Wednesday, January 31, 2007
I am finally reovering from my intestinal tests. I wasn't able to eat for 3 days, just liquids. I can't stand the sight of Jello or chicken soup this week. I am finally regaining some appetite. I think most of the medicines are out of my system now.
During this recovery time, I was able to watch more television, because the food/snack commericials didn't bother me as much. However, my concentration level was still low!
So, I decided to read an fun book. The Courtesan is a great escapist book. The vocabulary is easy, there are many adventures, the details on the filth of Paris during the 1500 are kept to a bare minimum.
Plus, when I bought the book, the money was used to restore the libraries of the next parish (county); many of the Jefferson Parish ones got wind damage from the Kane. Get this book and have it in your to-read-when-I-am-too-sick-to-do-anything-but-try-to-forget-my-misery mood.
Elizabeth Costello by J. M. CoetzeeElizabeth Costello is about an elderly author, who wrote a groundbreaking book in her youth. She sacrificed a lot for her writing, including not paying attention to her marriage and children, having love affairs that were rather loveless, and being rather antisocial in later years.
Each chapter is divided into lessons. In her later years, she gives lectures; however, most of the times, the literary lectures morph into philosophical ramblings. Is her mental capacity diminishing, or are the odious parts of her personality coming out more as she ages? I am not sure.
It was hard to read the digressions. The ramblings went on and on.
However, there were a few jewels in the chapters about the art of writing.
From At the Gate, she writes “I am a secretary of the invisible, one of many secretaries over the ages….It is not for me to interrogate, to judge what is given to me. I merely write down the words and then test them, test their soundness, to make sure that I heard right.”
And from, A Novel in
You need to be in the right mood to read this book. It’s not long, but
Thursday, January 25, 2007
During my Christmas / New Year's break from work, I rented several DVDs. The most memorable was The Russian Ark directed by Aleksandr Sokurov (with English subtitles).
The movie covers about 300 years of Russian History. You should be familiar with the following events/person for the movie to make any sense:
- Peter the Great
- Catherine the Great
- Czar Nicholas II
- The construction of St. Petersburg
- The Rise of Communism
- The Battle of Stalingrad
- The Hermitage and its past/present significance
The Hermitage was closed only for a few hours for filming, so there were other possibilities that the movie could not have been completed on time. However, the 2000 actors and orchestras worked flawlessly to accomplish the ONE TAKE movie.
The narrator leads an unseen person through many rooms in the Hermitage while relating events in Russian history. You also witness snippets of the events or persons while seeing the fab artwork in the Hermitage.
The most memorable line in the movie is, "Everyone can see the future, but no one remembers the past." So true, so true.
The costumes are superb. All the actors work quickly but well. The movement is fluid but understanble.
When you are in the mood for a peaceful but intellectual experience, see this movie.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
New Orleans is a not a typical U.S. city; we don't like to have stores that the rest of the country has. (However, the 'Kane drowned/struggling to revive suburb of New Orleans East was the exception.)
Wal-Mart had to fight for a few years to open a store in the city.
Now a rumor is floating around that Borders wants to open up a store at the former location of Bultman's Funeral Home on St Charles Ave. and Louisiana Ave.
There is a Borders in the suburb of Metairie, and two Barnes and Nobles (Metairie and Harvey). However, if you don't have a car, it would take you an entire day to get there from New Orleans.
Whenever I go to the Harvey-Barnes and Noble, it's always packed, and people are actually buying books! I go there for the magazines; none of the bookstore nor grocery stores carry the weird magazines that I like to read.
A large chain store is not always welcome. The city prides itself on having lots of small businesses, and any chain store can disrupt this balence. Also, some of the chain stores that were not really damaged in the 'Kane took forever to reopen; I refuse to go to the two opened locations of StarBucks coffee for that reason.
The Borders rumor is a serious one. There are two independent bookstores that are rather closed to the proposed location and their businesses could be impacted. However, could Borders provide the personal service that Octavia Bookstore and Garden District Bookshop provide? Probably not. Would people abandon this personal service for cheaper prices? Maybe; it's more expensive to live here now.
However, if a large company is willing to take a chance in this city, it will show the country that there is still some hope in reviving it.
- Tax revenue for the city
- Health insurance for full-time workers
- Meaningful work for currently under-employed college graduates
- Magazines for me!
- Reuse or renovation of an unused funeral home
- DVDs/CDs supplier (Tower Records just closed in the French Quarter)
Cons for Borders
- Parking problems (always an issue in the Uptown area; this part of town was built when carriages and walking were the only modes of transportation)
- Competition for independent bookstores and coffee shops (most Borders have an in-house coffee shop)
- Incresed trash in the area (the labor shortage continues in the city since many affordable homes are now expensive or still have mold)
- If there is another disaster here, will it return?
