Friday, February 27, 2009

So do yourself a favor today.
Click on the picture above to head to Maira Kalman's essay on Lincoln, published in the New York Times.
Rummage around a bit and find her essay on the Inauguration if you want a double treat. (Or click below.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What are they talking about?


And this is how it happened.

Wish you were there????
Leave a comment.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

For all you knitters out there:

This woman knits the teensy sweaters shown in the new movie, Coraline (shown below).

Here's photo of her with the teensy-weensy knitting needles.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Whenever I see a post about Iceland, I think of my sister Christine and her husband, who traveled there. I was sick last week, so I saw a lot of different things on the web.

Geyser? Blowhole near the ocean? I have no idea, but it's a beautiful picture.

One of my hoped-for travel trips in involves seeing the Northern Lights. In the back of my mind I think I saw them as a child, but I might have dreamed that. I would love to see them as an adult.

And why include this Dashboard widget? I love the look of the rain falling down between Wednesday and Thursday, indicating a wet day today. Usually our weather report is boringly sunny, and we're so desperate for rain right now these silvery raindrops are a happy sign.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Click on the map to see the growth of certain retail company in flowing data. Clicking on the red plus or minus signs (that you'll see) let you zoom in to a certain area.

While some say we live in an world dominated by American-only interests, when I click on the "next blog" button I find:

I guess I could argue this idea either way. Blogger is an invention of an American company, and there are certainly a smattering of English words throughout, not only in the menu options, but also in the content. Yet, each blogger above writes and illustrates in their own style, perhaps influenced by their own culture or merely their own tastes.
That's why the green-dot map above is somewhat frightening, if it should continue on this pace worldwide. I don't mind the expansion neccessarily, knowing how Carrefours is doing the same thing all over Europe.

I'm more concerned with the reality that I may travel somewhere foreign and not find it so--that is, "foreign." I won't be able to have fresh melon and local prosciutto in Varenna, Italy, because they will have been taken over by Olive Garden or Pastariffico or some other chain-type store. I'll never again see someone eating grilled baby octopus on the streets of Shanghai because they'll have Stix restaurants on every corner. I won't be hot and sweaty and cranky and find blessed relief in the tall tower where Bergamo's bell tolls on the hour, because each plaza will be a cookie cutter of shops and experiences and eateries all too "same," all too American.

I know the Germans, who we knew when Dave was a young professor, loved coming to Southern Utah's red rock country because it was so different, so foreign to those rolling green hills where they lived. We loved Germany because it had rolling hills and quaint nutcrackers and carved figures and dirndls, so different than our lives here.

I'm the first to say hoorah for Western-style bathrooms, especially after the experience of the hole in the floor in Italy and Japan. I'm not such a rugged individualist that I didn't welcome the sight of a full grocery store and an open gas station after our touring through the newly liberated West Germany many years ago. But some of my best memories are when I had to come up against myself in a strange situation, try new foods (okay, not the octopus) and sleep on a bed that felt like a slab of marble (that would be Shanghai). I wonder if that feeling that penetrates you to the core and makes you long for home would be the same if you had a Wal-Mart/Carrefours on every corner and a McDonald's in every square.

Friday, February 06, 2009

I made this dress for my daughter's blessing many years ago. She asked me to get it ready for this child's blessing. It had aged some, with the lace turning creamy, and Barbara asked me to get it white again. I'm too old to take it all apart and sew it up with new lace, so I remembered about Rit Dye Remover. One night found me cooking dinner, simultaneously boiling up a dress in a pot on the stove.

It worked! After ten minutes stewing in the solution (which made our kitchen smell like a beauty parlor) everything was crisply white again, better than magic, and I found myself thinking about the idea of being made new again, utilizing the twin blessings of forgiveness and repentance.

I think back to that woman who made the original dress, me--some three decades ago. What was I concerned with then? Certainly raising the children right. My last child hadn't even happened on the scene and I was ankle--no, knee-deep--in kids and house and home and relationships and fatigue and worry and sickness and health and picnics at the gun park (Westpoint, NY) and serving others (a tiny branch in Newburgh, four callings and 4 people to visit teach) and chaos (two boys and a baby girl) and isolation (we lived in the hills about 70 minutes away from NYC). Add in a strange marriage, a dog that kept running away, missing my Mother and Father and family, and probably a lot of wondering about just how it would all turn out.

I remember my parents making the trek out East to see me, bringing me a new set of scripture in beautiful blue leather. They are still a treasure, although I moved on to a new set some years later. I think about that gift, what was being said in two books on crisp thin paper. Maybe they were saying: this is the best gift. Stand with these and you'll figure everything else out. All that you're going through can be made sense of if you apply what's in here to your life.

Did I understand then about forgiveness/repentance? I thought I did. I thought I had a pretty good handle on things, wobbling as I did through an off-balance life.

But the woman who holds the child's child in the photo above has a better view of those early years. (It's certainly not as good as that baby's great-grandmother, but it will do for now.)

Forgiving others, not withholding that critical component of the Lord's gospel. Repenting when possible, because I figure I'm always in need of forgiveness. And somewhere between those two, a intense gratitude for these principles of life, a realization that the Lord has given me a chance to be happy, be thankful, in spite of scars, in spite of scarring.

It's what makes life work. It's a life's work.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Been a busy week. No time to post. I know you're surprised about all this, but feast your eyes on the comparison between two moms, 29 years apart.