Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Truth According to Us

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

Miss Layla Beck is the daughter of a senator, spoiled and willful.  At least her father thinks so when she refuses to marry someone he wants her to so he cuts her off from all of his support and she must go to work to support herself. This is 1938, the depths of the Great Depression and jobs are hard to come by.  Layla has an uncle who heads the Federal Writer’s Project and he sends her to West Virginia to write the history of the town of Macedonia.  Small communities often house the most interesting characters and Ms. Barrows finds them.
Layla lands in the home of the Romeyn family as a boarder and her real education begins. At one time the Romeyn’s owned the main mill in town but a tragedy 18 years before brought an end to their dynasty.  The family lives with the truth of what happened that night as seen only by siblings Felix and Jottie.  The town lives with what they think is the truth. 
Told through the eyes of Felix’s daughter Willa Romeyn, a twelve year old with a high level of curiosity about her family, author Annie Barrows again mines a small, unseen community with the truths, lies and complexities that make up the lives of all of us everywhere. She has a knack for  finding a small tucked away community and showing us the fullness and complications of all of our lives.  Ms. Barrows is co-author of The Guernsey Literary Sweet Potato Society. You won’t be disappointed with The Truth According to Us.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


It was our last weekend together in this house.  While PH and I have a couple of weeks of packing to do, this was the last overnight for the girls, and it was hard, hard, hard.  We can go to the beach anytime but this was the last time down the stairs to "our" neighborhood beach.  It was cold and they didn't stay long, but they wanted to make one last trip.

 The faces were long. These girls owned this house. Adelaide is holding a cup of ice chips, one of her favorite snacks here, because, she said, it was the last time she could have them from our refrigerator. Elizabeth just kept asking "why, Grandma?"  If this were easy it wouldn't be so hard.

Our SIL was in a bike race this afternoon and we went to watch. While we five sat and enjoyed a lunch in a restaurant with big windows looking out to the course and watched him travel round and round in warming up laps I told our daughter that this racing thing seemed like a lot of effort to put out on a Sunday afternoon.  Pass the french fries, please.
 He stopped in for a good luck hug before the race began.
 Go, Daddy, Go! was the refrain he heard as he came into view
 The course wasn't long, it trailed through downtown Holland in a figure eight. This made it fun to watch because they came round quickly and often.
Go, Daddy, Go!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Quilt and books

I cannot believe I can actually say in these days of packing and chaos that I finished the quilt I found in the back of the closet!  This was the one I took to the place we can rent a Sweet 16 machine and do-it-yourself.  Well, don't ever let me go near one of those things again, Friends Marilyn and Jan.  What a mess.  After a couple of evenings of picking out the machine stitching I used a variegated blue perle cotton and big 1/4 inch stitches and uneven spacing and quilted it by hand. 

 This is the back.  So the whole thing is bright and will make a nice beach quilt. It's certainly nothing special so I tried something new for me. I figured I had nothing to lose.
 Rounded corners!  And it worked like a charm!  I didn't even cut the binding on the bias. I cut it the stretchy way and those corners rounded like they were meant to be.  This was, I believe, the only piece of orange fabric in my stash.  I don't do orange.  Or teal. 
Now for sure all quilting is packed and off to storage.  From now till we move I will spend my decompression time reading.

This week's books at school:
 You think you know what would happen if an elephant sneezed and you'd probably be right.  The stripes off the zebra, the hair off the bear, the snakes tied in knots, etc. This rhyming story is very funny at the end.  An unexpected ( for kids )cure for sneezes for sure. 
 I love it when I pull a book out of my tote and Adelaide says, "Oh, I love this one, Grandma!" And she does love the Mysterious Tadpole.  A birthday gift from Scotland turns out not to be a tadpole at all but a cheeseburger chomping Loch Ness Monster.  And with him comes all the problems of a pet that big.  Does the family send him back?
 For the second graders I chose Penny House.  Mr. D. wakes to his 100th birthday and you only turn 100 once!  So he decides to make some changes.  He is a collector and his collections have come to the point of owning HIM (hmm....I was seeing a message in there for me as I pack and pack and pack.)  So, during his birthday week he lets go of boxes, hats, license plates and books.  But then he opens a forgotten closet and discovers his penny collection.  One of the little girls in the class said the book sounded like a true story and I told her I DID have to double check carefully to make sure it wasn't. 
I love this story.  I love these illustrations.  Doesn't Albert look a little like a cardinal?  Albert is reluctant to leave his apartment until the conditions outside are perfect.  The weather.  The noise. Traffic.  They are all a little scary and he is reluctant to take that first step.  There is always an excuse not to leave his nest.  Then one day while checking the weather a pair of cardinals begin to build a nest in his outstretched hand.  And while inconvenient, Albert allows it.  As the eggs mature and then the baby birds, Albert learns a lot about being brave and taking that first step.