Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Happy New Year!

     Hi everybody, remember me?   Happy New Year! It has been a long time since I've written. 2018 was just hard. 28 people I know- including former students, colleagues, church friends, my nana and my mom- passed away. Friends and family were diagnosed with diseases/sicknesses. There were not many fantastic moments. I was really looking forward to 2019. I'm not usually a person who cares about the calendar year changing, but I could use a "reset" this year. So... thank goodness for 2019.
       Some blessings from 2018:
No photo description available.
I found a pile of WWII letters written by 3 brothers in the Navy in a used bookshop and reunited them with the family they belonged to.

Image may contain: one or more people, ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, nature and water
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, outdoor
Took a road trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama (and ate at Lambert's)

Image may contain: 5 people, including Lily Leung Hamel, people smiling, outdoor
Tim's team got 2nd in the state for baseball. (SO close to the Little League World Series, 1 out away)

Image may contain: indoor
Got a kitten who is MUCH bigger now. Her name is Emmie.

          I did okay in my reading challenges this year. I met the Keyword Reading Challenge and didn't quite complete the other two. Frankly, I'm okay with it. Most of the year I walked around mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. This year, I'd like to read 60 books.   

      I would also like to go back to my challenge to send at least 1 personal piece of mail every day. So far, so good. I'll start putting updates up this weekend.  If anyone is dying to send some fun mail out, please feel free to reach out. I will be participating in both Lettermo (3rd year?) and InCoWriMo-1st time. If you just found my blog and would like some personal mail, comment and I'll get back to you. My goal is to get back to all of my penpals, who have been patiently waiting, then I can address new mail.
    That's all for now. I hope that 2019 is filled with many blessings for you.

Monday, August 20, 2018

While I was away...

These are the cards I received in my mailbox when I got home from vacation.

Novgorod Kremlin (UNESCO)--Russia

 Elderflower punch- From Germany. I have never tried elderberry but maybe I'll give the recipe on the back of this card a chance. 

Also from Germany. I learned about the band Brings from Koln. Interesting sound so far. I look forward to listening to more of the band. 

This incredible building is an aquarium in Russia. Very cool.

From the US. I have always wanted to see the Northern Lights in person. 

 From Washington. Ironically, I just spent a little time in Tennessee, where Elvis lived from the age of 13. I didn't go to the Memphis area though.

Displaying de-7412430.jpg 
UNESCO sites of Germany

I also got 4 letters, an advanced reader copy of a book and a traveling notebook from the Netherlands. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Cards week of 8/6

This card is from Jenny in NY. Ironically, she had just been talking about my town with a co-worker when she was assigned to send me the Postcrossing card!

 John and Annie from Hong Kong sent me this card of the Asian instrument, guqin. They also send some great stamps showing traditional Chinese wedding attire and some national scenery.

Postcard  from Finland about a fairy tale that explains that gnomes are nice and not scary.
Schloss Weilburg an der Lahn. This card is from Poland. I would love to see what the inside of this building looks like!

Another palace, this time from Munich, Germany
     Alena from Russia introduced me to the musician Pelageya. Russian women have such a dark, low sound. Anyone know why that is? I like it.
      Look at this intense guy! This card is from Belgium.
This is from my postcard pal, Sheri. It was 114 degrees there when she wrote this card. I could not survive living in 114 degree weather!
     Today is also received an incredibly encouraging letter from a woman in India whom I've known online. God's timing is amazing and her letter was like fresh air to my soul. Arielle, I'm super grateful!
Another cool owl card sent from Tereza in Czech Republic.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Rest of cards from 7/23 and week of 7/30

This card is from Joan in Taiwan. She is a university student studying animal science. She also played violin for 10 years.

Nessa in MD chatted with me about music. I love this quote.

Tarva in Finland introduced me to the band Nightwish. (Nessa, if you are reading- it might be "harder" than your normal music, but you might like them! Holy cow, check out their Phantom of the Opera!!!) I really enjoyed their songs.


Aliessia sends a Pixar card for the boys. I read a book called Culture Code that mentioned how Pixar works to improve their movies. I highly recommend it.

Image result for century plant
Then I also received a from Sheri in Az. (Sorry, I already filed this card away when I responded.) I was assigned to send her a card through Postcrossing and we decided to be postcard pals. This plant grows in her yard. The flowers of this plant only bloom once in the plant's lifetime of about 100 years. That's pretty cool. They started to bloom on her plant last month.

This card is from Thomas in Germany. It is a historic place called Hartenstein. I commented to him that it doesn't look too different from some of the houses in the US.

Dorothy in New York sent me this gorgeous card of the Williamstown Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. She loves walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, but I think I would be nervous. I know there's a section for walkers but it's a little too high up for me :)

This card from Milena in Poland shows some Polish symbols. The national costume and sausages were the ones I associated most with Poland. I didn't associate lavender with Poland before. I love learning new things.

