Saturday, November 29, 2008

California is a trip!

Taking off for few days for Thanksgiving to Ventura, CA from Anchorage was a Beauty Max moment. The cloudy skies with rays of sunshine and the water and the vantage point from the sky. Judge by yourself... Gorgeous!
After a day of downpour rain we have had a beautiful clear sky and moderate temperatures for the most part. Thanksgiving was fun. Very good food. Emily made two pies (apple and pumpkin/pecan) that both were "zee bests". We were 16 people at Gaylene's. A nice crowd. Paul and Windy were unfortunately missing. I miss my boy.
Curt, Claudia, Emily, the three dogs, and I went for a walk along the beach at sunset. It was what we needed a bit of fresh air and exercise. What a sight. The sandpipers, the pelicans, the surfers, the salty air, the waves crashing gently in that half dim light. Waou! That is the part that makes me happy to be in California. The dogs had so much fun playing chase in the sand.
Yesterday was a visit to Ojai to an outdoor Bookstore: Bart's Bookstore. It is a dream come true. Imagine a large patio, very large with few awnings to cover the multiple bookshelves positioned now and then, making a friendly maze. There are few enclosed rooms, one for the most valuable manuscripts and the "Gallery room" for the art books, one for the poetry and classic literature books. Anyway Madison, Emily and I were there for quite a long time. They have nice little tables and chairs in various area for you to read or visit your friend among the stories of the World and the Ages. I love it! I do hope I get to come back to this place again.
I got an old copy with great fonts of Ulysses by James Joyce that I have been wanting to read but didn't like the new copies available. Then a book of short stories (The Tiger in the Grass by Harriet Doerr) and a wonderful old copy of Alice in Wonderland. This last one too was on my list but wanted a nice copy. I get more and more picky about the way the books are printed. I like nice size well formed crisp fonts. I have a hard time right now with "The Shadow of the Wind" copy because in one word you will have a difference in the spacing the size of the font. For this strange book it adds to the mystery and the drama building up. It might be a conscious trick from the author and the publisher to keep the reader unsettled. It annoys me right now! Anyway.... I am happy with my purchases. I got to do Yoga with Emily once in a studio in Oxnard by the water. It was really what I needed before the big thanksgiving day.
More to come tomorrow about what I have done so far.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Reading when it is cold out there!

There are many hours in the day when it is cold outside. A quick run outside is sometimes the only fresh air that I get, thanks to Gaia who doesn't have a choice to stay in. Those moments are precious because I get to assess the temperature (passing by the thermometer) and reinforce that inside the house is the place to be at the moment. ahahah. There are plenty of things to do when you have a three stories house, always something to clean, to eat (!), a tea to brew, sewing, beading, paying bills etc. Once things are under control reading is a natural choice. So I have been catching up with some books that didn't appear on my sideline category "What I am reading right now". Years ago I had started "The Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri. She is a master storyteller. Not realizing that it was a book of short stories I starting with the first "chapter" and loved it. Then the second.... wait a minute something was wrong.... the second "chapter" had nothing to do with the first one and.... oh I get it!!! they were stories standing on their own.... (I know I can be dense) Anyway I got really angry because I wanted to know the rest of the first story. It was too short. So many things unresolved. In few pages I was hooked, I cared and loved and felt and cried for those characters so I felt let down. Eventually I read more of it after that and loved every stories. First I am passionate about India and Ms Lahiri seems to know the essence of India, the joy and the sorrow. Also a lot of them have a real ending some finality about them that things have been resolved. She is very clever about mixing situations and characters and adding the charm and wisdom necessary to make you think and change how you see things yourself. Every one of the story is strong and makes you reevaluate your views on human behavior. This read was long due. I have read "The Namesake" making sure that it was a "real" novel this time..ahahha. I purchased her new book of short stories "Unaccustomed Earth". I am looking forward to travel through the visions of this fabulous author once more.

I have also read the first book of a mystery series by Jacqueline Winspear, "Maisie Dobbs". Ms Dobbs is a detective living between WWI and WWII in London. Lots of British lingo. Very well constructed and informative about that time in history. Some flashback to set the characters in perspective. I am hooked. I got "Birds of a Feather" the second in the series. I am finishing also a very short book "A Month in the Country" by J L Carr. Also very British. I didn't get some idioms but it is so entertaining. Really fun plot and can't wait to get back to it.

Billy Collins has written a new book of poems that I am waiting patiently to come from Amazon. I keep in my car Margaret Atwood's "Moral Disorders and other stories". Another book of shorts. This is a great one because those stories are all about the same character during different time of her life. I like more and more short stories because you don't have to read the book all at once. It is like sipping wine or even sipping tequila. Margaret Atwood is so acidic at times that she could give you a heartburn if read in one "shot". I do love her twisted stories.

I am off to California for a week and I am taking with me "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I love her first page... that is how far I have gone since two months that I posted it it as my current read... What is that all about? I am a bit scared of the story, that might have something to do with it.
On my PTR (pile to read) I have:
Proust was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer
Blindness by Jose Saramago
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
So may the winter be long and cold.... just kidding!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Enough Politics!

