Thursday, June 30, 2011

peculiar spirit

"The composition of the human species is infinitely more diverse than most humans suspect," she began... "there are the coerlfolc, the teeming mass of common people who make up humanity's great bulk, and there is the hidden branch- the crypto-sapiens, if you will- who are called syndrigast, or "peculiar spirit" in the venerable language of my ancestors. As you have no doubt surmised, we here are of the latter type."

To quote Miss Peregrine on p. 149: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29 in my Garden III

Butterfly weed seedlings face to the sunshine.
When the seedlings emerge, the seed pods are still clinging to the tiny leaves. Plating seeds is a journey of hope, knowing the roots will create a foundation for tomorrow.

New life is in my hands, and my feet want to be included too.

Yucca Plant Flowers - This is a tough plant with sword-like leaves that poke and jab me when I pull the dead foliage from under the plant. This plant looks out of place in the state of Iowa and is not my favorite in the garden.


June 29 My Garden II

Blanket Flower
This flower blankets/smothers other vegetation:
not a team player.

The crazy hairstyle of beebalm is in a daring shade of pink.

Purple Parasols

Black-eyed Susan looks as if she has chocolate in the middle.

June 29 My Garden I

Butterfly weed attracts butterflies, and it really does work!

Asclepias Tuberosa - otherwise known as butterfly weed


Monday, June 27, 2011

Stormy Weather

Stormy weather and high winds on June 26, 2011 downed three trees on my sister's property near the river last night. We played pick up sticks, branches and leaves for most of the morning on the 27th. The neighbor's puppy, Mollie, came to survey the damage and enjoyed nibbling on my earlobes and getting her tummy scratched while she was in the backyard.

Baby Mollie

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Underpromise and Overdeliver

The first person account of Manal Omar's work with the NGO Women for Women International in Baghdad immediately following the American occupation in 2003 begins on a hopeful note as Iraqis greet American soldiers as liberators, but the memoir ends with the fragmentation and dissolution of the country based on ethnic, religious, and tribal affiliations.

This quote on page 142 of the paperback edition of Barefoot in Baghdad is the butterfly effect in humanitarian terms.

Years of humanitarian work had taught me that the smallest intervention could set loose an avalanche of unexpected consequences. I knew better than to dive in on a whim. The key was to anticipate and plan for worse-case scenarios and to take calculated risks to improve people's lives. Even the most experienced aid workers could find themselves stuck in some intractable situation. My organization's motto was "Underpromise and overdeliver."

Manal M. Omar

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Power of Eros

The middle school building will be closed at the end of the upcoming 2011-12 school year. Kent Thompson wrote in the local newspaper: "With 92 years of memories stored inside those walls, this summer seemed like an opportune time to renew old friendships, reminisce about those days gone by and take a last look at the building where formative years were spent."

My sister and I took a tour of the middle school building tonight.
This thin, erotic and feminine Cupid (Artemis perhaps ?) graces the front of the old kitchen cupboards in our middle school home economics kitchen/classroom.

Does anyone know the name of the company that manufactured these kitchen cupboards? Is this the company logo?

I like this description.
Artemis: She was a veritable encyclopedia of feminine possibility.

Spirit Food

‎"There are places in the world where you can go down on your knees — even if you are a card-carrying secularist — and rail and curse and bless and thank your gods. Such places are removed from the push and pull of everyday life, from the noise and verbiage of human chatter."

onBeing Blog - June 25, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24 In My Garden

Pink Mallow (Musk Mallow?)

A fallen bird's nest is soil for a maple seed:
The Miracle of Nature!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Shasta Daisy - June 21
Perhaps perfection does exist!

Beautiful: Biutiful

Visualizing Perfection

The misspelling of the word beautiful in the title of the film Biutiful is the unrealized potential of an ideal nuclear family- husband, wife, son and daughter- split bipolar and divorced at the seams. The soft spot in the heart of the main character, Uxbal, represents Everyman navigating through a world that elevates money and profit above human welfare and relationships. Uxbal is in the middle of a business venture that both employs and exploits illegal Chinese and Senegalese immigrants in Spain. His weakness and his strength is that he forms relationships with the immigrants, caring about the quality of their food, shelter and clothing or lack thereof.

Eyes wide open listening to the storm outside, while thinking about the messages in the film, I wonder why the human mind can envision perfection if we can never reach it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chasing Dragonflies

Finally, a photograph of the zooming dragon!

I compared this dragonfly to photos of the twelve spotted skimmer, but the one I photographed above does not have a yellow stripe running down its abdomen (female) or white spots on its wings (male). The black spots on this dragonfly; however, are the same size and shape as the spots on a twelve spotted skimmer.

Art Festival Thunder Boomers

The Art Festival: Nature Prints

Volunteering at the art festival today gave me the chance to watch kids ages 3 to 10 pound the heck out of flowers and leaves to create patterns and colors on muslin.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Precious Energy

Precious Energy and Anger: Tricycle

Thich Nhat Hanh has a very beautiful thing to say about getting to know our anger:

Treat your anger with the utmost respect and tenderness, for it is no other than yourself. Do not suppress it—simply be aware of it. Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed. When you are aware that you are angry, your anger is transformed. If you destroy anger, you destroy the Buddha, for Buddha and Mara are of the same essence. Mindfully dealing with anger is like taking the hand of a little brother.

