11 Great Books: Perfect Gifts for the Hard-to-Buy-For

A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.  -Franz Kafka It’s December, and we’ve arrived at the final days of 2011 (already!). Every year, here on my blog, I reflect on the books that I have read and enjoyed over the past year, and post the names and titles.Continue reading “11 Great Books: Perfect Gifts for the Hard-to-Buy-For”

Mentors: Helping Us to Be More Than We Could Be On Our Own

I carry your heart with me; I carry it in my heart. -e.e.cummings In 1992, I enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering program at Purdue University … a tough program, to say the least. I graduated with my engineering degree four and a half years after I started, though it wasn’t because of me. I hadContinue reading “Mentors: Helping Us to Be More Than We Could Be On Our Own”

Japan, Why We Can Help, and My Experience Living There

“… the March 11, 2011 9.0 earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear disaster becomes an epic devastation …” Today, in light of recent devastation in Asia, I am changing my weekly post order to reflect on what is happening in Japan. I lived in Tokyo for three months in 1990, and I grieve for the peopleContinue reading “Japan, Why We Can Help, and My Experience Living There”

A More Beautiful Place

A few years ago, we enjoyed a summer vacation in Maine, the camping kind involving a tent and hiking boots. Since it was not the first time we’d traveled around Maine, we had an idea of what to look forward to—the rocky coastline, the sleepy clapboard villages, the saltsprayed restaurants serving mouthwatering blueberry pie andContinue reading “A More Beautiful Place”

A Little Lagniappe

When we lived in New Orleans, I picked up a word from our N’Awlins native neighbors—lagniappe. Though I haven’t much heard the word used north of Interstate 10, I think the concept is applicable everywhere. Lagniappe is a good thing, loosely defined as an unexpected bonus. Like the baker who slips in an extra cookieContinue reading “A Little Lagniappe”

The Irrepressible American Spirit

I know I promised to post next with more about the gardens, but I’m inserting an extra set of thoughts in here based on what I’m thinking about today … to compensate, an extra photo for aesthetic beauty. 🙂 Looking forward to this kind of summer in the bone-chilling and bleakest days of this winter!ItContinue reading “The Irrepressible American Spirit”

Great Books for Giving

Shopping is not my favorite thing to do. In fact, I think I’m not a very good shopper. These past twelve years, I have to admit I’ve wholeheartedly adopted Brian’s shopping method: have a list, find the items on the list, buy them and get out … quick. I tend to go as long asContinue reading “Great Books for Giving”