Monday, August 29, 2011

Dear Fullmoon

The message on a computer sleeve designed as an airmail envelope that I spotted in the Librairie Avant-Garde Bookstore in Nanjing read poetic. The punctuation and capitalization are original.

Dear Fullmoon.
Seattle, Greenland, Schwabing, Busan
Wherever, and Whenever.
If only I were with you.
Box 870425

What a relaxing day! I truly needed it. What's wrong with being alone? After a week of intense socializing, I enjoyed ME-time. Best to do certain things solo like having a John Prine YouTube music binge and reading world news while Skyping faraway friends.

The Librairie Avant-Garde Bookstore in Nanjing captivated my eye this afternoon with a postcard of Jimmy Dean and a pig in addition to the following words on the cover of a journal.

Ideal is the beacon. Without ideal,
There is no secure direction;
Without direction, there is no life.

Father forgive us for what we must do
You forgive us we'll forgive you
We'll forgive each other till we both turn blue
Then we'll whistle and go fishing in heaven.

- John Prine, Bruised Orange

Sunday, August 28, 2011

cleaning & sorting compassion and beauty

"We're all just walking each other home." -- Ram Dass

I like myself so much better when I forgive.

Mighty Nicotine

Puff the Magic Cigarette

China may not be the place for those people who have exerted willpower and endured irritable withdrawal to quit smoking. The more relaxed attitude about smoking in public places means it is easier to light up anywhere in the country including restaurants and bars- two prime locations smokers prefer to indulge their habit. This interview with two enthusiastic smokers explains the re-integration of excessive amounts of tobacco into their daily lives on a cancer-causing scale after spending only days China.

* Both participants in this interview gave their permission for the public airing of the video on my blog site.

Freedom Song

A sleepy, rainy, cloudy Sunday at the Green Tree Inn was communally musical.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

bathroom walls: attention future leaders

The following is an official announcement posted on the swinging door of stall number five in the women's bathroom of an educational institution in Nanjing, China:

For public health reasons and pleasure for all, we must strive to maintain maximum cleanliness in our toilets and public lavatories.

As future leaders within the international community, our obligation requires highest standards. So, please be considerate of the next user.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Perhaps one day I shall try Tom Tom Jane Bacteria. A restaurant review will follow.

All I am saying

is give peace a chance.

Nanjing, China

Boys and Men: Women and Girls

Reminder To Myself:

If I have a choice of relaxing in my hotel room on a workweek evening or going to an ex-pat bar with seven boy buddies and one female friend for beers- Choose Relaxation! I call them boys for a reason. Perhaps if I would have spent my childhood with a brother in the house, I would have been desensitized to the behavior of American boys in Chinese bars. Not a pretty site. I'm happy to have close male friends, but because of the close friendship, the boys let it all hang out including their boxer shorts, and I'm constantly shocked by what I see. Peeing in public and lewd comments about women who attract their attention are but two examples. I have to ask myself: What woman would want to date one of these boys? Ladies- beware!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Remember - August 20, 2011

The devils are coming......

Family Ruined
Never returns the son killed
Never returns the husband buried
Sorrow drowns the wife raped

The Memorial Hall of the Victims in the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders

Nanjing, China - August 20, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Fluffy feathery comforter

Cat’s humming on my chest

Tangy Gruyere on my tongue

Godiva chocolate surprise in the mailbox

Crickets' crooning to close my sun day

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sock It To Me

I commissioned Krystal Larsen- graphic designer, baker and all-around creative soul- to sew a sock elephant for me. I picked up the new addition to my sock family at the farmers' market this morning. Don't worry, she's just rolling over. Check out Krystal's work here:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dig, Dig... Dig it!

The brilliant work of this female cicada killer as she digs an underground hideaway for her future offspring has nothing to do with my voiceover in the video. I was talking on the phone to a friend about the straw poll in Ames on August 13, 2011 at the same time this mighty insect woman powered her way into the earth. A member of my family was going to stomp on her, but I explained that this amazing insect should be respected- not crushed.

Wouldn't we admire this kind of work ethic in any other neighbor on the block?

For more information on cicada killer wasps visit ISU's Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Keeping Time

My mom bought me this clock when I was but a young one- perhaps three or four years old- and I couldn't bring myself to part with it until today. The clock says "Made in the U.S.A." on its face and comforted me with a companionable presence that lulled me into childhood dreams of chocolate ice cream and monarch butterflies. Goodnight Mr. Clock.

cleaning & sorting

I was going through possessions I have not seen in over a year, and I found a journal that a friend, Jodi, gave me for Christmas in 1986. I never used the journal, but my friend wrote one poem by hand every 20 pages. I sent one of these poems to my college roommate who is now living in San Francisco-Daly City to be exact- raising her beautiful daughter Isabelle with some help from her charming husband Mathieu.

Jolie, this poem is for you.

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826-1887)

from A Life for a Life

Oh, the comfort—
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person—
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all right out,
just as they are,
chaff and grain together;
certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lava Lamp Figure Shaping

I unearthed my lava lamp, and it still works churning purple: How exciting! Can you see the pink flamingo lurking in the background on the left? Do pink flamingos lurk? Mine does.

Better then to ask no questions? Better then to be a contented pig than an unhappy Socrates? Since factory farming is tougher on pigs than it is on philosophers, I'll take a chance.

Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Thoughts Breaking Their Bonds II

The Broader Your Thinking Becomes

The more you think about your own self, the more self-centred you are, the more trouble even small problems can create in your mind. The stronger your sense of ‘I’, the narrower the scope of your thinking becomes; then even small obstacles become unbearable. On the other hand, if you concern yourself mainly with others, the broader your thinking becomes, and life’s inevitable difficulties disturb you less.

