Thursday, December 29, 2016

Snippets of my day

Two luxurious weeks off. Mmmm, what to do? Read! I have plenty to choose from at home.


"What I did on my Christmas vacation". I ORGANIZED something. Oh, the joy that fills my heart. I fixed up the clothes-laundry area in my garage. I'd ordered a portable shelving holder from Amazon and I set it up in the spot where the washer-dryer is. I like maximizing space, and so I did!


Murray is very active in the mornings when I first get up. He runs around like a nut, looks out of every window, plays with everything except the toys I've bought him (frayed thread on hanging towel, shower curtain, other sleeping cat, imaginary shadow...). When he finally decides to settle for a nap, as all moms of kids and fur babies say, Amen!


Practicing with Pixlr, this time, "Space silhouette"


Aww too bad this job had been filled already by an eccentric. I'd like to have applied for it...

The Cave-dwelling Hermitess of Colonial America

The wind is howling and though it's warm now, the temps are supposed to plunge throughout the day as a cold front moves in. Perfect for staying warm in leggings and oversize comfy shirt, with tea. My last teabag of Stash "Christmas Morning Black and Green tea" awaits.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Design...luscious graphic design. Vintage Science Posters & Megan Lee

I love looking at beautiful things. Don't you? :) This first offering is from The Modernist Nerd
The intersection of science and design has many beautiful manifestations, from data visualization to nerd tattoos. But hardly does it get more delightful than in these gorgeous vintage science and technology ads from magazines in the 1950s and 1960s, bringing the modernist aesthetic to the atomic and space ages.
Here are a couple of offerings. I like the one about copper. Can you imagine the ad designer pondering how to make copper interesting? He did it.

And aluminum?

Soviet Propaganda Posters, while the content was objectionable to Americans back in the day, the design was stellar. I've written about them before, relating the history behind the popular UK war propaganda poster "Keep Calm and Carry On" and some other perfectly gorgeous posters as examples.

Here is a page dedicated to Soviet Posters.

The BBC did an article last year looking at 6 of the most recognizable vintage Soviet cosmonaut posters with explanations as to the history behind them.

Noel Bagley at Aetherworks (love the beauteous home page!!) found some modern vintage science posters by Megan Lee at her etsy shop. VISIT Megan Lee! Her designs are incredibly beautiful!

Niels Bohr was a 1922 Nobel winner for advancing our understanding of quantum physics and the structure of the atom.

Look, just LOOK at Megan's scientist postcards!

Rock Star Scientists posters. Fibonacci! Mandelbrot! My faves!

And planet stationery! This woman can design beautiful things!

Ahhh, gorgeous.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Book reading plan for 2017

Darryl Dash wrote yesterday on his blog,
When my kids were younger they attended schools with an initiative called “Drop Everything and Read.” The idea was simple. Students could pick their own book, lay aside other obligations, and read for the joy of it. There would be no tests or reports. I loved the idea.
When I taught first grade, waaaaaay back thirty years ago, we did the DEAR program. We loved it. I taught in a PK-2 school then and when the principal announced DEAR time we all dropped everything and read for the pleasure of it. Nowadays, the day is so crammed for students with tasks and assessments and being 'productive,' that reading for pleasure is often scooted to the side. Sadly.

Mr Dash wrote his essay intended as an encouragement for pastors not to neglect good reading, hefty reading, non-fiction reading...all reading. It's part of the job. He said that when we leave reading until the end of the day after everything is finished, we don't read.

I have found this to be true. My day, just as most of you have experienced, is crammed with so many obligations and tasks, that I've left reading to the end and consider it a leisure activity. But it's not. Reading good books about missionaries, books on theology, commentaries, or just plain good fiction (Elmer Gantry!!!!) helps keep our mind sharp and encourages our thinking. And make no mistake, Christianity is a thinking religion.

I've made a decision to read more. I have gotten out of the habit. I downloaded Challies' reading program and selected the 'Avid level.'

