Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Story of the Patriotic Quote...

I remembered that Dick Cheney had read this beautiful quote in one of his speeches. I couldn't remember which speech and the White House site seems to only keeps track of more policy related things and not so much the political things... I found that out today. I wanted this quote and it took me over an hour to find it. This is the Vice President's speech. This speech was given at the 2004 Republican National Convention. During the speech, the Vice President quoted Bernard DeVoto who happens to be a historian originally from Ogden, Utah... a bit ironic I think. DeVoto specialized in writing histories of the American West. He once said, "When America was created, the stars must have danced in the sky." I am putting that quote in one of the flag boxes which will be for sale tomorrow.

I found another cool quote in my search. I will share it later.

The Patriotic Dad...

This is the gift for the Patriotic Dad... These are ready to go. I have nine, 2 that are plain and seven that are decorated up like the top one. If you want one personalized... let me know by Friday before the varnish goes on...
Looking through some patriotic quotes.. here are a few that I really like...
Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence than the body can live and move without a soul. ~John Adams
Righteousness exalteth a nation. Proverbs 14:34
It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God and to obey His will. George Washington
We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. ~William Faulkner
Freedom lies in being bold. ~Robert Frost
None of these quotes are my very favorites though. I can't seem to find some of them. Does anyone remember a really beautiful quote that Dick Cheney used in one of his speeches (it made the news that he quoted a liberal), but it was this beautiful quote that talks about the "dream of America" and "stars in the sky" something like that, very lyrical? I'd love that one for my collection if anyone has a clue what I'm blabbering about.


According to one of my favorite books, Better Than Beauty A Guide to Charm, "Your face can't look serene, your conversation can't be bright, you personality can't radiate if your feet hurt." I love comfortable shoes, but rarely find them shopping. Cute I can find, but never cute and comfortable. I love shoes with real arch support ( I know, I must be like 95...). When I tried these on for the first time... amazing... my dream shoes.

Dansko shoes were originally from Denmark, although I think they are produced mainly in Poland these days, but whoever is making them... Good job people!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


If you happen to be in the market for a great summer read, here you are. Originally published by Rafael Sabatini in 1921, the book tells the story of Andre-Louis Moreau. Andre-Louis is a man of illigitimate birth who is raised with almost all the privilages of his nobleman godfather. The book is set at the cusp of the French Revolution and tries to explain the attitudes of the different classes of people and how the revolution turned into the blood bath that it became. In the middle of all that sort of danger, Andre-Louis crosses the temper of a very powerful man, the Marquis de la Tour d'Azyr and has to live a life on the run.

I don't think this book approaches the greatness of Dickens Tale of Two Cities, one of my personal favorites, there isn't the depth to the characters or the same satisfaction in the ending. Still, I strongly recommend this book and think that you will really enjoy it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More boxes for Dads...

Through the end of the week, these boxes will be available to personalize at no extra cost.. for Father's Day, or for your favorite soldier, or just for yourself to enjoy during all the patriotic holidays coming up! Let me know if you want one personalized before Friday.

Love is a gift...

This little box has been one of my most popular. I have just one of these right now. It now available in the Love Boxes Etsy Shop. Inside it reads, "Love is a gift..."

Miss Potter...

Yesterday, I finally got to see this movie. It has taken forever to see it. The only theater that it had been playing in was quite far off and so I was just going to rent it when it came out on video, but (hooray!) it came to the local dollar theaters. Wonderful. Little c and I loved every minute of it so much I may buy it when it comes out on June 19th. Little c came home and found her old plush Peter and read him all the little Beatrix Potter stories in the house. You know, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is my personal favorite.

Fake Tan...

Every once in awhile, I kind of get tired of my legs matching the white tile in the bathroom. Crazy I know. So, I tried this stuff. It works just like it says. Even though it's very gradual, you still need to be careful about applying it evenly. And, use an old towel, because when you towel off, the towel gets a sun tan too. Really. Have you ever tried a fake bake... what's the best kind?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day...

