December 31, 2007
Was really surprised at the full flights - usually it's a perfect time to fly with very little crowds. The Southwest flight attendants are refreshingly funny - for some of the fun things they say check out flight attendants on YouTube.
December 26, 2007
Explored the wonderful creations at the Bellagio - simply magnificent. The girls loved the scrapbooks - we'll be embellishing the books with stickers later tonight. It's in the 50s - a pleasant change from the Boston winter.
December 25, 2007
December 22, 2007
Looks like we're in the midst of a snowy wilderness.
A neighbor has an interesting decoration they put out each year. Rudolph stands at the top of the chimney and helps Santa up - imagine Santa going down and popping out with that grin. Not sure that this is PG rated!
December 21, 2007
The problem becomes where to put all this snow. When the snow banks are as tall as I am, it makes shoveling a cardio sport. And did I mention that winter does not officially start until tomorrow?
December 19, 2007
December 18, 2007
Here are my fave ones this week:
1. The Dot - this one is a gentle reminder to little artist who might be buried deep inside us.
2. Ten Little Mummies - an Egyptian counting book.
3. Flotsam - I love this book. It has no words, so the story changes each time.
4. Museum ABC - lovely way to explore the letters of the alphabet.
December 17, 2007
Yesterday we had a mailbox at 10 and the mailbox disappeared by 11:30 - not due to the amount of snow, but because the plows banged into it. I guess it is rather easy to miss the black box surrounded by all that white. Sigh. Am starting to understand why people have concrete mailboxes.
Too bad had to come in to work today - would be a lovely day to play in the snow - yes a bit cold, but brilliant sunshine. The world is white and sparkling new. Beautiful!
December 16, 2007
I've been waiting for technology to catch up, and it looks like it finally has. I for one am thrilled. But where does one get one's hands on these devices to see what they look like?
Well, at Comp USA I found the latest Sony - and boy oh boy is it awesome! The text looks like the written page! Very cool. I've been reading up on technology behind this, and it's really interesting. Have read all the reviews on the Kindle - certainly see some of the advantages over the Sony. Love that you don't have to be connected to a PC. I've been looking at upgrading my iPod but the fact that I can listen to audio on these devices is compelling. Yes, they have totally different use models, and I can see why I would love having both, but am holding out for the moment on the iPod upgrade.
Issues I still see that need to be resolved:
1. Will libraries carry the right format for these e-books?
2. DRM implications. Can I transfer the book to someone else? Can I re-read the book several years down the road?
3. The audio is currently in "shuffle" mode - this prevents listening to audio books.
Despite these current limitations, I am thrilled to finally see e-readers that I would use. Almost walked out of the store with one!
Have gotten several requests, so have added my wish list to the blog (under LINKS on right).
December 13, 2007
December 12, 2007
December 11, 2007
December 10, 2007
December 9, 2007
December 7, 2007
How it come up - a trip to the lanes with my brother and nephews and yesterday as a work "bonding" event. It actually is quite fun. I had never seen the little kid lanes before - they have guard rails up so you cannot have a gutter ball. Very cool. Strikes, spares - great jargon too. And oh the shoes! If I took this more seriously I would have to invest in entire new outfits and equipment - that in itself would be interesting.
December 5, 2007
I love reading journals of all types, and this one is a visual journal of sorts. Personally, I find that when I look back at the pages of my visual journal, I can recall so much more than when I record the experience in any other way - written entry, photography, etc.
I have read some of the author's children books, and they are really imaginative. Would recommend them for the little and not-so-little ones in your life.
December 4, 2007
I am lucky in that I can work at home when weather makes traffic simply not worth plowing through. A great perk.
November 26, 2007
November 24, 2007
An interesting thing - there were signs everywhere about how safe it was to hike in the rainforest - there are no poisonous snakes, etc. Then a little footnote that said that there were 10,000 poisonous flora and fauna in the rainforest - hmm, what is one to make of this I wonder.
You can see additional pics here.
November 22, 2007
Headed off for a final stroll around the walls of this old city - both a US National Park and a World Heritage site - and then we head to the airport. Back to the cold of New England. But I'll be back.
