Monday, March 31, 2008

Melancholy Yellow

Bob's Blog, as usual, started my day with some enlightenment - Thanks, as always, Bob! I had never seen Van Gogh's Japonisme work before. And I never realized he had painted a "Pieta".

Bob's choice of Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now to accompany the writing struck me. I listened to that song in high school, but never really paid any attention to the lyrics. [I totally GOT "Big Yellow Taxi" back then, ] but not so much Both Sides Now.

Maybe it was "Love, Actually" that did it for me. But now, I get it. I think. There are lots of realizations that are coming to me right now. Maybe it's realizing the "Drugs Don't Work" but even though this stage is tiring, a tad melancholy, and a struggle; I'm also feeling stronger somehow. More like I have a direction, which is a good thing.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Religious Art Sightings

Not feeling to (physically) great today. But seeing this at Bob's Blog raised my spirits.

I also just found a good religious art blog of Carl Bloch's work, which I hadn't seen before. He covers the classic Christian religious subjects of paintings.

Well, have a great weekend, all!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What are We Doing?

This is how I feel today. It's not snowing here in Philly, but it is cold again - though good to get some rain again finally. I have been fantasizing my spring planting over and over again. I have catalogs spread out just like this! At least, I think this blog is describing how I feel. My Finnish is way too rusty but - Kiitos!

Which makes me think of travel... but then, oddly enough, I got this in my mailbox this morning.

So, let me get this straight, the organization that makes a pretty map of all my travels throughout the world, is encouraging me to stay home with the lights out? What is this? A blackout shade a la the Blitz? [Or is it to make up for my humongous carbon footprint I've left from all my traveling??? hmmmm]

Not to be overly alarmist or anything, but what is going on in this great country of ours?!? I realize we are at war and all. But, I've been getting more and more concerned about the restrictions on Americans (and our allied friends) traveling for years now. The limits to Canada were probably the last straw for me - but I made sure we, in our little fam, all had passports. What about all those Americans who won't go through the hassle and never visit another country?

Or worse, what if we give up more freedoms, with idea that we're more secure, but really, end up broke (as a country) and no better off? These two blog posts brought it home for me:

First, from BlogHer:
"In Washington State, our gov was keen to fast track the program because we Washingtonians are always zipping up to Canada. With only 33% of Americans holding passports, border crossings dropped when the new passport regulations went in. Maybe the Canadians enjoyed having fewer Yanks swanning about Vancouver, but Washingtonians were pissed. Our local Department of Licensing site had bad news for us. If you've got a Euro-spouse (or any other non-US citizen type sidekick) they won't be granted a REAL ID, even if they're a green card holder. Pack your passport, sweetie, we're going to...Tucson? Thinking travelers devoted to freedom of movement are none too happy about the REAL ID initiative."

" The demand for ID does nothing for security while making honest Americans less free.

Every government that has imposed totalitarian rules told its populace that it was doing so to "uphold freedom" or "improve the security of the homeland" or "root out terrorists and subversives." These ends do not justify unconstitutional means. We uphold freedom by exercising it – not by restricting it. "

What she said!!!!

And second, from Boing Boing, a while back, reporting on a segment on NPR:

"We're putting up with the federal government on so many fronts, and nearly every month they come out with another hare-brained scheme ... to tell us that our life is going to be better if we just buckle under on some other kind of rule or regulation. And we usually just play along for a while. We ignore 'em for as long as we can. We try not to bring it to a head but if it comes to a head we found that it's best to tell 'em to go to Hell and run the state you wanna run your state.

Unfortunately this time around they've really got a hare-brained scheme... almost all those hijackers on 9/11 would have qualified for a Real ID."


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Middle Earth Round Up

Everything's coming up Middle Earth! Recently the Tolkien oeuvre has been everywhere - even socks.

First this house - a "low impact woodland home"! I like it. Looks cozy, and some great gardening opportunities are there.

