Little Italy Days Bocce Tournament

Thursday evening. Steve’s first Guest blog.

Steve photographed Franco Harris* at the Little Italy Days Bocce tournament in the neighborhood of Bloomfield. * (Former Steeler. Known for the “immaculate Reception “ play and a member of four Steelers Super Bowl Championship teams) Mr. Harris threw out the first ball of the Bocce tournament.

In 2017 Steve photographed me with Mr.Harris at the same event.

Little Italy Days 2017
Remembering Jimmy Cvetic RIP- photographed with Franco Harris by me in 2017

*Cvetic, a gregarious and gravelly-voiced Pittsburgh native, was a Vietnam veteran, Allegheny County narcotics detective, boxing coach and poet. He also organized annual holiday toy drives for needy children.

To see the famous play of The Immaculate Reception click here

From a blog post in 2013 when Steve and I went to. Steelers game in the snow https://rutheh.com/2013/12/09/steelers-game-in-the-snow/

A Bald Cypress in Clintonville Ohio

A deciduous conifer -the Bald Cypress
In Whetstone Park by the playground and library

I used the inaturalist Seek app to identify this magnificent tree

This tree has inspired much poetry and prose over the centuries due to its melancholy and mysterious appearance. Longfellow refers to its “towering and tenebrous boughs” that “waved like banners that hang on the walls of ancient cathedrals” in his 1847 poem, Evangeline. Naturalist John Muir in his book Thousand-Mile Walk refers to “the dark, mysterious cypress woods which cover everything” and states that “night is coming on and I am filled with indescribable loneliness.”- click text for ArborDay source

Closeup

Remembering Poet and Friend Dorothy Holley on Her Birthday

Two posts reblogged honoring

Dorothy Holley Poet, Friend post from 2010 click for slideshow

May 15, 1923 – June 6, 2010.
Link to her obituary

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Dorothy Holley’s Iris from her garden are in the photo below replanted by fellow poet and friend Liane Norman, who is the author of I Dug Up the Iris

I Dug Up the Iris

in Dorothy’s garden
to plant in the soaked

soil of mine, memorial
to her each spring

when they’ll open
complicated ruffles

and flourishes, purple
or blue with speckled

throats. They’ll rise
out of rhizomes

sprawling at soil’s
surface like the joints

of my old  hands
anchoring the tall

stalks and frilly petals.
This morning

in the brief breath
of cool I dug shallow

trenches for this legacy,
this pantry of pollens

the bees prospect,
insects with lives

beyond what the mere
gardener knows.

Liane Ellison Norman, a Madwoman in the Attic, has published two books of poetry, The Duration of Grief and Keep(www.smokeandmirrorspress.com). She has published poems in 5AM, Kestrel, North American Review, Grasslimb, Rune, Voices from the Attic anthologies and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Her poem “What There’d Been” won the Wisteria Prize in 2006 from Paper Journey Press.

reblogged On the occasion of the birthday of poet Dorothy Holley http://rutheh.com/tag/dorothy-holley-poet/

Robert Burns Statue in Brisbane – Guest Blog

In response to yesterday’s post about January 25th being Robert Burns’ birthday

In my inbox was an email from my friend and blog follower Gayle. Gayle lives in Brisbane, Australia. I’d “met” her through the Woolswap exchange program she created and runs.

Would you believe there’s a Robert Burns statue in a park Centenary Place, directly across the street from where she lives in Brisbane? Here’s a photo of the statue. I’d a link in my original post of a list of sixty Burns statues around the globe.

Photographed in Brisbane by Gayle’s partner, Dean

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And here’s a comment from my friend Joanne with what her sister wrote after viewing the blog post. Joanne’s sister Mary wrote of the annual dinner that she and her friends celebrated in Canada, on the poet’s birthday –

JB says

Ruth – here’s a comment from my sister Mary up in Canada:
“Our friend Esther always had a special dinner for the occasion ……
We all decked out in whatever tartan we had (I made Nova Scotia tartan vests for Bernie and me) . We were allowed to bring Scottish themed appetizers (I took little oat cakes with a whiskey flavored cheese ball) (or is it whisky – actual scotch whiskey is spelled differently from the others).
Anyway Esther served the entire traditional meal – a modified Haggis (liver flavored meatoaf) served with a wee dram of Drambuie, cock-a-leekie soup, roast beef with taters and neeps (mashed potatoes and turnips), and a trifle for dessert. Dave spouted from memory the actual Toast to the Haggis as he sliced and served it, with much brandishing of a large carving knife and using his best Scottish accent. And we all came prepared with Burns poetry that we took turns reciting while toasting Burns. It was great fun. And it was there that a number of us tried Scotch for the first time and decided we liked it.”

