Saturday, February 16, 2013

leggo my legos

i hope you kept your plastic building sets from 1947 until today; passing them on from generation to generation.  i wish i still had my legos.  while proctoring study hall this week, i did some studying of my own in the giant book about the toy.  the word lego comes from "Leg Godt", the danish phrase for "play well".  let's just say ole kirk christiansen started something wildly fun.  it is said of his creation, "without legos in society, things slowly start to lose meaning." 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

happy trails

the winter world is waking up, folks.  yes, the natural world is singing and i right along with it.  it wasn't enough that i bought happy yellow flowers on an biker chick friend and i got our wheels out to chase the sun in february no less and discovered the banks-vernonia trail.  this is 21 miles of lovely that started in the 1920's as the railroad delivering lumber to portland.  in 1960, it became an excursion train route and the state began the purchasing process in 1974 which would lead to trail building in 1991.  now the b-v trail boasts 13 bridges and an 80-foot high, 700-foot long trestle for sightseeing by bikers and pedestrians (equine trail separate).  we did 20 miles yesterday (10 in and back) and would love to try the whole 42 soon.

on the rise, confessions of a french baker

if i put bumperstickers on my car (which i don't, CB being the one and only exception) i would get one that said "i love gluten!"  my attempt at croissants gave me the utmost respect for bakers and even though fairly patient, i still didn't wait long enough for them to rise the third time.  a small, delightful bread book put out by peter mayle, with help from his baker ami gerard auzet, gives a lot of interesting history and tips on making the perfect loaf.  i learned, for example, that baguettes are freshest for only about 4-5 hours.  since baking starts at 4 am, this means getting your morning bread by 9 at the latest.  heartier breads last longer, so the french know to make a second trip for their evening meal.  one chain store in europe started marketing the "1 franc" baguette, a cheap version of the real thing, that very nearly started an uprising from local bakers (aux armes, les boulangers!).  now, for authenticity's sake, look for the word "banelle" to insure quality.  an old phrase says, "if you meet a baker in the street, monsieur, raise your hat.  he deserves respect." 


i loved how easy it was to get both my valentine decor and biking gear out of storage this year.  and i love the minimalist trend that's swinging right now, from housing to transportation.  my compatriot in simple living and i were discussing the question of  "how do your choices and hobbies fit with your lifestyle?"  (for example, if you want to declutter, maybe consider a hobby other than antique collecting).  we liked the answers we were coming up with:  bike commuting, local library, healthy food, beautiful or useful household items...there are a range of websites and books to support your lifestyle, from to biking books by elly blue.  and the great thing is, minimalist/simplicity (word variations on a theme) doesn't mean giving up the things you love (note i purposefully didn't use the word asceticism).  if you are a chef, put your resources into kitchen tools...if it's kayaking you love, make a place to store the boats...artist?  turn a room or corner of your home into a creative space.  like spokes on the wheel, life choices coming from the center value hub can help propel you forward with new and exciting momentum whatever your style!

moonrise kingdom

i knew it was popular when i put a library hold on the dvd and came up as number 265 in line!  "moonrise kingdom" is a whimsical, quirky romantic comedy by wes anderson set in 1965 on an island off the coast of new england.  the actors range from bill murray to bruce willis and follow the story line of two mis-fit youths who find each other and a whole lot of adventure. destined to become a cult classic...

picture book love

to begin the month of february i want to share that i, the vice president of book club (all hail ms. president), had an epiphany while at the local library this week:  picture books count!  the beautiful kind like lotta jansdotter's "handmade living scandinavian style" or andy goldworthy's "passage" and "the magic of monet's garden".  sure, the coffee table types are heavier if you happen to be biking--plan accordingly--but sometimes your eyes and heart just need some white space, a feast of soothing beauty, or a break from novel plots if the plot of your own life is quite enough!