I was gaga for Viggo Mortensen. Looks like he got his own spread in Men's Vogue a while back. [sigh]

Casts me back to my total crazy fandom of the LotR phenom a few years back. I used to check the TORn site every single day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy Easter (belated)

I've visited this church ruin at least once, maybe twice. I want to say it's Glastonbury, but it's not (could be too much MoA rolling around in my brain). And I can't really figure out the Old UK Photos site I found this image on, so, whatevs!

I remember being amazed by the beauty of the spot. And I felt so peaceful and calm. It would be nice if I could feel more of that in my daily life..... I think the reason the place is in ruins is that Oliver Cromwell burned down the original building.

So, it's kind of a good image for Easter - a new, entirely different, beautiful and lasting life from destruction and death. A message of hope and Springtime and life.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Good Friday

It's Good Friday and I'm getting ready for the Easter weekend. Picked out my outfit and everything. And I am settling in to a reflective, somber mood, appropriate for the day.

I am not, however, ready to crucify myself over it. And I worry for these people doing this in the Philippines. Apparently, so does their health department, which has issued statements about the dangers of tetanus from being nailed to a cross. I mean, I really don't quite know how to process this story. I fear that my defense against the horror is to be flippant. Maybe it was my upbringing in stern, restrained New England, where these kinds of things are frowned upon, but, my word!

I am moved by representations of the crucifixion in art. I appreciate them. But reenacting the scene is different for me. I remember seeing the Penitentes church floats at the New Mexico State Fair with the crucifixion scenes, they made me queasy, but at least they didn't use nails! Yes, they dragged their crosses across the state, but that's different.

There have been people through the ages who have extolled the virtues of the mortification of the flesh, it's true. But.... wow. These people must really believe that what they are doing is right. And who am I to stop them, or speak against them? But it feels like "practicing righteousness" to me [I had a heck of time trying to find this quotation today! oy]:
Matthew 6:1-21
1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]
14 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Fasting; The True Treasure; Wealth (Mammon)
16 “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17 “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I turn to Matthew a lot when I'm feeling stressed. Especially the next section about anxiety. But anyway. Maybe these crucifixion practitioners feel that they are letting their lights shine out from under a bushel basket. I hope so:
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Easter Outfit Dilemma

This "dressed up is a state of mind" post got me to thinking.

As you all know, I've struggled with fashion choices after the onset of motherhood. It's tough. But, I agree that there is no time like the present. Carpe Diem! And Easter is such a good time to stretch a little bit fashion-wise. I'm not all about the clothes, but I want to look good, and why not take that day as one to "make it work"?

So, this year, I went out and bought a wacky floral print skirt and top (for a grand total of $25 at Target, though I can't find them online to show you). BUT it's going to be pretty cold this year in the City of Brotherly Love. So, I've had a change of plan. A few years ago I picked up a dress very similar to the one above at a Banana Republic outlet for cheap. And then, the other day I saw these giraffe peep-toe pumps and just fell in love. Not sure if I'll get my toe nails painted in time (you know that's a big issue for me). If not, I could always wear these instead.

The Answer

He was back in town last night. And watching him give his press conference made me realize how much I missed him. He was so great for Philadelphia. And I'm glad our rambunctious fans are as explicit in showing their love as they are in their disgust. I thought it was a great coincidence too that the Nuggets' uniforms were the old-school Philadelphia "blue & gold." It gave me a nice warm feeling. Thanks, AI. We love you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Speech in Philadelphia

It was amazing. I watched all 37 minutes of Barack Obama's speech (you can see it here). I have to say it is the best speech I've heard. Pretty much ever. I am voting for him in April anyways. But he blew me away yesterday. And it all happened in Philadelphia. :)

BTW: There's some nice commentary on this issue, and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, at A Church for Starving Artists.

The Built Environment

I've been thinking about the "built environment" for the past couple of days. First, it was the post on Boing Boing, originally pulled from the BBC (which is increasingly becoming my source for American news, since our own press can't seem to get its act together!). There are essentially "Hoovervilles" popping up already as a consequence of the "sub-prime meltdown." During Bush I's reign we had the "S&L scandal", but at least that just meant that working and middle class people bailed out the bankers through taxes. This time around a lot of them are losing their homes. It's sad. But I'm also wondering what it means for the the abandoned houses - the (already) built environment - that is left behind. What happens to those houses, and the land that was destroyed for them to be built? I don't think this is good news for the environment in general.

