Shirley Jackson

(December 14, 1916 – August 8, 1965) was an American author. She was a popular writer in her time, and her work has received increased attention from literary critics in recent years. She influenced Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Nigel Kneale, and Richard Matheson. She is best known for the short story “The Lottery” (1948), which suggests a secret, sinister underside to bucolic small-town America, and for The Haunting of Hill House (1959), which is widely considered to be one of the best ghost stories ever written. In her critical biography of Jackson, Lenemaja Friedman notes that when “The Lottery” was published in the June 26, 1948, issue of The New Yorker, it received a response that “no New Yorker story had ever received”. Hundreds of letters poured in that were characterized by, as Jackson put it, “bewilderment, speculation, and old-fashioned abuse”. In the July 22, 1948, issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, Jackson offered the following in response to persistent queries from her readers about her intentions:

Explaining just what I had hoped the story to say is very difficult. I suppose, I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village to shock the story’s readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives.

Jackson’s husband, the literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman, wrote in his preface to a posthumous anthology of her work, “she consistently refused to be interviewed, to explain or promote her work in any fashion, or to take public stands and be the pundit of the Sunday supplements. She believed that her books would speak for her clearly enough over the years.” Hyman insisted the darker aspects of Jackson’s works were not, as some critics claimed, the product of “personal, even neurotic, fantasies”, but that Jackson intended, as “a sensitive and faithful anatomy of our times, fitting symbols for our distressing world of the concentration camp and the Bomb”, to mirror humanity’s Cold War-era fears. Jackson may even have taken pleasure in the subversive impact of her work, as revealed by Hyman’s statement that she “was always proud that the Union of South Africa banned ‘The Lottery’, and she felt that they at least understood the story”. Read More || Edit


Neuharlingersiel is a municipality in the district of Wittmund, in Lower Saxony, Germany. Neuharlingersiel is a small bucolic fishing village popular with artists. It is the setting of the German TV series Doktor Martin the German version of the British Doc Martin series.

In Germany, Doktor Martin an adaptation of the original series, airs on ZDF with Axel Milberg as Doktor Martin Helling, a surgeon from Berlin. The counterpart of Portwenn was the real existing village of Neuharlingersiel in East Frisia.

Neuharlingersiel ist eine Gemeinde in der Samtgemeinde Esens im Landkreis Wittmund im Nordwesten Niedersachsens. Der Ortsteil Neuharlingersiel ist seit 1979 ein staatlich anerkanntes Nordseeheilbad. Die Ortsteile Altharlingersiel und Ostbense sind seit 1985 als Küstenbadeorte klassifiziert.
Der Neuharlingersieler Hafen ist der Fährhafen zur ostfriesischen Insel Spiekeroog.Die Gemeinde liegt im Harlingerland in Ostfriesland an der Nordseeküste. An der Küstenlinie entlang erstreckt sich der Nationalpark Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer, der seit 2009 zum UNESCO-Weltnaturerbe gehört. Ein Krabbenkutter ist ein speziell für den Fang von Nordseegarnelen (in der Küchensprache Krabben oder Granat genannt) ausgerüstetes flachbodiges Schiff, das sowohl mit Kuttertakelung (ein Mast mit Auslegern für Großsegel, Klüver- Fock- und/oder Großtoppsegel) oder als Gaffelketch auf Fangreise geht. Als Antrieb dient ein Dieselmotor, der einen in den meisten Fällen ummantelten Propeller antreibt. Die Länge der Kutter kann bis zu 20 Meter betragen, die Breite bis zu 4,5 Meter. Ein Tiefgang von rund 1,8 Meter wird selten überschritten. Stationiert sind diese Schiffstypen an Nord- und Ostsee in kleinen Häfen (Kutterhäfen), die oft auch über einen Verarbeitungsbetrieb für den angelandeten Fang verfügen. Zu den bekannten Kutterhäfen gehören Dorum, Greetsiel und Fedderwardersiel.


