Reviewing a Few Summer Reads

Woman Reading

The boys in the boat will row their way into your heart.  This book is a colossal hit.  It took place in the l930′s at the time of the Great Depression, the terrible droughts in the U.S., and the Olympics in l936 in Germany.  The reader follows the University of Washington boys as they compete for a seat in a boat.  Author Daniel Brown has gone to so much research and interview lengths that the story feels as if it is happening as you read along.  The image of Joe, one of the tough kids paying their way through college, is unforgettable as you jackhammer along with him as he hangs from rocks in the Grand Coulee making the dam and working at this unbelievable task eight hours a day paying him 75 cents an hour, or you go with him to row for the gold on the grounds of the Olympics which Hitler had built BY HAND, with no mechanical equipment.

I read Luminaries, a novel set in l866 in New Zealand, because it was on a list of the top historical fiction.  When I picked up this book by Eleanor Catton, the librarian said, “I wish you better luck with this than I had (the books weighs at least ten pounds) and I thought she meant the heft of the thing.

I craved to learn about the success and the hardships of the miners.  What I found instead was a detective story about a dozen people who are connected in some way with the mining industry, including a sea captain.  It were as if I were reading a Sherlock Holmes novel when he gathers all the major parties together to unweave and tie up the threads.  In this case, a few deaths and a box of women’s fashions that travels back and forth across the ocean.  The book is a good example of a writer telling instead of showing a story.

Death Comes to the Archbishop, also on the top historical fiction list, was a grand read about the remote territory that Catholic priests cover when Arizona and New Mexico are annexed to the U.S.  They travel phenomenal ways across uncharted land.  The Archbishop is a lovable man who makes good decisions appropriate to the raw life of the time.  He overlooks priests who have families but they support the church and the people with passion.  A fun adventure for a hot summer day.

A WWII story, Miracle at St. Anna, by James McBride, which also became a movie, tells the story of four black soldiers.  They are in Italy and adrift from the main force because one of them has saved a little boy who doesn’t speak.  They find themselves in an Italian village where they learn about the Black Butterfly, a partisan leader, whose men have killed two SS men.  In retaliation, over 300 villagers have been rounded up and killed.

The shameful way Blacks were treated both in the service and at home is shown with compassion.  Lots of thrills and tension as the story builds.

The author, however, leaves out the fact that Blacks and Japanese soldiers are the troops  left behind to keep the Germans from leaving the mountains and going back to fight in Germany.  White troops have been shipped to England to prepare for the coming invasion in France.

I’m currently in the middle of The Seventh Gate, a story about a teenager in WWII in Berlin.  After that will be the Far Pavilions (another huge novel with small type) and the Egyptian, a book that was on the bestseller list for over forty years.

 

No – Do Not Tell

 Your dream should be secret.


Your dream should be secret.

On this summer afternoon, I think about my dream. It is so fragile that the telling of it risks its life. Telling someone about your dream is like blowing up a balloon and not tying the end. The very breath that speaks of the heart’s true desire can evaporate the creative energy that hides behind the dream’s force.

A dream is a seed in the soul, the very heart of you. I want to protect mine and nourish it by doing some activity every day which will take me closer to its reality.

Whatever your dream, it is yours and yours alone. Unless you love someone so much and have so much trust in them, perhaps you could tell them. If they do truly appreciate your dream and see you so full of hope then they may be able to witness your highest self.

The moment of telling someone your dream has magical possibilities, yet, is so delicate. You never really know another person until you know their secret dream.

It is then that you feel their power, strength, convictions and you know that they are REAL. They will feel happiness and so will you for you have met soul to sour. The great breath of life has been fanned. Alas, if a dream is exposed to the wrong person who belittles it, it will fade, the color lessening, the shape and size fogging over like a cloud forming when hot air meets a cold front.

The blessed moment is experiencing a dream come true. Pursuit of the dream is nothing in comparison to holding a dream in the palm of your hand, of knowing it is finally yours. A miracle.

If dreaming a dream is walking hand in hand with God, then fulfilling a dream is a glimpse of paradise.

(These words are excerpts from my new non-fiction, Snow Birds, releasing in October.)

Are You Barefoot?

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     Being barefoot feels as liberating and can be as freeing as depicted in this lovely summer photo by Photo Pin.  Let’s ask you a question.

     Have you gone barefoot this summer?  It’s one of the many joys offered by summer.  Your feet have nerves. If you are without shoes they can experience the lushness of grass, the wonder of touching objects never noticed before.  Preferably you’re careful about where you going.  Hopefully not over rough rocks, or on walking on a hot tin roof.

