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Thursday, May 19, 2005

A Commonplace Book

commonplace book - n. A personal journal in which quotable passages, literary excerpts, and comments are written. A notebook in which you enter memorabilia. Producing a commonplace book is called commonplacing.

Long before blogs, people jotted down their thoughts in a blank book. Readers, writers, and students during the Renaissance, particularly in England, used commonplace books to record ideas and quotations.

Commonplacing is the act of selecting important phrases, lines, and/or passages from texts and writing them down; the commonplace book is the notebook in which a reader has collected quotations from works he or she has read. Commonplace books can also include comments and notes from the reader; they are frequently indexed so that the reader can classify important themes and locate quotations related to particular topics or authors.

My own commonplace book is a purple, unlined, wirebound notebook. In it, I have written interesting poems I've read or ones of my own creation. I use it to keep notes from my readings. I copy song lyrics I like. It is a log of all of the interesting knowledge I have come across. This blog is also a commonplace book to me. I record information that is important to me.

You can learn more about commonplace books and the art of commonplacing here and here.

New Every Morning is the Love

By John Keble

New every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
Restored to life and power and thought.

New mercies, each returning day,
Hover around us while we pray;
New perils past, new sins forgiven,
New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.

If, on our daily course, our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.

Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be,
As more of heaven in each we see;
Some softening gleam of love and prayer
Shall dawn on every cross and care.

We need not bid, for cloistered cell,
Our neighbor and our words farewell,
Nor strive to find ourselves too high
For sinful man beneath the sky.

The trivial round, the common task,
Will furnish all we ought to ask;
Room to deny ourselves, a road
To bring us daily nearer God.

Seek we no more; content with these,
Let present rapture, comfort, ease—
As heaven shall bid them, come and go:
The secret this of rest below.

Only, O Lord, in Thy dear love,
Fit us for perfect rest above,
And help us, this and every day,
To live more nearly as we pray.

The French Paradox

Despite a diet stuffed with cream, butter, cheese and meat, just 10 per cent of French adults are obese, compared with our 22 per cent, and America's colossal 33 per cent. The French live longer too, and have lower death rates from coronary heart disease - in spite of those artery-clogging feasts of cholesterol and saturated fat. This curious observation, dubbed 'the French paradox', has baffled scientists for more than a decade.

After reading this article, it seems that the French are slimmer for various reasons:
  • smaller portions
  • eating slowly
  • not eating on the go
  • not eating in front of the TV
  • eating fresh foods instead of pre-prepared items
  • more daily exercise, such as walking & swimming
  • eating a majority of meals at home

Two books I'm hearing quite a buzz about are Chic and Slim: How Those French Women Eat all that Rich Food and Still Stay Slim by Anne Barone and French Women Don't Get Fat by Mirielle Guiliano. These books and a host of similar ones on the market claim to provide the secrets to enjoying food while staying slim. I think I might just have to read a few and find out for myself.

Sewing Culottes By Making Your Own Pattern

Angela B. Trenholm provides free instructions and a pdf on her website to help others sew culottes by making their own pattern.

The Chill Factor

...The guide to what freezes, what doesn't and why.

Read this article (with nifty recommended maximum storage times chart) to learn what you can toss in the freezer and what you shouldn't. The article also explains why certain foods aren't freezer-friendly and gives tips on thawing and post-freezer cooking.