Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Front Porches: The Innocence Lost

Detail from The Old Checkered House, 1944
by renowned and unique American folk artist
Grandma ~ Anna Mary Robertson ~ Moses (1860 - 1861)

"All this was before the big supermarkets
and shopping centers and affluent subdivisions
with no sidewalks and the monster highways
and the innocence lost.
It was even before there was television,
and people would not close their doors and shut
their curtains to watch the quiz games or the comedy
hours or the talk shows where everybody talks at once.
We would sit out on our front porches in the hot,
serene nights
and say hello to everyone who walked by."

[emphasis added]

from My Dog Skip (p 6 - 7)
by endearing American author and pet - lover
Willie Morris (1934 - 1999)

These selections and more on my
~ The Front Porch of My Life ~

Thanks for reading
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th] Literary Blog of
Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Purdue Snazzy

Photo by Shelley Sacia Ayres ~ Thanks Shelley!

A few years ago, on the invitation for a campus reception, down in the corner where it would usually say something like "Black Tie," it said "Suggested Dress: Purdue Snazzy." I just loved that! Now, whenever we have to get dressed up for a Purdue event, we always say, Purdue Snazzy!

Hail Purdue!
[more fight songs with lyrics!]

To your call once more we rally,
Alma Mater, hear our praise;
Where the Wabash spreads its valley,
Filled with joy our voices raise.
From the skies in swelling echoes
Come the cheers that tell the tale
Of your vic'tries and your heroes,
Hail Purdue! We sing all hail!

Hail, Hail to Old Purdue!
All hail to our old gold and black!
Hail, Hail to Old Purdue!
Our friendship may she never lack,
Ever grateful, ever true,
Thus we raise our song anew,
Of the days we've spent with you
All hail our own Purdue.

When in after years we're turning,
Alma Mater, back to you,
May our hearts with love be yearning,
For the scenes of old Purdue.
Back among your pathways winding,
Let us seek what lies before,
Fondest hopes and aim e'er finding,
While we sing of days of yore.

The Purdue Fight Song, Copyrighted 1913
Music by E. J. Wotowa, Class of 1912
Lyrics by J. Morrison, Class of 1915

Purdue's very own Compliment Guys
who rose to national fame back in 2009:

More Compliment Guys ~ National Tour ~ New York Times


My Friend Victoria . . .
. . . knows a thing or two about Purdue Snazzy!


Vickie as a Boilermaker, back in the day!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Pie For Your Thoughts

Thanks someecards! ~ So many funny choices!

Pie Poem #16

"...the God who shows me unfailing love." Ps. 59:17

Before the hello I was almost without yearning,
yearning for what never was.
Leaving family, so no family, leaving husband, so no
husband, leaving babies, so no babies.

I watch my Gaura plant, pink flowers on long green stems.
two others killed in these harsh winters but this one,
oh this one is taller then I am, strong, swaying, blooming on and on,
It ignored the ninety-eight inches of
snow this year. With mercy,
I kill the aphids on it by
squeezing them to death.

And you,
You have all those things.
It's not for me to ask what do you cherish.
because I already know family and time.
Now I yearn. My Buddha says no yearning.

I look at old poems and I see
drunken illusion more then once.
Excused myself for love.
drop everything love
know nothing love
The Buddha within is not the
Laughing Buddha
sitting in my kitchen window,
watching and waiting for my blueberry pie, or
joy, my peace, my yearning less ness.

The Buddha in the living room says
yearn no more. Is there a weeping Buddha?
No. Effexior stopped the Buddha from any weeping.
He says make a pie to give away.
Yearning will go.

~ Cate DeLong

Gaura: "Siskiyou Pink"

Further Thoughts From Cate's Nature Journal
Out this morning looking at my garden and my neighbor informed me that the bunnies have been eating geranium leaves. We have more bunnies this year because the red tailed hawk moved. He was huge and sometimes when I spotted him watching me (really watching something else) and I got a close up I was amazed of his innate power and how beautiful he was. Saw a Golden Eagle three years ago here also on his way to CVNP (Cuyahoga Valley National Park). That blew me away. There are so many places around here to see wildlife, woods, waterfalls. I can walk to a huge gorge forest with rock caves edging the Cuyahoga River. I can walk to one of the best local yarn stores in the country. I can walk to the donut shop (never have, really) or the library or the river center or the Natatorium and swim. It's pretty perfect: Perfectville. Only us city kids would call it that. And you know how I love the snow.

