Thursday, April 21, 2016

Images by Palette

TinEye, flickr creative commons


Sunday, May 20, 2012


I gave nobody life, I am nobody's wife, and I seem to be nobody's daughter
--Shawn Colvin

Selected google images: said

Saturday, April 28, 2012

wildflower collection: trout lily

where: Portland, Maine, near the Fore River

when: April 21, 2012

latin name: Erythronium americanum

wildflower collection: false rue anemone

where: our back yard (never saw it before this year; we cut 13 tall pines in 2010)

when: April 28, 2012

latin name: Enemion biternatum

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Anthropic principle

"Our universe is what it is because we are here. The situation could be likened to a school of intelligent fish who one day began wondering why their world is completely filled with water. Many of the fish, the theorists, hope to prove that the entire cosmos necessarily has to be filled with water. For years, they put their minds to the task but can never quite seem to prove their assertion. Then, a wizened group of fish postulates that maybe they are fooling themselves. Maybe there are, they suggest, many other worlds, some of them completely dry, and everything in between."

The Accidental Universe
Alan Lightman
Harpers magazine

Friday, November 25, 2011

orchid drawings by my Aunt Sarah

Dendrobium cucumerinum
“The Cucumber Orchid”
© Sarah Stifler Jesup

Oncidium arizajulianum
(Dominican Republic)
© Sarah Stifler Jesup
Oncidium bicallosum
(Central America)
©Sarah Stifler Jesup
Paphiopedilum niveum
(Malay Archipelago)
© Sarah Stifler Jesup
Dichaea ciliolata
© Sarah Stifler Jesup

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow

This book bowled me over.

I loved the main character, Gertie, from page one. The first few chapters were blissful, but I knew that the rug would be pulled out from under.

When it was (she moved her children from a Kentucky farm to join her husband in a Detroit tenement), the contrast was stark and heartbreaking and infuriating. And all the more so because I know that Gertie's story is true (this book is fiction, but you know what I mean) and was repeated over and over in the twentieth century.

As an embodiment of rural migration to the city, Gertie's story includes many of the horrors of modern life: living on credit, bearing the war between corporations and unions, children becoming "wiser" in the ways of the world than their parents, enduring the prejudices and religious intolerance of neighbors, and witnessing the degradation of quality (mass-produced goods). Plus the war and anti-communist paranoia and lack of equality for women... but it all stays human because we follow Gertie through each descending step, as her oldest child runs away, as two of her children become accustomed to the city and scornful of the farm, and as her peers and her husband drive her to a betrayal of her fourth child, Cassie Marie, that leads to the girl's unbelievably wrenching death.

The dolls that Gertie whittles undergo a transition, too. To make them ever more cheaply and quickly, she bends to modern ideas and inevitably begins to hate the products. Her grand opus, the sculpture-in-progress on which she labors throughout, becomes the symbol of what has changed in her life, and in the end, the scapegoat -- the Judas -- of her choices and failures.

Beautiful, smart, haunting, and sad.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Reading -- never thought of it this way

"THE FACT THAT PEOPLE don't like to read may trouble many of us in the Reading Class, but it shouldn't. For in truth, we have misidentified the "problem" facing us: it is not the much-bemoaned reading gap, but rather a seldom-mentioned knowledge gap. Though it is immodest to say, we readers genuinely know more than those who do not read. Thus we are usually able to make better-informed decisions than non-readers can. If we lived in an aristocracy of readers, this maldistribution of knowledge might be acceptable. But we don't; rather, we live in a democracy (if we are lucky). In a democracy, the people – readers and non-readers alike – decide. Thus we would like all citizens to be knowledgeable so that they can make well-informed decisions about our common affairs."
—Marshall Poe

more Ursula, to tie together the two previous posts

"The book itself is a curious artifact, not showy in its technology but complex and extremely efficient: a really neat little device, compact, often very pleasant to look at and handle, that can last decades, even centuries. It doesn't have to be plugged in, activated, or performed by a machine; all it needs is light, a human eye, and a human mind. It is not one of a kind, and it is not ephemeral. It lasts. It is reliable. If a book told you something when you were fifteen, it will tell it to you again when you're fifty, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you're reading a whole new book."

Ursula LeGuin on publishing

"Books are social vectors, but publishers have been slow to see it. They barely even noticed book clubs until Oprah goosed them. But then the stupidity of the contemporary, corporation-owned publishing company is fathomless: they think they can sell books as commodities.

"Moneymaking entities controlled by obscenely rich executives and their anonymous accountants have acquired most previously independent publishing houses with the notion of making quick profit by selling works of art and information. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that such people get sleepy when they read. Within the corporate whales are many luckless Jonahs who were swallowed alive with their old publishing house—editors and such anachronisms—people who read wide awake. Some of them are so alert they can scent out promising new writers. Some of them have their eyes so wide open they can even proofread. But it doesn't do them much good. For years now, most editors have had to waste most of their time on an unlevel playing field, fighting Sales and Accounting."

Only you, not only me

some "old folks" said to younger folks (

"You might look inside yourself and think you know yourself, but over many decades you can change in ways you won't see ahead of time. Don't assume you know who you will become. This applies all the more to folks around you. You may know who they are now, but not who they will become."

I also have found this to be true, even in my relatively short lifespan.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Into Words

Frans B M de Waal:
"The evolutionary reasons for altruistic behavior are not necessarily the animals' reasons."
From iPhone

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Golf Country

It's funny the look Arizonans give you when you say you don't play golf. A mixture of two parts incredulous and one part "flee the leper"

From iPhone

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bad Hair Fortnight

Well, it turns out I can't be a western woman, of leisure or otherwise. My hair HATES this climate. Flat and blah. Humidity may cause the frizz, but I'll deal with that in exchange for some pouf.

From iPhone

Snap Time!

From online New York Times:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Which is worse...

...spelling it right but pronouncing it wrong (shudder) or jumping all the way in and spelling it wrong?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Unfortunate Acronyms

North American Directory Services

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leaping Frog

Rocky mountain high

I feel so AWAKE.

I'm having less caffeine than normal, but my alertness is doubled (without troubling my sleep).

Is it the altitude? Or just lack of having to work?

Something got screwed up somewhere, because clearly I was meant to be a Western woman of leisure.

From iPhone

2 skwrls

Monday, August 22, 2011


Sitting in the bright sunshine, everything shiny clean after the many loud and torrential storms during the night, drinking exceptionally good iced coffee, an occasional golfer on the third tee in our back yard, quiet, content. No driving today.

Don't you just hate Mondays?

From iPhone

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I have now seen TORNADOES live and in person!

(and small and distant enough not to fear for myself or much damage to others)

From iPhone

Lark Bunting

The beautiful lark bunting (Colorado's state bird) seems to be fairly common. Unfortunately, every time I try to say its name aloud, it comes out "bark lunting."

From iPhone