This haiku (an explanation of the syllable structure follows) was inspired by the photograph you will find here. The photographer, Abelardo Morell, is an old colleague and friend from my days as the registrar at an art college. It hangs in the lobby of my current employer's main building. Abe is also the subject of a documentary film, Shadow of the House, which gives a glimpse into not only his work but his life. If you have a chance go see the film.
As for the haiku, as mentioned in a previous post, I am participating in a year long haiku writing project. The moderator's theory on haiku, which you can read here, is that the strict syllable structure is in part a mis-translation to syllable of a Japanese word. His critique of my first haiku was in part that it was too wordy. So, I'm working on making my haiku fit the spirit of haiku rather than fitting a strict syllable stucture.
You can read more submissions to the haiku project here.
high in the mountains amidst the boulders and stones flower shouts hello ------- stubborn alpine bloom vibrant mountain top surprise delighting the eye ------- Is it lonely I wonder, there on the mountain top with only the rocks and stones for playmates?
Miss Rumphius prompted us this week to compose poetry inspired by this image, taken on a mountain top in Tibet (not by me). Click the photo to see the other responses.
The Saturday after Christmas my family gathered at my parents for our Christmas celebration. My sister and her family, my younger brother and his family, my older brother's family, and Amy and I were all in attendance. Unfortunately, due to travel issues and hockey tickets my younger brother and his family had to leave before my older brother's family arrived. My older brother was busy coaching a hockey game so he wasn't there either. We had fun opening presents, in a really laid back manner. My two youngest nephews (4 and 6) had a great time playing together and lots of game playing fun was had - Sorry with the N and D, Set with Shelley, the swimmer (my 15 year old niece), and D, and Sleeping Queens with Amy, Shelley and D.
Sunday morning while Amy enjoyed some alone time in the hotel (my parents house is too small for all of us) I met my sister, and younger brother and their families for breakfast and then we headed off to the movies. We saw the Water Horse, a story of one possible explanation for the Loch Ness monster. It gets a thumbs up. I wouldn't recommend it for children under 5, but everyone else will enjoy it. After lunch on our own, Shelley and D joined me for a swim in the hotel pool while my sister and Amy watched.
Sunday night we met up with a college friend and her family for dinner. Ann and I weren't that close in college, but over the years Amy and I have gotten much closer to her, her husband and her daughters. Dinner wasn't fancy, but we closed the place down - not as exciting as it sounds since the restaurant we were at closes at 8pm on Sunday nights. Had it been warmer we might have continued the conversation for hours in the parking lot. The good news is that they're going to be in our area in a few weeks, so we'll continue the conversation then.
Highlights of the weekend in photo form:
N showing off his new zamboni.
D watching the action.
N and his monster bowling set.
D enjoying N's monster truck (can't you just hear the truck noises?)
Cousins - I love this shot of the two little imps.
The new year has dawned and with it new challenges and experiences. I don't make new year's resolutions, but this year I've volunteered myself into a few new challenges.
I have my sister-out-law, Shelley to thank for encouraging me to write haiku. She was the one who alerted me to the Nengajou exchange, and with the new year approaching she encouraged me to join in on the Haiku Project. The challenge of the project is to write at least one haiku a week and submit it. My frost haiku is my submission for this week and I have the women of One Deep Breath to thank for the inspiration.
Challenge number two is one of my own making. As those who read this blog regularly know I take and post a lot of photos. The numerous photo memes have really inspired me to carry my camera with me most places and to use it regularly. Carrying that to the next level I've decided to take and post one photo a day every day this year. You can find my 365 project here. One note - I actually failed this on the very first day of the year. I did take pictures that day, and I did post a picture that day. But the pictures I took were with my film camera, not my digital camera, and the photo I posted was taken on December 31st.
For challenge number three I have committed myself to being up and out of the house by 7am every Saturday for 5 weeks. Those who know me well know that early mornings are not my thing. I can count of one hand the number of sunrises I have seen in the last 12 months, and two were this weekend. I was up early today because I was so zonked last night that I was asleep before 10:30. The reason for the early rising is that I am taking a workshop class at the North Bennet Street School in Boston's North End. I took Fundamentals of Fine Woodworking there two years ago and loved it. So for the next 4 weeks I'll be spending all day Saturday at NBSS taking Fundamentals of Machine Woodworking. I've used all of the tools we'll be using in the class but this is a wonderful opportunity to fill in gaps in my knowledge and to get an understanding of the inner workings and maintenance of the machines. None of my previous classes have covered maintenance. The bonus of this is that I got some interesting sunrise pictures yesterday and during lunch some shots of the North End. I expect to add more in the weeks to come.
