From our leaf tours:
It is the Solstice, Blessed Be. As they days grow slowly longer, may we also grow to love one another and to learn to live in peace. Holi...
Images of my container garden.
Belated Happy St. Patrick's Day. I have been too sick to enjoy one of my favorite holidays. I didn't even get corned beef, or to w...
Happy Halloween; it is my favorite night of the year! We were low key this year, but we did get out our graveyards and pumpkins. A scarecr...
Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Solstice, also for Dr. E's Greening Tips for the C... : It is the Solstice; Blessed Be! I look forwar...
Pasta with Mushroom Veloute Sauce, garnished with Hard Boiled Eggs One lb. pasta 2 hardboiled eggs One 6 ounce can cream of chicken sou...
Look closely at how delicate I am. I am probably a may fly, but I am as detailed as the scarabs from an Egyptian royal tomb. No one a...
Top Five Favorite Antique Parian Dolls | Ruby Lane Blog
Proclamation of Thanksgiving Washington, D.C. October 3, 1863 This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national...
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Sunday, December 30, 2012
Fracking, Underwater Sculptures of Cancun, and Organics for 2012 On this eve of New Years Eve, several interesting stories come up for those who wish to live green or who just cre of the environment. Sunday Morning today featured stories on Fracking and Underwater sculptures in Cancun, which were an attempt to protect the coral reefs. Also, our favorite natural food coop, Pioneer Foods, had some interesting new product. http://www.cbsnews.com/sunday-morning/ Fracking is the process of drilling shale for the natural gas inside of it. If we mine it, there will be enough natural gas for the next 100 years. In the process, however, the groundwater may be contaminated with natural gas. Those who mine for the gas companies have now begun testing before and after they drill; they find that most domestic waters they test already have methane in them, even before drilling begins. The underwater sculptures of Cancun are also a measure to help preserve water related life, the barrier reefs off the coast. A British sculptor. Jason Taylor, casts life-sized statues of real Cancun inhabitants who are cast, and then pose for him. He finishes them off in heavy duty concrete, and then sets them 25 feet down in the water. Sea life then adds barnacles and sea plants so that the eerie inhabitants of stone look like marine topiaries. At 9 feet deep, he has created sculptures of tables, chairs, a VW beetle, and other objects familiar to our culture. It looks like someone stumbled on Atlantis. http://www.aquaworld.com.mx/underwatermuseum.html This time I strolled leisurely through Pioneer Foods and noted that the whole store now contains organic and recycled products. There are even organic sanitary pads and tampons, some in printed cloth, and these are called “Party in my Pants,” and cost a whopping $12.50 each. Not many of these products are cheap; organic, free-range eggs are $3.99 per dozen, about 2-3 dollars more than regular eggs. There were some sales, though, and some items compared favorably. For example, organic hair conditioner was on sale for $6.79, while the Biolage I buy, though more in content costs about $16.00. The organic conditioner is more concentrated, though; I may come out even. I bought a slice of goats milk soap, scented with Frankincense and Myrrh, for $5.79. The same size slice cost me $11.00 at Heritage Natural Foods a year ago. Our Radish magazine had many interesting green articles, too, including one on responsible recycling. There were adds for chocolate festivals and book fairs, as well as various pieces on organic farming and recipes. 60 mins. Will feature a story on brain directed robotics, right up there for my research on automatons and artificial intelligence. Happy New Year to all of Us! May it bring peace to the world.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Ideas for Writing Holiday Memories: Here are some tips and prompts for recording Holiday memories, illustrated, scrapbooked, blogged, written, etc: 1. Read Capote's "A Christm...
Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Happy New Year and Photos from Cinicnatti; Long Aw...: I was at an estate sale today, and ran into an old friend. She used to have a shop called De Kleine Winkle, or Little Store. Oh the dolls ...
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Merry Christmas and God Bless us Everyone this year of turmoil and controversy. I spent the evening with friends, and old teacher or two, their families and friends with a wonderful, traditional dinner, the first I've had this season. i\I met a wonderful young girl who was also a talented chef and who brought the most amazing rum balls, born of her own self-descrbed disaster with black/white cookies and the wrong oven. I haven't cooked much, not ye3t, but I love to talk and invent recipes. Kianna, the chef, has wonderful adaptations of dim sun, and waffles with chicken , and pate and duck comfit gravy, her version of biscuits and gravy. As far as some tidbits go, I am happy to see that Hallmark gift bags are over 40% recyclable materials. I wrote many cards, and will this year start a tradition of sending new year cards, a new/old tradition that the Victorians and others used and sent for many years, and New Years was an occasion for sending cards bnad giving gifts before then. Etrennes were New Year's gifts, specialites at French dept. stores like the Lourvre in Paris. "Friends" featured a poster advertising these etrennes on their set. I gave to charities, and we had toys for tots at school. We also sent gifts to the Sun Valley Indian School, our "kids" in AZ. I made some gifts, and sent them early, but met with many financial difficulties and other issues this year. The Sandy Hook tragedy changed Xmas for everyone, and it happened on a night filled with wonderful memories, like my first giymnastics meet at 15, Spanish Club Xmas Parties with my mom and her Spanish Club, these were sometimes at restaurants like Chichis, Tortilla Flats, Chimis, and sometimes in the high ceilinged biology classroom at her school, with pinants, and candy. We spent all year traveeling and finidng miniatures to use. This season, I live with the ghosts of Xmas past. Our family home, once full of Xmas cheer, is now silent. My dad never liked the holidys, and now he has a reason not to celebrate. We eat together, but nothing festive, even if I offer to cook. There are no trees or lights, just a small pewter tree shaped candleholder decorated with symbols of the twelve days of Xmas, and a matching pewter santa, both under one foot tall. These I sneak into my old bedroom; they stay in my hope chest which is still there the rest of the year. Presents are few and far inbetween, but I still send them to family around the country, even the world. These are my mom's traditions, and I carry them on. A rotator cuff injury and my bad hand keep from writing more, but Bless all who read my blogs, and all who write, and who inspireme. A blessed 2013 to all!
Thursday, December 6, 2012
An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Bathory 2008, Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Long...: On this first of December, anniversary of my grandmother Ellen’s death 11 years ago, [she was 98, only admitted to 94, died suddenly after a...
