Valley of the Moon, United States

aka : PhDilettante / There is no magic without a believing love…. / PhDilettante Design website


Inspecting and Suspecting

Cat Mother : No touch, Cole – not for cats!
Cole : Well, what is it this time?
CM : Thinking of what to pack for my trip.
Cole : That means “away,” doesn’t it?
CM : (silence)…

Cole : Well, doesn’t it, or what? Jacques went “away” and he never came back!
CM : This is different; I will be away having fun and I will be back. Promise.
Cole : No way! What about US?
CM : You will have Alix every day and sometimes all night. Stop scritching things!
Cole : What is Alix ? (pacing back and forth)
CM : (sigh) If you bothered to be more social you would know she is the Cat Sitter. She has been here twice!
Cole : Snug. Does Snug know about this? She is afraid of everything….
CM : …uh….
Cole : Gotcha! Leaving it up to me, huh! Huh? All the responsibility….!
CM : Don’t get so bi

in re : geneology [ two ]

She is gone now, y’know. But she left her eyes behind.

…the eyes that “are just like his only his were steely grey.”

[ Taking her secrets with her ]

She is gone, y’know.

…leaving a battlefield of walking wounded who did not realize they were victims of a private war with demons only she could see. “I can’t fight anymore,” She once said.

[ Taking her secrets with her ]

She is gone, y’know.

If one looks deeply through the fog of her war, one can see on the periphery bright scraps of beauty, creativity, curiosity, whimsy, avant-garde thought processes that left the boring in her wake following the sparks.

Never understood; never forgotten.

She took her secrets with her.

1918 – 2013

Fire Next Time : Backstory

Once upon a time, I painted. With oils. Linseed oil, fine brushes, all the accoutrements. And a “tutor,” no less. Lessons with my father, who could paint with a one-camel-hair brush in great detail. He did still life.
The pallet knife was my weapon of choice. I used it like a trowel slathering plaster. Semi-abstract and thick with texture. The tutor was aghast: she could never make me understand that you can’t put on an inch of paint at one time.…

“Fire Next Time” was done over a period of months in the Winter of 2012 using what was available, that is, cardboard from anything that was delivered in a box.
The central bird shape is part of the deconstruction of an especially large box, ripped and bent to fit in the garbage receptacle.
The only paint I had was left-over from the inter

The Boys are back!

If anyone follows the saga of The Cottage and life in The Valley of The Moon as reported here (and I would be delighted if you do), you may recall that The PhDilettante went into a major funk when our silence was shattered by the shooting of a spotted fawn earlier this Summer.…

Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, there have been no deer, quail, rabbit or even wild turkey seen about since the fawn incident.

Until today!

“Hey, up there”

On opening the shutters, I did a double-take when there, in the glory of their sprouting antlers, were five (5-count-’em) deer. Run for camera, but camera is not good enough to get a group shot; they obliged by moving closer to the window.

“I said Hey, you! We’re back.”

“My bro is the Big Horn now…”

“ta for now…see you this afternoon!”

…and indeed they

Whispers from the dust bin...

The iconic What?

A long long time ago, in another place and space before RedBubble, images of a white plastic chair began to appear and drew the attention of a certain group of the dadaist persuasion.

~ ~ ~ ~

Covertly, as design or in reflection, the images proliferated. Soon The White Plastic Chairs “came out,” so to speak, and gained what might be called cult status among a small circle of friends.

~ ~ ~~

The Chairs were purchased in 1991 from The Whole Earth Access, which was the brick and mortar version of Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog. They served as silent hosts at many parties and seats for cats and tanning humans. They were simple; they were the precursors of many, ahem, inexpensive copies in many colors.

The last move to The Cottage.

The White

Creativity & Benign Neglect

If anyone has been following the saga of The Cottage, the house which I came to inhabit almost three years ago, you have noticed that gardening and landscaping have come back into my life. Real gardening vs. the pot-gardening to which I had become accustomed.…

The Cottage has a large deck rather than a backyard; built into this deck are two planter boxes. Since the deck receives full sun regularly and California is subject to equally regular drought conditions, it was always a battle to keep anything growing even before this became my turf, so to speak.

The “dramatized” photo above is the result of total neglect of the deck during the time I worked on the front landscaping. I had pulled out dead roots and detritus but, surprise! Nature took Her course, and the soil produced unidentif

Winging It : Re-post worth keeping

We do keep trying, don’t we?
Sharing a poem I ran across:…


Only the feathers floating around the hat
Showed that anything more spectacular had occurred
Than the usual drowning. The police preferred to ignore
The confusing aspects of the case,
And the witnesses ran off to a gang war.
So the report filed and forgotten in the archives read simply
Drowned, but it was wrong: Icarus
Had swum away, coming at last to the city
Where he rented a house and tended the garden.
That nice Mr. Hicks the neighbors called him,
Never dreaming that the gray, respectable suit
Concealed arms that had controlled huge wings
Nor that those sad, defeated eyes had once
Compelled the sun. And had he told them
They would have answered with a shocked, uncomprehending stare.
No, he could not disturb their neat front yards;

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait