Macalester College:

    Seven days in, I put on jogging shoes and didn't stop running until I saw something I liked, the downtown Minneapolis skyline. For a man always fearing what people thought, I was suspicious of "Minnesota nice," everybody smiling and saying hello while they kept walking. But by the end of the first week, somebody I'd just met gave me a bicycle to get around; someone else bought me coffee mugs. Another professor, Casey, who moved here to teach as well, was into the band My Bloody Valentine and "Project Runway."

    zirconium: medical instruments @High Point Doll Museum (medical instruments (miniature))
    [subject line from Galway Kinnell's "The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World"]

    I wasn't thrilled about the bureaucratic hoop I didn't manage to hop through during my lunch break today, but walking around downtown does have its rewards. The sacred and the mundane and the profane are all but on top of one another: a cross draped with a purple stole held in place with black sandbags. Balloons tethered to a side entrance of War Memorial Auditorium:

    downtown Nashville

    A cottage door -- complete with rabbit -- painted on a side of a brick storefront:

    downtown Nashville
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    Holland Cotter in the NYT on getting close to paintings (in this case, those of Piero di Cosimo):

    Over the years, I had passed by some in museums, only half noticing them, and seen others in books and online. They registered in my mind as polished but somewhat impersonal variations on standard themes, distinguished mainly by an incidental wealth of fine realistic detail. Piero, it seemed, had brought formal finesse to his altarpieces but left himself out.

    I had a different impression standing in front of them in Washington. For one thing, details that I'd been able to make out only with the aid of a zoom function online--feather-perfect birds, botanically correct flowers, glinting gems--were now clear to the eye and not incidental at all: They were integral to the compositions they appeared in. Pieros paintings were holistic in a way I hadnt guessed from afar.

    And there, underneath the formal polish, was his hand in action. In one area, hes laying on color in chunky strokes, paint-by-numbers style. In another, he’s adding thin, raised lines of highlight with a calligraphers precision. Elsewhere, hes impatiently smooshing pigment around with his fingers. You can't see all of this by standing directly in front of a picture. You have to move around, adjust your position, bend down and look up, catch the surface in different angles of light. In other words, to see a painting, you have to do a little dance with it, and take your time. From a digital distance, you see an image. In person, in a gallery, you feel that image breathing.
    zirconium: photo of Greek style coffee, Larnaca, October 2011 (coffee in Cyprus)
    In the library, not quite ripe enough to harvest...

    tomato plant

    tomato plant

    In the kitchen, more than ready for a new container...

    tomato plant
    zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)

    Gladys Knight and the Pips (1969)

    The Pips had just come up from Atlanta, so they didn't know about Coles and Atkins and they weren't familiar with my choreography for the groups. None of them had seen the Cadillacs, for example. But, Marghuerite [Mays, their promoter] really talked me up; told them how their act lacked class and how I was gonna take care of that. Then she brought them by the studio where I was rehearsing. Bubba said he saw me over there in the corner sweating and dancing and carrying on, and he said, "This is the guy who's gonna give us class?"

    ... Marghuerite rented a little studio for us to rehearse in each day and when our time ran out there, we would pack up and head on over to my place, move the rugs, push all the furniture back, and keep working.Man, we had scuff marks all over the floor. When it was time for Maye [Atkinson, Cholly's wife] to come home from work, we'd be throwing the windows up and running around trying to put everything back in plac. When she came in, the Pips were sitting there covered with sweat. The place smelled like a locker room.

      -- Cholly Atkins (born Atkinson) and Jacqui Malone, Class Act: The Jazz Life of Choreographer Cholly Atkins

    zirconium: Photo of graduated cylinder with black and blue feathers (measured 1)
    [The subject line is from Dante, Purgatorio, canto XXVI:132: "as through the water a fish goes to the bottom"]

    Some happy things:

  • Fox socks.

  • Another tiny tomato:

    tiny tomato

    tomato cutting

    (Scale: the bottle is about 4.5 inches tall.)

