Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Binding Chair

The Binding Chair, By Katherine Harrison ***

May's feet were bound when she was a child, as many Chinese girls feet were for over 900 years until the 20th century when it was outlawed. The story alternates by chapter between May and the English family that she finally marries into. I find the story and the characters unbeleivable and strange. Foot binding alone should have provided material enough for a story without introducing this English family. Somehow, though, it kept me reading through an agonizing 372 pages. I am amazed that readers give this book a generous 3 1/2 stars.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Add custom photoshop brushes at to your software. This blog? has a problem similar to the blog problems we had, so be sure to page down for the information. Neat looking selections, of which I've included just one here. I've posted it here so I can find it later, and of course if you are interested that is ok too.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Digital Photography

You can make this bottle cap tripod yourself using the instructions provided on this really cool blog, Wouldn't it be perfect for PT? There are some other do-it-yourself links on this same page.

I've been combing this site just reading all the good hints advice and lessons. I'm wanting to get a small point and shoot with maybe a small zoom on it to carry around with me and take pictures. Audrey, I like your photos that you post on your blog. What kind of camera are you using and how do you like it? I already talked to Debi about the one she has and she offered to trade her Nikon Coolpix for my Panasonic Lumix...I'm thinking.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


I finally started "bookmooching" and got my books registered. I got 16 mooches last week and was at the post office every day mailing out books. I have nine books that I mooched and so will soon be busy receiving them. I think Audrey had very good luck with bookmooching also. Here is my inventory in case you might see something you want to mooch.

I am so proud as I am now down to one bookcase! Amazing! Also, I won't have to spend so much money on books, one of my life goals. I always feel guilty about the amount of money I spend on books and am grateful that Bill doesn't have a problem with my "habit".

* * * * 1/2 Spring Moon

Spring Moon, by Bette Bao Lord

A 5 generation Chang family saga that takes place in pre-revolutionary China. The main character, Spring Moon, is a pampered, intelligent and outspoken daughter whose parents fear that she may not make a good match because of her character. Her fate is foretold at birth, she will live to see 5 generations.

There is a nice drawing in the front of the book showing the courts of the House of Chang which I referred to several times while reading the book. Also each chapter begins with a quote from actual Chinese authors which enhances the story. For funs, the Peabody Museum has an entire Chinese house, Yen Yu Tang, which has been dismantled and is on display via the internet complete with fly throughs and a nice slide show.

This is a good read and so I'll be looking forward to reading more of Bao Lord's works. And, yes! Antigone, I'll be sending it on to you.

Friday, January 26, 2007


I received this letter from telling of an humane victory for pigs and just had to share it with you. This is a very worthy organization and there are many things that can be done that are not monetary. Supporting these causes by contacting your senator is just one way.

Dear Bobbie,
I have some great news to share with you.
Smithfield Foods, Inc., the nation's largest pork producer with 1.2 million breeding sows, announced today it will phase out the confinement of pigs in gestation crates over the next decade.

You may recall ballot initiatives in Arizona and Florida where The HSUS led the way for breeding pigs. In 2002, Florida voters approved a ban on gestation crates in their state, and in 2006, Arizona voters did likewise, in spite of a well-financed opposition campaign from factory farming interests.

Gestation crates are 2-foot by 7-foot metal cages used to confine breeding pigs for months on end. Pigs confined suffer leg and joint problems and psychosis resulting from extreme boredom and frustration. Confinement in gestation crates is so abusive that the entire European Union is phasing out the practice, with a total ban taking effect in 2013.

The move by Smithfield is an earthquake for the pork industry. This is a clear signal from a top producer that this cruel confinement has no place in the agricultural sector. With the recent political victories against gestation crates and now this news from Smithfield, the writing is certainly on the wall: gestation crate confinement will soon become a thing of the past.

Thank you for all you do for animals every day--please consider this your victory as well.

Sincerely,Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO The Humane Society of the United States

Friday, January 19, 2007

* * * 1/2 Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe ***1/2

Published in 1958 "Things Fall Apart" takes place at the turn of the 20th century in Nigeria, Africa and is the story of Okonkwo, leader, local wrestling champion and head of a family consisting of three wives and numerous children. Life deals a few blows to him, like when he is exiled from the clan, then later when missionaries come to live in the village. It has a surprise ending which I always like. Widely acclaimed, selling 10 million copies worldwide and now 10,000,000,001 counting my copy:) And is required reading in some high schools and colleges.

* * * Bittersweet

Bittersweet, by Leslie Li

This is a fictionalized account of the author's grandmother's life. Bittersweet was a Chinese peasant farm girl who followed her destiny when when her parents arranged a marriage to Li Tsung-jen, a soldier in the Koumintang army in the early part of the 20th century. He quickly outgrew his taste for farm women as he advanced in his career. This story could have been a blockbuster, but while good, did not quite hit the mark for me.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

According to Dr. Andrew Weil
"Your home - whether big, small, or somewhere in between - should be your sanctuary, a place where stress is left at the door and your soul is nurtured. For a more comforting environment, gradually implement the following changes into your home:

Bring the outdoors in. Cut flowers and blooming bulbs, or pieces of wood, rocks and other natural elements can create a feeling of nature indoors.

