Side Table: June 29, 2020

Side-Table-June-29-2020

 

Currently next to me: my favorite mug (the CAWFEE crow, of course) with fresh coffee; my current yellow spiral notebook; the tiny cute little yellow memo-book I take with me everywhere for note-taking; and finally, books (and a magazine) I’m currently reading (on & off, admittedly), and what I’m planning to start soon!

 

Currently Reading/About to Read

 

“The Richness of Life,” The Essential Stephen Jay Gould

 

Book-Richness-of-Life

 

Stephen Jay Gould was a renowned scientist whose works of writing span more than 20 books, dozens of articles and essays. His writing is beautiful and brings the scientific world right into the lap of the non-scientist everyday reader, and I find it to be delightful.

This book is a collection of his articles, selections from his books, speeches and essays. I’m jumping all around in it (it certainly doesn’t have to be read in order), and while sometimes I do have to re-read a paragraph about 3 times in order to fully “get” what he’s saying, it is so worth the effort. If you’re the kind of reader who is avidly curious about things outside of your normal repertoire, you must add this to your collection!

 

“At Home,” by Bill Bryson

 

Book-Bill-Bryson-At-Home

 

There aren’t enough words in the English language for me to describe how much I adore anything and everything Bill Bryson has ever written. This one is no exception. Bryson’s writing is not only packed with knowledge and trivia I’d never even guessed I’d love to know about – I mean the man is avidly curious about everything under and over the sun and tells us about it – he is also freaking hilarious. 

The title and premise of this book – a room-by-room tour of his house, with commentary and history of homes and rooms throughout history – understandably might fool you into thinking it’s a terribly boring type of book. If so, you couldn’t be more wrong. It’s witty, charming, full of wonderful anecdotes. Highly recommend!

Speaking of “highly recommend” – I’d be remiss in my book recommendation duty if I didn’t tell you to go to Amazon RIGHT NOW and purchase a copy of his classic “A Walk in the Woods.” It doesn’t matter if you think hiking, walking, or heck, being outdoors is not your cup of tea – this book will have you roaring with laughter, I mean OUT LOUD laughing, not the “LOL” we type out when our faces kind of have a mild smile in reaction to something amusing we read on Twitter. Authentic Laugh Out Loud. I’ve read it 3 times now and will read it again sooner than later, that’s how much I love it.

Bill-Bryson-A-Walk-In-The-Woods

Order this and read it, NOW. You'll thank me!

 

 

“Storms of Malhado,” by Maria Elena Sandovici

 

Book-Storms-of-Malhado

 

Now this one I haven’t started yet, I’ve been a little behind on my reading this summer – the above two books I’ve been reading off and on in between mindless internet surfing (shame, shame). But the old call of yearning to hold a book in my hands, fresh cup of coffee next to me, cat in my lap, and getting pulled in and absorbed into a book is always right there on the edge of my consciousness.

I am very excited to start this book, first of all, because it takes place on Galveston Island, one of my favorite places in the world, has hints of past hauntings, a setting in a mansion, a monster hurricane approaching – my God this checks off every box for the kind of book I KNOW I will love!

Additionally, I stumbled across the multi-talented and gifted author during one of my searches for talented local (Houston-area) artists. I like art prints from the historical “giants” now and then, sure – but there’s nothing as pleasurable as finding a new artist (new to me, I mean) in my own backyard. I have a “thing” about supporting and boosting (with my tiny Twitter account, doesn’t amount to much but it’s the thought that counts, right?) local artists.

My dad (RIP) was an architect by trade, but his passion was art. He created beautiful works of art (mostly using watercolors as his medium) with themes of his beloved Texas, and in later years got the courage to take that passion and start showcasing his work in art shows all over Texas. He even had an art show featuring his work at one time – I can’t tell you how much that meant to him, how much it meant to all of us, his family and friends. He was astounded that people actually wanted to buy his artwork! It didn’t surprise anyone who knew him, he was incredibly talented. But in his typical modest way, I remember him saying “I think I’m starting to learn a thing or two about watercolors” – this after he’d been creating art for most of his life, and after selling dozens of his pieces. How I miss him…

Anyway, back to Elena Sandovici. I was a regular at Silver Street Studios/Sawyer Yards in the heart of Houston. From their website: “Silver Street Studios is an arts and events complex with 68 workspaces, which are home to over 80 artists and creative entrepreneurs.” I was a regular there not because I’m an artist (not one drop of talent there, sigh), but because I LOVE to write and I used to be a part of a writer’s haven called “Writespace,” and I was a regular participant in their workshops and other various events.

I’d wander around the huge studio complex marveling at all of the artist’s studios and being regularly blown away by the talent demonstrated over and over again. Masterpieces by passionate artists everywhere you looked!

Anyway, so I can’t remember if Elena had a studio there at that time (I believe she did at one point), but regardless, I started Googling local Houston artists so I could go see their work, see when their studios were open, etc. – and that’s how I found her. And I subscribed to her blog, which I HIGHLY recommend at havewatercolorswilltravel.blog/

From there, I found her on Twitter (oh my God, do I sound like a stalker? I think I sound like a stalker, aaaack), and saw a beautiful crow watercolor she painted (I mean I think it’s a Grackle but I’m calling it a crow, thanks to my crow obsession). I saw I could order it in different forms on Society6 and immediately ordered it printed on a shirt. I LOVE IT SO MUCH!

Lots of her paintings and drawings are available as prints and products on Society6 here: society6.com/elenasandovici 

grackle-kja-vneck-tshirts

Isn't this beautiful? I get compliments on it whenever I wear it! 

 

Anyway, Sandovici is a very gifted artist and writer and all around lovely human being from what I can tell – I mean she’s nice enough to follow me on Twitter and I’m a real cranky a-hole there, it’s my venting place, so… (I’m working on it, really I am – going to blog about my goal of calming the heck down on there soon. Sigh).

So again, I urge you to check out all of her art and other work at havewatercolorswilltravel.blog/– you’ll thank me!

 

“The Sun” magazine, July 2020 Edition

 

TheSun1

 

Finding The Sun magazine in my mailbox is always a delight (just behind finding a pen pal letter, package or Postcrossing postcard!). The lastest issue is no exception. I open it up to the first page – the Table of Contents and already know I’m gonna love it!

 

TheSun2

Best Table of Contents Page EVER

My favorite piece so far is entitled “Not So Different After All- Frans de Waal on Animal Intelligence and Emotions,” by Mark Leviton.

See the pull quote on the right? Indeed we do. I hope more do. 

 

That’s all for now, dear readers. Or dear reader, if even one person is here, I’m waving at you and smiling!

P.S. I’ll be back soon to wrestle and wrangle with my struggles on Twitter with rage and sometimes (often?) shitty behavior (hopefully with some self-reflection and self-awareness). Thoughts that absolutely will not fit into 280 character bits.