YA and I went to Easter dinner at a neighbor/friend’s home. Everybody had their Fauci ouchie and three of the other 4 folks could be said to be “in our bubble”. The fourth person was a close friend of the friend/neighbor. I liked her right away and was interested in the mosaic art that she does.
The topic of my Ukrainian eggs came up and she asked a lot of questions about how they are made. At one point she said “oh, that would be a fun thing to learn to do”. So I offered to teach her; she was so excited I thought she might fall off her chair. She asked if I could teach her twin sister as well – they apparently like to do these kinds of things together. In for a penny, in for a pound – I agreed.
Since I’m actually putting the egg table up this weekend to start my Solstice eggs (yea, I know, just a tad early), I thought this would be a good time for lessons. Instead of a traditionally colored pysanky (white, yellow, green, red, black) I’m going to design a beginner egg that will have various shades of blue. The reason is simple. My Solstice egg this year will be using the blues and I don’t want to mix a bunch of different non-blue colors just for this lesson. The process is exactly the same so I won’t be short-changing them.
I’ve taught Ukrainian eggs before – to two different friends and to YA when she was little – all of these lessons were a long time ago. Even though I’ve taught before, I find myself a little more nervous about this time. Maybe because I will teaching two at a time? Maybe because I know she is an artist herself? I expect my jitters will fade away quickly once we get going. At least I hope so… jitters and hot wax on eggs don’t go together well!
Have you ever taught anything? What do you think you’d be good at teaching?
Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day for walking – even if a bit windy. I walked along Minnehaha Parkway and as I looked down at one point I saw the words “Happier” and “Ed Sheeran” written in chalk on the sidewalk. While I know who Ed Sheeran is, I wasn’t sure if I knew the song, so I whipped out my phone and looked it up. It was very nice:
I don’t usually listen to music or audiobooks when I walk. I prefer being present in the outside world and I’m not so sure that earbuds are all that safe. I also need more attention than you would imagine to make sure that the dog is staying in a good state of mind. But it was nice to listen to the song for a bit as we walked. It won’t make me an Ed Sheeran fan but I liked the idea that I was hearing a song that someone else thought enough of to chalk it for passers-by. We kept going along the parkway and I didn’t see anymore song titles. Just the one.
If I could leave just one song written on the sidewalk for others to come across, what would it be. One of my absolute favorites is the Ave Maria by Franz Biebl, especially the rendition done by Cantus. But what message would I be sending the world with that one? So I think I’d have to write “Everything is Holy Now” by Peter Mayer. I think this is a song the world needs to hear.
I’ll supply the chalk. What is the one song you want to add to the sidewalk?
Now that we’ve had some nicer weather, I’ve been farther afield with Guinevere. On the way home from the library yesterday, I passed a display that I had seen several times last year. The homeowners have two big planters out on their little boulevard, one on each side of a tree. There are plastic eggs, pretty sticks and butterflies. The fun part of seeing this again is that the owners have clearly freshened it up. Instead of dirty and faded as you would expect after the winter, the eggs are new and bright and the butterflies are all intact and fluttering in the wind.
This is not a display that can be easily seen from the house; the homeowners must have decided at some point to make sure the planters are cheerful and welcoming for folks who are walking by. I feel like it’s a gift to me and other pedestrians. This is important to me; in today’s environment that seems so overwhelmed by hate and nastiness, I am really trying to pay attention and acknowledge when people are intentionally kind (well, unintentionally too I guess). I’m thinking about leaving a thank you card in their mailbox.
We talked a out Little Free Libraries last week – books, produce, treasures, even sticks. I hope that everybody is seeing other acts of kindness as they go about their business and that it inspires us all to try to step up to kindness when it’s needed.
Any other kind/nice stuff that you’ve seen lately?
One of my close friends is a big fan of the Oscars. I think I’ve mentioned that every year when the list comes out, she makes a copy, checks of which movies she has seen and then spends the next month or so trying to fill in the blanks by watching as many as she can. I love her dearly but just cannot bring myself to join her in this mania; I’ve thought for years that the film industry is the most insecure industry – the amount of self-adulation in the way of awards that it needs amazes me.
But because she’s a friend, I did click open the announcement today of what films will be up for Oscars this year. It’s no surprise that I haven’t seen any of them (I quit reading when we got down to costumes) since I haven’t been to a movie theatre since December of 2019. However it was a surprise that I had only heard of two of them. I’ve noticed “My Octopus Teacher” on Netflix and I did read a YouTube review of “Mulan” but none of the other movies in any category even rang a small bell. Normally I’ve heard of a lot of Oscar nominees because I’ve seen the commercials on TV but not this past year.
Did these movies come out in theatres? If so, who went to see them? Have they all been out on TV on subscription channels (of which YA and I have only Disney+, because it’s free right now)? Have other people heard of these films and I’m just more clueless than usual? Do we even need Oscars this year?
Have you seen any of the nominees for this year? Will you? Anything you think the Academy has overlooked?
Saturday is Husband’s birthday, and last week his younger brother sent a wonderful but puzzling gift. Husband has always liked fountain pens. Enclosed in the package was a narrow box which contained some writing apparatuses that had belonged to their paternal grandfather. In the box from a Wheeling, West Virginia jewelry store were a dip pen and a bone pencil and their accoutrements.
