Sunday, November 30, 2008

Levels, choices

This photograph could be interpreted in many ways. What are your thoughts?

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The great things in life are what they seem to be. And for that reason, strange as it may sound to you, often are very difficult to interpret (understand). Great passion are for the great of souls. Great events can only be seen by people who are on a level with them. We think we can have our visions for nothing. We cannot. Even the finest and most self-sacrificing visions have to paid for. Strangely enough, that is what makes them fine.
~ Oscar Wilde

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What's the story?

Left by a tired worker at the end of the day? Or is something more sinister afoot? Should someone poke around this big pile of dirt; see what's under there??

Yes, I’ve still got “The Maltese Falcon” on my mind. The novel has been chosen for The Big Read for our area this year. [The Big Read is an NEA program where communities choose one book each year for everyone to read and discuss.]

And today I was reading “The Dashiell Hammett Tour”, a guidebook by Don Herron who has been leading tours of the famous haunts of Hammett, and his characters, Sam Spade and the Continental Op, since the 1970s. It’s much more than a guidebook; Herron includes a lot of biographical info about Hammett, along with photos, then and now, of San Francisco. It sounds like fun; we'll have to try it some time when we're in The City.

Good to have some time to imagine other places, other things, rather than just the usual. We all need that from time to time…

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving thanks

A few things I’m thankful for:

My wonderful husband
Our family and friends
Our kitty, Chava
That we are healthy and safe, and have a good quality of life
For the blessings we receive each day
And for music, art, dreams – and living each day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More local flavor

Another restaurant in Hyde Park. Although this one isn’t my personal fav for Mexican food, it is a popular place. And it still seems to be going strong, despite the recent closures of several other restaurants in Boise. The space it occupies has seen several restaurants come and go over the years, including a Pan-Asian one I really liked that was called the Pacific Rim.

The Hyde Park crowd seems to favor the “basics” over the unusual. So you can get pizza, burgers, beer, fries, fajitas, enchiladas, meatloaf, salmon, steak, grilled meat, coffee, pastries, ice cream, wine. But none of the eateries are chains, no fast food, no drive-throughs; all are locally owned. And I’m glad for that. Keeps the unique character of the neighborhood.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Last of the colorful leaves for a while (taken over the weekend). We had a heavy frost last night and today truly looked like November winter.

This photo could be a model for an abstract painting, perhaps a sketch, a beginning of a Jackson Pollack sort of piece. The branches form a sort of creative architecture. Nature -- and the way one frames it aesthetically – has been a source of artistic inspiration for many people.

Been reading “The Maltese Falcon,” Dashiell Hammett. Such a classic! The architecture of this book could be imagined as a series of entangled branches, leaves, fruit, rotting fruit. With fog rolling in off of the bay…

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(District Attorney) Bryan: Who killed Thursby?
(Private Detective) Sam Spade: I don't know.
Bryan: Perhaps you don't, but you could make an excellent guess.
Sam Spade: My guess might be excellent or it might be crummy, but Mrs. Spade didn't raise any children dippy enough to make guesses in front of a district attorney, and an assistant district attorney and a stenographer.
Bryan: Why shouldn't you, if you have nothing to conceal?
Sam Spade: Everybody has something to conceal.
Bryan: I'm a sworn officer of the law, 24 hours a day, and neither formality nor informality justifies you withholding evidence of crime from me. Except, of course, on constitutional grounds.
Sam Spade: [ranting] Now, both you and the police have as much as accused me of being mixed up in the other night's murders. Well, I've had trouble with both of you before. And as far as I can see my best chance of clearing myself of the trouble you're trying to make for me, is by bringing in the murderers all tied up. And the only chance I've got of catching them, and tying them up, and bringing them in, is by staying as far away as possible from you and the police, because you'd only gum up the works.
[turns to stenographer]
Sam Spade: You getting this all right, son, or am I goin' too fast for ya?
Stenographer: No, sir, I'm getting it all right.
Sam Spade: Good work.

~ Dashiell Hammett, from “The Maltese Falcon”

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Apple - sauce

Apples in afternoon light.

Apples, older than the Bible, fruit of folklore, gift of the Norse gods for fertility. Golden apples of Heracles’ 12 labors and the Tree of Life, linked forever with Eve and Adam choking on his Adam’s apple.

Brought to North America in the 1600s by the new world settlers, and now flourishing over the continent. Does an apple a day keep the doctor away? Perhaps. It kept the settlers healthy, and although not a miracle food, benefits us, too. A world filled with apples; we bite into the crunchy sweet, tartness every day, in one way or another.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Curve, in willow

The curves, patterns, flow of willow furniture are so fluid. This chair looks like it’s been around for a while. Wonder what color it used to be?

