Sharon Villines

About Design, Websites, Resources, Typography, Writing, and Other Odds & Ends

Category: Pass the Olives: A personal blog

Pass the Olives includes memoirish entries and a few other things. If you don’t like olives, you probably won’t want to read these.

These are more personal, biographical entries with a few other things mixed in. Posts I felt like writing and had no place else to put. I’m in the process of moving these to Pass the Olives.

Multi-Tasking & Solitude

A link from my daughter to an article on multi-tasking in the American Scholar prompts this post — or rather congealed it. I’ve been struggling with a life that has become so complex I wake up thinking about taking long road trips in a small car with impersonal motel rooms, or moving to a Tumbleweed House of 200 square feet. Calculating how can I reduce the size of my apartment […]

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NYTimes Reports: Women Do Not Die

In August of 2008 I began saving the obituary email alerts from the New York Times when I noticed that almost none were about women. Since the NYTimes is infallible and comprehensive to a fault, the only conclusion I could draw from this was that women do not die, at least, rarely. This file now includes 1300+ email alerts that include links to an estimated 3000+ obituaries of which an […]

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Elbows and Puzzles

I learned in my family that jigsaw puzzles were worked by turning all the pieces right side up, sorting out the border pieces and putting the border together first. Then you start on the most obvious parts and put those together, putting them into the frame as they seem to fit. Then you work the hard, all-one-color or random pattern areas last — if at all. Living in a diverse […]

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Crochet (& Knitting) With Wire

A beautiful and inspiring little book that is useful as well. Jewelry, boxes, baskets, and a purse crocheted with wire. Techniques would work with knitting as well. Clear instructions, even if you have never crocheted before and a list of sources for supplies. Clear, illustrated technique instructions, precise photographs of projects, explains and names jewelry-making equipment and parts like fasteners, and even includes a bibliography and index. An excellent gift […]

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The Sky’s the Limit by Steven Gaines

Book cover for Steven Gaines The Sky's the Limit

If  you are writing about cities, and New York in particular, you will find The Sky’s the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan a useful inspiration of the “truth is stranger than fiction variety.” Gems like the following one on the elevator wars have been buried in history too long. Elisha Graves Otis invented the elevator in 1852, a feat that enabled buildings in Manhattan to rise beyond climbing distance. […]

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Sharing the Microwave

We are having the wood floors in our dining room and the cork floors in the corridors connecting the rooms on the first floor refinished. When the workers arrived yesterday morning, I showed them where the restrooms were and took them to the kitchen to locate the microwave and refrigerator. They looked at me quizzically. I said, “I realize you probably want to go out for lunch but you’re welcome […]

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How to Slow Cook a Turkey (Fail Safe)

By Popular Demand To slow cook a turkey is the only way to cook a turkey and still be happy no matter what. I’ve cooked turkey this way since I had an oven. Remember Adelle Davis? This is her recipe for slow cooking meat and poultry. It works. One reason I remember how long I’ve been cooking the turkey is that Thanksgiving is my birthday and for most of my […]

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Democracy in Crosswalks

This one is a rant. Sorry but I couldn’t think how to make it entertaining. The freedom to walk across the street without fear of being run over by a car is matter of democracy in crosswalks, where pedestrians are supposed to have the right of way. Equal time. Equal space. Yes, pedestrians are as irresponsible as drivers and the difficulties of getting laws changed are gargantuan. Groups have been […]

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Cars Improve Our Quality of Life?

The incalculable costs of cars are in medical care, road building and maintenance, traffic control (though there seems to be little of that), dead car and rubber tire disposition, emergency vehicles for accidents, building and maintaining parking, etc. The air pollution is not just from driving but from manufacturing and processing the raw materials.

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Walter Reed (Army Hospital) Development

The need is for an entrance on the west side of the Takoma Metro Station, one that looks like an entrance — open, light, with a sign. Not just for Walter Reed but for everyone else on the DC side. Since this is not likely to happen now that Cedar Crossing, the Gables, and the soon to be built Metro-Village are all big buildings blocking the possible development of a visible entrance, perhaps some other solution could be found. A trolley is planned to go from Georgia Avenue across Butternut Street up Fourth Street to the Takoma station. Maybe before they get the trolley, they could put a big sign on the overpass. Something attractive and old-time trolley-friendly, like the one that would have been there before the Metro was built and a trolley served the area.

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Academic Technology

Typists had to type the body of the document in the computer, print it on the form, then put it in the typewriter to fill in the data at the top. This was so time consuming that it was easier to just type the whole document, ignoring the computer. The Academic VP who commanded the design of academic forms, had no understanding of typing or printing and her Assistant VP had no understanding of filling out forms so nothing happened, neither believing it was a problem. This situation went on for years, more than doubling the requirement for clerical staff.

