Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Susan Santje by Thomas Cowperthwaite Eakins

Portrait of Susan Santje by Thomas Cowperthwaite Eakins 1844 - 1916.  He was born in Philadelphia and was a realist painter, photographer and sculptor, he is considered one of the most important American artists in American art history.

Suzanne Santje (1873-1947) was a Philadelphia-born actress who studied music in Berlin and drama in Paris. Eakins shows her not on stage but during a private moment in her study, dressed in a vibrant gown and surrounded by objects, including a script of the romantic drama Camille, and a portrait of her father, Charles Shearer Keyser.

When I saw this painting I thought she looks like me at the end of the day, although I am not sitting resplendently in a beautiful gown.

This week has been a funny week and it's only Tuesday.  I keep having this feeling that they sky is going to fall in on me.

Yesterday I had a very big, nice surprise.  My boss leans over my desk area and says "did you watch the Superbowl?"  which I had to admit to not watching, he said "I'm surprised because you had a vested interest," "I did?"

It seems that I won the grand prize from a vendor open house that I attended last week.  You had to write your name in a number on the board, which I did, and had no idea it was related to the Superbowl score.  My boss said up until a few minutes before the end of the game he was the owner of the prize.  Yes the grand prize was a 60" Samsung 4K Smart TV.  I think this is honestly a more thrilling prize for the Boys in my life, because I quite happily sit with my Mac streaming movies on a very small screen and doing my crochet, I'd probably cash it in if I could, but the Boys will have fun.  It is a very generous prize and to actually be a recipient amazes me.  I will pick it up on Friday and do a little photo prize acceptance.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Weathering Through Winter and Italian Pie Salad Recipe

Hi Dear Folk,

Weathering through winter with my beautiful alpaca and merino yarn that I bought off a farm in NY State.  I'm loving this simple crochet pattern, because when my one skein of yarn is finished then I'll just end my little neck warmer scarf.

This is hand dyed and I have named the colour, Isle of Skye  - Heather and Broom, because it has the purple of the heather and this lovely bright yellow the colour of broom, which you see out on the hills on the Isle of Skye.

I have plans to wear this with a purple velvet hat I have I think it will look nice together.  Will use a little stick pin to hold the scarf together.

This is a lovely go to pattern for one special skein of yarn.

I have three plants I am trying to winter over in the house.  My passion flower, Tahitian bridal veil and this center flower an impatiens.  I'm not too good at this and they just about stagger into spring and say thank you, thank you, thank you, when they are put out into the spring sun.

I brought home my purple primrose and hyacinth, because the way the hyacinth was growing, it was likely to bloom over the weekend and I would have missed it not being at work.  Mr. B. bought me the pink primrose, and my cyclamen is just beginning to put forth more flowers, so they make a happy little circle on my dining room table.

Look what I found at the thrift.

When Rob was only three months old we wanted to go on vacation, but where with a baby?  So in the end we found a B&B that served evening dinner as well, right up in northern Vermont, at a farm. It turned out to be just right, because if he wanted to take a nap we could just put him down and we were right there in the house.

My story though is about the large circular platter which we bought up there off a potter, it's great for huge laid out salads I have a special one I serve on here, it has all sorts of veg, deli meats and cheese and other things, and you serve it like cutting up a piece of giant pie and serve it as a wedge. Well while in the thrift recently, I found the bowl, of course I knew instantly it had to be from the same potter and here it is.  Unfortunately just one.  Still what a find over twenty years separates them and all the way from Vermont.

Here is my Italian Pie Salad recipe, given to me by Frannie from a verty Italian family here in town,  and she is no longer with us.

Italian Pie Salad

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Provolone cheese
  • Cooked salami
  • Genoa or hard salami
  • Capacola or pepperoni
  • Onions
  • Green peppers
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Sweet pickles
  • Tomatos
  • Green/Black olives

Lay a bed of lettuce and on top of that layer the meats, veg, and cheese alternating in an artistic way.

Shake with oregano, garlic powder and crazy Jane salt (which is like a seasoned salt)

This is such a delicious salad and you can change in and out what ever deli meats you have or what is on sale, but the above recipe is the traditional one.

