Friday, July 24, 2009

check this out!

Sweet Michele, of "With Heart in Hands" was lucky enough to get a copy of Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran's new book "Freddy & Gwen Together Again" that she can give away to a lucky quilter. Their first book, Collaborative Quilting is fantastic and this one looks to be even more fun. If you're a fan of the wonky, scrappy, fun look, this one is a winner. Go have a look and sign up by leaving a comment.. I have my fingers crossed to win it myself but it's up for grabs right now. If you haven't visited Michele's blog you will find yourself in for a long visit. Along with being a great quilter and all around smarty pants, she offers frequent lists of patterns for free. Anyway, get a cup of coffee and have a look see.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mostly Booky Bliss

My recent forced vacation from creativity gave me an opportunity to get into a couple of books that I've been meaning to read and to re-read one that I hold dear. So here are my reviews of them for your possible reading pleasure.
I can't say enough wonderful things about Frances Mayes book. It's so well written that you feel as though you can smell the food, the flowers and hear the music. Evocative isn't a good enough word. I would like to give this book to everyone I care about and insist they read it while lounging on a chaise with a cool drink and lovely evening breezes washing over them. You can open it to any page and be transported to a place you would love to be. Read this book. I've already read it twice. You will thank me.
Last year I read a book by Ferenc Mate. There should be an accent over the e but I forgot how to do that. Anyway, Mr. Mate and his wife Candace and their little boy bought a vineyard in Tuscany complete with an ancient, fairly ruined, farmhouse. The vineyard is in the area where they grow the luscious grape that makes the best wine in Italy. Rich, deep, intense, Brunello de Montepulciano wine. My very favorite Italian wine. The book is the story of how they searched for and found the place and their adventures in getting the farmhouse restored by craftsmen who work on their own special clock called Italian time. It's such fun. Recently I went back and while looking for something similar I found the book he wrote first. The first book describes their early married life pre-kid and pre-vineyard, while trying to fit in to the small Italian village they come to live in. It is a darling book that I loved so much I couldn't put it down even when my eyes were giving me the most trouble. I have just re-read it as well and love it more the second time around. Your welcome.
Let me get the weird review out of the way. I say weird because I really thought I would adore this book and it left me scratching my head and feeling sort of annoyed by the end. When I heard that David Lebowitz, famous Chocolatier of the culinary world, had written a book on his life in Paris, I thought "what could be bad?". Chocolate and Paris, must be delicious. Here's my take on this. His book came off as a snobbish, anti-American, treatise, the like of which causes many to miss-judge both Paris and it's people. What I learned from this book is that you can't use the bathroom the entire time you are there and if you get fingered for being an American, you will be hated on sight and scorned, laughed at and made fun of for simply existing. Also, never ever ask anyone a question. It was very disappointing and kind of made me cranky. There is not a lot that is "sweet" about this life he writes about. He should stick to making chocolate.
If you have never read any Steinbeck....what the hell have you been doing with your life. I discovered John Steinbeck in one of the darkest periods of my life by reading is delightful book "Travels with Charlie", which chronicles his trips with his dog Charlie. Loved that book and it made me forget how miserable I was at the time. I followed it up with "Cannery Row" and if you haven't read that you need to give yourself a treat. It's funny and sad and beautiful. The best day was when I found my, now-worn, Penguin copy of "East of Eden". If you have only experienced the movie with James Dean, you have no concept of what a wonderful book this is. The movie is only one small part of the book and, in my humble opinion, doesn't do that justice. It is the story of generations of people of varying social status in the Salinas Valley of California. I have read and re-read this book over the years and I never tire of it.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoy them and I'd be interested in how you feel about them.
I had lunch to day with my new favorite person in my world. My son's Mother-in-law to be, Cheryl. We had a nice lunch and some fun conversation. I'm so happy for the chance to get to know her. I can see in Cheryl, why we have come to love Dani. Very sweet people. Looking forward to the party at the end of August where we will be able to meet other family members.
Well, this certainly has turned into a novel. Time to make some dinner for the boys. Hope you have a great day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's a vision thing.

Good News on the vision front. Here's the story and a bit of a cautionary tale. I went to my Ophthalmologist, a man I have been seeing for eye issues for years, and got some immediate answers. The cautionary part of the story is this. Don't try to save money when it comes to your eyes. The cheap will cost you in more ways than one.
I got my last Rx from the Dr. and had the glasses made. I hated the frames so much -they fit badly-I disliked the frame once I got them etc.. Thought I would save some bucks by going to one of the very famous places you see advertised on tv all the time ad simply having another pair made with free frames. Over the course of the last few years I've had some issues with clarity because of aging/drying eyes and possibly a medicine which had been prescribed for me and the dosage was upped during the past year and a half or so. Sooooo, I picked up the second pair of glasses and off I went. I felt a little tugging at my left eye(which is the weak one from astigmatism) so I just figures that it ws part of the new Rx and on I went with life. It seemed that over the course of the next few months, my eyes got blurry and things were a bit fuzzy watching tv. I also couldn't make the transition from close up to distance well. The longer it went on the more blurry and fuzzy and, frankly, dizzy I began to feel. So much so that I stopped ding many of the things I really enjoyed...hello...quilting, reading, watching old movies while sewing. Ten minutes after I got to the ophthalmologist I had an answer. The Rx, copied by the famous glasses place, was wrong on several counts. It was wrong on the distance measurement and wrong on the progressive bifocal. As soon as they put the machine up to my eyes and adjusted the right prescription I could see. I almost cried for joy. The Dr. said that these quick and cheap places just don't send their lenses to reputable places to be ground. In this case the numbers were way off and it was easy to see why I couldn't.
I'm thrilled with the news and my new glasses should be in next week. Yipee!!
I'm catching up with some things I have let slide around the house and just enjoying the fact that I'm not going blind. He did suggest that I get some liquid tears and that it would help with the overly dry eye thing. Sadly, it's an aging issue but one I'm happy to be able to deal with.
Hope fully by the beginning of August I will have my new glasses and be back to work on some sewing. I really miss my machine and I have fondled fabric so much I'm wearing the nap away on some of it.
We had a really fun time at Roger's reunion for a funny reason. The band was super bad. Imagine a bunch of elderly white guys trying to play Barry White and Play that Funky Music White Boy and you get the gist of the thing. Diane and I were convulsed. Of course the whiskey sours helped a lot. Our friends were here for a week that was pure joy. I miss them so much already. Our time went to fast.
Well, I must go and get ready for dinner with my friend Gerrie. We are celebrating her birthday this evening. Just the girls and some nice Italian food.
If you're still with me, thanks for checking in. I will get back to normal soon, Whatever that is.