Saturday, December 31, 2011

How can you not romanticize baseball?

After seeing Moneyball last night at the cheap show, I said to my husband, "I really want to like baseball." He laughed and nodded, he feels the same. For him the mitigating issue is the money, not unlike his detest of the commercialization of Christmas. Minor and farm team games are more to his taste. I, on the other hand, like the "idea" of baseball more than the actual game. The passion, the hard work, the strategy, the tradition, the ceremony! How witnessing a game is an event. The bringing together of generations, a grandpa teaching his grandaughter how to fill in a scorecard, coworkers bonding over a beer, little kids with gloved hands scanning the sky for pop fouls, tears of joy streaming down the cheeks of fans holding signs high as they profess their undying love. I want to like it, I do. But.... but.... oh, good Lord, it bores me so. Bring on the baseball movies, just spare me the game.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Just shy of eighth grade graduation, my mother asked me what colors I’d like for a quilt. Although I was a purple fanatic, I picked red. To this day, I do not know why. Each Christmas since, this red and white quilt has graced my bed, usually staying through Valentine’s Day, reminding me of my tiny, strong, artistic “Granma Klingler”.

As a small child, she frightened me. While my Grandpa was one to laugh and tease, Granma was often stern, correcting behavior and handing out chores even when she was the one doing the visiting! Not so much a whirlwind as a constant breeze, her hands were never idle. Cooking, cleaning, gardening, tending animals, canning, quilting, crocheting, sewing, baking, rearranging. As I aged, I began to discover the similarities between us. In earlier years, she played piano, was a fine colorist of black & white photographs, painted and sketched as well. Granma was not scary; she was busy. A manager getting things done, delegating tasks, coordinating outcomes, demanding as much from you as she was prepared to give herself. Before Stephen Covey, there was Granma.

While I inherited my Grandpa’s mirth, there’s still a lot of Granma lurking in my DNA. The German cleaning gene is obviously recessive, but these days my whirlwind is settling into that steady breeze, balancing work, family, music, garden and art. Most likely, I’ll never quilt. Luckily, I don’t have to. Granma Klingler’s work endures.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Childhood Christmas Memories

Childhood Christmas memories are shattered glass in my brain. Something bright flashes attractively, but it’s not all there. Perhaps that defines my love affair with this king of holidays, why it can never seem to live up to all expectations. Still, I reach back to those touchstones again and again, hoping. My uncle as Santa, even though the myth was never perpetrated in our house. The spirograph, Kenner’s psychedelic gateway drug for eight year olds. Gene Autry’s 10” Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer record fighting for turntable time with Dean Martin and Doris Day’s LPs. Christmas tree as nightlight. Curling mounds of ribbon with a paring knife. The smell of Mod Podge. A six foot aluminum tree in my bedroom, decorated with ornaments made from old cards, egg cartons and construction paper. S.O.S for breakfast.Fire at the Wild Goose Discount Center two days before Christmas. My mother cranking out scads of spritz cookies (a talent I never mastered). Dad listening to clay 78’s of Christmas songs in Polish, tears in his eyes. Silver spray painted cardboard angel wings. Singing for midnight mass. Big, hot lightbulbs on a cloth covered wire. Breaking the nativity's angel. Tinsel. Tinsel. Tinsel…. so much tinsel.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Still Thankful

Every day when my husband's home and I have to go to work, he brings me my freshly brewed good morning. Sometimes I even manage to open up one eye. My fave version is a live one, but you'll get the idea.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

That is The Point

Really enjoyed the Harry Nilsson tribute at Off Broadway last night. Perhaps the best part was when they played The Point silently on a big screen and played the music to it live with narration. (More like the album.) Which of course made me look for it on YouTube. I hope they upload something from the show, but til then, I did find some broadcast clips. Unfortunately, it's not Dustin Hoffman narrating like the TV version I remember, but still, good to see it out there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I'll be out giving thanks tomorrow, so here's my very favorite Thanksgiving song for you today.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Angels. Ghosts. God. Gods. Goddesses. Spirits.
I believe. There are most certainly energies among us that cannot be explained by science. Different people or cultures give them different names. But all civilizations throughout history seem to refer at one time or another to presence or power that is unseen. I've felt them. I've seen signs. A shadow where none should be cast, a bird following me, a warm breath of air on a cool day or a draft in a warm room, the gift of a melody, healing, or peace. Naysayers blame psychology, physiology or random theory. I blame no one; I'm grateful to the spirits.

