I was channel surfing recently and came across a show about the making of a new mini-series on Starz. It is based on a book by Ken Follett and called "The Pillars of the Earth". It takes place in 12th century England. The show made it look so interesting that I have been watching it every week on Starz. But I also wanted to read the book so I requested it from the library. When I picked it up it was HUGE. I got the paper back version and it must weigh 5 lbs. It has about 1000 pages. So I am working on reading it and expect it will take me a few weeks. It goes into more detail than the movie does so I am glad to be getting some of the background to the story as I watch it.

From Publishers Weekly
Tom Builder's dream is to build a cathedral, but in the meantime, he must scrounge about to find a lord that will hire him. His search pulls him and his family into the politics of 12th-century England, as different lords vie to gain control of the throne in the wake of the recently deceased king. Prior Phillip, a man raised in the monastery since childhood, also finds himself drafted into the brewing storm as he must protect the interests of a declining church.

From Library Journal
A radical departure from Follett's novels of international suspense and intrigue, this chronicles the vicissitudes of a prior, his master builder, and their community as they struggle to build a cathedral and protect themselves during the tumultuous 12th century, when the empress Maud and Stephen are fighting for the crown of England after the death of Henry I. The plot is less tightly controlled than those in Follett's contemporary works, and despite the wealth of historical detail, especially concerning architecture and construction, much of the language as well as the psychology of the characters and their relationships remains firmly rooted in the 20th century. This will appeal more to lovers of exciting adventure stories than true devotees of historical fiction.
It has been a hectic past few months. Mom has been sick and in and out of the hospital and rehab. Lots to do for her... not much time for art but I still find time to read.
Here is what I am currently reading.

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
At 26, Troost followed his wife to Kiribati, a tiny island nation in the South Pacific. Virtually ignored by the rest of humanity (its erstwhile colonial owners, the Brits, left in 1979), Kiribati is the kind of place where dolphins frolic in lagoons, days end with glorious sunsets and airplanes might have to circle overhead because pigs occupy the island's sole runway. Troost's wife was working for an international nonprofit; the author himself planned to hang out and maybe write a literary masterpiece. But Kiribati wasn't quite paradise. It was polluted, overpopulated and scorchingly sunny (Troost could almost feel his freckles mutating into something "interesting and tumorous"). The villages overflowed with scavengers and recently introduced, nonbiodegradable trash. And the Kiribati people seemed excessively hedonistic. Yet after two years, Troost and his wife felt so comfortable, they were reluctant to return home. Troost is a sharp, funny writer, richly evoking the strange, day-by-day wonder that became his life in the islands. One night, he's doing his best funky chicken with dancing Kiribati; the next morning, he's on the high seas contemplating a toilet extending off the boat's stern (when the ocean was rough, he learns, it was like using a bidet). Troost's chronicle of his sojourn in a forgotten world is a comic masterwork of travel writing and a revealing look at a culture clash.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Booklist
Although accustomed to globe trotting, Troost and his wife, Sylvia, were truly innocents abroad when they moved to the island of Tarawa in the South Pacific, where Sylvia had accepted a government position. Tarawa is the capital of Kiribati--a republic of tiny atolls located just above the equator--and the place where Troost's dreams of paradise were shattered. Although Tarawa has much to offer, such as stultifying heat, dogged bureaucracy, toxic water, La Macarena, and the fantastic rituals of the I-Kiribati people, it lacks running water, television, restaurants, air-conditioning, and, the most crucial amenity, beer. Culture shock ensued for Maarten and Sylvia, and he chronicles their two years on Tarawa in a hilarious, sardonic travelogue. Among the more memorable episodes is the time a simple fishing trip turns into a hunt for a giant thresher shark and when Troost blasts a Miles Davis CD to combat the incessant repetition of La Macarena. Troost's mystified admiration for the I-Kiribati people shines through it all, and readers learn how humor itself can be a necessary tool for survival. Jerry Eberle
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
I am currently reading "On the Wing: To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine Falcon" by Alan Tennant.

