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Showing posts from November, 2018

A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.30.18

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Dear Henry,

Today marks the 64th anniversary of the Sylacauga Meteor Strike.

In 1954, Ann Hodges was napping on her sofa when a meteor came crashing through her roof, ricocheted off a radio, and struck her in the leg.  She wasn't seriously injured but badly bruised and scared within an inch of her life.

Yes, yes, something else to worry about at 3 AM.  Things falling from space. I mean, of course, it can happen. A meteor strike killed the dinosaurs. But, individually, being killed by a meteor isn't very likely. Prior to the 1954 non-fatal incident, in 1825 and 1827, in India, two people were grazed by meteors and although there have been incidents of weddings, funerals, and political meetings being disrupted by meteors, the only know fatality occurred in ancient China. 

It isn't very likely to be struck, much less killed by a falling meteor.

How likely?

Well, Professor Stephen Nelson from Tulane University calculated it out.  The odds are 1 in 250,000.  Quite dismal actual…

A Meditation In Ink: Meditation 11.29.18

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Dear Henry,

I had been talking about Frida Kahlo and her piece"The Broken Column"and how much of an inspiration the piece is to me.

Other artists who inspire me are (in no particular order):

Edvard Munch -"The Vampyre"

Henri Matisse - "Window at Tangier"

Joan Miro - "The Air"

Marc Chagall - "Aleko" (currently up for auction?)

Wassily Kandinsky - "Dark Freshness"

This list is forever in metamorphosis. Even today it was hard to pick out a specific "piece" that was a favorite. Although "The Broken Column" will always be Frida Kahlo's most influential piece.

xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: Measure for Measure - William Shakespeare - Summary and Review

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A short summary of Measure for Measure: Lord Angelo's Authoritarian Acts in Vienna.

Questions to ponder while reading Measure for Measure: What is a virtue?
Do you think the Duke will get married?
My thoughts about Measure for Measure: Relax into the flow, the language will come.
This isn't a comedy, not really.
I, personally, feel that both Angelo and the Duke are ridiculous weenies.


A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.28.18

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Dear Henry,

During this morning's perusal through useless information, I discovered that today was the anniversary of the first car race. The race, which took place on November 28, 1895, was a 54-mile loop between Chicago and Waukegan, during a snowstorm.  After 10 hours and 23 minutes, Frank Duryea won.

Frank Duryea also opened an automobile factory following the hoopla of the race, and in 1896, the Duryea Motor Wagon Company of Springfield, Massachusetts became the largest automobile manufacturer in the country, building 13 cars by hand.

Duryea Motor Wagon Company existed until 1914 before shutting down, although infighting between the controlling partners had weakened the company significantly in 1907 and although Frank Duryea tried to reestablish the company again in 1916, he was never able to gather enough funding to compete with Henry Ford.

Who knew?

xoxo a.d.

A Meditation In Ink: Meditation 11.27.18

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Dear Henry,

Today I learned that reindeer like to eat bananas.  A pretty useful tip, as Christmas approaches and neighborhoods worldwide, will soon be in for a night of reindeer mayhem.

Reindeer are the only deer to be domesticated and they can swim.  They can also see in ultraviolet, allowing them to distinguish between snow and white fur.

They are also fast, running up to 50 mph and can run almost immediately from birth.

Truly Santa picked worthy animals for his Christmas trip.

xoxo a.d.

A Meditation In Ink: Meditation 11.26.18

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Dear Henry,

I live near two Civil War Battlefields -  Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove. I have done the standard tour of Pea Ridge when I moved in but have yet to see Prairie Grove. 

I may go to Prairie Grove this weekend, they are doing a battle recreation, the history of the reenactment should be interesting. 

I am not a fan of the battlefields, they make me sad.  I also struggle with the Civil War concept as well as the continued adherence to "the Confederacy" that occasionally takes place in the South.

After some research, I discovered that worldwide there are regularly held battle reenactments, and people have been recreating historical battles since before the Roman Empire.  Most commonly used as a "living history", they are also used to evaluate historical combat tactics and strategic plans.

They still make me sad.

xoxo a.d.


A Book to Read and Love: The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler - Summary and Review

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A short summary of The Big Sleep: A private investigator looks into a disappearance and discovers something crazy.

Questions to ponder while reading The Big Sleep: What is wrong with the Sherwood sisters?
How much family dysfunction is too much?
My thoughts about The Big Sleep: Drama filled.
Politically incorrect.
I love noir.

