Napatree

In my mind I am often on Napatree. You're welcome to come along.

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February 28, 2014

Our clothes can do the talking. Everybody knows someone that has a 'look.' A signature look that with only the mention of a couple of colors, or a description of shoes or jewelry, identifies this person. Some women, men too, have a sort of brand identity that sums up who they are and what they do. And the look usually says what they do, they do well.

I had a Connecticut acquaintance who wore only solid neutral colors. Primarily black and shades of tan. She might accessorize with a print scarf or clunky jewelry, but it was always black and tan. I envied her getting up in the morning and not having to think about whether she felt like a red sweater or if the flowered shirt, purchased on vacation, was appropriate. Her clothing choices were already made.

Most peoples' closets, I think, speak to moods, experiments, mistakes. Maybe, to not knowing oneself. But thinking about signature looks I ask myself this. Does it mean the wearer has found a strong fashion voice, or do they just have nothing more to say?

6:50 am cst | link 

February 27, 2014

Since studying type design, I’ve been into labels. Particularly clothing labels. My interest in clothing labels is not about what meaning we might attach to them, what sense of importance we might give to owning or wearing a Bloomingdale’s label or a Ralph Lauren label, but rather the message conveyed through their type style and their often playful name or bit of artistic whimsy.

The most graphically interesting labels are found at clothing stores where not just one but many brands are sold. Labels like 'K*I*K*I*T,' 'Betty Blue,' 'Organically Grown,' 'Hot Cotton' or the 'Stratosphere' label I am holding in my hand - a two inch by one inch label with the name Stratosphere embroidered on it plus the words 'Made on Earth - High Altitude - Clothing - High Attitude,' the numbers 7-37 MI and a small globe which is the “O” in Stratosphere. All of this visual information machine embroidered into a tiny fabric space.

Most labels are small, shaped either horizontally or vertically, and most are machine embroidered, some with more than one color. Last weekend I was cleaning out my closet, putting things together for a used clothing pick-up when I came upon an old red silk top with the label name 'Zashi.' The tiny label, 2 inches by ¾ inches, is machine embroidered with a frame of flowers. Embroidered with six colors! I am going to give away the red top but not before I carefully cut out that label.

5:45 am cst | link 

February 26, 2014

Reading. The skill we pick up in first grade when we learn that combinations and arrangements of letters, from our 26 letter alphabet, can form words representing objects, thoughts and actions.

But reading is more complex than just recognizing and comprehending written words. There are so many kinds of reading. My father was skilled at reading the world outside. He knew when the leaves were calling the rain and how many hours until the snow would fall. A good doctor reads the look in a patient’s eyes, the color of a patient's skin. My friend, a pilot, is skilled at reading instrument panels and gauges, the sounds made by an engine. Mandatory reading when he pilots a plane, filled with hundreds of passengers, across an ocean. I know a teacher who is a wonderful reader of her class of students. Instinctively she knows when things are about to break, who is bothered by what, the best time to present a new idea.

Reading. Everyone is a good reader of something. Though I forgot to set the timer, I know the cake is done.

6:52 am cst | link 

February 25, 2014

Art has the power to move us. A painting, a theatrical production, a musical passage, the words of a poem are capable of spinning us around with happiness, knocking us off our feet, washing us with undefined sorrow.

I was visiting the Chicago Art Institute to see the work of a contemporary printmaker. To get to the prints I had to pass a gallery filled with Impressionist work. It was not my intention to stick my head in that gallery, to look at Impressionist classics, familiar paintings reproduced on place mats, coffee mugs, note cards, but I did. And I found myself standing for long moments in front of a Monet, my throat tight with sadness as I worked at trying not to cry. When I turned around to leave, slightly embarrassed, I became aware of a man, also studying the painting, standing behind me. A well-dressed, youngish man who was removing his glasses so he could wipe away his tears.

A friend has lent me a book entitled Modern Spirit - The Art of George Morrison. Looking at the book plates, I am energized by this work.

