Friday, January 31, 2014

Sirje Kiin and Marie Under, Poets, Writers, and Estonians

After a day at home it was nice to get out and have a meal with my mom and the wife and go see our Madisonian Sirje Kiin tell about the subject of her book:  Marie Under, an Estonian poet whose work hasn't had the attention it deserves.  Her poetry is almost all written in Estonian, a language that only about 1.5 million people speak in the world.  Sirje has written (in Estonian) a critical biography of the poet.  
The biography is now being translated into English, along with some new translations of the poetry.  It's a remarkable thing to hear about a person who lives just up the street who is working on such good, important things.  Marie Under's Wikipedia page needs editing!
Our speaker pointed out that one of the problems with getting Under the attention she deserves is that good translations of the poetry can be difficult, since the language they're written in is so unlike English or many other major languages.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The World is a Little Colder Today

Each of us works on our own schedule, but we hope to create something that remains when we're gone.  On this cold January day, we note the loss of Pete Seeger, the great folk singer and author of great songs including "We Shall Overcome," "Turn! Turn! Turn!," and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," songs that we think of as America's songs, our songs. It's good to stop and note with gratitude the gift that artists like this give to us.  Thank you, Pete Seeger, and rest in peace.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Another Blower

Today's another blowing day, another day with the trees waving in a gale, snow flying, students emailing me that the weather will keep them out of class.  Another day in Madison.
I spent part of the day outside examining my wood pile. Let's call it that, as I took the wheelbarrow to the back yard and filled it from my ever-diminishing pile of firewood, which I thought would last us all winter.  I'm not one skilled in estimating wood usage, but I'm spending more time in the house this winter, and it's been a cold one, so we keep stoking that stove, watching the wood flame up and out of the chimney.  We've always got one damned warm place in the house.  Some cool places too.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Water Issues, Wind Issues, Snow Issues. Winter. I'm issued out.

The past couple of days we've been riding a winter wave as the giant claw of a blizzard grips eastern SD and other parts.  Yes, out in the west it's something different, but here in the frozen east we keep watching out the window with it feeling like we're flying this old house through a cold and cloudy sky at a breakneck speed.  The old girl doesn't care for all this windage.

We'll survive.

The situation with the water was that a roof caved in on a water supply, a "clear well."  All over town we've had to curtail (as in STOP) our water use.  But our city fellows hustled through the night and during the day today despite the bad weather, and they're allowing water use and soon will have drinkable water again.  Thanks, guys.

I'm not sure why it's in the Anchorage news:

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Dog Sitting

We're watching our friends' dog for the next few days, and so far, so good.  I was concerned this morning that it would want to be at my heels during my morning routine, but so far, an hour later, the pooch is still on its bed upstairs as she and the wife sleep into the late hours of the morning (it's 6:30am now).  The wife is much more a dog fan than I am.  Not that I don't like dogs or pets in general; it's just that my attitude is more laid back than some of the people around me whose affection for pets is more pronounced.  They do sometimes amuse me, though, such as when this hound becomes engaged with the monkeys on the TV screen.