zirconium: photo of squeezy Buddha on cell phone, next to a coffee mug (buddha and cocoa)
I lugged a contractor bag to the bin earlier today, having detected two kinds of infection among a half-dozen pepper plants. A plant we hauled home from New Orleans in December is doing fine, though. I call it "my geranium from Desire," since it was dug from a flourishing patch on Rampart that had been started with a cranesbill clump from a few streets over, on Desire.

a geranium from Desire

Some days I rock the "It was _______, but it had to be done, and she did it" roll, and once in a while I stay up binge-reading Grace Burrowes novels, which last time induced several rounds of ugly-crying-on-the-way-to-enjoying-a-happy-ending, which happened to be what I needed to get past the out-of-sortedness I can get mired in when too many things are out of order.

Broadsided Press just published a series of downloadable poem-posters about Standing Rock, with my "Snake Dance" among them. The link: http://www.broadsidedpress.org/responses/2016dapl/
zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle)
The subject line's from "Brooklyn Blurs," a song by/in The Paper Raincoat. I heard Alex Wong perform it with Megan Slankard in a house concert back in March, and he mentioned at an Angelhouse Family Dinner that he would probably play it during his Basement gig last Saturday.

I'd hoped to go to that show, but Other Things Happened. I'd hope to see tonight's ASL-interpreted performance of the Scottish play, but Other Things Had To Get Done. I have a suspiciously sore throat that I'm hoping won't get in the way of Things I Gotta Get To and Through within the next week. Mann traoch, Gott lauch.

There is a metal screwcap perched on my handbag. I am perplexed - none of the bottles in the cabinets or on the counters appear to be missing their stoppers or lids, nor is there an open bottle of wine - but not enough to feel like I have to figure it out before I head to bed. Though it's all too likely that my brain will seize on some aspect of this to turn into a tanka or triolet a couple of hours from now, and that will get me out of bed to type out the words before they evaporate.

IMG_1091

This week's Tarotscope urged me to embrace change. ... I broke in my new pair of swim goggles this week. I tried buti yoga last week. I'm looking at dance classes around town -- it's going to be a full day if I try to attend the Muslim hip hop doubleheader that's scheduled for the same Saturday as the Early Autumn Day of English country dancing, but it looks doable and is therefore tempting.

I am contemplating iron-on vines, to cover a stain on a gooseneck rocking chair I acquired last week at the Habitat ReStore for $25. My current tomato cutting + pepper cullings look sunburnt in their beakers and jars, so I'm thinking of throwing out the lot. I am thankful that I had limes on hand this morning, as I was again careless about gloving up before dealing with Prairie Fire seeds and ended up giving myself an invisible moustache of a burn. The zinnias are thriving:

IMG_1105
zirconium: Russian tins of fish (Russian tins of fish)
[The subject line is from Barbara Jordan's "Bruegel's Crows," in Channel.]

Some days, things mushroom like mad:

IMG_9924

They might even get decidedly warped:

IMG_9951

It's okay. There will be other days full of light...

NC Arboretum

and sweetness:

NC Arboretum
zirconium: photo of cupcake from Sweet 16th, Nashville (crackacino cupcake)
[Subject line from Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Jubilee"]

I took the cookies to work, labeling the bin "oatmeal-flax cookies" so as to warn for allergies. The container was empty by the end of the day, and two colleagues told me that the biscuits tasted good for something that looked so healthy. ;)

The lemon tart is really, really good.

The dawg is delighted with the steak drippings and potato salad dregs from tonight's supper.

The rogue rosebush produced three blooms this round. A relief to know my ill-fated attempts to propagate it (by taking cuttings that then didn't take) didn't kill it.

IMG_9807
zirconium: snapshot of my healthiest hollyhock plant (French hollyhock)

La problème de la nuit reste entier. Comment la traverser, chaque fois la traverser tout entière?

Que mes secondes sont lourdes! Jamais je ne les aurais crues si lourdes. Instants éléphatiasiques.

The problem of the night remains total. How to cross it, cross it completely each time?

How heavy my seconds are! I never would have thought them so heavy. Elephantasiac moments.


-- Henri Michaux, "Après l'accident / After the Accident," translated by Dori Katz

NC Arboretum

This variety of tulip is called "Blue Wow," but it looked decidedly purple to me.

I am salivating, so to speak, over the Julia Child rose in my White Flower catalog. I am also tempted to attend tonight's Plants + Pints event, in search of begonias. At the moment, though, the urge to go back to bed is warring with the urge to sneak in an hour of weeding. And maybe to sow a new crop of radishes.

