Remember when I told you that I wanted to break up with my MacBook? Well, I did. Old Mac and I parted ways.
It turns out we just didn’t get along. Old Mac had some major “binge issues”. He was constantly hoarding emails instead of letting them go. So Tom and I took him to the Apple Store near us and boy did they put Old Mac on a diet! He lost more than 1 million pounds! Er, I mean documents.
Even though Old Mac and I have been through a lot together, it was time for us to part ways. So I bought New Mac, a champion athlete, and one lean, mean, powerful machine.
Tom took pity on Old Mac and decided to become his personal coach. Tom will keep him in shape. After all, Tom was my diet support system and helped me lose 50 pounds. By the way, I’ve kept that weight off for more than fifteen years. So I have no doubt that Tom will keep Old Mac from getting bloated again.
Meanwhile, New Mac is humming along and working out great. Until next time, remember to keep up your daily workouts!
Love Gail and Tom xo
Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.
You know that frustration you feel when your computer is behaving badly but you’re so in love, you can’t bear to break up with it? Turns out that relationships, including the ones we have with our computers, are very complicated.
Tha’s how I”m feeling right now about my Mac. It’s a MacBook Air and I’ve had it for about 8 years which is like 70 human years. Computer years are even tougher than dog years.
If my computer was a PC, I would have been through two more by now, but not with Mac.
So, while I’m still trying to hang onto my “best” computer companion, I’ve reached out to Apple Tech Support and any geek/nerd I can find.
One of my problems is that my MacBook is not “going to sleep” when I want it to. Which makes it really tough to get updates. Yup, you heard me, Mac will not go to bed! I have to hold down that little button on the top right until it finally goes to sleep. Then after I count ten seconds, I push that button down again, Mac turns on, but not before it flashes a notice at me, The computer shut down because of a problem, it will continue starting up in sixty seconds. Don’t touch any buttons the tech guy said. I touch nothing, and it boots up. Then the next day there’s a message waiting for me on my computer that says, Mac could not install updates, if you want to, blah, blah, blah, the routine starts over again.
Mac is operating, but it has 23,000 emails that I am having difficulty deleting. I’ve taken off most of my photos, and that’s tough for the artwork I do. I guess I have to visit the Apple Store or call Apple Tech Support tomorrow. I want my computer to be nice to me and treat me the way I expect to be treated. I do some pretty important stuff on it, and I don’t want to worry it will have a Mac attack on me while I’m on the last chapter of my book.
So, should I break up with my Mac or keep getting “counseling” from Apple Tech Support? I’ll keep you posted . . .
Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.
Just about the only constant in our world is change. In 2010, by the one-hundredth birthday of my hubby’s mother, she had seen changes no one would have thought possible— Two world wars, nuclear power, personal computer, antibiotics, television, jet planes, a walk on the moon, the Internet. Change is happening faster and faster.
Even museums are changing! According to the recent issue of Art in America, mobile apps will keep museum visitors thinking about art even when looking at their phones. For example, the ASK app at the Brooklyn Museum offers a live team, the Audience Engagement Team, with advanced art history degrees, available to answer visitor inquiries. They can answer any questions about the museum collection, and they work in plain sight, so you can see they are live in their open office to the side of the lobby.
Disney’s Tomorrow: General Electric carousel
Let’s take a stroll in history, when life seemed simpler, and for some relief from the constant changes surrounding us, the so-called technology of progress.
Wheel of Progress Wagon
For a taste of New England’s beginning, why not visit historic Branford, Connecticut’s cemetery? Walk the grounds of history. Did you know you could still buy a plot?
Places and pieces of history in Branford, CT
Founded in 1645, it’s beautiful, well kept, and at the far end is lovely Lake Stalltonstall. It’s strange to me that there are so many vacancies after 371 years. It’s easier to buy a place in this cemetery than a place in New York City. Some of the tombstone relics have almost legible inscriptions that are fun to read. Some date back to the 1700s, maybe earlier if you look around. I was not able to find the tombstone of Richard Harrison Senior, who was a founder of Branford. My hubby’s descendants, the Harrison family had come here from England on one of the early ships after the Mayflower. They first settled in New Haven circa 1635 then founded Branford in 1644.
Back to 2016, although human-like robots are on the agenda of the hot wheel of progress, we can still call ourselves human, but honestly, are we in the same hemisphere as these folks were?
Here’s a little mystic music to soothe your soul.