And then there was this post (I'm sorry to say I can't remember how I got there!) about an artist's envisioning of the built environment. Or landscape as museum. Beautiful. And a little bit scary, if you ask me. But gorgeous and affecting.

Finally, Garden Punks finished a review of Omnivore's Dilemma, which it sounds like I have to read. Once I get my hand on Affluenza, O.D. is next!

Belated St Patrick's Day Wishes

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I missed the boat on the actual day, sorry about that. But, I saw this cartoon at Hasta los Gatos... and had to share.

And if you aren't itching to make these cupcakes too, I don't know what! Guiness and Bailey's cupcakes in honor of the day that I found on Cupcakes Take the Cake. Yummy.

Last but not least, for those fratties that were out doing the pub crawls over the weekend and on Monday, this trinket I saw on Boing Boing may fit the bill. Tee hee.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I found a meme at St Peter's Cross Station posted by Lilysea, that I thought I'd pick up, so:
five things about me that I either never told you or you've forgotten by now:

1) I used to live in Albuquerque, NM. I got to visit the Cathedral in Santa Fe pretty often, and saw more of Robert Lentz' icons there.
2) I like to dissect violets and see the flowers' reproductive systems.
3) I used to drink a lot of coffee, but now I drink tea pretty much exclusively.
4) I have no desire to go to Antarctica.
5) My workplace is the cone of silence.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Aurora Borealis

Beautiful, right!? I'd love to see them in person. I don't really understand the post on Pruned where I found this photo, but there are more pretty photos of the phenomenon there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Wow, Water is turning up everywhere in the news this week. It's crazy!

First we find out from AP that yucky Halliburton has been giving gross (but chlorine-treated!) water to our soldiers in Iraq:
"A report obtained by The Associated Press said soldiers experienced skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq." That is disgusting.

Then it turns out that the water we're drinking here at home is full of chemicals and waste products that we didn't bargain for when we (as a nation) started ingesting tons of chemicals. A fair amount of the waste in the water we're drinking, DAILY, is un-metabolized drug products, like hormones and psycho-tropics, according to the article. And there is little research on the long-term (though lower dosage) exposure to these types of chemicals, especially for children! And don't forget, it's not just tap water they're talking about, but bottled too! Since it all comes from the same place.

And here's the NYT's "DotEarth" blogger's take on the whole thing. See this is where radical change needs to happen in how we deal with our environment, in my opinion. [I was going to say (free!) radical! change! but that might be a dorky science joke that I myself don't really understand.]

Seriously, though, I watched a totally over-the-top, baby-boomer-focused "documentary" about Pete Seeger last night on PBS. Now, I love Pete Seeger. I think he's great, I like his singing style. I used to sing along with his Sesame Street album (the duet with him and Oscar singing, "The World is Filling up with Garbage!" was a classic!). But he has a great outlook: instead of relying on big government or mega-corporations to take care of us (yeah right! look where that's gotten us!) he thinks the answer is tons of teeny, grass-roots organizations, working locally, to get stuff done. I was impressed by his campaign to clean up the Hudson River. And while Joan Baez and other boomers were proclaiming how great they all were at stopping the Vietnam war, I did see that w/the Hudson River example, it's true that a small group of dedicated people CAN change things. And we post-Boomers, and younger, can see that. Yay us. Here's hoping We Can Fix it. Dare I say, "I Hope We Can!" ??

Monday, March 10, 2008

So much art, so little time!

I am absolutely loving the Superhero series by Dulce Pinzon. The costumes fit the contexts too! Found the link on Tex[t]Mex blog.

Bob was talking about a new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art where we, the public judge the art, not the critics. Fantastic idea! I want to go.

And then, there's the muppetizing of some classics, like, "Le Ravissement de Psyche" by William Bouguereau. Awesome, right!?

