Thursday, January 15, 2009

Favorite tools: Neoprene face mask and other stay-warm clothing

Today is very cold. It was minus 18 F (-26 C) as I waited for the train. About minus 10 as I trekked the mile across the Loop to my office. But I was toasty warm, thanks to my four favorite tools to combat the cold (two old-fashioned, two from new-fangled materials).

Neoprene face mask - Sure, I look like a bank robber when I wear it, but it keeps my face warm and lets me breathe. Yes, I could achieve all that with a tightly wrapped muffler, but here's the significant advantage: my glasses don't fog up and ice over. The design directs my exhaled breath down and away from my face, and I can proceed confidently instead of viewing the world through an admittedly artful icy haze. ($11 from Campmor)

Silk long underwear - This stuff is fantastic. It is gossamer-like, as thin and elegant as a white lie. It lies unconspicuous beneath a pair of slacks or jeans, and your legs are miraculously warm. Much more comfortable than nylons.

Polarfleece - Yum! I have a couple "fuzzies" that are stylish enough to pass as casual office wear. They're light and warm and wash with no fuss.

Down - God bless the geese who gave their downy bottoms to keep me warm. (Down doesn't make me feel as guilty as fur does, though maybe it should.) I just got a very long down coat from LL Bean, and it is "ultrawarm" as promised. After a few blocks' walk, standing on the corner waiting to cross, I sense that I'm enveloped in a column of warmth.

In French you could say "Je ne crains pas le froid," (literally, "I don't fear the cold") for "I'm staying warm."

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Free Irish Calendar / Féilire Lán-Ghaeilge saor in aisce

Sin é! There it is!

I finally finished the project I've been hatching for the last seven weeks: an Irish calendar featuring photos from our most recent trip to Ireland. When I say Irish, I mean tá an féilire seo lán-Ghaeilge; it's completely in Irish, right down to the little letters denoting the days of the week on the small inset calendars each month.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out. (I owe a big debt of thanks to Juliana Halvorson, who created the
Adobe InDesign template I used.) I took the photos in Cork and Connemara.

I took the file to
Kinko's today, and for just under $20 I was able to get the calendar printed on 60 lb. paper and comb-bound. (I had hoped it would be far less, but there you are.)

2009 Irish Calendar - Íomhá na Míosa : Féilire Gaeilge 2009 ón mblag Íomhá an Lae (PDF) (27MB, 28pp) Yes, it's big, but it prints beautifully. Here's a smaller version if you just want to see what it looks like: lower-resolution version (PDF, 28pp, 3.7MB)

And if you have little or no Irish, well, I think you should take a look anyway, because a calendar is a calendar; it's laid out just the same as the ones you're used to, ah, go on, it's not hard at all... :^) Please let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Why don't you write, indeed

Came across this terrific advice from Daphne Gray Grant, the Publication Coach, via Le Craic (merci to AJ). :

1) When you have words, use them. I’m a gabber. I usually talk a lot. I write a lot. And I read a lot. But I seldom see words as precious. They are. Write and speak as if you might never be given the chance again. Don’t waste time; don’t waste your words. Really communicate.

2) Plan your time so you use each minute in the way you most want to. Sometimes you might need to be walking or running. Or other times, you might need to abandon making dinner so you can write a sonnet. (OK, I just made that up.) But do whatever it is you most need to do. Don’t compromise; don’t take second place. Think hard and act harder.

3) Never forget every day is a gift. I’m grateful to be alive and I’m spectacularly grateful to my patient and thoughtful husband, Eric, and my wonderful kids, Claire, Duncan and Alison. They make my life interesting and challenging and engaging. I’m also grateful to you, all the readers of Power Writing — some of whom I know well enough to visit or chat with — others of whom I know only by their email name in my database.

Life is a gift. Use it. Write with it.

So for 2009:
  • Write
  • Read
  • Do what you really want to do