Tag Archives: PostADay2011

Gray Day


Sunny Day

The Royal Terns have been on the beach for the last few days. Yesterday, they seemed to be soaking up the sun.

Windy, Rainy Day

Today, the terns were joined by the Black Skimmers. I’ve only seen them here when it is stormy.

Take Off

The skimmers seem to tolerate a lot of nearby commotion, but in an instance will take flight in unison.

In Flight

The terns seemed to stay in place. The skimmers would only move a few feet down the beach. They’d take flight again a few minutes later, relocating a few feet further away or returning to their original starting point.

Against the Wind

It was very grey, with little visibility today. Between the grey sky, the dark water, the white and black birds, and the grey-white sand, getting the exposure right on these shots was difficult. But, it was peaceful on the beach, with only a few others on the shore. The wind was howling: either the birds didn’t hear me, or it just took much effort for them to bother to move as I walked nearby.

Herring Gull: One Leg Landing

I wonder if there will be a variety of shells and other debris in the wrack tomorrow morning at low tide. The birds should seem happier then.

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2011 Blogging in review


LOVE that WP compiles this info!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

My own thoughts:

I started blogging in 2006 and did so consistently for a few years (I’ve ported that blog to this one, so check the archives if you’re interested.) But, once I stopped, it was difficult to get started again. When I finally did, it took a while to get rolling. Each month from July onward, I tried to post every day. I was able to do that in Sept, Nov, & Dec, with Oct being a close contender.

What have I learned from posting everyday? I don’t always have something to say — or, rather, I often don’t have the energy to prepare a blog post. While I like sharing links, quotes, photos, videos, sometimes I feel that those posts — with the exceptions of my photos — can be pretty lame. In those cases, I wonder why I continue with the PostADay. But, I think the benefits of having a practice of writing something everyday outweight those times that fall short of what I’d like to post every day: something that’s been thought out completely, that’s not only coherent and well-written, but worth your while to read.

What has surprised me about blogging?
1: That I’m really enjoying it.
2: That my photos have received such amazing feedback from others, especially those who have great photo blogs themselves.
3: That I have 31 people following me, all but 1 are new to this blog (that is, they weren’t following my older blogspot blog). I don’t like making resolutions such as “increase the number of followers by x%” or “Have xx followers within 6 months”, because I can’t really control whether people decide to follow me or not. What I can do, though, is to resolve to make this blog the best possible blog I can produce, and hope that those efforts keep people coming back, whether they click the “follow” button or just amble over here from time to time.

Thank you to all you have visited, commented, or “liked” a post here this year.

I intend to continue trying to post every day, although there may be a time in the summer when I won’t be able to do that. Stay tuned for details of the big adventure I am dreaming about and hope to accomplish in the next year!

May 2012 be a year of good things for each of you!

You can also find me on OpenSalon, where I tend to post longer essays than what I typically post here.

Smile


Between the 3 of us in this house, I think we have one flu bug. Ugh! But, this made me smile!

Some days are just like that!

Haven’t made out a New Year’s Resolution list yet — still have about 26 hours to do that — but I think finding something to laugh at each day should be high on everybody’s list.

Happy penultimate day of the year. Achoo!

Year’s End – All the cool kids do a wrap up


There are traditions during the last week of the year that are just as certain to occur as those pre-Christmas traditions we’re all familiar with. The calendar turns to 12/26 and you can expect enormous crowds at the mall, long waits if you order a pizza delivery for dinner, kids starting to get restless with nothing to do, parents counting down the days until Winter Break is over. And, everybody seems to do some sort of year-in-review or “best of” list.

The Best of Lists are something that pull me in every year, even though I often claim that they are ridiculous exercises. Best movie? Best play? Best book? Best Travel Destination? Top News Story? Best Restaurant? Best Politician — oh, wait: that would be too short of a list!

Yet, I often find these same lists fascinating because the only criteria for judgement is the calendar. One could just as easily look at the “best of” anything for the last week, or month, or decade, although I would have a hard time remembering much of some categories if I were going back over 10 years. Only the very best would withstand that test of time. And maybe that is both the point, and the foolishness of such lists. Would I only include some items on my “best books” because I read them recently? Is it the last one that always seem the best? If my time period were longer, would I decide that the book I read in October or the play I saw in April were not really that excellent after all?

And how do you winnow such lists when there may be no common characteristics between two works other than the fact that you engaged with both of them over a 12 month period? My husband asked me recently which of two plays that we saw this year was the best. We actually saw more than a dozen plays, so I wondered why he narrowed it to the two. But, I couldn’t decide between those two plays — a revival of Arcadia and Jerusalem. We saw several operas as well — I wouldn’t have been able to narrow that list either. Same goes for movies and books. If I remember them, it is because I either really liked them, or I hated them. It’s like picking one’s favorite child: can’t be done.

That said, here are some of the art/literature/theatre things that I experienced this year. I’d recommend any of these, although some of the theatre performances have long since closed.

