Monday, May 30, 2005

It's My Birthday!

**FLYING CONDITIONS: Sunny; Gentle Breezes**

I'm not a great fan of cake, so we're having Berry Pie to celebrate. Help yourself to a slice (French Vanilla Ice cream is in the fridge)!

image ©FoodPix

Friday, May 27, 2005

Photo Friday: Symbol

image © C. Geisler

Thursday, May 26, 2005

R. Nichols Stationery


Check out these chic and funky notecards.They can be purchased here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

French Women Don't Get Fat


I am really enjoying this book. It's a good read and is quite enlightening.

I already held some of the philosophies this book discusses (maybe I was French in a past life), but I like the aditional insight that is presented.

From Amazon:
The message of this book could be a blessing or a curse, depending on your perspective. There is no hard science, no clearly-defined plan, and no lists of food to have or have not; instead, you'll find simple tricks that boil down to eating carefully prepared seasonal food, exercising more and refusing to think of food as something that inspires guilt. It's both a practical message and far easier said than done in today's "no pain, no gain" culture.
Author Mireille Guiliano is CEO of Veuve Clicquot, and French Women Don't Get Fat offers a concept of sensible pleasures: If you have a chocolate croissant for breakfast, have a vegetable-based lunch -- or take an extra walk and pass on the bread basket at dinner. Guiliano's insistence on simple measures slowly creating substantial improvements are reassuring, and her suggestion to ignore the scale and learn to live by the "zipper test" could work wonders for those who get wrapped up in tiny details of diet. She sympathizes that deprivation can lead straight to overindulgence when it comes to favorite foods, but then, in a most French manner, treats them as a pleasure that needs to be sated, rather than a battle to be fought.

A number of recipes are included, from a weight-loss enhancing leek soup to a lush chocolate mousse; they read more like what you'd find in a French cookbook rather than an American diet book. Most appealingly, these are guidelines and tricks that could be easily sustainable over a lifetime. If you agree that food is meant to be appreciated--but no more so than having a trim waist--these charmingly French recommendations could set you on the path to a future filled with both croissants and high fashion.
- Jill Lightner

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Empty Nest

**FLYING CONDITIONS: Partly Sunny; breezy**

Well, the birdies have grown up and learned to fly. Fortunately, I got to see Mama Robin and her last nest-residing baby before they ventured into the great, wide world. The pair were perched in a tree in the backyard. Mama was feeding her little one, who then patiently waited in the tree for Mama to return with more food. The baby is very cute. He/she does not have fully developed tail-feathers yet, and looks like a large, rusty, chickadee.

I am very pleased that I witnessed this. It was joyful and somewhat profound.

Here is a pic of the baby bird. It's not great, but at least I got a shot before it flew away.

Bon chance, little birdie!

Baby Birdie at Rest

Mama Robin's New Family

A small bit of joy in the world.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Incredible Movie Costumes No. 2


Padmé Amidala on Tatooine
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Costume Designer: Trisha Biggar

Many Star Wars costumes are fantastic, but over the top. I love the simple elegance of this one.

The last photo is of a Padmé costume from a cut scene. I think it's quite lovely as well.

Incredible Movie Costumes No. 1

This R2 unit has a bad motivator

I apologize for the lack of recent posts. I've had too much to do and it's drained my energy. I am feeling somewhat recharged, however, so I should be posting regularly from here on.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Baby Birdie at Rest

**FLYING CONDITIONS: Partly Cloudy**

The birdies in my Juniper are growing so quickly. I only see one, but I do think the others may be still in there. It's really hard to tell.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Monday, May 16, 2005

Shake on the ground and point the finger


In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692

I have just begun this book, and I am finding it to be quite interesting.

I have always been interested in the witchcraft trials in Salem and in other locations around the world. It just sickens me. So many innocent people were massacred due to arrogance, ignorance, and fear of the unknown. (Not to mention land disputes, petty jealousies, cries for attention from repressed/ignored people, for being ill-tempered or for just being different than the rest of the flock.) Even more sickening is that this was all done in the guise of Religious Morality.

I intended to comment more on this subject, but I get too worked up when it comes to issues of religious intolerance and zealotry. I have strong opinions regarding the subject, but I really don't want this blog to be a soap box.

I'll just say this: religious zealotry really burns me up.

