Tag Archives: celebrations

after the party


These are the white objects in the house the morning after a great party. Now I am sixty years old.

just need to fill up the punch bowl

Whew. Holiday decorating nearly done.

First we retrieve the yule branch from the basement.  It meets many of the criteria of our lives — minimalist, pretty cheap, “green,” a bit crafty.

It has a back story.  In life, this magnolia branch started out as part of a Casey Trees planting (I should say the mighty Casey Trees!) in the triangle park on our street.  Despite our attention and watering, it died.  When the poor dead soul finally fell over and started to migrate into the street from natural forces, we picked it up, trimmed it a bit, and William went at it with white paint.

yule branch

Then I find among our office supplies the Colorformesque sticky gel tree, and arrange its parts on the bathroom door.


All that’s left is filling the punch bowl.

Happy holidays.  Find some good news somewhere around you.


happy birthday to me

CIMG1835It has been a good birthday, and thanks to friends far and near, geographically and emotionally, for all your notes. It feels nice.

In the morning, my little niece, Frances, paid a surprise visit, bringing her “backup” birthday cake, the one not required for her own birthday yesterday. You know how I love salvage items, even a little roughed up in transit. While here, she helped water all the plants missed on our weekend away, and did her big-girl job in our bathroom facilities, the first time away from home, and proudly announced it, so it really is a special day.

Then I went to see the four-year-old I hang with on most Tuesdays, who, hearing it was my birthday, asked my age. A little fazed at first, he bounced back to tell me that “58 is not the last number.”

I hope not.

may April showers bring June, July and August showers

William just had another one of those events that come around annually, and like most modern folks, said he didn’t really want or need anything in the birthday gift category.  You’re the same way, I know.

But I wanted to do something. So in the merger of cheap and creative, the result of looking at the catalogs that come to the house and my love of the Georgia Avenue Thrift Store, we have an outdoor shower in the well to the basement door under the deck.

I bought these little hooks, found the working outlet for the power drill (my birthday present to myself when I turned 40 just the other day decade), and screwed them into the inside of the deck.


A showerhead on a hose will screw into the hose bib. Only William would have installed a hot water faucet for the outside water source, as you can see here by the red and blue knobs indicators.  That’s how he rolls.


Thrift store curtains were pretty cheap, if a little too bright red.  I stitched little rings to the top to hang on the hooks, and weights to the bottom edge, so that Shepherd St. neighbors Leslie and Carrie won’t have to see to much of William if a little breeze were to blow the curtains around.


He’s still dubious, thinking I wanted the shower more than he.  Well, maybe, but after biking, gardening, sweating on a construction site, or just because you can, an outdoor shower feels very nice.

Inaugural rinse is pending.




Get in line, buddy

Get in line, buddy

At Mayordomo shop in Calle Mina, 31 octubre 2013

Just about everyone is buying chocolate today for Day of the Dead tomorrow. (And mezcal and marigolds and fruit…).  Imagine the fragrance in here with armloads of lilies, bunches of marigolds and vats of freshly ground chocolate.

O lucky mishap!

ImageFull moon over Oaxaca, as seen from a front row seat at the Victoria Hotel bar.*

I don’t know whether your little e-device alerts you to the phases of the moon, but each year when I buy my spiral-bound paper-page version of a calendar, I immediately note the dates of the full moons.  I think the full moon is such a wonderful event to share with friends, as you can easily find full moons by simply looking up and no special snack foods or costumes are required.

So, when this year’s October “hunter’s moon” or “harvest moon” was coming around, I thought a party would be in order. I gave William notice of Thursday night’s event.  I told a couple others too and up we trooped to the spectacular vantage point of the bar of the Victoria Hotel on Fortin Hill at about 5,300 feet above sea level (1,600 m), a couple hundred feet above where I usually sit.  The vigorous climb justifies the beer and peanuts with garlic and chilis at the top.

But I screwed up somewhere; luna llena was actually two nights off, Saturday. I confessed my error, though Thursday night was clear and we wondered at a a gorgeous imperceptibly not-quite-full moon.

Then Saturday night brought clouds and another heavy rain.  No moon was visible.  Looking up would have given only a faceful of water.  My mistake was a beneficence.

At this full moon, I calculated how many have occurred in my lifetime, when I did notice and when I did not.  So many.  Next month, there will be another, I’ll have the date right; I’ll look up again in wonder.


*This photo is an aberration.  Years ago I pledged never to take a picture of a full moon, a sunset or a butterfly, since I found myself dozing off looking at such in other people’s vacation slides.

March forth, grammatically

As I am, you are probably beside yourself with excitement about tomorrow. Not only is the date, March 4th, the only day in the year that is also a command (shout the date and raise your arm in preparation to lead a small parade), but it’s also National Grammar Day. Celebrate wildly, but without dangling any modifiers.

Grammar is the structural foundation of our ability to express ourselves. The more we are aware of how it works, the more we can monitor the meaning and effectiveness of the way we and others use language. It can help foster precision, detect ambiguity, and exploit the richness of expression available in English. And it can help everyone–not only teachers of English, but teachers of anything, for all teaching is ultimately a matter of getting to grips with meaning.(David Crystal, “In Word and Deed,” TES Teacher, April 30, 2004)

It is necessary to know grammar, and it is better to write grammatically than not, but it is well to remember that grammar is common speech formulated. Usage is the only test.(William Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up, 1938)