Thursday, May 31
Monday, May 28
music in unexpected places. I accompanied H's class on a field trip earlier this month to a distant nature center. After several hours of energetic learning we trudged towards the picnic grove to eat lunch. Strains of beautiful music met our astonished ears. One of the bus drivers was using the time he had to wait before the return journey to play his portable electric piano...and he was great! He really sounded professional. His playing changed the whole brown-bag-picnicing-with-hordes-of-screaming-children into a fine alfresco dining experience. Actually, I think the kids were far better behaved than usual because of the music.
Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
I've read, that things inanimate have mov'd,
And, as with living Souls, have been inform'd,
By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.
from The Mourning Bride
by William Congreve, 1697
Sunday, May 27
Click here to enlarge the drawing.
of H and his tame dragon, Firefang. There's an island with some timber wolves on it, too, just to keep things interesting. H made sure to include a very large and seperate studio building, which is my own dream too. And he put in a nice big garden with a sturdy fence. Got to keep out those vegetarian wolves or they'll eat all your tomatoes!
By the way, I was just nominated (by my brother) for a Blogger's Choice Award for Best Parenting Blog. I was touched by the nomination, but have no burning ambition to beat out the hundreds of other bloggers (or any chance in Hades of doing so, some of them are jaw-droppingly talented!) If you want to check the whole scene out head on over to this link. Vote for me if you want, I admit it'd be nice to have more than the TWO votes I have thus far received (one of them my own) but only if you feel so moved.
And watch out for those vegetarian wolves!
Saturday, May 26
Thursday, May 24
When I was visiting relatives at Christmas, my husband's Aunt Beth made this utterly fabulous cake for one of the parties. It actually tasted even better than it looked if that is possible. Being a cookshop type of person I immediately asked for the recipe and Beth scanned the beat-up old recipe card and sent it to me the following week. (She's great that way: homey but technolocally adept, a rare combo.)
To my surprise the cake was entitled Jewish Pudding. This despite the fact that a) Aunt Beth is not Jewish and b) Jewish Pudding usually mean some form of kugel which this is decidedly not and c) it sure isn't what you think of when you think of pudding either. This a cake. (Possibly it is originally a British recipe, since they use the word pudding to mean any and all dessert items.) Beth's side of the family is originally from Illinois and from the aged appearance of the recipe card all I can think is that this was some british/midwestern, 1950s church lady's take on what Jewish people eat. Or maybe the name just held some exotic appeal. Anyway, mysterious but delicious!
For Theme Thursday's "Food" challenge.
Tuesday, May 22
BOTTLES AND BUGLES
and plants and experiments, on the windowsill of my son P's classroom. Looks beautiful and to me is indicative of the kind of class his teachers are running: full of fertile imagination, creativity, nurturing, and with a strong aesthetic component. You can learn a lot by looking at somebody's windowsills! (And bookcases, too)
Sunday, May 20
You never saw anything redder than these flowers. A clear, true, warm, red. H and I were browsing the local plant stand and independantly were drawn to these Transvaal Daisies. We each bought one and the plants are flaming like torches in their different corners of the garden.
When in doubt, wear red.
OK, why is an overall-wearing earth-mother type quoting Bill Blass? I am certainly no fashionista, as anyone who knows me can tell you. At length. My friends are constantly offering to spiff me up for the various openings and functions I must occasionally attend. Sometimes I take them up on it, sometimes I don't. I am not terribly into my personal appearance, but I do like good design, purely from an aesthetic point of view. And last Fall I bought a Bill Blass coat, at a local resale shop. It is a simple style, but I can't tell you how many compliments I have received on it! My one venture into haute couture was a surprising success. So, besides liking the quotation, I guess I just wanted to say Thank You to Mr. Blass (I've enjoyed all the nice compliments on his coat) in my own little Genre Cookshop fashion.
