Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving - A Memory...and Song by Johnny Cash

We laughed about it later, the tiny plates of food the server brought to our table for Thanksgiving. One scoop of mashed potatoes and gravy, a half slice of turkey and a dab of cranberry sauce. Gathered around that table, half way around the world, sat a motley group of expats from all over the United States. Our ages ranged from forty something to seventy. It was our seventh month living in Malaysia and we were all a little homesick, but friendship and the willingness of a hotel restaurant to attempt Thanksgiving for us could not have been sweeter. 

Whereever you are, wishing you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! 

Sharon M. Himsl

Writer/Author. Blogging since 2011. 
Published with Evernight Teen: 
~~The Shells of Mersing

Friday, November 17, 2017

Hideout by Watt Key: Book Review

Author: Watt Key
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2017
Ages: 12 up, Young Adult
Pages: 311

When Sam moves to Pascagoula, Mississippi, his parents buy him a small boat on his twelfth birthday to explore nearby 
King’s Bayou, a marshy delta that runs deep into the wilderness. For most boys, having your own boat would feel like a dream come true, and Sam might have agreed, had it not been for the day he was beaten up at school as the new kid in town. Now that summer is here, escaping the humiliation of that awful day is all he can think about. It doesn't matter that another boy, Grover, his only friend at the moment, also had been beaten up. Sam is certain of one thing. He feels like “a loser,” and being around Grover only reminds him of that fact. 

Sam explores King’s Bayou in his new boat alone, mulling over all that happened. Ignoring his Chief of Police dad’s warning not to go too far and to avoid certain areas, Sam meets a boy his age named Davey, who has been hiding out in a shack and living in despicable conditions. Davey claims to be waiting for his father and brother to arrive. Sam secretly helps Davey survive, bringing him food and supplies over the next few days, but as the friendship grows, a mystery unfolds. Sam begins to suspect a terrible crime has been committed by Davey's family. Faced with helping his new friend without betraying him, he wrestles with telling someone. Grover? His Chief of Police father? Dad won't be happy he traveled so far into the delta, but as events become life threatening, Sam is forced to act. 

A good book for middle grade and younger teen boys, on the level of Gary Paulsen's books. Enjoy!


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Africa Mercy - Quick Update: One Nurse's Story

My friend Marilyn is in Africa serving as a nurse on the Africa Mercy. She emails me and I share her words with you. For those of you who know nothing of  Marilyn's story, the Africa Mercy is a hospital ship that travels the African coast with a crew of nurses and doctors. They come from all over to give of their time as volunteers. 

"Quick Update"

I meant to attach this picture to the last email. I think it
interesting how they cope with rain while riding a motorcycle. There
are only two people on this bike, but I've seen up to four on a single
bike. I have yet to see a helmet in use. I do wonder what the casualty
rate is... An amusing side note...each morning we count the hearses
lined up in front of the hospital where our eye clinic is
it like lawyers chasing ambulances at home?

Yesterday was our first day of surgery, so today was our first day of
post-op appointments. Nine patients had surgery (10 were scheduled, but
one got too afraid). They all had at least some improvement in vision,
but often, the day after surgery, there is still enough edema to blur
their vision. Most will experience even more improvement over the next
couple of weeks.

Today we scheduled one 18-year old for surgery with general anesthesia
(instead of the usual local block) because he is severely mentally
handicapped and engages in self-mutilation for stimulation. Our hope is
that if he can see, maybe his world will expand and he won't have to
live in the isolation that he currently experiences.

If you are interested, my workmate Amber writes a really interesting
blog, complete with pictures. You can check it out at: She even has a video of our day crew singing
at the end of a work day. Too bad that I'm technologically
challenged...but Amber's blog will give you a fuller taste of our life
here, if you are interested. The other two pictures I've attached to
this email are of Amber and me at work, scheduling patients for surgery.

