Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 2016 column

Weaver Birds Rugs  is now officially open in Granby at same location as the book store on Hwy. 60 just west of blinking light. Big sign on building says BOOKS & WEAVING.  I have been selling down books at bargain prices all fall and now have space for my weaving studio.  I will be open by appointment and by chance.  So if my sign is out, come on in.  Still have books around the wall shelves for sale and will take trade ins on a limited basis.  Weaving classes will be available by appointment and I plan to have free weaving  available for previous students and newbies who want to try their hand and make a small runner.  Call to see when I will schedule those days.   
I think this will work out very well for me as I will be free to handle other commitments and still do what I enjoy in my studio/book shop. I will also be available to do weaving demonstrations as upon request.

I still read a lot of books and have a few to report on this time.  I am currently reading a huge book by Ted Dekker that I have trouble putting down,  actually have a hard time holding it as it is really thick.  It is four books in one.  It is a good thing because if you read one you definitely have to get right into the next.  So that will be for Feb.

It seems I have been drawn to Apocalyptic type books lately and have another one  that I really enjoyed.  This is one I really recommend for anyone who is concerned about the future of this world.  How would we manage if some catastrophic accident  happened to take away all of our technology that we have become so dependent on?

World Made by Hand
James Howard Kunstgler

The future is nothing like they thought it would be. In the beginning of the novel, the citizens of Union Grove, New York are living on the tail end of a national catastrophe, with their community slowly falling apart from neglect and natural decay.  Robert is a local carpenter, who lost his family.  He narrates the novel and there is a focus on several groups that give us a window into how society would possible handle a major breakdown of modern social norms. Transportation is slow and dangerous, so food is grown locally at great expense of time and energy, and the outside world is largely unknown.  They don't even know if there is a working government.  In a world of abandoned highways, and no gas they use horses to work  the fields. The rivers, no longer polluted, are replenished with fish.
Robert ends up becoming the voice of reason.  A religious group move into town to try to convert followers, and then there are the rebels who run the big dump by excavating what has been buried for years and selling the raw materials to the townspeople. 
I find this an extraordinary book, full of love and loss, violence and power,  depression and desperation, but also plenty of hope, and more relevant than ever. I think this may be a book I will keep to read again in a couple years. It rings a bell with me because its the people with skills to make things and barter who will be able to survive should something like this ever happen.

Beautiful Lies
by Lisa Unger

I reported on a couple of Unger's books this past year.  She is really a great mystery writer. 

 What if your family was a lie? What if your name was a lie? What if your whole life was just a pack of Beautiful Lies?   When Ridley happens to rescue a child from being hit by a car she had no idea that her life as she knew it would be over.  Her picture is published in the paper and then a mysterious package shows up on her door step.  She comes from an over protective family, with a troubled brother who is a drug addict.  The package shows her a photo of a woman and child and the woman looks so much like herself and a note that says “are you my daughter”.  Her family act like they think she is losing it and wants her to forget it all.  But someone is stalking her and the mystery deepens when it seems people are protecting the legacy of her late Uncle Max, a real estate mogul who used his influence to fund rescue houses for abused women and children. Following leads, she learns about the  operations of places Max's foundation supports, Ridley uncovers a chilling scheme for taking infants and toddlers from violent homes.  Of course there is the mysterious neighbor Jake who is more than eager to help her solve the mystery, but why?  A great page turner!

Best Kept Secrets
Sandra Brown

I always find Brown to have great ideas for Romance Mysteries.
Twenty-five years after her mother's scandalous death, Alexandra is in the position to investigate her murder. She is now an attorney working in a powerful law firm.  She goes back to her home town in Texas and has named three suspects who were closest to her mother and she is positive that one of them murdered her.  She risks everything to uncover their secrets about her mother and of course as in all of Browns books the main character finds love in the mix of it all and nearly loses her life in the process.

 From Weaver Birds Rugs a wish for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

December column

OK I have been playing catch up on throwing my newspaper columns on here.. So we are up to Dec. Now.

Here it is, Christmas month starting and if you are like me you haven't done much to get ready. 
I have had to move my date to change store hours up a bit.  Due to family illness I will be at my book store/weaving studio by appointment or chance.  As I have said before, if my flag is out, I am there  please stop in. If you are driving very far please call first.  I still have many books on the wall shelves and still on sale till end of Dec.  Also there are several bags of books still available for $4.  I see a new computer under my Christmas tree this year.  My old Toshiba Vista is 9 years old and starting to act funny on my.  When I checked about a new one at Best Buy I was told I was lucky it ran this long.  So now I am in the process of cleaning out all unnecessary things so that when I buy a new one I can have only my important “stuff” transferred.  I am actually a little excited to have a new one.  Sometimes change can be good.

