Monday, October 30, 2017

Memory Monday

“In some darkened corner, an evil troll named Karma was rolling on the floor laughing, hysterically.” 
― Belle Malory

     The date is November 22, 1963.  I have the day off and am going to meet Dick at Shakey's Pizza.  He is getting a haircut and then we are going shopping for a wedding suit for him.  Most people we knew didn't do the tux for guys routine at weddings...just a nice, dark suit!  I have just come downstairs at my rooming house...In the common living room just off the entry way is a television set around which are gathered many of my fellow roomers.
     "John F. Kennedy has been shot in Dallas, Texas.  We are now at Parkland Hospital where doctors are working feverishly to save his life."  I join them in utter shock!  Then Walter Cronkite comes on the news and, with tears in his eyes,  announces that John F. Kennedy has died!  The death had been announced at 1:00PM Dallas time; it is only eleven in Reno.  Still in shock, I drive to Shakey's to meet Dick.  He and his boss are the only ones there.  There is no television there...this is before the days of Sports Bars.  They did not know the latest news.

     What do you do?  Of course, Dick's first thought is he needs to get back to base.  The country is on red alert.  So we have to go suit shopping at another time.  I don't really remember what I did the rest of the day...probably went back to the rooming  house and got Dagmar and went to the park with her.  That was my usual form of solace.
     We did at some point get a suit...I had gotten my wedding dress the summer before and it was just waiting at home for me.  We were young and just starting our lives together so, although I will never forget the shock of the assassination, our concerns were how was this going to affect our lives personally, Dick being in the service...Vietnam was barely in the news yet. And this was before instant news from social media so it was not in your face all the time as now. We didn't even have 24 hour television yet....and only a handful of CNN or MSNBC, etc.
      Dick had put in for a two-week leave to be home for Christmas and to get married.  We were a little nervous about whether that would happen or not. And of course my mom was worried to death about me...her baby 2000 miles from home and the world in a total upheaval. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Book Reviews

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” – Erasmus
My new  (used) purchases!
     I'm not as bad as Eramus (see quote above)  but I do like my books and am a real sucker for book sales!  The public library here in Fort Worth has a used book store and a couple times a year they have a huge book sale.   I had not attended the sale before, so last weekend, I thought I'd check it out!  OMG! The paperback books were .50 cents each and hardbacks were $1.00.  And almost all of them, at least the ones I got, were in very good condition.  Now here is my true confessions!  I got 25 paper backs ($12.50) and seven hardbacks ($7.00).

My mini library
   I don't think I ever showed off my mini library. When I was having my fireplace done, I had the guys put in a few shelves behind my front door...which is to the left in the picture, and a coat closet to the right. Probably half of those books are already read...many are books I want to keep but with my new purchases, I need to sort out and get rid of some of the read ones.  The nice thing is I can donate them right back to the library so someone else can get a bargain!
      Anyway, what with sooo many books to read, I still listen to audio books when doing mundane, exercising, etc.. So I have several audios to review for you as well as a couple reads.

     An audio book, non fiction, which is not my favorite genre, but I like every once in awhile.  This is about the William Dodd family (no "S" so no relation) who is the Ambassador to Germany from 1933-1937. His wife, son and daughter, both young adults, joined him.  The book described the period very well.  For one interested in pre WWII Germany would enjoy this book.

     A typical suspense/crime novel (audio)...good Baldacci!

     A suspense who done it....really kept my attention....but not to spoil it, the ending was disappointing to me.  I'd love to hear from anyone who reads what you think. This was an audio for me.

     This is a ringer!  I was really taken by it...although it was an audio, I think it would be a really good read.  Involving some interesting characters...interesting setting...intrigue galore!

     Another audio suspense...characters one can really relate to...the suspense is subtle, kind of quietly   comes on you. It was read with an English blue collar accent, not quite cockney, because I could understand it.  Would probably be a good actual read.

     This was one of my favorites!  It follows the life of a North Korean woman from probably early 1920-30's to modern times...her struggles and joys...her children.  Really describes the people, locale, and politics of the time. Very apropos for our times!  I listened to this but may have to read it sometime. The author was interviewed on NPR just recently.
     And now a few "real" books I have read recently:

     If you are an Andrew Wyeth fan, you will appreciate this book. One of his most famous paintings is "Christina's World"; Christina was a real person, a neighbor of Wyeth's in Maine and Kline's book is a well-researched story of her life, intertwined with Wyeth. I loved this book!

By the author of "A Man Called Ove", Fredrick Backman, comes a story of fantasy, childhood, neighbors in conflict and coming together when threatened.  Backman did it again...completely enthralling.

   This is not a new book, but one that has been on my shelf for awhile.  The reviews for this are very diverse!  It seems to be either a hate or a love book.  I must have been in the right frame of mind to really like it...the main character is not a very endearing person...I wanted to just slap her silly about every other page, but the over all story really grabbed me...even brought me to tears a couple of times!

I don't think I ever reviewed Harper Lee's "sequel" to "To Kill A Mockingbird".  I have had this book for quite awhile and resisted reading it.  I loved "Mockingbird" so much and had read some very unfavorable  reviews that I was afraid it would ruin Atticus Finch for me.  It didn't; he is still a wonderful character...this is not nearly as gripping as "Mockingbird", but still a good read.  It's almost like two different sets of characters to me.

