Monday, July 30, 2007

Something about frogs

Caught this little fellow a couple of weekends ago at the local nature center. He sat so very still, hiding in plain sight.

According to Wikipedia, frogs sing to attract mates. The males begin the song; the females sing in reply. I recall Midwestern summer nights where the frog chorus echoed across pond, the field, and the back yard. An amazing range of voices, from deep bass to high-pitched chirp. A rhythm all their own. Lying in bed, the house dark, windows open, and the frogs singing into the night. Even though they were sometimes quite loud, I found their songs reassuring. As if they were saying, "all is well."

^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^

Never try to catch two frogs with one hand.
~ Chinese Proverb

Frogs have it easy, they can eat what bugs them.
~ Anonymous

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Use other side...

The heat has remained unrelenting here, with continued forest fires, bad air. I'm ready for another vacation in a cooler, more pleasant breathable climate. Now, where that would be, I’m not sure…Maybe in Second Life…

…in which IBM now has a presence. And they have issued guidelines on how their employees are to officially conduct themselves in this virtual world. Interesting to wrap your mind around the concept…

Now, here’s some news sure to break hearts. The Weekly World News is ceasing publication the first part of August. So, where will avid readers get their latest installments on Bat Boy, aliens, amazing scientific breakthroughs, astonishing historical discoveries, and the like?

Never fear; WWN will still remain available online. When I checked it out, I learned why Moses wandered in the desert for 40 years (based on an amazing archeological discovery), why the spirits of elephants are haunting a resort in Rwanda, and the origins of the phrase, "Hot diggity dog". And I can rest assured that I’m not that nervous after all—while on vacation, a psychologist claims to have discovered the most neurotic animal in nature.

Maybe if we went on a vacation we’d make an astounding discovery, too. Perhaps one that would bring fame and fortune, and front page headlines on the WWN.

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You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it.
-- Art Buchwald

To attract good fortune, spend a new penny on an old friend, share an old pleasure with a new friend and lift up the heart of a true friend by writing his name on the wings of a dragon.
-- Chinese Proverb

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The dew of little things...

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
~ Kahil Gibran

Man's life is like a drop of dew on a leaf.
~ Socrates

"I must go seek some dew-drops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear."
~ Shakespeare

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A sky to contemplate

A sky out of fire, smoke, weather.


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When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Such stuff as dreams

Saw "The Tempest" on Sunday night at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival; taking us from high desert heat to a tropical island; from everyday life to specters of magic; from acts of revenge to magnanimity and forgiveness.

Because little is known about why Shakespeare wrote what he did, there’s always speculation, discussion over what he might have meant, what might have influenced him. And so many things are open to interpretation. But to write plays that are timeless, that portray human nature so perceptively. Such genius. And such wonderful use of language…

"We are such stuff
As dreams are made on and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep..."

I acted in plays during high school and college. I loved it. And on Sunday night, watching the antics of Ariel, "an airy spirit", thought of how fun it would be to play that part. (The actress, Sara Bruner, was fantastic.) Fantasizing about how it would be to be invisible, yet so powerful…

Yes, magical thinking…the stuff of dreams…

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dragons and the news

-Over the weekend 200 people were trapped in the Arch at St. Louis when the power went out. I’ve been up in the Arch a few times—if you’re on top on the observation deck, you could always use the stairs to get out. But if you are stuck in one of the pod-like elevator cars…

-In France a woman was arrested for kissing a Cy Twombly painting, leaving lipstick on the canvas. The painting is only worth about $2 million or so. Did she kiss the painting because she felt deep love for it, or was it an act of rebellion against modern art? Or was it on a dare from her lover...

-Demolition workers found mysterious symbols in an old building in Manhattan. Three triangle shapes had been built into a brick wall of this 175-year-old warehouse, which was originally owned by William Colgate, who was a deeply religious man. Community leaders and the developer have preserved the symbols, and historians are researching the building’s past owners to try and find more clues.

-And finally: We’re not the only ones in a heat wave. Parts of Europe are also baking. Three European tourists visiting Serbia dealt with the 104 degree heat by bicycling nude along the Danube River. For which they were fined by the Serbian court. So far, there have been no reports of nude bicycling along the Boise River. But all some people need is a little instigation…

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + +

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.
-Jane Austen

May the dragon of life only roast your hot dogs and never burn your buns.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Water and words

Back to water, the river. Back to a writing project started last fall that became side-tracked. A river trip, a woman trying to get her life back together. The people she meets; who’s being real, who is hiding something? Does river have its own time outside of "real time"?

Mile after mile she watches the Mississippi flow, and rush together at confluence points, merging into an ocean of a river of the Lower Mississippi. Mile after mile, incident after incident. The story becomes like a fresh water pearl; start with an invader, a parasite, then cover it over, layer by layer of lustrous protection.