Serve with a simple spaghetti and a bottle of wine.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Woman With A Pearl Necklace in a Loge, Mary Cassatt

Woman with a Pearl Necklace, by Mary Cassatt. born in America 1844 - 1926.  She was actually born in Allegheny City, now part of Pittsburgh, PA.

In the late 1870's Mary Cassatt painted a series of theatre scenes depicting the night life of Paris.  This work showing a woman, said to be her sister Lydia, seated in front of a mirror, with the balconies of the Paris Opera House reflected behind her.

This paining was shown in Paris at the 4th Impressionist Exhibition of 1879, to much acclaim.

You may think of Mary Cassatt more for her paintings of children.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

More Crochet Makes

Hi Dear Folk,

This cowl is simple, soft and easy to make, I will be making some more for gifts.

The name of this yarn is Plum Chutney, someone on that naming crew must be from the UK.  I like it made up far more than I did just on the ball.

This set too was made from the chenille type yarn, and is named Plum Fields, is soft and super warm.  Now I just need to crochet the other mitt.

I think this needs one more row but each shank of yarn was one round and I got the yarn on clearance so that is all I had and enough over to make a flower.  I think the colour of this yarn is called spice; it's like jumping into a rich fruit cake batter.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Spring Brook Crochet Collection

Hi Dear Folk,

I so love the colour of this yarn Spring Brook and it truly does remind me of a Spring Brook, I made this as a gift set.

I decided not to do the thumbs on the mittens but just leave them open.  I also changed the top with just a little Picot stitch on the top which I prefer to the design on the pattern.

All the above patterns are in Cute and Easy Crochet.

These mittens are in The Cool Girl's Guide to Crochet, both by Nicki Trench.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Manja, The Wall, Five Destinies, by Anna Reiner/Anna Gmeyner Persephone Book

Manja , by Ann Gmeyner, was originally published as Manja in Amsterdam, 1938, then published in England in 1939 as The Wall and in the States as Five Destinies.  So when I looked for it at our local library I found two books listed under Anna Gmeyner, The Coward Heart and Five Destinies, so since I was not able to get Manja, I thought let me read some other of her works.  I actually started reading the Coward Heart, then looked at Five Destinies and saw that indeed Five Destinies was the book I wanted because it is in fact Manja.

I told my husband about the three different titles and he said well how do they relate?  And I thought about that and said, well the story is centered around a girl Manja, there are five friends, thus the title Five Destinies and they always meet on a Wall every Wednesday and Saturday thus the title The Wall, they all make sense.  But I favour the original title Manja and that is how Persephone has released it and it was obviously the authors original choice.

Another interesting fact is that on the first American edition, 1939; which is what I got from our local library the author is named as Anna Reiner and it says:

Anna Reiner is a German refugee living at present in London.  Her name is an assumed one - assumed for obvious reasons, members of her family still living under the swastika.  In deference to Miss Reiner's wishes it is impossible to give further biographical details concerning her.

The story opens with the title The End As A Beginning.  

The end is 1932 the beginning is 1920

They had been like kittens wanting to keep together.  But now the cosy basket of their childhood was upset and they could never climb into it again.

Thus the die is cast at the beginning you are not surprised at the end, but the story unfolds the lives of these five children, Heini Heidemann, whose father is a doctor with a lung injury from serving in WWI, who marries a life long friend Hanna, a happy marriage.  Franz Meissner whose father is a mean man who takes every petty insult personally and comes home and takes it out on his wife and beats up his son.  Harry Hartung the son of Max who is a prosperous banker of half Polish and half Jewish heritage, married to an aryan making Harry quarter Jewish.  Karl Muller whose father believes in Communist ideology, also cannot keep a job but for different reasons to Franz's father.  They are poor like the Meissner family, but Anna their mother is a loving giving soul and it makes all the difference.  And last Manja, Manja Meirowitz, whose father Leo and mother Lea are both Jewish.  Manja comes to find out that Leo is not her real father.

Each opening chapter is dedicated to the birth of each child, what led up to that event.  Heini his mother Hanna sitting in her pensione room, having just departed from her love Ernst, thinking he will never propose to her because he doesn't want to burden her with a sick person.

