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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: travel, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Getting Ready for Taiwan: Art Pack


I'm leaving for Taiwan in the morning! I’m pretty much all packed, ready to go, and have even shopped for, and prepared, a dozen meals for my husband to eat while I’m gone.  In other words, just put me on the plane. 

It seems like I’ve been getting ready for this trip for months, concentrating mainly on choosing and gathering the right art supplies. My dithering had a lot to do with the fact that I’ve never been a big fan of plein airsketching or painting. Past experiences of trying to sketch outdoors usually include me being (in no particular order): too hot, too cold, too thirsty, hungry, under attack from various evil insects, struggling to keep my paper flat and dirt-free from a wind that never stops blowing, and then by the time I've got everything under control I desperately need to find the restroom. I’m hoping this trip will be different, or at least teach me some better survival skills. 

Another big factor in choosing my supplies is they had to fit in my travel purse without being too heavy or bulky. So what I've narrowed the kit down to is:
  • A Stillman and Birn Epsilon 6"x 8” sketchbook. After weeks of experimenting with various papers, this seemed to be the very best book for both dry and wet media, as well as giving me plenty of pages for journaling. The paper has a lovely smooth finish and suits me well.
  • A large striped rubber band to keep my sketchbook closed and the pages protected from all the other stuff in my purse (and the wind once I'm outside). This one is from Smash products and has a nice jaunty flair, don't you think?
  • A zippered pencil case to carry:
  • 1 Caran d’Ache techno B pencil.
  • 1 Caran d’Ache watersoluble graphite B pencil.
  • 1 mechanical Bic pencil with rubber grip and extra leads inside the pencil.
  • 1 Caran d’Ache red watercolor pencil.
  • 6 Faber and Castell watercolor Art Grip pencils (yellow, blue, brown, violet, and 2 greens because I couldn’t decide which green I liked best).
  • 1 waterbrush--this one has a large-size tip, but a short handle, perfect for packing.
  • 1 black gel pen (from my favorite coffee store: Moon’s Tea and Coffee here in ABQ).
  • 1 Uniball BLX Siglo pen in green ink (for journaling).
  • 1 glue stick (for collaging).
  • 1 double pencil sharpener.
  • 1 kneaded eraser.
And that’s it! I figure if there’s anything else I’ll need, I can purchase it there, but I think this should cover all possibilities and sudden inspirations. Thanks for visiting; see you in a couple of weeks!

Tip of the Day:  Travel light--it's so easy to be tempted into carrying an entire art studio's worth of supplies for a day of sketching or even writing. In the last few weeks as part of my travel-prep I've been sketching with a black ballpoint pen--and I loved the results. Sometimes simple really can be better.

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2. Why I Get Nothing Done During Spring Break

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North Myrtle Beach, S. Carolina

I actually do take a stack of grading to the beach with me. I pull out a report. Start reading.

Is that a dolphin? Oooo it’s two.

Look down and try to find where I left off. Jot down a comment.

Oh look. A gull landed so close I can touch him. “Hey guy. How you doing?”

Look down again. Read the same paragraph.

This would be so much better if I took my shoes off, and you know, squish my toes in the sand.

Set report aside. Take off shoes and socks. Dig feet into sand. Dig for a long while. Pull out report. Read the same paragraph.

Oh the heck with it. I’ll grade on the plane.

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3. Travel Journal: In Transit

When you're traveling and you have a lot of hours to kill, you might as well enjoy the ride (or flight) and make a drawing of it.

I hope you liked my little blog series here on travel journaling. I loved sharing the drawings I made in Thailand in February and it brought back the wonderful layed-back attitude and feeling again.

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4. Travel Journal: Studies

When on vacation, there is plenty of drawing time, and I love that! It gives me the opportunity to take the time to do elaborate drawings, but also to study. Trying out new techniques for example, or focusing on drawing things that may seem daunting to draw.

