Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Most Inconvenient Bookstore, Paper Planes, Bauhaus, and more!

By Elizabeth Prata

It has been a busy and hectic week, as it usually is at school with mere 16 student days remaining. We have field trips, State Assessment testing, changed schedules, pollen allergies and sinus infections making one last grip on tired bodies, final standards to achieve...

In our area, we finish the school year by Memorial Day. We begin the school year at the very beginning of August. I like the schedule, but it has taken some getting used to after a lifetime in New England starting school, both as student and a teacher, after Labor Day and finishing in Mid-June.

This is a great season of the year though. The green of a southern spring is vibrant and lasts a long time. I enjoy watching the buds burst and the myriad bushes flower into a riot of color.

The anticipation of a sweet summer at home the most powerful lure of my job as a teacher's aide. It's one of the reasons I re-entered education a second time. I love kids and I love teaching them to the extent my teacher allows me to, and being with them and seeing their growth, and their silliness. Kids are cute. But I also love staying at home in the summertime. It's true that I need to live for 12 months on a 9-month salary, but I make it stretch without having to get a second job.

Of course I have a stack of books to read through this summer. I'll do some crafting. Photography before it gets too hot. I refreshed my patio so I'll read outside during the cool mornings. That is about it for plans this summer. No plans to travel. No plans to attend any big events. I call it "Hermit Season." Just church and grocery store. Then home.

Here are some light stories I've read this week. I hope you enjoy. They are along the themes I like: books, art and design, and sweet movies.

Here is a story about The Most Inconvenient Bookstore
Tucked away off the highway in Perdue, Sask. (pop. 300), Crawford’s Used Books doesn’t have a website—but it holds twice the number of volumes as the main library in Guelph, Ont.

Crawford works his way through his book shop in Perdue, Sask. (Photograph by Mark Taylor)

Somehow, even 100 years later, Bauhaus is still fresh. That makes me think about how exciting and ground-breaking it was back in the day.

Bauhaus then:

Bauhaus poster_Joost Schmidt
The Bauhaus school didn’t shy away from the impact of change, but instead embraced it. Students were taught to embrace modern technologies in order to succeed in a modern environment. ‘Form follows function’ was the key teaching of the Bauhaus, and this was applied in the school’s approach to graphic design and typography, as well as architecture.
Bauhaus-inspired now:

I enjoyed this movie out of Australia, called Paper Planes. It's not rated, being a foreign film, but Common Sense Media reviews it as appropriate for 10 and up. See their review at the link. I like clean, charming, small, quiet, movies and if it stars a kid I'm  even more interested. I enjoyed the main (child) actor, Ed Oxenbould.

paper planes

Here are some spring scenes from my backyard and immediate area I'd snapped this morning.

The mulch awaits...


The Golden Hour...

lit up tree

Good morning: moonset over pine trees at 6:30 AM:

good morning

My hosta is growing:


I enjoy the different shades of green across the yard into the pasture next door:

shades of green

Enjoy the day everyone! Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Spring Break 2019 Roundup

By Elizabeth Prata

I have four hours left of my Spring Break. At 1:30 I leave for 2:00 Sunday School, then Church service, then Small Group at 5:45. By the time I get home at around 8:00pm, it's time for my nighttime-closing down routine and then bed by 9. So this is it.

I had plans and goals for this week off from school. I didn't go away anywhere exotic. I stayed in my mind, which is exotic enough, lol. I wanted to rest my ACL muscle and let it recover. It had been giving me trouble. Wearing a knee brace helped, but the brace rubbed the skin off the back of my knee and I also wanted that to heal. So, not a lot of walking.

I wanted to nap and rest with the cats, which is very relaxing to me. When I get on the bed for an afternoon rest or nap, they climb on and nestle around me, purring. It's so wonderful. I lay there looking at the ceiling and letting my thoughts wander and listen to them purr.

I wanted to read some books. I have a pile. As any bibliophile knows, the reading never keeps up with the accumulation. I read three books (a disappointment since I'd set a goal of 5). The three I read are listed below. The thing is, I then bought 4 more. LOL, I'm behind once again, happily.

Banner of Truth Trust had a $3 sale. Are there any better words than that? Except Ligonier's $1 eBook sale or Ligonier's Friday $5 sale...or the elders at church piling up a stack of books the church had bought and saying "Here, take a book for free..." Our church is filled with readers.

Here's what I got at Banner of Truth's $3 sale-

Both Sides Now: Ecclesiastes and the Human Condition by Peter Barnes. I am fascinated with Ecclesiastes. I think it's because I was not saved until age 42, and I remember distinctly what it feels like to be lost. I think that is also why I'm so fascinated with grace.

Letters on Revival, by Ebenezer Porter. The author was an eyewitness to the New England revivals, and has valuable insights, warnings, and encouragements. I love the Puritans, I believe because I was raised in Rhode Island, one of the original colonies. My school history days were full of tales of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson and I was fascinated by people who clung to a religion so much that they would sail off in leaky boats across the Atlantic to pursue it. Their act was a powerful witness.