November 21, 2007
We took the scenic drive from Luquillo to San Jose yesterday. Very pretty drive. Lots and lots of beaches. It was an adventure returning the car to Thrifty - do not believe what they say - they are not at the airport, and their map to get back to them leaves much detail to the imagination. When we finally found the lot - not far from the airport, but no direct way there, told the staff about the poor directions. They smiled and said, yes we've heard that from everyone! I'll be printing up a map for them to handout with all the other paperwork!
Explored one of the forts yesterday - El Moro. I could spend days here with my camera - there are so many great angles. Love the blue cobblestones of Old San Juan - used to be ballast on old Spanish ships - they had to off load them to make room for all the bounty they were stealing - ahem - transporting back to Spain.
Another beautiful day on tap. Off to explore some more.
November 20, 2007
November 19, 2007
Spent yesterday morning hiking in the rainforest - up to Mt Britton Lookout Tower - amazing views. Still cannot quite process the fact that 100 billion gallons of rain falls every year here! Clearly the plants love it - have never seen anything like these oversized ferns. The leaves of some plants could be used as umbrellas if it started to rain. We have really lucked out with beautiful weather - no rain even in the rain forest.
After getting all sweaty, we were swimming in azure waters in the afternoon. Simply delightful.
Also, sampling wonderful food - plantains stuffed with beef, plantain soup with pork, fried chicken parts with fried plantains - with a classic dipping sauce - mayo and ketchup with a little garlic and heat. Yummy. And did I mention the pina coladas? Have lost count of how many I have had since getting here.
Today started out rainy, but it has cleared up. There are surfers out on the waves in front of the hotel. Had to go check them out. On tap for today - beach walks, swimming, and lots more good food. We leave this part of the island for Old San Juan tomorrow. Will not have had the time to explore all we wanted to - a perfect reason to return.
November 17, 2007
The first part of our trip is based out of the Luquillo Sunrise Beach Inn. A great spot - cute little hotel, right on the beach with very eco-friendly pratices. We got a room with a balconey overlooking the beach, and last night fell asleep to the sound of surf. Turns out that the beach we are on is a fave destination for surfer. I can see them out there this morning.
Spent our first day walking along incredible beaches - almost no-one around. Dinner at Kiosk #2 - plantain/pork soup, spiny lobster and pineapple/shrimp/rice dish. Yum. Yum.
Beautiful day - gotta go outside and play.
November 15, 2007
This one however was not so good. An interesting enough story about a woman who has lost herself in her roles as wife and mother and learns to rediscover who she is when she returns to her home on Egret Island. I like the strong bonds that connect the women in the book, but as a whole was not moved by it.
An interesting observation while listening to this book: When I read I always have an idea of how many pages there are left in the book - I can feel it with my fingers. When I listen to books on CD, I can also estimate how much is left by the number of CDs left - not as effectively as with a book, but still works. When I listen to a book on my iPod, it is like listening in the dark. I have no idea where I am in the story. Have I passed the middle or not? I guess I could scroll down and see how much is left, but I do not. Strange no?
November 14, 2007
Am really excited about going to Puerto Rico. It has been on my list to visit for ages, and it's almost here!
November 13, 2007
The boys spent Friday evening with us. I was ready with books. I had done my research and found books that I thought they would like. I read them all ahead of time and picked the ones I thought might resonate with them. When I picked them up, I talked about the cool books - building the anticipation. And don't you know that it worked! We read 3 books and the boys really liked them. Jonah was up and away by the middle of the 3rd book, but still a success.
Here are ones that we read:
1. Scary, Scary Halloween
2. Room on the Broom
3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Luke's fave was #1 - he loves Halloween. Jonah liked #2 best.
November 12, 2007
I have never been to one of these shows, so we decided to explore the world of horses. It was really amazing to see so many girls excited about horses and horse stuff - as opposed to being a fashion plate. Did not see one bored face in the crowd, which in itself was quite delightful.
There were saddles, bags, whips, etc for sale. One could see and learn about different horse breeds. One could try out trailers that accommodate both people and horses - way cool! One could attend various clinics on how to deal with traumatized horses, how to teach a horse to jump, how to problem solve behavior issues, etc. It was a 4 day trade show, and each night the highlight was a pony fantasia event (or as Susan called it "Ponies on Ice"), that was sold out, so could not attend.
