Monthly Archives: February 2013

Authors, James Thurber (1894-1961)

James Thurber bookThe author, James Grover Thurber, wrote forty books in his lifetime with “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” being his most famous story.  It first appeared in the The New Yorker on March 18, 1939, and is one of the most often anthologized short stories in American literature. Another one, “The Unicorn in the Garden” has gained attention for its humorous modern fable qualities and an interesting read.

“The Great Quillow”  by James Thurber is the one short story that I most enjoy reading over and over. My copy illustrated by Steven Kellogg is a 1994 reprint. It’s  about a clever toy maker in a village  confronted by a giant and how he outwits him. The ending to this tale is absolutely superb.   Now, that I’ve told you a little something about this story, you’ll just have to read it to truly enjoy the humor.

Thurber’s writing style illustrates humorous fiction and has many quotable quotes.  Here’s one I found on the Thurber House Organization site:

About the “Thurber Dog”

 The Thurber Dog“I had a friend who was on the telephone a great deal and while he talked was always flipping the pages of his memo pad and writing things down. I started to fill up the pad with drawings so he’d have to work to get to a clean page. I began to draw a bloodhound, but he was too big for the page… He had the head and body of a bloodhound; I gave him the short legs of a basset. When I first used him in my drawings, it was as a device for balance: when I had a couch and two people on one side of a picture and a standing lamp on the other, I’d put the dog in the space under the lamp for balance… I’ve always loved that dog. Although at first he was a device, I gradually worked him in as a sound creature in a crazy world.” _James Thurber, Source: Thurber House Organization

Written by Mary Gilmartin, February 27, 2013

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Photography, The importance of backups

Today I decided that I must backup my photographs on my computer’s hard drive. So, for the past couple of hours I have dragged and dropped photographs into new folders, categorizing them by general names like, flowers, dogs, cats, birds, etc and creating subfolders with the dates and specifics about each for better identification. And, during this process I took the opportunity to delete some unwanted images and found some interesting photographs.

The following images are of something everyone is familiar with. It’s called “the ONION.” And, who would have thought that onions would make a nice portrait and have some unusual faces.

Onion-1Onion-4Onion-2Onion-3

Now, that my break is over, it’s back to work copying all those photograph folders to DVDs for my first backup. Then, I will transfer a copy to my external storage called “My Passport Essential” for extra protection. Afterall, we do live in the digital age where we don’t print all or few of our photographs.

Wouldn’t it be sad if I lost all those images if I only saved them in one place, on my computer’s hard drive…

“Then, I would cry and it wouldn’t be because of the ONION.”

Written and Photographed by Mary Gilmartin, February 23, 2013

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Winter, Snow Cream

Snow is something that sometimes visits where I live. However, this year we had none. But, that still doesn’t keep me from thinking about the day a couple of years ago when there was enough to make “Snow Cream.”

Warm Fireplace Feb 19 2013-R-S copy

How to make snow cream-2011 copy

The directions for making “Snow Cream” are simple. The first thing you will want to do is collect some fresh flakes of snow and fill a tall glass. Then, stir in just enough milk or cream for the desired consistency; add sugar and “pure vanilla extract” to taste. Then, the next thing you will want to do is to eat it immediately before it melts and becomes slush.

Then you can sit down by a warm fire and “read” another chapter of that book you want to finish. That’s exactly what I am doing tonight.  It’s freezing outside.

Written and Photographed by Mary Gilmartin, February 20, 2013

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Books, Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

Did you know that Ulysses S. Grant, President of the Unites States from 1869-1877, wrote his book, The Complete Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant , finishing it just days before he died?

CBS Sunday Morning featured an episode about Ulysses S. Grant, where I learned some interesting facts surrounding the writing of  his memoir book, such as:

1)  Grant Cottage Historic Site was Grant’s summer home and where he wrote his memoir book when dying from throat cancer.

2) Grant wrote 10,000 words in a day finishing the book only days before he died on July 23, 1885

3Mark Twain was a great fan of Ulysses Grant and Twain published the book shortly after Grant’s death.

4) Ulysses S. Grant’s 600 page book when published was a best seller.

Grant writing Dec 2 1886 I thought writing 2,000 words a day is a lot, but what about 10,000 words a day. That is an accomplishment.

Here’s an interesting photo on this link showing Grant  bundled up in a chair writing his memoirs, June 27th, 1885.

Photo Credit: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3a10251/

Written by Mary Gilmartin, February 17, 2013

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Authors, Pearl Buck and her Russian Apple Pie

Pearl Buck, The  Good Earth, Recipe 003 copyReading a brief biography about Pearl Syndenstricker Buck , (1892 to 1973), I learned that she spoke both English and Chinese from childhood and her parents were missionaries in China. When she moved permanently back to the United States, she settled in an old  farmhouse, Green Hills Farm, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The Good Earth was one of my favorite books to read when I was a young girl.  It was Pearl Buck’s second novel and won the Pulitzer Prize and the Howells Medal in 1935. She won the 1938  Nobel Prize in literature.

Today I found my copy of an article with one of her recipes in my want-to-try recipe folder.

Pearl Buck, The  Good Earth, Recipe 001

Perhaps the next time I make dessert I will try making her Russian Apple Pie recipe from the published article in the Yankee magazine, printed on page number 20,  September 2001 written by Leslie Patterson Miller, under the heading of “Recipe With A History.” 

Pearl Buck’s Russian Apple Pie:

Pastry for a 2-crust pie. 8 large apples, peeled and sliced;

1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons dry red wine, 2 teaspoons grated orange rind, 4 tablespoons chopped almonds, 2 tablespoons cherry jam or currant jelly.

 Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan combine the sliced apples, raisins, sugar, wine, orange rind, and almonds. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, gently stirring once or twice. Remove from the heat and stir in the jam or jelly.  Cool.  Spoon the cooled mixture into the bottom crust and cover with a top crust.

Bake for 45 minutes.  8 servings.

Written by Mary Gilmartin, February 15, 2o13

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