Ten Little Celebrations – February 2019

February is usually a quiet month for me – not much going on. February 2019 was dominated by the birding after the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival in January, family visits, and celebration of the staff where I volunteer. It seemed like a busier than usual February.

Conversations with my daughter – I celebrated my daughter being more available recently. Seeing her forging ahead in her career and life is something to savor. It feels good to see how wonderfully independent and caring she is these days.

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Icy day – staying indoors – Ice is much worse than snow but has its own beauty. This one was easy for me to celebrate since I didn’t need to get out and none of our trees were damaged.


Snow day – What’s not to like about a snowy day if I can stay at home. Since I am retired…staying at home when I want to is easy. I celebrate every snow day – taking pictures and making snow ice cream. On our most recent snow day, the weather was warming to 50 degrees the next day, so we didn’t even shovel the drive way.

Spring-like day – And then we had a breezy day in the 50s. I celebrated that this will become the norm in a few short weeks.

Books – On all the cold days, I enjoyed good books on my PC, on my iPad and regular books. Celebrating all the forms that books come in these days.  

Cleaning out progress – We have so many things in our house that we no longer need or use but getting motivated to collect and then donate, recycle, or trash things is challenging. I am celebrating that I am making some progress…building the will-power to continue the trend.

Howard County Conservancy staff – The volunteers held a big celebration for the staff of our favorite non-profit this month. The staff makes volunteering a pleasure and a shared celebration is one way we show it.

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Downy woodpecker – I was home in cold, snowy, or icy weather and enjoyed birding from my office window. I celebrated many of the sightings…the downy woodpecker the most. It’s small, it’s hyper, and it seems to enjoy both our trees and our feeder.

Pink egg salad – I discovered that adding a few slices of beet to hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise in the small food processor makes beautiful, spreadable egg salad…celebration worthy food.

Headspace app – I subscribed to the Headspace app and am doing a meditation prompt every day. I am celebrating how easy it is to get started and keep going with this app.

3 Free eBooks – October 2018

There are so many good eBooks available free of charge. All three are from the Internet Archive this month.

Paglia, Camille. Glittering Images – A Journey through Art from Egypt to Star Wars. New York: Pantheon Books. 2012. Available from Internet Archive here. It’s a good book to browse through online – like a digital ‘coffee table’ book – reading only the captions.

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Brock, Alan St. Hill. Pyrotechnics: the history and art of firework making. London: Daniel O’Connor. 1922. Available from Internet Archive here. The depiction of fireworks is quite different between the Chinese and Western Europe/America.

The author was from the 8th generation of the Brock family to made fireworks in England.

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The Diani Beach Art Gallery. Affordable Art Selection September October 2018. Kenya: Diani Beach Contemporary African Art. Available from Internet Archive here. Sometimes catalogs can be worth looking at as a book. I enjoyed the vibrant colors and depictions of African people/scenes.

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3 Free eBooks – August 2018

So many great books available all the time…and free. Reading used to be a much more expensive activity!

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Brongniart, Adolphe. Histoire des végétaux fossiles, ou, Recherches botaniques et géologiques sur les végétaux renfermés dans les diverses couches du globe. A Paris et a Amsterdam: Chez G. Dufour et Ed. d’Ocagne. 1828. Available from Internet Archive here. This book includes many illustrations of plant fossils – imprints on rocks. It’s written in French – but the illustrations are the reason it’s worth a look. It was probably one of the first paleobotany books ever written. The author produced the book in his late 20s…must have had access to a sizable collection.

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Karageorghis, Vassos. Ancient Art from Cyprus - The Cesnola Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 2000. Available from Internet Archive here. This is a more recent book (I am glad that many copyright holders that have out-of-print books are making them available this way). The color illustrations are wonderful. I particularly like utilitarian objects.

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Aruz, Joan and Wallenfels, Ronald (editors). Art of the first cities: the third millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 2003. Available from Internet Archive here. Another relatively recent book. Would you have guessed the necklace was from the 3rd millennium BC?

eBotanical Prints – June 2018

June was a light month for botanical print books – only 10 in the entire month. Even so – I was surprised at how many favorite flowers were included in these books. There were the seasonal ones for June in our area: water lilies and lotuses (like at Kenilworth), and day lilies. The blooms are at their peak in July but the buds are huge in June!

And then there were the jack-in-the-pulpit and tulip poplar flowers that are done by June…are April and May flowers here.

Enjoy the June Botanical print slide show. After the show is a list of the books with links to their locations and a sample image from each (which also was seen in the slide show). At the bottom of the  slide show is a list of the most recent blog posts about individual botanical print books; I haven’t done many  recently but intent to start writing again and providing more details about individual books.

3 Free eBooks – June 2018

I picked 4 books instead of 3 in June because of the first two were about the same place – New York – and I thought they were interesting history.

