Monday, February 27, 2017

New Life

It's that time of year...new life is popping out all over the place!
Daffodils and catkins greet us on our morning walk.
The neighborhood birds sing and twitter earlier and earlier.
And I have a brand-new great niece!
Ka'leia Elaine born in the early morning hours of Feb. 26th.
Congratulations Sam and Emily Mack-Malupe!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Preoccupied Lately

I've been a bit preoccupied the past few days. I've been immersed in getting my new HP Chromebook up and running! I loved my old Asus netbook, but she's a 2008 model and getting to be an old lady. First, Windows decided not to support her XP operating system which I'd kept because it was so user-friendly. I reasoned I'd just keep on with it since upgrading to Windows 10 was too pricey for an old computer. Then a few weeks ago I started receiving a message that my Chrome browser was out of date and I should update that. My poor old girl had been running slower and slower; some pages took forever to open. Pages frequently became unresponsive while I was using them, and I could only have 2 windows open at a time. With a sigh, I concluded it was finally time.

After a lot of research I purchased this HP Chromebook with a 14-inch screen. I thought that since I already use Gmail and a Chrome browser, it would be relatively easy to make the switch. I was right. The transition has been pretty smooth overall. I'm still struggling to get my printer and the Chromebook to talk to one another, but I think that's the printer's fault. It's different using the cloud for photo and file storage, but that's something I'll get used to. So far, I'm thrilled with how fast it is. I love its larger, brighter screen and better quality sound.  The only thing I don't particularly like about it is the color...it's a bit too 'girly' for my taste, but this model with the larger screen only came in this color. I'll learn to live with it. I've retired my old Asus; she's had a long run and it's time to rest. Using this new Chromebook is really an unexpected pleasure!


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Never Too Young

Musee de Cluny
Paris
These two very little girls are learning about sculpture at the Cluny Museum in Paris as their moms look on. I think the other on-lookers approve as well, don't you? This proves....you're never too young to engage with great art and history!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Fact Checking


This beautiful meme caught my eye on Facebook this morning. I'm a huge Ansel Adams fan...he's my photographic hero. But, I thought, did he really say this? In a time when television news, the internet and Facebook are full of 'alternative facts,' fake news and click-bait stories, I wanted to be sure my hero actually said these prophetic words. I'm happy to report, YES, this is a quote from an interview Ansel Adams did with Playboy magazine in 1983. He is correctly quoted in the context of a discussion about environmental issues during the Reagan administration and Secretary of the Interior James Watt. Reading the article brought back powerful memories of that time! I'm happy to say that I signed a Sierra Club petition calling for the removal of James Watt from his position. Which, BTW, happened.

I feel that it is the responsibility of everyone who posts or shares things on Facebook to check their sources for accuracy. Even memes like this which support your position should be vetted before sharing. The up side of taking the time to do this is that you may discover, as I did, an interesting story. Although the interview with Ansel Adams is very long (the quote here comes towards the very end of it), it was a fascinating glimpse into Adams' creativity and his politics. You can read it here.

Here's a short video that prompted this exploration posted on FB by my friend, Jane. Take a moment to watch it as well...
https://youtu.be/Ryjpu-NWYm8

Saturday, January 21, 2017

On Strike!

I had coffee yesterday morning with some of my Parisot Writer's Group friends here at Anita and Richard's lovely converted school house. We chatted about books, writing, personal news, and eventually the topic turned to politics. I announced that I was 'on strike;' they all immediately knew that meant I was boycotting the inauguration. (which I did, which I am!) Then Tracey told us about a group of people, French and Brit ex-pats, who were hanging an effigy of Donald Trump in her tiny town of Laguepie last night in protest of the Trump presidency. Find Laguepie on Google maps, folks. Like my village, it's here deep in the middle-of-nowhere France. It's not populated by Left Coast Liberals, Eastern Elites or even rascally big city student protesters. This is rural France, far from the big cities. These are people who are genuinely frightened by what Trump's foreign policy might mean to them and who are genuinely appalled by his cruel, disrespectful and divisive rhetoric. If you think the whole world isn't watching America and shaking its head in horror and disbelief, you're wrong. The negative vibrations are felt even here.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Streets of Venice

I just received a new book in the mail, Peter Ackyrod's Venice: Pure City. I'm anxious to dig into it and learn more about the city that enthralled me during my 2015 visit. Sitting next to my reading chair, it's inspired me to wander through my photos from that trip. Here are a few street scenes you haven't seen before....
Be sure to have your sound turned on...I'd hate for you to miss out on Pavarotti!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Reading Rilke

Shadows in the Cloister
Conques
I love poetry. I think most of us begin life loving it...all children seem delighted with nursery rhymes and rhyming children's songs. And most of us give up poetry when a well-meaning grade school teacher forces us to memorize it or worse yet, interpret it. Who knows what the poet meant by that phrase? My guess is that even the poet didn't really know...it just sounded right! I've continued to love poetry in spite of that. Right now, I'm reading Rilke.

Ranier Maria Rilke, born in Prague in 1875, was already a published poet when he wrote the poems that comprise his 'Book of Hours' which I'm currently reading. Rilke became enthralled with the landscape and spirituality of Russia during a visit there in 1899. These poems came to him over the next two years as intense 'inner dictations' which have been described as 'inward conversations with God.' Rilke uncharacteristically kept these poems secret for years, perhaps reflecting how intensely personal they were to him.

The translation  that I'm reading is by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy. I've included a sound file of Joanna Macy reading "Go to the Limits of Your Longing" for an 'On Being' broadcast. It's the poem that first brought me to the wonders of Rilke.