A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.25.18

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Dear Henry,

I am always on the lookout for the weird old-timey recipe and I just stumbled upon one I want to try and work out.
It is for Ben Franklin's Milk Punch.
What is Milk Punch you ask?  Well, it's booze.  More specifically it is a punch, that actually sounds quite "Christmasy" and will provide a  bit of a change this year.  Eggnog is well, eggnog.
So - from the people at Food Republic:  Ben Franklin's Milk Punch.
6 Cups of Brandy 11 Lemons 2 Cups Lemon Juice 4 Cups Water  3/4 Cup Sugar 1 Nutmeg 3 Cups Whole Milk
Infuse the brandy with ALL of the lemon zest of the 11 lemons for 24 hours (make sure you just get the zest, not the pith, the recipe is very specific on this). Then add the zest, lemon juice (you should have 11 naked lemons at this point), sugar and the gratings of one whole nutmeg to the brandy.
Start heating the milk, just until hot, keep stirring so it doesn't scorch, then add the brandy mixture.  It will curdle and look icky. Stir anyway.

A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.24.18

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Dear Henry,

Today was another one of my favorite kind of days.  The sun was out and it was in the low 70's. I have been basking in the sun.
Even though it is Winter, it is important to go outside and spend a moment (or two) getting some sun. 
In fact, because it is Winter it is even more important to get sun as it helps improve your mood and stimulates your metabolism.  Fortunately, I don't suffer from S.A.D. but I know many who do and the lack of sunlight during the Winter causes their moods to plummet.
It may be cold, but if the sun is shining, do your mood a favor and get some sun.
xoxo a.d.







Meditation In Ink: Meditation 11.23.18

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Dear Henry, 

Everyone needs a signature recipe.  I had been searching for one for years without realizing I already had one. 
It isn't fancy, it is just frog eye salad.  It isn't traditional either.  I don't use coconut or marshmallows either.  Despite this, everyone seems to be a fan.
So - 
1 lb Acini de Pepe, cooked, rinsed, and drained. 2 cups Whipped Cream (the real kind) with 3 TBS sugar and 2 TSP vanilla whipped in. 4 12 oz cans Very Cherry Fruit Cocktail, rinsed and drained 1 25 oz can Mandarin Oranges, rinsed and drained.
Mix together.
Serve.
I have yet to have leftovers.
xoxo a.d.

A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.21.18

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Dear Henry,

Fish reminds me that he is a simple man who, despite the recommendation from Food and Wine, we will not be having champagne with Thanksgiving dinner.
Instead, we will go with an American classic, hard cider, with dinner.
We are not the only hard cider fans, John Adams used to have a glass with breakfast.
xoxo a.d.



A Book to Read and Love: John Adams - David McCullough - Summary and Review

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A short summary of John Adams: The life of the 2nd president.

Questions to ponder while reading John Adams: Did you realize the Founding Fathers were so human?
Did you realize John Adams was so stubborn and opinionated?

My thoughts about John Adams: I wish I were so well read.
I admire the principles of John Adams.
I love how human he is.

A Meditation In Ink: Meditation 11.19.18

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Dear Henry,

I am thankful to have been born when I was.  Now is the best time to be alive, according to scientific research.

Today I read at IFLScience that scientists have decided upon which period of time was the worst.  It was the period of 536 to 636 CE.  There were some severe weather patterns that caused widespread famine, disease, and mayhem.  This was the period of the Goths, Carthage, the earthquake that destroyed Beirut, etc, etc, etc. 

Why though was this period worse than any other?  There was another, similar, climate change during the 1250ish-1350ish period.  Several empires also collapsed, famine was common, and the plague cropped up.

In any case, they are not now and now is amazing.

xoxo a.d.

A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.17.18

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Dear Henry,

Today was a day of distraction.  The weather was nice and there were (still is) so many things to do outside that I spent the day bouncing around starting many things but accomplishing very little.

Focus was an issue.

Normally,  I do well with the "noting" technique (a meditation practice where you "note" the distraction and then immediately return to what you should be focusing on).

Today was just too beautiful to be normal and distractions were plenty.

But I have finally gotten my to-do list done - at least for today.

xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller - Summary and Review

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A short summary of Death of a Salesman: End of career unhappiness

Questions to ponder while reading Death of a Salesman: What has disappointed you?
Are you happy with your life?
My thoughts about Death of a Salesman: A play for the ages.
Must read classic.
Just don't quit.

