Monday, July 30, 2012

Sweet Baby

This is my newest great-niece. Isn't she just gorgeous??? I have not seen her in person yet, but will in two days. She is now six days old.

My niece, her mommy, is feeling very blessed and happy. They tried for a long time, went through all the tests and were starting to consider adoption. Then she came along, and they are thrilled. A happy ending story.

She is beautiful, don't you agree??

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Company Coming!

Gearing up for company here, so you know what that means... trying to clean. However, since I hate to clean, what it really means is, put off cleaning as long as possible and do some sewing instead.

So I've been putzing around in the sewing room. Created this:

a close-up of the portion I added; the bear and tree with sky and water

I added it to this already-created quilt which is a Round Robin game we're playing at Sunshine. Eventually this will be added to again, finished and shared with a child.

Next I created this:

just a block.. the black is some scraps I was given, and I just felt inspired to sit down and use it in this way. Why not? It's more fun than cleaning!

And then this:
it's a little duckling block, paper pieced. I turned it into a pin cushion, but in the process the duck lost part of its duckiness.

This morning Charles and I worked in the nursery at church. It was really fun. This cute little boy was our only visitor for a while. Then we got another boy. Both of them are about 2and1/2. It had been a long time since we played with any 2-year-olds. It was fun, and the time went really fast.

Now I've done some sewing, surfed the net, watched some TV, written this blog, and petted the cat. I think I may have to admit that the time has come: I must cave in and do some cleaning. Company comes in 24 hours!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Books: A Review and Days 21-30

This week's book is More Than it Hurts You by Darin Strauss.

A sick baby, a physician, the baby's parents, lawyers, hospital administrators... these are the characters in this story. Right away there is tension between the parents and the doctors. The disagreements fester and end up in legal battles.

There are a couple of unexpected twists and turns in this story. At times I was bored with the story and wanted it to move along; the second half of the book was more interesting and moved quickly.

Almost all the characters functioned through a fog of stereotypes, prejudices, and distrust of each other. That part was so overdone that it felt unrealistic and jarring. America does function with a heritage of racism and whatnot, but I don't think it permeates every single human interaction as it did in this book.

I would call this just an OK book, kind of mediocre.


Now I shall complete the 30 Days of Books meme which I have condensed into three posts rather than 30 (see July 13 and July 21).

Day 21 - favorite book from my childhood. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This book was magical, in my mind. My family read it aloud together around a fireplace while we were on vacation. That reading of it was magical, too, and helped plant this book firmly in the "wow" section of my brain.

Day 22 - favorite book I own. I actually can't find the book right now, but I'm pretty sure I still own it. I bought it during my last year in college, 1974. It's probably out of print, and I don't recall the exact title. It's something like "Touch the Land" - wish I could find it to tell you exactly. It's a great book with pictures and quotes from American Indian people, mostly from the early times when early contact with white people was going so horribly wrong. It's a very moving book. Now I'm going to go on a hunt to find it and look at it again.

Day 23 - a book I have wanted to read for a long time but still haven't. The Bible. I want to read it cover to cover, and have not yet accomplished that goal.

Day 24 - a book that I wish more people would read. Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn.

Day 25 - a character I can relate to the most. I guess I'll say Jane Addams. I read a biography of her when I was about nine; she has been my hero ever since. She often felt "not good enough" (she was crooked from scoliosis and was from a not very well-to-do family) which I also felt/still feel to some degree. She went on to become a great humanitarian and worker for social justice. I share her passion but am not the world leader she became. I guess I'm just a foot soldier for the cause.

Day 26 - a book that changed my opinion about something. A lifetime of reading has helped open my eyes to the wide variety of lifestyles in which human beings engage. Hopefully this helps me to be less judgmental than I might otherwise have been.

Day 27 - the most surprising plot twist or ending. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I read this at age 13 or 14 and bawled my eyes out.

Day 28 - favorite title. I love good use of language and playful word combinations. I know I've enjoyed this in several titles over the years, but can't think of what they were.. all I can say is, I still love an intriguing title and a beautiful book cover. Those two qualities will often entice me to buy a book.