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Children’s Lit; Section C - All I really Needed to Know Rumer Godden’s Adaptation of Iconic Themes in Adult and Children’s Literature Intro: in one of her autobiographies, A House with Four Rooms, Godden mentions four poems by Emily Dickinson, and then writes her own tribute to the poet. (cf The Bell of Amherst by William Luce). In Stanza 2 of “Elegy for Emily,” Godden writes, “The Irish workers, her Friends and servants, Conducted her funeral like a game, Some grave children’s celebration, The toecaps of their black boots, Burnished with buttercups,” And then of Dickinson says, It is she who remains, and weak Alone, are the departed:” In “At the Grave of Emily Dickinson,” Godden writes, “I know you are with me, As always, with these words I write To one who was also not altogether Of this world \” (4 Rooms Appendix pp. 316-19). I’ve been a fan of Rumer Godden since that fateful day when my mother took me into Interstate Book World and bought me my first copy of Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. That literary love affair continued to blossom as I discovered her many other books for children and adults. As a graduate student, I wrote to her as part of my dissertation project, and I received a letter back, full of both information and inspiration, and she was writing from Greece, where I was born and had visited. She and I shared many interests, and she, and her friend and her sometime illustrator Tasha Tudor, another of my correspondents, were my muses in more ways than one. All three of us shared interests in children’s literature, gardens, the work of Frances Hodgson Burnett, and dolls houses. The older I got, the more I went back to read their children’s works, and indeed, I never did put away “childish things.” She is an eclectic writer, comfortable with poetry, journalism, fiction, nonfiction, biography, adult or children’s literature, and as Hassell Simpson writes in his Twayne study, Rumer Godden, “As a child, Rumer Godden had found that ‘writing’ need not conform to the immutable laws of the real world” (32). Godden had three sisters; her parents were Arthur and Katherine Godden, and though close to Jon, her older sister, she “believed she never quite fitted into her family structure” like many of her characters, including Nona Fell of MHMF and Bertrand in HITS, or Keiko in GGFH. She spent most of her childhood in what was then Bengal, India, now Bangladesh, and hers was an expatriate family living in a big house in Naraynaganj, affected deeply by Indian life and culture (Le-Guilcher Introduction 2010). She went back and forth between England and India for several years. Once back in England, she missed Indian life very much, so that Nona Fell is a portrait of the author (Le-Guilcher). Her headmistress, Mona Swann at her Eastbourne school, mentored her and encouraged her writing and maybe the model for similar mentors of young girls that appear in TDH, MHMF, LP, and PAFL. As a writer, Godden has enjoyed wide and universal appeal, though she is not widely in print, or read today in The United States. As Lucy Le-Guilcher writes in her introduction to her critical anthology of essays on Godden, she “resembles . . . other marginalized women writers whose careers began in the heyday of high modernism and who continued to write decades after World War II”(Le-Quilcher 2010). Le Guilcher mentions Stevie Smith, Phyllis Bottome, Storm Jameson, betty Miller and Olivia Manning, but I would add Barbara Pym, Hazel Holt, and Elizabeth Taylor. LeGuilcher also considers Godden a transnational writer, along with “other Anglo-colonial and expatriate writers, including Phyllis Shand Allfrey, Elspeth Husxley, Jean Rhys, and Katherine Mansfield” (Le-Guilcher 2010). Godden herself might add her friend M.M. Kaye, author of The Far Pavilions, to this list. Her “imaginative vision” is often compared to James Hilton’s Lost Horizon (Ibid). Several of Godden’s novels have been made into films, like cult classic Black Narcissus, The River, In this House of Brede, Enchantment, and the children’s animated classics, The Story of Holly and Ivy and The Dolls House. (See Le-Guilcher, Introduction 2010). Not only is Godden prolific, she is well versed in many genres including “novels, short fiction, poetry, illustrated books about Indian culture and mythology, biography, and autobiography” (Le-Guilcher 2010), and she has written over 60 books for children and adults. As Le-Guilcher writes, “ the most causal glance at her bibliography reveals her appeal to readers and filmgoers of all ages” (Le-Guilcher 2010). The themes she explores in her adult and children’s literature deal with colonial relations, British and Indian women’s roles in the 19th and 20th centuries, and “religious consciousness” (Le-Guilcher, Introduction 2010). Godden is also noted for writing literature for both children and adults with each type of fiction influencing the other. In works like Peacock Spring and Black Narcissus, she often uses the icons and images of childhood to add suspense or pathos to her work. In children’s works like A Dolls House and Home is the Sailor; she places the toy characters in situations that involve adult themes of suspense, betrayal, physical abuse, violence and murder. In other words, Godden seeks to make her adult literature more childlike, but her children’s literature more sinister and often sad. The author will use Godden’s novels and also personal correspondence from Godden to the author to explore these themes. Furthermore, Godden pays homage to Frances Hodgson Burnett both adult and children’s literature, especially when she writes about gardens and orphans. Indeed, Burnett was a great influence on her, (Simpson 102). the influence of The Secret Garden is most prevalent in An Episode of Sparrows. Burnett was one of Godden’s favorite childhood authors, and she remembered clearly the first time she read The Secret Garden, even though it had been over fifty years before (102). While she and her sisters lived in India, they had borrowed a copy of TSG, but had to give it back before they could finish it. Later, they received a box of books form England which contained “the familiar green volume which they eagerly devoured “(102). According to Godden, “its style was ‘dreadful ’--but pompous style and improbably plot did not matter so much. What mattered as the sense of life, of interesting life at that” (Godden quoted in Simpson 102). But in praise of the book and its author, who like Godden, loved children, India, dolls, fairy tales and dollhouses, Godden said, “Anyone who has much to do with children knows that a naughty or disagreeable heroine is far more interesting than a good one,” and cf Mary Lenox of THESG who is orphaned and must live with her uncle, “Is there anything you want? Her misanthropic uncle Craven asks her soon after she arrives. Do you want toys, books, dolls? “ “Might I, quavered Mary, “might I have a little bit of earth?” Godden’s stories are often set just after World War II, and the bleakness of that time, especially when the plot takes place in England, ads to the bleakness and creates a contrast between the beautiful flowers she describes and the grayness of the venue. Earth and dirt hold power in Godden’s books, and they seem to spread and conquer regardless of the valiant attempts of housewives to obliterate them, at least this is true of the dirt aspect of earth and gardening. She writes “. .. earth has power, an astonishing power of life . . . it can take anything, a body, an old tin, decay, rust, corruption, filth, and turn it into itself, and slowly make it life, green blades of grass and woods”(54). Cf Euell Gibbons. , In Search of the Wild Asparagus. Both Godden’s An Episode of Sparrows, which is for adults, and Burnett’s The Secret Garden, which is for children deal with lonely little girls, orphaned or abandoned, who find solace, and then passion, in creating their own gardens. Burnett’s heroine Mary Lenox makes friends by discovering a secret garden long walled up and by involving her guardian’s entire household in recreating it. In the process, a spoiled, selfish, and hypochondriacal child regains both his physical and mental health because he becomes with Mary’s garden, and with Mary. Of her characters, especially the children, Simpson argues that “Rumer Godden’s characters, though generally self-centered are sometimes struck with a frustrating sense of their own insignificance. Especially striking in their consciousness of the vast sweep of events are the children and young