Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Farewell fall

No, the calendar doesn't yet say fall is over. (edited to add: now it does:) But here in the north we've had enough gentle snows and chilly temperatures to say "winter" is here. At least in spirit.

George burning a fraction of the several tons of leaves raked. ;)

Our Thanksgiving centerpiece!

I found these little trays at Sam's. They are so great for serving things like hummous and pita chips or chips and salsa, crackers and cheese, veggies and dip.

Tim will often complain that I don't explain myself clearly enough. If I needed to be reminded that he is right, this example did it. What I said: "Put the leaves in a bag and take them down to the marsh" What I should have said "Put the leaves in a lawn and leaf bag, take them down to the marsh and empty it, bring the bag back and refill it. " :)

What I am thinking:

"You're beautiful mom!" "Looking good, mom!" Words like this from my children warm my heart, of course. Even though I am decidedly less enthusiastic about my appearance. Sometimes I really wonder HOW they can make such comments. Free from guile, I know they aren't saying it just to win brownie points. And since trying to make someone feel good isn't generally high on their priority list either (I don't say they are unfeeling or uncaring, just that, as children, thoughtfulness isn't a well developed virtue. :)it probably isn't coming from there either.

I know that if a truly beautiful woman walked into a room, my little boys would never notice, or if they did, it wouldn't because of the way she looked. Gabriella may comment "How pretty!" but it would only be if she was wearing something showy. These thoughts have made me appreciate the fact that young children are attracted to beauty mostly because of an emotional attachment to the object of beauty. Or that an object ( or person :) becomes beautiful or attractive to them because of the fond feelings they have for it/them. I can see that many things will become attractive or repugnant to them based on this, many important things. Relationships, their beliefs, what they value. I'm very glad to be beautiful in their eyes because they love me, but I must also be careful that the things I believe are important for them to embrace become beautiful to them by cultivating positive emotions toward them.

Quotes I am pondering:

"On a huge hill, cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will

Reach her, about must, and about must go,

And what the hills suddenness resists, win so:

Yet strive so, that before age, deaths twilight,

Thy soul rest, for none can work in that night.

John Donne

Reading, Watching, Listening to:

Almost done reading "The Sisters" The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary Lovell

The lives of different families always intrique me, and this one, although obscure these days, was quite remarkable. They were a family of minor aristrocrats in England, although during WW2 nearly all of these sisters became "cause celebres". Two were fascist ( one called "the most hated woman in England", the other a fan girl of Hitler.) One a popular writer. One a communist, the last, became the Duchess of Devonshire. The whole book is both a fascinating history lesson and a study of family relationships. Of note is that the girls early education was provided by the "PNEU" system, now more popularly called "The Charlotte Mason Method" by home educators.

Listened to: The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maughm. "The Painted Veil" is one of my favorite movies, so I decided to actually read/listen to the book. It was remarkably close to the movie, except for a few things. The story of a spoiled, selfish girl who realizes the depth of character of her husband through adversity is thoughtfully poignant.

Watched: A new series I found at the library is "Royal Upstairs Downstairs" An antiques expert and a chef tour the great houses of England as Queen Victoria did during her reign. While that aspect of it is neither here nor there for me, getting a inside look at those great estates and castles is mind boggling. And what is even more interesting is that the chef goes "below stairs" and cooks up some of the period dishes using cookware, tools and ingredients from that era as well. While the chef (Rosemary Shrager) is a bit embarassingly over-enthusiastic at times, and the visit at each location is a little on the brief side, overall it is a very enjoyable series.

