Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. I hope you are having a great, relaxing day. If you're reading this from anoher country besides the US and don't celebrate Thansgiving, then I wish you good day anyway.

I am on vacation from work this week. I've been quite sick all week with bronchitis, so that worked out well. I've had an opportunity to rest, take NyQuil, drink tea, and cough in peace without missing work or breathing on anyone.

By the numbers:

Documentaries watched: 4

Yoo Hoo Mrs Goldberg
Herb and Dorothy
The Great American West
Becoming Santa

TV shows on hulu watched: 3

Lou Grant
Inspector Morse

Hugs received: 2

Hugs given: 1
(1 of the above hugs was an ambush hug, given and done before reciprocation could be enacted)

Bountiful Baskets Pumpkin-cranberry rolls eaten: 4

Thanksgiving dinners packed: 700

Thanksgiving dinners eaten: 1
cranberry sauce
green beans
sweet potato
wheat roll
pound cake
hot tea

Times Neti pot used: 12
*Note, buy more nasal salt

Friends to the rescue: 1

Three more days and then back to work for a few more weeks until the long Christmas break. Though I hold no ill will for being sick over the break, as I'd have been at home anyway, I would like to enjoy Christmas break with a bit more consciousness and cognitive awareness than I did this Thanksgiving break. Between the sinus, naps, and NyQUil, I've really been out of it.

**Disclaimer: If I wrote or said anything while under the NyQuil haze, I am not to be held responsible. It's the evilly effective green syrup talking.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Documentary: Herb and Dorothy

On Hulu I watched another terrific documentary. This one is of unassuming Herb and Dorothy, both civil servants living in NYC on less that $50,000 per year. Yet with their modest means they became New York's premier contemporary art collectors.

Living on her salary as a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library and using Herb's salary as a night postal clerk, they amassed almost 5,000 pieces of contemporary art, all crammed into their tiny 1-bedroom NYC apartment.

Toward the end of their lives, they donated their collection to the National Museum of Art in Washington DC, because (the museum keeps donated art forever and won't trade or sell it, and because they charge no admission.) Dorothy explained, 'we worked for the government all our lives, and we felt the art belonged to the American people, and the National Museum is a museum for the people.'

Just as important as the art were the relationships the pair cultivated with the artists. They befriended them, offered moral support and gave of their modest financial means. Patrons in the people's sense, they amassed friendships glued by their mutual love of art, especially the 'difficult' pieces that most art lovers don't understand nor enjoy.

Heteronomy Charles Clough Painting: enamel on linen
And as with the art and the relationships with the artists, the documentary also chronicles the couple's marriage. Dorothy said when the pair had been married for 45 years that she could count on one hand the number of times they had been apart. "We just really like to be with each other." They are charming and wonderful together and it is a joy to see a pair grow together through the years in mutual love and support.

Untitled Robert Barry Print: print on light blue glossed paper
Herb passed away at the age of 89 in 2012. Dorothy travels and attends theatre, but is extremely lonely for Herb. She no longer collects, but in addition to visiting the 1,000 pieces she and Herb had donated to the American Museum she also attends museum openings in all the other places she has donated their collected works.

The filmmaker followed up the original documentary Herb and Dorothy with a film called 50X50. The American Museum could only absorb 1000 of their pieces, so of the rest, the 50X50 project was born.  "The sheer size of the collection—far too large to be reasonably placed in any one institution—led to the development of The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States project, which enabled the Vogels to share the gift of their collection nationwide. This project has received essential support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services."

You can view all the institutions in each state which have so far accepted a Vogel donation here.

The New Yorker wrote a lovely article about Dorothy Vogel earlier this year, here. It begins this way

Dorothy and Herbert Vogel led the sort of life that sounds like a New York legend: two state employees, living on less than fifty thousand dollars a year, manage to amass a collection of more than four thousand works of contemporary art. It’s hard to believe such a feat would be economically possible, but the Vogels were early enthusiasts who collected what was at first unpopular—inaccessible minimalist and conceptual works—and would now be worth millions. Not everyone in their collection was widely known, but many were: Richard Tuttle, Sol LeWitt, Jeanne-Claude and Christo. The Vogels themselves were minor celebrities, known by art-world regulars around the city, and they were beloved: at a 1976 event to benefit P.S. 1, the founder, Alanna Heiss, threw a prom. There was a ballot for prom king and queen, and Herb and Dorothy won.

The documentary is on hulu but snagfilms has it here, free. Please take a look at a charming film.