The Way Everlasting: A Study in Psalm 139, by E. J. Young. I'm intrigued by the Psalms. I don't really click with them for encouragement the way a lot of people do. I think it's because of my autistic brain not connecting with emotions as much. For encouragement, I like Ecclesiastes and Revelation, that is where I get my comfort, strangely. So this little book studying one Psalm, I hope will introduce me to the majesties I know the Psalm contains.

Books I Read:

Narrow Gate, Narrow Way by Paul Washer
Work and Our Labor in the Lord by James M. Hamilton
Internet Inferno: A Contemporary Warning and Reminder Regarding this Ancient Truth - "The Tongue is a Fire, the Very World of Iniquity, and is Set on Fire by Hell" James 3:6, by Michael John Beasley
Lit! Tony Reinke

I didn't finish Lit! the way I'd hoped. I had also wanted to start and finish The Believer's Joy by M'Cheyne and Idols of a Mom's Heart, two books our church recently gave away. But oh, well, the naps won out!

Things I Bought: (Must. Be. Frugal.)

File folders
Small Birdhouse
Small Planter
DampRid for the closet
All but the DampRid from The Special Store (local vintage thrift shop).

Books I Bought:

Banner of Truth $3 sale-
Both Sides Now: Ecclesiastes and the Human Condition
Letters on Revival by Ebenezer Porter
The Way Everlasting: A Study in Psalm 139 by E. J. Young

Must.Not.Be.Frugal when it comes to books...Axiom does not apply...

From Amazon-

The American Puritans by Perry Miller. One of the guys I follow on Twitter recommended the book. As mentioned, I love the Puritans, and yes, I judge a book by its cover, and I loved the cover. It's pretty. And New England-y.

Fortunately, summer is coming when I have the time off between Memorial Day and July 30, so I plan to read. I am still chugging along on the Challies Christian Book Challenge at the Avid level.

I also had a goal of organizing some things. I have one closet. My drawers were overflowing. I go through my clothes every two years or so and get rid of what I haven't worn, and make room. I was busy talking myself out of that when a friend dropped off two large trash bags of clothes she was giving me, so that rationalization ended that. I sorted hers, kept what suited and donated the rest, along with my own clothes that I needed to move along out of here. I've got one and only one closet in this place and I need to keep it manageable. So I organized the clothes in the bureau and the closet. Feels good! As well as donating.

And this might sound strange, but I also had a goal of organizing my jewelry. I don't like to wear jewelry that much. It feels funny on me, and heavy. I also leave it to the very last second when getting ready for work in the morning, and if I can't work the clasp, or if the strands are tangled, I am 100% likely to just throw it back in the box and go on with my day. I have nearly zero tolerance for jewelry frustrations. But when I do wear it, I get compliments, so obviously, it is important to look nice, or polished, or something.

I reorganized my box and untangled. I also did some surgery of removing the smaller clasps and putting larger links on them, for easier putting on or removal. Needle nose pliers and tweezers accomplished this while I was listening to Laura Twiss explain about Psalms 3-7. Still trying with the Psalms... I also took the time to clean the silver and wash the gold.

One other reorganizing project I had mentally scheduled as a goal, in addition to the clothes and jewelry, was my China display. I live in a 400 sf apartment and the kitchen is small. It has little counter space. And little wall space. I like to display my teacups and teapots in an orderly way. Doing so looks nice, because the china patterns are lovely to look at. Orderliness also affords easy access when I want to actually use them, which is practically every day. However I have some teacups doubled up and I don't like that. The china display is about 90% where I want it to be but I can't seem to get it over the top.

Those bottom two loops are not designed
for hanging cups. But I needed a spot to display them so...

Which caused the saucers to be stacked up apart from their cup

There is an unused space in the corner of the counter. It was jumbled and not used well. In a small apartment, every space counts, even space that's just a few inches. I searched for a long time for corner display shelving at Amazon and Amazon Warehouse. (Frugal tip: scroll to the very bottom of the page. See the Book Repository and Warehouse, two sections of the store that sell the items for lower prices.) Nothing. The shelf I have now actually holds a lot. I got it at a yard sale like 11 years ago for under $5.

Still, I searched for a replacement counter top shelf that maybe could hold more or in a better way. Nada. Stumped, I started thinking...what do I already have that would fit into that space? Something tall so the teapot I put on it will be displayed and not hidden. Hmmm...

Voila! I have a glass vase. It's clear so it won't make the space look crowded and just the right height to put the teapot on. I found a coaster of the right size and placed the Hall's 1920's tea pot on top. It freed up space for the Japanese cups clustered unseen in the corner and allowed me to spread out the doubled up tea cups a bit. The display is about 95% now. I still would like to display every tea cup with its saucer and another wall rack would solve that, but I simply don't have the wall space. I might have to live with this the way it is. As long as I do not buy another teacup...

