What is it about soup? The outdoor temperature plunges, winds blow briskly and snowflakes accumulate … and suddenly, the palate demands comfort food, a hearty bowl of soup with an aromatic bread on the side. Whether it’s chili, chicken noodle soup or a chowder, a steaming bowl lightly satisfies taste buds with each spoonful delivering goodness from the tongue all the way down to our toes!Being snowed in today, my lunch clean-up moved almost seamlessly into dinner preparations … a large pot of chicken corn chowder (with potatoes, plus a cup of bacon bits). My adventurous grandson suggested I could go heavier on the comfort food by adding both beef and pork, but as my limit is two meats in one dish, his wish wasn’t granted. Even comfort has its limits! Continue Reading →
Humans are visual creatures. If ever anyone doubted it, the wildfire blaze of an internet meme (such as this week’s #TheDress) should immediately set those doubts to rest. Personally, whatever color it is/was, I thought it hideous. (I’m partial to pants.)For part of today and yesterday, my attention was elsewhere and I missed most of this hubbub. Then I noticed the above picture on my friend’s FaceBook timeline. I read the tumblr post and Twitter’s trending list of hashtags and caught up.
I moved on quickly … and found myself roped in by another question: how many water balloons will it take to stop a bullet? Now come on, wouldn’t you find it much more interesting to get the answer to this question? Funny enough, this question continued the previous meme’s theme (see picture below).
Now you would think these are blue balloons, right? They sure look blue to me … but alas, someone’s playing tricks, because look at the picture below. If you laid one image over the other, you’d have no doubt these are the same balloons and the same picture.
Comparing these two balloon pictures, I’m not sure I understand it myself. On the worldwide web, there are hundreds of explanations (scientific and otherwise) to explain our different perceptions of imagery and given #TheDress phenomenon, everyone and his mother seems to have weighed in, so there’s no point for me to do that here.
One of my friends has a loved one who suffers from chronic, unrelenting pain, a physical issue that rarely ebbs and can’t be controlled by medications (since the guy chooses to remain aware of and active in the world around him). The man has a family and wants to hold onto his job, even though working sometimes pushes the limit of his capabilities. When his pain – on the scale of 1 to 10 – reaches 11, relief won’t come with pat answers or “I feel your pain” catchphrases. Impossible as it is to adequately understand someone else’s pain, we’ve all had occasions where our own pain has seemed momentarily unendurable. A woman in labor for thirty hours knows the pain and exhaustion that are usually relieved upon delivery. But even a minuscule splinter can cause terrible and unremitting pain which one might consider unendurable … until the splinter is removed. (I suppose in that sense we must conclude pain is relative.) Continue Reading →
A dear friend and I try to share lunch at a local restaurant at least every couple weeks. She and I have known each other for many years and our lives have traversed similar paths. Over the last year or so, both of her brothers have died so that now, only she and her 88 year old mother remain.
The privilege and joy of having siblings doesn’t end when we grow up and move away from our birth families. In my view, siblings become more precious in our lives as we age; they especially take on added importance after our parents’ deaths.
For my friend, this is certainly true. She’s facing the frightening prospect that once her mother is gone, she will be like an unmoored ship, bereft of the family connections she has enjoyed her entire life since she was brought into this world as the youngest among her siblings. Continue Reading →
When I recently mentioned Vincent Van Gogh in my post about selfies, I decided to dig a little deeper into his life. I knew some of the usual details about his life … admittedly, most of it garnered from a long-ago viewing of the 1956 movie, Lust for Life, with Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn (as Van Gogh’s friend Paul Gauguin).The movie description talks about Van Gogh as the “archetypical tortured artistic genius.” This is not an appealing description (as I see it). Whenever the idea of a “tortured artistic genius” is suggested, I tend to assume the individual so described is likely a petulant child who’s never been taught to restrain him or herself. Though I very much appreciate talented artists, it seems to me they may get tagged with the adjective “tortured” so as to make their life stories more sensational. Continue Reading →
In spite of the hype of the 2015 Oscars last evening, it wasn’t enough to lure me in. Don’t get me wrong. I love movies, especially the films with well-drawn characters and a sensitive story line. (I’m much less interested in films that go for cheap laughs and ugly or superficial relationships.) If I’m going to devote two hours to a film, I need to care about the characters on the screen.