-Dalai Lama

Thoughts Breaking Their Bonds

Summer Garden

It will soon be time to leave my summer garden unattended and pursue new adventures in the world. As I prepare to embark on my emotional, spiritual, and physical journey, I will keep these wise words close to my heart.

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover... yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”

- PataƱjali

Pedestal Pusher

The message is a call for compassion. It’s a call for the oppressor and the oppressed to join one another on level ground, to stand together rather than exist in a power-over, power-under dynamic. At least that’s how I hear it. Whether you’re a greedy dictator, a violent abuser, or the bully at the playground, you are no different than me. Get off your pedestal; I won’t be slave to you anymore.
- Chelsea Roff
On Being Blog
Tuesday Evening Melody: "Jailer" by Asa

souls wander

The Swell Season - The Moon

Shut the door to the moon
Play no more with the fool
And let the souls wander
And bleed
From the soul

Monday, August 08, 2011

Cicada Killers

Cicada Killer - This male was doing battle with another male to bounce his bottom up and down enthusiastically near this hole in the ground. My guess is that the female deposited her egg in the hole. These large wasps hardly notice me. The males are busy aggressively pursing each other in mid-air combat while the females dig their holes in the ground to deposit eggs so future cicada killers will emerge in spring.

Cicada killer wasps have been sharing air space with me in the garden recently. The males are harmless, unable to sting, but aggressive and hostile to one another. The females are much larger than the males and bury their eggs in the ground, digging a hole with spindly legs that resemble a John Deere backhoe. I have seen the males locked together in single-minded destruction with other boys lined up for their chance to humiliate and destroy. The peace-loving hippie bugs in these photos were hanging out on my butterfly weed having a sunbath while the beasty boys looted and pilfered above their heads.

One More Time Please

I can't stop listening to this song. Rare, rare bird- you are to me.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Carwash Blues

The Climax

The climax is a duet of delicious ear candy.

Marketa Love

This song is unforgettable. It's fairly clear who has been occupying my ears this week.

If you've gotta go, go with happiness. When she opens her mouth, celestial ambrosia and jasmine mingle in perfect harmony.

I am moving on!

I'm a vampire in a devil town.

Fixing a guitar string and singing "Devil Town" is completely sexy! I have to see this man LIVE somewhere in the world.

Wishing I was living in New York City today so I could visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art and watch all the interesting people in Central Park.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Rose Mallow - Her First Bloom

Sweet, Sexy, and Smart

Sweet Caroline is the queen of my late summer garden. Whoever said plants aren't sexy and smart doesn't work in my garden. She tantalizes the birds and the bees with her fuzzy stamen. In fact, the bumble bee resting on her silky skin was either asleep or in some sort of Trance of the Hibiscus.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

the soul

This man is entirely sexy!

William Elliott Whitmore -
This man is entirely sexy! Did I say that once before? oops!
A nice reminder on happiness from Alicia Fiasco (a university classmate):

"Tell everyone you know: "My happiness depends on me, so you're off the hook." And then demonstrate it. Be happy, no matter what they're doing. Practice feeling good, no matter what. And before you know it, you will not give anyone else responsibility for the way you feel-and then, you'll love them all. Because the only reason you don't love them, is because you're using them as your excuse to not feel good."

- Esther Hicks

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Who writes the books?

When I first heard the band, Low Anthem, the musicians stopped circulation in my veins. Listening so completely- experiencing the swish and swirl of humanity's tears in the music- my heart resisted beating momentarily.

Matter Of Time

The Game

I want to fall in love.
Matter of Time is playing softly in the background.

I want him to decorate his nest,
puff out his chest,
howl at the moon
in the wake of my sweet perfume.

Play the game with me. He will.

I don't make a sound. It's always circling 'round.
It's a matter of time.

We will roll beneath the sky
in the clover and dandelions.

He knows I'll be by.

It's a matter of time.

Go Low, So Low

If I could be anywhere in the world on November 16, 2011, I would elect to be in the Roundhouse in London, England listening to Low Anthem and William Elliott Whitmore bring their solitude and deliverance to my ears.

Low Anthem's new CD, Smart Flesh, was recorded in what has been described as a cavernous, derelict pasta sauce factory in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Pasta sauce and life blood: both red and warmed pulsing and bubbling with the rhythm of something comfortably understood.

When I first heard the band Low Anthem, the musicians stopped the circulation in my veins. I listened so completely and heard the sweep of humanity's tears in the music.

Monday, August 01, 2011

goings on in the garden

Hollyhock Honey

Bachelor Button Blue Bopper

Sweet Caroline prepares to strut her stuff.

It would be difficult for humans to beat this spider's camouflage.I must have sprayed her with the hose when I watered the flowers this evening because she (assuming she is a girl) scurried up the tree to avoid the cool water.

August 1, 2011 Garden Day

Bachelor Button One

Bachelor Button Two

A steamy miniature rose delights the eye in Iowa's 77 percent humidity and 90 degree temperatures: humid enough to fog the camera lens.
August 1, 2011

We got steam heat. That's right.

Mystery Bulbs in 2011



This must be one of the hottest and most humid summers on record in Iowa. When I took my camera out to photograph Lord Baltimore's handsome presence today, the lens immediately fogged over. Rather than trying to remove the moisture from the lens, I just took the shot so I could remember the 77 percent humidity of the morning steaming up around me.

Weather Today: partly sunny, partly cloudy/A stray afternoon thunderstorm is possible according to The Weather Channel. It's 84 degrees Fahrenheit/29 Celsius, but feels like 95/35, at 11:20 a.m. on August 1, 2011.

Word: Rose Mallow was checking out the Lord this morning! Garden romance? We are all waiting expectantly for our Sweet Caroline to open pink sweetness to the world. I hope this event doesn't cause a love triangle in the foliage.

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.