What delights me about this old stove, in addition to the antique vacuum beside it, are the curves and swirls and decorations on the metal panels. After all these years, long after the designer of the appliance has passed away, these remain.
They remind me of the gargoyles placed high upon the cathedral roofs in medieval Europe. These immense churches could take a century to complete, sometimes being worked upon by generations of stone masons.
The roofs needed spouts to carry the water away from the slates, and so gargoyles were born. They could have been simple drainage spouts like we use on our roofs today.
Instead, these stone masons made a choice.
These stone gargoyles, hundreds of them, became elaborate creations, carved and placed where most people would never see them, monuments to the stone carvers who created them.
Just like this stove. The designers didn’t have to add all of those curlicues and furbishes. It probably ran the price of the stove up at least another nickel or two. But because they did, a thing of beauty as well as utility was born.
We are all creators, every day, in our own way.
To my mind, creativity is creativity, whether you’re making art or running a company. Anyone who does anything well is an artist. ~Dale Chihuly~
This ramshackle house, about to collapse, with not one true-square corner to its credit, is how I wake up some mornings. Out of plumb, not syncing with the world I find myself in. My jokes don’t seem funny, even to me. My cat purrs and bites me at the same time. I stub my toe on the sidewalk edge I have stepped over hundreds of times before.
And then I have to stop and breathe. I’m fine. The world is fine. We will all make it through this life, together.
Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand. ~The Velveteen Rabbit~
I found this old bucket in a Gold King Mine back lot. For those of you who haven’t been to Jerome, the Gold King Mine is a three-acre graveyard for all things mechanical: old ice cream wagons, belt-driven band saws, trucks and cars and tractors that are slowly melting back into the environment, one rust chip at a time.
What fascinated me about this arrangement, attached to a working windmill by that pipe you see, was the fence down the middle of the bucket. It provides much-needed water to two critter enclosures, neatly dividing the water between them, share and share alike. And the burros seem to like it just fine that way!
To love and be loved is to feel the sun
from both sides. ~David Viscott
I love to read cookbooks. The good ones have yummy photographs, I get to “sample” meals that take days to fix, and best of all, there are no calories involved. So when I picked up The Art of French Pastry I was set for a treat–and I wasn’t disappointed.
The author’s father was a baker in Alsace, France, and the young man apprenticed to a professional pastry chef, and then emigrated to America where he established a famous bakery school. The cookbook is part memoir, part a precise methodology of the BEST way to do things. And what things!
Napoleons, macarons, raspberry sachertortes, pate a choux, and of course, chocolate eclairs.
He tells you why to use sea salt (table salt is too salty for pastry), why you should weigh your ingredients rather than use measuring cups (more exact), and why you put your custard in an ice bath before refrigerating (the eggs won’t spoil).
He cautions you to read every recipe twice before starting, and often to allow several days to complete a masterpiece so that the flavors have a chance to meld.
In between recipes he shares tales of ruining a cake he was delivering because he was paying too much attention to a pretty girl instead of the truck that pulled out in front of his bicycle; making 4000 eclairs; and dealing with an alcoholic master chef that never let up.
If you like to cook, or even if you like to dream about cooking, this book is for you!
Every Thursday night our local Wendy’s donates their lot space to a classic car show. The guys (and it’s always the guys) arrive in the early afternoon, bring out their dust rags and start polishing ol’ Betsy for the show. Most of these vehicles get driven oh, fifty miles a month, back and forth to car shows.
My father-in-law, though, was a Master Mechanic during his lifetime. He had one vehicle, an old ’47 Chevy pickup, that he drove back and forth to work, on late night call-outs, and down to the parts store. He used to brag he’d never have a Ford in his driveway (Fix-Or-Repair-Daily he called them), but that he’d installed three engines in this Chevy and it was still running like a well-tuned watch.
He said that if you took care of things, they took care of you.
Recently, a family member took her computer in for repair, again. The tech told her that any more there is a “planned obsolescence” in computers–that if they last two years without turning into a boat anchor, you should consider yourself lucky.
I wonder what my father-in-law and his old truck would say to that.
I’d like to be a truck driver. I think you could run your life that way. It wouldn’t be such a bad way of doing it. It would offer a chance to be alone. ~Princess Anne of England
One of the fun things about setting a fictional novel in a real locale is that I get to describe favorite places of mine.
The setting for PERIL IN SILVER NIGHTSHADE, Red Rock State Park, has to rank right up there. This park was purchased for a state park about 25 years ago from the estate of Helen Frye. Helen was the wife of Jack Frye who in turn owned T.W.A. airlines, about the time that Howard Hughes was also active in aviation.
Helen and Jack flew over the Sedona area and she fell in love with the Oak Creek vistas. She asked her husband to buy property here for her. And he did.
So when I chose the setting for PERIL IN SILVER NIGHTSHADE I knew it had to be here. I’ve walked all the park trails numerous times and was for a time a volunteer at the park. I gave dozens of docent tours and knew when the wildflowers bloomed, and where to point out the desert varnish on the rocks, and when the bridges went out with the high water of the spring snowmelts.
I’d like to share two YouTube videos with you. The first, narrated by the park ranger I’ve worked with, Keith Ayotte, headlines one of the critters that also appears in my mystery, a black-tailed rattlesnake.
In the second, bear with heavy hiker breathing for a moment or two. Then you’ll be able to see the floating anchors for the wooden bridges on Black Hawk crossing, also featured in PERIL IN SILVER NIGHTSHADE during a chase scene where Pegasus Quincy gets very wet and very cold in order to catch her man. Does she succeed?
Cloud edges in the desert appear sharper, because the air is dryer. A monsoon thunderhead can build in minutes, billowing thousands of feet into the air as you watch, and no two are alike.
A favorite cloud-watching spot of mine is Sunset Point, about an hour north of Phoenix. Here, the overlook vista plunges you thousands of feet to the tiny establishment of Bumblebee below, and then across the valley rises to the Bradshaw Mountains, home of a historic silver bonanza.
Life is surpassingly interesting, revealing, and awe-provoking when we show up for it whole heartedly and pay attention. ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
Sandstone is a soft rock, its edges worn smooth by the wind and summer cloudbursts. The red color is formed by a thin layer of iron pyrite surrounding each grain of sand. But seeing the rock, prevalent in the Four Corners area of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, is no substitute for feeling it.
On a hot summer day, embrace the rock. Feel its strength, its rough-smoothness, its solid core that existed before you arrived and will be there long after you are not.
When you see a grain of sand, you see all possible worlds with all their vast rivers and mountains. When you see a drop of water, you see the nature of all the waters of the universe. ~ Huang-Po
In the winter months, migrating Sand Hill cranes and snow geese flock to the area near Bosque del Apache, drawn by the water and forage.
If you are lucky, you can climb to the top of the observation decks and be surrounded by thousands of beautiful birds. It humbles me to think that these skilled aviators flew their migration paths long before we were here to establish preserves to encourage them.
The birds were there, in a field across from this water. But I paused here instead, entranced by the interplay of reeds, flowing currents and sky. In that moment, the solitude became a cradle holding me.
There is more to life than merely
increasing its speed. ~ Gandhi ~