Finally, because I can't resist - the new year challenge haiku:
daily photograph, saturday woodworking class write weekly haiku
This week's prompt at Sunday Scribblings is "New" or "New Year". No story came to mind but since I hadn't written about this yet I decided it would fit the bill. Read more Sunday Scribblings here.
I'm a bit late with this report, no explanation other than that it was December. Biscotti Weekend is my annual pilgrimage to New Jersey to spend a weekend with my nephew, D, while his parents bake biscotti, Shelley, and work, Terri.
The weekend started with a mostly uneventful drive to New Jersey. The only moment of excitement was when a particularly impatient driver decided to pass me in the left hand breakdown lane on I-95 in Connecticut.
Having arrived fairly early I was able to pick D up from school. Once we'd gained access to the house, we turned our attention to fun. We played a couple of games, D shared his "Egypt book", and treated me to a magic show and we read some Harry Potter.
Saturday morning I accompanied D to wrestling practice. The wrestling room teemed with boy energy. Even the little guys are quite serious about the training. The older boys help the younger ones with their warm-ups, then the group splits into three age divided groups.
I was most impressed by the balance that the adults manage to convey a serious, tough guy attitude while still being nurturing. At one point one of the boys in Ds group got accidentally poked in the eye. After making sure that he was going to be okay the coach got the attention of all the boys. He lifted the boy who'd gotten poked onto his shoulder and had the other boys give him a round of applause for receiving the first "eye poke of the season". While he had the boys attention he reminded them that wrestling is a contact sport and they would get poked in the eye, and mat burn, but that they were "tough" and could take it.
We spent the afternoon working on our project. Each year I arrive with supplies for D to create a surprise for his parents. Last year he suggested that we make houses this year. He was still interested in that when we talked in November. I put my thinking cap on and finally settled on creating a wooden "gingerbread" house. The design was based on my gingerbread house cookie cutter set with simple joinery. I included gingerbread men, trees, and candy decorations.
Ds friend G joined us for the project assembly. After gluing together and clamping the walls of the house we spent an hour or so painting the decorations.
While we were painting D decided that some of the pieces were too rough. So we pulled out the sand paper and the boys spent some time fine tuning the parts. While they were at it we had a conversation about sand paper grits. At one point D told me, "this is pretty rough I think I need the 100", which made me smile.
The roof of the house is designed to be removable. So, the walls were covered with plastic wrap before the roof parts were glued and clamped on.
Energy ran short so none of the decorations got attached to the house while I was there. Despite that we ended up with a pretty nice result.
Saturday night Shelley and I headed off to a folk-singing gathering which was great fun. Sunday morning I headed off to meeting (Shelley is a Quaker)with Shelley and D. Shelley was on baby duty so attended meeting by myself. The Princeton meeting house is a wonderful space. Built in the 1700s, it is a small stone building. On the first Sunday in December with snow falling outside the windows it was magical. The crackling of the fire was the only sound as I joined the other worshipers sitting in silence.
The snow, and ice that joined it made the drive home difficult. I only slid once, coming down a hill in Katonah, New York, after which I drove with much less speed and much more caution. Traffic through Connecticut was thick, and there were quite a few cars off the roads. The turnpike, though also full of cars, was a welcome site not only since it meant that I was nearly home, but also because the roads were in better condition than those I'd driven on earlier in the trip. I arrived home safe and sound several hours later than it would have taken me in clear weather. Based on this trip a new condition has been added to the Chelles, or is that Shelleys, (our names are pronounce alike so out loud it makes sense) driving rules - no trip will be started when a Winter Weater Advisory or Watch is in place for any of the states to be traveled through.
The driving rules were enacted four years ago when I drove into a blizzard on the way to New Jersey at the start of Biscotti weekend. On that trip it took me 5 hours to get from Newark to Princeton (normally less than an hour) because the roads were covered with ice and traffic was moving at a snails pace.
All in all it was a wonderful weekend and I had a great time.
year draws to a close knead dough, chop toppings, shred cheese bake homemade pizza
Homemade pizza is our New Year's Eve tradition in our house. Most years it's just Amy and I. There was one memorable year when we spent New Year's Eve at our friends ski house in New Hampshire and I made pizza for 22.