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Monday, December 26, 2022

Merry Christmas, Outlander, Henrietta Lacks

 Merry Christmas from my house to yours!  If you traveled for the holidays, I hope you were able to travel safely and reach your destination.  I know the storms across the country made life difficult for many.

Good headway is being made on my latest scarf/shawl (Outlander).  Took this picture a few days ago, but since then have finished the last section you see plus started the next section.  Hope to have it finished fairly soon.  But, things have been busy with the holidays and darling daughter's visit...........sooooooooo, we shall see.

Finsihed this book awhile back, a change from my typical World War II books.  The story is fascinating, entertaining, and sad all rolled together.  It'a s true story, and sheds light on why  many Black Americans lack trust in medical science.  I encourage you to read or listen to this if you haven't already.  I loved listening, due to the language variences used.  I recently read an article indicating a statue of her will be placed in Roanaokes Henrietta Lack Plaza, to replace a Robert E. Lee monument which seems very appropriate to me.  Bruce Cobbs designed the statue.

Saturday, December 03, 2022

Outlander, Starts and Finishes and......


Thank you Darling Daughter!  Look at these colors!  This was a gift from Darling Daughtger because she knows how I love the show Outlander.  This collection of yarn is The Outlander Club.  218 yards each of Pure DK 100% Superwash Merino from  Honey Girl Farms.  I started with Jamie Fraser which is the bottom of this first picture, then striped it with the gold which is Fall at the Ridge, then the gold by itself, then striped the gold with Claire's Surgery (the grayish blend), then a section of Claires Surgery on it's own which is what you see at the top of the picture.
Took two pictures because of the sun sorta made it hard to see the one color.  This will be another asymetrical scarf/shawl...depending on how large it ends up, though this has a slightly more curved shape than the previous scarf I made.  The pattern will continue with solid sections followed by the blending of two of the colors in striped sections.

Yes, I finally got this one finished!  Just need to tuck in two ends and soak and block it.  I Love the colors of this one as well.  You can see how much less curved this one is than the Outlander.

It's been pretty cold lately with many nights and some days below freezing and no leaves left on the trees, as you can see.  Took this on my street one evening.  Beautiful red sky.

While yes this is another WWII book, it is quite different than the others I've posted about.  This is a true story about Brotherhood between enemies.  The story of Charlie Brown and Luftwaffe Fighter Flying Ace, Franz  Stigler in 1943 in the skies over Germany.  I really enjoyed this book and heart warming story and highly recommend it.

Got a kick out of this, and it seems to sorta represent my exercise during the month of November.  I do like a good Martini, but didn't do any yoga during the month.  My planks were about the same 7 in Oct and down to 6 in November.  I did better with walks, up by 2.  Took 11 walks in October and 13 in November for a total of 97.22 miles, about 3.35 miles average per day.  I was one day short in the month as my fitbit wasn't synching and was plugged in rather than on my arm to force a synch.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, and for those that traveled...safe travels.  

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Hogan's Heroes, Thanksgiving, Anne Fran


Just a few days ago this popped up on Facebook.  An article from The New York Post.  Not a publication I typically read, so was surprised it was in my feed.  I loved the sow Hogan's Heroes, and LeBeau was a favorite character.  What I didn't know about him at the time was he was in fact a survivor of The Holocaust.  At the age of 16 he was taken from Paris to Auschwitz Concentration Camp along with his family.  He was one of 14 children born to Orthodox Parents.  His parents were gassed, and none of his siblings lived.  He was moved from Auschwitz to Buchenwalk were he spent 31 months incarcerated.  He worked in a wooden shoe factor making heals.  

He was a performing and believes one reason he was spared was because he sang and entertain The SS officers every other  Sunday.  He was liberated and returned to Paris and performed, both dancing and singing; and then sailed for The United  States were he performed on soap operas, Broadway and most notably, "Hogan's Heroes".

He has written a biography, which is on my to read list:

I was fascinated to learn this about him, and wanted to share.  Perhaps you all knew this?

