Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Caturday funnies — cat shaming edition

Or a live and squirming rat...

Who me? I would NEVER bring in a headless rat…

Source: Caturday funnies — cat shaming edition

Oh, this is too funny! I can’t decide if my two girls should be shamed more for the headless rat in our bedroom or the live and romping rat in the guest room (in the middle of my birthday party)!

How about you? What naughty things has your kitty been up to?


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Library Culture

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I spend time at the library. MUCH time.

Because I love books. The smell, the feel, the sight, and the anticipation of opening the pages and jumping into an adventure pull me in. Every. Single. Time.

So I live, I mean visit my library. Actually, I patronize nearly all of my libraries, the ones in the Yakima Valley. Plus I have connections with other libraries not in my area, which is perfect when I need resources or just want to snoop and see what is out there.

Really you can’t lose when you visit the library. Free books! Free help, internet, bathrooms, AC (or heating), gathering place, information, friends…The library is community.

In my much library time, I’ve noticed several different groups frequenting the hallowed halls of bookdom.

Story Time. If I pull up and the lot is full, I know it’s story time. Stories, songs, games, crafts, and fun times for the kiddos be going on. During the summer, libraries gain a larger audience in the form of kids and adults on break. Reading incentive programs keep readers involved and active with the printed word.

Computer Users. In the olden days, there were no computers. Period. But patrons can now log on to banks of computers to research, read, and check email. Library users can even log in with personal computers and use the internet free of charge (at least at our libraries). Electronic resources are available for check out and the card catalog can be searched from the comfort of home. While the term card catalog is out of date, library resources are still present and much easier to access. One of my favorite library features is the ability to reserve books from home and pick them up when they arrive at the nearest library.

Homeschoolers. The homeschool population is growing. I see homeschool families return to the library on a regular basis. Wonderful resources and reading materials are ready for the picking, so why not?

Book Clubs. What better place is there to have a book club than the library? Our library sometimes hosts a community read with a local author. Most times, the author does a guest visit where readers can meet and greet. Special programs are provided for different age groups, complete with authors, books, and activities.

Study Groups. High school and college students are often working collaboratively around large tables at the library. The library design has planned for this activity by including both small and large tables and seating areas which are perfect for meeting and working.

Retirees. These folks have it going on! Unlimited books to read, books on CD to listen to, computers to use, help on hand if necessary, and interactions with others make the library the place to be.

The Homeless. The library is free and climate-controlled, provides restrooms and drinking fountains, and offers multiple forms of entertainment and resources. While I’ve noticed several incidents of improper behavior, most of the homeless patrons seem to enjoy library benefits without causing any trouble.

Teachers. Yes, teachers, the library is an invaluable resource! During my teaching years, I made weekly trips to check out and return books. Lots of books. I became quite good at gleaning themed picture books (both fiction and nonfiction) for my students. In fact, there was one librarian who watched my shelf and request list so she could make her own book list.

Writers. I fit into several of the above groups, but the writing group is the closest fit. I regularly research different topics and locations around the world. I research picture books and check out stacks of them for my studies. I even haul my computer to the library and set up camp on one of the bigger tables when I need to work on deadlines. Love my library!

Readers. Of course. Why else? Book addicts. Adventurers. Researchers. Learners.

As the plant in the above photo illustrates layers of leaves, stacked and connected by a network of roots, libraries also connect information to people, layers of knowledge spread through the network of libraries – full of words.

I have found the most valuable thing in my wallet is my library card. ~ Laura Bush

 


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You Nest Here with Me ~ The Golden Shovel

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This may be golden, but it’s no Golden Shovel.

The Golden Shovel. What is that?

I recently read a post about said shovel. And it has nothing to do with physical digging, but plenty to do with mental excavating, sleuthing, and creating with words. The Golden Shovel is a fun writing exercise.

You can learn more about the Golden Shovel poetic form by visiting here.

The rules for creating a Golden Shovel masterpiece are as follows:

– Choose a line from a poem you enjoy.

