May 31, 2005



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in winter

There's something
to be said
about an image
that is soothing,

Maybe it's the way
the eye is drawn
through the circle
down the path
to the unknown

so inviting
so familiar

Posted by Dakota at 06:23 AM

May 26, 2005

From the Bardo


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A couple of weeks ago, I received a posthumous surprize in the mail. My mother's last creation here on earth. Her project was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Florida Arts and the University of South Florida, Impressive. It was her first (and last) grant.

According to the frontispiece of the publication, "'Timeslips', an innovative project developed in 1998 by Dr. Anne Basting , uses an effective storytelling method with people with dementia to reaffirm their humanity and connection with staff, family and friends...without the frustration or embarassment that can come with memory loss. Responses are woven together to create a story...Understanding some of the work is like looking at an expressionistic (sic) painting; ... give it your own meaning; the participants did."

Unfamiliar images, like a man riding an ostrich, are used to prompt creative verbal responses.

Here are the responses my mother's creative cohort made to an image of the man riding an ostrich. It is entitled:

"Turkeys Have Pretty Legs"

"Turkeys have pretty legs. It's not doing any good", says Jack, "a man."
Lois: "Henry is riding a turkey. He can't ride. He is messing around and enjoys it"
Jack, wearing his brimmed straw hat, laughs uncontrollably. "That is right." he says.
"It is Thanksgiving." adds June. "On a Thursday out in the woods -- don't you know where they are going? Turkey is concerned because it is almost time for turkey -- somebody's turkey dinner."
As Lois says "turkey" , Sumner gives the turkey a name -- Susan. "Making him feel badly and he doesn't know why."
Lois points at Henry and says " He is wearing a gray shirt. Men don't usually ride on turkeys."
Cutting in, Marian adds, "too disturbing, looks uncomfortable."
In the background, but loud enough to be heard, Lois quietly says, " I did not know turkeys had such pretty legs."
Marian, in a louder voice, "Women are terribly concerned about that."

In my opinion, this is, perhaps, their finest piece.

One more. This is a group response to the image of a man sitting at a grand piano entitled:

"Lazy Man Sits at the Piano"

"Playing the piano - the works of musicians. There isn't anything funny about lack of harmony. Nice, it stands you there -- very peculiar. Yeah. Playing quack, quack. You've got a very confused person there. It can be serious. Quack, quack. They might just turn it over. Who is the man? That, I wouldn't know... he hasn't been around our place before. A pianist. It's showing. Sun today. He's going to play the piano. It can be good or bad. Good. Sweet. He's turning in his books. That's a good guess -- music books. It's a matter of time."

There are many more pieces which I would be pleased to share with anyone who is interested. You can see where my gift for poetry originates.

Elmer Green, the father of biofeedback, wrote a fascinating book about his experience with his wife, Alyce's, seven years with Alzheimer's. I think he is a theosophist, although he never mentions it directly. His belief is that Alzheimer's is the phenomenon that takes place as the Alzperson is making the transition between the physical world and the "the Bardo". He listened very carefully to Alyce's expressions during this time, though they were often unfathomable or jibberish. Sometimes he was certain that he was hearing about her experiences in the Bardo, which she was trying to communicate to him.

A while ago I received an email from a woman whose mother had been a court illustrator (and her father, a psychiatrist) in response to my entries about Elmer Green and his book on the subject The Ozawkie Book of the Dead . Her mother, an Alzheimer's patient in a Los Angeles nursing home, with an excellent program for artistic expression, drew the same woman's face over and over. No one in the family was able to recognize the face.

Photo note: Two of the authors of "Timeslips", communing

Posted by Dakota at 01:55 PM

Spare the Rod


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I was really disturbed by the news story about elementary school teacher, Christa Price, whose contract was not renewed by her principal/superintendent Dr. Dan Doerhoff. Ms. Price disagreed with Dr. Doerhoff's "punishment" of a fourth grader, which she asked Dr. Doerhoff to reconsider. He refused.

The child was required to gather rocks alone in the playground as penance for refusing to do her schoolwork. The playground, although covered by a security camera and fenced, is open to the road. Ms. Price went outside and helped this child gather rocks, because she considered the situation inherently unsafe. I'll bet she saw the punishment as unnecessarily soul crushing, as well.

