Showing posts from September, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: A Crusty, Rusty Dude

This fellow stands out side a local Mexican restaurant. He is imploring the gods about something or sunbathing. I am not sure.
Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: Looking the Place up and Down

A little bit of Woodbury, Connecticut, around dusk last Friday.

My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Profilin'

The begonias on my front step have been unstoppable this year. They are prevailing yet despite the severe dips in temperature we have had at night.

Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Colors

Showing your true colors You drop every shade of green, Which is of course not easy-- Requiring, as it does, That you shed your skin That you be soft and vulnerable Until you hardened again--
Unless, of course, you are lost Exposing the flaming reds The blazing oranges The merry yellows That say here I am Good-bye I have no regrets And when I fall I will not think of you.
Beneath your cool Is passion that
For what it's worth For however long it lasts
Will burn bright and strong
And then stop.
It is a dangerous fire.
One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: My Reader

This week's blessing is the same as it was two weeks ago: reading. Or, more correctly, the reader. The student at school who has fallen completely into Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series has finished the fifth book. That would be the book I handed him on Friday. He finished it on Tuesday and, realizing there was no sixth book, started reading it again.
When I saw he was near the end, I called my nephew, whose love for the series caused me to recommend it to this kid in the first place, to find out what comes next. He suggested The Hobbit, among other things.
Next day, my sister emailed me to say that Alex, my nephew, said to her after our phone call, "I don't think Aunt Sandy understands that I read these books all the time." You don't really stop reading Percy Jackson.
With that insight, I knew I had to give the kid the books. I have been letting him borrow them. But he has to own them. He needs the freedom to jump back in wherever he pleases.
Meanwhile, my da…

Skywatch Friday: Hazy Days in Vermont, New Hampshire

These are some oldies from a trip to New Hampshire (top) and Vermont (bottom) in August. The elegant horse running into the clouds from atop a slightly weather beaten barn made me smile as I filled my tank up at a gas station. The view of Vermont captures one of those "I can't do it justice but I'll give it a try" moments when the haze flattened the landscape into shades of grey that became green where I stood. I love the combination. And I don't mind that the haze blurred the cell towers--even if I did make use of them along the way.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Feeling Crabby


My World Tuesday: Bethlehem, Connecticut

Once a part of Woodbury, Bethlehem, Connecticut is its own little rural world wherein lies a beautiful, unpretentious, bountiful apple orchard that also happens to sell the most superb corn on the cob. It's best to eat the produce outside because it's so juicy it splashes. That's March Farms. The stream in the last shot was part of a land trust tract that we stumbled upon after the trip to the orchard.
(P.S. The "red one" is an apple! A lovely and wonderful Macintosh.)
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: My Wild Friends


One Single Impression: Fog

Walking the byroad toward the brook Past the roadhouse--kept up, I swear, By the pulse of the neon beer signs Lighting the slow day for the few men Who are always inside-- Toward a paper mill no longer standing But remembered in the name of a dead-end road Draped in goldenrod and asters and phlox,
A young deer disturbed the silence behind me:
The clap of his hooves against the tar of the oily road Awoke me from my revery and-- What can I say?-- The scent of wild grapes on a cool September evening That deer, and slow-building clouds Left me happy for the vastness of the world

And somehow reminded me of a Thanksgiving Years ago When I drove home in a thick fog That cut me off from the world And a deer ran along beside me. I heard him. Felt him. Could not see him
Or anything else.
The solitude we shared was splendid.
It was splendid again on the byroad.
There was no fog. There was everything. Clearly. Eye to eye and alone
With all that is wild.
One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: This and That

Over the past few weeks, I have been gladder than glad that I voted as I did last November. This week, I read two very sensible blog posts that I wish I could have written. If you have time, try a little of this and that. Please.
P.S. Get this: Thursday Matt told me he was done with book three of the Percy Jackson series. He said when he came in, "So I was thinking. Why don't you go up and get me the next book, and when I come back from breakfast I'll pick it up." He had worked out the logistics of his breakfast and my hall duty so he wouldn't have to go a school day without a book. I love that kid.
Blog Your Blessings

Skywatch Friday: How do You Like Them...

Adella and I went apple-picking yesterday in Bethlehem, Connecticut. There were plenty of apples, but finding good ones was tough because so many had been damaged by hail in June. We found enough for Dell and Grandpa, though. And the day was beautiful.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: The Long Room, Independence Hall, Philly, PA


My World Tuesday: Camp Columbia State Park

Sleepy Morris, Connecticut, was once a vacation hot spot, home, as it is, to Bantam Lake. Back in the day it also boasted an outpost of Columbia University's school of engineering. In 1885 the college's Engineering School of Plane Surveying brought its 46 students to Morris for classes during the summer.

