Saturday, August 27, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things: Always Something Good to Celebrate

Hi. It's been awhile since I've blogged officially. April, to be exact, but a little nudge from Lexa, our fearless "Celebrate" leader, gave me the incentive to turn on the computer, place my fingers on the keyboard and type. 

So what have I been doing since April? I could list all the things I haven't been doing in rather boring detail, like not writing my next novel or sending out a quad-zillion query letters, but that would depress you, as it has me. More on that in another post... Meanwhile, I do hope to attend a writer's conference in October.

But here, here. There is always something good to celebrate. Don't you agree? Here is a small sampling:

---Gardening, gardening, gardening!! Slowly but surely, our large property is taking shape. The sandy loam soil is full of rocks. For every bucketful of soil, I swear I get half as many rocks...but they are nice River rocks, nicely varied in size and color. So here is my mantra: Got rocks? Make a rock garden! Photos someday I promise.

--I re-connected with my college roommate after many, many years (we think 40). Is that possible? She was traveling my way to pick up a new puppy....a darling toy collie, and spent the night. She was still the nice girl I remembered :) We talked and talked.

--Visited good friends at their farm and river ranch. Vince and our friend played guitar in an old grain tower and the acoustics.....absolutely incredible! They played "Amazing Grace," so you can imagine how beautiful it was.

--Vince restored an old Holiday 1985 speed boat and I mended the Bimini. We have been taking lovely moonlight rides on the lake. I'm surprised at how much cooler it is on the lake. It's been in the hundreds here and it doesn't cool down that much at night, but it feels at least ten degrees cooler on the water.

--Family reunion. I got to know a side of the family I rarely see. I spent time talking to six kids in one family, encouraging them in their life pursuits. I remember those who encouraged me as a girl. It felt good to do the same.

--Two nieces married....one tomorrow, actually. Boy, weddings aren't what they used to be. Tomorrow's wedding is at a campground and was organized by word of mouth (the other one, on Facebook). Seventy or so are supposedly coming. Being more traditional (i.e., a formal invitation), hubby and I almost backed out. But of course, we are going. Family will be there, and that's what weddings are about.  



Our friends and neighbors made this video of our new boat. 

Smile. 
There is always something 
good to celebrate.


Celebrate the Small Things: To join, visit Lexa's Blog for the rules. We post every Friday about something we are grateful for that week. It can be about writing, family, school, general life or whatever. Originated by VikLit, co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Katie @ TheCyborgMom

(Scroll down to see 'Celebrate' bloggers)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Friday Barnes Girl Detective by R.A. Spratt and Phil Gosier: Book Review

 
Friday Barnes: Girl Detective
Author: R.A. Spratt
Illustrator: Phil Gosier
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2016 
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Age: 8 to 12, Middle Grade
Pages: 255



 

Possibilities soar when spunky eleven-year-old Friday Barnes solves a bank robbery and receives fifty thousand dollars as reward. Emboldened, she announces she’s sending herself to a boarding school with the money, Highcrest Academy. “But why,” asks her father. “Because I want to do something different,” Friday replies. 

Friday’s parents and four adult siblings, all of whom are geniuses, have devoted themselves to studying theoretical physics. They only assumed Friday, also a genius, would do the same. Friday was born to her mother late in life, and with the exception of a doting uncle, often fends for herself alone. She even made an electric bicycle once when her parents failed to pick her up from school events. Friday’s vast knowledge from reading books and learning how things work has made her into a good debater—and a detective. Friday uses her gifts to convince her parents. Now the plan is to attend school unnoticed, so she can quietly observe and learn. 

The first day at school goes wrong when a car accidentally bumps into her in the school parking lot. She is only slightly hurt, but word gets out she is different. Not only does Friday dress weird in brown cardigans, she is extremely smart. Acceptance comes from her equally geeky roommate Melanie, and oddly, from Friday’s ability to solve mysteries at school, one being the strange swamp yeti. 

She ends up solving a diamond smuggling operation, but Ian Waitscott, the smartest and cutest boy in class remains her enemy. Unfortunately, Ian’s dad went to prison as a result of the bank caper Friday had solved earlier. When police arrest Friday at the end, readers may wonder if Ian played a role. The next edition reveals the outcome. A rollicking read overall, Gosier’s cartoon illustrations are entertaining and a good match. A cute story, and one I would give my granddaughter.
 

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Classics - CLOSING LINES: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

"Only two more things need to be told. One is that Caspian and his men all came safely back to Ramandu's Island. And the three lords woke from their sleep. Caspian married Ramandu's daughter and they all reached Narnia in the end, and she became a great queen and the mother and grandmother of great kings. The other is that back in our own world everyone soon started saying how Eustace had improved, and how "You'd never know him for the same boy," everyone except Aunt Alberta, who said he had become very commonplace and tiresome and it must have been the influence of those Pevensie children." (Published 1952)


I love the classics and plan to alternately share more "CLOSING lines" over the coming months. Comment if you wish, or read for inspiration. Writing styles were different then, or were they really?