  • Working at the bakery while people-watching: toddlers and their parents sledding across and down the street; a woman in a fur coat climbing into her pick-up truck; some customers excited about the hamentaschen and others trying their first ones ever ...

  • Snow day = midmorning nap.
  • zirconium: photo of squeezy Buddha on cell phone, next to a coffee mug (buddha and cocoa)
    San Marco Square
    San Marco Square, Jacksonville, 2012

    This UU hymn (words by Carl G. Seaburg) has been running through my head tonight:

    God who fills the universe
    from the atoms to the stars,
    make firm my changeful heart
    so I may do my part
    and bring joy to all the earth.

    God who webs the universe
    with amazing mysteries,
    make glad my fragile soul
    so I can see life whole
    and bring hope to all on earth.

    God who keeps the universe
    by the truths of living love,
    make strong that love in me
    so I can set it free
    and bring peace to all on earth.

    Some other things I have been grateful for today:

    * the pleasure of seeing more tulips shoots emerge; how cute they are at this point, when they've broken through soil but not (yet) the dark brown bulbskin

    * an unexpectedly satisfying cup of mushroom-tofu soup

    * good colleagues

    * expert gift-wrapping

    * employee discounts

    * searchable style guides and the Google Ngram Viewer

    * receiving my copy of How to Live on Other Planets

    * chocolate chips in challah

    * feeling able to say farewell to a chapter of my life by throwing out a broken watch
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    [Subject line from Chuck Berry's Memphis, Tennessee]

    Presley poodles
    Poodles at Graceland

    I'd like to be in Memphis. Or Morocco. Or Monterrey. Or Miami. Or Monticello. Or messing around my yard. But here in my kitchen is a pretty good place to be as well. The BYM and the dog were in here earlier, the tomato cuttings aren't dead yet, and I have poured for myself a glass of the wine [personal profile] dichroic sent in December, to go with the edamame-wasabi dip I just made.

    I am frustrated about a number of things, including not yet feeling well enough to sing or to resume practicing yoga, but happy happenings have been in abundance as well. The client to whom I delivered a commission this past Sunday was very pleased with it. ("We definitely got our money's worth.") I fashioned a pin for a friend while at the easel.

    The Poetry Storehouse now has audio for my poems "Novecento," "Schrodinger's Top Hat," "Even an Empty Life Can Hold Water," and "Lining Up." At Autumn Sky Poetry, Christine Klocek-Lim published my sestina "O Clouds Unfold" (which may look familiar to some of you, as I posted the first draft here just under a year ago). First Class accepted a poem.

    The lily in the bathroom has put forth new shoots. A longtime friend got married. My honorary mama celebrated her eighty-something-eth birthday. Mary sent a sprig from Wilbur's "Black Birch in Winter."

    And now I must turn back to paperwork and work-work.
    zirconium: photo of Greek style coffee, Larnaca, October 2011 (coffee in Cyprus)
    my life in a snapshot

    Worker bee + hedonist = cappuccino + Old Fashioned

    and writing during and between courses
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    Elise Matthesen has a sale going on until midnight Minnesota time 22 February, and she asked those with shinies already in their nests to "maybe tell a little about a shiny that you have, or that you like, or that otherwise inspired you?"

    To Cover the Jade Well goes well with my hair, and I wear that pair frequently. Truth be told, I had forgotten their name (2006 was a while ago), but having unearthed it tonight, I now have ideas...

    I have, in fact, drafted a poem about "The Habits of Fire," which I wore more frequently before the green streaks. I shall polish and re-circulate it at some point.

    I am fond of a green hair clip / bookmark (having reached for it for both purposes) M'ris sent me one Christmas.

    And, another December, Sinterklaas brought me a pouch of blood- and rose-themed beads ordered by Paula, with this poem. I shall knot them into books or cards or broadsides or hair ornaments at some point. But the rest of tonight is for the fitting together of other rocks...


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

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