The program would grow over the next century. Along the way, the site would become a military training facility for Columbia students in the engineering school who would fight in the Great War. They received their training there with the help of a Captain Ralph Williams of the Canadian Light Infantry.

When Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of the university, he had a miniature football field built on the site. Local lore has it that the New York Giants also used the football field for practice.

The sun set on the engineering program in Morris in the 1980s, and the State of Connecticut did what it had to do to reclaim the land as a state park and as a state forest. A few universi…

Today's Flowers: A Wee Bit Tired


One Single Impression: Thirst

How is it Summer can collect In the back of your throat Like too much of a good thing?
You would wash it away To get on with what was To drink in simple life
As if it were there for the taking.
It is only dust
And it will be.

No September rain Ever stopped the falling of leaves The withering of the garden The shortening of breath
That comes with early night.
Thirst can ignite Passion for a little while And then it consumes itself.
Call it love. Call it burning need. Call it the fire that shapes your soul.
It is a brief thing.
One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Rick Riordan

Author Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series blends the unforgiving, gritty reality of a sixth-grade social misfit whose mother works at a candy store to get by and the marvelous possibilities and fantastic images of Greek mythology. Percy narrates his own tale, and he tells it with the candor of a boy who is a little too worldly for his own good.
I would say this is a page-turner except that I listened to it on CD with my daughter as we made our way from North Carolina to Pennsylvania this summer. Enough to say it was hard to stop the car and put the story on pause for a few days--even in a city as marvelous as Philadelphia. I never read the story, but I heard it, and my daughter says that counts.
A little more than a week ago I got to talking about the first book, The Lightening Thief, with a student who is not in my class but is always around me, somehow. He's a quiet, sweet kid who never fails to say hello and tell me the news. He was interested in the book,…

Skywatch Friday: Local Color

Here's a recent sunset near home in Woodbury, Connecticut. That was an end to a hot day. After I took the first photo, I realized how close I was to the pine tree in the second shot. So often when I am outside I am so focused on where I am going that I don't see where I am--and I often get a smack on the head or poke in the eye from whatever I am missing. I laughed at myself when I realized how close I was to doing that again and got myself a good, friendly look at the pine needles.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Freedom Rings


My World Tuesday: Pawling, New York

Walking around Pawling, New York, last weekend, I was struck by all that the shop windows held--the merchandise, the sky, the buildings on other streets. Each pane of glass was at once a mirror and a way into the spirit of the place. The small town is at once old-school New York State--quaint and yesteryear--and here and now with its immigrants working the restaurants and the laundromat and the like.
The yellow ribbon in the middle of it all? Because it's there in the middle of it all--a sense of patriotism and history. There were oak trees planted to honor the memory of those who served in the Second World War. The ribbons are there to remember those in the service and serving overseas now.
My World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Flower Shop Window

This is the view I found in a flower shop window in Pawling, New York, last week. There was a window box below the pane, and the plantings in it created an additional layer in this image.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Romance

The boy liked her awfully much But he was a poor kid From the hills of Woodbury And she was from Yonkers and then Stamford And so refined-- She knew how to paint To play the violin To sail, sew, embroider And to shoot (she was a crack shot)-- And her mother was A Baptist and so very strict But the boy liked her awfully much One day he dressed like a girl And applied to work As her mother's household servant But her mother the Baptist Was as quick and sharp as a switch And she chased Her future son-in-law Who would become a plumber Down the road.
My grandmother told me this story many a time when I was young. It goes without saying she was proud of her dad's gumption and grit. The story went on: after the death of his father-in-law, my great-grandfather would take in his mother- and sisters-in-law and support them. They would live in the home for which my great-grandmother drew up the plans and my great-grandfather had built for her. My great-grandparents would have six kids, live well, and lo…

Blog Your Blessings: Ordinary Things

Fresh-cut grass. I smelled the sweet summer fragrance of fresh-cut grass as I was leaving work today. The smell always takes me away to being a kid and dad or mom pushing the mower and the clippings stuck to my damp feet as dusk swept the sun away and the air grew cooler. The ice cream man would come. Bed time would come. I would fall asleep to the sounds of my parents' TV programs rolling in anothe room.
I love that smell.
Today it made me think of how good all the ordinary things are. Last week we celebrated dad's 70th birthday. Yesterday, we celebrated mom's 68th. Their three grandkids were there to share the fun and keep the celebrations moving and to make us all laugh out loud. This week the three kids spent their last two days of summer vacation boating on Lake Lillinonah with my folks, exploring the shoreline, taking turns at the wheel, and doing what they do. Back at home, they swam together and mucked around in the stream out back. They watched TV and hung out in …

Skywatch Friday: Good Night, Topsail

On our last night on Topsail. a storm came that ran the length of the island and sat heavily over us. There was a lot less cloud of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic. Not much came of it beyond a little noise and early darkness. A drama queen of a storm.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Labor Day