- Another loss of the uniqueness of the city
I am still torn on this issue. It is not certain yet whether it will happen, but it does give food for thought
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Day One - test incomplete due to my curly right intestine.
Day Two - x-ray incomplete due to thick barium
Day Three - hope it's the charm
I have had no solid food since Sunday. I am drinking liquids, though.
Others would enjoy having so much time off, but I can't enjoy it. 90% of the commercials on television are about food; so I have to mute the TV!
Since I am hungry, I can't concentrate for too long.
I have been able to read snippets of the following:
- After the Quake by Haruki Murakami - not what I expected, so I have to read it again.
- The Liberated Bride by A. B. Yehoshua - at times funny, at times introspective. I will have to probably re-read it.
- Cloth Paper Scissors - a craft magazine; I am getting great tips
- Craft:transforming traditional crafts - a new magazine that has great how-to and lots of picture. The projects could be considered indie. It's not your grandmothers knitting nor sewing nor your grandfather's handyman projects
I am also following behind in my blog posts. I want to write a review of Years of Rice and Salt, but that book is so multidimensional, I can't do it right now. I also want to comment about the pros and cons of having Borders in New Orleans, and the BRAN movement (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie moving to New Orleans). But all those will have to wait for another day.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
I am among the oldest member of the group. And the funny thing is, most of the knitters are single or divorced, working women with NO children.
The lady who would be considered the most typical knitter is married with children and stays home to raise her children, and the group is part of her girls night out. However, she is the only one who fits this category.
We are now meeting every Wednesday at Urban Cup Cafe. It's in an older wooden building with high ceilings and beautiful medallions on the ceilings. The group sits in the back portion.
A policemen, whose mother crochets and now lives somewhere else, comes in and sits with us during his dinner break. He doesn't do anything yet, but maybe someday we will teach him.
I feel safe having him in there. The robbers are now going into businesses and holding them up, just like in the Wild West movies. The ladrones take money from the cash register and all the patrons. So, his being there gives him a sense of calm and rememberance of his mother, while making us feel safer.
I feel a sense of community with these ladies. They work in many different fields and come with different sensibilities. We help each other with patterns and techniques, and also share views of surviving in the city after the 'Kane. We also let each other know about things that are happening in the city that never make the news.
I will continue to go here, to support this local coffee shop, and to help myself stay centered by creating beautiful items with yarn.
My current project is to make rectangles for Warm Up America Foundation. This project allows me to experiment with different yarns (members are giving me their leftovers) while I help someone else.
I plan to mail 30 rectangles by September. I have made about 6 so far.
If you know someone who knits or crochets, let them know about this worthy program.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
My goal is to be more creative. In November, I started getting rid of activities that I just didn't want to do anymore, so I would have more time for creativity.
In January, I also had a change of medications, so it has slowed me down a bit. I just couldn't keep up with the blog and my new activities.
I am feeling more like myself now.
This is what I have been doing:
- Contibuting to a winter haiku blog
- Knitting with a group of ladies at a cafe' once a week or so
- Reading for fun and not writing book reviews yet
- Planning my trip to the UK
- Marketing Katrina-Ku
- Trying a couple of new restaurants
- Tried a new writing group by attending a meeting
- Watching movies
- Teaching Nia with more enthusiam
- Visiting my viejitos (old people) and have nice conversations with them
- Preparing for the book club that I organized
- And, also very important, going to work and enjoying it
Despite all the bad news about New Orleans, I am doing my best to be positive. I do recognize that this city is still in pain, but unfortunately, I can't solve the problem. I just try to live one day at a time and enjoy what I can.
Only 1500 copies have been made.
Three plays are included:
- GLASS MENAGERIE
- CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
- THESE ARE THE STAIRS YOU GOT TO WATCH - a recently discovered play that is published here for the first time!
Special artwork has been commissioned and included in this book.
Read this description: Limited Edition Full Leather Calfskin Bound Book, inside a 16-inch by 22-inch leather box, hand-finished in Tuscan hides.
So wonderful, so tempting, so expensive.
Get ready: US$4000.00!!! Read more here...
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
I have been doing the following:
- Reading - magazines and books
- Watching - many DVDs and TV shows
- Eating - paella and other goodies
- Sleeping - later than usual
- Knitting - my leftover yarns to make small squares. I send the squares somewhere else so it can be used to make a blanket for a poor person.
- Writing - some haiku and preparing to join a writing group
- Resting - naps included
- Thinking - about stuff
And, I didn't make a resolution. I don't believe in them!
I look at my life throughout the year and decide what needs to be changed.
Have a wonderful 2007!