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July 2005 Archives

July 1, 2005

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Wonders

rain drops on a leaf Up on my deck, next to the Bachelor Buttons newly destroyed by my maddening neighborhood squirrel, is this Lady's Mantle plant. The beautiful beaded arrangement of water droplets is pretty amazing, no? What at first looked random, with a closer look seems to be based on the ribs of the leaf, but how did there get to be so many different sizes? Why are the big drops out toward the edge? In another minute will they just start running down into the center of the leaf? Nope I've gone back up and looked several times in the past hour and they're still there in exactly the same positions. That makes me wonder, assuming they formed from the rain we had overnight, how the heck they have lasted through this boiling 90-degree day until now, mid-afternoon? It turns out Lady's Mantle is particularly good at this droplet thing, which can potentially be explained by chemistry. Given my limited and hazy Chem 101 background however, I'm left to simply admire the beauty and respond to the wonder of nature, even up here on my little urban deck.

July 8, 2005

Unexpected 'Session'

After a wonderful 4th of July weekend in Vermont, we took the back roads home, starting up over Bethel Gap and continuing all the way across New Hampshire to Concord. The best looking supper spot on Main Street turned out to be a pub (no surprise there). We were seated in a booth across from a guy in the middle of the room playing an instrument that looked like a bagpipe, but smaller and softer sounding. As we ate, the empty chairs around him began to fill with other musicians, identified by their uniquely shaped carrying bags, and immediately welcomed by the waitress with pints of beer. Turns out every Tuesday is 'session' night with anywhere from eight to twice that many musicians. There were lots of fiddles and a couple of guitars, and I was doing well at guessing what instrument would come out of which bag, until a woman rolled in a huge bag as tall as she was. My guess was a bass fiddle but I saw I was wrong when she pulled out a harp and began plucking the strings to add an unusual layer to the current song. There was a terrific penny whistle player (why didn't I buy that penny whistle when I was in Ireland?), but I was most fascinated by the woman drummer. Somehow I hadn't noticed any drums in the few other Irish sessions I've seen, but research reveals it to be a bodhran drum, and a common accompaniment. It's held in one hand and played with the other using a double-headed drumstick and a sort of flicking of the wrist. Instead of the penny whistle, count me in on the drum for future sessions.

July 22, 2005


Yesterday on my walk, I came across this boat, docked along Rowe's Wharf. Many were admiring her; mostly men, walking the length of the boat and looking in at the steering and seating in the way one might look at a classic car, which was apparently a correct assessment. My admiration was different. The boat's length made me think of a stretch limo, with the driver/chauffeur up in the front and a long deck separating the passengers privately in the stern seats. And what was that lovely basket of bread and wine doing sitting there on the deck? All together, it suggested luxurious possibilities for wearing a flowered dress and floppy-brimmed hat, for an exuberant escape and most certainly, for great and true romance. The boat's name assured me my assessment was also correct. C'est la vie, mon cheri.

classic bow stern seats a beauty of a boat

July 28, 2005

The Finality of Words

You've heard it said before, that someone 'missed the boat'. They just didn't seem to get it, whatever it was, or they didn't go along with the rest of the group's thinking and decisions. It was kind of no big deal, too bad for them, somehow they just missed the boat. That sort of careless usage was how I understood the phrase too, until our Larkspur years when Peter took the ferry into San Francisco every day. On most days we arrived just before, or as the last call for the ferry was announced. But there were a few days when we turned the corner into the ferry lot, sped around the ring road as fast as possible, and saw the ferry pulling out. Sometimes it was only a foot from the dock, almost close enough to jump, but the outcome had an absolute finality to it. We had truly missed the boat.

A somewhat similar, casually used phrase is 'down the drain'. Oops, there it goes; it was a wasted effort, as in the teacher got sick and cancelled the exam, and all my extra studying went down the drain. But again, that is not the usage I now associate with the phrase. Indeed, Mr. Rogers had it right. You can never go down the drain, even if you want to. And why would you want to? Because, in a flash, the only set of keys to your rental car fell from your hand, slid through the grate, and went right down the drain. Again the phrase contains an absolute, and this time even horrifying, finality. Luck was involved however. The drain was dry and the keys stopped in the catch basin several feet below street level, nearly hidden by the muck and leaves. Neighbors suggested calling Boston Water and Sewer, who sent a truck within the hour. Two guys worked as a team to hoist the grate, pull out the keys, and joke about a rat almost biting their hands while doing it. And that is why you would not really want to go down the drain.

About July 2005

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