Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving right around the corner

I've been trying to get into a Thanksgiving spirit. It's a little harder this year since I won't be having guests for dinner this year. I always grumble and complain about it, but there is something reassuring about this holiday. It certainly isn't the menu--I don't really like turkey all that much, dressing is not usually anything that excites me, and you can certainly forget about marshmallows (with or without the crushed pineapple) on canned sweet potatoes. But I've learned to live with the basic flavors of the season and can adapt a lot of them.

Along that line, I've been reading Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas (2008) by John Baxter. Baxter is an Australian married to a French citizen and living in Paris. His experiences with French Christmas and French cuisine in general ,and the preparations for cooking dinner for the 2007 holiday, is both wide ranging and amusing. Perhaps the biggest thing learned from this is to try not to travel in France at Christmas time--most of it will be closed. If you like to eat this is a good way to make yourself hungry.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

This has been an unusually active week for me, since my daughter and son-in-law are visiting. Tonight we went to see The Lion King. I was so blown away by the puppets. Even the people behind me stopped visiting long enough to get drawn in by them. The music, at least the ones with the African rhythms and harmonies, were just wonderful. The story line is no shakier than some of the classic operas I've seen lately. A good time was had be all.

Sadie, my daughter's dog, has been very busy out in my back yard this weekend. She has been protecting my house from those terrorist squirrels who usually come and go with great frequency, since I''m about the only house on the block without a canine protector. Sadie has a great stalking technique which is unfortunately ruined when the toy poodles next door get excited and yap at the squirrels to RUN, RUN, RUN. The other day Sadie was so intent on her quarry she ran into the cable box.

While I was in Australia last month (how's that for dropping names, at least of places?), I picked up several books to read. I finally got around to reading True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. A fictionalized account of Ned Kelly, the infamous Australian outlaw, it is written in a very distracting dialect. The story does give a distressingly dismal view of the times for the poor in the late 1800s, although there are some amusing situations. This book was a winner of the 2001 Booker Prize.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Gadding about

My daughter and son-in-law (and grand-dog) are down for a long weekend. While they are here we have an abititous schedule of activities planned. On Thursday we went to the exhibit of The Tsar and The President, which compares and contrasts Tsar Alexander II of Russia and President Abraham Lincoln of the US. This glimpse in some interconnected history was very interesting for people me who has an interest, but not much more than a smattering of the background. I had known that Alexander II had freed the serfs, as Lincoln had freed the slaves, but I had never connected the time lines.

I just finished knitting my first sock. Why, you might ask, would anyone need to knit socks when you can buy ones that wear well, aren't lumpy, and don't cost that much anyway. In my case the answer is because. I've been knitting for awhile and was ready for something a little more challenging than a scarf or simple sweater. Socks go relatively quickly. The biggest challenge may be making the second one the same size as the first.

Just finished reading A Dog Named Christmas by local author Greg Kincaid. We went to his book signing Wednesday night in the pouring rain, but there was still a nice group of people there for this, his first novel. The book is a heartwarming one about a developmentally challenged young man, Todd, who hears that the local animal shelter is looking for temporary hosts for the animals over the Christmas holidays. Todd becomes an advocate first with his reluctant family and then with the town to give these animals homes. This is for those people who like their Christmas stories uplifting and upbeat. It would be a great gift book for the animals lovers and families on your Christmas list.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Life is full of odds and ends

There will be no general theme for this blog--just whatever strikes my fancy when I think of it, hence the gnat's attention span. Some days I may pull myself together enough to write something that corresponds with what's going on in the "real" world, but don't count on it.

Since I just retired after years of working in a library, I will probably comment from time to time about books I've been reading, but don't expect critical reviews. I just will tell you whether I liked the book or not. If you read the same type things I do, take heed. While I was on vacation I read Alexander McCall Smith's The World According to Bertie, which is part of the 44 Scotland Street series. I must admit I had read the first book in series and hadn't been that excited about it. I do love Bertie, who seems to be a charming little boy, but I really dislike his mother, to the point that I had to really restrain myself from throwing the book at the wall. (Since I was on an airplane at the time, there probably would have been direr consequences than I wanted.) The book is all about the lives of the characters, so there is not a lot of plot advancement but tons of characters. So do I read more of these when they come out? Hmmm, probably for the joy of Bertie.
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The older I get the more I understand my mother's wish for a house that was all closets. It's not so much that I collect things as that they collect me. Who needs a puppy to follow me home when I have 2,000 books (thanks, LibraryThing), 75 teacups, 43 hats, and assorted dragons. And that doesn't include the knitting needles, family pictures, CDs, knickknacks, tapes dispensers (where do they hide when they're needed?), and bread pans.
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I'm supposed to be getting ready for a visit from my daughter and son-in-law, but this is more fun. I can always find a welcome interruption to housework. Sorry, kiddos, you've got clean sheets on the bed and towels, what more do you need. I'll move the computer off the table when you get here. Luv, luv.