Speaking of radishes...

best crop yet
zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
at least for a while longer:

hollyhock seedling
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
When Miss Dog nosed me off the couch this morning, my head was still aching and my throat still raw from the cold that hit me toward the end of last week, and I staggered back to the cushions thinking that I'd be flat on my back for another day and in no state even to watch videos (a library copy of The Crossing, is waiting for me; it may be of interest to some of you because, according to one YouTube commenter, "Alexander Hamilton [Steven McCarthy] never looked so sexy!" and I admittedly requested it because I'm still working through my Roger Rees fetish; he plays Hugh Mercer).

At any rate, three more hours of sleep + meds + coffee somehow worked wonders, at least to the extent of me feeling up to light gardening. I pruned the mess around the rogue rosebush and rooted three cuttings from it, dipping them first in honey:

Honey as a rooting compound

"Honey" is also prompt 43 in Upper Rubber Boot's 100 Untimed Books photo challenge, so this passage from an Emily Dickinson letter (28 December 1880) caught my eye:


The Honey reached us yesterday.

Honey not born of Bee -- but Constancy -- which is "far better." I can scarcely tell you the sweetness it woke, nor the sweetness it stilled.


100 untimed books - honey

In introducing the letter, the recipient's granddaughter notes that "death was again uppermost in [Emily's] mind" at this time, "two more persons were gone who had meant much to her in different ways" -- the novelist George Eliot and the physician David P. Smith. I am not grieving, exactly, but I did hear of two deaths last week that have me perhaps clinging a touch tighter to the connections that have persisted across time and distance. Both women died of cancer -- one last November, one this past March -- and I am not surprised that I was not in the loop about either passing, as it's been more than fifteen years since I saw either of them and I am no longer close to the people who would have known to let me know. But I am also immensely grateful to the connections deep enough to transmit both news and warmth every few years, which is how I found out about the former colleague, and to the internet's obituary archives for providing me closure on Marilyn, whose paintings hang in my living room and library. My copy of E. E. Cummings's collected poems was already pretty beat-up when I impulsively gave it to her during a workshop we were taking together; I wonder if it survived her own moves since 1995, or if a family member chucked it into a dumpster during the final cleaning-out, or if maybe she handed it on to another penny-pinched artist to enjoy.

I am not really fretting over what happened to the book, of course; it is merely somewhere for the sadness to go until I regain the drive to channel it into poems. In the meantime: honey and dirt. For perhaps the roses really want to grow...

rose propagation
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: 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:

cornflower
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*)




Also:
* 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:


https://youtu.be/9txLgEO2sfQ

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: 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: photo of pumpkin on wire chair (pumpkin on chair)
Last weekend's hard frost killed all the magnificent zinnias in front of my house, as expected, but to my surprise, one of the runts in the alley seems to be enjoying the cold:

zinnia

Some of the French hollyhocks and French marigolds are still in bloom, too. And the rogue rosebush -- as unpredictable as ever -- is showing off a fresh yellow bud amid the dead and wilted:

also on the rogue rosebush rogue rose rogue rose

I finally peeked at the seed exchange at the Inglewood branch of Nashville's public library. It was out of parsley, but I picked up packets for bok choy, chives, and three kinds of marigolds.

Recent publications:
"dicing up..." (tweet-sized poem) at 7x20
"the resident ghost..." (tweet-sized poem) at 7x20
"Ballad Breath" (audio and text versions) in Stone Telling 11
zirconium: sunflower core against the sky (sunflower sentinel)
Cox Arboretum
Cox Arboretum, Dayton, Ohio, August

While the knives seek the pumpkins
the fish glides along.

aging zinnia zinnia
Nashville, October

Who will tell the zinnias
it's long past Labor Day?




A fun thing: last week, a verse I wrote was selected for Pilgrims' Stride, and today the verse to follow it was picked. The most fun part seeing the sixty-some directions people pursued...

A frustrating thing: local businesses failing to return phone calls.

Today's work will include: mixing ink and cutting paper.

Today's cooking will include: Greek cinnamon chicken. Maybe. The recipe looked like just the thing when I was reading it in bed last night, but we have neither bay leaves nor dry white wine in the house, nor (uncharacteristically) onions (not counting the scant quarter-cup in my freezer). Hmmm.
zirconium: tulip in my front yard, April 2014 (tulip)
I like the scent of tomato leaves. Before I chucked the last of this year's plants into the compost heap, I snipped off a few stems to keep the scent around a bit longer, slipping a couple into one of the stripper glasses our friend K. gave to us last Christmas:

tomato cutting

That was more than a month ago. They're clearly finding the confines agreeable:

tomato cutting

So much that there are even flowers!

tomato cutting tomato cutting
zirconium: tulip in my front yard, April 2014 (tulip)
"F. S. Seymour Wimbourne will be glad if any one will inform him how he may bleach ferns, without injuring the veins, causing them to have a whitish or transparent appearance." -- "Notes and Queries," Pharmaceutical Journal, June 2, 1877