Although this happened in September, Dr. Doerhoff did not renew Ms. Price's contract this spring, and refused to sign her recertification, in spite of seven years of service, all with excellent evaluations. He said that Ms. Price had been "insubordinate". Seven other teachers in the same school have resigned in protest.

A closed school board meeting (aren't these things always closed) was held to review legal and personnel issues. Mr. Doerhoff was most forthcoming after the meeting, as you can see.

This is not the first display of Dr. Doerhoff's leadership style. Another child is being disciplined for googling (which is often mistaken for, and bringing pornography into the classroom. I think Dr. Doerhoff could consider this a legitimate error on the student's part. After all, the child was not searching for (Addendum: I just went to and discovered a Bush parody. The pornographer who owned the domain name donated it to the antineocons, a long time ago . Hmmmm. Add that to the list of Dr. Doerhoff's over reactions, or perhaps his association between liberal and porno)

Thankfully The Cass County Democrat Missourian and a large group of parents are questioning Dr. Doerhoff's actions.

I am left to wonder where Dr. Doerhoff received his his training in child development. Paris Island? I am relieved that good folk in a red state will not tolerate misuse of power (and blatant spin) by a bullying authority. Dr. Doerhoff is not setting limits, he is crushing spirit and retaliating punitively.

Ms. Price (and her colleagues) should be commended for her courage in standing up for a child's best interests by being "insubordinate", even at great personal expense. Since this story has hit the national news, I hope that she is receiving hundreds of job offers from schools who would love to have a teacher like her. I also hope that Dr. Doerhoff is receiving hundreds of "insubordinate" emails, since his email address is readily available on the internet.

After thought: Alice Miller, in her book "For Your Own Good" argues that German childrearing practices which included cruel punishment and the expectation of blind obedience to authority, produced adults who followed authority without question, and worse, identifed with the aggressor, thus creating a culture who could embrace Hitler's leadership, and ultimately lead to the holocaust. I have the same concerns about "For Your Own Good" argues that German childrearing practices which included cruel punishment and the expectation of blind obedience to authority, produced adults who followed authority without question, and worse, identifed with the aggressor, thus creating a culture who could embrace Hitler's leadership, and ultimately lead to the holocaust. I have same concerns about "For Your Own Good" argues that German childrearing practices which included cruel punishment and the expectation of blind obedience to authority, produced adults who followed authority without question, and worse, identifed with the aggressor, thus creating a culture that could embrace Hitler's leadership, and ultimately lead to the holocaust. I have the same concerns about fundamentalist Christian childrearing practices.

Photo note: I am always surprized by what I can find in my archives, even if it isn't always a great photo.

Posted by Dakota at 07:47 AM

May 25, 2005

The Rain Goddess


The Rain Goddess
our spring

to our shores


heedless of
our sun starvation
our D deficiencies
our SAD

and our hair

just look
at hers

Photo note: Who knows who this really is - in the window she looked like the sort who might cause the Memorial Day weekend forecast to be thunderstorms and 47 degrees. I hope I'm not being unfair.

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Posted by Dakota at 06:41 AM

May 24, 2005

The Lazy Entry


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A special bonus edition
spring flowers,
(any excuse will do)
a movie

Can you tell if I've subscribed yet? Perhaps they could reproduce my "linguistic profile" accurately, 50% General American English, 35% Yankee, 10% Upper Midwestern, 5% Dixie (?!?) No Midwestern, but I don't think they'd do well on the clickies, especially those that are emotionally expressive .

Posted by Dakota at 11:57 AM

May 23, 2005

The Devils and The Dinosaur


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each Tuesday
the family
with helmet
whizzes past
to my wish
to shoot
them all

as well
as my

but today
they stopped
when I did



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Photo note: my apologies for the unintentional impressionistic qualities on the diinosaur. He was speeding and I was driving. I have yet to discover the photoshop technique that clears up blurs, but am very open to a consultation.

Posted by Dakota at 06:17 AM

May 20, 2005



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In my tender state, I was a bit washed away in despair after my Ladies Group. Despair was the general theme, despair about not being seen, important, cared for, despair about living with grief and anticipating more, and, in my case, (being more than a little concrete), despair about relieving the pain in my feet, that awakens me at night, that makes it hard for me to walk. I believe that physical pain is a somatization of emotion, but I have a little trouble figuring out what I am manifesting in this way that was/is so emotionally terrible. Granted, my mother was a piece of work, but really.