This is the bucolic shrine - and its stunning dome - devoted to Saint Gregory of Ostia in Sorlada. It’s one of the baroque jewels of Euskal Herria and said to guard the saint’s relics.

From 16th-19th centuries, Saint Gregory enjoyed a huge devotion since, according to the Catholic Church, he’s the patron saint of fields and harvests.

anonymous asked:

hi archy! Can I get your opinion on the architecture of hampshire college, in amherst massachusetts? (my mom thinks it's really ugly but i might go there next year lol)

The Hampshire College campus (above) is a campus without an unifying architectural style that is situated in the bucolic Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. There is nothing inherently “ugly” about the campus which could be better described as quirky. Also, any campus with an Eric Carle Museum on its grounds is fine by me!

RW Kern Campus Center

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Everything Electric

Neon struck
Sand in the desert
Sand in my eyes
Like midnight perfume
A velvet trigger
Prescription lead
On and on

Who’s this weirdo in the mirror?
Mouth moving
Arms flailing
What are you saying?
The sky
The sky
The blue sky is failing
The mountain’s sharp
Lovers loving

My head feels like it’s about to explode
I wonder what Jackson Pollock thought of his fans
I’d like to think he just laughed
Shook his head
And said,
‘Whatever I guess’

A stupid child flips through the dictionary screaming random words
‘Ba da duh da’
‘Wah wah wah’
Does anyone have the time?
Does anyone have a minute?

Even the crickets
And the moon
Oh the moon
And the stars
And they shapes the make
Everything electric
Everything buzzing
It’s midnight and I’m running down the street
High and broken

The caption labelled this an edible masterpiece, and I can’t disagree! Whether it’s the rich shade of royal blue, the carefully-mastered strokes (brash and dainty) across the fondant, the delicate bucolic gold touches, and best of all, that sugar rose perched oh-so-gently at the tips of the top two tiers. This piece by Nadia & Co. is utter perfection, and so stately. I can only imagine how hard it is to cut into it during the cake cutting ceremony. For me? I’d rather preserve it, and bring it home.



Quite finished with this one and proud of it, I must say. It took me hours, a lot of tea and cider, but it was worth it.

The size is an A2, I painted on canvas with green acrylic (forgot the brand) and zinc white gouache on top. I use a super tiny brush and that was it.

It’s the first 2 stanzas and a half of the Bucolics:

Tityre, tu patulae recubans sub tegmine fagi
siluestrem tenui musam meditaris auena:
nos patriae finis et dulcia linquimus arua.
nos patriam fugimus: tu, Tityre, lentus in umbra
formosam resonare doces Amaryllida siluas.
O Meliboee, deus nobis haec otia fecit.
namque erit ille mihi semper deus, illius aram
saepe tener nostris ab ouilibus imbuet agnus.
ille meas errare boues, ut cernis, et ipsum
ludere quae uellem calamo permisit agresti.
Non equidem inuideo, miror magis; undique totis
usque adeo turbatur agris. en, ipse capellas
protenus aeger ago; hanc etiam uix, Tityre, duco.
-hic inter densas corylos modo namque gemellos,spem gregis

Special thanks to: Virgil, Dad, Tasha, Mikaela, Anna Calvi, Twinings, Magners and Thomas Barrow.


“Pick Of The Crop.” Julia Nobis photographed by Stephan Ward for Vogue Australia, October 2013.

The signs as nice words

Aries: Vitality, springtime, untiring, full of life, dynamic.

Taurus: folksy, rustic, of the earth, unyielding, yearning.

Gemini: airy, balmy, bellowing, pleasant, fickle.

Cancer: delicate, powerful, serene, of the sea, zealous.

Leo: fearless, unwavering, luminescent, spirited, radiant.

Virgo: bucolic, dreamy, astral, celestial, intuitive.

Libra: fluttery, harmonious, adored, exalted, enchanting.

Scorpio: luxurious, opulent,
protective, dignified, regal.

Sagittarius: vagrant, enigmatic, electric, astir, compelling.

