Author Archives: charlesprogers
Post by Mark T. Locker.
When your kid is sick, you let them do pretty much whatever they want. And they learn pretty quickly that they get to do whatever they want.
So when Felix woke all flushed and feeling crummy, we set him up in his comfy chair and asked what he wanted to watch. Without missing a beat, he replied, “Night at the Museum”.
Honestly, there are a lot of worse movies out there that a 4 3/4-year-old might request. Like most mainstream comedy movies, it follows the required formula and chooses the meanings/messages dutifully from the list of clichéd options. In this case, it’s twofold: divorced father with no follow-through is competing with the new husband for his son’s admiration. Also, there is the love interest to win over.
Of course, those parts are just to flesh out a movie which is really about a Natural History Museum whose relics come to life every night due to a magical Egyptian tablet. Larry takes a job as a night guard at the museum in order to garner a little respect from his kid. Of course when he learns that everything (including a T-Rex skeleton) comes to life at night, well doesn’t that just make Larry way cooler than the stock broker step-dad with a cell phone holster.
Like I said, there are worse movies out there to watch. Owen Wilson as a tiny cowboy and Steve Coogan as his natural enemy, the tiny Roman centurion, are pretty entertaining. My kid’s favorite parts? The Easter Island head that always says, “Hey dum-dum! You bring me gum-gum?” And the scene in which Larry and a Capucin monkey get in a slap-fest.
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
People repurpose all sorts of old buildings into homes: schools, churches, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, grain silos, and barns — just to name a few. Often, these buildings have stood vacant for many years before a visionary comes along and decides to transform it into a home. Some buildings don’t fare as well, as they have been neglected for too long and are not able to be converted into a usable space.
While old buildings can present some major challenges, from the restoration and renovation to the interior design, they often turn out fantastic. These buildings give their owners an opportunity to live in something unusual and inspired; a major deviation from the typical cookie-cutter homes many of us are accustomed to.
From the outside, an old barn may not seem like the most architecturally stunning building to turn into a home since they’re more or less a big rectangle. Additionally, barns are often located far outside city centers, meaning you’ll have a bit of a commute to get to work, or even run simple errands like a trip to the grocery store. However, where old barns really shine is on the inside and is why I suspect so many people are attracted to the idea of living inside one.
With ample living space and high vaulted ceilings, barns can accommodate almost any floor plan you can imagine. The old wooden floors, beams and stone features provide a charming backdrop for almost every type of personal décor. You’re only limited by your imagination (and budget). That said, old barns aren’t for everyone, even if you like the style. Fortunately, you can add a bit of rustic barn charm to your modern home to achieve a similar effect.
If you’re interested in seeing some of the ways people have made homes out of barns, DigsDigs has an excellent gallery of stylish barn bedroom designs. It certainly puts a whole new meaning to the phrase “raised in a barn.” If you’re not ready to take the plunge into living in an actual barn, you can also incorporate old barn wood inside a modern home to add a bit of rustic charm. Houzz has a great gallery of “barn wood bedrooms” that’s also worth a browse.
Does living in a barn appeal to you? What type of old building would you most like to turn into a home? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Post by Alison Hein.
Next up in the Food Song category – Simon and Garfunkel’s ubiquitous “Scarborough Fair/Canticle,” title song of the1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.
I’ve listened to this song countless times – once softly, straining to hear through bedroom walls to my sister’s room as she listened over and over and over again. Later, more audibly, out on my own but lonely for home. And more recently, quieter again, as I remember and reflect on times past. It always fills me with love and melancholy, and pulls at my heart strings. But, I never once questioned the song’s history or meaning – until now.
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme;
Remember me to one who lives there,
She once was a true love of mine.
“Scarborough Fair” is an old English ballad, possibly with older Scottish roots tracing back to the late 1600s. Sometimes the place name changed, and often the refrain changed, with “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme” not appearing until the 1800s.
And the meaning of the herbal refrain? Theories abound. Here’s mine: every herb has its own meaning, translating “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” to “festivity, wisdom, remembrance, and courage.” A perfect love potion to overcome the impossible tasks set forth in the lyric, and return two hearts to one. Sigh.