There aren't many rules, just go through the list at the pace suggested. One can mix up the order, but I'm a rule follower and I'm going through it in the order given. Starting at the very top of the Challies list, my first book, the biography, will be-

Hearts of Fire: Eight Women in the Underground Church and Their Stories of Costly Faith by Voice of the Martyrs

The classic novel will be The Encantadas and Other Stories by Herman Melville.
And, Ben-Hur.
I'll also be also finishing Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan.

A book about history will be Life in a Medieval Castle by Frances Gies and Joseph Gies.
I'll also finish Salt: A World History by Michael Kurlansky.

I'm not looking forward to 'A Book Targeted at My Gender' and really have no clue about that one. It's hard, being child-free and unmarried at age 56, but I'll do my diligence and scrape a female book up from somewhere. Maybe Women's Ministry in the Local Church by Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt, hee hee.

The book about theology will be Concise Theology by J. I. Packer

A book of at least 400 pages will be Fireside Book of Dog Stories, 1943, by Jack Goodman (Editor), James Thurber (Introduction)

A book my pastor recommends will be decided upon later, when I get to that point and ask him.

A book about Christian living will be What Every Christian Ought to Know by Adrian Rogers.

A book more than 100 years old will be easy to choose, I have tons of them laying around. Maybe The Decameron by Boccaccio (almost 700 years old) or Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions by Edward Abbott which is over 130 years. I've read Flatland before, but focused on the math. This time I want to focus on the sly satire on Victorian mores, and maybe combine reading it with some Lytton Strachey.

Those are the starters.

I already posses the books I've mentioned, except for the women's book by Duncan and Hunt. I already own all these! I have had some of them for 20 or 30 for years, always saying "I'll get to them some day." Some of these I've been carrying from apartment to apartment from Maine to Georgia, since 2004. Don't get me wrong, I've made hefty use of Amazon and the Public Library and Kindle and have read many books. I've also read many of the books I personally own. But I turned 56 years old last week and I've been toting around some of these for 10, 20, 25 years, always intending to read them. Like The Decameron. I bought that book after my first trip to Italy in 1990 when I was 30. It's shocking how fast time flies.

So I decided to Drop Everything And Read. Time is too DEAR to waste any more on stupid TV or unprofitable activity. Once you get out of the habit of reading, whether due to social distractions or technology or work pressures, it is hard to get back into it. And since time is always short, I have to MAKE time to read.

It's my resolution anyway. We'll see how that goes.

From current apartment all the way back to 2004, no matter how small the apartment I always had books.

This bookcase filled rapidly,
especially after I received my MacArthur Commentaries.

I had to co-opt a table into becoming another bookcase.

In this apartment I had four six-foot bookcases, filled.

This was an attic apartment of a Cape Cod style house in Maine
with a weirdly shaped middle room due to the low ceiling & dormers.
I made it my library.

This was a temporary transition apartment which was really
a furnace room in a garage, but I made do and brought my books.

When I moved out of the temporary apartment above,
I lived here which was one of the best places. It also had a large deck
onto which I'd go out and read, when I had time.
I was running my own business then and time was in short supply.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Humboldt Fog

Kroger has great sales. Cheese that is approaching the sell by date is wrapped and marked way down. My parents cultured in me a sophisticated palate and as a result I am very familiar with and love fine cheeses. I can't afford them at the the non-sale price so I'm thrilled to find these little, marked down bundles!

There are many fine cheeses. I didn't know just how many until I watched Monty Python.

Now I can have fine cheese every week! This week I discovered Humboldt Fog. Interesting name! What's it all about?

From the artisan cheesemaker Cowgirl Creamery's website-

Cypress Grove pic

Humboldt Fog
Mary Keehn got started on the goat cheese trail in the 1970s when she decided to raise Alpine goats as a source of healthful milk for her children. Not too long after, Mary started receiving awards for her herd and became recognized as an expert in the field. Blessed with an excess of milk from fifty goats, Mary started making cheese in 1983.
Situated where the giant redwoods meet the Pacific Ocean in the rugged northernmost reaches of Humboldt County, California, Cypress Grove Creamery gets unique inspiration from the salt-etched voluminous fog that coolly rolls in nearly every day.
One of the most unique American goat cheeses out there, Humboldt Fog is Cypress Grove's signature cheese. Elegant and luscious, this three-week old cheese pays homage to classic French Morbier by running a thin line of grey vegetable ash through its creamy, white center. As Humboldt Fog ages, its subtle tanginess grows more pronounced and a runny edge of thick and delicious ooze begins to develop under the rind and drift to the center of the cheese. Its similarity to Humboldt County's morning fog is unmistakable and lovely to behold.