We have determined that there is no ink reservoir on the pen. It was manufactured by the Edward Todd company, and has the number 11 on the nib. The pen is probably gold, either 14 or 18 carat. There is a weird black plunger that appears to serve to hold what we think are steel calligraphy nibs in place. There is also an odd little gold topper that doesn’t fit into anywhere on the pen.
The pencil came with tiny round metal canisters containing really thick leads that seem to fit into the larger end of the pencil.
We have done some online research regarding these writing instruments, but without much luck. Do Baboons have any ideas? We don’t know if Husband is going to actually use the pen, but it is a nice piece of family history to have. I have no idea if you can you still purchase bottles of ink.
What are your favorite writing instruments? What were your experiences learning to write? What is your handwriting like now?
I read with interest this weekend that French bakers want the baguette declared an intangible treasure by UNESCO. It seems the small bakeries in France are being driven out of business by large, commercial bakeries that mass produce a product the traditional bakers dismissively call “bread sticks”. They hope the designation will help protect the baguette and the art that goes into making them, and draw attention to what is truly a national treasure. They are in competition with a wine festival and the zinc roofs of Paris. The French Minister of Culture will decide which she will recommend to UNESCO this year.
Intangible treasures are oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, traditional craft methods, and rituals. https://ich.unesco.org/en/lists has a list of them. They are absolutely fascinating. I didn’t see a list from the US. I suppose many of our traditions and cultural practices were brought here by immigrants and aren’t exclusive to our country. I would have thought Jazz music would be on the list, but perhaps it isn’t considered fragile or endangered.
Check out the intangible treasures on the UNESCO list. What ones catch your eye? What would you nominate for the US list? How is your baguette technique?
I have an enormous U-shaped desk in my office. It is far too fancy for me, but it is what they thought I needed when we moved to our new building in July.
I am a messy person who knows where any and all the documents are in the piles on my desk. Please don’t make me clean up. It ruins my organizational strategy. The larger my desk, the more and bigger the paper piles on it.
In one corner of my desk I have the collection of figures you see in the header photo. I got the Freud bobble head from my son. The red puppet I got in Bremen Schnoor district. He reminds me of Tyll Ulenspiegel. The vampire tomtens I got from my daughter. I have no idea where the Viking came from. I have no idea what people think about them, or what they think about me when they see them. I sort of wish people would ask.
What did or does your work desk look like? How did you make your desk reflect you who you are?
During pandemic, one of the ways I’ve been keeping myself busy is by making jewelry. I’ve done a handful of “kits” from a craft company I like that features glass tiles over various kinds of artwork. A few bracelets, some necklaces and a good number of earrings.
When I saw that the largest diamond ever discovered in the world was found on this day in 1905, I was intrigued. The Cullinan was mined in South Africa at 3,106.75 carats – about the size of a baseball. Nothing larger has ever been found. It was given to King Edward VII in 1907 and was eventually cleaved in 1908 into 9 large stones, 97 small “brilliants”. The worth of the Cullinan is listed as “about” 2 billion dollars and almost all the diamonds belong to the English royal family and are housed in the Tower of London along with the other Crown Jewels.
I assume it goes without saying that none of my jewelry kits includes any diamonds. I would be too nervous to own jewelry that had any significant value, not to mention that I don’t actually care much for precious stones. Of course it’s just ridiculous that I am making jewelry these days…I suppose I could wear earrings and rings every day but they would just clash with my sweat pants. Once a month I do wear earrings for my Zoom book club, but that’s it. Hopefully if pandemic ends, I’ll have some occasions for jewelry again.
How are you like to get decked out? Any diamonds in your safe-deposit box?
My math was wrong. When I figured the daily average, I based it on only working on the puzzle every other day. I completely neglected to take into account my personality. I worked on the puzzle every day – usually for about an hour. Then on Thursday, the tipping point arrived and the pieces started to find their way more easily. Unfortunately, this means I spent about 6 hours sitting at the table and when I went to bed and closed my eyes, I saw puzzle pieces behind my eyelids.
Took one last hour yesterday morning to finish up. I was thinking right down to the end that we would be missing a couple of pieces (cat, dog, vacuum…) because there was one spot that I had been searching to fill for days. But lo and behold, the last two pieces fit together to go right in that spot!
I’ve talked about this silly puzzle to so many folks that I texted the picture to a fair number of people and I am in no hurry whatsoever to take it apart and put it back in the box. I thought briefly about using puzzle glue to cement it but I don’t have any wall space! And I promise not to bring puzzles up any more on the trail.
What is something that you are particularly proud of?
I was “that” mom – the one who threw the overdone birthday parties for her kid. Themes, arts & crafts, fun food, take-home bags. My theory was that I would only have a short window for this kind of silliness because as soon as Child hit 11 or 12, she wouldn’t stand for it any longer. I was correct.
Fast forward all these years and I’m still having trouble letting it go. YA hits 26 tomorrow and maybe it’s the pandemic and shelter-in-place talking, but I clearly want to celebrate more than she does. After quite a bit of prompting I got her to “allow” Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Bars; I got sprinkles and a little decorating icing to pipe “Happy Birthday” on the bars once they’re done. I also told her I would order take-out – she hasn’t decided what she would like. I have a gift all wrapped up and I couldn’t help myself; I made a nice banner (photo above) to hang in the dining room archway along with two balloons (a big “2” and “6”). I’m pretty sure this is all she’ll stand for but I’m looking forward to it.