Amazon Editorial Review
In this extraordinary naturalist adventure saga, Alan Tennant, a passionate student of wildlife and of the peregrine falcon in particular, endeavours to radio-track the birds transcontinental migration - something no one before him had ever attempted. At the time of his flight, in the mid-1980s, researchers were still unsure of the peregrines transcontinental path: chicks hatched in the Arctic have hardly been taught how to fly and kill their food when they make their first migration, alone, following some mysterious internal call to go south. On The Wing, which begins on the windswept flats of the Texas barrier islands, ferries us across multiple continents, and is loaded with historical and scientific lore and rich characters. Chief among them is George Vose, the septuagenarian Second World War vet and former stunt pilot who becomes Tennants partner in falcon-chasing when they borrow some US Army radio-tracking equipment and set off after a bird Alan has managed to trap and tag with a feather-mounted transmitter. George, who trusts his instincts more than his instruments, is as obsessed with the mystery of flight as Tennant is and the book charts the story of their friendship. As they journey to the Arctic, following their first bird, and then way down South, through Mexico and into Belize, nearly losing their lives, running foul of the law (and, at times, at each others throats) in the race to keep their birds in view and their rattletrap Cessna gassed up and running. But the falcons dominate this odyssey, these majestic birds - the icons of pharaohs, oriental emperors, and European nobility - whose fierce mien, speed at the kill and solitary habits have fired the human imagination for centuries. In this mesmerising narrative, Alan Tennant offers us an unforgettable and moving tale that speaks to all our dreams of flight.
About the Author
Alan Tennant grew up in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean. He has taught film and literary criticism at the University of Texas and lectured on ecology in more than twenty countries. He is the author of several prize-winning books on wildlife and nature. He lives in west Texas and conducts natural history seminars and trips around the world.
When life gets full of stress and chaos one of my escapes is to read. I read whenever I can. One of my favorite times to read during the week is at work during my lunch break. It is a great way to escape for a little bit during each day. Now that the warm weather is here I can sit out on the patio and enjoy to warmer, sunny weather and almost forget where I am.

I am currently reading another book for the local audubon nature book club. Meeting is on Monday nite so I hope I get to go.

The book is: "Sippewissett: or, Life on a Salt Marsh" by Tim Traver.

I have been enjoying reading about someplace local. I think we will take a ride down there to see the marsh for ourselves.

From Booklist
*Starred Review* Tim Traver has created a wonderfully unique piece of genre blending in his elegant rumination on Sippewissett, the Cape Cod salt marsh he has known since childhood. By including both a rich history of the nearby Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (along with fascinating profiles of the many scientists associated with it over the years) and stories about his family's long relationship with the marsh, he provides the reader with a work that is equal parts natural history and memoir. As he ponders the accomplishments and impact of naturalist luminaries Louis Agassiz, Spencer Baird, and Rachel Carson, he places their historic research in the context of the marsh's present condition. This transition is made easy by his family's deep connection to the region, which he shares in passages echoing George Howe Colt's National Book Award finalist, The Big House (2003). Traver has the same deep attachment to the land as Colt, but his scientific background and attention to the region's marine biology raises the book to a higher level. Sippewissett is a rare book, as it both informs and entrances. A delight from beginning to end. Colleen Mondor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Traver, a third-generation Cape Cod salt marsh inhabitant, has the distinctive and wonderful perspective that comes from loving--and sometimes leaving--a place of true natural wonder. Spending near-idyllic boyhood summers in Sippewissett, MA, Traver grew up exploring the natural world around him. Revisiting those childhood memories, now tempered by marriage and fatherhood, he looks at many vital and potentially contentious issues from both sides of the proverbial coin--that of the scientist/environmentalist and the local--and speaks with understanding and empathy for both. In this wonderful blend of natural history and memoir, Traver details both the ecology and the history of Sippewissett, describing the people and creatures that he encounters, and chronicles the daily turning of the tides. Educational, touching, and highly relevant in today's changing ecological world, this marvelous book is highly recommended for public and academic libraries."
--Susan E. Brazer, Salisbury Univ. Lib., MD, Library Journal Starred Review

