“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Tuesday 20 December 2011

A Simple Woman's Journal

FOR TODAY Wednesday 21st December  2011

Outside my window...Have a guess? No not the usual blue sky and fluffy white clouds...today I can report we have a complete grey blanket. It has obviously followed my daughter from Scotland!
At least the still air gently coming in through the open window is warm though.
I am thinking...I need to scoot about this morning to get as much done as I can. With spending the majority of yesterday chatting, I need to tick some more off my list.
I am thankful...that we will be able to spend our Christmas all in the one nest. Although I'd like all the rest of my family here too, I have to be content for now. Other family members are suggesting potential dates for visiting next year, so that's exciting.
In the kitchen...chestnuts. I'll be making the chestnut stuffing later. I use a recipe that my mother-in-law gave me for our first married Christmas together.

I am wearing...my pj's. My daughter nipped through from her room once my OH left for work this morning and we've had a nice cuppa, cosy tucked up in my bed. Also my son's just visited us for a quick natter as he missed his train, so has a few minutes before the next one's due.
I am creating...recipes for the Christmas meals. I know I should be done and dusted by now but I've seen so many wonderful recipes and idea's that I keep changing my mind. Tomorrow is the cut off point for requests and final decisions will be made.  

I am going...into the city for lunch today and round up the last of the presents.

I am wondering...about donating a Goat. Because I'm not in the UK this Christmas with the majority of our family, there isn't the usual gift giving for everyone, so I think this is a good way of spreading the Christmas spirit.

I am reading...'Bound Feet and Western Dress' by Pang-Me and Natasha Chang. It's been a busy week so I haven't managed to finish it yet. I picked it up from the charity shop a few weeks ago.

"In China, a woman is nothing."
Thus begins the saga of a woman born at the turn of the century to a well-to-do, highly respected Chinese family, a woman who continually defied the expectations of her family and the traditions of her culture. Growing up in the perilous years between the fall of the last emperor and the Communist Revolution, Chang Yu-i's life is marked by a series of rebellions: her refusal as a child to let her mother bind her feet, her scandalous divorce, and her rise to Vice President of China's first women's bank in her later years.

In the alternating voices of two generations, this dual memoir brings together a deeply textured portrait of a woman's life in China with the very American story of Yu-i's brilliant and assimilated grandniece, struggling with her own search for identity and belonging. Written in pitch-perfect prose and alive with detail, Bound Feet and Western Dress is the story of independent women struggling to emerge from centuries of customs and duty.
From the Back Cover
After long afternoons spent with her great-aunt Yu-i drawing forth her story, Pang-Mei Natasha Chang, a first-generation Chinese-American, paints an unforgettable saga of a woman, born in Shanghai at the turn of the century to a highly respected, well-to-do family, who continually defied the expectations of her class and culture.
'In China, a woman is nothing,' began Yu-i over tea and dumplings. 'This is the first lesson I want to give so that you will understand.' Growing up in the perilous years between the fall of the last Emperor and the Communist Revolution, Yu-i led a life marked by a series of rebellions that changed the course of her life, including the first and most lasting: her refusal to have her feet bound. And as Yu-i confides her innermost dreams and demons, Pang-Mei comes to understand something of her own ambivalence regarding her Chinese heritage - and the ever-present tug between familial duty and desire.
Bound Fee and Western Dress is an exquisitely written dual memoir that tells the story of independent women struggling to emerge from centuries of custom and tradition, a deeply textured portrait which braids a woman's life in China with the very Western story of a young woman's search for identity and belonging.
About the Author:-

Pang-Mei Natasha Chang was raised in Connecticut. She received her B.A. in Chinese Studies from Harvard and a J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law. She practiced Law in New York City before moving to Moscow, where she currently resides with her husband. Bond Feet and Western Dress is her first book.

Although its quite a thin book due to the timing, basically if I'm sitting comfortably then I tend to fall asleep ~ I haven't made much headway yet. But I can say what little I've read has been really interesting. The binding of feet for instance is truly unbelievable and if you want to read more follow this link. foot binding There's some photos too for the not so faint at heart.

