Monday, May 31, 2010

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That marks our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- Liet.-Col. John McCrae

Friday, May 28, 2010

Design Friday: The Guggenheim

(To those who enjoy Design Friday, I apologize for it's M.I.A. status. I'm hoping to jump on board again, but sometimes there just isn't time to do the research I'd like to.)

As I was inspired by my recent travels to NYC, I thought I'd highlight the Guggenheim Museum today. This was a building that was a goal for me to see in person, but sadly I was not able to go inside. Kudos to my husband and son who made the haul with me, at the end of a long, long day in which we forgot the stroller.

The Guggenheim (Solomon R. Guggeheim Museum) is a contemporary and modern art museum that was completed in 1959 on the upper East side of Central Park. While many are familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie style homes (such as "Falling Water"), it may be surprising to learn that he is also the architect of this spiraling modern building.
Commissioned in 1943 by Solomon R. Guggenheim to house his collection in Manhattan, Wright first envisioned the building as a red marble, inverted ziggurat. Over the course of the next 16 years, his vision was slowly altered as Baroness Hilla von Rebay (the museum's first director and Guggeheim's art-advisor) and James Johnson Sweeney (the museum's second director) expressed disagreements over the building's design concerning such things as the exterior color, gallery lighting, and whether the building would upstage the collection.

For a more thorough history of the building's conception and construction, visit the interactive timelines found at the Guggenheim's website.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Soundtrack of My Life

I used to have fun imagining what it would be like to have a soundtrack running in the background during my daily activities- like a movie. Thanks to my son's new talent at whistling, I no longer have to wonder. He whistles while he plays, works, reads, pretty much all day. Like any good mother, I have learned to tune it out, so I didn't realize the extent of his whistling until my mom began remarking on what she hears in the background whenever we talk on the phone.
It took some concentration, but I compiled a short list of what I might hear in the background on any given day (his repertoire is much larger than this list):
  1. Frosty the Snowman
  2. The Indiana Jones Theme
  3. Tunes from our local ice cream truck
  4. Come, Thou Fount
  5. Thomas the Train
  6. The 12 Days of Christmas
  7. I Saw Three Ships
  8. I Lived in Heaven
  9. Baby Beluga
  10. Yellow Submarine
  11. Star Wars music
  12. A medley of any songs
It's not exactly what I imagined growing up, but there it is. What is the soundrack of your life?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our Personal Best

"I see these [young women, young mothers, and older women], and I feel to invite women everywhere to rise to the great potential within you. I do not ask that you reach beyond your capacity. I hope you will not nag yourselves with thoughts of failure. I hope you will not try to set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. I hope you will simply do what you can do in the best way you know. If you do so, you will witness miracles come to pass."

-Gordon B. Hinckley

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Two Way Street

These days, when we talk about separation of church and state, it is usually in the context of arguing to elect officials who are neutral in their faith for fear that religious beliefs will impact legislation, that God should be eliminated from any rhetoric pertaining to the country (eg. the pledge of allegiance), prayer should be eliminated from schools, religious monuments should be removed from city properties, the list goes on and on....
So, I was a bit disturbed when I read about about a request made by House majority speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Nation's Catholic Community conference earlier this month. In her speech she said:
"The cardinals, the archbishops, the bishops that come to me and say, 'We want you to pass immigration reform,' and I said, 'I want you to speak about it from the pulpit. I want you to instruct your' -- whatever the communication is,"


"The people, some (who) oppose immigration reform, are sitting in those pews, and you have to tell them that this is a manifestation of our living the gospels,"
The clarification statement that her spokesperson gave wasn't any more comforting: "From health care to energy security to immigration reform, the speaker believes the faith community has played and will continue to play a critical role in our national debate." It's nice to know that Pelosi recognizes the faith community as being critical in national debate- and isn't afraid to use it.

Perhaps Pelosi has forgotten that separation of church and state is a two way street.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Report

In honor of "Lost's" finale, I decided to highlight two favorite children's books that explore the idea of our humanity being interconnected. Unlike the show though, these books won't take you for a ride, don't involve a random tangent in time travel, and have an ending that is relevant to its beginning. :)

"Charlie Cooks Favorite Book", by Jula Donaldson. It's plot is basically a book inside a book inside a book, etc. and is written in a very playful, witty manner. The illustrations are quite clever and detailed. It's just a fun book to read.

I first discovered "Each Peach Pear Plum", by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, at a friend's house in their book basket, and I immediately fell in love with it. This is an interactive book that links a bunch of familiar nursery rhymes together in a game of "I spy", with characters hiding out on each page. The illustrations are very whimsical and fun.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Children's Verses

Every now and then I overhear my son singing songs he's learned... with a twist. Here are some of my recent favorites. Feel free to teach them to your children!
  • Singing "wet willy"* during the musical intervals between lines. (example: "I lived in heaven a long time ago, it is true.... Wet willy!")
  • "Stir it once, stir it twice, stir that chicken soup with diarrhea."
  • "The world is a rainbow, with many kinds of doo-doo heads." (I don't think he understands how true that is.)
As you might have gathered, my son has a new fascination with bathroom humor.