It’s always fun to receive responses to a blog post.

Robert Burns 263rd Birthday -a Reblog

Originally posted 7 years ago- it’s snowing today, too! 2022-1759=263

SCOTTISH BARD’S 256TH BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY – JUST BEFORE SUNSET IN THE SNOW-January 25, 2015

Steve said it was Robbie Burns birthday today.  Born January 25, 1759.

We missed the fancy fundraiser for the museum last week, the Haggis and men decked out in kilts of their clan.

We missed the “not your grandfather’s ” Robert Burns birthday party in Lawrenceville and the one on the South Side with all kinds of scotch at Piper’s pub.

But we got to pay homage to the Scottish poet, just before dusk.  The end of a January gloomy Sunday.

We headed out to Schenley Park to the Robert Burns statue (by Scottish sculptor J. Massey Rhind)  and it started to snow.

Burns statue with snow front

Right next to Phipps Conservatory.

Burns statue with snow
Burns statue with plow
Burns Pedestal

Mrs. Peacock sounds like a game of clue but here is  a snippet of the article in the Mary 3, 1914 Post-Gazette.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 10.48.20 PM

For a list of Robert Burns memorials around the world, click here

Quotes

“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley.
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

(To A Mouse)”
― Robert Burns, The Works of Robert Burns

                                                                                          My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;

                                                                                          My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;

                                                                                          A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,

                                                                                          My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.” 

                                                                                                                                  ― Robert Burns

from Tam o’Shanter

But pleasures are like poppies spread—

You seize the flow’r, its bloom is shed;

Or like the snow falls in the river—

A moment white—then melts forever.
Line 59

“And man, whose heav’n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn
Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!”
― Robert Burns

Supporting Your Independent Bookstore and a Friend

October 11th, fellow blogger and friend, Audrey Kletscher Helbling, posted the news that her poem, “Funeral During a Pandemic” had been published in an award winning book- This Was 2020—Minnesotans Write About Pandemics and Social Justice in a Historic Year.


The collection was compiled by Paul Lai, a Ramsey County Librarian in Minnesota. If you click the link at “posted the news” above so you can see a photo of the beginning of her poignant poem.

There are 54 pieces of prose and poetry in the volume.  I called the reference librarian at their library and was able to get the

ISBN# 9781087967622

I discovered the book could be ordered from your independent bookstore. So I did!

Here is a nearby independent bookstore, White Whale Bookstore (“a home for book lovers”) in Bloomfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh PA, just a few miles from my home.  Today I went to pick up the book. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Hope you have an independent bookstore near you.

 

 

 

Coffee, Earl Grey Tea Bread and a Remembered Poem

After our walk, my friends Jen snd I Went to have a coffee. There was a slice of of Earl Grey Tea Bread in the case and she’d had it before. Encouraged me to order snd try it . It was brought to the table with a generous amount butter and lemon zest on top.

We were at de Fer Coffee in the Strip District. And she was right. It was delicious. The butter slathered on top reminded me of the A.A, Milne poem the King’s Breakfast when the Dairymaid asks the Alderney “Don’t forget the butter for
The Royal slice of bread.” I’d say the cow did the butter spreading royally!

Remembering how my mother read aloud to me, this is a poem I can hear her voice recite the verses. Another she’d read with great expression was Milne’s poem Disobedience. I’d not thought of either in years.

Until the slice of bread arrived at the table in the coffee shop.

Funny how a slice of bread with lots of butter sparks a childhood memory of a poem being read aloud and the cadence and tone of a mother’s voice can come alive in your head, decades later.

Once my cousin John B wrote that my mother’s voice was mellifluous. I had to look it up!

Diane Kerr Poet, Author of PERIGEE

I received a copy of PERIGEE in the mail today.  A gift from the poet Diane Kerr.

I had the honor of capturing her author photo which now graces the back cover of her just published poetry book.

Thank you Diane and congratulations on winning the Brittingham Prize in Poetry and having your book published at the University of Wisconsin Press.  

