Book Review of MORTALITY by Christopher Hitchens

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3:31 PM
 “In whatever kind of a “race” life may be, I have very abruptly become a finalist.”
The book Mortality by Christopher Hitchens was a sober read, to say the least.  
In typical Hitchens style, it was brilliantly written and riveting in it's honesty.    We "listen in" as a man grapples with the process of dying from Stage 4 Esophageal cancer.   

Christopher Hitchens Quote
  Last week, I happened to mention to a friend what book I was reading.  I suspected what I immediately heard.  "Ugh!  Why would anyone want to read a book so depressing as that?"   We dropped the subject and moved on to something more acceptable, but trivial.

The fact is, that I want to know what emotions a person feels when they know they are dying.  I dare say that friends, married couples and family members often go their whole lives without even broaching the subject with one another.   Yet it is a battle we will all go through and eventually lose. 

Starting with the first page, Hitchens describes how he suddenly finds himself being deported  "from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady."  He then calls it Tumorville.

Some of the passages were so stark that I found myself physically flinching and drawing  back with empathy...
  • "the word “metastasized” was the one in the report that first caught my eye, and ear. The alien had colonized a bit of my lung as well as quite a bit of my lymph node. And its original base of operations was located in my esophagus." 
  • "On the less good days, I feel like that wooden-legged piglet belonging to a sadistically sentimental family that could bear to eat him only a chunk at a time."
  • "Most despond-inducing and alarming of all, so far, was the moment when my voice suddenly rose to a childish (or perhaps piglet-like) piping squeak. It then began to register all over the place, from a gruff and husky whisper to a papery, plaintive bleat. And at times it threatened, and now threatens daily, to disappear altogether. I had just returned from giving a couple of speeches in California, when I made an attempt to hail a taxi outside my home—and nothing happened. I stood, frozen, like a silly cat that had abruptly lost its meow. "

The paragraph where I heard Hitchens voice come through so vividly is when he comments on the quote by T.S. Eliot, "I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, and I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, and in short, I was afraid."
He states, "Like so many of life’s varieties of experience, the novelty of a diagnosis of malignant cancer has a tendency to wear off. The thing begins to pall, even to become banal. One can become quite used to the specter of the eternal Footman, like some lethal old bore lurking in the hallway at the end of the evening, hoping for the chance to have a word. And I don’t so much object to his holding my coat in that marked manner, as if mutely reminding me that it’s time to be on my way. No, it’s the snickering that gets me down.
The book is a short read and at the end, I found myself feeling less afraid of death, than more.  I have to agree with the review by the San Francisco Chronicle.  "To the end, Hitchens produces sentences of startling beauty and precision.  One of our best is gone, yet Mortality is a powerful and moving final utterance."

My Makes of 2016

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11:36 AM

Say! Little Hen has kindly invited anyone to join a fun link-up, to post pictures of what they created in 2016.   She is leaving the link-up open until 1st January 2017 AEST, so no matter what time zone you are in, you can post your link anytime on December 31st. 

Thank you for the invite! It made me happy to put together a little collage to visually see what I have sewn in 2016.   

Starting at left corner: 
  • heating pad cover made from an unfinished quilt,
  • pillows made out of old Pottery Barn placemats,
  • pillow pocket that can hold a book,
  • hexagon clasp purse,
  • Kleenex cover with English Paper Pieced tumblers,
  • more embroidered dolls made from Hillary Lang's free pattern at (my family did this for a service project in 2015 and tucked them into new microfleece blankets to give anonymously at a shelter),
  •  sampler salvaged from an unfinished Ebay purchase
  •  a vintage planter pincushion with Elea Lutz's darling fabric and 
  • another sampler from Ebay that I washed, put the binding on and attached a ribbon.

I am not sure that this particular pincushion was done in 2016.  See those planters on the shelf above my sewing machine?? I kind of went a little crazy and made quite a few in the last several years. 

Most aggravating project this year was: 
 The sampler salvaged from a $2.99 Ebay purchase.  It was so sadly unfinished and unloved...dirty behind an ugly thick black frame.   I picked out my sewing so many times on the little swan that I was afraid the material would shred.  So, it will stay as is.

The most inspirational discovery this year was - 
Creative artists that are so willing to share and encourage each other, makes our world feel like a smaller, kinder and a more giving place!    It gives a person courage to keep trying.   So cheers to a new year of creativity, friendship and not giving up! 

Gifts to Comfort

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4:15 PM

    So, service projects are always fun during the holidays, right?    

Last year my husband and I really enjoyed ourselves, staying up into the wee small hours of the morning,  sewing miniature quilts for the Cache County Humane Society.   

You can see a little more of that adventure HERE. 

About October of this year, this cute PATTERN caught my eye.  

It is found on the very fun blog named Wee Wonderfuls.   It is a free download.   Very generous.  

This blogger's delightful book is also called Wee Wonderfuls and can be found HERE

 It is definitely on my wish list.

How cute would these be to donate to a shelter, along with a warm blanket for a child?  

I was sold on the idea, for sure.   The pattern was quick to download and print off.  

When I showed my darling husband the printed copy, he jumped right in and traced the pattern onto muslin scraps. 
When our family got together at Thanksgiving time, I had already made cute little kits (the plastic zipper pouches I found at Walmart for $1.97, in the cosmetic bags section of the store).  All that was left was to pop in an embroidery needle and some floss.   How could anyone refuse to grab one?  

We had a lot of fun and good conversations, watching movies and stitching away.  As you can see, everyone's doll turned out a little different.  

When Thanksgiving was over and I got home, all that was left to do was to sew the doll to another piece of fabric, turn right side out and stuff a little batting inside.  I am still in the process of doing a little blind stitching to close the  open seams.

I found these cozy inexpensive blankets at Wal-mart, also.  The dolls will look cute tucked into the blanket label.   Something is missing, though, don't you think?   It definitely needs a candy cane tucked in, too!

A Little White Hen

A Little White Hen
Leave It Better Than You Found It