Thursday, July 31, 2008
I imagine I'd be more reconciled to reading all day if it were a cold, blizzardy, winter day. Certainly there's not much else to do except sit in front of the fire with your fuzzy socks on, and read! (I can't go to work anyway, & I can't dig out the car!!!)
But there's the romance of 'summer reading' too, which, (apparently to my chagrin) I am able to indulge in. Don't we all have the fantasy of sitting on a breezy back porch at dusk, lounging on the beach, nestling near a shady pond, with a beloved book in hand?
But how many working adults actually get to do this? Or even when they can--- DO IT?
In case you were wondering, here are the books that have been interrupting my usual high level of productivity.
1. Red House "Being a Mostly Accurate Account of New England's Oldest Continuously Lived-in House." by Sarah Messer
2. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
3. The Innocent Man: Murder & Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham
4. To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done for America-A History by Lillian Faderman
5. Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World by Lama Surya Das
6. Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade
Perhaps I am the better for it.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Red Bellied Woodpeckers are rarely seen in New England. They mainly are found in the Southeast. I believe my bird was a female, because her redness was subdued. In male woodpeckers it is quite prominent. Click to listen to the bird's song and call.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
by D. Bell
I was watching that certain Sunday morning show on CBS a few weeks ago as is my normal weekend routine. The viewing always comes after the requisite production of fresh coffee and homemade pancakes laden with fruit and syrup. They did a story about lists, and how most media and other forums inundate us with aforementioned lists. I hadn’t given it much thought until then, but damn if they are not right. I dare you to peruse any magazine stand that isn’t filled with row after row of publications that offer some sort of life-altering list to help you be a better person or avoid being a chump whether you are at the grocery store, the doctor, or, ahem, in bed - I sleep just fine thank you!
How did we ever manage our lives before these nicely organized up to the minute somewhat scientifically researched tidbits of numbered knowledge? I too am guilty of reading through these whenever I come across them, even frantically at times, in my hurry to glean every morsel offered, because like most people, I want to be in the know, ahead of the game, safe from financial and medical ruin!
In this busy world of ours, it is much easier to have neat, small lists at our disposal that can easily be ingested in under a minute than to spend a leisurely respite from the world and invest some real time in reading a good book or article. But are they really helpful? Do you really retain and use what you learn from them, or is it just a pleasant way to kill time and feel good about it? Has your life actually changed because of a list?
The latest one I just saw from my online email services today was “Clue to Diabetes in Your Eyebrows”. No, I did not make that up, and yes, of course, I read it. Now I have to worry because my leg height to torso ratio is off and my eyebrows are not going gray like the rest of my hair? Oh no no, I am not going back to those WebMD days of hypochondriac self-diagnosis based on broad generic symptoms. That only leads to a bad episode of “The Brady Bunch” like when Peter and Jan were playing doctor, but not in an icky incestuous way.
Who comes up with this stuff? Why do I read them and will continue to do so even after my tirade? Should I make a list of why? I am definitely going to take my life back in a small way and not read the latest list about “How to Cook an Egg” even though I am sure it amazing as the teaser of a graphic is alluring. Apparently I am not alone in my feelings about lists. Someone wrote a book about it. I am sure someone will place it on a list of “List of Books with the Most Important Lists”
Monday, July 21, 2008
Of course anyone my age loves all those ABBA songs, despite ourselves. Like any sappy, sugary pop songs, you can't resist them. ABBA remains the most unexplained pop phenomenon of the centuries.
"Mamma Mia" is definitely a 'chick flick.' There were 3 men in the audience, all gay. The women were all singing along, clapping, and cheering. The inevitable "Dancing Queen" scene had a whole village of women dancing through town---- ripping off their bras, throwing down their brooms, yanking off their kerchiefs, and popping their estrogen pills with vigor to get their ya-yas out.
Only ladies would understand.
Finally, another reason to see "Mamma Mia" is Meryl Streep. She is perhaps our greatest, living American actress. Gorgeous and mesmerizing as usual, and she had a lot of fun too!
