Anne Notations

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cute chick

Caroline in her Halloween costume, October 31, 2007.

Hen meets parrot: "Buc buc!" "Squawwwwk!"

Why did the chicken walk down the road?

To go chick-or-treating! Happy Halloween to all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The forecasters have warned us that unseasonably warm and dry weather this fall will mute the annual foliage display.

Nevertheless, this morning I found plenty to savor as we walked along the bike path near our house. There's nothing like wild sumac to blaze the weedy spots with autumn color. Clickie on the piccies.

Psalm 139, I need you

If I fly with the wings of dawn and alight beyond the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand hold me fast.

I have been in a pensive, solitary mood; worried about money and all sorts of things. Words haven't come easily; my camera is my eyes and the photographs, my voice.

Stay tuned for the inevitable rebound. My mood is like New England weather: if you don't like it, wait a minute.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Follow the setting sun...

Hey, everyone: So that I don't subject my faithful readers to endless photographs of sunsets from now on, I have started a second blog just for pretty-sky pictures. Please check it out!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

She is the Queen

Peter and I went to Foxwoods Casino tonight (well, last night actually) to see Queen Latifah performing her sassy, jazzy versions of old and new standards. She is a gorgeous, sexy, vital presence on stage, and her alto voice can purr, rap, and shout with equally rousing effect. To me, Queen Latifah (or Dana Owens, as she was born) is the epitome of old-style all-around stardom. I was absolutely thrilled to see her live tonight with a crack back-up band and singers. Her charisma and natural ease had the audience with her from the first note.

If you haven't listened to her previous CD, "The Dana Owens Album," give yourself the pleasure.

The camera phone couldn't cope with all the backlighting from this marquee poster, thus the funky exposure; but that is me posing with the QUEEN.

Friday, October 12, 2007

After the big storm

Greenwich Bay, Friday, 7 a.m.

Y'all will have to bear with me; I can't seem to stop reaching for my camera here by the bay. There's a new show every morning and evening - one I've been waiting for these past twenty years.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Columbus Day

This is what an Am Civ major wears on Columbus Day.

"As a national holiday, Columbus Day has virtually nothing to do with honoring Italian heritage or culture, and it is not about celebrating mutually held values of decency, respect or justice. Columbus Day celebrates ... invasion and domination, especially of indigenous peoples' territories. ...
"Luther Standing Bear wrote in 1933 that 'The man from Europe is still a foreigner and an alien. And he still hates the man who questioned his path across the continent.' The United States has created Columbus Day to rationalize its historical crimes against indigenous peoples."
-- Glenn T. Morris, Shawnee, professor of political science, University of Colorado at Denver

"I think what is going on here is an intolerant, militant left-wing group is attempting to deny Italian-Americans their right to march under a banner of their hero. ...It is anti-European and anti-Western civilization. We have a right to our heroes, and they to theirs."
--Pat Buchanan, former Reform Party presidential candidate

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I Been Slammed

Here is my Next Big Thing in blues music: Back Door Slam. These three kids -- ages 19 and 20 -- come from the little Isle of Man in the U.K. and play blues and rock like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. With some Hendrix thrown in. No lie.

The drummer and bass player are fine, but it's the guy in the middle, Davy Knowles, who will set your world afire if you're into electric blues guitar. He has an amazingly mature blues voice to match. Watch his near flawless performance of "Ain't No City" in Ireland and the band's cover of Hendrix's monster blues classic "Red House" in a bar in Austin, where they wowed folks at SouthXSouthwest.

There is a Back Door Slam CD, and I have it, and it's OK. But clearly this is a band you've gotta hear in person, judging by the energy in those YouTube videos. I'll be watching for my chance.

Many thanks to Tony and our mutual friend LM for introducing me to this exciting young band.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Some years back when Christmas displays began appearing in stores before Thanksgiving, I was mildly perturbed, but not surprised.

Now the marketing of our grotesque annual shopping binge begins not too long after Labor Day.

