"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Transplants, the Good-Smelling Kind

A few weeks ago, we spent the day prepping our flower beds and pots with transplant bulbs and plants from the North. My sister brought them to me, and I've loved being surprised with the pretty colors. Our new transplants include tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses, and grape hyacinths. So Beautiful!

We didn't know how well the flowers would do (especially since some of them had been tasty snacks for the deer) but we were happily surprised with the results! They thrived despite their road trip. Next year, the flowers will be even happier because they won't be moved and shocked in the middle of their growth spurts.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Favorite Fragrance

The best part of May, I think, is always the two weeks when the lilacs are in bloom.

There just isn't anything quite like the scent of real fresh-cut lilacs filling up the house. Mmm!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

House of the Seven Gables

This is the third and final installation of the Lost Notes Era literature. The book spotlighted today is The House of the Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne is probably best known for his book The Scarlet Letter, and because I love that book, I decided to give this baby a whirl. It turns out that Hawthorne is also well-known for his lengthy discourses, and I'm not going to lie and say that this was an easy read. Interesting? Yes. ADD-friendly entertainment? No.

However, I firmly believe there is something substantial to be learned from every single book, so the following are a few pondering points and quotes:
  • Things seem to lose their substance the instant one grapples with them; tasks are easier to accomplish than they initially appear
  • The purpose behind following dead men's rules or laughing at dead men's jokes
  • First and Second Youth-hood; sadness behind seeing the First Youth go because it isn't fully missed and appreciated until it is already gone
  • "Is not the world sad enough in genuine earnest without making a pastime of mock sorrows?"
So, although somewhat slow, the optimistic message, not to mention the mystery in the plot, are redemptive qualities. I would read this book again.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Don't Have a Seizure

Warning: what you are about to see is very orange, so those of you with orange sensitivities may not want to proceed beyond this point.

As soon as we announced the up-coming birth of our meatball, the word was noised abroad, even across continents. Kirk's friend, Shirley, in Australia, whipped up this totally awesome romper just for us and promptly sent it overseas. Kirk and I both have a not-so-secret love of the color orange, and because we are keeping the gender of our fish stick a surprise, orange is quite an appropriate color. Behold, the romper:

I can't even imagine how much time went into making this, and it's such awesome quality, too. Our baby won't lack personality, that's for sure. And that, my friends, is pretty much the best present someone could ever give us.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's about time

I can't believe I haven't shared more of my figure drawings. Sheesh. It's about time for another one, I think.

(Pastels on paper)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Notes From the Underground

This was another book that was part of the "lost notes" era. As mentioned in a previous post, I recently found my notes that were taken months ago and thought I'd share them.

Notes from the Underground, by Fyodor Dostoevsky is not for the fainthearted. It is thick reading and takes some slow and careful attention, but this book is guaranteed to increase your brain cells. So, if you are a fan of brain cells, then this will be worth reading. (Plus, this guy is pretty funny if you're on the lookout for humor.)

Themes and quotes to pay attention to:
  • Finding pleasure in pain, wickedness, and humiliation
  • A hyper-consciousness of goodness as equal to and enjoyment in badness
  • The sublime and beautiful
  • Loving the process and not the end goal
  • Love is equal to tyrannizing and being morally superior
  • "Can a man of acute sensitivity respect himself at all?"
  • "The best definition of man is: a creature who walks on two legs and is ungrateful"
  • "Every decent man in our age has to be a coward and a slave"

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Introducing the Baxter Team's newest star player...Pepper Bo

    Player stats for Pepper Bo:
  • Born: on a dark and stormy night (what an entrance!)
  • Weight: 6 lbs 13 oz
  • Height: 19 1/2"
  • 20 digits total
  • Has a mullet, which means she's pretty dang cool already
  • Nicknames: Nugget, Fish Stick, Squeaky Pants
  • Likes: peeing like a boy in the middle of diaper changes, long walks around the park, soaking everything in with a curious gaze, and her G-Pa Nielson (they're pretty much BFF's)
  • Dislikes: being bottom-half naked (who could blame her, really? It's not flattering on anyone.)
  • Aspirations: literacy by age 2

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Bean Trees

I read this book months ago, but lost the notes I took while reading it. I'm an avid margin marker when reading traditionally, but when I listen to books, I still feel the need to take notes so that my thoughts can be better organized in my post-reading pondering. Luckily, after searching high and low, I finally ran across the notes I took about this awesome novel and can now share them with you.

The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver, is a free-standing story that is related to other pieces of her fiction. As always, Kingsolver's use of entertaining storytelling makes this novel not only literary in value, but accessible to all levels of readers.

Images and themes to consider while reading this are:
  • Whatever you want the most is probably the worst thing for you
  • Thoughts begetting action; if you're bad enough to think it, you're bad enough to say it
  • Jesus' role in the everyday; Jesus Is Lord Used Tires
  • Feeding each other with long spoons, or starve trying to feed oneself with a long spoon
  • Sanctuary
  • Birds: building a nest in thorny bushes, exotic quetzal bird always dies in captivity, dead crow in the road (can't hurt a dead bird)
  • Caste system: untouchables can interact with each other
  • Patriotism: unpatriotic to feel sorry for anyone anymore
  • Can't own children: they are loaned out and you can only hope you don't kill each other and that you like each other
  • Once you hit rock bottom and survive, you know you don't need an ace in the hole to save you in the future

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's Been a While

It's about time to share another piece of handmade pottery:

I love the way this blue glaze turns all rusty-colored where it's thinner. Features to point out about this little pot are the thumb-print handles and slashed side for added texture.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


This was a self-portrait I took a few years ago using a black and white film camera:

Actually, this was a scan that Kirk made of the photo without me knowing (the scalawag!), but I'm glad he did because the original photo ended up with a big white scratch on it from one of our moves. Accolades go out to anyone who regularly uses film photography as media of preference. I think it's the only form I found super frustrating. Perhaps, though,  it's about time to take a deep breath and try again.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Jungle Books

Another book I've recently enjoyed re-reading was The Jungle Books, by Rudyard Kipling. I think the last time I read some of these stories was when I was in 7th grade. It was about time to read through all of the tales again with a few years' experience under my belt. I'm so glad I did! This is good entertainment, friends.

Themes to pay attention to are:
  • The laws of man, and the laws of the jungle (does nature follow laws?)
  • Man's mastery over animals (who is the master of the jungle?)
  • Nature's way of making civilization disappear; the vine vs. the wall
  • Traits of female characters and Kipling's definition of gender roles
  • Characteristics of protagonists including arrogance and confidence (how important are such characteristics to a successful hero?)