– Use each word in the line as the last word for the lines in your poem.

– The end words must stay in the same order as the original poem.

– Please give credit to the author of the original text you’ve chosen to use.

– Now create away! Your new poem doesn’t have to match the original theme. This baby is your baby.

Here is my Golden Shovel.

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Inspiration for my Golden Shovel

I love to play with you.

Let’s build a blankie nest.

Snuggle here,

read and play, with

warm cocoa, you and me.

(July 19, 2017)

My words are both the title and specific lines from the beautiful picture book You Nest Here with Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple (Boyds Mill Press, 2015).

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The help I receive on a daily basis when I write.

How about you? Give the Golden Shovel a try. I’d love to read your poem!

 


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Glacier Lake Trail: Hiking Tips Discoveries

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Glacier Lake

Mosquitoes. There will be MOSQUITOES. And dirt. Sometimes horse and deer flies. Plan accordingly. Wear bug repellent (we are still out on this – both of us want something more organic and less toxic). We were hit hard when we got out of the car. After a quick rethink, we jumped back in the car, put on boots, covered up, and got back out to spray. Still managed to get 3 bites.

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Lovely shaded hiking trail

Long hair. If you have this, wear it down – hot or not! Mosquitoes loved the back of my neck, despite my hat and shirt. So I let my hair down and spread it through the sweat which glued it in place. Immediate relief!

Hats. Wear them. I wore my tightly woven sun protection hat with a wide brim. Shade and bug protection.

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Beautiful old guy

Long pants. Wish we had them. Still have a few scrapes from branches growing over the path. I’m sure this isn’t the only trail with opportunities for clambering over rocks and tree roots.

Water. Our hike wasn’t too long but was strenuous and the sweat flowed freely. We had 2 bottles each, which was enough for the short hike. Had we stayed longer at the lake, we would’ve needed more.

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The trail heading into the forest towards Glacier Lake

Snacks. Of course. Good stuff to chomp on is part of the fun of hiking! Nuts, whole grain crackers, jerky, trail mix, protein bars…I always underestimate how much my honey needs to eat. Me? I could outlast several weeks of restricted calories, but his high metabolism requires regular and high calorie fuel.

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Our first gaze of the lake – standing on the huge boulders

Maps. We had general directions from a flyer found at the Ranger station and we still managed to park in the wrong spot. It seems it was the correct location though, when I researched AFTER our hike, due to previous road washouts. Hint: The flyer suggested elevation gains, time estimations, distances, and trail popularity. Some of this was NOT true. For instance, family friendly. We did not find this trail to be safe for younger hikers. This was agreed upon by another family (with elementary children and an elderly chap). Maybe they should define family friendly. Take information like this with a grain of salt.

Snow. While we did not encounter snow, the lake was very full and there were no places to get close to the water unless one was IN the water or on floating logs. Take into account the previous winter. We had record snowfall. That means lakes will be full to overflowing. Snow may still be on the trails. Mud will be present.

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Wildflowers serenaded us with beauty

Do not give up! We passed few other hikers, so the Glacier Lake hike was perfect for solitude (I missed wearing a bear bell, though, and we constantly scanned for evidence and escape routes – many shredded snags convinced us that big claws had enjoyed plentiful grubs and bugs). Once we arrived at Glacier Lake, huge (bigger-than-my-car sized) boulders blocked the path. We made two different attempts to get over them to the water, but my legs were too short. In defeat, we headed back. Only a short while later we met a young family (baby in backpack, so backpacking with child in tow counts as family friendly). They discovered a trail to the lake edge and two rough camping spots. They filled us in and we headed back to the lake. Don’t be afraid to ask and share info with other hikers.

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Lovely stream we heard for a long time before the trail led us beside it; I wanted to take it home with me.

Glacier Lake Hint: When you get to the boulders, you will instinctively want to go straight through them to the water. Don’t. There are many false trails over the rocks. Instead, look LEFT and you will see the trail continuing around the edge of the boulders. LOL. It’s obvious once you know.

