Saturday, November 28, 2009

Darling Clementines

I picked this season's first ripe clementines from our tree on Thanksgiving day. Last year the tree gave very little fruit but this year I watered it every few weeks and I guess that made the difference. Some branches hang only a couple of feet above the ground, burdened with abundance.

Clementines are about the size of a tangerine, sweeter and easier to peel. Rarely will you find a seed in a clementine. (I wonder how they propagate?) I ate one Thursday night. Delicate, delectable, nature's perfect little package of delight. Apparently I'm advocating for them.

This is our fourth holiday season in our Pasadena home. Each year (except the last) we've bought baskets at the 99 Cents Only Store and filled them with clementines to deliver to friends and neighbors. Some folks have come to expect them so last year was a tragedy of block-wide proportions.

Soon I'll get out the ladder and begin instituting my No Clementine Left Behind Plan. Besides my distribution program I'll eat as many as I can. The squirrels will, too, which is fine with me. We've got plenty.

If my father were alive, today would be his 93rd birthday. He was the one who first sang Darling Clementine to me. He had a wicked sense of humor.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Library Window

The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm
by Wallace Stevens, 1879-1955

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanskgiving, 2009

I hope Paula of Pensacola Daily Photo won't mind me quoting her: "expressing gratitude isn't saying what you're grateful for, it's what you do with what you're grateful for." It's much like the old chestnut (or the old pecan), "actions speak louder than words."

I like that because it reminds me I can talk talk talk (or write write write), but it's what I do that counts. My actions are so much more important than my "blahbedy-blah Thanksgiving platitudes." (Shoot, I worked really hard on them, too.)

I'm grateful for so many things I can't list them all here but they include my husband, my dog, my home, friends, food and freedom. I'm going to spend time enjoying all of those things today.

I wish you more blessings than you can count.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Two Beasts

I have an architectural photo to post. The building has interesting lines. I sit at the keyboard, hunkered down in my lair, without one interesting line in my head.

"Must write must write must write," I think. But I don't type it because it isn't interesting.


"Boz, I'm trying to work." If I hadn't just gotten my hair cut I'd pull it out. But it's too short, I can't get a grip on it. Maybe I'll write about my haircut.

Squeak! Squeak!

"Not now, Boz."

Nobody cares about my haircut. I consider writing some sort of blahbedy-blah Thanksgiving platitude but I want to save that for tomorrow.

Squeak! Squeak! Squeak!

I look up.

Boz stands at my office door with his stuffed zebra in his mouth. He chomps down, squeaking the squeaker to get my attention.

He is calling me out.


This is war.

I creep out of my cave. He backs away, then trots, then runs. I stalk, then chase Boz across the wide open fields of the dining room, down the dark forest path of the hallway and into the living room's dimly-lit shrubbery. All the while, the zebra cries out for help.

I must get the zebra from Boz. I must try to save it. I grab and pull, but Boz shakes his head with violence and refuses to relinquish his prey. I give up. No I don't! Boz shoves the zebra at me, daring me to try again, growling in his most horrible, most vicious, "come-back-here-I-won't-kill-you-but-I-could-if-I-wanted-to" growl. I growl, too, a kind of a giggle growl, and we roar at each other while he squeaks the squeaker to the delight of his deep, inner, dichotomous wolf-brain: "I'm killing I'm killing I'm killing! I'm a good boy!"

I let him win. He first extracts the squeaker, the zebra's beating heart. Then, with powerful, sharp teeth, he extracts mouthful after mouthful of the fluffy viscera of dog toy. He relishes his victory, his jaw muscles working, his claws gripping his kill.

Then, amid the carnage, the beast finally rests. He submits to a flash photo only because he's sated now, tired enough to be patient. I'm the impatient one, unwilling to read the directions and photograph in manual mode, in a hurry to shoot the big game before he slinks off to his lair.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Thanksgiving Moment

As we savor this week of Thanksgiving it's useful to take a moment to reflect on what's important, before the rampant consumerism of Christmas sets upon us.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Zen Monday: #73

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what I think the photo's about.
I also stay out of the comments box for most of the day, to avoid influencing the discussion. I look for a photo worth contemplating or, failing that, at least something odd or silly.

As I post each new Zen Monday photo I add a label to last week's to identify it if necessary--if I know what it is.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

iDo iMpressions

Every evening when the sun strikes at a certain angle, the mountains turn pink. I never tried to show you with my Olympus SP350, but I have a plan in mind to capture it with the Canon 20D when I'm good and ready.

But today the pink moment happened with clouds and I didn't have either camera with me.

If you live in Illinois or Alabama or Europe you may not think clouds are a big deal, but we don't get them very often in southern California, and excuse me, but do you get a pink moment with your clouds?

I took this photo with my iPhone. It doesn't do justice to the pink moment, but if you enlarge it you'll see it has a...well, an impressionistic quality. Yeah. That's it.

I added a little more pink.

Then I added a lot more pink. I'm not crazy about it.

So I tried blue. Yep. I got yer Monet right here.

Are we talkin' Hudson River School or what?

I like the gold, too. Very western. Chuck Monet, if you will. Hell, even if you won't.

For an excellent iGallery, visit Vanda at toadberry.