Thursday, February 28, 2013

One Bite at a Time

Driving down the road a couple of weekends ago, Riff and Noah were playing "Slug Bug" when they spotted Volkswagon Beetle's.  Noah called out, "Slug Bug red - No hit back's!" after a 5 year old sized slug to his Papa's arm, then he was quiet for a few seconds. 
 "Bana?  I don't really remember what a slug is."  I replied that a slug is a slimy bug with no bones - just like a snail without a shell.  "oh yeah!  I remember!  What do slugs do?"  "Hmmm", I said.  "Well, they come out when it rains and when your garden is growing they come out at night and eat all of your plants."  This provoked a concentrated look on Noah's face, then he asked, "Don't the spider's eat them?  'Cause spiders are good and they eat the bad bugs."  I told him that no, spiders don't really eat slugs because they're too little.  The slugs are bigger than the spiders.  

"Well, Bana, why can't they just eat them one bite at a time?" 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Octopus Tree

This is called The Octopus Tree and has stood on a bluff at Cape Meares on the Oregon Coast for the past 300 or so years.  This tree is a Sitka Spruce that has mysteriously grown without a central trunk.  It's about 42 feet around and stands over 100 feet high with arms that extend out and up like an upside down octopus.  

The mystery is what formed this incredible tree.  Was it natural forces such as the wind that hammers the bluff this Sitka Spruce stands on? Most likely not.   Did the Native Americans of this area, the Tillamook Tribe, purposely form this wondrous tree this way?  Local legends say that the tree was formed this way as a ceremonial site to cradle the canoes that held their dead.  The tree is also known as "The Council Tree" where tribal elders came to make decisions and where shaman performed tribal ceremonies.  

Seems to me this tree is sacred.  I think, quite possibly, the spirits of our Native American ancestors can still be felt here, if you just take the time to listen.  

(This posted linked to Green Day over at Raindrops & Daisies)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Fixer Upper

Remember me telling you last month about the What's in a Name reading challenge?  It's a really fun challenge with six categories; the idea is to read one book that meets the criteria for each category.  I just finished The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews that fits just perfectly into the "Up or Down" slot. 
Dempsey Killebrew is a junior lobbyist in Washington D.C. whose boss has taken her under his wing and made her his prodigy, so she thinks, until he is charged with bribing a senator and uses Dempsey as the fall guy. She loses her job, and her name and picture are spread all over the news as the girl who hired prostitutes for the senator. Dempsey's unlikable father has just inherited his family home in small town Georgia and, not having much choice, Dempsey packs up and heads to Georgia to "flip" the house. It turns out the once beautiful Victorian is in shambles and a shirttail elderly cousin has taken up residence in the home. Dempsey has her hands full with the house as well as with the scandal that won't go away. Two FBI agents show up in town and threaten her with prison time if she doesn't cooperate with them. As Dempsey starts to restore the family home and her own life, she begins to find the things that are important. 

This book was just ok for me. There wasn't a single character that I really connected with and the fact that the author thought it necessary to throw brand names around in every other sentence really annoyed me. For most of the book, I found myself mostly skimming instead of digging in and really getting into the story.  I certainly won't go out of my way to read any other books by this author.

Not to late for you to join in the What's in a Name Challenge!  Where is your reading taking you?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Green Day

Green sea grass surrounding a tide pool ~
This was taken at the tide pools at Yaquina Head Lighthouse on Riff and I's recent trip to Newport.  It's always so much fun poking around in the tide pools to see what little critters are hiding in them.  

Today I stumbled upon a lovely blog from Ireland - Raindrops and Daisies
This is a beautiful blog full of gorgeous pictures, and I just love the blog name since I live in a rainy cottage and daisies are my favorite flower!  She hosts an event called Green Day where anyone is welcome to add their link to a post featuring pictures of anything green (as long as it's not offensive), and then to visit the other Green Day participants.  The tide pool above is my first ever Green Day entry!  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Turn the Page...Tuesday

What's going on in the book on your nightstand?  Has it taken you to someplace fun?  Pop over to Some of a Kind to join Turn the Page Tuesday and tell us where you've been traveling to in your reading lately. 