From the kitchen: I tried my hand at making "cake pops" for Gabriella's birthday. I had little princess ( what else?) do-dads that you put on top of them ( ie: the actual "pop" looks like the princesses dress) In that regard, they were cute, but TOO sweet for me. Not for the kids, although I can't say they flew off the plate. :)

From the schoolroom: OFF.FOR.TWO.WEEKS. :)

Comings and goings: Tim will have some vacation time this week, but I'm afraid the bulk of it will be spent carting boys to basketball practices and tournaments. Hopefully, we can eek out a little of it to do something fun ( not that basketball tournaments are not fun. ;) I hope to tackle some household projects (sort books, organize office) and have quiet New Year's celebrations that are relaxing. Christmas-time is fun, but grueling. There, I said it. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

I love God, because I love His creation

Outside My Window: I love fall! I found myself humming "It's the MOST wonderful time of the year!" ( Yes, I know it is a Christmas song) more than once after a walk or a jaunt outside. Out here in our rural area the day can sometimes "glow" with the sun coming through the brightly colored leaves. I'm not generally a person who enjoys hot weather, so I welcome the cooler temperatures. Cider, and apples and the scent of burning leaves, all is heaven to me. Now, we have sort of left the "glory" days of fall and all the leaves have blown off the trees and the days take on more grayness than sun. Still, it is my favorite season and I revel in it. Above are the "decoupage" pumpkin candle holders we made. I have discovered "Modge Podge". Pretty fun stuff!

Well, our Halloween was a muted affair. We sort of scrambled to come up with costumes (Gabriella, by and large, came up with that one herself!) and since trick or treating doesn't happen on our country road ( too far to walk between houses :) we hid some candy bags in the backyard and the kids seemed happy with that. On a whim, we decided to drive to a neighborhood down the road, but even there, only 3 houses were giving out treats. For those to whom this holiday mattered, I think it was fun enough. :)
Jed is enamored of "Stupendous Man" from Calvin and Hobbes.
These pumpkins we actually got from the pumpkin farm, but we did get 6 or 7 small pumpkins from our own crop this year.
Of course, even during fall, the inevitable happens here in MI.
You know, if I was out walking and saw a diamond ring on one of my neighbor's drive, I wouldn't be the least tempted to pick it up and pocket it ( unless it was to give it back to them) as I am if I see bittersweet on their property. Seeing that makes me start coming up with all kinds of covert operations to go and snip some for myself (they'd never miss it, right? ;) Thankfully, I was saved from my shameful thoughts by finding some in an open field, although by the time I discovered it, most of the pretty orange leaves had blown off by a couple windy days. Still, I love it and all the dried plant life I find this time of year. I adore flowers, but I think I love dried more...mostly because it can last so long. (I may add that if you find bittersweet at a Farm Market or such like , it is darn expensive...thus the excitement over finding it :)
A little Thanksgiving project. The original idea ( have to find that link) that a friend shared is much cuter and is done with more fallish colors. I was trying to use "what I have in my hand" and came up with this. You put little unruled index cards in the envelopes with things you are thankful for throughout the month and year and I plan to read them at T'giving dinner.
Here is what bittersweet is REALLY supposed to look like....this little bit I actually found down by our marsh. Funny, what a small amount there was when in other places there are trees just loaded with it.

For some reason, this house is plagued with a glut of cables on the outside ( do cable-guys have no aesthetic appreciation?) I don't know if it is because we are out in the sticks or these particular cables were done long ago, but they really look ridiculous. The worst offenders are on the overhang to the door to the patio. I even found some cute lights to hang there, but I think it made it look worse with the electrical cord from them added to the mix. My magnum opus this fall was to hang some...what else....bittersweet vines and another vine...maybe wild grapes? (don't quote me) intermixed with the wires. Well, I have no idea how well this solution will hold up...if they will start looking tired soon, or if the snow and ice will bring them down eventually, but for the time being, I like.

I am thinking: "[Americans] are extremely eager in the pursuit of immediate material pleasures and are always discontended with the position that they occupy....They think about nothing but ways of changing their lot and bettering it. For people in this frame of mind every new way of getting wealth more quickly, every machine which lessens work, every means of diminishing the cost of production, evey invention which makes pleasures easier or greater, seems the most magnificent accomplishment of the human mind...One usually finds that the love of money is either the chief or a secondary motive at the bottom of everything Americans do." Alexis de Tocqueville, 19th Century :)

From the schoolroom: Nothing much interesting here...just ticking away.

