Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mini Roses

Por La Mer Nursery in Santa Barbara, California grows some wonderful mini roses, two of which are now planted in my garden next to the group of red hot pokers. I hope the ivory-colored roses make it through the winter- delicate little satiny blooms that they are.

Balloon Buddies

A white balloon flower is a new addition to my 2011 garden. Side note: I went to the horticulture show last night at our local county fair. What a treat!


Rose Mallow: I would love to be a luna cultivar.

Lord Baltimore and his bright red blossoms will be Rose's constant companion in the garden.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nelly and the Cardinal

I rescued two cranesbill geraniums (sanguineum) and one Cardinal Wyszynski clematis from outside of the the Hy-Vee grocery store in Fort Dodge, Iowa last week. The Cardinal was so dry that I rushed him to the women's restroom inside the store for a drink from the faucet. I planted the clematis today and hope it will intertwine and make love to Nelly Moser, blood red and demure pink copulating silently in my garden.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sweet Season

shuck shuck boil and eat
Sweet corn is a bit phallic- ew!

Corn silk clings to mom's shoes.

July 24, 2011 - We (my mama and I) bought the first sweet corn of the season at the downtown farmers' market on Saturday. I couldn't remember the verb for cleaning sweet corn tonight. I knew it wasn't "peel" and then I remembered: SHUCK.

Ah, shucks, I forgot the verb. ; )

My mom was hard at work peeling (shucking) the sweet corn when I brought our her polka music. We enjoyed listening to the "Laughing Polka" by the Wendinger Band while we worked. My mom probably enjoyed it more than I did because she is such a Polka Nut!


Here's the Musicmeister Band playing that same polka.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I love sock monkeys.

I may have found a seamstress to make me a Rockford Red Heel® sock elephant- a cousin to the sock monkey. I met the daughter of the seamstress at the farmers' market this morning.

This is what the big girl will look like when the seamstress delivers her to my care.

My mother told me that my grandfather wore Rockford Red Heel® socks to his grave. My adopted Grandma Pearl made me a sock monkey when I was but a wee girl. Sock monkeys must be my animal totem, and they bring sock joy to my heart.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


This thank you note means something to me.

Barb Sorensen
B.P. 2030
Rep. of Congo, Central Africa

May 11, 2011

Dear Lori,

I want to thank you so much for all you gave to the female inmates - they so appreciated your generosity. The cloth you had I cut into 3 so 3 women would have a cloth skirt. Your shoes and socks went into the male prison - I see your sox each Friday now!

Thanks again Lori -
Lord bless you -

On July 23, 2011, I sent Barb this response.

Hello Barb and Lejuste,

I got Barb's thank you note (letter) today and it was so lovely. The letter touched my heart. I was laughing because my feet are really big. The thought of Congolese male prisoners at the jail wearing my big socks was a wonderful image. And the skirts that you made with the material for the women prisoners- I am so happy to know that my clothes went to people who really need them. Thanks Lejuste for sending the letter to me in the States. You two are both wonderful friends.


p.s. Barb told me in a later message that she has seen my socks at the prison but not my brown Crocs. I loved those brown Crocs, but my Congolese friends said they were tacky shower shoes and not appropriate for a teacher to wear outside the house.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hope Leaves

Never lose faith is what this tree has taught me.
New leaves: New life! The tree had no leaves in May 2011.
Don't give up because you have friends little tree.
You also have me.

Jewels sparkle purple in my garden on July 22. 2011.

In my garden, my mighty garden, the toad hops tonight.

A visit from the cardinal...

3:49 p.m. Friday, July 22, 2011

I bought a Cardinal Wyszynski clematis for one dollar late in the season. Any advice from fellow gardeners on keeping it happy? Photos to follow later this afternoon.

Clematis Cardinal Wyszynski link:


Looking for the space/balance between autism (math and science) and bipolar tendencies (languages and arts) because this is the intellectual atmosphere where true genius dwells.



From Earth, Fire and Water

We can make our minds so like still water
that beings gather about us that they may see,
it may be, their own images,
and so live for a moment with a clearer,
perhaps even fiercer life
because of our quiet.

- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

East Meets West

Lord of Letters and Learning Meets Lady of Dreams and Fantasy

I found these two deities- Ganesh the remover of obstacles and Minnie the keeper of dreams- at thrift stores today. One U.S. dollar to remove obstacles in the path of my dreams isn't much.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

~ Judy Brown ~


From Earth, Fire and Water

We can make our minds so like still water
that beings gather about us that they may see,
it may be, their own images,
and so live for a moment with a clearer,
perhaps even fiercer life
because of our quiet.

- William Butler Yeats

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Global Sizzle

After two hours of moving bearded iris bulbs to a new location in my garden, I was saturated with sweat (80% dripping wet) and focused on mixing apple cider with seltzer water. I gulped a huge glass of the beverage with ice when I walked into the kitchen and thought to myself:

"Oh, no! There is a heat advisory until Thursday and it's only Sunday today."

Why was I moving the bearded iris? because the peach and the brown varieties would look better color coordinated in the same location instead of separated by daisies and lilies.

Global warming?

