Friday, May 31, 2013

Bird woes - My first sale on Craigslist - Mark Greenwold revisited

These bird houses I bot are cheaply made. Imagine my shock a few days ago when I saw the bottom falling off this bird house..... and the nest poking thru.

Each day the nest fell a little bit further.

I was horrified, in deep angst.

"Help! Scott!" The birds were crying.

He came over and patched up the house with good ole duct tape.

Duct tape was the murder weapon in the latest book I read

a wonderful first novel by Peggy Hesketh. She's interviewed here in the LA Times.

In my latest short story, "The Unexpected Visitor," I quoted something from the book. My goal was to finish it today for our Writers' Group the morrow, and I did.

I was totally not in the mood. It was so damn hot. But I went upstairs, turned on some great music - YouTube finally published The Bad Plus doing The Rite of Spring. The band was commissioned by Duke University.

It's a wonderful rendition.

When I put it on Facebook, Chris O'Riley, the host of From the Top, said he liked it. He had a 5-hour layover in Houston, where he'd performed piano works transcribed by Liszt, including a Chopin Sonata.

Sears Craftsman Mower - Gas-powered - $25

So read my ad on Craigslist.

I was so proud of putting the ad on there, since I was all sweaty and lethargic from the heat.

That's what A/C is for, Ruthie!

I know. I know. But I can't stand the insular feeling. It IS set.... to 83 degrees, which is actually cool enuf for me cuz I'm sitting near whirring fan.

So, I'm upstairs on the desktop, trudging along with my story - remember I have no idea what's gonna happen - it's an armed robbery at a hair salon - when I do my usual procrastinary maneuver of checking my emails.

Lo and behind, someone has answered my ad!

Rich from Ft Washington. We correspond and he says he'll be over at 6 pm.

He is. I lead him to the shed with the filthy cobweb-covered mower. He pulls it out and I quickly brush it off with a rag.

He tells me, Don't worry. I'll take c/o it.

Then he drags out the beautiful gas-powered edger and wheels both of em to his pick-up truck from work.

Meantime I tuck the $25 into the waistband of my pocketless short shorts.

Rich is not the only one who wants it.

"Sorry, Chris, the guy just came and paid for it."

Another man also wanted it. He wanted me to 'text' him with a photo.

He don't know me. Not only do I not text, but for $25 I show no photos. Ya gotta trust me.

After reading this post, I realize there must be a way to delete the sale.

I actually figger it out and have deleted it.

Thank you, she bows modestly.

For $200, I'm selling an exhibition book - in Spanish, yet - from the noted artist Chuck Close who painted this huge portrait of my cousin Mark Greenwold, when Mark was young and hirsute

As part of the $200, I'm also selling an exhibition catalog from a show by Mark, when he was represented by DC Moore Gallery in mid-town Manhattan.

Click here for Mark's 'long-awaited show' at Sperone Westwater in the Bowery

Oops! Pardon me.

Here's a review which you and me can read in unison.

Mark Greenwold and Chuck Close.  Photo: Robin Siegel (c) 2013

Here's Mark Greenwold and Chuck Close from the gallery collection. May 2013. Mark is three years older than me, so he's 70. He met Chuck Close when he and his first wife, Barbara Harshman, lived in Seattle.

Good bio of Chuck.

He paints family members and people he knows. I once asked him to paint me, which he did. Fully clothed. He also made a wonderful painting of a Jewish family which hung over my couch for many years when my kids and I lived in the apartments.

One day, when I got manic, I threw it away.

I had my reasons. Even tho you're manic, there's always a grain of truth.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Morris Arboretum on a hot spring day

A riot of greenery.
Bridge to: take your pick: Terebithia (great children's novel) - over troubled water - or at Morris Arboretum over green plants and shrubs.

