Tuesday, October 24

all we need to make us happy ...

all we need to make us happy
Copyright 2006 by Maureen Shaughnessy
originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

We act as though comfort and luxury
were the chief requirements of life,
when all that we need to make us happy is
something to be enthusiastic about.

-- Albert Einstein

Sam, at age 17, still has enthusiasm about going for walks every day, or sitting next to me, taking in the beauty through his seasoned eyes.

Monday, October 23

My Town Annotated

My Town Annotated, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

This is our town, in Montana where I live with Tim, Sam and Baggins ... if you click on the photo, it will take you to my flickr page where you can read all kinds of little notes I annotated on top of the photo. You should be able to just hover your cursor over the photo and you'll see the notes. I hope you enjoy looking, and seeing the context of where I take most of my photos.

On October 22, 2006 ... this is what our town looks like from the hill behind our house, where we take Sam for at least one walk each day (his other walks are in other places, like Spring Meadow Lake -- one of my favorite places to photograph) This hill is less than a block from our house.

Sunday, October 22

Calendar for October: happy birthday to my mom

happy birthday, mom, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

even though i didn't write this poem, it conveys what i feel in my heart:

there are times in life when one does the right thing
the thing one will not regret,
when the child wakes crying "mama," late
as you are about to close your book and sleep
and she will not be comforted back to her crib,
she points you out of her room, into yours,
you tell her, "I was just reading here in bed,"
she says, "read a book," you explain it's not a children's book
but you sit with her anyway, she lays her head on your breast,
one-handed, you hold your small book, silently read,
resting it on the bed to turn pages
and she, thumb in mouth, closes her eyes, drifts,
not asleep -- when you look down at her, her lids open,
and once you try to carry her back
but she cries, so you return to your bed again and book,
and the way a warmer air will replace a cooler with a slight
shift of wind, or swimming, entering a mild current, you
enter this pleasure, the quiet book, your daughter in your lap,
an articulate person now, able to converse, yet still
her cry is for you, her comfort in you,
it is your breast she lays her head upon,
you are lovers, asking nothing but this bodily presence.
She hovers between sleep, you read your book,
you give yourself this hour, sweet and quiet beyond flowers
beyond lilies of the valley and lilacs even, the smell of her breath,
the warm damp between her head and your breast. Past midnight
she blinks her eyes, wiggles toward a familiar position,
utters one word, "sleeping." You carry her swiftly into her crib,
cover her, close the door halfway, and it is this sense of rightness,
that something has been healed, something
you will never know, will never have to know.

-- by Ellen Bass, 1985 from Our Stunning Harvest

Saturday, October 21


Small Craft on Pond, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

My sister, Marybeth, gave me a wonderful book for my recent birthday -- a book I intend to read cover-to-cover the way I read the Webster's Dictionary I received 30+ years ago as a highschool graduation gift. The book is Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney. Thank you, Marybeth! Here's the first of (hopefully) many photo/word pairings inspired by this book.

Pond is one of the most flexible words for describing a small body of freshwater. Uplift, landslides, volcanoes, and glaciers can create ponds, as can human beings and animals. Beavers are great ponders, and so are farmers and ranchers who dig them for irrigation and livestock. Glacial kettle-hole ponds such as Thoreau's Walden and Cape Cod's freshwater ponds are important features of the New England landscape.

George Stewart tells us in Names on the Land that native peoples of the Northeast called ponds paugs, and that this has resulted in felicitous redundancies such as Mashapaug Pond in Massachusetts. At least since 1641, the English have referred jocularly to the Atlantic Ocean as the great pond.

And there is no end to the compound forms of the word: sagpond, millpond, fishpond, duckpond, pond life, pond lily, and pond yard to name a few. Regardless of size, location, or purpose, any pond can become the radiant and beguiling point of a landscape, even a muddy or algae-covered farm pond that's nothing more than an isolated earthen water tank. Thoreau thought of Walden and nearby North Ponds as Lakes of Light in which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.
-- Michael Collier from Home Ground
This is my sister, Marybeth
So, thanks again, Marybeth.
Look what you started!

This photo of the small leaf-boat is also part of a series of leaf photos I made for our weekend Utata tagging project, Utata Leaf. You can see everyone's thumbnails in this Utata Leaf project here.

