Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

Well, Jack and I did venture out yesterday. Twice. About 1 in the afternoon, the sun came out for an hour or so, and the sidewalks got all melty and full of slush. It seemed like a good time to go for a walk, and so we did. It was a delightful walk, too. Sloppy and cold, but not really icy. The sun started to melt the ice off the trees and the wires, but it didn’t shine long enough to raise the temp above zero, and so today, the trees are still frosted. Jack and I went out again after supper, and the sidewalk slush had turned into rough frozen ice. It wasn’t as slippery as I’d thought. The snow that covered the ice helped rough it up, and the soles of my boots were mostly able to find traction. Even Jack managed better with only 1 slip and no falls. Today the world remains frosted with ice and snow, and I love the way things look. There’s so much more light, and it reflects like millions of tiny, shiny diamonds in the glow of streetlights at night and the short glimpses of the sun today. The walking is difficult, but not dangerous. Most people have shovelled, and what ice remains is rough and well trampled. We need to go slow and shuffle a bit, but it’s so pretty outside I don’t mind.


Here’s another song for today. I sing this song when I’m on the beach ins the summer looking for sea glass because they shine like diamonds when you find them. Today the whole world is made of diamonds. And of course, we’re all as bright, and beautiful as diamonds ourselves, so let’s all shine a bit today, too.


Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved

We had freezing rain all day yesterday, and it’s left our world coated in ice and a perilous place for walking. Jack and I set out early yesterday morning, just as the ice was starting, because I thought it might be the only window of opportunity for the whole day and I was right, The ice began to coat everything quickly, and a minute or two after leaving the house it was already slick walking. We went once around the big block, very slowly and cautiously. Mostly I walked on the grass, but Jack preferred the sidewalk because the grass was sharp with ice, and he was wearing vaseline boots that don’t have a decent protective tread* like mine. Jack did fine until we reached the places where the sidewalk slopes. Even four-footed Jack struggled once or twice with his balance on the sloped driveways. Poor Bubba found himself sliding sideways toward the street a few times, and in trying to correct himself, he had one or another of his back legs slip out. Then I’d see him freeze and dig his toenails into the ice and look up to me, asking what to do next. I encouraged him to use the grass a few times, but he said it hurt his feet and that made sense, so then I encouraged him to walk on the street, but Jack’s been raised to stay away from the road, and it’s so ingrained that he doesn’t like to do it. By the time we got home, the ice was already building up a thick coating on everything, and we both felt lucky to reach the house upright and undamaged. We didn’t leave the house again for the rest of the day.

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved

We may not leave the house today, either. Today, we’re getting snow on top of the ice, making things even slipperier and more dangerous. No one has yet put down any salt, and it’s treacherous out there. Jack says he can use the backyard if he needs the toilet, and I thanked him very much for his consideration. Jack has seen me go Boom!, on the ice a few times in his life, and it always upsets him. When it’s slippery, Jack automatically slows down, and as he walks, he keeps looking over his shoulder to see how I’m doing. He’s such a good boy. Maybe I should try to take him out – just around the small block. What do you think – Should I stay or should I go?


  • I tried a set of real dog boots for Jack a few years back, and he wanted no part of them!





Moonvine Madness

It’s no secret that I love flowers, especially on Mondays, which I think need a bit of extra pretty. Well, for this Monday,  Opus has sent us some gorgeous photos of the last of his moon vine. Enjoy!

Before the freeze I was able to rescue a moon vine blossom and photograph it. It was a bit of a challenge, since I was taking multiple photographs while it was wilting. But, it was worth it. Now I can’t wait for next year, to try again.

Moon vine Unfurling – 1 ©Opus, all rights reserved

Moon vine Unfurling – 2 ©Opus, all rights reserved

Moon vine Unfurling – 3 ©Opus, all rights reserved

Moon vine Unfurling – 4 ©Opus, all rights reserved

Jack Frost’s Little Prisoners

Stella Austin, S. Baring-Gould, Caroline Birley, E.H. Nachtbull-Hugessen, Charlotte M. Young, Mrs. Lucy Massey, Mrs. Molesworth, Anne Thackery-Ritchie, Ethel Mary Wilmot- Buxton. Jack Frost’s Little Prisoners. A collection of stories for children four to twelve years of age. Boston, Knight and Millet, 1887.

Welcome to December at The Art of Book Design. We have a full month of winter-themed books to share and I thought I’d start with a title that expresses how Jack and I feel about winter when it’s icy outside. It’s a book of winter stories for young children, and I love the little birds that decorate the cover.

via: The George Smathers Library at the University of Florida

I Watched Frozen 2 (and I liked it)

Yesterday we went to watch Frozen 2 in the cinema. My friends took their grandkid and we took ours and the little one’s BFF. They were chatting so much in the car, and our friends arrived a bit late and once we all had our popcorn I was already so confused that we first accidentally ended up in the wrong theatre (I noticed when I could see clearly despite not wearing my 3D classes). Sorry to the other folks.

Once we found space in the right theatre, the movie could start and it was great fun. First, there’s a lot of the silly fun that these movies are known for. Olaf is reliable as in the first one, but there’s also lots of situational humour that both kids and adults can enjoy.

Also, there’s new fun characters, with the spirit of fire probably being the cutest.


I’m definitely waiting for merchandise.

There’s also the usual adult joke or two thrown into that Disney is famous for. You know the ones that completely fly over the head of the kids and make the adults giggle and I also think that makes a great family movie. Things can be understood at different levels.

I absolutely liked how they handled the Anna – Kristof relationship. The two of them are lovers, but they are also friends. The whole gang meets up at night in the castle to play games and all the characters care for each other.

