Monthly Archives: February 2013


It’s the last day of February. And somewhere not far away, a songbird is warbling his little heart out. This isn’t the all-winter brass section performance of trumpeting Canada geese. This is a determined little woodwind soloist, a perfectly ordinary spring song, an unseen fistsize bird announcing to the world at large that he’s back and ready to start this year’s family now that winter is over.

Only it’s still February. Very strange. I hope he’s not being too optimistic.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Rainbow Colors

Just what it says, basically – post pictures with four or more strong colors

MulticolorDockingBarHarborDocking in Bar Harbor, Maine – July 2008

MulticolorCookbooksCookbooks in my dining room – ten minutes ago

MulticolorWilliamsburgFlowerGardenFlowers in Williamsburg, Virginia – May 2007

100 Word Challenge for Grownups – Memories

Julia’s 100 Word Challenge for Grownups gives us another picture this week to inspire our short-short stories. Let me know what you think of mine!


The package came on Monday – an inlaid wooden box, locked. On Tuesday, a small envelope. The note inside said only “Rosemary. That’s for remembrance.”

The key lay in the frostbitten herb garden. Her heart hammered as she picked it up. Late at night, she turned the lock. Letters overflowed as she lifted the lid. Taped inside the lid, another note – “Pray you, love, remember – remember how I love you. Love, let me come back.”

She smiled grimly as she fed the letters into the blazing fireplace. What about the box? Pretty, new, no memories left in it. She’d keep it.

Waaabiiii Ssssaaaabiiii…stretching an idea too far?

Do you ever have trouble thinking of your next post? Never fear, the friendly dinosaur who posts as Rarasaur has started a new project – Prompts for the Promptless – to suggest ideas we can all play around with.

The prompt of the moment is “wabi-sabi”. Wabi-what? It’s a Japanese concept, or type of art, or approach to life: finding beauty in the simple, the flawed, the damaged, the impermanent. Flower arrangements; rustic pottery; the tea ceremony.

Anti-wabi-sabi, then, would be perfection. A few months ago I visited someone whose home came about as close to perfection as you can reasonably get – everything was new and sparkling and tastefully coordinated. It was beautiful, but after half an hour or so it made me uncomfortable. I found myself thinking “Whose house is this, anyway? Anybody could live here. It’s as if the owner wants to keep her own tastes and interests hidden.” (This was probably an unfair reaction, but it’s how I felt. As I say, the house was lovely; it was just that it was also completely impersonal.)

Now, I’m in the middle of reorganizing my home. But what am I really trying to accomplish? Not sparkling perfection with a mirror surface that reflects back the visitor’s own face and hides mine. No, I’ll try for something flawed and changeable and a little impromptu, with miscellaneous books shelved all over the place and food cooking in the kitchen and probably some knitting in progress lying around. Something organized and clean, but well-used.

It’s not the tea ceremony. It’s probably pushing the concept way out of its true shape. But it’s what real-life wabi-sabi means to me.

Travel themes: Bridges

Ailsa’s seen the Golden Gate Bridge recently, and that inspired her to ask us for our photos of bridges. All right –


Passing far below a bridge over the Corinth Canal in Greece


Another of the little bridges you find all over Venice – without them, pedestrians would be trapped


Heading home over the Delaware Memorial Bridge between Pennsylvania and New Jersey on a cloudy, windy afternoon late last December

Bridges can be big or small; sometimes you go under them, and sometimes you cross over them.

Friday Fictioneers: Explorers

Another week, another Friday Fictioneers, another photo prompt chosen by the one and only Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Let me know what you think of my story!


“Stay out of the old barn,” Mom said. So did Grandma. Mostly it was empty except for Grandpa’s workshop. The farm was sold years ago – now it grew houses, so there were neighbor kids to play with when I stayed with Grandma.

Of course we loved to explore the barn. Ghost smells of hay and cows, stripes of sunlight filtering between the old boards. I don’t remember the floor breaking or Grandpa rushing out of his workshop and calling the ambulance.

I woke up with a sore leg. Mom looked scared. “You kids were in that barn,” she said.

“Am I gonna get punished?”

“I think you punished yourself enough. You’ll have that cast on at least a month.”

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Red and White

Cee is planning a series of photo challenges based around colors – this week, she’s asking for pictures featuring either red or white or both.

RedAndWhiteDoubleKnittingAnd it just happens that my messing around with yarn has left me halfway through this very red and very white…well, kind of cream…piece of two-sided reversible knitting. (Pattern from the Winter 2012 issue of Knitty.)