Friday, November 30, 2012

November reads

Marie Therese: The Fate of Marie Antoinette's Daughter, by Susan Nagel
It's a giant (thorough) story of Marie Antoinette's life and continues through her daughter's journey as a pawn of Europe.  The one thing that I'd say is the author doesn't do a perfect job of taking the known history and putting it into an easily readable narrative.  I don't doubt that she did a ton of research to find all of the details, diaries, letters, all that.  But there's got to be a better way of describing discrepancies than just "X said this, but Y said this."  Also, while I appreciate an author writing about something they care about, it is incredibly obvious that the author is pro Marie Antoinette all the way.  She's biased.  And again, I can't imagine writing a book for years with characters I disliked, but at the same time, I wish she would have been a bit more willing to be impartial.

MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search For a New Best Friend, by Rachel Bertsche
As a girl who has gone somewhere new for college and grad school knowing not a single solitary girl friend, the title intrigued me (and reading a sample of her writing, sassy and confident, made a great foil for Marie Therese, no slight intended on historical non-fiction, of course). 

The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
A reread for book club.  I love the idea of taking inspiration from the Bible and writing a story around it..but I just didn't love the execution.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bodil Wallman

One of the ways I've found some of my very favorite pieces is through ebay's RSS function.  You type your search in, press enter, and then scroll to the bottom of the page looking for the RSS button; you click the button and put into google reader.  Presto!  Now, every new item posted that matches that particular key word will come directly to your google reader.

This particular wall hanging came up through the ever-popular "Swedish linen" term (ok, popular to me, the 26-going-on-86 year old).  I love the colors and the kitsch, and when it finally arrived in Boston, I decided to investigate the artist.  Why not, hey?


The piece was signed BoWa, short for Bodil Wallman.  She was a Swedish textile designer in the 1950s and 1960s for Almedahl's Design.  Started in 1856, the company is still around today!  One of their most recognizable designs, at least for me, is their herring pattern:

You can't buy their products directly through their website, but you can see some of their other designs at Huset.

(I also found her granddaughter's portfolio through this search; strange!)

Astrid Sampe, one of her contemporaries, has many pieces in the Art Institute of Chicago, and while these were a bit less busy than Bodil's, I think Bodil's pieces are great examples of a mid-century modern take on traditional folk art. 

That's all I've got, though.  I think I'd need to track down a Swedish textile historian to find any more information, and given that I'm not even sure that sort of person exists...?  I did some rudimentary searches in Swedish, and I couldn't find a book or any more information.  I guess I'll just have to admire and enjoy my newly-adorned wall.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


The day dawned clear and bright.


And then came rolls.  From the tube.  Yum.



"I think we have enough food."


"Yes."   (even with 30 people!)


My pies.  (apple, pumpkin, strawberry rhubarb, pecan, maple buttermilk, cranberry)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

18 years old

IMG_0018 copy




Time sure does fly!  Happy birthday, little brother! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

puppy visitor


One of my girls brought the MIT chaplain's lovely little miss Emma for a visit last Sunday - what a cute little fluffball!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Memrise is officially my new favorite website!  Spearheaded by one of the world memory champs, it builds on the idea of having an image or phrase to remind you of a specific thing to aid in remembering, rather than cramming.  The website offers lists in languages, history, geography, and such things as Pokemon (yes, really).  Apparently the Chinese lessons are especially cool as the characters animate into their descriptions, which is awesome!

For example, to remember the word for where in French, oú, there's a picture of Scooby Doo, which helps you with both the where part (Scooby Dooby Doo, Where Are You?) but also with with pronunciation (oo as in rhymes with doo and you).

Each session lasts about five minutes by design; the idea being that you can only absorb a certain amount at a time, and coming back to material frequently is how you learn it.  Quizzes vary in the number of choices you have, whether you're going from French to English, or from English to written French, it's wonderful.  And, there's an added points system to keep you going - but honestly, I find it pretty addictive regardless of the points.   

Saturday, November 17, 2012

more fall colors

I will never be tired of fall colors.  Not a chance.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The first annual Pi-Mi

Nothing better than a gorgeous chilly fall morning with a run and pie!

The check-in table (look at the pie!  yum)

My spot at Memorial Drive and Mass Ave

The resident speed demon finished 3.14 miles in 16:52. 

The after party, complete with lots of pie!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

first snow of the season

November 8th, 2012...courtesy of Nor'easter Athena.

Friday, November 9, 2012

missing Minnesota!

Raking the front yard, jumping in piles of leaves, Halloween in a snow suit, the gophers...

Especially the Gophers.

As an aside, sitting in the student section as a twelve year old?  Awesome.  So much drunk silliness.  "$&% you, refs!"  (my mom turns around)  "Uh, sorry ma'am I don't mean to have such a dirty mouth, but these refs today, I tell you!" 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

news from the Niles Lab!

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative to award grants to basic science researchers focusing on both neglected and pervasive diseases - and the Niles Lab is now part of that community!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Garden update, October

Foggy day


I think someone forgot to tell the strawberries it was almost November!