Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Thank you, Vivian Kirkfield, for bringing this book to my attention. Perfect timing!

Parents, grandparents, families, this book is a free e-book for young readers. Be a Coronavirus Fighter touches on the most basic things we need to know about fighting the virus and staying healthy. Thank you, Helen Wu and Songju Ma Daemicke!

Be a Coronavirus Fighter!

Read Vivian’s interview with Helen Wu and Songju Ma Daemicke:

via Helen Wu and Songju Ma Daemicke: Will Write for Cookies and COVID-19 

Read to the bottom of the post to find the link for the book as well as links to learn more about the author and illustrator.


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Book Report: Jessica Tandy, The Girl Who Loved Candy by Susan Dils

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Jessica Tandy, The Girl Who Loved Candy

Written by Susan Dils

Illustrated by Juan Diaz

Mascot Books, 2020

 

What happens when Mom finally gives up on the whining and lets her daughter eat all the candy she wants?

Yikes! Most can (correctly) predict the consequences of this sweet-tooth folly. Quick, make a list of what you think happens. I bet you’ve guessed at least one disastrous consequence!

Thank you, Mascot Books, for sending a review copy of Jessica Tandy, The Girl Who Loved Candy.

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Why I Liked This Book:

~ Like Jessica, I love candy (though I rarely eat it due to the consequences of too much sugar)

~ Jessica, free to eat all the candy she wants, gorges herself, and then suffers overwhelming health issues

~ This book really lets readers know what will happen if too much sugar is in your diet (cavities, rotten teeth, poor health, grumpy attitude, sleepiness, general malaise)

~ The real consequences of eating straight sugar, even with brushing, are mouth and health issues; I’m glad this is included in the book

~ The book shares the path back to good health (and renewed friendships)

~ Love the importance of eating healthy, which was shared in ways I thought not too pushy

~ Great illustrations

~ I did want to shake the mom a bit (really? Jessica could eat ALL the candy she wanted??? But then, where would the story be?)

~ Fun and engaging, told in rhyme

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Amazon Blurb:

Oh, how delicious it would certainly be
If we could all eat what we wanted freely!
Join Jessica Tandy in this humorous tale as she learns a lesson the hard way, finding out that poor eating habits can lead to a lot more than just cavities.
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Cowiche Canyon Hike

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It’s official. This writer/editor/crafter/Nana is a bit out of shape. At least for what my phone termed as 55 flights of stairs.

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Our afternoon hike yesterday on the Cowiche Canyon hike was gorgeous. Pretty nice on the way across the uplands and down the steep hill to the canyon floor. Pretty sweaty and filled with loud gasps and burning muscles on the way back up and over.

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But a good time was had by all two of us.

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We started on Summitview Extension, parking in the last available spot. It is a small lot, really a parking pad. Then up, over, and through the sagebrush and blooming spring flowers we went.

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Yes! There were so many desert flowers blooming-purple, yellow, white, chartreuse. Because we had lovely, sunny weather, the lighting was quite overpowering for taking photos, but try I did.

We followed the Summitview Trail. Since the trail loops and swirls all over, it’s possible to wander for hours. We decided to hook left on the Radio Flyer Trail. This really does wind through the sagebrush but leads all the way down to the Cowiche Canyon floor by way of the Lone Pine Trail. Do note, the trailhead at the bottom headed up the hill looks deceptively simple. That’s where we managed to rack up flights of stairs. I wore regular tennis shoes, but hiking boots would have given me more traction in the slippery dirt and ankle-twisting rocks. (I avoided the rocks, but did slip a few times.)

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Our hike was over 3 miles and took us about an hour and 20 minutes to complete. I’ll say it’s because I stopped often to take pictures. But I also stopped often on the way up the hill to breathe.

We even had an “attempted” Sasquatch sighting! Oh, the silly things one does to have fun.

The Cowiche Canyon is a great location for exploring close to home (Yakima Valley). Once we were up over the hill of Summitview Extension, traffic noise disappeared and we could hear only ourselves and the occasional fellow hiker. NOW is a great time to visit. Mud was not an issue at all, wildflowers are blooming, rattlesnakes are sleeping, and heat and ticks are not yet an issue.

