Showing posts from December, 2012

Our World Tuesday: Slip, Sliding Away

You know those color-coordinated, fitted and freshly scrubbed people on the Land's End winter catalog? We're not them. When winter comes, we put on whatever's handy--including boots left by visitors who didn't care enough about leaving to take their shoes with them--even if the owner is a girl and we're a boy or vice versa. We do what we have to to get out there. We have no fashion sense. From December 29, 2012 Only Clyde could say he owned everything he was wearing, but he preferred not to talk about it. From December 29, 2012 Our weekend across the street and in the snow came after the snow blocked the parking lots that led to the places we had planned to visit.  Mother Nature insisted on our attention and got it.  The kids found this hill that led to a parking lot except that they wiped out before it mattered.  Before the day was over, they were helping some little kids have some fun in the snow.  There's a science to a good ride that only big kids can…

One Single Impression: Watching

From December 29, 2012 Scissors and paper
In children's hands
Make snowflakes that melt stone.
Adella's cousins spent the day with us yesterday.  When I sat down to cut some paper snowflakes for the Chalk Hill School in Monroe that will be the home of Sandy Hook Elementary School for the rest of this school year, they joined in.  Their cuts went from basic to elaborate in no time.  
We had taken our ornaments off our tree so we could put the snowflakes there until we package them up for the Sandy Hook kids.  My hat's off to the PTSA for putting out a call for snowflakes and thereby giving people around the world an outlet to respond creatively and with heart to the unspeakable horror that visited Sandy Hook School on December 14.
It was amazing to watch the kids as they worked hard and strove to do better and better.  Children have beautiful hearts, and the love being able to create and to give.  
One Single Impression

Today's Flowers: Carnations, Farewells

From December 25, 2012 Here is a display of carnations in the shape of a wreath to honor the students and teachers of Sandy Hook School. May the teachers and students and rest in peace, and may we do the right thing.

Today's Flowers

Skywatch Friday: Latticework, Low Tide

From July 8, 2012 I miss it.
Skywatch Friday

Christmas Night in Newtown

After a beautiful Christmas at my parents' home in Newtown, we went home by way of the center of town. We saw the memorials to the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook School massacre of December 14. We didn't want to gawk or be a part of what's trending; we wanted to see what we feel so much a part of because--like the people from all over who have reached out to Sandy Hook--we are human beings.
Viewing the memorials and messages, I thought of the media and the flak they have received for totally goofing up the story in the first place and then for sticking around to get the story in the second. I remembered rolling up and down the radio dial on the way home from work December 14 and catching reporters taking in the latest tweet and reporting what had been reported on the other network in an effort to tell a story--to make some kind of marginal sense of a horror beyond belief. The people speaking were shattered men and women trying to get a grip on an enormity like no other …

Our World Tuesday: New York, New York....

We took Adella into Manhattan on Saturday to see the play War Horse at the Lincoln Center. It was amazing. We gave ourselves plenty of time to eat and to wander out. First stop: The Brooklyn Diner for an early lunch. From December 22, 2012 The food was great and the service was fabulous. Of course, we looked in the shop windows. We did not buy this, though we laughed at it for as long as we looked at it: From December 22, 2012 This sculpture near Radio City Music Hall left us laughing, too. It's called (get ready for it) "Hare and Bell." The girls thought they'd see what it's like to be a hare, even if they didn't have a big bell to call their own: From December 22, 2012 Micky was working the street corner. Why not? From December 22, 2012 I think he was warmer than the rest of us out there. It was a little bit nippy. Back at the tree, this older lady was snapping a few pictures with her handy-dandy flip phone. (Yes, Virginia, even old-school fl…

Today's Flowers: Christmas Green

From November 4, 2012 At Christmas I no more desire a rose Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth; But like of each thing that in season grows. (William Shakespeare, Love's Labour Lost)

