Category Archives: Like Life


tenth and marketthird and marketAlong the broad swath of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania’s Market Street (surprisingly, Market is not the north-south axis: rather, it’s the narrow nondescript Center Street two blocks over) can be found some lovely old street name signs suspended from scrolled brackets. There are variations and simplifications of this design (clips instead of hangers, utility poles instead of purpose-built supports), and eventually the newer signs give in to the conventional perforated post and crosstree design. But still, these that remain are graceful and quite fine.

the fountain is onAt Market and Main across from the Civil War monument is this well-maintained fountain. The only flaw in its design is that there’s insufficient dallying space next to it: lingerers are likely to get wet.

no creditNot all of the businesses on Main Street are thriving.

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cheeryA cheery batch of sunflowers from Charlie’s garden, just because.

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On deck: 12

today's selectionA new shipment from Powell’s, thus some turnover on the read-me shelf. The Bible is my mother’s much-read copy, mended with spike tape; equal time after getting through Mohammed and Joseph Smith. Kate Atkinson continues to wait in the wings, perhaps patiently. The Echenoz translation is a bare-faced crutch to help me through Les Grandes Blondes. The revived-from-downstairs title is Catch-22, one of those books I came to so long ago, one with a strong movie attached, that I can’t remember whether I’ve actually read it.

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old and newA quick trip to Main Line Merion, just over the Philadelphia city line, for a quick, gentle wedding. A nice opportunity for a ride on SEPTA’s regional rail, something I’d never done before, and a lovely hand-built street name sign. I surmise that Idris Road was once named something else, because the fonts on the two wings of the sign are different: graceful serifs for South Highland Avenue, and a more no-nonsense sans for Idris Road.

And that would turn out to be the case: Beacom Avenue, provided with a sidewalk in 1911, was renamed to Idris Road by ordinance of 8 April 1914.

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old boots 1Rather than an unboxing post about new hiking equipment, this is a goodbye to my old New Balance boots. They finally blew out on me, catastrophically, on a naturalist’s hike on the Appalachian Trail in May.

I bought these boots somewhere in the early 1990s—I know, nothing is built to last any more. Light and comfy, they took me up to Clingman’s Dome in Tennessee in 1993: that’s when I figured out that the nicely ventilating nylon uppers weren’t waterproof. Together, my footgear and I climbed in the Cascades of Washington, the Adirondacks, Yosemite, and many times up, down, and over the Blue Ridge.

old boots 2Stitched and glued back together several times, they’d finally had enough. So long, old boots.

Hey, the laces are new and in good shape. I can use them again for something.

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New York snaps

the viewEvery once in a while, I get a look at New York that turns me into a happy-snapping, cornfed tourist. This view of SoHo, Tribeca, and the Financial District, with 1 World Trade Center in the background, taken from the sky level of the New Museum, is one such.

can't resistCan’t resist stopping for building-mounted street name signs. Bleecker Street, just down from the intersection with Carmine Street.

retrofit?I saw dispensers in two buildings encouraging the BYO water bottle idea: at New York Law School (filling stations from Filtrine), and here at the American Museum of Natural History.

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More shoebox emptying

In 1999, I had a consulting gig that took me to New York frequently. On my last trip up there (which turned out to be the week of Hurricane Floyd [have I told you the story about the clueless D.C. cab driver?]), a music festival had hoovered up all the hotel rooms in Manhattan, so I found myself in a place called the Pan American in Queens. The matchbook cover that I saved touts it as New York City’s Most Convenient Hotel. Uh, no.

namesakeGorsline streetscapeBut it turns out that this patch of Queens, still known as Newtown, must have been the place where great-ancestor Josse had his farm in the very early 1700s. Gorsline Street runs one block, from 51st Avenue to Kneeland Avenue. As you can see, it’s beautifully kept Archie Bunker territory; it could easily stand in for Hauser Street.

Another hurricane story. The night that Isabel came through town in 2003 (downgraded to a tropical storm by then, but you could have fooled me), the Norway maple that shaded the ground between my house and my neighbor’s thrashed and flailed and generally sounded as if it wanted to crawl in my bedroom window for shelter. Finally, a shattering crack rang out, and I think I heard somebody yell, “Holy cow, look at that!”

Isabel maple doorwayIsabel maple splitIn the morning, I saw what had happened. A good third of the tree was lying in my front yard. It crushed a lamppost and generally made for difficult navigation.

Isabel maple cleanupA cleanup crew promptly showed up and reduced the entire thing to a stump and chips. My townhouse cluster never has replaced the tree. The Morrissettian irony is that I had just given up on trying to grow flowers that liked sun under the maple, and had just planted a little shrub that liked shade.

Pedro y AlbertaIn 1998, I drove Alberta to Florida for some birding. On the way back, I stopped at South of the Border so that she could meet Pedro.

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A mystery: 7

mermaidHow is it that Leta, with each annual WATCH awards, looks more fabulous than the year before?

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Leta is very special to me: here’s why

Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 14:53:28 -0500
Subject: They don’t know us as well as they think
From: Leta
To: “David L. Gorsline”
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=20cf3040e37280039a04f199fe95

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Amazon wants me to give you a bunch of Frank Sinatra for Valentine’s Day.

Because I love you more than that, I won’t.

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Emptying the shoebox

A holiday weekend affords some time to scan some old photos.

AlgernonSusan and AlbertaErstwhile cars and girlfriends, much loved. Did I really have that much stuff growing in my front yard? I think that’s my neighbor’s Mitsubishi 3000GT behind Algernon.

findingfoundA Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) foraging at Huntley Meadows Park. This might have been my lifer.

the old old boardwalkIs this the original boardwalk at Huntley Meadows? I don’t think so, but it’s what we had in 1991.

Bonneville DamBonneville insideObsessions with the built environment on a trip to the Pacific Northwest in 1993. Bonneville Dam and its generator room.

closedopenThe bascule Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria. Today, it’s in the process of being replaced.

in your pocketWhere else in the world but Portland would you find an official city park the size of a manhole? Welcome to Mill Ends Park.

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New venues, 2013

I found a couple of performance spaces in the Smith Center that I hadn’t been to before, unless I’ve lost track.

2012′s list. 2011′s list.

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My year in cities, 2013

The year-end roundup posts continue. Overnight stays in 2013:

2012′s list. 2011′s list. 2010′s list. 2009′s list. 2008′s list. 2007′s list. 2006′s list. 2005′s list.

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On deck: 11

only one shelf (for now)The backlog has been reduced a bit, but there are new titles here (thanks, Leta!) and some more volumes on order. The play collections are probably the longest-tenured books on the shelf. I started the Kate Atkinson, hence I removed the dust jacket, but I only got about three pages in before something else tempted me more.

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Group photo

I’m in the back with Patrick.

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Longwood Gardens

conservatory cutiewaiting for a friendLeta and I spent most of our time at Longwood Gardens in the controlled environment of the conservatory, while the rain washed the outside. One of the destination plants of the conservatory is this single individual bread palm, Encephalartos woodii; the species is extirpated in the wild. Each of this cycad’s bright orange cones, each larger than a loaf of bread, is a pollen strobilus.

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