Sunday, June 29, 2008

Unconscious Mutterings #283 and a new MeMe

For Week 283, when asked, my left brain answered my right brain:

Loneliness :: empty school yard in June
Traffic :: Benicio del Toro
Chaos :: Middle East
Burp :: Erica!
500 :: (miles) Peter, Paul & Mary
Movie :: popcorn
Coma :: diabetes
Bark :: bite
Stare :: pensive
Angelina :: my Aunt Ann
For more Monday free association fun or to join in, visit LunaNiña.

My friend Blue has tagged me to play a little collage game. What fun! Nothing I like better than to make collages, you know. It goes this way:

1. Type your answer to each question below, into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, pick one image.
3. Copy & paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

1. What is your real Christian/first name?
2. What is your favourite food - right now?
3. What school did you go to?
4. What is your favourite colour?
5. Who is your latest celebrity crush?
6. What is your favourite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation destination?
8. What is your favourite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. What is one word that describes you now?
12. What is your Flickr/Blog name?

and viola. . .my collage!

Now, for the best part! I hereby bestow this fun on a few more people so we can get to know each other better and pass around the love. No pressure, just if you feel like it, when you get to it**:

Inland Empire Girl @ Gathering Around the Table where the conversation is always lively, the writing superb and the photos, well, they'll knock your socks off!
Tammy @ Queen Size Funny Bone where you'll laugh and cry, sometimes all in one post.
Donna whose blog is Made in Heaven--and it is! She will welcome you and send you away with a hug.
Granny Smith @ Granny Smith who will impress & dazzle you, and make your heart sing!

And remember
**Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
Sam Keen

Follow me to Camera Critters

Nicely shorn ewes and lambs on a lush Amish farm in Wisconsin attesting to the old adage about sheep being followers. But, after all, that might be where the best grass is to be found--not a bad principle.

Albert Einstein said: "In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep."

Visit Misty Dawn's meme, Camera Critters, for more photos of critters or join in the fun.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sparkle and Shine

Dreamy, early morn, White Bear Lake, Minnesota...taken on our customary walk after our weekly breakfast out. This is my favorite view of the lake, year round.

See more beautiful skies or join the fun at Skywatch hosted by the ever-helpful & talented Tom.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mysterious, invasive. . .deeply rooted.

Today's ABC Wednesday letter is 'w'-- I captured these budding water lily pads last week at a small local lake. Though representational, my photo's colors reminded me of Claude Monet's water lilies series that he planted and painted at Giverney for over two decades.
I've included just four of this series showing how his eyesight and style changed from 1903-1926. 1897-99
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna - Rome

1906 The Art Institute of Chicago

Musée Marmottan-Monet - Paris

Musée de l'Orangerie - Paris

FYI, white water lilies are the national flower of Bangladesh.

and he said:

It took me time to understand my waterlilies. I had planted them for the pleasure of it; I grew them without ever thinking of painting them.

Visit Mrs Nesbitt for more contributions to ABC Wednesday or to join in the fun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tasha Tudor, my very favorite illustrator, died at age 92 last week.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Unconscious Mutterings #282

In my continuing effort to have more fun on Monday, I am joining this free association exercise. And the rules are my kind of rules" "Rules are, there are no rules."

1. Goodbye : hello

2. Cage : Nicolas

3. Buddy : Guy

4. Magic words : shazam

5. Library :: love

6. Fall in love :: chemistry

7. Tense :: bobbin

8. Work! :: gack

9. Empty :: soul

10.Heat wave :: pity

To join in, check out LunaNiña's site. Thanks to Luna for letting me play along.

Message in the wind. . .

O.K. this might be st-ret-chin-g it a bit, but I don't often see a seahorse in its native environs. And this one actually works for a living, carrying this little mermaid around on its back. This photo was taken on the campus of the University of Chicago.
To see more Camera Critters, or add your own, whimsical or realistic, visit our host, Misty Dawn.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I can see clearly now!

Granny didn’t mind if she visited the schoolyard
But she stayed to watch the little girl swing
Unaware that she also roamed the halls
After school was over for the day.
The story spun like cotton candy.

Up the stairs one at a time
Paste wax on the railings, door ajar
The little girl tiptoed in, sat on the floor
While ribbons of melody floated off the bow
A smile bestowed by the cellist.

One day when the little girl slipped in again
She found someone else in the room
Who invited her in, all the same.
The room lit like a holy card
With an angel sitting where the cellist had been.

The swing started slowly as Granny pushed
Stepping back she watched the little legs pump
Higher and swifter the trees came closer
Reaching her bare feet to touch the leaves
She jumped.

Bunny paws, sun on the ditch bank, she felt
Strong arms carry her home.
Her head tied with a clean dishtowel,
The little girl cried to see her own blood
And cried because of Granny’s fear. Why?

I wanted wings like the angel I met.
I thought I could fly,
But I changed my mind.
A discerning scar now
Marks the place in her unfolding symphony.

This happy ending brought to you by Sunday Scribblings. You can read more, or add your own here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy summer, Nature Lovers, one and all!