6:08 am cst | link 

February 24, 2014

Yesterday my friend’s dog, Corky, spent the morning with a dog groomer. When Corky returned home she looked clean, her nails had been trimmed and she no longer smelled like a dog. Around her neck, tied there as proof of being prettied up, was a colorful bandana. Corky, when I saw her yesterday, acted especially happy. Whether her happiness could be traced to her feeling she looked good, or to her pleasure at being away from the blow dryer, we will never know. I would think, however, that she was pleased to be free from the grooming ordeal.

The animals we live with, animals that sit on our laps, sleep on our beds and lounge on our sofas, are a pleasure and comfort to us. It is our responsibility to keep the creatures we own and love healthy and clean. If some dog owners get a little carried away with canine jewelry, doggy Christmas sweaters and rhinestone studded collars, maybe that’s okay. We dote on those we love.

As for Scarlet, she often likes to roll in the snow. On her back, her legs in the air, she rolls side to side. It almost appears she is grinning when she does this. But snow bathing is not quite enough. It is time, again, for me to give her a bath.

5:57 am cst | link 

February 23, 2014

It was Pacome who found the container of dates hanging in a bag on the front door. Dates. Fresh dates. Medjool dates. Shiny, wrinkled bites of tropical sweetness, magically dropped into a dense white landscape. An enclosed note traced the dates to our neighbors, regular visitors to California. “Thank you,” the note said, “for keeping watch over our house while we were gone.

"The easiest of tasks watching our neighbor’s house, a handsome house visible from my studio. A house which is the background, from my west facing vantage, for a spring garden of peonies, a summer garden of hostas. The background for cirque du soleil squirrels, birds at a stately birdbath and the occasional raccoon visitors to a party patio. The house watching is only pleasure.

Oh, the yin and yang of Moroccan dates grown in California being enjoyed in Minnesota where winter whiteness has become wearisome in its brightness. Palm trees, pastel clothes, walking barefoot. Perfect. I can almost taste the warm.

8:03 am cst | link 

February 22, 2014

We waited and the storm, unlike Godot, put in an appearance. Today is heavy and white and wet. The landscape, beautiful.

When I was rummaging through the kitchen catch-all drawer in search of a rubber band, I came upon a package of nasturtium seeds. A packet of seeds that didn’t make it into last year’s garden. My dad always planted nasturtiums in his garden which explains, in part, my fondness for them. Plantings of bright orange, bright yellow and cream-colored flowers which I was allowed to pick, bordered my early childhood.

I opened the package of forgotten seeds and counted them. Thirty-two fat little nuggets. Their price, $1.99, making each seed cost a little over six cents. The name nasturtium comes from the Latin words nasus tortus which mean 'twisted nose.' The consequence, supposedly, of breathing in through one’s nose the peppery scent of both nasturtium flowers and leaves.

Nasturtiums are related to cabbages, Brassicaceae, which might, but probably doesn’t, explain why I found them in a kitchen drawer. It matters not that these seeds are outdated. On this white and heavy day, I’m thinking about where I will plant them.

7:37 am cst | link 

February 22, 2014

It’s a waiting game. We are waiting for a storm which has been promised. Maybe, like Godot, the storm will not appear. Or only put in a cameo appearance. A walk-on, leaving behind only a dusting of snow.

We are told to live in the moment. A difficult, for most of us, thing to do. So we spend much of our time waiting. To get our driver’s license or get into college. For the right man or the perfect woman. For a raise or a promotion or the big break. For a vacation, an apology, the Twins to win the pennant. Today, for a late-in-the season blizzard.

With schools closed and plans cancelled, I will admire six red tulips stealing attention from the daffodils blooming around them in the window pots. I will knit and acknowledge my cousin’s birthday and peruse a cookbook. I will make the bed and maybe make a snowman. I will try to live in the moment but like everyone here I will be waiting for snow. And for spring.

