Friday, February 29, 2008

February Posts 2008

14 posts from February 2008
February 26, 2008
A Crabby Hippee, but a Hippee nonetheless...
You are a Hippie
You are a total hippie. While you may not wear birks or smell of incense, you have the soul of a hippie.You don't trust authority, and you do as you please. You're willing to take a stand, even when what you believe isn't popular.You like to experiment with ideas, lifestyles, and different subcultures.You always gravitate toward what's radical and subversive. Normal, mainstream culture doesn't really resonate with you.
Are You a Hippie?
Posted at 11:58 PM Comments (1) TrackBack (0)
February 24, 2008
Books, Books, Books
As much as I have been reaching to find cheap or free fun things to do that celebrate winter, eventually I have to come home! My first love has always been books, and in the winter months I find myself curled up in the easy chair or bed with a good book more often than any other time of the year.
In the last few weeks I have read three very satisfying books that I wanted to mention. I found them all entirely readable and although all three of them had elements I didn't like, the majority of each book was a delight.
The first was a nice thick tome entitled

This was a complex read, taking characters from actual history, characters from Shakespeares plays and mixing in some new plausible characters of his own, and coming up with a lush war history of early Verona, Italy and its surrounding cities. There was too much battle and blood for my preference, but wading through that I enjoyed a nice long jaunt through an interesting and compelling storyline with complex characters doing unexpected things. I got lost in this many times, forgetting all my worries and that friends, is what makes a great book. I found it interesting that the author is first and foremost a stage actor, a fact I didn't learn until AFTER I read the book.
Next I dove into another huge book that I got because the title was intriguing and the cover was pretty.

I found it interesting that I coincidentally picked up these two books the same day at the library, and they both have links to the world of theatre. The author, George Dahlquist is first and foremost a playwrite! Anyway, I can in no way recommend this book without a huge caveat: although it is entirely compelling as a story and is certainly unusual at least from the books I have read over the years, it is somewhat R rated and not entirely plausible. So if you read it, don't blame me if you find it repellent. For my part I couldn't put the sucker down. I was alternately grossed out and fascinated by it, finding it hard to pinpoint the time and location of the story I got completely caught up in the strange world that it presented. The characters were numerous and I feel the author did a good job of making them interesting and deep enough to enjoy. I would read another book by this author I think.
Finally I just recently finished the book England, England by Julian Barnes. I feel hard for Julian Barnes when I read Arthur and George. This is a great fictionalized story about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes fame, and a little known Englishman named George Edalji, an englishman whose father was native to east India. The story of these two men is woven together in a near genius fasion and I have to say it is one of the best books I've read in a year. What I love about Julian Barnes writing is that he has that double secret that I so seek in any book I read: the ability to dance with language in such a way that I nearly want to read with a notebook at hand to write down all the lovely turns of phrase found within; and a story so compelling that the pen and paper sit dormant and forgotten.
So with that lovely book in mind, I reserved this book:

Which turns out to be a fanciful tale of a powerful man who decided to recreate a recreational version of the country of England more convenient than the real thing. This book fell short of my high expectations, although it is still a wonderful read. The language command was still there, in fact the first two chapers of the book are so quotable and illicit such deep thoughts that I nearly didn't notice that the story itself was a little lacking. Alas, I did in fact notice it in the end though. Still his luscious way with words, puts a smile on your know?
Now I am deep into reading about Walt Whitman, having finished one slim biography and plowed through a more thorough one to about the half way point. I also have three volumes of poetry awaiting me, which I grab a "bite" of now and then through out the day when I need a pick me up!
What are you reading these days?
Posted at 06:47 AM in Books Comments (0) TrackBack (0)
February 22, 2008
Beyond Machu Picchu
Andrew is scheduled to do a presentation on an explorer on the Friday I am out of town. Because I will be away, we decided this was a great opportunity for Scott and Andrew to work together on the project, something they get to do infrequently.
Tonight all three of us were working to formulate a plan for his presentation. First step of course was to pick an explorer. Andrew wanted to study a Rainforest Explorer, and we started to look into what that would mean. Then he specifically said he wished to study someone who is exploring in the mountains and forests of Peru. Okay. Huh.
After some stumbling around the internet we came across a man named Paulino Mamani. Mr. Mamani is a native of the Province of Calca and is one of only three international explorer fellows from Peru of the prestigious Explorers Club based in New York City. Mr. Mamani has been helping lead expeditions into the regions extending beyond Machu Picchu in the Andes for over 20 years. There is precious little information about this frontiersman/cartographer/explorer. Andrew wrote an email with my help to the Chair of the New England Chapter of the Explorers Club asking him for leads on information about Mr. Mamani. Gregory Deyermenjian has himself been on over 2 dozen expeditions to Peru, and has been interested in exploring since he was a boy. A great quote from an interview of Mr. Deyermenjian is:
So what happens as you become more immersed in other cultures like this? How does that change how you see the world?
DEYERMENJIAN: There are two ways in which getting immersed down there can grab you. One is the interpersonal, in that while there are such advantages to being here in the United States—and I'm very much the patriot—nonetheless, when you start spending time in a place where the culture is still as it was many years ago, you come to so appreciate everything being on a man-to-man, person-to-person, eye-to-eye, handshake, your-word-is-your-bond kind of level, and where the joy is not in what's the current movie, but in interacting with those around you. Just as it is on an expedition where your entertainment is the entertainment that the person sitting right across from you is providing. So, on that level, it's just becoming addictive. And in a country such as Peru—although I've made expeditions in Brazil and in Ecuador—you're treated like a king, being from the United States. And you're only limited by your own energy.
You just need to have the will power and the tenacity to stick with it and not lose your cool when things appear to be all going wrong and the officials are all denying you entry. Just stay cool, never be insulting, never be pompous or high and mighty, just stick with it, and eventually, at the last minute, it all just falls into place.
There are undocumented ruins, unknown ruins, ancient Inca ruins. And so you can do something that no one else has ever done, but it's up to you. And so you're not bound by a lot of strictures that there are here.
Sounds to me like great advice for life in general. I so dig homeschooling!

Posted at 08:04 PM in Homeschooling Comments (0) TrackBack (0)
Andrew and I have recently begun taking our local nature center more seriously and last night I went snowshoeing in the moonlight with Lisa and a dozen other hearty souls. It was lovely.
I am constantly impressed with the staff at Wood Lake. They love their jobs, and love Wood Lake and their passion is contagious.
Lisa was talking about Robin Migration with her mom yesterday and forwarded this link today.
I spent 10 tearfilled minutes listening to various Robin calls. I'm ready for the big melt down.

And todays poem:
by adrien stoutenburg
Gregorian Adjustment, 1582
George Washington's birthday February 11, Old Style;
February 22, New Style.
The equinox was out of joint.
In twelve hundred years plus fifty-seven
trusted calendar went awry,
delveoping an error of ten days,
so nothing matched.
Leaves bloomed too late;
birds nested in blank boughs;
even roosters were crowing out of tune.
Pope Gregory on his stiff thrown,
bent brow to fist,
attempting to reel time back
to something rational and true.
From prayer and thought he ruled
then strumpet days must be tossed out
upon the dump heap of eternity,
the daily reckoning rectified.
Time is a racer and a sloth.
The Pope's chill bones
were tapestry
by the time his rectification came
to the American Colonies
and caught Ben Franklin
out of time...
then days plus one
(a leap year's maverick sprint)
to be deducted from the total sum
of trips abroad, tomes, kites, and love.
Franklin was one who treasured sleep,
regretted those sweet hours lost;
yet philosophy with him ran deep,
and time was but a sieve, he knew,
through which one must expect a leak.
Our founding fathers took in stride
corrections of inevitable flaws.
Some losses had to be.
Birthdays were hustled into line,
adjustments made for wages lost,
new dates assigned to deaths or anniversaries.
But still the gap yawns there:
eleven days of expurgated history.
I am leaving on vacation in less than one week, and time is definitely "a racer and a sloth" in that regard. So not ready. So ready.
Posted at 09:23 AM in What's inside my head Comments (0) TrackBack (0)
February 21, 2008
A Year in...
Music, Art and Poetry/ mother taught me an appreciation of all three, and I will be forever grateful. When life gets me down, Music, Art and Poetry elevate me again.
I found out today that someone I was very much looking forward to meeting I was not going to be least not yet. Sigh.
So it seemed a good time to run off and spend that gift certificate at Barnes and Noble my thoughtful husband got me for my birthday.
This is what I got:

Its a lovely mini coffee table book with 730 pages of art and a quote, one for every day of the year. LOVE it!
Todays art piece?

