Archive for the 'rambling' Category

Lots of rain equals

…lots of time for the cats. And also: opportunity for the crickets to escape the basement and become lots of toys for the cats. Altogether now: ick!

IMG_E5163

I am glad that we’ve had more than 2 days without rain. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to take walks without an umbrella or raincoat.

In book news, I’ve found a wonderful book on trees called Seeing Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo, with positively luminous closeup photographs by Robert Llewellyn of bark, leaves, fruit, acorns. Everything that’s inaccessible while you walk thru a city park with protective barriers around the trunks.

In other news, Inktober is in full swing, so I’m tweeting different pics. Not sure if I’m keeping Flickr in the sidebar, due to changes of service, so I haven’t been putting any images there. Let me know in the comments if I should, while I ponder other photo sharing services that will work with Ravelry, etc.

Changes

We’ve been humming David Bowie around here (a favorite) because of changes. We’ve finished some good home updating, although not the longed for new bathroom (someday). It’s all external maintenance, but a useful change. Meanwhile…

sketch of sunset over beach houses

Sketch of sunset behind beach houses, moon reflected in waves.

An unwelcome visitor (Florence) stopped near neighbors to the south, so I watched and hoped for the storm to dissipate before it made landfall. We’re both grateful not to be out on the Outer Banks on vacation.  But there were lots of friends and family inland from the projected path.

And… with the rains from Florence (and all summer), the house logically needs more maintenance prior to the longed for modernization indoors.

So, change, uncertainty… feeling uprooted… it feel odd to cheerfully chirp about updates to an older home. But it still needs to be done, if we’re not going to let buildings rot into the ground.

I’ll leave you with a few photos from southern North Carolina, pre-Florence.

 

 

 

Places That Aren’t

Street-signs-in-Ellicott-CityIt’s an odd thing when you look through your photos from 8 years back, and realize that several of the places you photographed (because of beautiful light, or a wonderful moment) don’t exist anymore. But the decimation that hits areas after floods or tornados reshuffles memory.

Was something really there, or was it a pleasant memory that you misplaced … and it really wasn’t on the street you remembered?  Photos I have of Ellicott City, MD are dimmed by this odd out-of-body sense that what I photographed has become a faint memory for everyone.

Places I have loved have been changed by construction: McMansions built where a Century Farm was, or the removal of several city blocks to make way for a thruway. I have been turned around in my home town because 275 year old landmarks have been removed for “progress”.

Losing people, the historical narrative of your family, friends or beloved pets is worse, at least from my limited experience.  Even though the loss of place seems small potatoes in today’s news cycle, the places that aren’t still tug at my heartstrings and haunt my dreams.

 

 

Journal ponderings

Years ago, I kept journals, mostly working thru the processes of: getting through school, adjusting to a messy adulthood (my 20s were intense), and moving sideways into a career. Now, I have a mix of (1) sketch notebooks, (2) basic notebooks (for writing notes during meetings), and (3) notebooks where I jot down notes for short stories. I’m starting to think again about combining category 1 and 3.

My notebooks are motly for my eyes. They are not as amazing and beautiful as these notebooks by artist José Naranja. Check out these links:

…..and get inspired.

Musical Interludes

piano-bench

“Piano Bench”, by Cory Holt. Benches by the Bay, Sturgeon Bay

I’m in between concert performances with the chorus, although there will be runouts to sing some of the same pieces. There were 2 lovely formal concerts, but I think we left every emotion and bit of energy onstage.

We managed to not weep along with the audience during Ryan Murphy’s “A Lullaby” (link to video of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing it is here). I managed not to tear up while singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (thinking about a family member who loved Kate Smith). We didn’t clash while singing the a capella “My Spirit Sang All Day” by Gerald Finzi (in practice it felt like we sometimes verbally collided or tripped over triplets).

Now, I need brain bleach to get the songs out of my head. Between listening to Big Band music, Ola Gjeilo’s beautiful work, and a Fountains of Wayne album (link is to an NPR tiny desk concert), I’m slowly getting out of performance mode and back to normal. I’ll take the tuxes to the cleaners and relax into a sort of post-performance melancholy. While we’re talking about music to kick away the blues, check out Jenny and the Mexicats in this NPR tiny desk concert.

Anyone else in a community chorus? Any ideas how to deal with the let-down blah feeling afterwards?

 

A Brief Dip into Interior Decoration

Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MDWhile it’s still too cold to go out and laze in the sunshine (brisk walks yes, but not sitting to sketch yet), I’m doing a bit of fantasy interior decoration. Current ideas: get taller bookshelves to take the place of the smaller shelving units crowding the floor space. I think (maybe) we could sneak the roll-top desk into the living room if there were fewer bits of furniture.

Unclutter, neaten, straighten. Go one step forward, and then regroup with the vacuum cleaner. Get out the graph paper, and work out where to move what we have.

So far, I’ve only begun vacuuming and laundry. Probably that’s as far as I will get today (beyond the graph paper). Once the gale is done, I will get outside again. In the meantime, sieze the day and grab a broom.

And when it gets too dark to see the dust, I suggest browsing the Ikea site, or daydreaming about scenes like this:

Book and Bed in Tokyo

https://inhabitat.com/book-and-bed-offers-a-novel-lodging-experience-for-readers-in-tokyo/

Beautiful University Libraries

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/stunning-university-libraries-slideshow

 

Planning for early 2018

It’s a cold, wintry day here on the east coast. I’m trying to work up enthusiasm for today’s walk. While I delay on my errands, I’m drinking hot tea and making plans for February (and January too). It’s sort of a tale of more and less:

  1. The Great Backyard Bird Count is over President’s Day weekend. Maybe I could do some short road trips to look for raptors? If you’re interested in participating, it’s a worldwide effort. More details here: http://gbbc.birdcount.org/
  2. More exercise (thanks to gingerbread cookies, this is needed more than ever). I’m considering hiking trails nearby, as well as places with indoor pools. There might be a chance of spotting wildlife, due to the reduced green cover. If you want to explore winter wildlife, check out these ideas and bundle up.
  3. More art and creativity. Visits to museums; making space/time for more drawing/painting/printing; working on some short story ideas.
  4. More volunteering. Seriously thinking about ways to make the world a better place. It’s a nice chaser to the stress of last year.
  5. Reduce the stash of yarn. I sent some finished knits off as Christmas gifts in 2017 and I’m getting charity hats ready to send away (one needs blocking, one needs finishing). I’m matching well-marinated yarn to knit projects, and trying to figure out what yarn is unlikely to ever be knit into something by me ever (on the pile to donate). Sometime next week, I’ll probably post some of my photos of projects, with details about patterns.
  6. Less clutter. This is a tedious, ongoing project that involves going into the unheated attic to find things that are missing or things I want to remove from the house. Today I may recycle/sort a whole mess of paper in my toasty office while listening to my music collection over the wind’s roar.

What are you making space for in 2018? Any cool ideas you want to add to your life? Or are there things you need to let go?

Wishing you all the best this shiny new year. If you’re further north, in the Boston area, hope you have electricity and heat.

 


Flickr Photos

Archives