Tag Archives: postaday2012

Murals, we got murals…

Turns out that you don’t have to go to Philadelphia to see public murals –

MuralSeattleWhile looking through some photos, I came across this picture I took in Seattle two years ago. muralSeattleWhaleCloseup(And this may be your only chance to see a whale lunging up out of trees.) Now for a question: is the whale in the mural larger or smaller than a real whale?

Thursday’s Windows: Philadelphia Victorian

(Well, yes, it’s Friday now.) But, even if it’s a day late, here’s my current contribution to Sandra Conner’s Thursday Windows – a wonderfully ornate late nineteenth century specimen from Locust Street in Philadelphia.

WindowLocustStreetI’m not sure which I like most – the incredibly complicated stone carving surrounding the window, or the leaded class, or the flourishing jade plant on the windowsill.

100 Word Challenge for Grownups: Ho Ho Ho?

Julia has given us a classically seasonal prompt for this week’s 100 Word Challenge for Grownups – a simple “Bah Humbug!” And the director of this production of the Christmas Carol is about ready to join in…

Ho Ho Ho?

“Only time for three more rehearsals, and that’s if they come in tomorrow morning. It’s going to be a disaster.”

“The children sound all right.”

“Oh, the kids know their lines, the singers are fine, the script works. And there’s a hole right in the middle of the production.”

“A hole?”

“Instead of a bad guy. Says he likes Christmas. If he’s not loathsome in the first act, nothing’s going to work. Hey, Scrooge! Let’s hear your first line again.”

A cheery “Bah humbug!” Pause. “That wasn’t right, was it?”

“You hear that? You call that a Scrooge? Nick, what’s wrong with you?”

Friday Fictioneers: A Cat’s Christmas Tale

This week, Rochelle has given us a Friday Fictioneers prompt that I think is seriously cute, and easy to write about. (But then, I like cats.) Thanks, Rochelle!

Here you are – a perfectly reasonable speech from a misunderstood cat whose owners don’t quite see why he’s on the table.

copyright-scott-l-vannatterA Cat’s Christmas Tale

I can explain. Really.

Um, I was just about to wrap your presents. And I didn’t want to wreck the pretty paper by working on the floor. So I needed to get on the table.

What do you mean, you don’t see any presents? Come on. Aren’t you supposed to give people something they like? Look, I could give you a nice mouse, maybe even catnip, something worth unwrapping. But you seem to think these red and green placemat things are special, so I figured you might enjoy getting them all over again.

Because that’s just how I am. Generous.

Philly Christmas Village

Yesterday, I spent some time in Philadelphia taking pictures of this and that – including this Christmas Village.

ChristmasVillage2012SignThe sign at the entrance is a little hard to see. (Probably it would stand out better at night.) The building in the background is City Hall, a few blocks away.

ChristmasVillage2012LOVEThe village is located in Love Park, named after this sculpture that’s been there since the seventies.

ChristmasVillage2012CrecheTo one side is this large nativity scene.

ChristmasVillage2012It’s a collection of little booths

ChristmasVillage2012aselling all sorts of gift items


ChristmasVillage2012Bratwurstand also this and that to eat while you shop. The Weihnachtshutte specializes in bratwurst, but you can also buy Italian treats or crepes or (at Zea May’s food truck) empanadas and Navaho tea.

Headaches, Part 6

It’s been a lot longer than I intended since I posted an installment of this World War I story, so this part is about twice as long as usual. (Besides, I needed the space to cover the latest bit of plot.)

If you haven’t read the earlier parts – Maud Raudabaugh, a nurse from Pennsylvania, is our narrator. A few days before the beginning of this story, the hospital where she worked (somewhere near No Man’s Land, and probably in France) was destroyed by artillery fire. She was injured; she doesn’t know what happened to the other people who were there. Now you know enough to listen to Maud’s story –


Parts 1-5

I woke with another headache. The guns were still thudding. My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. Have to find water today. See if the legs will work. If you’re lucky you can dodge shrapnel. Time to go.

* * *

There used to be a little stream, down the hill. I tighten the splint on my dragging foot. Deep breath. Skirts will hinder me, but female clothes might make snipers pause. The big guns? Soldier or nurse, they won’t care, any more than an earthquake would.

Crawling under fallen beams, out of what was a hospital once. Day before yesterday. Nothing looks the same. Artillery echoes through my bones. Hobbling forward dizzily, creeping up piles of rubble and sliding down the far side. Once I fainted. I woke with another headache. Water gurgles ahead. What germs, what poisons does it carry? I smile wryly – I’m going to drink anyway.