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Go. Now. Just please. If you are a dog owner, clean up the poop.


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In Life, Be a Ginger (Write Like a Dog Plays Ball)

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Be a Ginger. That makes me think of Doctor Who, the one who wanted to regenerate as a ginger. I think it was the Matt Smith Doctor Who.

But that’s not what this post is about.

Ginger is a young chocolate lab with oodles and oodles of energy. BALL is her focus. As in, “You throw the ball, and I will chase it.” All. Day. Long.

She wasn’t born with the ability to fetch and chase. As a retriever, she certainly had the innate characteristics for, well, retrieving. But as a puppy, it wasn’t realized yet. Her interest gradually grew to notice moving balls. With tons of praise and practice, she soon embraced the love of chasing and fetching the ball. Her only motivation became the ball. She chases so she can chase it again.

Ginger doesn’t care if she misses the catch. She repeatedly attempts to get to the ball before it hits the ground. If she misses, so what. She still keeps her focus on the ball, scoops it up, and brings it back to the stick person. That would be whomever is holding the Chuck-It Stick.

Sometimes, Ginger is quick and snatches the ball in mid-air. Most of the time, she does not. But she never quits trying. She keeps playing, chasing, and enjoying the game. In doggy words, with tongue lolling and sides heaving with exertion and joy, Ginger says, “I want ALL the balls.”

I think we all need to be a Ginger. In our writing lives, but also in life.

We need to focus. Practice. Make mistakes. Enjoy. Celebrate the successes. Ignore the oops. And keep showing up to play the game. Every single day. Get in the game. Play the game, our insides heaving with exertion and joy. Maybe we should keep our tongues in our mouths though.

I want to be a Ginger.

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Happy 2020!

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Happy New Year, friends!
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We’ve decided to make hiking the Cowiche Canyon an annual event. We hiked it last January 1st and made a return trip today. It’s becoming very popular!
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May the Lord bless you and your family in this new year of a new decade.
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I might be slow, but I finally figured out why all the New Year’s Eve parties were 20s themed. May your 2020 be filled with roaring good fun and great health!
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Haiku Moment: self-portrait

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favorite weapon

shadow self, shooting pictures

me? it’s what I do

 

self-portrait by Angie Quantrell

 

Photo taken at Potlatch State Park, Hood Canal, Washington State.

Thanks to Hypatia-in-the-Woods for the opportunity to be me.


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Book Report: Her Fearless Run, Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon by Kim Chaffee

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Her Fearless Run, Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon

Written by Kim Chaffee

Illustrated by Ellen Rooney

Page Street Kids, 2019

 

Blurb from the book:

“Girls weren’t supposed to sweat. Girls weren’t supposed to compete. They were too weak, too fragile, to run distances like the Boston Marathon. That’s what most people thought.

Kathrine Switzer changed their minds.”

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Thanks to Writers’ Rumpus, I received a gift copy of Kim Chaffee’s Her Fearless Run, just born this year! Thank you so much, Kim, Ellen, Carol, and Writers’ Rumpus!

 

I’ve always envied women who have the desire, drive, and determination to run long distances. I do not have those qualities, and would rather hike or walk long distances.

“I didn’t set out to make history; I was just a girl who wanted to run.” – Kathrine Switzer

Her Fearless Run is the fascinating story of Kathrine Switzer, a woman committed to opening the doors for women to run long distances during a time when it was frowned upon and not allowed. At all.

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What I love about Her Fearless Run:

~ I love how skillfully Kim Chaffee wove together real life information with the story of Kathrine standing up to the expectations of a male-dominated sport. I love that Kathrine kept plodding along, facing each obstacle with grit, just as she would in marathons and long distance running.

~ I love the vibrant and informative illustrations and how they lend the air of the past to the story.

~ I love the messages of Her Fearless Run. Girls can do anything! Hard work and perseverance pays off. Individuals can make a difference and impact others. You can do things you enjoy.

~ I love the ease of reading and interesting story that kept me glued to the pages of Her Fearless Run.

~ I love that I can share this book with other young readers and inspire them to go after their dreams and passions.

