Monday, December 31, 2012

Consistency, Remembrance, Activity

Bay leaves, rosemary and thyme from the garden 
  In various lexicons of herbs  bay leaves are associated with consistency, rosemary with remembrance and thyme with activity, thriftiness and energy.  Yesterday I snapped this picture above my head before leaving to give these sprigs from my garden.  Such a little thing to give but most gifts are just a symbol...  

Today, seeing the picture for the first time I was initially disappointed that only a few of the bouquets were captured and I hadn't meant to photograph the salt or candle. Within moments I was grateful for the photo's haphazard documentation; I can't imagine cropping out salt and light and prayers are never fully represented in what I can vocalize.  Still, I try, and so I wish you a Happy New Year: that is to say for a start,  health, safety, joy, purpose and hope to you in the days ahead.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

You Feelin' Christmasy Punk? The Sequel

"You feelin' Christmasy Punk" is a rough paraphrase of a Clint Eastwood line in a film about tough police detective, Dirty Harry.  And what does that have to do with Christmas? That's a question I could ask all month long...

It happens every December, I have to grab a big breath to even push open the doors of the local pharmacy, (yes one of the many franchises that have pressed sameness and uniformity and anonymity upon us) and face all the doo-dads and bling and ding -dong and blinkie and fuzzy stuff that it is hoped we will purchase to celebrate....  

And even at my usuallly staid dentist's office there was... no, I'm not going to describe and thereby burden your mind with another such image.  

But here's a post from 2009 that I hope you'll enjoy...

You Feelin' Christmasy, Punk?

So I have posted a picture of an Advent Calendar we made a number of years ago. I have not figured out a title for this post, and have to laugh at the things that pass through as possibilities.
Okay, I admit that "You feelin' Christmasy Punk?" wasn't the first title that came to mind this morning, but it is something that popped out of my mouth the other night as I handed my husband a Christmas napkin. Dirty Harry invaded the culture and sometimes I let my guard down and like those winsome viruses we are all trying to avoid, I catch my share.

I love Christmas, but I don't like what's been done to it. One of my brothers said to me this week that Christmas doesn't last long enough...and my heart pounded hard. We were on the phone, but I could see him so clearly, working in the cold days to keep abreast of the on-going demands and that nicely positioned December 10th property tax deadline, and yet thinking of all the people he would like to make gifts for...the families he would like to stop by and see...yummy, what kind of cookies are you making? I remember the year, time was slower then, he made us all little copper pots.

But I hear stories about people just feeling all stressed out from the holidays...and that is a sad thing. There are the unresolved family issues, the concern for buying gifts that are too big or too small, unneeded or unwanted...or desperately needed and out of sight.

I just have a few of Aunt Dorothy's little Christmas napkins. She's been gone for many years now. They are faded and were just simply a collection of holly fabrics but she made them and she loved Christmas for what it is. Of course I handed my husband one of his aunt's napkins and asked him "You feeling Christmasy, punk? "

 I'm just fighting off what the tear-it -all- down bullies would erect. What do you mean that doesn't make any sense? ...of course it doesn't. I should just focus my energy on the part of it all that re-members me with what really matters.

"Advent, advent let your little light shine." Today another chicken flew up to roost in the manger. Christmas is coming...don't doesn't matter what you wear...or how you feel about your hair...or if your hand is empty when you arrive. Just come as you don't even need to feel Christmasy, punk.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lost or Stolen by My Own Devices?

     I confess that being thankful...truly being thankful... is not my natural  temperament ... it's easy to let cares and concerns rob me of a full blown "attitude of gratitude."  And I do know that to be able to receive as a child is beyond recommended ....  

   When I was a child I penned this little poem: 

What I am Thankful For

I am thankful for my father and my mother
Plus each brother.
I am thankful for my friends
and the clothes my mother mends.
I am thankful for the food I eat
and the floor that's under my feet
and the roof that's over  my head
and my nice warm cozy bed. 

There is a simplicity in it that I would be grateful to sustain.
And so I will work  seek to surrender to thanksgiving today, surrender to receiving  and let gratitude inform my heart and mind in old and deeper ways... I remember reading that holidays were made for us, not us for the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving from Jeannette

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stand Their Ground

What do I want to say about these rocks?

    Or is it what do these rocks say to me?

These rocks are the center divide on a curve on California's Highway 101.  This through- the -dirty windshield- with- the -wipers- going photo was taken  as we passed these rocks at the speed limit ( don't worry, I wasn't the one driving)  northbound on a wet cloud day.

Paths have undoubtably skirted around these rocks long before there was a road.
They seem full of stories, these rocks. "Notice  I am already here,"  they might have said to the engineers that planned the state highway.   The road used to function with a lane going each direction, but now both these lanes are northbound and the two southbound lanes course around the west of these rocks.