During my trip to Thailand in February, one morning I sat down after breakfast to have a very, very long look at the surf. Then I looked some more. And even more. I focused on the patterns the water made, the ripples, the waves, the foam and air bubbles, the swirls and movements of the water, the reflections and the transparency. The constant moving of the subject was very challenging, but I just got into the page and started drawing bits and pieces, focusing on the different aspects and trying to translate them onto the paper, discovering new things with each pen stroke and with each long stretch of looking at the sea. This whole process gave me a lot of insights and was very interesting.

Another thing I don't draw often: animals. I don't have pets, and even though I love looking at dogs and other animals - I hardly draw them because I don't seem to get the chance. Which basically means that I never take the chance to draw an animal.
In thailand, I got lucky because I found myself sitting close to sleeping cats a few times. A great opportunity to study and learn.
Even on lazy holidays, there's always room to study and learn.

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5. Creating Settings: Bringing the Sounds, Sights and Smells Home

Lisa Doan | The Children’s Book Review | March 6, 2015 When I began writing The Berenson Schemes, a middle grade series in which responsible Jack Berenson is repeatedly lost in the wilderness of foreign countries by his globe-trotting parents, I gave some careful thought to creating the settings. The books take place in the Caribbean, Kenya and […]

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6. Travel Journal: Beach Memories

Keeping a travel art journal has so many benefits. While drawing, you enjoy the moment so much more, your senses open up and you really look at your surroundings. It makes you appreciate the place, the moment, your time, and it makes you realize how lucky you are to be where you are.
Plus, you're creating a book of memories to never forget.
Seeing this drawing again brings me right back to the warm breeze on my skin, the sound of the wind through the palm tree leaves and the sound of the waves. 

 

After doing the drawing above, a lady who worked at the beach restaurant came over curiously and flipped through my sketchbook. Then she asked me to draw her. I felt challenged, I never did something like that on request, but I thought 'why not?' and gave it a go, next to a bunch of blind contour drawings I made of my husband earlier that day. 
The drawing doesn't look much like her, but it was a nice and intimate moment and a great way to connect with a local anyway. I asked her name, which was Tui, and then I asked her to write it on the drawing. Not my best drawing ever, but a wonderful memory.





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7. Travel Journal: Drawing Vehicles

In last Monday's blogpost I shared my adventure on drawing fishing boats from the pier in a Thai marina. On that same pier, I sat again the next day, to draw one of the many tuk-tuks on the island. I found a place in the shade, with a good view on a parked tuk-tuk. There was a little terminal post I sat on. Not very comfortable, but it gave me the right point of view and perspective to draw all the details of the motorcycle and its awesome cart build around it.
Again, I found myself drawing for an hour or so (my butt was totally numb after that!), and every now and then someone would walk over to stand behind me for a while. looking over my shoulder. The last 15 or 20 minutes of the drawing, one man stood behind me to follow the process intensely and each time I looked up, he would give me a big smile and a thumb up. I don't speak Thai and he didn't speak much English either, so 'good' and 'thank you' were pretty much the words we exchanged.
After adding the last bit of colour, I told him it was finished and he wanted to take a picture of the final drawing with his mobile phone. After that, he thanked me and walked over to the tuk-tuk to drive off with it. I hadn't realized he had been waiting for me to finish the drawing. So I apologized and thanked him about a million times (I am glad I know how to do that in Thai!). It was really awfully kind of him, and I felt kind of bad for letting him wait and maybe miss out on clients! I felt relieved when 10 minutes later I walked by the tuk-tuk, parked in front of a house in town. it had a blanket over the motor so that indicated he was done for the day. The driver had been on his way home anyway and I believe he was proud that his tuk-tuk was being portrayed and it was worth a little bit of hanging around on the pier before heading home. Otherwise I'm sure he wouldn't have waited for me to finish the drawing, and just drive off anyway.

Later that day, I added a little layer of coloured pencil, to deepen the colours and add some more depth and contrast to the drawing. I left room for writing on the right side of the page and I might as well still write this story there.