I am reading/watching/listening to:

"On Canaan's Side" by Sebastian Barry. Mr Barry has definitely made it onto my list of favorite authors. Not only can he tell a good story, but has the added talent of inserting lofty thoughts into his tales. I have to say, as seems to be the case with a lot of authors, I don't always embrace his worldview, but enough of what he writes is edifying enough to keep me reading. I suppose the simplest review would be to say this is a tale of an Irish woman who has loved and lost, in a variety of ways, but there is much more to it than that ( of course. :)

"Night Strangers" by Chris Bohjalian . "The Midwives Tale" was the first book I read by Mr Bohjalian, and I always liked that one, so when I see another title from him, I give it a look. None have ever measured up to the first, but I keep trying. This one I couldn't put down until the end. But the end was a huge disappointment, so that overshadows the rest of the tale. Sort of a creepy ghost story, sort of a psychological thriller. I hate to critique a seasoned author (what the heck do I know? :), but I always wonder how someone with such talent can just give up at the end and why do successful publishing companies and editors not say something?!? :)

"The Englishman's Daughter" by Ben Macintyre . This is actually a true story of an English soldier who finds himself separated from his company during WW1 in rural France. The people of that community hide him from the Germans, often at great personal cost to themselves ( lack of food was a very real problem, as well as the threat of fallout to their own selves if the Germans found him). Eventually, he falls in love with one of the village girls and they beget a daughter. Not long after, he is betrayed and is executed. An interesting glimpse of life during WW1 in an occupied country and a bit of "who-dun-it" as the author tries to find out who gave the soldier away.

"Wait for Me!" by Deborah Mitford. This is a memoir of a lady who eventually became the "Duchess of Devonshire". Far from being of interest only to those who identify themselves as "anglophiles" :) it really is a story of a remarkable family, life during and between the two World Wars, and the end of the English aristocracy (sort of). One of 7 sisters ( and 1 brothers) two of her sisters were hated fascists, and one a communist. She also had a great deal to do with the restoration of "Chatsworth", the family manor ( and what a manor it is!) so that finds a soft spot in my heart. She is very critical of those who tore down many of the old English homes during the 60's and 70's because no one could think what to do with them. Hello!? FIND SOMETHING! You just don't throw a glorious and ancient work of art into the garbage because it doesn't match your decor....why would anyone think to tear down these beautiful and important works of architecture? (Alright, I know it is a bit more complicated than that :) Well, they sadly did. So, it is nice to find a kindred spirit both in someone who finds that a huge loss and did something to prevent it happening to yet another victim. The only critique I may have is that the writing of her experiences makes it somewhat evident why the aristocracy induces common folk to want to pull their hair out at times. While she sometimes complains of lean times during her growing up years and not being able to afford the latest Paris fashion, the family never lived in a cottage on the side of the road, and always had a houseful of servants ( including a nanny, of course!) which enabled them to do nothing more than go out riding, hunting with their cantankerous father ( Lord Resedale), attend fashionable parties and the like.

Watching: These dark and cold fall nights have definitely been enlightened by watching the original "Upstairs Downstairs" series. After viewing the more recent edition, I was curious to see why the first was so popular. It really is evident. It is well writen and well acted, and even though done in the 70's, the costumes and scenery are also stunning. ( Nothing against the 70's, but there is usually much more sophistication in modern renditions of historical fare). Thankfully, there are a WHOLE lot of episodes... I may just get through the winter with this one. :) I often wonder why the subject of the relations between servants and their "masters" back in the day is one that so fascinates me? I suppose because, being a real Yankee, I can't imagine how these people were in such awe of aristocrats during that time and did such demeaning work for them for shockingly low wages.. Yes, they were rich, but no better than anyone else ( says I! in true American form:). Simply by being born into the "right" family they were deemed socially superior. I suppose that goes for the monarchy as well. Such a different mindset than we have now, I'm always trying to understand it....although I know there are always threads of that mindset weaving through even our own enlightened times. Human nature, I suppose. As a humorous side note: One evening Tim came up and saw that I was watching it. He said "I remember this being on at our house quite a bit. We were always checking PBS to see if Monty Python was on and instead it was that darn "Upstairs, Downstairs"! " Yes, Tim and I's marriage is the epitome of "opposites attract" ;)

