Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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We Survived the Eclipse: Story Through Photos and Haiku

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A painting of the eclipse (red because it’s darker) – Art by Khloe

 

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Our tiny view of the eclipse through a pin-hole camera

 

Boxes, foil and tape,

wondering children marvel

as sky lights shake hands.

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Pin-hole cameras

 

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Hayden and Khloe peeking at the solar eclipse

 

The daytime and night

heavenly bodies dance past,

a peek-a-boo tryst.

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Gage trying to see the eclipse…he’s only 2, so was not impressed

 

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Stacking rocks was more enticing than solar and lunar escapades

 

The waiting is long

Look, play, work, gaze, pinhole view;

Light sliver eclipse.

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The PacMan stage (coined by Hayden) of the solar eclipse

 

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Taking a solar break – by hauling bricks

 

But how? Why? We gasp.

Fleeting, amazing, we stop.

Cooler, darker day.

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Mabel was definitely more exciting to Gage than the sun and moon

 

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Putting down bricks, mid-eclipse

 

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Solar Eclipse, by Khloe

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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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Writing Assistant

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Storystorm is coming to an end in a few days. I will miss the daily posts by others working in the field of picture books!

Along the way, I’ve learned, brainstormed, taken notes, and jotted down many ideas for future writing projects. Way to go, Tara Lazar and all of the presenters! You can visit Tara’s site and check it out here.

Another unexpected result from Storystorm came this morning. I have now hired a personal assistant. Welcome, Mabel!


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Throwback Thursday: Sunday Markets, I Miss You!

Summer farmer markets, oh how I look forward to you! Enjoy this throwback post from August 2009.

The fountain at Place Monge on Sunday Market day

Place Monge (Paris) fountain on Sunday Market day

In France, one of the things we truly enjoyed was the Sunday market held in the Place Monge town square. One could buy ANYTHING needed for eating, drinking, or giving. One Sunday we encountered a simultaneous flea market, but I could never figure out when another was going to be staged. I so wanted another chance at finding treasures!

On any given Sunday, there was no lack of choices for purchase at the market. Fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers were squashed in among stalls of stinky cheese and fish, raw meat and poultry. Lucious homemade breads competed for the winning fragrance award with occasional ‘meals made for you right now.’ The entire experience was a delight for the senses. Taking home the goods – mouth-watering sustenance.

flowers on Sunday Market

Flowers at Sunday Market

Meat vendor at Place Monge

Meat vendor at Place Monge

vegetable vendor at Place Monge

Produce vendor at Place Monge

Market fare from Place Monge

A meal comprised of market fare from Place Monge

Many years ago, in the Yakima Valley, a Sunday farmer’s market was hatched. Of course, being at church  most of each Sunday, we did not frequent the market. In fact, we boycotted it simply because it should be held on Saturdays (our opinion) so market workers and go-ers could attend church on Sunday. Granted, I don’t believe our boycott gained any new members of a church anywhere…

With our recent life change of full Sunday church responsibilities to experiencing ‘house church’ at a local park on Sunday mornings, we decided we would check it out – to see what the rest of the valley does on Sunday mornings. It seems that many residents take pride and joy at what is locally available, fresh from the fields, and the hands of gardeners, farmers, and crafters.

Sunday Market in Yakima

Sunday Market in Yakima

Pleasantly surprised, we found a plethora of aromatic and tasty produce, fruit, home-produced crafts, and food items. Mixed in was a variety of ethnic food stalls (I love the panset and lumpia) and shoppers galore.

Checking out the goods

Checking out the goods

An added bonus was musical entertainment. Steel drum music was such a wonderful accompaniment to the outing.

My grandbaby hits the Sunday Market

My oldest grandbaby (now he is 7) hits the Sunday Market

We encountered people we knew, interacted with community members, and socialized under the hot sun. Purchasing fresh produce and showing off our grandson were top prizes for the day.

Hayden with Papa at the Yakima Sunday Market

Hayden with Papa at the Yakima Sunday Market

I guess the boycott was a misguided waste of time. The Master Gardener did not stick Himself in church and stay there all day on Sundays. He was out among the people, out in the community. Perhaps more productive to relationship building, making new friends, and reaching out is to be where the people are…not where we think they should be, but where they actually are.

A challenge to myself – where are the families in my community on any given Sunday morning? Maybe it’s time I found out…and made some new friends.


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Throwback Thursday: Shouldn’t Have . . .

Shouldn’t have eaten that last donut. No longer a size 7.5.

Sigh.

(Reblogged from 2010)

 

In honor of those pets we’ve loved and lost. Meet Annabelle, who was spending time with mommy and trying to nonchalantly fit inside her box. Miss you, my beautiful tuxedo cat fur baby.


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Blanket Wars

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No. This is not THAT kind of post. Sorry to disappoint.

This story does take place behind closed doors. Bedroom doors. And it involves blankets.

Backstory: We live in an RV. While this is fairly new, having moved in last August after selling our home and getting rid of most of our belongings, we are pretty settled – as much as a couple plus two cats can be living in an RV – and have dealt with enough RV issues to allow us to feel somewhat competent and resourceful.

Some things we’ve experienced: sub-zero temps, above 100 temps, blown fuses, broken microwave (rough, I know), broken entertainment system (again, tough to handle, right?), frozen water hose, condensation like there’s no tomorrow, broken toilet (equals running, not stopping, water), frozen closed door (with us inside), and broken window shades (thanks, kitties).

