Saturday, September 30, 2006

Life as glass

Life, a curvature of time, fragile--yet sturdy as glass. Times we glisten and shine; times we grow dull; times we shatter and must become liquid again; reblown, rebirth.

Flame fingers reach around our world and stretch out beyond; a thin strand of molten glass teased into shape and form by experience, love--or lack thereof.

How do we survive over time? Are we fluid enough, resilient enough to re-form? And how?

And what other questions fuel the furnace we call life?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A chair for contemplation...

Shadows getting longer; days getting shorter as we near October. Cool mornings, warm afternoons lately. Time for contemplation.

Newsweek is featuring Annie Leibovitz, whose new book of photography has just been published. Sounds like an introspective retrospective, with a mix of shots of the famous and personal photos from Leibovitz's own life. A sampling in the article includes Mick Jagger, Nelson Mandela, (the pregnant) Demi Moore, Bill Gates, and Leibovitz's children, her parents, and Susan Sontag. Leibovitz is the one who took the infamous photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

The power of photos. As a kid, I used to study Life Magazine; I learned a lot about the world through those images.

Now, through the power of the internet, more and more photographers are sharing their images. If you go to, you'll find an amazing variety of photos; from big city scenes, to placid countryside; from family/friend snapshots to haunting portraits.

In these colorful days of autumn, grab a camera, go on a walk, take whatever catches your spirit. What better way to contemplate the change of seasons...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Signs of the times

While waiting at a stoplight downtown, I glanced up and saw two people swinging on a platform held by a crane. They were painting, doing finishing touches around the new Hampton Inn sign (another “sign of the times” in Boise). Up high, in the blue, blue sky on a sunny autumn day. Too bad I didn’t have my camera with me.

“A bunch of needlessly delicate dog water dishes…”: A description by an editor of a local weekly rag about an exhibit of blown glass by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly that was shown at the local art museum. I read an AP report today that stated researchers have found strong evidence that too much testosterone kills brain cells, leaving some with brain damage and impaired judgment…

In other Idaho news: Another AP report told of an unlucky couple who bought a house and property near a small town in eastern Idaho only to find the property infested with snakes. According to a herpetologist from Idaho Fish & Game, the area appears to be a kind of winter “resting ground” for snakes. They come there and “ball up” together to conserve heat as the weather gets colder.

A crescent moon was rising in the southwest as we walked at dusk. At this hour, in the night sky, Ursa Major, “Great Bear” (aka the Big Dipper), is to the north, Capricornus, “the sea goat,” to the south. A little about Capricornus from Wikipedia:

The constellation is often depicted as a sea-goat, a goat with a fish's tail. One myth says that when the goat-god Pan was attacked by the monster Typhon, he dove into the Nile; the parts above the water remained a goat, but those under the water transformed into a fish.

In Sumeria, the constellation was associated with the god Ea or (Enki), who brought culture out of the sea to humankind.

Photo: "Seaforms" by Dale Chihuly from

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Colored bottles & mysteries

Colored bottles seem magical--especially in the light. If you rub the blue one, will a genie appear? Would something escape if you removed the lid? What would a sip from the green one taste like? Would the perfume from the red one be spicy, hot, sensual?

Bottles hold potions, medicines, oil, perfume, soda, liquor, elixirs, wine. A message in a bottle, "Love Potion #9", Eau de Paris.

And the sounds: The ring of crystal, the clunk of bottles jostling against each other. The flute-like tone when you blow across the lip. The crash and shatter of a dropped glass...

Have you ever looked at the world through a red filter? Through stained glass? As a child, I'd gaze through the stained glass windows at church, trying to make out objects on the street, but I never could. The glass was too thick. The objects became curious blurs, ghostly visions. Another spiritual mystery...

Monday, September 25, 2006


1. You throw away the outside and cook the inside. Then you eat the outside and throw away the inside. What did you eat?

2. This is as light as a feather, yet no person can hold it for long. What is it?

3. They have not flesh, nor feathers, nor scales, nor bone. Yet they have fingers and thumbs of their own. What are they?

4. No sooner spoken than broken. What is it?

5. I pass before the sun, yet make no shadow. What am I?

6. Mountains will crumble and temples will fall, and no man can survive its endless call. What is it?

A tribute to my friend Pat, who collected riddles, had a heart of gold, a wicked sense of humor--and whom I miss very much...

