The Reader was fascinating to me because it examines the idea that we are neither wholly good nor wholly evil. More importantly, it examines the horrible conflict that rages inside a person when they care for someone they know in one regard, but who has a “prior” life they can’t understand. Michael, a 15-year-old German boy, has an affair with Hanna, a 36-year-old woman. Years later, Hanna is on trial for war crimes committed while she served as an SS guard in a concentration camp. Following the trial, Hanna’s imprisoned. Much of the story involves Michael, reconciling his feelings for Hanna and how he has treated her. It is his exploration of the questions for which there are no easy answers, or answers at all.
The Reader belongs to a movement in German literature called Vergangenheitsbewältigung, “the struggle to come to terms with the past.” This genre explores the post-war generation’s approach to the generation before them; the generation that bore witness to Nazi atrocities and perhaps even participated.
That’s it…the end of 2011. Every day of writing this blog has been pure joy to me. I thank you for following along, for your encouragement, and for your friendship. I will always remember 2011 as the year my creative spirit woke up. I look forward to the New Year…2012!
Sophie’s Choice is a haunting movie. Set in Brooklyn, shortly after World War II, the film is narrated by Stingo, a young man who has moved to Brooklyn from the South. There he meets and shares a boarding house with Sophie, a Polish immigrant and concentration camp survivor and Nathan, her lover and an American Jew. The film looks at madness on two levels. The madness of a group, as represented by Nazi Germany, and the madness of the individual, as represented by Nathan’s mental illness. Because of Sophie’s personal journey and experience with both Nathan and Nazi Germany, your heart will break over what she endures, what she tries to overcome and her choice.
Ribbon Crafts by Elaine Schmidt – Serpentine Gathered Flower (Page 96)
Marker (not pictured)
Ruler (not pictured)
1. Cut a length of ribbon, 1.5 feet to 3 feet. I cut a ribbon length of 1.5 feet. Make a mark every inch, staggering the placement on opposite sides.
2. Knot thread at the first mark. Stitch diagonally in a zigzag pattern, wrapping the thread around the outer edge at each mark.
3. Pull the thread, gathering the ribbon.
4. Continue stitching and gathering until the entire ribbon length is done.
5. Form a tight circle and tack the ends together. Trim any excess ribbon.
6. Easy and pretty. You can play with different widths and lengths of ribbon to create a variety of looks.
Freedom, Casper and Nikki here. Did you know we live with a kitty? Her name is Twinkie. When our Mommy first started to write What Remains Now, she introduced all of us, including Twinkie. That was the first and last time anyone ever heard of Twinkie, until now. Here’s a little information about Twinkie:
Even though her name is Twinkie, she isn’t cream-filled. She pretty plump though.
She’s really, really old…16!
Our Mommy calls her Minkie. No one remembers why.
For some reason, Twinkie’s water tastes better than our water, so we drink it first.
Twinkie sleeps most of the time.
Don’t try to sniff Twinkie’s butt. She doesn’t like it.
If you do try to sniff Twinkie’s butt, she’ll hit you in the face real fast and real hard, multiple times…bap, bap, bap!
Not just any kitty could keep three Greyhounds in line; but Twinkie does. We love our kitty.
Glass Nail File
This type of nail file does not dull or wear-down, and it leaves your nail tips extremely smooth. The only drawback…if you drop one on a hard floor, it will probably break.
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding
I have no excuse…this is one of my guilty pleasures. My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding looks at the lives of gypsies and Irish travellers in Britain today. In particular, it focuses on the elaborate weddings (“elaborate” is an understatement). A new season is coming in 2012. Hurray!
Goat Milk Stuff
I first heard about the family that makes Goat Milk Stuff on the Today show. I checked out their website, ordered some soap and fell in love. A fun fact: The Jonas Family lives in my home state, Indiana. I’m going to try to get down to visit them this year.
Microfiber Floor Cleaners
I was going to feature my Haan Floor Steamer as a favorite, but the fact is, I love both of these microfiber floor cleaners. Why? Because the microfiber pads and water work so well. I use the microfiber mop for quick clean-ups and my floor steamer when I want to be more thorough.
My final book for 2011 was Creative Time and Space by Ricë Freeman-Zachary. When I selected this book, I thought it would have a lot of tips and techniques for scheduling my time and designing my creative space. What it actually addressed were: (1) my beliefs about time, (2) my priorities, (3) my thoughts on scheduling time, (4) what to do when I’m in a dry spell (no ideas) or (5) in a rut (same ideas), (6) how much mental space I allow creativity, (7) how I nurture my creativity, (8) the physical space where I work and create, (9) the rituals that enhance my work and (10) taking time away from my work in a manner that supports my creative spirit and future work.
This book was more contemplative than I thought it would be. As often happens, when asked to really reflect on something, I find that what I believe is actually different from what I think I believe. This book expanded my concept of what being “creative” means, and made it clear to me that I am spending more time thinking about being creative than actually being creative.
As I move into 2012, I plan to spend more time playing, experimenting and creating. For me, 2011 was a time to “study” the concept of creativity and reconnect with my creative spirit; 2012 will be a year to get in the studio, get my hands dirty and have FUN!
A Christmas message from Freedom, Casper & Nikki:
This year, we participated in Blogville’s 2011 Christmas Card Exchange. We sent out our cards and waited to see if we would get any…and they poured in! The final count was done yesterday. Daddy and Mommy received 35 and we received 58! WE WIN! Looking at the piles side-by-side, you would think that it was close; but Mommy has friends who handmake their cards, so they’re fluffier than regular cards. In fact, the only reason Daddy and Mommy got 35 cards is because our Daddy is a “popular guy.” If it was just us and Mommy, we’d have mopped the floor with her. So…WE WIN! Mommy says this post is not in keeping with the spirit of the day, but we think that sounds like the opinion of someone who DIDN’T WIN. WE WIN!
Daddy and Mommy – 35
Freedom, Casper & Nikki – 58
Thank you to all our Blogville friends who helped make sure…WE WIN!
Love and kisses…Freedom, Casper & Nikki
Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!
I never tire of this story, and reading Dickens’ words gives you an added depth of appreciation for this classic tale. The beautiful language and images capture the awakening, repentence, redemption and generosity of spirit available to us all. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, may I join with Tiny Tim in saying, “God bless us, everyone.” Merry Christmas!
I love the story of A Christmas Carol in all its variations. This version sets the story in Depression-era New England with Henry Winkler as Benedict Slade. When this made-for-television adaptation was first aired, Henry Winkler was known to everyone as “The Fonz” from the hit television show Happy Days, so this was a departure for him at the time. If you love the classic story of A Christmas Carol, I think you’d enjoy An American Christmas Carol.
The Purl Bee – Molly’s Sketchbook: Gold and Silver Coasters
Circle templates (I used a Campbell’s soup bowl and a mug)
1. Trace 4 large and 4 small circles on the felt and cut out the circles. My large circle was 4″ in diameter and my small circle was 3.25″ in diameter.
2. Place a small circle on a large circle and sew a running stitch across the small circle to attach. Leave a short length of floss on the bottom of the coaster at the beginning and end of the line of stitches.
3. Apply fabric glue to the floss ends on the bottom of the coaster.
4. After glue dries, trim excess floss.
5. That’s all. Now you have the perfect set of coasters for your decor or a great last-minute gift.