Archive for the ‘My life’ Category

Corn snakes and eggplants

May 23, 2017

… with belladonna as a bonus.

Two more photos by my man Jacques (of uncertain date), in Columbus OH:


The snake is curled up in a crevice in the house’s crumbling cellar wall. The corner on the upper right is the edge of the back steps. (Eventually the cellar wall was completely rebuilt, and this spot was transformed into an excellent wooden deck.)

The snake just turned up on a sunny day, looking a bit like a copperhead, but seeming to be unthreatening, which copperheads are not.

The plants in pots in front of the snake are eggplants, bearing their glossy black fruits. The eggplant has come up frequently on this blog as a versatile foodstuff, several times as a member of the Solanaceae / nightshade family — it’s essentially edible nightshade — and occasionally as a phallic symbol, but I haven’t done justice to it as a plant.


The patio report

May 22, 2017

(About my life and plants.)

Following up on yesterday’s patio-restoration posting, four photos of the results so far: two literally out the window by my work table (with the blinds just as they are now), two from better angles out on the patio.


The front patio redivivus, and having Our House

May 21, 2017

(All about my life.)

Two occasions for this posting. First, another set of my man Jacques’s photographs, including this one of our house (722Ramona St.) as seen from the street in 1986, not long after we moved into it:


— with a note about why J thought it was important to take this picture (and one of the back of the condo, which is much more boring even than the picture above).

Second, the news that the work on my front patio (which began early in November) was finished this Thursday, so I’m finally reconstituting my little container garden there.


Injurious language (and the Lawrence family)

May 21, 2017

Working to clear out four more file drawers of accumulated papers (more recycling fodder, to follow on many dozens of file drawers of stuff that have already been sacrificed to the Great Recycler), I came across a print-out of a 1991 posting “Injurious language” to the Usenet newsgroup soc.motss. Still, I think, entirely relevant — and it takes us to a fascinating set of people connected to Chuck Lawrence (Charles R. Lawrence III).


JHT photos: on the peony patrol

May 20, 2017

Recently unearthed: another huge trove of photographs, including a set of photos my man Jacques took back in the 80s and 90s. Places J loved (at Stanford: the Burghers of Calais, the fountain in White Plaza, scenes near the Dish on the foothills; Sather Tower at Berkeley; the house and garden on Beaunmont Rd. in Columbus, the house on Ramona St. in Palo Alto). Today it’s peonies in Columbus.



May 19, 2017

The occasion is the discovery of more photo albums from the past, in this case the relatively recent past. One had photos of two friends who shared the Columbus OH house with Jacques and me in the 1990s: Philip Miller (during a postdoc year in linguistics at Ohio State) and Kim Darnell (while she was finishing her PhD in linguistics at Ohio State). Then there’s our last housemate before Jacques and I moved entirely to Californa, our bookfriend Ann Burlingham, who was working in Columbus bookstores at the time.

After teaching in (mostly) Lille, Philip is now in Paris. After years teaching in Atlanta, Kim is now in Palo Alto. And Ann has been in Perry NY (south of Rochester), where she owns and runs Burlingham Books, for some time now.


Reading in the ’50s

May 15, 2017

(Not much about language here.)

From Eleanor Houck on the 13th, a Mother’s Day posting from Reading Historic Neighborhoods on four places to take your Mother in downtown Reading PA in (roughly) the middle of the last century. Including a place I remember with particular affection, the Crystal Restaurant — which was more or less around the corner from my parents’ store: the Memo Shop, a little costume jewelry store a few doors north of Penn Ave. on 5th St.(while the Crystal was a half block east on Penn Ave. from 5th). Penn Square — 5th and Penn — being the very center of the city. The relevant map:


One of the named features turns out to be key: the Wines & Spririts Stores are right where the Crystal used to be (from 1911 to 1981).



May 9, 2017

I’ll start with Roz Chast’s cover art for the May 15th New Yorker, “Motherboard”, a droll celebration of Mothers Day in embroidery. With notes on uses of mother. From there to a sepia-toned mother and baby photo (more baby than mother) from 1965: mother Ann Daingerfield Zwicky, baby Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky. On the occasion of Ann’s birthday, today, May 9th; Ann would have been 80 today (but she died at 57). And then something celebratory: a lot of gorgeous foxgloves, a plant that Ann much liked; locally, they’re at their peak around the time of Ann’s birthday (and Mothers Day, which she detested; and Derby Day, which she loved).


A mini-phal

April 24, 2017

Another flower present from a friend, to cheer me during these long months of no visible flowers from my workspace (because of construction work on my front patio that started at the beginning of November and won’t be done until we have two weeks of dry weather, omg, after which painting can be done). This is a miniature phalaenopsis orchid (only about 8 inches tall), which requires indirect light (only) and almost no watering, so it can live happily on my worktable:


White with a purple lip!


The little kid (part 2)

April 10, 2017

Another set of photos of my family, this time a page of 6 shots of me as a little kid (age 4-7). Some notes on memory, clothing, and names for things.