I am a member of two book clubs. One reads and discusses books for children and teens. The other reads books about people who have grown up differently than I have, perhaps in another country or another neighborhood or another religion or another political ideology. The purposes of these book clubs might seem very different, but they both open my mind. They give me a group of people, seldom like-minded, with whom I can discuss Big Ideas and small details, try out my new understandings, and LEARN because the others have experiences I don’t. Sometimes, my feelings about a book or a topic take a 180º turn. I find great value in this. I am grateful for the opportunities to have open and honest discussions where people are considerate and respectful. These conversations are life-affirming. These book clubs give me hope.
In the waning days of this year-long journal, I feel compelled to add one more mundane entry. It’s that time of year when no fruits or vegetables are being picked locally and sold in the markets. We have hydroponic, and some produce that has been stored (apples, carrots, potatoes) but for that taste of garden fresh, we rely on our freezer. Soups, vegetables, fruits, are all stored in our freezer in mason jars, awaiting the winter NEED to taste something wholesome. There is no place in our house to store homemade canned goods. We haven’t dug a root cellar yet, haven’t pushed through the concrete foundation. My grandfather would have, and did, in most of his homes. We rely instead on the freezer and, as Steve said this morning, “What a good investment that freezer has been.”
All people are children when they sleep.
there’s no war in them then.
They open their hands and breathe
in that quiet rhythm heaven has given them.
They pucker their lips like small children
and open their hands halfway,
soldiers and statesmen, servants and masters.
The stars stand guard
and a haze veils the sky,
a few hours when no one will do anybody harm.
If only we could speak to one another then
when our hearts are half-open flowers.
Words like golden bees
would drift in.
Rolf Jacobsen (translated by Robert Hedin from the original Norwegian)
One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is typography. I love the rules. I find it fascinating that typography makes reading easier and we’re not often conscious of it. Learning typography 30 years ago was challenging but now it’s a part of my everyday repertoire as a graphic designer. My thanks to Robin Williams who made the learning accessible and fun. One of the best acronyms ever: CRAP (contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity). I am grateful!
When I want to relax I grab one of two things, a cookbook or an interior design book I’ve checked out of the library. If I had not been a graphic designer or a librarian or an Imagineer, my fourth career choice would have been an interior designer. I indulge this as much as I can in our own home, but I love learning about the “rules” and the “30 worst interior design nightmares” in books and online. Home interiors inform the work I do creating websites that the owner can move into … I’m grateful for the creative souls who plan, dream, photograph, and write about these thoughtful spaces. Enjoy this article about accessible design by Vanessa Lawrence in Elle Décor. (photo from article, photo by Haris Kenjar)
I am grateful for tidbits. You know, the odd fact that you pick up when you’re reading a book. It often has nothing to do with the book you’re reading, but the author slips it in because (I suspect) they learned this fact and wish to share it. Today I learned that Beatrix Potter believed in putting a hard word in each of her books so the child would have to go and talk with their parents. Tidbits often send me on a detailed search: is this fact true? I haven’t found those exact words but I did find a quote that said, “Children like a fine word occasionally.” In the meantime, I’ve learned even more about Beatrix Potter, which is akin to the child asking about the hard word. Thanks to the authors who include tidbits in their books.
(You’ll enjoy “Happy birthday, Beatrix Potter: the Author’s Legacy 150 Years On,” Nicholas Tucker, The Guardian, 28 July 2016. image below: A picture by Quentin Blake for The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots. Illustration from the article: courtesy of Frederick Warne & Co and the V&A Museum)
“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.” (Fred Rogers)
I have never seen an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, except the snippets they show now when talking about Fred Rogers. I was 14 by the time it debuted and, with the wisdom of a teenager, I was too grown-up to watch something for children. In hindsight, I wish I had paid attention … he was sharing a vital philosophy. I’m grateful for Fred Rogers and all of the other kind, thoughtful, and caring people who exist throughout the world. I’m paying attention now.
My first job was as a page at the Hennepin County Library. The less formal name was “shelver” lest you think I was paid to be a part of a book. I learned a great deal about books by putting them back on the shelf. I learned even more by working at the front desk in a small branch library, talking to patrons, discussing books, and learning how to deal calmly with irate people. A number of famous people visited the library: there are stories to tell. I received a call-back from the Library and Bridgeman’s (an ice cream parlour) on the same day when I was 16. I will forever be grateful that I took that job at the library. That’s a path I’m glad I’ve walked.
I am grateful for this reminder, “The work is never done … and it is always enough.”
I have been watching Jeopardy ever since I was 10 years old. I have an aunt who warns everyone not to call her while Jeopardy’s on. Several of my friends don’t like to play games but they DVR Jeopardy to watch at night. I am grateful to Alex Trebek, and I love him, for the suave and humorous man he is who shows every day of the week that it is a marvelous quality to be intelligent and widely read. I am saddened to often-shed tears that he is combating pancreatic cancer. My hat’s off to the Tournament of Champions contestants for honoring Alex Trebek, Larry Martin, and all those who are fighting against this cancer with purple ribbons. (Photo from the linked article, photo credit: Screenshot)