Flower power and ball juggling

Life is funny and sometimes full of delightful surprises and so are people.

Case in point, the ever-effervescent blonde in the sunglasses, she who is not just the life of the party but, in fact,  IS the party, the Ginger to my Mary Ann (if Ginger were a brilliant writer. . . and Mary Ann were a hack — ok, forget that analogy), the martini to my lemonade, the *grin* that  keeps me on the bright side, etc., the one and only BlogDramedy has bestowed upon me the honor of becoming one of her Blogs Of Other Bloggers, a name that, unlike Students Against the Treacherous Use of Fur, makes a good acronym.

Classic BlogDramedy.

Classic BlogDramedy.

I’m juggling a lot of balls at the moment. Mine are smaller than hers (more Titleist Pro V1s than Adidas Brazuca), not that size matters. And I’m not wearing knee-high socks, not that there’s anything wrong with that. I have more thoughts about this major award than I have time to write them. “Delightful surprise” and “honor” are just a start.

I had this “Flower Power” seedling of a post sitting in my drafts box, probably headed to “Trash,” but her very kind post featured one of my new header images, so I thought I’d post it while I get back to ball juggling.

Thank you, BD.

If you’ve come by way of BlogDramedy’s blog, welcome and thank you for visiting.

And if, for some reason that I can’t even begin to imagine, you haven’t already been to BD’s place, go check her out. But remember, her eyes are up here, buddy. Yeesh.

Still playing around with summer flowers and header images, I turned these three images . . .



…into these new header images:

The tiger lilies are in bloom again.

I know the classic Kate Hepburn line is about calla lilies.

I’ve adapted it as a ritual every June. When I see the first tiger lilies appear, I joyfully pronounce, in my best aristocratic, melodramatic Katharine Hepburn voice, “The tiger lilies are in bloom again.”

And then, only then — not on Memorial Day, not the first 90-degree day, not on the last day of school, not on the summer solstice, but on the first sighting of tiger lilies — summer officially has arrived in my world. Bring on the lemonade and the summer reading list (I’m back on a Mary Alice Monroe kick), the sunscreen and flip-flops, the summer music playlist. Next up, fireflies!

A beautiful tree outside my window was struck by lightning last summer and had to be removed. I was sorry to see it go. Without its shade, some tiger lilies have sprung up along the wall. They’re reaching for light and some appear to be struggling more than others, but they’re such a welcome sight.




It’s officially summer!


On an ever-so-remotely related note — you might have to reach for it like a tiger lily seeking sunlight — I’ve been playing with my camera, Microsoft Picture Manager, and different angles and perspectives for header images. This morning my toes decided to photo-bomb a shot from overhead looking down on the lantana.

It reminded me of the photo challenge I saw earlier in the week.


Look Who’s Walking.


It’s lilac season, and isn’t that a good thing?

This morning I got an email from Ottmar Liebert with secret links to new music and a photograph he took in Barcelona of what he thinks might be lilacs.

Here’s one link, to a tune called “quietrainmoss,” from his album “three-oh-five.” It’s definitely worth the listen, if only for the groovy sound he made with paper in his strings at about the 4:48 mark.

His email said that he thought the flowers in the photograph were lilacs, but curiously they didn’t have a scent. I wrote back to let him know that they still didn’t have a scent when the photo arrived in my in-box.

So there’s one more person who probably wouldn’t trust me with pointy objects.

In related lilac news, I had a Carly Simon-fest over the weekend that eventually landed me at her video blog on YouTube, where she makes these little snippets of video from her bedroom on Martha’s Vineyard. I love that island.

I dare say that if anyone else made those videos, one might be tempted to hide the pointy objects.

But they’re adorably, unabashedly, quirkily Carly, and I love them.

I also love ukeleles, avocados, pumpernickel bread, chocolate ice cream, Lucy, and falling into bed. And lilacs. Not necessarily in that order.

Today I walked three miles around my neighborhood. A month ago I could barely walk at all. Baby steps. Almost literally.

While I walked I had a Eudora Welty-inspired reverie, the seedling to a short story based on the fictional theory that Carly might be my long-lost mother. By the time I made it to the computer, it was less Eudora Welty and more nonsense.

To celebrate my three miles of baby steps, I took some photos of my neighbor’s lilacs.

They smell wonderful, but I suppose you’ll have to take my word for that.

Peace and lilacs and all that . . .






Postcard from the real world

This weekend  I decided to put aside deadlines and to-do lists, to take a break from the real world and spend some time in . . . well, the real world.

The weather was beautiful. I wish you were here.

I thought about how you would use your words to describe the beauty of the day and the freedom of the experience in poetry and prose, or how your cameras would capture better images.

I thought about telling you of this place , which I am not alone in thinking of as “Mayberry,” where the people are friendly, the children are always outside playing — riding bikes or skateboards, sailing, swimming, practicing lacrosse or basketball — and how even the teenagers politely wave and say “hello;” how the dogs are fat and happy, as dogs should be, too content to run away, too secure to feel threatened by strangers; how the local policeman sits watching to make sure things stay as they should be  and how he too smiles and waves, unless you’re breaking the speed limit.

I thought about how I never got around to writing about the lemonade stand, and how eagerly I await its next impromptu appearance to see how its sun-kissed, freckle-faced, giggly entrepreneurs have grown since last fall.

