Jo Mayne Casey

Archive for March, 2017|Monthly archive page

Reading Challenge: #3

In 2017, Reading Challenge, Spring at Sonnystone on March 29, 2017 at 5:06 pm

#3 on our book challenge list:  Read a young adult novel.

Coincidentally, Kindle First free books offered up just such a tome, “The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland”, so my choice was made.

It’s been a while since I read a YA novel, but the kids-in-the-nurse’s-office (KITNO) often had their heads buried in Twilight or Mockingjay or The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I considered those titles, and still do.

Grover Cleveland, however, was a pleasant little book that I read in a couple of sittings while we were on vacation. It’s the story of Zander, a girl from Arizona who is sent to a camp in Michigan for troubled teens.  The teens at Camp Padua are cutters, bulemics, anorexics, compulsive liars, rule-breakers…and some have even tried to break Rule #1: thou shalt not kill thyself.

Zander  seems so normal compared to her bizarre cabin mates.  A straight-A student, she dutifully follows her mother’s extreme eating rules. She wins swim meets to please her father. She’s the perfect teen daughter every parent dreams of, so what’s she doing at a camp full of crazy kids?

Zander meets Cassie, an abrasive, foul-mouthed anorexic girl who slings insults and hides pills.  Zander and Cassie become friends with Grover Cleveland, a kid who is convinced that he is going to grow up to be shizophrenic like his father.  There is Alex Trebek, a compulsive liar (is that his Real name?), who is hilarious.

While a lot of the conversations were so witty and wise that they seemed unrealistic, I’ve heard some pretty smart-ass, messed-up kids that really are that funny/tragic.  Unrealistic was the part where the camp counselors don’t seem to be watching the kids very closely….

We find out Zander’s tragic secret (the reason she is at camp).  Her friendship with Cassie saves her (Cassie).  Grover and Alex are a hilarious duo.  I laughed one minute, cried the next…  Everything ends predictably, but happily, and they all agree to meet up back at camp next year.

The author, Rebekah Crane, writes the dialogues well, keeps the scenes moving, and develops these characters into kids we’re really rooting for.  As mentioned, I’ve been around a lot of kids with emotional problems and I wish they all could meet a Grover, though they would probably dismiss Zander as too “prep” for them.

I love happy endings, but these are kids, and I find myself wondering how things turned out in the long run.  If Ms. Crane writes a #2, I’ll be right there to catch up with them.

Next up on the challenge:  Read a book with a color in the title.

Peace

 

Introducing…

In 2017, Special Edition on March 26, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Please join me in welcoming the newest member of the Sonnystone Acres Conglomerate of Blogs!

Trailer Trippin’…A Travelogue went live just today.  This baby blog will concentrate on our travels, especially the campgrounds, and I hope to add more articles on subjects that are pertinent to part-time RVers and folks considering that lifestyle.

I’ll still share thoughts about our trips here on Sonnystone, but they will be a little more subjective.  It’s time to start gardening again, so there will be plenty to talk about over at Growing Every Season for my gardener friends.

With no further ado, I present to you Trailer Trippin’…A Travelogue!

Project

In 2017, DIY Projects, Trippin' in the Trailer on March 19, 2017 at 9:45 am

From the moment that we brought home our travel trailer, I have been telling Casey that the ugly brown smeared-poop pattern material that adorned the windows and cushions had to go.  He was incredulous.  It was brand new, so how could I want to change it?  At the time, we were plenty busy with just figuring out how everything works, so I let it ride.  Ahh, the wonders of retirement.  When I mentioned it again the other day, he was very happy to pull down the cornices and curtainy things.

I recovered the dinette cushions with leftover fabric from my diner and still have some left to cover the gross pillows (later).    I’m lazy, but these were done very easily using those crooked safety pins.  We’ve used this method before and have had good luck with it.  You just wrap the cushion like a present.  Attach the pins on one side about every 6-8 inches apart, then pull taut to the other side and pin there.  I cut out some of the bulk on the ends, then folded it over in a triangle to the back.  Each one took about 45 minutes.