Capricorn: abstract, deep thinking, mysterious, frugal, sensible.

Aquarius: ethereal, divine, intangible, heavenly, of the sky and stars.

Pisces: imaginative, quixotic, poetic, amorous, whimsical.

One of the reasons Neji Hyuga is my favorite.

BucolicRustic, pastoral, country-styled. Pertaining to herdsmen or peasants.

Nonentities: (plural of nonentity) an unimportant or insignificant person. (Uncountable): the state of not existing; nonexistence.

He called them insignificant peasants. But with like, 18th century wording. Holy shit. 

His Tom Hiddleston sass is showing. 

(If you Google “bucolic nonentities” all you get is Neji and Tenten. OMG.)

Though this was supposedly for a bridal shower, I thought it was too pretty to miss! The serene, bucolic landscape, with each stroke of the brush carefully recreating each and every aspect of nature’s best, is simply remarkable.

Cake: Carries Cakes

I wanted to get the next chapter of the girl’s night fic up today (actually, it’s the boy’s night part), but it will not happen. I have not finished. I am very sad. 

I offer you, instead, a teaser for something down the road a bit (post-Ultron, pre-Civil War):

“There you are,” Rebecca called to her husband, stepping out onto the covered veranda off the hotel’s lobby. It was a lovely view. Mountains, trees, the river. Bucolic, peaceful. A surprisingly boring choice for her niece Marcia’s nuptials, but Rebecca supposed that the upscale grandeur of a destination wedding made up for its remote, quietness.

“Here I am,” Paul grumped back. He was leaning against the railing, his hands braced on the wood and his arms locked.

She eyed him for a moment, trying to gauge what had him on edge.

“Are you waiting for Darcy?” she guessed. “She called a while ago. She’ll be here in an hour or so.”

“Sam told me.”

“Okay. So … what’s going on?”

“I’m avoiding your mother and your cousin Erica.”

“Ahh,” Rebecca said, and felt her shoulders slump. It was going to be a long weekend, wasn’t it? “They started already?”

“What is Erica’s deal?” Paul slapped his hands on the rail and did a half push-up, agitated and surly. Then he pitched his voice up in to a mocking falsetto, “‘Oh, this is such a nice place, but gosh it’s expensive. I hope you’re not paying too much to have Darcy come. Marcia should have picked a venue closer to the city, with cheap motels nearby. A destination wedding is lovely, but it can be such a burden to family members who can’t afford it.' 

“I was this close,” he held up his thumb and index finger a hair’s-breadth apart, “to telling her Darcy could buy this place with her pocket change.”

“Well, Marcia got an amazing deal on a group rate,” Rebecca said evenly. Paul shot her a dark, grumpy look. “And I like how Erica managed to judge both Darcy and Marcia at the same time. Double backhand. That’s skill.”

Paul grimaced and looked back out over the river. “Am I being too touchy?”

“Maybe a little, but honestly, years of it gets old,” Rebecca sighed. 

Her mother had never been happy that she refused to tell her who Darcy’s father was. After one particularly ugly fight where her mother called Darcy a bastard child, Rebecca’s grandmother intervened and shut down the subject with a long string of loud, scathing words for Francine. Rebecca had never seen her bubbe that furious. It worked, and the arguments ended, but the judgement didn’t. Francine was never directly unkind to Darcy, but she was distant, cool.

“Yeah, yeah, exactly. Where do they get off judging Darcy?” Paul said, slapping the railing again. “She’s happy, which is more than I can say for Erica or her brood of miserable, petty—”


“Well, they are,” he said with a petulant grumble. Rebecca rubbed her hand down her husband’s back, trying to sooth him.

“I keep one thought in my head when they do that,” she told him, “and it’s that one day Darcy’s going to come out, and then Erica and my mother will fall over in shock. And if God loves me, I’ll be there to see it.”

Paul bowed his head and chuckled. “That might be a little petty for God.”

