Saturday, November 26, 2022

Thanksgiving Fashion

First of all, you will need a practical yet stylish apron
to protect your dress while cooking & cleaning.

Second, you can don this layered ensemble,
when stepping out for that all - important
after - dinner stroll amongst the foliage.
Third, don't forget all the right accents
to accompany your Victorian Walking Dress!


Fourth, some time - honored advice
from fashion designer Carolina Herrera:

"The most important accessory
for a woman to have
is a full - length mirror
Herrera has given this same advice repeatedly and never considers wavering from her signature look. Her advice to women is always the same:

"Frame the face, limit the prints, accentuate the waist, and cover up the arms. I love white shirts because they feel like a security blanket. You can wear them with anything. It's the person and the way that they wear it that makes it different. I have been designing white shirts forever, but I don't get tired of it. . . . You don't have to follow the fashion of the times, you have to follow the fashion that looks good on you. . . . You have to have a full-length mirror in your house so you can see what is missing and what you have to add to your look."

from an interview with Susan Swimmer
in MORE Magazine (July / August 2008):

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Here's Autumn Looking at You

I love everything about this photobraph,
especially the way the buttons on the shoes look like eyes!

A CD for the Season


You've probably seen the following [not really a] poem
floating around on the internet.
Of interest, but I'm not yet convinced:

Don’t prioritise your looks my friend,
they won’t last the journey.
Your sense of humor though, will only get better.
Your intuition will grow and expand like a majestic cloak of wisdom.
Your ability to choose your battles will be fine-tuned to perfection.
Your capacity for stillness, for living in the moment, will blossom.
And your desire to live each and every moment
will transcend all other wants.
Your instinct for knowing what (and who) is worth your time
will grow and flourish like ivy on a castle wall.
Don’t prioritise your looks my friend,
they will change forevermore,
that pursuit is one of much sadness and disappointment.
Prioritise the uniqueness that make you you,

and the invisible magnet that draws in other
like-minded souls to dance in your orbit.
These are the things which will only get better.

Donna Ashworth

Hmmmm??? The thing is, I didn't prioritise my looks, but neither can I say that any of those other things have come with time or gotten better: humor, intuition, wisdom, stillness, instinct. Nope, nope, nope, and nope. Instead I just feel more error prone and more confused than ever about what really matters. Wiser with age? Still waiting. Thanks to my friend Clare, who offers hope!

Maybe there's still time to acquire the wisdom of those piercing button eyes! It does seem true, if you really want to feel possessed of wisdom, stand under a ginkgo tree!

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Autumn Scraps and Lamps

Autumn Scraps
Backyard Still Life by Cathleen & Ellie

From Preludes
By T. S. Eliot (1888 – 1965)

The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o’clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves
about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.

And then the lighting of the lamps.

Everyone can’t
be a lamplighter.

Someone must
be the lamp,

and someone
must, in bereaved

rooms sit,
unfathoming what

it is to be lit.

~ Andrea Cohen ~

[See The New Yorker, February 16, 2015]

Thursday, November 17, 2022


Our new favorite at the Lady Lever Gallery:
Fatidica (1893 - 94)
by Frederick Leighton (1830 - 1896)

There is so much more to learn about this Roman goddess, known for using her prophetic powers on behalf of women.

In my research, I came across the following poem, which is not about the Goddess Faditica yet seems so appropriate to her expression of world - weariness and forebearance!

The Goddess Who Created This Passing World

The Goddess who created this passing world
Said Let there be lightbulbs & liquefaction
Life spilled out onto the street, colors whirled
Cars & the variously shod feet were born
And the past & future & I born too
Light as airmail paper away she flew
To Annapurna or Mt. McKinley
Or both but instantly
Clarified, composed, forever was I
Meant by her to recognize a painting
As beautiful or a movie stunning
And to adore the finitude of words
And understand as surfaces my dreams
Know the eye the organ of affection
And depths to be inflections
Of her voice & wrist & smile

Alice Notley (b 1945)
1. Happy Birthday Nikki!

2. How to purchase a poster.

3. The Beautiful Lady Lever

Monday, November 14, 2022

Loving the Red Leaves Best

Every September, October, November
I re-live in my heart the truth of Ada's observation,
quoted several times before*:

"Ada had tried to love all the year equally . . .
Nevertheless, she could not get over loving autumn best . . .

Cold Mountain ~ Charles Frazier


And to take it one step further,
nor can I, autumn after autumn, get over
loving the red leaves best!

