Archive for the ‘3 Pix and a Post’ Category

12.11.11 – Here’s another great 3 Pix and a Post from my friend Dave. He’s spending his first Christmas season in his new home in Florida which is in many ways different from his old home in Michigan. 

Dear Friends,

You might be wondering what the Christmas season is like down here in south Florida. First of all, not only is there no snow, but there is zero possibility of getting any snow. Ever! There was a cold front that went through here this morning and the temperature dropped down to 73 degrees. The people who have lived here for a long time and have gotten used to the temperature being about 85 all the time were all dressed up in long pants, flannel shirts, hoodies, and talking about how cold it was. Not me, though. I thought it was pretty nice.

But, there isn’t any snow, and I think I will never get used to that at Christmas time. I hope I never get used to it. If I do, I will feel like I’ve lost something very special. There are leaves on all the trees, the grass is green, there’s butterflies and flowers…but no snow at Christmas is never going to feel quite right.

There are Christmas decorations here. Lots of houses in the neighborhood have the lights on at night with little Santa’s, reindeer, stars, manger scenes, wise men, all the usual stuff. While I was out walking after dinner last night, I was admiring some of the displays around where I live. Aside from the obvious strangeness of walking around in shorts and flip-flops in December looking at Christmas decorations, there was something else that struck me as strange that, at first, I could not quite figure out. Then, it dawned on me. As I stood there in the glow of colored lights that spiraled up the trunk of a palm tree, I could hear the chirping of crickets. That was weird.

Always yours truly,
Mr dave

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11.01.11 – My friend Dave is in transition. He’s moving from his home of 32 years in Michigan for a job down in Florida. I wish him the best. He’s a great guy as you can tell from the following note he provided to his landlord.

Dear Possible Resident:

I have had the pleasure of living in a barn. Were it not for job pressures that have made it necessary for me to leave, I would happily continue living here indefinitely. But the world turns, and so it’s time for me to go.

Should you decide to live here, let me tell you about some of what you can expect. First, strictly business-you will find Mark to be a fair, caring, and very responsive landlord. I’ve known Mark for a long time, and truth be told, still have a hard time thinking of him as my landlord, but that he is. He will keep the property looking fresh. He will keep the lawn tended and takes pride in doing so. He will wake up in the darkest blizzard morning this part of the country can throw at you and plow the driveway. He is a master tradesman, and if it breaks down, he’ll fix it promptly or find the right man for the job who will.

You have probably noticed the scarcity of neighbors close by. Don’t worry about that. the VanderPloegs are great neighbors. I will miss the girls, as they have brought me many, many smiles, whether from Lindsey’s charm with her long locks flashing in the sun, Abby’s innocent intelligence and humor, Emily’s older sister seriousness, or Molly’s toddling discoveries…I will miss them all so much…

Your other neighbors are beauty and quiet peace. You will be dazzled in the morning by the sunrise in the autumn mists of the wetlands to the east, and awestruck by the magnificent sunsets in your beautiful big west window. If you’ve spent most of your time in the city like I have, you may well wonder why you never noticed these things before. I will never forget them.

You will also have a sweet corn delight in August, a pair of Sandhill cranes that like to hang around in the north paddock, two overflights of grand Canadian geese at dawn and dusk like clockwork, a wild assortment of birds during the migration seasons, and the wind and weather and moon and stars.

I’m trying to think of something to warn you about so as not to be irresponsible, but I can’t think of a thing. If you move in to the barn, I’m jealous. It’s been my home, and maybe now it will be yours. It’s worth twice the price, whatever Mark’s asking. I’d stay if I could, and I wish with all my heart I could take it with me.



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11.01.11 – Finland is between two countries, Sweden to the West and Russia to the East. Both of these countries have had, and continue to have, a major influence on Finland’s cultural and political development. Here’s another “3 Pix and a Post” from my friend Bazhena who is originally from St. Petersburg but now lives in Helsinki studying the Finnish language.

Industrial, graphic and interior design, you can face it everywhere in our nowadays life . Of course,  the meaning of the word “design” is known almost to everyone but where does it come from?