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Just One Pronoun

A Quote Worth Quoting: “Misplacing just one pronoun can totally confuse a listener. And when you communicate in writing, as more and more of us do in this age of e-mails and texting, you may not even know whether the recipient misunderstands. When you’re an adult, you may not remember the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs, but that was never the point. The point is to understand grammatical principles […]

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Books Kids Will Sit Still For 3: A Read-Aloud Guide

Books Kids Will Sit Still For 3

One reason to blog about books is to tell people about them. Another is so I won’t forget them myself. This one is both. It is a reference book for school librarians which means if you work with kids or read to kids a lot this is where you look up ideas about what to read and why. Reference also means it’s 900+ pages and heavy. Contains everything about reading […]

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Choosing Colors: Color Schemer

  If you love choosing colors or you hate it because you never get it right,  I highly recommend an inexpensive software program called Color Schemer.  It is both useful and captivating. It recommends and allows you to create color samples and save them in palettes, collections of colors—without wasting any paint. Sample and Match Colors You can also sample and match color with any photograph or other image on the […]

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Color Schemer

Color Schemer Application Start Page

This entry on a computer software application, Color Schemer, is Part II of a two-part entry on Color. Part I: Colorist Painting may contribute to your appreciation of color and thus of this program. If you love color, and especially if you hate it because you never get it right,  I highly recommend an inexpensive software program called Color Schemer.  It is both useful and captivating. It allows you to create color […]

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Colorist Painting

Farnsworth100 Color Vision Hue Test

This post on Colorist Painting is Part I of  an entry on color. Part II is on Color Schemer, a computer application for creating pallets of color. Once you read this you may enjoy Color Schemer even more. I’m a colorist. I paint because I want to study and create the experience of color. “Colorist” has been appropriated by those who add color to cartoons and graphic novels (translation: comic books) or to adjust […]

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Is Michelle Rhee Out of Control?

I’m not defending Rhee’s rude to the point of self-defeating behavior, like refusing to meet with the City Council for the first part of her tenure, but I’ve learned that for women being a real bitch is often the only way you can effect enormous change — or any change at all. High hopes take high chutzpah. You have to go out there and get it done. All your energy […]

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Learning to Draw & System Dynamics

Some students need an intuitive sense of the whole before they can focus on details. Others need the details in order to understand the whole. Something that is known and tested by those who study personality and learning styles. There are two ways that figure drawing has been taught, for example. One stresses gesture drawing, observation, and feeling the figure you see in your body. You draw standing up with […]

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Practical Knowledge

Q. If I read your comment correctly, it seems to suggest that conventional subjects actually seldom try to assess their transfer of learning to students’ everyday life for longer period of time. A. At the college level, the professors often consider this mundane. Their job is to raise standards and teach pure knowledge. If they need an example in business, for example, they go to a major corporation or Harvard […]

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Deja Vu All Over Again: Sexism

It’s gratifying that my granddaughters can take the rights for granted that women won in the 1970s, but I’m afraid they will disappear if the feminists and their work is forgotten. Sexism is so pervasive, even when people are trying to “do the right thing.” I had a discussion a month or so ago on an email discussion list for copy editors and publishers about addressing invitations to women. The woman […]

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Orientation to College: Why College?

Orientation to College: A Reader on Becoming an Educated Person is a wonderful, wonderful book even if I did write it myself (with help from Betsy and Jane). It’s a collection of essays on the reasons for going to college; the nature of learning and how we develop personally, even as adults; and the relationships between learning and the workplace. What it doesn’t discuss is the unrealistic dreams parents have for […]

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Pass the Olives

In my junior year at Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa, my art teacher, Larry Hoffman, drew a caricature of me in my year book. I was dressed in the Helen of Troy costume I had worn to our Grand Beaux Arts Ball (a picnic in a city park by the Des Moines Art Center) and using a long handled brush to paint a single perfect olive in […]

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The New Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods like the one you, or your parents, or your grandparents probably grew up in are still alive and well but are in high-rise buildings, the suburbs, urban renewal, and housing complexes. Our old neighborhoods were, where our grandparents and great grandparents lived, were relatively stable with generations of the same families living on the block, and if not on this block the next one over. It was a place […]

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About Pass the Olives

In my junior year at Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa, my art teacher, Larry Hoffman, drew a caricature of me in my year book. I was dressed in the Helen of Troy costume I had worn to our Grand Beaux Arts Ball (a picnic in a city park by the Des Moines Art Center) and using a long-handled brush to paint a single perfect olive in the […]

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