Day 29 - a book that everyone hated but I liked. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I don't really know that everyone hated this book. I read it and enjoyed it, and later when I was in my educational interpreting career, some English classes were assigned this book. I got to interpret the class discussions. Most of the students seemed to dislike it immensely (mostly because of the language), but I still enjoyed it.

Day 30 - my favorite book of all time. I just can't narrow it down to one. I'm going to name two books: Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton and Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn.

Ta-da! I'm done with the 30 Days of Books! It was fun to force myself to think about these topics. Thanks for bearing with me as I participated in this unusually long book discussion!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sewing, Finally!

Even though I'm retired, and I work only a few hours per week at my semi-retirement job, my days fill up, and it is so hard to find time for the things I want to do! I used to only half-believe it when retired people told me this in times past, but it's true! Life is just as busy as ever; it's just that it's filled with other things that I couldn't do while I was working full time.

Anyway, I did manage to do a little bit of sewing. Some of it is a surprise that I can't show you yet. But here is some of it:

These blocks (above) were made along with Victoria at Bumble Beans Inc. She was running a color challenge, giving us a new color to work with each week. We created "made fabric" and turned it into blocks. My "made fabric" is in the centers of the blocks. She ran the challenge for 16 weeks, and I actually kept up, which is unusual for me. I even made some extras, so I had 20 blocks to play with. I'm going to put them together like in this picture, and I have pieced borders in mind to finish it off. It'll take a while for me to get to that next step, so don't expect a finished quilt photo for quite some time.

I also made these (above) blocks for the Block Lotto at Sunshine. Our gal, Tammy, will turn them into awesome quilts for kids.

Then, as I showed you several months ago, I made a quilt for a challenge called Earth From Above. The quilts for that challenge were terrific (except for my mediocre one)! It was a wonderful challenge and so fun to see the results! People are amazingly creative. When I was at Aunt Annie's shop, the place that sponsored the Earth From Above challenge, I snapped this picture of the shop owner, Lucy.

Then I went home and made this quilt and called it "Lucy From Straight On." (A play on words .. Earth From Above? Lucy From Straight On? ... that's how my mind works.)

Last week I gave Lucy the quilt, and she thought it was quite fun. At least she appeared to like it.

So that's what I have been up to! Among many other things. How about you? Does the busy-ness in your life ever slow down??

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Being an Individual

I have been thinking about this issue of individualism lately. Recently I read an article that theorizes that our culture is becoming more and more individualistic. I didn't even think that was possible, but I believe that assessment is correct.

With our total insistence on individualism, our culture has suffered. When I think of societies that I admire, I think of those who value the community over the individual. It's not that the individual is unimportant, of course, but that a person must remember that one's actions affect the community and must keep the good of the community in mind when making decisions, writing laws, working together, and even relating with friends and family.

Just take a look at our broken politics and you can see how individualism has made life worse for all of us. Each politician is out for him/herself, caring too much for whether or not he/she can be re-elected rather than caring uppermost for creating a world that is good for all. People are hurt with words and with deeds and with removal of services that result from caring too much for the wrong focus.

And then we get Aurora, Colorado. It's the epitome of an over-exaggerated individual focus and how it can so terribly hurt the community. I won't even get into our need for stricter gun control laws; that could take pages to discuss all of that. Just seeing the victims on TV and how traumatized they are, and how senseless it all is breaks my heart and shows so clearly that we need to focus on community so much more than we do.

There is comfort in the small and large deeds that the community does to reach out to victims such as in Aurora. But it would be so much better to have a safe and happy community to begin with, so that our fears do not result in such atrocities, and victim outreach is much less necessary.

Lakota children at St. Joseph's Indian School, South Dakota

I don't know how we can go about making this change. Individualism is so deeply entrenched in American society; it's a value we hold, and yet I wish we could see how it hurts us when it gets to be too exaggerated.

Next week a team from my church is going back to Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. The Lakota culture is one of strong community, at least historically (working on community consensus perspective rather than individual or even democracy where majority rules). There are still signs of their community values in how they function today. I hope that our team can learn more about that and maybe even bring back some vestiges of community care than can benefit our church community. It's a start.

