Monday, February 8, 2016

Memorandum Monday: First Time Travels

Sian from over at From High in the Sky hosts a meme asking people to share something new they've done over the weekend. This week I'm sharing some musings from a week ago, along with some fresh thoughts thrown in. 
I took this photograph a week ago at the Palm Springs airport. There's a very faint rainbow (can you see it?). It got me thinking that the Palm Springs airport is the first outdoor airport I've been to. It's so hot in Palm Springs that, after you go through security, you go outside to the various gates which are indoor/outdoor. I've been to a lot of memorable airports, from the miles in Heathrow to the underground walkways in Chicago. I remember the first time I flew on an airplane, and we walked down a ladder off the plane because it was the days before jet ways.
Palm Springs reminded me a bit of the airport in San Salvador, El Salvador where I walked outside to the softest air I ever felt and was overwhelmed by floral smells that were totally foreign to me. These sensory memories flooded back to me when I went to the outside portions of Palm Springs airport. 
Have you ever been to an outdoor airport? Any other memorable airports?
Now on to the new thoughts. This spring, I'll be going to two new airports! I'm going to teach in Shanghai, China in May. I've been to Beijing but never Shanghai. Paul is coming with me, and we are going to spend a few days in Japan on the way! Very excited for my first trip there. Do you have any upcoming travel plans?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Six Word Sunday: The dog with grass green paws

"I wish I could garden everyday!"
Miriam is hosting a weekly meme of a story told in one photo and six words. Here's my entry for this week with the prompt "wish." You can check out others here.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Books I read in 2015

A few of my blog friends have done a year-in-reading review, and they inspired me to do one of my own. Karen of Random Reflections listed her top 10 in this post, and Carola's list can be found here.
I'm not a big reader. I love books, love reading book reviews and love purchasing books. But somehow reading itself is something that tends to get pushed to the bottom of my to-do list. The one saving grace in this regard is my book group. We meet about once a month, and I do try to read our monthly book. They also have great recommendations for other books.
In 2015, I read in order of preference:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Very good book telling the story of two very different people during the rise of Nazi Germany. Loved it.
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. A very good book set in the 1920's New York City. Interesting characters, themes and plot. I liked it a lot.
The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson. An excellent courtroom drama set in the 1940's south. Deals with civil rights issues prior to the emergence of the 1950's civil rights era. Interesting and funny characters. While not a "greatest book of all time," I definitely recommend it.
Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin. A memoir about growing up in the New York City suburbs in the 1950's. It says a lot about baseball, neighborhoods, and childhood. I really liked it.
Still Life and A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny. Enjoyed both of these Inspector Gamache mysteries set in a small village in Quebec, Canada. I have already purchased number three in the series (The Cruelest Month) and am looking forward to reading it.
The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I'm not sure how or why I found this book, which might be better categorized as Young Adult fiction, but I really liked it and it has stuck with me. It's a zombie apocalypse book told from the perspective of a zombie-mutant that is evolving into a different species. A quick read.
In the Woods by Tana French Set in Ireland and volume 1 of the Dublin Murder Squad series; very atmospheric; well-written; story fell apart a bit at the end, but I liked it well enough to buy another in the series (Broken Harbor), which I haven't gotten around to reading yet.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. An okay book. Set in the San Francisco bay area, tells the story of a girl making her way out of foster care into independence, with the help of her love of flowers. Others in the book group liked it more than I did.
Mary Coin by Marisa Silver. Tells the fictionalized story of the famous Dorothea Lange photograph Migrant Mother. I liked it a lot less than everyone else in my book group. Too many undeveloped stories and the end came together like a "ten second tidy." 
So, that's ten books for me for the year. Not too many, I know. But it's better than nothing!
What's up this year? I read a very short, fast-read but not great courtroom drama called The Neon Lawyer by Victor Methos (perfect for sitting around in waiting rooms or commuting, but nothing memorable). I didn't finish the January book group book, My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. Our February book is Fates and Furies by Lauren Goff. I'm committed to reading and/or listening to it! Also, I liked this list from the Washington Post of great books coming out in 2016.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Snap: Goodbye Dear Friend. . . .

We recently had to say good-bye to Clara's dog Aria. Those two had such a close bond, it was incredible. I created an art journal page to say good-bye and a photo collage for Clara. It's a bittersweet Snap to share at Helena's blog this week.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Going my way? (Wintertime Photography Scavenger Hunt)

Just a quick end-of-the month check in on the Wintertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. I loved the prompt for arrow and found this one in Southern California. For some reason, it makes me happy when I look at it! I'm two-thirds of the way done with the Hunt, and should be able to finish next month!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snap! The Texture of Nature

Last week while hiking in Southern California, I spied this interesting plant. I love it's shape and silhouette and texture. So, I decided to capture four versions of it for Helena's Snap! meme.  I've always been captivated by seed pods, and I think these look . . . I don't know, almost dangerous! I'm looking forward to using the photos to sketch a bit later on.
Anyone know what kind of plant this is? I'd love to find out.
Happy Snapping!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Memorandum Monday: Creating an Alternate Universe

Hello Monday!
Sian over From High in the Sky organizes an opportunity on Monday to check in on your weekend and (especially) mention anything new you've done lately.
Well, I had a pretty relaxing weekend. Spent a lot of time in front of the TV catching up on Downton Abby, The Bachelor and Top Chef. Also watched the entire second season of The Fall! Yikes! No wonder I didn't get much done. 
The one new thing I did was work-related. For the law class I teach on employment discrimination, I created a case file of documents that the students will work with this semester to evaluate whether the two made-up applicants could successfully sue the fake employer that refused to hire them. I made up a job description, mocked up applications, wrote imaginary interview notes, drafted rejection letters, etc. Both applicants are applying for jobs as air traffic controllers. One is turned away because he is color-blind (which affects men more than women and could also be a disability); the other is possibly turned away because he is a Muslim of Pakistani descent (although he was born in the UK and worked at Heathrow). It should be interesting to see how the students work with the imaginary, real-world documents I created for class.