Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Monday, May 29, 2017
This is a thing of real beauty and history. I read a number of journal articles about wampum in general and this wampum belt specifically because my son was writing a paper on this belt and I read to him. So here is the first cool thing. This is essentially a treaty in visual form. The five tribes that make up the Iroquois nation agreed to be allies rather than enemies, and this is the wampum belt that tells the tale. The Onondaga are represented by the White Pine tree in the center, which is also the tree of peace. The Mohawks are the guardians to the east, the Seneca are to the west, and the Oneida and the Cayuga in the middle. Second cool thing is that the value the Iroquois put on the wampum beads they bought from the Algonquins fueled the economy. They trapped furs, the Europeans wanted them, and the Algonquins wanted what the Europeans had. It was a trade triangle, and it worked for a long time. The final cool thing is that while wampum belts ended up in the hands of New York state through some not too nice things that happened, they were eventually returned to the Onondaga in the late 20th century.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Will Smith plays Howard, a man defeated by the death of his daughter to a brain tumor. He has no interest in life or work. He is partnered with three others in his work whose fate he directly affects, and all is not well in the world for their business. There is hope, but it hinges on Howard participating and he is not on board with that. At all.
So his friends/business partners go about fooling him. It is one part cruel, one part self interest on their part, and one part desperation to help unsettle their friend out of his crippling grief. I am not going to go into the wisdom of this approach, but rather to applaud the motivation of helping the grieving to re-engage with the living in a way that is meaningful for them. There is the potential for collateral beauty with grief, it can just be very hard to find some times.
Saturday, May 27, 2017
Friday, May 26, 2017
Street food in general is very prevalent in Shanghai, as are street markets, and even housed markets have options spilling out onto the street. It is very apparent that food is important to the Chinese, and not just in the getting nourishment sense of the word. They treasure good food, and they produce an awful lot of it. My recommendation is to be a little bit daring about eating if you chance upon a visit to China, to completely avoid anything that is not regional Chinese cooking while there, and to really immerse yourself in what the country's cuisine has to offer.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Then there are all the things that make this a Star Wars movie. The epic space battles are well conceived and executed. The Oscar nominations for this movie were for sound mixing and visual effects, both of which were won by other movies, but the nomination was well deserved in each category. This is a must see adventure movie, and a nice trend in the genre.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
from a very popular bubble tea shop (there was outdoor seating on the street that did not require being a customer in any of the shops, which was both surprising and a welcome treat), and just watched the world go by. The neighborhood is populated by well dressed, fashionable people who could also be from anywhere in the world. China is the rising star, and you don't have to spend very much time there to be impressed both with what they have done and how swiftly it is all changing.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
The thing that I like most about it is something that is also true of the author in general. It is optimistic. The evidence for climate change is overwhelming and long standing. It goes back literally a century or more. So he doesn't engage with those who want to go down that rabbit hole. It is all about how to address where we are and how to move forward, and he does this from the viewpoint of a planetary scientist.
I liked the perspective of climate on planets over the time that we can study them, and the valuable information that we have from space exploration. He and I have literally grown up in the age of being able to get out into the universe to explore it and not just sit here at home. So that was a cool perspective, full of knowledge that I did not possess.
So take some time and learn a bit about what the future might hold for our beautiful home planet.
Monday, May 22, 2017
Sunday, May 21, 2017
I always took it for granted that I would have time after my retirement. That I could do more of the things that I love once I didn't have to spend a third of the day at my place of work. Having cancer changed all that and it wasn't even a given (and really, still isn't) that I would get out of my fifties. Yikes, that really sounds young to me. So in a lot of ways it feels pretty good to be nearing sixty. I am thankful to be alive.
When I turned fifty, I realized that I really needed to start doing the things that I wanted to do in retirement more if I expected to be any good at them when I had more time. That is why I started this blog, I wanted to write more. This past year I have really gotten back into quilting in a big way. The way I was 20 years ago, but with a better sense of what I need in order to maintain the momentum that I have. So today it feels good to have a birthday.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
First and foremost, it makes me think of when we brought our first child home. We were so bad at it! We couldn't even hold the baby right, much less figure out what it was he wanted. Which we were clearly doing badly because of the amount he cried. Once we got a couple of weeks into it, we improved and he was more accustomed to being out of his warm wet previous environment, we settled into the sleep deprived haze that characterizes becoming a new parent. It was never that way again (well, all the babies cried, and one of them more than the first, but I never felt as helpless as I did with my first).