This card is from Shawna who just moved from Minnesota to South Carolina. This reminds me a lot of the river we stayed by in Wisconsin, but the postcard shows the St. Croix River and we were on the Wisconsin River at the Dells.

Ha ha... I had never seen these "pressed fairies" before. Lady Cottington claimed to take photos of fairies. This is from "Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book" by Terry Jones.  Thanks Cheryl.

Ludmila from Belarus sends this other fairy. Funny to get 2 fairies in a row. 

Can you tell I've been sending a lot of mail lately? It's great to see my mailbox so well-fed.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Mount TBR Mountaineering Checkpoint #2


1. Tell us how many miles you've made it up your mountain (# of books read).  If you're really ambitious, you can do some intricate math and figure out how the number of books you've read correlates to actual miles up Pike's Peak, Mt. Ararat, etc. And feel free to tell us about any particularly exciting adventures you've had along the way.
    At this point in the challenge I have read 20 out of 36 books. This is about 56% of the way. I will have no problem meeting my goal by the end of the year, though I am trying to do a few other challenges and review books for NetGalley. This is why I chose a somewhat low number for me. 

2. Complete ONE (or more if you like) of the following:

 A. Choose two titles from the books you've read so far that have a common link. You decide what the link is--both have strong female lead characters? Each focuses on a diabolical plot to take over the world? Blue covers? About weddings? Find your link and tell us what it is. 

What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein and A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord are both books that I read for summer reading with my youngest son, David. They are both winners of the Massachusetts Children's Book Award and both have a plot that heavily involves animals. In What Elephants Know, the main character, Nandu is training to become an elephant driver (a mahout). The story is set in Nepal so there are lots of animals you read about- elephants, tigers, rhinos and many types of birds. A Handful of Stars revolves partially around Lucky, a dog that is becoming blind. I also really liked these books.  Both books taught some good lessons about friendship and family. 

 B. Tell us about a book on the list that was new to you in some way--new author, about a place you've never been, a genre you don't usually read...etc. 
Noir  by Christopher Moore was new for me. I had never read any noir nor any Moore. A friend of mine wanted to do a book club so I bought the book and read it. Then her other friends bailed and we didn't have the book club.  The book was pretty amusing to me. I would be willing to give more books like this a try. 
 C. Which book (read so far) has been on your TBR mountain the longest? Was it worth the wait? Or is it possible you should have tackled it back when you first put it on the pile? Or tossed it off the edge without reading it all?
Maybe The Hobbit? This book belonged to my husband's family so it's probably been laying around the house for about 20 years. Lol

I can't seem to get rid of the tan background, sorry. These are my answers. These have been read during the challenge but many are ARCs I read.
OR (Counts as both part 1
Use titles from your list to complete as many of the following sentences below as you can.  If you haven't read enough books to give you good choices, then feel free to use any books yet to be read from your piles. I've given my answers as examples. Feel free to add or change words (such as "a" or "the" or others that clarify) as needed.
My Life According to Books
1. My Ex is/was The Hobbit by JRR. Tolkien
2. My best friend is [a] Live Wire by Harlan Coben
3. Lately, at work [kids have gotten] Educated by Tara Westover
4. If I won the lottery, [I'd buy] Tiny Infinities by JH Diehl
5. My fashion sense [is] A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourne
6. My next ride [will bring me] Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
7. The one I love is The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Ella Macneil
8. If I ruled the world, I would [change]  The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
9. When I look out my window, I [see]  Quackery by
10. The best things in life are [heard in] The Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Cards week of 7/23

     This card was from Rotterdam in the Netherlands.  I learned about the Irish singer Glen Hansard. Surprisingly, I knew one of his songs, used in the musical Once. Thanks Martine!

    Look at this gorgeous card! I'd love to visit that cathedral. I wish my church looked like that ;)

This card comes from Germany. Drinks of the North. I love all of the cups the drinks are in. Too bad I don't drink alcohol, otherwise I'd try them all :)

     Well, I'm going to post this now, even though it's only Thursday because we will be away for a few days. Hopefully,I will have a ton in my mailbox waiting for me when we get home. Tim is competing for the state title in baseball. Super exciting!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Kids Art Week Day 3

Hopefully you will all get a laugh at my vulnerability on this one. We were supposed to use a masking technique on watercolor paper. My tape tore up all of my paper. I also had big plans for the disembodied cat legs but thought it was kind of funny, so I left it here. Tim jumped in on this one too. Mine is the cat (with "bear ears" Tim said). Tim did the seahorse and David did the fish.
Image may contain: stripes
No automatic alt text available.
No automatic alt text available. 
      I don't know if we'll get to do the next 2 lessons because we'll be away, but the boys were pretty excited about tomorrow so we may do them when we get back. I love seeing what they come up with.