Monday, January 31, 2011

Late pebbles

Snow and exhaustion continue to dog the start of my year, make the weeks hard to imagine and the time fly jumpily. Intermittant blogging and even more intermittant observation, I fear.
Day 27
from around the manhole cover
steam rises in pulses
as though beneath the sidewalk
a dragon sleeps...

a red maple leaf caught in an ice sheet
Day 28
the street untouched
in inch-deep snow --
almost loath
to leave my doorstep
and mark my passing

Day 29
The bushes are flattened as though a giant had sat on them --
some bounce back once freed from their heavy loads of snow,
but others still hang low, limbs broken or bent for good.
So winter leaves its mark on us all.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Things that surprise me

scales of justiceTwo developments in the legal world that ingrigue/perplex/amaze me, in various ways:

Icy pebbles

Day 22
amid the romping dogs
motionless forms of their huddled owners

Day 23
Catching the wind for an instant
the leaf jerks forward
like a nervous iguana
across the snow

Day 24
In the subway station, the man on the stairs behind me sings, "I'll catch the next one" in the sing-song usually reserved for mocking (naah naah...), but softly. Is he defying the Fates?

Tuesday baby-blogging: It's fun to be a toddler!

Here are some wacky out-takes from recent Speck silliness, to help perk up a cold and groggy day...

toddler with warm coat and sneakers on her hands
Why NOT wear shoes as mittens?!?

toddler in pigtails and cute dress, with mischevious smile and finger up nose...
A little nose-picking mischief from a couple of months ago,
while playing with (horrified) Gammy...

toddler in pajamas with two teddybears sporting underwear hats and shirts...
Teddybears make great underwear models!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quote of the day

Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an
injury to one's self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are
aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why older persons,
especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all.
- Thomas Szasz,
author, professor of psychiatry (1920- )
(via A.W.A.D.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gathering no moss (Small stones, Day 21)

two striated pebbles placed close togetherFor no apparent reason this morning, flashes of recall of two grandmothers. Me set up with a snack tray on the screened-in porch while she mends and he reads the paper; the magic of a musty drawer full of things collected to fuel my imaginings. A cup of tea for three generations of ladies, discussing books; her amazement at the prowess of my generation with all things. Two grandmothers who in different ways made me feel capable of anything, interesting, followed with admiration.

Impossible to know what pebbles catch as the river flows by. What will my daughter recall of our house and its ways, of her grandparents, or any of the rest? How will she be polished?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Now here's a proposal I can get behind

We need more mockery and drinking games, honestly. Because taking politics seriously is driving me to drink....


Ah, Rick Santorum, just an endless source of head-smacking quotes. If only I could find it funny...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Loose pebbles

Have gotten a little away from this project, but here are some efforts from the last week...
Day 12
the short path of snowflakes
under a streetlight ---
evening hush

Day 15
the open expanse of an empty desk: inviting or bleak, depending on one's mood...

Day 17
the birch and dogwood
fused by ice
where their branch tips touch

Day 18
my boots make a shush-crunch with every step
in the newly fallen slush

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Belated post: MLK, still pushing our comfort zones

I liked this reminder that there's plenty of King that doesn't fit the homey dreamer image we'd like to encapsulate for his holiday, and plenty to challenge us to greater ambitions.
Are we really taking this thing seriously? 'All men are created equal.' And that means that every man who lives in a slum today is just as significant as John D., Nelson, or any other Rockefeller. Every man who lives in the slum is just as significant as Henry Ford.
Yeah, still doesn't feel like our operating principle....

Groggy Tuesday baby-blogging

A little frolic in the couch cushions for Speck on a cold and frosty afternoon (34 months old):

toddler in a fort made from couch cushions
Speck defies all comers from her cushion fort!

full-halo static effect in red hair
A few minutes is all it takes to produce this
Blinded Me With Science static effect! hilarious.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Passing of an era

line drawing of a chunky computer monitorToday I deleted all my personal files from a computer I've had for some sixteen years and got it ready for Craig's List or donation. I've switched computers plenty of times through the years, but this was the only one that ever made me feel misty, and I even put off shutting it down for the last time.

It's not that I've had it pretty much as long as I've had The Internet (!!), or that I got it to write my Ph.D. thesis on (heh), or anything specific about the magic of the Mac Performa 5200 itself. Definitely part of it is that I started, grew, and finally passed on a publishing business conducted entirely on that system, a creative endeavor that I've gotten a bit distant from in the throes of parenthood. But even more, this was my last computer before a wave of technology cut me off, before USB ports made my peripherals obsolete and, even more, Apple's switch to a Unix base meant that my software and files couldn't be transferred to new machines. That means that for the first time I'm watching a large segment of my work and invested time get filed away in an essentially unreachable form -- there are Zip disks full of journal layouts, essays I wrote and correspondence I wanted to keep, scans and images and Christmas letters and who-knows-what that are now in practice paperweights.

