Easy to say, hard to fathom: thanks to all our servicemen and women…
Posts Tagged ‘holidays’
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Ok, so it isn’t a real holiday. But I still think handwriting is an important cause to promote in the age of electronics… according to the Writing Instrument Manufacturer’s Association (WIMA), which sponsors it, “National Handwriting Day is a chance for all of us to re-explore the purity and power of handwriting.” It falls on January 23, in conjunction with John Hancock’s birthday, because “Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence and is famous for his large, bold signature.”
Interestingly, Western countries are not the only ones who struggle with this issue. According to a post on The Economist‘s language blog, computers and mobile phones have made Chinese characters much easier to read and look up, but harder to write from scratch:
In Chinese culture, good handwriting was long seen as indicative of moral fibre, knowledge of characters was synonymous with learning itself, and calligraphy was a great art. Now, the Chinese can avoid the drawbacks of the writing system while reading, but in avoiding those drawbacks, they are atrophying their ability to write their language with a pen. Writing on a computer is different – type in “wo” and Windows’s Chinese support will give you the most common character (the one that means “I”) first, along with the ability to choose many other characters pronounced “wo”. The software will usually find the most appropriate character for the context.
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in Beautiful Creations, Cabinet of Curiosities | Add your comment »
Though the angle of the sun conspired against my cell-phone picture taking efforts, this lobster trap Christmas tree — at Lee’s Market in Westport, MA — seemed like the perfect follow-up to the book tree Cecilia found earlier, and in the spirit of the not-quite-gone season, I figured I’d post it here.
Hope your holidays were joyful!
in Beautiful Creations | 3 comments »
What’s particularly great about this idea to my space-starved urban eye is the fact that you can pack it up at the end of the season by putting the books back on their shelves. A, er, novel approach, dare I say!
in Editorial | 4 comments »
My list is pretty simple: family, friends, health (especially after my long mystery illness). I’m grateful to be gainfully employed during a recession, and I’m glad I have a job that’s flexible and creative.
Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for?
in Beautiful Creations, Editorial | 4 comments »
Here in the US, it’s become something of a national pastime to marvel at how commercialized our holidays have become, and cluck our tongues as the stores set out their Halloween/Thanksgiving/Hanukkah-and-Christmas displays earlier and earlier.
On some occasions, though, it doesn’t hurt to get a head start. One of my aunts, continuing a tradition my grandparents began, always sends a box of German Lebkuchen around this time of year; the cookies last well through December and I am very happy to have them.
I’m also glad to have the decorative storage tins they come in, which I hoard for various purposes. Most years, the tins feature some sort of traditional winter cityscape (cathedrals, snow). This year, I got a special “Artist’s Chest” with a painting by Egon Schiele. I can’t think of a better place to put my fountain pen inks, which are currently stacked loose on a shelf.
How early do your holidays start?
in Editorial | 1 comment »
For the past few years, we’ve been in Massachusetts on Labor Day, enjoying the local tradition of getting together with other families for some group-made fish chowder.
This year, we’re in Brooklyn, continuing to deal with the damage that Irene did to our basement. I can’t say it’s my favorite way to spend a holiday, but the good news is, the end is in sight. And I’ve never been so grateful for municipal trash services in my life… New York’s Strongest, indeed.
Wishing everyone a restful holiday.
in Editorial, Pens, Paper & People | 2 comments »
Karen saw this article in the Wall Street Journal last week about so-called “office spouses,” co-workers with close Platonic relationships.
It’s been years since I’ve had an office to go into every day, but I have definitely developed close friendships with some of my clients. I don’t know if it’s occurred to me to send them Valentines, however — in general, the relationships feel more familial than spouse-like.
Do you have an office spouse? Did you do anything with him or her for Valentine’s Day?
in Cabinet of Curiosities, Where to Go? | 2 comments »
Every Labor Day in Westport, a bunch of local families get together for fish chowder. The tradition dates back, incredibly, to 1906, and the idea is that you come with your own bowl, spoon, and beverages, pay $2.50 towards the cost of the food, and dig in and socialize. Decades back, people used to meet on a rocky island in the middle of the Westport River. Now, they congregate in the more easily accessible backyard of a volunteer.
This year, I was part of a group of about 10 women that helped prep the ingredients — 20 pounds of onions to be chopped, potatoes to be cut into wedges (the thin end of the wedge dissolves into the chowder as it cooks and adds body, while the thick end remains intact enough to eat), and fish fillets (cod and haddock) to be cut into 2-inch chunks. Here we all are with the potatoes:
The men then take over and cook the chowder over an outdoor fire according to an old recipe that has plenty of quirky instructions (start the fire with 2 pages from the New York Times, and so on), and people show up around noon — though the chowder’s never done that soon — to eat. There are usually plenty of kids running around with one another, while the adults sit or stand and chat. It’s a very cool tradition and a great send-off to the summer.
Here’s my bowl of half-eaten chowder:
Hope you had a restful holiday!