Last night we watched the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS. It was a beautiful program. Read about it here. The program helped us to better understand the sacrifice of those who serve as well as those who wait. As our country continues at war, now in its sixth year, we remember those we have lost, those who have sacrificed the loss of limbs, sight and all manner of physical and mental wellness, those who have stayed at home and missed a soldier and worried over a soldier at every moment. We love you and think of you today and thank you for the sacrifice that all of those have paid for our liberty. You are in our prayers.
The program brought to mind these beautiful words spoken by President Lincoln in his second inaugural address:
"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

Friday, May 25, 2007


I didn't get any pictures of lilacs myself this year. With temps in the nineties, they lasted only a couple of days, but my dad sent me this great shot. Thanks Dad!
Here's a couple of quotes that I liked this week...
Quietude, which some men cannot abide because it reveals their inward poverty, is as a palace of cedar to the wise, for along its hallowed courts the King in his beauty deigns to walk.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Three Cups of Tea...

Three Cups of Tea is the story of Greg Mortenson's journey to become a humanitarian. Raised in Africa by missionary parents, Greg is already the kind of guy who can get a long with people from many different cultures and a guy who from the beginning has a gift for languages. He becomes an adult and an ER Nurse in the States and takes up climbing as hobby. When his sister dies, he takes up some friends on an offer to accompany them the Pakistan to climb K2. The climb goes terribly wrong and Greg is lucky to get off the mountain alive and into the village of Korphe where he is taken in and cared for until his strength returns.
Because of the generosity and kindness of the people, he becomes well again and when he finds that the children are very anxious to be learning, but that they have no school, he promises to come back and build them a school. This book is about a man who determines to keep his promise to this village and then goes on to fulfill many other promises.
There are several premises in the book that bother me. I don't agree with the critisism of the U.S. Military who I believe with few exceptions to be making every effort, even at the expense of their own lives many times, to preserve the lives of the innocents both in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
Also, as I read this book, I came to admire these people and to see the hardships and tragedys they contend with. However, I could also see many things about their culture that bothered me. I felt like when they had no school for their children, no hospital, when the infant mortality rate was so high, and sanitary conditions so low; I felt that they had a lot better things to be doing than drinking so much tea. I guess by they, I really mean the men of the village because the women are working hard keeping house, farming, tending animals, cooking and cleaning. It sounds so nice to talk about the slower, easier pace of life, but slower for who and at what cost for everyone? Actually there is enough that needs to be done that all of us should be "anxiously engaged in a good cause."
However, aside of those two things, there are a lot of us who sit on the couch of an evening watching the news and as we see the parade of poverty and misery marching past wonder how in the world we could do something to change the course of life for so many who need so much. Greg Mortenson is a person who determined to do that and I believe that his efforts in Pakistan have saved the lives of many and will better the lives of untold generations of people.
His school building project, much like Habitat for Humanity, empowers people. Rather than just having a group of volunteers come and raise up a school for a community, the people are required to donate some prime real estate and all the labor for the project. Hopefully this ownership will give the people the will to defend these schools as they may have to do and to defend the rights of their children, boys and girls to attend them.
After 9/11, Greg Mortenson's mission in Pakistan became more difficult. He received hate mail for a time and had difficulty raising funds to build the schools that are desperately needed. At a school dedication in Kuardu, a man named Syed Abbas spoke and he said this, "I request America to look into our hearts and see that the great majority of us are not terrorists, but good and simple people. Our land is stricken with poverty because we are without education. But today, another candle of knowledge has been lit. In the name of Allah the Almighty, may it light our way out of the darkness we find ourselves in." After the speech many of the women came up and gave Mr. Mortenson eggs, really the only thing they had, to comfort "the faraway sisters they longed to comfort themselves, the widows of New York village."
Greg Mortenson was an admirer of Mother Teresa, a small woman who changed the world. In this book he uses this quote, "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." But I think that both Greg Mortenson and Mother Teresa have done more than they can know and hopefully what they have done will inspire each of us to make the ocean of want just a few drops less as well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mrs. Grossman's...

