Monday, May 30, 2011

Chubby Nike

This chubby bearded iris bloom in my garden is Nike the winged goddess of victory in flower form: fast runner, swift flyer and able charioteer!

Wind Advisory and Bearded Iris

A bird's nest in my clematis vine nearly dislodged the tendrils from the trellis today. I was forced to secure the vine to the trellis with a pair of my mother's old pantyhose. Perhaps a wren contributed the smaller blue egg and a sparrow added the larger brown egg. Whoever the poor parent is, he or she could not sit on the nest today; With winds gusting to 40 miles per hour, warming the eggs would have been hazardous to the bird as the vine that the nest was concealed in sailed to and fro madly on the breeze.

May 30, 2011 Anticipation

Glory of the Bearded Iris

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Maid Service

This cleaning woman stands on the shelf in my mother's living room, although my mother was born into the generation of American women who considered the tidiness of their homes an extension of their identity and self-esteem.

Friday, May 27, 2011

He loves me; He loves me not!

Daisy Day - May 27, 2011 - First Daisy Sighting Today

Blooming Wild: Nelly Moser

Molly Noser has eight sepals and pale pink flowers. The sepals have reddish pink center stripes with purplish brown anthers. Molly the Clematis on my trellis opened her lovely pink eyes on May 27, 2011 in a light rain shower.

Donkey Daze

This photo is an "Only in Iowa" shot because this type of shot expresses the rural, Midwestern, agricultural, mellow, laid back lifestyle of my childhood homeland. Corn peaking its green rows into the world; creeks carrying mallard ducks on their currents; and town population sizes of 5,000 or fewer- each with their own water tower- dot the landscape. Imagine being dazed by a donkey in a parade that is one city block long! I admit that I was rather juvenile when I took this photo, and I apologize to the man who was attaching the letters and date to announce the festivity of Donkey Daze to the community. But I am sure he would smile if he only knew he brought a smile to the face of a woman engaged in a childish prank. And, you can't see his face, only another more prominent part of his body, ha ha.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Shadow of the Third

In chapter 10 of Mating in Captivity, Perel addresses a question central to American coupling and marriage. Love in America involves togetherness and union, but what about about autonomy and freedom? Couples are left with very little advice on how to negotiate their individual selves in the union.

Perel writes on page 189:

Armed with the idea that love advocates togetherness, we are awkward about pursuing autonomy. This is especially true of the individuality of our desire... A woman's fantasies are proof of her freedom and separateness, and that sometimes scares her partner. The 'third' points to other possibilities, choices we didn't make, and in this way it's bound up with our freedom. Laura Kipnis says, "What is more anxiety producing than a partner's freedom, which might mean the freedom not to love you, or to stop loving you, or to love someone else, or to become a different person than the one who once pledged to love you always, and now.... perhaps doesn't."

How do we foster togetherness/trust in a relationship while at the same time giving our partners the freedom and autonomy that they need in order to maintain desire and eroticism in the relationship? How do we avoid being perceived as too familiar, dull and habitual to our beloved lovers/intimate erotic choices?

Wild Things in Captivity - D.H. Lawrence

Wild things in captivity
while they keep their own wild purity
won't breed, they mope, they die.

All men are in captivity,
active with captive activity,
and the best won't breed, though they don't know why.

The great cage of our domesticity
kills sex in a man, the simplicity
of desire is distorted and twisted awry.

And so, with bitter perversity,
gritting against the great adversity,
they young ones copulate, hate it, and want to cry.

Sex is a state of grace.
In a cage it can't take place.
Break the cage then, start in and try.

