The temporary time has come: moving on

Dear everyone who still stops by here – in spite of the gap between posts, I still think of you and want to continue our conversations.

It turns out though, that this current incarnation of a blog has some limitations in relation to some of the other things I’m doing.

Being a somewhat introverted and secretive writer it was always within my comfort zone to blog anonymously and sporadically and not really DO anything with my writing.

I’m learning to be braver, though, and working hard to improve my writing and create things of beauty that I can actually share with people.

So I’m going to be moving my blogging activity to a new website. It will have some of the things I already posted here and, eventually, a lot of new stuff.

I’d love it if you joined me over at Wander-Bird.

One thing I’ve noticed is that Blogger and WordPress aren’t always compatible and I sometimes have trouble logging in to leave comments on Blogger blogs – I’ll do what I can to work around that but sometimes you’ll find that my login info leads in a kind of circuitous detour. That’s ok, I guess that’s what Wander-Birds do.

Additionally, if I “followed” you through this blog, I’m moving all my subscriptions to another feed service – don’t be alarmed when I unsubscribe through Temporary Reality!

movements that move us, parts 2, 3 & 4

Here’s a kinetic sculpture that unlike the previous work is minimal and simple – and yet it creates its own complexity. I like that its use of linear components creates images reminiscent of non-linear designs seen in, for example, cell division…

Kinetic Art – Dynamic Structure 29117 2007-2010 from Willem van Weeghel on Vimeo.

Then, something lighthearted and involving sound waves:

Floating Orchestra from Harvey & John on Vimeo.

And a graceful sculpture in a Singapore airport.

“Kinetic Rain” Changi Airport Singapore from ART+COM on Vimeo.

movements that move us, part 1

This last week I was a little surprised to have two videos showing kinetic sculptures “float by” in such short succession and out of curiosity I looked to see what else I could find of the engaging and, literally moving, creations people are making.

What I found was really compelling, so rather than a single post with a line of videos in a queue, I’d rather present these artists’ work one at a time so they can each be savored.

Today I just came across the work of U Ram Choe who is based in Seoul and who makes amazing sculptures that come to life with some ingenious and delicate designs and probably a fair bit of computer wizardry.

Una Lumino, 2012 by U-Ram Choe from U-Ram Choe on Vimeo.

In this last video, he talks about how he approaches his machines: as though they are alive and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s precisely because of this attitude that the materials he works with become so responsive under his creativity and care.

I love how something so imaginative can actually be made!

of fog and fireflies, and dragons in the city

A few years ago this wonderful video made the rounds and I was smitten (and fittingly scribbled a little fog-love poem).

The Unseen Sea from Simon Christen on Vimeo.

we pretend we are comets

We pretend we are comets, that we are suns,
when we’re no bigger than fireflies, smaller than sparks
in the expanding night of the universe

and the fog rolls in and in and out again to the sea
and the sea rolls
and it all rolls around a star, the way we circle,
the way we orbit the space in which
there are such things as fireflies and fog,

and really, we are galaxies
tucked within galaxies, within galaxies,
all of which roll in and in and out again.

*** *** ***

San Francisco is my mythic city; when I dream of cities, they are all somehow always parts of San Francisco, always known by the proximity of rolling hills to sea to fog, even in the shadows of tall buildings or on endless looping highways.

The fiction project I’m working on is set in San Francisco. It also has dragons. Not fire-breathing, ravenous beasts, but water-borne, thunder-clad, hidden creatures. I’m not exactly sure where they reside, though when I close my eyes and feel for them I get close and somehow the fog has something to do with them. A much younger me (20 years ago!) thought so too:

The giant tongue drooling over the bay
licking down hillsides
between orange teeth,

That filmy white tongue
sliding between the spiked incisors of the city
lapping at the shore,

Exudes the breath of dragons
as its succulent dream flesh
curls around each wave

and tastes.


Simon Christen has a new time-lapse video out and it’s just as mesmerizing as his first, reminding me again of the wonder of water vapor and the way the ocean travels inland, touching as it goes.

Adrift from Simon Christen on Vimeo.

*** *** ***

That linocut accompanied the second poem in a little self-published volume called Rusts, Blues and Golden Browns.

Oh “May” goodness, what happened?