Mrs. Grossman's have always been my favorite stickers. I love stickers. I adore the hearts especially and the purple pansies. Today, I found that Mrs. Grossman's has a site where you can buy all the stickers you've been dreaming of and have a wonderful time sticking hearts to everything and even dressing the new paper-doll stickers. I love paper-dolls too! See her site here.

Jane Monheit...

Surrender is the title of Jane Monheit's new album. If you haven't heard of Jane Monheit, you may have heard of Diana Krall and if you like Diana Krall, you'll really like Jane as well. Jane Monheit has an amazing voice. AMAZING! The liner notes of her Come Dream With Me album tell the story of her recording Over the Rainbow in one take, seriously the most beautiful version of that beautiful song that I've ever heard. The Surrender album is beautiful as well. I am partial to old standards however, and there are just a very few of those. Moon River is my favorite track. I am really interested in this "best of" album however because it has more song titles that I recognize. Yes, OCD people just love the familiar. Pathetic, I know. Anyway, I recommend Jane's music for dancing in the kitchen with your sweetie.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Shirt Boxes...

All of these shirt boxes have been added to The Love Boxes Etsy Shop

Chasing Cezanne...

I am a Peter Mayle fan. I read his books when I want something fun. And, I never read them, I always listen because David Case who reads most of Peter Mayle's books is a genious. I've mentioned before that I never could enjoy A Year in Provence because I have not been to that part of the world and I thought probably that you'd have to have seen it to get the jokes... not if you're listening to David Case who can do all the funny characters and a wide range of accents.
I was a bit dissapointed in Chasing Cezanne. Peter Mayle is not as descriptive about the art world as he is about the south of France. The ending sounds like he got bored with writing the thing and decided to end it.
Still, if you listen to David Case and you're doing nothing more mentally consuming than laundry. This book will brighten your day.

Billy Joel...

If I were going to see Billy Joel in concert. I would hope that he would play about 24 of the songs on this two disc set. Every so often I put this one in the car and listen for a few days.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dad's and Sweethearts...

This little shirt and tie collection will be available in The Love Boxes Etsy Shop soon. However, I will wait a day to put them in, that way you can let me know if you'd like one personalized before I varnish them.

Buttons and Bows...

These color-coordinated bits of buttons and bows will be tied up cute in cellophane bags and entered into The Love Boxes Etsy Shop sometime today. I hope they'll all be in after lunch today. I think these would be perfect for little craft projects like cards, scrapbooking or even wrapping a small gift box.

Chariots of Fire...

It has been some time since I have seen this movie. I was just a kid when it was originally released. I purchased a copy for Christmas or something but hadn't yet watched it until little c started talking about her interest in track and field. I thought she might like it and so we watched it as a family last night.

What an inspiring film it is. I love where Eric Liddell explains to his sister his desire to run, "I believe that God made me for a purpose... (the mission), but He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure." And, when he is speaking to a large congregation before an Olympic race he quotes Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

I love the character of Harold Abrahams and his desire to win the hearts and minds of those who would be prejudiced against him by living a life of excellence in every area.

When little c asked what the film was about, C said, "It's about two men who want to be the fastest runners and very good men too."

You know, the working title of the film was "Running," until the writer of the film Colin Welland saw the scene with the singing of the hymn Jerusalem (based on a poem by William Blake) and changed the title to Chariots of Fire. Good move.

The following is the beautiful poem by William Blake...

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of Desire;
Bring me my Spear; O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of Fire!
I will not cease from Mental Fight
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant Land.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Wives and Daughters...

Crafted by the same team who produced the famous Pride & Prejudice mentioned in about every other post on this blog, Wives and Daughters is a marvel. The costumes are amazing, the sets are unbelievable, the acting superb and the script, fantastic. If you were asleep like I was in 2003 and missed this, see it soon!