See it now! At a theater near you!
George's Island features Fort Warren, built in 1850. During the Civil War the fort had about a 1000 Confederate prisoners. At one point they even housed the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander Hamilton Stephens, in fairly posh conditions. Another story of the island is that a confederate prisoner's wife attempted to help her husband escape by rowing over from Hull. Now she is the ghostly legend of 'the lady in black,' who still haunts the island. (Click to listen to the story) Apparently her husband was killed and the lady was hung with a black robe, the only 'rope' available.
Every year local Civil War reenactment units will set up an encampment on the island, and reenact the escape as well as demonstrate civil war era baking and medical procedures. Some years ago I attended this event, and found out about joining up with the 22nd Massachusetts.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
We discovered this hardy unit of sailors from Marblehead, Massachusetts were responsible for rowing General Washington across the Delaware on that frigid, Christmas Eve in 1776. They also aided in overtaking the many drunken Hessians fighting for the British, to recapture Trenton. The Glover militia was also involved in Yorktown.
One soldier gave us a fantastic tour through the encampment. We learned many interesting facts.
1. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the officers on both sides wore red sashes, which made them easily identifiable on the field. In the style of the times, however, it was a 'gentleman's' war, and it was forbidden to deliberately target officers. Pretty soon the Americans grew tired of being gentlemen and started shooting at British officers. Soon the red sash became less often used.
2. Scurvy was combated by the British with limes, which they imported from the Indies. That's why the Americans called the Brits "limeys." The Americans were blocked from access to trade, so they concocted lemon-grass mixed with sugar plum. The surgeon at the camp let Nil and I try some 'scurvy paste'. It was very good; it tasted like vitamin C. Surprise, surprise!
3. At the beginning of the war, the muskets the Americans had were originally bought from England. Needless to say, this supply of muskets was soon curtailed. Later, the Americans got a supply of superior muskets from France, called the Charleyville. Basically, we can thank France for our independence. (Eat up those 'freedom fries,' dudes).
4. We also learned that the phrase "sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite," comes from Colonial times. The mattresses were held up by rope, which had to be frequently tightened, or you would unfortunately sag in the night. (Especially if you were sleeping with a very fat sailor). As for bed bugs, well, I guess they were common in straw mattresses.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
- Tai Chi X
- take basic Norwegian
- literature class
- take Spanish
- learn film-making software
- make new business cards X
- antique fair
- zine #4
- make t-shirts X
- play cello X
- bird feeder/bird watching
- ghost hunting
- metal detector/treasure hunting
- boxing gloves/punching bag X
- archaeological dig
- meditation class
- basketball for dummies
- flower boxX
- fir tree X
- graveyard hopping
Here are some of my favorite poses, an extremely challenging pose, and a love/hate pose.
Triangle Pose...........................and Warrior II
I find Bridge Pose very challenging.
And I have a love/hate relationship with Downward Facing Dog.......
and Tree Pose
Monday, July 7, 2008
On Friday a large group of us headed up the Holt and Clark trails from the campground, to the summit of Mt. Cardigan (3,155 ft.). The trail was fairly moderate until the last 1/4 mile, which consisted of open slabs of very steep rock. Luckily it was not too windy, but the sun was hot. The summit offered fantastic, panoramic views. We ate our lunch then headed down the Manning trail. The trail ran along the summit for awhile, on open, rocky ridges with blueberry bushes and shrubs. The views were great. Once in the woods again, the trail was steep for the rest of way down.
Our group of hardy ladies and sensitive men, resting on the summit
On Saturday all the gals went kayaking on the Pemigewasset River. It was all downstream so the paddling was leisurely, except when we ran into some cross winds. We stopped for lunch and a swim, on a sandbar. We were the only folks around. The water was deliciously refreshing, and the temperature perfect. It was a great time and fine weather.
Kayaking 101 For Dummies