Archives

Book Review: Man with Wings

I read the audio-book version of Man with Wings, by Joseph Cottler recently on my commute.  It was written in 1942, although the audio-book is more recent; published in 2008.

I have long been interested in Leonardo DaVinci, but I have never really known that much about him.  He was truly a Renaissance man, with his talent as an artist, and engineer, a designer, and an inventor.  He had so many talents at his fingertips.  The Mona Lisa is the masterpiece he is most known for, but that was such a tiny fragment of his artistic talent and the work that he completed during his life.

This biography goes through the life of DaVinci, from his childhood and time as an apprentice, to his adulthood performing works of art and engineering.  It discussed his tendency to get lost in the discovery process, and frustrate his patrons by working too slowly.  Often, instead of painting or sculpting, he spent his time watching birds fly, dissecting human and animal bodies, studying gravity and the flow of water, and studying other aspects of the natural world.

I would have preferred this book to be more like a traditional biography, rather than what it is – essentially a historical novel with a cast of characters.  It was even more challenging because the audio-book version that I listened to was narrated like a play, with overly dramatic voices and accents.  It got annoying… I still learned more about DaVinci than I knew before, but the way it was presented was distracting…  I guess I will have to find another DaVinci  book I can relate to more, and that presents more information about the body of work he completed in his lifetime.

The verdict – at least if you are planning on the audiobook version, I would find something else on DaVinci…

Advertisements

Circus Trip 2018: Ellsworth Air Force Base

Day 12, Friday, July 27, 2018

Box Elder, South Dakota is home to Ellsworth Air Force Base.  Ellsworth Air Force Base is home to an aviation museum called the South Dakota Air and Space Museum that is well worth a visit.  It is small, but they have exhibits about the base, the history of barnstorming in the area, satellite photography and other aviation related information.  They also discussed some of the local men and women who served in the Air Force here.  It was all really interesting.

When I got there, they were signing people up for the 3 pm bus tour of the base, which lasted 90 minutes.  Unfortunately, it was only 2:10 pm and I hadn’t planned to stay there until 4:30 pm.  I was tempted though!

Most of the display planes at the base were outside; I wandered among them at my leisure and took a lot of photos.  It was such a great museum, and free!  The base tour is $10, which is still very reasonable.  One day I’ll get back there and check it out.

As I was finishing up my wanders around the airplanes outdoors, it started to rain.  Big, fat raindrops of a type we rarely get in Washington.  I even needed my umbrella and made sure to get back the car in a hurry before I got soaked!

 

The Build

Yesterday my Google photo memories reminded me that it was one year ago that my father and I started to build out my car for my road trip. That took me back to such a good memory, and made me miss him so…

Wine and History Visited

I have never really been a hippie, or free spirit, so the idea of road-tripping by myself around the U.S. for three months takes me far out of my comfort zone.  But here I am, giving it a try…

My original plan was to fold up the seats, put a bed in the back end, and get a Thule roof box for the top of the car.  But the departure date moved up by about 6 weeks after I first got the bee in my bonnet, so to speak, so I wasn’t sure I would be able to get a Thule roof box without buying it new.  And lo and behold, those are expensive!

Around the same time, a friend sent me a YouTube video, where a guy built a raised platform bed in the back of his CR-V, and I thought, BINGO!  My dad is a hobby woodworker, and…

View original post 464 more words

Circus Trip 2018: D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery

Day 12, Friday, July 27, 2018

Spearfish, South Dakota is a town that I would love to explore more.  It is certainly on my list of places to return to; there is so much there and I only just scratched the surface.  There is a lot of hiking there that I would love to do!

That morning, I woke up, had breakfast, got ready and set out on my way.  I visited what was to be an unexpected gem.  I went to the D.C Booth Historic Fish Hatchery – oh my gosh wow!  I live in the Pacific Northwest, where we have lots of fish hatcheries – my city has two in town and several more out in the county.  However, the D.C. Booth Hatchery was something else entirely.

The hatchery is right in downtown Spearfish and in a beautiful setting.  They hatched trout from eggs that were gathered from Yellowstone National Park and other sources.  Interestingly, trout and the other fish hatched at Spearfish weren’t native to these waters; they were introduced to the rivers and streams in this area in order to provide stock for sport fisherman.  Over time, the hatchery saw more use as an education and training center, with the majority of the hatching tasks shifting to a newer facility nearby.  The hatchery operated through the 1980s, and then briefly closed due to budget constraints.