Biologists (including Louis Agassiz and Rachel Carson) have long been drawn to the patch of Cape Cod marsh where Traver spent his boyhood summers and to which he still returns. His reflections on the fauna, flora, habitats, and human culture eloquently weave together ecology, history, and memory. He offers enticing discussions of tidal flows, spawning runs, eelgrass beds, clam hunts, and even the microbial communities in the muds. And his treatment of sometimes contentious conservation issues demonstrates his recognition of the challenges facing those who wish to sustain their sense of home.
Science, August 2007
This past weekend I went to my sister's and helped her do a craft project with Josh and Zach. We helped them make Mother's Day gifts for their mom and other grand mothers.

Leslie had gotten some blank oval wooden plaques that had ribbons attached to the back for hanging. We let the boys paint them how ever they wanted and then we decoupaged photos of them onto the plaques. They came out really great and I got to take some new photos of them too!!!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love animals and that I would be a Crazy Cat Lady if I hadn't found Gene, who is the total and complete love of my life.

I soooo love kitties. I adore them. Many have touched my life and I am totally heart broken when they must cross over. I imagine them in kitty heaven where there is always a sunny spot to stretch out in and plenty of treats.

I miss these kitties so very much and am thankful for the joy and love they brought into my life.



Little Bit
Met with a friend after work at Panera Bread for a beverage and girl chat. Had a fun time.... but now the aftermath is I am VERY awake. I had a delicious Frozen Mocha drink. It is espresso, whipped cream and chocolate syrup mixed together to create frosty goodness. I feel like my eyes are open really, really wide!

So I thought, well I could work on the project I need to mail for the Pass and Create Journal Project on the Loving Mixed Media group site.... well that went very well.

Here is what I created!I titled it "espresso-ing myself"

I also wrote a poem to go with my submission.

For so many years,
I have hidden within,
Too afraid of my fears,
To ever begin.

Is it my fate,
To be doubtful and sad,
I don't want to hate,
This life that I've had.

I want to be brave,
I want to be strong,
I want to engage,
I want to belong.

Today I will try,
I will change my ways,
I will laugh and not cry,
I will change all my days.

Perhaps I should drink espresso more often!
Hmmmmmm what to do now... it's still early! Only 11:19 pm.... good thing I don't have to work tomorrow...

ok, i am espresso rambling on the keyboard now....
I got a book in the mail today that I have been waiting for and anxious to read. It is Creative Time and Space: Making Room for Making Art by Rice Freeman-Zachery.

from Amazon.com

With a fresh approach and an A-list group of contributing artists, Creative Time and Space embraces the idea that making time and space is at the core of creativity. It is not just about managing your time or setting up a studio space, it is about your mindset and about making room in your life for your craft. Enjoy active sidebars alongside photos of the work and workspaces of the featured artists, as they speak with refreshing candor about how they carve out creative time and space in their own lives.
About the Author
Most recently the author of the best-selling Living the Creative Life, Rice Freeman-Zachery writes regularly for Somerset Studio, Belle Armoire, Legacy, Art Doll Quarterly, Belle Armoire Jewelry and Altered Couture. She is well known for her artist profiles and interviews.

I have already read her first book, Living the Creative Life and loved it!

These are just wonderful books full of creative ideas, wonderful art and encouraging words. A must have for your creative library.
Currently Reading: Following the Water: A Hydromancer's Notebook by David M. Carroll

I was looking through the newsletter we get from Mass Audubon and saw that they were starting a nature book group at the North River Sanctuary in Duxbury. I enjoy reading nature books and memoirs so thought I'd give it a try. I am curious to see how I will like discussing a book with others. We shall see. The group is meeting on Monday 4/12.