I am always delighted to see these rocks, even for the split of time that one is granted with the need to keep eyes on the road and flow with the prevailing traffic.

The google truck must have been out on a clear day, and of course their camera is on top of the vehicle so here is a shot from google earth where you can see both sides of the road...or should I say both sides of rock.

 I like rocks...and these speak of the primacy of the ancient boundary if you will.  Store fronts along the road come and go, fields  are planted and some are paved over. Apple orchards are removed for vineyards...but these rocks hold their place and each time I see them, they make me glad.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Someone Finished It with a Little Help

A few of my readers asked me to post a follow up about the quilt top made by a woman that I wrote about  in She Was Looking for Someone to Finish It.    Perhaps those kind souls know something about  how much it helps to have others encouragement and others holding you accountable to your intentions.

And so I am happy to report that even though my dear Phoebe was "sew" helpful and also  sure that this cushy quilt must be for her ...

                       "Don't leave it lying around if you don't expect it to be appreciated..."

She is right of I hung it up to freshen it in the air and mottled light 
                  and thought I would see how it does for a little nap...  yep, it works... it definitely is all done.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Story Time at Write Purpose

Tonight seemed  like a good time to post a playful story that I wrote back in 2000.    I posted it in two parts over on Write Purpose, my web log that has more words than pictures, but you'll find a few pictures there too.  Yes, it is a true story, but of course the police officer ... hmmm what is that phrasing "any resemblance to actual police officers is co-incidental and no actual police officer is being represented here." No, that's not it, but that should do.  Anyway if you are tired from the election, or the weather or the economy ( it is a story about making m-o-n-e-y) and you are feeling a little blue, hop on over to Write Purpose and take a little time off from your worries.

Hope to see you there....You can find Part One of the story  here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

One of those days!

                                                              Late afternoon light

 the sunshine beams in horizontally

                                   -  wind, sun and mysterious inclinations bend the trees -

out on the rock, a cormorant watches too


                                                         and wooden rounds

                                                    to help us climb up

                                                      and down

                                                     sun shines on the garden shed
                                                  soon the sea will lapse in dark light

                                                       but  sun still shines

                                                        up on the deck

                               and even down below it reaches up through the ravine
                                                  in the last hours before sunset.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gophers Ate my Indian Blanket

One of the more common and older reasons for keeping a diary or a log is to remember things that one might otherwise forget.

In my little patch of wild flowers I was happy to see some bright specimens blooming that must have been in one of the seed gatherings I had strewn.  My husband asked me their name and I watched my mind in amazement as it attempted to sort through the half remembered, inelegantly pronounced names of some of  the seed packet descriptions. "Oh you know it is something like,  ah, well it sounds like some girl's name, Rude Becky."

But Rudbecki is a cone flower, as is Echinacea purpurea, and although these flowers seemed similar, I knew I had known (however briefly) another name for these.  It seemed to me that my friend Gretchen had taught me a name.  So many keys, but which little mental door to unlock?

Well, sadly, before I followed through on my intention to learn their proper name,  the gophers found them to be quite tasty and ate off all the roots. Mark bore the fallen plant into the house to show me its demise and I  still didn't  know its name.  

 This is a Blanket Flower
As remembering things is often best accomplished through making  multiple associations,  I set out to learn enough about it that I might remember what to call it if I am fortunate enough to have any future encounters.

Maybe I won't remember the formal name: Gaillardia ( named after a Frenchman who was a patron of botany) but  I would like to remember that it is a genus from the sunflower family.

What may help me most is thinking of  Lewis and Clark finding these lance like bright petals on their trek through Montana and being reminded of brightly colored blankets made by native American tribes, hence the common name of "Blanket Flowers."

I hope some of the seeds are mature enough to grow. When they dry I'll  scatter them around with hope of future blooms.  They do remind me of cone flowers, I bet they are cousins.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

First Responders on Waves and Wings

Today a coast guard boat and helicopter swung round in circles for quite a while and it wasn't clear what they were up or search and rescue, but it sure made me think of all they stand ready to do.  Through the binoculars I could see the colors flying.

 Yes, that little sky blur is whirring me a lot of respect for people that have adjusted their shutter speeds and bought lenses too big for me to hold up to zoom in and all... but the sight and noise got me down to the other end of the garden and

the tree stood still for me

and so did Phoebe in the window.


But not the did not sit still for a minute and now the sun has set...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Color Does it Look Like to You?

