Thursday, September 27, 2007

I get a yes, no or maybe

from the magic eight-ball of my mind...Cory Branan is chock-full of words of wisdom today.

The Ouija board in my brain keeps pointing to "run away, run away!"

If you care to chime in with your vote on the matter, the comments board is activated for your convenience.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Plaid to the Bone

One of the things I like best about fall in Memphis is that it's festival season. As the humidity fades away and the daytime temperatures gradually slide downward from "deep fat fry" to tolerably warm, it's the perfect time of year to be outdoors, wandering through crowds of people celebrating pretty much whatever an organization with even the sparest of corporate and media sponsorship can dream up.

An annual favorite of mine is Clanjamfry, staged yearly by Evergreen Presbyterian Church in midtown, which, as we all know, is indeed God's own country. I miss midtown so much, with its old and funky houses, representing a cross-section of time, socio-economic status, cultures and levels of education. Evergreen, anchored by the venerable Rhodes College ("our ivy is in a league by itself") is an upper middle-class mixture of Craftsman bungalows and Tudor-esque mini-manors. Bordered on the south by our rather good zoo and on the east by a jumping part of Binghampton, it even looks like its name, with yard after yard full of stately, ancient trees, both deciduous and evergreen.

The festival naturally centers around Scots history and culture, seeing as how the hosts are Presbyterian, but once the music starts and the vendors set up their wares, the lines between Scots and Irish tend to blur a wee bit (something my own Scots forbears would have reportedly taken a dim view of) and it all becomes a whirl of Scots-Irish-Celtic jolly good fun.

Dear Daughter and Best Friend wandered around, teetering on the edge of teenage ennui. The games were all either geared for small children or involved tossing cabers or two-handed broadswords, so their choices were somewhat limited. We watched some bands, the Highland Dance competition, the Boniest Knees competition (more on this in a moment) and strolled through the vendors looking at home-spun wool, hand-crafted mountain dulcimers, silver jewelry and tartan bedspreads. The live sheep caught our eye, and a bit of our hearts as well. These woolly girls were lovely shades of cinnamon and steel and appreciated a good skritch between the eyes.

We ran into several friends, and made a few new ones. We thrilled to the Wolf River Pipe and Drum band, especially the "chick" drummers with their precisely twirling lambswool mallets. Not hungry for offal, we passed on the opportunity to try haggis. The girls made beady-things in the crafts booth and I made photos.

The Boniest Knees Contest was a good laugh. Three blindfolded women fondled the knees of brave contestants sporting Highland garb and selected the ones they liked best. It was hoot, and the winner seemed proud of his honor. Quite a few people strolled the grounds in an approximation of Scottish dress, and I must admit a specific fondness for the sight of a man in a kilt--not any specific man in particular, seeing as how the Loved One won't put one on, but just men in kilts in general. It's a good look. And I have a special shout-out to the gentleman with the exquisitely cabled and seed-stitched socks. Despite how insanely hot he must've been, those were some serious socks.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Let me sum up

I was outside for an extended period of time today in the glorious Indian summer sun. At a local festival I ran into several friends from my former workplace. It was good to stop and catch up and see how everyone is doing. I also had fun explaining what it is I do for money these days. While wandering over towards the direction of some fine live music, I ran into a guy whose t-shirt pretty much tells it all.
I wonder where I can get an application to join?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! Wait, It Really is a Plane!

These guys are outside practicing for Saturday's Midsouth Airshow. It's really wild to see multi-million dollar speed demons streaking over the skies of the base and the small town next door. It's a beautiful day for flying!

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Day Poems Might be Borne

Widower means
someone was there,
someone who loved her
at least.
Widower means
someone knew
how her hair curled loosely against her neck
as she slumbered deep;
how her soul could be touched
by lapis lazuli,
and how the scent of ginger made her dance.
He knew and remembers
what songs made her weep
and why,
the books she loved,
where she came from
and why she couldn't stay.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Sunne in Splendour

It's beautiful here, despite the rain. In the past week, our drought has ended with several days of rainfall that has ranged from the torrential to the pattering, and all of it a wonderful balm on the our parched fields, as well as our souls. Living in the south we expect July and August to be hot, but this particular year has been worse than usual. Fortunately, the humidity was lower than usual, but still, any day with a temperature over 95 (and we had several consecutive WEEKS of days that hot) is a drain on the water table and on the psychological well-being of everyone.

I love fall. I love the gradual changes that sneak up on us. I'm always so impressed when I suddenly see a bank of trees bronzed and gilded with afternoon light and changing leaves. We're not there quite yet, and given the 17" deficit in our rainfall this year, I doubt if we'll have much autumnal color. Still, the season is definitely starting to turn and for that, dear reader, I am exceedingly glad.

Yesterday afternoon about 6:30 I was driving Dear Daughter and Best Friend of Dear Daughter from the home of The Friend-Boy when I chanced to look at the western sky at precisely the right moment. The sun was tangled in a skein of cirrus-y cloud with long tendrils stretching out to the north. At the curled tips of the wispy cloud hovered a sun dog, brilliant in hues of green and bronze and yellow. I'd never seen one before and it's intense and surprising beauty fairly took my breath away.

For those who, like me, are largely ignorant of such things, the proper name for a sun dog is parhelion, but they are also called mock suns. They appear at a precise 22 degree angle on either side of the sun and are caused by light refracting on ice crystals in the atmosphere. We were treated to a lengthy show of color that waxed and waned as, presumably, the crystals rotated in the air. The show was truly breath-taking.

Edward Plantagenet, who ruled 15th century England as Edward IV, took the sun dog as his personal emblem. Called "the sunne in splendour," he was inspired by the appearance of parhelia on the morning of February 2, 1461, just prior to the battle at Mortimer's Cross against the Lancastrians under the command of Margaret of Anjou, Queen to the sad and devout Henry VI of England. Edward won the battle, and shortly thereafter, the crown of England, briefly putting to an end to the Wars of the Roses. His youngest brother Richard, succeeded him in a short reign that has been one of the most researched, maligned and dramatized in world history. I'm currently reading Anthony Cheetham's excellent The Life and Times of Richard III, and hope to follow it up by watching this, which takes a rather dim view of the youngest sun of York, but is cinematic excellence, nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Neon Memphis

Louis is a much better photographer than I will ever be (and I would make that link work, except the toolbar isn't showing up just now and I don't feel up to attempting to write the link out the long way).

More later. My bones are on fire today.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Eve of Everything

It's raining tonight--a soft gentle rain that not only heals the thirsty world, but is a balm on our frayed psyches. Dear Daughter finishes homework while I try and think of a way to put into words all of the emotions that are swirling around us.

Tomorrow is Mom's surgery. She's in a good place. We're as safe as we can be.

On the way home from dinner Dear Daughter started crying and telling me about how worried she is about her grandmother. She said she was sorry for crying, so we talked about how love for the people around us sometimes fills us up so much that it leaks out of our faces in the form of tears. We're both a little leaky tonight.

I doubt if I'll be able to blog much in the next couple of days. Check Mom's Caring Bridge website (, then enter her name) for updates on her condition. I'll work on that site as soon as I can.

Oh, a special shout-out to Fine Old Famly, the Produce Man, e, Ry-Guy, Kim the Book Fairy, the Lunch Bunch and Master Chief BA for knowing what to say and how to say it. Thanks ever so much.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Mambocat on the Second Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

If you don't read anything else today, read this. The post is titled Knit 2, Post K. If it doesn't piss you off and make you want to get some people one the phone, you might want to check your pulse.

I know what it means to miss New Orleans.