Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Book Review: Sugarcane Academy

Sugarcane Academy: How a New Orleans Teacher and His Storm-Struck Students Created a School to Remember by Michael Tisserand

This is a story about a school that is created by parents and teachers, for kids who had been evacuated at the time of Hurricane Katrina. The perspective of the kids and their experiences was one of the best parts of the book. The poor children were so frightened, and this is the first book I've seen which features their stories. The other best part of the book was the great teachers who knew how to help the kids talk through their fears, express themselves through art, and respect their stories. They helped guide the kids back to safety by being a comforting, understanding presence at a time when they needed this stability.

Monday, August 26, 2019

August RSC Blocks

I finally got my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks made. The blues I used are not that different from the earlier blue month, so I made only three. Click here to see beautiful blocks made by others.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Podcast/Book Review: Nobody's Property

Nobody's Property, Living on the Remains of a Life in California by Emily Kathleen Cooke

When I started listening to this book, I thought it was a series on a podcast -- a story told consecutively as research is done. Turns out it was a book presented via podcast. It can also be purchased (free, I think?) as an e-book or an audio book from Scribl dot com.

The author's aunt died when the author was two. The author grew up living in the shadow of the deceased aunt. Who was she? How, exactly, did she die? How can I keep myself safe so that the same fate does not befall me?

The aunt, Jenny, age 18, had moved to Germany in the fall of 1971 to attend a small college. In November she decided to take a weekend break and hitch hike to other locations. She went missing; six months later her body was discovered in a wooded area. They were never able to determine a cause of death because of (a) decomposition of the body and (b) it was in 1972, so DNA and other technologies were not available to help solve mysteries.

I found the storyline interesting; the author comes to some interesting conclusions about how the family story of Aunt Jenny affected her own life. However, I am sorry to say that I found this book to be boring. Instead of reading her research verbatim, I felt that it would have been more interesting had she rewritten it in story form. It was interesting enough to keep me occupied while doing some sewing, but as a book it left me dissatisfied. To warrant more than two stars out of five, this book would need some major editing.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Do You Listen to Podcasts?

I am a newcomer to podcasts. I finally figured out how to easily access them. I got an app from the App Store (in my phone it is the Google Play Store). I installed Castbox, which was free, and I started listening. I love listening to them while I sew. It's much like listening to an audio book, but shorter episodes rather than chapters.

My daughter told me about Terrible, Thanks for Asking. I started with that one. It is produced here in Minnesota. It was started by a young woman whose husband got brain cancer, then they had a baby, then he died. All the stories are fascinating (and terrible). The people who suffered these crises have survived, often with drastically changed lives and scars, but also with healing and triumph. It helps other people understand their trauma and how we can help by listening and reacting more humanely.

From there I found more and more. My favorites are from CBC: Canadian Broadcasting Company. They do a great job on their podcasts, and there are no ads (except for maybe one just before the podcast begins). CBC has a long list of podcasts; these are my current CBC favorites:

Someone Knows Something (cold cases, or long-running open cases that remain unsolved)
This one led me to Uncover - another one dealing with unsolved or cold cases. And then I found Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo. Very fascinating part of history when both Canada and the USA were taking Indian kids from their homes and placing them in white families for adoption.

The Secret Life of Canada (The two hosts are wonderful; both are women of color and their perspectives on history include all of the real history, not just what started when white people arrived in North America.. it's so refreshing to hear the actual true history, and their rapport is great.)

Love Me (This is weird, but I have listened to many episodes and I currently can't remember any of them. I must have enjoyed them, because I listened to so many.)

Here is a list of the 25 Best Podcasts in 2018. I'm posting it here for your use and also so I can remember what to visit when I'm ready for new ones. Once you start listening to a few podcasts, you will be referred to many others, and they become endless! Also, podcasts, like TV shows, have seasons. Now that it's fall, many of them will be returning after a summer break and offering new material. I look forward to that!

I know I'm an old person and am a late arrival to podcasts. Are any of you late-comers like me? Mine all are non-music podcasts so far. I'm kind of into documentary/history/true crime/story-telling podcasts. They feed my soul much like books do.

So -- podcasts -- do you listen? Do you have some favorites? Please share what you listen to. One can never have too many podcasts.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Bit of Travel

I was lucky to join some friends for a short quilting expedition in Bayfield, Wisconsin. What a pretty little town, right on the south shore of Lake Superior. I got a lot of sewing done, and one day a few of us went for a swim in Lake Superior. If you don't know already, Lake Superior is huge and very deep, and is known for being too cold for swimming. However, this little beach was at a small bay, so the water had the opportunity to warm up a bit more than the huge lake does. "A bit" is the operative phrase here. It was still QUITE COLD and hard to get in, but once in - Wow! - it was so refreshing! It was truly a highlight of my summer!

After about 24 hours at home, I turned around and left again, this time headed to my sister's lake home for a time there with the three sisters. I took along some sewing and got a whole quilt top made. We had fun relaxing and shopping in the little nearby town and swimming once, because it warmed up to 70 deg. F, so we decided it was warm enough to swim. That was another fun and refreshing swim.

I can feel that my summer is complete, because I have now gone swimming in three different bodies of water: a lovely big lake in my old home town (haven't lived there since 1970); Lake Superior; the lake where my sister's lake home is. We all grew up there, the cabin having been established by our parents in 1964. So it is the lake of my heart.

Anyway, I love to swim in lakes, much preferable to pools in my opinion, because of how I grew up around lakes. This is why I say my summer is not complete unless I get a chance to swim in some lakes.

Here is the top I made while visiting with my sisters. I took a zillion pictures of it, just to test out different places and see how it looked. I'm only sharing a few of them with you (feel lucky; I have lots more - LOL).

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Book Reviews: Two Books

Because I Was a Girl: True Stories for Girls of all Ages edited by Melissa de la Cruz

Stories by girls and women born in various decades, from the 1920s to the 2000s. All of them are about persevering against obstacles put in place because they were girls/women. The stories are very inspiring. I loved all of them. I am going to donate this book to a school library so that more girls can be inspired by the examples of grit and determination by our foremothers and our peers.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

This wonderful book is about extended family members. As the stories unfold over generations, you see how they are all looped together via obvious or tenuous family ties. Very interesting twists and turns affect people's lives in complicated ways. The book is very moving. Hosseini is a great writer!

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

And More Sewing

two quilt tops I made for Quilts Beyond Borders .. both from Lotto blocks and orphan blocks

Two quilts I made for Wrap a Smile. They were quilted by CM. Thank you, CM.