1. An ear of corn; 2. Your breath; 3. Gloves; 4. Silence; 5. The wind; 6. Time

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hope (as gleaned from the internet)

In the beginning, there was HOPE

Project HOPE has been able to achieve sustainable advances in health care around the world

HOPE - Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally –

HOPE stands for Hackers On Planet Earth

HOPE worldwide is an international charity that changes lives by delivering community-based services to the poor and needy

The Hope Channel is the official broadcast to spread the good news of the gospel

Hope is an emotional belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances within one's personal life. Hope implies a certain amount of perseverance—believing that a positive outcome is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary

Plant a flower and share a message of hope

Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean wearing the Hope Diamond

Focus: HOPE is a nationally recognized civil and human rights organization in Detroit, Michigan

A New Hope (USA)

Information about Hope, Arkansas

The community home page for Hope, Kansas

Bob Hope was among the 20,000 vaudeville performers working in the 1920s

Be a part of the Tour of Hope

Cathedral of Hope is the largest gay church in the world

Hope, in its widest acceptation, is described as the desire of something together with the expectation of obtaining it

Tomatoes, anyone?

This time of year is when you can finally get decent tomatoes here. Our desert climate is not as "tomato friendly" as other more humid parts of the country. So, it's a pleasure to eat one that is actually juicy, fragrant, and tastes good.

Tomatoes were once considered to be poisonous; they are a member of the nightshade family, which has several other "toxic" members. According to Wikipedia, the word "tomato" is from the Nahuatl language, and its scientific name, lycopersicum, means "wolf-peach." Curious to think of the tomato as a "wolf peach." To imagine wolves snacking on peaches--or tomatoes...

There is a legend that during the Revolutionary War, a man who was a British sympathizer tried to poison George Washington by feeding him a stew that contained tomatoes. (Of course, George Washington also supposedly slept in various locations around the country, as well as chopped down a cherry tree.) Another legend is that tomatoes were considered to be an aphrodisiac and that the Puritans refused to eat them on those grounds. (This must have been AFTER they discovered tomatoes weren't deadly...)

Now we could discuss whether the tomato is a fruit or veggie, or if it's pronounced "to-MA-to" or "to-MAH-to", but, hey, it's late--let's call the whole thing off...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Fall Equinox

The autumn equinox, the official first day of fall, the date when day and night are the same length. Leaves starting to turn. Flowers finishing their season. And we gradually become more night-bound.

Fall is a time for introspection and renewal. Today is the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, a time for prayer, introspection, and renewal. Ramadan, which starts in mid-October, is the holy month of fasting, prayer, and renewal for those of Muslim faith. In ancient times, the Celts performed rituals to mark the autumn equinox and celebrate harvest before moving into the darkness of winter. (It is thought that Stonehenge was built to align with the equinox and solstice points.)

Fall is liminal; fall is...


Be quiet, my soul, be quiet.
Let the waves take you one by one
and sail you to the crescent of the moon.

Yes, the world is roaring
and there is work to do…
but to-night, my soul, to-night is yours
to behold
the beauty of the sunset
as the year prepares to yield
and takes its place in history.

--Monique Pasternak

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Looking beyond our small blue planet

One of today's headlines was the discovery of another ring around Saturn. How do astronomers know this? Because of the Cassini-Huygens mission. The Cassini is a spacecraft that has been sending back extraordinary views of Saturn, its rings, and its moons.

There is a photo of Earth as seen from the viewpoint of Saturn--we are a small dot in the heavens...

[Check out these spectacular photos and the photo essay at the link below.]

The Huygens is a probe sent from the Cassini to study Titan, one of Saturn's 34 moons. Titan is a moon with its own atmosphere--and may give us clues about what Earth was like in its early years.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is an international collaborative project, with contributions by 17 countries. The data being sent back is being studied by over 250 scientists worldwide. It's awe-inspiring to see the images--and to witness what can be achieved through cooperation.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Is it art?

Can you guess the source of this image? What it originally was before I Photoshopped it?

Been looking through images tonight, trying to decide on three to enter in a juried photo exhibition. So many great photographers out there makes for tough competition. And it's subjective; what is artistic to one eye is mediocre to another. Art is often "in the eye of the beholder", it seems.