The poets, even those deprived of sight,
have named the red leaves fire & scarlet:

Helen Keller:
Oh, what a beauty doth the world put on
These peerless perfect autumn days . . .
with brightly painted leaves . . .
But so exquisitely blended are the lights and shades,
The golds, scarlets and purples, that no sense is wearied
. . . [see ~ also]

Archibald MacLeish:
"Autumn is the American season. In Europe the leaves turn yellow or brown and fall. Here they take fire on the trees and hang there flaming. Life, too, we think, is capable of taking fire in this country; of creating beauty never seen."
Disclaimer, with apologies to MacLeish
the red leaves both here & above
were photographed in England!


*Always Autumn

Time's Most Favored Season

My Times

Bright Blue Autumn

Friday, November 11, 2022


Eduardo Oropeza (1947–2003)
Mexican American Artist
@ Scottsdale's Museum of the West


I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals--
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting--
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,--
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings--
I know why the caged bird sings!

by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 – 1906)
African American Poet

"O Thou who has given us so much,
mercifully grant us one thing more:
a grateful heart.
~ George Herbert ~

"To those who have hunger give bread;
And to us who have bread
give the hunger for justice
~ Latin American Blessing ~

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Living in the Past

[Cartoon by Bruce Eric Kaplan]

Maybe this explains why I lived in Victorian houses for forty years. But here I am, trying something new: working my way through the transition from a Victorian house (built in 1895) to a Mid-century modern (1956) putting me only fifty years or so behind the times, instead of one hundred and fifty.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

The Nights are Drawing In

Summer Time Ends

How nice looking up, some cloudy afternoon,
To see that what has fallen suddenly
Is twilight, and an earlier chance to draw
The curtains while you have the energy.

Now everything falls, go down with it and give
Yourself to the gravity, putting up a show
Of warming wistfulness with the last leaves.
Fall hard, and stay there, waiting for the snow.

The nights are drawing in, nothing wrong with that.
The poet says: Darkness cures what day inflicts.*
It is as normal to welcome winter back
As to loathe the spring. Popular interdicts

May forbid that preference, but snow walks are like
Illicit love with no one else betrayed;
Are like the joy, as you step out through the white,
Of the first alligator in the first everglade.

Harden your skin, then, for the rigorous spell
Between October and the April days
When the clocks go wrong again. Live for the thought
Of the bracing dark and the heavenly displays,

On frosty nights, of dotty groups of stars
You may sit and try to specify all night
-- As if there were no tomorrow to dissolve
Their shining in dull anywheres of light.

~ Alan Brownjohn (b 1931)

Poem included in the anthology:
Light Unlocked: Christmas Poems (p 13)

* “For darkness restores what light cannot repair.
~ Joseph Brodsky (1940 - 96)

Editor's note: in England "Daylight Saving Time" is called "British Summer Time"

Blogger's note: "Arizona and Hawaii are now the only states that don't observe daylight savings time." Indiana used to be on this list, until 2005 or so, when (un)popular opinion dictated that we perpetually align ourselves with New York rather than Chicago.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Day of the Dead Still Glowing

All Souls

Did someone say that there would be an end,
An end, Oh, an end, to love and mourning?
Such voices speak when sleep and waking blend,
The cold bleak voices of the early morning
When all the birds are dumb in dark November—
Remember and forget, forget, remember.

After the false night, warm true voices, wake!
Voice of the dead that touches the cold living,
Through the pale sunlight once more gravely speak.
Tell me again, while the last leaves are falling:
“Dear child, what has been once so interwoven
Cannot be raveled, nor the gift ungiven.”
Now the dead move through all of us still glowing,
Mother and child, lover and lover mated,
Are wound and bound together and enflowing.
What has been plaited cannot be unplaited—
Only the strands grow richer with each loss
And memory makes kings and queens of us.

Dark into light, light into darkness, spin.
When all the birds have flown to some real haven,
We who find shelter in the warmth within,
Listen, and feel new-cherished, new-forgiven,
As the lost human voices speak through us and blend
Our complex love, our mourning without end.

May (Eleanore Marie) Sarton (1912 – 1995)
The smallest grave:
only two oak leaves high

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The Summer of All - Saints

Two red roses on my pink rose bush!

More from Evangeline: Canto II

Such was the advent of autumn.
Then followed that beautiful season,

Called by the pious Acadian peasants
the Summer of All-Saints!

Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
and the landscape

Lay as if new-created
in all the freshness of childhood.

Peace seemed to reign upon earth,
and the restless heart of the ocean

Was for a moment consoled.
All sounds were in harmony blended.