Usually Mr. Q gets right on the problem and we finagle a way to make it work or fix it. Often this involves a call to Skyler, the fabulous service manager at Broadmoor RV where we purchased our home on wheels. Skyler is on speed dial. Skyler knows Mr. Q well, and after the recent broken toilet fiasco, my respect for him has quadrupled. Mr. Q was well and ready to pull the RV plug and throw in the towel. Skyler talked him off the ledge and assured him of solutions and assistance. Thanks to Skyler, we still live in the RV.

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But there is one mystery we have not been able to fix. The blankets. The moving, twisting, weird blankets.

Setting: Queen bed. Sheets, both fitted and top. Kind of fuzzy dual-controlled electric blanket. Quilt. Second quilt. Small fleece throw for kitties.

Bedtime finds us tucked in cozily, snug as bugs in an RV rug. Staggered morning wakings ensue in a twist of layers and colors. He goes to work, I make the bed before digging out my computer.

Make. The. Bed. Every. Day. While this is challenging in itself – half cupboards at head height, sharp corners, floor cupboards, more sharp corners, narrow alley around most of the bed, electric blanket cord, and doorknobs – what happens to the tucked in bedding is most confusing.

I end up with the sheet. And sometimes one of the quilts. His side of the bed has the majority of the electric blanket, no sheet, and maybe a quilt. This happens every day. I don’t know how we do it, but it’s as if Mr. Q performs some magic trick to pull out the middle layer of heat and shuffles the rest my way.

The blankets are still tucked in at the foot of the bed. The plug is still attached. Even the kitty throw is in place. But that middle layer? Totally separated as if plucked and sorted by a giant’s hand while we sleep.

The blanket wars are on! I tuck with a vengeance, both when making the bed and when I get in at night, just to make sure I still have some covers left in the morning. He settles in while firmly grasping blankets over his head. Despite our efforts, the sheets still come my way, the electronic warmth goes his.

A mystery of epic RV proportions. Who will win? Will she freeze? Why do the sheets go east, the blankets west? Does he figure a way to make them stay layered? And what about the kitties? Whose side do they stay on?

Tune in this spring to discover if the warming trends of the season solve the blanket wars, once and for all.

Until next winter.

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The Original New Year – Every Day – Fresh Start

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A childhood song came dancing through my mind this morning, singing to the new year and new beginnings. After several days of reading blog posts and emails about New Year resolutions and words for the year, my thoughts were certainly considering all things new.

Isn’t it wonderful to have a fresh start? Why can’t we do that every day, all year long? Every January, I find myself more energized and committed to my goals and dreams, yet from past experiences (years upon years), I’m pretty sure I will experience fatigue and begin to prune my high expectations. Or at least forget my word of the year (which I have yet to discover). Life will interfere, changes will happen, and by the end of the year, those beginning plans will have fallen by the wayside or will have been altered so much they barely resemble original thoughts.

That’s ok, though, really. We cannot foresee the twists and turns of life, so wisdom would dictate that we make adjustments and refine our goals, dreams, plans.

Fresh resolutions every morning would be much more manageable.

Write. Read. Learn. Love. Do.

A basic plan, a few words, doable. Perhaps too broad, but easy to adjust each day. And the perfect-for-me way to enjoy new mornings every day as the sun rises.

The original fresh start and new beginnings?

“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)

and

“Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’” Revelation 21:5 (NKJV)

 

Care to join me in a fresh new beginning each morning?

 

Karen Witemeyer penned similar well-crafted thoughts about new beginnings. You can find her at Inspired by Life and Fiction.


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Party Time! Thank You, Followers!

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It’s party time, followers!

 

Thank you for voting in confidence

for my posting and blogging bent.

I’m so glad to meet you here,

sharing where we went.

 

Horrid, I know, but meant very well;

Thanks for hanging with me.

The (blog) world is our oyster!

Forward now, to see what we see.

 

As we learn and play and chat and goof,

join in the fun, my dears;

Welcome, friends, each and all,

and happy, happy New Years!

 

 


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The Welcome Mat is Out – RV Life

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The snow that has fallen would easily reach the second step, but diligent shoveling makes finding the welcome mat possible!

The welcome mat is out. Snow covered. But out.

Bundle up, jump in the one-horse open sleigh, and drive over the river and through the woods to Nana’s house. I mean Nana and Papa’s RV.

First, we’ll visit and catch-up. Of course, in our tiny space, this may require sitting in shifts or booting a cat off the chair. Speaking of cats, the floating fur is free.

For the exercise portion of our gathering, shall we shovel some snow? As it seems to fall continuously, there are a couple of acres ready for your attention. We’ll add in a bit of slip-sliding our way up the hill to the irrigation ditch, view the wildlife, and sled back down into the pasture.

To conclude our fun times together, toasty hot tea or coffee and perhaps a snack or two shall be served.

As we wave you out of sight, know our hearts and RV are warmer and happier. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon.

Just aim for the welcome mat.

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The Christmas tree that shall stand in place until probably March – or until the snow melts enough to get to the base. It’s still beautiful, so I shall enjoy it until then!

Snow, glorious, snow.

Falling, drifting, growing

Into mountains

And triathlon driving adventures.

 

Snow, fabulous, snow.

Beautiful, peaceful, blanketing

Covering all

And putting to bed those who live under.

 

– By Angie Quantrell