one for your brain, one for your ears, one for your eyes

May 13, 2008

The Good Master by Kate Seredy
I first read this book in junior high and it fit right into my obsession with stories from “the simpler times”. Along with Little House on the Prairie, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Eight Cousins, and All of a Kind Family, this book tells a simple story of a young boy growing up on in the last days of the large farming pre-industrial Hungarian plains. Jancsi and his city-girl cousin Kate experience the joys and difficulties of a year on the farm, interspersed with tales of gypsies and Hungarian folk tales. Set in the early 20th century, the story carries a bittersweet tone due to the knowledge that in only a few years World War I would sweep over this area of the world (the Singing Tree actually tells the story of the first world war as experienced by Jancsi, Kate and their family).
So in continuing my current re-reading books from my youth kick (Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Eight Cousins, Etc), I recently bought The Good Master and The Singing Tree. And I found myself just as enthralled with them this time around as when I first read them. Also it should be noted that Kate Seredy also provides the illustrations for both of the books, which are so beautiful and add great mental images to go along with life on the Hungarian plains.

Antarctica by The Weepies
I first discovered the Weepies when they showed up on my Paste Sampler CD and I was quickly hooked. Luckily enough for me they ended up appearing in two issues back to back, which was easily enough to win me over. Consisting of the husband/wife duo of Deb Talen and Steve Tannen, they produce lovely melodies that just worm their way into one’s brain. In fact I am pretty sure I was singing along to the chorus of Antarctica the very first time I listened to it. On top of their simple melodies and harmonies they add in lyrics that both fit the songs and show depth, for example (from the song Hideaway):

I see the bare moon
Raise it’s big bald head
I see my friends play the fool
I’ll make my own way
In the wide world
Just know I don’t want to wander too far

Even the stars
Sometimes fade to gray
Even the stars

Composites, my new favorite photo thing
Camp Lake pier early morning
I first noticed composites when I noticed one in Heather’s photostream on flickr. Put together in photoshop, composites combine lots of different photos taken from one perspective to make a panoramic layered photo. I was on retreat this weekend (my first of back to back weekend retreats) up in Wisconsin and Saturday morning I walked down to the pier and sat on the dock. In order to get the raw photos I needed I basically took around 30 pictures just pointing and shooting at various angles, although I stayed at the same zoom level for all of them. After arriving home on Sunday night I was so eager to put the composite together that I stayed up an extra hour (I think that sentence adds nicely to the huge dorkiness of this website) just to finish it. The process reminds me a lot of scrap booking and carries much of the same addictiveness. I definitely think I will be making more of these in the future.


  1. I totally took Eight Cousins out of the library the other day. I read it over and over when I was a kid. Also, Little Men, but I never really got into Little Women.

  2. I love rereading books from childhood!

    And I love your composite photo. I will have to take some and try it out.

  3. Those two books by Kate Seredy are, in my opinions, two of the best of all time. During the time I was nursing a newborn (lots of sitting,) I reread all my childhood favorites, too. It was like meeting long-lost but still beloved friends.

  4. I’ve always wanted to make a composite and never taken the time to do it. I’m so glad to see you’ve discovered them!

    I actually discovered composites at the Chicago Museum of Art in high school. And to think, people used to do those with “real” photos. Suckers 🙂

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