Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Book Review and Banned Books!

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead opens on a Georgia plantation, the home of several slaves. The main character, Cora, is a young woman whose mother had escaped, leaving Cora alone as a young girl. She had to fend for herself and harbors hard feelings about being left by her mother. As an adult Cora contemplates escape, but not seriously until a young man suggests that they go. The bulk of the book is about the escape and all the things that happen from then to the end; includes Cora's on-again off-again search for her mother. This is a tough book to read because of the terrible subject matter. Don't ever let anyone tell you that slaves were content with their lot in life. It was a life of violence and fear. Life on the Underground Railroad is a mixed bag of experiences. This book is an excellent look at individuals stuck in the life of slavery and the heroic efforts that were made to find the road to freedom.

Sept. 24-30, 2017 is Banned Book week.. pick up a banned book today and enjoy a great read!

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Are You the Project Linus Lady?

Someone from Project Linus recently contacted me and asked about a pattern that one of my groups used... we called it the Tahoe Block. I sent the information to this person, and then deleted e-mails, can't remember her name, can't remember if my head is still attached.

If that person is you, will you please leave a comment so I can find you again? I have something for you.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Nephew's Wedding

Our nephew got married on Sept. 1 on his own farmland. He and his new wife are farmers; the wedding was done farm-style and was so cute! Decorations and everything were perfect country style.

They were married by our niece who decided to get a license to perform marriages. She has performed about six weddings, two of which I have witnessed. She does a fabulous job; she's a good and very thoughtful writer.

All in all, it was a fun event.

I made them a quilt for their wedding. I used a variety of farm-themed fabrics. You can maybe see some of them in this close-up.

Monday, September 18, 2017

My Words Quilt: I Love It!

I got my Words quilt back from the quilter, and I just love it! This is a huge quilt.. almost ten feet long! I worked on it for over five years. It was going to be a birthday gift to myself for my 60th birthday. Next week I'll be 65! My goal was to get it done by my 65th birthday. I don't know if I'll get it bound by then, but it's done enough for me to say I accomplished my goal.

It was custom quilted by Steffani Burton of Minnesota. She did a beautiful job!

Several of you made word blocks for me. Thank you so much. You helped make this quilt very special.

The backing is a Tula Pink fabric. I had my husband's name in a block from an abandoned project so I put it on the back with two little words added: "Carol loves."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Book Review: On Living

On Living by Kerry Egan.. Kerry Egan is a hospice chaplain and tells the stories that her dying patients have shared with her. Some are funny, some are touching, some are sad. Families have complicated stories which sometimes involve secrets or hurtful memories. She shares these without violating any privacies, of course, and tells them to show us that dying people are just like living people.. except they are dying. She encourages us to take advantage of our lives now while we can, and to tell people we love them, ask for forgiveness, or tell what we've kept buried for too long. Most of us won't depart from this earth with profound last words, leaving our survivors in awe and wonder. At the same time, she encourages us not to be afraid of dying people. They need our presence and our listening ears. This week marks the one-year anniversary of my mother's death. I was so lucky to be with her 'til her last breath. It's a privilege to go on this journey with a loved one.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Book Review: Two Books

(1) Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett -- A young mother dies and leaves behind her husband and two daughters. We see the story through the younger daughter's eyes; she is age ten when the story opens. The family struggles with their collective and individual grief, trying to get a handle on their new normal. The young girl carries the reader along as she works through her questions and struggles. These are obstacles that every family faces. The story is poignant, endearing, and very true-to-life. You won't be sorry you picked up this book.

(2) Cody and the Fountain of Happiness by Tricia Springstubb -- This is a book for the 7-10 year-old age group. I bought it to give away, and then decided it was good enough for me to read, too. Cody is a spirited young girl, curious and a lover of all animals, especially... ants. She says the most darling things and made me laugh. I even read bits out loud to my husband. There are other books in the Cody series. If I were a kid in that age group I would be gobbling up these endearing books.

people reading while waiting for the solar eclipse in August

Friday, September 08, 2017

Rocky Mountains, Part Two of Two

Rocky Mountain National Park was established the year my dad was born.. they're both 102 years old now (Dad celebrates in Heaven).

I liked how these trees show the survival technique of trees up at the timber line where icy winds prevail. The icy winds come in from the windward side, making it too cold for growth on that side, so it grows only on the lee side. How clever of the trees, don't you think?

Most of the above pictures were taken at Bear Lake. It's a very popular destination. The parking lot fills up, and then one must ride a shuttle to the lake as there is no more room for more cars. We decided to wait until after 6:00 PM. We were so glad we did; there were very few people there, which was definitely a benefit that made our visit there enjoyable. I would have hated having wall-to-wall people there! It's a gorgeous little lake with a nice hike that goes all the way around.

