Friday, March 31, 2006

"No Round Up"

I have been swamped this week and haven't had any time for surfing, but I wanted to make a few comments.

It's my least favorite time of the year. Daylight Savings Time (DST). I hate, loathe, despise this time of the year. I am not a summer person and having it be daylight at 9:00 at night is just a ridiculous notion to me. A. and I both get to work at 6:30 a.m. and we have been enjoying these wonderful mornings coming to work in the light. Oh well, my whining isn't going to do a damn thing about it so I'll just have to suffer through until my favorite month October.

For those of you in the Washington, DC area the blossoms are out and they are " a pink profusion of pulchritudinous petals". This week, until April 9th, is the National Cherry Blossom Festival. We go past the Tidal Basin every day and all 3000 trees are really showing off. No matter how many times I see them it still takes my breath away.

Have a wonderful weekend. Hopefully I'll have a bit of time next week for the round up.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
~ Joyce Kilmer, "Trees," 1914 ~

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Children's Literature

Along with all of the non-fiction and mysteries that I read there is an ever increasing amount of children's literature.

I don't even like to call this literature, these wonderful stories, children's literature. To the peculiarly naive, placing the caveat of children in front of literature somehow trivializes the story. This became quite apparent to me when I was taking a children's literature course in library school. An acquaintance a mine saw some of the books I was reading and asked me why I was reading those titles. When I told her I was taking a course, she then asked me why I was wasting my money on something like that. Twit!!!!!

Here are some of my favorites and some that I have read in the last few months:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.

Anything by Margery Sharp-The Rescuers Series-Bernard, the Miss Bianca stories.

And for more delightful mouse fiction:

The Sands of Time: A Herman Tantamoq Adventure by Michael Hoeye. This whole series is wonderful.

Spy Mice: The Black Paw by Heather Vogel Frederick.

Eveything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath. This wonderful story about Primrose Squarp and the loss of her parents is poignant,but I also found myself laughing out loud at the pluck of this unusual heroine. I haven't read any other books by Polly Horvath, but I have added The Canning Season and An Occasional Cow to my ever growing list of TBR books.

I think I've read everything that the wonderful Eva Ibbotson has written and I am in awe of her spectacular imagination.

This is my most recent read: Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander. I, like Jason, have always looked at my pets (dogs) waiting for them to speak to me, to carry on conversations with me, or to give me sage advice. I keep hoping that day will come.

I seem to have more of an interest in the literature intended for the 4-8 years old and 9-12 years old than I do strictly Young Adult(YA) Literature. I wonder what that says about my middle-aged self? Hmmmm.....

What are some of your favorite non-adult books?

"When you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity". Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) in movie You've Got Mail

Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday Round Up

Bras. Hate them. Haven't worn one in over 30 years. Well, I actually started wearing one on the rare occasion a couple of years ago. Unfortunately this weight gain has just spread around to everywhere-and I do mean everywhere. I just hate feeling bound and never could stand having the "corral for the glands that hang" on . That being said I don't know how my sisters in past centuries trussed themselves up in some of the contraptions on the Antique Corset Gallery. Some of these corsets are absolutely stunning. I'm all about satin and silk and girlie items, but still bone stays, underwire-YIKES.

Fallen Fruit is a mapping of fallen fruit that overhangs public spaces. The site creators aim is to encourage people to both plant and harvest public fruit.

Has anyone tried these? I'm not a huge chip lover. I have a sweet tooth so salty, crunchy snacks aren't my weakness. However, every once in awhile, generally around the holidays I end up trying some new (to me) chip type snack. A. occasionally will buy the numerous types of vegetable chips they have in Whole Foods. I was just wondering how curry-flavored chips would taste. Also those pickle-flavored ones.

Once again I'm a bit late in finding out one of my personal heroes past away. I have been a huge admirer of Vine Deloria, Jr (Standing Rock Sioux)ever since I read Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto (Civilization of the American Indian). This erudite professor, scholar, historian and activist passed away on November 13, 2005 at the age of 72.