Grilled corn from my past life, yes, but I've forgotten about it. I don't grill just for me but I think of the Thermidor huge grill we had in my last kitchen. A flick of the grill, a flick of that big fan and grill city. We had a grill vent on the side of the house that was restaurant size. Make grilled corn chowder next time, but use half and half, don't skimp.

Just now I put together a set of storage shelves on wheels that I've been staring at for weeks getting ready to do it. Not at all as hard as I thought it would be --what is? Now finished, and found out why a Philips screwdriver tip is magnetized. Cool. I bought a set of screw drivers last year because I was tired of not having the correct driver.

Back to work. No pie. Making a peach crisp.

"We must have a pie.
Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie."
~ David Mamet ~

See also
"Kiss Pie!" & "Do I Dare To Eat A Peach?"

Monday, July 21, 2014

Water Jar

Woman with Jar by He Qi
[artist's bio / previous post / fortnightly]


We are the sweet cold water,
and the jar that pours. . . .

Those who don’t feel this Love
pulling them like a river,
those who don’t drink dawn
like a cup of spring water
or take in sunset like supper,
those who don’t want to change,
let them sleep

Rumi (1207 - 1273)
Persian Spiritual Sage


Bedouin Women Carrying Water Jars
by John Singer Sargent, 1891

Not forgetting Water Jar Boy!
I have loved this story ever since I first read it, many years
ago in Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Spring Break 1976: This fuzzy photo of me and my friend Joni
is the only one I have that includes a view of my dad's 1956 Thunderbird.

Today would have been my father's 91st birthday, so in honor of the occasion, here is a little story about one of his prized possessions, the peacock blue Thunderbird, seen above, to the right, under wraps. Believe it or not (even now, I can scarcely believe it myself), I was actually allowed to drive the Thunderbird one time in my life, when, for some reason that I can no longer recall, my dad was picking me up late after school instead of my taking the bus. He was driving the T-bird, which in itself was quite out of the ordinary, and although I surely did not have my license yet -- I must have just turned sixteen and had my learner's permit -- he slid over and said, "Why don't you drive home?"

Unlike the girl in the Beach Boys tune, this did not sound to me like "Fun, Fun, Fun." I was honored but puzzled by my dad's unfounded faith in my driving skills, and terrified of causing an accident. Petrified yet anxious to enter into the spirit of the enterprise, I gripped the steering wheel with all my might, having always held the flawed but firm belief that this is the best way to control a moving vehicle, and away we went!

Somehow we managed to arrive home safely with no harm done to the prized car! That afternoon is a happy memory for me now, but I've often wondered if Daddy regretted his offer, especially when I took the left turn from Highway 94 onto Highway N without slowing down, a technique unrealized by me at the time. I bet he was hanging on for dear life and doing a quick mental review of our auto insurance policy while I tried to keep it straight which was the brake and which the gas!

Whew! Crisis averted . . . for a time yet . . .

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

At Pere Lachaise

Read more about Paris & Pere Lachaise on my
latest Fortnightly blog post,
one of several Summer Travelogues . . .

At Pere Lachaise ~ Steven, Victoria, Kitti, Gerry

Click to see more photos from Steven's album:
Paris Graves

Oscar Wilde's Grave


Two Poems by Jim Barnes
from his book Paris

Sitting beside Wilde's
solid block of sandy stone,
I recall two things:

he was earnest and Gide would
not stay where he once had stood.

Flowers at the tomb
are never fresh: today there's
graffiti I see

the first time in all the years
that I have been coming here.

Down and to the right, there Gertrude and Alice lie,
a date and place cut

wrong, another graffitied stone,
and I recall other wrongs

too many artists,
dead, still suffer from; the words
that fools have sprayed on

stone not so much as the words
from the learned living dead.


