Monday, October 5, 2015


There's a song that starts:  "My bags are packed, I'm ready to go, standing here outside the door..."

And indeed I am packed for retreat weekend.   You're laughing, you machine people.  I do travel light. There are four pieces in this basket to be hand quilted, my hoop, a baggie of perle cotton, my little sewing basket ( which I love and always have next to me. A gift from SSCS friend Jenny two Christmases ago,)  my lamp and footstool.  I can't hope to finish all four projects so I consider this as taking a lot.  Oh, there's also a tote tucked in there with a ball of yarn and a knitting project. I hit a bump in the road on that one and I want to ask SIL Joyce about  getting back on track.

There will be twelve of us. This year there will be two new to the group and we are a little excited about showing them around. I can see us being like little kids when new company comes and we are led around by the hand being shown favorite toys.  We are coddled and cooked for and sleep in luxurious beds with giant pillows and dry ourselves with thick towels in heated bathrooms.  The inn keepers are like favorite aunts we get to visit once a year.  We catch up on stories and take pictures and time both stands still and speeds up.  Our heart rates slow as we relax, sew, eat, sleep.  But the earth does continue to spin on its axis and eventually our time is up and we have to come back to reality.  The B & B is on 130 acres and is stunningly gorgeous with ponds, pine forests and porches. We truly pray for good weather so we can walk the paths and sit on the porches. 

Now I just have to wait for the departure day. Is it any wonder we can't wait?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Tsar of Love and Techno

Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

Sometimes you read a book and you are astounded by the humanity of it.  The Tsar of Love and Techno is Anthony Marra’s second published novel.  I say that because I can’t believe he has only really written this and Constellation of Vital Phenomena.  He’s too good for just two. 
As in Constellation of Vital Phenomena, we are again in Chechnya and in this new book, Tsar of Love and Techno, we begin in deep tunnels with a man whose job it is to censor photos and paintings.  Take out faces of believed dissidents.  But as he does this, one day he decides to take out one face,  and put another somewhere in.  It’s the face of his brother. He inserts the face of his brother, whose very image was ordered destroyed.  Eventually, as many people are in 1930’s Russia, he is coerced to confess a collaboration with one of the subjects of his censorship.
Slowly we are taken through the lives of nine people who are quietly dissident in small controllable ways, some more successfully than others. Lives in Siberia and Russia who are connected to each other.  And always there is the painting of a landscape, a thread that runs through and ties these nine together.
We don’t often know what life is like, how it is endured, in secretive countries.  But Mr. Marra tells us.
What’s amazing is the humanity  in Marra’s books.  If you don’t feel for the people by page 10 you  must put the book down because you will never get it. 
I was given this book to ready by Blogging for Books in exchange for my opinion.   
One word - excellent.