Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What would Donald do?

Donald Sinclair was one of the more beloved characters in 20th century literature.  His business partner wrote a series of short stories about his own life, which was closely entwined with that of Sinclair.  Those stories became books, the books became a movie & the movie grew to become one of the most successful book2television adaptations, well, ever.

& one of the highlights of the books & the programs was the author's interactions with Sinclair himself.  The man was famously eccentric & generous & much beloved.  Sinclair was so insulted he considered this characterization the biggest test of their friendship, but he did manage to put it behind him insisting that the writing was exaggerated.  Others however, including the author's son (who later joined the same firm, so in addition to knowing Sinclair all of his life, he was able to interact with Sinclair much as his father had), said that the character was toned down because Sinclair was so extreme he would not have been believable.  In a different sort of twist, Sinclair became good friends with the actor who portrayed him, despite his belief that the portrayal was over the top. 

Sinclair was born today in 1911.  Like I said, he had a career, was made famous by his business partner's literary portrayal of him, but other wise lived if not a quiet ordinary life, certainly a life without fanfare.  His first wife died, something not particular well known as it happened before his famous partnership, but he & his second wife were married for more than 50 years.   He tried to become a pilot in World War II, but through a series of...you know what, it doesn't really matter why, he never did.  Because his profession in private life was considered vital to the stability of the country, he was returned home without seeing combat. 

His younger brother, also a "character" died about four years before Sinclair did, then that same business partner died & less than four months later his wife died.  Two weeks after that, Donald Sinclair deliberately overdosed.  He was 84 years old. 

What did Donald do?  He gave us the gift of himself, warts & all.  We know him as Siegfried Farnon. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

52 Photos Project: Clouds

This is the last one, the last 52 Photos Project topic is Clouds.  Earlier this week it was very rainy, so a picture of clouds was a piece of cake.  Just what I needed, something simple that I could do from home.

I waited for a break in the rain & here it is, the view from our back yard:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Let's blog about fabric

My cough lingers, but most of everything else that has made me so uncomfortable has fallen away.  Not a moment too soon, either, as I am behind on way-too-many things.  So naturally I spent  a good chunk of my first real feel-good day in the sewing room.  & rounding it out with a Block Lotto-Linky Party post about fabric.

I don't know that I have anything to say about fabric that I have not said before...over & over again.    I am addicted to novelties, the more off-beat the better.  Flamingos on bicycles, mushrooms doing arithmetic.  FYI: I am still looking for more of that hot dogs dressed on barbecue aprons barbecuing hotdogs that I am almost out of, so if anyone happens across some let me know.

Lately I have been on a Thursday Next themed fabric quest.  Clocks & cheese (not, alas in the same print) have been easy.  More difficult is fabric with dodos, Neanderthals but I am optimistic.

People often ask what I do with novelties & the answer is pretty much everything you would do with a not-novelty.  Block patterns of large simple graphic shapes work really well with crazy patterned fabric.  One of my favorites is an old Block Lotto block I have made more than once.  Most recently with saturated pink roses (boring!), but also successfully with simple chickens in head kerchiefs speaking French (good stuff!). 

My novelty addiction started small.  Well, not small, but specific.  I was cruising through a book, The Modern Quilt Workshop & I discovered the Story Quilt.  It is clear that this quilt was probably designed for a child, but I didn't see it that way.  Right away it looked like something I wanted to make & wanted to keep. 

As it happens I have never kept one, but I have made them for all kinds of people, including kids...& mothers (my mother!) & physicists (my husband, my brother).  It is my go-to quilt when a new small-person (they aren't all babies, some of them are adopted internationally) arrives in my circle.  Years ago I posted this picture of one I made for a brand new baby girl; this time next month she will be a big sister.

In those early days, my novelty fabric purchases were limited to what could be viewed in a 3" square, but those early days were brief.  Almost immediately I began to expand the images, which meant expanding them in the quilt.  usually I limit most squares to 3", but I toss a few 9" squares in there for fun. 

