Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Slice of Life: Last Book Club Meeting in June!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Lisa, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

If it's Tuesday afternoon, then it's time for a weekly ritual.  I meet with other book lovers at the middle school for Books, Brownies, and Beyond, our after school book club.  This past week was our last meeting of the school year.  We gathered in a circle with Ms. Bowman to talk about ways that we find our next great read.  Then we visited the free books table (compliments of our local indie bookstore who shares their ARCs with us).  

Finally I shared my red basket of book reviews, clipped from the pages of Kids' Next, the indie bound newsletter specifically for kids.  When interest was slow for making a list of book possibilities for summer reading, I attached a cookie bar to the end of the list:  "List five books you might like to read this summer and show it to me to get a cookie bar."  

This last pic is special because these gals are our graduating 8th graders.  Katie and Elsa have belonged to our book club since its beginning three years ago.  They have lingered each week after the meeting to help clean up and assist me in toting boxes of books and supplies back to my car.  They were feeling a bit bittersweet about their last book club meeting, but managed these beautiful smiles for our pic. And we've decided that we'll meet occasionally to talk books even after they head to high school.   


Our book club meets twice during the summer at the public library. on July 11 and August 22.   Those meetings include our incoming sixth graders and of course, our outgoing eighth graders.  There's nothing better than a summer afternoon and a book you can't wait to read!  And after that an opportunity to meet with other book lovers to share recent discoveries and of course, some cookie bars.  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Celebrate This Week!

 Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Celebrating grandsons, books, family, and poetry this week!

Friday was better!  Jack's parents are sleep training my sweet boy which means that Grandma is also supporting that effort.  Wednesday was wickedly challenging for me, but Friday was filled with smiles and snuggles and giggles and lots of rollovers,  and three short naps.  I'm sure one would have been much longer if that 
doggone garbage truck hadn't come by!

 Jack's big yawn . . .  almost nap time.

 Teddy's first trip to the National Zoo!
This boy has a 1st birthday next week!

I came home from Friday's battle with the traffic and escaped upstairs to finish Lauren Wolk's new book, Beyond the Bright Sea.
I loved Wolf Hollow, but I adore this new book.
Add it to your summer reading list!  
And I'm wondering, will there be a sequel?  
Just did a little research on that
and here's the answer from an interview with the author -
"...the characters of Crow, Osh and Maggie remain very much on her mind. 'They’re wonderful, wonderful misfits,' Wolk says. 'I miss them terribly. So maybe I’ll write a sequel.'"
I'm crossing my fingers for that maybe to become a certainty.  


Niece Kara and I enjoyed our nightly ritual of watching Call the Midwives.  She's new to the series and I loved re-watching the episodes with her.  She headed home to Oklahoma on Thursday.  And texted me last night with a pic of the screen as she and her mom settled in to watch the midwives.  She mentioned that she 
needs to come back every June.  I'll be ready!

I managed to get back to Poetry Friday yesterday.  I do love
hanging out and learning with these poetry loving friends!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Poetry Friday: Happy Belated Birthday to Issa!



Head over to Carol's blog, 
Carol's Cornerfor this week's
round-up of poetic goodness. 
She's introducing us to Tracy Smith,
our newest Poet Laureate of the United States. 
Thanks, Carol, for hosting this week!

Thanks to Poetry Almanac, I learned that yesterday was the birthday of Issa.  "It's the birthday of Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa, born in Kashiwabara, Japan (1763). He’s one of the masters of the Japanese form of poetry called haiku, which uses 17 Japanese characters broken into three distinct units. He spent most of his adult life traveling around Japan, writing haiku, keeping a travel diary, and visiting shrines and temples across the country. By the end of his life, he had written over 20,000 haiku celebrating the small wonders of everyday life. He’s a big reason haiku became so popular in Japan and around the world."

When I clicked on the Poetry Foundation link, I learned a bit about the sorrow that permeated this poet's life.  This picture book, Cool Melons-Turn to Frogs!  The Life and Poems of Issa, is perfect for introducing children to haiku and this revered master of the form.    
Here's a favorite haiku from the book:
"A child intent
on plucking jewels
of dew in the morning grass."
                          - Issa

That haiku probably inspired this haiku that I composed in my head  while Jack took his morning bottle.
"After rain showers
Raindrops glisten on green leaves
For Jack's morning stroll."
                         - Ramona Behnke

Be sure to read the back notes in the book, especially the section About Haiku provided by the author.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Slice of Life: A Museum Visit

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Lisa, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.
I've had a delightful houseguest for the past two weeks.  My niece, Kara, has been visiting.  She's enjoyed time to rest, study, read, hike, and visit.  But one thing we haven't done much of is play the tourist.  She's been here several times before and I kept asking her if there was anything she wanted to do in Seattle.   On Thursday we headed out for a visit to Pike Place Market (always on the agenda) and then we went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum (a first-time visit for Kara).  
I took many pictures at the Chihuly Museum and decided that I would rank them in order of my favorite parts of the museum.  This has proven to be much harder than I expected.  It was my fourth visit to the museum.   I love every part of this museum, so even a ranking of last place is a section that I love.  When I explored the museum site, I discovered an audio tour.  Each section of the museum that I've highlighted is linked to a short audio presentation. 