7:39 am cst | link 

February 20, 2014

An artist acquaintance just returned from Finland where she visited small factories and private studios observing world renowned Finish glass being made. This spectacular trip, she said, had been on her bucket list.

Bucket lists. Lately, everyone has one. The term became popular, really popular, when it was used in a 2007 movie about two dying men who escape a hospital cancer ward and do what they want to do before they kick the bucket. The ‘bucket’ part of the phrase probably originated in the Middle Ages when people were hung, or committed suicide, and the bucket was kicked from beneath them. An explanation of the term ‘kicking the bucket’ I like has to do with a goat kicking over a full pail after she has been milked. This act of kicking the bucket, I read, refers to tossing aside a good reputation.

I can’t be sure if I have a bucket list or not. I might have just a paper-bag list or a scrap-of-paper-folded-into-my-jeans list. And in truth, my bucket list changes daily as I tend to write in pencil. At the moment my list includes purchasing a mango, learning some new French verbs and more contemplation about acquiring a small tattoo. Finland hasn’t yet made it to my list.

8:55 am cst | link 

February 19, 2014

Yesterday I received news that a friend's business has had to call it quits. Moved by an entrepreneurial desire to create a business benefitting people and the environment, this friend sold and installed solar panels. He spent considerable time studying solar power, especially for its use in the housing market, before beginning operations seven years ago. He had his ducks in order.

It's about priorities, I guess, granite countertops, hardwood floors, multiple bathrooms, expansive living spaces...or life outside our windows.

An albino squirrel, a neighborhood regular, has made a visit to the birdfeeder where I can closely observe him through the window. He looks and acts like every other squirrel and is magnificent, really, in his white-as-snow squirrel coat. His ears are small and perfect, his eyes pink. Nature’s aberration is beautifully camouflaged by nature’s snow.

6:23 am cst | link 

February 18, 2014

Outside the window snow falls silently. There are no cars on the road or dogs barking. The snowplows have not yet put in an appearance; the refrigerator motor is not running. It is so quiet I imagine I hear the earth breathing. No poetic words stream from the tip of my pen to my paper so I write down only what I have learned in the last fifteen minutes.

- Daisy Buchanan probably would have worn Prada.

- Edward VIII was responsible for the popularity of the Fair Isle sweater.

- “If only the young knew, and the elderly could still do.” An old French expression.

- The Japanese economy grew by only 1% between October and December of last year.

- It is mandatory that we revalue our water supply and start raising prices on a commodity which is not limitless.

- Last week’s snow and ice blitz cost the United States close to 15 billion dollars.

My friend gave me a clipboard with these words printed at the top of each sheet of the attached paper pad. KEEP CALM AND WRITE ON.

5:52 am cst | link 

February 17, 2014

It is said clothes make the man. Or the speed skater.

Who hasn't put an article of clothing on and decided it wasn't working. Too tight, too loose, too old, too new. Too dressy, not dressy enough. Why did I ever choose that color, and does this dress make me look fat? Olympic speed skaters, it appears, can lack confidence, too, about what they are wearing.

After not racing well, expectations were high, American speed skaters thought maybe it was their uniforms, or skins, as I learned they were called, that were holding them back. Maybe it was the new Mack 39 suits that were causing them trouble, stifling their performance. So together the seventeen speed skaters, along with their coaches and support staff, decided they would skate the upcoming races wearing their old suits. The familiar skins they had worn during their recent World Cup season. With permission of The International Skating Union, that is what they did.

Though both sets of uniforms were appropriately 'dressy' for the occasion, tight enough, the right colors, and they did not make the skaters look fat, they were either too new or too old. They didn't enhance performance.

Though we might want to, we can't rely heavily on what we're wearing.

1:33 pm cst | link 

February 16, 2014

My friend’s family often has an ongoing puzzle spread out on a table. Currently in progress, a many-piece puzzle picturing ice cream sundaes, one of those impossible-to-do ones. On occasion I, like most visitors, try for a piece.