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Amazon Blurb:

Kathrine Switzer changed the world of running. This narrative biography follows Kathrine from running laps as a girl in her backyard to becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with official race numbers in 1967. Her inspirational true story is for anyone willing to challenge the rules.

The compelling collage art adds to the kinetic action of the story. With tension and heart, this biography has the influential power to get readers into running. An excellent choice for sports fans, New Englanders, young dreamers, and competitive girls and boys alike.

 

KID KANDY:

Go for a Run!

Materials: chalk, running journal, drawing supplies (crayons, pencils, markers), snack

1. Read Her Fearless Run. How did Kathrine start out as a runner? Can you follow the steps she took?

2. Invite someone to run with you. Use chalk marks to count your laps.

3. Relax after your run by searching online for information about Kathrine Switzer and the Boston Marathon. Are there any marathons hosted near your home? Perhaps you could go and watch one. Our city has a race with adults and younger age groups.

4. Eat a healthy snack, drink cool water, and record your laps in a running journal. Draw a picture of yourself running.

5. Repeat!

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Rubber Stamping Alert: Success Despite Losing Battle with Concrete Curb

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Last weekend was my first foray into Stamping Land over the Cascade Mountains since fall. I was long overdue for hours of creativity, messes, visiting, snacking, and generally solving world problems.

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Initial bruising and future scar (at end of eyebrow). That tiny hole caused so  much bleeding!

But first! After tripping mid-street and saving myself 3 times before reaching the cement curb, I landed right-face-side smack on my eye bone and glasses up against the edge of the curb. Curbs do not give way. Glasses and faces do!

Alas, the nearby young lady was probably scared for life after witnessing my bumble and being unable to prevent the collision, but she was extremely helpful in procuring napkins, tissues, and aids of phone calls or rides someplace. Any place!

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Gold duct tape for my poor glasses.

Lots of Good Samaritan help came my way, despite the blood pouring from my eye lid bone (the part at the end of your eyebrow, whatever that bone is called). A passerby offered a package of tissues and advice to get it checked. The restaurant owner repeatedly came in and out, bringing napkins, concern, and reassurances that I was not the only one to find this edge in the middle of the road. The young lady stayed with me until my ride arrived. And my ride came post haste after I remembered I had her number stored in my phone. Whew! Thanks, Connie! Otherwise, a long walk up steep hills with broken glasses and napkins held to my swollen eye/head…

Back to Stamping Land. Ahhh. The glorious experiments and messes we made. Interspersed with walks for meals, snacks, chatting, even a book on tape! Not that we could solve the mystery…Alyson’s B & B fit the bill for a weekend of crafting. Thanks, hostess!

After my initial concern of decreased productivity (due to head injury), you can imagine my relief when 66 cards were completed. Good progress!

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Wow, when I compare then and now, I might just look worse now!

Rubber stamps, ink pads, markers, colored pencils, chalks, booger dots, patterned papers, cardstock, glue sticks, tape, scissors, paper cutters, bits of ribbon and scrap paper-just a little bit of anything and everything. PLAYING is what we call it. Playing with our stuff. And what do we get? Fun cards!

Have you ever given yourself a black eye? Or a wound with ample amounts of blood? What do you do when you get creative? Here’s to grace and play time!

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New glasses! Worse color. I promise, I am getting better!

 


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Swift Arrival of Spring Startles, Shocks, and Confuses

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Her highness was quite pleased with her hunting prowess. Full of herself too.

And just like that, click. The flip is switched and spring is here.

The snow is mostly gone, where last week we were path-bound to specific routes by mountains of snow and ice. Mud reigns supreme and small streams become floods. Smashed grass gasps in surprise to be free and under the sun. Spring came roaring in with the flip of the switch.

And we sit at night, bundled in our flannels, suddenly realizing we are sweating and why in the world is it so hot? Oh. It’s warm outside. The 40-50’s do not allow flannels and heaters and electric blankets. Those winter settings set our skin to blazing and must be forced down to a dull roar. Winter jammies are tossed aside for cooler, thinner fabrics. Spring thundered in, showering us with unexpected warmth. Our minds are too slow to acclimatize.

The winds blows. Wind? Why is it windy? It was just snowing last week, and gray skies permeated our days. OH. March is here. The true March, with roaring winds and warm days, leaping lambs and shamrocks. The blustery breeze helps clear the snow-winter fog from our bodies.

