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Showing posts from January, 2014

Skywatch Friday: It's Complicated

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I love it when it seems the sun seems to be melting through a rent in the canopy of blue and white, as if it preferred the sound and feel of the surf to the cold, vast openness of space.  There's no end to wbat's wonderful about the sky, the beach, the possibilities.

Skywatch Friday

Bragging on my Nephew

My nephew sang and played the kazoo and xylophone in his school concert this evening.  I am continuously amazed by music teachers' ability to take a bunch of kids with a range of musical talents and interests and turn them into a cohesive group that creates beautiful sounds.  My nephew had said he had a "coveted position" in the concert; we didn't know until we arrived that he was a xylophonist (Is that the word?).  He's a cool kid in a cool world.  The future's looking bright.

Wordless Wednesday: Yin and Yang

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Our World Tuesday: Roses in the Snow

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There was a lot of hanging out in the house this weekend as Adella gets ready for her States audition and we look after our friends' Schnauzer.  Max, who is in the foreground, is an ungainly teenager alongside the suave and sophisticated Herr Clyde E. Doodle.  Still, in the sharp, angular sunlight of a January morning, he looks pretty smooth himself.

The light was so strong that I decided to play with my fading roses that still sit on the dining table because I don't feel like parting with them.  This image makes me think of summer.  Briefly.  The sun didn't last too long.  Della and I decided to take her faded roses outside to photograph them in the snow.  Her digital photography class has started at school, and we felt like playing.
Earlier in the day, we decided to play with her Sun-Art paper to make a card for a special event that is coming up. This stuff is fun.  We assembled bits and pieces from our bouquets and came up with this.
After five minutes, you wash the pa…

Today's Flowers: Roses and Friendship

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Last Sunday, I went to see an old friend who used to be my editor when I was a small-town newspaper reporter.  She was a tough task-master and an excellent editor, who helped me become an effective writer, She also attended the same university and completed the same MA as I did--though she earned her sheepskin 15 years before I earned mine.  Many of her professors weren't dead by the time I arrived at University College, Dublin, in the mid-1990s, so we could reminisce about or just plain recall some of the same people bumping around the academy back in our days.  When we met up, she had roses for me, and I had roses for her--from the same shop.  She gave me my favorite rose colors--yellow and orange.  I captured this yellow one while I was working at my computer after school one afternoon this week.  
My friend and I went to see Philomena, a movie starring Dame Judy Dench that tells the story of an Irish woman searching for the son she bore at Roscrea Abbey when she was a teen-ag…

Skywatch Friday: They Are We

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I am having one of those, "Hmmm....Did I use this one already?" moments as I post this photo for Skywatch Friday.  I probably did.  In fact, I know I did.  Because whether I am looking east or west, it is the same image.  It is the marvelous light that we wait for, that draws us out, that keeps us sane.  Though I love a good storm, I begrudge the absence of the sun, and I fly out the door at the first indication that it has returned.  It's not that I mind the dark or the gloom of a good storm; it is to say that this is what love does.
A remarkable thing happens on the beach after a storm.  People come out because the storm is over.  The after-the-storm people are not your garden-variety beach sluts who slather on the grease and sprawl on blankets, the ear buds in and the designer take-out perched in the sand, their eyes closed as they dream of all the people on the other side of their eyelids taking in how they look in their bathing suits.  These are the people who stoo…

Wordless Wednesday: Like a Rock

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Our World Tuesday: Playing for a Very Specific Audience

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The weekend was a blur!  The Connecticut Music Educator Association's Northern Region concert was Saturday evening, and Adella spent of all of Saturday at New Britain High School practicing with a 130 or so other kids--only one of who was from her school.  


She had been practicing Chester, Poem, and Galop for about two weeks--like every other kid in the band--but you would have thought they had been working at it as professionals for years to hear them.  The band was blessed with a modest, self-effacing high school music teacher as conductor.  (The other bands had exotic men from far and wide who bragged about their accomplishments in the program.  Adella's conductor ended his resume with the ages of his daughters.  I liked this buy before the show started.)

Talking about the experience in the car on the way to Starpolska to celebrate, Adella talked about how Mr. Mark Gahm taught them to connect the music to feeling, note by note.  Teaching the kids to play Poem, he asked the…

Skywatch Friday: Midterms, Mornings...

