Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Super. Natural. British Columbia

That title is a slogan I saw on a T-shirt in the Vancouver area. Loved it, and now I wish I had purchased the T-shirt.

I'm finally ready to share some photos from our wonderful trip to Vancouver. First one below is looking up toward the neighborhood we stayed in. The second is a class going on -- Salsa by the Sea.

Below: dipping my toes in the Pacific Ocean, and a cute mailbox, plus a hike to Lighthouse Landing.

Totem poles in Stanley Park, then a visit to the University of British Columbia, Museum of Anthropology

The Haida creation story: After the big flood receded, Raven was looking around and found a clamshell full of living creatures. He cajoled them to come out, and they were the first people -- the Haida. This huge carving is by Bill Reid.

Hiking in Lynn Park:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Oops.. Deleting Photos

I have sometimes wondered why photos disappear from my blog posts, such as they have from my recent Friday Books post. Now I finally figured it out. Duh! I went through some photos and deleted what I thought I no longer needed, and the "book drops" were two that I deleted. So, since everything is connected these days, and the computer thinks it knows more than people do, my photos from the post have also been deleted.

I still have not shown you my Vancouver pictures, but I will share this one with you. No, make that two. First is a waterfall taken from way above, and the second is the suspension bridge which is above the waterfall and from which I took the photo. It wasn't too scary, because the bridge isn't that long, but if I'd been on it any more time than I was, it would have started to creep me out. It was pretty bouncy!


Does it look scary to you?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Books: YA and Book Drops

Last week I promised that this week I would tell you why I was focusing on kid and Young Adult books. I will do that in a moment, but first, please read my most recent review, below.


I read a Young Adult novel called Shine by Lauren Myracle. A gay teen is severely beaten up and left in a coma, presumably a victim of a hate crime. This book tells the story of how the friends and the small town deal with the trauma and the intrigue (it is unknown who did the assault). A surviving friend decides to do some sleuthing. It's therefore something of a mystery "whodunit" and also just a story of friendship and soul-searching.

I liked it quite well until the end. The last chapter had the teen girl behaving too adult-like, in my opinion. Otherwise it was an engaging and page-turning story. This book stayed home with me and was not part of the book drop (yet).


Now the story of why I was busy reading kid books. First I must back up just a bit: this spring my church handed out a small bag of "stuff" to everyone. We were challenged to do a Bold Summer Adventure, using the ideas in the bag or to make up our own adventure. I decided for my Bold Adventure to hand out some free books. I wanted to read at least some of them before the book drops, so I'd have an idea of the value of the books. It's really not all that bold, but for me it was an adventure. I knew we were headed out of the state, in fact, out of the country as well, so I chose to do my Bold Adventure while traveling.

Last week we attended a family reunion in the state of Washington. I handed out my first two books there. "Handed out" is really not correct. I chose to do anonymous book drops and just hope that the books end up in the hands of kids of the appropriate age. The first one, as pictured above, was left on a coffee table in a commons area at a state park. That book was for a pre-teen or teen girl (probably) and was not a book I had read. (I hope it's good.) The next picture shows book #2, left in a dresser drawer in the room we stayed in at the state park. It just so happened that a guy came in once and asked if he could see our accommodations. He was to be staying there soon (next?) with a family group which included 12 children! So I left book #2 in a drawer there, hoping that at least one kid out of the 12 would be interested to read about "why fish fart" (most likely a boy). This is also a book I did not read.

After the reunion we headed to Canada for some plain old vacation time. Books #3 and #4 were left in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Number 3 was left on a chair in a cafeteria inside an awesome museum... that book was my favorite of the bunch ('Flora and Ulysses,' which I reviewed last week). I saw several children there. Perhaps one of them ended up with this fabulous book. Number 4 was 'because of mr. terupt' which I also reviewed last week. I left #4 outside a random apartment building in a Vancouver neighborhood which tends to contain a population of younger ages, perhaps with children (I hope so). It was raining, so I looked for a protected spot, and a ledge under an overhang at an apartment building was the perfect spot.

I took pictures of all my drop spots, but somehow lost the last two photos. Who knows where I filed them so carefully? I now can't find them. It doesn't matter, though. In all 4 books I left a little note, telling them that the book is free as part of my Bold Summer Adventure. I also made a temporary email address to which they can send a book review, if they want to. I even invited them not to use their real name so that everything can be private. I hope to hear at least one "found your book" story. If not, I'll just trust that the books end up in the right hands and that they will be appreciated.