Comings and goings: There have been a whole lot of comings and goings taking Naomi to her new job ( 5 days a week, I might add!), drivers ed, and the boys to basketball practices. Of course, there has been help from my dear sons when able, and a carpool with other basketball families, so it could be worse. Things I have been mercifully spared from driving to : are play rehearsals, youth group, and picking up/taking Tim to the airport. In everything give thanks! Well, there is a light at the end of the tunnel since as of today Naomi can actually get her permit and begin the task of logging driving hours. I don't know why there has been such reluctance on my part to get her driving. Call me sexist, but she seems so little and frail compared to her burly brothers to be operating a big lump of metal on wheels. She definitely is very responsible and has a good head on her shoulders. But, time marches less than a year she will be off to college and being able to drive might come in handy. :) We are looking forward to the premier of "Briar Rose", a play written by one of the boys at our parish, with musical scores written by none other than our dear Dylan, and Naomi being part of the cast.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Words of wisdom

I had a conversation with my dad not long ago. He was probably on me for putting salt on my food ( something he is notorious for in general) and I probably said something glib like "Well, I like salt!" ( convincing!) His response was "Well, I like salt, too, I don't eat it because I know it is better for me not to!" Well, it's hard to argue with my father. One, because he is also known for being NW ( never wrong..... example: one time when I thought I was in labor and came to drop the kids off at their house, he said "You don't look like you are in labor." Sure enough, false alarm. :) Two, because he looks good and is in purty good health for a 71 year old man. ( as does/is my mother!) Beyond that, I've thought a lot about that comment. I might argue with him about the salt issue, but not about the self discipline issue. Denying yourself things you really like seems to get harder for me the older I am. Maybe that isn't true. Maybe I've been living on good gene fumes for most of my life and have avoided chronic health problems because of it ( not because I've made a whole lot of conscious choices to be a healthy person). I'm pretty sure that situation is starting to wind down.

I know the mental battle that rages within has mostly to do with "poor pitiful me " thinking. It's not that I don't enjoy my life or my vocation, but there are always things that are distasteful in any life/career. I know I don't want to add certain unpleasant tasks ( like lifting weights) or subtracting pleasant ones ( like eating whatever I want) because "Oh, I already have this, that or the other difficult thing to do on a daily basis and why shouldn't I be rewarded by doing things I enjoy and why should I punish myself by doing more things I don't like to do? ( yes, mature! :)

Something else I read underlines this as well. "I work out every morning, 7 days a week-even when I am traveling. I hate it. But I love the results! That's the key, baby!" Jack La Lane. Jack La Lane?! The grandfather, the patriarch of the fitness movement hates to work out?! Yes, I believe that is the key. What separates the men from the boys here. Doing things you don't like to obtain good results. So simple, so difficult. Hopefully the genes I've inherited include the wisdom & strength of will my dad possesses. I just hope I don't have to wait until I am 70 for it to blossom. :)

From Naomi's blog

"Remember how much stress you had over the past year? It probably wasn't worth it. Whatever happened, happened and would have happened without the stress"