Another great part was the costuming. Now, I have no idea how they got spandex in Arendelle, but both Elsa’s and Anna’s travel gear looks like they can actually do the things they are doing in them. Still no pockets, but Anna gets a bag.

Now, for the great “Elsa is gay” controversy:

If that ain’t a “coming out” song I don’t know what it is. She’s always been torn, and different and now she’s singing a duet with a female voice who holds the answer and who is supposed to show herself. I am not quite sure what she’s coming out as, but I think that “queer” definitely counts.

Lastly, an unexpected aspect. While the trailer already hinted at Sami culture, I expected some nod at cultural diversity and you know what. I didn’t expect colonialism to be actually a topic and I didn’t expect the solution to “past wrongs” to be so radical. Without spoiling it: That’s what actual recompensation looks like.

The Art of Book Design: Goody Two-Shoes

Goody Two Shoes. New-York, McLoughlin Bro’s, 1888.

I’ve always wondered about the origin of the expression “Goody Two-shoes,” and I finally found the answer in a Victorian Era’s Children’s book. This is not the original version, which I have been unable to locate, but the story is the same. It was initially published in 1768 by John Newbury Co. In London and tells the story of an orphaned girl who does well in life despite her impoverished beginnings. As with most stories of the time, the girl succeeds by being unfailingly kind and sweet, and she is rewarded with a happy marriage to a wealthy man. Uggh! So it’s basically Cinderella without the cinders and marriage is the ultimate success for a girl. Goody’s brother also does well, by going to sea and having lots of adventures while amassing a fortune. Why do the boys always get to have adventures, but the girls must become capable and good wives?

It’s a short book, so I’ve attached all the illustrations below the fold if you’re interested.

It isn’t certain who wrote the story. In those days, publishing houses paid writers for anonymous work. Some people argue that Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith may have penned the story. Others suggest that John Newbery himself wrote the story, or possibly Giles Jones, a friend of Newbery’s. There is little evidence for any of these claims.

The 1768 book isn’t the origin of the phrase, however, which is first seen in literature in 1670 in the book Voyage to Ireland in Burlesque by Charles Cotton.

Mistress mayoress complained that the pottage was cold;
‘And all long of your fiddle-faddle,’ quoth she.
‘Why, then, Goody Two-shoes, what if it be?
Hold you, if you can, your tittle-tattle,’ quoth he. 

                            – Voyage to Ireland in Burlesque, 1670, by Charles Cotton

The phrase being used in this instance to point out the Goodwife’s (Goody) privilege (having 2 shoes as opposed to others who have none.) The 1768 book did, however, make being a Goody Two-Shoes into a desirable trait for a girl.

Next week we’ll look at a different sort of book for girls.



Source for book and illustrations: The Internet Archive

Source for information on Goody Two-Shoes:  Wikipedia

[Read more…]

In Need of Cute

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The bunnies, back in late summer. I think we can all do with some cute. You know your blogging team is all struggling with personal and health shit, so, sorry for neglecting you a tad. I had a busy week, because the world is a shitty place for kids and sometimes you can help, at other times you can’t and that’s the hardest part because all you can do then is keep your files up to date to prove you did everything you could. I’m taking that kind of shit hard. And because my mind is constantly working on 10 things at the same time while also forgetting some rather simple things I managed to damage both my front and my back bumper in two different but equally stupid events the same day after 20 years of driving without any accidents. Duh.

Jack’s Walk

I think tree roots look like dinosaur toes. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Boy, am I ever glad to see the end of this week. It’s been a week full of frustration and a bit of embarrassment. I’ve been tackling the list of things that need to be done when a parent or any other person dies, only it hasn’t been going as well as I’d hope. To begin with, I completely forgot about an appointment at the bank on Monday. Then, the very next day, I managed to completely forget about an appointment with my dentist. I called both places as soon as I remembered, and they were gracious about rescheduling, but I hate to inconvenience other people. It makes me feel stupid and appear scatterbrained, neither of which is generally true.

It’s because I’ve not really recovered from caring for mom before she died, and my fibromyalgia has been acting up. In the days before mom died, I knew I was burning out. I’d had 2 months worth of 8 – 10 hour days trying to keep mom calm and quiet, which didn’t really happen until the last few days of her life, so it felt a lot like bailing out a sinking boat in the middle of the ocean. The need was constant and you couldn’t relax. Even when I came home, I could still hear her calling for help. It disturbed my sleep at night. I lost my appetite and it’s only thanks to regular meals provided by friends that I didn’t completely stop eating. I put so many of my own things off until later, that when mom did finally die I had a long list of to-do’s that suddenly needed to be done plus a list of extra things to do for the estate. I’m generally pretty chill, but I’ve been feeling rattled, and I’ve been having more pain. Then there’s the brain thing, that I struggle to describe. When I was Case Managing, I carried a large and complex caseload in a sizeable territory, and every day was full of multi-tasking and constant reprioritization, so I know that my brain used to be capable of these things. I used to read 2 – 4 books a week when I was working and a book a day when on vacation. I always found learning new things easy. Now, I struggle to read. I don’t remember characters, and I lose pieces of the plot. I’m lucky to read one book a week and it feels like work. Learning new things has become time-consuming, difficult and taxing for all the same reasons. My brain is a sieve and things just fall through. I don’t know how to describe this to people except to say that I have a terrible memory or that my brain feels sluggish – neither of which is exactly right. I feel like Algernon near the end of the book Flowers for Algernon, as things are being lost. It’s all very frustrating and when I’m tired or stressed it’s at its worst. That’s the sort of week I’ve had. Next week, I have new appointments with the estate manager at the bank and with the dentist. I hope to redeem myself and apologize to both, on time and in person. I also have a shiny, new to-do list, and I think it’s well organized to start. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. My mom left me executor of her will, and I will find the way – just maybe not the express route.