Nov 26, 2009

Powers, by John B. Olson

I received an Advance Copy of "Powers" by John B. Olson and was intrigued. While the publisher is a Christian one, the book seemed to be something of an urban fantasy. Also, it was a sequel to an earlier novel, "Shade".

As I began to read, I found the words and phrases to be disjointed and poetic, almost as if I was watching something unfold before me which was blurred and somewhat incomprehensible. Clearly, this was meant by the author as a literary tool to keep you guessing and to put yourself into his hands for the "ride" and just see what happens.

Set in bayou bogs and forests with mysticism and ancient beliefs, urban centers with smoothly wealthy villains, and even including military/police conspiracy as well, it was somewhat jumbled. This too, seems to be a literary tool, making the setting contribute to the epic feel of the book.

The main character, Jazz, is a man who has power which he is only beginning to experience as blackouts and frightening situations which begin to happen. The "Mulo", the dark side, is already aware of him and has plans for him. He is befriended by several people near the beginning, one of whom seems to be along for the thrill ride of Jazz's current life, and others who claim to know what is going on with him. They claim to be alike, part of an ancient group of special people called the "Standing" which fights against this evil "Mulo".

Never knowing who to trust and how to interpret what is happening to him, Jazz is barely kept from death numerous times. It was this which began to weaken the book. Facing an impossible situation so many times and coming out alive began to get old.

Another main character, Mari (Mariutza), has much training from her grandfather, another of the "Standing", but no knowledge of its history or current situation. She is faced with trying to interpret how to put into action her training.

While I've enjoyed this genre before, I was somehow disappointed by "Powers". The murky setting and confusing plot was emotionally gripping, but didn't satisfy my mind. The Christian aspects didn't seem to be integral to the plot or the characters.

I decided to read the first book in the series to see if I could better understand this one. So, I read "Shade" and found the same types of setting and characters and the same impossible situations consistently resulting in our main characters remaining alive. However, the first book was somehow more satisfying to my mind, although the Christian parts were just as ill-fitting.

Nov 8, 2009

Bonfire !

What a fun night! Click on the photo to see it big. It was a huge bonfire.

We had a Reformation Day picnic and bonfire last night. Hay rides, Chili and lots of other fun.

Nov 2, 2009

A Photo Weekend

This Fall started out gorgeous and then degenerated into a soggy mess. The trees, which had promised to be gorgeous for some time, lost many of their leaves and we were left with trying to catch the last of them.
Making jokes proved good for treetime smiles.
Collecting leaves from the ground after the rain stopped was fun.
These cuties were dancing and jumping for Joy on October 31st.
The pink haired ones were carving pumpkins.

"Well, hey there, ma'am"

More carving with slimy guts and slippery seeds.

Oct 26, 2009

Some knitting and a birthday

What a joy kids are! Motherhood is never easy, but so worth it! Happy birthday, sonny! I hope this year is even better than the last.
These are some socks I made for Sara's baby, her first. She's a nice gal from church and so beautiful, too. I am so glad for her, and know she'll be a great mom.
It is so beautiful here in the Midwest, with the fall trees and the chilly weather. So Chilly, in fact, that I wanted to knit the February Lady sweater. So here's my progress.
The yarn is so lovely, and I enjoy the process of knitting each stitch with such yarn. (Malabrigo worsted in Stone).

Oct 20, 2009

Newspaper Route

Early summer brought a brief job for one of my kinder. She needed the $$$$ for her gymnastics team fees. Sometimes a little sis can be a fun companion on the first trip through the route.
Sometimes they have to be laughed at too!
She could use another job, cause we keep writing those checks! Get moving, girl!

Oct 19, 2009

New friends

One of my new friends is a wonderful author who Keegan introduced me to last Spring. I love it when people share great books with me.

While I have read several of her books (Ok more like 15 now), it is the books about the Old Testament kings which has impacted me the most. Have you ever read the stories about David and his descendants and all those kings? For me, they are hard to keep track of, and to orient the other people in them. Just who were they?

Lynn Austin takes a large chunk of that history and turns it into 5 novels. Much of the stories are completely ficitonal, with much true history woven in, and it becomes a fuller and more memorable set of stories to me.

Besides which, she writes well, and has a worldview which is solid and beautiful.

Sep 21, 2009

Gone again - and back?

