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Showing posts from December, 2008

Happy New Year

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In the days since Suzanne Horne 's life ended and her passing became public information via the blogosphere, I have heard from several bloggers. Some knew her well and others, hardly at all. Nonetheless, the conversations have been intensely frank, deeply personal, and purely honest. These conversations have been a wonderful gift that has presented itself from the nightmare. Bloggers live online through the words and images they string together to tell the stories of their lives. We are who we are when we are online; there is no pretense, no tea and cookies, no straightening the house, no combing of the hair, even. We are real, and we care about stories because we care about life; therefore, we care about each other. I was a regular reader of Suzanne's blog. She regularly visited mine. In fact, I came to her blog for the first time some time ago via a comment she left on a photo I had posted. At one point, I left a comment she responded to via email, and we emailed briefly

Wordless Wednesday: The Day after the Night of...

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Wordless Wednesday

Suicide, Anyone?

Since I learned about the death of Suzanne Horne , who allegedly killed herself with a gunshot wound to the head, I have been thinking about this awful topic. My thoughts are here . I invite your feedback.

My World Tuesday: Bridgeport, Connecticut

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Here's a broken boat doing its part to create some ambiance at Captain's Cove in Bridgeport, Connecticut. A capped landfill creates the skyline in the background of this little marina, where restaurants, ice cream shops, and gift shops together create a place worth visiting for a little while, strangely enough. My World Tuesday

Weekend Snapshot: Durable and Enduring

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The US flag hangs at the back of the sanctuary at St. John's Episcopal Church in Waterbury. I was in the loft on Christmas Eve to film some of my daughter's choir when they sang. As I turned to leave that afternoon, I was struck by the weight of this old flag. Inside it seemed still and peaceful and ever so durable--or should I say enduring. I love the flag; it it I see home. Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Star Dust

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Stars fall. Oh, indeed, They do And they In their millions of Shattered pieces Find their place Here and now Mostly on the edges of things. Look at these leaves At your feet and mine See the edge of every, single one Encrusted with stars Like opaque diamonds That would dissolve Under the crush of your foot Or the heat of your breath. This is the power and weight of life Fast at work Shattering illusions In search of a pulse. It happens. Stars fall. One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Michael's Jewelers

This week's blessing is a small-town moment that has become part of my daughter's Christmas present One day in the summer, we wandered the Brass Mill Center while Sears replaced my tires. We stopped at Michael's jewelers to browse the very beautiful rings and necklaces. We stopped at the opals, my daughter's birth stone, because there were so many beautiful shades of the stone there in the most beautiful of settings. The saleswoman there had all the time in the world for us then and offered to show us everything as she told us about the stones and the settings and her daughter. (It goes that way with women.) This happens on quiet summer mornings sometimes. Two weeks ago, I was shopping in that mall with a friend, and we stopped at Michael's so I could get my daughter the earrings she liked the best. The store was mobbed with Christmas shoppers, and nobody had a spare second for small talk, to say the least. Nevertheless, while a saleswoman was wrapping up the opa

Rest in Peace, Liquid Illuzion (aka Suzanne Horne)

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I have a personal tradition of lighting a pillar candle and placing it on the front step on Christmas morning. It's my own little way of celebrating the Light at the heart of the holiday and inviting it in. This candle burned steadily on my front step from 6:45 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. yesterday. I joked that it was my Hanukkah miracle because it was all but burned out when I lit it in the morning. In truth, I had forgotten the thing when we left for my parents', so I was lucky I hadn't caused a disaster at home. In truth, though, it was a miracle. There wasn't enough wax or wick for a 12 3/4-hour burn. But there it was. Today I am dedicating this post--and the eternal Love in that little Light--to the memory of blogger Suzanne Horne, whose blog Liquid Illuzion was a source of fun, joy, and beauty for me on a regular basis. Suzanne died on Christmas Eve. I am very sad and sorry about this. She was an angel who visited my life for a little while and brought a lot of li

Skywatch Friday: The Ghost of Christmas Present Fades Into a New Day

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Skywatch Friday

This Christmas

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This Christmas: I hope your fondest dream comes true, that you experience health and happiness, that each of us finds peace that will endure and be matched with an inextinguishable joy. May the love that is the magic of Christmas warm your heart and light your days. This Christmas: I am grateful for a daughter who is wonderful in every way, my one-of-a-kind family, friends from the past with whom I share an enduring affection and love, health, home, work, and a routine that is as comfortable as it is challenging. This Christmas: I hope you'll have time for this song. and this one . God bless you always, And may you see goodness in everything that comes your way in 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Seeing the Light