& that's all  I've got.  Oh wait-I keep my fabric sorted by themes, mostly:  people, buildings, scenery.  Within some categories I have sub categories.  As in aquatic- animals- mammals.  Most of my fabric is out on open shelves, one shelf deep from the ceiling.  This way I can see it with tripping over it, or I would be able to if I ever put anything away.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

You don't belong here

Like many people, I have been watching the pre-Boson Marathon coverage for the past couple days.  I have also been cough-Cough-COUGHING which I alternate with bouts of lying around moaning & while it would be an exaggeration to say I have been watching a lot of tv, the box has certainly been on.  That's right, I'm sick.  So sick, I missed the Friends of the Library book sale, the open house at the native rose nursery & C******'s birthday.  No books, no plants, & no cake. 

While in my weakened state, I began to notice a common thread through some of the people-stories that have been airing lately.  So without further ado, here it is, my list of recently-brought-to-my-attention illegal aliens...undocumented non-citizens....whatever you want to call them. 

Lets start small, with one of my favorites.  Pamela Anderson.  Oh sure, she is legal now, but when she first came here she wasn't.  She was spotted by a person who spots potential Playboy Playmates (that cannot be the real job title, I hope) & invited her to the US for a photo shoot but didn't go to the trouble of securing a work visa.  Anderson was stopped at the border, searched -seriously, searched- & the letter asking her to come work in the US (yes, what she does...did, is working) & was turned away.  In the end, of course, the paperwork was filed, Anderson did come here & take that job away from some other hard working American & the rest is history.  Except for the part about her being illegal, because while she tried to be an illegal alien, she got caught at the border.  Really.

The entertainment industry also gives us Charlize Theron who was doing OKay here illegally, until she started to get noticed professionally & then got booted & had to work her way back through channels. 

Who could forget Arnold Schwarzenegger used to be illegal?  Pretty much everyone as it happens.   Schwarzenegger came here on a strict no-employment-type visa.  & then found a job, collected a salary & never paid taxes on any of it, not even when he came clean to run for governor.

One of the more infamous illegals was Angel Reséndiz, better known as the Railroad Killer.  We left Houston in August 1998; he arrived in December of that same year.  Also, we lived near a railroad track, so I am delighted to have missed him.  On the other hand we had then, & still have, what I consider to be an excellent crime deterrent:  big, barky dogs.

& last but not least, the man who probably should have been at the top of the list Carlos Arredondo, legal name Alexander Arredondo.  Arredondo did not become a legal citizen of this country until after one of his sons had been killed in combat, through a provision allowing parents of service members killed in combat to apply for citizenship.  At that point, he had been in this country for more than 20 years.  Since becoming a legal citizen, Arredondo has been very active protesting policies he does not agree with, including the war that killed the son that allowed him to become a citizen.  Last year around this time, he was doing just that when a bomb went off at the Boston Marathon & Arredondo became one third of one of the most iconic photographs of that day; he is the one in the cowboy hat.

Living in Florida, I might be more up close & personal with former aliens than most Americans (I married a former legal alien 20 years ago, long before I ever imagined I would live here & long after he was naturalized).  For starters, there are two important people in my wider-life that would not be in it if it were not for the Mariel boatlift.  One came over then & one was born here a year+ later, that's right an anchor baby.  So maybe we are more used to aliens.  On the other hand, V** has been living with her boyfriend for a good long while.  Every so often she is asked why they haven't gotten married, doesn't he want citizenship?  He is Puerto Rican.  Puerto Ricans have been officially recognized citizens of the US since 1917, longer than Hawaiians, longer than Alaskans.  Yes, yes white Alaskans were recognized as citizens in 1867, but Native Americans were not until...I couldn't find the date actually but it must have happened by now, right? 

Yesterday was one of our most well-known American citizen days:  Tax Day.  It was also the first day of Passover. In off-man-made-calendar news, there was a full moon & a lunar eclipse.  Today is just plain old April 16th.