Aug 29, 2011

something glowing

last night we slept fitfully waiting for the wind that follows the eye, listening even as we dozed off and on, still dressed and downstairs in case a tree, one of the many big big maples now rooted in nothing but soft deep mud should fall on the house. there was not a light in the village because there was no electricity and the stars THE STARS were a wonder beyond telling and as i gasped at a shooting star above i glanced down at the grass below the window and something was glowing.
what glows at 2 am? a wind-dropped solar light would not be still bright, reflective paint would have nothing to reflect, a rectangular glowing shape in the grass maybe 18" long and 2 or 3 wide. nothing in my experience could explain this.
the next morning on the back porch i remembered the glowing thing and looked over where i'd seen it.  and there it was.  an old rotten piece of tree branch.

Aug 21, 2011

making vinegar

friends used to talk about fruit flies - even get into animated conversations with strangers - it was some class i guess i didn't sign up for....breeding fruit flies.
my neighbor has given me a big bowl of blackberries from her bushes. 
or are they black raspberries?  the internet says: Black raspberries become hollow in the middle when picked from the main plant whereas the blackberries retain its stem.
must be black raspberries.
last year i froze much of what she gave me, then never knew what to do with them. 
so this year i am making vinegar. 

here's how:
cover berries with water.
mash them up.
pour into a sterilized jar (i boiled a large canning jar for a bit)
cover with cloth and a rubber band (i used a flowered handkerchief i found in my drawer - where/when did i ever get that?)
wait 3 months or so until the mother (gloop on top) falls to bottom and then pour off the vinegar!
sounds easier than the saurkraut i tried to make last year and ended up throwing away !
but what about the fruit flies?
they seem to like the idea, and gather on the top.  what are they doing?  
if they are sitting, ok, but if they are laying eggs or pooping, i'm not happy about that.
i can't see that they are leaving anything there...they just seem to like to gather in the vinegary atmosphere.
i guess i should have taken that class!

Aug 17, 2011

another baby story

must be baby season!  everyone's having them recently!  
i admit i'm not up on the latest trends in childbirth and baby care, so when these pictures came via email of friends and their newborn, i was very surprised!  
decided i'd better disguise them, they might not want to be blogged.
you think there's people who object to women nursing in public, wait'll they see THIS on the subway!

Aug 14, 2011

it is too much to be too long anywhere*

we always moved before 4 years, and usually not that long when i was a kid.
but i've lived HERE many times that now.
now everywhere HERE tells me stories. where cats are buried, where we played softball, where houses stood, where my friend was killed in a car accident, where my baby learned to swim.

everything is impermanent.
when you move around you don't notice this.
when you stay still things change around you like a slow carousel or a fractal kaleidoscope.

now a new baby has been born to a village family, and i am one of the few in the village who might recall that once upon a time another baby was born to that house. 
that house has had a few owners since then.

the tiny years-ago baby died of crib death, so heart-breaking that now i irrationally fear for this new little boy.
i tried for days to remember the name of the other little boy, to assure myself they don't have the same name! finally i remembered -- and to my relief it is not the same. 
i'll never say anything about this to anyone if i can help it, but it's a hard thing to know.

* said gimme the ax in the rootabaga stories

Aug 13, 2011

Perseids answer the crickets - summer is ending

dark before 9 now
takes us by surprise - and lo!
meteor showers!

driving through the night
shooting stars distract our
watch for deer on the road


Aug 10, 2011

nothing gold can stay

summer's perfect day
until i heard the cricket
and knew all was lost


Aug 5, 2011

the biography of cancer

i never thought a book about cancer would hold my attention so completely. cancer is not a subject i want to even think about. but awhile back, the NYT had a fascinating article about The Emperor of All Maladies, and i suggested to the local librarian that he should purchase it. he said "sure, who's gonna read THAT!"  to my surprise, he did buy it -- even before it won the pulitzer prize! so then of course i had to at least sign it out and begin to read it. and something about the way it is written kept me reading. 

the author has a love for his profession and also for all of the great poetic scientist-writers. soon i was drawn into the stories of trials, theories, frustrations, successes, life and death, pride and battle, and enjoying the writer's vocabulary and use of words. over and over i was pleased and impressed by tangential quotes and references, the breadth of awareness beyond the medical world. i began stealing sly peeks at the author's photo and the brief bio on the back flyleaf.

that was it. i fell in love. if i were 13 i would put siddhartha mukerjee's picture on my wall and maybe write him a fan letter!  ironically, he totally looked like he should be dreamily holding a cigarette (smoking is one of the things in the book that gets him steamed).

400 pages and then another 100 of notes, index, bibliography, appendix. hard to believe i am sorry to have finished a book i would have expected to be gross and joyless.  and how does cancer's biography end? what's our prognosis?  well no spoilers, you'll have to read it for yourself!

Aug 4, 2011

more owl pellets - they do regurgitate most curiously!

often i've read that one cannot interpret the dreams of others, only the dreamer can say what it means.  to that i say "pish-tosh." i love to interpret other people's dreams!  just now i am puzzling over a friend's dream involving an aggressive scary nebulous thing in an attic.

we all know that the cellar can represent a trip into your darkest hidden self  eeeewwwwwwww!  and discovering new unsuspected rooms on your house...that's always fun!

but an attic?
(click to enlarge)

in this dream the dreamer is helping out a friend whose house is haunted. our dreamer climbs the stairs alone to the friend's attic to take a look around and perhaps help.  but instead of getting an idea of what sort of boggart was haunting his friend's house, he entered the attic and was immediately rushed by a formless threatening something-or-other -- it INSTANTLY RUSHED TOWARDS HIM!
(click to enlarge)

well of course he screamed and woke up.  too bad!! i'd be curious to know what happened next. was this cloud-like thing going to cloud his mind? or maybe envelope him entirely. or maybe just pass right through him in an escape down the stairs through the door he just opened!

maybe the attic's a place of dryness and reasonableness, the higher thoughts of humans. 

perhaps our dreamer tried to help his friend, using logic and reason, only to find himself attacked by something he can't grasp nor make no sense of?

and at the same time, the attic is the repository of someone's past.  all locked up in trunks and stored safely out of the way where it can be forgotten and ignored.

in which case he has entered his friend's past, which attacks and terrifies him, or he has entered his own past --  there's the fun of dreams, because in a dream, they say, you play all parts, and he is the friend, and the helper, and the house, and the SCARY THING too!
or is that more pish-tosh?