I thought about describing the landmarks — the Thomas Point Lighthouse and the U.S. Naval Academy and upcoming Commissioning Week, or telling you about the local competition between sailboaters and powerboaters out there on the open water.

I thought about how some of you would understand the experience of having forgotten how steep a certain grade is or how much farther 10 miles is to pedal  after a long winter indoors, but the feeling of wind and fresh air and sunshine is more than worth the achy muscles.

And I thought about the amusing theories you might have about the fat goose sunning itself on the pier and whether figgy pudding would figure into any of your theories.

Upon closer inspection, it appears s/he was armed and dangerous. I'm lucky to be alive to write this.

Upon closer inspection, it appears s/he was armed and dangerous. I’m lucky to be alive to write this.

But mostly I just  thought . . . about things like dandelions and buttercups, driftwood and rock walls, bonfires and magnolia trees, and fat, sunbathing geese . I breathed fresh air and I took pictures and soaked in enough sunshine to get myself through what threatens to be a rainy week, back in that other so-called  real world.

Wherever you are, I hope your weather is beautiful and your real world is as pleasant as a Saturday bike ride  in April.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong

This is my first attempt at a weekly  photo challenge. The topic seemed about right for an ongoing draft that hasn’t gone anywhere.

Something about that sentence seems sort of, well, wrong.

My daily commute is a long one, which, to the carbon footprint-noters among you might seem . . .wrong. You’ll get no argument from me.

I live where I like to live. I work where I need to work. Someday I’ll live in a beachside cottage and spend my days working at whatever it is that I love to do by that time. Today is not that day. Nor is tomorrow.

Environmental guilt, loss of quality lollygagging time, and a few other things aside, there are things about my commute that I enjoy.  I drive some back roads from this place by the water into the heart of the big city. Sometimes the things I see in just one drive are fascinating.

Most of the things I see whiz past too quickly for me to take pictures and my words wouldn’t do them justice.  Occasionally, I’ll have an opportunity to take a picture.

This one is from a few weeks ago.  I was driving along one of those back roads, in the middle of nowhere, when I spotted a roll of toilet paper along the side of the road. 

Why was it there? How did it get there?  Was it hitching a ride? Waiting for someone? Are bears becoming more sophisticated in their hygiene habits?

I was so intrigued by these questions that I turned around and drove back to take a photograph.  It’s not bad-wrong, just out of place-wrong. 

And now I’ve done a weekly photo challenge. Where’s that Stuff I Want To Do list?

Here’s hoping everything about your weekend is not wrong.

Artscape: Free food tastes better.

Baltimore held its annual Artscape festival this weekend.  The fun included a flying rhino, men loitering in tutu’s, women in roller skates on the flying trapeze, a mechanical chicken, crocheted portable toilets, art cars, oversized portions of extremely unhealthy food choices, a giant banana car, the Weinermobile, and even an opportunity to scribble a little graffiti (can you guess which is mine?) .

My daughter picked up a poster for her study area.  Her mother approves of the lyrical message.

SmartFood gave out free bags of chips and popcorn. When we got to the table, they were temporarily out of stock. The angry / hungry crowd swelled, but we waited. . . because her sweetheart says free food tastes better.

Tensions grew in the sweltering, popcornless heat. Eventually boxes were delivered. But it was a harrowing five-minute wait that I shall never forget. Until Thursday. I am sure he appreciates the sacrifice we didn’t actually make in the potential Snack Riot of 2012 to get him some free chips and popcorn, because that’s the way he is.

One of my favorite parts is the festival-goers themselves. Undeniably one of the best people-watching events of the season.

If some pictures appear small, click your refresh button and they should appear in full size. I don’t know why that is. Mercury is retrograde.

Ojo de Dios!

It takes a tough man to ride a mechanical chicken.

When rhinos fly. . . .

“I got no words.” — The man standing beside me when I took this shot.

Nice bag!

A marriage of marketing icons. (The “Natty Boh” (National Bohemian beer) guy and the Utz (potato chip) girl).

This car burns incense (except in Oregon and New Jersey).

Words of wisdom (lots of them).

Extreme hood ornaments.

Ants were a big theme. I do not know why.

“What’s up?” (One of his alleged phrases)

Groovy idea.

“That looks like the (stuff)!” — Woman who asked about the cheesy bacon chips.

One quasi-hippie + one magic marker = one bad pun.

My graffitti close up.

The crowd admires my graffiti.

Him again?

Air guitar

$1 to see the giant man-eating chicken. Or is that giant man eating chicken? I didn’t spend the $1 to find out.

For Sarge and Lorna, but mostly Sarge.

. . . and you thought that last picture was “awwwww” . . .

Motivational advice for law school.

Hot dogs.

Even more impressive in person. Fabric art by Jamie Langhoff — www.seeinginfabric.etsy.com

It’s not over ’til you’ve seen the roller-skating trapeze act.

Fireworks over Villa Cahier

As a peace-loving, “Yay, you”-type, I’m a little disappointed in myself for leaving a grumpy tirade on punctuation lingering for so long, but I don’t have anything ready for publishing.

Hopefully those of you in the U.S.  are off enjoying family and friends for the holiday and haven’t noticed and others are still wondering what the fuss is over an apostrophe.

In any event, to put a more positive, festive spin on things here in Le Cahier,  here are a few pictures I took of fireworks last night.   

Wherever you are, happy everything!