Here is a little camera eye view of some of the wildflowers I've had the pleasure of seeing in Minnesota and Wisconsin as we approach summer.

When I worked in a Montessori elementary classroom I overheard one of the students say about me, "I like Mrs. Adams, but sometimes she's, you know, too nature-y." I took this as the highest compliment.

Enjoy and Happy Summer!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Skywatch Friday glory

At the entrance,
my bare feet on the dirt floor,
Here, gusts of heat;
at my back, white clouds.
I stare and stare.
It seems I was called for this:
To glorify things just because they are.
Czeslaw Milosz

I took this photo for Skywatch Friday this morning where I walk. The sky's reflection on the water took my breath away.
See more photographs or join in the fun. Visit Tom @ Wigger's World for all the details.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What's great and blue and wears a size 14?

In honor of Camera Critter's, I offer you the stealthy Great Blue Heron--ever the jaunty yet mysterious guy about the lake. I caught him with my trusty low-power camera from behind a tree, even though I think he might actually enjoy the attention!
See more fur and feathers at Misty Dawn's Camera Critters.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Brown a pound of ground beef & six strips of bacon...

Ahh, its time again to give up the heavy reading for the lighter, summer fare; something to take to the beach, the lake house or in my case, under the air conditioner. And a recent Garrison Keillor novel of Lake Wobegon has me in its spell. No spoiler here, and since I'm not that far into it, I can say it is classic Keillor, writing like he speaks (one reviewer below: 'his readers — who in Keillor’s company always feel like listeners'), and funny as a crutch. Here's the first sentence:
Evelyn was an insomniac so when they say she died in her sleep, you have to question that.

So, Evelyn dies and wishes to be cremated--an abomination to her remaining family--and per her instructions, then be deposited in a bowling ball and dropped to the bottom of Lake Wobegon.

My favorite quote so far:

Evelyn was a whistler... The rest of the family was disposed to gloom, dark Lutherans who pitch down the rocky slope of melancholy and lie there for days, sighing, moaning, waiting for someone, usually Evelyn, to rope them in and haul them back up and comfort them with dessert. A people waiting for the other shoe to drop. Phlegmatists. Stoics. Good eaters who went for recipes that start out Brown a pound of ground beef and six strips of bacon and in a separate pan melt a pound of butter.

Being of a melancholy temperament from way back, I can only smile. Perfect analogy. And I'm still waiting for the dessert to be sent my way.

So the next time you want to say the unconscionable, "Smile, whydon'tcha!" to some pensive, unsmiling type, hand that melancholy person a cupcake instead. Actually, just send it to me.
Oh, and read Pontoon!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nothing gold can stay.

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

from "Complete Poems of Robert Frost", 1916
~ ~ ~
Before the sunset after a major storm in Wisconsin...seen out my window. To see more SkyWatch Friday posts, or join in the fun, visit the man with the plan, Tom at Wigger's World.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy Unbirthday to me!

Its ABC Wednesday's letter of the week: the ubiquitous, understated, unbelievable U

Standing under this unbelievable double rainbow in Wisconsin this weekend I understood more of what's important, especially to those who work the land.

Last month I walked warily under this umbrella-like canopy of trees as the 'cotton' from cottonwood trees floated and eerie light filtered down the winding path.

An unlucky car in our parking lot under a blanket of snow left behind by an unexpected spring snow storm.

To see more challenging U photos or join in, visit ABC Wednesday hosted by Mrs Nesbitt.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Two peas in a pod? read the caption

A Labrador named Ben swam Monday with his friend Duggie the dolphin off Tory Island in northwest Ireland. The Irish Independent reported that the two have formed a friendship in recent months with the normally land-loving Ben pacing the pier and jumping into the water as soon as he sees Duggie. Ben's owner, Pat Doohan, said Ben and Duggie spend up to three hours at a time playing. And now two collies are starting to join in. Doohan said Duggie came to the island in 2006 as the body of another dolphin being washed ashore. "People think it was probably her partner and...that is why she stayed behind.


I saw this small article and photo in today's newspaper. And in an effort to distract myself from my incessant weather reporting on my blog, I thought I'd share this bit of fun, frolic and endearing animal behavior.

Now collies are getting in the act? These four-legged and, umm, two flippered creatures have it all figured out as far as I'm concerned. See, we can get along! Looking different isn't important in the larger scheme, its all about playing together in the water until you're too tired to play anymore.

The Irish Independent ran the first article about Duggie last year. Its really worth reading because you'll get tips on how a dolphin can outsmart a dog. Could be useful.

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. Aristotle

Monday, June 9, 2008

Maybe next year...

We certainly picked a fine weekend to travel to rural Wisconsin. The weather wasn't kind to several Midwest states the past few days including the exact spot we were attending the Elroy Bike Meet in south central Wisconsin farmland.

