I love learning about interesting things and simplifying the information for children. I love the way children think, not simple necessarily at all, but pure and curious. I came across some info today about DNA, which is fascinating to my nerd side. Scientists used to believe that most DNA information was useless. Recently, they are learning that is not the case. In fact, some of the information they used to term as "Junk DNA" may have information that might lead to cures of diseases. Science is progressing so rapidly. I feel like there is loads of info in not only our DNA but also a whole lot more in the blood that we are just not aware of yet. The way we are made fills me with wonder! It is like looking at a piece of artwork and studying it.
I am so happy to have found this book written in 2016 by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk. It is the interesting story of Kate Warne, the first female detective at the Pinkerton Detective Agency. The story itself is fascinating, but the time period in which it took place is particularly interesting to me. Some of the research I am sorting through right now has to do with criminals and the 1800's. I had never heard of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency, which is still around today. He actually used mugshots before Bertillon, but Bertillon was the first to use them and create them in a scientific investigative manor. Pinkerton is more known for wanted posters. Anyway, all this is super interesting to the nerd side of me as I am journeying through this research and writing project. Coming across new information that is connected with my research is like finding hidden treasure, and when it is found in a children's book, well...it's like eating a hot fudge sundae at the same time.
I came across this book today as I was cleaning off the bookshelf in my office/studio. I remember the day my grandmother gave it to me. I was so excited to receive a book like that, with so much interesting information and so many beautiful photos and illustrations. I spent many hours looking at and reading every page. It was one of my most cherished books, and still is. I found out about places I dreamed of going and things I wanted to see like the giant redwood trees. (It is still on my list.) Just looking through it brings back those magical feelings. I love books.
These are a few of the many many Christmas ornaments my dad made through the years. This will be the first Christmas of my entire life I have not spent with him. I am thankful to have so many beautiful remembrances. They bring me lots of joy. Joy looking at all the intricate details he patiently crafted, joy in all the time he had here with us, joy that he was a good father, and joy that I will one day see him again. The last picture is one I took the last month of his life, holding his hand, the hand that made these beautiful treasures.
Lance Brown is a local artist that actually performed/painted at my niece's school last year. He is a speed painter and really unusual and remarkable in the way he expresses with paint.
A writing project that is consuming a lot of my time right now is one that involves science and mystery. The research is so interesting. My husband has reminded me of all the I Shouldn't Be Alive shows I have watched along with all the Locked Up Abroad ones too. I guess I am more of a real life drama mystery person than I thought. We went and saw the new Murder on the Orient Express movie last night for a little inspiration and I loved it. It is not as action packed as today's stories, but very well done and a movie that makes the viewer have to think. The cinematography was exceptional. Okay, inspired. Now back to writing.
Oh, along the same line, but completely different are utube photoshop tutorials that are helping me with the picture book I am working on. Mystery, because I did not know how to do it and science..well, technology is close. Here is one that is very helpful in reference to masks: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrKR07ofRRE
Here are a few peeks at some of the picture book dummy sketches I am in the process of working on. Lots of work but soo much fun!
We have a tradition for many years of having family at our house for thanksgiving. We started this when my youngest child was three. She is now 22. Some years we have had about 30 people, most years somewhere between 14-20. I spend days getting everything ready and trying to make is as memorable as I can. I do miss the years all my kids lived at home and we worked together as a family preparing the house and food. Yet, there is something very precious about creating such an important memory for myself and especially for those I love, even if a lot of it is by myself nowadays. Nothing is ever perfect. Something is messed up in the cooking stage or cold instead of hot as it should be. The right words are not always said to each other and sometimes someone might even say something hurtful. Yet, every imperfect year we come together to celebrate and eat and play, and to give thanks for all that we have, together. As tired as I am this evening after everyone is gone, I am thankful it is in my home.
My husband and I spent a few days in New England this past week and had the joy of visiting two old homes of two famous writers. They both lived in Hartford, Connecticut and were actually next door neighbors. We went through Mark Twain's house the day we flew in to Hartford and went through Harriet Beecher Stowe's home the day we left. I'm glad we saw them different days because it gave me a chance to let each experience simmer in my thoughts all to itself for awhile.
The tour guides for Mark Twain's house are actors who portray people who lived in his home. They stay completely in character while guiding visitors through each elaborate, gorgeous room. Our guide was actually the butler, who was also Twain's close friend.
Harriet Beecher Stowe's home is still in restoration progress but filled with the most interesting info about her. In fact, I came home and looked up more about her already. I have never actually read Uncle Tom's cabin, but I hope to find the time.