Thursday, December 31, 2009

Salt River Review

A piece I wrote appeared at Salt River Review in December. While the First Night Clock is still counting down, I want to ask any reader to glance at the Poems published on the internet box on my blog to see Summer 1971: A Novel by Sir Walter Scott and Getz / Gilberto at Salt River Review.

First Night

Tonight is First Night, which includes a Fire Clock invention that will machinate a midnight alarm. The web site features a count-down to midnight.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Recognition to the 70th Anniversary of the Start of World War Two

Archives give recognition now to the seventieth anniversary of the beginning of World War Two. In January of 1940 the city of Vasa was bombed by the invading army of Stalin in association of the invasions of Hitler.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Trips to the post office and the copy center in the cold weather can be managed with a couple of handy Scottish Oat Scones along. These look wonderful with one's plaid scarf, one can almost imagine one is a Scottish person. This recipe always works well for me.


1 ½ cups all purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups quick-cooking rolled oats

½ cup margarine, melted (oil is fine)

1/3 cup skim milk

1 egg

½ cup raisins

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Add oats, margarine, milk, and egg. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in raisins. Shape dough to form ball; pat out on lightly floured surface to form 8-inch circle. Cut into 12 wedges (scones); bake on oiled baking sheet at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Bird Count

At 9:25 A.M. I gradually determined there were thirteen ducks, one male and twelve female, American Golden Eye. Pale front with white on the wing, brown female ducks. Fifteen minutes later there was one partly immature seagull on a piling. At that point I ate a scone. Two more seagulls noticed this and circled around just a little. There was a seal floating in the near distance. Behind the boathouse about four crows flew above the dark green line of tree tops. One large bird was on one branch. At 9:45 A.M. the "Klahowya" passed on its way back to the ferry dock. Through binoculars, the one large bird was an American Bald Eagle.

One immature seagull was making a treble immature crowing cry. At 9:50 the rain let up. The Kalhowya neared the dock. A bird that looked like a crow through binoculars tumbled and turned all around in the air over and over. The tips of the wing feathers kept flourishing.

At 9:55 the bell under the small bell roof in the platform I sat on rang three times. I had known this would happen. I heron flew above and outside my circle. An immature seagull with a leaf landed on the railing of the pier. This seagull might have been inside my circle.

At 10 there is still a seal in the water, still an eagle on the branch. A crows flies directly overhead, inside my circle. Seagulls fly straight over low above the water toward the ferry dock area. The wheet wheet seagull sound might be on the bell roof. At 10:20 a brown duck swims out from under the pier and flaps its wings, to show from behind the whole white patches on the wings. I cormorant flies low along the water, it resembles two smaller birds. It lands. I am almost sure it is a cormorant, I cannot find it in the binoculars.

In the afternoon at 3:12 p.m. on a second try at the park pond nearby there are thirteen male mallards, seven female mallards, and seven or eight crows. All day there was steady rain with some times when it let up.

At 4:02 a fresh wind blew around the yellow leaves on a small tree near the other side of the pond.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Bird Count

My Thanksgivings usually include the Thanksgiving Bird Count. Instructions can be found on the internet. Last year it was not raining during the hour I spent outdoors counting birds. Just click on the title above for the information you would need to be a volunteer counter for the project.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Blog Added

Yesterday was Finland's Swedish Day. I want to add this blog to my list, it is a blog about Swedish-speaking Finland.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Reprinted poem from Salt River Review last spring

Laura Jensen

Three Thousand Hideous Children

Three thousand hideous children
tramped Hallowe'en dusk
for three thousand bits of candy
from merchants at their doors.
Stuck when barricades stopped my bus,
I had coffee at a quiche and dessert shop - maverick, alien,
among the three historic tavernsand not much more.
Pick your poison.
Three thousand hideous children
swept draped capes
flashed bared fangs past the shoe repair where a face once
frightened me, only the man who mended shoes,
but my father should be
at the drugstore in another part of town
near the Valhalla Temple.
I rattle tulips in the bicycle basket
for the teacher early in spring.
They are parrot tulips
ruffled and pink and green.
And our comfort was nostalgia.
Such collectible newspapers, magazines,memorabilia.
News photos of the school director,
but in the photo not the director
and not the students - no, no, nothing but the image
of what appear to be
our same old desks. The sweetness
is describable. About my face:
I desired you see tears rack down it,
tears so many they created
tears black as the dirty streets.
I can only get by. Or doubt:
a face pale with all the joy
that surrounds it. Silly happiness made of candy,
it is too late. Too late for me
to be good, to attain goodness.
I found this poem all crossed over, revised,
some coffee cup rings on it
after the death of my father.
I took the tall ladder
from the garage and, in the tallest cupboard
uncovered our old witches' hats.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