     One of my favorite authors, Anita Diamant, and one of those for women only books...guys would not appreciate nor understand the relationships between these two women.  And this is the first of three "Cancer" books that I have read lately!

   This book was a pick for one of the two book clubs I am in, a non-fiction. It is not one I would have probably chosen for myself, but, in a way, that is one of the many perks of belonging to a book club.  My book reading is expanded by the different types of writing our members like and exposes me to a new way of looking at things.  This was the second of my "cancer" books; it is non-fiction; a real gripping autobiography of a young woman, thirty-eight I think, who is dying from cancer.  It is a very quick read, conversational in form. I would recommend it but be forewarned, it is a hard topic!

     And my current read, also a book club choice for this third cancer book, but also a story of legal rights, family, love, fear.  This is a very good read...I am about halfway through and am thoroughly intrigued by what may happen.  Even though I haven't finished (and I am not one to  read the last page to find out what happens!) I will recommend it as a book to read.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Susan Shie at the Texas Quilt Museum

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” 
― Coco Chanel

     I had the privilege of going to the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, Texas this weekend to hear one of my favorite fiber artist speak...Susan Shie. I have admired her work for many years and was fortunate enough to attend her workshop at her home in Wooster, Ohio, fall of 2014.  We, my daughter Andrea and I, stayed with her in her home where classes were held in her studio, Turtle Moon. Susan is very politically much so the she had painted her garage door in homage to Obama even before he became president
Susan Shie's Garage door in Wooster, Ohio
 While we were there we felt as though we were living in a museum because her entire house is filled with her art. So when we heard Susan was going to be at the Texas Quilt Museum this month, Andrea and I knew we wanted to go see her.  She has not changed a bit!  She is as funny and outspoken as ever and it was a real pleasure to see her.  I took several pictures of her work...I don't have all the right titles for everything, but you can see the meaning behind each one.  Note that ALL the background is covered with her writing, either explaining  the quilt, telling a story, or just expressing her opinion. So try to enlarge each if you can.

Susan at the podium
There was a "No Photography" on the sign which Susan readily corrected!
Susan on the floor/me on the bench talking to her while she did sketches on the
pamphlets about the show. You can see the size of her work in the background.
Mandela by Susan Shie at the Texas Quilt Museum
Susan on her home with "Mandala" pinned on her wall in 2014.  We were
fortunate to see this original work before it went out to the public.  Libby
her labradoodle, is on the floor.
The label on the back of Mandela...her labels are as
unique and special as her quilts.
Trust and Tolerance
To understand a lot of the symbolism used by Susan, you can go to the links in my first paragraph.  There is also an explanation about her Tarot Cards from this interview by Debra Gabel.

Obama Taking the Oath of Office (enlarge to see all the script in the background and on the clothing)
Susan's Homage to "First Lady" Michelle Obama
Obama's Garden...all the good that Obama tried to do with Michelle
by his side doing her part.
Hillary by Susan Shie
A Closeup from "Hillary"
On the Immigration Policy
Fearless Girl...the sculpture on Wall Street and at the
bottom is a row of gals with Susan who all
attended the Woman's March in Washington. Susan
had made aprons for all of them to wear with different
slogans on all of them.
Being quite the pro activist all of her life,  Susan told of being at the protest against the Vietnam War at Kent State in 1970 when the National Guard was called in and students were shot.  She was a student there herself and was planning to protest but as soon as the tear gas began, she left as she was pregnant and did not want to do damage to her baby.

After the talk was over, Andrea and I as well as a few other friends and guests of the museum went to dinner.  She had a couple of small quilts that she showed us at that time.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience that was well worth the four hour drive to get there.  We spent the night and returned today (Sunday).

Monday, October 9, 2017

NTAQ October Meeting

"The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.” 
― John Ruskin,

      Today, my favorite group of artists minus one, got together at my house for our October meeting. We met a week earlier than usual so Andrea, who is a working woman, could meet with us as she had the day off.  Our Challenge this month was a painting by Degas....Dancers at the Barre. This month's choice was from Rhonda and she was the only one not at our meeting!

"Dancers at the Barre
We love our is so much fun to see how different each one is!  So here is our reveal of the Challenge:

Tina's-(a different approach...she pixelated the painting before beginning (not finished)
All of our Degas' challenges put together for a picture!
(spread on the floor..excuse the bright white sunlight spot in the middle!)

Then some had other things to also show:
Kay- another Shibori dyeing
Kay-challenge from last month -Transparency
Wendy-hand quilted triangles
Wendy's triangles-closeup
Tina's "Louvers" made from some custom made batik and matching  solids
Andrea's Mandalas- put all together-for a total quilt/wall  hanging
Topping the meeting off with lunch...we have gotten in the habit of bringing a sack lunch and the hostess will provide drinks and a dessert!  Then we make plans for our next meeting. 

 In November, SAQA, of which many of us are members, is planning on meeting November 11 to go to the Cross Timbers Annual Artists' Tour. I have linked you to their website for dates, locations, a map etc.  We went last year and it was great!  All kinds of artists, not just fiber arts!  Potter, weavers, paper maker, watercolorists, and more!!! Our NTAQ next meeting will be on November 13 so look for more exciting art!!!