Good Loving Woman

Good Loving Woman

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April 26, 2013

imagesThe Brown-headed Cowbird is a stocky blackbird with a fascinating approach to raising its young. Females forgo building nests and instead put all their energy into producing eggs, sometimes more than three dozen a summer. These they lay in the nests of other birds, abandoning their young to foster parents, usually at the expense of at least some of the host’s own chicks.

All About Birds

Mother’s Intuition?

April 26, 2013


There Will Be a Full Moon with a Partial Eclipse Tonight

Do Tell

April 25, 2013

haley's comet

In 1909, Mark Twain is reported to have said: “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year and I expect to go out with it. … The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'” And he was true to his word: Mark Twain died on this day in 1910, a day after the comet’s closest approach to Earth (books by this author).

On This Day

April 21, 2013

The Undeniable Pressure of Existence

April 15, 2013

by Patricia Fargnoli

I saw the fox running by the side of the road
past the turned-away brick faces of the condominiums
past the Citco gas station with its line of cars and trucks
and he ran, limping, gaunt, matted dull haired
past Jim’s Pizza, past the Wash-O-Mat,
past the Thai Garden, his sides heaving like bellows
and he kept running to where the interstate
crossed the state road and he reached it and he ran on
under the underpass and beyond it past the perfect
rows of split-levels, their identical driveways
their brookless and forestless yards,
and from my moving car, I watched him,
helpless to do anything to help him, certain he was beyond
any aid, any desire to save him, and he ran loping on,
far out of his element, sick, panting, starving,
his eyes fixed on some point ahead of him,
some possible salvation
in all this hopelessness, that only he could see.

“The Undeniable Pressure of Existence” by Patricia Fargnoli, from Duties of the Spirit. © Tupelo Press, 2005. (from The Writer’s Almanac, April 15, 2013)


it may not always be so…

by E. E. Cummings

it may not always be so; and i say

that if your lips, which i have loved, should touch

another’s, and your dear strong fingers clutch

his heart, as mine in time not far away;

if on another’s face your sweet hair lay

in such a silence as i know, or such

great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,

stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, i say if this should be—

you of my heart, send me a little word;

that i may go unto him, and take his hands,

saying, Accept all happiness from me.

Then shall i turn my face, and hear one bird

sing terribly afar in the lost lands.

“it may not always be so…” by E.E. Cummings, from 100 Selected Poems. © Grove Press, 1954.

April 9, 2013

America’s Vision Quest


The first city-to-city television broadcast took place on this date in 1927. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover was in a studio in Washington, D.C., and an audience sat in an auditorium in New York City. The broadcast began with a close-up of Hoover’s forehead, because he was sitting too close to the camera. He backed up and said, “All we can say today is that there has been created a marvelous agency for whatever use the future may find with the full realization that every great and fundamental discovery of the past has been followed by use far beyond the vision of its creator.” He was followed by a comedian performing jokes in blackface.


April 7, 2013

S a c a j a w e a

April 6, 2013


It’s the birthday of the Shoshone woman Sacajawea, born in Idaho sometime around 1789. She was kidnapped at age 10 by the Hidatsa tribe, sold into slavery, and bought by a French-Canadian trapper who made her one of his two wives. When Lewis and Clark hired the trapper to guide them to the Pacific, Sacajawea — a teenager with her two-month-old baby on her back — was part of the deal. She was the only woman to accompany the permanent party to the Pacific Ocean and back. images

Officially she acted as interpreter, since she could speak half a dozen Indian languages. But she also knew which plants were edible, and she saved the explorers’ records when their boat overturned. In his notes, William Clark pointed out that tribes were inclined to believe that their party was friendly when they saw Sacajawea because a war party would never travel with a woman, especially one with a baby.

When the trip was over, Sacajawea received nothing. Her trapper husband got $500.33 and 320 acres of land. She died on December 22, 1812, of a “putrid fever,” according to Clark’s records. She was 23. Eight months later, Clark legally adopted her two children — the boy who had been a baby on the expedition, Jean Baptiste, and an infant daughter, Lisette. (The Writer’s Almanac. April 6, 2013.)