May flew! We had Winter until March then it felt like March for 8 weeks and now it’s June! Yesterday was the first truly sunny, blue-sky day we’ve had in ages and I felt drunk on sunshine.
Somewhere along the way I reconnected with my commitment to have a writing practice: I started working on the story I’ve put down and picked up and put down again for about two years, decided to indulge my Muse and work on short fiction, wrote a few poem snippets and am contemplating an essay. Additionally I’ve had editing work and have been attending a German conversational group 3-4 times per week. Too, I’ve been working every day to keep up with the yard and housework and have set aside a little more time for exercise.

My check-ins with blog friends dropped to null and when I finally popped back in I saw so much interesting stuff that I don’t know that I’ll be able to catch up!

I don’t have any blog posts planned or in the works right now, and I may be starting up the blog that’s “under-my-name” again as a place to play with fiction and such – but I haven’t made any decisions.

This is really just a fluff post, nothing profound or useful or even entertaining. Just, “hi everybody.” :-)

Portrait of a kind-hearted man


My father-in-law was born in Shanghai in 1927, the year civil war broke out in China in what was to be a 22-year-long conflict. b. january pictures 122Youngest of seven in a time of poverty and struggle, he was given to another family at a young age, though he kept in contact with his birth family. When he was ten, Japan took advantage of China’s internal division and invaded Shanghai. I don’t know much about how those years were for him, but I can’t imagine they were easy.

Prior to the Chinese Communist Party’s victory over the Republic forces, he met and married my future mother-in-law.Yu LingFeng Chen JianMin


Eventually the People’s Republic of China would be founded, he would join the military as a teacher and work to improve literacy among troops who had received little or no education between the long-term civil and world wars and the demanding farming lives many had left behind.

b. january pictures 468

At heart he was a romantic, he loved literature and eventually would become a high school literature teacher. His three children grew up in the relative safety of their father’s school, under his and their neighbors’ watchful eyes. Sometimes that was difficult, especially during the years of the Cultural Revolution.




One daughter was sent for a time to a pig farm in a faraway county. His youngest, the only son, taught himself English in the 1980s and became a tour guide. Eventually that son would travel abroad and bring home a foreign wife.

From the very beginning my father-in-law was kind and accepting of me. He was only ever patient with my stumbling Chinese, was amused when I went on to learn the local dialect. He never criticized me and was always generous. He loved his family, enjoyed a nice walk around the block, was a phenomenal cook and a devoted reader of the local newspaper. He marveled at California’s beautiful blue sky when, at the age of 70, he first left China and he took great pleasure in his grandchildren. I will miss him.



first forage

Things are growing!

Compare today with the photo taken just six days ago…

20130426_093509    20130420_144249It’s such a relief. I’d tried not to be aware that winter’s drag was dragging on too long but couldn’t keep it far out of mind. Mostly I just tried to keep a chipper attitude about yet another snow and stretches of grey time. But now, finally, things are growing and I realize how totally for granted I’ve taken my California-ness and the ability to find pretty much anything to forage any time of year. At least in the off-season, the dead of summer, you can still pick some bay leaves and soak up sunshine, while here, in Germany, leaves and sun are scarce in the winter.

This week I made an important discovery. The much-touted Bärlauch (Allium ursinum) is not, as I’d imagined, chive-like. I’d assumed (having not bothered to look it up) that it was wild cousin to chives (Schnittlauch).  My neighbor-friend pointed it out to me on a walk (where we did also see chives growing wild at the edge of the path). Not only is it the right time to find this plant with many English names (bear garlic, broad-leaved garlic, buckrams, ramsons, and, similar to it’s German version, bear leek), it’s also wildly abundant in our surrounding woods and so I couldn’t pass up a chance to get to know this aromatic herb.


This morning the Gastropod and Arthropod clans were out in full-force, doing their typically calm morning things, probably happy spring has finally arrived.




As soon as I saw the extensive patches of Bärlauch, this recipe for herbes salees (salted herbs) sprang to mind. I also poked around for other versions, just to see what folks have done before and since I was mostly interested in using what I have on hand – currently just the one thing.


Well Preserved, in addition to being an all-around interesting site, gives a little historical-cultural spin on the practice of salt preserving herbs and the long standing “tradition” of using what you have.


Two days ago I went and picked just shy of a pound of Bärlauch and today another pound and I’ve been able to make completely local fresh herb-preserve that includes locally mined salt. I’ll be using it to season soups and maybe with butter for a garlic-bread spread. SONY DSC

It’s been too long since I engaged in one of my favorite activities and maybe it signals a step toward feeling at-home a little when the wild plants are starting to feel like friends.