people cast adrift, as if it were, in space and time” (61). As Harriet of The River says, “it happens, and then things come round again, begin again, and you can’t stop them. They go on happening.” (quoted in Simpson 61). ES is really the story of a garden (79). Gardens are very basic to Godden and her characters, and as Tip puts it in ES, “under everything’s dirt” (ES 54). It is so important to Lovejoy, that she asks her foster father Vincent, a Van Gosh-like restaurant owner, “What is a good garden” (54). The debt Godden owes to her children’s books in writing ES is that the story is mainly told from the POV of children. In fact, ES owes much of its plot to Burnett’s The Secret Garden. Gardens are crucial to many of Godden’s work; she is able to combine her love of children’s’ literature and child’s play with her repertoire of literary techniques which include cataloging. Throughout ES and her other books, we see Lovejoy naming the different types of plants and seeds she experiments with, and planning a variety of mini landscapes in both her gardens, so that like Michael Pollan in his essay “Weeds are Us,” Lovejoy writes an inventory of her collection (Pollan 1083). This, according to Pollan, is the hallmark of a true gardener. For Godden’s lonely, sometimes eccentric characters, gardens bring life and purpose to living for them, just as the Secret Garden helps the spoiled, unlikable Mary Lennox in a loving, accomplished young woman. For Lovejoy, the abandoned child living in bleak, postwar England, cornflower seeds make her forget her neglectful mother a little (ES 54). Like Godden when she was a child, Lovejoy has issues with fitting in. Creating a garden is also Lovejoy’s attempt to fit in to the postwar neighborhood where her mother abandons her; [LeGuilcher Kindle 2010]. as a displaced “orphan,” she has nowhere to belong, but the garden literally ties her to the earth, shared by all of us. How ironic that she is accused of trafficking in “stolen” earth and trespassing by the authorities and the Garden Society by Angela [think Angel, and the Madonna statute, religion,] when all she wants is, in this case, not a room, but a plot of her own. Once she begins to plant her garden, she begins to notice everyone growing flowers, plants, etc (56). In fact, Lovejoy’s first garden begins to grow in the midst of a bomb ruin and she uses sand to create a seaside garden, similar to that Sian and Debbie have in Home is the Sailor (61). Fearing that creating something beautiful in the midst of such desolation will get her into trouble, Lovejoy is very secretive about her garden (61). Tip’s gang of raucous, bored boys, however, destroy it, “one minute the garden was here, its stones arranged, the cornflowers growing, the grass green; the nest, there was only boots” (96). Tip, the gang leader, had sent he garden before it was destroyed, and this vision, combined with the terrible sight of Lovejoy’s tears, causes Tip sorrow (97).Surprised by his own remorse, Tip help her to find another place for the garden and to rebuild it. Their friendship, and his maturity level, grow along with her flowers. Lovejoy’s garden teaches Lovejoy to read and changes her for the better (66). As English writer Barbara Pym would say, Lovejoy finding passion, or something to love, has improved her life. Lovejoy indeed becomes passionate about anything to do with seeds, garden tools or planting; she is entranced by the garden shop, just as Emily and Charlotte are entranced by the expensive miniature furniture they see in A Dolls House. Lovejoy begins to ask about seeds and planting and at first, haunts the garden counter at Woolworth’s (80). Alas, the garden shop is too expensive for Lovejoy, so she goes to a type of thrift store, Dwight’s Repository and Sale Rooms (6) which contains “flotsam and jetsam” of every type. She beings to learn economics by planting her garden when Mr. Dwight “from under a long clothes baby doll, he brought out a small dusty fork” (67). The fork is a gardening tool, and Lovejoy begins to negotiate price. Later on, Lovejoy finds other ways to ge money for the garden, as he asks her foster father Vincent, she sings in the square for coins, and she also steals form the candle box of the bombed out church , (75), Our Lady of Sion, (71), where she plants the second garden. Ironically, this theft pricks her conscience for the first time, and she later makes amends to The Lady or Madonna, who has much in common with The Kitchen Madonna and other ritual doll statutes in Godden’s novels. The statue of the Madonna impresses her (76). Tip, though a rowdy child, also find peace in the church; the two choose the bombed church ruin as a place for the next garden… they find a place hidden by a wall an decorate it in an old cemetery that is part of the church (107). Pieces of ruined architectural moldings will decorate the garden. It’s star becomes a miniature tea rose Lovejoy names Jiminy Cricket (179). She tries the ruse of getting a penny to write her mother, but Mrs. Coombie knows her Mother’s address (69) so, in a way, Lovejoy’s mother fails her once more time (66). Lovejoy looks for money “ in palaces where money was kept like . . telephone boxes, the coppers put down for newspapers . . boxes on doors in the “Ladies’ “(70). Gardens and pretend gardens appear in Godden’s children’s novels like Great Grandfather’s House and Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, and there are shell gardens and tiny flowers in Home is the Sailor. Imagination truly makes Godden’s gardens grow, and in Black Narcissus Sister Phillipa’s dreams of seed catalogs in roses in high altitudes emulate Nona’s dreams for tiny plants and Bonsai trees in MH and MF. In one scene of GGH, Old Mother encourages Keiko to pretend a picnic in the garden: “How do you pretend a picnic? “ “Have it in the garden,” said Old Mother, “a flat stone for a table. You could make it pretty with flowers and moss, maple leaves for red plates. You can cut up some needles for chopsticks. But you need careful fingers” (GGFH 42). Keiko is so inspired by Old Mother’s ideas that she soon makes seaweed, red rice, and noodles out of flower petals and grass. She also writes tiny invitations. The children of MH and MF also use pine needles for chopsticks, and they show an uncanny understanding of the tiny 1-inch, 1-foot or 1 12th scale that most miniaturists know well. Gardens at p. 76 – Mrs. Quinn spends 9 hours gardening e.g., when she seeds sprout in early February, and she goes on gardening when she hears Eustace is killed (78). It’s the war is again. “Memory is the only friend of grief” (79). Her consolation, “Even when one is stricken, much remains; after creative things . . . like gardens … Books like H.C. Andersen and Austen make up library at CC. [Godden was Andersen’s biographer. “Mother killed herself in that garden” Bella was to say and if Mrs. Quinn could have answered, :That is what I should ha e chosen to do” (87). As with Pym, Godden’s characters need a passion, they need something to love to survive, not necessarily a man or woman. p. 88. Mrs. Quinn spends a fortune on her garden ; that and her daughters are her passion” Like E.Sparrows. Also, like passion Nona has for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. See p. 89. Tracy, Mrs. Quinn’s granddaughter says ‘ I don’t like living in books. I like Living . . .” “Cooking and doing the flowers and having animals” (86) Things getting destroyed and rebuilt; pp. 90-91 CC children build grottos, and one is smashed, as Lovejoys’ garden is destroyed in ES and Belinda destroying party by taking Miss Flower in MH and MF. See, also The Dolls House and Little Plum “A garden is not destroyed” says Mrs. Quinn,” but growing out of love itself , with its own contours”(92). See garden built by love in The Secret Garden. At p. 92- CC, Godden writes about the garden in the present tense, it is still living and growing. There are three members on the garden committee investigating an episode of stolen earth. Godden had this happen to her when she was brought earth for her garden in The Mews that had been stolen from public land. Resourcefulness is a theme here, and LovejoyMason’s resourcefulness inc rating her garden is like that of Nona of MH/MF, Emily and Charlotte of The Dolls House, and Premalata in finding her way to the market to buy lights for Diwali. Lovejoy is also an outsider, like the littlie girl Ivy of Holly and Ivy, and Nona, but Lovejoy has been hardened and lost hope, and the following description shows her harshness:” This little girl’s face was more than