Friday, September 22, 2017

The Last Few Days of Summer

First Chinese Lantern of the Season!

No one describes the changing seasons quite like Shirley Jackson (1916 - 1965), first in Life Among the Savages (1953) and again in Raising Demons (1957), her bittersweet tributes to family life with four growing children. All the rambunctious joy is there but also an undercurrent of betrayal and sadness, especially for the reader who knows beforehand that Jackson died at age 48, barely a decade after penning these topsy turvy home grown reminiscences -- when her youngest child (born 1951) was only 14 years old, approximately the age of her older son Laurence [aka Laurie, born 1943] around the time that she attends his baseball game at the local field, near their rambling -- not to say ramshackle! -- Victorian house:
"The summer was one of the hottest we had ever had, and I got sunburned sitting on the hill over third base. . . . I sat in the shade and figured out that there were only seventeen more days before school started, Sally and Jannie were going to need new winter coats; a year from now I would be getting Barry ready for kindergarten. The first winter we were in our new house, when Laurie used to go sledding on this hill, he could stand just about where I was sitting now, and see our back porch, and I used to signal him that it was time to come home by hanging a dish towel over the porch rail; I could not see the back porch now because the trees were still thick. In another few weeks, I thought, the leaves would be coming down again. School, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the long spring days, and then another summer. I could hear cheering from the ball field. The years go by so quickly, I thought, rising; he used to be so small.

"The last few days of summer go faster, though, than any other time of year. . ."
(215 - 16, Raising Demons)

See recent biographies of Jackson
by Ruth Franklin & Zoe Heller

First the flowers . . .

. . . then the squash . . .

. . . then the pumpkins!


Vernal Equinox Throwback

Stained Glass Representation of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
KEY (left to right):
Green: Radio waves; Yellow teardrops: Meteors;
Orange teardrops: Aurora;
Red: Infrared light; Rainbow colors: Visible light; Violet: Ultraviolet light;
Dark violet triangles: X-rays; Light violet triangles: Gamma rays;
Pink: Cosmic rays.

Happy Vernal Equinox
Some haiku for the
Day and Night of Equal Light:

Trying but failing
to be the voice of reason.
The spirit prevails.

Here's to equanimity
and all shall be well!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Books and Coffee and Nalewki

Nalewki i Inne
Notice the glasses are empty . . . oh, and so is the bottle . . .
somehow or other it just tends to evaporate
in the heat of a late summer afternoon!

Thanks to Beata for sharing
books, coffee, and nalewki!
"World problems? What world problems?"

[Thanks to Sir-Igor Steinman for the caption!]

Just missing the third member of our
Triumvirate: Happy Birthday Katie!

Here are a few things we've been reading lately:

September ~ Cate: Books & Cats

August ~ HBJ

July ~ Like a Sentence Deep Within a Book

June ~ The World is a Beautiful Book

Posted Over the Summer
@Kitti's Book List

Monday, September 18, 2017

Almost Equinox Birthday

Photograph by Joni Menard, Fall 2016
"It was still hot outside, though the sun had begun to lean to the west, and the first intimations of fall were in the air -- that smell of dust and dry leaves that annual lonesomeness that comes of summer closing down."
, 19

"The evening wasn't cold yet . . . But the air was turning sharp, with a feeling of loneliness coming. Something unaccountable pending in the air."
, 31
both novels by
Colorado writer Kent Haruf (1943 - 2014)




"Start Here" by Brian Andreas
The StoryPeople Story of the Day for September 18, 2017


Additional Joni Posts


Plenty to Read



Happy Snowy Valentine's Day!