I loved the heroine of Molly Gibson so much. Her integrity and intelligence, her sense of right and fairness, her compassion and charm, her ability to be graceful in difficult situations all combine to represent that better self many of us hope to be.

The script explores many things, but most fascinatingly how we find ourselves in love with another person. Characters in the film represent so many differing avenues to this end. The father chooses love by appropriatenss and station. Cynthia chooses love by the desire to be desired. Her mother chooses love in order to be rescued. Molly chooses love by friendship and admiration.

I thought the following comments also presented very interesting aspects of the story:

"Davies, who wrote the scripts for such Masterpiece Theatre classics as A Rather English Marriage, Moll Flanders, the House of Cards trilogy, and Middlemarch, found Wives and Daughters to be perfect costume-drama material. It posed a rather interesting problem: Gaskell died just before completing the book. She was obviously aiming at a happy ending, and Davies has supplied the lost denouement with surprise and style. "

"Wives and Daughters is about the ordinary mysteries of life," says producer Sue Birtwistle, previously responsible for the BBC's Pride and Prejudice and Masterpiece Theatre's King Lear. "[It's about] where love comes from, how it grows, how it can break our hearts, how it can bring happiness and fulfillment. It's about the mistakes we make and the secrets we have to keep."

***This dvd is available through netflix and there are a few copies though Amazon.. for around $30..I think that if you liked Pride and Prejudice, you might find it worth owning.

Peace... and Kindness...

I have been so frustrated with my last few trips to the Post Office. I guess people are quite angry about the cost of fuel and the rate hikes at the post office and they were quite grumbly and really even nasty to the postal employees, as though they have anything to do with it at all. People can be so petty sometimes and sometimes they can be so generous.
Once my sister and I had decided to brave (we must have been nuts) the Mall with our babies and our mentally handicapped brother Josh. Josh is a big, big teddy of a guy with a big, big sweet tooth. He has a thing for soda and thinks it's right for everyone to share with him. He will swipe your soda if you are not guarding it with great care.
As we stepped off the elevator, Josh spyed a woman with a large soda in her hand and before anyone could even blink, he had it and was sipping away, nay gulping it down. We could not have pursuaded Josh that he needed to give it back if we thought the woman had wanted it back. People have not always been kind to us about these sorts of incidences. Sometimes they have been quite ugly and even made a scene, but this woman remained startled for just a fraction of a second and then with a big smile on her face said, "Let him enjoy it!" I think she visited with us for just a moment and then left. She will never know that her small act of kindness is something that I think of very often. What an example. It reminds me of that song that goes..."let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me..."
photo of The Peace Rose copyrighted 2007


Little C took a portrait class at school the other day and she came home and taught me what she learned. We made portraits of each other. I was so pleased with the things that she remembered. This is my first portrait and little c's second.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Strawberry Plates...

I couldn't resist a few of these salad plates which I purchased at Target for $1.49 a piece. They are so cute. They are also avail. online in sets like this one. Much cuter in person!

Veggie Sandwich...

Avacados are just amazing right now. Time for a veggie sandwich with yummy cheese and kettle chips on the side. Don't forget the cucumbers and the salt & pepper... actually a cucumber sandwich with salt & pepper works too. It feels like summer when you can eat this stuff!

Sleeping Tiger...

I need to read The Shell Seekers, the book which really made Rosamunde Pilcher a best selling author. This book, Sleeping Tiger, is pretty awful. There is a fairly difficult grandmother in the novel and it is never really explained why she's difficult. There is a real jerk of a fiance, and it isn't explained why he is a jerk or why Selena, the heroine, is engaged to him. Selena goes in search of a man she believes to be her father and ends up in love with him. But, just like her relationships with all of the other people in the book, you have no idea why she likes this guy. None of the characters had any depth and I found that I didn't care about them.

I did find out that this is the first novel that Rosamunde Pilcher published under her own name. I suppose if you are a real fan, you might read it for that reason.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lorna Doone...