It's a pretty cheese,for sure. The line in the middle does remind me of fog and the cool, slate grey ocean. A fogline.
I'm so glad they're still inventing cheeses!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"Words, Peter learned, were powerful things." Roget's Thesaurus

Here is "The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus", 2015 Caldecott Honor Book. "Words, Peter learned, were powerful things. When he put them into long, neat rows, he felt as if the world itself had clicked into order."

Book blurb:
For shy young Peter Mark Roget, books were the best companions — and it wasn't long before Peter began writing his own book. But he didn't write stories; he wrote lists. Peter took his love for words and used it to organize his ideas and find exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time.
This book is an inviting, visually engrossing portrayal of Pescter Mark Roget and the creation of the thesaurus. Readers of all ages will marvel at Roget's life, depicted through lyrical text and brilliantly detailed illustrations. This elegant book celebrates the joy of learning and the power of words.

I love words. I'm a writer, and they form the foundation of my craft. When I discovered an original two-book huge Oxford Dictionary in its case, WITH magnifying glass, I bought it immediately. Thesauri are right up there, too. I found the children's book about the life of Peter Roget, of the famous thesaurus. It looks great!

My favorite words thing happened when I was a reporter. Sitting in drafty town halls four nights a week for hours at a time, listening and listening to local politicians bloviate, you hear a lot of words. One particular elected official loved to pontificate in lengthy speeches. Fancying himself an elevated speaker, he liked to use a lot of words to explain his point of view. Lots. One verbal tic he may or may know he had, was to use three adjectives instead of one.

The most ironic example of this tic was when he was railing against the length of meetings because audience members talked too much, or because fellow elected officials talked too much (!) and in so railing, said "People are too redundant, repetitive, and recursive." LOL!!!

I'd hired a sales rep. He immediately complained about his former boss, who worked in the next town over. Uh-oh. Not good. Anyway, his insult was that his former boss was 'a maniacal windbag'. It makes me laugh to this day. Not the insult, but the use of nearly oxymoronic terms to create a hysterical picture in the listener's mind. Best. insult. ever.

William Shakespeare is well-known to have added so many new phrases to the English language. For example-

“All our yesterdays”— (Macbeth)
“As good luck would have it” — (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
“As merry as the day is long” — (Much Ado About Nothing / King John)
“Bated breath” — (The Merchant of Venice)
“Be-all and the end-all” — (Macbeth)
“Crack of doom” — (Macbeth)
“Dead as a doornail” — (Henry VI Part II)
“Eaten me out of house and home” — (Henry IV Part II)
“Faint hearted” — (Henry VI Part I)
“Fancy-free” — (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

What kind of a mind must Shakespeare have had to be able to invent these colorful phrases! They certainly have had staying power. We still say them regularly after 400 years!

Language is wonderful. I wish I had better facility with it. Thank goodness that when I'm stuck for a word, I can consult Roget's thesaurus! Thank you Peter Roget!

Friday, December 02, 2016

My trip to Elberton, in pictures

I was driving to Elberton Thursday. It's a city 17 miles to the east of my town. I don't usually drive in that direction but I had to renew my driver's license and I'd heard the DMV in Elberton is a bit more streamlined and friendly than others in the region.

I go through a small town called Carlton and I drive through lots of wooded areas. It's pretty. As I drove I held up my camera over my shoulder and shot. I like these kind of spontaneous non-framed up shots. Here they are-

the old wood warehouse, with old truck

one of many churches

Carlton, architectural antiques, scrap, and odds N ends

the feedmill

graffiti on train. In real life it was pretty and well done

Old timey old store

Eyes are always on the road. Camera points wherever.

Tiny Town. No, really. Look at the sign.

Home. magnolia leaves in winter

the yard in winter