zirconium: Detail from Paris Polytechnique building (Paris Polytechnique)
[The subject line is the opening line of Wislawa Szymborska's "Clochard."]

The first day I spent in Paris: 8 May 2009. There were daffodils painted on poles within CDG airport, and I paid I think two euro for a bouquet of muguets from a Latin Quarter street vendor:

my first day in Paris my first day in Paris

I had to bring work along (plus ça change...), and I also had a requiem I'd promised to learn by the time I reached Prague, which would be the following morning. But first there were pork rillettes for breakfast, with gherkins...

my first day in Paris

and there were sights to be seen, including flowers tucked into statues (this one is of Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu)...

my first day in Paris

and pianos being played:

my first day in Paris


Everything's mine but just on loan,
nothing for the memory to hold,
though mine as long as I look.

- Szymborksa, "Travel Elegy"


my first day in Paris
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: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
Paris (17 November 2011)

"Roman numerals probably retarded the progress of mathematics for centuries." - Fred C. Hess, Ed.D., CHEMISTRY MADE SIMPLE (Doubleday, 1955)

(On the previous page: "Don't be frightened by numbers. Mathematicians have helped us greatly by giving us numbers that are very easy to work with.")
zirconium: photo of bell tower seen on a walk to the Acropolis (athens bell tower)
IMG_8717

[An aside to Mary: I enjoy the checklists.]


We want to do, to make, to shape, to give form, to give life, to pass it on, for the life of others and for the whole world. We want to love and be loved, to praise and give thanks for the gift of life, of light, of love. The human quest is a constant struggle for balance, for integration. For the monk, this is done in the milking of cows. In that simple activity, God is near. In gathering eggs, in weighing fruitcakes, in putting just the right measure of sugar in jelly, in baking bread, in wrapping cheese, God is to be found. Working and praying spring from one and the same source: the human heart. There are never enough hours in a day to get all the work done that is ours to do. And there are not enough lifetimes to thank God for the one and only life we have to live.

-- Michael Downey, Trappist: Living in the Land of Desire [emphasis mine]
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
Porte Dorée Sunday market
Paris, November 2011
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
From paris day 1


Latin Quarter flat, October 2011. Note how the stove, shower, and toilet are adjacent to one another. The price was right for one day and night, though -- I set my stuff down, checked messages, napped, and later headed across the city to Kehilat Gesher to celebrate Simchat Torah.

more pictures and notes under the cut )

As I waited for various trains, I saw a series of posters campaigning against violence: "School violence, extortion, assault, harassment ... too many young people are victims of violence in their schools, in public transport, in their neighborhood."

From paris day 1
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
The signal boost (via Sam Henderson): Rose Lemberg could use some help getting to Wiscon, and she's offering handcrafted books to the six highest bidders in an auction that runs until Sunday night. I would especially encourage those of you with totem animals to take a look, since Rose will be creating images of shapechangers, and the winning bidders will each select one of the animals to be featured.

(Full disclosure: I have a vested interest in Rose's presence at Wiscon, since The Moment of Change includes one of my poems.)

Paris and New York: Vahram Muratyan's visual comparisons of Paris and New York are droll and colorful. The link will take you to his blog; my library just acquired a copy of the book. Paging through it, I was reminded again and again that true graphic designers have an arsenal of techniques and pictorial vocabulary that I find a pleasure to recognize and admire. (Put another way, it's a delight to see Muratyan's constructions of images that seem at once both quirky and inevitable.)

London and New York: Truth be told, I don't actually get most of the references in section 9 (except the first and the last, which pretty much tells you which sections of the newspaper I actually read), but figure it might amuse a number of you who are either acquainted with both cities or better looped into current goings-on.
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
Recent reading: Leslie Jonath's Postmark Paris: A Story in Stamps. Charming and deceptively light -- it reminds me of Debi Gliori's No Matter What, in that there's the kid-level face-value narrative, but also an adult-level sub-layer in the illustrations and between-the-lines. For instance, opposite a reproduction of Georges Seurat's Le Noeud noir, the ten-year-old narrator says:


Once when we vacationed in the Dordogne, my mother went for a walk in the woods. Later, she came back crying and ran into my father's arms. She'd found an old cemetery, she said, and had stopped in front of a weedy, forgotten grave. When she looked at the tombstone, she was shocked to read her own name there.

After she told us the story, she stopped crying, and then started to laugh. My father held her for a long time. I didn't know what she found so funny.





I was lay leader and hymn leader at my church on New Year's Day. One of the readings was adapted from Isaiah 58:


If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.


The theme of the month is Justice. (Each month, the services are designed to explore and honor the theme in question.) Later this month, we will be ordaining a woman stationed at Fort Campbell who will become an army chaplain. I am very much looking forward to that service.




Given the ongoing bout of bronchitis, my voice wasn't in good form Sunday morning, but it was functional, and that was enough. That's pretty much my m.o. for this week. I'm steaming my face frequently over pots of hot water/cider/soup, and that seems to be helping as well.

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