Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Morning Sounds in July

The coffee-maker,
The clock tick-tock, the locusts,
The snoring beagle.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Evening Storm, Late at Work

I sat in my cubicle and watched my monitor screen
All that afternoon and into the evening
As the July storms rolled across Michigan,
As Doppler radar blobs of green, yellow, and red
Crept from left to right across the digital map on my monitor.

I stood on my tiptoes to try to see
Across rows upon rows of cubicles, all emptied at five o'clock,
Across to the far-off window
Where I could barely spy
The very edge of a dark cloud,
Looming over the grey walls of the cubicle maze.

I climbed on my chair, from there to my desk,
Until I stood atop a boxful of folders,
So that I could lean over the cubicle's walls
To see all the way to the windows,
To see beyond the cubes
Where I could see vast heaps of angry clouds piled up
Churning black and grey, bruised green and purple,
Looming closer
While lightning lit the shadows underneath
Turning night to day, again and again.

I climbed carefully back down off the pile of folders
Down off my desk, and then sat back in my chair
Where I looked again at the screen.
The little colorful blobs kept their stately pace,
Creeping slowly from left to right
Across the digital map on my monitor.

Thunder rolled through the rows of empty cubicles,
Rattling sleek keyboards and old coffee cups.

The little blobs continued to creep across my monitor.

Thunder rolled through my own cubicle,
Rattling my monitor with its green, yellow, red blobs.
I put my hands on my desktop
To feel it tremble at the sound.

And then I stood up.

I abandoned:
--My cubicle
--My desk
--My chair
--My boxful of folders
--My grey cubicle walls

I abandoned my monitor with its little creeping blobs.

I ran through aisles of empty cubicles.
I ran down the stairs.
I ran out the double glass doors, locked at this hour.
I ran out into the parking lot
Where my little grey car stood alone
Far, far from the building.

The dark clouds loomed,
Closing in overhead,
Billowing and flashing,
Driving the very air before them
In a vast gust front
That swept across the trees,
And the manicured grass,
And the asphalt,
And me.

I stood alone in the vast parking lot
With my arms thrust up into the air,
As I stopped and spun about in the wind,
While sheets of rain marched closer,
Twigs and branches blew past me,
The wind roared in tune with the thunder,
And dust swept across the asphalt.

The first cold drops of rain struck the hot pavement
And disappeared in puffs of steam.
Lightning fell about me --
A bolt exploded into an electrical pole
Just at the edge of the parking lot
Sound and flash swept over me,
As one with the wind and the rain
And the frantic clouds.

I ran.

I ran from the building.
I ran for my little grey car
I ran across the black asphalt
I ran across the yellow lines
I ran before the wind and the rain
I ran from the lightning and clouds
I ran until I reached my car and jumped inside,
Cold rain soaking my shirt.

There, safe in my car,
Rain still dripping down my face,
I relaxed in the driver's seat,
And sat very quietly,
Watching water sheeting across the windshield
While my heavy breaths fogged it from inside,
And the storm washed over me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Photo Potpourri, Part 2

Our annual delegation from France arrived this week. They made it through Customs by cleverly disguising themselves as Flower People.

Usually our Summertime photos include a view of the island from our home. This, however, is the view of our home from the island.

Stella at the Ann Arbor Art Fair.

Monique found a comfy chair at the Art Fair.

Malcolm started his fishing at the small end of the scale.

Pepper plants!

Henry seems skeptical.

Stella kayaking.

The view of our home from the kayak.

Real fishermen don't stop for a little rain. Perhaps we should put The Perfect Storm on this Summer's movie list.

Sadly, Stella caught the dreaded Michigan Finger Fungus.

Cool clouds.

Katie the Beagle joins the crew for a screening of Sherlock Holmes.

The sneaker designers, hard at work.

Lookie here, now we're a two-kayak family.

And we end with a couple of photos of bedtime buddies.

That's it for now. But stay tuned to this channel for more summertime adventures, coming soon....

Photo Potpourri, Part 1

All right, folks. It's time for more photo catch-up...

John and Justine on an early Summer cruise.

Monique picking cherries.

The delphinium and the begonias greeted our visitors.

Arsen tending our hosta bed.

Thanks, Arsen!

Storm damage a few houses down the shore from us.

The hosta tender, himself.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain. Prepare for a relaxing cruise.

Phil Gaven, his daughters Maura and Caitlyn, and their friend Isabella came to visit. A good time was had by all.

Phil in repose.

Four girls (Katie the Beagle, Caity the Human, Isabella, and Maura) with four entirely different expressions.

Isabella donned a colorful nun's habit to protect her from the mosquitos.

Monique's friend Patricia came for a visit. We set the two of them loose on our stinky old carpet with tools of destruction, and they tore up the carpet.

The ladies on the porch. (From left to right: Lexi, Monique, Patricia, and Wendy.)

The Tiki Night party begins as the Tiki afternoon cookout. From left-to-right: Sam & Faye Stamper, Brigitte, Tom & Tara Barber.

Tiki Night cruise.

Lexi and the sparkler.

The Magic Hour.

The Ladies' No. 1 Floaty Chair Agency.

Moi the Cat contemplates the hosta.

Picnicking with the Dems of West Oakland County.

No, Anna, you can't drink five gallons of cyser.

Katie the Beagle playing with Lexi and Anna.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Minneapolis photos -- just two months late!

As mentioned before, I zipped off to Minneapolis for a few days in May for the annual American Society for Indexing (ASI) conference. I don't really have any pictures of the conference. Rest assured, lots of indexers sat around in hotel conference rooms and discussed indexing. It was very interesting and loads of fun (for me, anyway) but not really all that photogenic.

I did, however, pull out the camera on the final afternoon when a batch of us from the conference went for a walking tour of the old mill district and the falls on the Mississipi. So, here we go...

Yes, it's true. I'm in Minneapolis.

Look! A rare natural phenomenon: a vast herd of free-range indexers.

For reasons unknown, several wedding parties gathered at the site of the abandoned mills for their wedding photos. I can only assume this means that Minnesotans love flour mills.

Famed "Indexer to the Feds" Chuck Knapp contemplates new construction within abandoned stone walls -- a striking contrast of modernity and history that speaks of the passage of time and our own mortality -- and thinks, "Man, I could use a beer." (Hey, it was warm and we had already walked quite a ways.)

The most amazing thing to me was that the entire layout of the flour mills around the falls on the Mississippi is almost identical to the layout of the paper mills around Glens Falls on the Hudson River in New York. This is just a cool photo of the cliffs and the chutes along the river.

A better look at the old mills on the West shore.

The lock and the falls.

More flour mills along the East shore. Apparently they grow a wee bit of wheat in Minnesota.

We walked out across the river on an old rail bridge that has been converted for pedestrians and bikes. This is looking back at downtown on the West shore.

That's about it for the tour. But as we walked back towards the hotel and dinner, Chuck and I came across at least a half-dozen statues of Minnesota Twins All-Star catcher Joe Mauer. We took this to be evidence that in addition to loving flour, Minnesota LOVES Joe Mauer:

... and we found that even trying to look as athletic as Joe Mauer caused us great thirst. So we quickly found an Irish pub at which we could rehydrate. Thank goodness. You wouldn't want to cramp up after an expedition like this.

That's about it for my trip to Minneapolis. I had a good time, even if this was the only time I saw the sun for about three days.