sly; it might have been carved in stone . . . her eyes were grey and cold as peoples. Her hair, which was very fine and mouse-colored, was cut in a fringe and fell off to her shoulder . . .” (ES 25). Lovejoy is more artful dodger than anything else; she steals, though she does not take money at first. She does take ice cream cones and comics from small children and babies, and without money of her own, her careful stealing is undetected and leaves everyone to wonder how she manages (28). Like Sara Crewe in A Little Princess, Lovejoy, whose name is ironic because she has so little is treated like a servant, but it is her mother who sends her on errands, not a bad tempered cook. Mrs. Mason makes Lovejoy iron and perform housework because she is “too useful to be spared . . .” (34). So, Lovejoy’s talents are not appreciated as Nona’s are, or as Debbie's are in Home is the Sailor, they are exploited. As with the children’s books, inspiration comes to Lovejoy through a small, common object; it is a packet of cornflowers that inspires her to create a garden, just as the little bark boats inspire Keiko and the two Japanese Dolls inspire Nona to make the Japanese dolls house and garden. Notes: Mr. Anstruther is also the lawyer in China Court, and Olivia’s will made the garden possible, though she is a grey, dried up spinster (244-45). Also, though ES is a novel meant for adults, the childlike motifs that appear in her other books emerge along with the garden theme; these include the baby doll, and Mr. Dwight, who is much like Mr.____Twilfix_______, Nona’s friend in MHMF who teachers her about books and Bonsai trees. The children of Premalata and the Festival of Lights, Great Grandfather’s House, The Kitchen Madonna, MHMF, ADH, Home is the Sailor and Little Plum also learn about money, making things, and economics through pursuing a passion of theirs. Hassell Simpson writes that “an essential key to understanding Rumer Godden’s repeated reliance on contrivance and on the perpetual charm of romance [is that] she has not distinguished very much between her novels for adults and her stories for children” (101). Simpson goes on to write that “Both seem to be derived from the same impulses and to be founded on the same theory of fiction” which Godden herself sums up in her essay “The writer must Become as a Child,” which she published the same hear as Hans Christian Andersen: Denying the common assumption that children’s books are simple and easy to write, Miss Godden (at that time the author of three published juvenile books) declared that writing for children requires humility. Pointing to the authors of famous books for children, she noted that true children’s classics never have a “big plot written down, but a little one written up” They must “sound well” to a child’s ear; they must be dramatic, swift of movement, and clear, with “few side tracks” and “no opinions”; and, finally, they must have something more, “an aftertaste, a flavor that lingers . . . a personality” (Quoted in Simpson 102). Simpson goes on to say that, like Andersen, Godden spoke to children in their own discourse; she did not talk “down to them” (102). Rather, she “approaches them on their level. Their interests are hers—dolls, making dollhouses and small gardens and decorated pictures, learning worldly skills and sympathy for other persons and (not incidentally) growing up. (102). While her characters are simple, they are real recognizable people, including Belinda, the willful but loveable Tomboy, and Bertrand, the obnoxious, but bright boy at school who becomes a “regular” guy after he gets his comeuppance. ‘ In GGFH and her other books that deal with miniatures and dollhouse, Godden imitates her illustrator/author friend Tasha Tudor who created miniature dolls feasts in her books, especially The Dolls’ Christmas. Godden’s heroine Lovejoy is a spoiled little girl whose mother is an actress. Her mother abandons her, and the child must find ways to amuse herself, but also to stay with the middle-aged couple who have become her defacto guardians.[Relevant comment by Simpson; “In the eyes of adults, an unfaithful wife may be reprehensible in leaving her children as well as her husband, but she is allowed to do so. In the eyes of her children however, [the mother] has betrayed them . . .” (88).] She is lonely, and does not quite fit in. She saves, steals, and buys what she needs to grow a garden among the ruins of a London bombing until a gang of young boys tramples it. When the leader relents, the two find a new place for their “secret garden” in the ruins of a bombed out church. The bombed sites, reduced to rubble and dirt, are fertile; “these bombed sites … grow 137 kinds of weeds” (54). And like the weeds, the children of ES thrive along with their friendships as they create their gardens. Godden uses this theme of lonely orphans in her children’s books as well. She often writes of the loneliness of being in a strange place, something that affects Nona, Bertrand of Home is the Sailor, Lovejoy, Lise, and Keiko, the sisters of Peacock Spring and her heroines in children and adult books. Nona, like the little girl in Episode of Sparrows, is without family. She, however, has only her father left, and he lives in India. Again, we see the tribute to Burnett, who’s Sarah Crewe, is also a motherless child, sent to London while her father lives in India. Ivy is an orphan in Holly and Ivy, who uses a ruse to runaway from her orphanage at Christmas in search of a family. She gazes at an “orphan doll” Holly in a toy shop, and then is rescued by a police officer who ends up, with his wife, adopting her. British Colonial Literature; When the Empire Doesn’t write Back; Originally, Salman Rushdie coined the term “The Empire Writes Back to the Centre,” as a parody of the famous Star War’s The Empire Strikes Back (Zabus 1). According to Zabus, “Centre defines Britian, back in the 16th century, the age of exploration and colonial expansion during which England became a world power (1). Centre also refers to the 19th century, when English “began to be studied as an academic subject and became linked to the spread of colonial education for the “natives”(1). “Writing back to the center involves rewriting or re-visioning history from the perspective of those colonized, not those who conquer. In other words, when members of the British colonies write back, they tell their own story from their own POV, and thus create counter narratives. Godden’s novels set in India and those that feature Anglo-Indian characters write back to the centre since Godden has lived in India and is familiar with its culture. Her perspective on India and its people is far different from that of Victorian writers who wrote of India and Indians. Godden was herself an expatriate who later missed her Indian home and returned to it as an adult, after she read A Passage to India (1924) she became “aware of her ignorance of the cultural riches of India, of Indian Religion and philosophy, art and literature” (Chisholm 1998 40, quoted in Le-Guilcher Introduction 2010). Godden says of herself, “ I was ashamed of my blindness and ignorance, ashamed of how little I knew of India or had tried to know” (Time 1987, 68). She made herself learn about India, her second home, and then addressed postcolonial concerns in her writing. Her writing shows both knowledge and empathy of India and her people (See Le-Guilcher). Moreover, growing up in India in multicultural household taught her appreciation and respect for other cultures and religion. These “religious influences were significant”during her stay in India (Simpson 23). Diwali, the Indian Feast of Lights, figures in many of her books including Premalata and the Feast of Lights. In Godden’s home, Diwali was celebrated by “Hindu, Christian, and Moslem alike; and they all joined in the observance of Christmas” (Simpson 23). In 1927, Godden returned to England and trained as a dance teacher; she then went back to India and opened the Peggie Godden School of Dance in Calcutta, and Indian dance was to influence her writing as well, in A F in Time (1945), KCF and CC (Le-Guilcher 2010). Godden is also seen as a post colonial, white writer, who writes in the last days of the British Empire as it was then know, as Le-Guilcher writes, Godden written “when the British Empires struggled to yield the last vestiges of global Power (Le- Guilcher 2010). Of her geographical settings, which are as much Godden’s characters as any Nona or Belinda, or Tottie, Le-Guilcher and others comment that Godden’s settings “engage a modernist uncertainty