Monday, January 19, 2015

Elizabeth Enright; Children's Author Review

Elizabeth Enright (1909-1968)
Elizabeth Enright was the author of many children's books. Notably, 'Thimble Summer' which won a Newbery medal in 1938.

The book that started me on a quest to find more books by E.E. was called 'Gone-Away Lake'. it is an adventure story set in New York state sometime post WWII. (The book was published in 1957.)

When Portia and her little brother Foster go to visit their cousin Julian for the summer, they run into all sorts of adventures. Julian and Portia spend whole days wandering the woods around his home, and end up stumbling across a marsh that had once upon a time been a lake.

Ms. Enright had a real knack for creating characters that are well-rounded, and that feel like you would know them in real life. When she writes about older people, they are lively, young at heart, and always on the quirky side of the spectrum. Case in point - the elderly brother and sister who came back to live in the houses they remembered from their childhoods; now broken down from neglect and age. They talk, live and dress like they lived at the turn of the 20th century. But they display a quick sympathy and youthful zest for life, that makes you want to see more of them.

Young Foster is not neglected while his big sis goes on adventures. He finds a friend in the young next door neighbor, almost drowns in a bottomless portion of the marsh, and discovers a 'witchful' old house.

Well, I won't give away the ending of 'Gone Away', but tell you that even though I discovered the book and the author at 18 (if I remember rightly), I am still an enthusiastic re-reader of the Gone Away Lake duo of books as well as E.E.'s "Melendy Quartet". They are some of my favorite books, and always will have a place on my bookshelf.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015


I've been going through old pictures tonight (1/14/15). These were taken at the 2010 Glick Reunion.

Everyone's cups, clean, labeled and ready for the next use

It was held here No cellphone reception for anyone, no WiFi, none of the "ordinary" technical accoutrements of modern life.

As I recall, there wasn't even Air Conditioning! 

 And yet 60+ people from the ages of about 90 all the way down to 3 years had a rousing good time. We were even fortunate enough to have a cousin and her family attend the reunion from Norway! (They took the prize for coming the farthest.)

 The road going by the camp grounds was so completely deserted that you could've taken a nap in the middle of it without being disturbed.

 The front of the lodge in the setting sunlight.

 Thanks to all who stayed in the lodge, we had full access to a private beach where we could enjoy the water.

 We had a full Glick breakfast, thanks to my cousin Lali and her talent in cooking.

Kayaking with a hitchhiker on the back
There is always a Scrabble table set up at a Glick reunion. and another for puzzles.

The nearby fen
Michigan DNR Bogs & Fens

 The ping pong table was quite used up over the weekend. I believe there is a trophy for the winner of the reunion tournament.

Another shot of the fen

The couch fort
 M. Y. somehow managed to get 2 or 3 couches shoved up against each other. He and L. B. had loads of fun playing in there. Oh the joys of being 3.  :)

swan grooming itself on the fenland
Last, a shot of the family making their way up to the dining hall for the last night's dinner.

I still think about that time. There were a few scary moments - like when my cousin N. fell of the back of a truck and ended up with a concussion and in the emergency room. But, thank God, he was fine.

There were funny moments, like other cousins and my brothers capsizing a boat on the lake. A cousin jumping in the lake - forgetting his phone was still in his pocket!!!! (Somehow he managed to get it working again too.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Catch up and confessions

I said I was going to try do better about blogging. Then I got knocked off my feet by one of the worst (flu?) bugs I've seen in a while.
one of of my faves  from this latest binge watch.
So I've been extremely lazy and watching a lot of Celtic Thunder videos, and I do mean a lot of 'em.

Seriously love this video.
  Yes, I know the lyrics are weird.

 sweet version of The Dance.

Thankfully I am getting better, listening to many audiobooks, trying to stay warm and cat-sitting again. He is a sweetie pie, though insistent about his lap time. And laying on my back when I'm sleeping on my stomach.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015



I grew up with 2 brothers, honing that skill. We didn't have a TV for my youngest years, and when we did get one, it spent the majority of the time unplugged and put away.