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8. Travel Journal: Drawing Thai Boats

I still haven't shared all the drawings I made during my week in Thailand. Here's a drawing that took me over an hour and was an adventure from beginning to end.

Intrigued by all the colours of the Thai Fishermen's boats, I planted myself in the shade of the waiting area on the pier of the marina. Then, I took a good look first, to single out an area to draw. I chose this row of three boats and focused on those, so I would not get distracted by all the other colourful elements around them and in the background. Then I started drawing. Drawing all the lines and shapes (making a lot of use of negative spaces) was very interesting and challenging too, since the boats were floating and constantly moving a little bit, turning left and right, with the waves of the water. I just relaxed and whenever an element got out of view because of the swell of the sea, I just focused on another detail or shape, to get back to it later.
At some point when I was well into my drawing, a fisherman left with his boat that was on the right side of these three boats, so all three boats moved drastically towards the right, closer to the quay, and for a moment I was afraid that it would mess up the whole scene and my drawing, but all I needed to do, is move a little to the right so I had the same poit of view on the boats again.

Step by step, my drawing grew while I listened to the constant chatter and bustle around me on the pier. At some point I realized I had an audience: tuk-tuk drivers waiting for the next ferry to come in, were watching my drawing moves closely. When I looked around and up to them, they gave me encouraging thumbs up.
The moment I opened my travel watercolour box and waterbrush, I even heard a few 'ooh's' and 'aah's'.

As you can imagine, I was very proud when I finished the drawing and felt a great sense of accomplishment.

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9. The Adventures of Bella & Harry: Let’s Visit Rome!

Bella and Harry, two friendly Chihuahuas, visit countries around the world with their family of people. In this edition, Bella and Harry visit Rome, Italy.

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10. If You Were Me and Lived in … Scotland, by Carole P. Roman | Dedicated Review

Roman has created a good beginning platform that readers can leap from and soar into the mythical and lively world of Scottish culture.

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11. The Adventures of Bella & Harry: Let’s Visit Edinburgh!

Bella and Harry, two adorable Chihuahuas, visit countries around the world with their family of people. In this edition, Bella and Harry visit Scotland.

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12. Poet in TedX Talk. Next Year in Havana. Content Creator Contest. 2014 Through a Keyhole

Guest Columnist Raúl Sánchez: Poet's TedX Talk

Raúl Sánchez was surprised to learn that the Yakima County Dream Team was using poems from his poetry collection, All Our Brown-skinned Angels, at immigration rallies and assemblies. He did not realize that had launched a thirst for his, and related work, in the local communities. He was invited to present at TEDx Yakima Salon on October 24. 

Here is Raúl’s account of the presentation at the Yakima Valley Museum.

The process of preparation began by watching the videos already available from other local conferences and cities in order to get the idea of the flow, intent, punctuation and impact to be delivered to the listener.

The theme for the event was “Growth”. The organizers picked that name based on one of the poems in my book titled “Dandelion”. They told me that the metaphor of the fuzzes like words flying in the breeze and landing in the ear of those who listen thereby growing and developing into a new idea, a new poem to heal, moved and inspired others.

I started by describing the genesis of the original idea. On a walk with my daughter, she picked the biggest dandelions and blew the fuzzes with her breath ,watching them fly in the breeze. I immediately thought: What if those fuzzes were the words in a poem and what impact would those words have on people far away from me?

All of us have experienced these feelings when we read poems other poets have published. That was precisely the experience some of the folks in the Yakima Valley experienced when they read or heard the poems at those Dream Team assemblies. I was honored to learn of their response, that my work had an effect on people I’ve never met.

I organized my talk about the experience of creating a poem and how the idea shapes up into a compact story by “using the best words in the best order.”

My presentation highlighted words from W.B. Yates, Philip Larkin and Martín Espada. I was careful to use images the audience would find easy to see in their minds’ eye. I enhanced the pieces using rhythmic alliteration, metaphor and mystery.