* * *

“Miss! Miss!”

What now? I was so close to the stream! “Miss!” He’s scrambling down the hillside, dirtying his nice clean uniform. “Isn’t there a hospital around here?”

I laugh and laugh. “Up there!” I point at the rubble.

It takes a minute for him to understand. “But – I’ve got all these wounded men.”

He’s a bit shocky, I decide. But he does have a canteen of water. Oh, it tastes good! “Thank you,” I say, briskly, nurse-like again. “There must be some places in the world that haven’t been blown up. You’ll have to go there.”

* * *

“I’m not leaving you here,” he says. “You come with me – I’ll give you a ride in the ambulance.”

I thank him and walk briskly up the hill. Or I intend to. Somehow I’m sitting flat on the ground with the driver bending over me. “I think I’d better carry you,” he says apologetically, scooping me up.

By this time I should be used to the way the pounding guns make the whole world vibrate. My head swims; my mind floats like a leaf in water. I should go on duty – where’s the hospital?

Maybe I’m the one who’s shocky.

* * *

He’s got one of those new motor ambulances. How interesting! He lifts me into the seat in front  and bends to turn the crank. I hope it won’t kick back at him – I’ve heard of men breaking arms that way.

We jolt off. There’s not much of a road left after the shelling. The wounded men in the back groan pitifully at every bounce.

“I’m Jack,” my rescuer says as he wrestles us up and over a crater.

“My name’s Maud. Hello, Jack.”

“Pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Maud.” We come over the top of a hill; below, a wide stream and a tangle of metal. Jack mutters under his breath and stops the ambulance. “Bridge gone,” he says.

Part 6

I don’t know how long we sat on that hilltop staring at the debris that used to be a bridge. At last Jack sighed and slipped the ambulance back into gear. He swung the motor around in a large circle until we were facing back the way we had come.

“Where are we going now?” I ask.

He shakes his head like a horse bothered by flies. “Tell you that when we get there.” His voice is as grim as his face, but I notice how carefully he picks his way along now, seeking out the gentlest ride for the poor souls in the back.

Somehow I can’t stop talking, even so. “Well, don’t you have a map?”

Jack brings the ambulance to a stop again so he can turn to face me. “Yes. I have a map. I have a map that says there’s a bridge across that river down there and when we cross the bridge we’ll be just a few minutes away from a decent sized town. I have a map that says there’s a hospital right where I found you. I have a map that’s not worth the paper they printed it on, that’s what I have.”

Red and Green: Christmas….Peppers?

We had frost a day or two ago, so it’s time to put the garden to bed for the winter. But even after this strangely prolonged warm weather, I was surprised by what was waiting for me:

Dec15PeppersWaitingTen days before Christmas, the pepper plants have wilted, but they’re still ready to pick.

Dec15BowlOfPeppersThis is a pretty large bowl, and I filled it to overflowing. Way too much for us to use up before they start to spoil, so a lot of these are destined for the town food bank.

Friday Fictioneers: Starstruck

Here’s my contribution to Friday Fictioneers, a day late. The horrible news from Connecticut – twenty little kids, dead – knocked me sideways, too much to write anything last night. But here we are with the thoughts of a happy but worried astronomer whose pet project may or may not get funded –


Everybody’s stopped asking why I keep a worn-out basketball around, because I might answer. So I won’t give you the techy details; I’ll just say that it’s enormous fun mapping Kepler2-97c bit by bit as the data comes in. Because you know what’s so special about that planet? It’s the right size and the right temperature for people, that’s what. Just knowing it’s there is such a rush.

Only there’s marketing to think of. Money. And that’s the other reason I hover over my big patchy ball, adding all the information I can get. Nobody’s going to pony up for lists of numbers on a screen. But a map? People understand maps. They can imagine being there.

Christmas dinner will have to cook itself. I’ve got a world to build.

* * *

Tell me what you think of this one!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

This week, the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge asks for pictures illustrating “delicate” –

DelicateButterflyFragile, fleeting, beautiful. Delicate.

(I took this picture at a butterfly exhibit in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in July of 2009.)

Thursday’s Windows: Needle

This week’s picture for Sandra Conner’s Thursday’s Windows series –

WindowAug03NeedlesEyeA rock formation near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota – actually, I think it’s officially called the “needle’s eye”, but it’s a window of sorts!