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Showing posts from July, 2012

Our World Tuesday: National Museum of the Marine Corps

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We stopped at the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Heritage Center in Quantico, Virginia, on Sunday as we made our way from Connecticut to North Carolina.  The museum has been on my bucket list for as long as I've been traveling between these two places I call home.  The building towers over I-95, and I wondered what it was like from the inside out.

It's meant to take the shape of that famous Joe Rosenberg photo of the six marines raising the US flag over Iwo Jima.  I don't quite get that when I look at this structure.  I see an image of strength that won't be contained, of big dreams combined with might. (Maybe that is the same thing as the flag raising over Iwo.) From July 29, 2012 Here's a view from the inside.  This is a big place seeking to make a big statement.  After the big statement in the main hall, here, the galleries and exhibits dig deep into this country's military engagements over the centuries by contextualizing them.  The museum tells A…

Today's Flowers: Out Back

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From July 21, 2012 Insist on yourself; never imitate.... (Ralph Waldo Emerson)Today's Flowers

Brilliant Brit: Sir Ken Robinson Education Reform

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Educationalist Sir Ken Robinson makes the point here that the education model we employ in public education is outmoded. He says the factory model of education ignores learning styles and various forms of intelligence and does a disservice to many students as a result. His book The Element follows this theme, illustrating it with striking examples of kids who did lousy in school but managed to express their brilliance in other ways. Think Gloria Graham, Julia Child, Neil Armstrong, John Coltrane

Skywatch Friday: What it Is

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I was thinking about context in terms of text the other day and how important time and place are to understanding a story. I had my little camera in hand when I had this thought, so that got me to thinking about context in relation to images. Specifically, I thought about cropping out the junk that interferes with my idealized view of the view, what I want it to be. That's when I took this picture in Hartford on Sunday:
From July 22, 2012
I wanted the Bushnell's golden dome without the other stuff, but the other stuff wasn't going anywhere on my account, so here is the Bushnell in the age of (gasp) electric street lights and electric traffic signals.
I decided I liked all this flattening out of all the reality that fit in my viewfinder into one pleasant experience because the truth was, I enjoyed the whole scene, not the tower with contemporary reality brushed out. Thinking of how thing are where they are got to be a bit of fun for me. For example, here is Hartford…

Wordless Wednesday: Clyde, if Clyde Were a Ballpoint Pen

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Our World Tuesday: Student for a Week

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From July 21, 2012Last week, I put myself in academic paradise by attending an AP Summer Institute at the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut. This prestigious college-prep private school is just a few miles up the road from my old stomping ground, and I had driven past the place many a time and wondered what it might be like to be a student on this beautiful campus.  Now I know.  Taft has an idyllic campus with stunning buildings and beautiful grounds and a great staff.
From July 21, 2012
At the end of AP camp, I found myself--strangely and sadly--without my trusty little Canon.  How I failed to drop this into my Mary Poppins bag, I don't know.  So out came the iPod Touch to capture some of the warm and wonderful atmosphere of this beautiful Hogwarts of Litchfield County.  The photo above and below are of a study in the first building I entered every day.  What was once a library is now a cool place to be--for any reason. From July 21, 2012
New buildings blend with the old ones at …

Really, Ralph?

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From July 22, 2012 Ralph Lauren is the official outfitter of the 2012 US Olympic team. His products for this event are made in China. Wow.

(Clearly, whatever a Democrat says is up for ridicule in the ultra-conservative, hate-mongering media.  Click here to for Limbaugh's anti-Harry Reid diatribe.  Reid is up for ridicule because he has this idea that USA Olympic uniforms should be made in America.  Limbaugh didn't grow up in my parents' house, where the presence of the union label in a garment determined whether or not we would buy it. Also, Mr. Head-in-the-Sand hasn't gotten them memo about why it's such a bummer so much American business and manufacturing is leaving the country.

It seems to me that Mr. Reid should start spouting some Republican rhetoric so Mr. Limbaugh can refute it.  That would make for some nice free advertising.)

