All posts by K.L. Allendoerfer

I am a neuroscientist, educator, geocacher, Unitarian-Universalist, amateur violinist, and parent. I have always been fascinated by how people's brains learn, and especially why this process is easier and more fun for some brains than others. This led me to get a PhD in Neuroscience, work in biotech, and then become a science educator and writer.

Thursday Doors: Belgian Beer & Chocolate

This summer I experienced my first time in Belgium. I am not a newcomer, however, to Belgian chocolate. Our first evening there after arriving we took a walk, first to see the “peeing girl” (peeing boy will come later) and then to the Grand Place. Lots of restaurants, bars, and chocolate shops, and their doors, on the way!

Belgian beers are primarily ales with a heavy emphasis on malts and a lot of fruity yeast flavors.

Belgian chocolate is famous for its high cocoa content. It is a favorite of dark-chocolate lovers, such as myself.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

October 27, 2018: Dutch Whimsy

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

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Little Women Legacy: Love from Leeds with Rachel Roberts, Featured Author

This “Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes” author gave me some new reading ideas. And she reminded me of parallels between the Bronte sisters and the March sisters. This year they are celebrating the bicentennial of Emily’s birth!

In this blog post series, we’ll feature contributing authors from our new anthology, Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy. Today we’ll catch up with Rachel Roberts, who lives in West Yorkshire’s Brontë Country.

Roberts

Contributor Rachel Roberts reads her childhood copy of Little Women (Volume 1, illustrated by Dinah Dryhurts) at Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds, England.


What is your favourite scene from Little Women?

Growing up, I was intrigued by Meg’s visit to “Vanity Fair” and her romance with John Brooke, which seemed really grown up and glamorous—Laurie and Jo’s reactions were, however, juvenile and relatable. I love “Under the Umbrella,” which is, like Jo, both romantic and unromantic. Professor Bhaer has returned to Jo’s life during a time of grief and “quarter life crisis,” but I like to think she is saving him in return, leading him away from his ivory tower and hard line on trashy fiction…

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Mundane Monday: Kitchen Close-ups

Good morning and Happy Monday! I don’t teach on Mondays so I tend to have a better relationship with the day than many people do. I had a concert last night, I got enough sleep, and like most Mondays, I usually have a little time to catch up on blogging.

And then the email appears. If I have teaching later in the week, I have to send my teacher prep email. I schedule it with Boomerang to show up in the teachers’ mailboxes on Monday morning, and I bcc my personal account to make sure it arrives. I also send a follow-up email to the classes I taught last Friday. And I schedule that for Monday Morning too because who wants work email on the weekend? Ugh!

Along with those emails, I got my weekly Mundane Monday email from Dr Katherine. For today’s challenge, she posted a photo of a blue butter dish from her kitchen. I wouldn’t have recognized it as a butter dish without the label. What I do recognize is the beauty of glass. As a child I used to collect beach glass in different colors. And one of my favorite wedding photos has my husband’s and my faces framed by a glass.

WeddingGlass

I think my favorite part of the kitchen is also something mineral, as opposed to animal or vegetable. Like glass, there is also a quality about stone, (or even fake stone) that makes me think of timeless and universal beauty. The food that is prepared in the kitchen is ephemeral, but there are other parts of the kitchen that are more permanent. I think that “stone hearth” and “brick oven” and “granite counter tops” are part of our kitchen vocabulary for a reason.

Back in Belmont MA we had a nice kitchen that we had had remodeled from its former 1980s decor. In particular I liked the geometric backsplash pattern we chose, which just came from Home Depot, but it had a historical Italian feel to it. I sometimes used it as a backdrop to photograph other things. Like this jar of Swedish Fish I won for guessing there were exactly 250 of them:

SwedishFish

And on the candy theme, since it’s almost Halloween, several years ago my son got a Rock Candy-making kit for Christmas. The candy grew nicely there on the kitchen counter:

And in one of my more successful home improvement projects, I replaced and installed a kitchen faucet myself.

Faucet

My kitchen in California is much darker and I don’t like it as well for that reason. But that backsplash too makes for some good pictures, if nothing else.

BottlesFeatured

This is our current faucet (that I did not install). And, in CA we have persimmons from a tree in the backyard!