Though home schooled, we didn't go a lot of places or do a lot of the activities that were offered. Our neighborhood was not conducive to forming friendships with the kids around us - except for 2 homeschooling families - 1 of whom lived rather far away for everyday visiting. My brothers and I had to come up with our own games.

We discovered that:
An old broomstick - minus the head - made a great walking stick or gun to scare off marauders.
Pillows - of all sizes - made really good grain sacks for playing we were pioneers on the way West.
A pop-up camper made a great boardinghouse (though that was mostly my own idea).
Our dad's propensity for camping supplies fired our minds to dream about how much food would be needed on a trip across the prairies. (As pioneers of course!)
Leaf filled bags became forts, chairs, houses and whatever else our minds could devise in fall time.

And since we had bunk beds in one room - we made lots of forts. And lucky us - Mom and Dad didn't mind if we left the fort up for days on end, as long as they could access the room. My brothers and I slept in them more than a few times.

I found out that a twin bed sheet and a long ribbon or bathrobe tie made a more than serviceable cloak for "nighttime" expeditions.
 Hanging clothes out on the line made it a time to pretend I was a servant. (Am trying to write that one out - it evolved considerably from that beginning.)
In the spring time, when maples bloomed, I made tiny landscapes with bark houses covered in moss and fallen maple twigs in bloom for 'trees'.

In short - we used our imaginations.
And a big help in that was our reading habits. (Especially me, as the oldest I tended to be a bossy pants.)
'The Boxcar Children'
'Encyclopedia Brown'
'The Bears Of Blue River'  were just a few of the books we dove into. I believe one brother and myself even pretended we were the characters from the 'My Side of the Mountain' sequel with Sam and his sister Alice.
We played we were part of the Underground Railroad, complete with many hidden rooms to hide the runaway slaves; and many tricks to fool the 'slave hunters'
The article, 'The Gift of Boredom' in the magazine below articulates my strong feelings about being too connected and busy. Boredom can be a good thing.
Winter 2014 Informer Homeschool Resource Magazine  

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

After the Wedding

Well, the wedding's over, the vows have been spoken, the bride and groom are on their honeymoon; and me - I have a sister after 25 1/2 years. That and a lot of soup in the freezer. And lettuce in the fridge.

It was small and simple, and completely them. Even to my darling brother's phone going off right before the ceremony... with an alarm that he had a wedding to go to!

K. walked up the aisle with our pastor.  E. walked with her mother. No attendants. K and E did their own  and most of the family pictures before the wedding. 3 kinds of soup, salad and bread, with cupcakes and a smallish triple tower cake. The soups were a collaborative effort, with 2 friends making one kind, myself another, and the 3rd was purchased from a restaurant supply store. Two more friends made the cake and cupcakes.

The decorations were put together by E, K and E's mother.

When they left to start their honeymoon, they had sparklers for all to send them off in style.

I didn't take one picture, but enjoyed the memories that were made.

The next day (Saturday), I spent being completely and utterly lazy.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Year End Rambles #2 (A Day Late!)

Wow, how much has changed this year.
My little brother is now an engaged man (almost married), I worked my last day at my 4+ year restaurant job; and started working for my Dad in the drywall industry.
Relatives passed away, 4 new babies joined the world at my church; and my cousin had twin boys, who though premature, are safe at home now!

I learned how to make applesauce, pickles, pickle relish, blanch corn, and tomato juice cocktail.

(The pickles have been on my bucket list for years!!!!) YES! *Fist pump*

I got a new computer, painted a bunch of trinkets back in January and February.

Finally learned how to cook dried beans - soak 'em in saltwater (3 tablespoons to a gallon of water). Cook's Illustrated magazine is a good one to find out about things like that.
Organized the pantry.
Went to the Indiana Master Gardener Conference! WOW did I learn a lot - especially about bees. The money I spent on the lessons in high school was the best investment I ever made.