fledge capable of flying, from Middle English flegge, from Old English -flycge; akin to Old High German flucki capable of flying,
Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
intransitive verb, of a young bird : to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends! I hope you had a happy and healthy holiday.

This year, for Thanksgiving, I came up with a brilliant idea. My brilliant idea was this: Most of my neighbors down toward this end of the street were staying home for the holiday and did not have family coming to visit. But all were planning to make a big ol' meal. Big meals lead to leftovers, so my thought was, I'd have all my neighbors over for a big leftover potluck on the Friday right after Thanksgiving. Brilliant. They all said they'd come by. I cleaned, shopped, rearranged furniture, polished glasses, pulled weeds, bought flowers, baked three extra desserts, cooked four extra game hens, bought ice, dropped into the Salvation Army several times over the past weeks to hopefully scrounge up half-way presentable serving dishes...you know the routine when you expect lots of company.

I expected around 20 people. And 2 showed. After they left, I was left with the Nancy from Seventh Grade lunchroom, in assigned seating at a table where none of the other girls liked me. They had every reason not to like me: I came from a different school. And I was weird. It was entertaining to natter and titter and chuckle behind their peanutbutter-and-jelly-on-Wonderbread at my expense. For them. Less entertaining for me...

"It was a fantastic party, Mommy! Everything looked great!"

"But nobody came," I said.

"Well, it was their loss. They missed out. It was the best party."

Who is this little girl? 

"You need to be more confident, Mommy. You're great!"

Who is this little child? She is so young, so little compared to other girls her age. And so...wise..? So very wise.

Every last run to the grocery store, every moment spent dusting and polishing and vacuuming, every embarrassed "oops, sorry I missed it..." text I got the next day, was worth this very moment looking into my girl's big brown eyes. I am so very thankful.

Anna relayed to me recently, that some kid at school asked her why she dressed "that way," why she dressed "weird." 

 She answered (without missing a beat), "Because I am awesome. And because I am awesome, my clothes need to be awesome." (If you could only picture the great amount of sass, what we call "Annatude," that Anna put into this statement...). I don't dress her, haven't for years: She picks out her own outfits every morning and she has plain jeans and t-shirts from which to choose. Inevitably, she's got on crazy colorful knee socks, high tops, a fluffy patchwork skirt, a shirt of ten different colors...well, you know how I sew... As my girl approaches middle school age, I worry greatly that something--such as Seventh Grade lunchroom girls--will come along to kill this spirit, douse this sparkle, tarnish her shine, diminish her giant radiating aura, deflate her natural happiness. I hope she continues to be her own person, follow her own quirky drumbeat. I really do.

This is a new little outfit for her: A pair of Cardiff pants and the shirt is a bit Frankenstein...Quiara and Antonia, I believe... The knits are from Banberry Place. Just luscious stuff.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Daughter of invention

My girl invents things. Yes, she calls these innovations "inventions". Her inventions include "the Melon Cat". A melon, which is also a cat. Or "the Box Bunny". A bunny, which is also a box. And there is "Sue" and "Mini Sue"-- winged, monocular creatures with no legs and arms, but bow-tied head-tentacles. And so on. The practical uses of these inventions have yet to be discovered. Frederick DeMoleyns, J.W. Starr and Joseph Swan, who all held patents for incandescent electric light bulbs decades before Thomas Alva Edison declared, "I have just solved the problem of the subdivision of electric light!" can perhaps relate. So, we'll give Ninja Cats and Ninja Mushrooms a little more time before society and technology catch up. Anna keeps here inventions logged here, in a securely locked Hello Kitty diary.

For now, these new inventions do a fine job of watching over Anna as she sleeps. This painting is an original 1970s "Armantino" (ooh la la!), a study in yellow and white, which is a metaphor of the bleak landscape of America's post-Viet Nam War jaundiced red/white Cold War worldview. Or served as a bright focal point and picks up the floral tones in the 1974 Barcalounger of the Year. Yep, "B" is probably the correct answer. Notice the signature: Anna and I have added ours: Anna traced her inventions and I painted them in.  

Yes, my girl inspires me. Another big source of inspiration is Farbenmix, which celebrates seven years!! A cupcake toast to you Team Farbenmix (from Cupcake Couture, winners of the "Cupcake Wars"... territory, resources, water, religion, oil, and now cupcakes? Do we humans have to go to war over cupcakes? After having had a taste of a heavenly concoction of Salted Carmel something-or-other, well, I may have to reevaluate my pacifist tendencies...)

Happy Birthday, Farbenmix!

Thursday, November 3, 2011



"Grausam": That's German for "dreadful" and "atrocious" and all manner of description of misery. The root word  is "grau" as in the color "grey." (I wonder what etymological leap those Teutons or Visigoths or Saxons had to take to make such neutral grey so horribly "grausam.") Grey is generally featureless, dull, something neither black nor white. But, in reality, that is most of our reality, isn't it? Concrete surrounds us, haze and clouds diffuse and obscure what is plain to see. Each action we take, according to Newton, has an equal, opposite and collinear reaction. Every decision, every good intention has a dot of black, the yin and the yang swirling into it's resolute blend of grey. Our greatest advances, conveniences and technologies have devastating consequences. Grey is where one must be most aware of the details and the textures of things, actions and decisions. It is the land of ambiguity, charted, but not navigated by William Golding in Lord of the Flies. Ambiguity bothers us: it requires us to think, to decide between easier, more right, more wrong, most best, less worst, knowing full well that the equal, opposite and collinear reaction is pretty bad, too. We demand that our politicians have laser-like abilities to discern the black molecules from the white molecules and never offend, never inconvenience, never waiver, never impose, never give up, never give in, never concede, when society can really only operate with but the greying cataracts of our limited vision. Grey is the dust that settles after the bomb explodes, it is the ash remaining from the burning of books, it is the bit of bone left remaining after the hunt. But grey is the soothing fog that gently hydrates, the hair at grandmother's temple, the stones on the stoop of the place that is most home. 

And today, Frau Pimpinella is asking us to post our greyest images.


Stopover in an airport before dawn: Neither day nor night, neither here nor there.


After our visit to Beijing, I feel a great deal of ambiguity about the Middle Kingdom. Much is good there: In the past decade, China lifted the greatest number of people out of poverty in the history of mankind. But at what cost? This is brand-new, gleaming glass, grey and steel shopping mall in Beijing, absolutely devoid of any shoppers. This shopping mall is so empty the store clerks leave their shops unattended to play badminton in the echoing halls.


The grey zone of progress in Beijing: The spectacular high rise office and condominium buildings are constructed by workers, very often peasants from the provinces, who live in shanties on site.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or...off with your head!



And Jack-O's friend, Scarclops. Scarclops, I'm afraid, met with some disfavor with our resident regent...

And his cranial safety was never assured, not with the Queen of Heart's favorite, um, motivational tool being the ax.


Hope your Halloween was happy, too!


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