Favorite Hats

Lizone's: Jewelry With An Attitude

Grown Up

Time to Talk

Palm Sunday

Our Town

To Forgive: Reprove, Restore, Reclaim

Talk to Me

The Mind of God

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Reading & Singing

Panel for Music Room, 1894
John White Alexander (1856 - 1915)
Athenaeum Gallery ~ Previously

New Posts
@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker

August 28 ~ Sing A Song About Singing ~ Abba,
Barry Manilow, The Carpenters, The Statler Brothers

September 14 ~ Read A Book About Reading
Karen Joy Fowler, The Jane Austen Book Club
Stefan Bollmann, Women Who Read Are Dangerous

Dreams, 1896
Vittorio Matteo Corcos (1859 - 1933)

So this is for us.
This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love

and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know
because the beauty is in the act of doing it.
Not what it can lead to.
This is for the times I lose myself while writing, singing, playing
and no one is around and they will never know
but I will forever remember
and that shines brighter than any praise or fame or glory I will ever have,
and this is for you who write or play or read or sing
by yourself with the light off and door closed
when the world is asleep and the stars are aligned
and maybe no one will ever hear it
or read your words
or know your thoughts
but it doesn’t make it less glorious.
It makes it ethereal. Mysterious.
For it belongs to you and whatever God or spirit you believe in
and only you can decide how much it meant
and means
and will forever mean
and other people will experience it too
through you.
Through your spirit. Through the way you talk.
Through the way you walk and love and laugh and care
and I never meant to write this long
but what I want to say is:
Don’t try to present your art by making other people read or hear or see or touch it; make them feel it. Wear your art like your heart on your sleeve and keep it alive by making people feel a little better. Feel a little lighter. Create art in order for yourself to become yourself
and let your very existence be your song, your poem, your story.
Let your very identity be your book.
Let the way people say your name sound like the sweetest melody.

So go create. Take photographs in the wood, run alone in the rain and sing your heart out high up on a mountain
where no one will ever hear
and your very existence will be the most hypnotising scar.
Make your life be your art
and you will never be forgotten.”

~ Charlotte Eriksson, Singer, Writer, Reader

"Start Here" by Brian Andreas
The StoryPeople Story of the Day for September 18, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Happy Autumn, Happy Bacon

This one's for Gerry!
Maple Leaf Bacon

Such an unusual image for approaching autumn,
yet altogether fitting!

from I, Keturah ~ Ruth Wolff
"In late August you can catch summer slipping away but you can't pen it up. The locust trees turned brown from the blight that came with the hot, rainless days. A sigh of the wind, and a shower of leaves would swirl down from the locust trees, covering the grass below like so many tiny, curled bacon crisps. In the woods the leaves on a dying sugar maple were bright red, as if the tree's blood were running out. The golden glow began to bloom; farewell summer and purple ironweed. A light film of dust covered the weeds along the road, there was a faint haze in the air, and the hum of insects rose in wave upon wave of strident prediction of more dryness and heat. Everything green was dimmed."
(202, emphasis added)


Thanks to Katherine Galvin for the new
-- and surprisingly related -- fridge magnet!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Soul Searching

The Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool ~ Ken Storey

I spent several weeks over the summer composing the following unholy trinity of somewhat skeptical, somewhat irreverent, somewhat rambling religious reflections:
@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker

1. July 14 ~ Born Only Once ~ Langston Hughes
Frank O'Connor, Czeslaw Milosz

2. July 28 ~ O Ya - Ya of Little Faith ~ Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets,
Little Altars, Thirtysomething

3. August 14 ~ None Forbidden, None Compelled ~ Hector Abad

Speaking of spiritual quest and literary connections,
you may recall, if you go the right - hand column >>>
and scroll down, the following from Naomi Shihab Nye:

"Where are you on
your spiritual journey?"
you ask, your sharp eyes
thumbtacking the question
on my heart.

What can I say?
I am somewhere beyond "go"
I have not stopped.

Years have shown me
the idea of travelling
is a game we play with ourselves
to pretend we're not home.

Naomi Shihab Nye
(b 1952)
Palestinian / American Poet


Additional Summer Posts
that you may have missed over the break:

June 14 ~ Always June ~ Australia, Autumn, George Eliot

June 28 ~ Yellow Wallpaper ~ Australia,
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Terri Kapsalis

August 28 ~ Sing A Song About Singing ~ Abba,
Barry Manilow, The Carpenters, The Statler Brothers

The Musicians, 1979 ~ Ferdinand Botero

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Back when Kansas was the Wild Wild West!