The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello. This is a pretty bad representation of the painting, its much lusher and interesting.
Uccello is not an artist with whom I am familiar, so it was fun to learn more about him. The quote for today?
"Peace hath higher tests of manhood than battle ever knew." John Greenleaf Whittier.
I also picked up a book entitled A Year in Poetry at the library. Today's poem is a good one:
February the 20th Street
Hugo Williams
A coincidence must be
Part of a whole chain
Whose links are unknown to me.
I feel them round me
Everywhere I go: in queues,
In trains, under bridges,
People, or coincidences, flukes
Of logic which fail
Because of me, because
We move singly through streets,
The last of some sad species,
Pacing the floors of zoos,
Our luck homing forever
Backward through grasses
To the brink of another time.
Posted at 05:53 PM in Create Comments (0) TrackBack (0)
February 20, 2008
I could have taken this photo

but I don't have a tripod I took this instead...

Oh well, my eyes remember something closer to photo a or b! We met some neighbors outside who did have a tripod and were out there longer than us, we mainly watched from the window until the tree blocked our view.
A lunar eclipse happens when the sun is on the exact opposite side of the earth as the moon. The sun is "peeking" around the earth a bit to reflect off the moon, creating the red color. Regulus and Saturn were large bright "stars" visible on either side of the moon because of its diminished brightness.
DANG it was cold out there!
Posted at 09:59 PM in Current Affairs Comments (1) TrackBack (0)
February 15, 2008
I hope winter lasts forever!

I was scared. I figured it was too cold, I mean it was 3 below when we left the house this morning. I didn't have the right kind of gloves. How would I help Andrew if he needed it, since I'd be such a beginner?
Then we went to the class and the instructor started talking about different stances and how to get back up and hills with turns and I was SOOO scared! I really didn't want to go, but if I didn't go, Andrew couldn't go. So we slapped on the skis and out we went...and it was love at first glide!
I fell a few times but it was a wonderful experience over all. We took the trail twice, and Andrew wanted to do a third time but we agreed to come back tomorrow morning instead. We are members of Wood Lake Nature Reserve so the ski rentals are free. I forsee us getting in great shape as we squeeze every bit of trail goodness out of the rest of this season and then eagerly await next season. Andrew says he's gonna save all his allowance until he can buy his own skis and shoes so we can go even when the building isn't open. Sigh. We love!!!
Posted at 05:38 PM in Healthy Living Comments (2) TrackBack (0)
February 14, 2008
Kina Grannis
I'm scouring my music collection for a soundtrack list for a new scrapbook I'm working on, and came across this gem. Kina is the girl who won the chance to have her song played during a commercial break during the Superbowl. Her voice is pure delight and the song she sang for the contest is pretty rad. But this is my favorite after a few spins:
Swarms of people they move in every directionSome eyes they wander while others are just glued to their feetAnd how I wonder what goes on behind those eyes,There are lives, growing older and they're growing wiseSo amazed by all the many different faces,Searching for traces of emotion wondering places they have beenAnd on occasion, someone will take a look at me,But do they see a unique person, or am I part of a vast sea[Chorus:]Sing me your song, solve my mysteryI wont do you no harm, just wanted to seeSing me your song, solve my mysteryI wont do you no harm, just wanted to seeThat you're a person just like meThey are they background of your everyday situationLook all around you start to wonder really who these people areThey might be watching, wondering quite the same of youSo break this auto pilot path and try to start something new
And really, this is the perfect lyrics for what scrapbooking means to me. Sing me your song, solve my mystery!
Posted at 11:36 PM in Music Comments (0) TrackBack (0)
DOLDRUMS! week after week of ice and cold and snow and subzero cold and did I mention cold?
I need to rise above this frigid landscape. I need to expand. To infuse.
A favorite quote:
"Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.” ~Benjamin Disraeli
Studying the weather report is NOT nurturing my mind with great thoughts. Its time to work on my political layouts again. Its time to check out more poetry at the library. Its time to get outside the box.
Who's with me? Do something mind expanding today!

Posted at 04:21 AM in What's inside my head Comments (1) TrackBack (0)
February 11, 2008
Sometimes surfing the web is funny!

Posted at 11:08 PM in Weblogs Comments (0) TrackBack (0)
"If you are bored with your own photography you are really bored with what you are photographing, so pick a new subject about which you are knowledgeable and enthusiastic."
Bill Jay
(1940- )


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