To read reviews and/or purchase a copy click here 

Release from the  University of Wisconsin Press Click link for more information

“Diane Kerr mentors poets through the Madwomen in the Attic Creative Writing Program at Carlow University and is the author of the collection, Butterfly. Her work has appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Mississippi Review, and Pearl, among others. She holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Kerr’s forthcoming Perigee follows a speaker’s emotional reckoning with a traumatic secret she felt pressured to keep during her girlhood. In varied lyric narratives, these poems reinforce that shock and suffering have no statute of limitations.”

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Perigee.

  1. the point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is nearest to the earth. 

So You’ve Always Wanted to Knit a Sock? or Not.

So you’ve always wanted to knit a sock?  or not. If not, I hope you’ll return to the blog tomorrow.

A math teacher friend and former colleague is preparing to knit her first pair of socks.  She inspired this hand knit sock post. My friend in Florida who is finishing a pair of socks she started knitting for her son about five years ago and now she has the time to knit the second sock.  I think she is on the toe already.

When I first thought of knitting a pair of socks, I thought it looked too difficult. Now I average a pair a month.   My friends say” it’s too much trouble” but the way I see it, I’d be in trouble if I didn’t have sock knitting in my life.  Especially now as we are staying at home.

A blog post by knitter, author and designer Susan B. Anderson describes in detail  How I Make My Socks and is a great start. There are patterns on Ravelry and videos on YouTube.

These striped socks are knit with some very smart yarn that knows how to stripe all by itself, it’s the way the yarn is dyed.  Looks complicated, doesn’t it? The following 4 pairs of socks are knit in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature Yarn from UK bought at McWalker Yarns in Millvale PA.  Although their physical store is closed you can still order online.  (and if you are out of work you can apply for a $50 mini-grant for yarn to knit a project during isolation due to COVID-19 click name of store to get details or order knitting supplies, sock or otherwise)

This first pair is knit by a friend and neighbor who just started knitting in December.  Her first pair of socks.  She knit them on 2- 16″ circulars, one at a time.  She is a very tidy knitter.  I helped her along the way and she watched a couple of videos but she is now finishing her third pair.  Every once in awhile she needs reassurance she is doing the knitting correctly but she’s got it all by herself now.  I am proud of my excellent student and I think her socks look great!

All West Yorkshire Spinners Signature Yarn

 

You have a smart phone? a smart TV?  Here’s some other smart yarn. And you can wash these socks in the washing machine. There is a handwash setting on my machine  I air dry mine.

There is Regia Yarn by Schachenmayr and cotton yarn Tutti Fruiti II,Regia Design Line or Regia Pairfect by ARNE & CARLOS 4-ply (fingering weight). 75% Virgin Wool and 25% Polyamide. I finished both pairs that are shown  completed. Kid socks (in the middle photos)_are fun to knit and take less time.

 

Allergic to wool?  Here are two skeins of cotton sock yarn and a pair I knit for a friend

If you’re a blog follower, you might remember my poem The Satisfaction of Sock Knitting on an April post four years ago.  

A Handknit Sock

There’s a math to it. The cast on. Count
the multiples of four.
Last year it was hats and cowls.
This year, socks.
I want to try the fish lips kiss heel.

It’s a simple thing. How a sock is knit.
You start with yarn.
Needles as slim as toothpicks.
Terms like toe and gusset and cuff.
My friend says, "it’s too much work."

There’s a rhythm in the repetition.
The making. Clockwise circles.
Some throw, some pick.
Row after row after row.
In time you get length and warmth.

There’s the calm you long for,
around and around and around.
Turn heel for a path to Zen.
You think of those you love.
The grandmother who taught you.

The wet squeezed out,
pairs hang to dry. Later fold
their softness, admire the colors,
ignore imperfections.
Find comfort, hidden in shoes.
My squishy hand knit socks.

or my page on the Comparative Analysis of Knitting Socks when I started six pairs before Christmas using all different methods- two at a time on a  long corded (32″) single circular needle – Magic Loop, there was a single sock on an 8″ circular (that took a few inches to master) a single sock on two 16″ circulars, the set of sharp double point needles- one at a time, and then wooden and metal needles to add to the mix. Toe up, cuff down.  Fish Lips Kiss Heel, Flap and Gusset, Afterthought Heel and Eye of Partridge.

Maybe someone reading this blog post will get some needles and sock yarn and give it a go. If you decide to try it, please share your photos and experience as you start knitting socks.