Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Morning Staff Meeting

Good morning everyone. It's been a long time since we've held a Monday Morning staff meeting.

This morning we're going to be sharing some apple pie a la mode. Help yourself. I apologize that this is a store bought pie but the crust is quite good, flaky and light.

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Grab the September edition of Country Living magazine, or maybe you have a subscription. Fellow northern Illinois blogger Jen Rizzo's kitchen makeover is included. She had a vision and created a wonderful and warm space.

The most important part of the article to me is that fact that they included the budget. I love looking at beautiful kitchens but always tell myself, "That's got to be impossible to accomplish on a small budget." Well, Jen shows how it's done.

First she shows you how to build a kitchen island.


Here's her original "oak cave".

Source: Jennifer Rizzo

They saved money by painting the cabinets themselves and installing wood countertops rather than granite.

Source: Jennifer Rizzo

It just goes to show what you can accomplish with a vision and some hard work.

Congratulations Jen on your article in Country Living!

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The Help..

Have you read it? Have you seen the movie?

A friend and I are going to see it tomorrow. I finished reading the book in two days. Well, I wasn't working and just couldn't help but engage in a reading binge.

I liked the book but it was fiction and you know the problems I have with fiction. It seemed very true to the times, believe me I remember them vividly but I kept referring in my mind to Stephen King's book on writing. He bemoans the fact that authors rely on plot mechanisms that they chart out ahead of time and in this book I could see all those mechanisms at work. YIKES!!! A mind like mine can really pull all the enjoyment out of something. I can't help myself. HA.

SPOILERS AHEAD....skip down if necessary.

The "pie" part of the plot simply did not work. I could see that she was building a way that the maids could escape unscathed from their actions. That's not how life, revolution and progress work. There was a price to be paid and at the time it was bitter and dangerous. Someone like Hilly would never keep that a secret, certainly not from her husband who would have exacted revenge.

I do applaud the message that it was people who were brave and willing to put their necks (literally) on the line for equality. In some cases it was not an act of defiance. Rosa Parks was not a revolutionary. She's stated many times that she was just TIRED. She just was bone tired and didn't feel like giving up her seat. She never got on that bus to become a hero or to propel a movement.

By the way, the civil rights movement was actually sparked by the murder of Emmett Till, a Chicago teenager who was killed in Mississippi in 1955. His mother insisted on a public funeral, open casket with journalists present. Her insistance propelled the movement into existence.

The Help did bring back memories for me because as a kid being raised in the Chicago area, going to the deep rural south in the 50's was like going to the moon. The culture was so foreign to me. Don't me wrong, racism existed in the big city north but we lived in an integrated community and racism was more underground.

I'm glad that author Catherine Stockett was able to give the help a voice. I am anxious to see the movie because I believe in the hands of talented actors this story will be awesome.

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Do you sew? Would you like to help some neighbors in need?

I'm speaking of our neighbors in Joplin, Missouri and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. They're not right around the corner from us, but they are still our neighbors in need.

There are upwards of 14,000 families who have lost everything, including all their holiday decorations. Think about how you would feel if all those ornaments your children made over the years were destroyed? Christmas is fast approaching and these families could use the comfort of a handmade Christmas stocking.

Craft Hope has launched the Christmas in Dixie for tornado survivors project. You can help by creating a handmade stocking and mailing it off before September 23rd. The project coordinators will make sure they are delivered before Christmas. They are asking for standard size stockings (not minis) with a loop on the top and possibly a blank space for monogramming at a later date.

Complete information can be found here:


There are plenty of free stocking patterns online.

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Have a great day everyone. Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to visit with me.


At Home in English Valley said...

Hi Suzanne, I've been absent for too many MMSM's since Monday is one of my baby wrangling days. Glad to stop by today and catch up. I read Steven King's writing book and as you can see didn't do me a lick of good! I still have a basket with your name on it. Love, Penny

Harriet said...

My book club read The Help some time ago....our discussion was very good as this group consists of women and men who are 30ish to 80+. The age spread gives us unique insight into all of our books because the years our ages cover also cover great changes in society. We also went to see the movie. Everyone (not all attended) enjoyed the movie because with a few exceptions, the movie follows the book well.

As for the "theme" of the book, for our club it was enlightening because our younger members had no history to bring to the discussion. Those of us who knew about Civil Rights from Emmet Till to Rosa Parks to MLK to Malcom X to now were able to bring our perspective as well as experiences that in all honesty were better than the book.

As you can see.......I'll never write a book too wordy.

Tess said...

Loved the book and the movie. I rarely go to the theater, but made a point of seeing this one. The acting was outstanding and little Mae Mobley broke my heart.

Take tissue.


Mary Rex said...

I have not yet read the book, because I am waiting for it to show up at my local library bi-weekly book sale. All books show up there eventually.

I am so glad I like to read fiction. I enjoy historical fiction, so I always learn something. The last three books I've read have been set in the early 20th century, timed so closely that the characters could have known each other.

I love the Christmas stocking idea! Thank you for sharing it with us:)!

Lisa D. said...

I will have a piece of pie, thank you. There's nothing like homemade, but the storebought are getting better.
Love that kitchen makeover. I love the island, I love white painted cabinets (always so bright and clean and fresh looking) and I love the wood counters. I want to do a mix of concrete and butcherblock counters in mine.
I have not read or seen "The Help". Maybe I'll get to watch it when it comes out on DVD (or on TV). I tend to pick apart murder mystery stories. Either you can guess the murderer right away, or it's a big twist that doesn't fit with the facts when you look back at the story.
Oh, I thought of you, and books you've mentioned, just a couple weeks ago. I read that Princess Catherine was seen reading the Potato Peel Society book (I know I've got that wrong; I'm not familiar with the book but remembered you'd mentioned it). Just thought you might be interested :)
Also read a book this summer called "Majestie" by David Teems. It is the history behind the King James translation of the Bible and somewhat of a biography of King James. All kinds of interesting stories and facts in it.

Vee said...

I've wanted to see The Help as reviews are all over the place and quite favorable. I don't enjoy excessive machinations in a novel either. Hmmm...

Oh, I will go take a closer look at my current issue. I've tossed it into a corner upset with CL in general for some tricks they've been playing. I don't like the new format and I did not like having July and August squeezed into one little issue. Now you've got me curious about this gal's kitchen.

Thank you for the suggestion about Christmas stockings. Perhaps I can do something to help. I'll look into it.

A great Monday Morning Meeting!

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Mary Rex said...

'The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society' is the name of the book. I have another couple of books you might like to read and share, Suzanne...I will send them along when I finish them;)