This Isn’t One of My Paintings

But I wish it were.  It looks almost like this, doesn’t it?

Noctilucent clouds by Don Pettit

Night-shining clouds as seen from the International Space Station. Photo credit: Don Pettit and NASA TV

They hover on the edge of space. Thin, wispy clouds, glowing electric blue. Some scientists think they’re seeded by space dust. Others suspect they’re a telltale sign of global warming.

They’re called noctilucent or “night-shining” clouds (NLCs for short). And whatever causes them, they’re lovely.

“Over the past few weeks we’ve been enjoying outstanding views of these clouds above the southern hemisphere,” said space station astronaut Don Pettit during a NASA TV broadcast last month. “We routinely see them when we’re flying over Australia and the tip of South America.

Read the rest of this article here.


Don Pettit writes poetry about auroras.  I may have a tiny little geek-girl crush on him.  Maybe.

Don Pettit

Don Pettit, in space


Amateur macro photography of the day: Rose


Rose from my balcony

I am experimenting with my camera.  Here’s a rose from the plant I have on the balcony.  The rest of the balcony is not quite so photogenic, so it got cropped out.

I don’t know if this is actually “macro”, or just a close-up, but I used the “macro” setting on my rotten little camera so that’s what I’m calling it.

It rained last night and the day before, and that makes me almost too happy to post.  The real world calls.  I’ll be back next time it’s disgustingly sunny and I need to hide indoors.


Space quote of the day: A Universe Without Purpose

Uranian aurora


“Imagining living in a universe without purpose may prepare us to better face reality head on.”

Read the rest of this excellent piece by Lawrence M. Krauss here.

Idyllic Pond Photo of the Day

I took this yesterday on my way to Gostisce Dular for some takeaway food.  I was busy working on a grant proposal so I had no time to eat there.

This is a pond, called a ribnik in Slovene.  It’s stocked with fish – riba – and you can fish there if your heart’s set on it, but I’d rather go to the restaurant next to it and let them do the scaling and gutting.  It’s operated by the Dular family, who makes some of the best wine in this country.


Sometimes my photos aren’t so bad after all.  Maybe some of Brendan’s advice is finally sinking in.

Happy with a side of apple blossoms

I hardly ever write when I’m happy, because I’m one of those people who are motivated by crisis, but today I was really freaking happy, happy with sufficient intensity to inspire a post about being happy.

Three reasons to be happy today:

It is going to rain.  (It has been dry all last month and that’s not good for spring.  Also, I’m a strange person who enjoys stormy weather).

I was about to go to Krsko to shop, when the train in the other direction arrived and I impulsively hopped on it and went to Sevnica instead.  In Sevnica there is a kebab shop where you can get cheese on your kebab.  Cheesy kebabs are important to me.  I can’t get them in Krsko.  I can’t get them in Brezice.  I ordered it all in Slovene and the guy understood me.  We didn’t have to muddle through a fractured conversation in English/German/Slovene like we did last time.

I walked around in Sevnica and it was springtime and the trees were very pretty, though I forgot to bring my camera.  Photo below is from a few days ago.

Apple blossoms with electric plant in background

New life

When I caught the train home from Sevnica, the lady conductor recognized me and said, in Slovene, that she was used to seeing me going back and forth from Krsko but now I am going from Sevnica (which is in the opposite direction from Krsko).  I understood her though I could not answer.

I get home and my landlady opens the door for me without too much obvious hatred.    Online I discover that a friend I once thought forever lost is following me again on Twitter.  And I have a bottle of champagne.   Cheap-ass champagne, to be sure, but still.

Now if only people would quit tweeting me silly links to the Daily Mail.

I am not dead

Here are some apple blossoms to celebrate.

Apple Blossoms

Experiments in macro photography

Oh, and if I should wind up missing for an extended time, I probably came home afyer 10pm and got murdered for it by my landlady.

It’s my apartment, I pay for it, but…she controls the door.  If her keys are in the lock on the inside, I can’t get my key in the lock to open it.  She knows this.  She still leaves her keys in the lock, so I have to knock on the door, and she has to come stomping out to the hall to let me in.   She opens the door to the stairway that leads up to my apartment, giving me the evil eye as she does so.  I’d show you a picture of her scowling visage, but it’s illegal to take people’s pictures without permission here.  Imagine the mask of Satan.

Scotland in the Gloaming: amazing photography site

Where has this website been all my life?

Amazing twilight photography of Scotland, surely one of the most beautiful countries on earth.

Gloaming, for those unfamiliar with the word, means twilight.  John Burnside uses it way too much in his novel A Summer of Drowning,  through which I have only plowed 1/4 of the way because it is so annoyingly slow and vague.  Gloaming is a great word, but it shouldn’t be abused.

Anyway, go visit Scotland in the Gloaming.

Seamill Ripples by Alastair Jackson

Seamill Ripples by Alastair Jackson


Today I’ve been invited to Brezice again to visit Ozara.  They’ll be picking up trash along the road,  and I will support them in this unglamorous but environmentally friendly task.

In the meantime, I leave you with one of my recent experiments in close-up floral photography.   This one turned out fairly well in spite of my rotten little camera.

I loved primroses even before I knew what they were called.  They aren’t native to the western U.S., so when I came to Europe I had never seen them before.  The way they suddenly appear in the grass and turn it into what looks like a green and yellow Persian carpet is magical.


Primroses a-bloom in the woods