L to R: My Grandfather Paul Jones Lindsey (1895 - 1983)
my Great Uncle Samuel Gordon Lindsey ( 1893 - 1918)
and their friend Ira Heidleburg (1891 - 1953)

Until earlier this summer, I had never seen this mysterious photo, dating back to sometime between 1913 - 1915 in Southeast Kansas or Northeast Oklahoma. Shortly after it was taken, both Paul and Sam joined the army and went to France: Grandpa to the Argonne; and Uncle Sam to the Aisne - Marne, where he was killed in action in 1918.

Knowing how solemn the photographic expressions could be back in the day, it was hard to tell at first whether the picture was a practical joke or a formal portrait. It looks very serious but also very posed. I have to say I never saw my grandfather play poker or smoke a cigarette in his entire life! Maybe it was a set - up, perhaps at a county fair or photo studio. It certainly seems posed when you consider all the little details, such as their friend Ira's 2 fingers on the 2 coins! And the way Paul is showing his hand!

Yet another mystery -- can you see how the picture has been torn down the middle? That's how my cousin found it at the bottom of a box of photos when his dad (Paul's son, my mother's brother John) died. Was it torn accidentally or intentionally? We'll never know! My cousin Johnny thought that maybe Grandpa didn't want us to see him with a cigarette, even if it was fake. Who can tell? We're just lucky that somehow Uncle John was able to find and save both halves of the pic and that Johnny was able to gently repair the tear.

Most importantly, I love knowing that Paul, Sam, and Ira had that moment together! How remarkable that a century later, we are still able to see those sly looks that they are giving the camera! In their expressions, I see a resemblance between my older son Ben and his great - grandfather Paul, and my younger son Sam and his great - great uncle Sam -- after whom he was named.

When I showed my Sam the picture, he replied memorably: "Yes, it is a great picture and well worth saving. It's sad to think of all of the photos that have been taken that were then thrown away and no one ever got to see. (If a picture doesn't exist, did that memory really happen? -- that's why I love taking pictures!)"

P.S. Happy Birthday, Sam!
Be sure to take some pictures!

Monday, September 4, 2017

All Around Me Peaceful

North Carolina Sunset ~ 4th of July
Thanks to my son Ben and his fiance Cathleen
for sharing these sunsets from their engagement weekend.

Before me peaceful

Behind me peaceful

Under me peaceful

Over me peaceful

All around me peaceful

Navajo Indian Chant

Included in The Family of Man

Later in the summer, visiting the engaged kids:


~ Previous Posts for Labor Day or Thereabouts ~
"Labor Day" ~ 2009
"A Clear Path" ~ 2010
"September Morn" ~ 2011
"DYFJ" ~ 2012
"Don't Work Too Hard" ~ 2013
"Ice Bucket Challenge" ~ 2014
"A Glad Sound with the Setting Sun" ~ 2015
"Brand New Brother" ~ 2016

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Quotidian Transformation and Renewal

See my recent
Fortnightly Posts

~ Tools for Everyday Use ~
"You know as well as me you was named after your aunt Dicie," I said. Dicie is my sister. She named Dee. We called her "Big Dee" after Dee was born.

"But who was she named after?" asked Wangero.

"I guess after Grandma Dee," I said.

"And who was she named after?" asked Wangero.

"Her mother," I said, and saw Wangero was getting tired. "That's about as far back as I can trace it," I said. Though, in fact, I probably could have carried it back beyond the Civil War through the branches.

from "Everyday Use"
by Alice Walker

~ Crones At Last ~
" . . . give to the women of our time
the strength to persevere,
the courage to speak out,
the faith to believe in you beyond
all systems and institutions
so that your face on earth may be seen in all its beauty,
so that men and women become whole . . .