This year, Adrienne has challenged us to read a book that has been made into a movie and then to watch that movie.  In January, I choose a dusty book from my shelves that I had been putting off forever -  The Scarlet Letter  by Nathaniel Hawthorne-
First published in 1850, Hawthorne's novel of adultery, shame, politics and religion is set in a puritan village in New England.  Hester Prynne is the main character who has disgraced herself and community by becoming with child outside of marriage.  Hester has been in the village for a few years waiting for her husband to arrive.  They were immigrating from England and for reasons unknown, the husband had sent Hester ahead.  He had not been heard from for several years.  Hester is not alone in her crime, but she has refused to name the father of her child and the father has not seen fit to declare himself.   Enter Roger Chillingworth, an aged doctor who, unbeknownst to the villagers, is Hester's husband.  He forces her to secrecy and becomes quite insane in his quest to find out who the father of Hester's little girl is.  

The biggest thing I took away from this classic was the strength and bravery of Hester Pryne to live out her life being scorned by the villagers.  Yet, I look at some of that strength as weakness instead.  Hester could have chosen to leave the village and find a settlement that did not know of her or her shame, yet she choose to stay in the hope that someday her true love would come back to her.  Maybe she could have used that same strength to leave and make a better life for herself and her daughter. 

I looked on Netflix and found the version of The Scarlet Letter that people said stuck the closest to the book.  It was a tv mini-series from 1979.  So far I've watched the first two hours and have two more hours to go, but it is done very well and I'm enjoying it quite a bit. 

Next I read Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck~
Fantastic! I really loved this book that takes us on a historical journey to the Key West of the 1930's and into the lives of Ernest Hemingway and his wife Pauline. "Hemingway's Girl" is Mariella Bennet, a feisty 19 year old Cuban-American who has just lost her father. Mariella's mother is in a deep period of grief so it has fallen to her to support her family any way she can. When she lands a job as housekeeper to the Hemingway family, she finds herself immersed in a different lifestyle and the object of the great writer's attention. Mariella also meets Gavin, a war veteran who is in the Keys working to rebuild the Oversea's Highway. It's just possible that this soldier might capture her heart.

I really connected with Mariella; loving her feisty nature and ability to survive any situation that comes her way. When a huge hurricane hits the Keys, I stood in the rain and nailed boards to the windows right beside Mariella, praying for the safety of her family and friends.
The author really did a great job of researching the era and the lifestyle in this book. The people and the places felt very real and I had to keep reminding myself that this was a work of fiction and not the absolute facts of what happened. To me, it is a truly wonderful work that makes you forget that you are reading historical fiction. 

And then - Valley Girl (Adventures of Hazel Weston) by Paula Montgomery - 
I had picked this book up at a yard sale a couple of summers ago and it was just hanging around on my shelf waiting to be read - Boy was I in for a treat!
This book is set in the Hood River Valley of Oregon and is a sequel to Canyon Girl. It is the 1920's and Hazel Weston's family has recently moved from the Imnaha Canyon of Wallowa County to Hood River, their dream valley. The valley is full of lush beauty - fruit tree's, fertile fields and the beautiful Columbia River. Hazel's Grandma Smith arrives on the train and immediately Hazel realizes there is a secret her family is keeping from her. What could it be? One day, in her Mother's knitting basket, Hazel spies a baby booty. She asks her Mother if it is for one of the neighbors and finds out that, no, it is for their own sweet baby that will be born in the spring! That winter proves to be the hardest winter on record for the Hood River Valley with a huge snowstorm followed by an ice storm. As the families roof is about to cave in, Hazel is the only one light enough to be able to travel across the ice-encrusted snow to get help from a neighbor. 

This is a wonderful story of a young girls life in the Hood River Valley. I have Canyon Girl on it's way to me and can't wait to read about the part of Hazels story that takes place just one county over from where I grew up!

Whew!  That's enough from me!  What the heck have you been reading???