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Fairy lanterns

Hiking is our respite from crowds, technology, and stress. We learn something new on every hike. We can’t wait to get back out on the trails!

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Check out this granny hat!

Would you like your adventure now or should we have our tea first?

~ J.M. Barrie

 


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2 Times I Won’t Return the Cart

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Shopping carts. Buggies. Storage on wheels. Nightmares of steering, rolling, and drifting. You gotta love them. Maybe hate them. I certainly trade them to get a smoother and cleaner one. Helpful at best, frustrating at worst. Carts are a necessity for filling the pantry and fridge with enough goods to avoid daily trips to the store.

How do you break up with your shopping cart? Leave it next to the car, push it across the lot, run it up over a curb to keep it from heading downhill, or return it to the store or cart corral?

I hope you are not one of those who set shopping carts free, never caring to notice how they careen with the wind or crash into vehicles or get in the way of traffic. You’re not, right?

I try to be responsible with my shopping carts. Maintain a good relationship. Most of the time I park near a return cage to help me be a good shopping citizen. If one is unavailable, I will take the cart back to the store. I’ll donate my cart to someone nearby who needs to load up children for the impending shopping adventure. When I arrive at the store, I’ll watch for someone unloading their cart and offer to take it for my own shopping trip. Generally, I think I do pretty well in my cart management skills.

And hey, extra walking means more steps on my mileage chart!

But there are 2 times I will not return my cart.

  1. Kiddos. Should I have precious grands or little ones with me, the shopping cart will always lose. Especially if it’s summer and the temps are hot. No one should sit in the car while I push a cart away. Unless the cart corral is beside the car.
  2. Senior shoppers. I had never thought about this until my mother-in-law mentioned it. She appreciated people who left a cart by the handicap parking spots, as many folks need to hold onto the cart handle and push it to keep their balance. So I watch for those opportunities. As long as the cart doesn’t block the parking spot, I love to help out.

How about you? When do you not return your shopping cart? Let’s hear some good reasons (laziness does not count, friends, not at all). ;0

Get out there and be a good shopping cart citizen!


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Sea to Ski: Anniversary Travel & Fun

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Pre-hike view of Mt. Rainier

While celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary last week, we experienced what I have tagged a Sea to Ski holiday. In our area, there is a Ski to Sea athletic event, and we certainly engaged in exercise during portions of our explorations, but nothing up to iron man/woman or triathlon levels. Not even close.

Fun, fast, feast, foray. That’s was our goal.

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Seattle from Alki (West Seattle)

Sea = Day 1 Trip to Seattle

We dined on extremely tasty blackened cod tacos and salad at Salty’s on Alki. We walked along the beach, rode the water taxi across the bay to the Seattle waterfront, hiked the Pike Street Hill Climb, enjoyed clam chowder at Ivar’s, and scoured an antique store for a tiny glass bottle. Parking was just fine at Salty’s and the water taxi was a treat.

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The Seattle skyline from the water taxi

Ski = Day 2 Trip to Mt. Rainier

Technically, we did not ski. But we hiked in the mountains. And saw plenty of snow. We parked at Ohanapecosh Campground and hit the trail leading through the hot springs, past Silver Falls, discovered a new trail (for us) to the Grove of the Patriarchs, and totalled over 6 up and down miles. About 60 floors in elevation gains, according to my Iphone. For hot days, this was perfect, as most of the trail was shade covered, gorgeous, and green.

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The hiking look

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See? A nice and shady path

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Waterfall and creek at Ohanapecosh 

Ride = Day 3 Motorcycle Loop

To make up for the hiking, we sat on the bike to see the sights. We traveled up Highway 410, gazed at the packed snow and ice gracing the top of Chinook Pass, followed Highway 123 to Highway 12, and returned through Naches to make a loop ride. We took the back road around Clear and Rimrock Lake. There was no lack for beauty, but it was getting pretty hot by the time we completed the ride.