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Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: A Walk in the Connecticut Snow

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The heavy snows finally came on Friday afternoon. We went for a walk shortly after it began; shortly after it began, it was pretty deep! My World Tuesday

Weekend Snapshot: From the Tree

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My grandmother put the mouse on a Christmas package for me when I was a very little girl. The blue glass ornament in the upper right corner of that frame is a ball that a friend gave to me when we were in high school. Craig loved Christmas, and this was one of his grandmother's ornaments, so it has always been a special treasure. The star in the second frame is made from fused glass. I bought this from a glass artist in Washington, Connecticut, years ago when my great-uncle took me to see her studio. I wish I could remember her name. She created what she called weed-ash glass. She would place weeds and grasses between two pieces of glass and fuse them together to make plates, bowls, trivets, and the like.

One Single Impression: A Winter's Day

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You tell me you will come. I wait. I watch. I listen. I close my eyes, And I imagine you are here. Your arrival is a special occasion; Your presence stops everything. With me The world inclines its head In homage To you. I wait. I watch. I listen. I close my eyes. Nothing. Silence. This waiting is a cold hell that Could erupt into a thousand flames This instant And consume every unkept promise. "Do not wait for the one who leaves you waiting." I hear the advice; I feel the heat of the scornful glance That says: Think better of yourself; move on. I turn away, run to the window: I am waiting For a storm That will not come. One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: The Weatherman and Henry

The kids I teach are a handful even on a good day. Though they are in my classes because they have performed poorly on standardized reading comprehension tests, they are not stupid. In fact, most of them are very bright,but they don't know how to play by the rules; they don't know the first thing about sitting still and getting to work. Nevertheless, they can talk what they won't write. So my job is about getting these extraordinary but different kids to do things the plain and simple way everyone else does. It ain't easy. Take the Weatherman and Henry. One is gay and proud of it; the other, the picture of urban white machismo--a brawler. They sit on opposite sides of the classroom because they hate each other passionately. While Henry used to badger The Weatherman about being gay, the Weatherman could give as good as he get and would tell Henry, "You wish you were gay." All of this would go on before they even sat down. In a sixth grade literacy class

Skywatch Friday: Morning Star, Day Star

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Skywatch Friday

Thursday Thirteen: A New Thought for Christmas

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1. Melissa Etheridge's 2008 Christmas album A New Thought for Christmas is less about a new idea than an ancient one: love, love, love for the sake of love in the name of love. 2. I've enjoyed the album since my daughter gave it to me a few weeks ago because it gets to the heart of the holiday. 3. In her deep, gritty, and soulful way, Etheridge breathes new life into "Angels We Have Heard on High" in "Glorious" with this delightful play on the old lyrics: "love, love, love/it's glorious." The song is delightful, happy, hopeful. It's light. 4. Likewise, "O Holy Night" travels through time in O Night Divine. 5. With guitarist Philip Sayce's accompaniment, she transports this ancient Christmas songs into a present and leaves me believing that it really is possible to live Christmas throughout the year: "Throughout time we've watched the sky/ And waited for the sun to come and save us/ Save us from the longest n

Wordless Wednesday: Go Ahead,Take It...

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Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: Second-growth Sunrise

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This weekend I spent a lot of time finding my way through and around second-growth trees in search of a clear Skywatch photo. I did not succeed. Why should I? This is Connecticut. It is what it is. There are fewer wide-open vistas in my corner of Connecticut than there are opportunities to look way up. If I ever find that wide-open space, I'll find myself wishing for the trees that make home what it is. My World Tuesday

Weekend Snapshot: Close to Frozen

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After a week punctuated by heavy rains, the weather turned cold. This is the surface of the little pond near my home on Saturday morning. Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Distractions

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You are distracted He said I was looking away Out the window into the distance: A beaver lodge On top of which stood a Canada goose Below which Muskrats silent and sleek Cut across the swamp Under clouds drifting and dripping Into shadows that drenched the hills With cool and sleepy darkness Even as the morning light, A six pointed star, Was rising from the earth, Climbing the trees and Running away with the moon Without a backward glance Distracted, He said. You are distracted. Again. Perhaps, I thought-- Or I am attracted to everything. Everything. How I would love to Fall backward Off this stage Into the hands of an attractive world Into a love affair With every Single Little Thing. I wouldn't look back. One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Boys