Art is idea. It is not enough to draw, paint, and sculpt. An artist should be able to think.--Gurdon Woods

Art that is meaningful to me gives me some kind of experience; emotional, questioning, thinking, contemplating, a feeling of being part of something much larger than my everyday life, sometimes a range of feelings that take my breath away. My hope is that my artwork will inspire some of this in others.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Squash, string, and cat philosophy

Rain showers today, cool temps; squash, zuchinni, pumpkins ripening on the vines. Leaves beginning to turn their rich fall colors. The sky tonight looked like an impressionist painting; pastel blues and pinks amid white smudges of clouds.

A lot of work during the last few days--and evenings. My brain feels gutted. Chava Kitty lies at my feet, waiting for her evening treat. You've been working too hard, she says, it's time to get out the string and the bouncy toy, and play!

The bouncy toy has a stuffed character attached that's the color of this squash blossom; looks like a fat bee. It could be named "Herb" or "Wally." I don't care what it is or what it's named as long as it moves, she says. You get too caught up in details. Take a break; take a nap--like me!

Perhaps it's time to call it a night...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Signs of the times

Traffic signs, early warning signs, the Sign Association, "Signs"--the movie, "Signs"--the song, Western Signs and Ideograms, sign-language, "signing your life away", tell-tale signs, talking signs, signs and body language cues, roadside signs...

Route 66, Highway 40, Interstate 70, Eat at Pete's, Gas Ahead, Morgan Chevrolet, Need a Lawyer?, Stuckey's, McDonald's, Holiday Inn, Dottie's Diner, Howard Johnson's, Looking for the Light?, Fresh Pies, Lake Lotawana, Little America; next right, just ahead, only 20 more miles, Thank You for Visiting...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hyde Park Fair, visitors, and bands

A scene from the Hyde Park Fair taken earlier today inside the "Visit Thailand!" tent. Very exacting carving job on the veggies. The fair brings out many visitors from near and far who browse the arts, crafts, clothing, political action, jewelry, folk arts booths. Live music on two stages, and, of course, "fair food." (Where would we be without our gyro, Pronto Pup or Kettle Korn fix?)

Speaking of visitors, we had a good talk with our friend, PQ, while he was in town on a business trip. He's a successful exec by day; a drummer and sometimes singer for an up-and-coming band by night and weekends. Maybe some September in the future, his band will play the Hyde Park Fair...

And speaking of bands, here's a shot of a young up-and-coming band that spontaneously began performing "acoustic punk rock" at the fair.

Perhaps they'll become the American version of The Futureheads...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Swimming upstream

A mighty wild salmon swimming upstream, trying to make it past the dams along the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Trying to avoid the seal hiding in wait by the fish ladder, and the talons of the peregrine circling above. Note the juxtaposition of the red and green; fire and earth. A ruby salmon, an emerald salmon. Priceless jewels.

The dwindling numbers of wild salmon making it back inland each year continue to provoke heated debates in the Pacific Northwest. Do we take out dams to make a less obstructed passage for the fish?
If we take out dams, how would that affect those dependent upon the economy created by having the dam in place? How would the removal of dams affect the overall cost of electricity?
Do we develop more alternate methods to get the fish past the dams? Restrict salmon fishing? Build more "salmon farms"?

There are many experts who have done many studies who have stated their solutions for this problem. Unfortunately, there seems to be little common ground.

I am not an expert, so will not join the fray. I have "other fish to fry..."

[Photo was taken at the M-K Nature Center. We rounded a curve on the path, and found wonderful paintings of fish hanging from a wire fence, fluttering in the breeze like paper lanterns.]

Thursday, September 14, 2006

In motion

Is this the road less traveled? The road to glory? The lonesome road? The road to nowhere? The road to home? A moonlit road? A back road? The road to truth? Road to success? A rough road? The road to freedom and democracy? The long and winding road?

Are you on the road, king of the road, on the highway to hell, or the highway to heaven? On a dirt road or a street paved with gold? In the middle of the road? The high road or the low road? Are you a road runner? On the road to Easy Street? Can you see down the road?

Rest Area, 2 miles, Exit 134...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Outsider art?

C and I looked through a book tonight which has photos of very unusual art made by regular folks who were compelled to create--some obsessively so. They made sculptures, houses, gardens, "gardens," "parks," and more from items they collected, such as stones, shells, brush, wood, and cast-off things from garbage dumps. They decorated buildings, vehicles, and hillsides, but mainly their own homes. (The brief stories about each artist that accompany the photos are just as intriguing.)