We call on the holy women
who went before us . . . "

from "A Litany of Women for the Church"
by Joan Chittister
and on
Kitti's Book List

~ My Strange Quest ~
" . . . the death of the Author leads of the rise of the auteur, showing that even in an ungoverned universe there is usually someone in charge. By having the scenery fall down a great deal and keeping other cameras in shot they proved that the films were fictions simply about themselves, and indeed this was a time when all art became about itself, books being about the writing of books and buildings about the building of buildings. Thus architecture became postmodern too and form stopped being a slave to function . . . . All art became a fund of eclectic quotations from all other art and it was clear
. . . that we now lived in the age of the imaginary museum, when all styles were simultaneously available
" (46).

from My Strange Quest for Mensonge
by Malcolm Bradbury
And now the Summer begins . . .
On Sabbatical until September!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Designs by Rosanne

The last time that Gerry & I were in England, his mother showed us her art portfolio from years ago, including these designs (each about 5" x 5") that she painted back in college.

Mothers and Children

Mothers and children from long ago,
Mothers and children from far away,
So many of them being together,
It's always been that way.

Some of them lived in dusty castles,
Some of them lived where monkeys play,
Each of them caring for the other,
Just as they do today.

Sharing a story, playing a game,
Looking alike, well, almost the same.
In cities, and jungles, and deserts, and farms,
See all the mothers with kids in their arms.

In happy times, sad times,
Hungry times, glad times,
There always have been, there always will be
Mothers and children, needing each other,
Just like you and me.

Sung by Alaina Reed Hall (1946 - 2009)
As Olivia
In that old childhood favorite from Sesame Street:
Don't Eat the Pictures

See Also:
In A Museum, Light As A Feather, Guggenheim

Ruth & Naomi, Birnam Wood,
Grim & Gram, There Will Your Heart Be Also

Friday, May 26, 2017

Natalya Gorbanevskaya

Born on this day 1936:
Natalya Gorbanevskaya

Russian poet, translator of Polish literature, civil rights activist
born: May 26, 1936 (Moscow, Russia)
incarcerated: 1979 - 72
immigrated to France: 1975
took Polish Citizezship: 2005
died: November 29, 2013 (Paris, France)

"It is because of people like Natalya Gorbanevskaya,
I am convinced, that you and I are still alive
and walking around on the face of the earth.
~ Joan Baez ~

Click to See Slides #20, #21, #22, #26


Weaver of words
Who lives alone
In fear and sorrow
Where are the words
To set you free
Perhaps tomorrow
Where is the earth
Where is the sky
Where is the light
You long for
What hope of you
Where you are now
Natalya Gorbanevskaya

Inside the ward
Naked and cruel
Where life is stolen
From those who try
To stay alive
And not be broken
Where are the friends
Where are the men
Who among them
Can defend you
Where is the child
You'll never see
Natalya Gorbanevskaya

What else there lives
Behind the door
That never opens
Are you insane
As they say you are
Or just forsaken
Are you still there
Do you still care
Or are you lost forever
I know this song
You'll never hear
Natalya Gorbanevskaya

Lyrics by Roy Apps, Shusha Guppy and G.T. Moore
Sung by Joan Baez
On her album Live From Every Stage, 1976

The good news is that
Natalya did live to hear this song!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Final Exam & The Road Ahead

With graduation season upon us, I took a moment
to look through my old scrap book and came across
the above photo (sorry so fuzzy) of my twin brother Bruce
speaking at our high school graduation in 1975
and these poems, saved from back in the day:


A Graduate's Prayer

Like a final exam,
Life stands before me.
I am frightened.
I face it with my pen lost
And my pencil broken.
I look at the questions with blurred eyes;
Facts drift in a senseless clutter
Down the corridors of my mind.
I am prepared with easy answers.
I have crammed with dates and details
That suddenly have no value.
I have skimmed and scanned and copied;
But the questions are essay
And not objective, as I had assumed.
You are the Text I have persistently ignored.
You are the Passages carefully underlined,
And never understood.
Grant me the time to understand Your plan
Before I write the final answer
And my only answer book
Lies permanently closed.

Charles A. Waugaman (1932 - 2010)
American poet and artist


The Road Ahead

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following
your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. ~Amen.

Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968)
American Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky
mystic, poet, social activist, theologian


from The Eden Express
by Mark Vonnegut (b. 1947)
American writer, pediatrician, son of Kurt

Vonnegut begins this memoir of his post - college
years with the unforgettable anecdote:

"June 1969: Swarthmore Graduation.
The night before, someone had taken white paint and painted
"Commence What?" on the front of the stage."