Friday, May 18
THE LAST ELEPHANT
Went to the Philadelphia Zoo, a month ago, and we were lucky enough to catch a final glimpse of the zoo's last elephant, Dulary. I was so glad I got this shot, because only days later, the dear old girl was shipped off to an elephant preserve in Tennessee. I'm not entirely clear why the zoo divested themselves of their pachyderms. They'd had three or four of them for decades, and the official story is that the herd was not getting along, and they needed to seperate them and find them more congenial surroundings. I'm sure the elephants will love being able to roam through acres of meadow and forest instead of being cooped up in this pint-sized arena. I am really going to miss seeing these huge beasts. Dulary always stood out from the herd, too: there was something very sweet and stoic but spirited about her. But I am sure this move is a good one, from the elephant point of view.
Farewell and happy trails Dulary!
n.b. I just discovered by reading Dulary's bio, that we were born in the same year. So much for "dear old girl"-ing her.
Wednesday, May 16
Tray of seedlings in hand,
I'm startled by my reflection,
on the way to the window.
This is for One Deep Breath, the haiku meme. People who care deeply about correct meter will not like this haiku, but from what I have read the standard 5-7-5 format was never meant to be taken too literally. And of course, too, Japanese is a very different language from English, generally richer in nuance and sub-layers. So a lot more is usually being packed into that tight little package of words when writing in Japanese than can be expressed using English. With this poem, I just got tired of trimming to fit a size that wasn't really meant for me anyway. Startled by the revelation!
Sunday, May 13
Thursday, May 10
Mourning doves come back to nest year after year in this little nook next to an air-conditioning unit over the door to a neighborhood fire insurance company. I guess it makes them feel safe! But Momma dove (or maybe it is Poppa) looks pretty wedged in there.
I guess the sight resonates with me because I have been feeling a little wedged in by domestic constraints myself lately. Probably just a touch of sandwich-generation angst. But it is not vague mid-life crisis yearnings, it is very real crises, duties, chores all piling up thick and fast. Tiring and dispiriting. Don't mean to complain, everyone goes through it. Like Momma dove, I'll just have to hunker down and try not to fall off the ledge.
Tuesday, May 8
season is here! I love these tiny flowers which dance airily in every passing breeze, although those very qualities make them hard to photograph. This extreme close-up shows off the grainy "molded" quality of their five-petaled shape, something you might not notice just walking by.
If one could understand a flower as it has its being in God—
this would be a higher thing than the whole world!
Monday, May 7
of a model and an artist at work drawing the model. The artist was Charles Reid, and his model was Al Mumble. (Sorry, I didn't catch his last name.) Both men did their jobs beautifully. This was at the Portrait Society of America's recent "Art of the Portrait" conference. Just got back home yesterday evening...and am I exhausted! Although it was a very interesting and informative conference, it was no relaxing pleasure cruise. Taking in all the information, meeting what felt like hundreds of new people, the stress of unfamiliar surroundings and eating restaurant food non-stop: all took its toll. I longed for a Resting Room: a softly lit room filled with cozy lounge chairs and sofas, with a kitchenette for tea-making in the corner. And a big banner saying "No Talking! No Networking! No Fawning! Optional Nods and Smiles Only Please!" (I think I am maybe the wrong personality for optimal conference attending.)
But of course, I got a lot out of it, and met some lovely and talented people. Saw a lot of art, of every calibre. And I drove there with three friends, two of whom each won two prizes in the various competitions! I'm very proud of them. I guess that works out to one prize per person for our carload! ;-) I'm kidding of course, as neither my other friend nor I even entered any of the competitions, so we certainly don't deserve a share of the spoils. I have always loved that great song by Steve Forbert You Cannot Win if You Do Not Play. Can something be simplistic and profound at the same time? If so, that is. But although I agree with the sentiment, this has been a tough year and I was too worn-out to make that one last effort. Just going to the conference took my remaining ounce of energy. So, now, where IS that Resting Room?
Thursday, May 3
Wednesday, May 2
My son H was in our district Junior Olympics today, in two events. Here is a rather tangled and action-packed shot of him pulling ahead in his heat. He eventually came in second in both 50 yard dash and softball throw (which is I guess the peewee version of shot put)...what a thrill! The biggest thrill really was seeing how the kids all cheered for each other, and tried to buck up those who did not place. It was all boys, so you might have expected a little testosterone overload, but although the energy was high and the competition was fierce, the atmosphere was decidedly cheerful. It sounds corny but I was looking around thinking "Valuable life lessons being learned before my very eyes!" Including those being learned by Mom.