Sunday, May 31, 2015

Eight Hundred Grapes

Product Details 

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
I didn’t know it takes eight hundred grapes to make one bottle of wine.  I need to savor a little bit more.
Eight Hundred Grapes is the story of secrets kept and then discovered truths.    Georgia Ford is from a grape growing wine making family.  Her father took the risk and carved out a life that Georgia can’t imagine not being a part of until bad harvests made her take stock of her future.  Does she want to live without the financial security a “real job “ would give her?  Georgia becomes a lawyer and forges on with her life plans until one week before her wedding she goes rushing back home to the comfort of her family.  But when she arrives she finds nothing as she expects it or remembers it to be.
I do not like teasing you with the phrase that everyone has secrets but in this case, it’s true.  Georgia’s fiancĂ© has a big one.  Her parents have big ones.  Not knowing how these secrets will be resolved keeps the story going because you really aren’t always sure how it’s going to turn out. There are lots of options for everyone.
The story is a bit predictable in that the idea of secets and revelations and resolutions is all there. But if you enjoy a glass of wine then you might enjoy what you learn about vintners and the life of one of those eight hundred grapes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New Views

Here is our new view!  This is out the back door and it goes as far as you can see for miles.

This morning I was standing at the bedroom window looking at the view and saw two deer strolling along quietly eating.  I know there are deer in abundance out there because hunting is allowed. The former owner said they come right onto the patio and eat the lilies that are growing at my feet.
 It's really very pretty here.  Almost always a breeze, we are so high up. The trees sway, there is no one out there but the birds so it's very quiet. 
I am standing on the front step looking out the front door.  The driveway up the hill is on your far left in the picture.  The walkway at the bottom of the picture goes (up hill, of course) from the driveway to the front door. 

p.s.  remember the finch nest that was in the wreath by the front door at the lake house?  Well, just a day before we left all of the eggs had been damaged.  Two were on the porch floor and two had holes poked in them.  Momma was gone.  So, I took the nest out of the wreath and brought my favorite wreath with me.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Boxes and books and boys

 Well, we are in the "new" place and now the real fun begins.  The millions of boxes now have to be unpacked and a new place found for things to be.  There is a lot of storage space in this house but my problem is in the putting away.  I never remember after where I put something so it's a lot of opening and closing of cupboards and drawers.  Slowly it will come.  That's what people are telling me.

There is a L O T of painting to be done.  This house is very dark, lots of dark wood and dark colors. So we will shock the senses and paint it all white. After that I'll play with the details.  Right now, though, it's just  "git 'er done."  The painter came today to start and tomorrow the dining room will be finished.  A whole finished room!!!

We are exhausted, aching, sleepy and just about done in physically.  I am still purging as I open  boxes but I knew this would happen.  Before we knew what we were coming in to I couldn't plan on what to keep and what to send off to another life.  Now I know.   And I promised myself I would be absolutely ruthless.  This time.

We've seen the girls a lot and they've staked out their claim.  This past weekend we went to our son's to babysit Charlie, Ceci and Michael.  Charlie had soccer tournaments so the day was long for the kids.  At the end of the day, after a trip to the park and a walk around the block and the soccer games, it was popsicle time on the porch

 How can you not kiss those cheeks right off his face?

 Michael wears his day. At the end he's dirty, sticky and used up.

