Autumn reads

One of the thing I love about early autumn sunsets is more reading time.

Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins

Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins

Rickshaw Girl focuses on the life of Naima, a Bangladeshi girl with a talent for alpana patterns. Perkins writes that “Girls and Women paint these geometrical or floral patterns on the floor during celebrations and holidays. They used crushed rice power to outline the design, and decorate with colored chalk, vermilion, flower petals, wheat, or lentil powder. Some designs are passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years.” In this fictional, yet realistic, story for children Naima no longer attends school because her family can not afford it. As a girl, her options for earning money are very restricted. Beautiful charcoal illustrations are accompanied by a glossary and author’s note that complement the text.

Based on my limited understanding, alpana is equivalent to rangoli. Many beautiful rangoli designs can be seen in southern India.

Rangoli design for Pongal harvest festival

Rangoli design for Pongal harvest festival
Bellary, Karnataka, India
January 2010

Rangoli design for Pongal harvest festival Bellary, Karnataka, India January 2010

Rangoli design for Pongal harvest festival
Bellary, Karnataka, India
January 2010

Painted concrete near Gudur, Andhra Pradesh, India January 2010

Painted concrete
near Gudur, Andhra Pradesh, India
January 2010

Many readers choose books that reflect themselves: similar cultures, activities, or dreams. I challenge you to read something outside of your normal scope. One of the greatest pleasures of reading is being able to experience the life of someone or something different that yourself.

Looking back at India

Here are some of my old notes, written on September 13, 2009:

I used Lonley Planet (c. 2007) recommendations for movies to see about India and then continued to explore others. They are either in English or have English subtitles.
Earth, Water, and Fire, a trilogy directed by Deepa Mehta. These are very good films, but not necessarily happy ones.
Gandhi directed by Richard Attenborough
Mr & Mrs Iyer, directed by Aparna Sen
Monsoon Wedding, directed by Mira Nair; see also her acclaimed earlier film Salaam Bombay!
Lagaan directed by Ashutosh Gowariker  I watched the beginning and end, napped in the middle.
Story of India with Michael Wood.Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Collection 2 Disc 2: Rajasthan, Kolkata/Mumbai – these cities are north of where I’ll visit, but nice to get a feel for India in general. Rick Steves is a little to vanilla for me at times, but Anthony Bourdain is a little too snarky for me at times. Handheld camera and fast shots make me a little sea sick.
The Namesake directed by Mira Nair.
Swades directed by Ashutosh GowarikerMeenaxi: Tale of 3 Cities” directed by M.F. Husain – I gave up on this because the story line didn’t capture my attention and a scratch made the DVD difficult to play.
The Mahabharata directed by Peter Brook. I’ve been intimidated by “The Mahabharata” because it is 5 hrs and 25 minutes long.
India: Kingdom of the Tiger directed by Bruce Neibaur

From  August 31, 2009:

Books about India that I’ve read or listened to:

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Slumdog Millionaire by Vikas Swarup

February 27, 2012

I’ve read quite a bit more about India since my original notes and added them to LibraryThing. I’m currently reading India Becoming, listening to Last Man in Tower, and working on an India scrapbook (finally!) that all have me thinking about India again.


Worn out and patched jeans

At the end

I try to purchase most of my clothing at thrift stores and spend way too much time looking for just the right piece. Function and appeal are top decision makers, but there are a few brands that I love. My Carhartt jeans are one of my favorites. I wore and patched my first pair until they were so thin that I would need to line them with patches to continue wearing them. The next step was to take them to my friend Jerry who makes custom rag rugs. He had questions for me…should the jeans be matched with cool or warm colors? what size of rug would I like? I’ve seen enough of Jerry’s rugs to know that he would come up with something wonderful. He did!

Jerry holding rug he made from jeans

Jerry and the jeans rug

The jeans were woven with an old gray work shirt and striped green sheet. Jerry even un-patched the jeans and used the belt loops to make the rug, which is way beyond the  work I expected him to do! Jerry asked me where I planned to use my rug. I don’t know…I just loved my jeans so much that I didn’t want to get rid of them!

It's all in the detail

A few other things that deserve mention:

Robbie, Charlie, and I went to our first donkey basketball game featuring students, teachers, and firefighters. Charlie couldn’t miss the opportunity for a silly smile.

Close-up photo of Charlie with a silly expression

Charlie smiles

How to spell that word that describes something that is marked with or having stripes? Is it striped or stripped? I use the Google “define” tool often when writing. To use it, go to a Google search box and type define: word followed by the enter key. You will get a definition followed by links to associated websites.

Yoga class is held on Wednesdays and I almost always look forward to it. During the cool months class is held in a building that once was an Odd Fellows hall. Steep and narrow stairs lead from Main Street onto the second floor of the building. The room has wood floors, a high ceiling covered with stamped steel sheets, and marquee lights around the edge of the ceiling. It was hard for me to photograph. It is a wonderful space, despite the peeling paint, dead light bulbs, and after-market wiring.

Lights on ceiling in yoga room


Book hangover material: Marcelo in the Real World. The New York Times review of it in LibraryThing is a good one. If you read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and enjoyed it, you will probably like Marcelo. Both books are coming of age stories narrated by a character with high functioning autism.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, my cousin Jessie was a good sport and let me decorate her pregnant belly with henna. She’s a great sport because I’m slow and not-so-artful. We talked about a professional henna stylist who decorated my arms in India and how fast she was. Here’s a video clip of it that I uploaded to YouTube.