Did You Do Everything You Wanted to Do in August?

Because in a few hours it's September! I know! Right?

Looking back at August, I:
  • did not master The Art of French Cooking, but I did make tomato sauce with home grown tomatoes and I ate green jello
  • read about homesteading in Wyoming and Greek warriors
  • got excited about visual journaling and altered books
  • looked at art in Sam Clam's Disco
  • built furniture from a box and refreshed the master suite
  • played with GrandGril
  • sent Lightning & Sheriff and couple of their buddies to my favorite three-year-old
  • listened to lots of Canadian radio
And when I wasn't busy doing that stuff, I got myself to and from work.

What did you do with August?


The Empathic Civilisation

You'll want to watch this one a couple of times. There's a lot of food for thought crammed into 10 minutes:


Putting the "Awww" in Omawww

These guys did it tonight:

I attribute it all to the green jello. I'm not making any promises, but maybe if you make some green jello Festive Gelatin Salad your household will be overrun with cuteness, too.

If you are just learning about the powers of legendary green jello, you should also know that the powers are preserved at Thanksgiving time only if you use yellow jello.

I'm not kidding:


Who Doesn't Love Billy Collins?

First, the poet himself:

Next, the poet's finest interpreter:


#25 through #30 on the List

25. watching waves break
26. Paul McCartney
27. Cedar Mountain
28. Horseback riding in the Alps (no photo, sorry)
29. Sapphire necklace for my 16th birthday
30. Gardenias

a random sampling grabbed from the list of
The 10,000 Pleasures of My Life.

What's on your list?


deYoung and deNot-So-Young

We visited San Francisco to see a special exhibition of the works from the Musee d'Orsay, including the French Impressionists. Although photographing the special exhibition was strictly forbidden, cameras were allowed in the general collection.

The Artist Formally Known as Niece and her grandmother speculate about pottery relief and glazing techniques:

Mary Cassatt's mother feels seriously overdressed:

Sister admires the glass-blown raindrops that are prettier than they appear in this photograph:

Giant bowl of glass fruit reminds us that it is time for lunch.

In the cafe.

With Vincent.

Sister loves big, weird yard art (she said so), but she is of the opinion that the giant safety pin below would be more perfect if it had a "ducky head" instead of a utilitarian blue head.

You see, back in ancient times, before velcro or sticky tape, we swaddled baby's most delicate hindquarters with cloth and fastened the diaper with instruments of torture. "Ducky heads" made the practice seem a little less barbaric.

Super-Sizing the thing does not increase one's appreciation of its beauty, in my opinion. The humble safety pin, in its usual size and place is quite lovely, ducky head or no.

These are the important discussions and ideas that rise to the surface when we stroll through a major metropolitan museum contemplating great art. 


In Sam Clam's Disco

You know. It's where I left my harp:

Sister piloted us through the heart of BMW territory:
Her sweet chauffeur skillz gave me the opportunity to capture some street scenes in my Sit-Tay By the Bay-ay:

To be continued...


Strength and Knowledge Come With Doing

Years ago I picked up this book at a thrift store, but it is only since my recent trip to Wyoming that I plucked it off the shelf and read the story. I am sorry I did not read it sooner.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House on the Prairie" series appealed to me as a child, and this story has some of the same flavor. It would make a great family read-aloud. It is a true story told in the letters Elinore Stewart wrote in the early 1900's about homesteading in Wyoming.

One of my favorite anedotes is about a "charming adventure" she and her toddler daughter enjoy resulting from a restlessness that prompts her to saddle up a horse and take her toddler daughter on a "camping-out expedition".

And then there is the story of Cora Belle "the sweetest little bud that ever bloomed upon the twigs of folly." Elinore's opinion that "[a]ll Westerners are likeable, with the possible exception of Greasy Pete" is proven over and over in her descriptions of characters and frontier life.

She notes that "[s]peaking of things singly, Wyoming has nothing beautiful to offer" but [t]aken altogether, it is grandly beautiful..."

In the end, Elinor writes "I have tried every kind of work this ranch affords, and I can do any of it. Of course I am extra strong, but those who try know that strength and knowledge come with doing."

Amen, sister. Ya gotta love any woman who shows that doing hard things is enlarging, and who is unembarrassed to claim her strength.


Who ARE these People?

And how did they get into the powder room?

Oh. It's a photograph of Mr. Last and his firstborn standing in a holy place wearing the national costume of an adopted ancestral homeland. Doesn't everyone have such a photograph in their powder room?

Ms. Firstborn is always ready for adventure, she is often the instigator, or co-conspirator at the very least. And she is at this very moment on the verge of another Grand Adventure Indeed. We are awfully happy for her and look forward to dispatches from the field.


Julie and "Julie & Julia" and Amy and Meryl

I invited Julie Powell and Julia Child and Amy Adams and Meryl Streep over Monday night for a little soiree (that's French for "party"). The room vibrated with charm and talent.

Well. Yes. It probably would have been a good idea to turn the volume on the TV down a notch. Oh, but the food! and the conversation! and the love! 

Love Amy Adams. Love Meryl Streep. Love the life stories of Julie Powell and Julia Child.

But I can say without embarrassment that Mastering the Art of French Cooking will never show up on my list of projects to accomplish in this lifetime. 

Mastering the Art of Eliminating French Fries and Fatty Foods, however, is a better idea for a person in my condition. 

What condition? you ask. Softer and wider with every passing year, I answer.

Julia Child got a book deal and a TV show out of her Cordon Bleu training. Julie Powell blogged about Mastering the Art of French Cooking and garned a book deal and a movie deal. Amy Adams got paid handsomely to be Julie Powell in the movie, and I'm confident Meryl Streep got paid even more handsomely to be Julia Child (on location in Paris -- it's not easy being Meryl, but somebody's gotta do it).

This Julie enjoyed a delightful evening with the lot of them. I was so inspired that I may pick up Julie Powell's book, and I may even pick up Julia Child's book. Or perhaps I'll just keep blogging until my sweet life dovetails with the life of some other famous personality and media folk come clamoring to offer me book and movie deals.


It could happen.


Rainbows Are Everywhere!

In Wyoming:
In Cedar City:
In Pine Valley:

In the Conservatory (some people call it a living room, but we like to spice things up a bit):

Incidentally (or not, you decide), the Pine Valley rainbow showed us right where to locate our retirement cabin:

Rainbows inspire all kinds of beautiful dreams.

Additional bookshelf styling inspiration came from Jordan Ferney's Oh Happy Day blog and a Flickr search for "color coded bookshelves". Check 'em out.