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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pink Saturday -- Pink in the Yarn Shop!

If you visit often, you know I can't resist yarn, and here are a few images from my trip to the yarn shop this week.

(OK, that's more lavender and purple, but it looks pretty with the pink ones.)


Don't forget to stop by and enter my One World, One Heart drawing. It's a couple of posts down!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Introducing Dissent Decree

I'm most fortunate to have a number of talented and gifted friends. One of the best photographers I know is Michael Maurer Smith. Not only does he have the wise good sense to be married to my friend Kate, he's just too darned talented.

I posted this photo a few weeks ago -- Mike at his art reception. Those are paintings there, not photographs. Yes, the man does a lot.

And if you visit his "work site" (Beyond Appearance), you'll see he's a fine designer, too.

But Mike has recently launched a blog -- Dissent Decree. It is more of a writing and opinion blog. If you were to visit today, I'd be sure to check out his 10 steps to a good photograph, his commentary on the state of photojournalism, and his visit to Biggby coffee.

Stop by Dissent Decree when you have a chance. And check out Beyond Appearance, too!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What Have I Been Up To These Days?

More than a few of you have been kind enough to ask me what I've been up to lately (being as my posting has been a bit less frequent)! Thank you!

And, here's a bit of an update...

My very good friend Suzanne, from Canada, came to visit (twice, actually -- before and after a road trip). I've known Suzanne since high school. (Oh, we were young then...)

Back then, we just did movies and drama together and read the same books!

Now, we knit!

So, it was off to the yarn store. (And here are the obligatory photos of yarn, because I love the colors so much, I can't stop shooting!)

And we celebrated Christmas belatedly.

We overdo. on wrapping.

A good friend is someone who can give you a Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure. And you're not insulted (because it's a little bit true, even though you only have one cat.)

And fabulous knit place mats (which I haven't yet photographed, but they are wonderful!)

And she got a purse, among other things, made by yours truly.

Of course, we always overdo on presents, too. (More to wrap and make pretty!)

But Gypsy helped with the opening. (Demon cat eyes a tantalizing ribbon!)

And helped some more.

While she was here, we went to hear Neil deGrasse Tyson speak at MSU. If you watch "NOVA: Science NOW" (the summer version of PBS' "NOVA" series), you'll know him as the host. He's also appeared recently on Leno, Colbert Report and other shows.

He's brilliant. I'm not exactly Ms. Science, but I was fascinated during his 90 minute talk and the Q&A which went almost as long (probably about a half hour or so too long..., but that was because it was getting late, not because he wasn't terrific.)

He took off his shoes, coat, and moved around the stage like a dancer as he spoke about "Footsteps on the Sands of Time." If you have the chance to see him speak, he's strongly recommended!

Finally, let me say that digital television remains the bane of my existence! A few weeks ago, I mentioned our digital television program -- well, if you have questions about DTV, it's now on YouTube. You can link to our WKAR site here -- the program is called "DTV and You" and it's in several sections.

Next post, I'll have a book report for you!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Write on Wednesday: Revision Redux

This week’s Write on Wednesday prompt focuses on revising our work to make it the best it can be. I read it at a timely moment, as I took a break from revising an article for our magazine on digital television. (Frankly, that whole digital transition should be revised, but I’m grousing and I digress.)

Becca had some wonderful words on revision from many well-known writers and then asked if any of us were in the process of revisions and how it was going.

Well, apart from the previously mentioned article, revising is what I do. Revising work by others. Revising my own. And sometimes I do it with a more enthusiastic voice than at others.

The post I had about my dad’s service in India comes to mind. I had that post going in draft form for several weeks before I posted it. I fiddled with wording, flow, and just my thoughts. What did I want to say – and how could I say it in fewer words than a novella?

That’s not the first post where that has happened. After I wrote about ideas in a WOW post several weeks ago, several of you told me you would like to hear more about my friend Patricia.

Well, I’ve been working on the Patricia post probably longer than the one about Dad in India. And in that case, it seems even more meaningful. Patricia, after all, was a wordsmith, and if I am going to write about her, then I want to write it as well as possible.

