a book for the holidays

imageholidays on ice (1997) by humorist david sedaris contains “santaLand diaries” \ aired on public radio every year around christmastime, “santaLand diaries” is like the “twas the night before christmas” tradition of the npr crowd <well, at least to me | amid objections of traditionalists>

“santaLand diaries” chronicles sedaris’s time working as an elf at macys \my favorite part is when santa santa <the santa who took on his role most seriously> asks him to sing “away in a manger” / like any helpful elf, he does so – a la billie holiday :-) \ you can’t appreciate this episode as much on the printed page as you do actually hearing sedaris sing like billie holiday / still, SD & the rest of the stories were a hilarious read \ but the book is probably not for the conscientiously politically correct & sensitive types ;-)


fox chapel HS orchestra @barnes & noble

image fundraising at B&N waterworks pittsburgh

shout out to “beauty with a purpose”

missworld_wide-cfa401f18731e86baf6c90e96fe93881f4e63294-s800-c852013 miss philippines-miss world, megan young, helped raised money for typhoon haiyan victims in the philippines

Beauty with a Purpose is a registered charity and non-profit organisation associated with Miss World.  It raises money and participates in humanitarian projects across the world.

What 2014 Miss Philippines is doing:




another book by hemingway

imagethe sun also rises (1926) by ernest hemingway is considered one of his greatest works / hemingway’s terse & minimalist style of writing demonstrated in this novel, considered an iconic modernist work, was influential in the development of american short story & fiction writing

hemingway’s style of writing is called  the “iceberg theory” or the “theory of omission” & likely developed because of his early work as a journalist / <he was a foreign correspondent for the toronto star while living in paris inthe 1920s> \ he explains his style of writing:

“I omitted the real end [of “Out of Season”] which was that the old man hanged himself. This was omitted on my new theory that you could omit anything … and the omitted part would strengthen the story.” [from “a moveable feast” ]

“A few things I have found to be true. If you leave out important things or events that you know about, the story is strengthened. If you leave or skip something because you do not know it, the story will be worthless. The test of any story is how very good the stuff that you, not your editors, omit.”  [from “the art of the short story”]

it took me a long time to finish this short novel \ i thought the characters were shallow spoiled brats with no purpose in life, particularly the central female character & object of every male character’s obsession, brett / but the bullfighting ritual described towards the last quarter of the book & the ending redeemed it for me

illustration friday | sea


“owl & fiddle off to sea” | watercolor


everyday good eats!

imagedocumented in pictures, i had a good year of delicious everyday lunches & dinners! / thanks to homecooking, fu lai, uncle sam’s & ramen noodles <sure!> plus the occasional craft beer

festival of strings


the festival of strings is the annual holiday performance of all the orchestras of the fox chapel school district \ it was an event happier than usual as we celebrated the  pennsylvania teacher of the year award bestowed upon our high school orchestra director, mairi cooper

and… the middle school orchestra premiered its director’s 3-year in the making composition, the return / jeff bryer composed the etude for his students <lots of string crossings, he said> \ impressive, mr. bryer! / & love the electric violins


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