"Yellow Daffodils are under the dominion of Mars, and the roots thereof are hot and dry in the third degree. The roots boiled and taken in posset drink cause vomiting and are used with good success at the appearance of approaching agues, especially the tertian ague, which is frequently caught in the springtime. A plaster made of the roots with parched barley meal dissolves hard swellings and imposthumes, being applied thereto; the juice mingled with honey, frankincense wine, and myrrh, and dropped into the ears is good against the corrupt and running matter of the ears, the roots made hollow and boiled in oil help raw ribed heels; the juice of the root is good for the morphew and the discolouring of the skin." -- Nicholas Culpeper (1653?), quoted by Maud Grieve (1931, in A Modern Herbal)

The word oxymel.
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
A problem with fascinating houseguests (in this instance, a carpenter with an international touring production) is how it leads to staying up with bourbon and turkey sandwiches while listening to him reminisce about the custom knives he bought in Japan and the diner we should have tried in Vancouver and the nonstandard rigging he sorted out for staging Wizard of Oz in three cities in Korea.

May was a blur of work, yoga, and gatherings (one wedding, one graduation, and a bunch of birthdays).

On the first day of June, I treated myself to a stand-up paddleboarding lesson. On the fourth day of June, I went swimming after yoga. Both days, it felt soooo good to be on/in the water, and I think my threadbare one-piece will last one more season.

I am in the middle of cleaning up one of the tulip beds in my front yard. Tennessee clay is as stubborn as I am, so excavating the bulbs for division is a chore. I confess to feeling grateful toward the moles for making it easier to transplant some of the hollyhocks.

Naturally, the one on the east side of the house (the side not visible to the public) is the one with the best show of blooms so far...

Hollyhock

Read more... )
zirconium: corner of dormant tulip bed (corner)
When I got home from my overnight shift this morning, the flowers were still closed-up for the night:

coming home late/early

I look forward to seeing them later in the day...




From the clippings pile: David M. Shribman's NYT piece on journalist Wendell Smith, "Hall of Famer Whose Pen Charted Path for Jackie Robinson." Shribman quotes Brian Carroll: "Acknowledged as the most skilled writer of his time, 'Smitty' has been overlooked simply because he was black."
zirconium: Photo of Joyful V (racehorse) in stall (Joyful Victory)
Last fall, my friend Knight handed me a handful of bulbs. I dug a wide, nine-inch-deep hole next to the Kentucky Colonel mint and plunked them in.

Look what showed up today!

Right on cue!

in my front yard today

crocuses from Knight
zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
The third time is confirmation, methinks: no matter what color is in the jar (Voodoo Blue, Atomic Turquoise) or how much bleach I've used, my hair will turn into a deep, vivid green. I'm not complaining: it happens to match my glasses and eyeliner. There are worse superpowers to have.

What I need, though, is to cultivate a gracious way of handling St. Patrick's Day jokes while steering the chitchat into other directions. (March 17 coincides with a sad anniversary in my personal history.) I wonder if there's an economist or Nobel laureate I could make the green in honor of...

Oho, here we go: Joseph Bienaimé Caventou. French. Pharmacist. Co-isolated chlorophyll and caffeine. Caventou, you're my man!

(When you can't berate them, make their eyes glaze over. Heh.)




From Flower Confidential's section on Multi Color, a flower-painting factory:

"We can glitter anything," he said, moving cheerfully past the roses.


The chapter in general ("...a rose the color of blueberries. Actually, it's hard to compare this blue to any color you'd find in nature. It was more of a Las Vegas blue, a sequin-and-glitter blue. A blue you'd find in nail polish or gumballs, but not in a garden. Peter had hundreds of these blue roses...") reminded me of the the daisies that are doctored with shoe polish to pass for black-eyed Susans during the Preakness Stakes.




The window for Rhysling nominations will remain open until Saturday, February 22. My eligible poems can be viewed via this Google Doc until then.



I was thinking of baking a gingerbread Washington pie (from my Complete American Jewish Cookbook) in honor of the holiday, but we ate a a lot of dessert last night, and there are some savories higher on the list (specifically turnip cake and artichoke quiche). Also on this week's agenda: finetune 600 endnotes; relearn how to play poker; reacquaint myself with riding a bike (temperatures are supposed to reach 64 F this week); work on a birthday gift. Onward!
zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
After this morning's shift, I picked up a spicy tuna wrap and headed to the Japanese garden at Cheekwood to eat it.

Lunch at Cheekwood
View from the pavilion

Lunch at Cheekwood
Fountain by the pavilion

bee and butterfly under the cut )

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