The thing is, I like revising and editing. I love looking at something that’s really lacking and seeing what I can do to “fix” it – sometimes a rewrite, sometimes gentle modifications. And I much prefer having the time to do it, rather than have to rush it under deadline.

And ultimately, I find myself a far better editor than writer.

Now, if only I could “edit” my linen closet (recent site of a linen closet accident, in which a large candle fell from the top shelf and hit me on the head!) or “edit” my art supplies or book collection or CDs or…

Saturday, January 24, 2009

One World, One Heart

UPDATE: The Gypsy's ONE WORLD ONE HEART entries are closed! I will announce a winner this weekend -- if not before!

Lisa Oceandreamer of A Whimsical Bohemian developed a wonderful giveaway event several years ago that in which anyone can participate.


What IS ONE World-ONE Heart? It is a blog-wide giveaway event. The original idea behind this was to bring bloggers together from around the world who may never ordinarily meet.

I'll explain more about the drawing and rules for newcomers below (thanks to pasting in some of the details from Lisa's "One World" blog. But you will probably want to visit that site to make sure all is here -- I edited for length.

But first, here are my three drawing items...

This hand-painted silk scarf has soft pinks, greens and lavenders, blending together like a Monet-styled watercolor.


"Christmas with Jinny Beyer" is a book with 50 projects for the holidays, with a heavy emphasis on quilting, but including wreaths and floral arrangements as well. It has good diagrams.

The third item is a collection of dessert recipes in a tag book similar to this one (all are slightly different.)

So, do enter with a comment, and please stop by The Marmelade Gypsy at other times, too, to see if you want to return when you're not commenting on this drawing!

On a personal note and for newer bloggers, I have to say that this is a wonderful blog event. I have discovered many new blogs that have become "regulars" through last year's event and many discovered mine. I was fortunate enough to be a winner as well!

Here is more information, as seen on the One World, One Heart site: It closes the gap of the blog community and enables us to interact, discover new and wonderful people, and in the process possibly win a prize or many prizes along the way.

Last year's event had nearly 100 participants and many connections were made because of it......friendships that are still going strong.

How do you become a participant? To be a participant in the event all you have to do is offer up something to give away. It can be handmade, which is encouraged but not mandatory. You (This year I am giving away several things, and one is a book I think might appeal to some bloggers.)

You can offer up more than one item so there is more than one winner if you like.

The giveaway item(s) are entirely up to you. Once you have determined what your giveaway will be, you must post pictures of whatever it is in a post on your blog.

You will then come to Lisa's One World blog and in the comments leave the link to THAT post!

NOW THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: DO NOT leave a link just to your blog....it must be to the actual giveaway post. This enables those going blog to blog to get to it immediately without having to scroll to find it.

Also DO NOT leave a link UNTIL that post is up and ready. As the giveaway posts are ready and you then leave the link to it at Lisa's site, she will add it to the list of participants that will be on the sidebar.

Return to the One Heart site as often as you like so you can be sure and visit those on the list throughout the event.

Deadlines: This year the giveaway date will be Valentines Day - February 14th. You must post your item(s) by February 1 (or as close as possible). This will give two weeks for people to get to your blog and enter their name.

You should end the chance to enter by the evening of the 13th.........there are time differences to consider so keep that in mind.

Winners should be announced on your blog on the 14th(or as close to that as possible).

Who can enter a giveaway? Anyone! The original idea was that this be for those with an active blog, so they could meet and visit other bloggers. Some blogs may choose to participate. At The Marmelade Gypsy, anyone can enter -- BUT, if you entering without a blog, please include your e-mail in your comments, so if you win, I can notify you.

How do you pick a winner(s) and what happens after the winner(s) is announced on your blog? How you choose the winner(s) is up to you. Some write the names or print out the comments and cut them up....put them in something and do a random draw. There is also a random number generator that was created by the husband of Carrie at Violets Are Blue. Visit the One World rules page for more about this.