Bring green plants into your home, especially varieties that filter indoor pollutants. According to the Foliage for Clean Air Council, these include Gerbera daisies, Boston ferns, English ivy, chrysanthemums, Areca palms, spider plants and golden pothos. The Council recommends having two plants for every 100 square feet.

Paint a room to correlate with how you want to feel while in that room. For instance, blue and green promote a relaxed feeling and may be good for the bedroom.

Surround your senses with beauty. Artwork, fragrance, smooth textures and calming sounds all provide a pleasant environment in which to relax.

Set aside a room or area for peace and calm. A place for spiritual reflection and meditation can provide shelter from noise and distraction.

Clean out the clutter. A low-maintenance home is refreshing after a day of hectic meetings, errands and chores. Fewer items can mean less frustration.

Create an atmosphere of love. Display handmade or meaningful gifts from loved ones and photos of family and friends.

Allow natural light to flow into your home. To take advantage of the sun's cycle without heating up your home, hang linen curtains (organic cotton, if possible) on windows that face north or south. If you have a nice garden or view from a window or two, keep those windows uncovered as much as possible when you are home.

Read a book instead of watching television, or listen to music. If you desire or enjoy background noise, consider installing a small fountain to provide a soothing hum"

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

* * * The Snow Fox

I just finished reading The Snow Fox by Susan Schaffer. It begins with the story of four royal children who were hidden away during a civil war in Japan and later became lost from their parents. But the story is not about this. It is about the adult lives of these children, court intrigue, cruelty, war, samurais and lost love. I enjoyed this book, but not enough to seek out other books by this author.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Check this bookstore out. I purchased the following 9 books and get a load of the total amount! Four of these books were on my wish list and some were up to 90 percent off. If I had used bookrate shipping it would have been under $5, but since I had a coupon I splurged for ups.
Order Date: 1/8/2007 8:36:02 PM
SKU Qty Title Status Price Total
1569246920B 1 A Parish of Rich Women Ordered $3.99 $3.99
042517266XB 1 Daughter of My People Ordered $3.99 $3.99
0931715008B 1 The Curious Morel (New Edition) Ordered $3.99 $3.99
0312316089B 1 Dreaming Water Ordered $3.99 $3.99
0060599758B 1 Spring Moon Ordered $4.99 $4.99
0060934425B 1 The Binding Chair Ordered $4.99 $4.99
0786866543B 1 The Lost Daughter of Happiness Ordered $4.99 $4.99
0375702091S 1 God's Fool Ordered $3.25 $3.25
076273907XB 1 xxxxxxsurprise 4 someonexxx Ordered $5.99 $5.99
Coupon Disc: -$5.00
Sub-Total: $35.17
Shipping: $9.67
Handling: $1.00
Tax: $0.00

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Help! I'm looking for a good novel to read. Got idea?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

* * * * 1/2 The Hungry Tide

What I am reading Now

The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide is the sixth novel by Indian-born author, Amitav Ghosh. It tells a very contemporary story of adventure and unlikely love, identity and history, set in one of the most fascinating regions on the earth. Off the easternmost coast of India, in the Bay of Bengal, lies the immense labyrinth of tiny islands known as the Sundarbans. For settlers here, life is extremely precarious. Attacks by deadly tigers are common. Unrest and eviction are constant threats. Without warning, at any time, tidal floods rise and surge over the land, leaving devastation in their wake. In this place of vengeful beauty, the lives of three people from different worlds collide. Piya Roy is a young marine biologist, of Indian descent but stubbornly American, in search of a rare, endangered river dolphin, Orcaella brevirostris. Her journey begins with a disaster, when she is thrown from a boat into crocodile-infested waters. Rescue comes in the form of a young, illiterate fisherman, Fokir. Although they have no language between them, Piya and Fokir are powerfully drawn to each other, sharing an uncanny instinct for the ways of the sea. Piya engages Fokir to help with her research and finds a translator in Kanai Dutt, a businessman from Delhi whose idealistic aunt and uncle are longtime settlers in the Sundarbans. As the three of them launch into the elaborate backwaters, they are drawn unawares into the hidden undercurrents of this isolated world, where political turmoil exacts a personal toll that is every bit as powerful as the ravaging tide. Already an international success, The Hungry Tide is a prophetic novel of remarkable insight, beauty, and humanity. From Wikipedia's Entry For The Hungry Tide

Monday, January 01, 2007

Free samples from Walmart. This is the product I chose.