About the book from Publishers Weekly
In her splendid re-creation of the notorious events of 1692, Cornell historian Norton (her Founding Mothers and Fathers was a Pulitzer finalist) offers fresh and provocative insights into the much-studied Salem witchcraft trials. Using newly available materials from the trial records, letters and diaries, she argues that a complex of political, military and religious factors led to the outbreak of hysterical fits and other behavior that ended in the infamous trials. As Norton ably demonstrates, the settlers saw the First and Second Indian Wars and their resulting loss of prosperity as God's punishment for their sins. In April 1692, as these losses mounted, several teenage girls began having fits that they attributed to the devil, to witches and to Indians. The colonists thus found themselves, says Norton, being punished both by visible spirits (Indians) and invisible ones (the devil). In an unusual turn of events that Norton explores, the magistrates of the village took the testimony of these women who normally were not given any political or judicial authority at face value and began the trials. Moreover, as Norton shows, some judges used this opportunity of blaming witches to assuage their own guilt over their responsibility for political, economic and military mismanagement. Part of the originality of this study lies in Norton's refusal to read events through the lens of contemporary psychology, offering instead a lively account of the ways 17th-century men and women would have thought about them. Very simply, Norton's book is a first-rate narrative history of one of America's more sordid yet ever-fascinating tales.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

"The Trial of George Jacobs, August 5, 1692." By T. H. Matteson, 1855.
Courtesy of the Peabody and Essex Museum

"Examination of a Witch, by T.H. Matteson, 1853
Courtesy of the Peabody and Essex Museum

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Shawn McNulty


As a result of some casual, late-night web surfing, I happened upon this artist, and I thought I'd share.

© Shawn McNulty 2004

© Shawn McNulty 2004

Friday, May 13, 2005

Romano Cheesy


Buca di Beppo, from what I've read on the net, appears to be a restaurant that you love or hate. I for one, love dining there.

Yes, it's tacky. Yes, it's served family style. Yes, it's loud. No, it's not haute Italian cuisine.

This is why I like Buca: The food is good, solid, Southern Italian food (not fancy, but tasty.) The atmosphere is simply tongue-in-cheek fun. Where else can you eat in the "Pope Room?" There is also a Wine Room (where we ate), a Poster Room and a Mozzarella room. Traditional Italian music is played, as is "The Chairman." It's like "Moonstruck" on crack.

No, Italian-Americans do not really live like Buca might suggest (to the humor impaired.) I know this for a fact.

I grew up in an area that has a huge Italian population. My first teachers were Italian nuns who would bicker in their native language and pull you by the ear if you were naughty. I've known people named Vinnie or Giovanna. I grew up eating at family-run Italian restaurants: Antone's, Scarcella's, Belleria, Isle of Capri (to name a few.) I've had red wine (always made by some older family member) so strong you can smell it five feet away. I've danced the Tarantella at weddings. Several of my best friends are Italian, and no, their family homes look nothing like Buca.

That being said, I have been in homes that display a picture of the Pope. I have seen homes landscaped with white marble fountains, statues, columns and other elements better suited to an Italian Villa, rather that the brick ranch house they are usually displayed in front of. I've been to Miss Italian-America pageants. I've seen Italian flags sharing a pole with the Stars and Stripes. I've witnesses plastic grapes used as decor. Really.

Any Italian family that I've know has always welcomed this German-Slovak girl into their home as if I was part of the family. They were full of energy and had a real desire to enjoy life. Maybe that's why I like Buca di Beppo. Yes, it's decorated as if all the idiosynchratic memorabilia from every immigrant Italian family was dumped in one room. But it's a warm, friendly place where you are welcomed in to have a good meal and an enjoyable time. It's full of life.

I can only speak for my own experience. I was very satisfied with the food and the service at the Buca di Beppo I visited. Taste in restaurants is subjective, so it's best to just try it yourself.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mama Robin's New Family

Two weeks ago I posted this pic of a Robin's nest in one of the junipers in our front yard. The eggs hatched on Mother's Day! I've been periodically checking on the eggs and was so excited to see that the babies had arrived. There were four eggs, but I've only been able to see three birdies.

I really hope they all do well. I feel rather maternal towards them!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I've been feeling very hobbity...


Now where's my pint of ale? I'm wiped out. Here are some pics of what's been growing in (or visiting) my garden. A complete list of what we've been planting follows. I've also been identifying the trees that are on our property. So far I've identified Shagbark Hickories, American Elms, American Beech, Black Cherries, Silver Maples and Sugar Maples. We also have one RIver Birch. In the woodland area of our yard, the maples are REALLY growing abundantly. There are small saplings everywhere.