Until next time,


Update - Interview at Jennifer Macaire's Blog

Hi all. The weather is rather nice today in central Washington state. The sky is blue and the wind mercilessly calm. Boy do we ever get our share of wind here. Winter is when all attempts at bright green go dormant in the desert. One blink of neglect....the sage brush returns and Russian thistle takes over, which I've dubbed the cockroach of weeds. It's a constant battle, but I'm still smiling, especially today...
      An interview of me at Jennifer Macaire's new blog was posted this week and I hope you'll take a look. Please, if you have time, give a look. VIRTUAL HUGS to all who do! Who knows? You may learn something new about me, and Jennifer too.

       Jennifer is an awesome Evernight Teen author, and Book 1 of her new Alexander series was recently published with Accent Press/Simon and Schuster. She also has a fascinating background as a fashion model.  

"I'm still hanging in there. Are you??"

Monday, November 13, 2017

Remakes Blogfest - One Song Remake I Was Surprised to Like: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

Remembering the song made famous by Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Every November, my husband and I would  camp in front of the tube with our two children to watch the antics of Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. Would the Wicked Witch win? Would Aunt Em find Dorothy? Who was the wizard? I lost track of how many times we watched this pre-Thanksgiving film. Everyone I knew, it seemed, looked forward to the television event.

Looking back, the evening must have spanned three hours or more. Watching the movie years later without commercials I somehow felt gypped. Was it really only  2hr 5m long? Unlike today, commercials of the past never bothered me. I'd run to the kitchen and get the popcorn ready or cut the dessert. Later during commercials, the kids would get their PJs on and brush their teeth, while I cleaned up the kitchen. It worked somehow. 

MGM released this film classic in 1939. It was based on the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum in 1900. Theater viewers liked the film well enough when it was first released, but it was only a modest success in the beginning. In the end, the movie and its music had a long lifespan. When it came to television years later, mostly during the period 1956 to 1980, its popularity soared.

Judy Garland's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is perhaps the most famous and known song from the movie. Music and lyrics were the creation of Harold Arlen and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, and it won an Academy Award for Best Song that year. I knew all the lyrics and often sang the song, and it was a popular favorite with my family on road trips (kids weren't plugged into electronics back then). It was Judy Garland's trademark song, and whether she enjoyed singing it for the umpteenth time or not during performances, her fans  demanded it. 

Skip ahead to ..... 2010. I'm listening to NPR's 50 Great Voices Series on the radio. The host is describing a song by Izzy someone from Hawaii, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World." Izzy's full name is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. NPR calls him "The Voice of Hawaii." I've already heard snippets of the song in commercials on TV, but never in full. I'm mesmerized when I hear it in full and surprised how much I like it. His performance on the ukulele gains recognition across the U.S. According to Wikipedia it had already passed the 2 million mark in downloads by 2009. By 2011 it had sold 3 million.

Judy Garland - "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
Somewhere over the rainbow 
Way up high 
There's a place that I heard of
Once in a lullaby 

Somewhere over the rainbow 
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true 

Some day I'll wish upon a star 
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me 
Where troubles melt like lemon drops 
Away above the chimney tops 
That's where you'll find me 

Somewhere over the rainbow 
Bluebirds fly 
Birds fly over the rainbow 
Why then oh why can't I? 

If happy little bluebirds fly 
Beyond the rainbow why 
Oh why can't I?

Izzy - "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World"

Is this not the best remake of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" you have ever heard?

Eva Cassidy "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

Eva Cassidy's remake is a close second so I include both,
but Izzy's version is my favorite. 

What do think?

(This is a blog hop)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

IWSG: Does the NaNo work? I'm about to find out.

Hi all. The November 1 question this month is:

Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published? This is something I'd like to know, because I'm about to give it a try. I am not signing up officially, which may be a drawback. accountability. I wonder. Well, we shall see. My competition will be to give my "very best." I urge you to do the same if you've signed up.

So just curious, how many of you visiting today have done the NaNo and felt it was worth it? Have you signed up again?

The awesome co-hosts for the November 1 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass! Of course IWSG's ninja leader Alex Cavanaugh deserves a big thank you too!

Sharon M. Himsl

Writer/Author. Blogging since 2011. 
Published with Evernight Teen: 
~~The Shells of Mersing

About Me

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You could call me an eternal optimist, but I'm really just a dreamer. l believe in dream fulfillment, because 'sometimes' dreams come true. This is a blog about my journey as a writer and things that inspire and motivate me.