Ok now a bit of fun with what I have been doing in the past few weeks. First I spend a whole Saturday sewing projects with 16 other quilters of the Chugach Mountain Quilt Guild of Eagle River. I ended up with many patterns (7 or 8 I believe) and 3 projects nearly completed.
A tote bag big enough to put all my groceries in one bag. (not sure if I can hold the whole lot though....), a table runner with a Fall flavor (thankgivinish I guess), and a journal cover. This little thing is the bead at the end of the signet attached to the journal.
I am working slowly on two quilts.
One is the "Urban Legend", I am adding beads around the face like branches in two different tones. The other quilt is a part of "Treeptyck". I am done appliqueing it on the turquoise and brown background.

I have done some jewelry. Those are Christmas presents so no pictures yet.

I do want to show you all the goodies that I got from the "Breaking Traditions Show". It was soo nice to participate.
Finally I am working on a quilt that represents a view of Fish Lake in the Matanuska glacier valley for my friend Lorraine. It is in the first planning. Sketching different views. But even at this early stage I have had a great idea that I can't wait to try out... to be continued!!!

50 days to 50 years!!!

Last night Curt and I were invited to the "Honoring Our Governors Evening" at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage. It was part of the Alaska's 50th Anniversary of Statehood numerous events that started a year before the actual Statehood's Anniversary which will be held on Jan. 3rd, 2009. Anyway it was a beautiful evening. Very low in the amount of speeches and very big in the quality of entertainment ( Paul Avedisian, Bryan Chadina and James Anest sang arias from different Operas and Parris Lane sang "America the Beautiful" She was amazing). The ballroom was decorated like a fairyland room with silk tablecloths and high bronze metal centerpieces garnished with tiger orchids and corkscrew willow cascading over each table. It was enchanting. Two big screen TVs were showing snap shots of the years gone by. So for $375 per person!!!! the menu was very nice and matching the classy environment
Appetizer of Alaska King Crab Spring Roll
Salad of Bacon Cucumber and Hazelnut and Gorgonzola
Entree of a Duo of Bison (braised short rib, grilled tenderloin, potato gratin and black truffle jus)
Dessert of Blueberry Chocolate Mousse Bombe (blackberry/raspberry reduction and 14 carat gold dust)
It was quite an evening. The governors being present were Governor Stepovich, Governor Hickel (Owner of the Captain Cook Hotel), Governor Miller, Governor Sheffield, Governor Cooper, Governor Knoles (my favorite) and finally Governor Palin (Sarah Barracuda)
Tote being one of the sponsors we were sitting with collegues and clients of Curt that we enjoy spending time with so that added to the fun of the evening.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes we can!

I am happy today. I still believe in the American Spirit, so much so that I might become American now. I might just do that after living in this country for 27 years and paying taxes and getting frustrated when elections come around because my voice (which I don't always quiet down...) doesn't count. So no promise as I have to pass a tough exam in order to become a citizen and pay a nice fee of $800 but it is now worth the try for me. Did you know by the way that Barack Obama is a Leo (Borned on August 4th, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii) My Sister was born on August 3rd, I was borned on August 5th, my God Mother and Aunt on August 7th, my niece Delaney on August 4th. There are a bunch of leos in my family so I know that we can!!! when we want something bad enough that is.
So now back with my periodic religious experience with Quicken (three months worth of inputting...this time. Yikes!).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting Day

So this is it! A turning point in the USA. No matter who is chosen, things are not going to stay the same. Worse or Better? We shall see later. I expect that people will show up in large numbers at the voting booths this time around.
The sunset at 9 AM was beautiful. It snowed all yesterday. I read between my chores "Nights in Rodanthe" by Nicholas Sparks. Well it is just a romantic chick lit. I wanted to see the movie last weekend but it is already out of the Theater so I got a used copy from The Book Shelf in Eagle River. Not much of a book. There is about two or three sentences that were a bit more original than the rest of the 220 pages. It was a quick read and I did tear up but not for the main reason. It was for the relationship of the woman with her dad. He would tell her all the time "I am proud of you". It doesn't take much I know to move me because I miss my Dad. He has been gone almost 4 years now. He was always my cheerleader. I was lucky to have such a great Dad . Going back to Nights in Rodanthe: I do hope that cinematography (Richard Gere and Diane Lane, oh yeah!)is going to help the predictable plot. It was a give away from the start. The writing was so generic it was almost painful. I have high hopes that the movie with well picked actors and surroundings are going to improve and make it a good chick flick. Maybe the Bear Tooth is going to show it before it is released on DVD. To be continued...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Very chilled!

Once again in my corner of the World where the temperature outside is around 10 degrees F right now (it goes up to 24 during the day). Yes we have snow on the lawn. No complaint so far because the sunshine is still with us bright and clear. Sunrises and Sunsets have the most amazing alpenglows.
So another Halloween done. We had only three children showing at our house (2 princesses wearing ski jackets and snow pants under their pink taffeta dresses and 1 monster). Understandable with those type of temperatures.
Anyway I want to go back in time a little bit. Just at the beginning of September when my friends Bunny and Mimi came for a visit. We ended up in Homer and the Sandhill cranes were about to take their long flight to Japan. We stayed in a little house with the most outstanding view of Kachamak Bay. We had a field of Raspberries to our left and a bit further a flock of Sandhill Cranes getting fat on whatever was on that field. I have been wanting to add these pictures for quite a while to the blog. It was another fantastic time.

We got to the Salty Dog for a local beer on the Spit.
Fun, fun and more fun. Thank you girls to come to visit me.