Now, to find the pearls and string them together…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.
~ Norman Fitzroy Maclean

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nocturne for N and a lily

What's in a letter? N, for instance? Opening the Merriam-Webster at random, I found these suggestions:

"Nimbus," usually associated with a certain type of cloud. But it also refers to a luminous vapor around a god or goddess, or an aura of romance around a person who has madly fallen in love. And remember those statues and paintings of the Virgin Mary, Jesus, and the Saints? Usually there’s a circle around their heads with rays fanning out—that’s also called a nimbus.

We’ve all heard of the Ninja Turtles; the word "ninja" is from Japanese and means "to move stealthily," refers to a person trained to be a spy or an assassin.

"Nix" comes from German nichts and means "nothing." My grandfather was in the U.S. infantry during WWI and after the armistice was signed, his regiment was sent into Germany. Children would often mob the troops, begging for food, candy, and gum. He said they would tell them "nix gum, nix gum."

"Nitid;" not a word I’m familiar with (and neither is the MS Word spellchecker). It’s from 1619 and means "bright, lustrous".

Then there’s "nuance," which comes from French, meaning "to make shakes of color," and refers to subtle variations or delicate shadings of colors, words, feelings.

And now, being after midnight, it’s time to move into nocturnal activities, such as sleep.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A quick aesthetic journey

To relieve the boredom of this nasty, hot weather, let’s take an imaginary trip to a few art exhibits:

On the rooftop garden at the NY Met, we can wander amid the sculptures of Frank Stella. Along with taking in the art, you can also see spectacular views of the city. Of course, there are many more exhibits inside…

At the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we can see Japanese brushstroke and calligraphy works by Ike Taiga and his wife Tokuyama Gyokuran, famed artists who lived during the 1700s. Here is a poem that accompanies one of the painted scrolls:

A Friend Visits at Night
Beneath the eaves,
on mat in pure breeze;
Below the pines,
a cup in moonlight:
The joys of seclusion are just this way,
And even better now a friend's in sight!
--Bo Juyi

Back in NY, the Modern Museum of Art is featuring many exhibitions including a celebration of Picasso’s "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" which he created 100 years ago; "50 Years of Helvetica", the sans-serif typeface we all know and love; a retrospective of Richard Serra’s work, and more.

In Kansas City, the Nelson-Atkins is celebrating their new amazing addition to the museum, which glows like giant lanterns across the landscape at night. Featured exhibits are the beginnings of American photography and the Bloch collection of Impressionistic art.

For those who are soon going to Paris, the Louvre is featuring prints and drawings of Camille Corot, and work from Spanish artists during the Age of Enlightenment. And there are exhibits, films, concerts and more at the Centre Pompidou. One is "Airs de Paris," an exhibit of design and architecture that explores how life in today’s cities, particularly Paris, is evolving.

Ah, but now it’s getting late; I must return to the City of Trees… au revoir...

Monday, July 16, 2007


Throughout the west, forests, rangeland is burning. Scattering of ash on my car this morning. Air quality alert. A storm this afternoon, loud thunder, brief burst of rain. And probably more fires from lightning strikes. The interagency fire center lists 38 fires currently burning in the west. 10 are in Idaho.

But this is not unusual for summers here. Cheat grass on range land provides extra fuel. Heat waves and lack of rain dry out the forests.

Last night I dreamed of Paris and cats. Today I networked computers, processed paperwork, answered phones. Tonight we walked at 9:30. It was still 92 degrees. We petted friendly cats lolling about on the sidewalks, watched the dusty orange sky grow dark. Coiling into night.

Dendrochronology: the study of tree rings. Scientists can reconstruct what the climate was in the past; cycles of wet and dry years, frequency of fires, evidence of environmental changes.
Perhaps humans are more similar to trees than we think—what stories are in the marks, wrinkles, scars on our skin? What tree rings reside in our souls?


The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible.
~ Welsh proverb

Sunday, July 15, 2007

More illusions

Here we are, another weekend gone. A weekend of popping illusions.

Surreal. Like the art of Man Ray. While in The Golden State we saw an exhibit of photos of Man Ray’s Paris studio. This weekend, we looked at a book of Man Ray’s photos and Rayograms; we watched his inventive short films featuring a starfish, giant dice, patterns of water reflections, a woman juggling fruit underwater, swirling lights of a carnival. Would have been fun to be one of the actors. Would be fun, enlivening to be in the midst of that innovation.

And so we’ll start another week, wondering what is real and what is just an illusion…


The one person who has more illusions than the dreamer is the man of action.
~ Oscar Wilde

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
~ Mark Twain

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Water, desire, and other news

Water; what we’re wishing for right now in this heat wave. Praying for a small weather front to bring us cool, fresh air and rain. It’s turning out to be a long, hot summer--in many ways…

In other news:
Astronomers believe they’ve seen light created by galaxies 13 billion years ago. That would be before our galaxy even existed.