It looks like it's going to be a cloudy, chilly day. A great day to snuggle up with a good book (I've been reading a lot of children's literature lately-will have to post about it next week), a cup of something hot and a roaring fire. Alas, I'll be at work, but maybe some of you will take advantage of one of my favorite kinds of days.

Have a great weekend.

"Western civilization, unfortunately, does not link knowledge and morality but rather, it connects knowledge and power and makes them equivalent." Vine Deloria, Jr.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday Round Up

The Center for Media and Democracy has joined the many wikis out there by creating Sourcewatch. Sourcewatch is a collaborative project of the Center for Media and Democracy ( to produce a directory of the people, organizations and issues shaping the public agenda. SourceWatch's primary focus is on documenting public relations firms, think tanks, industry-funded organizations and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests. Over time, SourceWatch has broadened to include others involved in public debates including media outlets, journalists and government agencies. Unlike some other wikis, SourceWatch has a policy of strict referencing, and is overseen by a paid editor.

Found this Canadian Glossary while looking for what people call "rubber bands". We called them gum bands where I grew up. I see in this glossary the compiler has elastics-rubber bands. I have always been fascinated with regionalisms. Language is fascinating and I love the quirky ways it evolves or maybe devolves in some cases. Even families have sayings and words that only they use. I have a friend whose family has always called the refrigerator the "Frigidaire". It doesn't matter that their refrigerator was made by General Electric or Maytag-they have always called it that. Big fun!!

Greater Green Goods has some innovative items. This shopping blog only carries products that are eco-friendly. Love these bracelets.

Have a fun St. Patrick's Day and a great weekend.

St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time - a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic. ~Attributed to Adrienne Cook

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Library Needs Books

I thought I would help and get the word out. This is one of the few requests for books as opposed to money that I have seen.


This is for a great cause, please, send your books to New Orleans...

The New Orleans Public Library is asking for any and all hardcover and paperback books for people of all ages in an effort to restock the shelves after Katrina.
The staff will assess which titles will be designated for its collections.
The rest will be distributed to destitute families or sold for library fundraising.
Please send your books to:

Rica A. Trigs, Public Relations
New Orleans Public Library
219 Loyola Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112

If you tell the post office that they are for the library in New Orleans, they will give you the library rate which is slightly less than the book rate.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Signs of Spring and Winds

I was out walking Saturday morning and couldn't help but notice that spring is definitely here. The trees have cute little buds, saw a few early saucer magnolias, just barely squinting, those beautiful pink flowers starting to peep through. The early bird crocuses are also up. I walked passed the lake in my development and saw two of my favorites Canada geese (who are always here) and red-winged blackbirds. I also saw a bird with a lot of yellow on it, but I made too much noise trying to get a closer look and scared it away. I meant to get the Sibley's out, but forgot.

Two Saturdays ago I looked out in the back yard and saw a bunch of robins. I counted 10 before they flew away. I recall seeing a robin here and there, usually alone, but never a flock or mini-flock.

I love wind. There's nothing more relaxing to me than to be settling down to sleep and to have the curtains and sheers blowing around. I always envy those dogs who get to ride with their heads out the windows. I have always loved the names for wind-chinook, Santa Ana, doldrums, horse latitudes and mistrals. In my wanderings I found a listing of wind names. This list was compiled by the Golden Gate Weather Service. Quite a few names listed that I had never heard of before.

Watched The Seagull's Laughter over the weekend. Icelandic, feminist tale with some great twists and turns.

"If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees". Kahlil Gibran

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday Round Up

I found this totally by accident the other day. Frappr. Frappr is a site of Google social networking maps. This is just the coolest thing. Look at the map of Quakers. The site has a search feature. I had a blast just browsing through some of the different groups. Get ready to spend some time there.

The Freesound Project is a collaborative Creative Commons database of sounds. In my searches I found ambient street sounds, a cat purring and children playing.

Sacred Destinations Travel Guide is a free travel guide to sacred sites around the world. You can either search by sacred sites by country or sacred sites by category. I just spent way too much time perusing the cathedral section.

Malcolm Gladwell, the amazing author of the book The Tipping Point has a blog. I haven't read his latest Blink, but it's on my list.