The book, "Self-Made Worlds: Visionary Folk Art Environment," includes Clarence Schmidt's famous "House of Mirrors," the Rev. Howard Finster's "Paradise Garden and Plant Farm Museum," Simon Rodia's "Watts Towers," and Ferdinand Cheval's "Le Palais Ideal." Many of the creations have colorful names: Pull-Tab Place, Rhinestone Cowboy House, The Healing Machines, Litto's Hubcap Ranch, Tony's Fan Fair.

These people are not trained artists by definition of the professional art world. They are called "folk artists" who make "outsider art".

It makes me wonder; if this kind of expression is called "outsider art," then would many blogs be considered "outsider literature"? Are bloggers (who are not "formally" published) "folk writers"?

[About the photo: C built the structure and I shot photos of it, then "Photoshopped" it.]

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

From the macro to the micro...and back again

It's fascinating that our universe consists of planets, moons, and other heavenly bodies orbiting the sun...and that when an atom is studied with an electron microscope, you'll find electrons orbiting the nucleus of the atom. Both the sun and the nucleus are "energy powerhouses."

Of course, it's much more complex than that, but I can sometimes imagine systems within systems within systems, from the infinity of outer space into the infinity of sub-atomic structure. Could it cycle from the macro to the micro and back again in the form of a mobius strip? In variations of such--simultaneously?

According to Wikipedia, some scientists theorize that the Big Bang--the birth of the universe--produced nearly all atomic material within the first few minutes. Electrons didn't begin to circle the nuclei of the atomic particles until the temperatures cooled down. That eventually led to the creation of stars--like our sun--and the other bodies--like our earth--that orbit them.

Imagine billions of objects circling "energy powerhouses"--from the immense to the sub-atomic--simultaneously...

Monday, September 11, 2006

In remembrance...

[Photo by my friend, Marya; I added the flag]

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pears and pairs

Pears. C and I see them as we walk as a pair. Poire= pear, fruit.

We edit to pare down the number of words in an article for submission.

Pair or paire in French means "even", "peer," "two". To work as an au pair.

Parer is to adorn, to dress, to prepare.

Je suis allee de pair avec mon ami. (??; it's been a while since that French class in college...)

Pair and pairs, rather than solo, single, one? Rather than triad, triangle, three? Is one the "loneliest number"? Is three a crowd?

C and I discussed music this a.m.; John Coltrane, Steve Coleman, overtones, multiphonics, "music of the spheres". Where math, physics, and musical sound converge. Blow your horn; split your airstream. Modulate those airstreams until your body vibrates with sound upon sound. Spirals far beyond singles, pairs, (pears), and triads. Maybe just enough to carry you through another Monday...

Saturday, September 09, 2006


I like this sunflower; a little tossed and restless. Today's been like that...

Been reading Miss Snark's blog which offers good, sharp commentary (with delightful attitude) about query letters and writing samples submitted by those trying to get the attention of a literary agent or publisher.

And where I am? Right in there with them; all of us a school of fish searching for the bait.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She doesn’t know what she’s doing! The woman shouts as she stands in the aisle of the jet.
She doesn’t know what she’s doing!

Other passengers eye the woman suspiciously.

Can I help you, Ma’am? One of the airline stewards is at the woman’s elbow.
It’s all her fault! The woman points at me; everyone stares.

The woman is my mother.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lots of powerful books out there. Michael Ondaatje's books are some of my favs. Also: "The Art Lover" - Carole Maso; "Like Water for Chocolate" - Laura Esquivel; "The Art of Travel" - Alain de Botton; "The Perfect Storm" - Sebastian Junger; "Affirmations for Artists" - Eric Maisel; "Understanding Comics" - Scott McCloud; "No Wrong Notes" - Norman Weinstein. Just started looking at "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist" - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan. Just a few off the top of my head.

Smoke has cleared somewhat, so we could finally take a walk without that "burning sensation". Still...

A woman gets in her car.

A woman
gets in her car.

A women gets
in her car.

A woman gets in
her car.

She pulls out onto the highway--drives away from the yard and house and town. Away from all of them. She drives on and on until she's over 1,800 miles away. She does not look back.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happiness is spoken here...

