31 January 2009

Volunteers for Israel

As one who has had a love for Israel for many years I've often wondered how I might not only go to Israel to visit, but also do something to help the people there. I came across this site today which offers an opportunity to volunteer for 2-4 weeks in Israel doing various things connected with the IDF or the hospital system in Israel. Really interesting!


Another option that would be interesting would be to work on a kibbutz in exchange for room and board.


30 January 2009

Living in Community

I've long had an interest in communal living. Maybe it's my background as a child of the '60's and '70's, living just outside of Boulder, Colorado!

At the moment we live in a commune of sorts. Well, actually, what I'm talking about is my own family. We have three children still at home ages 17, 24 and 26. We've never been in much of a hurry to boot them out and make them feel like they need to get a "place of their own". They are delightful young adults and we'll miss the heck out of them when they're gone. So right now we're just enjoying their company, knowing that these days are numbered.

We have two weddings looming. Our 24 year old son's in April and our 17 (by then 18) year old daughter's in May. Chances are that our 26 year old son will move out when everyone else does. Instant empty nest.

Our sons have had jobs since age 12 and have paid most of their own expenses since then. Everything from clothes to toys, cars, insurance, gas, food while they're working and as they got older they've contributed to the family kitty. It's all worked out pretty well.

So, why am I writing about communal living? It seems to me that in this age of recession and economic shortages it just doesn't make sense for every individual to attempt to maintain a separate residence with all that entails. Communal living can take many different shapes, (Just Google it and find out!) from large housing developments, to kibbutzim, to an extended family sharing a house. It just seems like an idea whose time has come...again.

My mom worked for IBM many years ago, and she had the opportunity to visit with people from various countries. She told me about a gentleman, I believe he was from Spain, who told her he just didn't understand Americans. Why do they kick their children out of the home when they turn the magic age of 18? Where he lives the children remain at home and perhaps additional space is added to the home. Hmmm...

In America there is a real stigma attached to that sort of thing. You hear phrases such as "Oh, he lives in his mother's basement", or words such as "compound" and just a general feeling that large groups of people living together must necessarily be involved in some evil undertaking. Yes, some of them are...but then, there are a lot of serial killers out there living all alone. You just can't judge everyone by the actions of a few.

My daughter and her fiance plan to rent a two story farmhouse and rent out two of the bedrooms. Sounds like living in community to me! It might not be a bad idea to take a page from their book if we want to get through these difficult economic times with a little money in our pockets. And we might learn to get along with others a little better in the bargain. =0

29 January 2009

Crazy for Crazy Quilts...

In honor of the name of my blog I've gone on an extensive (well, almost) search for pretty quilt blocks to feature in the upper left-hand corner of my blog. What a beautiful bunch of specimens I've found! I look forward to changing the picture frequently.

Well, I'm off to work, but I hope you will have a fun day at home, where I wish I could stay. =0)

28 January 2009

Speaking of Charlotte Bronte...

Weren't we speaking of her? Somewhere, someone is...

I've become a Charlotte Bronte fanatic, I'm afraid. It all started with "Jane Eyre". (I know, book titles are supposed to be underlined rather than putting quotation marks around them, but I can't find an underline option here. Can anyone help me?) Anyway...

"Jane Eyre" is one of my all-time favorite novels. I've read it probably four times and seen many versions of the movie. (The 1944 version with Orson Welles is a favorite; though it leaves out a great deal.) I love how she (Charlotte) can develop characters with such depth. You really get to know her heroines in great detail. The way she handles the English language is beyond anything most of us experience these days with our limited vocabularies and lack of imagination.

I just finished reading "Villette" for the second time. I began the second reading the day after I finished the first go through. This particular book had so many little twists and turns you really need to read it a second time to catch all the stuff you missed the first time! Once more, a very complex heroine and a very satisfying ending.

I'm just now beginning "Shirley". I have no idea what to expect, but already see the promise of an interesting tale, told in her inimitable style.

I've heard that certain activities help to keep a person's brain sharp. I think reading English literature must be one of these. It requires your full attention and much thinking. I really enjoy it!

27 January 2009

The Writing Bug...

I have a book inside of me just waiting to get out. It's been trying for about 30 years. I think that's one reason many of us do this blogging/messageboarding thing. Just a love of putting the words on "paper"-virtual or otherwise.

Many years ago I wrote a children's book called "Zinnia's Vegetable Garden". It was a tale of a nice little rabbit who lived in a cute little cottage and worked in her garden to earn her spending money. It even had a moral: Work hard and get money-don't work and get zip! (Well, it was couched in nicer language, but that was basically it.) In short, it was pretty predictable. My mom, who is a very good writer herself, volunteered to look it over and make suggestions. After that I sent it off with a nice cover letter. To make a long story short, I was looking at the rejection slip just the other day...

But I'm not givin' up! Well, I may give up on the idea of actually making money at writing, but I finally realized that it's the journey I enjoy, not necessarily the end product. So a few days ago I started a "tween" novel, aimed at the 10-12 year old set. Right now I'm just having fun making notes concerning the characters, possible plotlines, whether to write it in third person omniscient or some other "voice", and all those other fun details of sketching things out before beginning to actually write anything. And you know, if I stay at this stage for months that'll be just fine. I'm having fun and, for me, that's what it's all about.

I'm also learning by reading "Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market" which has many really helpful and interesting articles on writing for children. Maybe someday I'll know enough to rewrite "Zinnia's" scintillating tale and send it off once more!

A Learning Experience...

As I set forth on this new journey of discovery (about blogging) I ask myself, "Why, Self?", and I hear the clarion answer, "Because it's there."

I can't resist an opportunity to fill in blanks, and this looks like a great place to store my hodge-podge of thoughts, ideas and other odds and ends (hence, crazy quilt) I have no room for here at home!

Here goes...something! =0)