And a quick P.S. -- I finished another book and want to include its short review. Stella Bain by Anita Shreve - I read this for a book club discussion. I almost didn't read it but chose to do so at the last minute. It takes place during WWI. The story is interesting and a quick read. The female character is too perfect, and it's a little predictable. Good for a beach read if you don't want to be overly intellectually challenged. 3 stars, which is generous.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vancouver is Waiting

I am still sorting through and organizing my photos from our trip to Vancouver, so I'm not ready to post them yet, as I had promised in Tuesday's post. Instead I am showing you two quilts. I believe I neglected to show this asterisk quilt here at my blog. It is a quilt top I made years ago... except for the outer border. That I did recently. And then I had it quilted professionally and finally got it bound and done in June, I think it was. These are blocks I won in a block lotto four years ago! I didn't know it was THAT old, but the block lotto organizer looked it up. Wow!


I still have several UFOs, but not nearly the mountain I used to have. I am gradually working my way through them. Speaking of mountains, here is a little kid quilt that I made for Wrap a Smile. KR in California quilted it for me, and it'll go soon to some child having cleft lip surgery. The pattern is Delectable Mountains. I really like how it turned out.


Back to sorting those Vancouver photos. You'll see them soon, after tomorrow's Friday Books. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Travels!

We attended a family reunion in Washington state. This was our 3rd reunion with the group of adult cousins from my dad's side of the family. We do them every 4 years. Our ages range over 30 years, so some of us had never met until we started doing these reunions. It is really fun to get re-acquainted. I have some awesome cousins!

This year's reunion was held at Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington. Here are some pictures, mostly of scenery since you don't know the people:

My sisters and I each bought a purple hat - same fabric but each with different patterns to suit our personalities - at the Mad Hatter's Shop in Port Townsend. The hat maker was there in the store and had made a zillion hats out of quilty fabric that we recognized. Her three purple hats are now living in Minnesota and New York.

Below: my sister at the Hurricane Ridge sign. We were told "you know why it's called 'hurricane' don't you?!" We were prepared for gale-force winds and freezing cold, but it was sunny, still, and even a tad hot. Six years ago when we tried going up there, it was all fogged in. I was thankful we got to see it this time. GORGEOUS!


To be honest, this part of the world, the Pacific Northwest, is one of my favorite places. It's so beautiful and has a mild (perfect) climate (not counting the current terrible drought). If I could, I would move there tomorrow.

In my shopping pursuits I found only one Fat Quarter to bring home. I didn't see much fabric, and what I did see was similar to what I can buy here. I also brought home a short piece of beautiful ribbon. It's just gorgeous, and so dear that I could afford only one foot of it.

Next: hubby and I continued on to Vancouver, BC, Canada. Those photos will be in my next post.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Books: Two Kid Books

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo - 5 stars
One thing I love about DiCamillo's books is that she respects the intelligence and feelings that children have. She knows they are not too young to have experienced grief, fear, love -- some of life's deep issues. Her books encompass all of these real life issues and do it in such a sweet, endearing way. I think it must make a child feel so happy to know that their feelings are being respected; also being portrayed realistically.

Flora and Ulysses does this so beautifully. The language is one of the beautiful aspects of the book. She doesn't talk down to kids, either. She uses big words, knowing they'll figure out some things from context. I hope they learn to love language through reading DiCamillo's books! I am a huge DiCamillo fan!

This book is very touching and sweet and funny. There are laugh-out-loud moments and poignant moments. All in a book written for kids... but adults, please read it, too. You won't be sorry.


because of mr. terupt by Rob Buyea - 3 stars
A new teacher comes to a 5th grade class. Seven kids in the class take turns telling the story of how the year goes. It's engaging. The seven kids are a good cross-section of personalities that one sees in a classroom. Mr. Terupt does a nice job of helping them learn personal responsibility. Sometimes I felt a bit whammed over the head with the message, but I think a child will enjoy this book and be inspired by it. [P.S. Many reviews at goods(dot)com give this book 5 stars. Give it a shot.. you and/or your kids might be wowed by it, too. I give it 3 stars, but it might be that I was reading it directly after a DiCamillo bombshell and so had some really high standards in mind. Who knows.]

There is a reason I am reading children's books which I will explain next Friday. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Books: How Green Was My Valley

How Green Was my Valley by Richard Llewellyn. Copyright 1943, this is an old book which I think I read as a teenager, and again now, almost 50 years later (the very same copy - found recently at my mom's home). I am sure I got much more out of it this time around. A small mining town in Wales is the setting, with focus on a young boy growing up in a family of miners. It's his coming-of-age story along with the story of the tough yet loving life they lived, the struggles with unions and mining management, and all the ramifications of turmoil in the town and all the townspeople.

The narrator is full of love for his homeland, his history, and his family. The language in this book sings. It's the love that shines through so strongly and leaves the biggest impression on me. Beautifully written and an awesome book.