Zee Arteest

April 30, 2011 | My Jottings

Five-year old Vivienne spent two nights at Grandpa and Grandma’s house recently. At least four times she approached me confidentially, leaned in to whisper something that seemed of utmost secrecy and asked out of the side of her mouth in her Viviennesque way, “Can I draw?”

“Of course you can!” I would answer, and she would help herself to typing paper and crayons or pencils, and set to work at the kitchen table.

Here’s one of Vivie’s masterpieces that I had to share with you:

This is her sketch of our older Schnauzer Edith. In case this doesn’t strike you as zee mossterpiece eet ees, here’s a random photo of a Schnauzer I found online so you can see how well Vivie did.

I think she captured the quintessential Schnauzer traits quite well for a five-year old who did the drawing in less than two minutes.

I have several posts of monumental importance in the works, but I’ve been a little occupied these past few weeks as Michael heals from his shoulder replacement surgery. He’s in a shoulder immobilizer and isn’t supposed to use his right hand or even move his arm for six weeks.

For now, a photo of a strange dog and a pencil drawing by Vivie, our little arteest, will have to do.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Where do I start?

April 25, 2011 | My Jottings

I hope you all had a blessed Easter.

Yesterday was the end of my 46-day Lenten fast from books. I’ve never gone that long without reading a book before. It was not as disorienting as I thought it would be, and I’m glad I did it. Now, I’m happy to dig in to the piles of books I’ve had stacked near my desk and bed for the last seven weeks.

The trouble is, I’m not sure where to start!

All of these books were either generous gifts from friends, or books I bought myself because of enthusiastic recommendations from fellow readers I trust. I wish I could go away now for 46 days to read these 21 books!

But my time is limited, so where shall I begin? What three books would you put at the top of the list from these piles? You can click to enlarge the photo to see the titles more clearly.

Have you read any of these? If so, what are your thoughts about the one/s you read?

Tonight when I go up to bed at the unheard-of hour of 8:30 p.m., my knitting will stay in its bag, at least for a day or two. My Sudoku book (I’m trying to keep my brain exercised) will sit unopened on the nightstand.

Montesquieu said, “I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve.” I could use some “distress-relief” and tonight I’ll put that quote to the test.

Looking forward to your comments,


April 23, 2011 | My Jottings

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He is risen, indeed!

My Jottings

When I was a little girl, Easter meant dressing up in really fancy dresses, wearing a hat and gloves, going to Sunday school, and finding hidden candy and Easter eggs in our yard in Southern California.

Today, Easter means hope and light and mercy and power and love and so much more to me. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and thank God for all this event means to us. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then absolutely nothing I’ve based my life on is true — it’s all a farce. If Jesus really did come out of that grave then everything He said is true and this path we walk on this earth is only the beginning of our existence. These things we experience and see are but shadows…

(mural painted by Ron DiCianni)

“The benefits of the resurrection are innumerable. To list a few: our illnesses don’t seem nearly so final; our fears fade and lose their grip; our grief over those who have gone on is diminished; our desires to press on in spite of the obstacles is rejuvenated; and our identity as Christians is strengthened as we stand in the lengthening shadows of saints down through the centuries, who have always answered back in antiphonal voice: ‘He is risen, indeed!’ ”

Charles Swindoll

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From our family to yours, may you have a very blessed Easter!

Girl From the North Country

April 21, 2011 | My Jottings

No, I’m not the girl from the north country. Bob Dylan had someone else in mind when he wrote that song a long time ago.

“Girl From the North Country” is the name of a yarn colorway that my daughter Sharon designed. I saw all the denim-y blues and the subtle shades of turquoise and gray, and the hints of green and even lilac, and I snatched up the yarn in about four seconds. I’m still a beginner knitter but I’m really enjoying it. I don’t know when I’ll ever graduate from making scarves to trying something more complicated and attempting to read a pattern — probably when I’ve knit a scarf for every person I know, which might take some time.

I can do the stockinette stitch, the garter stitch, and am making this current scarf in a ribbed pattern for someone I love very much. I held the yarn up to her eyes and it matches perfectly. If ever the Minnesota driver’s licenses allowed enough room for her to put under eye color: “grayish-greenish-aqua-blue,” then Carolyn could claim that description for her eyes and it would be perfectly true.

Here’s a photo of the scarf almost finished:

Yarn photography isn’t easy and this shot doesn’t do the “Girl From the North Country” yarn colorway justice, but it’s the best I could do with an old digital camera that temperamentally turns off and on of its own accord as I’m trying to take flashless pictures.

This scarf has a few mistakes design elements in it that will surely give it some character. I hope Carolyn will wear it this coming winter (yes, it’s currently April in Minnesota, but snow and below-zero temperatures are on their way; they’re always on their way in this part of the country) and feel wrapped in warmth and her mama’s love.