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Mt. Rainier from Chinook Pass

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We left early to avoid the heat, so the morning hours required layers and layers! Which slowly came off as the mercury rose.

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Our shadows and us admiring the snow and Mt. Rainier

Watch = Day 4 Movie to Beat the Heat

As per suggested temps of 100, we hit the theater to take in the new Pirates movie. We both loved this episode as it tied in to the original three. AND we avoided the gagging heat.

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Ferns at Ohanapecosh 

All in all, we had a fantastic anniversary holiday, me and my honey. The northwest is full of gems, just ready for exploring.

Where do you love to go? All ideas are welcome…next trip is just around the corner.

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 Fish tacos at Salty’s


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Bunny’s Book Club – Picture Book

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Bunny’s Book Club

Written by Annie Silvestro

Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss

Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2017

 

Early this spring I won a copy of Bunny’s Book Club and have fallen in love!

As an advocate for children’s literacy, I love any book that entices young readers to jump into the world of literature. Bunny’s Book Club hits the sweet spot.

Who doesn’t want to be a part of a secret club? A library club? Anyone who LOVES books, that’s who!

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Bunny loves books and allows his imagination to run full reign as he listens to books being read aloud during outside story time. When summer ends Bunny is left with no other option. He has to figure out a way to get to all of those books.

Bunny finds a unique entrance to the library, where he ‘checks out’ books and reads to his heart’s content.

One by one, Bunny’s friends come looking to find out where he has been. And slowly, Bunny’s book club is formed.

Readers will love the enchanting illustrations and engaging story found in Bunny’s Book Club. This is the perfect picture book for librarians, teachers, and parents to read to young readers. Older readers will want full control of the pages.

And who knows? Maybe somebunny will begin their own book club!

Thanks, Annie and Tatjana, for such a lovely book. Hugging my book!

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What great summer reads have you discovered?

P.S. I just discovered that I’ve already blogged about this lovely picture book. I just can’t help myself!


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Daddy and Me: Throwback Thursday

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1970 – and I was stylin’! Most weekends, the Hill family, a complete set of 6 by that year, hit the road touring the historic, interesting, or just plain hot sites and locations of Arizona.

Station wagon, two parents, dog, 4 kids, full gas tank, and off we would go. Funny, I don’t remember seeing any maps. We just seemed to find these fun places. In 1970 I was about 8 and in second grade, so perhaps maps didn’t hit my radar. As long as we made the mandatory stops for pop, chips, a loaf of white bread, and a package of hot dogs, we were happy campers.

I remember Colossal Cave. Not so much the interior, which I am sure was cool and interesting and quite a break from the heat. But the name is clearly imprinted in my memories.

It didn’t matter what we did as a family. The important thing was spending time together, whether we were chasing horned toads (they squirt blood you know!), scaring off rattlesnacks, stopping to pick tortoises off the road (good old Humperdink), or camping at Turkey Creek, we loved hitting the road as much as our parents did.

Or maybe they didn’t enjoy it. With 4 kids and a revolving zoo of pets in a single wide trailer, I bet they HAD to get out of the house on the weekends, for sanity purposes.

Just kidding. We loved exploring. I got that from my dad and my mom.

Excuse me while I grab a loaf of white bread and some hot dogs. Feeling a road trip coming on…


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Motorcycle Monday – 3 Washington Rides

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Glowing trees north of Roslyn

I am out of motorcycle shape! In spite of late afternoon heat and tired backsides, we managed to enjoy 3 different motorcycle rides over the long weekend.

