Sunday, February 7, 2016

Six Word Sunday: The dog with grass green paws

"I wish I could garden everyday!"
Miriam is hosting a weekly meme of a story told in one photo and six words. Here's my entry for this week with the prompt "wish." You can check out others here.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Books I read in 2015

A few of my blog friends have done a year-in-reading review, and they inspired me to do one of my own. Karen of Random Reflections listed her top 10 in this post, and Carola's list can be found here.
I'm not a big reader. I love books, love reading book reviews and love purchasing books. But somehow reading itself is something that tends to get pushed to the bottom of my to-do list. The one saving grace in this regard is my book group. We meet about once a month, and I do try to read our monthly book. They also have great recommendations for other books.
In 2015, I read in order of preference:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Very good book telling the story of two very different people during the rise of Nazi Germany. Loved it.
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. A very good book set in the 1920's New York City. Interesting characters, themes and plot. I liked it a lot.
The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson. An excellent courtroom drama set in the 1940's south. Deals with civil rights issues prior to the emergence of the 1950's civil rights era. Interesting and funny characters. While not a "greatest book of all time," I definitely recommend it.
Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin. A memoir about growing up in the New York City suburbs in the 1950's. It says a lot about baseball, neighborhoods, and childhood. I really liked it.
Still Life and A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny. Enjoyed both of these Inspector Gamache mysteries set in a small village in Quebec, Canada. I have already purchased number three in the series (The Cruelest Month) and am looking forward to reading it.
The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I'm not sure how or why I found this book, which might be better categorized as Young Adult fiction, but I really liked it and it has stuck with me. It's a zombie apocalypse book told from the perspective of a zombie-mutant that is evolving into a different species. A quick read.
In the Woods by Tana French Set in Ireland and volume 1 of the Dublin Murder Squad series; very atmospheric; well-written; story fell apart a bit at the end, but I liked it well enough to buy another in the series (Broken Harbor), which I haven't gotten around to reading yet.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. An okay book. Set in the San Francisco bay area, tells the story of a girl making her way out of foster care into independence, with the help of her love of flowers. Others in the book group liked it more than I did.
Mary Coin by Marisa Silver. Tells the fictionalized story of the famous Dorothea Lange photograph Migrant Mother. I liked it a lot less than everyone else in my book group. Too many undeveloped stories and the end came together like a "ten second tidy." 
So, that's ten books for me for the year. Not too many, I know. But it's better than nothing!
What's up this year? I read a very short, fast-read but not great courtroom drama called The Neon Lawyer by Victor Methos (perfect for sitting around in waiting rooms or commuting, but nothing memorable). I didn't finish the January book group book, My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. Our February book is Fates and Furies by Lauren Goff. I'm committed to reading and/or listening to it! Also, I liked this list from the Washington Post of great books coming out in 2016.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Snap: Goodbye Dear Friend. . . .

We recently had to say good-bye to Clara's dog Aria. Those two had such a close bond, it was incredible. I created an art journal page to say good-bye and a photo collage for Clara. It's a bittersweet Snap to share at Helena's blog this week.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Going my way? (Wintertime Photography Scavenger Hunt)

Just a quick end-of-the month check in on the Wintertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. I loved the prompt for arrow and found this one in Southern California. For some reason, it makes me happy when I look at it! I'm two-thirds of the way done with the Hunt, and should be able to finish next month!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snap! The Texture of Nature

Last week while hiking in Southern California, I spied this interesting plant. I love it's shape and silhouette and texture. So, I decided to capture four versions of it for Helena's Snap! meme.  I've always been captivated by seed pods, and I think these look . . . I don't know, almost dangerous! I'm looking forward to using the photos to sketch a bit later on.
Anyone know what kind of plant this is? I'd love to find out.
Happy Snapping!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Memorandum Monday: Creating an Alternate Universe

Hello Monday!
Sian over From High in the Sky organizes an opportunity on Monday to check in on your weekend and (especially) mention anything new you've done lately.
Well, I had a pretty relaxing weekend. Spent a lot of time in front of the TV catching up on Downton Abby, The Bachelor and Top Chef. Also watched the entire second season of The Fall! Yikes! No wonder I didn't get much done. 
The one new thing I did was work-related. For the law class I teach on employment discrimination, I created a case file of documents that the students will work with this semester to evaluate whether the two made-up applicants could successfully sue the fake employer that refused to hire them. I made up a job description, mocked up applications, wrote imaginary interview notes, drafted rejection letters, etc. Both applicants are applying for jobs as air traffic controllers. One is turned away because he is color-blind (which affects men more than women and could also be a disability); the other is possibly turned away because he is a Muslim of Pakistani descent (although he was born in the UK and worked at Heathrow). It should be interesting to see how the students work with the imaginary, real-world documents I created for class.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Nostalgic Art Journal Page

Sian of From High in the Sky posted an interesting quote on her instagram feed:
"What one wants to say is formed in one's childhood and we spend the rest of our lives trying to say it."
Barbara Hepwoth
I know that I use a lot of nostalgic elements in my art journaling because who I am and the art I create is definitely shaped by my childhood. 
For this page, I started with the background and then sorted through some tags I had sitting around. The bright yellow monocled cat jumped out at me. I started layering on other elements that seemed to fit the mood I was in. A dozen additions later, I decided it was ready for journaling. I wrote around the circles first, repeating "my heart is filled with nostalgia" and "childhood memories fill my heart." I then filled the internal white space with more journaling about how my childhood memories fill my heart and make me brave.
I did a lot of art journaling this last week during my visit to southern California and this was probably my favorite page.
I'm not sure if what I want to say was completely formed in my childhood, but I know that my childhood definitely influences who I am and what I have to say.

What do you think of Sian's quote?