The bowl is an Iroquois china, Harvest Time pattern, Mid-Century. 1958 - 1969
I use it for a fruit bowl. I have eaten all the fruit. 
I'm blessed to own 8 teapots, 11 china teacups, and three Japanese Yunomi cups. I figured out a way to display them all in my small apartment, somaybe I'm not doing so bad. I found a teabag display organizer on Amazon while I was looking for counter top china display shelving! I put it on my wish list, because the tea cupboard is the next thing I plan to organize.

I know I go on about organizing, but it is frustrating to me to see clutter. Any extra cluttr makes the place seem smaller. I also feel frustrated when I have to hunt, or wrestle things from their spaces to use them. Living tiny means extra steps anyway, you do not want to add to that with extra steps that are under your control. Example, getting a paper towel. I don't have room for it on the counter, so instead of one move, lean over and grab, I have to bend down, open cabinet under sink, take out the roll, rip one off, put back under counter, and close door. Instead of one step, there are now 6 steps. You do not want to add to that by having to reach, hunt, or reorganize, just to get one paper towel. Keep things streamlined as much as possible. Makes life easier.

Movies Watched:

Measure of a Man
East Side Sushi
The Ramen Girl
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The Highwaymen
Barkley Marathons
The Polka King
Carrie Pilby

Youtube Channels Subscribed to:

Centsible Living with Money Mama (focusing on financial frugality and time saving)
Frugal Minimalist (life hack tips for saving money)
Dr. Lori Verderame (appraisals of thrift store items)
Alexandra Gater (home decor/interior design on a budget)

Sermons listened to:
Lots. Phil Johnson, John MacArthur, Mike Riccardi, Sinclair Ferguson, Steve Lawson, RC Sproul...I love these men and the way they exposit scripture. Also heard Laura Twiss for the first time (Paul Twiss's wife), teaching at the Ladies Ministry at Grace Community Church, called Every Woman's Grace.

Blogs written:

People seen or visited with:

As of Monday when I return to school, there are 31 1/2 days left with the kids, and 3 days of post-planning. We're done on May 24. So we are winding down. I can't believe another year has gone by. They do go quickly. I try to be productive and redeem the time. I sometimes feel I could do more. But can I? Should I? I can only do what I can do. I appreciate these respites from the loudness and (to me) chaos of life outside the apartment. My brain has to work so hard to just keep up with normal life. Sometimes I feel like George Jetson on the treadmill after the cat scares the dog and the treadmill speeds up to beyond his ability to keep up.

But Jesus will keep me, hold me, lift me.

Have a great Sunday and Monday everyone. Summer's a-coming!

It's the end of #sluglife. For now...

Monday, April 01, 2019

By Elizabeth Prata

This morning is the true first morning of Spring Break. I am at home, not at school. I am not hurrying to the copy room to copy the day's papers. I am not on the walkie calling for cleanup of the puke in the hall. I am not on duty in the loud lunchroom. I am not at my desk quickly reading the day's Memo of events. I am at home, even this hour at 10:30 am, in my pj's. I drank lovely coffee slowly, not gulped. I wrote a blog on The End Time about music. I have been listening to the Gaither channel on Pandora. I am content.

This is the scene:

Start the day off right, not just with coffee, but make it 'weekend special' by adding whipped cream.

My table/desk. Coffee, laptop, book in progress, and notes for next blog:

My constant companion while I write (only in the morning, in the afternoon he goes and climbs under the covers and stays in bed the rest of the day) Murray-

My afternoon plans. I'll get dressed and put away the laundry, also make the bed (hard to do with Murray in it) and then spend the afternoon reading. I have a lot of books on deck.

In case you can't see the titles on a small phone screen, they are:

  • Lit! Tony Reinke
  • Visual Guide to the Bible, Challies & Byers
  • In a Different Key: The Story of Autism, Donvan & Zucker
  • The Believer's Joy, M'Cheyne
  • It Can't Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis
  • Valley of Vision, Abbott, editor
  • Work & our Labor in the Lord, Hamilton
  • Idols of a Mother's Heart, Fox
  • Internet Inferno, Beasley
  • Banner of Truth Magazine
  • Southern Living

My food prep this week will still continue. I need to eat stuff and since I am the only one here, I have to cook it. I am working very hard not to have any processed food or any junk food etc. Meals to come:

Rice noodles with tofu and green beans
Baked spaghetti with spinach and mushrooms
Enchiladas with fresh cheese and avocado on top

Crabcake sandwich
Turkey sandwich
Green salads

Fruit (bananas, grapes, peaches, ugli fruit, plums)

I bought several gluten-free items Friday, which KILLED my budget, but I figured I'd try a few items and then frugally seed them into the occasional weekly menu. I got:

Freschetta pizza
Ezekiel sprouted grain bread
Base Camp blonde brownie
G-F spaghetti

That's $30 right there. Each gluten free item generally costs at minimum, $5. The pizza was $10. The spaghetti was on sale as was the brownie. Still. I cannot forsee buying all of these each week. Maybe one of them, once per month. But I am trying them and then keeping track of how I like them so I can make a mindful choice as to how to enhance my menus without getting sick all the time. I'll review them at some point soon.

OK I better get moving if I am to get on my schedule for reading by noon!