One's twenty-five years old, has lived a good deal, is grown up, earns a living, has to go on existing.  It strikes a quarter to eleven.  Why, actually?  For whom actually?  Forty-eight roses and forty-four and a half parrots. (on the wallpaper of her room) 

Miracle of miracle he returns.

Happiness has music similar to the remote murmur when a tiger-cowry is held to the ear.

Anton Meissner returns home from a political meeting, where his wife Freida is always toting up figures for the groceries, always holding her tongue and watching what she says. 

"You won't?  You don't want your husband?  Refuse eh?  A young girl what?"  he sniggers.  "You still owe me a son and heir, Freida, you understand?"

Hilde Hartung is beautiful Max not so.

"You will never love me, I know, but if you ever love someone else ..."

... he was not real a phantom, a Golem carrying her in a dream over moonlit roofs.

Eduard Muller comes home very late from work, he didn't want to come home and tell his wife that he had lost yet another job, for standing up for the rights of a fellow employee.  Anna bakes apples and the smell is wonderful and it takes the edge of the terrible news of a lost job.

But not till night, as they lie in bed, does he conquer his shyness.  Not till darkness veils his face. and hers, can he say: "My good Anna, my old Anna."

And Manja, Lea and David Goldstraub, are crushed together at the end of a town music concert in a Polish border town.  He an out of work composer and she says she is a singer.

And for her too this night was different from all other nights, arousing her, lifting her above herself, so that her body perceived what was not comprehensible to her understanding, felt fear and passion and death streaming into her from him, experienced for the first time how close the delight of union is to the torment of death.

For the grey morning has transformed the square room into a crate barrel with shadows.  And this time he will escape from it for ever.  Not till he is outside, separated by a long corridor from the sleeping girl, does he take hold of the little pistol in his pocket and perform one last unimportant act.

These five children from the age of eight to twelve, meet on the wall.

"We'll take an oath,"  said Manja.  The boys agreed.

"It's already recorded!"  Her hand pointed once again to the constellation Cassiopeia. ...

"One, two, three, four, five!"  Her voice climbed up a scale of triumph.  "My star is the one in the middle.  Heinz, Karl, Manja, Harry, Franz.  It's recorded in heaven.

1928 to 1932 and onwards was a very turbulent time in German history, war reparations were unrealistically high and were crushing Germany's economy, followed by the Wall Street crash sent Freida's grocery figures into the millions, she just couldn't add them up anymore and neither could any German.

During this time period Hitler rose to power through the twenties and one must remember he did this democratically, there was no coup in Germany, although a lot happened behind the scenes.  The man on the street wanted better and he was ready to sell his birthright for a bowl of stew.

Frau Reuter, the concierge, or you could say old woman who reported on everybody, where the Meissner's, Muller's and Meirowitz's lived.

Frau Reuter stood there, her elbows planted in the stomachs of two neighbors.  Let those go indoors who wanted to!  She had battled her way through to the first row where the sparks from the pine splinters flew past her face and the smell of leather, puttees and uniforms entered her nostrils.

"Yes," said Anna.  In the midst of waving hands and arms, fluttering handkerchiefs and flags, she is alone, sober-minded among the ecstatic, silent among those who sang.  "Like the outbreak of war,"  she said.

The poor should be rich, the tired strong, dried-up women be desired.  The blind would see and the lame walk.  Everything would be different:  there was now hope.

Gmeyner captures the mood of the German people here and describes it so well, all caught up in the mad ideology.

You have five groups of people and these are reflected in Manja:  by the Meissner's who rise to power, moving from the back dark side of the apartment building to the front sunny side.

"A new age begins," said the threatening voice on the wireless, and Frieda felt this between the fingers touching the painted wood on the flower-boxes, felt it in the sun's warmth caressing the yellow skin under her thin hair.

By the Mullers, who are Communist and come for Eduard in the night.

"No, no, they can't Anna."  And in not speaking, not pressing her hands, he paid off the great debt he owed her,.  By denying his feelings anything unusual, not even kissing his wife, not even patting the boy on his head or saying a word of reconciliation to his daughter, by this he took the whole burden from her on to himself. 

 Ernst Heinemann who has no power to change anything even though he tries to through the justice system, but there is no justice now because it has been hijacked by a despot.

