Concert Bug

Sunday afternoon I sang a concert of madrigals and other choral music of the last few centuries. It was in the pleasant modern chapel at a retirement home. Between sets, the music director introduced the next group of songs. A set of Elizabethan madrigals, with plenty of fa-la-las. (They don’t mean anything, but they’re joyful.) Some […]

Redux: A Snow Day

The last few days in Washington have been beautiful, springlike. Soft breezes, temperature in the 60s and 70s. Which would be fine, if it were spring. But it is February, and it is not fine. This weather is making me angry. I try to enjoy it, because it’s what we have, and it is, objectively, […]

What I Learned From a Year of Drawing [almost] Every Day

I’ve made a lot of attempts at drawing in my life. I took required art classes in high school and a non-required one in college. Every few years through my adult life, I’d get together some pencils and paper, do some drawings, and, within a week or two, drop it, frustrated by my lame attempts. […]

Tea: An Appreciation

1991 or so: An overnight field trip to Wallops Island, Virginia. The tap water is hot. I convince myself it’s hot enough to make tea, and make tea in my Nalgene. Why did I even have teabags with me? I think I wanted to be the kind of person who is prepared to make tea […]

Redux: The Wonderful World of Oz…and Science

Adventure! Newfangled flying machines! This book has it all! This post originally appeared here on December 3, 2013.   Lately I’ve been reading my way through the series of Oz books. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is only the first in a series of 14 books, and it’s not remotely the best. It’s fascinating to reread books […]

A Book About Whales

A little before Christmas I saw a stage production of Moby Dick. It was a wonderful production, by the Lookingglass Theater Company from Chicago, so creative in how it showed the depicted life at sea and on land. Actors climbed around in the rigging and dangled by their ankles. While the ship’s crew was thoroughly […]

Cicada On My Window

I’ve written before about how much I like seeing a bug on a window. Usually I see those bugs on the outside. This is a story about a bug that I saw on the inside. It was a chilly morning in November. I was in a hotel in Tatopani, a Nepali town along the Kali […]

Drawing For My Nerves

I have a tendency to worry. When I’m stressed, I can worry pretty much any time of day, but my brain’s favorite time to worry is in the middle of the night. At 3 a.m., there is no problem that can’t be mulled over, chewed on, and puffed up until it seems like the biggest […]