Sand Art Rock Star

April 4, 2013 1 Comment

for a friend…

April 2, 2013 2 Comments


 do not stand at my grave and weep
 i am not there. i do not sleep.
 i am a thousand winds that blow.
 i am the diamond glints on snow.
 i am the sunlight on ripened grain.
 i am the gentle autumn rain.
 when you awaken in the morning's hush
 i am the swift uplifting rush
 of quiet birds in circled flight.
 i am the soft stars that shine at night.
 do not stand at my grave and cry;
 i am not there. i did not die.

Narcissus pseudonarcissus

April 1, 2013

compare to March 11  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off our heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you’ll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you’ll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you’ll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.

“Courage,” by Anne Sexton, from The Awful Rowing Toward God (Houghton Mifflin)

COURAGE Anne Sexton

March 31, 2013 1 Comment

Natural Wonders

Spring Cleaning:  Now that it’s time to put those wool sweaters away, first wash them by hand, then rinse them in the sink with a quarter cup of white vinegar and water to remove any remaining odors. Finish the job with a final rinse in clean water.


use vinegar before storing woolens

March 31, 2013

Semicolon Seminar

March 24, 2013


Are you semi-curious? Some of us have been flirting with semicolons for some time, but are perhaps not entirely sure if we’ve been utilizing them to their fullest. They somehow make for separating that which is still connected a voluptuous pursuit.

We shall be breaking semicolons into 5 parts over the coming week; you can expect to find follow-up installments here, at the big buffalo. They are excerpts from diva grammarian, Karen Elizabeth Gordon’s book, The New Well-Tempered Sentence. (Mariner Books. 2003.)

The Semicolon 1

The Semicolon 2

The Semicolon 3

The Semicolon 4

The Semicolon 5

March 23, 2013

This book had torn open my ribcage a few years ago. Liv is a devoted single mum, a hard-pressed bread winner, and an alluring thinker and writer. Today, I pulled her off the shelf, blew away the dust, (sneezed), and opened to a torn, paper bookmark. This is what I saw:

“I believe that it is sometimes less difficult to wake up and feel that I am alone when I really am, than to wake up with someone else and be lonely.

I hope that two people can grow together, side by side, and bring joy to each other. Without one having to be crushed so that the other may stay strong.

Perhaps maturing is also to let others be.

To allow myself to be what I am.”

Good Loving Grammar:

That and Which

“These two words are often used interchangeably, even though they’re not necessarily interchangeable.”  Melissa Donovan. Writing Forward. 2012.

Do Tell

Remember: I Needed That and Which?

March 22, 2013 2 Comments

Sonnet: Daffodils

March 21, 2013


by Gavin Ewart

Wordsworth really loved daffodils. He said they were flashers.
Certainly they must be the most exhibitionistic flowers
there are.
trumpeting their presence in yellow—by far the most
visible colour.
I grant that after a long hard winter
it’s warming to see snow-drops and crocuses in that iron earth
and the very first daffodils (what a cliché) seem a
something it even seems appropriate to make a fuss about.
They look so perfect, though a bit self-conscious.

After a week or two, however, when Spring is established,
and everywhere you look there are oceans of daffodils
as arrogant as pop stars, they begin to seem ordinary.
You take them for granted. Like a love affair fading
they shrivel and go crinkly, papery and tired.
The Spring too (teenagers witness) has its own kind of

“Sonnet: Daffodils” by Gavin Ewart, from Or Where a Young Penguin Lies Screaming. © Little Hampton books, 1978.

March 21, 2013

“Snow” by George Bilgere

March 19, 2013


by George Bilgere

A heavy snow, and men my age
all over the city
are having heart attacks in their driveways,

dropping their nice new shovels
with the ergonomic handles
that finally did them no good.

Gray-headed men who meant no harm,
who abided by the rules and worked hard
for modest rewards, are slipping

softly from their mortgages,
falling out of their marriages.
How gracefully they swoon—

that lovely, old-fashioned word—
from dinner parties, grandkids,
vacations in Florida.

They should have known better
than to shovel snow at their age.
If only they’d heeded

the sensible advice of their wives
and hired a snow-removal service.
But there’s more to life

than merely being sensible. Sometimes
a man must take up his shovel
and head out alone into the snow.

“Snow” by George Bilgere

More from GB on the Writer’s Almanac