The Company We Keep: Truth


"I have always loved truth so passionately that I have often resorted to lying as a way of introducing it into the minds which were ignorant of its charms." -Casanova

Introduction to Chapter Twelve: The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story by Robert and Dayna Baer, Crown Publishers: 2011

The Company We Keep explores how life in the CIA distances operatives from family and friends, shifting the priority and focus from their private lives to their professional lives. The quote above refers to the lies and half-truths CIA agents tell informants, family members, lovers, spouses and friends in the course of an ordinary working day.

Note: Casanova was a recognized womanizer. Today, his name remains associated with the art of seduction: Cultivating activities that gave pleasure to the senses was a primary focus of his life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My mind is whirling asking questions and chasing answers.

I hit a dog. I searched the neighborhood for the owners. I couldn't find them. How did the owners feel when they spotted their lifeless pet on the side of the road a bright red collar cheerily decorating its neck? The animal resembled a Scottish Terrier. It was a short-legged sturdy creature speeding out of the meadow in the excitement of its youth ending up directly under the path of my tires. Before I could react to save its life, the deed was done. The sound of the black body thumping under my tire was gruesome. If I had forgotten my backpack or jacket, I would have returned to the house for those items and been too late for the appointment with that dog's death. too late for the appointment...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Brushy Creek

Road closed to development: Hurrah!

The Dairette - Ice cream after a day in the park.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Pink Lupine

slug on my finger

new to the garden: light pink lupine

cherry brandy Rudbeckia

Delphinium at Dusk

Violet, purple and white dominate my spring garden. It's time to add some PINK. I also bought a red lupine and a mos sweet Caroline hibiscus from Bailey Nurseries. I think I need a mos Cristi too, but first I must gauge the space and color palette of my garden. A photo of a pink lupine is coming soon. : ) Here it is: a nice addition of color.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Molt Molt In The Garden


Basu: Whatever the reason, Weiner's actions were pathetic

My empathy is for the men who can't find work and can't afford to get a degree, who are falling behind by most standard measures -- not the guys with every advantage, stuck in what author Kay Hymowitz calls a prolonged adolescence. And it's for the women who work diligently, quietly and with dignity only to get dragged into the slime their husbands made.

Whatever demons haunt a man in his situation, they are no excuse for hurting people and shirking the blame. If he really had a problem controlling himself, he should have come clean about it to his wife and sought a solution instead of leaving her blindsided and humiliated.

Power May Increase Promiscuity: Men are the center of sex scandals because they hold the center of power. Interesting research on NPR.

Snake Skin

A 14-inch long junior eastern garter snake (I suspect) slithered through the garden this week. When I detected its slippery movements, my first thought was for the welfare of the toad who lives in my garden. I rescued this particular toad from the window well earlier in the summer. A rustling of leaves was her distress call. I scooped her up and deposited her in the shade of the large maple tree in the backyard where she returned the favor by happily munching on garden pests for lunch. I hoped my green friend was not moving through the snake's digestive system at that moment because I had been keeping an eye on her since the time she emerged from a hibernation hole under the lilies in early May. A more senior garter snake had obviously been in my garden as well. Evidence of its molting was of interest to Seymour Cat who spent several minutes smelling the senior snake's upper layer of skin.

June 8


Laura Phlox

Coreopsis - as prolific as purple coneflower in my garden

Sweet William I

Sweet William II

Noteworthy Information

"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" (Quirk Books), by Ransom Riggs

The Poet of Bagdad by Jo Tatchell

Arab World Book Sampler from Yale University Press

Shivering Starbucks Espresso Dreams


Vomit, Bumblebees, Spiderworts and the Eastern Goldfinch

I had Starbucks espresso dreams last night- falling asleep for 10 to 20 minutes before subconscious images bolted me awake with flashes of orange panic. It didn’t help that an unnamed someone set the A/C to 69 degrees Fahrenheit before going to bed, so in the middle of twitchy espresso dreams, I would cough uncontrollably and fetal position my body under the heavy comforter. Perhaps drinking espresso before bed was the cause.

Although I shivered through much of the night, I was still pleased it was a cool breezy morning in the garden because only a few minutes before switching on the coffee machine and then skipping off barefoot into the great outdoors, my cat vomited twice after apparently eating grass according to my interpretation of the vomit. After vomiting for the first time, he must have been hungry, because he scarfed his food so quickly that he immediately ejected the contents on to the floor for a second time.

“Reflect on your behavior,” I told his furry backside because he had once again returned to a bowl of his $57 a bag cat food for a third time and was eating quite aggressively. Does a cat ever reflect on his behavior? In my house, the answer would be “NO!” Rather he expects his owner to clean up his vomit after a habitual cycle of binge and purge.

Naughty kitty.

Once I made it past the vomit, I was graced enough to see the state bird of Iowa, an Eastern Goldfinch, and her mate perched on opposing branches of my phlox plant. The couple was enjoying a morning snack of Lady Beetles. The male was yellow like the color of an overjoyed shout, while she was coyly camouflaged- sporting dull earthy feathers offering her chicks protection and anonymity from predators.

After giving my flowers a drink and determining that I still need to buy one or two more Bigleaf Ligularia plants, I watched awkward bumblebees settle on moist delphinium leaves to drench their thirst building from yesterday’s wind and heat advisory. I often wonder what the large buzzers are thinking as they stray from flower to flower looking for the nectar that hits the spot.

The Spiderwort opens its blossoms in the morning, and its time-released beauty is a gift to the early riser. Many of the plants I have growing in my garden are Iowa prairie natives, vegetative magnets for both bumblebees and ruby-throated hummingbirds alike.

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.