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The long-and-fast of January has my head spinning right now.  The snow, the ice, the dark, the days off, the midterm exams, and then that sharp corner that turns us towards Presidents' Day. I have not looked up from student work all week, and it's been a great week.  (I would love for all the people who know what's wrong with America to come to work with me for a few days.  There is plenty of solid reason for hope from where I sit.)  
Our freshman English midterm asks students to identify a common theme between a work of art and a poem.  The poems span the ages and covers a range of artists from Shakespeare to Blake to Dylan Thomas to Tupac.  Our kids can do it.  They see adventure, hope, danger, love, disappointment, and hope again in these works of literary and visual art, and they can say what, how, and why.
I haven't looked up from student work, and it's been a good week.
Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday: Unreal Light

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Adella and I took a walk after a storm one day two weeks ago when we were on vacation in North Carolina.  There were a few other families out to enjoy the sunshine.  This crew seems to be towing the sun down the beach on their backs.  A worthy enterprise in my book!

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Woof

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Our World Tuesday: Sticking Close to Home with the Crafts

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Record lows and snow days and extended vacations opened the door to some good ol' crafts for me and Adella.  We silk-screened for the first times in our lives and had some fun with that.  We did a dream catcher that we are still working on, and we did a very basic turtle stencil.  I was in charge of that project.)  We stenciled a tote bag for a friend's birthday, and we put a few on paper.  But I liked the screen the best.
The Speedball silk screen kit came from Santa, just like the photo-sensitive paper (and the sock monkey pajamas, by that has nothing to do with craft time.)
This photo paper was super awesome. We had gathered up a whole bunch of feathers on the beach, so we experimented with those.  The white feathers let light through, so they gave us some interesting texture and depth.
 This feather had all kinds of wavy working for it, but vacation was over before we could try out all the possibilities.  The feather came home with us, so we'll have to try again.
We&#…

Today's Flowers: Bittersweet

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The day was dishwater gray, but that didn't keep me and Maeve from heading to the park for a walk.  Maeve met Airedale and a Jack Russell terriers and a poodle shmoodle wearing a raincoat, and she did a good job of staying calm.  Sometimes she gets a little scrappy around other dogs in a yappy way that says, "Short is a state of YOUR mind!"  Not today.  It seemed she was just so happy to be outside after so many bitter cold days that she wasn't going to argue with anybody or anything.
We came across this bittersweet  bursting with fall color.  Looking up, we didn't feel the cold quite so much.


Today's Flowers

Today's Flowers: Nothing Like the Light

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I love the beach. I love the light.  I love the restless life that shifts with the wind but never goes too far away.  I love the way people try to moderate drastic change by planting grasses that might hold the dunes in place.  But the dunes make their way, and people bring in more sand, and it is sand that the turtles can navigate when they climb from their nests.  It is an intricate, subtle, amazing conversation between people and Earth.  When I get tired and frustrated by the world around me, I remember there are people who care that the sand be right for the turtles and who are willing to pay for it and to put it in place.  That's a miracle and a marvel--and recognition that we are part of a big, beautiful picture.  There's a lot to be happy about.  Start with the sand.
Today's Flowers

New Year's Resolution

Not so many years ago, I used to think of the New Year as a grand event, a time to look back and look forward and make plans for I didn’t know what.  Bigger, faster, stronger.  More.  Different.  Whatever.  New Year’s Day put a noble face on restlessness and disappointment by calling it resolution.             Such nonsense.             I have a friend who has said over and over again that the world is perfect just the way it is.  What about that?             What if the world really is perfect?  What if we are all beautiful, all the right weight, all of sound heart, all of sound mind?             What if all we do and all we give are the right things and enough?             What if we are all beautiful?  What if there is no need to stand before the mirror and wonder how to get rid of this roll or that wrinkle?  What if our bodies are records of the lives we have lived—and we love and respect the story?             Maybe it would be easy—easier—for the world to love us…

Skywatch Friday: What a Difference Distance Makes

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Back in Connecticut, which is enduring an Arctic blast of cold and snow, the bright and mild day that closed with this sunset in North Carolina just a few days ago feels like a world away in time and space.  Warmer days will come!  Happy New Year!

Skywatch Friday