It comes from the past participle of Latin dēsignāre  ‘mark out’ but English acquired it largely via French, represented in French on the one hand by dessein, ‘purpose, intention’, and on the other by dessin ‘pattern, drawing’ and its related verb dessiner.

Each country has each own period of the first steps in design. The exhibition “A sign of quality” I attended several days ago was dedicated to design in USSR. The word “design” was a taboo till 1987 but it doesn’t mean that people were not creative those days. But from the beginning of 1918 it was really important for the country, how new creative art views could influence the technology and engineering. Government reorganized old departments into New Art and Industry Departments. Even Institution for Higher education was built for that. All the best designers of USSR graduated from the Higher Technical-Artistic Studios Vkhutemas, an art school in Moscow set up after the Revolution by combining the former School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture with the Stroganov Art School. When it was founded in 1918 it was called Svomas, but it was renamed Vkhutemas in 1920.

That exhibition carries us back to the childhood, makes us feel the same as we used to feel being kids. Unfortunately, you have to stand in a long line leading to the slot machine but after you reached it , you can easily remind yourself how to shoot down the enemy ship just using five attempts and it is free of charge! Excellent interior design sketches of 1958 looks like so real 3D, but the secret of that technique is just using the different types of paper and basic rules of drawing. Also you can admire the first covers of the popular USSR magazines, stunning concept cars, toys that our parents used to put near their pillows and many other amazing things that made me feel so excited!

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08.01.11 – Finland obviously does not have exclusive rights to the winter season and all the changes that come with it. The Earth tilts and takes many of us along for the ride, some further than others. Here’s a “3 Pix and a Post”, guest post, from my like-minded friend Dave Treece who has a keen eye and a creative view on the winter season from his home in Michigan.

Dear Tom,

About the same time you were leaving the States to begin your new life in Finland, I was moving into something of a different venue, too. Most of my life I’ve lived in neighborhoods with neighborhood people all around, or in buildings with buildings’ people all around. But in August last summer, an opportunity presented itself that would put me where I am now, well outside the city limits with very few neighbors, and in a building to myself: the finished upper level of an actual, gambrel roofed barn.

It has been a pleasant adjustment for the most part. There are a few inconveniences, and some modern amenities I’m learning to forego. I no longer own a television set, since cable is not available out here and satellite dishes just don’t look right to me. There’s no city water, just hard water coming out of the ground, and sometimes the pump makes funny noises at random hours of the day and night. I need to feed salt to the water softener so my clothes don’t break in half when they come out of the dryer… But I love it.

The sky at night is clear enough to see things I haven’t seen since I was a small town boy. Sitting on the broad, elevated deck at the east end of the barn, there’s an almost perfect moonrise, I see the Pleiades, shooting stars, and on very clear, dark nights, I can see the banded arm of the Milky Way itself, arcing across the backdrop of infinity from horizon to horizon. I hear distant trains in the dark instead of sirens and other urban undercurrents that I used to absorb automatically into my subconscious mind where it wouldn’t be such a distraction.

I can recall in late August how the sweet corn tasted after snapping off a couple of ears right from the field a few dozen yards from the barn, and the incredible flavor of each mouthful after less than three minutes from stalk to stove. I remember looking out the big west window of the barn and imagining those golden-haired fields gone, asleep for the winter, picturing in my mind the dustorm-like windblown snow sweeping over the wide landscape.

Now, in January, I look out that same window, or march across those same fields wearing layers of warm clothes, insulated boots, scarves, and yes, my trusty Pitkät Kalsarit. In my mind’s eye I try to imagine the frozen, snow-covered mud transformed into shining, golden-haired fields of bounty, the scent of blossoms in the air and warm, humid sunshine making sweat trickle down my face, and the explosion of life springing from the lifeless earth of winter. It’s a ways off yet, but I know it’s coming, and when it does it will be right on time. Until then, the Michigan winter will stake its claim on the land, and not without a fanfare of its own here on the 43rd parallel.

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