“Well, okay, but don’t I deserve it after twenty-six years of this?” she asked with a plaintive moan. “And I promise to fan them gently with a magazine or something and call an ambulance.”

Straightening, Paul slipped an arm across his wife’s shoulders and pulled her in for a kiss on the cheek. “That’s what I love about you, your compassion.”

“Damn right,” Rebecca said with a laugh. “Don’t worry about Darcy, she’s tough stuff.”

“Maybe,” Paul murmured. “But, you know, she’s smart, and she’s smart about people, she hasn’t missed those little snide comments. There’s a reason she never wants to go to family events. She had her fingers crossed for an alien invasion when I talked to her last week.”

Rebecca frowned. “I know.”

“And maybe she’s tough, but they keep jabbing at the same place and that starts to hurt. Even Darcy.”

It was Rebecca’s turn to brace her hands on the railing and stare out at the scenery. She’d tried to shield Darcy from those comments for more than twenty years. She’d told off Erica more than once, she’d railed against her mother, but for all her efforts, they’d still tainted the well of family opinion.

Rebecca knew she hadn’t been present for any number of conversations about Darcy, and quite a few members of their extended family looked at Darcy like their little black-sheep slacker. And they treated her that way. The underachiever in a family of goal-oriented social-climbers. It didn’t help that Rebecca was, herself, a family black-sheep. She’d been a mouthy free-spirit who talked back to her mother, left the family homestead of Seattle for good, and had a child out of wedlock with a man she wouldn’t name. And those were just a few of the highlights.  

Darcy was tough alright, and she was smart. So smart, so much her father’s daughter. Paul was right, Darcy wouldn’t have missed those attitudes. Not everybody in the family was horrible to her or to Darcy, of course, but there were a few select people who were more petty than kind about a clever little girl. Her mother had her own disappointments in life, and she let herself project those disappointments onto Rebecca and Darcy. And Rebecca suspected that Erica was, and always had been, just plain unnerved by Darcy. Even as a child Darcy had a way of looking at somebody like she knew what they were really about.

Erica was the highest of the high-achievers, with a doctorate in chemical engineering and used to being the smartest of the bunch. Except for Darcy, who could see right through her. Darcy whose childhood pranks involved unexpectedly flammable substances and all the engineering prowess she’d learned from Tony Stark. The lightbulb paint bomb had been particularly spectacular, and kind of vindictive. And the 9-volt battery and powdered coffee creamer incident was both clever and creative — and also destroyed Francine’s lace tablecloth. Darcy swore it was an accident. Rebecca wasn’t so sure, but thought the prank had really just got away from her.

So, how do you impress a child who has that sort of know-how with your PhD? Rebecca knew Erica enjoyed the return of her sense of superiority when Darcy seemed to make a career of interning and then moved in with her father. Her father, who, as far as anybody knew, was an auto mechanic. Which was technically true, if only as a hobby rather than a vocation. Basically, Erica was a damned insufferable snob.

“I’ll talk to them,” Rebecca said. “I don’t want this to be a thing this weekend. I want Darcy to be able to relax and see everybody.”

Paul sighed and braced his elbows on the railing. “I didn’t mean to make this a big deal. It just got me thinking. When we were in New York in the spring.” His jaw clenched and he swallowed heavily. “The, uh, second time, I mean.”

Rebecca nodded silently. Five months wasn’t enough to get over having your daughter kidnapped by murdering Nazi terrorists.

“Anyway,” Paul continued. “I think it was when you and Pepper and Darcy went to the Met. I was cornered in the kitchen by a pair of assassins. Easily the third or fourth most terrifying thing that’s ever happened to me. Maybe the third and fourth most terrifying things. One of them on their own would be bad enough.”

Letting out a little laugh, she nudged his shoulder. “Oh, come on. You and Clint got along pretty well. And Natasha’s very nice. I like her. I hate why, but I’m glad we got to meet them.”

“But, say you’re going for an apple,” he argued back, holding out his hands in appeal, “and then you turn around and the two of them have materialized behind you from God knows where. And they’re staring at you. It was really unsettling, okay?”