I made a point of exactness and slowing down to see what is always there but which remains unappreciated because we are always in a hurry to appreciate other people or the nature around us. That had a tremendous effect as part of the message in the presentation as well as the tenderness expressed when my daughter and I write poems together.

The TedX talk experience brings satisfaction from knowing that my work is appreciated somewhere else, even though I may not have first hand knowledge of the effects of my work. It was a significant honor, being on that stage. It magnified and encouraged me to write poems that seek to inspire and move others, like “Dandelion,” one of my favorite poems in All Our Brown-Skinned Angels.

Dandelion
by Raúl Sánchez

My daughter and I wrote a poem last night
We picked ideas and objects to write about
We mixed them up
in a salad bowl
carefully tossed

We picked funny words
to make happy sounds
We added, repeated, deleted

We laughed and fell to our toes
pretended to be dandelions
waiting for the wind
to shake us up

We acted like daffodils
and tulips soaked in rain
We opened ourselves in the morning
and closed our petals
when the sun ran away

We agreed that our poem
should be like a dandelion
so when shared with others,
the words will float to the ears
of those who listen

Carried by our breath
like the dandelion fuzzes
in the breeze
and so, my daughter and I
wrote a poem last night



Raúl Sánchez comes from a place south where the sun shines fiercely. He is a translator currently working on the Spanish version of his inaugural collection All Our Brown-Skinned Angels that was nominated for the 2013 Washington State Book Award in Poetry. He is also working on a Long Poem Memoir a project for the 2014 Jack Straw Writers. He is a mentor for the 2014 Poetry on Buses program sponsored by Metro King County and 4 Culture. http://beyondaztlan.com and http://moonpathpress.com

Brown-Skinned Angels was published in March 2012 by MoonPath Press a small press, Kingston WA.

 Pres. Obama's Cuba-U.S. Initiative Also Means: Read About Travel In Cuba

The New York Times and The Daily Beast both chose La Bloga friend Tom Miller’s book about Cuba among the best reads about the island.  Miller's book, Trading with the Enemy: A Yankee Travels through Castro’s Cuba, was called “fun and engaging,” one that “introduces readers to the country’s intellectual elite, criminals, and ordinary citizens.” Miller has long conducted literary tours of Habana and environs. This year's journey lifts-off on January 3. For details, click here.

March Deadline Looms for Content Creator Contest
The National Hispanic Media Coalition, teaming with BabyFirst TeeVee network, announces annual opportunities for gente without Hollywood or industry conectas to see their childrens programming idea come to fruition. From the NHMC's press release: 


BabyFirst, the TV network devoted to delivering high-quality child development programming to tots and their parents, announced has teamed up with NHMC to launch an annual Latino-themed programming competition.

Called Rising Creators Project, the competition invites emerging talent - writers, musicians, animators and producers - to submit their idea or existing children's TV series for consideration.

An esteemed panel of media executives will select one winner whose show will appear on BabyFirst for two years, reaching 41 million households throughout the U.S.

Entries can be submitted now through March 15, 2015 at www.risingcreators.com.

A panel of judges will review the submissions and select finalists and, ultimately, a winner. The winning producer will then work with the network's production team to create their content or fine-tune their existing work before it premieres on BabyFirst.

The winner will fully own the rights to the series and will be entitled to 50% of revenues the series directly generates across platforms other than the BabyFirst television network.

All submissions must be suitable for children 2-4 years old, and should have an educational basis for early childhood learning. Acceptable content includes music, animation, scripts, show concepts and existing works. The content should embody and embrace Latino culture. Judges will consider educational and entertainment value, ingenuity, age-appropriateness and cultural relevance.


Michael Sedano's Highlights of the year--2014

La Bloga reached our Ten Year Anniversary in November. Earlier this year, our one millionth reader visited La Bloga. Thank you for reading La Bloga, for your Comments, for recommending La Bloga to friends and colleagues.

Over the course of a year, La Bloga's eleven writers, plus guest reviewers, present book reviews, new books, foto essays, interviews, original fiction and poetry, loads of literary news, food news including The Gluten-free Chicano's Celiac-friendly recipes, tips and techniques for reading your stuff aloud, and a host of diverse cultural updates.