Monday, November 21, 2011


When I'm shooting, it's only with a camera. And I love to do it. Thankfully, my eye is pretty good. Anyone can learn to take a decent photo, but it's a lot more fun when you can add your heart to your head.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Second hand

Saved a bundle today buying the florescent tubes we need for the basement at an estate sale. Lawn mowers, leaf blowers, bicycle tow-ers. Books, nooks, everything for cooks. Dishes, fishes, whatever your wishes. Second hand shopping, don't think of it as cheap, think of it as responsible recycling.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Sometimes it's hard to get beyond ones self
and feel grateful for anything.
Even when everything is bountiful.

Friday, November 18, 2011


We have the best leftovers. Sometimes, my husband doesn't even recognize the components once they are reassembled and transformed into a whole new dish. But sometimes the best leftovers are the straight up reruns. A big pot of soup, stew, chili or pasta that last two or three days is a life saver for our busy schedules. Of course, sometimes I wish I wasn't such a good cook. Maybe I'd eat less. But at least this way I know it's nutritious, low in sodium, fat, carbs or whatever we're currently avoiding, and above all, yummy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Isn't it time?

My friends in Colorado are already holding it over me. The ones out east weren't happy about it. I think it's about time, isn't it? Even the Rally Squirrel is already enjoying it. Snow. Autumn's glory is faded. Dreary skies are dripping. It's time for a change. For crystals to grace the sky and cheer the grey. Isn't it time?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


This year I am taking fiddle lessons at the Folk School. It's something I've wanted to do for quite a while, ever since I saw Darcie Deaville play fiddle with everyone at Woodyfest years and years ago. She is not a shy flower of a fiddler. No, she fiddles with fire, with style, with attitude! Not being a demure sort, the idea that I could be a strong female fiddler was quite appealing. Several teach yourself attempts were made, Lord knows Mel Bay had enough books & DVD's for me to try my hand, but I could never "get" the bowing. Well, I'm far from a virtuoso, but I can mostly hit the notes I'm looking for without screeching like a barn owl in heat thanks to the gentle coaching of instructor Ellen. You really are never too old to learn.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shadows & Light

Yin & Yang.
Night & Day.
Shadows & Light.
One without the other upsets the balance of the universe. How can one truly experience the velvet of a soft night without having a crisp, bright day with which to compare it?
I crave both, need both to feed my emotions.
Heart or mind?
Without one the other is empty.
I want to be full.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Puppy uppers

Nothing relieves workday stress like a cute puppy trotting by your desk. Or licking your nose, big brown eyes sparkling. Working in a small, privately owned company, I have the advantage of on premises puppies. Rotten meeting? Pet the puppy. Frustrating email exchange? Play a little fetch the doggie toy. How could you not be thankful for fantastic furballs breaking up your day with a jump, a yip and a wag?

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Many years ago I drank the iKool-aid. Three desktops, two laptops and an iPod later, it almost killed me to buy a Palm Pixi phone. I felt like I was cheating on my husband. (But at $25.00 and usable on pay-as-you-go, I had to go with the orange.) Apple isn't perfect. First they kept the iMac G5's bulging capacitors under their hats, then they tried to hide the exploding 1st generation iPod nano batteries from the US, while offering replacements to all other corners of the globe. But people are still buying Toyotas, right? Today I heard that they are going to replace the affected 1st gens. Thanks, apple. I still love you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


One man's trash is another man's treasure.
One woman's weed is a garden 0f mine.
Serendipitous garnish on a daily plate,
Roadside attractions of the botanical kind.
You can be gracious and call them wildflowers,
They are both floral and can be wild,
Clinging to bluffs and rocks and ditches,
Showing their beauty as you drive by.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Think different

Being different sucks when you're in third grade. It's not much better when you're in sixth. But by high school, well, not as bad. In tenth grade, I reveled in it. And then, something crazy happened. Other quirky individualists began to emerge, like fall colors from a sea of summer green. We were gleeks before there was 'glee'.

People still find me different. I laugh too often or too loud, stare at the snow falling too long, embrace alternative priorities, and am grateful to see the world from a slightly askew perspective. It's good to be a white squirrel.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


You don't have to take things so seriously all the time.