     Once this Swedish/Polish girl went barefoot all summer long on a Florida beach and in the process got a golden suntan.  Maybe this was the same beach where Nathan Jaynes commented recently that he might have lost his sunglasses.  Following my essay about losing sunglasses, he wrote, “I like to think that my lost sunglasses live the remainder of their lives on an empty beach in front of a perfect sunset.  The only way I’ve found not to lose them is to buy a few pair.  That way there’s always a couple around when I need them.”

    My Mother’s tales of growing up at the turn of last century at the outskirts of Rush City, Minn. with six siblings and a young widowed mother who had little money, is significant in an essay about being barefoot. She and her brother, Fill, went berry picking to sell quarts to the local grocer.  They often walked along dirt roads filling pails so that he could buy shoes to wear to school.  Can’t you just see the two of them barefoot as they trotted along collecting wild berries in the fields?

   Rush Lake is a lovely rural area in Northern Minnesota.  That’s where I spent part of the summer at a lake cabin enjoying swimming, boating, fishing, and taking my brothers and cousins on adventures.  I must have been nine years old when I rounded everyone up for an adventure.  “Let’s go to Rush City to see Uncle Otto at the mill,”

   I wasn’t wise enough to inform one of the adults back at the lake.  We walked barefoot seven miles to the mill.  Someone must have missed us because I don’t remember walking back, but I don’t recall being scolded either.

   Barefoot in the summer brings good memories. 

    

Lost Your Sunglasses?

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       Your pair of sunglasses have disappeared.  Poof.  Vanished.  Where do they go?  I seem to lose mine when I travel.  Maybe at the airport.  There’s so much to manage there.  The roller bag, the satchel, and purse in one hand, the other carrying a boarding ticket and sunglasses.

     People never seem to FIND a pair of sunglasses.

     My pair of Polar Opic by Dioptics fits over my classic prescription glasses just fine, the tint never distorts my vision, however a pair just can up and leave.  Doing a little thinking about why this happens, it must be because I’ve taken them off because they weren’t needed and I had no good place to put them.

     Not long ago, the sun was bright.  I was out for the day away from the Lazy Bee, and yelped to my friend, I’ve lost my sunglasses.  “No, you haven’t,” she said.  “They are on the top of your sunhat.”

     Harry Dent, an investment editor, says he always loses his sunglasses.  Once when he lost his, he tried on a pair at a retail store made by Randolph Engineering (their usual style is the Aviator) and according to him when he bought his pair, “the world changed a little.  The sky was more crisp and looked better.  Things were crisper.”

     That can happen if you have cataracts.  It was after my operation that I could see the individual trees on a mountain whereas before I could see only the mountain.  I could drive faster and felt safer driving at night.

    That’s how I found my brand of sunglasses.  A pair of Polar Opics was given to me following the cataract operation, a procedure only daunting because in it was thought to be in my imagination.  It was over-quick and it was an easy recuperation.  Now I order two pair at a time because I lose so many.  Usually forgetting what type they are, I phone the nice lady at Diopics and she pulls up a past order and voila two pair of the polarized and scratch-resistant, bend to fit over are on the way.

     Losing sunglasses is not as dire as losing reading glasses.  Once I lost reading glasses and searched everywhere but naturally where they were lurking.  They finally turned up a few days later when I needed to make a fire in the kitchen woodstove and found them in the box of kindling next to the stove.  They had apparently fallen off when I was picking up a few pieces of wood to start a fire to make a pot roast, which incidentally turns out splendidly if done in a wood fire.

     Do you lose your sunglasses?   If you don’t, you must have a way to remember where you put them when they aren’t needed.  There are tips for everything in the sun.  Things for everyday little objects like duck tape and how to keep the ends from sticking together. (Attach a paper clip to the end)  Why not tips for remembering how to hold onto a prized pair of sunglasses.

     Last question: where to you think lost sunglasses go?  Are they like a sock that goes missing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joy Through Adventure

medium_3889243610     Seeking joy through adventure, there it is at the huge Farm Chicks Show taking place at the Spokane Fairgrounds.  Excitement is through the roof.  Women, and a few men, of all ages are on a treasure hunt.

We line up for tickets the day before the huge weekend event and return the following morning two hours before the doors open to wait in line buzzing to one another about the things we’ll find.

Why do we flock like this?  Is it the thrill of the hunt for things to feather our nests?  To find things like white-painted furniture, handcrafted jewelry, vintage inspired clothing, primitives, signage, antiques and vintage curiosities?

Names of vendors beckon: Joyous Surprises, Inspired Furniture and Finishes, Secrets in the Attic, The mad Cow, Laurie’s Laughter, Junk Girls, Two Pitts of a Pear, Rusty Chick, Olden Thymes, Backroads Vintage, Pammy’s Attic.

