Friday, October 30, 2015

Costume Ideas from Days of Yore

My Two Older Sibs
American Gothic ~ 1955

I wasn't born yet so can't recall this particular occasion.
Were these costumes really for Halloween . . .
or perhaps just a summertime Tableau Vivant?

Us Four Little Kids
Trick or Treating in Clover Meadows ~ 1967

I can't decide . . . should this one go in
the "Little Kids" album or the "Halloween" album
or the "Embarrassing Childhood Moments" album?

Yin Yang
College Days ~ 1979

Golden Dome
The Notre Dame Years ~ 1987

Newlyweds ~ 1989

Re - purposing the lobster nose:
Baby Ben's Costume ~ 1991

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Out for a Spin

"For when time takes you out for a spin in his car
You'll be hard-pressed to stop him from going too far
And be left by the roadside, for all your good deeds . . ."

~ X.J. Kennedy ~

Halloween Hearse

"I wonder if death will come like a faded star
wrapped in fur and heavily made up,
her skeletal driver silent by the car.
'Darling, get in, we just thought we'd stop -- "
she'll say as he is opening the door
and with a ghoulish grin she pats the seat --
Even though we haven't met before
I've always felt that someday we would meet" "
. . .
~ Harold Witt ~
from "Sunset Boulevard"

Cartoon by Trashlands

"Because I could not stop for Death -
He kindly stopped for me . . . "

~ Emily Dickinson ~


on my current post

~ "Stopping For Death" ~

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

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Allergic to Celery?
That's Just So Euro!

Halloween Snack: Celery & Carrot Stick Cat
"Celery is among a small group of foods (headed by peanuts) that appear to provoke the most severe allergic reactions; for people with celery allergy, exposure can cause potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. The allergen does not appear to be destroyed at cooking temperatures. Celery root—commonly eaten as celeriac, or put into drinks—is known to contain more allergen than the stalk. Seeds contain the highest levels of allergen content. Exercise-induced anaphylaxis may be exacerbated. An allergic reaction also may be triggered by eating foods that have been processed with machines that have previously processed celery, making avoiding such foods difficult. In contrast with peanut allergy being most prevalent in the US, celery allergy is most prevalent in Central Europe. In the European Union, foods that contain or may contain celery, even in trace amounts, must be clearly marked as such" (Info. from Wikipedia, emphasis added).
After living free of allergies for over fifty years, I seem to have developed the above allergic reaction to both raw celery and raw carrots. This blog post is the result of my quest to figure out why my throat was suddenly and painfully constricting after every celery or carrot stick. An hour or so of googling revealed that there are those who have it much worse, for I came across plenty of cautionary advice to avoid all celery, always checking which products contain dried celery, and so forth.

I, however, haven't noticed a reaction to dried or cooked celery; nor have I known myself to suffer from any of the various tree and plant allergies that often precede the raw celery / carrot allergy. Likewise, the wide range of symptoms such as rashes around the face, tingling and itching of lips and gums have never bothered me. What has happened is the restricted breathing and the horrible feeling that no matter how much air I try to gulp, I am going to keel over and have some kind of heart attack right in the middle of making the spaghetti sauce. In fact, these incidents have occurred more often than not when I was home alone, chopping up celery / carrots for a recipe and sampling a few fresh bites while cooking.

But not anymore.

I know it seems a shame to give up such a healthy low - cal snack, and it feels almost ridiculous or even rude to decline the crudities. On the other hand, if you've experienced that hard knot in your chest and that terrible, scary, helpless feeling in your throat more than once or twice, you won't be the least bit tempted, despite the risk of appearing persnickety or the enticing beauty of the celery heart!

Celery Heart Art

And now a poem -- for there's bound to be a poem about everything, even celery! -- from Ted Kooser's book of Valentines

—Placard at Hinky Dinky
Surely it misses those long fly balls of light
its leaves once leapt to catch, or longs to run
its roots out into the salty darkness.

What once looked like a Roman fountain
is now a ruin of fallen columns
bedded on ice. Its only consolations are,

at regular intervals, the hiss of mist,
and at times the warm and reassuring squeeze
of passing hand. But better this, by far,

than to be the sullen heart of artichoke,
stripped of its knives and heavy armor
and mummified for eons in a jar of brine.