Love is inspiration for great food, and a savory bread pudding is a thing of wonder and delight. Lovely as a dinner side, pleasant with a luncheon salad, and surprisingly just right for breakfast. The fresh, fragrant herbs add richness, depth and color to a simple poor man’s dish. Maybe Savory Scarborough Bread Pudding will pull at your heart strings a little too, and become your one true beloved breakfast in bed. 😉
Savory Scarborough Bread Pudding
1 loaf stale French or Italian bread
4 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese, such as Swiss or Gruyere
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut or tear bread into bite-sized cubes (should be around 6 to 8 cups) and set aside. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish, or if you prefer, 8 ovenproof serving-sized dishes, and set aside.
In large bowl, add eggs and whisk until slightly thickened. Whisk in milk. Add shredded cheese, chopped herbs, butter, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add bread cubes to egg mixture and stir well to make sure the herbs are evenly distributed. Pour egg-bread mixture into serving dish (or dishes) let sit for 20 to 30 minutes to allow bread to absorb liquid. Preheat oven to 350°.
Bake bread pudding for 40 to 45 minutes, until it is puffed up and the top is golden brown. If you are using individual serving dishes, check for doneness after 30 to 35 minutes. When done, the bread pudding will be puffed up and browned, and egg will be fully cooked and not jiggly. Serve hot with fried ham or bacon, if you like.
Makes 8 servings.
Post by Erin Sears.
Okay, so I don’t really know what Stevie’s bedroom looks like, but I can imagine it, can’t you? I see it as a luxurious version of bohemian chic- a trend that’s been the rage for some time now. Boho chic is all about layered, vintage textiles. Rustic, embroidered and ethereal should be your buzz words.
You too can channel the fairy godmother of rock by bringing a little touch of the bohemian to your sleeping space. Read on, rock on.
Source: Google images via pinterest
Let’s call this one Rhiannon’s room. Boho Chic is all about romantic eclecticism. Think colorful rugs, mounds of pillows, and a string of lights over the bed in the attic. This is what would have happened if you’d run away from home with THAT guy. Here’s the path not chosen, my friends. And, it is gorgeous!
Welcome to your first real bedroom! You know the one- it’s in a house that actually has central heating. You’ve come a long way, baby. Think distressed walls with an iron bed. Add a bright canopy to mimic the scarves you rock regularly. Put a dangling chandelier overhead and you’ve got it!
This very adult version of boho chic is a shout out to who you used to be while acknowledging how you’ve grown over the years. This version entails a more sophisticated neutral canopy, an elegant (and probably very expensive) fabric headboard, and a pillow that alludes to your travels afar. Pair it with a chevron curtain and fluffy duvet and you’re there. I feel confident that Stevie would approve.
Source: Google images via pinterest
Post by Mark T. Locker.
A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix.
As long as there are no dragons, I tend to enjoy young adult/teen fantasy. Science fiction is, generally speaking, a different story. I discovered Douglas Adams in my middle school years and he has always been the exception to my disinterest in sci-fi. But you know how there are some authors who could write a phone book and it would be amazing? That’s kind of how I feel about Garth Nix. Although mostly a YA/teen fantasy novelist, he has breached the sci-fi genre with his most recent novel, A Confusion of Princes. I figured, what the heck, I’d give it a try despite the obvious science fiction overtones. Note: I just learned that technically, it’s a “space opera”, whatever that is.
Here’s my takeaway: it was good enough to read all the way through. Nix has a way of creating imaginative worlds that don’t come across as silly and contrived. Sometimes I open a book and see all the names are Llethywynn and Glêmrax and I just close it straight away, because it’s silly! This one isn’t overly serious or overly silly. It’s intriguing, exciting, fun. My only criticism would be that 75% of the way through the book, I was sure it would lead to a sequel, but instead he just wraps it up very, very rapidly and I was left thinking: huh. I guess it’s over, then. Other than that, totally fun and will give you some interesting dreams.