Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mellow Yellow

One of those nice mellow days. One in which there is really no where important to be so one just goes or stays. Practice of course and then I finished the first contrast colour tier of the entrelac socks. That was nice.

A brief converstion about what movie my friend was seeing with her SO in the afternoon. The 300? No. Saw that last week. Further discussion on historical accuracy/inaccurracy. A bit about a particular blogger's review of said film. Yep. She said. She was expecting the porn music to start up too.

A gentleman on the bus wondered what I was making and I said socks. He also wondered if I had seen one of those sock machines and I had. He thought it was pretty amazing for someone to invent that kind of machine. I agreed, as I continued with my 4DPNs. He was curious how long it would take me. I said I wasn't sure as they were knee socks and this was my first of the pair, maybe a month. That long? I shrugged. I'm not that attentive. Some people might do it in 2 weeks.

Sat in a cafe and read some of Diana Wynne Jones' Hexwood. Not finihsed yet (le gasp) but that is all right.

'Tis a mellow day****CV

Friday, March 30, 2007

Once Upon a Time

I joined the Once Upon a Time Challenge over at Stainless Steel Droppings
(OUAT) The New Policeman, Kate Thompson (431pp) Time is getting away. There is no time to do anything except wonder where it is all going. Ah well the curse of the modern world we say and keep on doing our best to cram in all those things we must do hoping somehow to make time to do the things we truly want to do. But what if it isn't the curse of modern life? What if time really is getting away? JJ, the hero of our story, determines to give his mom what she wants for her birthday: time. But how do you find it and how do you carry it? The setting is Ireland and JJ is a talented musician, dancer and a teenager who just found out his grandfather may have killed a priest who took his flute.
I read this in less then two days.
Cain Saga vol.4, Kaori Yuki (201pp) Cain is going to be married!? Well maybe. But why is his childhood friend acting as if he's still ten years old? Who is this mysterious clarivoyant and what is her connection to Dr. Disraeli? Will Riff leave Cain as Cain's uncle demands?
Hikaru no Go vol.9, Yumi Hotta (207pp) Hikaru is playing team games in Go salons all over the city. He's meeting with some interesting players (old, young) and he's learning that playing a game to tie is not as easy as it sounds. Meanwhile Akira is discovering that being a professional player means having to not play to win all the time.
Pagan's Crusade, Catherine Jinks (246pp) Pagan is a 16year old native of Jerusalem. He's run into a bit of a situation and so applies to be a squire at the Templars. Problem is he won't be paid for six months and he's going to be squire to a St. George look and act alike. What's a boy with a sense of humour to do? Moreso what can he do when Saladin lays siege to Jerusalem? Is being held captive in a city really that much worse than esorting pilgrims to the river Jordan and playing Name that martyred saint? Might be more fun actually. I've already found out the library has books 2 and 3. I'm looking forward to meeting St. George's family in Book 2 ;)


Justinian: The Digest of Roman Law, trans. C.F. Kolbert
Henry II, W. L. Warren

Thursday, March 29, 2007

a meddlesome monk

Well, there is nothing like being asked to be someone named Mary's friend then discover Mary is a 26 year old man. (Remind me of what city I'm living in again?) Unless of course you have prime viewing a King in love with his Arch Bishop: y'know, then that's a bit of all right.

"Will no one rid me of this meddlesome monk?!" And Henry's hounds/barons look at each other before ominously walking off. The King left alone having, literally, kicked out his family looks up and whispers, "Thomas?"

I think Becket was Richard Burton's movie (he was the most colorfully dressed) but Peter certainly gave him a run for the money. I wonder if A Lion in Winter was a natural consequence of Becket? I kept looking at Henry's Queen last night and saying, "There is no way that woman is Eleanor. No. Way." And John, excuse me, Sir John Gielgud as Louis was priceless. I almost went again tonight but didn't.