November 6, Finland's Swedish Day

Today I am linking to a blog post from this year - it is about the song Modersmalets Sang - without knowing the full translation of the post. The song is sung for Finland's Swedish Day, which happens on November 6th. When my mother was choir director for the Runeberg Choir, this was a song they sang. I have my own translation of the words.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Three October Tranist-Related Events

Pumpkins from Bus Window 1

Yesterday Evening Beneath the Autumn Sugar Maple, a hard poem ever to get to if you are trying to express concern about how many cars create The American Nightmare on the Highway.

"How can we ask people to use alternative transportation if we don't?" (This important observation came from the Candidates Forum on Transportation from October 1- only one candidate could refer to their own applied effort with bike and bus).

From being in the audience for three transit-related events in October, I decided transit should offer classes in how to use all kinds of alternative transportation methods, even boating, they should do away with classes like Driver Training that has taught students to believe in nothing but cars.

At the Downtown Tacoma and the earlier Gig Harbor Pierce Transit Workshops - Pierce Transit Tomorrow , the points I wrote down on the Keep / Change forms were related to the idea of applied effort.

Pumpkins from Bus Window 2
I wrote that Pierce Transit should link with psychologists/ psychiatrists who apply an effort to use alternative means of transportation including public transit so that transit users who need their services can find professionals who understand public transportation at a user level.

When they design transit centers PT should link with architects and planners who use public transportation . PT should link with media representatives who apply an effort to use alternative means of transportation including public transit so that the reporters can tell the PT story in the news accurately.

Along the walk to the workshop in my neighborhood, I met three small dogs and two women I know. The dogs started to bark at me to defend them. I myself had to admit it was important if I had been a danger to these people these dogs would have scared me away very well. Actually more riders bring along companion animals now. Onward and forward.
Candidates' Forum on Transportation, October 1, Pierce Transit Workshops – Pierce Transit Tomorrow (Gig Harbor, Downtown Tacoma)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

In Word War Two Food Rationing, what if people decided to participate when it was convenient for them?

City candidates talk transpo

This blog from the News Tribune discusses an event I attended, Candidates' Forum on Transportation. The blog features Councilman Fey, running unoposed in my district as winning the competition for using public transportation, but does not quote him - "It's hard to ask people to do this when you don't". Alternative transportation is important in 21st century thinking, yet the candidates for office cannot say that they participate or know about alternative transportation in any practical way.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Scandinavian Festival

Soon the Scandinavian Festival will happen at the fairgrounds, during Oktoberfest.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tacoma Mobility Master Plan has workshops scheduled to discuss transportation.

A few notes from the Paulhamus Arena bleachers last Friday: How I fortunately went to the store for a can of food for the food bank before I went in – the draft horses of the parade were still passing along Meridian, and chaperones or parents from the Daffodil Festival, on foot behind one carriage pulled by horses. The crowd's walk back was packed and slow. At Hobby Hall I found out the nine-one-one tribute by Puyallup Seventh Day Adventists will not be until seven o'clock. There were cowboy horses and a championship in the arena before the draft horse demo. These were wonderful horses, one with a short brown mane braided with small pony beads the tail crinkly from braiding. Crumpled up my scone wrapper into my quarters envelope from the bank, there were still two quarters in there later.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Work by Laura Jensen appears at the new issue of Salt River Review, just out now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wilder Books Colorized

