Wednesday, October 31, 2012


i close out the month of october with the following deep thought (soft music plays here):  whomever dubbed november 1st all saint's day didn't have to teach the day after a nationwide consumption of sucrose on the part of small children. basically, i think it should be a national holiday if trick-or-treating is followed by a week day.  maybe, like other calendar items, we could make it the last friday in october.  every year!  i jest, but only partially.  is it coincidence that when schedules are handed out in the fall teachers everywhere scan for this day and utter a collective sigh (akin to groaning) if the day after is anything but a weekend? i think not.  granted, it might not be all that bad.  the kids could be flatline comatose from candy corn.  (sometimes, after all, when second grade has had "donuts with dad" instead of jittering with maple-flavored electricity, it has the opposite effect and they are calmer than usual.)  i distinctly remember the year when my parents decided halloween would be a good time to tell me i was hypoglycemic and couldn't have sugar.  i was dressed as a clown and my friend janet fu was dressed as a witch.  in the picture with her, i am propping my face up in an "i-AM-smiling-what-kind-of-news-is-that" pose.  i think they let me have a few caramels and maybe a raisin box. i'm healthier and happier for it and all, but i've gone ahead and handed out candy for years--just because i can't have sugar doesn't mean other people can't--and you've got to admit the costumes are pretty darn cute.  i live so far out in the country now that we don't get trick or treaters at all.  so yes, my friends, we welcome another month and p.s. the  not-so-saints know where you hid the extra candy.  it's a kid thing.

praise poem

praise for full moon, new moon
waxing, waning,
silent in her watch over oceans,
over night things,
over me.
praise for her staying in sky
even after sun has risen
lingering, joining the night to day
reminding me to praise both
dark and light in my life.

by anne richardson

reflecting settled waters

it's fun to myth-bust in the poetry department; enjoyable even to show the middle school students that not all great poetry is written by dead white guys.  consider the following verse by my friend anne who graciously granted permission to publish her poems on wordnest.  anne, for instance, is very much alive, a woman, and has a lot of soul (for a caucasian)...

(prompt from at blackwater pond by mary oliver)
reflecting settled waters
the tossed waters have settled
each breath calm
i float aimlessly
unfolding fingers
fanned resisting urge
to propel, to direct, to control.
heron, bold-blue in shadow
watches unconcerned
"no this one will not dive for my prey."
and as if affirming my being,
opens, closes black eyes,
open again
reflecting settled waters.

by anne richardson

Friday, October 26, 2012


press in,
this clime too settles
hillside fog attends
gradiant green-golden's orb
and amethyst dew
rows hurl summer heat
retain sweetness steps
taken with sacrifice in mind

Thursday, October 25, 2012

mind the shop

on yesterday's happy amble into my beloved city of roses, i discovered a new design shop.  but not just any design shop:  one whose owner speaks french.  as i crossed the threshold, he was busily helping a woman (visiting from St. Remy i might add) carry a newly purchased furniture item to her car a couple of blocks away.  "mind the shop, would you?"  he nodded to me before leaving the store.  i stood, happily surprised, at the storefront sentinel-like while one shopper made his way around the merchandise.  rushing back in the owner quipped, "sell alot?"  "tout les choses" i quipped back.  "ah, bien", he answered, taking another drink (i couldn't help noticing he was sipping a cote de rhone red wine AT WORK?! all caps mine for emphasis.) as i let my hands run over french linens and outdoor tablecloths, we talked about a theme that keeps cropping up:  how close Oregon is to Burgundy in terms of food and wine.  it didn't hurt that when i left there was also a new coffee shop "case study" next door where i could sample an afternoon espresso, counter-style, in a little white cup with a little silver spoon that left me both satisfied and longing for all things french.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

think like a norwegian

norwegians are smart.  and seasonal.  when it's nice out, they play and fish and have lots of picnics with matching linens, pictures of which find their way into design books and ikea stores everywhere.  when it's not so nice out?  they stay in and make cool things (ditto on the above design book comment).  so i've decided to think like a norwegian.  to kayak and berry pick and bike like crazy when i can for as long as the weather will permit.  and when it doesn't?  no problem, there's art and books and sewing machines!  my latest craze is making paper "quilts" based on photographs (see also "intuitive color & design" by jean wells, owner of "the stitching post" quilt shop in bend). is a great resource for getting color swatches from any photograph as a basis for design. and my latest reading list includes "cross creek" by marjorie kinnan rawlings and "five quarters of an orange" by joanne harris.  latest novel for the rainy nights?  "the history of love" by nicole krauss.  i may not be norwegian, but it sure is fun thinking like one!

Monday, October 15, 2012

steam punk & smash books

every day's a quintessential day to learn a new fact; to feel the thrill of synapse connection in one's brain.  as roll-taking today i asked my homeroom students to tell us something new they learned over the weekend.  answers ranged from "how much a floor polisher weighs" (!?) to "where our family name comes from".  some "dunno" and "not much" and "nothin" but it is 8:15 in the morning and they are pre-teens, i'll hand that much to them.  plus i had a coffee and they didn't.  how could i blame them afterall, i who before last week for example, did not know that steam punk is a sub-genre of science fiction in which setting steampower is the predominant energy source for high industrial technology.  what sub-geneous (pun intended) rock have i been hiding beneath?!  such alternative history is usually 19th century british victorian, see also today's photo installment.  loosely translated, sort of this amelia earhart meets edward scissorhands thing.  i also learned what a "smash book" is.  it's basically a really cool copyrighted company journal (also somewhat industrial i might add) that can handle anything up to even a can that has trailed behind a 'just married' car. so , if i have this right, you could technically put most all of your steam punk gear into a smash book and it would fit!  i think i smell a business merger, wait, that's just the decades old aviator goggle leather burning my eyes...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

go for the gusto

ok, better, best.  what am i giving my time to?  what makes me feel most alive?  recently, i opted out of a very good activity in favor of some better and best in my life.  there was nothing wrong with the old routine, except that it was starting to feel like a "have to", a "should" of sorts.  i'm all for faithfulness and community, i've been in the group for 20 years now and that in itself is cool.  i can always go back.  but for now what i really wanted to do was exercise more and do art, maybe take some classes myself.  immediately i felt giddy as i went downtown for a new adventure instead of the former auto pilot.  and you know, some really great opportunities have opened up for me to learn letterpress, travel and try my hand at some new techniques.  plus i'm moving my body more each week and that just feels plain great.  thinking about trying something but not sure if you can swing it or spare the time?  cut something that is just "ok" and go for the gusto.  you won't regret it!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

country dark

somehow, one lilting indian summer day at a time, it's become october.  clear mornings and even colder nights, full moon sightings and...stars.  i mark months, not so much by the calendar, but by the temperature, light, and tinge of autum's paintbrush outside; nuances of consistent change.  because the power went out in the middle of the night, i went, flashlight in hand, back and forth between circuit breakers only to discover it was a local downed power pole.  but because i was outside, i noticed what i call "country dark".  country dark is not the same as city dark.  it's darker here anyway, but with no electricity from us or any of the neighbors, the stars made a flashier appearance and i could both smell and feel that when day dawned i would need to dig my potatoes and bring tender perennials indoors.  country dark is ink-like and still.  without even the hum of household appliances, the silence moved me.  i joined it, becoming still myself, holding even my breath to notice nature's pulse.  and carried it back inside.