about her own position as representing such nomadic Others as gypsies, as well as the displacements of war and discontents of domestic and family life “ (Ibid). This last theme of domestic discontent and displacement often dominates her children’s’ works like Home is the Sailor, A Dolls House, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, Little Plum, The Story of Holly and Ivy and Impunity Jane. It is a running theme in China Court, An Episode of Sparrows, Peacock Spring, Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, and her other adult novels. It is uncommon for Rumer Godden to write of the “condition of enforced and elected exile within the changing political and cultural borders of colonial and postcolonial nations” (Le-Guilcher Introduction 2010). Godden challenged the understanding of what Le-Guilcher calls Middlebrow, or popular culture and tastes with the various domestic roles women played in European and Asian society. For example, Kingfishers Catch Fire “depicts colonial relations as a dark, indeed sometime harrowing, domestic comedy about an Englishwoman’s attempts to go native in Kashmir” (Le-Guilcher 2010). Godden gives women of color, and women under colonial rule, the right not just to speak, but to laugh (Stetz 119-20 quoted in Le- Guilcher Introduction 2010). Godden is herself a displaced person in India and other places where she has lived, sometimes self-exiled, sometimes not, and she uses humor “to show the political and cultural costs of the Englishwoman’s own colonized position, then the middlebrow pleasures of reading domestic comedy assume a critical perspective”(Le-Guilcher 2010). Gyathri Prabhu writes that “class boundaries are both reified and subverted when the subject is a colonial woman single mother with no stable place in either British or Anglo-India Society” [or a child, as in the case of Nona Fell in England, MHMF and LP). Connor writes that Godden’s Anglo-Indian life and writing from inside India gave her the “inside-out” perspective to question whether she and her British characters could even claim ‘national belonging’ ” (84). As a single woman, living independently, she “risked social disapproval (Chisholm 57) and notes that “In Calcutta’s then almost closed society, ‘nice girls’ didn’t work or try to earn their living,” (Time 1987 86). Yet, Godden was a nice girl who managed to support herself and her two daughters on her writing, even when her first marriage fell apart . She was in touch with writers contemporary to her including M. M. Kaye and Paul Scott, writers who also wrote about India and Asia as expatriate Europeans. Much of her work reads like the novels of Pearl Buck and tell main story from the perspective of European and non Europeans, repatriated and displaced. See Raj Quartet’; Godden knew Scott She was greatly influenced by E.M. Forsters’s A Passage to India and she read Virginia Woolf. Some of the displaced characters find their way into her children’s novels. Nona Feel and her Japanese Dolls, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, are displaced persons who become repatriated and acclimated, yet who maintain their uniqueness and diversity. Gwen of Little Plum is out of her class, until her mother recovers and she can join the other neighborhood children. It is another displaced Japanese Doll that links her to Nona’s family and their friendship. The Dolls House: Her first Children’s book, deals with an entire family of very different types of dolls who are displaced persons immediately after World War II, but who inherit a magnificent dolls house. See also The River, shows interest in child characters caught between the worlds of an Anglo-Indian childhood and the adulthood that brings an end to indulgent innocence (Peacock Spring, too, and MJH, MF, goodness herself found it “difficult to adjust to English life” and there she finished in 1946 Xmas, TDH (Le-Guilcher) Between 1951-72, 13 Children’s books (Chisholm 249). Lovejoy, to of An Episode of Sparrows is displaced by the War and by her mother’s abandonment, and in these novels, some benefactor or family group comes together to make the children belong and fit in. In Godden’s books for children and adults, she “shows how the nation constitutes itself in the family where belonging and alienation begin and often end” and where these issues are “also woven together in Godden’s writing about gypsies, as conditions of exile and nomadism intersect with and provide a critical lens thorough which she examines the discontinuities of family life and domestic order” (Le-Guilcher 2010). That children’s writing was important to the author is evidenced in the 12 new juvenile books she wrote between 1956-1972 (Simpson 30). In fact, after returning to England in 1945, Godden became more and more involved with children’s writing and The Dolls’ House, originally illustrated by Tasha Tudor, was published in 1947 (30). Of TDH, Le-Guilcher writes “shows . .. when postwar child-rearing psychologies are dramatized as a children’s story in Godden’s The Dolls House 91947) and Impunity Jane (1955) [about the time Dare Wright was doing The Lonely Doll Books]. (Le-Guilcher). From the start, Charlotte’s and Emily’s cleverness and imagination furnish Plantaganet Doll House, e.g., a marble is Apple’s ball, a purple tiddley wink is a plate for Darner the Dog. The sisters are also living in postwar England, and are preoccupied with money, “ Emily says “ we must make money.” “But how?” asks Charlotte. (“How”) asked all the Plantaganets. “Somehow” said Emily (44). After getting ideas from looking at some expensive dollhouse furniture, the girls hire Mrs. Innisfree to create petit point upholstery for the doll furniture they have. They have some money, and negotiate with her for her labor (55). Mrs. Innisfree offers to pay them for loaning her Tottie, the antique wooden doll who is the anchor of the Plantaganet Doll Family, the girls refuse the money, feeling I would be orally wrong to hire out Tottie who is both heirloom and beloved family member.. Note there is an Ellen in Cromartie and other Indian Novels and one in Impunity Jane. Peacock Spring/Miss Happiness and Miss Flower also The Raj Quarter by Paul Scott Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, 1961, is the story of two Japanese dolls sent to England in a parcel. They are émigrés from every far away, and anxious about their new home, just as Nona, the little girl who becomes their mistress, is a displaced Anglo-Indian child who has had to leave India and her widowed, beloved father and Ayah, to live with her English aunt and uncle. Though English, Nona has lived in India so long, that like some of the misplaced characters of The Raj Quartet, she really isn’t sure she belongs anywhere. Nona is dark, and exotic, she is always cold, and wears exquisite silver bangles as her legacy form India. As a way to make friends and combat her loneliness, Nona adopts the two dolls, learns about Japan, and with the help of her cousins and English family and some interested friends she makes, creates a Japanese dollhouse and gardens to make the dolls feel at home. Nona learns to make things for the dollhouse, and uses pencil boxes as cupboards, and makes rice out of cut up thread, chopsticks out of needles. Godden writes about the book in diary in June 1960 that the dolls’ garden was real, and was created by Anne Ashberry of “Miniature Gardens” who also created a miniature rose garden for the Queen. Premalata and the Feast of Lights and Cromarite Premalata and Ravi are two Indian children with a baby sister and a widowed mother who works all the time, and who has no time for her children, or even to comb her hair (PFL 1). She has sold her bangle bracelets, her dowry, all their possessions save Dhala their water buffalo (10) who is really family and who provides milk and dung for them, and even has sold the deepas or Diwali lights so important to families in her village. Young as she is, Premalata is preoccupied with money, and she delivers the cheese her mother makes as an income to Zamander’s household and remains steadfast in the price she asks, even when the housekeeper Paru Didu tries to cheat her. Both Zamander and Paru Didi are plump, and being fat ias associated with walthe and “good eating.” There are images of the fearsome goddess Kali, and there is an idol maker who plays a role in the book. As poor as they are, even Premlata's family has “doll house sized idols” at home (2). The images of the Hindu deities also play a role in Cromartie v. The God Shiva, an adult novel set in India, another