July was a bummer. Two of La Bloga's writers had medical emergencies in July. Melinda Palacio, who shares Friday with La Bloga co-founder Manuel Ramos, fell down a flight of stairs, bringing horrid pain and a foot that pointed backwards. La Bloga-Tuesday's Michael Sedano had two emergency surgeries, one of which sent him to The Other Side where his ancestors told him to get out of line and burn sage. Whew. Both are back on their feet. Next week, will be Sedano's final column for a while as he returns for more surgery.

Medical highlights aren't the only ones La Bloga notes today. But because so many media produce lists of top ten, top twenty, top N of this and that, today La Bloga highlights three significant 2014 events.

Big screen: they didn't do well but they did it, Chicano filmmakers. Cesar Chavez and Water & Power came and went. With audiences rushing to suck down an outlandish tale of assassination to the tune of a couple million dollars in a few hours, it's a crying shame the box office combined for two Chicano movies with substance won't be as rewarding. The take-away: raza doesn't support raza film. Punto. Here's to 2015 changing that as gente acquire DVD copies of the two movies.

Novels: Poetry continues to be the most productive literary genre for raza writers. But it's novels that bring the big audiences. In 2014, feminist eroticism rubbed me the right way with Ana Castillo's Give It To Me. Castillo's wondrously funny and provocative novel is on those Top- lists, so if your Xmas stocking didn't come with Give It To Me, buy copies for yourself and all your friends. The take-away: give it to your friends.

LA Poetry scene: A generally high level of expertise among Los Angeles presenters continues with literary events ranging from Eric Contreras' garage in Bell to LA's newest public park, to important art galleries like Avenue50Studio. As in past years, many readers remain in their comfort zone, stuck to the page, minimal eye contact, limited personal contact with the audience. The take-away: Poets, your art deserves better readings. In a notable and wonderful change, the year ends with Luis J. Rodriguez giving an SRO audience a fabulously energized presentation.

In other poetry news, La Bloga's On-line Floricanto became a monthly feature after four years going weekly. Poetry is current events; we share our sorrow and outrage que faltamos 43. The emotions of Vivos los queremos will outlive 2014.

¿What are your 2014 highlights in Chicana Chicano Latina Latino literatura, cultura, life, y más? Leave a Comment to share two or three of your personal 2014 highlights.

See you next week, next year, same difference. And when you wish your friends a happy new year in Spanish, don't forget that tilde.

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13. Charleston for Christmas!

Stan and I headed to the beautiful old city of Charleston, South Carolina for Christmas this year - here's a selfie by the water.

We stayed at the grand old Francis Marion Hotel (built in 1924), right at the top of King Street - a shopping mecca. And it's a food town - who knew!? On the first night there, we stumbled into the most amazing Italian restaurant, Il Cortile del Re:

In fact, we had some of the most amazing meals of my life in Charleston. One of the best was at the James Beard award-winning chef restaurant, HUSK. Wow! Truly inventive, creative and delicious food by Sean Brock, author of the latest cookbook craze, HERITAGE:


Even the cornbread was amazing!

Then walked it all off by touring the city where we saw beautiful and amazing things:







What a great way to celebrate! I hope you had a marvelous holiday too!
Photos by Stan and Elizabeth Dulemba

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14. If You Were Me and Lived in … Hungary, By Carole P. Roman | Dedicated Review

Carol P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived in … Hungary: A Child’s Introduction to Cultures Around the World is the thirteenth in her series briefly introducing young readers to our world’s diverse cultures.

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15. If You Were Me and Lived in … Greece, by Carole P. Roman: Dedicated Review

Eleventh in her children’s cultural series, Carol P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived in … Greece: A Child’s Introduction to Cultures Around the World takes her young readers to Southern Europe and the tiny island of Greece.

