Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sometimes you have to bake

smitten kitchen's yellow cake + sally's baking addiction chocolate fudge frosting = good eats

Book fifty-three: Buried in Beignets by J. R. Ripley

I haven't read too many mysteries in my lifetime but I may have to spend more time exploring this genre because I really liked this book. It was a quirky, fun, fast read. If mysteries are your thing, this might be a good one to take on vacation. Not too taxing, lighthearted despite the discovery of a dead guy, etc. I'm not sure I understand the motivations behind the main character's decision to lie about her ex-husband - she moves back home and claims to be a widow - nor do I understand what drives her to take on so much when her life is so very complicated and stressful but that is okay. I was able to look past the few annoying things (like first person narrative) and read. And that is a very good thing.

53 down plus more to go!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

If we voted today...

Clinton clinches it.
--NY Times

The non-smartphone version of Pokemon Go

Pokemon go is all the craze right now but I don't have a smartphone. We found out today that with a box of chalk and a book filled with pictures of Pokemon characters we can absolutely make up our own game that is almost as good.

Of course, there are pictures... (and there will be even more once we walk to the store and pick up more chalk so we can keep drawing.)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Book fifty-two: The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions by Deckle Edge

Animals are being abducted. A sugar glider, fox, and a pangolin team up to solve the mystery. Who could be taking these animals and for what purpose?

I had the most fun providing the voice - I read it aloud to Hen - for Bismark (the sugar glider). Mon died! He just wanted Dawn (the fox) to notice him!

You will have fun with this read should you ever check it out. The characters are charming and quirky, the nighttime landscape is exhilarating, and when they finally --

What? You didn't think I was going to tell you what happened next, did you?

This brings me to the total for the year. But I shall read on. There are too many good books I'd miss otherwise.

52 down plus however many I want to go!

I did go to Africa, but the boy didn't

The morning I left for Africa I walked into Hen's room one last time to make sure stuff was relatively picked up and his plants had been watered. As I turned to go out I was struck by an idea. I quickly selected four tiny toys to take with me on the trip - Bob, a little creation Hen made when his cousin Mia was over, diamond-armor Steve (from Minecraft), Unikitty (of The LEGO Movie fame), and a baby ankylosaurus. I stuffed them into a Ziploc bag and into my purse and made my way to the airport.

I thought it would be fun to take pictures of the stowaways in Africa. I'd document their experiences in photos and later write a story to share with Hen since he couldn't be there with me to see it for himself. The first shot was taken of them from above while they stood on the PDX carpet (a must for everyone traveling through Portland) and later I snapped one of them attached to my bag. On the plane, I caught the stowaways trying to watch Deadpool and made them watch Zootopia instead. Our guides, Ole and Moses, and spotters, Blackie and David, likely thought I was nuts when they first saw me do it but it didn't take long before they were making suggestions for stowaway photos. The stowaways sat on the roof of our safari vehicle, checked out giraffes, posed with Sudan, the world's last remaining Northern White Rhino, sat on the equator, straddled the border between Tanzania and Kenya, and a whole lot more.

I still have photo editing to complete and need to proofread the story but I'm already super excited to see the finished product and share it with Henry.

Since the stowaways remain tucked in my purse, I was able to snap this shot of them at Frog Lake the other day. These little rascals are troublemakers for sure.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

There's a first time for everything

Including for the first woman ever to accept the nomination for the presidency. Exciting, momentous, inspiring, awesome - these are just a few adjectives to explain this moment. What an amazing day and what an amazing women!
And, yes, the boy did stay up past his normal bedtime and he watched the entire speech with us. I find it incredible that the first president he'll remember is an African-American and that the second will most likely be a woman. How very cool!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book fifty-one: Pax by Sara Pennypacker

There's a boy who has a pet fox. There is a dad who chooses to go to war. There is a fox that is released into the wild. And there is a journey the boy takes to save the fox.

I can say no more other than I loved this book and I, yes, well, I cried at the end of it.

51 down plus 1 to go.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Book fifty: Mabel Jones and the Forbidden City by Will Rabbit

The second in the series is just as fun to read as the first! Mabel Jones is my new favorite heroine and I'm eagerly awaiting, as is Henry, the arrival of the next in the series scheduled to be released in February 2017.

In this adventure book, Mabel Jones is after the creatures who have abducted her baby sister. Meeting up with some of our favorites from the first book, Mabel joins must enter the Forbidden City or risk losing her sister forever.

The intrigue! The excitement! The DANGER!

These really are fun and fantastically awesome books. Check them out if you get the chance.

50 down plus 2 to go!

Rest in peace, Fall Leaf

You were a good fish.

Today, we noticed our little finny friend was no longer peacefully swimming in the bowl.

Fall Leaf died after spending approximately three and a half years with our family at the condo. Fall Leaf was a good fish who never caused any trouble and enjoyed hanging out amongst the plastic foliage in his bowl. Fall Leaf was happiest after the bowl was cleaned, swimming enthusiastically through the fresh water and occasionally surfacing to give us a little fish greeting.

Fall Leaf's funeral was attended by many in the condo, including his fresh water and sea water friends, some LEGO folks, Henry Finn, and me. Both Hen and I spoke briefly before sending Fall Leaf on his way as we listened to "Keg on My Coffin" by The Push Stars. It was a moving tribute to a great pet.

Rest in peace, Fall Leaf.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Whilst I was trekking for gorillas in Africa...

...Darren and Hen were down at Rockaway Beach with Grandpa Gilroy, Robert, and Lynn. Darren took this shot of Hen playing at the beach despite the less than ideal weather. Written with charcoal onto the log is Hen's advice, 
"Enjoy your life!!!!!" 
I love this kid.

Book forty-nine: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

I do not remember reading this growing up but some parts are so familiar I can't believe I didn't read it. Well, that and the fact that I read pretty much everything in the library after I broke my back in the fifth grade.

This book is such a treat that I've decided to read it to Henry once we're done with the Harry Potter series. He's going to love the antics of Anne. And he'll appreciate Marilla's no-nonsense attitude. I bet he even notices that most of the times Matthew speaks he starts with a "well, now..." preface.

49 down plus 3 to go!