Hebrews 13:2
Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!

John 13:34-35

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

Romans 12:9-10
Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

30 Days of Books: Days 11-20

I posted Days 1-10 of this meme on July 13. I'm back now with a few more days' worth of books.

Day 11 - a book I hated. This goes way back to college when we had to read a book in French class, in French! I really struggled and couldn't seem to make any sense out of the book. I finally cheated and found an English translation, then realized why I couldn't make sense out of the book. It was awful and the most boring book I'd ever read! I don't remember the title now. But I will share another title that I disliked: Waiting for Godot, the play... both reading and seeing the play stink. Maybe that makes me unclassy, but so be it.

a Minnesota corn field, completely unrelated to any of the books I'm discussing

Day 12 - a book I used to love but don't anymore. What's the name of that book about a family of rabbits? I can't think of this title, either. I read it when I was in high school and loved it. Years later I tried to read it again and couldn't stand it. The male characters were such chauvinists! I had grown up and learned more about equality and relationships. If anyone knows the title that I'm trying to think of, can you help me out? [Edited.. thanks, A. You reminded me that it is Watership Down.]

Day 13 - my favorite writer. I'd have to say Barbara Kingsolver. She uses language so beautifully.

Day 14 - favorite book of my favorite writer. She wrote three or four books about the same character. I think the first one is called The Bean Trees. I loved these books. It is one of those times where you stop and go back and re-read parts, because it's so beautifully written, you just have to re-absorb the beauty.

Day 15 - favorite male character. Dan in Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn and The Wolf at Twilight also by Nerburn. He has soooo much to teach us.

Day 16 - favorite female character. There are so many! How can I pick? I think I will say that it's the narrator in Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. She's a recent favorite. Also have loved the narrator of The Latehomecomer, a Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang and Jane Addams in her biography, Jane Addams, World Neighbor and the narrator of Wild, From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed. These characters are all from true stories and/or memoirs.

Day 17 - favorite quote from my favorite book. Hard one... I tend not to remember quotes. I'll go with "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." -- the first line in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

Day 18 - a book that disappointed me. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I know, some of you will be appalled. Well, c'est la vie. I was expecting something much better.

Day 19 - favorite book turned into a movie. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The book and movie both came out when I was a child, and they make a huge impact on me. LOVED Gregory Peck in the movie. The photo below is my own copy of the book which I bought in the early 1960s for 60 cents.

Day 20 - favorite romance book. Hmmm.... I rarely read romances. Had to give this one some thought. A recent one I enjoyed was The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker.

And that's it for the second ten days! Soon I'll finish days 21-30.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Books: Pie!

This week's book is Making Piece, a Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie by Beth M. Howard.

a peach pie made by Yours Truly

This is a memoir. The author's husband suddenly dies, and she is thrown into the depth of grief and at a complete loss as to what to do with her life. She was always a pie baker, and she finds baking pies to be healing and comforting. She likes to share pies; she organizes several pie give-aways. She makes pies in multiples that I would never consider (50-100 at a time), then serves free pieces to a fire station and to random people on the street.

Pie is almost a spiritual enterprise for her, and it helps her find herself after being blinded by grief. I love that she sees pie as a comfort food that is meant for sharing. I feel the same way about pie.

I enjoyed the book, but it got a little long; I was ready for it to end before it did. Maybe that was just me being distracted while I was reading this book.

You may see this author here and there.. she has appeared on at least one morning talk show and recently was invited to film for another. I can't remember which shows, but you can read more about her and her pies at her blog and websites called The World Needs More Pie.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Quilting for Good Linky Party

Today I'm linking up with Quilts are for Giving, to share what I've worked on recently in the "giving away quilts" arena.