Furniture made from branches and boughs was used by the ancient Egyptians, and there are Chinese paintings from over 1000 years ago showing royalty using willow furniture.

In addition, the leaves and bark from willow trees were used in medical treatments by ancient people because they contain salicylic acid, the forerunner to aspirin.

And with their graceful sweep of hanging branches, willows have been an inspiration to artists and writers over the centuries.

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The willow tree plays the water like a harp.
~ Ramon Gomez de la Serna

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Colors of inspiration

There’s something extraordinary in the way sunlight glows through colored leaves. I often wonder if this was the original inspiration for stained glass.

According to a history I found online, stained glass was first used by wealthy Romans around the 1st century A.D. Here’s more info for those of you who are curious.

Sunlight shining through stained glass has the appearance of colored light. But the light we see as “white” is already filled with color. Here’s a little experiment you can do with your kids (or friends).

And finally, some reflections about color:

The color of the object illuminated partakes of the color of that which illuminates it.
~ Leonardo Da Vinci

The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color.
~ Hans Hoffman

Monday, November 17, 2008


Cool sign, isn’t it? I like the way it’s designed.

There are a lot of bicyclists in Boise; it’s a very popular sport. And many of them ride down 13th Street through Hyde Park on their way to the foothills. There are several bicycle competitions, including the Twilight Criterium in July each year. For that, they close off downtown and the cyclists race a loop through the city streets.

I used to ride quite a bit, although I was never into racing. Now, I’m much more a walker, so I can stop and take photos from time to time…


The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.
~Christopher Morley

Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.
~Mark Twain

Saturday, November 15, 2008

From a time long past

A mural in the neighborhood that’s fading away…

The Hyde Park area on 13th Street has existed for well over 100 years; it’s on the National Register of Historical Places. Merchants set up stores and businesses in the late 1800s and there was streetcar service within Boise and outlying areas, including Hyde Park (you can see the street car in the mural).

Today it features a variety of businesses, including several places to eat, a bicycle shop, barber shop, art gallery, outdoor clothing store, post office/used bookstore, ice cream parlor, and an antique store. No streetcars today. But it’s on the city bus line.

I haven’t heard of any plans to restore the mural. It was painted in 1983; it will probably go the way of the streetcar…

Friday, November 14, 2008

X and O to you...

Looks like the “Os” won this one. Could be symbolic of this past week; glad it’s Friday night!

Many of us know this as Tic-tac-toe, but there are a slew of other names for it, too, including Noughts and Crosses, Exy-Ozys, Hugs & Kisses, Xsie-Osies, and Boxin' Oxen. And, according to Wikipedia, this was the first game programmed for a computer; long before Asteroids and Solitaire.


Because of the level of my chess game, I was able - even against a weak opponent, such as my younger brothers or the dog - to get myself checkmated in under three minutes. I challenge any computer to do it faster.
--Dave Barry

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Scene from a neighborhood yard. And it’s a little curious as to why these two things have been placed on the table together.

In folk cultures all over the world, owls have often been seen as bad omens or dark forces -- although in Asia and Europe, white owls and eared owls were thought to bring wealth and prosperity, and symbolized wisdom. They were helpful, good creatures in the Harry Potter series.

Owls also play an important role in keeping the rodent population under control. Some people here put fake owls by their gardens in hopes of keeping crows and mice away. Hoping for a scarecrow effect. (It can be debated as to if it actually works…)

When I was a little girl, I had some records (that were played on one of those ancient relics called a record player) which had some children’s rhymes set to music. Here’s a shortened version of one of them:

The owl and the pussy cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,

They took some honey and plenty of money

Wrapped up in a five pound note…

They eventually decide they wanted to get married, but they needed a ring…

They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood

With a ring at the end of his nose,

Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'

So they took it away, and were married next day

By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,

Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,

They danced by the light of the moon,

The moon,

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.

~ Edward Lear

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In honor and remembrance

In honor of all those who have served our country. In remembrance for those who lost their lives.

In memory of my grandfather, F.C., who fought in the Great War. His birthday would have been November 2nd. He fought on the front line and in the trenches, and was proud to have served. But he often said that the Great War was supposed to have been "the war to end all wars," and how he wished that would have been true.
Maybe some day humans will evolve to the point where we settle conflicts in ways other than violence and destruction.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Red hands

Hands down on the greenbelt. And, as always, I’ve surfed around the net to see what comes up under “red hands”:

~ According to Wikipedia, Red Hands is a children’s game played by two people that involves one trying to slap the hands of the other, and the other trying to prevent the slap. I’ve seen people playing this before. There’s a reason it’s called “Red Hands…”

~ “With Red Hands” is part of a sci-fi series by Stephen Woodworth in which there are certain people who are born with violet irises and they are able to channel the dead; they are called “violets”. And because of their unique abilities, they are involved in solving murders. So, the books are a kind of sci-fi / murder mystery hybrid.