* Wet willy is when you lick your finger and stick it in someone's ear. This was taught to my son by his uncles.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I [Heart] Southwest

Here are three reasons my loyalties for Southwest Airlines have recently strengthened:

1. No baggage fees.
2. They do not fee you for flight itinerary alterations.
3. Killer deals.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mother's Day (blog observed)

I was out-of-town last Sunday, so I was unable to post on this very important day and I refuse to let it pass by unacknowledged.
You might find it interesting, that the very woman who campaigned Congress for years to set aside a day of observance for mothers, Anna Jarvis, was an unmarried woman who was not a mother herself. Isn't it great that there's an official day to celebrate our mothers who devoted their life, love, and bodies to give us life, teach, train, and provide us with opportunities. Here are four passages I recently came across about moms that I thought I'd share:

"But let it never be forgotten that in the establishment of this great country there were women also, and those not a few, who molded the bullets, who planted the ideas out of which grew the rhetoric of their sons and husbands, who skimped and saved and even starved to make possible eventual victory, who bore and nurtured the sons who became the dead of those vicious battles of war, who were left widows by husbands who are remembered as heroes. And what was true then has been true in every subsequent crisis. Where anything of lasting value has been created or built, almost certainly women have played vital and at times even pivotal roles."
-Gordon B. Hinckley, "Motherhood: A Heritage of Faith"

"The true strength of any nation, society, or family lies in those qualities of character that have been acquired for the most part by children taught in the quiet, simple, everyday manner of mothers."
- Gordon B. Hinckley,
"Motherhood: A Heritage of Faith"

"The love of a true mother comes nearer [to] being like the love of God than any other kind of love."
- Pres. Joseph F. Smith

"Rock Me to Sleep"
Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!
I am so weary of toil and of tears...

Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue,
Mother, O mother, my heart calls for you!...

Over my heart, in the days that are flown,
No love like mother-love ever has shone;...

None like a mother can charm away pain
From the sick soul and the world-weary brain.
Slumber's soft calms o'er my heavy lids creep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

- William Cullen Bryant

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Fun Encounter

Weather permitting, Design Friday will be back next week...

(A rule of thumb that my roommate and I learned in college, is that public transportation will never cease to enrich your life with interesting conversations. I only wish she could have been with me in New York.)

While riding home one evening, my party and I (a total of 5) sat at one end of the subway car in a seating area that held 6 (3 seats facing 3 seats). My son was busy using a pole as a jungle gym, so I sat back with my aching feet propped up on my husband's lap.
All of a sudden, a little 60 year old woman moved from her seat on the opposite end of the car, by-passed many open seats along the way, parked herself at my side, and curtly exclaimed, "Too much air conditioning. This isn't your living room." Startled, I sat up and moved over to make room for her (the resemblance of a subway car to my living room is uncanny!) and she sat down heaping her bag in my lap.
All conversation ceased with this new seating arrangement, and we all sat in intimate silence looking at each other. Luckily, she was prepared with some ice breakers, and the duration of our journey was filled with her quizzing us with random questions that we failed miserably... but which we enjoyed thoroughly. Here are a few of my favorite snippets:

Lady: [out of nowhere] "So, are you from Florida?"
Me: "Why do you ask?"
Lady: "Oh, I'm just an old lady. Don't bother me."

Lady: "Where's a good place to live in Florida without a car?"
Me: "Are you planning on moving?"
Lady: [irritated] "I don't have any money."
Lady: "Where's a good place to live in Florida without a car?"
Me: [thinking] "Ummmm..."
My Husband: "I don't know... Miami?"
Lady: [scoffs and rolls her eyes]
Me: "Maybe, Tampa?"

Lady: "Where do you live?"
Mother-in-law: "Queens."
Lady: "It's changed, hasn't it?"
Mother-in-law: "Yea."
Lady: "How?"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Things I Learned in New York City

My family just returned from a fun (and consequently tiring) trip to New York City. My husband's parents were our hosts, and we had a fabulous time. The Statue of Liberty, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, and exploring Central Park are a few of the things we were able to do.
I had only been to New York once prior in high school, and it was interesting to rediscover the city during a different season of my life. For example, I learned:

  1. It is impossible to not look like a tourist, no matter how hard you try.
  2. New York City is a fun place for your budding reader to practice his new skills. For example, my son was able to sound out and read, "Sex and the City" all by himself! (Luckily, he has not asked questions).
  3. It is not unheard of to hear the ice cream man's truck at 9:30 at night- though what he is vending at that hour is unknown.
  4. Playing "I Spy" is a fun way to pass the time while waiting for the subway to come. You'd be amazed at the variety of objects hiding in the tracks!
  5. When bathrooms are hard to find, your standards of cleanliness take a huge dive.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gimme a Break

Taking a break from blogging for a bit. Be back next week!

Monday, May 3, 2010

To My Dear and Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever.
That when we live no more we may live ever.

Anne Bradstreet