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Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

“…in Sweden, it is illegal to train a seal to balance a ball on its nose…” (Wikipedia, Pinniped)

I  think I took this photo last October and never shared it with you.

If you look at it too much, it will probably give you the creeps. But I am a fan of spiders and have taught myself not to be completely terrified of them like when I was a child (and teenager and college student). I save most of them when possible and I taught my kids to do so as well. We are almost pathological about it.

It was all so long ago, when my friend taught me kill a spider, kill a thousand Buddhas. That was all it took.

The photo quality is horrible so you won’t be able to click and get a close up. It’s from my old camera—water spot, &c. (Even my new camera does not have great resolution when you use the close-up feature on my blog. Next stop? SLR. I know SLR sounds kinky, and maybe it could be, but it just stands for single lens reflex).

I am aware that that might be a bunch of baby spiders or some sort of eggs on its backside. I remember looking as closely as I could at it at the time and thinking, no, this is just the shape of its hiney.*

*aka abdomen or opisthosoma, which sounds Greek (and you know they are kinky).

Do you wish you had an anal tubercle or are you happy with your body the way it is?

I can tell you that I do appreciate spinnerets. What a cool feature.

He may not remember it, but the same friend who taught be about spiders and Buddhas said he wished he had the same type of nostrils as a pinniped so he could close them (or, you might say seal them off, ha ha!) at will; when necessary; in water.

I was not a good mom today. Send me good

Long, long ago, early on in my blogging, I thought a regular feature might be to re-tell some of the stories from our local newspaper’s police blotter. But it didn’t last because mostly there is domestic violence between moms and kids or siblings and siblings or boyfriends and girlfriends or people arguing over money or texting fights and drunk driving and drunken violence with thrown objects and homeless people and urinating and bike/car collisions. And you don’t want to hear about those things, do you? I know you have your own problems.

However, last week’s blotter brought this lovely tidbit:

SUNDAY, SEPT. 23

ANIMAL COMPLAINTS

• 10:26 a.m. — A loose dog wearing a pink scarf was found on Columbia Drive.

There is so much to recommend that news item. It’s so heartening. I feel almost redeemed. And what do you think they mean by loose? Because when I was in high school, that had a particular meaning, if you catch my drift. Wearing pink? It all starts to make sense.

I could not find a good photo of a good dog with a pink scarf when I searched google images, but wouldn’t you know, I found a cat?

Fluffy

Wait, I found one! Who’s a good dog?

 Max (or Maxine)

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How much can you say and in how many ways about the leaves of fall?

My camera has been taken from me, I have no fancy phone device with which to replace it. I can say that it has rained every day FOREVER, at least a little drizzle. Where is the sun? The leaves are all either a. green or b. yellow. Where are the crimsons, the vermillions, the intense oranges? What are some other words for the color orange? I know it’s cheesy when I do that, but I like to do it anyway. Just once in a while.

This is an autumnal song, but don’t you know, I NEVER knew it had Tolkien references in it because I was not a LOTR geek. Only realized it mentions Mordor and Golem after Hubby told me.

This is from last year, mid-October, a little later than today’s date, and before our Halloween-weekend snowstorm which took so many of our oaks and maples. This is taken on the campus of The Hartsbrook School, my kids’ old Waldorf school. Not bad, hunh? But you can see this was my old water-spot-on-the-lens camera.

Here, you can really tell that it’s later in the season. The Holyoke Range, October 2011:

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One of the definitions of submit is to yield or surrender to the will or authority of another

Yesterday, I got a rejection letter. The good thing about it is that they responded in less than a month. The bad news is that I feel crappy about it. We all know the stories, we all know we have to keep at it. We all know that within the next several months, I’ll be submitting and submitting and submitting and that I’ll get rejected until I can’t take it any more. But I ran into a poet acquaintance Thursday night and he just got his manuscript accepted. It will be published in January 2013. And it took him 10 years. And his poems are good, really good, just the way I like them.

I happen to know that submitting is one of the four responses to being attacked. It is also, obviously, the last: fight, flight, freeze, submit. It’s a funny word to use for sending poems along for consideration, especially when poets have to deal with all the levels of meaning of words: puns, double-entendres, shadings, gradations, and so on and so forth.