"If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves." - Carl Jung

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Good Bye Ali, Dana and Gordon

Yesterday Ali Farka Toure died at the age of 66 from cancer. Playing guitar and traditional Mali stringed instruments he came to be known as the Mali bluesman. He came to international fame when he teamed up with Ry Cooder in 1994 to make the Grammy Award winningTalking Timbuktu.

If you listen to NPR and you have heard the kind of jazzy, exotic music that they play before introducing the Geo Quiz you have heard Ali Farka Toure. The name of that tune is Kaira.

This man took his money (and this is not the equivalent of non-singing singer's pop star money either) and settled in his native Mali to farm. Now his farm is located in the Sahara Desert. He set up irrigation from the Niger River and farmed to feed his small village. Amazing.

Of course I never met Dana Reeve, but I think there is something that sort of shines through in people, even through the television. You either have it or you don't. Grace. Dana Reeve seemed to have an abundance of grace and it just seemed to pour out from her no matter what she was doing.

Gordon Parks was 93. Filmmaker, photographer, director (Shaft),activist, author and composer. Was there nothing that this man could not do. The first American of African descent to work at Life Magazine and the first to write, direct and score a Hollywood film. What a life.

"I suffered evils, but without allowing them to rob me of the freedom to expand". Gordon Parks

Monday, March 06, 2006


Last week was the start of the D.C. Independent Film Festival. Consult the website for the various venues for the film showings. Wow, look at this cool calendar of films!!!

On March 16, 2006 (that's a Thursday) the D.C. Environmental Film Festival begins. And yes, one of the films is the wonderful documentary March of the Penguins.

I don't know if any of my 3 readers has seen the movie Aberdeen. It was one of our selections through our membership. I should say my selections. I am the one making all of the selections-what power!!!! A. is very laid back about most things and he can watch just about anything. I can't deal with much violence. It's getting to were I'll watch an entire movie with lots of gratuitous sex, but one scene of violence and I have to leave the room or if I'm in the theater I actually close my eyes and cover my ears. Oh yeah, I'm so mature. Anyway, I picked Aberdeen. When I read the description I thougt, okay, road trip movie, Norway and Scotland and Stellan Skarsgard. I absolutely adore this man. It's embarrassing the huge crush I have on this big Swede. I've only seen him in a couple of movies, but I just love him.

Aberdeen was good. Of course I dashed upstairs to get some lemonade when the film got to the one violent scene, but otherwise it was good. Last night we watched Where the Truth Lies It was very good. I had it figured out fairly soon, but it was still good (it too has a bit of violence).

"Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours." - Swedish proverb

Friday, March 03, 2006

Friday Round Up

Before I start the round up I wanted to send a personal thank you out to the Laundress at Dirty Laundry. She has included me in her blogroll and she has been leaving me encouraging words. Thanks so much.

Now to the Friday Round Up.

And then there was Barack.

For most of my adult years I have been in awe of one person who could give me shivers just by reading their grocery list. To me he is one of the greatest orators ever. Who am I speaking about? Mario Cuomo. I adore him, and not just because of his stupendous speaking skills. He had always been my favorite, until-Barack Obama. When I heard him speak at the Democratic National Convention he too gave me shivers and made me cry. I had heard of him prior to the convention, but I had no idea he was such a great orator. If you missed his history making speech you can read it and also listen to it at the Say It Plain site.

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania I saw lots of hay-in bales (so cute) and loose. I never thought about how often hay is used in art, but someone did. Check out the Hay in Art site. It even has a searchable database. So cool. I just love this sort of thing. Sort of goes along with all of my numerous subject-specific lists.

This is the beautiful Rose Harwanna. Actually this rose has 3 different names,but you can read more about this on the Botanical Art of the Day site. This very informative site is hosted by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

The Neglected Books site is devoted to just that, books that are underrated, underappreciated or just plain neglected. I had never heard of some of these books, but there are a couple that I have added to my "to be read in the future" list. One must read is A Very Short History of the World by Geoffrey Blainey. How did I miss this?

Have a great weekend!!

"It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today". Barack Obama