Spider and stabilimentum


F spotted this garden spider (Argiope aurantia), which I understand is garden-variety sized, and nowhere near as large as they can get, inbound from his walk the other day.


I, of course, did the kind of point-and-shoot photography where you can’t really tell what you have framed or focused on because the camera is nowhere near your eye.

I did get a couple of decent shots, but I thought this one might be a better reminder of the follies of photography (I like the ring of that…). Especially of spiders.

The zigzag feature of the web: a stabilimentum. Some species make them in spirals, so this is a simple straight-forward type….

Time doesn’t stand still


It’s not rose season, but I had to catch the light coming through the stained glass this afternoon. The sun-angle that does this means that we’ve passed mid-summer and we’re headed toward the equinox.

Last week I watched one last gardenia blooming where I could see—and smell—it.

Another harbinger of season-change.

And…enjoy The View


I rarely watch daytime television for long, but today I caught the whole The-President-and-Five-Women interview, which was shot yesterday.

Barbara was the serious newswoman, fondling her note-cards.

EH took the strident-FOXy role. (Big surprise, right?)

Sherri was star-struck, yet cogent.

Joy got us laughing (so did the Pres!).

Whoopi nailed a thoughtful question totally from memory. (See, Barbara, this isn’t 20/20.)

I didn’t know about the Obama family tradition of the roses/thorns model for reconnecting with loved ones. In short, you think back over your day and designate a particularly good thing that happened as a rose, and a not-so-good-moment as a thorn. This, then, structures the beginning of the conversation over which the family reconnects.*

Nice idea.

* Can I write that any more awkwardly?

Memory lane, hot as here


Today’s pop-up shower came early and surprised me. Usually they arrive in the mid- to late-afternoon. Today’s was noon-time-ish.

When I checked the garden early, however, it was still damp from Monday’s evening downpour, yet I’m very glad to have more precipitation. Still, most of the tomatoes are being lost to squirrels and black scummy mildewy nastiness that gets inside them.

So, to distract you (and me!), here’s a picture of Ek’Balam, a famous lowland Late Classic Maya archaeological site on the Yucatan Peninsula. I was there seven years ago today. In the foreground is the ballcourt. Beyond the trees is the highest structure in the civic-ceremonial center, and is the part of the settlement where tourists are welcomed. The residential area, however, expanded outward, I dunno how far.

Tough luck is sometimes no luck


These are the days, my friend…when critters are eating other critters and critters are eating plants and plants are doing their thing, and some living things aren’t getting their sustenance. The cycle of life is a trade-off.

Spider on left and stink bug or shield bug (something) on the right…just outside the window….

Peperonata: not quite


While the signature vegetable of Sicily is the eggplant (especially the smallish white ones), the signature dish, I have read several places (although I’ve also seen it ignored), is peperonata. Peperonata is sauteed sliced peppers (various colors) stewed with onions and tomatoes, a few green olives, and flavored with basil and red wine vinegar (salt and pepper, too, of course). Well, that’s one version.

Vegetable stews that are heavy on tomatoes, onions and peppers are big all around the Mediterranean. Add eggplant and you’re headed toward puttanesca or caponata….

Sofa vs couch


And this is a sofa..

For me, the best part is the tennis ball.

Quiet contemplation no. 47


Is it a character flaw that as I contemplate the impending fourth season of Mad Men, that I find the women characters more interesting than the men?

No reason for this topic


Dad’s dad, whose English was maybe his tenth language—and for most I suspect he knew just the functional words, the words you needed to survive—fascinated me. We saw him irregularly, maybe every three years or so.

In the KW style, he should have a nickname here, complete with capitalization. I keep coming back to The Hard-Scrabble Farmer, but that doesn’t tell the whole story by any means.

Anyway, one of my memories of his language ticks was that he would rub the cat’s belly and say, with what I came to realize was admiration, “You lazy bugger, you.”

As to behavior ticks, he cruised through the day with a small glass of plum brandy at his side as he read the newspaper, one small sip perhaps every half hour, whether he was sitting indoors or out.

Cooped up


Very hot. And sticky. Today.

But why do I mention this? I was inside all day except for running a few errands.