Happy New Year to everyone, and pause for a moment as you celebrate to acknowledge the Blue Moon—which means the second full moon in a month. Then toast the inspirations, joy and friendships ahead in 2010.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Against all conventional wisdom, we sold our home (with the much appreciated help of Lonnie Larson) in a down economy in less than two months over the holiday season. I’ve spent a lot of time with the buyers, who have come out now four times from St. Paul, Minnesota, to walk the land and spend time with me and Sharpie (they keep asking if he can stay with the house). All outdoorsy people, the mother will live in the house with her Great Dane, and maintain it (the house, not the Dane) as part of a family trust. The adult children will come to visit from their homes in Manhattan, Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis. I am so excited for them, and they are pretty dang excited, too! We close on March 1 . . . now, Carl and I are bustling around to find a house in Golden that will suit the needs of our Little Prince.
Monday, December 28, 2009
In my college classes, I spend time on multicultural communications and the importance of being aware of how different cultures view things. I always learn something new myself as well. This quarter one of my students told me that in many parts of Asia, red ink is viewed as a death threat. I assured everyone I wasn’t issuing any death threats . . .
For more information on cultural issues and education, check out this paper published for a Canadian conference on understanding Asian students at http://www.catesol.org/Kuwahara.pdf
Thursday, December 24, 2009
As the snow comes, as the holiday arrives, and as the new year hovers on the horizon, Sharpie and I are settling into a quiet snowbound few days. Carl is cat-sitting for a friend and Sharpie is grossed out at the very thought! May your holidays be safe, fattening, and filled with books!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I’m addicted now to this series of English police procedurals and Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick's forays into the darker side of life. This is another gem. A woman is brutally murdered at home and her violent boyfriend is hauled off a train to Scotland, apparently fleeing the crime. An easy case to close for Resnick and his team—except another woman is killed, and the boyfriend ends up with alibis for both crimes. Some ace detective work by all members of the team reveals a common thread between the two women: they both had advertised in the local Lonely Hearts classified ads. The book has well-developed characters, and a page-turning plot.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
A while back I mentioned Kowitt’s book, In the Palm of Your Hand. It is a poetry workshop that takes you through structured exercises in the construction of a variety of poem formats and subjects. I am slowly working my way through it (I am such a BAD poet!). As I was laboring over a poem about a childhood memory, it dawned on me that it would be fun to combine the poetry workshop with Marney Makridakis’ Me-Flections art workshop through Artella (http://www.artellaland.com ). So, I am using the art topic and the poem exercise together to see what evolves, and seeing the results as I create a small book of illustrated poems.
Friday, December 18, 2009
After personal tragedy strikes his family, Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley disappears on a walking tour along the coast of England, the violent waves and bleak setting matching the emptiness in his heart. After six weeks his usually elegant grooming has evolved into a disguise good enough to make him a suspect in the suspicious death of a young man. Slowly Lynley finds himself again interested in living enough to help solve the murder. I am never disappointed by George!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I just read this quote by children’s book author, Arnold Lobel. It describes me (well, hopefully no long beard) and just about everyone else I know!
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. (Lobel)
Monday, December 14, 2009
Here is another work in the Kurt Wallander series by this Swedish author who never fails to keep me up late at night turning pages. The mysterious deaths of a father and son—one considered by the police to be an accident, and the other shot several weeks later—don’t appear to be connected to each other. Wallander has been on sick leave and has finally decided to leave the police force. The son’s visit, followed quickly by his death, bring Wallander back to work. And always in the background is a mysterious businessman whose generosity seems above question and whose smile strikes Wallender as increasingly sinister.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
After an unseasonably warm and snow-free fall and winter so far this season, we—along with most of the country—got hit hard this week. Wisconsin shut down on Wednesday from the snowfall. We got less than some parts of the state like Madison, but eight inches is still a lot of snow! I got plowed out about 8 p.m. that evening by Chris, who had been plowing in the Twin Cities for almost 24 hours and stopped by to clear me out on his way home. Later today our friend Roger is bringing two more cords of wood to replenish my fuel supply.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
In this novel, Padura again provides the reader with a fascinating glimpse into the dark world of Havana in the late 20th century. Lieutenant Mario Conde has to refresh his knowledge of history at the time of the revolution, including looking at the hidden secrets of those who came to power with Castro. A returned exile, Miquel Forcade, whose services to Castro included confiscating priceless works of art abandoned by the fleeing upper classes, is found dead and mutilated on the beach. Conde must first figure out the questions to ask before he can uncover the answers. Well written, the book evokes the decaying luxuries and bitterness of a world that disappeared with the revolution, and a world that came into being with the revolution and is now sinking into the night.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
All the reports in the media that Facebook is now the meeting place for the middle aged are true! I’ve been hearing from so many classmates from Urbana High School, class of ‘70. We even have our own Facebook group for our 40-year reunion. One of the many fun things is that people are sharing photos. I had never seen the above photo of me taken in 1990 the night before our 20-year reunion dinner. Heck, I didn’t even recognize myself at first!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I’ve been using the handy workbook written by Donna Kozik and Tara Maras designed to take you step by step through the process of moving. It provides you with places for your notes, schedules, and a wealth of helpful tips. This writing team has produced a number of these useful books, each with its own web site. The Move book was published through iUniverse. Often books I’ve seen that come out of iUniverse are full of typos and errors, but Kozik and Maras’ is well done. This is giving me an idea of my own series of workbooks and web sites . . . when life settles back down!
Friday, December 4, 2009
I love these mysteries set in contemporary Venice, all featuring the low-key Commissario Guido Brunetti. In this one, a priest asks a favor of Brunetti; a charismatic leader of a new religious sect seems to have undue influence over his flock; and a dead girl in the canal, gypsies, and too many questions have the Commissario struggling with his own beliefs.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I have written about the amazing talents and energy of Rebecca and Kenton in previous blogs. I met Rebecca years ago when she taught the first belly-dancing class I went to, and I got to know Kenton well because we’re both writers. Now, in addition to music, dancing, horse riding, photography, writing, computer services, and too many other things to mention, they have officially launched a new enterprise: K and R Creative at www.kandrcreative.com
Their services and products include website design, graphic design (logos, ads, brochures, etc.), writing services (grant writing, newsletters, ad copy, editing, etc.) and personal coaching (life and spiritual coaching as well as the intensive Metamorphosis Training Program).
One of the things I’ve observed during the thousands of hours I’ve spent on the Internet is how poor so many websites are. Writers may have brilliant words on their homepage, but the graphics make the words hard to read. Artists may have splendid pictures, but the impact is spoiled by misspellings. And don’t you hate when you click on a tab and nothing happens? If you want to start a website, or make your existing website more professional, K and R Creative is having a special through the end of 2009. Contact them by December 31 via their site at www.kandrcreative.com and receive 10 percent off website design. Be sure to tell them you saw this offer through my blog to receive the discounted price. As usual, I do not make any money off of any books, services or products I mention on my blog.