Enjoy music from the met museum while you read my excerpt from my novel:
If you like romance, and you like rip-roaring adventure, Indigo Sky is for you! Shopping at Tiffany’s, getting caught up in the New York Draft Riot, the Civil War, and the wilds of the Great Plains. Here’s an excerpt from my book that will curl your toes.
Available in eBook, free audiobook and paperback. Want that audiobook? It’s free, email me for access: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dawn finally broke, and Leila sat listlessly on the pallet. Would today be the day she was raped? Death was preferable.
Little Star peeked through the doorway and crooked her finger. “Come.”
Leila crawled out and blinked against the strong light. Rising stiffly, she stretched, enjoying the sun on her face. She smiled at children laughing and playing between the tipis.
A group of women waited for her. “You bathe.”
Bathe? Leila almost laughed with relief.
The women led her silently to a copse of trees. A stream gurgled over rocks. They stripped her clothes off, urged her into a deep pool and washed her with a chunk of herb scented soap.
She reveled in the cold water until an elder hustled her out, drying her with scraps of soft hide.
Stony faced, the elder worried her gums and mumbled something rubbing herb oils on Leila’s body. Deep crevices on her face sagged in a perpetual expression of discontent. The elder peered over Leila, her small black eyes glittered with malice. She rattled off in an angry tirade.
One of the young women giggled behind slim fingers.
Leila glanced from one to the other. “What did she say?”
Little Star arrived with a hide garment over her arm and handed it to the elder. “She say you white like chicken fat, and don’t know why Red Arrow want you.”
The truth dawned on Leila. This was the moment she’d dreaded. She backed away holding up her palms. “N—no!”
Snarling, the elder grabbed Leila and issued brief instructions. The other women hastily pulled the buckskin dress over her head. Beads and feathers decorated the soft garment. Had circumstances been different, the dress would have delighted Leila. The women took her arms and led her back to the lodge.
Red Arrow stood in the center of a clearing between the tipis, hands behind his back, black eyes impassive.
Leila’s heart pounded and she hung back. The women shoved her and she fell to her knees at the warrior’s feet. “I—I will not be your woman—your whore.” She took his callused hand. “Please, I have a husband.”
He shook her off. “You obey.”
Red Arrow looked at Hook Nose. The leader nodded at a group of warriors. They stepped forward and hauled Leila up, dragging her from the clearing.
She twisted around. “What are they going to do to me?” She cried.
For you viewing pleasure, here’s the Indigo Sky trailer:
Indigo Sky_07_11_15 – Small
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA
Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.to/29NYE5w
Artist Page: https://artist.gailingis.com/blog/
Cheesecake Factory changing skylines: creamy-rich frosty glass box
The perfect cheesecake is an art form built upon a structure of physics, architecture and technology. Granted, your grace with a spatula and deft sense of flavorings can mean the difference between a run-of-the-mill cheesecake and an ethereally light monument to decadence. But first you need to master the basic skills — proper ratios of ingredients, the role of a fine crust, the importance of the right pan, correct timing in the oven, proper cooling and all the rest.
You have last week’s recipe . . . now here’s ‘how to’ techniques from a variety of sources:
* Use the best ingredients: Cheesecake is, by nature, a rich and lavish dessert. It also is fairly time-consuming and on the expensive side. Resist the urge to cut corners: Use only ingredients you know and trust, experiment with other brands only when time permits and you can risk less-than-stellar desserts.
* Choose the right equipment. Here are some of the more important items:
Springform pans provide the best mold for cheesecake. The tender, sticky cake is less apt to remain adhered to the edges of this pan.
Paddle-type beaters are better for making cheesecakes because they tend to incorporate less air into the batter than the “balloon whisk” variety. (If you have conventional beaters, don’t overbeat; see tip below.)
A jellyroll pan with a lip placed underneath the springform in the oven will help minimize the cleanup from an occasional leak, says Susan G. Purdy, in her book, A Piece of Cake (Atheneum,1989).
A long, thin spatula (from a cake-baking store or kitchenware shop) is useful both for loosening the cake from the edges and removing the chilled cake from the base.
* Work with proper temperatures: Cream cheese should be at room temperature for more complete blending and silken results. Remove eggs from the refrigerator just long enough in advance to remove the chill. Let mixtures cool as directed (usually to room temperature if no other specific temperature is noted.)
Invest in an oven thermometer to double-check your range.
You can soften cream cheese in your microwave, according to Kraft/General Foods. Place a single unwrapped (8-ounce) package in a microwave-safe container. Then microwave on high about 15 seconds. You may need to give the container a quarter-turn, then microwave for another few seconds. Add 15 seconds for each additional package. (Timing will vary, depending upon the power of your machine.)