The excommuniation scene was eerie. Full face shots of Richard Burton seperating Sir Gilford from the body of Mother Church and casting him out into the eternal darkness and pit of hell. Then, as the final gesture, he turned a lit two foot candle upside down (candles represent souls) slammed it into the cathedral floor and threw it aside as he said, "You are ex-communicated!" Then all the monks who were also carrying theses candles followed suit. Brrr!

While watching all the many sequences held in Cathedral settings with Monks chanting and walking around in anonymous robes an aspect of what made the church so popular (way back when) and what makes Jedis and Stormtroopers popular today occurred to me.

It's the magic of group power. I am a member of this special group. We have secret rules and rituals that only our group knows. We are obediant to a higher power, but not to anyone or anything else. Hmmm no self will, what? Freedom of thought much? Didn't think so.

(NB: A very serious question throughout the film: material or spiritual? Thomas always called Henry his Prince never his King.)

I finished Pagan's Crusade, Cain Saga 4 and Hikaru No Go 9 yesterday. I started the New Policeman today ***CV

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Pagan's Scribe, Catherine Jinks (359pp) The fourth in a series of four volumes following the life of Pagan a man who is found in Jerusalem as a young boy, becomes a squire and participates in the defense of Jerusalem with the Templer Knights and eventually becomes an Arch Deacon. Of course I haven't read any of the other volumes: yet. This fourth one is not told from Pagan's viewpoint as I am presuming the other three are. Rather, it is told from the point of Isidore a cleric whom Pagan hires as his Scribe. Isidore is a very bitter young man (with good reason) and much of the tale is told through inner dialogue with lots of heartfelt prayers to the Lord, as I would imagine any text ofthe times would include. Isidore loves to read and this volume makes many references to classical historical texts: Augustine, Livy, Sallust, Cicero, Boethius; and personages. The author is not shy about presenting the Medieval era as a smelly, dirty time but also one in which humanity can rise above its temporal self.

I also have Pagan's Cusade which is the first in the series. I may start it tonight.
Today I found out Becket is playing down the street from me. I love a Peter O'Toole movie!

Monday, March 26, 2007


The Transfigured Hart was published in 1975. I've seen this on the shelves in Powell's for a while and finally decided to pick it up.

I should be on a book budget but I couldn't resist Straw Into Gold by Jane Gould today. I am finding her interpretations of fairy tales as they relate to stages of female development a bit forced at times. But then I've read so many fairytales and their variations that I think I may be able to sort the wheat from the chaff, which is what convinced me to finally get it. I keep reaching for a pencil to make comments in the book as I read.
The Dark Light, Mette Newth (246pp) Set in the early 19th entury during the Napoleonic wars this is a story about a young girl in Norway who discovers that she has leprosy. She is taken from her mountainside village to the merchant town of Bergen and placed in the Lepers hospital. How she grows as a person, the people she meets: including a particularly angry young woman, make what might otherwise be a depressing story one of hope and affirmation. There is one scene I found particularly disturbing and would consciously censor in reading aloud. The author does explain it within the context of the story which I was very happy to see. ***CV

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday Sunny Sunday

Ambergate, Patricia Elliot (390pp) In which we discover why Gobchick was so startled when he found number 102 hiding behind the library's velvet draperies. This set of stories (beginning with Murkmere) continually had me thinking of Nazis and totalitarian states, as well as City of Lost Children. Perhaps it was the eagle. (Note the eagle as I recall was a symbol in Nazi Germany no? And it is our countries emblem as well. In the Amber gate both aspects -ruthless, loving, of the eagle are continually referenced to) And yet, towards the end of this book I recalled that bird symbolism, especially in such variety, is also in The Conference of the Birds, an old sufi tale. Whether or not this is intentional I cannot say. However the author has left the end in such a way that it can either stay as is or lead to another volume.
Bowery girl, Kim Taylor (223pp) Quite a change from the previous stories. The language alone would prevent me from including it in any of my current class libraries. There was a movie that came out about four or so years ago premised upon the Irish gangs of New York during the Tammany Hall years. I wondered, while reading this book, if the author had been inspired by that film. However at the end she provides a resource bibliography which seems to indicate not. I think I'll finally read my copy of Twelve Years at Hull House. Bowery girl is the type of book I would not have wanted to read as an adolescent: but all adolescents are different, some more hard core than others.
The Transfigured Hart, Jane Yolen (112pp) I picked this up while at Powell's this afternoon and finished it at a cafe. A nice change from the previous tale, this one about a reclusive boy who believes he finds a unicorn in the woods near his house. The same afternoon a classmate sees this same animal and recognises it as an albino deer. How these two people meet up and what happens as a result is a sweet, and thankfully bloodless, story.
I also picked up:

Cousin Bette, Honore Balzac
The Dark Light, Mette Newth


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pieces and Bits

I saw the most amazing table today. It was a round table with a clear glass top about 3 feet in diameter and the support were these metal tubes that had been twisted together to represent a leafless tree. A friend and I sat at it this afternoon while working on Eunny's entrelac sock pattern. I figured out how to cast on for the toe, now I just need to work it for another 3 rounds or so and then I'll begin the tiering.

I want that table.
I intensely dislike Paypal. I attempted to pay for a purchase and it kept telling me to retype the spam code. Bleh. Not case sensitive my foot.
A trip to Powell's is in order. Hikaru no Go and Cain Saga are in the warehouse so I need to go and ask them to get it shipped to the store so I can buy them. I also want to see if they have the Pillowbook Man in stock.

I think I'll finish Ambergate tonight.****CV

Friday, March 23, 2007

There is Light.....

Murkmere, Patricia Elliot, (342pp) If Mervyn Peake met up with George Orwell and they hung out with Rupert Thompson and all three decided to write a children's story based upon the theme of the Swan Maiden this might have been it. I think they might all have to have been female though.
Two words and a bit of punctuation: Spring Break!
That is all***CV

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I found my copy of Murkmere and started it last night. So far the closest thing I can compare it to is a Gormenghast Lite. I'm sure that I will have a better comparison after I finish it. I'm about half way through. In the meantime I picked up its sequal, Ambergate, and another book, Bowery Girl, while at the library today.
This week has been a bit off center. My co-guide had to leave Monday morning and was out on Tuesday. Then I thought that I would be doing something very early Tuesday morning but that fell through when the place wasn't open so I ended up really early to school that day.

Combine this with a general sense of lowness and no wonder I'm pulling out all my YA books to read.
The seeds we planted less then 2 weeks ago have germinated and grown sufficiently that we could do a light experiment with them. We'll be planting them (hopefully) in our planter boxes tomorrow.****CV

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Glacial love

Snowfall, K.M. Peyton (342pp) I initially bought this book thinking it would be about a real life woman mountaineer and have lots of historical information. Instead it is a light romance about a young English woman who leaves her family home, with her brother, and ventrures out into the world. It is set during Victorian times and was inspired by the true story of a woman whose lover was caught in an avalanche, in the Swiss Alps; and whose body was discovered almost 50 years later in state of perfect preservation. Apparently this is not all that unusual. Bodies that are caught in avalanches can reappear due to the movement of glaciers which open and close crevasses. It is a sweet story but not what I had been hoping for. Perhaps it could be thought of as Upstairs Downstairs for the tween set; with a bit of Pygmalion thrown in.
If I can find it I'll be reading Murkmere next***CV

Monday, March 19, 2007

F. Jones

Trick of the Eye, Dennis Haseley (192pp) It may have been theVermeer cover that caught my attention (Girl Interrupted at Her Music). But it was the idea of a child, a young boy, who could walk into paintings without the paintings coming to life that captured my interest. I found this book while wandering the YA section at Powells. It's one of those books you can find only one copy of and its very moodiness and sense of introspection cause you to wonder if someone didn't make a mistake in ordering it. Perhaps it was included in a box to make an even number? This is not to say it is a toss: not at all. It is an inward story, one which either draws you in or makes you run. It is a mystery and a testament to a self awakening to a danger it did not know was there. *****CV