Herb and Dorothy, 87 min

Monday, November 25, 2013

Beaches, blankies, and bingo! Winter's here

'Tis a cold and blustery day here in north Georgia, but the sun is spectacularly shining and I am warm and clean and dry. It's the little things. Plus, I just ate a scrambled egg wrapped in a soft flour tortilla, one of my new favorite meals.

My bronchitis got a bit worse yesterday but a dear friend came to my rescue last night, showing up before the Dollar Store closed having bought me NyQuil, Cough med, Kleenex, and cough drops. And some Pop Tarts, lol.

NyQuil...what is IN that stuff? It always knocks me out and last night was no exception. Man, it felt good to get a straight 8 hours' rest with no coughing. My muscles were tired and overworked this morning from all that coughing all day yesterday.

Speaking of yesterday, is there anything better on a cold Sunday afternoon than to curl up on the couch with a blankie and a kitty or two, and watching Shrek? Nope, there isn't.

I was going through my old photos a few days ago and came across this one from Naples, FL. Or Venice FL. I really like this, the low perspective, the sand castle in the foreground and the footsteps leading to the two people almost off the edge of the frame in the background. It was taken with a Lomo camera, which I used to love, love, love. Just file this photo under 'things I like for no reason'. Or maybe the reason is I'm thinking about a warm beach right now on this blustery cold day!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

It's Thanksgiving Break!

I have the week off next week, for Thanksgiving vacation from school. Yay! I love it. I especially love that it is 61 degrees and sunny right now. My windows are open.

Today was Bountiful Baskets day. This week's basket was full of tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, cukes, celery, onions, yams, potatoes, grapes, apples, bananas and cantaloupe. I also bought a box of Satsuma oranges. These were the oranges I was introduced to from last week's basket. They were cultivated in Japan, are grown in CA, have a slip-peel (easy to peel), only one seed per orange and they just melt in your mouth. Each orange is slightly larger than a golf ball and a bit smaller than a tennis ball. Here is the lot of them. Lot is the key word.

I've eaten four so far. Only a thousand left to go! Or, better yet, time to share!
I've got bronchitis but that is par for the course. I always do for Thanksgiving. My old friend, Bronc Hitis, he always comes to visit for turkey day!

I'm making vegetable soup with egg noodles. The produce is from Bountiful Baskets. I'm using onion, celery, and zucchini, plus green beans from a friend's garden which I flash froze a while ago, and pasta. I wish I had rice but I don't so that's that. I put rice on the grocery list.

I haven't had rice for a long time, preferring pasta or quinoa in these past months. But now I've come around again to good ole brown rice. Funny how we go in cycles of preferences. I'll get a bag of rice Friday when I shop next.

I also have a hankering for making my own beans. I'm going to try making garbanzo beans from dried and set aside to use some for homemade hummus. I don't have a food processor but only a blender, so making hummus gets a little messy. That's all right. I'm on vacation.

I also want to get black beans and make some black bean patties with quinoa. Super protein punch!

I have watched all the seasons of The Good Wife on hulu and I'm up to the current season and that's not on hulu but is on CBS online. It is a legal beagle show, which I love. Legal shows, that is. I remember LA Law, back thirty years ago. It ran from 1986 to 1994. I think that was my first legal show. At least that's the one I remember first. I was fascinated. I have an unfulfilled, nebulous desire to go to law school. I considered it in 2000 but set the thought aside permanently. I'm not a lawyer but I watch them on TV. I was always sorry that the Law & Order spinoff "Trial By Jury" didn't get more traction.

The Good Wife is a good show and I love the legal maneuvering. It is a show that details the complexity of the law, the difficulty of being a nuanced human, and relationships both personal and professional. I don't know what I'll do when I finish binge watching it. LOL, likely find some movies.

OK, my soup is done and it looks tasty. I'll have a bowl with a roll I got at Bountiful Baskets. Till next time.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Chalk drawings

I walked outside the other day, to find lively and wonderful chalk drawings all over the driveway and granite picnic table. A 6-year old lives next door, and she had been busy! I really love to see things like this. The sun was making the pink, blue and white drawings come alive, the birds were singing, and the sun was bright. Ahhh, fall in Georgia.

View from my bedroom window through the lace sheer.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Fall break and Fiesta

I'm on day three of a four day mini Fall break from school. I really enjoy this time of year, Sept-through Christmas. The heat goes away in September, and I'm used to the shock of coming off summer and into school, since we begin school in August. The weather is glorious, and the holidays come fast and furious. So do the school vacations.

