Friday, June 26, 2009

Thomas Jefferson--Kalman's Up Again

(Click picture to go to Maira Kalman's latest blog post.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation

Some have asked what I've been doing lately.

First, I did all those things I left undone during the last two semesters of teaching school, even finding some un-read Christmas cards in the basket as I went through them. And one bill.

I read the middle third of my father's memoir, edited it, and went up to Utah to visit him. I read the last third of his memoir, edited it and am headed up there on Sunday to visit with him.

I gave a talk in church.

I had some home renovations performed.

I had the five floorboards replaced where they dropped the counter slab tear-out.

I cleaned up after all the workmen (not a sexist term; I promise they were all men).

I made this:

And this:

And a couple of other things, like a skirt (which I have to fix a bit) and stuff.

How's your summer vacation going?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Whiz Kid on the Block

When I converted to Google Reader it was a heady experience, scrolling with my teensy button on my mouse, zipping through a hundred or more blogs in twenty minutes. I hated it when they stacked up and so learned to click on "Mark All as Read." Wiped away were the numbers, the bold typeface that said, "You aren't finished here."

Then on one of the blogs I follow, The Year in Pictures, the blogger James Danziger wrote a post a titled "Listen Up!" a few weeks back, asking where everyone had gone--where were the comments?
The question is why are people not leaving comments these days? Or maybe the request is: please leave comments whenever you feel even the slightest bit moved to. They are really what keeps a blogger going. I would have thought that this week there would have been more than one comment on the Gursky photo or more than two comments on the amazing Narduzzi picture of the Byblos Art Hotel.

Maybe it's the weather...
In the torrent of comments left at that time a couple of people mentioned the fact that now his blog was in their Google Reader:
I think more and more people are using Google reader for looking at their favorite blogs. To leave a comment you then actually have to make the effort to open the blog itself. Maybe that has something to do with it. Nevertheless, I have been puzzled myself by the lack of comments on your blog. Because it's such a great blog, personal and informative, and very generous. Please keep it up. We're out there.
I've been thinking about this one too, as the comments on this blog seem so few and far between now, yet I hear that people do read and enjoy the writings (or they're polite enough not to comment when it's a droll day).

So I've made a concerted effort to use the Google Reader tool a little more sparingly. I like seeing the blogroll on the side of my OccasionalPiece page, clicking to read someone's blog and being in their world, with their photos and headers and typefaces, rather a driveby reading in an aggregator's world of same type, same style, same abbreviated presence on my electronic page. I also like when I visit other people's pages, seeing what interests them in their Blogrolls and clicking through on a few of their links. More is not always the way to go. Maybe it's my own effort to slow the whole process down, to live in this current time and to interact, internet-style, with one human story at a time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lingering on Blogs

I've been thinking about blogging and blogs and Google Reader for a couple of days now. I think it began with a Pico Iyer's article in the New York Times about how he detached from his successful (and I assume high-pressure) job writing for the Times and now lives in a two-room apartment in Japan. He has no internet and so is not tied to the quick life we lead now. He writes:
While I’ve been rereading P.G. Wodehouse, or “Walden,” the crazily accelerating roller-coaster of the 24/7 news cycle has propelled people up and down and down and up and then left them pretty much where they started. “I call that man rich,” Henry James’s Ralph Touchett observes in “Portrait of a Lady,” “who can satisfy the requirements of his imagination.” Living in the future tense never did that for me.
I have long since passed the idea that living like that would suit me. I like walking across the street to visit a neighbor, I like being connected and pursuing connections via the internet; I like my life generally. I say this not to tempt fate (as I knock on wood) or to say that all is nirvana and perfect (it's not) but to acknowledge that I've come to a place where I know where the equilibrium is. And I can tell when things are out of whack more easily than I could at age 30.

While I applaud Iyer's "stepping out" of the rushing river of modern life, or as he put it "living in the future tense," I sometimes wonder about the rivers I find myself stepping across. I've been blogging now for 363 posts, nearly three years. My first post was just a picture of the Disney Concert Hall in LA. I didn't know what else to post. It all seemed so self-conscious, this writing--as my brother-in-law puts it--one's journal on the web. Yet when I heard Trott's talk last night about the lady in England who died of cancer, or the one-pound preemie baby and how is father took a photo of him every day, I realized that like Trott I enjoyed reading other's "journals on the web."

I liked my niece Alice's blog. I still remember many stories she told, and the year we "spent" with her and her new husband in Switzerland. I lingered over many of those tales, adding others' blogs to my blogroll, linking them into my day's reading. Lingered is the key word here.

More about not lingering tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

On Blogging

I have to give a talk in church this Sunday, so I was trolling for my subject.

Link leads on to link and I ended up watching this talk by Mena Trott about blogging. I recommend it.

I'll write later about what interested me.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

New Windows

And then another fine day, we decided to take advantage of the Stimulus Package rebates and support the President by re-doing our windows. Here are the photos.



Two devices that keep Window Boys going: Super-caffeinated colas and. . .

. . . charged-up drills.

Oh yes, the sink guy was here at the same time.

Yanking out the slider frame. All the windows went in over the existing aluminum frames, except for the slider. They did new construction on that, complete with new stucco on the exterior and drywall on the interior. Actually they just wanted to cover up the contruction with molding, but we decided on the drywall.


Look in the kitchen post, for a few more After Photos.
I keep thinking of my sister-in-law Rachelle and my sister Christine, who had full-scale remodels of their home, with workmen and mess and chaos for more than a full year.
I'd lose my marbles, I think.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Visit to Mom and Dad--May 2009

All good airplane journeys over the continental US begin with crop circles somewhere. I'm continually fascinated by them.

Beside the Ogden River is a walking path that Mom and Dad frequent.

Mom and I

A shot of the mountains through the trees.

The birthday lunch was at Zucca's Restaurant--known for its good food, like some local trattoria in Italy. Char (at the end of the table on the bench side) and Naomi (front, in the purple sweater) joined us.

Dad snuck out to pick up some birthday cake while we ladies lingered around the table discussing Prop 8, taxes and other sundry items.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom and Dad have teensy container gardens on their two patios. This side is herbs and flowers, while the front patio is all flowers.

On Friday, Judy had a luncheon for Mom, with a few guests. Joining Judy and Mom in this photo are Sharon Lewis and Margaret Hunter.

Outside on Judy's deck.

I hope I look as lovely as my mother does, when I hit her decade!

Carolyn Nebeker joined us.

Carolyn had made some rhubarb cobbler that was delicious.

I'm always fascinated by Ogden High school--a masterful rendition of that era's architecture.

Dad waited while I snapped a few.

Sign on a defunct storefront on 26th Street.

A visit to see my parents is not complete without some balcony time, watching the sunset.

Lunch at Trio's, in a huge rush on the way to the airport.

I was fascinated with the swirl of sweetened balsamic vinegar on top of Dad's cheese pizza. Mom and I both had the lemony chicken salad, and we were all done in record time, thanks to an efficient waitress and fast eaters. I made my plane, of course.

The spines of the mountains intewoven with Orange County fog.