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The cat. She was long confined to one narrow, winter ice-packed lane of travel. That went, well, nowhere except to other narrow, ice-packed lanes. It was better to sleep away the cold, day and night. When explosively, spring is here! The pasture appeared as if by magic. Birds called, frogs croaked, bugs hatched. The cat’s life is renewed. The hunter is re-energized with wide open spaces and plenty of sun-deprived prey.

Record setting opening day of feline hunting season set by one Monet. 2 voles, 1 field mouse, 2 birds. We sat, strolled, walked outside. Oh, there is another one. OH, watch your step, there’s something else. In the plant pot, hiding on the gravel, on the flat grass. Be careful where you step.

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Getting ready to tackle another hunt.

RV windows need screens to let in fresh air, keep bugs out. Condensation woes drop to an irritation instead of mildew concern. Overnight heating sources are neglected, one by one.

In the blink of an eye, winter clothes must be swapped for spring, leggings, short sleeves, light jackets, sun-blocking hats. Sun block! Roadways are clear enough for walking, and though the body protests movement, efforts are made. And the realization comes that, well, spring is really here. Sweating, thirsty, hot. Add hat and water to next trip. Remove sweater and coat.

The sun! Seemingly overnight, with the gray clouds of winter gone, the sun seems to be coming up much earlier and going to bed later than our expectations. Let’s not even talk about daylight savings time and the big jump forward.

Change is hard. Even seasonal changes. Gentle is normal, but this year the leap from winter to spring happened overnight. This body reacts in slow motion. Oh, get out my spring/summer clothes, put away my snow/mud boots. Where are my slip-ons? The heavy coat remains hanging on the hook. Even socks change from thick warm to short athletic.

Each day, less snow, more spring-thinking. Spring exploded right in our laps, and I, for one, am racing to catch up.

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How about you? Have you made the leap into spring?

 


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Spring Cleaning

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This past (YAY) winter has left this bod in serious cabin fever shape.

It’s true. Being cooped up inside with record snowfalls does nothing for a hiking physique. I did spend quite a bit of time shoveling, but that exercise was offset by hiding inside away from frigid temps.

Take my walk today, for instance. Huffing and puffing, sweating and trudging at a snail’s pace, the summer hiking season seemed far from my grasp. After all, actual hiking is done up and down, over hill and dale.

That’s when I realized my self needed spring cleaning. Some sprucing up, working out, and trimming off the fat.

Spring cleaning is coming to this future outdoors woman.

Walking around the yard, I noticed several casualties of the heavy snow and resulting compact ice. Funny smiling face? Busted. Sage in clay pot? Needs repotting to an undamaged pot. Siberian irises in a similarly disintegrating pot? Same treatment. Gravel strewn every which way due to shoveling of snow.

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Spring cleaning extends to the garden and surrounding yard.

It also includes the cat, Monet, who is sporting more of a tummy due to forced lack of exercise, and her favorite pastime-hunting. It’s hard to hunt or pursue any fun activities when snow accumulations are higher than your head! The one time she tried, well, it was hysterical and a very fast trip. Monet is in much need of a tune up.

Spring cleaning has arrived for the cat.

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Monet on her way up the pasture to the irrigation ditch (and future snacks)

The good news is she caught her ‘second’ first mouse of the season today. We thought spring was on the way in late January and early February. That was when she ate her first mouse of the year. And then Snowmageddon. There was much lying around, racing through the RV, climbing the walls, and sleeping on fuzzy blankets.

Inside the RV, blankets and rugs have been washed. Carpets love their new vacuumed look and floors appear a shade lighter after being mopped. Excess items are disappearing from cluttered sight. Spring cleaning is happening all over the place.

Let’s chat just a bit about the honey. In his jammies. And plastic shoes. Right now. Out smashing down mole hills all over the pasture. This mole has been a busy beaver, leaving a winding lane of black dirt mountains across the field. Soooo, honey does his spring cleaning by paying attention to signs of the season.

Spring cleaning comes to the Yakima Valley.

How about you? Have you enjoyed spring cleaning? What’s your favorite spring cleaning task?