According to "the special collectors editions of the Little House on the Prairie Series features Garth Williams interior art in vibrant, full color, as well as a beautifully redesigned cover." On its (Christianbooks) website one can view one or two small interior illustrations at the table of contents, a little lamp on a table now colorized. Somehow it seems so fitting, like the colorization on old postcards or on old photographs - however unnecessary this feature can seem to those who have always admired the beautiful charcoal-texture drawings, these beautifully enhanced editions seem quite lovely. I was at Borders books leaving the media section after looking up a cd on the computer and noticed these on their shelves. This certainly made this morning interesting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

a blog at beautiful angle

journey of repentance

Here is a blog to view - about the peace delegation to japan at journey of repentance, people from Tacoma are members of this visit to Japan. The blog highlights the preparations and the stages of the visit. Included is Father William Bichsel, who has campaigned for peace and justice for many years and has served time in prison for demonstating for peace.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Today is warm and as a variation from usual blog entries I decided to celebrate nine years of computer literacy by sharing this earliest Paint effort - it expresses all the feelings of those earliest lessons in computer literacy for me - Man with Two Pumpkins Walking Downstairs.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Coast to Coast Autos Arrive at Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (see video 5 blogs down)

Charles, Birger and Eric Gord at AYP 1909
Yes! A reference to the celebration about the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition is my chance to show this post card which shows my grandfather and two of his brothers with two other men in a car with a banner with AYP on it. Model T's on a re-creation of the 1909 coast-to-coast automobile race to the Exposition were scheduled to arrive Sunday at Memorial Way, the formal entrance to the University of Washington Campus. (There is a video several blogs below.)

The most obvious association I make with photos and other items from my parents' archives is the memory of my mother's home. My mother brought my sister and me there twice a week all through our childhoods. Sometimes they brought out photos to to look through at the kitchen table, or other memorabilia. This hundred-year-old post card on it reminds me first and most importantly to me, of my mother's home, where it was first stored.

For my father, his photos' location was a different matter. All the photos left by my father must have been stored with his brother, Uncle Fred, while my father was in England with the U.S. Army in World War Two.

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Photos by Theodore Jensen, 1941, Palmer, Alaska

These photos my father took in Alaska at the Matanuska Valley Fair in 1941. In a recent post I linked to photos of the Alaska State Fair from the early 1970's: if you scroll down at these photos, one of the mountains shows, the same mountain in my father's photograph. He took a row of photos which add up to a panorama.

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journalism note

A Journalism note: At the News Tribune in Tacoma today is a front-page article about photographs on auction at a big auction business on Antique Row.

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A Literary Note

A literary note: if you scroll part way down at the photo site I linked to for photos by Stephen Cysewski of the Alaska State Fair in the early 1970's, there is a sight referred to in a book of stories by Carol Bly called Backbone. It is a Mouse Roulette Wheel. (Carol Bly's book includes stories as well about Lutherans in the midwest. It is possible that the Mouse Roulette Wheel itself was brought from the midwest to Alaska for the fair idea that was imported by the Depression Colonials from the Midwest.)

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Check out "The Finish Line" on Ocean to Ocean in a T

Check out "The Finish Line" on Ocean to Ocean in a T

To view this video, visit:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tour de Revs

The Tour de Revs bikes raise consciousness about alternative transportation as they ride through farmland raising money for Lutheran World Hunger. In Pierce County they are sponsored by the Southwestern Washington Synod of the ELCA, Evangelical Lutheran Church in American, and they inadvertently coincide with the Tour de France.

According to the blog, the Tour de Revs were most recently at the Matanuska Valley in Alaska. It is the site of the Alaska State Fair, a midwest state fair imported to Alaska with Depression Dust Bowl refugees. For photos of the fair from the 70's, by cysewski, clik.

The tour the revs travel in a van and do pledged bike rides to raise the money. This is what went on in Sumner at one o'clock as they set out on the 50 mile ride:

I ask and yes, these six bikes are the biking group that will accompany the Tour de Revs from Sumner Pierce County Library parking lot.

They're stopped at the railroad tracks! And a couple of kids bike off, maybe to the railroad track.

When the yellow bike rider stands up off the log she was on, the bike falls over.

Then there is a train whistle, AMTRAK, Sounder Commuter Train, freight train. It is a freight train that goes by on the other side of the big hardware store.

Then the three-person bike made of bamboo arrives.

Their cleats sound on the cement.

(A mustang that just parked backs up right up to them to un-park, as though they are not there because at other times they are not there.)

All right, all right, someone says. Traffic and Maple. Or we could go right. To the trail head. OK. OK.

