Thursday, February 12, 2009

Favorite Peeps

Woe is me. It’s been almost another month since I last wrote and our kitchen still isn’t quite finished. It’s the little things like window treatments and trim work that are waiting for our attention—and that which prevent me from taking photos and showing off our project to the world. Just know that we are no longer living on microwave meals and that some day (some day soon) you’ll get to see a glimpse of our masterpiece.

Til then, let’s take a look at what findingDulcinea has been up to. We’ve been churning out some “Happy Birthday” features on some very interesting people. In fact, we’ve covered some of my favorite people—writers, musicians and pioneers of all kinds. Here’s a sampling:

Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the famous “Little House on the Prairie” books, was one of my favorite authors as a child. But after a friend urged me to read her books again as an adult, I was charmed by Wilder once more. “The Long Winter” blew me away with her account of life during a particularly hard winter in South Dakota. Wilder astounds with a storytelling ability that’s never sentimentalized or overwrought but thoroughly genuine and yet suitable for children.

In high school, I was cleaning out my great grandfather’s attic when I found a book entitled “We.” Written in 1927, it was Charles Lindbergh’s autobiography, filled with photos of the daring pilot. I read the book in one sitting, wrote a paper about it for a history class and developed a crush on Charles. It was 1986 and I had a crush on Charles Lindbergh, just a few decades too late.

A happy accident also led me to Zora Neale Hurston. My father, seemingly at a loss to find a Christmas gift one year, gave me “Spunk,” a collection of short stories by Hurston; I was hooked. Hurston grew up in Eatonville, Fla., “the first black township” and went on to write “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” There’s a Zora Neale Hurston Festival in Eatonville, not far from where my husband grew up, that I hope to attend some day.

An old neighbor-turned friend turned me on to Django Reinhardt. Names don’t usually stick in my head but Django’s did; my neighbor even suggested that I name my dog Leo “Django” instead, but Leo was dubbed Leo at the Humane Society, so I decided to stick with it. Months after first hearing Django’s music, I stumbled onto a Django Reinhardt tribute concert. Different musicians performed Reinhardt’s music at a lovely old church in downtown Portland. It was one of the early "courtship” dates my husband and I had together, and it was sublime.