Our new kitchen faucet, with persimmons on the counter behind

This time of year there are always some on the counter, ripening, getting ready for me to make persimmon cookies.

Fuyu persimmons on the counter

The Mundane Monday photo challenge seeks to find beauty in the mundane. It was started by TraBlogger and is continued by Dr. Katherine Ottaway. Stop by and say hello, and submit a photo!

 

Faith Floods the Desert for #WATWB

It is the end of the month, which means it is time for this month’s installment of the We Are the World Blogfest. In this blogfest we seek to share a story of positive news of people helping others.

In August, faith leaders along with the organization No More Deaths and the Unitarian-Universalist Service Committee went to Arizona to bring water to migrants in the Sonoran Desert. I had been meaning to share this story previously but time got away from me. Although the weather has gotten cooler as the year marches on, this issue remains very much in the news.

The initiative was called “Faith Floods the Desert.” Two groups of workers distributed water via the Devil’s Highway and the Charlie Bell Road, a trail in the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge along the Growler Mountain Range. Rabbi Brant Rosen’s report is here in People’s World: Faith Floods the Desert: Humanitarian Aid is Never a Crime. Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari’s report is here: Faith Leaders Bring Life Saving Water to Migrants in the Desert.

This article resonated with me because earlier this year humanitarian aid workers from No More Deaths were arrested and charged. Mary Katherine Morn, CEO and president of the UUSC said:

“As people of faith, there’s an intrinsic obligation to help others in need and protect and affirm the inherent dignity and beauty of every single human life.”

~~~About #WATWB~~~

The We Are the World Blogfest (#WATWB) seeks to spread positive news on social media. Co-hosts for this month are: Eric LahtiInderpreet UppalShilpa GargMary Giese and Roshan Radhakrishnan  Please stop by and say hello!

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. Link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month.

3. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. The more the merrier!

4. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

5. To signup, click here to add your link.

We are the World Logo

Belated Thursday Doors: Dutch Whimsy

Driving to Belgium from Germany, one has to pass through the Netherlands. We didn’t have time to stop much, but we did need to: 1. eat, and 2. find geocaches.

For Thursday doors, just under the wire here on Saturday, I offer these bathroom doors at a McDonald’s in “De Loop” in Echt. De Loop is a business park on the A2 motorway. The McDonalds in Europe are surprisingly nice, and convenient, although no one admits to eating there. If you’re in Europe you’re supposed to sample local cuisine–which we did, but we were also in a bit of a hurry to get where we were going. So Mickey D’s it was.

Rather than the standard blue and white signs, there was what looked like hand-drawn art on the rest room doors:

WomensRoomMensRoomWheelchair

On that day we also stopped in a park to find some geocaches for the day. They were just ordinary containers, so nothing in particular to blog about.

But in this same park in Roermond there was an art installation with a series of objects up on poles. Most of them had round disks with different sized and shaped appendages. Some of them looked more human than others. I couldn’t figure out what they were supposed to represent, and a Google image search I did later didn’t help. So I feel free to add my own interpretation.

StarshipEnterprise

Not a door, but this particular flying disk on a stick up in the trees really looks like the Starship Enterprise to me.

enterprise_wall03_440
Photo credit: Tobias Richter (https://trekmovie.com/2009/02/23/first-look-at-tobias-richters-uss-enterprise-wallpapers/)

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

Little Women Legacy: A Rhode Island Reverie with Donna Macdonald, Featured Author

Meet Donna Macdonald, a New England writer and contributor to Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes. I’m enjoying reading about all the different writers. I hadn’t thought about how much “Little Women” means to so many people.

In this blog post series, we’ll feature contributing authors from our new anthology, Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy. Today we’ll catch up with Donna Macdonald, a writer and blogger from Rhode Island.

Final Donna Macdonald Color-Edit

Contributor Donna Macdonald reads a vintage copy of Little Women in front of historic Wickford, Rhode Island.


What is your favorite scene from Little Women?

My favorite scene is when the sisters use Aunt March’s Christmas money to buy presents for Marmee.  They buy lovely gifts from the heart and present them so lovingly—the slippers, handkerchief, bottle of scent.  All scarce items in wartime and quite a sacrifice for the girls.  I remember buying small gifts for my mother at the five and dime for Christmas as a child and I think I learned that from Little Women.

If the March sisters were employed where you work, what would their jobs be? 

Jo would be…

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Mundane Monday: Shadow

This week’s Mundane Monday theme is shadow. It’s a good one for Halloween, but I wasn’t reminded of anything Halloweeny for some reason.

I was reminded of memories, and of bright backgrounds that cast foreground objects into shadow. This picture was taken at the Museum of Science in Boston in 2013, when we still lived in Massachusetts. Moving to California was not even the shadow of an idea yet. It was late December, just after Christmas, and my parents were visiting for the holidays. We went to the museum for “something to do” with the kids and grandparents.

My dad’s mobility problems had already begun, and he spent much of his time in the museum sitting on one of the benches, looking out the window at this view. I don’t remember what the object in the foreground is. It looks like some kind of odd historical Rube Goldberg device. Or a spinning wheel, one for the Princess Aurora to prick her finger.

Sunset is very early in Boston that time of year, and you can see the bare trees out the window, with their little squiggly, fingery branches.

I was there too.

12-27 MoS ordered

 

Thursday Doors: Nordrhein-Westfalen

OstrichBabies
Ostrich mother and babies

My husband was born in the German Bundesland of Nordrhein-Westfalen (or, in English, North Rhine-Westfalia). Although the Rhineland has a long and storied history going back to the Roman Empire, my experiences visiting this state have been more mundane: they involve soccer, golf, geocaching, ostrich farms, you know, the usual stuff.

Ostrich farms? Yes, there is an ostrich farm in Essen, near Duesseldorf. The same organization also offers soccer golf, and “Swingolf,” something like regular golf but with larger balls. We spent a fun morning and early afternoon there with friends.

SoccerGolf

But this is Thursday Doors, and there aren’t a lot of doors out on the fairway. (And ostriches can’t open doors anyway). Germany’s first game in what would ultimately turn out to be a disappointing showing in the World Cup was on TV that afternoon. We watched it, surrounded by cabinet doors and other game day paraphernalia.

CabinetDoors

The whole neighborhood was rooting for the home team. Too bad they lost.

GermanFlag

Later we went to find some more geocaches with unusual doors associated with them. This cache was hidden at a church, attached magnetically to a downspout. It was not on this door, but I liked the colors of the door anyway.

NightCaching

And this cache, which we found on our way out of town, was elaborately and cleverly hidden in an old phone booth, now solely dedicated to housing the cache. Superman has found other places to change.

PhoneBoothCache

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

Little Women Legacy: Reading Alcott’s New England in Old England with Caitlin Horne, Featured Author

The latest contributor to Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes, Caitlin Horne from across the pond. It’s wonderful to see how the novel has touched so many generations of women!

In this blog post series, we’ll feature contributing authors from our new anthology, Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy. Today we’ll catch up with Caitlin Horne, who dreams of doing “something very splendid” across the pond in the U.K.

Caitlin

Contributor Caitlin Horne reads Little Women in her picturesque English town.


What is your favorite scene from Little Women?

My favourite Little Women scene, probably because of how much I wish it would happen to me whenever I’m out somewhere I don’t want to be, is the iconic party scene in which Jo and Laurie first become friends and dance a polka out in the hallway. Much like Jo, parties are not my natural habitat by any means; whenever I’m stuck at some sort of dance that I’m not enjoying, part of me always dreams of hiding away from the music and accidentally discovering a best friend along the…

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Mundane Tuesday: Coral

These posts are getting less and less mundane, but I like the chance to find the theme in my photos and showcase that. Dr. Katherine showed a picture of some beautiful coral mushrooms from the Olympic national forest.

My coral is from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. My daughter had a friend visiting last summer and we took her there for sightseeing.

MontereyCoralClownfish

We found both Nemo and Dory.

MontereyCoralDory

The last image is not coral per se, but is from an art exhibit about plastic that was at the aquarium at the time.

PlasticArt
“Message in a Bottle” by Alison McDonald

Artist Alison McDonald reuses and reforms everyday materials in her sculptures. She writes, “this transformation from refuse to artwork will I hope echo the transformation in our attitude towards recyclable products and encourage more responsible use of our resources.”  

Our coral reefs need this transformation in attitude, and are counting on us to bring it about.