How many of you go through a check list like this when you leave the house?  I know my hubby does, checking pockets etc.  I doubt he thinks of the stove and or iron, but certainly the other items.

A book perhaps you read back in High  School?  I didn't read it back then.  Frankly, I never liked reading when I was younger and always fundged a book report by reading the first, last, and middle chapter of the book.  So, I guess I'm making up for lost time.  

Things I didn't know:

  1. She was in hiding 761 days (25 months).  
  2. That only her father lived through the concentration camp captiviity
  3. That they were multiple versions of the book.  This one is a combination of the first one written (without any conversation about sexuality).  Her Father Adolph censored that out.
  4. Her last diary was written August 1st, 1944, and she was arrested on August 4th, and the Germans surrendered to the US on May 8th, 1945.  Just a few months after she was arrested.  
Not sure what I make of her as a teenager.  On one hand her situation seemed far better than many who were in hiding, or taken early to camps.  At times she seemed very nasty to her family and the others in hiding with them.  I didn't find her endearing.  Did you?  Would love to know your thoughts.

My asymetrical scarf looks pretty much the same even though I've spend quite a bit more time working on it.  It truly is taking much longer to complete than I anticipated.

Spotted this Turkey on a recent walk.  I don't decorate outdoors for this holiday, do you?  I've seen some in the neighborhood, but far less than Halloween decorations.  If you're traveling for the holiday, please be safe.  If you're gathering with family, I hope you enjoy yourself and everyone stays healthy.  We'll not be doing the large family gathering this year, since hubby just recently had surgery.  Many thanks to all that left kind messages.  His surgery went well and he feels better each and everyday.

Saturday, November 05, 2022

Knitting, Voting, Georia Tann Scandal, and Counting Steps


The Color on this scarf isn't quite right.  I sure miss my old software.  It had a greeat feature that one click improved the color.  Don't remember quite what the option was called.  I used Irfanview, before I got my new laptop which is Windows 11 and so I only have a photo app, which doesn't seem to do much.  But, the scarf is coming along nicely.  I have 120 stitches on the needle.  Had hoped to have this completed by now, but it's such thin yarn it's a slower process than I thought it would be.  Wonderfully soft yarn and thus far am much more pleased with this than the previous shawl project, which I still haven't soaked or blocked.  Figured I would wait until I get this one finished and do them both.

Look who hubby and I ran into when we voted earlier this week!  I love the ability to vote early, it sure lessens the lines, and gives you options.  Who knows if you'll be sick or maybe your car won't start on election day!  AND, hubby will have surgery that day, so we would not have been able to voite on election day.  The states that don't allow early voting are, in my opinion very very backward!  And sadly, I think making voting as hard as possible is purposeful, and shameful.  

Not being able to get the horrific story about The Tennessee Children's Home Society out of my mind, I decided I needed to read more about it and that horrible woman, Georgia Tann.  Lisa Wingate, author of the previous book, "Before we Were Yours", teamed up with a reporter friend, Judy Christie to tell the stories of some of the stolen babies and their separated families in this book, book 2.  The reunion I mentioned that was arranged enable many who shared this sad experience to come together and share their stories.  People found each other at book signings and through the help of DNA testing with Ancestry.com and 23 and me, some have been able to re-unite with long lost siblings.  Due to the timing, many tracing their routes are now 2nd generation but learning about their birth families and what happened.  

I've learned that my husband's assistant's uncle was in fact one of these "Georgia Tann" stolen babies.  I believe I mentioned in my previous post that no one was held accountable to this horrible scandal, not the police, not the judges, not any of the workers, and not Georgia Tann herself.  

This is the actual house where it all began, though as time went on; there were other locations.  Part of how she made her money selling the babies was due to wealthy people being willing and able to pay high prices for babies.  For example, movie stars.  She had a following in Hollywood.  Movie stars June Allyson, Esther Williams, and Joan Crawford were among some of the famous stars who bought Georgia Tann's children.  Knowing that Joan Crawford was one, we also know that not all children found loving homes.  In 1986 60 minutes did a special on this scandal.  This audio book was 8 hours compared to 14 hours for the previous book.  Again...it was a short read/listen for me.  I really couldn't put it down.

There are a few other books, "Bought and Paid For", "The Baby Thief" I found listed about this, but thus far I've not found an audio version of them.

Happy to say October was a better month then September (my Covid month and ill fated France tour).  I took 11 actual walks, did planks 7 times and yard work 7 times.  Yard work is raking, and mowing mostly.  My steps went from 89.78 miles in Sept to 101.94 in October.   One must keep at it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

A Finish, Fall Color, and Child Trafficker, Georgia Tann


Done, but not very happy with it.  Snail Hollow Shawl.  This was a kit with yarn and pattern sold by Crafty's.  It's listed on Ravelery as well.  I do not recommend this kit, or the pattern.  The pattern is not well written.  I've not used any other patterns by Erika Flory; but 3 different people I've spoken to have interpeted the pattern 3 different ways and none ended up being happy with the end result.  I am in their camp as well.  It's much much smaller than it should be and can barely be a scarf and certainly not a shawl.  The yarn, Cloudborn is also not one I would recommend.  The yarn separately badly while knitting which caused some issues.

I like the color combination, rich colors but very hard on the eyes.  If I were to ever do this pattern again, I would choose more contrasting colors, a different yarn...a heavier yarn.  It will look better after it get's it's soak and get's blocked, and hopefully it will be a tad larger afterwards as well..

I've continued to work on the fall colored asymetrical scarf; but while I've worked on it a good number of additional hours, it doesn't look much different, so I've not taken anothe picture.

Sharing a particularly pretty tree from a walk through the park a few days ago.  Yes, fall has arrived.  And yes, I'm able to get some walking in so my monthly numbers should be better; but perhaps not by a lot.  I am over Covid and trying to get back into doing planks etc.  So, we'll see how things shape up.

Since it's fall, I added fall table settings to the dining room table.  That's the extint of my Fall/Halloween decorating; though I have shared some of the outside decorations I've been seeing around the neighborhood.  A good fall meal, chicken enchildas and black beans.  Had to take a picture because this one presented better than they sometimes do.  Sometimes getting them neatly out of the casserole dish is tricky and they don't look as pretty.  I was happy with how these came out nicely.

Decided I needed a wee break from all my WWII books, so started this one in print on the plane coming back from my ill fated France tour, and then finished it with the audio version.  I'm glad I switched to the audio, as the voices added to the story.  "Before We Were Yours", by Lisa Wingate is a novel, but based on lots of facts about The Tennessee Children's Home Society Orphanage scandal whose director was Georegia Tann.  This starts in 1939 in Memphis where children were kidnapped, stolen, separated from their siblings, and sold.  This horrific situation lasted for years.  About 25 years.  

Georgia Tann made lots of monthly stealing and selling these children.  Though initially she was credited with the idea of adoption, what she did was illegal start to finish with very few exceptions.  It's estmated that about 500 children died in her "care", or lack there of.  She was successful with the help of the police force.  Truly a horrific scandal involving about 5,000 babies/children.

More than a million copies of this book were sold.  Lisa Wingate has organized a reunion where many adoptives have become acquainted and shared their stories.  Some have been reunited with their siblings and other family members; but even with good research many have not been and won't be; as she changed their names when she falsified the adoption records.  

Sadly, this woman, Georgia Tann never paid for her crimes, as she died a few days before the daming report came to light.

The paper back is 356 pages, the audio book is 14 hours.  I finished it in just a few days.  I couldn't put the book down, and highly recommend it.  It's important to know about things in our history so the horrific events don't get repeated.

I'll be adding "Before and After", another book of Lisa Wingate about the lives of those adoptive children to my reading list.

Friday, October 07, 2022

October Finished Projects, and Good By Covid


Well some headway has been made.  The scarf on the left is completed.  You might remember previous post where I was wondering about how to end it color wise.  I ended with a wide last strip of the purple as that's what most of your comments suggested.  The scarf to it it's right is still in the works and much smaller; as it's much thinner yarn.  I've worked on the 2nd scarf longer and have far more stitches on the needles but it's not yet done.  It's such nice fall colors I want to finish it soon, so I can wear it.  The top right infinity scarf is the brown green shaded scarf you've seen most recently, and it too is now complete.  I ended up sewing it together to form a ring (infinity style scarf), as it wasn't quite long enough by the time I finished up with the yarn.  It's large enough though that I can wrap it around twice, so it will be nice and warm.

Here's a close up so you can see the colors, the shading.  I like infinity style scarves because they stay put,.  It's nice to have a variety of styles.  The asymmetrical scarves look perhaps a bit more dressy when drapped around with a scarf pin attached.

I'm happy to report I'm finally feeling like myself again, though it did take longer than I would have thought.  Many thanks for all your kind comments about hubby and I getting Covid when we were suppose to be touring France.  I've been able to get out walking again, so maybe my exercise numbers will be improving this month.
While out walking through the neighborhood making my way to and from the city parks, I've seen some fun Halloween decorations and thought I'd share them with you.  I do wonder though if the large skelton (it really is taller than the house), might scare the little ones?

February 1945, the transistion to a post war World.  The Yalta summit with Russia, England, and The US.  Churchills daughter, Sarah an actress turned RAF officer, Anna Roosevelt (the President's daughter), and Kathleen Harriman a champiion skier and war correspondant and the daughter of Averell Harriman, The Ambassador to The Soviet Union attend the summit with their fathers and played very important roles helping their fathers.  Given The Crimean Peninsula is again controlled by Russia this book seemed timely to me.  This was the last trip President Roosevelt made prior to his death, and the fact that he wasn't well on this important trip but no one was to know, was Anna's primary duty.  I really enjoyed the book and suggest if you've not read it to put it on your list folks.

I posted a few more pictures of my ill fated visit to France HERE.

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Oh My September Was a Bust


Well, I had hoped to be done with this scarf by now, but other things got in the way.  I have however made lots of headway.  You can see I have very little yarn left, so it will be done when the yarn runs out.  It's currently 47 inches long.  A bit shorter than I like for scarves, so I will have to see how long it ends up, and it may yet be joined to form a circle and be an infinity type scarf.  I really like the blend of colors with the greens and browns.

Decided I needed a change from all the WWII books I've read/listened to of late.  I really enjoyed this book, despite how sad Frank McCourt's childhood was.  I highly recommend the audio of this book, as the author himself reads it and that adds so much to the story in my opinion.

I enjoyed the first book so much I followed up with Frank McCourt's 2nd book and again enjoyed it.  His character is addicting, I think...perhpas not if you're his wife though.

And, yes I moved right onto his 3rd book.  I'm happy to report that after such a sad and brutal childhood, a less than desireable marriage, that if you google you will find he had a successful and happy 2nd marriage to Ellen, the one responsible for his writing his memoirs.  And if you google you'll be able to see a good number of photo's of his life.

Geesh, no real exercise to note for the month of September.  As you may have noted from my previous post, I got Covid.  Still not feeling 100%, but am negative now on testing.  Was in France and spent isolation in the hotel room.  Real bummer, we never got to go on our tour.  Between being sick, isolating, and lots of flights there and back...only exercise I've done is a little bit of walking which is where this Halloween yard decoration comes from.  I did mow a few times, and got some steps from that.  But, all in all...September was a real Bust. 83.6 miles for the month, down from 90.15 in August.

I blogged about France, The Tour That Wasn't Here.  
Or at least the wee bit we got to see before Covid enterted.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Yarn, Yard Work, and Not Enough Yoga...or is it Not Enough Time!


You may remember this scarf from a couple of posts back.  I needed a project with bigger yarn that I could see for something to do on a flight.  I barely got it started, back in July when we flew to Salt Lake, Utah.  I took it recently for a long flight to and from France and have made really good headway.  My lighting wasn't very good when I took the pictures, so tried editing it to show you the colors.  I mentioned before this scarf should work well for a man or a woman I think, given the color blend.
I normally try to work in my tails as I go because I hate doing them; but I didn't have my scizzors or darning needles so wasn't able to.  

Have you read either of these books?  I had to return them to the library before I got to read them, as I had several from my wait list that came all at the same time.
The first is a true story, one girls accounting of life in a concentration camp.  Not sure how different it will be than many of the others I listened to/read.  The 2nd is about the war in the African theater which is a part of WWII I know less about so eventually I plan to circle back around to it.

While another book about WWII, this book is a bit different.  It deals mostly with those Jewish people who escaped into the wilderness to hide from the Nazi's.  A girl who's kidnapped at an early age and learns the ways of the wilderness is able to help protect some of these Jewish escapees.  I really enjoyed this book.

Down, down, down.  Argh.  I went backward in August, only did yoga once (was 3 x the previous month), I fell down with planks as well, dropped from 12 x the previous month to 9 in August, fell from 14 walks to 5, from 134.4 miles to 90.15 miles.  Sigh...I'm not surprised as I did lots and lots of yard work.  I did yard work 13 days, you just don't get many steps when working in the yard.  I do consider yardwork tiring and very good exercise though.  September I know will be another down month, as we were scheduled to be on tour in France for a little over 2 weeks...however we were cancelled from the tour due to getting Covid.  So spending time isolating in a hotel room and then lots of time on a plane getting back to the states....well you can see there's not going to be good numbers.  Both still quite tired from the Covid and bummed about not getting to go on our tour.  We've managed all this time to stay healthy and not get it.......lousy timing for sure.

Hoping to have a project or two finished for the next blog post, stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Knitting, Wine, Yard Work ...Thank Goodness for Audio Books.


Making headway with Snail Hollow Shawl.  Infact, I'm on the last section.  Not sure if you can see in the picture but am picking up stitches on the straight side to do the edging.  Then I'll need to tuck in tails where all the color changes happened.  I've mentioned before how difficult I find these colors to work with on the eyes.  Trying to pick up stitches is a chore.  I'm only part way through that process.  But, since my last picture I've completed two more sections, so I'm getting there.  This pattern has been problematic.  Both my daughter and I feel it's poorly written, as do a few folks over on Ravelry that made it.  The designer is Erika Flory.  I probably would shy away from purchasing another of her designs.  Not because I don't like the look; but because the pattern isn't well written.  Too many opportunities to guess at what should or shouldn't be.

Hubby and I really enjoyed this bottle of Chianti, Nippozzano Reserve 2018.  We purchased this at Costco's.  Chianti isn't generally a favorite for us, often we feel it's a bit heavy...but this was quite good and I think from memory was under $30.00.  We'll definately get this one again.  Very smooth.

I've mentioned before how many books written by Pam Jenoff I've read and liked (listened to actually).  The Kommandants Girl (book 1) followed by 

The Diplomats Wife (book 2), are 2 more I highly recommend.  I blogged about the author and why her historical books are so riveting.  That post is HERE.

Yes both are about WWII.  Add them to your list to read folks.

I mentioned in my previous post I had been doing lots of yard work which is why I hadn't been knitting, so thought I'd share a few more pictures of the flowers in my yard.  Cone flowers in the back ground, and an old fashion Flocks in the center.  Sadly most of these flowers are now done and I'm losing the color in my yard.  
Black eye Susans provide lots of contrast to the Cone Flowers.  I took these pictures over the last couple of weeks at the peak of the color.

Stella d'Oro generally bloom before the rest of the lillies, but, if you don't cut them back, they will bloom a bit later, just not as many blooms.  I love the yellow.

Hope you're all enjoying the end of summer.  It's gone too fast for my liking, and soon fall will be upon us.  I never look forward to fall as I know winter follows it.  I am not a fan of winter, cold, snow or ice.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Flowers Instead of Yarn, Oh My!


Mallows from my backyard.  These beauties orginated in parents yards many years ago.  My folks are long since gone, but I have a bit of them in my yard.  Well not them, but remembrances of them.  They loved these flowers.  I have red and pink ones.  The red tend to bloom first and aren't generally as large in diameter as these pinks.  Many years ago I gave starts of these to my younger brother as well.  

Rose of Sharon's (sorry it was so sunny, the picture got a bit washed out.  These are lavendar, I also haver white and pink ones blooming in various places around the yard.  I'm showing you pictures of flowers instead of yarn and projects, as I've not knitted in slightly over a week since return home from Park City, Utah; where hubby and Darling Daughter and I vacationed for a couple of weeks.  Also, because the reason I've not knitted is because I had TONS of yard catch up to do.  In the first 2 days of returning I mowed 3 times (man did things grow in our absence).  Likewise the flower beds were a mess with weeds (mostly Thistles, thanks to a neighbor who refuses to dig or spray his they blow and grow under the fencerows in our yard.  

Cone Flowers in a bed on one side of the house, with some Flocks mixed in (white, pink, and lavendar).  I weeded so much during the week I had 4 of those large yard bags, and 3 very full large trashcans to tote to the curb for pick up this morning.  Our community collects yard waste on the same day as our recycling and trash pick up happens.  It's all then taken to a city dumping area and composted.

I don't know what type of Lilly this is, as I didn't plant it.  Was here at the house 40 ish years ago when we moved in.  I call themn double ruffle orange lillies.  I did so much yard work and mowed so many times (not just 3 x in the first 2 days), that I injured muscles in my pectoral area and should blade...or have inflammed an overworked tendon.  Not sure which.  So, while I am not actually done with all the yard work, I'm taking a few days off to heal.  I'll share other flower pictures.  This is the time of the year when I have a very colorful yard (front, back, and sides).

This book is another WWII book about occupation, but initiates in Holland and is an autobiographical memoir.  Corrie ten Boom, and her family were very religous and because of that protected their Jewish neighbor in their home, The Beje which was above Corrie's father's Watch Shop.  As a religous woman her strength to survive the brutality both physical and psychological in Ravensbruck Death Camp comes from deep within.  I've read stories from Germany, France, and Poland; but this is the first one that intiated in Holland.  I highly recommend this book.  The book came out in 1971, and in 1975 a Billy Graham film was produced based on this true story.    Here's the link to the trailor (Click here)

On the exercise front, pretty as I thought it would be.  Did better with walking and good with planks, and not so well with yoga.  We were gone 2 wks, spent time on planes with travel and I figured I wouldn't do well with yoga; as I couldn't pack my yoga mat.  Since we were in Park City, Utah I was able to walk more which was great.
Walking, I doubled from 7 walks in June to 14 in July 134.4 miles up from 103 miles.  My best day was 9 miles and my worst day was 2 miles, averaging 4.33 miles per day across the 31 days of July.
Planks I matched June's number of 12 x during the month in July
Yoga I only managed to do it 3 x.  I did so much yard work, I sorta thought the bending, twisting, pulling, digging, etc probably took care of the yoga?

The last movie I watched while hubby was away, A Marriage of Convience with Jane Seymour and James Brolin from 1998.  I did not read the book prior to seeing the movie, so no clue how closely the movie follows the story line.  I've always liked Jane Seymour and thought James Brolin was rather good looking; though perhaps not the best of actors.  She raises her dead sisters son knowing nothing about the boys father who suddenly appears.  Entertaining even if unbelievable.  Hubby definately would not have enjoyed this movie....he would indeed classify this as a "chick flick".