June 30, 2011

wood nymph and squirrel


whatcha reading xviii

...I knew that the Spirit that had gone forth to shape the world and make it live was still alive in it. I just had no doubt. I could see that I lived in the created world, and it was still being created. I would be part of it forever. There was no escape. The Spirit that made it was in it, shaping it and reshaping it, sometimes lying at rest, sometimes standing up and shaking itself, like a muddy horse, and letting the pieces fly.

- Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry

This is a magnificent novel, one of the best I've ever read.

June 27, 2011

critter chronicles

I should probably just go ahead and rename the blog, huh. I'm reading a book about field journals so now I'm thinking I should start keeping notes on this young lady's development. Might be a better place to keep track of all these pictures. And do more drawings. And set goals and measure stuff. Geez I'm a nerd.

(Is it just me, or does this dog have "Spitfire" written all over her in that first picture? That's a lot of dog in a small package.)

brightness and noise

I don't get it. Sometimes these pictures look good on my little Asus eePC but make me cringe when I see them on my monitor at work. I apologize if they look awful on your machine.

June 25, 2011

button knots

A practice strand. Looks good on Fergus.

(h/t stormdrane)


If you ever find yourself in need of some spa time, come on over. We'll take care of you.

matilda and aries

June 24, 2011


It's too hot for these guys to set flowers but we're hoping to keep them going 'till fall.

how to train your selkie. in 3-D.

I made an alternating-crossknot paracord leash for Ondine today, based on one of Stormdrane's instructables. Thirty feet of cord made a five-foot leash.

June 22, 2011


Even standing stock still this girl is in motion.

We finally solved the single-ball fetch riddle - the proper series of commands to get her to relinquish the ball is "drop it," "back back back," and "stay." At that point, it's OK for me to pick up the ball and throw it. ("Drop it" alone followed by an attempt to grab the ball ends in a game I can't win, called "toooo slowwww," but she follows the sequenced steps every time.)

We're also working on "find it," which she really seems to enjoy.

June 21, 2011

June 20, 2011

white-winged dove, vi-xx-xi

simple pleasures

Fewer plastic baggies! Woot! Bren gave me an Eco Lunch Box set for Father's Day. Amy gave me the blueberries. Sarah made the cookies.

mpcv crew module

According to the brochure, this is part of "the most advanced human space exploration vehicle ever built." It stopped by the Texas State History museum this weekend on its way to the Kennedy Space Center.

June 19, 2011

chain sinnet hatband

About 20 ft. of emergency cord. I have to figure out a way to secure it to the hat. Maybe safety pins? (h/t stormdrane.)

June 18, 2011


garden camping v

Fell asleep listening to the wind in the leaves above and the windchimes. Woke too early, at five, then went ahead and took O for a long neighborhood walk (through Cat Hollow Park and along the trail to Great Oaks and back).

Bren said she was up at two and came out to sit on the swing and listened to my snoring for a while.

June 15, 2011

whatcha reading xvii

Whatever our self-maintenance "to do" lists look like, cutting-edge brain science is uncovering the tools we need to do the work. Among the most efficient are regular physical exercise and relaxation, systematic cultivation of positive emotions, engagement with strong social support networks, frequent cognitive challenges, and enhanced awareness of our internal states from moment to moment.

Everything we learn about the resilient, flexible brain challenges the nature of our common-sense understanding of ourselves as atomistic, limited identities bouncing off one another, and reveals that each time we interact, we change each other's brains, and that each time we respond to a thought or emotion, we change our own.

- Pictures of the Mind, Miriam Boleyn-Fitzgerald

Wish you were here :)

June 13, 2011

June 11, 2011


garden camping iv

Gosh the moon was bright last night. It's still hot - 84 degrees at midnight, but the humidity wasn't nearly as bad as last week. Relocated the tent from outside the kitchen more toward the middle of the garden; the path between the shrubbery and the garden boxes is just wide enough. That puts the tent under the red oak, who turns out to be a terrific nighttime companion.

June 10, 2011

June 9, 2011

calamity ondine and aries the kid

snippets xi-iii

...the collective burden of seven billion cannot be taken on en masse by any individual -- save a few incredible beings of light...