When I looked at my shorts and the material was dripping salty sweat from both legs, I determined that my precious body fluids were not all there. The heat index- 44 degrees Celsius in a climate of 67 percent humidity- helped me grasp the principle of flowers wilting in the midday sunshine and then popping erectly back to life at six in the evening when the sky turns a hushed orange.

What will the world be like when this round glob of organic matter and heartbeats heats up to sizzling? Why does road rage multiplied by ten come to mind? People can't help but being unpleasant as they mop a lake of gushing liquid from their brows and experience their bras and underpants filling with moisture. I need more apple juice and seltzer water just thinking about it.

Extra, extra, read more about it in The New York Times Opinion pages.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

feel like stepping out

Stepping Out by Margaret Shore

Creativity Explored is a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell art.


"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe simply because it has been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is written in Holy Scriptures. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of teachers, elders, or wise men. Believe only after careful observation and analysis, when you find that it agrees with reason, and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all. Then accept it and live up to it."

- Buddha

Thanks Charles Day for posting this reminder.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


It's the backside of Samson and the Lion greeting visitors as they enter the second floor galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Perspective matters!

Samson and the Lion, Cristoforo Stati - 1604-1607

photo shot on July 11, 2011

Dramatic Pause

Blogger Sabbatical:
I don't know when I will be back in blogger action,
so until that time:
Joy and enlightenment to all!

I took this photo at the Gold Coast Art Fair in Chicago.

Chicago's Soul Sonic Sirkus

Folk and Roots Festival performance in Chicago on Sunday, July 10, 2011. The Sirkus is a collaboration between two Chicago arts institutions - The Midnight Circus and saxophonist Mars Williams of Liquid Soul fame.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Garden Nerd

I realize that gardening is not everyone’s passion, and rescuing a toad repeatedly from the window-well until she has learned to stare me down until I assist her out of her predicament doesn’t make everyone feel like a hero, but cataloging the bloom time of my flowers on my blog this summer has been extremely helpful in furthering my ideas on garden design and landscape architecture.

“What a boring garden nerd,” you counter. I embrace that title proudly.

Easter lilies remind me of death and a man splayed on the cross. These are not nice images. So why do I have Easter lilies in my garden? I felt sorry for the bulbs. My mom received the flowers as a gift and they would have rotted in their pots had I not planted them somewhere. I will try to revise my thoughts to the joyous living world whenever I see them blooming.

Flower Speak: "I am a balloon flower! Need I say more?"

Some gardeners view the globe thistle as a noxious weed. I, however, am not one of those gardeners. I respect this plant's protective thorns and its resolve to never die.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Take Your Best Guess

Leftovers from the clematis flower go around and around!

Lilly blossom is ready to blow.

Firefly Twilight

The Balloon Flower's Transformation
See photo number three.

It was necessary to thickly coat myself in a DEET-based product tonight or risk the hunger of mama mosquitoes buzzing around my ears. Before I visited the garden of swarming blood suckers, I performed minor surgery on the fleshy part of my hand below my right thumb to remove a thorn that had lodged itself there. Surprisingly, I found a Band-Aid just the right size for the mini-wound.

It's summer in Iowa, and my red clover are bringing me the luck of the lottery winner.

Aptly named the balloon flower, wouldn't you say?

Monday, July 04, 2011


We have to cultivate contentment with what we have. We really don’t need much. When you know this, the mind settles down. Cultivate generosity. Delight in giving. Learn to live lightly. In this way, we can begin to transform what is negative into what is positive. This is how we start to grow up.

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo in an interview in Tricycle magazine [Happy July 4th]

Sunday, July 03, 2011

softly, deftly, music will caress you

Silently the senses abandon their defenses. Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendor. Grasp it, sense it: tremulous and tender. Hot as lightning, soft as candlelight. Savor each sensation.
Floating, falling, sweet intoxication when the music of the night swirls my imagination.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Lily Lady

These hollyhocks are not top performers. I am considering ridding my garden of this variety.

I found these pink hollyhocks growing in an alleyway, shook some of the seeds loose, and planted them in my garden.

lilies opening on June 2, 2011


I must remember this tall and thin touch of violet in my garden because I pulled one or two of her sisters thinking they were weeds. Thank the lucky sunflowers that I left three plants standing.

This plant ID looks like a tombstone, and it could have been a marker of death because I planted my Saxifraga in the sunshine. She prefers the shade. You can see in the photo below what happened when she was in a location that was unsuitable for her temperament. She got a sunburn, turning one of her perky green leaves to a crunchy brown.

I like this neutral review of Saxifraga from Bonehead on

On Jan 23, 2010, bonehead from Cedarhome, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I will try to like this plant more. I've had it in my front garden for many years and mostly find it to be a squatty thing with gaudy pink flowers. I think I'll divide it and let it have more of a presence and see if I warm up to it. I do like the common name, pigsqueak - does anyone know where that originated?

Goodness Gracious
Great Balls of Cleome!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Kitty In My Hand

I came home late tonight, switched on the radio to Hearts of Space- a program that musically melted my cat's fear of the unofficial run-up to the July 4th fireworks display- and the furry man fell asleep in my hand while I was trying to read the day's news online.

The radio program describes itself as looking for a sound and experience, not a genre. If restful kitty snores are any indication, Hearts of Space is making the world a more weightless and dreamy place.

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.