Rainy Day Water Play

Two mallard ducks floated and waddled in a large grassy pool that backed up in a ditch this afternoon. Only one block from where I live, sharing the neighborhood with amazing flying creatures; a visual joy from nature. A female was paddling around with these two boys, but she decided to exit the frame.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Robin Eggs

I was watching a red-breasted robin couple collectively building a nest and noticed both nest and eggs on the ground after several days of thunderstorms that shook their tree. Three blue eggs, one slightly cracked, and now mom and dad must begin again.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Notes on Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel

A Paradox to Manage, Not a Problem to Solve

What makes sustaining desire over time so difficult is that it requires reconciling two opposing forces: freedom and commitment. That makes it harder to “work at.” It belongs to the category of existential dilemmas that are as unsolvable as they are unavoidable. We find the same polarities in every system: stability and change, passion and reason, personal interest and collective wellbeing, action and reflection (to name but a few). They express dynamics that are part of the very nature of reality. Barry Johnson, an expert in leadership who is the author of Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems, describes polarities as sets of interdependent opposites that belong to the same whole- you can’t choose one over the other; the system needs both to survive (p. 82).

Human relationships are a paradox to manage. We are too complicated as living beings to be simple problems to solve. Human emotions and past experiences make that impossible.

Evolutionary Anthropology

There’s an evolutionary anthropologist named Helen Fisher who explains that lust is metabolically expensive. It’s hard to sustain after the evolutionary payoff: the kids. You become so focused on the incessant demands of daily life that you short-circuit any electric charge between you (Perel, p. 79).

Desire and an erotic connection to one’s partner involve self-awareness and empathy.

Songbird Robin: New Acquisitions

Songbird Robin Columbine Aquilegia
(the new purchase for my garden)

Phlox in bloom on May 22, 2011

Red Hot Poker Plant Power!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Desire's Trajectory

Reading Mating In Captivity by Esther Perel

Sharing some pearls of relationship wisdom from Perel's book that sparkle in my hands.


Sexual desire does not obey the laws that maintain peace and contentment between partners. Reason, understanding, compassion, and camaraderie are the handmaidens of a close, harmonious relationship. But sex often evokes unreasoning obsession rather than thoughtful judgment, and selfish desire rather than altruistic consideration. Aggression, objectification and power all exist in the shadow of desire, components of passion that do not necessarily nurture intimacy. Desire operates along its own trajectory (p. 31).

Love / Desire

Love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery. Love likes to shrink the distance that exists between me and you, while desire is energized by it. Intimacy grows through repetition and familiarity, eroticism is numbed by repetition. It thrives on the mysterious, the novel, the unexpected. Love is about having; desire is about wanting. An expression of longing, desire requires ongoing elusiveness. It is less concerned with where it has already been than passionate about where it can still go. But too often, as couples settle into the comforts of love, they cease to fan the flame of desire. They forget that fire needs air (p. 37).

Rainy Feet

My feet went wading through the puddles this morning as the
sun and blue sky graced my vision!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Life Is Not Fair

I am considering power, hungry and raw, and how men and women handle the benefits of the power seat because of the continual media barrage of ex-IMF chief Strauss-Kahn and Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger's shenanigans swirling around me.

After recently finishing the book- Some Girls: My Life In A Harem- by Jillian Lauren, I was reflecting on Lauren's position as a 'party girl' in the harem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Borneo in 1991. The women at his parties decorated the sofas and were exclusively selected for royal sexual use. They couldn't leave the premises of the prince's compound without his permission and spent their days beautifying themselves for the parties they attended at night to amuse the prince and his royal brothers. In exchange for their beauty and bodies, Prince Bolkiah gave them lavish gifts of gold jewelry and thick piles of cash. Many of the Thai, Malay and Filipino women used the money to buy houses for their families, educate their children, and prepare for a secure retirement in their golden years: viewing the exchange of sexual favors for cash as a business transaction.

What makes me angry about living in the year 2011 is that women still do not have the same access to the avenues of power and financial security that men do, while men abuse their power and privilege trapping women under their thumbs in the age-old money for beauty/body exchange. When will this situation change? The sad conclusion I have reached is that only when men want it to change.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

lily of the valley

How could I forget this fragrant bell-shaped flower with a scent 20 times more potent than its wee pea size. I plucked this stem from my garden before the rain arrived tonight.


