December 31, 2008


Here are the final 3 photos that capture my interpretation of the December theme.

December 28, 2008

Circle of Life

Have seen herds of deer while here in A2 - don't see them so much in our yard anymore. On my walk this morning saw this sad sight - poor deer must have been hit by a car, and the scavengers have already started with the cleanup.

December 27, 2008

Random Thoughts

  • I spent some time in an indie bookstore this afternoon. As much as I love Amazon, there is nothing quite like spending time in a little indie store. Too bad that they are endangered.
  • There seem to be many people out returning xmas presents - would really hate to be doing that.
  • People watching can be such fun. Many families already seem tired of spending time together.
  • It's an incredibly warm day here in A2 - in the 60s - all the ice has melted and the fog is lovely.
  • Have played several games of Cranium - a game that is such fun. If you have never played, give a try and see if your brain does not tingle.
  • Got in some reading and sketching today - nice to take a little me time in the midst of company.
  • Am still a little stunned that 2008 is almost over - where the heck did the year go?!!

December 26, 2008


It should not be a surprise that my idea of heaven is a large library with wood paneled walls, huge fireplaces, comfy chairs, teapots and several lounging cats. Well, I do hope that a place like Hollander's is next door.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved paper - in all forms - sheets, rolls, stacks, bound in journals, books, etc. I love the feel, the smell, the texture, the colors .... oh I could go on and on. Spent a wonderful couple of hours this afternoon at Hollander's in Ann Arbor. I do think that I was in a trance for most of that time. I could use one of everything they carry. And I did actually carry out bookbinding supplies - boards, thread, book cloth, etc. A soul nourishing experience.

December 25, 2008


Photo theme of the month is "discarded". Below are a couple of photos that show my interpretation of the theme.


I am always interested in learning about how different families celebrate holidays and the traditions that have lasted over the years. One of our traditions is that we collect ornaments from places visited. These do not have to look like traditional ornaments - they can be key chains converted to an ornament, coins no longer in circulation, etc. Every year when the tree goes up, it is a great way to revisit trip memories as we trim the tree. Since the plan was to be in Thailand for the holidays, did not get a tree this year, so am really enjoying the tree here in Ann Arbor. Here are some of the ornaments on the tree.


Here is the new blonde in my life - Cody. He's got bells attached to his collar, so it sounds like Santa's sleigh is around - lovely.

December 24, 2008

2009 Book Club Reading List

Selections for the first half of the new year.

1-Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee(2003 Nobel Prize)
2-The Little Book of Atheist Sprituality, Andre Comet-Sponville

February: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz (2008 Politzer Prize)

March: Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

April: White Tiger, Aravind Adiga (2008 Man Booker Prize)

1-A Mercy, Tony Morrison
2-From the book "Proust Was a Neuroscientist" sections about: Walt Whitman, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, and Virginia Woolf

June: Queen's Fool, Philippa Gregory

Santa Claus is coming ....

In Ann Arbor, Michigan for the holidays. Drove out yesterday - the only day with a good weather window - but ran into snow and it was a messy drive for the last 5 hours. Saw lots of cars spun out and am glad to have made it safe and sound. Am a little bummed out that it's raining here today - I love long walks in the snow.

Happy holidays. Hope you are surrounded by loved ones and are well.

December 22, 2008

Updated layout

In between shoveling and snacking, decided to update my blog this morning. I like the new layout - let me know what you think.

December 21, 2008

Let is snow

As a kid who grew up on the equator, sledding is just not something that I did - making up for lost time. What fun. You can see more pics from the afternoon here.

December 19, 2008

Snow Day

Hunkered inside watching the snow fall. We are expecting around 8 to 12 inches, and it's really quite beautiful. And there is another equally strong storm expected on Sunday - am looking forward to playing in it - hope it stays light and fluffy. Meanwhile am sipping hot tea, listening to carols and I say let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

December 18, 2008

Recent Reads

1. Mistress of the Vatican
Loved this non-fiction book. Olimpia decides that she wants a different life than the one her father wants for her and makes it happen in such an incredible way using her intelligence and talents. An interesting read that describes the social/political/religious norms of life in Rome and the Vatican in her day. A marvelous read.

2. Skinny Dip
One of the books I took with me to Mexico, and the first book I've read by the author. Guess it's not a bad beach read, but unless you love his style, would not recommend the book. It's simply way too trite and junior high-ish for my tastes. If I had not been on an island with not a book store in sight, I would have ditched this after the first couple of chapters. Donated it to the book exchange at one of the hotels.

