Monday, March 31, 2008

A new month begins

Happy Almost-April! I posted the new issue of Through the Looking Glass Review today and as per usual, I already feel that the new month is here. Despite the fact that the office was closed for a week for Sping Break, the new issue of Through the Looking Glass Book Review has seventy new reviews in it. These include some terrific titles for Arbor Day and Earth Day, and a hilarious book called "Framed." In this title by Frank Cottrell Boyce, a young boy discovers that the world of art has something to offer everyone. Art can effect people in the most extraordinary ways and the adventures and misadventures that the boy has as a result of his encounters with precious artworks are utterly delightful.

For Spring Break my family and I went skiing at Mt. Bachelor near Bend, OR. There was a lot of snow, and more fell while we were there. Not being used to skiing in powder I had trouble one day but the rest of time the conditions were fabulous. I know that a lot of people love powder, my husband does, but everytime I go into it I find my skiis going in opposite directions. Not long after I end up flat on my back or face first in a dift. No, groomed runs are a must for me.

Getting back home to Ashland on Friday March 28th was very hard. It was snowing so heavily that we crawled along the roads at a brisk 30 miles an hour - on average. We saw numerous cars lying on their sides or on their backs in the ditches. In addition, as we ambled along, we saw cars in front of us gracefully slide across the road. It was most unnerving. Thankfully we were able to move along without too much slipping, and six hours later got home - two hours later than expected. The storm was a firm reminder that Mother Nature is still very much in charge.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Was Leonardo da Vinci as crabby as all that?

I have just reviewed a work of historical fiction about Leonardo da Vinci and it really got me thinking. Was Leonardo as crabby as he was portrayed in the book? The book is told from the point of view of Leonardo's servant, a boy called Giacomo. I thought that Giacomo was a character which the author had made up but it turns out that he really existed. In his notebooks Leonardo complained about the boy many a time and oft but apparently one can tell that the painter was in fact very fond of Giacomo.

After reading about this I became determined to get a copy of the notebooks for myself. I really want to know what Leonardo was like. Reviews of the notebooks mention that one can get a very real sense of the inner Leonardo from his writings. I look forward to finding out if this is true or not.

This weekend was wonderful here in southern Oregon. The sun shone, it was warm, and the sky was an amazing blue. My family and I went and looked at a few houses - we are looking for a home of our own - and then we went to the local Chocolate Festival. The event was held in the lovely Ashland Springs Hotel and I don't think I have ever eaten so much chocolate in one go in my life! Milk chocolate candies infused with Lavena and with a caramel filling. Dark chocolate truffles with a raspberry center. Fresh pears dipped in warm melted chocolate. My seven year-old daughter, not surprisingly, began to feel a little sick after a while. My husband and I took a break from the chocolate at one point to taste some wine. It was perfect. Then we went back for a little more chocolate before we gave up eating, bought some treats, and walked home in the sun.
Ashland is definitely getting more tourist visitors these days. The warmer weather and the opening of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has brought people here from all over. I cannot imagine what it is going to be like in the summer. We moved here in early September of last year so we have yet to see what Ashland is like in the spring and in the warmer months of May, June, July and August.