Other changes have been made, too, and I can hardly wait to try them out and share photos with you.  If this is Sunday, we are already at Dauphin Island, eating seafood and drinking rum.  Not sure on the wifi there, but I’ll try to stay in touch.

Peace

Reading Challenge: #2

In 2017, Reading Challenge on March 17, 2017 at 3:54 pm

It was a pleasure to knock out #2 on my Reading Challenge:  Read a collection of short stories.

Quite a while back, I decided to write short stories. I have loved the genre since reading “The Night the Bed Fell” (James Thurber)(yes, I am that old) and it seems to suit my particular strain of laziness.   To educate myself, I bought up several “Best American Non-Required Reading” collections, edited by Dave Eggers, and dove in.  Intimidated by the brilliance of writers, I was inspired to just read…

So I have quite a nice collection of short stories by the likes of Eudora Welty, Alice Munro, Kurt Vonnegut, George Saunders, Flannery O’Connor, Frank O’Hara, Alice Walker, and others.   I do not necessarily read all of them completely (the beauty of short stories), and I wanted to choose one that I hadn’t started yet.  It was between Frank and Alice, and Ms. Walker’s was shorter.

Can I assume that you are familiar with Alice Walker’s books?  At least, The Color Purple?  She is one of my favorite authors, as well as one of my most admired people.  Go here  to find out all about the woman.

When it was originally published in 1973, the  subtitle for this book was “Stories of Black Women”.  (I wonder why this edition decided to truncate it?  These are stories of black women.) The reader is immediately dropped into tense, sad stories of everyday people frequently having horrifying things happen to them. Some have a sense of hopelessness. Most have the context of reluctant, but inevitable acceptance of the long centuries of abuse and mistreatment of blacks by whites.  Like Lemonade, these stories speak from a perspective that is nothing like my own, but Walker’s poetic prose blends tragedy and comedy, recognizing the absurdity of the situation while staying in touch with the emotions that her protagonist can’t quite articulate. Even the villains have depth.  This book was incredible.

Every story is a gem.  Some of them tear your heart out, and I had to close my eyes as I read the particularly troubling, “The Child Who Favored Daughter”.   “The Welcome Table,” is a parable worthy of JC.

Fans of Flannery O’Connor should definitely check out this most perfect collection of short stories. While firmly placed in a Southern Gothic tradition, Walker applies her  Womanist values to create a unique artistic space in which to look at Southern Black women in all sorts of crises, without flinching at the racism, sexism, and ugliness.

Next up on the reading challenge:   Read a Young Adult Novel…

Peace

Photoblog

In 2017, Photos, Winter at Sonnystone on March 14, 2017 at 5:10 pm

Snow, Birds, and a touch of cuteness…

Winter decided to show us who’s the boss around here–for another week or so, at least–and snowed all over the bloomers…  Whaddaya gonna do about it?  Take pictures…

What I actually Like about snow happens at the birdfeeders.  The birds just flock in.  I love watching them…

I got out my bird book to identify a newcomer:  See the little brown guy in the picture below?  He’s an Eastern Towhee.  They usually feed on the ground, but the snow brought him round to visit.  The cardinals, chickadees, and finches are my usual crew.

The snow is now gone, but the danger to the plants and birds is even greater since the temperatures are hovering between 20 and 35.  I read that March is the most dangerous month for birds, as their natural food sources are already emptied of berries and the ground is frozen.  If you don’t already feed the birds, you ought to try it.

Here’s a little bit of Cute to warm you up…

Peace

Week-end Wrap-up

In 2017, week-end wrap-up, Winter at Sonnystone on March 6, 2017 at 4:33 pm

This winter has sure been whimsical…we went from snow to tornadoes to sunny and warm all in one week.   Those of us who live along the Tornado Highway learn to live with the terror of the Tornado Warnings.  Our area got hit with an F3, on the ground for 45 minutes.  It stayed about 25 miles away from us, so we’re very grateful.  The snow was flimsy, but I managed to get one picture before the melt…

The week-end arrived, all sunshiny and warm…  We took a walk down in our Woods (which we call Solla Sollew) to plan a work/clean/prune day.  Foliage is just starting to green, so it’s time.