I use the time to catch up on tasks at home. This morning I cleaned out and refreshed my little office. It's where I keep bills to be paid and correspondence to complete. I have a bookcase in the kitchen next to the kitchen table. It contains my supplies like printer paper, scanner and printer. It also contains theological CDs that I listen to when I do dishes and cook, like Drive By Pneumatology and Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. There are some CDs and tracts and pamphlets I keep there too, intending to pass to someone who expresses a need or asks me a question. I have a nice pencil cup holding my scissors and stapler and pens and markers. My bible and Sunday School book are there too. Headphones and speakers complete the ensemble, lol. For all that it sounds like there is a lo of stuff, there isn't. like to keep thinks streamlined both in fact and in appearance.

I print out sermons or other things I plan to read later, and these pile up on the bottom shelf. Well, a day like today is "later." I organized my papers and looked through them to see what I have. Half of being organized is knowing what you have. The other half is being able to put your hands on it when you need it. I really hate to hear myself saying "I know it's around here somewhere" or worse, "I KNEW I had it all along" when it's too late to have been able to help someone.

I also spent some time this morning paying bills, ugh. The paycheck comes in on the first and goes out on the second. It was nice while it lasted!

I spent some time reorganizing my kitchen counter also. I have 6 Fiestaware mugs that I decided to move, and in so doing, got interested in them again. I decided to use one for my coffee (I have a rigid schedule for coffee mug use- only three are selected and I use them in rotating order.) This might sound weird, but I love the entire ritual of the morning coffee on vacations especially, but any day actually. Part of that is enjoying the feel and weight of the mug I put the coffee in, and the look of it as it steams away next to my laptop on a crocheted coaster. The practical part of this schema is the mug must do a good job of keeping the coffee warm for a period of time, since I take a while to drink it.

In looking up about the Fiesta ware mug I learned that they are Tom and Jerry mugs, which was an egg-alcoholic drink similar to egg nog, popular from the late 1800s through the 1960s.

Blogger and Fiestaware afictionado Happy Heidi explains, "The Tom and Jerry was an alcoholic egg and milk drink, popular in the 30s and 40s. It was served warm from a large bowl in handled mugs. Homer Laughlin had already been producing this mug with a different handle when Fiestaware was being designed. Adopting the ring handle from the general Fiestaware line, the Tom and Jerry mug was born. The distinctive ring handle is all you get for design on the T&J mug (it is one of only two pieces that is without the legendary rings, the other is the dripcut syrup pitcher, that was also borrowed from elsewhere). We use the Tom and Jerry mug for coffee and it's just the perfect size. Nice thick walls keep the coffee warm longer than contemporary cups and it's small size means no waste. These pieces were actually hand shaped with metal tools to achieve the unusual concave shape. The wonderful hourglass shape couldn't be produced by a mold alone, so workers shaped them (thus explaining why some are more curvy and thinner than other mugs). Because of all the handwork there is much variation in the Fiesta pottery pieces. The foot was shaped by hand so they couldn't be marked in the mold so they were also hand-stamped with the Genuine Fiesta glaze stamp (some cups escaped the marking process, so it is not uncommon to also find the T&J mug unmarked). Produced from 1936-1969."

If it supposed to keep the beverage warm for a long time I decided to test that, and so added another mug tot he rotation. I am also looking up the evolution of Homer Laughlin hand stamps on the bottom so I can see if these are indeed vintage Fiestaware or are the newer version. I believe they are original-vintage. Looking up these things is a fun way for me to go antiquing. I don't have to leave the house.

In looking up stuff about the Homer Laughlin Comany, the company that makes Fiestaware, I learned that they employ 1100 skilled workers in a 37 acre facility, the largest domestic pottery making company in the US even today. In watching a Company vintage movie from the thirties, we see that they had a 300' long continuous tunnel for a kiln. The ware was baked in the tunnel for many hours.

Here is the backstamp on my mugs. I can't find an exact description of this one online, but I hope it is the vintage stamp. If it is not please let me know. I think the colors indicate that they may not be vintage, especially the plum mug. And they don't have that gentle hourglass, concave shape, and there are three rings on the rim where the older ones don't have that. The photo of the Tom & Jerry mug above is from Happy Heidi, and IS vintage, so those few differences between hers and mine may make the difference. I dunno. I just think they are pretty.

I've got the colors purple, orange, yellow, forest green, red and cobalt.

So that is a vacation day!Potting around, investigating this N that, not much but just right.