(Or, you can do like I do -- with every post, I write down the name and it goes into a bowl. I will pick three -- or enlist The Gypsy to help! He helped last time!) Once you have a winner or winners and announce it- you must instruct them to contact you via e-mail with their mailing address and a link to their blog.

Winning items should be mailed as soon as possible but no later than the end of February. If there should be a delay the courteous thing to do would be communicate that to your winner(s).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Journeys Past

Recently I've been watching The Story of India on public TV. Well, watching when I can. It's a six-part series, two hours over three weeks (Mondays) and that's a bigger commitment than I can make right now. But I've been checking in. (It's an outstanding series, and one of the few times I've really wished I had a high-def telly!)

I find India interesting in part because it's where my dad spent his military service.

In a somewhat futile attempt to clean the art room, I went splunking under the desk and found a box with photos and letters he'd written.

I also found (again) his photo album from that period.

Photos of the Indians in pose...and those who look caught unaware.

And at work, here on a tea plantation.


He spoke of his leave in the mountains where the tea plantations were, and of the farms in the north.

He also mentioned spending time with the daughter of a tea plantation owner, whom he described in a letter to my grandparents as being very easy on the eyes. (I wish he'd had a photo of her -- maybe I'll find one when I spend more time with these books!)

My parents were both fairly skilled amateur photographers and even as a child I remember posing for my mother against a backdrop with big lights. Spending time in the darkroom watching the images magically appear on the paper always fascinated me and while it wasn't a skill I picked up, I still mourn the loss of the magic of film (although the computer now seems to hold that magic.)

The point is, in discovering these photos, I realize that this was an interest that my dad developed long before he and my mother met. And some -- like the photo of the Indian woman and her baby, the snake charmer, the beggar -- almost seem to have a documentary-like quality that I find intriguing, especially given his innocence of the world at that time.

(Another thing I love about the originals is that they are all very small -- wallet sized. Yet when enlarged, really quite clear.)

His camera picked up sacred cows...

...street scenes...

Even the street beggars were captured in the camera lens. I wonder -- did he take this as a shocked young man who hadn't seen this before -- something to show the folks at home? Did he see it as a social commentary?

My dad always had a profound sense of compassion for others as well as a sense of acceptance that struck me as unusual during my time of adolescence. Beautiful, but unusual. Still, it wasn't until he died when the first African American to move into our all-white-bread neighborhood came to the funeral home that I realized how this made an impact on others.

"Your dad was the first person to come to come to our door and welcome us to the neighborhood," he said. "I will never forget his kindness."

Did this farm kid from Michigan learn that people were people, whether they looked like you or not, during his time in India? It sure didn't hurt.

This is one of my favorite photos -- the snake charmer! I can imagine him being fascinated by how the charmer was able to lure the cobra from his basket.

(I know this photograph fascinated me as a child. I sometimes wonder if he took it just to send my grandmother into a tizzy -- she had always been afraid of snakes, one of the few phobias that may have rubbed off on me a bit!)

Although I know he became very ill while there (malaria and something that popped up now and then in later years), he really found his time in that country fascinating.

It intrigues me, this look into the images that affected a man so many years ago. He was probably in his late 20s, maybe 30. I can't help but wonder if the young men in Afghanistan are experiencing the same things, and will their encounters with people different from themselves lead to acceptance and understanding as they age, or will the terrors of war override these experiences. India wasn't a hotbed of combat when Dad was there, and I'm not sure as a communications specialist if he ever even saw combat. That has to present a different image of a country.

Yes, I have some things he brought back with him -- an ivory box with elephants; two rosewood (I think) boxes he gave my grandmother; a prayer wheel, tarnished with the passing of time.

But the memories -- those are his. And how I wish I could ask him more about them.

My friend, the wonderful photographer Jane Rosemont, recently returned from India.

Her camera captured the people, the colors, the places -- and (if you visit her site) you will see they really look much the same.

An ancient civilization that has since become a highly industrialized nation in some respects -- and in others, anything but.