Books:
Patti Smith’s Just Kids — a wonderful memoir that reminds you, no matter how different your life is from Smith’s that we were all once “just kids” trying to make our way in the world, figuring out our lives and loves. Smith seems to have maintained some of that innocence, without being smarmy. After all, she is Patti Smith.

Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder. I got lost in this novel, and even though the ending wasn’t as satisfying as I thought it could have been, I still cried at the end. I thought that Patchett could have delved into other questions about women extending fertility than she did. I just finished reading this, so it would be interesting see what I think about this next December.

Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone. One of those books that could be characterized as a ‘sweeping epic’, covering the lives of twins from birth til death, across countries, continents, love and revolution. There are still scenes from the book that come back to me in entirety seven months after having finished it. This will certainly be a book that I re-read.

Movies
Coriolanus — I saw a special screening of this in October & Ralph Fiennes spoke afterwards. (Ralph Fiennes = Squeee!) It’s rough, it’s violent, it’s Shakespeare in a modern setting — things that might put me off. Don’t let it. It IS relevant in it’s modern setting, right down to the occupy-like crowds of protestors. (I saw this two weeks after OWS started, and on the day when I wandered down to Zucotti Park to see what the Occupy movement was about. The irony was not lost on me.) Go see it when it opens in a theatre near you.

Midnight in Paris Made me fall in love with Woody Allen all over again and pushed Hannah and her Sisters from its long-held perch of best Woody Allen film ever.

Moneyball. I don’t like baseball and don’t care much for Brad Pitt. Loved it anyway!

Bill Cunningham, New York. Every time I’m in NYC and anywhere near 57th & 5th, I am always a bit hopeful that I might see Mr. Cunningham riding his bicycle and taking photographs of interesting people. I rarely miss one of his photo essays in the New York Times. The tagline in the movie trailer: “Photographer. Perfectionist. Loner. Maverick. Visionary.” One of the best documentaries I have ever seen. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to go see it again, immediately after I saw it. It’s now playing on NetFlix. Cunningham may be all about fashion, but the movie is about so much more: it is about one man’s passion that has been his whole life.

Opera
The Ring Cycle. The first of the Ring Cycle was aired by the Metropolitan Opera Fall, 2010, but Operas 2 & 3 of the cycle were this year. I swore to my husband when he first coerced me into going to the opera that I would never sit through the entire Ring Cycle. What I would have missed if I had not. Still not sure how happy I would be after attending four long operas in a week’s time, though I’m willing to try. (I have tickets for next Spring at the Met, though it is unlikely now that I can work out the logistics of going — want to buy the tickets? Email me.)

While Wagner’s Ring Cycle is not a freshman outing for the novice, if you are unsure about opera, attending one of the Met’s Live in HD series is a great introduction. And you can have popcorn, too!

Theater
Aradia I went home and stayed up all night reading the script. I’ve read it twice since seeing the play during the last week of its run last April. I adore Tom Stoppard. I can’t think of anyone else who could write an amazing play with characters in two different centuries about English gardens, pomposity, infidelity, mathematics, quantum physics, love, obsession, insanity and rice pudding. And, rice pudding is integral to the plot. You can’t stir out the jam!

Jerusalem This play made me think for weeks. Mark Rylance plays a modern-day pied piper living in a trailer at the edge of a forest, giving drugs and booze and a safe haven to disaffected youth. I also saw this during the last week of its run. The entire cast headed back to London to reprise the play there. There are parts of the play that I think are lost on Americans, but it was still something that I’ve thought about and discussed many times since I saw it in August. I still debate whether Rooster was hearing giants or bulldozers at the end.

War Horse I said Neigh! when T first described this play to me. I was wrong. From what I’ve read of the movie, I don’t think that it is at all like the play. I was fascinated not so much by the story of the boy’s devotion to his horse, but the idea of a ‘modern’ war changing how war was waged and how tanks and barbed wire made the cavalry obsolete before the end of the war. The puppets were great, not cheesy as I pictured them beforehand.

Royal Shakespeare Company/Lincoln Center Festival (Romeo & Juliet, As You Like It, Julius Ceaser, The Winter’s Tale) It’s a HUGE committment to see 5 plays in 3 days. I gave my ticket to King Lear to my cousin who gave my husband and I a place to stay for the weekend, and although I would have liked to have seen Lear, I needed a break! I loved every one of the 4 plays that I saw. I don’t think that the RSC has a monopoly on doing Shakespeare, but this ensemble, who has been working together for three years, gave fantastic performances. It’s a toss-up between whether I enjoyed Romeo better than As You Like It, but I don’t have to decide: they were both favorites! I will always remember Jonjo O’Neill as the sexist, most manic Mercutio I’ve ever seen.

More Dance than Theater (if that even makes sense!)