My plan has been that I have reserved the long A&E Pride and Prejudice for the big laundry/ironing days and the shorter Hollywood movie for short laundry days. This has worked out great for me because you know.. I have them both memorized so if I have to leave the room to load the washing machine, I can just recite the missing lines and not miss a moment. But since I have now seen both of those films like 5,731 times... I'm not saying that I have tired of them yet because I certainly have not. It's just that, every once in awhile I need a new period drama with pretty frocks and romance into the bargain. While nothing measures up to the previously mentioned, this is a good one as well. The heroine is smart and lovely, the hero is brave and handsome and all the villains are villainous.

The Diane Rehm Show...

Several people have mentioned Diane Rehm to me in the last few months. My sister Alicia, who knows me best sent messages like, "turn the radio on... now." She was right; the show was facsinating. Newt Gingrich was the guest of the program. I wish that I had not tuned in late because Alicia said that I missed the segment about stem cell research.

The show had its own drama to it because Mr. Gingrich had promised to stay for the full hour and at the last minute said that he would only be able to stay for forty minutes. Ms. Rehm was quite furious with him; hers is a live program. I hope that he had a really good reason for leaving her in a spot, but he did not explain.

If Mr. Gingrich wanted to know what people would say behind his back as soon as he left, tuning in, he would have heard an ear-full. His personal life is full of land mines. He, like so many of the candidates in both parties, has some serious electability problems I think (for the record, he is not yet officially running). It will be interesting to see who pulls ahead out of the pack.

I thought that Diane's questions were very thoughtful and I liked that she gave her guest the time to answer them thoughtfully. My only critisism is the same one I have for many journalists; they cannot help but spoon feed their audiences the outcome of an interview. I am far too independent and I don't enjoy being told what to think. I love when someone will simply ask the tough questions and then let me decide for myself. Still, I was very impressed with the questions that she asked and I tuned in to quite the drama. Is it on every day? If it is, I will be listening.

Did anyone see the debate last night? I would love to hear your thoughts... I know politics aren't part of polite conversation, but I don't see why it should be that way. As long as you speak politely, I will be respectful of your views be they red, blue or green. :) I still might disagree, but I will be repectful. Really.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Chicago Peace Rose... Quotes...

Be faithful in the little practices of love which will build in you the life of holiness and make you Christlike. ~Mother Teresa
The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were not limitations to overcome. The hilltop would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse. ~Helen Keller
Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light. ~Theodore Roethke
This rose bloomed in my garden yesterday. It seems so early for the roses, but it's been very warm and so here they are.
(photo. copyrighted 2007)

Baby Trees...

These are some of the baby trees we've been planting over the weekend. The trees on the right are Chanticleer Pear Trees they get to be 40 feet high and they turn red in the fall.

They don't make pears...
The other little tree is a Betchel Crab which I love because of its pink blossoms in the spring. I hope they will do well, but this is our first time planting trees so I don't know what to expect.
(red leaves.. not my photo)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lands' End Swimsuits...

Lands' End is calling this a swim outfit. See more here. They have taken the concept of the tankini (really much more practical for bathroom breaks) and made them in all these fun kid colors. The whole catalog is filled with the most darling summer-wear ever. I have one complaint Lands' End. The catalog came out May 9th and quite a few of the cutest pieces are sold out already. Hello?!? You could make more money if you'd make a few more suits to sell. I wouldn't complain, really I wouln't, but this isn't the first time. Next year I'm not messing around, I will call Lands' End from my mailbox.

The Value of the Right Words...

My Sister-in-law Allison writes a column for the Ogden Standard Examiner. I always enjoy reading her column and found this one particularly interesting. Enjoy!

