Sunday, May 31, 2009

My secret pleasure...

There are other activities I enjoy doing in bed, but one of my favorite indulgences is being served my first fragrant cup of coffee by my loving husband while I'm still under the sheets, and staying there in my rumpled nest for as long as I desire, surrounded by a stack of books, and my computer. Reading, writing, reading until the pot of coffee is finished.

Growing old has its advantages; this is a pleasure I never knew during the child-rearing decades. And because I worked nights, mornings were for sleeping, not reading!

I’m usually reading half-a-dozen books or so, at more or less the same time. Very fickle that way. Right now I’m absorbed in an exhibition book I purchased in Bruges after visiting Charles the Bold and the “Booty of Burgundy” exhibit at the Groeninge Museum. Charles the Bold was Duke of Burgundy during the duchy’s hey-day in the mid-1400’s. This was a real renaissance festival and I'm lovin' it!

Also reading Tulipomania, by Mike Dash, which transports me to Holland in the mid 1600’s.

And Vincent Van Gogh’s letters, written in the 1880’s.

Also in the stack is a French book Bob got me, and a Western Civililization textbook for an online course I'm taking this summer.

Books are my time machine. So are paintings. I’m working on a time-travel story, and finishing up a ghost story.

Life is full and wide and we don’t know the half of it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


the river swells spilling over
sweeping me along
nearly drowning me
in a tumult
of ideas

Thursday, May 21, 2009

street art

Hey, I think I recognize Maude, one of my old trolls, on this guy's mobile sculpture! Dang, what happened to the rest of my troll collection? Probably gone to garage sales, everyone. (Makes me think of Woody and Buzz in Toy Story...)

My other question: How is this anonymous garage artist's creation any less valuable than, say the works of Mondrian, one of which recently sold for 9.2 million? It's all in the name, and people buy to impress, just as they name-drop to impress. Van Gogh only sold ONE painting in his life-time. Sure, everybody wants a piece of him now, but where were they when he was alive and struggling?

Art, like God, is living and breathing. As my mother used to say, open your eyes and look! Open your ears and hear! And take part of the ongoing creation. Pick up a brush, a piece of chalk, a pen, a piece of fabric, and create. Play the guitar, the cello. Sing! Dig in the dirt! Paint Elvis or Jesus on a piece of black velvet, take your childhood collection and make something of it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Does art imitate life, or...

Boy with Thorn, also called Fedele (Fedelino) or Spinario, is a Greco-Roman Hellenistic Bronze sculpture of a boy withdrawing a thorn from the sole of his foot, now in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome. A Roman marble of this subject from the Medici collections is in a corridor of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. (from Wikipedia)

I had the pleasure of seeing these sculptures when Bob and I were in Rome a few years ago.

Yesterday I caught this photo of my grandson Liam, removing a thorn from his foot, while we were enjoying the sunshine and spring melt, sans shoes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

wild things

wild things in my yard
feed on sugar water
and frozen popsicles
despite their small size
they are extremely fast
and make quite a racket

Friday, May 15, 2009

memories of 1637...

I saw tulips for sale
in the floral department of City Market
Reaching for a bouquet, I stepped
easily into 1637, the height of the tulip craze
when Andries, my lover
lost his fortune speculating
on tulip bulbs

I bought a bouquet of the white ones on a whim
to brighten my kitchen and remind me of
far more glorious tulips
flowers like champagne cups
translucent petals
more valuable than gold
Oh Andries, those were the days
We lived well, our purses bulging with optimism

You claim to have lost it all
but I lost nothing
having loved the flowers themselves

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Time is but the stream i go a-fishing in..." -- Henry David Thoreau

57 degrees when Bob and I took a walk yesterday evening, chilly enough for a coat and hat, here it is the middle of May
Fish Creek is swollen, overflowing its banks and the sound it makes is at once soothing and stimulating
In spite of the chill, everything is greening up before our eyes
Oh, and look at this witch's broom, this dwarf mistletoe. Upon further research I find they might not be as devastating as they are made out to be, as animals eat them, nest in them, and if they kill their host, they too die.
We too are parasites of a sort. Let's live symbiotically.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Where was I?

