Thursday Evening PotPourri

Stovetop PotPourri

* Happy one hundred sixty-ninth birthday to the brilliant garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll, whose cottage-style gardens inspire me constantly.

Jekyll Cottage Garden

Found here.

More on her Arts & Crafts style here.

* Nothing can describe my last week at work any better than this video:

Love the line: “It always rains down on us. And like an old dog lying by a new gravestone, it’s still our home.”

What do you do to get through weeks like that? For me, it’s a constant return to center, a deep breath, grounding, and reminding myself to ignore the enchantment of forgetfulness that causes me to see myself as separate from everyone and everything else.

And, then, for me, there’s The Law. Even on the worst days, I’m getting to practice The Law. I was born to do legal writing. The writing that I’ve been doing this week is about three provisions of a rather obscure, but vitally important, statute. Once you really understand the structure of a statute and the reason why it was written the way that it was written, there’s this moment when the statute itself (I swear this. I swear that the statue has a kind of living, volitional presence and that it will help you when it knows that you want to help it to do its job. It does.) opens up and begins to sing to you and then it joins you in the dance, and then you, and the intent of Congress, which is the intent of the humans on the landbase, which is Columbia’s intent, which implicates Athena of old, which is the current result of the work of those people on Runnymede field, which draws me back to my pipples’ Things, and which draws me forward into the application of admiralty law to space travel, well, you are in the divine Glass Bead Game with all of those and more. It’s the most fun that I know how to have inside, with my clothes on.

And that’s what gets me through.

Well, all of that, and age and guile.

* I love what are sometimes known as Storybook Houses. The NYT has an interesting article about an unique old guy who builds them out in the Pacific Northwest. These folks sell plans for Storybook Homes. If I were starting from scratch, I’d build Buckelberry. Sometimes, these structures are called Hobbit Homes. Info on Hobbit Homes here, here, and here. There’s a lot of overlap between Storybook/Hobbit Homes and the Tiny House movement:

Sun in Pisces and Moon in Taurus, my home environment is v. important to me. I honestly live most of my life out on the small screen porch, esp. between April and October, although it was warm enough last week that a lot of my guests hung out there, even in the evening.

Where do you really live? What does the house of your dreams have to include?

* I had dinner with clients the other night at Boqueria, and the brussel sprouts were the star of the show. I love brussel sprouts, although they are the one vegetable that Son simply hates. (I tried once to make him taste a few. He said, “Mom. I just can’t. My gag reflex kicks in.”) Here’s a recipe that sounds pretty good. I’m going to try it this weekend.

* In between the too many hours at work, I’m still reading and loving Poet Laureate Natasha Threthewey. She writes about the natural world of the South in a way that simply speaks to me. Reading Trethewey gives me insights into my relationship with my own Southern landbase.

Trethewey says:

“I’ve always been aware that the South made me. I am the product of this place, as well as anyone from this place. . . . It is my homeland and my native land. If I don’t claim it, if I allow the people who ought to say that it is not really ‘my place’ because of race or something like that [to win], then it renders me homeless. I’d have no homeland. I love the South because it is mine.”

Here’s her poem about a woodpecker. Or maybe it’s about her relationship with her mother who did the domestic work of hanging up sheets while her daughter pursued poetry and the life of an academic. Or maybe it’s about the screens between them. Or maybe it’s about the relationship between the woodpecker and the tree. WHOSE green hearts?

What does it say to you?

A limen is the threshold of a physiological or psychological response. Maybe Trethewey’s meaning is somewhere just below that level.


All day I’ve listened to the industry
of a single woodpecker, worrying the catalpa tree
just outside my window. Hard at his task,

his body is a hinge, a door knocker
to the cluttered house of memory in which
I can almost see my mother’s face.

She is there, again, beyond the tree,
its slender pods and heart-shaped leaves,
hanging wet sheets on the line — each one

a thin white screen between us. So insistent
is this woodpecker, I’m sure he must be
looking for something else — not simply

the beetles and grubs inside, but some other gift
the tree might hold. All day he’s been at work,
tireless, making the green hearts flutter.

* Hoping to take G/Son here.

Picture found here.

3 responses to “Thursday Evening PotPourri

  1. “(I swear this. I swear that the statue has a kind of living, volitional presence and that it will help you when it knows that you want to help it to do its job. It does.)”

    No surprises here. This is precisely how Jewish scholars and rabbis have related to the Talmud for centuries. One does not simply study the Talmud; one engages it in dialogue.

    Of course, the same applies elsewhere, if you’re doing what you love. Ask a sailor about hir ship, or an architect about hir buildings, and, if they’re the sailor or the architect that they should be, they also perceive the subjects (not objects) of their profession and delight as living presences. May it always be so for you.

    Weeks like that? Yes, one has them, and deepening one’s practice helps to get one through. And, for me, at least, appropriate music (plainsong, usually), with a glass of wine in a darkened room at the tail end of the evening.

  2. For me bliss is, after being lost in a multivariate regression problem for days, the maximally significant relationships become clear enough that, for just a moment, I can see a space wihere n>3.

    Give son a pass on the brussels sprouts. He’s probably homozygous for the “bitter” variant of the phenylthiocarbamide taste allele.

  3. had to share that tiny house video over on fb. Am entranced!

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