 When you look closely, you can see all kinds of sea life tucked in among the water of the sculpture.

For many the wall of blankets at the end of this room is the focal point, but I love the glass sculptures that mimic the shapes of baskets sitting in the center of the room.  I like the way
the light fills  and surrounds this display.  
Chihuly explains that this installation was inspired
by his mother's garden.  I love to walk slowly around the room and peer at the different sections of this
 beautiful garden-like arrangement of glass.


I've visited during the day and at night, 
during the summer and the winter.
The garden never fails to delight my senses and my soul! 

 The pic below shows my niece and the Space Needle
reflected in one of the glass balls in the garden. 

3.  Glass House
Chihuly created this glass house in appreciation of his
fascination with conservatories.  I will never forget the
winter evening spent here listening to Ted Kooser share poetry! 
(And yes, that is the base of the Space Needle.)

These canoes filled with glass make my heart happy!

I never tire of standing and snapping photos of this
ceiling.  This time I especially loved the corner shadows.
I hope you've enjoyed strolling through this favorite museum with my niece Kara and me.  Maybe I'll make it to Tacoma this summer so I can share a visit to the Museum of Glass and take you
along on a walking tour of Chihuly's
public art installations in downtown Tacoma.  

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Celebrate This Week!

 Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Birthday cookies!
 Birthday peonies!
Museum visit with niece Kara!
(more about this in upcoming Slice of Life)
Peonies at Pike Place Market!
Jack attempts to share his shaky egg
with the boy in the mirror!
Teddy reads Little Cub with Dad
(just arrived in package from Grandpa).
Personal milestone!
I'm a lifetime member of Weight Watchers.  I jokingly say that I was at goal once for about ten minutes.  In January I started having knee problems which seriously curtailed my walking (favorite form of exercise).  So I've been working on losing five pounds for months.  And today (after quite a few indulgences during birthday week), I finally reached that milestone.  I'm not sure how that happened.  Probably the cumulative effects of the previous weeks (months) finally paid off.  And I'm looking forward to continuing the downward trend throughout the summer.  Knees are a bit better, but still waiting for the green light to resume exercise.  

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Slice of Life: A Dash of Humor Amid the Hubbub!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Lisa, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

Our community has become crazy with concern about changes we are facing as construction begins for light rail.  We have lost our privileged access to the high occupancy lanes that we have enjoyed for decades and more traffic will be routed through our downtown area and neighborhoods.

  Here's just one paragraph from a recent Seattle Times article:  
"This weekend the I-90 express lanes will close as crews work to prepare for light-rail construction. Mercer Island residents, or anyone simply crossing the lake, are bracing for bottlenecks. Lanes will be re-striped and shoulders will be removed or reduced, among other changes."

"Bracing for bottlenecks" in a region that already ranks 20th  worldwide for traffic congestion and 10th in the United States.  So you can see why I applauded this sign I saw tonight outside our local indie bookstore.  Sometimes, the best way to face a new challenge is to laugh, keep your eyes on the road, and
your ears tuned to a book on tape.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Celebrate This Week: Flowers, Family, & Fun

 Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

  • This picturesque view on our lane
  • Teddy with Mom and Dad on Memorial Day trip
  • Teddy at 49 weeks
  • Jack at 4 months
  • Jack already loves books!
  • Love that niece Kara's visit coincided with our Mariner's game outing (and we even won)!
  • Our first rose of the season

Friday, June 2, 2017

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Finding Joy!



I enjoy blogging with this group of friends as we gather on the first Thursday of each month to reflect on our spiritual journeys.  Today we are writing about "joy," Carol Varsalona's One Little Word.  Carol's post, Joyful Expectancy, is about the imminent arrival of her grandaughter and Carol's birth as a grandmother.  It's a most exciting time! I can't wait to see a pic of Carol with her new granddaughter.  Be sure and visit Margaret at  Reflections on the Teche to read everyone's joyful responses! 

Yesterday was one of those days overfull with obligations, appointments, and stuff to do which is why I'm writing this post on Friday.  When I think of joy, I immediately think of the scripture from Psalm 30:5 ... weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."  As a lifelong morning person, I often remind myself that things will be better, even joyful if I can just wait for morning. 

And I love all the synonyms that are listed as See also when I looked up joy in the Bible Dictionary -  cheerful, delight, gladness, happiness, pleasure.  Just looking at that list of words brings joy to my heart.  Here are a few more scriptures that I loved when I searched for joy:  

"And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord:  it shall rejoice in his salvation."  Psalm 35:9

"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad it it."  Psalm 118:24

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith."  Galatians 5:22

"Ingredients for Joy"  a poem shared recently on Poetry Friday by fellow blogger,Kiesha Shepard, seems tailor made for this month's topic.  It makes me breathe more deeply and want to slow down.