Fortunately, I had an appointment with my nutritionist in the afternoon. She has told me a few stories about my past lives, which I will spare you. Suffice it to say that I was murdered a couple of times, and that the murders weren't entirely unjustified in my book, innocent soul that I like to think I am.

My guides instructed her to teach me to surround myself with an egg. A rainbow striped egg (in pastels not primary colors), rather than a white egg, so as not to offend others with my purity (no problem). I am to reinstall the egg before every meal. (You know they're your guides, when they know how to link spiritual practices to what you're most likely to remember to do.)

They also said that I should avoid using my body for healing others for awhile (I did some hands on in my ladies group), and that my words and pictures are my healing instruments. My nutritionist thought they meant my photos, which, she said, have a healing vibration. She suggested that I keep some of them in my office. I guess it's time to get a new printer, since my old one is clogged to the point that it only produces magenta prints, which are interesting, but probably vibrationally unsound. .

Photo note: Doesn't this draw your eye into something pillowy and soft? The meaning of wisteria is youth and poetry, according to the charts. I always think of it as wistful. The wisteria on my trellis are blooming like gangbusters ( more accurately, like sweet fairies) this year. My horticulturist friend says that it's very hard to get them to bloom. I shall take their flowering as a sign.

Posted by Dakota at 07:21 PM

May 19, 2005

Bleeding Hearts


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Honestly, I have attuned myself so finely that some of my usual activities are no longer resonating with my new vibration, so to speak.

That is why, when listening to NPR and hearing Bill Frist, our healer/leader, spinning the demise of the filibuster, thus the last remnants of checks and balances, without commentary, I scream. Those in the auditory vicinity find this newly acquired reaction quite annoying, and tell me not to take it so personally. That really helps.

Esther Hicks, channeling Abraham, would say that I am disrupting my alignment with Source Energy, and I need to turn my attention elsewhere, because the best thing I can do about the situation is to stay aligned with well being and focuss on what I would prefer. Unfortunately, screaming still has its certain satisfactions.

Yesterday, I had to turn off a book on tape by a woman internist turned novelist, because it was too upsetting for my increasingly delicate sensibilities. Those internists really know how to evoke an image .

I am, however, reading (yes, a chunky hardcover, for the first time in months, so you know it must be good) a WONDERFUL book by Martha Beck, my heroine, called "Leaving the Saints" . It's about her slow departure from the Mormon Church, as well as an excellent description of the somatization of trauma, for those who are interested in such matters. (search "feet" on my blog). As Bessel van der Kolk, Dr. Post Traumatic Stress, has said "The Body Keeps The Score". I might add that Martha Beck is hysterically funny, which allows one to take in the less savory passages in a transformed way.

Photo note: One of hundreds (of course) shots of the bleeding hearts, chosen for its prominent double triangle .

Posted by Dakota at 07:11 AM

May 18, 2005

Logan Circle and Environs


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Logan Circle was looking especially lovely with all the tulip trees in bloom around the fountain. Their blossoms are purple and delicate like upside down wisteria. Logan Circle marks the beginning of a line of museums situated artfully along a lovely parkway, including the Franklin Institute and culminating with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Salvador Dali was featured. Some people did not pay enough attention to those events which might feature the fourth dimension and sell out, so an opportunity to be released from the same old three dimensions was lost. Oh well.


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There's Salvador peeking around the corner at City Hall. where a larger than life Frank Rizzo waves in a bronzley way.


There is an astonishing amount of public art in Philadelphia. I missed the mural tour because it conflicted with the picnic, but I did manage to shoot one.


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It was tucked among the surrounding buildings so artfully that I couldn't see who painted it. And then there was Robert Indiana's famous love piece replete with Falun Gong and fountain.


Another view

And finally Claus Oldenburg's Split Button in front of the Penn library

P5130138_a_320.jpgAnother view

That's quite enough resizing and clicking for the evening.

Posted by Dakota at 07:01 AM

May 16, 2005

Dinner at the Club


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Pardon me for going on about this event for another entry, but my life is a bit thin at the moment, as are my thoughts, nothing else, unfortunately. .

The real treat of the weekend was the alumni dinner which was held in a veritable Bastion of the Patriarchy, the Union League of Philadelphia . Of course I couldn't fit my camera into my evening bag, so you will have to be satisfied watching the slide show on their website and clicking "banquet and function rooms", which do not do the premises justice, I might add.

