Showing posts from January, 2012


Blogger Friends,
I've gone underground as I get settled in this new job and learn the ropes of a new school district and get to know some new kids.  It's all good but very demanding.  I am looking forward to kicking back this weekend and getting back to all of you!
All the best,

Our World Tuesday: So Begins a New Chapter

From January 29, 2012From January 29, 2012From January 29, 2012From January 29, 2012 I started my first full day on Topsail taking photos of familiar things even as I was thinking through the coming days of teaching a new curriculum in a new school in a new state and--most important--to new students. It is good, as I regroup, to take account of what is familiar and beloved as I take this leap forward. Before I hit the beach, I read students' essays on something they are proud of that was assigned to them last week (the semester started before I got here, and this was assigned to them by a different teacher). They are proud of themselves, their mothers and fathers, their siblings, or nothing at all, thank you very much and here's how I'm not proud in five brilliant paragraphs. Or one. Oops. I started my walk thinking about kids who are open and honest and vulnerable and ready to be liked and taught. I hope I live up to their expectations. 
 Our World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Primrose

My boss gave me this primrose on my last day of work in Waterbury.  This was one of many very nice things that happened that day.  I loved my job in Waterbury and adored the kids in my care.  They rose to the challenges I presented them and were completely good 99 percent of the time.  They are completely good people with big hearts and open minds.  I loved Waterbury and it loved me back.  I am grateful.
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Wrong

From December 31, 2011 Is there a wrong way
To look at what this is?
May I see a haunted face
And wonder at the haunting?
A lonely face and
Wonder who is not here?
A hungry face
And feel shame,
For I have offered nothing?

This is a stone with holes
That suggest to me face.
It is a mother stone like so many others
On this beach.

Mother stones:
They all have faces
They all tell stories
They all wait to be found
They all beckon.

All suggest a miracle
In their cry
And the silence.

One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: At Last

From December 26, 2011
Years ago my parents put my sister and me though swimming lessons. At the time, we were not grateful. Mom had us out the door those summer mornings before we would like to have been. Before we knew it, there we were at the town park doing our calisthenics in the cold, damp sand and then taking orders from the Red Cross drill sergeants who didn't care how little we liked them; they worked us hard. 
Mom and dad insisted we have this survival skill. There was no conversation about how we felt about it. It was understood mom and dad called the shots and we would do what we were told. We could make all the faces we wanted. Mom and dad could take it. We would learn to swim.  Their being in charge was a very good thing.  
I was thinking about those swimming lessons while I was lying in the tub the other night and thinking how I can't dive. There was a time I could. I'd take a header off the back of our boat and swim like a fish. Then, something ha…

Wordless Wednesday: Nice to Have Somebody


Our World Tuesday: Little People Village

From Little People Village Geocaching has a way of uncovering history for the local yokels at the same time it gets us outside and roaming the landscape for tucked-away Tupperware. My daughter's geocaching adventures brought her to Little People Village in Middlebury a few weeks ago with her father. From Little People Village About a century ago, a trolley line ran from Waterbury to Middlebury, Connecticut, where merry makers could hop off to visit this village or go a little farther down the line to Quassy Amusement Park.  It was an ornamental garden called The Fairy Garden. From Little People Village There area is dotted with the ruins of little people houses with arches, verandas, balustrades, and thrones.  These have suffered from neglect, the elements, and vandalism so that imagining what it might have been like requires a fair amount of imagination.  Here in Connecticut, there is no shortage of that.  According to Damned Connecticut, "One of the many versions of the stor…

Today's Flowers: Winter Pansies

From December 30, 2011
This mosaic turtle sails through the air outside the Quarter Moon Bookstore on Topsail Beach. At Christmastime, the pansies were blooming in all their glory in the sunshine. So beautiful. 
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Smile