There is so much I do not know. Maybe I'll sign up for riding lessons.
November 8, 2007
It has gotten below freezing the past couple of nights. On my ride yesterday, it was like all the trees were smoking! Now I know that it was just the dew evaporating, but what a cool effect.
In spite of some really windy days, we have lucked out and there are still leaves on the trees - simply beautiful with the sun behind them. While at a very long light this morning, I was not impatient. How could I be as I sat amid soft showers of falling leaves.
Magical moments. They are all around us. All we have to do is simply be present in the here and now.
November 7, 2007
We went to see American Gangster last night. You would think that with Ridley Scott directing Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, you'd have a great movie. Not. Really disappointing. The idea is a great one (if only I had a buck for each time I said that about a movie!) - the story of a black gangster (never heard of this), and an honest cop - in the era when the gangsters were mostly of European descent and many of the cops were on the take. But what poor execution. The movie really needed an editor - there were entire sections that should have been cut.
Sigh. I do not get out to see movies in the theatres much, so I guess my expectations are too high. Last really good movies I saw out?
1. 300 - what was not to love about this movie?
2. The Departed - a great story, really well done.
On the other hand, am currently watching a DVD of The Talented Mr. Ripley while on the treadmill, and love it all over again. Great acting. Good story telling.
During the trailers (does anyone still call them this?) last night, I saw that there is a new Robert Redford, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep movie coming. And, here I go getting excited again.
November 5, 2007
November 4, 2007
November 1, 2007
Luke is quite the photo buff. I have tried 2 different kids cameras - and have really disliked both of them. Both brands made by Disney. So have returned them, and am now searching for a low megapixel adult/starter camera for him. Let me know if you know anyone getting rid of an older digital point and shoot.
October 30, 2007
We are simply not used to this kind of joy. We burn bikes, flip cars over, we climb light poles and jump off them into crowds....
Of course the real sign of a true Boston fan - we all know deep down inside that it is only a matter of time before disaster strikes.....
October 29, 2007
I made one for Bella and Luke a couple of years ago, and they loved them. Why is it that the oldest kids always get all the attention? Well, this year will do one for all 5. I've decided to make all the books 4x6 - easy for little hands to handle.
Here are 2 of my fave pages from Bella's Book.
You can see all pages of her book here.
October 25, 2007
In celebration I leave you with this quote:
“Dare to be wise! Begin now. The man who puts off the day when he will live rightly is like the peasant who waits for the river to drain away. But it flows on, and will flow on for ever.”
October 23, 2007
A story of love, loss, lies and the ties that bind. It's an interesting story about the choices one makes in a instant that shifts everyone onto a different life trajectory.
A woman gives birth to twins one snowy night. Her husband, a doctor who delivers the twins, decides to give away his baby girl who is born with Downs. The story traces the impact this decision has on the lives of the characters in the novel. An interesting book.
Oh, and it would be remiss of me not to mention the spectacular performance of the Patriots - who are undefeated this season. Will they get to the Super Bowl undefeated? Brady was on the cover of Sports Illustrated and I hear that brings with it all sorts of bad karma.
Onward! It's a lovely time to be a Boston fan.
October 22, 2007
Our destination: "Hot Prospect" at N 42° 23.626 W 071° 15.035
A quick exploration into a public green space with a long and varied history, the cache is located in Prospect Hill Park in Waltham. The original cache coordinates have been modified based on commentary; signal accuracy at the cache site on the day it was placed was ranging between 35 and 65 feet but there was still a great deal of foliage on the trees.
Finding the cache itself can be a fast excursion, although it is located a short distance off the main trails and therefore requires a small bit of hiking. Prospect Hill is made up of about 250 acres of green space on the west side of Waltham, just east of 128. Information about the park is available here.
Along with the cache itself, the area is filled with weird bits of discarded history, including a decommissioned Cold War radar site at N 42 23.313 W 71 15.233. Two giant cement water storage tanks cover a large section of the park, and burned-out concrete huts are scattered across the hillside, either other parts of the radar installation or possibly leftovers from a period in which Prospect Hill was a ski area. There are some nice views of Boston and the Blue Hills now that the foliage has dropped for the season.
