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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

I’m working on a bouquet of smaller projects today, so I’ll leave you with this thought:

“I don’t care what you do in life, but challenge people with greater power than you and defend those with less power.”

— Nick Clooney, to son George

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Original photo by SUNBEAM PHOTOGRAPHY on Unsplash

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“What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications.”

― Nora Ephron

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Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

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I love history. Not the memorization of dates and tests and such, but that moment where you realize in a sudden, visceral way that the past isn’t ever really gone. That the present is built on its bones.

I also like the idea of uncovering that past, either via literal bones or the items that people leave behind. Gold is nice and all (not least because it lasts) but I have a soft spot for the ordinary. What was once worthless, like a broken pot, a used envelope, translucent blue glass jar or a single button, becomes a window into the everyday.

A window in time, if you will.

From museums to restored footage to dragon bones (ok, not exactly but still) and virtual reconstructions, there are a lot of ways to see the past.

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I tend to prefer the more tactile alternatives. 

My mother used to take us out to a friend’s cabin in the woods. In winter we helped her gather sap for maple syrup, but in summer my brother and I would head to the stream at the base of the hill. The water had cut a small cliff into the shale, and if we were lucky and good we could find fossils. 

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Here are two examples of hands-on history I think would be fun to experience.

The fossil hunters of the Jurassic Coast

… with the West Dorset cliffs eroding at such a rapid rate, scientists alone could never hope to save even a fraction of the fossils emerging onto the beaches before they’re swept away by the waves. This has left amateur collectors as key partners in the fight to preserve the area’s extraordinary fossil bounty for study and display, and has, over the past two decades, fuelled a huge rise in the number of people visiting the local beaches in search of prehistoric treasures.

How to Mudlark

… the majority of the things salvaged from the mud are more recent—often medieval or later—and are small, humble reminders of what people used, maybe loved, and eventually discarded. Exploring the shore as a mudlark is like conducting a swift, simple, satisfying archaeological dig, with almost no digging at all.

More fun for the future!

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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Yes, it’s Tuesday and work is crazy as usual but it’s not all negative news. We will not be hit by an asteroid today!

A huge asteroid will fly safely by Earth today. Here’s how to watch it live. | Space

See? Tuesdays aren’t all bad.

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Not an asteroid but I liked the rainbow. Photo by Cyrus Press on Unsplash

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It’s a snow day! True, I still have to work and all that but regardless, there’s something about a fresh blanket of deep snow that brings back childhood feelings of joy.

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“Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.”

― Margaret Atwood
Photo by R K on Unsplash

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Apparently I am not done with the Chimera Chronicles, or whatever you want to call this animal-human hybrid portrait thing I’ve got going on.

Behold, King Cassowary!

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With apologies to William II, King of the Netherlands. Bird image by David Clode on Unsplash

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Some days you get an idea in your mind and you have to go with it or spend the rest of the day pestered by the project that was not.

Meet Captain Pepper Griff McCaticus. She lives with friends and, apparently, spent a previous life rising through the ranks. Which helps explain her current position as queen.

“You know how it is with cats: They don’t really have owners, they have staff.”

― P.C. Cast

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Original images via Captain Cat’s devoted staff and Unsplash.

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I’ve always liked coins. 

Maybe it was my love of fantasy tales where every dragon had a horde and every economic transaction involved coinage (paper bills? what are those and why would I accept them when I could have a lovely gold piece?). Or the fact that coins encapsulate a wealth (see what I did there?) of information about a society’s evolving history, economy and culture. Or it might have had a little to do with my not-entirely-transitory pirate fixation (they were often bad, sometimes misrepresented, always fascinating). 

Regardless, I like coins. Back when we still went out and touched other people’s money, I saved the shiniest examples of each new coin I came across. I have a pressed penny collection. And I love new coin designs. When they have one of my favorite female writers on them? Win!

Maya Angelou becomes the first Black woman to appear on the U.S. quarter

Check out the U.S. Mint site for more on the America Women Quarters program.

And next Christmas, shiny new Maya Angelou quarters will be on my list!

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“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

― Maya Angelou

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Photo by Houcine Ncib on Unsplash

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Ha ha ha ha, this is 110% amazing!

More info and videos on this obviously critical area of scientific research:

So if humans visit underwater environments in a submarine, are these fish driving around in a supermarine? 

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Oh hello, nice of you to stop by. Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

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I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but studies have found evidence that temporal landmarks can help overcome motivation problems. You may have seen it referred to as the fresh start effect. It’s not a panacea (as gym members everywhere can attest) but whatever, if it helps me to rethink my process in a productive way, great.

As New Year’s rolled around I started thinking about trying new things. Today I’m thinking about new recipes. 

Be it bread, brownies, cake, yogurt, or a magic wand, I like working out the best way (for me) to make something. And knowing that my birthday cake is going to come out exactly as planned? Priceless.

But I also like working on new projects, triangulating resources, experimenting with techniques or components. Making something new.

So far this year I’ve tested new ways to make cinnamon sugar bread, lemon cake, and mushroom soup. Next up? A quick trip to the tropics.

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Mr Man brought home a box of fresh passion fruit yesterday. I’ve tasted it before, most recently in a collection of holiday Chocolates by Enid.* Passion fruit also appears frequently on the Great British Baking Show, where bakers treat it like your average ingredient but might go bonkers for recipes I consider excellent but everyday, like Key Lime Pie. 

My lack of experience means I have questions. Why are the fruits I’ve got two completely different colors? How can you tell when they are ripe? Do you just scoop out the pulp or is there bitter pith to be avoided? How do I keep from thinking about runny noses and other gelatinous goop while engaging in said scooping? Does the goop need to be strained? And why are those seeds looking at me?!

So much to learn, and all of it sounds like fun. Wish me luck!

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Not Enid’s chocolates but hey, close enough! Photo by Massimo Adami on Unsplash

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* These chocolates appeared as a temporary holiday treat at a local farm store but the source is otherwise mysterious. Who is Enid? Where did she come from and why won’t she make chocolates past December? Has she now retreated back to Choclandia with the other chocolate fairies? And where can I find more of those passion fruit cream-filled chocolates?! 

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