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Monday, June 29, 2009


tourderevs, according to First Lutheran Church, is on its way to the county

adding a blog about animals

I found a blog about animals called animalblawg, which I am adding to blogs on my list.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

From First Lutheran Church's new Thursday Listen at Lunch concert series the bus takes only four or five minutes to reach the Thursday downtown market.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Photo from early June yard sale

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Health care is a right, not a privelege" reads a sign a woman holds up in a photo illustrating, "Ourselves, Growing Older" - as everyone in The United States ages, we as older people know everyone needs health care. (There are ways to extend health knowledge, through classes offered free to the public like "Pebbles in the Pond" a class in psychoeducation suitable for anyone in the community.) My photo shows the art at the new steam plant at Tacoma General Hospital. Above the relief the name reads AMPERE. Along the building side are names of people responsible for discoveries and inventions that are in fact visible through windows into the working steam plant. I think the choice of some of the art is motivated by a favorite sculpture at the same hospital, "The Second Touch", by Larry Anderson, which shows a bird rescued by a girl. The statues is fluid and beautiful, yet it conveys the visceral strength of effort as the girl bends forward with the injured bird in her hand.

My email connects to the Obama for Change Group and their health care statements. I admire the statue " The Second Touch" and believe art matters in health care and in science in general.

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Monday, June 1, 2009


Three events so far to recognize the poetry anthology In Tahoma's Shadow, poets from Tacoma - one publication celebration with copies distribution and two readings on the last two Thursdays in May. One reading at King's Books, one reading at Tacoma Public Library. Twenty Poets, Forty Poems. All in lovely evening weather.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

At Facebook

Facebook is interesting, I have been at Facebook today.

As simultaneous comment - I wish to bring to the attention of Friends of Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" a discussion point at Friends of Freddy the Pig, a detailed reading of Walter Brooks' props.

Friends of Freddy the Pig and Friends of George Orwell's Politics and the English Language should become aware of one another.

In Feddy Plays Football (page 94): Mr. Ollie Groper, the proprietor...(of the Centerboro Hotel)...never used a short word if a long one would do. "This here," he said as he shook hands, "is a most felicitious visitation."

This is a tacit acknowledgement of Orwell, which makes clear also that Animal Farm motivated Walter Brooks to create the Freddy the Pig books.

There are plenty of props in the books. When Freddy was checking in to the Centerboro Hotel in disguise, the reader learns:

Among the many disguises Freddy used in his detective work, the best was that of an old woman - probably because the bonnet hid his long nose, and the skirt came down to cover his trotters.

A source for contemplation of books with animals is Animal Land by Margaret Blount, which approaches the topic with thought that is empathetic and clear. There is a gap between the animals and ourselves.

When I happened to find this interesting reading of Walter Brooks' props I requested copies of books from Stacks at the library and some of the Memorial Day weekend looked through them. The copy of Freddy Plays Football may be the one I read in the late 1950's. It was a busy weekend, I saw a color guard presentation at a cemetery and rode my bike along country roads.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Books at Twelve-Ten Out For the Summer

Eight finished out a year of Books at Twelve-Ten yesterday afternoon with Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Discussion of characters and history was preceded by travel books and maps as well as the library's available dvds of Island at War, a BBC dramatization of the story of the Invasion and Occupation of the Channel Islands in World War Two. Over the weekend I read the book. As I look back, perhaps we might have discussed the experience the central character shared in general with working women during the time that followed the war. For early baby boomers, the story can reflect on the experience of their own mothers.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

western tanager

Today a Western Tanager was in a tree outside the County City Building.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Runeberg Lodge and Family History Events

Runeberg Lodge, February 09
Childhood Sweaters, Finland

Med andra barnbarn av min morsmor, vem var född i Malax, jag mötade med historia och fotos. Sedan 2001 vi hade tolv eller tretton mötar. En kusin också har en garage förställning varje år i juni. (Fotos av Garage Förställning 2008 på Facebook.)

Runeberg Orden i 2009 hade historia på två motar.

(With other grandchildren of my grandmother, who was born in Malax, I met with history and photos. Since 2001 we had twelve or thirteen meetings. A cousin also has a garage sale every year in June. Photos of Garage Sale 2008 on Facebook.