Today's Flowers

This is a Gun-free Zone

Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Texas Governor Rick Perry have suggested in the wake of the December 14 Sandy Hook massacre of 26 women and children by the deranged son of a gun nut that teachers should carry guns.  Pistol-packin' administrators and teachers, they have said, could have prevented the slaughter of babies in Newtown last week.
Thus are the administrators and teachers of Sandy Hook School responsible for the deaths of 20 children and six adults because they did not pack heat.
Talk about cashing in on a crisis. 
It's sick.
It's also not possible.  Teachers are in the business of building relationships among students and between children and adults.  We are about building trust.  There is no "do this or die" in the lesson plan.
In fact, the lesson plan is all about ultimately teaching a student that he or she is totally responsible for him or herself.  The point is, we, the teachers, are helpless at controlling behavior.  Ultimately, only the student can …

Skywatch Friday: Good Night, Gentle Ones

From March 24, 2012 Connecticut has witnessed one burial after another this week because good and innocent children and women were murdered by a rich white brat.  Day after day, hundreds upon hundreds of people have stood together in the name of decency and kindness and breathed new life into that tired word, community.

Yesterday evening, my daughter and I attended Sandy Hook School Principal Dawn Hochsprung's visiting hours in our hometown of Woodbury, where she was our neighbor and, once, my daughter's principal.  There her husband and family stood, tall and gracious, inviting and grateful.  It was our privilege to stand among them.  May peace come to their hearts.  And to ours. 

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Flattened


Our World Tuesday: How Do We Bind up the Brokenhearted?

From December 16, 2012 Our world is a sad and sorrowful place this week following Adam Lanza's murder of 26 people--children and adults--at Sandy Hook School in Newtown.  May we honor their innocent lives by taking real steps toward meaningful gun control laws (which is to say, have some) and doing a better job of protecting ourselves from dangerous people.

The Wayfarer The beauty of the world hath made me sad,
This beauty that will pass;
Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy
To see a leaping squirrel in a tree,
Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk,
Or little rabbits in a field at evening,
Lit by a slanting sun,
Or some green hill where shadows drifted by
Some quiet hill where mountainy man hath sown
And soon would reap; near to the gate of Heaven;
Or children with bare feet upon the sands
Of some ebbed sea, or playing on the streets
Of little towns in Connacht,
Things young and happy.
And then my heart hath told me:
These will pass,
Will pass and change, will die and be no more…

Today's Flowers: Moss

From July 6, 2012 Moss feels right for today, a sad day in Connecticut; the children whose lives were taken yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary Scool were finally named. The naming made real and permanent the phantasmagoric hell that has been so hard to take in over the past day. The constantly evolving story that did not grow and develop but change entirely from one hour to the next completely offends every notion of humanity. I try to understand why any one person would feel entitled to take lives and destroy so many others who managed to survive his brutality.
Thanks to all those good, caring folks who are doing so much to be present to the grief of those families who lost loved ones to the diabolical egomania of one sick-as-hell young man.
Today's Flowers


"I am safe, responsible, respectful, and prepared."

This was "The Code" of educator Dawn Hochsprung when she was principal of Mitchell Elementary School in Woodbury, Connecticut.  
It was a great code, but it didn't much impress my daughter or her friends when Hochsprung took the wheel  five or six years ago.  That was because the start of her leadership coincided with some policy ending the tenure of class pets.  Anyone who would chase the guinea pigs and hamsters out of town would remain suspect among our crowd for a long time.  
Eventually, though, kids saw The Code as a good thing. Ms. Hochsprung did a lot to shape up my daughter's school, and it was clear she cared about and deeply respected kids.
Ms. Hochsprung made sure the outline of an open hand with The Code on it was in every classroom.  As a mnemonic device, kids had to say the code on their fingers:  I am (out goes the pinky) safe (here comes the ring finger), responsible (the middle finger saf…

Skywatch Friday: Clear, Not Clear

From Jun 28, 2011 This was one of those intense bronze mornings when the air was clear but it wasn't, and my camera was continuously fogging over.  The intense light, the strong waves, the shrimp boat doing its thing out there, and the marvelous aroma of pine trees and ocean combine to create a delightfully clean, endlessly possible feeling.  There is no place for me like this beach.
Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Isolated


Our World Tuesday: Believe...