One Single Impression: Niche

Niche:
We say it all the time--nitch or neesh
Depending on where the tracks
Run through our real estate.

It means place
Of comfort,
Belonging.
It means nest.

But sometimes the notion
Of destiny
Invades our minds;
We say we were meant to be there.
I don't know about any of that.

I mean, actually
(Thought I thought I'd be polite)
That I think all of that--
Comfort, belonging, destiny--
Is total crap.  I think we kid ourselves

With all this soft talk about a master plan
And a guy in the sky who can justify our every wrong move
With a bitterly wrought moral to our story
About how we somehow earn those kicks in the pants

Out of the plain and simple and magical truth
That a niche is only any good for anything
If we get the hell out of it

And fly

Like the first bird that ever had the idea
Of lifting off on its own steam

And nobody's down there taking notes
Giving some ghost the credit.

We make it happen.

We rise from small places

And, damn it,

We fly.

One Single Impression

Today's Flowers: Rose of Sharon

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From July 21, 2012


Cut them down If you want them To come back full Next year. 
This is my father's adviceAnd his practiceEvery yearExcept last yearWhen NatureTore summer downWith her two big handsHer sharp teethHer cloven hoovesAnd her icy breath that burned like fire.
Y'ever seen so many flowers on those trees?Dad asked me today.As snow--heavy, wet, deep--caved in the memory of A long and early winter that broke my heart, I said,No.
Today's Flowers

Skywatch Friday: First Out

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From July 8, 2012Every morningI think the lightless skyWill yield a storm.
Every morningThe same error.
Every morningThe same sun rises.
I will learn.
Skywatch Friday

Go Ahead: Feel Good

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Wordless Wednesday: Tickled

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Our World Tuesday: Wild Neighbors

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From July 9, 2012 Mother and child were grazing in the meadow out front the other morning. They saw us the way nobody buzzing along in their automobiles ever does. They seemed to pause for the photo before they moseyed along. It was great. From July 10, 2012 This little lady was waiting for her flamboyant sweetheart in his red suit of feathers to pop out of the bushes, but he was playing hard to get, so she moved along. From July 10, 2012 Back at the beach, we discovered a second turtle nest that had previously been discovered by the folks who make sure these things stay as safe as they can be.  From July 9, 2012 I love morning and all the promise they hold. Golden and delightful. Our World Tuesday

One Single Impression: Friend

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From July 9, 2012What tie bindsLike shared hunger?
Sea birds come to the child,Who tosses crumbs into the airAt the pier
Where every other dayThey fish,LaughAnd scatter shadows
As they fly away.One Single Impression

Today's Flowers: Good Morning

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From July 3, 2012Morning glories grow wild around my parents' home on North Topsail. They are in various stages of awake when I see them in the morning, and the blossoms are beautiful. At Airlie Gardens, this glass version was glowing with its face in the sun outside the bottle chapel. I think it's a beautiful rendering. From July 6, 2012Today's Flowers

Skywatch Friday: Latticework, Early Morning

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From July 8, 2012
Every now and again I get myself out of bed in time for the magic I tell myself I should get out of bed for all the time.  Thank goodness the moment lasts when I do finally make it.  On this particular moment, somebody from the Villa was using a lacrosse stick to throw a ball for his Lab, and that dog flew like the wind to fetch that thing.  That was to my right, and it was a gorgeous sight.  
To my left were the three or four turtle patrol volunteers with their multiple plastic bags of litter they had collected while I was still tying on my sneakers back at the house.  They are out every day doing the same thing for the same reason:  because they respect the beach that is the nesting ground to many a sea turtle.  I join them in their labor of love, though I am not a member of the club.  
In the evening I fill holes and break down castles that might become obstacles to nesting turtles.  And I make myself unpopular with the mommies and professional photographers who s…

Wordless Wednesday: Butterfly Effect

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Our World Tuesday: Airlie Gardens