- Mark Morford, SF Gate
Ask me about my agony and despair!

What the heck, I'm overdue for a career change.

June 8, 2011

whatcha reading xvi

"Thokoza khehla," I say in greeting to the spirits, more out of some residual deference to my mother than anything I might feel myself.

"Thokoza," Dumisani replies and sneezes several times. "My dlozi has told me about you." He waggles his cellphone, a brand new iPhone, significantly. "He tells me you do not want to be here."

"I didn't know the ancestors were SMSing now."

"No, he calls me. The spirits find it easier with technology. It's not so clogged as human minds." He taps his head for emphasis. "They still like rivers and oceans most of all, but data is like water - the spirits can move through it. That's why you get a prickly feeling around cellphone towers."

"And here I thought it was the radiation." I know I'm being disrespectful, but I can't resist. "So is there a spiritworld MTN? What are the tariffs like? I bet you get a lot of 'please calls me's'."

"Hayibo, sisi. So cynical and you with a shavi. What would your mother say?"

- Zoo City, Lauren Beukes

This novel has an interesting premise, but overall I found it bleak and dispiriting.


Go look at (and read) the gallery 'We were made the same as the sand'.

June 5, 2011

whatcha reading xv

I am not jealous of the saints, or of the martyrs, or of the blessed, or even of the seraphim. The greater I picture to myself to be the love of God for his creatures, and the graces and gifts he bestows upon them, the less am I troubled by jealousy; the more I love him, the nearer to me do I feel him to be, and the more loving and gracious does he seem toward me. My brotherhood, my more than brotherhood with all creatures, stands forth in a pleasing light. It seems to me that I am one with all things, and that all things are bound together in the bonds of love...


What! are the favors of Heaven thus obtained all at once? Is it only necessary to present one's self in order to triumph? A friend of mine, a naval officer, used to relate that, when he was in certain cities of America, being then very young, he sought to gain favor with the ladies with too much precipitation, and that they would say to him in their languid American accent: 'You have but just presented yourself, and you already want to be loved. Do something to deserve it, if you are able.' If these ladies answered thus, what answer will not Heaven give to those who hope to gain it without merit, and in the twinkling of an eye? Many efforts must be made, much purification is needed, much penance must be done, in order to begin to stand well in the sight of God, and to enjoy his favors. Even in those vain and false philosophies that have in them anything of mysticism, no supernatural gift or grace is received without a powerful effort and a costly sacrifice.

- Pepita Ximenez, Juan Valera

This is a great book. A++. (The Project Gutenberg version has very few errors - somebody took a lot of care with this one!)


backyard camping, then a hike

Slept in the tent in the backyard again last night. Woke with a gasp at 4:00 a.m., in a sweat. I'd been having a nightmare. Not sure if it was a fever dream (the humidity climbs into the 80 percent range at night these days) or the Ben and Jerry's I'd had earlier, but yuck. I considered giving up and going back indoors but I stuck it out. I woke feeling pretty good at 7:00 a.m. when Ondine stomped on my head through the tent wall. (That's two weeks in a row.) After I broke camp we drove to the river and hiked up a dry creekbed, one of the river's feeders. There was still a little water left near where it joins the river, but it's bone dry upstream.

June 3, 2011

whatcha reading xiv

We are gradually losing the art of silence. Of walking down the street lost in our own thoughts. Of closing the door to our rooms and being quiet. Of sitting on a park bench and just thinking. We may fear silence because we fear what we might hear from the deepest parts of ourselves. We may be afraid to hear that "still small" voice. What might it say?

Might it ask us to change?

- The Jesuit Guide To (Almost) Everything, James Martin, SJ

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves - goes itself;
myself it speaks and spells,
What I do is me: for that I came.
I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is -
Christ - for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

- Gerard Manley Hopkins, quoted in the Guide

snippets xi-ii

I remember once, when we were in Austin...this interviewer asked me, "What is the future of rock?" And I said, "Sculpture."

- Patti Smith Interviewed by Thurston Moore (via longform.org).