The Runeberg Lodge in 2009 had histories at two meetings. )

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Malax Facebook

God dag till Malax Facebook! Förlåt mig, jag talar inte mycket svensk. Jag är i Runebergs Orden i United States, Washington State. Min mor var i Malax 1930 och 1938, jag var i Malax 1990. Min mors mor var född i Malax. Jag är en poet, min blog heter Spice Drawer Mouse.

Hello to Malax Facebook! I apologize, I do not speak much Swedish. I am in the Order of Runeberg in the United States, Washington State. My mother was in Malax 1930 and 1938, I was in Malax 1990. My grandmother was born in Malax. I am a poet, my blog is called Spice Drawer Mouse

Saturday, May 9, 2009


lilacs over a back fence, I leaned the bike, then out from a yard sale up an alley

Friday, May 1, 2009

In Tahoma's Shadow

In Tahoma's Shadow: Poems From The City of Destiny (2009, Exquisite Disarray Publishing, edited by William Kupinse and Tammy Robacker) made its appearance yesterday evening for poets whose work appears there. The anthology is printed on recycled paper. My prose poem Point of View is included. The event at University of Puget Sound accompanied the announcement of the new Poet Laureate of Tacoma - Antonio Edwards.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

some lilac blossoms

a few salmon colored hyacinths at the park and first lilac blossoms

Saturday, April 18, 2009

with plants at the library

Today, earth day, I bought a dill and a spinach, which I must carry back on my bike - at the farmers market they say it is okay to put them outdoors in a container now.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tacoma Reads Together grow local eat local

I want to enter one or two photos from Mother Earth Farm.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Draft Horse Plow

Today last Saturday's postponed Draft Horse Plow went ahead with spirit. Last Saturday the ground had too much muck, during the week it was clear, so although it rained yesterday and in the early morning, the condition of the ground today was good. Two teams of three horse, two teams of two horses, and one single hitch plowed. Two drivers walked and three drivers used riding plows. The single hitch horse was dapple gray with a braided white forelock.

At the Emergency Food Network's Mother Earth Farm was a camera person from TV Tacoma, Channel 22 and other people with cameras.

The morning was cool but nice, after the morning session a lot of the ground was plowed and everyone stopped to rest.

My bike ride back along the trail included another glimpse of a field of rhubarb - a local produce product, a reminder of the Tacoma Reads Together selection that relates to the Draft Horse Plow.

Friday, April 10, 2009

some rain

yellow daffodils red tulips

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Draft Horse Plow postponed

Beyond the morning field haze veiled Mount Tahoma. The quiet industrial road ahead was closed, though, and in a yard a dog began to bark. There was no railroad crossing until I made my way back to the highway and rode blocks again to a major stoplight.

Along the highway across the railroad tracks a robin flew across the road, in water nearby frogs croaked very loud and close. Sheep stood in the corner of a pasture. And cars passed me. There was only a shoulder.

One more stretch of highway and I turned the bike to ride into a small road and to the Emergency Food Network sign at a shed. There I learned the Draft Horse Plow has been postponed until next Saturday because of the condition of the ground. Rain has the fields turned to muck and the horses need some stability.

"We could lose our Clydesdales, they would sink right in," the farmer said. She turned out to be Carrie Little, who is one of three top vote-getters in a national contest for a White House Farmer position.

Tacoma Reads Together featured a Draft Horse Plow among its events for the featured book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver.

Carrie Anne Little told me there was a trail I could take back and avoid all the highway without a sidewalk. The trail was marked on my map as a little dotted line. It was easy to find the trail, and on the way in I saw bikers riding there from a distance.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Second Anniversary of Blog, Spice Drawer Mouse

A cube that includes Maud, the mouse who was my pet in the 1980's. This 3-D reminds me she had a wheel, also there was a Liberty Ball - she was only willing one time to try the Liberty Ball. She became a little seasick rolling.
March 27 is the second anniversary of my blog, Spice Drawer Mouse. I was visited once by a mouse who was investigating the spice drawer. The entry was later covered with screen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The U of W Cherry Trees

Today I visited the U of W to see what the cherry trees look like. Those inside the quad have a practically transparant red cloud as a canopy. Viewed closely this cloud was many buds still rather closed - at some old trees a few blossoms that are at places along the trunk are open white and pink flowers.

