Saturday, July 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Beatrix Potter

Isn't Beatrix Potter a lovely writer and woman?
She was born July 28 in 1866, grew up in Victorian era London, in a well to do family, and died in 1943.
What I most admire about her is that she bought a small farm holding in the English Lake District in 1905, added properties to it until she owned and preserved 4,300 acres, which she left to the National Trust.
She saved many small farms and allowed the farmers to continue working the land, and saved all that property from development.
People can visit her charming home at Hill Top Farm.
Hill Top Farm
Of course I also love the delicate paintings she did and the stories she wove about Peter Rabbit, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Mrs. Tittlemouse, Tommy Tiptoe, Flopsy and all their friends. The movie Miss Potter was excellent, and dealt with her early career and her relationship with her fiancee.
So happy birthday dear Ms. Potter.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fabulous historical fiction: Patrick O'Brian, Philippa Gregory, Hilary Mantel

Yes, friends, I read a lot of fiction, and historical fiction in particular.
I have found a giant among these novelists and his name is Patrick O'Brian. This is not just my wee opinion, since my husband concurs, and so does the New York Times, where I read that O'Brian is the greatest living historical fiction writer in the English language. Sadly O'Brian died a few years ago and we lost a genius of a man.
The first book in his series is "Master and Commander" and you may have seen and enjoyed the movie by that name, starring Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey and Paul Bettany as Stephen Maturin.
To me, the casting of these actors is Perfection.
The books are set in about 1800 to 1820 and cover Britain's wars at sea, and the life of the sailors as they venture around the globe on the King's business, to Chile, Africa, Europe and the South Seas, and also their time on land. Jack and Stephen each love very strong women.
My husband and I bought all 20 of the books, and I just completed reading "Letter of Marque", number 12 in the series. I am led to tell you that this volume is a high point to read. Jack is revealed as a truly noble man and refuses the "pardon" offered to him since he was an innocent man and not guilty.
Stephen Maturin is a complex man, a dedicated ship's surgeon and scientist, a spy at the highest levels, and a patriot following his convictions, and his love for a lady.
Now therein lies a tale.
Have you read this series? Do you admire it?

Another excellent writer is Philippa Gregory, and her books on the Tudor kings and queens, with my favorite thus far being "The Other Boleyn Girl", set in the court of Henry VIII. Now that was an exciting period, and this book covers a few of King Henry VIII's wives and the political intrigues. One thing that influenced this king to marry so often was the huge pressure for him to have a male heir.
I recently bought "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel, about Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell and enjoyed it. Cromwell is a fascinating man and reviewers say things like "witty, arch, elegant, richly detailed."
Any historical fiction you recommend ?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Overlooked Potatoes

Can you see what is in the bowl?
I had to laugh at myself when I found these growing, since I overlooked some potato starts, and left them all neglected in a spare room.
They just HAD to grow and they did.
I think they are kind of cute and surreal and artistic and maybe I will plant them in the garden.
These little potatoes have a strong will to live, as you can see.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Me on a donkey and castle walls in Turkey

Here is a change of pace for my blog: two photos from my college days in Turkey.
One is of me riding a donkey to a picnic spot on the Island of Buyukada, near Istanbul.
Turkish college friends created a feast including shish-kebob which they cooked there, feta, olives, sturdy bread, rose petal jam,  borek and baklava for dessert.
The other photo shows a friend standing on the ramparts of Rumeli Hisar, right below our college which is built on the heights of Bebek, in Istanbul. From the college we could look down to see the Rumeli Hisar fortress, and the Bosphorus, a mighty river that runs from the sea through Istanbul.

And oh friends, my new book is available on Amazon at
Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts: Stories to Celebrate and Wisdom to Bless Moms
Hardcover, full color and less than $12.00; reviewers suggest it as their go to gift for new moms, or for baby showers, or for you.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Birthday USA

Proud to be An American
Originally uploaded by architekt2

Oh America, I love you. I love our emphasis on freedom for the individual, freedom of worship, freedom to own guns for sport and defense, freedom to dissent and for your beauty in our mountains and streams and pastures and people.

Here is a quote by President Woodrow Wilson, our 28th President:

"America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture."

And a favorite quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail?"