And now I get to visit your blogs to read more about joy and our spiritual journeyings.  Happy summer, dear friends!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Slice of Life: OLW 5th Tuesday Check-In

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Lisa, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

I'm always amazed by how quickly a year marches forward.  It's almost June and then in one quick month, 2017 will be halfway over.  I set up a schedule to check-in with my OLW in each month with five Tuesdays.  I missed January's check-in due to grandson Jack's early arrival.  So here I am with my first check-in for the 5th Tuesday in May.   

Here's what I wrote about my OLW, nourish, for Spiritual Journey First Thursday in January.  The words in red indicate my progress so far this year.  

There are so many ways that I want to experience being nourished in this new year:
Nourished by immersing myself in the good word of God - Making some progress.
Nourished by extending love to family and friends - Love doing this!  And especially loving on my two grandsons.  Jack and Teddy met each other in April when Teddy and family came for a visit.  
Nourished by choosing to exercise - Knee problems have kept me from this, but I finally seem to be on the mend.  I'm getting a bit more exercise as I watch grandson Jack.
Nourished by making healthy food choices - Alway seeking to make progress, close to reaching a short-term weight loss goal that has almost turned into a long-term goal.  
Nourished by observing beauty in the world (blogger refuses to make those letters black) - I've excelled at this, especially with spring blossoms everywhere.  Our first rose of the season just bloomed!  The red rhodies have retired for this year, but the purples, the pinks, the whites still delight my heart!
Nourished by embracing quiet time - Still trying to do a better job at this.
Nourished by sharing my writing - I made it through another year of writing daily for March SOL.   I also wrote every day during April for Poetry Month (a first for me).  
Nourished by reading the words of favorite writers - So much joy with this one, recently finished My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman and Henning Koch, always working on my WTR (want to read) stacks, finally read A Single Shard with Books, Brownies, and Beyond, AND I read The Poet's Dog aloud to the members of book club.  What a treat to share this wonderful book with them!
Nourished by stilling the demands that crowd my heart ... Ever trying to make progress on this one.  Loving a book that I recently received from the library World Enough & Time:  On Creativity and Slowing Down by Christian McEwan.  Here's a favorite quote from the author in the book's introduction:  "I wanted to explore the space in which small, almost invisible habits might have the chance to flourish, seeing them as nourishment, both in terms of 'making' and as antidote to our usual frantic rush."  Not sure where I heard about this book, but it's perfect for my desire to still the demands so I can do each of the following (bolded words are OLWs from previous years):
listen to the stillness, 
savor the present moment, 
stretch to grow, and always 
abide in His love to  
nourish my soul and reach out in love. 

I'm grateful for this opportunity to reflect on my progress so far and happy that there's still plenty of time and room to grow with this year's One Little Word!  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Celebrate This Week

 Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Last night, I chose to read rather than write my Celebrate post.  And then I woke up too early at 3 am and decided to write my post, but opened my email first.  That's when I discovered the poem, "Bookstall" by Linda Pastan at Writer's Almanac:

"Just looking at them
I grow greedy, as if they were
freshly baked loaves
waiting on their shelves
to be broken open—"

You can read the rest of the poem here.

                            Books I'm celebrating this week:         
 I'm currently reading my grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry by Fredrik Backman.  I'll be finishing it today to discuss with two good friends tomorrow via google chat.  I was listening to a Books Between podcast this past week that mentioned the book Georgia Rules by Nancy Turner Stevenson.  And when I set out ARCs for book club members at Books, Brownies, & Beyond, I discovered it in the pile. I'm adding it to my very tall pile of middle grade books that I want to read.  And Goodnight Harry is a book by Kim Lewis that I picked up at one of our library book sales.  I read it to Jack last night for the first time.  And  the best part of our read aloud time (because he was sitting in the high chair) was the way he would turn to look at me and smile.  

Last week I mentioned our run of sunny days to come.  It's been a glorious week and weekend!   Clouds and rain
are not slated to return until Tuesday.
 Jack's response to the sunshine!
 I reveled in the brilliant blue sky and lush green
that greeted us on our walks.  
 Jack with good friend Shelly and his mom 
before we entered the Pacific Science Center
yesterday to see the Terracotta Warriors exhibit.  
We topped off our fun with family and friends
with a stop for dim sum!
Grandson Teddy's latest week by week pic.
I love that waving hand!
Image may contain: 1 person
Here's a FB post from my brother Karl:  
"In honor of my Dad, I post this picture of him surrounded by the medals he earned for his service in World War II. Dad was a prisoner of war in Germany for about 4 months. My sisters and I are so proud of him and his service. We all wish he was still with us so we could hug his neck. Be sure and remember the real reason why we celebrate Memorial Day!"