Friday, October 20

Autumn in Montana

I thought I might entice a few of my readers who don't know I have a photoblog, or who don't normally visit my photoblog, to see some of my recent Autumn in Montana images. I'm posting this grouping below. If you click on any of the photos, it should automatically take you to the Autumn in Montana album on my flickr page. Thanks for looking! :-D

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Monday, October 16

Kevin Phillips: American Theocracy

"This is No Love Song" originally uploaded to Flickr by Tal Bright (thank you, Tal)

I just heard the segment on Alternative Radio ... an interview with Kevin Phillips, author of the book, American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century ... my radio kept cutting in and out (it's snowing today - always screws up public radio reception) so I logged onto alternativeradio.org hoping to be able to listen to the rest of the segment or at least read the transcripts. Too bad for me -- along with millions of others living with limited budgets -- Alternative Radio charges for everything but a handful of older programs. I could find no way to listen to their interview online w/o having to whip out my credit card. So I googled Kevin Phillips American Theocracy and found that (bless her) Amy Goodman had interviewed Phillips in March '06. And of course, the transcript, video and podcast are all free.***

Everybody should listen to this or read it no matter what "side" you're on, no matter who you voted for in 2004 or plan to vote for this year .... What Phillips is saying is extremely worrisome to me. I worry about what life will be like for our children and grandchildren in just a few years. The scariest thing for me is what a total DUNCE we have for a president -- but of course, I knew that! I cannot believe this country actually elected this man as president. Actually we didn't elect him. The Supreme Court elected him.

*** Transcripts from Democracy Now are available free of charge. However, donations help them provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on their TV broadcast. Please consider contributing to an excellent alternative source of news -- Democracy Now. (thanks, Amy!)

Sunday, October 15

Get Familiar with Your Breasts

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month ... Get Familiar with your Breasts

Each year, an estimated 211300 women will learn they have breast cancer, 1300 men will get the same news, and 40200 people are expected to die from the disease. Beginning now, in October, we are reminded to honor survivors, remember those lost to the disease, and support the search for a cure.

Think Before You Pink: A caution about the proliferation of the color pink and pink ribbons in marketing products. Find out before you buy, if the sale of the product you are considering really does legitimately raise funds for breast cancer research and education --- or if it's just another marketing ploy to get money from well intentioned consumers. And if the company donates funds to breast cancer research, how much of the sale money goes towards the cancer awareness cause? And how much goes toward the cause of fattening corporate wallets?

To read more about the Pink Ribbon marketing campaigns, the history and ploy, check out the website, Think Before You Pink.

Something else you may not think to consider: it sounds great when cosmetics companies promise to contribute a portion of sales of cosmetics to finding a cure for breast cancer ... gives us all the warm fuzzies, right? But what if that cosmetic contains chemicals that might actually increase your risk of developing the disease? To find out if your cosmetics are on the no-no (suspicious chemicals as ingredients in their products) click here.

Quick Links:

Friday, October 13

Sunday, October 8

what the heck is a meme?

Okay, this is my first ever meme ... didn't even know what a meme was until a few minutes ago when I read this same list on Liz's blog.... hmmm I, too, have to wonder at this strange list. You're supposed to answer just Yes or No without any explanation. I found myself really wanting to explain my answers. Hedging maybe. Or just wanting to justify. Like #1 & #2: "yes, but only when I was totally alone" ... or #34 -- "yes, but only once. Once was enough!" that kind of answer. The kind of answer that says, well - yes I did that, but it was a long, looonnnnggg time ago, so it really wasn't all that bad ... lol ... so I am cheating by adding a few qualifiers...

Copyright Maureen Shaughnessy 2006

Am I a good girl or a bad girl? Does it matter?
I'm just who I am and I kinda like who I am.
So here goes with this silliness:

Have you ever
1. Taken a picture completely naked? yes. wasn't easy, believe me
2. Danced in front of a mirror naked? yes. latin music really does it for me. you ought to try it sometime.
3. Told a lie? yes. didn't like that i did, though
4. Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back? yes
5. Been arrested? nope - knock on wood ...
6. Seen someone die? yes. my grandmother. it was one of the most transforming experiences of my life.
7. Kissed a picture? yes - i'm embarassed to say. and when i was a toddler, i did something metaphorically like kissing a picture. while my mom was napping i got into her purse and drew with her red lipstick on the photos she carried in her wallet. she forgave me. a few years ago, mom sent me one of the photos she had saved that had lipstick smeared all over it. it was the one of my dad holding me.
8. Slept in until 5pm? yes when i was really really depressed i did that often
9. Had sex at work (on the clock)? yes a long long long time ago
10. Fallen asleep at work/school? yes -- i used to fall asleep in Suzallo Libray at UW ... i'd wake up with my cheek in a puddle of drool, hoping nobody had noticed. lol
11. Held a snake? yes ... lots of times. the feeling is like nothing else. they are so smooth and surprisingly warm.
12. Ran a red light? yes at 4:00 am when nobody else was on the road
13. Been suspended from school? no, though i was sent home once for refusing to wear shoes in highschool, and for wearing my skirt too long (huh?)
14. Pole danced? no - what the heck is that?
15. Been fired from a job? nope - i quit one job right before they were going to fire me, though. i'd been trying to quit that one for two years. it was about time!
16. Sang karaoke? no
17. Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? yes. unfortunately too many times
18. Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? yes - not fun!
19. Laughed until you peed? yes - wait til you hit the ripe age of 50 ... ;-)
20. Caught a snowflake on your tongue? yes ... many times -- once after not having anything to drink for three days - that was the most delicious snowflake ever!
21. Kissed in the rain? yes - i hope i'm still kissing my soulmate in the rain when we're in our 90s
22. Had sex in the rain? yes -- same as above. heheh
23. Sang in the shower? yes and the bath tub and the hot tub and ...
24. Gave your private parts a nickname? no, why would I want to do that?
25. Ever gone to school/work without underwear? yes. i went through a phase ...
26. Sat on a roof top? yes -- we used to sneak up on the rooftops of campus buildings at UW. They lock the doors to the roofs now. I've had meals on rooftops, too - the most memorable was a formal dinner with some friends on a "highrise" office building in my town.
27. Played chicken? no
28. Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? no
29. Broken a bone? nope - i must have strong bones because i've done lots of stupid things that should have ended up with a broken bone.
30. Flashed someone? no
31. Mooned someone? no
32. Shaved your head? no, but i have considered doing it in solidarity with friends who have had breast cancer...
33. Slept naked? yes all the time! pjs just get bunched up - besides it feels so good to have at least 8 hours when i don't have to wear anything!
34. Blacked out from drinking? yes - a long long long time ago and i'm not proud of it.
35. Played a prank on someone? yes ... our kids. heheh. some of the pranks they still don't know about. this one is good for a couple of blog posts. ;-)
36. Had a gym membership? yes - you know how the clubs make you sign away your life for a whole year or more? i lasted for two months but had to keep paying for a year. bleh! never again.
37. Felt like killing someone? no. really. i'm 98% pacifist. the other 2% the closest i've felt to killing someone was my ex -- i wanted to buy him a one-way ticket off-planet.
38. Cried over someone you were in love with? yes. i've had my heart broken too many times.
39. Had Mexican jumping beans for pets? yes. i didn't really bond with them, though. i lost them in some corner of the house after a couple of days.
40. Been in a band? yes. had to quit because being a single mom was interferring with practice and touring. loved it while it lasted, though.
41. Shot a gun? no. see #37
42. Shot a bow and arrow? no. #37
43. Played strip poker? no. i can't keep a straight face. i didn't want to impose the consequences of that on my friends.
44. Donated blood? yes -- it does not hurt. it's a good thing to do.
45. Ever jump out of an airplane? nope - not something that appeals to me at all!
46. Been to more than 10 countries? no - only 8. sigh.
I guess one good thing that could come of posting/thinking-about a list of questions like these is that it looks like pretty good fodder for a bunch of short stories. For every question above that I answered "yes" to ... there is a story inside me waiting to jump out. Maybe even for a few of the "no" answers. I have my work cut out for me I can see.

Wednesday, October 4

Backlighting in Landscape Design


Today the color made me gasp!

What do all of these photos have in common? They portray grasses and other plants -- either wild or in gardens -- in one of their most glorious moments: sunlight caught by the delicate blades and seedheads of grasses or seen through the stained-glass colors of autumn leaves ... backlighting. It's something I think about when I am doing a planting design. Consider placing plants such as ornamental blue oat grass, tufted hair grass and fountain grasses in your garden, where you will be able to see the rising or setting sun through their foliage. Maybe on a rise, just west of a warm afternoon or evening sitting spot, or outside a west-facing window, slightly above or at eye level.

FireLight SunLight Grass They Fly into the Light Saved (Sorta) from Anihilation