Friday morning we loaded the van with the booth and supplies and I drove while Dave and a friend cycled in front of me. We experienced really high winds all the way and once at the site, the Elroy Fairgrounds, we struggled to put up the event booth and materials. Saturday arrived clear and sunny but by noon the sky was completely gray. I was in a grocery store/gift shop/restaurant building when darkness fell and tornado sirens blew. So I followed the herd into the concrete walled 'back room' of the market. You know the place where deliveries are made and milk is stored, etc. It was packed with shoppers, grocery clerks with hairnets and people evacuated from the restaurant who brought their plates of food with them. During the 20 minutes or so we were there a beer distributor made a delivery while a tornado moved through the area. It didn't touch down anywhere near but it sent rain and damaging micro-burst winds. Meanwhile Dave was about 20 miles away where the wind blew through the fairgrounds, leveling tents, vendor displays and sending a piece of concrete through a van window (a handicapped woman was sitting up front but luckily the window broke in the rear). It was still dark and rainy when I started to drive back to where we were staying and eventually to get to Dave but several times I ran through brown water pouring over roads. Scary...

Earlier that morning I had purchased flowers from an Amish farmer and saw foals, lambs and calves grazing and frolicking. Being situated in a bucolic rural area, our motel was a nice respite from our daily apartment life. We could hear cows mooing across the street but after the storm they were up to their armpits in water in just a few minutes. I witnessed them trying to swim to safety through the trees and onto the hill next to the pasture. This scene duplicated itself on many farms for miles around us.

Long story short, it rained all Saturday and was raining on Sunday when we left. There was tremendous flooding damage along the Baraboo River which runs through that whole area. Power lines were down and some farmers lost barns to the storm.

Sadly this motorcycle event, only in its second year, was a miserable disappointment for those putting it on and for the few who attended. I was really glad to safely get home to Minnesota and pry my stiff fingers from around the steering wheel. I now have gained an even greater respect for the tenuousness of rural life and for the tenacity of farmers in general.

Rochester, Minnesota area on the way home

Foo the 6 week old bunny belonging to one of the vendors. He was one of the bright spots in the weekend.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thank Goodness, its SkyWatch Friday

My contribution to SkyWatch Friday--there's a white Egret hidden among the lily pads and shade of the tall trees next to the lake, listening as I approach. Any white showing through is the overcast sky's reflection this morning.Wherever it was
I was supposed to be
this morning--
whatever it was I said
I would be doing--
I was standing
at the edge of the field--
I was hurrying
through my own soul,
opening its dark doors--
I was leaning out;
I was listening.
from Mockingbirds
Mary Oliver

See more sky views or to join in, stop by Wiggers World and ask for Tom.

Hope has a new face

Today marks forty years since I left high school and the hope I had joyfully clung to for a new time in American politics was misplaced when Bobby Kennedy was killed shortly after giving a victory speech to celebrate his win in the California primary election in another June. So, in my constant but not very successful effort to not live in the past, that was then, this is now. In his eulogy on his brother, Senator Edward Kennedy said,

My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life,
to be remembered simply as a good and decent man,
who saw wrong and tried to right it,
saw suffering and tried to heal it,
saw war and tried to stop it.
Those of us who loved him, and who take him to his rest today,
pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others
will someday come to pass for all the world.

Take a couple of minutes to see a new face of hope here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Alliteration, soft and silent

Tracks are most clear and beautiful in snow.

my personal collection for ABC Wednesday's letter 't'... see more, or better yet, join in at Mrs Nesbitt's.

Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.
Susan Sontag

Monday, June 2, 2008

Minnesota nice

I know it seems I usually have my head in the clouds and Saturday was no exception. Why should a weekend be any different I argue?!

Dave and I left early Saturday morning spending almost all day on the motorcycle travelling south and east through farm land and small towns, then along the St. Croix river. The temperature was nearing 90 all day with a heavy cloud cover but no moisture. A thunderstorm was predicted for the afternoon.

It didn't come until later that evening when the tornado siren in Shoreview interrupted a re-run of 'Mouse Hunt.' The local station's news ribbon showed that our town was, in fact, having a tornado warning which meant we needed to seek cover. While I searched for my shoes and Bean the cat, ready to make the descent to the parking garage I saw a bunch of people, including Dave, just standing out in front of their places watching the sky. It did appear that a storm 'wall' was trying to form but within five minutes the warning ended and Bean was still asleep--in a closet somewhere.

I was able to take some photos as the storm moved north and east of us. Although some clouds appear especially dark I chose not to play with them, afraid I'd lose their imposing quality if I lightened them too much.

These were taken from our front yard as the sunshine tried to resume for the duration of the evening. Luckily no damage was reported in our area.

Earlier in the day we stopped in Northfield, Minnesota home of St. Olaf and Carlton Colleges, the Cannon River and the First National Bank where the James-Younger gang got their butts whupped when trying to rob the town. No tourist trip is complete without a souvenir, I always say:

Cute Camera Critters

Two bright-eyed orphan lambs I saw at a wool festival last month. Their faces were almost more than I could handle: expressive, funny, beautiful...a real testament to life, if given half a chance.

For more beauty on four legs or wings, see Misti Dawn at Camera Critters.