Archive for July, 2016

Lucy Hoffman never wanted to go to Ethiopia in the first place and now she’s here she dislikes it even more. With few friend and always being stuck behind the embassy compound walls, like a prisoner, the best things are the trips to the nature preserves. That lasts until she’s grounded. Lucy sneaks out, an act that results in her getting kidnapped and stuck alone in the Ethiopian wilderness.

Amazingly this novel was inspired by a true story. To make the story more believable Ms. Yohalem visited Ethiopia.

This is a good adventure story, suspenseful, with insight to the nature and culture of the country. There are facts of the country interwoven that isn’t an info dump or boring. I loved reading about Selassie I who ruled the country from 1930 to 1974 and the parts where Lucy talks about being a daughter of an ambassador and her experiences at the dinners her mother made her attend.


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Garage Sale

Mama wanted to have a garage sale, but we can’t have one in her neighborhood. Since I was trying to get rid of ‘stuff”,  that meant me piling things up in the garage. One day (as if) I’d rent a table at a flea market. But Mama wanted to come with and ferrying the goods and Mama and her wheelchair, well, that wasn’t going to happen because it’d be an if or. If Mama comes I can’t take everything. If I take everything I can’t take Mum.

Then something serendipitous happened. I went to vote and had to go to a new place for some reason, a place right across where Mama lives. It’s part of the county’s recreation parks. On the bulletin board was a flyer. They were inviting people to have a garage sale in their parking lot. It had the date, the time, the place. Yes, it was like three weeks away, but I could do it. I mean, I had things already in boxes, I just had to price it. And! Most important, I could get someone to drop Mama off. It was just across the street and not across town where I would have to go if I rented a table.

Of course I hadn’t counted on the weather being bad or the fact it didn’t get advertised. Rain clouds, clouds that had been hanging around for a few days, blanketed the sky. I boldly gathered tarps for just in case. Once at the parking lot, I unloaded my stuff, arranged it nice on the table provided and the table I brought along and waited. There were two other people selling goods. We waited. We visited each other’s tables. Mama came. I wheeled her over and set her behind the table. She was happy to be out. She’d have been happier greeting people. I think maybe twenty odd people came and I might be generous with that number.

I did sell some things, got rid of them, and I managed not to buy anything. It didn’t rain. At the appointed time we loaded up our cars and headed back. I left Mama at the rec center while I dropped everything off somehow making it less messy than before even though I was rushing. She had a good time talking to the people who run the place.

There’s to be another one. I’ve been looking for the flyer. I’ll do that one too and just hope for the best. Even ten items gone is ten items left in the house, I mean garage.

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One of the branches of my library offered a two day ceramics class, that is, three hours total. I had to sign up and I did, the first one to do so. As I waited for the day to arrive I pondered what I’d make. My mind took me back to junior high where I manipulated clay into a misshapen ash tray (my mom had quit smoking by then), and a totem pole. Both are no longer with us, a good thing as they were a testament to how poorly I worked with clay.

I still hadn’t figured out what my attempt would be by the time the class came around. I thought I’d be inspired at the last minute. To my surprise though we weren’t given a choice. Molds of birds, three kinds, sat on the table. For this first day we’d take a mold and file and sand away what didn’t belong to the bird. Oh, and be careful not to squeeze too hard or the bird would break.

I sanded. I filed. I rubbed. The bird I choose looked liked a Blue Jay or Cardinal, but I thought to have a Cedar Waxwing. They come in spring and settle in the trees around the house, a huge flock of them rising and falling in and out of the branches. Once, when I was walking down the street, they arose over my head, a ceiling of birds. It was so cool.

My bird did not break. Someone was nearly finished when theirs busted. Someone else rubbed the beak right off. Mine was rather good. The instructor, a former school art teacher and now studio owner, said she’d fire the birds and we’d paint them next week. Which we did. I brought a bird book with me so I’d know the right colors. That didn’t help too much. When I got the bird back after the next firing, it looked all muddy, not like a Cedar Waxwing at all. I’m thinking that clay or ceramics isn’t my forte at all. But the flower with the bird came out real nice. Maybe I should stick with that.


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The nightmares have dug deep into Stephan Fair. Dreams of him climbing a ladder, higher and higher, to a tree house where a baby lays crying. A similar nightmare has taken his brother. Maybe even his father. Now, Stephan lives with just his sister and his mother. They live in the ‘ark’, an eclectic residence his father built and his panicked mother wants to take care of him with non-traditional means. But that and those psychiatrists hadn’t his help his brother and they aren’t helping Stephen.

I loved this house. As unpractical as it may be, I wouldn’t mind living in it myself. It’s made from odds and ends and even includes a schooner. The book may be hard to find since it’s from 1998. A pity some of these neat older books are being weeded out. There should be a great big library for older books.

It has neat twist in the end, one I hadn’t expected.

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