~ The most important thing I found: The Red Hand Campaign. In 2002, a United Nations treaty was passed that banned the use of children under age 18 as soldiers in armed conflicts and wars. The Red Hand Campaign is taking place to urge the United Nations to enforce the ban. On Feb. 9 the coalition plans to present the UN with 1 million messages of protest with red hand prints made by people from all over the world to insist on that the UN actively enforce the ban. Here is the link to their site:

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Color and rain

Rainy, misty day today. Reminds me of winters in western Oregon.
Good day for a coffee at Java, our local coffee shop. It was packed. But we found a place between two software engineers watching an animated cartoon on a laptop and a couple who had partied-hardy last night. Interesting conversations to overhear as we ate breakfast croissants.

Later, loaded the CD player with music to create art by: Jane Bunnett, Miles Davis, Omar Sousa, and Kevin Nathaniel Hylton. Good way to ease into a Sunday night.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Hoops, ropes, and rhymes

On the sidewalk in the neighborhood.

I had a red hula hoop when I was 5. I couldn’t shoop-shoop it like the big kids, so I did other things with it. Tried to use it like a jump rope, threw it up in the air and tried to catch it, rolled it along the sidewalk. But mostly I pretended it was magic; that if I moved it down over my head to my feet, and back up again (so I was inside the hoop), I would have magic powers. These powers included the ability to become invisible, to have super powers to use against bad people, and to make things I wanted instantly appear.

I had a jump rope, too, with red handles. At school, we were given jump ropes to play with at recess. There were short 1-person ropes, and long ones that were used for jump rope games.

A jump rope game we used to play:

Down in the valley where the green grass grows,
There sat
(jumper) pretty as a rose.
Up came
(a boy the jumper’s got a crush on) and kissed her on the cheek,
How many kisses did she get this week?

One, two, three, four, five….

Another one, particularly suited for Idaho, the “famous potato” state:

1 potato, 2 potato, 3 potato, 4
5 potato, 6 potato, 7 potato more.

Acha bacha, cucaracha,

Out goes


Of course, jumping rope became a professional sport. There's US Jump Rope, which is made up of teams and individuals who compete in contests held all over the country. And the International Rope Skipping Organization which focuses on gymnastic and stunts. You can even watch the meets on ESPN.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Color of hope

Posting later than usual after watching election results – amazing! Even though I know the popular vote doesn’t actually elect the president, it is still extremely gratifying to me -- living in ultra-conservative Idaho -- that the candidate I voted for won. So often that is not the case for me with state and congressional candidates.

We watched Obama’s acceptance speech, which was very powerful and well done. I hope that he is able to make at least some of the changes he has spoken of. I hope he and Congress will work together and actually accomplish some of those changes without so much partisan bickering. I hope he’s able to mend some of the fences that Bush and his minions ripped apart. I hope for many things (with a good dose of realism).

I am proud to be part of this day, a day when we made history...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Looking through X

Across the street, the neighbor’s house in progress. Many angles, including X.

They would like it to be finished by Thanksgiving. Maybe…want to bet??
On Halloween night, we heard booming and pounding from across the way. At first we wondered if some local tricksters were up to no good, but it turned out instead to be a work crew, who continued until around 9 pm. Now, we’re in a period of rain for several days. At least they got a roof and tar paper down.

There’s an old movie, a comedy, with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, about the “adventure” of having a home built, titled “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.”
Great movie, perfect for a rainy evening. Especially for those who have been through the process of building or remodeling…

xx xx xx xx xxx xx xx xxx xx xx xx xxx xx xx x xx x x x xx

No words in the Basic English vocabulary begin with X, but it occurs in words beginning with other letters. X is the third most rarely used letter in the English language.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Colors of November

Truly November with the change in Daylight Saving Time. (Now it will nearly dark by the time I get home from work). With the wind and rain the past few days, many of the leaves are gone. But they still remain as a colorful carpet on sidewalks and streets.

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Fallen leaves lying on the grass in the November sun bring more happiness than the daffodils.
- Cyril Connelly
(Maybe. Depends upon your state of mind...)

October. This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks in. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February.
-Mark Twain
(Wish I’d found this quote last month!)