In a similar vein, there was an Amherst Block Party on Thursday night—a town first. One of my favorite “living statues” was there. She dons a long, old-fashioned dress, buttoned to the top, and wears a sort of bonnet on her head. She sits at a writing desk with an open book, fountain pen, and a small box in front of her. When you put money in her basket (on the ground), she opens the box and gives you a little Emily Dickinson verse scrolled up and tied with a ribbon. I mean, teeny-tiny. She is all spray-painted in a copper-ish paint. I simply love her. Failed, however, to have my camera on hand, so you’ll have to wait for another time for a photo.

#71

It makes no difference abroad,
The seasons fit the same,
The mornings blossom into noons,
And split their pods of flame.

First of all, this verse is GORGEOUS. Breathlessly gorgeous and sensuous.

It also reminds me of several Sacred Harp songs. Not so much the sentiment, because here Dickinson is not writing about death. But the words and the sounds of the vowels and the images and that time in which Emily lived. That time to which we will never return and yet to which we are bound by the same sun and moon and seasons.

These lyrics are from 1830. The song is in a major key which fills me with a strange cognitive dissonance when I sing it.

#436 Morning Sun 

Youth, like the spring, will soon be gone
By fleeting time or conquering death,
Your morning sun may set at noon,
And leave you ever in the dark.
Your sparkling eyes and blooming cheeks
Must wither like the blasted rose;
The coffin, earth, and winding sheet
Will soon your active limbs enclose.

I am not submitting yet. I’m still fighting.

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Every fall the apples are more beautiful than the last. The Ida Reds. The Macs. The ever-popular and only-available-for-a-little-while, not-very-good-keepers Macouns. All of the ones I never try. The glaze, the sheen, the burnished surface covered in beads of moisture. In all my life, I have never eaten apples as delicious and crisp and prettily dewy as the ones we get in the Valley. Pleasure is not an adequate word.

Yesterday morning, in the front yard, no mushroom. Yesterday afternoon, this:

School has begun. She never rode a bus to school before. Strange, hunh?


Did we experience our last beach day of 2012? I’m hoping not. I know it’s not a very beachy photo, but it’s my favorite-ever-in-the-world bracelet or at least one of them and I love the way it washes and shines after being in the ocean. How about those age spots? It doesn’t get much hotter than that. Can’t we think of a better name than age spots? Do you think the home remedy that I found on the web that involves lemon juice and vinegar would really work?

I remember the first age spot I ever got. Hawaii, 1995. Yup. I can still identify it. It’s the biggish weird-shaped one to the far left just above the bracelet.

I’m not sure any more of the names of the 8 wrist bones. They are small, cute, important, intricately formed, and a wonder of evolutionary advantage. I know I could look them up, but I’d never remember the names anyway. Here’s a mnemonic for them in case you want to try. But you kinda hafta know which bone you’re starting with. Good luck!

Some Lovers Try Positions That They Can’t Handle

I’d like to hear this speech at one of the Conventions.

I am thinking of changing the photo at the top of my blog, as bored as I am right now. Possibilities include photos of other rocks.

Here are some of the mini-cairns I’ve been making in my garden. It’s not so easy to balance a stone with a rounded surface, but by gum, I’ve done it. Even in the heavy, heavy rain of 2 night’s ago, the 2 top stones didn’t tumble off and no stones have dislodged (I just wanted to use the word dislodge cause it makes me feel smart).

Here are some more of my garden rocks. I love the long, oddly-shaped one that looks like a tool, but it’s just a natural ocean rock as far as I know. Not like the arrowhead I have on my desk that was shaped by human hands.

See the little rock of Ohio? It doesn’t get much better than that. It’s greyish-clear. You cannot believe it. I wish you could hold it, it’s really quite lovely.

Okay, another [final?] beach photo, because I am so vain

FIN

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First day of 9th Grade for my youngest, just past dawn tomorrow morning.

The older kid? 11th Grade.

we don’t notice any time pass 

but I do….I see the empty nest on the horizon.

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Butternut squash is an old staple crop here in the Valley, but in attempting to research it on the web, I couldn’t get a clear history (time to ply Farmer Dan for answers). Squash was part of a traditional Three Sisters garden. When my kids were each in 3rd Grade at their school, they planted a Three Sisters garden. Awesome.