Top of Utah Voices: Words strike like lightning with power to illuminate or burn
Sunday, April 29, 2007
By Allison Barlow Hess
In her communication class as Weber State University, Professor Becky Johns conducts a simple object lesson. On one slip of paper she has her students write their least favorite food. On the next paper they list upcoming papers and assignments, and on a third paper they write their mother's name.
Dr. Johns then instructs the students to take the first paper and tear it into shreds, to which they happily comply. The next paper she tells them to crumple into a ball, which they love to do. She then asks them to take the third paper, the one with their mother's name, and throw it on the floor and stamp on it.
Most of the students refuse the request. "Why?" she asks. "It's just lines on a scrap paper." After all, they don't actually have to throw their mother on the floor. Even as mere symbols, however, words can evoke powerful emotions.
We should be careful when we treat them as if they were no more important than scrap paper discarded underfoot.
Recent obvious testaments to that are Don Imus, who debased and desecrated for a quick laugh; Alec Baldwin, who blew an apparently short fuse; and John McCain, who bombed with thoughtlessness.
None threw sticks or stones, but names and faces do hurt us -- all of us. Unkind, uncensored words trample the soul. If we could see emotional scars left from wounding words the way we see physical scars, we would likely shrink from each other's disfigurement.
Once spoken, not even sincere apologies can reclaim words, which might eventually be forgiven but often not forgotten. As the Arabian proverb reminds, "When you have spoken the word, it reigns over you. When it is unspoken, you reign over it."
Mistakes with words aren't usually mean-spirited; it's more likely we just speak before we think. Our true meaning isn't malicious, just muddled. For example, in grammar class we discuss misplaced modifiers, which are those words, phrases or clauses placed incorrectly in a sentence that make the sentence unclear or even funny.
In the following sentence, a reader may reasonably question who robbed the store. "The thieves were apprehended soon after the convenience store was robbed by police."
Or in this sentence, "People who exercise occasionally may have some minor aches and pains," is it occasional exercisers who suffer aches and pains, or regular exercisers who suffer occasional aches and pains?
Speaking with clarity and precision isn't just a mental exercise. According to a March 2007 report released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), communication skills are at the top of the list in what employers look for in a potential employee.
"Communication skills have topped the list for eight years, and honesty and integrity have tied for the top spot for the last three years," said Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.
Trying to make the perfect word choice can be tongue tying. When I'm teaching, I often appoint one student as my official sentence finisher. That engaged student seems to know the word I'm struggling to capture. When I get to that powerful punch line, I pause, point to my sentence finisher and let that student conjure the right word at the right moment. I'm always grateful. As Mark Twain said, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
The right words, carefully chosen or quickly delivered, strike with lightning force; they can burn, destroy and kill -- or with equal force they can illuminate, elevate, enliven and inspire.
In his autobiography, civil rights activist Malcolm X described how words transformed his life during a stay in prison. "I saw the best thing I could do was get hold of a dictionary -- to study, to learn some words," he wrote.
"In my slow, painstaking, ragged handwriting, I copied into my tablet everything on that first page, down to the punctuation marks." He eventually copied the entire dictionary. "From then on until I left that prison in every free moment I had I was reading on my bunk. You couldn't have gotten me out of books with a wedge," he wrote. "Months passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned. In fact, up to then I never had been so truly free in my life."
Freedom to express exactly what we mean can bring good wages, good will and good relationships. William Shakespeare advised, "Mend your speech a little, lest it may mar your fortune."

(or you can read it here)

The Path Between the Seas...

I love David McCullough's books because they are histories and so you really learn something, but they read like a novel. He has a gift for organizing information so that the pages seem to turn on their own.

I actually listened to this one on tape.. same concept though... and the reader is great. The only thing is that the tape version of the book is an abridgement and I hate that. I know I am missing important details like, I know that McCullough must have talked about what this canal would mean to the major economies of the world, but it is barely mentioned in the abridgement. Somebody read the long version and fill me in.

I like books like this though, you know the kind where there is an impossible task and then people just rise to the occasion and accomplish it anyway.