There is not murder done to-night because there is no one to name the murderers.  No one is lying motionless on the frozen ground with his face downwards.  No one asks what is happening this night in all the streets, corners and remote woods everywhere in the country.  It is a night without law.  No crime because there is no accuser.

The guilt of inaction, the crime of letting things drift, weighed heavily on Heidemann's shoulders like a physical burden, and placed him in the empty space, in the enormous loneliness of roaming between the fronts, that piece of earth under fire, riddled with shell holes, bounded by barbed wire, and belonging neither to friend nor foe.  No man's land.

The Hartung's who take a huge fall financially but don't care a fig about politics, just living.  Max had given a large donation to the hospital.

"Twelve years that name's infected the hospital here," whispered Sister Mathilde.  Hastily, as though her triumph might even now be stolen from her, she dragged the heavy tablet into the instrument room and leaned it in a corner with its inscription against the wall.  A gravestone without a name.

I find that last sentence to be bitterly poignant, remember this was published in 1939 and how many Jews went to their deaths with no gravestone as a marker?

A termagant.

His ideal was declared valid.  The eternal barracks.  A country in uniform.  a nation standing to attention, set in line with what was lowest.  He gathered up the husks of ruined truths and had changed them into glittering goods for mass consumption.

That last line could be attached to so much oratory, by so many politicians.

And for Manja Meirowitz a little Jewess girl, there is no escape.  Her mother is an alcoholic and has been with men for money.

Manja went to the table, carried away the brandy bottle and opened the window.  a patch of sunshine lay on the floor but it looked like a puddle of broken eggs.  Only then did she go to her mother.  "Has something happened?"

Manja sat down and waited beside the little birch swaying with delicate naked branches gently in the wind.  No longer waiting for her friends.  Not for any special thing.  Waiting for something bright and decisive, which would detain and halt her fate.  It did not come.

There are many rich character studies in Manja.  I would say the first two thirds of the story is stronger than the last third, but still it is a very good read.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Blizzard 2016 In The Neighbourhood

Hi Dear Folk,

Mr. B. spent six hours outside shoveling our cars out, and the snow plow has yet to come through again so probably will have to shovel out some more. This is my car.

A neighbor has a snow blower and does all are sidewalks which is a lot when you sit on the corner, and it is the law that you get them cleared within 24 hours.  Mr. B. pays him in chocolate chip cookies homemade.

My favourite tree in the neighborhood.

Mr. B. was very proud of this pile of snow and asked me to take a pic.

As I walked the neighborhood taking photos I noticed how people go about getting their vehicles out.  The man one with four wheel drive pick up truck is this, don't bother shoveling even if the snow is almost up to the windows, just get in and keep rocking backwards and forwards and eventually you'll wear that pile right down and go right over the top.  Who cares what it does for their transmission.

The sun will come out tomorrow and it did.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Robins In A Snow Blizzard and Alpaca Yarn

Hi Dear Folk,

With the snow blizzard still raging away being at home today is like being in a cocoon time warp, as if time standing still, things you should do, but don't want to, just sit and read and write and watch, my excuse is that I am still not feeling A1.  It has been a week of being in doors, keeping company with the fire, tea, reading and crochet.  I did go to work Thursday and Friday, but really should have been at home, so it's nice today to just be.

I am going to start this yarn.  It has been sitting there and on my mind, it's only one hank of yarn, I love the feel of this alpaca and merino, the colors are beautiful, like jewels of amethyst, peridot and aqua marine.  It needs a special pattern, I am going to use the Mostly Harmless neck shawl on Ravelry.  I tried it out on another yarn and somehow it took me ages to figure out such a simple pattern and it is simple.  I feel this is a great day to start this, memorable.

Today I have been watching the birds, they have been out everywhere flying and foraging.  My neighbours tree is full of berries, because there has been so much good around for them, but with the snow it is hard and this has become their pantry they have been in and out of this tree all day.  I have seen cardinals, robins, sparrows and a falcon.

I think these photos almost look like abstract paintings, can you see the berries and the robins.

Mr. B. made chocolate chip cookies, I have a pot of chicken soup on the stove and think that I will throw some dumplings in.  I also have ciabatta rolls.

