Thursday, August 30, 2007

Poetry Thursday: An Open Window

As summer slips toward fall,
through an open window the river beckons
promising the pleasure that comes from
dipping paddle into water,
pulling toward sights and sounds
new and familiar.

More Poetry Thursday here.

Poetry Thursday is going away. This is it's last Thursday. Thanks Liz and Dana for providing this inspiration!

PhotoSharks: Plastic

Plugs for the computer server room at work.
This was taken 2 1/2 years ago when the room was under construction.

Larger view: here.
More PhotoSharks: here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: I Get That Sinking Feeling...

Anyone who knows me knows that I will swim pretty much anywhere anytime. Each summer during our vacation I start each and every day with a lengthy swim - 45 minutes to an hour of watery Adirondack goodness. And I start many other days during the year with a pool swim. But it wasn't always this way.

As a child I was terrified of water. Even having my hair washed was a terrifying experience. I expect that there were many times when my mother was tempted to drown me rather than deal with my screaming.

I had many opportunities to learn to swim. My elementary school had a pool. During the summer the local recreation department offered swim lessons there. Beginning in third grade we had regular swim lessons as part of our PE program. My parents took us to the pool at the college where my father worked. A particularly scary pool since the shallow end was 5 feet deep!

The swim lessons that have stuck in my head, though, are the few I had with the swim coach from the college. Mr. K had a house on New York's Lake George and on a couple of occasions our family spent the day there. I remember standing in ankle deep water with Mr. K. In his hand he held a red boat. He explained that this was Popeye's boat, but that it didn't float very well (actually it didn't float at all) so when it went into the water I would have to retrieve it to save Popeye.

The first time the boat went into the ankle deep water. No problem to pick it up. Each time the boat went into the water it went a little deeper. Soon it was going into waist deep water. This presented a dilemma. If I picked it up by bending forward at the waist my face would be very close to the water. The point, of course, was to get me to put my face in the water. But I was having none of that. I worked very hard, twisting my body so that I could get full extension into the water, but not get one drop on my face. I'd like to say this game helped me learn to swim, but it didn't. I still got that sinking feeling when faced with the necessity to put my face into the water.

I was 10 before I learned to swim. I don't actually remember learning. It happened during one of the swim classes during PE. The mother of a classmate had taken over as our PE teacher. I remember that she was patient and didn't push me to swim.

Once I learned to swim there was no stopping me. I spent most days during the couple of summers after I learned to swim at the pool at the college where my Daddy worked. I would bike over, stopping to say hello to the athletic department secretaries then head to the pool. Mid-day was lap swim time, a forced break for me, but once that was over it was back into the pool for the afternoon. Freshman year of high school I signed up for swimming 3 of the 4 PE terms. My high school not only had a pool, but passing the Red Cross intermediate swimming test was a graduation requirement.

Swimming is one of my favorite forms of exercise, and if I'm not swimming I'm probably in my kayak. I no longer get a sinking feeling when presented with a need to get my face wet, and these days no one has to bring out a metal boat to get me swimming.

More Sunday Scribblings here.

PhotoHunt: Happy

D and JT enjoying the pool at my hotel on Cape Cod.

More PhotoHunt here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nobody Would Believe Me

If I didn't have the evidence I don't think I could convince anyone that today's set puzzle took me only 39 seconds. This is an actual, unretouched screen shot.

Of course, yesterday's took me over 3 minutes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Young

Oh, to be young and fearless. That's my nephew, D, running down the slide.

Larger Version: here.
More Thursday Challenge: here.

Happy Birthday AE!

Please join me in wishing my sweetie a Happy, Happy Birthday! If you'd like to leave her birthday wishes you can do that by going here.

The picture above is Amy at 2. Her mom has pictures of each of her siblings, and a niece and a nephew posing on the same stool. All were taken at the photo studio in her hometown.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Haiku - derailed train

Stars shine upon me
sparkling off still lake water
perfect summer night

This week's prompt over at One Deep Breath is Haiku Train. It's a collaborative multi stanza haiku started by host Susan. Each subsequent participant uses the last line of the preceding haiku as the first line of theirs. I added to the poem earlier today (you can read all of the entries here). When I stopped by to see the subsequent progress I was struck by the line above from Pixiedust. Since I'm not sure about making multiple entries in the group effort I decided to post this here instead.

One of these years we're going to schedule our time in the Adirondacks so that we're there during the Perseid Meteor showers. I love gazing at the stars from the dock or from my kayak. We've seen shooting stars there, Amy saw her first there, and I think it would be a real happening to watch the meteor shower where you can see so many stars.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Goosebumps

As anyone who knows me will tell you I am not a great fan of scary things. I have seen only a couple of horror movies in my life. I saw part of Halloween in college. I think Amy may still have bruises from that. When Jurassic Park was due out Amy decided that if I had read the book it would not be so bad. So we read the book, at least part of it was read aloud while I painted the floor of my workshop. As it turned out that just made it worse, because I anticipated each of the scary parts of the movie. The only good news was that we'd waited a while to see it and there were only a couple of other people in the theater so there weren't many witnesses to my yelps.

I also startle easily. Many years ago I was a nanny for a family with 9 and 12 year old boys who discovered this tendency and proceeded to take advantage of it. The hallway from my room to the kitchen paralleled the pantry. This provided the perfect spot for the boys to hide and jump out to scare me. It took several months of almost daily scares before I got wise to this and was able to anticipate it.

There is, though, one scary event which holds a special place in my heart. The neighborhood I grew up in was home to a number of fraternity houses which housed students from the college where my father worked. One of these fraternities put on a yearly haunted house in the days before Halloween. The scary things in the house were not designed to scare the pants off of the children who went through it, but to give us a small fright.

The haunted house was an anticipated event. It ushered in Halloween, and was all about us as children. I don't remember an adult ever going through it. We would line up on the porch and sidewalk outside the fraternity. The anticipation grew as those who'd been through did their best to convince us that it was too scary for us. And finally it would be our turn.

In the darkened interior of the house were ghosts, and vampires, and bowls of eye balls, and things that dropped from the ceiling to startle. It was okay to scream when startled, that was the point. If you survived the scares the kitchen offered a steaming cauldron of cider and witches offering trays of doughnuts.

It's been many years since my last trip through the haunted house. These days I don't even watch the commercials for scary movies. But if I was given the chance to be 10 again and take the walk through that haunted house I'd do it. The goosebumps that haunted house raised were good ones.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Evening Haiku

softball hit sharply
scattering soccer players
fine summer evening

Dedicated to all the players and umpires of the MIT Community Summer Softball league.

I realize haiku should stand on it's own, but I think an explanation is in order for this one, particularly since I couldn't find an appropriate picture. Our softball league, MITCSS, plays on multi-purpose fields at MIT. At other times of the year the fields accomodate soccer, rugby, football, frisbee, baseball and softball. Most nights we have 6 or 7 games being played simultaneously and we use all of the available field space. Every night we must contend with soccer players who show up and decide that left field looks like a great place for a game.

I'll try to add a more serene take on the prompt tomorrow.

More One Deep Breath: here

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Set Time

I haven't done the set daily puzzle since Friday, July 21st the day before we left on vacation. We did spend a little time last night and this morning with the card set, which arrived while we were away. I was getting ready to shut down the computer and head to bed and decided to take a couple of minutes to try the puzzle. The result is above. It's not my best time (that was 44 seconds on July 8th - photographic evidence will be provided if requested) but I think it's pretty good.

I'll be posting vacation tales over the course of this week, although probably not tomorrow since I have to work, and then umpire a softball game.