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Arthur at the Crossing Places, Kevin Crosley-Holland (362pp) A crossing place can be as immediate as a bridge, a crossroads, a birthday; or it can be a bit more ephemeral as in the choice to do or not do something, to speak up or to hold silent. In this second of a proposed trilogy Arthur continues his quest to become a knight and what it means to be a person when often position and belief are at odds with self determination. Once again we are given tales of Arthur's namesake and Merlin makes an appearance or two, along with Morgan le Fay and Nimue. Mainly this is young Arthur's tale. I did enjoy the insight into types of vellum (goat anyone) as well as a guest appearance by Marie de France.

Hopefully the third volume will be out within a year. **CV

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Finch feline

I do not have much of a stash as far as wool is concerned (we shall not mention thepetite and private Alexandrian library I possess) but it is a bit ungainly. I decided to try and neaten it up a bit today. Thank goodness for people who send stuff in boxes as I ended up using every last one including a spare shoe box to corral what I do possess.

What I discovered during this archaeological process was I do not random purchase. Each bit I put away is clearly sufficient for a project, mostly shawls and socks. But I do have enough Rowan worsted for an amber cardigan :)

I also set aside some partially used skeins for the class.

During the two hours I was working on this the door to the Finches' room was open. I had gone in earlier to give them a beakstone and then became engrossed in organizing. I didn't realise I had forgoten to close the door until I came back in. A few minutes later Chai came back out as if all was well: which indeed it was.***CV

Friday, March 16, 2007


The Green Glass Sea, E. Klages (320pp) What could it have been like to be living with your family in New Mexico and have your parents working on the Manhattan Project? Only you don''t know what they're working on because they are sworn to secrecy. Still you go to school, make or don't make friends, and you wonder if the war will last forever. The author of this story had a rather amusng story to share, at the reading she did last Saturday, about having this book published. Apparently there were some librarians who were upset about the amount of cigarette smoking that occurs in the story. (Hello? 1940's people). But not so concerned that children were picking up souvenier nuclear waste by the end of the tale.

There is a sequal in the works.
Charles de Lint (Little Grrrl lost, A Handful of Promises); Neil Gaiman (M is for Magic); Robin McKinley (Dragonhaven); LA Meyer have books coming out this year! So, too, does Holly Black (Ironsides). Oh and the third volume of Twilight (Eclipse) should be out by August.
The knitting book I mentioned in the last post is Knit a Fantasy Story by Jan Messent****CV

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Knitting Netsuke

I started the Green Glass Sea today. I hope to have a synopsis or review tomorrow.

Of course the leafing through pictures of cute knitted figures may hamper said goal. And yes a tiny sheep was sacrificed after being rescued first from a curious feline. Oooo look! I can make my own knitted Unicorn. I sense a Peter S. Beagle tribute in the making here. Let me see if there are any harpies or red bulls ... perhaps a chattering skull ...... Or the cast of Watership Down. Bunnies!

Thank you Chris: Your beryl will be on its way soon :)***CV

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Speaking of Paris

Goddess of Yesterday, C. B. Cooney(212pp) A retelling of the story of Helen and Paris. Anaxandra is a princess from a very tiny island in the Aegean sea. At age 6 she is taken by Nicander as a hostage and is raised by him in his home as a companion to his daughter Callisto. Through a series of events Anaxandra takes on the identy of Callisto and is brought to Sparta by King Menelaeus thus encountering Helen. This story is full of famous personages from Greek history and the author is diligent about explaining names. Anaxandra's goddess is Medusa: when compared to the other gods she is a kindly one indeed. But then compared to Helen and Paris, the Reign of Terror was nought but a pinic by the Seine.***CV

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Waiting is very hard. Usually it is something I am fairly good at. The model of patience. Whooops, out the door when it comes to call backs.