And now, back to Bob Dylan. I’ll bet most of you didn’t know that Bob and my husband Michael are cousins. I should try to figure out someday what degree of cousinhood they share — is it second cousins once removed? First cousins thrice removed? Third cousins nothing removed? We don’t know. Robert Allen Zimmerman was born in our city and grew up about an hour northwest of where we live. We have never met him and I’m sure Bob doesn’t have any idea that we have his huge family Bible in our possession. It’s full of various and sundry Zimmermans he would be well-acquainted with. Michael’s paternal grandmother was a Zimmerman, and somewhere in that weird and creative gene pool we are linked to the enigmatic man who wrote “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,”  “Gotta Serve Somebody,” and countless other songs.

This lovely colorway that Sharon dyed is one of her one-of-a-kind creations and isn’t available on her website. But I told her I thought she should reconsider and try offering “Girl From the North Country” as a regular yarn. I don’t know if it would be a big seller or not, but I would guess that girls from the north country might like it a lot, and maybe even Bobby Zimmerman might hear about it and buy a skein or two.

Why not?

Wednesday Whimsy-Edition 60

April 20, 2011 | My Jottings

Women are angels and when someone breaks our wings we simply continue to fly….on a broomstick.

We are flexible like that.


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The About Me ABC

April 18, 2011 | My Jottings

I’ve been enjoying a blog written by a delightful woman named Helen. She’s English, is married to a Swiss man that she met in San Francisco, she speaks several languages, and they have three children and live in Switzerland. Yes I know. Switzerland! Anyway, she had an ABC list on her blog recently and anyone who knows me knows I can’t resist a list. So here is my own About Me ABC. Because, of course, it’s all about me.  **Gag**

Age: 53

Bed Size: Queen and set up very high on bed risers

Chore You Hate: Cooking — I used to love it — now I don’t

Dogs: Two Miniature German Schnauzers — Edith Elaine Bubbleloo and Mildred Virginia Shackadorum

Essential Start of Your Day: A Cappuccino Cooler concoction I make myself

Favorite Color: Dark greens and blues

Gold or Silver: Gold

Height: 5’10″

Instruments You Play(ed): Hammond B3 organ

Job Title: Adult Foster Care Provider

Kids: 3 adult daughters

Live: Minnesota, near the biggest freshwater lake in the world

Mom’s Name: Virginia Ann

Nicknames: Ginny calls me Jewel, Tauni calls me Jules, Su calls me Dooley, my mother called me Julie McGooley and Michael calls me Honey.

Overnight Hospital Stays: Two baby deliveries (I had the third one at home), and a charming little surgery ending in ectomy.

Pet Peeve: Yes, I am one of those Grammar Nazis who really wish people wouldn’t use apostrophes in the wrong places. I also would like it if people would stop spelling the word congratulations “congradulations.”

Quote From a Movie: “My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.” (Anne of Green Gables)

Right or Left handed: Right

Siblings: 2 older brothers — Larry and Steve

Time You Wake Up: 5:30 am, but something’s gotta change

Underwear: Yes

Veggie You Dislike: Lima beans and beets

What Makes You Run Late: Hardly anything — I often have to stop myself from being a little too early

X-Rays You Have Had: Teeth, broken fifth metatarsal, spine for chiropractic

Yummy Food You Make: Panzanella, homemade pizza, decent shredded beef tacos

Zoo Animal You Like Best: Colorful birds in the aviaries, but I’m not an avid zoo fan — they all seem so sad and well, captive

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What is your About Me ABC list? If you put it on your blog let us know so we can come and visit. 🙂

This month’s book winner? Judy!

My Jottings

Thanks to everyone for your comments about books you’ve enjoyed — I’ve added them all to my “to read” list. I haven’t read a book since the beginning of Lent and am looking forward to Easter for more than one reason. 🙂

Judy is the winner of the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand! I will be mailing it to her within the week, and maybe she’ll be good enough to let us all know her opinion once she’s done reading it.

Congratulations Judy!

Thank you all for reading and commenting. Have a wonderful week…


April 14, 2011 | My Jottings

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a giveaway here on the blog, so I thought I’d make up for it by making the prize one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life.

If you haven’t read Unbroken, you must! It was recently recommended to me three times before I finally downloaded it to my Kindle because I didn’t want to wait behind the 21 other people on the reserve list at my local library.

Some of the words I’ve read describing this book: soaring, triumphant, unforgettable, gripping, jaw-dropping, incredible…and it’s truly all this, and more.

Laura Hillenbrand has written a stunning book — I’m not normally drawn to books with war settings, but I was assured that this one would not disappoint, and it didn’t. I will read it again and again.

My husband Michael had shoulder replacement surgery two days ago at the Mayo Clinic, so I will be busy doting on him for a while. My next post or three might be fluffy and short. But this book is neither of those.

To enter to win this hardcover book, please leave a comment below and share the title of one of your favorite books. Some of you have done that before, but new titles are always being added to our lists, aren’t they? Comments will be taken until Monday, April 18th at 10:00 a.m. The winner will be picked randomly and announced later that same day.


Wednesday’s Word-Edition 59

April 13, 2011 | My Jottings

“One of the many divine qualities of the Bible is this: that it does not yield its secrets to the irreverent and censorious.”

J. I. Packer

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