My local guild has taken on a couple of community projects; one is called Bundles of Love. They provide newborn necessities to families in need, mostly through hospitals. Families get a bundle which includes a blanket or quilt, diapers, diaper bag, newborn clothes and other getting-started necessities, almost all of it hand-made. We did a presentation to Bundles of Love at a recent meeting and expected about 50 quilts, but we actually collected -- TA-DA -- 100 quilts!! We are working with Bundles of Love for one more year, so I better get busy making my share of next year's 100.

This is a top I made from scraps that were given to me.. as I worked on it, I kept getting overdosed on orange. I had to stop looking at it for a while, and come back to it the next day. I managed to get the top made, but I'm still not sure about orange quilts. I hope to get it quilted soon, and maybe it'll come to life then. This will also go to Bundles of Love.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Quilted Rainbow Book

I got this idea at another blog, Homegrown Happy, and thought it looked like fun. I was thinking I could make several, and try to sell them at our church bazaar. However, I did not like the process enough to make more than just one. To make enough money for the time I put in, I'd have to sell this little book for at least $50! LOL... no one would pay that.

This one was a labor of love. My niece is about to have a baby girl (any day now), and this will be the baby's. It's nice to have a quiet toy for situations when playing with a rattle or a drum is out of the question. This is a quiet toy for Great Niece, whoever she is.

front cover... little closer tab attaches with velcro

back cover

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Be the Best Buttonhole You Can Be

This poem was quoted today in church:

By Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

I like this a lot. I want to try to be the best buttonhole I can be. Over my lifetime I have let some buttons down. I didn't hold on tightly enough, and they fell out, or I grabbed too tightly and squeezed the life out of the buttons.

I'm working on trying to be a better buttonhole. Will the people who know me IRL please help me to be open to you at just the right comfort level? And please be kind when I forget and let you fall or when I squeeze too hard. I'll be back at just the right buttonhole-ness as soon as I get back on my path. Just remember that I love you!

photo is borrowed from the blog, Sew Mama Sew

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Books: A Condensed 30-Day Meme

Thank you for responding to my questions in my previous post. Sometimes it’s fun to do something a little different. I really enjoyed seeing your variety of answers. I think it’s good to have to describe yourself sometimes. Makes us stop and think about how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves. And I was surprised that on the Bucket List question I really had to stop and ponder… what IS on my Bucket List?? Mostly it would be travel while we’re still young and healthy enough to do it and enjoy it. Other than that my Bucket List is just to have dear friends and family in my life for as long as possible.

Well, today I am taking on a meme that my niece did on her blog. She dug deep and pondered some heavy topics, but I’m going to keep mine simple. This is supposed to be a 30-day project, but I’m going to try to cram it all in to as few days as I can. I’m starting it today, because it’s Friday Books day, and I do not have a book to report on yet.. haven’t quite finished the book I am currently reading (which is about PIE and makes me hungry for PIE !!!)

Day 1 – best book I read last year: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. The writing is fabulous. I was awe-struck when I reached the end of that book. Experiencing great writing is such a gift.

Day 2 – a book I have read more than 3 times: I don’t know if such a book exists, but I did read a book 3 times, just not MORE than 3 times. Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn. This book sings, cries out, teaches, and caresses.

Day 3 – my favorite series: I rarely read series, but I am slowly working on the Ladies No. 1 Detective series by Alexander McCall Smith.

Day 4 – favorite book of my favorite series: Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith.

Day 5 – a book that makes me happy: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. It’s just a sweet, quiet, dear little book, and I learned about snails.

Day 6 – a book that makes you sad: Home of the Brave by Katharine Applegate and Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhaha Lai. Both are kid books (or YA), and both are about coming to the U.S.A. as a refugee/immigrant. It makes me sad that new life in the U.S. is so hard and that we in the U.S. have such a difficult time welcoming newcomers. We should remember where most U.S. Americans came from – we’re just a big mix of willing and unwilling immigrants.

Day 7 – most underrated book: Not sure what this means.. underrated by whom? I think I’ll go with Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin. At goodreads(dot)com it is rated less than my rating. Also, my sister who owns a bookstore tried to read it and couldn’t get into it. I, however, LOVED it. I found it to be very touching, with a powerful punch but in a quiet, understated way. Maybe extroverts like my sister can’t get into this book, but introverts like me enjoy the quiet, introvert-ish characters. That’s the only explanation I can come up with.