We've been without a working computer for a couple of weeks now, and have been in Washington DC for a family field trip for another no posts have made it in lately...but I think we've got the computer going again...!

Aug 21, 2009


"Confection" is a baby shrug just right for a baby/toddler gift. It is perfect for that adorable little one. I've got another (in a lavender color) to give to a beautiful new baby at church.
I made it using Misti International "Pima Cotton and Silk" yarn and also Crystal Palace "Waikiki" yarn with size 8 needles. It was a very quick knit, on the plane to CA and then during the trip up to northern CA in a car, it was finished. Of course, i had to frog a large bit to make it bigger...some babies grow!
This is the adorable one in my life, and if you have one like her, the knitting needles call out to you to make something for her.
I have it on good authority that she likes it:
I've got lots to blog about, so watch for more about the last few weeks of knitting, reading and living life.

Oh, and I found a new blog! It is a "Book Giveaways" site and I've got her button in my sidebar. I found the blog at "The Stair Landing" when she won a book I knew...a Laura Childs book I've been waiting to finish publication. So check out the Book Giveaways blog, and maybe you'll win!

Jul 21, 2009


traveling in grand style
This is what the elephants see when we look at their quarter (we are inside looking out)

feasting (many times)

We are on a vacation and are visiting our friends and family in Ca., the kids and I. It is home. It is so nice to be here, and see everything that is familiar.

On the way, we got to see some family who live in Northern CA. We are so glad to see them. We even went to the zoo.

Jun 12, 2009

"Dyed in the Wool"

I bought some of the Knit Picks Bare, a 100% Merino DK weight which I planned to dye with some friends. We never got around to it, possibly because I couldn't commit to a color choice, not knowing what I would make out of the yarn. Each of my two skeins of this stuff might make a nice baby gift so I thought I'd make a boy scheme and a girl one. This is the boy color scheme:
It's a darkish red and a bright orange. I washed the yarn in warm soapy water and rinsed. Then I put two pots on my stove and put several packages of Kool-Aid in each with lots of warm water.I stuck the yarn into both, more in the red and then that top part between pots kept needing more color, so I'd move it into one and then the other. The heat was on, until almost boiling. The kool-aid disappeared from the water and attached itself to the yarn. The water was pretty clear when i took the yarn out. And here it is drying on the front porch. Kool-Aid . Nice.

Stealing Home by Allison Pittman is an interesting tale of living against the tide of tradition, existing under (and fighting against) blame, regret and excuses. It is fiction, set in the great days of baseball in the early days of the 20th century. The plot revolves around four main characters, a baseball star in need of peace and quiet, a woman scorned by her small town and living in isolation among them, a negro boy who works doing odd jobs but whom is practically invisible because of his status, and a man who watches and waits for his chance at his dreams. The characters converge in a situation which could free each one of them or could become dangerous. The story is well written and was easy to finish. The tag line is "A larger-than-life hero and the small town that awakens his soul". It was a good description, but other three characters drew me more than the baseball star. It was their emergence from isolation which satisfied me.

This is no picture perfect ending. It has its share of surprising trials, and yet each character stays true to himself while growing and changing. I think that quality is what I liked best about the book: Progress in character's lives while staying true to the character's voice.

Jun 8, 2009

Long lost blogging...

I've got so very many things I wanted to blog about over the last month or two, but haven't.

Now, for some unknowable reason, I feel like going back and hitting the high points.
This is my good friend Tammy above, right who came to visit me in April. We met up with some other knitters from the St. Louis area while they attended The Loopy Ewe's Spring Fling. While chatting there, Tammy ran into Wendy Johnson while she was knitting one of Wendy's new patterns. Wendy was funny, making jokes while I was taking the photo.
We also ran into Ms. Loopy herself, while she ran by, and got out the camera quickly while she graciously allowed us to detain her for this photo.

Tammy's LYS now carries Malabrigo sock yarn and she brought me some! The colors in this blue one are gorgeous. She also brought me another Malabrigo Sock yarn in Boticelli Red. It is gorgeous. (Did I ever mention that bloggers and knitters are generous! )

Upon agreeing to Knit-along (KAL) together for a great Jarod Flood pattern Girasole, she got right on it and sent me more of that gorgeous Boticelli Red which I can't get here. It already came! Now I have three.