The fun was around every bend and corner in the 300 hundred eye-appealing booths, the friendly and helpful vendors, the country girl look so many women sported in their cowboy books, aprons,long skirts and lacey tops.

It was my particular joy to meet Serena, the young, adorable brunette who started this a few years ago in Fairfield.  She said she’d be happy to review my new non-fiction, Snowbirds, coming out this fall so I’ll send her a preview copy when they come out in July.

Women from all over the U.S. and Canada are here.  My friend, Sherrel’s husband, an Egyptian, asked, “Did you see anyone from Eqypt?”  No one seemed to think there is anything this vast-a-vintage shopping event in their city.  I picked up postcards from vendors offering Vintage Faires: Girl Friends, Olympia; Molly Mo’s, Sublimity, OR.; Wild Women, 5 Mile Prairie; Mad Hatter, Mead, Roses & Rust, Boise, ID.; Two Women Vintage Goods (always open in Spokane), Junk Girls, San Luis Obispo, CA.; Junk From Trunk, Newport.

I snagged six brass animal kabob wire sticks, a 1920′s parmesan shredder, a darling little red apron, a basket for taking food to the gazebo and a little white painted curved wood chair on which it is written, “What If the Hokey Pokey Is What It’s All About?”

i Interview a Bigfoot Hunter

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     Curt Bradford is an ordinary single guy on an extraordinary pursuit.  Since the age of ten when he read John Green’s book, “The Apes Among Us,” he’s been fascinated by these illusive giants.

     He lives in Fredericksburg, VA. and is on a two-month sabbatical from his insurance job.  Here in Spokane, he is visiting his cousin and my friend, Sheryl Rhosdy, when I asked how his avid and continuing search was coming along.  Among my summer joys now are the thrills of hearing about his hunt.

      He’d just been to Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, to meet John Green, now in his eighties.  “If there were two people I most wanted to meet in the world, it was God and John Greene.”  He’s still glowing over that experience.  Curt has gone to Big Foot conventions, makes a trip every year to the Willamette National Forest in Oregon to look to Sasquash, and will take back with him a “souvenir” plaster cast of Big Foot he bought in Canada.  In the photo he holds one of a female and asks, “Can you imagine having a foot this big?”

     At five foot and ten inches and 240 he is fearless in his quest.  He’s come close.  He bring tingles as he reports, “In a very remote part of the Oregon forest, I was by myself.  It was night.  I was all wrapped up in my hammock wrapped in a sleeping bag and covered with netting.  In the middle of the night, I felt something very big and tall standing beside me.”  He wants to find bones so he can prove with DNA that these giants among us do exist.

      He had his heart set on meeting the author whose authentic voice sent him on this lifelong journey.  Knowing that he lived somewhere close to the border, Curt went up to Harrison Hot Springs to the library where one of the staff put him in touch with a man who arranged the meeting for him with his hero.  Curt says Green has recorded over three thousand sightings in the U.S. and Canada.

      In our forests here in the Pacific Northwest the Big Foot legends are many.  In fact, just a few miles away from the Lazy Bee, a few years ago a young bride said to her husband, “Don’t go outside.  Something horrible is there.”  In the morning the couple took photos of big footprints in the snow outside their cottage.

      Indians here would leave the top row of their drying fish and the heads on the ground for the Sasquash who’d take the fish.

     “Are women fascinated when you tell them you’re a Big Foot hunter?”

    “No, they run fast as they can the other way.”

     

Joyful Surprises

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     Husband Bud announced today, “I like playing bridge now that I’ve finally got the “hang” of it.  He had been a reluctant beginner, but after the fun games we had with Barbara and Dale Thisted who came to enjoy a weekend in the country with us, he had this fantastic break through.  Hurrah.  He’ll enjoy bridge even better the more he plays.

     Jeannie, the master developer for Downstream Publishing, my new publisher, phoned this weekend.  The launch date for Snow Birds, my new non-fiction, will be October l.  June will see a new cover, the interior designed, fifty books printed for the major reviewers and bloggers.

      Had a fun little trip in the l956b Jeep on a beautiful 75 degree spring day to the top of a nearby mountain looking for an abandoned mine.   I wanted to see the site as a possible one for the last chapter of Casanova Cowboy.

     Up at top of this mountain, folks were not all that friendly.  More territorial signs were up than I’ve ever seen before: Posted, No Trespassing, Violators Beware.  When a car guarded the dirt road by parking across it side ways, we turned back.  There are many others to see. 

      A Jeep can go over a berm, but not a car.  Another trip up a mountain isn’t all that bad.  On one of them there is a mountain side with the prettiest blue stones, just right for the little path through our Shady Garden.  I asked Bud if he could find the place on the mountain where they are.  He said, “Whenever you’re ready. . .” and smiled.