There was a robin and a chickadee as well as squirrels, a bird chased by a crow flew above me, a piece of plant trailed from his beak, he was pale brown stripes below and the size of the crow, they flew around the hall so I could not see more.

Correction to "Poetic Authority"

"Yoo Hoo Killed Cock Robin" did not feature Beauregard the Hound as I described it in my earlier blog. The poem was read aloud by Albert Alligator. It matters to have the facts correct, I should have checked the book, The Pogo Peek-A-Book, instead of relying on recall.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

seven at books at 12:10 not six

When counting the number at books at 12:10 I visualized an earlier discussion moment than after a steady participant arrived slightly tardy. Vast apologies.

Poetic Authority

In an essay about my book Memory a critic discusses my relation to the idea of Poetic Authority.These essays about my work can be reached from the list of publications here at this blog. - my access to this theory of Poetic Authority returned me at the time to the childhood readings of Pogo - Rowrbazzle! whatever such a word means.

Poetic Authority springs from Milton - Milton needed Poetic Authority from the church of his time to publish - and I learned that his work was read as having Divine Inspiration. My own expectation is that my own poems are not Divinely Inspired in this way. I enter my comment here not as a Disclaimer - I have no idea what a Disclaimer on such a thing could mean. The critic wonders if I have Poetic Authority - I would believe I had no more Poetic Authority (Divine Inspiration) than any other person who has published or had a degree from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. I think it is Poetic Licence.

It is nearly Easter, I return at times to thoughts of childhood readings in Pogo - At this point from reading and being on the internet about the psalms - Who Killed Cock Robin - "I, said the thrush as she sat in the bush, I will sing him a psalm."(Then Beauregard, the hound, who is reading the poem aloud, asks, "What's a pea-salm?"), Poets on the Psalms, which includes an essay by Madelyn Defrees among others.

When First Lutheran Church headed into celebrating its 125th anniversary I was able to contribute to the choir with song translations of two hymns from Swedish that had been part of their standard along with a translation of a hymn which was a translation of Psalm 19 by Ludwig Runeberg, the Swedish-Finnish poet, a hymn with a long presence at First Lutheran Church in Tacoma, Washington.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Today the homily at the Lenten service was about Dietrich Bonhoefer, so I hoped to work a comment about his writings on grief during yesterday's Books at 12:10 Discussion of Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I located a discussion, section by section, of the Beatitudes - Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted - which referred to the comfort of the bereaved being Christ. Dietrich Bonhoefer was a Lutheran pastor who was executed in 1945 in Nazi Germany for his resistance participation. He studied in the United States in 1930 and did a lecture tour in the United States in 1939. His writings were in the format of homilies.

Because Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is Young Adult fiction, I looked in a few books about it - I think the book has been published as Grief Therapy, but shelved with Young Adult books because all young adults should very well handle the sad parts of the plot.

One reader commented that when she became a widow in the middle of the 1990's her children saw the movie Smoke Signals, which Sherman Alexie developed from fiction he had written, fiction based on life experiences. It affirmed their experience.

The point I wanted to discuss was that the format matters in putting the information across to those who need it - the fiction format is accessible in ways other possible formats are not.

Six were present during the discussion, our comments were enthusiastic.

Monday, March 9, 2009

100th anniversary of U of W Scandinavian Department

March marks the 100th anniversary of the Scandinavian Department at the University of Washington. One hundred years ago was also the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition that left remarkable campus structure. (Also, Laura Jensen has a poem at Salt River Review.)

chewmute - daffodils in the snow

Snow yesterday that melted and snow this morning again.

My photo is from December. Again snow which droops down daffodils along the brick building wall and snow everywhere.

(This morning also a candy ad on the side of a bus. The blogs are a terribly fun way of doing things - maybe Snickers really has a blog point to make, not merely a sales blog gimmick.)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Have Walked, or Used Public Transportation of Used a Bike

I have never owned a car. Elizabeth Alexander, who wrote the inaugural poem was interviewed at the Indianapolis Star. In one part of the narrative she said, I remember a time when I pulled the car over to the side of the road because I wanted to jot something down...Women, I have read, have believed the automobile has empowered them. Recent analysis has been that women are more burdened by car-dependency than empowered by cars, are chauffering people and on the highway too much. There are people who dislike this poem - inevitably there has to be a confusion as it is discussed because of the topic and because of the car-dependency. My impression was that her voice sounded out clear and musical and that I understood the topic and the refrain and felt interested in reading it later. I am concerned about the issue of car-dependency and I walk.