A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.16.18

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Dear Henry,

This morning in the newspaper (The New York Times) there was an article by Jason Farago about Anna Atkins and her cyanotype photograms and I am inspired.  
I have already gotten started on planning next Spring, including new flowerbeds.  I plan on having flowers everywhere and I am excited to look into this process and maybe create something with it.
I love the newspaper.
xoxo a.d.

A Meditation In Ink: Meditation 11.15.18

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Dear Henry,

Today's doodle is brought to you by "sudden inspiration" - you know, that epiphany that you have when you realize what exactly you want to do?
I have been trying to decide the garden borders and I have it figured out!
I think I am going to go with wood...and paint them purple.
xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd - Summary and Review

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A short summary of The Secret Life of Bees: Healing amongst the beehives.


Questions to ponder while reading The Secret Life of Bees:
What is a mother?
Can you heal from the past?
My thoughts about The Secret Life of Bees: An easy book to flow through.
Cliches abound by they are entertaining.
The characters are easy to love.

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A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.14.18

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Dear Henry,

Today is another National Food Day that caught my eye. It's National Pickle Day.   
I did not develop a love for pickles until I was an adult.  A friend of mine, who was raised in the South, and I went out for drinks, where fried pickles were on the menu.  Up until this point, I had never tried them, her response was "we need to educate you on Southern food".
A love affair with fried pickles began that day.
I found a recipe this morning on the news, I think I may give a whirl - 
Loaded Pickle ChipsIngredients
1 c. sliced pickles1 c. panko breadcrumbs2 tbsp. melted butter1/2 tsp. garlic powder1/4 tsp. cayenne pepperKosher saltFreshly ground black pepper1/2 c. all-purpose flour2 large eggs, lightly beaten4 slices bacon1 1/2 c. shredded CheddarSour cream, for serving1 tbsp. finely chopped chives DirectionsPreheat oven to 450° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat pickles dry with paper towels.In a medium shallow bowl, mix together panko, butte…

A Book to Read and Love: All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy - Summary and Review

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A short summary of All the Pretty Horses: Forbidden love in Mexico.
Questions to ponder while reading All the Pretty Horses: Could you survive in a Mexican jail?
Would you have tried again?
My thoughts about All the Pretty Horses: The punctuation was a little weird.
Completely engrossing.
Not nearly as dark as Blood Meridian or The Road

A Meditation In Ink: Meditation 10.13.18

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Dear Henry,

I just read that Agatha Christie is the most widely read author behind the Bible and Shakespeare.

 Deservedly, I think.  Her books are so much fun to read (I particularly like the character, Hercule Poirot). 

While Murder on the Orient Express is probably her most well known, I think I like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd better.

xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: Shogun - James Clavell - Summary and Review

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A short summary of Shogun: An Englishman's journey from shipwreck to Samurai.

Questions to ponder while reading Shogun: Do you admire self-control?
Do you have a code of honor?
My thoughts about Shogun: Political maneuvering, samurai style.
So much fun in a book.
I love the details.

A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.12.18

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Dear Henry,

Thanksgiving is coming and I am excited.

I love food.  I also love that I have a couple of chefs in the family.  We have been talking about "who makes what", which has turned into an in-depth conversation about mixing flavors and dry rubs.

Fish has tuned us out. He just wants turkey and cherry pie.

xoxo a.d.

A Meditation In Ink: Meditation 11.11.18

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Dear Henry,

Today is Veteran's Day.  A day to be grateful for everyone who fought on our behalf.
There are many to whom I am grateful.
xoxo a.d.

A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.10.18

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Dear Henry,

To the Children's Television Workshop and Jim Henson, I humbly thank you, today, the anniversary of the greatest children's program, Sesame Street. 
I loved Sesame Street as a kid, I cried when Mr. Hooper died and I can still get Mahna Mahna stuck in my head for days at a time - I bet it is now stuck in your too.
xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton - Summary and Review

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A short summary of The Outsiders: Growing up outside society, in Oklahoma.

Questions to ponder while reading The Outsiders: How divided was your high school?
Did you feel like you fit it?
My thoughts about The Outsiders: A literary rite of passage.
I loved the book.
I have so many memories of Rob Lowe.

A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.9.18

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Dear Henry,

I was thinking about my sister today.  She loves octopuses.  They are pretty cool creatures:  They are really smart and are able to do two things at a time.
They also decorate their "space" with rocks.
They have blue blood and three hearts and there are about 290 different kinds. Some are really cute, others not so much, and some look like nightmares.
Instead of chewing on their fingernails when bored, they will eat their arms - if they don't figure out how to get out of the tank first, I repeat, they are very smart.
xoxo a.d.

