Friday, August 28, 2009

May I Please Have a Do-Over?

This was my week:
  • Monday I attempted to go to a doctor's appointment that was for the following week.
  • Monday I received a telephone call from my credit card company that someone had attempted to make a $2000 charge on my account. My account is now closed.
  • Tuesday I was late for the dentist as I failed to note a time change on the 'master' calendar.
  • Wednesday I was nearly T-boned by a NYS Trooper when the car I was in went into oncoming traffic.
  • Wednesday the dog groomer could not contact me as I was in a 'concrete bunker' of a building preventing cell service. It never occurred to the three people at home that they could get the dog.
  • Thursday I entered my bank and ran into the wall thinking it was the door.
  • Friday I went shopping to find my (still valid) credit card was not in my wallet.
  • Friday I see a pattern emerging I am waiting for the second thing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm Reading and I Can't Get Up

This has been the summer of naught. No knitting, no spinning, no weaving, and next to no reading. What should have been finished in three days took almost three weeks. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks was not a difficult read by any means. I should have known it would not be a favorite for me; people were going on about this as they did with Water for Elephants, a much over lauded book in my humble opinion.
I truly enjoyed the structure of the book. Hanna Heath, a book conservator, is hired by the UN to stabilize and perform an analysis of the Sarajevo Haggadah. The book follows Hanna's search of the objects found hidden within the bindings of the book, her struggle with her mother - totally unnecessary, and her encounters with her old mentor and fellow scientists. And that is my friends, is flat. Unbelievable. Blah. I truly struggled with these sections when in comparison to the engaging sections of the 'people of the book'.
The history of the book is told through the lives of those who held it in their hands at some point in its journey. Lola, the Sarajevan Jew during the Nazi invasion of 1940; Dr. Hirschfeldt and his syphilitic bookbinder patient Mittl from 1894 Vienna; the flawed Venetian religious leaders Judah Aryeh and the inquisitor, Vistorini, of 1609; the heroic family of David Ben Shoushan living in Tarragona in 1492; and finally to the beginning in the Seville of 1480. These are the sections with voice. These are the sections that the reader races toward. And for the most part, each of the characters are different in feeling and complexity. The section I did not care for was the story of the haggadah's creator. That did not ring true; the two women portrayed in this section fell as flat as the story of Hanna.
This book was my pick for September's book club; hopefully, it shall make interesting reading. If nothing else, it did provide a huge amount of historical background on the ill treatment of Jews throughout European history. I had a scant knowledge of the Spanish Inquisition, but was ignorant of how far and long this period lasted.
But I do need to remember that anything this 'popular' is never anything that I end up loving. That's me. Contrary.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What Did You Do Today?

ArtPark in Lewiston is one of those places I hit every other summer. No particular reason why I do not go more frequently - I just seem to need a reason. Thursday evening six of us went for dinner at Carmelo's and then off to the theatre.

I think I have seen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat so many times, I have it memorized. The only age group that I have not seen perform it is grammar school! Now, this means I really like it, or it plays so often I just can't avoid it! My opinion: no surprises. Liked the set, costuming was good, lighting was effective. My only issue was the lack of a full orchestra. When did it become acceptable to have sound track with a few life tracks? I just find it odd - and a bit flat. Why? It has to be a huge cost savings because WNY in no way lacks musical talent.

The highlights of the evening were the curry ravioli and hearing about my friend's new 'man'! I love it when other people are in love! I may sound sappy, but I get a thrill when my friends gush over something!

Today I hit another one of my favorite hometown spots: The Clarence Center Coffee House. Nothing fancy, just a tad funky. But the heat of the afternoon just begged for a sit on a porch with a cold drink - and I am a sap for iced chai. So Helen and I had a lovely visit, I had the opportunity to forget my responsibilities and dirty laundry, and to sit a spell.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Oh, to Dye the Day Away!

Today was a blast! Several of us from Raveloe Fibers met for a natural dye day. As I have been bitten by the rug bug, I was gifted some wonderful wool for a future project. The mordant was a combination of alum and creme of tartar done the evening before by our lovely Linda. Donna had prepared dyes of black walnut, onion skin and logwood - the lovely purple. Phyllis offered a fresh indigo, madder, dahlia, Osage orange, and black eyed susans. Linda, in addition to doing the prep work and offering the space at the shop, gave us a lesson in a 'fermented' indigo dye bath.

Favorites? I really love the effect I got from twisting the wool in coils resulting in a really neat variegation of color. The difference between the two indigo dye baths was fascinating - the older resulting in the expected blue, and the subtle green of the fresh batch had been planted, grown, and mixed by Phyllis. I was also thrilled by the change in the red cotton I had brought along. Less than five minutes in the indigo changed it from Santa Red to a lovely, rich burgundy with hints of blue.

This is one workshop well worth repeating:)
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Saturday, August 08, 2009

L'Élégance du hérisson

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery is a fascinating novel. Philosophical in content and style, this novel discusses class consciousness, self-awareness and above all - Beauty. The novel, released in 2006, quickly became a best seller in France.
This book was less a narrative than a series of philosophical essays on the topics of reality, perception, truth, painting, education - you name it. And at times it was overwhelming, but that, gentle readers, is why one skims. And I cannot say that the ending was satisfying. Indeed, far from it.
If you are looking for your narrative "straight up", this will disappoint. The challenging text, at times intimidating vocabulary, and the highbrow themes are well worth the effort.

Friday, August 07, 2009

What Would You Choose?

I hate making decisions.