March 28, 2008

Recent Reads

1. The Middle Place
This book is about a woman and her father dealing with cancer. What could have been a depressing story is told with honesty, wit and courage. This is a story of a woman who clearly loves being her fathers daughter. I enjoyed reading this memoir, and it asks the question: what makes one an adult?

2. The Lost Painting
Here is another book that opened my world just a little larger. I learned about how art is lost, and found. How masterpieces are restored. It has inspired me to check out other books that talk about Caravaggio's works. He was an incredible painter - the way he shows light is simply breathtaking. His art that I have been lucky enough to see, have also stopped me in my tracks. The book starts out strong, but the author does get lost midway. Still if you are interested in art, this non-fiction is a good read.

3. The 4-Hour Work Week
How can that title not pique your interest? I read it in one sitting - the guy has some good ideas. I was not impressed with the VPA idea - but can see how others might be. Many of his ideas though did resonate, and I especially like the idea of taking your retirement in chunks through out your life, as opposed to waiting till the end to take it one large chunk. I do that already, and the book gave me ideas to marinate on - what is my muse?

March 25, 2008

Easter Bunny

Did the bunny leave you goodies? Here is one of the bunnies loading up the eggs.

March 21, 2008

Trip Essentials

“I travel light; as light, that is, as a man can travel who will still carry his body around because of its sentimental value.” - Christopher Fry

It's always interesting for me to see/read about what people pack for a trip. Most people take way too much. On our trip to Venice saw people with HUGE suitcases, and if you've been to Venice and walked up and down the thousands of little bridges, you know how horrible that must have felt.

I have a policy that if the stuff does not fit into 2 carry-on sized bags, it simply does not go. I must admit though that the hardest part for me is limiting the number of books I take along. Yes, I am aware that one can buy books in various countries, but there you go being rational again. If I traveled as much as I used to in my frequent flier days, I would surely invest in a Kindle (though might have to get the rev 2 version anyway!).

Examples of things that always travel with me:
  • camera, batts, charger, phone
  • journal, pens, watercolors, glue stick
  • books - have never traveled with only one
  • sunglasses, toiletries (travel sized)
  • sarong (think scarf, skirt, towel, sheet, etc)
  • water bottle, swimsuit, tevas, walking shoes
  • book light, iPod, medicines
  • socks, undies, tops and bottoms that are culturally appropriate (I do laundry on the road)
What makes your essentials list?

March 20, 2008

Happy Spring!

On this auspicious day (the vernal equinox - a day of equal light and dark), this is also my 300th post here. Incredible no? In celebration, I leave you with these thoughts I got from a co-worker.

Zen Sarcasms:

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me alone.

2 The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt or a leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn , so if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don't succeed...... skydiving is not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

12. Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield.

13. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

14. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put back in your pocket.

15. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

16. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

17. There are two theories to arguing with a women - Neither one works.

18. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

19. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

20. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

March 18, 2008

The State of the Economy

When you need a laugh check this and this out.

St Patrick

Hope you all celebrated St Patty's Day in style.

Some of my fave things:
  1. How can you not celebrate a guy who rid Ireland of snakes?
  2. There's nothing better than being around Irish folks on this day (especially in Dublin)
  3. The local parade is a wonder - people come from all over the world to march
  4. What's not to like about a day you are expected to wear green?
  5. There were lines at 7am (!) at the local pubs - people waiting to get in and have a drink before they headed to work maybe?
  6. Babes makes the best boiled dinner in the universe - maybe she'll share the recipe. Yummy.

March 16, 2008

Visual Journal

A couple of recent pages. The first 2 are from the smaller book, and the 3rd one is from a larger book that I'm experimenting with. The paper in both books is rather thin, so has it's challenges, but am learning about what works and what does not. I always love how what I end up with is not what I had in mind - it's often so much better.

March 12, 2008

March 11, 2008

Recent Reads

1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Recently completed this audio book. As you might recall, my daily commute has become much shorter (a fact that I celebrate daily), and it now takes me longer to get through an audio book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book - it is well written, made me think, taught me things I did not know, and had me really hungry most of the time. Would highly recommend it.