Colors, colors, colors....there are so many to enjoy.  I had to move my little rack of potted plants while the deck is being rebuilt and I may have found a spot for it I like just as well or better than where it use to be. My yellow pots caught my eye and it all begged to be photographed. Sometimes I see things and think I will come back and take a picture later, but then the wind  blows or the flowers pass.  So I grabbed my camera for this shot and then took it with me on my trip to the vegetable garden. I didn't get far before I took another photo.  Under the redwoods I pass a potted rose that sits in a little slice of light and it looks very red and lovely to me...

 It's just starting to rain and I have time only to pick a few strawberries and some kale.  On my way back to the cottage, I pick one of the red roses and discover that next to the red strawberries  

                     the roses  aren't really all as red as I usually see them to be...

Thinking about gradations of color and the glory of being able to see them, I  started reading a little bit about what is often called being "colorblind" but  is more accurately called color vision deficiencies.

 Excerpted from What is Colorblindness and the Different Types  
 People with normal cones and light sensitive pigment (trichromasy) are able to see all the different colors and subtle mixtures of them by using cones sensitive to one of three wavelength of light - red, green, and blue. A mild color deficiency is present when one or more of the three cones light sensitive pigments are not quite right and their peak sensitivity is  shifted (anomalous trichromasy -  includes protanomaly and deuteranomaly).  A more severe color deficiency is present when one or more of the cones light sensitive pigments is really wrong (dichromasy - includes protanopia and deuteranopia).
5% to 8% (depending on the study you quote) of the men and 0.5% of the women of the world are born colorblind. That's as high as one out of twelve men and one out of two hundred women. 

  And here is a link to a free on-line test.  Parents and teachers might find this website especially helpful as undiscovered vision deficiences can cause multiple difficulties for children .  

                                            The deck....the REDwood deck is coming along. Of course weather and time will turn this bright wood to some shade of gray like the old fence it abuts.

Well, I better go wash my kale and ponder its silvery blue green hues into some edible form.

'til next time then...

Post script:  If you read the early afternoon version of this post, it hadn't been edited for typos and "thinkos" by the man who finished the deck...while I was making kale chips...Next time I can wash the veggies outside, well if it isn't raining.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

She Was Looking for Someone to Finish It

A small handwritten sign caught my eye as I wound my car down a narrow pine lined street above the ocean.

Turning away from my direction home as if I had known where I was going all along I began to follow a trail of paper arrows toward a small driveway garage sale. I looked over at the commitment I'd already been privileged to make that day to a fresh salmon filet and some lovely fruits and vegetables, it all deserved speedy delivery to my refrigerator.  Now I am of two minds.   I remind myself that I shouldn't be so easily distracted but  then remember  sales where  I have found wonderful treasures like the old guitar. So I could at least peek from the car.

As I drew alongside the humble offerings that edged right up to the road, I saw a tired but soft face, a woman probably about my age. Standing amidst the belongings she'd drug out into a spot of sun in front of a small cottage, she met my eyes directly, brushed her wire blonde curls away from her face and smiled. Just junk or not, now I had to stop.

As soon as I was out of the car I'd confirmed that if the seller hadn't seen me, a drive by scan would have sufficed. There was nothing unusual being offered. I said hello before I halfheartedly peered into a cardboard box of worn paperbacks. "Are you cleaning up or moving? "  I asked.

"Moving, moving on I guess you'd  say. The rent is going up again and I don't know, my daughter says she'll never come back to Carmel."

"You moving closer to your daughter?"

"Oh no, she's in L.A.  She don't like Carmel and I don't like L.A.   I've been here nine years and  I guess I'm just ready for something else.  What're you looking for?"

"Oh, I never know, but it is fun to stop and look and meet people.  I've only worked here six years but we don't have any neighbors on the cliff where we live and work so it's nice to meet folks."

I wonder  if I'm going to get lonely traveling," she said.

"Traveling where?"

"Don't know, really, just aim for places I haven't seen for a long time. Maybe I'll catch up with myself somewhere along the way."  That smile of hers showed up again.  I nodded and she kept talking. " I use to move alot, before I landed here. I got a few more things to put out, let me show you something."

She came out with a patched quilt top in her hands and draped it over a table stacked with dishes." I want twenty dollars for this.  I never did finish, " she said, "and it's got a few spots now and maybe a hole or two, but I can tell you where I got every piece of the fabric.  See, this fabric here is from when I was in Colorado.  I liked Boulder, lots of creative people  there,  especially in the winter time.  And this  here
was a dress my little girl wore and this vintage cloth was from a store three old ladies ran up north, it's from the thirties. This flower print I bought on a vacation in Hawaii.  You ever been to Hawaii?"

"No, can't say that I have.  Are you sure you want to sell this?  You could finish it, even traveling you could take it along and finish it by hand."

