Saturday, November 28, 2009


One of the things Mom did on her most recent trip to Spain was to task her local bookshop owner with what turned out to be a 2½ month project: Complete the 10-book collections of Mafalda for both of my sisters and me. Even though they're now out of print, she came through.

Now, if you've never heard of Mafalda, you probably speak English. The comic strip is best known in Europe and Latin America, and features a precocious, political 6-year-old named Mafalda, and her friends. Think Calvin and Hobbes without the tiger, set in Vietnam-era Argentina, with a bit of "Peanuts" mixed in. Mafalda was everywhere when I lived in Costa Rica, a ubiquity similar to Garfield in the U.S. in the 80s. The last book was published before I was even born, but it's a comforting link to the past, and a thorough workout for my Spanish, especially that rare, rusty vos conjugation.

It's a good thing we got several books at once, though... otherwise I might still be waiting to read them!

Look! It's the return of the two-headed gigglequilt!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Thanksgiving Double Triple Reunion

Thanksgiving here was an occasion for a very rare occurrence: not just one three-sibling reunion, but two! On Wednesday, my sisters drove down from Canada and rode up from Texas on the train, joining all of us at my parent's house in Valparaiso.

Becky, Sharon, Andy.

While all that was happening, a similar three-sibling reunion was happening in Winona Lake, where May flew in from Pennsylvania to spend a few days with us, as well.

Deborah, Paul, May. (Remaining sister Sara not shown.)

On Thursday, we all got together in Valpraiso for the feast.

Yum. Fabulous food, on Mom's these-do-NOT-go-in-the dishwasher good china. Deborah had the idea of making place names; pilgrim hats and bonnets for the Indiana family, and Indian feather headdresses for the out-of-staters. (I argued that it should be the other way around, but the practicalities of making only four pilgrim hats won out.) I supplied the calligraphy at the last minute; I am waaaay out of practice.

Once we were too stuffed to walk, we took time out for other things.

Photos of all the cousins together...
In no particular order: Joshua, Jonathan, Josiah, Javier, Joél, Fiona, Aiden, and Risanna. Yes, we bucked the trend my sisters set of naming all the kids beginning with J.

It was fun to see cousins from all three families doing things together.

Games galore...

Silly stories with Grandpa.

We had much to be thankful for!

Logo Analysis

I've seen these trucks trundling about Winona Lake on many occasions, but I haven't always had by camera with me. It's a mowing company, and there's a lot to say for this logo:

Let's analyze this logo for a minute:

  1. It has immediate impact. It's a commanding presence. Bold, daring.
  2. It's describable. It's not some vague, swooshy thing. You can tell that this is a guy jauntily pushing a lawnmower.
  3. It's simple. It's not trying to tell you the guy's whole outlook on the world — there's one idea.
  4. It's memorable. I can't think of any other companies with this shape or design. It stands out.
  5. It's timeless. This logo will still effectively communicate in 50 years, unless we're somehow mowing the lawn with space-based lasers or something.
  6. It's versatile. This logo will be effective even if you...
    • Use only one color
    • Blow it up to the size of a billboard (which they did; it looked just like the truck here)
    • Shrink it to the size of a postage stamp
    • Print it in reverse (ie. light logo on dark background or vice-versa)
  7. It describes what the business does. This isn't strictly necessary (IBM's logo doesn't show computers, nor does McDonald's logo show a hamburger, for instance) but in this case, it's a plus.

So, kudos to this company for great logo design.

There's just one problem.

Who are they?

And, how do you contact them?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Here Comes

Here comes summer,
Here comes summer,
Chirping robin, budding rose.
Here comes summer,
Here comes summer,
Gentle showers, summer clothes
Here comes summer,
Here comes summer —
Whoosh — shiver — there it goes.

— Shel Silverstein




Picking strawberries...

...and enjoying them.



Enjoying old treats...

...and trying new ones.

(It's a deep-fried Twinkie. I'd never had one before. I didn't find it as impressive as some do, but it was still a worthwhile experience.)

Bed racing...

Dragon riding...

Discovering the strange...

(We had a hard time identifying this one. Turns out it's not one creature, but about 50: one Tomato Hornworm caterpillar — bane of gardeners everywhere, and 50 or so parasitic wasp larvae — bane of tomato hornworms everywhere.)

...and beautiful.

Seeing nature up close...

...and far away.

(That's Jupiter and four of its moons. You may have to just take my word on it. My astrophotography skills obviously aren't the best!)

Getting the ball into the basket...

...and trying to get the basket under the ball.



(Happy little sigh) See you next year, Summer. It's been good.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Honk, honk

Hey, man, let's go out cruising and pick up chicks! We can take my car!

If imagination is the art of combining things that you normally wouldn't think of combining, then my kids have imagination in spades!