Thursday, June 09, 2011


Two and a half years later.


Just a sneak peek...

At a few of my new inspirational friends.

Back to that much needed interior decorating!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

It is pronounced "Cult-cher"

Beginning June 1st, life gets really busy here in Salt Lake City.
My calendar gets packed with so many fun things to do, cultural and otherwise.
Since Monday I have missed three cultural events: Bollywood Dance Night at Red Butte Gardens (sounds funny but I know it must have been amazing...), a reading by the 2010 Utah poet laureate, and an art film about the Great Salt Lake Spiral Jetty.
Those last two items were free to the public by the way.

My dayrunner runneth over....

So why begin this post with Mr. B. kicking back on the deck with a book?
(Hint: the book he is reading is entitled The Passage.  If you know anything about that title you will know why his butt was stuck to that deck chair for two full days...)

Let me backtrack a bit since last Thursday to catch you up.

In the afternoon we dropped by our favorite nursery and tried not to buy every fabulous thing we saw blooming.
Limited ourselves to half off Lily of the Valley, some asparagus and eggplants, special bonsai and Japanese maple food and copper plant labels. 

Those labels are such a classy way to keep name tags on our ever growing collection of Japanese maples.
Much better than the plastic strips that come with the plants originally.

Next stop:  The Salt Lake City Glass Guild show.

I feel in love with the clear and orange piece.
The show was housed in a larger gallery; we met the gallery owner and discovered that he had lived in San Diego for awhile, and had then moved back to his home town of SLC.
All the art in the gallery was interesting, and he was great fun to chat with about SLC houses and such.

We raced home, I made scrimp scampi, then we headed downtown  to the library for the Golden Book show...

And to catch a reading by the author of The Passage, Justin Croin.
Can you believe this author of a MAJOR best seller and soon to me a MAJOR motion picture was reading from his novel and taking questions from the audience at the Salt Lake Public Library auditorium?
There were only about 40 people there.  Considering how long his book has been on the best seller list, this was quite a surprise.
Mr. Croin lives in Houston, teaches at Rice University, and has written two other novels.
As he shared: He had run out of interest for completing another one of his novels and had already spent the advanced money (whoopsie!) when his then 8 year old daughter said he was worried about him. He asked what she was worried about, she said that he wrote boring stuff.
Normally one would expect an eight year old to find an adult novel boring, so he asked her what he should write about that would make for an interesting novel.  She suggested a novel about a little girl who saves the world, (complete with a hair flick and spin, obviously meaning herself.)

Since the daughter needed to work on her bike riding skills, Cronin decided to go along with her on bike rides and together they decided what would make for an interesting story.

Eventually he had 30 pages of notes.  He outlined the story, and sold it.
The first massive book hit the best seller list hard.
The paper back publication is now out.
Oh and did I mention The Passage is book one of a trilogy?
And parts of the book (the part he read aloud) was set in good old Houston?
We could picture every bit that he read.  We bought the book, had it autographed and Bernie cracked it open.
That was the last I heard a sound out of Bernie for the next two days.
Later we learned our daughter in law Rachel had also read the book non-stop.  The two of them compared notes, whispering so I would not over hear, so when  I finally get a chance to do nothing but read for two day straight the plot twists won't be ruined.
The folks at the reading made it very clear that they were on pins and needles until second book comes out a year from now.
Oh and the guy who did the screenplay for Gladiators is doing the screen play for this book.
It is THAT big of a deal.

While Bernie read, I went mushroom hunting.
Doesn't it sound classy to say I was morel hunting in the forest?
I think so...

Monday evening I took Bernie out to the woodlands so he could find a morel too.
And he did.
The morel pictures above was the only one gathered; it was lovingly sliced into four pieces and enjoyed with dinner that same night.

Then this morning another bit of culture came our way, via email, via my long lost distant east coast cat loving cousin.
She sent me THIS link to Duetto buffo di due gatti - G. A. Rossini
I played it.  Bitsy stared at me the whole time I was listening with a most concerned look on her face.
A few minutes later I had Bernie listen to the same thing on my Android phone.

I think Bitsy understood what the boys were singing...and she found it quite disturbing!
We couldn't believe how hard she looked at the screen, fidgeted around and basically gave every appearance of deep concern.
It was hilarious, both Bitsy and the clip!

