Category Archives: Art

Cookie Central

It’s Cookie Central at our house this week. We started with the fussy ones: Frosted Sugar and Shortbread Cookie Sticks – to get them out of the way.  They require frosting and sprinkles so take more time than others.  Twelve more kinds to go.  I even got YA onboard today!

When do you start your holiday baking (if you indulge)?

Book or Movie?

When I work on the eggs, I need my background noise to be something that doesn’t distract me. I choose TV or movies that I know well, so that I can listen to them but not be tempted to look up too often.  This past weekend that meant binge-watching the made-for-TV Perry Mason movies that were showing on the Decades channel.

I love Raymond Burr and the Perry Mason character so it was pleasant to see many of the movies again. As I watched them back to back, I began to think about the films versus the books by Earle Stanley Gardner.  The original Perry Mason series in the 50s and 60s were based on the books, but the made-for-TV movies were pure fiction.

If a movie is made of a book, I usually try to read the book first – I like to know what the author wrote (vs. what a director wants me to see) and have my own pictures in my head before I end up at the cinema. Every now and then this strategy goes awry. When The Martian was coming out on the big screen, I knew that Matt Damon was the star so when I read the book, I did have him in my mind’s eye.  However, the book is SO good that I have no intention of ever seeing the movie; I don’t want my inner vision spoiled. I wish I had done this a few other times (Shining Through by Susan Isaacs – do yourself a favor and skip the movie). I never went to see The Desolation of Smaug and I probably won’t be going to see A Wrinkle in Time.

What’s your favorite book to movie?

The Odd Couple

Today’s post comes to us from Jacque.

Sometime this last summer I saw the strangest thing—a male peacock crossed the road in front of my car in hot pursuit of a turkey hen.   They disappeared into the woods at top speed.

“HMMM, I thought. Did I really see that?”

When I got home I told Lou about it and we had a good laugh, labeling the pair “The Odd Couple.” They were kind of the Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett of the bird world.  Remember that one?  Two mismatched, high profile celebrities that impulsively got married then inevitably they divorced.

In September before I left for Ireland, I saw a blurb about a similar thing somewhere else on the news or on the internet. I searched YouTube, that faithful documenter of daily life, for similar henomena and came up with an impressive visual library of involvement between peacocks and other fowl.  It turns out that peacocks “sleep” with anybody.  Apparently, peacocks and peahens are the sluts of the fowl world.  I suppose if you have all that impressive featherage, it cannot be wasted.

Here is a YouTube of a news report of a peacock in Victoria, Canada and a domestic turkey .

What sight causes you to say, “Did I see that?”

Alas, Poor Yorick

Went to Hamlet tonight at the Park Square Theatre. It wasn’t very full so the theatre manager invited everyone to “upgrade” their seat for free – we ended up sitting center stage, fourth row.  It was a very good performance with intriguing casting (Horatio and Polonius were female) and a fascinating set.  It was set in more modern times and although the final scene was done with the traditional rapiers, when Hamlet kills Polonius in Act 3, he uses a gun. The only disconcerting part of the evening was that the director re-arranged a few scenes (and cut Rosencrantz and Guildenstern).  Not a big issue but for someone who knows the play well, moving some of the speeches around is noticeable to say the least.  Anyway, I would highly recommend it.

What was the last thing you saw in a theatre (play, movie, musical, sing-a-long)?

They All Fall Down

I found this on You Tube yesterday – got to it from one of my favorite science blogs.

This is amazing to me for a couple of reasons. First off, it’s not just the work of laying out all the dominoes.  You don’t just come in one morning and start randomly setting up dominoes.  Something of this complexity needs to be mapped out ahead of time and I means seriously mapped out.  You have to know exactly how much space you need, you need to know how much time it takes for domino trails to fall, you need to know how many of each color, you need to know how to set them up so you know what they’ll look like when they fall down… a pretty long list.

But I think one of the most amazing things is that you don’t really get to test this. It took a team of 19 individuals from around the world a week to get it all set up.  There is no test-run.  You pull the first string and then you hold your breath for the 12 minutes it takes.  You really have to have confidence in your abilities to take part in something like this.  I’m not sure I have enough obsession or emotional strength for it!

What feat of engineering do you admire?

 

Birthday Boy!

Today is the birthday of our dear leader Dale!

We’ve talked here over the years of the gift that Dale has given us by starting the blog and setting a tone that we all appreciate.  Now let’s make a list of what gifts we would like to give Dale.

Here’s a poem for Dale’s birthday – although not quite up to the standards of Poet Laureate Tyler Schuyler Wyler.