Voices of children at play,
the crowing of cocks in the farm-yards,

Whir of wings in the drowsy air,
and the cooing of pigeons,

All were subdued and low as the murmurs of love,
and the great sun

Looked with the eye of love
through the golden vapors around him;

While arrayed in its robes of russet
and scarlet and yellow,

Bright with the sheen of the dew,
each glittering tree of the forest

Flashed like the plane-tree
the Persian adorned with mantles and jewels.

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)
Essay for the day:
All Saints, Not Some Saints

Monday, October 31, 2022

Moon Cat

Painting by Todd Young

All Hallows’ Eve
Be perfect, make it otherwise.
Yesterday is torn in shreds.
Lightning’s thousand sulfur eyes
Rip apart the breathing beds.
Hear bones crack and pulverize.
Doom creeps in on rubber treads.
Countless overwrought housewives,
Minds unraveling like threads,
Try lipstick shades to tranquilize
Fears of age and general dreads.
Sit tight, be perfect, swat the spies,
Don’t take faucets for fountainheads.
Drink tasty antidotes. Otherwise
You and the werewolf: newlyweds.

Dorothea Tanning (1910 – 2012)
from her book Coming to That

Happy Halloween!


"Harvest Home"
my recent post

@The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A literary blog of connection & coincidence;
custom & ceremony

Friday, October 28, 2022

You See Yourself, Tiny

Black Cat

A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:

just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.

She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs

suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 - 1926)
My fb friend Tawny designed this one,
using the Tap Color app

Happy Halloween!


"Harvest Home"
my recent post

@The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A literary blog of connection & coincidence;
custom & ceremony

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Retro Toddler

Ellie, wearing her Uncle Sam's old Christmas outfit.
along with her little 21st Century Crocs,
and her favorite stuffed Babar & Snowman
Christmas 1994
Ben ~ 4 1/2 years & Sam 15 months
New Year's Day 1995
Ellie at 21 months, looking a lot like her dad . . .
. . . and her Uncle Sam.
Ellie wearing Uncle Sam's vintage
Baby Gap outfit from 1995,
admiring Sam's studio portrait from Sears,
and explaining to the Snowman!


Ben, age 2 years
with Fig Newton & Apple
in his super cool British circus pants
When we showed Ellie this photo of her dad,
she demonstrated her own way of balancing an apple!
Ellie at 13 months old
September 2021


My Favorite Catalogs from the 1990s
for fun baby clothes and toys

After the Stork
Animal Town
Discovery Toys
Lauri Foam Puzzles
Wooden Soldier

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Perhaps Even the Lilac

"Perhaps even an apple can feel pity;
perhaps the lilac wants to go on living . . . "
~ Linda Pastan ~
"If I had a flower for every time I thought of you . . .
I could walk through my garden forever."

~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson ~


* I have posted this beautiful poem before,
but here it is again:

Each night this house sinks into the shadows
under its weight of love and fear and pity.
Each morning it floats up again so lightly
it seems attached to sky instead of earth,
a place where we will always go on living
and there will be no dead to leave behind.

But when we think of whom we've left behind
already in the ever-hungry shadows,
even in the morning hum of living
we pause a minute and are filled with pity
for the lovely children of earth
who run up and down the stairs so lightly

and who weave their careless songs so lightly
through the hedges which they play behind
that the fruits and flowers of the earth
rise up on their stems above the shadows.
Perhaps even an apple can feel pity;
perhaps the lilac wants to go on living.

In this house where we have all been living
we bind the family together lightly
with knots made equally of love and pity
and the knowledge that we'll leave behind
only partial memories, scraps of shadows,
trinkets of our years upon the earth. . . .

Always save your pity for the living
who walk the eggshell crust of earth so lightly,
in front of them, behind them, only shadows.

~ Linda Pastan (b 1932)
Ellie in the Garden

Monday, October 17, 2022

Red Tank Top

Ellie's 1st Birthday ~ August 16, 2021
Child in Red

Sometimes she walks through the village in her
little red dress
all absorbed in restraining herself,
and yet, despite herself, she seems to move
according to the rhythm of her life to come.

She runs a bit, hesitates, stops,
half-turns around
and, all while dreaming, shakes her head
for or against.

Then she dances a few steps
that she invents and forgets,
no doubt finding out that life
moves on too fast.

It's not so much that she steps out
of the small body enclosing her,
but that all she carries in herself
frolics and ferments.

It's this dress that she'll remember
later in a sweet surrender;
when her whole life is full of risks,
the little red dress will always seem right.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 - 1926)
Looking back over the photos
from last summer, it seems that the
best way to have a really happy day
is to wear a red tank top!

My Cousin Brent's 70s Birthday Party ~ July 2021
Mini - Reunion
With my Cousin Cindy & my Twin Brother Bruce