The Oscars broadcast didn’t draw me in because, much as I love movies, I’m disinclined to care about and choose to watch the Hollywood glitterati preen and pose and suffer through the tedium of a inane questions asked and answered inanely.
From some of the comments I heard today and the brief posts I read online, I think it was a blessing I didn’t watch … no need to witness the awkward moments – Neil Patrick Harris in a diaper or John Travolta imitating Joe Biden’s lecherous moves, nor to note the stunning absence of Joan Rivers’ mention during the In Memoriam tribute.
I did note the Best Supporting Actor award earned by J. K. Simmons, the recent face of Farmers Insurance commercials. (I suppose it goes without saying, his price per ad will be going up, right?) I also took a gander at the gowns this morning and watched Lady Gaga perform the Sound of Music medley, as well as the Vine video of Common appearing to ignore (diss, some suggested) Oprah. All in all, the twenty minutes I spent was preferable over the extended live production. Continue Reading →
For a writer, reading the following words may strike right between the eyes: “How long will you hunt for words?” Maybe it was more of a two-by-four upside the head, but I definitely reacted to this question from Job 18:2. It’s Bildad speaking, responding to Job’s monologue from chapters 16 and 17, and Bildad comes out swinging. He’s anxious for Job to suspend what he considers a monumental (and verbose) pity-party.
The way I read the chapter, it reminds me of the scene from Moonstruck where Cher slaps Nicholas Cage and tells him “Snap out of it!” Bildad’s attempting to do the same thing: Snap out of it, Job! You’re letting this suffering thing affect your ability to listen and learn from your friends!
Continue Reading →
With Spring 2015 now less than a month away, I decided today to take advantage of a break in the winter weather (it was sunny out and 45°). I trekked out to my raised bed garden (which I’ve posted about before) carrying the pruning shears with me. The delectable, ruby-red raspberries had a date with the chopping block!Anyone who knows me well is familiar with my love of raspberries. Almost every morning I sprinkle about ¾ cup of raspberries over my cereal … and for me, even though the pattern rarely varies, I think of this daily delight as a little bit of heaven. Raspberries are just that good! Continue Reading →
When the media were all abuzz earlier this month with the announcement of Harper Lee’s new novel, Go Set A Watchman (set for debut this July), I was intrigued. The first story I read was from The Guardian, explaining that this “new” novel was actually intended – alongside the earlier work To Kill A Mockingbird – to represent two-thirds of a trilogy, with a short connecting work between the two. Pictures posted with the article show a smiling but frail little woman, too small for the clothing she’s wearing.Another article, this one from The Atlantic, sets a somewhat somber tone with the title Harper Lee: The Sadness of A Sequel. The Atlantic also goes with a more gritty picture of Lee (circa 1962) after Mockingbird had earned critical praise from multiple quarters, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961.
Both articles mention the author’s frailty. Lee suffered a stroke in 2007 and is now 88 years old, struggling with blindness (due to macular degeneration), profound deafness as well as the indignities of short-term memory loss. A close friend characterized her memory (three years ago) as “completely shot.” The author currently lives in an assisted living facility where she’s confined to a wheelchair. Continue Reading →
In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) Jesus said, “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” Invoking the image of a city on a hill in a 1630 sermon to the Puritans (while they were aboard ship bound for Massachusetts), Governor John Winthrop explained his view of A Model of Christian Charity. Winthrop called on the people assembled to “follow the counsel of Micah” (from Micah 6:8) by doing justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God.The image of a city on a hill represented Winthrop’s vision of what the new country could mean in contrast to the outside world. If the people were faithful, if they followed God’s leading, if they worked with one purpose and lived peacefully with each other. This vision was shared by many of these brave men and women who crossed a sea and launched into the unknown. The compact to which they pledged was grounded in Christian principles. Continue Reading →