Funny how mother and daughter learn the same things at the same time. Not that I have really LEARNED this lesson, but it's at least on my radar and I've been thinking a lot about it. So much of what we stress out about is gone and forgotten a year later, heck sometimes a week later! Why do we put ourselves through it? In reality there seem to be very few things to stress about in life. Case in point, Noah's grad party. Oh, I stewed about that one all summer. Would we have enough food, would we have too much food. Did I invite too many people, did I forget to invite certain people. How would I arrange tables/chairs, parking, invites and on and on and on....when, in the end, it was just a party. Sure, a party to mark one of your child's milestones in life, but nothing life or death for sure. I know I lost sleep, I know I was crabby about it, I know I was short, scatterbrained and distant from my children while I worked everything out. Was any of it worth it? Probably not. But that is just a vignette from the many things I get stressed out about during any given day, week or month. The funny things is, I am a nazi-like perfectionist about a few things, and not so much (even when I should be more careful) about a lot of things. Why not just be balanced? Well, the first step in conquering any given issue in your life is the realization it's an issue. So, onward and upward. :)


Do we see some similarities? :)

We FINALLY had Noah's grad party. This is about the only picture I got...but thankfully all went well. Especially the weather! We've had some wonky fall weather but somehow was blessed with a lovely day. (Pinata for littles)

Clay creations. School has started in earnest!

Parish festival. I do a little tent where small kids can come and play for free and get their face painted ( this wasn't my original idea, the genius of another lady....but I took it over from her).

As gardens go...this one is decidedly not that impressive. To is a wonder! I still can't over that you can push some seeds into soil and up come these amazing plants! Maybe not so much with plants you buy from Home Depot ( which sort of seems like cheating :), but ripping open a little packet of seeds and a month or two later up come yards of pumpkin vines and 8 foot tall sunflowers. Gratifying.

Outside my window: Sort of gray. Looks like rain. We've had a lot of rain after barely any this summer.

I am thinking: "An idiotic waste of life." (Charles, Lord Hazlemeare) For some time, WW1 has fascinated me. For one thing, it seemed to open the door to such social and political change in Europe. For another, I really didn't "get" why the assasination an obscure Austrian Arch Duke, in a small Eastern European country ( Serbia) could have set off such a huge, world involved conflict. Well, two aides helped me get a better picture of things over this summer. One was the book: "George, Nicholas and Wilhem: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War 1" by Miranda Carter. The other was the mini-series "Fall of Eagles". While I am sure you really can't boil things down to any one simplistic reason, these two resources make it clear that a good deal of the conflict was due to the ups and downs of familial relationships between the ruling heads of Europe at the time (who were, in many ways, a bit-"off" personality-wise). Which truly makes one scratch their head in despair. That a few men held the lives of millions of men ( and their wives, children, parents and others who knew and loved them) in their hands while they fumed and fussed over power and prestige on the European continent. I guess it is not a new story in the history of mankind, but such a recent one and very poignant. I don't believe wars are always unjustified, but, despite some of the good that came from it ( ie: absolute power of the monarchy was diluted in some cases, completely overthrown in others) this one was, well, dumb.

From the schoolroom: Our first day of school was Sept. 6th and so far, things are going suprisingly well. Manny continues to astound me with his readiness for full-blown school work, and everyone else jumped right in and fell into the "old" routine without much ado. Thankful.

Reading/Watching/Listening to:

Just finished "The Wilder Life" by Wendy Mc Clure . This was very entertaining. I thought I was the only one who lived, breathed and ate the "Little House" books as a young girl! It was humorous and interesting to find someone trying to re-live those little rays of sunshine in a pre-teen girls life. And it had a good bit of new information I didn't know about the family. It also makes me want to "do" her Ingalls road trips (visiting the places where they actually lived...De Smet, South Dakota, anyone?...they actually have a campsite there where you can sleep in a psuedo covered wagon!) and I am kicking myself for not pushing to go see the site in Mansfield, Mo when we were there last spring!


The most memorable of dvd's watched lately was "Of God's and Men". This was released this year or last year, and was well received (Cannes, Cesar, Best Foreign Language Film). It is slow moving and thoughtful, but what impressed me was that the monks belief in God was never ridiculed ( as that belief is so often in modern day movies). It was respected, and even admired. Beautiful.