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16. If You Were Me and Lived in … Peru, by Carole P. Roman | Dedicated Review

Due to the well condensed and simplistic format, If You Were Me and Lived in … Peru: A Child’s Introduction to Cultures Around the World and the entire series can easily be the basis for further discussions of Peru, the Spanish language, cultures, traditions, historical sites and home life.

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17. The Front of the Parade

I dislike parades. Not a little, a lot!

I don’t care about the pageantry or the spectacle. I just get bored. A.D.D.? Maybe. Every time I’m stuck watching them, I can’t find an ounce of enjoyment – I just think about two dozen other things I could be doing. This couldn’t be truer than when I’m at Disneyworld.

My kids, on the other hand, love parades. So when people start lining the streets, they want to stop riding roller coasters and wait. UGH…

Wait for what? Floats. No thank you! If a float doesn’t contain root beer and ice cream, I don’t want it.

I figure with half of the eligible riders standing along the parade route, the lines to the cool things are shorter. Not my family. We wait – and not for the good stuff.

A funny thing happened on our trip last week. We were headed to a ride at the back of the park while people were lining up for the parade. No one with me suggested we stop to watch (miracle), so I powered into the street. We must have been the last ones let out before they closed the rope because we found ourselves about 20 paces in front of the parade with all of its flags and music.

Maybe it was the fact that I was pushing my daughter’s wheelchair, or possibly because I looked so stately and official, but it became apparent that the spectators thought we were supposed to be the ones leading the parade. We all realized it at the same time as they clapped and waved at us.

My kids became confused.

They grouped together.

“Should we pull off and get out of the way?” they wondered.

The oldest asked, “What do we do?”

Of course they looked to me, the leader, the head honcho, the alpha male for direction and what did they find me doing?

Waving

With a dopey grin on my face, I waved back at all of my adoring fans.

When life puts you at the front of the parade, smile and wave!

parade

The kids laughed at me, but it caught on. All of us began waving to the crowd.

You know what? Everyone waved back. The people didn’t think we looked out of place – they just waved at us. I wonder what they thought when the real parade came and they realized we didn’t belong. Oh well, we were gone by then. We walked over half of the parade route unencumbered by the bustling crowd until we got near the ride we wanted. Then we simply ducked into the masses and became one of them – anonymous once more.

I still hate parades… But for a moment, I was the grand marshal.


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

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18. Manhunt, by Kate Messner | Book Review

Manhunt, by Kate Messner, will appeal to middle grade readers who enjoy solving mysteries and who like learning about other countries as well as famous artists and pieces of art.

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19. Fun at the California Capital

Thanks to everyone who came out to the California Capital Book Festival in Sacramento. It was fun to meet new people, talk with readers, see familiar faces. And of course, buy some new books for myself! This was the first year for this book festival and the organizers did a great job making the entire […]

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20. Illustrator Interview – Frané Lessac

Naturally, my greatest reason for inviting an illustrator to be interviewed on Miss Marple’s Musings is because I admire her/his art, but often it is also because I am a little nosy (what writer isn’t?) and I want to find … Continue reading

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21. States I’ve Visited

This make-your-own map is going around Facebook and I couldn’t resist.


Create Your Own Visited States Map

I’m a little tortured by that Arkansas gap! On our cross-country trip four (!!) years ago, we just barely missed that state; our route eastward took us through Tulsa and then northeast to Mansfield, MO, to visit Rocky Ridge Farm (naturally). We almost nicked the top corner of Arkansas then, but nope. And on the way back, we took the southern route through AL, LA, TX and so on.

I’ve been back and forth past RI several times too, en route from NYC to Massachusetts. But somehow we never drove through it.

Funny that two more of my missing states (so far I’ve been to 40, which ain’t bad) are major Little House milestones! One of these days I’ll get to DeSmet, SD, and Pepin, WI, for sure.

Beyond the borders of the U.S., I’ve been to four countries: Canada (for a wedding in Toronto, but I really need to hie myself to PEI one of these years, too); Germany; France; and Spain. Germany & France were one summer during high school, when I got to stay with a German family for a couple of months. They took me all over the country, with a week in Montélimar, France (nougat capital of the world) to boot. And Spain was the awesome week in Barcelona with Scott in 2008. A life-changer in some ways, that one.