Fish in the ponds

 

Ducks at the hatchery

After the closure, the City of Spearfish approached the federal government and asked to form a partnership where the city would operate the hatchery, and use it as an educational tool and tourist attraction.  As a result, the hatchery reopened in 1989 and the city built the underwater viewing area, converted the 1899 Hatchery Building to a museum, opened up the D.C. Booth home for tours.  The home was originally built for D.C. Booth in 1905 and featured modern amenities for the time, including hot water for the bathroom.

A sculpture at the hatchery

The hatchery had all sorts of fry in the various ponds and it was fun to watch them swim around.  The underwater area was interesting; an opportunity to see the fish from a different vantage point!

Fish from below

The museum had historic hatchery equipment; they even had an old crockery storage pot from a hatchery in Winthrop, Washington!  There was a group of kids there working on a scavenger hunt, looking for things in the museum to check off their lists.

The hatchery also has a restored train car that was used to transport fry to places where they would be released into rivers and streams.  The rail car was really cool!  It had specialized holding tanks for the fry, so they could be transported in water, making the journey safer for them.  There were areas to store the fish food, as well as bunks and kitchen and bathroom areas for five employees.  It was fascinating to try to imagine what it would have been like to travel and work on one of these rail cars!

I also toured the D.C. Booth house, which was built for the first Superintendent of the hatchery.  The house was nice, and was large – I would have enjoyed living there!  The home had a lovely flower garden in back that Mrs. Booth used for entertaining.  I was the only person on the tour of the home, so the docent gave me extra time to explore all the nooks and crannies, including a small sewing room and the original electrical panel for the home.

The whole site is free to visit, and you can buy pellet food to feed the fish – that is so much fun for the kids (and those of us who are young at heart)!

I am so glad that I stopped there!  And the day was only half over!

 

Nine Years

Yesterday, WordPress gave me a notification that it has been nine years since I started this blog.  Nine long years.  It got me thinking about where I was nine years ago.

The Hanoi Taxi

(Above is one of the first photos of me that I posted on this blog – it was taken a few years before I started writing here – in 2008, I believe.  I was thinner and more camera shy!)

I was still working in my first public sector Human Resources job; the one I started exactly 16 years ago today, as a matter of fact.  So many anniversaries!  I wasn’t going to be there much longer; it was a great place to work, and I enjoyed most of the people that I worked with, but it was a small organization and that meant there wasn’t any career progression to be had.  Moving up meant moving on.

I wasn’t married yet back then.  I got married less than a month after I started this blog; it was originally his idea, something that we could do together.  But his attention span meant that he lost interest a few weeks in.  I’m a Virgo – in it for the long haul once I start something.

Of course, I had no idea that my marriage would be a relatively brief period of my life; I had no inkling of the downward spiral that he was to go through.  Even more than three years after we separated, he still pops up from time to time, texting to try to manipulate me.  I’m never sure if anything he says is true; I would be surprised if it were.  I am fairly certain that he is drinking when he sends them though.

A few things are the same; I still have many of the same friends, the same horse, the same car.  Dad is gone now.  My boss and mentor from that first public sector job is gone too.  I’ve had a few jobs in the last nine years, moving up in my career to more responsible roles.  I have some grey hair to go with the increased responsibility.

My love for travel has increased exponentially, a result of having a higher salary and more vacation time with which to nurture it.  My road trip last summer was incredible, as was my trip to London, and multiple shorter trips to places in the United States.  This love will be with me forever.

I like that I have this record of my life, here in these pages.  Even the hard parts of it.  I like that I can relive the happy moments.  I like that I can look back and see that I have moved past the painful moments.

In these nine years, I have had successes and failures, joy and sorrow, love and loss.  I have tried to be the best person I could be.

I have grown.  I have grown older, and I would like to think wiser.  I am better able to recognize when to hang on, and when to let go.  I have worked at forgiving people for their shortcomings; for disappointing me and letting me down when perhaps they too were trying to be the best person they could be.  I have worked at not taking it personally when those people’s shortcomings cause them to unleash their anger and venom on me.  I have worked to accept that it generally has nothing to do with me.  I have worked to accept, in general.

I am still growing.  I am working to learn and succeed in my new job, and the new life that I find myself in.  We don’t always get to choose the life that finds us, but if you let it wash over you, you might just find, as I have, that it suits you.

One of my most recent pics; from last weekend

Hold on, enjoy the ride, and make the most of it.  I can’t wait to see what the next nine years brings me.