As a simple farm girl from the midwest, I feel quite privileged to have been invited inside at all, ever, since it is a private club to which I might not want to belong, I'm not quite sure. There are women members, and the tenth annual Passover seder was celebrated (ostensibly with Beef Wellington, but I'm not sure whether the member/participant was kidding, since puff pastry is not what one would call unleavened).

The building is an architectural extravaganza, eight floors, 250,000 square feet, filling a full city block. It was built in 1862 as a "patriotic society to support the policies of Abraham Lincoln". Lord knows just who it can find to support today. Let us hope it's not you know who, but I suspect it is. Power, after all, is power.

Really, I have done my share of trooping through the castles of Europe and various historic buildings in the US of A, and I was impressed that a nonmunicipal group could get something like this together.

After cocktails in the vast paneled ballroom with the group as a whole, the class of '60, was assigned a more intimate space, one of dozens, with thirty foot ceilings, lined with leaded glass bookcases, set in rare woods.

A compatriot and I did a fairly thorough search of the hallowed halls of the first and second floors to see if we could see something other than an old white man among its extensive portraiture, oil and photographic. We did find one woman in a group photo under Teddy Roosevelt, Ike and MacArthur. It was Sandra Day O'Conner.

And that folks is as close as I will get to rubbing elbows with the hooha this decade

Photo note: A Philadelphia woman (on her way, no doubt, to the Union League) and some boys from the "hood. They get dressed up in Philadelphia.

Posted by Dakota at 10:11 PM



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These are the official Dakota prize winners for Best Reunion Costume, as seen on the Locust Walk, riding in the back of one of the golf carts provided for those moderately infirm alum who wished to join in the festivities. I could be seen running along behind, elbowing throngs out of the way, in order to get my shot, which isn't great, but quite illustrative.

The weather, though thunderstorms were predicted, was simply lovely, as was the second woman president of the university Dr. Amy Gutman who dropped in on our picnic for a chat.

Classes gathered under white tents for southern fried chicken, caesar salad and rice crispie treats (you read it right) and then marched behind Phildelphia Mummers and the university jazz band (which seemed to have some missing members who would have carried the tune, had they been there), behind signs that read anachronistically "Drink a highball and be jolly, here's a toast to dear old Penn", quoting from a popular college imbibing song. Those celebratiing their fiftieth were probably the last of the crowd to have become jolly on highballs.

Following are photos of a fence full of styrofoam boaters, free for the plucking, a mummers band with alum and tents, the locust walk and a lone saxophonist mummer on break.

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Posted by Dakota at 09:06 AM

May 12, 2005

To Philadelphia to reun


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Off to Philadelphia this weekend for reunions of many kinds. The college twentieth, the graduate school 45th, the mother/daughter, the grandparents/ grandchildren. I may even get to visit my moire shot at the Franklin Institute.

The last reunion, classes huddled together under collapsing tents in the rain all over campus, was remarkable for the sucking mud that grabbed every alum by the ankles. We could barely hear the fundraising pitches over the pounding of raindrops on canvas. I do not mean to be cynical, but "development" does seem to be the primary purpose of the university homecoming. (Did you know that Harvard's endowment topped Chile's national worth last year?) Which is to say that I hope the sun is shining.

Think I'd better do my part and get a little sun shining around here.

Photo note: This was taken through my windshield on a rainy day. I thought it had an impressionist quality. Several years ago, when the Monet exhibit was in town, I found out that his cataracts affected his vision. He did make the most of it.

Posted by Dakota at 07:29 PM

Under construction


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by others
my perfect

unstable market
rising interest
inflated prices
precipitous dip
two years
bad idea
silly girl

I can't
two years
for the crash.
oh well
too bad
poor dear

I need
my space
lots of sun
not a stair
fresh air

fast trains
cozy nooks
serving tea
a tree

room to dance
to shower
to nap
to sun
to stretch
to intend
to differentiate
to dream
to write
to draw
to express
to heal
to realize
to park

to last me
til I'm old

Addendum: As you can see, the poetry is very far from flowing around this subject. I suspect a loose connection. Flawed and jerky as it is, I published, since, it's a completed assignment given to me by my nutritionist two weeks ago. She asked me to write a poem about my prospective space, and to surround myself in the color green. (Remember the monkey room? It was forest green and there were red berries out front. Did I ignore a sign? Probably, but there will be others.) Esther Hicks, channeling Abraham would call writing this poem, "taking the emotional journey before the action journey", which she highly recommends. Some journeys are on rockier roads than others.

