mad in pursuit notebook

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS

Review: What I've Been Up To

Week of Sept 22-29, 2012

Doctor and dentist appointments seem to converge in clusters and these late September weeks have been filled with appointments. Glad to say that except for Jim's teeth, we're both in good health.

Seems like I have a project going on every surface. I even ordered a new sewing machine this week to expand my horizons on that front. Love to play with my toys and explore the possibilities, even if I'm not actually producing too much at the moment. It's like why I collect handbags -- preparation for whatever adventure might present itself. "Capacity building."

My drum and bugle corps video took a back seat when I was contacted by a scholar in Japan, who has taken an interest in our collection of old Japanese woodblock prints, which were distributed (like holy cards or blessings) in the early 19th century to temple pilgrims (see image on right). (You can see most of them here on Flickr, which is where Gaynor found us.) The Buddhist prints set off a flurry of correspondence as Gaynor set out to identify them all and I struggled to keep up. Our friend Anny pitched in, providing me with some links that helped me put the flurry of interest in the humble prints into perspective. I wound up reading about the spiritual tradition of Shugendo, which is one of Gaynor's areas of study and which reflects my own interests in the blending of various religious traditions.

For relaxation, I visited ancestry.com and tried to get more systematic about updating my family history pages from the 1940 U.S. census data. I concentrated on the Prices -- my Grandpa and his brothers. The 1940 census -- taken while the U.S. was still in the hole of the Great Depression -- contains interesting data on income and occupation. As I revised the Price page, I was really struck by their low income and the struggle to find employment, if only for a few weeks, while the brothers also tried to make it as self-employed carpenters.

Sept 29, 2012