“I see you survived,” she told him with a teasing smile.

“Barely,” he grumped. “They wanted to talk to me about Darcy. They had questions.”

Rebecca’s eyebrows rose. They’d both spent more time with her daughter over the last few years than she had. They had to know her pretty well. “What sort of questions?”

“It was something they noticed when they were training her. They had concerns. Well, maybe not concerns anymore, but they were curious. They said they noticed some self-esteem and self-confidence issues. Like, she never gives herself a lot of credit, always downplays her accomplishments, always compares herself to others and thinks she falls short. That sort of thing. And she covers it with brashness and over-confidence — which, frankly, is so Tony it’s crazy.”

“Yes, it is,” Rebecca murmured, thinking through Natasha and Clint’s observations.

“They were trying to figure out where it came from. I guess they’d been trying to … I don’t know, address that for a while,” Paul said with a shrug. “I didn’t want to blame Tony, and they didn’t think it was entirely him. Though, I know she’s always compared herself to him, and she doesn’t realize she’s comparing herself to somebody who is, literally, one of the smartest people on the planet. It’s such an unfair comparison, and I’m sure Tony never made it. Maybe I haven’t always understood that guy, but dad to dad, Tony turned out better than I thought he would. I mean, I hoped, but he still surprised me. In a good way.”

“He really did,” she agreed.

“So, then your mother and Erica started in, and I remembered that, and I had to come out here or I was going to snap.”

“I understand.” Rebecca rubbed at her forehead and closed her eyes. The idea of her little baby girl that wounded nipped at her heart. “Do you think I should have told my mother about Tony?”

“God no,” Paul exclaimed. “That would have been worse. It was a trade-off; I just hate that she made us make it. Either Darcy’s exposed to the world as a child — and there was zero chance Francine wouldn’t have made a scene —, or Darcy gets to have a normal childhood with a disapproving grandmother who can’t get past her own crap to enjoy her granddaughter. I’d make it again, in a heartbeat.”

“Do you think that they hurt Darcy that much?” Rebecca asked, afraid of his answer, because God, was she unable to protect her own child?

“No, not entirely,” Paul said, blowing out a long breath. “I mean, who doesn’t get at least a little screwed up by family? Christ, it’s not like Helen’s any better.” Helen was Paul’s sister-in-law and sadly another judgmental individual — though one less overtly bitter, but who preferred her family gossip to be more on the vicious side. How was that a fun way to live your life?

“And like I said,” Paul continued, “I don’t want to blame Tony, but he does have his own issues, you know?”

“An excellent example of being screwed up by family,” she said. “I think we did okay. I mean, she is happy. Mostly. And, honestly, I don’t think she cares a lot about what my mother and Erica think of her. But, you’re right, it probably left a mark, even if its small.”

“No, no, I think we did great.” Paul gave her an understanding smile. “And, honestly, I didn’t mean to blame your family. They just hit me at the wrong moment.”

“Well, I am sorry. I’ll lay down the law.”

Paul huffed a laugh. “You know, I think Darcy can probably handle it now.”

“She shouldn’t have to,” she replied.

“No, I guess not.” He ran a hand over his short-cropped hair, the dark curly strands starting to silver, and then something seemed to catch him and he laughed. “Darcy threatened to go full Stark this weekend. And … you know, I think she ought to. Don’t you? We protected that for so long, maybe it’s time we stop?”

Rebecca hummed thoughtfully for a second. “Maybe. Though, what does full Stark mean? Are we talking drunk, naked shenanigans? Or being obnoxiously arrogant and not giving a damn? Either would be hilarious, but I hope it’s not the first.”

Paul shuddered and grimaced. “God, me, too. But, she does have some decorum. We won that battle of nature vs. nurture.”

Rebecca brought up her clenched fists and shook them with a cheer, “Yay, us!”

“Though, there were moments,” he said with a dark frown. “The teenaged years.”