On to books,
I read David Copperfield last week and found it to be so very fun. The iconic Uriah Heap with his "humble" maliciousness, the distraught and loving Mr. Pegoody and his sister the loyal Peggody were all so beautifully depicted by Dickens. The mean-spirited caricatures which graced Oliver Twist were not here; in Copperfield the characters were sometimes painted with a broad stroke, but never in a way which repulses. Em'ly who falls from grace with foolish choices and Agnes who was shown mercy in similar choices are able to minister to eachother, with a resolution most satisfying to each, without losing the ring of truth. Dicken's depcition of Mr. Micawber was hilarious, and Mrs. Micawber as well. How earnest and silly and noble they were, all at once! David himself seems to me to almost a minor character in the book, although he is at the center of action all the time and he received attention from everyone as being very important in their lives. I could go on, but I won't. Bottom line: What characters! I loved them.

Apr 15, 2009

Bloggers are Really great

I received a huge gift from a wonderful blogging friend, Laura. She is one of my favorite reading bloggers and has recommended some great books, as well as passing some on to me. She is also a wonderful homeschooling mom and a knitter. These two pack, below, are some colorwork sweaters she passed on to me.

They are gorgeous, soft and rich colors, wonderful wool.
The yarn is so luscious, it calls to me. While I haven't begun the projects yet, I will!

Thank you so much Laura!!!!

Apr 13, 2009

The Day After......

The Easter bunny came today instead of yesterday. He was in the backyard when I was taking photos of another creature, below. Isn't he cute.
This was the creature I was outside photographing....can you see what he is holding?
There...can you see it better now? I guess we forgot one. Ha!He was very happy gnawing away.

Apr 12, 2009

Happy Easter!!

Redbud is the name of this tree above, the purple/pink one. It is everywhere here...Spring beauty.
This last photo begs to be clicked on to see its photo quality. Apple.

Apr 10, 2009

Joker One

Donovan Campbell's book, Joker One, subtitled A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood is a first-hand account of a marine platoon in Ramadi at the beginning of a local Jihad there in 2004. It was the first time I read any book about our work in Iraq and it was gripping, insightful and revealing. Not knowing much about soldier's lives and work, I found myself admiring these men greatly. their job, after arriving in Iraq was to befriend and protect the city dwellers, but to put down any active insurgents who might harm the people or the platoon. This proved nigh impossible because the insurgents and the rest of the population appeared the same. It was impossible to tell the difference between the two at a casual glance, or even a careful look...the only different is the rocket suddenly hoisted onto the shoulders of a man and launched at the men.
Danovan Campbell himself is revealed as an articulate young man, untried and unsure, but sharp, and carefully honed to his task of leadership. The devotion of his men staggered me. I was unprepared for their willingness to put themselves in danger for their leader. My admiration for them rose.
The difficult decisions a leader needs to make here stateside can be heart-wrenching, but the decisions made in the middle of a firefight can be devastating...and Donovan Campbell made them and his men followed him without hesitation....following the course of honor and protection of the innocent. They put themselves at great risk for a people who might be targeting them. It was terrifyingly sublime.
The platoon was named Joker One because someone higher up named them so. The supplies for the platoon were not always adequate, and the leadership from headquarters was not always viable or wise, but the perseverance of these men under harrowing conditions was a story I was honored to read. The reality of war in the modern world is one more thing I am trying to grapple to understand. This book is well worth the read.

Apr 8, 2009

Friends Going Away

Here is my friend who is moving to Maine. Can you see how glad she is to go? We are glad along with her, and also her hubby...who didn't get photographed. Lucky guy.

Happy birthday, dear friend, and I am glad you will enjoy the warm scarf.

More on the b-day

Yesterday's post started with my men, working happily and tireless in the snow for my present. I couldn't get blogger to work very well for that's all I ended up with.
But there was more. Much more.

First was the Enchiladas my eldest made (with fatherly shopping help). They were so good. A Pioneer Woman Recipe, one of many which have graced our table this year. Thank you so much #1!

Then we had Cream Puffs a la my MIL. #2 made them with her is a super hard thing to make. Again, hubby stepped in and helped when the pastry didn't cooperate...and made another batch which rose correctly. Cream vanilla filling and chocolate sauce on top. heaven. Marvelous, dear ones.

Apr 7, 2009

My birthday began with snow and with my men beginning my birthday present. They are making me a garden.

They are such good gift givers.
I am blessed. More birthday to come.