Day 9 – most overrated book: Easy… The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. This book was not well written! People rated it highly, I think, based on the emotional impact of a person knowing he’s dying and leaving his last wishes for his children and his colleagues. I am sympathetic, but not impressed with the quality of this book. In fact, I found it quite disappointing.

Day 10 – favorite classic book: Do I have a favorite in this category? Books which quickly come to mind: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, My Antonia by Willa Cather, Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. (Is this a classic? At what age does a book become a classic?) With more thought I could name a few more, but I decided to go with what popped into my mind first.

This post is already too long, so I’m going to stop here and continue Days 11-30 at another time. It’s fun to challenge myself to come up with answers for these! Thanks for the meme, Niece.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Please Answer...

Answer these questions in the comments section.... just for fun! Thanks.

1. I am _____

2. I wish _____

3. My friends think I'm _____

4. Books are _____

5. Top (or near the top) on my Bucket List is _____

Here are my answers:

1. I am mildly freaking out about soon turning 60.

2. I wish I were a better housekeeper.

3. My friends think I'm silly.

4. Books are great adventures.

5. Top (or near the top) on my Bucket List is to go to Europe with my husband.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

There's a Spam Museum?!

Yes, there is a Spam Museum, and it is in lovely downtown Austin, Minnesota.

On Monday some friends and I all had a free day, so what else could we do but drive down to visit the Spam Museum?? Makes perfect sense, n'est-ce pas??

Thousands of cans make up this display. The woman whose head you see at the bottom of the photo was the most enthusiastic about Spam I ever hope to experience. She was quite the whirling dervish regarding Spam and the museum and also about everything else in the town of Austin -- great skills for her role as museum front-desk greeter!

Spam is a product of Hormel Foods whose headquarters is in Austin, Minnesota. Spam is sold all over the world, and ... hold onto your hats for this surprise ... it is considered quite a delicacy in some parts. Spam is made from ham and "other stuff." We used to eat it when I was a kid, but I haven't eaten it for years, until this week. I had a small cube of it skewered on a pretzel stick while at the museum. They actually have flavored Spam now. The sample I ate was garlic.

I'm not going to run out and stock up on Spam, but I will say that the museum was quite well done. Who knew it could be that interesting? There were some fun hands-on activities for kids, and old relics from past manufacturing days.

a sample wire glove that was used in production. A man in the museum told me he used to work in that division - they'd wear a plastic glove on their hand and then 2 or 3 of these wire things, because it kept the gunk off their hands, and because if you wore just one it would fill up with gunk and get really hard to clean. Ewww. I'm glad I have my career and not that one.

When I was a kid the Spam cans had that little key on the bottom that you hook onto the can flap and then twist across to open the can. I sort of liked doing that, except it was gross because the water and gel junk would get on your hands. A lady next to me in the museum showed me a scar she still has from cutting herself while opening the can that way. Nowdays they have easy-open pop off cans.

There was even a quilt in the museum! They used to have two, but one was stolen.

These cans of Spam rode around and around the gear-shaped thing outside and inside the gift shop.

Anyway, the idea of the day was just to take a road trip, have some fun doing something silly, go out to eat and hang around with friends. We had a good time. We had a nice lunch and still felt we had room for more, so we stopped for ice cream. We also sniffed out a really nice quilt shop that was in the middle of nowhere and was surprisingly huge for being in a very tiny town.

All in all, a good day and fun just to hang out together.

The never-ending quilt shop; looks small but goes on and on. It's across the street from grain elevators. And there's not much else to the whole town! This quilt shop has been in business for 30 years. There must be a lot of enthusiastic quilters in that part of Minnesota!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Root Beer Floats Overdose

Hubby and I got on a root beer float kick recently. It all started when his father was in the hospital for several days, and then when he finally got to go home, hubby and his parents celebrated with root beer floats.

I wasn't with them, but loved the idea, so we decided to buy ice cream and root beer and have floats for our 4th of July celebration.