Rebecca laughed. “She wasn’t that bad. And she never got into any serious trouble. Skipping class a couple times, maybe. That time the Principle busted her at a Denny’s when she was supposed to be at a pep rally. She seemed to spend a lot of her time getting people out of trouble. Remember Luis at the Target?”

“France,” he spat out with a scowl.

“That was mostly Tony,” Rebecca corrected with a snort. “And they were politely asked to leave. Nobody filed charges.”

“Oh, great,” he replied sarcastically. “Kicked out of a whole country. God, only those two. And then they giggled about it. Both of them. I never want to hear a grown man giggle again.”

Nobody’d ever been able to get the full story out of either of them, but from a few little things Darcy said over the years, Rebecca was able to piece together some idea of what happened. It seems they cooked up a scheme to con a business rival of Tony’s — for their own entertainment, not for profit. How the police and the local government got involved, she couldn’t say, but even if she was curious, there were probably some things she didn’t want to know. She slept better at night.

Did she need to know, for example, that apparently at some point there was some sort of speedboat chase? Ten years ago, definitely she would have wanted to know that, but now all it would do was send her blood pressure sky high and then she’d have to yell. But, not knowing the details, and knowing that Darcy was fine, and also that it was so long ago, she felt better off letting it go. Maybe give it another decade and she’d be ready for the full story.

What it came down to, the most important thing, was that Tony was a surprisingly conscientious father, and after the first couple years of him being in Darcy’s life, Rebecca had few reservations about them spending time alone together. The France caper seemed to be one of those things where between Tony the mad genius and a teenaged, fearless Darcy, the situation clearly got a little out of hand. It happened to everybody, even if not everybody would get themselves kicked out of a country. And, it was worth noting, nothing like that ever happened again. As far as she knew.

“So, hey,” Paul said, interrupting her thoughts, “who’s she bringing? She still wasn’t sure when I talked to her last week.”

“Last week she was hoping for an alien invasion, remember?” Rebecca said with a small laugh.

“I remember. Is it Clint?” he asked hopefully. They really did get along pretty well. Paul liked to cook and Clint liked to eat, and they both liked college football and bad action movies. And despite the surprise apple interrogation, Clint was probably the most relatable of Tony’s teammates. 

“Nope, she’s bringing Bucky,” Rebecca told him. “I guess he wanted to come.”

“Oh, meet the boyfriend weekend, huh?” Paul said looking like he wasn’t sure how to take that. It would be hard to dad-intimidate a guy who was both a decorated war hero and an assassin.

“We’re supposed to call him James.”

“Fine by me,” he agreed with a shrug. “I still can’t entirely believe he’s actually Bucky Barnes. For real Bucky Barnes. I mean, I know he is, but still. I don’t think I could actually bring myself to call him that.”

“Is it weird that somehow I’m not even sort of surprised?” Rebecca mused.

Frowning, Paul turned to lean his hip against the rail and regarded his wife. “You expected the 98-year old undead assassin?”

“Honestly, I was pulling for the 98-year old undead super soldier,” she told him with a shrug, and Paul laughed and shook his head. “But why not Bucky?”

“Because he fell off a train and died?” he suggested with a lift of his eyebrows.

“But, clearly, he didn’t. And Steve crashed a bomber into the ocean and bam, here he is.” She held her hands out to him, presenting that odd, but indisputable evidence. “And as much as she’s a Lewis — and she is — she’s also a Stark. Howard Stark’s granddaughter, in fact. Howard Stark who was one of the guys who developed the super soldier process, some version of which was, apparently, used on Bucky, too. Of all the people in the world, somehow that it was Darcy who found him makes sense.”

“That is weird,” Paul murmured, his forehead wrinkling as he thought through that twisty reality. “I don’t know what to do with that.”

“You don’t have to do anything with it,” she told him with a fond pat on the hand. “But, it is what it is.”

“Okay, but boyfriend?” He glanced around the deck, making sure they were still alone. Lowering his voice, he said, “Are we just ignoring that thing where he was in Hydra, though?”

