Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Since many whocaresians seem to be homeschooling these days and many also have gardens where you could find caterpillars, I thought I'd share. Enjoy!
i jumped out of bed and ran to the computer just now to see if we were getting close to making the goal for blog posts. trouble is, i don't remember what the goal was - 66 posts? something like that? the suspense is killing me!
my hand looks bizarrely huge in this picture. okay, everything looks bizarre in this picture. anything for a laugh...
Monday, August 30, 2010
i played some songs at the talent showcase. here's my friend jill & i up on stage. it was a scorching 200 degrees up there, as was evidenced by my sweating stomach when i got done playing my two-song-set. i need to do some sit-ups...and they need to have a tarp over the stage!
really, i had given up hope that our challenge would be met. i kept posting stuff & then ran outta any thoughts and decided that maybe september would be a better month. THEN THERE YOU COME WITH YOUR "CAN-DO" ATTITUDES!!! did you send out some secret pep-rally email or something?!
I've been meaning to post this for Alicia for a while. I know this should be on whocarescooks, but for the sake of our August post-a-thon, it is going here. Also, I'd like to note that I'm really not a big Rachel Ray fan. But, I DO like making her kettle corn.
The situation: I am currently stumped about how to (re)arrange a corner of my living room and I am turning to you all for your sage and creative input. The picture below shows (in all its lack of glory) the corner in question, as well as some of the raw materials you have to work with. The primary goal here is to make that desk work in the space. The bookshelf does NOT have to stay. Other furniture (that I'll thrift for) CAN be purchased (if it's cheap) so suggestions for other pieces that would make the space work are welcome.
Other materials at your design-star disposal: a number of wall hangings in various sizes from a framed poster of the _To Kill a Mockingbird_ cover to medium-sized framed items (maps, prints, etc.) to very small framed items.
Here's the pic of the space as it is now (I can't believe I'm posting it in its embarrassing state, but I'm counting on you all!). Thanks for any ideas you can toss my way!
1. a spice crawl! let's go explore all (or some) of the ethnic grocery stores in omaha, pub-crawl-style. i want to warm up the winter with lots of toasty hot indian food and will need large quantities of cheap, fresh, good-quality spices. and i'm always looking for affordable saffron. so we just need to figure out a time.
darby, it is as you have feared. well, almost.
the new farmer's almanac is out & says we can expect to see our first few flakes in mid-October. this precedes a 'cold & very snowy' winter forecast for the north central great plains.
lord, have mercy.
form plans and ready the coping mechanisms now.
Once Again I Fail to Read an Important Novel
Instead, we sit together beside the fountain,
the important novel and I.
We are having coffee together
in that quiet first hour of the morning,
respecting each other’s silences
in the shadow of an important old building
in this small but significant European city.
All the characters can relax.
I’m giving them the day off.
For once they can forget about their problems—
desire, betrayal, the fatal denouement—
and just sit peacefully beside me.
In the afternoon,
at lunch near the cathedral,
and in the evening, after my lonely,
historical walk along the promenade,
the men and women, the children
and even the dogs
in the important, complicated novel
have nothing to fear from me.
We will sit quietly at the table
with a glass of cool red wine
and listen to the pigeons
questioning each other in the ancient corridors.
Well my ladies, it has been quite a morning here at the Shire. We were all settled in for a morning of entertainment by our local and dear jester, Tele, doing a special presentation for us about a Safari adventure starring a lad named Diego. Well, we were all abuzz when our guest of honor, Princess Charlotte of Rabuckington arrived in the most jovial of moods and with quite an accomidating demeanor. (Always a lovely treat). Tele was dismissed and we were quickly fluttering about, preparing morning tea out in the sun (and dressed in our finest apparel of course). With much stirring of our teacups, we drank till we were silly, filled our stomachs with crackers and corn-that-had-been-popped, and ultimately brought our souls joy with much laughter and adoration of one another.
You all are welcome at the shire any morning!
P.S. Dearest Cheryl, Ellabelle has been adamantly asking for the last few days, "I talka Ada?"
Maybe we can work on that soon. ;-)
I can think of no better chaser to Brooke's lovely "Better Off" plug than Wendell Berry's "How to be a Poet." I heard him read it on "Speaking of Faith" this summer and I liked it. You can listen to him read it here or you can read it for yourself below.
"How to Be a Poet" by Wendell Berry
(to remind myself)
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
Ali tipped me off to this book when she copied an excerpt of it for me out of her reader for her composition class. She thought I might want to use it for mine. And, she was right.
But! The unexpected happened. I got to the end of the excerpt and I found that I HAD to read on. The book is a compelling look at the question: "How much technology do we really need in order to live the sorts of lives we want?" It's not guilt-trippy. It's not preachy. It's just a delightful narrative of a couple's year spent exploring this question and the ways that exploration changed their lives.
For example, Brende talks about how our reliance on motorized vehicles and our typically sedentary jobs combine so that we end up having to "work out" in gyms, etc. The gym work-out puts an emphasis on the "work" and so, for people like me, it's way less fun and I'm apt not to do it at all. But, if we are more active in our regular life, the work out comes along for free. This is helping motivate me to bike to work. It adds a total of 20 minutes to my overall commute each day, but I get my work out in as I get to work and so I save the time I would have otherwise (maybe) spent working out. Anyway. It's a good and thought-provoking read. A fast one too.