October 21, 2007
October 19, 2007
Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography and Creative Thinking by Julieanne Kost
I've spent many years when I flew as much as 3 times a week, so this book really brought back memories. It is amazing what we can take for granted. When I first started flying, I loved the window seat - who could resist the view of the scrolling earth below? As I got weary of business trips - early mornings, late nights, bad food, etc, planes were just a way to commute to work. I requested aisle seats - it was easier to get up and stretch, and faster to get out of when I landed.
Over the years, I have captured my share of images too. I'm going to have to dig them out and look at them again. There are several memorable trips when I was indeed in the window seat - flying from Trivandrum, Kerala to Male, Maldives was one such breath-takingly beautiful flight.
I tend to fly less these days, so am able to appreciate again the joys of air travel.
October 18, 2007
October 17, 2007
Those of you who know me know that photography is one of my passions. I made the leap to digital several years ago, and have had a wonderful time with my little Canon Powershot S30. But (you knew there was a but coming) I cannot count the number of times I've wished that I had my lenses with me.
Well, after years of reading reviews, specs, and lots of touching, I finally came to the conclusion that the right camera for me is the Canon 40D. Picked up the body yesterday and ooooh baby, is it the coolest! My lenses are so happy to be back in circulation. The only question is what to do with my old film body?
October 15, 2007
That is all now in the past, and there is an immense sense of satisfaction in getting it all done, and done well. The secret my friends is not new and not earth-shattering. It is simply this:
1. Write it all down
2. Prioritize each item
3. Break each item into small do-able parts
4. Create a compelling event when each little piece must be done
5. Track all little pieces each week
6. Complete projects
7. Give yourself a a well deserved pat on the back AND
8. A little breathing room before you plunge into the next list of projects ahead.
October 8, 2007
Not sure how I stumbled across this book, but I found it an quick and interesting read. It's told from the POV of a young girl in 17th century Persia who is much loved by her family. Dad dies, and they have to move to the city to seek shelter with Dad's half-brother, and are essentially treated as servants. The girl (who has no name in the book), is fascinated by rug making and is a quick study. The book follows her life, and though at times I wanted it to hurry up already, for the most part it held my interest. I find the entire idea of a short-term marriage fascinating on so many levels. If both parties agree, they can have relations without the legal bindings that go into any long-term support of the woman and her extended family. Creative moral loop-holes are found in almost every religion and culture and I'm always intrigued by them.
2. A Three Dog Night by Abigail Thomas
Another fascinating book that I stumbled upon. We've all read about the heart-breaking stories of what happens to a woman when her husband dies. This amazing gem of a book is a memoir of a woman whose husband does not die, but suffers brain trauma. It is a small, amazingly written book about how she copes and thrives. It takes one's breath away to read her story.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
The last in the series, and I was really looking forward to it. What a disappointment! I think she simply ran out of story. I have really enjoyed reading most of the books in the Potter series, but this one did not grab me even at the halfway point. I especially disliked the final chapter - the view into the future - a little too Hollywood for me. Ah well, cannot expect every read to be brilliant I suppose.
October 7, 2007
Left page detail:
Right page detail:
October 4, 2007
Told in the same witty and self-deprecating style of his other memoirs, this is the story of his 30 years as a high school teacher in New York. I enjoyed every minute of it. McCourt has a wonderful way of blending current and past events in his life in a seamless, highly entertaining story. Every teacher should read this. Actually anyone who attended high school should read this. And since he reads the audio book himself, you really get a sense of having been to long dinners with him.
October 3, 2007
September 28, 2007
1. Little Miss Sunshine - really quite a remarkable little movie.
2. Jesus Camp - got me thinking about fundamental Christians, and fundamentalism in general.
3. Infamous - so much better than the other versions that got all the hype.
4. The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert - an oldie, but one goodie.
5. Shall We Dance? - brilliant casting, wonderful dancing, what's not to like?
September 26, 2007
Where Women Create: Inspiring Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women by Jo Packham
There is something really fun about seeing how people organize their creative space. This was a quick and fun read. And I got loads of ideas - now I just need the time to implement them.
Galen Rowell: A Retrospective by Galen Rowell
Had never heard of this photographer before and I am in awe of his creative talents. Really remarkable photographs.