* Prepare the pan: You’ll get nicer slices of finished (baked and chilled) cheesecake from the pan — and leave less of the crust on the springform base — if you follow this advice from Kraft/General Foods:
Turn the bottom section of the pan (the base) rim-side-down before inserting it into the springform pan (the side mold). Secure the latch, making certain the base is securely inserted. Grease and flour the pan (check the recipe to see if this is required).
Did this advice mean anything to you, or did you already know the delicacy of cheesecake preparation?
Next week we talk about cheesecake and changing skylines!
Mr. Wright strolling the campus with his cane but without his cape. Frank Lloyd Wright spent the last two decades of his life overseeing the largest single-site collection of his designs.
I remembered my architectural studies of Frank Lloyd Wright, (FLW) and his unusual life, when I read colleague and author PJ Sharon’s post about the windy city, Chicago. The windy city, changed by the impact of FLW, and where Paula attended Romantic Times Booklovers convention, has a collection of FLW designs, the likes of which are unsurpassed. (Look for Paula’s convention link at the end If you want to read about her experience.)
Paula’s post reminded me of FLW and his dedication to architecture. FLW, King of architecture, influenced the architectural community with his daring, his technology, his attitude. There was an irresistible charm about him. Women adored him, men admired him, architects envied him. He spoke to women’s groups telling them how to live, how to decorate, how to get out of the rut of loving dead things, things with no form. He managed to open up a new way for these women to see form. What is form? In order for form to resonate, make you feel good, it needs to have soul. Houses of the times were rigid boxes with no soul, until FLW opened them up. Victoriana had no soul, just lots and lots and lots of collections. His openness was a fresh new way to live. In his gentle way of talking to the women who listened with a passion, he said “Ornament is not about prettying the outside of something, but rather it should have balance, proportion, harmony.” All of which creates what FLW called the natural house. A house that blends with the land, a house that is designed with views to let the outside in.
Built in 1934 for Malcolm and Nancy WIlley, this Minneapolis home was restored in 2007 using cypress, plaster and regional brick.
Photo by Terrence Moore
It was abandoned for seven years, and totally disheveled, but here it is restored to its natural house form.
FLW never earned a degree. He left engineering school to apprentice in Chicago in the office of Adler and Sullivan. He learned on the job, then his opened his own practice. His belief in the natural, organic architecture, evolved from his exposure to Japanese architecture, his belief in simplicity, the nature of materials and influence of England’s Arts and Crafts Movement. He integrated these ideas of his time as he would the parts of a house, composing a symphonic whole that transcended the parts.
FLW not only did lots of buildings, but also did many wives. Frank at 69 with one of his many wives.
FLW home and studio with great gift shop
Here’s a FLW gift shop link: http://www.shopwright.org/
Do you have a FLW house or wish you had one?
Paula’s convention link: http://secretsof7scribes.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/rt-recap.
“Inspiration is fifty percent dedication and fifty percent discipline. Together they equal progress.”
Sagrada Familia Church, Barcelona, Spain
Antonio Gaudi died under the wheels of a tram and was to be buried in an unknown grave. Yet, he is known for his Barcelona Gaudi Architecture – Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Milà, Casa Batlló in Barcelona. He was an enthusiast of the nineteenth century popular style of Art Nouveau, a style celebrating art for art’s sake. A style that did not relate to any designs of the past. The style was an invention of a new kind of ornament based on the asymmetrical flowing lines of plant forms. Gaudi impressed the architectural community with his wild, vehement and whimsical forms of the curls and furls of the style. The stone and iron used in his work were bent and warped creating surfaces of great complexity that flow like molten lava. He used outlandish, original, colored mosaics and toyed with ideas in architecture, both interior and exterior, that bring visitors and tourists to Barcelona by the millions.
Unless you have been there, you cannot possibly imagine the overwhelming pomposity, grandeur, and fantasy of this church. I have traveled the world over, from the USA to England, Portugal, Mexico, Spain, Bangladesh, Africa, and to other countries. I have seen churches, I have studied churches, I have painted churches . . . and to clarify before you have a chance to verify, the churches I painted were on canvas. Never have I seen, explored, or experienced any like Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. His work has been described as “melted butter.” The towers here, in the above image, with the rippling contours of the stone facade make it look as though Sagrada Familia is melting in the sun.