Rebecca Sprigg, Salutatorian
Lafayette High School ~ Ballwin, Missouri
Becky says:
"Somehow they let me send off the Class of 1976.
Hope my words inspired and encouraged!"

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Panama Bag

Panama Bag Selfie!
For those who have asked about the Panama Bag: My husband Gerry brought the bag from Panama as a present for me in 2002. A few years ago, I was putting together an album of various travel pics and realized that the Panama Bag was in every one. After that, I started making sure to bring it everywhere I went and photograph it. (Sorry to say, a few times I have unthinkingly brought along a different travel bag & then regretted it!)

Jay always gives the bag a big "Like," so on my recent roadtrip through the Midwest, which included Kirksville for the first time since 1989, I knew that Jay would want to see the bag in person and do it justice with his amazing camera skills!
"I found a picture of you . . ."

Company & Last Chance Texaco

Jay says, "Kitti holds the Nuclear Codes!"
So here's my favorite song about the nuclear codes:
Ammonia Avenue

Jay always says: "Gasp! The Panama Bag!"
So here's a picture of Jay gasping & me showing off!
I love the way the "Dukum Inn" logo
is featured right alongside the Panama Bag!
Jupiter aligns with Mars!

Previous Posts:


Threescore and Ten Again*


Cafe Presse at the Palazzo, Las Vegas

Do Come In!

And Panama Bag Photo Album

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Kitti the Magnificent

Best Mother's Day Greeting Ever!
2016 ~ Thanks Ben!

Best Mother's Day Sermon Ever:

"Wow! Those ladies were busy back then!
And so are you!"

Proverbs 31:10-31 ~ PWT (Pastor Will's Translation)

I enjoyed attending church with my mom
on Mother's Day this year (third year in a row!)
and hearing Pastor Will's one - sentence summary
of the Proverbial virtuous woman!

Here is the more lengthy original:
Proverbs 31:10-31 ~ KJV (King James Version)

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

And now the birthday cards begin ~ Thanks Natasha!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Judging Time Aright

Just yesterday morning, my oldest brother Dave wrote to say:

"Thankfully as I age, I am finally achieving a balance between
the past, the near past, and distant past.
They are finally starting to fall into place of their own accord."
Dave's words echoed back to me when I came across this poem later in the day:

Swiftly our pleasures glide away,
Our hearts recall the distant day
With many sighs;
The moments that are speeding fast
We heed not, but the past -- the past,
More highly prize.

Onward its course the present keeps,
Onward its course the current sweeps,
Till life is dome;
And, did we judge of time aright,
The past and future in their flight
Would be as one.

from Couplets on the Death of His Father
Don Jorge Manrique
quoted by Hector Abad
in Oblivion: A Memoir (see also "Magical Typing")
Here's the stained glass up above that was casting
the rainbow down on the giant fern leaves below.

Monday, May 8, 2017

An Original Sensitivity

A Model of Simone de Beauvoir’s Paris Studio Alcove
at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

“When she does not find love, she may find poetry. Because she does not act, she observes, she feels, she records; a color, a smile awakens profound echoes within her; her destiny is outside her, scattered in cities already built, on the faces of men already marked by life, she makes contact, she relishes with passion and yet in a manner more detached, more free, than that of a young man. Being poorly integrated in the universe of humanity and hardly able to adapt herself therein, she, like the child, is able to see it objectively; instead of being interested solely in her grasp on things, she looks for their significance; she catches their special outlines, their unexpected metamorphoses. She rarely feels a bold creativeness, and usually she lacks the technique of self-expression; but in her conversation, her letters, her literary essays, her sketches, she manifests an original sensitivity. The young girl throws herself into things with ardor, because she is not yet deprived of her transcendence; and the fact that she accomplishes nothing, that she is nothing, will make her impulses only the more passionate. Empty and unlimited, she seeks from within her nothingness to attain All.”

from The Second Sex
by Simone de Beauvoir