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Monday, June 20, 2011

365-135 to 143 Mountain scenes and other sights

We are still touring about our area.  We visited this history park.  
What is it about old stuff that is so appealing to photograph?  
Washing dishes is not one of my favorite things to do.  
I think cold water from a hand pump would make it even less enjoyable,
but I loved the way the light was shining through the cotton curtains.

I do think this little thread and pin stand would be very handy.
I am still working, and my little office mate was there one day this week.
She is getting a bit too mobile for her mom to bring her every day, 
so I don't get to see her as often now.
Isn't she a doll?  She is such a happy baby!
We drove up Mt. Evans (highest public road in the US) one day.
The marmots were out all over, sunning themselves, like this fellow.
Again, I have to say that K must be a lucky charm for wildlife viewings,
because we saw this beautiful mountain goat.
Mountain goats and moose are my favorite animals to see.  

Bristlecone pines in the mid distance - they live up to 5000 years.

This mule deer was napping in someone's front yard in a mountain town we visited one day.
It did not enjoy being the object of our attention.
Lastly, poppies are in bloom all over.
We had some in our yard years ago, but Jeb trampled them so badly that they stopped coming up.
Maybe I should plant them again; they are such a happy sight.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

thoughts on: A Brave New World

Brave New WorldBrave New World by Aldous Huxley

I read this as a teen, but remembered little enough of it that it was almost new to me this time around.  New, and yet familiar, so many of Huxley's themes and ideas have been repeated and reused by later writers, both of page and film.  So what is left to be said about a book considered to be a modern classic? 

Mostly, it deserves the title.  It is worth reading and discussing, which is what I'll be doing on Thursday, when my book club meets.  I've even prepared discussion questions to keep us on topic. 

Huxley, writing in 1931, may not have accurately predicted the science (still living life without our personal helicopters), but much of his New World reminds us of our own.  The idolization of happiness and the means used to attain it which fall so short that no one is truly happy; the awareness that one is accepting societal norms that do not satisfy, combined with an inability to totally reject them; numbing ourselves to pains neither we nor society can cure - these we see all around us, everyday.

This discourse, between Mustapha and John will, I hope, stay with me: 

J:  "If you allowed yourselves to think of God, you wouldn't allow yourselves to be degraded by pleasant vices.  You'd have a reason for bearing things patiently, for doing things with courage"....
M:  ...."There isn't any need for a civilized man to bear anything that's seriously unpleasant"....

J:   "But God's the reason for everything noble and fine and heroic.  If you had a God..."
M:  "My dear young friend, civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism." .....
       "Christianity without tears, that's what soma is."
J:  "But the tears are necessary."

M:  "We prefer to do things comfortably."
J: "I don't want comfort.  I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin."
M:  "In fact...you are claiming the right to be unhappy."
J:  "All right then, I'm claiming the right to be unhappy."

I claim it, too, because the tears really are necessary.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

thoughts on: Women of Britain, Letters From England

Women Of Britain - Letters From EnglandWomen Of Britain - Letters From England by Jan Struther

This volume, published in 1941, contains letters written by women in Britain, to relatives and friends living in the United States. They cover just over a year - from late summer 1939 to fall 1940 - of life in Britain, written by many different women. Young girls, great grandmothers, women of all ages and stations of life wrote about their daily lives and feelings about the war. Most of them assured their mothers, sisters, and friends that they were safe, that they were confident of eventual victory, that they did not want to leave England.

I simply loved reading these letters, in all their variety. Each telling a bit of her story, whether it was a description of their shelter, their volunteer work, days spent canning, recitations of food prices, praise for the RAF, friendly gossip, or polite declinations of offers to take children, altogether they gave such a vivid picture of the spirit that reigned during that year.

When I was finished, I saw on Goodreads that Jan Struther, who wrote the introduction, was the author of Mrs. Miniver.  I have not read that book, but seeing the movie as a young girl is what first sparked my interest in this little time and place in history. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

thoughts on: China Witness

China Witness: Voices from a Silent GenerationChina Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation by Xinran

I read to page 231 (out of 417) before deciding to set this one aside.  I find the subject, living through the turmoil of China's cultural revolution, interesting, but the presentation did not engage me.  I expected it to be like her other books, The Good Women of China and Letter from an Unknown Chinese Mother, but it lacked the narrative style of those books.  Instead of telling a different story in each chapter, China Witness gives only a short introduction followed by a transcript of an interview with each person.  The transcripts were not difficult to read, but they were dry.  I found myself thinking that I'd rather watch the videotaped interviews than read them.  Not that I speak Chinese, so I guess I'd still be reading subtitles....but maybe seeing the interviewees would add the dimension that seemed to be missing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