3. Mexico
Now, this is more like it. Am currently about a third through this one (love other books by the author) and am loving it. Have started to slow down my reading so as not to get through it too quickly (don't you simply love books like that?)

December 17, 2008

Calling home

After escaping to the sunny beaches of Cancun and several margaritas later, the bad elf is sorry and calls Santa collect from the airport.

December 14, 2008

Last night in Tulum

Hard to believe that my time in Mexico is almost at a close. Lots seems to be happening in Tulum tonight - am going to have to go check it out. Highlights - incredible beaches (seems like I say that everywhere I go - but these are really the best on the trip so far); excellent homemade ice-cream; I´ve been on friendly terms with lime daiquiris - where have these been all my life?

December 9, 2008

Siesta Time

Last night got my first glimpse of the large pyramid in Chichen Itza - simply takes ones breath away in the moonlight. It gets a little cooler at night here and took advantage of the moon to explore. The bungalow has mosquito nets - think it,s rather more for effect than need - there have been none that I can see. And I could write an ode to the water pressure in the shower - what a treat.

This morning explored Chichen Itza - able to get in at 8am when they first open - cooler and no tourists. I am blown away - the complex is way larger than I expected and in really good shape considering it dates back from as early at 700AD. Does the idea of a plummed snake not sparkle the imagination - sure it was not fun for those sacrified - but what imagery. My only disappointment is that people can no longer climb to the top of the structures - somebody slipped and died in 2005, so no climbing. And I can see why - many of the tourists who get dropped off in large groups are wearing flip flops! Still, have seen photos of the views and carvings at the top of most of the structures and would have loved to have seen them for myself.

Back in the hotel for siesta - after all only Englishmen and mad dogs stay out in the noon-day sun. Am enjoying my Mayan martini and watching the resident peacocks strut their stuff. Life is good.

December 8, 2008

Chichen Itza

Spent 3 nights in wonderful Isla Mujeres. Highlights include beautiful beaches, snorkeling, lovely sunsets and sunrises. Pace is much calmer than Cancun - could see living here - or at least visiting for a longer duration. Got onto island time - nothing better.

Today´s travel involved a ferry, bus and taxi. I highly recommend bus travel - especially first class buses run by ADO. They are comfy, fast and cheap. The next 3 nights will be at Mayaland Hotel in Chichen Itza - a world heritage site (yes, this is another list I´m working my way through). Am so excited to explore the Mayan world. And if you ever feel like a splurge, you gotta stay here at Mayaland. We got upgraded to a bungalow - beautiful grounds, very private pools, next door to the ruins - actually have their own entrance, peacocks roaming about ... oh I could go on and on - but then would be missing out on this soft tropical night - so adios!

December 5, 2008

Day 4 in the Yucatan

Leaving Cancun today - headed to Isla Mujeres (Island of Women) - with a name like that how could I not visit. Also, this gets me one island closer to my life goal of visting all the islands on the planet - yup it´s a big dream, but if you're gonna dream, why not dream big?

Weather continues to be fantastic. Spent the day yesterday in a Beach Cabana, lazing about and being waited on. I could get used to this life. Now, off to catch a bus, to catch a ferry to the isla.

December 4, 2008

Hola from Cancun

Not a bad rebound trip. It´s sunny, not too warm and simply delightful. My first time in Cancun, and once you get away from the Hotel Zone, into downtown, it´s quite charming. Public transport is easy and cheap. After realizing that it would cost almost $75/day to rent a car (there are taxes on insurance!), opted to simply take public transport around. It´s green, and a nice way to rub elbows with locals. I´ve got the basic phrases in Spanish down and have even had entire conversations - granted these were not more than 5 sentences, but a cause for celebration none-the-less.

December 1, 2008

Books to Read

There is something really fun and daring about selecting just a couple of books to take along on a trip. What if you hate the books? And are stranded on a desert island with no book store in sight? I used to travel with about 4 books at all times - I read fast, and can get through a book in a day or two. I'm tempted by the Kindle - just thinking of all those books always on hand is enough to make me swoon - but have yet to break down and buy it.

So on this 2 week trip I have selected 2 books to take along (gulp). This one I went out and bought yesterday. I have enjoyed other books by the author and hope this one does not disappoint. This one I picked up at the local library book sale. Have yet to read a book by this author - mainly because the covers are so goofy. And this is the guide book I've bought to take along for the trip. Yup that does make 3 books, but a guide book does not count.

Yes I'm aware that there are book stores on the Yucatan - but I've heard that English books (and I am limited to those) can run about $30 each! To quote my sister: "I need fat books".