Monday, March 14, 2011

Sundry happenings & February/March Reading Round Up

The auctions have finished and we raised a total of $6229! Wow! All credit to Louise who has tirelessly co-ordinated the whole event. All of my donations sold and I have to say the person who won the felted bag got a bargain since they retail for rather more than the final bid! :-) But that is okay.

And oh.. Japan. No words. :-(

In other news:
I have 2 raw fleeces that I'm sorting at present.  They are going up north to be washed and carded but the person who is doing this requires them to be de-seeded and sorted.  It's a stinky, messy job.

#dailyimage2011 14 Mar fleece

Miss 4 stuck a piece of lego up her nose last Sunday which necessitated a visit to A&E after trying to blow it out was unsuccessful.  Fortunately for her it was a single, flat, round piece and not a square one with sharp edges.  Mr 7 was concerned that a) his lego would be returned to him and b) it would be clean. 

We have been enjoying watermelons from the garden. We've had 8 in total.

#dailyimage2011 9 Mar melons

Recently the US National Archives uploaded a collection of photos to the Flickr Commons of women from the Civil War era.  I loved looking through them. I wondered about their stories.  Some of them are ordinary looking, others stunningly beautiful.  Their clothes are amazing.

Mrs. Conlin

The other thing I wonder... how on earth did they do their hair!?


Mrs. A. Springer

Many of the photos are un-named with minimal information.  This, and the fact my kids have been looking through their scrapbook albums have motivated me to get back into doing a layout after a long hiatus.


Nothing amazing - I need to find my groove again.
The good thing about the oncoming winter is that scrapbooking fits well with being inside on wet days :)

Reading Round Up

The bookseller's daughter / Pam Rosenthal.
um... didn't finish it. It started off okay and then the characters were jumping into the sack at every opportunity. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude and like a bit of the old horizontal mambo in stories, but oh boy... this one made me roll my eyes.

Medicus and the disappearing dancing girls / Ruth Downie.
Caveat emptor : a novel of the Roman Empire / Ruth Downie.
Crime stories set in Roman Britain. I like.

Back when we were grownups : a novel / by Anne Tyler.
Beck Davitch looks back on her thirty-year marriage to Joe and her role as a mother and manager of the Open Arms, wondering if she is living the life she was meant to live and reconsidering her dedication to the family business.~ from the blurb
This was good. I think we've all at some time wondered what life would be like if we'd taken a different pathway. I liked how the book ended up too.

Life of Pi : a novel / Yann Martel.
Pi and his family, who own a zoo, decide to emigrate from India. On the way, tragedy strikes and the ship is sunk. Pi finds himself in a life boat with a hyena, a zebra, a tiger and an orangutan. He manages to keep his wits as the food chain establishes itself. ~from the blurb
This one won the Booker prize for fiction in 2002 and I think deservedly so. The blurb makes the story sound fantastical but when you actually read it, it does in the end seem plausible. Some thought provoking themes run through the novel.

As always, Julia : the letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto : food, friendship, and the making of a masterpiece / selected and edited by Joan Reardon.
I've read Julie and Julia and seen the film of same. (I liked the film better funnily enough). This book is a selection of letters between Julia and Avis, the woman who managed to get Julia's cookbook published. I really like this book. The development of friendship between two feisty, intelligent woman is heart warming and uplifting.

The last lecture / Randy Pausch, with Jeffrey Zaslow.
Based on the extraordinary final lecture by Carnegie Mellon University professor Pausch, given after he discovered he had pancreatic cancer, this moving book goes beyond the now-famous lecture to inspire readers to live each day with purpose and joy.~ from the blurb
There has been a lot of people who've liked this book. I found it just a bit on the OTT side of things. It's not that I disagreed with what the author was writing but perhaps the manner of it. Oh well.

Water for elephants : a novel / Sara Gruen.
Set in the circus world circa 1932. When Jacob Jankowski, orphaned and adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her. ~from the blurb.
The story is interwoven with Jacob as an old man telling the story. Some of it is sad but I really liked this book. Again, like the Life of Pi, some thought provoking themes running through it. Some have said it mirrors the story of Jacob in the Bible. Not sure I can see the connections myself.


  1. Some interesting books there. I agree - beautiful hairstyles

  2. Lovely melons! ;-) That's a great photo of you, Penny. You look proud of them (as you should be).

    I LOVE the ringlet hairstyles of those olden days ... I am betting LOTS of rag tying and a very uncomfortable night's sleep were in order to get those results!

  3. I an envious of your watermelons - too cool to grow them here.

    I,too, read Water for Elephants this month and enjoyed it. I also thought it was a bit sad.

  4. ewwwww at de-seeding the fleece, but how cool that you will be able to use it and so the means justify the end result. I am just a wuss when it comes to things like that. I was excited to win one of your auctions :-).

    Ouch at the lego I was wincing reading that but I laughed about Tim's concerns. Valid concerns on his part.

    Now those hairstyles are amazing and whats more so is that they manage to create all of this with none of the technology that is available to us now let alone the products.

    Loving your watermelons, so envious!! I see that Reese Witherspoon and Robert Patterson are in the movie "Water for Elephants"

  5. Anonymous6:44 pm

    I also loved 'Water for elephants' and particularly enjoyed 'Back when we were grown ups' - I actually listened to both of them as audio books while commuting :-)

  6. Mmm, watermelon.

    I'm so pleased you enjoyed the Anne Tyler book. I been a big fan of hers for quite a few years now.

    Must put 'Water for Elephants' on my reading list, too.

    Currently reading "Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. If you haven't read it yet, I definitely recommend it.

    Not much time for reading over the past couple of months with my brother's illness then passing, but over the past month I managed to read one book - 'The Cellist of Sarajevo' by Steven Galloway. I also enjoyed this, so would live to recommend this book, too.

  7. PS. It was so neat hearing your voice on the phone last week! Did you end up finding a spinner, Penny?