Mr. B. said he saw a husky run by towing a long lead, but no person, a few minutes later the person came by.  Huskies love the snow it's in their blood; I wonder if that lady we met in the park last weekend has taken her three huskies out.

Tomorrow I will venture out.


Robins In A Snow Blizzard


Snow Blizzard

Hi Dear Folk,

Mr. B. says a definition of a Blizzard is sustained snow and winds of thirty miles per hour, for three hours or more, limited visibility down to one quarter of a mile  We have had forty to sixty mile an hour winds all night.  It started here about 5:30 PM and is still snowing at 6:30 AM this morning and is meant to snow into Sunday morning.

I took a video but it is not loading correctly so just posting a picture taken from my front door.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Persephone Book List and Reads

Hi Dear Folk,

I printed up this Persephone list to see where I stood with my book reading.  Out of forty-four Persephone books read, I have only written reviews on twenty-one, ouch! I didn't realize that I had done so much more reading than writing.

The books marked in green I have read and reviewed, the books marked in yellow I have read.  At the moment I am reading Manja so marked that as green as is a great read and will definitely write a review also have finished The Expendable Man and just have to write the review.

·         2: Mariana by Monica Dickens
·         3: Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple
·         4: Fidelity by Susan Glaspell
·         9: Few Eggs and No Oranges by Vere Hodgson
·         11: Julian Grenfell by Nicholas Mosley
·         13: Consequences by E M Delafield
·         16: Saplings by Noel Streatfeild
·         17: Marjory Fleming by Oriel Malet
·         18: Every Eye by Isobel English
·         19: They Knew Mr Knight by Dorothy Whipple
·         20: A Woman’s Place: 1910-75 by Ruth Adam
·         22: Consider the Years by Virginia Graham
·         23: Reuben Sachs by Amy Levy
·         24: Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton
·         26: Brook Evans by Susan Glaspell
·         28: Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski
·         30: Kitchen Essays by Agnes Jekyll
·         32: The Carlyles at Home by Thea Holme
·         33: The Far Cry by Emma Smith
·         35: Greenery Street by Denis Mackail
·         36: Lettice Delmer by Susan Miles
·         37: The Runaway by Elizabeth Anna Hart
·         39: Manja by Anna Gmeyner
·         40: The Priory by Dorothy Whipple
·         43: The Wise Virgins by Leonard Woolf
·         44: Tea with Mr Rochester by Frances Towers
·         45: Good Food on the Aga by Ambrose Heath
·         47: The New House by Lettice Cooper
·         48: The Casino by Margaret Bonham
·         49: Bricks and Mortar by Helen Ashton
·         51: Operation Heartbreak by Duff Cooper
·         52: The Village by Marghanita Laski
·         55: Flush by Virginia Woolf
·         56: They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple
·         57: The Hopkins Manuscript by RC Sherriff
·         58: Hetty Dorval by Ethel Wilson
·         59: There Were No Windows by Norah Hoult
·         60: Doreen by Barbara Noble
·         63: Princes in the Land by Joanna Cannan
·         65: Alas, Poor Lady by Rachel Ferguson
·         66: Gardener’s Nightcap by Muriel Stuart
·         68: The Expendable Man by Dorothy B Hughes
·         69: Journal by Katherine Mansfield
·         71: The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett
·         72: House-Bound by Winifred Peck
·         76: The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby
·         81: Miss Buncle’s Book by DE Stevenson
·         82: Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough
·         85: High Wages by Dorothy Whipple
·         88: Still Missing by Beth Gutcheon
·         90: The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens
·         91: Miss Buncle Married by DE Stevenson
·         93: The Sack of Bath by Adam Fergusson
·         94: No Surrender by Constance Maud
·         95: Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple
·         97: Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins
·         98: A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf
·         99: Patience by John Coates
·         101: Heat Lightning by Helen Hull
·         102: The Exiles Return by Elisabeth de Waal
·         103: The Squire by Enid Bagnold
·         104: The Two Mrs Abbotts by DE Stevenson
·         106: Into the Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg
·         107: Wilfred and Eileen by Jonathan Smith
·         108: The Happy Tree by Rosalind Murray
·         112: Vain Shadow by Jane Hervey
·         113: Greengates by RC Sherriff

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