My daughter had been neglecting Tapper, her guinea pig this week, and Tapper knew it. The other evening as she climbed the stairs to bed, he squeaked and squeaked until she came back down and cuddled him for what he felt was a decent amount of time. Tapper is a physical little dude. He knows when he's hungry and says so. He knows when he needs affection and says so. We try to meet his needs before he has to talk about it, but when we drop the ball, he calls it--and that's the problem solved. In this way, he's a good friend. No head games. Of course, he's a simple little rodent. He's also a he, and his straightforward nature is similar to the nature of the other important little men in Dell's life: her cousins. Alex and Adam are her best friends. They too know when they're hungry, when they want to play, when they want a hug from her. When it's not in front of them, they ask for it. Simple. I have told Adella over and over again that boys are an oas

Skywatch Friday: Snow Skies Returning

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Skywatch Friday

Thursday Thirteen: Beautiful December

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I think December is beautiful because 1. The long shadows cast by the sleeping sun bring the trees down to my size; I can climb them. 2. The light does not last long, and it's nice to turn into warm, softly lit places where I am welcome. 3. The cold air makes riches of simple things like warm blankets, 4. Hot chocolate, 5. Old movies, 6. Old books I've read and remember like acquaintances I want to meet again. 7. There is no magic like that found in the first flurry of snow in December. 8. It's the time of the year that makes those wonderful old Claymation Christmas movies good and new again. 9. They remind me of the simple innocence of childhood 10. And the best lessons learned during that grand month: 11. Take care of your friends (Frosty) 12. Your best gift is your best you (Little Drummer Boy) 13. And we're all beautiful somehow, somewhere, and always. Thursday Thirteen

Wordless Wednesday: Angel, We Have Heard...

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Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: St. Anne's Under Light Snow in Waterbury

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Before church on Sunday, I stopped at Home Depot to get a few keys cut. Stepping out of the car, I caught this view of St. Anne's Cathedral in Waterbury, Connecticut. I liked the way the church blended with the tree line on the frontier of the parking lot. Waterbury is full of beautiful surprises like this one. I came around the back of the church after that errand and saw the church from the perspective above. The old factory houses continued the line of the cathedral, and I thought that was as it should be. One home should be part of another. This view also brought to mind a Roman creche I saw at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Connecticut, a few years ago. An alley off a Roman street comprises the elaborte nativity scene. Through the tiny windows I could see babies in the company of their mothers. There was no central Holy Family to be found. The message: that Christ is born in each of our hearts. That suited me just fine. May the love that makes His story be

Weekend Snapshot: Greyish Waves of Water

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The first snow and the first blast of genuine winter cold sent ripples through the water and created some lovely illusions. Sunday afternoon was surreal, a walk through an Impressionist painting. I love winter! Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Doodles

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Whispering to the woodpecker wintering here, To the soft, supple pine boughs refracting winter light, To the white-tailed deer who has come upon me as Easily and unknowingly as I have come upon him, I begin a story While I walk. Later I will not remember The sweet nothings That write themselves Across my heart. Not exactly. I will remember How good the writing felt, How those lost words Seal my love now As they do every morning When I begin a story. When I can I will perhaps search for those words And make some kind of use of them. One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Calm Kids

When my daughter was very young and we watched Barney for the first time, I was driven to distraction by the characters' constant movement. Barney, the children, and the adults were always bouncing from one leg to the other in the magical playground full of color and movement, movement, movement. It drove me mad. I can count on one hand the number of times we watched Barney. That's not to say we didn't watch TV, though. After lunch, we would be faithful visitors to Mr. Roger's neighborhood, where that calm and kindly gentleman invited us into his home and included us in the ordinary pace of his day. He took his time with everyone and found pleasure in ordinary people and the nature of their li ves and work. It was easy to be there. In fact, I still remember the places he took us and the interesting people to whom he introduced us. I thought of this contrast when I heard the advice from a colleague at the college where I used to teach. He helped kids with learning di

Skywatch Friday: Homeward

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Just an ordinary day. I love the light of late autumn. The early dark appeals to me, perhaps because I am a bit of a homebody and early dark means going in and enjoying a book or the company of whomever is around. "If you were far out in space, you would see that the sun neither rises nor sets but that it shines constantly." (Eckhart Tolle) Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday: Their Scent Became the Sky

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The pain turned to music, and the music softened into warm rain, so gentle that once you were wet you couldn't feel it as something different than what you were. And the thirsty flowers opened and their scent became the sky. The work was done, and what there had been to give was given. (Tim Farrington) Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: The Swamp

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Home in Connecticut is near a wonderful swamp that teems with life during the warm weather. In the cold weather, I enjoy walking along the edge of it to enjoy the color and the patterns that undergird all the color and beauty of summer. It's all good--even if most of the residents are off on vacation. My World Tuesday