You see field after field of butternut all along the Connecticut River. I know the pumpkin crop in New England was heavily damaged due to Hurricane Irene; I’m not as sure about the butternut squash. You see truckloads piled high traveling hither, thither, and yon on the roads around here. I haven’t really noticed this year.

It’s been damp and cloudy for days. I feel like I’m in Ohio except for those wild animals that were running around over there last week. Hubby and I discussed our memories, from about 20 years ago, of living in Kent and reading for weeks about someone in Rootstown who had a wild-animal farm where some little kid got attacked by a tiger. Claims of safety ensued, lawsuits and debates followed. At least I think it was Rootstown. Anybody else remember this?

In this week’s Thankful Thursday, I wrote about homemade veggie stock. I’m simply too lazy to write up a veggie stock prescription right now, but it would make logical sense to have your veggie stock ready before you cook this. Also, in keeping with being NON-CANDY-ASS, you’ll want to have soaked about a cup (or slightly less) of white beans the night before so they’re ready to go for adding to this soup.

Here comes a recipe for one of my favorite soups of all time. FAVORITE OF ALL TIME! That’s a bold statement:

Kale, Butternut Squash, and White Bean Soup                                                                                                                                     from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin

1/3 C olive oil
2 large onions, diced
10 C vegetable stock
1 C finely diced canned tomatoes, with liquid
2 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced, appx 2 C
2 C cooked or canned white beans, well rinsed
1/2 lb. kale, shredded
grated parmagiano-reggiano

1. Heat oil in stockpot. Add onions and cook until tender.
2. Stir in stock, tomatoes, rosemary, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Add squash and simmer. Cook 30 minutes until squash is tender.
3. Add beans and kale, cook 15 minutes and serve with cheese.

NOTES: I make this soup in all manner of batches and sizes, usually doubling it or more. The quantities of ingredients are very forgiving. Sometimes I use fresh tomatoes to no detriment, or of course (NOT CANDY-ASS ALERT) the ones I’ve roasted and frozen from the summer crop. I also sometimes use spinach over kale. Just a softer texture, not so much for the flavor. It freezes well and is a great fall soup when the crops are all in. If I use fresh rosemary, I add it toward the end of cooking. I always use my own veggie stock which I highly recommend over store-bought or bouillon.

The recipe was given to me by an old Kent friend, Abby Greer. She made it at a Play Group Christmas Party in 1998. Warm memories and post-partum depression.

For musical accompaniment, you could play “Beautiful Soup” from some manifestation of Alice in Wonderland, the best one being Gene Wilder singing it from a somewhat charming 1990’s TV movie. Or you could listen to this which seems to fit my mood today and the weather we’ve had of late, even though the video was shot in the spring.

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I spent the morning “swimming” in 60-degree ocean water with a pack of happy teenagers, cleaning up a house rental top-to-bottom (that’s a lot of dishes and laundry, my pets!), and driving back home with me mum and a tide of New Englanders heading west.

Sun setting on orange-dusted tree tops, low rolling mountains layered dusky purple, tangerine, and gray…Oh, New England! Oh, Fall!

I love this song and began singing it to keep myself awake on Route 2 because, you know, it’s near full-dark at 6:30 now.

I learned this from my kids, but it’s nowhere to be found on the web so that I might share the tune with you. Perhaps my Annie and I could record it so you could hear it.

I would love to know if you know it, have heard it, know anything about its origins. I rarely ask for things from you, my doves, but I ask you now.

Autumn Roundelay

Here I sit and wait for you, ‘neath the spreading branches,
Cool the grass with shade and dew, sunlight ’round me dances

Ai loo lee oh lee oh lay,
How my heart is ringing,
Ai loo lee oh lee oh lay,
Songs to you I’m singing

Fall is in the air today, hear the wild geese crying,
Don’t delay, come while you may, snow will soon be flying

Ai loo lee oh lee oh lay,
How my heart is ringing,
Ai loo lee oh lee oh lay,
Songs to you I’m singing

The verses can be sung in a round. It’s the most lovely song, gives me shivers and tears

Happy Fall and Happy Deciduous Leaves Turning Color!

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