Wittemann, Adolph. Select New York. New York: A. Wittemann. 1889. Available from Internet Archive here. This book includes photographs of New York and almost all of them include a tangle of electrical wires…at the beginning of the electrification of the city when there was a lot of chaos and little standardization.

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Wittmann, Adolph. New York: An Album of Photographs. Brooklyn: Wittemann. 1900. Available from Internet Archive here. The photographs have been tinted and there are no wires at all. Were the electrical conduits underground by 1900 or did the publisher manage to take them out of the photographs?

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Lear, Edward. Illustrations of the family of Psittacidae, or parrots: the greater part of them species hitherto unfigured, containing forty-two lithographic plates, drawn from life, and on stone. London, England: E. Lear. 1832. Available from the Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture here. I was surprised to find this book of parrot illustrations…but the same man that wrote the poem ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ I remember from my childhood!

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Wantanabe, Seitei. Seitei kachō gafu v. 2. Okura Mogabe, Toyko, Meije 23. 1890. Available from Smithsonian Libraries here. I enjoyed the Japanese artwork…like the type of nature photography I like to do. I wanted to be in the place seeing a bird walking in a wetland – perhaps it was early morning.

Gleanings of the Week Ending June 16, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Reading habits in the past | Europeana Blog – When I travel, I tend to do most of my reading on my phone (light weight, easy to carry, and ambient light does not have to be good). It’s a recent development for me. This blog post goes back further in history.

Man against machine: AI is better than dermatologists at diagnosing skin cancer -- ScienceDaily – There are still limitations to the AI but it might be close to a tipping point to begin transitioning into system. It seems like it would be most in demand for screening where there were not highly trained dermatologists available….as long as the imaging technology was not tremendously expensive or hard to use.

BBC - Future - Is it really healthier to live in the countryside? – I thought it would be…but it’s complicated because so many factors contribute to ‘health.’

Mapping Modern Threats to Ancient Chacoan Sites : Image of the Day – Posts about places I’ve visited always get my attention. A study using satellite data and projections for population growth/oil and gas exploration in the area shows that 44 of the 123 known Chaco sites included in the study are threatened by development. Of those, 19 are already protected by the National Park Service.

Paper Art Details Similarities Between Human Microbiome and Coral Reef – Nature inspired art!

Researchers Grow Veggies in Space | The Scientist Magazine® - Progress in a technology required for longer space missions…and then colonies on other planets.

Schoolyard Habitats Provide Resiliency in Houston Independent School District : The National Wildlife Federation Blog – Schools in Maryland have similar projects. I hope the monarchs have shown up in Houston…I haven’t seen any in Maryland yet this year.

US Still Subsidizing Fossil Fuels To Tune Of $27 Billion | CleanTechnica – This post included more detail on what subsidies are…how the US compares to other developed countries.

Thank A Rare Fungus For The Sustainable Solar Cell Of The Future | CleanTechnica – It’s a beautiful color…if it really works, it won’t be ‘rare’ for long. It will be come a commercially grown fungus!

Bright warning colors on poison dart frogs also act as camouflage -- ScienceDaily – Learning a bit more about these little frogs.

3 Free eBooks – December 2017

This month I picked books with an Asian theme:

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Bing, Siegfried. Artistic Japan: illustrations and essays. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Six volumes available from the Internet Archive here; published in the late 1800s. Most of the illustrations are in color…and represent a broad range of Japanese art from the time. I picked an image of a textile but there is a lot of other types of art in these volumes.

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Ando, Hiroshige. Ehon Edo miyage. Kikuya Kozaburo han. 1850 or after and before 1868. Six volumes available from Smithsonian Libraries here. Images in soft colors depicting Japan in the mid 1800s. I picked one from the fourth volume that looked like a road lined with cherry trees blooming in the spring. There were some other images of landscapes with snow that I liked almost as well.

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Oriental Textile Samples. 1700. Available from the Internet Archive here. This book is a reminder of how rich the textile tradition is – particularly from China. I clipped a part of the cover – which must have also been textile. There is a note that the book is ‘fabric samples mounted in accordion-style, silk covered, volumes in brown cloth-covered folios’.

3 Free eBooks – August 2017

I’ve been enjoying colorful magazines on various topics that are from 2016 and available on Internet Archive. It’s like browsing through a stack of periodicals in the dentist’s office!

House Beautiful (from US and UK) from 2015 and 2016. Available from Internet Archive here. Lots of food for thought if you are redecorating, renovating, or moving to another house and wanting to add something to make it ‘home.’

World of Animals from 2014 and 2017 available from Internet Archive here. Great pictures of animals – many in action – from all over the world.

Canadian Architecture and Design 2009 available from Internet Archive here. Again – great photography…beautiful places. I hope pocket doors become popular again!