Pulmonaria (Lungwort)

The feeling of anticipation and disappointment is expressed by Jillian Lauren in the book Some Girls: My Life In A Harem:

"I've always liked rooms when the party hasn't started yet. Even more magical are theaters during the day, before the doors open, before the show begins, when the house lights are on and you can see the rafters and the scuffs on the floor. I love the feeling that anything could happen. After the party, when anything already has happened, there's usually the inevitable fact to face that anything wasn't all you'd hope it would be" (p. 109).

Free Spirit Bloom on May 19, 2011

Montana Centaurea escapes from its designated garden space and spreads unpredictably around the yard!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

18 May 2011 Blooms

Dainty Flax

Modest Ms. Columbine

The varieties of columbine amaze me. When I looked at this single plant today, yellow puffy hoop skirts with pink trim waltzed alongside vanilla wedding cake with pink velvet frosting. So many colors and designs decorate our world! Remember to keep your eyes open so nature can playfully pinch your senses.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review of: A Singular Woman

A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother by Janny Scott

I did my usual self-edit of a biography. When I found fact-filled sections of the book that I deemed to be irrelevant to my intellectual purpose, I skipped and/or skimmed those passages. Learning about Stanley Ann Dunham's life was an amazing journey into the mind of a woman who was ahead of her time. This book demonstrates the different expectations American society places on the role of "good mothers" and "good fathers." Women are always judged more harshly in the role of parent, and it's simply NOT fair. Any father who had done the same thing that Dunham did- pursue her career in anthropology- would not be labeled a bad father. He would simply be a normal father.

I loved this passage from the book:

One of Ann's stories- at least as one colleague remembered it- concerned a group of village women from Africa and Indonesia. On some earlier occasion, Ann had invited them to get together to talk about their lives. During a discussion of similarities and differences, the Indonesian women mentioned an unusual practice. After childbirth, a woman would put a salt pack in her vagina, ostensibly to restore its firmness. The practice was painful, the women conceded. But it was thought to help women remain "young" for their husbands. The African women were incredulous: Why would a woman willingly inflict pain on herself? The Indonesian women- or so Ann told the story- asked, "What do you do, then, to be able to continue to please your husbands?" recalled the colleague who was present. "The African women all rolled about laughing and said, "We find a bigger man!"

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Garden Delights May 12, 2011

I am embarrassed these two shameless lovers were smooching in my garden plotting to spread their seed on the next twist of the breeze. The common dandelion is quite invasive and prolific if left unchecked. I cupped my hand around these two furry globes before they could spread their future offspring far and wide.

Sweet woodruff, sweethearts, sweet chocolate, and sweet days to come!

Money, money, money plants promise a windfall of joy and dreams fulfilled!

The first phlox sighting in my garden.

Blooms on May 12, 2011 - The lilac's scent is once again on the breeze.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Neon and Prehistoric Life Unfurling

So much work to do in the garden!

A fern unfolds slowly
Opening its fronds to the sun

Cushion Spurge

It's A Bug's Life

I watched these Asian Lady Beetles this morning in my garden. A frantic amorous period of multi-partner partnerships and vigorous sexual activity was unfolding in the flowers. After ten minutes of making whoopie, the beetles stopped moving- possibly taking naps on the plush green leaves and purple blossoms.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

How does my garden grow?

I have decided to catalog the bloom time of my flowers in photos this year. Early hyacinth, daffodil, tulip, and bleeding heart grace the spring breeze.

The bleeding heart is delicate; a short burst of blood, dying back brown after spilling its passion into the world.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Lost In Translation Yet Again

E-mail from a student on April 6, 2011:

Hi Lori! How are you? I am a little be. Great day. Steve.

I love to think that Steve is comparing himself to a little bee, but I'm sure that is not what he meant to say.

My friend Linda deserves all the credit for this comment on Nicki Minaj's video, a comment that transformed my morning into bubbles of pink laughter and giggles:

"no one can make that shade of pepto bismol look good..."

Thanks Dr. Linda!

About Me

My photo

What do I do? That’s a question with more depth than the deceiving three-word construction would lead us to believe.

I live on planet earth with other folks, and I’m involved in the field of education and learning. I’m a life-long learner with a passion for knowledge and the process of bending bits of ideas into new constructions of beauty.