Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gibson Girl Vanity

I have an Art Deco vanity that I bought years ago at an antique fair. I've always loved the idea of leisurely grooming, since I usually rush to blow-dry my hair and slap some makeup on before running out the door. What could be more luxurious than sitting down to arrange one's coiffure and apply one's makeup?

Now, if I had the time for arranging my hair and getting everything just so, I'd love to have a Gibson Girl hairstyle. No reason except it's just so not me. It looks unstructured, organic, romantic. (Of course, it's not, but that is another story for another day.) Whereas, I am decidedly structured, inorganic, and practical. Hence, short hair with bangs is my hairstyle of choice.

Well, imagine my delight when I found an image of a Gibson Girl sitting at her vanity! The very thing. Or is it?

Perhaps spending too much time at one's toilette is dangerous to one's health? It would appear I'm fairly safe on that account. Although I will admit, it is nice to be able to sit down and blow-dry my hair, before I run out the door.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pride and Prescience

Pride and Prescience: Or, A Truth Universally AcknowledgedPride and Prescience: Or, A Truth Universally Acknowledged by Carrie Bebris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not as far fetched as some other P&P sequels, but instead of zombies, the author gives us a villain using supernatural props to accomplish his nefarious ends. Putting that aside, the novel was pleasantly paced and a light diversion. There wasn't as much tension in the Darcy-Elizabeth exchanges, but perhaps with the wedding accomplished, there's not as much hanging in the balance? Seems if it were true to life they would fight more after they were married...

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Betsy-Tacy (Betsy-Tacy, #1)Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sweet book for children, but not saccharine. For example, Betsy is not thrilled with her new baby sister:

"She didn't know why she was crying except that everything was so queer. Her mamma in bed, a strange woman around, the room smelling of medicine and that unnecessary baby. 'It's a perfectly unnecessary baby,' Betsy said aloud. 'I'm the baby.'"

The illustrations by Lois Lenski are delightful.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

"The best thing you can do for your fellow next to rousing his conscience, is — not to give him things to think about - but to wake things up that are in him; or say, to make him think things for himself." - George MacDonald (excerpt from Ann Voskamp's post on homeschooling)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sir Walter's Verdict

"The worst of Bath was the number of its plain women. He did not mean to say that there were no pretty women, but the number of the plain was out of all proportion. He had frequently observed, as he walked, that one handsome face would be followed by thirty, or five-and-thirty frights; and once, as he had stood in a shop on Bond Street, he had counted eighty-seven women go by, one after another, without there being a tolerable face among them. It had been a frosty morning, to be sure, a sharp frost, which hardly one woman in a thousand could stand the test of. But still, there certainly were a dreadful multitude of ugly women in Bath; and as for the men! they were infinitely worse. Such scarecrows as the streets were full of!"  -- Jane Austen's Persuasion (Chapter 15)

I very much doubt I would have made Sir Walter's cut this morning as I hauled the recycle bin out to the end of the driveway in the frosty 20 degree morning air. But Jane has managed to bring a smile to my face, even in the middle of mundane chores.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Story

Winter Story (Brambly Hedge)Winter Story by Jill Barklem
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My children are desperate for snow this winter! At least we can enjoy some lovely illustrations and transport ourselves to Brambly Hedge...

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Pecan-crusted Salmon

Cut approx 1 pound salmon fillet into serving sizes. Cover with equal parts olive oil and whole grain mustard, whisked together. Top with chopped pecans. 450F oven, 12-15 minutes until fish flakes but not dry. Great with rice and sautéed greens.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Missing Ireland

Tea with toasted brown soda bread with butter and marmalade takes away a bit of the sting, but not all.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Opening Scene: Howard's End

Is there a visual equivalent to having a song stuck in your head? A picture that flashes upon that inward eye? Some films stay with me. Not the entire movie usually, but a scene or passage.

The one that I'm thinking of today is the opening scene of "Howard's End," the Merchant-Ivory production of E.M. Forster's novel. Ruth Wilcox is walking through the grounds of her family's property at dusk. The sense of her connection to the place is palpable: quiet joy pervades the scene. Whenever I think of that scene, I'm reminded of how much I love to be outdoors, with fresh air and green, growing things surrounding me. The worst mood can be improved by taking a walk. Problems don't disappear, but they take on their proper perspective when I head out-of-doors.

When my kids play outside, running from tree to tree with laughter, or quietly studying a mud hole as they poke a small branch into the soft earth, I know they are connecting to this place, as I connected to mine as a child. I can still smell the orange blossoms and eucalyptus, remember how long it took to run all the way around the house: through the vegetable garden, under the clothesline, across the lawn.

"The present flowed by them like a stream. The tree rustled. It had made music before they were born, and would continue after their deaths, but its song was of the moment. The moment had passed. The tree rustled again. Their senses were sharpened and they seemed to apprehend life. Life passed. The tree rustled again." ~ E.M. Forster, "Howard's End"

When I walked out to the mailbox today, the wind was whispering through the needles of my neighbor's pine tree. Why is that such a comforting sound?

Three Graces

3 graces from people you love: the same grace granted from each person to me this afternoon: an hour of quiet time alone.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Joy Dare 2012

From Ann Voskamp's blog, a dare to count one thousand gifts in 2012. One thing in your bag: a tiny red LED flashlight. A gift from a thoughtful and practical friend.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fantastic Mr. Fox

IMDb Quotes: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Mr. Fox: [sighs] Who am I, Kylie?

Kylie: Who how? What now?

Mr. Fox: Why a fox? Why not a horse, or a beetle, or a bald eagle? I'm saying this more as, like, existentialism, you know? Who am I? And how can a fox ever be happy without, you'll forgive the expression, a chicken in its teeth?

Kylie: I don't know what you're talking about, but it sounds illegal.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Blank Pages, New Year

I have been contemplating starting a commonplace book after reading about it on a homeschool blog called Sage Parnassus. The biggest obstacle was my perfectionism.

"[L]et us take down one of those old notebooks which we have all, at one time or another, had a passion for beginning. Most of the pages are blank, it is true; but at the beginning we shall find a certain number very beautifully covered with a strikingly legible hand-writing. Here we have written down the names of great writers in their order of merit; here we have copied out fine passages from the classics; here are lists of books to be read; and here, most interesting of all, lists of books that have actually been read, as the reader testifies with some youthful vanity by a dash of red ink." Virginia Woolf, “Hours in a Library,” Granite and Rainbow: Essays by Virginia Woolf (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1958), p. 25.

Nearly all of my journals and diaries are in this state, most of the pages are blank. I had thought that it was some sort of character defect on my part until I read Virginia Woolf's quote. Now, after reflecting on the utter insanity of perfectionistic thinking (yet again!) I believe I will dive in, and also give my kids journals of their own in which they can record ideas and thoughts.

Let's hear it for youthful vanity! Happy New Year!