I had to tell one person that I couldn't accept their offer to come see the school as I can't afford to, even with their offer of assistance. Had a different interview on Sunday which sounds very nice but she is, like I am, a processor. Which means that we like to think things over and not come to hasty decisions. *sigh*

Then there is the local place which, though challenging, could be wonderful only I don't quite know how to proceed. I've been in contact but saying, "Hey how's about an interview?" seems somewhat crass.

Or is that just me?
History of the Thirteen, Honore Balzac (321pp) Not his best that I've read. I think he may have been having issues with his Hungarian Countess at the time. Either that or he simply wanted to demonstrate what egotistial pigs men can be on the one hand and what pathetic self sacrificing creatures women can be on the other. The Girl with the Amber Eyes was strange to say the least. More Radcliffe than Radcliffe: More conspiritorial then Fouquet: I kept expecting the hero and heroine to turn out to be brother and sister intead of what they were, which was still rather sick and abrupt. Maybe Honore needed some quick money.
I've started Carlyle's, The French Revolution, but I may break into one of my YA purchases first. ***CV

Monday, March 12, 2007

With so much Balzac....

The French Revolution, Thomas Carlysle

The Reign of Terror (1792-1795)
the Directory (1795-1799)
the Consulate (1799 -1804)
the Empire (1804-1814)
Restoration of the Bourbons (1814-1830)
July Monarchy (1830-1848)
the Second Republic (1848-1852)
the Second Empire (1852-1871)


Sunday, March 11, 2007


the History of the Thirteen. Having read the first of three stories I now find mself in a gothic sequence. A French liberator of a Spainish island discovers his true love has secluded herself away within the island's Carmelite Convent. He is determined to retrieve her though she desires no such retrieval. Flashback to how they met in Paris....I would just like to say that I wish we could learn from these flirting techniques or perhaps the silent film masters did. My what melodrama:

"You may kiss my forehead mon cher but you must allow me to have many more male visitors during the mornings so that none suspect how devoted I am to you. Further we must see each other with less frequency but know that I am always at home until 10 0'clock to you. Do remember that I am a married woman and though I may do what I like with my heart I must remain true to my husband, no matter how cruelly he treats me."

So that is not a direct quote but I must say soap operas ain't got nothing on Msr. Balzac.
"I have a head ache" has become rather a classic excuse. It may all have started with a convenient migraine. (Which I know when it is real is anything but convenient). The type of migraine which disallows attendence at a ball but miraculously disappears when ones lover arrives in one's boudoir. Hmmmmmm.
I'm off to see how the Duchesse ended up in Spain.****CV

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Casita de libros

The Green Glass Sea, Ellen Klages
Arthur at the Crossing Places, Kevin Crossley-Holland
Goddess of Yesterday, Caroline B. Cooney

While I quake at the thought of packing my library, I cannot resist my addiction***CV

Friday, March 09, 2007

And there are days.....

My apologies if I concerned anyone with the last post. This transition between stages is a prickly one and I felt the image expressed it well, with all its inherant potential for beauty as well as risk.
Browsing today in the science section of Powells I recieved a phone call offering to help defray my flight expenses. Imagine my surprise. Then I found a McKinley book, then I found the Moomintroll comic strip anthology, and I now have Hexwood, by Dianna Wynne Jones.
So there are days; and there are days***CV

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Hunt Continues

Well I have an interview with another school scheduled for tomorrow; and I'm still awaiting word for whether or not I can take time off to do an in person interview with the lovely lady. Meanwhile I'm checking other options and plan to send out two more inquiries, one of which is the age group I'm currently most interested in but the environment ... I'm not too sure about.

When I first started this work I began in a room that had been led by the same guide for almost 20 years. For those two years she taught in a head start type program and then returned. While she said the two years were very challenging, mostly regarding the families, it gave her insights she might have otherwise missed and a deeper appreciation for her work and the particular environment Montessorians work hard at creating.

Perhaps this one with the age group I seek, but with a questionable set up, would be a similar experience (minus the head start aspect, I hope).

