Smoothie, anyone? How about a trip into outer space?

What would you call the color that takes up most of the picture, above?

Yellow, yes. But to try and get more exact, my brain leans toward “banana” or possibly “butter or “Yukon gold.” Funny how food enters the picture, first. Lemon chiffon, or, not so shockingly: papayawhip, but only because I discovered that incredibly cute HTML color name a few years ago on this chart. Browsers recognize it. The similar HTML hues of “moccasin” and “Navajo white” break the naming trend.

I’ve been on a color kick lately, largely due to the recent RadioLab podcast, “Colors”. It made for a very enjoyable walking commute to work, last week. My first takeaway from it was to find and share a picture of a mantis shrimp with my husband. The podcast inferred that this creature perceives more colors than humans do, so it was likely to be a most spectacularly-dressed beast. Plus it’s capable of breaking an aquarium wall, and, well, Steve and I have had a thing for extraordinary shrimp, ever since pistol shrimp appeared on our dinner plates in Corniglia, Italy. Google and the resulting photos did not disappoint.

blue car

Baby Blue

The article seems to have inspired Steve to seek more information on color science. He sent me this article, about how humans develop perception of color. The video embedded in the page is particularly intriguing, as a scientist works with some people in the Himba tribe in Namibia to determine what color is to them. They have half as many names for colors – and yet can more easily distinguish some, than I can. But it depends on which eye sees them first. Wow. I have noticed that each of my eyes sees some colors differently – but even more interesting is that I remember that I was, in many of those instances, lying on my side, waking up from a daytime nap.

The older I get, the weirder and more interesting the planet seems to become. This life is rich, and good.

I am also feeling very grateful for this life, lately, due to the recent visit with my Dad, Robbi and their excellent dog Puck. We enjoyed a great weekend of food, running, watching a western, and cars: just before putting me on my plane back home, Dad and I visited the brand new LeMay Museum. Billed as “America’s Car Museum,” this enormous silver fender next to the Tacoma dome exceeded our expectations, aside from some annoyance with the placement of the placards with each exhibit.

It may seem odd to have such a huge, shimmeringly modern-looking museum of automobiles in Tacoma, once a huge shipping and aromatic paper-products port, but I don’t find it strange at all. I grew up in that town, and cars played a dominant role in our family’s plans each year.

It’s a great collection, in a fairly breathtaking space on the inside, as well. Dad had some new car stories for me, as we strolled past all the gleaming chrome, stopping now and then to examine typography (me), unwieldy cranks (Dad), or strange materials (a top made of woven reeds). It’s glitz, but it’s also history and culture: America has long been in love with the road, speed, and the future, but also with what the automobile can deliver: time together. Very few cars have just one seat.