All is green now after the long winter. Dyou think our eyes crave green? Mine do.
Ginny is a tree feeler. She said that the bark changes as the tree gets older. Hold on, lemme check my bark at age 67. Definitely different than

Nicole Demingthe bark on my grandson Max. Just did a doubletake when I wrote the word grandson. Really?  How'd I get this old this fast?

Help! A giant spider.

It's so important to teach kids the importance of insects in our ecosystem. We all need each other.

How bout this huge robin's nest?

There were several trees which grew up from the ground and were surrounded by decks or in this case netting where children ran round.
Larry Kirschner mentioned he always wanted a tree coming out of his deck. He also mentioned the importance of rich people to endow places like Morris Arboretum, the 92-acre estate of brother and sister John and Lydia Morris.

They bought the estate in the 1800s. John was interested in growing plants from around the world including China. His friend E. H. Wilson brot plantings from China, most of which remain today.
Hmm. Wonder where this stairway leads. I just love the groundcover on the right. Stairways are so dramatic. Look! There's Scarlet O'Hara being nasty to Rhett Butler.
The smoke bush is one of Ginny's favorite plants. There were several of them which Ginny, Larry and I explored.
Here's Larry telling one of his great stories. As a filmmaker, he knew fellow filmmaker Larry Stromberg before he stabbed his wife and mother/law to death in 1996. He now communicates with him by letter from the newest prison in the state of PA. A movie is being made about Stromberg's life. He got life imprisonment with no parole. But, said Larry, there's a new dev'mt in the case, which may call for a new trial.

Columbine. Mine didn't come up this year. I bought it at a now-defunct nursery where the manager was drinking a Rum Coke. B/c he felt comfortable with me, he started snorting cocaine. I took my columbine and got the hell outa there.

 Beardless iris. The sign tells us what creatures pollinate this part of the garden.
 Huge ferns. Someone said they planted the very same variety and they overran the garden. So did my smaller ferns. So beautiful! Feathery and light. When we walk the gardens, we must touch many of the plants we see.
 One of many fountains at the arboretum, which - from Wiki - Egyptian Pharaohs planted exotic trees and cared for them; they brought ebony wood from the Sudan, pine and cedar from Syria. Hatshepsut's expedition to Punt returned bearing thirty-one live frankincense trees, the roots of which were carefully kept in baskets for the duration of the voyage
Tree stumps host succulent insects, as well as providing a perch for birds and weary travelers.
The famous trains at the Arboretum.
This is a famous bldg from Philadelphia. I couldn't recognize it, can you?
But I didn't forget the name of these tiny blue flowers - forget-me-nots.
Every time the train would drive by, I'd snap it.
Japanese dogwood, the last of the flowering dogwoods. Ginny and I both watch the Japanese news- NHK World News - which gives a different perspective.

Here on Cowbell Road everything is so calm and peaceful. But when you watch the world news, terrible things are happening around the world. 
Engler Beech Tree. After I finish bloggin, I'll read what's so special about this.
Pond with swan and Roman ruins.

Oh no! Ginny help! What's the name of this tree?
This one was hollowed out and oh-so-beautiful, like a sculpture.
Hello Ginny!

Ginny looks a little like my grandson up close.
Such colors!
Boy Scout Master Rich Fleisher, who never was.
Greg and Carole Hodges. Tiffany got a FT job in the fashion industry - hurray! - and Kimberly is completing her app to be a teacher, like her mom, for Teach for America, a highly competitive position.
Hot and tired, we sat inside a tent on the grounds for lunch.
Rich told us that Michael Jordon had just gotten married in a tent in FL.
Look! You can't tell the difference between my garden and Morris! Thermometer reads about 86 now.
Gerri ordered a Coca Cola in a slender bottle, which I brought home to put flowers in. I also brot home my hot decaf which I turned into iced decaf.

Had a delicious salad Nicoise for lunch and ya know what? It's time for a healthy snack. The usual. Whole Wheat Pretzels and peanuts.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Harriet Tubman pays visit to the Upper Moreland Historical Asso at the Upper Moreland Library

With tears in her eyes and often upon her cheek, a very convincing Millicent Sparks portrayed Harriet Tubman, the most famous "conductor" on The Underground Railroad.