A rare ghost orchid has been found growing in a cypress tree in a nature preserve in Florida. I read the book, "The Orchid Thief" about avid orchid collectors, particularly John Laroche, who was arrested for stealing rare orchids in a nature preserve. Then we saw the movie, which, in my opinion, sucked. But in both the book and the movie, the ghost orchid symbolizes desire, obsession with what you can’t quite obtain.

However, if you’ve always wanted to become a famous singer without performing on stage, it is indeed attainable! Make a trip to India. A TV station there is filming "Bathroom Singer," a reality show featuring a singing contest where the contestants sing in their showers.

And that brings us back to water…

Into the blue

Swim, she said, swim to the blue up ahead.
But what if it’s not safe? What if there are alligators or piranhas or…
She shrugged. That’s a chance we’ll have to take…


I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.
~G.K. Chesterton

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic.
~Author Unknown

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
~André Gide

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The light within

How the light reflects within this bloom intrigues me. A day of looking for light within. Quiet day, hot day, dusty pink-orange at twilight because of all the fires burning.

C and I looked through a book of photos by Robert Doisneau; photos of everyday life in Paris from the 1930s through the 1980s. He had a brilliant eye for design, and a unique way of capturing people. He loved strolling the streets of Paris with his camera, taking shots of the little things, humorous things. Marketplaces, musicians, school children, people with dogs or cats, someone reading as he crossed the Mirabeau Bridge.

Today was solitary, even within an office of others. Tonight we strolled the neighborhood, taking notice of what had changed, how it was more subdued than usual. Taking in the last bit of daylight, and the light within.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
~ Albert Schweitzer

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


Bridging into another year
and the same old questions:
What will it bring?
What lies ahead?
Where will this path lead?
Decisions, decisions
flow together
rushing by with each day
yet marking time
cycling back
once again
And here I am:
but have I changed or
is this where
I started?


+ When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

+ If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.

= Yogi Berra

Monday, July 09, 2007


Sometimes a ray of light, a small opening, an unforeseen passage, is all it takes to start on a new path.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

At middle age the soul should be opening up like a rose, not closing up like a cabbage.
~ John Andrew Holmes

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
~ Walt Disney

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A different pattern

Another weekend, another Saturday. The sky this morning stony and glaring from the heat; twilight, dusty orange. Heat rolls in waves from streets and sidewalks, forcing us to walk after sundown.

We both felt restless today, after-vacation blues. So we visited stores and gazed at fine, expensive furnishings, toys, cheaper furnishings, books. So many things, so many colors, so many choices. Yet all I bought was sunscreen. The rest was for the eyes, the hands, the ears.

Stayed up late reading "The Last Chinese Chef" (Nicole Mones), a novel that includes information about Chinese cuisine (not Chinese-American, but Chinese), customs, history, culture. Makes me want to taste some of the dishes created by the chef. (Reminds me of the exquisite Thai food we had during vacation, where amazing tastes and fragrances blossomed in our mouths as we ate.) Led me to read more about the history of China, particularly the era of the Cultural Revolution since several of the characters in the book told harrowing stories about that time.

Reading, researching patterns in our lives, like patterns in nature, as in these leaves. And looking for the patterns that don’t necessarily fit, but may, instead, be the best ones to try.


Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.
~ Edward de Bono

My companion and I were alone with the stars: the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the patterns of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon.
~ Rachel Carson

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pitcher plants and metaphors

Pitcher plants singing Siren songs on a Sunday morning hoping for a few flies to stop by…

These plants secrete sweet nectar to lure unsuspecting insects, which then become trapped in the tubes. The smooth sides are so slippery the insects cannot escape. They eventually drown in the liquid in the tubes and are absorbed by the plant.

One could think of this as a metaphor for pitfalls of life: violence, addiction, destructive acts. One could read it as a tale of caution. One could also marvel at this ingenious method of survival that has evolved, and remember there is a purpose for every living thing.


To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal ...
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance ...
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A rich tapestry

Plenty of fireworks throughout the neighborhood as we walked tonight; firecrackers, colorful fountains, sparklers, rockets. Over 100 degrees here today; a glowing red cactus flower seemed appropriate for the 4th and the weather.

It was much cooler in the SF Bay area where this photo was taken, at the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens. One of the places we visited during our recent trip. A trip of family celebrations, modern art, Asian art, superb food, classical Indian dance. Colorful shops, crowded streets, eclectic people. Different perspectives. Reminder of how the mix of diverse cultures and traditions, different ways of thinking have built and influenced this country.

Happy 4th to all.

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We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.
~ Maya Angelou