But, as Reading Rainbow would say, "you don't have to take my word for it." Check it out.
here's jane & i at the david gray / ray lamontagne show last night. the stars collided & i got a last-minute ticket from a friend. boy, was it great. packed to the gills with all sorts of folk. david bopped his head clean off (caron was right. i got whiplash just watching him.), and some large alt-pop-loving-insect landed on his back during the set which sent him into a colorful tirade. hilarious.
i expected mr. gray's set to be kinda mellow & probably lame. not so. very energetic. his new(er) stuff was great, too. much better live! he played the harmonica & tossed it. he sang a song at the piano & then tossed that mic. he ended the show with an encore of 'be mine', 'please forgive me', and 'the one i love' (our favorite - which had jane on her feet). fan-tastic.
i really went to see ray, though, and was not disappointed. wearing a canadian tuxedo, he said nary a word between songs, except the occassional 'thank you'. even at the end. [during 'you are the best thing', a guy in front of us popped up & proposed to his girlfriend. the whole place erupted. she emphatically accepted. adorable.] the set was soulful. heartfelt. and that voice. oh, that voice! tasty. would love to see just him & his gee-tar in a small venue. mmm.
jane's back off to boston this week to start her last year of grad school. i'll start formally homeschooling next week. this was the perfect way to bid summer adieu. today, it's ray on pandora. all. day. long.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
- I hate green fruit. Only vegetables should be green.
- I am a left-handed vegetarian. [The way he blended that just cracked me up.]
- I hate raw tomatoes, but I love all tomato by-products.
- This summer I learned how to fence and wakeboard (but not at the same time).
And, in the category of good wisdom:
- I don't like fixing things more than twice. If it breaks a third time, you should get someone who knows what they're doing.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
the potty-training discussion continues, this time applied to the animal kingdom.
ben, to himself: "lemurs hang upside down in trees. (pause) lemurs poop in trees too. (pause) maybe lemurs twinkle in trees too."
i guess it doesn't hurt to fudge the facts on lemur elimination, as long as ben doesn't start pooping or "twinkling" in trees...
Anyway. Here's the schedule we're following in my class. We can amend it as necessary for ourselves.
Th, 9/2: "The Verse" and Books 1-2
Tu, 9/7: Books 3-4
Th, 9/9: Books 5-7
Tu, 9/14: Books 8-10
Th, 9/16: Books 11-12 (The END!)
In terms of discussion, how about I post something on my blog the night before and then we can have a discussion in the comments? And then, at the end, maybe we can find a way to discuss over skype or something?
i fear albert smith is no longer among the living. or else he liquidated his library. but it seems more likely that my literary doppelganger has gone the way of all flesh. and now it remains for his library, piece by piece, to be reassembled in my own. it's kind of sad. and i gotta say, that fella had some good taste. and cool handwriting too.
for the curious/so-inclined, here are photos from my and brooke's trip to savannah last weekend. it was so humid there that a local guy told us that visiting floridians were complaining. and we believed him. it was like sitting in the devil's own humid belly. but it was fun. a fun devil's belly.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I'm teaching Milton's Paradise Lost again this fall and I thought I'd see if anyone wanted to read along. We could find a forum for sharing our thoughts--either over audio chat or just posting on a blog (this one or my own). If you haven't read it already, it's well worth reading. And if you have read it already, it's well worth reading again, in my opinion.
It's a great, great poem. The poetry itself is lovely. The subject matter (first the fall of Satan and later the fall of Adam and Eve) is fascinating, and Milton's project--to "justify the ways of God to men"--is certainly an ambitious one.
I'll be teaching it from 8/31-9/16, and I can post the more detailed schedule I'll be following if folks are interested in joining in. Also, I highly recommend the Norton edition. It's got great notes, which are really helpful. It's probably in every used bookstore there is.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Imagine. A series of novels that I would author (with help from my trusty Perfecto sisters, of course) about a Vampirate* named Clotilde Clafoutie (the name may need some work) and her cat, Fisketjon Trogbladder (this name is perfection embodied). The story engages many historical issues including the slave trade in the West Indies, the unfortunately common practice of slave owners fathering illegitimate children with one of the women they enslaved, the collaboration between pirates and the community of escaped slaves that existed in the Carribbean, and, of course, a romance between Clotilde and the pirate-hunter, Woodes Rogers (based on the historical figure by the same name). The twist is that Clotilde is not only a pirate, but also a vampire. Dontcha want to read this?!
The book is narrated by the cat, giving it a fresh perspective that is unlike any of the current pirate or vampire novels out there. It begins like this:
Call me Fisketjon.
And that, my friends, is as far as we've--I mean *I've*-- gotten, though we do know that Clotilde suffers from porphyria and she has a penchant for creating difficult, but delicious, recipes with which she tempts her victims. If you feel like contributing plot elements, please do so in the comments. All will be duly acknowledged when the book is written and becomes a best-seller, which we can feature in the reading room of our new B&B.
Between one thing and another, my friends, I think we just might be on to somethings.
*The term Vampirate is one we thought we coined this evening. But, alas, there is already a series of young adult novels with this title, featuring the twins, Connor and Grace Tempest.
who's ready for Autumn?!
(i also have it on good authority that they're also planning a TJ in Kansas City, and very possibly, Des Moines. well, then.)
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Click on the title for the link to NPR.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Turns out, we have a real predecessor.
*maybe one of the other Perfectos can explain how this came to be in the Comments section.
Time to say good-bye to Allie again. She's heading back to SC this Sat.
Let us bid farewell in true WhoCares fashion-- a breakfast! Please come to my (Cheryl) house this Thurs. from 8-11. As usual, bring something to share. Maybe not pickled herring.... But, then again, why not?