Friday, March 24, 2006


In a little over a day Beth and I will be off to France for spring break. We've never left the kids for more than a day or two...this time we'll be gone for ten days! The grandparents are stepping up big time for this one...thank you, thank you. Meanwhile we struggle with feeling alternately giddy and anxious.

Added to this is the emerging possibility of a general strike in Paris beginning the very day we land there. Stay tuned... our hotel is only a couple of blocks from the Sorbonne the place where many of the protests have originated. I sometimes get pretty sleepy in museums so the prospect of witnessing history in the making actually has a certain titillating appeal. I'm not sure the mothers in our group share my voyeuristic inclinations. The main rule is to get home.

Here are the reasons why...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

La Grande....

I seem to be back in business. As you may have noticed, I'm rather undecided when to blog in English and when to blog in French. There is really no need to blog in French since Cecile has complete and total command of English (the King's English); nevertheless, when the impulse strikes me I'll not refuse.

It still seems too early to speak publicly about the Fulbright Exchange, but then again, this blog, while technically a public space, seems like something in between public and private right let me just say to those few of you who are visiting this site that Beth and I are elated over the prospect of trading places with Cecile and Gerard. We hope this works out. If it does, they will be living at our house in La Grande in northeast Oregon, and we'll be in Lege Cap Ferret on the Bassin d'Arcachon in southern France.

That is why from time to time I'll be posting more specifically with Cecile and her family in mind...using the blog to help them see what this La Grande thing might be all about. Transparency...that's the mantra from the people at unpleasant surprises if you can avoid them.

In that spirit I'm inviting all of you who have ever lived here in La Grande to contribute any and all perspectives on life here. Put them in the comments. Cecile...they're for you to read.

We'll see if this blog has any readers. Suspense...

le trajet...suite (3)

cantine 7:50 am salle de classe...c'est pas typique les pupitres tous en rond mais je les aime comme ca observez l'ordinateur (pour vous), la television/ la salle ouverte, c'est a dire...pas de porte.

le trajet...suite (2)

After several unsuccessful attempts last night to post four photos of where I work, I decided to try posting a single photo per voila. I'm not sure what the problem is but I'm going to continue this way for a little while. Seeing Cecile's blog gave me the single photo per post idea. merci Cecile.
The idea in this series is basic. Move from outside the school into my classroom.

Update...the problem is back. I can't post the next photo. I wonder if it has something to do with attempting multiple posts during a single session? Any comments out there?

le trajet...suite

Facade du lycee...bibli...a droite au 1re etage la fenetre de ma salle de classe
(je ne sais pas encore comment composer les accents sur ce blog)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

de la maison au boulot...le trajet

Tuesday morning 7:30 am
go left to the end of the road...about .75km
HS and Elementary school left one block - Middle School right - soccer field and Mt. Emily straight ahead.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Blue and Red...naturally

Tomorrow I hope to get back to posting some more photos for Cecile and her family in Lege Cap Ferret.
Tonight however I feel like lingering over my favorite colors...

Fall 2004 Morgan Lake

Friday, March 17, 2006

Bienvenu Chez Nous part 3

apple trees/garden plots
walnut tree

poppies in May
...the back yard

Bienvenu Chez Nous part 2

from the front door to the kitchen...from the kitchen....

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bienvenu Chez Nous

Front view

living room with wood stove - dining room
more photos coming later...

door handles II


One day I opened the door -
you were there -
to say I had been expecting you
would be like saying
I always knew
the difference between being
lucky and simply being
where I was.
But at that moment I couldn’t
imagine being anywhere else

I keep opening the door
hoping to conjure you,
to say that I am disappointed
would be like saying
the difference between finding
a door and you behind it
is nothing more than
a matter of time.
But right now I can’t
imagine expecting anything else.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

door handles

An Archival Print
God snaps your picture -- don't look away --
this room right now, your face tilted
exactly as it is before you can think
or control it. Go ahead, let it betray
all the secret emergencies and still hold
that partial disguise you call your character.

Even your lip, they say, the way it curves
or doesn't, or can't decide, will deliver
bales of evidence. The camera, wide open,
stands ready; the exposure is thirty-five years
or so -- after that you have become
whatever the veneer is, all the way through.

Now you want to explain. Your mother
was a certain -- how to express it? -- influence.
Yes. And your father, whatever he was,
you couldn't change that. No. And your town
of course had its limits. Go on, keep talking --
Hold it. Don't move. That's you forever.

William Stafford
from "The Darkness Around Us Is Deep"

Comments? Handouts?

I've gotten an email from Tim saying that he tried unsuccessfully to post a comment on this blog. If anyone else has experienced this could you email or call. I tested the comment feature and it worked for me....see "test comment". Let me know.

Monday, March 13, 2006

rosey fingered dawn

After Everything That Has Happened

I think I am awake
alone when I hear her heels
drum along the floor.
I fold up the newspaper
I look instead into her eyes -
it could be anything -
what, I wonder, is going
to be today?
last night I didn’t dream, she says.
in silence
I wonder, what it is
she hadn’t dreamt of

she clambers up
takes a pen and
starts to draw
sometimes in the narrow
white margins
and sometimes over the words
over the headlines
over the captions
and over the photos
over everything that
has already happened
she seems to watch her
own hand as if it were
a potato bug crawling across
the floor. I think,
what are you dreaming now?

after a while
I ease out from under
her bare knees,
I slip into
the kitchen,
someone should make
she’ll be hungry
when she wakes up.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

hand in hand


bedtime brings decisions,
sometimes it is the red velvet dress,
but it can just as easily be
the taffeta number with puffy sleeves,
or the flowery one with shoulder straps.

and that’s not all,
I tell him that he has to take off
the ballet slippers or the black taps
or the clear plastic pumps
because nobody wears shoes to bed -

nobody - not even his big sister,
who is already down to her underwear,
he will follow suit, but first
he raises his ever-handy plastic sword,
he is the very picture of liberty herself.

later on, close in bed alongside my son,
both of us done with the storybooks,
both of us blessed by Sister’s kisses,
I regard the way he clutches my wrist
hard on his breast, soft on his cheek.

I hardly know my own hand,
it looks too large against him,
it looks more like some talisman,
and the small hands holding it
and me look nothing like mine.

I shift, he squeezes me as if to ask
where do you think you’re going?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

all hands on deck

Some family's have that certain je ne sais quoi...then there's us...Kinda goofy.

Letting the hands go

If ever something was easy to say and hard to do...For now, the title of this inaugural post will have to serve as a good faith gesture if not the thing itself. Getting this blog up and running is the main thing. To family and friends (and onlookers): Beth and I hope this will allow us to stay in better touch with you. We're feeling our way around this blogosphere. It's one thing to read them, quite another to take ownership of one. More to come in time. In the meantime, I'll post pictures in lieu of something to say.