How Do You Say You Do Not Want More Children Without Sounding Like A Philistine?

Some free civics classes called Government Leadership Institute are happening in February and March. Lots of discussion about economic life in the city at the U of W Tacoma Branch. Monday evening the discussion was about schools.

I read the cartoons, and a favorite from last year does come to mind for me, from Sally Forth: last summer Sally and her husband Ted decided not to have another child, in one episode Ted said, How do you say you do not want to have another child without sounding like a Philistine?

The Philistine reference occurred earlier in a Sally Forth episode, (was it the one where she wanted to put his mounted fish in the garage sale?) By Philistine we refer to Goliath the giant who was slain by David with only a slingshot. The term was first used, according to the Reader's Encyclopedia, by Matthew Arnold to refer to an uncivilized, dangerous outsider.

The cartoons sometimes offer insight into human nature. It is hard to discuss family size without sounding like an uncivilized, dangerous outsider. As a life-long non-parent, I often feel at special risk on this point.

February 2 Tim Farrell, Julie Anderson, and Bruce Kendall did Regional Competition, Coordination, and Cooperation. Most memorably, Bruce Kendall compared regional economics to a giant pick-up basketball game, those who happen along play. Julie Anderson observed that groups can actually not do the lobbying that can advance their interest. With technology more voices can put their concerns forward.

February 9 Lauren Walker, Paul Turek, Bob Levin, and Armando Mendoza did Strengthening and Expanding the Local Labor Market. Lauren Walker from the city council narrated a story about how internships help people who work to advance their educations. Paul Turek, a labor economist, described the online data and opportunities provided by WorkSource.

February 23 other priorities required me to be away from Human Capital Development in Tacoma. (I have to assume they were spinning straw into gold.)

Monday, March 2, Jim Dugan from the school board and Dr. Jarvis, the school superintendant, with Marilyn Strickland from the city council, did Schools. Marilyn Strickland said it was an uphill effort to add education to the scope of city government, but now the city can say of all of the students in K-16, "they are ours". In Tacoma, the school system and the Metro Parks system are separate from city government. At present, education is a part of the city standard scope. She discussed how the city government helps provide the safe, clean, attractive context necessary for the attainment of education, including the library system, Safe Streets, and after school tutoring and opportunities. The city includes higher learning in the K-16 educational description.

March 9 Mayor Baarsma and Eric Anderson, the city manager, will be present for Urban Power and Decision-Making.

The Government Leadership Institute is organized by Mark Pendross from University of Washington Tacoma Branch's Urban Studies Program and Elton Gatewood of Tacoma's Neighborhood Council Office.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Charles Johnson to be at Edmunds Community College

A blog reader informs me that Charles Johnson will be at Edmunds Community College on this day - 18th of February. Middle Passage is the 2008-2009 Edmunds Community College Reads selection.

Books At Twelve-Ten Discussed Middle Passage

On Tuesday Books at 12:10 discussed Middle Passage, by Charles Johnson. Six dicussed Plot, Characters, and Language choices until 1:10. One thought the character Isadora became lost for them during the two months of the narration of the voyage of the slaver. For me, I had read Middle Passage early in the 1990's, Isadora had remained a clear remembrance - she did not ride on the "newfangled trains" because they would "suffocate all aboard when the speed sucked all the air from the cars." Because of the Animal Vegetable Miracle 2009 selection, a reference to "Animal, Vegetable" in Middle Passage, (page 77) brought the group to discuss the origin of the phrase - according to the internet, it was a Renaissance idea that all life was animal or plant. It is also the traditional first question from the game, Twenty Questions. Then also on the Internet, it is a song from Pirates of Penzance, "I am the very model of a modern major-general, I've information vegetable, animal and mineral..." Our discussion was interesting to all.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

February Books at 12:10

Next Tuesday Books at 12:10 will discuss Middle Passage by Charles Johnson.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tacoma Reads Together

Also interesting in the region of our 2009 selection is the Highlander Folk School, near Knoxville, which was inspired by Folk Schools of Nicolai Grundtvig. Peripheral reading about the Grundtvig tradition includes BORDERLINERS, a novel by Peter Hoeg (SMYLLA'S SENSE OF SNOW). Tuesday at 12:10 PST the group met to discuss ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MINERAL, the discussion was led by librarians and interesting thoughts were expressed.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On Election Day Books at 12:10 Will Discuss...


