Monday, September 06, 2010

Back to Grandma's yard

Once we moved into our house, I unconsciously began reassembling my favorite elements of my grandma's house. It was built around the same time as ours, about seventy miles away.

I planted the lilacs I remembered, and purple iris, four o'clocks with their small round seeds like little cartoon bombs, peonies and black-eyed susans and mint. I've had tomatoes some years, and chives, and geraniums that were her favorite shade of coral pink.

Now that we have storm windows with screens, we can open the windows on days when it's not too hot and get a very satisfying and soothing breeze.

I even found Sweetheart Soap, the smell of which takes me back to being four years old again.

And now I have a clothesline (I suppose we have a clothesline, but it's mostly mine), an umbrella style clothesline that you take down when you're not using it. When I was little, we could hang a sheet from each of the four sides and I would have the best garden house (girl equivalent of a fort) you could ask for. I tried it out today for the first time, and yes, everything dried just fine and blew picturesquely in the breeze especially for my benefit.

Friday, June 04, 2010

About to be enGulfed

On Monday I'll start a new job (a detail for six months) and I'll be working on communications about our agency's work on the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The scope of this disaster is hard for me to comprehend. I found a widget from the Public Broadcasting System that shows how much oil has leaked since the incident began April 20. You can adjust the rate based on the various estimates available.



If It Was My Home uses Google Maps to show you the surface area of the spill superimposed on your part of the world. This is oddly effective, since you have probably visited places at different distances from your home and have a personal grasp of how far the spill reaches.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Please leave...

I was walking past one of the bridge houses along the Chicago River this morning, and I noticed that I could see right into it, and there was a sign on the wall. (You may have to look at the larger image to read it.)

Friday, March 05, 2010

Maps of France - chain of thought

This illustration is from a great blog I don't read often enough, Strange Maps: Squaring the Hexagon.

Which leads me to some other thoughts:
  • I have never been able to see how the map of France suggests a hexagon. Maybe a kind of a star, the kind a little kid would draw, but not a hexagon.
  • When I was in college, I found a wonderful stained glass window in an antique store. I was told it had been pulled from an old building in Indianapolis. It was about four feet on a side, square, and it was a fine map of France, divided up into its old regions, not the modern départements. Its borders were small squares with the blasons of, well, I suppose dukedoms or something. It was the unimaginable sum of $400. Don't I wish I could go back and buy it now!
  • (That same antique store had a priest's kit for administering the last rites and a stuffed mongoose engaged in combat with a stuffed snake. Mercy!)
  • I also wish I'd gotten the ring I saw once that had a ruby flanked by two Indian heads back to back wearing feather headdresses. I would have been just as taken with it when I was seven.
  • And I can't omit (though I should) the idiomatic meaning of faire une carte de France...

Friday, January 22, 2010

That's a fine new hat you have!

I have loved hats for as long as I can remember. When I entered my eccentric phase in ninth grade (not sure if that phase has passed), I would wear different hats to school on different days. My favorite was the red corduroy baseball cap.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Naked Cowboy


With apologies to Pitti-Sing and W.S. Gilbert:
When the day is cold
A cowboy bold
Is a cheering sight to see;
And it's oh, I'm glad
He was barely clad
And right within sight of me!

Saw the Naked Cowboy in front of the train station this morning. He gets a lot of credit; it's only 23F/-4C out there.