Friday, February 29, 2008

February 29, 2008

Today is Leap Day. I was almost a leap year baby, missed it only by a couple of years. It would have been lousy as a kid to only have a birthday every four years. However, at this point in my life, I can see where it might be really nice! But, it wasn't to be.

However, I do have this extra day. An extra day and a Friday to boot. I have decided what I am going to do with this extra day -- apart from the impossibly long "to do" list I have already made this morning. I am going to learn how to take the pictures off the camera, put them into the computer and then put them onto my blog. I read a number of blogs and they all have such lovely pictures of their needlework, their vacation spots, their crafts, themselves (that means you jlshall) and my blog is severely lacking.

Accomplishing this will require a lot -- paper and pencil to write down the process because I will NEVER remember it (I am completely unteachable in these matters) and A. A has to be here to walk me through it. I have 360 pictures on my camera that need to be stored and saved. I think this would be a good day to do that.

After all, we have an extra day -- a day to do something different.

Yes.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Birthday

Today is my birthday. So, what kind of a day is it? Well, for February, it is pretty nice. Morning is like late winter, afternoon is like early spring. I guess that sounds typical. It is sunny but windy -- and the cedar pollen is high -- again. I awoke with the remnants of the allergy attack of yesterday -- not gone but going. The cat is a bit punk and the laundry is multiplying itself in the dark. It is pretty much business as usual except that A gave me the gift that I had picked out a few weeks ago. It is much easier for him if I do the picking, he does the buying and hiding and presenting. It works well that way because sometimes I even forget what it is I chose! I guess those senior moments can work to our advantage if we look at it that way. So, all in all, it is a good day. The best gift is that I have today -- sneezing, itching, punky cat, cedar and all. I will take it. It is a good thing!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mrs. Jeffries and the Silent Knight

I am adding this book to my personal reading list. The author is Emily Brightwell, the publisher is The Berkley Publishing Group.

I am not a lover of the mystery. However, and I am not proud to admit this, I purchased this book because I was attracted to the dust jacket. The art work drew me in. Ok, I know that you can't judge a book by it's cover.

However, in this case, the cover was a fair judge of the book. It was a quick, easy read. It isn't very long and the hardback version is a small size which makes holding it easy for arthritic hands and wrists. The story got me from the beginning. While some of it was obvious, the ending wasn't -- I was surprised and it was very clever. The characters are pretty well developed, they were likeable (the ones that were supposed to be) and the ones that weren't supposed to be -- well, they weren't. I didn't expect all this out of a book that was really simply written and straightforward. No sophistication here but a good story, good characters and a novel ending.

I would recommend.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Letters From Rifka

My fifth book for the Young Readers Challenge is "Letters from Rifka" by Karen Hesse. It received the National Jewish Book Award and was published in the US in 1991 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc.

It is a true story of the author's family's immigration to the US from Russia during World War I. Even though there were some changes by the author it is the story of her Aunt Lucy.

The story details the family's life in Russia, their dangerous flee from their home and the perils along the way that separated the main character, Rifka, from her family for over a year. While that sounds quite dire for a twelve year old, she did have some good adventures and new experiences along the way -- like learning about bananas.

The story showed amazing maturity and insight for a 12 year old girl, a good example for girls that age who would be reading this book. It also showed how children in other places don't necessarily have the same things that we have -- like bananas. It gives the reader a glimpse into the life of people from other countries and in another time. In spite of the dire circumstances of the times, the book was not depressing. Even though it dealt with death, loss, and change, the main character is positive and tries to make the best of her situation.

I would recommend this for a reader at the upper end of the age range of our challenge. It does take a bit of maturity to read it and I think a younger reader simply wouldn't have an interest in it. This could coincide nicely as a supplement for a history class.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Rollie

I have a cat named Rollie. Actually his name is G. Rollie named for the stadium -- G. Rollie White Coliseum -- at Texas A&M University. I had a picture of Rollie up but I took it down so I can try to put it with this blog. We shall see if I can figure it out. I really like pics with the blogs, if appropriate, so I have to figure this out. Bear with me -- it might take a while because my technical brain cell is rather small.
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler


The fourth book I have read for the Young Reader's Challenge is "From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E. L. Konigsburg (1967).

I chose this book because it was my daughter's favorite book when she was growing up. I also chose this book because it was recommended by JLSHall. I have to say that both women have excellent taste in children's books.

This book is a charming account of two very brave and resourceful siblings who decide to run away. Well, Claudia, the main character and older sibling, decided to run away and Jamie, the younger, was chosen to go because of his vast financial ability -- and his $24.43.

Claudia planned her runaway down to the most minute detail -- her running away was to be DIFFERENT. ""Claudia knew that she should could never pull off the old fashioned kind of running away..." so she decided to run not from some where but to somewhere -- somewhere large, warm, comfortable, and beautiful. And that was how Claudia and her brother, Jamie, ended up living in the Metropolitan Museum of Art--and right in the middle of a mystery that made headlines."

The book is clever, the children are funny, there is something in it for everybody -- a little art, a little history, a little mystery. It is easy to read but not simplistic. I enjoyed it and hated to see it end.

I would recommend this for 8-12 year olds with the warning "don't try this at home".

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Quilter's Block

I am a quilter. Sort of. I have been quilting for years and years yet my quilts still smack of "beginner". Oh well, that seems to be my comfort zone -- or rut -- whatever. Two years ago my DD asked me to make her a lap quilt in the form of an American flag for her classroom. I pieced together a lovely flag with the correct proportions and everything. Everything but fifty perfectly placed, appliqued stars. When I showed DD the pieced top, expecting squeals of delight, I was met with a dejected, disappointed look -- where were the fifty stars? Well, I cut out the stars, fused them on and I am STILL appliqueing the stupid things on the blue field which wasn't a solid blue field but rather a blue field with, yes, stars.

Ok, so being the sort of person I am -- I am sure there is a name for it -- I really hate starting a new project before I finish an existing one. I am not saying I haven't -- I have made about four or five other quilts while sticking these stars down -- but I don't LIKE to do it. So, during this whole process, I seem to have lost my "edge". I go to the fabric store but I just don't have the drive to buy the fabric -- even for my stash. The fifty stars seem to have sucked the very life out of my creativity. It is very sad.

In an effort to get past the "block" I am experiencing and to do something completely spontaneous, I dragged A to the Bear Creek Quilt Guild show this past weekend. The weather was lovely. The show wasn't so gigantic that you couldn't find your way around the hall because of the crowds. The theme was exciting -- "Four Score and Seven Quilts Ago" -- showcasing Civil War reproduction quilts.

Altogether there were some 400 quilts on display. Large quilts, small art quilts, old quilts -- all very exciting. I could just feel the urge to sew wash over me. It was a great show, a wonderful way to spend an early morning. We were done by lunch, even browsing the vendor booths. And, I managed to bring home a very special pincushion with much personality -- Miss Buttons. I even think A enjoyed looking at the Civil War "stuff" so it was a good time for both of us.

Well, I guess I should get back to those insufferable stars.