Our winter here has been a puzzle. So cold and for so long. In yesterday’s Star Tribune alone there were several articles about weather here and elsewhere: “Record floods Besiege Britain,” “A Foot of Snow Falls on Pennsylvania Turnpike,” “Around the Country Weather is Getting Stuck,” “Worst Winter on Record for Flight Cancellations,” “Uncharacteristically Hot in Phoenix,” “Drought Sparks Big Fire Risk in California.” Our communication network lets us know, almost instantly, what is happening weather-wise in our country and around the world. Our eyes, for the most part, slip over these puzzle piece headlines we don’t want to see.

I trust those who are telling us what is happening to our climate. Observations and predictions which are not good. The pieces scientists keep coming up with, now that they have the edge pieces filled in, are complex. I think about this as we struggle with the 1,000 piece ice cream sundae puzzle. A breeze compared to the many piece challenge, calling for our attention, outside a frosty window.

7:36 am cst | link 

February 15, 2014

Je ne parle pas francais. Just a few words left over from Mademoiselle Chatterson’s high school French class, or words encountered in a cook book or crossword puzzle. But last night I saw the beautiful cine, with English subtitles, Monsieur Lazhar. A film set is a sixth grade, French speaking classroom in Montreal.

The film’s story, adapted from a stage play, moves slowly so you can interpret every nuance. It is quiet, ordinary background noise and an occasional piano, so you can hear every word being said. If you are unfamiliar with day to day classroom activities, it takes you into the heart of a school by children who are not acting but being children.

A beloved teacher hangs herself in her classroom during recess which traumatizes her class of kids. An Algerian immigrant, who pretends to be a teacher, a man whose family has been killed by extremists, manages, with honesty, to help the kids. And in doing so, he helps himself.

Monsieur Lazhar is a real life fable which draws you deeply in.

I went to the movie avec Pacome.

9:29 am cst | link 

February 14, 2014

It is the day of chocolates and red roses. The day of love.

Valentine's Day, celebrated around the world, began as a liturgical celebration for the Christian saint named Valentinus. I looked this up. The celebration became associated with love in the Middle Ages when courtly love flourished.

Once I was working in a florist shop on Valentine’s Day. The day before the holiday a man had called in an order of red roses to be delivered, the following day, to a woman, a second grade teacher, at a nearby elementary school. As he had instructed, a loving note was attached. On Valentine’s Day morning another man called in an order, more red roses, to be delivered to the same teacher. Another loving note attached. At noon, when the third order came for this teacher, a different man ordering not roses but tulips, the florist shop’s delivery man lamented that he had to leave the orders at the school’s office. One could wonder about many things that Valentine’s Day including the possibility of not-such-good feelings circulating in the teacher’s lounge.

As I said, Scarlet loves Pacome.

6:18 am cst | link 

February 13, 2014

It snowed in the night. A squirrel, who has long, furless scars on his left shoulder probably caused by past contact with a car, has found the out-of-the-way bird feeder. Scarlet loves Pacome.

Last night I watched some Olympic events. Snowboarding and women’s luge. Earlier I had heard someone mention that they didn’t care for the newer contests, preferring, I guess, just skiing, skating and sledding, but I enjoy them. I found the uniforms of the snowboarders, those brown patchwork jackets, patchwork which included pieces of an American flag, western looking. Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett-ish. As far as what gravity defying feats they could accomplish wearing patchwork, I held my breath.

The women’s luge was amazing, too. But best of all I loved the words of the commentator as the women clanged past the cameras on noisy sleds going 80 miles an hour. “She looks relaxed, in control.” “Her face tells us she is determined, that she knows what she has to do to improve her time.” Be real, I couldn’t help thinking, she just wants to live through the next curve.

Luge, ski jumping, hockey? We have come a long way baby and we keep picking up speed.

