Thursday, June 24, 2010

What I'm Reading

This was supposed to be a "What I'm Reading Wednesday," but it's suddenly Thursday. This past week I started reading a new-to-me book, The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir. This concerns, amazingly enough, the Wars of the Roses in the fifteenth century. This book was lent to me by the same friend who led our book club into reading David Starkey's biography, Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne, which I mentioned here a few weeks ago. As I read the Starkey book, I started seeing all sorts of gaps in my knowledge, and my dear friend happened to mention that she had just read Weir's book and was willing to lend it. So, here I am happily trying to keep track of all of these vaguely familiar names. I'm about 100 pages in, and I can hardly WAIT to see what happens next. As a college student studying modern European history, I think I treated the period up to 1500 as just so much prologue to the really interesting stuff - you know, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, the Invincible Armada, etc.

Similarly, my husband has on his shelves a book about King Philip's War, about some pretty serious issues that arose between the colonialists and the native Americans in the 17th century. I think we in the US tend to discount the 17th century as mere prologue, but there was lots of stuff going on that helped shape the country we would become. Similarly, this morning on my walk, I was listening to a couple of podcasts from the history part of "How Stuff Works" about the bombardment of Baltimore and about the great warrior, Tecumseh. Both ended up being about the relations between Canada and the US in the early part of the 19th century. We here in the US tend to focus on "the longest undefended border in the world," but we forget that this was a hard-won peace that we need to keep tending carefully.

Anyway, after all of that deep thinking, how about some pictures? Last week, as part of my vacation, a friend came over and helped me organize the blocks for our guild's 2011 quilt raffle. These were the blocks that came from members of the guild in response to a request for help with this quilt. We are building the quilt in such a way that it'll be right side up from either end. (I have a rather narrow design wall, so we got the middle set, and then I pinned the middle together so that I could work on the outer edges.) This will be a queen-sized quilt when it's done.

Can you see the wonderful variety? I gave people a size, a basic picture, and some rules about relative values. I have been SO thrilled at these blocks.

Here are a couple that I made that will be on the upper/lower rows:

The pink one was the one I used as my example back in the winter to get people thinking. The blue one I made this past Sunday.

Finally, I have to draw your attention to the June 15 post here: - about girls and their body images - she's making some really important points.

I also want to draw attention to this post: about a piece that was in the New York Times magazine this past week. I, too, read the article on Sunday and came close to tears. Let it be known that I want NO extraordinary measures at the end of my life. If you are about to put a battery in my body and the battery has a longer life expectancy than I do, STOP. Spend that money on educating poor children, on building houses for the homeless, on making vaccines for the ill - don't spend it on a dying woman.

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