But then I suppose all travel is life-changing!

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22. Trip to Romania Part 3: Painted Monastaries

Me Sketching at Voronet

We went to a lot of monasteries old and new. Of course the star monasatries are the old ones...

Above is Voronet Monastery in the Moldovan area of Romania. It was built in 1488 by Stephen the Great. The painting have survived war, weather and disuse. They are now restored including the paintings on the inside. They are not restoring the exterior paintings as far as I know which I think is a good thing.

This was the only place where we ran into an American tour group.

Detail from the exterior of Voronet. All of these churches have paintings of the Last Judgement... This is the place you want to avoid...


This is from the Humor Monastery located in Mănăstirea Humorului.
Me sketching at Humor Monastary

Detail of the battle in Constantinople.

Above is the Humor Monastery, a painted monastery located in Mănăstirea Humorului.  The frescoes were originally painted in 1535 and this one shows Constantinople defending itself from a Persian invasion in 626. The Persians were illustrated as Turks which is proof that the news is always prone to revisionism even if it is really old news

A lot of the monasteries had these cool seraphim images depicted as wing clusters with lots of eyeballs.


I know I have been slow to post these images. But there is MUCH more! Next up, the Merry Cemetery and a stones throw from the Ukraine border... Read the rest of this post

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23. Apalachicola for Thanksgiving

Hubbie and I went to Apalachicola, Florida for Thanksgiving. Even though it was in sunny Florida, it rained for several days, which turned out fine for me. I made massive progress on my work-in-progress mid-grade novel, putting National Novel Writing Month's goal of 50,000 words well within reach.
     And best of all, we brought our pooch, Bernie with us to see how he would adapt to a new environment, including elevators. He's a rescue and doesn't like change, so I'd been nervous about how he'd adapt to Edingurgh, Scotland in the fall. Happily, he did GREAT! The elevators had him quite puzzled - he'd look at the door and the floor with his ears perked up, wondering why the world changed on the other side when the door opened. But within three days, we'd already established new patterns and he was fine. I think he'll be fine in Scotland! Here he is on his very first beach experience:


     Meanwhile, we had a lovely and scenic Thanksgiving. Here are some photos:
Gotta do Boss Oyster when in Apalach:

We had raw, oysters with roe, and I had grilled oysters too. I got my fill! Stan was happy too:





Although we couldn't catch the image, two dolphins were playing in the marina and swam straight towards us like torpedoes before coming up to make their happy cackle sound and swim on. Can you see the fin? Wow.



I loved this one that Stan got. I think it would make a great screen saver too. Click the image to open a larger version:

This is an oysterer going out for the day's catch. What a different life, what a relaxed pose of ability, skill, and knowledge. I love this photo:


I thought this one would make a good screen saver too - seagrasses. Click the image to get to a larger version:





And finally, the view from our mini apartment:


And being Apalachicola, they didn't have a Christmas tree - they were putting up the Christmas net with all the crab trap buoys for decorations. All I can say is... Happy Yule, Y'all!

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24. Is your commute normal?

Ever wonder how Americans are getting to work? In this short video, Andrew Beveridge, Co-Founder and CEO of census data mapping program Social Explorer, discusses the demographics of American commuting patterns for workers ages sixteen and above.

Using census survey data from the past five years, Social Explorer allows you to explore different categories of American demographics through time. Here, Beveridge walks viewers through the functionality of the “Transportation” category, revealing the hard truth of Americans’ car dependency, as well as the true scope of the bike-to-work trend gaining speed across college towns and urban areas. Want to see how your travel time stacks up to the rest of the population’s workers? Use the “Travel Time to Work” category to explore other American commuting trends, or explore the various additional categories and surveys Social Explorer has to offer.