You’re honest,
decent, lovable,
and truly are first rate.
You’re charming,
unforgettable,
and clearly pretty great…

You’re dignified,
sophisticated,
gracious, sweet,
and kind.
You’ve got a lot
of talent
and a wit that’s
hard to find.

You’re cleaver, cool,
considerate,
and clean up really nice.
You’re worldly wise,
and wonderful
and full of good advice.

You’re fun
and entertaining,
not to mention
very smart.
You’re altogether awesome
and you’ve got a lot of heart!

What gift would you give Dale?

In Search of My Irish

Today’s post comes to us from Jacque.

By the time you read this, I will be in Ireland. I could not get my head around how to tell one of these stories. It is cruel and overwhelming and unbelievable. It stopped me cold when I started to write it.

The group I am travelling with is a group of polymer clay artists who have been the students of our teacher from Jordan, MN, Maureen Carlson. She has for years had a teaching studio where people came to learn from all over the world.  One of those students is an Irish priest Father John.  Maureen closed her studio nearly 2 years ago to semi-retire.  He cut a deal with Maureen—let me come over for lessons one more time, and then the next year you can bring a group to the retreat center I run in Ireland for another 5 day lesson.  She said SOLD!  I was invited to attend.  I said yes.

Weirdly, this retreat center is located in the Irish county where my ancestors emigrated from in 1841 to Canada, County Down. That is my mother’s side.  You can the read the story of my great grandfather at this link:

https://www.bookemon.com/book_read_flip.php?book_id=278253

That story is stereotypical. The Newells wanted a better life.  They emigrated to Canada, then Iowa to homestead and did very well.  I hope to travel to see the old stone house the Newells lived in on the sea.  It is still there, 25 miles from the retreat center

The story I found in Ancestry.com on my father’s side knocked my socks off. I had no idea.  This is located in the county north of Down, in Antrim where Belfast is located.  I understand the Irish hatred of British after this one.  Sorry this is so long.  Here we go:

“The year was 1548 and it was in Ireland and it was time to pay Taxes to England . Ever year England would send a small army of tax collectors to Ireland to collect taxes, The people of Ireland had very little money and never enough to pay taxes to England . The tax collectors had been given the right from their King Edward V to take any thing of value to pay the taxes owed. It was the practice of King Edward and Mary Tudor to take Children in payment of the taxes. The children were taken to England to be trained as domestic servants and bonded labors.

This small village called Antrim, in the Ulster Province and of the MacDonald Clan was no different than any other village in Ireland everyone had to pay taxes one way or another, And this is where my story begins, Young children ages 12 years and older that looked in good health were taken from the family clans as payment for the taxes.From the time that the tax collectors picked the first children until they had over 100 children to go back to England it would take lest a week to 10 days. The children would be put into carts and wagons and most of the time their hands were tied to the racks on the carts to keep them from running away.

One young boy that came from Antrim was called James Antrim. His last name was from where he came from. He was being trained as a cord winder and rope maker. James Antrim was a hard worker and he learned well he also learned to read and write that would help him to get ahead in life. He lived and took his training at the family mansion of Sir Thomas Wyatt . During the five years of training young James Antrim had a hard time at first until his hands and arms got stronger, then he was as good a rope maker as there was.

It was on a spring day on a weekend that James went to the market with three men that he came to see for the first time a young lass with red hair , James had to know more about this young women. James found out that she was a cook’s helper at this master’s house and that her name was Colleen O’Shay . This was the first time that he seen his wife to be. The servant’s Masters was willing to let their servants have relationship with other household master’s  servants.  With the hopes that it would lead to a marriage. This way the servants children would be under the master ‘s care and they would become servants also and it would be cheaper than going to Ireland and bringing back young children to train .

Our ancestors were two of these servants that were married and two of their children came to Salem , Massachusetts, America in 1635. they were Thomas Antram and his wife Jane Batter, . And Thomas sent two of his sons John and James back to England in 1679 to bring friends and to raise funds to buy land in New Jersey. Our Ancestors were early America Pioneers.”

I hope that in our 5 days of touring we get to the Antrim area, as well. I want to know more about this practice of taking children for taxes.  It is guaranteed to create hard feelings that last for hundreds of years. It makes me think about how much I hate taxes sometimes.  Several times, while I owned my practice, I had to reach down deep to pay my taxes, but never did I have to make this kind of sacrifice—a 12 year old child.  I cannot come up with a question for discussion for this one.

What would you suggest as a question?