      That’s a delightful promise coming during our 30th Wedding Anniversary weekend.  He’s my guy with a jeep who hunts and knows these mountains and where their treasures are hidden.

(Thanks for another beautiful pix go to Photopin.)

 

  

Joys of Summer No. 2

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     When an experience attaches to your memory so vividly, especially if it’s one of pleasure, you crave to repeat it.  At least I do.

      So, I expect the second joy of summer to be a Heavenly Bed.   The first was getting the golden convertible that’s ready to go on many a joyful event.

      Once upon a time almost like the Princess in the Pea, the feelings of lying upon a bed which felt like a cloud happened at the Best Western Hotel near the Ontario Airport in California.  I’ve always longed for a do-over of sleeping in a PERFECT bed/

      Always wanting to repeat that time of wonderment, when I read about the Heavenly Beds at a hotel in downtown Seattle and that the man of the couple did not want to leave it due to the BED itself, I thought why not?  There was no reason in this summer of joy to pass it by.

      The Hotel Westin is smack in the middle of downtown Seattle and not far from all the action.  Room reservations are very pricey.  Reservations however reports, “All our rooms have these Heavenly Beds,” so the bed will undoubtedly a Heavenly Bed.

      For a country girl who lives in the forest, a day in a big city will be quite the adventure.  Undoubtedly, that day will live among my top favorites of Summer Joys.  In between, there’s a lot of fun planned.  In a few minutes, the convertible is leaving on it’s first of summer picnics. 

     The sun is bright after a few days of rain. Black Sand Beach will soon see us.  The Columbia River will rush by and we’ll roast a few things over a fire.  Not to worry about tending correctly to a fire.

      Bud is a volunteer fireman for District l0 and he’ll be doing the fire and the cooking.  A man after my heart.  He’s brings me more pleasure and adventures than a Heavenly Bed will ever do.

 

No One Quite Like Maxamilian

     Maximilian. . . we never learned his last name. . . is a New York City actor who LISTENS as no one I’ve ever met.

     The charming guy was on his way to celebrate his 23d birthday with friends and family in Connecticut and we were on the same train for Grandparents Day at Kent, CT.

      He relished information about the West, listening intently to all that we had to say about the history and current life styles.  As he heard Bud describe the Indian wars in the West in the l858′s, it were as if he were living the events of that time period unfold.

      As our two-hour Metro North train ride on the New Haven line moved along, so did our conversation.  Finally, he grabbed his notebook and began writing down all the things he plans to learn more about: The Yankee Tavern four-person play about the 911 conspiracy, One Man’s Hero, a story of the Mexican-American war in Mexico, JFK., plus  my WWII novel, Lebensborn, and all the history that entails.

      He’s part of Living Theater in New York.  No one sits during one of these performances.  The play is performed. The actors go into the audience to engage the audience in a discussion before returning to do more.  In a recent play, he was Adam, as in Adam and Eve.  Life in the East is expensive.  This means he’s a slasher, a bartender while waiting for his big break.  I’m back in the West again after the trip so I’ll make a GODFATHER, a drink of one ounce of scotch and one-half of amaretto he told me about after learning my favorite drink is lowland scotch.

      What an experience!  The writer in me just wanted you to feel the wonderment of being in the presence of a passionate listener.  I’ll never forget that train ride or Maximilian.

      He’s says he’s coming to the Lazy Bee this summer to hike Abercrombie Mountain nearby and to sit around the campfire and hear more of Bud’s stories. 

 

New York New York

“If you can make it there,” . . . words from the signature song about New York City resonate as I plan a trip there in a few days enroute to Connecticut.

  As a writer, I’ll be hearing more of those lyrics, “You can make it any where,” as I’m enraptured by its hectic rhythm, unique cultures, and sounds of this mighty city.

  The trip is via plane, shuttle, train and taxi.  This blog is about a trip that once I arrive on the East Coast, it will take five hours to successfully find my way to the end of the line.

    The train goes from Grand Central Station.  It can be an intimidating place to someone from one of the West Coast’s little cities.  Will I find the right train?  Will I even get on the shuttle from Newark Airport TO Grand Central Station?

    What sight will strike my inner soul?  One time in Los Angeles, that happened to be the Pink Pussy Cat, but that’s another story.

    At Grand Central, I’ll head to Metro North’s last stop: Ten Mile Ricer.  Now that sounds appealing to someone from the West.  That’s the kinda stop you might find here.

     New York.  New York.  Here I come.Brooklyn-Bridge-New-York-wallpaper-hd-free-download-background-City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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