of Godden’s favorite locales for her story is, in part because the author spent many years living there . Zamander is the landlord of the village, and he lives in a big, whitewashed house. His elephant is a friend of Premalata’s (15). He is kind, and when he hears of Premalata’s plight, he give her 35 rupees for deepas, and Prem must now use all her resources and imagination to find a way to ge t back and forth to the market to buy them (19). Like Lovejoy, Nona, Emily./Charlotte, and Sian, of the other children’s novels, Prem has a plan to get to market and to find the things she wants. She gets to the market, and thing learns a lesson in allocation a funds, as she spends money on her family, and then has none for deepas. She begins by buying her baby sister a toy, because Meetu has never had a toy: (29), Later, she haggles over the price as she buys a silver bangle for her mother (29). DISCUSS IMPORTANCE OF BANGLE BRACELETS AND Jewelry TO Indian women, see Indira Gandhi, too. Paru Dido’s throwaway deepas (52) are important symbols, because throwaways are recycled in other stories, took in to toys, e.g, Birdie the cracker doll, the tiddley wink that is Darner’s plate, scraps used to dress the dolls. Like Ivy and the dolls Curly and Impunity Jane, Prem goes on a journey or quest. Like Nona of MHMF, Mama had bangles, but now she only has one copper one, cherished because her late husband gave it her ((4). In Cromartie, there is a statute of a god Shiva, and we learn it is not the price of the Idol that is important, but is’ representation in the house (17-19). The proprietor of the lavish, dignified hotel isn’t upset when the valuable statue is stolen because she has a lovely reproduction in its place, ensuring that the god is present, serving the same purpose that Premalata’s tiny, doll house sized idols serve in her house. “It is not a fake.. it was time [for the antique statue] to move on but very kindly he left himself behind for us” (Cromartie 5) In Cromartie, when he fake idol is worthy of having flowers laid at its feet 917-19), just as candles are offered to Our Lady of Sion in ES, and just as The Kitchen Madonna with her dolls hair nad toffee paper embellishments is just as precious as the finest church statue. Home is the Sailor and China Court : China Court (1961, one year after MHMF): Of CC, it has been writing that “the novels’ intertextual oscillations between Victorian and post-World War II settings and characters, as well as an implied commentary on V. Woolf’s modernism, suggest a dynamically reflexive history of the 19th and 20th century British novel that questions extant boundaries of periodization” (Phyllis Lassner quoted in Le-Guilcher Introduction 2010). Mr. Quinn’s clerk, Jeremy Baxter is kept because he is clever and cheap, and Mr. Quinn “dearly loves a bargain” (68). Anne wants to work for poor people (69). Characters in CC are like those in The Dolls House (75) and Home is the Sailor. “At China Court, loved things were not thrown away”(94). Like Tottie and The Dolls House. p. 98-99 Chelsea Shepard and Shepardess also appear in Home is the Sailor. China is being valued by Mr. Perceval by Anstruther and Firm, who also appear in other books. They are Valuers and Assessors, but don’t know value to family (98). Mrs. Quinn’s children want her antiques assessed so the nature of their inheritance is known. “Like strangers with a guidebook “ in not knowing what to keep or throw away (99). See Miller’s book. Nuns and The Kitchen Madonna: Religion and religious communities are also popular themes in Godden’s adult and children’s books, but she notes in HW4R that when her publishers first asked her to write another book on nuns after In this House of Brede, the book which became Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, Godden replied, “How could I?” Black Narcissus was begun when Godden learned she was pregnant again, and she stayed with her parents in Cornwall, 1938). BN is about Anglo-Catholic nuns in India, and the book received favorable reviews. The book came out in Jan. 1939, like The Grapes of Wrath, Ulysses, and GWTW. The book “turned her at the age of 31 into a professional wrier nad brought her, for the first time, solid critical and commercial success both in the UK and America (Chilsholm 90). VFSTFJ tells the story of tLes Souers de Bethanie (France), a real order whose members when Godden was writing was made up of at least 50% criminals. Former addicts, prostitutes, even murderers made up the ranks of the sisters, while the rest where “regular” nuns who followed a normal calling. They went about with anonymous names. They had houses in Germany, Amsterdam, Italy, and America, and one house in Britain. After she wrote the book, Godden was afraid to go to the book signing; she feared no one would come, but she was showered with flowers and telegrams, and the lines circled the block. She was especially relieved and pleased because the signing took place on Godden’s 70th birthday. In the context of writing this book, Godden was asked “what makes you think your books are different form anyone else’s?” Her answer was “because they were written by me.” (4Rms 313). Religion plays a role in Episode of Sparrows just as it does in The Kitchen Madonna, Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, In this House of Brede and Black Narcissus. The statue of the Madonna which wears real clothes and jewelry is much like The Kitchen Madonna, or the Idols of Premalata and Cromartie v. The God Shiva. She stirs Lovejoy’s conscience after the scheming little girl takes money from the offering box, and she provides a home for the Lovejoy’s garden in the ruins of the church. As with her adult novels about religion, there is religious language ins ES; “Lovejoy did more than think about [clothes]; she had been trained in them as in a religion . ‘One must look smart’ –that was her mother’s creed, and Lovejoy was her mother’s disciple” (ES 29). Great Grandfather’s House: In this short book for children, Godden returns again to the theme of writing about a displaced child who must travel to stay with a relative she does not know well, here, a great-grandfather. Just as she did in Miss Happiness and Miss Flower and Little Plum, Godden showcases her vast knowledge of Japanese culture within the boundaries of her plot. Keiko, a city child, goes to spend time in the country with her great-grandfather. She is not at all accustomed to the simpler life in the rural area, and she often ridicules her family’s lifestyle. Keiko brings store bought toys, far more sophisticated than her little cousin, and she encourages the little boy at one point to throw out his beloved, but worn panda. As in some of her adult novels, especially Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, Godden emphasizes aspects of farm life, like collecting eggs. She talks again of gardens and self-subsistence. Resourcefulness, yet another theme that permeates her children’s and adult novels is no stranger in GGH, either. As with Episode of Sparrows, gardens and flowers are key to the characters development. In GGH, Keiko learns to make toys out of chips of bark and walnut shells, with twigs for masts and postage stamps for sales. Yosi tries to share his simple toys with her, and to him, they are important because GGH showed him how to make them. They are a tradition. Keiko at first scorns the little boats and says derisively, “But . . . you don’t make toys. You buy them” (GGH 23). After awhile, like the bratty and skeptical Belinda of Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, Keiko warms to the idea of making toys and find she enjoys homemade playthings. She learns to appreciate the bamboo hobbyhorses that Gen-Son makes for them (27). Gardens, playthings, resourcefulness, alienation, building families and religion are themes that influence Godden’s adult and children’s literature. Her stories are woven with her own life experiences in India and Asia, as well as her post war Experience in England. As she herself wrote, she liked alternating her adult writing with her children’s writing because she felt it kept her skills sharp. Sharp they were, indeed, so that she has crossed genres and tells stories from post colonial, European, adult, child, female, and religious perspectives that would otherwise not have a voice. Like H.C. Andersen who she admired and wrote of, she wove tales that transcended cultures and generations to teach new pupils all the time. Perhaps one day, her diversity and devotion to humanity will earn her a well-deserved place in the literary canon.