From Publishers Weekly
In this sensuous nature journal, MacArthur genius award winner Carroll (The Year of the Turtle) follows the inhabitants of his local New Hampshire wetlands through a season of turtle life from March thaw, when the turtles wake from hibernation, to November, when ice puts them back to sleep, along the way celebrating such personal holy days as the Return of the Red-winged Blackbird. Wearing camouflage and waders, he meets wildlife on its own terms. At the sudden appearance of a red doe, he wonders, to have those senses—would I trade my thinking, dreaming, imagining mind for them for one full day... would I ever want to come back? He watches a thirsty turtle hatchling encountering water for the first time: he extends his neck full length, immerses his head, closes his eyes and drinks for 21 minutes. Accompanied by Carroll's own exquisite drawings, this poetic recording of his season of loving observation is subdued by Carroll's dread of habitat destruction and nostalgia for a boyhood when I entered waters that, if not alive themselves, were so filled with light and life that my binding with them was as much metaphysical as physical
Am currently reading The French Gardener by Santa Montefiore.

From Publishers Weekly
Montefiore's well-crafted, evocative novel is instantly sensual and welcoming. When Miranda Claybourne's seven-year-old is expelled from school, the stylish Londoner, magazine writer and mother of two, ditches her posh Notting Hill digs for the idylls of a country estate. But her simple-life fantasies soon fail. Her husband's preoccupied with his job and his mistress; the kids lash out at each other while Gus, the elder, terrorizes both farm animals and his new classmates. Enter Jean-Paul, a handsome, mysterious Frenchman with an offer to tend her woefully neglected gardens. Cleaning out the estate's rundown cottage for Jean-Paul, she discovers the secret journals of the previous lady of the house—a brilliant gardener, Ava Lightly, and her love affair. As if by magic, Miranda's garden begins to thrive and she owes it all to Jean-Paul, with whom she thinks she's falling in love. The drama of the journals distract from her own failing marriage, and Miranda delights in the idea that her life is running parallel to Ava's—it's a lovely coincidence, until she stops to consider exactly what may have drawn Jean-Paul into her garden.

Gene and I went to the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We had a fabulous time and highly recommend this aquarium. We got to meet one of the Beluga Whales as part of a behind the scenes program we participated in.

The flowers in my little garden are already blooming. They are very anxious for the seasonal weather to arrive, as we all are. I can't wait for sunny, warm days.
I finally completed a journal. Let's hope this leads me to completing more of them. I really need to fill the ones I have before I get/make any more.
You'll have to go back through the blog to see the other pages.

Gene and I went to Plymouth Beach the other morning to enjoy the sunshine and some coffee. I was a lovely day with a gorgeous blue sky. The sun made it look warmer than it was. The waves were coming in pretty good thanks to the storm that hit the DC area which was now out at sea. There was an off shore breeze that was blowing the water off the crest of the waves. When this happened the sun was creating rainbows on the waves. It was really neat to see.

Click on the photo to see the larger size.
Gene & I took a ride into Cambridge today to go to Pearl Paint. I found out about the store from reading Kelly's blog. I feel like I live in a cave cause I had no idea this great resource existed. Where has this store been all my life. The best thing was everything in the store was 60% off! I found out that this store has 16 locations nationwide but they are closing 8 of them, the Cambridge store isn't closing though, yipee!

Here are the goodies we came home with.

When we were going to the store we had to walk thru this alley way that was covered with wonderful, colorful art.

There was also this fantastic mural on the building next to the parking lot.

All in all a great, fun, relaxing day with my darling!

had a rough day and needed a creative outlet
I currently am working in 3 different journals. I thought it was about time to share some of the pages.
These pages are from the smallest journal I am working in. It is a black board book, I painted the pages and I really like the darker pages.