Thursday, January 30, 2014

After neglecting my blog for nearly three years, I've decided to share aspects of my life on a more regular basis. I'll try to do a thorough entry about each facet of Marianne.

First and foremost, I've been a homemaker for years and years. My husband and our family is and always has been my first priority, but I also have lots of different interests.

There is Marianne, the collector. I collect stamps--preferably used U.S. and German stamps. I have quite an extensive collection which started when my father gave me a small album for my tenth birthday. For years I forgot about stamp collecting. In 2000 I came into possession of a cigar box full of unsorted stamps. My interest in organizing these stamps and others I've acquired since then into albums and stock books grew by leaps and bounds. I also purchase the U.S. Postal Service yearbook to augment my collection. I also collect old paper money, post cards, and coins.

There is Marianne, the musician. I play the piano--not well but just enough to teach my grandchildren and great-grandchildren how to play. We started out with a broken down piano from a garage sale and gradually managed to work our way up to a brand new Kawai baby grand. Our daughters took classical piano lessons in both Germany and the United States. They took the classical piano to much higher levels than I and also played instruments in high school marching bands. Our son played the trumpet because he had no interest in the piano.

There is Marianne, the handicrafts artisan. When our children were small, I sewed and knitted most of their clothes. I've sewn a bridal gown, bridesmaids' dresses and graduation formals. In more recent times I spent lots of time crocheting Barbie gowns, including beautiful bridal gowns from pattern books. At the moment I'm particularly fond of knitting ruffled scarves from special yarn.

There is Marianne, the homemaker. My husband and I have upholstered furniture and built several furniture items from kits. One year when my husband was serving overseas, my mother and I built a six-drawer dresser from a kit. I've hooked rugs and hung wallpaper. I cook and bake, although not as frequently in recent years. I have done a bit of gardening and landscaping, but this has become tedious.

There is Marianne, the Special Educator. At age forty, I decided to go to college. At age fifty I got my first teaching position in a public school. My mind was occupied with lesson plans, IEP meetings and keeping a clean and calm classroom, but my students knew that their issues were my priority.

There is Marianne, the computer geek. We got our first computer in 1984--an IBM, PC Jr. In the absence of liquid finances, I acquired a dozen discarded computers from our County and managed to salvage enough to bring six working 386's into my classroom. Besides being largely self-taught, I also benefitted from a couple of required classes and workshops through my teaching job. My husband and I each have our own Windows 7 computers with printers, speakers and other peripherals that I keep functioning. I also volunteer at the local library, giving private lessons in e-mailing and other applications. I've created slide shows and videos and uploaded them to YouTube. I participate on social networks, notably Facebook and LinkedIn. I also repair and colorize old photos.

There is Marianne, the family historian. Having kept track for years of relatives and their offspring, I compiled a family calendar to distribute among them. This was such a success that someone suggested I produce a family genealogy website. With the training of a nephew who was studying computer technology at UC Davis, I created three websites: my husband's family tree (passworded), my own family tree (also passworded), and a public website of my step-mother's family tree. I had inherited a bunch of pictures and information of people unrelated to me. I kept this public in the hope that someone from the family would recognize and claim these items. Someone in Canada did.

There is Marianne, the writer. After I retired, I helped a couple of friends get their books published. I had written chapters and journals but never considered publishing until I saw the result of their work. I decided that I would publish my memoir. I was so happy with the result that I pulled together some old and new writings to publish a collection of short works. I discovered that publishing with a subsidy publisher like Authorhouse was expensive upfront and not at all profitable. The local library would even accept my donation of books. I have used for my subsequent three books.

As time goes on, I'll also share more subtle aspect, such as the political activist and the ever-curious Marianne asking questions of governmental agencies and corporations.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I've also created a short video to advertise my collection of short works, Mindpieces, published at

Two New Books by Marianne Tong

Since my last posting on this 'Blog, I've written and self-published two books at My Memoir, published in 2009, is called The Little Girl That Could. My Collection of Short Works, published in 2011, is called Mindpieces. I've created a couple of videos to help publicize them on YouTube and Facebook.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This was the first bridal Barbie Doll Bridal Gown I crocheted. I used an Annie's Attic pattern. The gown turned out so well that I was encouraged to crochet more gowns. I used both Annie's Attic and Paradise Patterns. Most are crocheted with Bedspread weight crochet thread.

I crocheted this gown very recently from an old Annie's Attic pattern. The train has four layers of lacy crocheting which cascades gently.

Here is a precious gown that represents the wedding gown worn by Grace Kelly. The bodice has the faux pearls crocheted right in. The veil has been salvaged from my daughter's wedding gown. I crocheted this gown from a Paradise Pattern

I had lots of fun crocheting this lovely Ascot dress from a Paradise Pattern. You may remember Audrey Hepburn as My Fair Lady wearing a similar gown to the Ascot races when she yelled at a horse, "Move your bloomin' arse!"