Kugel ball

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I’m not a scientist and certainly don’t understand physics.  But I love things like this!

The kugel ball is a perfectly balanced sphere that weighs 5000 pounds yet rotates freely. Pressurized water flowing between the ball and the sphere supports the weight and allows the ball to be easily rotated. Trust me, I don’t understand it!

And, just to note, kugel is German for ball or sphere.

Gross Domestic Product

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Ann Agee,Gross Domestic Product, 2010, porcelain and steel armature

My love of Blue Willow pottery drew my eyes to this piece immediately.  While the blue and white designs on porcelain attracted me it was the images on each plate that kept me staring.

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Domestic scenes fill the porcelain plates – scenes of kitchen tables, living room couches and chairs, empty dining rooms, and dishes drying on a rack  as seen above. The shapes and designs are captivating. Simple everyday scenes captured, frozen in time.

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The artist’s contemporary settings reference Northern sixteenth-century genre paintings and the household tableaus and goods (including Delftware) they captured.  Agee takes these stylistic ideas and reimagines them in clay and glaze as a reflection on domesticity, feminism, and artistic medium. (from the McNay Art Museum, Impressions, January/April 2017)

Fun facts about Fat Tuesday

 

Have you ever wondered what Fat Tuesday is all about?  I wasn’t raised in a family or religion that observed the season of Lent; I didn’t really know what it was until I joined a denomination that does observe the season. Likewise, I was unfamiliar with Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras.  Since we are heading into the beginning of Lent I thought it might be fun to look at these two observances and how they came to be, especially since they were originally one and the same.

Eating pancakes and going to Mardi Gras celebrations are fun activities, but their origins are thought to have started in the Middle Ages as a way to prepare for Lent. Since eating meats, fats, eggs, milk, and fish were restricted during Lent families would have three-day celebrations beginning on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday and culminating in a great feast on Tuesday.  The purpose of the celebration was to consume these items that would spoil during the forty days of Lenten fasting. By the beginning of the 20th century the celebration had been shortened to the one-day observance of Shrove Tuesday.  This term was derived from the word shrive which means to confess one’s sins and receive absolution from the priest.

So where do the pancakes fit in to Shrove Tuesday?  The English gave us this tradition of eating as many pancakes as humanly possible as a way to use up milk, fats, and eggs on hand.  It’s easy to see where the nickname Fat Tuesday came from, right?  But the Fat Tuesday nickname actually came from France as a reference to eating up all the fatty foods on that day.  Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday.

Today Mardi Gras is associated with parties, parades, and revelry in the streets of many cities. It is thought that this tradition came about as a result of the Spring Equinox celebrations of the Romans and ancient pagan peoples of Europe, although many think that the celebrations began as a way to “let it all hang out” before the somber Lenten season’s restrictions mandated observance.  These pre-Ash Wednesday celebrations were referred to as “Carnivals” which is derived from the Latin term carnem levare, meaning “to take away the flesh”.  Most likely their exuberant excesses led to the Church’s decision to shorten the celebration to one day!

I hope you enjoy the fun associated with this week’s Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras/Carnival activities.

 

 

 

 

 

Winter’s bareness

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The calendar says we have about another month before spring officially arrives, but the weather forecast for tomorrow says 90 degrees! We’ve had a very warm winter with a freeze in December and a very cold weekend in January that threw the temperatures down into the teens.  Then it warmed up.

It still looks like winter despite the warm days, but that will be slipping away soon.  The red bud trees burst forth about a week ago and the bluebonnets are slowly popping up, too.

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I’ve enjoyed the bare trees and monochromatic landscape this winter, delighting in the patterns of the branches and the views not seen in warmer months. The earth is sleeping, waiting for that one perfect afternoon when the sun’s warmth reaches it and nudges it to yawn, stretch, and wake up once again.

Wintertime

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Don’t these two over sized, brightly colored chairs give a cheery touch to the landscape? I love the contrast, especially with the faded bench next to them!

I’ve never really liked winter, mainly because I don’t like to be cold.  Give me a hot day anytime, but I can’t stand to be cold!  I love soup, stew, chili, and fireplaces and sweaters and fuzzy socks.  But no snow for this one, please.

I used to chafe at the winter landscape.  So dreary and empty, I thought.  No leaves, dead grass, and a cold, gray sky just made me irritable.  But now I’m older and wiser and see a new beauty in the empty trees and cold air.  I delight in the pattern of those bare branches – you don’t see that when the trees are loaded with leaves.  I see contrast, too, in the shades of gray and white, light and dark on their bark.  The brown grass and lack of plants reminds me that the earth is sleeping and preparing for spring. Shhh!

And, in the cold still air there is a silence like no other.  Even in the heart of the city on a cold day there is a stillness that seems to catch you in it, connecting you with the earth and the cycles of nature.  I find myself loving winter walks, seeing the world a little differently through the winter landscape, and embracing the cold stillness around me.  And, knowing that there is a pot of soup and the comfort of home to warm me after the walk keeps me from shivering and cursing the cold!

 

Try this instead

I should have come home and walked the two boy dogs before it got dark.  I should have trimmed doggie paws and combed little ears.  I should have swept, raked, and dumped leaves and acorns into the organics container.  But instead I took a small glass of wine, some cheese and my writing notebook out to the deck.  I had thirty minutes before it got dark to just enjoy myself.  Not a bad choice, I may have to try it again. Sometimes you just have to try something a little different, treat yourself to something small, and get out of the rut.

What happens every 4 years on January 20th…

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I finally gave up on solving the WordPress Woes and switched to another browser.  Amazingly, all is well. So I’m back in the blogging saddle and very happy!  This post is a little late, but I feel it is something I need to share and, just to note, it is NOT a political post.

Last Friday (January 20 2017) we inaugurated a new President, number 45.  I don’t think in all my years of living that I have ever witnessed a live inauguration.  That seems so odd to me, but I’ve just always watched it in a recap on a news broadcast.  I had caught a few glimpses of the pre-inauguration activities and when the time came for the swearing-in I moved to the television in one of the offices at work to watch.

It wasn’t about who was being sworn into the office of President, what moved me was what was taking place. In just a minute and with a few words the lives of the man and woman holding the Bible changed forever.  I wondered what was in their minds as well as others on the podium.  As he repeated the words spoken by 44 men before him I realized that no matter how bad our government is and no matter what people think about any President that in the large scheme we are America and we live by democratic ideals.  We have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights and a checks and balances system. We elect all our officials except for the Supreme Court justices.  The whole American government idea came together on January 20th.

I grabbed a box of tissues to pass around the room as we were all a little misty eyed.  The image of the flag draped Capitol, the crowd, and the words of the swearing-in will be forever ingrained in my mind. I am an American.

 

WordPress Woes

Recently I started having problems with my WordPress reader. Everything was grayed out – just blue boxes where I knew other blogs should be visible.  When I went into view my posts they were the same way.  I could post, but not see it afterward.

I tried everything with no success.  No problems with other sites either.  The nice folks at WordPress suggested several things to try, but I had already tried them. I tried them again, just in case.  No le hace.  So they suggested I change browsers.

So WordPress friends I ask if any of you have ever had problems with IE being incompatible with WordPress?  Fortunately my WiFi Android tablet is compatible, so I can catch up on my reading😊!  But I need normalcy restored! Share any suggestions in comments, please.