Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weekend on Narragansett Bay

"I look to the sea Reflections in the waves spark my memory
Some happy, some sad
I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had"
Come Sail Away, Styx
Narragansett, RI

"From Bissau to Palau - in the shade of Avalon,
From Fiji to Tiree and the Isles of Ebony,
From Peru to Cebu hear the power of Babylon,
From Bali to Cali - far beneath the Coral Sea."
Orinoco Flow, Enya
Narragansett, RI

"To sail on a dream on a crystal clear ocean,
to ride on the crest of a wild raging storm
To work in the service of life and living,
in search of the answers of questions unknown
To be part of the movement and part of the growing, part of beginning to understand"
Calypso, John Denver

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Masterpiece" is my ONE weakness*

Masterpiece Classic had some AMAZING programming this year: Downton Abbey, Any Human Heart, Upstairs Downstairs, and South Riding. I looked forward to turning on my television every Sunday night to catch up with some fabulous stories from across the pond. Heartwarming characters became old friends (Team Bates!), and I ended up meeting some smart & cool Anglophile/Masterpiece/Austen fans participating in Twitter parties about the shows. (YAY!)

A new season of Masterpiece Mystery! is now up to bat. Hosted once again by the remarkable Alan Cumming, there are four of new Agatha Christie mysteries lined up, Poirot (can you think of a better actor for he of the "little gray cells" than David Suchet?) and Miss Marple, and then three episodes of "Zen", starring the very talented (and very handsome) Rufus Sewell. (Hurrah! and Yum!)

You can print a copy of the schedule from here to put on your refrigerator (at least that's what I like to do) to keep tabs on your Sunday night television watching. Nothing puts me in a better frame of mind about starting the work week on Monday morning than watching Masterpiece on Sunday night.

*Fans of "Lark Rise to Candleford" will recognize this as Miss Lane's catchphrase.

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Miss Post" Recently Said that I am the Gothiest Prep She's Ever Met

On Saturday morning, which just so happened to be the first time in a week that Bostonians had seen the sun, JR and I met up with a few of her friends and visited the Boston Athenaeum to see Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey. It was a fantastic exhibit of Gorey's work, including: illustrations from his books, set and costume designs from theater productions, and a series of watercoloured envelopes from letters he had sent to his mother that looked like something out of Monty Python. I have loved Edward Gorey's artwork since Mrs. Fay, our elementary school librarian, introduced my class to The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Edward Gorey. The story was funny, but the drawings were what I'd remember most.

Over the years, I have collected a lot of Gorey's books, and I have collected or been given a quite a bit of Gorey memorabilia over the years: calendars, magnets, and even a Dracula toy theater (thanks, PunkRockMom!). I even have a signed copy of one of his books that I bought in Chatham the summer after he died. It wasn't until seeing this exhibit, however, that I realized how much the images reproduced in some of the books (the Amphigoreys in particular) are lacking in quality in comparison to the originals. They are so delicate and meticulous; it was like looking at some images I have known forever for the very first time. This was a wonderful way to spend a morning.

JR and I then took a walk through the Common, and after we went our separate ways, I walked over to the King's Chapel Burying Ground. I had never actually been IN that particular cemetery, and, as it is the oldest one in Boston, with graves dating back to the mid-17th century, I wanted to check it out. It didn't disappoint; there were some really interesting and unique stones, some of which have held up remarkably well despite the New England weather.

King's Chapel Burying Ground
King's Chapel Burying Ground
King's Chapel Burying Ground

Cool Anglo historical thing I learned while I was there: King's Chapel was built in 1688 on land next to the already established burial ground because the Puritan city fathers didn't want to sell the Anglicans any land to build a church. During the War of American Independence, the Chapel was called the "Stone Chapel".

It was a great day for walking around in town. Sometimes I forget how much fun it is to live in Boston! (Although, if I had lived during the 17th century, the Puritans would SO have kicked me out of Boston. Probably would have ended up in Connecticut!)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thoughts during the Commencement Season

Photo from Holy Cross.edu
I have been sad to read about the split up of the marriage of Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, although I can't say I am surprised. Actors and politicians don't seem to have a good track record in marital fidelity, and Mr. Schwarzenegger has both of those things in his background. However, it isn't my intention to speculate on the Shriver/Schwarzenegger marriage other than to say I feel bad that their family is hurting.