Finding Oscar Wilde

After the riot in Pére Lachaise, streams
of teenage tourists flood the gates. Shadows
of the plane trees gray their faces. It seems
as if they want to mourn but cannot go
beyond the nervous laughter of rock dreams
and Coca-Cola days. Few drink Nouveau
Beaujolais now: it's just not chic enough.
Two green-haired girls smoke Gitanes and act tough.
We see two others writing Morrison
lives beneath Balzac, in chalk. Our map takes
us past more famous lines and past the sun,
where we pause to grab our breath and then shake
the summer sweat from our hair. Somewhere down
the hill, Abélard and Héloïse wake
again to try to free themselves from the stone
bed they have lain in centuries too long.

All Paris is stone, and there are those graves
everywhere as lonely as Oscar Wilde's
broad tomb. Rioting Morrison fans behaved
as a herd behaves, coming in droves to mill
round redundancy. No solitaire to save
the senseless crowd the agony of hell
showed up. There will never be a crowd round
the other slab where Oscar Wilde kneels down,

the tall wings booked by his writing hand.
Nor need there be. The legend of his life
is not his work. The work, the art, remains.
We lean relaxed upon his stone. At five
we hear the whistles blow for our return,
a prelude to the closing gates and evening
song of sparrows. Leaving we touch a fast
farewell to his high brow and what may last.

You can find more poems of Paris on my post:
"Paris: Ferlinghetti, Fenton & Forche"

And more poems by Jim Barnes on these previous posts:
Quinton Duval, Tomatoes & Gravy,
Missouri Poets, Parallax, No One With a Nose
Penelope, Shakespeare & Co.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Stemless Flower

Tonight's moon, viewed from my driveway
and looking as pink as the April Moon!
July Moon ~ Full Moon Calendar

#629 ~ I watched the Moon around the House

I watched the Moon around the House
Until upon a Pane—
She stopped—a Traveller’s privilege—for Rest—
And there upon

I gazed—as at a stranger—
The Lady in the Town
Doth think no incivility
To lift her Glass—upon—

But never Stranger justified
The Curiosity
Like Mine—for not a Foot—nor Hand—
Nor Formula—had she—

But like a Head—a Guillotine
Slid carelessly away—
Did independent, Amber—
Sustain her in the sky—

Or like a Stemless Flower—
Upheld in rolling Air
By finer Gravitations—
Than bind Philosopher—

No Hunger—had she—nor an Inn—
Her Toilette—to suffice—
Nor Avocation—nor Concern
For little Mysteries

As harass us—like Life—and Death—
And Afterwards—or Nay—
But seemed engrossed to Absolute—
With shining—and the Sky—

The privilege to scrutinize
Was scarce upon my Eyes
When, with a Silver practise—
She vaulted out of Gaze—

And next—I met her on a Cloud—
Myself too far below
To follow her superior Road—
Or its advantage—Blue—

Another mysterious moon poem by Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)
Reclusive, prolific American poet (see also)

The Moon Tonight

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Size of Grief

Dodie's Cat, Mittens
Rest in Peace ~ 29 June 2014

You can see how she got her name -- look at those big fluffy mitts!
In the same vein, Ben & Sam used to refer to our cat
Josef's front paws as his "muffins"
and his strong back paws as "jack rabbits"!

My cousin Dodie writes: "Mittens was a great cat and has been a member of the Foothills Barton Family for about 7 years. She was an awesome hunter (run gophers, run!) and a fun, playful kitty. We loved her very, very much and miss her dearly. She had a different sort of pattern and her coloring was a great camouflage for our area!"


For the past few years whenever friends or relatives of mine have lost a dear pet, I have shared with them my favorite lines from a wonderful book-- My Cat Spit McGee by Willie Morris -- that I happened to read not long after my 19 - year - old cat Josef died, back in 2007. You may remember the Kevin Bacon movie a few years back: My Dog Skip, based on the book with the same title? Well, Spit McGee is the sequel.