Whether it is the speed, assumed efficiency and control, or the status-marker of the automobile that makes it so ubiquitous, the numbers don’t lie – for most Americans, “going green” may be only secondary to “catching green” (lights, that is).

Featured image credit: Charles O’Rear, 1941-, Photographer (NARA record: 3403717) (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The post Is your commute normal? appeared first on OUPblog.

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25. Go There: Lessons In Writing From Dear Old Dad

Andrew_Maraniss3_horz (1)BY ANDREW MARANISS

People assume that when your father is a Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author, he must have helped you a lot with your first book.

For a while, I thought he might, too.

I’d email first drafts of my chapters for “Strong Inside” to my mom and dad, and I soon discovered why the messages I’d get back only contained suggestions from my mother: my father understood from the very beginning that I’d feel a whole lot better about my book if I knew I did it without major input from him.

Which isn’t to say that he had no influence. His fingerprints are all over it, but more in the sense of lifelong lessons on reporting and writing: avoid clichés and unnecessary words; find the universal in the particular; do the reporting.

Growing up, the people who came to visit our house for dinner or picnics were mostly journalists—I’d sit around on the periphery of the conversations and listen to the joy everyone took in describing great lead paragraphs, or scooping the competition. (I also remember the time Bob Woodward brought my sister and I some 45-RPM records, including “Safety Dance,” and the time Sarah and I tried to trick John Feinstein into eating a dog biscuit). Growing up in the home of a Washington Post journalist meant reading a great newspaper every morning—and reading great writing is the best way to learn to write. (Another childhood memory: Each morning, I’d spread the Post out on the dining room table, read the sports section first, and our family sheepdog, Maggie, would hop up on the table, park her body on top of the rest of the paper, and then lap up the milk from my cereal bowl when I was nearly done. Wow.)


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My father did not become a published author until after I graduated from college, but one of the lessons I’ve picked up from him in this later stage of his writing career is the concept of “go there.” For him, that meant traveling to Vietnam for one book, moving to Green Bay, Wisconsin, for the winter for another, and flying to Kenya, Indonesia, Hawaii and Kansas for his bio of Barack Obama.

In my case, going there meant two things: seeing my adopted hometown of Nashville through the eyes of my subject, Perry Wallace, and trying to travel back in time to the 1960s in as many ways as possible. On the time-travel side, I set my satellite radio to the 1960s channel and spent my 45-minute commutes to my “day job” listening to the songs Wallace and his contemporaries would have heard while he was making history as the first African American basketball player in the Southeastern Conference. I watched movies from the period, and read books about the Sixties that had nothing to do with Wallace’s story but shed light on the culture of the times in interesting ways (in addition to my dad’s many books that are set in the decade, one of my favorites was Mark Harris’ book, Pictures at a Revolution, on the five  movies nominated for Oscars in 1967).

It was seeing Nashville through Perry Wallace’s eyes that produced the most valuable anecdotes for the book. I’ll forever remember the afternoon we spent driving around the town he left 44 years ago. He showed me the houses he grew up in, the parks he played in, the schools he attended. Driving past one house, he saw an old friend sitting on the front porch and jumped out of the car to say hello. Driving past a street corner in a now-fashionable part of town, he explained that in 1955, standing on that same corner, he had been stunned by a carload of white teenagers who pointed a gun out their window at him, pointing it, pointing it, pointing it, as the car slowly made its way around the corner. And as we drove past a baseball field, he asked me to stop the car. We got out, and he pointed to a thicket of rocks and trees behind the outfield fence. “See that rock?” he asked. “That’s where I sat and meditated over my decision whether to go to Vanderbilt.”

Suddenly I was standing next to Perry Wallace in the present, but also sitting next to him on that rock in 1966.

“Go there” indeed. Thank you, Dad.


MarannisNewCoverRGBAndrew Maraniss is the author of the new biography, Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South. His father, David Maraniss, is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist for Washington Post and the author of 10 books.

Follow Andrew Maraniss on Twitter @trublu24 and at his website, andrewmaraniss.com.

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