Listened to: What I am trying to listen to ( on a "classics" roll lately) "Swann's Way" by Marcel Proust, "Mrs Dalloway" Virginia Woolf, "Tender is the Night" F. Scott Fitzgerald. I did finish "Winesburg, OH" by Sherwood Anderson. I can't say I loved it, but it was interesting. Especially being written in 1915. Underlines the fact that while times change, human nature does not.

From the kitchen: "Chicken Taco Soup" good stuff ( see Food Network for recipe...can't get the link on here.

Comings and goings: Well, Naomi finally landed a job ( at "Jimmy John's no less...there is some irony there for the girl who doesn't like to cook :) So, there will be lots of driving to and fro ( thankfully, not too far away) Hopefully, I will get to see one of my son's soccer games! Either there has been sickness or party prep on the weekends they play and I haven't gotten there ( Tim has, thankfully). Other than that we are trying to stick to doing school, with the usual trips to the library,etc. I am hoping now that we've had a few weeks under our belt we can branch out and do some field the zoo, farm, capital!

I should add, that to round out the summer, we had a lovely ( and more importantly, WARM) camping trip and a nice little party for Tim's 50th. Not sure why no pictures, but there you have it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I have to say this ranks right up there with the. most. busiest.spring.ever. for the Vrazo family. Which is probably why I haven't posted on this blog since the end of February! Stunning! (I don't know why these photos are posting in such a funky way....keep scrolling................ Al, the proud, new homeowner. Our nest is emptier by two. ( He took Zak with him :)

Vrazo Family Reunion in St Louis. ( St Louis Science Center)


Union Station

The Vrazo offspring minus a few....

Family bowling in celebration of Jed's FHC.

Everyone having a good time?

Look at that form!

It's a wonder there aren't cracks in the bowling alley lane after Jed whips his ball down it!

Gabi loves to bowl!

Mother's Day ....feel the love.

A confirmation! Jackson Lewis Jerome Vrazo

First Holy Communion

Oh--yes, and there was a prom! Naomi's first. :)

Auntie Em!

The gorgeous girls

The lovely "do", thanks to Gabriella

Lovely spring flowers...a balm to a soul weighed down by winter. ( not mine, of course ;)

Add to all the "events" 5 kids in soccer and 1 in rugby ( I think I made it to all of 3 of his games...he could drive himself :) and me coaching soccer ( don't laugh) for the first time...well, it made for a rip-roaring few months.

Outside my window:

Well, now it is July and very warm. Everything is green and lush and blooming. Garden is in and thriving ( note to self: read pumpkin seed package on how far apart to space plants BEFORE doing so.)

Strawberry rhubarb and raspberry rhubarb jam made.

Outdoor painting projects just about wrapped up! It's funny, I started painting my front door and shutters on St Patrick's day ( we were having a warm spell) . It took until the middle of June to be able to resume that work because it was either too cold, or too rainy!

I am thinking: Well, I am trying out some philosophy. I must admit, reading philosophy is a struggle for me. My lazy brain just doesn't want to do the work to understand their point. :) However, I have stumbled upon Marcus Aurelius "Meditations" ...which is a pretty easy work to get into for me. Marcus Aurielius was a Roman Emperor and premier Stoic philosopher and has a generally good reputation for being a wise and kind Emperor ( except that a lot of Christians were persecuted under his reign, which puzzles many people. I suppose his lofty thoughts didn't translate into tolerance for Christianity :) He has lots of inspiring things to say, but mostly, what he writes has me thinking of lots of other things. I would say it has opened a floodgate of issues to contend with.

From the schoolroom:

I can say with unabashed joy that we are DONE with school and are thoroughly enjoying our summer break. This has been a grueling school year but good in many ways. We are signing back up with K-12 and adding Manny as a student. Jackson will be in high school next year and not sure what program I will use with him, but probably not K-12. Naomi ( GULP) will be graduating!



