Sunday, October 30, 2011


Everyody has favorite friends, places, colors and things... Pop-Up Books are one of my favorite things. Are they one of your favorites, too?

Certainly I am partial to words and books, stories and illustrations. Add a pop-up element and I am thrilled with the paper folding genius that makes it possible. On my bookshelf is a colorful little book with just five pages of simple poetry enhanced with little drawings and cleverly folded pop-up flowers. It begins with the poem, "A thing of Beauty" by John Keats as a trio of daffodils literally blooms out from the page. Is there any better way to offer a reader a thing of beauty?

Some of this poetry book's pop-ups rise up, as did the daffodils, from the bottom of the page while others shift from right to left or top to bottom. The final page of apple blossoms magically opens from pink buds to flowers. You can almost smell the fragrance!

It's Halloween and I have a couple Monster Pop-Up Books - books of few words but scary, colorful characters jump up from the page. At Christmastime I display a series of children's pop-up books with stories from the Jesus' birth to "The Night Before Christmas."

Perhaps the most accomplished pop-up book designer is Robert Sabuda who, along with Matthew Reinhart, produces big, beautiful books of complicated paper folding artistry like Peter Pan, Fairies, Jungle Book and America to name a few.... My sister has an impressive collection of Sabuda's books. She also has a talent for paper folding, scrap-booking and creating unique greeting cards.

It would be nice to have enough talent to make pop-up books to emphasize my Haiku poetry but, alas, I have no such ability - just appreciation for those who do! If you'd like to try paper folding pop-ups, just look up Go to Explore Pop-Up Books and click on 'Simple Pop-Ups You Can Make.' I made the three-masted ship. Well, it is fun to try....

What are your Favorite Things? Tell me. I'd like to know.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I seem to have lost October! Have you seen it?

It is one of my favorite months - especially with the feel of autumn on my cheeks, bags of candy corn everywhere, and the sound of acorns tapdancing on my car. Every October day seems to bring another beautiful day to remember. Some bring us reminiscences from past Octobers while others are new visions to create new memories.

Halloween is just one week away. Of course, it is my most favorite holiday of the year - I even have an orange cat, Daphne Dom-Dilly, and a black witch's hat to celebrate the occasion. This is a time for fresh apples, pumpkins, squashes; a time for vegetable soup, football games and chrysanthymum corsages. It is the time of year when every scary movie is replayed on TCM - just for screams. I'm not sure what the favored costumes will be this year but some of my most favorites are those worn by my children and grandchildren when they were young: Pirates, Queen Elizabeth I, head-hunter, the Jolly Green Giant (that one won a first-prize award at a Halloween party), cowboy/girl, blonde Dutch girl or a colorful clown. One granddaughter morphed into a turtle at age ten months. Toddlers became dragons, princesses and bears. It was such fun to design Halloween costumes and to greet neighbor children clad in their own versions of classical or popular characters. Trick or Treat!

This year, October has disappeared in a heat wave followed by drenching rains then shivering blasts of coldness. My family and the entire community seemed to be sneezing, coughing and speaking in a nasal dialect. How grateful we are as the weather has stabilized into warm days and cool nights. Driving across the Ozarks is beautiful every month of the year. October is no exception as emerald green meadows slowly turn darker or lighter, while trees that were green last week now surprise us by wearing bright reds and yellows leaves. Will this be a year of shock and awe with autumn beauty? My camera is powered up and ready. Seven days of October yet to come and I don't want to miss another day of it! How about you?

Friday, October 14, 2011


Hang on to the things you value because we're moving at full speed ahead! The world has progressed from crank telephones to instant messaging in less than a century. We have gone from exploring neighorhoods on Big Wheels and bicycles to exploring the moon in lunar modules. Buggy whips are gone forever.

Boomers were raised with 'up-to-the-minute' things that are quickly fading from use and sight. I read in the newspaper this week that hundreds of US Post Office buildings will be closing their doors forever. Have you noticed the disappearance of those blue mailboxes that stood on every corner? Benjamin Franklin was the first US Post Master about 1775. It was the reliable means of transporting important words and documents. On September 15, 2011, it was announced 250 mail-handling facilities throughout the nation are slated for permanent closure. By 1220, the US Postal Service will have gone the way of the buggy whip. If you don't already have one, it's time to invest in a modern cell phone.

Newspapers and books will soon be a thing of th past. There is little point to retrieving your morning edition of the Herald, Post or Bulletin from your lilac bushes. It contains yesterday's news - the same news you saw on television last night or read about on your cell phone as it occurred. What was newspapers and book (print media) is now at your fingertips with computers, e-books, ePads, iPads and eReaders, etc.

In recent weeks instant messaging informed the world of the death of Apple's Steve Jobs. Electronic/Instant phones rallied large numbers of people to peaceful and not so peaceful causes. Cell phones with GPS have brought quick assistance to persons in distress. A 'down' side (as there is always more than one side to everything) of this speedy information is troublesome in that troublemakers have the same messaging access as the good guys. The worst-case scenerio is a communications system 'black out' - such an event happened (with Blackberry) in Mid- October, halting both business and personal cummunications for several days. Yet, we are speeding forward with e-devices in spite of obstacles. With easy access to personal data, profiles, GPS and cameras, individual privacy seems to be going the way of the buggy whip.

I recommend you enjoy all the items of nostalgia you can - while you can: TVs, CDs, games, books, or love letters. They may disappear in a 'poof' of innovation or fade away in a cloud of 'progress' as we move forward at full speed. I am still the dinasour with a land-line phone and Mozart CDs. I have a library of books but rely on Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia for instant research. As you can tell, I'm not moving at 'full speed ahead' but I am dancing as fast as I can!
How about you? How quickly are you adjusting? I'd like to know.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Most things in life turn out well, better or great when we remember to "Keep It Simple." ...Usually...

Humans have a tendency to complicate or misinterpret things like facts, feelings, information or conversations. Everyone needs a reminder to 'slow down,' 'take it ease' or 'keep it simple' at one time or another. We get carried away with projects, responsibilities, work or life and thinking. Humor gets lost when we think, 'it's all up to me.'

Certainly we want to be helpful, get involved, have fun and take responsibility. All those things are accomplished most effectively when we've taken care of ourselves first. Sounds selfish, but it is true. If you were the machine transporting precious cargo, providing comfort and safety for others, you would keep in good working order, properly fueled and maintained. It is more important for each human to maintain good working order. Yet, Keep It Simple.

Too much detail may add confusion. There are some things that require complicated knowledge, experience, alertness or resoning, or occasions without prerequisite information and caution when things can go awry. On the other hand, one might want to make a judgement call where simplicity is concerned. Too simple may be little. This newly popular 'texting,' though simple and brief, has led (so I have heard) to problems ranging from simple misunderstanding to major disasters. Here's my e-mail case: Did that email tell me what I think it did or was it telling me something else?

I plan to attened a MahJongg Tournament. My application was submitted later than most. The email attachment I received wouldn't download with the computer program I use. So, a friend printed out the application for me. I hastily filled in the blanks, wrote a check and dropped it in the mailbox. That was easy. Two days later, I received an email from the Tournament organizer. (She is a woman of few words and employs a 'Keep It Simple" management style.) "DEAR NANCY: I NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT???? #1 OR #2 PLEASE LET ME KNOW (signed) xxxx.

I am an advocate of three-word messages, mantras and 'Keep It Simple.'
Obviously, 'simple' doesn't always convey a tasteful message. I'll be eating #2.

What has your "Keep It Simple" experience been? Tell me. I'd like to know.