Ted Kooser (b 1939)
American Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Little Black Pantherlet

Why we just had to bring home our little black Pantherlet,
James B. Fuqua!
"The black panther is not a distinct species, but is the common name for melanistic specimens of the genus, most often encountered in leopard and jaguar [and cougar]."
When I learned that instead of a separate species, black panther refers to any of the Big Cats (genus Panthera) whose coloring is all - black, that's when it dawned on me that an all - black house cat could properly be called a Pantherlet! As Christopher Smart writes in one of my favorite poems,
"My Cat Jeoffry":
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.

Cherub Pantherlet
We adopted our pantherlet in April 2012 and named him James B. "Fuqua," because our older son Ben would begin his Ph.D. that fall at Duke University in the business school, named after John Brooks Fuqua. The university itself was founded by James Buchanan Duke. So we named our kitten -- who was joining our family just as Ben was leaving for grad school -- after a combination of the two founders, with his "B" standing for Bagheera, after the panther in The Jungle Book.
My friend Cate calls him "Little Duke."
And Ben always calls him "James."

Early Days

Good ~ Luck!
And more to come . . .

Monday, October 19, 2015

What if God was One of Us?

A Trick or Treat Parody of Christ at Heart’s Door
Original by Warner Sallman
How could we have ever doubted?
Of course, Jesus Loves Halloween!

Hmmm, could this explain the whereabouts of the plastic orange
jack - o - lantern that went missing from my front porch last week?*

One Of Us

If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with him
In all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?

*And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

If God had a face what would it look like?
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that
you would have to believe
in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints
and all the prophets (*)

Trying to make his way home
Back up to heaven all alone
Nobody calling on the phone
'cept for the Pope maybe in Rome(*)

Just trying to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone
Back up to heaven all alone
Just trying to make his way home
Nobody calling on the phone
'cept for the Pope maybe in Rome

sung by Joan Osborne
written by Eric Bazilian

*Gerry says, "That's why I said 'Sweet Jesus' when
you told me that the pumpkin had been stolen." Haha!

Friday, October 16, 2015

"Without your pulling it the tide comes in . . . "

Moon Phases & Tides

Without You
What a fool I was, what a dominated fool
To think that you were the Earth and sky
What a fool I was, what an addlepated fool
What a mutton-headed dote was I

No, my reverberating friend
You are not the beginning and the end

There'll be spring every year without you
England still will be here without you
There'll be fruit on the tree
And a shore by the sea
There'll be crumpets and tea without you

Art and music will thrive without you
Somehow Keats will survive without you
And there still will be rain on that plain down in Spain
Even that will remain without you,
I can do without you!

You, dear friend, who talk so well
You can go to Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire
They can still rule the land without you
Windsor Castle will stand without you
And without much ado we can
All muddle through without you

Without your pulling it the tide comes in
Without your twirling it, the Earth can spin
Without your pushing them, the clouds roll by
If they can do without you, ducky, so can I

I shall not feel alone without you
I can stand on my own without you
So go back in your shell
I can do bloody well
Without you

Lerner & Loewe

This favorite song, plus readings
by Wayne Muller, Esther Hillesum, Saxon N. White Kessinger
and from the movie Birdman
on my current post

~ "The Galaxy Will Manage" ~

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Plenty to Read

"But will you woo this wild cat?" *
Fuqua & Complete Works
of Shakespeare in Two Volumes

These books were a graduation present to me from
my friend Marietta when I graduated from highschool.
My friend Joni gave the Complete Sonnets to finish out the set!
They knew me well!


Bringing you up to date on

October: The Not So Grand Test of Virtue
George Orwell & Wayne Muller

September: Paper Roses, Paper Moons, Paper Towns
John Green: Queries & Favorites

August: Guest Blog: HiyaKiyah
Kiyah Rosenbluth on Paper Towns, The One and Only Ivan,
and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

July: Guest Blog: Critical Mode
Tammy Sandel on The Agony and The Ecstasy

* Thanks to Cousin Nick for this caption!
~ from The Taming of the Shrew (I, ii, 169)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sedum Sunrise, Kansas Sunset

“At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear.”

