Saturday, January 27, 2007

Outsider Art

I love outsider art because it isn't bound by the constraints of "Art" with a capital A. It's folk art at its best, created by people who are not trained and not a part of the art world. They are those who feel a compulsion to create and will create out of whatever materials are at hand. The art can be whimsical, powerful, fragile, and dark and sometimes all of these at the same time.

Richard Lacayo's opinion piece in Looking Around: Reflections on Art and Architecture (look under January 25) makes a good point. He recently visited the American Folk Art Museum where he spent a good part of an afternooon at a show devoted to the work of Martin Ramirez . The curator of this show states that Ramirez "created nearly 300 drawings of remarkable visual clarity and expressive power within the confines of DeWitt State Hospital in northern California, where he resided the last 15 years of his life". Lacayo state that, while Ramirez was outside of human companionship and certainly outside of the art world, he was deeply in touch with parts of ourselves as any artist could be and suggests that perhaps we should begin to view "outsider art" as "insider art".

More About Time

Another piece about time , this one in Time Magazine (how appropriate!) entitled Time Travel in the Brain by Daniel Gilbert and Randy Buckner, the authors of Stumbling on Happiness.

This provocative article discusses the findings of research which indicate that the human mind travels through time in any direction and speed it chooses. Brain scans show that when we perform mental tasks, different parts of our brains are active but when these areas of our brains light up other parts of our brains go dark. Referred to as a "dark network" it is active while we are apparently doing nothing. Clearly when we are seemingly doing nothing, we are doing something. But what? The answer is time travel. Aha! shades of Vorfreude! We are truly time travelers, visiting the future or revisiting the past at will. And this is how we learn. "Traveling backward buys us many trials for the price of one, but traveling forward allows us to dispense with trials entirely." We can learn from the mistakes we made when we revisit the past and learn from mistakes without making them when we think about the future.

Neurologists believe that the dark network is the brain's default mode; we spend more time in the past or future than in the present. It's only when demands are placed upon us--the phone rings, someone speaks to us, a dog barks--that we come back to the here and now. We stay just long enough to deal with whatever interrupted us and then we slip off, back to our world of PastFuture again.

Happy Birthday, Hugh!

I know. It was yesterday. Hope you had fun!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Winter's Not Over

The skies are clear and the temperature in the low 50's but I know there are weeks of winter left. I took out two winter quilt wallhangings to put up to remind me not to forget that spring is still far away.

Monday, January 22, 2007

New York, New York!!

Jack has accepted a job with Volant Trading, a trading firm on Wall Street.

Congratulations, Jack!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Good Day for Cookies

Actually, any day is a good day for cookies! I'm off work today so it seemed like a good idea to bake cookies for lunches and snacks. You can find the recipe I used here. The weather forecast is for freezing rain and snow mixed, perhaps turning to rain in the afternoon so this morning I'll bake cookies, catch up on housework, read articles for next weekend's class, and perhaps do a bit of knitting. This afternoon I'll need to run around and do errands, pay bills, and go grocery shopping.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


It's been cold the past few days and there have been some snow flurries but it wasn't until this morning that there was enough snow to cover the trees and ground. These photographs were taken behind my home shortly after dawn.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Starting in December, near Christmas, truckloads of feeder sheep are moved into pastures in our part of the valley. January and February are lambing months.

Sunday, January 7, 2007


Today we celebrated Epiphany (which was actually yesterday). We Three Kings of Orient Are is one of my favorite Christmas hymns and this morning we sang all the verses during church services. When I was a little girl the priest would hand each child a small brown paper bag of hard Christmas candies at the end of Mass on Epiphany Sunday.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!

John and I went to bed early and woke up at midnight to hear fireworks going off and church bells ringing. It lasted only a few moments. We wished each other a happy new year, kissed, and then promptly fell fast asleep again.