9:00 am cst | link 

February 12, 2014

The most ordinary of mornings can yield the most ordinary knowledge: Pacome does not like eggs, the word hircosity means the quality of being like a goat, and girasol, it was also in the crossword puzzle, is another name for a Jerusalem artichoke. And if you want to speak “Downton Abby,” there are a couple of things you need to know.

‘Britify-ing’ your speech, according to an online video found on startribune.com/lifestyle, can be done. If you desire to sound posher, or plumier, according to the Brit who was giving instructions, you must first of all do this. You must drop the American ‘r.' The ‘r’ he referred to as a dark ‘r.’ So it's Havahd not Harvard, and pahk not park. And I am thinking the missing 'r’, though the instructor didn’t say this, must come in the middle of a word because rabbit and run, or for that matter Rhoda and Ronald, to my mind just don’t work without the dark ‘r.’ The instructor also points out that our flat ‘a’, like in glass, must have more of an ‘ah’ sound. Say it. Glaahss.

As for the Downton downstairs accents, they are, according to the British instructor, Yorkshire. Except for Mrs. Hughes who is Scottish. A completely different video.

6:38 am cst | link 

February 11, 2014

Clothes and textiles, fabric, have always interested me. Both my paternal aunts were wonderful seamstresses so my love of fiber probably has genetic connections. For me, fabric has history and always conveys a story. Which is why I love old fabrics, old pieces of clothing. And why I have a trove of old clothing pieces and scraps which were once someone’s long ago sewing project. My friends are generous.

Recently I came upon a new to me word called upcycling. Upcycling, as it refers to the making of clothes, is the antithesis of fast fashion. It honors fabric as a precious commodity and respects the tradition of reuse through the make-do-and-mend philosophy of our pre fast-fashion era. Upcycling, which is more than recycling, reimagines second hand fabric and clothes, breathing new energy, beauty and value into a completed project.

About a year ago I came home to find a box at my front door. It contained a brocade and beaded wedding dress. It also contained a note saying this. “I heard that you like old fabrics. My daughter doesn’t want this dress and it doesn’t contain happy memories for me as I am divorced. I hope you can use it."

Upcycling?

5:50 am cst | link 

February 10, 2014

Nine of the potted crocuses are now in full flower. All are the crocus yellow color my mother referred to as chrome yellow. One fragrant hyacinth is coming into bloom and it is a yellow shade I would describe as creamy yellow. Eight field daffodils are showing their daffodil yellow color and at least a couple of them will open later today. It has been said that if a bride wants not to be out shown on her wedding day, she should pick her plainest friends to be her attendants and have them all wear yellow.

Yesterday both a woman’s and a man’s Land’s End catalogue arrived in the mail. The yellow colors listed for sweaters, t shirts, and tops, in the woman’s catalogue, were these: colonial yellow, bright sun, yellow cream, lemon shine, jonquil, canary, cognac, vibrant lemon and curry. In the men’s catalogue the only yellow descriptor, I think it was for a cotton sweater, was Atlas Yellow.

When the vista outside the window is shades of whites, browns and blacks, maybe a small ribbon of blue, yellow seems a perfect color for a sweater or blouse. Maybe even a bridesmaid’s dress.

Pacome is here.

5:29 am cst | link 

February 9, 2014

In the fall issue of Selvedge, the English magazine devoted to fabric and fiber design, there was an interesting-to-me article on Moroccan rug making. The article mentioned when the French occupation of Morocco ended in 1957, many men left for France. Their leaving resulted in diminished populations of sheep as it was the men who had taken the sheep to graze in the mountains. Fewer sheep meant far less wool. And as the economy depended on wool rug making, the women had to improvise.

The Moroccan women continued to make wool rugs, in traditional patterns, for sale but for their own use they made rugs out of a mélange of materials: torn-up clothes, netting, goat fur, shreds of plastic, unraveled cotton.  These artistic, abstract pieces have recently come to light and, according to the Selvedge article, have revealed a hidden side to a culture and exposed a moment in history where the women experimented with their art.

