Sunday, January 31, 2010

How are those resolutions coming along?

Well; perhaps we should call them "intentions." Instead of reading mostly works from past eras and not for the first time. I've exposed myself to some of the book-club perennials of the past few years and didn't think much of them. The three best books read thus far are Little Bird of Heaven (Joyce Carol Oates), Cloudsplitter (Russell Banks), and Old Filth (Jane Gardam). The links go to fair and informative reviews. The books came from the library. By far the best of these books was the Jane Gardam. I've place a hold on The Man in the Wooden Hat, which deals with some of the same Dickensian characters (including one named Veneering, a name seen by me elsewhere only in Our Mutual Friend). Am I singing at least one entire song every day and not repeating? Yes. Sometimes the song is unaccompanied and sometimes I'm singing along; so far that has been with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (starting with From the Beginning). Am I whistling one entire song every day? Not every day. I still like the Swingin' Shepherd Blues, it turns out. If we're around and think of it, we very often listen to Swingin' Down the Lane and Rhythm Sweet and Hot from KNCT in Temple-Killeen. I'd forgotten how often Bing Crosby was recorded taking a lilting whistling break on his records. Singing makes the singer happy.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

In the pleasure grounds

The cold weather has taken its toll, but we do have flowers on the English peas, there are flower buds on some of the allium plants, Grand Primo and Montopolis narcissus are beginning to bloom, and we have enjoyed two each of these anemone flowers: fringed red with a central white ring and very fringed violet-blue or blue-violet. All the berries are gone from the lantanas, courtesy of hungry birds. We've carried potted cyclamens (the kind with the nice, spicy scent; not the kind that smells like balloons) and the sole surviving ancient geranium in and out a few times. Black-eyed Susan plants have lost some foliage; so have fennel plants. Not one of the various potted herbs has been at all distressed by any of the weather. The winds have brought down some leaves from the live oaks; this may mean that all the leaves will drop earlier this year than usual. I've seen leucojums in bloom in a neighbor's yard; leaves are only now just appearing in our demesne. Hyacinth leaves are showing themselves everywhere. Oxalis and anemone leaves have turned a bit pink or purple around the edges where the sugars they contain have been affected by the cold. Pansies and violas don't mind any of what we've experienced thus far. Delphinium leaves are reappearing and we may have some poppies this year. Calendula seedlings have not been adversely affected. It's too soon to tell whether the loquats were hit at a bad time for making fruit and whether the fig tree did all right. Two or three hollyhock plants are looking perky. The grass in Mack's yard has gone dormant, as had that out front quite a bit earlier. Surprisingly, the grass in the side yard remains quite green. Volunteer nasturtiums and clockvines have all vanished. Passionvine stays green. The squirrels dig in the compost pile seeking remains of the several pumpkins buried there. We can attribute much to extremely local microclimates. Since we plant so much, bulbs included, in a "natural" fashion (dug into or planted amidst the grass instead of in separate flower beds), the effect of emerging greenery and flowers against the ever more tan and colorless grass is very striking.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gaps no longer bridged

I love bridges and feel bad when they're closed or destroyed. We have some beauties along the Colorado River, some the sort that require one vehicle to wait while the other makes the crossing, since there's only one lane. I see that the Crown Point Bridge, a large and important truss bridge, was officially known as the Champlain Bridge. The image accompanying this entry is of a souvenir tee-shirt from the collapse of the Green Island Bridge in 1977. It happened when the ice was going out. This is part of the scan-o-rama series. Sorry about the wrinkles! The image is copyrighted by Dahl Taylor (this Dahl Taylor?). The legend says "blub."

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

There's a tune that goes with this

And I know it, but I don't find any on-line version of the tune.

Mother, may I go out to swim?
Yes, my darling daughter.
Hang your clothes on a hickory limb,
And don't go near the water.

This is the chorus of a stage song from 1908. Here's another reference (search and scroll down). This one implies that the verse is much older.

I go for long periods of time without thinking of this, and then suddenly it applies to a given situation and I remember it. I see that Lincoln Steffens quotes it in his autobiography and that I've posted about it before.