When I opened to the map of Virginia I found myself where I had located place names from the song by Robert Mitchum, Thunder Road. The sound of Mitchum's voice, like that of Tennessee Ernie Ford, familiar from the radio in the nineteen fifties, was what was referenced when discussions rose about a homogenization of the dialect of America through mass media. These names, Harlan, Cumberland, Maynardville, must have become part of Mitchum's awareness in his youth, since according to Baby, I Just Don't Care, by Lee Server, Robert Mitchum rode the rails in the depression as a teenager.

These places - Harlan, Cumberland, Maynardville, are within an hour's drive of the town near Barbara Kingsolver's farm. The main theme of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is that by choosing local produce everyone spares transportation fuel, packaging, and unhealthy additives. A significant compromise in her life style is her own car, and in her story she travels many miles in the United States and in other countries. When she sees a horse plowing from the air as the plane lands in Italy, she feels, "I've come home."

Thunder Road, the movie, is about moonshine, in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle on page 77 Kingsolver mentions that "whiskey was once the most practical way to store, transport, and add value to the small corn crops that were grown here."

In the Mitchum biography, Lee Server tells of Mitchum arrested for vagrancy and in leg irons, that the wearing of the irons created an injury to the legs. Others in custody showed the fourteen-year-old that he could run away during work hours, that in that locale the guards would not chase him - they did shoot at him, but he made his way back to his home in Delaware. And at that point his leg injury had become infected. A doctor told his mother his leg should be amputated, it was her adherence to folk-medicine poultices from herbs she gathered that over many weeks healed Mitchum's leg.

Kingsolver's region reached my childhood only through the song, Thunder Road. Transporting art because of changes in technology - realistic stereo record players, sophisticated recording, international jet travel - added up to World Music.

My mother was a talented piano player all her life, accompanied the heritage group choir and was their director at different times, and played in their family Swedish and Swedish-Finnish dance band. She traveled twice to Finland and Sweden and performed. At a point in the nineteen thirties with the radio on she found a new song, Mockingbird Hill, used the tune to Life in the Finnish Woods, an old Finnish dance tune. Thunder Road in 1958 was the same experience. It used the tune to Midsummer Dance, an old Swedish dance tune, and part of her family orchestra's song list. I had known that song performed by my mother on the piano before I heard it performed on the radio by Robert Mitchum.

New technology makes the theme and titles at the start of the movie Thunder Road available on You Tube. The biographer Lee Server states it was Mitchum's mother's idea to set his lyrics to what she knew as a Norwegian Dance Tune. The tunes may be included in both traditions; other tunes are included in both the Norwegian and Swedish music traditions.

When Amazing Grace came out as a movie I began to realize the song contained themes present in the title theme to Gone With the Wind, and themes present in the title theme to The Long Hot Summer. In books about movie scores I read about the work of Alex North, without a discussion of his work on the score to The Long Hot Summer. "Once I was lost, but now I'm found," echoes in the music of those films.

My mother said to me once, When I was working and had to buy something downtown on a Saturday, sometimes I would go to a movie by myself. So when I locate Thunder Road on DVD so I can watch it on a player available to me, it is the same thing my mother used to do.

I realize that when I think about the presence of themes in music I am doing the same thing my mother used to do. This becomes another variation on the idea that women find themselves doing exactly what their mother always did. When I was freshman at the U of Washington in 1967 my mother discovered that Gone With The Wind had been re-released. It did not show in Tacoma, so she arranged a trip by bus for herself to Seattle so she could see it at a matinee and got my roommate and me to meet her there so she could treat us.

Kingsolver's region somehow is the Appalachians, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and including the Great Smoky Mountains. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is Tacoma Reads Together's 2009 choice. The book group that meets almost every month is assigned to discuss this at 12:10 on January 20th - the inauguration will have preceded us at nine a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Clearly Tacoma Reads Together chooses local produce to emphasize at this time, that by choosing local produce everyone spares transportation fuel, packaging, and unhealthy additives.

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