The photo below of Sparks is from here. Impossible to copy it from the website, so I took a photo of it on my laptop.

She entered the room singing. And throughout her hour-long performance, songs of the day peppered her life-like speaking. It was almost impossible to believe that this bundled-up woman, in warm sweater and long skirt, with a satchel that carried her belongings, was not the real Harriet Tubman.

Millicent Sparks as Harriet Tubman, whose birth dates are estimated to be 1820 to 1913. After she found freedom in Philadelphia and then Canada, she ran at least 19 missions to rescue more than 300 slaves in 10 years.

She was helped by many groups including the Quakers and a network of antislavery activists and abolitionists, including the white John Brown of Harpers Ferry fame.

Speaking about Brown, Tubman walked down the aisle singing, "John Brown's body lies a'moldering in the grave." His revolt gave great hope to the slaves that one day they would be free.

Will the real Harriet Tubman please stand up?

Deeply religious, she said The Lord never blessed me with children.

She was raised on a farm in Dorchester County, MD, where she did not escape cruelty, even as a young child. When she was about six, the master's wife told her to hold out her arms and in them she put a baby who was so heavy, she had to sit on the floor to hold him.

Her job was to put him to bed and rock him in the cradle.

So, what dyou think a little child does at night when she's sposed to be rocking the cradle?

That right, said Tubman. I falls asleep.

A painful whipping ensued.

The worst injury she ever suffered was when her master asked her to go to the store to buy a few items.

There was a commotion in the store. A slavemaster had chased one of his slaves who was trying to escape. He asked Tubman, who, in those days, was called Araminta or "Minty" to stop him as he ran out the door.

She refused and the master flung a two-pound weight at her head, causing a deep bleeding gash in the back of her head. Tubman told the audience if she hadn't been wearing a thick scarf over her huge puffed-out hairdo, "I would be dead."

After that, she began to have visions and an unfailing belief the Lord was on her side. She made many miraculous escapes when she was being chased by people who would be handsomely rewarded for capturing her - $40,000!

One time she was riding a train when the bounty hunter boarded the train. She was known to be illiterate so she held up a newspaper in front of her face.

Upside down.

She married a free man while they both worked on the plantation.

Why did they marry?

"You need love," she said. "I loved and trusted the Lord, but I wanted a man to love me."

Her husband was a free black man named John Tubman. After the marriage she changed her name to Harriet Tubman. Her mother's name was Harriet. When her husband refused to escape with her, Tubman went by herself, she said to a packed room w/ no empty seats, and three children in the audience.

 With deep pride, she told us "I never lost a passenger." On one of her last trips down, she brought the most difficult passengers: her two elderly parents who indeed made it to freedom.

Free slaves served their country in the Union Army.

During the Civil War, she acted as a nurse and a cook. And a spy. Many freed slaves, she said proudly, fought on the Union side.

Don't you have any questions for me? she asked. Or do you think you knows everything?

Hands went up.

She admired people who asked questions. That's how you learn, she said, and education is the new underground railroad. You got to get educated.

What's your name? she asked a boy in the last row.

Donovan, he said.

And what school dyou go to?

I'm home-schooled, he said.

Tubman thanked his mother for introducing him to the importance of education.

She also mentioned that there were no 'brothers or sisters' in the audience, though a hefty bro came in late with his camera. Standing next to him is Joe Thomas, who is so hard of hearing I can't imagine he heard a darn thing.

I didn't take notes but relied on Wiki and a bit of my own memory. I sure hope Millicent knows how much we enjoyed her talk.

Take a look at this great photo of her here. I wanted to thank her on FB, but they didn't have FB in the previous century.

She ended up her long life in Auburn, NY in an old-age home she founded for African-Americans.