Thursday, March 15, 2007

Jon's visit

My brother came to visit last weekend and it was fantastic to have him here. I don't think that I've hung out with just him without other family around in at least 7 years maybe? Don't get me wrong - I love seeing him with his little fam or with the rest of our family, but it's pretty cool to be able to have two days just hanging out and catching up. Needless to say, he came prepared to get tattooed by Ron. (Mom - do not blame me for this!) Here they are at work and the final product - a traditional rose with the names of his three kids done on his chest over his heart. Awww.....

more felt animules.

Here are more little animals that I've made. My plan for the swallow is to make a few and string them up into a mobile, but I haven't gotten that far ahead yet. I think that I might just turn the rhino into a hippo instead and make his head more square. But Blue Bunny is my favorite by far.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Book Review: Summer Crossing

I've just finished a short novel by Truman Capote. I picked it up after cataloging it at work because the dust jacket noted that it was published posthumously and only just after being discovered in a pile of papers bought for the Capote collection at the New York Public Library. (Oh how I love archives!) The story behind the story goes like this - Capote had been living in Brooklyn and then in 1966 up and moved to Manhattan leaving instructions to the landlord to throw out all his belongings on the sidewalk for the trash. A house-sitter scooped up all the papers and notebooks left behind (including personal letters and high school writing samples) and later after his death a few years ago, the papers went up for sale at Sotheby's. At this point, it was discovered that there was an entire unpublished manuscript that Capote had written and set aside - this being Summer Crossing. Thus the trustee for Capote's estate decided to publish the novel.

The story itself is short but quite sweet. It's a bit rough around the edges, but likely this is because Capote never finished with it himself. Had he decided to go with it, this would have become his first published novel. Still, it's a light, fun read. I've never read any of his other works, but now I'm interested to check out Breakfast at Tiffany's at least.

The main character is Grady MacNeil, the daughter of social Manhattanites who have left New York to summer in Paris. Grady is 17 and left alone for the first time in her life. The reader will find her likeable, although apparently she's quite the outsider amongst her peers preferring to spend time by herself, with her one quirky male best friend, or more importantly for the story, with her first love - Clyde Manzer, a parking attendant at her garage who happens to be poor and Jewish. Over the course of the summer, their relationship stumbles along as each of them attempts to understand the other across the bridge of their class and cultural divides. The ending feels very unsubstantial and dissatisfying, but the novel is still a fun look into the culture of early 20th Century New York.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Book Review: The Audacity of Hope

I finally finished reading Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope. Could it be possible that there exists an honest politician? It's hard to come away from this book without believing that Obama is sincere in his belief that he is in office to serve his constituency rather than to make a career out of politics. The book covers the general overview of his political thoughts on the party system and political campaigning, faith and race and values within American society, our lack of a comprehensive foreign policy and the economy. What makes the book worth reading is Obama's candid personal experiences and how they have impacted his values and political approach.

The essence of Obama's approach to politics seems to be that we must, "...maintain in our sights the kind of America that we want while looking squarely at America as it is, to acknowledge the sins of our past and the challenges of the present without becoming trapped in cynicism and despair." (pg. 233) He is an unapologetic liberal and Democrat. However, he consistently draws on the positive contributions of people across party lines and focuses on how policies can and will affect the everyday person on the street. Throughout the chapters, Obama draws from personal experiences that depict the difficulties of maintaining personal contact with his constituency while understanding the larger political picture. In my favorite excerpt, he discusses the difficulties of maintaining his connection to the people as his rising career requires flying on private jets to court campaign donors and make appearances. One gets the feeling that he enjoys his job best when he can be sitting across the table from the average Joe citizen trying to get a sense of how government can serve him. Whether he can maintain that as he travels upwards through the political machine is the question?

He talks frequently about his experience of growing up in a multi-racial family and his Christian faith, but at the same time he is able to articulate these experiences in a way that does not alienate any potential audience (except those that are really intolerant).

It helped, for my enjoyment of the book, that I agree with the majority of his stances on issues. He has my support on issues of women's rights, supporting the drained middle-class, universal health care and early childcare, and anti-war sentiments, etc. I'm still not completely sure if he'll have my vote in the Democratic primaries, but it has raised my hopes that there are those in positions of power in this country with more than a jot of common sense, an ability to see beyond their own personal interests, and a belief that the success of the individual hinges on the success of the group.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

one reason to be happy to live in the south

Today's weather:
Boston = 7 degrees
Savannah = 68 degrees

Monday, March 5, 2007


I realize that I haven't added any entries to the blog in about two weeks. I've been working a lot trying to save up some comp time for pending visits from family and friends. Otherwise, I've made a few more felt animals and hope to post photos soon. I've sat comotose on the couch watching movies recuperating from work and have managed to see some friends. The biggest excitement (and how lame is this?) was watching Xanadu and knitting at my friend Cindy's house with a gaggle of girls. I haven't even done any reading in ages. I can't seem to finish any of the books that I start.

The big news isn't even mine. Ron has fully transitioned away from apprentice monkey to tattooing full-time. It's exciting for him, but also, I think, somewhat scary to have reached his goal. But I'll tell you - it's terribly exciting for me to walk into the shop and see him tattooing a client rather than sitting behind the front desk.