Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The End of This Blog

I'm still blogging at maefood.blogspot.com ...

Black Raku Tea Bowl, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, from our visit there last month.
I'll be continuing to write about many interests including Japanese art and literature, international food, and travel.


I started this blog in April, 2006, when I was about to leave for a month in Israel. On a previous stay in Israel, I had recorded my impressions in a series of emails, which I collected later, and I realized that a blog would be a better way to let friends share my experiences.

Later that summer, I decided to separate my blogging activity into specialized streams: particularly, to separate food posts. Thus I began my food blog. Now I intend to re-integrate all my blogging into a single stream: my food blog. In 2016, I'll include posts about travel, wildlife, and reading there even if they aren't about food.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Favorite Poetry

In today's New York Times Book Review: "What's your favorite poem?" Responses to the question are from a number of well-known writers.

I'm not much of a poetry reader, but several of the poems listed are also among my favorites. Here are some of the beloved poems from the article, and my own memories of them:

TA-NEHISI COATES: Robert Hayden’s “Middle Passage.” I reread this poem just now. It's an incredibly powerful evocation of what it would have been like to be a captured slave on a slave ship in the Middle Passage from Africa to the new world. The poet Robert Hayden was a neighbor of ours for a few years in the 1970s and I remember greeting him as he walked his dog named Sadie. This adds to my appreciation of the poem.

ALAN CUMMING: Yeats’s “Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.” Another that I remember loving a long time ago when I took a course about William Butler Yeats.

KATIE COURIC: John McCrae's “In Flanders fields the poppies blow / Between the crosses, row on row” is her favorite, and she also mentions a poem I often recited when I was a child: “The Swing,” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

MO WILLEMS: Dr. Seuss’s “Hop on Pop.” What a great choice. What parent or grandparent doesn't love to remember reading this to small children and then seeing them learn to read it for themselves!

I suspect that you might find some of your favorites in this engaging list!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

"Ungifted" by Gordon Korman


My book club is going to discuss Ungifted by Gordon Korman. Though we are all adults, we're reading a YA book, so I have written some questions that seem usable by an adult discussion group. I enjoyed the book and found it very amusing. though somehow the questions seem rather serious.

1.         Since we’ll get around to it eventually anyway, who wants to tell a story of their own Middle School/Jr. High experiences?

2.         Alice who is 12 and liked the book suggested two discussion questions about Donovan Curtis, the central character:

     A.          If he would stay at the gifted school would it be good or bad for him?
     B.           Why did Donovan’s sister feel so comfortable with the gifted kids?

3.         Donovan’s perceptions of the differences between the schools are a key element of the book. Sort of typical, a passage written by Donovan:

“Classes at my new old school weren’t better, exactly, but at least I understood what was going on. I’d been faking it for so long at the Academy that it was startling to suddenly know actual answers. I even raised my hand a few times in math, until Sanderson bounced a spitball off my skull and hissed, ‘Dude— this isn’t the Academy!’

“And I couldn’t help thinking, No, it sure isn’t. You can see it in the paint  job, and taste it in the bad cafeteria food. You can hear it in the dead air that hangs in the classroom when the teacher asks a question. You can smell it in the sweaty gym socks— so different from the synthetic-oil aroma of a set of Mecanum wheels.”  (p. 215).

A.         Do gifted kids in our society really get treated better to the extent that the book implies?

B.         In this and many other passages when Donovan describes the situation at the school, the relationships between the teachers and students, the attitudes and social pressures among the kids, and much more, he’s incredibly perceptive and his observations are amazing. Is this convincing? Is he a believable observer?


4.         Did you find the portrayals of the kids/teachers/administrators excessively stereotyped? Is there balance between the predicted behavior of  the “gifted” and the “ungifted” and their self-awareness as revealed in their alternating narratives?


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mysterious Maps

botanical-garden 1
Here's a perfectly nice map of the Matthaei Botanical Garden near the point where you enter the woods.
Note that West (Dixboro Road) is at the top.
botanical-garden 2
After you have walked for a while, you find another map. They must want to mess with your head --
this map is reversed from the first one. You can see that West/Dixboro Road is at the bottom.
We had a very nice walk in the gardens again on a beautiful morning this week. I just wonder who designed those maps!

botanical-garden 3


Sunday, November 08, 2015

A Quiet Botanical Garden

In the woods at Matthaei Botanical Gardens this afternoon it was very quiet. The fall colors have become very subdued.
Only a few other people were walking in the woods.
Inside the greenhouse. 

Insect-eating plants seemed to be waiting eagerly for prey. 
I always love the indoor goldfish pond.
On the way home we stopped to watch the swans on the river in the very late afternoon sun.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Roger the Owl

roger_the_owl 2 Len's photo of a screech owl named Roger, from this morning. This link to Flickr allows you to see all his recent nature photos.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Trip East, 2015

Longwood Gardens

We recently traveled to Fairfax, Cape May, Philadelphia, and Lancaster, PA. One highlight was visiting Longwood Gardens with Arny and Tracy, as documented on Flickr. Here's a photo from Longwood: Tracy taking a photo, Arny looking around, and Lenny looking towards the camera:


longwood-gardens 18

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lighthouses, Birds, Beaches

Bald Eagle on the beach at Cape May.

Heron fishing at Lake Lily near the lighthouse.
Lake Lily, gallinule
From the Ferry between Delaware and Cape May, New Jersey. 


Cape May lighthouse, early morning light.
Cape May lighthouse, full afternoon sun. 
Lighthouse at sunset from the Nature Conservancy preserve.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Birders, butterflies, and boats

Sunset on the first of our several guided birdwalks in Cape May, NJ.
It's the season for bird migration here, and therefore birder season.
Yesterday I posted a few photos of our visit here. This post adds a few more.
Birders heading home at sunset. 
Early morning: looking for a rare Bell's Vireo. The bushes were swarming with little birds that had been flying over
the water at dawn, and then came in to wait for another night of migration. Around 50 birders were watching the birds.
More than 100 were watching for hawks and eagles overhead at the Hawkwatch Tower around 4 miles from this location.
Near the Hawkwatch platform:
A non-native black swan. Someone brought it from Australia or New Zealand,
it got away, and no one knows who let it go. 
Monarch butterflies are also in migration. Like the birds they fly down the New Jersey peninsula and then wait for
a good moment to start across the water and continue flying south. 
Tree swallows in large numbers were circling around and also resting on the beach and on fences yesterday before continuing their flight.
On the beach.
The "Osprey" -- the birdwatching cruise boat that we took yesterday.

This is also posted at maefood.blogspot.com!