I printed out some Supplement books for the new Acorn editor, in case she ever wants to republish any of them. I made sure I had clean copies of my two most important haiku theory essays. I played an ungodly number of games of that 1987 original Russian Tetris that has followed me to every computer since my very first (and that saw me through long stretches of 20-something angst and busy head). And then I shut it down and unplugged it. And moved on to other things.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More pebbles

Day 9
the bed so warm
when I crawl back in

Day 10
rushing back out with bread --
the sparrows already gone

Day 11
Morning light softens the city -- a haze of horizon pink reflects on edges of silver-blue skyscrapers, harmonizes the smudges of brick, calls to our forgiving natures...

Eliminationism, domestic violence, and responsibility

a figure curled away from the worldHave wanted to write something since Saturday, to rage at the right-wing machine that has been spewing violent language directed at liberals and Democrats for years (great summary from 2010 here) and then disavowing and link when crazies take them literally and hurt somebody. But most of that has probably already been said. How they can continue not to see their own role in fomenting terrorism amazes me, but there's plenty of precedent for such blindness, so it's unlikely to be cured now.

Anyway, a couple of folks have now written more cogent and in-depth reflections on these matters than I was likely to manage. There were two NYT pieces, one an editorial and one a Krugman piece, which are discussed in this DailyKos piece.
It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman's act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge.
The point that this language really comes exclusively from the right these days, despite the media's preference to talk about "the partisan divide" or "polarization on both sides" or whatever, is made very well in Gabrielle Giffords and the rightwing hate machine.
...The right’s messaging infrastructure, meticulously constructed and refined over decades, promotes an image of liberals as traitors and America-haters, unworthy of their country and bent on destroying it. There is simply no comparable propaganda effort on the left.

The imbalance is stark: Democrats and liberals rail against the right’s ideas; the right rails against the left’s very existence.
I noted some of this previously when gun-toters started showing up at Obama events and the like; not feeling much more chipper about it now...

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Latest pebbles

Day 6
The old man moves his hands
in an energetic conversation
only he can hear.

Day 7
in a dim room
unsure of what woke me
until she cries again

Day 8
through my windows
snowflakes growing larger

Friday, January 07, 2011

Vacuous well-wishing post

Have a great weekend, y'all! Here's some color and fun to carry you through...

colorful rubber/plastic frogs and snakes on and around a system of colorful gears

Frogs and snakes Go Wild in the realm of Speck. (Actually, usually frogs spend a lot of time being put down for naps under toilet paper squares, or acting up and refusing to nap, but sometimes they take Adventure Outings too...)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Sorry ... what?

Arianna Huffington explains the benefits of sleep, even for perennially busy or fatally macho folks. That reminds me of some of my weekend plans...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

More pebbles

Day 4
a stack of river rockspink glow of morning over the rooftops --
black branches sharp against the blue

Day 5
a wordless smile
from the next person in line
at the library return box

Link dump: the rant-inducing subset

With minimal comment, given how long a stretch these have been collected over...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Something new: A river of stones

Am going to try joining this project, which encourages the observation and recording of one sharply observed moment (small stone) per day for the month of January. Don't know if I'll manage either to record or blog them every day, but will do my best -- a good start to the year and maybe a way of finding my way back to my haiku self too.
Day 1
How gently she covers each snowball with a blanket of loose snow. Whiteness against green and brown.

Day 2
Smaller somehow
the newly bare Christmas tree

Day 3
The cat arches into my hand,
then steps away

Snowstorm baby-blogging

Speck was greatly delighted by the snowstorm that hit our area after Christmas, and insisted on going out to play several times per day for as long as the snow persisted. We got about a foot, so there was plenty of fodder for shoveling, making footprints, or just sitting down in a drift (with several changes of pants and mittens along the way)...

little girl and dad sweep snow off a black car
For some reason, Speck's first focus is always on brushing off the car.

Speck in red snowsuit with play shovel in hand and grin
Eventually the joy of pure frolic took over...

Dad and toddler walk in the snow, shovels in hand
Finally, checking whether the sidewalk in front of the gardens needs attention.

She's a little deflated that all that snow has melted away -- although warm weather did mean a trip to the playground over this past weekend, complete with carrying remnants of snow hither and thither and "hiding" snowballs at the base of trees. There are a few flakes on next week's forecast, so who knows!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Quote of the day: Happy New Year edition

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
- C.S. Lewis
(via the CSLewisDaily Twitter feed)