The holy figures of stone imbedded into the fascia are unbelievable. From afar, the details blur some. This image shows the details. The church began its life in 1882. From 1883 Gaudi worked on the architecture until his death. He left a legacy of information. The church, in the lower level, has models, architectural drawings, and yards and yards and yards of information to continue building to completion. And so it goes. There are always cranes on site. Always workers on site, always lines of onlookers on site. The church is open to the public everyday all year except for Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Gaudí’s funeral (12 June 1926)
On 7 June 1926, Gaudí was taking his daily walk to the Sant Felip Neri church for his habitual prayer and confession. While walking along the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes between Girona and Bailén streets, he was struck by a passing tram and lost consciousness. Assumed to be a beggar because of his lack of identity documents and shabby clothing, the unconscious Gaudí did not receive immediate aid. Eventually a police officer transported him in a taxi to the Santa Creu Hospital, where he received rudimentary care. By the time that the chaplain of the Sagrada Família, Mosén Gil Parés, recognised him on the following day, Gaudí’s condition had deteriorated too severely to benefit from additional treatment. Gaudí died on 10 June 1926 at the age of 73 and was buried two days later. A large crowd gathered to bid farewell to him in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Família.
Gaudi is dead, long live Gaudi.
Roof architecture at Casa Batllo
The towers of Sagrada Familia can be seen from almost everywhere in Barcelona. Buildings . . .architecture, set the tone, the culture, for a town, a city, a country. Architecture is a live, breathing, functioning sculpture. You cannot hold it in your hand, but you can become part of it. You can love it, hate it, tolerate it, but like it or not, architecture sets the pace by which you live and survive.
Are you familiar with the architecture surrounding you? Are you aware that architecture is public art?
Harrods of London 1909
Fashionable Londoners in front of Harrods, 1909. The trailing skirts and broad-brimmed hats of mid-decade are giving way to narrower dresses and hats with deep crowns. Men wear top hats with formal morning dress or bowlers with lounge suits.
As the sea closed over the Titanic, Lady Cosmo duff Gordon in Boat 1 remarked to her secretary Miss Francatelli, “There is your beautiful nightdress gone.”
A lot more than Miss Francatelli’s nightgown vanished that April night. Even more than the largest liner in the world, her cargo, and the lives of 1502 people.
Never again would men fling a ship into an ice field, heedless of warnings, putting their whole trust in a few thousand tons of steel and rivets. From now on Atlantic liners took ice messages seriously, steered clear, or slowed down. Nobody believed in the “unsinkable ship.”
Nor would icebergs any longer prowl the seas untended. After the Titanic sank, the American and British governments established the International Ice Patrol, and today Coast Guard cutters shepherd errant icebergs that drift toward the steamer lanes. The winter lane itself was shifted further south, as an extra precaution.
It was also the last time a liner put to sea without enough lifeboats. And it was the end of class distinction in filling the boats. Not all the women were off the boats, it was at the end when dozens of women suddenly appeared. The statistics suggest who they were-the Titanic’s casualty list included four of 143 First Class Women (three by choice) . . . 15 of 93 Second Class women . . . and 81 of 179 Third Class women.
Not to mention the children. All 29 First and Second Class children were saved, but only 23 out of 76 steerage children. Neither the chance to be chivalrous nor the fruits of chivalry seemed to go with a Third Class passage.
In covering the Titanic, few reporters bothered to ask the Third Class passengers anything. The New York Times was justly proud of the way it handled the disaster. Yet the famous issue covering the Carpathia’s arrival in New York contained only two interviews with Third Class pasengers. This apparently was par for the course-of 43 survivor accounts in the New York Herald, two again were steerage experiences.
The night was a magnificent confirmation of “Women and children first,” yet somehow the loss rate was higher for Third Class children than First Class men. It was a contrast which would never get by the social consciousness (or news sense) of today’s press.
At the opposite extreme, it was also the last time the special position of First Class was accepted without question. When the Titanic sailed, the New York Times listed the prominent passengers on the front page. After she sank, New New York American broke the news on April 16 with a lead devoted almost entirely to John Jacob Astor. At the end it mentioned that 1800 others were also lost.
There was a wonderful intimacy about this little world of the Edwardian rich. There was no flicker of surprise when they bumped into each other, whether at the Pyramids (a great favorite), the Cowes Regatta, or the springs at Baden-Baden. They seemed to get the same ideas at the same time, and one of these ideas was to make the maiden voyage of the largest ship in the world.