Bearded Iris are blooming all across SLC and our neighborhood.
Are they not the most show stopping "classy" looking flowers?

The final round of late blooming tulips are showing up.

My first ever peony bloom is underway..
(And don't all classic gardens include peonies if the planting range is correct for their growth?)

Tate has been involved in his "classy" cultural past time as well.

(He was sure I was going to forget to mention this...)

The robins have arrived!
They are outside on our lawn!
A classic sign of June's arrival: a robin has been seen.

Tate:  Rarhhhh...Rawbens!!!

I've also been involved in some much needed interior decorating, another sign of culture and class.

I'll share about that too, a little later, once it is all done!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Golden Books-Golden Memories

My favorite Little Golden Book: The Tawny Scrawny Lion. 
My Dad used to read it aloud to me before I would go to sleep.
I just loved the lion who would chase one kind of animal on Monday, another kind of animal on Tuesday, and so on through the week, and how he never managed to catch his prey.
I won't spoil the plot by telling you more...

My Mom would allow my brother and me to get a new Little Golden Book at the grocery store from time to time.  Eventually we had quite a collection of the small books with silvery golden spines.

I, of course, later read the same little books to my own children.
A few of my Little Golden Books have my name scrawled inside, with the "J" backwards, my earliest attempts at printing my name.
Those books are still at my parent's house, so visiting neighbor children can have a book or two read to them when they come visiting.

It would likely be safe to hold the assumption that almost everyone who is age 60 and under in America has a memory of a favorite Little Golden Book from their childhood.

Last Thursday I got an amazing new yet old Little Golden Book memory.

The Salt Lake City Public Library has installed an exhibition of The Little Golden Books-and included a show of at least 30 (we didn't count) original Little Golden Book illustrations.

I can not include any photos of the illustrations as photography was forbidden.  A librarian was in the room to make sure no one managed to sneak a photo either.

Despite that limitation, the exhibit was so worth seeing. 
Each painting stopped us dead in our tracks and created a yearning to own that particular illustration.
Why oh why hasn't the Little Golden book company released all those illustrations as posters?
The details...the details that we had missed seeing before in our own little book leaped out from the 11x15 inch (or larger) original work.

After we had finally dragged ourselves out of the room with all the illustrations we learned that the collection was the most expensive exhibit that the SLC public library had every shown.

There has been some pretty spectacular shows at the SLCPL before; the privately owned original LGB illustrations are valued at a price that falls into the serious investment level price point. 

Since the Little Golden Book company no longer owns the illustrations, they have no way of offering re-prints of the originals.

Those folks who were lucky enough to acquire the illustration were very lucky indeed.

The librarian on duty steered us to a book that told the history of the Little Golden Books.  Apparently there was quite a story beyond sweet little books with darling little illustrations. I am not sure I want to read the history book; it might spoil my pleasant memories if I know what went on between adults back then.

Ignorance is bliss...I want to stay happy!

I didn't take a picture of every Little Golden Book that was on display inside a Plexiglas display box; maybe I should go back and do that just that. 

Photography of those books were permitted, and that might just give someone an idea of how they could get a poster sized print made of their favorite LGB page.

So now I have a question for you:  What was your favorite Little Golden Book, and why?

Bernie pointed out the cover price on LGB rose over the years.
I think they were about a quarter when I was a child.
Next time I see one at the store I will have to check and see how much they are going for today.

Some illustration earned a special place in my heart after I was all grown up.  If I could snap my fingers and make a wish come true, it would that everyone reading this post could see the original illustrations done by Eloise Wilkin. 
They are breath taking beautiful.

The children she painted looked like they could take a breath and come to life at any moment.  The pictures in the books are lovely; the original art...hauntingly beautiful

I don't remember having seen this particular LGB before.
As a seasoned mom, my first thought concerned how bandage distribution was managed in families with more than two children.
Or in families with only two kids, where one of the children was quick to peel and stick those bandages on something before the second child could even say "boo".

Did the book buying mom restock the bandage collection to make all the kids happy?
(I know my mom took a dim view of bandages being used willie-nillie.)

Anyone out there have a memory about "Doctor Dan the Bandage Man" as a child?  How did your family manage bandage distribution?

(Perhaps more significant: Could this problem's solution be applied to medical care distribution today? Did this book foreshadow a major health care dilemma for the young reader in later years?)

Looking forward to hearing about your favorite Little Golden Book memories.