Posts Tagged ‘DCS’

Rainy Day Joys (Right Side)

Friday, September 16th, 2011


Rainy Day Joys (Left Side)

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

What a pleasure to have a mostly-rainy week whose only rhythms are three daily meals and walking the dog. (And many hands make light work.) Early walks, followed by a little recorder, or sketching, or a game of cards, or curling up with a book. With a pot of split pea soup simmering on the stove.




Mothers Day

Sunday, May 8th, 2011


Ahhh…the lilting voices of her children thumb-wrestling bring a tear to a mother’s eye. Happy Mothers Day.

Fatty Tuesday

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011


For another Mardi Gras illustration, please see Two-Part Tuesday.


Sense Of Something Coming

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011


Here is a sketch, from a few years ago, of my son at leisure. He is now leading a busy life teaching, writing, and painting, and is gifted for all three, yet restlessly wondering what lies around the next corner. For his birthday today I post this poem. Happy Birthday, dear Devin, and take heart.

I am like a flag in the center of open space.
I sense ahead the wind which is coming, and must live
it through.
while the things of the world still do not move:
the doors still close softly, and the chimneys are full
of silence,
the windows do not rattle yet, and the dust still lies down.

I already know the storm, and I am troubled as the sea.
I leap out, and fall back,
and throw myself out, and am absolutely alone
in the great storm.

—Rainer Maria Rilke


Season of Waiting

Saturday, December 18th, 2010


Many happy cookies, and the flowers on a queen

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010


Today is the birthday of writer Shirley Jackson (1916-1965), born in San Francisco, California, but transplanted to the East Coast where she attended university and eventually settled with her husband in Vermont, raising a large family but all the while continuing, somehow, between PTA meetings and making hamburger casseroles, to write.

Many readers have probably been introduced to Jackson through her short story, “The Lottery,” once a classic of the high school English syllabus, which when it was published in the New Yorker in 1948 evoked overwhelming response exceeding that of any previously published New Yorker story.

Jackson came to my attention, however, through the books my parents owned: her collections of dark, evocative, seemingly plotless short stories that are typical to this day of New Yorker fiction (probably a contemporary literary parallel of Abstract Expressionism that nevertheless persists into the 21st century); and her similarly eerie, compelling novels. As a child, I was fascinated yet rather baffled by Jackson’s fiction.

What I really liked, however, were her memoirs of her children, Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons, which I read and re-read, the pages yellowing and held together with Scotch tape. Her unsentimental, low-key, definitely politically incorrect descriptions of ordinary daily life with her four bright, imaginative children, her hovering-on-the-fringes professor husband, and their cats and dogs, in their book-stuffed rural Vermont farmhouse, made me laugh again and again. When I grew up I read the books to my husband and offspring, and now they read them to one another. Into our common family vocabulary have effortlessly crept quotes from the various children (see title above).

This winter, when you and your family are all abed with the flu, read aloud the chapter, “The Night We All Had Grippe.” Laughter is healing. Happy birthday, Shirley Jackson, many happy cookies, and thank you ever so for the years of healing episodes.


Monday, November 15th, 2010


I don’t know what life in Japan is like for grown-ups, but for little children it looks pretty idyllic. Once young Japanese reach The Age of Reason, expectations for academic achievement and responsible, community-oriented behavior are quite high. But until then, Japanese (and other) children are cherished, admired, and doted-upon. Storekeepers, gas station attendants, and truck drivers keep handy stashes of sweets and tiny toys should some little one toddle by. Children are dressed in impossibly adorable clothes. Mothers are experts at the “distract and re-direct” method of discipline rather than giving the outright NO. It’s a world of bliss. When we visited our son during his stint of teaching in Japan, our daughter, then age eight, was so relentlessly and universally coddled that it’s a wonder she was willing to return home with her mean old parents.

Today is the Japanese autumn festival of Shichi-Go-San, which translates as “Seven-Five-Three.” It is a rite of passage for children. On this day (or the nearest weekend), girls age seven, boys age five, and boys and girls age three dress in traditional garb, perhaps for the first time (although this is unfortunately giving way to Western clothing) and visit Shinto shrines with their families to pray for good health and long life. Afterward the children are given “thousand-year-candy” packed in wrappers decorated with turtles and cranes, both symbols of longevity.

We weren’t visiting during Shichi-Go-San (although when I was seven and living in Japan I did attend the festival, appropriately attired in kimono and obi, but that’s another story). So I post this sketch of a little girl from one of my son’s classes, with the typical seven-year-old gap-tooth smile, playing one of their English-language games.

Leave it to Beaver

Thursday, October 28th, 2010




Castle by the lake

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Using stones, sticks, leaves, acorn caps, and lakeside clay, my children are constructing an elaborate castle, complete with throne room, furniture and dishes, tiny paved patio, and bathroom fixtures. Who needs Lego?