Five on Friday (times 2)

Here I am behind in posting again, not even managing weekly posts.  In my defense, I was traveling for work last week, and I came home with a cold that I have been nursing this week.  Notwithstanding illness and an unexpected overnight at the airport Motel 6 in Atlanta on the way home, it was a great trip and a good conference, and (as always) I really enjoyed connecting in person with my fabulous colleagues.  However, I have been somewhat short on time and/or inspiration for much self-created content, and so I once again am sharing with you some of what has inspired me, made me laugh, or otherwise occupied my time these past few weeks.  Since I have had two weeks to collect links to share, you’re getting a double dose today.

Here is one of my science colleagues’ synopsis of our week in New Orleans.  Chris takes the most gorgeous pictures, and he backs them up with good science and information.

I took a few of my own pictures as well.  These are from our field trip day, when we visited several preserves where longleaf pine restoration is taking place.

Relict Longleaf Pine

Relict Longleaf Pine

Pigtail Grass (Sorry, I can't remember the official name)

Pigtail Grass (Sorry, I can’t remember the official name)

Doubtful anyone will think I have become an amazing wildlife photographer -- but I was pretty pleased with this one, especially since I did not have a telephoto lens on!

Doubtful anyone will think I have become an amazing wildlife photographer — but I was pretty pleased with this one, especially since I did not have a telephoto lens on!  Progress, not perfection.  Plus it segues into our next topic.

(Last weekend I took a great photography class — and I am working on more/better shooting in manual.)

I did a presentation on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act at the conference, which had me delving into the history of the Act.  The Act dates from the early 1900’s, when many birds had been driven to extinction (or the brink of it) from over-hunting, some of which occurred in the name of fashion.  That’s a long explanation for why I am including this link to an absolutely horrific budgie hat in the Metropolitan Museum‘s collection.  This hat represents not just an ecological problem, but a sartorial one as well.  Can you imagine seeing anyone wearing anything like that?  I think even Lady Gaga would pass.

I found that monstrosity when reading an article on antique jewelry. Even if you don’t think you are interested in the topic, the interview/article may be worth a look — fascinating stuff.  From Victorian obsessions that led to taxidermy hummingbird earrings to eye miniatures (featured in an exhibit called the Look of Love that I was fortunate to see at Winterthur over Thanksgiving weekend, next appearing at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in May), this exploration of the  intersection of personal adornment with history captivated me.

Sticking with the theme of history and fashion, here is what designers in 1939 thought fashion would be like in the year 2000.  They had the portable phone part right, if not the actual fashion component.

Moving on from fashion to shopping, this study indicated that retail therapy actually works.  Duh.

Further support for mid-day dance parties:  Why sitting for extended periods is bad for you, and what you can do to alleviate the hazards (other than dancing, that is).

We are not Superbowl (or football at any time) watchers in this house.  But for those of you planning a Superbowl gathering, or any gathering really, this is my go-to appetizer that I make pretty regularly.  Around here, we just call it “cheesy bread.”  The recipe is amazing with the Fiscalini San Joaquin Gold cheese called for, but it also works with a wide variety of other cheeses.  I routinely use Fontina, and I recently used a combination of swiss and cheddar that was also quite good.  And I always use light mayonnaise.

On the reading front, I really loved being able to read the most recent Vanity Fair while traveling on the iPad I received for Christmas.  So much better than lugging actual magazines around!  Plus, hello, an article on a French Dominatrix (tying back to my Rihanna song from two weeks ago?).  Reading supplies the best peek inside the gates of realms I will never enter in real life.

During my recent book purging efforts (after all, we do live in a rental and at some point we will be moving again), I made a stack of books that I want to read — some I purchased and never read, and a few that belong to W or one of the kids.  Somehow, one I found in my daughter’s room rose to the top of the pile, Things Fall Apart.  What a fascinating, fabulous read, perhaps because it is outside of my usual range of reading these days.  The themes of societal structure, religion, cultural clashes, colonialism and ethnocentrism have my thoughts churning, in the best possible way.  I highly recommend it, if you do not happen to have read this already.  Now I need to look into the Yeats poem from which the title was taken (The Second Coming).

And last, but absolutely not least, for those of you who have stuck with me this far, I offer this beautiful video entitled “Damsels in Distress,” which was posted to the Orvis site.  Whether you fly fish or not, this video is nothing short of awe-inspiring.  I recommend watching it in HD if possible (just click the HD at the bottom of the video).

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.  I will probably be quite light on posting, with the next two weeks being filled with travel for work and for fun.  What is inspiring you of late?



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