Well, I have overdosed on root beer floats since then. I've had a bunch! Every day! The way I like mine best is: a tiny bit of root beer with a LOT of ice cream. Then, because I already opened the can of root beer, I felt I needed to use up the "beer," so I'd have another float.

My poor belly is stretched beyond the limits of my waistband. Uffda. Not a good feeling. I hope I don't see another root beer float for a good, long time.

Now that I have totally disgusted you with descriptions of my gluttony, I will attempt to change the subject and talk about how disorganized I am. Another titillating topic, I'm sure.

The good news is, I found my book, Private Peaceful, and finally was able to finish reading it. (See Friday Books posted yesterday, July 6.) The book keeps its 4-star rating. But I do need to correct my misinformation. The story is NOT about an American soldier but about an English one. And the gravestone which inspired the writing of this story (carrying the name Peaceful) was seen in Belgium, not in France.

The next thing I lost was an entire prayer shawl. I finished knitting it during our trip to South Dakota in early June. Today I wanted to take it to church to show the knitting group how it turned out... but I couldn't find it anywhere. Sheesh. It is not fun being so disorganized.

However, TA-DA! More good news... it wasn't very far away. About one minute ago I glanced over to my left and saw a corner of the shawl. I had left it near some other knitting, but covered with a sheet so that our cat would not notice it and get into it.

Now I can wonder what else will turn up lost next time I need to find it in a hurry.

Oh, and just in case you are craving a root beer float, National Root Beer Float Day occurs some time in August. Watch for it.

P.S. I ALMOST FORGOT! (I know you find it hard to believe I would forget something.) I promised some photos of my solar oven cooking adventure. Here you go. It turned out great, and was cooked by the sun (except the rice which I cooked on the stove). I love solar cooking!!

You can read about solar ovens here.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Friday Books: Private Peaceful

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo is a book of fiction, inspired by a gravestone that was seen in France for an American soldier by the last name of Peaceful.

Private Peaceful is a 16-year-old who lies about his age to get into WWI, and he ends up going to combat in France. The first half of the book is his memories of growing up. He had a happy life in the country except for tyrannical teachers and a land-owning thug who pretty much ruled the rural area with his money and power. Oh, and young Peaceful's father dies and the Peaceful feels guilty, though it wasn't his fault. His mother is hard working and honest; he and his brothers get into typical boy shenanigans, but overall he's quite happy as a child.

I am enjoying the book, but... I'm getting frustrated with being absent-minded. I am nearly done with the book, but it suddenly vanished. I read it in bed Wednesday night. The next day when I went to finish reading it, I could not find the book anywhere. I must have carried it somewhere and put it down without the real me noticing. Now I have no idea where the book went off to.

Well, I was planning to give the book 4 stars, because it's an engaging read. It is also interesting to read of daily life back then as well as war strategies that were so different. I also knew, in real life, an older gentleman named George who had lied about his age (when he was 16) to get into the service and ended up going to France in WWI. So reading this book makes me think of George who ended up being one of the last survivors of the original founders of the American Legion. Of course, he passed on several years ago. Even back when I knew him it was unusual to meet a veteran from WWI. He was still alive because of his young age when he went in.

Anyway, let's just assume it's a 4-star book, even though sometimes a sloppy ending will reduce the rating I give it. Since I haven't read the ending, I'll assume it finishes in fine form and keeps the 4 stars I give it so far.

Now where on earth could I have put Private Peaceful???

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Fireworks and Mosquitoes

Every year we get to watch fireworks from the comfort of our own front yard. The city shoots them from a park that is on the other side of the trees at the end of our road, so we get a great private view without much effort.

I went out to snap a few pictures. It was hot, muggy, and mosquitoes were hungry, so I stayed about five minutes, and that was it.

Yesterday's high was 100 deg F. That is unusual for Minnesota. Same is forecast for today. I don't like baking! But... now that I mention baking, it reminds me that I have been wanting to pull out our solar oven and make dinner for "free." I love doing that! If it turns out delicious and picturesque, I'll share a photo with you tomorrow.