Right now I can see both the positives and the less positives of any of the places I've inquired at.
What concerns me most is that I might reach a point where any contract would be appealing. I do not want that to happen if I can help it so I am sending out more inquiries as well as resending others.***CV

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Salt Water

I just wrote my farewell letter. I'm a mess.
(Think of something else .... ok.)
The lovely lady was fine with the change of plans. Now I need approval for those days before I book a flight. The other school has a site which I looked at. Wow. Just. wow. And not an ostentatious wow either. Just a sort of sweet wow. Think nature, think historical geographical experiences, think pedestrian friendly, think fog (I miss fog).
Yeah, but I ain't puttin' all my eggs in one basket no sirrree.

Thanks to a kindhearted, tea-sipping, ink-feathered, avian friend I'm exploring other options. Maybe that job I thought people had to be born into, which is why I never thought to see if one could take courses in it, can be a possibility in three years. Oh, and after lots of loans of course.

I'm a mess****CV

Monday, March 05, 2007

unfair fare

So what is up with the cost of airfares?! I have a potential inerview and when I go on line to book a cheap fare the cheap fare leads me to the real fare which is 4x as great. Bah!

Seems like a really good school too. Now I have to go and let the lovely lady know that we have to reschedule to a time when I can afford the airfare.
Is it good to send out four inquiries and the next day have two respond positively? I was thinking it would be about a week before I heard from anyone. But then switching jobs seems to bring out the insecure part of me.
Collected Short Stories, Honore de Balzac (272pp) There are approximately ten stories in this colection and each one shows Balzac in a different light. One moment he is a mystery author, the next a gothic, then again he is an ironic critic of bourgoise artists and their admirers ( now why did Kincaide keep coming to mind during this story?), and then he is a religious skeptic.

I have now started, The Thirteen, by Balzac. Over the weekend I purchased a Moshe Feldenkreis book as well as one by John Holt***CV

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Stranded knitting. Not so easy. Even more challenging when one is a left handed continental knitter being taught the two handed right dominant approach. But you know, life goes on.
I keep looking various teaching opportunities and there is one that really appeals to me but then I look at where it is and I think: I can't afford to live there. I suppose I can still send out an inquiry.

I am also makng an effort at the one day at a time approach and not thinking too much about packing, shipping, moving vans, house hunting. I remind myself that this is about the same time a few years ago when I was seeking a position and preparing for practical exams.
Meanwhile the Knitoff has begun.****CV

Friday, March 02, 2007

An artist

I love Balzac.

I love the way he paints each person with tiny strokes then sets them in a scene both historic and present. I love how each person tugs at the strings of other people he has painted so that one can hear their echoes much as one hears the hearts of friends not present when in conversation with friends who are.

I love how I can fall into one of his stories and emerge later with the deep sense that I have learned something about myself, about others, and about the world.

I love how each of the short stories I am reading is like a cameo. Not something to be hidden away and carefully preserved but worn proudly with all its age and chips showing.

I love the innocence of his melodramas and how he shows the deep consequences of our slightest actions. ***CV

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Subtle Semaphore

Isn't it funny the things that turn up when you least expect them?

Yesterday a friend asked if I would be changing jobs completely and I said I couldn't imagine not teaching children and that I had been looking at different places out of state. She seemed awed that I would be willing to move if a new position reqired it. This is not to say that I haven't considered other fields of interest: Librarian, Rolfer, etc. and would be unwilling to move if they required it also.

I took today off as a personal day and, after a later then usual practice during which there was the adult equivalent of one of my students participating, took care of an errand before visiting my sanctuary. As I was leaving with my aquisitions (Short Stories of Balzac, and a Borges Biography) what should be outside but a group of Montessori upper els on a field trip.

Then I went to a cafe and enjoyed two of the stories from the Balzac collection before heading to the yarn shop to pick up class supplies. Last night I only registered. While I was there the teacher from the cabling class mentioned to the shop owner that I was a teacher too but for a Montessori school.

Turns out the shop owner was a Montessori child until she was five.

O Universe: are you trying to tell me something?***CV