Check camera. It works.
Drive into town.
Drive by the 7-Eleven
Park at Boston Common Garage.
Walk by Boston Common.
Approach the Nautilus. Go inside.
Take a picture of a beautiful blue window.
Four places were set - two of us showed up - three including the celebrant.
Water and wine
Lunch afterwards.. Highly recommended..
Go back to Boston Common Garage, fetch car, drive home.
Do Not Think Me Gentle
Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honor the grace
that keeps this world. I am
a man crude as any,
gross of speech, intolerant,
stubborn, angry, full
of fits and furies. That I
may have spoken well
at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.
~ Wendell Berry ~
(via Whiskey River)
The cork board is getting busy again. Up top in the middle is "Summer Camp".
The rectangle in the middle is an in-process venture that will end up being a nine square grid of grids.. There's no overall design for this, so I don't really know what the other seven grids will look like. Right now, it's reminding me a bit of road-cuts with their anticlinal, monoclinal and synclinal folds.. I'm using a restricted eight primary color palette of Sharpie Wide chisel tips to do this..
We understand that you wish you could be us.
You'll just have to make do with whatever passes for culture in your states...
(a re-post: first posted on RTTC 6/3/12)
How do we forgive our fathers?
Maybe in a dream.
Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often or forever,
When we were little?
Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage...
Or making us nervous when there never seemed to be any rage there at all.
Do we forgive our fathers for marrying, or not marrying our mothers?
For divorcing, or not divorcing our mothers?
And shall we forgive them for their excesses,
of warmth, or coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning?
For shutting doors?
For speaking through walls?
Or never speaking?
Or never being silent?
Do we forgive our fathers,
In our age or theirs,
Or in their deaths?
Saying it to them?
Or not saying it?
If we forgive our fathers...
What is left?
- Spoken by Thomas Builds-The-Fire in the luminous film "Smoke Signals"
In the July Edition of Bead Style magazine there is a really nice article on making malas with great pictures and clear writing. Hopefully it will inspire more people to make malas for themselves.
The author, Jane Konkel, found the several mala-making posts I have on RTTC to be useful to her. She very kindly and generously mentioned the blog and me in her article. Pretty pumped…
You can visit the Bead Style web site by clicking here.
FYI - here is a consolidated list of the RTTC mala-making posts:
"I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in the books; I'm beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn't pleasant. It's not sweet and harmonious like invented stories. It tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves."
- Hermann Hesse
(quote via Whiskey River)
Constitution Park - A warm welcome from the USCG and Homeland Security.
This site is a bit of a clusterfuck - an ungainly combination of active USCG base and State Park. The way you get to the State Park is by walking on a thin blue line (I kid you not) from the opening in the Welcome gate, through the USCG installation to entrance in Fort Constitution. Should you stray off the blue line, you get reminded really quickly by guys in the tower to get back on the blue line. If you want a day trip to experience by way of living metaphor what's coming down the pike real-soon-now for Merrka, come to Fort Constitution. It is State Park "By your leave."
The State Park portion is run down, but clean. The signage has yellowed and cracked plexiglass covers which makes it difficult to read the underlying text. The fort has some nice views of the harbor. Some of the ruined bunkers and buildings are interesting to look at.. but man oh man - whoever decided to combine a state park (that is on the National Registry) with a DOD/Homeland Insecurity installation sincerely had their head wedged where it oughtn't be..
You'd best walk on the blue line, boy.
"Requesting permission to recreate Sir!"
English Sparrow sings "I don't give a shit about any steengkeeng blue lines. I fly where I want."
There was this beautiful golden colored lichen growing on the stone and brickwork at the fort. Lovely.
A combination of WWII and War of 1812 Construction
As part of the austerity measures being swiftly enacted here at RTTC in the face of our impending cash flow disruption, Doff and I have executed a resource action of our own. We fired our landscaping crew ("It's not about your job performance. We're simply eliminating your positions in order to take advantage of more local labor sources.") and have taken up the weekly task of mowing the lawn, trimming the shrubs, sweeping the street etc..
Yesterday, while I was pushing the mower up the path into the back yard I saw some plants that looked exactly like what you see above. Poison Ivy (or Poison IVENY as my favorite musician used to call it when he was a tike.)… The leaves were so wet with noxious sap that it looked like it might flick some on me out of spite. Since I have cheap Irish skin that is prone to all sorts of ailments - I've always been scared to death of getting Poison Ivy.. When I am outside in the yard, or walking in the woods - I am always always always on high alert for my nemesis and point it out to my traveling companions with the intensity of Doug the Dog in the movie "Up" when he sees squirrels.
Seeing the much hated Toxicodendron Radicans in my own yard was an alarming experience. It had to go. All of it. This was not a case of love your enemy. This was not a case of Buddhist ahimsa (non-harming). That vine had entered a world of pain by putting down roots in my yard. I dispensed with the "love everyone, love mother earth" liberal palaver.
I became a killer.
After supper, I announced that I was going to BigBoxHardware to get the most toxic weed killer on the planet. I told Doff that I wanted the one that made you grow tumors while you drove it home in the trunk of your car. She smiled at me with that smile that she reserves for the perpetually misguided. For whatever bit of faulty reasoning - she decided to come along on my mission to procure some Ivy Killah..