I found the section about disease particulary interesting. Yellow fever and Malaria were terribly common in Panama until they discovered ways to eradicate or atleast greatly reduce the mosquitoe population. They were just learning that those diseases were spread by mosquitoes instead of the popularly held idea that it was bad air.

In the end, how they put together the moving parts for the locks and how they work.... fascinating stuff.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day Mom!!!

Last year on Mother's day, I was asked to speak in church... this is what I said about my mom. It's still true... :)

I am so grateful this day for my own dear mother whose gifts and talents are many. Who taught me to awe and reverence the creation that our Heavenly Father has made for our happiness. I love to go on drives with her so that she can point out and name every special tree and flower and bush and so she can remind me not to forget how beautiful our mountains are today with either green grass, autumn leaves or snow. She loves the beauty of every season and celebrates every holiday and occasion with exuberance and real joy. I am so grateful for her quiet faith and her extraordinary acts of service and for her great loyalty and love for her family.

I am also so thankful for the gift of being a mom to the most extraordinary little c. She is such a bright and happy little spirit. She is a companssionate person who always wants to do right. She is the music and the energy in our home. She is so cheerful and positive. She can make days like yesterday, where we spent seven hours working in our garden, a joy. Love you little c.

(photograph copyrighted 2007)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Bouquet of Happiness...

This box is in the Love Boxes Etsy Shop this morning...

Inside the lid it reads, "Plant a seed of friendship; reap a bouquet of happiness... Louis L. Kaufman"

The Gathering Storm...

I was just a little disapointed in this film because in its mere 96 minute time frame it is only able to give a glimpse into the life and character of one of the most brilliant men in history. Still, I loved it.
Albert Finney is one of my very favorite actors and again he is just amazing here almost becoming Churchill in certain moments. Vanessa Redgrave is equally as brilliant as Clemmie, Churchill's essential wife. The relationship portrayed between them is very sweet.
This film covers just a small segment of Churchill's time before WW11 and it still is only able to hint at the things that he was able to accomplish.
Churchill was a man who knew all his life that he would be called upon to save his country and so he prepared and prepared to be standing at the ready when his call came. Unprepared for war as England was, Chuchill seemed to build a wall that though the enemy pounded at day after day, the wall would not crumble. And though none of this is in the film, I can't help but include here a segment of one of his speeches where he calls every freedom loving nation together to fight a common threat..
"I have myself full confidence that if all do their duty and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our island home, ride out the storms of war outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary, for years, if necessary, alone.
At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty's Government, every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and their need, will defend to the death their native soils, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength, even though a large tract of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule.
We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France and on the seas and oceans; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle until in God's good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old. " Winston Churchill June 4, 1940
The cost was very great for the people of England who stood firm during this terrible time. Knowing what they did and what they accomplished and what they preserved makes this speech inspiring every time I read it.
Now I have just gone off on a mental tangent... if you're still reading... See this movie. If you know everything about Churchill, I think you will be amazed by Finney's portrayal and touched by many of the scenes. If you know nothing of Churchill, this might be a good place to start.

Mexican Treasure...

This is my own piece of treasure from Mexico. C brought it back to me from Mexico and gave it to me as a gift on our wedding day. I think that it is incredibly beautiful. C is good at presents when he sets his mind to it. :)
To end Good Things from Mexico week... I would like to share a poem by probably the most famous literary figure from Mexico... Octavio Paz who seems as you read about him to have been everything but the kitchen sink. He was both political and literary. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990.
Between Going and Staying

Between going and staying the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.
All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can't be touched.
Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.
Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.
The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.
I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.
The moment scatters.
Motionless, I stay and go: I am a pause

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Beautiful Series...

I think these books are so much fun. We got this book about 10 years ago and we still enjoy looking through it every now and again. There are some fun recipes and we have made just a few of them, but the pictures are stunning. You have probably seen these book in Barnes and Noble before; pick one up next time and look through it. I believe they have books about Italy and Greece and lots of other great culinary traditions. Enjoy!