Sunday, July 15, 2012


i won't be blogging for a couple of weeks.  that is, unless i find an internet cafe in the streets of paris.  yes, it's true, my lifelong dream of going to france is happening...tomorrow!  i turn 38 crossing the border between switzerland and france.  i couldn't be more excited and showed that joie de vivre by kicking things off yesterday at home (for the aforementioned july 14 bastille day).  st. honore featured divine patisseries, televised coverage of the tour de france, a lovely saturday farmer's market and enough cheese to feed napoleon's army (or just me, dans ce case.)  two french men showed up with accordian and flute, to which i sang along on one song, having just happened to have been listening to the same cd in my car, "je ne veux pas travailler, je ne veux pas dejeuner, je veux seulement oublier, et puis je fume". since that phrase won't get me too far in a practical sense (lyrics translate as "i don't want to work, i don't want breakfast, i just want to forget and then i smoke". another national motto?) i won't be smoking, but i have been practicing phrases for things like "fill it up with unleaded please", "is there a toll for this road?" and "help, i have run out of cheese, where is the nearest market?"  well, i guess part of the song is true anyway, je ne veux pas travailler...not for at least 16 days anyway.  au revoir for now and i'll see you when i get back, filled with french bread and stories to share.

thin green spaces from eden

somewhere in the recesses of my mind i knew that william stafford (1914-1993) was poet laureate.  what i didn't remember was that he was poet laureate from oregon, specifically my own back yard of lake oswego.  walking the area in and around foothills park, my friend and i discovered the "stafford stones" on which the city has printed some of his poetry.  stafford was born in kansas and eventually ended up teaching at lewis & clark college in 1948.  when interviewed about his writing process, he said, "i keep following this sort of hidden river of my life, you know, whatever the topic or impulse which comes.  i follow it trustingly.  and i don't have any sense of its coming to a kind of crescendo or of its petering out either.  it is just going steadily along."  he lived in lake oswego until his death at age 79.  his last poem, the morning of august 28, 1993, he wrote simply, "you don't have to prove anything, my mother said, just be ready for what God sends."  enjoying this same river, i am glad that God sent william stafford to be here and appreciate the green for a while before returning to eden.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

pond skimming

besides the famous quotes of henry david thoreau, i dog-eared all of these from walden: "how many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book!  the book exists for us perchance which will explain our miracles and reveal new ones."  "i rejoice that there are owls."  "this is a delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense, and imbibes delight through every pore."  "solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows."  "grow wild according to thy nature."  "morning is when i am awake and there is a dawn in me.  to be awake is to be alive."  i also learned that an ear of wheat in Latin is spica, from spe which means hope.  grain from granum or gerendo to bear.  in 1993 i read this book.  in 2012 the book read me and dawn hopes on...

sentences good enough to eat

"above all there was the linden tree, its shade offering the most sweet-smelling of bowers.  a linden tree releasing its perfume at the end of the day is a rapture which leaves an indelible mark, and in the depths of our joy to be alive it traces a groove of happiness that the sweetness of a july evening alone cannot suffice to explain...following the scent belonging to the linden, languorous swaying of branches, a bee gathering pollen at the edge of vision..."  (p. 60-61).  "we were breathless; it was time to leave the beach.  the day had already seemed both deliciously short and long.  the shoreline at this point, a long sandy arc stretching lazily into the distance and devoured by waves, offered us maximum pleasure and minimum risk.  we were inebriated from the endless rollers and dazed by well-being...i drifted with the waves, surfacing and disappearing beneath their liquid, moving mass..where a strand is laid bare by the low tide and where i truly grasped the meaning of the expression 'between heaven and earth'..." (p. 87).  " 'i'm so sorry,' says the young woman, who does not speak with the same accent as her husband, 'there's no more cheese, i have to go shopping this afternoon!' " (p. 98). "it's a delightful feeling to be not yet quite awake, taking a few silent moments to enjoy the fact of not being subjected to the laws of work; when the aroma of hot coffee rises, you finally sit down before your steaming bowl and give a friendly squeeze to the brioche and acknowledge the quality of happiness." (p. 108). --exerpts from muriel barbery's gourmet rhapsody.

Friday, July 6, 2012

july, a month of Fetes

the month of july finds Independence Day (i was corrected from my oh-so-casual usage of "happy fourth") sandwiched between two fetes, or other national parties.  Canada Day (Fete du Canada) on July 1st, celebrating the British North American Act of 1867 which united three colonies into a single country.  And then there's Bastille Day (La Fete Nationale) in France commemorating the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison the 14th of July, 1789 which became a symbol of France becoming a modern nation during the Revolution.  pass the sparklers, eh?  and s'il vous plait.  we have more in common than we might think.

who knew? random words from a summery mind

summer is a great time for learning of a different kind.  whether it's portland then and now architectural walking tours or new hikes, my mind is clear and ready to make connections.  i never knew, for example, that the word "jeweler" came from the late 14th c. Anglo for jueler from joel (jewel), see also juelrye or precious ornaments.  this discovery came from wondering with a friend whether it was related at all to Jew, which it's not, but was an interesting quest nonetheless.  i also didn't know that buckwheat was a relative of the rhubarb plant and that the word galette, French for "curled" & Latin crispa, is where we get our crepe; originating in Brittany, France and Quebec.  in other news, Haystack rock is famous, but i also learned the lesser known rock south along the beach is named Jockey Cap and it indeed looks the part.  last but not least, did you know that a mansard roof is one that is done in a four-sided sloping style?  if you can use all of these new terms in one sentence, kudos to you!  i'll be out learning some more...