My very nice husband agreed to drive us to Golden, CO so I could see the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. I loved their current exhibit which was quilts from the Caohagan Islands (part of the Philippines).
The last quilt photo is a detail of a larger one.. I loved the bird's-eye perspective of these kids.

It was another beautiful drive over to Lyons where I wanted to visit a quilt shop. I'm so glad we went; it's a fabulous shop. I could have spent hours there. It's in a building that used to be the Black Bear Inn, which is why it has that black bear on their sign. It has a huge parking lot fit for an inn, so go there with all your friends! There's plenty of parking space!

Our last evening in Colorado gifted us with a beautiful sunset.
Coming back home, we drove through the Sandhills in Nebraska. They are beautiful, but.. oh, my. They go on forever and ever. Be sure you have a full tank of gas!

I loved Colorado. Under the right circumstances you could convince me to live there.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Rocky Mountain High: Colorado! Part One of Two

I don't have all my photos properly organized, but it's getting to be too long to wait. I've had to learn a new system since my computer upgrade, and you know -- it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks! I'll do what I can. (Apologies for some of the pictures which may be fuzzy or washed out as I haven't finished fixing them all.)

After the eclipse in Nebraska, we headed on to Colorado. The first town we stayed in was Sterling. It was quite a drive from Nebraska, and still in the flat part of Colorado. We were happy to get there and get out of the car. The main things we did in Sterling were go out for dinner, and the next morning we went to the quilt shop, Quilts-N-Creations. It was an average shop, not one I would go out of my way to visit, but if one is in town, you might as well visit. (The workers were friendly.) I tried to buy a little something in each shop I visited, because I like to support independent shops and to leave a little bit for the area's economy.

Next stop was Estes Park, Colorado. This was our home for the next four nights. What a lovely drive there, and what a lovely town! Above you see a scene along the road, and then you see the Big Thompson River which flows through Estes Park and a long ways outside of town as well. Back in 1976 they had a huge, disastrous flood there. Over 100 people died. We could see.. in many places there would be no place to run to safety! Now they have signs up: "If it starts to flood, climb to safety." I kind of wonder.. glad I didn't have to attempt that self-rescue plan.

A short drive around the area took us to St. Mary Lake, and one tourist who was climbing on rocks there, whom I photographed while driving past, so it's a rather odd photo. Pretty little lake.

Estes Park is nestled in here, under all these breath-taking mountains. The next two shots are views from our hotel balcony. So pretty! And it was cool, fresh-smelling air which we loved.

Visit to Rocky Mountain National Park:
this winding little road goes up to the Alpine Center at 11,796 feet above sea level. Along the way there are stops for beautiful scenes, such as Chasm Falls.

Approaching the summit.. there is an information center and a retail store with café. See the poles planted next to the buildings? It's so they can find the buildings under the snow at the end of winter.

I found this picture at Wikipedia, the Alpine Center in late May.

We decided to do the "Huffer Hike." It takes hikers up to 12,005 feet above sea level. Well, we were already at over 11,000 and it was already hard to breathe. Just a little bit of walking rendered us out of breath and huffing/puffing. Thus the name of the hike. We had to do it quite slowly to give our poor bodies time to catch up to the low oxygen levels. And.. it got colder and colder as we went up.
The view up there was gorgeous, and it kept changing as the sun and the clouds moved around, changing the sunshine and shadows on the mountains below.

Back down to 11-something thousand feet, we went into the retail store where I looked for A. I met her at a retreat in Wisconson; she works for the retreat center during the fall and winter, helping host retreat groups. She told us that during the summers she works at RMNP at 12,000 feet, so I knew this had to be the place. There she was! It was fun to see her. I'm holding up a RMNP t-shirt to prove where we were.

Above are more gorgeous mountain scenes along with a moose who was very close to the road, and some elk (we saw LOTS of elk). We also saw a deer, an eagle (it flew past us pretty close! it had just caught a fish!) and some other cool birds.

This was my thought when taking this next picture: "I would love to live in a place where this is the view that greets me when I come out of the grocery store." It's soooo pretty there! The next photo is an historic hotel there whose name I have already forgotten. The last picture was taken at YMCA of the Rockies. Last year I had tried to get my family to do a family reunion there, but it was shot down. Really, I had no idea, when going to Estes Park, that I would be that close to the YMCA place. It would have been a beautiful place for a reunion and has a huge grounds with many different buildings, some small, some large. Oh, well... at least I got to see it.

I am blathering on for too long, so I'm going to stop here and post a Rocky Mountains Part 2 in the next day or two. Thanks for reading this far!