Artistic possibilities are endless. I like thinking about this. And I’m sure Joan Mondale, would have too.

9:14 am cst | link 

February 8, 2014

Yesterday's paper carried the news that Red Wing, Minnesota, is thinking of changing the name of Columbus Day to Native American, or First People, Day. A move initiated by the local Human Rights Commission.

What, no more Christopher Columbus Day? October 12th has always been Columbus Day. That is what we’re used to. What about those many Christopher Columbus elementary school projects, plays, songs? And what about all the Christopher Columbus tie-ins? Columbus, Ohio, the Columbia River, Columbia University, “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean?"

Maybe you, like me, had a grandmother whose hair was as black as a crow. Maybe your aunt, like mine, tanned a hide and made you a buckskin jacket. Maybe your father, like mine, kept a pouch of porcupine quills in his desk drawer. Maybe your ancestors, like mine, did not feel our country was discovered but that it was always here.

Minnetonka, Bemidji, Chaska, Nisswa, Winona, Mankato...

 

7:30 am cst | link 

February 7, 2014

On Napatree it is, at this moment, 28 degrees. The best times for offshore fishing today, according to a coastal post, are between 4:57 and 6:57 a.m, between 5:27 and 7:27 p.m. Most all fishing that takes place near the shore will be boney fishing as rocks on Napatree Point are always a hazard. The tide will be at its highest around 1:30 p.m.

It is an ordinary day. A winter day. According to the sign at the bank, the outdoor temperature is 12 degrees. The sun is shining; trees and bushes cast hard-edged shadows on the snow. There are five crocuses now blooming in the window sill pot and in the words of the optimist, the new bird feeder is half full. In the side yard I notice tracks of minor animals: squirrels, rabbits, various birds. I also notice the prints of my dog and someone’s cat. I am startled to see the distinctive tracks of a deer near my neighbor’s yard and the compost pile. This is no ordinary day.

Pacome is coming.

6:08 am cst | link 

February 6, 2014

One of the first things I noticed when I moved here from Connecticut was curbside recycling. Because of our local colleges, pre-owned sofas, desks, bookshelves, all with a ‘free’ sign attached, regularly appear and disappear on our local streets. It is not unusual, either, to see an occasional mattress or child’s car seat propped up on a boulevard in need of a new home. On a regular basis charity trucks from the Lupus or Epilepsy Foundations, the Salvation Army or a veterans group, also pick up used clothing, dishes and furniture. Yesterday, I had contact with yet another recycling opportunity, freecycle.

A friend, who is a member of the local freecycle group, emailed me that fabric was being offered on the freecyle site and all I had to do, if I was interested, was follow up the email he had forwarded. The forwarded email said this: “1-3 yards each of many fabrics. Also a large bag, 1 yd or less, of many cotton fabrics suitable for quilt making. I am winnowing down my fabric stash. You must take all. Please call to arrange pickup."

Fabric collections are personal. They are like grocery carts in a supermarket, all containing food but food different than the food in your cart. This morning I will have a wonderful time going through the two boxes and large bag of strange-to-my-cart fabrics. I can’t wait.

5:36 am cst | link 

February 5, 2014

A crocus, that intense shade of gold, is the first flower to bloom in my potted bulb garden! A welcome sight. The chickadee population is increasing, by the hour it seems, at the out-of-the-way feeder and today, avocados are on special at the supermarket.

Avocado used to be a color of kitchen appliances. Somewhere, a passe avocado-colored stove still exists and is cooking dinner, an avocado refrigerator hums along keeping leftovers cold. But avocados, the real kind, are always in. I have five of them lined up ripening on my window sill. This morning it was me, and several of my Latino neighbors, jockeying for position in front of the big sale display bin at the market as we all, delightedly, stocked up. Plenty for everyone.