A Book To Read and Love: Just Kids by Patti Smith - Summary and Review

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A short summary of Just Kids: Patti's time with Robert Mapplethorpe.

Questions to ponder while reading Just Kids: How much do you need to eat to survive?
How much would you give up to follow your dream?
My thoughts about Just Kids: I am a big, big fan of Patti's
I admire her discipline.
I don't do anchovies.

A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.8.18

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Dear Henry, Today, Lawrence Joel earned his Congressional Medal of Honor. Pretty amazing guy, a medic, he stayed in the fight treating wounded, even though he himself was severely wounded.  
Great hero and a very terrible war.
xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy - Summary and Review

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A short summary of Anna Karenina: The real housewife of Russia.

Questions to ponder while reading Anna Karenina: What should a marriage be?
Can you safely ignore societal norms?
My thoughts about Anna Karenina: A literary rite of passage.
Mid-life angst happens to us all.
I disagree with Anna's life choices.


A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.7.18

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Dear Henry, 

I feel bad for Betty White.
Hear me out before you boo me.  I just saw (another) meme about Betty White's age. There are 500 billion (I exaggerate) memes out there of thing that Betty White is older than.
I would hate to have to get up every day and be reminded of these things.  
Fortunately, Betty White has such a good sense of humor about it.  She is a truly amazing woman.
xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: The White Album - Joan Didion - Summary and Review

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A short summary of The White Album: More essays by Joan.

Questions to ponder while reading The White Album: Has crime gotten better or worse since the 1960s?
Has the women's movement become more effective?
My thoughts about The White Album: I love Joan Didion's work.
I agree with much of her philosophy.
I love her command of the language.

A Meditation In Ink: Meditation 11.6.18

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Dear Henry,

The great Joan Didion, in her book Slouching Toward Bethlehem, said: "The ability to think for one's self depends upon the master of the language." 
Vocabulary is everything.  
Know your words.
xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Emmuska Orczy - Summary and Review

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A short summary of The Scarlet Pimpernel: English intrigue during the French Revolution.

Questions to ponder while reading The Scarlet Pimpernel: Would you have aided?
Did you think Marguerite silly?
My thoughts about The Scarlet Pimpernel: Great fun in a book.
The Scarlet Pimpernel = First Superhero.
An overlooked classic.

A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.5.18

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Dear Henry:

Today was a "think before you speak" type of day. 

It reminded me of a rule, which is - Some subjects shouldn't be talked about in an open forum and if they are being talked about, perhaps you shouldn't enter the conversation.

It also reminded me of another rule, which is - Know exactly what is being discussed prior to entering into a conversation.

I had actually broken the second rule first, and because the first rule can be volatile.... yes, someone got upset. Sign.

I am currently reading Shogun by James Clavell - and like Bushido by Nitobe it is about the Samurai. (although Shogun is a work of fiction).  I am really enjoying the book, but I realize I would struggle with the Samurai culture...I can't seem to think before I speak.

xoxo a.d.

A Meditation in Ink: Meditation 11.2.18

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Dear Henry, 

The Kepler Space Telescope has been retired.  Like the Hubble Telescope, I loved looking at the images it sent back, they were so inspiring.
I think it is important to "explore" even by telescope.  Realizing that there is more to the world than just us, makes us a little kinder, a little better, in my opinion.
I hope we get another telescope like Kepler up again.
xoxo a.d.

A Book To Read and Love: Villette - Charlotte Bronte - Summary and Review

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A short summary of Villette: The life of Lucy Snow.

Questions to ponder while reading Villette: Where do you go when you lose everything?
Is beauty really that important?
My thoughts about Villette: I love it when the not pretty girl wins.
I am glad I am not a teacher.
I thought Ginerva was weird.

A Meditation In Ink: Meditation 11.1.18

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Dear Henry,

Have you ever seen the mushroom Xylaria Pholymorphia?  It is also called Dead Man's Fingers.

These are the scariest mushrooms I have ever seen.

Related to morels and truffles, these aren't edible.  I don't know why anyone would want to try.

They grow around dead wood and can be a useful indicator of a tree's health.

In any case, they are incredibly creepy.

xoxo a.d.

A Book to Read and Love: Daughter of Fortune - Isabel Allende - Summary and Review

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A short summary of Daughter of Fortune: An orphan's adventures after pursuing the wrong man.

Questions to ponder while reading Daughter of Fortune: Have you ever fallen for the wrong one?
Does your family have secrets?

My thoughts about Daughter of Fortune: I loved the story.
I am so glad I missed the gold rush.
I have a hankering for empanadas.