The books are packed in boxes and tote bags and stacked in piles.  Oh, my.  There are SO many books!  We have to have shelves built to handle them.  But I have been able to find ones to read to the kids at school. This is a list of the books from last week and tomorrow.
 This one, though retold by Madonna, is still a good lesson.  Mr. Peabody is beloved by everyone in town and devotes his Saturdays to organizing baseball with the kids.  One day one of the boys sees something he thought was wrong on Mr. Peabody's part and tells a friend, who tells a friend, who tells his parents, who tell more people, until the false story about Mr. Peabody is now all over town and no one will speak to him. Mr. Peabody's lesson for Tommy is one that gives the kids pause. I hope they understand in the end that no matter what, you can never, ever, ever get back something once you speak it aloud.
 Cynthia Rylant is one of my very favorite authors.  This is her first book about her childhood in the Appalachian mountains.  A very different life than the kids know but that's what draws me to her books.  Her gentle, quiet voice and showing us something we don't know.
 Last week it was The Man in the Moon, the genius story by William Joyce about the beginnings of the Guardians of Childhood.  I read the Sandman last week.  It's the story of how the Sandman (Sanderson Mansnoozie is his real name) came to be.  Love, love this series.
 Adelaide's class contemplated stars.  Stars are not just in the sky. Beautiful simple story.
I also read Betty Bunny Loves chocolate Cake to the Kindergarteners.  I read it to the second graders weeks ago and everyone loves it. Betty Bunny IS a handful!

 Again by Cynthia Rylant, the Mr. Putter and Tabby series.  LOVE this series of early readers but even though I know how to read I still buy them when they come out.  She captures being old so well!  Mr. Putter wants a pet and goes to the animal shelter looking for an old cat.  He finds Tabby and their life together begins.  The series takes off from there with many adventures thanks to the kind lady next door, Mrs. Teaberry and her dog Zeke.

 What if you could bring a wave home from the beach with you?  How would you get it home and how would you take care of it and what would it mean to the rest of the family?  I love reading this close to the end of the school year when waves and beaches are the next thing on the horizon for us all.
 This is a new book to me.  A grandpa passes along the job of maintaining the lighthouse to his grandson. But it isn't the kind of maintaining you would think.  He makes shadow animals in the sky for the man who lives five miles from shore. He tells stories in the smoke he makes with his pipe, illuminated by the light.  It's really a beautiful story.  I'm not always sure how kids will like a book that's really a simple, imaginative story.  They respond so well to the stories that are filled with action and adventure.  It sometimes makes me not take a particular book because I think THEY might think it boring, even if it's beautifully told. 
Lucy is moving west and wants her beloved Great Aunt Liza to come with the family.  The aunt replies there's nothing but hog music out west.  For Lucy's birthday Aunt Liza sends a gift to Lucy in a wooden box.  This is the story of the journey of this birthday box.

Phew!  I think there is just one more week of school before summer vacation so one more week of recommendations.  I do have a couple of adult books to report on but that will be another post.
I don't know when I will get to hold a needle again. I'm itching to so maybe a little applique?
We found we can work ourselves to the bone unpacking and finding new places for things but when we get tired, exhausted, hungry and cranky we just have to stop for the day.  Those boxes will be here tomorrow.   The morning after our first night here I was very disappointed to wake up to find the elves weren't here in the night to finish the job (The Elves and the Shoemaker story.)  I think we are good people and deserved that.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

House of Hawthorne

House of Hawthorne   By Erika Robuck

They say behind every great man there is a woman.  For the past few years we’ve been given many novels about celebrated  men and their behind the scenes wives.  They make us not forget those of fame were just people who married women who complimented and complemented them. I’ve enjoyed a few of these novels.  They made me stop and realize the human side of the name on the book cover.
This is the story of the life of novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne and artist Sophia Peabody. Sophia suffered from debilitating headaches her whole life and they seemed to manifest themselves the most when she painted. Her family all but gave up on Sophia ever having a full life.  She was encouraged to sit this one out.  Yet she couldn’t deny her gift and was a celebrated painter.
 Sophia and Nathaniel first laid eyes on each other and then never took them off each other.  This is the story of their love, their family, their passion for their own work, and the struggle to produce their works in their own right.  Of course, Sophia is the one who encouraged her husband to do what he must do to build his reputation as a writer while her painting was put aside to care for him, their children and families across decades and continents.   The story was a good one, and the references to other famous families (Hawthorne, Alcott, Thoreau, etc. )of the middle 1800’s sharing many scenes and put the times in context.  If you enjoy the latest books of the women behind the men, this one won’t disappoint you.  I promise.
Netgalley review copy