From December 29, 2011
Seagulls In their high-steppingBroad-shoulderedPuffed up Way Of surveying the shore
Make me smile.  
These feathered dons own the place.They privilege me with the opportunityTo breathe their airTo see their skyTo walk in stepWith the surf whose pounding cadenceIs a caress,The fingers-through-the-hair Of a familiar lover,A touch that is always welcome,A leaning in To the strengthThat says all is well and You are safe.Walk with me,
Be with me, Custodian of the tide.
Keep your fingerOn the pulse of the world.
Enter the world of a seagull
And smile.
One Single Impression

Movie Review: War Horse

There's only one way to watch a movie that focuses on an animal, and that's with a kid.  Kids and animals grab hold of your heart and run with it like there's no going back.  In addition, kids will jump with two feet into a compelling story line, and they won't look at you like you're simple when happily-ever-after comes to the screen with a pretty sunset and silhouettes that let you claim the very bigness of life for yourself.
Kids know how to enjoy a good story.
I was glad to be with my kid and her friend to see War Horse this week.  Steven Spielberg's movie adaptation of the children's novel by Michael Morpurgo captures the magical relationship of Albie,  the son of a dirt-poor farmer in Devon, England, and Joey, a powerful young race horse his alcoholic father impetuously buys at auction--to the chagrin of his wife.  Albie does not break the horse but wins him over, and this elegantly powerful animal becomes a work horse.
When World War I breaks out, J…

Skywatch Friday: Get My Good Side

From December 30, 2011I can taste the ocean on your skinThat is where it all beganWe all go back to where we belongWe all go back to where we belongThis really what you wantThis really what you want
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: My Girl

From January 15, 2012 (This is my daughter Adella with the Canon PowerShot I passed on to her as her photography experiences continue to grow and expand.)
Wordless Wednesday

Book Review: The Secret Holocaust Diaries of Nonna Bannister

The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister by Nonna Bannister

The Secret Holocaust Diaries of Nonna Bannister is the narrative of an adolescent Russian girl whose idyllic life is transformed by the horrors of the Second World War. Walks in the park with her mother, language lessons with her father, and holidays in ther grandmother's Great House come to an abrupt end as war comes to her family, separating them as they struggle to survive.

Nonna witnesses first-hand the abuse of starving, freezing German soldiers who stab her dead father through the chest as he lay in bed--after weeks of suffering from injuries inflicted by other German soldiers who had found him hiding in a tunnel connected to a root cellar at her grandmother's home.

Nonna and her mother, Anna, forage for food in the fields and make temporary homes in the abandoned houses of villages whose residents were driven out by retreating Russians or marauding Germans. They rescue a Jewish baby…

Our World Tuesday: A Captive Audience for Dell and Me

Della and I headed out on a very cold Sunday afternoon to play with our cameras. I gave Dell my Canon PowerShot because it's time for her to move up from her pocket Canon and for me to make better use of my DSLR.  So we literally stepped out of the comfort zone, froze our fannies off, and spent some time with subjects that didn't moan and groan as we made our way around the buttons and dials of our picture machines.

From January 15, 2012From January 15, 2012From January 15, 2012From January 15, 2012From January 15, 2012 This graveyard in Roxbury, Connecticut, is filled with families and war heroes. It's a neat place. There is "wife of" after "wife of", children resting under tiny stones, and there is Edd. His last name is Ward (Edd Ward. Yes.) and he was killed by a horse on a July 4 in the 19th century. Poor Edd.

Our World Tuesday

Flowers from Today: Marsh Grasses

From January 1, 2012 The winter sun shining on the marsh grasses in Surf City were very beautiful on New Year's Eve.  Winter sunlight has a wonderful way getting under and around things like warm and loving fingers caressing a beloved.  I enjoy the shapes and the abstract patterns that emerge from the landscape in this light.  
Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Soul

From December 30, 2011 Draw the line
Raise the fence

Let the sun rise
The wind blow
The seasons change

Time passes through

What you draw
What you make
What you are

Let the sun rise
The wind blow
The seasons change

You are the time That passes, The line that blurs, 

You are the fence
That will

In time

Need mending.
Draw the line.
One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Dreamin'