And then there is becoming a grandparent. I really liked what someone said to me the other day. Her grandfather was excited about her being born, but he wasn't excited about being a grandfather--so he had her call him by his first name. Which she did and still does. So that is the route I am going to go.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Hailee Steinfeld, who garnered an Oscar nomination for her role in the Coen brother's version of True Grit, further reveals her versatility as a whip-smart yet socially moronic teenager named Nadine. Her one and only friend since childhood is the perky and slightly better-adjusted Krista. Her older brother, Darian is the golden boy who can do no wrong. Her widowed mother, Mona (played by Kyra Sedwick), works hard to support the family as a frazzled mom. The whole family is surviving the sudden death of the father, and no one is completely adjusting well to those roles.
Nadine is the typical smart kid who sees everything through narcissistic eyes, falls for the bad boy, but has a really decent kid who likes her for who she is. She makes her brother's life unbearable, and then he makes hers just as challenging because he starts to seriously date her best friend. There is a lot of material to work with here, and if you like the genre, this is a good one. It also has Woody Harrelson as a not creepy teacher who actually helps Nadine to cope.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
So here I am starting up again.
My youngest son has been taking an American Indian art history course, and since I read everything to him, I have been learning too. The only Native American art that I had previously had knowledge of is the West Coast tribes, so the end of the semester has been a bit easier for me to follow. I have always loved the Hopi Kachinas, but did not really understand what they represented. The Kachina doll is a sacred object, and to make one is to pray to the spirit world. This kachina is Koshare, which is the clown or trickster. Like Enki for the Summerians, or Eshu for the Yorumba. Koshare is represented at ceremonies, passing through the crowd and pointing out the foibles.
Monday, May 15, 2017
The maze of streets are filled with little galleries, and it is an area associated with art and artists.
Tian Zifang is the earliest recorded painter in China. Mr. Huang reworded the last word ‘fang 方' into ‘fang 坊' meaning mill, quarter, lane or workshop. The stele with Tianzifang written on it was hung over the entrance of Lane 210 in 2002.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
But come home they do. In this case all five kids. The golden boy of the family brings home a woman who is wholly unsuited to him and he brings out the worst in her. Which becomes abundantly apparent under the scrutiny of his entire family. But not to worry, they just picked the wrong sibling. There are scenes that will remind you of Much Ado About Nothing, and once you get over being annoyed in the beginning, it is a good movie.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Friday, May 12, 2017
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
So here is what is cool about this (and what may be it's demise in the end)--we walk right by this every day, as do our dogs. What made ducks think this was a good idea? I am a bit worried that they will abandon it altogether for this reason, but the ability to watch small ducklings grow up and leave the nest makes me hope that I am wrong about this. I am pretty fascinated by birds, and love seeing them in the yard, and am happy to have a few families raised here every spring and summer.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Sunday, May 7, 2017
They have been able to easily pass bills to repeal Obamacare when they knew that they didn't have the votes to defeat a veto, but they have not spent quality time figuring out a solution that they could live with. They themselves that is. A healthcare bill that would impact their healthcare. No, instead they pass something that the Koch brothers could have dictated in their sleep and call that governance. Bought and paid for. That is what we have instead of the governance our forefathers foresaw.
Saturday, May 6, 2017
This year I got to spend more time with her than I have since the year that she lived with us for a month, which was literally three decades ago. We ventured to Shanghai around the time of the Spring Festival. We were shepherded around by her son, my nephew, otherwise we would have been in difficult straights, but at no point did I really worry. We were in good spirits, we could navigate the subway, and we were able to really enjoy the place and the foreignness. Perfect, all in all. So it is fitting to spend a little time talking about her on this day, her birthday.
Friday, May 5, 2017
Thursday, May 4, 2017
This is a good low carb recipe that is well away from traditional shrimp bisque.
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 cup stock
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 pound uncooked medium shrimp
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Fresh cilantro, cubed avocado
- In a small saucepan, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in flour until blended. Stir in the stock, cream, chili powder, cumin and coriander; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Cut shrimp into bite-size pieces; add to soup. Simmer 5 minutes longer or until shrimp turn pink. Gradually stir 1/2 cup hot soup into sour cream; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Heat through (do not boil). Garnish with cilantro, avocado and additional shrimp if desired. Yield: 3 cups.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
I knew that I needed some guidance to make any progress in this arena, but I didn't really have a sense of how far behind I was. Not only have I not been in a quilt guild for many years, but I haven't kept up with who is who in the quilting world. The class was more about figuring out what I did not know and how I was going to try to move forward. So hard, sobering, and a little bit of excitement.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
There was a really interesting video piece on the differences between people of northern China as compared to people from southern China, to the point that made me really aware that even within a highly homogeneous population, people still search for differences that make them better than or different from others.
The caption on this painting is emblematic of the museum's works:
Monday, May 1, 2017
So there is the need to be politically active and let our elected officials know exactly what we feel about the way they are running our country. The corollary of that is that there is definitely a need to celebrate and protect workers and work conditions that is humane.