Photo note: This is a construction site near my office, as reflected in a building that does only that, but is otherwise tedious. The new construction used to be a funeral home. There's a lot of zoning board huff about the new building rising up at least three stories higher than the original, due to a little slight of hammer. I'm sure it will be condos, maybe one for me, should I chose to ignore the two red lights and the undoubtedly exorbinant asking prices.

Posted by Dakota at 08:37 AM

May 11, 2005

Oh dear, flowers


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Photo: saccharin
Text: thin as a communion wafer
Inspiration: nonexistent
Technical achievement: mediocre
Spiritual content: unenlightened
Connection to universe: fluttering
Connection to blog: plodding
Electron conservation: poor

Hard evidence: My web server statistics report that I have slipped below 1000 visitors for the first time in weeks. Perhaps Google images has discovered its mistake, perhaps cheerleading season is over and cheerleaders aren't googling themselves, perhaps I'd better work on my connection to all there is, perhaps I'd better post a few more entries.

Posted by Dakota at 06:09 AM

May 10, 2005



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Spent a lovely hour with the qB of Frizzy Logic, after some difficulties locating one another--- I, pirouetting exhibitionistically in my silver raincoat in the lobby of the Copley Plaza, hoping to be recognized. She, sitting patiently next to her large pink bag in the lobby of the Copley Square Hotel, eagerly awaiting my arrival. We had so little identifying information, it looked like we might miss one another entirely. Fortunately, due to the miracle of pop up text messages on cellies, a first for me, we managed an hour together, though we could easily have wiled away many more.

We agreed on the theraputic benefits of digital photography (though the mechanical details hold no charm for either of us), admired mutual bloggish acquaintances, discussed clapboard and it's maintenance, Longfellow, Harvard, children and a host of other topics, making a lovely connection as we took a spin around selected parts of town.

All in all, a most satisfying experience out of the cyber into the flesh experience, even though neither of us took a single shot.

Photo note: In anticipation

Posted by Dakota at 12:13 AM

May 04, 2005

Real and Imagined


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Anne Lamott was interviewed yesterday on NPR. I adore her. A Born Again Christian AND a Left Wing Liberal, she says that she can't find all the quotations in her bible that the Christian Right throws around justifying their unChristlike behaviors. She is speaking out, Thank the Lord. Hallelujah. She has Jesus credentials from way back, and her audiences are filled with neocons who imagine that she is just like them. She would like her son to grow up to be a Democratic Precinct Chairman. Me too.

She said "You know you've created God after your own image when he or she hates the same people you do."

Which brings me to my photograph. A perfect shot of a little family cluster, hanging around images that have been created after themselves. Very hard to tell the difference unless you look carefully. I have forgotten the sculptor's name, but he has many a lifelike statue in this particular piazza.

As a final note on the theme of reality and it's variations, I am meeting an internet girlfriend in the flesh today. She is visiting from across the ocean, because her partner is attending a conference here. This is the first time I have pursued an activity of this sort. She is an excellent shot.

Posted by Dakota at 07:56 PM

With Light Like This


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I have given myself permission to publish this flower picture as part of my assignment to write a poem about my new space, which you will notice, has not happened yet.

I am still quite mired in squasher energy, sensitive soul that I am --not to mention the aspect of myself that hunts bargains like a wild boar, and the sensible frau part who thinks that mushrooms will do nicely when truffles are called for. So you see there is a good deal of internal swirl on the subject.

The light in the tulips is something that I would love to have in my loft/studio/office/haven/healing space/retreat/pristine place . Maybe I could duplicate the effect with those little white curtains blowing in the window suggested by Desmene.

A dear and close personal friend clipped a review from the New York Times several weeks ago about an exhibit featuring artist/healer Emma Kunz , who had a very nice space. Of course, I know I won't find a grotto like that in the city, but I am taken with her professional combo, and feel it to be an inspiration of sorts, however unrealized.

Photo note: My landlady always plants something spectacular for spring outside of my office door to delight all that flock here. Due to cool temperatures, these tulips have lasted a very long time, thus enabling me to shoot them several hundred times, veritably soaking up hard disc space.

Addendum: While searching google images for "sensitive child" I stumbled upon photos of Struwwelpeter. A first. go figure.

Posted by Dakota at 07:40 PM

May 03, 2005