Thursday, June 30, 2011

panem et circenses

"… Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses" -Juvenal

 Bread and circuses. It seems like recently people care more about distractions from our problems than solutions to them. We look more and more like Rome before the fall, maybe because like Rome we think we can never fall. But I'm guessing the more people run out of bread, the less they will care about circuses.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Waiting for Rain


You would think that day after sunny day would be welcomed, but this is rainy season and every day we wait for rain.

Waiting in most cases involves resolution; the end of the line, the beginning of the movie. Waiting for rain, like waiting for true love, requires daily vigilance and dashed hopes. One watches the sky, looking for clouds. Where are they coming from, which way is the wind blowing, are the thunder heads building, are they headed this way? Sometimes the rain comes tantalizingly close and you can smell the earth. Certain that the next moment the drops will fall, you stand in the doorway, and then it passes you by…hopes dashed.

Rainy season should begin in mid-May. People who have lived here all their lives will tell you, May 15, Dia del Santa Cruz, it rained. By June, the rain would come every day to refresh the plants and wash the streets.

It is near the end of June and we have had only one big downpour. The weather in May was hotter and windier than usual. It is past the summer solstice and still the rains have not returned. The plants are confused, all these hours of daylight and no water at our feet. People all over the world are suffering from weather that is out of the ordinary. It leaves one wondering what to expect, restless, kind of itchy, sometimes despairing and waiting for the great relief of a rainy day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A few favorite things about the beach, in no order...

1. How time stretches out and settles like a lazy cat.
2. Running on hot sand. The smell of salt & sunscreen.
3. How days hot & bright as a penny can dissolve into quiet and dream-like nights.
4. When an errant wave catches you by surprise & makes you shriek like you're six years old again.
5. The immensity of the backdrop makes the small moments happening in lives all around you stick out like a thousand sore thumbs.
6. the ocean.
7. the ocean
8. everything about the ocean.

pictures by myself & Boone Angel

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Becoming Real

Thanks for the intro, Mom! As I am in the midst of trying to find a new apartment and beginning to untangle the knot that is my student loan debt, I've been more than slightly stressed lately. In a near constant state of frazzle. So, I remind myself of my favorite quote from the Velveteen Rabbit. I try to convince myself that even though it may feel like I'm coming a little unhinged, maybe it's more true that I am becoming real. Not necessarily a comfortable process. But worthwhile things rarely are. Are they? Photo credit to the lovely Kathleen Moore.

“'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.'” -Margery Williams


Perplexity ….


My daughters, Sarah and Erin, and I have decided to start a blog. Mostly for our own use, but whoever arrives at these pages is welcome to add their thoughts, opinions, rants or plain two cents. In the end it gives us the chance to have a long conversation with each other, and a place to put pictures, quotes, and links that we like.

In part it is a kindness to me, as I find Facebook a strange and public device. It seems to me to be like a highway with the old burma shave billboards; you drive by comments in big letters and keep moving on. I hesitate to put anything on it, especially my status, whatever that is; because it isn't a conversation, it is an announcement. A very public pronouncement and in fact it is all in the public domain. A blog seems to be, strangely, a more private communication. People have to make a purposeful detour to find it. It is available to friends who know you, but people can stumble upon it and like or vehemently disagree with what you have to say. It leaves room for musing and discussion, even argument

We talked about calling this blog, the blog for the perplexed. A good word, perplexity….for me it replaces ironic as a word to explain our times. We had googled "Maimonides Guide for the Perplexed" out of curiosity and because yes, we are perplexed. Oh great, a guide… What a work of sheer madness that was, the scope was enormous, the influence far reaching. Written in Arabic, it was translated into Hebrew and written in three parts to explain God, the law of the Torah and Jewish mysticism. It was used by Christian religious scholars and Rabbis and maintained that some principles of Jewish mysticism are so complex that they can only be taught to a few learned scholars and then only obliquely through "hints." Of course this great work did not settle the world down into meaningful law and order or useful mysticism. The perplexed are still here.

So every day new perplexities beg to be discussed.

Some personal perplexities……

  • How can we possibly be so worried about leaving our children debt and not in the least deeply concerned about what kind of water, air and dirt they will inherit. When that plane full of soccer players crashed in the Andes the only two expendables on the plane were the money, which they burned for heat and their dead friends, whom they ate. Survival makes for tough choices. Not a pretty picture.


  • I read a well thought out and informative article about roundup ready corn and soybeans. It was disheartening that most of the research quoted in the article had been done in Europe and that the person who wanted funds to summarize the research was denied funding in the US. The research from Europe pointed to serious hazards of both roundup and the genetically altered corn and soybeans. But the truly frightening stuff began falling on me when I read the comments, which were polarized and vitriolic to say the least. How do we ever get to the bottom of something when no one will stop shooting long enough to read the footnotes.


  • I have five blossoms on an orchid in my back yard. They are still closed buds. Every morning five beautiful furry bumblebees come to visit these buds and hover over them. It is not clear what mojo they are performing. But here is the perplexity. How do they know there are five buds and how do they form a small squadron of five bees to grace these buds. Are they communicating bee to bee and bud to bee? That is a pretty picture.