I sometimes dream I’ve forgotten
to feed the horses
all these years
they’re still waiting
wasting away in the barn
skin on bones
because of me

I sometimes dream I’ve forgotten
my children
they’re still waiting
to be picked up from school
or hiding under the bed
hoping I’ll find them
after all these years

I sometimes dream I’ve forgotten
a patient
and now it’s too late
I’m afraid
to go in the room at the end of the hall
afraid I’ll find Gabriel
holding the body in his strong angel arms
sheet and blanket in a tangle
IV tube dangling
Where were you, written
all over his shining
angel face

lsc 5/13/09

Monday, May 11, 2009

my left hand

My left hand is a helping hand
a (mostly) willing partner
of the alpha appendage
loyal, unsung hero

but sister can grip a coffee cup
a steering wheel
she can lift a glass of wine
and so much more
if Right is otherwise

Other reflections:

It would be hard to pick up a baby without my left hand (and the attached arm)

My very own daughter is left-handed, yes!

When I was 10 I fell out of a tree and broke my right ulna and radius; when I was 32 I flared a borrowed parachute a tad too high and broke the same bones again, forcing the dominant hand to take a sabbatical. Helper hand had to take over all the duties; like writing, washing dishes, washing myself, washing others. I’m not quite sure how I drew up injections one-handed, or gave injections, or took blood pressures, or any of the other night-nurse duties that fell to me back then. But somehow I did.

Isn’t it amazing how bones mend all on their own?

Right hand, left brain; left hand, right brain -- no wonder the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing!

Five times, no less
the weaker hand led the way
pulled the reserve ripcord
on the left side of the harness
saving my life again

it’s the Left hand
who has worn the wedding band
for more than 16 years now.

A record for me, I might add
and an honor
for the unsung sinister finger

"find a quiet place and use a humble pen"

Look for this quiet place

Thanks, Paul Simon, for reminding me how to be a writer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


See the pretty things in the window
I want them

In my younger days I wasn’t so materialistic
I was raw
ripening, rich in future, decorated in my own aplomb

My naked body was a perfect
idiot savant
beautiful in its awkwardness
as youthful bodies are
I needed no adornment
and my soul, that shining globe, filled me with light

More and more these days I find myself
window shopping
all those pretty things that dissolve in your hands
when the dream ends

My future shrinks as do my bones
I look for souvenirs of splendor
I’m becoming the Old Woman wandering the streets with her rusty shopping cart
looking for treasure

I realize the futility, the irony
of want
I know each breath I draw
sustains me
I’m rich beyond my wildest dreams
and spending time lavishly

Still, I look
Still, I desire
The pretty things in the window are other possibilities
Other lives I might have known

lsc 5/5/09

Monday, May 4, 2009

I have a fascination for maritime culture and history. The wooden boats of the Netherlands are both beautiful and functional (but I wouldn't want to be the one to have to sand and varnish all that gorgeous wood... )
The Netherlands is laced with navigable canals and rivers. Note the sideboards, present on nearly every traditional vessel in this part of the world. Hinged bowsprits on sailboats were also common, to take up less space when docking in canals. Hinged masts allow for "easy" lowering to fit under old stone bridges.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Breakfast in Delft

I am quite happy to stand at the sink and eat left-over pizza cold out of the refrigerator, and I am equally happy eating boat hash out of a pot on a bumpy ocean, but sometimes I like to get fussy and fancy and set a nice table. This morning I wanted to make soft boiled eggs with the cute little Delft egg cups hubby and I brought back from Holland. My grandmother Mary Leonard, whom we affectionately called "Bobo" taught me to set a nice table with whatever's on hand, and that's what I did this Sunday morning.

Growing up, I loved soft-boiled eggs; when I was pregnant I lived on them. But I needed a refresher on cooking them, so I googled "3 minute egg" and came up with Susan Keeping's directions on (Then I got side-tracked with Susan's other blogs, namely the Uninvited Writer (Will somebody please tell me how to make the links work so all you have to do is click on the high-lighted words?)

A three-minute egg is a three-minute egg, even at 7,000 feet, I discovered. I also discovered Bob likes his eggs cooked for 3-and-a-half minutes. Vive la difference!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

storybook rooftops

Called "stepped gabled", these charming roof lines are indicative of Belgium and the Netherlands. Are they purely decorative, or do they serve a more practical purpose?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Site of the Queen's Day car accident on a more peaceful day...

April 30, Queen's Day in Holland, was marred this year by a crazed, suicidal driver who crashed into a crowd of bystanders watching Queen Beatrix and the royal family drive by near the Het Loo Palace.

When we were there, just a few days ago, the palace, garden and grounds were a peaceful, elegant place. The Stadholder William III built the Het Loo (pronounced hut-LOW) in 1692 as a hunting lodge. For generations, the Orange family used it as a summer residence. Called the "Versailles of the Netherlands" the palace is now a museum open to the public.

The town of Apeldoorn, where our guide was raised, is a very quiet, peaceful, orderly town. Four bystanders were killed in this unexplainable act of violence.