From December 29, 2011From December 29, 2011
Thinking back of the people I have known who are photographers--persons who seek to capture in a picture what they see as the glory of a moment's most exquisite beauty--I find that these people are loners. They are people who are completely comfortable to stand alone. In fact, they prefer the company of their lens to any other company. Most of the time. These photographers fearlessly capture dreams. Sometimes they do that despite their cameras. 
 There are days I have turned the dials and adjusted every possible measurement on my camera in the hopes of capturing what I see. Instead, I have captured some other reality. Usually, that is the world I have felt while looking at what I seem unable to report. That vast space between the heart and mind is the site of some very strange alchemy sometimes. So says the camera. Some days, the camera insists on what is right and true and real. On these days, I wonder where I am. Neverthel…

Wordless Wednesday: How's the Fishing?


Our World Tuesday Meme: Flying By

From December 30, 2011 There's nothing like a day near the water, especially in an unpretentious place like Topsail.  The happy face below greeted me on my morning walk.  I admired his "feathered" hair style. From December 30, 2011 After an afternoon of photographing pelicans, I made my way back to the store to get some food for supper.  Crossing the high-rise bridge, I did a no-no and snapped a few random shots of the setting sun.  Braver souls have pulled over to take photos, but I haven't managed that feat  yet. From December 30, 2011 Back at the laundromat-lounge bar, things were cooking on Thursday.  Another party I missed. From December 30, 2011 Life is perfect just the way it is. From December 30, 2011

 And then one day you came back home You were a creature all in raptureYou had the key to your soul
And you did open
That day you came back

(Van Morrison) Our World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: My Love is Like

From December 30, 2011 This rose was thriving outside the Assembly Building on Topsail Island before New Year's Eve. Talk about paradise.

Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Invincible

From December 30, 2011From December 30, 2011 What hunger drives?

The pelican dives  Deep and direct  Eyes open wide 
Again and again

It is a game: 
We do not eat to live  Or live to eat 
But dive deep  To dive deep 
And come back  Satisfied.
Hunger drives. From December 30, 2011One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Looks Easy

From December 30, 2011 I was the pelican stalker in Surf City for a few nights last week. Fisherman would dump their bait overboard before taking their boats out of the water, and the pelicans were making the most of a free and easy meal. They put on quite a performance. Now and again, some cormorants would come in for a landing and bob around the big guys, who could not be bothered with the birds that didn't meet the height requirement on that ride.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: That Worthwhile Uphill Climb


Book Review: The Book Whisperer

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller

In his autobiography, Ben Franklin talks about teaching himself to write by reading good writers and then emulating their style as well as the quality of their thought.
Franklin's words resonated with me when I read the Book Whisperer, in which sixth-grade language arts teacher Donalyn Miller talks about bringing her students into the pleasure of reading by allowing young readers to choose the books that they want and then jumping in.
Allowing readers to choose books means knowing those readers well enough to know what they might like and then providing the options that they might enjoy. It's that simple: know your students. Let them be. Let them read. And they will, and they will do well and if you are a language arts teacher, they will write, and they will write well.
The Book Whisperer had me thinking of Franklin and how he built his life on the books he read. They led him to the comp…

Our World Tuesday: What Are You Looking at?

What are you looking at? is the question I asked myself at the beach last week to challenge myself to look at the beach in different ways. I used my DSLR, my beloved big Canon PowerShot, my trusty little Canon PowerShot, and my Christmas gift the iPod to look again at those things I love so much. That big, blue, beauty the Atlantic tossed up some amazing things.

From January 1, 2012 Like this strange shell or fossil or whatever it is. I have not seen these kinds of shells anywhere else. I was once told they are fossilized shellfish. Maybe so. From January 1, 2012 This snail shell seemed to be in the process of disappearing while the scallop shell seemed to be in the process of becoming a fossil. From January 1, 2012From January 1, 2012 Then there's this clam shell which seemed to be an undercover agent for the ocean, filtering water and slipping into the sunny sand. It's funny to me that the ocean is gigantic, yet the gifts on the shore are so small, tiny really--whispe…