Before beginning the story of Spit McGee, Morris refers briefly to the loss of Skip and a later dog Pete. He says: "I wish Skip and Pete had known each other. Someday if I make it to heaven I plan to go looking first for my mother and father, and my grandmother and grandfather, and Skip and Pete. I speculate now: How would my cat, Spit McGee, have gotten along with Skip and Pete? And in the very elemental asking I believe I know: they would have been an honorable triumvirate" (10).

Morris also includes this passage, which he quotes from "The Once Again Prince," a story in Separate Lifetimes by Irving Townsend: "We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan" (see Spit McGee, 140 - 41).

I have typed, photo - copied, mailed, emailed, and posted these passages any number of times before today. But this morning, when I read about darling Mittens, it occurred to me that I should organize them into a blog post in her memory, and in honor of my cousin Dodie and her daughters Miranda and Clarissa who are grieving the loss of their special little friend.

I'm also reminded of the following poem, which came into my life around the time that we had to say farewell to Josef's brother Marcus. I am intrigued by Borges' idea of affection (and surely grief as well) being the size of the thing it's felt for. I know there can be tragedies more vast and many times worse, yet so often our grief is precisely the size of a dearly loved, recently departed, and much missed pet -- the size of Mittens, Marcus or Josef. I think the sentiments of this poem are appropriate to any number of situations, and I have a feeling that you will like it as much as I do and find a place for it, just the right size, in your heart:

The Disappointments of Childhood

"Perhaps a bird was singing and for it I felt
a tiny affection, the same size as a bird" ~Borges

Imagine now, an affection the same size
as the thing it's felt for: for the seed,
seed-like emoluments of liking and,
for the rain, droplets of tenderness
clustered in puddles at your feet.

And now remember how, as a child,
someone is telling you they love you.
"How much does daddy love you?" they
ask and you, childlike, spread
your arms as wide as a child can.

Little do you know it then, but the rest
of your life will be spent measuring
the distance between "that much"
and what love, in fact, is capable of --

The narrow width of a man or a woman,
their terrible thinness,
their small bones
growing constantly inward
from your spreading arms.

by Michael Blumenthal

A similarly intriguing thought
on the size of grief

by Stephen Colbert:
“The interesting thing about grief, I think, is that it is its own size. It is not the size of you. It is its own size. And grief comes to you. You know what I mean? I've always liked that phrase ‘He was visited by grief,’ because that’s really what it is. Grief is its own thing. It’s not like it’s in me and I’m going to deal with it. It’s a thing, and you have to be OK with its presence. If you try to ignore it, it will be like a wolf at your door.”
A sweet CD
recommended by my sister Peg:

Dear Old Josef, in his Retirement Years

“What sort of philosophers are we,
who know absolutely nothing
of the origin and destiny of cats?”

~ Henry David Thoreau ~

PS ~ October 2014
Precious Little Beaumont

an artistic tribute from my friend Jan Donley

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fond of Books and Watchful

Call it what you will -- reading group, salon, book blog:

" . . . meetings were held for conversation, with very little form,
from house to house, of people engaged in studies, fond of books,
and watchful of all the intellectual light . . . "

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

The Concord Transcendentalists in 1857 ~ Joshua Winer

Bringing you up to date on

April: Open the Book

Amazing multi - talented Elizabeth Bishop

May: Airplane Reading
Transcendentalism, history, romance, mystery, crime.

June: Books My Mom Suggested
United States History and North American Narrative

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Orchard House

House of my girlhood dreams -- oh to be one of the March sisters!
Surely one of the best loved houses in America!
Orchard House ~ Concord, Massachusetts ~ Setting for Little Women

Favorite lines from Louisa May Alcott:

"Help one another is part of the religion of our sisterhood."
from An Old-Fashioned Girl, Chapter 13, "The Sunny Side"

"Housekeeping ain't no joke."
from Little Women, Chapter 11, "Experiments"

Here's a more romantic view of tidying up,
my girlish idea of what it would be
like to live in charming Orchard House!
Thanks to my brother Aaron for giving me
this little tray back when we were kids