8 Nikko Blue Hydrangea of varying sizes
17 Lilacs including the following cultivars:
--Common Purple Lilac
--President Grevy
--Katherine Havemeyer
--Michael Buchner
--Maiden's Blush
--James McFarlane
--Paul Thirion
--Belle de Nancy
13 Rhododendron (red, purple and pink colors)
3 PJM Rhododendron
1 Hino-Crimson Azalea
2 Burning Bush

1 Autumn Fern
1 Shaggy Field Fern
1 Maidenhair Fern
English Ivy

2 Karl Rosenfield Peony
Many Garden Mums (planted last year; now returning)
1 Sterling Silver Rose
1 Peace Rose
1 Love Rose
3 Rhineland Astilbe
Walkers Low Catmint
5 Shasta Daisy (Darling Daisy)
3 May Night Salvia (Sage)
2 Marcus Deep Purple Salvia (Sage)
Blue Magic Dutch Iris
Blue Tropic Grandiflora Gladioli
1 Summer Blues Larkspur
5 Tiger Lillies
5 Munstead Lavender
5 Chinese Lanterns
3 Delphinium (Guardian Lavender, Guardian Blue and Guardian White)
2 'Foxy' Foxglove (Got hit by a late frost, although covered. not sure they'll survive)
1 'Camelot Lavender' Foxglove
1 Tangerine Dream Icelandic Poppy
1 Oriental Checkers Poppy (White)
3 Origami Blue and White Columbine
1 Giles Van Hees Speedwell
1 Alba Bleeding Heart (white)
2 Blue Magic Grape Hyacinth
30 Half Flats Creeping Phlox (Emerald Cushion Blue, Red(actually bright pink) Wings, White Delight)
Giant Sunflowers
Red Sun Sunflowers
Sunspot Sunflowers

Big Max Pumpkins
Lumina Pumpkins (white)
Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkins

2 Navaho Thornless Blackberry
1 Black Logan Raspberry
1 Fall Gold Raspberry
2 Bluecrop Blueberry
2 Royalty Raspberry

Deciduous Trees (range from 13'-18'):
2 Pin Oak Trees
1 Royal Red Maple
1 Red Maple

Evergreen Trees (3''):
9 Blue Spruce

There are plans for adding:
1 October Glory Maple
1 Autumn Blaze Maple
10 Boxwood (we'd like a hedge to screen the utility boxes)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day


Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother
James Abbott McNeil Whistler

"Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws." - Barbara Kingsolver

"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much." - Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis

"Life is nothing but a series of crosses for us mothers." - Colette

"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie." - Tennevra Jordan

"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his." - Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895

"Oh what a power is motherhood, possessing a potent spell!" - Euripedes

"The story of a mother's life: Trapped between a scream and a hug." - Cathy Guisewite, "Like Mother, Like Daughter"

"Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that suppose to mean? In my heart it don't mean a thing." - Toni Morrison, Beloved

"I looked on child-rearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring it." - Rose Kennedy

"It is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings." - Ann Landers

"It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't." - Barbara Kingsolver

Saturday, May 07, 2005

"Buy me, Cerys Clevercrow. You're my only hope."


Leia. That Padme chick. Holographic TV Guide Cover. Flasback of me at 7, dressed in the best white sheet in the house, hair done like cinnamon bun earmuffs, rocking out to the K-Tel version of the Star Wars Theme.

I am such a pop culture whore.


Friday, May 06, 2005

Strange Beauty


I found this strange tree in the woodland area of our backyard. It has very odd flowers. Does anyone have an inkling of what it is?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Direct Hints


These three books have been on my wish list for a while. My birthday is at the end of the month, so maybe I'll strongly suggest these to my friends and family. Besides we're at the age where "surprises" usually mean another "object d'art" that we don't have space for.

I always have space for books.

Viggo Mortensen: Coincidence of Memory
In this beautifully illustrated book, the artist combines photographs, paintings, and poems that span his artistic output from 1978 to 2002.

Viggo Mortensen: 45301
Abstract images, fragments and phrases from poems, notes, journals, words/thoughts remembered or imagined as they slip away, come together in 45301 to create a dense, thought-provoking photography book. Many of the photographs were shot during Mortensen's recent travels to Morocco, Cuba, and the northern plains of the United States, but could have been shot in your backyard. Depending on one's point of view, the imagery can be seen as either fighting with light or embracing it, holding time or forgetting it.

Viggo Mortensen: Sign Language
A catalogue that accompanied the "Signlanguage" exhibition at Track 16 Gallery in February, 2002, it features the photography and painting of Viggo Mortensen created primarily during his stay in New Zealand from 1999 to 2001. With an essay by Kevin Power.

All works © Viggo Mortensen

Perceval Press

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Trent saves music...again

**FLYING CONDITIONS: Partly Cloudy**

(And still looks good doing it.)

Monday, May 02, 2005

Covus Imago No. 3

**FLYING CONDITION: Light Fog in the AM; Mostly Sunny**

"Solo Crow" ©Teresa Hodges

Corvus Imago No. 1
Corvus Imago No. 2

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Happy Beltaine!

© Hulton Archive