Wednesday, April 30, 2008


We moved from a city of 5 million to a town of 200, actually to outside of a town of 200, hoping to slow it down a bit. How is it then that I still find myself running around at 90 mph, trying desperately to capture and savor the present moments and hours ever retreating in my wake? Oh, but spring has come, or is coming. And I squeezed in a lovely visit from my parents over the weekend. These are some of the moments that went whirling by...

I bought some flats of flowers and herbs, forgetting it's not safe to plant before Mother's Day. Last year, I lost a whole heartbreaking round of beautiful blooms I'd planted and resolved to wait this year. Oops.

A trip to the St. Louis airport is a great excuse to stop in St. Charles for lunch and a trip to the luscious Rock, Paper, Scissors shop. Last December, Wayne wrapped my anniversary gifts in handmade paper from this shop and I've been dying to go there ever since. I can report it's the best paper shop I've seen and now I'm fantasizing about opening a paper shop of my own. How about a books/paper/coffee shop? I'd call it entry to heaven without requiring last rites.

When I heard that Jeremy Casella was going to perform in Columbia I knew the name rang a bell--I'd read about Jeremy on Jenni Simmons blog. We really enjoyed hearing/meeting him and now his songs have edged out Justin Timberlake on my ipod. Yes, I confess I bought a JT song I'd gotten hooked on in Jazzercise before I knew who sang it, proving I can still surprise my kids (and myself.)

On Sunday, we drove to Hannibal, Missouri, home of Mark Twain, in case you didn't know. Here is one of the only items, signs or otherwise, that wasn't named after Mark Twain, Samuel Clements, Tom, Becky, Huck or one of the other myriad places or peoples that populate his stories. I tried reading the first chapter of Tom Sawyer to the girls last night. I might as well have been speaking Scottish.

We had lunch at the Mark Twain Diner (I can safely recommend the strawberry shortcake, but thats about it) just a stone's throw from Tom Sawyer's House (and white picket fence) and around the corner from the Mark Twain Museum which housed a number of original Norman Rockwell illustrations of Tom Sawyer. Even if you are not a fan of Norman Rockwell's images, these paintings, exhibited beside their black and white studies, were stunning.

Back home Monday night after the return trip to STL, the dryer broke and my plants, still awaiting new homes, had frostbite. But the azaleas are in full bloom, the clothes on the line are infused with the scents of spring and tonight I attempted to resusitate any plants still semi conscious. We might have rescued the geraniums, rosemary and mint, but I think the tomatoes are goners.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mug shot of the day

This old soul was spied crossing our lane today. It was clear who had been in the neighborhood longer and thus who had the right-of-way.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

ArtRageous Fridays II

This is the second of the series of posters I designed for Columbia's quarterly artcrawl. The first poster appears here.

Friday, April 11, 2008


horse dreams, originally uploaded by wizmo.

A few years ago I stumbled upon a poem that stopped me in my tracks. I found it online in the Missouri Review archive, though I cannot now remember how I ended up there. Tomorrow Jude Nutter will read here as the poetry winner of the MR's Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize. And here is the poem that made me a fan:


Still, the horses are beautiful and their grace keeps me occupied.
—Linda Hogan

We pass them being wheedled
and cajoled around small corrals, a confetti
of spit across each wide breast and the sweat
between their legs worried up into foam.
Their hooves flash in the dirt like polished bells.
We pass them as they sleep, standing up,
among the dandelions and tasseled grasses
gone to seed. They enter our lives
like fragments of Eden: the place that's always been
our most difficult, elaborate dream; and once seen—
even from a freeway when you're doing sixty,
aware of your own peril—it's an effort of will
to take your eyes from a horse
in a field. Grace is like that. No other animal

occupies its skin so precisely, or walks forward
so carefully, as if pushing through great hauls
of dark water, chest deep in a stiff current.
I don't believe we are meant to think about death,

even on those evenings
when a thin mist rides on the fields and their hooves
waver beneath them like votive flames. A horse

becomes its own myth and religion: out from the dark
machinery of its body something better,
and more beautiful, is always about to begin;
and if you ever need proof that it's good
to have a physical body, touching
a horse in this life is the closest you will get to it.
To catch grace off guard: a lone horse
dozing in a field with the long reach of its neck
presented to the world, its thick
bottom lip fallen away from the fence of its teeth
and there, beguiling as god's empty pocket,
pale skin of the inner mouth. Before you die look
into the eyes of a horse at least once
and discover how each is an immense, empty room
lit by a single candle. The emptiness of waiting.
Because if the gods ever come down to walk among us,
this is where they'll live. And so when a horse,
seeing nothing about us it can recognize, lowers
its soft, deep mouth to the grass, and when that grass,
appearing wet in the sunlight, rises to greet it,
as if the lips of the dead were puckered skyward
for its kiss, it should be no surprise. How can we not
love an animal that spends so much of its life
with its mouth so close to the dirt. That they take,
with such tenderness, the mints
and the carrots we offer—as if the world

were ours to give—is the miracle; that they let us
slip on the sky-blue halter and lead them
through the cool of the evening.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

When it rains

This morning brought yet another wet, cold, not-spring-yet day in Columbia. After my jazzercise class I met Wayne at the coffee shop where he jumped in the car out of the rain and presented me with an exquisite white rose. What a way to perk up a day. Later I found a small gift wrapped on my desk...a tin of bird stamps by Cavelli. I think he's gotten me every bird item they make (and that is not a few) but this item had just come out, at least where we are. So tonight I couldn't resist trying out a few stamps and ended up making a new batch of cards.