"My daughter doesn't want it.  It's not her style.  I do kind of hate to get rid of it, but I'm getting rid of everything else, I might as well. "

I didn't know what to say.  I wasn't sure it was my style either, but in it's haphazard wonky way it did kind of hang together and it was kind of growing on me.   And then there was the woman.  I didn't want her piece by piece memory love project to suffer any more rejection.

She looked at me and said, " I just get the feeling that this might  stand a chance of getting finished if I get it to the right person."

I had a twenty dollar bill in the ashtray of my car.

            Here it is lain out to baste the cotton batting and back on to it.
                                                                  Whimsy abounds...
                                                     And I am quilting it by machine.

 I hope that momma at least swings by L.A.  or maybe her girl will come find the meantime I'll finish up this funny old quilt top...I'm not sure who it is for...but quilts do have a way of continuing stories on their own.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

An August Post before it is History

Just begin...
as the month of August ends...
Do you ever read the last page of a book and then rush back to reread the opening lines?

Hartnell Professional Center  Monterey, California
On my way in for an ultra sound of an elbow the other day,  I was so struck with presence of the building I stopped and took a number of pictures.   The entrance grounds, the building, the blue sky, the oak boughs above the path are a bit of medicine all in themselves.  
This photo was taken from my seat in the waiting area.  I saw a photo of  Clint Eastwood  unveiling a plaque and later read that this building also houses the Clint Eastwood Youth Program, for youth needing to recover from substance abuse.  I saw Clint last night,  not here in town, but on television as he spoke at the Republican National Convention using something reminiscent of the psychotherapeutic empty chair gestalt method. The theory emphasizes that in order to get  fully into the experiential present moment, so you can go forward in life, you may have to extricate yourself from  webs of relationships that have formed your past, without the help of those significant others, and hence you address an empty chair.  Recovery is a big theme in our time.

Also hanging on the walls of  Hartnell Professional Center,  are a number of  large oil paintings,  gifts from local estates, of the colorful early settlers of old Monterey.  Monterey was the first capital of California, from 1776 to 1822  under Spain and then when Mexico achieved independence from Spain, Monterey was the Mexican capital of California.  Spain had not allowed foreign traders in California, but Mexico opened the ports for trade.  It was in the same year, 1822, that the namesake for this building, William Hartnell  arrived and began his first California ventures in the cattle business and later he began a school for  boys.  You can't live in this area and  not know his name as there is a street, a park and schools named after him, but his story is not fully available and questions of accuracy abound.  I suppose that isn't unusual, is it?   Well, Monterey was not chosen as the capitol when statehood arrived for California in 1849...but it is still a capital little city.

But back to August while it is still the present, for it is about to become history itself.  August gave us a few, and some of our first, sunny days in a good long time. As I mentioned fog on my one and lonely several July posts,  I feel as if I must really share some of the August glory.  Fog is not a hardship like so many of the extremes many regions face, but when it lifts it certainly lifts more than itself.

From Scenic Road in Carmel ...those rocks on the left are the tip of Point Lobos.

Last weekend we climbed down
                                              through the creek...

                                         to a neighboring beach were there was not even a footprint in the sand.


And later back at home, Mark set the table under the redwoods and cooked our dinner on a that felt like a summer day.

August 2012...people came and of the guests who left early bequeathed to us tickets to an event we have never had on our personal horizon, the 62nd Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. While we have enjoyed the free parade of antique cars down the Costal Route, we had never been to see the competition exhibit on the 18th fairway of the golf course as automobiles have never been an interest or hobby for either of us.  I learned that Monterey Peninsula is still an open inviting car enthusiasts from all over the world the Concours creates a source of support for many people in need...Prior to this year, donations to charitable organizations exceed 15 million dollars.   As we wandered around the relics of years past, we were also aware of  how many jobs this expensive event creates.   I took a lot of pictures and post a few here for your entertainment.

The cars from India, the "Maharaja cars" were a big attraction and were given the honored spot of the waterside edge of the fairway.  This  award winning 1924 Rolls-Royce  belongs to the Maharana Arvind Singh Mewar of the Palace in Udaipur.  

Saffron colored-a symbol of bravery

The local Carmel Pinecone did a story, "Indian royalty make grand impression at Concours" that unearthed interesting details about the1932 Rolls known as the Star of India.

The grandson of the original owner has repurchased the car after its  44 year exile in Europe and will now return it to India as a present to his father on the occasion of his 75th birthday. 

I liked this green car...

but in one of the merchandise halls I saw the car that is probably closest to my speed.

We never had to go to school in August, but I hear that many schools are already open.
I have seen signs lately urging people to "Please Drive as if Your Children Live Here" which strikes me as a good admonition, not only for driving with such awareness, but to live with an awareness of the children of the future.
History is in the making...and 
September will be here tomorrow.