A little local color, taken on a morning in July.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Smoke and dreams

Awoke to an unsually orange sun. The air, so smoky it's like looking through a veil. Light dusting of ash on cars. A slight burning sensation as you breathe in.

The ID DEQ has issued a red alert. Local schools have cancelled outdoor actitivies. And with the large number of wild fires burning in the region, no relief in sight soon. We've got a high pressure system over us trapping the pollution, ozone, and the smoke. (Some of us feel trapped, too)

Had a dream the other night: Having tea in a tea shop with a professor from my old school. I suddenly noticed that the pupils of his eyes were turning purple. We looked into the tea and saw that the tea leaves had transformed into small dragon heads, which were now floating on the surface. The professor was horrified and got up to "walk it off." But I was intrigued by it all. As I walked with him, I wondered if my eyes would also turn purple, and how the world would appear through "purple lenses." (And no, I didn't have anything stronger than a glass of wine)

Alchemy anyone?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Music & other musings

Been a busy day so far. Finally winding down a little. Have "The Essential Miles Davis" on the CD player, a retrospective of his career. An interesting mix--well-done. Some I've heard before; others, not. Particularly like 'Generique,' 'Summertime,' 'So What,' on the 1st CD.

The other CD I brought today is of old blues guys--great stuff. Paul Jones, RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Scott Dunbar, Asie Payton; "Not the Same Old Blues Crap II" (Fat Possum Records). Several favorites on this disc; 'I feel good again,' 'Meet me in the city,' 'Black Mattie.' I've always loved blues. Love to sing it, too.

More fires have flamed up in the Boise National forest, ignited by dry lightning. A curtain of smoke hangs over the whole city. Can hardly make out the foothills. At an event this morning, sat next to a woman from an agency that helps the families of firefighters who are injured or killed on the job. She said 14 have died during this fire season.

In the 1990s, the eastern part of the foothills caught fire. I remember walking the neighborhood at 10 at night (too hot when the sun was up), and how the foothills glowed orange; a rim of fire all around the edges. Dark, smoky; felt like I was caught in a scene out of Dante.

We need a good rain shower...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Flaming sky tonight. An orange moon rose, looks to be nearly full (no, it's not in this shot). C says the photo looks like a Frederick Church painting.

We discussed tech all through our evening walk; the differences between blogs, websites, social networking sites, chat rooms. Which is most useful for what? What's fun; what's too much work?

I bought a Nikon dSLR this summer and have been learning all the settings. It captured this photo. It takes great shots, but I'll keep my old Pentax...there are times ya just gotta use film.

A beginning...

I finally stopped ruminating about it and decided to try blogging. I've been journaling for years; time to move into something new.

The air is smoky outside from too many forest fires during this dry summer in the West. Fine particles of ash on my car every morning. It's not that fires are just outside the door; the wind has carried the smoke, the ash, from forests miles away. We have a "yellow air alert" and have for several days now between the smoke, auto emissions, and the trapped ozone. Weather inversions are common here. So much for "quality of life" for those of us with asthma. Yet people keep moving here in droves.

Me? I'm not a native Idahoan either. I ended up here over 15 years ago with my (now ex)-spouse. Job transfer. It's a nice place to raise a family; some good folks here, especially where I work. But I'm tired of the desert, the politics (too conservative, crazy-inducing), and just feel ancy. I look at photos I've put up in my office of the Oregon coast. If I could teleport onto that beach right now...

I'm usually very quiet; one who listens and observes others. One who doesn't always speak out when I should. Blogging is a step toward more self-assertion. I admire those who are able to speak out easily and freely--as long as they leave room for others to also speak. The word "conversation" means something different than "monologue;" too often people seem to confuse the two...

I love the arts: Love going to see theater productions, art exhibits, modern dance performances, concerts (when we can afford them), readings. Although the scene here has improved a lot over the years, it's not like what you can find in a larger city. C (my husband) and I go to events here as often as we can, between work and all.

I've also dabbled with various art forms over the years. Have sung, played guitar & piano (love singing along to the radio or CD--Ben Harper--"I believe in a better way" Pax version...), take too many photos (love photoblogs--great photographers out there!), painted oils & watercolors, written a couple of novels (currently trying to sell my most recent one), have written short plays. A main problem: focus. Tend to go off on jags of one or the other for a while, then switch to something else. Something I continue to contend with. Perhaps I'm not alone in that?

As always, more questions, than answers...