“Not of his own free will,” Rebecca told him. “Darcy insists. And, honestly, so does Steve. I talked to him about Bucky when Darcy was …” She bit her upper lip and let out a breath. “When Darcy was held. Tony accused Bucky of taking her, but Steve swore he wouldn’t. Even Director Coulson backed him up on that. But, I wanted to know. I wanted to understand. You were cornered by assassins and I cornered Captain America.” She gave him a wry, triumphant smile. “He told me a lot more than Darcy has, for sure. But, anyway, it wasn’t of his own free will.”

“So, they what? Brainwashed him?”

“I guess so. Steve was stingy on those details, but I gather it was horrible. They had him for seventy years, Paul. That poor guy.”

“Okay, and he and Steve don’t age?”

“They age. But, Hydra kept Bucky in some sort of cold storage when they didn’t need him. So it was a little like Steve in the ice.”

“Good Christ, what does that do to a guy?” Paul scrubbed his hands through his hair.

“Nothing good,” Rebecca said quietly. “Don’t get me wrong, I have my reservations. I mean, he is dangerous. We saw the footage from DC. That was him. God, I honestly don’t know how Darcy was able to talk to him right after. He’d terrify me.”

Paul looked grim when he said, “Okay, then, I’m glad she’s bringing him. I want to see this guy for myself. He can be an undead assassin all he wants, but I am her father. And we’re going to have a little chat.”

Rebecca stared at him for a moment and then snorted a laugh, and then another, and she really couldn’t stop herself. Paul’s face fell into a hurt pout.

“What?” he demanded, still pouting.

She shook her head, trying to get the laughter under control.

“Why is that funny? I am her dad. That’s my job. I want to make sure she’s okay with him.”

When she finally tamped down her laughter, she leaned forward to give him a kiss and patted his cheek fondly. “I really love you.”

“No, okay, but really, why are you laughing?”

“I don’t know. It was just … suddenly the absurdity of you giving Bucky Barnes, of all people, the dad talk … it hit me.” She waved a hand helplessly and laughed again.

He thrust out his jaw and pressed his lips together. “Watch me.”

“Oh, honey, I cannot wait to see it. You really have no idea.” She gave him another kiss then turned back to the building. “I’m going to go find Sam; I think he’ll want to see this, too.”

“It’s not a spectator sport,” Paul called after her.

Rebecca paused at the doors and turned back to him, clasping her hands hopefully against her chest. “Do you think I could sell tickets? We could pay off this stupid destination wedding trip in one go. Try and get him to arm wrestle you.”

Paul grumped. “I want a divorce.”


“Then I want half the gate receipts.”

“Done. But only if there’s arm wrestling.” She pointed a finger at him. “Make it happen, sweetie.”


The Signs as Pretty Words
  • Taurus: Bucolic- In a lovely rural setting.
  • Gemini: Mellifluous- Sweet sounding
  • Cancer: Efflorescence- Flowering, blooming.
  • Leo: Lilt-To move musically or lively.
  • Virgo: Panacea- A solution for all problems
  • Libra: Gossamer- The finest piece of thread, a spider's silk
  • Scorpio: Cynosure- A focal point of admiration.
  • Sagittarius: Eloquence-Beauty and persuasion in speech
  • Capricorn: Penumbra- A half-shadow.
  • Aquarius: Inglenook- A cozy nook by the hearth.
  • Pisces: Lagoon- A small gulf or inlet.
  • Aries: Quintessential- Most essential.

An Artist in His Studio (c.1904). John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925). Oil on canvas. MFA, Boston.

Sargent’s friend, the Italian artist Ambrogio Raffele, is deep in contemplation, working on a bucolic landscape. Raffele is using his cramped and untidy hotel room as a studio; he and his landscape painting are shifted to the left corner. Surrounded by smaller sketches presumably made outdoors, Raffele holds a palette that bears blobs of thick, bright paint and a fistful of brushes.