Wednesday, August 31, 2011


 It must be time for S'mores


Thursday Challenge

Next week: LEARNING (School, Books, Pens, Computers, Libraries,...)

Violet Nesdoly / poems
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Monday, August 29, 2011

remembering moments (#646-658 of 1000 gifts)

"We do not remember days, we remember moments." - Cesare Pavese

Let me share with you a few memorable moments from this last week as I carry on naming 1000 gifts.

646. I returned from Kamloops last Monday to find the two hibiscus in my very own garden in bloom.

647. Also in bloom, the mimosa that grows just outside the library...

648. ...which I visited to pick up Bleak House (the BBC dramatization for TV) which was finally in after I requested it several weeks ago. It's so good!

649. My own warm bed under a roof (especially when we passed her on our walk one morning. Poor thing. And I wondered, all morning, What is her story? How could I help?).

650. Short hair in the summer (one of these days I'll update my profile pic!).

651. Corn on the cob.

652. Bert's Bees stuff (I've probably ingested at least a cupful of Bert's Bees lip products in my lifetime).

653. A Saturday lunch with family from out of town.

654. Hydrangeas. The camera doesn't do justice to the depth of their blue.

655. Yesterday's inspiring sermon about my favourite book—the Bible.

656. Sunday lunch with son, then a walk along False Creek. 

657. A gloriously strange flower seen on our walk. It looked like a thistle blooming on top of an artichoke. (Indeed, it is an artichoke in blossom.)

658. This whimsical stair ornament captured during yesterday's travels.


If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here.


Violet Nesdoly / poems
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Friday, August 26, 2011

book review: The Fine Art of Insincerity by Angela Hunt

In The Fine Art of Insincerity, author Angela Hunt takes us through one grueling weekend in the lives of three sisters. They meet on St. Simons Island (Georgia U.S.A.) to empty out their deceased grandmother’s beach house, but end up going through a lot more stuff than just what their grandmother left behind.

Hunt gives each sister – oldest Ginger, middle Pennyroyal, and youngest Rose — a voice of her own to the extent of setting each speaker’s chapters in its own font. Each woman speaks in first person, present tense, giving the story a feel of immediacy. Chapters are titled with the name of the speaker so there’s never any doubt as to whose head we’re in.

In this way Hunt explores the impact of a childhood that was colored by trauma and parental abandonment, the parenting of a loving grandmother, that grandmother’s own series of husbands, and the birth-order roles that each of the girls has played and continues to play.

I enjoyed the way Hunt brought out the issues between the sisters by putting them in singular situations or together to let us watch them be bossy, argue, weep, avoid, sneak around, flirt etc., allowing us as readers to draw our own conclusions about each character.

As the title suggests, there are people with honesty issues in this story. Other themes that get top billing are sibling roles, the fact that things are often not as they appear, the importance of communication, and an exploration of what love really looks like – in families and in marriage. Religious faith, though present (an epigraph quoting 1 Corinthians 13 opens the book) plays a minor role in this story.

This character-driven book is not fast-moving or particularly exciting. But it does give us a chance to get to know these three women and their grandmother in a way that leads us to probe our own selves and look at our own relationships with sisters, spouses, and other family members.

As an oldest girl child, I saw a lot of myself in Ginger, unarguably the most irritating of the three sisters. Though I often felt like giving flirty Penny a shake, there were times I applauded her for her perception. I saw bits of my own younger sisters in soft, dreamy, yet relationship savvy Rose. And of course Grandma Lillian, who doesn’t make an appearance but casts a long shadow via memories and memorabilia, is someone I, and probably many readers, wouldn’t mind being like – sans all the husbands of course.

The paperback edition of The Fine Art of Insincerity ends with discussion questions and an interview of the author, making this an excellent choice for reading clubs.

Title: The Fine Art of Insincerity
Author: Angela Hunt 
Paperback: 320 pages 
Publisher: Howard Books; Original edition (May 3, 2011) 
ISBN-10: 1439182035 
ISBN-13: 978-1439182031

Watch a video trailer of the book.

Angela Hunt's website.

Thank you to Angela Hunt for picking my name in her Share it with a Sister contest and sending me the book – for free.

This review was first published on Blogcritics.

Violet Nesdoly / poems
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Kayaks on the Nicomekl


Next Week: FIRE (Flame, Burning, Hot Things, Matches, Lighters,...)

Violet Nesdoly / poems
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

family--the colour of love (#635-645 of 1000 gifts)

"In our life there is a single colour, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the colour of love." Marc Chagall

I am late posting the update on my 1000 gifts this week because I've been so busy enjoying them! We got back yesterday from visiting the kids in the interior, but other things needed to be done. However, I'm finally back on track and ready to share the wonderful gifts of family from the week just past.

635. Finishing the baby afghan on time.

636. The kids' basement reno. They did an amazing job!

637. Watching little people play.

638. Exploring "scawy" spiders and sharks on YouTube.

639. Finger paints and a mommy who doesn't freak out when kids get a little dirty.

640. A wonderful dad who enjoys the beach as much as his sons do.

641. Anticipating No. 3 (due in just three weeks).

642. An uneventful drive to and from...

643. ...with all safe and sound on the home front.

644. Kitchen bliss making focaccia bread and muffins for my Volta friends.

645. Our own little beach—the Nicomekl River as we see it on our morning walks. 


If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here.


Violet Nesdoly / poems
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Thursday, August 18, 2011


John Diefenbaker and P.M. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, ca. 1910
A young John Diefenbaker meets Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier while peddling newspapers as a university student in Saskatoon. (Sculptor: Bill Epp)

Next Week: BLUE (Water, Sky, Vehicles, Houses, Flowers,...)

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Monday, August 15, 2011

thinking ahead (#623-634 of 1000 gifts)

"If you don't know where you're going, you will wind up somewhere else." Yogi Berra

We're already well into the double digits of August. How does this happen? In the little corner where I live it's been a week of slow but steady productivity. I'm making notes for the class I'll be teaching this fall at Women By Design, eating lots of blueberries and brooding on ways I can wrestle my bloated photo collection (the bane of digital photography) into some sort of order. I worked at that most of Saturday and I think I have a system.

I'm also thinking of sitting down and making some goals for the upcoming fall season. I need to know where I'm heading to give my life some starch. I'll probably be referring to Michael Hyatt's excellent free ebook Creating Your Personal Life Plan for guidance and some templates.

Here are some gifts that I enjoyed this week:

623. Summer colour against white stucco. 

624. Discovering the "Next" button on my Firefox toolbar (whisks me from one blog to the next in my Google subscriptions).

625. Two little birds who know a good place when they find one.

626. The way our city decorates its sidewalk kiosks.

627. Little mysteries to ponder, like why is one of these power-pole anchor bolts corroded and cracked? (It looks a lot like the pole of a deteriorating car battery.)

628. Blue and green.

629. The grey lace of Dusty Miller.

630. The oversized leaves of these plants in a city garden. 

631. Peter Rabbit and his sister playing tag on the path in front of us as we walked.

632. Feasting on blueberries.

633. Time to spend archiving and transferring my photo collection (8,000+ photos is waaaay too many to be storing in iPhoto).

634. Manna every morning — without fail something. Thank You Lord!


If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here.


Violet Nesdoly / poems
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