Doll Museum: Goddesses and Venus Figures an Update: Here is a great site with history of these oldest of dolls or human figures: http://www.ancient-wisdom.co.uk/venusfigures.htm titled Ancien...
Below is the famous Thanksgiving Proclamation. I note it hear as a tradition of my blogs, inspired by the editor of Godey's, Sarah Josepha Hale:
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Emma Cat, aka, La Contessa Gaga Bathory, and I have been watching Sunday Morning, special focus on food. Of course, no program on food is complete without the issue of wasting food. I recommend going online and finding the story on cbs.com today. According to SM, 40%, or 165 billion dollars worth of food is wasted. They talked about places like Loaves and Fishes where rescued food is given to the needy. There are also entire grocery stores created in different cities where those in need can shop, for free. There was a high school teacher who went through grocery store garbage to rescue the perfectly good food that is tossed; I've seen stories like this before, too, over the last thirty years, beginning when I was in grade school. Jewel Osco and other companies have been turning over food that otherwise would have been tossed. Other companies go to farms that are ready to plow over otherwise good crops and hand harvest them for food banks. It is "food for thought."
Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: To the Muses of my Blogs: Our beloved Anne Rice has her People of the Page, and I have my readres/viewers, my extended family which I call The Muses of my Blogs. For...
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Doll-Related Collectibles: For those who are looking for doll-related items to add to their collections, here are some ideas: 1. Pez Candy Dispensers; these have cha...
Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: To the Muses of my Blogs: Our beloved Anne Rice has her People of the Page, and I have my readres/viewers, my extended family which I call The Muses of my Blogs. For...
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Where else can you find Dr. E's Doll Museum?: You can find us on Twitter, hashtag "Dr. E's Doll Museum." Facebook: Dr. E's Doll Museum We show up on Linked -in under my name, too. or ...
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Happy Japanese Doll Festival for Girls and My Thre...: Today is the day of the Hina Matsuri or Japanese Doll Festival. For great histories of this wonderful holiday, read Miss Happiness and Miss...
Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: The East Coast and What Doll Collectors Did before...: We would like to send our prayers and best wishes to all our friends on the East Coast hit by Sandy. Special greetings go out to Obscura, T...
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Laura: Here is some is some information about Laura Ingalls Wilder; I've been privileged to visit some of the historical sites and have a good coll...
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Doll Museum: The Early 19th Century and the Histor...: Doll Museum: The Early 19th Century and the History of Paper Do... : Now it is time to return to our doll chronology by turning to the early...
Monday, November 5, 2012
Below is a Whitman poem I like very much. I hae been reading a lot of nature writing, and get quite lost in essays like Pollan's "Weeds are Us" and the "Ecology of Magic." I lead a bookgroup on Kinsolver's The Lacuna, and marvel at how she touches on Frida Kahlo, Art, Writing, Dia de Muertos and so much I am interested in. My hands still bother me,and I am fighting stress rashes, too, but keep typing. I find there are not enough hours in the day anymore. It is cold now, and we celebrated Halloween with a small fire built in a metal wheel barrel. Cofee tastes good hot and a littl bitter, adding that little extra bite, and we are back to stanard time. I'm reminded of law school where I didn't see daylight from at least November to March, and woke in the dark, and came home in the dark. I pickied the last two green peppers and the last four tomatoes of the season, and took in and covered plants and lawn ornaments. We put our our little graveyard for the holiday, and bought more candy than we needed. And time goes on, withor without us. My knitting beckons, like Betsy Devonshire, needlework and knitting help me to think. One surprise, Pete Seeger is following us on Twitter as Dr. E's Doll Museum. This is quite an honor. We were snubbed by Writing World; I will no longer be posting the newsletter. Moira Allen, the editor would "rather" we not post, eventhough she clearly labels the newsletter "free to share," and it is a free newsleter. It's no different than my handing out or giving it to a friend to read. Ironically, I have ov er 50,000 folks who read or view my 8 blogs; that is probably a lot more than subscribe to her free tidbits. She can't stop me from posting, but I am not in this to tweak or irritate anyone. A Noiseless Patient Spider A noiseless, patient spider, I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated; Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding, It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself; Ever unreeling them—ever tirelessly speeding them. And you, O my Soul, where you stand, Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space, Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them; Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor hold; Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul. Walt Whitman
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
My friend's sloping driveway was covered in several inches of glowing gold leaves today. It looked like The Yellow Brick Road. It is 80 year today, and very strange. It looks like Autumn, feels like late May. But, everything is glowing with beautiful death, reds, and oranges, blazing yellows. There are branches outlining the sky, looking like dead hands supplicating heavenward with long, skeletal fingers. There is an elegiac tone to everything. We are gearing up for Halloween, and I am going to make Sugar Skulls for a book group on La Lacuna by B. Kingsolver. I find her and David Abrams to be among the most spiritual writers I have ever read. His "Ecology of Magic" is not to be ignored. I am studying more about another interest of mine, water sustainability and aquifers. I learned that as a result of the New Madrid quake, the Mississippi changed its course. We recently celebrated the anniversary of the loma prieta 1989 quake, which I was in. I still hear the radio playing "Shake, Rattle, and Roll." I have a doll that is a survivor of hte 1906 quke, too. Six months to the minute, on the anniversary of the 1906 quake, we had another major after shock. This was a truly humbling experience for me. I am planning to winterize some of my plants, my Harlequin petunias if possible, my Geraniums, a couple begonias. Many of my plants were eaten or destroyed by the capricious weather patterns. I was reading about Fractals, and how random much of what is really patterned and organized seems. Something I can relate to. The holidays approach; I am looking forward to them, and unpacking old family ornaments to use this year, remembering when all my shopping was done the day after Xmas for next year. I am slowly gathering gifts for our charity, The Sun Valley Indian School for Navajo children, and for my family. Much of Christmas died with my mother, as did all good things, but his year, I feel her spirit in all of this. I plan to bake again, and to store goods for candies to give as gifts. Start browsing craft magazines now, and look for coupons and sales. I love running around Black Friday to taste the sights, but I don't want to have to shop then. I was never last minute. Mom and I shopped ahead, then sorted and labelled who got what. I used to wrap on Halloween night and do Xmas cards over Thanksgiving. My classics were pecan pie, Dear Abbey's recipe, cranberry bread, and mom's Oyster Dressing, with the family joke that they forgot the oysters one year, but told everyone they melted. Mom made baklava and melomakarona, and we ate pheasant, duck, or smoked turkey. I decroated the table with all my little pilgrims and Gurley candles, and we had special table cloths and placemats. Mom made my Halloween costumes by hand, a Greek gypsy when I was five, a witch, a pioneer girl, a Vampire. A Raggedy Ann that should have won a prize. She only bought three costumes for me; Lamb Chop, when I was 3 or so, a Fairy when I was seven because I loved it, and a Spanish Gypsy from Madrid when I was 9, a terrific souvenir I still have. I wore the dress through College for different events and a homecoming float. She dressed the dolls, too, and they often tricked or treated. At 12, we made an Anne Boleyn gown and fantastic paper mask from bags and her old debutante gown. We made cutouts and bought new ones for our window, and got the biggest pumpkins we could out in the country. It was a simpler holiday than today, but we had a wonderful time. Happy Trick or Treating, and Happy Holidays to all.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Memoir; Writing your Life Story: How we read Changes Faces: From the newsletters of one of my alma maters; the changing face of reading. How do you read? The Changing Face of Reading Tonight, wh...
