Life In Progress

I will not confuse my career with my life.


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A Thousand Thanks

Snow Auger has a saucy attitude about his  commanding post on the back deck. We'll see what the coming rain does to his cheeky angle!

Snow Auger has a saucy attitude about his commanding post on the back deck. We’ll see what the coming rain does to his cheeky angle!

Although the New England dig out is ongoing, the 2013 Blizzard is history. Onward and upward, right? Not so fast… it started snowing lightly here in South Windham, Maine a couple of hours ago, but this is supposed to turn to rain, rendering our stately 35″ of fluffy powder into a cement-like sludge.

Yesterday, after shoveling, I rewarded myself with some snow play. I got out our new, squeaky-clean garden trug and used it to mix water into light, puffy snow so that I could slap this Snow Auger onto the deck pedestal. I still long for a nicely behaved storm with proper snowman snow — heavier stuff than we’ve gotten these past couple of storms. Yes, the risk of power outage rises with heavy snow; hence my humble request for a nicely behaved storm… too much to ask? My need to sculpt snow creatures is not yet filled!

When I heard the weather report this morning, I envisioned a big drift of snow just outside the second floor bathroom window. Old house rooftops with snow drifts are begging for ice dams and structural compromises so I got the roof rake out at 8 a.m. and scraped what I could from a shed roof we’d neglected to shovel yesterday.

Afterward, I allowed myself to sit outside for a few minutes and gaze at my Snow Auger while sipping a mug of steaming tea. A thousand thanks and multitudes of gratitude for the people who keep us safe during winter storms: law enforcement, fire fighters, all those who plow our roads, respond to our emergencies and the brave medical personnel who drive in dangerous conditions to work in our hospitals. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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I Wonder

Her name was Maggie. (I think.) She was a shirttail cousin or was married to a shirttail cousin of my grandmother, who was born in 1901 and who has been gone from this world for over 35 years. This woman appears in a handful of old photos from when my grandparents were young—before they had kids and had to buckle down.

I wonder what compelled this woman to mug for my granddad’s camera, behind the wheel of this car while wearing a full-pelt fox stole around her neck, with her little dog gamely playing right along. And what was the name of that little dog in the backseat? Did Maggie ever get to see this photo and have a good laugh about it? I hope she did. I can see her in my mind’s eye, throwing her head back and belting out a belly laugh. Ha, ha, ha-ha-ha!

I wish there was some way to tell Maggie she made my day when I came across her photo in the trunk. I wish I could pick up the phone and ask my granddad about this photo. If I could, I wonder if he would even remember having taken it.

On this clear, moonless evening, I find myself wondering about things for which I will never have answers.


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The Fuzz

Encouraged by the fact that I did not get stung when I photographed the hornet, I had the courage to get up close to this spider living in the saucer of a potted rosemary plant on my porch. Brilliantly aware of my fascination, she constantly keeps her face toward me, watching me as I watch her moving about her abode.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll set up the tripod and see if I can get some full body shots as she scuttles about in the saucer. She seems most active when the sun is not directly warming the terra cotta. I resist the shivery thought that crossed my mind just now: going out at night to watch her work. Brrrr.

Although her mandibles appear extremely formidable, especially with the enticing areas of flashing shimmery green iridescence, her eyes are not nearly as calculating as they appear here. That said, I will definitely remember to check around for her the next time the rosemary needs to be moved from that table…


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More disturbing snow people

As I watched my strange snow creations in the backyard sublimate over the past few days, I realized I had to let them go. Yes, the snow seems like good packing snow again but do I really want to venture out into wild turkey country and plump up the snow bosoms? (The turkey shit that is uncovered as the deep snow melts is unspeakable.) Not so much.

To mourn the irreparable changes in the goddess and her consort, I started looking at photos of other snow families I have created. Last year, all I made were small families. The above photo is a disturbing rendition with a filtered face I snagged from a daguerrotype. These snow peeps look spooky, grumpy and cranky… me, me and me. (I was listening to Norah Jones while I made this composite, ha!) This year, I’ve made several actual snow families of various sizes. Some of them had cool icicles spiking straight up out of their heads.  Some had bottle cap hats and the snow was so dry I had to use spit to anchor their heads onto their torsos. And finally, just like all snow creatures, they either melted or just slowly disintegrated into debris.

Tomorrow I’ll digitally document the decline of the busty snow goddess and her bald partner. Snow is forecast for Monday: there will be a bit more winter to enjoy. Who knows? If the snow packs, this could be a case for reincarnation.

Discarded snow person limbs litter the bench. Check out the drooping orange "carrot" toothpick that once served as a nose...

Icy Spire Choir.

These three were stumbling into the side of the house in the throes of their altercation. Can spring be far with action like this going on?