This cell-phone photo taken two days ago at the local CVS epitomizes the crazy fall retail mash-up. The earliest of the holidays is still nearly a month away.

From left: a rack of Halloween costumes, a two-sided display of Hallmark Christmas and Hanukkah cards, and several shelves of Thanksgiving decorations.

Excuse me. I'm looking for some Valentine's Day cards. Which aisle are they located on?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A porch with a view (redux)

Sunset, Warwick, Rhode Island, October 1, 2007

Now that's what I'm talkin' about.

Earlier the same evening, said porch hosted a comely green visitor, possibly on the lookout for a suitor. She has since relocated to our hydrangea bush, the better to wait discreetly amid the foliage.

Nous sommes tous Americains

One of the hardest challenges of my humanity and my faith is the instruction to accept "the least of these" as my equal, as my brother or sister. I'm talking about people I find repellent physically, morally, intellectually, or any other way. Acknowledging that I and mine are intrinsically no better than these "others" is something I work on daily and pray for often.

We recently moved from an Ivy college town to a blue-collar, honky-tonk beach community. I love it here. I went to Mass in the little local church for the first time this Sunday and was floored by people's simple appreciation of one another. Their earnest love for their community in all its manifestations - for the young woman with Down syndrome who skipped up and down the center aisle bubbling with joy, for the dreadlocked altar server ringing the communion bells with gusto, for the homely but passionate homily offered by a burly deacon - suffused me with warmth. No one was dressed out of the Talbots catalog, and no one cared one whit.

Socioeconomically, the population of our new neighborhood is all over the place, from one-parent families in Chapter 8 low-income housing to truck drivers (one keeps her huge blue rig at the end of our street) to white-collar types like us who love the waterfront and the low-key atmosphere. Talk about your slice of American life. Our neighbor down the street, a single mom who lives with her custodian boyfriend, is between jobs at the moment, uses vernacular constructions ("she don't got no..." etc.), smokes like a chimney, and wants to drive race cars. Her irregular grammar fails to mask her innate intelligence. I enjoy our front-porch talks.

When you step outside the rarefied environs of the wealthy and the highly educated, you get a bracing, quintessentially American lesson in difference and equality. If you're lucky, you begin not only to tolerate but to appreciate your neighbors - your proximate brothers and sisters - as individuals with values you might not personally embrace, but at least can comprehend and maybe even respect.

This post inspired by Ian's blog this morning.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Littering the blogosphere

Often I want to write here but fear I have nothing substantive to say. Cute grandbaby photos are popular with friends, but I didn't set out to create an online photo album. I'm a writer, dammit. Shouldn't I have more words in me?

Curiously, I'm seldom at a loss when it comes to leaving comments on other people's blogs. I love jumping in with my perspective on an interesting event or idea advanced by someone else. Today, for example, I very much enjoyed Rabbi Neil Fleischmann's meditation on the things we leave unsaid. He inspired me to leave this comment:

To me, what we leave unsaid is the essence of loneliness. What we cannot share isolates us in the universe, a human circumstance that is frightening and humbling. The idea of G-d helps to assuage the awful chilling isolation. If we have Him, our thoughts, our inner self, are shared by default. Maybe that too is a slightly scary thought! ;-)

The Anne-Critic that lives in my brain asks, "So, why aren't you coming up with good stuff like Neil? and Ian? and Mary? and Helen Jane? (I'll stop there; the list goes on.) Why are you only the smart-aleck who fires off zingy ripostes, not the original thinker?

If I can throttle the critic-at-large long enough, I may be able to appreciate my talent as a reactor. After I encounter a provocative idea, I turn it over in my mind and see what shakes loose. Then I post my reaction. In person, this would further a conversation and perhaps send it in unanticipated directions. Not so much online, although some of my favorite bloggers do respond to comments.

You may never read any Great Thoughts here. (Laughing at the very idea!) But the Web has snared hundreds of comments I've tossed into cyberspace. When someone's words touch me, I reach back and affirm the connection.