Sleep No More (Finally, something that is still open.) If you’re in NYC, go experience this! Imagine a theatrical dance performed throughout a six-story warehouse, which requires you to walk — no, run! — after the characters as they perform scenes in an order that has no continuity with a plot. You may wander into an apothecary, through a maze, into a graveyard where Macbeth pleads with the stars to hide their fire before a rendezvous in Lady Macbeth’s bedroom, or find yourself at a witches’ rave, or see Macbeth murder Duncan. And then there is the whole other thing happening concurrently: a nod to Hitchcock vibe with a secondary story reminiscent of Rebecca. Part do-it-yourself adventure, part film noir, part dance, part haunted house: all a lot of fun and a memorable experience. This isn’t a “play”, but it is theatre that will immerse all of your senses. I’ve “seen” it twice and would go again if I could. Wear running shoes and contacts instead of glasses; the audience must wear masks.

Who is really the performer if the audience wears a mask?

Septimus and Clarissa Part dance, part play, this was an innovative adaptation of Mrs. Dalloway. Fascinating theatre.

Photos: Late afternoon, with ice


I sat at my desk most of the day today, reading and writing. At 4:50, I realized that the light would be fading quickly, leaving me little time to do one of the things I wanted to do today: take pictures on the greenway near my house. Quickly, I donned socks, shoes, sweater, coat and hat, grabbed my camera, seated the macro lens on the body, and started for the door.

“I’ll walk with you if you wait a few minutes,” my husband said. “I just need to change out of my suit and put on some jeans and my walking shoes.”

“Can’t wait,” I replied. “The light is fading. Maybe 10 minutes more at tops. Join me if you want on the trail. I’m shooting, won’t be walking far, so you should be able to catch up.”

The first picture I took was of the houses directly across from the greenway. The sun was just starting its rapid descent, streaking gold rays across the cold winter blue. I knew I didn’t have the right lens for this kind of shot, but I took it anyway. The sky was just too pretty to pass up.

I quickly walked to the path and into the grassy area between the pavement and the creek. With all of the rain recently, the banks were swollen as if it were late Spring, and the water was moving swiftly. When is a creek a creek, and not a river? This creek is sometimes so empty in the summer that you can walk across it. In the Spring, it will be deep and treacherous enough that people have drowned here, after their cars were swept away by the overflowing banks.

Throughout the grass were remnants of the snow and sleet from yesterday, mostly on the fallen leaves. There are still remnants of flowering plants along the trail, some with dried and frosty flower caps. A few milkweed pods remain too, their seed pods split, the seeds seemingly frozen into place. Even the slight breeze would not scatter the seeds.

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Tomorrow I should head outside a little earlier in the afternoon, so that I have more light.

On the Third Day of Christmas


It rained.

Another world reflected in a drop of rain

And then, it snowed! (Not much, but enough to make me happy!)

Ice to Snow


iced Berry


White out, with Red Berry


Resting Rock with Snow


The old oak in snow


Snow on Garden Pot


As we dream by the fire....

Books, Art: Reflecting Life


I recently came across this video, part of the Metropolitan Museum’s Connections series, an interesting view of books from Ken Soehner, Chief Librarian at the museum. I almost didn’t watch this video because of the quote on the cover page about not having a ebook in a portrait: it seemed a bit pompous. But, I did watch it, and I don’t think that quote, out of context, reflects the entire piece. I love what Soehner has to say about the scent of books, the tradition of books in art, and the place and meaning of books in lives throughout history.

I am glad that I can read ebooks, but I will never get over the sound, feel, smell of books. This also reminds me that before there were books in their present form, the written word — and stories — existed in other forms. A case, I think, for the book in electronic form, as well as its existence along side the book in paper and ink form.

The other bit that I like about this is what he has to say about Van Gogh and books. I read once that Van Gogh suffered from hypergraphia, a obsession with writing and a compulsion to write. I never made the connection, though, with the books in his paintings or saw them as an extension or symbol of the artist rather than his subject.

Watch the slideshow here.

Merry Christmas


There may not be a white Christmas here, but you can still look at “Snow”


Earlier this week, I found an amazing blog, Gwarlingo. As Michele Aldredge, the website’s creator, explains, “Gwarlingo” is Welsh for the rushing sound a grandfather clock makes before it chimes–-the movement before the moment. Gwarlingo’s purpose is to highlight inventive work in writing, performance, visual arts, film, and music, as well as to provide a place for creative people to connect, explore and share resources.

What a great idea! I love a clock’s gwarlingo sound: I never knew that there was a name for that moment of movement before the moment the clock sounds. Since I’ve tried earnestly in the last several months to be in the moment — including those moments before what one may be anticipating — I especially like that I have found Gwarlingo. It seems fitting.

Today, Michele shared this video, a sand animation by Corrie Francis Parks. Though there may not be a moon shining on new-fallen snow where you are tonight, take a few minutes before you settled down for a long winter’s nap to watch this and enjoy the moment, and all the moments of your day!

Snow from corrie francis parks on Vimeo.

Happy Holidays! Happy Saturday! Happy Day!

One Interesting Thing Found this week


There are always lots of interesting things that I come across each day. Here is one of them, an installation titled Eternity, a collaboration between artists Alicia Eggert and Mike Fleming.

Eternity (full 12 hours) from Alicia Eggert on Vimeo.

The video runs through 12 hours of “clock time” in less than a minute, which is good, I think, because I don’t have the time to watch the dial move in real time! But, we could all slow down for awhile.