I discovered Margaret Foster this spring and really enjoy her writing for the most part. I can sniff out some things I knit my brows at....but overall, she is a talented writer and writes about things I am interested in ( ie: historical fiction). Two I've read so far ( and one listened to) "The Bride of Lowther Fell" and "Keeping the World Away " The audio book was "Lady's Maid" about Elizabeth Barrett Browning's beloved ( or not so beloved at times) maid who had many insights into her life.


Some that stand out:

"The September Issue"

This was a film about producing an issue of Vogue magazine with it's focus on Anna Wintour ( the editor in chief). Naomi and I were chuckling about the fact that neither of us are "fashionistas", but the fashion industry has a certain intrique for us. I suppose because it is so exotic and far from our normal lives. It "is" an artform, and I suppose we can appreciate it from that point of view. It gets me thinking about why certain clothing appeals to certain people and why it doesn't to others. Why is someone like Ms Wintour's opinion on such matters so widely held as the final word? For the record, I don't make a habit out of reading "Vogue". I may pick one up at the dr's office on occasion. In the end...I would say it was a little bit of fun to watch, but I couldn't get over the huge sums of $ spent on photo shoots and all that goes along with them just so the general public can have something to drool over. ( I'm sure just the airfare alone to Rome or wherever for all the models and staff could feed a few starving children in Africa. )

A couple regarding the Holocaust...

Rosenstrausse ( A German film about German wives married to Jewish citizens of Berlin, who stood outside the prison their beloveds were held day after day until finally....they were released. One of the brighter stories among the many tragic ones we all know of.

Secret Lives: This one was about Christian ( or otherwise) citizens who hid Jewish children. One thing I appreciated about this very well done documentary is that while it gave credit where credit was due ( of course it was very brave and noble for these individuals and families to take these children in, and I am in no way trying to take away from that) it didn't whitewash some of the difficulties encountered. One daughter felt very angry ( even as an adult) at her parents for putting she and her sister at risk by taking in a Jewish girl. Another (Jewish) girl lived happily with her adoptive family, but had a very hard time going back to her parents. It gave one a lot to think about, not the least being "Could I have been brave enough to do such a thing...especially knowing they would execute whole families if they found out what was going on?"


Dr Findlay A post WW2 drama about a Dr. practicing in a rural town in Scotland. This was a well made and well acted series. They might have been a bit heavy handed on inserting some modern quandries into that time period, but overall, very good.

Listened to:

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Ms Niffenegger is probably more well known for her wildly popular "The Time Travelers Wife". Well, I have never read that one. I did see the movie and didn't care for it. I noticed on one board, this one didn't get many good reviews. I wonder if it is because it is a departure from TTW and therefore a disappointment to those who were expecting something along the same lines. I can only guess. This one certainly stands out as one of the more memorable ones I've "read" via audio book this year. A bit far-fetched at times, perhaps, (especially the end) but she does have great talent at pulling you into her story and making you feel that you exist amongst her characters. Enjoyed.

On my bedside table:

Liberty's Exiles: by Maya

Really, what exactly DID happen to all the pro-British citizens living in America post the Revolution? A fascinating idea for a book as she follows the lives of several individuals and families as they grappled with their lives after the war...if I could only find the time to read it. :)

Comings and goings:

Well, now that life has settled down somewhat, we finally made it to the zoo ( although briefly... the friends that we went with thought it was open later, but alas, we missed that by a week). Today was a trip to the farm ( complete with mom getting lost!) There have been graduation parties and more graduation many that I am seriously considering not attending our own graduation party ( just kidding, of course :) a very beautiful wedding and one to come! Church festival and camping trip will round out the summer. In between I try desperately to clean and organize the many places that were left neglected during the school year and watch the kids swim in our backyard pool ( a never-ending blessing this time of year...I think we have finally found the perfect spot and I am getting the hang of adding the chemicals correctly :) go for walks & bike rides, pick wildflowers, make campfires and grill delicious, warm- weather meals....ahhhhh...summer!

Streams of consciousness from a mother of 10 who usually can't collect her thoughts and finds commas a nuisance.