I became a real fan of Maria Shriver's back in 1998, when I saw her give the commencement address at my alma mater, the College of the Holy Cross. This commencement address later was developed into a book: Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out into the Real World . Because I wasn't actually the one graduating (some of my younger friends were), I was actually paying attention to what she had to say, and I was still close enough to being a graduate that her words had an impact on me, which they did. I left that ceremony with a powerful feeling in my heart and a sense of renewed purpose. I ended up getting a transcript of the speech from Holy Cross over the summer, but the gist of it is this:
Maria Shriver's top ten list of things she wishes she had been told at her college graduation:
● Pinpoint your passion.
● No job is beneath you.
● Who you work for and with is as important as what you do.
● Your behavior has consequences.
● Be willing to fail.
● Superwoman is dead.
● Children do change your career.
● Marriage is hard work.
● Don’t expect anyone else to support you financially.
● Laughter and a sense of humor about yourself will smooth the road before you.
Shriver concluded by saying, "There you have it - My report from the fighting front of the graduate from a Catholic university out there making it day-by-day in the real world. . . . As you step out of Holy Cross and into the rest of your lives, I know you're wondering whether that jittery feeling in your gut is excitement or just plain fear of the future. Believe me, it's probably fear. But I want you to remember what someone wise just told me: Courage is walking through fear with faith. I wish all of you the faith and courage to pinpoint your passion, to get out there, be free, and achieve it. Congratulations."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Don't Get Me Wrong; I Still ::Heart:: My Books

After reading my post about how much I am enjoying my Kindle, my friend MEM forwarded me an old email where I said:
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 12:52 PM
Subject: You aren't going to get me to start reading my books like this
I like books. I like the way that they smell, the way that they feel. I like to make notes in their margins and correct typos that I may find. If they were previously owned, I like to think about the person who read the book before me, especially the books that I inherited from my grandparents’ houses. Lastly, I like to hug them when I am done.
When MEM jokingly reminded me that I didn't always feel so positively about not-book books, I replied with the following observation:
[I like my Kindle] for the convenience/weight factor. It just isn’t very good for the hugging. ;-)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Where the Heart Is

I have been getting rather nostalgic for London. It seems like AGES ago since I have been there.

Trafalgar Square Big Ben
St Pauls

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hooked on eBooks: Learning to Put Down the Paper

So my bedroom has two good sized book cases, packed beyond belief. They look like this:

1. I like reading, and I like owning books.
2. I buy a lot of books (new & used) that sit for months on my "to read" shelf in the book case or in a pile of books on the floor. (I finally have gotten through enough books that the floor is clear, and everything is on the shelf.)
3. I want to keep most books after reading, but some of them I am completely happy to pass on, and, in a couple of cases, throw out.
4. Books can take up a lot of room (and weigh down) my purse so I tend not to carry a book with me for the train, my lunch break, or waiting in doctors' offices, etc.

Wait a minute, scratch that last sentence. Back in February, I used my Federal tax refund to buy a book reader. I had made a list of the pros and cons of the three big book readers: Kindle, Nook, and iPad, and the Kindle made the final cut. I already used Amazon a LOT and am happy with their prices and service. The Kindle came with free 3G service (meaning you pay more for the 3G reader, but there isn't a monthly service charge...looking at you, Apple). Lastly, it is easy to read in bright sunlight, perfect for both the neighborhood park or the beach.

Things I really like about the Kindle:
1. Very easy to read. I can read it without my glasses!
2. Lightweight and takes up very little room in my pocketbook.
3. Easy to buy books from Amazon and many titles are available for purchase.
4. Even more classic novels are available for Kindle for FREE on websites like Project Gutenberg and Girl ebooks.
5. The battery holds a charge. I am constantly recharging my iPod, but I haven't had to recharge the Kindle in almost two weeks.
6. Easy to transfer content onto the Kindle from your home computer. No proprietary software is needed.
7. The screen savers when your Kindle isn't in use are fabulous.
Things that I feel Kindle could do better:
1. Advancing the pages by pushing buttons. This feels a bit old school for me, and there is a lot of "stop and go" with it when browsing through the menu. I still catch myself forgetting that is how you advance and reverse. I prefer the fluidity of the touch screen on my iPod Touch or even the scrolling wheel on my classic iPod.
2. Copy editing for Kindle needs to be improved. Newer books seem to be fine, but older books that are "retrofitted" for the Kindle have errors, most notably, BLATANT punctuation errors involving commas being the most common, but not limited to, as there are missing words and unintentional line breaks that aren't in the print editions. (I checked one book against the hardcover because it was making me spazzy.) This is not Kindle's fault; I blame the publishers, rushing to fill the demand with a less than perfect product.
Well, that is my 2¢ about the Kindle. I am really happy with my purchase over all. While it doesn't have the bells and whistles of the Nook Color or the iPad, it is a fraction of the cost, and it does have web surfing capability and will play music and audio books. The Kindle certainly isn't going to replace print books for me, but for book club selections or summer beach reads, the Kindle is my new favorite toy.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring is Here!!!

This has been a beautiful spring week here in Boston, and one of the places where that is most visible is the Boston Public Garden. Walking around the park this weekend prompted some unexpected photography. (I just couldn't pass up capturing some of the vibrant spring colors.)

Spring day in Boston Public Garden Boston Public Garden
Spring day in Boston Public Garden Boston Public Garden


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