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Heading south on the Yakama Indian Reservation

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Mt. Adams

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Wild horses

1. Friday night, we helmeted up and rode south on Highway 97, turned right on Lateral A, and continued out to White Swan. I’ve always love this ride, having spent nearly 30 years living in the lower valley. At White Swan, we followed Signal Peak Road up to the end of the public road. The round trip was nearly 100 miles and gorgeous. We saw wild horses, but only 10 or so, less than normal; plus wild horse rib cages and assorted bits. A bald eagle perched on a bluff (we suspect dead bodies for tasty snacks were somewhere close, per the nose turning odors), and when we stopped to stretch, we were nearly swarmed by huge black bees. They seemed hungry and ready for fresh meat. Maybe they were a type of wasp instead. Mt. Adams beamed white amidst blue skies and fluffy clouds and the entire valley was in full production – orchards, vineyards, planted fields, cattle, and much more.

2. Saturday we took a longer ride, almost 200 miles, spanning most of the day. We drove north through the Yakima River Canyon, one of our favorite drives. Bald eagles, deer, bighorn sheep, and hordes of those two-legged campers, fishers, and recreating humans gave us company for the ride. In Ellensburg, we stopped for coffee. Then we followed Highway 10 to Cle Elum, barely hanging on when we encountered bridge repairs! The first one had us riding air, but after that we were prepared. We continued through Cle Elum, Roslyn, and Ronald, until we reached the end of the road and Salmon la Sac. The Cle Elum River was noisy and rolling due to snow melt. That did not deter campers from wading! Brr. On our return home, we stopped for lunch at The Brick (Roslyn) and searched out a rose-flavored dark chocolate treat at the Roslyn Candy Company. We backtracked a bit, looped along the Thorp Highway, and returned to the Yakima Valley returned through the canyon.

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Highway 241

3. Monday we were up and out early, due to expected high temps later in the day. We took the slow road – Yakima Valley Highway – towards the lower valley. This is such a pretty drive through orchards, farms, and small communities. We went as far south as Sunnyside, then took Highway 241 over the top of the hills to Highway 24, which led us back to Yakima. Along the Yakima River, I saw several cranes and a block of whirling pelicans. A stalking coyote was circling a herd of black cows who were grazing way out in the middle of nowhere. Yikes! I shook my finger at him, but I don’t think it helped. Babies were everywhere – foals, calves, lambs, kids. This ride was shorter than the other days, but a great outing.

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Heading into the Yakima River Canyon

Let’s talk about smell-o-vision. This is a real thing on motorcycles. What you see, or don’t see, you will smell. The good, the bad, the ugly. Mint, flowers, freshly cut hay, hops, dust, horses, fast food restaurants. The list of good-to-smell is unending. The bad? Think cow poop, skunks, diesel exhaust, asphalt, smoke, garbage. The ugly? Dead stuff. I know they are ugly because I can smell them and it is not pretty! While some road kill is evident alongside the road, others lurk mysteriously out of sight. But not out of nose.

What’s the trade-off for the icky smells? Wonderful fresh air, the joy of wind blowing along your body, and rolling scenery. It’s worth every smell and bug splatter.

Where did your journeys take you this weekend?

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Just us, goofing around 


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One More Hug

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One more hug.

That’s what I wish for. Just 1, maybe 2 long hugs.

Before I say good-bye.

But it’s too late. I’ve missed the chance. You’re gone.

 

I’ll remember our last day together.

Talking, remembering, sharing, eating.

That one half hug when I arrived.

It wasn’t enough.

 

So I’ll grab all those memories,

Wrap them tight in my heart.

Keep them close to ease the pain.

An invisible hug for eternity.

 

Missing you.

 

For my Dad.

My Daddy passed away on Good Friday, April 14. I was blessed to spend the day with Daddy and Mama, talking and visiting and hanging out. He went on to Heaven later that evening. We had the gift of clear-minded conversation and enjoyment of recalling my growing-up years the entire day. I even learned a few things I hadn’t known. I miss him dreadfully and worry about Mama without her love of nearly 57 years of marriage. But I know he is fine and she’s not alone. She has her kids, a part of Daddy. We will share our heart hugs about Daddy and remember the good times.

But I would still love one more hug.

Don’t wait. Hug with abandon.