Scroll down to Folk Uke's cover of Harry Nilsson's "He Needs Me" and take a listen.
Many thanks to BoyHowdy for his always thoughtful posts and ever faithful heart.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sky sight

I never tire of the sky. Possibly it began with the cloud games we all play as little children... and that one looks like a.... Over the years most give up the game until they have kids or grandkids to entertain. Not me. I've never stopped staring at the sky seeing scotty dogs and Abe Lincoln in the clouds, or watching jets draw contrail pentagrams on the horizon. But the best shows are early or late or stormy skies. Colors and silhouettes. Billows and streaks. Fire. More than once I've nearly run off the road watching its beauty unfold while trying to navigate an interstate. No officer, I have not been drinking, I was transfixed by the sunset. A likely story, unless he knew me. Then he'd understand; I'm just living in praise of the sky.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Hearts and Crafts

Is it art or craft? Personally, I believe the difference lies in the creative process. If I am following a pre-made pattern, trace a picture to paint for example, I feel that it is a craft. However, if I conceive of the piece myself, I draw a picture of something I see, then it falls into art. My brain: art. I copy: craft. Both can be beautiful, both fulfilling to accomplish.

Often I am an artist, equally I practice craft. Does it matter? The fact that I question, perhaps points to the answer . Perhaps. Then again, maybe it is all in how the process makes you feel. Satisfied, frustrated, spent and grateful. Art.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Why do I know this stuff? Today while walking I spied four wooly bear caterpillars. (Not this one.) They all had insanely tiny black ends with a huge, wide brown middle. If the folklore is to be believed, we are going to have an extremely mild winter.

Itchy left hand? Expect some money soon. Plant lettuce on Valentines Day if you want a good, sweet crop. Crickets are good luck. Saying "I hate white rabbits!" will make smoke from a campfire turn away from you. Nose itches? Company's coming (or you are going to kiss a fool). Why do I remember this stuff?

All this obscuriana cluttering up my brain. Folklore, remedies, recipes, superstitions, you'd think I was a mountain woman from 1800's Appalachia. If pressed, I could make soap, settle your upset tummy with blackberry leaf tea, feed you a tasty salad from weeds in my lawn, or read the leaves to predict a storm on the way. These are things you just don't learn going up in the city. To paraphrase John Denver, thank God I'm a country girl.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Last gasp

Pork steaks and zucchini on the grill. Tanqueray and tonics in tall tumblers. Poco playing on the iPod. Sunset glowing like charcoal fire in the sky. Summer came back for a November visit.

At the back door, lavender still sparsely blooms. Buckets by the shed hold the last straggling basil, untouched by first frost. Volunteer zinnias sprout from September dropped seeds, confused by the wavering seasons. Soon the snow will stop them cold, but for now we toast our thanks to Indian Summer.

Friday, November 04, 2011


A halo of flowers, a crown of thorns
Wisps and claws and fragrance,
Stars in twilight, gibbous moon
Snow on the fence it graces.

Summer waits, autumn hides
Winter is barely a memory,
Now spring wears its prickly crown
Relishing ethereal irony.

Give thanks for the bramblefruit.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Harmony and me

Align Center
Dar Williams said it best, "I'm a harmony whore.
I'll do harmony with anybody any time."

In the musical that is my life, (yes, it is likely that I will break into song for no apparent reason), there is always harmony in my head. Dissonance, resolve. Minor drones with major lifts. "A head full of songs". I ache for that shining moment when you cannot discern Crosby from Stills from Nash from Young. They are blended into one perfect chord, one mystical voice. Is it magic? Is it craft? Is it the lifting of the veil? Is it practice? Yes, and I am thankful for all of the above.

(photo: Nash, Joel Raphael, Crosby in OKC July 2011)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Thanksgiving Patina

Going round the table, themes of thankfulness emerge. Health. Family. Friends. Shelter. Food. All worthy of gratitude, all a blessing from whatever flavor of consciousness to which you subscribe. Fortunately, my life is enriched beyond just the turkey and mashed potatoes. There’s a whole world of sides out there and frankly, sometimes they are the best part of the meal.

Take patina. Without the patina of age, everything would look shiny and new. Everything. Leaves would stay green each fall. Wooden instruments would never develop a rich, sweet tone. George Clooney would still have that ugly Caesar hair from his ER days. Antiques would not exist. And while the specter of the fountain of youth seems what we chase, how boring perpetual youth would eventually become. So I am grateful for patina. Now you know why.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A Month of Gratitude

A year. Not a great year. Not a disastrous year. Again, I must remind myself, be thankful.

Autumn brings refreshing crisp mornings, fiery sunsets, crystalline frosts and the promise of snow. A deep breath. Grateful. Every day.

Today I am thankful for sleep.

While I sleep, I don't feel fat, ugly or frumpy. In my dreams I am my best self, even as I fall, drown or scream in terror because someone is cutting my hair. Sleep is warm, comforting. It is a refuge from reality masquerading as a necessity. Best of all, it's free. Yes, I am grateful for sleep.