I had a great experience in Nov.  A lady came in with a stack of her Dad's old jeans.  He had passed away 15 years ago.  I ripped them up, sewed strips together, and wove her two pretty Memory Rugs.  She said one was going to her Mother for Christmas.  How nice a gift is that???  I am always open to ideas of things to make Memory Rugs out of.  Old jeans are great, even wool suits, baby blankets, or favorite old bathrobes.  I made a rug out of my sister's old chenille bathrobe that came out real soft to put on back of her recliner.  Made a good birthday gift. 

I also now have room for a couple floor looms, that make it comfortable to sit down to weave and to teach weaving.  A great gift idea, a weaving class to take home a rug that you wove.  It is also a fun time for Grandma and grand daughter or sisters.  I have had children as young as 10.

During Nov. I managed to read a series of four books that are directed for young adult reading.  I often find this type of book good reading.  A customer traded in the first book of the series  and I enjoyed it so much I had to order the others so I could see what happened.   I would call them post apocalyptic in nature. 

Life as We Knew It
Susan Beth Pfeffer

This first book is written in diary form by a young teenager, Mirranda.  It starts out with the usual writings of a typical teenager with her worries about parents, friends, and school.  Then a big event happened that was only supposed to be a meteorite striking the moon but turned out to be much heavier than the scientists thought and it knocked the moon into an orbit much closer to earth.  As a result there is great devastation with tsunamis,  earth quakes, volcanic eruptions,  and loss of all coastal cities and islands.  This book progresses with how the mother of this family was smart enough to gather food to stock pile and directed her children to cut wood all sumer for their fireplace.  As the year progresses with loss of electricity, they feel they are on their own to survive as many die of disease and hunger.  This book ends with them surviving the first year.  This year has taught the teenagers how to survive and protect themselves. 

The Dead and The Gone

In this second book we take up some new characters who live in the big city instead of a smaller residential area as in first book.  Alex and his two sisters are left alone to survive after their mother is called to the hospital to work and their father is  in Puerto Rico for a family funeral.  Alex is about to graduate with honors and go on to college.  Now all his dreams are on hold as he struggles to provide for his sisters.  They live in a big apartment building where his father is the maintenance man. As people don't come back to their homes, they are able to take what they need.  As time goes on they realize their parents aren't coming back so a priest helps get special “passes” for them if they can get to a “safe” city.  These are special cities that people with money have been able to set up to protect themselves.  By now there is volcanic ash blocking the sun and they must find ways to grow food. 

This Wold We Live In

Book three returns us to Miranda and her family as they struggle to survive yet in their home.  One day her father shows up with her step mother and new baby.  They also have with them a couple “kids” they traveled with and bonded to.  This would be Alex and one of his sisters.  So now there are more mouths to feed and the government is still giving out small rations that will soon stop.  In the end they head out to this “safe” city with only three passes.  They figure who would benefit the most with this protected privilege.  And it is Jon, the young brother of Miranda, his stepmother and her baby. The others who survived the trip would live in the town created for the poor who work as servants to the rich in the city. 

The Shade of the Moon

As I got into book four I was not liking it very much.  Jon is a spoiled brat who seems to have forgotten what his family went thru and gave up for him to be where he is.  He is a great soccer player and that is his key to being important to the city. The others all survive by living on the outskirts and being brutally treated.  In the end the primary characters manage to ban together and flee to a free town where people are working to rebuild by working together and maybe they see a tiny bit of sun shining thru the ash.  It sort of leaves the door open for more books to follow, but I feel I have had enough of this for now.  It was a well written series with much thought given to what it would take to survive such a catastrophic event.

Merry Christmas

November Newspaper column

This has turned out to be a really awesome fall.  Trees are turning and weather has been fall like for a change. My furnace kicked on for first time about 3 this morning. My Saturdays at Farmers Market in Neosho has come to an end for this year.  I look forward to being a member of that group again next year.  Don't know how other groups do it but this group has been wonderful to help each other set up and tear down their awnings.  I think next year will be even better with more vendors.
 Saturday the 7th of Nov. I will be set up with the Stella event to honor the Veterans at the Memorial.  A large tent will be set up with crafters and food.  Also breakfast will be served, a parade, and chuck wagon cooking for lunch.  Come out and pay tribute to our Veterans, looks like it will be a sunny day, at least looking a week out from this writing.
Again I have another month of being to busy to read much, so I want to mention a favorite book and author to start with.  
High Grade
David Lincoln Jones

David  Jones will be coming out with his new book soon.  David is a local guy of sorts, since he was

 born in Granby and grew up in Neosho.  He lives in Arizona and in his retirement has taken on his love of writing and history.  In his first book, High Grade he combines family history with some fiction.  He had a great-great grandfather who was lost in the Civil War.  He was wounded and on way to a hospital in St Louis he vanished.  His family later moved west and settled in Granby.  His grandfather, Nimrod Columbus Jones was a local minister and later a sheriff here in Granby during the height of the mining days. This much is family history. 
In his book Jones takes up with a fictitious story of  his great-great grandfather, Ben being nursed back to health by local mountain people and when he wakes up he does not know who he is or where he came from.  With body healed he starts heading west and ends up in a town in Colorado called High Grade.  (I think the author chose this name because of the ore that was mined here at that time was called high grade.)  Ben is able to start a new life but retains his true values.  I found this to be a very engaging book and of quality that anyone could read it with out being offended by language.  I am looking forward to his sequel and we will find out if Ben finds his way back to Granby to find his family or not. You can buy High Grade on Amazon and I have one copy left here in the store.  Also his sequel (I believe the name is Return to High Grade) will be available at Amazon before the end of the year.  I hope to get another autographed copy from my friend (whom I never met) David Jones.