Monday, October 15, 2012
Below is a wonderful passage from Barbara Kingsolver, La Lacuna at p. 279 about fall, which captures the spirit of the season where, as today, the leaves literally glow, some sporting two or three colors of red, organge and gold: "A glittering shower falls at a slant across my window. Some form of god has come to visit our dark autumn tunnel, like Zeus making himself a beam of light to impregnate Danae. INt his case, ti is not really glittering light but beech leaves. You've never seen anything as dramatic as these American trees, dying their thousand deaths."
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Yes, this is a real recipe. I came up with it after having dinner at my in-laws for my husband's birthday. He got a card that started "You know you're getting old if..." and one of the answers was "You think libido is a kind of pasta." So, I came up with the recipe below. I hope you like it! My 80+ something in-laws and their friends got a big kick out of this! Pasta Libido Putanesca
Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: New Information on a Beloved Book about a Doll: Original Hitty Hitty (short for Mehitabel) is a tiny wooden doll found by author Rachel Field in a New York City antique shop in the wi...
Sunday, September 30, 2012
As many of you know, I am a doll collector with a large collection planning a museum, hence my blogs Dr. E's Doll Museum and Doll Museum. I will probaly copy this information there as well. I love the most unusual dolls best; corn dollies fit into that category. Many are not even of human shape; they are abstract, many circular or triangular, two geometric shapes associate with women's bodies. They play a role in the harvest festival, and often were kept in the home for one year, then burned, and a new doll was displayed. I first read about them in Volume D, "Dolls" of the 1956 World Book Encyclopedia. Among my other collections, I collect Volume D and other doll related volumes of old sets of encyclopedias Von Boehn, Laura Starr, Mary Hillier, and Leslie Gordon also write about them, and they are featured in books on crafts and Wicca. There is a book that comes up on Google images, too. Below is a history from a site in Wales that I was very impressed with. They also sell. Enjoy reading this timely and seasonal piece about a beloved craft.
Ode to my Red Gel Pen Hail to thee, gelatinous muse, Paper’s life’s blood inks crimson hues. River of life for words my way, Filling my page with thoughts That would sway. Staining my fingers, my clothing, Bright red, Sending rouge beacons of prose Through my head. You prod my calendar’s memory With check marks so bright, You mark out my errors, Grammatical plights, To my students, red writer, Dread angel of praise, Friend or foe, grim reaper Of F’s or of A’s For many lost scholars, You’ve helped make the grade. Scarlet river runs deep My thoughts-not so much, Without you clasped tightly, My fingers lose touch.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Memoir; Writing your Life Story: From Pro Blogger: Memoir; Writing your Life Story: From Pro Blogger : A good writing prompt for memoir: 1. Where were you September 11, 2001? 2. Describe your...
My mind is like a partially shattered jigsaw puzzle these days. Some pieces connect, most barely dangle by their hinges. The dangling chads have nothing over my thought processes. I have lots to write and post about my recent forays to the aquarium, and reading of Rachel Carson, Muir, Thoreau, Evelyn White, and others. I've pondered a lot the distinctions, if any, between scientists and naturalist, and have experienced the joy of delving enthusiastically into disciplines long admired, but no necessarily my own-- or are they? Microbiologists, scientists in general, seem to have a lot in common with miniaturists, that deliberate focus, painting on one inch pieces of ivory, as Jane Austen may have called it, living in the intense miniature worlds of Thoreau's ant wars. Ture miniaturists devoted to scale work under magnifying glasses and microscopes, too. There world is infintisemal, and the question becomes how do all those tiny parts fit into the whole. Reading Wordsworth, Whitman, looking outside, especially at waterways with new eyes. Then feeling uncontrollable rage at how my child with special needs is being treated by our own Dist. 41, my mother's place of employ nearly 40 years, my alma mater. Boycotting band and all activites by one "Maestro" Karlyn, because he can't seem to realize that Band is about music appreication, and tolerance, and love of music, not how many haf-a___d awards the director can stuff into his merit file. I wish upon his miserable children and himself the bad treatment my child is receiving at his hands, the after effects of his immature outbursts, his bad temper, the abusive us/them atmosphere he is creating in a group of children who should be learning harmony, musical and otherwise. Dist 41, RI/M, shame on you; you violate the ADA with each blast of your foul, collective, corporate breath! Enough; I think of little ways of saving water, of recycling, of picking up the litter others throw when I can, and I do it. I tell my kids to turn over old ads and used papers and use them as notepaper, something we did in school even in the 70s, with no one telling us to. One of the architechts behind the EPA died this week, and I hope to post the obit soon. We can take a lesson from him; the evironment is not a political issue; it is a life issue. He was a moderate republican and passionate environmentalist who brought about many reforms. Still watch cooking shows passionately, but no time for now to cook or develop recipes. I hope to do more by the holidays, for there is a certain peace and spirituality for me, a connectedness, in creating my mother's recipes, or making up my own. There is indeed peace in the kitchen, ad I often forget time and miseries when I'm there.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012
An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Some Lyrics and Songs inspired by Erzebet: All lyrics written by Dani Filth, all music composed by Cradle of Filth. No. Title Length 1. "Once Upon Atrocity" (Instrumental) 1:42 ...
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle While I don't always agree with her politics, I find her a valuable and intriguing author. I've taught her in classes and mentioned her in my bibliography on dolls. I've watched her TV interviews and admired her poise, and had one moment of seren dipity when I wanted to read The Poisonwood Bible and the next hour, it turned up at a church rummage sale. Have not felt well at all; this is the time to turn to my books and my dolls, to things that I love and that nourish the soul. Enjoy: About Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Since its release in May 2007, Animal Vegetable, Miracle has helped launch a modern transition in America’s attitudes toward food. In this lively account of a family’s locavore year on their farm in Southern Appalachia, Barbara Kingsolver and her coauthors unearth the secret lives of vegetables and the unexpected satisfactions of knowing their food producers — and sometimes their dinner — on a first-name basis. A Family Collaboration The family’s year long experience leads them through a season of planting, pulling weeds, expanding their kitchen skills, harvesting their own animals, joining the effort to save heritage crops from extinction, and learning the time-honored rural art of unloading excess zucchini. Barbara Kingsolver’s engaging narrative is enriched by husband Steven Hopp’s in-depth reports on the science and industry of food, and daughter Camille’s youthful perspective on cooking and food culture. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life, and diversified farms at the center of the American diet. http://animalvegetablemiracle.com/book.htm
Friday, September 7, 2012