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This blog blossomed and flourished and now it is time to move on to other things. You can still find me on Facebook and Twitter, and other places, too.

Stay in touch. Enjoy life. Me and the the rug are doing fine. I hope the same for you.


more Andrew Wyeth

Picture 7

…this time in the marsh grass of Southern Maine

birthday purge

Its my daughter’s ninth birthday today, and she received one huge and expensive present from me. It is a playmobile set with over 200 small plastic parts. Before opening the box, Rada and I decided that this time we’d keep the set sequestered in a corner of her room, so that the parts wouldn’t end up all over the apartment, like the rest of her playmobile sets.

Once we agreed on this strategy, it became immediately apparent that there was no place in her room suitable for something like this, being as it was packed with plastic bits and a stuffed animal population that had exploded exponentially. So we realized we’d have to do some serious cleaning up… and we set right to it. There’s nothing like an unopened playmobile set to motivate a nine-year old person to tidy up.

The girl and I filled two bags with her junk, which I swiftly brought out to the trash, lest there be any second thoughts. Then we swept and mopped the uncovered area, which had not seen the light of day since the extravagant gift-giving binge of Christmas  2008.

And then she happily set up her playmobile set in the corner, with room to spare.

Animal Rights Activist

Rada spends hours directing her stuffed animals through tense dramas. She covers issues such as power, war, bullying, pushing to the front of the line, and — with her carnivores — who gets to eat whom.

At one time I saw these play sessions as opportunities to teach morals and good citizenship, but I’ve long given up trying to impose any ethical direction. The scenarios are much more complex than most foreign political situations and often there is no moral compass: it boils down to who ever is biggest and strongest gets to stomp on the other one. That’s life in the forest.

But there is one trend in her play sessions that I find objectionable. It concerns Mumble the stuffed penguin. Mumble always seems to get assigned the part of the scapegoat. He is the one who gets punished, yelled at, and sent to the back of the line. He isn’t particularly strong or powerful, but he’s always the one who gets caught doing something wrong. No one seems to like Mumble and he has no friends.

Of course, I am assigned the job of playing Mumble. Recently I have started to refuse any scripts that put him in the position of ‘bad penguin’. This frustrates my daughter, but I am holding my ground. Mumble has every right to play the star and shine sometimes.

It irks me how much she wants to use a scapegoat. I wonder if its hard-wired into human nature. Even so, its still worth fighting against.

and another still life


She attached the animals together with an elastic band and then they go off riding across the savanah.

Channeling Andrew Wyeth


runaway plane

Poul & I flew in to Bar Harbor this afternoon. He taxied his small excellent plane to the parking area for private aircraft. We both got out and took a look around. There was a beautiful misty salty air and a slight breeze coming in from the sea.

But before he’d had a chance to tie it down, the plane started rolling backwards. Poul peered over at me on the other side and said, “Stop it with your leg until I get a chance to tie down the wings.”

So I did. I stuck out my leg and stopped it from rolling backwards.

Cows in a bad mood

I’ve been staying with my sister in rural upstate New York.

This morning, I was riding my bike past a field of grazing cows. One of them must have gotten spooked by the bike, because suddenly as a group they began lumbering disgruntledly away from me, further up the meadow. It was a halfhearted stampede: they seemed more annoyed than scared.

When they got about 50 yards away, they turned, as one, and looked down at me with aloof frowns. I continued biking along the road and yelled up at them, “I’m big and I’m bad!”

Unimpressed, they began grazing again.

Sports update

After an injury last fall which cut short her season, the Somerville Swing is back on the field this summer with a new set of moves…

click here to play

Notice the left hook for initial propulsion, followed by the single arm finish. ‘Swing’ is really at the top of her game.

Rare footage from last year shows the beginnings of an approach which now, in the player’s second season, comes to full fruition.


During the winter, Rada and I play alot of chess, not so much so this time of year. But given the unrelenting rain, she pulled out the set last weekend and we set up the pieces.

She’s not a very good loser so I usually let her win the first few games. My strategy is to play the game in earnest until I’m just about to checkmate her, and then stop trying and let her ‘catch up’ and eventually win.

This time she started out as usual, chatty and silly, making the kings and bishops have little conversations. But a few moves later, interestingly, she got me into check. I quickly recovered, and returned to planning my strategy to ‘almost’ checkmate her,¬† only to have her put me into check again. I recovered once more, but a few moves later she put me into check a third time and I realized with a pang that I was cornered. She’d checkmated me.

I was flabbergasted and annoyed. What a little twerp: who did she think she was, beating me at age 8, huh?

On the outside I was all proud and happy… “wow, sweetie! What a great job. Well done!”

But I continued to feel the uncomfortable surprise of having been sucessfully ambushed by someone of whom I’d always thought myself smarter. Gradually, however, a grudging admiration emerged. For the first time she had beat me fair and square. Way to go, girl.