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From July 6, 2012 Last week I took my daughter and my nephews to Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, North Carolina, because the only day to have an adventure is the hottest day of the year. The almanac said so, and away we went. They are standing under an oak tree that dates from 1545 and puts paid any ideas of self importance. I love this tree. From July 6, 2012 We visited the bottle chapel by artist Minnie Evans. I love that thing. A family that had been on our heels the whole time we were at the park all but took a bath in the fountain, and that gave us a chance to take in the beauty of this extraordinary place. From July 6, 2012From July 6, 2012From July 6, 2012 After we visited the gardens in all their splendor, we headed into historic Wilmington and paid our respects at the USS North Carolina. Freedom is as complex as it is costly. This ship makes that point. From July 6, 2012Our World Tuesday

One Single Impression: Balloon

I'll tell you this:
I dislike balloons
For the stink of latex,
And the sniveling shrink of
What is basically nothing
When a little too much air
Snaps the illusion
That dreams can be contained.
I dislike balloons
Lying shrunken in the sand
Threatening wildlife with extinction
By looking so much like food.

Is this a poem about hatred?

No, indeed.

It is a poem about foolish metaphors.

Let every breath you take rise to the clouds,
Dissipate,
And move on.

Holding a balloon,
You do not own life
But remember it.


That is not enough;
In fact, it is nothing.

Today's Flowers: Spanish Moss

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From July 6, 2012
 I love this stuff for the way it catches the light.  I remember traveling South as a kid and seeing this junk for the first time. Dad said it was Spanish moss. Spanish moss meant we were definitely not in Connecticut anymore. We were definitely on an adventure. A far-away one.  A flat tire meant dealing with strangers, and warm weather was not merely a symptom of summertime. 
From July 6, 2012
I have often wondered if the stuff is a danger to the host tree. Finally, I did some homework and found out it is not. It has an impressive, independent life: It is an epiphytic plant, which grows on another plant, but does not rely on the host plant for nutrients; epiphytes make their own food. They are sometimes referred to as air plants because most have aerial roots; however, Spanish-moss does not have any roots. It uses its long, thin, scaly stems to wrap around the host tree and hang down from the branches. The leaves are covered with cup-like, permeable scales…

Skywatch Friday: Every Day, a Star is Born

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From June 28, 2012I love it when I manage to get up in time for sunrise over the pier. This was a morning when there weren't too many folks up yet. Most days, though, the beach is hopping with every shape and form of human being working out, staking a claim to some sandy real estate, or fishing. Topsail is in no way commercial, and the people who are at the beach are there for the beach. (If you need a water slide to make your day, you don't need the beach.) It's a peaceful place. 
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Independence Day

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Our World Tuesday: Dog Days at the Beach

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Our cousin came down with her three Dobermans this weekend. We learned that dogs don't profile according to size. Buddy (middle) flirted his heart out with Honor, even if she was out of his league. Clyde (left) stood on the first landing of the stairs to let his larger relatives know he was there and--well, we don't know what else. The big pups were not impressed.  The big dogs showed the littler one how you play in the water.  The beach was our own for as long as we were there.  (Go figure!)




From July 1, 2012

The Dobies love Jayne, and they had her back at all times. They are devoted rather than needy. (Take note, Clyde.) From June 30, 2012From June 30, 2012From June 30, 2012The dogs loved the water.  Every now and again, they'd run along to a cyclist or runner as if to say, "Hey, the water's great; come on in."  There were no takers, though.  A couple of aging hippies came along who just kind of watched and appreciated the spectacle of these elegant and …

One Single Impression: Kite

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From June 29, 2012From June 29, 2012I step out for the third time today,
And there on her nest yet again
Is the osprey who leaves that nest
Every time I walk by.

She is not new to this world.

She stakes her life
And her future
On watching me from every angle.

I'm sure she could kill me and would
For the young in her nest
If I made a move she didn't like,
Even if I were a perfect innocent.

I love her for it:
Nothing could make her forget
Why she might kill me--
Not even my walking by
Every day,

A perfect innocent.

One Single Impression