So the Titanic’s trip was more like a reunion than an ocean passage. All First Class were shoulder to shoulder friends with the Captain, Stewards and others as themselves. But the water was the same for all. The sea broke a man’s resistance. The temperature of the water was 28 degrees-well below freezing. To Second Officer Lightoller it felt like “A thousand knives” driven into his body. In water like this, lifebelts did no good.
How anyone survived is questionable. The Titanic marked the end of a general feeling of confidence. Until then men felt they had found the answer to a steady, orderly, civilized life. For 100 years the Western world had been at peace. Technology had steadily improved. The benefits of peace and industry seemed to be filtering satisfactorily through society. The Titanic woke them up. Never again would they be quite so sure of themselves. The “unsinkable ship”, went down taking with it the dream of man’s greatest engineering achievement.
How would you do on a sinking ship? What would you do to survive?
Credit to Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember, ed. 1955, Henry Holt and Company, New York.
Historic Time Periods
Gilded Age America: 1870s to 1890s
Progressive Era America: 1890s to 1920s
Belle Epoque Europe: 1880s to 1910s
Victorian Era: 1837-1901
Edwardian Era: 1901-1914
World War One: 1914-1918
Some interior design history coming . . .
I feel the earth move under my feet, I feel the sky tumbling down whenever they’re around. All those fantastic movers and shakers changing lives, changing chairs, changing toys and changing history. All those folks we have been talking about in my blogs: Queen Victoria with her long reign in the 19th century, the Bauhaus school in the early 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright in the mid 20th century,
Steve Jobs of Apple and Pixar in the late 20th and to date only to name a few free thinkers.
Where would we be today without these creative thinkers? I suppose we would not know the difference. We can’t miss what we never knew. But we stand watch as they shake us around and push forward to new exciting innovative technology. What next?
We all subscribe to public domains to chit chat and contact others. You know: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin. The public plays all over the internet while big brother is watching. George Orwell in his 1949 book “1984” was right about big brother. Big brother IS watching you. Orwell was a little early in his prediction. But rest assured the major minds were already working on the technology we have today.
Are we on technology overload and who is big brother? Do you believe you are being watched? How do you feel about this eye on you everyday, all day, all night? Are you participating in the public domains where everyone knows who you are? What changes have you made in your life with all the technology? Is life easier?
Mighty news is in the works – Victoriana is back. I never thought I would see the day. From all I remember as a youngster, to my concentrated academia and career in the arts and disciplines teaching about beauty, I believed Victoriana had produced some of the ugliest products ever made in history. Like living in “Dark Shadows.” My years of work and study in art, design, and architecture have produced in me a clear idea of how space, color, and unity can be utilized to produce a well-designed and functional environment. Environments like schools, sports stadiums, spas, places of worship, galleries, museums, our homes and more. The list is long.
According to Wikipedia: Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Steampunk involves a setting where steam power was widely used—usually the Victorian era Britain—that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of Steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.
Image below on the left is a handsome 21st Century clock by Roger Wood made in the aesthetics of Steampunk style. Metal and layers. See more on his website. http://www.klockwerks.com
Steampunk garnered its name from the idea of steam power and the inventions of the industrial revolution. It is based on history. Robert Fulton and his steam engine were instrumental in changing manufacturing. Eli Whitney and his cotton gin made extracting cotton from the plant easier. The spinning jenny run by steam made weaving easier. The Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point in human history.
Image on right is the only surviving example of a Spinning mule built by the inventor Samuel Crompton.
Almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way. Machine-based manufacturing became protocol. Victoriana produced thinkers of future possibilities and science fiction, hence Steampunk; layering, metal, designing with objects of technology.
Image on right, Victoriana style, is a Herter sofa made for the Lockwood’s, circa 1867. Two of the sofas can be seen in Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk CT. The mansion is still looking for the other pair. Lockwood is open to the public. www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com
Remember a couple of years ago in fashion when layering became popular? Now it’s more popular than ever. We discovered layering works, both indoors and outdoors, and it is fashionable. For fashion, so many designs are being shown in layered form.
Free People fashions for Bloomingdale's
2011 Free People on the left in particular.
Image above on right: 1905 Duster keeps the road dust from the new automobiles off her layers of underclothing.
Mrs. Lockwood layered in corset, petticoats, slips, blouse and can you see more?
Image on left: Let’s look at Mrs. Lockwood in the 19th Century in the Rotunda of her home, Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum. Layers once again. Can you figure out how many layers she is wearing?
Come back next week for another look at Steampunk and Victoriana. How are those layers being translated? Are we heading for another Victoriana or will we stop before it goes overboard? It may be too late!