Avocados, botanically a berry with a large seed, are either loved or disliked. Some people actually leave slices of avocado behind on a salad plate after they have eaten the other salad ingredients. Seventy-five percent of the avocados sold in the United States come not from Mexico but from California. California, which is suffering from a worrisome drought. Like everyone, I am concerned about the far reaching consequences of this water shortage and what it really means. I will also admit to being concerned for those thirsty avocado trees.

5:36 am cst | link 

February 4, 2014

My friend instructs a winter survival class at a nearby nature center. In the class she teaches how to properly dress for freezing temperatures and how to handle being stranded in the cold. She also stresses to students that winter driving demands you stock your car with blankets, drinking water, snacks, et.

Winter survival. We have to work at it and probably everyone has ways to cope. Some ski. Or snowshoe. Others get a gym membership. Maybe you take up some sort of home renovation project or a hobby you will abandon when the snow melts. If you can, you get on the plane and head for Florida or Arizona or California. Maybe some place even more exotic. A tropical Island. Me, I need wildlife and a garden to get through.

Earlier I hung a bird feeder where a feeder has never hung before. Then I waited. And waited. Chickadees, at last. And the three clay pots in the window, the broad pots of tulips, hyacinths, crocuses and daffodils I planted in the fall, well they’re up and budding and hopeful. Things are looking good.

6:52 am cst | link 

February 3, 2014

Last night I attended what was titled the “Rural Route Film Festival." It was not about Minnesota farms or church basement suppers, viewers did not observe rows of corn from the vantage of a tractor seat. We were nowhere near Lake Wobegon.

Instead, we were treated to an artistically animated piece which was the story of a Belgium rooster. We then visited a Native American demolition derby in Nevada and a reindeer herding event in Lapland. The filmmakers took us to Canada, Tennessee, Oregon and to Germany, where we became involved in a short story centered around the picking of mushrooms. We entered the nests of birds and the habitat of a brook trout. We traveled to Ireland where we tagged along with an elderly crew who harvested peat without benefit of machinery. We were entertained with a kaleidoscope of mind-bending, Google Earth circular images. When the single film, comprised of eleven short pieces, was finished, and the lights in the theater came on, no one moved. For almost two hours we had been in the hands of gifted film artists. It took us time to acclimate.

It has been said that the most important place on earth is where you are. The filmmakers left viewers, and me, with no doubt about that wisdom. Those words are true.

5:47 am cst | link 

February 2, 2014

Groundhog Day and Phil is seeing, or not seeing, his shadow depending on where he is and you are.

I have been lucky enough to see several groundhogs, or woodchucks, but never up close and personal. They are aggressive creatures. Once when we had overnight guests from the east, guests who came expecting us to be living in a sod house existing on jello and orange cheese, two groundhog holes appeared overnight, one large and a smaller one some distance away, in our front lawn. Those holes added to the prairie allure and gave credence to their misconceptions.

I enjoy Robert Frost’s poem, A Drumlin Woodchuck. It celebrates the groundhog’s innate wisdom of having that second escape hatch. I also enjoy Dellarobia’s words in Kingsolver’s book, Flight Behavior: “Groundhog Day is something people made up to get us through to the home stretch”.

6:56 am cst | link 

February 1, 2014

It is a year for the winter Olympics. I will probably catch some of the events covered on TV. Because I’m in awe of the athletes: the years they’ve spent practicing, their dedication and their natural athletic abilities, I will applaud all of their efforts. And for a moment, a brief moment, I will imagine myself as Olympic participant, too.

Figure skating would be my first choice. The costumes. All those sequins. But the double salchows and triple axels, not a chance. The skiing, especially the ski jumping…over-the-top dangerous. That goes for the luge, the bob sled and the skeleton, too. Maybe the cross country or the biathlon but what kind of shape must those skiers be in? Speed skating, too fast. And the uniforms, not-so-good. Snowboarding doesn’t hold my interest and as far as hockey, I am way too fond of my teeth. That leaves curling. Not so glamorous to be sure, but I can sweep.

9:59 am cst | link 


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