If you're interested in the series or the other features on PBS' website, stop by. Another two hours airs next Monday night at 9 p.m.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tampa Wrap Up

I love going to meetings with the PBS folk. I always meet fun people, learn lots, have a wonderful time. And I knew the rest of the conference was going to be great.

Thursday was filled with workshops. And, during one of the breaks, “Miffy,” a children’s show character, posed for photos. We took this because we’re thinking of bringing Miffy to Lansing and everyone wants to see what the costume looks like, because some poor soul will have to wear it in June.
I was also invited by the PBS brand manager to attend an award ceremony for community awards in Tampa called the “Be More” awards. They were started by the Tampa station and they’re launching the program nationally. Kelly thought it was something I should see and she was right.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to muster station support to do something like this in our market, but wow – I’d love to.

The station takes nominations for community service organizations doing wonderful things in different categories and honors these amazing groups with awards. It was highly produced and absolutely beautiful. I took these photos just to share with the people at home and they're not good ones, but you can see, it was very elegant (so was lunch!). I was glad to attend.

(I am now on my second margarita during my eternally long layover at Detroit’s awful airport, due to yet another flight cancellation. More on this on Chopsticks and String!)

Let me just say I'm in no hurry to fly again soon.

More workshops and then dinner out, at a Cuban restaurant with a good band, good group and good fun. It all started with a trolley ride!

Our fearless leader – Greg, from Penn State (here with Teri from Memphis) – knows how to pull together a good group and find a great spot to eat. The Columbia did not disappoint.

Terrific salads, excellent food – no complaints from anyone, except for the fact that the shops were closed in the funky neighborhood we visited. But I loved the use of tile on the interior ...

...and the exterior. (The whole front of the building was like this.)


Back for the hospitality suites. “Highland Heartbeat” is a Celtic show lots of stations will feature in pledge this March. Mostly Scottish music (and I can’t say I loved the entire television preview – the guys were a little weird. And not because of the kilts and bagpipes. That's OK... this one fellow, well -- maybe he's better in context.)

But he wasn't there. Instead, an astounding trio of women performed at the suite and they were fabulous – Maureen, Gillian and one other whose name I can’t recall. Simply amazing voices, beautiful women, and – the station rep says – very nice and easy to work with (not everyone is).

They performed a 20-minute set and then mingled. This is Maureen. (With me. Like you couldn’t tell.)


We also enjoyed good times at another suite with lots of great take-aways (like a flash drive, Italian coffee and cooking utensils, autographed books). For stations that show “Red Green” (quirky to say the least), Red was there – but as himself, Canadian Steve Smith. He’s always been a crowd pleaser at our special events, and signed a mug for Rick.


There was also some doctor who has written a book about depression and nutrition which he gave me autographed. The programs lots of these guys offer for pledge border on snake oil, but I’m glad to have the book. Depression and nutrition – I could learn something helpful here.

Most of us were too full to eat much or drink much, but we still had silly in us…


And of course waited around for the drawings! (I didn’t win – probably a good thing. I don’t know how the people who won the three-foot tall dalmatian and golden retriever are going to get them home.) (The tall beautiful woman with the big smile is host of an Italian cooking show some stations air.)


After the meeting ended Friday morning, I took off and surprisingly (and pleasantly) found a farm market.


For me, an outdoor farm market in January is unheard of.


Granted, it was only 40. But at home, it was –7 (without wind chill added in), so I thought this was pretty cool.


I did some damage at the jewelry booth – lovely things. (This was part art-fair, part farm market). And, I admired the orchids.


Best discovery? My first-ever pasta vendor.
I SO could not resist this place. Fascinating pastas like this one that is fruity (they include recipes with the pastas)…


And ones flavored with Italian or Southwest (chipotle, corn) flavors.


I got some for Rick and for myself, too. Who knows who else will taste these…Can’t wait to try them out.

Also took a few more pix of the Tampa Theatre in better light.

So, it’s back to Michigan. To cold. To being able to catch up and visit you all over the next few days!

That, I can’t wait for!

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