365-131 to 134 Rocky Mountain National Park

We have company this week, so we visited Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday.  
Since I am lagging behind in my 365, I decided to share more than one from our day there.
K. was our lucky charm for wildlife sighting.  
We've seen big horn sheep in various locations in our state, but never before in RMNP.  
This shot was taken from a moving vehicle, because the park volunteers were there
to make sure we did not get out of our vehicles and approach the sheep.
We weren't even allowed to stop near them.
There is still plenty of snow in the mountains.
Trixie, as you can see, still gets around just fine.

Plenty of snow.
Plenty of moose, too!  
We saw a record (for us) four moose in one day, including this young bull.
As I said, K was our lucky charm.  All the animals came out to see her.
She also saw the yellow bellied marmots, who hibernate eight months of the year.
I did not see them, because I - stupidly - forgot to throw real shoes in the car.
Hiking in snow in flip flops did not appeal to me.
(The snow photos I took while standing in the plowed parking lot.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

365-123 to 130 A week filled with gardening, birds, and books.

This week, we finally got our new plants in the ground.  
Trixie and I did a lot of weeding and sniffing about the gardens, too.
We also rested on the porch quite a bit.
The porch is our favorite spot for resting and reading these days.
I'm enjoying a book published in 1941, which still has its original library stamps in it.
I love the wording on the reminder.
On Wednesday, we helped kids at our church sew birds (like the ones we made for my mom)
to be taken as gifts on a mission trip.
My own daughter is fairly crafty, so I forgot that many kids have no experience with skills like threading a needle and tying a knot.  
Most did quite well, but I do have some tidying up to do; 
I'm afraid the wings will fall off a few of the birds otherwise.
We looked at other kinds of birds, too.
Ducklings are always a happy sight.
I hope you had a good week, too.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Itty, bitty knits

Quick little doll sweater for my nieces: I knit a blue one a couple blankets ago, but two girls with two dolls need at least two sweaters.  I can't wait to get home and see my family - only two more weeks!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

craft book: Vintage Modern Knits

Vintage Modern Knits: Contemporary Designs Using Classic TechniquesVintage Modern Knits: Contemporary Designs Using Classic Techniques by Kate Gagnon Osborn

Interweave puts out such pretty books.  Even when none of the projects appeal to me, I like looking through them.  There is a sweater in here that I would like to make.  It's a cabled cardigan with saddle shoulders.  I've never done saddle shoulders, or worn them, so I'm not sure about that part.  However, I love cardigans and wear them almost every day for three seasons. 

It would be smart of me to knit it this summer, so it is ready to be worn come fall.  Or on days like today, which was quite cool and required a cardigan and leggings.  So I guess I wear cardigans all year round.

Monday, June 6, 2011

365-115 to 122

Despite my best intentions, daily photo posting seems beyond me this year.  I think I will do better with a weekly goal, so here are photos from the past week.
The first two are from the Garden of the Gods, where we went last Sunday with friends.
The boys you see in the left just happened to be playing where I wanted to take a picture. 
This game required picking ice cubes up with their feet - very funny to watch!
Flowers inside.
A new rose bush for outside.
My gardening is behind, too.  Usually, I plant on Mother's Day, but I just bought plants this week.

My younger son is in town for a few days because his girlfriend graduated this weekend.  She is brilliant and lovely, and I've enjoyed getting to know her a bit.
Since he was here, my son played with the worship band on Sunday. So sweet to sit in church beside my grown up baby boy.  (I took this one during rehearsal before the service.)

Lavender Lace, blanket 9

 

I used the feather and fan stitch this time.  I find it such a pleasing pattern to knit.  It is one of the old Shetland lace patterns.  Four rows, only one of which makes the pattern, and it requires no edging to hold its shape.  Since it is not under copyright, I can give you the pattern right here:

Cast on a multiple of 12.
row 1:  knit
row 2:  purl
row 3:  k2tog 3 times, *yo, k1 6 times; k2tog 6 times,*  (repeat from * to * until last 6 sts), k2tog 3 times
row 4:  knit

I knit this one with Lion's Pound of Love and 10.5's, casting on 144 stitches and knitting until it was lap length.  I have quite a bit left over.  I could have made this one either wider or longer, but I wanted it to be the same size as the others.

I may take a summer break from the blankets, because large acrylic projects and hot weather are not a good match.  Then again, I have a long road trip coming up, and need something to knit.