2. The Gathering
My book club book this month is the Man Booker award winner. I did not love it. Not even sure that I liked it. Parts were tough to get through. I did enjoy the authors wonderful writing style, and there were parts I had to remind myself to breathe, but as a whole, the story did not draw me in.

3. Shark in the Park
A fun romp with my nephews. Jonah in particular had really large eyes though out the story. Too cute.

4. How I Became a Pirate
Another fun read with the boys. Luke loved this one. For the next couple of days, they kept talking about how pirates do not say "please" or "thank you". We have been working on manners. Been having fun reading kid books to find ones that I think they will like.

March 10, 2008

Author Reading

There sure are some nasty bugs going around this winter. Might have to consider the flu shot next year. On on to some fun stuff.

I was at a book reading/signing at my local bookstore last week. The featured author was Jodi Picoult. I have read several of her books, and love this one. The place was packed with about 250 people, some of whom arrived 4 hours early to get a seat and a ticket to have books signed. I cannot think of the last time I was surrounded by so many readers, and interestingly, so many young women - middle or high school age. When Jodi got up to the podium, the girls in front of me started nudging each other and nodding vigorously to things she said. Very heart warming I must say.

Ms. Picoult read from her new book and answered questions from various books. It was interesting to hear her talk about her research project and talk about how she learned about the Gnostic Gospels and the selection process for how the church decided which books to include, and which books to delete from the final version of the New Testament. Now, as someone who has read about this, it was not really news to me, but there was a visible strain in many of the people there. There seemed to be a general lack of air for awhile, until she moved on to, oh the death penalty - the room seemed to take a collective breath. Fascinating.

March 7, 2008


I just had to share this article that my Aunt R sent me. Pretty dang amazing no?
Click on image to enlarge.

March 4, 2008

Recent Reads

1. The Commoner
Do you love days when you can simply lay about and read? I sure do, and had one such day recently. I started and finished this book is about 24 hours - wonderful to simply get immersed in a book for extended periods of time. Time takes on a different quality and even the light seems different.

This book has gotten rave reviews, and I'm not sure I understand why. It is an interesting read, in that one gets an glimpse into the life of the Japanese court - but it lacked the depth of character or story-telling that many Asian writers infuse into their stories. I found it a pleasant enough read, but did not love it.

2. People of the Book
Loved reading this book. It is not the best work I've read by the author, but very interesting. I love the idea of following the life of a book - getting to see all the times and places the book settles for a while, in the midst of the Inquisition and book burning bouts of history. The story is told in vignettes that span time and countries, and the only thing in common is the book. Delicious.

March 3, 2008


Check out this post I read today.

I cannot recall a time I did not journal.

I've got tubs of filled or mostly-filled books. I use all types of books - lined, unlined, handmade, spiral bound - it makes no difference. I just have to write. I also use electronic journals - I keep it simple and use Word. At times I write for hours, at times only for about 5 mins. I have periods where I write daily and then spells where weeks or even months can pass with no writing at all. (I have learned that these are the times that I need to write the most). At any given time I have about 4 journals going. I always travel with one, and have a small one in my purse that I can pull out to jot something down at a moment's notice.

What do I write about? Everything. I write about what happened. Things that inspire me. Ideas I get. Brilliant passages in books I've read. Quotes that capture something true. Names of books I want to read. Cute things that my ns say or do. Really everything. Sometimes they are simply diaries - what happened, when and to whom. Other times they are much more introspective, as I try to noodle something out. My travel journals have stuff stuck to the pages - tickets, ads, just about anything that captures my interest.

In the past several years, I've also started keeping visual journals - some pages end up on this blog. This has been a stretch for me. I tend to me more comfortable with words, and I've found that images - personally created, or pasted in - can often capture a mood, feeling, moment much more effectively than words can. I have journals that are intensely private, and ones that are public.

I do not know another way to be. Do you journal?