BigBoxHardware had tons of different yard poisons, but I wanted the Black Death. I settled on Monsanto's Roundup for Poison Ivy. How toxic is this stuff? Well - while not as fun as Agent Orange, the Monsanto weedkiller we sprayed all over VietNam in the 60's, according to a 2011 report by Earth Open Source,
"Monsanto's Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world, causes birth defects as well as "endocrine disruption, damage to DNA, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and cancer" at amounts equivalent to pesticide residue found on produce."
Just the ticket.
While walking through BBH on our way to the checkout, I spoke to Doff in an embellished Boston accent, "Oh Hon, I just felt a tumor pop out.. "
"Would you please not talk to me in that accent?" she hissed while smiling pleasantly. Of course - that kind of response is like a standing ovation to my ears and I continued to converse with her in my "Lou from Boston Sand and Gravel" persona until we were out of the store… She later admitted that the next time I was going shopping somewhere - I could go by myself.. :-)
Once home, I assembled the sprayer and set about the aerial campaign against the enemy.. As RoundUp rained down on the vines, I whispered "Die! Die! Die you miserable fucking bastards!". Apparently - I wasn't *really* whispering because I got shushed by Doff who was some distance away engaged in her own bit of criminal yard activity..
When the last plant had been done in, I swaggered back to the garage, squinting and whistling the theme song to the Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, poison in one hand, tumors quietly growing all over me.
As George the Lesser once said "Mission Accomplished!"
Pond near the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover MA.
They have several really lovely exhibitions going on now..
(and - it's free..)
Being caught up in terrible, awful, no-good traffic yesterday made me realize just how much I'd lost by working from home these past several years. Specifically - I've lost the ability to sit in traffic for hours on end and not want to kill myself or others.
For decades, I've been doing a Boston / Cambridge commute which can range anywhere from twenty minutes to over two hours and then later in my career, a daily 70-mile round trip 495-belt pilgrimage which averaged about 90-100 minutes a day but could also go to two hours if a wrench got thrown into the delicate workings of the Massachusetts highway system. Over the years I developed an ability to not give a shit about being in a tin can for so long every day. Music helped. Back in the 80's smoking cigarettes helped. Sometimes I'd arrive at my destination (either home or a bunker-like work building) and not even remember driving there.
Use it or lose it goes the conventional wisdom. It seems as though I've lost that magical ability to quietly endure traffic. I'm not sure either if its a skill I necessarily want to re-develop for Career 2.0….
P.S. - the image above is the tunnel exit onto the lower deck of the Tobin Bridge. I was so excited to be doing 40mph after nearly an hour and a half of going three miles an hour that I took a picture of the blessed event. Five minutes later in Chelsea, I was back on the brakes. Route 1 was stop and go from Chelsea all the way up to my fair suburban cocoon of weed-whackers and beemers.. That jaunt took another 45 minutes. Jesus wept...
P.P.S - my fellow humans who make these commutes every day have my deepest and most sincere sympathy for the cadence of their daily lives and admiration for their enduring grit…
I don't know about you, but I harbor illusions that I know what the future will bring.
It's time like these though, with the sudden disruption in employment status, that give lie to the studied "I know what's going to happen next" malarky. Things look pretty murky right now .. not in a bad way.. just uncertain. Like driving along and looking out through your windshield in the rain with no wipers on (not recommended): It's really pretty, and you can see the big shapes of things - but not much else.
I mean, I know that I want to work. I'm not done working. I won't be done working until I'm dead. What kind of work is another thing entirely. This last stretch of employment, 29 years in one industry, was quite a run. I get the feeling though - it might just be time for something really different.
I'm not a big planner either, so that may make the arrival at the new gig a bit circuitous. As an example - I changed my college major nearly a dozen times (one of them was Nuclear Engineering) before graduating. I mean - looking back over the arc of my life - I can't say I planned any of it. Yes - some things - some work related things - had to be planned and tightly controlled - but the general milieu of my life is less planning and more sort of surfing what comes next.. So - tactically a planner. Strategically - a surfer.. or something.
It feels plenty chaotic to me right now, but looking back in time - this little insignificant life appears very orderly (like Arty Schopenhauer says "Everything gears together")… just not planned.
So when friends and family ask me what my plan is for the future, I have to say "I haven't the faintest idea." I could get all Thomas Merton on people and whip out the "What I do is live. How I pray is breathe. What I wear is pants." quote - but that would probably get me a nice big cup of smack-in-the-head eventually. So - I just say "I don't know."
One thing Doff and I have in our favor during times like these is a modest home ( seen above) and lifestyle. That should help provide enough runway to figure out what to do next…whatever that is..
In the mean time, I'm looking for signs everywhere.
Maybe they will come like brilliant red ribbons descending from the heavens.
Or maybe it will be a red-winged blackbird taking off from the top of a piling in a salt marsh that delivers the news.
Whatever - I'll just have to try and pay attention.. see what comes.. and keep the board waxed..