Sunday, August 26, 2012

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

I had heard of this book for a long time, and decided to read it for my WWI Reading Challenge after watching the PBS movie.  As usual, I enjoyed the book much more than the movie, although I thought the movie was good when I saw it earlier this year.

Part one begins in1910 when Stephen Wraysford, a young Englishman, is sent to France by his company to learn more about the manufacturing process of textiles from Rene Azaire, the owner of two factories.  Stephen and Azaire's wife Isabelle fall in love and have an affair while Stephen is staying with the Azaires.

Part two jumps to 1916 and Stephen is an officer fighting in France during World War I. Like another reviewer mentioned, I didn't know about the tunneling that was done in the war. WWI really was one of the most brutal wars ever fought, and I've never really understood what it was about. This book didn't get into the reasons for the war, but it certainly did an excellent job of describing the horrors of it.

Part three jumps to 1978 where Stephen's granddaughter Elizabeth is trying to learn more about her grandfather. While this part of the story was not as interesting or compelling to me, there was one scene that I thought justified having this section in the book:  Elizabeth visits a veteran who had been a soldier with Stephen.  He'd had his left leg amputated and still suffered from shell shock and had lived in a veteran's home for almost 60 years. His only visitor had been his sister who had died almost 30 years earlier. There was also a parallel between Elizabeth and Isabelle Azaire that I won't say any more about so I don't give away too much of the story.

I thought the book was very well written and I rate it 4 out of 5.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sketchbook Challenge - Shelter 1 - Silent Spring Resort Cabin 4

I wanted to sketch our cabin and almost forgot. I started it Friday evening and finished it Saturday morning. Then I added the sign Sunday morning before we left - I just penciled it in and added ink and watercolor in our hotel room Sunday evening (the cabin was done straight to pen - no pencil). This is also for the August Sketchbook Challenge theme of Shelter.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Melodrama

I sketched the Gunnison Arts Center from our car across the street. I added the title (torn from the program) and the journaling the next day in our cabin. My right wrist was getting better and I was tired of painting with my left hand, so this was done with my right hand again.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cabin 4 - Silent Spring Resort

I drew the floor plan of our cabin last fall when we went to Devil's Den State Park in Arkansas. I liked the record, so I think it's going to become a tradition. I did this left handed again.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Gebhart" Mountain

Our second day in Colorado, we hiked the trail leading to what we named Gebhart Mountain the first time we came to this area 27 years ago (it didn't have a name on our map). My DH fished while I sketched - again, mostly left handed.

Thursday, August 09, 2012


We spent a week in cool Colorado getting away from the plus 100 degree heat in Oklahoma. Our first morning there, my DH went fishing and I went along to sketch. I painted the flowers and wrote the journaling with my left hand (I'm right handed) because I was trying to protect my right wrist.

I learned yesterday what is wrong with my wrist:  I have what is called Ulnar Impaction Syndrome, which basically means that the ulna bone is about 1/4 inch longer than my radius bone, and this causes wear and tear on the structures in my wrist.  I had a cortisone injection in the wrist yesterday, but the most successful treatment is to surgically shorten the ulna bone.  Needless to say, this doesn't sound appealing to me at all; I will have to weigh the risks of surgery against my level of pain.  I got a new wrist brace which is more comfortable and more protective than others I have; and the pain has eased somewhat with rest.  So I'll just have to see how it goes over the next few months.  No decisions have been made.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

True Believers by Kurt Andersen

This is a memoir of sorts of fictional character Karen Hollander, who grew up in the '60's. She becomes a high power attorney and is even considered for the supreme court, but then removes her name from consideration when she becomes concerned that a big secret from her college days could come out. I, too, grew up in the '60's (although I'm a few years younger than Karen's character), so I found this story very compelling. I rate it 4 out of 5.