Della and I made our way to the mall on Saturday. The Macy's "Believe" sign hanging from the ceiling struck kind of a deep note for a shopping trip. We liked it because we did.

From December 8, 2012
The West Farms Santa was on the lean side, but he worked his magic with many a child. From December 8, 2012
We came home to a Christmas tree with lights that was ready for decoration. Pure magic.  It was great. From December 8, 2012
On went the oldies but goodies, like this mouse that my grandmother put on one of my Christmas presents when I was a little girl.  The handmade ornaments took pride of place and reminded us of good times and good people. From December 8, 2012 It's a nice time of year, and no doubt about it.Our World Tuesday

One Single Impression: Tree

Here in New England We know the old growth around which entire towns are built and the second growth pushing quite intentionally through stone walls And the self-consciously placed foreign junk That is here because it looks good To somebody from somewhere else again. Here in New England Our money is on the pines The oaks The sycamores The hemlock The maples That can outlast the big winds And the nonsense And will require a town meeting Before they might be felled And not without a damned good reason (And death is the only one) Because pretty is nothing  Alongside Outliving the biggest wind.
One Single Impression

The Mall

Today my daughter and I went to the mall without anything in particular in mind.  We shopped for people who didn't need anything from us.  We spent money that could have served some other useful purpose on people we care about who ask nothing of us because we felt like it.

Today my daughter and I, who are not Christians and have no truck with any church or organization that purports to believe or serve a god, celebrated Christmas.

In a gesture of love, we spent money on the people we love and who love us.

Today was a celebration of love.  We spent a lot of money, but we didn't worry about it because the love we feel for the people who were on our mind was our focus.

We had no idea what they wanted.

We didn't even wonder.

We cared only for the fact that we love these people and wanted our love to take physical form because physical reality in our virtual world is essential to our understanding of what is.  We know we need to touch love.

Call it a candy cane, a candle, a bottle of…

Today's Flowers: Tentatively Reaching


Skywatch Friday: Best Dreams


Wordless Wednesday Small Pond

From December 1, 2012 Wordless Wednesday

Why I Love Vincent

Vincent is a junior at my daughter's high school and a very talented clarinetist.  He's smart, he's friendly, he's talented.  I met him once, and we spoke for five minutes, but I love the kid.
My daughter only likes him--and that's even though Vincent has changed her life.
It's like this.  Way back in September, Vincent the first clarinetist who helped the music teacher place young musicians in the band, made her fourth chair, first row.  That was big for my little freshmen.  She had to climb over a lot of upper classmen to get to that chair.
Next, Vincent suggested to Adella she'd have a good chance at making the northwest regional band if only she'd try out.  So she got the Rose etudes and worked her fingers to the bone and even took private lessons for a few weeks and tried out.  It was no small thing to play before two pale, unsmiling women who checked this and crossed out that and said next to nothing for 15 minutes.  She didn't make the band,…

Our World Tuesday: Back at the Sugarplum Ranch

Della and I stopped in to see the annual gingerbread village display at St. George's Episcopal Church in Middlebury, Connecticut, on Saturday.  This event is always good.  This year, Little Bo Peep made an appearance with her sheeps.
From December 1, 2012 Seems Comet and Dasher have their own chalet now.  Good for then after all these years of loyal service. From December 1, 2012 Ethan and Mattie were out for a sleigh ride, though I'd say this one will have a happy ending. From December 1, 2012
The big guy had his own runway.  Very cool. From December 1, 2012
We haven't done any decorating yet, so it's good to be able to visit decorations!
Our World Tuesday

Today's Flowers: Captured Sunshine

From November 18, 2012 Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
we must carry it with us or we find it not. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)Today's Flowers