Lots of great art out there this week.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Round-up of Green & other news

First of all, the crocuses are blooming here in the City of Brotherly Love! Thanks to Flatbush Gardener for the photo. Yes, that's Brooklyn, but Still!

I just found out about the Sandbox, posts from and about Iraq from the soldiers' point of view. I have clearly been living under a rock. Oy. Very moving.

According to BlogHer: the Wellstone Amendment, granting Insurance coverage parity to Mental and Physical health care access, passed the House. Now it needs to go to the Senate.

Apparently there are tunnels inside Niagara Falls! Who knew?!? Boing Boing found out before me.

Ireland truly is green and has reduced plastic bag usage by 94% since a bag tax went into effect. Why can't we do that here?

We could all try a "carbon fast" for Lent as a way to "do our bit." I saw that on It's getting Hot in Here - which reminds me of the Green Confessional I wrote about a while back. Plus it reminds me of Nelly. But that's a different story.

And finally, my horoscope this month is comforting, as usual a la Rob Brezsny's take:

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20):

It's time you acknowledged that you are a miraculous work of art, a masterpiece unlike any other ever created. I'm not pandering to your egotism by telling you that. When I say, "Be yourself," I don't mean the self that wants to win every game and use up every resource and stand alone at the end of history on top of a Mt. Everest-sized pile of pretty garbage. When I say, "Be yourself," I mean the self that says thank you to the wild irises and the windy rain and the people who grow your food. I mean the self who's joyfully struggling to germinate the seeds of love and beauty that are packed inside every moment. I mean the spiritual freedom fighter who's scrambling and finagling and conspiring to shower all of your fellow messiahs with your best blessings.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Col. Brandon obsession

Colonel Brandon, as played by Alan Rickman is reading aloud some lines from Spenser's Faerie Queene, Canto V, Bk 2, lines 39-43: and we hear:

What though the sea with waves continuall
Doe eate the earth, it is no more at all...
Nor is the earth the lesse, or loseth aught.
For whatsoever from one place doth fall,
Is with the tide unto another brought...
For there is nothing lost, but may be found, if sought ...

Isn't he just the BEST!? Col. Brandon and Miss Marianne's courtship is one of the most satisfying of all the Austen stories, I think. Or, as Josiah says, "All's well that ends well." And I think Rickman does such a great job. At least, he's way more attractive than the guy on the "Men of Austen" site. ["pick me!"]

Ellen Moody, on her website says this:
I see Thompson as through this allusion suggesting the theme of loss that I have just argued Austen intended, a loss that is loss, but that can and may be repaired. If we think of the close of Persuasion with the retrieval of Wentworth and Anne's love leaving them more appreciative of what they had almost lost, we can see a wholeness of vision in Austen's oeuvre. Page Last Update 1 March 2003
I think she's right that Jane Austen works on this theme often. And so does Charlotte Bronte in Jane Eyre. Jane and Mr. Rochester are lost to each other for all but a few pages of Jane Eyre. But when they get together, they have both given up and gained something, each of them, that makes them whole.

I've been thinking about S&S a lot with the PBS Austen Marathon going on. Plus, this morning it was raining off and on. And I am just like Marianne when it comes to walking - whenever I go out and say it won't rain - it does. This morning in Philly was no exception.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Battlestar Galactica's "Last Supper"

I just had to share! Saw this on Boing Boing and wanted to post right away. What a great take on the Last Supper.

There is a heavy (under?) current of Christian ideas in BSG. Like, are the Cylons actually the saviors of the humans? Is Dr Balthar crazy or talking to "God"? So many questions! I can't wait to catch the season on Netflix!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Book meme

Name up to 3 books you think everyone should read.
Moll Flanders, Daniel Dafoe
Endurance, Alfred Lansing
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Name up to 3 authors you think everyone should read.

JRR Tolkein
JK Rowling
William Shakespeare

Name up to 3 books no one should read.
13 is too Young to Die
Bridges of Madison County
I can't remember the title, but I think it was by V.C. Andrews, or similar, about a mean girl who kept other kids in a cave by the sea and fed them sand sandwiches. [!] Anybody know what I'm talking about?

I found this meme here.