Author Archives: beth

About beth

Ann Arbor-ite writes about enjoying life with all of its ironies and surprises.

“no mow,” said the bee.

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bee kind

“for this,
let gardens grow, where beelines end,
sighing in roses, saffron blooms, buddleia;
where bees pray on their knees, sing, praise
in pear trees, plum trees; bees
are the batteries of orchards, gardens, guard them.”
Carol Ann Duffy, The Bees

outhorse.

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icelandic horse types on giant keyboard

With remote work on the rise and email so easily accessible on smartphones, it’s become increasingly difficult to feel like you can truly unplug from your job—even when you’re on vacation. In a recent U.S. survey conducted by Visit Iceland, 45 percent of participants confessed to checking their work email during vacation. And because Visit Iceland doesn’t want you to check your work email during your Icelandic getaway, the organization has enlisted a few of the peaceful country’s most adorable horses to make sure you don’t.

First, team members created a fully functional  QWERTY keyboard that was large enough for the horses to prance across—and then they let them do exactly that. Afterwards, they used the nonsensical messages to create an  “Outhorse Your Email” service. Basically, you hire one of three hoofed office assistants available on the site. There’s Litla Stjarna frá Hvítarholti, a chestnut beauty who “types fast, but might take a nap”; Hrímnir frá Hvammi, an “assertive” and “efficient” shiny-haired gray horse; and Hekla frá Þorkellshóli, a “friendly” pinto horse who boasts an impressive knowledge of corporate buzzwords (not to mention an eye-catching black and white mane).

Once you choose a horse, all you have to do is enter your name, your email address, and the date of your final vacation day—and “Outhorse Your Email” will email you an out-of-office message partially written by your new Icelandic assistant. When you turn on automatic replies, copy and paste the message into the text box and put all work out of your mind. Your email correspondents would love to receive this:
outhorse your email OOO message“Our talented horses took naturally to the OutHorse Your Email service, tölting and galloping their way across the fields and creating a range of unique emails that will help holidaymakers enjoy their trip without any interruptions,” Horses of Iceland project manager Jelena Ohm said in a press release. “From curiosity, intelligence and independence, our horses are special for many reasons, and so now we can add email responders too.”

Aleksandra Layland, author

 

 

-ellen gutoskey, visit iceland, mental floss

push and pull.

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my favorite indignant complaint of the month

 straight from our local ‘next door’ site. 

“So half of ann arbor doors are PUSH. But the other half are all PULL. Can’t the CITY make up their minds about anything??? I’m drafting a letter to Governor Whitmer if you want to sign. We can not be expected to remember which is push or which is pull! I am just tired of this. Life is stressful and having to constantly push or, wait, PULL is nonsense at this point.”

“a man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards;

as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.”

ludwig wittgenstein

art credit: gary larson, the far side

weave.

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kinder weaving and learning

making patterns

strengthening

 knotting

stretching

pulling

fine motor work

color blending

open-ended

each person giving something

one dancing ballet as others wove

collaborating to create something new

feeling the value and joy of public art.

“in the tapestry of life, we’re all connected.

each one of us is a gift to those around us helping each other be who we are,

weaving a perfect picture together.”

-anita mooriani

and cut…..

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 in honor of the 10th anniversary of this film, made here in ann arbor, i’m reposting this blog from my past.

ever had one of those days? the ones that take a funny turn?

i picked up a movie from the library recently, ‘the five year engagement,’ and when i saw the cover, i remembered that i had almost been in it. by accident. really.

it was the summer and i’d walked downtown to meet my date. when i got to one of my favorite local townie spots where we’d planned to meet, i noticed there was a barricade, some roadie types, a sound system and all sorts of equipment set up outside. having lived here for more than a decade, i knew there was always a festival, parade or protest popping up, so none of this surprised me. it  could easily have been for a street dance, a car show, or god knows what else, so i simply stepped over and around everything, and walked on in.

once inside, i looked around, it was a bit dark and hazy and didn’t see him there yet, so i sat down at an open table. while waiting, i noticed that something about the place looked different than it normally did, but i couldn’t quite put my finger on it. i then got a phone call from my date, asking where i was, and when i told him i was already where we’d planned to meet, he said he’d arrived, but couldn’t get in because it was closed off to the public, as they were shooting a movie there. and he wondered how i had gotten in.

ah – that’s when it all made sense and it dawned on me. i had unwittingly walked right into the middle of a movie set. i thought it was awfully dark for being the daytime, and things were moved around, and i heard someone yelling out something, but figured it was a bartender, and thought maybe they’d redone the place, trying to go a bit more upscale. i loved it just the way it had been though, a cozy, casual, old-school, welcoming place. all this went through my mind quickly and then i remembered, they’d been shooting in various locations around town for some weeks now, but it never occurred to me that i had crashed their party. i was suddenly an accidental extra.

i’m sure the only reason they let me on set in the first place, was because i’d ambled on into it like i was supposed to be there, (and i thought i was), so no one stopped me. and i was dressed like a townie, (since i was a real one), so i fit right in.

we laughed out loud on each end of the phone as i shared my revelation, and i casually got up and walked off the set and into the daylight once more, as if i was walking to my personal production trailer, only to find my date waiting in another location. where they were NOT in the middle of shooting a scene for a movie.

when i picked up the dvd at the library, a part of me somehow hoped to see myself in that scene, but not surprisingly, i was nowhere to be found, other than somewhere on the cutting room floor, perhaps.

“acting in’Star Wars’ I felt like a raisin in a giant fruit salad,

and I didn’t even know who the cantaloupes were.”

– Mark Hamill

image credits: universal studios, old town bar

 

invisible.

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i can identify with this little one

 when i was a child

i believed

 when i had

my sunglasses on

no one could see me

now, i’m left wondering…

“vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”

-jonathan swift

clay.

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the kinder have been exploring the world of clay and water

seeing the more they have it in their hands

the warmer and softer it gets

the easier it is to create things

everything is possible.

one of them even took

this wonderful picture of his clay.

 

“i thought clay must feel happy in the good potter’s hand.”

-janet fitch