Sunday after church we drove over to Audubon State Park, just across the money-savin’ bridge and hiked a short trail…

The place was packed with people out enjoying the spring-like day.  The park is small, but has a very nice museum about John James Audubon, who lived around there for many years.  Naturally, there was a lot of bird information, too, so we enjoyed it a lot.

Just down the road, under the north-bound bridge that spans the Ohio, is the Audubon Wetlands.  Just before you get to the wetlands, there is a pullover that looks out on the nest of a bald eagle.  It, too, was packed with people, as were the wetlands.  There are some great blue Herons that are heronizing in the wetlands, and we were quite keen to see them, but decided to wait for another day.

In fact, we’re excited about sneaking over in the early mornings through the week and watching the nesting of both the herons and the eagle.

Unless there are tornadoes or hurricanes, we’ll be traveling at the end of the month, so I’m deeply steeped in the planning.  We want to get away for the Solstice and return ready to get the New Garden going.  Must be patient.

Till the next time…

Peace

Remember the Book Challenge?

In Book Review, Winter at Sonnystone on March 1, 2017 at 9:31 am

From 2/9/17:

Attention, Readers!  Are you wondering what to read next?

My favorite used-book store, Better World Books,  put out an interesting 2017 Reading Challenge.  Instead of them assigning you some books to read, you pick your own from their prompt.  They started the first of the year, so they are well ahead of us, but we could start now and see how many of the 25 challenges we complete before the end of the year..!  I have tried to link you to the list, but the best I can do is to link you to the blog and you’ll have to dig a little for it here

Let’s get started!  I’m headed to the library to choose a book to fulfill the first challenge:

Read a food memoir…

Ideas?  Suggestions?  What are You going to read?……

The food memoir I chose:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:  A Year of Food Life

by Barbara Kingsolver

with Steven L. Hoff and Camille Kingsolver

animalvegetable

With Barbara Kingsolver as our guide, we live out the year that she took her family from Tucson, AZ to a farm in Virginia to homestead, specifically eating only from their own garden or from local growers.  Kingsolver preaches quite a bit about the evils of the agriculture industry, but she writes so well that you don’t mind the manipulation..at first. I think she could have cut the diatribe short, and her husband’s contributions were pretty technical and dry.  Kingsolver was at her best as she took us through her year of growing and learning from the land and its seasons.    Her daughter, Camille, provides little journal-type entries that include interesting and doable recipes.  They have some funny moments with their animals (they raise turkeys, chickens, cows), and overall the family seems to just delight in their project.   It’s not only their story, but also has a huge amount of information about topics ranging from organics to lactose intolerance, to bad attitudes toward food.

I’m inspired to become totally locally sourced…but…I can’t imagine not having my blueberries and strawberries in winter.  We can’t let them go to waste…  When I walked by the asparagus at the grocery store today, I felt guilty for the longing I felt.

What the author and her family did is out of reach of most, if not all, of us (they are obviously well-off and living on a family farm in Appalachia).   They planned this for years, knew exactly what they wanted, and the 2 daughters are remarkably well-adjusted.   I can really appreciate the work, and their love of it, but I’d make a terrible farmer…too lazy.

Overall, I thought this book was just okay.  It is good for reference.  I like the recipes, and Kingsolver’s prose is seductive.  As mentioned, she’s a little preachy.   The book has a website (click here) with recipes, farm tours, and book info that I highly recommend.

When I was a visiting nurse, my “route” was up in Warrick County farmland, worked by the 80-year-olds who had spent their lives turning that earth.  They were the most inspiring folks I’ve ever come across and I started gardening because I wanted to be like them.   I do my best, and I’m planning a bigger, better garden this year, so this lovely book has reinforced my commitment to growing.  I’m also determined to meet more local growers and am looking forward to Farmers Market season in my area.

Next up on the challenge:

Read a collection of Short Stories…

Oh, good, that’s an easy one…

Peace

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