I am hoping....that the sun will come out to visit today.
I am looking forward to...every day so that I can make the most of our family being together.
I am hearing...the lorikeets as usual but also the magpies are very noisy this morning. My daughter snuffles...obviously she's bought a little something else with her from Edinburgh.

Around the house...there's an air of anticipation. Santa's near to circling the building. The lights are twinkling on the tree. The cupboard's are full of tasty treats and culinary delights.

I am pondering...why you never see a baby dove (or pigeon for that matter). We've recently had two nests here in our garden but I've never seen the babies. I believe they look like only their mother could love them.
One of my favourite things...having my daughter snuggled up close whilst I'm posting this. She's the one that inspired me to start blogging in the first place. She's always on the other end of the posts on the other side of the world, so its especially nice for her to be here watching the creating.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Total enjoyment and pandemonium. Bring it on.... 

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...There are three for this post actually...well it is Christmas after all!

Why a photo of a crowd? What is causing the commotion?

Lets take a closer look.....

 Why a ferret walking in the park wearing a santa hat of course....

And off he goes to enjoy the rest of his day!
My daughter saw this unusual sight as she walked along The Mall on her recent trip to London.
And that's it for this week . . . my day book, although a day later than usual. Don't forget to pop over to the Simple Woman to check out the other day book entries : D


  1. I am so ashamed of myself, I keep meaning to pop by to read your blog and I am always so busy, but today I put time aside for Neesie Natters and here I am! Firstly, can I say how much I love your support and wonderful comments on my blog posts.....your comments today really mean a lot to me, as I DO spend hours posting and I am so pleased that you have enjoyed the Advent Calendar posts! THANKS! XX
    Secondly, your writing is wonderful, it feels like I am sat in your kitchen nattering! I loved this post particularly and I want to wish you and your family a VERY Happy Christmas and a bright New Year!

  2. Love the Ferret! It looks just like the ones I saw at Walton Gardens. I bet it gets tired if it has to walk the full length of the Mall.

  3. for some reason your posts are not showing up on my blogger reader and i'm missing them, I will have to correct that, this is such a lovely post, your daughter snuggled up with you having a cuppa.I love the photo of the ferret,, howunusual to see, makes me think of the book Ink heart. I would love this book selection, I just checked our library, it doesn't have it but it reminds me of one I just read,,, enjoy your daughter and the holidays and I shall lookforward to the owls!!!

  4. Hello Karen,
    What a lovely surprise seeing you in my in-box this morning. Thank you so much for popping by as I know how busy you are and saying such kind words.
    I enjoy creating the posts and never thought I’d become so addicted to blogging {yes, I have a problem too}. It’s giving me such a positive, different outlook on everything plus really tapping into my creative side ~ which was being seriously neglected.
    Having said all that though it’s through people like you that give such inspiration and encouragement that help keep a novice like myself on a steep learning curve. I love a challenge ;D
    I’ll be showing soon my version of your post on the ‘Snowman Soup’ gift and will link back to your post of course.
    I had such fun making them and I know they are going to cause ‘a stir’ when the children receive them.
    Have a fantastic festive Christmas with all your family and friends and Every Best Wish for 2012 :D

  5. I think he's a star Mark and I'm quite taken with him myself which is not like me at all...I don't normally like ferrets.
    I think the hat kinda sold me ;D

  6. Morning Laurie,
    Hmm...can't help you with the reader problem I'm afraid I haven't a Scooby. Scooby doo ~ haven't a clue. Just in case you haven't heard that term used before ;)
    We've started the cuppa in bed ritual each morning now and I must admit it’s a wonderful way to start my day.
    I haven't heard of that book so I'll have to do a search.
    Sorry for misleading you over the owls too but I genuinely thought they were owls...you'll need to see today's post to know what I mean.
    I hope your cosy today....we've had a warm one. It's now 5.58pm and the temperature is still 26 degree's! xo


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