Thursday, December 27, 2007

Framing pictures for exhibit!

yeah, and it's a lot of work; I've got them sprawled out on thing living room floor right now. And buying 18 by 24 inch frames? Not cheap. Five frames ran me about $120 dollars because they weren't on sale. Not to mention the 16 by 20 frames I had to get earlier this month as well.

I really, really hope some of my things sell. I mean, they're nice ( has a lot of them up in my gallery, but wow . . . . this is an expensive venture. But it's the next step toward becoming an artist: actually being able to support the supplies I buy for my paintings and the labor that went toward them.

Oh! And I think I'm getting the hang of this knitting thing! I have figured out how to do alternating rows of knit and purl without adding more loops; it all has to do with the way you twist your yarn while purling or knitting. Before I didn't realize this and kept adding loops by accident. And then working over that new row kept getting me very, very frustrated. However, now I have a very decent stockingette stitch going on. (I think that's what it's called?) Again, I am just learning this stuff. Every line I finish I think, this is one more line toward eventually making hats, gloves, or socks.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

a review for Lying Awake, Mark Salzman

Well, today I read the Laughing Sutra and Lying Awake by Mark Salzman. Laughing Sutra was extremely entertaining and I enjoyed reading it very much; it was a pure adventure novel. However, Lying Awake reminded me more of The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon-- with a very different ending. Lying Awake recounts the story of a cloistered nun who experiences many visions of God, but increasing headaches cause her to visit the doctor. It turns out Sister John has epilepsy, which causes her to doubt her faith and her reasons for becoming a nun. She must decide if she needs the surgery (in which case she believes her deeply in tune connection with God may be cut off, at least as far as visions are concerned) or if she will risk everything and be able to rely simply on faith instead of her knowledge.

On the other hand, The Speed of Dark is about a man, namely Lou Arrendale, who has been autistic from birth and is able to read many patterns. It is a part of who he is and he can calculate math problems with ease and solve many complicated forms. He has a life of his own and enjoys fencing and competes in matches. He is shy, but likable and like Sister John he is cut off from the world (albeit not by choice) except for the few friends that he has made. The Speed of Dark is considered sci-fi because a cure for autism is discovered and he must decide if he will take it. His life will be irrevocably changed if he does, for good or for bad. Lou also decides to go through with his operation.

However, the end result is extremely different in both novels.

*SPOILERS BELOW* (Pay attention to this. Character growth is very important in both books, so if you even slightly want to read either novel, skip to the very end or the tension will be lost.)

Lou's life is changed, but he seems to be a completely different, more self-assured individual. He cannot understand the past self that he once was and cannot relate to any of the members of his fencing team. Nor can he read patterns. Is he better or worse? Elizabeth Moon seems to leave this open ended, but I believe she essentially claims that Lou and his handicap are intrinsically entwined, a part of how he grew as a whole. Of course, Elizabeth Moon herself has an autistic son, so of course she would want to pass on a similar sort of message-- was the autism really a handicap at all, or was society just not able to comprehend Lou's special abilities . . .

On the other hand, for Sister John, her epilepsy is a problem for her convent and she comes to see that being able to see visions of God and her spiritual "high" may bring about jealousy and conflict at worst. At best, the other nuns must learn to work around her constant headaches. It is not just a matter of staying close to God, but it becomes a matter of selfishness instead of simply a cross to bear. After Sister John's own surgery, she discovers that God has in a way answered her own prayer to know Him better. Her experiences weren't based on faith at all, and now He is testing her endurance. Before, she had the grace of complete reliance, and now she must struggle more, but it is still all a part of growing in God.


So I still liked Speed of Dark better than Lying Awake; Speed seemed to have more substance to it, and Elizabeth Moon gets bonus points because she very much understands what Lou was going through because of dealing with her own autistic son. However I doubt Mark Salzman has ever had epilepsy, and he his Buddhist, not Catholic; some of the things Sister John experiences have a very Buddhist nature in them that were rather invasive to me. Yet if one didn't care about such things I suppose it could just be seen as more lyrical/poetical type writing than anything else.

But both books are still very much the read. Actually, all three books. Laughing Sutra was excellent too . . . . .

Friday, December 21, 2007

Narnia preview is *awesome!*

I soooo can't wait for this to come out. It looks like it has a lot of cool scenes from the book in the previews, which is always a good thing. ^.^ Caspian looks a little old, but I think I can handle that. Too bad I have to wait another year for it, though.

Cookies! soooo tempting.

Well, work today was long and boring; the bulletins took forever to fold and stuff because there were about 50 extra copies. At least there were only four inserts for each one this time. Linz is baking lovely smelling cookies in the next room, and I'm seriously tempted to go over and beg her for one or two. Mom has some boxes to return and she refuses to give them back empty, so she asked Linz to make some cookies-- so that means I may not get any. But it never hurts to try.

Christmas is so close I can taste it. The pile of presents under our tree has grown substantially bigger, I've wrapped all of my presents with the last of my purple paper with sparkle-y silver stars. I should check our little wooden advent tree to see if I have a drawer to open.

Mom finished shopping so there's a bunch of lovely new food in the house. That means there's more stuff for me to work with, too! I'm considering making cinnamon rolls for breakfast and surprising everyone, because we so rarely have them. We haven't had any this past year, for example, so I'm thinking it's about time.

Finished watching the new Avatar episode (well, new to me; I'm about a week behind), still can't envision Zuko in his new role. And yes, he is pretty sucky as a good guy, but only because the writers rushed his character development.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Comfort food

It's cold weather again, although honestly there's only been a little bit of snow in my area. Mostly it's been wet and drizzly, and the wind blows right through the bare trees. Well, mostly bare. The pines moderate things, but not as much as they might. When it does snow, because we're in a valley, we get our inch of snow for about a week longer than everyone else. ^.^

Winter always means certain types of food that I never get to have any other time of the year--
like peppernutter cookies, beef stew, minestrone, lentil soup; oh, and grilled cheese sandwiches are the best on day-old homemade half-wheat bread when it's cold outside, especially with a bowl of any of the previously mentioned soups. Then there's pumpkin pie and gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate. Eggnog is pretty decent too, although we don't generally have it even during Christmas time. Dutch Baby Pancakes, all puffy and eggy goodness. Oh, and I just discovered that tea is actually pretty good this winter, too-- but it has to be loose-leafed tea, because it has a better flavor than dratted teabag things. I'll add that to the list. Challah bread seems pretty seasonal too, as well as crescent rolls, but those are mostly holiday breads like for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Spaghetti, due to the fact that pasta and tomato sauce are both easily stored in pantry and becomes a nice, easy hot meal. Indian curries and basmati rice, although I can't cook that very much because I don't have the right ingredients most of the time-- and the nearest Indian market is sadly two hours away. Lessee-- oh, mashed potatoes are a classic too.

I think that about wraps up the favorite winter dishes for right now. I decided to make this blog because I had one in the past and yet lost it when Blogger when to Google accounts. So here's this new one. I will try to do better with it than aleatorica and keep it updated, which I think will be fairly easy to do since I have a lot more going on nowadays.