Richard Bach
Don't know how many folks still read books by Richard Bach.  He wrote Jonathan Livingston Seagull and this is sort of a follow up to that book.  Written in 1977 I found in my research that many people buy this book to share what they feel it gave to them. Bach takes to the air in his old biplane to discover the ageless truths that give our souls wings: that people don't need airplanes to soar ...that even the darkest clouds have meaning once we lift ourselves above them ...and that messiahs can be found in the most unlikely  place, like  hay fields, one-traffic-light mid western towns, and most of all, deep within ourselves.  He discovers that the bonds that form a true family is not only of blood but respect and joy in each others life, and rarely to real families grow up under the same roof. This is one book I will keep in my personal library and read a few more times.

I am reading an excellent book that I need one more evening to finish so will report on it next week.  It is one that I will be giving a big thumbs up to. 

Don't forget my store will be known as Weaver Birds Rugs by end on year.  If flag is out I am here, come on in.  Books still available for sale.  If you need ideas for Christmas gifts think about a hand made rug or runner made locally instead of “you know what”!

October column

WeaverBirdsRugs.com  my new Web site, is “under construction” for now, as I get all my license, and tax, and name registration completed.  I am getting excited about not having to keep regular hours as many know has been a struggle for me the last year or so.  I will be in the store frequently and some on weekends too.  If my sign is out and flag is up then I am there and the welcome mat is out.  Hope to expand my woven products and sell in my store and on line.  Also teaching and sharing the old weaving skills to others will be a big part of what I will be doing.  I will be available to give weaving demonstrations for organizations who request, as well as teach.  I am sort of becoming the loom whisperer too.  Got a loom?  Want a loom?  I will help connect the dots to help my students find looms.

The books will remain on the outer walls and still be available for sale, probably at half price for a long time.  With no other used book stores in the county I don't want to entirely give that up yet.

Fiber Daze at Mt Vernon in Sept was a real success.  We kept hearing people say Wow!  You have a great event here.  We worked very hard to make it a good experience.  I think the vendors did well and offered lots of great stuff.  We had a wide assortment of classes and are coming up with new ideas for next year all ready. 

I did manage to finish a book by Stephen King and have four books open and started at the present time.  So here is my report on King for this month.

Stephen King

King outdid himself this time.  I had almost given up reading his books as some are just to dark for me.  This one has a bit of mystery, fantasy and time travel in it.  What would you do if you could go back in time and prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963?  Would you have the nerve to risk all to perhaps save thousands, maybe prevent the Viet Nam War?  That was the logic behind Jake taking the gamble to go back and change history.  But history doesn't like to be changed, as he learned.  His buddy who ran a diner confided a secret to him.  In the back of the diner was a doorway in a storage room that when opened took him back to 1958 each time he went through. It seemed he was gone only a few minutes no matter how long he stayed in the past.  Imagine if you are old enough what it would be like to leave present day USA and open a doorway to 1958, a time of Ike and Elvis.  A time of big cars and cigarette smoke.  Jake made a couple test runs, staying in the past and “correcting” history on a local level before he would believe that it was possible.  It was a real page turner to see if he could stay long enough in the past to get him to 1963 with a plan that would succeed.  I really liked this book and am back to being a King fan again.

The last book was borrowed from my column of Sept. 2011 as I thought it was a very good book and wanted to share it again.  Besides I need to finished the four books, so I will catch up next month.

                                                           For One More Day
                                                            by: Mitch Albom

What would you do if you had one more day to spend with someone you loved who has passed away?  Mitch Albom has written several of these small books that I just love and have kept them for my personal library.  In this book the main character Charlie feels he has been a failure at life. At age 11 his father abandons his family and Charlie's mother raises him with all the love she can but for Charlie a hole has been left in his heart.  As a grown man  he destroys his own family with alcohol and in his desperation he decided to take his life.  But somewhere between life and death he sees his mother who has been dead for 8 years and he spends a “day” with her.  The rest of the story is for you to read as Charlie learns his mothers story. Is it to late for him to come back and change??  You will have to read to see.

Thought for the day: 
We never get what we want,
We never want what we get,
We never have what we like,
We never like what we have.
Still we live and love.  That's life.
(Author unknown)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Bird

I have a new computer now so maybe no excuses for not posting once in a while.  So this is my test today.
Yes, it works.  So have a good day and enjoy the bird that I give you!