~ from A River Runs Through It
Norman Maclean (1902 - 1990)
American author & scholar

"I always say that the times in my life when I've been
happiest are the times when I've seen, like, a sunset."

Chris Evans (b 1981)
American actor & director

Whether or not you're a fan of the movies,
this comment about the sunset says it all --
so existentialist yet so casual at the same time!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Listen to Your Sons!

Some Exotic Early Autumn Visitors to Our Back Yard!
Such a beautiful Wednesday in October,
made even better by my new lawn ornaments
and some entertaining input from my children.

Hump Day Advice from my older son Ben:

"Time is money. And money is power. And power corrupts.
So it's important that I waste a bunch of time today
to maintain my integrity.

Plus an inspiring song, contributed by my younger son Sam. I was listening to one of his old mix cds while exercising and came across this tune:

Sign of a Victory
(Official 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Anthem)

Sung by R. Kelly & the Soweto Spiritual Singers

I can see the colors of the rainbow
And I can feel the sun on my face
I see the light at the end of the tunnel
And I can feel heaven in its place

And that's the sign of a victory
That's the sign of a victory

I can feel the spirit of the nations
And I can feel my wings riding the winds, yeah
I see the finish line just up ahead now
And I can feel it rising deep within

And that's the sign of a victory
And that's the sign of a victory

Now I can see the distance of your journey
And how you fought with all your might
You open your eyes to global warming
And through it all, you sacrificed your life

That's the sign of a victory, hey
That's the sign of a victory

Oh, if we believe, we can achieve anything
Including the impossible, this I know
So let's lift up our heads, yeah, and raise the flag, yeah
And scream like you want to win, now let the games begin

That's the sign of a victory, yeah
That's the sign of a victory, yeah
That's the sign of a victory, oh
That's the sign of a victory, yeah

That's it, when you keep on fighting
After you lost your strength
That's the sign of a victory, yes, it is

When darkness is all around you
You still find your way
That's the sign of a victory
Oh, you got the victory, sing

Come on and sing
Lift up your voice and sing
Stand up, oh yeah, stand up
Common goal, sign of a victory

Oh, that's the sign of a victory

Music & lyrics by R. Kelly

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Sooner You Fall Behind . . .

. . . the more time you have to catch up!

I have mugs with each of the above quotations. They both appeared on my desk in the early days of grad school. I glanced around at my office mates and said, "Are these for me?"

They all shrugged and said, "If the mug fits . . . "

I never did know who got them for me, but I've managed to hang on to them for thirty - five years now! In the meantime, I've broken so many other mugs (in fact, several just recently!) but never these two!

The height / depth of my mid - life crisis
was admitting to myself that I will never
get all my reading done in this lifetime!
Maybe in the next . . .

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Road Trip

"Once again it was jolly autumn weather,
and the road was quiet, with few cars passing.
The air was like sweetbriar . . .
We two seemed the only tramps on the road."

~ from Down and Out in Paris and London (177)
George Orwell (1903 - 50)
English writer and social critic

"On the old highway maps of America, the main routes were red and the back roads blue. Now even the colors are changing. But in those brevities just before dawn and a little after dusk - times neither day nor night - the old roads return to the sky some of its color. Then, in truth, they carry a mysterious cast of blue, and it's that time when the pull of the blue highway is strongest, when the open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where you can lose yourself."
~ from Blue Highways: A Journey into America
William Least Heat Moon (b 1939)
American travel writer and historian

"And when I'd seen all the sights,
there was the moon so round
Go home, said the man in the moon, go home
Go home, said the man in the moon, go home
Because it's getting sorta late, and I'll soon put out my light
So go home, said the man in the moon, go home

We didn't know who we were, we didn't know what we did
We were just on the road"
~ from "On the Road"
Sung by Michael Johnson (b 1944)
American singer, song - writer, guitarist


Recent travels with my twin brother:
Frederick & Baltimore, Maryland
Neosho, Missouri
Coffeyville & Caney, Kansas
Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Blue Springs & Kansas City, Missouri
Where to next?